Mar 6, 2015

Lavender Loves Mush Tushy! & Giveaway


MushTushy's sock monkeys are really sweet. I immediately fell in love with these very cute toys. They're amazing.


The owner of MushTushy, Emily, makes monkeys from socks in all kinds of patterns, colors and styles. I love that she has sock monkeys for girls and for boys.


I've asked Emily a few questions to find out more about her and her shop.

Where did you learn how to make sock monkeys?

Mushtushy started by accident in October 2010.  After years of trying to conceive I was finally pregnant, but 5 short months later my world came crashing down when we learned my little girl wouldn't survive after birth.  The recovery process was emotionally difficult, so my mom told me I should pursue a hobby to distract myself and help me heal. I majored in art in college and had been selling my paintings for years. My mother and I went to the book store and found a book called "stray sock sewing too" and it had a sock monkey in it. Although I had absolutely no sewing experience, the template was pretty basic so I decided to give it a try. I bought a pair of socks at Walmart for $3 and was terrified to cut them up and ruin them. I made my first monkey and posted it on Facebook for my friends to see. To my surprise everyone asked to buy it, and that's where it all started. Within one month my entire kitchen was overrun with socks, my antique Singer sewing machine, and monkeys. I signed up for a booth at Canton Trade days and started sewing as fast as my fingers would allow. I used the 50 year old machine to sew the parts, and would then hand sew the monkey together.  Looking back, I'm very embarrassed by my first monkeys, and in time I tweaked them to what they are today. My first booth set up was a simple folding table with monkeys lined up across the top.  Here's a photo of the first batch of monkeys I ever made.


When and how did you start on Etsy?

Shortly after this first craft show I started signing up for local school craft shows and stayed busy all winter. Since I was thrown into this "business" I didn't have time to focus on marketing or even a business plan. I came up with the name so I could order business cards and start my Facebook fanpage. I continued in this way for several years, selling from Facebook and at craft shows, and then eventually opened my Etsy store in March 2012. To this day I still don't have much business sense, or the time to focus on it. I still hand sew every monkey, with custom monkeys taking a couple hours each. I also successfully had a baby a year after the monkeys started, so it's hard to find the time to help this one woman home based business grow. Here's a photo of my daughter in the early days of Mushtushy.

  
What has changed since you first started your business?
 
I eventually had a logo made and better business cards made.  My craft show display has improved as well.


What's your biggest strength?

One thing that sets me apart from the competition is my custom monkeys, and the colorful fun socks I use.  When most people think of sock monkeys they envision the old tan and red rough socks.  The ability to custom order down to colors, logos, and size has really helped my Etsy success.


 What are your plans for the future?

I still struggle with growing the business, and social media marketing.  I would love for Mushtushy to be a full time job that pays the bills, because right now it feels like a hobby. I am busy for holidays and during craft show seasons, but during the rest of the year my orders almost come to a halt. I absolutely love working for myself, staying home with my daughter, and making art. I can take my sewing anywhere, I've been known to sew in restaurants, the car, even at the pool! Each time I finish a monkey I feel great success knowing it turned out how I wanted, and will make the customer very happy. If only I could hire someone to sew with me, or run the business side, but I can't afford anything right now. I also have never figured out how to buy wholesale, so I buy my socks from target, walmart, and amazon. My dream would be to sell my monkeys in boutiques locally, and have my business keep my busy full time. I hope to continue to inspire my daughter to follow her dreams, create and use your imagination, and find joy in what you do daily! This all started because of the devastating loss of my daughter Sarah, but now her legacy lives on in Mushtushy and my blessing of a daughter, Brecklyn.


I love Emily's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sock monkeys, they're fabulous!


The cheerful colors and open faces make these monkeys such a delight to look at.


The possibilities are endless which is such a wonderful idea.


 All children will love these very cute sock monkeys that will brighten up their day. And if you haven't lost your inner child, treat yourself to one as well.


Emily's monkeys vary in size and there are several options you can purchase to personalize them. You can also request a sock monkey that's entirely made the way you want it.


 The prices are really great, you can already buy one of Emily's sock monkeys for $12.


 One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a lovely surprise sock monkey from Emily. Enter the rafflecopter below and good luck!


