Friday, 29 January 2016

Competition Time!

Take a look at the Competitions, Discounts and Giveaways tab above to see my new competition - and be in with the chance of winning one of 5 personalised Love Prints in time for Valentine's Day!

Be quick - the competition ends on February 7th...


There are 5 ways to enter, and each entry counts - so the more you do, the greater your chances of winning!

Sarah x



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Personalised Valentine's Day Gifts: Top 10 gift picks for him and her

Unusual Valentine's Day gifts for him and her...
Valentine's Day is just around the corner - but have no fear, if you haven't given it a single thought you've still got time to find a really unique and unusual gift and have it delivered to your door!

Here's a roundup of 10 of the most popular items available at PhotoFairytales - each one is made especially for you, and fully personalised. And there's plenty more to choose from on the website, so if you're looking for a truly distinctive Valentine's Day present this year, PhotoFairytales is the place to find it!

You don't need to spend hours scouring the internet or the same boring old retailers - whether you've been together for years, or you're new young lovers, you'll easily find the perfect present over at PhotoFairytales. Give them something truly thoughtful and different. All with free UK delivery too!

Be a #giftgivinggenius this Valentine's Day with these great gift ideas -

1) Ticket for Love print, £14.50 (range of designs available)

2) Vintage 'Kissing' print, £14.50 (other designs also available)

3) Personalised Love Poem, £14.50 (available in a range of colours and designs)

4) Personalised Embroidery Hoop Print, £18.50 (other designs also available)

5) Personalised Newspaper, from £12.50 (choice of storylines available)

6) Timeline Print, from £16.50 (available in a choice of colours)

7) 'My Dear' Personalised Canvas print, from £16.95 (large range of designs available)

8) Wooden Photo Blocks, £6.25 per block (available in a wide choice of colours)

9) Personalised Blue Heritage Plaque, £17.95

10) 'Waves in the Sea' Personalised Love Print, £14.50 (other designs also available)

British made, handmade, and made with love especially for you - and not all mushy-lovey-dovey-fluffy-bright-pink-and-red either (but still unashamedly romantic)!

Are you looking forward to Valentine's Day this year? Got something romantic planned?

Sarah x


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Thursday, 28 January 2016

How to get printer ink off your hands...

Getting ink off fingers - choose your weapon!
Running a business like PhotoFairytales, this is a regular occurrence for me - I rarely manage to change an ink cartridge on my printer without managing to get a few smudges on my hands. Drives me mad!

This morning I had a complete disaster when a black cartridge decided to flood ink all over me, coating my finger tips and palms. So this is what I tried to get it off:
  • Straight away I reached for the nail varnish remover - took off a bit, but not very much.
  • Next I sent my OH into the garage to fetch his Swarfega (I love the smell of this stuff!) - and that, coupled with an awful lot of scrubbing took off another layer or two.
  • But I still had ink ingrained into the grooves of my skin, so after some quick googling, I found a tip that mentioned hairspray. I sprayed some over my fingertips, waited for about 10-15 seconds, then scrubbed it off with some soapy water and the nail brush again. By this time the skin of my poor hands were starting to rebel from all the hard scrubbing!

I’ve still got some ink imbedded in the grooves of my fingertips, but the ink on my palms has by now pretty much gone. I would say that I’ve managed to get 95% of the ink out of my skin - certainly enough to be ‘passable’! (Although I think if I worked in an environment where my hands had to look completely spotless they wouldn’t pass.)

The only other thing left to try is a bleach solution (roughly 1 part bleach to 10 parts water). But my hands are suffering from all the scrubbing as it is so I’m not going to bother this time - but I’m sure it would be the ‘big guns’ if I did need them to be totally flawless. (I’ve also heard that window cleaner is worth a try, and also those ‘magic eraser’ sponges, but I have a feeling bleach would be the best final resort.)

So I shall give my poor hands a rest and give them a treat with some of my Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector (seriously, this is the best handcream I have ever, EVER, tried). My hands are so prone to dryness and if I don’t look after them (or have a day when they’re in and out of water), they get sore and cracked - but this hemp handcream is great at restoring them. I can’t praise it highly enough, so if you’re looking for a really heavy-duty handcream I’d definitely recommend it. Bloomin’ marvellous (bit pricey, but lasts for ages)!

