So as the weather is getting colder, here in the UK anyway. I thought when not share my latest looks, go to items and trends I love. As you may know I am all about being comfy and warm. So layers are good for me. Read More
So as the weather is getting colder, here in the UK anyway. I thought when not share my latest looks, go to items and trends I love. As you may know I am all about being comfy and warm. So layers are good for me. Read More
So I am right into cosy chilled evenings at the minute. Most of you may already know that I am working on self-care for 2019 and daily improving my life. That doesn’t mean I am out every night, climbing a mountain or anything like that. It just means I want to take care of myself better this year. Evenings are a time for me to spend alone, or with loved ones. Its a time where I can destress, unwind and relax in the comfort of my own home.
That’s week 3 finished and all I can say is how have I stuck out my goals and “resolution” for 2019? The January blues are in full swing but I am on to book 4 already! Are you still on track with your goals and New Years resolutions for 2019?
If you haven’t heard of a Buddy Box here is January’s. The Blurt It Out Foundation is an organisation to help people with self-care, mental health problems and other illnesses. They describe their monthly subscription boxes as a hug in a box and I can completely agree with them! As so as I open my monthly Buddy Box I feel like smiling, warm and happy. The boxes can be brought as a one off, monthly subscription, sponsor a box or gifting one to a close friend or family member. Each for £21.50.
So first of how are you all doing? Who is following the self care for 2019 and what have you been practicing? I have to say this I don’t know how but I have managed to stick to nearly if not everything I have started and am thinking of introducing more.
Aurelia is my best friend’s baby girl, who is nearly a year old. Whenever I see her which is pretty often, especially at mine she’s in to all sorts of textures. She will sit in my armchair and run her fingers up and down the arm rest feeling the fabric, with her other hand in on the cushion. Another texture. At 6 months old I saw her sitting there smiling away exploring all the different textures I had compared to her house and thought of this perfect gift for her. I also wanted her book to be something she can play with now but also grow into over the next few years.
Lavinia had no idea I was making this or gifting it to Aurelia. I put a lot of time researching, planning and making the book. I used youtube and Pinterest quite a lot to pin ides and adapt them. Most quiet books are made from felt but I wanted to make this in fabric mainly using felt and bits and bobs to embellish. For the front and back cover along with the bow I found this gorgeous baby pink with gold and navy blue flower detailing to it. I simply embroidered her name in chain stick and added the bright pink pompom fringe. Something simple but effective. On the back I just sewed on my Made By Melanie xx label so she forever knows I made it for her.
I wasn’t overly sure how to hold the book shut though I think it would naturally. I added the bow because it was gorgeous. It actually something extra special to the book.
So I would say page wise its completely up to you. There are so many to choose from, such a variety and its really does depend on who you make this for. Aurelia seems girlie to me, or thats how I see her. All girlie colouring, style and of course texture was key for me. So mine is very girlie or unisex, but you can also adapt these in colouring for the needs of a boy or unisex for anyone.
So these pages are the first in my book, so I fell in love with this fabric at the knitting and stitching show back in October at Alexandra Palace. I love all the cat faces and prints across the fabric but I also like the colouring to the fabric. Bold, bright and cheerful.
So the first is a cat that plays beekaboo with you. The paws are soft but crunchy. His whiskers hang so Aurelia can play with them. I have also embroidered on the cats features to add extra texture.
This is the other side to the page and this is a simple bit of yellow felt with circles cut out of! Its attached on the outer edged sides and the Mouse is on a long bit of string and he can thread his way through the cheese. How cute!
This blue patterned and pink fish fabric was actually the first fabric I found for my book. As many of my ideas were under the water or seaside themed. I also found these pages the easiest to make. I brought the wooden buttons, made sure they all had different amounts in before adding to the plastic pouch. This was really easy actually. I just zigzag stitched it in to place round 3 sides and then added the beads and buttons and zigzag stitch the remaining side up. Using blue embroidery thread I chain stitched “how many can you find?” Using felt I cut out the numbers and added velcro to them and to the fabric. Secured the buttons in place and thats it.
