Wednesday, 30 July 2014

July 2014 Favourites

Hello my Leaves,

How are you all today? :)

We've made it to the almost end of July! :) How are you enjoying the Summer? Or I guess Winter if you live down under? I am not a fan of hot weather! Sunshine is fine but heat and general mugginess is blearh :( I keep getting pressure headaches when a storm is coming too :/ maybe it means I need to keep hydrated? Who knows? I've decided to add my book club post to this as I felt it wasn't enough to have it's own post, yet. Feel free to recommend any books of any genre to me and I will have a gander :)

Anyhoooo, this is supposed to be my July Favourites post so I should probably get around to that ^^,


 1. I have recently become obsessed with Yankee Candles, despite the fact that I don't really use them at the moment with this weather ^^  The three I have so far are: Lake Sunset (really mellow and almost like clean room smell), Black Cherry (This will be used a a lot during Autumn and Winter it smells so cosy!) and Turquoise sky (This is probably the strongest smelling candle of the three but I think it will provide a nice change every so often). I have the black cherry as a car freshener as well and I am in Love.


2. You will soon realise I am a stationary fanatic! Anything pretty and colourful is likely to be purchased by me. I received this Butterfly stationery as a leaving gift from my former colleagues so I guess they know me well ^^ I think this is from WHSmith but unlike the store version mine has little quotes handwritten by one of my colleagues on odd pages :) I think I will use this book as a little storage of thoughts so that it will never be thrown away :D


3. Now, with my skin I don't usually go to perfumey shops but I decided I wanted something for my room as I share it with Houdini and, although he has good hygiene, his food stinks! I found this Vanilla and Tonka Bean Room and Linen Spritz at the BodyShop and decided it wasn't too strong but was enough to refresh my room :) Two sprays is enough for my room and I avoid my bedding and Houdini to minimise reaction for both of us :)


4. Something I never would have thought to buy for myself but that I really appreciate! Another gift from my Colleagues when I worked my last day is Katie Piper's 'Start your Day with Katie' book. Each day has a positive saying/affirmation for you. There is the occasional strange one but a lot of them this month have struck a nerve with me so I've popped it next to my bed so that I see it everyday :)


5. Probably the only beauty product I wear everyday besides moisturiser! This is Clinique's 'almost lipstick' in the shade Flirty Honey. It is much pinker than the photo is showing but it only applies a think layer of colour to your lips. I've had some bad 'duck lip' reactions to lipstick in the past so to find something that I can wear everyday without worrying is a very freeing feeling. I may have a look into other shades that they do and they may crop up in future blogs :) I can't remember where I bought this but I do have a family member who likes to buy me Clinique items so I may have to thumbs up this one for her :)


6. Last but not least it's my Pandora Charm Bracelet. I wouldn't normally choose this as it is something that I wear almost everyday. However, I have and a lot of additions to it recently and I found it has been a lovely little pick me up when I feel a bit blue. I like my charms to have meaning for me and I can honestly say that all of these do! The red four leaf clover in the middle was a gift from my colleagues and along withe the sunshine/sunflower I am reminded to always think positively and to look for the bright parts of each day instead of dwelling on the negative.

Book Club

The book I've been reading this month is actually a series by Cassandra Clare called the Mortal Instruments. It's a fantasy style book suitable for most above 12 years old. I have been slightly obsessed with the plot and characters and have moved on to read the rest of Cassandra's books this month ^^. I would fully recommend these books for anyone that likes the escape of a world within our own. Characters include a pining werewolf, feuding vampires and cunning fey. Lots of plot twists and relationship confusions throughout but, an easy, enjoyable read! After reading the first few books I realised that the first was released as a film last year so I've added to my watch list too ^^. The full blurb and collection can be found here along with other books and more information about the wonderful Cassandra. 


Ease of Reading: 5 
Plot: 4
Chance of being hooked: 5
Read again? Yes

Next months book which I will be reading is 'The Alchemist's Secret' by  Scott Mariani. The review for this book will be in the August Favourite's post :)


I hope you have enjoyed my July Favourites post. If you have any recommendations for me to try then please leave it in the comments below.

