31 August 2011

Things that make you go Oooooo (August 2011)

by Citrusfrukt
I can't believe August is over already and we're already going into autumn, time really does fly when you're having fun! August has been another busy but great month for me I celebrated another birthday, caught up with friends, welcomed some new additions into the world and had time to think about the future and what it is I really want to achieve over the next year, so with that in mind here are just a few of the things that have amused and inspired me this month

10 Really Easy Ways You Can Love Yourself More Today - Great tips from the "Radical Self Love" guru Gala Darling and some simple steps to give you that much needed boost.

How to be the change you want to see in the world

Why having less money won't necessarily make us unhappy - Like many others I'm feeling the pinch of the recession and am more considerate to my purchases and definitely doing a lot more D.I.Y. but less money is not always a bad thing and can be a good lesson to those of us to appreciate the little things in life and what we have.

by Daintiness
For Amy - Amy Winehouse was an amazingly talented woman and her songs really touched me, this is a very well written compassionate tribute by Russell Brand about the loss of his friend.

Was I a free spirit for Nothing?

25 Ways To Be A True Friend - "Not everyone has to be a close friend, but it’s integral to our happiness that we show people who we truly are, allow ourselves to know them in return, and then remind each other through actions—small or large—that we care."

by Jennifer Erickson
  Why Can't Everyday Be Like My Birthday? - So another birthday has come and gone but that doesn't mean I can't add a little celebration into everyday.

Tea and Kittens

50 Life Secrets and Tips - I LOVE this so much great advice definitely something I will be taking notes on!

by Dangerousladies
Comic Cell Hair Clip Tutorial - Love this idea although the thought of cutting up my old comics scares me, but I'm totally for incorporating more geek into your daily outfits

Star Wars Origami

Add More Whimsy into Your Life - Super cute and fun tips on how to make your daily life a little more magical.

by Gutterfish
He Gives Tips For A Fashion Blog -Some really great and simple ways to improve your blog for readers and how to gain a "following"

Alexander Wang on building his fashionable family empire

Anna Wintour on Rumours About Her Reputation, John Galliano, The Internet and More - Love this little insight on the queen of fashion

by Deadmoondreams
Walking a Black Dog: thoughs on "The D Word"... - An honest look at depression and ways to ease the pain written by my gorgeous and talent friend Cally, she's just started blogging again so be sure to follow her!

I'll Get To It Later: Why People Procrastinate

On being a workaholic and still having a life - Striking that harmonious balance being work and having fun is key to a happy life.

by TinyOctopus

I Don't Want Children! Am I A Freak?! Why Won't Everyone Leave Me ALONE?! - With all my friends giving birth to beautiful babies this month I feel like I've been doing a lot of explaining, I don't want children maybe that will change but it doesn't make me any less of a woman or give me less purpose in life, motherhood isn't something you have to do it can be a choice to!

Tips from the Tightfisted: Lose the 5" Heels

How to Know When it's Your Time to Quit Your Job - Current economic conditions most people are very lucky to have a job but sometimes it can get too much and you may have no other option than to quit so here are some tell-tale signs that it may be your time to leave as well as tips on making the best of a bad situation.

Love & Sparkly Hugs

27 August 2011

Homemade Damson Jam

Last year my super chef mother decided to make some jam with the damson haul from our tree but unfortunately her attempts didn't go so well and she ended up burning the pan and its contents, so we never got to eat our fruit that year, so this year my mother passed the spoon on to me and it was my turn to make jam....

My attempts thankfully were much more successful and after doing a big of reading up on the subject of jam making I was surprised at just how easy it is to make (but don't tell my mother that!). The best thing is I was able to utilise all the fruit from our trees and now we'll all be able to enjoy it for weeks to come!

  • 2lbs Damsons
  • 2lbs Granulated Sugar*
(makes approx. 3 jars)
*general rule of jam making is that you want to use the same amount of sugar as you have fruit

Wash all your fruit throughly, you don't want any bits or unwelcome bug-like visitors in your jam so make sure your fruit is clean and fresh, any damaged or bruised fruit will be no good to make jam with.

Simmer your damsons in approx. 100ml of water just to soften them.  Don't overcook them just yet as at this stage you just want to make sure the fruit is soft enough so you can easily remove the stones, you can also push the fruit against the sides of the pan to encourage them to break away from the stones. Once the fruit is soft enough remove it from the heat and remove all the stones.

Add the sugar to the softened damsons and return to a high heat to boil for a few minutes, you want the sugar to be completely dissolved and once it is be sure to test for the setting point, also be sure to keep stirring your boiling jam at this point or it will burn!

