2013; A Jar Full of Memories - Opened!

31 Dec 2013

Back on the 20th January this year I posted about a memory jar that I was creating. The idea was to fill the jar with memories from my year, so that on New Years Eve I could open it and relive the happy moments of the year gone by. I'm not gonna lie, this was a hard task to keep up with. I often forgot about it for a few weeks and would then do a 'catch up' and add a few memories all at once. But regardless of my slight cheating, I'm so glad I decided to do it. It was really fun to open all the notes today and remember so many great moments that I probably would have otherwise forgotten.

All in all, I had 102 memories in my jar! I was quite surprised I'd written down quite so many. Here's a few of my favourite memories for the more nosy of you ;):

I did love having this memory jar all year, but I've decided I'm not going to do it for 2014. Instead I'm going to do my own take on the 'a photo a day' craze. I attempted taking a photo a day a few years ago, and failed after a month. This time however, with my newfound enthusiasm for photography, I'm sure I'll succeed. Instead of just uploading the pictures to Instagram/Facebook however, I'm going to print them out and create my own Project Life scrapbook. If you don't know what Project Life is, its an amazing way to scrapbook with ease. Elsie from A Beautiful Mess has an amazing book here. This way it ties into my goal of printing out more photos rather than just keeping them online.

Have you kept any memory jars/books/photos this year? I'd love to see yours. :) I hope you all have a wonderful new year too!

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2013 Life.

28 Dec 2013

2013 has gone in a flash. Its crazy to think that this time last year I had only just begun my blog, and now its become my biggest and most favourite hobby. Looking back through the months to find the pictures above, showed me just how much I've changed through 2013. My love for make-up has grown and grown, as has my storage space for it! I've also taken much better care of my hair, especially since having it ombréd this summer! For once in my life, all my money has not solely been spent on clothes but all manner of beauty products too - that's not to say I've spent any less on clothes though! Oops!

2013 has been an up and down year for me, but this blog has remained a constant so I want to thank all you lovely readers for sticking with me. I can't wait to see what 2014 brings for this blog and myself! I'm looking forward to a fresh start and I'm hoping things will start to go my way! My sister has tasked me with coming up with  News Years Resolutions to stick with and currently I'm struggling to think of any that doesn't revolve around the obvious choice of weight loss. What are your resolutions? Any ideas to help me?

I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas and have exciting plans for New Years Eve. I myself will be spending the evening with my girlfriends and am already stressed about what to wear! I'll be back next week with my 2013 Beauty Favourites and the opening of my 2013 Memory Jar (see here). So for now, I hope you have a lovely weekend and continue stuffing yourselves with Christmas leftovers!

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DIY Christmas: Quick Edible Gifts!

22 Dec 2013

With Christmas almost on top of us now, my last installment of DIY Christmas is all about edible gifts. I love making people food gifts as you know the recipient will enjoy it and it's so much more personal than buying a box of chocolates or tin of biscuits. I must confess, none of these recipes are of my own doing! But, I will link to all recipes so you can make them yourselves. :)

I do like to go to town on my decoration, so I bought cute little treat bags from amazon and various ribbons and bells from Hobbycraft and Tiger. I also made little tags out of brown paper and made labels out of wrapping paper. I enjoyed this part far too much!

So first up is my personal favourite! Vanilla Salted Caramels! Yum yum yum. I was literally obsessed with eating the leftovers! I found this recipe on Shutterbean, see here. It was super easy, although you do need a food thermometer for this. I bought mine relatively cheaply from Lakeland, but you can buy cheaper versions from amazon. The recipe didn't take long to make and set in about an hour in the fridge. Definitely a recipe you can quickly whip up. Do be careful though, making caramel means heating your ingredients to around 120C, and you don't want that mixture to drip onto your hand as I found out. It HURTS. Once my caramels were cool, I cut them into little rectangles and wrapped them up in baking paper to stop them sticking together. I think they look really cute. :)

Gingerbread Men have become ubiquitous at Christmas time, and for good reason. The lovely warming taste reminds me of cosy nights in and decorating them as a child. I just had to include them in my treat packages. I like quite a strong ginger flavour and the recipe by Edd Kimber that I found is great for this. You can find it here, it is actually for gingerbread houses, but you can make them into any shape you like. I finished them off with piped fondant icing around the edges, to give them a sweet kick.

