Selling jewellery online!

The last time I updated this blog it was to tell you about a new hobby I had discovered: jewellery making. That was back in January and so here I am two months later to give you a fantastic update.

I had literally just started with the past-time when I wrote before, and now I am a self employed jewellery-maker and supplier of beading ‘things’.

I have to say that immediately I started to create body adornments I was in absolute heaven. I think it is fair to say I have never enjoyed a hobby so much! And to be perfectly honest, the last few years I have struggled to find something worthy to fill my time, at a time when my health dictated I take some down time so it was needed.

It has been a learning curve. When I got into jewellery making I never realised there was so much to learn. It really is an industry in and of itself, even now a few months later I think I have still only touched the surface.

To date I have created earrings (the dangly kind), necklaces and bracelets. Bracelets seem to be my go-to choice when making a new piece of jewellery. I just enjoy them to much. They are relatively easy to make and quick too. Until recently I had been sticking with tiger tail wire, but I have started to wire wrap now too, which is an art in itself.

Very quickly I began to get orders in from friends and colleagues, which gave me a boost – especially so early on in my hobby. So I set up a facebook page and the likes started to come in thick and fast! You can view my page here: https://www.facebook.com/jewellerydesignsbyclaire

While this has been happening I have been working as a volunteer for a national charity in order to get me back to a point where I can return to work. I had also been applying for “real” jobs, and have been lucky enough to bag a very good job which starts in a few weeks. In the meantime I have finished my volunteering after 11 months of service and gone full time with my beading business.

Its proving a full time job in itself. This is because I have also ventured out into offering beading supplies. A lot of my time is taken up with liasing with suppliers to get fantastic findings and other things together for other jewellery makers to use but I am enjoying it so much!

I have set up an account on folksy.com which houses my online shop at the moment. You can view it here: https://beta.folksy.com/shops/vintagedreamsbyclaire. Please do visit it and spread the word as I havent had any sales through there yet and would really like it to take off.

I am also in the process of setting up a website so you can order direct from me but may end up going to ebay and amazon too, if I need to.

Here is a selection of my jewellery:

PTDC0081

PTDC0074

PTDC0062

PTDC0024

PTDC0043

PTDC0023

PTDC0003

Do you do any jewellery making? Or other hobbies? Leave a comment and tell me about it?

Please like my facebook page and visit my online shop 🙂

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Betrousse Beauty Box

A few weeks ago I ordered a beauty box from the French company Betrousse for the purposes of reviewing on my blog. I have now tried all of the products and feel ready to write a good account of my thoughts on them.

J.A.S.O.N. Normalizing Shampoo

When I first saw this product I thought it looked like something cheap; as if I’d popped down the £1 shop and came away with a bargain. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As it has none of the chemicals that normally cause shampoo to yield to bubbles, I thought it would be very difficult to create a lather. It is for this reason that I put off using the product for a couple of weeks. I shouldnt have though, because it did create a good soapy exterior. I had to add a bit more water to my head than I normally would but lathering was definitely not an issue. When I washed it off the hair felt squeaky clean. I added my normal conditioner and left it to soak for a few minutes. After towel-drying I could feel the cleanness even better and it wasnt as knotty as it usually is when I combed it through. After drying it was also softer and more managable than it usually is. I will be sat when this bottle runs out!

This Mango and Safflower Body Moisteriser is probably my favourite product in the box. A Fair Trade product that smells lovely and has a rich, thick texture. I really suffer from dry skin and need a product that absorbs really well into the skin and lasts until my next bath. I am pleased to report it definitely does that. It’s actually a really nice experience rubbing it into the skin; it relieves the dryness and makes my skin feel young and supple again – and at my age that is no mean feat!

This is a face scrub. Anyone who reads my blog will know I love my face scrubs. They leave me feeling so fresh and clear. I have to say this is my least favourite product in the box. Not because it isnt any good, it is. But its very soft and gentle. If that is what you love in a face scrub you’ll love this product, but for me the rougher the better. I really need it to strip the pores and I feel like if you cant feel it then its not getting in deep – but there is no evidence to support this idea. I think this product would suit teenage skins the best, probably boys.

