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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Etsy Shop Update!


I have previously written a blog post on the Disney Mouse Ears I was making and the Etsy Shop I opened. It was a slow starter, it always  would be, so a few weeks ago, I got to thinking on (Christmas) presents, don't be mad I want to make as much as I can this year. After stocking up on materials and watching a couple of Youtube videos, I had some success! Much to my delight of course. I then thought these would be perfect to sell (since I had suddenly made so many), so guess what? That's what I did!

They are all listed on Etsy now at EarsAreAWishCo and I have a Facebook page, Ears Are A Wish Your Heart Makes.

Prices are:
Coin Purse/Small Pouch £5
Pencil Case £7
Small A5 Pouch/Makeup Bag £10
Large A4/Laptop Pouch £15

I have currently kept costs low while this is still very much a hobby and very much helps relieve stress and anxiety. 

I mean I do probably have enough on my plate already, but that would be too easy. I love having a finished product and the excitement of getting order notifications come through and being able to send out a product as a result is one of the most satisfying feelings I have ever had. Id I could send them out to everyone, I would but you know, money. It's quite exciting seeing people leave comments and reviews on how much they love their new item too.

I have always loved the idea of having my own Etsy shop but have never quite found my niche or something I can confidently make, until now!

I have an exclusive code for when your purchase 2 or more items you get 20% off, using the coupon code FIRSTORDER.

I am currently adding new products, new versions and new patterns every week, so do keep an eye out!

If you see something you like but would like it in a different size, do let me know as I can cater for that too.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

No Carb July

Weight loss is one of those massively controversial topics, don't you think? There's so much out there in terms of information, do it this way not that way, this doesn't work but this does, all of that nonsense and sometimes it's really hard to figure out which direction to take weight loss in. The right direction, obviously.

My Dad and I are taking on a no carb July, yes I'm only a couple of days in but it's going well so far. It is really all it says in the name, no carbohydrates for a whole month, the focus is nothing white - but I want to make the choices to not have carbs for as long as I possibly can. It's already expected there are a few days that this can't go to plan, but there are ways to minimise any major consequences, for example I have a meeting for work where they're providing lunch, of which I have no idea what will be on offer! I am taking some food myself, just in case, but I will choose wisely while I am there and will have a brown bread sandwich instead of white bread. I think it's really all about the choices I make, I only have myself to blame if I am choosing the wrong foods.

Along with a much healthier and balanced diet, I plan on going to the gym 4 times a week. This is going to be a tough one, as I often find it really difficult to go after work as I often find myself really tired, but I'm going to keep pushing as much as I possibly can, I've managed it once so far and did feel it was well worth it.

I got Phil to take before photos on the 1st July after I had gotten back from the gym, so I am able to track my progress, it is likely that these photos will not be seen by anyone else and they are really only for my benefit at the end of the day. I plan to take another set of photos at the end of the month to see how far I've come, I can then see how much progress I have made in a month. 

On to the slightly more controversial topic, I have seen so much recently on Twitter and Instagram about loving your body, self love and that being overweight is totally ok. Dare I say it, I really don't agree with everything that I see. I completely agree loving your body, but for the sake of my health and life, being overweight is not safe or ok. I don't feel comfortable in my body, I struggle some times when I really shouldn't and that's not something I take much pleasure in. The chances are I might always struggle to love my body, but I can assure you I will love it more if I feel healthier and happier. When you have a small health scare than can partially be controlled by weight loss, it's really the time to make a change to prevent longer term issues. That's just my opinion, whether people agree with it or not, I will be losing weight for my health.

Stay tuned for the next Weight Loss update! 

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Sunday, 24 June 2018

June Degustabox: BBQ Season

I'm going to jump right in and say can you believe that it is BBQ Season already?! I'm currently sat in a Villa in Italy and we are getting ready to fire up the BBQ Pit, sadly I don't have the products from Degustabox to use here, but I did think it was the perfect time to talk about them!