Once setting point is reached remove the pan from the heat and remove any scum there might be, spoon into sterilized jars and leave the jam to cool overnight.

  Serve on buns, crumpets, toast, scones, waffles, cake or anything else you want to add a bit of fruity sweetness to.

Eat & Stay Healthy

23 August 2011

And The Winner Is....

by Bakerella
Thank you to everyone for your birthday wishes it was such a joy to see how so many of you would love to spend your birthday. I've had a really nice relaxing day today, slept in, had my nails done, had a delicious meal with family and the nicest piece of pie and cup of joe ever! So without further ado here are the winners of my birthday giveaway

1st Prize

Runners Up
Hannah Nofsinger & Kris Beauty

Thank you to everyone that entered and I'll be contacting the winners soon for your addresses.

If you didn't win this giveaway don't worry I'm offering everyone 20% off any purchase in my Etsy Shop until the end of the month just enter the discount code BIRTHDAY at checkout!
Love & Birthday Hugs

19 August 2011

The Amazing World of Comic Con

July was pretty much "Geek Month" for me as well as going to see numerous Superhero related movies and Batman Live I took a trip to London's annual Film & Comic Con and the Manchester MCM Expo which was the first con we've had in Manchester for over 4 years!

It's been a whole two years since I last got the chance to go to any sort of comic con but I remember the rules (especially for London!) get there early, wear sensible footwear, bring lots of cash and don't step on any large Klingon's feet!

These Tron Troopers were quite possible my favourite cosplayers of the con although the apes and Captain Jacks come a close second. There was an awesome amount of cosplayers this year especially at Manchester where there were probably more cosplayers than those in ordinary dress and although I've wanted to I've never actually cosplayed even though people do often ask me who I'm dressed as!

But the absolute best thing about comic con is the awesome guests they have, this year I got to meet one of my childhood heroes Christopher Lloyd who was probably in every single film I loved as a child, Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future, The Addams Family, Toonstruck and so many more things that even he has forgotten about!

So my dad is the Trek fan of the family but it's always a pleasure for me to meet the cast as they're always super friendly and I've met some absolute Trek legends over the years Patrick Stewart, George Takei, Leonard Nimoy and now Walter Koenig and Brent Spiner who is hilarious and ended up signing our photo twice in different colours because he didn't like the way the first one looked which to me seemed like such a Data thing to do, what a legend!

Heroes was one of my fave TV shows until it got cancelled (boooo!) and over the years I've acquired quite an impressive amount of Heroes signatures which is what I was talking about with Robert Knepper here who played villain Samuel Sullivan and despite his repertoire of bad ass characters he's such a nice guy and even complimented my sparkly pink nail varnish.

Back in Manchester I met the always friendly and fun Craig Charles from one of my old favourite shows Red Dwarf. I met him back in 2007 at the last Manchester con with co star Chris Barrie so asked him what the gang was up to these days and if the Cat (AKA Danny John-Jules) would ever come to a con one day and he told me they all did one together early in the year so I'd just missed out, fingers crossed for next year though!

Crowley has to be one of the best characters in Supernatural ever (so much so I named a fish after him) and after six years of obsessing over this show I thought I should follow in the tradition of my Heroes poster and finally start up a collection of Supernatural autographs and what better way to start than with the king of hell himself. Mark is such a great guy just as charming and funny as he is on screen I really hope he comes to more cons and brings more of the Supernatural cast with him!

As I don't have a local comic book shop to raid I always stock up when I go to cons and probably went a bit overboard this year because I ended up spending £60 alone on comic books! I told myself I wasn't going to buy any more Batman and expand my superhero horizons and read more X-men however I ended up buying into the Batmanverse once again and didn't really look at any of the X-men stuff they had available, guess I'm a creature of habit after all!

I really hope we have another one in Manchester soon as this years was so successful and no doubt London's will once again be even bigger and better next year, it's amazing to see just how much both cons have grown over the years it would seem geek culture really is on the rise, and so that's con season over with for another year well at least for me as I'm officially broke after my comic binge!

Lightsabers & Batarangs
You can see more of my comic con photos on Flickr

15 August 2011

Inspirational Quotes #17

Style is a magic wand, and turns everything to gold that it touches. -  Logan Pearsall Smith

12 August 2011

Cambridge Satchel Company I ❤ U (Part 2)

It has been nearly 2 years since my last purchase with the Cambridge Satchel Company and boy has it exploded in popularity since them! I've seen them in numerous magazines being worn by numerous celebrities and ASOS and Urban Outftitters now have a line of exclusive designs made by the Cambridge Satchel Company. I've been keeping a close eye on them since my first purchase waiting for new colour releases and when the released "The Fluro" collection earlier this year my heart was stolen by a cute little florescent pink number.

