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Latest Purchases #90 – Dotcomgiftshop

Happy Saturday! Ian is working today so I snuck back to bed this morning with brioche and tea to read a few chapters of my new book and plan to spend the day baking, blogging, pottering and doing a little bit of marking.

A little while ago, I made another order at Dotcomgiftshop (which does the most amazing sales!) Here are a few things I picked up…

First up a fun new print for the kitchen. I like the retro style of this picture and of course the celebration of all things pudding! I was going to ask Ian to hang it this weekend but after almost falling out hanging some other prints midweek I think I may need to butter him up first!


I have phases where I find cross stitching really relaxing to do as I watch TV (it stops me constantly checking my phone too!) and this ‘Home Sweet Home’ print is a very sweet project to have lined up.


This metal sign made me giggle. I plan on hanging this in our utility room by the washing machine when we finally decorate it.


I really like this next item – a pastel green herb house. I saw a similar style in IKEA recently and almost bought it but thought this was a little more unique. It comes with six plant pots with blackboard-painted signs for you to add the name of your herbs on. We always have fresh herbs on the go so this will be a lovely way to grow and display them.

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I can never have too many notebooks and this pretty pink and gold design is a happy addition to the collection.


I also picked up this pencil box to try and keep my desk tidier at work.


I love making my baking efforts look a little bit better by using pretty cupcake cases.


I had to bin my old flask recently as it was leaking so this is a good replacement…perfect for filling with hot chocolate when we go on an autumnal country walk!


We always need tea towels and I thought these apples and pears designs looked very Orla Kiely-esque.


Clearly influenced by the same designer, I bought a new jar for storing our teabags.




Despite Ian telling me we don’t need any more tins, I couldn’t resist these pretty ones and they all fit inside the big one so they aren’t taking up too much room!

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Some washi tape in pretty gingham designs.


Some metal candle holders that I plan on hanging in the garden next summer.


Finally, my most middle-aged purchase (which I am secretly really excited about) is this little gardening set as my knees really hurt when I have to kneel down to dig and plant stuff!


How To…Make Mini Washi Tape Flags

I spent all of yesterday afternoon outside indulging in a spot of gardening. I had collected quite a few packets of herb seeds so decided to get them in some soil ready for salads and cocktails in the summer.


Whilst I do use dried herbs in my cooking, there is no substitute for fresh herbs and rather than continue to buy the fresh pots at the supermarket which last about a week, I decided to create my own little collection. I already have two healthy parsley plants on the go and yesterday I planted thyme, basil, mint and coriander seeds in various planters.

First up was a lovely wooden herb planter I picked up last week that contained everything you need to grow basil and thyme. I also got one of these for my friend Hannah’s birthday a few weeks ago. I have to admit that I have a really bad habit when buying presents for people where I also pick up one for myself too! I think this shows that I have good taste in presents and I buy my friends something that I would use too but it can get expensive!


This planter set was really simple to use and I think these ready-to-go sets are great for those who don’t have a lot of room at home to garden or the less confident gardener.


Armed with my trusty Cath Kidston gardening gloves and a cup of tea, I planted these seeds, watered them and then set them up on my kitchen windowsill in the sunlight. (Excuse the hideous windowsill picture…we are mid-tiling!)

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Next up was mint. As this is a very invasive plant, I wanted to keep this in a planter on its own so it wouldn’t be able to spread or take over any other nearby plants. I popped the mint seeds into some freshly packed compost and placed it in a shady spot in the garden.

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Then I planted up my coriander seeds (which smelt lovely and lemony)…


…and some more basil as we can get through lots of this in salads.


So that was all the hard work completed and I will do a post in a few weeks to see how these seeds have got on and some recipes that I use these different herbs in…maybe I’ll have a ‘Herb Week’ on the blog – wait and see!


I was left with several pots but no labels to tell which was which. I know it is fairly obvious to see once the herbs start growing but I decided to attempt a little DIY craft session to make my own planter flags.


These are so easy to make and could also be used in cocktails or as cake/ cupcake toppers too.

If you haven’t come across washi tape before, it is Japanese fabric tape which can be used for almost anything. Just Google it or have a look on Pinterest and you will see lots of cool ways to use it (my favourite is the Washi Tape Bicycle!) but it is also great for present wrapping with plain brown parcel paper.


I got these from ebay for about £1 each and I had to be very restrained only buying three rolls as the patterns are all so pretty!

To make these flags, you will need:


  • Washi tape
  • Scissors
  • Cocktails sticks
  • A pen

Cut the washi tape to size and peel off the backing paper (excuse my grubby fingers and the soil still under my nails!)


