Saturday, 19 December 2015

Stop. Slow Down


2015 has been one of the busiest years for me. My freelance work has grown and I took on several new clients. I went to conferences and even spoke at one! I even squeezed in a few gigs and some Rugby World Cup Matches. Not to many the many craft projects I took on.  While all that is amazing, I should have been listening to my body and slowing down.

 I’m not well, not in I’m dying kind of way but in an if I don’t stop and look after myself I may collapse sort of way. I haven’t felt right for a while, if I am being honest with myself I haven’t been feeling great for about a year, but I am a strong woman I carry on.

It started with feeling tired, just a little bit. So I tried cutting down on the boxsets and going to bed earlier but that didn’t help, and I got more and more tired. I also started to get pains in my thighs at night and then in my heels and ankles. Recently I have had pain in my shoulder and my right hand which I though was from too much crochet.

My hair started growing in damaged, my fringe looks like it’s been singed and the front my tongue constantly feels like I have scolded it. I then started having problems with my periods, actually I had an issue last year and it sorted itself out so I didn’t worry about it! Then  it happened again so I knew it was time to see the doctor.

My doctor was fantastic and even though she could give me a diagnosis straight away she sent me for a lot of blood tests.  They tested for 16 different things including my thyroids, the menopause, love and kidney function, diabetes and vitamin d.  I honestly expected it be my triode as there is a family history of it but to my shock I have vitamin d deficiency. It was causing some of the tiredness and the aches and pains. My glucose also came back high so I was sent back to be retested and I am also diabetic. That wasn’t a huge shock as I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies and was left with glucose intolerance after Little Miss was born.

I am extra strength vitamin d tablets to boost my levels for the next three months and then I will probably be on tablets for quite a while. I am waiting for an appointment to see the diabetes nurse, I am hoping that she recommends I start with diet control fist but I have a feeling it will be straight on to meds.

So it’s time for me to stop and slow down, well at least for a while.   The vitamin d can take up to 6 weeks to start taking effect and who knows how long it will take to control my glucose levels. When you have two conditions making you tired it’s really hard to just keep on going.

Looking back I realised I only took two weeks holiday this year, so I am having two weeks off over Christmas. I also plan to take the half term holidays off next year and at least a week off in the summer. I had to make a tough decision in the past month to reduce my workload, it wasn’t an easy one to make but I feel it was best for all parties concerned.

2016 will be getting better, living a little slower and good health. I have some many plans and things I want to achieve but I need to sit down and have a talk to myself and be realistic with what I can take on.

Thankfully we are keeping Christmas simple this year and apart from wrapping and few crafts with the girls I have nothing to do.


Have a brilliant Christmas and an awesome New Year!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

What I Crochet: Ripple Infinity Scarf

I am addicted to yarn and making scarves so when the people over at Cosy Wool asked if I would like some yarn to make a scarf I couldn't turn them down!

I ordered Stylecraft Special Aran in Meadow and Granite, which is really nice yarn and the colours are gorgeous.  I was really impressed in how it was posted. 

They vacuum pack the yarn!! How fantastic is that! It means it can be posted straight through your letterbox, no missed parcels.


I decided I would make a little infinity scarf for my #AutumntimeSurpriseProject partner. I already had a ball of Stylecraft in petrol and as they go lovely together I decided to add in into the scarf.


I crocheted a ripple pattern using Attic 24's neat ripple pattern as it always turns out really well.  I crocheted a starting chain of 31 and used a size 5 hook. I kept going until I felt it was the right size and then weaved in the ends and slip stitched the ends together.



I love it and I really hope my partner does!

There is plenty of yarn left so I may have to make myself one. I do love Stylecraft yarn as I find it nice to work with and it washes up really soft even though its acrylic.

Scarves make such lovely gifts and then don't take a very long time to make. You could make a few by Christmas! 

I am after some yarn for a Sky Blanket project I am starting in January so I will be pursuing Cosy Wool over the next few weeks to add to me stash!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Weekend Project {October}

I always seem to be have a big crochet project on the go, normally a blanket. I am currently working on a gorgeous Rowan Afghan  which is going to be stunning once it its finished (hopefully in the next week). 

However sometimes I feel the need to start and finish an actual project. The weekend is the perfect time for me to work on mini projects. I am trying not to do any freelance work at the weekend unless necessary as I find myself working 7 days a week and its been taking its toll.  So a little project to keep me busy but not overworked has been fun. 

This is what I have made in October:

I started with this autumn bunting


The leaves and acorns are a mixture of patterns from Simply Crochet and ones I found online.

Little Miss then requested a rainbow scarf with tassels...