Thirdly is classic Chocolate Fudge. I'm a big fudge lover, but not of the supermarket kind. I find it way too crumbly and sickly sweet. I love a rich, decadent creamy fudge and this recipe did not disappoint. Its really simple to make, although again does require a food thermometer. There are plenty of simpler fudge recipes out there that don't require a food thermometer though, so don't worry! The recipe stated to leave this to set for 30 minutes, I assumed this meant at room temperature. However, mine was still too gooey to cut at this stage, after 30 minutes in the fridge however it was fine. I dusted my pieces in cocoa powder, to give them a lovely finish and so they wouldn't stick together in the bag. You can find the recipe here.

Fourthly, is less of an edible gift and more of a drinkable one. Is that a word?? I saw this cute personalised tea tutorial on the treasure trove of a website that is A Beautiful Mess. The original idea (here) is to also make your own teabags, but as I'm not much of a sewer I decided to simply make the cute heart tags. It was so easy to do, and I think it'll look so cute hanging out of someones tea cup. :)

Finally, is another less edible and more drinkable treat. The Vanilla Syrup from the again, brilliant A Beautiful Mess website and the Gingerbread Syrup from Annie-Eats. Flavoured coffees are such a delicious treat, but they can become an expensive habit so why not make your own? The Vanilla Syrup was literally the easiest thing to make ever. I thought I'd done it wrong! But it tasted amazing with my morning coffee. The Gingerbread syrup was slightly trickier, but purely as because this requires spices it needs to be strained through a cheesecloth or similar. I had nothing to hand, but finally found that two tissues placed over a small sieve works brilliantly. It just requires quite a lot of patience. I decanted the syrup into small empty wine bottles, you can usually get them quite cheaply in big supermarkets, and made pretty labels. You don't have to just use these in coffee either, you can use them in hot chocolates aswell! :)

So there we have it, my final DIY Christmas. I hope you liked this little series and that it gave you a few ideas this Christmas! :) Here are all the posts in the series:

Merry Christmas! :)

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Weekly Highlights. #7

L-R: Wrapped presents, Christmassy nails, baking for Christmas, shameless selfie, Pudding at Jamies Italian, my sisters present, Jamies Italian yummy wine, Craig's present, my hamper from Craig :), Lasagne at Jamies Italian, missed packages :(. 
This week, like the run-up to Christmas has flown by. Its been full of last minute purchases, missed packages and Christmassy nails. I also finally got my hair re-ombred, but I completely forgot to take a picture and only realised now! Fail! I also realised that I don't take enough pictures in general of my week, and especially of people I spend the week with! Can that be a New Years Resolution?

My three highlights this week are:

1. Christmas shopping with the boy on Monday at Westfield was a lovely day, topped off nicely with lunch at Jamie's Italian. Yum yum for my tum. I love our chats over food, sometimes I think its the only time we're not distracted by our phones and actually give eachother our full attention. Well. 80% of my attention, I'm a foodie at heart so that definitely deserves attention. 

2. Wrapping Christmas presents is something I really enjoy. I love elaborately decorating them and making them look pretty. Especially as they look so lovely sat under the tree. :)

3. Finally, exchanging Christmas presents with the boy is always a delightful affair. :) Christmas music playing, wine in hand and a Yorkshire hamper from Craig was a delightful surprise! 

I can't believe by the time I write this post next week Christmas will be over! :(

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Love At First Use!

20 Dec 2013

Ever bought a product and fell in love straight away? Sometimes I think you just know whether you're going to get along with a product or not, and for me, the three products above are those in question. I bought all three products nearly two weeks ago, and literally can't stop using them! So here is a mini review of each, with my initial thoughts. :)

Soap and Glory products have long been a fixture in my bathroom cabinet, but somehow I hadn't tried the Pulp Fiction Body Scrub before. Now I don't know how I lived without it! It has a gorgeous scent, really fruity as the name suggests and although its grainy and feels like its really buffing your skin, its not painful like some body scrubs can be. I've used this every day in the shower now for about 2 weeks, and my skin really does feel noticeably smoother and softer. I slather on the Sugar Crush Body Wash (my favourite scent!) after using the scrub, and it literally feels like a dream smoothing it on. Just SO soft! So far? Its love. :)