Thank you!

Make your own choices!

Toodlepip x

Monday, 28 July 2014

Weekly Update for W/E 27/7/14

Hello my Leaves, how are you today?

It's the end of another week, they're going so fast! I'm sure they slow down when I work and speed up during my 'free' time! -.-

A few things to update you on which I find really exciting but I'm not sure that you will ^^

Employment

1. I mentioned last week that I had a meeting with a dressmaker on Tuesday about a possible position. The meeting went well but instead of employment I was offered a week of work experience (my skills weren't high enough to be paid ^^). I made veils, petticoats, alterations to sleeves and trousers (must remember not to call them pants down south!), and I made bead and flower decorations for wedding dresses :) It was fantastic fun and I really enjoyed myself despite the heat we had! Vampire's reactions to sunlight are mine to heat sadly :/ . Today was my last day and I was offered the opportunity to stay on and be trained as an apprentice but I turned it down. Although I enjoyed the experience I have bills to pay and the training salary wouldn't be able to cover my basic expenses. There was also the fact that the hours wouldn't be regular and there was no guarantee of work after september as the business is small and doesn't receive enough winter trade at the moment. We have exchanged contact information and I hope to continue gaining experience alongside full time employment. The rest of this week will be spent applying for jobs again!

Twitter

2. Happier news! I have a twitter account and it now has 13 followers! :D This doesn't sound like it means anything and I know people 'follow for follows' but I feel good about it :) I wonder if I can get it to 100 by the end of the year ;) *nudges readers to follow @chezautumn on twitter* I may obtain an instagram account too for amusement :) Thank you to those 13 followers though and if you are one of those followers reading this post then I am sending you hug vibes :)

Views

3. Blog Views - I know, I know, I'm doing a lot of bragging but I have hit 250 blog views today too :D I only really started to focus on the blog this month so I'm very chuffed with you all for finding me and reading my posts :) If you have any suggestions for improvement or good news, please do share it in the comments section beneath each post :)
I want to add at this point that whilst I enjoy writing the posts it does give me a nice feeling to think that people are reading them :) 

Upcoming Content

4. Without realising it I have been theming my upcoming posts for the next month ^^, August posts will be having more focus on Awareness. I have a few posts planned that, I hope, spread more awareness about certain topics including low moods and anxiety. I have tried to schedule these so that they are released on Sundays as I don't want to bum people out in the middle of the week! They're not intended to make you feel sad but sometimes important things need to be faced! There will be other posts that are of lighter content during the week and in my weekly update so, if you wish, you can ignore the more 'serious' ones.

Weekly Updates

5. After some consideration I am going to move my weekly updates to Friday's. This gives me more time to focus on the Sunday post and I feel it is more up to date as I don't usually have a lot to talk about at the weekend other than food and sleep :)

And that's it, another weekly update done :) How are you finding these updates? Would you rather I didn't do them? What have you been up to this week? I hear schools are finished for summer now, do you have any plans? 

Make your own choices!

Toodlepip x


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Meeting new people

Hello my Leaves ,

How are you all today?

Today I wanted to talk to you about combatting new place blues. Moving to an entirely new place, be it a new school, job or home, can be challenging. One of the toughest things, in my opinion, to do is to build new circles and friendships. The main challenge I am faced with isn't how to maintain friendships it's how to find the people to meet and build relationships with them

One thing I have done is sign up to Meetup. This is a website of lots of groups that are around the location that you type in. So far I have found a lot of walking groups as well as social groups who meet up and do lots of different things. There's a local rotaract club as well which I'm going to look into. From what I gather this group do voluntary, community work as well as meeting up for social activities too. 

I think the idea for now is to go out there and try out lots of new things, then I can decide what I want to stick with or I can continue to try new things.

I'm going to let you know what I do and hopefully, by making that commitment, it will give me incentive to actually commit and go out there. I'm a fairly introverted person but every person needs socialisation!

Do you know of any more groups or websites that I can look into? How have you found it when you've had to make a change? 

