Saturday, March 19, 2016

A-Z OF LIFE SERIES #4: DARING

Remember when you were a child, and you and your friends played 'truth of dare', knowing full well that NO-ONE was going to be spilling any secrets, and that everyone just wanted an excuse to be a bit cheeky, or try out something new for the first time - without being judged? (Well depending on who you were made to snog in a cupboard, you may have been a little bit.) There is something about going out of your comfort zone, with permission to be a bit different than you are expected to be, that is thrilling and can make your pulse beat a bit faster while giving a wonderful sense of freedom.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

REVIEWED: 3 QUICK CROCHET PROJECTS FOR EASTER


Crochet is taking over my life. Seriously. I am so motivated to crochet that I can barely lift a finger to write on my blog. The good news is, is that I now have  ACTUALLY crocheted enough to show you what I have been up to. There are just so many good spring crochet patterns out there to get your hooks into, and the yarn colours of this season are also just so yummy!

As an advanced beginner with the ol' hooks and yarn, I think I am in quite a good place to review some of the crochet projects I have found online. Sometimes I will.click through to an 'easy' pattern on Ravelry or Pinterest (you can find my Easter crochet board here) and go cross-eyed,  either from the amount of complicated stitch changes, or from the lack of detail to really help the novice crocheter. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

MOTHERHOOD ISN'T A COMPETITIVE SPORT (GASP)


I know I said I was probably not going to write much about being a mum, but today I am making an exception. It is 5:50 am.  Minibot has been sleeping on my arm now for 30 minutes. We are curled up on a rocking chair together while I help her to sleep. Today is one of the earlier starts, but every day she wakes up too early and screams because she can't get herself back to sleep. 

And, no, before you ask, she has never slept through the night. No, we don't need to feed her. Yes, it probably would be easier to let her sleep in our bed/put in ear plugs and let her cry/emigrate to a different continent.....but that's not for us. Oh....It worked for you? Well that is JUST super! (insert appropriate hand gesture here)

Monday, February 29, 2016

A-Z OF LIFE SERIES #3: CONFIDENCE

 

Have you ever heard yourself muttering 'I wish I had the confidence to ask for a promotion/promote my blog irl/travel alone/speak to attractive guys.... (insert your own here). I know I have. Even writing this post, I have questioned what right I have to talk about the importance of confidence in life, when I wouldn't describe myself as particularly confident, just quite good at faking it. Confident people seem to have the world at their feet: great friends, an amazing socal life, better chances at being picked for promotion. From school onwards there seems to be a pecking order, with the girls on the netball team having their pick of the cute boys, then the general attractive folk (including the rebellious ones) and then the rest, with the weird geeky ones (me) and the very quiet somewhere near the bottom. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

FREE ADULT COLOURING PAGE FOR BOOK LOVERS

 
I was having a good old natter with my fellow #craftblogclub twitter pals on Tuesday during the weekly twitter chat, and I shared with them a bit about the craft lull,  I feel like I am having. Although I am making lots, most of it is for my daughter's Christening and First Birthday and the ideas are either well worn or private details I want to keep as a surprise for my guests. The problem is, it leaves next to no time for blog crafting, so while there is a lot of scope for lifestyle content, I feel like my creative readers might be feeling a tad neglected.

Your free version doesn't have any watermark on!
After much reassurance from my tweeps, I decided to give myself a break. It seemed to work like magic, as I had the urge to doodle. That doodle turned into an adult colouring page for book lovers, inspired by books that changed my life some how. It is free to download here for private use. I'd be delighted to see the results of your colouring sessions so please tweet me any completed efforts. I have so many ideas now for future pages and a real urge to doodle away. Which books would be on your page? What theme would you like next?

I'd also love to know what you think about the sorts of creative posts you want to see here on Craftbotic. Would an inspiration board or a craft update on current makes float your boat, while newer crafts are a bit thin on the ground? Please let me know!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

LIFE HACKS FOR THE ORGANISATIONALLY CHALLENGED

 
Whether you can't remember family birthdays, need to revise for an exam, or plan a massive party, all you need is a few organisational tips and you will start to find these tasks easier.  I love organisation: lists, spreadsheets, apps, colour-coding, diaries, post - it's. ...you get the idea. Therefore I thought I would share some of my time management and organisational tips, which I found helped me feel a bit more on top of things. 

LISTS ARE YOUR FRIENDS!
I am not a daily list writer, but do like to use one for when I plan a big event or task. I planned my DIY wedding with the help of a spreadsheet and monthly lists which broke down what we had to do. We picked a venue with no catering, decoration or equipment, so there was a lot to achieve.  We were working under a strict budget and to top it off, it was all organised in two languages.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

BOOK REVIEW - DREAM A LITTLE DREAM BY GIOVANNA FLETCHER


I usually avoid popular romance novels like the plague. Not because I am a complete book snob, but because for a long while, the female protagonist (single, alone, stuck in a pants job, irritating ex etc. etc.) could well have been me. While some people may find it reassuring to 'identify' with the lead character and enjoy them jumping life's little hurdles (promotion, discovery of self-worth, settling down with that hot bloke who turns up at some point in the story), I just found it a bit depressing really. When you are that person, whose parents not so secretly worry if you will ever settle down, or who is the last in a very long list of friends who have coupled-up and tied the knot, the fiction clashes a bit too realistically with the fact and all hopes of escapism sink and its just easier to watch The X-factor at your parent's house again, while enjoying a free curry and a snuggle with your favourite cat. *the shame*

