Montreal

Montreal
Cute Houses of Montreal

cocktail

cocktail
A Winter Cocktail

Life changing magic

Life changing magic
The Life Changing Magic

Flash the Jug

I've had a few people asking me questions recently about Flash and his mixed breed heritage so I thought it might be worth writing about him a bit more. For those of you who haven't followed his story from the start, Flash is our Jack Russell x Pug. He's nearly 2 years old now, but we met him at 4 weeks old and he came to us at 8 weeks when he was just 1kg. You can see an over sharing of images of him here.
The main question people as us is why did you choose a Jug and not a Pug?
And the simple answer to this is their health and cost. Jim desperately wanted a Pug - one of our friends has them and they stole his heart but we really didn't have £1000 to spend on a puppy (although we probably would have at the time if we'd fallen in love.) And I wanted to make sure we had a dog that could go on long walks and wouldn't overheat too badly when we're out sailing.

So sure and I started looking about for alternative puppies. Then I heard about Puggles ( Pug x Beagles) and my heart melted. But in Sheffield we struggled to find any F1 Puggles.

After some more searching we came across Jug's (but I hate that word) and we both decided that was the mix for us. Flash was in the third litter we saw (do not get me started on some of the dodgy places we went before we met him). We met his  mum and dad and brothers and sisters and stayed about an hour playing with the 4 week old puppies, we like to think he chose us as we both left the house and agreed instantly on him.

And now he's a bit more grown up, I kind of think he looks like Pugs used to. Check out this 18th century Pug.
So, is he more Pug or Jack Russell? 
We'll, he thought he was all JR but with the colouring and tail of a Pug, but seeing this Gemma Correll sketch, I think he might have more pug in him than we thought. His feet definitely smell like popcorn and his tail is doughnutty!
He's super hench, in fact, walk him next to a staffy and with his shape and swagger you might think he's a mini one and thats not a very Pug like trait, but his 'clothes are too big for him' like a Pugs are. And he has longer legs like a JR, but the curly tail of a pug. He also snores like a trooper, even without the squishy nose and he has the classic snaggletooth that pugs have, as evidenced here;
We also get asked a lot about his temperament.
I read somewhere that Pug and JR's are amongst the naughtiest types of dogs. I read this after we'd got him and had discovered his love for eating pants. I think the study might have been true. But he's not naughty in a bad way. More mischievous, like that kid at school that just did stuff to make people laugh.  
He is incredibly strong willed. He's too clever for his own good sometimes. But also very very dumb. But he learns pretty quickly. It didn't take long for him to get sit and paw. But getting him to listen to you when you really need him to is a different matter. He's also great with kids. The neighbours kids are so rough with him but he just licks them.

And people always want to know how active he is.
In a lot of ways he's very terrier in his activity levels. He'll run for hours if you let him. Especially if there is a ball. We can have been out for 2 hours but if he spies a ball when we get home he still wants to play. But once he's had enough he'll let you know. If we're in the park 'ball wanging' and he's done, you know it because he slinks back to you and just sits down. But on the other end of the spectrum, he is a massive cuddler - he will curl up with you on the sofa with you all day long, especially if it's raining outside. 
What are his favourite things?
Eating floor food, chasing balls, sniffing other dogs bums, cuddling, 'opening' the post, pulling the stuffing out of toys, sleeping, treats, cuddling, tug of war - with anything and everything, making us laugh, going to the pub, shouting at passers by from the back of the sofa, cuddling some more, hair dressing, giving out serious stink eye, doing the thriller dance in his sleep, eating salad, licking, inappropriately climbing on people and chasing pigeons.
7

Simple Tablet Case DIY.

You know I posted about my new Kindle before - well, it's fast becoming one of my new favourite things to have around. Especially now it's loaded with all my must read books and social media channels. Plus the super big shiny screen makes me happy. But to protect this shiny screen from getting damaged by all the things that inhabit my bag when I'm out, like keys and pens and rogue hair clips and from naughty little puppy paws at home I figured I needed a case. 

Unfortunately all the ones I liked were either super expensive or in America (meaning they would take ages to arrive) so I decided to give making one a go. I'm pretty happy with the result though. Especially as it only took me about half an hour to do. 

