Monday, 8 September 2014

Crochet Baby Blanket // One for the Girls

I'm not sure if I've mentioned on here that I've recently become an Aunty!! My brother and his wife had a baby about 4 weeks ago; a beautiful little girl they have called Orla. Of course I had to crochet her some bits and pieces, so I decided to give her the Flopsy Bunny I've previously blogged about as well as make a cute blanket they could use for traveling in the pram or car.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Dairy free sponge cake


The other day I had a real craving for cake but after searching through my cupboards we didn't have a lot of the ingredients I would normally use for a vanilla sponge cake.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Introducing…Baby Button Pie

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will have seen that I have made a few baby related items recently. Many of them have been gifts for friends who are expecting but I have now started to make a few extra to sell on Etsy.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Crochet Flopsy Bunny

This weekend I decided to have a go at making this cutie. The pattern is from issue two of Simply Crochet. I was routing through my old magazines to find some new projects and came across this bunny (Itty Bitty Bunny they call it).

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Crochet Newborn Cardigan

With the arrival of a work colleague's baby imminent I decided to make a cute little cardigan to give as a present. After scouring the patterns on Deramores I settled upon the Stylecraft Wondersoft pattern 8570 which also includes patterns for a hat, blanket and cushion cover.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Castles, Jam and lots of Driving

Every year I have a break in Scotland with Neil's family. His mum has lived there for around 9 years now and we love going up to see her and the rest of the family. It's such a relaxing break and very welcome for both of us.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Yarn Winder Review a.k.a New Obsession

First of all I'm going to start off this review by saying how much I love this yarn winder! I bought the Vktech Hand Operated Yarn Winder a while back and after waiting a couple of weeks for it to be delivered (from China I believe) I had a quick look at it and left it in the corner still packaged in its box.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful #5


I haven't done one of these posts for a while. This week has been super busy at work so it has been hard at times to find a moment to just switch off.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Banana Pancakes

When I first saw this recipe I really didn't expect to like the finished product but they are lovely! I'm not the biggest fan of banana's in their raw state but after trying the banana bread loaf as featured here, I thought I would try something else that was banana related.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Healthy Chocolate Brownie Bites

These brownies are super quick and easy and a recipe that I've adapted from a few others that I've seen online.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Busy Bee

As always life gets in the way of my blogging time! Work has been super busy so time at home has been precious, meaning time dedicated to writing posts has been somewhat limited these past couple of weeks. Annoyingly I have a few posts ready to go, I just need to take some pictures and seeing as it has been super sunny here in London I really have no excuse!

Speaking of taking pictures I'm hopefully buying a new camera this weekend :) this makes me very happy as I've wanted one for ages and the last camera I bought was actually my first digital camera, some 8 years ago! I always use my iPhone to take pictures as it's more convenient but the quality just isn't the same. It's been a really tough decision whether to go all out and get a DSLR and pretend that I actually know what I'm doing to just stick to a point and shoot. Of course there are also the 'in-between' camera's such as the compact system or bridge camera. At the moment I've decided to stick to a regular digital camera, more for the convenience of being able to carry it around with me without having to have a big bag to go along with it. I also feel I don't have the time to dedicate to a 'proper' camera so for now I've chosen the Fujifilm XF1 which not only looks great but has manual control over the lens and all reviews I've read seem really positive. I'll keep you posted!

This weekend the hubby and I are off to Brighton for the day so I'll be posting about that next week (hopefully with some snazzy pics!) and then Sunday is Father's Day so I'll be spending the day with my hero of a father. The man is truly amazing so there may be a gushy post about that on Sunday.

Hope you have all been well and I'll endeavour to be a better blogger!!

Betty xXx

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Long Weekend

Yet another Bank Holiday weekend has past us by here in the UK. For me, it was a combination of sun, rain, exercise (shock horror!) and relaxation…bliss!

I was lucky enough to have a half day from work on Friday which meant I could go a meet my Sister-in-Law and her other half at the airport. They have just got back from four months of traveling and it was so good to see them again. Although we have kept in touch along the way, there's nothing like sitting down with someone and having a good chat. I'm really looking forward to spending more time with them this summer.

On Saturday it was pouring with rain for most of the day but we still made our way to Guildford (pictured above) with my other Sister-in-Law, where we ate Wagamama's for lunch, had a look around the lovely shops and even had time to pop to a vintage market in the cathedral which was really nice, especially as we had a slice of cake and a cup of tea in the most adorable little tea cups!

