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Friday, March 30

52 in 52: March edition

I'm glad I set myself this challenge as I am doing things this year that I wouldn't necessarily have done otherwise. Anyways here's my March progress..

1. I've finally posted up my first tutorial of the year! (And my second ever, here's the first.)
2 & 14. My project with mum has hit a bit of a wobble as the charity we wanted to raise money for isn't quite right. We are now looking at other charity options and are holding our first craft stall together in July which means I will also achieve no. 14 on my list!
3. Going greener is ticking along nicely. I'm not wearing sandals made from tyres (not sure that I ever will!) but my bathroom is much greener and I've hardly bought any new clothes in line with thinking more about the impact on the environment and those of the lives involved.
4. Learning to drive.. I'm thinking about it. A lot. That counts right?!
11. My holiday savings were going well until this week. Because this week I am on holiday y'see. 
16. I would still like a proper holiday. Tom wants to go away with Alia & I which would be awesome. Fingers crossed.
18....Finally! Yoga here I come... they hold it upstairs at TSK & I'm going to go with my friend Zelie. Another girl at work wants to give zumba a go which I'm also up for.
19. I'm actually puzzled as to why I put this on the list. I guess I was aiming to improve getting pictures of myself. Am so far nowhere close to achieving it!
26. So far I suck at this penpal thing. I wrote to mine but I haven't heard back. Oh dear.
27. I am doing the Waendal Walk in May but I think I may be raising money for a different charity instead (see 2 & 14).
28. I promise to read some classics now that my Agatha Christie phase is over. 
31. Erm... I haven't been to the cinema at all yet this year. Hhmmmmm.
36. My girls night's out are going swimmingly. Every other Thursday three or four of us get together and drink copious amounts of wine. And I've been out for dinner with other girlfriends a few times this year.
37. Of course the above activity means that reducing my overdraft is not going particularly well at all!

How are you doing with any resolutions/goals for the year?

See the full 52 in 52.


Wednesday, March 28

Earring Tutorial...


Fancy making a pair of earrings?

You will need:
Chosen focal findings (in this case two silver plated octopus!)
eye pins, jump rings & ear wires in matching colours (silver plated here)
roundnose pliers
clamping pliers (not essential)


(Edit: You will need to use the pliers to gently open the eyepins here to attach your chosen findings.)






This is my first ever earring tutorial so if you have any questions please leave a comment & I'll get back to you asap!

PS. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

PPS. For those of you that are curious I get most of my supplies from Etsy and I often restock whenever I'm in Norfolk as there are dozens of little crafty shops up that way!

Tuesday, March 27

Stick Men Portraits...

(Artwork courtesy of my other half!)

I cannot believe the weather we're having at the moment, utterly insane! It's March and not only has spring hit big time but it's soooooo warm. Last week the daffodils were the only splash of colour in the garden but now the blossom trees are an eye catching shade of pink, some roses have bloomed &one of the bushes in covered on beautiful white flowers. 

This week I am off work (seven days off, hurrah!) and have travelled up to Norfolk to see my mum, my brother his wife and my beautiful little nephew in Northampton and hopefully I'll be able to fit in an evening with my dad too! (Friday night maybe dad if you're reading!)

I have made more jewellery and may have bought more supplies today (sucker!) so may even do a bit more crafting today which means plenty more for you to keep an eye out for. 



Friday, March 23

March Giveaway Part Deux...

The March giveaway is back on!

This is your chance to win your favourite item from my shop. All you need to do is having a look around, choose your favourite item and then leave a comment on this post letting me know which piece you would like to win.

 *The Rules*
*You must be following my blog through either GFC, Bloglovin or Hellocotton. Just let me know which one.
*If you tweet about my giveaway (& leave me a comment to tell me) you will get one extra entry.
*You can also like my Facebook page for an extra entry.. just let me know that you've done so in your comment.

This giveaway will close on Friday march 30th & is open internationally.


The winner is Kat!

Tuesday, March 20

Necklace Storage


The other evening I had a jewellery making spree... 13 necklaces and one pair of earrings. Most of these necklaces were made that evening, I think I had birds on the brain! 
I love storing necklaces this way it's so nice to have them on display. These particular necklaces will be packed up and popped away ready to go in to the shop soon though. I just need some good light so that I can get them all individually photographed first.


