Sunday, 25 May 2014

DIY Carrie Diaries Personalised Paint Splatter Clutch Bag


Ever since I saw young Carrie Bradshaw's personalised paint splatter bag, I knew I had to have it one way or another. I mapped out different ways of completing this DIY in my head as I wanted to make sure it turned out perfect. I was trawling the internet for a Kelly handbag similar to Carrie's and found it near impossible to find one with enough space for text and at the right price. So I turned to a more widely available option, a black clutch bag. I picked up this clutch bag for £7 at a discount store in Manchester and was quite surprised with the quality. Its weight and structure was perfect and came with a long chain so it can be used as a shoulder/cross body bag as well as a clutch.


- Newspaper or large plastic sheet/bag
- Bag
-Tape
- Acrylic paint
- Paint palette or mixing tool
- Paint brush
- X-acto knife
- Cutting board
- Printer
- Paper
- Sponge
- Sharpie
- Q-Tips
- Nail polish remover
- Blue Tack


Step 1
Prepare your workspace and lay out newspaper or a large sheet of plastic. You can use bin liners for this too. Make sure you cover a large space, you will be throwing paint so there is a possibility it will travel far and possibly stain object nearby.


Step 2
Tape any accents you don't want to cover in paint. In this case, there is chain detailing surrounding the bag that I don't want the paint to hit so I've taped it, front and back.


Step 3
Decide which colours to splatter across your chosen bag. I chose to do the same colours as the original but added the option of a blue. Mix this on a palette to get your desired shades. Make sure you mix enough to make a decent amount of splatters across the bag. The reason I have chosen acrylic paint instead of using nail polish like a lot of other DIYers have used is because acrylic is longer-lasting. Nail polish in renowned for chipping which means it will eventually chip and fade.


Step 4
Scoop a good amount of your chosen colour onto a spatula or a paint brush of your choice and throw it towards the bag in random directions making sure your the path of the throw does not reach past the covered area or you'll get red paint on your new cushion like I did! After you have finished, you must wait for the paint to dry fully before continuing, this may require you to wait overnight depending on how thick the paint splatters are.


Step 5
You can choose to paint your name free-hand if you're confident enough but if you're anything like me, it may be better to use a stencil. To do this, create a Word document and type your name in a large cursive font, I downloaded Learning Curve from DaFont.com, made it bold and printed it out landscape.


Step 6
Lay your printed name on top of a cutting board and using an x-acto knife, slowly cut out your name. Don't forget to cut out and keep the spaces inside letters, so the shapes within letter A's, E's, etc...


Step 7
Lightly tape the stencil cut out onto the bag and blue tack the letter cut outs in place. Mix the desired colour for your name and using a sponge, lightly dab the paint over the stencil evenly. Do about 2 or 3 layers of paint, leaving a few minutes to dry a little in between. On the last layer, make sure to do really light dabs to reduce the amount of bumps in the paint which is caused by the pores from the sponge.


Step 8
Take the stencil off and clean off the edges with a q-tip dipped in nail polish remover. Sharpen the edges with the use of a thin brush dipped in the same colour paint as the name. To sharpen the lines even further, use a black Sharpie and go around any rough edges.

Voila!

If you want to perfect this clutch even further, continue the pattern onto the back and under the flap. I absolutely adore this bag and I must admit, this is one of my greatest DIYs. This is a perfect way to upcycle and personalise and old bag and would make a fantastic present to someone who is a fan of Sex and The City and/or Carrie Diaries. Sadly, it has been announced that Carrie Diaries has been cancelled but be sure to keep the spin-off alive with this funky bag. There's no way of buying the actual bag from anywhere as it is a one-off piece created for the show but I have seen people selling versions on Etsy for $125! I think an at-home DIY is the way to go personally as this project only cost me £8.50. Check out the Oxfam shop for bags to customise here.


I hope you've enjoyed this DIY and again, I must apologise for my extended absence which was briefly explained in my Back To Basics blog post. I promise to get back into the swing of DIYing and already have two more projects planned so watch this space!








Saturday, 17 May 2014

Who Made Your Pants Review


I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Who Made Your Pants to review one of their knickers. Who Made Your Pants is a company that sells handmade, ethical and efficiently sourced knickers. They are based in Southampton, UK and believe that no-one should have to work in poor conditions just to make a cheap pair of pants. The company offer a wide variety of styles in a number of prints and designs but also offer a subscription service to a year of pants at £21.50 a month. Sizes start from a UK 8 to a UK 18.



While handmade, the knickers are professionally finished with a care label, safety pin and card with the name of whoever made your pair of knickers. These knickers are made of upcycled materials which basically means that it was made from material wastage from other companies. Zuhra made this particular pair of pants and I recently discovered from the website that she was the first person at Who Made Your Pants HQ to get a promotion from a skilled worker to a supervisor. 


