Monday, 31 October 2016

A Month in Books - October 2016

Happy Halloween!

I've got a few spooky and horror reads included in my October roundup so, if you're not chaperoning sugar-crazy kids this evening, you might like to curl up and scare yourself silly with a book instead.

I read twenty books during the past 31 days, nearly half of which were indie authors so I am happy to have been able to support their work. One is even my Book of the Month with another vying for the title. You'll have to read on down to find out which they are!


Patchwork Man by Debrah Martin

Buy the book from Abebooks
Buy the book from Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I received an ebook copy of this crime thriller from the author and liked her depictions of Lawrence's poverty-stricken Croydon childhood. I recognised Eastbourne's bitter seafront winds too! The overall storyline didn't convince me though so Patchwork Man ended up a 3 star read.


While The World Watched by Carolyn Maull Mckinstry with Denise George

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Buy the audiobook from Audible via Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the audio CD from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Another 3 star rating, this time a listen, was for Carolyn Maull McKinstry's memoir of growing up in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights era. Carolyn was actually in the bombed 16th Street Baptist Church and her experience that day shaped the rest of her life. This is an interesting memoir, albeit overly repetitive for my taste.


The Second Stage Of Grief by Katherine Hayton

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Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I've read several crime books this month, the second being this New Zealand set police procedural which I received as a reward for nominating it for publication via KindleScout. I enjoy Katherine Hayton's writing and the different flavour her Kiwi settings bring to the Ngaire Blakes mysteries. Although this second in the series was only just published, I am already eagerly awaiting the third!


In The Line Of Duty by Carolyn Arnold

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

An American city is the setting for In The Line Of Duty, my third book review as part of Beck Valley Book Tours. This book is the seventh in its series so I had missed out on some back story, but it was still a good read as a standalone novel as I plan to now start at the series' beginning and catch myself up.


The Lovely Brush by Heather Awad

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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I first read Heather Awad's poetry almost exactly a year before ago and was delighted to be offered an advance copy of her second collection, The Lovely Brush. Heather's words can be bleak and emtional but I love how she presents her universal themes though intensely personal experiences.


An Ishmael Of Syria by Asaad Almohammad

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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

This indie author debut was hit and miss for me. It is an incredibly powerful fictional portrait of the trauma of life in exile and the writing is certainly impassioned, but also sometimes awkwardly paced and edited.


Ghost Money by Andrew Nette

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

More crime fiction here and Ghost Money is an atmospheric noir mystery set in 1990s Cambodia just as Khmer Rouge power is fading and the broken country is trying to rebuild itself. I thought it a good read for the well evoked setting as much as the mystery.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I've got March by Geraldine Brooks awaiting me as an audiobook, but wanted to revisit Little Women first as I hadn't read the classic since childhood. It is still just as good as I remember and I appreciated its underlying feminism far more now. I doubt I noticed thirty years ago!


Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor 

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Another country on the cusp of change, South Africa this time, viewed through the experiences of one disintegrating family. Bitter Fruit was a tough book to read and took a while to draw me in, but I think it will be memorable.


Squashed Possums: Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand by Jonathan Tindale

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I got so jealous while reading this fiction-memoir of Jon's months living in a caravan in ultra-rural New Zealand! The book is narrated by the caravan itself which is a fun, quirky idea and is interesting for its history and nature of New Zealand as well as for details of the way-off-grid lifestyle.


Halo Round The Moon by Steve Turnbull

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Halo is the third of Steve's Maliha Anderson steampunk mysteries that I have read and I love his combination of Edwardian India and fantastical steampunk inventions. The train in this book is simply wonderful and I want to take the same journey as Maliha!


Live This Book! by Tom Chatfield

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Part self help book, part stunning piece of design, Live This book impressed me with its thoughtful questions, exercises and writing prompts. It doesn't promise instant life hacks and fixes, but rather asks its owner to consider their own ideas for contented living. A good Christmas gift for bloggers, writers, unsatisfied souls and anyone searching for hygge.


Refugee Tales edited by David Herd and Anna Pincus

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Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

An intellectual collection of short stories and poetry based in the true experiences of 'invisible' detainees in Britain. Authors include Patience Agbabi, Chris Cleave, Marina Lewycka and Ali Smith and this is a saddening glimpse into an aspect of British justice that I suspect most of us would like to pretend doesn't happen.