Some more of my necklaces, but these are ones I own. The white one is a charity shop find, the turquoise and beaded one was made by a friend of my mums and the malachite & silver one I made. These are all happily hanging on my Mollie Makes free calendar!

How do you store your jewellery? 

Monday, March 19

Brighton...



I LOVE Brighton.

And I love my friend Faye who recently moved there.

And I totally love cows that politely request that you do not sit on them.




Let's Talk About Food...

Most people have a very narrow view of food. They know what they like and what they always eat. These varies hugely on geography. If, like me, you work in the catering industry then your knowledge of food increases, particularly if you work in regional cuisine restaurants.

 In England we like our comfort food... Full English Breakfast, steak & kidney pie, chicken tikka masala, sausage & mash, pizza, a Sunday roast, fish 'n' chips. If you're vegetarian or vegan you appreciate lentils, pulses and beans in a way that us carnivores just never will.

Over the last couple of years a cooking resurgence has taken place within our chefs. They have begun to return to the ways of two or three generations ago.. they are buying in whole animal carcasses, butchering the animals themselves and serving up every last bit of it.

Over the last few weeks I've tried both rabbit & pig brawn, and have seen pig's trotters and cods cheeks appear on our menu. I don't eat fish so I was kinda flummoxed by the cods cheeks but apparently they are quite meaty. They breadcrumb them and fry them... a bit like fish nuggets! I didn't work the night of the pigs trotters so I can't enlighten you on those but I can tell you that pig or rabbit brawn is basically the meat from the inside of their head. Gross I know, but honestly, really tasty. I also tried ox tongue but it's actually quite bland and a bit chewy so it's not something I'd ever order!

It's interesting to see a return to these methods in our nations kitchens. It's also very enlightening to see how well these items sell when they go on the menu. The public of Oxford are an adventurous bunch in my opinion! 

What's the strangest food you've eaten or spotted on a menu?

Sunday, March 18

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mothers´s day 
(via)

To all mum's out there (even if you live on the other side of the world & it isn't Mother's Day there yet) Happy Mother's Day! Have a lovely day. Make hubby & children do the work.

I'm not seeing my mum today (*waves at mum... love you!*) as I'm working so will be busy making sure some lucky mums get their roast dinners served to them perfectly today!

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, March 17

Organic Beauty Products


This cleanser & toner in one is absolutely delicious. It smells scrumptious and zesty, has a lovely creamy consistency, it easily removes my eye make up (I wear liquid eye liner, pencil eye liner, eye shadow and mascara!) and a little goes a long way. It's vegan as well as being organic.

I bought it through Pravera who were super quick and efficient after being recommended by the lovely Bougielyns.  I also bought one of their eyeshadows but unfortunately I had an allergic reaction to it! I spotted the Une make up range whilst in Superdrug earlier, has anyone tried any of their products? I'm keen to switch my make up away from products containing unnecessary chemical nasties.

 In other news I've trimmed my fringe today. And I just finished "Curtain: Poirot's Last Case" and, wow, what a twist! Agatha Christie really was an amazing writer.

Friday, March 16

A Post About Owls

iOTA - Owls On the Prowl - Womens Fitted Owl T-shirt / Womens Owl Tee (S, M, L, X-L, 2X-L) 
Owls on Branch Cream 5/8-inch Twill-1 yard 
Owl.  Print by Matte Stephens 
Bronze Owl Locket Necklace with Crystal 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

What is it about owls? Why are we so attracted to them?

As I write this I'm wearing my favourite red owl ring, there is just something irresistible about the owl, isn't there?

Did you know that there are 130 species of owl? Yep, you read that right, you'll find owls almost anywhere in the world. In symbology they represent Death, they are messengers (often of bad news), they represent darkness & the night. In Greek mythology the owl is associated with the goddess Athena and truth, as well as with the Roman goddess Diana who was a lunar goddess. The Celts viewed the owl as both a diplomat and a messenger, with the maiden of flowers, Blodeuweed, transforming in to an owl.

These days we tend to cutify (that is now totally and utterly a real word!) owls quite a lot. Ever since man discovered cartoons I think we've done that with a lot of animal species, perhaps to make them less frightening.

