Month: February 2016

Etsy review – potatoes, eggs and a bit of Harley

I really enjoyed writing my last Etsy review, and, seeing as i’ve been on another mini-spree, thought I would write another.

Once again I’ve picked some really cool shops to shout out and highlight. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Scrumptious Delight

You can find the shop here

The Scrumptious Delight shop sells amazing food, monster and more plushes which have evoked an almost cult-like following. All feature adorable little faces which you just can’t say no to.  I’ve had my eye on a worried potato for some time now, there’s just something about that concerned little face on a potato that I find irresistible. Luckily for me I managed to snag one last week. I was surprised at how quickly it arrived in the post considering it came all the way from Canada. As I expected, when I saw this cute little potato IRL I fell in love. What can I say? It is just so freaking adorable. Also, really well made. I imagine this would make a fantastic unique present for a friend (if you could bear to part with it) I couldn’t so this one’s for me.

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Why so worried, little potato?

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Black Heart Creatives

You can find this fun shop here!

This shop sells really cool bespoke acrylic jewellery that’s fun to wear whilst making a serious style statement. Whilst I love everything in the shop there was no contest for me – the egg won hands down! The fried egg came in a neat little black package (for the inner goth) and arrived really safely. I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the pendant (much larger than I had anticipated) and the sturdiness of it too. The first day I wore it to work it got a compliment (to which I shyly replied a thank you before scuttling away as fast as I could.) I would definitely recommend this shop-espicially for those looking for something unique and personalised. A necklace would make a fabulous and thoughtful gift for a daring friend. You can see me wearing my egg a couple of posts back.

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What an eggs-ellent necklace

Obake Style

You can find this shop here

I stumbled across Obake Style when looking for a gift for my Harley Quinn-obsessed best friend. Straight away the unique design of this necklace stood out to me amongst all the generic Harley Quinn fodder on Etsy.  I was really pleased with this purchase and I have to say, the necklace is made really well and it’s certainly a high quality piece that looks really great. It also came super-quick and was packaged well (with a free temporary tattoo I believe.) My friend really liked the necklace too so that was a relief! I would recommend this shop for those in to their comic books/films – this could be particularly interesting for fans of anime.

Please note, the below is not my photograph – I took it from the Obake Style shop. I didn’t have the foresight to snap a pic of the thing before I gave it to my bestie!

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So that’s me (for now) Do you have a cool Etsy shop you can recommend?

Walking for mental wellbeing

I find that as I get older, I am more open about my mental illness. It’s not something I generally tell people when I first meet them, or bring up in discussion but it’s not something I go to great lengths to hide anymore. This past week I have been feeling particularly down. I’m unwell at the moment so I think that has had its’ part to play, but generally the mood has not been good and I have found myself feeling really upset.

One thing I find that helps to lift my mood is walking. I know they say exercise releases endorphins (and I’m sure it does) but I don’t particularly subscribe to intense cardio sessions when I feel miserable. What is more manageable however, is a nice walk.

Since moving back to Essex I have been tremendously lucky in what I have around me. There are beautiful thick woodlands and country parks that sprawl across acres. I have explored many rambling paths and stood at the edges of many glittering lakes. I have fed deer, ducks and watched colourful birds. I know I’m lucky to live so nearby to so many wonderful places, so I try to take advantage of that as much as possible. Most weekends I am outdoors.

The other day was not a good day for me. I was feeling particularly unwell and down in the dumps after finishing my day of working from home. However, the sun had made a rare appearance which did seem to brighten things a little. Gareth and I decided to drive down to Chalkwell to take a walk by the sea. My aunt had mentioned it in conversation at the weekend, and I had fond memories of lurking about in the beachy mud over there when I was a child. We got in the car and made the 40 minute trip down.

When we got there the tide was out, but the sun shone brilliantly and I could feel myself relaxing and starting to feel happier. We took a long walk on the empty beach, searching for sea glass and revelling in the quietness. Although it was not warm, I felt fine in a jumper and jacket and I very much enjoyed feeling the sun on the back of my head. I find that the nicer the scenery the more I start to relax. The longer I walk the more my problems seem to melt away also, almost as if I’m leaving them behind me. I have always liked the seaside, and although it may sound strange, to me it is more enjoyable during the colder months when it is empty yet beautiful. When other people can’t interfere with my experience.

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Empty and wonderful

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Stretching my legs 

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It doesn’t have to be the height of summer to be beautiful by the sea

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This lovely pic was snapped by Gareth
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As was this one!

