Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween: The Inquisitive Spirit

I'm not usually one to post on a Thursday, but this month I've decided to give my LIP readers an extra spooky little treat!  As some of you know, I write fiction and have plans to publish my work in the future.  I have, however, never written about my own experiences in story form - other than on the blog of course!  So I thought I would take the opportunity, this Hallow's Eve, to recall a truly terrifying tale.  Truly terrifying...because it is TRUE and it happened to ME! 

I have always been fascinated with the paranormal, from a morbidly young age!  I could write about lots of experiences I've had through the years, from ghost hunts to angels, spooky photos from a school sleepover to baffling dreams about someone I've never met, but I have only ever seen one 'apparition' and it was in the most unlikely of circumstances.  I hope you enjoy....

 " The Inquisitive Spirit"

November had fallen in 2007.  The last days of bright sun were upon us, as it battled against a chill wind and threats of winter storms.  I had woken up that morning, full of cold.  My eyes were puffed and my throat swollen, this was not going to be a fun journey, driving from Bath to Aldershot in my then-boyfriend's near-dead Fiesta.  Little did I know, at the time, our waning relationship would be over in less than two months.  But, we had decided, that weekend, that we would pay a visit to his cousin and cousin's fiancee, for a change of scenery and a chance to spend some time with his family.

The drive there was long and boring, I was snuffling my way through half-conversations and insisted on playing the most annoying CDs I had in my collection.  It was nearing dark when we arrived at the house we would be staying in, owned by the parents of 'The Fiancee', who were away at the time.  The house was a beautiful building that stood on a corner in a leafy residential suburb.  Not being very apt with my architectural knowledge, I would perhaps have dated it back fifty years, but it had had a fair amount of extension work done.  We were greeted by 'The Cousin' and 'The Fiancee' and a lovely, bounding labrador.

The interiors were stunning too, a gorgeous traditional kitchen and spacious lounge, though I was surprised when we were led to a ground-floor bedroom winding back to the front of the house, with an en-suite bathroom.  This was to be our bedroom for the weekend, it was small in size, beautifully decorated with floral patterns and a huge wall of built-in mirrored wardrobes faced a double bed.  It reminded me of an traditional guestroom, cosy and comfortable for our stay.

The night continued to draw in as we had dinner and caught up around the table.  The Couple were due to get married the following year abroad, so much of the evening was spent talking wedding plans.  We retired to watch a film in the lounge, my cold had started to clear, but I was feeling tired from the long journey.  Much of the later evening remains hazy in my mind, but I do remember catching a glimpse of the news.  The tragic, horrific murder of Meredith Kurcher had just been released to British press and there was talk of her roommates being implemented in the murder.  It was an unsettling story to go to bed thinking about but, around midnight, we said our goodnights and headed to the cosy guestroom.

I don't think I actually fell asleep between then and the disturbance that ensued.  I think I just dozed against the backdrop of my then-boyfriend's snoring and the quiet of a strange street in a strange place.  Not even the dog barked.

My eyes adjusted to the room in the pitch black, the dense reflection from the mirrored wardrobes, the fabrics and colours now all draped in shadow.  As my eyes moved round to the small, curtained, bay window, on my side of the bed, I saw something.  A shape, incomprehensible at first but, what looked like something poking out from behind the curtains.

I had woken up before, countless times, and had mistaken a misplaced dressing gown for a slumped intruder, or a hanging dress for a supernatural visitor.  My rational mind came into play and I closed my eyes and opened them again.  The shape was still there. It had begun to take the form of a head, peeping in at us and, as I continued to fight with my imposed logic and the scene being placed in front of me, the figure stepped out from behind the curtain.  

I could only make out the shadow of a man, no features, no face, just a shadow with short lighter hair.  Perhaps an older man, I couldn't be sure, but I knew there was somebody in the room with us and I was frozen to the spot, paralysed with fear.  Had someone broken in?  Was this figure an intruder?  Should I scream?  These thoughts were racing through my mind as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing.  I could tell the figure was watching me and, as I tried to nudge my boyfriend awake, with the tiniest nudges of my left hand, the figure began to move across the room.  Not so much a stride, a walk, nothing human, a silent glide across the bottom of the bed.

Still, I tried to wake up my boyfriend to warn him of our silent intruder, unable to speak.  Feeling unseen eyes staring at us, I finally managed to nudge my boyfriend awake, aware of the figure's presence at the end of the bed, his silence was almost deafening, a spectral onlooker - this time opposite my boyfriend.  He gave a grudging, 'what?' Before I whispered 'there's somebody in the room.'
'WHAT?' he had heard me.
I didn't know what else to do, so I just said, panicked, 'there's somebody in the room' over and over again until he sat up and switched the light on.

