Valentines Day is almost upon us and shelves in the supermarkets and shops are full of red heart shaped delights from chocolates to prosecco to perfumes. If you or your partner are vegan, there are a range of products that might just tickle your fancy as well as your tastebuds!
The Vegan Society is the world’s oldest vegan society and registered educational charity. In fact, in 1944, co-founder Donald Watson actually came up with the term “vegan”. There are now over 30,000 goods and services that bear the famous Vegan Trademark symbol.
There are many ways to embrace vegan living, but one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat, fish, shellfish, insects, dairy, eggs, honey – as well as products leather and anything tested on animals. So, when it comes to choosing a Valentines gift – or a gift or treat for anytime – here are 7 ideas that might just fit the bill….
Chocolate & Love’s Dark Chocolate Tin
A beautiful, colourful tin full of vegan dark chocolate Neapolitans. The vegan chocolate is a mix of Panama 80% single origin, Rich Dark 71% and 70% Madagascan single. A must for fans of dark chocolate! www.chocolateandlove.com
2. Broadland Wineries’ Proudly Vegan Wines
Before my friend became a vegan, her main worry was not being able to enjoy a glass of wine. That isn’t an issue nowadays as Proudly Vegan wines have a selection of palatable rose, merlot and Sauvignon Blanc to choose from. Even the ink and glue on the labels are 100% vegan! The wines are available from Ocado.
3. Eden Perfumes’ Gift Set
Eden Perfumes match your favourite designer or popular fragrances, perfume and aftershave, using vegan ingredients such as jasmine (my favourite), vanilla, passionfruit, musk, saffron, sandalwood amongst others. www.edenperfumes.co.uk
4. Honest Brew’s 12 Beer Mixed Case
Prefer beer to wine? This mixed case of vegan-friendly beers might be more up your street. www.honestbrew.co.uk
5. The Gin Guild’s Organic London Dry Gin
Gin is all the rage at the moment and this London Dry Gin is 100% organic and GM-free. All their grain is grown organically without the use of toxic pesticides, insecticides and industrial fertilisers. They also hand harvest and dry their botanicals on site. They have a FairWild Certificate which means that those harvesting are properly paid for their junipers. Introduced in 1999, The Juniper Green gin has so far won 25 international medals against all the world’s gins, including golds in both the UK and USA. Available from Ocado, Amazon and online www.theginguild.com
6. Booja Booja’s ChocolateTruffles
Handmade luxurious Chocolate truffles inebriated with organic fine de champagne. Just stylish & sophisticated. Find these in Waitrose.
7. LUSH’s All Yours Gift Set
Available at all LUSH stores, the All Yours Gift Set was designed by artist Kim Sielbeck. She was inspired by the colours of the sunset and verdant mountains that fill her with magical energy. Certainly vibrant – inside this box you’ll find a Peachy bath bomb, Avocado wash shower gel, American Pie body conditioner and a Bubblegum lip scrub. Just the job for a pampering session…..
With Love, Linda x
Apart from the last photo, all other photos have been published with kind permission from The Vegan Society (and the featured brands)
There are many “Mommy/Mummy” blogs out in the World Wide Web – some I read as they are teenage based (my children are now in their teens and twenties) so I can relate; and a few I read as I find them interesting on many levels even though I have no real affiliation with them, but occasionally I can comment with a few words of my own experience in bringing up a family. I find it interesting to read about family life in other countries other than your own too. One such favourite “Mommy” blog I read falls squarely into my latter category… Nicole of Mom Transparenting has a gem of a blog and I was over the moon when she agreed to be interviewed! Come and meet Nicole… Hi Nicole!
Hi! My name is Nicole. I’m a divorced/single mom of three and a realtor in a suburb of Chicago. I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling although I have never worked in the field. I’m very intrigued by psychology and passionate about mental health.
What made you decide to set up your blog, Mom Transparenting?
I started my blog about 6 months after my (then) 4 year old son came out to me as transgender. For years I have been posting on my personal FB page about various parts of life in short story form and had been told I should start a blog. It took me a long time to figure out what that even meant! (LOL!) After divorcing, custody battles, and then my son coming out I decided it was time to curate a space to share my personal experiences and stop bombarding my friends and family with it all. It’s much more socially acceptable to put it in an “article” and call it writing than it is to vent on social media about a screaming toddler 😉
As with many parent bloggers I know, blogging about family is often very difficult. However, I do feel that reading parenting blogs helps the parent realise that they are not alone, especially when a blog tackles a particular subject. What has been the general reaction about your blog from family/friends and from readers? How have your children reacted?