The Cambridge Satchel Company is a bigger company than it used to be but they still stick to their policy that every satchel is handmade therefore there is an average wait time of 30 days for each bag to be made. I placed my order June 25 and it arrived on my door July 27. I did send them an email a few days before it arrived just to check up on it and they replied to me the next day apologising for the delay due to a manufacturing problem, told me my satchel had been dispatched and gave me a tracking number, no complaints with the service there as they were quick to reply and apologised for the slight delay.

Must admit compared to last time I'm a little disappointed with their packaging, it came to me bubble wrapped with the tag sticky taped on, in a standard issue plastic mailer. I miss the old school brown paper tied with string which gave it that little added special touch as this was also an early birthday present for me (thank you dad!) it had less of a gift feel to it than when I received my first satchel.

This bag is BRIGHT no camera can show just how bright this bag is but when they say neon they really mean it! I bought the 13" satchel and had it blind embossed with my name Cate, once again it is beautifully made and very strong definitely a bag that will stand the test of time.

For those of you wondering how my purple satchel is doing it looks as good as it did the day I bought it. Whilst I was using it in America it surprisingly got recognised as a Cambridge satchel quite a few times and someone I spoke to was amazed at just how great it looked when I told her it was nearly 2 years old and had been round - the - world with me!

The reason I bought a smaller satchel was that I wanted one for everyday use I kinda use my 15" one as a survival bag for when I am travelling, the 13" one will be used for day-to-day tasks although I must admit it's slightly bigger than expected when compared with the 15" so no doubt will also hold a lot inside.

There is not much else I can say that I didn't say last time, I absolutely adore their bags and I love the fact that they're doing collaborations with other companies now. This is my second satchel and most likely not my last, they have once again offered a £5 discount on my next purchase so I'll be keeping a close eye on their website for any new colours that might be on offer.

Love & Sparkly Hugs

08 August 2011

Happy Birthday Giveaway Time

by The Cherry Blossom Girl
In just two weeks it will be my birthday and I want to spend as much time as I can celebrating and doing fun things with my family and friends, I want to overdose on birthday cake, dance till dawn, laugh till I cry and I want to include you my lovely blog readers in the celebration so what better way than to host a giveaway.

Mini Pocket Mirror
Cupcake Lipgloss
Cupcake & Ice Cream Rings
Eyeko Vintage Nail Polish

Cupcake Lipgloss
Handmade Rose Ring (made by moi)

To enter the giveaway it's simple, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your dream birthday party would be. Remember to leave a valid email address or place to contact you if you win. One winner and two runners up will be picked at random so that's 3 prizes and 3 chances to win up for grabs!

Additional Entries (please leave in a separate comment)
Follow me & Tweet about the giveaway  - be sure to link to this post!
Link to this giveaway on your own blog, tumblr, facebook etc.
Make a purchase from my Etsy shop - this will get you 5 bonus entries!

The giveaway is open to everyone and anyone anywhere in the world and will close on my birthday 22nd August.

Good Luck

05 August 2011

The Frequent Flyer: Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas or Sin City as it's also know as is the location to go for fun times and parties, if you've ever seen The Hangover you'll know what I'm talking about, so when I planned my Vegas trip I was expecting some crazy fun times to..... that was until I landed there with one of the worst colds I've had in a long time! So what fun can you get up to in Vegas when you've got a bad cold with tissues stuffed up your nose, dog tired in bed by 10pm? Well actually there's quite a lot of PG rated fun times to be had in Vegas so I'm going to share just a few of the fun things you can do whilst your there sipping your Shirley Temples.

I love visiting aquariums, there's just something so magical about sea creatures and they're very soothing and calming to watch especially when you're feeling a bit under the weather. There's not just fish to be seen there though they have a komodo dragon and some alligators to, it's a great way to spend a day and worth a visit if you're in Vegas.

Have dessert in Cafe Belle Madeleine
In Vegas you can go to Egypt, New York, Venice, Rome and Paris all in one day, and the cakes they serve in Paris are just as good as the real thing so I definitely recommend a stop of there if you get the chance, my personal fave is the raspberry chocolate mousse, so delicious!

This is a must for anyone who goes to Vegas, our hotel was just across the road from the Bellagio so we were lucky to see a few of the different shows and each was just as pretty and magical as the last, it definitely adds a bit of calm amidst the craziness of the strip.

