Surprises!

The lovely Paula @type_writer_girl nominated me for a Liebster Award. As I’m still relatively new to blogging and finding my feet/blogs to follow I’m all new to this.

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So I thought I’d start off by answering the 11 questions and to thank Paula with this post.

1) What is your favourite part of blogging? My favourite part of blogging is receiving comments. The interaction with followers is lovely.

2) What country, city or continent would you most like to visit and why? I would like to visit Denmark. After reading about ‘Hygge’ I would like to experience this first hand and have a ‘real’ cinnamon bun.

3) What was the most inspirational time in your life so far? The most inspirational time in my life so far was seeing my Nanna again after a period of not seeing her.

4) What are you passionate about? I am passionate about a lot of things but I would say the important one is spending time with my family.

5) What is your favourite book and why? Anything by Margery Allingham or Agatha Christie. There’s nothing like reading a mystery on a rainy afternoon.

6) What is your favourite time of year? My favourite time of year is Autumn. The changing colours of the leaves, crunchy underfoot. Candles, books and throws – perfect!

7) What are other interests you have besides blogging? My other interests are cooking, baking and gardening. I’m a real homebird.

8) Do you prefer the beach or the mountains? This is a tough one as I love the countryside but don’t fancy climbing mountains. So on this occasion I’m going to say the beach, only based on our quiet beaches in Northumberland.

9) Where did you go for your most memorable vacation? My most memorable holidays are our camping ones. We used to cram so much into our days.

10) Do you prefer a sunny or a rainy day? I prefer a sunny day but not too hot.

11) If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it? A day all to myself would start of with a leisurely breakfast, a morning full of baking sweet treats. Whilst they’re in the oven I would prepare my meals for lunch and tea. Jump in the bath for an hour, pop my pyjama’s on and spend the afternoon with pots of tea and lots of books. There’s nothing like a day at home.

Thank you for the nomination.

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Aspinal of London – review

AspinalAfter purchasing a new purse out of my birthday money in April only for the stitching to be coming away after a months use I decided to return it back to Radley.

Whilst looking around the department stores afterwards, I stumbled upon Aspinal in the House of Fraser sale. Aspinal is a brand I’ve loved for many years, but had never bought anything from their.

My Mam spotted their business/credit card case in the sale in the brown saffiano and espresso suede colour way. The size of this is perfect as a daily purse in a small bag and it fits nicely in a clutch bag so your cards/change don’t end up at the bottom of the bag.

Having used this for a month there are no issues with stitching or marks. It’s perfect! I’m now after one of their larger purses for my winter capsule wardrobe.

Simple Matters – Erin Boyle

imageAfter seeing Simple Matters by Erin Boyle on several Instagram feeds, I decided to purchase it and see what all the fuss was about.

The book covers everything from Making a Home, Decluttering, Simplifying, Organizing, Decorating, Bath & Beauty, Getting Dressed, Cooking & Entertaining, and Thriving. The main focus throughout the book is purchasing quality over quantity and only buying what you need and will use. With this method, you don’t end up with things you don’t use or need. There will be less impulsive purchases and regrets. Less really is more as simplifying your belongings you will appreciate what is left even more.

I really enjoyed this book and would rate it 4/5. I would go as far to say it’s better than Marie Kondo’s method of tidying. It’s a book that you’ll go back to for certain things or to refresh the memory on key areas.

My Sisley Experience

imageIn February 2017 I decided to buy a few make-up items from Sisley. The ladies on the counter in the Metro Centre were very helpful. They also gave me samples of the skincare products suitable for sensitive skin. I used these samples sparingly as I didn’t want to use them up before my birthday in April.

The make-up items I bought were:

Kohl pencil in Plum – this is a lovely soft kohl pencil which doesn’t drag on application. It can wear off during the day. The colour is lovely and the application is easy. I would rate this 4/5

Eyeshadow in Stardust – an easy neutral which you can wear on it’s own as a single eyeshadow or use it with a second shade to create a smoky look. I would rate this 4/5

Eyeshadow shading brush – I bought this after reading about the quality of their brushes online. They’re made in Mauritius. Even though the brush appears dense, it is soft. I would rate it 3/5 as it’s no different to a cheaper one I have.

Update – April 2017

I received some skincare for my birthday after enjoying the skincare samples. They were the cleansing milk Lyslait and Compound Ecologique (Ecological Compound).

The cleansing milk I loved, it melted make-up away with no effort. I would’ve rated it 5/5

Ecological Compound can be used in two ways, either as a serum under a moisturiser or as a stand alone moisturiser for oily skin. The lady on the counter described this as a multi-vitamin for the skin. I would’ve rated this 4/5

I was using these products as recommended by the ladies at Sisley, after a week my skin was spotty and I looked like a teenager again. I decided to persevere, and after another week my skin was still spotty and on top of that it was red and angry looking. I had dry patches around my mouth and across the cheeks and temples. It felt like sand paper. I phoned the lady at Sisley to explain what had happened and when she saw my skin she couldn’t believe it and was very apologetic. She was shocked as one of the products she recommend is supposed to be for extremely sensitive skin.