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo is most likely a staple in many a beauty bloggers stash, but I hadn't gotten around to trying it. When I saw it with £3 off in Boots a few weeks back however, I couldn't resist! I use it before my morning routine and last thing at night. My skin really does seem noticeably clearer and its helped to clear up a little breakout I had recently. I loveee how quickly it sinks into the skin without leaving you feeling tacky. Only needing a small amount for the whole face and neck is great too, it'll definitely last a while! So far? Its love. :)

Lastly, after re-purchasing the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer a zillion times I decided to branch out and finally try the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer. I loved the foundation throughout summer when I wanted a healthy glow, but I'd never gotten round to trying the concealer. I love the consistency of this, its so creamy and blends out really well. Its quite a high coverage which is great, and brightens under my eyes nicely. I hear its a dupe for the Nars Creamy Concealer which just makes me want to try the Nars version even more! So far? Its love. :)

Do you find yourself loving products straight away, or does it take you a while to decide?

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FOTN: Dinner With Old Friends.

17 Dec 2013

I've had these pictures sitting on my hardrive for about a month or more now, and FINALLY got around to writing up the blog post! Pro blogger, clearly. I decided to focus on my eyes and go for a slight smokey eye for this look, whilst leaving the rest of my face quite neutral. I was off to have dinner with my old girl friends from college, we don't often all meet up together so it was really nice to catch up on everyone's lives. We went to Chiquito's where I had the most amazing guacamole! I was seriously impressed. The service was appalling though, it took us about 2 hours just to get our mains! A few Mojito's to get us through the wait didn't go amiss though! ;)

For the look I used:

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Light 2
Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in 52
Benefit Boi-ing Concealer in 02

Topshop Cream Blush in Primetime
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle 

MAC Naked Lunch Eyeshadow 
Stila Ebony Eyeshadow
Stila Night Sky Eyeshadow
MaxFactor Colour X-Pert Waterproof Eyeliner in Anthracite
Maybelline Mega Plush Volum' Express Mascara in Black

Maybelline Babylips in Intense Care

So there we have it, quite a simple look - especially on the lips, as I honestly couldn't be bothered to worry about my lipstick staying on through dinner! I hope you liked it :) Also, it seems GFC has officially left us now! So if you're not following me on Bloglovin', click here to stay up to date with posts! 

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DIY Christmas: The Christmas Eve Box

15 Dec 2013

This weeks craft is Pinterest inspired. I saw the idea of a Christmas Eve Box quite a few times and thought it was such a sweet idea! You can give this to anyone and put anything you want in it, so it can be really personal. Obviously the idea is that the recipient opens this on Christmas Eve as a kind of 'run up' to Christmas. With that in mind, you could add things like new pajamas to wear that night, a festive activity to do or a christmas film to watch. I decided to make this box for my sister, which I'm hoping might become a little tradition for us both!

For Katie I included a very festive Snowman hat which I know she'll appreciate for comedic value. Some amazing Brussel Sprout shaped chocolates from M&S. The Golden Wonder bath bomb from Lush, for a relaxing treat which is making the box smell AMAZING. I just hope it doesn't also make the chocolates taste like a bath bomb! The Charades and Trivia box is for a bit of fun in the evening, and the Christmas Tree Foam Clay Kit is to while away the time while the turkey cooks. Katie is totally into crafts like me, so I'm sure she'll enjoy a bit of crafty fun!

I also included this little note to explain the idea behind the box, which I tucked into the top of the package after burying everything inside.

I then decorated it, and added a few candy canes to make a heart. I think it looks rather festive indeed! I really like this idea and think it could be really great for kids if it was filled with lots of fun activities to keep them busy.

