Sunday, 31 May 2015

May Reading Wrap Up

Ehhh.... oops. So I got a little busy in May and I only ended up reading two books. One book on my Kindle and one physical book. Not very exciting! But sometimes all you need is some time away from a hobby to make you realise how much that you miss it. June will hopefully be a much more busy month in terms of reading. Even though I'll be working full time, I won't have any uni work to do! Charlotte and I have launched our book club, #sassybooks, so I will definitely be reading that book at least! Would love it if you guys could all get involved too! I also have a few books that I want to read as well. A lot of them on my Kindle which I've kind of been avoiding recently.


An Abundance Of Katherines by John Green - This was a reread for me. This is definitely one of the less popular John Green novels but still one that I really enjoy. This one is about a child genius called Colin who after being dumped by 19 girls called Katherine he decided to go on a road trip with his best friend. When on the road trip he decides to write a formula for predicting how long a relationship will last and who will do the dumping. It has quite a lot of maths in it which is why I think a lot of people don't like this one as much. But I personally love that! I gave this 4/5 stars and I would recommend it. 

The In Between by Olivia Pierce* - In this book a dorky girl saves the life of the popular boy she has always liked. After this he becomes a little obsessed with her and they enter into a 'perfect' relationship. Until he dies. But Tara can still feel his presence. To be honest. I found this one to be a little cheesy which led to be not being the biggest fan. That being said, it was still an easy and quick read which is nice when you are studying! I have it 2/5 stars. It wasn't bad but I wouldn't read it again.

So those are the books I read this month! Have you read anything lately?

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Friday, 29 May 2015

Capturing Memories



Hello everyone! How are you all? I've just moved home for the summer. I've only been back for like 3 days but I'm already missing Edinburgh and all my uni friends. In my room in halls I had an absolute tonne of photos of my friends and family from home. But now that I've came home I've realised that I have no printed photos of my friends from uni! So when I was gifted this picture frame* from Hobbycraft I knew exactly what I'd be putting in it. I got some photos printed from Boots online. They aren't the cheapest but the quality is really good and the printing is pretty fast. I bought prints before from them before I moved out in September. 

I stuck my photos into the back of the frame using blue tack. This meant that I didn't have to cut any of the photos so that if I want to take them out of the frame and use them for something else than I can. It did take a bit of rearranging to get them to fit in properly and not overlap. But I think its worth it when I didn't have to mark/cut the photos! I got a lot more photos printed than are in the frame so I might even swap them round at some point. The rest I will take to my new flat to remind me of all the great times I had in first year! The photos aren't too great in this post, turns out its really hard to photograph a white frame against a white wall! But I really love the way that it looks and I can't help but smile when I see all of the photos! These styles of frames would also be a great gift. I'm thinking about getting one for my gran and putting in loads of photos of my cousins and I. What do you think?

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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Metal Crafted Gifts - AlphabethDesign

 



Hello everyone! Recently the lovely Beth from Alphabeth visited me in Edinburgh(post about that here). Beth and I both run Etsy stores and it was so nice to be able to chat with someone who understands how everything works. I thought selling on Etsy would be a lot easier than it actually is! The reality is that my shop has been open for almost a month now and my only two sales have been custom orders for my friends! Beth has been selling on Etsy for longer than I have so it was nice to get some advice! We both swapped some presents for each other so I though I'd do a little post showcasing what she gave me. 

Beth's store is called Alphabeth Designs and at the moment she is selling metal stamped bookmarks but after our chats I know a lot more will be added in the future. The bookmarks are stamped with quotes from books and have a little charm on the top. Mine is a quote from Harry Potter: 'I solemnly swear that I am up to no good'. Doesn't it look great! I've using it just now in my copy of The Periodic Table by Paul Parsons & Gail Dixon. Which is a great read for chemistry nerds like me! Although I'm sure if you asked Beth would put any sort of quote on them! She also made me this little bracelet with my name on it which I thought was super cute. These aren't currently for sale but I think she will be adding them very soon so keep an eye out!

Thanks very much Beth for my awesome gifts and I am glad you like your elephant!