What you'll need; 
  • 2 pieces of that are felt bigger than your tablet. I bought 2 of these hand made wool felt 9" x 12" sheets. I chose felt as it's soft and it's thick so I wouldn't need to add a lining. 
  • Contrasting cotton - I went with yellow because what's better than grey and yellow?
  • Leather tab fastener. 
  • Thinner felt/soft material for the pocket if you're adding one. (You'll want it thin so it doesn't add loads of bulk)
If you're adding a pocket to your case you'll need to start here. If not - head to the next lot of instructions.
  • Grab one of the pieces of thick felt. I cut an opening about 5cms from the top of the felt - using a ruler to make sure it was straight. I used my rotary cutter as it was to hand, but you could use a craft knife. The opening here is about 10cms long. 
  • I sewed around the opening in my contrasting thread, the distance of the sewing machine foot away. You don't need to do this, but I thought it made it more of a feature. 
  • Next, take the square of material you're using for the pocket and pin it to the back of the piece of felt, covering the opening you just made - line it up evenly. Sew around the edge of this to make the pocket. 
  • To make the body of the case, I lined up my tablet on one of the pieces of felt. I used the one I'd already sewn the pocket on to (just so I knew the pocket was central) and drew around it with a marker pen (or something that shows up on your felt) I used a Sharpie so it stood out on the dark felt. I also put the ruler about 1/2 a cm away from the edge of the Kindle to make sure it'll still fit if I add a case one of those cases that is also a stand. 
  • Then I grabbed my the back piece of felt and pinned in place. 
  • I sewed on the line all the way round 3 edges of the felt with the seams on the outside. I purposely didn't turn it inside out so the seams are on the outside. If you had thinner felt I guess you could. This was far too thick for that and I like the stitching on show.
  • Once sewn, I centred the leather tab in the middle of the case. I sewed the press-stud side of it on to the front, just above the pocket. 
  • And then attached the other tab by sewing it to the back of the case. I like my little xxx sewing here. 
  • Lastly, I trimmed the excess felt from around the edges of the stitching with some scissors to tidy it up. 
And there you have it, a simple 30 minute tablet case with a little pocket for your headphones and cables and the likes. I love contrast of the grey felt and the leather together and I think the yellow makes it a little bit special, but not too girlie that Jim won't want to be seen with it too. Only problem is I showed it to my mum and she wants one now too! 

What do you think?
10

Kindle Fire HD

My new Kindle Fire HD
The other week I took delivery of a brand new, shiny, 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD from Argos. We've long had a standard book reading version of the Kindle in the house, but it's Jim's and he inconsiderately takes it to India with him when I am half way through book 3 of GoT and things like that (the cheek hu!). But we don't have a tablet in the house so this is a welcome addition. 

Within minutes of getting it home Jim had started installing the games he plays and apps he uses on it. He did that before I'd barely had a chance to get my finger prints on the screen. So now the Kindle is his first port of call in the mornings which would be annoying if I wasn't always running about late for work!
Once I'd manage to prize it from his grubby mitts I started filling it with my stuff. I hooked up my Amazon account and it loaded it with all my previous Kindle purchases, I also downloaded my next few bookclub reads onto it and a couple from my ever growing wish list so I can use it for its main book reading purpose. I need to get on with downloading some magazines on it too!

But as it's more than just a book reader it's now it's all hooked up with my emails, social media and Spotify accounts, so it's become like a sleeker, fancier, more portable version of my laptop. And I think by adding Pinterest and Evernote it's become invaluable as a blogging tool too.  
And why did no-one tell me about Netflix - I've always thought that since we have sky I didn't need it. But in the week I've had the free trial of it - I think i might be addicted. I started watching Orange is the New Black the other day and I just can't put it down, even Jim the HD snob was very impressed with the screen and streaming speed. He's even 'borrowed' it for his latest work trip to Dublin. 

The only downside to the whole app shebang is that The Kindle app store is run through by Amazon so it's a little more limited than the the Google Play store. But as a long time Android user I am fully used to the fact that you don't get every app as soon as it hits the Apple store so I'm used to make the most of what the store does have. It doesn't yet have Google apps, so no Google Drive, or Blogger integration for me at the moment - but I've started using other apps that have cloud storage so everything is available on my laptop too. 
Pop back later on in the week for a little tutorial in how to make a super quick and awesome case for your tablet too.
(This is a PR collaboration)
2

