Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside…

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I’ve been posting some of the Action for Happiness resources here in the hope they might inspire others to explore positive mental health. What does this one mean? It could be that we never really know what is going on with someone else on the inside, they might be like a swan, serene on the surface, paddling like mad underneath. When I am feeling anxious I’ll often think ‘why does everyone else have it so easy?’ Well, maybe they don’t? Acceptance is what this one’s about.

The outside can be very different from the inside, this week’s What’s the Story demonstrates this really well. When we were on honeymoon we’d heard that St Chapelle monument was a must, it was pretty uninspiring outside, should we queue?

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Pretty glad we did!
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Wonderful Washi Tapes and their Uses

Once something has a Hey Girl meme devoted to it you know it’s reached cult status, ladies and gents I give you Exhibit A:

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Washi tape is something of an obsession of mine, it’s eco-friendly;, made from rice, wheat or hemp paper, and as it’s non-plasticky it’s totally repositionable, tearable and removable, so pretty adaptable too.  Washi translates from the Japanese to Wa (Japanese) Shi (tape) and comes in a massive range of widths and designs, I buy mine from Ebay, but supermarkets and stationers are starting to get in on the trend.

Here’s a small selection from my own collection:

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What can you do with it?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, i.e. not on Pinterest, you can’t fail to see Washi crop up in people’s pins if you look closely.

What do you suggest?

Here’s one I made earlier, I used my tapes to cover a lightswitch cover, if I decide to change it I just remove and reposition, cut bits out to add decoration, or, as it’s made from paper and biodegrades, I see no reason why I couldn’t pop it in with my paper recycling.

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Sound Pinteresting?

See more ideas on my board, here
My favourite idea of the moment is from Le Jardin de Juliette, post here
Her Car track idea is ingenious and older kids could reposition it too!
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(from http://lejardindejuliette.blogspot.be/2012/09/washi-tape-car-track.html)

The Fastest Ever Leftover Potato Pancakes

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Ingredients

4 medium sized left over (cooked) potatoes roughly mashed

A splash of milk

1 large egg

5 heaped tablespoons flour

Oil to grease pan

These were a thrown together last week hence the hazy instructions but I’ve made them since and they’re fool proof!

I usually cook extra spuds to make potato salad or top up my work lunches as I am trying to cut down on bread.

I mixed the mashed potato with a beaten egg and added the flour mixing until it looked fairly smooth.  I added milk until the mixture became loose, you want it to be the thickness and consistency of american pancake batter.

I greased the frying pan with a little oil and on a low heat poured all of the mixture out flattening with the back of a spoon until a cm in thickness.  After four minutes it was ready to be flipped over, and another four minutes later I turned it out and let it cool for 30 seconds and cut into wedges to serve with mayo.

A fast and tasty lunch!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Busy Bee Mumslist

Real life midlife crisis?

This week has been incredibly busy, but in a really lovely sociable way! Earlier in the week when the weather was nicer Joss and I made a half dozen trips to the park in two days! She’s discovered the joys of football (almost) whilst she enjoys carrying a ball there is a definite sense in which she would rather the ball did not get dirty in the park thank you very much, and consequently we have more photos where the ball is being toted about than kicked. WP_004143

This happened, amazing tweet!

We had a hoot the night before my birthday, I love her smiling eyes:
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Then mid-week saw the turn of my 30th Birthday, a good few meals out and plenty of treats along the way, I haven’t given too much of a thought to what this milestone means yet, perhaps that’s a good thing, avoiding a midlife crisis by being an ostrich?!
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Blogging bits

I’ve really pushed myself to blog everyday, sometimes twice a day this week. My favourite post was the hardest by far, a tutorial. Making this little fabric picture was lovely, but I lost track with photography a little along the way so I’ve learned that it’s important to split the work up into small tasks photographing as you go, it was a good experience and has had positive feedback so far!

From this:
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To this:

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Something I wanted to mention and perhaps pick other’s brains about is the random popularity of posts. This Tagxedo tutorial I did last year gets a lot of traffic.
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I realised that search engine traffic was driving this interest, but was uncertain about why this was the case as the software package offers its own ‘how to.’ It was then that I spotted something, a happy accident that I had spelled the software wrongly on my original post, a common spelling mistake has been driving this traffic! I don’t really know what to do with this info beyond more frequent misspelling, but I guess it’s made me think about the importance of blog post titles?!