I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

A lighter choice now and I loved Jandy's use of flamboyant language and hyperbole in this book. She completely understands her lead characters, teenage twins Jude and Noah, speaking convincingly through them in this coming-of-age tale of family, art, self-identity and love.


Occupied by Joss Sheldon

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Buy the audiobook from Audible via Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I didn't know what to expect from this audiobook, but Occupied is definitely be my Book of the Month and might become my Book of the Year too. It's brilliant! If you only allow yourself to be swayed by one of my reviews this month, make this the book you buy!


Courage Has No Color, The True Story Of The Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

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Buy the audiobook download from Audible via Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Yes, yet another audiobook, but this one is short and was a little disappointing. There are interesting snippets of information about the Triple Nickles, but I didn't think Stone really had enough material to justify a whole book.


Crocheted Mandalas by Lynne Rowe

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Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I love to crochet - you might already know that - and this neat little craft book has some great ideas and bold designs. If you'd like to win it, my Literary Flits Giveaway is open worldwide until the 2nd November. Get your entries in now!


The Last Pilgrim by Gard Sveen

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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

A WW2 crime in Norway and its 2003 police investigation provide the dual timelines for this novel. I thought the book might have been stronger had it focussed solely on one or the other, but it was still a pretty good read and got more engrossing as it went on.


The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen

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Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Bowen's depiction of Anglo-Irish aristocracy in 1920s Ireland has some of the most irritating characters I have read, intentionally so I believe. History tells us it won't end well for them and I could quite understand why!


anemogram. by Rebecca Gransden

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Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Finally for October's reads is this superbly creepy horror novel which is just perfect for Halloween. I loved Rebecca's richly detailed descriptions and post-industrial landscapes. The story starts out one way before deftly twisting around and I found it to be utterly compelling writing!


So that's everything for October and I hope you are encouraged to pick up a few of these titles. Let me know in the comments of books you think I would like too.

I'm planning to read a Spanish book, Berta La Larga by Cuca Canals, to coincide with my WorldReads post on the 5th November, and also have classic fiction, indie authors and more Scandinavian crime lined up awaiting reading. Roll on November!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

We visit Teignmouth Farmers' Market

Nosferatu street art in Teignmouth 
Our journey to Teignmouth Farmers' Market actually started several weeks ago when we met the irrepressible Collin Pereira of India In A Jar at Newton Abbot's Friday market. We got chatting, bought a couple of excellent samosas and sampled his unique curry pastes. We've sporadically thought since that we really should get back to Newton Abbot to buy the Minced Chicken Paste which we both liked, but hadn't gotten around to it so when I saw on Facebook that Colin would be at Teignmouth's Farmers' Market today it seemed like an ideal opportunity both to set ourselves up for great curries and to explore the town. The markets are usually the last Saturday of the month, the exception being December's market this year which is pre-Christmas on the 17th.

Teignmouth Triangles monument 
Teignmouth did appear rundown as we approached over the bridge from Shaldon, but once we were strolling within the town centre and along the seafront it gave a much better impression and I liked that there are lots of independent shops alongside the usual retailers. We parked over the road from the railway station so were only a street away from the market which is held in a smallish open space called the Triangles. Teignmouth Triangles were part of a regeneration project undertaken by Teignbridge District Council and Teignmouth Town Council and this monument was erected to commemorate the works' completion in May 1995. There weren't many stalls, but all looked to have high quality produce at reasonable prices so we ended up on a bit of a foodie spree!

Our first purchases were individual pies bought from Cockleshell Deli in Christow. The stallholder assured us we would love the pies and even offered money back if we didn't - he hadn't met Fussy Dave before! - but he was absolutely right. Dave had a Steak And Ale Fatboy Pie and I had a Roasted Sweet Potato Filo Pie. Warmed through for lunch once we got back home, both were delicious. And if Dave says so, that's praise indeed!

Abbey Meadow stall 
Next to catch our eyes was the Abbey Meadow stall. Abbey Meadow is a fantastic Community Supported Farming initiative near Brixham which practices sustainable natural farming. They're still fairly new having begun in 2013 and this is just the type of project I have been looking to support since reading The Omnivore's Dilemma earlier this summer. The stall had various meats including goat. I do love Curry Goat so we bought a half kilo and I will let you know when I slow cook it in the week just how good it tastes!

