Sunday, 23 July 2017

Can I grow better brows?

Review post for Epibrow*

A few years back I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about my eyebrows. She couldn't believe the way I wore mine. Hers were plucked to a really thin line across her head and mine well weren't. Not that I had a Frieda Carlo monobrow going on, they were shaped but considerably thicker than most peoples at the time.

How times change and suddenly it's all about the brows and now my friends are desperately trying to regrow them, colouring them in where they won't grow back.

Mine on the other hand have remained almost unchanged, apart from a little sparser in places. There has been a big surge of new products for your eyebrows and eyelashes and not surprisingly many are trying to make the claim they can help you get bigger, lusher and younger looking brows and lashes.

Can this be true?
I was happy to test out some of these claims when I was sent Epibrow Ultimate Lash and Epibrow Brow Design Serum to review.
This is what they say about them;

'nourishing formula gets to work, feeding the hair follicles and leaving you with longer, thicker, fuller, darker lashes'

'important nutrients for hair growth, to help speed up the process and give you a thicker, fuller shape'

Like I said my brows are a little sparser than they once were, my right brow always seems to get a line in it and my lashes, well who wouldn't want longer more fluttering beauties without having to wear falsies.

So here is how I got on.

Day one - here is my before pic of my brows and lashes. Never had I thought this photo would be so difficult to take. Must convince hubby to help me in future. I've kept it black and white so as to not scare you with my dubious skin tones.

The brow serum was easy to apply and went easily into my bedtime routine. You simply painted it on and them massaged it in. Again I never fail to amuse hubby with all this fussing, he's brushed his teeth in two minutes and is happily tucked in bed. I'm rubbing my eyebrows! It smelt of rosemary and hubby claimed it made him feel hungry every night.

The eyelash serum was a little trickier. You had to paint it onto the base of your lashes at night. My hand is a little wobbly, this is why I don't do liquid eye liner and one night I got in in my eye. Not recommended. Stung like hell. Also having something wet on my lashes kept making me want to rub them. Try and avoid doing this.

So I've been doing this for nearly four weeks now and this is the result.

As you can see, there really hasn't been any change. I was a little surprised when I compared the photos as I had convince myself that my brows if not my lashes had become thicker. For the photos I have deliberately worn no makeup and tried to photograph using the same lighting conditions, no filters apart from setting it to black and white and you can see they are almost identical.

So could I grow better brows and lashes? It would seem not. I'll have to stick to mascara and occasionally colouring in my brows.

I was sent the Epibrow Ultimate Lash and Epibrow Brow Design Serum in exchange for my honest review. You can find out more by reading my advertising and disclosure policy.

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Accidental Hipster Mum

Friday, 21 July 2017

Superwings world airport playset giveaway

We are happy to be working with Alpha Animation this summer to host a giveaway based on its animated preschool series Super Wings. Super Wings is a popular action packed pre-school animation series which launched on Cartoonito in February.

The storyline aimed at children 3-5 years, encourages pre-schoolers to develop problem solving skills and introduces them to different parts of the world.

'The series revolves around an adorable jet plane named Jett who travels the world experiencing different cultures while delivering packages to children. With every delivery, Jett encounters a new problem that he and his friends, the Super Wings, must work together to solve. Jett and the Super Wings have the unique ability to transform from planes into amazing heroes who can run, climb, lift, dig and even dive deep under the sea.'

What we liked about the Super Wings series is their core messages

Friendship:  friends to help them through their every day problems.

Education:  develop creative problem solving skills and teaches them perseverance.

High-Energy Action: Each episode is filled with high-energy action whilst delivering a positive “non-violent” storytelling experience.

So for your chance to win the Super Wings world airport playset simply use the rafflecopter widget to enter. Good luck.

You can enter multiple times using the entry options shown.  The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and contacted by MI PR Global to send them the prize. Full terms and conditions can be found in the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One superwings world airport playset –  no monetary exchange available 
Contest is open until Midnight Friday 1st September

Distribution of  prizes is the responsibility of MI PR Global

Craft with Cartwright cannot be held responsible for lost prizes

This post was written in collaboration with MI PR Global – all opinions are my own
All winner decisions are final – the winner has 48 hours to claim or a new winner will be drawn

UK Entrants Only

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Sensse hot and cool facial bar review

Review post for Sensse Hot and Cool Facial bar*

As you may already know, I love a gadget and have become much more interested in my skincare regime now I'm in my thirties. Pillow creases seem to take longer to leave my face in the morning and often people comment on how tired I look, even when I'm not tired! (I hate that, please stop saying it!)

Could the Sensse Hot and Cold facial bar be the answer to ridding me of these problems?

