Wednesday 29 July 2015

'Fauxlaroids' Polaroid-Style Photo Prints from ReallyReally *REVIEW*

I am genuinely completely obsessed with photos.

Taking them, sharing them on social media, and displaying them around my home. You name it, and if it's photo-based them I'm interested. 

Being surrounded by the smiling faces of the people I love and having photos everywhere to remind me of truly happy memories is so important to me - without a doubt my photos are my most treasured possession. 

Not only do I display them all over my home, I also store and catalogue old photographs. I'm a stickler for organisation and order, so a while ago I went through every photograph I own and organised them into themes/folders. They now live in an old recipe divider tin where I can access them quickly and add more photos with ease. 

Everyone catalogues their photographs, right? ;-)

Stating the obvious with the label, I know! 

As well as storing my photographs to have a peek through on a rainy day, I also like to display as many as I can around my home. I try to present my photos in various different ways: from conventional photo frames, to door hanging photo wallets, and washing lines of small prints. These days, not many people actually print their photographs - so often our images are just virtual - on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so I make a concerted effort to get my very favourite images printed and then use them to prettify the walls of my home. 

My Kitchen Pantry Door - A Half Door Photo Pocket 

Photo canvases in my living room. 

A full door photo pocket in my living room. 

Over the years I've used many photo printing services - from shops on the high street, big online retailers to small online companies with a point of difference: I've had my photos printed as square prints, traditional prints, onto canvases, into photo books, onto wrapping paper - I even had a mouse mat (remember them!?) and a set of coasters printed with personal photos many moons ago. There's so many wonderful things that can be done with our images these days - but at my core I'm a traditionalist and I don't think you can beat a good old paper print. 

When Hayley from ReallyReallyDesign asked me to review another item from her Etsy shop, I jumped at the chance to review her polaroid-style photo prints ("Fauxlaroids" if you will). I made the most of the opportunity to update my walls with some recent photographs from our holiday to Hopton, and some other recent images of The Bertster. 

[If you missed my last review from ReallyReallyDesign check it out here: I ReallyReally Love Tea: Quirky Word Banner Review]

On the ReallyReally Etsy store you can order either 12, 24 or 48 polaroid style prints:

12 photos cost £7.24
24 photos cost £14.48
48 photos cost £26.33

Once you have ordered from the Etsy store you email your photo choices (from any digital source) to the ReallyReally Design email address - who will then send them to print. Easy peasy! 

Your photos are then professionally printed on thick, glossy card stock, before being gift wrapped as standard and then sent on their way.

The dimensions of the prints are 85mm × 105mm with a printed area of 75mm × 75mm.

The polaroid-style shape means that once your photos arrive you could even scribble a little caption underneath your photo! How cool!

I eagerly awaited the delivery of my prints (I opted for 24 different images) - they arrived quickly, and came beautifully gift wrapped - making them a really great gift option (you could give a set of photos with some coloured bakers twine and a set of mini pegs as a 'DIY Photo Washing Line' kit). 

I was blown away by the quality of my prints: each photo is printed on really thick card with a glossy finish, and the image quality is so bright and clear. I love the polaroid-style shape and little white bottom perfect for caption writing. 

My fab "fauxlaroid" prints! 

As soon as they arrived I set to work using them around my home. 

Firstly, I selected my favourites and displayed them on my study wall using bakers twine and mini pegs. My study is where I work, and where I write all my blog posts, so it is really nice to fill the room with things that make me feel happy, calm and inspired. 

My polaroid-style prints hanging on bakers twine. 

Such incredible image quality and such dinky little images - anything miniature is so appealing to me! 

I also added some of my prints to the mini bunting hanging across the dresser in my dining room. 

I love how 'busy' and full up of pretty things my dining room is - a homage to all things vintage, biscuit, baking, tea and cake!

It was fun to write captions under some of my images, so I don't forget those extra details - like dates and place names. 

Finally I used a couple of my favourite 'fauxlaroids' to fill some smaller frames that I'd not gotten a chance to yet. Because of the small 75mm x 75mm image size they are perfect for smaller projects like mini frames, collages, scrapbooks and albums. 

Using my polaroid-style prints from ReallyReallyDesign to fill smaller frames around my home.

Look at that cheeky face! I ReallyReally do love fauxlaroids! 

