Wednesday, 6 August 2014

:: Time for a change

I started to draft this blog post back in May when I ended my career break from teaching and stepped back into the classroom. Despite being adamant that I would not return to full time teaching ever again I willingly accepted a full time, long term supply contract in a local high school. Much to my surprise and to those who know me well, I enjoyed it. It wasn't a bed of roses, managing teenagers never is! But, I relished the challenge and have a strong sense that teaching is where I am meant to be. I knew this back in May and I knew that Poppy Sparkles was a season of my life that was and is drawing to a close. I've hesitated over wrapping things up, but now there is a strong urge to do it now. 

So, I've switched names on my twitter, instagram and pinterest to a new name - liveandletviv - across them all if you're interested to joining me on my new adventure as 'me' rather than the Poppy Sparkles Jewellery me. 

I'm undecided over whether to continue blogging as I'm conscious of not spending all my time online and creating content. If I am to resume my teaching career then I want time to be creative and relax without it becoming about creating for an audience. But it may be that I can't resist the urge to blog, we'll see! 

And so, as I draw my last Poppy Sparkles blog post to a close, I would like to say a massive thank you to all those who have supported me over the last 4 and a bit years. I have felt honoured to create special jewellery pieces for so many people and have appreciated all the support in its many forms. Thank you, thak you, thank you. 

My Etsy shop will remain open for a little while as there are still a few things in stock.  It is likely that I will close it in early September, but may leave it going a little while longer dependent on the level of supply teaching work I have and how looking for a teaching position goes. 

Thank you once again, 



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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

:: The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry Collection

New Raspberry Body Collection by The Body Shop #beauty #bodyshop

The new collection from The Body Shop is good enough to eat. Although, I wouldn't advise it! I was lucky enough to be sent some of the new Early Harvest Raspberry Body Collection to try out - a body butter and eau de toilette*. 

If you're like me, you're probably wondering why it couldn't just be called Raspberry. What's with the early harvest? Well, The Body Shop says, "At the first signs of Spring, these early-harvested raspberries are picked. Early harvesting helps to preserve their skin-boosting antioxidants". 

I'm a big fan of The Body Shop body butters and this was no exception with the trademark richness I associate with their body butters. Like a rich butter, this melts into the skin providing lasting hydration and comfort. I love using the body butters and this is a great scent for summer. 

New Raspberry Body Collection by The Body Shop #beauty #bodyshop

I found the eau de toilette a little weak and didn't find that the scent remained for long. Although, I must confess that sweet fruit scents are not really my thing and I opt for heavier fragrances. I also tend to opt for floral scents, so I don't think I was ever going to really embrace a raspberry scented perfume. 

Although I am not big on fruit scents I thought that the raspberry body butter wasn't overpoweringly sweet and fruity. It's a great scent for summer and I even think I might grow to like it. I have a feeling that Miss P might take a shine to this too - it's pink for starters! Whilst it may not be my favourite Body Shop scent (and I am a genuine Body Shop fan) I have heard others rave about it. 

The new Raspberry Body collection at The Body Shop was launched just a few weeks ago and is available to purchase in store and online. There is a full collection of raspberry scented items - body butter, body scrub, body lotion, shower gel and eau de toilette. 

Have you tried the new Early Harvest raspberry collection? Or perhaps the new blueberry collection? Are you a fruit scented fan? 


* PR samples, but views are my own. 


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Saturday, 5 April 2014

:: Filofax Decorating Week 15

Filofax Decorating Week 15 #filofax #diary #planner #filofaxaddict

As we head to Easter I couldn't resist including some cute chicks on my pages or some very springtime green and yellow.

Filofax Decorating Week 15 #filofax #diary #planner #filofaxaddict

I love how fresh the yellow and green are together - very lemon and lime with a fresh and zesty feel. 

What are your favourite colour combinations for Spring? 



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Thursday, 3 April 2014

:: Crayola Twistables - No sharpen pencils

Twistables - no sharpen pencils! Great for keeping kids entertained whilst out and about1 #kids #drawing #parenting

I have a bag that comes with us when we go some place that will require the kids to be quiet or as quiet as kids can be! I have some colouring in books, sticker books and plain paper along with pencils. Sometimes we've had small games and now and again Miss P manages to sneak in something random. 

We had been using crayons for colouring on the go, but they are getting too clumsy for my kids who are now started to need something more accurate for drawing, colouring and writing. But, pencils require sharpening which is not ideal in the middle of a church service or whilst having lunch out. I wanted a solution that was fuss free, so I could basically throw the bag of tricks at the kids and know that they were good to draw with no hassle. 

