Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas?

I do hope yours has been.  After failing to convince my bestest friend Bob to shun work on boxing day and spend the holidays with us its been a fairly quiet and non christmassy event even with the children here.  So, in this household we shall be having Christmas II on the 28th December.

I've been blessed with a few gifts again this year, one of my favourites has to be Monopoly for the Xbox 360 from the mister.  I think the worst has to be the 'knit your own bear' kit (sorry Mum!) as, although I can knit, I find it mind numbingly tedious!

Anyways never mind that, ti's the season to get crafty so last night I started the first batch of..........

tah dah!!!! Cranberry vodka! Having spotted some deliciously coloured cranberries at the market it just had to be done and it will be divine.  I'll even share the recipe with you at the end.

Talking of crafty, I've recently become re-acquainted with Martha Stewart so I have vowed that next year will be a totally hand made Christmas (OK, except for a few of the boys things, well you can't expect miracles from teens/preteens).

ooh I've also recently been given the gift of cooking technology - lol OK you got me, I had my cooker installed with huge thanks to my roller derby wife Zoe and her talented hubby CJ, theirs has been one of the best gifts this year - the gift of friendship.  Its also re-ignited my love of cookery! I've promised the boys they can help me in the kitchen more and I went as far as getting them cookery gifts this year.  Anyway with all these plans I'm on the look out for a food processor/mixer - its got to be under £40 as I'm on a tight budget but the sales so far are letting me down! Btw if anyone knows of a good one please feel free to comment.

Well I feel that's quite enough from me for today, I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening and have a merry Christmas one and all


ps I know I promised pics of that hair set - next blog ok ;)

Cranberry Vodka


250g fresh or frozen cranberries
1ltr Vodka
175g Caster Sugar

Prick each cranberry a couple of times with a fork and layer up in a large sterilized kilner jar with the sugar.  Pour over the vodka and leave for 2 weeks, shaking the jar each day.
Strain and decant into decorative bottles and label.

Enjoy xxx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snow stops play.....

well kind of! We're snowed up in the lovely hillside retreat I call my home lol - this is a testing time for us too, having recently lost usage of the cooker we've resorted to the steamer and health grill, steamed eggs were a novelty this morning! As per usual there's not a loaf of bread to be found anywhere but the milkman still got to our house in the snow for his payment so I know deliveries are okay. Today's lunch was also a blast from my childhood, Philadelphia cheese on crackerbread, I'd forgotten all about those little gems and they will be on my shopping list from now on.

Anyway, not to let snow stop play, I've decided I'm going to attempt one of the styles from the 'Style Me Vintage' book I mentioned in my last blog.  I'd been out and gotten all manners of equipment so lets give it a whirl! Results to be posted either later or tomorrow

ta ta!


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Birthdays and all that jazz......

Well here we are, another year older - you wouldn't ask a lady her age though would you?  To be honest it was another unsurprising year, birthdays seem to pass like any other day now (not even my boys remembered til prompted!) however I shall count my blessings - I felt less ill than in recent days, I received monies for my birthday which I am pondering on putting toward an over lock sewing machine and I received 2 lovely gifts from the mister in the form of a book and some glassware.  You may find it odd that I should get excited over such things but people who know me better know I love to read/learn new things and as for the glassware, its gorgeous! The book in question was the 'Style Me Vintage' one by Belinda Hay.

I'd read mixed reviews on this one so was not sure what to expect but in all fairness I'm rather pleased.  Its very well set out and I love the fact it doesn't bombard you with lots of styles, you get some basic ones which are good for someone just starting out experimenting with the looks.  In all fairness I do agree that more pictures in the step by steps would have been helpful but I think that alot of people will be able to manage with just the descriptions.  Unfortunately this has now made me covet hood dryers!

