Tuesday, 30 April 2013

New Vintage Jewellery in Bluefinch Boutique

Lots of delicious new jewels recently arrived at Bluefinch Boutique and some have already been incorporated into pretty designs. Here are a few of the brand new pieces of handmade vintage jewellery currently gracing our shelves:

Tilly Mint Vintage Jade Green Bracelet

Lots of existing stock is on its way out to make room for all the new handmade vintage jewellery and accessories arriving shortly so if you see something you like in our sale, chances are it won't be coming back when it's gone! 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Valentine's Giveaway!

In celebration of Bluefinch Boutique's new range of 'Love Letters' jewellery, we are offering a spectacular Valentine's themed giveaway!

One lucky winner will win...

1. A 'Love Letters' necklace, stamped with any initial(s) of their choice.  The winner will get to choose from a gold or silver-plated necklace and can pick either a double heart with two stamped letters...

...or a single heart with one stamped letter if you prefer

2. A set of four heart measuring spoons to put a little love into your baking

3. A heart ice cube tray to add some pretty to your cocktails

4. A 'Lovebirds' hanging tea light holder

5. An adorable heart ring made from an authentic 1960s vintage ceramic heart

To win this fantastic giveaway, all you have to do is:

a) Follow @_bluefinch_ on Twitter
b) Re-tweet any of the competition tweets that will be tweeted regularly by @_bluefinch_ starting from Wednesday 6th February.  You can enter up to five times by re-tweeting on five separate days.

Giveaway Rules

  • You can enter up to five times by re-tweeting competition tweets on the five separate days the giveaway is running.  Likewise, if you re-tweet on four days, you will earn four entries, on three days for three entries etc.
  • Due to postage, the prizes can only be posted to a UK address.
  • The closing date is Monday 11th February at 12:00 midday.  A winner will be drawn at random and will be notified on Twitter.  

Good luck!


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Sneak peek of a new design...

I just wanted to share a little preview of the new necklaces arriving at Bluefinch Boutique next week...

They are going to be available in gold or silver and can be personalised with any two letters. I also have some single hearts coming but I think these little double hearts are my favourite so far.

There will be a giveaway to celebrate the new designs so make sure you're following @_bluefinch_ on Twitter to be kept up to date!


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Bluefinch Boutique in 2013

Hello and Happy New Year!  I hope you have sufficiently recovered from the excesses of the festive period and are feeling positive and excited about the year ahead...I know I am! 

2012 was a huge year for Bluefinch Boutique.  It was the year I first got my handmade jewellery into some wonderful stockists around the north west and was the year when I could actually see the business providing me with a living.  I've only been trading since late 2011 and the shop is a bit of a hotch-potch of products and styles at the moment.  My plans for 2012 include streamlining the items and styles I sell, and adding lots more up-cycled and vintage jewellery.  My biggest sellers of 2012 were all vintage or vintage-inspired so I will definitely be adding more along these lines in 2013.

I just wanted to start the new year by thanking everyone who has supported me and Bluefinch on our little journey so far, whether by buying from me or one of my stockists, by bigging me up me on Twitter or Facebook, by reading this blog or in any of the other countless ways I've received support!

I've also recently started a new blog, Sunday Girl.  I wanted to separate the business and the personal a little so while this blog will continue to focus on store news, giveaways and new products, Sunday Girl will be full of...well, me.  Please pop over and say hello!


Monday, 26 November 2012

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix In A Jar

I'm a big fan of giving and receiving Christmas gifts that can be used up, whether that's eaten, drunk, poured into a bath or spent.  Unless I know someone wants something very specific, I always try to give them something I know they will be able to use up and won't have to keep lying around the house for years to come.  Last year, I gave several friends and relatives homemade jars of cookie mix as part of their present.  They went down really, really well so I'm doing a few more this year.

After trawling the Internet for hours last year trying to find the perfect cookie-in-a-jar recipe, I ended up combining a couple and adjusting the quantities to perfectly fit the 750ml jars I had.  The recipe below will fill this size jar perfectly and you can easily increase the quantities of each ingredient by, say, 25% to fit litre jars.

