The Matilda Moo Collection - Tangible Stationery

I keep it no secret that I'm a stationery addict and will use any excuse to get more and more stationery into my collection. Back in January I reviewed the gorgeous set of notebooks from Tangible Stationery and last week they got in touch and asked if I would like to explore their brand new Matilda Moo range. This collection comprises of diary's, sticky notes and their new black ink ball point pens. The diaries come in two designs; the moonicon or baanicorn and they also come either ring bound or like a book.

Tangible Stationery, farm animals, stationery, diary, weekly planner, planner, cute planner

I went for the moonicorn design and let me tell you, it was a tough call because they're both pastel colours and absolutely stunning. Since I already have my pink notebook from Tangible and because I LOVE cows, I went with the blue design and really it's the best of both worlds because inside are beautifully laid out pastel pink pages. I don't actually have a diary for 2018 and have been making do with a desk weekly planner, which has never been convenient enough to pop into my bag should I wish to take it anywhere with me. Since you can get a whole week on one page with these diary's and the opposite page is a whole spread for notes and organising, it's not a bulky book by any means and is incredibly light weight. There is even an elastic string to keep your diary closed so nothing flies out should you wish to take your work to a coffee shop with you.

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As for sticky notes, I'm a sucker for them! I use them all the time to leave myself reminders or lets face it, mini motivational speeches for when the going gets tough. These little cuties are A7 in size and have 50 sticky pages for £2.95 which I don't think is too bad at all, with plenty of space for writing alongside their adorable baanicorn character. 

Tangible Stationery, farm animals, stationery, diary, weekly planner, planner, cute planner

Then of course, no stationery collection is complete without pens and I’m so chuffed to see Tangible have started to include pens in their collection. James has already spied this one and has told me he’s stealing it so I guess that just shows how much these attract the men too! It’s a gun metal colour casing with a subtle Matilda Moo logo down the side and it writes in black ink which is a huge relief because, fun fact; I can’t stand blue ink pens. They make my skin crawl! 

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What do you guys think to the new collection from Tangible Stationery? I’m a sucker for it! 

Thanks for reading,

New Greeting Cards!

So a couple of weeks back I was trying to hand make another batch of greeting cards as I have done now for the last three years, when my printer quality started to throw a wobbly. I did all the cleaning and realigning of the cartridges as I usually do when my printer has an off day but nothing has solved the issue this time. My printer is less than a year old and whilst it still works for printing invoices and paperwork, I can no longer rely on it for greeting cards. In all honesty, I've been waiting for this moment for months now, the moment where I can finally move away from hand making each and every one and moving onto professionally printed cards instead.

This of course costs money to get cards made which is the main reason I have been avoiding it for so long and hand making them. It was more cost effective short term, but long term it's not and it was also extremely time consuming and took me away from creating new designs. So I chose three designs to get the ball rolling and here they are!

I have a brand new design which is the doughnut birthday card, an existing one of the Mad Hatter and then an oldie but goodie has returned, the Moon of My Life design! I'm super pleased with how they turned out and they're on a lovely thick matte card stock with pastel coloured envelopes each. 

I have also taken the #nakedcards pledge and will no longer be popping my greeting cards into cellophane bags. Instead they'll come in candy striped paper bags to help reduce plastic and save the environment. As a small business, we're doing everything we can to reduce waste and switch to cardboard boxes too for parcels.

If you fancy snapping yourself some cards up, they're live now in my online indie store!

Thanks for reading,

The Body Shop Bloggers Event - Highcross Leicester

Although I don't blog about beauty anywhere near as much as I used to, The Body Shop have a very special place in my heart and I'm always happy to get involved with them in anyway that I can. They have been a favourite brand of mine since I was little and with their commitment to banishing animal testing and also releasing more and more vegan friendly products, they are certainly a company I will continue to support. 

cruelty free, fight animal testing, cute rabbit, the body shop, leicester, highcross, highcross leicester

I was invited along to their very first bloggers night at the Highcross in Leicester and I went along with my fellow blogger buddy Abbey. When we arrived the staff introduced themselves and welcomed us into the store, there were already a couple of girls there who we got chatting to and whilst we were waiting for the others to arrive we had a mooch around the store for photo opportunities. There were 8 bloggers in total and once we were altogether, the staff explained what they had planned then split us into two groups of 4 so we could do the first demo, then swap. I was in a group with Abbey and I got to spend time with the lovely Sophie and Narzra as well!