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Sassy Books Book Club


Hello everyone! I have some very exciting news. Me and my great friend Charlotte are launching a book club for bloggers! The general idea of the book club is that we announce a book for the month and invite all you sassy readers to read the book alongside us. We will be calling the book club the Sassy Books Book Club because we are both fabulous and so are our readers. No arguments on that. We will then both review the book on the last Tuesday of the month and announce the book for the next month as well. We would love to encourage you to also review the book as we will link any posts at the end of our posts so we can get as many different opinions on the books as possible to make for a right good discussion! Sounds good right?

The first book that we are going to be reading is I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. We both really enjoyed her other book 'The Sky Is Everywhere' and I'll Give You The Sun was recently published in a UK paperback edition by Walker Books. The book is about two twins who used to be very close but were driven apart and now barely talk to each other. Both twins narrate certain parts of the book which I really love. I always find dual perspective novels a lot more interesting and easy to read. In The Sky Is Everywhere the family dynamic is a really important  part so I think we will also see that in this book. I really enjoyed that so I can't wait to see where this one takes us! We will be posting our reviews of it on the 30th of June which should hopefully give you all enough time to read it!

So what do you think? Would you like to participate in the book club with us? If so leave a comment or tweet about it using the hashtag #sassybooks. If there's a book that you think would make a great book club read then leave us a suggestion and it might even be next month's read!

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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Edinburgh Adventures








Hello everyone! One of my great blogging pals, Beth, came to visit me in Edinburgh! She came up on Tuesday afternoon and I met her straight after my last exam. What a great way to celebrate. We started off by climbing to Arthur's Seat which offers a great view of the city. I hate to admit that I've never climbed it before but I'm really glad we did because the view from the top was amazing. I will definitely be doing it again! Then we went for a quick dinner at one of my favourite Italians, Rigatoni's, before doing a little mini pub crawl. We started off at Brass Monkey, a rather famous studenty pub. Then we tried to go to Frankenstein's but it was really busy so we went to Vodka Rev instead. Where I got a bit drunk, sorry Beth!

The next day we started off bright and early and headed to the National Museum of Scotland. If you are visiting Edinburgh then this is the one place I really recommend you go. You could easily spend the whole day there just looking at everything to see. We wandered around for a few hours before heading out to lunch. After that, we went to Edinburgh Castle. We didn't actually go to inside it because its quite expensive to get in but we walked up to the Royal Mile to it and had a wee look around the town. After this we headed back to my flat and chilled out for a bit before Beth went home. She is an absolute wizard and added a sticky navigation bar to my blog! What do you think? Beth also runs an Etsy and we exchanged some gifts from our stores. I will be blogging about what she gave me very soon, what a lovely girl!

I don't know if you've ever met up with another blogger but if you haven't then you are seriously missing out. It doesn't even feel like meeting a person for the first time because you feel like they are already an old friend. Thanks for a few great days Beth!

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Ooh La La Spring Picnic






Hello everyone! How are we all doing? I've feeling pretty good as my exams are now 100% over so my summer has begun. Yay! As a way of hanging out and relaxing with friends I recently teamed up with Joules for their #oohlalaspring campaign. They sent me a lovely denim shirt* and picnic rucksack* to make for a great picnic. Unfortunately, no one has told Edinburgh that its spring yet so we ended up having our picnic indoors to avoid the rain. One of my flatmates moved out recently and left a lot of food behind. So this picnic was the perfect opportunity to put some of that food to good use! And to catch up with my friends!

The rucksack is so well made. Its very comfortable and easy to wear. I think I might actually remove the picnic stuff and use it as a regular rucksack as well! I especially love the added on bottle holder on the side. I am always so paranoid that my water bottle will leak into my back so being able to put it in a separate part really puts my mind at ease. Joules have a lovely range of picnic things. They are a bit expensive but really high quality.

Will you be having many picnics in the good weather?