Tea was definitely a winner on that rainy day.

In the evening I was treated to a meal at Jamie's Italian restaurant in Greenwich. I've not been to a Jamie Oliver restaurant before and I was really impressed with the food and service. I had a yummy cocktail to start, followed by a bread selection board, tomato risotto and the most amazing chocolate brownie cake with caramel ice cream, and popcorn!! We had a stroll along the river to walk off our dinner and then caught the bus home. I wish I could have taken more pictures in the restaurant but it was quite dark and very busy. I'll be making another visit though, just to get some more brownie!!

Sunday was the day of exercise. I'm not one for 'keeping fit' or doing anything too exhausting but when the weather starts to get warmer I have the urge to run in the park or do some form of exercise. This usually doesn't last for very long, especially when I'm in agony the next day (another sign that I should lay off the brownie's). After reading a post by the lovely Lily Pebbles about her new fitness routine I thought it sounded manageable so I gave it a go. It basically involves skipping (with a skipping rope) and then a series of squats, press ups, sit ups and lunges…by no means was this easy especially after skipping (something which I haven't done in about 20 years) but I feel it's very do-able…I just have to get over my sore limbs before I try it again!

We then took a trip up to Covent Garden as it was a sunny day. I do love to have a stroll by the river and look at all the pretty shops. We even got to see a sand artist drawing this dude in the sand!

It is very crowded on the weekend though so I was pleased to get home and watch Breaking Bad.

On Monday I had a lazy day of house work, cleaning, washing clothes and picking up a few essentials from Sainsbury's. I then spent the rest of the day just chilling out on the sofa and not doing very much which was lovely!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Betty xXx

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Brunch Snacks // Flour-less Banana and Apple Bread Loaf

Whilst spending far too much time on Bloglovin' I came across a recipe for flour-less banana bread. Thankfully I don't have any intolerance's to flour/wheat etc but the recipe looked so yummy I had to give it a go!

The recipe is by Amanda from Running with Spoons so be sure to check out her blog for the recipe. She has made them into muffins but I thought I would just make a loaf so I could cut it into slices to eat at work.

The first time I made this recipe I substituted the almond butter as it seemed to be sold out everywhere, and used wholenut peanut butter (healthier than regular peanut butter) and it tasted so good! I couldn't believe how easy it was to make so whipped up another batch but this time with almond butter and I threw in a chopped up apple.

I would say that adding an apple made the bread quite soft which I liked but it was a bit messy (crumbs everywhere!). Although it's called a bread it has a cake texture and is so tasty. I've been making a batch on a Sunday evening and taking it to work with me for a mid-morning snack and it really fills the gap before lunch.

Have you given this recipe a go? What are your favourite morning snacks?

Betty xXx

Friday, 16 May 2014

Feel Unique Mini Haul


Last week I decided to place a cheeky Feel Unique order as I was starting to run out of a few skincare essentials and water to try something new. I have a habit of compiling wish lists, letting them grow and forgetting all about it but this time I took the plunge and ordered some bits. 

Starting with the things I actually needed in the skincare department...

Moa The Green Balm: a multi purpose balm that does it all - cleanser, lip balm, helps with grazes, burns, dry skin...the list goes on. Plus it's 100% natural and made in England. I
Be been really impressed with this little wonder pot. Review coming soon.

Steam Cream: another multi purpose cream that can be used for face, hands and body. It is a super light moisturiser which uses 'revolutionary steam-infused manufacturing process...' Ingredients include 'moisturising and soothing oatmeal infusion, orange flower water and healing lavender oil'.

I was a little surprised at how scented it was, and although I like lavender scents I did think I might break out but so far so good! It is very light but feels like it's actually sinking into my skin and hydrating. Another great travel product.

Now onto things that I didn't really need but, you know...

I've wanted to pick up some more make up brushes and really love my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush so added the Duo Fibre brush set to my basket. I went with this collection mainly because I wanted a lighter brush to apply my bronzer with now that the sun seems to be making a more frequent appearance. The large face brush does a fantastic job at delivering just the right amount. I also love the eyeshadow brush for blending out eyeshadow and smudging eyeliner all over the lids. The blush brush is also great for applying a hint of colour of the apples of my cheeks.