To me owls represent wisdom. They are hunters and particularly astute ones at that. They are so powerful and yet so beautiful. Owls also make me think of my mum as she absolutely loves them too.

I'll have some owl themed jewellery coming your way soon, so stay tuned!




Tuesday, March 13

Just Because...


...I absolutely LOVE this song. I can listen to it over & over!

Potatoes...

oh comely nine ben javens
(A quote from his grandmother).

I fell in love with this illustration as soon as I saw it... it made me smile!

Appropriate in March in England, believe me. 

I don't remember any particular sage words of advice from my grandma but I do recall that she peeled her apples before she ate them, that she made me grated cheese & jam sandwiches, that she knitted my brother & I matching cardigans, she had a garden full of roses but wore lavender, she was known as Betty but really her name was Beatrice.

Monday, March 12

Five Images






All photographs taken in my bedroom.. 1. My vintage beaded butterfly handbag which was given to me by a customer years ago, I love it. 2. Three 3" decorative plates that I picked up at a car boot sale quite some time ago. 3. I wanted somewhere to hang my jewellery postcards & random bits & bobs so I cut some old curtain fabric to fit an embroidery hoop.. it works pretty well! 4. Post! Whenever I have to post things out I try to make them as pretty as possible. 5. Do you remember Cabbage Patch dolls? They were all the rage in the early 80's when I was a child! This one will probably go in to the shop soon.

In other news, the lovely Hels has won the first March giveaway!

For those of you that didn't win, keep your eyes peeled for round 2 of the March giveaway & your chance to win your favourite piece from my shop!



Thursday, March 8

Books By My Bedside


The lovely Nic tagged me for a Books By My Bedside post and in an effort to prove that I do read something other than Agatha Christie books I gladly joined in!

Of course there is one Agatha Christie book in the pile, The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding which is actually a collection of short (Poirot) stories. Needless to say I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Next up is My Week With Marilyn with Colin Clark. I am also really enjoying this. Clark somehow manages to demonstrate the crazy illusion that Marilyn had whilst at the same time reminding you just how human she was. It's also a great insight in to what it was like making a film back then.. the studio's sound horribly claustrophobic, I wonder how much things have changed?

Animal Wisdom by Jessica Dawn Palmer is more of a book to dip in and out of. It is about what animals represent in different cultures, myths and dreams. (Yes mum I bought this after visiting you!)

The Sherlock Holmes novels by Arthur Conan Doyle. I adore murder mysteries they fascinate me. I rarely guess the killer correctly though!

The Hyperion Omnibus by Dan Simmons. I am a bit of a closet sci-fi geek and so I borrowed this from my friend Charlie. I have started it but then I got distracted by the smaller, more lightweight (ie. I will take them on the bus to read) Poirot series and so I'll have to start this one again I think!

Now because I am a bit of a nosey-parker I tag the following people ~


Caz x



Wednesday, March 7

Introducing... Jacari


Jacari, first established in 1956 and now based in one of the offices above the Turl Street Kitchen, is a student run charity that provides home tutoring to children for whom English is not their first language.

Student volunteers spend one hour a week with the children, working on the areas they need the most help with, in their own home. Both Oxford University and Oxford Brookes students volunteer and they do it for the run of the school year. I think that it's a fantastic scheme as Oxford is so multi-cultural that there are a large number of children growing up trying to read, write and converse in two languages who really do benefit from the extra support.

If you'd like to volunteer or donate pop over to their website!

I'm planning to get a little bit more Oxford orientated on you as I live in an amazing city so it would be rather selfish of me not to share! So I'll be posting about my favourite shops and restaurants and things that I think are pretty special about Oxford a bit more. I hope you enjoy.




Tuesday, March 6

Live 2012

I visited The Violet Blog the other day and came across this. It embodies everything that I want and feel about this year so I thought I'd share some of it with you too...


(via)

"Let's make 2012 the year we master balance. The year we set boundaries and learn to prioritize what's most important to us. 
Let's do things we've never done before and go places we've never been. Let's become adventurers.
Let's embrace change wholeheartedly and turn challenges into opportunities for growth.
Let's stop being scared and just go for it.
That thing we've always wanted to do it? Let's do it.
This is 2012. This is the year. It's our year. Let's not let it go to waste, but do good with it."

