Monday 22 August 2011

Magpie Monday - temporary move

As you know, I'm in the middle of a particularly nightmarish house move.

Our house fell through when the vendors decided to pull out of their purchase, but we continued with our sale hoping the vendors would find an alternative house. They didn't!  This effectively turned us into nomads, staying with various family members, with our belongings scattered across the county.

Needless to say Ruby isn't adapting well to this change and is being...what shall we say...demanding?!

Because I'm in such a pickle I haven't been able to blog or tweet for a while.

The lovely Molly and the Princess has offered to help me out and host Magpie Monday for me this week. Thank you, thank you.  Please head over there this week and link-up.

When I eventually get back on my feet, I'd love to find Magpie Monday still going strong.

I'm also on holiday next week, so if anyone fancies volunteering to host next Monday, please let me know.

That just leaves me to announce the winner of my blog birthday Magpie Monday giveaway.  Thanks for all your entries, Mr Random Generator has chosen the gorgeous Dotty Maria as the winner of the Flea Market Finds Journal.  I hope you enjoy using it Maria. x

Monday 15 August 2011

Magpie Monday - Fill in the blanks

Apologies for not posting a Magpie Monday post today.

I've popped a linky on this post so if you have written a Magpie Monday post, please do link up here.

I hope to be able to come back and fill in the blanks here after madam has gone to bed tonight, if I haven't had a nervous breakdown by than.  Lets just say we're having a few parenting issues.

Don't forget, you can still enter my birthday blog giveways - the Flea Market Finds Journal competition is open until 8pm tonight. x

Me and My Shadow
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Saturday 13 August 2011

Blog Birthday Giveaway with Toy Jeanius

One of my most recent proud blog moments, was being selected as a 'Toy Genius' along with fellow bloggers the Boy and Me; Brink of Bedlam; Jessie's Crazy Kitchen; Edspire and Choc Orange City Mum.

There are exciting times ahead for us as we trial and review some of the range of fabulous toys stocked by Toyjeanius.

I first came across the company on twitter - indeed Toyjeanius was one of the first companies I started following.  A family run online toy shop, as parents themselves they discovered how hard it can be finding the toys your children want at affordable prices. Their aim at Toyjeanius is to provide customers with great product choice, fantastic savings and excellent service.

Stocking a range of fantastic quality brands such as Brio; Haba; Djeco and I'm Toy the focus is on traditional play such as building, sorting and imaginative play.

I'm thrilled that Toyjeanius are supporting my blog birthday celebrations, and are offering a Haba building block set to one lucky reader.

The Torrino is one of many unique sets of building blocks from German toy company Haba, and is a perfect starter set. Each pretty block is made from beech wood and the vibrant colours are achieved with the use of non toxic stains and lacquers. Each Haba discovery block is a wooden toy in itself, and the sets can be combined with all other Haba block sets. Torrino contains 6 unusual blocks and the resulting tower has been likened to a fairy castle, princess tower or even an enormous cup cake with a cherry on the top!

To win this beautiful toy, please follow @toyjeanius on Twitter and leave a comment here stating you have done so, including your twitter name.

For an additional entry, tweet the following, and return here to leave a separate comment that you have done so: "I'm entering @missielizzieb's blog competition to win a Haba building blocks from @toyjeanius here"

This competition is open to UK entrants only. The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received by 8pm Saturday 20th August 2011. The prize will be fulfilled by Toy Jeanius.

Don't forget to check my posts daily this week - there is a birthday giveaway bonanza going on!

Disclosure: Many thanks to Toy Jeanius for supplying the prize.

Friday 12 August 2011

Blog Birthday Giveaway - Daisy Chain Baby

One of the things I've enjoyed most about blogging, is working with some fantastic small businesses. Yes, it's a bit of an ego-trip when a huge national or international company approaches you, but often there's no long-term relationship or two-way communication there.

What floats my boat more is working with independent retailers. People who've worked hard to build their business up from scratch and are passionate about what they do. These businesses really care about what people are writing in their reviews and what their customers think of them.

One business I'm really happy to have come across is Daisy Chain Baby.  I first communicated with Lins (like with Chocadores) over charity support for the Children's Trust.  Through this, I attended Daisy Chain Baby's first birthday party last year, at which they were raising funds for the charity.

Lins is passionate about volunteering and supporting causes dear to her, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of work she put in to organising the event.  They also continued to support the Children's Trust for the remainder of the year, donating 10% of their sales to the charity.

As well as working a full time 'day job' and volunteering in her spare time, Lins runs Daisy Chain Baby - an online eco-friendly retailer, specialising in organic and ethically sourced clothing, accessories and skincare for babies and toddlers.  She even finds time to keep up-to-date with her blog.  Seriously - talk about superwoman!  Not only that, but she's a genuinely lovely person and one I consider a 'real-life' friend!