The figure had gone, the room was as we had left it, even the curtains were closed.  But he had been there.  I knew I had seen a third person in the bedroom.  I told my boyfriend about what had happened and we sat up for a few hours, trying to calm down, before drifting back to sleep.

I welcomed the bright morning sunshine, still shaken from the night before and the appearance of the figure at the bay window.  I asked my boyfriend to keep quiet about the experience; I didn't really know his Cousin (lovely as they were) and, didn't want to upset them.  Obviously, he went to them straight away to tell them the story over breakfast.

In the end I was glad he did, The Cousin regaled us with a similar story that had happened to him a few months before.  Not only that, it seemed we were staying at the family home on the anniversary of The Cousin's Fiancee's Grandfather's death and he had made several appearances to other guests staying in the house.  It seemed to trigger a visit from him, when there were strangers staying in the house.  He liked to make his presence known and find out a little bit about them!  The Cousin's Fiancee made a joke about her Grandfather visiting me and not her, safe to say I was still quite shaken to have considered it an honour!

That was the first and only full apparition I've seen, my relationship ended soon after that, so I never ventured back to Aldershot.  The experience has stayed with me and, at the time, reignited my interest in the paranormal.  So I suppose, for that, I'm very thankful the inquisitive spirit made his presence known to me!

Have you had any scary experiences?  I would absolutely love to hear from you!  


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

#CraftBlogClub The Halloween Challenge...

Well, the big day is here - the next reveal of our challenge projects and, my God, what a tough month it's been over at Life is Peachy towers!

I hope you have all enjoyed this month's challenge - which was to create a Halloween decoration, using a craft method you have not used before (or, in some cases, haven't used for a very long time)!  I've seen a few of the results already and they are looking FAB!  Please please link up your post below - I will RT these all this time, I WILL!

Soo....what did I do??  Well, originally I wanted to learn crochet, I absolutely love the little amigurumi crochet toys that you see about, so I wanted to make a little bat.  I started to learn...on Saturday!  I found a perfectly clear, concise YouTube video and learnt how to make a Chain and a Single Crochet.  I had been warned that it can take knitters longer to learn crochet and, I must admit, it felt so strange just using one hook; but I felt I was slowly getting the hang of it!

Sadly, though, my getting the hang of it, in amongst everything else I have to start/finish/do at the moment, was not going to create a beautiful bat in time so...after much deliberation and with the #CraftBlogClub clock ticking....I decided to sew a felt bat for Tuesday's challenge, aided by my ever helpful Mr Peachy.  And whilst we may be chalk and cheese in many departments, it seems we mould well like Crafty Power Rangers, when it comes to sewing projects.  Introducing...Lestat The Bat!

Made from two pieces of light and dark brown felt, Lestat is handstitched with a vibrant orange thread and lightly filled with toy stuffing.  His eyes are two buttons from a very old mac I used to own and his wings are attached with simple threading at the back.  The only disclaimer is that he is most definitely NOT a flanimal, though were watching the Ricky Gervais film Ghost Town, when he was conceived!

I hope you like him - I've not given up on the crochet and I'm a little sad I didn't manage to get it together in time; but when I'm feeling more confident with crochet, I'm planning to pop out a little animal friend, which might just be when you least expect it!

Have fun this Halloween, whatever you're doing - I shall be curling up with some freshly baked Pumpkin Bread and Butter Pudding and getting my teeth stuck into the new programme, Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who looks rather delicious in the ad!

Don't forget to link up your Halloween craft posts below - the link is open for one week and I cannot WAIT to see what everyone has come up with!

The Next #CraftBlogClub Challenge
Well, without further ado, let's unveil the next challenge!  I would like to introduce The #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa Challenge!

Now I have mentioned some Christmas ideas before and lovely Laura from Made Peachy suggested a Secret Santa for us lot.  So I thought; Hey, why not turn Christmas into a challenge!

The rules are, you make a Christmas gift for someone and send it to them - you have free reign to do what you like, it can be something you know you excel at, one of your familiar products, the only thing is - it has to be in some way personalised! And, as I know us crafty lot are going to be ridiculously busy in the lead up to Christmas - I have decided to run this challenge from now up until Christmas Eve, giving everyone plenty of time to get involved and get making.

I will be in charge of pairing up and emailing so IF you want to take part in this challenge, PLEASE email me your name, email address and postal address ( and I will start listing and pairing.  I will keep the listing open until next week and will email your Secret Santa recipient by the end of next week.  As ever, I will open up a linky in the lead up to Christmas and it would be great if you could write a post about the gift you made AND the gift you received!

I hope everyone wants to take part, I think it will be a lovely way to end the year with the #CraftBlogClub community and I'm hopeful that next year will bring some even more exciting things for us!  Now get emailing and get thinking!

