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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Let me take you...

...on a tour.

This is "Sea Whispers", the house we called 'home' for Bank Holiday weekend.

The house is a relatively new build located about a ten minute walk from the beach. Most of the properties had 'coastal' type names...
...we found one around the corner called "Sandy Paws". The house consists of 3 storeys so there are a lot of stairs...

...but the front of the property looked nice and inviting...with plenty of photo opportunities...
 ...Chris was certainly giving her phone a good workout LOL.
The middle floor consisted of the lounge...
 ...which was a lovely sized room with views to the front of the property over wide open spaces of farmland. A 3 seater & 2 seater leather sofa provided comfy seating with recliner functions and a 'bucket' chair was located in the bay window area above the front door. What you can just see tucked behind the door was a large collection of books, CDs, DVDs and board games that could be used if the normal "British" weather had kept everyone inside (and heaven forbid...bored with crafting).
Up on the top floor were two of the bed rooms...
...this one was taken by Chris & Madelaine - with views over the garden. This was the other room...
 ...which Rene & I shared (my bed is near the door) and this also had a bay window & views over the fields. Between the two bedrooms was a good sized bathroom.
Back down on the middle floor and this was Carol & Phil's room...
 ...this faced out over the garden and had an en-suite...
...which everyone came to inspect LOL.
The parking area at the back of the garden...
...don't worry, Carol's boots didn't get left there - but who can miss a photo op.
Coming in through the garden we were 'met' by a very large extending glass table and as you can see...
 ...a crafter has arrived. There was a lovely welcome pack on the table - cakes, biscuits and even a doggie treat (the place does allow dogs). We thought there was some fudge in the fridge but this turned out to be more doggie treats - good job Carol read the label **he he**.
Here are some of the neighbours...
 ...they didn't seem too bothered...
...they were certainly more interested in the grass and the sunshine.
So cars were unpacked and clothing taken to our respective bedrooms leaving this...
 ...just a little bit of crafting stash...
...to keep five of us busy for just under three days.

Coats were off, the kettle was on and we were up & running. The weekend had begun......................

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

May Day Bank Holiday Weekend...

...came and went in the blink of an eye.

Which was a shame because I was on my first crafting retreat.

What seems like an age ago, Carol Whalley emailed me and asked if I would be interested in a weekend away with four other crafters. Having said 'yes' the time seemed to drag and I wondered if the weekend would ever arrive. Then, it was here and I was panicking about what to take LOL

Friday arrived bright and sunny and I bundled everything into the car.

A quick stop at Barleylands for a reed diffuser from "Naked Flame", some glue and last minute essentials from "Pinnacle Crafts" and I was on my way.

Surprisingly I had no problems and was soon sailing over the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge to the other side of the Thames (it is times like this when I wish I had one of those traffic cams so I could get a few photos of my journey). We had agreed to meet up at "Oyster Stamps" for a little retail therapy but my printout from AutoRoute wasn't as clear as it could have been.

A text from Carol to say they were still stuck in traffic getting out of Southend and me not sure where I was, didn't bode well for the day. A few more texts to clarify my sorely lacking printout and I arrived at 'Oyster'. Shortly after which a text came through to say Carol & co were now crossing the bridge. About 40 mins later we were all laughing & hugging and of course...spending.

Carol's hubby Phil was driver and trailblazer and we left 'Oyster' in convoy heading to the Maidstone Services for lunch...
 ...so meet the 'gang'. Left to right...
...Madelaine, Rene, Chris and Carol (Phil was outside keeping an eye on the cars).

We then set off for the final part of the journey.

Let me just say, driving in convoy can have its scary moments...

Having all pulled out to overtake a caravan and some lorries, Phil & Chris pulled back in but the lorry driver decided to speed up and there wasn't space to safely pull in - resulting in me being at the head of the convoy and not having a clue where I was heading. What a sigh of relief when Phil took the lead once again.

We managed to arrive without any more mishaps and tomorrow I'll take you on a tour of the house that we called 'home' for the weekend.........................................................

Monday, 25 April 2016

Twinkle, twinkle...

...little star light.

I love candles but don't always have the time to burn a large candle jar effectively so wax melts are a perfect alternative.

During my weekly trip to Barleylands I popped into the new candle shop "Naked Flame" and saw this...
...it is an electric wax warmer but it can also be used as a table lamp...and yes, it came home with me.

It is lovely to have something that can be used for more than one purpose - something we craft folk can relate to.

I took my Sister to have a look at the candles because she is even more of a candle nut than I am and she came away with a Kringle candle jar "Jingle All the Way" and a Classic candle wax melt "Chocolate Brownie" - she loves chocolate and Christmas (who would'a thunk).

I had a call from my Sister yesterday evening to say that her Kringle candle was burning merrily and she was all snug & cosy away from the grotty weather outside.