I’m not normally a huge fan of lip glosses. They feel sticky and dont stay on for very long. But I am not really one for lipstick either. For the most part my lips stay nude. I am always trying to improve my appearance though so I am keen to find a lip product I can stick with. This product is very glittery and glistening on the lips. It is quite sticky though and needs to be reapplied now and again. Its quite a big tube though so that isnt really a real problem if you like to keep your lips covered.

This picture shows the option of having an oil or a toner. Which you get is entirely random and the product that arrived on my doorstep was the relaxing massage oil. I was very lucky to have my lovely boyfriend rub this into my back so I can offer a review of its effects. I am not someone who relaxes easily. Meditation does nothing for me and I have had insomnia for as long as I remember. Moreover, I have ME/CFS which was bought on by anxiety and stress – so I wasnt exactly hopeful for a bit of oil to do its job of relaxing me. However, I should have felt more positively because this product is utterly amazing! My boyfriend would claim its his magic hands of course but I am pretty sure there is some cocted ingredients that left me so relaxed I could barely move and had me closer to a natural sleep than I have been in years. If you suffer from stress I cannot recommend this product enough!!!

PS. Don’t forget about the competition I am running to win signed copies of a children’s series!!!

Take the Heat – Aussie (style)

There’s more to life than hair, but its a good place to start!

ImageThis is a Aussie hair care slogan and it’s so true. As I have mentioned in previous posts, over the last few months I have taken to straightening my hair. This is because its so dry that it doesnt sit straight (and it is wavy too) – not sure why my lightbulb told me to straighten it because this is just making the problem worse in the long run!

I was using serum to protect it before and afterwards, until I had a conversation with my hairdresser. She told me not to use it before straightening unless it has heat defense in it because its just oil and will fry the hair. So the very thing I thought was protecting my hair was probably destroying it. Ironically, I had been using the Frizezze product but changed to a Tony and Guy one, and it was only the previous product that had heat defense.

When I mentioned this issue – needing to find a good heat defense product – to friends on Facebook, one friend recommended the Aussie Take the Heat product. I’ve used the Aussie shampoo and conditioners and I certainly have no issues with those, so I thought I would give Take the Heat a go.

Take the Heat is a leave-in spray designed “for heat-damaged hair”, so this was perfect. Not only was my hair damaged from straightening, I also dry it on the top heat and dye it regularly too (though recently I have stopped drying it unless I need it dry immediately). The product goes on to say:

Our styling formula, with Australian Jojoba seed oil, is a protective spray that helps protect your hair against the styling heat while smoothing it when using a straightening tool.”

The way I use it is this: after washing and conditioning my hair and getting excess water off with a towel, I will turn my head upside down and spray it liberally, concentrating on the ends. I probably use more than is recommended but better safe than sorry! I’ll then dry it if I am going out, or leave it to dry if I am not, and then straighten.

The first thing I notice once it is dry is that it gives me more volume than I would otherwise be blessed with. And my hair feels silky. And looks silky too. These benefits are more than enough to justify the £4.99 price tag. 

When it comes to styling my hair with straighteners I have noticed that it takes more work than usual to get my hair looking sleek. It does what it says on the bottle – helps to smooth the hair – but the heat seems to take longer to penetrate the hair follicles. This is what we want, ultimately, of course – the product to protect the hair from heat damage, and so this can only be a good thing.

I’ve been using this product a few weeks now and I have noticed a slight improvement in the quality of my hair, so its definitely worth using – and is a product I will be sticking with from here on in. 

Have you tried it? What did you think?

P.s. Keep your eye on my blog for an up and coming competition to win two signed copies of works by the prominent children’s author, Inbali Iserles.

