Vintage caravan photo booth

Since having kids I have been more and more interested in how I can make money from staying at home. I only work part time teaching now. I have set up my Etsy shop and run my blog which generates a small income. However it isn’t enough to stay permanently at home and hubby and I decided we would like to do something together. So Vintage Lens Hire was born and we are embarking on the journey of restoring and running a Vintage caravan photo booth.vintage caravan photo booth

Meet Betty.

This is something we have talked about for a while so with £400 in hand we bid on many, many caravans on Ebay. Missing out on so many of them at the last minute. Until we won Betty, who happily ended up being just down the road.vintage caravan photo booth

She is a Vintage 1960’s Bailey Caravan. What we loved about her was the wide windows at the front and back. Which allow lots of natural light in, making it great for photos. She also has a spilt style barn door and lovely retro shaping to the roof.vintage caravan photo booth

A sorry state.

I’m not one to gloss over the truth of the matter. You get what you pay for. She is very old and very tired. But not without merits and will look great when she is restored. So she’s gone off to have all the rotten wood replaced inside and have a new paint job outside. Then she’ll be returning to us so we can decorate her ready to be up and running for Easter 2018. vintage caravan photo booth

Vintage caravan photo booth Updates.

I will endeavour to keep you updated on Betty’s progress. I am currently building the website, but you can also keep track via Facebook, Twitter and Instagramvintage caravan photo booth

Interested in Booking the restored Betty for you function in 2018? Leave your details here and I’ll get back to you with great Early bird booking deals.

Vremi Espresso and Wine preserver review and Giveaway!

I love entertaining at home. Given the choice of going out for a meal or having people over. 9 times out of 10 I prefer to have people over. Not only does it take the stress of if I will get gutened when I’m out but also I much prefer the relaxed atmosphere you get feeding friends and family at home. Over the years our entertaining has improved, with a larger kitchen and a wider cooking repertoire. Now we also have the perfect kitchen accessories with the Vremi Espresso and wine preserver. To start and finish our meal with too.Vremi Espresso and Wine preserver review and Giveaway

Why do you need to preserve wine?

Not everyone in our family agrees on what is the best wine to drink with our meals. We had robust red drinkers, rose lovers and dry crisp white flavours. So having a wine preserver is a handy way of keeping that half bottle fresh for up to ten days. It has a vacuum pump which makes it quick and easy to seal the bottle. Plus it has a dial on it so you can turn it to the date it was sealed and then you never miss out on the cheeky extra glass.Vremi Espresso and Wine preserver review and Giveaway!

After dinner Vremi Espresso

Once dinner is over, hubby loves to finish his meal with a coffee. I must admit I’m not a fan of drinking coffee. Being much more of a tea drinker. But I do love the smell of fresh coffee being made. This Espresso maker looks so lovely in our black and white kitchen. Filling the downstairs with that great aroma. Easy to use and suitable for lots of different stove tops. It’s a great way to end a fab meal.Vremi Espresso and Wine preserver review and Giveaway!


For your chance to win both a  Vremi Espresso and a Wine preserver. Just enter via the gleam widget below. Good luck.
Win the Vremi Espresso Maker and Wine Preserver #20

Vremi Espresso and Wine preserver review and Giveaway!

Mudpie Fridays

Lemon curd tray bake recipe

I love citrus in cakes. I like how it cuts through the sometimes overwhelming fattiness of a cake. Especially one that has buttercream on it. Don’t get me wrong I like cake because it has fat (and sugar) in it. But I don’t like how sometimes you can be left with a coated mouth. This lemon curd tray bake recipe is the perfect way to avoid that.lemon curd tray bake

It’s light and fluffy, easy to make and with the addition of buttercream topping and sprinkles. It’s a great crowd pleasing cake. Perfect for after school treat with a cup of tea or on a Sunday when you’ve got friends round.lemon curd tray bake

To make my Lemon curd tray bake recipe you will need

  • 150g All purpose gluten free flour
  • 150g Baking margarine
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the Lemon curd icing