Have you found something miraculous for getting printer ink out of your fingers? If you've got any other tips do leave a comment and let me know!

Sarah :)

4th April 2015: Update - new tip! 

After having to discombobulate (yes, I'm pretty sure that's a real word...) my daughter's desk over the weekend we discovered her printer had been quietly leaking blue ink, forming a massive pool of the stuff under itself. Glorious! So, after cleaning up the hateful mess I was once again faced with inky fingers. This time though, I reached for the toothpaste - and have to share this fabulous tip because it does work really well (and smells an awful lot nicer than bleach, etc).

I used whitening toothpaste (not sure if standard toothpaste will do the trick): rubbed it over the inky bits, left it to work for about a minute, then scrubbed with the nail brush. It cleaned off nearly all of it - I just have a little bit left in the cuticles of my nails, but then again, I was COVERED in the stuff, so I think that's pretty good going! So, whitening toothpaste is going to be my secret weapon for cleaning printer ink off my hands from now on.

Mmmm... minty fresh! ;)

Sarah x

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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Jollydays! Fight the January blues...

They do say that January is the most depressing month of the year - with January 18th being dubbed as ‘Blue Monday’. Christmas is over, we’re all hard up and feeling overweight, the weather is bleak… well I thought I’d try and inject a bit of  warmth for you with my alternative calendar dates.


So, forget adding ‘pay credit card’, ’dentist appointment’,  or ‘worm dog’ onto your calendar, add these on instead - they’re much nicer!

January


  • 21st: Squirrel Appreciation Day
    (after all, who doesn’t appreciate a squirrel?)
  • 22nd: Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day 
    (poor cats, only get answered once a year - so make sure you don’t miss this date!)
  • 23rd: Pie Day
  • 24th: Talk Like a Grizzled Old Prospector Day (the day you’re officially allowed to call everyone a ‘varmint’)
  • 25th: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
  • 27th: Chocolate Cake Day(not to be confused with Pie Day)
  • 29th: International Fun at Work Day (see how fast you can spin round on your office chair, I dare you!)

February

  • 2nd: Groundhog Day and Hedgehog Day (also Marmot Day and Sled Dog Day, so if you don’t like hedgehogs…) 
  • 3rd: Carrot Cake Day
  • 4th: Stuffed Mushroom Day (although, as Shirley Conran once said, life is too short to stuff a mushroom so you may decide to skip this one)
  • 5th: Working Naked Day…ooh la la! (Also Shower with a Friend Day - could be quite a day!)
  • 6th: Take Your Child to the Library Day (a sensible one!)
  • 10th: Plimsoll Day (or, if its raining, you can observe Umbrella Day instead)
  • 14th: Ferris Wheel Day (oh, and Valentine’s Day - why not combine the two and take your loved one to the fair?)
  • 15th: Hippo Day
  • 17th: Random Act of Kindness Day
  • 18th: Drink Wine Day
  • 20th: Handcuff Day (interpret this as you will…)
  • 21st: Sticky Bun Day
  • 23rd: International  Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
    (your dog may do better with this one than you)
  • 26th: Tell a Fairytale Day
  • 27th: World Sword Swallowers Day
    (careful now…)
  • 28th: Tooth Fairy Day
  • 29th:  Leap Year Day
    (only comes every four years, so enjoy your extra free day this year by doing something luxuriatingly lovely - or propose to someone, I think that’s the other thing you’re supposed to do)

There now, I bet your calendar looks much more jolly now!
Sarah x


Friday, 15 January 2016

What I love this week...

I asked a question on Facebook and Twitter this week:

'If the month of January was a colour, what colour would it be?' The resounding answer was 'Blue' - icy blue, frosty blue, winter sky blue... (followed by a less optimistic 'Grey'!)