Of course, you have to do a trial run of the cookies, just to make sure they're good enough to give out as gifts...that's my excuse, anyway.  I don't like 'hard' cookies, so when I sampled the recipe, I baked the cookies for 10 minutes which gave a lovely, soft chewy texture.  If you like them more crunchy, bake for a few minutes longer until they're just right for you.

Triple-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Mix-In-A-Jar Recipe

Fills one 750 ml jar

60g white chocolate chips
60g dark chocolate chips
60g milk chocolate chips
15g Rice Krispies 
150g plain flour
Half tsp of bicarbonate of soda
Quarter tsp of baking powder
80g dark brown soft sugar
75g caster sugar
30g porridge oats

Layer the ingredients into your jar in any order you like, but see the tip below on the brown sugar.

Attach a label to your jar with the following instructions:


Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 24 small or 12 enormous cookies

1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. 
2. In a large bowl, cream 75g of butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Mix in 1 egg and 1 additional egg yolk. Add the contents of the jar and stir until well blended.
3. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking tray.
4. Bake for 10 minutes for a soft, chewy cookie, or a couple of minutes longer for a crunchier cookie. Remove from baking trays to cool on wire racks.

Tips on filling your jar

Obviously, you want the jars to look pretty but I found it a lot harder than it looks to get perfectly neat layers!  I just spooned the different ingredients into the jar and levelled them out as best I could.  

One thing I do recommend, is to mix the brown and white sugars together before adding them to the jar.  

Dark brown sugar has a tendency to harden and I read lots of comments on other cookie jar recipes from people who found they had to hack away at the brown sugar layer to get it out the jar!  Mixing the two certainly worked for me, and a jar I kept back for a couple of months was fine when I came to use it. 

Decorate your jar any way you like - I keep things simple with a length of ribbon and a customised gift tag.  Those retro style card luggage tags you can buy in stationery shops for pennies are perfect as they're big enough to write the baking instructions on!  

P.S How cute are my Santa and polar bear?  We had an almost identical Santa when I was a toddler in the 80s and I loved him. I was delighted when I saw this 2012 version in M & S and had to have him and his polar bear friend. Tacky, you say? Absolutely :-)


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cruelty-free hair!

Hello! It's been way too long since my last post but I wanted to share my latest cruelty-free finds with you.    I wrote a bit about my quest to only ever buy cruelty-free products back in May and thought it was time for an update.  And as we can't talk about cruelty-free without a gratuitous cute bunny shot, here you go:

Cruelty-free make-up and, increasingly, toiletries are fairly easy to find but I've always struggled with quality hair-care products.  Supermarket own-brand shampoos and conditioners (see Co-op and Sainsbury's own labels for super-cheap cruelty-free products) tend to be cheap and relatively low on quality.  While these are fine for 'normal' hair, my long, heat-damaged, dehydrated hair doesn't do well with these basic products.  Step in, Liz Earle

For some reason, I'd never purchased any Liz Earle products until a few months, ago.  I have to be honest and admit that this is partly because I vaguely remembered Liz as a reporter on GMTV in the 90s and I found her intensely irritating at the time.  Well, I decided it was time to forgive and forget and I finally lost my Liz Earle virginity by heading into John Lewis and purchasing this shampoo...

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo £8.50
this conditioner...
Liz Earle Botanical Shine Conditioner £8.50
and this shine treatment...
Liz Earle Botanical Shine Treatment £14
My verdict?

The shampoo = awesome.  Liz has a customer for life there. You only need to use a teeny, tiny dollop and it lathers up beautifully, leaving your hair feeling squeaky-clean and happy.

The conditioner = awesome.  Again, you don't need to use all that much compared to other brands and although it doesn't feel that 'conditioning' while you're applying it, your hair will feel lovely and soft once you've rinsed it off.  

The Shine treatment = meh.  Maybe it just wasn't a good match for my hair but this was the only product I didn't love.  It's OK, and I'd consider buying it again to use on a beach holiday, maybe, or if my hair was looking particularly dull.  I didn't actually find this did much more for my hair than the conditioner did so it wasn't worth the £14 to me.

