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What Tugs on Your Heart and Reminds You of Home?

30 Aug

I’m the antithesis of a hoarder, preferring to keep life clutterless, in case I want to up sticks and move cities. I’ve not done this in a little while, however there is a streak in me that needs to see all available exits, ready to go and see the rest of the world. It’s currently (relatively) dormant, but we shall see.

I love a good competition, but when I saw this one, I had to think on it, for the reasons above. I’m not a collector of stuff, more a keeper or memories, and I had to dig deep to find something I have kept for nostalgia purposes. I’ve never won anything in my life either, but am ever the optimist!

And then it occurred to me. I am in possession of a gorgeous pair of old-fashioned weighing scales, given to me by my late maternal great (in every sense of the word)  grandmother. She had no use for them, such was her experience in making cakes that she would just throw a slosh of milk or a sprinkle of sugar into her mixing bowl, and the cakes that would be produced were delicious. She sold them at bake sales for the church and there was always a list of people she had to make a cake for. She died last year at the ripe old age of 100, just a few weeks shy of her 101st birthday, but her memory lives on.

Capture

But it isn’t just her that the scales remind me of, it’s also my paternal grandfather. I’ve written about him a few times over the years (namely here and here) but when we lost him ten months ago, suddenly everything reminded me of him. The kitchen, a place we spent the majority of our time together, had memories in every turn – a dash of paprika here called to mind a memory of being taught to make tapas, and a splash of wine there reminded me of the summer he and my grandmother brought home a bounty of lemons from the house in Portugal and sipped on Limoncello till the autumn was done.

A rather grainy photo of my late Grandfather - although a pretty good shot seeing as it was taken over 30 years ago!

A rather grainy photo of my late Grandfather – although a pretty good shot seeing as it was taken over 30 years ago!

So every time I use the scales I remember these two profound influences in my life.

You can enter the competition, powered by British Gas, here.

What stirs up your nostalgia and reminds you of your childhood?

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Winter Warmers

23 Oct

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The nights are drawing in and the weather is starting to chill, and the fireworks going off in the distance most nights herald Bonfire Night on its way – my favourite holiday of the year. The mince pies in Marks and Spencer at the start of September was a bit much if I’m honest, but I love the fact that the air is starting to smell like gunpowder and it feels crisp when you step outside. The chestnut man has arrived in Covent Garden and now when I step out of the office the familiar Christmassy smell greets me, and gives me the warm and fuzzies. We are on the countdown, people, and I for one am super excited to see the gleeful little faces of my god-daughters when they open the presents that I have already started buying, and get their letters from Father Christmas.

It does mean that the flip-flops have seen my toes for their last time this year, and are lovingly placed in my wardrobe, not to be seen again till the sleepy sun rises in spring. I’m getting my money’s worth from my new leather boots, and my winter coat has been dusted down and is being carted all over the place when I think it’s cold out, and then decide after walking a bit that I’m actually melting. My Canadian friend informed me that he couldn’t cope with Britain as its ‘all about the layers’ and he was finding it hard to grasp, and you know what, it’s true.

But there are some AWESOME layers for me to get my grubby little paws on! I love the fact that England is no longer the chubby kid that’s picked last for the football team, and now the quintessential look is aspirational. Quilted jackets, wax, tweeds and Wellington boots are all the rage, and although I detest mud and getting wet, my wardrobe makes me look like I would be at home on the back of a tractor, complete with sausage dog and locally sourced produce. I am Queen of the Country, hear me roar (above the churning noise of the tractor and the mooing of the cows).

Given the fact that it’s the giving time of the year, I have some exciting competitions coming up between now and Christmas and I’m pleased to announce the first one, with Joules! By entering below, you have the chance to win your choice of jacket from the range. You can choose between the quilted and tweed options on the site, for men, women or your little ones.

I wanted to use Rafflecopter to run this, but WordPress limitations mean that I can’t, so to enter all you have to do is leave a comment below with your email address, and what you love from the Joules site. If you want an additional enter, then please tweet me “I just entered the Joules competition! @Lillyheart999″ and I’ll throw you into the mix again :).

My favourites are included in the image above, but I love the Women’s Quilted Jackets and the Men’s Quilted Jackets would make a perfect present. They look so snuggly and warm!

Joules do these awesome jackets for men, women and children, and you can enter wherever you are in the world, so whether you want a great Christmas present for someone on your list or a bonus gift-to-self, then please go ahead and enter! Its running for 2 weeks, and the winner will be notified by email on the 11th of November. Good luck! (pick here).

