Monday, 30 December 2013

Handmade Mondays #8: Random Button

Hello lovelies, I've been waiting a long time to share this Handmade Monday with you! It's a particularly special one, and
a gift that Mark & I gave for Christmas to his mum Sandra. This gorgeous custom handmade picture is made by Laura of
Random Button. Random Button make beautiful handmade pictures that you can custom order via the website or Facebook
. It's very shabby chic meets crafts, and there are a range of different things to choose from, which can be customised
to meet your needs. These pieces really are something special, and even better in real life if that were possible!

Personalised Stitched House Picture (unframed)
When I first came across Random Button (on Facebook), I'd assumed that these handmade pieces of wonder would be expensive.
Because they are so unique, so detailed and just so pretty! But these pictures are surprisingly affordable, and perfect as a special
gift to a friend or loved one. All you do is send a photo of your/their house to Laura, specify if there are any colours/patterns you'd
prefer, and leave her to work her magic! I left those decisions to Laura, and I couldn't be happier with how the house turned out!
Mark's mum is pleased with it too, and tells me it will take pride of place in her new kitchen. I only wish I had a house already so
I could order my own! I will definitely be keeping Random Button in mind for future gifts, the attention to tiny details and the
packaging & presentation is perfect.

Random Button can be found on the following:
Random Button Website // Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter

Do you know anyone who'd like a Random Button picture? :)

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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas 2013: The photos

Hello you gorgeous lot, I thought I'd come and share some of my Christmas snaps with you before the festive season has passed. I had the most wonderful time with all of my family and Boxing Day with our dear friends. Christmas morning in the Brown household was pretty chaotic, what with three young children and the usual mountain of presents to get through. We all got some fabulous gifts and I can't wait to show you mine! There were about 500 photos from the two days, so to have whittled it down to these few collages was some mean feat!

Christmas Day

Christmas day did of course end with us watching all of the hour long soap episodes (Emmerdale, Corrie, Eastenders!), drinking Baileys and eating Pringles. And what Christmas would be complete without Bridget Jones?! We watched 1 on Christmas eve, and 2 on Christmas day. How cute is Indigo's bunny eared blanket?! I got it from H&M.

Boxing Day

Boxing day was also a wonderful day, a lazy morning followed by getting ready in the afternoon to see some of our nearest and dearest at our local village hall, which we usually hire out for Christmas day but mixed it up a bit this year. There was a bit of a funny moment when we realised we'd only brought wine with a cork, and didn't have a corkscrew..! We sorted it out in the end, and ate lots of nice buffet food followed by lots of delicious dessert.

The outfit

Lace top Mango via carboot sale £3.00
Black denim jeggings M&S Collection £7.00 sale
Lois flatforms Carvela Kurt Geiger Christmas gift
Oversized tote bag Luella Birthday gift
Pink gold Gem Aurora earrings Vivienne Westwood £55.00
Dusky pink & black wool biker Maison Scotch via TK Maxx £30.00 sale

I wore this same outfit to Mark's family's Christmas meal on the Sunday before Christmas. I love how easy to wear it is, but it still looks like I made a bit of an effort with the pretty lace top. This Maison Scotch jacket was most definitely my bargain of the year - originally around £200, I found it hidden on a coat sale rail in TK Maxx with a red sticker on the label at just £30. I didn't need another jacket at all, but I tried it on and the splash of colour is so unusual for me that I had to have it. I think the dusky pink is a shade I can get away with against my pale skin. I've had these Vivienne Westwood earrings for a while now, I wasn't sure on the drop at first but now I've really fallen in love with them.

Have you posted a Christmas period OOTD? Or a Christmas present post? Link me in the comments :)

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas you beautiful lot!

Rufus, Mark & I would like to wish you lovely people a very merry Christmas! I'm posting this on Christmas Eve because Christmas day is sure to be crazy in the Brown household! I hope everyone gets what they wished for, and I hope you all have a wonderful day surrounded by the people you love. See you in a few days! x x x

Rules Answer all ten questions below, make sure to add The Christmas Cracker Tag logo (above) somewhere in your post, tag as many bloggers as you like to do the tag, comment on the blogs you have tagged to let them know!

