New Shopping List Pads

shopping list pad

I wrote yesterday’s sneak peek post on Monday, little realising half my stuff would arrive much quicker than I expected! So here are new 5 A Day magnetic shopping list pads. I’ve wanted to design a new one ever since I created the 5 A Day characters, but thanks to a mix up by my printer a few years ago, I still had boxes of the old ones to work through.

My new magnetic shopping list pads are now available online. Pick up a meal planner too and you'll save £2!

I’m really pleased with how they turned out and already have one on my own fridge. They make a great set with the Meal Planner pads too, so you can pick up both for a discounted price of just £8. Go on, make your kitchen that bit cuter, and more organised too.

More new things coming soon!

Sneak Peeks

asking for trouble stationery

What with moving house and holidays and things it feels like I haven’t added any new products in forever. Well, that’s about to change! With my usual brilliance, I started ordering new stuff during the four day Easter holidays so I’d have to wait extra-long for everything to arrive. It should all be here in the next few weeks, and hopefully everything turns out as expected. See if you can guess what they are! I will say that one is a super cute new shopping list pad – if you liked the old design, make sure to grab one of the last few from the sale for just £1.

New things for my house

Got the last set of bunny nesting dolls in Paperchase.

It was certainly a good plan to move house around my birthday (even if I didn’t actually plan that) as everyone has been giving me things for the house or money to buy stuff. Here’s a few of my new additions, starting with some Easter bunnies! These are plastic nesting dolls from Paperchase – for some bizarre reason, these haven’t been available online so get to a store quickly if you want a set.

My hellojenuine bunnies are looking great in the sunshine today too.

More bunnies – a beautiful lino print and ceramic bunny by Jen Collins, perfect additions to my mantelpiece.

lime potholders

My mum crocheted me these amazing lime potholders! I found a pattern for fruit potholders on Tuts+ but I asked for lime ones, as lime is my favourite. She made them double thickness instead of using a felt backing so they’re much more useful too.

Bought some cake plates with my birthday money. They're so pretty!

I picked up these pretty cake plates on my birthday trip into Glasgow. They’re by Royal Doulton and designed by Karolin Schnoor – the whole Fable range is lovely.

Got my new print framed, a birthday gift. It's by Stasia Burrington.

I got a surprise wishlist gift from my dad – a lovely print by Stasia Burrington on Etsy. It was a good reminder to order more framing mats (I use the awesome Picture Lizard) – now I just need to work out where to hang all my art, and how (the downside of renting).

stickygram

 I finally invested in some Stickygram magnets of my favourite Instagram pics – it was pretty hard to choose! They’re pretty good quality, and a lot bigger than I was expecting.

Yay! @jijipunch got me the furry panda bag for my birthday. It looks just like my panda cushion :)

And not something for my house, but my sister got me the fluffy panda bag I was going on about and it’s so cute! Plus it’s basically a twin of my panda cushion from Japan. So yay, good birthday.

Easter Weekend

blossom

Did you have a fun Easter – I did! The weather has been amazing this past week so I took the opportunity to explore a bit. I’m so glad I moved to Helensburgh – you can walk in any direction and find something interesting, and the streets are so quiet. The blossom is out everywhere so I had a wander around some of the streets near me.

Had a look around the park too - so many flowers. IMG_3616

I also had a look at Hermitage Park, which is a lot bigger than I thought – I definitely need to go back sometime. I made friends with this fluffy cat too. He looks quite grumpy there but he was really friendly.

Climbed up the hill to have a look at Hill House today - will have to go inside sometime.

On Sunday, I saw there was a kids Easter egg hunt up at Hill House, so that seemed like a good opportunity to have a look around the gardens. It’s a bit of a climb (the clue is in the name) but you get some great views on the way. I also passed the other train station that has trains to Oban and Fort William – it’s so tiny and surrounded by trees. Must go somewhere on it this Summer.

I liked this tiny tower! hill house

Hill House itself looked amazing against the blue skies. It was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and I will be back sometime to tour the inside when it’s a bit quieter. I had a walk around the gardens though.

Today I made chocolate banana cake from Smitten Kitchen - so good!

