Saturday, 19 July 2014

A wander around Tyntesfield

We went to Tyntesfield for a wander around in late April. I can't believe how long it's taken me to look at these photos, but hey, that's the joy of trying to sell a house.

Tyntesfield is a National Trust property between Bristol and Clevedon, it was bought by the National Trust in 2002 and since then they've been working on it's renovation. We thought that a nice spring day was a good excuse for a wander round, particularly as it has a restaurant well-known for its cream teas. As the photographs probably indicate, the gardens were pleasant to walk around, but the house less interesting, being the remnants of what the previous owners didn't want and being too modern to be of any real historical interest.

If you're in the area it's perfect if you want somewhere to walk around with a few things to look at. Oh, and the cream tea deserves its reputation. That was eaten before I had a chance to photograph it!

Dandelion clock
Walled kitchen garden
Kitchen garden
Main staircase at TyntesfieldFamily chapel
Stained glass in the family chapel

Friday, 9 May 2014

Selling gold and silver jewellery

I'd be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a magpie. I love anything shiny or glittery and as a result I have a lot of jewellery that I've collected over the last twenty or so years. I've got so much that I only wear a very small proportion, which always seems a waste.

I've tried selling jewellery on eBay, but without any success and have given some to charity, which feels good, but doesn't actually help my finances. I inherited some jewellery late last year and at the same time had a sort out of my existing jewellery. A couple of the pieces I'd inherited needed resizing or professional cleaning and so I decided to rationalise my jewellery and sell some of the jewellery I never wore, to pay for the work to the pieces which had some sentimental value.

I sorted through everything, kept items which I felt I would wear and made a pile of everything else. From that I tried to eliminate pieces of costume jewellery made out of stainless steel or which were silver plated, these were consigned to landfill. I then sorted the remainder into piles of silver, yellow gold and white gold. I only really wear white metal jewellery and so didn't have much yellow gold. Some of it was clearly a different colour to the rest and so I thought it must either be plated, or some other metal, but I included it just in case.

I then did an online search to find a reputable company to sell my jewellery to. Hatton Garden Metals came up a few times, so I registered with their site. I weighed the various collections of metal and input the weights into their website, to get an idea of how much I could expect from selling my metal to them. Silver really has very little value, but gold is still valuable. I was amazed to see that my collection was worth £283 (£261 for gold and £22 silver), but I was sceptical as there were some stones which would need to be removed which would reduce the weight, and as I mentioned above, I wasn't sure all the gold items really were gold. I decided that as long as I got more than £100 I'd be happy, as that would pay for the work I needed doing to the jewellery I'd inherited. I packaged it all up and posted it off.

I heard back a couple of days later that, as I'd suspected, some of the items weren't pure metal and they could pay me £147 (£127 for gold and £20 for silver). If I wasn't happy, they could return the items to me at a cost, but they'd have some damage (stones would have been removed and some pieces marked from testing). As any jewellery they returned would just go back into a drawer, I was happy to get nearly £150 for jewellery I didn't wear, so I happily accepted their offer.

The money was paid into my bank account within a couple of days. The whole process was really painless.

If you've got jewellery which means anything to you or that has any history, I wouldn't suggest selling it to a metal merchant. However, if you're like me and have a drawer full of jewellery you don't wear, it's an easy way of turning it into money that you can make more use of. I was happy with Hatton Garden Metals, but again, it's worth checking reviews, as you don't want to post your jewellery to a disreputable company, and risk never hearing from them again, or getting a poor price for your possessions.

To give you an idea, this is the jewellery I sold (yellow gold, then silver, then white gold). Some of it was broken or damaged, but as they simply remove stones and melt the metal down, it doesn't make any difference to them.

Old gold jewellery

Old silver jewellery
Old white gold jewellery

If you decide to sell anything, let me know. I'd love to hear how you get on.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Beauty box swap

As a lifestyle rather than beauty blogger, I'd never taken part in a beauty swap before. When I read about one that Kat was organising on her blog, I couldn't resist. I tend to stick to the same sort of products, so the idea of trying a selection of new and unexpected items really appealed.