I don't know if it is because I am now married, having met my husband at the age of 29 in unexpected and almost unbelievable circumstances, that I am now converted - or that my brain can't cope with anything with multiple-claused sentences. Either way, Giovanna Fletcher's 'Dream a Little Dream' had me hooked despite an initial bumpy start with the first-person narrative.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BEAT THE JANUARY BLUES: THE CREATIVE EDIT

 
January is nearly over, pay day is nearly here for many of you and Valentine's Day, with all its nonsense, is just around the corner. Hopefully the socialising tips, make-up looks and book recommendations will have helped you so far with your fight against the January Blues, but we still have 4 more days to deal with, so why not spend it making something to liven up your walls a bit. After all, February is just as depressing even if there is (usually) a bit more money around to spend on pick-me-ups. 

I wanted to make myself a pennant banner for a while and decided that a motivational message would be ideal. Originally I wanted to make one saying 'cheer up' or 'it could be worse', but after receiving some bad news, they became wildly inappropriate. I wanted to use a mix of crochet and fabric for mine, but it is just as easy to use card and coloured paper.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A-Z OF LIFE SERIES #2: BALANCE

Finding balance in life is nearly as tricky as standing on one leg, whilst drunk and convincing other people that you are sober. In order to do so, you have to weigh up your commitments (work, family, basic hygiene) against your hopes and desires. I for one have chosen, on more than one occasion, to live an unbalanced life. 

I was working in a school and it was hectic, but I was newly qualified, I loved it and threw every ounce of my effort into it, often to the detriment of a social life. Relationships took a back seat, some wandered off never to be seen again, yet I wasn't actually that bothered  (cold, right?). I had passion and love for my work and as a result I managed to find a new position in a new school with some extra responsibility. I was actually excited to have more work to do! *cringe*

Thursday, January 21, 2016

THE JANUARY BLUES: THE BOOK EDIT

 Does your head feel as stuffed full of cotton wool as mine in January? Cold, damp weather, a lack of funds and short days are hardly inspiring. Apart from inviting your friends around to socialise on a budget, I like to beat the January Blues by reading a few good books. As I am usually brain-dead and skint, these tend to be free downloads for my Kindle, library loans or rereads of books I already have on my shelf. Here is a selection that have kept me company this month (be prepared for a few throwbacks to my childhood!). Hopefully they will help you feel a bit more chipper too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

BEAT THE JANUARY BLUES : THE MAKEUP EDIT


 It is 4pm, nearly dark and peeing it down with rain. The wind is howling, and our window shutters (because that's a thing in Germany) are rattling and I am waiting for minibot to wake up. We were going to go for a walk, as I am going a bit stir crazy sat in here with just a (very cute) baby for company. So what does one do, when thwarted by the weather? Play with make-up of course, make plans with friends, and stuff one's nose into a good book.

 If you caught my first post in this mini series to combat the January Blues by socialising on a budget, you will know that I am very much looking forward to the weekend where I might get to see a friendly face or two. For this post I was excited to play with some of my new Christmas make-up goodies, with the aim of spicing up my usual neutral eye game, with hints of blue mixed with the Spring trend of metallics. January is meant to be a time to try something new and as I have only just started saying: if you can't beat the January blues - wear them!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A-Z OF LIFE SERIES #1: ASPIRATION

 
There is no secret around these parts that I am a new mummy and worked as a teacher until I moved to Germany two years ago. Over the years I have had to dish out appropriate personal advice and support, alongside grammar lessons and Shakespeare texts (Romeo definitely has some rebelliousness problems) and while this does not qualify me as an 'expert' in life, it does mean that I have had many occasions to reflect on what makes people happy, and help them to reach their own decisions on what they should do to reach their own personal goals. Since the birth of my daughter, I have also often mused on how I should raise her and the values that I want to share  - so I decided to write a new series, posting twice (and sometimes more) a month, on a Saturday , in order to help me wrap my head around what I think is at the heart of having a happy life. Each time I will be using a letter of the alphabet to choose a word that I think is important for living contentedly.

Aspiration is one of the biggest motivators in my life. I don't see it as a synonym for ambition, which can often have negative connotations, or be associated with reaching the top of something. In some areas (particularly my career) I have been extremely ambitious, with some success as a result of stubbornly following goals, but it didn't make me happy. With every goal reached, it never seemed enough, culminating in bitter disappointment.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

BEAT THE JANUARY BLUES: THE SOCIAL EDIT


5 WAYS TO SOCIALISE ON A BUDGET

There's something about January that makes me want to crawl under a rock and reappear in April. Aside from the New Year's optimism and resolutions which lull me into another year of crazy goals (this year's doozy being to write a novel - insert 'lol' emoticon here), January is awful. From the weather to the fact that everyone is completely skint from Christmas, it really is enough to make someone crawl under their duvet, while resenting the fact they are eating yet another cheap and cheerful meal (cereal counts, right?).

This year I am going to be publishing a post every Wednesday to hopefully help us beat those January blues together, and today we start with how to socialise on a budget.  Let's face it - if you are going to survive the next 4 weeks, you need some friends around.

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