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 90g baking margarine
  • 1 tbsp lemon curd
  • sprinkles (optional)

How to make Lemon curd tray bake

I prefer to make my cakes as a all in one recipe in the food processor. It’s much quicker and they come out just as good as the traditional creaming method.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c / gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line a rectangle high sided baking tray.
  3. Weigh out and place into the food processor, the gluten free flour, baking margarine, caster sugar, eggs and baking powder.
  4. Whizz in the food processor until fully blended.
  5. Pour into the greased and lined tin and level the cake mix.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch.
  7. Remove from the tin and allow to cool.lemon curd tray bake

To make the icing.

  1. In the food processor, add the icing sugar, baking margarine and lemon curd.
  2. Mix until soft and creamy.
  3. Once the cake has cooled, spread over the top of the tray bake. Use a fork to make a decorative pattern in the top. (Optional, use a four year old to add copious amounts of sprinkles)lemon curd tray bake




You Baby Me Mummy

13 ways to promote your blog giveaway

Running a giveaway on your blog is undoubtedly a great way to get traffic. Some of my most popular posts have been giveaways. I try now to run at least two a month and it means I get regular returning visits of people checking out my latest giveaways. However it isn’t as easy as setting up your rafflecopter widget, plonking it on your blog and hoping people will organically find it. It takes a lot of promotion. I don’t like to unnecessarily spend money on my blog if it can be avoided. So I’ve complied my 13 ways to promote your blog giveaway for free here.13 ways to promote blog giveaway


I use social oomph to promote my blog giveaway, I tend to use the hashtags #win #competition #prize and #giveaway. Scheduling the tweet once every eight hours for the duration of the giveaway. I also use #winitwednesday and #freebiefriday when I can remember!


I don’t always use Instagram to promote my giveaways. However if it is something that with photograph really well then I will. I will only post it once. These are the most popular hashtags for giveaways I’ve found

  • #competition
  • #giveaway
  • #giveawaycontest
  • # giveaways
  • #win
  • #freebies
  • # freebiesfriday
  • #freebie
  • #instawin
  • #instagiveaway
  • #prize

Then I would also tag with relevant descriptions of the prize and the usual #lifestyleblogger tags I use.


You can join some groups to promote your giveaways.

My favourites are

Blog Competitions and Giveaways where you add your giveaway to the relevant closing date post.

Mummy and Daddy bloggers. You just add your link to the pinned competitions and giveaways thread.






Life in a breakdown

Other sites to promote a blog giveaway

Bloggers required – in the giveaways section you can post one for free

Pick a blogger also lets you post your giveaway for free

The prize finder

Money saving expert – you can’t upload your own giveaways, but if you can get someone else to do it for you you. It sends lots of traffic. I often find this is the best referral site.13 ways to promote blog giveaway

Do you have any other great free tips to promote your blog giveaway? Share them and I’ll add them to my list.

Mum Muddling Through
You Baby Me Mummy

Creative corner – Anita Rose Designs

This week I’m delighted to have Anita from Anita Rose Designs in Creative corner. I absolutely adore her aprons which I first saw on twitter. She has a great eye for pattern and colour. So read on to discover more about her and her work.Anita Rose Designs

1. Introduce yourself.

anita rose designs
Hello there I’m Anita. I live in the pretty Ye Olde city of York, after many addresses and many towns I am now settled. Having found a passion for sewing but I have always enjoyed making things. I use sewing as a way to distract me from living with Multiple Sclerosis.

2. Tell us a bit about your Anita Rose Designs.

anita rose designs
I love using fun fabrics to make the mundane into something fun, an apron in the kitchen should reflect your personality as well as being functional.
People love to find something special and I love providing that service.

3. What made you start your own business?

I was encouraged by friends to start a business so I could work from home and with the help of a friend Anita Rose Designs was born. Its a big step from making things for friends and family to selling them to the public but my friends and family were supportive and it still amazes me to see my business grow and grow. My shop will 2 years old on the 8th October and goes from strength to strength.

4. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?