Stocking an impressive range of eco brands including Little Green Radicals; Olli & Lime; Charlie Moo's and Aden & Anais, you can count on Daisy Chain Baby to stock the best in cool, eco clothes for kids.

Daisy Chain Baby are kindly offering this great Beatles Yellow Submarine T shirt by Little Green Radicals to one lucky reader.   In a soft marl grey and made from organic cotton with non-toxic dyes, this t-shirt features a vibrant yellow submarine depiction with the fab four making an appearance at the portholes.

Suitable for girls or boys, the prize t shirt is in a size 3-4 years (hmmm, wonder if I can enter this myself...!)

In order to win this uber cool kid's T Shirt, please compete the following:

Follow @daisychainbaby on Twitter and leave a comment here stating you have done so, including your twitter name.

For an additional entry, tweet the following, and return here to leave a separate comment that you have done so: "I'm entering @missielizzieb's blog competition to win a cool kid's T shirt from @daisychainbaby here"

This competition is open to UK entrants only. The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received by 8pm Friday 19th August 2011. The prize will be fulfilled by Daisy Chain Baby.

Don't forget to check my posts daily this week - there is a birthday giveaway bonanza going on!

Disclosure: Many thanks to Daisy Chain Baby.

Thursday 11 August 2011

Handmade Thursday - Look what I made! Plus a Dylon Giveaway

I'm very excited about my link up to White Lily Green's Handmade Thursday - this week.  You may have seen that I recently managed to snaffle some rather cool Alexander Henry fabric at a car boot sale and I wanted to make this into a dress for Ruby.

Well, despite my sewing classes this year, I still haven't tackled anything more complicated than a cushion, so I decided to have a dry run first.

I popped into my local sewing shop and bought some pretty cotton fabric at about £5 for a metre.  I also bought a sewing pattern for the most simple shift dress I could find.

With much help from my mum - including borrowing her sewing machine; scissors; thread; cotton... etc as my stash is all in boxes in storage, here's what I managed to come up with.

Yes - of course I was tempted

Ruby is most happy with it.  I couldn't resist adding a few yo-yos and buttons to jazz it up a bit.

I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with myself.  It's not perfect. It's a bit ruckled round the arm-holes and although I followed the pattern for a 4 year old, it has come out very 'tenty' at the back.  But even so, given it's my 1st attempt at making a whole garment, cutting from a pattern and using bias binding, I think it's pretty damned good!

As regular readers will know, this week marks my blog's 1st birthday. To celebrate I'm hosting a whole week of giveaways (each one is open for a week, so you can scroll back through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's post and still enter those).

Sticking with the fabricky theme, I'm very pleased to have joined forces with Dylon for today's competition.  Myself and Ruby love using Dylon's products, and I've featured many of them here on the blog, including their Machine Dyes used in my crocheted doily bowl tutorial; the Image Maker used on cushion covers; and Ruby's artistic creations with  Fabric paints and  Pens.

Dylon products are available nationwide from haberdashery and craft stores, department stores and branches of Wilkinsons and Dunelms.

Dylon are giving one lucky blog reader the chance to win a bundle of their products to get crafty with. To enter, simply visit their website and leave a comment here stating which of their craft products you'd most like to try - and maybe what you'd do with it or which is your favourite dye colour and what item you'd use it for.

For and extra entry, please tweet the following and leave a separate comment here saying that you have done so: " I'm entering @missielizzieb's blog competition to win a @DyetoDye crafty prize here"

This competition is open to UK entrants only. The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received by 8pm Thursday 18th August 2011. The prize will be fulfilled by Dylon.

Don't forget to check my posts daily this week - there is a birthday giveaway bonanza going on!

Disclosure: Many thanks to Dylon for supplying the prize.

Inspire Me Beautiful

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Chocadores - Blog Birthday Giveaway

One of the best things about blogging, is the new relationships and friendships I've forged.

Working with Chocadores has been an absolute pleasure. I know you won't believe me when I say it's not just because of their delicious chocolates, but for me I admire their ethos, their determination to succeed and to bring new products to their customers - like their recently launched range of gourmet coffees. Most of all, I value their friendship, support and advice.

I first 'met' Chocadores when they responded to a plea for raffle donations from me for The Children's Trust.  Since then our relationship has blossomed, and I'm honoured that they entrusted me to launch and review some of their new lines, host promotions for them, help them with the first Twitter chocolate tasting party and of course their sponsorship enabled me to attend Cybermummy.

In their product choice, they always strive for quality and I'm over-joyed that we are able to offer readers the chance to win a box of coveted Marc Demarquette Salted Caramels.