I have really enjoyed adding the Sensse Silicone facial brush to my beauty routine, so I was happy that I was asked to review this new piece of beauty tech.
Like the brush it came beautifully packaged and I know for some this is enough to hook them right in.

With the pearlescent handle and rose gold top is certainly looks the business and if you like having your beauty products on display this would make a beautiful accessory. I on the other hand can't stand having anything out on the sides, so mine is safely stored in the cabinet.

What I hoped it would do.

After reading the blurb and the instructions I was hopeful that it might be able to combat the big frown crease I have between my eyebrows (see photo) and help with what I like to call my sleepy pirate crease. I always sleep on one side with my face mushed up it would seem and the crease can last till the afternoon! Added bonus would be get rid of eye bags.

What it did do.

It uses four different modes. Hot, hot with vibrations, cool and cool with vibrations.
I found the hot mode too warm for my skin, I don't know if my face is over sensitive but it wasn't as relaxing as I'd hoped. The hot with vibration mode was the same but with what felt like someone's mobile phone ringing on my forehead.
Cool mode wasn't great either and gave me a headache. Likewise cool mode with vibrations = headache + phone buzzing.

My conclusion.

Beautiful packaging, glamourous gadget but the experience of using the Sensse hot and cool facial bar wasn't a great one for me and did nothing to shift the frown lines or eye bags. Not one for me I'm afraid.

I was sent the Sensse hot and cool facial bar in exchange for my honest review. You can find out more in my advertising and disclosure policy.

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Accidental Hipster Mum

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Underwear solution for tricky outfits?

Review post for hunkemoller*

When I was in my twenties before I had kids I had great boobs. They were perky and cheeky and would stay in place with no help at all. I would happily wear a backless, or strapless, or split up the front outfit with no worry about a support system.

These days, I am in my thirties, having had two children whom I breastfed for 18 months a piece. So although my body has returned to somewhat a resemblance of my post baby body. It has changed and there is no denying that.

But my choice of clothes hasn't. I would still happily pick out a backless or strapless dress. I just need great underwear to make it happen.

Sometimes you find an outfit that no matter how you configure your straps your still going to see your bra. This is one of my pet peeves. I can't stand seeing my or other peoples bra straps. Choose a bra that suits the outfits needs. (please!)

So could this bra from hunkemoller be a game changer for me? I have worn strapless bras but never a backless and strapless bra.

I was game for putting it up to the test. Would this piece of engineering be able to keep my boobies in place all night long?

I tried the bra with a black satin dress that I've had for donkeys but hardly ever wear. I like the high neckline, slashed front and exposed back. It looks sexy but is revealing in a different way.
The back sits to low to wear a traditional strapless or halter neck bra.
Could this be the bra for the job?

Initially the bra fitted great and gave the right amount of support, unfortunately after a while of wearing it the one side kept unsticking. So I had to keep readjusting it. Not sure if I have less stickability (not sure this is a word) on my one side.

It's not really what you want on a night out. Perhaps if I had chosen a tighter fit top it might of held better. For me I think if I wore this out for the night, I would have given up on it before the night was over and let my thirty something boobies go free!

I was sent this bra in exchange for my honest review. You can find out more on my advertising and disclosure policy.

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Seven inspirational uses for Vintage Apple crates

Post in collaboration with Vintage Apple Crates*

You may or may not know that I am a lover of all things vintage. Our house is decorated with a wide range of furniture from many time periods and I think that my body shape suits a more vintage look. Which is why it may come as no surprise that my newest business is vintage related. The great thing about vintage is you can mix it up with what you already have and I thought I would share seven great ideas for how to use Vintage Apple Crates in your home and garden.

In need of storage in your garden?

Show off what could be seen as everyday, make a mini display cabinet or your garden tools and favourite potted plants. I love having mint at this height as it's great to brush past and smell.

Plant up your apples crates.

For a more permanent feature, line the crate with breathable membrane and plant up. For seasonal colour, hide ugly plastic plant pots inside the crate and swap as the seasons and flowers change.

Store those shoes.

Tidy away your shoes and boots or show off your favourite pairs. I think this would also look great at a wedding wear you could have a flip flop swap for tired feet in heels.

Make a snuggle box.

It may be summer but it will soon be Autumn. Make a snuggle box at the end of your sofa to stash all your favourite cosy blankets and cushions. Everything you need is in hand when you feel the need to cosy up.

Stack them up!

Run out of space for your plant pots? Windowsill to small? How about stacking up crates and using them for your house plants. Make sure to secure to the wall with brackets if you have littles ones though. Mine were always climbing!

Creative play spaces for kids.

My kids loved this little set up I made in the playroom. Initially I just thought of it for book storage, but they love it for small world play. Setting up little dioramas. I could see these been endlessly played with my boys creative minds.

A chuck box.

