10 things I couldn't live without...

I thought I'd give you a little mid week blog post, I've seen this ideas on a few blogs before and thought it was an fun little thing to do.
So heres my selection of the 10 things I just couldn't live without..

1. My Bobble water bottle

I love this water bottle! I've had it for more than a year now and I don't think I'll ever not have one. My mum and I spotted them when we were on holiday in Kent a few years ago in a tiny cookware shop (my heaven) when they were in their first stages and thought the idea was genius so my mum picked one up. About a year later when I was at Uni I spotted them again on Amazon and for £9.99 I thought it was worth a try and at the very least I'd stop spending money on buying bottled water. 

The bottle is BPA free and is completely recyclable (if you ever need to, these things seem to last forever). The idea is that you keep the clear plastic water bottle and replace the water filter top when you feel like you need a fresh one. On the website the filters are recommended for 2 months use or up to 150 litres of water, so far in owning my bottle for around a year and a half I've replaced the water filter twice and I think it's probably equal to a few hundred litres. I'm due to replace it pretty soon actually.

I think it's amazing invention and I take it pretty much every where with me, if you like the look of these they're available here on the Bobble website or if you search on amazon you can find them easy peasy on there. 

2. Daisy by Marc Jacobs

I've been wearing Daisy for umpteen years and every Christmas at least one of the lovely people in my life have gotten me a new bottle, so luckily I can wear this amazing scent everyday. 
I love the freshness of Daisy and I just don't think any of the other fancier options stand up to it. The smell is lovely and floral, and sticks around all day. What more could a girl ask for in a perfume! 

3. My slippers 

Such an old lady, I know! These slippers were the only thing I specifically wanted for Christmas this year and they're from a sheepskin shop in Ambleside near to where my home town is. I've only been wearing them for about a month and my feet have never been warmer, that's a big thing for me, I have perpetually cold feet. These are cosy and hardy and will definitely be on my list again next year!

4. Macbook Pro

I used to be a PC person and now I am undeniably a Mac girl. Despite what people think it's super easy to pick up on the Apple operating system and I like the layout over that of Windows. My Mac is the Pro 14" so it's slim enough to slip in my bag and take it places but it's big enough that it can take the odd knock and still takes DVD's which is a feature I don't think I could live without. 

5. Pretty much anything Cath Kidston

My name is Katy and I'm a Cath-a-holic. I admit it, anything Cath Kidston and I want my name on it. But in my defence just look how pretty it all is! 
Almost everything in my handbag is Cath Kidston, spots, stripes and florals sit happily in the bottom of my bag (yes that's CK too). 
My favourite purchase recently is my red Moleskine notebook which I grabbed in the sales, I carry it everywhere and I'm attempting to fill it with all my blog post ideas and things to do and make. 

6. My Natural Collection Make-up & Elemis Moisturiser

I'm not fancy with my make-up and I've found that for my skin Boots' own brand Natural Collection is my favourite. Apart from the cheap price, I like that there isn't too much to choose from and yet they still have the things I need. I don't own very much make-up and I just have the simple stuff, mascara, concealer, liquid eyeliner, corrector stick and some blusher. 

The only other main thing I have and use in my make-up bag is Elemis soft skin daily moisturiser, I actually got this as a free sample but as soon as it runs out I'll definitely be getting a new one of. It's light and has a gentle scent, I have quite sensitive skin and it gets especially dry in the winter. Of all the moisturisers I've used this is my favourite by far. 

7. Neals Yard Relaxation roll-on

This roll on was a god send in my first year, I'm prone to stress headaches and lavender is such a good essential oil to help with them. 
Neals Yard are a natural organic health and beauty shop, you might have heard of their main shop in London in, you guessed it, Neals Yard near Covent Garden. 
The shop does a range of these roll on essential oils including the relaxation one above, night time, study and a few more too. 
I'll roll this on my wrists and other pulse points like my neck just before I got to bed and I sleep like a baby. 

8. Brother Sewing Machine 

I've been waiting years to buy a sewing machine and my gorgeous Gran gave me some money just before Christmas and told me that it was to buy a sewing machine. Her mum, and my great nanny, was a seamstress and my Gran, mum and I have always sewn. 
I was so excited to finally get this and have to it make plenty pretty things for my new home with G, it now sits proudly in the corner of my desk looking pretty and practical. 