Go see Love
Cirque du Soliel has numerous shows in Las Vegas but I've been told Love is the absolute best and I must agree! I love The Beatles and it was fantastic to see such an unusual and magical presentation of their music if there is one show you have to see in Vegas this one is definitely it!

Tucked away behind The Mirage is a little habitat set up by retired German magicians Siegfried and Roy which houses some of their white lions and tigers as well as dolphins and other animals. I have a bit of a soft spot for the big cats so it's nice to see them enjoying life in a more natural environment off stage and they're absolutely stunning to watch even when they're sleeping.

Skywalk over the Grand Canyon
Weirdest experience of my life! I don't know if it was the cold meds making me feel dizzy that day or the fact I was standing 4000ft above the Grand Canyon with just a plate of glass between me and the drop. It was a very surreal and strange experience something I can't exactly put into words but the view was amazing and it's definitely something you should try out at least once.

Love & Happy Adventures

01 August 2011

My Birthday Wishlist

photo by acido
It's finally August and exactly 3 weeks till my birthday and I'm already getting excited, I love having a birthday in the summer everyday feels like a celebration with the relaxing long warm nights and bright sunny days, so I thought I would indulge myself and post my birthday wishlist, I always treat myself to a couple nice things and I haven't quite decided what to treat myself to yet so here are a few things I've been lusting after.

Dr Martens Darcie Boots
I've fallen a little bit in love with Dr Martens after my Hello Kitty boots and have been lusting after these beauties for a while after seeing the gorgeous Nubby rockin' a pair. I have a sea of black boots so thought it would be nice to throw a white pair in the mix to jazz up my mostly monochrome wardrobe.

Archie Grand Notebooks
I love these brightly coloured notebooks with their amusing titles, it's so hard to pick a favourite I feel like I should have one in a different colour for every subject.

 Electa Bike
As it's sunny outside I want to make the most of it and I'd like to take my exercise bike riding outside. I just adore these bikes, they're so feminine and cute I'd love to get a little basket and a little pink bell on mine. Katy Perry has such a cute bike and another adorable one was used in her Hot n' Cold video. There's so many cute designs to chose from but I'd have to go for something black/pink as it's my fave colour combo.

 Tarina Tarantino Gothic Hello Kitty Pink Head Bracelet
I treated myself to one of the Gothic Hello Kitty necklaces for Christmas and it has barely been off my neck since and even though I mostly make my own bracelets I thought it would be a nice treat, Tarina makes my fave jewellery and she's such a inspiration to me when I make my own, I'd buy up the whole Pink Head collection if I could!

 All Saints Gift Card
All Saints has quickly become one of my favourite shops I'm in love with their gothic palette and simple elegance, the cut and shape of their clothes are so different yet so flattering and their silk prints are so incredibly detailed and beautiful, I just adore their designs and what better treat for your birthday than a beautiful new dress?

 Chocolate Skull
One of my guilty pleasures is watching the plethora of cake shows on the Food Network, Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, Cupcake Wars I love them all and find it fascinating how they can create such masterpieces out of yummy cake so when a show called Choccywoccydoodah came to my attention I was all over it and the best part they're based in the U.K. and they deliver, I already have plans to order a birthday cake from them but a chocolate skull well that would just be the icing on the cake!

Clarisonic Mia
I've heard so many good things about Clarisonic and after trying my mothers Clarisonic Plus out I definitely want to get one for myself. I've been trying to take better care of my skin recently because lets face it I'm not getting any younger and having my own little Clarisonic Mia would be a great addition to my new skincare routine.

Blackmilk Leggings
Leggings are my preferred form of leg-wear and Blackmilk make the most amazing ones, their prints are so unique I've never seen designs like them anywhere else and it's no wonder they're so popular. They have so many great designs it's hard to pick a favourite, I would love to add a pair or two of their leggings into my wardrobe.

Diana Mini Camera
Lomography is one of my favourite hobbies and I have been lusting after a Diana Mini for sooo long, I was tempted to buy one I saw in Vegas but my suitcase was already too full and waaay over the baggage limit so I had to resist. I recently sold my Holga so would love to replace it with this little cutie and it comes in such pretty designs to!

by Kristine May
A Round the World Ticket
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than travelling and visiting new and different places, I'm a global nomad and as soon as one adventure ends I'm always planning the next! It's my dream to experience as much of this world and its different cultures as I can, I would love to just spend the rest of my days hoping from country to country as there's nothing like being in a foreign place where everything is new and exciting.

Love & Sparkly Hugs