Place a cocktails stick in the middle of the tape


Fold it across as evenly as you can


Write on your message/ herb and then cut a small triangle out of one end to make them look super cute!


And here they are in action…no herbal confusion in this house now…I just need to keep my fingers crossed that these all start growing!herb14 herb15 herb8 herb9 herb11

These are also on my kitchen windowsill now and loved the sunshine we had today!


A Perfect and Personalised Wedding Present

I didn’t have time to post yesterday as we had Ian’s parents staying with us for a few days to lay our bathroom floor. It looks lovely so as soon as I have added some finishing touches I can show you a ‘Before and After’ of our bathroom. Another room ticked off the to-do list too!

Today’s post is rather well-timed as it is coming up to that time of year where your friends and family start getting hitched! Two of our best friends got married last summer and we searched all over the place for a gift that would be really personal. On a posh wedding gift website I saw some map photographs and decided I would be able to make my own version for much less and I would probably enjoy doing it too!


This is ideal for a wedding gift but I would also love to receive this as a housewarming, anniversary or birthday present too.

All you need to make this lovely gift is:


  • A pretty frame with at least two windows in it
  • A map
  • Scissors
  • A pencil

I found this lovely frame in Sainsbury’s and I liked how it looked slightly vintage.


You need to think of some places that are significant to the recipients of your gift. For my friends, we chose the place they met, where they live now and the village they were getting married in. It also helped that these three places were quite far apart from each other on the map so I didn’t have any overlap!

Using the pencil, mark out where you think the frame would look best


And then cut them out – don’t worry if they are creased like mine were because they will be pressed flat again in the frame.


Make sure you rub out any visible pencil lines


Pop the map pictures back in the frame and there you have it…


A really meaningful and personal piece of art for your friends, all done for less than a tenner.

(I know my friends won’t mind me putting the cost as we also got them some other lovely stuff!)

Floral Bunting

I have to start this post by wishing my lovely Mum a very Happy Mother’s Day – Ruthie, you’re the best!

mum and me

I hope you have had a great weekend and managed to relax a bit! Last week felt really hectic for me, especially as World Book Day meant I had to spend the day dressed as a witch, complete with a long black wig and hat which gave me a horrendous headache for most of Thursday evening…ahhhh, the life of a teacher!

We headed to the Midlands for a second weekend, this time to see Ian’s parents, which meant time with my favourite pup, George.


Isn’t he gorgeous?!



Whilst there, I managed to fit in a quick trip to the shops where I treated myself to lots of new make-up and beauty buys which I plan on testing out and will then share any really good products on here.

The weather was cold and crisp on Saturday but we wrapped up and took a long walk in the country.


This afternoon has mainly been taken up by writing my class’ reports (they are all done now *smug smile*) but I did find a moment to put up my new floral bunting.


Well, I say ‘new’. I have actually had this lovely floral bunting for ages but I packed it away until our dining room was decorated then forgot about it! Luckily I found it again this week so wasted no time in getting it up!


I bought this from The Works for a couple of pounds. The bunting itself is made of cardboard which I wasn’t too sure about but I love the designs on them so much I had to give them a try.


I have hung them in the dining room so I am hoping the steam from the kitchen next door won’t cause them to curl up or anything!


I know bunting isn’t exactly a new trend but it’s one that I still absolutely love. I adore the vintage twist it gives a room and it is a way of introducing some lovely colours and designs in a very subtle way.

In other news, with Easter getting closer I decided to start another one of my favourite craft projects – a Sequin Easter Egg. Here is the link to the pale green one I did last year if you wanted to try it for yourself.



You may have clicked on this post not quite sure of what you were going to find and I have to admit that I was completely unaware of the existence of ‘scrubbies’ until I received four of them from Ian’s Mum.


These lovely, hand-knitted squares can be used as cleaning cloths but seeing as they are so pretty and soft I am using them as face cloths.

You may remember me writing about my conversion from face wipes to Liz Earle’s Cream Cleanser and these scrubbies are perfect for using with this product. When I was sent this cleanser to sample, the kit did include 2 muslin cloths but I found this wasn’t quite enough as I liked to wash them daily.

As you can see I have a stag pattern:


A heart:


A letter ‘H’:


 And a cool stripy one:


If you are particularly crafty, you can find a plethora of knitting patterns for these scrubbies online and you can play around with different wool colours too.

