Following on from a lovely afternoon crafting with Hillarys (which you can read about here I took the plunge and decided to enter their craft competition! Selecting from four of their new fabrics, the brief was to transform a 1x1 metre squared piece into something unique and eye-catching, using any other additional materials required. Whilst I do enjoy sewing I'm not hugely skilled and after looking at the fantastic entries on the Pinterest board I set off feeling less than confident!
I wanted to create something quite different from the intended use of the fabric, so stayed away from home furnishings and decided to make a child's soft toy (ironically it ended up looking like a cushion!) A good friend of mine is pregnant at the minute and her two year old son loves sea creatures so I thought this would be a cute present for him and a good way to discuss the imminent arrival!
I chose the 'Daisy Pistachio' fabric because it was the most sea-like with its shades of green, and also just because its a really gorgeous fabric. I started by sketching a simple whale pattern onto paper and used this to cut out two mirror image pieces from the Daisy Pistachio fabric.
I used a simple approach of sewing round the seams of the two pieces of fabric, and using stuffing material to pad out the shape. I created a little zipped pocket on the machine and hand stitched it into the whale's tummy. I used a bit of imagination and trial and error as I have never sewn more than a straight line on a machine before, and have certainly never sewn a zip! I made the baby in the same way, but instead of a zip I attached some little fins. I sewed the baby's eyes using black thread but used black buttons for the mother's eyes.
And here are the finished products! What do you think? Definitely a bit more practice required but I'm still happy with how they turned out! I have to say, the Daisy Pistachio fabric was a lovely quality to work with; easy to cut and sew and is lovely and soft and smooth so worked well for a toy. You can see the pouch opening for the baby whale below.
Thanks to Hillarys for a fun competition, which you can read more about here and see some of the other new fabrics on offer, and of course the other incredible entries.
There has been a lot of hype about the Botanist since it opened its doors last year, with friends and acquaintances talking fervently about the bar with a full sized tree AND a roof terrace overlooking the Monument. Whilst the chilly weather of late may, or may not, have kept people from the roof terrace, it certainly hasn't kept them from the bar. Arriving on a wet Wednesday evening, the bar was buzzing and the atmosphere inviting.
The Botanist are proud to introduce some new summer additions to their food and drink menus and invited me along to try them, as part of an intimate bloggers gathering. We were shown to our table and treated to some new cocktails and a delicious array of food for our tasting pleasure.
While we waited for our party to arrive we had a look through the new menus including the Anthology of Ales which was so aesthetically pleasing and ornate that it was hard to remember it was a beer list; definitely one for the beer enthusiasts, an extensive offering of beers from near and far.
We sampled four new summer-ready cocktails, each as fresh and fragrant as the one before. I enjoyed my Watermelon and Sage Sling, which was a little too easy to drink, and would be perfect for someone wanting a cocktail without too much of a punch. The Botanist Pornstar, with Prosecco Chaser was fruity with a good kick and the Apricot and Ginger Sling was spicy and sweet, but for me, the Passionfruit and Basil Crush really hit the spot.
We tried a selection of food from the Starter and Nibbles section, all of which were great to share. The highlights for me were the Goats Cheese and Tomato Quiche (sooo tasty, light and crispy), the Baked Camembert (always a winner in my cheese-loving eyes), the Salt and Pepper Onion Petals (light, crispy deep fried onion segments with a cool dip) and the cute little Sardines in a Tin (served warm with bread and hot sauce).
The Botanist offer live music evey night and to top it off we enjoyed an acoustic set from Hattie Murdoch, which was absolutely fantastic. She performed mostly acoustic covers, with a flawless voice and unique twists, which made for thoroughly enjoyable listening. I will definitely be planning my next visit for when she is in session!
Fresh food, summer inspired cocktails, world class music and fantastic company with these three lovely bloggers... what more could I want? Thank you to the Botanist for having us!
Why not pop in to the Botanist and try for yourself. There is (supposedly) good weather on the way so make the most of the terrace and the summer additions to an already fantastic cocktail menu!
P.S. For some annoying reason my hyperlinks are covering the whole sentence in this post?!
Earlier this week, while shopping for a birthday gift for my husband, I passed by Daniel Footwear in Eldon Garden and couldn't help but pop in. Not too long ago I put my classic white Converse in the washing machine and they shrank! This was the only option following a walk in a field that homed cows... you get the picture! I have been looking for a replacement ever since. I have always loved Liberty prints and the rich heritage that accompanies them, so I was thrilled to find these Superga x Liberty shoes.