Good Luck with your endeavours!

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Recipe: Courgette and Prosciutto Pasta

Hello my Leaves, how are you all today?

Today I would like to share one of my all time favourite recipes :) Courgette and Prosciutto pasta! This is a yummy recipe whether you have it hot or cold and it only takes 20 minutes to make! I found the recipe in Sainsbury's Pasta Sauce cookbook and I have to say I don't normally try things without seeing a picture first but I'm glad that I did with this!

You will need:

300g Pasta (any variety)
50g Creme Fraiche
2 medium Courgettes (sliced and quartered)
8 slices (roughly 125g) of Prosciutto (chopped)
50g Butter (unsalted)
1 small Onion (chopped)

Steps

1. Melt the butter in the pan 


2. Add the prosciutto


3. After 3-4 minutes remove the prosciutto and place it on to some kitchen towel. This will take off the grease.


4. Add the onions to the remaining butter and cook until soft. 



5. Add the courgette and cook for eight minutes until soft (Now is a good time to put the pasta on too!)


6. Once the pasta is ready add the prosciutto, creme fraiche and drained pasta to the sauce and give it a good stir on a low heat until mixed well.


7. Serve whilst warm! To garnish feel free to add parmesan, pepper or cayenne :D



Let me know how you find it! If you have any recipes that you want me to try leave a comment below and I will give it a whirl! :)

Make your own choices!

Toodlepip xx 








Monday, 21 July 2014

Weekly Update for w/e 20/07/2014

Hello my Leaves, how are we today?

I wanted to give a little update today on what's to come on this blog. I'm the kind of person who likes to be organised so I have finally sat myself down and gotten organised with regards to these blogs. I enjoy writing blogs regardless of whether I receive viewers. I see this as my own little diary that I can look back on but also share with people who may have common interests. I really believe that writing these blogs is helping me to keep some kind of sanity in my life right now, as you know I have had a big move recently and I want to give this the best chance that I can! So, I have made myself a schedule, yup, to help me keep motivated in blogging :)

Monday's will be my catch up/weekly update days. These will be written either on Monday or late Sunday night so that I don't miss anything out from the previous week! Wednesday's and Sunday's will also be new blog days. I'm going to try and work it that the more 'serious' blogs are released on Sunday's as Wednesday's are already hump days for those of you at work or school and I don't want to make it any worse for you! Though there will be some occasions when this isn't followed (Monthly favourites will be released as close to the end of the month as possible without going into the following month!).

I want to try and keep creativity in my blogs so I will do a cooking/baking entry once a fortnight (Wednesday's) and will try to keep the other Wednesday's as art and craft entries :) This Wednesday's recipe is a yummy one! Just saying...

With regards to release time, this will always be 8pm in the UK. I set my posts up so that they release automatically so as not disappoint anyone by missing times etc :)

Sorry that was a bit of a mammoth ramble there but now it's onto the FIRST weekly update :)

***

Ok, so this week has been quite stressful as I have been 'down South' for two weeks now. The last of the boxes are starting to be put into the attic or into piles for car booting/charity donating and the house is beginning to look like a house instead of a box warehouse! 

I've been making a bigger effort on the job hunt this week too as I need to start bringing money home to support myself and pay the bills! A lot of the jobs around here seem to be for those with experience £40K+ so it hasn't been easy, but, I've had a few emails back from people who have requested more information so fingers crossed! One particular email was from a lady who works as a dressmaker in the local area! I'm going to meet with her on Tuesday and hopefully she will take me on so that I can gain experience and become a fabulous dressmaker ^^, I really enjoy sewing and making things but in the grand scheme of things I am a NOVICE! I can use a sewing machine for basic stitches but I have no idea how to do anything fancy! I hear it can do button holes and zips but I wouldn't know where to begin! I'm surprised that she responded and as much as I don't want to get my hopes up, I really hope that she can help me out! It may just be for the summer as there are Weddings coming up but, experience is experience!