I would completely recommend the ReallyReally Design photo printing service - the photos are terrific quality, great value for money and such a versatile product. I will definitely continue to use the ReallyReally store for all of my photo printing needs.

Bye for now...

Mrs B


Disclaimer: I was sent a set of polaroid-style photos for the purpose of this review. All words, images and opinions are my own. 

Sunday 26 July 2015

Baking Fun with Whitworths & Holly Bell: Tropical Breakfast Bars & Fruity Tiffin #whitworthsbakingchallenge *RECIPE*

Last Thursday I headed off to the Big Smoke to attend a Blogger's baking event with the wonderful British dried fruit and nut brand, Whitworths

I've been a loyal customer to the Whitworths brand for many years: my nan always swore that using Whitworths' fruits made the best fruit cake, and I have fond memories of stealing handfuls of raisins from her Whitworths stash as a small child. Now, my own pantry is filled with their fruits and nuts both for baking and healthy snacking purposes, so I was honoured to be asked to join them for the day at their fab baking event, and to become one of their #whitworthsbakingchallenge bloggers.

The event was hosted by the beautiful and super-talented baker extraordinaire Holly Bell (who writes at Recipes from a Normal Mum). You might remember Holly as a finalist on the second series of The Great British Bake Off back in 2011? You would also recognise her from her baking and recipe sections on ITV's This Morning, as well as loads of varied TV, radio and baking show appearances. I've been a huge fan of Holly's since she first graced our screens back in 2011, and I was super excited to spend the day baking with her!

Joining me for the day were lovely fellow food bloggers Mel (Le Coin De Mel), Salman Dean, Phil (Baking Fanatic), Sophie (A Story of A Girl), Emilie (Someone In The Corner), May (Eat Cook Explore), Kerri-Anne (Gingerlillytea), and Poppy (Poppy D). Please check out their fabulous blogs if you haven't already! 

The day comprised of making two recipes, both of which have been created by Holly for Whitworths - the first recipe was a clean-eating inspired breakfast bar, using loads of fab Whitworths dried fruits and desiccated coconut. We watched Holly make them in her demonstration, then set to work baking them for ourselves. 

The bars are full of natural sweetness and contain no refined sugar making them a great breakfast replacement and mean that they are the perfect snack for children (Holly recommended them as a brilliant finger food for weaning age!) They keep in a tin for up to five days (if they last that long), or freeze perfectly once cut - just remove them from the freezer about 30 minutes before you want to eat them. 

I adorned my Whitworths apron and got stuck in to our first baking challenge: Tropical Breakfast Bars. 

Tropical Breakfast Bars in the making... 

Holly demonstrated how to make the breakfast bars & then we had the chance to make our own...

I loved the fact that this recipe was so clean and full of goodness: nothing makes me happier than a guilt-free bake, especially one that tastes so scrumptious. 

Here's the recipe for those of you who'd like to make some at home - if you do why not tweet Whitworths a photo of your bake with the hashtag #whitworthsbakingchallenge I'm sure they'd love to see your snaps! 

While the bars baked we all shared a gorgeous lunch and enjoyed chatting to each other and comparing notes about baking, blogging and life in general. It was a pleasure to spend most of the day nattering to the lovely Holly, whom I have so much in common with. Holly also achieved a huge weight loss of a massive five stone recently, and we found we are very much on the same page about so many things: weight loss, health, baking, and parenting (as we are also both mums to boy(s))...we probably could have nattered long into the night...! 

Me and the lovely Holly Bell: drinking prosecco and putting the world to rights! 

A delicious lunch shared with a delicious bunch! 

After lunch we set about making our second 'bake' of the day (no baking actually needed for this one, just melting and mixing!)...a batch of Holly's Fruity Tiffin. Containing a mixture of toasted mixed nuts, chopped apricots, raisins, and berries & cherries from the Whitworths ranges, as well as smashed up ginger nut biscuits, and all the Tiffin essentials like butter, golden syrup and chocolate, these little chocolatey squares of heaven are the perfect antidote to a dreary day. Another lovely easy bake and perfectly child-friendly, these would be a perfect activity to keep the kids occupied during the summer holidays! 

Once again, these keep well wrapped and stored in the fridge for a few days, or can also be frozen. 

A fabulously easy recipe! A great one for anyone new to 'baking' (these don't even require baking - just melting, mixing and leaving to set!)