Finally we got to India In A Jar where we bought our long awaited Minced Chicken paste! We also picked up a couple of good ripe tomatoes from Tibbs Greengrocers and Dave made up our first India In A Jar curry tonight. It really is really good! Dave says using this paste was much easier than measuring out lots of spices individually and the flat smelt divine all afternoon while it was slow cooking. We served the curry up with a brown basmati rice I bought at Torquay Indoor Market and a little plain yoghurt on the side in case it was too spicy. The whole meal was great and I wish I'd got the two-jars-for-a-tenner deal instead of just buying one!

Teignmouth was also hosting an Arts And Crafts Market today which we walked around but had already spent practically all our money on food! There is a definite arty quarter to the town and Dave thought he had visited T.A.A.G. Arts And Community Centre before, years ago when our friend Marta showed some of her artworks there. Teignmouth has a strong cafe culture with a good variety of tempting independents. I enjoyed spotting creative touches such as this mosaic wall art and the Nosferatu image pictured at the top of the post. We looked in a couple of vintage-antique shops and I loved some boots in the window of Brodequin Shoemakers.

We both enjoyed our Teignmouth visit and would certainly return to explore more of the town and, when we've saved up again, to have another splurge at the Farmers' Market!


Thursday, 27 October 2016

#ThrowbackThursday - where we were on this day in Octobers past

I can go back through four years of blog posts for October's ThrowbackThursday because I know that about this date in 2012 we went to see a French film, Les femmes du 6e etage, at Hailsham Pavilion. I don't actually remember much about the film other than it was a light comedy. I haven't found a similar art house cinema in Torquay yet, our nearest being at Dartington which is a bit of a hassle to get too. There is a monthly film club at St Matthias church though. It's only about a ten minute walk away. I had to miss last month's screening due to illness, but am hoping to make it to The Butler on the 3rd November.

At the end of October 2013 we were just about to set out on our First Big Caravan Adventure! We had a ferry booked to Bilbao to arrive on the 30th and were excited and a little nervous too. It looks like I was using up whatever we had left in the kitchen for meals because I blogged a Jambalaya recipe which is a great one for utilising oddments and leftovers! It was the last time we were going to see our lovely Whittard's dining plates for six months too. They're still going strong now.

On the 27th of October 2014 we were in Valencia, Spain, and our Second Big Caravan Adventure was well and truly underway! This journey would end up being nearly two wonderful years of caravan living. I blogged two posts about being in Valencia and I still love this gargoyle statue which overlooked on of the bridges. Highlights including discovering the incredible City Of Arts And Sciences and watching a film in the iMAX cinema there. We tasted our very first Horchata from a street seller outside and marvelled at the stunningly bonkers architecture.

By this time in October 2015 we were in Lyon, France, and I loved their street art. There are a few examples shown in this post from there. We also admired this dramatic fountain sculpted by Bartholdi - of Statue Of Liberty fame - in the 1880s and originally intended for Bordeaux. Lyon is a perfect city for just wandering around. Its centre is compact enough to be manageable on foot and there are fascinating details around every corner. Dismal concrete is everywhere, but then we saw a Roman amphitheatre and the Lyon Opera House too. I especially liked the old silk weaving district.

This year we are, of course, in Torquay, but with only about three weeks left now until we are on the road again. Having been reminiscing here, I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Animals Are Not Freight - we can change the law!

In August this year Compassion In World Farming led the first global day of action against live exports.  It commemorated the 20th anniversary of the world's worst live export disaster and people all around the world sent a clear message to their governments: Animals are not Freight. (I wrote a blog post here.) The message was loud and clear that we will not tolerate this cruel and unnecessary trade any longer. I received an email from CIWF yesterday with the excellent news that our voices were actually heard!

A bill has been proposed in Parliament that would allow local authorities to refuse to accept live exports through British ports of animals for slaughter. Currently they have no choice. I have written to my MP, Kevin Foster, asking him to support the bill. Please can you contact your MP too?

We now have the chance to amend the antiquated 19th-century Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act. Current interpretation of this law forces British public ports to allow lorries squashed full of frightened animals to pass through, even if they want to reject this trade. The new bill would allow local authority ports to say “No” to live exports for slaughter abroad.