I wanted a sewing machine for my 40th (4 years ago now eek) and taught myself. My Mum always sewed when I was younger making our clothes and costumes for Halloween and I wished I could be as good but never really took it up. As life got in the way (marriage, 3 kids,divorce, new partner,1 kid) I never found the time but turning 40 is often a turning point in life so I was determined to learn to sew as I had always wanted to.

5. Explain your creative process.

Organised Chaos perhaps! I have notebooks with sketches and designs of new things I want to try. I’m also inspired by fabrics, sometimes you just see a pattern and I just know what I want to do with it. Friends and family also provide inspiration and ideas so I channel them and see what I can do with these ideas. I even have a notebook by my bed as it is amazing how many ideas pop into your head while your trying to doze!

6. Describe your typical day.

No day is started without first putting the kettle on. While I have my 2 cups of tea I will catch up on emails, post on FB, Instagram and answer comments etc. Then once Spotify is booming in the background I get to the sewing table. Some days are spent cutting out and others then sewing. Custom orders are also done in the morning. While eating my lunch I will source fabrics and other items needed. Afternoons will be spent listing, photographing and admin tasks as well as the run to the post office. Evenings I try to relax and spend time with my children but a couple of nights I catch up with other creative peeps on Twitter and FB and join in creative and networking hours.

7. What’s your biggest seller?

anita rose designs
I would have to say aprons, I have found people love a fun, bright apron especially as a gift. I often get requests for a custom aprons as people love something special.

8. What have been the high and low points of running your own business?

Lowest is the first year when sales are slow and you feel like you are invisible, your working hard but thinking is it worth it? The highest is having people ask you to make something for them, they have faith in you that you will make them something special for a loved one and then to get a heartfelt thanks makes you feel on top of the world.

9. What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?

1. Please dont think it will happen overnight and keep going you are good enough.
2.Networking is vital, its an online business so you must have an online presence.
3.Use social media to meet other creative peeps, the support, inspiration as well as fun I find are invaluable.

10. What are your aspirations?

What started as a hobby really has turned into a real business so I want to keep growing. I have lots of new ideas and lines to add so I am excited about that. I want to see my business grow and hopefully inspire my children so they can see hard work pays off.

11. Where can we find you?


For your chance to win a Kitchen utensil apron, enter the rafflecopter competition below. anita rose designs


You can enter multiple times using the entry options shown.

The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter. The Winner will be contacted by Anita Rose Designs to send them the prize. Full terms and conditions can be found in the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One Kitchen utensil Apron from Anita Rose Designs  –  no monetary exchange available

The contest will close Midnight Tuesday 14th November

Distribution of  prizes is the responsibility of Anita Rose Designs

Craft with Cartwright cannot be held responsible for lost prizes and all winner decisions are final. The winner has 48 hours to claim or a new winner will be drawn

UK Entrants Only

Anita Rose Designs

Rachel Bustin


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You Baby Me Mummy

Five Autumn beauty must haves

This post contains sponsored and affiliate links.

With the onset of Autumn, my skin feels like it has had a battering. Too much sun over the summer in combination with the heating coming on has left me feeling like a dried up leaf. So before you hide yourself under a cosy jumper and 100 denier tights for hibernation. Why not try out my five Autumn Beauty must haves.autumn beauty must haves (1)

Flip flop feet?

autumn beauty must havesI know my feet don’t look their best after a summer wearing flip flops. Especially my heels which are a far cry from baby soft at the moment. So why not get them back to beautiful, whilst slipping on your boots? These beautyfeet socks, seem totally bonkers and I must admit feel a bit weird when you first slip them on. However I’ve worn them about seven times now and my heels feel amazing.

Starting to look like Rudolf?

autumn beauty must havesAs soon as the seasons change I end up getting a cold. Blowing my nose all the time and the effect of going from hot houses to the cold outside wreaks my skin and leaves me with red patches. I have also noticed little spider veins that I am not happy about. So it’s time to tackle my skin and get it looking healthy again with the help of Couperose and Thread veins balm.

