Saturday

Currently: APRIL EDITION

Helloo!
I’m writing from my new place that we have lovingly/appropriately named ‘Whimsy Towers’.
We moved over a month ago and we are now nicely settling in. I have so much to share but to spare this post being a gazillion words long-I'll summarise:

  • I survived over 2 weeks without internet (including mobile internet!)
  • My commute is now exactly 7 minutes instead of an hour each way-PARKLIFE!
  • We're still sorting out the flat but I promise I'll do a mini house tour soon :)
and here is a little 'currently' update for you too...
Currently WATCHING: 300! Okay okay so I’m a terrible human being and I’d never watched 300 until Monday night! Also I didn't know who Gerard Butler was...:| Now I know ;) I mainly just looked at the beards and the abs and shouted ‘AWOO’ all the way through.

Currently READING: Holy moly since having no internet I have actually been reading, reading A LOT! I went and mooched around the library in the Harris and got a few books out. But then I read them all, all in one night!
So far I have read:
‘The Goddess Experience’ by Gisele Scanlon
‘Blog Inc’ by Joy Deangdeelert Cho
‘Google Blogger for dummies’ (Y)
‘Mastering Pinterest’
Alexa Chung It
‘How I lived a year on just a pound a day’ by Kath Kelly
‘How to delight your customers’
‘Luella’s guide to English style’

So a very varied mix as you can tell but I’m planning to get on the ball with my blog (no really this time!) I’m always pondering business ideas and standard fashion/thrifty mix as usual.

Currently WEARING: I don’t think that I actually mentioned my amazing, pink charity shop coat on here before, as the weather has warmed up slightly my parka has been swapped for my vintage eighties hot pink coat that I got from Oxfam in Liverpool. It was £16 which is more than I would usually pay in a chazza shop but it is so cute! My new wardrobe mantra is that as I wear head-to-toe black for work, on my days off I have to wear a bright colour!
Currently AMAZED BY: Food at The Ferret! OMG Mad Ferret as it used to be known was my favourite place when I was at uni, now I’ve moved back to Preston and it’s had a revamp we just had to try out the food. All I can say is YUM! The sweet potato fries are incredible and I went for a Brisket burger which was delicious. PS just on the rum front they serve Old J which is the best rum ever, super sweet and vanillary, like a coke ice cream float.
Currently LOOKING FORWARD TO: Easter Weekend! I'm planning on going to The Lakes to visit my mum and help her out in her new jewellery shop, potentially doing a vintage fair, eating all the chocolate and a big roast dinner sounds perfect to me :) Nothing is set in stone but I like being spontaneous!

Currently LISTENING TO: Radio 6, Whilst I’ve been reading and organising I’ve had radio 6 on in the background for the majority of the day. Lauren Laverne is my fave show. It makes me feel like I’m down with the kids listening to all the new releases as most of my music is from 2006 and before haha. I'm really enjoying this song by Little Dragon which they keep playing.

Currently PONDERING: Money making schemes. As always I have loads of ideas floating around my head but I need to focus on a part-time venture! As my commute to work has reduced drastically I have a lot more free time on my hands. I have debated getting a pub job after work but I think it needs to be something that I’ve created. Something to fuel my creativity and earn me some pennies in the meantime. I've really got into watching Marie Forleo on Youtube and I think she talks a lot of sense! Check her out if you haven't already.
Currently IN LOVE WITH: So I had a dream that I was bezzie mates with Alex Zane, super random as I hadn't watched anything with him in or seen any photos/mentions NOTHING! But I am in love with him haha.  Can’t beat a funny guy with a nice suit and scruffy hair J 
Currently BUYING: Hmm I have bought a few things, days off are pretty dangerous for the old bank account. I got tempted with the old 3 for 2 in Boots. I’ve bought the new Effclar Duo+ to try, my usual Vichy Dermablend foundation and I thought do y’know what I really need? More supplements! So I decided on the magical Red Krill Oil which is meant to be super-good for you, much better than cod liver oil. I’ll take a month’s worth and let you know the outcome! I bought a couple of things from the charity shops, some hair dye and all the fruit and veg to make green smoothies! Apart from that there hasn't been any major purchases!

What have you been up to recently?

Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx


Thursday

Thrifty Lady: DIY HOME IMPROVEMENT CHALLENGE

Hi everyone,
As most of you know I'm quite the artsy/thrifty type so when Tesco Compare got in touch and asked if I'd like to be involved in their blogger home improvement challenge I couldn't resist! Tesco Compare home insurance challenged me to DIY and improve an area of the home for just £50. Difficult for some but with a little imagination and many hours of Pinterest trawling I came up with some great ideas for cheap and cheerful DIYS for around the home...

