Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shops I Shouldn't Love: Store Twenty One

Hello Lovelies,

Since I don't have very much spare money I have to be very careful to make it stretch as far as possible. I still want to be able to buy new clothes and accessories but have to make sure I am getting the best deal possible. There are a few shops (online and on the high street) that I also seem to be able to find a gem in amongst the otherwise cheap rubbish. This series will showcase these sometimes overlooked bargain destinations!

First up is Store Twenty One, or if you are as old as me you will remember it as Quality Seconds and then QS. I have found some great fashion pieces in here and love pretty much all their homewares. You definitely need to go in with your bargain head on but with a little bit of rummaging you should fine something great!

Here are my favourite bits at the moment

Top - The print on this top is really interesting. I love leopard print in colours other than tan so this blue version is right up my street.
Jumper - I have been looking for the perfect oversized cable knit jumper for years. I think this navy one might be the one!
Leggings - I have two pairs of these knitted cable leggings and I love them. They are so warm and comfortable and at £6.99 each I think I need to stock up.
Satchel - This little red satchel bag is  my perfect winter bag. I love small bags as otherwise I end up carrying around lots of useless rubbish and the colour is just lovely.
Storage Boxes - I have these storage boxes in a different pattern and they look great in my Studio. I have seen very similar boxes for twice, sometimes three times, the price and I love that they come in such a wide variety of prints and patterns.

What are your favourite bargain destinations?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This Sloth isn't a Deadly Sin!

Hello Lovelies,

I have got the week off from work this week so I am going to try and put as much energy as I can into the shop. One of my favourite things to do is come up with new designs and ideas and hopefully I will come up with some good bits :)

The first one I have come up with this week is this sloth necklace which I am little bit in love with! I keep shoving in the boys face saying 'look how cute it is!!!' - for some reason he doesn't seem as excited as me!

 Look at his face!!!

He is available in the shop now

What do you think?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Puppy Love

Brooch - £5.00 

Hello Lovelies,

Just a little note to share a couple of new pieces that have made their way into the shop this afternoon. I love French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers way too much. If I didn't have Bramble and Casper I would definitely get squidgy little puppy! However having 3 dog would be a little bit crazy so I will just have to be satisfied with this brooch and Peter Pan Collar Necklace!

Peter Pan Collar Necklace - £8.00

They are both available over at my shop here.

What do you think? What would you like to see as my next design?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meet Casper

Hello Lovelies,

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a couple of months ago that we welcomed a new little bundle of fluff into my family. So I would like to meet our new pup Casper. He is a 2 year old Japanese Spitz and he is so soppy. He hasn't had the best start in life and is still finding his feet when meeting new people or other dogs but we love him!

Sorry for the picture heavy post!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Morsels - Carrot and Walnut Bread

Hello Lovelies,

This year I have decided to try and bake something new every week and I will be documenting all the results and recipes I use in a feature I am calling Monday Morsels :)

This week I had a ridiculous amount carrots leftover from Christmas but didn't want to make a regular carrot cake. I found a recipe for Carrot and Walnut Bread here and it sounded perfect!

4 Carrots - Grated (approx 250g)
385g Plain Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Bicarb
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
3 Large Eggs
350g Golden Caster sugar
200ml Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
 235ml Milk
70g Chopped Walnuts

This mixture made enough for 1 x 2lb loaf and 6 cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Prepare your chosen tins.
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
2. Whisk the eggs together in a medium bowl and add the sugar, oil, vanilla and milk.
3. Make a dip in the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients and mix together.
4. Mix in the carrots and walnuts until just combined 
5. Divide the mixture between your chosen tins and bake. My loaf cake took around 50 mins but the cupcakes took about 35mins

They are super tasty and the loaf cake is really nice sliced and lightly toasted :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 is going to be good!

 Hello Lovelies,

If you follow me on twitter (@PolkaDot_Dreams) or Instagram (@polkadotdreams) you will have seen yesterday the very exciting news that I won the Mollie Makes Guest Creative Pick Award on the Christmas Blog and Buy Sale Wishlist. I am still a bit in shock as I was up against some brilliant talent and was in no way expecting to win, in fact I couldn't believe I was even shortlisted!

