Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Black Heart Creatives Earrings

Last year I took my plugs out of my stretched ears to wash my hair and just sort of forgot to ever put them back in. They've shrunk back up but aren't like a normal ear piercings, but what they are perfect for is hoops and dangly earrings. I haven't owned any earrings in over 10 years, so when I saw Black Heart Creatives run their recent sale, I couldn't resist grabbing myself a few pairs!

My first choice was easy. I'd had my eye on these for ages. These Cheese Plant Hoops were an absolute bargain at £15 in my opinion. When I say these are a statement piece, they really are huge hoops! I love cheese plants but they are toxic to cats unfortunately, so no cheese plants for us, so instead, adorable cheese plant earrings. Winner!

These Statement Vine Earrings are available in gold or silver findings, and are only £10. I opted for silver which is always my preference in jewellery. These are also absolutely huge, and I love the way the chains attach to the hooks for your ears. I love plants and plants for my ears make me happy.

And the last pair I got were Custom Drippy Heart Earrings that say 'CREEP' in the middle. I picked the iridescent acrylic because I love the way it shines and picks up on other colours. At £13 these could not be resisted. I chose to have 'CREEP' written on them in a nod to one of my favourite horror films, Creep (1 & 2, the sequel is amazing too!). It's an awesome found footage horror film and the third part is in development. I was tempted to get 'Peachfuzz' on them but figured that would raise a lot more questions than 'Creep' would!

Supporting indie businesses is so important and I really recommend Black Heart Creatives. I bought these just after they'd gone viral on twitter meaning  a real spike in sales for them, and they sent out an email unprompted to let me know their turnaround time would be a bit longer than usual as a result. I never mind waiting longer for an order from an indie business and BHC are a one person team so I was so excited for them to be doing well. They have a whole range of plant inspired jewellery that I am very tempted by, because I always need more plants in my life!

Much love,
Kitty xxx

PS. Shout out to my Mum for the excellent hand modelling, because holding earrings and taking photos of them is basically impossible!

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Green Fingers and Comfort

Sometimes it's the little things in life that bring you comfort. I've barely blogged this year, it's been rough to say the least, but in the darkest of times, you have to look for the little things that bring you happiness. And for me, one of those things is plants, succulents specifically.

 My husband Stu likes to surprise me with plants. He comes home from work, or a trip to town, and he'll come home with a plant for me, hidden behind his back. He tries to find breeds I don't have, varieties I haven't seen before, something new. He never buys me flowers. Always plants, so I can keep them and nurture them. Every window sill in our house is covered. When they get big enough I move them into bigger pots, some go outside that are strong enough. Our garden is a sun trap and some thrive in it's light. These are all recent new additions to my ever expanding collection. I'm running out of room and I don't care. There's always space for more plants.

These succulents are all memories of loved ones, growing in my parent's greenhouse till they are ready to be re-potted and shared amongst our family. For both my Grandad G's funeral flowers, and my Grandma's funeral flowers, I asked to include small succulents in them. When the flowers began to wilt, we took the succulents from them, planting them, splitting them leaf by leaf so we could grow more from them. That is the beauty of succulents, all you need is a single leaf, and it can root and grow. These all came from single leaves, or tiny succulents. It gives us all great comfort to see them, something tangible from such awful days, something beautiful growing from it.

And these? These are even older. Three years old to be specific. Grown from the button holes Stu and I had for our wedding back in 2016. They inspired the tattoo on my leg, and our desire to have succulents form a part of the important times in our lives. These particular succulents live in my parent's garden, they've taken countless babies from them to propagate more again from them. They've become a beautiful symbol of our wedding day and one of the first things I do every time we visit my parent's house is go and see all the succulents and see how they are growing.