So Aurelia really loves this page. She loved looking in the mirror and its so cute seeing her playing away with this page. Lavinia her mummy loves makeup so I thought as she grows older having her own play makeup can entertain her when Lavinia is getting ready. For now she seems happy with the hairbrush and the mirror. Simple to make, all the products are made of felt. I stitched rickrack in so they can hold in place. For the mirror I peeled the backing off stuck it down and have sewn bias binding round the edge.
So the farmyard theme is another obvious one to do unless your theme is Disney Princess. Finger puppets are really handy to use. Aurelia loves them and cuddled them as soon as she saw them. They stayed out with her whilst we looked through the rest of the book. Lavinia and I were even singing Aurelia’s favourite song through the puppets to her. ” The animal fair”. All I did was cut the red felt to a shape of a farm barn and cut another strip to make sure the puppets stay in when on another page. I cut the doors in and stitched round the edge. I used the black rickrack for detailing. The puppets are knitted but felt ones would work too.
To make the garden page I just made sure the felt fit over the fabric which would make that page. I cut slots in the brown felt to hold the carrots in. These are made of felt also. Stitched all the backing felt with a machine stitch to secure and the same with the clouds. All the carrots can be pulled out from the “ground”. Also you will see I attached a ribbon and a baby hoop to this page thats so it can be used as a book mark or hung on any where.
Like I mentioned earlier Aurelia loves all the different textures. I made this for a pure touch and feel kind of page. With the ribbons on the jelly fish and the feathers on the flamingo. Both animals also have felt on them with the soft cotton fabric as the actual page.
Lavinia loves bunnies and thats always been a thing, a lot of Aurelia’s things or baby shower at least was Beatrix Potter themed. This page is really clever for now Aurelia can just play with it, removing the tails and putting them back wherever. But when the time comes this is a really good way to teach her colours. All the pompom tails are velcroed on and this will make a fun game to learn the colours. I just cut out felt bunnies and zigzag stitched them in place. Added the velcro to both the bunnies and the tails and that was it. A really quick but effective page.
Who as a child didn’t have at least one game of noughts and crosses? Imagine taking this on the plane or a long car journey as a child playing with a friend or sibling. This has to be my favourite page. Its one of the last ones I came up with and I love it. I found the bumble bees and lady birds in my local craft store, all I did was add the velcro and sewn the rickrack lines on. I know Aurelia at nearly a year can’t really play noughts and crosses but I wanted this book to last her a while. But for now she can touch them, feel the textures and remove them and stick them back again.
So as well as touchy feely to this page, the flower petals can be removed and swapped on to other pompoms. Really easy I just cut the felt flower shapes out and cut a slit in the middles perfect for the pompoms to fit through. The butterfly I brought the chew wings from the Knitting and Stitching show but I added the sparkly fabric to its body and stitch in its antennas. The wings are move about so Aurelia can play with these, pretending its a real butterfly flying above the flowers.
Ok so maybe I choose a over the top fabric for these pages but none the less its ice-cream so ties in with the pages theme. This is really simple again I stitched the ice-cream cone and 2 bits of velcro to where the scoops of ice-cream would go. The trick to any pages using velcro make sure all the velcro is the same so that the removable bits actually stitch to the bits secured to the fabric. The other page I just used felt to make scoops of ice-cream, a flake, strawberries and cherries for toppings for the ice-cream parlour. I then used some plastic and felt to make a container of shaky bits. I just added glitter and ok the glitter came out too fast and sequins. These are all secure in the plastic container. So don’t worry mums you won’t have glitter everywhere. This is the last pages in my book.