I for one am very glad it’s Friday. Ian and I are off for a catch up over a few drinks and a roaring fire at the pub then we are going to Birmingham tomorrow for a weekend with friends, including a trip to the Balti Triangle! Yum! xxx

Latest Purchases #22 – Letter Stamp Set

Today started off quite rubbish for me. I had an early dentist appointment to get my first ever filling as an adult, which left me numb and a bit achy for the rest of the morning. However, I have just been paid and as usual had earmarked a few items to buy and they are now on their way to me, which definitely helped cheer me up!

Another item which arrived recently was this gorgeous Letter Stamp Set.

Over Christmas, I noticed a distinct lack of nice present tags to match my wrapping paper. I always mean to get really crafty and creative and make my own ones but life kind of gets in the way, especially at that time of year, and I just ran out of time so had to make do with some shop-bought ones and some of my neatest writing straight onto the paper!

Along with the usual Christmas and Birthday packages, I send quite a few letters and packages to friends throughout the year (Collette – I posted one to you this week!) and I really wanted a quick and easy way to address them so people would know they were from me. I think we get enough boring bills and junk mail through the letterbox so I was looking for a way to inject some fun into my packaging that showed some thought had gone into it.

When I spotted this cute box online, I fell in love with it.


It arrived this week and I was so excited to open the handcrafted wooden box to see its contents.


As you can see, there are a set of upper and lower case letters, some basic punctuation and a set of numbers.



Each of the rubber stamps are on thin wooden blocks with the letter, number or symbol printed on the other end too.


The 3 sets are also separated within the box so you won’t get them muddled up…ahhh the fun to be had spelling out rude words!


I ordered an ink pad in black to test the quality of it and now both the stamps and ink pad have arrived and I am really happy with both of them, I have gone back and ordered some more colours.


Here is my first attempt…a bit wobbly but I quite like that effect!


And here is how I can see myself using it for tags and presents:


I bought this on ebay for just £7.99. Here is a link and I also bought the ink pads from the same seller for just over £1 each.

How to…Frame It

I have been having somewhat of a mini spring clean lately, clearing out clothes that I no longer wear, burnt out candles, old make-up and a variety of other junk.

I now feel that the things I have held onto should have their own place. That isn’t to say I want everything to match or be of a particular colour scheme, but I want the things in my home to look they belong and more importantly I want to like them too!

Annoyingly, I forgot to take a decent ‘before’ shot of the photo frame I have upcycled when it was on my window sill, but if you squint you can just about see it in the background of this shot!IMG_4206

I bought this plain brown wooden frame from Ikea years ago and it has been sat on the window sill in my living room since we moved. We also had it in the living room area of our old flat but there we had lots of pale wooden accessories so it blended in a bit better.

I think I kept it up because I just love the picture. It is of me and my two best friends on a night out at uni. However, every time I looked at it recently I thought it looked tired and a bit of a boring accessory so I decided to give it a revamp!


Bring on the vintage wallpaper…I pick these sample sheets up from free online sample sites and sometimes at vintage fairs and in charity shops. Some home shops even have a bargain bin where you can pick up offcuts of different designs too. I like to pick up any designs that have a vintage, floral look to them and I keep a drawer full for little projects like this one.


I used wallpaper because the paper is slightly thicker and more textured than wrapping paper, but I imagine you could use your favourite wrapping paper on a small frame too.


Here is what you will need to make your own Vintage Wallpaper Photo Frame:


  • An old photo frame with a flat outer frame
  • Some beautiful wallpaper
  • A sharp pencil
  • Scissors
  • A craft knife
  • A wooden board
  • PVA glue
  • A small brush

And here’s how you do it:

1)      Begin by drawing around the outer edge of the frame onto the back of the wallpaper. I gave mine a few millimetres extra either side to allow for any cutting errors!IMG_4517

2)      Cut this rectangle outIMG_4518

3)      Now remove the inside photo and glass from the photo frame and draw around the inner edge of the frameIMG_4519

4)      Using a craft knife and your wooden board, score along these lines. It is helpful to use a straight edge when doing this such as a metal ruler or another piece of wood. I wouldn’t recommend doing this with scissors as you will bend the paperIMG_4521

5)      You should now have your paper frame coverIMG_4524

6)      Paint on a light layer of glue on the face of your wooden photo frameIMG_4525

7)      Very carefully, press on your paper cover, ensuring it is placed on evenlyIMG_4526

8)      Turn the frame over, press down firmly and then place some heavy books on top to allow it to dry and set


9)      Put the glass and a photo of your choice back inside et voila! You have a new and completely individual photo frame.frame4

I love the vintage look this gives and it only cost me a few pence to do!


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