Crafting with Craftmerrily

by RosieS on December 16, 2014

Crafting with Djeco from Craftmerrily

It won’t be a surprise to many to read that I have huge respect for small business owners. I’ve also a newfound appreciation of the level of time and commitment that goes into running one, particularly in the Internet age where you’re a click away from a competitor and those dominant ‘Internet giants’.

So when lovely Merry from online art and crafts shop Craftmerrily offered to send us some craft items to review, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s one way of being able to highlight the work of another independent business, and the Craftmerrily site is particularly gorgeous, offering a fabulous selection of paints, clay, papercraft, Hama beads, crafts kits and more.

Djeco from Craftmerrily

However, anyone who has met me, or who has read this blog for a while, knows that I am highly inexperienced when it comes to the world of crafting. Remember that Google hangout where I attempted to make a glitter plant pot?

But despite my lack of skill in the crafting department, IJ and I decided to have a go. And in our own eyes we’ve excelled ourselves.

I can’t take credit for either of these.

Clay creations

If you look very closely at the one on the left – perhaps even more closely than that – you’ll see that this is Santa with an Afro haircut. You can’t see it? The beard is there, and for added effect he is wearing shades.

The one on the right is Baby Jesus in his manager. Possibly he is wearing shades too. I’m at a slight loss for words to add anything else.

Clay creations

IJ’s cousin joined her for an afternoon of ‘sculpture’ with our Fimo kids craft kit. Typically they both ignored my instructions to create small clay animals following the illustrations and step-by-step instructions outlined clearly on the packet. Instead they decided to create their own nativity scene, complete with Christmas tree.

Christmas clay creation

Santa with an Afro is part of that scene too.

The main bonus of all this is that they played happily for literally hours. The TV was off. No devices were being used. Instead they were busy creating things, which makes a pleasant change in our house.

This is my addition to the mix, Sid Scribble. He’s a French mouse with a particular interest in moustache design and all things yellow. Sadly I forgot to give him feet.

Clay mouse

Thanks to Craftmerrily, we were also introduced to the world of Djeco craft kitsand this is where I lost myself completely in the world of crafting. I absolutely loved it and created this:

Djeco picture

I’d no idea that crafting could be so relaxing. I’d associated it with paint on the walls and endless clearing up. I’ve been converted after all these years.

We received the Djeco Abstract Workshop, which features the work of artist Smahane Girardet. It comes with 12 gel pastels, 4 illustrations to colour in and an illustrated workbook to explain step-by-step how to complete the picture.

Djeco art work

The gel pastels in our Djeco set felt a bit like drawing with lipstick (if you’ve ever tried that!).

Djeco pens without lids

They add colour really easy and are a joy to use. No endless scribbling with crayons, which isn’t cool when you’re 11, apparently.

Djeco gel pastels from Craftmerrily

But there’s more. IJ has been converted too. Since we used the clay kit and the Djeco set, IJ has spent hours cutting out pieces of cardboard and making play furniture for her Littlest Pet Shops.

We’ve even visited our local art shop for the first time to get supplies to make jewellery, at IJ’s request. This is something we would never have even thought of before. We didn’t even know it existed.

Thanks to Merry at Craftmerrily for introducing us to the world of crafting.

Give it a year and we’ll be knitting our own clothes.


The Photo Gallery: Christmas

by RosieS on December 10, 2014

Winter flowers for a Christmas wedding

Winter flowers for a Christmas wedding.

Huge congratulations to my little sister who got married at the weekend and looked absolutely stunning.

This week’s Photo Gallery theme is Christmas. Check out Tara’s blog for more entries.


When you hear your child is not in school

by RosieS on December 8, 2014

Clock ticking

There are some parenting moments that make you physically shake, like I’m shaking right now.

Sitting on my own in my office, with thoughts running endlessly through my head. I’m typing this to get them out on to paper (or ‘screen’) instead.

The school has been in touch. IJ isn’t there. As her parent I’m required to make contact immediately and provide a reason for her absence.

Except, she should be there.

I watched her get on the bus this morning.

I saw the bus pull into the bus stop. And from my discreet position further down the hill, I watched it drive away.

I’d assumed she got on it.

Yet the message from school says that, at almost lunchtime, she isn’t there.

A mistake, I’m hoping. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t be at school. She left the house over four hours ago.

Where has she been all that time?

She usually texts me from the school bus. She didn’t today.

I haven’t heard from her all morning.

So now I’m waiting while they search the school for her. It could be she missed registration for some reason. Perhaps the bus arrived at school late.

My head is aching as I wait for the school to call back with news.

