Inkly Moments

During National Stationery Week we reviewed the Inkly cards service. Inkly recently added a new, free, feature to their app, called Inkly Moments, that is adding a little extra to my photos right now!

In the app you can upload a photo, add filters, text and choose from a wide range of stickers uniquely designed by Inkly to add a special touch to your photos, the fonts on offer are brilliant!  Here’s one I screenshotted before uploading to Instagram with #inklymoments

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Helpfully categorised into a wide range of topics such as ‘weddings’, ‘pets’ ‘birthdays’ and ‘baby and bump’ it’s quick and easy to find just the right sticker; you can then easily share your ‘Moment’ across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (or you can just save it to your mobile device).

I quite like those Instragram pics with text overlayed, you know the ones I mean? With inspirational words and quotes –  it’s easy to do with Inkly Moments – here’s a Birthday one I sent to a special friend this week, when I saw this poppy and photographed it I thought of her, so it makes a great birthday sticker!

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What will you create when you have your own Inkly Moment?

Disclaimer: I reviewed the free Inkly app Moments feature in exchange for Inkly card printing credits, all views are my own

Smiggle Voucher Code and Review

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Happy Birthday Smiggle (UK!)

It’s no secret that we love working with stationery brand Smiggle in our house!  At Christmas I blogged about their brilliant stocking fillers, now I’m back with a new product roundup and a brilliant Smiggle voucher code for you guys too!  Open now until the 31st March to celebrate their new online store Smiggle are offering you lucky readers a brilliant 20% off (see below for the code).

Smiggle is now celebrating its first birthday in the UK – and what an amazing first year it has been!  In February 2014, Smiggle opened its first store in Westfield Stratford, revealing an ambitious expansion plan of up to 20 stores in its first year. Twelve months on and the successful retailer with over 160 stores across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, now has an impressive 19 stores also operating in the UK.  As part of celebrations to mark its one-year UK anniversary, the colourful stationery giant is is now launching a local online store that will see orders for its vast range of goodies fulfilled out of Smiggle’s UK distribution centre, and delivered directly to the front door within 2-3 days.   The online store will be launched on March 23. The range will reflect what customers can buy in store, and there will be some celebratory opening offers on launch. For more information, subscribe to emails at smiggle.co.uk

Great products

Here’s my latest roundup of brilliant Smiggle goodies! I’m loving these berry brights; Smiggle’s pens are brilliant quality, in vibrant true to colour shades they are great for colour coding reading for work and study and bring an element of fun too – who remembers these 80s multi-colour 6-in-1 pens?!  I love the quirky backpacks and this Berry Shake pencil case is perfect for all of J’s crayons, she quickly made off with the hologram ”moving” stickers and drinks bottle too!

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As I was photographing these fun lollipop erasers I thought they would make a really nice non-choccie/sweetie Easter present!  Don’t they look tasty though!

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The stickers are quirky and for a sticker loving toddler they’re really robust, re-positionable and as we’re going through a robot phase pretty much the perfect theme for us!

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 Smiggle Voucher Code

Head over to Smiggle’s great new online store (checkout their new Woodlands range while you’re there – it’s fab!) and bag a bargain with 20% off full price goodies with the code UKBLOGGER20 before midnight Tuesday 31st March – do let me know what you buy by tweeting or commenting here!

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The Weekend Box Club and Try It Free code!

Fancy something crafty for the weekend? We’ve been reviewing The Weekend Box club this week!

The lowdown on the Weekend Box Club

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In November (2014) Weekend Box won ‘Start-Up of the Year’ at the Start-Up Loan Competition in London, the Weekend Box activity packs are designed to fit through your letter box fortnightly and contain four activities to keep little ones aged 3 – 8 busy over the weekend.

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Each box has something foodie, something to upcycle, something to make and something sensory too. Sectioned into handy activity packs with a ‘how to card’ and stickers and certificate on completion the pack is so handy for getting some quick and engaging play off the ground!

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I love that the packs are designed to encourage discussion of healthy eating, recycling/green living and something sensory too, it’s a really well rounded selection!

Each box has:
Something to Cook
Something to Make
Something to Explore
and Something Green

The Theme

The theme of our box was The Aztecs, although Joss is still a little too young to get the deal behind the theme we looked at some cool Aztec prints online in preparation for getting started! When the box arrived I was really impressed with the thought put into the design, how exciting for little ones to receive their own post in a beautifully printed box full of things to make and do.

The Activities

We had a whale of a time with our four activities. We made hot chocolate together and this was a bit of a special moment as J had her first ever hot chocolate and boy did that go down well! We talked about how it was a treat and the spice mix included in the pack smelled so good that it was a sensory activity in itself!

The crafty bits were brilliant, we loved making an Aztec parrot and as J has just learned to get to grips with little scissors making a coaster from foam was fun and resulted in a sweet little gift for daddy to take to work too! Although not the mosaic design that the pack suggested this demonstrates that the materials included can let kids do their own thing too! Finally we both enjoyed making the Aztec prints from string and this is something we’ll definitely do again to make wrapping paper on a larger scale!

What we think

I think this is a brilliant idea and perfect for a rainy weekend or to dip into on a slower day, I’ve just recommended it to a friend who is stuck at home with a tot with chicken pox too! The age range, 3 -8 shouldn’t put anyone with a younger toddler or older one off as the activities are really engaging at both ends of the spectrum (my little lady is almost 3). J and I were delighted with the contents, I loved the powder paint, ingenious stuff, and the resulting makes are brilliant and now taking pride of place in our craft gallery!

Try it for Free!

The lovely people at the Weekend Box Club have given me a promo code for you guys to get your first Weekend Box for free. Boxes can be redeemed from www.weekendboxclub.com with the code ANG236 (new customers only please and just one free box is allowed per household) – I’d love you to share your makes with us!