Firstly it has taken me a while to compile this post as I've been doing one DIY per day off so it has taken a few weeks! These ideas are all super simple and really cost-effective. If you're thinking of jazzing up an area of your house I think DIY is great! It's much more personal and at the end you have a unique piece made with TLC.

Honestly I didn't have a particular area of the home in mind when I chose my products to DIY mainly because I'm moving house at the weekend (eeeee!) so I wanted to create items that could come along with me.

Here are the items I chose...
So let's get started :)

DIY Clipboard
What you need:
*Clipboard
*Paper
*Mod Podge
*Brush
After finding this image on Pinterest I decided that clipboards are a cute way to display to do lists, photos, cards etc. The hardboard ones are very boring in my opinion so I couldn't wait to decorate this one. I couldn't decide whether to decoupage using magazine cuttings or cover with one large sheet of paper. I decided to go with the latter as it was quicker & less messy (plus I'm lazy) This paper is gorgeous. It's handmade and give a painted effect. All I did was apply a generous layer of modge podge to the board and stick the paper on, spreading the glue to the edges to avoid bubbles. I then folded the paper around the back of the board to keep it neat. I went over the whole thing with another layer of mod podge to seal it. I left it to dry for a good few hours. The Mod Podge leaves a matte effect so doesn't affect the finish of the paper :)

DIY Photoframes
What you need:
*Old Greeting Cards
*Scissors
I think this has to be the easiest DIY. It takes literally minutes and is such a quirky alternative to traditional pictures. I always hoard my birthday/Christmas cards especially ones with cute designs. Simply trim the image to fit the frame, or just place in the middle if it has a border. Hey Presto! Easy-peasy artwork. I think I might change mine now and again to keep it interesting.


DIY Tie-dye cushions
What you need:
*Rubber Bands
*Dylon Hand Dye
*Salt
*Empty water bottles
*Plastic sandwich bags
I had never attempted Tie-Dye before these cushions but I'd watched a few videos on YouTube beforehand for some helpful tips. First things first you'll need to follow the mixing instructions on the hand dye. I mixed mine in large 500ml sports cap water bottles to make the dye application easier. Make sure the items you want to tie-dye are clean and slightly damp. Using rubber bands twist and tie your item into the desired shape. Add the dyes in whatever colour order you like but remember the colours still follow the colour chart i.e red & yellow=orange. If you put red & green together it will go brown. No-one wants brown tie-die haha. After you have soaked the garment in dye, pop it in a sandwich/plastic bag and leave it for as long as you can wait. I read somewhere to wait between 2-24 hours but I got over-excited and unraveled them after 2 hours! Then take your beautiful tie-dye pieces to a sink and rinse with cold water til it runs clear. Then do a tie-dye wash in the washing machine (don't be a goon and add it to your regular washing) just to remove any excess dye and make it clean and fresh! I'm SO pleased with the results, I think I'm gonna be tie-dying all the things. I'll be one of those hippies wearing head-to-toe tie-dye before long...

DIY Lamp
What you need:
*A lamp/lampshade
*Embellishment ribbon
*Fabric glue
This is another simple DIY that makes a huge difference. All you have to do is neatly glue the ribbon/embellishment around the edge of the lampshade. I actually used super-glue as I didn't have any fabric glue but it was definitely a lot stickier trickier. I bought my pom-pom ribbon here but I'd recommend visiting your local haberdashery to check out the array of trimmings. I think it would look amazing with neon fringing or rainbow pom-poms :)

DIY Plates
What you need:
*Waterslide Decal Paper
*Water
*Scissors
After having a play with waterslide decal paper in university I thought it would be a perfect DIY to add character to some plain plates. I collected some copyright-free images from The Graphics Fairy and organised them onto 1 sheet of paper on Photoshop. I found the paper in Grathams, my local specialist art shop where it was £1.65 per sheet. I'd advise printing off the images on plain paper first and checking the scale etc before taking the plunge onto the actual paper. I then left the images to dry for half an hour. I left quite a generous border around my images which in hindsight would've worked better if you trim as close to the image as possible. Then I submerged the image in water for a minute until the gum layer easily separated from the backing paper. Next position the image where you like, it can be moved easily if you change your mind. Then using kitchen roll gently smooth out the image to remove any bubbles & excess water. I then added a layer of varnish to seal the image which I don't think was actually necessary. I may have applied too much but it made the image bubble and streak on the plate. They still look great but I'd skip the varnish or perhaps use a spay sealant to avoid brushmarks. The possibilities are endless! You could print off photos, type your favourite quote or create your own designs. The waterslide paper works on ceramics, glass, wood & even candles. If you don't have a specialist art shop nearby you can find it on eBay. The brand I used is called Lazertran but you can find other alternatives that will probably work in the same way.