However, in order for the amendment to become law, it needs MPs to vote it through. The 'Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 (Amendment) Bill 2016-17' is expected to have its second reading on the 4th November. Please can you contact your MP before that date urging them to support this bill? You can write or email directly or, if you're not sure what to write, CIWF has a template email on this page of their website which you can send as is or personalise.

Please contact your MP now


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Greetings cards to Connecticut and 200 crocheted flowers!

Custom flower order 
As mentioned in yesterday's Kelley McRae post, I am celebrating - and my fingers are slowly ceasing to ache! - after having completed a custom order for just over 200 little crocheted flowers this week. They were fun to make though and hopefully will be on their way to London shortly. My buyer sent all the different yarns that she wanted me to use and I particularly liked working with the pale pink one which was dyed with many colours to produce a beautiful textured effect. I have listed other crochet flowers and motifs in my Etsy shop.

I've also posted two of my handmade greetings cards to Connecticut, USA this week. Debby who lives there was the winner of my weekly Wednesday Literary Flits giveaway and you can see the cards she chose at the end of this paragraph. This week's giveaway is for a paperback copy of a short stories book called Refugee Tales. The stories are written by authors including Ali Smith, Marina Lewycka and Patience Agbabi and you can enter the giveaway through this link. It's open worldwide and your last chance to enter is midnight (UK time) tomorrow (26th Oct).

Handmade cards for Debby 

In other news, I finally got around to having my hair cut this week! It's not been cut since Westham back in July, but Imogen at e-Hair just down the road did a fantastic job and I'm very happy with my 'new hair'.

And I will finish with a big congratulations to Steve Royston who not only managed a whole night sleeping out in a cardboard box on Hastings seafront for this year's The Big Sleep, but also raised a fantastic £1500 for homelessness charity Seaview. Well done Steve!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Kelley McRae at the Crown And Sceptre, Torquay

Kelley McRae and Matt Castelein 
I've been manically crocheting a big custom order - more about that tomorrow! - so haven't had much blogging time this week, hence why this post about a lovely gig we went to on Friday is a few days delayed. We've discovered a second great gig venue, Upstairs at the Crown And Sceptre in St Marychurch.

The pub itself is a genuine traditional local with a good range of drinks. Their food is apparently excellent too. One bar was absolutely crammed when we got there and we could hear a small jam session coming from the other. Once the thirty-odd of us for the gig started to clear out upstairs, I'm sure it was more comfortable in the bars, but when we came back down at the end, the pub seemed just as busy without us! Upstairs is a small function room with assorted chairs and long tables. I loved the black and white timbered walls and the random decorative curios. Musicians have a tiny corner space and they were using mikes and speakers although, considering the space and the attentive audience, I'm not sure they needed to.

Crown And Sceptre, Torquay 
Singer-songwriter Kelley McRae tours with her husband, dobro player Matt Castelein, performing Americana music inspired by their travelling lifestyle. Like us, they like to be on the move and spent a couple of years touring America in a VW campervan - even more compact than our caravan! They are now based in our favourite American city of Austin, Texas. Neither Dave or I knew anything about the duo prior to seeing this gig advertised so we turned up having seen a few YouTube videos and trusting in the Crown And Sceptre's reputation for good music. We weren't disappointed! We were both impressed with their gorgeous harmonies and I liked the thoughtful lyrics to their songs. Matt's dobro guitar was a more unusual addition to the show and its sound worked well in the cosy space. I would certainly go to see Kelley McRae again!

Kelley and Matt have five more UK gigs in their The Wayside tour and you can see details on this page of Kelley's website.
The next gig Upstairs at the Crown And Sceptre is Tim Easton. The Facebook event page is here and we've already got our tickets!


Saturday, 22 October 2016

#TreatYourself - special offers that caught my eye

I am excited to be bringing you October's roundup of special offers and discount codes because I think there are some particularly good ones amongst them!

I am starting with a favourite shop of mine which is the chocolatiers Thorntons. Not only do they already have a lot of their Christmas chocolates on sale, but until the 30th of October many are also priced at 5 boxes for £20. That's just £4 a box so, if you have somewhere raid-proof to stash them, now could be a good time to stock up for the festive season. Use the checkout code FVTW to take advantage of the offer. We loved the Pudding Collection that Dave got for his birthday, or there are Chocolate Marzipans and Marzipan Fruits, or how about The Snowman Advent Calendars?