I've been trying to get hold of Nars Creamy Concealer in Vanilla for ages but apparently there is a national shortage! I'd heard good things about the Maybelline Fit Me concealer being a possible dupe so opted to give that a go. Unfortunately the shade I chose is a bit too dark for me, but I'm using it sparingly and blending out as the concealer is really nice. 

I always get drawn in my lipsticks and glosses. Right now I'm after the perfect peach/coral shade, so whilst perusing Feel Unique for this Tanya Burr's new range popped up and I decided to give the shade Just Peachy a go. I'm a little disappointed with this gloss; I really love the formula, it lasts well on the lips, isn't sticky and smells gorgeous, however this shade was just not right for me. Switched on my hand I thought it would be perfect but on my lips it's too pale and looks just wrong. I'm definitely going to give the other shades a go though! 

So that was my little splurge for this month! Have you ordered anything from Feel Unique before? Have you tried any of these products? 

Betty xXX

Saturday, 10 May 2014

First Date Ideas

My husband and I first met 11 years ago today! It's crazy how quickly those 11 years have gone and how we have grown into (almost) adults together, as we met when we were still teenagers. Of course it got me reminiscing about our first date and subsequent dates that followed. Being young we didn't have a lot of money so everything was a bit budget back then, so what would we do on our first date if we met now, as adults?

Obviously our tastes have changed and we appreciate each others company more than what we're actually doing but we often have a date somewhere and I think, "this would make a great first date". So here are my top 5 first date ideas:

1. A restaurant: This can be a tricky one as some people feel a bit uncomfortable eating in public, especially in front of a potential love interest. It's an oldy but a goody in my opinion and I think as long as it's not too formal or messy (the type of food!) then it's a winner in my book!

2. A walk in the park: A simple, easy, free date so if money is an issue it's perfect. Choosing a park shouldn't be a problem as there are hundreds in every part of the country. Whether dependant, it's a great way to have a long chat whilst walking amongst the pretty flowers and trees, and maybe hold hands...awww!

3. A trip to a gallery or museum: There are times when a first date can get a bit awkward and you don't really know what to say, so visiting a place that has lots of talking points is a good place to start. Finding out what each other is interested in would be my advice - you don't want to bore the socks off your love interest by looking at something you love as there might be a clash. Why not choose somewhere perhaps that has a certain exhibition on that week/month or a relatively small venue so your not stuck there all day.

4. Be a tourist: Whether you live in a big city or just a small town, there is bound to be things that you have never seen or haven't visited in a long time. Living in London means that we have a whole tourist map right on our doorstep but I don't really travel into central London that often now-a-days so it's nice to revisit some amazing places. Even exploring a local town that we haven't been to for ages can be really nice, taking in all the history and offers great talking points and opportunities for a spot of lunch or a drink.

5. A Class: There are so many classes you can take now that are only a few hours  to a day long, such as a dance class, chocolate making, cocktail making...the list goes on. Groupon is a brilliant place to look for offers and it's a fun way to get to know someone whilst exploring a possible hidden talent?!

I hope that has given you a few ideas for your first or 50th date! I know I want to go out and do all of them this weekend!

Betty xXx

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Crochet Teddy Bears

For some reason I am always on the look out for the perfect crochet teddy bear pattern. After tackling a rather difficult project last year I was determined to find something easy, and now I have finally found it!

To be honest, I can't remember the website I saw it on but the pattern itself is all components made together - front, back, head, legs and arms all work in one continuous. It is then sewn around the edges and stuffed, et voila! A perfect little teddy bear!

I tried it out last week and it was super easy. Of course I had to add a little bow tie for this chappy :) and then we had news our friend had given birth to a little girl so, I made a lady version moving the bow tie to a hair bow.

Super cute, super easy and would make a great gift for a newborn or small person in your life. I'm actually thinking about selling these in my Etsy shop soon so thoughts on a postcard please and check back soon for more details.

Betty xXx

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful #4

This week has been a busy one at work and the weather has been pretty bad here in London so finding things that have made me feel 'cheerful' has been a bit hard! Despite that there are always reasons to be thankful and happy!

1. Sleep: Oh I do love to sleep and the past week has been a tiring one! So when I've managed to have a lay in on the weekend it has been blissful. I always wake up early on the weekend even when I still feel tired so I love to sleep as long as possible! This leads nicely onto...

