Sunday, 30 September 2012

Magpie Monday - denim jacket

This weekend I had a good look around in the charity shops and dress agencies for dresses to wear for the FrOctober challenge. There were no nice dresses in my size, but I did buy a lovely denim jacket with a slightly fitted shape. I have been looking for a nice denim jacket for ages. This one originally came from Principles and looks as though it has hardly been worn.

I am planning to wear this jacket at the weekends over dresses during October. That way I can stay in my denim comfort zone without resorting to jeans.

The other preloved item I found this weekend was a stripy shirt from the M&S Autograph Boys range. I am always pleased to find nice clothes in charity shops for my little boy. He grows out of things so quickly at the moment. This shirt will go in the 'too big' stash for now, but I think my son will like the stars on the cuffs.

I'll be linking up with this week's Magpie Monday at Me and my shadow because I am always curious to see what pre-loved treasures others have tracked down.

Me and My Shadow

Decluttering toys

My husband has always been a bit of a minimalist at heart, whereas I am much more acquisitive and untidy.

But a couple of months ago, I realised that the volume of clutter in the house was starting to get me down. There was so much stuff and it was so disorganized that we couldn't even use anything properly.

The toys were irritating me most of all. For example, all of my son's jigsaws were mixed up in the same box. This made it impossible to do any of the jigsaws. I have now sorted all the jigsaws out into separate ziplock bags and put them in the correct boxes. It took ages, but it was worth it.

There was usually at least one train set spread out on the living room floor and nowhere to put things away properly. The big fabric toybox I bought when my son was a baby was still full of baby toys, even though my little boy is now 4 years old.

So we took the baby toys to the charity shop. We also got rid of the toybox because it was too deep to store train sets, Lego and Playmobil - the small pieces would just have got lost at the bottom.

We bought some underbed storage boxes from Argos to replace the old toybox. We chose the blue storage boxes as these go with the blue carpet in my son's room.

These storage boxes are absolutely perfect. They are the right depth to be usable without small items being impossible to find. We can tidy everything away after my son has finished playing. And the really amazing thing is that my son even helps with the tidying up and tells my husband off if things are not put in the right boxes.

So we have a tidy living room we can actually live in at long last!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The FrOctober Challenge

I rarely wear frocks. Trousers are usually more my thing. Smart black trousers at work and jeans at the weekend.

But I am going to attempt to wear a frock every day for the month of October. This is because I am participating in The FrOctober challenge to raise awareness of post-natal depression and other mental health issues.

The slogan is:

Rock a Frock in October for Post-Natal Depression

I hope some of you will want to join in with FrOctober too. Here's how:

    •    Make a donation to our challenge charity PNI ORG UK here
    •    For all of October* wear a frock. Or a dress/tunic/skirt/skort/cullotes. Preferably a dress though.
    •    Recruit as many friends as you can to the Challenge – we’re gunning for at least 5 each.
    •    If you are a Twitterer, tweet a picture of what you wear each day, with the hashtag #frOctober.
    •    If you are an Instagrammer, put the picture it on Instagram
    •    Most importantly it’s about dressing ‘up’ and looking good to feel good.

I had a look through my wardrobe to see if I had any dresses. Sadly four of my favourite dresses don't fit anymore, so they have gone to Oxfam. But I decided that this gave me an excuse to order a couple of new dresses from Adini.

I've also got my smart shoes from Hotter and merino wool tights from M&S at the ready.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

We love Elmer

The original Elmer book by David McKee is one of my favourite ever stories, so I was very pleased when my little boy started to love it as much as I do.

Elmer is a beautiful, multicoloured patchwork elephant who decides he is tired of being different and disguises himself as a ordinary grey elephant, before realising that the other elephants love him for who he is. I think this message is particularly valuable for boys, as our society puts pressure on boys and men to appear to be dull and drab and not stand out in the way that they dress.

I recently spotted two more Elmer books in the local Oxfam Books and Music shop. My son usually asks me to read both of these stories together as they both feature Elmer's black and white cousin Wilbur.

Another Elmer item that came from a charity shop is this money box, which was bought on a trip to Buxton last autumn.

And my son calls this knitted blanket the 'Elmer blanket' because it is made of brightly-coloured squares. This was purchased in the local Oxfam shop.

Another handcrafted Elmer item is this cross-stitched picture I made using a chart from a book called More Storybook Cross-Stitch by Gillian Souter.

I'm linking up with Magpie Monday at Me and My Shadow. I'm looking forward to seeing what other pre-loved items people have found.

Me and My Shadow

This post was also added to a favourite blogpost linky at TheAnaMumDiary and 


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Tatty Devine name necklace

This is my nyssapod name necklace from Tatty Devine. Isn't it fab?

Name necklace from Tatty Devine

It was really easy to design this necklace by choosing the colour, lettering style, charm and chain colour. I tried various different combinations, and the final selection was as follows:
  • standard size
  • turquoise
  • sundae lettering
  • star charm
  • silver-coloured chain
The cost was £27.50 plus £3 postage and packing, and my custom-made necklace arrived 10 days after ordering.

In case you are wondering why I am called 'nyssapod', I'll give you the short version here.

There was once a Doctor Who companion called Nyssa. I rather liked the name so adopted it as my middle name when I was at school. It even ended up on my degree certificate.

My dad started calling me 'nyssapod'. It was actually a joke. But in 2005 when I needed a name for an e-mail address I found that all the obvious choices were already being used by other people. So I decided to use 'nyssapod'.

It's handy to have a name that no-one else uses, and now I have various accounts in the name of 'nyssapod', including

Over the last 7 years I've grown quite fond of the name 'nyssapod' - and this necklace is a celebration of that.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Stitching update: 21st Century Boy

21st Century Boy cross stitch kit

My current stitching project is a Jolly Red '21st Century Boy' cross stitch kit which I am stitching for my little boy, who is mad keen on space ships and astronauts.