Stay Crafty!

E x
Come Join In

Monday, 28 October 2013

Let Me Introduce....Naisy

This month, we seem to have had a bit of an 'interiors theme', with Old Farm Interiors featured at the beginning of the month, followed by today's fantastic small business feature.  Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce, Naisy!

Naisy, a handmade interiors brand, is the alias of it's crafty creator Nai Lodge.  Her wonderfully bright and happy brand, named after her nickname since forever
(she loves Daisies - a wise choice), was born from a love of making cards for friends and family ever since she could pick up a pencil.  After some cajoling from impressed friends, including the lovely Vicky from This is Lullaby, and in her final year at Music college, Nai set to work on the sewing machine, creating some of the Naisy masterpieces she is selling today!

Just one look at Naisy's website, you can spot her main source of inspiration immediately.  Houses.  Lots of houses! Naomi uses collage and applique techniques to create cute, house-shaped decor such as these gorgeous keyrings and doorstops.  As a proud home-maker herself, Nai remains very inspired by her upbringing in the Cotswolds, where no two houses are the same to look at.  In Naisy's designs, the attention really is in the detail, she wants to provide something that will brighten up your home in a unique way.

If you live in and around the Manchester area, you may well have seen Naisy's goods at local craft markets, though you can find Nai on Etsy too.  Naisy's best sellers, at the moment, are these lovely handmade greetings cards; their simple sewn designs are really special.  Nai's favourite products to make are her custom embroidered house pictures; to order, you simply send a picture of the house in question and Nai does her thing to transform it into a beautiful replica.
  One of Naisy's real stand-out products, for me, is the 'New Home' gift pack - the customer can choose a card and house keyring to be sent to the new home owner's abode, with a personalised message.  These make perfect, unique gifts for friends and family and Naomi's even had lovely customer feedback, saying they had trouble parting with her lovely items.

As a start-up business, Nai's short term plans are to expand her collection with new product ideas and work with introducing a new technique she has mastered, free-motion embroidery.  She loves the thought of creating embroidered artwork to sit in the homes of many.  For now, Nai is happy building a customer base for Naisy and continuing to sell through her online shop and at local events.

In short, if you are looking for a unique or bespoke gift, Naisy's products are perfect for all occasions.  Everything has been created with such care and attention, that it seems as if a little bit of Nai's bright personality comes with her products!  Don't delay in taking a peek at what she has to offer today!

Why not follow Naisy on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Friday, 25 October 2013

A Not-So Creative Friday!

Well, if someone would like to tell me where they hid October, I would be entirely grateful!  Seriously, where has this month gone?  It only seems like yesterday I was moaning about an 'official Indian Summer' and basking in the aftermath of my anniversary with Mr Peachy!  Now, Halloween is fast approaching, I've got about three days to do my challenge project for #CraftBlogClub and I have been forced to accept that Christmas really is just around the corner!

My tutorials and Creative Fridays have been a little quiet of late - not intentionally, of course, I've just been so busy with EVERYTHING!  I'm currently sat in bed with the laptop, enveloped in a very welcome quiet, whilst my poorly little girl sleeps her sore throat off next door - bless her!  Sometimes, for everyone, things just get a little too much and you need to take stock of what you are doing and HOW you are getting it done!  I spoke to one of my absolute favourite people in the world today and she said 'I don't know how you do it all.'  The trouble is, neither do I!

This month has been a whirlwind of knitting up some lovely gnome orders for some lovely people and deciding on the best way to package them!  These dudes are coming along nicely and, rest assured, I've been working my little behind off to finish them all - I can't wait to get them sent out to their new homes for Christmas, once they are all ready, of course!

I've also set myself the task of learning to crochet, ready for Tuesday's BIG CHALLENGE REVEAL at #CraftBlogClub - I can't wait to post the results (unless it all goes horribly wrong) as I've had this idea since I launched the challenge.  I'm really excited to see everyone's finished results - judging from last month, the standard will be spectacular, I'm sure!

I've taken to the kitchen again and created a wonderfully indulgent winter recipe, which will be published in the coming days over on Yahoo - I can't wait to share it with you guys, here's a sneaky pic to whet the appetite!

I was also really lucky to spend a little bit of time back at home, with my Mum, after a short bout of illness and a little bit of teething pain with Miss Daisy.  Home comforts are just what you need when you're feeling a little weak and, as my parents live all the way down in Somerset, I don't get to see them as much as I would like!  But it was lovely to have a short break and I can't wait to spend Christmas down South again this year!

So What Now??