At the cheaper end of the market, Superdrug have recently expanded their hair-care range and now offer shampoo and conditioners which are their version of Pantene Pro-V.  Pantene is made by the most definitely NOT animal-friendly Proctor and Gamble so I was pleased to try a similar product from a kinder company.

Superdrug Pro-Vitamin Conditioner £2.29

I was pleasantly surprised by this shampoo and conditioner.  It left my hair nice and soft and the scent is lovely.  Proper old-school clean hair smell!  I bought the Thermal Protect  shampoo and conditioner but they also offer 'Normal', 'Extra- Shine' and 'Volume'.  I will definitely be buying this again and thoroughly recommend it if you're on a budget as the bottles are BIG and it lasts for ages.  I also recommend it if you  want to instantly be transported back to your childhood, sitting on the sofa on a Sunday evening, smelling of shampoo and bubble bath, full from a roast dinner and waiting for You've Been Framed to come on.  Or Songs of Praise if you were more highbrow than I was.

Last, but not least, my final cruelty-free hair care find is Tara Smith.  I'd never heard of Tara but on a recent trip to the ginormous new Marks and Spencer near Cheshire Oaks on the outskirts of Chester (if you're in the north-west and haven't been yet, go. Even if you don't like M & S, just go.  It's amazing.  Even my retail-therapy-hating boyfriend loves it) I spied a display of her pretty bottles.  I was so excited when I picked up one of said bottles and it turned out her products were BUAV approved and 100% cruelty-free *squeal*.

I thought I'd just try the serum to start with, reasoning that if I liked it, I would simply HAVE to come back to the world's greatest M&S to buy up the rest of the range.  I've only used the serum twice so far and I like it very much.  A little goes a very long way and it leaves my hair looking smooth and healthy.  It feels very  rich and luxurious and not at all sticky like some serums tend to.  The bottle is pretty funky too:

Tara Smith Base Coat Serum £14
The full range includes shampoos, conditioners, styling products and some nifty little kits, each designed for a specific hair type.  I will be dropping some heavy hints and hoping to find a selection of Tara Smith goodies in my Christmas stocking this year.

Have you tried any of these products, or do you know of any other cruelty-free hair-care ranges?  If so, I'd love to hear from you, as would my parched locks :-)


Monday, 24 September 2012

What I did on my holidays

The title is a bit misleading as I didn't actually do anything at all except eat, drink, sleep and swim.  After a hectic few months of running Bluefinch Boutique as well as contracting in a demanding full-time job, I was more than ready for a fortnight of rest and relaxation and that is exactly what I got, bar several messy 5am cocktail sessions. (But I blame them on a lovely north Wales couple we were introduced to by a mutual Turkish friend. They practically MADE us stay up drinking all night.)

My boyfriend and I holidayed in Kalkan, which is on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey.  This was our 5th time there and while I never thought I'd be the sort of person to keep going back to the same place, it's so perfect and we have so many lovely friends there that it's hard not to! I thought I'd share some of my favourite holidays snaps so you can see for yourself how beautiful this part of the Turkish coast is...

Bench with a view

Kalkan boats

Don't you love those pics you take yourselves with an outstretched arm?

Cat in a bowl

Me, in a hurry to get to the beach club

Kalkan flower

Turkish lanterns outside a Kalkan shop
A fondness for cocktails requires big glasses the next morning

Mahal Beach Club, voted most romantic place in Europe

More of that Mahal romance

The view from my Mahal sun lounger

Pomegranates growing by our swimming pool

Glyn with the lovely Haldun

Kalkan sunrise

....and a Kalkan sunset

Typical (and very healthy) Turkish breakfast

I love this cat so much I didn't want to crop him into a square

Adorable dog at a beach club

Ottoman seating

Patara beach, longest beach in Europe & nature reserve

Footprints in the sand...

Ruins at Patara

Now, is it too early to book for next year....?