I've really been missing Lancashire this week and not just because of the lack of rain down here! (There was a pretty cool storm on Thursday night but there was no evidence of it on Friday). I miss having people that I know nearby too. I'm quite an introverted person so to go out there and find people my age (23) isn't the easiest thing for me to do. I mentioned previously that I had seen a few groups around here but the anxiety of meeting new people plus having to travel to completely unfamiliar places is taking it's toll on me at the moment. I want to make the most of the opportunities down here but I seem to paralysed with an overwhelming fear of change. It's as if you have to use a bit of yourself every time to deal with the stress but my tank is running low to empty at the moment. 

Okaay let's blow away that little sadness cloud with a picture of Houdini!


& we're just going to ignore my mid-talk-face-disappearing-into-neck angle :/

So far for socialisation today I've been catching up on my Youtube subscriptions as I haven't really kept up with them during the move. I watch them all going out and doing lots of new things despite some of them having demons of their own to face. They give me the nudge I need to keep ploughing on and not to give up on this decision to move. If any of you want to see who I follow I will be releasing a post in the future but, for now, go check out Zoe (Zoella), Anna and Jonathan (SacconeJolys), Kate (Piddleass), Lindy (bubzbeauty) and Louise (Sprinkle of Glitter) if you haven't already! :) I hope the links work if not search by the bracketed name :)

Anyhoo, I'm going to sign out for now and get the rest of these blogs sorted out for you all! :) If you don't want to miss any then sign up with your email address and you will be notified when I post :)

Make your own choices!

Toodlepip x

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The new Bedroom (Before)

Hello my Leaves,

How are you all doing this fine Sunday?

As you're aware I have recently moved to Surrey and with that comes a whole lot of fun...redecorating!! I have lived in rented accommodation for the last 5 years so to be able to think about fully redecorating and painting the walls is a very big thrill for me (I need to find more thrills, I'm aware!). So to motivate me to decorate I have decided to show you the before of my room so that when I post the after you will *hopefully* be able to see the difference.

So, without further ado:


Straight opposite the door as you walk in is the window. I currently have my Yankee Candles and a few bits and bobs on their but with it being a 'South Facing' window I may need to move them so they don't get too warm! Other than painting the walls and maybe replacing the windows not a lot will change!


To the right of the door are two built in wardrobes. I need to do a lot of reorganisation in there as it's currently a tip of boxes and clothes and other oddments! You can see Houdini's cage just to the bottom of the shot as I haven't found the right cool and shady place for him just yet!


Opposite the window is my bed. It's a double and a fairly snug fit at the moment. The wall behind it will have canvas art and a mirror once it's done :) 


From the bed I currently have a stack of books needing a home and my bed side table pretending to be a Tv stand at the moment :) I will be getting a small desk for this area and am hoping to find a way to mount the TV on a hinge from the wall so that it doesn't take up so much surface space! The canvas next to the TV in this picture will be on my wall over the bed.


Finally, the wall opposite the wardrobes, I don't want to add a lot to the wall in way of shelves as I want paint something on the wall. What this will be I'm not sure but I have been browsing a lot of wall decals on Etsy for inspiration!

And there we have it, this is my bedroom so far. I don't know how long it will be before I post the after but I will make sure I get pictures throughout so I can show you the process as well as the result!

If you have any ideas or inspiration boards feel free to share the links below and I'll check them out! :)

Make your own choices and Toodlepip xx

Friday, 18 July 2014

Viewers to my page

Hello my Leaves,

A strange one for you today that shocked me! I decided to have a look at stats. The curiosity as to whether I'm blathering away to space or not gets the better of me sometimes, but check this out!

So far I have had views from:

USA
UK
Germany
Russia

I wonder if I should make it a go to have views from at least 10 countries? What do you think?

:)

This is insignificant to the rest of you, I know, but to me it is so strange! I live in the UK and yet people in different countries have looked at my ramblings! Technology is AWESOME!