Inspiring posts

I’ve saved a few things to re-read this weekend, one thing I want to explore more is Pinterest, so this Reading Residence post looks invaluable! I spotted some great ideas on this list from Snowing Indoors, 50 prompts to beat the bloggers block, and there are some total blogger gems of tools here with this blogging crash course that I must return to read some more of!

And one last thing, a plan!  This week I plan to make a list of the linkies I join, including this one to keep myself right!

 

Mums' Days

- See more at: http://www.mumsdays.com/#sthash.dRfnOKaC.dpuf

Woodland Themed Nursery Fabric Picture Tutorial

I’m finding that it’s all very well and good having this free time to relax and get involved in some crafting but there’s really not much that I ‘need’ to make at the moment, we’re stocked up with birthday cards and the likes so I decided to turn my hand to making some birthday gifts.

This little framed mixed-medium picture was thrifty and fun to make.

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Perfect for a toddler or young child’s room I hope that its recipient will like it!

If you’d like to make one yourself I suggest checking out charity shops for a similar embroidery hoop, I think they make really sweet frames for these fabric pictures, painted or plain they look good with a ribbon to hang them!

Materials

I started with an embroidery hoop (50p in a charity shop), some twine and little buttons and a selection of fabrics from my own stash, my sewing machine, but you can do much of it by hand, and some red project paint left over from this project.  I had the little squirrel iron on patch from a set from H&M that I bought to decorate some plain t-shirts for Joss, so this one cost about 40p.

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Base fabric

I selected this bright yellow flower print base fabric as it is pretty robust.

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I drew around the outside of my hoop to give a guide for cutting the excess fabric, then drew around the centre piece to mark out the workspace I will be adding embellishment to.

Theme

Then I laid out my various bits and bobs to go apply to it as I went along.  I decided on bunting and flowers with the woodland squirrel as these are pretty safe toddler themes, and as I prefer brights for a little one’s room I went with blues and reds to complement the yellow.

I cut a cardboard triangle to use as a template for my bunting flags, drew around it and cut out seven flags.

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Getting started

I stitched the bunting flags in place

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Then I cut two lengths of twine which I overlaid with a few stitches at inch intervals to hold in place
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Embellishments

I made a fabric yo yo as a flower embellishment, I love yoyos, they’re very simple.  There’s a great tutorial here, but basically you cut a circle of fabric and leaving a long tail of thread as you start fold and tack a quarter of an inch under on the wrong side of the fabric as you go with a needle and thread, once you reach where you started hold both ends of the thread and pull tightly to gather the fabric, then knot the ends of the thread and neaten with scissors leaving as it is or in my case adding a small red fabric heart to cover the hole where the yo yo fabric gathers in the middle.

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I cut fabric hearts and fabric flower shapes by cutting more circles and then cutting out notches to form petals, layering where I fancied and adding button centres to add interest, I decided to glue some in place and stitch others to add to the homespun effect.

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Finishing touches

Finally I ironed my little squirrel motif in place.

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Once I’d trimmed the yellow fabric back and tightened the frame using the screw fix I decided it needed a little lift

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I painted the frame red and as I didn’t have ribbon I crocheted a strand of single crochet to add a loop to hang up the frame (I am a great believer in using what you have to hand)!

Tada!

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“Put on my shoes and I’m ready for the weekend”

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Somehow I have created a child obsessed with carrying things in bags.  Occasionally you take a photo that’s too blurry for your liking but you can’t help thinking that the moment it captures makes it perfect.  She can’t keep still, wearing a stacking ring bangle, my only going out bag, her Joules horsie horsie bag and her horsie top she looks quite the thing ready for, well…anything!

I love that this outtakes linky by Mama Geek lets me share the photos taken through the week that are perfect to me but not quite making the cut, like this one under our fave cherry blossom, a little too dark but nothing some careful editing won’t fix!

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This one though, this one needs some explaining, this is a photo Joss insisted on taking in the park the same day I snapped her here, she’s got some learning to do but she got that spider in the shot!
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the outtakes

Amazing achievements: turns out she can use a straw!

Today I turned 30 and although I was at work it was a lovely day, Joss decided Mammy needed to enjoy a LONG birthday so the celebrations commenced at 5:30 am!  Breakfast in bed from my favourite bakery and a mega fruit salad were followed by a lovely cuppa and when I arrived at work I was greeted by this!

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I won’t bore you with the details but it’s been a really lovely day, followed by tea at Wagamama with Mr B and Joss, here comes this weeks small step, we were really amused to learn that Joss will not have milk or water from a straw but juice is a whole different thing!  She never ever gets juice unless it’s freshly squeezed like this, and she wasn’t giving up that glass for anyone, what a treat!
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And finally, my birthday present, I adore Classic Hardware jewellery and look at this beauty!