If I am being completely honest, the staggering majority of my readers and followers are NOT my family. Most of my family doesn’t even know this blog even exists. I have some very conservative family members and I just don’t want to deal with the backlash of their opinion about how I raise my child. If I didn’t have a transgender child, that wouldn’t be the case. But this is the reality of the world we live in. When you share something like that with people that think they “know” you, they feel like they have the right to tell you how to raise and handle issues that arise with your children. Even if you aren’t asking for advice. Personally, I prefer my followers and readers be those that sought me out because they were looking for someone to relate to. I know many of my experiences seem mind-blowing to me as they happen, but I also know I am very much NOT alone and many women (and men) have similar struggles. My goal in all of this was to some how connect with other parents like me, speak from the parent perspective and not of that of a trans person, because I’m not trans. I don’t know what it is like to be trans. But I do know what it is like to have a trans child and what it’s like to be the parent under the microscope. That was reason number one I decided to share our journey in an open and raw way.
I personally know of two people who are “transparenting” and their children, like your son, were determined at a young age to follow the gender they feel they are. How did your son approach the subject with you & what was your initial reaction?
What advice do you give other parents – both in the same position as yourself as well as those who are not?
Whenever I post an article about my trans son, struggles with divorce, or custody I get numerous messages from various people telling me their similar experiences. Many ask me about their own children or want to vent about their own divorce/ex. When it comes to divorce single-motherhood I am empathetic to their situation and urge them to find someone they can connect with to help them get through this tough time. It’s an all around shit show having to juggle kids, homes, pets, work, splitting up, and financials of divorce. I wish that on NO ONE. When someone messages me regarding questions about their children’s comments about their own gender I tell them what everyone told me in the beginning. Let them lead the way, if they want to change their clothes, let them. If they ask to make a name change, do it. Give them the chance to live the way they are asking to and let them decide if this is truly them “coming out” or if it’s a phase. Because at a young age you can’t know for sure. The key (according to professionals) is consistence, insistence, and persistence. And that’s over a period of time. Considering my son has been living this way and insistent on his feelings that HE. IS. A. BOY. for at least 9 months now tells me that we are likely past any chance that this could be a phase that will pass. But, even if that were the case, my reaction and how I continue to let him lead the way would not change.
I have found that, generally, children are often matter-of-fact and accepting. How did your son’s siblings react?
My youngest was only 3 and she was very quick to make the language changes my son requested and made a conscious effort to call him her brother. She has probably been the one with the least questions and the most acceptance and I find her innocence and pure view of the world so truly beautiful. If only everyone could be like that. My oldest was 7 and he was confused and sad at first. He flat out didn’t like it. But I explained to him that as family, we support each other. Even if we sometimes don’t like it. And that was enough for him to get on board and make the changes he needed to. We have conversations about it from time to time (more at first, they’ve become less and less over time) and I usually just frame it around “this is just the way it is.” You can’t change who someone is fundamentally adamant so why try? Just be loving, supportive, and accepting and be the good people I know I raised. As far as friends go, it’s interesting. My son is “stealth” at school, but I use that term loosely because he really isn’t quiet about it we just don’t go around screaming it from the rooftops. There are plenty of classmates and families that know he is trans, and just as many that only know him as a little boy. I urge my son to share when/if he’s ready and don’t ever want him to feel like he has a secret to hide or something to be ashamed of because of this. But when he does share with friends, their typical response is either “huh?” and that’s it. Like they think he’s joking. Or my favorite has been, “Oh, I used to be a girl” and his friend said, “oh, yea? Me too!” LOL
Let’s talk about your blog & blogging in general! What do you enjoy most about blogging? What is your least favourite “blogging job”?
I love having an outlet to share our journey. I love being able to connect with other writer and content creators that I idolize and look up to. The inspire me to do better and be better in every interaction I have with them. I’ve met so many wonderful people that I am so grateful to know. I appreciate the feedback I get and I find that (for the most part) between my followers and the community of fellow bloggers I’ve met everyone has welcomed me with open arms and has become a great resource in times of need. My least favorite part is rejection. I submit a lot of guest posts and even though I know not everything I write is amazing and not every post I submit will be accepted, it still stings.
Where do you find inspiration for posts?
In my kids, my family, my work, basically my every day life. If my kid does something funny, I can usually find a story to write around it. When something bad/sad happens it is therapeutic for me to write about it, even if I may not share that post on my blog, it gets my feelings out and moves me forward to a place where I can be a better writer in general.
What is your favourite social media for (a) blog networking and (b) personal browsing?