I’ve sent IJ a text to ask where she is. She doesn’t like me texting during class. If she’s forgotten to turn the sound off it’ll beep and she’ll get into trouble.

Five minutes on, there’s no reply from IJ.

15 minutes on, there’s no phone call from the school.

It’s one of those moments when your blood runs cold.

If I wasn’t writing this I’d be pacing the room. I’m starting to feel really sick. I’m going to carry on writing, my fingers getting louder and louder on the keyboard, making my shoulders ache.

20 minutes on and I’m still waiting, still feeling sick, still feeling cold despite the sun shining on my computer screen.


More waiting.

Endless, endless waiting.

Then the call from the school comes.

She was in class all along, totally oblivious to the fuss going on around her. A simple mistake.

All is as it should be.

Except, I’m still shaking.



by RosieS on December 4, 2014

They eat all the food.

They break your toys.

They mess up your dolls.

They tread on everything.

They trail mud through the house.

They put football boots on clean clothes.

They leave empty chocolate bar wrappers in the cupboard.

They use up all the towels.

They turn the garden into a skateboard park.

They rugby tackle you.

They break furniture.

They smash windows with cricket balls.

They draw on the walls.

They fall out of trees.

They put soil down hoses.

They are a hazard with scissors.

They can’t sit still.

They glue everything to everything.

They hide the remote.

They lay traps around the house.

The tell Mum you did it.

Still. That’s what makes them special. I wouldn’t be without mine.


Happy 40th birthday Peter!

You still owe me for the ‘soil down the hose’ incident.


Pamper Parcels and Theo Paphitis #SBS

by RosieS on November 22, 2014

Theo Paphitis winners badge

I was planning on writing a post about my relatively new business Pamper Parcels but decided there wasn’t a great deal to say except that three months after launching I’m still enjoying it and there have been some really lovely reviews. Like this one, this one and this one. And also this one, this one and this one too!

Then came a tweet from Theo Paphitis of Dragons’ Den fame telling me I was one of the winners of Small Business Sunday (#SBS on Twitter). It’s something he runs on Twitter each week where he asks people to pitch their business to him in a tweet. He then chooses six winners from all the entries.

Had I been sitting on a chair when the announcement came through, I would have fallen off it. As it was I was busy drying IJ’s hair when my phone beeped with the news. Her hair was then forgotten, in superb parenting style, as Twitter went slightly crazy with lots of congratulations tweets. Ditto Facebook. There might even have been a little celebratory dancing.

Suffice to say I didn’t get much sleep that night as I was buzzing so much with the excitement of it all. It’s been a slightly crazy week.

I’m thrilled to bits that Pamper Parcels has been recognised in this way. It’s been something I’ve been building and nurturing since the beginning of the year. Building a business is hard work and a slow process. Things like this really make it worthwhile.

I’m now part of the #SBS network, which is great. If my head wasn’t quite so all over the place I’d write something about being part of something bigger with like-minded people and all the positives that brings, but I’m still a little dizzy with it all.

So thanks to everyone who has supported the business so far – family, friends, customers and lots of fabulous bloggers.

This is starting to read like an acceptance speech so I’ll bow out now. Special thanks and kisses to you all.


Normal everyday life

November 13, 2014

It occurred to me, while standing at the bus stop with a group of school kids (only one of them mine), that it’s been a while since I’ve written a proper blog post. ‘Proper’ as in something relating to normal everyday life in the real world rather than in the life of a brand. Then […]

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Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015 shortlist

November 6, 2014

The Tesco Mum of the Year Awards, now in its 10th year, recently announced its 2015 shortlist. 26 mums have been selected from the thousands of entries received. Each of their individual stories, often difficult to read, show incredible courage and achievement often in the face of huge adversity. Out of huge sadness comes the […]

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The Photo Gallery: Talent

October 22, 2014

During my trip to Athens earlier this year I met a hugely talented Instagrammer called Christian Graham, known as The Pasta Master online. Christian was a member of our party and as I sat next to him on the outward plane journey, I watched with fascination has he spent literally hours editing his photos before […]

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Are you a slave to your mobile phone?

October 20, 2014

It’s definitely saying something when your daughter greets you first thing in the morning with the words, ‘I’ve switched your phone on for you.’ That’s exactly what happened this weekend. It was only a couple of hours later, reading an article in The Times called ‘Free yourself from digital slavery – for a day at […]

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BEAR partners with the WWF

October 17, 2014

The arrival of a gift from the team at BEAR offered the perfect excuse to get my camera out and photograph my gorgeous niece and nephew, while at the same time boosting my ‘awesome aunty’ status. The brand didn’t exist when IJ was small so we weren’t familiar with it, but my three-year-old nephew is […]

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