Photo by OneUniqueBlog

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We first went over to the makeup area where The Body Shop's Chloe was ready to show us the new makeup lines and also test anything we liked the look of. We all ended up having some stars stamped around our eyes using their incredibly popular eye liner and stamp pen (I majorly regret not snapping up one of these) and Chloe also gave Abbey a liquid lip application whilst Sophie had her eyeshadow done.

cruelty free, fight animal testing, body butter, the body shop, leicester, highcross, highcross leicester

cruelty free, fight animal testing, cruelty free beauty, the body shop, leicester, highcross, highcross leicester

Next we went over to the skincare counter where we were given special little strips to test the levels of oil within our skin. Everyone was different and these tests were used to indicate what sort of skin type you had. I thought I had combination skin but turns out I have more of a balanced type, which surprised me a lot because I can get so dry in places. We were able to test out some creams and talk to the staff about any skin care problems we might be facing. Again we were able to test out anything we liked the look of and ask any questions we may have had. 

cruelty free, fight animal testing, cute rabbit, the body shop, leicester, highcross, highcross leicester

cruelty free, fight animal testing, cute rabbit, the body shop, leicester, highcross, highcross leicester

Then finally we were joined by the other group and we all gathered around the skincare table to be told all about the new body yoghurts which are 100% vegan and definitely worth the hype. I've seen a lot of people showing off their tubs of the yoghurts recently and wondered whether they're any good and after trying each one and giving them the sniff test, they all smell amazing and the strawberry one in particular seems good enough to eat. They're also £8.50 so a lot cheaper than the body butters and they soak in within 15 seconds so if like me you don't like standing in the nude waiting for your butters to soak in, yoghurts may be something to try!

cruelty free, fight animal testing, body yoghurts, vegan beauty, the body shop, leicester, highcross, highcross leicester

After the demos we were able to wander around the shop for as long as we wanted and test out anything we hadn't yet managed to have a look at. I got myself a sample of the Japanese Camellia Cream to take home which has such a unique texture and smells absolutely divine! I also grabbed a bar of the Himalayan Charcoal Facial Soap which actually helps to protect the red panda's of the Himalayas with 30p from each sale being donated to the Red Panda Network. The bar's packaging also feels more papery than plastic so I'm hoping it's a lot more eco friendly too. I couldn't resist their bunny headbands either and since my current one has seen better days, I thought I'd better get a new one to help keep my hair out of my face when showering and applying makeup.

At the end of the evening we were given a little goodie bag full of products to try which included this adorable bandana that I obviously got Custard to model when I got home! A huge thankyou to The Body Shop for having us and being so generous with letting us try out all of their products and for taking the time to create such a wonderful evening for us all. It was so much fun and I can't wait to get stuck into my treats! Something that I found useful to know is that The Body Shop are updating their packaging to include vegan info so you're not left reading a huge list of ingredients. Not everything is updated, but their newer products have the information on the packets and they're always trying to do better and include more vegan options as well as fighting the animal testing.

Thanks for reading,

I Tried Gouache!

Gouache is a paint I've been seeing more and more of lately and I didn't even know this type of paint existed until recent months. I usually use acrylic and watercolours but have always wanted to take elements from each one and have something in between. Having done a LOT of research around gouache before buying some, I discovered that this was in fact the happy medium between acrylics and watercolours and it's a huge favourite amongst illustrators in particular.