There's an extra day to take up Sue Roche's free greetings card offer - this expires on the 31st of October. Sue Roche is a talented illustrator based in Rochford and I love her whimsical fairytale and animal designs. The S card I have pictured here features Alice In Wonderland characters. Sue Roche currently has a Buy One Get One Free promotion on all her cards (except Christmas cards) which is perfect for those of us whose family members insist on having birthdays in December and January. Anyone else struggle to find birthday cards amongst all the Xmas glitz?! Navigate to the card you like, then click the 'Free Card Choice' dropdown on its page to choose a second card before Adding To Cart. (This might sound complicated here, but it is pretty straightforward when in the online shop.)

You can probably get all your Christmas shopping done in one extended clicking session at Not On The High Street which has hundreds of wonderful and unusual items available in their Christmas shop and all across the website. Ideas range from Advent calendars to home decorations to edibles to gifts. (Did you see Dave's gorgeous olive wood chopping board?) I love the laid out dining tables shimmering with Christmassy silvers and golds. It's almost making me want to start playing our Christmas mix tape already! There's an extra incentive to visit this website before the end of October. Not On The High Street are offering 15% off orders over £50 and you just need to enter the seasonally appropriate code HOHOHO at checkout.

Cotswolds based clothing designers Weird Fish also have a 15% discount offer running at the moment for their new Autumn season clothing, but I can't find the offer end date anywhere so maybe don't leave it too long before clicking through on this one! The checkout code is WFNNEQ94. There are plenty of new coats, hats and jumpers in their Autumn Arrivals section so if you've been caught out by the recent cooling temperatures too, now is the time to update your wardrobe! Weird Fish have free UK delivery and returns and it's always worthwhile keeping an eye on their sale section too. Right now there's big reductions on lightweight clothing for winter holidays in the sun or stashing ready for next summer.

My sister reminded me about my fifth suggestion for you this month and it's not a temporary offer but an ongoing cashback reward scheme with a difference. KidStart rewards shoppers with cashback of up to about 5% on online purchases, however instead of the money returning eventually to the spender, it is diverted to your child's savings bank account enabling you to save for their future by shopping! What's even better is that family members (such as aunts like me!) can also link in their KidStart accounts so in this case I have set up my cashback rewards to go to my niece. I like the variety of participating shopping sites - there's over 1500 - which, coincidentally, include my favourites such as Etsy, Thorntons and Not On The High Street!

That's it for TreatYourself this month. I'll search out another five money savers for November 22nd and, in the meantime, here a Happy Halloween and a safe Bonfire Night!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Christmas Carol cards now in stock and enter my Xmas Cards Giveaway!

Little Women christmas card - SOLD!
I was amazed to realise that a whole week has already gone by since I posted about celebrating two sales from my Etsy shop. Doesn't time fly when you're not paying attention! In that time I have also now sold the first of my handmade greetings cards - thank you Paula! - and have received the parcel of yarns with which to make up a custom order of crocheted flowers I mentioned. It's going to be a busy week getting them all made up!

Today I made ten new Christmas cards from a 1950s edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love a good ghost story for Christmas and this has to be the best. It felt great to be giving an old, worn book a new lease of life too, especially the few gorgeous John Leech illustrations I salvaged.
A Christmas Carol greeting card 
All the Christmas Carol cards I have made so far are now listed for your perusal along with others featuring part-pages from vintage Wuthering Heights, Little Women and The Yellow Wallpaper editions. I hope you like them! They are mostly £2.50 each, but if you just can't decide which ones you want to buy, I have also created a '5 for £10' listing. That's 20% off the single card price which, if I may say so, is an absolute bargain! Just be sure to use the Notes To Seller box to let me know the five cards you want.

And I you want a couple of my handmade cards, but don't want to pay for them then you are definitely reading the right blog post! I am currently running a giveaway over on Literary Flits and thought I would extend it over here too. The prize is the winner's choice of two cards from my shop.