Superga have paired their classic 2750 shoe with this blue and white floral fabric from Liberty. You can see three more fabrics on the Superga website. I love skinny jeans, and wear them far too much, so these will be a perfect match, and I think they would look great with a sundress when the summer finally arrives!
Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending a cocktail masterclass hosted by Currys at Revolution Newcastle with a host of fellow bloggers to celebrate UK Coffee Week. The theme for the night was coffee, in the form of the cocktails and the two fantastic prizes... a Nespresso machine with built in milk frother and a Tassimo, both with a generous supply of pods. The best tweet and photo tweet of the night secured a prize! Cue: happy snappy tweeting bloggers! We arrived to an introduction from the lovely team from Joe Blogs and these delicious cocktails, the name of which I did't quite catch, but as Fay from Food Fables said they tasted just like Tiramisu and I had to agree.
After chatting with Sam (xoxo-sam.com) and Natalie (nataliediver.com) we moved to the bar area to start the masterclass and met the two mixologists from Revolution who would guide us through the cocktail making process. They did comment that they weren't used to having quite so many cameras pointed at them during a masterclass!
The mixologists had planned some coffee cocktails especially for us and we took turns in small groups to make a variety of concoctions. We made a Honey Fee (recipe to follow) and as we had gone first, we had the pleasure of sipping our cocktails whilst we watched the others!
We watched some brave bloggers, including Carley from beauty sauce.com, attempting a three-martini-at-once pour and then a shot train featuring some of Revolutions own flavoured vodkas, before retiring to the Stoli lounge for some pizza, mezze and mini pokes of chips. The winners of the competition were announced (well done Rachael and Lucy) and Sam and I enjoyed a few cheeky wines before calling it a night.
It was a relaxed, fun evening chatting with #nebloggers and I can't thank Currys enough for the experience. You can read more about Coffee with Currys here or by exploring the #CoffeewithCurrys hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
The chic surroundings, mixologists and yummy food were thanks to Revolution Bars Newcastle.
The event was brought together by Joe Blogs, and you can read more about their blogging network here.
A few weekends ago we visited the lake district for a long weekend of family adventure before the return to school. We were really lucky with the weather so tried to do quite a lot of exploring and sitting in the sun, but we also spent a lot of time at Brockhole, Windermere which describes itself as the Lake District Visitor centre. We really enjoyed everything they had to offer and could definitely recommend a visit. Firstly they have a great adventure play area, for little ones and older children, which was free to use, and being on lake Windermere there was plenty of opportunity for exploring the lake. They have boats to hire and lake cruises but we had hired a motorboat on Derwent Water the day before, so didn't take to the lake. They also offered pony trekking (I had an unfortunate experience once with a stubborn horse, so I've been put off for life, but I guess some people would like it!)
The thing we were really excited about was the Treetop Nets. We had never seen anything like it before and we were all able to go on, as it is suitable from 3 years old. We didn't book in case the little ones took a wobbly and refused to go on but I think it does get busy during holidays and weekends. Basically, it is a collection of interconnected trampolines in the sky, with tunnels and slides, all made out of net. Stepping on to the net my stomach did drop and it took a while to get used to but before long we were running and jumping through the trees and enjoying the surreal experience.
Three of us also completed the full Treetop Trek the next day, which was really exhilarating, if a bit scary. It consisted of a treetop obstacle course, finishing with a huge zip line back to earth. After a safety brief we were let loose to complete the challenge in our own time, wearing a harness that was (thankfully!) constantly attached above your head. There were all sorts of people, young and old, little and large completing the course, and it really was reassuringly safe so I would definitely recommend giving it a go. Despite years of climbing, I really don't like heights but this was manageable! We did the full trek, taking around two hours and suitable for over sevens, but there is also the one hour long mini trek for the over fives.
The only downside, however, was that the activities were pretty expensive, especially for a family of six. The Treetop Nets for six cost over £70 and the trek for three was £74. We budgeted for it ahead of our trip and once there decided that it was worth it for us so we went for it, and weren't disappointed. We ate in the cafe which was nice and there was a charge for parking so all in all, it was an expensive experience but fun and not something we'll get a chance to do again anytime soon!
Has anyone else taken to the treetops for a bit of adventure?
Welcome to the blog! I'm Rachael; Belfast born but resident of the gorgeous Newcastle upon Tyne. I'd love to share with you some of the food, design and culture this city has to offer, and some of the things I love in life. Enjoy!
Damsel in Dior
Gal Meets Glam
My French Heaven
And just about every other blog in the North East!