Capsicana Cook Sauces: £1.99 Each
I have previously tried Capsicana products before in a previous Degustabox, I love them then and I certainly was very excited to see these products in a Degustabox again! They are based on Mexican and Latin American cuisine, so that you can enjoy those cuisines at home. Each packet is packed full with so much flavour, they're yummy! I will be using mine to make some fajitas when I get home from Italy. Stay tuned for next month when I will have another exciting post on Capsicana.

Rosie's Pig Raspberry Roller: £2
I love cider anyway, and was extremely intrigued as the Raspberry Roller is a sparkling cloudy cider flavoured with Raspberry and Cucumber. My first thought was mm Raspberry cider but wasn't so sure  about the Cucumber, so the minute I had finished my Degustabox photo shoot and finally finished work for a week, I cracked this Cider open, now let me tell you, it was delicious! One of the best Ciders I've tasted. I am a fan of a flavoured cider but I do find some of them too sweet, this had the best balance, and as soon as I find a local shop that stocks them, I'll be filling up my fridge!

Frylight Avocado Oil Cooking Spray: £2.99
I am a big fan of Frylight and a big fan of Avocados, so to see the Frylight Avocado Oil Cooking Spray in this months box, I was excited to say the least. It's been on my Shopping Wish List for a while, yes I have one because moving out is expensive and this is clearly a must have for my kitchen. I love that because of the Avocado Oil in the frylight, it can be used at a higher temperature unlike other cooking sprays. This is news to me, but it is definitely a positive to using this particular frylight oil. 

Peckish BBQ Rice Crackers: £1.79
Is BBQ flavour things just not one of the best? These Peckish BBQ Rice Crackers are so yummy, I loved little snack packs like this as well, the rice crackers are a thinner, lighter and crispier snack that taste so BBQ-ey (yes, that is a word), that you don't really have any guilt eating them. They are also baked and not fried, so you definitely get the lighter feeling from them. They are gluten free and under 100 calories per portion, in my opinion also a good thing, I'm trying to get a few more gluten free snacks into my routine and this is going to be a welcomed addition. 

Brioche Pasquier Pains au Lait: £1.75
These Pains au Lait reminded me of hot dog rolls which absolutely scream BBQ's to me, however I then saw how creative you can get with the soft and tasty milk brioche rolls. Some fillings they recommend are salted caramel ice cream, avocado and bacon (in my ASDA delivery for next week, coming to Instagram near you soon), and mac and cheese, I mean YUM. The rolls are free from preservatives, artificial flavours and hydrogenated fats, making them absolutely perfect for family BBQs.

no&more Raspberry & Blueberry: £1.29
I absolutely love drinks like this, they're just that little bit better than water and give you such a great pick me up too. I love berries so normally anything berry flavoured is right up my street. To make it even better no&more has no sugar, no sweeteners, and no artificial ingredients. Perfect to keep you hydrated on those hot summer days. 

Orangina: £1.20 Each
Orangina is one of those classic summer drinks, isn't it? One that they always have in restaurants on holiday and it is SO underrated in my opinion. I loved the limited edition bottles they brought out and I am still seeing them around now. They're a great drink as they're more like sparkling water with tonnes of orange flavour, but they're not too fizzy like your generic fizzy drink! The absolute perfect summer drink over some ice. I really need to try it as a mixer in some cocktails soon.

Mighty Fine Salted Caramel Honeycomb Bar: £1
When I saw this cute little honeycomb bar in the depths of the box, it felt like I had found the hidden treasure! It's a gorgeous honeycomb made with the best natural ingredients. The honeycomb is their Might Fine signature, that is light, crisp and lightly salted and then covered in a caramel Belgian milk chocolate, ta-dah! I give you the Salted Caramel Honeycomb Bar, I really need to try out the rest of their range!

Idahoan Gratin Bake: £2.30
I was extremely intrigued when I found the Gratin Bake packet in the Degustabox, and within minutes Phil was ready to make it up and stick it in the oven! The preparation time is less than 3 minutes and the cook time is less than half an hour, always a winner in my book. The Gratin Bake is one of those ideal sides to any meal that can be whipped up in minutes and look impressive and taste delicious.

