29 February 2012

Crazy leap year stuff.  We have an extra day to enjoy this year.  How exciting.

Are you doing anything special with your totally free and extra day?

Here are some facts.

Today is called a leap day and it only happens once every four years in years that are divisible by the number 4. Wow, crazy maths fact!

Those born on a leap day are called leaplings and only get to celebrate once every four years - poor leaplings.  They have to chose between celebrating on the 28 February or 1 March and legally (in the UK anyway) become adults, you know turn 18, on the 1 March of the corresponding year.

But, the most famous fact about leap day is the tradition that a woman may propose marriage to a man instead of the other way round today, for one day only.  So, if your man is dragging his heels, get down on that bended knee ladies and do some asking.

I would ask Mr P if he wants to marry me but he got in there first..hurrah hurrah "we're getting married in the morning...tra la la la la.." well, not quite the morning, maybe this year, maybe next but pretty soon I'll be Mrs P....so happy.


what's the world's best lip balm?

I have to confess that I am a lip balm addict.  Yes it is true, another random and harmless addiction confession from Bloom Towers.

This addiction has taken many forms over the years but has stayed with me since being very small.  I still remember my first lip balm, it was grape flavoured and bought in Hong Kong where we lived at that time.  I can't remember its name, just that it smelt nice.

My second lip balm and probably the one that started this whole thing (thing, addiction, compulsion, whatever), was an Avon Little Blossom lip balm which was tinted a cherry pink - oh and I loved it.

....and so it begins.  Source 
I started looking around to see if I could find some pictures of it and found this one from someone who has collected all this stuff.  It really takes me back to being very small (and very annoying).

I'm pretty sure it'll bring some memories back for my Mum too, she knew I loved this stuff and got me lots of great presents from the range, such as peel off nail tint and very (very) classy cologne. I have to include a picture of the nail tint as it takes me right on back in time....gulp.


Anyway, I digress, this is a post about the world's best lip balm and yes I know a somewhat overly confident post title but really after many years (too many years) and a lifetime of lip balm purchases, I can confidently tell you that there is only one lip balm that properly fixes really sore and cracked lips and only one lip balm (or wonder product as it is often referred as) that really hydrates your average chapped and dry lips.

A bold claim but hear me out and remember that I am the lip balm master, I probably was a lip balm in a previous life!

First things first, here is my current collection, now I'm pretty sure there are others dotted around the house, these are just the ones I collected up from handbags, drawers, pencil cases and pockets this morning.  Be prepared to be shocked (and slightly disappointed in me).

Is that bad?  Do other people have this many lip balms??  I wonder.

Anyway, the one that I consider to be the very best and the only one that actually fixes broken lips is not in this line up....but I can reveal that it is.....Blistex Relief Cream.

Source Blistex.co.uk
I mean seriously this stuff is ACE!  It tingles when it goes on, makes your lips look lush and shiny and fixes every (I mean EVERY) tatty, sore and chapped lip ever.  I am now slightly concerned that I don't have this in my arsenal!

Do buy this if you suffer from sore lips and I think it is even quite good for cold sores, you will love it and never look back.

Moving straight on to the second best product and I have many tubes of this stuff, it is the wonder of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream.

Good lord, this stuff is GOOD.  I'm not sure how a person could live without it.  It is so brilliant, thick and soothing and I always, always (much to Mr P's consternation) put this on just before I go to sleep so I wake up with some super smooth filter tips (ha, just found out that is the cockney rhyming slang for lips, made me chuckle)!!  They also do it in a lipstick format and I have that too but for some reason don't use it as much.  Hmmmm.  Only trouble with this product is its cost, it's a wee bit expensive and you could just use the best of the rest selection below if you are watching the pennies.

Finally, the original and quite possibly the best of the rest and also highly recommended.  Unfortunately not the cherry variety but brilliant just the same, the ChapStick people have been at this game for 120 years!! Blimey, no wonder it's such good stuff.  And in terms of price, this baby is the best value for money too.

Now, onto the rest of the products in my photo of shame.

They are all (mostly), quite nice, some smell great - in particular the Smiths Rosebud Salve and the Burts Bees, some feel nice on - especially the Nivea ones which are both purchased by Mr P and borrowed (indefinitely) by me and some just have a great name - see Fanny & Claude's Fabulous Concocktions above!  But for the most part all they seem to do is provide a bit of moisture for a short while - which is fine in most cases - but they don't do much fixing, and sometimes a person needs some fixing on their lips.

We watched The Good, The Bad and The Ugly last night and Eli Wallach - who, in my humble opinion, completely steals the show - certainly needed some Chap Stick in some of his scenes, I mean check out this film still - come on Eli, got a bit of lower lip chapping going on there, sort it out love.

Enough now, I'm off to moisturise my lips some more. Mwah!

ps. another quite good brand is Carmex - they do a lovely pot of cherry lip balm which I used to have on my desk at work, hmm wonder where that is!


my favourite Valentine

My Valentine's loves.

Mr P and Lady Tillington P sitting on the sofa together reading the Sunday papers.


I hope you all have a love-tastic Valentine's Day 2012.


how to make a cross stitch phone cover

Well if you didn't already know that these things existed and if you like cross stitch or even the idea of making your own design cover for your phone then hurrah, you've come to the right place.