So from here to the glassware, you'll understand why I'm pleased in a moment.  I'd recently been looking on internet bidding sites at Babycham glasses to go in my 'new' cupboard, however I refuse to get into bidding wars and some of the 'Buy It Now' prices were beyond my means.  Lets just say the boy done good! After talking about it to a friend of mine who works in the fabric shop I frequent she mentioned that she had a set of 6 glasses in mint condition just sat in a cardboard box in her house - well guess who owns them now! The mister was totally stumped as to what to get me so I mentioned them to him and I get to go pick them up this Friday.

The final thing that made my birthday complete was the arrival of my Able Grable dress.  It was one I had been lusting over last year called  Miss Betty Amanda however the design sold out before I was able to get one.  Imagine my delight to find one was being auctioned on eBay in my size a few days ago.  Promptly I put my bid in with what I knew I had left in my account and I won! When the postman bought it to the house yesterday I managed to restrain from squealing but I ripped it open like a child with a gift and am please to say it fits beautifully.  Remember, Able Grable is still running the giveaway to win one of the exclusive hair flowers I made for them, pop over to her blog for more details and your chance to win!

Moving on, I thought I'd share with you some of the 'finds' I'd managed to pick up in the last few weeks courtesy of the Air Ambulance shop.

First up, I got this fabulous bracelet - unsure of what its made from exactly but its mother of pearl style and cost me an enormous 75p!

Next up, remember me mentioning the tea set I bought?  6 cups, saucers and tea plates for £5, identical to one my nan has that she's kept safe.  I love the fact that its a set yet each cup set is a different colour, you can see they've been loved but are in great condition.

And lastly, the jumble of glassware I bought.  Decanter (£1.50), 4 little liqueur glasses (£1.50) and 2 Baileys glassed (25p).  So very pleased with it all, though I have my eye on some sherry glasses to go with now, and maybe a cocktail shaker? Who knows!! Talking of cocktails, if anyone would like to share their favourite one/recipe with me I'd love to hear them.

Well I think that's quite enough from me for such an early morning post, I'd better try and finish getting this room squared up so we can start getting festive! By the way, hope you like the new look



Monday, 13 December 2010

a bit of a catch up!

Well it's been longer than I expected since my last entry but that was simply down to having no time and a wonderful cough/throat infection, but I'm here now.  I could start a little rant about couriers and dismal service but I wont, there's enough whining in the world and we all know it happens this time of year anyway!

Instead I shall bring you up to date with recent occurrences - starting with that coat patter I blogged last week.  I am finally going to get around to making it this week with a few of my own little tweaks (IE omitting the pockets, that's what I have a bag for!) and after much too and fro-ing decided to make it in a less expensive fabric at first just in case.  After much searching I found a lovely bottle green suedette, after matching the threads and lining I was a happy bunny, in total my first 'coat' is going to cost me around £12! Keep your fingers crossed for me not having too many problems.

From there to the home, remember I finally went into the air ambulance shop and bought *that* cabinet, well its arriving tomorrow so I decided last Friday to declutter and organise the room ready for it.  It was supposed to include painting but tbh I really haven't been up to it.  On a good day I can start and finish painting a room in a day and get things put back, I just need to have a good day! It gave me a chance to ponder on my paint colour choice though and I'm now thinking that duck egg blue may be a little wishy washy for the room so am debating a nice 'Hawaiian Blue' instead, we shall see.  All I know is I really need to get my cooker sorted so I can get my new one taken out of my living room!

Now to myself.  I am still a little annoyed at myself for cutting all my hair off but as I said at the time, it will grow back, its just hair! It just gives me an excuse to play with it a little more.  Usually I will set my hair using foam rollers and sleep in them for the night but I've been finding this uncomfortable of late so I am hoping these will be a saving grace

usually I don't get on with curlers and my hair is a little too short for hot sticks at the moment - I shall let you know how I get on.  This is all a part of me recovering my confidence, its surprising how nasty you can be to yourself when left to your own devices and I managed to convince myself I am just not good enough.  Scrap that! 2011 marks my burlesque rebirth and it will be much better than 2010, I guarantee it!