The answer I found is Crayola Twistables! They're basically a propeller pencil but with a coloured lead. The kids think they are 'awesome' (new favourite word since The Lego Movie) and I love that I don't get any moaning that the pencil has gone blunt! 

You can find Crayola Twistables on Amazon*, but I got mine off Ebay. 

How do you keep your kids amused in more grown up situations where they need to be quieter and still? 


* this is an affiliate link for Amazon, which means I get a few pence from any sales, helping to fund my reading habit. 

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

:: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Poppy Sparkles lifestyle blog: :: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom #books #Christian #God #Jesus #corrietenboom #testimony #faith

During a discussion on grace and forgiveness at my book group someone mentioned Corrie ten Boom's ability to forgive one of the S.S. men who had been one of her jailers at Ravensbruck. I vaguely knew the story of Corrie ten Boom, but I decided to read The Hiding Place and discover the details. 

I read a lot and am trying not to just slip onto Amazon and buy things, so I asked around for a copy. Nadda. My mum, who I really did think would have a copy didn't have it. Despite two people saying they had left their copies in the church library for others to read I couldn't find one. And several other friends who had read it no longer had a copy they could lay their hands on. I resolved to go to the library such was my resolve to stop buying books all the time (a resolve that hasn't stood the test of time - it's too easy with access to Amazon on my iPhone!). Before I made it the library I arrived home early one evening to find a copy through my letter box. One of the people I had asked if they had a copy I could borrow had managed to get a copy, or rather they had decided to buy a copy for the church library and I was the first person to read it. I love little acts of kindness like that and I hope that many more people read it after me as it is powerful story and testimony. 

For those that are unfamiliar, Corrie ten Boom was a watchmaker in Holland and a Christian. As the Nazis reigned over Europe, Corrie and her family risked everything to protect persecuted Jews, motivated by their love of Jesus. Corrie is an unlikely heroine and relies on prayer and God's help to successful run what became a very successful underground operation, saving countless lives until a trap sees the family arrested. 

Throughout the story Corrie shares how her faith and trust in God brought her through so many trials and ultimately through the horrors of Ravensbruck. It is not a romanticised story, we see Corrie struggle and doubt at times, but ultimately Corrie discovers that "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." 

This is an inspirational story and whilst I hope to never experience what Corrie ten Boom does, there is much wisdom to be found and applied today. 

There are no 'ifs' in God's Kingdom. His timing is perfect. His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus, keep me in your will! Don't let me go mad by poking about outside it." #faith #Jesus #christian #corrietenboom #thehidingplace #quotation

The above quotation is one of my favourites. So often I wonder about various ifs and maybes, wondering what might have been or could have been. I can drive myself crazy thinking about all the different ways things could work rather than trusting that I am where I should be and that God will guide where he wants me next. Corrie ten Boom's testimony is so powerful because in spite of the horrendous conditions and treatment, Corrie and her sister (Betsie) still shine like stars for God and their saviour, Jesus. Their faith and trust was rewarded and shows the amazing power of love through Jesus. 

For those local to me the copy I read will be going in the Church library at All Saints, Anchorsholme

It is also available to purchase from Amazon*: 


Have you read The Hiding Place? What other powerful testimonies and stories of hope would you recommend? 


* Please note that the links to Amazon are affiliate links - I earn a few pennies from any sales through these links which helps feed my reading habit xo


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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

:: Coconut and Lime Curry

Coconut and Lime Curry by Poppy Sparkles #recipes #curry #lowfodmap #dairyfree #glutenfree

After posting this on Instagram and Facebook a few people asked that I share the recipe and I do love to oblige where I can. This coconut and lime curry began life as this Lime and Coconut Chicken recipe which I found whilst searching for low fodmap recipes as J is currently following a low fodmap diet and I was struggling to come up with tasty and interesting recipes! Anyway the feedback from the hubby when I made it was that it was good, but could I do it as a curry. So I did and 9 times out of 10 the kids clear their plate which is pretty remarkable for Miss Fussy Knickers P!

I must admit to not totally following recipes, so the ingredients are hard and fast and everytime I make this curry it is slightly different, especially the time I mixed up tsp and tbsp when measuring out spices! It was a hot one! Amazingly though the kids still cleared their plates! 

This recipe is dairy free, gluten free and low fodmap - oh yes, catering in my house is fun at the moment with the dietary requirements of my children! It does however challenge me and force me to cook from scratch which isn't a bad thing. 

:: Ingredients
Chicken Breasts (I use 3, 4 if we're feeling hungry)
tin of coconut milk (I use a light one)
Oil to cook in (I use garlic infused oil, but use what you prefer)
zest of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2tsp ground coriander
2tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp or more curry powder (I use 2 tbsp of mild curry powder)
pinch cayenne
pinch dried chilli flakes
1/4 cup chopped coriander (optional - I keep forgetting to purchase coriander so we often do without)
Wedges of lime

:: Method

Chop the chicken into cubes and fry in oil until the chicken is cooked. 