I tend to shine on Instagram. I write memes and the majority of my followers are there. I use Facebook, twitter, and pinterest as well, but IG is really my baby.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Oh, GAWD! Black leggings, a t-shirt or sweater (I LOVE big, comfy sweaters!) and this time of year Sorel boots. During the summer it’s flip flops, all day, every day. I wish I were more fashion forward, but as a busy mom I’m more of a function and comfort addict than I am for brands and style. Personally, I have a fun/trendy style when I can afford it! But when you’re a single mom sometimes your closet and shoe fetish takes a back seat to your kids sports and after school activities. Gotta make those hard choices, and us moms tend to make sacrifices for our kids from our own wants/needs.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I’m not a trendsetter. I shop at Target and on Amazon to keep me from leaving the house at all costs.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots. All day. I loved when skinny jeans came back in style so I could show off my boots again ALL THE TIME!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Mom Transparenting 🙂
Lipstick was on my agenda this week! After years of wearing nudes and pale pink lip glosses; the lipstick world exploded into 2019 bringing forth an array of bright bold lipsticks that exude colour, are non drying even the matt versions and are certainly not for the shrinking violets of this world! Although the Pantene colour of 2019 is reportedly coral pink, this hasn’t filtered through to the lipstick world – the trends are more of a blue hue and bright reds! Yellows for those who want to make a more subtle statement. Pinks are being shelved for this year… so I went out with my Christmas vouchers to update my lipsticks to find out what was on offer!
In the 1980s, when I was in my teens, I used to wear a dark burgundy lipstick and on special evenings out, my red Charlie lipstick….
As the 1990s and the Naughties approached, I took the much softer route – dusky pinks, peaches and nude lip glosses were my favourites. I abandoned the matte lipsticks and discovered Maybelline 24 hour stay lip glosses(which I still love to this day).Last year, I rediscovered lipstick. I bought a coral coloured moisturising Body Shop lipstick which has virtually been my main lipstick.
So, what did I buy? My first lipstick was the pale lilac/grey L’Oreal Color Riche Shine 906 #GirlsNight. Ideal for during the day at work as well as evening. I couldn’t resist the lipstick cover design either, it was very chic….
The other bold lipstick colours I splashed out on include a bright red colour by Estée Lauder, poshly called “Sculpting Lacquer” – it is a matte lip gloss; and I bought a couple of lip glosses by Avon plus I ordered a sample size lipstick in dark blue to try out (I haven’t been brave enough to wear that one out yet!) Here are the colours below:
My thoughts turned to summer and my prediction is a return to the 1980s monochrome clothing with red splashes; yellows and oranges with white …. so for a more subtle lipstick look for daytime in summer I opted for 2 yellow shades, one from Avon and one from BarryM…
My final buy was in a place you wouldn’t expect to find make up – in the beautiful smelling chocolate shop, Hotel Chocolat. OK, I didn’t just buy lipstick … you can’t go in that shop or near it without getting a craving to eat every delicious chocolate in store…. but Hotel Chocolat do a beauty range using the finest cocoa butter from their St Lucia estate. Ideal for keeping your lips smooth and kissable, check out their Honey Chocolat Rabot 1745 Lip Balm..
So for 2019, this is going to be the Year of the Bold…. are you game? Lipstick on your collar….
All photographs are by Linda Hobden. All views are my own. This isn’t an affiliate post.
I’m lucky to have the salt marshes & mudflats virtually on my doorstep – it is just the place to blow away the cobwebs after days of overeating and drinking during the Christmas/New Year period. In fact, it is a great place to walk whatever season – the marshes change so much and the salty air is so embracing. On New Year’s Eve 2018 the weather was cloudy but mild – unlike previous years where the air was crisp and the skies were cloudless and blue. The ground was a bit muddy underfoot too … very muddy… but nothing that a good pair of wellies or walking boots can handle. So where are these salt marshes?
The Saltmarsh Coast is the 75 miles of coastline and creeks that stretch from the estuary of the River Crouch to the south to the estuary of the River Blackwater in the north, of the Maldon district of Essex in South East England. The Blackwater Estuary is internationally recognised as being an area of outstanding importance for wildlife and conservation – the marshes are habitat for migrant wildfowl and waders; and a magnet for thousands upon thousands of wild duck, geese and wading birds. On Old Hall Marshes it is estimated that around 4000 Brent geese feed here in winter. The site also supports 24 species of butterfly, dragon and damselflies.
Historically the Romans were interested in this highly salty area – the Roman town of Colchester (Britain’s oldest town) is only around 10 miles away and the famous Maldon Salt is still produced in the town of Maldon. However, in the 19th century the major industry here was oyster dredging. Small oysters were dredged at Tollesbury and sent along to the Kent coast to mature. There are still small oysters to be found. As the Tollesbury mudflats are a very important area for native oysters, it is a good place to spot oystercatchers, so my birdwatcher friends tell me.
