Etsy review – biscuits, beans and a couple of Mandrakes

Over the past couple of months I’ve been doing some serious online shopping (whoops!) and have returned again to my favourite online outlet- Etsy! I’ve purchased some really cool things lately so thought I’d blog about what/who I’ve been splurging on.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

The Beast Peddler

You can find The Beast Peddler lurking HERE

This shop sells the most amazing handmade art dolls/plush all with a magical theme. It is stocked maybe once or twice a week, usually on Saturdays and stock can range from mandrakes, to teacup demons to little moths. My favourites are the adorable mandrakes and the mushroom folk. Unfortunately these guys are seriously hard to get. When the shop is restocked everything sells out in under a minute. Yep, beasts are apparently big business! I tried for months to get a mandrake without luck, then finally I managed to snag one! (He is called Enwulf and is the little guy on the right.) And my boyfriend managed to snag me one too! (Beowry) Ugh, they are beyond adorable and I am completely in love with them. These are definitely a collectors item though and they certainly don’t come cheap. They are very well made however, ship with an adoption certificate and just add a touch of magic to your home. I am besotted with my little mandrakes and can’t wait to get a mushroom folk to keep them company.

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You Make Me Design

You can find this shop HERE

A recent discovery for me, You Make Me Design has very quickly become a new obsession. There’s so much in the shop I want to buy it’s crazy. YMMD features loads of super cool and kitsch jewellery that’s really fun. I am a HUGE fan of all the retro beans items (and have my eye on the cushion) This time I went for the little beans pin which I think is a fun way to add a touch of playfulness to an outfit. It’s been firmly stuck to the lapel of my coat all week and I’ve had lots of comments on it!

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Nikki Mcwilliams

You can find this shop HERE

So, I’ve mentioned this shop and Nikki’s fabulous biscuits over on this blog on a few occasions. So much so I hardly feel it needs an introduction however if you’re just joining me, Nikki sells amazing homewares and jewellery all with a super fun biscuit theme! I have a pair of custard cream cushions that I love, as well as a mini custard cream necklace and statement jammy dodger necklace. The next step was obviously one of her awesome brooches. I didn’t actually buy this from her Etsy shop – I went to her website, however she also has a shop over at Etsy so I thought it was worth a mention!

The brooch itself is of amazing quality. Very well made, vibrant and fun. I’ve already worn it out and had some comments on it, it’s just very fun!

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Wooden Siberia

You can find this shop HERE

I really don’t know how I stumbled across this shop but I am SO glad that I did. This shop sells kitsch, fun, cute and quirky wooden brooches that have been hand-painted. The designs are really great and the attention to detail is spot on. Let it be known that you heard about Wooden Siberia here first! I think this girl is going to be really successful with her shop and she’s one to watch for sure. I purchased the wooden pretzel brooch and she sent me some extra goodies too! I got an adorable ice lolly brooch, sticker and thank you note. The packaging was also extremely cute. The little touches are what really make me love shopping Etsy – customers are valued so much more and it’s that personal feel that makes it so rewarding. I love my pretzel brooch and lolly pop brooch and can’t wait to wear them around a snack-themed ensemble!

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Have you bought anything neat from Etsy recently? Recommend me a shop to check out in the comments below!

 

Lucky Dip Club Box Review

I have been following Leona and her Lucky Dip Club journey over on the ‘gram for a couple of years now – always eagerly awaiting the hashtag to peruse what fun goodies everyone received in the post. I always wanted to get a box, but I was waiting for just the right one – plus I’ve not been very good at keeping track of the time/date and they sell out pretty quickly!

Anyway, when Leona announced the April box as being Breakfast themed I knew it was time I jumped on the wagon. Setting my alarm I finally snapped up a box! As I’ve mentioned, this is my first ever LDC box – I really couldn’t be happier with it!