I went sent the Silver Shadow knicker from the Rosalind collection. It's a gunmetal silver colour on a silky stretchy material with black lace trims, decorated with a tiny black satin bow. At first I was sceptical about the seam down the front, I prefer my knickers to use a continuous single piece of fabric, however - I understand that if this was the requirement for all knickers, it would mean that less upcycling would be possible due to lack of larger pieces of fabric and after trying them on, I realised it made no difference to comfort. Out of all the styles WMYP do, I would say that Rosalind is my favourite so I am beyond grateful for them sending me this style, and in such a classic design. I'd say that this particular pair is very "me". It also held its shape well and didn't loosen throughout the day. 


 What really impressed me was the professionalism of sewing. The seam edges were sewn with zig-zag stitches to withstand stretch and the middle seam was overlocked securely and neatly - not bad for being handmade in Southampton!


After washing this at 30 degrees with a mixture of other colours and fabrics, on a full load - it's safe to say it has passed the wash test. It came out of the washing machine almost the same way it arrived to me through the post. The colour hadn't faded, neither did the lace. There was a little bobbling on the lace but this is from being mixed in with other fabrics in the wash. They still fit in the same way and the quality didn't deteriorate. 

My only gripe would be the cost of the knickers. From a business point of view (I am a lingerie and nightwear Buying Assistant) I feel that £21.50 a month/each is a little too much - the reason why people buy their underwear from retail giants like Primark is because of their price and affordability. I think to warrant Victoria's Secret prices, they would have to make more attractive designs and styles or they would have to bring their prices down to around £15 to compete with high street retailers like La Senza while keeping a fair wage to its employers. A knicker from WMYP would make a great gift to someone so it's good they offer a gift wrapping service and perhaps adding the option of limited edition knickers would increase desirability. 

What I really love about this service is that it's ethical, it's local, it's luxurious, it supports local woman and also pays them fairly. I love the motives of this company and can only hope that more people hear about the wonderful work that they do for women like you and me.

You can find Who Made Your Pants in the UK Subscription Directory in the sidebar and at http://www.whomadeyourpants.co.uk/.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Back To Basics

dont forget to fall in love with yourself 1st.... would live this as a tattoo

The very famous Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City once said "Don't forget to fall in love with yourself first." It is this quote which explains my recent lack of commitment to The Science of Happy. I fell out of love with myself. 

After my friend James passed away, I lost all interest in writing. I stopped submitting Oxfam posts and still have not submitted anything in 6 months. I stopped writing about all things profound and starting only writing about all things frivolous which goes against the whole reason I started this new blog. I stopped seeing life for what it was and started falling out of love with myself, my life and everything around me. I lost motivation, my aspirations dissolved into nothing and my desire to explore vanished. This was not helped by the lack of support I have, my living conditions, my troubled long-distance relationship, my 10 month (and still going) cough or my evaporating pool of close friends.

My heart has been shredded.

A year ago, I was on top of the world. I had created this new version of myself that I fell head over heels in love with. I was meeting new people, experiencing new things, appreciating all things big and small and was essentially, happy. Something I had never managed to accomplish in 24 years. 

It tears me apart to say that I am no longer happy. I even look unhappy. I've been told that my eyes look dead. I cried on my birthday and that was also the last time I saw my boyfriend. 

you are not the mistakes you have made | via Tumblr

I don't know what tomorrow will bring but all I know is that miracles do happen. Around November 2012, I finally took an active attempt to change my life for the better...and it worked. From this, 2013 became the best year of my entire life. Even though right now, I feel like my hard work has been undone - it just goes to show that when you put your mind to it, your determination and hard work will pay off. I've done it before and I'll do it again. 

Your future is literally in your own hands. I don't believe that a path has been made for you to follow and I don't believe in fate. I believe the path is what YOU make it. You are your own destiny and while right now it may hurt, remember that after a storm comes a rainbow. Nothing worth having has ever come easy to anyone so stay strong, even if you feel like you're dying inside. 

Life is tough, but so are you.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

March Flowbox Review



Flowbox kindly contacted me not too long ago to try one of their lovely healthy and eco-friendly boxes for the month of March. Their service offers healthy snacks, organic products and eco-friendly products for you to enjoy; from food, to beauty, to homeware. 


The Colibri Lavender Wool Protector is a fantastic addition to my lingerie drawer. This sachet protects wool, silk and other fine fabrics from moths. It is made from botanical oils that are naturally found in plants that safeguard from the attack of insects.


This Flapjack from Seed Stacked was perfect to bring into work. Usually at about half 2, I have an afternoon snack at my desk and I'm always looking to try new things, especially for extra energy. However, this flapjack was slightly disappointing. The seeds and nuts weren't held together well at all and crumbles easily back to seed form. This makes for a difficult snack-time! However, I found though that crumbling it in its package then doing "shots" of flapjack seeds did the trick - but I wont be repurchasing this in the future sadly!


