Thursday, 28 June 2012

Smash* Book Giveaway!


I'm super pleased to finally reveal my very first blog giveaway!


Having reached (somehow) a lovely number of followers on my blog & other social media sites, I thought it was about time to 'give something back' - without that sounding patronising or weird - in the form of a giveaway!

My blog has taken lots of different twists and turns over the years; starting originally as a travel blog, then a personal diary, now settling with lifestyle & beauty - it seems I change my mind often (sorry!). However lots of you have stuck through those changes & I am really, really grateful.

SO!


What is the giveaway?




a SMASHBOOK of course, plus lots of goodies to use in it! ♥


Since originally posting about my first Smashbook & the lovely, personalised service I got from Craft Obsessions, I've had lots of questions & queries about 'Smashing'. So, I figured there'd be no better giveaway than the;




  • Red Doodle Smashbook (£14.99)

  • Stripy flag clips (£2.25)

  • Polka dot washi tape (£3.50)

  • Bird bookmark (£2.25)

  • and a Quote Book! (£2.25)


I picked out some of my personal favourite things that I use in my own Smashbook as I think they're the most useful bits to have when sticking bits in! Although there are lots of other cheap & cheerful bits - also available from Craft Obsessions, that can help you create a fantastic junk journal!







What I love most about Smashing is that you don't have to be a 'creative' to do it, this really is something everyone can do! (Watch the video and I can guarantee you'll want one!)


I dont want to make you jump through hoops for this, all you have to do is somehow be subscribed to my blog, comment on this post and I would really appreciate if you 'Like' Craft Obsessions on Facebook as a thank you for supplying such a great prize :)


This giveaway was going to run on Rafflecopter however this blog doesn't support java... so to cut a long story short, we're going old school and using the 'leave a comment' entry method.



TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY:


1. You must follow this blog




  • via Wordpress follow (WP users only - top of site)

  • OR Subscribe via Email (Right handside column)

  • OR Follow on Bloglovin' / HelloCotton




2. You must leave a comment to be entered


The comment can be as simple as 'enter me' or just tell me why you would like to win! Also please include your method of following my blog & if you liked Craft Obsessions on Facebook (as you will forever be loved by me!)




This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY so anyone & everyone can enter. Only one entry per person. The giveaway will end at midnight on the 26th JULY 2012, the winner will be picked using random.org. The winner has three days to reply after I contact them & post a blog announcing who has won (so keep your eyes peeled!) if not, another winner will be chosen.



And that's it! I hope you're all as excited as I am, I love Smash*book & Craft Obsessions so this really is the perfect first giveaway!


Good luck & fingers crossed guys!


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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Are You Aware? Animal Testing.



In the past I've been a vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, full blown carnivore - you name it, I've tried it - and throughout that time I read up a lot about animal cruelty & welfare. It's probably changed my life in ways I never thought, this post is a reminder of that & a new pledge to use cruelty free cosmetics.

I'll hold my hands up & admit, for parts of my 'meat eating' life, it was very easy to forget about how this industry works, to stick my head in the sand and ignore it. However recently when I had my trial shift at Lush, doing my research brought it all swimming back & the importance of being aware.

I think every human on the planet has the choice to be aware - aware of the suffering of others, whether they be people or animals. We have that conscious choice to help and spread the word of wrong doing. Animal testing is very real, very current and extremely unfathomable as to why in this day & age it still continues to grow as a way of testing if a product is safe for human use.

As someone that dabbles in 'beauty blogging' I think it's essential to try my best to promote animal friendly products & really, that is why I'm writing this. I'm no saint & this is something I've only recently decided. My makeup bag is full of MAC (contrary to belief they DO test on animals now) but as an avid makeup user I'm now pledging that I will make a conscious effort to use brands that do not test on animals.




For those interested here is a list of cosmetic brands that don't test on animals (Peta pdf) - and similarly ones that do (Peta pdf). To make it easier when out shopping - look out for the 'leaping bunny' symbol - it means it's a cruelty free product *hurrah*

Nails Inc, Jemma Kidd, M&S, Barry M, Stila; to name but a few are all cruelty free.

