Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Things that make me happy.

Here are some of the things that are making me happy at the moment:

1. Blogging.

I'm loving writing new posts for my blog whenever I get the chance to; although this may not be as often as I'd like to, I still really enjoy it at every opportunity I get. It's great to spend some time being creative and just writing, just for the fun of it!

2. Shopping.

I have always loved shopping, whether it involves going out, or shopping online. At the top of my wish list at the minute is this green dress from Topshop - I am loving this colour at the minute, and can't wait to wear it more often when the sun comes out. Some of my favourite places to shop online are Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, Topshop and ASOS.

3. Painting.

Painting has always been a hobby of mine, although I haven't done it as much as I would of liked to, particularly throughout uni, as I struggled to find the time to just paint for fun. However, I recently painted this piece found here, and I would love to keep this up and paint more butterfly images.

4. Friends and family.

Being a family girl, I always love going home to visit all of my family and friends. My mums coming up to visit me in York this weekend which I am very excited about, as I don't get the chance to see my parents as often as I'd like to. One of my friends from home is getting married soon, so I've got lots to be excited about as I am a bridesmaid...I am currently helping to plan the hen party which involves a very exciting surprise! I also have my holiday to Switzerland to look forward to, as well as my birthday in June.

5. Sex and the City.

I watch this way too much. I have the box set, and pretty much watch it whenever I can (such as when my boyfriend is away or is nice enough to watch it with me!). I love Carrie; her hair, her clothes and her figure. Other box sets that I own and watch too much include Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers, Friends and The OC.

6. Crochet.

This is something that I have really got into recently, after teaching myself. Although I can only make a granny square at the minute, I am planning on learning how to do some more patterns soon! As mentioned in my previous post, I am currently making cushion covers, and have now made two. The second one is pictured below, and is for sale on Etsy here, at my store, HandMadeByLucyJoy:


I really enjoy crocheting, and love making quirky bits for my home. I'm also planning on making a lot more in the future too.

7. Food.

I think I'm actually addicted to food. I find it really hard to resist unhealthy food, although I do eat a lot of healthy food too so its not too bad I suppose! I really enjoy cooking and eating out, and one of my recent dishes that I cooked up is pictured below - I will definitely be cooking this again soon as it was delicious!

So there you have it, 7 things that are currently making me happy in life. Let me know what makes you happy!

Image credits: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/sex-and-the-city/images/496620/title/sex-city-movie-photo

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Latest art and crafts projects

As you may know if you have previously visited my blog, I love painting and doing anything crafty when I have some free time. I have added some images to show what I have most recently been working on. 

Firstly, the image above is a painting that I have recently done of a butterfly. I interpreted this from a photograph that I had taken a few years age when I was at the Butterfly and Wildlife Park, which is in my hometown of Long Sutton, Lincolnshire. I finding painting is a great way to sit down and relax, and I find it can really de-stress myself. I hadn't painted for a few years before completing that piece, so may need to keep practicing in order to improve my techniques, but overall, I was quite happy with the final result. The print can be found by visiting the following link to my Etsy store:

The images above show my crochet work. At the moment I am working on two different cushion covers. I am making one for myself, which is to go alongside the pink and red cushion cover that I have recently photographed on my blog post, found here. This is going to be consisted of 16 grant squares, rather than one big square. The other cushion cover is the blue one pictured in working progress above. I would like this to be quite a small scatter cushion with dark blue ribbon ties, and I haven't yet decided whether to add this to my Etsy store yet, or whether to keep it for myself!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

My trip to Malta

I was lucky enough to visit the lovely island of Malta over christmas, and was even more lucky enough to be taken by my boyfriends company. We stayed in the Radisson Blu in St. Juliens, which is a really lovely 5* hotel right on the coast of Malta. Even though we only went for four days, we had the chance to explore the whole of Malta, with the island being so small. Here are some of my pictures of some of my favourite places that we explored during my time there. As you can see in the photographs, the weather was really quite hot, with temperatures being up to 20 degrees Celsius. However, we predicted that the weather would be quite mild with a lot of rain, as Malta is known for having a rainy season over december time, therefore I ended up taking more winter clothes. Nevertheless, it was a nice surprise to see the sun shining!