One feature I always photograph whenever I walk the seawall and that is the Tollesbury Tree …. it looked quite lonely this week!
There were still grasses and berries abound but under the cloud the mud reigned supreme.
I can’t wait to show you the seawall in Spring and in the sunshine….here’s a sneak peak from a previous summer ….
All photographs are by Linda Hobden; map downloaded from Maldon District Council’s Saltmarsh tourist site.
As it is the last post of 2018 I thought I’d reflect on the “S” words that summarise this SEASON.
In the UK, and in most other countries I can imagine, this coming weekend will be mad in the SHOPS and SUPERMARKETS as people try to STUFF their trolleys with last minute gifts, extra wrapping paper and tags and enough food to probably last months but we will all consume in the week to follow. And then there is the booze….
SNOWBALL (egg nog), SPUMANTE, SHERRY, SCOTCH WHISKY, SAUVIGNON BLANC, SPANISH RED WINE …. SHARE the corner of the cabinet alongside Baileys Irish Cream, prosecco, brandy, beer, gin, vodka,Guinness….. I actually discovered in my fridge an unopened bottle of Baileys Irish Cream from last Christmas as I was putting this year’s bottle away. It had a best before date of end November 2018 … it smelt alright and tasted ok… I had to test it! Irish Cream is one of those drinks that I tend to buy each year… and I do like it … but after Christmas it tends to be redundant. I’m sure I’m not the only one with spirit bottles that have been stored away & only retrieved on the odd occasion that someone might want a dry martini and lemonade instead of a glass of pinot grigio! This year I fancied trying these liqueur chocolates…
SANTA CLAUS …. who can forget ST NICK? Even though my children are teenagers and adults, they still get a little SOMETHING from “Father Christmas” that resembles a SATSUMA but isn’t as healthy! The SMILES from children when they SEE their STOCKINGS or SACKS filled with gifts on Christmas morning makes being STIRRED awake at some unearthly hour worth it.
Christmas Day breakfast – SAUSAGES, SCRAMBLED EGG, SMOKED SALMON, SAUTEED MUSHROOMS, SAUCY BAKED BEANS, SMOKED BACON RASHERS, SQUASHED TOMATOES, SELECTION OF FRUIT JUICES ….. OR are you like me – I reach for my usual cereal as I just can’t face eating a full breakfast knowing that in a few hours time I will be indulging in the Christmas Dinner? My husband and sons disagree with me though!
SPROUTS, STUFFING, STUFFED TURKEY CROWN, SPUDS (crispy roast potatoes), SEASONAL VEGETABLES, SAUCES, SAUSAGES wrapped in bacon and SPECIAL TURKEY GRAVY made by Gran! Followed by STEAMED CHRISTMAS PUDDING (SIXPENCE no longer inside) with a SELECTION of creams, SUMPTIOUS brandy butter, STEAMING hot custard or SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM. SPROUTS. I don’t actually like SPROUTS. And yet every year I have to dish up one on my dinner plate, just because. My mother in law discovered a new recipe recently that mixed sprouts with bacon …. mmm… maybe, however, with “pigs in blankets” already on the menu, perhaps plain, steamed would be better. It is strange that a vegetable that is good for you – SPROUTS count for one of your “five a day” and contain antioxidants which are thought to prevent cancer – can lead, through overindulgence, to bloating with gas which can be uncomfortable for you and could be unpleasant for others…
STOMACH ACHES! SUDDEN change in diet can lead to uncomfortable consequences – the rich, creamy foods as well as overindulgence of sprouts, peppers, broccoli, eggs, baked beans…. The traditional post Christmas dinner STROLL could help – good for relieving STRESS & that STUFFED feeling, STRENGTHENING family bonds, STRETCHING those legs, and STAVING off that overwhelming SLEEPINESS feeling that will hit you once you SIT down on your SOFA to watch on the TV SCREEN those SOAPS and Christmas SPECIALS…
3pm. STANDING up as our National Anthem is played heralding the START of our Queen delivering her annual SPEECH on our TV SCREENS from her STATELY abode of SANDRINGHAM. I quite like this traditional of listening to the Queen’s SPEECH – it’s a bit like receiving a royal “Round Robin” updating the nation on her family events! SHE has quite a bit of news this year what with the Royal weddings and births!