I know people think of plants and succulents as a 'millennial' trend, the media says we get houseplants because we are avoiding responsibility, or that we can't afford to have children and pets so we get plants instead. I have plants that I've had since the week we moved into our house 6 years ago, still growing, taller than ever. I've never wanted children and I have a house full of cats and one giant dog, so it's not that either. It's something else. Something about being surrounded by nature even inside that is so comforting. Something about being able to care for something that wants for very little. Succulents are cute, they don't take up much room, they're not like anything we normally grow in our gardens in the UK, and they don't mind being slightly neglected.

When I send people gifts I often send succulents. I don't send flowers. I like knowing they too can keep their gift and think of us. It makes me smile when people often their gift before their card, and know instantly who sent them it.

Succulents have become a way my family remembers moments. We care for them and they whisper to us of weddings and lost loved ones. We help them grow and they bring us memories, they bring us comfort. I look at my window sill as I sit on the sofa and type this and I smile. I know when I got each plant, what they mean to me, and what event they grew from. They are our comfort. Our families desire to heal. Our message of love.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Monday, 15 April 2019

Spring Wreath Making with The Enchanted Garden

Recently I realised that my hobbies have basically all dried up. Because of my carpal tunnel photography is no longer an option, and I haven't been blogging often. All I do is play Pokemon Go and I needed something more. When I saw The Enchanted Garden advertise their spring wreath making class I immediately messaged my Mum, Nanny and auntie to see if they wanted to do it with me. When I was a kid I always thought being a florist seemed amazingly cool, so I was super eager to give this class a go. My Mum was sadly busy but with my Nanny and auntie by my side, off we went to our class.

We met The Enchanted Garden when looking for an independent florist for my Grandad's funeral, and since then we've used them several times, including also for my Grandma's funeral. They are always professional and lovely, and come up with beautiful work. This class cost £30 each, which included the whole base of the wreath (which is reusable), and all the flowers and foliage used.

We were shown how to create the base of the wreath using willow which is surprisingly bendy and durable, and then it was onto the foliage to begin the base of the flower section. We used a real mixture of different leaves including pistachio, ivy and eucalyptus.

We were provided with a real mix of flowers for the main section, roses, carnations, daisies and more. I saw some lovely little white flowers and lavender roses and knew exactly what I wanted to do.

One of the fun parts of the class was that we were offered a huge mix of flowers in different colours, so everyone's wreath looked really different to everyone elses. My aunties was very colourful with a rainbow of flowers, and my Nanny chose yellow as her focus. They all turned out beautifully!

We tied them off with a ribbon of our choice and instructions to water the wreath daily to keep it at it's best. Hopefully they should last a week which is awesome!

I really loved the course and will for sure be keeping my eye out for the next one.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Thursday, 14 March 2019

In Memory of Grandma

Last week we sadly lost our wonderful Grandma Eileen. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer and passed away peacefully at home. I was incredibly lucky to get to see my Grandma a lot as she quickly became ill, she was diagnosed only weeks ago, and to get to say goodbye to her.

Grandma is someone that was always meant to be a Grandma. Her home has always been open to everyone, and I have so many fond memories of my grandparents house as children. From playing with our favourite toys, a gloworm myself and all my cousins remember fondly, or a Rainbow Brite doll as we got older, or dressing up in my Grandmas pearls and scarves and wearing her fluffy slippers. I remember always having cheese and salad cream buns for my lunch, always made on oven bottom muffins, and always served as four halves, never as two buns. Every Christmas Grandma would make the Christmas stuffing, and she would make a special individual one for me that was vegetarian, always my absolute favourite part of Christmas dinner. 

We have a huge family, and Grandma always managed to make everyone feel special. Always everyone's number one fan, supporting us all in our chosen hobbies and activities, even if it meant long hours out in the cold watching my Uncles fishing.

My Grandma was famous for her knitting, particularly her dishcloths and baby blankets. If you could meet someone that knew my Grandma and they didn't have one of her knitted dishcloths, I'd be incredibly surprised! Every baby in our family, or even near our family, has their own special baby blanket. Grandma knew I have no desire to have children, so she even knitted our dog Ashen his very own baby blanket, because there is nothing he loves more than a blanket. No one was ever left out with Grandma!