2. Bank Holiday Weekends: It's so lovely to have the extra day off from work. I did absolutely nothing and it was blissful :) It was such a lazy day of watching tv, eating, tv, long soak in the bath, Made in Chelsea and bed! Oh and maybe a little online purchase via Feel Unique (oops!)

3. Banana bread recipe: Whilst perusing Bloglovin' last week I discovered a recipe for flour-less banana bread muffins. I'm not too bothered about having flour-less foods as luckily I don't have any intolerance's but I'm always happy to try something new and healthy. It was so easy to make and although I had to substitute an ingredient (I couldn't track down almond butter, despite seeing it everywhere previously!) it was delicious! I'm super happy with it and will be taking it to work as my morning snack. I'll post details of the recipe soon.

4. Dinner with Friends: It's always lovely to see people you haven't seen in a while. We had some yummy take away and I tried Paneer which is a type of cheese often used in Indian/Asian curry dishes - it was very tasty! We also saw their super cute baby who is now six months old and getting so big already! It was nice to have a glass of wine and good ol' chat!

5. Sunshine: The weather last week was so grey and miserable in London it was nice to have some sunshine this weekend. I always feel so much better and more motivated when it is sunny and warm - lets hope we're getting into proper Spring weather and away from the April showers now that it is May.

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend and have a great week!

Betty xXx

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Yarn Review: Lily's Sugar 'n' Cream Scented Yarn

A while back I saw a tweet mentioning a new yarn which was scented; of course I was intrigued! I purchased the Fleur de Lavande variety (mainly because the colours are so pretty!) from Wool Warehouse. Sugar 'n' Cream Scents yarn is 100% cotton, aran weight and you get around 86 metres per 56.7 gram. It can be washed at 30 degrees on a very mild cycle and tumble dried on a low setting.

When it arrive I didn't really have anything to make with it. I decided to just make something small and simple to see how to crocheted and how the colours took effect. As you can see I made a simple heart shape and also tried out some new stitches from the book, 500 crochet blocks. The yarn is easy to work with and unlike other cotton aran yarns it does not split (Rico Creative Cotton - I'm looking at you!). The colour pattern changes quite quickly and alternates with white after each colour.

The smell wasn't overwhelming when I first opened the packet but as I began to crochet the scent seemed to 'release', but again not strong at all; a very pleasant lavender scent and  nothing like theoverpowering and sickly scent I had anticipated.

Overall I'm really happy with this yarn and will be purchasing more! I think this yarn would be ideal for making small gifts (hanging hearts) that have a slight scent to them.

Betty xXx

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Crochet Mojo: Loosing/Finding it

 Source: Google Images

I seem to go through stages with crafting/crochet (usually the latter) where I'm super productive, have lots of ideas and make loads of items and then I just can't be bothered or find the motivation to pick up my hook and make something. That's where I am right now. It can be frustrating as I find it something to relax with and I always feel a sense of achievement when I complete a project.

For the first time in a while I've had nothing to make for other people, no projects on the go except my cardigan which is actually for me. I'm nearing completion but now have lost my mojo to complete. I think it came about after finishing one sleeve and the thought of having to do another one was just too much, yet there have been occasions where I've thought, "I'd love to be wearing that cardigan today".

So how do I overcome these pangs of un-creativeness? Well this can be a hard one and can depend on other things going on: work, mood, social and home life which can all play a part and if other activities are taking up your time, how are you going to be able to relax and fit in a spot of crochet? I find that taking a break from crafting really helps and clears my mind before I finish or start a project. Of course the length of the break can vary but this current one seems to have been a few weeks.

Another tip would be when you do pick up your hook again, start small. It can be hard to jump straight into a big project (unless you're feeling very creative!) so I always pick up a hook and yarn and try out some new stitches or make a flower to get my mind back into crochet land.

I also like to read other people's blogs for inspiration; usually seeing their wonderful creations kick starts my need to crochet again.

So, I'm off to finish my cardigan and then hopefully onto my next project soon! Have you ever had breaks from crafting? What are your tips to get back into the swing of things?

Betty xXx

Friday, 25 April 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful #3

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front over the past week or so mainly due to the Easter break. I've also not done any crochet in what feels like ages (although it has probably only been a week or two), I just haven't felt very creative and don't like to force myself to do it just for the sake of it. So here's my top five of what's been putting a smile on my face this week. The picture above is the big finale which looked so pretty. 

1. Rest: Although I didn't do anything special or go away over Easter, it was so nice to be able to just relax and spend time with the husband. I went back to work on Tuesday feeling rather refreshed and happy that Easter had been peaceful. 