 I also gave in and made that chocolate banana cake from Smitten Kitchen. I overcooked it a tiny bit because I used a brownie pan and I have a fan oven but it was still amazing – a bit like a brownie but you can taste the banana too.

zipper

Wondering where my Day in the Life post is? Well, I did it as Mayor mar-c, my Animal Crossing character! It was Bunny Day so there was lots of fun stuff going on. You can read all about it at Quincy & Usagi – my sister’s doing one too for her town.

I’m back to work today, but don’t forget there’s 10% off everything in my shop until midnight with the code EASTERBUNNY. I’ve also updated Saturday’s post with offers from DENY Designs and Society6 so check that out if you feel like shopping!

Weekend Wrap Up

helensburgh

I’m moving my Friday catch ups to a weekend wrap up instead so I have more time to write them and can include some of my favourite links from the week too. It’s been a week of mostly lovely weather here in Helensburgh, so I’ve been trying to get out every day and explore a bit, plus my Zoku ice pop maker is getting a lot of use!

Things I’ve enjoyed this week

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
I randomly watched the first one again on Netflix and I’d forgotten quite how much I loved it, so I bumped the sequel up my Lovefilm list. It basically follows on immediately from the previous film (plot resume: town destroyed by giant food raining from the skies, but day saved by stopping the machine invented by the main character that caused it). This film introduces an Apple/Google-ish megacorp who want to help clear up the town (amongst other things!) and our heroes return to the island to discover the machine has been creating food/animal hybrids – foodimals! They have a lot of fun with this – my favourites were fruit cockatiel, shrimpanzee, flamango and watermelophant, plus the adorable strawberries and marshmallows that are just food with faces. It’s all really fun and colourful and cute and you should see it!

Links I Loved

pc1

- How beautiful are these new Puffin Chalks books with hand-drawn blackboard cover art – there’s time-lapse videos of how they were made too. (Caustic Cover Critic)
- Great article about Link’s Awakening, my favourite Zelda game (AV Club)
- The Brighton Etsy Team spent a day crafting in a shop window – cool idea! (Woah There Pickle)
Double chocolate banana cake? Yes please (Smitten Kitchen)
- In space is amazing news, Saturn might have a new moon! (Bad Astronomy)

Offers and Reminders

- It’s Day in the Life tomorrow (Easter Sunday!) so why not join in and blog about your day? All the details are on Dropstitch.
- There’s 25% off almost everything at DENY Designs this weekend with the code HOPTO25.
- There’s free shipping worldwide at Society6 all week – no code required.
- You can also have 10% off everything in my main shop with the code EASTERBUNNY – ends midnight Monday.

Brussels – Last Bits

angel bunny

I’m rounding up a few more interesting places and tips for anyone else planning a trip to Brussels. First, a few things we didn’t manage to do:

Tourist Tramway & Tram Museum
If you’re in Brussels on a Sunday during the Summer, this looks really fun – a tour around the city on a 1930s tram! It does take four hours and cost 20€ but you get to see a lot of places. The tram museum looks interesting too.
http://www.trammuseumbrussels.be/en

Mini-Europe & Océade
Both right beside the Atomium, and there are combined tickets if you visit more than one so worth doing if you have the time. Mini-Europe is, as the name suggests, a collection of scale models of European landmarks and Océade is a water park.
www.minieurope.com | www.oceade.be

Comic Book Museum
If you like comics but don’t want to trek out to Musee Herge, this looks pretty good too. It was quite close to our hotel, but we never quite made it there.
www.comicscenter.net

Metro patterns Nutella waffle and blue slush puppy! So good.

Travel

The Metro (subway) and trams turned out to be pretty easy to use, once we got the hang of it. The best way is to buy a multi-journey ticket as you can use these on the metro, trams and buses. There are English-language ticket machines and it’s one price/ticket for each trip you take, no matter how far you go. We were lucky that our hotel was on the same metro line as the Eurostar station and the Atomium so we didn’t have to do anything too complicated. We also managed to buy train tickets to Louvain-la-Neuve from a ticket machine at Gare du Midi without any issues, though having our multi-lingual mother around to check things was very helpful!

General Tips

Our hotel had free wi-fi everywhere so that was brilliant for researching trains and opening times and things (as well as spamming Instagram with updates!). I don’t know if there was much free wifi around town as we mostly managed fine without it. I just had to remember to screenshot things I might want to check later.