I didn't use a pattern for this just rows of half triple crochet. I used King Cole Flash DK in Summer Fruits which makes a great rainbow pattern.

Of course BG then wanted one of her own so I made her an infinity scarf with the same yarn. Again no pattern just rows of half triple crochet just in a different direction. 


Then I decided I better make something for myself! 




The hat is from issue 29 of Simply Crochet and is called chunky beret and the scarf pattern is from CroCreations and is super easy and quick to work up. 

I think November's weekends will be filled with a lot more scarves ready for Christmas gifts but I don't mind. The last two years I have set myself a November challenge but I am not this year and its loads of pressure and a real rush at the end. I am going to take it slow and enjoy my crafting.


What have you been making?





Thursday, 6 August 2015

#WhatICrochet - Strawberries

One of my blogging friends The Boy and Me put a request out for people to crochet strawberries for a tea party her sister was organising to raise money for Breast Cancer. I thought this was a brilliant idea and couldn't wait to help out.

The pattern I used is by Anna Nikipirowicz at Moochka who designed a strawberry plant for Breast Cancer Care month. 

The brilliant people at Make it Coats Crafts sent me the Rowan GlacĂ© Cotton yarn that was recommended for the pattern and it is a dream to work with. I may never use another cotton yarn, its really smooth, doesn't spilt and moves through my hook and fingers so easily. I may have to plan some Christmas decorations with it!

I only made the strawberries and and tops as there were turned into key rings to sell. 

So here they are:

I started with the strawberry bodies



Then I made the tops



Next stop was the strawberry seeds 



Then they were ready to put together




I am really happy with they way they turned out!

Over £500 has been raised so far and I am so happy to have contributed to that. 

You can host your own Strawberry Tea party or donate here.  

What will my next Make It Coats Crafts project be!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Grow. Brave. Create

The last two months have been crazy busy and I just hadn't had a second to sit down and write for myself.  I've had some many posts running through my head and I know I won’t have time to write them all so this is a bit of a mash up.

June started with my birthday and I turned 35 which mean I am edging closer to 40. I thought this would scare me as 30 was tough for me, but it doesn’t. I have realised that even though I may look older on the outside I still feel young inside.

The day after my birthday I rushed down to London to attend Blogtacular which had a huge effect on me. I knew I would be inspired but I didn’t know what it would set off in me. From the very first speaker I am immersed, inspired and filled with excitement for the future. 
Blogging has had its ups and downs for me the past few years. I lost my way for a while but I kinda know where I want to go and that is exciting.

Grace Bonney kicked things off; she was so inspiring and just awesome that I had a buzz all day. She got us all to right down three fears and then we had to go and talk to another blogger about one of them.  We need to surround ourselves with people that know what we do and can relate. At lunch time I met a blogger that helped me with one of my fears (I will come back to this) and in turn I could help her. It felt good.

By the way you can watch Grace’s keynote speech here.

All the sessions I went to were helpful and inspiring. One of the breakout rooms had a little craft section and people were making affirmation necklaces. There were three to choose from:

Grow
Brave
Create

I wanted to choose all of them but when with grow and that’s what I need to do. Grow as a blogger, grow my skills, grow as freelancer and grow as a creative.


Ok back to that fear. One of my fears is public speaking, ironically I used to be trainer and speak in front of people all of the time. However I was off to speak at Britmums Live in a room full of my peers and it scared the crap out of me. The lovely blogger that I met gave me some great tips and I was brave and I survived and it was fun.


I was a bit naughty at Britmums Live as I mainly stayed in the craft room for the whole conference, I made half of the Embrace Happy workshop which was fantastic but I had to leave for my session. However it must have been the right place for me to be, I learnt how to make fabric hexies and how to knit, which has inspired me to learn more crafts, create and grow ( can you see a theme). 

The people at Make it Coats who sponsored the room and provided the amazing fabrics and yarns have asked me to me a craft ambassador for them, big yay! So I will be sharing my projects with you over the coming months.



In June I also went to two gigs and spent time with my brilliant family. I miss them all so much and wish we all lived closer.

July has been half catching up and half getting ahead for the summer holidays. It may be another quite month from me but you can always find me on Instagram @thecaroljs and see what I am up to.

I am truly excited about what the future holds!

Have a great summer!



Monday, 6 July 2015

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The #PerfectPair with Hotter Shoes

Recently I was invited along by Hotter Shoes to my local store to have a look around, meet the team and look at shoes, how could I turn that down!

I had worked with Hotter Shoes many years ago and tried out their boots which are super comfy but to be honest I had found their shows a bit frumpy. This has all changed, they have worked really hard on their design and development and they have some gorgeous shoes.