Super dry skin?

The moisture seems to have left my skin. So I need to get back into the routine of moisturising every day. Rather than just hiding my legs away in tights and boots and forgetting about them. It’s hard to resist the beautiful smell of this Rose geranium moisturiser by No frills. So it might not be such a hard job after all. autumn beauty must haves

Get some Beauty sleep.

Struggling to get a good nights sleep? I know I can’t sleep unless the room is completely dark. Hubby has a tendency to bring the phone up to bed. So this eye mask is a must have. Plus if you need to have a quick cat nap in the day it won’t smudge your eye make up.autumn beauty must must haves



Final Autumn Beauty Must have

There is a temptation to stay indoors once the weather turns colder but you shouldn’t. My final Autumn Beauty must have is get some fresh air. With the wind in your hair and lungs full of clean crisp air you’ll have the ruddy complexion of a beautiful farmers daughter. Take my word for it you’ll be re-energised. autumn beauty must haves

What are your beauty recommendations for the colder months?

autumn beauty must havesThis post contains sponsored and affiliate links. If you would like to know more you can read my advertising and disclosure policy.

Seven great Halloween party ideas for Grown ups

Why should Children have all the fun at Halloween? I must admit I do love Halloween. I find it a great excuse to have a party, dress up and eat some great food. Yet, all my parties these days are very Children focused. Now the boys are getting older, it might be the time to have a party just for the grown ups!Halloween party

7 great Halloween Party ideas for Grown ups

I’ve been inspired by the Halloween Pack provided by Festive Lights. To give you seven great ideas that will rock your grown ups Halloween party.


halloween party ideas1. There seems to be no pumpkin shortage this year. So go to town with pumpkins. Just having a big pile of them can be enough to create a great Halloween look. Or you could try a pumpkin carving competition. But perhaps that should happen before any drinking.Halloween party ideas

2. Candles add great atmosphere and look great when allowed to burn down awhile and leave dripping wax. Stick them in old wine bottles and burn for a few hours before the party to achieve this look.

Or if you want to avoid the hazard of open flames and drunk guests you can pick up some battery powered ones.


I’m sorry but you can’t have a Halloween party without dressing up. I have even managed to convince hubby to do this and he hates dressing up.

Struggling for ideas?

3. A simple look is to be a corpse. All you need is black and white face paint and you can be the corpse of your choice. Office corpse, footballer corpse or my favourite a corpse bride.halloween party

4. You can even have a go at making your own mini corpse bride bouquet, with my handy tutorial. halloween party



5. Great drinks. Every grown ups Halloween party. Needs to have some great cocktails. Go to town and be creative with the theme. Check out my Pinterest board for some good starting points.

Halloween party food.

6. To soak up all the booooze you need some good food. I’ve previously posted some great ideas for Halloween Party food. Although for kids originally they could be updated for more grown up tastes. Jello shots with gummy worms. Booze in the graveyard trifle.halloween party


7. Finally once everyone has had admired each others costumes, had their fill of cake and cocktails. You need to entertain your guests. My favourite suggestion  from the party pack is to play the mummy game which involves wrapping someone in loo roll quickly. Inexpensive and great fun. The loo roll will probably come in handy later, for cleaning up too!

For other great Halloween party ideas check out this Halloween pack from Festive Lights.

Halloween party

You Baby Me Mummy
Accidental Hipster Mum
Crafty October on The Purple Pumpkin Blog

Shape kids review

We were recently asked to test and review The Shape Kids toys and books for the Rainbow toy awards. Both the boys were excited to get the package and tore it open immediately. Even though they are aimed at my youngest age group, that didn’t seem to stop the eldest from joining in.the shape kids

You will probably know that personally I love wooden toys and often buy them for other kids as I like their feel and they remind me of my childhood toys. The Shape Kids were lovely and smooth, with brightly coloured finishes and magnetic spots where you can take the pieces apart and rearrange them. A great way to introduce shapes and colour to your children.the shape kids

Initially the youngest was very excited to play with them, however it didn’t last long. Once he had made them up, swapped their body parts and then tried to launch various blocks at the eldest head. The novelty had worn off.