I'm not here to bombard you with images or videos of what truly happens as I'm sure many of you already know, but as an example you can see the protest held by Lush in one of their shop windows on Regent street. I'd go as far as saying its disturbing (and not even the real thing, imagine), but effective nonetheless.






[http://www.fightinganimaltesting.com/]


I'm not saying you'll see me marching the street with sign posts & throwing red paint on fur wearers any time soon (dont get me wrong, pat on the back to those that do, really) but if this even makes one person aware that their makeup products, or any other cosmetics come with a price that is paid by animals, then its something!

This is a global, nationwide industry. One person choosing not to buy animal tested brands may not make a dent, but spreading the word can.

A link to a beginners guide to cruelty free cosmetics
A link to Go Cruelty Free FAQs
A link to make a No Cruel Cosmetics pledge
A link to a colour coded, simple graph of cosmetic brands that test or don't.

What do you think? Are you animal testing aware? 


Wanna join me going cruelty free? :)



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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Pet Portraits!

This past week I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by some super adorable pets (some my own, some not!) and so I've been a bit snap happy & figured I'd put them all here, looking cute, together.


A week looking after my little old lady (family pet) Anni was so lovely. She did a lot of snoozing, biscuit eating and had a couple of crazy half hours. We wandered up to Golden Acre Park for a Sunday stroll - and so she could jump in some puddles! This then happened again a couple of days later with my sisters PUPPY (he's huge) Malamute - Marley.











And because I didn't want to miss my little prickly munchkin out ... heres Herbert!



Looking very grumpy a) because he's quilling (losing his baby quills & become a big hedgehog) b) because I'd just woke him up for cuddles. And as an extra FYI - that spotty material isn't my pants. It's his bedding!

[All pictures taken on a Canon 550d with a 18-55mm lens.]


Have a lovely Sunday! X


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Friday, 22 June 2012

A Mixed Bag : Essie, L'Oreal, Stila & Models Own



FOTD : Benefit Hello Flawless, MAC Select Cover Up, MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural Medium, Laura Mercier Peach Mozaic Shimmer Bloc, HD Brows Palette, Stila Smudge Pot Kitten, MO White Eyeliner, L'OReal Rouge Caresse, MAC Liquid Eyeliner & MAC Dazzle Lash... Unbrushed hair & basic black tee. Effort.

A week or so ago, I went a bit shop crazy and bought a couple of random things I wouldn't necessarily always buy. They don't really go into any sort of category, so I figured I would have a little write-up about them here altogether!

Essie Polish (£7.99) :

This is completely a blogger influenced buy. I'll admit, I was sucked into the hype, I saw some in my local Boots, I couldn't help myself. So far I have In Stitches and Tea & Crumpets.

I'm not gonna beat around the bush, I'm just gonna say it... I really dislike Tea & Crumpets. It's not very 'me' and I'm not really sure what I was thinking when I picked it up. It almost reminds me of something my grandma would buy. It is a metallic, beige/brown that doesn't seem to apply very well, described on the site as a 'subtle and frosted beige'... No me gusta. In Stitches on the other hand, 'a cheeky blush pink' is lovely. I wouldn't say it's very pink - pink, and almost looks like a mixture of coral/purple/pink when applied, quite unusual and different to any other colour I have! So a big thumbs up for that.

Would I buy again? I'd say Essie has some great unique colours, but as for application & price? I think there are better.

Models Own, White Eyeliner (£4) :

Again, pretty weird. Still a 'not sure what I was thinking' purchase - maybe I was asleep during all this? However! I actually quite like this strange addition to my makeup bag (it's only strange because I'm such a fan of black eyeliner, never tried any other colour type person). I need to figure out how I really want to use it, I think it does a great job of making eyes look bright & wide and for the price I think it's great!

Would I buy again? Good colour pay-off, long lasting... Not sure what more you could ask for for four squid!


L'Oreal Rouge Caresse, Sweet Berry (£7,99) :

My favourite purchase of the bunch!* I'd been (again) hearing lots of good things about lipsticks which are more sheer, buttery & moisturising rather than thick, matte and heavy for this (supposedly) summer season. I came across these in Boots, and instantly loved the swatch I did on my hand of Sweet Berry. I'm always a fan of lipsticks that have hints of purple or are deep yet vibrant so Sweet Berry seemed like the obvious choice. It applies really well, it's buildable & lasts quite a while. It's light & feels similar to vaseline, whether is moisturises or not I can't really make my mind up - but do I like it? Hell yeah.

