Pick up a pen & make somebody smile!

TOYW_facebook_2015Hey guys! So this week is “Thinking of You Week”. It’s organised by the Greeting Card Association and runs from the 21st to the 27th of September. Yessss I know….a great way for them to get us to spend money, but I actually think it’s a great idea. I mean why do we have to wait for birthdays and Christmas to send cards? Remember when we actually had to pick up a pen and write a letter to find out how people were? My son’s not quite old enough yet, but other than maybe their letter to Santa, has your child ever wrote a letter? Writing to somebody is just so personal, it’s not something that is mass produced and pre-printed. It means somebody thought about you, just you yourself.

God I used to love writing letters, I wrote to my Nanny, my little brothers, my cousins including one I never expected replies from, but he did reply and I think thats what made us that little bit closer. I had a couple of pen pals at one point too. My Bestie and I even used to keep a joint diary, which we took turns in writing in every few days, even if we fell out, so we always knew when and why we were annoyed with each other. I still like writing, hence the blog, but I’m also a writer of lists and I love posting stuff to people unexpectedly. My day is instantly better when I receive something other than a bill or some piece of junk mail in the post, and OMG if it’s handwritten….aaaaaaagh the excitement!!! Simple things….

So yes, I am promoting Thinking of You Week, ‘cos we all like to be thought of don’t we? Isn’t it a great feeling to know that somebody took time out of their busy, probably mostly technological filled day to pick up an old school pen and paper and write you a letter, or a card or even just a couple of lines on a postcard? (That was a reeally long sentence eh?) It’s also made me think of friends I haven’t spoken to in a while, not because I don’t want to, it’s just there never seems to be a spare minute in the day. It’s made me think of old friends that are always there but maybe I’ve been a bit lackadaisical with recently (I also want to apologise for that now too….I’m sorry…I love you!). It’s made me think of new friends and how happy I am to have met them (God I hope they don’t think I’m some sorta weirdo stalker now!!).

Anywho, I took a little time out Friday night to sit and write a little note to some of my friends and they will hopefully receive them this week. I’m also going to get my little man involved and we’ll have a little arty day where he can paint some one off cards, so some of ye lucky buggers may even get two cards!!! Two!!! Thats two non-bills flying through your letter box. I know I can feeeeel your excitement!! 🙂 I’m also gonna do a little something on my Facebook page so pop over there and have a look too.20150918_233138

So now I think the best thing for you to do, once you’ve read this (nosed through me other posts and told your friends they should read them too…hee hee) of course, is get writing…with pens like, and make somebody smile! Take a look at the Thinking of You Toolkit here if you need ideas, or you could make it into a family craft day and make your own cards to send out, which is eeeven more special! When you’re done with all your real life writing you can bring the tech back in if you like… take pics and tag @GCAUK #ThinkingOfYou #SendingSmiles.

Have fun and happy writing!

Donna x

*top banner is compliments of the GCA Thinking of You Toolkit

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Wedding DIY

Hey Guys! Sorry for the quietness, I won’t bore you reasons why…let’s just crack on!

One piece of excitement though, my brother’s getting married in May!! EEEK!!

Weddings can be a costly business so I thought I’d do a little post, inspired by my “Sis-In-Law-To-Be” aka SILTB on simple things you can do yourself to cut a few of these costs or just to add unique personal touches, to make it extra special.

As I’m here in London and the Wedding was going to be at home, I wanted my friends here to have plenty of notice, so I made our Save the Date cards.20150830_122308 I wanted something personalised and vintagey looking but I couldn’t afford the price tags for what suited my needs, so I headed to The Works (yes, I love this shop…ask Sarah!). I bought a couple of packets of pocket sized glossy cards. I also bought some photo paper from Poundland and a child’s dress up wedding veil. I then got hubby to don a white shirt and a top hat borrowed from a fancy dress kit, I wore a white dress and the dress up veil, and my sis took some black and white pics of us. I printed the photos off and assembled the cards as shown. Inside the cards had full details of the wedding and reception venue. To make things 20150830_123115easier on those unfamiliar with the area, I also included a list of local cab numbers from the airport and the hotel, directions via bus, train and car, and a list of other hotels in the area should they choose to stay there.

Now the Hen Do!

Invites; I wanted a Burlesque themed hen and as we couldn’t find the right type of invites, my sister made them up. She bought a pack of plain cards from The Works and I drew the silhouette of a burlesque dancer on each. Sarah then decorated each with a fluffy feather and some glitter. This cost less than a £5.

20150830_123702T-Shirts; We were going away for two nights, and I wanted us all to have Hen t-shirts made. I would wear white, the girls black. I bought all the tops from Peacocks for £3 each and I found some really great iron-on diamante transfers on Ebay. The prices varied on what you wanted but all in all the tops didn’t cost any more than £8 each. Each t-shirt was personalised to suit whom was wearing it so I got exactly what I wanted.246882_1924461305403_6115229_n (I should also point out, all the girls paid for their own tops…poor Bridey has a wedding to pay for so every contribution helped 😉 ) Obviously you will find all sorts of great t-shirts on Ebay too so don’t be shy…get googling!20150830_123644

The Big Day!! The theme of which was Irish, English and family.

Wow there’s so much you can do.

Ok so, I didn’t want the standard big ribbon on the end of each pew so Peacocks had a sale on at the time and I bought 30 white rose hair clips for £15, which my florist arranged into bunches of three and hung on the first 5 pews at the top of the aisle. (I also bought the ribbon you see there on Ebay!)20150830_122120

My bestest bud made my Mass booklets for me, as she is a computer genius! She sourced some lovely thick cream card locally and printed them all off, saving me a fortune. I can’t remember how much this cost but I think she 20150830_122936made about 30 booklets using the cream card as a cover and ordinary printer paper inside….God love her she even stapled them all together for me.

