Learning to sew

 

It started back at Christmas, ‘Mum can I have a sewing machine please?’ but with one thing and another we just couldn’t add it to the already bursting gift list so, it rolled over to her birthday and for a very long time now Alice has been quietly reminding me, ‘I’d really love a sewing machine mum for my birthday.’ So I thought, why not?

When a child expresses such a deep desire, and we all know they can fizzle out from one moment to the next, maybe we should jump on that train and see where it takes them?

A recent trip to Hobbycraft sealed the request because as we walked into the store we were greeted by a wall of colourful sewing machines, from incy wincy ones right through to professional models. Alice spotted one and fell in love.

Pink. That was all it took.

For once, I was really excited about giving the girls their birthday gifts this year. They have never been huge on lists or knowing what they wanted (unless it is a mobile phone which is still a no) but this year Alice had requested and we had listened.

Watching her open her gift and seeing the joy on her face was a moment I shall remember forever. How could my little girl want a sewing machine?

Along with her sewing machine for kids, I had also wrapped up a Sewing for Beginners book and some fat quarters to get her started.

sewing machine for kids

 

She was itching to begin but life, being what it is, got in the way. It wasn’t until almost a week after her birthday that we finally got the box open and Alice started to sew.

I started her off with some pieces of felt and guided her to use the machine, running different sized stitches up and down, getting used to how the machine works, threading the needle, catching the bobbin underneath and sewing backwards and forwards.

I could see she wanted to move on to making something so we worked out how to make a bag and off she went again. We saw our mistakes and learnt from them and I have a feeling everyone in the family may be receiving handmade gifts this Christmas.

This is an ongoing project and one I know I will have to find the time to be hands on with to help her but I shall find the time, as I know how much this means to her and when your child finds a passion I think you should do everything to make sure it stays alive – move over Coco Chanel, there’s a new lady on the block…

Disclosure: I approached Hobbycraft asking them if they would like to work with me on Alice’s wish list. They sent the beautiful PINK sewing machine pictured in return for this review. All words and thoughts are my own and I want to thank them for making Alice’s dream come true. You can buy one too from around £50

beach house interiors

We just cannot get enough of our beach house at Birchington Vale and due to a busy social schedule (the twins – not ours!), we haven’t been down for a couple of weekends. So we are really looking forward to getting down there on Saturday – after the girl’s sleepover that is!

You know that feeling you get when you are in your favourite place? The world seems at peace so you sit back and relax? That is how our home at the beach makes me feel. We love it so much I could move down to Thanet in a click of my fingers but of course real life butts in and it’s just not possible. Paul would have a 2 hour commute each way, the girls would have to change school and with year 5 looming it’s just not a good idea to move them right now.

So, what’s the next best thing? Well, bring the beach house home!

twins on beach

 

very excited to be part of the Wayfair home experts team, I have collaborated on numerous occasions in the past, like my ‘Shelfie’ post, where I concentrated on wall art in the bedroom. I also created a recipe for them, a classic beef stew which, come the autumn, I shall be putting back on the weekly menu.

Now I am a Home Expert, I will have the opportunity to work on exciting projects with them and I embraced my first challenge, the Blogger’s Picks, with a lot of enthusiasm.

I was asked to go on the Wayfair website and choose six favourite pieces to create a theme. I chose Go Coastal and the above image is my final choice which I put forward.

Wayfair Home expert badge

Beach house interiors

Bar table and stools  

The thing I love most about the summer is the impromptu visits, the barbecues, the drinks, the easy chat in the summer warmth, this bar table and stools is perfect as it is casual but elegant at the same time and can be turned into a dinner table too. should the situation arise.

Kashmir table lamp

I like to create an ambience that shouts out, locally sourced, beach life and rustic. This Kashmir table lamp ticks those boxes in a quiet and understated way.