Would I buy again? *sigh* if only I knew L'Oreal test on animals sooner... more about that later. So, no.

And finally, Stila Smudge Pot, Kitten (£13) :

Loooooooooove it! This is fab little product. It's basically a gel eyeliner / eyeshadow and has an inky inset rather than powder or liquid (kind of in between the two). The colour is 'kitten' but I'd imagine this is what Rose Gold looks like in makeup form.  My only bug bare about it - is that it does crease as an eye-shadow, or at least on my eyelids that seem to like eating anything I put on there. One way I've found to fix this is by putting a neutral powder shadow on first then I apply this with my finger over the top. I haven't used it as an eyeliner yet, but I'll be sure to let you know how that goes if I do!

Would I buy again? I really love the colour & I love the shimmer yet not glittery effect, so a big thumbs up to Stila - I already have my eye on the brown smudge pot!

And there you have it! Some of my current make-up purchases :)

What are you liking recently? X
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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Jewellery I Heart Today : Hamsa Necklace


A month or so ago, I stumbled upon Etsy shop & jewellery maker Maldemer.


After a while of browsing her lovely handmade, vintage designs I instantly, I fell in love with the 'tiny silver sideways hamsa' necklace. It was perfect; discreet, sleek, won't make your neck go green and all for a cheap price of $27 / £18.


I had to have it!


Unluckily for me (but fantastic for Elisabeth!) this necklace was featured, unbeknownst to me, on a popular uk fashion blog which made sales go through the roof! Although, Elisabeth was such a great seller, she kept in contact the whole way and reserved the product for me. I was added on to a waiting list and within a couple of weeks the necklace arrived.



I'm new to Etsy but love the idea of buying unique handmade crafts, this was my first purchase and it couldn't have gone any better!


I'm really pleased with the necklace, I love what the hamsa symbol signifies (protection - blessings, power, strength) and a lot of people have commented on how lovely it is. I'll definitely be doing lots more Etsy shopping soon!


And if silver isn't your thing, there are lots of other alternatives available from different sellers!



Are you an Etsy shopper?


What jewellery do you like at the moment? X

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Friday, 15 June 2012

iPhonegraphie / Hogstagram


Apologies for the radio silence this week! 


I came down with some kind of head cold/flu that has stuck around for almost seven days now & quite frankly, I'm getting a bit sick of it! I've spent most of my time recently drinking lemsip & working my way through half a bottle of buttercup syrup (mmm...) I'm still not 100% but that doesn't stop me taking a few pictures & I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to just have a bit of an update! :)

So my Instagram is now fully Hogstagram. Herbert is putting on a couple of lbs and looking like a happy, healthy hog. Eating crunchy biscuits seems to one of his favourite past times; naturally, I filmed it.






I realise its not the best quality and apparently I don't have such a steady video-ing hand but my iPhone seems like the easiest thing to grab when balancing a chunky monkey on the other one!


Exciting bits - 

♥  We (me & Herbert) are now on Youtube too! (click) eventually I'd love to get into 'vlog-ing' but for now, you will have to make do with wobbly Herbert vids! If you're not on YT, how about Facebook? (click) - it's all just a bit of fun, I know how happy he makes me & if I can share that, then I figure, why not?



♥  A new skin care regime (possibly only exciting to me?) from Lush (will blog about when better again)... but even more exciting than that... I have a trial shift there on Saturday!!! *insert extreme excitement here* I was in there pre getting sick and noticed they had a place available, I went along to a group interview on Tuesday and passed the first part of the interview; selling and linking products. So all fingers & toes crossed for Saturday would be fantastic please & thank you's.



 A possible giveaway is up & coming so keep your eyes peeled. I'm hoping it's going to be one that will appeal to nearly all of you lovely lot & is just a way of giving something back! Hopefully you'll like it!



♥  I'm dog sitting... Animals make me happy, what can I say? Anni (the family pooch) is here for a week & it's lovely to be surrounded by cuteness on a daily basis! Between her and Herbert, I'm forgetting I was ever ill to begin with.