One: What’s on your Christmas list?
I don't really have a Christmas wishlist, with my birthday being December 1st I usually ask for anything I want then :) I'm excited to see what I get though!

Two: What’s on your Christmas Day agenda?
For the first time in a few years we're all staying at home, my brother Zach and my brother Josh and his family are coming round for presents and dinner so I'm really excited to have a more relaxing version of Christmas this year!

Three: How much Christmas shopping have you done?
I shop throughout the year because I have so many people to buy for, I always aim to be finished by December because there are so many birthdays in my family at this time of year too.

Four: What’s been your biggest ever surprise gift?
I have an awful memory but last year Mark got me tickets to the Harry Potter studio (I promise to post the photos in the New Year finally!!) and I was so surprised and excited! Even the letter I got saying I was going to the tour was so exciting to me haha, I'm such a Harry Potter geek and I've made Mark one too now.

Five: When do you usually put up your Christmas tree?
It's tradition in my house for it to go up on my birthday, December 1st! Though I think it went up on the 2nd this year because on the 1st we were at the Harry Potter studios :)

Six: Do you have a special outfit planned for Christmas Day?
I'm not entirely sure this year! Half of the day is inevitably spent in pjs because it takes so long for all of us to open our presents!

Seven: Do you have any plans for Boxing Day?
Usually each year for Christmas us and all of our family friends have dinner together in our hired out village hall. We eat, sing Christmas carols and have a lovely time together. We're doing it on boxing day this year instead!

Eight: When did you stop believing in Father Christmas?
I have no idea!! But I'm still managing to keep my little sister Indigo convinced that he's real, she's 5 in January :)

Nine: What’s your favourite Christmas scent? (Candle/Perfume)
I love the smell of cinnamon but find it a bit strong in a candle!

Ten: What do you love most about Christmas?
I have three whole weeks off work and I'm spending time with my family and friends, and soon Mark too. I love Christmas because I get to see everyone and eat delicious food and even drink a Baileys or too (chocolate flavour this year!).

I'd like to tag anyone who'd like to do this, I know I'm a bit late with it though!!! Enjoy your day lovelies :)

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Monday, 23 December 2013

Handmade Mondays #7: The Little Deer

Hello lovelies, are you all feeling very festive?! Two more sleeps until Christmas :) this week I'm going to show you some
gorgeous things from The Little Deer. The Little Deer support independent brands like the ones we've seen throughout this
series, concentrating on brands with individuality, that have fun experimenting whilst creating. They stock a gorgeous
array of clothing as well as a variety of other items, and want to encourage you to dress exactly how you feel.

01. Electro Jellyfish Notebook by Nikki Strange
I always find something so fascinating about jellyfish, the way they move and look. I actually saw a real life jellyfish last
week when I visited an aquatic shop with my friend. This daydreamer's notebook features a gorgeous interpretation of
jellyfish in beautiful colours. It's printed on recycled paper, and has 36 A5 plain pages. Any stationery lover like me will
know that which type of paper it is in a notebook is of the utmost importance when purchasing!

02. Patchwork Skirt in Black by Loela
I'm really drawn to this skirt for the shapes of the woven patterned inserts and the prints. I love polka dots and the back of
this skirt is done in the same black & white polka dot fabric as the front. I can imagine Emma of A Highland Fling wearing
this skirt, it has a boho vibe about it and would look lovely with Emma's gorgeous curls!

03. Lucky White Rabbit Ring by And Mary
I've fallen in love with this and the Brown Rabbit Ring, aren't they just the cutest thing you've ever seen? And Mary have a
selection of beautifully hand painted porcelain rings on The Little Deer, and they're all equally as detailed and sweet.
Porcelain is such a wonderful material, and used in such a unique way to create these rings that could almost be little

04. Moon and Stars Oversize T-shirtby Me & Yu
I'm not usually one for purple but with the speckled bleach effect and the white print, I really like this t-shirt. It reminds
me of all the galaxy print things and has a scoop neckline and is a lovely big oversize fit. Slouchy t-shirts are the best for
days in the house or running errands! I love what the words say - I am you and you are me and we are all each other.