Well...I mentioned I would do my first Handmade Giveaway, when I reached 100 followers on Bloglovin'...and I've since crept up to 126 followers, so a HUGE thank you to my followers new and old.  I'm currently designing a special little something to make and giveaway and this will be up on the site as soon as possible!  Don't worry - I'll tweet the hell out of it so you won't miss a chance to enter!

I have also decided to sign up for November's Blog A Day challenge - where I shall be posting a blog each day!! I've decided to use some of the set prompts, but have also come up with a few of my own, with the help from a few Twitter friends!  I see November as a real chance to write about a few more personal things - as well as the usual concoction of #CraftBlogClub, recipe, crafty goodness there will be a few more unusual posts thrown in.  Is there anything you would like to ask me?? Go ahead...I might just write about it in November!

Things are also going great with the Frugally Fabulous Year and I'm so excited that so many people want to take part - button to follow guys (remember I'm practically a technophobe, aside from typing)!  I've spent the last week thinking about posts and things I want to try and discuss - frugal is our name, sustainability and saving are our game! 


That's right, my little novel has been sat, half finished, for about two years and, after dreaming about it, I have decided now is the time to set to work finishing this piece!  I am keeping it all under wraps for now - but I'm so excited to be writing it again!  This book is my (other) baby - I hope to be able to share it with you all in the not-so-distant future!

And Finally...

I am very excited to reveal I have been nominated for Blogger of the Month over at the wonderful site, Vintage Shopper.  I have been nominated for my post about searching for a vintage-inspired post-pregnancy wardrobe and I NEED YOUR VOTES!

I would absolutely love it, if you could pop over and VOTE HERE for me if you have a spare minute!  I loved writing this post and Vintage Shopper is such a great site to be affiliated with!  Thank you so much!

Well, I think that's about it from me...I'm off to plan, dream and hopefully CROCHET!

Stay Crafty! x

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

#CraftBlogClub: Crafty DIY SOS #Mk2

So, here we are, another #CraftBlogClub done and dusted and it seems we are getting busier again! 

It's been lovely to watch our Twitter chat hour grow and so nice to see everyone joining in and helping out this evening with retweets and advice.  As I always say, one of the main reasons I set up #CraftBlogClub was to create a hub of creatives, who could all encourage and support each other.  It's lovely to see that taking shape - I hope you all enjoy joining in as much as I do!

As we are just one week away from our HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE REVEAL; I thought it would be good to do another Crafty DIY SOS!  We did one of these a few weeks ago, before our September Challenge reveal and it was nice to get some great feedback and help on issues our crafty creatives were having.  This week, however, it seems the main issues lies with your truly!!! Yup, as host of #CraftBlogClub, I'm yet to get my behind in gear to get to grips with crochet and create my Halloween challenge!  Needless to say, help was very much out there tonight - so thank you for your help, it's off to YouTube I head in a bit!

Aside from that - we had bunting and binding issues and even started to touch on Etsy selling and pricing your goods.  This is a topic suggested to me to cover - although I still stress that #CraftBlogClub isn't about selling your wares, it seems inevitable that we want to talk about pricing your handmade items and getting out into the big bad handmade marketplace!  I've scheduled this in to talk about at the start of November - I hope you will all join in with your queries and advice!

In Other News...

The lovely Sonia from LAYOUTLINES is hosting a fabulous giveaway this month with some fab Halloween prizes! All you need to do is tweet a picture of a pumpkin you have carved by Thursday 31st October, to be in with a chance of winning - and the competition is open internationally too! Don't delay - get your carving knives out! 

Amanda from Gift Frippery is also still hosting her #FripperyFriday competition weekly, up until Christmas - with prizes up for grabs! Simply tweet a picture of a gift you have wrapped and she will pick out a winner!

A while back, I mentioned an idea Amanda Frippery and myself had discussed about swapping 'virtual' Christmas presents between members of the #CraftBlogClub.  I didn't hear much feedback about this, but wondered if anyone would be up for a Christmassy challenge to see us through November and December?? We could even do a handmade Secret Santa?? Let me know if you are interested and we will look further into what would work! 


As ever, I love reading your blogs and like to highlight a few each week that I have really enjoyed reading!

First off...Emma over at Emma Made makes some incredible projects on her lovely blog - but this Ripple Blanket completely blew me away.  Amazing work by a very talented lady! Take a look!

Not that I'm name-biased or anything, but I am in awe of the skills of the lovely Emma Ross over at Girl In Knits and this is the cutest little clutch I have seen! Check out Emma's lovely work!

Finally, for this week, I wanted to give a shout out to the wonderful Tamsyn over at The Villa on Mount Pleasant, who was recently featured in Homemaker magazine.  Tamsyn's blog is really beautiful and inspires lots of creativity on the interiors front - her notebook on our challenge was really beautiful too!

