My debut fantasy novel, The Archguardians of Laceria, is now available in paperback, and in all ebookstores!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Tofu Cute

    A good friend of mine sent me some adorable Japanese biscuits a few months ago to cheer me up when I was on a downer. They were Hello Pandas - cute panda-shaped puffy biscuits with chocolate inside them. They reminded me of awesome chocolate biscuits I had when I was younger, but I can't remember the name of them, and I've not seen them for years, either. They were the same sort of puffed out biscuit, but just circular, and had a brown line drawing of aliens and space ships on them. Anyone remember?

   Either way, I loved these Hello Pandas, and recently had a quick search online to see if I could find some. After the first few websites wanted substantial shipping, I came across Tofu Cute. The first thing I noticed was how pink their website was, which contrasted to the dull, grown-up colours of the others. There were hearts and kawaii drawings everywhere, which really got across the childish Japanese theme that these biscuits put in my mind. Fortunately, they stocked these biscuits, along with other flavours, and loads of other products. I'd seen some similar items on Storenvy - DIY gummy sweet sets with the gummy sweet unfinished, and a mold to pour it in. I've had my eye on them for ages, but never bought them. Tofu Cute had them, but I went without this time.
   They're based in the UK, which is awesome as far as shipping speed and price goes, but they ship worldwide. They have cute washi tapes, stationery, funny little toys and phone docks (I particularly like the llama), but loads of Japanese, Korean and Thai sweets, too!
   I had a good sale the other day, so I put in an order, which I received two days ago.
   I imagine a lot of you feel the same, but I was quite apprehensive about trying some of them. Not for any stupid reasons like I was worried it would contain something weird, but rather just because I was worried the chocolate, biscuit or sweet would be gross. Things differ all over the world. For example, I know that American chocolate is foul. I've tried it. And not only that, but I know people in the US who have sworn by their chocolate, then tried British chocolate and have sworn off of the US stuff. I was apprehensive about Dutch chocolate, too, when I went to The Netherlands, but that turned out to be just as good as some English chocolate. Don't get me wrong, though: not all of our chocolate is great.
   Well, we tried some of the Korean biscuits first. Seeg said they looked like dog biscuits, and they did, but they were gorgeous. The biscuit was wafer - good wafer - and the chocolate inside was soft. The chewy sweets were interesting - lovely and soft, but they had a few gummy sweets inside them which added an odd but good texture. The pandas were, of course, awesome, but I've not yet tried the most important product: the chocolate bar. That chocolate bar will more or less solidify any views I have on Japanese confectionary, and will also be an indicator on whether or not I could survive there.
   That's not really true. I could live without chocolate. I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy the food in Japan enough to get past it :P


   These are particularly exciting - candy floss with popping candy. What more can you want?! Check out Tofu Cute - they ship worldwide with quite reasonable shipping prices. Plus, the more you add to your cart, the happier the cart becomes! It's so cute :D



Wednesday, 24 July 2013

New Embroidery Thread Necklaces!

   So lately I've been working on a few new necklaces, but they're much simpler than what I usually do, but, believe it or not, just as fiddly! I'm really proud of them, though! They're all made up of embroidery thread. I've got more to do since I have an abundance of embroidery thread, and I'm working on some new ideas along the same lines, too! So keep your eyes peeled!



And, of course, a custom colour listing ♥






Sunday, 21 July 2013

Box of Sunshine


   I got an awesome parcel in the post a few weeks ago, but I've had to keep shtum about it until the sender put it up on their blog. I'd first seen this sort of thing on Pinterest, and I thought it was awesome and so sweet, but I didn't really know anyone to send one to, and I never considered that I could possibly receive one. But a couple of weeks ago, I got a surprise box in the post.



   Vicky of Vivid Please sent me this gorgeous box of sunshine! I'm particularly fond of yellow at the moment, so it was an even nicer surprise. Yellow tissue paper concealed a smiley-faced yellow rubber popper (those things are so much fun, but so scary. I can't tell you the number of times I've been hit in the face with these things, but that's all part of the fun!), yellow sweeties (which I had to defend from Seeg), yellow stripey washi tape, a yellow gel pen and all kinds of other awesome yellowy goodness. The sweets didn't last long, particularly the Millions (which actually led to a purchase from AQuarterOf.co.uk for a few different packs of them, because I've always loved Millions and hadn't thought of them for a few years), and the little yellow ice lolly tin's chocolates were particularly yummy.   This was a really awesome thing to receive, and I highly recommend taking the time out to make one for a loved one.