Now they have become part of the mix of toys in the playroom and are used in different creative ways. For example in small world play as platforms for fire rescues and as barns and walls in the farmyard.the shape kids

The eldest has also enjoyed the magnets and spends ages collecting objects to hang from the blocks magnetic spots.

We will however come back to again and again, the story books. As I have said before we love books and reading in our house and these are lovely stories to enjoy before bedtime.the shape kids

Final thoughts on The Shape Kids

Overall I think the toys were of a very high quality and would last a long time. They were easy to fit together and are well suited to being played with by little fingers. With the age setting, I think three year old’s will enjoy playing with the toys as they come. As the children get older they will probably be used in more creative and imaginative ways. Which is all part of the fun, right?the shape kids


Accidental Hipster Mum
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Creative corner – Homes for Bugs

Building a bug hotel was on our Bucket list this summer and I’m ashamed to say it was one thing that didn’t get done. It’s something we would really like to have in our garden as we recognise the importance of a diverse habitat and the youngest just adores creepy crawlies! So I am so pleased to have Homes for bugs in this weeks creative for bugs

Introduce yourself

Homes for bugsHi there, I’m Steve Nestor – quickly becoming known as the ‘bug man’. I’m married to Tracy and we live in Wolverhampton. By day I work full time in social housing, but my evenings and weekends are filled with a different type of housing altogether. Creating and selling wonderful Homes for Bugs.

Tell us a bit about Homes for BugsHomes for bugs

In a nutshell, I individually design and hand make insect houses out of reclaimed and ‘rescued’ wood. Beneficial insects such as solitary bees, ladybirds and lacewings need somewhere safe and warm to rest, nest and shelter. Our Homes for Bugs offer stylish, one of a kind houses that not only look fab in any garden, but also give these all important creatures a much needed home.

What made you start your own business?

It happened by accident really. I love wildlife and did the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch earlier this year. When I submitted my results, they suggested a few garden projects including building a bug hotel. I used pieces of scrap wood that were in the garden and filled it with pine cones, bamboo, small rotting logs and leaf litter. I really enjoyed being outside, creating something out of scrap wood so I decided to make a smaller version. Then I posted a picture on Facebook and one of my friends liked it so much they wanted to buy it. So, I made a couple more, which also sold quickly…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?

I haven’t had any formal training – I’m not sure there’s a course for bug house builders! Many moons ago I was a kitchen maker where I learned all the skills needed to build the frames for the bug houses. Since Homes for Bugs was formed I’ve had to do a lot of research on the types of habitat that insects such as ladybirds and solitary bees look for to nest and hibernate in…and I’m learning more all the time.

I’ve had a few different jobs in my life including sales, communications and marketing – all of which are helping me to build my brand, social media and online presence.

Explain your creative process.

I individually make every bug house and, because I only used reclaimed and rescued wood, no two designs are ever the same. I don’t plan any of my designs – I get bored easily so there’s no way I want to get into a rut of sticking to plans! Usually cuttting the sides to length first and go from there. I love rooting through my scraps of wood and seeing what takes my fancy. It’s fascinating watching the design come to life before my eyes – believe it or not, most of the time I haven’t got a clue how it’s going to end up until the last piece is in place.

Describe your typical day.

The weekends are spent either building bug houses at home or selling them at craft fairs and markets. On Saturday mornings I set up my mitre saw and drills on the work bench that sits under the awning in our back garden, pour myself a coffee and choose my first piece of wood.

No matter what the weather, I’m at my happiest when I’m out there working with wood… especially when Tracy, my wife, joins me. She’s the painter, gift tag maker and the brains behind our Tudor and Balamory style ranges.Homes for bugs

When we’re not building, we’re selling and when we’re not building or selling. We’re usually foraging for natural materials to fill our bug houses. We also love the social side to the business and have met some lovely people whilst selling at local craft fairs and markets. We’ve sold at Vintage and Handmade fairs, a Harvest Festival, traditional craft fairs and also have a regular spot at Bridgnorth Handmade Sunday market… no matter where we go, people seem to love our product.Homes for bugs

What is your biggest seller?

