Friday, 30 October 2015

Festive pretties to treat yourself to...

It might not be quite Christmas time in your household, but at Fairypants HQ, we start early. We kinda have to though - we have to start planning for Christmas as soon as Easter is out of the way, so that we're all ready for you.

We need to plan what we're making, design packaging, maybe get it tested - and we have to spend a bit of time photographing and editing images too! So by the time you're ready to think Christmas, we've been living it for a looooooong time!

These are our amazing Fairy Light Earrings. They're small, delicate and oh-so festive. Grab yourself a pair of these, and maybe get the other colours for your mates, so you can all be matchy matchy like real best friends do. Or so we're told. At just £3.49 a pair, they'll never break the bank.

These Holly rings are divine too - they're quite large, so they're a bit of a statement piece. All our rings are adjustable too, so you've no worries on that score. They're £3.49 too, so it's a steal!

Do you know the Muffin Man? We do, and he LOVES this little guy! Super cute, and a definite festive talking point, how could you not?

These glitter Holly earrings are beyond DIVINE, they're fitted snugly to stainless steel posts, so they're ace if you're a stud girl rather than our dangly fairy light version!

And what do you think of our glittery Christmas Tree ring? Gorgeously shimmery, this holographic beauty is bound to stand out from the crowd!

So what do you think? Which will you be treating yourself to, this holiday season? xox

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Meet the team!

For part one of meet the team it makes total sense for it to be me - the CEO, the founder, the director - call me what you like, I'm the brains behind Fairypants. Everything that happens is because of my crazy mind.

Hello, here I am.
If you'd like to know the basics, my name is Natalie, I was born in 1987, making me currently 28 and I'm a Chester gal through and through. I'm very proud of the British heritage of Fairypants, and I'm obsessed with the past. I'm certain I was born too late, and I love swing dancing, music from the 40s - 90s and good old fashioned cocktail.

Fairypants started in 2009, and it was all because I'd graduated university, found myself inexplicably still working in retail, and I wanted something more. It started with making dresses, then jewellery, then cosmetics came last. Sometimes I wish I'd had a clearer dream, and that the cosmetics had come straight away, but I believe that everything happens for a reason, and so there's probably a reason for the development of Fairypants.

I started off with a stall in Chester Market, and for the first few weeks it was only my friends who visited, took pity on me and bought something. Time passed and that changed - with every year we've been operational, it gets busier and busier. Which can only be a good thing.

Rhubarb and Custard perfume. I'm not the only one!

I'm obsessed with cosmetics, so it really was only a matter of time. I invest a lot of money into lotions and potions, and before I could make my own, I would trawl far and wide to find what I wanted. Now I can make things myself it makes it much easier - if I have a dream about some amazing nail varnish, I don't have to spend months trying to see if it exists, I'll just make it. It's pretty amazing being able to make your thoughts and dreams a reality. It's even more amazing when people buy them, meaning I'm not the only one wanting a Rhubarb and Custard perfume, or a neon nail varnish so bright it blinds you.

S'pretty bright, right?

I really really love it when people buy the stuff I make. That sounds totally obvious - why wouldn't I love it? But when you've made something, you dreamed it, now you've made it real- and it's something quite unusual- when people start buying it, it's a validation like no other. The point of Fairypants is to create things you can't get elsewhere, and that means some of it is quite weird. So if other people want that weird thing too, it means my mind isn't as crazy as I sometimes think it is.

I also do all our social media, so if you're tweeting, instagramming or facebooking us, then for the most part it's me that you're speaking to. I've taught myself how to do social media for business, and it's all a learning curve - so each time you post to Fairypants you're helping me out - so thanks! I particularly love seeing your photos, so whether it's you unwrapping your parcel, or you letting your two year old paint your nails - I love seeing those pictures! Anything that you post to us will always be reposted, but especially if it's totally amazing!

If you email then that also comes straight through to me - so if you want to ask me a question, that's how to do it. I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope you've enjoyed learning a bit more about me! xox

Friday, 23 October 2015

In a bit of a pickle...

So you know how we fancy ourselves as a cross between Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Alsopp? And we pride ourselves on our love for jam making, chutney making and alcohol making? Well, to continue the theme of making things in jars  -we decided to make Pickled Onions.

Despite the fact that you can get very lovely pickled onions very cheaply, we still thought it would be a pretty good idea to try making them ourselves. And - this is the time of year to do it. Pretty much every supermarket has displays of tiny onions and vinegar - just calling out to fools like myself who have never done it before.

So we thought, why not? We bought a net of onions, and a big jerry can of spiced pickling vinegar, and we set about creating magic. Now - it's not so simple as putting them in jars and filling them with vinegar, there's some back breaking work involved too, and 24 hours of salt. Yes, you heard right.