Batiste

ImageI am a latecomer to dry shampoo. I don’t know, I just never liked the idea of it. It’s why I won’t buy a kindle – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Paper books work fine, and so does traditional shampoo.

The problem I have – and I don’t know if any of you will relate to this – I feel a need to wash my hair every day. If I don’t then my scalp feels dirty and I cannot relax. This is fine, it takes two minutes to wash my hair, but since developing ME its become more cumbersome. 

Recently I have taken to straightening my hair too because it looks much better but obviously the effects only last until my next wash. And given that straightening severely damages my hair I want to do this as little as possible. So that is when I decided to give in and try dry shampoo – with reports from my friends, I was expecting miracles.

I remember as a kid reading in a magazine that talc in your hair was supposed to take the grease out. I also remember taking it and not thinking about the fact that talc is white and my hair is brunette! I had to field embarrassing questions all day about why I had talc powder in my hair!

I was told to buy the top brand dry shampoo, and this is Batiste. I was assured it works well but is the only brand that does. So I headed down to Superdrug where I was pleased to see they had the product on offer. 

Not really knowing what I was looking at, I picked up a bottle – “Floral & Flirty Blush” – paid and went home. I hung my hair upside down and began to spray at the recommended distance of 30cm. The first thing I noticed was how refreshed my head felt! It really was like having a hair wash! But when I swung my head back up in the right direction I was taken right back to my ‘talc’ day at school – My roots were white! When I mentioned this to a friend she said you can get cans for brunettes so the next time I headed back and picked up one of those!

I used the “a hint of colour – Dark & Deep Brown” the next time I did not want to wash my hair and it was much better. It still felt cool and it also didnt change my hair colour! Result!

As the day wore on though I began to feel that dirty feeling so it did not really do what I was hoping for. And although it did brighten up my hair initially, it did look greasy by lunch time. I suppose it would have been a good idea to take the bottle out with me and apply as and when I needed to.

I think this product is good for a quick pick-me-up but I wouldnt use it in place of a good shampoo. I havent really used it since – my son gets some use out of it though – but I wouldnt rule it out, and its certainly good to have some in the cupboard for emergencies.

3/5

St Ives Apricot Face Scrub

I have always had dodgy skin. As a teenager I was riddled with acne, and actually it probably lasted until I hit about thirty.  I tried every cream and potion you could find, used anti-biotics, even had a period as an outpatient for a course of Ro-accutaine. In hindsight though, there were two things I didn’t do that would have made more difference than all of the above put together. The first and biggest thing would have been to cut out all junk food from my diet, the second thing would be to use a daily face scrub.

While diet works from the inside-out and there is no substitute for that, a good face scrub will get rid of any surface grime, unblock pores and keep bacteria at bay. I have tried a number of different scrubs over the years but in my opinion nothing matches the St Ives Apricot scrub.

Whether I have a few spots or not (its quite rare these days, thankfully) St Ives Apricot scrub is my go-to face product whenever I have a bath (daily). It isnt the cheapest product on the face scrub shelf but its not extortionate for what it gives you either – in fact, I would suggest it is worth every single penny.

I have tried a few of them. The one for Sensitive Skin is nice and creamy in texture but is not grainy enough for me. I like to be able to feel the grains on my face when I rub them in. I can sometimes spend too long just rubbing my face, feeling more and more relaxed from the sensation it gives me (perhaps why this brand is my favourite). This is why its only the Fresh Skin version this scrub that I will buy these days.

When I have finished scrubbing my face, my skin is always very noticably clearer. It always surprises me how it can go from dull and lifeless to springing back into action with the help of a few little grains. The skin does feel a little dry when it dries but you are going to get that after using any scrub. I always rub in my face moisturiser afterwards and that solves that problem.

The best thing about this scrub is that its eliminated the need for a face mask to be used, which I used to do about once a week – now its once every few months.

If you are looking for a new face scrub to use, I cannot recommend St Ives Apricot Scrub for Fresh Skin enough. Try it and see!

5/5