It doesn't look as if the weather is going to be any better today so I can see an evening of candle-light and comfy smells when I get home from work..............................................................

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Happy St George's Day...

...to one & all.


St George is the patron saint of England but unlike the Irish who celebrate St Patrick's Day with a passion, we English tend to be far more restrained and our national saint often gets barely a mention.

The George Cross is flying in my office, as it does every year but there seems to be even less acknowledgement of this event this year - perhaps because it is also the celebration period of Queen Elizabeth II reaching 90 years of age.

If you are celebrating St George's Day today, I hope you have a wonderful time.............................

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Happy Birthday...

...to Queen Elizabeth II.
 
 
Today is her actual birthday and she is 90 years young.
 
Image result for union flag


There certainly seems to be a lot of celebrating planned from now until her 'official' birthday in June.

We just got the flags out at work...
...and we have a mixture of George crosses and Union flags as this Saturday is also St George's Day.

I have to say, it has brightened up the office quite a bit seeing the flags and bunting (I think our wing of the building has been the only area to decorate but who cares - it cheers the place up). The red/white/blue is the first bit of decoration that we have had up since Christmas.

I'm wondering what other events are coming up that I could decorate for as it does make the workplace look more cheerful.

In the meantime...Happy Birthday your Majesty...................................................................

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

I found a lovely new...

...candle shop.

Naked Flame Shop - see their website here.

They have just opened a unit at Barleylands Craft Village (The Fragrance Parlour - Studio 27). It is one of the smaller units but there are certainly plenty of candles/melts/oils/accessories to see...and of course be tempted by. Be warned though, you will not find any cheapo candles there. They stock brands such as Kringle, Wax Lyrical, Colonial, Prices & Woodwick - so if you prefer to buy 100 tea-lights for 99p, this is probably not the place for you but if you like good quality candles...go and 'sniff' to your hearts content.

I was certainly tempted by the range of wax melts that they stock and this one, "Classic Coffee", just had to come home with me...
 ...the pack contains a block rather like a chocolate bar consisting of six smaller blocks...
 ...and all you need to do is break off one of the blocks and place it in a warmer. I have a couple of electric warmers that I picked up in the sales (they were reduced because they came with Winter/Christmas fragrances) - this one is a cream glazed warmer from Glade...
...and as you can see, one small block creates a nice pool across the warmer.

I have been heating this for two evenings and the smell is lovely - subtle, not overpowering. A lot of 'food/drink' fragranced candles/melts can be very heavy and quite sickly but this certainly isn't.

When you break the large block you get a strong smell of coffee but the fragrance as it melts is much softer. This warmer is in my kitchen that opens out onto the hallway. The fragrance in the kitchen is barely noticeable but you know that it is there when you are in the hallway and can even smell it in the lounge. As I said, very pleasant and not overpowering.

I did wonder if I would notice the smell at all as I love coffee and we are often oblivious to smells that we encounter on a regular basis - no problem with this, it has been lovely just having that background hint of fresh coffee.

(Please note: this is my opinion and I have not been paid to make these comments).

There are lots of lovely fragrances to choose from at Naked Flame and one of the fabulous things is that they don't keep seasonal fragrances just for the season that it relates to. I don't know about you, but I love lots of the warm spicy scents that are normally only around in the shops at Christmas and it can be frustrating to find something that you like only to be told that they won't be getting any more because Christmas is over. I'll be taking my Sister with me this weekend so that she can indulge is some "Crimbo sniffing" LOL

Well, I now have another reason for visiting Barleylands on a regular basis - as if I needed one................................................................

(This review was not solicited, I just wanted to share my find).

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Spring cups...

...at Starbucks.

For those of you who pop by from time to time, I think you will have gathered that I'm a bit of a coffee addict. My day doesn't start until I've had my first mug and the day continues with regular "refueling" throughout.

I do love my Starbucks coffees and look forward to the various seasonal blends and flavours.

The sight of the first "Red cups" in the stores always heralds the arrival of one of my favourites - Gingerbread latte - Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Last year we also had a run-up to the red cups with some pretty Autumn designs - perfect for the likes of the Pumpkin Spiced latte.

Last week, whilst up in the centre of London, I noticed some pretty new designs. There are three designs - one for the Tall, Grande and the Vente. This is the 'Grande'...


...isn't it pretty. The design was created by "Olya" a shift supervisor in Russia.

I'm normally very good and use a re-usable cup for my coffees but on this occasion I so wanted one of these pretty cups (sad isn't it LOL) and I'll have to have a think about how I can recycle it so that I can keep this pretty design.

For anyone who visits Starbucks, they have a promotion on at the moment to encourage folk to use their own mugs/cups. Instead of the usual 25p discount for using your own cup, they are offering 50p discount for a period of two months (started 1 April 2016). They will accept any travel/re-usable mug that you have...it doesn't have to be one bought at Starbucks.

I'm off to grab another coffee before getting dressed.....................................................