Present and Party Life Hacks and Moneysaving Tips

I’ve been invited by Voucher Codes to take part in their Life Hacks challenge and I’m really excited to share my tips with you!

Why present and party life hacks?

I decided that I’d theme my ideas around presents and parties because I think birthdays are such a special occasion that it’s important we treat our loved ones to the personal touch; it’s one area where we save whilst having fun crafting too.

1) Handmade cards and gifts demonstrate that we want to put the time and energy into showing that we care, and these small touches can often mean more to their recipients than big flouncy gestures!  This is where life hacks and budget busting tips really come into their own as they’re the gifts that keep on giving, both to the person receiving them and also to your purse!

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2) This past year all of the gifts I’ve given have been prettily wrapped on a budget. I buy huge, huge rolls of brown paper from our post office for £1.20 for a whopping 30 metres and either cut off sheets which I get Joss to decorate or I use my stamp sets to decorate them myself. A favourite life hack is to get a pencil that comes with an eraser on the end and dip the eraser in paint to stamp cute polka dot paper! This means we can tailor the decoration to each person and don’t have loads of rolls of half used paper around the house.

Present and Party Life Hacks

3) This brings me to my next hack, recycling wrapping paper. I’ve blogged about this before but my favourite tip is to use wrapping paper to make pretty envelopes. Look for a simple template online, print and hey presto, you’ve a sweet little envelope to pop that giftcard into, or to house a homemade greetings card!

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4) One of my favourite home organising tips is to keep a wipe clean board in the kitchen to jot down bits and bobs you need from the shops as you finish them, this one was just a quid but it’s so handy. Try to get everyone into the habit of writing on there when they notice the washing up liquid is running out or they’ve just used the last scourer and as you’re washing up or cooking you also have a space to make a note of any random ideas that pop into your head, I often jot down ideas for birthday gifts for people whose celebrations are coming up!

Present and Party Life Hacks

5) When I made these recycled milk bottle elephants it struck me that this could make a great kids party theme; you could have enough bottles washed and pre-cut for little ones to decorate, just pop some glue and crafty bits and bobs out for them, and everyone gets their own recycled Nelly to take home!

Present and Party Life Hacks

6) Keeping on the party theme I settled on a winner when I started making our own birthday cakes, my top tip for tasty bakes is to use value jams and preserves for fillings, this gorgeous lemon curd cake was made with a 59p jar of lemon curd and it was so zingy that I’d definitely use a budget buy again!

7)I also made the little flower decorations with bits and bobs from my cardmaking set, decorated with buttons and stuck onto skewers, this was one seriously thrifty cake!

Present and Party Life Hacks

8) Two more tips from the recycling box, this time using old jars, I like to make party lanterns with mine, simply wash them out and decorate with washi tape, then pop a tea light in and enjoy the glow.

9) Or make party sweetie jars by gluing a small plastic character or animal to the lid and spraypaint, filled with sweeties these would make lovely take home gifts!

Present and Party Life Hacks

Present and Party Life Hacks

10) And finally, one of my favourite hacks uses printable transfer paper, this stuff is great and can be picked up for a couple of quid for two sheets.  I used my transfer paper to make affordable personalised gifts like these drawstring toy bags, sometimes I’ll print the recipients name out and iron on the fabric, most recently (pic 5 below) I used a seashell motif with some jazzy striped fabric for a summer seaside feel!

Present and Party Life Hacks

Happy Partying Folks!

Disclaimer: In association with Voucher Codes

Milk Bottle Elephant

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Need an idea for a rainy afternoon with a toddler now the weather is on the turn? We’re finding the nights drawing in a little tough as we sometimes miss our evening walk and like to have an activity to do instead.

We’ve become a little bored of play doh, drawing and the usual cut and stick and decided to try something a bit different one night this weekend.

Why not join us and raid your own recycling – reuse those empty milk bottles big and small to make a little family of elephants together? Cue terrible pun:

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I saw this idea on Pinterest for Elmer elephants but Joss is too little to consistently stick on little squares of paper without getting frustrated about sticky fingers.  Does anyone else’s little one really love glue but hate it at the same time?  So instead we got to work with some stickers, washi tape and googly eyes for an afternoon of crafty fun.  I used some decoupage materials and set about making a little Nelly of my own whilst Joss stuck on her buttons and tissue paper!

Instructions for making your milk bottle elephant

If you’d like to make your own milk bottle elephant then grab some milk bottles and lets get started!

YOU’LL NEED:
– Milk bottles
– Scissors
– Glue
– Tissue paper
– Or stickers
– Washi tape
– Pom poms
– Googly eyes

Simply follow these steps to start your own elephant family, use big and small bottles if you have them and just take care to cut any rough edges to smooth them before your little ones get stuck in too.

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Toddler Printable Library in a Box!

If like me you have a child that absolutely adores libraries, stickers, stamps and books then I have the perfect Toddler Printable Library in a box for you!

Joss loves our local library and asks to help stamp the books when we pop in on a Saturday, I wanted to recreate this as a play activity we could do during her quiet time at home.  She’s really into role play so this will make a nice change from playing  ‘shops’ for a while!

I made Joss a little Library Box with bookplates, a date stamp, library cards and stickers and other stamps so that she can play ‘librarian’ at home, and now you can too!

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These Toddler Printable Library cards and labels are free for you to download and print as many times as you like!  Just paste the label onto a shoebox, cut out the cards and bookplates and fill your box with stamps, ink, pens, stickers and hey presto, your little one is a Librarian!

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I’d love to see what you add to your own library boxes, if you print them pop back and let me know how your library play goes!