Saturday, 3 April 2021

Making an Inexpensive Letterbox Gift for Fathers Day

Easy ideas for making an inexpensive letterbox gift for Fathers Day

 {This is a paid collaborative post}

After a year of hardly being able to see anyone other than those we live with, I have become an expert at sending gifts and care parcels by post, but what I learnt early on was that it can end up costing a fortune. So, the way to do it cost-effectively is to send letterbox gifts. You can still make a really nice personalised gift but do it on a small and lightweight scale.

I send mine via Royal Mail and second class post, and this currently costs me £1.53 for a parcel up to 250g and £1.99 for up to 500g. The dimensions of the box need to be a maximum of 2.5cm thick, and up to 25cm wide and 35.3cm long. You can make your own boxes (if you're clever at that sort of thing), recycle ones you've been lucky enough to receive or I buy mine for as little as 30p each.

With Fathers Day coming up in the UK in June, I thought I'd show you an idea for making a letterbox gift to send to your Dad or a man you love like a dad. The great thing about making something like this, rather than buying it, is that you can make it really personal and include things you know the recipient will love.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Keeping the Creativity Going Post Lockdown

{This is a paid collaborative post}

I think we are all feeling optimistic now that the end of lockdown is insight. The UK roadmap out of the restrictions may be slower than some of us would like but it looks like it might actually happen this time. Thank goodness for the scientists who developed an effective vaccine so quickly and for the task force who have done an amazing job rolling out the vaccine effort. Add that to community testing and we have a much better handle on the damage that Covid can do in our country. 

Whilst some of us are raring to go and for normality to resume, there is also the chance to think about what habits we have developed over the last year that we want to carry on with us into our new normal of everyday life. With more time at home in the last year and not so many places to go many of us have taken to crafty pursuits and been really creative. 

For me, and I suspect for many others, creativity has been a wonderful outlet for expressing myself in this difficult time. So here are some suggestions of ways to keep the creative juices flowing in the coming months as we can go out more and do more things.

1.  Create with Others

Once we can meet our friends again, why not set up or join a crafting circle/ group. There are plenty of groups like 'Knit and Natter' or the W.I. where groups of like-minded women meet and create things together, but with separate projects. Do a shout-out in your local area Facebook group, ask in the library or keep an eye on community notice boards. I bet you'll find loads of groups already established, or set something up yourself if it isn't already there. It doesn't have to be complex, just 3 or 4 women meeting in a coffee shop to crochet together. 

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Teen Spring Looks with Femme Luxe

Twin teen girls wearing new clothes trends for Spring 2021 from Femme Luxe

{This is a paid collaboration with Femme Luxe}

Thank goodness the weather is starting to improve.  We all need some good news and things to help us feel a bit more positive this year, so the easing of lockdown and the sun are definitely positives. My twin girls ordered some new clothes from Femme Luxe ready for this warmer weather and are looking forward to being able to get out more and wearing them.

They both opted for a shacket (a cross of a shirt and a jacket) as they are the perfect item for layering. In the warmer weather, they can be worn open over a long or crop top as a jacket and in the colder weather, they are still thin enough to be worn under a thick coat. Femme Luxe has a range of shackets. in checks and plain colours, as well as regular length, longline or even a hoodie version.

The girls went for the oversized button front shackets, Miss E chose the lilac colourway and Miss M wanted the sage colour. These are currently £21.99, although there is a 15% sitewide discount at the moment, which takes the price down to £18.69 which is great. They are styled with breast pockets, slant pockets at each side and metal buttons down the front. As you'd expect with fast fashion you do get some hanging threads etc, but I think the quality is commensurate with the price and we've found that our items from Femme Luxe wash up fine. 

Thursday, 25 February 2021

DIY World Book Day Costumes on a Budget

Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

It’s nearly World Book Day, which means it’s time to start thinking about costumes. And with 40% of us parents choosing to make our kid’s costumes, according to a recent survey from Kiddi Caru, it’s time to turn to the arts and crafts, and for some, even dig out the sewing machine.

Whilst the majority of parents seem to enjoy making costumes for their children, dressing up for this event can soon rack up in costs, as over half of parents surveyed admitted to spending up to £30 on their child’s World Book Day costume. But if you’re on a budget this doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve put together some of the most popular costume ideas for World Book Day and given you an insight into how to create these characters’ looks easily and cheaply.

Read on to find out more about our top tips and tricks.

Harry Potter

According to the survey by Kiddi Caru, Harry Potter is expected to be the most popular costume for this year’s World Book Day. And it’s easy to see why, as it’s a pretty simple costume to pull off. Pair some grey trousers, or a skirt, with a white shirt and a V-neck jumper, and you’re already most of the way there – plus you’re likely to already have these items in your child’s wardrobe.

If your child wants to be in the Gryffindor House, then make sure to also include a red and gold tie. See if a family member has one in a similar style to borrow, or you can use some fabric paint to draw the stripes onto a plain tie. Simply change up the colours if your child would prefer to be in Ravenclaw (blue and silver), Hufflepuff (yellow and black) or Slytherin (green and silver). You could also make things even easier for yourself by using felt, which can be stuck onto a coloured tie, or added as a trim of your chosen House colour to their jumper.

If it’s Harry Potter that your child wants to be, then add some round lens-less glasses that can be bought online for an affordable price, or make some from a piece of card. Add a black cape that can also be handmade (see below) and draw a lightning bolt on their forehead using a makeup pencil, and the costume is complete.

But the wizardry costume ideas don’t have to stop at the main protagonist. Add some funkier glasses and unusual clip-on earrings to create Luna Lovegood, or re-use a wizard costume from Halloween, with the addition of a fake beard, for a Dumbledore-inspired look.

Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash

Thursday, 21 January 2021

An Easy Guide to Understanding Allergies

An introduction to what allergies are and how they can be diagnosed by use of a home blood test kit.
Image by cenczi from Pixabay 

{This is a paid collaboration with Klarify}

It's reported that over 20% of the UK population is affected by one or more allergy (1) nowadays. I find this a staggering figure and the growth has been rapid over the last few decades. I suspect none of us have managed to go through life without being impacted by allergies. One of my earliest memories is of my Nan being stung by a bee whilst we were shopping on a summers day. Within 30 minutes we were calling an ambulance for her as she had gone into analphaltic shock. It was a scary experience that has stayed with me and reminded me never to underestimate the potential severity of allergies.

I, personally, had manged to live an allergy free life until I was 41 and developed asthma; my GP and I believe this was bought on by the gasses and pollen emitted from the rape seed fields that I had moved close to and decided to take a walk though to appreciate their beauty. Even with a pretty mild case of intermittent asthma I've realised that there are life changing implications of having allergies. 

What is an allergy?

You can go through most of your life allergy-free and then all of a sudden your immune system is exposed to something new and it becomes sensitised and can go on to evelop an allergy. Simply put, an allergy is an overreaction of your immune system to a substance that is normally harmless. The first time you are exposed to this substance, that we'll now refer to as an allergen, your immune system memorises the particular structure of the allergen so that it can produce specific IgE antibodies in defence. This is called sensitisation.

Each time in the future that your body is exposed to this allergen it will produce IgE and some people can go through life sensitised to a substance/ allergen but never experience any symptoms and thus it is not an allergy, as they don't have any outward or adverse impact to being sensitised.  Other people will have symptoms and thus they have an allergy. Your allergies can flare u and subside throughout your life.