150918010651_wmI got this fab personalised cake topper from Just Toppers for £40 and it now stands looking out at me from my glass case. I love it. I picked up the “LOVE” sign in a shop in Gillingham for £3 and I bought the letters from Ebay, they’re about £1.80 each. I then painted them a pearly silver colour.307899_2176272160517_2008080345_nExcuse the poor pic but the feathers and diamante pins in my wedding bouquet were also a bargain from Ebay.150918012154_wm

Our tables were named after each of our immediate family members20150830_122602…brothers, sisters, parents, I think we had 20 tables, so I bought 20 vintage looking frames from Poundland and for each table, had a picture of myself and hubby with said family member on it. These were then given to each person as a little gift afterwords.

I made my own favours…well I say I made them, I got booted out of the kitchen for being a stress head and the girls and Ma made them. I bought Shamrock and Rose chocolate moulds, from Ebay of course, and Ash supplied endless bars of dairy milk chocolate (on offer at the time for huuuuuge bars). So each guest’s plate had a chocolate Rose & Shamrock favour sitting on it. I also bought some personalised Rose & Shamrock confetti to sprinkle on the tables, along with pink and purple diamantes from…….EBAAAAAAY!!! Hee hee hee. Mine were foil similar to these but you can now get some lovely little, personalised paper hearts, which if you have patience you can easily hand make. Also don’t be afraid to use a fun shaped hole punch to make confetti, a lot of Pound shops or craft shops will do these.

Now these next bits, I did not make for my own wedding but for others. I went through 3 pairs of shoes on my wedding day…varying in height down to flats. 😀 (Also this has nothing to do with crafting but, I really wish I’d purchased some of those heel protectors I’d seen popping up every time I looked at wedding shoes. My £200 (a gift btw!) pair of gorgeous sparkly, fluffy peeptoes have now got grass stained heels, as most of our pics were taken on the lawns, so do please invest in some.) I wish I’d thought of this at the time, I blinged up these Converse for a friend.IMG-20150509-WA0032                                    IMG-20150509-WA0008 IMG-20150509-WA0005

I actually didn’t do the toes on these ones, she bought them like that, but I have done before. This was fairly cheap to do too.

The garter I made for my Mother In Law, cost me about £6 to make. There’s a penny with the year her and her Hubby to Be met sewn in the back. As she likes a bit of bling I used an earring to make it more sparkly!DSCN1774

So there you go…there’s a few ideas for ya. Don’t be afraid to make things yourself, you’ll feel so proud when you see it on the day and it will be personal to you. Don’t let people put you off by saying you need to spend lots, remember, it’s just one day and really it’s not about how it all looked, it’s about two people tying the knot! Remember to scour local pound shops, even charity shops and Ebay is your friend. Check out Pinterest for some great inspirational ideas too.

Woooooooo….ooooh this day 8mths ’twill be the night before the nuptials!!

Tonight I could hug my boy.

Today I watched Small Monkey play with his friend Little E. Today I chatted about their futures with Big E. Today I wondered how he’ll cope with starting nursery in a couple of weeks. Today I kissed my Hubby goodbye on his way to work. Tonight I tucked my Small Monkey into his nice warm bed, smothering him in hugs and kisses. Tonight I thanked God he was born here.

Today Abdullah Kurdi mourned the loss of his family, he never got to say goodbye. Today he won’t get to speak to his boys, discuss their futures or kiss his wife. Today the world finally realised the war in Syria is real and real people are dying. Today a little boy, just like our little boy died. Today everybody knows who Aylan Kurdi was, and all for the wrong reasons. Tonight and every other night from now on Mr Kurdi will never hug his boys again.

Three years ago, the little boy we seen on the beach was born into a warring country. He never got the chance to know peace. His country has been at war now for 4yrs, all because some schoolkids slated the government on a graffitied wall. Can you even imagine it? Have you seen some of the stuff scribbled across walls in London?? Peaceful protests turned into acts of defence, nutty IS militants then take advantage, adding to the chaos leading to outright civil war. Everyday normal people, just like the Kurdi’s are forced from their homes, fleeing for their lives. They don’t want to leave but they do want to live.

Imagine having to make the decision to leave your home to save your life? Yes people do it, but this time you’re actually risking your life to save your life. You’re risking the lives of each of your family, putting each of them in danger to save their lives because this is the only way you can see how. You have family abroad, of course they will put you up. The way forward is not that easy though and you’re forced to take desperate measures. You make it through an 800mile journey, including  your own war torn country, to the rubber dinghy that will save you. You’ve paid, probably your life savings, to board this boat, this overcrowded piece of plastic.

A few minutes later, everything you love in your life is gone. Every hope and dream you have for the future is stolen from you. Your beautiful baby boy is gone, lying face down in the sand.

You asked for help, you tried to do it right and we failed you. You and the thousands of others like you, didn’t just wake up one morning and pack up your families to put their lives in danger. This was your fight to live and we failed you.

Yes, we all moan and complain about Britain opening it’s doors to take in these refugees, but maybe now we realise these people aren’t packing up their families, leaving their homes, their jobs and risking their lives, to come here to live on £36 a week and not be allowed to work.

I don’t know how to solve the problem and I certainly can’t change the world on my own, but sometimes we need to think with our hearts. You wouldn’t want to see your brother, your sister, your family suffer like this, would you? You wouldn’t allow it to start.

RIP little men, rest forever in your Mammy’s loving arms x

If you’d like to help in some small way check out The Guardian’s List…. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/5-practical-ways-you-can-help-refugees-trying-to-find-safety-in-europe-10482902.html