Oh, a small make up note - I ran out of my usual gel eyeliner so after reading a recommendation I picked up Rimmel's Exaggerate liquid eyeliner, it was said to go on really well and stay on.  What a mistake! Its awful, it goes on patchy and requires 2 or more attempts to get a good colour/coverage and the slightest bit of humidity and it bled! I'll be heading to the MAC counter as soon as I can (or as soon as finances allow!)

As a final note I'd like to draw your attention to a little competition the lovely Able Grable designer Miss Matilda is running.  I was approached by her to create some exclusive rose hair flowers and you have the opportunity to win one of them, just go to her blog Able Grable, while your there you might want to take a few moments to visit the website, her dresses are beautiful!

Til next time


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Sometimes ups outnumber the downs...

and believe me its been an up and down kinda day!  After having to cancel my performance last night for this Fridays event in Bristol due to the wonderful public transport system in the valleys I hit a bad low point.  This was supposed to be my comeback after a turbulent year but it was not to be, added to my slight thyroid induced depression and I was ready to throw in the towel and sob.  However, after having serious words with myself, I realised its not all bad - OK its probably dented my reputation but it means I can come back to the world of burlesque bigger and better in 2011.

So to today's events.  After meeting up with Zoe we set off  for our usual charity shop scour and tea consuming, first stop British Heart Foundation.  Now don't get me wrong, I've nothing against the charity itself but I now refuse to enter the local store due to the staffs rude behaviour.  I know things can get a little hectic this time of year but I draw the line at being physically pushed so the girl can pass me in a mostly empty store to get to the stock room!  So we continued our journey to the lovely Air Ambulance Shop, where, as we walked through the door I spied the cabinet I've had my eye on for a few weeks now still up for sale.  You know the moment in Wayne's World with the guitar, yeah, pretty much the same thing - it will be mine, oh yes!  We head to the back of the store to peruse the rails and after much to and fro'ing Zoe picks herself up a 'grandad cardigan', the big chunky wool type, but in the mean time I spot gloves! This store has been fabulous for my glove habit since they opened and today I added a lovely navy blue pair and a chocolate brown pair for the fabulous price of £3.  On top of this I nabbed a short sleeve sweater for £1.50 and debated on more glasses! After enquiring on the price of delivery for THE cabinet, I decided it was time to take the plunge and get it before I tempted fate once too often and lost it - and so, it shall be being delivered on Tuesday and I am a happy bunny!  From here we descended on the Cancer Research shop, this didn't throw up alot this time (I did note they were sorting through a delivery so will be back later this week) and after coming back down from upstairs I spotted a Westminster chime wall clock.  Well, we checked it over, perfect condition so we ask the cost - £3.00.  Zoe was over the moon! I did however seize the opportunity to tease her about how I'd found the clock and she'd stolen it (although her hubby would quite happily let me take it now by the sounds of things, I can see the chime being turned off hehe)

After racing back on the bus to get Zoe to her children's school play on time I called in to the tattoo studio where my other half is apprentice.  After a bit of chit chat I teased him to his boss about how he said he couldn't do the design I wanted for my forearm, next thing I knew it was drawn up and I was being coerced into getting the outline done - I'm really pleased with the way it turned out and can't wait to get the shading/colour put in.  Again its another personal tattoo, I've made sure all of mine are from my guardian geisha warrior to my space invader - but that's for another blog.  Anyways, this is the outline (or the best pic of it I could get myself) hope you like it as much as I do

Til tomorrow dear reader


Ta Dah!!

Just a little update for this evening as I started 'The Christmas Dress' for Zoe yesterday and its all finished and gone off with its new owner today.  After a little cursing at the machine, 2 broken needles and much stabbing of fingers (and Zoe's own brand of help yesterday) this is what we created (OK so I more or less finished it last night ready for her today but its all good lol) we also decided to tweak it a little to allow for expanding waistlines so a row of poppers were added to the back and we 'corseted' the front so it could be loosened at will

She's a happy bunny, I'm a happy bunny and have just got to go and make 2 of my own!? (still disagreeing with the fact the pattern says I need to make it in a size 20/22 but hey ho!)  Am also still hunting down the 'perfect' velvet for that coat - it will be mine!!

