Monday, 29 February 2016

Crafty fun with Wyevale Garden Centre Wildlife Week!

As much as I love Dylan, he's so hard to keep entertained when he's by himself for long stretches of time. He loves playing with other kids and sharing his toys so that when it's just the two of us, he has to make do with me and my lousy imagination to keep him occupied. Luckily, we were invited to attend a craft class at our local Wyevale Garden Centre during their half-term Wildlife Week.

Dylan is all about those arts and crafts - if he can play with paint, glitter and anything remotely sticky or messy then he's a pretty happy chap. Luckily, the craft classes for Wildlife Week all sounded amazing, as there was a different 'craft' to do each day, but we went to the Paint Your Own Birdhouse day on the Friday. The class was really well run, and I think the staff at Wyevale Garden Centre really went above and beyond what we expected from them. As well as taking home his newly painted birdhouse, Dylan received a little lunch box to eat on the day, a colouring pack, a balloon, some bubbles and even a few treats. He was pretty chuffed with himself!

We had a really great time during the class - and even roaming around the garden centre afterwards - that I'm looking to book us onto a trip during the Easter holidays, as breakfast with the Easter Bunny sounds super cute!

Thanks for inviting us Wyevale Garden Centre! We'll definitely be back again soon! 

Chelsea xo

*our tickets were provided free of charge, but all thoughts my own*

Friday, 19 February 2016

My Brit Award Predictions

I would go ahead and say I'm a big music fan. Granted, I'm more interested in early 00s pop or Morrissey than the music currently being played on Radio 1, but still a fan nonetheless. As the Brit Awards should showcase all the greatest music in the UK and a token nod to international stars, I thought it would be fun along to check out the nominations and predict the winner for British Artist Video. So, let's see who gets my vote! 

British Artist Video

I quite like King by Years & Years, and the video is quite entertaining too. Who doesn't like a bit of interpretive dance? This is actually one of the few songs that I had heard of prior to this post, as it played a lot on the radio during the summer and I definitely think it sounds so much better on a wireless speaker system than from our rubbish car speakers! Drag Me Down by One Direction also has a good video, probably because it needed be amazing as the first vid without Zayn. They're astronauts in the video and are training or whatever on spacey equipment, as well as singing along and looking pretty hot. Apart from Louis, as he's my least favourite and therefore looks like a log. As much as I love the song Black Magic by Little Mix the video annoys me because it plays to the 'wear glasses and look hideous, take them off and become a beauty' thing that many 90s films seemed to promote. Plus, they only become hot to impress another girl's boyfriend and then put a farting spell on her? Girl power, not.

I wasn't keen on the video for How Deep Is Your Love? by Calvin Harris & Disciples either. It features Gigi Hadid and I just kept worrying that she had been drugged or something, as she always looks like a startled lamb in the surroundings, before suddenly becoming fine and dancing/changing outfits/swimming in a dress. As far as comeback videos go, Hello by Adele seemed quite dull to me. Is the sepia overlay still popular? Why does she have a flip phone and then become surprised that her signal is rubbish? I know Adele's videos have always been quite simple, but it actually bored me. I've decided to disqualify Love Me Like You Do by Ellie GouldingFlashlight by Jessie J and Writing's On The Wall by Sam Smith as they're all songs from film soundtracks and the videos all heavily feature the promo film. They're disqualified because I find it unfair to compare a multi-million dollar film budget to the equivalent for a single budget. I've also disqualified Photograph by Ed Sheeran as I don't like Ed Sheeran and didn't want to watch the video - soz!

So the winning video is Runnin' (Lose It All) by Naughty Boy et al! I was really impressed by the filmography of this one, as it's filmed underwater and even prompted me to watch the 'behind the scenes' clip as well. The choreography is wonderful, and I just thought it worked really well with the song. Pretty stuff.

So what do you think of my reasonings? Who do you think will win? 

Chelsea xo
*Collaborative post but all words and thoughts my own*

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Dylan's Favourite Stories

It's no secret that some of my favourite books are children's stories, and I don't think that is anything to be ashamed of. The stories from my childhood helped shape my mind and taught me so many life lessons including - being kind to others, using your imagination and if your family suck, you might be lucky enough to get adopted by Miss Honey. As much as I try to offload these literary loves to Dylan, he has his own mind and has his own favourite set of books that he'll happily read 1000 times over. 

The Great Big Sleep by Sean Julian* 
The Great Big Sleep is the sweetest story about Bear and Squirrel getting reading to hibernate for winter. For me, the standout for this book is the beautiful illustrations, which have so much detail and really add to story. Dylan's favourite? Repeating all the noisy things Squirrel gets up to! I mean, who wants to go to bed when you could hoover or play the trumpet? Unluckily for Squirrel, Bear is super sleep and gets a little bit snappy, which results in Squirrel leaving their cosy den in the middle of a snow storm. Dylan always gets a bit worried when Squirrel goes missing, but you'll be glad to know there is a happy ending! A must for any child that tries their hardest to convince you they're not at all sleepy at bedtime. 