We were given a brief history of the company which is really interesting. What I found the most exciting about the talk was seeing how the new range fits into these seasons’ trends.  A fashion editor had matched the shoes to the Spring/Summer 15 trends which include 70s Bohemian, Nautical, All white, Tuxedo and rainbow.

With a glass of fizz in my hand I had a good look around the shoes and fell in love with many of them and the bags that go with them!














We were told we could choose a pair to take home and things got extra exciting. I tried a few pairs on but settled on a pair of Precious flats (£65). I really wanted them in mustard but trust me to choose the most popular colour and there was none in my size.

I had to choose between flint and peach.



I went with peach in the end. They are really comfortable and look lovely on. I like the gaps in the pattern which keep my feet cool.

I love wearing them, they are perfect for summer.



What I found most impressive was the customer service. The staff were not only knowledgeable but really helpful. I normally wear a 6 but Hotter Shoes are more generous. They helped me try several sizes and then introduced me to half in soles which are brilliant and totally stop the shoes slipping.

I took my friend along who is 13 years younger than me (I know we look the same age!)




She loved the shoes as well and was really impressed with the range and styles. Danielle was also allowed to choose a pair of Essmy pumps (£39) which are now firm fixtures on the school run and I am a little bit jealous of them.



Next time you are looking for new shoes give Hotter Shoes a try. They are super comfortable and stylish and if you go in store the staff will help you find the perfect pair or two.




Wednesday, 17 June 2015

#LyricalInspiration: Gold

This months prompt is Gold. I decided to try something different and more craft and did some hoop art.

I brainstormed for a while with sayings and phrases and decided I quite liked Gold Star with a star underneath.

I cut up some old jeans for my background fabric and bought some sparkly gold thread. 

I originally designed the font on the canva and printed it out planning on using carbon paper to print it on the fabric but I think the soft material stopped it working. This meant I had to freehand and my handwriting is not great but I am happy with how it turned out.

Ta dah!



OK now its your turn using the prompt GOLD go wild! Write, paint, bake, sing, sew....... its up to you.

Once you have written your post or posted a picture pop the link below so I can take a look.


Saturday, 13 June 2015

2nd Bloggy Birthday Happy Post Giveaway

Two years ago I started this blog. I actually started blogging 6 years ago but I am slighted addicted to starting new blogs. I think I had about 5 running at one time but I just have this one and my parenting blog Parent Panel which I am now running with my friend Nim.

What I love about Lipstick & Lace is that I am finally in a position where I blog when I want to, I no longer feel like I have to write a post for my readers, I write for me.

In the last year I have been focusing on what makes me happy and its really working. I feel a peace with who I am and what I want to be.

I am all about Happy Post at the moment. It started with a subscription to Simply Crochet, Loved getting something through the post that wasn't a bill or junk mail. I then signed up for Birchbox which is just fantastic, and then there was Mollie Makes which is just a joy to read each month. I read in Mollie Makes about My Make and Do monthly inspiration fabric pack and signed up for the small one of those which is just £5 and its really spurred me on to learn how to sew.



This month I signed up for the Lucky Dip Club as it looked so awesome and I couldn’t resist. It sounds like a huge amount and probably is but it all comes to about £40 a month which I don’t think is unreasonable.

I have also been taking part in gifts swaps which is brilliant. I love getting gifts but I love giving them more.  




I thought what better way to celebrate my bloggy birthday than with a Happy Post giveaway.
One person will get a parcel full of goodies just for them. It will contain some handmade items from me, these super cute postcards from my very talented friend Miss Leslieanne who also designed my new header.




I have also have this gorgeous handmade necklace from my friend Tim over at Ethereal Designs, I have one of my own which I am wearing to Britmums Live.




The rest is a big secret as it depends on what the winner likes, it will be tailored to them.
It’s very simple to enter, just tell me who you would send happy post to.

If you have a twitter id leave that in the comment as well so it makes it easier for me to contact the winner!


Good luck!

T&Cs
Closing Date Midnight 30th June
The winner has 7 days to respond before I choose another winner
No cash alternative offered
Please allow 30 days for the prize to arrive so I can choose & make some personal items
Open to residents of the UK only
One entry per person








Saturday, 6 June 2015

Coming Up Roses Blog Book Tour

Today is my turn to host the Coming Up Roses Blog Book tour.

Coming Up Roses is the brilliant new book by Rachael Lucas and I have been waiting what feels like forever to get my hands on it. Just like her first novel Sealed with a Kiss I wasn't disappointed.



Would-be gardener Daisy can't believe her luck when her parents announce they're off on a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. After a turbulent few months, a spot of quiet in the countryside is just what she needs.