As for the moment, I am off to drink a little cider - purely medicinal you understand, I have the most annoying cough/sore throat that needs a little aid

Til tomorrow!


Monday, 6 December 2010

vintage weekend......

of sorts! As you may remember in my last instalment I was off fabric shopping for 2 specific dress patterns, well not strictly vintage for the one as I've come back with red and leopard print satin, however I shall also be making a variation in ivory and cornflower/lavender.  For the other I've picked up a lovely little almost flower print but as I shall be assisting my good friend Zoe with making her 50s retro dress too that's going to take a back seat.  However I am still on the hunt for beautiful fabrics as I've acquired this fabulous retro 40s coat pattern

  and after much debate in the fabric store have decided to go with velvet. Unsure on the colour as yet but am toying with either wine, bottle green or royal blue.

Moving along, Saturday turned out to be rather a fab day, I ventured in the rain to the 'Xmas Market' in town (which is usually chock full of naff items) and picked up a gorgeous little Stratton compact with all the original insides (not the powder!) and a lovely head-dress that I am now planning to use in one of my costumes, both for the grand price of £20 - I was rather pleased with that!

Onwards from there I visited one of my favourite charity stores and have now got my eye on a ivory melamine/glass/wooden cabinet to put my nick knacks in.  After a lovely lunch with the Mr I decided maybe it was time to stop spending on house/bits and invest a little in myself.  Recently I'd given up biting my nails which was difficult as I've done it since I was little, but my mindset was if I were to spend money on getting my nails manicured properly then I'd be less tempted to put them near my mouth, so I tootled off to one of those 'USA Nails' type places (my sister swears by getting her nails done by Thai ladies).  I did feel sorry for them as I haven't exactly got talons but the lad who did my nails was fantastic - although he did panic a little when he over trimmed my thumb cuticle, he looked terrified it was going to bleed and popped some antiseptic on them.  At the end I was so pleased I've promised myself I'll get them done once a month (£10, last of my birthday monies but so worth it) and I spent most of last night admiring my shiny nails lol.

Phew! I think that's quite enough about my weekend! Although I have a few more pics to share with you of my random charity shop finds - but I'll do that in the week when I've also got a bit of exciting news :)


Friday, 3 December 2010

Baby its cold outside!

Good Morning!

As we continue our snowy run up to Christmas I've come to realise how much I loathe how we become obsessed with spending to make our family 'happy'.  I personally don't like having Christmas rammed down my throat before we've even had Halloween and the idea of showing people how much you love them by how much you spend on them makes me gag.  I started a tradition in my own house that each person would get one 'big' present, something they really want and will make use of and a few smaller bits and pieces to go with. By doing this I am hoping to make my children less materialistic and it seems to be working - we even advocate handmade gifts as they are often that bit more appreciated and more likely to still be around 3 months after the event. Whatever happened to families just getting together and appreciating what they've got and the company they're in?

Well, with that off my chest, I guess I've picked the wrong time of year to be redecorating! I had the great idea to finally get my living room finished (as soon as I can get the paint) however I didn't realise just how much stuff had accumulated in such a small space! Not to be deterred, I shall be embarking on this endeavour next week, well, after packing everything in to the cardboard boxes I've got hidden on top of the wardrobe. My pan is to get painted and re-organised so I can put the decorations up the week after (don't start me on people who've had them up since October!)  I've decided to get a smaller tree this year, possibly white, as I can't be doing with adjusting the decorations all the time due to my kitten climbing the thing.