In Grandma's memory we are raising money for Marie Curie UK, who provided lovely nurses who were such a help to Grandma and our family in her care at home. If you want to donate or share the link it would be so appreciated.

I will miss you so much Grandma, and I'll think of you whenever I see pink lipstick.

Love always,
Your Star xxxx

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Snake Woman OOTD

I am not the kinda gal who usually buys stuff when it's full price. I'm a bargain hunter, second hand, voucher code seeking kinda gal. However something came over me when I saw this dress, and I just had to order it. I had some Christmas money from my Grandma and Grandad I'd been keeping hold of till I found the perfect thing, and this dress was the thing!

Dress - ASOS £38
Jacket - v old Matalan. Like, probably 6 years old at this point.
Leggings - ASOS £10 (good length for longer legged babes!)
Sunglasses - Quay Australia
Bag - Mary Frances (gift from my parents)
Boots - old Yours Clothing
Necklace - BloodyMary Metal (one off, no longer available)
Rings - Mostly BloodyMary Metal, couple from random shops, and wedding ring by Celia Rose

I hadn't intended to take outfit photos the day I took these, but I tried this dress on and instantly fell in love, so it had to happen. It's not a colourway I would usually go for, but I just felt immediately powerful in it. I knew it was the one for me when my husband got home from work and instantly complimented it too. One of my fave things about is that the sleeves are actually long enough for me! At 5ft 11 dresses tend to be too short in length in the body and the sleeves, and the waist tends to sit in the wrong place. With this dress it all hits just right, I'd like to imagine it was designed with the taller body in mind. The only negative I have about the dress is that the belt is a little cheap compared to the dress, it's sort of plastic backed and I think it'll crease over time.

This dress isn't a colour I would usually go for, brown and yellow tones aren't usually my kind of colours, but in the snake print it all just worked for me. When you put something on that isn't your normal colour palette and feels so utterly fantastic, it's a win all round. Everything I'm wearing with the dress is old. I've had the boots a few years. The jacket I think I've had 6 years now and still wear all the time. It's been featured on this blog so many times. The bag is probably the most expensive item of clothing I own, my parents found it on a cruise in the run up to our wedding and my Mum rang me from the boat telling me she had found the perfect bag to go with my dress and that they were buying me it. I don't use it nearly enough because I'm always terrified of how expensive it was but I really should use it more to make it worthwhile.

I ended up with a whole bunch of goofy outtakes because Lemmy Katmister decided he wanted to join in on the outfit photos so here's one of my adorable kitties demanding attention. He matched my outfit wonderfully!

And here's me trying something different and looking utterly ridiculous whilst doing so.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

My Carpal Tunnel Surgeries : One Year On

Just over a year ago I had my second carpal tunnel operation. I've had the operation on both hands so thought after a year it might be a good time to give an update! I asked on twitter if people were interested in how I was getting on and the answer was a resounding yes, so as promised, here it is.

Appearance wise, my hands look basically exactly the same as they did after the initial wound healed. The scars haven't really faded, but unless you are looking for them, you aren't going to notice them. They don't bother me at all, and have healed without any keloiding or tissue build up.

The easiest way to talk about how my hands are a year on is going to be to talk about each hand individually. So let's start with the good, my left hand.

My left hand was the 'better' of the two hands, but it was no longer responding to steroid injections (of which I had many in both hands) and was massively impacting on my day-to-day life. Post operation, my left hand is incredible. It doesn't hurt on a daily basis anymore, and is ten times more usable than it was before. I can easily pick things up with it, I can cross my fingers again (something I couldn't do at all before!), and it is very rare that it aches. It only aches if I have been doing a lot of repetitive movements, and then by the next day it feels back to normal again. As far as I am really aware, my left hand feels basically like any other hand on someone without carpal tunnel. The results have been truly incredible and I am beyond happy with my left hand.

