Obsessing Over Enamel Pins

Recently my Instagram and Etsy has been awash with enamel pins. My thought process was thus: ‘I should do a blog post on all these awesome pins’… ‘Oh shit, A Beautiful Mess has done it now’…’Ach well, I’m gonna anyway.’ Yeah. So I thought I would just share the ones that are currently sat on my Etsy favourites list. These are all shops based in the UK, there are awesome shops all over the world with good shipping policies, but shop local and all that.

Axolotl by Hannah Hitchman | Middle Finger by Jolly Awesome | Don’t be a Dick by Veronica Dearly | Drive In Movies by Hand Over Your Fairy CakesHeart and Brain Set by Rock Cakes | Pretzel by Peas and Needles | UFO by Sugar and ViceGummi Venus De Milo by Mike McCabe | Diamond Terrarium by Finest Imaginary | Majestic as Fuck Unicorn by Punky Pins

These are all priced from £5 to £15 (for the two pin set) so a super affordable way to pick up some fun finishing touches. I feel a collection coming on…

Here is the link to the A Beautiful Mess pin posts if, like me, you just can’t get enough.

Drop any links to your favourite pins/shop in the comments please!

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I promise this feature won’t take you to spam, it’s just a fortnightly round up of my favourite stuff I’ve seen on the internets…

I Like Cats Notebook

A6 Notebook by ilikeCATS

I love the above Etsy shop for all kinds of sassy cats – on pins, cards, t-shirts, you name it. I’ve also been trying to follow along with @tobyilikecats‘ drawing a day challenge #yayeveryday. Having mixed success with that, but I’m enjoying at least thinking about drawing.

The big news stories this week were sadly the untimely deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman. I’ll admit, I’m a total cynic and adverse to massively public outpourings of grief but this article by Sali Hughes on why she is sick of the ‘grief police’ made me think. I’d never be as harsh as the people she describes but I will admit to an (internal) eyeroll in the past. Bowie and Rickman weren’t my personal heroes but OK, I can relate, there are some celebrities that I imagine I’ll need a day of work to cope with. (Not saying in case jinxes are real).

Speaking of being a cynic, this post by Bee Waits For No One on why everyone can have a Positive Mental Attitude is another eye opener. #inspiring

This is an old one, but new to me. After the news that Winds of Winter will definitely not be released before season 6 of Game of Thrones, here’s a timely reminder from Neil Gaiman that George R R Martin is not your bitch. So stop whinging about spoilers. 

Gemma from Lipstick and Lashes has brought back her Bloggers Snail Mail. I love snail mail/postcard/ gift swaps for getting to know people and er.. an excuse to shop so I’ll definitely be signing up.

The Oscar nominations are out and were greeted with the usual excitement/jeers/overuse of the word ‘snub’. The Revenant  is tipped as the one to watch but I’m personally much more excited about Room. In other  awards season fun, make sure you vote for your Rising Star at the BAFTA’s. John Boyega for the win.

Happy Saturday chaps!

Christmas Gift Guides 2015 | For the Crafter

 

 

The Christmas gift guide bonanza continues with ideas for all your craft-loving pals. Whether a sewer, a knitter, or a er, candlestick maker, a hobbyist or a business boss, hopefully you’ll find some inspiration here.
Christmas Gift Guides 2015 | For the Crafter

Top row left to right: Mollie Makes Subscription (from £5 – special offer); Singer Sewing Machine Screenprint (£20); Knitting Needle Bag (£14.95); Sewing Skyline Mug (£8)

First up, everyone’s fave modern craft magazine, Mollie Makes. This is perfect for the hobby crafter as it comes with a mini project every month; Singer sewing machines are iconic vintage chic so this will look great in any craft room regardless of the interest; I do love a pun! This knitting needle bag is great and there’s also a matching tote bag for the wool; Crafting and tea goes as well together as crafting and cakes so this understated mug will be sure to go down well.

Bottom row left to right: Cross Stitch Kit (£6.50); Handmade Iron On Embroidery Patch (£5.44); Business for Punks (£10.49); Sewing Basket (£42)

I’ve been a regular subscriber to the Geeky Little Stitcher box for a few months now and I love it. There are lots of options on this Etsy shop for cute, simple cross stitch projects, and even an option for a build your own box; This patch is beyond awesome!; There are plenty of creative and craft business books available but I like the look of this one (craft beer is crafting in a way!). I don’t agree with a large amount of BrewDog’s marketing strategy but they’re certainly an interesting case study and I’m sure it’ll be thought provoking for any small business owners; Lastly, a bit of a classic – a Cath Kidston sewing box – ideal for all ages.