Once all the pages were complete I machined them together adding wadding to the middles. It was as easy as placing the book how it would be finished. Pin the pages together, so front cover to the first page and the wadding and sewing, then I used that wadding and stitch the second page to the third and so on until I got to the last page and the back cover. I then had to stitch this page secure but topstitched these. I then topstitched around the first and front cover to secure and thats you book finished. Obviously if you are like me and adding the bows you need to add these in your first and last pages.
What pages or ideas would/do you have to make your very own quiet book?
December was a weird one for me, I was mainly working, socialising and making Aurelia’s present. It was actually hard to come up with 10 favourites but thinking back I have managed to and here they are, completely random as always. But then a favourite can be absolutely anything right?
So first of all, well these two can tie into one really but I have been loving crafts and being creative. I have made many a thing and sold some too. Blankets to Christmas Plates to Cookie Jars and Cork Reindeer. I love it!
December really wasn’t the best month let me put it that way. It could of been better but never the less, the crafts I made on a personal level and gave them to my friends children, really brought that love of creating, gifting and seeing them so happy and excited. Just brought so much love back into my heart.
Ava and Nellie were both given matching cardigans which my Grandma knitted them and the cookie jars I made, in fact every gift I gave this Christmas I hand wired their names and they all had a pompom Rudolph. I had seen that they were baking quite regularly with their mummy so I thought this would be the best gift for them. They absolutely loved them and so did my friend their mummy. Seeing them in photos making the cookies and eating them was so lovely. Brought a smile to my face.
Now of course I had to be really creative for Aurelia, not just because I wanted to make something and I needed to better the hot air balloon hamper for her baby shower, but because I saw the ideas on Pinterest and youtube and I thought it was the best thing ever. When Aurelia is at mine she loves feeling everything, she loves textures and thats why I had to make her her very own sensory play quiet book.
The hard work and creativity of about 64 hours paid off when I helped her open it. It was so magical. Aurelia is 10 months old well nearly 11 but close, she loved all the book and I will show you this on Wednesday in more detail but her face and watching her play with it. Lavinia and I talking to her through the finger puppets. In fact Lavinia was filming us as we went through the pages and stopped because she was so amazed I had done this for her. Once again my love and creativity had shone through in Aurelia loving her book happily playing and Lavinia speechless at my gift.
This also brings me on to my next favourite, that is spending time with my friends and family. Going out for dinner, down to the Christmas evening, having dinner and catch ups, having my nails done with my Grandma everything. I love my family and friends and catching up is the best thing.
As always not sure who doesn’t really. But I loved Christmas. The kids are the age now where they are so excited and the magic is really there. In fact Alfie aged 4 thinks he is really an Christmas elf and wants a costume and ears for his birthday in February. I just loved seeing them excited, playing games and wanting dinosaur lego built. Its the spending time with family, giving and receiving presents and enjoying time together.
I did a lot of baking in December. I love to bake. I mainly baked Christmas themed bakes but I loved them all. The best has to be when I pretended to be Elf and delivered the cookies to my sister’s house when they were out. Thats probably why Alfie wants to be an Elf or thinks he is already.
I have been really loving my bed now its cold out. My flat is extremely hard to heat so my bed is my warm cosy place and I love to sit there editing or watching something on my iPad. I would live in it if I could.
That leads me on to my next favourite. I have been loving my sleep! Somehow and I really don’t know how but I obviously need it I have been sleeping for 12 hours when I don’t need to set my alarm. Its amazing. 10pm-10am. Its the best. It really helps me as I am still now in January and I feel amazing for the sleep. I am motivated, inspired and have energy to do things.
This one makes me laugh but its true i have eaten a lot of party food in December. Not because I was out at parties even, its just because I love the food and they taste so good. Three bite size chicken Kievs equal one anyway so its all fun and games. But when my bestie and Aurelia came for tea I told her we were having toad in the hole. Needless to say we had bite size ones. 5 each and Aurelia had 2. They were perfect size for a baby.
As I went out or fancied doing so makeup in December I have been loving the too faced daydreamer palette. It was a Christmas gift set which is no longer available. But it comes with a lipgloss and a mascara in the cutest make up bag. I got a lot of compliments on my makeup and the bag itself.