I discovered these kits a short while ago when I was looking for a new cover for my iPhone.   You buy a set (I got mine from amazon and it was well cheap!!), and basically you get a plain silicone cover which has been stamped with holes for you to cross stitch to your hearts content.

You also get a selection of embroidery thread and a little booklet with some suggested designs, which I think is quite a good deal for under a fiver.  I got the black but it also comes in loads of bright colours (which I am seriously tempted by) too!!

Well I was a bit stumped for design choice but then decided I wanted something as bright and colourful as possible and saw this design from a great book called Sweet Treats in Cross Stitch and it looks like this.

Now you wouldn't know it to look at it but it's supposed to be a jar of sweets.  I just looked at it and saw the possibility of having loads (LOADS) of colours on my cover...

It was really weird stitching into silicone but not terrible, sometimes the thread sort of frayed as it went through but I think some of the holes were a little tight and it doesn't matter as you can't tell.  Very different from stitching into fabric though.

I started off by following the chart really closely but soon descended into doing my own thing as time went by and it dawned on me that my whole jar of sweets wouldn't fit.  I don't think you can tell though, quite a pretty end result if I do say so myself :o)

Now for the sad news, whilst it is really pretty and I love it a lot, the quantity of embroidery thread that I've used has stretched the silicone so that it bags out a bit at the back.  You can see it a little bit in the picture above.  Not a terrible bad point and I think if you just do a small design without too much thread it probably won't happen to you.

I've sorted the problem out quite well by soaking it in hot water (well Mr P did anyway), it doesn't bag out anywhere near as much now and I might try again with boiling water later today - will report on the results of this soon.

All in all a great product, really good price and highly recommended for those of you with a creative itch that needs a good scratch!!


snow fun with Tilly

I'm sure if you live in good old Blighty, or pretty much anywhere in Europe right now, that you are cold.

I am.  It's 0 (that's a big fat zero right there) degrees centigrade right now, I'm drinking hot chocolate and watching Tilly out the window playing in the snowy (more like crunchy icy) garden.

We thought we had missed the snow and rued the purchase of hardcore snow boots in the autumn (although I am secretly in love with my Timberlands!).  But then it came this last weekend and ruined plans for almost everyone no doubt. It did me, I was supposed to have a fun craft day with my fabulous aunt and cousin.  Why does the whole country grind to a halt when the white stuff arrives?

One medium sized, black and very hairy mutt did not ask such questions.  She most certainly did not feel like her plans were ruined.  Quite the opposite in fact, she discovered and fell in love with the white stuff almost immediately, we had a job getting her back in the house....do dogs feel the cold?  I think not!

She snuffled it, rolled in it, tried to eat it, leapt up and down in it, peed on it and played about so much that we just stood about watching her, it was most amusing and better than the telly, that's for sure!

We of course found the time to make some snow angels..

...and take some pictures of strange trees for a photo project we were both doing....

Check out this bad boy courtesy of me and the camera of bloom but I think Mr P's strange tree below is better...and very cool indeed!  The forest we walk in has lots of really old (really old) trees scattered about in amongst the stock pines, we wonder if they have preservation orders on them or if the Crown Estate just keep them because they are so cool.

Photo courtesy of Mr P.
The snow is still here, Tilly is still enjoying it and spending increasingly longer in the garden every time she goes out for a wee.  I can't complain too much, it's certainly making walks much less muddy....and walking in the snow really works your bum muscles, it really does, ooh mine hurt right now!! 

Final picture, all action Tilly...made me laugh.


crochet fingerless gloves

So I bought this skein of wool a while back, it's from James C. Brett and is called Monsoon.  I just got the one and randomly picked it up in the yarn shop because it was pretty.  I mean how ridiculous.....I'm like a magpie distracted by anything shiny and bright.  But it is pretty, right?  You maybe would've been distracted too, yeah?

Well, it's been sitting in my wool bag for ages and I finally decided to take some action and use that pretty blooming wool for something useful that I would use and see everyday.  It wasn't hard to figure out what to make given that it's freezing cold here at the moment, gloves.

So I flicked and perused through my books and looked at lots of different patterns for fingerless gloves or wristwarmers on Ravelry  (love that name for them, like legwarmers for your wrists...cool) and finally I found this pattern...ooooh I love it.

It's another one from the brilliant Nicki Trench Cute and Easy Book and I thought it looked relatively do-able so off I set with my Monsoon yarn and my 5mm hook.

It started off quite tricky, doing the first row of single crochet into the foundation chain is just evil and trying to maintain the correct number of stitches on each round was also a bit of a pain. But each round got a bit easier and by the time I got to the pretty lace edging for the fingers, I was rocking :o)

This was the trickiest bit, I frogged it about three times before I got the number of stitches right.  Still purrrrrrritty...non?

The lacy finger bits...awesome!

The frilly edge, I love it!

Ta. da. The first one is finished.  Another tricksy bit was the thumb which is crocheted on to the glove separately and I did spend quite a few minutes trying to figure it out how to bleeding do it...!! Grrr.

Because of the colour changing yarn both gloves are different....I really like that.  Oh yeah and I LOVE the frilly edge.  And now for the big reveal....my new gloves in all their glory!!

Do you like them?  I love them and have worn them loads already...hurrah!