SNOW. Let it snow! Despite what many people think, the UK rarely experiences snow at Christmas – The Met Office says snow has fallen somewhere in the UK on Christmas Day 38 times in the last 54 years. However, of all the winter months, December is when Britain is least likely to see snow. The last time it snowed in the UK on Christmas Day was on 25 December 2010! Will it snow on Christmas Day in 2018? Personally, I doubt it…. we shall see. If it does, I suppose we could dig out the SLEDS from our SHEDS, build SNOWMEN and make SNOWANGELS , throw SNOWBALLS, SCRAPE our car windscreens, SHOVEL our drives, and SKID our way to SING SONGS in the local church SERVICE ….
SONGS! Carols or Pop songs – nothing puts you in a good mood when the SEASONAL SOUNDS are heard over the airwaves! There was a game on one of the SOCIAL MEDIA SITES – I can’t remember which one – which from the 1st December, you had to try and last the month without hearing “Last Christmas” by Wham as you go about your daily life. Easy you might say ….but SUPERMARKETS seem to always have it on their playlists and if you hear it whilst SHOPPING, you’re out! As I’m a retail merchandiser working in SHOPS & SUPERMARKETS with their radio stations playing all day, I think I lasted a few SECONDS…
SMELLS…. SPICES around this time of year are delightful ….cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger….
SIX O’Clock. Time for SNACKS, SWEETS, and other SUGARY delights before SUPPER at 9pm…. cold meats, SALMON, French bread lavishly SPREAD with SALTED butter, pickles, STUFFED dates, STUFFED olives, SALT & VINEGAR crisps, SALTED peanuts, SAUSAGE rolls, cheese STRAWS….
In the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE it is SUMMER where the temperatures are SIZZLING and I can imagine that it is too hot to contemplate eating as much. I expect the order of the day is a barbecue on the SAND, grilled SALMON STEAKS, SHRIMP cocktail, SALADS, various SKEWERS of meat/veg …. followed by a frolic in SURF, under a glorious SUN and an ice cold SOMETHING to quench your thirst.
SHOW you care this SEASON and think of those whose home is on the STREETS, those who need SHELTER, those who need SOMEBODY to talk to, those who are STARVING, those who are SUICIDAL, those who are SAD, those who are SUFFERING….try and SPREAD a little SEASONAL SPIRIT where you can…
If you are anything like me, I do like a good book to read, especially when I’m on holiday. I like a variety of genres… I must admit to loving the gritty thrillers, horrors and mysteries; although I just as readily delve into the realms of the classics, the historical sagas, the travel journals and the fun loving feel good romantic comedies. So when I was given the chance to read “What Happens In France” by Carol Wyer before it’s publication on January 28th 2019, it was a more than a pleasure.
Carol is an author I’m well acquainted with – I read her book Three Little Birds and was smitten with her feel good romantic comedy style. Thankfully she agreed to an interview (read the interview HERE) and I’ve been following her career ever since. I’ve read every book she has written since then too. Carol has written romantic comedies like “Life Swap”; she has written non-fiction such as “Grumpy Old Menopause” which won the People’s Prize for non fiction 2015; she has written thrilling crime in 2017 – the 1st book in her DI Robyn Carter series “Little Girl Lost” shot to #2 best selling spot on kindle, #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible, and a USA Today top 150 best sellers; and now Carol has returned to writing a heart warming romantic comedy – “What Happens In France”.
“What Happens In France” in a nutshell….
For years Bryony Masters has been looking for her long lost sister Hannah. When her father has a stroke, Bryony realises that time is running out and she is even more determined to find Hannah to reunite the family before it is too late. Bryony spots an advertisement for candidates for a new prime time game show and fondly remembering that Hannah was a TV game show addict, decides that applying to take part might be a great way of getting her search for Hannah in the public eye…hoping that Hannah herself would come forward. Of course, Bryony gets through and that’s when her adventures begin…. a private jet, stunning French countryside, a handsome team mate, interesting and unique personalities, game show antics….. and a delightful pug dog called Biggie Smalls….
What I loved about “What Happens In France”….
The details. Over the past year, I have spotted Carol on TV taking part in daytime game shows and I know that she has spent a lot of time in France … Carol has always embraced challenges in order to write truthfully about experiences – it shows in this book: the game show process, the characters, the knowledge of the part of France where the fictional game show is set.
The characters. Believable characters. And the delightful pug dog, Biggie Smalls. I loved how all the characters came alive in my head and were so relatable – the handsome team mate Lewis, the vain and pompous quizmaster, Bryony’s ill father who asks for Hannah all the time. Bryony is a fab character – she holds a place in my heart – I wanted her to believe in herself at times!
The storyline. It’s a different angle to most romantic comedies. It is really hard to do a review without giving too much away as quite often I want to tell every minute detail but although I want to reveal all I am really going to zip it! Suffice to say I really hope Carol follows up on this story with a part 2 … about what happens after France … I need to know what happens next!