So, with being a busy bee, I decided to start the task on a Saturday, so I could finish on a Sunday. If you are going to attempt this - this is a really good idea.

I started about 3pm on the Saturday, which would have been plenty of time, if I had bought a normal amount of onions - but I didn't. I bought this many.

In case you can't tell - it's quite a lot. About 5kg, to be precise.

Yup. That's a lot of onions. The bag didn't look that big in the shop, I swear.

So. On to the first step. You need eyes of steel at this bit - you need to top and tail all the onions with a sharp knife. I cried a lot during the first couple of batches, but after I was 1/3rd of the way through this mammoth bag, I stopped crying. And, I haven't cried at an onion since, so I think I'm now immune to onion tears.

Once you've top and tailed them (as close as you can, so you retain as much onion as possible) you'll need to soak them in boiling water, until the water is cool enough for you to handle the onions. As I had to do mine in batches, I just soaked them until I had another good sized batch.

Once they've been soaked, the tough skins will come off much easier. Your fingers WILL hurt though, so you have been warned - especially if YOU BOUGHT LOTS OF ONIONS.

Now comes the weird part - you need to soak the onions overnight. Some people say to soak them in brine, others just say to cover them in salt.

Since I got to this stage at TEN O'CLOCK AT NIGHT, I just threw the 5kg of onions in a huge bucket, and threw a load of salt on them. I'm not sure how much. It looked like every onion had a coating of salt, but I can't be sure as at that stage I was seeing double anyway.

The next day, my dry-as-a-bone onions were floating in their own juices - the point of the salt must be to suck stuff out of the onions. If you think about it- pickled onions are usually softer, so it makes some kind of sense.

Now, you just need to rinse them, dry them, and jar them. Like so.

Looking good! Make sure you pack them in well, you don't want a couple of onions floating in some vinegar, that is not how this game works. Undo the lid on your excessively large jerry can of vinegar, and top each jar up.

This is a pretty good jar of pickled onions. They look just how they should look. I'm sure of that. All you have to do now, is wait. Store the jars in a cool, dark place for at least a month before eating. Do them now, and they'll be perfect to give as homemade Christmas gifts.

One last word of warning - you're reading this just over a week after I attemped this, and my house still smells of onions. It's in the curtains, the sofas, the carpets. It's even in my pleather handbag. No amount of Febreze seems to do the trick. If I was doing this again, I'd start it earlier in the day, and I'd do it outside, in the fresh air.

So if you do give it a go, let me know how you get on - maybe don't buy so many onions. I have 24 jars of pickled onions now, so I hope my friends really like them... xox

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Testing, testing -123!

So it's that time again - we've got some new products due to come out! They're being tested this week by our keen panel of guinea pigs.

We'll be launching them towards the end of the week, so keep your eyes peeled for them, and make sure you look out for some reviews beforehand from the guys in the know!

First things first, we're super excited to introduce you to our amazing new Vegan Nail Varnish Remover! It's scented, and we'll be offering 3 lovely scents - Lemon & Lime, Strawberry & Grape, and Blueberry & Pomegranate.

They don't contain Acetone, so they're nice and kind to your nails - they'll make a great addition to the rest of our nail care range. We'll tell you more once they've launched.

Lastly, we're introducing a brand new, super limited edition Christmas lipbalm - Christmas Cake! Warming and spicy, it's absolutely perfect for this time of year. So treat yourself, and get your lips smooth and snog-ready - don't be caught out under the mistletoe!

We're just finalising the packaging for this- we want it to be suitably festive! We'll be flooding you with lovely photos soon, so in the mean time, keep your eyes peeled for reviews and blog posts coming soon!


Friday, 16 October 2015

(gl) assing about with spray paint

We said there'd be a few DIY posts coming up, and we weren't lying!

I've always loved a good spray paint, I like how quickly you can transform something old into something new.

This time I thought I'd try my hand with drinking glasses. Champagne glasses, to be precise! Again, I got all my kit from Rustoleum - they have a pretty wide range of spray paints, including all the finishes I wanted.

I started with some basic champagne glasses. I've seen this same style for the same price in lots of the big supermarkets, including Tesco and Asda. You can also get a nearly identical style from the marketplace in Ikea. You want to be paying 50p-£1 per glass - no more.

The spray paints were another Ebay find - just search for Rustoleum spray paint, and you'll find loads to choose from.

Make sure you're spraying in a well ventilated area, where you aren't going to damage anything you love with overspray. I tend to do all my spray painting in the garden for this very reason. I don't mind if I have a bright pink patch of grass for a while ;-)

The first one I tried was a frosted finish. I think this can was about £8, and it's a good size, with plenty left in- so I was happy about that. I really loved this finish, I tried doing a gradient down the glass, so the stem is only lightly coated, and the base isn't frosted at all. It looks really good, and very professional!