Hey Duggee - Cheer Up, Pup!*
Dylan loves watching Hey Duggee when it's on TV, so he was super excited when he received Cheer Up, Pup in the post. Just like the TV show, the book is bright and colourful and our favourite Squirrel Club members. Dylan loves this because he gets the chance to earn his own puppy badge, and he likes pointing out all of the funny faces the club members pull - especially when the puppy's nappy needs changing, pooey! Dylan's already eyeing up the Hey Duggee sticker book, so no doubt that will make its way into his collection soon. 

Pass It On by Soppy Henn*
Okay, how gorgeous is that front cover? It's hardly surprising that Sophy Henn is a World Book Day illustrator, is it? Pass It On is a wonderful little story about finding happiness in the smallest things and passing them on to share the joy. A great message that kids and adults can both enjoy. 

Oi Frog! is perfect for kids with a sense of humour, Dylan finds this hilarious. Basically, a cat tells frog that he needs to sit on  log - because you can only sit on a rhyme, amiright? But frog points out that logs are kind of bumpy and have splinters and why can't he sit on a nice mat? Can you guess who sits on the mat? That's right, it's the cat! Cat goes onto to explain all the things frog can't sit on, and which lucky animal is paired with a iron, flute and even a satsuma! This one is great because I can basically make Dylan do most of the reading as he loves pointing out the various animals and 'seats' in the fun illustrations. 

So there we have it! A few of Dylan's favourite books. Now, I just need to work out what Chelsea rhymes with so I can prepare a fancy throne!  

Chelsea xo

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Perfect Personalised Gift

Can you believe it's Valentine's Day this Sunday? That means we're over halfway through February, and I'm not entirely sure how that happened! We're not the biggest celebrators of Valentine's Day, as we've usually always been working and it would seem this year is no different. However, always one to pull a surprise out the bag - I ordered this gorgeous personalised cushion with our cheery faces on it! Can I say something is gorgeous if it has my face on it? I dunno, but I just did. I ordered it from Snapchat after being so thrilled with the quality of my Christmas photo order and I'm so glad I did. The quality of the cushion is excellent, and I love that the other side is all smooth and suedey. That's totally a real word, fyi. 

Although it might be too late to order your own cushion for Valentine's, I think photo gifts are perfect for any special occasion - or even 'just because'! I know my relatives love it when I send them actual photographs of Dylan rather than just tagging them on Facebook, and Snapfish often have some great offers on their website too! It's a win-win situation! 

Have you got a cushion with your face on it? Have you ordered from Snapfish before?

Chelsea xo

*post in collaboration with Snapfish, all thoughts my own!*

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

My Dream Pin-up Style

When I was studying my A Levels, many moons ago, I became close friends with a girl called Beth. I think we only had one lesson together, but we would go into English Lit and swap stories and gossip. And study, obvs. The thing that I think struck me about Beth is that she was really well put together and had a clear identity - whereas a lot of my other friends, and myself included, didn't have a 'style'. Beth style could easily be described as pin up - with a huge focus on reds lips, leopard print and polka dots whereas I was often found in a pair of jeans and a vest top/cardigan combo or whatever I'd been able to put on before rushing off for the bus. 

In fact, two of my favourite bloggers Becky and Amber both work this style in a really modern and accessible way. As much as I love their style, I find it really difficult to change my own wardrobe as the vast majority of my clothes are still more suited to my college days. The pin-up style has always been in fashion, and I think it's a trend that never really goes away. Jen Oaks created a calendar for 2016 highlighting the pin-up style and how it helps to shape body confidence, which I think is fantastic. Inspired by this, Simply Be have also looked at recreating the pin-up look in their latest campaign, which instantly grabbed my attention. I thought I'd make up a little wish list of pieces I think would help move my wardrobe from bomb-site to bomb-shell. 

pin-up style wish list
Heart design collar dress - Gingham swimsuit - Love heart bikini and high waisted briefs - Wool pencil skirt
Now these might not scream 'pin up' to you, but I think these would really help to shape my wardrobe into my desired bomb-shell look. As a nod to Valentine's day, I thought this super cute heart design collar dress from Sugarhill Boutique would really fill a hole in my existing dress collection - as I don't have any stripey dresses! The collar is just the cutest, as well, and I'm sure you could dress this up with some red heels or down with white converse! The options are endless! 

You'll know by now that I'm pretty dedicated to try and convince Joe I need to go on holiday. With this on my mind - constantly - I immediately knew I needed the gingham swimsuit and the love heart bikini in my life. These items are definitely more 'pin up' than the others in my selection, as they have that iconic retro look about them. The high waisted briefs would help to hide all those discounted valentine's chocs I'm hoping will be on sale on the 15th as well! 