2. Elbow: No, not my arm joint, the band. We went to see them at the O2 arena in Greenwich and they were brilliant. Our first dance at out wedding was One Day Like This so to hear it live was really special. 

3. Chocolate: I'm definitely more of a savoury person (I could eat my body weight in crisps) but chocolate has been my vice this week and I could certainly eat another packet of mini eggs before they disappear. 

4. Brioche: I bought a pack of brioche rolls couple of weeks ago as I was a bit pecking and am now addicted. I love them warmed up in the oven, then smothered with butter and marmite! 

5. Work: it's not been too bad this week, although busy and stressful at times I'm grateful to have a job and not absolutely hate it (there have been moments). Plus there could be new and exciting things on the horizon :) 

I hope you've all had an amazing Easter!

Betty xXx

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Evening Skincare Routine

As with my morning routine I like to keep things simple. I wear make up pretty much every day so it's important to properly remove it so there are no nasties left behind, plus pollution and touching my face through the day I like to keep it clean and fresh.

Make up removal: This wasn't a step I always did; I would usually just jump straight into cleansing but after reading lots of posts about the importance of double cleansing or removing make up before cleansing I have now started to include this step. Think of it this way; if you use your cleanser once you're just removing the make up and not actually cleaning the skin - make sense?

I used to use face wipes and still do occasionally when I'm being lazy but I've recently bought the Garnier version of Bioderma. This is a Micellar water which contains oil particals to break down make up. I use this to remove my eye make up and then swipe over my face to take off the bulk of my face make up. It's actually really good and I find it to work in exactly the same way as Bioderma.

Cleanser: My current cleanser is Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel which comes out in a gel consistency but when massaged onto the face, changes to an oil and then mixed with water it goes milky! It took a while to get used to the texture and it definitely does a good job of cleansing my face (I have used it to remove make up, including eyes and it is really good) but I'm not sure if I will repurchase. It has lasted a long time so for the money it is worth it, I just want to try something different next time!

Toner: As with my morning routine I use the same Lush toner, Eau Roma Water.

Serums/Oils: At present I am using the Body Shop Vitamin E Serum in an Oil. It claims to be eight hours of sleep in a bottle. It feels lovely on the skin, sinks in very quickly but I'm not sure if it has a massive affect come the next morning. When I've stopped using it for a few evenings I do miss it and notice my skin looking a bit grey, however I think there might be better things out there. I would recommend it for the price and would possibly repurchase; I think I'm just a bit on the fence with this one.

Moisturiser: My current moisturiser, which I'm loving is Superdrug's Vitamin E Night Cream. For £4 you get a massive tub that is lightweight but very rich and moisturising. I use this all over my face, neck, chest and hands in the evening and my skin loves it!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Morning Skincare Routine

Sometimes I feel like I've tried every skincare item going (drugstore brands at least). This is mainly because I'd never found anything that settle my often disrupted skin so would quickly move onto a new item, which probably added to the problem instead of helping.

Another reason for this trial and error approach was because I thought my skin type was normal/combination when actually it leans more towards the sensitive. This has taken me years to realise this and in turn I was using products that were not helping the sensitivity and making my skin more blemished and red. I remember going into Space NK years ago for the first time, not really bothered by skincare and make up back then and the lady telling me I had dehydrated skin. I was shocked! I think most people had taken one look at my skin back then and just thought oily/combination/acne prone. I wish I had taken her advice on board but for years I continued to use harsh, oil stripping products - I do blame certain brands for providing the wrong information about acne prone skin, claiming that harsh products will help!

It was only when I started watching QVC one day that I realised I might have sensitive skin; the lady explained that sensitivity to products makes your skin react (obviously) but using these harsh product can make your skin produce more oil to over compensate for the lack of moisture! I started trying new products from Elemis and and Liz Earle that really helped and I feel like finally my skin is in much better condition and I know which products will work. Of course I still have the occasional break out but it's not as bad as it used to be. Oh and everyone should read Caroline Hirons' blog - she is a skincare god and everyone needs to listen to her advise. 