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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Ed's Easy Diner at Fort Kinnaird



Hello everyone! I was recently invited to go and review the Ed's Easy Diner at Fort Kinnaird! I think its a popular chain but this one is the only one in Edinburgh/the Lothians at the moment. My friend Kathryn and I headed along last night as we both have a German exam today and thought it would be a nice way to relax before the exam. The atmosphere in the restaurant was really nice. It has that relaxed American diner feel. Red leather booths and mini jukeboxes on the tables. We arrived at around 5:30 and it was still very quiet. The waitresses were so friendly, in particular Amy, who had a really nice personality. We sat down and had a look at the menu, it took us ages to choose. I've heard amazing things about the milkshakes so we decided to share a butterscotch one. The milkshake comes in a big metal glass and there are two portions in it. It was absolutely amazing. I am slightly lactose intolerant so I felt a little bit sick afterwards but it was definitely worth it. 

In the end we both opted to go for the Smoky Joe's burger which comes with cheese, griddled onions and barbecue sauce. We had them as Ed's Plates meaning they come with chips, onion rings and colesaw. You can choose to upgrade our chips to sweet potato fries and we done that with one portion so we could try both. The burgers were amazing, the beef was so well cooked and the barbecue sauce was so nice! I can sometimes be a bit funny with barbecue sauce but I really enjoyed it. The onion rings were really nice and crunchy too. Personally I've always preferred fries to chunky chips so I would have prefered that option but the chunky chips were actually quite nice. And the sweet potato fries were so good and crispy on the outside. We both found the amount of fries was way too much, neither of us were able to finish them. We still really enjoyed the meal but it felt a bit wasteful as we ended up leaving a lot of them behind.

For dessert(different stomach, obviously) we opted to share the brownie and the waffle with maple syrup. But were absolutely delicious. The brownie was still warm and gooey on the inside, just the way I like it. We were absolutely stuffed by the time we were finished but very impressed. The food was really good and the service was so fast. We were in and out in an hour. I will definitely be back!

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Halo Coffee Event









Hello everyone! This is a way overdue post. Sometime before Easter I headed along to Halo Coffee with Zomato UK for a coffee and tea tasting event! I had gotten a little confused by the invite and thought we were all just going down to try out the store and give it a little review. I was expecting to just order a soft drink or a hot chocolate because I don't like tea/coffee. Oops. That being said, I did troop through and it at the end of it I can say that I could maybe, handle a single shot mocha. I did get to try some of their hot chocolate too which was totally amazing. They have a great selection of tea and coffee, including a tablet flavoured tea.

Halo Coffee was opened recently by Michael, a really nice, chatty guy who is super knowledgeable about coffee! I learnt so much about the way that coffee is made and little things that just really improve the quality of it. It was so easy to tell that he was really passionate about his business. What a great guy. And his mum makes the cakes for the store! What a cutie!

I had a great time hanging out with everyone and got to meet some awesome bloggers. I don't really live in the same part of town as Halo but if I'm in the area I would definitely return for a hot chocolate and something to eat!

Are you a coffee or a tea person? Or neither?

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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Netflix Recommendations #1

Netflix, Netflix, Netflix. I'm sure we are all guilty of it. But sometimes you just need a day of chilling and watching Netflix. I normally have it on in the background when I'm crocheting, or at least thats my excuse. Everyone now and then, I finish a series and feel so lost. I have no idea what to try out next! So I'm sure a lot of you have been in the same boat. So I've decided to start this series. Every now and then, I'll recommend some shows/films to you guys and then you can leave a comment leaving me some recommendations as well! I hope you all enjoy it! 


Fresh Meat - This is a comedy series about some university freshers who miss out on halls and have to move into a house that's kind of a dump. They are all such different characters and I loved watching the way they interacted. It stars Jack Whitehall, Joe Thomas and Kimberley Nixon to name a few familiar faces. The humour in this is a bit silly and most of the situations are completely unrealistic but I still love it. If you're looking for something light and fun to watch, I would really recommend this. 

Nurse Jackie - Nurse Jackie is an American comedy series about a nurse who breaks all the rules. Jackie abuses prescription drugs, is cheating on her husband and often skips policies to help patients. I really enjoy hospital based dramas so this was a no brainer for me. The other members of staff also have their own little quirks and they really make the show. Zoe is my absolute favourite!