These coasters were the first thing to catch my eye when I opened up my Flowbox. Their wonderful bright colours really appealed to me and made me curious to find out what they were. These coasters are made from recycled food packaging by women in Nepal to earn an income from and will definitely be coming with me when I move out.


This couldn't have come at a better time, I had been meaning to try out elderflower for the longest time possible and I got to try it in iced tea form which is a great love of mine. This drink was refreshing and was really convenient to have at work in screw-top carton form. It tastes great, it's refreshing and is much better than drinking a can of Coke. Better yet, there are no added chemicals!


Sadly, while the Tropical Wholefoods Organic Dried Pineapple tasted great and came in this great big bag - for some reason, they did not agree with my stomach. This was not only the case for myself but others who had tried it. 


I'm always up for trying out the next best facial wipe. I'm an avid user of facial wipes, especially to remove make-up and have yet to find anything that beats my good ol' Simple facial wipes. This sadly is no contender as I found it quite difficult to remove my make-up, especially eye make-up and it ended up just pushing the make-up around my face rather than remove it. However, these wipes smell DIVINE. They smell exactly like Refreshers sweets.


This honey was what really gave the box its weight. Luxurious thick honey, presented in a lush glass jar - definitely up my street. This honey you can definitely tell is organic as it has that really earthy taste to it. This is great to have with breakfast and even with fruit. Delicious!


Much like the elderflower, I had also been meaning to try chai lattes. I would always hear Cali YouTubers going on about how great Chai Lattes were but had never had the opportunity to try one. Presented in a nice tall canister, I had no more excuses not the try it and boy is it amazing. It smells and tastes just like the gingerbread lattes from Starbucks and this lovely little can has now taken pride of place on my desk at work. 

All in all, a great eco-friendly and healthy alternative from Flowbox. Everything I received was full sized and a pleasure to try out. Flowbox is usually £21.95 a month but you can get 40% off your first box with the code TSOHFLOW.

Please never forget the endless work people do to encourage fair trade and the fair treatment of workers all over the world. Stamp out exploitation and help make the world a better place.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Tiny Tweaks | January Birchbox [Plus Free Box]


For the month of January, I was kindly offered to try the first Birchbox of 2014. The box themed Tiny
Tweaks focusses on New Year's resolutions and how to achieve certain goals. I like to set myself realistic goals for the New Year which are obtainable. There's nothing worse that aiming too high and realising your goal is unattainable. This box has handy tips and tricks, and products to help you on your way. 

Products In Box
S Philip Kingsley - Moisture Balancing Conditioner
S Benefit - POREfessional
S Rodial - Bee Venom Moisturiser
S Vasanti - Detox Nutrient-Rich Purifying Facial Cleanser
S Premae - Anatomy Nutrients Instant Renewal Body Oil

Lifestyle Extra
S Itsu - Miso Soup


I was so pleased to receive the Benefit Porefessional primer as I had heard such amazing things about it. I'd heard that it smooths out visible pores and helps control oil which is something I'm always battling with. However, I have not yet been convinced. I have been using it underneath my foundation and have not seen any oil control. It is a dream to apply and I do think it evens out the appearance of pores but I worry my skin is too oily that the primer itself slides off after a while, therefore having no effect on oil control. I am unsure as to what New Year's resolution this would help achieve but it's a good sample product to have if you're looking to smooth out pores.

The Philip Kingsley conditioner received seemed to be underwhelming to me. While I struggle to find conditioners that fully restore the moisture to my dry ombré ends, most seem to at least de-tangle. This however didn't seem to even do that. Perhaps I didn't apply enough? But this to me ranks below the conditioners that come in box hair dyes, sadly.


The body oil from Premae has come at a good time. I returned from Australia in January and had unfortunately been left with some bites and dry skin. This oil has helped to soothe my skin and provide it with a bit of moisture. However, I have found a fault in the packaging. It has the type of pump that does not allow you to regulate how much product is dispersed. Perhaps this is just the case with the sample size pump and not the full size pump but I found myself having an excess of product at times.

The bee venom moisturiser, I was initially quite apprehensive about. The sound of a moisturiser having 'venom' in it quite frankly scares me and the first thing I thought was that I would have an allergic reaction to it. Turns out, it was harmless. As for its moisturising properties, I didn't notice anything remarkable but will be sure to bring it with me whenever my skin needs a little pick-me-up. While the sample was again, not full 100%, it was marginally better than the Skinlife sample received in the August Birchbox from last year.


I had the pleasure of trying the Vasanti cleanser while in the shower the other day and while it did leave my skin feeling clean, I had to fault the packaging. I would imagine the full size of this product would have packaging that is better made but I had dropped this sample in the shower and the bottom of it completely shattered.