Dear Diary… {Joules Giveaway}

9 Aug

Dear Diary,

Embarrassing things happen to me all the time.  I fall over in the street and have to meet friends in a swanky hotel with blood pouring down my leg, I accidentally fake tan my palms and I have been known to throw a bright drink down a white blouse on more than one occasion; in fact, if there is something to be spilt, it gets split on me. If there was an Olympic medal in shaming oneself in a ladylike fashion, I’d be leading the pack.

Pretty Joules wellies, perfect for losing one in the mud at a festival. It happened.

This Monday we had a team meeting. I was stressed from the morning and when asked if anyone else had anything to say I proceeded to go on about a new intern we had and how I thought she had been introduced to everyone, that she was nice and blah blah blah. No one thought to point out to me that she was sitting on the sofa a few seats down, and I hadn’t even noticed. I wanted the ground to swallow me up!

And with my exciting news that I have been approached to do my first proper product giveaway, this ties in nicely with the theme of my competition. The kind people at Joules have given me 10 of their beautiful notebooks / journals to give away, and each has a voucher inside for money off (only available in some countries, check the site for details).

So, to enter this competition, I’m asking you to go all Dear Diary on me and tell me your most embarrassing moment. It doesn’t have to be long, but the top ten laugh out loud, cringey moments will win one of these pretty jotters (and we all know how much I love stationary!).

To enter, please follow me (@lillyheart999) and Joules (@joules_clothing) on Twitter, and then comment on this post with your embarrassing story. The winners will be announced on the 31st of August, and anyone can enter! Just don’t forget to start your post ‘Dear Diary…’

It doesn’t have to be long, but as I regularly tell you my most embarrassing moments, I’m all ready to hear yours 🙂

The Winner Takes It All

18 Nov

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for… the big reveal!!

A month ago I started running my Who Dresses The Fanciest?” competition to out some of the amazing costumes out there, in time for Halloween.

About a month ago I got a new follower on Twitter and I head over her blog to see if she was on the same wavelength, and what she had to say for herself. And I loved it! The blog is cute as a button and the girl seemed to have the same sense of humour and a bit of a sparkle. She might add some more fun in my day!

So last night when my sister finally emailed me her decision (legal and binding) I smiled when I saw who it was.

Little Bean chose the winner on a few criteria, but mainly she was looking for something original, a little quirky and out of the ordinary, and something that made her smile as soon as she opened the file attachment.

She had a hard time. As you have all read before, there were some fantastic entries, and as much as I personally loved WHAM! Child and bacon man, she is the wisest and fanciest dresser in the land, and therefore her decision is not to be influenced.

She chose……

BiteSized Blonde! This made me smile as she just happens to be the very girl who followed me on twitter. This girl lives in New York (want!) and has a fantastic blog. She’s a foodie and her posts are well crafted and just, well, great. Her outfit won because I think secretly my sister wishes she had thought to go somewhere as spaghetti and meatballs. She thought it was cool and original, and therefore deemed Alyssa the winner. The fridge was a close runner up for the originality factor, but it seems the fork in the head just pushed Bitesized Blonde into the winning position!

I contacted her to get her to send me her address. I had found the perfect Christmas decoration to send to the winner, and I just wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t break on the way. But she emailed me back to tell me she doesn’t celebrate Christmas, so I can’t show you what she has won. Mainly because I haven’t quite decided what to send instead! As soon as I find something perfectly bite sized and blonde it will be winging her way ver the water to drop through her letterbox.

Don’t take my word for it though, head on over and read her.

What do you all think?

Ooooooh… Fanceh!

8 Nov

So a week has gone since the advent of the competition and you still have 5 days to enter! I did promise I would share some of the ones that featured highly on my faves list, so in no particular order…. (plus see if you can spot the glaringly obvious Where’s Wally/Wendy in this post!).

1) Marc Spine Chilling Horror. This one dropped into my inbox and filled me with jealousy. I wish I had come up with this one, they look so cool!

2) Patricia at Aniksrunn sent me this one of one of her kids. I loved it! She’s totally rocking the dead kid. Reminds me of The Ring. Creepy!

3) Charlet at DaintyC sent me a similar one of her and one of her students, dressed as Pikachu and Luigi from Super Mario. Totally adorable.

4) One of the first up takers of the game, Kathleen sent me pictures of the entire family dressed as the Rubbles. I always preferred them to the Flintstones anyway!

5) Tori – this one I think it still sitting in my favourite spot. She sent me a pic of her darling little boy dressed as George Michael from the WHAM! Days…. This is the sort of mother I am going to be. I sincerely hope these pictures are brought out every time he brings a girlfriend home.

But do you think your fancy dress outfits are better than these guys? Were you the most fly witch on the block? (See what I did there, I’ll keep the dad jokes coming….) did your zombie look have people running for cover? Some of the more creative entries are some lads dressed as bacon, and a lady in a fridge costume, but I want to see what you’ve got!!