I can't wait to give this to Katie on Christmas Eve! I hope you liked this DIY, there's only one post left now before Christmas! Crazy! So here's all the DIY Christmas posts in my little series up to now! :)

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Weekly Highlights. #6

14 Dec 2013

Yummy Sausage and Mash made by me, My friend Joe and his super cute dog Milly, Christmas Jumper day!, Wholefoods trolley, Christmas at Kew Gardens display, Advent calender from my boyfriends Grandma, Lunch at Cha Cha Moon with the boy, Super weird Salted Lemon Sprite - yuk!, Christmas Tree, Craig crafting!, Super cosy Primark leggings. 
This week was full of hearty food, Christmas decorations and cosy nights in. Christmas panic has officially set in. Making all my presents seemed like such a great idea, but now I'm just stressed that I won't have enough time! Ahh! Maybe I'll have a Christmas miracle?? Fingers crossed anyway!

My three highlights of this week are:

1. Putting up the Christmas tree!! I love making the house look festive, it makes me feel so cosy! My job is always to decorate the tree, which means I get to put all my favourite baubles at the front! ;) I can't wait to start putting presents under the tree now, its looking a little bare at the moment!

2. Can a highlight be wooly christmas leggings?? I am aware quite how pathetic that sounds, but seriously. Get yourself down to Primark and buy a pair of their christmassy pj leggings and you'll understand my love. They are the cosiest, comfiest things ever and if I could leave the house in them without fear of public ridicule I totally would!! haha :) 

3. Finally, another odd one! But shopping in Whole Foods with my boyfriend! We decided to buy a super yummy dinner and obviously went to Wholefoods. We literally love it there, and walk around pretending we're back in New York...haha. We bought super tasty pies, brocolli and potato to make mash and a bottle of red. Ahh yeah. :) 

So that's my week! How's your been?

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Why Do You Wear Makeup?

13 Dec 2013

If I'd asked myself this question 6 years ago when I was at College without a doubt my answer would've been: to cover up, to conceal, to hide behind. Any of the three. Wearing make-up was something I did more out of necessity than because I enjoyed it. I wouldn't even dream of leaving my house without make-up on. 6 years later however? My answer is simply because I enjoy it! I love the way make-up can change and enhance your face and give you renewed confidence in your self.

Since finding the beauty blogging world, my interest in make-up has grown exponentially to the point where I now can't go into Boots without making at least one cheeky purchase. But now I see it as a way to enhance my features rather than covering them up, so buying make-up is a treat to myself. That's what I tell myself anyway! Creating new looks and finding new products is something I really enjoy, whereas before I would buy staple products simply to cover my face.

I still prefer to have make-up on when I'm going out, but I don't find my naked face quite as horrific as I used to. Which is always a good thing! The blogging world has definitely opened my eyes to how make-up should be used. :) What's strange is that I actually wear more products on my face now than I ever did before, but I'm definitely not hiding behind them anymore.

One product I won't forgo though? Mascara! My eyes literally do not look awake otherwise!

Why do you wear make-up?

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Review: Clynol's Wonder 10 Blow-Out Spray

10 Dec 2013

Clynol's Wonder 10 Blow-Out Spray* claims to reduce blow-drying time, protect from heat damage and provide natural body, volume and shine. Quite a hefty list of claims I'd say! But for the most part the Blow-Out Spray does just that.

The spray needs to be used on towel-dried hair and combed through before blow-drying. I spritz about 5-6 pumps through my hair, as my hair is quite long and then comb through after adding my TIGI Smoothing Lusterizer to the ends of my hair.

Although I've not timed the difference in blow-drying my hair with the spray and without, I definitely do think my blow-drying time is noticeably shorter. Guesstimating I'd say it shaves off about 5 minutes blow-drying time which is perfect for me as I hateee blow-drying my hair! My arm always aches from holding the hairdryer up!

I love that it has in-built heat defence as it means I don't need to use my heat defence spray on top of this. Combining products is definitely a winner in my eyes! I wouldn't necessarily say that it massively reduced frizziness in my hair, however I do have quite frizzy hair and usually have to use a serum to fix this anyway. Someone with hair that only has slight frizziness would probably find this helps them more. The spray definitely helps to de-tangle my hair however, which makes brushing it out a doddle.

My main bug-bear with the Blow-Out Spray is actually the smell! I'm quite big on how hair products smell, and am always influenced to buy products that smell amazing. The Blow-Out spray however smells really clinical to me. Almost like a cleaning spray, which isn't what I want my hair to smell like at all! Luckily the smell doesn't linger in my hair though, so I've been happy to keep using it!