For those not familiar with LDC, it is a subscription service that sends you a box set to a theme every month. You can also purchase a one off box like I did. Themes in the past have included Cats and Cocktails, Biscuits, Slumber party and so much more. In the box you can expect to receive a bunch of goodies (sometimes personalised) that have been collaborated on by some seriously cool illustrators, artists and creators. This is usually jewellery, pin badges, pieces of art, stationary etc and of course, a copy of the inspiring mag Girl Planet which has lots of tips and insight in to the worlds of various creatives.

Back to the April box. As I mentioned earlier the theme was ‘breakfast’ and the artists that collaborated on it were @belsartworld@tinytreatboutique and @themakearcade whom I urge you all to go and check out!

So, what did I receive in my box?

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Upon opening the box I could see everything was neatly packaged and wrapped – this element really makes the box feel like a gift which is super exciting. Yay for nice packaging!

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As you can see the box was pretty full! I’ll go in to detail about each individual piece.

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In terms of jewellery this box came with a cute Tiny Treat Boutique milk bottle necklace and an amazing cereal pin! This adorable bowl of Yay has been on my coat lapel all week, next to my trusty beans and goldfinch pins. Personally the pin is one of my favourite bits of the box!

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Another favourite in the box was this super-cute fried egg brooch kit from The Make Arcade! I was REALLY hoping that egg would feature, so I pretty much lost it when I discovered this friendly little guy inside. The kit comes with step-by-step instructions and everything you’ll need to create the brooch including felt, safety eyes, thread, a needle and  brooch pin. I haven’t made my egg yet but I’ll be giving it a go shortly and fingers crossed my sewing skills won’t let me down!

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Another thing I adored was this amazing tea towel complete with breakfast truck illustration – the stuff dreams are made of! I think this is FAR too nice to dry my dishes with though so I am thinking about framing it. It really is lovely and feels very good quality.

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And then of course a lovely little print of the breakfast truck for my wall and a copy of Girl Planet!

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As you can see the magazine is packed full of fun features – this will be especially interesting to you if like me you are a big fan of Etsy! This page shows Kim Lawler of Finest Imaginary – another to follow on the gram if you’re a fan of handmade and unique jewellery.

So as you can see, the box was definitely worth it! It cost £20 as a one off box with free P&P (I believe P&P is £5 internationally but don’t quote me on that!) I was so impressed with this box that I set my alarm to go off for seven o’clock this morning to grab the May ‘Flower Market’ box! I can’t wait to receive that as I’m a self-confessed cacti lady and lover  of all things floral! If you’re thinking about getting a box I urge you to go for it – you won’t regret it. It’s so fun to receive a monthly box of goodies through your door and in doing so you’re helping to support some really cool gals. What’s not to love about that?! Hoo-rah!

 

RSPB Rainham Marshes – a few shots

On Sunday we were blessed with lovely sunny weather so we decided to make the most of our RSPB memberships and head over to Rainham Marshes reserve. The marshes were absolutely fantastic and whilst I didn’t get the shots I wanted, I did get to see a lot of wildlife and my most favourite- goldfinches! For anyone wanting to visit Rainham Marshes for the purpose of bird-watching I cannot recommend it enough. It is a lovely area also so if you’re not interested in the birds you’d still get a lot of enjoyment out of the walk. When I return I will make sure to take photos of everything and review it properly but for now here are some quick shots of the kind of wildlife you can expect to find there!

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A lone goldfinch

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A dunnock feeding on the ground
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A great tit feeds whilst a blue tit looks on

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A lovely greenfinch with his grey cheeks
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Greenfinch, goldfinch and a sparrow

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A trip to Kew Gardens

I have wanted to visit Kew Gardens for a good few years now but have always put it off for some reason or the other. However, my current job permits me free entry and the weekend before last (with the sunny weather) was the perfect opportunity to finally make that trip. It’s taken me a little while to get around to blogging about it, mostly because of how many pictures I took (and therefore had to edit- lazy, sorry!)

We drove down to Kew Gardens in the car – there isn’t really a specific car park or parking – you can park along outside the walls of the garden. Not ideal and we have read this gets busy very quickly. Luckily we arrived early, around ten and we managed to park okay- so if you’re planning on driving to Kew Gardens I’d recommend getting there nice and early!