Marc Demarquette strives for both taste and visual perfection, consistently making the finest chocolates with a contemporary twist. Marc's Salted Caramels are half sphere-shaped individually hand-painted chocolates are carefully moulded and are filled with a luxurious creamy caramel made with pure cream and Cornish Sea Salt. Salt and chocolate really are the perfect match and have been amongst one of Marc's most popular chocolates in 2010. They were also highly recommended with the maximum 4 star rating in the Observer food monthly (December 2010).

In order to win this mouth-watering box of delights, please compete the following:

Follow @Chocadores on Twitter and leave a comment here stating you have done so, including your twitter name.

For an additional entry, tweet the following, and return here to leave a separate comment that you have done so: "I'm entering @missielizzieb's blog competition to win a box of salted caramels from @chocadores here"

This competition is open to UK entrants only. The winner will be chosen at random from all entries received by 8pm Wednesday 17th August 2011. The prize will be fulfilled by Chocadores.

Don't forget to check my posts daily this week - there is a birthday giveaway bonanza going on!

Disclosure: Many thanks to Chocadores for supplying the prize.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Blog Birthday Giveaway from Toyella

I am thrilled to have Toyella joining in with my bloggaversary celebrations.  Toyella launched last summer too and they offer stylish and beautiful European toy products that are not widely available in the UK.

Their toys are aimed at children up to 8 years old with a focus on gifts that promote 'traditional' play and interaction. I feel that many of the games and toys are pieces of art in their own right, and there are lots that I would be happy to display - children or no children!

I'm lucky to own this Shapemaker by Miller Goodman supplied by Toyella. It's a real coffee table piece and one for adults and children alike to enjoy.

To celebrate my 1st blog birthday, Toyella have kindly offered this super-stylish set of floating bath ducks to one lucky blog reader. 

The lightweight mother duck and duckling are designed to be held by small fingers. A recess on the mother duck's back allows the duckling to be cradled by her. The pair of ducks can float separately as bath toys and then gently rock together when out of water. Suitable for children from one year old - or simply as an objet d'art.

To enter this giveaway, please visit the Toyella site and sign up to their Toy Club and newsletter.  Have a browse of their site and then come back here to leave a comment saying what your favourite product stocked is, and confirm you have joined the Toy Club.

For an extra entry, please tweet the following and leave a separate comment stating that you have done so: "I'm entering @missielizzieb's blog competition to win a super stylish prize from @toyella here"

The competition closes at 8pm on Tuesday 16th August 2011 and the winner will be chosen at random. The prize will be fulfilled by Toyella.  Please ensure you leave a twitter ID or email so I can contact the winner.  Don't forget, there will be a new competition running each day, so check back here all week.  Open to UK entrants only.

Disclosure: Thanks to Toyella for kindly supplying the prize.

Monday 8 August 2011

Magpie Monday - The Blog Birthday Edition

This week marks the 1st anniversary of Me and My Shadow and I have a week-long celebration planned with lots of lovely giveaways.

Magpie Monday is one of my proudest achievements, having come up with the concept and hosted the feature every week since February.

I'm very grateful to the hardcore of hoarders who've supported this blog-hop, and have made Monday my favourite day of the week - I never thought I'd say that! Shouting about the virtues of re-use is something I'm proud to do, and if Magpie Monday has inspired anyone to buy something second-hand and save it from landfill, then I consider that job done.

I love sharing your excitement about your thrifted treasure and have found many new like-minded friends through Magpie Monday - isn't it great to know you're not alone?!

I was jumping for joy the first time Magpie Monday 'went global' and am really happy to have so many bloggers from 'cross the pond regularly contributing. 

To thank you for sharing your finds, I'm giving away a copy of 'My Flea Market Finds Journal'. I own and use a copy of this and find it a great resource of information and a handy place to record my finds and keep measurements and notes.

Divided into handy sections, it features details of how to care for and display your vintage treasure.

My favourite section has to be the 'Fabrics and Buttons' chapter, which also features a how-to on making button jewellery.

In fact, there are lots of great tutorials and inspiration for renovations; upcycling and handmade projects throughout - combining my two pleasures in life!

The specially designed record pages help you keep a note of your favourite finds and places, there are wish lists and handy pockets to store swatches and clippings.

The book is published by CICO Books and retails at £14.99.

If you'd like a chance to win this great journal, please follow the blog through Google Friend Connect and leave me a comment below.  The giveaway is open worldwide and closes at 8pm on Monday 15th August 2011.

Sorry I haven't shared any finds this week - it is all still a bit chaotic following the house move to my parents!  Please do link up below though and share the badge on your post. x

Me and My Shadow
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A Week of Blogaversary Celebrations!