Hope you enjoyed this edition of the gift guides. Let me know what is on your crafty wishlist.

Christmas Gift Guides 2015 | Film Buffs

Everyone loves films right? Admittedly some more than others, but we all had our genres we love to watch. This gift guide has something for everyone, from the hardcore film buffs to the people who enjoy the occasion night in on the sofa with a film and a bucket of popcorn.

Film Buff Gift Guide

Top row left to right: Clapperboard Cushion (£8); Gone with the Gin: Cocktails with a Hollywood Twist (£6.99); Retro Treats Popcorn Bowl (£15); Retro Sign Necklace (£48)

Give your living room the aura of a film set with this sweet cushion from George at Asda. Perfect for hiding behind during scary films too; This is a punderful little book packed with cocktail recipes inspired by the films. A Gone with the Wind/Gin drink-along would be pretty fun; I love the retro popcorn boxes you see quite often, but especially this ceramic one as it’ll last a lot longer. Good sharing size too; Top of my own list though is this acrylic necklace. It’s so detailed and absolutely gorgeous!

Bottom row left to right: GoPro Hero (£94); Gourmet Popping Corn (£9.99); Little White Lies Subscription (from £29); Movie Poster Print (from £9.99)

If it’s time for someone to put their money where their mouth is, challenge them to make their own films; For the foodie film fan there are lots of treats out there but I really like the look of these popping corn mix bag. The shop also sells seasoning too; I love Little White Lies and I think that this is the best options if you do want to get something like a magazine subscription for someone. Every issue is glorious, the Jim Carrey issue is one of my faves; Finally another good idea is an alternative movie poster print. I would obvs go for the Jaws one but there are absolutely hundreds of option on Etsy.

I want all this stuff for myself now!

Christmas Gift Guides 2015 | Random Fandoms

Do you know anyone who is a massive fan  of something? Whether it’s a book or a film or a TV show, I bet you do. It’s a bit impossible to list all of the options out there as there are so many, but a lot of the suggestions I’ve rounded up are either do alls or come in a variety of options for all the various fan families.

Fandoms Gift Guide

Top row left to right: BB-8 Interactive Robotic Droid (£129.99); Pop Vinyl Harley Quinn (£8.99); The World of Ice & Fire (£20.40); Skinnydip Light Up Rocket Bag (£30)

First up is the must-have toy on everyone’s wishlist! Who even knows if BB-8 will be a likeable character in the new Star Wars (he could be the new Jar-Jar), but this little droid is hella cool; I love Pop Vinyls as a stocking filler – they have literally everything – superheroes, horror villains, Disney princesses, characters from TV, film, books, games… seriously, you’ll find something suitable; A coffee table book is always a good option (especially for ASOIAF fans who have ages to wait between books and series). TK Maxx is a good place to look for these. I’ve found great comic books and Star Wars  ones there; Space/sci-fi fan? This light up cross body bag is a bit unexpected but super fun.

Bottom row left to right: Tetris Lights (£24.99); Rainy Day Activity Book (£4); Robocup (£12.99); Jurassic World Raptor Rampage LEGO Set (£49.99)

I Want One of Those has a few options for mood lights such as a Stormtrooper and a Superman neon light, but I like the retro Tetris lights the best. Only one needs to be plugged in and you can rearrange it to your hearts content; Another great stocking filler are these activity books from La La Land. Based on different TV shows and films they feature colouring sheets, word searches and dot-to-dots; For fans or 80’s sci-fi/puns, this Robocup is practical  and hilarious; Again, LEGO have something for everything depending on what they like, but I love Jurassic World and the set featuring Owen, Blue and Charlie is top of my list.

What geeky stuff do you like? What are you hoping to find in your stocking?

Christmas Gift Guides 2015 | Bookworms

My second gift guide for this year is for all the bookworms out there. I have definitely become more of a book lover in the last year – I used to be as a kid, then fell out of the habit until my commute has reminded me of the joys. Bookworms are great to buy for as they tend to have an Amazon wishlist the length of their arm. If you can’t get access to this, or want something a bit different, here are some suggestions.