Unlike acrylics and watercolours, when gouache dries you can in fact reactivate it with a little bit of water so you could come back to your artwork the next day and rework some of the colours. They can be layered, watered down, mixed to make new shades and they behave similarly to watercolours so a lot of people advise that watercolour paper is used for gouache. Unfortunately I only have hot pressed paper in my house right now which I don't get on with as well as cold pressed. The difference? Hot pressed tends to be smooth paper where as cold pressed is the lovely textured watercolour paper. But determined to not waste it, I set to work on a new illustration to test out my new set of gouache.

I had actually put an order on Amazon for a set of Reeves gouache paints but later cancelled my order as I hadn't checked to see if the paints contained any animal ingredients. Being a vegan I'm trying to be a lot more mindful of what I am buying so I contacted the brand directly who told me they didn't know for sure if the ingredients were cruelty free and vegan friendly so I'm glad I did cancel my order. Then when I was in The Range last week, I spotted this kit by Daler Rowney and remember reading on The Vegan Womble that their designer range were vegan bar a couple of grey shades and a black. This set is the 'simply' range which is basically the value pack and the cheaper version (I assume) and I couldn't find anything online to say they weren't okay so I picked a box up. I will be contacting Daler Rowney to double check though as I think it would be useful to know.

The kit cost me £10 for 24 different colours so straight off, this is excellent value for money especially if you're trying gouache for the first time. A lot of artists might say you can't really judge whether you're going to like a new medium based off a cheap set as they might not perform as well but I saw that as even more of a reason to review this value pack. Not everyone has £££'s to spend on gouache and they can be very expensive for other brands. Some of the tubes in this kit did have space inside them and weren't 100% full but even this hasn't put me off the price. You get an excellent selection of colours which mix together well and I really enjoyed playing about with their opacity.

Overall, I can indeed see what the hype is about with this particular medium and I can't believe I hadn't tried it sooner. Even this cheap value pack of paints performs pretty well and I'm chuffed with the finished result! I actually scanned this piece in and sent it to my iPad to have a play about on the Procreate app, but the image above is the original illustration and I can't wait to start using this pack of gouache to produce some more. Have you ever tried gouache paints?

Thanks for reading,

Lucy & Yak Dungarees

I am anything but a fashion blogger but this is a brand I couldn't wait to share with you all after treating myself to my very first pair of dungarees. Lucy and Yak is an indie brand from the UK who believe in ethics, quality and super cute garments. They started their business with their last £400 from the back of their moterhome, Yak, and have since travelled around India in search of the perfect establishment to have their clothes made. Their factory is a small family run business in the North of India and they know each of their tailors personally. They helped to build the factory who create their clothes and know exactly how much the workers are paid. Lucy and Yak believe in fair wages; from the people who are making the clothes all the way out in India, to the staff who work in their warehouse, office and studio back here in the UK.

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Their establishments within the UK are all run on 100% renewable energy and they are working hard to get rid of plastic completely within their company. My parcel came wrapped in a mail bag made completely from potato starch, meaning within a year this bag won't exist anymore and will have fully broken down back into the environment. The garments don't come with one use swing tags or invoice packing slips, instead they come presented in a recycled material draw string bag that you can reuse which is such a lovely touch and a brilliant way of recycling scrap fabrics. Supporting little indie businesses like this feels fantastic and knowing everyone involved from the designing to the making of the clothes are treated and paid fairly is even better.

Lucy and Yak, dungarees, handmade clothes, ethical clothing, ethical fashion, handmade dungarees

I was a little worried about sizing with the dungarees as I’m petite and the dungarees all seem to be an oversized style that come in a basic small, medium or large so I went for small after reading the sizing charts and hoped for the best. Whilst my dungarees are indeed oversized on me, they don’t feel too big and I like to think I don’t look like a walking, pink sack of potatoes. They’re so comfy and I love the way they tie around the front with little loops instead of clips or buttons. Overall, what a great little find Lucy and Yak were and I can't wait to add some more in a different colour to my collection! Do you have anything from Lucy and Yak?

Thanks for reading,

Photos by Vikky Ball

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