If your skin isn’t sensitive then I’d say don’t let this review put you off. Sisley make lovely products. If you are thinking of purchasing anything, make sure you use the samples on consecutive days so you can see if they are suitable. Don’t do like I did and use them every 3 days. This is why I didn’t know how my skin would react to using the products daily until I bought the full sizes.

If you live in the Newcastle/Gateshead area I can highly recommend the ladies at Sisley House of Fraser.

Unfortunately I found my experience in John Lewis Newcastle disappointing and I won’t be returning to that area of the store.

A Fine Romance by Susan Branch

imageAt the weekend I finished reading ‘A Fine Romance’ by Susan Branch. A book about her voyage to England on the Queen Mary 2. The book starts off with the transatlantic crossing from New York, here she shares her experiences of life aboard the ship. A Fine Romance follows their journey throughout England, visiting places like the Cotswolds, Yorkshire and The Lakes. She also takes us to the homes of Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter.

The book travels back in time touching on when Joe and Susan met, and mentions how their relationship blossomed. The voyage to England starts on the remarkable ship ‘The Queen Mary 2’ embarking from New York. They will be spending two months in England travelling around various parts of the UK, where they will be visiting friends and national trust properties along the way. The book features beautiful illustrations and photographs of their travels. And this book wouldn’t be complete without the recipes!

It was an easy read which I couldn’t put down (I finished reading this within a week), it quickly became my bedtime reading. I was saddened when I turned the last page and the trip was over. So much so, I’ve just ordered Martha’s Vineyard and The Fairy Tale Girl. I plan on purchasing a couple of Susan Branch books each month as a treat to myself.

This would be the perfect read for anyone who loves the English countryside and historic properties belonging to the National Trust.

Have you read any books by Susan Branch? What was your favourite?

Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Another birthday ending with a zero

imageWhy do birthdays always make you question life and our life choices? Last week I celebrated a birthday ending with a zero. I was thinking about what I had achieved since my last milestone. In the grand scheme of things not much had changed, but in other ways they have.

I am now focusing my time on those people who I love dearly – close family and friends. These are some of the other things I’m hoping to achieve in the next ten years;

  • To focus on making our house a home
  • To spend money on experiences rather than impulse buys
  • To support independent businesses
  • To continue purchasing vintage items
  • To only buy a maximum of 2 magazines a month
  • To read everyday

I think the worst thing I’ve been doing these past few years, is thinking too much of what others think of me, my circumstances etc. I’m hoping to retrain myself to be less of a worrier. I’m hoping to care less about not keeping up with the Jones’!

Dreaming

imageWhen I started my blog The Little White Croft it was just a dream. It is still is my dream to have a Croft/Crofter but where and when that will be I don’t know. It could be Ireland, Scotland or Wales, all 3 places have a connection to me.

Crofts can be small or large depending on whether they’ve been extended or not. Having this dream of mine is the focus for my future but also for my current life. It is helping me buy less things and to also stop and pause to see if it is something I really need. Something I haven’t done until now is to think about the future. A life with excess stuff and hardly any pension when I retire isn’t my idea of fun. I have decided to cut back in certain areas and to start saving for my future.

The thing I have done prior to this dream is to buy on impulse or to purchase something to fill a void in my life at that moment. Now I’d rather have less and think each purchase through thoroughly. A Croft doesn’t have a lot storage, so you have to be crafty with the space, having less is a sure start to help with that.

I also get distracted quite a bit as I love many different fabrics in a wide range of colours. I know in a north facing room you’re supposed to stick to warm tones. However in my bedroom I’ve gone with cooler tones blue soft furnishings, ivory lampshades and grey walls. I’ve kept the furniture warm with the use of oak and the flooring is also wood with a rug to soften the scheme a little. I find this palette calming but I do know pinks or reds would’ve been better, but I don’t think they’re for me.

Pinterest is invaluable for being able to put a mood board together easily. It’s a great way of seeing if a scheme will work well together. I’ve been pinning lots of ideas for my dream Croft from kitchen dressers and china to bathrooms with a deep bath. It’s a fun way of seeing what styles really appeal to you and keeping them all pinned in one place.

A Croft lifestyle to me means not keeping up with the Joneses, growing my own fruit and vegetables, baking, being part of a community and lots of walking with my dogs (optional). A general slower pace of life. It should be cosy and welcoming too with lots of home cooked meals using seasonal produce. A place my family and friends will want to visit and to have a feeling of never wanting to leave.

For now it’s just a dream, but a lovely one to have!