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Ethans Escapades

Talk Talk TV Tribes: My Viewing Pleasure

You know I’m a researcher so I’m gonna start with a stat!  The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) estimates 26.8 million private domestic households (approximately 97% of households) in the UK own televisions.  Clearly it’s a big part of all our lives.   In the years that British homes have been watching TV, our viewing habits and the programmes we love have changed dramatically, my own experience reflects this.  TalkTalk surveyed the nation to discover how we’re watching TV today, find out where you fit in the TV Tribes test here

My tribe is:

T h e   S o c i a l   N e t w o r k e r

“I watch quite a bit of television, of all kinds, but always with one eye on my computer screen or smartphone. I like to watch television as it is being broadcast whenever possible, and I take part in live debate on Twitter or Facebook, and go online to see what other people are saying about a programme. I also use the internet to look up information. I like to share my opinion and comment on the opinion of others”

6% of people belong to this TV Tribe – as a researcher this is bang on for me, especially using the net whilst I watch!

I’m going back to the eighties to share my viewing memories, when I looked like this:

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We had a big old TV, one of those wooden veneer ones, classic eighties style, I’ll see if I can find a pic, OK found one, it was exactly like this:

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My earliest ever memory is of that TV, you’ll have spotted Bert and Ernie in my photo, I LOVED Sesame Street and even then would have half an eye on my toys and half an eye on the TV, so I guess I was a Social Networker even then.  Sadly that blooming old TV used to cut off at key times and I’d miss bits of the show.  My parents realised that if you tapped the side of the TV to get a connection back doing what it should’ve been the TV would come to life again and that awful grey screen buzzing would stop and up would pop Big Bird and the Cookie Monster!  So yes, my earliest memory is of whacking the side of the TV really hard to bring back my favourite show!

Sesame Street Big Bird

Thirty years on not much has changed, I have my own TV whacking tot, our flatscreen works just fine thank you very much, and Big Bird has been replaced by In The Night Garden and Big Barn Farm but the proximity and chance to get up close and personal with the characters hasn’t changed and she has to be reminded to look but not touch just as I did!

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Look at those sticky finger marks! (She looks like we dressed her like John Mclaine from Die Hard here too!)

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I like documentaries best but often feel that there’s not enough available on our current package, I thought C4s Fabulous Fashionistas, about ageing and fashion was amazing and the Twitter chats around it were so engaging but its not often I see something so thought provoking!

What tribe do you belong to?

This is my entry into the Tots100 Talk Talk TV Tribes competition!

Fancy a new hobby? How to get started with crafting

My craft space is coming along nicely and I was telling a friend about it this week, she said she’s always wanted to do something crafty but doesn’t know where to get started.  I thought I’d blog about how I fit crafty activities into my daily life, something I managed to do with a newborn, whilst studying and now whilst working and parenting, as it’s important to me to do something that I find relaxing, productive, fun and that brings some colour into my life!

1) Start with a small project

You can dip into a small project over short periods of time, nap times are great for small projects as you are also closer to a sense of satisfaction at having finished something!  This felt baby mobile was the first thing I made after I had Joss, it gave me a small sense of purpose during nap times when I didn’t want to sleep and occupied my mind which I sometimes needed when I was feeling anxious as a new mother

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2) Wrap it up

Package up your project in a zip lock bag so you can quickly pop back to it, I sometimes have a couple of bags on the go and take one to work to spend time on over my lunch breaks

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3) Re-use and save

Try to use what you have at your disposal, you don’t need to spend as lot to find a cathartic hobby! Take these greetings cards I blogged about last week, made from recycled wrapping paper I didn’t need a lot to make something special

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4) Take to a book

Look at craft literature, magazines are great, they often come with a project inside, like this month’s Homemaker. I made this cushion using materials that came with the magazine, Joss loves it, I got loads of inspiration from the book and learned a new skill, soft toy making! Better still, visit your local library, many have a craft section and with a photocopier on site to copy and enlarge any patterns you may find a gem!

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5) Try to make a little time every day

You’d be surprised how a small project works up pretty quickly with even just ten to fifteen minutes a day, and by how relaxing picking up a project can be!  This is a longer term work in progress of mine, the crochet blanket in the background, so far I’ve put about three hours in over many days, it’s so colourful it’s a joy to return to after a busy afternoon with Joss!

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What craft would you like to try and why?  Or if you’re yet to dip your toe in the water what’s stopping you?