And now, my right hand. Ah my right hand. How I wish I could say that my results were as good as my left. My right hand was by far the worst of the two hands pre operation, to the point that my doctor could not even attempt to give me a steroid injection as the needle was unable to penetrate my nerve. Before the operation it was a mess. It was painful all the time, I had lost a lot of movement in my fingers and wrist, and it was pretty useless if I'm honest. I couldn't open bottles, use scissors, hold anything for any real length of time, even lifting up a glass of water was too much. When my surgeons opened up my wrist they commented about how bad it was, and the operation took a lot longer than my left hand, testament to how much harder it was to perform due to how much more advanced the carpal tunnel was.

It took a lot longer to heal than my left, and was a lot more painful afterwards too. A year on, my right hand is better, but not anywhere close to the extent of improvement my left hand has had. My fingers ache, particularly my index finger, middle finger and thumb, my wrist feels tired and sore at the end of the day, I can't carry heavy objects, and it does still impact how I live my daily life. Because of my right hand driving long distances isn't possible for example. While it is substantially better than before my operation, it is not what I had hoped.

Unfortunately. I firmly believe had I been offered the operation sooner, as I was with my left hand, the results would have been drastically better. My left hand had not progressed to the stage my right had, and the difference in the outcome of the operation is obvious to me. If my right hand had been operated on 6 months before, I believe it would be in a similar position to my left now. Sadly due to NHS funding cuts and NICE guidelines attempting to push away from the operation, I have been left with a hand that had potential, but now will never be 'normal' again. Since my operations the NHS has suffered further cuts and it seems that the aim is to not perform carpal tunnel operations at all. I think this is a huge loss, because I know without the drastic improvement in my left hand, and the improvement in my right, my life would have been very dramatically affected. I'm a little unusual as I am ambidextrous, I write left handed but switch back and for between my hands for everything else when possible. This has helped me a lot with the healing process as I have been able to rest up the sore hand and do things with the other hand when needed.

I worry about how my right hand will further progress in the future, it is manageable now but I fear it will get progressively worse. I suppose I can only see how it goes! Overall, I am tremendously happy to have had these operations, my left hand is fantastic now, and I have gained back the ability to do so many things that carpal tunnel had taken away from me before.

If you have any other questions, do let me know! Happy to answer away,

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Betty's Babes Colouring Book

Betty's Babes is the most inclusive and diverse colouring book I have ever seen. It's the brain child of artist Betty Brown and it just fills me with utter delight. Colouring books have had a huge surge of popularity in recent years and Betty's Babes is my new favourite.

Betty's Babes isn't your usual collection of pin ups, it's full of as many different types of babes you could possibly imagine. Each page features a gorgeous piece of art ready to be coloured in, with an index page telling you a little something about each person featured. Polly and Cash are LBGTQ* alternative babes, Winnie has vitiligo, Kit shows off her masectomy scars, Aurora is a trans woman of colour, there are disabled babes, curves a plenty, hairy legs, stretch marks and so much more. I challenge anyone to find a collection of pins ups that is more diverse!

Every page of this colouring book gives a million options for your own creativity. They have so much detail included in them, from feminist tattoos to pretty backgrounds, there is hours of relaxing colouring to do here. If you want your own, they are currently on sale for only £14 from Betty Brown's Big Cartel. It's full of bodies you don't normally see represented in art, and they all look so damn beautiful.

I implore you to check out more of Betty Brown's work. She's an incredible black artist who works so hard to be inclusive and showcase that every body is beautiful. When you have a body that is marginalised, to see it showcased in a collection like this is everything. I can't wait to spend literally hours doing each page carefully!

Much love,
Kitty xxx

PS. All the photographs here were kindly provided by Betty Brown. This isn't a sponsored post, I just love this book!