Sunday, 19 March 2017

I go all posh

Sandwiches piled high,
a cacophony of teas,
cakes and buns galore

This week's 'thing' was afternoon tea. As it is mum's birthday (Today actually - happy birthday mum!) I decided to go all out and book afternoon tea and a spa evening at the Headland Hotel.

I've known about the Headland Hotel since before I lived in Newquay, thanks to The Witches, yet I have never been there in the entire twenty two and a half years I have lived here. I think it's one of those things. Always seemed beyond my reach; somewhere that isn't for people on my pay grade.

This cemented that thought. Look at the bathroom! That's better d├ęcor than the average house.

The staff could not have been friendlier. I suppose that is their job. I've always envisaged a certain snootiness though; the nascent ability to detect whether someone is a lower class than their normal clientele. I was totally wrong though.

Afternoon tea is £18.50 per person. You choose from a selection of teas (we went for the traditional breakfast blend) and get two gigantic pots. One full of tea, one to replenish. The tea stand is three tiers; scones with cream and jam on the bottom, finger sandwiches in the middle and desserts on the top. Let's go tier by tier shall we?

The scones were a little bit dry, perhaps because they were rather large. My mum's cheese scones are still the ones to beat. The sandwiches were egg mayonnaise, cucumber, and salmon. Didn't try the salmon as I don't like it but the cucumber ones were surprisingly nice, and this is coming from someone who doesn't ordinarily like cucumber. There were plenty of desserts on the top. The best was the simplest; marshmallow rolled in sherbet and topped with a raspberry. There was also a cake that looked more like a millionaire shortbread, a lemon tart, two mini eclairs and a pot of vanilla panna cotta. I was hoping for some macaroons, but I've never tried panna cotta before, so at least I tried one new dessert. Loved the marshmallow though!

After this we did the Girl's Night In package, which is £69 a person for a minimum of three people. It gives you access to the leisure facilities (no hot tub unfortunately as it was broken :( but there is a swimming pool with bubble seats, an aromatherapy shower, and two steam rooms) a dressing gown and flip flops to use, a treatment (we all had facials) and use of their VIP room, with bubbly and nibbles while you watch a film. It was a fun evening - though I would suggest they extend their repertoire of films. I know it was a girls night but not all women like chick flicks. The nibbles were nice; brownies, strawberries, veg and houmous, crisps and popcorn. The facial was lovely. I don't think I have ever had that many products on my face! The scalp massage was a nice added touch. It did make me wonder what a full facial entails when ours was a mini one.

Overall I am glad I did this, but unsure I would do it again. That being said, I am going to two spas in September, but one is a reading spa (more on that in September) and the other is the Thermae Bath Spa - no treatment just relaxing in some naturally heated spring water.

I've started a new stitch, as well as planning another one. I know I've got a few more in my stash, but I spotted a design that would be perfect as a present, so that's next on my list.

Can you tell what I am doing?

I've also made a tag this week.

I started off by covering a tag with paper from my stash, using distress crayons to edge it. I then die cut a cityscape and a globe from black card. I die cut some clouds and edged them with grey distress crayons, and die cut a moon and star, painting them with gold and using stickles. On the globe I glued some thread and put some enamel drops at certain points to look like destinations on a journey. I stamped a Tim Holtz sentiment, stencilling the background. Finally I die cut a ship, using distress crayons to colour it, and attached it to the globe.

All the dies were docrafts ones, from one of their build a scene dies. I got a summer bundle from Docrafts and it had three of these in. They are well worth the money, purely for the amount of dies you get. Very versatile.

The Works has just opened in Newquay! So expect a few more altered boxes now I don't have to travel far to buy them.

Till next time

Saturday, 11 March 2017

To really listen

Post two! I've been a bit busy this week...

First of all is another card. I started off by embossing a tag, gluing on a wooden flourish and a prima heart, then spraying it with Lindy's sprays. I was stuck with what to do then so I decided to incorporate it into a card. I stuck it on vintage paper, then die cut gears painted with copper paint, spring greenery inked with peeled paint distress ink, and flowers inked with Victorian velvet distress ink. I used a stickle in the centre of each flower, then die cut the word mum before assembling the card.

I've also been making some bracelets. Some of them were simple beaded strings, others were weaved in a pattern. I used crimp beads for the ends. (Love crimp beads, but I need some things for corded ends because I have a lot of cords in my stash)

I finished a cross stitch piece! This one is going to be a gift for someone. I've already started setting up my next one.

Headphones cover ears,
drums vibrate with spoken words
that weave a story

This week's challenge was to listen to an audiobook. I've read a lot of books but, aside from the free tapes that came with Roland Rat and Werebear toys, I've never listened to one. Until now that is. I got my chosen one from the library, costing £2 for three weeks. (Another reason why I prefer written to audio - imagine having to pay £2 for each book I rented? I'd be broke!) I settled on Brainchild by John Saul.