Ship’s Wheel Wall Decor 

Fun, fun, fun! Why not add a bit of retro to the room and keeping in with the beach theme too. This ship’s wheel decor is most definitely an eye catcher.

Vienne vase 

Pure, classic, simple and beautiful in its own way. I might be tempted to drop shells, driftwood and beach mementoes into my Vienne vase in it as time goes by …

Glass mosaic place mats 

My colours. I can’t stop looking at them and wouldn’t these mosiac place mats work perfectly as an impromptu dinner mat or even a centre table for dips and snacks? LOVE.

Reclaimed wall mirror 

I love reclaimed articles and this wall mirror is a perfect example. It shows great workmanship, it is functional and it has that ‘Im rich but not a show off’ attitude about it. Beautiful.

 

So there you have it, my first challenge completed and I am really pleased with my choices. what do you think? Are you inspired by your environment when decorating the home?

Margate street art

I love Hello Canvas and when I saw the effects of their latest ideas for displaying family photos, I had to purposely go out and take a great image, the perfect image for an HD Metal frame.

Luckily for me our time spent in Thanet allows for the discovery of a lot of artwork, the Turner Contemporary is a huge favourite of mine – I popped into the latest exhibition this weekend – Every day is a new day and was wowed by the sculptures and paintings. I also love to stroll the streets of Margate, I always find some street art or quirky detail that surprises and delights me. It was in fact, on parking the car that I spotted the mural above and asked dad and the kids to stand in front for a photo opportunity.

I also took a photo of the mural with nobody in it and that is the one I decided on to place on HD metal.

When the artwork came through I was so excited to see how well it turned out. I knew it would work wonderfully in the girl’s bedroom in our new holiday home and couldn’t wait to put it up.

What is HD metal?

HD metal wall art

HD metal is a thin aluminium plate with a coating on top. Your image is applied onto it and the results are sharp, strong, eye-catching quality that really gives images a wow factor that I have not seen before. HD metal is scratch resistant and waterproof – they say it can be used outside but I’m keeping mine inside.

I went for the high gloss version but there is a matt version available too.

The finished product is incredibly light – I hung mine with Command velcro stickers. It is strong and the colours are intense. It comes with a frame on the back which keeps it off the wall giving the impression of depth.

 

The only problem I had with my new wall art was taking a photo of it, you see the high gloss finish reflects the light, so with the window behind me, I kept seeing my silouhette reflected in the picture. Not good when you want to take a serious photo!

I went for something bright and quirky but I imagine black and white would work extremely well too.

I’m really pleased our little holiday home is starting to look more and more like a home these days and a place where we all like to go to and spend some quality time together. Watch out for our Thanet Uncovered posts to find out where we go and what we get up to.

Disclosure: Hello Canvas gifted me this artwork in return for this blog post. All opinions are my own.

washing on line

Ecoegg. Have you heard of it yet? I hadn’t before being approached by them asking me if I’d like to review their product. I read the email, checked out the website and was curious, very curious indeed.

Ecoegg is so simple and is such a clever design that if it does what it says it does, it will change the way we wash clothes forever.

The fact is current laundry detergents that we use, are packed with harsh chemicals that frequently have adverse effects on our skin and our environment. However, this doesn’t mean that we just have to use them and get on with it. We now have a choice, a very good choice too.

Ecoegg is set to revolutionise our laundry habits. The Egg contains two types of pellets, mineral pellets and tourmaline pellets which work together to clean clothes. The idea is you fill up your washing machine with either a white or a coloured wash and then you add the appropriate egg (white wash or coloured wash) and switch on the machine. You can add softener if you wish but I haven’t tried that yet.

Ecoegg

Ecoegg – how does it work?

Before I started to use my Ecoegg I did one wash on 90C on the longest programme with the Ultimate Detox Tablet. I am hoping this cleared a lot of the residue that tends to collect in the tubes and places we can’t see. Giving the washing machine a good clean every now and then is a habit we should all get into.

