Monday, June 20, 2016

This post is well over due as Blog On MSI was on 1st May and it's now 20th June. There is also another Blog on MSI event in September and I have purchased a ticket and booked a hotel. I think there are only around 60 tickets left for the September event and that's what prompted me to finish this post. 

Blog on is such a great conference the set up is designed so you learn new things, get advice, socialise with other bloggers and brands. 

This was the 3rd Blog On conference I've been to the set up this year was a little different to the previous years with more brands, a craft den and a choice of sessions. 

In previous years all the sessions have been run 3 times and everyone split into groups and visit each session. This year you had a choice of which session to go into. 

In theory this choice of sessions was good and more flexiable but most of the sessions I wanted to go to were on at the same time and I do feel I made the wrong choice, especially with one of the sessions and I ended up walking out when I realised it wasn't for me. 

I fully hold my hands up it was my decision that was wrong and it must be hard to co-ordinate the sessions. Before the next event I am going to check the schedule and trust my instincts more. 

This year there were more toy brands which would have been awesome for the parent bloggers and I'll admit I was particularly taken by Betty Spagetti even if I did have a tanturm and throw her on the table when I couldn't find two legs the same length. (it was late in the day and I was shattered) I also loved the PomPom Wow. I decorated my badge with them and would be quite happy with a box of them of my very own.

As in  previous years the lovely swizzels people were there and they supplied us with lots of sweets and brought their ball pool which I now regret not going in. Some of the picture I've seen of people in the pool turned out brilliant.

I tried my hand at crochet but while I get the theory, in practice I'm terrible at it! I need lots of practice but I feel like it's a skill I'd like to learn as I've seen a few people make mood and sky blankets and I love the idea of them and think I'd like to make one. Maybe one day.

One of the brands had brought along a game called TimeLine and i'll admit at first I thought it would be a very geeky and not fun but it really was. I took away a sample pack and we've been playing it at work as part of our team engagement activity and I'm toying with the idea of buying the full version.

Another firm favourite were the Jammy Dodger marshmellows, which I bought a bag of and wish I'd bought more. I need to order some of them. I can't remember the name of who brought them so If you know can you leave me a comment so I can place an order.

A big thank you to Laura for organising the event, a lot of hard work has to go in to the planning and coordination of everything


Book Review - Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I recently bought a few books up in a local charity shop, one of the books I picked up mainly because of the cover was Mrs Hemmingway by Naomi Wood. 

The book starts in the mid 1920s when the current Mrs Hemmingway, Earnest and his present mistress move to the south of France for the summer. 

The book follows the life of the wives and shows how lives intertwine and history repeats itself. There are a number of different parts to the book one for each wife and the stories follow on for each other. 

Initially I could put it down and read 2/3s in a couple of days and then I lost momentum, the story became confusing as time periods jumped from the current marriage years back to before that marriage and had the current wives perceptive during the  previous marriage. Even trying to write that sentence was confusing so try reading about it. 

I love the writing style and I feel like the book could have done with being in a couple of parts just focusing on 2 wives per book. 

I also feel like more time, description and love was felt in the early parts of the book and later on things just became confusing. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? 


Potential Book Tube Plans

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Have you heard of BookTube? No me either until a couple of weeks ago. I'd made the decision to start making book videos as a couple of people I follow make videos about the books they read each month and I really enjoy watching them. 

I then discovered there is a whole community of BookTubers out there. I'm not really all that surprised. I'm not about to make a new Youtube channel or stop posting the odd book review on here but I just wanted you to know there is a book tube and I'm getting involved. 

My plans are to make monthly wrap up videos about the books I've been reading each month, hauls and may be the odd review. 

I've talked about this before but from the middle of last year I just stopped reading. I think I read 2 books from July to December and my reading hasn't really picked up that much. 

I've read about 12 books so far this year which isn't bad and to say I read 5 books January to April my pace has picked up a lot. 

I've also bought a kindle paperwhite as my old kindle or should I say my mums original kindle has just about given up the ghost. 

So far I'm enjoying using it, I've only read one and a bit books on it so far. Oddly enough since I bought it I've read about 3 paper books, bought 4 from a charity shop and ordered 8 online! 

No matter if I fall in love with the Kindle will I relinquish my love of paper books. Also you don;t have to worry about the screen cracking when you drop them! 

I have a huge to be read pile before we even think about the new books I've bought. I'm planning to try and read 2 paper books for each kindle book to try and get the pile down. 

I don't keep books I've read unless I love them, they get passed to a neighbour or taken to charity shops so I don't feel too bad for having so many. But they really need to be read.

I'm lucky to have a big community of readers and writers around me and my friend have been recommending free / cheap kindle books so I am accumulating plenty more digital books. 

I'd love to know your favourite book and what books you really didn't like. Would you watch book videos? Finally what would you like to see from my book tube videos? 