Next up was a glitter finish. This isn't so obvious, as it's totally clear, with silver glitter. You can't see the glitter from a distance, but up close it's really lovely! This wouldn't work if you wanted to make a statement, but it's nice and delicate.

Lastly, I tried their Stained Glass effect. This came in blue, red and green - the red and green would be perfect for making some festive candle holders - I think that's my next project! This blue is amazing, really deep and vibrant. Two coats is all it took, and again, I made a gradient with the spray, so the stem is still clear glass.

I've only tried washing these gently by hand so far - I can't attest to putting them in the dishwasher, so maybe be careful!

Give it a go, and tag us in your upcycling escapades! xox

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Get your gift on

So you know all about our Gift sets, because we keep telling you how amazing they are - but if ever there was a time to get browsing, it's now. There's so much to choose from, and they all make awesome Christmas gifts. We've got sets for all different prices, so you can choose how much to spend depending on how much you like your mate. That's how we choose gifts, anyway ;-)

Gift sets have their own home on our website which makes it even easier to make the right present choices. Just click here, and have a browse!

Festive Lipbalm Gift SetThe Festive Lipbalm set comes in at a purse friendly £10, and contains one of each of our specially selected festive flavours. Candy Cane, Gingerbread and Irish Cream would make the perfect Secret Santa gift for that girl in your office who gets way too excited, way too soon.

Just like us, in fact.

Ultimate Lip Kit
The Ultimate Lip Kit is for Fashionistas who are a bit serious about prepping their pout. It contains everything you need to get your lips mistletoe ready - and it's completely customise-able. You can choose which of our three amazing lip scrubs your mate will like, which of our classic lipbalms, and which shade of our extensive Lip Paint collection.

Coming in at just £12, you get a handy lip brush too.

Parma Violet Gift Set
The one with all the Parma Violets is definitely for your mate with the sweet tooth - three amazing Parma Violet products all wrapped up for £16.

You'll get a 30ml of our original perfume, in a gorgeous blue glass pipette bottle - it'll look amazing on her dressing table.

You'll also get one of our lipbalms - it tastes as good as the perfume smells, though it's got to be tried to be believed!

Lastly you'll get our gorgeous Matte nail varnish too - no scent to this one, but the shade is on point.

Nail Care Gift SetWe've all got that one mate who's nail obsessed - this one's for her. The Nail Care gift set speaks to her in her own language - give her something she really wants!

For £10 you get one of our amazing super softening cuticle oils, one of our hard working base coat and ridge fillers, and one of our glossy top coats.

If you're feeling really generous you could always get her a nail varnish too to complete the home manicure kit.

Cocktail Perfume Gift Set
For your bezzie mate, nothing says I love you like one of our fragrance gift sets. Containing all 5 scents from one of our 3 collections, you'll blow her away with your generosity.

£50 gets you 5 full size 30ml perfumes, all in the gorgeous retro packaging we've become known for.

Choose from Sweet Treats, Sweet Shop or Cocktail, and let your best mate know just how much she means to you.

We've got loads more gifts for you to choose from too, this is just a selection! Have a browse, and be ready to be in the good books for the whole of 2016. We package each gift in an eco friendly box, hand tied with twine. If you'd like your gift posting directly to your friend with a little message, then just drop us an email. Just call us the Christmas Gift Fixer.


Friday, 9 October 2015

So why should you buy British?

What’s the big deal? Way back when, Britain was quite literally a hive of industry. The Industrial Revolution and the mills and factories cropping up everywhere meant that not only were we quite self-sufficient (apart from lovely exotic things, like tea), it meant we were also exporting all our goods across the world.

Our lipbalms travel all over the world!

Britain was a trade country, we traded our cotton for their tea, or our leather for their spices. Time moved on though, and the world changed. We lost some of our manufacturing power as it became faster and cheaper to produce things abroad – when I was a little girl, nearly every toy I owned was stamped with Made In China. So much so, I believed that’s where all toys were made, and always had been. A bit like Santa’s factory full of elves. Maybe that was in China.

Nowadays we live in a throwaway society, and our goods are increasingly cheaper. Stemming the tide though is a new revolution- the British Revolution. Partly a move to protect our manufacturing heritage, and partly a wish to reduce carbon emissions by purchasing from within your own time zone.

We, along with many other small businesses and sole traders welcome this change wholeheartedly. We wear the Made In Britain stamp with pride on our website, and we mention it wherever we can. The vast majority of our products are handmade by us, in our HQ. As we’ve grown bigger, we’ve needed help from a small scale manufacturer – but they too are based in Britain, and we wouldn’t dream of taking that further afield.

Some of our amazing nail varnishes are made by our wonderful manufacturer!

