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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

It seems to be a bloggers prerogative to take the occasional little break, and as you can see I've done just that recently, having a couple weeks off. I've just been feeling a little uninspired and not a great deal of love for my online space recently, and so I've been spending all of my spare time tucked up in bed with a good book or the latest episode of Man Men. Teaming up with Direct Blinds, I thought I'd talk through some of my favourite bedroom relaxation tips!

- Keep it clean (you can't relax with piles of clothes surrounding you)
- Invest in bedding and a good mattress
- Add cosy textiles in rugs, cushions and throw
- Always have a window slightly open
- Buy some nice candles (as if I ever need an excuse!)
- Clear away any clutter
- Decorate in colours you love
- Use lamps to create a softer light
- Keep a beauty drawer in the bedside cabinet for a quick evening pamper

What are your tips for making your bedroom as relaxing as possible?

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Friday, 27 March 2015

I used to be quite the keen crafter, but it has been probably a few years now since I sat down and actually created anything. A Beautiful Mess has been one of my favourite blogs since I've been about 18, and the interiors and DIY posts are always so inspiring. When I read their marble clay ring dish post I thought that would be the perfect idea to ease me back into crafting, and although I hit some speed bumps on the way, I'm quite happy with how they turned out!

Y  O  U    W  I  L  L    N  E  E  D :
- White and coloured oven clay. I only used three colours but I wish I'd used more to help create the marble effect, I bought mine from this ebay seller. 
- A large jar or rolling pin.
- Gold or metallic paint and a small paintbrush.
- A knife (preferably specifically for clay - otherwise you'll end up with edges like mine!)
- A small, ovensafe bowl.

1. Pick your clay.
2. Split into smaller pieces - For the second bowl which has a better marble effect I split them up into smaller than pictured which seemed to be work better.
3. Roll into little lines around 5" long - Use your hands for this, a little heat helps to work them into shape quicker.
4. Twist all the lines into one snake (how much does mine look like a flump here!)
5. Roll the snake into a line around double the original length, then twist again.
6. Smush (that is the technical term) into a ball, and you should be able to see the marble effect taking place.
7. Roll out into a circle, and when big enough cut around a jar or small bowl with your knife.
8. Pop it into a small, ovensafe bowl so the edges can turn up a little - I baked mine for about 20 minutes on 250.
9. Leave to cool, remove from the bowl and then paint around the edges with your metallic paint.

Then we're done! As you can see, mine aren't as good as the original, and I'd use different colours in future too. The peach one went a little more orange which didn't look great with the pink shade. I also used the offcuts of the first with the second, which I think helped to create a real marble effect. I think using more colours of clay would create a more dramatic effect too. Also, you do kinda need a clay knife, the edges of mine ended up quite rough as you can see, but I think it adds to the handmade look - it depends what you prefer! Overall I do really like them, and they're a really quick and easy project to whip up when you have a spare hour.

Would you make your own marble clay ring dishes?

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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

My Pinterest addiction is still in full force, and by the looks of the above image, as is my love for blush pinks and peaches. Pinterest is my favourite place for inspiration, and at the moment I'm dreaming of new kitchens, flowers and plants.

01. I think a new kitchen will probably be one of the final and very big jobs in the house for quite some time. It's going to be an expensive job so we'll probably be saving up for it for quite sometime, and as of yet I'm unsure whether we'll just be saving for a completely new kitchen or revamping what we already have. I've got my dream kitchen in mind which has white cupboards, white subway tiles with a black or grey grout, and a marble top would be the dream although the most expensive option! The gorgeous kitchen behind Bev Cooks is absolutely beautiful.

02. I really love how little branches and single flower stems have been styled together. I actually have mini vases like these, so I'll definitely have to try recreating this beautiful selection from Weekday Carnival

03. Yep, more flowers. Spring is now with us, and although the weather outside is looking a little differently as I'm writing this, it does mean a whole bunch of flowers have come out to see us again. I've been spotting lots of ranunculus on Instagram recently so I'd love a bouquet like these

04. I shared on Sunday my tips for getting through the bad times in business, and a couple weeks ago business wasn't exactly booming for me. I think the biggest tips I followed was not letting it effect me negatively and trying to work through it; despite it being the last thing I wanted to do, I carried on listing as much new stock as I could and sharing it online. It worked because I've had two really fantastic weeks now, and things look to be continuing in a positive way. This definitely sums up how I've been feeling about it all.

Are you on Pinterest? Find me here!

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

There are always going to be highs and lows in business, it's just one of those things that if you're thinking of setting up shop you'll just have to get to grips with. Occasionally it doesn't matter how hard you're working, how enthusiastic you are about the product, people just don't want what you're selling. Today is the 5th anniversary of opening my little ebay store, and whilst the majority of it has been fantastic and rewarding, I've experienced a lot of said highs and lows. There are a few things to take into consideration if you are going through one of the tough times.

P  L  A  N    F  O  R    I  T
It would be great to think business will always be smooth sailing, but sadly it's just not practical in this day and age. I need to take my own advice on this one; I'm 25 this year and from week to week, month to month, I live within my means. What savings I did have have disappeared when I've needed to pay rent and bills and I don't replace them. If I do go through a bad sales week I'm counting on it picking up, which luckily it usually does, but it's not a great idea to not have any savings at all. Just in case.

W  O  R  K    T  H  R  O  U  G  H    I  T    &    L  E  A  R  N
It's the same with life experiences, I really believe how we react to difficult situations in life shapes us as a person. We can either sit and mope around, feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can act. Get your ass into gear and get working, don't take it lying down; bad weeks give me the motivation to work that extra bit harder to make next week an improvement. Take that attitude with you into the future, and the bad weeks may not come around as frequently.

M  A  K  E    S  O  M  E    C  H  A  N  G  E  S
Although it may not feel like it, change is good, and is necessary every once in a while to keep up with people's ever changing styles and preferences. I've recently altered my shop's images, as well as changing the shop front and design of the listing too; after a couple hours work it looks a lot more professional and intriguing to customers. Look around at what others in your field are doing to see what people are buying - don't steal ideas, but take inspiration from that to see what you can improve.

O  F  F  E  R    A    S  A  L  E
A sure fire way to get people buying is to offer a sale. It clears out any old stock for space for new, and attracts more customers your way. I regularly have sales on, even if it's only 25% off or so; in these sorts of times everyone appreciates discounts, and despite not being on the high street you could benefit from creating a seasonal sale or two.

W  O  R  K    H  A  R  D
At the end of it all, we get out what we put into our businesses, so put in a ton of hard work and shed load of effort, and you'll see results.

Do you run your own business? What advice do you have for getting through the hard times?

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