Gate Crashing a Christening and drinking Cocktails!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Did I tell you about the time I gate crashed a Christening? Well technically I had been to a christening and we moved on to a local pub which we believed was open to the general public after 3pm. But it looks like it was all another Christening. We blended in, we drank lots of cocktails and while we were feel pretty confident we'd succeded in not getting caught. We had been spotted and been the talk of the whole event! Ah well, next time you hire a place out put a sign on the front door!! 

The pub we went to used to be our old haunt, but as we don't go out very often and tend to go to Manchester for cocktails, when the posted on Facebook about a new Cocktail menu we thought why not. 

They are even jazzing up the fruit ciders they serve, by adding fresh fruit and they are in the process of ordering appropriate glasses. 

We started our cocktail experience with a classic Pornstar Martini. We're never sure what to do with the Prosecco shot, do you down it, or do you add it in? We've never really got a definitive answer from a bar tender.  

Next we went for an Apresol Spritz, this was a little disappointing. It needed to be in a bigger glass with ice and more fruit. Don't get me wrong, it tasted good but I know I've had better but I would order it again. 

The girl who was serving us freely admitted she'd never made some of the cocktails before and was a little nervous and some of them felt a little bit off the mark. Not far off but i'm hoping next time we go in they will be on the money. 

We tried a Belini which had too much peach and a lemoncello spritz which sadly wasn't for me, it tasted like tictacs! I don't think I'd order either of these again but with practice they could be delicious. 

By far my favourite drink of the day was the Amaretto Sour, this has to be one of my favourite drinks and I'm so glad they got it right!

Our last drink of the night came in a very hipster mug and was missing a little something which we put right by adding prosessco! Doesn't Prosecco fix most things!

We had such a good afternoon weatherwise, gatecrash wise, fun times wise and we might be going back in a couple of weeks. I'm wondering if we should call ahead and check they are open or just chance our arm are try and blend into whatever function they have on!

Housing Units

Housing Units - Blogger Event Summer 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

Last week I was invited to Housing Units in Hollinwood for their second Blogger Event. I was lucky enough to go to the First Event, last Christmas and it was Magical and festive. You can read all about that event here. 

This event was a little different as this time the Store was closed and we got to look round without the public being there and it made for a much more personal experience. 
 We were given a tour of the store by one of the manager and he pointed out some of the different products and how the stores are laid out.

There are a number of buildings and we looked around two of the main buildings. The fire place and emporium and the home furniture store.

I'm a little bit in love with the fire below, it's an electric fire and the effect is via a TV screen inside. I could have pulled up a chair and stayed there all evening.

I was also very taken with the leather couch and side tables, the patch work chairs really reminded me of something, that I can't quite put my finger on. Can anyone help me?

The rugs below are also some of the best sellers, they are really soft and my camera really doesn't do them any justice.

 From August bank holiday they remove everything in section of the emporium and turn it into a winter wonderland and Christmas shop which opens in September. I don't think I've ever been to Housing Units when it's not been Christmas season (I hate that I just types that, but seriously go to HU after September and even the Grinch couldn't help to feel festive)

Some of my personal highlights from the garden sections are below, oh to have a garden big enough to take some of these products.

While a lot of these products are out of reach for me, the sets are dressed in a way to show off other products and there are things I can take from them and bring to my own home.

I think having a garden clock is such a good idea, we're always asking each other the time whilst we sit out in summer and think it might be a present for my dad for Christmas. If I'd thought about it sooner I'd have bought him one for Fathers Day.

I also really like the low candle holder, which I think will work really well with some citronella candles to ward of those summer bugs.
 Thinking about personal highlights, when I visit Housing Units and it always comes back to lighting. They have so many options, they can meet every budget from a chandelier that wouldn't be out of place in on a film set to a basic desk lamp.

As well as practical lighting solutions, there are a lot of quirky and cool options. I adore the dog wearing a cone light. While I don't think this would work in my house the light about the dining table and the blue desk lamp would fit in well. I've had a look and I think next pay day the desk lamp will be mine.
 While we looked round we were given a budget of £30 to select something from the store and they filmed us taking about it and saying why we'd picked what we picked.

I have to say there were some really good choices picked by the other bloggers and I'll share the video when it's available.

Some of the items I considered are below. A couple were out of budget but I loved so much I wanted to share.

How cool are these retro phones, the smaller ones (Blue / Orange) were £29.99 and are very similar to a phone my gran still has and uses. Her's is red and has the push button dial.

The bright coloured cushions were over budget at £45 before the discount, these may be the softest cushion I have ever felt, I think every school sensory room needs a couple of these. They also had them in more neutral colours for those of us who are not so adventurous.

Another great thing about Housing units is, they stock Bomb Cosmetics bath bombs. Bomb are one of my favourites and it's great to have a local stockist rather than ordering without knowing what they smell like online.