This is further motivation for me to continue uttering complete nonsense to your guys! When I get my first comment my head may literally pop O.o

I'm making more of a committed effort to get blogs out to you guys on a more frequent basis and I have lots of projects and ideas in my head at the moment that I can't wait to get underway :) To give you an idea of what's to come:

More craft projects (Clothing and Furnishings)
Scenic Photos (I'm determined to explore more of where I live)
Odd photos (From out and about encounters)
Baking & Recipes (so many things earmarked for this one!)
& most importantly...more ramblings :)

I'm a very inquisitive person so if anyone comes across this with an opinion, view or suggestion, comment below and I shall do my best to answer any questions either directly or in future posts :)

Make your own choices.

Toodlepip x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Baby Blanket Sewing Project


Hello my Leaves, how are you?

This is my first project blog that I am uploading for you today. One of my colleagues at my old work has discovered that she is pregnant! I went with her one day to a fabric outlet and saw this gorgeous 'Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, Volume Two' fabric. I am a very beginner when it comes to sewing projects but I decided I would try and make a gift for my colleague. If it didn't work I had plenty of time to scrap it and buy something instead (Baby isn't due until Autumn/Winter). I have tried my best to take photos at each stage and uploaded a video to my channel (Chez/Autumn) for those of you that want to see the fabrics in their original form. You get the bonus of hearing my dull northern accent too ^^.

So without further ado here is the steps I took to create this 'masterpiece' :P



Step One: Cut out all the squares and a plain cotton fabric. With a ruler, mark an even strip with tailors chalk as a guide for your pictures. (This will be the bordering for each picture square).


 Step Two: Attach the edges of your pictures to the border material with dressmaker pins. Here I have folded the fabric back on itself to help get a straight edge.


Step Three: Ensure your sewing machine is at the right setting by using some offcuts of the materials and doing a straight stitch along the edge. Cotton is fairly easy to work with but it helps you master the pace if, like me, you are still a bit scared of the mating eating the fabric!


 Once you have your borders attached to the first picture, repeat to create strips of the blanket's body. At this point don't trim your border strips as they will be needed to attach to the perimeter border of the blanket.


Step Four: Attach the middle border to your strips. Having a ruler nearby worked well for me to create an even width for the bordering.


Step Five: Attach the outer perimeters of the border using the same process as previous. You may want to make this bordering wider but I kept it the same. Apologies for it being upside down!


Above is the completed front of the Blanket. At this point I gave it a gentle iron again to ensure I measured the backing correctly!


Step Six: Pin the backing of the blanket over the front and sew. As my fabric was fairly clear I ensured the visible sides of the blanket were facing each other so I could pin more accurately. In cases where the back is also patterned, double check that they will both turn inside out the right way or you will have to unpick it and start again reattaching!


Step Seven: Turn the blanket from inside out and fill with a lightweight wadding. If it is too heavy it will be too warm for the baby! If it is being used as a floor met you may want it a bit thicker. I asked the people in the shop for advice and found them quite knowledgeable!
I had added popper studs (hand sewn) to the base of the blanket so that the wadding was concealed. You can also try buttons, a zip, a flap or even ribbons to secure the base.


Et Voila! 
One completed baby blanket!

Overall this project took about 20 hours from start to finish but with a less temperamental sewing machine and more experience I imagine it could be completed in 8-10 :).

Let me know if you have tried this out and how it went for you. My steps may have taken a longer way around but working with no guidance I can say I'm pretty proud of what i have accomplished!

My colleague also loved the blanket!

Do you have any craft ideas I can try? Let me know in the comments.

Toodlepip x

Sunday, 13 July 2014

First Impressions of Surrey

Hello my leaves, how are you all today?

I have successfully managed to pull myself away from Cassandra Clare's books (If you haven't read them by now check out the samples on Amazon!) and have made some observations about where I now live to share with you.

To explain, I have recently taken a giant leap for me, not so giant for mankind, and have moved from the County of Lancashire (North West England) to the County of Surrey (South West England: somewhere closeish to a train to London!). My reasons for moving are varied but one of the biggest factors was a need for change. This is somewhat ironic as I loathe change! Even someone different to work with ruffles my feathers! I'll be honest, other than accents, I hadn't expected many changes but already I've seen a few stark contrasts between North and South.