The bottle will definitely last for ever too, as I've hardly seemed to make a dent in the bottle so far. It retails at £9.95 and you can buy it here.


*This product was sent to me as a PR sample for review consideration. Despite this my review remains 100% honest and true to my own opinion.
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DIY Christmas: Christmas Jumper Cards

8 Dec 2013

I love giving/receiving cards and homemade cards are even better. I also love Christmas jumpers and don't think Christmas is complete without one. So when the idea to combine the two hit me, I knew I was on to a winner. HOW cute are they?? Not gonna lie, I'm more than a bit proud of how they came out. In some ways, I think they'd make great decorative bunting too! Although you might want to make them a tadge smaller for those purposes!

The jumper design options are literally endless, you can really do anything you want on them. These are just the first four I came up with, but I have ideas brimming for my next batch already! :)

To make these I bought a pack of 5 blank cards/envelopes from Hobbycraft and cut them into the Christmas jumper shape I wanted. I then drew the design shapes onto scraps of card that I had around the house and just glued them on. The blank cards were £2 from Hobbycraft, so at 40p a card I'd say that's a bargain!

If you don't regularly make things and therefore don't have bits of card to use, Hobbycraft do some great card packs in various colours to use. I'm sure you could find packs on Amazon as well!

I hope you enjoyed this craft, let me know if you decide to make Christmas Jumper cards too! :)

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Weekly Highlights. #5

7 Dec 2013

L-R: FOTD before the Gig, Charlotte and I in Camden, Meeting the BearandHare again!, Liam Fray from The Courteeners, Carnaby Street, Outside Shepherds Bush Empire, Yummy accordion potatoes for dinner, At the gig, West Side Story programme, Sneaky changing room selfie, Christmas hats! 
As I type this I'm watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on TV with the twinkling Christmas Tree lights on the go in the corner. I must say I'm feeling thoroughly snug and festive. :) The first week of December has been a good one for me, with the arrival of one my very best friends Charlotte for a few days and the opening of my awesome advent calender! The only downside is that I seem to have gotten a sore throat. :( Here are my highlights of the week!

1. I met Charlotte back in 2011 in Heathrow Airport. How veryyy romantic you might say, ;). We were off on a journey to work in America for the summer and have been the best of friends ever since! We always have theee best time when we're together and this visit was no exception! Shopping and cinema dates with us are a given. But this time we also went to see The Courteeners at the Shepherds Bush Empire! It was my Christmas present from Charlotte, and it was such an amazing night! The band were amazing and frontman Liam was every bit as handsome in real life! The only downside was some eejit letting off a flare mid gig, resulting in choking red smoke surrounding us! My hair did notttt smell great after that!!

2. Making Christmas presents is one of my favourites things to do and this week I finally started putting together a Recipe book I'm making for my boyfriend. I'm soo happy with how its turning out and I really can't wait to give it to him now! There's something really satisfying in giving a present that you've spent hours putting together.

3. Finally, last night I went to see a Sixth-Form performance of West Side Story at a school that my boyfriends brother works at. I'd never seen such a lavish school production before, and I was so impressed with some of the students. It really brought back so many good memories of performing in school when I was younger too though, and I ended up feeling like a proud parent by the end! haha

I hope you've all had a great week! What've your highlights been? :)

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November Favourites.

6 Dec 2013

This month I've been rekindling my love for some older products and seem to have become slightly lip obsessed with three lip products making the cut! With the festive season approaching I've loved digging out my MAC highlighter to give my face some light, and keeping my lips lovely and soft with Maybelline's Babylips.

So kicking off my favourites is a lipstick that I've had for quite a while but only now seem to really love! The Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick in 03 is a really great nude. Its definitely more of a pinky/brown shade rather than a peachy nude. As loathe as I am to say it, its the perfect 'your lips but better' shade for me. As with the whole line of Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks it is really moisturising and sits really nicely on the lips. I love it for an everyday look.

Another old favourite is my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle. It really is the most beautiful highlighter. I stopped using it more recently in favour of Benefit's High Beam, but I've found that Soft and Gentle gives a much subtler pretty glow. Its perfect for brightening up your face through the colder months.