Book Lovers Gift Guide

Top row left to right: Book Lover Literary Print (£24.95); Penguin Clothbound Classics (£11.99) and Rebecca VMC 1973 (£5.99); So Many Books! Bookends (£15.95); Jane Eyre Candle (£9.99)

Your first port of call should be Not On The High Street, they have sooo many bookish themed gifts, you really won’t go wrong. I love this Little Women quote print; Ironically, it’s hard to buy a bookworm an actual book – what if they already have it? My best advice is to go either for a classic such as the lush Penguin Clothbound Classics, or one of their favourite books in a beautiful edition. Even if they already have the book they will appreciate the effort you have gone to to find them a special ‘display’ one; For the person with the giant TBR pile, these bookends are ideal; A book themed candle is a fun option. This Etsy shop has bookish options such as Jane Eyre, The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Bottom row left to right: Paperback perfume (£15.00); Dainty Jewellery (from £4.20); Moleskine Book Journal (£10.75); Shakepeare Insults Mug (£9.99)

For the person who effuses about the glorious smell of new books, you need to get them this perfume from the Library of Fragrance; Or you can go down the more subtle look and pick up a piece of jewellery loosely inspired by their favourite book. I was thinking an arrow for The Hunger Games, a moon for A Song of Ice and Fire (for Khaleesi of course), a star for The Fault in our Stars or an owl for Harry Potter; For the listmakers, this offline version of Goodreads will go down well; And finally a mug covered in insults. At least if they hate it they can tell you in a verbose way.

Again, I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you’re thinking of picking any of these or similar gifts up.

Christmas at HomeSense

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Since becoming an old and boring person, one of my favourite things to do of a weekend is to go to retail parks to look at homewares. It’s genuinely exciting for me. One of my all time favourite shops (yep, even before Topshop) is HomeSense. If you’re not familiar with the joys of HomeSense, it’s part of the TK Maxx family, and for me, offers all the best bits – homewares, stationery and gifts.

So when the opportunity came up to visit the Bristol Imperial Park store to explore their new Christmas range I pretty much jumped at the chance. Bloggers were given ‘Love From First Find’ labels to hang on our favourite items and a gift voucher for any ‘can’t leave without it’ items. I did love a lot, so warning, this is a picture heavy post – apologies for any slow loading.

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One of the best things about HomeSense (other than the 60% of RRP of course) is that they pretty much cover all trends. So whether you going for rustic wood, a splash of bling or on-trend copper, they’ll have you covered.

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Both owls and squirrels are a big feature this year. The felted wool pom poms are a great alternative to tinsel if you’re going for a homespun look to your Christmas decorations.

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I thought these chalkboard style decorations were really unusual and would be terrific for anyone who likes a monochrome look. This this the flat reindeer baubles would actually be great on the table – you could attach a name tag to the hook and make it into a nameplace/gift for all of your guests.

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There is lots of choice for copper fans as the big trend of 2015. I really liked the totally of the wall copper studded hearts, robins and (bizarrely) poodles! But there was also an abundance of more classic items such as reindeers, dishes, bells and ornaments.

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They also have all the classics covered such as sparkling silver and white with nutcracker figurines, snowglobes and Christmas angels, glittering gold paired with red berries and evergreens, and adorable penguins for that frosty North Pole feeling (even though penguins only live in the Southern hemisphere – sorry, can’t help it!).

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I did pick a few things out for myself, starting with the polar bear topped sweet jar (£4.99*). He is so lovely, I might have to keep him out all year round. And I had to buy one of the stocking hooks. I mean it literally has my name on it! It was £7.99* and has a good weight to it. Can’t wait to see my presents hanging from it on Christmas morning!

I also have a cautionary tale about shopping in HomeSense. If you see something you love, buy it! It might not be there next time. I didn’t buy this moose head because I was worried that the other half would hate it (when has that ever bothered me at all?!) and one of the antlers was a bit broken. In hindsight, I could have easily fixed the antler, I don’t really care what David thinks, and he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a bejewelled moose head I pinned 3 years ago. Major regrets right here. I hope he went to a good home *cries*. If it is love from first find’ as the campaign goes, make sure you buy it.

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Other Christmas homeware essentials are covered with plenty of cosy throws, festive candles, tableware, and modern soft furnishings. I also really rate the selection of crackers – as random as that seems, but they had some really nice options with stuff you would actually uses such as these cookie cutter ones and I also saw a giant cracker stuffed with photo booth props. So fun!

Another top tip for shopping at HomeSense – make sure you have a good root around, especially if you’re there towards the middle and end of the day. As you can see from the candles, the shelves are packed with all sorts of different items and are not always in groups, so it’s well worth hunkering down and moving things to see what it at the back. You never know what gems you might discover.

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Make sure you also check out the stationery and gift sections. HomeSense and TK Maxx are my favourite places to get notebooks because they get lots of US brands no one else stocks. I am in love with the notebook pictured – soft grey, copper foiling, motivational quote, Oprah… what more do you want?! And it’s a fab place for cards, wrap and gift boxes.

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Finally, the star of the show. A Christmas. Unicorn. With glittery fur. Perfection.

Have you experienced ‘Love from First Find’ at Homesense? How are you decorating for Christmas this year?