When we arrived it was lovely and sunny and the air was unexpectedly warm for  late March. Both my partner and I were able to enter for free which was a lovely perk. Upon entering these vast gardens we were met with an appealing sight for the eyes, a beautiful lake and carefully arranged beds of flowers.

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By the lake there was a big glass structure- a tropical house filled with exotic palms and greenery. Inside was really hot and steamy, with water dripping from plant tendrils and thick air fogging up my camera lens. Because of this all of my pictures are a little foggy! I think it illustrates perfectly what it was like to be inside though.

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Rambling through the greenhouse it felt like we were exploring some exotic forest. Among all the lush green foliage was an array of unusual plants and seed pods which were all very interesting to observe.

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From here we walked past the lake and through to another large glass building – the structure much like a greenhouse. This was divided up in to sections, such as ‘desert’. We wandered through cacti patches (my favourites) and beautiful lush ferns. At the centre of the greenhouse was a large pond filled with darting fish and lillie pads.

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Love a cactus!

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After our stroll through the green house we were decidedly hungry and set out in search of a cafe. Walking through Kew Gardens you get to see some really beautiful scenery – tall trees and carpets of flowers.

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At the cafe (which I believe is reasonably priced) we stopped for lunch. This was a fantastic cafe with a great selection of hot food as well as freshly prepared cakes, packed lunches and more. Gareth had sausage and chips whilst I had the child’s packed lunch! Don’t be fooled though, the packed lunch was filled with delicious goodies and I was quite full after eating it!

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After lunch we strolled through the gardens with no real plan set in mind – just soaking up the sunshine and our beautiful surroundings. We were fortunate enough to spot a beautiful woodpecker.

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And a magpie too!

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Eventually we came to a bamboo garden. This, as you can imagine – was filled with bamboo – The Minka House – which is a traditional Japanese farmhouse – also stands here.

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Nothing to see here
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Stopping on the bench to rest our aching legs.

From here we crossed the river. Looking at our map we decided to head towards the treetop walk where we would get a lovely view of the entire gardens.

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As you can see, the tree top walk (pictured above) is pretty high up. Once at the top I was a lot less interested in the view than I had anticipated and concerned myself more with keeping my balance! I never really thought I had a problem with heights, but the metal flooring is pretty rickety (albeit very safe and secure I’m sure) I wussed out! And whilst I did make it the whole way round I certainly wasn’t snapping any pictures OR letting go of the railing!

Back on solid ground we rested a little before heading to yet another green house. There are many of these dotted about, but the largest one of all was closed during our visit. The main attraction of this green house was the big pond in the centre, and the lillie pads and flowers that grew there.

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Back outside again I snapped every flower I could possibly find as we walked. There were a great many trees laden with blossom which was beautiful to see swaying in the breeze. Flower beds were all neatly manicured and the colours were very pretty and spring appropriate.

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The last port of call for us was the rock garden. Upon entering this part of Kew Gardens we were greeted by a brilliant blue peacock sunning itself on a rock! Being a bird person, this was particularly exciting for me to see.

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The rock garden was filled with lovely plants, flowers and shrubs as well as tumbling water features. Towards the end of the garden a small green house sits. Inside are beautiful plants – some potted, some growing in the earth.

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After this we decided to call it a day as we were both really tired from all the walking we had done! I had a wonderful time at Kew Gardens and can’t recommend it enough. We didn’t even get around half of the gardens so we’ll definitely be back to see the rest of it when the weather is warmer and the flowers are fully in bloom. Spring at Kew is beautiful however so I definitely think it’s worth a visit this time of year. If you’re planning a visit make sure you set aside a whole day to explore – the Gardens are really large and there’s a lot to see!

 

 

 

Ways to wear Pretty Little Finch this Spring

Spring has sprung; beautiful daffodils sway in the breeze, bumble bees hum gently around the blooming flowers and glimpses of white cotton tails can be caught as startled rabbits run for cover under the bramble. It’s a lovely season but with the ever-changing weather (sunshine one minute, showers the next!) it can be hard to dress for.