On another note, I thought I'd share one of my bargains of the week with you - I am a sucker for shoes and when I saw these I knew they'd be coming home with me

then when I looked at the price tag I was extremely pleased, only £4.99?? Yes please! The black ones are a little pricier but I can see me going back for them, thank heaven for Marks & Spencers outlet stores!

Anyway, I can't sit here gossiping all day, I have fabric to buy for I am about to embark on the making of these 2 lovely dresses

wish me luck! 

Til next time


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Back! And going forth

Well it seems I've neglected this little gem, but now I'm back and will bring you up to speed.

This has been a funny old year, discovering that I have an under active thyroid has hardly been a highlight but explains a lot that has been going on with me personally.  Add to that the battle with ex family over fair visitation, having to bow out of burlesque for the majority of the year and discovering roller derby, I think that's just about everything covered!

Anyway lets not dwell on the past shall we - onwards and upwards as ever! I've recently relaunched both my store (Miss Sweets Boutique) and next week will see my return to the stage, to be honest I am both excited and nervous! I'm having to do some costume adjustments as I've got a bit more 'stage presence' than when I was performing previously and I decided to come back with my signature 'Sweet Seduction' routine which previously was performed in a white costume with blue highlights - pretty but not practical so its being revamped in royal blue.  In spite of all that I am really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful ladies at Heels & High Hems in Bristol next Friday - hopefully the snow and my cold will have both disappeared by then!

Well I think that's quite enough for now, I'm off for some lovely mulled wine tea


Monday, 11 January 2010

By George He's Got It! and Sizeism Shmizeism

I'd like to start with an apology for not blogging during the snowed in period, with my boys home and cabin fever quickly settling in it was the last thing on my mind!  Besides we ended up getting snowed in before I could go for supplies and we ended up playing 1940s House - anyway I digress, we finally have some normality here and I'm back!

I decided to treat myself to Gok Wan's newest book, having been an avid follower of his I thought it only right to get upto date.  Anyway, as much as the male of the species may knock him, the boys done good! He's been preaching what all we lovely vintage/retro ladies have known for a long time - good foundation wear is essential! Its great that he's helping a new generation of ladies to realise this, and lets face it even the best of us need a helping hand once in a while right, and I guess the extra layer can only be good in all this snowy weather lol!

On another note, I've been on the end of a lot of snipey-ness recently because of my size (they have a problem, I dont, who needs to deal with it? lol) and I've noticed I'm finding it a little more difficult to convince photographers to work with me - hell some dont even message back which I find the hight of rudeness, manners cost nothing people! However there are some people out there determined to help break down these barriers and hopefully I'll be able to show you the results soon.  In the meantime I felt it apt to share this, the model/performer on this shoot is one of my idols, Dirti Martini, and she looks damn hot! Before you say it, yes I know its been airbrushed, but at least they havent distorted the heck out of her just to tick all their boxes! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do -  Dirti Martini Photo shoot

Well, I think I've waffled enough now.  Until next time


Friday, 1 January 2010

2010 - New Beginnings

Greetings again friends, I do hope this new years blog finds you in the best of spirits and a little less worse for wear.  I'm amazed at how many people have posted their resolutions on the various social network sites with the side note "wonder how long that'll last"!  Surely with that attitude you are setting yourself up to fail? I also love how the different diet companies do their big advertising launch today when they know you'll be feeling at your most guilty - I for one wont be joining their ranks.

Personally I've made only one resolution for 2010, not what anyone is expecting, no personal improvement plans, quite the opposite! I hereby resolve to revel in my imperfections, to celebrate the flawed being that I am! After all its taken me over 1/4 of a century to get to this point, and it turns out I like the person I've become!

On this note, I've decided its time to up my game in the field of burlesque.  I have had so many wonderful people inspire me over the last few weeks and so much support from my fans that I feel its time to pay my dues.  So, in 2010 I'm going to be releasing my inner Mae West and injecting a little old fashioned glamour and attitude to everything I do.

Enjoy the rest of your day

Amber Sweet