I was paired with Kel from Adventures in Tea and Cake. The only downside was that her blog makes me want to call in for tea and cake at every quaint tea shop I pass, so far I'm pretty much resisting! We exchanged a few emails, decided on a budget, shared a few likes and dislikes and we were off! When my box arrived I was really excited, so excited in fact that I saved it until the weekend so that I could enjoy taking my time over it.

Beauty box swap
Beauty box swap

I was so pleased with the collection of things that Kel had picked for me. As I've not worn lipstick for eighteen months or so, Kel made sure I had a few options, with a matt lipstick from MUA in pouty pink, a Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Sirius and a Fashionista Double Take long-wear lipstick in raspberry. I've already started wearing these, and can't work out why I've gone without lipstick for so long!

She also sent me some DHC Deep Cleansing Oil which is one of her favourite cleansing products. It's not something I'd tried before, but the best thing about a swap is finding great new products that you'd not have tried otherwise! Also in the box were bottles of body lotion and bath and shower cream from one of her favourite shops, Rose & Co. These smelt amazing and I do love a good soak in the bath, so they were much appreciated.

Next out of the box was a chocolate face mask, I'm embarrassed to say I've probably not used a face mask for ten years, but I shall now! I also had a couple of products from elf, an all over color stick, which I've been using on my cheeks and lips, and a jumbo eyeshadow stick, which gives a nice shimmery appearance to my eyes. Finally, there was a Body Shop eyeliner which is now my daily eyeliner (it's that good!) and some Elisha Coy CC cream, which I'm looking forward to trying when the weather's a little warmer and I can cast my foundation aside!

Thanks again to Kel for my beauty box. I honestly can't think of a better selection of products I could have received. I'll definitely be keen to sign up for beauty swaps again in the future!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Blog sale

I'm trying to have a clear out before moving home later in the year. I have loads of products which either haven't been used, or have only been used once or twice, so thought this might be a good way of hopefully finding a few of them new homes.
  • UK postage costs will usually be £2.50, plus 50p for each additional item. If any items are large / heavy, I'll advise you if they'll cost more.
  • Please let me know if you'd like anything posted internationally and I'll let you know the cost.
  • If you are interested in anything, or have any questions, please leave me a comment below. I'll reserve them for you for 48 hours, but if they're then not paid for, I'll make them reavailable. 
  • Payment to be made via Paypal.
  • Proof of postage will be obtained for all items. 
  • All items sold as seen. 
Happy shopping!

this works clean skin 5-in-1 water - used once (purchased in error) - £10.00 (RRP £21.00)
Soap & Glory Heel Genius - new (duplicate item) - £3.00 (RRP £5.50)
Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter - new (duplicate item) - £6.00 (RRP £10.50)
Soap & Glory Hand Food - new (duplicate item) - £3.00 (RRP £5.00)

Bio-Oil - used twice - £10.00 (RRP £19.99)
Kerastase Elixir Ultime - used three or four times - £13.00 (RRP £26.50)
Tend Skin - used three or four times - £9.00 (RRP £19.99)
No Bump - used three or four times - £5.00 (RRP £11.20)

Benefit Dr Feelgood - new - £12.50 (RRP £23.50) SOLD!
Clarins Beauty Flash Balm - used two or three times - £14.00 (RRP £29.00)
Dermalogica overnight skin rescue kit - new - £20.00
Clinique Super City Block - new - £10.00 (RRP £17.00)

Benefit High Beam - used twice - £9.00 (RRP £19.50)
Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker - new - £6.00 (RRP £10.00)
The Balm FratBoy blusher - usage shown - £5.00 (RRP £14.50) 
Maybelline Dream Sunglow - new - £2.00