I think that's about it from me this week, next week is THE BIG REVEAL!  I'm so excited to see everyone's posts and results! I'm off to amaze you all with my Halloween project!

Stay Crafty! E x

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

#CraftBlogClub: Learning A New Craft

I should definitely start by apologising for how late this post is going out - multi-tasking is actually a forte of mine, being that I held last night's #CraftBlogClub in the midst of packing up a car in a power cut - but I had to deal with the unpredictability of putting the babe to bed in an unfamiliar surrounding last night and, safe to say, it did not go too well!

As usual, #CraftBlogClub was full of interesting conversations and some sneak peeks of WIPs for this month's project!  I decided we should discuss learning new craft methods as, after all, the aim is to try something shiny and new for October and create a Halloween themed decoration from it!  Learning a new craft can be quite the's what the #CraftBlogClub massive thought!

1. Worship At The Altar of YouTube - Most of us confessed that, when it came to the mots efficient method of learning a new craft, YouTube always came out on top.  It seems we are a very visually-stimulated crafty bunch who like nothing more than trawling through the thousands of useful tutorials, to get us started on new projects and methods.  The power of learning through video, in my opinion, is the ability to film some of the intricate and complicated stages that picture books and written paragraphs couldn't explain so easily - plus the pause button always helps!
2. Don't Underestimate The Power of Tradition - Having said that, many of us seemed to agree that you can't beat a bit of tradition, when you're searching for new craft methods to learn - a lot of us looked to old craft books for both inspiration and tutorials.  A few of us also seemed to hoard the most AMAZING amount of craft books - @BeekneeHoonies I'm talking about you and your wonderful stash!  I'm a huge fan of craft books and, even if I don't tend to follow patterns directly, they can be a great source of inspiration for upcoming projects.  Not to mention some of the older books are great at giving clearly written and simply put tutorials.
3. If In Doubt...Ask - Part of the reason behind forming the #CraftBlogClub network, for me, was to form a group of individuals who could help, encourage and support each other, in a crafting sense.  It's great to be able to ask someone for help or clarity if you can. 
4. Learn Traditionally...Blog Unique - We raised the really interesting point of creating unique items from the methods you have taught yourself, but never be afraid to show something new or even try an amalgamation of techniques to keep things fresh on your craft blog - thinking outside the box can really set you apart from everyone else!
5. Self-Teaching RULES - As much as it can be great to go and join a class to learn something new, not to mention great to meet new and exciting, like-minded crafty types; expense can often mean we look to the discipline of self-teaching to help us learn and develop our skills.  Why not utilise the plethora of free videos and wondrous internet crafty caverns to teach yourself something new?

Just a short one this week...I'm keen to get this published and am running on my parents' gerbil-powered internet! Next week, we shall have a second Crafty DIY SOS - a chance to run through any issues we might be having with our projects before THE BIG REVEAL of our October challenge the week after!

Until next week...

Stay Crafty!

E x

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Peachy Challenge: The Frugally Fabulous Year!

Well, we are nearly into the middle of October and my 30-day spending ban has officially come to an end!  I did pretty well, really well actually, I managed to save a little towards my 'Wellies' fund - an I am no longer lusting over Hunters (but that's another post, for another time).

The spending ban really got me thinking recently about our spending habits in the UK and I don't make it any secret that I'm a little anti-mass consumerism, when it comes to shopping.  So I got to thinking (in a very Carrie Bradshaw manner), could I do a whole year without buying clothes from mass global conglomerates??  Here's why I think I should, let alone could....