Saving Face - On a bit of a more serious note. This is a documentary about a UK doctor who travels to Pakistan to do reconstructive surgery on the victims of acid attacks. Dr Mohammed Jawad became very well known as the doctor who perfomed surgery on Katie Piper. He goes to Pakistan and works with several women there to perfom similar surgeries. The documentary also goes into the histories of the women who have been attacked. One was even set on fire by her husband and mother in law, but still lives with them because she doesn't want to lose her children. Truly heartbreaking! This is very sad, but I think its important to watch. 

The Dark Matter of Love - This one is a documentary about an American family who decide to adopt 3 Russian orphans at once. The kids don't speak English, the family don't speak Russian. I think we will all agree that this sounds totally crazy! The documentary was really interesting. You got to see how the children began to fit into the family and change. It questions whether adopted children can truly fit into the family dynamic if they have not been shown compassion and love from a young age. I really enjoyed this but sometimes found it a bit frustrating. I watched it again with a group of friends and it was fun to discuss it. 

What do you recommend watching on Netflix?

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Friday, 15 May 2015

Clarks Dessert Sauces






If you've been following my blog for quite a while then you'll know that I've worked with Clarks before to make some body scrub and some cupcakes. Two very different things that have one thing in common: great maple syrup. But Clarks are pushing out the boat and expanding into new territory. They've just started making dessert sauces! They sent me three bottles* to try: strawberry, chocolate and caramel. We usually have a big Sunday dinner as a family and dessert is something we take very seriously. In fact, my boyfriend once told me that his favourite thing about my family is how we always make sure there's a dessert on a Sunday! Ain't no body messing with our cake! So, what did my family think?

I decided to have some ice cream and strawberries topped off with some of the caramel sauce. I really liked it although we found it to be a bit gritty in texture, I quite liked this as it reminded me of liquid Scottish tablet but the rest of my family weren't overly keen. If you've tried tablet before then you'll know what we mean by the gritty feel. My gran had the strawberry sauce with some strawberries, jelly and ice cream. She much preferred this to the caramel and said it tasted like real strawberries. Not like the artificial tate you get off some sauces. My sister had some of the chocolate on a cone. But a certain furry friend got there first. I think you can see by his face that he enjoyed it!

All in all a success!

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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Edinburgh Festival of Museums


Hello everyone! Today I wanted to talk to you about an awesome festival happening in Edinburgh this weekend. Edinburgh is well known for its festivals but I think the Festival of Museums is a little less well known. The festival will be running from the 15th to the 17th(ie Friday to Sunday) and there are lots of great events on offer across Edinburgh and the Lothians. The festival is run by Museum Galleries Scotland and the aim is to get people of all age interested in Scotland's history and culture! I love all the museums in Edinburgh so this is something I am totally behind! You can view a full list of the events here but I thought I'd share some of my favourite sounding ones!

Friday:
8-9:30pm Capturing The Dark Side: Photography With Dark Edinburgh
6:30-9pm Mini Historic Pub Tour
Saturday:
7:30-11pm A Scandal In Surgeons Hall
7-11pm Atomic Tea Dance
Sunday:
10:30-1:30pm 3D Printing Workshop
1-2pm Bumps In The Night: Edinburgh Blackout Injuries in WW2
Several Sessions! Crafternoon in the Zoology Museum

So that's my pick of the festival. Will you be heading along to any events?

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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

#stressfreeskin with Witch Skincare







Hello everyone! How are you all doing? I'm taking some time off after one of my exams to chill out for a bit before I start revising for my last one. I've teamed up with Witch Skincare for their #stressfreeskin which is all about helping people keep their skin happy and healthy during the really stressful exam period. You can see their tips and tricks here. Luckily, I usually have quite good skin but I do find that when stressed I tend to break out. 