9. Aloe Vera

Now is probably the time to reveal that I am unbelievably clumsy. I'm currently nursing a huge bruise and cut on my knee from when I slipped on the stairs at Uni. 
My go to remedy? Aloe Vera, I use this for everything from cuts and bruises to burns and scrapes. It heals every single one of them and isn't like antiseptic wipes which sting like hell, it's super refreshing and calming. Dr. Organic is the brand I use but really so long as you go for a good pure aloe vera it'll work perfectly. 

10. Dune Boots! 

These boots! I stared at and lusted after these Dune Chelsea boots for months until I'd finally worked up enough money and at last as I was trying them on in Dune for the hundredth time I went for it. 

I've never looked back, the second the sun went away and the rain and clouds came back I had these on my feet. I wear them every day and they've seen me through countless days getting caught in the rain and worn with several pairs of socks they were hardy against the height of our Geordie winter. 
I'm going to be wearing these boots until the day they fall apart and then I'll be running back to Dune for another pair!

There's probably 10 more things I could add to this list and I haven't included G and my family either but they're not things and of course they are the number one thing I don't need to say it for them to know. 

Watch out on Sunday/Monday for my tutorial on making a simple envelope cushion cover. 

Katy x

What to do with Washi!

Washi tape is one of my favourite things for crafting!
I started collecting rolls of it when I spotted the prettiest patterns in Paperchase, they were just too colourful to resist.

I have a ridiculous amount of different tapes and most of them I haven't had a chance to use yet so I set my self a challenge today to see what I could use them for with the things I have at home. 

1. I decided to use my yellow chevron tape in my scrapbook instead of gluing the pictures in, I think it looks pretty nice, I'm planning on theming this page in yellow. That's me and my bestie halloween of my first year and G in his Flash suit, multiple people got pictures with him that night. (I'll be doing a scrapbooking post soon, once my book is a little more full)

2. I've seen posts on Pinterest using Washi tape to label things and I really do think it's a wonderful use! We have tons of plugs and wires lying around the house and I can never figure out which ones are which. This is a fun, colourful way to organise odds and ends, you can use Washi tape on most things and it comes of quickly and easily and of course it looks lovely!

3. For cards and envelopes, decorating cards with Washi tapes is one of the things I found most on Pinterest. I actually made the envelope and card, the envelope took a little figuring out but soon enough I had something to decorate, I lined the edges with my turquoise stripy tape on both sides.
For the card I just overlapped layers of my pink tape until I had enough space to write a little message. This one I'll be posting to my best friend.

4. The first page of my Shorthand book was looking a little plain so I jazzed it up with some stripy red tape (one of my favourites) and just used a black sharpie to write my subject and name.

6. Lastly I have a little Kilner jar I use for change, pens and anything in between, which I decided to wrap with my grey and pink tapes. The tapes both have the same floral geometric style print on them and I popped one line of each onto the jar.

These are just some of the many things you can use the tape for and I'm sure I'll find even more uses soon. For now I'll be covering anything I can get my hands on with Washi tape.


Banana Bread

I looove Banana bread, ever since I first tried it in a little cafe in my home town Carlisle with my mum it's been one of my favourite sweet treats. 

I always seem to buy bananas in the hope that I'll be healthy and actually eat them but that never seems to happen and I end up with multiple brown bananas I definitely don't want to eat. The solution? Banana bread! 

  • So the ingredients you'll need are: 

    285g/10oz self raising flour,
  • ½ tsp salt,
  • 150g/4oz butter, plus a little extra for greasing,
  • 250g/8oz caster sugar,
  • 2 free-range eggs,
  • 5 ripe mashed bananas,
  • 85ml/3fl oz milk mixed with 1½ tsp lemon juice or vinegar,
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract,

    To start make sure you've preheated your oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease or line your chosen baking tin, I'd recommend lining as I just used butter this time and it was more of a struggle to get the bread out of my tin. It's also a good idea to take your butter out of the fridge a little while before you want to use it so it's softer ready to be combined with the sugar. 

    Step one is to measure out your butter and sugar and cream the mixture together. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the creaming method, but basically you want to almost kind of squash the mixture together to bind the butter and sugar together until it's fluffy and light, this can take a bit of patience and a lot of persistence if you're doing it by hand but you can alternatively use a hand mixer which is much faster. (Also if your butter is still feeling a bit too hard to cream together just pop it in the oven for just a few minutes and that should soften it up and make it easier to use.)