1. Lifestyle Change - Having undergone a HUGE lifestyle change since having Daisy, FRUGAL really is FABULOUS in our world at the moment - a combined love of vintage and moving ahead in these economic times, means we love creating a beautiful but simple life over here at Peachy Towers.  No, babies don't cost the earth but, in November, I officially become an at-home Mum, Freelancing Wordsmith and a seller of quirky crafty wares - what better time than now to relish in the art of being frugally fabulous?
2. Personal tastes - Last month I wrote a little post about Ditching the Jeans and finding my own personal style again.  I totally coin my unique look as 'The Modern Gothic Librarian' and I take great inspiration from people women such as Dita Von Teese in my style.  I am heavily influenced by the 1930s and 1940s, which can invariably mean I find it hard to find anything that I like or I feel comfortable in, in high street stores (a common problem faced by us on the cusp of the thirties I feel).  Neither do I want to look like every other person walking down the street.  I've often relied on wondrous charity shop caverns and eBay to shape my image - so why not make more of a statement about it?
3. Ethics vs Purse Strings - It really bothers me that most people pay little or no attention to where their clothes are made or who by.  We are incredibly lucky, in the UK, to be reasonably sheltered from some of the hideous truths about how our clothes are made.  But that doesn't mean these problems don't exist - Primark may well be winning awards left, right and centre for bringing affordable fashion to the masses; but it doesn't change the fact that they use sweatshops and, if you remember the coincidentally under-reported fire in a Bangladesh factory this year, their staff are poorly treated (figures suggest that a Bangladeshi employee for Primark makes less than half a living wage each month).  I think it is important, as a consumer, to be able to make informed choices about how we shop and where our clothes come from. 
4. Make, Do and Mend - As a huge fan of all things craft, I am really keen to learn how to dress-make.  I think it would be amazing to become self-sufficient in creating my own wardrobe, so the Frugally Fabulous Year challenge would be a great way of developing my sewing skills and learning to create some truly unique clothes!  Customising and upcycling are also such great ways of breathing new life into things, without having to spend hundreds!  For a while, I have been really keen to explore how to create a more sustainable way of life and blog about it - I can't wait to start putting more of it into practice.
5. Wardrobe vs Wants - As an ex-employee of the fashion retail world, I do have some fantastic dresses in my closet that I am slowly starting to fit back into!  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that most women only wear 10% of their wardrobe.  So when it comes to finding that special outfit - can I root something out that I've worn in a while?  Can I upcycle a beloved old garment or find a new way to wear it?  Wardrobe vs Wants challenge accepted!  

So here it challenge, The Frugally Fabulous Year.  And here are the rules
1. In the Frugally Fabulous Year, I am aiming not to purchase any new clothes for myself from the high street.  This is strictly for MYSELF, clothes for Daisy do not count, neither do gifts!
2. Tights and underwear are not included - but will still buy from more 'responsibly sourced' outlets.
3. Throughout the Frugally Fabulous year - posts will include Wardrobes vs Wants and Looks for Less updates.  I want to show how great you can look on a very frugal budget.
4. At the end I will tot up a total annual saving from not purchasing from high street stores, not to mention what I will do with the saved cash! Kerching!

I'm surprisingly quite excited about this challenge and would love to hear your feedback about it!  Better still - if you are feeling frugal why not join me for a month or two and see how you go?  Interested?  Comment below with your email address and I'll get in touch!

Here's to being Frugally Fabulous
E x

Friday, 11 October 2013

Creative Friday's: Peanut Butter Brownies

It's no secret, that I love whipping up quick and simple recipes, when I've got a spare five minutes.  It just so happened that a few days ago, on a particularly miserable October morning, Miss D was asleep for about an hour and a half...and I created these little beauties!

I am a real sucker for peanut butter.  Reese's Peanut Butter Cups definitely feature in my top five treats and I reignited my love of the buttery stuff on toast when I was pregnant.  So, I thought I would try my hand at Peanut Butter Brownies!  A delicious, light texture with a strong peanut butter taste.  I've added Galaxy chocolate in to this recipe, which tasted lovely and smooth with the rich peanut butter, but a slightly larger quantity of dark chocolate would work really well, if you wanted to recapture that unmistakeable 'Reese's taste'!

I hope you enjoy these - as usual, if you do make them, please upload a picture to the Facebook Page as I love to see my recipes in action!

150g Galaxy Chocolate (or chocolate of your choice)
75g Smooth Peanut Butter
175g Salted Butter
325g Caster Sugar
120g Self Raising Flour
3 Eggs 

Preheat your oven to 160 C and line a square tin with greaseproof paper.

In a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt your chocolate and butter until smooth - add your peanut butter to the mix and continue to stir for a minute or so.

Pour the chocolate mix into a bowl and add the caster sugar - mix until incorporated and then add flour.  Mix flour in until incoporated and, more or less, smooth.  You will find the mixture quite tough and sticky (due to the peanut butter).  Lastly crack the eggs and mix with a wooden spoon, until mixture is completely smooth.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Remove and leave to cool.

Serve and enjoy! x


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

#CraftBlogClub - A Vested Pinterest

This week, we had another great chat with #CraftBlogClub, where we discussed the most visual and exciting form of social media for crafters and artists alike - Pinterest.

I'm the first to admit I have had a Pinterest account for a while, but have only recently invested time into Pinning, be it visual stimulation for my novel writing or stashing inspiration for crafting projects (why not give my boards a follow HERE).  And, since Pinterest has reared it's beautiful head in our previous discussions, as a key form of inspiration and go-to media for curing craft-block; I thought it would be a great idea to chat about the ups and downs of this media and how it helps us with our craft blogging.

For those of you who may not be in the know, Pinterest is a picture-sharing site, where you can choose your own pinboard 'themes' and pin pictures from just about every nook and cranny from the Internet.  No moods, no in-depth chats with this one, just pure, unadulterated picture-porn.