I can't wait to find homes for these pieces in my new flat. I've not had a proper craft session for ages so it was a lovely change to have these little projects. I'm definitely going to start customising my own homeware from now on. I think everyone will be getting decal plates for Christmas! Thanks Tesco Compare for helping me unleash my creative side.
Have you tried any of these crafts before? Which ones do you like the look of?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx


Written in collaboration with Tesco Compare

Monday

Whimsy Life: HOMEWARE INSPIRATION

Hello Everyone! 
It's less than a week til I move house and I'm getting really excited :) I've started packing a few things and having a good old sort-out. Our new place has much less storage space so I've been really ruthless when sorting out my belongings. If I'm genuinely not in love with it, it's going on the charity shop pile mound!

At the house we're living in at the minute it's very run down and dull hence why any outfit posts have been virtually non-existent for the last year. Our new place is super-light and bright with huge windows and it leads right on to the park so it's got an entirely different feel to it. It is already furnished which means I can abandon my mass of mismatched furniture (horaay!)

I've been searching on Pinterest for decor ideas, as it's rented accommodation we won't be able to fully decorate but it's a nice, crisp, white canvas for us to move into...
I don't actually own anything by Kate Spade but I think some of the designs are beautiful. This candle is 'white willow' scented which sounds pretty dreamy. I think the packaging is the main winner for me-gold & polka dots! I'm not sure if you can buy them readily in the UK but they are $40 on the Kate Spade site. 

I've become obsessed with the idea of houseplants! In my current home we have very little natural daylight vampires so plants would definitely not thrive here. At work I really enjoy looking after the aloe vera plants & orchids so I need some planty babies in my life. The surroundings of the new house are entirely green & leafy so it's a case of bringing the outside in too. These planters are amazing. The etsy shop Mudpuppy have some quirky designs. 

How sweet is the print on this duvet?! You can't move into a new house and not have a crisp, new duvet set. Look at the little foxes, deer, bunnies & squirrels! This would definitely go well in my new bedroom. There are so many squirrels scurrying about in the trees just outside. Oh yeah I forgot to mention the best part-it's only £12 for a double size, would you believe it's from ASDA?! Cheap & cute :) Asda also have some other lovely, affordable styles. I think I need this pretty, vintage design too...

Ahh the humble Expedit unit, you can be used it so many ways, you look so plain yet are so versatile. I searched 'Ikea Expedit' on Pinterest and literally spent about half an hour looking at all the 'hacks'. As I mentioned before the new place doesn't have much storage, as it's already furnished we don't want to clutter the space too much so I think the Expedit is the best option.

Where are your favourite places to shop for cute interior things?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Wednesday

Obsessed: LUCY BEE COCONUT OIL

Hi Guys,
I thought I'd share my latest obsession with you all: Coconut oil! 
I first heard about Lucy Bee coconut oil after mooching on Amazon and finding it was a top seller in the health department. I've heard a lot about coconut oil in the past but have struggled to find a pure version that was multi-purpose.
There are literally hundreds of benefits of switching to coconut oil instead of typical cooking oils and butters. The Lucy Bee website is full of facts and tips about how to use the stuff.
Here are my favourite ways to use the oil...

Hair Treatment
I cannot describe how shiny and healthy-looking this leaves your hair. Imagine a glossy, shiny thing with added radiance & luminosity and then I guess you're about half way there ;) It's sooo nice! I warm a cup in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time so it doesn't overheat. I then apply liberally all over. Massage into the scalp right through to the ends, wrap in a towel and leave for as long as possible. Overnight is the best, just pop a towel over your pillow. Then I shampoo it out in the morning and follow with a long, cool rinse just to make sure all the residue is out. There is no need to buy fancy hair masks because seriously this is the most effective, natural product there is! 