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We found a bedraggled looking Winnie

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Posing with my egg necklace
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Looking serious but lovely. Don’t worry, he had a good time really!
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I told him to look serious!
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He is a natural behind the camera!

We walked for a long time, taking photographs and enjoying the beautiful views. We walked all the way up to Southend where we stopped for a cold beer. By the time we reached Southend the sun had set, and it was dark and much colder. The walk back to the car was chilly to say the least, but as my legs began to silently burn, I felt a lot more positive in my mind.

Sometimes I think when you’re feeling rotten, the best thing to do is to do something else. To remove yourself from a situation or a place, and to take yourself outside where it’s easier to breathe and you can think more clearly and freely. Empty or quiet spaces are really what I’d recommend for people feeling stressed and frustrated. The woods can be really good for this. I find that a lot of people are dissuaded from walking around the winter months because of the cold, but I think it’s the perfect time to get out there. I really enjoyed my walk by the sea, and think that I will go again before it becomes too busy to be a relaxing experience.

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Garden birds update 2

Last week we decided to introduce a few new bits and bobs to the bird feeder menu. And what a difference it has made! We have seen a flurry of activity in our garden and rather happily, we have seen even more long-tailed tits.

Last/This week we have spotted robins, long-tailed tits, coal, blue and great tits, a dunnock, wood pigeons and wrens to name a few. Unfortunately we haven’t seen our parrot friend since the last garden birds update a few weeks ago. I hope she is okay. We also haven’t seen any goldfinches yet, but I am hopeful that we will!

The following photographs have been taken by myself and are of some of the birds who have paid us a visit. As always these have been taken through glass and may be blurry in parts. I hope this doesn’t detract from the overall quality and you enjoy these visitors as much as I do!

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Our fluff ball friend mr Robin – or is it a mrs?

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Beautiful Dunnock. We spotted these for the first time last week

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A very blurry pic of a wren- they are so tiny and fast!

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Beautiful blue tit

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A beautiful coal tit in the rain

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This coat tit decided to check out the local property
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Gareth hung this box, and this is the first time I have spotted any bird checking it out

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Note the long tailed tits pink back and lovely yellow eye shadow!
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Long tailed tit in the rain

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A hungry great tit squawks angrily at other birds

Starting an Etsy shop

It has been a couple of weeks since I opened the online doors to my Etsy shop now and whilst I have no big ‘updates’ to give as such, I thought I’d take the time to write a little bit about how it’s all going.

The TLDR; of it is this: slowly. 

It’s what I had expected, what I had read and what others had told me. I guess it’s only natural that when you first start a business it takes some time to get your name out there and to build up a following. I follow many creatives and Etsy sellers on Instagram and can see that it has taken them a long time and a lot of trial and error to gain the many loyal followers and buyers they have. But still. Even knowing all this good stuff I’m horrifically impatient and want all of that success already. I’m terrible, I know.

I am enjoying all of the processes behind running a small business though. I enjoy accumulating followers on Instagram and that little thrill when someone tells me something I’ve made is cute. I enjoy checking my stats on Etsy and seeing how many people have looked at my shop. It makes my day when someone favourites a listing. I know I know, I’m sad but what can I say? It’s all sorts of fun to see something you’ve created grow.

At this time I  have made one sale, so I think that means I am getting there. I know success won’t fall at my feet overnight and that I just have to keep myself motivated. I’ve been reading a lot of success stories lately and I do think that helps to keep my mind focused on the overall goal (which is to have a successful Etsy shop.) I’m also hoping to start producing some new designs too, as I think that will help boost views of my shop and perhaps I will sell a few more things!

As long as I can keep moving forwards, I am happy.

If you’d like to visit my Etsy shop, you can visit it here. You can also follow my journey over on instagram here. If you’d like to buy something, please feel free to use the code PRETTYLITTLEBLOG10 for a 10% discount on your order.

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Please feel free to share your Etsy shop links with me, as I love discovering new places to buy!

BKA bird sale

When we found out that the BKA (Bird Keepers Association) were having a bird sale on February 14th, we knew our Valentines Day plans were made. Luckily we both enjoy a good bird sale or this could have been awkward!

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I wore my owl finch necklace to the show
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It’s all in the details!

On the day we left at around 9.30. The sale was to start an hour later but, knowing that these things can be busy (and hard to find) we wanted to get there early.