Saturday, 20 July 2013

Beliefs

   This is likely to upset a few people, so I'm going to start this post by saying this: we all need to respect eachother. People without religion need to respect those with it, those with religion need to respect those with different religions, and people with religion need to respect those without it.
   It's common that, if you go into the city centre here in Bristol, you'll get stopped by someone asking you if you believe in God. I don't - I'm not athiest, I'm agnostic, but to be honest, I'm not looking for proof, I'm just not prepared to say that any religion is correct or wrong. But when I say that I don't, they won't let me leave, and try to convert me on the spot. They throw loads of questions at me such as why don't I believe, and then they pull quotes from the Bible that I can't help thinking are irrelevant. Eventually I manage to escape and I avoid that street until I come back after about 5 months.
   Now, I do believe it's very important to mention right now that not everyone with religion is like this. I'm going to continue now by telling you about Anne (No, that's not her real name).

   I've known her since I was 4. We went to the same primary school. She looked different, however, so I kept away from her. I was never taught this, it was just something I did, and I am still ashamed of it. We were partnered together on a project when we were 9, to build a small celtic house. We used paper, sticks, clay and paint, and to be honest, ours was the best house by far. This was the first time I had spoken to her before, and I actually found her to be a really nice person, and creative, too, which also appealed to me. We quickly became friends, and have been ever since. I don't get to see her much these days because of my mum's condition, so I'm always indoors, and she just got back from completing history in Uni, but she is one of my only two friends. Sure I'm friends with a couple of people online, and yes I've definitely got my boyfriend, but Anne is one of the only two childhood friends I have.
   Anne has always been religious. She's a good Christian. She honestly believes in God and that he protects her and helps her through the hard times. I often scoffed at that thought, but I never beat her down about it. Much. She didn't preach to me much either, only when she thought I needed it, like when I was having a hard time with my mum because her MS was suddenly becoming worse. I didn't believe anything she said, but I appreciated that she was trying to help.
   But then something happened in her family, something I had never expected, and she had a really hard time dealing with it. From that moment, though, I knew that without religion, she may never have been able to get over it the way she had. I began looking at her differently, and realised that religion had a huge part in creating who she was. Without religion, she may not have been the nice person she is - honest to god, you'll never find a nicer person than her. I've only ever heard her swear once, and it was only 'shit' and that was when she was going through the afore mentioned bad time. But I realised that religion was a huge part of her.

   I am not a believer, like, at all, so I don't think it's likely that I'll convert at any point (please, don't see this as a challenge). I don't appreciate being harrassed by people over it, but I have realised something about it all.
   I don't have religion. I have something else. I'm not going to say what it is just yet because it might offend a few too many religious people, eventhough I'm totally serious and not trying to mock them at all. But what I have has made me realise what people with religion might think looking at people without it. They think we're missing out, just the same as I view other people without my passion. When I realised this, I stopped going on about my passion, and while I still think people are missing out, I keep it to myself unless I know someone's interested.

   So please, let me tell you all: yes, some of us might need to hear about your religion, but most of us don't. Trust that people will find your church. There are enough people preaching these days for everyone to know about your religion, and they know exactly where to go. But if you do feel the need to continue to preach, don't get offended when people tell you they're not interested. Most of us are not interested by choice. We have other things to comfort us and make getting through life a little easier. It may not be quite the same as what you have, but we all have something, whether we realise it or not. Something that makes us who we are, something huge that we couldn't live without, a huge passion for something
   I say this because I'm fed up with people at my door, I'm fed up with emails, I'm fed up with people stopping me in the street, and then people getting offended when I tell them I'm not interested. I'm not trying to offend you, it's just that I don't need what you're offering. I have other things in life to keep me going, other things that make me happy, and are a huge part of who I am. I'm not beating down anyone's religion, I'm simply saying that I don't want, or need it.



Monday, 15 July 2013

Giveaways and Tokyo!

   Hey guys! I've been quite busy with my shop lately. I've been doing my best to get my Christmas In July sale off of the ground but it doesn't seem to be doing much, which is an amazing nuisance at the moment given summer finances, however, I do have a few giveaways running.