  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Mar 5, 2015

Lavender's Big Book Survey Giveaway

 

You will find my survey and giveaway at the end of this post.
Win a box filled with books and other great goodies!





It's World Book Day in the UK and Ireland today and for me that means I've won a lovely book and have been reading as much as I can. Books are so important, everyone loves stories. No matter how they're being told. I'm grateful that there's a lot of choice. Books are my life. I can't picture a day without reading. A good story makes me so happy. I'm glad they are there. 
I've done some extra book shopping today, I've received amazon vouchers from my great friends Tanya and Sophie and I've spent them on the six books you can see here. I'm so happy with them and I can't wait to start reading. Books unite, through books I've found so many great friends already. I'm grateful that I've got such sweet friends to share my hobby with.



I've received these books as a gift from my mother and can't wait to find them in my mailbox. My World Book Day has been perfect and I'm really happy with everything I've received. World Book Day felt like a birthday to me. 

 Because I would love it if someone else feels like it's their birthday as well I will send the winner of this giveaway several books. You will get a box filled with seven books (I will send you a list and you can choose what you'd like to have from it) and lots of bookmarks, chocolate and other lovely goodies. All you have to do is answer a few questions, so every person has an equal chance to enter. You have to answer every question to be in the draw. Double entries will be deleted from my database, please don't enter with different email addresses while it's only for one person, be civil. Good luck!

This giveaway is worldwide as usual. I will keep the survey open for two weeks and will email the winner on March 20th. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else.

The Torn Up Marriage by Caroline Roberts

Blurb

Why do we hurt the ones we love, and can there ever be a way back?
“The Torn Up Marriage” is about betrayal, complacency, love and loss, and that key instinct to protect your family. But what happens when you tear that family apart? Kate and Michael are about to find out as they cope with the crushing fallout of his affair, whilst trying to protect their two young children. This powerful and poignant novel captures the explosiveness of everyday life and what it is to be human; to make mistakes.
Set in the historic town of Alnwick, Northumberland, with its stunning backdrop of castles, moorland hills and coastline, this relationship story of love and family takes you in a rollercoaster ride of emotions along with Kate and Michael.
Michael’s mother’s battle with breast cancer shatters them all, yet shows them how precious life, love and family is. Can they find a way back and fight for their battered yet enduring love?
So, what would you do if it happened to you? Could you betray? Could you forgive?

Source

I requested this book on Netgalley.

 
 Review

Kate and Michael are living in a lovely house and they have two sweet, angelic daughters. One day Michael messes all of this up by starting an affair with his secretary, Sophie. Kate is devastated when she finds out. She wants to work things out, but Michael chooses to move in with Sophie. This crushes Kate, who's now left alone. How do they explain to their daughters that their father has moved out? Has Michael made the right decision and will Kate be able to move on?

The Torn Up Marriage is a beautiful story about a marriage that's been torn apart by an affair. Caroline Roberts describes the process of grief in such a sensitive way. It never becomes overwhelming and the story remains enthralling the entire time, which I think is a really great achievement. This is an intense story about a sensitive subject and I felt so bad for Kate. She's brave, she keeps her dignity and she's always there for her girls which makes her such a great and sympathetic main character. The story managed to move me from page one and it remained like that until the last page. I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this realistic story about the complications, pain and beauty that love can sometimes bring.

Girls Happy Mail Giveaway


I love girl items and have made a selection for you. Good luck!


   I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Mar 4, 2015

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

Blurb

Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school.
Inside, she's a freak. A mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA. After all, her father is from Romania. Everyone else in Nebraska is about as American as an apple pie . . . wrapped in a flag . . . on the Fourth of July.
Spider stew. That's what Anika is made of. But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauser, first most popular girl in school, will make her life a living hell.
So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can't get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life?
Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it . . . ?
Logan. Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates?
Who?

Source

I received this book from the lovely Carmel and Kyla

Amazon US Amazon UK


Review

 Anika Dragomir is popular, she isn't the most popular girl at school, but being third isn't so bad. She looks sweet and kind, but inside she's entirely different. She's made of spider stew. It doesn't help that her father is from Romania and that he's probably a vampire. Anika is all smiles and good behavior, otherwise Becky, who is the most popular girl at school, will destroy her life completely. Becky doesn't like it when Anika is being interested in Logan. He's a loser and she doesn't want them to hang out together. Only Anika can't stay away from him and she finds out more about him and his difficult life at home. Unfortunately hanging out with someone she fancies isn't important, or is it? She can become even more popular when she's going out with Jared Kline, which will certainly improve her status. 