And that gave me all the inspiration I needed to go hunting on Wow Thank You to find all the lovely gorgeous blue things I could - and here's the result:

1: 'Nancy' cable knit hot water bottle cover, by tinyinc, £18
2: Turquoise sterling silver bracelet, by Justyna Sart, £22.89
3: Hand thrown ceramic tealight holder, by The Village Pottery, £3.50
4: Rabbits & Hares notebook, by Emma Bennett Collage, £5.99
5: Family Tree paper cut, by Floppsie Moppsie, £40
6: Felt brooch, by Fresh As A Daisy Gifts, £10.50
7: Blue and cream baby jumper, by Little Folks Knitwear, £20
8: Baby girl's linen dress with collar, by Tiny Bluebird, £27.50
9: Turquoise silver ring, by Maram Jewellery, £29
10: Knitted blue teacosy, by The Cosy Daisy, £13.99

If you haven't discovered Wow Thank You yet, go and take a look - it's a lovely site, featuring independent designer makers and artisans. I've got my own PhotoFairytales shop on there too - just click here to view.

Sarah x




Thursday, 14 January 2016

Put that light out! Living with an eco warrior child...

  • Put that light out!
  • Do you need the heating on that high?
  • Have you thought about working in your coat?
  • Have you heard of global warming..?
  • It is actually possible to type with fingerless gloves on, you know.
  • If you go without a bath or shower, it saves water and energy and money AND the planet…

These are just a few pearls of wisdom that fall regularly from my daughter’s mouth… And to be honest, although her nagging is a bit boring it does make me feel like a teenager again, so there’s an upside!

When I was her age the boot was very much on the other foot (see here for all the gory details about my childhood...) - and my parents were the ones with all those catchphrases. Now, as an adult, I’m hearing them all over again! I don’t mind really - I’m pleased she’s aware of these things - I just wish she didn’t turn out ALL the lights while I’m still in the room so that I end up walking around Scooby Doo style with my arms out in front of me.

And no, I’m not going to start working in my coat (call me a wastrel) - I shall stick with my little teeny-tiny fan heater, coupled with getting the dog to lay across my feet, and hope the planet survives.

Sarah x


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Charles Perrault - father of the fairytale...

Turning on the computer this morning I spotted Google’s very fairytale themed Doodle, and obviously had to have a click! What’s that all about then…?

Oh, OK, Charles Perrault (pardon my ignorance)… the chap who pretty much invented the fairytale… hang on, not the Brother’s Grimm then? That’s a turn up! Reads more… apparently he published his tales a full 200 years earlier than the Grimm boys!

He was a French lawyer, born in 1692, who published a volume of tales catchily entitled ‘Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals’ when he was almost 70. And featured in that volume are famous stories such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Puss in Boots’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, and ‘Blue Beard’. But he didn’t actually write these stories - they were folk tales that had already been around for so long that everyone was already familiar with them. But he was the first to write them down in a volume and actually publish them, and that laid the ground for every fairytale that followed (including those by the Grimms).

And like the Grimm tales, Perrault’s stories were pretty erm, grim. Over time they’ve become beautified and gentrified, but Perrault embraced the dark side of the tales. In ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ (‘Le Petit Chaperon rouge’) it's clear that the wolf is a man, preying on young girls who walk alone through the woods.

"I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!"

And then, there’s ‘Blue Beard’ - the serial killer who marries women, kills them, and stores their bodies in the cellar. Sleep tight children, and don’t forget to do as you’re told!

Of course, Disney films have contributed a lot in the smoothing over of the darker elements within fairy stories - but they weren’t the first to put Perrault’s fairytales and folk stories on the silver screen. The very first film was a Perrault influenced version of ‘Cinderella’ filmed in 1899. (I don’t think Disney have ever tackled ‘Blue Beard’- although it seems the director behind the 1899 ‘Cinderella’ film did, released in 1902!)

So, we have a lot to be thankful to Charles Perrault for - without him we may not have the tradition of fairytales that we do now, and these amazing tales may have been lost in the mist of time. No scary wicked stepmothers or lecherous wolves, no charming princes, and no fair princesses (who perhaps lose their hearts a little too readily to the charming princes, and are forever getting lost in woods - will they never learn?!).

Sarah x

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