The images above show St. Juliens bay, which was a very lovely, and quite a quiet, area of Malta. The architecture was really lovely, and we had a meal in a restaurant overlooking the bay in the evening, which was lovely seeing the bay all lit up in the evening. I particularly loved the small, colourful boats in the bay area, especially when we saw people ride away on one! There were also some great bars in this area as well a lot of clubs, with a strip being located behind the bay area where we went to in the evenings. Although Malta isn't a particularly lively partying place to go, this area was quite busy with a lot of young people around, so it was great to go to on an evening.

This image above shows the view from a viewing platform in Mdina, the ancient city of Malta. The views were incredible, as you could literally see almost the whole of Malta from here. Mdina is actually one of the oldest and finest historic cities in Europe, with the city's origin dating back to over 4000 years. It is a medieval walled town situated on a hill in the centre of the island and the city used to be the capital of Malta, but it was then replaced by Valletta (see images below). Mdina now has a very small population, so when walking around there wasn't many people there.

 Above: St Pauls Cathedral, Mdina

Above: Mdina

The final three images here show some of the views from the city of Valletta, showing the Grand Harbour. In comparison to Mdina, this city is very big and busy, with main shopping streets that are lined with large international fashion, music and jewellery stores. However, the part that I loved about the city were the narrow side streets that had cute quaint shops and cafes, selling handmade pieces and lovely cakes. The city also holds a lot of history, including statues, niches and fountains. I loved this city so much that I went two days in a row; the fact that it had such amazing views as well as lovely shops made it very difficult not to love it!

Above: largest docks in Europe, seen from Valletta.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Recipe: Vodka jellies in lime peel

After seeing these watermelon-style vodka jelly shots recently at a friends house, I decided to try making them myself after thinking that they can't be too difficult -however, this definitely wasn't the case! I will share my method here with you, as they are very fun to have at a dinner party/gathering of friends, and all of my friends were quite impressed with them (even though mine turned out a little lob-sided!).

For this recipe, I have used 10 limes, 1 pack of strawberry jelly, and vodka.

1. The first step is to slice the limes in half, and then remove the lime from the peel. I found this easiest by slicing around the lime carefully using a sharp knife, then squeezing out the juice, followed by removing the centre with a spoon - there may be easier ways of doing this though.

2. Secondly, make up the jelly according to the instructions on the packet, ensuring that you use 3/4 water and 1/4 vodka. Remember not to use too much vodka here, as this will cause the jelly to not set correctly. I found this quantity of vodka to be the perfect amount.

3. Now here's the difficult part! Pour the jelly, very carefully, into the limes after ensuring that they are lined upright. A method to ensure that the limes remain upright is by using muffin tins, and placing each  lime half into each muffin space - unfortunately I thought of this after making these, which is why the first time I tried this all of the limes fell over and the jelly came out! So I would definitely recommend using muffin baking trays to avoid this from happening.

4. Once complete, leave in the fridge to set. I left mine overnight just to be sure. 

5. Once set, carefully slice the limes in half using a sharp knife. Ta-da! You now have your cute vodka jelly shots!

You can try this method with orange and lemon peel too, along with other flavours of jelly to get an interesting mix of colours and flavours once you get the hang of it! I love this idea though, as vodka jellies in shot glasses are almost impossible to eat. It's also a great idea for children's parties (obviously without the vodka).

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Life in York

I have been living in York for the past five months now, and sometimes I forget how much of a great city that it really is. Being originally from a small town in Lincolnshire, I have always wanted to move away since being younger. I used to dream of living in America one day (when everything seems possible!), but growing up I had my heart set on Leeds University, where I studied for four years. Moving to York was quite a big change from Leeds, and I although I loved my time in Leeds and had some of the best years of my life, I also love York in a completely different way. Some of the reasons why are pictured above.

I can't wait for it to be even more sunny, and for the days where I can just relax by the minster, eating lunch, and then having a wander around the cobbled streets - life isn't too bad at the minute :)

I do have to admit that I love visiting my parents back in Lincolnshire, with this being one of the reasons why:


My wish list seems to be endless at the minute! I seem to find a new thing that I want every day, especially when casually browsing on Etsy...