05. Hamster Pocket Mirror by Sophie Parker
Last but not least, my favourite of all is this hamster mirror. I'm missing my little baby hamster Rufus because I'm at my
mum's for Christmas, and I can't resist anything hamster-related! This hamster print is so quirky with the tattoos, and I
think Mark would like the hand drawn hamster illustration too.

Is there anything that's caught your eye? There are so many more fabulous items on The Little Deer than the few I've featured, so do have a browse :)

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Friday, 20 December 2013

My 25th birthday gifts

Hello lovely and loyal readers, thank you for coming back after I disappeared on you again! I've come back with a post of my wonderful and very thoughtful birthday gifts. I've been ill again in the last week, with some kind of Wintery bug where all I wanted to do was sleep to avoid feeling so bad. I'm much better now, but I do have to go for an ultrasound scan of my kidneys and bladder in January. The hospital actually wanted me to go in on Christmas eve for my colonoscopy, because my doctor said it was urgent, but I soon told them that wasn't possible! I'm home at my mum's now for Christmas (except a little trip to meet Mark in Liverpool on Saturday, because erm, I miss him already!). It's lovely to be able to see family & friends, and have cuddles with baby Belle.

♥ Happy birthday to my nephew McKenzie! ♥

I received so many lovely birthday cards that I had to share them! I'd like to thank anyone who send me a card, present, or birthday wishes :) it's much appreciated, I loved every single one!

My main gift from my mum was this beautiful Cosmic La Sardina Lomography camera and some films - I can't wait to try it out! I love the night sky so the pattern on this camera is perfect. Mark's gifts came in this artsy paintbrush covered bag which I am totally in love with! He was really thoughtful with his labels this year and wrote down postcodes of places we've been together - such as W1D 2DH, which was The Astoria in London (now closed) where we met for the very first time at Neverender in 2008 (even though we never spoke then!). I also received Gemma Correll's What I Wore Today book, a Paperchase voucher, bubble bath, a Luella lookbook, an Orla Kiely folder and lots of chocolate!

I got the cute Harrods bear pen & teddy bear from Mark's mum and dad (how sweet!) and the floral 'capture the moment' mug from my mumma (fitting with the camera don't you think!). Family friends Lynn and family got me the gorgeous silver bear trinket box, it's so special! I don't know what to put in there yet but I love just looking at it. I also received the beautiful silver and swarovski crystal feather brooch from my family, and the gorgeous bear necklace I wanted in this Handmade Mondays post from Mark.

I received these two absolutely beautiful prints (that I did choose myself, oops!) and a mini print in a necklace. I will share more about the artist here with you after Christmas in a Handmade Monday :) Mark also got me these super sweet Oysho pjs and socks - bears and embroidered clouds and raindrops!!! What more could a girl want..!

I was extremely, ridiculously, amazingly spoilt! My wonderful boyfriend got me this gorgeous, buttery soft leather Luella bag and I couldn't feel any luckier than I already do. It is my third Luella bag now, I got a pink Gisele from my mum for my 21st birthday, and Mark got me the tan Sandhurst luggage bag the Christmas before last. It's safe to say I'm in love! Considering Luella ceased trading a good while ago now, I've been lucky and managed to get bags in perfect, new/as new, condition. I love all of my presents so much and couldn't have chosen better myself :)

Have you got a favourite brand/label that you can't get enough of?

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Monday, 9 December 2013

Handmade Mondays #6: Mama San

Hello lovely readers, it's so nice to be back and with a wonderful Handmade Monday feature to share with you all. Mama San
is an online shop trading in all things kitsch and cute! They are supporters of independent designers and illustrators, and something this feature has hopefully shown us is that handmade and independent is as good as (definitely better!) than
mass produced. Knowing that I'm supporting an artist/designer/creator when I buy something from an independent shop,
to whom my purchase might make all the difference, makes me happy.