Urban Decay Heavy Metal glitter eyeliner - used twice - £6.00 (RRP £13.00)
Max Factor False Lash Effect waterproof mascara - new - £6.50 (RRP £10.99)
MAC Pearlglide eye liner in Undercurrent - usage shown - £7.50 (RRP £15.00) 
Urban Decay lip pencil in Naked - new - £6.00
Eyeko skinny liquid eyeliner in black - used once - £5.00 (RRP £12.00)
Soap & Glory Thick & Fast mascara - new - £6.00 (RRP £10.00)
Seventeen clear definition mascara - used once - £2.00 (RRP £4.50)
Daniel Sandler Eye Delight loose powder - new - £4.50 (RRP £8.00)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Spring has sprung

Although the weather's still a little unpredictable, it's nice to know that Spring is here. The sunshine makes everywhere look more welcoming and the garden looks much better now that it's sprouting. The light evenings make such a difference, especially to my afternoon commute, even if the light mornings mean I'm awake before my alarm goes off!

We've planted up hanging baskets and troughs and they all seem to be doing well, despite being hit by a frost on their first morning. Hopefully by putting them out early their roots will have spread before our first long, dry spell.

I've nipped into the garden a few times over the past month or so, whenever we have some nice weather, to make the most of it. I've included some of my favourite photos below of the garden bursting into life.

Wedding cake tree
Wedding cake tree
Tree in bud
Ornamental cherry tree
Ornamental cherry tree
Yellow flowerForget me not
Yellow flower
White flower
Blue flower
Tree in leaf
Cherry blossom

Monday, 21 April 2014

Braces - are we nearly there yet??

Somehow another three months has passed since my last brace update. My last appointment was six weeks ago, which means I'm back again this week.

My last appointment was relative easy, my wires put up a bit of a fight, but I've come to expect that. They were replaced with similar wires, again my top wire was virtually a straight line to encourage my molars to move out and my bottom wire had a step in it to try and bring in my bottom molars. I literally have one biting point that isn't quite right, as my bottom molar is sitting outside of my top molar. Hopefully this should fix it. My orthodontist is a perfectionist, if you can't tell! I've still got powerchain on my lower arch to stop the gaps from opening up again on the bottom left hand side.

This was the photograph taken immediately after my last appointment.

Whilst I'm optimistic that I'm almost done as my bite now seems to be correct all round, I'm aware that I've got a visible gap between my upper and lower arches on the left hand side, but not on the right. That may be due to my right centre top tooth resting on the bracket on my tooth below throwing off my bite, but I can't be sure. Hopefully I'll find out this week. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Spotting the International Space Station - Part 2

Despite assuring my husband that I'd taken enough photographs of the ISS and we could put the tripod away, I couldn't resist going back out yesterday for the last extremely bright passing of the ISS until June.

Last night's first pass was relatively early and so the first few photos are quite light. I could tell it was still twilight as I had a couple of bats keeping me company. I ended up being outside for almost an hour as once the ISS had passed, I then started spotting constellations. I just could have done with a slightly wider angle lens, maybe in June!

Again, I started with firing off a few test shots, to check what ISO worked and to check the sky was in focus. This time the ISS passed much higher in the sky, but it gave me plenty of time to grab a few shots.

ISS sightingISS sighting
ISS light trail
ISS light trail
ISS and Dragon light trails

In the last photo, if you look really closely you can see a second, much fainter, light trail behind the ISS, about a couple of inches from the top in the middle of the tree. This is the Dragon cargo ship, due to connect with the ISS today.

I then started gazing at the stars, wondering what I was looking at and downloaded the Star Chart app. I do love Wifi, being able to download apps from my back garden is amazing! This gave me a much better idea of what I was looking at.

Pollux, Castor and Jupiter in the night sky

I was determined to photograph The Plough, but my lens wasn't quite wide enough, try as I might I could only capture six of the seven stars. A plane did fly past as I was capturing it though, which added a bit of interest and made me feel a bit better about not getting the whole constellation. Something to aim for in June!

The Plough (Big Dipper) and passing aircraft