To have something proudly made in Britain is still a badge of honour, it carries a prestige that not many other countries can match. Britain itself is so old, that Heritage is very important for brands, and it’s why fashion houses like Burberry and Mackintosh do so well after all these years – when you buy a real Mac, you’re buying a slice of history – you’re weaving yourself into the very fabric of Britain. And this, to a lot of customers is aspirational.

There will always be customers who want the latest in technology straight from Japan, but for each one of those there’s someone somewhere coveting a Debrett’s guide and some Clan Tartan. Sometimes people can feel ashamed to be proud of their country and their heritage, but I’ll always be proud of Britain, and I’ll always be proud that Fairypants makes things on British soil – and always will.

This British Revolution serves many purposes, it helps the environment – since you’re not shipping that designer handbag halfway across the world. It helps the economy – keeping your hard earned pound within the confines of these sceptered isles. It also boosts small businesses – since much of the treasure you’ll find online when you google ‘made in Britain’ will be from businesses such as ourselves, or even busy mums fitting in a crafting session around their children’s schedules. And really, if you’re going to line anyone else’s pockets with your cash, it’s better that it’s a small pocket that will put real food on the table of a real family- than a pocket with a hole in it linked to an offshore bank account.

You can't get these in a greengrocers, sorry.

Made in Britain can refer to anything – from our perfumes to the smallest grocer left clinging onto the high street. From market stalls to Burberry themselves, this heritage, this lifestyle is something that should be adopted by everyone. The trend is growing, but we need to give it a little shove to help smaller businesses, or those just starting out a chance at survival.

In short, if you support British businesses you do more than just spend a slice of your wage on something pretty. You’ll be making a difference to lots of other people, and you’ll be bolstering our home grown manufacturing while you’re at it. Nothing in the world beats a stranger buying something you’ve made – I should know, but I bet owning something individual, made round the corner from where you live comes pretty close.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

It's never too early...

To get ready for Christmas! We’re serious, it’s probably time you started thinking about it.
Whether you’re looking for gifts for friends and family, or something to treat yourself with, we reckon our fabulously festive trio of lipbalms is where it’s at!

Let’s start with Irish Cream.

This little cutie has been around for two Christmases now, but you can bet we’re not bored of it yet! It’s turned into a bit of a cult favourite, and as a result, it’s actually available all year. Smelling exactly like a certain cream liqueur poured into coffee, it’s the perfect warming pick me up. It smells of cold weather, warm fires and cosy socks.

Now let’s see what Gingerbread has to offer!

Really heavy on the ginger, with a little splash of vanilla for balance. This is Gingerbread’s second Christmas, so why don’t you get yourself one, and show it a good time! This smells just like baking in the kitchen on Christmas Eve while your mum puts Band Aid on for the 14th time in a row.

Lastly, we’ve got Candy Cane.

Super sweet peppermint balanced with vanilla, this gorgeously fresh balm is definitely on the Nice list! Candy Cane smells of cool, crisp mornings, wearing your new woollen mittens in the shape of penguins.

These three lovelies are also available in a pretty cute gift set – for just £10. You’ll get one of each, neatly wrapped in an eco friendly box, tied off with union jack twine. All our packaging is recyclable, except for the unsexy bubblewrap we’ll use to protect your order in the post. So what do you say, guilt free Christmas shopping, or give yourself a well deserved treat! xox

Friday, 2 October 2015

The mercury is definitely falling...

Winter must be on it's way now, it's officially October! I won't deny, it's my favourite season. Partly because those long nights are perfect for getting your craft on. In this post we have a look at creating our own Mercury Glass!

Have a quick google image search, and you'll soon see what I'm on about. It's a technique supposed to resemble vintage glass, like an old, speckled mirror. It's often used on vases and candle holders.

I decided to give it a go, since it didn't require much equipment. You're supposed to get a 'mirror finish' spray paint, and since I couldn't find one I wanted, I went with a spray which is just described as metallic silver. I knew the finish wouldn't be quite as sharp, but I hoped it would still look good!

You need to start with your glass- I chose a tumbler that's the right size to hold a small candle or tealight.

You''ll also need a spray bottle, and a half water, half white vinegar mix.

I used a small spray bottle, the kind you can pick up in the travel section of any supermarket or cosmetics shop. I filled it with my vinegar mixture, and set off into the garden!

All you need to do, is spray the paint onto the inside of the glass, and follow it immediately with the water/vinegar mix.

Here's the finished candle holder in sunlight, you can just see the mottled effect that the vinegar provides- it stops the spray paint from adhering to the glass. This is only one coat, and I think it's enough, but you can see in daylight the difference between this and a proper mirror finish paint.

However, in the dark, lit with a candle I think it looks lovely.

I'll definitely try to source the exact paint I need before doing any more, but as it is, I think it's really lovely. My next project might be to make an actual mirror- which may be a much bigger project than I'm anticipating! Why don't you have a go - and let me know if you find the perfect paint!