The last item was also over budget, but not by much and that surprised me. I expected the bag to be around £45 but it was £35.99 (I think - don't quote me)
 Our last stop before we had to film our piece to camera was back to the Wiken Tree where they served us a selection of food from the menu. This was a lovely and well needed treat after a long day at work.

The mini fish and chips and burger were a hit with me. I've had afternoon tea at Housing Units before and the quality of the food is always top notch. I really did feel spoilt by them and this has been the case when I've been a regular customer and at both the events.

Its good to see a local company who is passionate about what they do and have great people working for them and who made us all feel so welcome. The products we picked out for the video also came home with us as a thank you and I will do a separate post on these as I need to take some picture of them. I picked out a set of wine glasses that I'd spotted in the sale booklet that had been posted out to me and a bath bomb set. (I want to do an unboxing video on this on my YouTube Channel) I was invited as a Guest, but as always all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Month in a Minute - May 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

This is my 3rd month of doing month in a Minute but I've never done an accompanying blog post.

My has flown by and has been a busy month.

It's started with Blog On, blogging conference. Swiftly followed by my Birthday a dentist appointment.

A Christening and then gatecrashing another Christening! Don't ask or do ask!!

It's also the month or the animal as when you'll watch there is an over arching theme of wild and not so wildlife, including a very smug looking chihuahua on a tram and a great Dane looking very uncomfortable on a bus.

Over all May has been great, it's had it's down side which was 4 hours in A&E when my mum got attacked by a neighbours cat. It's sounds so far fetched but it's made such a mess of her hand.

What else has happened this month? It was Saddleworth band contest but the weather was so bad we sheltered in the pub!


Let's see what June brings!!

Month in a Minute

Events 2016

The Press Tent #SpringMeet

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I'm very late posting this but as I had such a lovely evening thought it was still worth about the Press Tent Event I went to in May. 

The event itself was at The Club House in Spinningfields, Manchester. This was their 3rd event and the 2nd one I've been to. 

The main difference with this event to any I've been too before was it was a paid for event for a small number of bloggers. I think there was only 5 bloggers which was lovely and intimate. The event cost £30 and for that we had a two course meal, an introduction into brush lettering and some delicious drinks from Licor 43 as well as learning about the history of the brand. The plant / facility where the product is made in Spain looks amazing. It's on a wish list of places to visit. 

Will it surprise any of you to learn that I arrived early, the weather was miserable and I couldn't loiter any longer in the rain. The good think about arriving early was that I got to take some photo's of the beautiful table decorations. 

We were welcomes with a vanilla coke float made with Licor 43, Coke and vanilla ice cream. As someone who isn't fond of ice cream I was a little apprehensive but it as really nice, the slightly melted ice cream added a lovely vanilla flavour. They made me a second without the icecream which was equally as nice if not as impressive looking. 

While we had the meal Emily & Jon from Licor 43 gave us a bit of history about the brand which dates back to Pre Roman times in Spain and was originally made of 43 ingredient by a woman. The same family still own the recipe and only a select number of people in the family know what it is. These days it's made with significantly less ingredient but still has a complex flavour and you can really taste, citrus, spices and vanilla. It's also really versatile as they proved by making us a cocktail which I think was called Ginger 43, I can't remember the full list but it had ginger ale in it. Again I'm not a fan of ginger (I sense a theme here... keep reading) but I've never tried ginger ale before and with the combination they used it worked really well and I could have happily drank another one. 

On of the more unusual in my mind combinations they told us that is popular in Germany is a Licor 43 beer. I could only think of adding a shot to a pint glass but no. It's a shot if the Licor 43 with cream or milk floated on the top. I feel this must be popular as they had shot glasses in the shape of beer mugs, ( do you know what's coming next?) Well, I don't like Ice cream, I don't like Ginger and wait for it... I don't like milk. I always say I'm not fussy but clearly I am!

I decided to try and once again they proved they know their stuff, I couldn't have had more than one but it was fine, I could imagine drinking it on a night out with the girls. 

The food was delicious, we had a few options to choose from but as soon as I saw fish & chips I knew it was what I wanted. The batter was crispy and the the chips chunky. I also went for the chocolate orange pot which was finished with a splash of Licor 43 and served with a short bread biscuit. 

We also had an introduction to Brush Lettering from Artsynibs, which was really interesting and much harder than expected. It's such a beautiful activity and you can get some great results. The top tops are to sit up straight, go slow and breath. Three things I kept for getting to do! 

Also a big thank you to Pentle for providing the materials and supplies we used. This is a skill I thought I'd be ok at. At school we we had to write with a fountain pen and I'm ok (less than ok but ya know) at calligraphy. Brusg Lettering is a whole other ball game but one I'm willing to practice at.