This sale was held at a much larger venue than the last; The Mill Hall, Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, Essex – so we were quite excited at the prospect of what we might find. We had decided between us that we really wanted a pair of goldfinches but would settle for a cock goldfinch and hen canary if needs be. (So we could still breed them.) We also decided on a budget.

Getting there was easy enough, and the bird sale itself was sign-posted well. When we got there a few people were milling around reception, also similarly eager to find a bargain – but it wasn’t what you’d call busy so after buying our wristbands, we decided to head to the cafe for hot chocolate and orange juice. Rookie mistake. By the time we’d actually got our drinks, a huge queue had formed through the reception and out of the door! We hurriedly joined it to shiver outside in the cold and chat to other attendees about birds (because, well, that’s what bird people do.)

When we finally entered it was manic. Previous to this sale we had attended two others and both had been really busy but this was something else. Everyone came prepared with boxes and cages and it seemed like everyone had something in mind. It was hard to get down each aisle because of how bustling it was but, on display were some beautiful birds.

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One thing I did notice about this event, was a slight lack of British birds. Most seemed to be foreign and there was a great selection of parrot finches, gouldians, etc etc as well as zebra finches, budgies and even some quail. We came across just two goldfinches in the whole place – and before we could buy them, they were snapped up for a bargainous £65 each by someone else! This was a shame for us, however we still had a lot of fun peeking in at all of the other birds and becoming gooey-eyed at the tiny timor zebra finch.

One highlight of the event was a stall set up by a company called Owls R Us who have static bird displays. I, like the rest of the modern world, am obsessed with owls and it was nice to see so many of them perched there. I paid a small donation and even got to hold a gorgeous tawny owl which was very exciting for me! Prior to this I’d held and flown a  few different owls/birds of prey but never a tawny. It had such a sweet little face and feathers as soft as a cloud, holding a beautiful bird is always a wonderful experience.

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Holding a tawny owl was a real highlight for me.

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We didn’t stay for long after that. We picked up some british bird seed from the Essex bird centre stall (an essential if you find yourself at a BKA event.) And then headed off. It was a little too busy to just stand around.

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Instead we decided to head out to some specialist shops in search of our wanted goldfinches. After a short search (and discovering beautiful European bullfinches) we did eventually come across two that had very natural colours. I know this is best for the bird as it means it hasn’t been fed dye, but to me they weren’t the most beautiful. These birds were also quite skittish which is something we’ve heard before.

After some consideration we decided to go for two redpolls instead! We already have redpolls and they are such lovely birds, so it was nice to get some more and extend the family. I really hope to breed these in the summer. We have named them Buttercup (hen) and Parsley (cock.) They are such friendly and interesting characters and Muffin and Chestnut our other redpolls are obsessed with them.

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Not the best picture but our new redpolls are beautiful.

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We will be looking out for the next BKA show – but hopefully we can show some restraint as I don’t know how many more birds we can house! I don’t think I will be looking for goldfinches in the future because I think they may be difficult to look after. Perhaps this is something to consider again when we have an outdoor aviary.

 

Quick Etsy shop update

I have decided to open my Etsy shop a little earlier than I originally anticipated. Largely because I’m impatient, but mostly because I really want to get the ball rolling with this one – and I now have everything ready and in place.

If you’d like to take a look, you can find my shop here

I am selling handmade wooden necklaces featuring garden birds.

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I have a limited number of lovely blue tits.

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And a limited number of beautiful bullfinches. But I will re-stock (and add some new designs) if and when these sell out.

Get buying people – help me create more things and realise my dream of working from home in my PJS all of the days.

Garden birds update

It has been a few weeks since my last post on the birds that visit our garden and since then we’ve had a few more in so I thought I would update.

All of these photos were taken through a glass door, and some are a little blurry but you should be able to make them out well enough!

As always we’ve had our old friend the robin visit (a few robins actually.)

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Our robin loves to sing.

The great tits have been back in force too

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Having a little preen.

And we’ve spotted some blue tits as well (my favourites.) Today I managed to capture a shot of some lovely long tailed tits that paid us a visit.

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I love their little pink backs, and if you look closely, this chap has some yellow eye shadow!

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Last but not least, we spotted a plum headed parakeet on our feeder. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked out of the window and saw a bright green bird feasting on the peanut granules. For a moment I thought we’d bought her back from Rome! She appears to be ringed so I am bit concerned she has escaped from somewhere. I haven’t seen her since but I’m keeping my fingers crossed she’s okay.

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We’re still on the lookout for some goldfinches, so hopefully we’ll see some soon. What have you spotted in your garden recently?