There were 10 discs, with about 11 hours of recording. Judging by the first two discs, I would have easily read that book and started the next by the time it had taken me to listen to the first two CD's. The narrator was American, male. His voice for the female characters was vapid, irritating me. It's one of the few times that I was glad women didn't make much of an appearance in a book. Occasionally the flow was wrong too; odd pauses in a sentence. Not the way I would have read it at all. The other problem was that the CD's were broken into tracks, and when one ended the next one didn't automatically begin, so there were numerous patches of dead air.

The story itself was a weird mishmash of entitled teenagers, science fiction, an old grudge/curse or two; of which one reason for what has happened in the narrative was a little pathetic to be honest. Not what I expected from the blurb on the back at all. There was a plothole that wasn't resolved, and a tacked on ending to potentially add a sequel. To give the writer his due, it was published in 1985, when that kind of horror pulp-fiction was very popular. It just wasn't my cup of tea, and neither was listening to a book. I like books to go at my own pace, which is a lot faster than an audiobook. Unfortunately if I sped it up to my natural speed, I'd be listening to the Chipmunks! I think the only thing that will change my mind is if I find the perfect narrator.

Till next time

Trying a challenge

Two posts today - this will be a short one, as I'm entering this card in the Countryview crafts March challenge which is inspired by Tim Holtz. Relatively easy when I have so much of his stuff! Anyway, here is the card.

I started off by cutting out a piece of white card, and inking it with Distress Inks, before using a harlequin thinlit die (one of the mixed media sets). I backed it onto purple card, then cut out a sentiment in purple card, and black card. Finally I sprayed a piece of card with Lindy's sprays, then used Tim's butterfly frenzy die to die cut a load of butterflies.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

oompa loompa doopity do......

I've been making jewellery this week, using things from the new Beadhaul box, as well as some shrink plastic and things from my rather extensive stash. I'll go through them one at a time.

Hook earrings made using items from the latest box, plus gold beads and hook earrings from my stash.

A bird necklace. I managed to bag the first beadhaul box on ebay, which I was happy about as I missed it initially. This necklace uses a few beads from the latest box too, plus some chain fragments.

A shrink plastic bracelet. I stamped the jars, then chose some stamps to go in the jars (my favourite is the kite) then I painted them with watercolours before punching a hole and shrinking them. I attached them to some fragments, and added some head pins with beads from my stash, and a lobster clasp.

I decided to try something a little new here after seeing something similar on a television programme. I die cut two feathers out of shrink plastic, stamped them with script stamp, punched a hole in them and coloured them with sharpies. Once shrunk, I painted the back with white gesso to protect them from the glue I used to attach brooch backs. I added a green heart to each feather, and a chain to string between the two badges. Finally I added a tree pendant to the centre of the chain.

Here is the second one I did. I die cut some hearts, gears and wings and shrunk them. I painted the hearts silver and edged the sides with black sharpie, the gears gold, and left the wings, before assembling the pieces. I glued the brooch pieces on the back, and added some chain fragments and beaded head pins to finish.

a ban on sweet things,
no beans from a foreign land,
not dark, white, nor dairy

So, this week's thing was giving up chocolate. I thought it appropriate given Wednesday was lent, and the British Heart Foundation are asking people to give up chocolate for March (can't do that long-sorry). However, as I am not religious, a week should suffice! I will admit I am a bit of a chocaholic, especially at work when boredom and irritation collide and only sugar will suffice to dampen my negative mood. I have also in the past downed a tub of chocolate ice cream in one go I am ashamed to say, so I was hoping that, in the same way that my fizzy drink addiction has all but disappeared (still not had any) it might at least curtain the sheer quantity of chocolate I devour on a regular basis.

This week was easier than I expected overall, but I will take one day at a time.

Monday - Went to the Co-op. It was harder than I thought to find a snack that wasn't chocolate related; even the cakes are either dried fruit, lemon, or chocolate. I had a tiny pack of Skittles.
Tuesday - headache today. Unsure whether it was due to the lack of chocolate or the fact that a customer was talking incessantly for about three hours. I had a leftover After Eight yoghurt in the fridge that was due to run out today. Knowing I could not eat it myself, I gave it to my co-worker.
Wednesday - Headache all day. I've not been craving chocolate though, at least not much. Bought some fruit and some fruit yoghurt. Also ate some shortbread.
Thursday - My favourite yoghurts - Cadbury's layers of joy - were reduced to 55p in Sainsbury's, due to being at the end of their use by date. Instead of buying them, I gave my 55p to charity so that I would not be tempted later.
Friday - Interestingly, the morning shift brings more boredom, and more importantly, more cravings, than the evening shift. I thought it would be the other way around. I tend to feel a mid-morning slump, about 11am, which is when I reach for a snack. Perhaps I need to rethink what I have for breakfast, or at least have some fruit on hand for when these cravings occur.
Saturday - Day off. Plenty of chocolate in the kitchen (have I stockpiled ready for Monday?) Not tempted by any of it...yet anyway. I've definitely eaten less sugar than I would normally have done, but I cannot sense it has done my body any good.
Sunday - one day to go! Well, at this point, about four hours. Did the food shopping for work next week and bought ginger nut biscuits for my snack, not chocolate. Surprised myself there!