01. David Bowie Brooch by andsmile
I've just noticed that this cute little brooch is sold out on Mama San, but no fear there is still one for sale on the andsmile
Etsy shop
. Each brooch is hand drawn on shrink plastic which means you get a unique piece from anyone else. My mum
is a Bowie fan, I think this is a great little present to adorn any Bowie lovers jacket or bag.

02. My Pug Mug by Gemma Correll x Mama San exclusive
I've turned to Gemma Correll's animal related goods a lot lately when it comes to present buying, her quirky illustrated
wares are perfect for any animal lover. I personally can't get enough of my copy of A Cat's Life and would love to read A
Dog's Life too (which I bought for a friend's birthday present last month!). This pug mug is exclusive to Mama San and
says 'My Pug Mug' on the other side. Could you say no to those puppy dog eyes?!

03. Insect Shard Drop Earrings
I seem to reference Suzy Bishop a lot these days, but I still like to think that she'd love these earrings nearly as much as
her little beetle ones. The emerald green stone at the top against the pastel pink drop is perfect for this season - Christmas
green and Winter pastels all in one go!

04. Fox Ring
This sweet little foxy ring is also hand drawn onto plastic with love. The detailing on this little fox is wonderful and so
in depth. Ever since I fell in love with Fantastic Mr Fox (first as the book when I was a child, later as the film which had
me in stitches!) I can't resist foxy goodies. Does anyone else do that? Find themselves obsessing over certain objects/animals
/films etc? Mr Fox really is a fantastic character indeed.

05. Peter Pan Collar in blue
Despite my love of the peter pan collar, and the fact that these types of collars are everywhere, I still don't own one. This
particular one has me converted, as has the gold version. The dandelion print of the vintage inspired printed cotton is
my favourite, so beautiful and dainty. Blue isn't usually a colour I wear either, but this shade is particularly lovely. The
reverse is white canvas and you can wear it either way as it's reversible, which is pretty nifty. The collar ties with a lovely
black ribbon to complement any outfit you choose to wear it with.

Which item on Mama San is your favourite? :) I've still got lots of blog-reading-catching-up to do, but this weekend was spent celebrating my mumma bear's 45th birthday! This is such a hectic time of year in my family with still more birthdays to come!

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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Oh hello, I've missed you!

Hello dear readers, I took a little impromptu blogging break, but I've missed you all and I'm so glad to be back. There were a few things happening in the last week or so that just meant my attention wasn't focused on my blog and I didn't find any time to post (even though I had planned to!). Sometimes these things happen as I'm sure you all know, and I can't wait to catch up on everything all of my favourite bloggers have been up to (yep, that's you!).

On Sunday (1st December) it was my 25th birthday. I had such a wonderful day with Mark at the Harry Potter studio tour and I can't wait to show you some of my photos and tell you about it. Happy advent everyone!

I also met my best friend Leah's new baby, Belle Hope, for the very first time on Monday. Both mum and baby are so beautiful and I can't believe how well my best friend looks - you wouldn't believe she had a baby just over two weeks ago!! Belle was born on the 20th November at 7.46pm, I'm so proud of my bestie.

Health update
I'd like to take this opportunity to write a little update about my health lately, as I haven't done for ages and this is my little spot for keeping track of things as well as sharing them. I understand not everyone wants to read about this stuff so if not then skip to the end, I promise I won't mind!

I had my last ever appointment with my ear consultant (hopefully!) in October. I was discharged - hurray! At first I felt a bit disappointed with being discharged and not really knowing what happened to me. But I realised since that my consultant's diagnosis is all that can be said, that my tinnitus, balance problems and vertigo are side effects of my bout of labrynthitis in December 2011. For over a year now I haven't had a vertigo attack (touch wood), only slight dizzy episodes. My physio said that the best thing I can do is to live my life as I would, and if I need him he's only a phone call away. My hearing had stabilised in my last few hearing tests and definitely seems a lot better now. I still have constant tinnitus in my right ear, but it's something I've learned to live with. On a slightly less positive note, I've got to have another colonoscopy. I had one a year ago and to be honest the worst part was the preparation you have to go through beforehand and the way it makes you feel afterwards. I'm not booking that until well after the new year though so I'm choosing not to think about it for now! I've also got four spinal rehabilitation classes in January.