I filled up my sparkling washing machine drum with my whites and popped the Ecoegg on the top, I chose a 50C programme and pressed start.

On taking the clothes out of the machine, they all looked clean but there was no heavy scent that usually accompanies my washes.

I hung it all out to dry on the line and later on, ironed it all. There were a few chocolate marks on one of the twins t shirts that hadn’t been washed so I made a mental note to use their stain remover next time.

Whilst ironing the clothes I noticed they didn’t give off the smell I am so used to and I think going forward I may add a bit of conditioner. I also noticed the towels came out clean but ‘rough’ so another reason to use some conditioner.

I repeated the process with my dark wash and was equally pleased with the results.

I can’t fault the wash. It worked. Our clothes came out clean and fresh, ironed well and you wouldn’t know I had changed product apart from the strong perfume missing.

Why choose Ecoegg?

The first thing you will notice is that by investing in one kit you get 864 washes. That is worth 4 years of laundry and it works out at about 3p per wash.

In the kit you will find two holders for the eggs as they have to be dried out after each wash to ensure top quality. These holders also have a counter on them which makes it easy to record how many times you have used it because after a certain amount of washes you then replace your white mineral pellets with a new batch.

 

If you are curious too, then you can get a great deal on QVC today 29th August (Bank Holiday Monday) as Ecoegg will be the TSV (Todays Special Value) a bundle of the Ecoegg products will be promoted on the channel at the special price of £17.97

Just in case you still need convincing, Ecoegg won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation and they now have around 20 environmentally friendly household products.

Ecoegg

Disclosure: I was sent this product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

 

Aldi kitchen gadgetsHow many times have you remarked at a friend’s house, ‘What a lovely ….’ only to hear them say, very pleased with themselves, ‘It’s from Aldi Special Buys, only £x and just what I was looking for.’

And you know that if you go into Aldi that very same day they will have run out of that fabulous product?

How many times?

It happens to me all the time and I love our local Aldi. I also love their special buys that can be absolutely anything on the market, from thermal ski socks to garden solar lights, anything. My grandmother is a huge fan too and is a lot quicker off the mark than me, she swears by the milk frother she bought and of course no one else in the family has managed to get one.

For that very reason readers I am giving you an Aldi Special Buys head’s up way in advance but do not sit on your laurels because we all know these products are going to fly off the shelves the minute shoppers see them.

Aldi knives and toaster

This time I can boast of being very fortunate as Aldi have sent some products from their latest range of kitchen gadgets to review and to spread the word so you guys don’t miss out. (Don’t say I never do anything for you!)

Please admire my fabulous kettle and toaster, made by the brand, Russell Hobbs. A lovely red colour that adds a punch of energy to our kitchen in our ‘new-to-us’ static caravan we have recently purchased at Birchington in Thanet – that’s a whole separate post to follow!

We ventured down on Friday, my birthday, as we were planning to eat a celebration meal at Minnis Bay and we wanted to use the occasion to take our 4 bikes down, something we can only do when the girls aren’t with us as we need to put the back seats down.

man in a box

Whilst husband busied himself with bikes and garden storage boxes, I unpacked my new shiny kitchen products and put them in their places, I felt very pleased with them.

Both the kettle and the toaster can be bought for only £14.99 which is gobsmacking amazing value for electrical goods.

Aldi had been kind enough to add a few extras for me to show you, like the set of kitchen knives (£7.99) these stackable storage canisters (£5.99) and a lovely set of tea towels, of which you can never have too many right? (£3.49)

Aldi kettle

I have been shown their press release which includes a Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew coffee machine for only £69.99 and a Russell Hobbs microwave for only £44.99.

There is a wonderful range of products and each piece is priced at a very reasonable, unmissable price but as you all know …

when it’s gone it’s gone!

So be warned this Special Buys sale is available in store from 5th May – that’s this Thursday, put a note on your calendar ;)