   Peaches and Pebbles' second birthday is coming up on the 24th of July, and I have two $30/£20 gift cards up for grabs! The first is happening over on Habitual Homebody - one of my favourite blogs - from the 15th (today!) to the 17th, and the second is happening over at Aquariann from the 1st of August to a date yet to be confirmed. They're open worldwide, and the gift cards are for use in my shop specifically on Etsy.


   I also have a slightly different giveaway happening over on my WoW blog, The Wyvern's Tail, for a World of Warcraft Epic Collection, which was donated by Chaos Cards. It's open worldwide, from the 14th to the 28th of July, so if you or anyone you know likes to play WoW, head over and enter. The Epic Collection is part of the WoW trading card game, but Epic Collections guarantee a loot card. For those of you unfamiliar with the WoW trading card game, loot cards are special trading cards with gold scratch-off strips that can be pulled out of ordinary WoW booster packs, and beneath the golden strip is a code to redeem online. That code then generates another code, which you can redeem in the actual online game at Booty Bay, for an in-game item. The guaranteed loot card is the Eye of the Legion - a demonic felgreen eye which follows your character around, and can be used in the new pet battle feature.
   The Epic Collection is one I own myself, and the Eye of the Legion is one of my favourites, and I use it all the time on my Undead Warlock. So, like I said, if you, your brother, your boyfriend or bestie plays WoW, head over and enter and see if you can bag them an awesome gift. The Epic Collection also includes 6 booster packs which each have the chance to give an additional loot card. I've had 2 Epic Collections - War of the Ancients, and Twilight of the Dragons. The War of the Ancients didn't get me a second loot card, but the Twilight of the Dragons did give me a duplicate loot card of its guaranteed one, which I then sold.


   I have also been lucky enough to have been contacted by Violet and Claire - this adorable little shop in Tokyo which stocks works by artists all over the world. My envelope ring will be stocked for a limited amount of time both in their online shop, and in their physical one. I'm really excited about that, so I'm really hoping they sell well so that they'll want a few more.



Friday, 12 July 2013

Bookmark Dump

If you are looking to buy a property, this is honestly the best thing you will read today: 13 Things I Learned While House Hunting.

How to make a cork cloud notice board

DIY hard shell chocolate ice cream topping


Adorable stationery and brooches with worldwide shipping - they're on holiday right now,
so you get a free gift if you order now and sit patiently! Make their return to
not-so-sunny Scotland awesome! 



I put up two new World of Warcraft watercolours on my WoW page - one of a Voidcaller and one of an Ethereal

Shower Jelly soap base! Hooray! I bought myself some today and I'm looking forward to giving it a try!


Why anyone would get a cat is beyond me.




Thursday, 11 July 2013

World of Warcraft Watercolours

   I posted these over on The Wyvern's Tail, but I wanted to share them here, too. My dad has always been amazing with watercolours, he used to do it all the time when I was little, but these days he's too tired with all of his responsibilities, so he usually crashes on the sofa and plays on the Xbox or just watches TV in the evenings.
   I had some pan watercolours a few years ago and I actually got quite good with them, but the problem I've always had with pans is that I can never mix enough paint, and given the nature of most paint palettes and the paint itself, mixing it is also very difficult - on metal or plastic it tends to bead up and doesn't mix all that well, and if you did it on a wooden palette, well, it'll just soak in. It's really impossible for me to figure out, so I ended up giving up on them quite quickly.
   Truth be told, while I always use acrylic, I love the finish of watercolours, and I always have - possibly, in part, because of my dad.
   The other day I decided to have another go, but this time I wanted to try the tubes. Dad has never let me use them before, but he did this time. I got on relatively well - the mistakes made were all entirely my own fault rather than the paint, so I learned from them - and bought my own tubes the next day. I'm still waiting on them to arrive, though (this all took place on Sunday) , so in the mean time I've continued with my dad's.

   I'm sure the whole World of Warcraft theme isn't something any of you are interested in, but I'm sharing anyway. The first painting is of an Unborn Val'kyr - a Val'kyr is an undead Vrykul, a race of Nordic Giants in WoW, and they are all female. They serve the Lich King as judges over combat, and also in death. If a warrior is deemed unworthy during the battles of ascendance they are turned into Vargul - undead, essentially - and if they are worthy, they're turned into Ymirjar, who are elite warriors.
   This Unborn Val'kyr is essentially just a non-combat pet in the game, sort of a baby, if you will. Val'kyr are considered 'unborn' until they vanquish a creature of high nobility.
   The second painting is of a fully realised Val'kyr.
   They are a pretty direct reference to the Valkyries - minor female dieties of Norse myth who choose the most heroic spirits of slain warriors and take them to Valhalla.