Add in the spices and fry for a few minutes. 

Add the coconut milk, soy sauce and zest of lime. You may wish to add the juice of a lime too (sometimes I add it whilst cooking, other times I serve the curry with wedges of lime so people can add the juice themselves). 

Bring to the boil and then simmer until the sauce reduces down. 

Serve with rice or chips, or both! 


I'm not a pro at writing recipes as I'm a little experimental in the kitchen and don't totally follow recipes which makes it hard to write a recipe. Hopefully this works for you, but feel free to give me feedback so I can revise it. 

Please feel free to pin and share this recipe, but link back here to the original post. 

Thank you and happy eating! 



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Monday, 31 March 2014

:: Highlights of the Week

Barton Grange - water feature and the view from the cafe and outside dining area #preston #lanscashire

I'll be honest, until Saturday the highlights for the last week weren't looking so hot. I was very grateful for a little last minute rush of Mother's day orders and managed to get they all made and despatched in time, but only just as I began flagging on Wednesday. Once all the orders were despatched on Wednesday lunchtime I retired to my bed where I lay with barely any energy until Friday when I started to feel a little more human. I am not a person who opts for lying in bed and rarely watch television beyond the kids' stuff, so this was a weird few days of doing nothing except rest, sleep and watch TV. I'm ploughing through Breaking Bad after a little hiatus and can also recommend Sherlock. 

After a week of inaction I needed to make up for it, so Saturday we packed in a few things. With my Dad away for a few days, I decided to take the kids to keep her company on Saturday and stop for a sleepover. We began Saturday by heading over to Barton Grange for a look around and a lovely lunch. It was warm and sunny enough to sit outside - bonus! 

Liberty of London Fabrics - Steadfast and Barracks in Lancaster has a factory shop selling this at just £5 per metre! #liberty #fabric #sewing

Then we headed up to Lancaster where I had picked up some gorgeous Liberty of London fabric at a bargainous £5 per metre at Standfast and Barracks' factory shop. They have a range of fabric, which I think are seconds although you'd be hard pushed to tell in most cases. As it's a fabric shop it may be hit and miss as to what is there, but I was pretty pleased with my choices and could have easily bought more - get me being all good and semi-restrained! 

Old Holly Farm Garstang - great place to visit with kids #Garstang #farm #kids

To reward the kids for being so well behaved we popped into Old Holly Farm. Where Granny and I treated ourselves to cake whilst the kids (food allergies didn't allow for cake) had crisps and drew and then we visited the animals and had a play on the tractors. 

Gorgeous gifts from children this Mother's Day | Poppy Sparkles #mothersday #gifts #children #parenting

Mother's Day was lovely, receiving gorgeous gifts that the kids had chosen and made. Love the Miss P chose some bath melts for me based on their colour and not their smell! As well as the goodies pictured I also received some flowers and a framed photograph of the kids. We didn't do anything fancy for Mother's Day, but we did have a lovely afternoon together after church and lunch including a trip to go choose a few new plants for the garden. 

So, all in all what could have been a total flop of a week due to illness has actually been a pretty good week, largely thanks to the weekend! 

A few things I've loved this week are: 

Love my new polka dot Kindle case #kindle #reading

:: my new Kindle Touch, a replacement through insurance for my Kindle which I discovered with a cracked screen. 

:: the new Trendz Kindle Case I had to purchase due to the new kindle being a different size from my broken one and therefore necessitated the purchase of a new case - purchased from the O2 shop on Ebay. I do love a bargain and what is now to love about pink polka dot?! 

:: more light. Ok, so the springing forward bit wasn't amazing and I didn't like losing an hour with the clocks going forward, but I do love the extra light we're getting. 

{petaled} tints - the colour scheme I want for our Master Bedroom | Poppy Sparkles #bedroom #colour #colourscheme #interiors

:: getting closer to deciding on a colour scheme for the master bedroom. It's been over a year since we had fitted wardrobes, new carpet, new bed and repainted, but I've not yet managed to finish the room off. After hubby said that I could have pink (I thought I'd never get approval for pink!) I went back to some of the colour schemes I'd discarded because they contained pink. I'm really loving the idea of a combination of dusty pink, lavender, soft grey and maybe a little dusty blue and green - a gentle, soft and calm colour palette. 

:: and whilst we're chatting colour palettes, I've rediscovered Design Seeds - a great place to go for colour inspiration. 

I hope your week hasn't involved illness. What have you been up? Did you have a lovely time celebrating Mothering Sunday? 



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