The box contains lots of great skincare, snacks and stationery. My three favourite S words ;) I'm already a huge fan of the Witch Blemish Stick, I've been using it since I was 13! And I'm very excited to try out the other products: Overnight Cleansing Serum, Bursting Bead Face Wash, Wipes and Concealer! If you'd like reviews of any of these let me know but I will certainly let you know how I get on with them soon! The snacks include some sweet and salty popcorn, yoghurt covered raisins, a Nakd bar and a Bobble for me to use for water. Keeping hydrated is so important when studying. This pack was such a pick me up after my exam, thanks so much to Witch Skincare.

They've also given some skincare goodies for me to giveaway to one winner! The giveaway will be open for 1 week and you must be a UK resident to enter! Good luck.


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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Life Update - Exams and Uni



Hello everyone. I thought that I'd write a little blog post updating you about what's going on in my life at the moment. I'm currently sitting my exams for the second semester. Its absolutely crazy to think that my first year of university is coming to an end. It almost makes me want to cry! My first year has been so amazing, I've gotten to know so many great people and have grown and developed so much as a person. I wish I could go back and live it all again. But you know, I can't so I just need to look to the future and hope my 2nd year is even better. I just need to get these exams out of the way first. I seem to be having a bit of a problem with revising at the minute. I used to do so much whilst in high school but at the moment I'm really struggling to more than about 5 hours a day. Totally lost my mojo.

I've already sat my maths exam which I think went ok. I don't think I've failed but I don't think I've done amazing either. We'll see how it goes. On Thursday I will be sitting my chemistry exam. I'm still cramming the revision but I think I'll do well in this one. We had six units this semester and I am really confident about all but one of them. Bloody organic chemistry. Boo! After that my last exam is German on the 19th. I'm not overly fussed about that as it is a lot easier than my other ones and the final exam is only worth 50% of my final grade. After my final exam Beth is coming to visit me in Edinburgh for a day. I've got so many things I'm planning on showing her and I can't wait for us to cram in so much stuff. And eat some glorious food!

Hopefully my last two exams will go well and I can just get down to chilaxing and enjoying the summer. What have you been up to recently?

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Monday, 4 May 2015

Iconemesis Phone Cases



Hello everyone! Been meaning to write a blog post about these phone cases for ages but then I noticed that they have a sale on so I thought it would be a great time to get on it! I bought these two phone cases from Iconemesis some time before Christmas. I'd been wanting to buy one from them for ages but I couldn't decide if I preferred the black and white or the coloured design but then they were on sale for £5 so I thought 'why not just get both?'. So I did. I'm really impressed with the quality of the phone cases, they are really thick and feel really secure. They're also really glossy and just feel so nice. I've bought some really cheap phone cases in the past and they're never great, they always break really easily or just look really cheap. I would really recommend these. Unfortunately they no longer sell iPhone 4 cases but if you have a 5 or a 6 then you're in luck!

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Is Crocheted Fashion Ethical?


Hello everyone! I was recently watching a Zoella haul where I saw her with a crocheted crop top from Topshop. I went and looked it up and was quite surprised to see that they claimed that it was handmade. After a quick look around I saw that they sell quite a few crocheted pieces. And I have to admit I have to admit that I have a problem with this being a crocheter myself. Crocheting is fun but there's no arguing that it is time consuming and people don't value the time and skill that goes into something that's been crocheted. 

Crochet can't be done by machine.
Unlike knitting, crocheting can only be done by hand. You'll quite often see edging that looks quite lacey and is often referred to as crochet. This is actualy made by the same technique as lace, it just looks like its crocheted. Its just generally a lot easier to call it crochet because if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck right? Right. But the very stereotypical 'granny square' style of crocheting can only be done by hand.

So take the crocheted crop top pictured there in the middle. That is definitely hand made. It costs £36. If I had to guess, I would say that that would take me at least 5 or more hours. Depending on the size of course. And then there's the cost of the wool and the lining in the top. So how can someone be paid a decent wage to make something that will take a good few hours to make and for Topshop to sell it for £36 and still make a profit. I know that its hard to guarantee that clothes on the high street are ethically made but something about this just doesn't add up to me. When I sell things that I crochet I definitely under price myself. There's something about underpricing yourself when you sell things to your friends and family and being a multinational company underpricing the people who make your clothes.