So, after that mammoth introduction, here are the products I am using on a daily basis in the morning:

Cleanser: I've been using a cream cleanser for a while now, and at the moment I have Superdrug's Vitamin E cream cleanser. I was using Liz Earle until it ran out and I didn't have time to pick up a new one so I've been using this and it is doing a good job. I still prefer Liz Earle (it just feels like it's doing some good as soon as I start using it!) but Superdrug's cleanser is clearly a lot cheaper so great as a stand in. I use this with a regular flannel/wash cloth run under warm water and then I rinse it under cold water at the end and press it again my face to help me wake up.

Toner: This was a step I skipped for a long time, thinking I didn't really need to use one. My skin started to look a little lack-luster so while in Lush I picked up the Eau Roma Water and I've noticed such a difference already. Not only is the smell amazing but it plumps up my skin ready for the next step.

Serum: I never used to care much about serums and oils, especially in the morning but as I'm getting older I feel like I need an extra boost of moisture. As I mentioned previously I never thought that my skin would be of the dry category and believed that adding more moisture would make me look more oily and shiney - how wrong could I have been?! After reading lots of reviews I picked up Hydraluron and I cannot live without it! Its a clear gel that contains hyaluronic acid (sounds scary but its really good) that plumps up the skin and locks in moisture. I find it really does make a difference and when I have stopped using it, I feel like I do miss the extra boost.

Moisturiser: I've been using La Roche Posay Efficlar Duo (original version) for quite a while now and highly recommend it for anyone with sensitive skin. After watching Ruth's video saying that it cleared up her spots I thought I would give it a go. It really helps to keep any blemishes at bay and is a water based, very light weight moisturiser.

It's a fairly simple routine but I'm really happy with all the products and don't think I'll be changing them any time soon. Check back soon to read about my night time routine.

What are your skincare recommendations?

Betty xXx

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Crochet: A Beginners Guide // Resources

Following on from this post I thought it might be helpful to talk about the resources that are out there for crochet beginners .

 Internet: Before I had even purchased a hook and yarn, I looked up techniques and 'how to' advice on the internet.There is a whole library at your fingertips and I have spent many hours looking up simple stitches or which yarn to use, patterns, help and advice. YouTube is amazing for a beginner as you can watch video's over and over until you get the technique correct. I used to have my crochet in front of me and do the stitches as they did them. Some tutorials are obviously better that others but I find watching a few different ones really helped me in the early day to get a particular stitch or technique right.

Blogs: Linking in the internet, blogs are a brilliant way to pick up extra tips but also for inspiration. I constantly have ideas for projects I want to make next and 95% of those ideas come from blogs. I can't remember who's blog I read first but Lucy from Attic24 is amazing! I love to read through her blog, page after page, looking at all the pretty and colourful pictures. Her crochet is beautiful and her patterns and tutorials are super easy to follow; I don't think I've ever struggled with them. There are a whole host of amazing blogs that I love to peruse and get inspiration from, I usually just type in 'crochet blogs' or even the pattern I am looking for and a blog will pop up with said pattern.

Magazines: It took me a while to get into buying a magazine specifically for crochet. As I had acquired a lot of information from the internet I didn't see the point in buying a magazine when there was probably something on the internet that I could research. However, Simply Crochet came out when I was very new to the hobby so I picked it up and fell in love straight away.

I had already purchased Mollie Makes a couple of times and loved it, so when Simply Crochet was released (under the same publication company) I knew it would be a good'un! Every month you get a freebie, from a crochet hook to accessories; I love having a gift each month! There are lots of patterns and again inspiration as well as beautiful pictures that make you want to live inside the magazine!

Another mag that I have gotten into more recently is Inside Crochet. Although no freebie's seem to come with this one, the magazine has more pages and patterns for the same price as Simply Crochet. Again, the pictures are gorgeous, I wish I could be that good at photography!

The great thing about both magazines is that at the back there is a 'how to' section on basic stitches as well as new stitches that might have been featured in a pattern from that issue of the magazine, e.g. button holes. This section also includes a UK/US stitch convertor, increasing and decreasing, how to change colour and many more great beginner tips.

Books: When I first started out I had an Amazon wishlist of about 50 books that I wanted but these days I focus my attention more on the above categories. I have a few books; the Crochet book I mentioned in my last beginners guide post which I find extremely useful as well as a few books with patterns but again, I find myself looking for on the internet or in magazines for patterns than I do in books. One book that I do highly recommend for trying out new stitches (once you've mastered the basics) is 500 Crochet Blocks by Hannah Elgie and Kath Eastoe. It is fantastic if you want a bit of a challenge or to try something new. It features so many stitches that I would love to put together a patchwork blanket of all of them!