Every kids room needs a chuck box. I've softened this one for their bedroom by lining it with a fleece blanket. A chuck box is great for a quick tidy. Especially if you have an ever growing mountain of cuddly toys. I swear they are breeding. Make a game of it and get the kids to clean the floor in their room by chucking everything into the box.

I hoped you liked my inspirational uses of apple crates. Have you got any great suggestions? I'd love to know.

See more inspiring ideas on the Vintage Apple Crates blog.

You can also check out my Pinterest board for further ideas.

Many thanks to Vintage Apple Crates for sending me these in exchange for my post. You can read more in my advertising and disclosure policy.

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Accidental Hipster Mum

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How to not let blogging take over your life*

Contains sponsored link*

Since I've started blogging I have found myself spending less time with my hubby. He might think this is great for all I know. But when I'm upstairs working away on my PC. I miss him. I have to work at night as this is mainly the time I get when the kids have gone to sleep.

What I have been trying to figure out is how to not let the blogging take over my life and still see my husband.

So these are my solutions so far.

Work in the same room.

If I must work on the computer when he's home. I don't have to work upstairs on the PC. I have just got a new laptop stand which means I can now take my work downstairs and not ruin my posture working in the living room. It's still not really quality time with hubby, but I'm pretty good at chatting away whilst I type.

Use an app to take notes or draft posts.

I've just downloaded the blogger app and have started using it to draft up (really rough) posts and ideas when I'm watching t.v with hubby.

Use scheduling tools.

Some people don't like them, but If I can schedule my twitter posts for the evenings, I just use the freebie tool Hootsuite but have started looking at other paid scheduling tools recently. Then I know I don't have to be staring at my phone and can spend that time on my relationship instead.

Switch off and do something else.

Hubby commented the other day that I've haven't done any sewing recently. I quickly said 'oh it's more of a winter thing' but it got me thinking. I've recently stopped all my other hobbies and blogging has become my sole focus. This is not only bad for my time with hubby but surely it's bad for me. So I'm dedicating a switch of time from nine o'clock and I've picked back up some of my favourite hobbies. Cross stitch, reading and Sudoku are my favourites. These are great relaxing activities and the perfect thing to do whilst getting cuddles from hubby.

Tips from other bloggers.

The Money shed over on twitter posted - 'Don't hit burnout, it's OK to post once a week'. This is something I've been hearing a lot from bloggers and it's something I really need to do. I just to relax a little more and take my foot of the gas. I know I can't continue at the pace I'm going, especially as I'm back teaching in September. So now the summer holidays are here I'm going to aim to just post twice a week.

*This post and my site contain sponsored and affiliate links. To find out more please read my advertising and disclosure policy.

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Creative corner interviews - Rich Banks

Over the past few years I've been blogging and running my etsy shop I have come to know and admire other creatives. The great thing about social media is it give the opportunity to showcase your work to so many people. I have loved being a part of Facebook groups and twitter chats that champion the hard working creative minds all around.

So I wanted to showcase so of my favourite makers and designers I have had the pleasure of tweeting, liking and sharing over the years. This is the first of what I hope to be a regular spot on the blog.

So welcome to the first creative corner Rich Banks, whose detailed and intricate work I have admired during many a #creativebizhour

1.       Introduce yourself.

Hi I’m Rich, I’m a freelance illustrator, designer and artist based in York.

2.       Tell us a bit about your business.
I have been working as a freelance artist, illustrator and fine art printer for the past 8 years. I have created bespoke illustration work for global brands, and exhibited my artwork internationally in places such as London, Sydney and New York. I specialise in unique and detailed handmade drawings, which are easily translated into limited edition prints, and other accessories. I also print all of my own illustrations, either digitally or using screen printing techniques. Which I then sell either online, through my website or through art galleries and markets.

3.       What made you start your own business?
I graduated in 2009 from the University of York with a Ba in Graphic Design, and the design agency I was meant to be going to work for went bankrupt due to the recession, so I didn't have a job. My friend was in the same position and after a few beers one night we decided to set up our own design business. We ran that for 2 years before a string of bad business decisions meant that financially we were struggling and we had to close the business.  I knew I wanted to stay in the industry so I then went freelance and I am where I am now.

4.       Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I have a Ba in Graphic Design from the University of York. But I have been drawing my whole life. Some of my earliest memories are sitting at the dining room table with my Grandad, who was an architect and drawing buildings or playing with a Spirograph and creating endless pages of patterns. Since I graduated I realised that you always have to keep learning, whether its a new version of illustrator for my design work or a new drawing technique for my artwork. You have to keep learning and improving your creative practice.