To sum up tonight's chat, the only downside to Pinterest, really, is the amount of time that can be zapped into spending on it - you can literally while away the hours jumping from board to board and pinning endless beauties.  But, on the plus side - most of the #CraftBlogClub collective cited Pinterest as the biggest cure for craft-block and the greatest tool for finding new and exciting inspiration.  Like every form of social media - nothing is out of bounds and you can even create secret boards for private collages such as Weddings etc.

So how do we use Pinterest for our work?
Pin It, Don't Bin It - As lifestyle bloggers, Pinterest gives you the opportunity to separate your interests and create beautiful collages with a focus.  Not only that - all your images, to-do lists and ideas remain in one safe place - remember the days of pesky paper collages that fell apart?!
Pin. Inspire. Tailor - We discussed a little bit about the amount of 'to-dos' we have on our Pinterest pages and how we endeavoured to fulfil these.  Aside from a Pinterest-inspired challenge for the #CraftBlogClub collective, we discussed using our Pinterest-inspiration as simply that, inspiration.  If you find you are struggling to fulfil your crafty desires - why not tailor your Pinterest ideas, using materials and methods you are already familiar with, to create something new!
Keep Your Blog's Best Pinterests At Heart - Use Pinterest's visual stimulation to create links to your own blog.  Pinterest is, after all, another form of social sharing media, why should your wonderful blog creations not benefit from it?  Using your own blog imagery, pin your visuals to your own boards (I created one for Life is Peachy, but sometimes find the images fit in to other boards too).  Great images circulate around the internet, giving your blog the opportunity for repins on the site, which may eventually lead to increased blog traffic and new fans.  
Share Your Collective Visions - As if we couldn't find a way for our #CraftBlogClub collective to benefit from Pinterest, I listened to some comments on my blog about a pinboard for #CraftBlogClub challenges etc and decided to create one for everyone to use.  You can start viewing some of the pins right HERE and feel free to join in - give me a follow and I shall send you an invite.  I want everyone to have free reign on this board - updates, WIPs, inspiration and ideas are all welcome!

In Other News...
Tonight, the lovely Amanda from Gift Frippery has launched her exciting Twitter competition, #FripperyFriday.  To enter, each Friday, all you need to do is wrap a gift and tweet a picture to @GiftFrippery - Amanda will choose one winner each week up until Christmas and will be giving out prizes!  Get thinking and get wrapping!

Blog Loving!
This week I'm loving the lovely Tamsyn's blog over at The Villa at Mount Pleasant not only a lovely blog about interiors, shabby chic and all things beautiful, Tamsyn's notebook challenge post is a really lovely idea AND she has just been featured in the holy Homemaker mag!  All praise to you Tamsyn!

I don't miss a post from the wonderful Laura at Made Peachy and her beautiful lifestyle and crafts blog.  Laura has great giveaways, wonderful tutorials and, this week, she's done an awesome post about knitting pattern abbreviations! 

Finally, I had to give Hayley over at Nappy Cakes and Gifts another mention for being so forward in her Halloween challenge with #CraftBlogClub.  Please head over and check out her papercutting for the challenge, it's looking fab!

#CraftBlogClub October Challenge
This was launched last week, but in case anyone missed it, our October challenge is to create a Halloween decoration using a craft method you haven't tried before.  

I'm really excited about this challenge and I've had some amazing ideas from the collective too! Deadline will be October 29th and, as with September's, I will be putting up a linky to showcase the results!

Well that's about it from me this week - as usual, any questions give me a shout on Twitter or an email with your suggestions.  There are lots of exciting things in the pipeline for #CraftBlogClub and it's continuing to grow - I hope everyone is enjoying taking part as much as I am.  As always, I love hearing your feedback!

Stay Crafty
E x

Monday, 7 October 2013

Let Me Introduce...Old Farm Interiors

As you will know, I love to feature small independent businesses on Life is Peachy.  I think blogs are such a great platform to get up and coming brands out there and I think, as someone who has launched into the world of the self-employed herself, that it is really inspiring to hear successful start-up stories.  So I was absolutely delighted when I was contacted by Catherine Evans, owner of vintage and shabby chic interior brand, Old Farm Interiors.

Catherine finally realised her dream of running her own shop, after ten years working in Financial Services and, with the support of her wonderful boyfriend, began to piece the puzzle of a vintage and shabby chic inspired interior business together.  From sourcing products and brands to stock, to running her own blog about Old Farm Interiors, Catherine is not afraid of hard work to promote her brand and get her name out there.  