These paintings may not be reproduced or copied. Click the images to see larger views
on The Wyvern's Tail.



Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Oh, To Live In Japan

Shinjuku Post Cards
Japan image from Zazzle


   I had always thought Japan to be a very weird place. Not counting third world countries, of course, it's about as far opposite to Western civilisation as it could be. I'd always thought the language to be insane, I thought the things that were popular were weird, and I thought sushi was gross.
   In the past few years I've changed my views. Sushi is gorgeous, but it's also far from the only thing they eat there. It's not like Italians only eat pizza and the English only eat scones. I also think that some of the popular things over there are kind of cool, but I'm not a fan of Hello Kitty. I've even began to learn a smidgen of the language, and it has to be said, it's not as complicated as it seems. When their words are written phoenetically (ie, not actually in Japanese characters) it's easy to pronounce them once you know which letters are usually silent (hint: U is usually silent). I've even learned how a few specific characters are pronounced (such as ō). Yes, I admit that all of the Japanese I've learned has come from Anime, and I realise I have no use for the words 'protect' 'fight' or 'death god' but I know them. But there are more casual things like suffixes ('san', 'chan', and, less likely to be of use, 'sama' and 'hime'), greetings, politeness (please, thank you, I'm sorry), and numbers. And, to be honest, once you can count from 1 to 10 in Japanese, you can count to 99. For example, '33' is literally three-ten-three (san-jū-san).

   Basically, having given it some thought, I'd be quite happy to live in Japan. Sure, if I was realistically going to move to a foreign country, the most logical choice would be The Netherlands, give that Seeg used to live over there. My preferred choice would be Canada, but if I was really going for somewhere exotic it would be Japan.
   I'm not sure I'd ever actually be able to live there, but I'd be happy to live there for a couple of years at the least. Get a visa then move back to the UK when it expires, that kind of thing. I'd love the food, the scenery would be something else (don't underestimate this: scenery, both urban and rural, does change from country to country. There's only a splotch of water between the UK and NL, but the differing farmland is a huge thing to notice - in England it's all haphazard boundaries, but in NL it's mostly quite square and straight-edged. I don't really like it, it's too uniform, but what can you do?)

   But at the end of the day, I figure this: if I get somewhere with my writing - and I really mean get somewhere - and I have the money to do that kind of thing, then you'd better believe that I'd do it.



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Christmas In July - The Sale Has Started

   I decided to start my sale a little earlier than planned. A lot of other shops are doing the same, and I figured that it's relatively unlikely that I'd sell anything before the sale started anyway. So! Here are my updated promotions:

   Both Peaches and Pebbles and Grumble Cave Monsters have 25% off across the whole stores, subtracted automatically by Etsy On Sale. There is also a code in Peaches and Pebbles' banner which gets free worldwide shipping.



   The 10-piece jewellery set plus 2 £10/$15 gift cards is now available. The nebula earrings have been swapped for a nebula ring, and the rabbit in a jar necklace has been swapped for a limited edition ring. The total set is worth approximately £195 ($290) and is being sold for £80 (approximately $120) - which saves £115 / $170 and basically means that every piece in the bundle is less than half price each. This listing is limited to 5 overall purchases, so once those 5 bundles are gone, they're gone.


   There are also four new limited edition listings: Aztec feather earrings, Aztec feather necklaces and Aztec feather rings, with the fourth listing being a discounted set of all three pieces. These four listings won't be available after July, so this is the only time to get them! If they're successful, I may bring them back, but it is looking far more likely that they won't be returning, so don't take that chance!



   Grumble Cave Monsters still has its Constellation plushies, a few monsters, and 5 plushie PDF patterns (and more still coming) all of which are now 25% off. The PDFs are instant download and are suitable for beginners - goodness knows I'm terrible at sewing, but I created them! The patterns are suitable for machines, but I hand-stitched everything.




These promotions expire at 11:59pm on the 21st, so the sale will be running for just 12 days from this moment. These promotions will not be returning, save perhaps around Black Friday, if it goes well this time. So if you've been putting off buying from me, now is seriously the time to do it!



Friday, 5 July 2013

Christmas In July - BIG changes!