Last up, we have the wool pencil skirt! It doesn't look like the cold, blustering weather is leaving anytime soon so although I wouldn't be flashing the bare legs just yet, I thought the wool would help to keep me warm - right? That's my hope, anyways. I would style this skirt in the exact same way - nice turtleneck jumper, boots, watch and the additional tights. I'd probably look more like a nun than a pin-up, but I'd be nice and warm! 

What do you think of my picks? Do you like the pin-up style? 

Chelsea xo

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*post in collaboration with Simply Be, but all thoughts are my own*

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Why Didn't I Love This Book?

As a raging feminist, I'm always looking to read more books by women and/or feminists. One book I'd seen popping up everywhere was I Love Dick by Chris Kraus. Adored by Lena Dunham, Alexa Chung, Emily Gould and Tavi Gevinson - I knew I had to read it. I didn't really know a lot about it, other than it was highly applauded and therefore a must read. So I read it. And it was... okay? 

There's no denying that Kraus is a great writer, and that her use of telling the semi-autobiographical story via the medium of letters and 'evidence' were well formatted and helped move to story along at a decent pace. But I felt like this could have easily been half the length. As well as being a story - be it fully fictional or not - Kraus also sandwiched in a lot of reference to other authors or artists who were key to the feminist cause in America during the 80s or earlier, but they were completely lost on me. It felt like reading an essay at times. Don't get me wrong, I love a good essay, but that's when I've actively chosen it. 

Another issue I had is that I pretty much hated everyone. Now, this isn't a bad thing - you need bad characters, and one of my favourite novels - Haus Frau - has a terrible female character with truly unlikable qualities. But this is good! Women are often typecast in books as soft and lovely mothers who do the chores or power hungry nasty bitches who will crush anyone who dares cross them - but they're so one-dimensional. So when I found the character Chris to be quite delusional and confused, I didn't necessarily see it as a bad thing. Then it turned out her husband was a narcissist and Dick was just totally undesirable and condescending.

If you're interested in reading more things feminist and perhaps a look into different eras of feminism and art, then certainly - I Love Dick could be for you. I'm definitely glad I read it, and although it didn't rock my world, I'm glad I was introduced to Klaus' writing style as it is truly nothing like I've seen before and I'd be interested in reading something else by her. If you're looking for a more gentle introduction to feminism, then I don't think this is for you.

Have you read I Love Dick? Would you read it?

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

My Somerset Driving Woes

For someone who doesn't drive, I don't have a lot of luck with cars. I've been in numerous (minor) car accidents and it's taking me far longer than I ever anticipated to pass my stupid test. I look back at foolish 17 year old Chelsea for not taking up my Dad's offers of driving lessons, as I would have been on the road by now. I guess learning at 24 isn't wholly uncommon, and it's better late than never, right? I've had to put my lessons on hold currently, due to my instructor being ever so rude and changing occupation! 

I actually like driving during my lessons - which definitely came as a surprise to me, as I'd never had any desire to drive before. My driving instructor is a family friend so we'd have a little coffee break halfway through and discuss odds and ends for ten minutes or so. I think this definitely helped the longer lessons from feeling like a slog. As I was learning in Somerset, I started driving in my town to get used to it at first, and then moved to a bigger town once I became more confident. The bigger town is also where the test centre is, so we would go through various test routes and the like. Somerset is a mixed bag for learning to drive, as it has loads of country roads that are often occupied by tractors or 'Sunday driver' types having a cruise along at 20mph in a 60mph stretch.

Me, in Somerset
One of my most memorable lessons is also one of my least favourite. We were driving through the town centre and there was a bit of a gap between my car and the car in front, which was fine. We were approaching a zebra crossing and there were pedestrians on either side of the road so I started slowing down and checked to see if anyone would cross - no one did. I started to pick up the speed a little when a man who had walked beyond the zebra crossing decided he would then cross the main road, only feet away from me. I slammed my foot on the breaks and did an emergency stop - my first! - and thankfully stopped with plenty of room. The guy didn't even look behind him. My instructed assured me that I wasn't at fault, and that my emergency stop was quite impressive, but it still knocked my confidence. My instructed had told me at the start of the lesson how the car had recently passed it's MOT so I'm really thankful that things like the break pads and the tyres were in tip top condition. 

Even though I don't drive our car, I'm always nagging at Joe to book the car in for a service or for an MOT the moment it gets close to running out. Things like broken lights and defective tyres can result in huge fines up to £2,500 and even points on your licence so it really isn't worth the risk. Point S tyre dealers in Somerset are great for all tyre related needs, as they have reliable brands such as Michelin & Continental, depots up and down the country and loads of information for car novices like me! 

Do you have any car stories to share? Any driving lesson tips? 

Chelsea xo

*in collaboration with Point S*
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