In general, shops are closed on Sundays and museums on Mondays so plan carefully! If we’d known this, we could have done our out of town trip on the Sunday and kept our Saturday for shopping. We walked all the way into town from our hotel on Sunday and the only thing that was open was a Carrefour until we got to Grand Place, where the tourist shops were mostly open.

Botanics Reflections

Eurostar
This was my first time on the Eurostar, and one of the reasons for choosing Brussels, and it was brilliant. The check-in/security stuff is a bit tedious, but nowhere near as bad as getting a plane, plus you leave and arrive right in the city centres. It’s really fast and you get a decent amount of space. I would definitely use it again and I think we’re all already thinking about where else it goes.
www.eurostar.com

EasyHotel
This isn’t really anything to do with Brussels, but we stayed in the crazy cheap EasyHotel in Glasgow on the way back as we got in really late, and it was a real surprise! For £19 a room, we were expecting something super basic, grotty and cramped, but bearable for a night’s sleep. Instead we each got a clean room with a double bed, a little bit of space around it and a little bathroom pod including a shower! It was actually much nicer than our shared room in London at 3 times the price. You have to pay extra for wifi, TV or a window but the lack of window was actually a bonus as we slept really well in the pitch dark. I will be keeping it in mind if I need to stay over in Glasgow again. There are EasyHotels in Edinburgh and London too, but they seem to be more expensive.
www.easyhotel.com

What We Did in Brussels

Mont des Arts

Other than the Atomium, here’s what else was good in Brussels. We were only there for a few days, but we packed in quite a lot!

We're in Brussels! Loving Hotel Bloom. Marcy enjoying the swing chair in the lobby.

HOTEL BLOOM

We stayed at Hotel Bloom because it looked fun and they had an offer on. It turned out to be a fantastic decision as it was awesome. Each room has a hand-painted mural by a different artist and there were lots of quirky touches all around the hotel. One of our favourites were the hanging chairs in the lobby. The beds were pretty comfy too, and we had a gigantic TV and free bottles of water every day, plus it’s right next to the Botanic Garden. The only downside is that it’s not really that close to anything else – we struggled to find anywhere to eat nearby, though there is a Carrefour opposite for snacks and a big shopping centre on the other side of the Botanics. However, it is easy to get to on the Metro and trams and just about walkable into the city centre too if you’re not too tired.

Musee Herge herge

MUSÉE HERGÉ

Our main reason for visiting Brussels, as our family are big Tintin fans. The Musee Herge is actually in Louvain-la-Neuve, but it’s easy enough to get to on the train, which takes 60-90 minutes, depending on the train you get. We got the fast (double-decker!) train there and the slow train back. The museum itself is really interesting and full of original artwork and models, plus various films and interactive things. There’s a lot about Tintin, but it covers Herge’s entire life so we all learned a lot, particularly since you get an audio guide to put everything in context. The building itself is really cool too, and we spent quite a few hours there. We also found an e-card maker, where you can insert yourself into various Tintin imagery and email it to your friends. We may have made quite a few of them! It also has a great shop, but sadly they chose to have a pricey restaurant/bar instead of a cafe. We had a waffle outside instead! There’s no photography allowed in the exhibitions, so you’ll just have to go yourself. Definitely worth the trip if you’re a Tintin fan or interested in comics.

Tip! If you think you might go, there’s a voucher for 1 free entry with another adult. Print it out before you go unless you enjoy troubleshooting a hotel printer in French, like I ended up doing.

YourECard  Favourite purchase. Because who doesn't need a crazy bunny tin for storing cotton buds?

LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE

We actually spent most of the day in Louvain-la-Neuve as there’s a big shopping area beside the station and museum. It even had branches of our favourite Dutch stores HEMA and Blokker! The best shop we found had a selection of random gifts including some crazy illustrated tins – I couldn’t resist this bunny tin for cotton buds. As well as the waffles, we had some make-your-own-noodles where you choose what you want on a touchscreen and it’s made to order. Cool idea and the noodles were good too.

Grand Place This pretty much survived 2 days traveling across Europe in a suitcase. Almost too cute to eat.