It is an easy going, feel good romantic comedy that embraces friendships, family, love and laugh out loud moments. It is one of those books that the pages keep turning and you can lose track of time…. Ideal for relaxing by that pool, perhaps in France….
If you like authors such as Marian Keyes, then this book is in the same ilk. You won’t be disappointed.
“What Happens In France” by Carol Wyer is published by Canelo. Release Date: 28 January 2019. ISBN: 9781788632768. Pre Order from Amazon HERE.
Messages to cut down on packaging, reduce the use of plastics and to help halt the severity of global warning, among others, are repeated every day on our news. I’m pleased, therefore, to interview a company that is totally eco friendly – even down to the packaging. Bright Corner is a company that specialises in pretty interior wooden LED lights for the home that brighten up even the dullest corner. Good lighting in your home is important emotionally for making you, your family and your abode happy. I caught up with founder Chloe Harrison to find out more… Hi Chloe!
Hello, I am Chloe, founder and owner of Bright Corner, where I design and make wooden LED lights to create and inspire a happy, cosy home.
Your company designs and makes simple wooden LED lights. What inspired you to start your company?
I left my job in London a few years ago, to start something myself that gave me a better work / life balance. I spent a while volunteering and doing some courses but before I had figured out what I wanted to do, I became pregnant. This obviously took over for a while, but I knew I wanted to start a small creative business. Bright Corner came to me when I couldn’t find a simple wooden light for my little girl’s bedroom. So, I decided to design one and it grew from there.
Bringing a little bit of nature indoors, it makes a refreshing change to use natural wood. When it comes to packaging etc though, does your company maintain its eco friendly ethos by avoiding plastic?
Yes definitely, I aim to be as environmentally friendly as possible. My products are packaged with no plastic, in simple brown boxes, protected with loose fill paper packaging – all recyclable. My parcel bags are Eco friendly made from Coex, a 100% natural product.
There are 3 designs to choose from: Star Tent, Townhouse & Woodland; as well as a choice of 3 fabric cable colours: natural jute, olive green, mustard yellow – which design and colour cable seems to be the most popular amongst your customers? Do you have a favourite design?
It is still early days, and all designs have been well received but the Star Tent seems to be the most popular for children’s rooms and the Townhouse, Woodland for adults. The cable colour favourite is mustard but I think that’s a top colour this winter. My personal favourite is the Townhouse with mustard but ask me in 6 months and I would have probably changed my mind.
Are there any new additions to your range of lights in the pipeline for 2019?
Yes I am working on a few new designs for the Spring / Summer and maybe even some new products, but they will have the same simple, wooden feel to them as my lights do.
As you are based in the UK, are your products available to customers abroad?
At the moment I only supply a UK plug but also send to Europe. I am hoping as my company grows, I can offer different plugs and expand to America / Canada.
Have you always had an interest in design or did you have other aspirations growing up?
My sister was the creative one growing up and I was obsessed with films. I ended up working in the film industry, so still a creative world but I wasn’t creative myself. I felt a gap in my life for creativity, so I started to paint and had that as my outlet until I decided to leave my career and start a new adventure.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I prefer winter clothes to summer, I love tights with skirts / dresses, boots and jumpers, cosy clothes.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I love a charity shop bargain, I once bought a COS T-shirt for £3 and wear it all the time. I am trying to buy more independent and recently got an amazing moon/ star jumper from Alphabet Sweats. For a treat I love Finisterre and Toast – gorgeous brands, beautiful clothes.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I have always wanted a pair of Swedish Clogs, maybe I will treat myself for the Spring.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots, they are much more practical and there are better designs out there. I am a mum, so love a slip-on boot, so much easier when you are carrying a little one in and out of the house.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Bright Corner.
Lovely designs Chloe! Although I do so love the minimalist interior home designs that are trending – your lights are simply stylish and versatile – looking good in a new build or in a rustic old style country cottage. I look forward to seeing your new creative designs in 2019.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Chloe Harrison of Bright Corner.
Root7 is a small company based in Wimbledon, London that specialises in designing drinking products, eg cups, mugs, glasses etc and they have just launched their Kickstarter campaign introducing their rather funky colour changing stainless steel water bottle, known as The Chameleon. Root 7’s ethos is to #DrinkDifferently – by that they mean they only design drinking products that they love and that are either new in concept, looks or function. Stainless steel water bottles are not “new” and The Chameleon looks like a water bottle …. sort of …. using thermochromic ink, which reacts to cold water, the Root 7’s white bottle turns to a pretty colour once cold water is added. As you drink the water, warmer air fills the void left changing the bottle back to white. Adding to the fun factor, you can clasp your filled water bottle to make patterns with your fingers as the paint reacts to the heat of your fingertips!