5.       Explain your creative process.
So for the digital client work I produce, normally it starts with exchanging a few emails to figure out what the client needs and to see if I'm the right fit for there business. If we decide to go ahead with the work then we will meet up and discuss the work face to face. Then say it is a logo design, I will go back to my studio and produce 4 or 5 logo concepts for the client to choose from. I will then work up the chosen concept into a finished logo. All my client work tends to follow that pattern whether its a logo design, poster or website. Or if its hand-drawn not digital it will follow the same pattern. For my own hand drawn artwork generally all my ideas come from doodles in a notebook that I carry everywhere with me. If I have a drawing in there that I think could work or just be fun to draw I will sketch it out roughly on a piece of A4 to figure out the layout and position of objects. Then I will draw it full scale at either A3 or A2.

6.       Describe your typical day.
I get up at 6am and make coffee and check the news and my emails. Then normally I'm drawing by 7am, whether that's client work or personal work. I like to start work early because I find there's less distractions, so I'm very focused and I can be really productive. I will then work until about 2/3pm when I will stop and have some lunch and chill out for a couple of hours to try and refresh. Then I will go back to my drawing board or computer and pick faults with what I spent the morning drawing, try to figure out what changes will improve the work. Generally be quite self critical for half an hour each day so I know at the end of a project I've given myself the best chance to create something that is as good as the idea allows. I will then work until about 8/9pm when I try and switch my brain off for the next days work.

7.       What’s your biggest seller?

Tree Of Life 


8.       What have been the high and low points of running your own business?
The high points are being able to do something you love and are passionate about as a job. Meeting some incredible people and working on inspiring projects. The low points, like most freelancers, generally involve money. Not being able to find work, clients not paying on time, having your artwork stolen by large companies. It can be a very insecure way to make a living at times.

9.       What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
Find something you love doing and work hard at it. If you work doing something you love it doesn't matter if the clients an idiot or the money is terrible, or whatever, you will be happy.

10.   What are your aspirations?
I try not to set goals, I just go day by day, enjoy the journey and see where I end up. So I guess if in ten years I'm still doing what I'm doing now I will be a very lucky man.

Thank you Rich for taking time out to be involved in creative corner. I think you have a great mind-set and are an exceptionally talented artist.

You can view more of Rich's amazingly detailed work on his website where you can find my personal favourite of his work a fabulous illustration of a coy

You can also follow him on twitter and Facebook

Joyful Homemaking

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ultimate summer holiday bucket list

So the summer holidays are here. I feel so fortunate that I get to spend time with my kids over the holidays. However there are sometimes, when by 9am we have run out of activities and the kids are already 'bored'. Not that I mind a little boredom, but sometimes both the kids and I need a little inspiration for how to fill the long lay days of summer.

So this year we've created what we think is the ultimate summer holiday bucket list of 75 great ideas. Bearing in mind that my kids are 8 and 4, so some activities might not be suitable for older or younger ones. We hope to try and tick off all of them by September. Why not join us and enjoy a fun filled vacation. I've included a free printable of the bucket list for your to print off and stick on the fridge. Enjoy!

1 Go for a walk
2 Have a picnic
3 Have a water fight
4 Make a smoothie
5 Bake a cake
6 Build a den
7 Go camping
8 Go to the park
9 Visit the library
10 Movie night
11 Play board games
12 Have a treasure hunt
13 Go swimming
14 Read a book
15 Make a scrapbook
16 Paint your face
17 Make ice lollies
18 Go to the cinema
19 Go on a bug hunt
20 Learn to juggle
21 Go for bike ride
22 Have a playdate
23 Grow something
24 Junk box modelling
25 Go pond dipping
26 Make a bug hotel
27 Paint outdoors
28 Make a nature table
29 Be pirates for the day
30 Go to the beach
31 Make pizza
32 Play Frisbee
33 Visit a museum
34 Take a road trip
35 Fly a kite
36 Make pet rocks
37 Scavenger hunt walk
38  Go bowling
39 Visit the zoo
40 Decorate cupcakes
41 Play bubbles
42 Make a volcano
43 Make a video
44 Do rubbings
45 Make ice cream sundaes
46 Nature art
47 Collect sea shells
48 Make popcorn
49 Grow a cress head
50 Print with leaves
51 Make puppets
52 Make cutlery people
53 Have pancakes for breakfast
54 Make lemonade
55 Make milkshakes
56 Feed the ducks
57 Eat watermelon
58 Unplug for the day
59 Bake cookies
60 Go to the PYO
61 Build something out of lego
62  Build a sandcastle
63 Go crabbing
64 Visit a farm
65 Visit a castle
66 Junk modelling
67 Make sand art
68 Have races
69 Visit a friend or relative
70 Make fruit kebabs
71 Write postcards
72 Pavement chalking
73 Waterbomb painting
74 Make an ocean in a bottle
75 Make a monster


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