For the full version go here. You can even download a printable version of the original to stick on your wall as a reminder.

Caz

PS, Have you entered this week's giveaway?

Monday, March 5

Belief

Today has been a day of sadness for me.It is four years since my step-dad, Simon, passed away. But as I was reminded by a couple of lovely people Simon wouldn't have wanted me to be sad. They're right, he wouldn't.

Instead I have tried to focus on the good stuff. The happy memories, him as a person. He was a very unique person, so childlike sometimes in his view of the world. Simon was a dreamer and a believer. He believed in us, he always encouraged us and he believed in himself too.

Simon was an artist and as I'm sure many of you know it can be difficult to get your work out there and recognised. He never stopped trying, for every rejection or lack of communication he would simply change tack and try a different avenue. In an odd twist of fate Simon's work was accepted for an exhibition in a local gallery shortly before he died. We went ahead with the exhibition a few weeks later and we were so proud. 

I like to believe that somehow, somewhere, Simon is still with us. I hope he knows that I appreciate the time I had with him in my life. Thanks to him and my parents I have grown up with a strong sense of belief. Somewhere along the line it has wavered, but now as I sit here and remember a man who taught me that things are worth fighting for, I have found my belief again.

To achieve what you want out of life you have to believe in it, in yourself. You have to be prepared to fight for it, to make it happen.

I miss Simon very much and it was difficult to write this post but I wanted to share part of who he was and what he meant to me with you.

You have to keep looking for that glimmer of sunlight in an otherwise dark cloudy sky.

Just Because...


Because you loved this song.
We played it for you four years ago.
And I miss you.
We all do.
It still hurts.
I'll look up to the stars tonight and maybe I'll find you there.

Sunday, March 4

The Shine Project & Operation Nice


I have been reading this blog, The Shine Project, for some time now. I hugely admire what Ashley is doing and I find her so refreshing and inspirational.
When I'm feeling sorry for myself, or haven't been enjoying work, or am struggling to stay on my path I deliberately go straight to the Shine Project. Reading the stories about Ashley's students and neighbours and seeing the compassion that she shares with the people around her always reminds me to take stock of who I am and how privileged my life is. She really believes in what she has committed herself to and puts 110% into everything.

I read a lot of different blogs but another one that has always stood out for me is Operation Nice. Written by Melissa it does exactly what it says on the tin.. "Encouraging individuals to be proactively nice." There are tons of different blogs out there, mama & baby blogs, fashion & beauty blogs, ethical blogs, foodie blogs, artist blogs, crafty blogs but I think what draws me back to Melissa & Ashley's blogs is that they are using their little slice of the internet to improve other people's lives. And that is pretty awesome!

Go check them out, have a look around, be inspired!

Caz 

PS. don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Saturday, March 3

The Perfect Life

Do you ever feel as if something is amiss in your life?
Are you wallowing in stress?
Unhappy at work?
No time for your hobbies?
Not enough time to take time to nurture and enjoy relationships with the people in your life?

You are not alone.
We live in a "Have it all" culture... apparently we should have a job that we love, we should be spending quality time with our partner/children/friends.
We should have a mortgage and a car and a pet.
We should have a wardrobe full of on-trend clothes, the latest 'it' bag and marvellous shoes.
We should work hard Monday to Friday, shop hard Saturday, party hard Saturday night, deal with the hangover Sunday.

I'm sure that if you have children, which I don't, this must bring a whole new set of 'Must-do's'... walking/talking/reading by a certain age. Going to the best school. Putting money aside for their university fund. Measuring yourself against all of those amazing mama's out there.

I work full-time, do all of the laundry, most of the cooking, blog and make jewellery when I have time and inspiration strikes. It does occasionally feel as though I live my life on a treadmill. I'd like to motivate myself to get out there and take up running or yoga but I just don't seem to have the energy.

I read an interesting article recently about Utah in the US where the municipality put there workers onto a 4 day week when the recession hit. Staff morality rose, absenteeism went down and carbon emissions dropped by 14%. Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation suggests a 21 hour working week in his book Eminent Corporations: The Rise and Fall of the Great British Corporation. Sounds good to me!