I think that Pretty Little Finch necklaces are a perfect way to embrace the new season and thought it would be fun to throw together some looks. So here they are – my ways to wear Pretty Little Finch this Spring.

Darling birds of May

Spring is the perfect time to showcase your feminine floral dresses. I’ve teamed this beautiful blue tit necklace with a lovely bright printed dress and felt hat – perfect for picnicking in the woods and gathering wild flowers when the sun starts to shine.

Dress: Forever 21, Hat: Primark, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

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Vintage appeal

With the weather being warm but breezy, now is the perfect time to whip out the vintage and silk shirts that may be too hot to wear as the temperature heats up. A vintage shirt layered over a printed dress is an easy Spring outfit that looks charming with a friendly robin necklace. Perfect for perusing your vintage field guides when you’re out bird-watching.

Shirt: Vintage, Dress: Primark, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

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New-Season knits

On those days when the sun doesn’t want to shine, a knitted jumper is still an essential. Ease in to the new season with pastel shades. I’ve layered this light grey jumper over a striped dress and teamed with the beautiful bullfinch necklace – the grey, blue and red combination work well together and would make a lovely outfit for a day beside the seaside or a stroll in the shady woods.

Jumper: Primark, Dress: Primark, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

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Playful print

Fun prints and patterns are a great way to banish Winter blues and look towards a brighter season. I’ve teamed this slogan tee in a pretty pastel shade with a dogtooth skort. To finish off the ensemble I’ve teamed it with a cheeky nuthatch necklace which I think encapsulates the fun found in nature.

T-Shirt: Forever 21, Skort: New Look, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

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If you’d like to work a Pretty Little Finch necklace this Spring, you can find them here!

What I know VS what I think; the internal struggle

I am 26 years old, an occasional size 10, a frequent size 12 and I’m 5ft4.
These are my numbers. Well some of them, the ones I feel most comfortable sharing. These days I feel like my life is dictated by numbers, most notably the number on the scale (which I’m less keen to share.)

I know I’m not alone. In today’s society I am just one of many in a sea of despairing women (and men) obsessed with their body image and weight. Dieting and exercising relentlessly, putting my frame through hell and back to lose a couple of pounds, to go down a few numbers, to fit. Where I am trying to fit though? Or rather, what am I trying to fit – what are we all trying to fit? Well, a size 8 pair of skinny jeans ideally, but I’d like to feel like I was one of the lucky few society viewed as ‘beautiful’. That would be nice too.

So here’s the thing, despite the fact that at times I am a walking cliche’ and at others I am bordering on hysterical, I have common sense. I know that despite my numbers I am worthy of love, of friendship and ultimately, of happiness. These are my fundamental rights as a human being and being a size 6, 12 or 20 should not affect that. It does not affect that. I tell myself this on a daily basis.

Despite my numbers I am beautiful. I may not be beautiful in a ‘conventional’ sense but everyone is in their own way right? Because beauty is subjective, and what is lovely to one is hideous to another and vice versa – you get the picture. I know I am not a swamp monster living at the bottom of the lake. I have flaws, sure. But so does everyone – I know this.

I also know that in the end, none of these numbers I obsess over so are going to matter. When I die, no one will scrutinising my pile of ash and wondering if it could be just a tiny bit smaller. The only thing I’ll need to ‘fit’ in to is a box placed six feet under the ground. I know that sounds morbid, but it’s true. So in the scheme of things, does my weight really matter?

Well, yeah, kinda.

Because even though I know the aforementioned to be true, it’s not what I really think and it certainly doesn’t change how I feel.

When I look in the mirror I can remind myself of all the lovely compliments I have ever received. I can think about my adoring boyfriend and how he loves the way I look. I can tell myself ‘ beauty is subjective’ – but when I look in the mirror what I see is fat. What I feel is fat. And what I think is, sure, I’m not a swamp monster, but I’m out of proportion and people are going to stare at me.