Knowing that I can go for a stretch without chocolate has inspired me to curb the mindless snacking. It won't stop completely but perhaps it will a little.


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Beadhaul box review - it's not easy being green

It's time  for another Beadhaul box! This one is February's - slightly belated but definitely worth the wait. This may be my favourite box yet!

Green is the colour of 2017 apparently. Being my favourite colour maybe I have a good year ahead of me?

The list of what's in the box.

Findings. I like the fact there are a few different findings this time - particularly the cords and the earrings. It's the first time they haven't included the hook ones, which is good cos I have loads of those!

Wooden beads. The big ones are the only thing I am not sure of in this box.

Crystal glass. Don't they look like grapes?

Acrylic crackle. Love things with crackle in.

Howlite. There are little bits of crackle in there as well.

Natural shell beads. Very similar to the square ones from a few boxes ago, but a better shape.

Crystal glass hearts. These are gloriously delicate.

Imitation coral. I think I might thread these on a beaded necklace.

Glass lampwork. They remind me of the hearts from a previous box, which is not a bad thing.

Tree pendant. Lovely and subtle, and perfect to put with green beads.

Opal elephants. Sorry, imitation opal elephants. More directed at kids I think, but they're cute.

......trees I guess? Whatever they are I love them. Definitely going to make earrings out of these.

So that's the review for this month. Best one so far easily (not that the others weren't great, but this one is beautiful). If you are interested in signing up it costs £15 a box, and they are released every two months.


Sunday, 26 February 2017


I've been off work this week, so have been trying to keep myself busy. Had a free birthday meal at Frankie and Benny's courtesy of their birthday meal voucher, got a bunch of presents, spent Sunday in Plymouth with the family (more on that later) and also went to the Eden Project for the first time in over fifteen years.

I'm gonna miss those next week....

I have been making things too. I made a bunch of bookmarks, with either a book or a bulb charm on them, for The Ghost Lights promotion.

Here is a select few, as an example of what they look like.

I bought a few things from Tando Creative, so decided to make something this week. I started with an arch, added a prima heart and flame, and coated it all in white gesso. I then painted the heart with copper paint and covered it with clear crackle texture paste. I stamped a script stamp on the arch, then waited for it all to dry. Once dry I painted the heart with black gesso, wiping it back while it was still wet so that the only black was that settled in the cracks. I painted a little of the flames with gold and bronze paint, to give it some more dimension. I then used a combination of Lindy's sprays and distress crayons on the arch itself, building up the colours until I was happy with the result. Some of the darker sprays went onto the flame but it actually worked well. I cut out a sentiment in white and black card, painting the white with the copper paint and setting it on the black as a silhouette. I cut some foliage out of black card, and some flowers out of white card which I sprayed with Lindy's sprays.

I've also been working on my cross stitch. I've finished about half of the back stitch now, then will need to do the French knots. I was hoping to finish it in February, but no such luck.

Trapped in a locked room,
solving puzzles, finding clues,
but can we escape?

Short answer? Yes, albeit it a little out of the time range and with a few hints. This was this week's task; an Escape Room. I chose the one in Plymouth, as it was the closest. It's just off Union Street, and has four rooms; Germ, Bizarro, HMP Clink, and Rescue Cid. I retrospect I wish I had chosen Germ, as this is the 'intro' room but I thought we would be able to do the Bizarro one with no problems. More fool me! Personally I think that there were probably too many people in our team; they recommend four but that would have meant leaving people out. Anyway, first impressions were that it seems a little slapdash, but to be fair to them they have only just moved into the new premises. I just think that it could do with a bit more atmosphere. The guys in charge of it are friendly, asking about us, why we had decided to do it etc, but I think they got the idea straightaway that we had no clue what we were doing. Anyway, they took us to the room, gave us a timer, and locked us in.

I can't really go into details because it will spoil the game should you want to do it yourself. Suffice it to say, I got frustrated more than once, particularly when they decided to phone us to point out that I had solved a puzzle wrong. I understand why they did it; we did have a time limit after all, but all it did was make me think they were laughing at how stupid I was not being able to solve something that they themselves devised. (it was a simple mistake, and I quickly solved the harder version of it ironically) I wholeheartedly attribute this to my low self esteem. I have been feeling like my intelligence is diminishing lately, like my brain has become a colander and what was left of me is seeping out of the holes.

I will say that this is a fun, and very different thing to do on a day out, and the rest of the group, particularly the males, loved it and are already thinking of returning to do another game. Whether I will or not remains to be seen; it's something that I have now done, and I have a bunch of other quests to fulfil before the week is out.

Next week I give something up for the week. Can I live without it?