It’s not me judging (it’s a woman whose alter egos include Dangermouse, Wally from Where’s Wally fame and a really chavvy looking golfer) so you guys have all to play for, keep them coming! Mainly because I love the creativeness, and feel special when I get emails 🙂

For more information, read these related posts:
Fancy Dress Update!
Competition Alert! Who Dresses The Fanciest?

Fancy Dress Update!

3 Nov

I have had some fantastic entries into the Who Dresses The Fanciest? competition and I’m hoping that there will be some more great ones to follow. You don’t have to be a blogger to enter; if you have a fantastic fancy dress costume that you want entered in then send it over to me at laura.tinker@hotmail.co.uk and tweet me to tell me you are playing the game!
If you want to enter your kids or someone you know then that’s fine too; my favourite so far has to be Tori’s little boy dressed as George Michael from the WHAM! Days; it’s perfect!

I have mentioned that it wont be me doing the judging, after all I am quite attached to some of you (for example if Jules sends in a picture of Uncle Jesse in a hat, he would win HANDS DOWN. I love that dog!) so I have enlisted the most fantastic fancy dresser of them all. She is the don of the dress – up, the Queen of the costume, without further ado I present to you my sister, Little Bean!!

(Fright Night At Thorpe Park last Hallowe’en)

My little sister once went to a fancy dress party and came home commenting “I didn’t realise fancy dress meant dressing like a whore now!” Turns out she had gone to a Heroes and Villains party with a FANTASTIC costume, and been surrounded by Wonderwomen with their boobs out and teeny tiny skirts on. She totally rocked Dangermouse, and it has gone down in history as being the best fancy dress costume I have EVER SEEN!

(Dangermouse!!!!)

It’s not just limited to Halloween costumes either; I just want to see the best costume you have ever made.

(Pub Golf)

If you spent house at home with a glue gun and some paper mache making a Ghostbusters outfit, or went as Edward Scissorhands for Hallowelen, let us know!

(The cutest Where’s Wally in the whole of the land)


 What are you waiting for? Join in the fun! After all, laughter is contagious, and it’s catching…..

Competition Alert! Who Dresses The Fanciest?

28 Oct

I’ve been thinking of ways to say thank you to everyone who follows me and takes the time to read my ramblings on a daily basis, and have been thinking about a competition for a bit of fun. I was umming and ahhing over what the prize should be as my readers are so diverse in terms of sex, age and geo-location, but when writing a post about Halloween it came to me!

(EPP and I. She was a rag doll and I was a bat)

The task:

1)      Subscribe to my blog and send me a picture of you in your best fancy dress outfit (laura.tinker@hotmail.co.uk). You know, the one where you totally rocked it and were immensely proud of your effort… not the one where you grabbed a witches hat and went in your joggies. It could be fancy dress from the up and coming Halloween celebrations, or if, like me, you are fending off the Bubonic Plague and are more likely to be in your most heinous PJs in bed then it could be a past fancy dress party you have been to. You know me, I don’t care! All I want to see is your wicked imaginations running riot, after all if you put the effort in for it then why not share it with the world!

(Choppy and I as half-hearted witches last year. We ended up ditching the hats and going to Fifty Five in Camden)

If you don’t want everyone to see it then let me know and I won’t post it (unless you win. Sorry about that!) but otherwise ill share with you some of the good ones while the competition runs.  If your kids rock the fancy dress and you are a bit rubbish then by all means enter them instead 🙂

(RoCo and I for one of Choppy’s famed fancy dress parties. The theme was cowboys and indians. We were the only indians!)

2)      Follow me on Twitter and Facebook (please see sidebar to the right) and leave a message telling us all that you want to be in the running! I would also really appreciate it if you could retweet or repost the competition on either one of these, but I’m not going to come over all SAS about it 🙂

If you are afraid of technology and can just about muster commenting on the blog then you are more than welcome to skip this step.

That’s it folks! Leave the rest to me.

The prize:

I’m keeping my eye out for something just right, but it will be something Christmas themed ready for the countdown to Christmas. Who said I couldn’t shake off the Grinch?!

The rules:

One entry per person, please see reverse for details 🙂 Competition starts this very second and ends at 9am English time on the 12th of November. At which point I will ask Little Bean (the fancy dress oracle) to choose a winner. She is fair and wise, so I’m sure the best will reign supreme!

(Team Halloween. L:R – A mime, a dead milk maid (?!), a vampire, a bat, 2x dead guys, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde)

PS Pitch in! If my mother is the only one that enters I’llcry, and she already has a house full of Christmas stuff in December. It’s a bit like Santa’s grotto in Elf.

Good luck!