The idea was created by the team in February 2018 – they wanted a fun way to encourage people to drink more water and to use less plastic. The Kickstarter was launched this month and in 25 days the company hopes to not only launch the water bottle on a major scale but next Spring but it has other development ideas to add to the enjoyment of the product. With pledges starting from £11 – the company are offering a water bottle in a choice of 3 colours with matching “sun jacket” plus free shipping to the USA, UK and Europe. The Kickstarter products will be shipped in January, just in time to kickstart your 2019 New Year New You aim! The water bottles will be hitting the retail shops around March 2019.
The bottle itself is rather sleek, slim and stylish ( not surprising after looking at Root 7’s other products). Made of #304 food grade stainless steel, it is perfectly safe to be reusable. It is not for boiling water or thermos uses though – just cold water! The slim design makes it very easy to transport – fitting neatly into handbags, gym bags, school bags, etc and yet it holds a capacity of 600mls (21 fl.oz). Root 7 has worked hard to ensure that the bottle and its lid was leakproof too.
At the moment the water bottles come in 3 different “filled” colours – blue, peach and purple. Magenta looks to be in the pipeline for Spring 2019 too. The lid also has a tag the colour of your bottle when filled – practical as when empty the water bottle is white and the lid just gives a reminder which bottle is yours! Super handy if you have a family with identical water bottles – it will save a lot of arguments!
Each bottle comes with a “sun” jacket to help prolong the bottle’s life. The stainless steel water bottle will last many years – the ink changing the bottle’s colour will last but will need looking after. The “sun” jacket is made from tear resistant silicone which will help protect the water bottle from bumps, scratches and harmful UV rays. Clean your bottle by gently using warm water and washing up liquid and give it a shake – avoid scrubbing and don’t put in the dishwasher.
Get yourself over to the Kickstarter website and order one or more of these stylish water bottles. As the news headlines tell us that over 38 million water bottles are sent to landfills each year; that plastics are being dumped in our rivers and oceans; that we should drink more water; eat healthily …. it makes sense to back a project like this, don’t you think?!
DISCLAIMER: The post does contain an affiliate link but all views I’ve expressed are purely my own.
Photos & Gifs have been published with kind permission of Root 7.
I am addicted to buying nail colours. There, I said it. I have just moved my bottles into a larger toiletry bag. I love the array of colours and shades available. I love to match my nail colour to whatever I’m wearing – sometimes not. I have even bought a new nail colour today! I counted my hoard this evening – it was more than my shoe collection – 45 – including 10 different shades of green. Can you not guess that green is my favourite colour?!
Talking to the assistant in the pharmacy this afternoon about nail colours, I told her that I couldn’t resist a new shade. She replied that she doesn’t indulge herself, but she goes to the nail bar for her professionally applied colours that last 3 weeks. I tried having my nails professionally done – I liked the result – BUT, yes there is a BUT – for me, at any rate.
My reasons for preferring bottled nail colours over professional gel nails:
My nails are short – I can’t work or type with long nails – and I feel that people with long, pretty nails benefit from the professional touch.
If I’m working in the warehouse, especially opening boxes, my nails are likely to get chipped. I’d hate to spend money on lovely looking nails that, in the best will of the world, would be chipped half an hour later. Holiday time is the best time to treat myself at the nail bar for those stunning finger & toe nails.
I get bored easily wearing the same colour, day in, day out. I like to change my nail colour on a daily basis!
I have found that some “cheaper” brands are actually better nail polishes than expensive brands in many ways. I am attracted to colour choice, thickness (I don’t like a thin, watery colour), gel or gel like finish and quick to dry. Here are some of my recent favourite nail colour purchases:
For £1 (or, in some cases 50p if they are end of range), you just can’t beat Poundland for nail colours. They tick all of my boxes: cheap, great colour selection, great 1st layer colour (not too thick or thin) and very quick drying. Decent size bottle too. My two favourite colours from this season’s collection are Copper Kiss and Mushroom Magic.
If you are a fan of pinks/reds or sparkles then Poundland’s Autumn/Winter range should certainly satisfy you, though!