I for one will be not be buying anything this summer that I can tell is hand crocheted. On trend or not on trend. What do you think?

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Saturday, 2 May 2015

April Reading Wrap Up

Hey guys! This month ended up being a really good reading month for me. I managed to read 6 books. I contribute this to having two holidays. I had a mini break to Glasgow with my boyfriend and then a week long holiday in Arran with my family. Which left me with a lot of time for reading!



Half Wild by Sally Green - This is the sequel to Half Bad which I read last year and really enjoyed. Its set in a world where there are two types of witches, white(good) and black(bad). The black witches have almost been hunted to extinction by the white witches. The series follows a witch, Nathan, who is half white half black. I don't want to talk too much about this as its the second in a series and I don't want to spoil the first but I really enjoyed it and gave it 4/5 stars.

A Brighter Fear by Kerry Drewery - This is the story of Lina, a teenage girl who is growing up in Baghdad. The book is set in 2003 at the time of the invasion of Iraq. This story was so beautiful, it totally broke my heart. I think you should go into this one without knowing too much about it, that's how I went into this book and it was amazing. If you are a fan of Khaled Hosseini's work then you will love this one! 5/5 stars, totally recommend!

Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre* - This is a book about a teenage girl who starts having a relationship with her teacher. I read this book in a day and it was very easy to read though but I don't think it gave off a very good message. The book portrays it as ok right up until the end. At the end there was a letter written to the teacher after they have been found out and separated etc. It felt like a weird little add on at the end and that didn't feel like enough. I gave it 2/5 stars for that reason. The writing was good but not the story.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - OH MY GOD I HATED THIS BOOK. Everyone has gone on and on about how good this book is. The characters are both so awful and unlikable that I just didn't want to bring myself to read more. Bleugh. I think this would make a good movie but I just didn't like the book at all. Will watch the movie and let you guys know if I liked that any more than this! 

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark - If you've been enjoying my series about my trip to the Isle of Arran then you will really like this book. Its set on the Isle of Arran. An old lady leaves her house to a young mother she saw around her village. The mother now has dementia and its up to her daughter to sort everything out. They'd never spoken and they are unsure as to why she left her the house. This book was really interesting and I enjoyed it. There was an amazing plot twist too! I read this whilst on Arran which really added something to it! 4/5 stars. 

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd* - This is the story of two well off girls whos family own slaves. They oppose slavery and this book is set before the American civil war. Its set in dual perspective from one of the girls and one of the slaves. I found this book to be a bit slow moving in the start but I enjoyed it towards the end. It didn't really blow me away though. I gave it 3/5 stars.

What have you been reading this month? If you want to keep up with what I'm reading then you can add me as a friend on GoodReads here.

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Friday, 1 May 2015

I've Opened An Etsy








*Note added on 5/10/16: I have since closed my Etsy store because I wanted to take a little break from making elephants and try out some new styles. Thank you for your support.*

Hello everyone! Very exciting news! Yesterday I finally bit the bullet and opened my Etsy store! I've been crocheting for nearly three years and I've been getting a lot of messages and comments from blog readers asking where they could buy my things! I've sold a few things before but just to family and friends. After thinking about it I decided that I should open an Etsy! And now I have. I decided to call it 'The Crocheting Chemist' because I wanted something snappy and kinda witty. Which I think it is. If I do say so myself!

I only opened it last night so I've not had any sales yet but I am very excited to get my first one! Hopefully this shop will be successful. I can see it getting a lot of business in the run up to Christmas. Although the things like the elephants are good all year round. I added a few scarves and earwarmers just to even out the shop but I'm not expecting these to be big sellers until the winter!

So yes, if you'd like to have a look then you can find it here: The Crocheting Chemist. I don't want to be like 'pleeeeeeeaaaassseee buy my stuff!!!!!' but if you like them and can afford it, I would really appreciate the support. You can also support me by sharing the link on Twitter/Facebook. Thanks guys, hopefully this will be the start of an exciting new chapter.

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