I do this every single day, multiple times a day, and that feels truly horrible. I stopped wearing jeans because I hated how they highlighted my legs and made them look even chunkier. I don’t wear tight-fitting clothing as it shows my lumps and my bumps. I can’t wear baggy clothing as it looks like I’m wearing a sack. Sleeveless dresses are out of the question because my upper arms are shameful. I wear skater dresses and black tights. It’s what I wear everyday in order to feel comfortable going out in public. To flatter my horrible figure as best as I possibly can.

And even though I know my weight shouldn’t affect my happiness, it inevitably does, especially when it leaves me feeling so ugly and restricted. I exercise every single night. I am on a constant diet and I have been for 8 months now. A lot of my day revolves around how I look because I am always thinking about what meal I can eat and how many calories it contains, or how I can improve my workouts and boost my weight loss. I spend more time than I care to admit researching diet and exercise plans. When it comes to weigh in day, my whole week can be ruined entirely by the absence of a loss. To say it affects my mood, is an understatement. It positively controls my mood.

Finally, I know I am deserving of love and friendship. But this is the thing. It doesn’t feel that way. I annoy absolutely everyone I know by accusing them of lying, by disbelieving anything nice they say, by flying off the handle. I almost always feel that people are looking down on me, that they are judging me or trying to deceive me. At best I think people are just trying to be nice because they are sympathetic.

And that’s the struggle of it all. It sounds so conceited and vain – that’s why I don’t talk about it so much. Because it makes me feel ashamed that something as insignificant as how I look could shape my life in such a negative way. But I know I am not alone with it, there are other people who feel exactly like I do and suffer just like I do.

I see it all the time on social media. And I see the hate too. When a large lady tries to show some body positivity to herself she will often be ripped down with critique such as ‘it’s not healthy to be that weight’ ‘you shouldn’t promote fat’ and etc etc. We’ve all seen it.

Truthfully weight can be an important issue for many and we should be striving to be active and eat healthily.  But in the same vein it’s important to show kindness to yourself, even if you’re overweight/fat/obese…because being horrible to yourself is damaging and it leads to a path that’s hard to come off of. Ultimately it won’t help you.

I’ve spent so long being horrible to myself that I have forgotten how to be nice to myself, and that’s pretty sad. If only I could have kept just a little bit of kindness and support for myself, perhaps then losing weight would have been easier / less of a punishment and more of a journey. Whatever the case I would have been a happier person and that’s what really matters.

In the end your numbers and my numbers are really nobodies business but our own. If people compliment you, or critiscise you always try to remember that it’s your body and it doesn’t exist to please everyone. Body positivity is important for everyone regardless of size and of shape and in the long run feeling comfortable with who you are / what you look like is going to be far more productive than giving in to the hurtful and destructive thoughts that our society sadly forces upon us. There is always going to be someone who disagrees with you and your lifestyle. I’d like to think those people are welcome to their negative thoughts. Instead of imitating what they think and taking it out on yourself,  stick to what you know to be true – show yourself some kindness, you are deserving of it and you are not alone!

A trip to Tropical Wings

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a proper day out. When we were living in London we spent almost every weekend ferrying ourselves in to Essex and beyond for big adventures but since moving to Brentwood we have been enjoying a slower pace of life and the ample countryside around us. Yesterday however we had the itch to explore and because I have wanted to visit Tropical Wings for awhile we decided it would be a good destination.

Tropical Wings is a small zoo with a family focus and it is located in South Woodham Ferrers. It’s very reasonably priced costing £10.95 per adult and £8.95 for kids. Of course, we unlike most at the zoo, did not (and do not) have kids…but I just really like wildlife and getting the opportunity to use my camera! So don’t be put off of going if you don’t have children.