1. Gravy. I had been pre warned about the fact that chips and gravy doesn't really exist down south but I hadn't realised how much of a frustration it would be. For myself, when stressed, chips and gravy is my go to comfort food so not being able to find it here has been an adjustment to say the least! I have since found that KFC still sell gravy so I've made a compromise but even then the gravy tastes very different! It's not sludgy which I loved about Northern KFC!

Have you seen the date on this gravy?!

2. Eye Contact. I've had some fun with this second observation. I don't know if this rule applies just to the area I live but very few people are willing to make eye contact around here. I've been finding myself walking around shops staring at people to see if they make contact but they don't. They will look literally anywhere else to avoid it! I was brought up to see eye contact as a sign of strength and confidence so to then have conversations without making direct contact is quite unnerving. I feel as though they have something to hide as they won't meet my eye!

3. Cars. Up North my 'W' reg car was seen to be very old but around here there are a lot more older cars. This could be due to the fact that house prices are so much higher so there is less disposable income to spend on cars. Or perhaps with the transport networks being stronger people don't rely on their cars as heavily?

4. Students. This is going to sound very strange but the height of school students around here are crazy!! I walk into a shop and feel as though I am in the mountains! I don't know what teenagers are fed around here but it must have something growth inducing in it! I have absolutely no explanation or theory for this difference so any are welcome!

For now that's it! If you live around the Surrey area or close can you let me know if you know of anywhere that sells both chunky chips and gravy!! (As a hot dish for those of you that think of being clever and saying the supermarket :P) Also any suggestions for things to do would be welcome!

Also, have you had to relocate and have found stark contrasts between old home and new? Share them below :)

Remember to make your own choices!

Toodlepip x

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Introducing Houdini


Hello Humans/strange smells, 

My name is Houdini and I'm Chez Autumn's Hamster! Chez thought it would be a good idea for me to introduce myself as I may appear randomly in her posts without her introducing me. She's a very forgetful human but she never forgets to feed me. Sometimes I nibble her fingers to tell her I'm hungry but I've only bitten twice in my lifetime (Some peoples fingers smell of food!)



 I am a cross between a golden hamster and a syrian so I'm really calm and like to be snuggled! Sometimes Chez wakes up in the night and I'm sat on my ladder staring at her wanting a hug! My favourite treats are banana chips and cucumber though I don't say 'no' to the occasional piece of chicken!


My favourite thing to do is explore new places. I prefer the back of chairs but when I want a good run without my ball the humans make a fence with their legs. I'm not as young as I used to be so I don't always have the energy to climb up their legs!


Chez knows that I like to sleep during the day but I always come and say hello when she brings back food from the shops! The picture above is very rare as I was chasing so many yogurt drops in my sleep I didn't hear her calling my name! Chez thinks this picture is 'cute' but I think it's better when I smile :)

I have some strange habits that Chez has discovered about me. In particular I like to sneeze and bark in each corner of my home when I wake up at night. It reassures me when I do this and I know I am safe to eat lots of food once I have done this.  I also like to sit on top of my house and watch out for predators. Chez thinks I've been watching too many Meerkat programmes!

I think that's a lot of information for now and my feet are exhausted from running across this keyboard! I shall see you all in future posts by Chez.

Squeaky Sneeze xx

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Returning to the internet

Hello my Leaves how are you today?

Apologies for the absence I am in the throws of a house upheaval* at the moment as I'm moving counties!

You know that feeling when you write a list of all the people you have to notify that you're moving? And then the feeling when you realise that it takes longer to jump through all of their hoops than it does to pack and unpack?.... I'm sure someone, somewhere is unaware that I'm moving and at some point I will receive a bill from them for a property I am no longer living in...

Anyhoo, this is just a brief note to let you know that I will be making more regular posts (usually on a Sunday) but there may be a few extra treats (I have just referred to my rambling as treats, that's right) posted midweek if I can get my sweet self organised!

What have you guys forgotten when you've been moving in the past? Any ideas for making it more fun?

Toodlepip x

*amazing word thank you brain!