Alongside the Benefit Porefessional, I was most taken back by this sachet of paste. It's a Miso soup paste by Itsu. There were no instructions on the sachet unfortunately, but I just emptied the sachet into a bowl and added boiling water to it until the paste had dissolved. The soup was delicious and while I made this at home, this would be great to bring to work when you've forgotten to bring lunch or haven't got time to make it. It's also a fairly healthy option too. 

Overall, the box was good. Nothing ground-breaking with the conditioner, cleanser and moisturiser but it did include some items that were of interest to me like the Benefit Porefessional and the Miso soup. I know Birchbox is primarily a beauty box so if this is more of a box you'd subscribe to then it's a great way to try new products out. For me, I'm more a lifestyle girl and am more likely to subscribe to a box that offers things like food, homeware etc.

Birchbox have kindly offered my readers an extra box for free, for the first month you subscribe. Just use the code BBXSOH but hurry as this expires on the 20th February 2014.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Limited Edition Christmas Birchbox


Recently, I was contacted by Birchbox to review their Limited Edition Christmas Birchbox which comes free with a 6 or 12 month gift subscription. As some may know, I have tried Birchbox on and off and had come to the conclusion that the subscription was not beneficial enough to myself to warrant a monthly subscription. However, upon receiving the Limited Edition box, I was pleasantly surprised. 

It came in the most luxurious sturdy gift box which had a mint green base and a metallic silver textured geometric print top which lifts open. Inside were six items and were predominantly full-sized.

Inside The Box 

Liz Earle Beauty Co.’s Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (Full-size)
Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara (Deluxe Sample)
Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Body Wash (Full-size)
Macadamia Deep Repair Mask (Full-size)
Twistband Hair Tie 
Teapigs Peppermint and Everyday Brew Teas

This box blew me away; everything I received I was overwhelmingly grateful for. The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish is a cult product, one I'd been eyeing up for the longest time but had not yet made the splurge purchase. The Molton Brown body wash, I love. I received a small sample of a different scent in a previous Birchbox which I loved so I can see myself loving this body wash too. The Macademia Deep Repair Mask is also a product I had been pining for. I have ombré hair so my ends are extremely dry. I've been dying to try the Macademia range as I've heard nothing but rave reviews. The Twistband was the icing on the cake for me as it's something that had been on my wishlist for a while. I have thick hair and a lot of it, which means all bobbles and hair ties last an average of a couple weeks before snapping. I'm a big tea fan so the Teapigs teabags were ideal. I have a nice stash of sample teas in my work draw for pick-me-ups of all kinds and will be adding these to my growing collection. The Givenchy mascara was a lovely bonus, while sample-sized - it's still a deluxe sample and will probably be able to get a few applications from it and it is the perfect size for travelling.

While the monthly Birchboxes aren't something that I personally feel is worth the money, I think that the Limited Edition Christmas box is ideal for those who enjoy beauty and want to sample new products but feel a monthly subscription would benefit others more.

Limited Edition Christmas Box

Sunday, 8 December 2013

True Life Values


We forget the true value of life more often than we'd like. We are encapsulated in vanity, greed and competition. We measure success by wealth and assets not by happiness. Often we don't realise what we've got until it's gone. Some may know that I lost a friend a few weeks ago to cancer. I still wake up thinking he's here but he's gone. Not gone, comma or gone, dot-dot-dot, but gone full-stop. 

Gone. 

I have never lost anyone this close to me before and a part of me dies every time I relive a memory of him because I know no new memories will be made...but I am also unbelievably thankful for all the good memories he has left us and it makes me value life a lot more for what it is. It makes me realise that I am so incredibly lucky to have food on my plate, a roof over my head, family and friends who love me, a sense of security and good health. We as a whole, complain too much and appreciate too little. I never want to lose sight of who I am and what I have. I never want to feel unhappy with what I have, because I have a lot more than most. So many people are denied the chance to grow old, to love and to be loved. We prioritise things all wrong; we put our careers before our families and money before our health. We put our assets before love and in the end, we will see our deaths before our lives.

We are scared we'll lose our money if we follow our dreams. We are scared we will be hurt. We are scared we'll be worse off in the end. We. Are. Scared. But we can't live our lives terrified of making mistakes. We are so afraid of living, that all we do is fearing. We literally scare ourselves to death. 

James, my friend - he was a passive person. He did what he wanted, and while he didn't exactly bungee jump or skydive on a daily basis. He had no fear. He was witty, intelligent and he made us laugh. He made us happy....and we need to be happy, more.

If I have appeared MIA for a while, well now you know why. I am living and you should too. I am a little behind on my blogging but I'm hoping to resume pace soon. 

Remember...live now, cry later.