Then finally for fashion I have been loving the rusty colour like in my jumper. I have to say I am going towards this colour quite often. It blends with my hair reasonably well and this jumper is cosy and warm. I just love the autumnal colouring and how rich the colour is.
These are my favourites. What is something that was your favourite in December? If you can’t think of one, what was your most favourite of mine?
So here we are the beginning of 2019 and my goal or New Years resolution is to love myself again. To use self care daily to be happier, healthier and stronger. So maybe some of my friends or people I know say to me all the time you are so strong, how do you fight numerous operations, daily struggles of chronic pain, of which we now know as Endometriosis and purely the answer has to be self care. Its not all plain sailing, there are struggles, you may see me in tears or a day when you know what, I am best to be on my own and days when I want to be around my friends and family. The thing is to keep going.
So this is what I want to achieve and I really want to stick to it. I found out about the Self Care Journal from The Blurt It Out Foundation. You can get this in various of stores or online. It actually doesn’t matter when you start this but I really hope and believe the end of 2019 I will be a bigger, better and stronger person from it. Who knows what battles I will have along the way and I am going to share every Sunday my weekly update. What self care worked for me. I am also using my daily planner from Ohh Deer to bullet journal everyday. Write my feelings, thoughts and what I want to achieve and most importantly stay positive.
The book starts by reflecting on the last month, how well it was, what you achieved, feelings, low and high points. Its really good to see how you thought and what you did.
Lets just say December 2018 for me was crazy busy. I am not moaning but I have learnt from December that putting 64 hours of hard work and love into someones present is the best thing to do. At the same time you feel bad because you haven’t done anything else other than work and create but when Aurelia opened her present and I saw she and her mummy loved it and she was so happy playing with it. It just made my heart happy, me happy and that warm feeling of love and happiness shone.
When thinking about chronic illnesses, pain and mental health problems in particular and great way to improve them is to distract yourself. December I also wasn’t feeling too well. I have new medication and though I am under really good specialists, feeling poorly the majority of the time really can get you fed up and feeling down. That is another reason I am grateful for Aurelia and the time I spent into making her the best present.
It is also hard when you have no energy or are too unwell to do anything. Last winter I really did struggle waiting for my operation and I can definitely say crafts as a distraction helps. Set yourself some goals, a craft project and get stuck in!
So its day 6 of January in the morning so I think I will document these weekly updates Saturday to Saturday. This week being I started the book on the 1st it will be a short one. One thing I don’t overly like is the book asks you the same questions each day but in a way it gets you wanting to be braver and think more on what you are doing to document it down, look back on and improve.
It has been a strange week, I was off on annual leave until the 2nd so a short week of work! YAY! So the first thing I did when I got home on New Years day in the late afternoon was open the journal as well as get my daily planner ready. They both now sit nicely together on my desk for me to update daily. I filled in the first page reflecting on December. But decided to fill in my daily bits just an hour before bed because that hour is me time and thats what I have decided I need every night.
A time where I don’t go on my phone, watch tv or surf the internet. I have read this week but I could do anything, craft, colour in, meditate you name it. This also gives me the unwind, relaxation time to switch my brain off from the busy life and prepare it to sleep.
Sleep is something I am missing now back at work. Every weekend in December and the Christmas break I slept for 12 hours a night. It really helped me to improve my health and happiness and I was very thankful for my Saturday morning and hopefully Sunday morning lay in. 12 hours of sleep daily is something people aged 28 don’t really need but someone who is a chronic illness sufferer its a must. Well for me it is anyway. I feel so much better for it.
On Wednesday I didn’t have that yucky work feeling when the alarm went off. I had one where I was motivated and ready to go. I felt good and that is one thing I really want to be this year. Feeling the best and doing my best to be my best.