I love the Jolly Red cross stitch kits because they have bright colours and no fractional stitches or back stitch.

Jolly Red no longer sell this particular kit, but I managed to get one on eBay. It has taken me quite a while to get this far with this project, partly because I broke my arm last year. But I feel like I have got some momentum now.

Watch this space to see how it looks when I have finished.

I'm linking up with Needlework Days at Feisty Tapas

Needlework Days

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Charity shops on Goose Gate

On Saturday I went into Nottingham to get my hair cut. It is now a proper bob shape after taking months and months to grow out my old pixie crop.

Anyway, I also took the opportunity to check out the charity shops on Goose Gate that present themselves as being 'a cut above' ordinary charity shops. (see what I just did there?)

White Rose 2

The first shop is called White Rose 2 on the corner of Broad Street and Goose Gate, which sells 'handpicked second-hand fashion' in aid of The Aegis Trust. It is a really lovely shop. As well as women's clothing, you can also buy cake plates, buttons, broaches and knitting needles.

My favourite finds from there in the last year have been:

Big mother of pearl buttons

Teal cardigan

The Oxfam Shop on Goose Gate is also worth browsing in, though the prices can sometimes cause a sharp intake of breath!

The Oxfam Shop on Goose Gate
The stock in this Oxfam shop can be pretty eclectic. My favourite ever item from here was this:
Flowery curtain
I didn't find anything I wanted to buy in either shop on Saturday, but that's the thing with charity shops, you have to go in fairly frequently to find the good stuff.

I've added both shops to a Google Map, in case you want to check them out yourself.

Linking up with The Charity Shop Blog Hop at Lulastic and the Hippyshake

Also linking up with Magpie Monday at Me at My Shadow

  Me and My Shadow

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Joseph Joseph kitchen gadgets from Find Me a Gift

Joseph Joseph Nest Utensils set
I’ve been doing a lot of de-cluttering recently. This has made me a lot more critical about the things I buy too. I'm trying to bear this William Morris quote in mind:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. 
So when I started looking on the Find Me a Gift website I was immediately drawn to the lovely Joseph Joseph kitchen gadgets, which are both beautiful and useful.
The first thing that caught my eye was the Nest Utensils set (shown above). We have had this a few weeks now and it is used daily, with the green spatula being the most frequently-used item. The colours are nice and bright and the utensils are easy to use and to clean. Plus the amount of kitchen worktop space taken up by the set is tiny, which is particularly appreciated in our compact kitchen.
The other item I have been impressed with is the Rocker Garlic Press (shown below). Most garlic presses I have tried have been infuriately fiddly to use and to clean and I was starting to wonder whether I would ever find one that would justify the space it took up. Well now I have found a wonderful garlic press that does the job perfectly and looks elegant to boot.
Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic crusher
So why buy these items from Find Me a Gift rather than from a department store or kitchenware shop? I found the Find Me a Gift website easy to browse, and liked the fact that there were videos of the products in use. There are also customer reviews to help you choose the right gift. And there is a loyalty points scheme which means that you can get discounts off future purchases.
I was so impressed with both of these Joseph Joseph items that I have bought a couple more to give away as presents.

Disclosure: I received a Scribe Portable Laptop Stand worth £34.99 from Find Me a Gift and had originally planned to write a review of that. But I was actually more impressed with these Joseph Joseph items that I bought myself. All reviews are completely honest.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Magpie Monday - this week's finds

I set out with good intentions not to buy very much on Saturday, but the local charity shops were full of treasure so my good intentions fell by the wayside.

The first thing I found was this multi-section bracelet:

The colours of the bracelet will go really well with some of my teal clothes and with my fitted denim dress.

The next things I spotted were two Goldfrapp albums in the Oxfam Books & Music shop. Supernature has been on my wish list for a while, and to get this together with Black Cherry for £2 each seemed like a real bargain.

Finally, there were some lovely retro homewares in the main Oxfam shop and I came out with a set of Tupperware sandwich containers and a pyrex dish. 

The pyrex dish is virtually pristine with bright cheerful colours and I'm looking forward to cooking something in it. It's fair to say that the Tupperware containers have seen better days, but they will be good for storing toys or craft items. 

I am linking up with Magpie Monday at Me and My Shadow.

Me and My Shadow

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge

At the beginning of the year I signed up to the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge, setting myself a target of 25 books. This may not sound very ambitious, but I don't get as much chance to read as I used to before I became a mum.

This is a quick audioboo I recorded at the beginning of this year when I'd just started the challenge:

I am pleased to report that I have now read 25 books. It feels like a good achievement, even though some of the books were quite short and easy to read!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
nyssapod has completed her goal of reading 25 books in 2012!

nyssapod's bookshelf: read

A is for Alibi
V is for Vengeance
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
Banish Clutter Forever: How the Toothbrush Principle Will Change Your Life
The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture
Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
Hope & Glory: The Days That Made Britain
Five Go Off in a Caravan
Emma Hearts LA
Cursed Among Sequels
The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography
DVD Extras Include: Murder
The Secret Garden
Help!: How to Be Slightly Happier, Slightly More Successful and Get a Bit More Done
Doctor Who - Shada
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Geek Tragedy

nyssapod's favorite books »

Friday, 7 September 2012

Starting afresh

I feel the need to start afresh. Blank page in a new notebook. Apologies for any confusion caused but I have my reasons.

The place where I used to blog became too public, too visible and it no longer felt like it was mine any more.

So here I am. Using my old nickname - nyssapod

Hopefully my real friends will find me here.