EDIT: the sale has begun! Check this blog post out for the updated jewellery bundle and the release of the limited edition aztec feather jewellery!

   As I'm sure most of you know, the Christmas In July shopping promotion season is just about upon us. In fact, a lot of shops have already started up their promotions! But I wanted to just let you know what Peaches and Pebbles, and Grumble Cave Monsters are doing for the event.
   First of all, let me start by saying that if you've been putting off of buying from me for any reason, or for opening a commision with me, now is the time to do it.
   Both Peaches and Pebbles and Grumble Cave Monsters will have 25% automatically deducted from every price in each shop via EtsyOnSale. They will each have a further discount in their shop banners featuring a free worldwide shipping code. So that's pretty great.
   To start with.
   Peaches and Pebbles takes the lead here with a few additional limited and promotional features:


   The above image shows my biggest promotion - however, is has undergone changes since this image's creation. The bundle is now worth about £195, so is worth an additional £30, but the £80 purchase price has not changed. The changes have come in the form of 2 additional £10/$15 gift cards, and two items have been replaced - the nebula earrings have been replaced with a nebula ring, and the rabbit jar has been replaced with a very limited edition ring.
   Which brings me onto my second point: there will be four new listings accompanying this one, each of which is highly limited edition. There will be a listing for the ring which has been added to the bundle, a listing for a matching pair of earrings, a listing for a matching necklace, and a listing to buy all three together at a discounted price. But the necklace is particularly special. The chain is in either silver plated, or gold plated, as opposted to the usual silver-plated-only that is in my shop, and the chain also fits differently. The chain fits around the neck, like a loose choker, and has an extension chain at the back to lengthen it if necessary. The remainder of the 20 inch chain hangs straight down, with the Aztec feather pendant at the end. The chain hangs at about 5 inches from the collar bone, and the Aztec feather measures about 4 inches itself. If desired, of course, I can put it on an ordinary chain.

   I have no images just yet for these feathers. They were a real nightmare to make, which is why they will be limited edition. If they get an amazing reception, I may bring them back in a few months - so they will either be limited edition, or a sneak peak a few months in advance. It is unlikely that they will return, however.

   So this is what is happening in my shop from the 11th to the 21st. On the 24th it is my shop's 2nd birthday, so there will likely be a few giftcard giveaways dotted around the web, as well as a smaller discounted flash sale, with free items. So be sure to watch this space for images of the new jewellery, and for the updated image of the bundle!



Wednesday, 3 July 2013

10 Minute Solutions Fat Blasting Latin Dance Mix Review


Price: £5
No equipment needed.


   I have to say, this is one of my absolute favourites. Latin dance is so much fun, the music is just amazing, and the instructor really knows exactly what she's doing. The moves involve an awful lot of hip movements, which almost always gives me a stitch down my right side. One way to counter this, however, is to ensure you warm up properly.
   A lot of the moves in each segment are similar to one another, but it doesn't feel repetative at all. She's a very fast-paced instructor, who, like the rest, is always smiling and giving words of encouragement. You work up a damn good sweat with it. It's probably the third hardest DVD I have, partly because of the stitch I get, but also because of the fact that she doesn't give you much chance to rest during each segment. But that's a good thing. It's not a DVD for beginners, so much as it's more for intermediate dancers. As far as I'm concerned.
   I've always loved Latin dance, so this DVD is just wonderful for me, it really appeals to me. I've never really thought I had hips, and I could certainly never shake them, but thanks to this DVD, I've actually found them. It took me 22 years, but I found them.

   As with the other 10 Minute Solutions DVDs, you can customise your work out by lining up any 5 workouts in any order. This DVD doesn't feature too many difficult to understand movements, but it might take some time if you're anything like me to get the moves right. I've had this DVD for a few months and I'm having a hard time doing some of them, particularly the 'Come Here arms' in one of the routines - the third, I think. I just can't get the hips right on that one.
   It's one of the better DVDs because it's so very much fun, but like the instructor in the first DVD I reviewed, I do believe that she would be a relatively strict instructor. But she's all smiles in this DVD.







Monday, 1 July 2013

Ice Cream Cone Plush Pattern

I've added a new pattern to my shop: a plush Ice Cream Cone!




I have other patterns in mind I'd like to try, but given that I al completely skint, I can't afford any of the materials at all, so they'll have to wait for a while. Shame, because I'm quite enjoying myself again! Probably because I know I only have to make each piece once.