GEORGE AT ASDA
I like this supermarket’s range of gel effect nail colours – the 4 colours from their range this season that I’ve bought are (from left to right) Mali-blu; Twilight; Dusk; Echo. The gel effect nail colours are dearer than the other type of nail enamel produced by Asda, but you are still looking at around £3. Quite a small bottle, but the colours glide on perfectly first time with a decent first coat and are quick drying. I love the latest colour, Twilight, that was introduced in October. It is a dark teal/navy with subtle sparkle… gorgeous. Here’s me wearing Mali-blu (only one coat applied):
You are spoilt for choice with Avon. I have bought many colours and types over the years and found them quite excellent on application, colour and drying abilities. I’ve bought 2 colours from Avon this Autumn – both pastel shades despite the season – Moondust and Lemonade.
I also recently bought 4 other colours from different brands :
Rimmel “On Fleek” 60 seconds Super Shine. This was the colour I bought today. It is a gold/black/green colour that is super sparkly – just great for the Holiday/Party season. Rimmel is one of my favourite make up brands and this nail colour dries super quick.
Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer in “Gleaming Teal”. Fab colour & coverage.
Maybelline Color Show 60 seconds in “Watery Waste” & “Downtown Red”. Perhaps the most expensive of my favoured nail colours – I love the Maybelline brand and the nail colours are pretty bold (& quick drying).
Do you like nail colours? Any favourites? Let me know via my Facebook Page what you think!
This week I’m talking about kitchen gadgets, utensils and gizmos – those gadgets that you think you don’t have a need for, then you get one and you realise it is an absolute godsend for making your life easier! I bet every household has got at least one kitchen gadget that may not be a necessity but its versatility renders it one of your favourite kitchen items. If you haven’t got such a gadget, then perhaps my guest this week will tempt you with one of his creations. I’m talking with Billy Dulay, co founder of “Products By Spark” – a small company that has big ideas – its Splatter Catcher and Infinity Mat are just two items worth looking at. Hi Billy & welcome!
Hello & welcome to “Spark”, a small but growing company specializing in “The newest kitchen gadgets/utensils and beyond”. We believe passionately in innovation and first-rate service, which is why we commit ourselves to giving you the best of both. If you’re looking for something new, you’re in the right place. We strive to be industrious and inventive, offering our customers something they need but with an innovative twist, putting their desires at the top of our priority list.
What was the inspiration behind the introduction of the Splatter Catcher and the Infinity Mat?
The Splatter Catcher, this idea was made after cooking a rather “splattery” chicken thigh for dinner. Covered in grease, we wanted to develop a product that wouldn’t affect the food in any way but keeps stoves clean, behold the Splatter Catcher.
The Infinity Mat was a bi-product of our creative juices after creating the Splatter Catcher, “What multi-use tool can we create which will be a must in any kitchen?” thus sparking into life the Infinity Mat.
There are similar items on sale from other brands – so what are the main selling points of your products?
The Splatter Catcher is the first product of its kind to the hit the UK market, the main selling points are as follows:-
Fits 28cm pans (Diameter) BPA free – Made from fully compliant 100% food grade silicone Heat resistant up to 230 Celsius Dishwasher Safe – Place on to two racks of the dishwasher, leave out to dry. Easy roll up storage Seamless application – Tab system allows for the Splatter catcher to be applied with ease, ensuring it has been applied securely. Allows all steam to escape the pan Blocks fine oil from escaping – rest assured that your cooking surface and clothes will be free of any fine oil splatters. Prevents Spills – freely overfill the pan without the fear of food contents dropping out of the pan. Perfect for large stirfries
The Infinity Mat not only has uses for indoor and outdoor application:-
• Food Cover
• Jar Opener
• Oven Glove
• Grip for your chopping board
• And Many More!
It is also available in 4 different colours.
The Splatter Catcher and the Infinity Mat come in array of lovely bright colours – which colour seems to be the most popular amongst your customers?
Yellow and Red – These colours can brighten up the dullest of kitchens.
Are there any new additions to your range of products in the pipeline for 2019?
Yes! Yes! Yes! There’s definitely more in store for 2019 we haven’t even got started.
As you are based in the UK, are your products available to customers abroad?
Yes, we ship all over the world.
Working in the field of kitchen products, as you do, do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen cooking? If so, do you have a signature dish?
When I can get time I love cooking. I’m not the best chef in the world however I’d like to say I’d hold my own in the “Chicken Stir Fry Arena” which is my signature dish.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Jeans, open collar shirt and blazer – smart casual and definitely a nice pair of shoes.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Has to be a nice winter coat, I’m dreading winter.
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes – Look smarter.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the Splatter Catcher & The Infinity Mat.
Thank you Billy for chatting to us about your kitchen gadgets. I can just imagine you cooking your stir fry and pondering over how you can make sure the oil doesn’t splatter everywhere…. 🙂 I didn’t realise just how many different ways you can use the Infinity Mat – definitely a useful item to have in the kitchen.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Products By Spark (Billy Dulay).