The Fruity Tiffin was left to set in the fridge while we enjoyed another hour or so of relaxed chatter, prosecco drinking, fruit nibbling, and goodie bag receiving! We were each gifted a copy of Holly's own cookery book 'Recipes from a Normal Mum', and she kindly signed my copy for me! Our lovely goodie bags also contained a rather wonderful Emma Bridgewater cake tin, as well as a lovely selection of the Whitworths snacking range, and of course our Whitworths aprons and our bakes for the day! 

A huge amount of thanks goes to Whitworths and Holly Bell for putting on such an awesome, relaxed, informative, and most of all super-fun day! 

I'm so excited to be working alongside Holly and this fab brand on the #whitworthsbakingchallenge where, over the next month I'll be sharing some more awesome recipes with you using fruits and nuts from their delicious ranges. 

I literally cannot wait to get baking... this space...

Mrs B


Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post. 

Thursday 16 July 2015

A Gorgeous Break in Norfolk #MyHavenDays

Last weekend the Bishop clan headed off for a little getaway with our lovely in laws, Liam's stepbrother, his girlfriend and their baby daughter. Our destination was Hopton-on-Sea in Norfolk, and we stayed at the Hopton Holiday Village, Haven. I hadn't stayed in a Haven resort since I was a teenager and blimey, they've come a long way since then!

On the friday morning before we left for Norfolk I decided I'd start a mini craft project (like you do!) I started making Bert a Bing Bunny inspired cuddly toy out of felt - I didn't have a pattern so I just made it up as I went along...I had no idea how it would turn out but it was one of those craft ideas that comes from nowhere and then suddenly actually looks better than you imagined it would. 

I spent an hour on it at home before we had to pack the car up and leave and by then I was invested in it that I knew I'd have to finish it on the journey to Norfolk. So I packed my needle and thread, and worked on finishing off the little chap during the 2 hr drive to Hopton - when we arrived I had a new little friend to give Bert! I wish I could have captured his face on camera when I gave him his new Bing toy...he was sat in the back of the car and we were just a few minutes away from the holiday park - his face lit up and he said 'BING!' and gave him a huge cuddle - adorable! 

My finished Bing Bunny! 

We arrived, unpacked and got to grips with the caravan and the holiday park. We were all blown away by the caravan itself, it really was just perfect and so different to the caravans I remember staying in as a child. We stayed in a Deluxe Plus caravan which was plenty big enough for all 6 adults and two children - it felt spacious and wasn't remotely claustrophobic. The decor was fresh and everything was really clean and in great condition. The caravan provided everything you could need for a family break away including large living area with TV and DVD player, dining table, 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets, a shower, a fully stocked kitchen with kettle, toaster, fridge/freezer, oven, microwave and crockery/cutlery! 

We spent 3 nights at Haven, and managed to fit so much into our short break: from visits to the beach where we swam in the sea, built sandcastles and had a picnic, to a coastal walk, a trip to Great Yarmouth to do the 'traditional seaside' thing (ice creams, amusements, funfair etc..), fish and chips, crazy golf, swimming, and we even managed to find a pond to feed the ducks (duck are Bert's favourite!)

Bert was amazing the whole weekend - the huge change in his routine, the unfamiliar surroundings and all the new experiences didn't seem to phase him too much and he had so much fun - his highlights if he could tell me would be: 

  • building sandcastles, and knocking them down again
  • eating 'chippies' for dinner
  • playing football on the beach with Nanny, Daddy and Uncle Matt
  • eating a giant ice cream 
  • swimming in the swimming pool with everyone
  • climbing on the wooden pig
  • feeding the ducks
  • going on a merry-go-round/carousel for the first time ever
I really wanted to share some of my favourite photos with you from our time away - so here is our virtual holiday album...


The giant deckchair! I loved this...and it was Breton striped too ;-)

Hopton was such a stunning place to visit and the sandy beach was simply perfect! 

So many happy family memories made! 

There's nothing quite like wandering down a sandy beach in the sunshine with my two boys! 

Holiday fun! 

Bert was apprehensive about the beach at first (after the sea took him a little by surprise on our first day when he raced towards it all excited, only for a wave to come ashore and wash over his toes - it was very cold and he was not happy!) Having said that, by the Saturday he was rolling around in the sand, playing football on the beach with his Nanny and Daddy and throwing pebbles into the sea - like with everything new and unknown, it just took him a while to adjust. 