The Jelly Bean Factory: Fair-trade Box: £1.25
I love love love jelly beans, so many flavours from such tiny beans! The fair-trade box is filled with 36 delicious flavours and made using fair-trade sugar, very important. The box is one that you can just pop in your bag as a snack at work or if you are on a long day out, snacks are crucial! I had to resist not to eat these straight away, so I am really looking forward to enjoying these when I am back home.

Great British Biscotti Co: £1.30
Last but not least, a scrumptious Biscotti. This one is flavoured with Belgian White Chocolate, Cranberries and Pistachios, literally the most yummy combination out there. The Biscotti literally melts in your mouth, it tastes divine, yes, that's right, divine.

FYRE Fruit Drinks: £1.29 Each
I found these drinks so intriguing, you have a classic fruit sparkling drink which is nice and refreshing and it is then blended with spices to give it's unique flavour. They give a great balance of sweet and spice. The lemon and ginger combination is really good! 

This was honestly one of my favourite boxes I think I've ever received, although I do seem to be saying that every month now!, I'm such a fussy eater so I sometimes find it hard to convince myself to try new products but most of these I could already see myself trying which is always promising.

You can use the code PU9SR, to get your first box for only £7.99, I can assure you it is worth it!

*The box and its contents were kindly gifted by Degustabox, but as always, all views and opinions are my own.

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Monday, 23 April 2018

Degustabox: March Easter Box

Easter may now well be over, but Degustabox sure did pull out the stops for their March/Easter Degustabox. I really loved this box as there was a really good variety of products in there that would pretty much set you up for the day!

Cirio Pasta Sauce
Cirio have bought out a brand new pasta sauce made with premium peeled plum tomatoes, that is made with 100% top Italian ingredients. We are all off as a family to Italy this year so this has certainly gotten us in the mood for all the delicious Italian food we are going to indulge in. I used my jar in two recipes, as it is a decent sized jar so I made a Bolognese sauce that was enough for two people and then an arabiatta sauce which covered two portions as well. It was so tasty, the tomato was so rich and delicious and made the sauces taste incredible, this is definitely one I will be buying again.

Smarties & Milkybar Mixed Mini Eggs
When I found these I was pretty much like omg, Smarties AND Milkybar in Mini Egg form?! You cannot get better than that. There was a suggested recipe on the back of the main card for some brownies, and we honestly had every intention of making them, but it kind of couldn't happen as we ate them before we had the chance to bake the brownies. I can assure you that they tasted delicious and I really hope they do them next year so we can buy them again!

Mr Lee's Noodles
I received the Dragon Fire Vegetables Flavour in my box, I had it for my lunch only last week as a quick low calorie but filling pot. Mr Lee's is actually an award-winning range, that consists of six noodles in a cup. They are all gluten free, low in sugar and low in saturated fats and calories. I know what you're thinking "oh there can't be anything good about this now!", but it was so packed full of flavour, it was a truly pleasant surprise. The ingredients have been freeze-dried to lock in the nutrients and flavour. In mine the mushrooms tasted just like mushrooms as well as the chilli in there too, as soon as the hot water hit it, it unlocked the flavour which was amazing!

Encona Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce
I must say this looks like a hot sauce, and it is. The most ultimate heating flavour combination for this limited edition chilli sauce. It uses the scorching blend of the world's hottest chilli pepper, tomatoes and spices, and while I do love myself a bit of spice and chilli, it was even a struggle for me! Their suggestions were to use it as a marinade for a hot wing challenge or to pop a few drops into a dish that you want to add a bit of fire to..which is what I used it for, I actually added some to the arabiatta I made with the Cirio sauce!

Appy Kids Co Roald Dahl Fruit Drinks
Is it bad that I am now 25 years old but seeing Matilda on the juice carton was really exciting? With the pack of 3 mixed berries drinks, I've been popping one in my bag every few days to have at work as I'm trying to cut back on Diet Coke and used this as more of a treat instead... Each different flavoured drink had a different Roald Dahl book character on it. I can imagine for kids this will keep them encouraged to drink and keep hydrated while they are reading all of those classic books. These drinks are all really good for children with low calories, Vegan approved, no GMOs, gluten, added sugars or artificial preservatives in them. 