Who would have thought it?  This week marks the one year blogaversary of Me and My Shadow.

In some ways it feels like I've been doing this forever. It certainly has become such a huge part of my life now, I don't think I could be without it.  These past few weeks being busy with the house move (yes, that's still all ongoing...) have felt really strange without my regular twitter contact and blog ramblings.

In other ways, I'm still such a newbie.  I still haven't got around to sorting my page out. I'm still on the original bog standard template I started out with.  I never seem to have the time to faff about with the layout.

I want to celebrate being here for one year and some of the achievements I've had already, and also to thank you for sticking with me. So, this week there will be some giveaways from some fabulous companies I've dealt with in the past, and some amazing new ones too.

I hope you'll keep popping back over the week to see what's on offer, and continue to stop by for a read when you can.

Here's my list of self-congratulatory, pat-myself-on-the-back, didn't-she-do-well stuff:

  • Reaching the dizzy heights of No 2 on Wikio Parent Blog ranking - just the one month mind, but I did it! I also managed to reach number 26 or thereabouts on Tots before it all went a bit odd on me.
  • Over 550 Google Friend connect subscribers - seriously, do that many people read my rantings?
  • Nominated for MADS awards.
  • Member of Parent Panel and Assistant Editor for New Mummy Tips.
  • Worked with some huge companies on promotions and initiatives including Tesco, P&G, Johnson & Johnson and British Gas.
  • Supported and promoted some amazing small businesses and met some wonderful people through these partnerships.
  • Become an ambassador for Chuggington, Crufts and Toy Genius.
  • Continue to work with my lovely sponsor Chocadores who supported me to attend Cybermummy and are a constant source of support and friendship.
  • Made a lasting relationship with the Children's Trust and am very proud to support them in my own small ways.
  • Attended Cybermummy for the first time even though I was bricking it (thanks to Kay for being a fab roomy).
  • Devised and hosted Magpie Monday, a successful weekly blog link-up since February.  I'm proud at the success of this and the amount of support this receives and happy that people can use the platform to shout about the virtues of re-use and second-hand. Magpie Monday was featured on the My Zero Waste website which was a real honour.
  • Participate in some wonderful blog-hops including Silent Sunday; Handmade Thursday, Get Crafty, Something for the Weekend and Show me your Stationery - although I have been a little slack lately!
Most of all, I've had so much support; love when I've been down; advice when I've had a problem and friendship from so so many people.   Thank you. Thank you all. x

Monday 1 August 2011

Magpie Monday - A Right Sew & Sew

Despite the total upheaval of the past week,  moving out of our house, packing everything into storage and moving in with my parents, I managed to sneak an hour to myself and nipped off to the local boot sale yesterday.

It was a joy to go on my own (apart from having to carry my own bags) as I got to mooch at my own pace and didn't have anyone turning their nose up when I ask "do you like this?"

Oddly all my purchases seemed to be sewing related. Here's what I snaffled...

Two Anchor cross stitch kits.  Ok, ok these are kids kits, but it's ages since I attempted cross stitch and I thought they'd look nice framed up for Ruby's room (when we eventually get settled).  They were a pound each.

Next I was somewhat over-excited to spot this Alexander Henry fabric and picked it up from the floor.  There's about a meter there. I've long since coveted this range of prints. Today I shot into town and bought the most basic of basic kid's shift dress patterns, so watch this space...

I asked the stall holder if she had any more fabric.  Yes she replied, but not like that.  "I've got loads of furnishing fabric over here in this bag". So I followed her over and picked up some lovely floral Laura Ashley. I could see another bit further down the bag to match, but quick as a flash a hand shot in and grabbed it!

The stall holder was quite taken aback, and clearly didn't know what to do.  I turned to the woman clutching the other matching curtain to her bosom and said "that matches this one I'm buying. It's part of a pair of curtains".  She clung grimly onto it.  So the seller asked if she was going to have it.  She replied, I'm just waiting to see what this (me) lady wants.

Pistols at dawn. A curtain stand-off.  I offered the seller a price for the two pieces of curtaining and the skull fabric, which she accepted, and triumphantly prised the material of the other woman's grasp!

A few stalls further down and I found another large piece of furnishing fabric with beautiful floral print.  Lovely roses and foxgloves I can't wait to turn this into something.

I also got a few more wooden spool cottons to add to my collection - when I remember where I put them.

Finally, this super-cool stand-alone button-holer. I've no idea if it works, but if it does it will be great because I don't have one on my machine.  It only cost £3 too.

Once I've fathomed the instructions, I'll try it out!

So, what have you been buying this week?

Please grab the badge and link up.

Me and My Shadow
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and link to my blog