Volcom at Surfdome

I don't often post about my fashion around here - mostly because I am not that keen on having my photo taken, but also because I figure to be a fashion blogger you have to have awesome clothes, a love shopping and more money that I have spare. Also, because my style consists mostly of converse, jeans and a top.
But when I was contacted by Surfdome I couldn't pass the opportunity up. Its a place I've bought clothes from for years as they sell some really amazing brands (Burton, Volcom, Nikita, WESC, Westbeach) that I love wearing and struggle to get hold of these days on the high street - and even the internet a lot of the time.
After a lot of scouring the site and debating with myself, I settled on this beautiful Volcom Girl Trouble jumper; It's lightweight, perfect for this changing is-it-warm-is-it-cold-how-many-layers weather. The jumper itself is a really nice length (I hate it when tops are too short and you can't wear them with a low pair of jeans) and it's a got a little bit of bagginess in it to hide the dreaded tum. When you turn round and it has a really cute cut-away section in the back. Plus it polka dotted - which is always a great thing. And it looks great with a pair of shorts and Converse (see, I told you that's where my heart lies) or jeans and boots. The postage was really quick too. 
A big thanks to Micky for the pictures.
Jumper - Volcom Girl Trouble
Jeans - cut off Topshop Baxters
Trainers - Converse
Glasses - Raybans

(this is a pr colaboration)
10

Stitches and Lace


You know when one of your friends does something amazingly awesome and you are just so so so proud of them and you just want to shout about it so everyone else knows about it too. Well, this is that shouting and that amazing friend is Liz and she has started the most wonderful company, Stitches and Lace - hand stitching Converse and pumps with the phrase, or date, or symbol of your choice.

She made these cuties for her own wedding, which was gorgeous by the way (and you can see it here on Bespoke Bride.) And now Liz is now making them for brides to be, hen-do's, birthday's, leaving to go travelling presents - you name, she can stitch it. So, if you have a wedding or special occasion coming up that you want to immortalise, have a look. 
4

Dream Home - Bar cart

One of the things I'm insisting on for the new house when we find it (along side the cinema room and craft room obviosuly) is a space for a drinks station. A fancy pant drinks station. We currently have some original, built in Victorian cupboards in our dining room and the bottom shelf acts as a sort of drinks cabinet, but the rest of it is full of baking supplies and tupperware and and kitchen stuff that is spilling over from the teeny cramped kitchen so it's nothing to show off or shout about.

Growing up my parents had (and still have) a big mahogany drinks cabinet, with a key and a velvet lined drinks space. It was always stocked with the essentials like gin and whiskey and vodka along side the less necessary liquors my dad brought back from his travels. I used to feel so special when they'd send me to get a guest a drink. It also came in handy when I was 15 and sneaking off to the park with a bottle full of a little of everything it contained!

One day however, I'll have a fancy smancy space like this for my drinks and it'll be fully stocked with beautiful bottles of lovely drinks and stunning glasses and San Pellegrino limonata and I'll be party ready at all times.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
How do you store your drinks? Do you have somewhere special for them or is it a kitchen cupboard job?
7

CLOSED Giveaway - Ski and Snowboard Show North



All this rain and wind and cold weather has me dreaming of winter. Real winter. It has me dreaming of the snow. Of all the joys of being in the mountains. Of gondolas and glühwein. And of course of the beautiful new snowboard gear that I really need. So when I was offered tickets to the first Ski and Snowboard Show North inManchester on the 25th October, I jumped at the chance. 

I also jumped at the chance to get some tickets to give away to you guys - so I have managed to wangle three pairs of tickets to give away to the show for you too. Along side the ski and snowboard gear, there is a free ice skating rink, you can try your hand at curling, eat alpine food and the most important bit, get involved in some aprés-ski. Plus as the show is partnered with Chill Factore, all visitors get a free lift pass for the indoor slope, which means I think we'll be taking our boards and boots for a little slide afterwards. 

So, if you're interested in winning one of three pairs of tickets to the Ski and Snowboard Show in Manchester on the 25th October, just pop your details in the rafflecopter widget below and let me know what your favourite thing about the snow is. 

2

Lust List - October.



I know people are mourning the loss of the sunshine, but for me it's never a bad thing. It means I can start dreaming of the snow again and everything it brings with it.

We have so many weekends away this winter, and the one thing that I'm missing is a decent weekend bag. I love this Dakine print! And i think I love this striped Volcom tee print even more, especially if you see the back - the stripes don't line up (which if you're ocd, you might hate but.....). I'm so, so out of shape these days that I worry when I get back on the mountains it'll be a proper struggle - I'm going to be hitting the 30 day shred and I've got a snowboarders yoga programme to start too, but I think that a Balance Board might be needed to sort me out too - get my knees used to it all again . I'm not entirely sure what drew me to them, but I think I might love these boots. Half board boot, half trainer. They'll be perfect for winter walks to work and round resorts. My Nixon watch is one of my every day essentials, but being silver you can't wear it with golds - is it extravagant to have a watch for every occasion? No? I didn't think so either......
This is a PR collaboration. 
0