Hafervoll Flapjack Limited Lebkuchen
This is Hafervoll Flapjacks first 100% natural oat bars without added sugar, cheap ingredients or any other additives. They are handmade and then oven-baked and most importantly taste homemade. I am not a massive fan of flapjacks and I would be more likely to pick up a brownie, but I did want to give these a go, and since there were two in the box, Phil also had one. He likes flapjacks more than I do, and he really enjoyed it, it had cinnamon in and had more of a Festive flavour that reminded me of Christmas!

Shreddies Max Granola
These are delicious!! The Granola is a combination of crunch oat clusters with Shreddies pieces, honestly so delicious. It is made with 74% whole grain, high in fibre and also a good source of protein to help "maximise" your morning, see what they did there! I had mine in the morning for breakfast, obvs, it was such a quick and easy breakfast that I can grab really early before work and not have to put any thought into it! It also makes a good one to grab a handful for a late night snack and not feel guilty about it.

Ribena Pineapple & Passion Fruit
I love Ribena! I had no idea they did other flavours other than Blackcurrant though, so I was really excited to see their new Pineapple and Passion Fruit flavour they have added to their range that is loved by many. The squash has no added sugar and has less than 15 calories per 250ml serving. You can buy it in stores now and this squash tastes delicious, I am a big fan of these flavours anyway, and I don't find it as strong as the Blackcurrant which can sometimes be overpowering when you're having dinner or another meal.

Canny 100% Natural Chocolate Milk
This was a wonderful bonus surprise in this months box, for all this subscribers who answered Degustabox's mostly surveys, they got a bonus treat as a special thank you. This is an all natural chocolate milk which is refined sugar free and gluten free. I did drink this one chilled as suggested but I absolutely love heating up chocolate milk as an easy hot chocolate! It also makes a huge difference than just using hot chocolate powder, try it next time you have some chocolate milk!

Tenzing Natural Energy
This low calorie energy drink is actually kinda good for you! There is nothing artificial about this drink and Tenzing Natural Energy is made from six natural ingredients: Green Coffee, Guarana, Green Tea, Himalayan Rock Salt, Beet Sugar and Lemon Juice.

You can use the code PU9SR, to get your first box for only £7.99, I can assure you it is worth it!

*The box and its contents were kindly gifted by Degustabox, but as always, all views and opinions are my own.

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Journal: Page Layouts

Hello! And Happy Monday!

So I touched on it last week that I had started journalling and I wanted to share with you a few layouts I have been using. I am really finding that this is helping me to be more positive and find things to look forward to instead of always seeing the negative in everything.

The first layout that I have been trying out is sort of a mixture of everything, I use a to do list of what I want to achieve for the week and also what I have to look forward to. This is a really key one for me as it is always good to have something to focus on. Even if there is a whole week of work to get through first. I will normally use two double page spreads for 1 week. Using one page to the focus for my week and the other 3 for daily entries. 

I have very much enjoyed using this particular layout as it meant I had a bumper to do list to always refer to and also a list of what I had to look forward to. Always a winner in my eyes as well as keeping up the positivity in terms of what I have going on in the week regardless of anything else!

Positives & Negatives:
+ Having a long list of things to look forward to
+ Being able to refer back to it when necessary
- Too many things on my to do list which can be overwhelming

The second layout that I have been using again uses the same format with one focus page and 3 other pages to write in my daily entries sorta thing. I find that this focus page takes up a bit more room for not as much, however it is one that I do really enjoy using too. I line the edges with Washi Tape and have the dates for the week at the top so I can instantly know what the dates are if I am looking back on previous weeks. 