Anika doesn't like the way she's inside very much. She's bitchy, snappy and she has all kinds of dark thoughts. On the outside she's imperturbable and she's so smart and lovely that everyone thinks she's great. She doesn't agree with them, as she steals for fun and she has no conscience, but is that really true? Is Anika the person who she thinks she is inside?

Anatomy of a Misfit is a story about a teenager who doesn't appreciate herself very much. She also doesn't like her father and the same goes for her stepfather and her sisters. She thinks her best friend is a slut and she only tolerates Becky, because she doesn't want to be one of her victims. This makes her do all kinds of things she doesn't really want to do. Anika is bored and when she finally finds someone who doesn't bore her she isn't sure if he's cool enough to hang out with. Peer pressure is often strong, it always influences her actions of lack thereof and Anika has a lot to learn. 

I enjoyed the writing style of this book which is honest and sometimes crude. Anika is a great main character. She's certainly not perfect, but I liked her immediately, spider stew or not. Anatomy of a Misfit is funny because of Anika, she's witty, snappy and sarcastic. This together with the sometimes over the top language made the story more believable and unique. I loved the development in the story and the growth of the main character. It all results in a great story with a beautiful plot.


 

Benecos Giveaway


The winner of this giveaway will receive the Benecos products on the photo. Good luck!


  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Rose & Co. Patisserie De Bain Cranberries & Cream Hand Cream


I love Rose & Co and have purchased and repurchased most of their Patisserie De Bain products already. This Cranberries & Cream Hand Cream comes in a sweet box that contains a very cute jar. I like both the colors and the design. That goes for all Patisserie De Bain products, they're a joy to have on my dressing table.

What makes me fall in love with this hand cream over and over again is the scent. It's really delicious and it radiates warmth and comfort. I use this hand cream every day, it's a great moisturizer and it's very suitable for dry skin. The product doesn't leave any fat residue at all, so touching phones or tablets is no problem almost immediately after using it. My hands feel fresh and smooth which is exactly how I like it.

I'm a big fan Rose & Co. and every time I try one of their creams, bath products or lip balms I'm amazed. The quality is great, while everything they offer is affordable and the look and feel is such a happy one while at the same time it's still very professional. I like the way the brand has been set up, the combination of vintage and modern is fabulous. I'm definitely a loyal and satisfied customer.

Mar 3, 2015

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Blurb

I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when they're scared. But I will.

Mia Dennett can't resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar.
But going home with him might turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life... 

Source

I won this book on twitter. 

Amazon US Amazon UK

Mia is the daughter of judge Dennett, who's a man of status and appearance. Her parents are living a good life and have enough money to keep them comfortable. Her sister's like her father, but Mia is different. Money and a high social status aren't very important to her and she's chosen a profession as a teacher who's there for children who need her. She's seeing someone, but not seriously and when she meets someone in a bar she decides to go home with him. That might have been the biggest mistake Mia has ever made. Her mother is worried about her daughter and does everything she can to find her.

Mia's story is being told through the eyes of several people. The first one is her mother who's worried about her daughter. Mia's disappearance makes her think about what kind of mother she's been and what kind of wife she is. The second voice is Gabe, the police officer who wants nothing more than to find Mia and to bring her back alive. The third person, who tells about his days with Mia, is Colin, the man from the bar. I liked the variety of voices and also the short chapters with their focus on different periods of time.

The Good Girl isn't very scary, but it's certainly gripping and intriguing. I very much wanted to know what happened to Mia and the story kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I also didn't know what to expect from this book and I loved that surprise element. I enjoyed finding out more about Mia through the eyes of different people. For me that was the best part of the book. The ending suits the story really well and for me it was the perfect outcome of a story I liked a lot.


Happy Mail Giveaway


I love sending happy mail. I hope you like this selection, good luck!


  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.  