I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions I'll try to answer them.

Betty xXx

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Crochet Baby Gift Set

A while ago I made a little crochet gift set for a baby boy. I decided to put together three pieces that would be perfect for a newborn to give as a gift at the baby shower or when they arrive home. I decided on a hat, a pair of dungarees and a teddy bear rattle (which I've already blogged about here).

I made the hat a while ago and honestly cannot remember where the pattern is from! I probably typed in 'newborn crochet hat' and searched the images. It was super easy to make and the pattern gave various sizes from newborn to adult (I think). If I find the pattern I will link it here.

As mentioned previously I have already blogged about the teddy rattle I made so check out that post for more information. I'm not sure if I said it then but I am planning to make it a bit smaller as it came out quite big, especially for a baby! So I've bought some cotton DK (as opposed to aran) and will let you know how I get on.

Moving onto the main item: Dungarees. I love babies in dungarees, I think they look adorable so after finding a suitable pattern (link here) which was harder than you think, they were super easy to make. I went with a fairly neutral colour so a baby girl could wear these too and I used New Fashion DK in Glacia. The pattern shows a pocket on the front but I thought to add a bit of character I would add some applique in the shape of a teddy bear (although he looks a bit glum!) which also tied in nicely with the rattle. This pattern was from OneTwo Company (the same as the rattle) and again was super easy to follow and you only need a small amount of yarn so great for using up left overs. I finished it off with some random cream buttons along the crotch area and to fasten the straps.

I'm now thinking of doing a girl set with a cute dress, shoes and a teddy rattle. Check back to see my progress!

What are your favourite crochet items for a newborn?

Betty xXx

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful #2

This week has been slightly manic and chaotic as we are still in progress with home improvements. The kitchen is now completed and I'm so happy with it! There will be a post coming soon with before and after pictures. We are now taking up all the flooring as we are having carpet fitted tomorrow (eek!) so the flat looks like a building site and everything is all over the place :( However I've tried to find the positives in life this week's 5 reasons to be cheerful are:

1.  Learning new things: I've been wanting to give my blog a bit of a make over for a while as it looks pretty basic. I don't want massive changes or anything fancy but every time I look for premade blog templates they are either really expensive, especially for a custom made one, or I just don't like the design. So I've decides to try it myself! I've installed some new social media icons - all by myself! and will be looking to design and install a new header/banner soon! I love it when I learn a new skill and I know it's really easy for some but html coding is hard to get to grips with!!

2. Cooking: Now that we have the kitchen back in use I've really enjoyed being able to cook dinner again! Although we've not had anything too crazy it's been lovely to have a sparkly new environment to cook in, something I find really relaxing. I'm thinking about making some bread this weekend so I'll let you know how I get on with that.

3. Home: As mentioned already the flat is a bit of a tip at the moment and it's made me appreciate our little home that we've made together. It's nearly a whole year since we moved in and I think we've made it pretty cosy. I'm looking forward to having everything done and back in it's place so we can enjoy our surroundings.

4. Toby Bear: Poor Toby has been terrified by all the works going on and I hate to see him so upset. He is a rescue cat and from what we know he was locked in a room for probably the first couple of years of his life with his brother so was extremely nervous when we first adopted him. It took him a while to settle and get used to his new home (it took him two weeks to come out of hiding) but I love to see him happy and content. These past couple of weeks have made him really edgy again so there has been lots of fussing of an evening.

5. Life: With the sad news that Peaches Geldof had passed away at the young age of 25 it makes you realise that life is very short and we need to cherish each day. Sometimes the mundane-ness of life can consume us but I feel it is important to remember that life is about living: do things that make you happy, be yourself and don't care what anyone else thinks of you.

Betty xXx

Friday, 4 April 2014

A Day Off

I had a day off from work thisWednesday which was mainly to focus on the new kitchen, i.e. painting it and tidying the flat up to try and get some order back in our lives. Here's how my day went:


I started the day with a healthy bowl of watermelon and a (Munch Bunch) yoghurt - a lot healthier than I usually would have on a day off. I love toast or a cooked breakfast but decided to keep it simple as we had a busy day ahead.

We then headed down to Homebase to pick up the paint and tiles for the kitchen. We I chose a lovely pale duck egg blue with cream 'underground' tiles which will hopefully look lovely together. After buying all the equipment(?) we got to work; Neil tackling the hallway whilst I concentrated on the kitchen. It didn't take long to do the first coat so we decided to take a little break while it dried.


