..And They Call It Puppy Love!

I am sure you know that the managing director of my company is this little diva….

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Darcey! We have nearly had her two years and we are just starting the process of getting her a little puppy friend! On our walk yesterday, like most days I had lots of people comment on how sociable she is, how pretty etc, etc… I thought it might be useful to share how we decided on her and most importantly her breeder.

Lets get one thing clear from the start puppies are cute…….

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But you mustn’t let this cloud your judgement! You first need to make a decision on breed, and how that breed will fit into your life:-

What are its exercise requirements?

Does it need clipping?

Do you need a dog that doesn’t shed very much?

Do you have children?

Most importantly, what health problems affect that breed?

In our case we needed a minimal shedder, so that directed us to look at poodle crosses, (don’t make the mistake of thinking they are hypoallergenic as crosses can come out more silky than curly and drop more hair) we wanted a small dog, with moderate exercise requirements and had to be good with children so we decided on a Cavapoo..

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This is a good time to mention health issues, Cavaliers suffer with some serious health conditions that have largely been brought about by breeding to a standard that looks very unlike the original Cavaliers. We did our research and found the most amazing breeder, Jane from Poundlane Puppies…..

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This this is her with L-R Darceys dad, mum and sister, Jane is on a quest to restore Cavaliers to how they used to look and to lessen the impact of the congenital defects they are prone to. So inform yourself of the potential health problems your chosen breed may have and make sure your breeder tests for them.

So you have done your research have picked the perfect breed, what’s next? Wait! It is likely that you will have to join a list to get your perfect puppy, we waited nearly a year for this…..

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Finally, buy a copy of this……….

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I cannot recommend this book enough, it has a toilet training schedule, games to play, training command and a socialisation plan.

I hope this has been useful, I would love to hear about your dogs or any other pets!

kisses

Karen

Recessionista!

So, the recessions over, deflation is now inflation and you have never had it so good! Except most of us have not had a pay rise in a while and even if we have we are paying stupid high rent or crippling ourselves with an enormous mortgage. If you like the finer things in life, like high end perfumes, you need to learn how to cut some stylish corners, here are a few of my favourites.

I started early with my favourite perfume…….image

I was three and obsessed with the large bottle of the precious stuff that my mum received for her 21st. After being told it was really only for grown ups, I waited for my mum to leave me alone and emptied the entire bottle over myself and my bed. My mum said she couldn’t be cross as I looked so happy in my Chanel scented bed! Absolute proof that my mum is an angel!

But it what’s a girl to do when the cheapest bottle is £50 approx and your birthday is still 4 months away! enter the Perfume Parlour! They blend oils to create smell a likes, be assured these are not trying to convince you that this is the real deal,  the packaging is very simple and the names changed for copyright reasons:- but they are very like the originals, here is my Shanelle 55….

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And the price? Around £6 for this small roll on.  Find them at http://www.Perfume-parlour.co.uk

This scent ( see what I did there?) me on a quest for some high street smell a likes,  the surprising winner for copy cat fragrance is good old M and S! Are you a fan of Issey? then pop in for a bottle of Isis….

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Or or if you are a fan of Marc Jacobs Daisy, try Butterfly…….

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There are many more from M and S and Next, head over to http://www.moneysavingexpert.com who have a whole thread of smell a likes.

Finally, one of my personal favourites is Avon’s Luck as it’s the absolute dupe  of Nina Ricci La Tentation which is a raspberry macaron scent is supposed to smell like the inside of a Laduree bakery, It is gorgeous and a quarter of the price…..

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To to complete the feeling of luxury I cannot recommend the products of the Perfectly Handmade Soap Bakery, I have soap, body scrub and body butter in her Cinq fragrance which is identical to my favourite fragrance, find Amanda at http://www.facebook.com/PerfectlyHandmadeSoapBakery.

Do you have a little luxury you can’t live without? Or have you found some savvy substitutes?

Kisses

Karen

Art For Arts Sake ( And Some Money!)

It is has been an exciting week at While Darcey Sleeps HQ! I have sold my first painting! Mine is a new business and I have done a few “freebies” to generate interest, a few weeks ago I decided to run a special offer on Facebook which meant that one person could get a picture for £10. This is the picture of the lovely Sprocket….

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The owner loved it so much he paid me £20! But he could have paid me 50p the joy of someone liking my art so much that they will part with money is hard to explain. So, now I’m officially an artist I thought you might like to see a little of the process.

First, I receive the pictures usually via email, these poppets are my next commission …….

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I use heavy weight cartridge paper and I like it to be A3 as that seems to me to be the right size for a painting. So first I sketch, I have a range of pencils …..

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I don’t measure or use a grid pattern, I start with what seems like the key part of the picture, in this case it was the white dog….

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Once all the drawing is done it’s time for colour, at the moment I’m using water soluble pencils….

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I try try and concentrate in sections but in reality hop from place to place….

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When I started this blog I did a blog writing course and one of the exercises was establishing what made your creativity flow, for me it’s having the telly on while I draw! I find it stops my brain thinking about shopping,housework,what’s for dinner you know the stuff! And the programme has to be something that holds my attention:- Homeland, Fortitude, Hostages and the Blacklist are some past and present favourites. Once my non creative mind is quiet then my creative mind can flow.

I have finished the picture but can’t show you until the birthday boy receives it!

So what gets your creativity flowing? Do you have any special processes? and any telly recommendations are gratefully received!

kisses

Karen xx

One Wedding And A Cardie!

So there it is, the invite is on the doormat and the joyful occasion of your friends nuptials is on its way. Inevitably that means the purchase of a new outfit, at this point it is worth mentioning I am generously proportioned so the danger of a dress making me look like a sofa are dangerously high! Here is how my wedding outfit came together

i tend to do most of my shopping on the net as most of the curvy retailers are to be found here. I usually shop the Curve range at ASOS.com or at SimplyBe.com. On this occasion I couldn’t find anything there so I headed to a relatively new player:- Violetta at Mango, and turned up this little beauty…..

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It was super flattering and perfect for the forecast 22 degrees…more of that later! Now I had to source some accessories, my gut instinct with these is to go very coordinated but I am trying to be a bit more adventurous, I found this gorgeous bag in the Next sale…..

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The pale pink and gold really seemed to work, so now I needed similar shoes. These are a problem for me because of my arthritis, I normally live in trainers or FitFlops but that just wasn’t going to do! This is when Clarks came to the rescue! They have lots of cushion soled shoes and sandals and these fit the bill and will do me for the rest of the summer….

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Then we move to accessories, I needed some simple gold pieces and found a necklace from Accessorize and a ring that I had that was on offer from Achica.com…….

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That just leaves the face, I wanted a soft pink, kind of vintage feel and Bourjois came up trumps with this palette, called Rose Vintage! I stuck with them for lips and this Rouge Edition Velvet in Nude-ist, which is actually quite pink! I used my usual foundation – Bare Minerals Bare Skin and waterproof mascara (obvs!) again from Bourjois……..

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As for scent, I didn’t bother! Has she finally lost it? I hear you cry, no, I was wearing some perfumed body butter from Perfectly Handmade another brilliant business run on Facebook by the lovely Amanda. The Cinq products she makes smell very much like another perfume with 5 in the name! Check her out at http://www.Facebook.com/perfectlyhandmade.

Finally the weather it turns out that it was approximately 13 degrees on the day and my neighbour had to rescue me with a lovely pale gold cardie! It was a lovely day despite the weather and lovely to see an old friend so happy.

Have you got any weddings this year? I would love to see your outfits if you do!

kisses

Karen xx