Mar 2, 2015

Inside Out by Lia Riley

Blurb
 
When Talia first moved from California to Australia to study abroad, she never dreamed she'd find the love of her life. Bran understands her like no one ever has before. And despite the numerous challenges they've faced, they've always managed to figure out how to stay together. But this time they'll face their toughest hurdle yet. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

Source

I received the entire Off the Map trilogy on Netgalley after winning a book from the author. 

Amazon US Amazon UK

Review

Talia wants to prove to everyone around her and to herself that she's tough and that she's a grown up woman who can handle herself. When something goes terribly wrong Bran is the first person to be by her side. Talia has to move back in with her father, but Bran won't leave her and he stays. They have another big struggle ahead of them and Bran and Talia have to be strong together, otherwise their relationship isn't going to work. Will they be able to overcome another issue or will this be too much?

Talia had big plans, she was sure the love between her and Bran would survive, so she took a big step and with that a great risk. She didn't ever count on being so helpless and she shuts herself off from everyone around her. Bran has to give it his all to get through to her. Will he be able to do that? The relationship has to develop and there are more things Talia and Bran have to work out if they want to have a chance together. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen to them in the final part of their journey together.

Inside Out is a strong finale of the trilogy. I liked this book very much, just like the other two. Bran and Talia are both more mature, but they also still have a lot to learn. What happens to them is serious and severe. I admire that aspect of the book as it makes the story more real. Lia Riley has a lot of great advice for her readers. I learned quite a bit from Bran and Talia to be honest, I loved that. The Off the Map trilogy is strong, sexy, serious, complex, intense and filled with love and care. I highly recommend this fabulous trilogy.
 

 

Vintage Themed Happy Mail Giveaway


I love it when things have a vintage theme. You can win this lovely happy mail, good luck!


  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

Why I like YA

 
When I was twelve years old I started reading books for adults. Suddenly I was a lot wiser about life and love. A whole new world opened for me. My parents let me read anything I fancied from their shelves, so I didn't have to sneak around to get my hands on a book that I wasn't supposed to read. Teachers told me that it was way too early to read anything other than children's books at that age, but I was ready for something different and the step to adult books was the only one I could take.
I would have read Young Adult books at that age if they would have been available. It's something I've missed and I love the genre now, so I feel like I'm catching up. It's so important for teenagers to have something suitable and fun to read. A book with main characters who are the same age and are going through the same emotions is invaluable. I love the genre and will always be a supporter.
A lot of people are against adults reading Young Adult books, but I think it's all right to do that. If someone is eighty years old you don't expect them to read only books that have octogenarians as a main character either? I like books that have a good story and it doesn't matter how old or young the main characters are. I've read so many really good young adult books and part of me keeps wishing they would have been there when I was 12 years old and in the years after that.
I think books and stories are important when you grow up as they're giving you some extra, sometimes much needed wisdom. Every book has something to teach and I love it that there are so many good books available now. My 12 year old self would have had a blast with them. I didn't have access to a good bookshop and it makes me happy to see the current generation of teenagers has the possibility to spend their pocket money on books from the Bookdepository or the kindle shop. I think YA is a very important genre, one that's invaluable for teenagers and their parents. I love it and am a big supporter of the books and authors.


Mar 1, 2015

Gemstone Necklace Giveaway!


You can win a beautiful gemstone necklace made by Silverrushstyle. Good luck!

  
I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

Kawaii Stationery and Stickers Giveaway


Win sticker sacks, stickers, and mini letter sets. Good luck!


I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.    

March New Release Giveaway Hop Sign Ups


You can sign up now for the March New Release Giveaway Hop! This hop will be hosted by me and Shannon from It Starts at Midnight.

Rules:
 
This giveaway hop is especially for books that will be released in March 2015. 
  1. The prize has to be a book that has been published in March 2015, both ebooks and paperbacks are allowed.
 
  2. You can also give away additional items like bookmarks, gift cards, etc. as an extra prize.
 
  3. Don't use too many entries. I won't be really strict, but keep it easy for people to enter.
 
  4. Please be clear if you will be sending worldwide or not. Put it in the linky, so people will know. As you can send books via the Bookdepository for free, it would be great if you could send worldwide.
 
  5. Add the linky to your blog post ( I will send all the necessary information to you by email a few days before the start of the hop ).
 
  6. Please keep this hop family friendly. 
 
7. Have fun as that's the best part of hops!

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