Cooking/Baking
So essentially you can use coconut oil instead of normal cooking fats such a butter, olive oil, vegetable oil etc. I've found it makes yummy no-bake, no-butter, no-sugar flapjacks which are delicious. I'll have to share the recipe with you guys soon as they've become our new favourite afternoon snack at work :)
With pancake day coming up soon, coconut oil is the perfect thing to fry them with. It leaves a subtle bounty-ish taste which is beautiful on pancakes. Eating one teaspoon a day is meant to do wonders for your insides too. I like adding it to my morning smoothie concoctions.
I've also used it for savory dishes and it makes a fry up less calorific! Mmm coconut eggs & mushrooms...*drools*

Facial Oil
Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial as well as being a highly nourishing oil which makes it perfect for using on the face & body. Warm a little in your hands (it melts at body temperature) and give yourself a 2 minute facial massage once a week. If you have dry skin it could be beneficial to do this more often. I have oily, acne-prone skin and after I used the coconut oil my skin felt deeply moisturised and plump without being oily & greasy. It also helped to even out marks from scarring and reduced any redness too!

You can buy it on Amazon here also I noticed that they have started stocking the smaller size in Sainsburys if you want to try it first. 

Here is an illustration that shows other uses for the magical oil! Thanks Ness for sending me this on Pinterest. :)
Source

Have you tried coconut oil before? Do you have any other ideas of how it can be used?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Sunday

Inner Granny Loves: THERMALS

 Hello!
This is a new feature that I'm gonna run with. I often think that I am a granny wrapped in a lanky 23-year-olds body! So some things I love are kinda, well y'know old fashioned. So I'm thinking in the 'Inner Granny loves' feature I can find 'cool' versions of old fashioned things.

So today and for the last few months my inner granny has been loving: Thermals. Yep layers to keep the heat in. I'm convinced I am cold-blooded during the winter as I don't generate heat! Thermals to me typically mean ugly undergarments that you find in the Damart catologue on your doorstep or those weird long john things that men wear when they're fishing or doing manly outdoor activities. That was until I discovered Uniqlo's HEATTECH range which does all the same jobs as regular thermals but are available in pretty prints that can be worn as outerwear! 
Images taken from here
Honestly Uniqlo were a brand that I'd heard of but that was about it. I have never seen a shop or ever decided to spontaneously peruse their site (we all know how much 'basics' excite me *yawn*) but after seeing the Orla Kiely x Uniqlo collaboration on a few blogs it did intrigue me. I then proceeded to spend £50 on thermals. Quite an achievement for someone who hasn't bought anything brand new for ages!
 These are perfect for layering, I've worn them under my work uniform, under short-sleeve dresses and even on their own they look super cute. I want to add more to my collection!

Whilst on the website I also got two other tops that were from the Celia Birtwell range. These aren't the same HEATTECH material but the prints are so cute! Plus a girl can never have too many yellow-russian-doll-print-cat-dog-long-sleeve-tops huh? ;) The other one is grey with a lace pattern and owls kissing in a frame awhh.
My hair changes all.the.time. It's purple at the moment ;)

What do you think of Uniqlo? Do you own any HEATTECH or so called 'fashionable' thermals?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Saturday

Currently...

Howdy Y'all,
Here's another little catch up post, let's be honest my posting is pretty sporadic at the moment but I like doing these 'Currently' posts so you know I'm actually alive and I'm just generally a busy bee at the moment!
Currently WATCHING: The Undateables. I love this show, it warms my little heart. I think some of the people they follow are absolutely hilarious. I’ve heard people slagging off the show saying that it’s cruel to laugh at people with learning problems/disabilities but I don’t think that is the case at all. They are looking for love and dates are always gonna be awkwardly funny in my view.
 