GRAND PLACE

This is the main touristy area if you’re looking for souvenirs – there are a billion chocolate shops. Since it was easter time, they all had crazy enormous decorated eggs and lots of bunnies in the windows. I got a little meringue chick and some chocolate eggs. There are also lots of museums and interesting buildings around this area, and the famous Manneken Pis.

On the comic strip trail. Marcy & scary Friteman

We went to the Museum of the City of Brussels, which was free. It was my favourite sort of museum – one that’s just filled with lots of random stuff for you to look at. There were some great maps and models of how the city grew, some awesome tapestries, some crazy ceramics and a whole room of Manneken Pis models dressed up in hundreds of detailed outfits including national dress of every country. We also had some really good frites around here, and saw a few pieces from the Comic Strip Trail (PDF), a walking tour of the city centre featuring huge artworks on buildings.

Mont des Arts Botanics

Brussels is a really nice city to walk around in and luckily we had some great weather so we did a lot of wandering about taking photos and looking in shop windows. I’ve got one more post coming up of things we missed and stuff we learned, but you can have a look at all the rest of my photos on Flickr.

Atomium

atomium

The first thing we did in Brussels was probably my favourite – the Atomium! It was built for the World Fair in 1958 and the people of Brussels loved it so much they left it up – it’s now part of a tourist area with various attractions including Mini-Europe. We just did the Atomium though – it’s quite pricey but totally worth it.

View from the Atomium Mini-Europe from the Atomium!

First you go up in a lift to the very top sphere where there’s a 360° viewing area. The views are pretty amazing all round, but especially looking down on Mini-Europe! After that, you take various escalators and stairs around five of the other spheres, which contain permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Furniture display So many cool views!

The main exhibition is about the World Fair and the Atomium, with loads of great souvenirs and posters and press and photos from the time. The other exhibitions when we visited were about furniture design. Cleverly, the final floor had a collection of interestingly designed sofas to sit on so you could have a rest after all those stairs, plus try them all out.

Staircase Atomium Disco Escalator

The stairs and escalators were some of my favourite parts – the colours are amazing and there are super-long escalators that take you up and down the spokes. They’re really steep and a little bit scary, but they do have disco lights to keep you entertained.

Overall, it was brilliant, and I definitely recommend a visit if you’re in Brussels. It’s easy to get to on the Metro, and you can get close up and take some great photos even without going inside. It is worth doing the whole thing though, even just for the views. There’s also a shop and a couple of restaurants, one right at the very top.

disco escalator

Here’s a gif I made of my final trip down the almost endless disco escalator – wheee!

Working in my studio

IMG_3569

I’ve had my studio set up in the spare room for a while now, but I’ve only really been using it for packing orders. Because of my RSI, I can’t do computer work at a desk, so I’ve always worked on my bed. But my bedroom is the coldest room in the house so I decided to try and move to my studio. With a footstool and all my pillows and supports, it actually seems to be working out fine so hopefully no more freezing fingers. Plus I actually have a commute now, all of twenty paces!

So let’s have a bit of a tour. It’s a small room and pretty dominated by my trusty old sofa bed, which is extremely comfortable both as a sofa and a bed. It’s pretty grubby now, but I have this colourful granny square blanket my mum found me, plus an abundance of plush toys masquerading as cushions.

New view - now working from the sofa in my studio.

Here’s my desk and pinboard, plus lots of drawers to store my supplies, and boxes to store my stock. I need some more storage in here and I definitely need to buy some nicer boxes instead of the piles of old shoeboxes I currently use. I purposely ruined them all with packing tape to force me into it once I moved. I’ve tried to put a lot of my crafty things in this room, including my cross stitch gifts from Claire, some things my sister made for me and my art and craft books. No art up yet, as I’m still deciding which rooms to hang them all in.

IMG_3572

The windowsill has been nice to display all my tins and boxes, which are mostly full of buttons and badges and sewing supplies and printer ink. The one thing I cannot find after unpacking are my tins of pins and needles and bobbins. I’m sure they will turn up eventually but it’s getting very annoying. It’s also preventing me from making a new cover for that footstool.

The wall you’re not seeing basically just has a radiator and my bike, plus my new best friend, a laser printer! I love it so much. Also another secret electronic purchase I am looking forward to playing with.

So that’s my studio so far. All the furniture is IKEA by the way, but mostly discontinued.