This really might as well be called an Etsy wish list, as that is essentially what it is. I love this beaded leather wrap bracelet, pictured above, created by MadRiverDesigns. They have some great jewellery pieces on their site, and I particularly like this bracelet because it reminds me of being on holiday; it reminds me of the type of thing that I would buy from a small boutique in Spain or Italy. They have tonnes of similar styles on their Etsy shop though so it's definitely worth checking out, and I will eventually buy one of these when I've saved up a few pennies!

I seem to be obsessed with watches at the moment. I love the watch, pictured above, found here by Lettimestop.

They have a wide collection of leather, vintage-style watches in a wide variety of colours. The prices are really reasonable too so I have no reason not to get one of these! I really like the ones where the leather looks a bit worn away too, such as the watch pictured above.

The wooden collar necklace below is by TheTwentyFingers, and can be found here. Specialising in accessories and home decor, they really do sell some great designs. I am in love with this necklace though, as I love the geometric structure and pastel colours, as well as the copper-coloured chain to go with it. I can just imagine this teamed up with the majority of my wardrobe. I also love these feather earrings below, which have been laser cut. I did the odd bit of laser cutting at uni, and really love some of the effects created by it, such as these wooden earrings. With the prices also being reasonable, I will definitely be buying a few bits from this shop.

This Zebra print is by Mysoulfly. She has some really great illustrations for sale in her shop, and I particularly love the print pictured above. I'm looking to buy a few prints to decorate my apartment with, including some fashion illustrations and other random prints, and with a turquoise/blue theme in the bedroom, this one would fit in perfectly!

I really need to stop spending so much time on Etsy, otherwise I'm going to be maxed out in my overdraft again!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Travel tips: Tunisia

Last Summer I went on holiday to Tunisia, and as I have just been looking back at some of the photographs that I took, I thought I should write a blog post about it. I absolutely loved my time in Tunisia, and really enjoyed the wide range of things that were available to do there, from visiting the souks in Sousse; relaxing by the white beaches; to riding camels in the desserts.

Above: Medina

The images above and below show the Medina in Sousse, where you can find a wide range of bargains, however, the trick is to make sure that you're careful when it comes to bartering.

We were told before we went that in Tunisia you have to barter for pretty much everything that you buy, even the taxis and shops - and this could be quite difficult at times until you got the hang of it! In the Medina, people target anyone english-looking, in order to try to sell things to you and take you over to their stalls. I will give you a great example of some of the sneaky techniques used to make you buy something from them! When we first arrived in Sousse, we were looking for the Medina for a while (and got a bit lost!), and so a friendly-looking man came over to help and guide us there. He was being friendly at first, asking general questions, but as we were getting closer to the Medina, we could sense that he was actually trying to take us to his shop to sell some jewellery, and it was quite difficult to say no. It was actually quite scary how pushy he was. Eventually we managed to escape him when I said I needed to go to get a drink of water. But the trick is to be firm when bartering, and to let them start with the price, and then to come in at about 1/4 of that price so that you can eventually meet in the middle. I did love wandering around the souks and looking at all of the jewellery, pottery and colourful bits and bobs, and ended up buying a few gifts.

Above: Medina

Above: Our Hotel

Another great trip that we went on was to Friguia Park, Hammamet. I was expecting this to be like a standard zoo, but I was pleasantly surprised here! The way it was laid out was great; there were walkways around the whole park, allowing you to walk on bridges over the areas with the animals were in. They had a great variety of animals, from lions and tigers, to meerkats and zebras. I loved feeding the elephants (above), which you had to pay for, and again, barter.

Above: Friguia Park

Above: Friguia Park

Overall I think that Tunisia is a great place to visit for a summer holiday. We experienced lovely, hot and sunny weather (although it did thunder one evening briefly) and some great trips out. A couple of quick tips would be to take mosquito spray (as they are everywhere!) and to be careful with what you eat; prepare yourself for stomach upsets. I was actually fine, but I know a lot of people get ill from the food, so things to avoid include salads, fruit and anything which may have water in.

I would definitely recommend a trip to Tunisia and I would definitely go again!