Currently READING: I’ve not read a novel for ages actually (send me some recommendations!) I got a couple of books out from the library-I’ve been reading a book called ‘How to be Interesting’ which has quite a cool psychology behind it, and I started reading a book called ‘Zero Waste Home’ (wow that sounds boring!) but it’s actually pretty interesting. I’ve been noticing how much stuff in the house is wasted from food, to junk mail etc and it really makes me sad how I’ve got into this mindset. I mean the book is a bit hardcore, she doesn’t use anything with packaging and goes on about using cornflour instead of make-up etc but I think there are some ideas that I can get on board with...
Currently WEARING: I’m obsessed with my HEATTECH thermal tops from Uniqlo. I’ve been wearing them under my work uniform and teaming them with my jeans or shorts for my days off, so easy to wear, wash and they keep my little lizard body warm haha.
Currently AMAZED BY: Coconut oil! I bought a jar of Lucy Bee’s coconut oil from Amazon and I’ve been using it for everything. I will write a proper post about it soon as I don’t know how I lived without the stuff! I’ve been using it in cooking, as a hair treatment, mixed in with smoothies and on my skin! So many uses, such a magical product.
Currently LOOKING FORWARD TO: MOVING HOUSE! I'm sure if you follow me on Twitter or know me in 'real life' you'll know that I'm moving house next month! I'm so excited to be moving back to Preston after over a year commuting to and from Lancaster.
Myself & my housemate have found a dreamy flat that is in a great location, literally 30 seconds out the door and we're in Avenham Park and about 5 minutes walk to work :) So it's gonna save me around 2 hours every day in commuting times. So I'm packing my life into boxes again! (I wish they were cute vintage boxes like the photo!) Naturally I'm going into organisation/house inspiration overdrive on Pinterest at the moment. 

Currently LISTENING TO:  Lana Del Ray-Once Upon A Dream. I’m so excited for Maleficent to be released! I think Angelina Jolie will be fantastic and I always love a good re-imagining of a Disney classic.
Currently PONDERING: Whether or not to start up a vintage shop again. Ideally I’d like a second job to earn me a few extra pennies, Working in the evenings after working all day isn’t the worst but I’d rather have some free time to myself. I think that an online ebay/etsy shop could work out well and then I could do a few local vintage fairs too. I’m going to check out the Riverside Vintage Fair at The Continental tomorrow to see what it’s like. I quite fancy doing a stall on the flea market too!
Currently IN LOVE WITH: Ian Somerhalder, seriously it was just a crush from the early days of Vampire Diaries but now after following him on Twitter and seeing all the amazing work he does for charity & for the planet I have a lot of love respect for the guy. Can you imagine if all ‘celebrities’ cared so much? Plus the Instagram selfies of him with his cats are ADORABLE!
Currently BUYING: Nothing exciting. After paying for crazy estate agents fees & paying back a chunk of my overdraft I’m on a bit of a ‘spending ban’. I’ve got a few things on ebay and I’m trying to de-clutter and sort out before buying anything else. The rent on the new place is quite a bit more than what we’re paying at the moment so I’m being a sensible soul and saving some money. (I need this kitty bank!)

What are you guys loving this week?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Thursday

Thrifty Lady: CHARITY SHOP/SECOND-HAND SHOPPING ESSENTIAL KIT

Oh hey there everyone,
 I know I've written a couple of posts sharing my best charity shopping tips with you, but I'm always learning more and expanding my second-hand shopping knowledge! Here are a few essentials that will help you get the most out of your charity shopping trips...

Vanish Extra Hygiene.
In most charity shops the clothing isn't washed before it's put out on the racks, who knows when it was last washed?! So by using Vanish it will remove stains and it kills 99% of bacteria. So clean & so fresh! I usually get a large tub when it's on offer. You can get it on Amazon here.

Bobble remover.
I love these little things! I'm a huge fan of vintage knitwear and sometimes it can get a little bobbled, so one of these little gizmos just literally shaves it all off. Hey presto your jazzy vintage jumper is good as new. I bought mine in Home Bargains for £1.99 but you can find them in most supermarkets.

Re-usable bag.
When I'm out on a shopping trip I always carry an extra bag to y'know save the world maaan but also because I hate being given random carrier bags with my charity shop purchases. Re-usable ones are stronger and pack much more in, so if your planning to hit the charity shops carry an extra bag. This lovely,wolfy bag was a Christmas present from my housemate and it comes with me everywhere :)

Dry-clean only sheets.
I recommend using these clever little sheets but due to a lack of tumble dryer in my current home I haven't used them for a while. With the sheets you just rub any spot stains on 'dry clean only' items and then pop the garment and the sheet in the tumble dryer to refresh and clean without paying expensive dry cleaning bills or risking putting it in the washing machine.

Sewing kit.
Pretty self explanatory really. Sometimes there will be little areas that need a few stitches or if you want to customise your second-hand garment you could always add new buttons or sew on a pretty peter-pan collar. There are loads of tutorials for customising clothing on Pinterest.

So there we have it. I hope these tips are helpful, whether you are a pro bargain hunter or if you're dipping your toe into the unknown world of second-hand shopping.

Do you have anything else that you would add to this list? I'd love to hear your tips & tricks too :)
Thanks for reading,
Rachelle xxx