How have you all been? Are you feeling festive?! I'm loving all of the Christmas lights I've seen so far and had my first Christmas drink in Costa the other day, a chocolate orange mocha latte, delicious!

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Monday, 25 November 2013

Handmade Mondays #5: Ohh Deer

Hello lovelies, I can't believe another week has passed already. It's edging closer and closer to Christmas! Has anyone started/finished their Christmas shopping yet? I'm almost finished! I hope these little Handmade Mondays might provide you with some gift inspiration (even if that gift is to yourself!). This week's Handmade Monday is featuring Ohh Deer, an artist collective currently working with 35 illustrators across the globe. Ohh Deer is full of quirky illustrated gifts, clothing, homeware & more.

01. Fox Tree Phone Case by Sandra Dieckmann
Sandra Dieckmann is one of my favourite artists, her work is beautiful and her Huntress work is one of my favourites. I'm
sure you won't be surprised when you see that her work is full of bears and other animals. This phone case is available for
a variety of phones, and would definitely make me smile if I saw it every time I picked up my phone. I actually already own
an A3 print of the Fox Tree (and maybe a few Sandra cushions..!). The details are so intricate, I notice something new
whenever I look at this print.

02. Forest Friends Women's T-Shirt by Kris Tate
Kris Tate's designs are recognisable for her bold use of colour, which often remind me of the patterns in a kaleidoscope. I
love the shapes and patterns she uses, and of course the animals. I love this design, which is almost symmetrical but not
quite. The patterns Kris adds to the animals faces and fur add something very unique to her designs, and they look
particularly fabulous on the t-shirts and jumpers I think.

03. Bear Necklace by Black Bear / White Bear
There are so many amazing bear related products on Ohh Deer that it was hard to pick just one, but this is my favourite and
I love, love, love it! Does it get any better than wearing a bear on a necklace? It does! This bear necklace is hand carved and so
each one is completely unique. You can choose beech or teak wood, and a leather cord or sterling silver chain. Best of all, he
comes with a little leather pouch and a hand printed blanket so you can tuck him in and keep him warm at night.

04. Christmas Cards by Jamie Mitchell
Jamie is the co-founder of Ohh Deer, along with Mark Callaby. As I mentioned before, Christmas is sneaking up on us! What
better way to celebrate than by sending out these awesomely illustrated cards by Jamie Mitchell. You get 9 in a pack, 3 of
each design. Animals wearing clothes!! I know my sister Willow really loves Bob the polar bear with his woolly hat on. You
can find Jamie's designs on all manner of items, and again his designs are very distinctive of his style. If you like Grumpy
Cat, you should definitely check out Jamie's Grumpy Cat design.

05. Lights Out Cushion by Jamie Mitchell
Another wonderful design by Jamie Mitchell, and this one is my favourite of his designs. I ordered a greeting card with Lights
Out on just so I could stick it above my desk to admire. I love everything about this design, from the dark to light gradient of the
circle to the fact that the foxes are interacting with one another via string. The foxes' fur reminds me of waves which just makes
me love it even more if that were possible.

I can foresee my own house being filled with Ohh Deer products, is there anything you'd like?

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

OOTD: Trusty old tartan dress

Bowler hat - Helene Berman Ebay £7.50
Tartan dress - Primark (about 5 years ago) £11 ish
Oversized coat - Warehouse £30 in the sale
Super cosy black opaque tights - Primark £3
Daffodil pin - Marie Curie a donation
Honey fox brooch - Tatty Devine (gift from Mark) £35
Leather Chelsea boots - TK Maxx £35

Hello lovely readers, I'm back again with another tartan OOTD! I bought this tartan dress from Primark over five years ago for something silly like £11. I loved it at the time and I still love it now, I think it's so versatile. I even wore it on a night out once (that statement just led to Facebook night out album reminiscing!). It has a cowl style neck which is not usually something I like, but it just sits right on this dress especially if I pair it with a chunky black jumper.