While vintage and shabby chic continues to be such huge business in the UK and beyond, Old Farm Interiors really sets itself apart from its competitors, by offering a very unique and personalised experience.  Though only online based, consumers have the benefit of Catherine being the overseer in each and every aspect of Old Farm; which makes for great shopping, great products and outstanding service, time and time again.  Old Farm's products also really reflect her own tastes, being a lover of beautiful vintage decor; she does have to compromise on the decoration in the home she shares with her boyfriend (don't we all).  Catherine does not believe you can sell something if you do not love it yourself, so each product is carefully handpicked to add to this beautiful brand.  Old Farm Interiors is not just a business to Catherine, but also a hobby and a passion, which is evident through her work, blog and relationship with customers.  Not to mention, Catherine's dedication to her business, means that she makes herself available to answer queries at any time of the day, you couldn't ask for much more from an online business.

Catherine admits that setting up her own business had its struggles along the way, but since quitting her job and soul-searching to find Old Farm, she has never looked back.  A glance at her website is nothing less than a real joy.  There is a strong 'nature' theme running through many of her products, which is a huge trend running into AW13; such as this amazing Otter Cushion by Magpie, that I absolutely LOVE and sits pride of place on my wicker chair in my lounge!  Everything for a vintage-inspired homemaker can be found here; from animal soft furnishings to shabby chic kitchen accessories, chalk-board garden accessories and gorgeous classic reclaimed oak furniture.  Prices are very reasonable and some of Catherine's best selling products include these gorgeous Pondlife cake tins and vintage milk churns, those pieces we purchase to make our homes that little bit unique.

Pondlife Cake Tins
Wildlife Nesting Tins
At the moment, Catherine's goal is to continue building her brand in the short term and develop an awareness of Old Farm Interiors and what it has to offer.  In the long-term, Catherine wants to continue to grow the business, but does not want to lose sight of the personal and unique service that she really prides herself on.  I can certainly see myself popping back for all my home decor needs in future - why not head over to her website and check out Old Farm Interiors for yourself?  I'm sure you won't be disappointed! 

Why not give Catherine a follow on Twitter, Facebook and my favourite time-waster Pinterest, to be kept up to date with the latest Old Farm happenings and new product lines!  I'm sure I'll be heading back over to kit my home out with some beautiful pieces before long!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Kickstarting Business: Mimi And Will

Creative Fridays, over at Life is Peachy Towers, usually consists of yummy recipes and crafty tutorials, made by my own hand! BUT, this Friday, I decided to shake things up a little bit with a piece about Mimi and Will - a very interesting new start-up business with a focus on independent design.  Wonderful stuff!

Mimi and Will is the brainchild of Jo and Katy, two entrepeneurs who both have their own Etsy stores, but came together to launch a brand of eco-friendly children's wear.  After meeting on the craft fair circuit in and around Glasgow, the two ladies continued to strike up a friendship and spend their (very limited) free time meeting up and brainstorming creative ideas and plans together.  The seed for Mimi and Will was eventually sewn through a simple text message from Katy to Jo, saying 'Kid's T-Shirts'!

Through Katy's struggles to purchase a screen-printed t-shirt for her toddler, the girls decided there was a gap in the market for this type of clothing; which was due to the risks and costs of mass-producing for small sizes.  Mimi and Will was going to be a brand that brought interesting designs to the children's clothing market, whilst championing the work of independent designers.

Once Katy and Jo had the go-ahead from several independent designers they knew, they found a UK-based company who sourced ethically-produced t-shirts as well as eco-friendly ink.  A few samples later, the early stages of the brand were complete and Mimi and Will were ready to be unleashed to the world.

Now, as a huge fan of Crowdfunding projects, I was really interested in how Mimi and Will has been set up as a Crowdfunding Start-Up, which runs until 9th October.  There are lots of perks on offer, if you decide to help out and get this wonderful brand on the go - including pre-order t-shirts.  Why not check out this campaign for yourself, where you can see some of the wonderful designs that will be on offer.  Mimi and Will have been attending several events with their sample tees and the feedback, so far, has been really positive.

What I think is so special about what Mimi and Will is trying to do, is the fact that it will serve as a great platform for independent designers and has to potential to really showcase new talent to a wider audience.  Finding clothes that are ethically sourced and produced is also a real selling point for Mimi and Will, the t-shirts will retail at £20 including p+p, not a bad price for one of these amazing, unique designs.

With just a few days left to help the project out, I really wish Jo and Katy the very best of luck with their campaign - though I'm assured they will be around whether they reach their target goal of £2000 or not.  To be kept up to date with the latest news and exclusives from Mimi and Will, be sure to follow them on Twitter, they have a great page over on Facebook, plus you can find them on my favourite thing ever at the mo Pinterest

They do, of course, have their own lovely Blog which is updated regularly with news and events.