2x Literary Greetings Cards giveaway

The Giveaway is open worldwide and previous giveaway winners are welcome to enter. Entries must be submitted through the Gleam widget by midnight (UK time) on the 19th October and I will randomly pick a winner on the 20th. If the winner does not respond to my email within 7 days, they will forfeit the prize and, yes, I will be checking that entrants did complete whatever task they said they did.

Good luck!

 
 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Top Five Etsy Finds - Socks - #DifferenceMakesUs

Motivational socks by SparksClothingShop 
I'm excited to be posting this month's Top Five Etsy Finds as part of the Etsy campaign Difference Makes Us. The idea is to focus on a simple and relatively mundane item that we all own, but in wildly differing fashions to create our own unique style. Etsy has created a special Difference Makes Us page on their website highlighting the fantastic variations available from artisans worldwide and, of course, this is something I love to do each month with my themed Top Five Etsy Finds blog posts! September's post explored Wall Clock designs, August looked at some incredible Sofas and Chairs and for October I have been hunting down fabulous Socks.

Yes, Socks! It turns out that Etsy crafters have thought up as much variety in this clothing staple as in everything else they turn their minds to and, with autumn days starting to feel distinctly chilly, it's the just the time for each of us to find our own perfect pair!

The first socks that caught my eye were the inspirational pair pictured at the top of this post. They are made by Verity and Deborah, a mother and daughter team who run SparksClothingShop from Taunton in Somerset. For me, 'You Are Capable Of Amazing Things' completely sums up the Etsy ethos and I think these socks would be ideal to wear at any time when I need a confidence boost.

These socks are for sale at £15 a pair with free standard UK shipping.


Hand Knit Wool Socks by FirTreeKnitwear 
Next up is a distinctly Nordic pair of socks because I love my Scandinavian TV dramas and these just look so cosy. They are handknitted too. I love the snowflake and reindeer design which just screams Christmas - did you know there's only just over 70 more sleeps to go?! Hand Knit Wool Socks are expertly knitted to order by Egle at FirTreeKnitwear in London. She was taught to knit in Lithuania by her grandmother at just six years old and is happy to be carrying on her family's traditional skill.

These socks are for sale at £29 a pair plus shipping.


Creepy Dolls Ankle Socks at DanceMacabre 
Before Christmas however we have Halloween and I couldn't resist appeasing my macabre side by including this pair of Creepy Dolls Ankle Socks. Aren't those eyes spooky? The socks are printed by hand by Paul and Leona at DanceMacabre in Guisborough, North Yorkshire. We stayed nearby on our Great UK Caravan Tour last summer and the North York Moors is a beautiful part of the country. DanceMacabre say their hand printing process means that each pair is subtly different and the 100% polyester fabric keeps its bold tones so your eerie dolls won't fade in the wash.

These socks are for sale at £7.99 a pair plus shipping.


Hobbit Feet Socks by MakeGeekCraft 
I can never resist a good literary connection so knew as soon as I saw these novelty socks that they had to be part of my Top Five blog post. I read The Hobbit by Tolkien years ago and loved the book though I've not yet worked up the reading stamina to attempt the whole Lord Of The Rings trilogy. These Hairy Toes Hobbit Feet Socks are hand knitted from merino-nylon blend wool by Hannah Marshall at MakeGeekCraft in Poole, Dorset. I can think of a few fantasy fiction fans I know who would be thrilled to find a pair under their tree on Christmas morning. Cosplay anyone?

These socks are for sale at £26.50 a pair plus shipping.


Lace Embellished Knee Socks by MaudsHosiery 
I'm going all girly for my final socks choice because I love these pretty Lace Embellished Knee Socks by MaudsHosiery in Bedford. They have a wonderful vintage steampunk vibe to them and are so elegant. I'm not sure I would be able to walk about in quite such high heels, but it's a great look with that net skirt. Check through this shop's other listings to see truly fabulous shoes, especially the unicorn heels! Maud says the Knee Socks are highly customisable, but I think the default of black sock with pale peach lace would suit me fine. I just need to find myself the right vintage dress ...

These socks are for sale at £7 a pair plus shipping.


So, if you were thinking of getting me socks for Christmas, then any of these pairs would be ideal! And why not let me know what your perfect pair of socks would be too? Comment the link below so we can all see.



All links in this post are affiliate links so, should you click through and make a purchase, I would receive a small percentage. That would be nice! Thank you.