It’s hard to say as we never make the same bug house twice! I suppose our Balamory style (colourful) and Tudor range are the most popular with many being bought as gifts. Having said that, our rustic insect houses, made from things like old decking and fence panels, are really popular with the gardeners.Homes for bugs

The good thing about our product is that we’ve got a really varied audience. Gardeners buy them because they know the benefits that bees and ladybirds bring to their gardens and allotments. Children love them because they learn about mini-beasts at school and are naturally inquisitive. Other people simply like the look of them and buy them as unique gifts. Regardless of the reasons they buy them, everybody loves the fact that they’re all made from wood that was destined for the tip or bonfire.Homes for bugs

What have been the high and low points of running your own business?

I love everything to do with Homes for Bugs. It’s fabulous taking an old, sometimes rotting, piece of wood and creating something that people really like, and bugs really need. It’s brilliant doing the craft fairs and markets and we’ve met some really interesting people.

A few weeks ago we sold a selection of our designs to a newly opened local gift shop. We’ve recently been approached to build houses for a solitary bee village that’s being created in a nature reserve.

We’ve also delivered a bug house workshop at a community event where children filled individual ‘rooms’ that were all placed together to create one big bug hotel. The building and selling of bug houses is brilliant. It’s fantastic being able to inspire others to think about recycling to give nature a helping hand.

The only downside is that we do don’t do it full time. It’s really early days for us though as we’ve only been making them for a few months, so you never know…watch this space.

What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?

My main advice would be to do what you love. Find something that makes you happy and allows to connect with other people. I’d also say that taking the time to build, and regularly update, a website. Plus creating and maintaining a good social media presence is crucial to building your brand.

Before you start selling, decide what your brand is all about and design your marketing materials to match. In our case we wanted to make it clear that all of our products are made from reclaimed wood. That everything is individually designed and handmade. We also wanted our brand to be fun… the world is far too serious. So we try and lighten the mood and bring a bit of sunshine wherever we go.

What are your aspirations?

We’d love to get to the point where we’re working on Homes for Bugs full time. We’ve got lots of exciting ideas that could make this a possibility. So we’ll be working really hard over the coming months to see if we can make this happen.

Where can we find you?

We’ve got a website that includes our blog and customer photo gallery for you to have a look at. We’re also on Facebook Twitter   and Instagram  and would love you to come and say hello… see you soon for bugs

You Baby Me Mummy

The Alphabet train book review

I love reading and I have done everything I can to grow the love of books in my children. I find it such a shame when I meet children in Secondary school who have never found the joy of reading. The earlier you can introduce and share books with your children the better. If you are yet to find a book that your kids love. You might find they love one that is personalised with their name. The Alphabet train could be the perfect book for them.the alphabet train

So a few weeks back I responded to a tweet from Dr. Niamh looking for parent bloggers to review the book she had written. You have the opportunity to personalise the book. You choose your child’s name, their sex and what they look like. Then you can also add a special message for the last page. We chose ‘Keep on reading’.the alphabet train

All aboard The Alphabet Train

Then the story takes you through the alphabet, looking at the letters and the sounds they make. Which fits in perfectly with early years curriculum for phonics.

They then explore if those letters are in their name. It is perfect for my youngest who is four and is just learning to sound out words and write his name.the alphabet train book review

The book is easy to read, fun and captivating for young readers. With great rhymes which all children love and remember! It is perhaps a little longer than the books we read at bedtime. So it’s worthwhile finding the time to set aside and enjoy the book together. Why not make a book corner and have a dedicated area to encourage the love of books.the alphabet train book corner

The Alphabet train is beautifully illustrated. It makes a great keepsake and will be a book my youngest will treasure.the alphabet train

Many thanks to Dr. Niamh for sending us the book for free in exchange for our review. If you want to find out more you can read my advertising and disclosure policy.

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