Despite having bought it 5 years ago, I'm one of those lucky ones whose weight doesn't seem to change much. The only thing I will say is that the arms are definitely a bit tighter and more restrictive, but other than that it's still perfect with the nipped in waist and flared out skirt.

I was tempted by this year's tartan Primark offerings, but realised I probably didn't need to buy another one as I don't wear dresses all that often. I've seen some lovely OOTDs featuring tartan lately. This OOTD was actually a couple of weeks ago - when the weather wasn't as bitter as it is now and I could step outside bare armed without them falling off!!

Have any of you snapped up a tartan dress this season?

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Monday, 18 November 2013

Handmade Mondays #4: Wolf & Moon

Hello my dears, I'm so excited to share with you this weeks Handmade Monday post. I couldn't be any more in lust with
the fabulous creations by Hannah Davis of Wolf & Moon. Hannah is a British artist & designer with an aim to create
unique, wearable jewellery at affordable prices. Even better, everything is handmade in her studio in Hackney. The
materials Hannah uses are what make the jewellery so stunning; perspex, wood, metals all in beautiful patterns and
colours. You can find Wolf & Moon on Facebook and Pinterest.

01. Crest Necklace in Gold
I don't own a statement necklace, and I don't very often put a necklace on, which is funny seeing as three out of four of
my choices from Wolf & Moon are necklaces. They have converted me, and I am craving this gorgeously crafted necklace
to sit on my collarbones and be the envy of everyone. Gold, black and cream with tortoiseshell, this necklace could be
worn with anything as it is so versatile in colour.

02. Crystal Collar Necklace in Blue
There are matching Crystal Drop Earrings to go with this necklace, and I think the set would look stunning both together
or worn alone. I think the gentle golds and glitter combined with the small shapes of this necklace make it quite dainty,
whilst the hints of the most beautiful shade of blue toughen it up a little. The great thing about this particular shade of
blue is that it is such a flattering and stunning colour against both tanned and pale skin, whereas with some colours I
find they are too much against my very pale skintone. Blue is the perfect addition of colour to this necklace.

03. Chevron Point Necklace
There is something quite striking about triangular shaped jewellery that always grabs my attention, and these lovely
little necklaces are no different. They are available in a wide range of colourways (if you can get your hands on one!)
and you can choose between a gold/silver chain. I love the use of glitter in Wolf & Moon jewellery, it's so pretty!

04. Double Triangle Earrings in Tortoiseshell
My favourite jewellery to wear by far is earrings, I can choose to wear tiny studs or bigger statement earrings and they
don't have to take over a whole outfit if I don't want them to. It was no surprise that I fell in love with this particular
pair, featuring both triangles and beautiful tortoiseshell. It was Hannah's use of tortoiseshell in her jewellery that led
to my current (and long lasting) love affair with Wolf & Moon.

05. Little Hex Studs in Black, Gold, Glitter
A couple of weeks ago, Hannah announced on the Wolf & Moon Facebook page that some of the sold out items were back in
stock. I've had my eye on the Little Hex studs for such a long time, I was thrilled when I managed to order a pair. I dithered
because these weren't the colourway I originally wanted, but I'm so glad I took the risk because I am completely and utterly
in love with them! They are my new favourite earrings, and add just the right amount of sparkle. They came packaged on a
Wolf & Moon card, with wadding behind to protect the studs (one was a teensy bit bent, but still perfectly wearable), and
wrapped in tissue paper complete with care instructions.

I can't wait to order more! Has anything caught your eye?

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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Make your own: Leaf crown DIY

Hello lovely people! This post is later in the week than I'd planned, but such is life! I've given it my best shot, but I'm not all that good at explaining things. I used this diagram/video to learn how to do the knot, it's very helpful! It took me a good few tries before I got the hang of it. This make was inspired by Kristen and her very own leaf crown. I bought my string for 50p from Wilkinsons. If you'd like to see how I wore the crown, click here. Below are a few of the photos I took of my littlest sister Indigo, and my little sister Phoebe wearing the crown. How pretty!

What do you think, will you be giving it a go? :)

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