 A shoulder to cry on wouldn't go amiss either - so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own...


As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George begin to take root. Daisy's heart's desire − her parent's garden − is under threat, and Daisy's forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.

The there are so many reasons why I love this book from the tittle, roses are my favourite flowers in fact one of daughters middle name is rose!

Rachel's description of the flowers and gardens make you feel that you are there smelling and touching them.

The characters are fantastic and you can just picture them. I really want to go and be friends with many of them.

Its a very funny and heart warming story, I found myself giggling quite a bit.

Ultimately this is a story of friendship and shows we are never too old to make new ones.

If you are looking for your summer read I highly recommend Coming Up Roses.

The last day of the tour is tomorrow and Nellie Poms Poms is hosting.

Follow the chat on twitter with #cominguproses 



Friday, 5 June 2015

The Soundtrack to My Week: I'm Bringing It Back!!

Many, many years ago when I had my first blog I used to do a weekly feature called The Soundtrack to My Week and I chose a song each week that represented my week.

Good old Time Hop reminded me of it this week and I though to myself I should totally do that again, so I am. I can't promise it will be every week as I am a bit flaky like that but I will do it when I can.

So this week as been super busy with new projects, a girls night out and have you seen all the blog posts I have written!

This weeks track is a little nudge for you to take part in this months Lyrical Inspiration ;)



Thursday, 4 June 2015

Conference Season

Its conference season and I am off to not one but two of them! I know people like the hello this me meme so I am kinda squeezing both into one and making it up as I go along!

So next Saturday I am off to Blogtacular and I uber excited about this. I couldn't make it last year and I was gutted so I treated myself to a early Christmas gift and got a ticket as soon as I could.


Blogtacular Founders Kat Goldin and Kat Molesworth (42 of 75)
Photograph © Xanthe Berkely for Blogtacular
I can't wait to be around all those super creative bloggers and I am hoping that I can catch some of it and up my game. Blogtacular for me is about being  inspired and meeting amazing people.

The Saturday after that I am off to Britmums Live, I haven't missed one yet! This year will be different for me as I am a speaker *shakes with nerves*. Now if anyone knows me from way back when I had my first little blog they will know I did indeed speak at the very first Cyber Mummy which was pre Britmums Live. I was a crowd sourced speaker and read out a of my blog posts and vowed never to speak in public again *ahem*.

I am being brave and along with the lovely Kate and Chelle I shall be talking about being a social media manager. I know many people think its not a real job but honestly it is! If you are coming to my session please be kind.

Ok I suppose I should tell you a little bit about me:






My name is Carol 

I'm really bad at taking selfies 

*cough* I
ts my birthday the day before Blogtacular 

I am addicted to starting new blogs 

I have been blogging just over 6 years

I may not be a natural red head

I love red lipstick 

I can't cook Yorkshire puddings

I bake darn good cakes

When I was little my nan asked my what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said a secretary, to which she replied "you want to be the boss!" so I took her advice and became my own boss. 

I give really good hugs

If you want to know any more about me  just ask. 


Before I go I wrote a post a few years ago for my client Kids One Stop Shop on How To Survive a Blogging Conference, its full of tips for newbies. 



#theyearinbooks {June}

I missed last months post! I have been super busy but I have read some books.

In April and May I read:

The Outsider by Emily Organ which I loved and you can read my actual review here.

The Outsider Emily Organ

The One Plus One by Jo Jo Moyles which was brilliant and I read in a day!



I also took part in a (re) read along of To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee in preparation for her new one in July. It is an amazing book and if you haven't read it I insist you go and start it right now!



June is another really busy month which two conferences and two gigs over three weekends. However it does involve several train journeys and two plane flights so plenty of time for reading!

In June I plan to read:

Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas, I loved her first two books and am enjoying this so far. I need to finish it by the 6th as I am the blog book tour that day!!



The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. I read The Rosie Project last year and it was brilliant so I am looking forward to the follow up.



We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. I have heard good things so thought I would give it a go,



What are you reading?

Circle of Pine Trees

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Lyrical Inspiration: Prompt Two

I am going to forgive you for not taking part in the very first Lyrical Inspiration and give you another chance.

I am going to make it a bit easily this month with a one word song tittle.

This month’s prompt is:

Gold

You can write a story, poem, song, do a drawing, take a picture, sew, knit, make a video..... the possibilities are endless.

I will share my creation and there will be a linky that you can add your link to whether it’s  a Instagram pic, blog post or video. You don't have to add it just use #LyricalInspiration on Instagram or twitter so I can share it.

It's a monthly prompt so it will give you plenty of time to get creative.

(Please don’t make me beg)