Needless to say the other 2 days at work were less inspiring purely for less sleep and feeling unwell. But needless to say it was a short week and better than I expected. On the plus side the always thinking positive really helped me to be “grown up” about things. Not even just at work but home and life in general.
Friday night was one of the worst for me but then with self care the little cry is important as much as meditation. Its ok to cry and feel sorry for yourself. I have been so busy in general that really I felt strange about not having my plans organised. I had plans for the weekend but was waiting on a definite yes or no. I was getting frustrated because naturally I have to be organised, I felt a bit lonely to be honest. When you feel unwell or your tired sometimes you just feel that way and thats ok too. Don’t shut off from the world unless you need to. Talk to your friends and they will support you. You should know by now who loves you, who wants to be friends with you and who doesn’t. If you don’t I am sure you will learn this at some point.
In this instants I just wanted to get in bed and chill out. I decided to run a hot bubble bath, and lay there by candle light. Have that time to reflect on the week and chill out, unwind and think. I guess you could say this was also a time where I meditated. I was thinking of things to get or make Aurelia for her 1st birthday. I thought how well I did when I lost my door key from the barrier getting into the carpark at my flat. It was a time to just lay and think of all the things I achieved or did well this week. Heat is really good for me so I always love a hot bubble bath I can lay there for ages.
The one question in this weeks daily questions was a moment of bravery. I think of being brave by going to get my injections done or walking away from my dad to go to the operating theatre without a scream, panic or cry. This is where I think the book is going to make me braver. Or think of ways I can be brave daily. Whether thats something simple like try something new to eat or something really out my comfort zone like go talk to a stranger and ask for their help. It could be anything. Am I brave by not crying? Are we brave for not arguing back but leaving the room or conversation?
This is why its also good to bullet journal. Writing your thoughts and feelings, setting daily goals. It motivates you to want to do more and achieve what you have set. I already want to achieve a new kind of bravery each day if I can.
I really had a wobble on Friday and Saturday I just wanted that day to myself and that was fine. Actually I loved laying in bed asleep till 10 and watching youtube till 1pm. I really needed to film 3 videos, write yesterday’s and today’s blog post and most importantly I needed some me time. I think all in all the worst part of Saturday was finding 4 new grey hairs in my hair! I did get up and made an effort filmed and played with my new bare minerals makeup. But that is something I love to do and have fun with so because I just wanted the me time it really worked. I also got to find out how amazing the makeup is.
It got to 4:20pm and I was cold, its really cold here at the minute and I have my heating on timer, money saving and majority of the time I am not here to see the daytime. So I decided it was 20 minutes until the heating came on so I ran a hot shower washed my hair and body had a little more me time and got into my dinosaur onesie. I even hoovered afterwards because it needed doing.
Now at 8pm I’m not even ready for my evening snack and I am writing off for this week. Its been a strange week but never the less a positive change and I am motivated already to do this. Its ok to have the sad emotional days, and in that I rewarded or learnt I needed the me day. Playing with makeup, organising, filming its what I needed to do. I am learning what my body wants me, or needs me to do.
Who knows what next week will bring! What are your goals for this year? Are you on a self care journey or something else?
So here in England I would say the Boxing Day Sales are more than Black Friday, but whose to say what the future may bring! So my best friend and I were wanting to go to Bicester Village before Christmas but we decided to go in the sales because of the better deals. If you haven’t heard of Bicester Village its an outlet shopping centre full of designer brands. Its in Oxford UK. Brands such as Burberry, Gucci and Ralph Lauren, though the good thing is they also have the higher end of high street brands there too. Which is good because the higher end such as Ted Baker and Jack Wills are my favourite. Bicester Village is an outlet centre so that means its last sessions designs.
Happy New Year everyone. Lets make 2019 a good year. What does everyone have planned for 2019? I have some exciting opportunities in the line for 2019 including a floristry Course. I am back on the ball with my self care and I wanted to share this with you as I go through the year. I plan to post these around 10am UK time every Sunday. Who knows what the year will bring!