How much of what we want is really what we want? How much of it is what we think we want? We are constantly bombarded through advertising, social media, magazines and so on with products and images... do you really want to spend c.£100 on a dress with a cat print on it because Victoria Beckham designed it? Do you really need a new car or do you just think you do because the Jones' next door just bought a new one?

I'm giving up on the 'Perfect Life'.
I'm not sure who I've been competing against but I've definitely been losing. 
I want to make the most of my life... you only get one shot and mimicking a hamster going round and round on his wheel no longer appeals to me!

I am making a choice. I am working on spending time on what means the most to me.

I am slowing down.

Caz

PS. Have you entered my giveaway yet?

Friday, March 2

Foodie Friday...

Rosemary salted cubed potatoes


(Excuse the dirty hob plate!)

These are absolutely delicious & fairly simple to make, you just have to be careful that you don't get burned!

Ingredients:
Potatoes
Fresh rosemary
Sea salt
Cooking oil (I use vegetable oil)

How:
Parboil your potatoes
Drain & allow to cool a bit before dicing into chunks
Use a deep frying pan (or even a wok!) & half fill with oil
Put your potatoes in & turn hob onto a high heat
Please be careful, you may even want to wear an apron to protect your clothes from oil splashbacks!
Leave the potatoes for a few minutes then turn them with a spatula
add a couple of pinches of sea salt and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Keep repeating the above step.. if they don't start going golden leave them for a couple of minutes longer before turning them
The potatoes will go fluffy inside as you keep turning them & will be golden and crisp on the outside
Once they look all golden and ready, remove from the heat
At this point you can do one of two things
*slowly pour them into a colander (over the sink or a saucepan) to drain away all of the excess oil
OR
*Use a slotted spoon to get the potatoes out of the frying pan & place onto kitchen towel to absorb some of the excess oil
Serve!

These are great with mayonnaise and a yummy side for any dish!

Don't forget to enter my jewellery giveaway!



Thursday, March 1

Charismagick Shop Giveaway Bonanza! (Week 1)

I have decided to 'freeze' my little shop throughout March as I have so much going on at the moment that it makes sense to take a little break. However, not all is doom and gloom as I have created an opportunity for you guys out of it... the Charismagick Shop Giveaway Bonanza!



Each week throughout March you could win an item from my shop! All you need to do is visit my shop, have a look around, then pop back over here and leave a comment on the giveaway post's stating which piece you would like to win!
This giveaway is open internationally.



*The Rules*
*You must be following my blog through either GFC, Bloglovin or Hellocotton. Just let me know which one.
*If you tweet about my giveaway (& leave me a comment to tell me) you will get one extra entry.
*You can also like my Facebook page for an extra entry.. just let me know that you've done so in your comment.
*Once week one is closed you can re-enter for week two even if you won the first time!



Just to recap... this giveaway will run throughout March but if you want a particular piece and you don't win during week one then you can re-enter in each of the following weeks if you wish! Week one will close at midnight on Thursday 8th.


To enter in week one simply leave a comment on this post stating which piece you'd like to win.

Good luck!

Caz xox


Pinch, punch, first day of the month...

(via)

Finally it's March. 2012 is being dragged kicking & screaming into Spring, it is still grey but it's warming up and the daffodils are poking up their little heads.
Today is St David's Day & World Book Day (cue image of a dragon reading a book whilst reclining in a bunch of daffs!) and day four of Fairtrade Fortnight. March also brings us Mother's Day, St Patrick's Day,  and the official start of British Summer Time... more daylight hours, hooray!


(via)

I will be holding giveaways throughout March and I plan to share more recipe posts this month using delicious seasonal vegetables... see the right hand sidebar for what's in season in the UK this month. I'll be stocking more jewellery in my shop this month too and I have some great ideas for new pieces to put into action. I'm hoping to at least achieve numbers 7, 9, 18 & 45 from my 52 in 52 this month too.

What have you got planned for March?

Caz xox

February 29th... Leap year!


Did you propose to your beloved today? If you did, leave a comment, I'd love to hear about it!

I didn't, Tom & I have talked about marriage and it's pretty much a given... maybe one day we'll go down the engagement route but for now we're settled and it seems, well, not quite necessary to 'put a ring on it'..... yet! ;)

Caz xox