Its funny to think I almost didn't even apply to part of the wishlist. In November I was feeling a bit disheartened with everything. My shop wasn't really growing how I would have liked, I was stuck in a boring retail job and I was being turned down for every craft fair that I applied for. I graduated nearly 2 years ago now with a degree in Fashion Design and felt like I had completely wasted 4 years of my life when all I could get job-wise was a minimum wage sales advisor position.

Get your winning Peter Pan Fox Necklace here!

I am not one for self promotion and find it really hard to big up my own work (I know I am crazy for wanting to start my own business when you need to sell yourself at every opportunity) especially when I did put myself out there only to be shot down. However one random November evening I was perusing Twitter when I saw the lovely El from A Thrifty Mrs mention she needed UK based craft businesses to be part of a Christmas project. Normally I would have typed a reply, thought about it over and over again and then deleted it because at least if you don't try you won't get rejected, right? Well this time I went for it and it was probably the best decision I have made in a long long time. Her lovely words, interest and excitement at my little shop really lifted me and I was over the moon when she included my little accessories in both her Budget Gift Guide £5 - £15 and her Under £5 Gift Guide. The affect these little mentions had to my shop were astounding and just wanted to say a massive Thank You to her for supporting my little shop and making me have a very busy but amazing run up to Christmas :)

It was on the same crazy November evening that I plucked up the courage to apply to a part of the Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wishlist and amazingly I was picked and the rest is history as they say! This year I am going to do all I can to improve and grow my little shop as next Christmas I really don't want to be stuck in a rubbish retail job! If anyone has any advice or opinions that would help me grow I would love to hear them.

 Another recent addition to the shop - a For Knuckle Duster Two Finger Ring :)

Finally I would love to say a big thank you to everyone who has visited or bought anything from my shop - you are making my dreams come true :)


Visit my Shop here

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stationery Haul!

Hey Lovelies,

If you follow me on Instagram (my username is polkadotdreams) you will have seen a little teaser of all the lovely new stationery bits I have ordered over the last week. As I have a lot I want to plan this year it was only right that I book a few bits to make the process a bit more enjoyable!

DISCLAIMER - Please look away now if you are offended by stationery porn. They can't help but flaunt themselves...

Cutest little animal stamps from eBay - £5.99 

More stamps from Boots Christmas Sale - £3.00

This little scheduler from Artbox is perfect as a desk calendar as it can stand up and as it isn't dated I can start it any time of the year! - £2.60

This lined notebook from Artbox is going to be perfect for writing lists and planning my time - £2.20

I am completely in love with these little sticky notes again from Artbox. Look at the Sloth!!! 

This diary from Joules is my favourite purchase by far. I love the little pictures dotted throughout the pages - £6.00

Have you bought any new stationery this year? Are there any shops I need to visit?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions 2013

Image Via Pinterest Here

Hello Lovelies,

I thought it would be a good idea to write down my New Year's Resolutions for all to see in the hope that it helps me to stick with them. I have never had resolutions before so I thought that it was about time to try! So here goes - lets hope I get past the 2nd January with these!

Don't Procrastinate
This is my biggest problem. If something feels like a chore I can get bored very easily and end up searching for random things online or looking for rubbish TV to watch. As I will be having more time off in the next few months I will need to make sure I plan my days off so I can get the most done whilst still feeling rested and relaxed. To aid me in my planning I have ended up buying quite a lot of new stationary (look out for a stationary porn post soon!)

Excercise More
I am sure this is on 99% of New Year's Resolution lists but this year I really want to get fit. I am really happy with my current body shape/weight etc I just really want to become more toned and fitter. I have a constant paranoid worry that if someone tried to attack or chase after me I wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight. So my main aim is to be able to run more than 20m without feeling like I am going to keel over!

Don't Forget about your Blog
2012 was a bad year for me and my blogging. I ended up putting way to my thought and worry into every post I wrote and lost what I love about having a blog. With having more time off work I will be able to dedicate a lot more time to this little blog and hopefully get the excitement and enjoyment I had at the beginning without it feeling forced or unnatural.

So there we have it in black and white for everyone to see! I will keep you posted through the year with how I am getting on with these resolutions.

What are your New Year Resolutions?

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