At the top: digging in the sand with Mummy and Daddy.
At the bottom: Bert snoozing in his pram on the beach with Mummy, Auntie Gillian and Uncle Matt.

Probably my favourite picture from the whole holiday - my boys having so much fun on the beach together - proper family time! 

Hehehe I love this shot - his little face! Auntie Gillian thinks he's funny - bless! 

The only negative to the weekend was that Bert decided that 5:45am was a really good time to wake up on all three mornings! Coming from a little boy who usually doesn't wake up until 7-8am it was a bit of a shock to the system and we were all rather sleepy to say the least...hence the snoozy shot of me in the caravan with my boys which was taken at about 7am one morning. 

So much fun and silliness with this little dude! He has the best sense of humour, and he made us giggle all weekend!

Bert experienced a new first while we were away too - he went on his first ever funfair ride - the carousel! As soon as he laid eyes on it he was intrigued, he started to do his hilarious and very loud horse noise and when we asked him if he'd like to go on it he laughed and smiled. The reality at first was a little scary for him - the music and the lights and the spinning were all slightly overwhelming, he looked a bit worried, but after a couple of spins and with the encouragement from his Nanny and Daddy who went on with him, he soon smiled and did really well. Unlike his mummy, who, when I was Bert's age had to have the teacups ride stopped so I could get off as I was so distraught! Ha! You'd think it would have given me a phobia of teacups, but I love them!! 

Bert on some rides!

Of course a seaside holiday in Britain wouldn't be complete without yummy ice creams on the seafront and of course the odd rain shower - both of which we experienced during our afternoon in Great Yarmouth. 

The customary group photo: our lovely family! 

And of course we had to get some walking in after all those treats...

Look at that cheeky face and those giant feet! Bert just loved this wooden pig outside the Haven reception. 

The grounds of the Haven holiday park really blew me away  - everywhere was super-clean and so well designed. All of the gardens surrounding the caravans were beautiful and very well maintained. My favourite garden was outside the main reception where there were huge alliums and stunning passion flowers: I'm rather pleased with these two photographs I managed to snap...

A giant allium among the grasses.

Have you ever seen such a pretty flower? The passion flower - incredible! 

Finally, two more of my favourite photographs from our trip away...the beach huts at Great Yarmouth and the scrumptious ice cream I enjoyed on the sea front. I love discovering a new flavour of ice cream that I've not tried before, and Yarmouth didn't disappoint with this Liquorice Fudge ice was ahhh-mazing! 

The beach huts at Great Yarmouth - I want one! 

Liquorice Fudge ice cream in a choc/nut dipped waffle cone - yes to this - it was incredible! 

We just had the best time and I really didn't want to leave. I would happily return to the Haven Holiday Park, Hopton, we cannot fault it and really truly did have the best #MyHavenDays. 

A huge thank you to my amazing in-laws Ruth and Paul for treating us to such an incredible and much-needed break away. We so appreciate it, and will treasure the memories we made. 

Are you going away this summer? I'd love to hear all about your holiday plans. 

Mrs B


This post is not in collaboration with Haven. Our in laws booked and paid for this holiday. We simply had such a great time that I wanted to share it with you all! 

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Personalised Photo Wrapping Paper from *REVIEW*

I absolutely love giving gifts. Mainly I guess because I love to go shopping, and because I also love to make people happy. So, for me, picking out a present for somebody special that I think they will love and then seeing their reaction when they open the gift, is priceless!

For me, it is also all about the wrapping up! I really enjoy wrapping gifts, and getting creative! I love to use special papers, strings, ribbons, stamps, cellophane and wash tape to create a wrap as beautiful as the gift inside. One of my favourite times of year is wrapping up all the Christmas gifts with Liam (with a big glass of red wine as fuel, naturally!)

I know some people think its futile to spend time, effort and money on wrapping gifts nicely - as it's all going to be ripped off in seconds and thrown away - but I beg to differ! I think it is really quite beautiful to put effort into that part of the gift giving - it adds that extra-special touch and shows you've gone the extra mile to make the gift super special for the recipient.