    Step two you want to mix together the milk (with a little lemon juice), mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla essence. Mash everything up together in a jug, I like to leave some banana lumps so it's not completely smooth which gives you more banana lumps in the bread when it's baked. Then mix this thoroughly with your creamed butter and sugar. 

    Step three is to carefully fold the self raising flour and salt into your existing mix. Make sure you don't beat the flour in, it should be folded which will give the bread a much lighter texture than if you were to just mix the whole thing together. A simple explanation of folding the flour in is that you basically want to be lifting the mixture from the bottom over the top of the flour you're adding in until it all becomes combined. This way you should end up with a nice light bread once you're done. 

    Finally pop all of your mix, or enough to fill to the top, in your tin and get ready to bake. 
    The bread is going to take about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes to bake completely. I like to set my time for 30 minute intervals so that I can check that the outside isn't baking too fast, if it is i.e the top is getting brown but the inside isn't cooked yet, just wrap the top of your tin in foil and pop it back in the oven this will stop the top from getting any darker but the inside of your bread will carry on cooking. 
    Set your timer for another 30 minutes and once that's up the best way to check if your bread is done is to insert a skewer in the middle if the skewer comes out clean then your cake is done and if not recover it and keep checking every 5-10 minutes until the skewer comes out clean. 

    I have to say for me the most difficult part of this process is trying to get the bread out of the tin, I didn't use baking paper to line the tin as I didn't have any so I found it got quite stuck around the edges. To solve this I just ran a sharp knife around the edges of the tin to loosen it up and left it to cool for a while, later I flipped the bread upside down onto a wire cooling rack and tapped the bottom of the tin to loosen that up. Eventually my bread came out all in one piece, try not to scoop it out, the bread will come out if you've greased the sides enough don't worry. 

    Final step is to enjoy it, I can eat banana bread at any time of day but it's really good for breakfast piled with fruit and yogurt. Or alternatively as a mid afternoon snack with a slick of butter (not very healthy I know) a good way to satisfy that little sugar craving and bananas are fruit right? Thats got to make it good for me! 


Tynemouth Adventures

Tynemouth is one of our favourite North East places to visit. Apart from it's obvious beaches and seaside looks it plays host to some of the best shops and cafes I've come across while living in the area.


Thanks to the wonderful Metro system we have here it's easy peasy for us to get to Tynemouth in just 15-20 minutes and for just a few pounds. On a Sunday come rain or shine the Metro station at Tynemouth hosts a market, packed full with everything from cd's and vinyls to chocolate waffles and craft stalls.

If you haven't been to the market before and you live in the area I'd recommend it! There's something for everyone especially for the crafty ones of us. Today I picked up some wonderful things to add to my craft corner, several fabric remnants that I cannot wait to turn into handkerchiefs and scarfs. And some wooden buttons covered with floral prints (Especially the Hello Kitty ones I'll be making into something for my Kitty obsessed cousin.) 

By far my favourite place in Tynemouth has to be the Green Ginger shopping arcade which is build within an old church not only is it a beautiful building but it's full to brimming with interesting and friendly shops. 

G has been in dire need of a haircut for months now but never quite seems to find the time, but when we wandered in to the arcade we spotted the Artful Barber (On Instagram as @artful_barber) which was bursting with charm and right within pretty much everyones price range! 

The lovely lady who runs Artful Barber worked amazing magic on G unruly mop of curly hair and tamed it perfectly. Her shop however was the quaintest place, the walls were covered with art most of which was for sale and the whole place filled with almost unbeatable charm.

Look at this place, what man wouldn't want to get his haircut here?! And G looks much more neat and tidy now.

Final stop on our adventure was Dil and the Bear a coffee shop we couldn't help popping into.
I'm definitely not the kind of person who can resist the lure of a good looking cake and Dil and the Bear is amazing at cake.

We tried the Chocolate Mint cake above and together we barely made it through the most rich delicious slice of cake. There was so much more I wanted to try but just didn't think I'd make it home if I ate anymore. But believe me this place is worth a look in and if you can the lunch dishes looked irresistible.

This visit didn't include the beach unfortunately, my mantra for the seaside is if I'm near the sea I must dip my feet but today was just too cold, I'm afraid I would have lost my toes and I value them a little too much.

Tynemouth is the perfect place for a North East day trip, come rain or shine the little town has everything you need for a fun filled day.


Check out my Instagram for more pictures of Tynemouth and for previews of posts to come! 
And watch out for my next post 'What to do with Washi tape'...