The zoo itself is quite small but it’s a good size. You can get around all of it (at a moderate pace) in around an hour to two hours (we were there for the latter) and there’s a lot of really interesting animals there. If you want to see the bigger animals such as lions, zebra and hippos this probably is not the zoo for you. However it did have a plethora of interesting creatures including wallabies, Capybara, birds of prey, otters etc as well as farmyard animals and the more traditional ‘pet’ animals such as rabbits, guineapigs and chickens. The animals are really well kept too with ‘natural’ enclosures and plenty of space which was nice to see. The grounds are well maintained, everything is clean and it’s a really great place to visit. With some of the smaller zoos the upkeep isn’t always great, but Tropical Wings was really nice.

We started out in the butterfly house. In there it was very warm and there were hundreds of gorgeous butterflies floating around and landing on unsuspecting visitors! This was a highlight of Tropical Wings for me. We even spotted some quail (and as you may know, I love quail!) and some exotic birds which I couldn’t identify. I love having the aspect of walking around with animals and insects flying about doing their thing. Although some of the parents in there were rude and it made me cringe when one man in particular pushed a buggy out through the doors releasing at least two beautiful blue butterflies in to the cold. I hope those were put back in – and I’m sure they were, it just annoyed me a little to see someone be so inconsiderate!

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An exotic bird in the butterfly house

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From here we moved on to the birds of the world section. Naturally this was always going to be my favourite, but when I saw there were zebra finches I was even more excited! I know what you’re thinking. I have a whole charm of the creatures myself at home/why would I pay to see them. And yes, that’s true but zebra finches are amazing little creatures and it’s really interesting to see a big aviary of them together. There were a lot of chestnut flanked zebs in there too. I could easily have taken a pocketful of them home. I didn’t though!

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A Harris Hawk – there are some flying displays throughout the day. We caught a glimpse of one.

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Whilst wandering around we came across a great many unusual creatures, some of which I (sadly) couldn’t identify. Luckily for us the animal enclosures were all accompanied by signs that identified the animals and highlighted some interesting facts. I really should have jotted these down for the more unusual creatures however being the organised person I am, I didn’t!

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This is one of said creatures I couldn’t identify! It was really large and adorable.

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Blending in with our surroundings and being oversized kids
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Improvement?

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As we walked around we came across a North American Turkey that was really friendly. He came right up to us and seemed very interested in my camera! If you visit the zoo make sure to say hi to him. Turkeys aren’t necessarily the most beautiful or exotic of animals, but this little guy had a big personality and it really shined through.

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The picture is blurred but this little guy was the best!

The zoo also has a wallaby/Mara walk-through. This was particularly fun and it was lovely to see a wallaby with a little baby stuffed in her pouch!

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A mara and wallaby having a relax in the hay

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Close up of the baby – Gareth took this photo!
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A capybara and her babies – look how adorable they are! Just like oversized guineapigs!

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Finally we ended up in what I’d call the pets/farmyard corner. As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of chickens, goats, rabbits, guineapigs etc. I believe that they have a corner where you can experience the animals and hold them (don’t quote me on this!) But that wasn’t an option when we were there. If it was I would have definitely snuggled the bunnies!

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All in all we both had a great time at the zoo and I couldn’t recommend it enough. If you’re thinking of taking a visit, you can find the website here

This last picture is not from inside the zoo, but just outside. I absolutely love sparrows and there was a great many of them flying about and making nests. The whole site feels very natural and that’s just one of the reasons it’s so lovely.

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New designs for Pretty Little Finch

So, as I mentioned a few posts back, I have been working hard to create some new designs for my Etsy shop in the hopes of luring more customers in.

I had originally created four designs but, after much thought I decided to listen to what people had been asking for – and I went back to the drawing board to create something new.

After much deliberation I settled on two designs. The robin and the nuthatch. I am really happy with how both of these designs have turned out and think they will get a good reception, what with the Robin being a firm fave with us Brits!

Anyway, here they are – my new pieces.

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I’ve also made a few changes to my existing items, and have re-shot the photos, tweaked the descriptions etc etc. So please go and check it out. If you’d like one of my pieces, please take a look HERE

Thanks for stopping by!

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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!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

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?