Anyone who knows me well will also know that I am completely obsessed with photos - from taking them (hello, have you SEEN my Instagram account, I'm addicted!) to displaying them around my really do make me equally as happy as shopping and gift giving do, so when asked me to review some of their personalised photo wrapping paper, how could I say no? Two of my passions combined. is an online store which connects up to your social media accounts (Instagram and Facebook) and lets you import 30 of your favourite photos which will then be arranged into a grid pattern and printed as wrapping paper. 

You can choose either a white or black border around your photos, or no border at all depending on your preference and you can manipulate the order of your photographs if needed. Once you're happy with the arrangement and layout of your photographs your bespoke wrapping paper with be printed as either a paper sheet of gift wrap or in a roll. 

The single sheet measures 65cm x 46cm and costs £4.99

The small roll measures 50cm x 2.2m and costs £9.99

The large roll measures 50cm x 3.6m and costs £14.99

I opted for two sheets of paper using photographs of Bert to use to wrap up Father's Day gifts, and a large roll of wrapping paper using some images of the food and cakes I've baked over the years - I figured that everyone loves food, right? So this would make a good 'all rounder' wrapping paper to keep in my craft cupboard. 

I found the ordering process with so super-easy, and within twenty minutes I had connected my accounts, chosen my photographs, and ordered the sheets and rolls of paper- it really couldn't have been simpler. 

Who could resist The Bertster's charms?

Within a week the gift wrapping arrived and I was so excited to see the finished result and get wrapping! 

It was packaged very carefully in cellophane and protective cardboard sleeves and a triangular tube type thing for the roll - so as to ensure the papers weren't damaged in transit, and as hoped, they arrived in perfect condition. 

The paper itself is lovely and thick, it's great quality makes it easy to wrap with and a dream to cut. It sticks well using normal sellotape or washi tape, and what can I say, it just looks incredible! The photo print quality is really good too, as you can see in the photos - the images are nice and clear, and the colours are vibrant and strong.

It was hard to use it for wrapping - I literally just wanted to pin it up on the wall. 

Grandad Paul's Father's Day gift wrapped in Bert's gorgeous cheeky face! 

The images of Bert covering the paper made me so happy to look at - and I hoped that Liam, my stepdad Rob, and my Father-in-Law Paul would all love this little extra part to their Father's Day gifts. Who could resist that cheeky smiling face looking up at them?

Father's Day gifts wrapped in style thanks to

I used my favourite sticky tape - yellow biscuit tape from the fabulous Nikki McWilliams to add a little extra fun edge to the gift wrapping, and I couldn't wait to give the special men in my life their gifts. 

Needless to say they were all besotted with how their gifts were wrapped - and each time a gift was given we spent time pouring over the memories captured on the paper! Using the Wrap.Me paper to wrap the Father's Day gifts made the gift giving experience extra special for both recipient and gift-giver.

Next to the large roll of food-based wrap...

My roll of foodie inspired wrap from

The roll came tightly wrapped in cellophane and protected by a hard cardboard tube to ensure it didn't get creased. The roll measuring 3.6 meters in length will last me ages, and it is so awesome to see all my kitchen creations laid out like that on a giant sheet of paper. 

Looking at it for longer than five seconds makes you insanely hungry! glorious food adorning my roll of personalised photo wrapping paper from

I got the chance to use this paper when I gave my best friends and couple Danni & Charlie a house warming gift (a photo canvas of their gorgeous kitten Penny - see...I told you I love photos!)...both Danni and Charlie are regular tryer-outers of the food I cook, and some of the images were of food and cakes I'd baked for them in the past. The present looked really fun and inviting smothered in this delicious paper, and again Danni seemed truly touched by the use of such a different sort of wrapping paper. 

Danni & Charlie's house-warming gift wrapped in my foodie paper from Wrap.Me

I would undoubtedly use the service again. In fact, I already have ideas for some special birthdays' coming up this year and for a special Christmas gift I'll be giving! 

Although pricier than your standard gift-wrap, these super-special personalised papers really are priceless - they have to be seen as part of the gift itself and then the price seems much more reasonable. 

I think that using this personalised paper printing service could be a particularly lovely touch for someone's wedding or anniversary, for a special birthday, or Christmas - imagine the possibilities...! 

What would you choose to print on some paper? I'd love to know. 

Mrs B 


For more information on the service follow their social media channels: on Facebook on Twitter on Instagram on Pinterest on YouTube

Disclaimer: I was sent two sheets and a large roll of photo wrapping paper for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions and images are my own.