Recently I've been loving having nude nails, and Barry M's Matte Nail Polish in Vanilla is perfect. Sometimes I find a nude polish that looks great in the pot, can really wash out my fingers. But Vanilla is a really great, elegant shade. It dries matte really quickly, and stays chip free for at least 3-4 days without a topcoat. I'm really loving the matte nails trend!

Back to lips, I recently bought into the Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick hype, with the shade In Love With Ginger. I have to say I totally understand the hype with this! I can't stop wearing it, as it really is so moisturising. It sits really comfortably on the lips and has great colour payoff. Its a great vibrant orange toned red, which works really well as an alternative to the classic A/W red. It lasts really well throughout the day too, with only a few retouches needed.

Mascara is one of my great loves. If I could only put on one product before I left the house it'd definitely be mascara. I love the way it brightens and opens up your eyes, and this Maybelline mascara really does the trick. The Mega Plush Volum' Express has a really great rounded flexible brush which helps spread product on every single lash. My lashes feel so volumised without having the brittle flakiness that most mascaras give you.

Lastly its back to lips and another seriously hyped product. I really wasn't interested in the whole Babylips hype, as I'm not a massive fan of tinted lip balms. However, recently I was on the hunt for a lip balm in a tube and when a 3 for 2 offer arose I took the plunge. I bought the Intense Care balm, as it wasn't tinted and sounded promising in this cold weather! Unsurprisingly, I absolutely love it. It makes my lips feel baby soft and leaves a really nice gloss finish. I'm getting through the tube a mile a minute, but at £2.99 a pop I think I'l be buying another soon!

What were your favourite products in November? :)

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Review: Topshop Matte Nail Polish in Cryptic

3 Dec 2013

Red nails have never really been my thing. I've always found them too garish, too vampish and definitely would never have thought they'd of been on my nails. However, matte nail polishes are a revelation to me. Thinking back my main issue with red nails was always the glossy finish, but with a matte finish they're much more understated.

Topshop have a great range of matte polishes which are really affordable and a great quality. I also really love the packaging which has almost 'frosted-glass' sides and a clear window stating the finish of the polish. As a matte finish, the polish dries a lot quicker than regular nail polishes. I don't find it lasts as long, although I do feel this may be due to the lack of top coat. You can actually buy a Matte finish top coat from Topshop but as yet I haven't felt the need for it.

The shade is a lovely bright red which feels really festive, great for this time of year! However, I'm sad to say you can't actually buy this polish anymore! I didn't realise until writing this post that the polish was part of the Limited Edition A/W Collection The Damned. After having a look on the Topshop website though there is a great range of matte polishes out, including Bad Orchid which is a great plummy purple for Autumn/Winter.

What're your thoughts on matte nails?

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DIY Christmas: Map Coasters

1 Dec 2013

The third installment of my DIY Christmas ideas is inspired by the wonderful site that is Pinterest. I'm not entirely sure how I coped before without Pinterest, but now its my go-to place when I need some inspiration. This DIY idea is actually a present I'm giving to my Best Friend. Shes recently moved down to Southampton to work for Ordnance Survey so I wanted to make her something 'homey' that she could use. When I saw these map coasters I knew that it'd be perfect for her. Working at Ordnance Survey she's obviously interested in maps and as she's now lived in four different places I had four ready made map locations!

You can make this present for anyone really, but making the map locations personal to them is a really great touch. The coasters are so easy to make, I literally made them in about an hour. All you need is a pack of Cork Coasters (I got mine from Hobbycraft but you can get them online too!), 4 maps that you've printed off, a paintbrush, Mod Podge (or any other glue sealant) and a craft knife or scissors.

Firstly you'll need to take a coaster and draw around it over the map, choosing the best location. Then cut this out and repeat for the other three maps.

Then using the paintbrush, paint the Mod Podge onto the cork and then stick on the map, being careful to smooth out any bubbles. Again repeat for the other coasters and leave to dry a little while. Mine slightly bent at this, so I put them under a placemat and put my camera on top to flatten them a little.

Once they'v set for around 10 minutes or so you can then paint the Mod Podge over the top of the maps and around the edges to set the coaster. Then leave overnight to dry.

There you have it, a really simple DIY that shows a lot of thought. :) I wrapped mine up in some left-over lace material and added a ribbon and bell for an added touch. Let me know if you try it!

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