And that's it really! I promise I have more interesting bits to blog about shortly :)


I hope you're all having a great week & I'll fingers crossed I'll be back to normal blogging services soon x

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Friday, 8 June 2012

Hello Canvas!


Last week I was extremely lucky to be contacted by Jess from Hello Canvas - the UK's largest photo on canvas website. 


They offered me the chance to send one of my favourite photographs that I thought would be difficult to reproduce onto a 50 x 70cm canvas.

Since leaving Spain I've always loved the idea of having my pictures 'in hand', so to speak. In a world of digital media it's easy to overlook the unique novelty of having the photos you take in a material form. So, as soon as I received the email - I knew exactly which one I would send. My favourite picture that only exists digitally.


Sevilla. My absolute favourite place on the Earth that I have ever visited, to date. I took this picture while family were out to visit me. It was a wonderful day; warm air, siesta time, peaceful... All the things I associate with Spain in general! To me, it is the perfect picture (maybe not technically, but for sentimental value) and I thought it would meet the brief of being challenging to print with all its different elements!

So fast forward three days after sending my image - the canvas arrives! Speedy or what? I was so excited to see the outcome, after having a quick look at Hello Canvas' site, I knew I would be impressed with the quality.

Actually, I was more than impressed. I was blown away! It's a fantastic size, the quality is incredible - you can literally see the peoples face on the bridge, the colours are identical to the original... In fact it may even look better than the digital one!





I honestly couldn't be happier with it. As my first canvas experience, I now want more!


Thank you Hello Canvas :)


* this canvas was sent to me for free to review, this has had no impact on my opinion of the final product.

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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Tweaks.


As I've mentioned before, I am a person who quite likes changing things.


Be it myself, my surroundings or my blog - I enjoy sprucing things up every once in a while!


This past week I've been working on a new blog header. I'm new to the whole drawing/scanning/photo-shopping your work; so this is all really a work in progress. As you can see, the outcome is above ^^ ... and to the side >>...

I drew the image (possibly quadruple the size actually needed, bad habit) and used the banner within the picture to make widget headers. I quite like the widget headers more than the actual 'portrait'!

I've always liked the look of more personalised, hand-drawn blogs elements and even if the image isn't an exact resemblance - it will do for now! I'm not 100% happy with it (ever the perfectionist) but it is definitely a start! It's something that will at least keep me busy over the summer :)


As an extra - I've uploaded the PDS file of the widget banners with customisable text so you can use them on your blogs too, if you wish! [click to download]. file size 323kb.


Also, I'm going to be working on some social media buttons shortly (bloglovin', twitter, etc), so if anyone has any ideas or would like some kind of specific button to use (hand-drawn) then let me know and I'll share the results.

Hope you all have a nice week! X


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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Herbert, the African Pygmy Hedgehog.



Introducing the new addition to the house;


Internet, meet Herbert, the seven week old African Pygmy Hedgehog!


Cute isn't even the word.


We've had him four nights now and he's settling in wonderfully. Like most 'babies' he enjoys sticking in his head in his food bowl, snoozing, snuggling... and pooing all over. (You can't exactly be mad at that little face though).


He's lovely and making such an interesting pet, I'm learning so much along the way. I've wanted an APH for such a long time, it's just amazing to have him finally here!


There's been a lot of questions about the fact he's quite unusual, so...


...for those interested (it's fact time!) :




  • Firstly, yes, it is legal and yes, they can be kept as pets!

  • He lives in a rabbit size cage & when he's twelve weeks old he'll get a 12" wheel.

  • He is nocturnal and becomes a very grumpy, prickle bomb when he wakes up.

  • He eats cat biscuits - which is very funny to watch - also chicken, egg & mealworms.

  • He is Chocolate coloured and Algerian (the little brown cheek markings).

  • He will lick/nibble any new smell (inc. people), then foam at the mouth and lick his quills; known as anointing - also very amusing.

  • He is the most adorable pet I have ever, ever had.

  • He likes pooing on people (read: me).


I've been a bit snap happy - my instagram is now hedgehogram - but still, expect to see lots more pictures soon! :)




Possibly my favourite picture so far; head tickles!


Herbert can also now be found on Facebook :)


Hope you're all having a lovely Jubilee Weekend.


X

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