We headed down the road to a small cafe we used to go to quite a lot in our younger days. On the way there were some lovely flowers which I couldn't bypass without snapping a photo! Who ever maintains this beautiful section does an amazing job. On arriving at the cafe we ordered some pannini's (at a very reasonable price). The food is always delicious and is served very quickly.

We took a stroll back through the park where there were some more lovely flowers in bloom. The skyline was so hazy with this unusual 'Saharan dust/fog' London has been experiencing. Of course we had to stop off at the shop on the way home to pick up a cold drink and an egg or two!

Back to paining and I ended up doing three coats in total! The kitchen walls were quite yellow and stained (eeww!) where the old cupboards were covering the walls.  Once we had finished it was a mammoth tidy up session and then onto making dinner.


The meal was a complete flop (for me; Neil loved it). I made gnocci with roasted beetroot, broccoli, red pepers and wilted spinach. I just didn't like the combination of flavours and mine ended up in the bin! We spent the evening plonked on the sofa watching a Louis Theroux documentary with some chocolate a cuppa tea and the cat.

Not the most exciting day but it was nice not to be at work and have some time together.

Hope you're all having a lovely week.

Betty xXx 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful...1, 2, 3

I've seen a couple of blogs such as Rosie from Cider with Rosie  and Kate from gh0stparties feature 10 reasons to be happy each week. I think this is a lovely idea as it helps one to remember that even though the week may have been crappy, there are still reasons to be happy and thankful. Sometimes we all go through a spell of feeling down or that things aren't going our way but there is always something that can make us feel happy and despite how small that may be, I believe it is important to remember this.

I think 10 might be a bit ambitious for me; it's not that 10 happy things might not occur but more that I won't remember them! So I'm going to start of with 5 happy/thankful things a week :)

1. My Parents: They have been so helpful this week, especially my dad helping with the kitchen. He has waited in for it to be delivered as well as the appliances and has helped take apart the kitchen too!

2. Having an amazing husband: He has been working so hard to get our kitchen prepared for the new one this weekend..eeek!

3. Being creative: It really is my release at the moment and I look forward to working on a little bit of crochet each evening

4. Bloglovin: I signed up to it a while ago and didn't really go on it until this week. I love the layout and how easy it is to read posts, like and follow other people. I have actually reached 20 followers on there! I know its not a great deal but it's 20 more people that have visited my corner of the internet than last week and it did bring a little smile to my face :)

5.  Sleep: There has been a significant lack of sleep this week what with the clocks going forward and our new kitchen being installed so any chance I've had to have a nap or a proper nights sleep has been most welcome!

Betty xXx

Monday, 31 March 2014

Weekly Round Up

This week has mainly consisted of food and eating out, primarily due to not having a working kitchen as we are getting ours re-done. This weekend has been slightly stressful and there has been a massive lack of sleep due to the clocks going forward, but there is end in sight and I'll be showing you our new kitchen soon!

I'll start with the food. We were being slightly lazy but having all your food (and there was a lack of it) in another room, cooking up all the frozen food and then no fridge for the week we decided to eat out a couple of times.  We went to Pizza Express on Wednesday as I had a discount voucher and had a yummy pizza with beetroot, goats cheese and rocket. I have noticed that they have reduced the amount of classic pizza's most of the better choices are in the 'Romano' section (the really thin, really big pizza's) that also cost more.

 We couldn't resist desert!

By Thursday I had just given up all attempts to cook for myself so I stopped off after work to pick up a Chinese takeaway :) I always go for plain chow main with vegetables and black bean sauce.

Sunday was Mother's Day in the UK and I went with my parents to Canterbury for the day; it was lovely! We had a good look around the shops (I may have purchased a Bobbi Brown foundation...oopps!) and then meandered off down the back roads to look at the old houses and buildings.

We stopped at this little church to smell these beautiful flowers. We thought they might be Lily of the Valley but decided they didn't smell strong enough. Any ideas? 

Of course I had to take a look in the Cath Kidston store and lust after all the products in there! I love how all the stores have vintage items or furniture to give you ideas. I fell in love with this picture on the wall but I don't think it was for sale, so now I'm on a mission to hunt it down!!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and if you're a mummy I hope you had a relaxing day getting spoilt rotten!

Betty xXx