I really like that this layout has a section to reflect on last week, so I can see the good things that have happened and I can go in to the next week feeling like I have overcome situations and generally feel like a better person because of it! Plus I think it's always nice to see what you've already done and what I want to then achieve next week as a result, as I often have a mega to do list that I will only do half of so that normally leads on to what I want to do for the coming week! Which leads on to what I pop underneath in to "This Week", I do tend to use this for what I have to look forward to, rather than what I'm going to do for the week.

Positives & Negatives:
+ Reflection on last week as a refresh of what happened
+ Positive looking forward on what is to come
- Not seeing what I want to achieve

This layout is one I have only used once, I enjoyed it but I felt there was a slight lack of freedom with it, but I did want to share it nonetheless. I kept it really simple with what I was excited for that week, and in the case of when I was using it, it was my birthday week so there was plenty for me to look forward to. I also wanted to have a bit more space for daily entries that week as I had more going on that I knew I wanted to keep track of and so it did really work for me that week. For me, I would use this again if I knew I had special occasions or for example, when we have our family holiday to Italy this year, I would do something very similar to this one. 

Positives & Negatives:
+ More space for writing and to do's for the day
+ A focus for the week ahead
- No reflection on the previous week

These are the three layouts I have currently been experimenting with, but I am also looking at more of an Art Journal approach as well! Pinterest is full of some many wonderful things!

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Little Life Update.

It's been a long time since I have posted properly and I wanted to share a life update - which I feel is just what this blog needs. I do plan to blog more but I am constantly saying that!

A New Job - Again!
I can't help it! The job became available at the end of last year and I dwelled on it for a while as I hadn't long been in my previous job, but wanted to give it a shot and here I am! It was definitely the right move for me as I already feel tonnes better since I have moved jobs. It very much feels like being home, but having gained so much experience in two years since I was last with the company, it feels great to be back! And back with people I worked with before makes the job so much more enjoyable too!

You may remember my previous blog posts about Bullet Journals, momentarily I stepped away from this to try a Happy Planner, long story short, it looked very pretty but practicality wise it just didn't work for me. I currently have about 3 diaries that I use, 1 of which always comes to work with me for my shifts and then if I need to make any notes.

I then have a Bullet Journal that I am using as and when to make lists for all sorts and to also keep track of budgeting and other bits and bobs. It is sort of one of those diaries that is what I make it. I follow so many Instagram accounts and see so many weird and wonderful spreads that can be really inspiring. My new favourite thing to use are some Space themed sticky notes I got off eBay for 99p. I've been using these instead of stickers and dotting them around to fill gaps. Along with Space Washi Tape from Bureau Direct. I am most likely going to share my layouts for these in a blog post!

The 3rd Journal I have been using also takes the form of a Bullet Journal. I have been doing a Journal to support my mental health, in the past few months it took a bit of a negative turn and I wasn't prepared to let it overly control my life. So, I thought the best way to control and manage my anxiety was by channeling my creative side and letting it out that way. I haven't let anyone read this Journal and it is something I will keep for myself and occasionally look back on. I've kept it simple and will be doing a blog post on how I have been laying it out, what I've been using and then what I choose to include in it, without sharing entries! One of my most favourite's so far was for my birthday and I included some photos from Easter Sunday and the day!

I have continued to do a fair amount of crafting recently, I have just gotten some new Disney material to make some Minnie Mouse Ears with which I am so excited to get started on when I finally clear my desk to get my sewing machine out. I am also in the process of making an Anniversary present for Phil which I cannot wait to share how I am doing it and I am considering doing progress pictures so I can share the final product. Pinterest has become my best friend on this recently, I've found lots of presents to make!

I only want to touch on this one briefly, I have been very absent this year and towards the end of 2017, there was far too much going on so I really didn't want to write half-hearted posts. As a friend said, 2018 is shaping up to be a better year already. My aim is to blog once a week, but not on a strict schedule. This blog post is going live today, on a Wednesday, as tbh I just wanted to get this out there. My plan is to post every Monday and I have several posts I want to get written on a whole range of topics. I am still very active on my two Instagram accounts - adelesmith_ and earsareawish

I am not quite ready to walk away just yet!

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