Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Tuesday Tips - How to prepare for a long coach trip...

As our car recently drove to the great garage in the sky, we have (out of necessity) been going everywhere by public transport. Other than a rather arduous 12 minute walk up a hill to get to the train station every morning, and one incident where I got on entirely the wrong bus, this hasn't been too bad...

However, last week I thought I might have finally met my match in public transport terms... 
A 9 hour coach trip.

A miserable view at the start of our journey
Despite approaching this trip with some trepidation it has to be said that there was a silver lining to this rather long journey a) at the end of it was a lovely new car ('new' to me at least!) 
and b) I picked it up from Mum and Dad's house (so I ended up being at home for Mother's Day - scoring extra Brownie Points!)

In the end, the journey wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it might be, 
and in some ways was quite relaxing... I mean - how often do you get the chance to sit down in the quiet when there's nothing that you should be doing? 

Not often I'm sure!

BUT... 9 hours is a very long time so it is always a good idea to be prepared for such a long journey! But just in case you ever find yourself in a similar predicament I thought I would share my hints and tips for preparing for a long journey!

Invest in a flask...
A Flask of Tea and a Orange and Ginger Flapjack... don't mind if I do!
  ...who knows how long it will be till you can get a decent cuppa!?
And don't forget the nibbles... when you've been travelling since 7.30 am you may not be able to wait until elevenses time for a little snackette! This is where your pre-ordered graze box comes in!

Play silly games...
On the road to Chesterfield
Amuse yourself by playing with the retro camera app on your phone and taking 'arty' shots of unremarkable places! Even dual carriageway embankments can look pretty with the right filter! Or if you are travelling through urban areas try to spot the best business puns. 
On this journey we came across 'Deli -Ish' and 'Tuckin's' sandwich shops, and 'Ryan Hair' barbers - but my favourite ever so far is 'Tanfastic' tanning salon!

Do something crafty...
There's always room for a crafty bit of sewing!
 I also used the first part of the trip to get ahead of the game and start prep on my Autumn/Winter stock! The pieces for 10 red poppies have been trimmed and stretched! 
(What do you mean it's only April? Last year I couldn't make them quick enough!)
Crochet is also a fantastic thing to do on a long journey if you're tight for space - all you need is a small ball of yarn and one crochet hook!

Ensure you have plenty of snacks!
Travelling is hungry work!
When you've left the house at 7.30am and don't expect to arrive anywhere with a dinner table till long after 7.00pm, a packed lunch and lots of snacks are essential!

Get connected...
That shop looks familiar...!
Most long distance coaches now have charging points for mobile phones and laptops - so no running out of power half way through something crucial! If you have mobile internet, don't forget to bring your dongle! I managed to update my Etsy shop from somewhere in the vicinity of Wembley!

Take time out...
The Boss - Full Flow!
...and do something different! 
I'd heard good reports of the keynote speech that Bruce Springsteen gave at the SXSW Festival - but found on Youtube that it was nearly an hour long. So who has an hour free to watch Youtube? 
Not me... normally
But what have I got on a 9hr coach journey, if not plenty of free time?!
So, I made the most of the opportunity, and watched the whole video. And wow! What a Speech!
I guess he's not called The Boss for nothing!

 So... in the end, 9hrs on the coach went by in an enjoyable flash!
In fact, I enjoyed it so much (and despite my lovely new car) I'm already planning my next trip!

But how about you?
Have you got any long journeys planned? 
And what do you do to keep yourself amused?

Oh... one last thing...
 ...Don't forget the sweets!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

What's new Pussycat?

Well, I'm glad you asked.... LOTS!

Although I may have been relatively quiet on the blogging front, lots of things have been going on behind the scenes at made by lolly HQ!

The month started with what has now become known as the great Craft Room Makeover of 2012 This took far too long (and far longer than expected!) but has definitely been worth the effort!

This was closely followed by the development of my new range for 2012 - the
'Spring Dreams' Collection,
which combines new designs with old favourites in a romantic, vintage colour scheme:

I have also begun re-stocking my Folksy shop... and have re-opened my Etsy shop
AND... as a result of receiving my first order from America,
I have now updated both shops to include worldwide shipping!

The new design 'Flora' (shown top left in the pictures above) has become my my most searched for item on Etsy and has been featured in lots of treasuries! All feature a soft minty, spring theme and are utterly gorgeous - here are the links to a couple of my favourites:

A Breath of Fresh Air by Elizabeth Rowntree

Merriment with Merry Mint by Megan Cooper

February also saw the start of the Craft Fair season with a trip to Elsecar Heritage Centre. Due to a broken down car we had to walk all my stock and equipment to the venue, but I am pleased to report it was worth the effort as I had a very successful day (so busy I completely forgot to take any photo's!)

Straight after this I hosted my first official Craft Party where 4 willing participants had the chance to make a made by lolly x inspired brooch of their own!

This was closely followed by  promotional competition in conjunction with Itsy Bitsy Paper Blog 
(Hurry - you may still have time to enter, the competition closes later tonight!)

And what's next I hear you ask?

It's the 'I Love Craft' Fair at Barnsley Civic! This Saturday 10am till 4pm... with FREE ENTRY!

The new 'Spring Dreams' Collection will of course be on display
(and it's the perfect opportunity to purchase a Mother's Day present!)

Well I hope you now feel suitably updated
It's been a busy start to the year - with more yet to come!

Don't forget if you would like more regular updates, and sneak peeks of Work in Progress,
then you can  follow me on Facebook!

And if you're brave enough to listen to my daily waffle,
then please join me on Twitter!

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