Turn an old piano stool into a fluffy pouf

Upcycled piano stool DIY

She’s a bloody model, ain’t she? The little rascal! She was helping me with this quick upcycled upholstery project so I had to include her in the photoshoot, obviously. As you may have read here our little family is going through a bout of mid-life crisis and as a result we have acquired a couple of musical instruments (within a space of a few hours). One of them is this absolutely gorgeous Hickie & Hickie piano which is arguably about 100 years old. After 100 years of life even people look a little disheveled – and so does our piano. We scooped out the dust, polished the wood, wiped the keys. And I upholstered the old piano stool turning it into a fancy fluffy Pinteresty pouf!

Although it might look like a task for an afternoon or two, it took me less than an hour. What I needed was:
🎹 IKEA sheep skin rug (buy here, it’s only a tenner!)
🎹 Upholstery pins (like these)
🎹 a hammer
🎹 large scissors
🎹 a blunt knife or a pair of pliers

It depends on what your stool looks like and how it’s been made but looking it mine you can see that it already had upholstery pins in place. I took them out with a blunt knife (they pulled out very easily) but please be careful when doing this, it’s a poked out eye waiting to happen. Then I measured the stool and cut the shape out of my furry rug. Once that was done I hammered the upholstery pins back in (you can get new ones or even different coloured ones to suit your interior – I liked the vintage looking ones). Et voila! Give the rug a good brush and you’re done!

Pippin pretending she’s some sort of modern day Catmadeus!
What a tit!

Upcycled piano stool DIY
Upcycled piano stool DIY
Upcycled piano stool DIY

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from Cityscape Bliss http://www.cityscape-bliss.com/2016/11/upcycle-piano-stool-fluffy-pouf-diy.html

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Why your comments are hurting your favourite blogger

Why your comments are hurting your favourite blogger

Recently I’ve been doing a bit of digging around as to why my blog has not been performing that well in the eyes of the mighty Google lately. And I’ve discovered the backlink boomerang. Nope, that’s not a real techy name, I just came up with that. Now. You’re welcome. But what am I even on about?! And why’s this backlink shebang bad for ya?

🔍 Backlinks: These are links placed on other website pointing at yours. You can check which websites are sending traffic your way here. These are still one of the most valuable influencer factors of Google’s SEO ranking. The ‘better’ the website mentioning you the more positive the impact is on your blog. This is where sponsored posts come in play (when they ask you to link to their website as ‘follow’ – these are the links that Google scans).

Now why are my comments hurting anyone then, I hear you ask. I thought commenting = engagement = good. Well, listen. 

Including backlinks in comments is a very controversial topic in the blogging world. Should you or should you not include a link to your blog when leaving a comment on your favourite website? It can improve your Google rank, it can harm your Google rank. It can do nothing to the other blogger, it can damage their Page Authority. Well, it’s a difficult one but I say YES just because in my humble opinion it looks very neat and I find it easy to go and browse the reader’s blog that way. But there is a big BUT though. A few buts in fact.

✒️ Write comments that add value: Always make sure that your comment adds value and is relevant to the blog post. Everyone, absolutely everyone and their cat hates getting bloody generic comments that mean nothing and are so very obviously just a few copy & paste words. ‘Hi, I love your blog – check out mine!! + link’. Just don’t man. Compliment them on the new lipsticks, perhaps you’ve got it in your stash too? Why do you love it? Why do you hate it? Do you like the blogger’s aesthetic? Is there an advice you want to give? Just put some effort into it please.

✒️ Sometimes just don’t leave the link: There are instances where I just find it deeply offensive & insensitive to leave a link in the comments. When the author writes about their dying mother, cat or a divorce – just don’t.

✒️ Don’t let Google think you’re a spammer: This is the key point which I know has been affecting me and I’m working hard on reconciliation. Essentially when a website has a lot of poor generic comments pointing to poor websites with follow attributes then Google will penalise it and possibly even de-list from the search results. You can read more about Google guidelines here. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your blog is classed as a poor quality website however you going on 5742984632 blogs leaving your link in comments with ‘Check out my blog’ can be viewed by Google as spammy. It also works the other way round – if a blog contains a lot of comments like that the ranking can be affected because they ‘allowed’ this spamming.

✒️ When you’re leaving it a link, do it right:
If you really want to leave your link in the comments section but want to also protect your favourite blogger (and yourself – because some bloggers will delete your comments and some will straight up block you from commenting which could result in your website being flagged as spam too!) then do the links right. It’s easy to avoid the Google wrath by implementing the following:

The code for adding a clickable link to a blog comment goes like this:

<a href=“BLOG LINK ADDRESS”>BLOG LINK TEXT</a>

What I urge you to add is this the no follow attribute so the whole line looks like this:

<a href=“BLOG LINK ADDRESS" rel= "nofollow”>BLOG LINK TEXT</a>

By adding the no follow attribute you are protecting both yourself and the blog you’re leaving the comment on – the attribute means that Google will not evaluate the link and will simply just skip it. So the functionality of you leaving a link to your blog stays, the risks associated disappear. Boom!

After reading this I’m sure you’ll understand why I tend to edit my comments – I either delete your link or add no follow attribute where I can. And you should do the same! 

You can read more about this topic on these clever blogs:


I hope you find this helpful – and if so then please do share it with your blogger friends!

What’s your stance when it comes to links in blog comments?
Yes – no – or just the no follow way?

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from Cityscape Bliss http://www.cityscape-bliss.com/2016/11/why-blog-comments-damage-blogs.html

Cookie’s & Pippin’s bonding sessions

Paw5 puzzle feeder cat toy review

When Pippin joined out little family (as seen here) it was a lot of stress. In fact we just really wanted to put her in the bin (figuratively, not literally.. or maybe both). She was so naughty – hissing, growling and attacking my poor Cookie boy. Cookie became so stressed he even got very very poorly for a couple of weeks (hence the lack of Insta snaps of the fur ball, he did not appreciate having a picture of his sweaty chest taken). Thankfully, Cookie’s feeling himself again but it’s still not ideal – he likes his territory, his peace. Pippin likes to repot plants (hence the soil everywhere in the pictures!), jump on Cookie’s head when he’s not looking and bite his fluffy tail when he’s asleep. That’s why we’ve introduced bonding sessions.

Our bonding sessions are full of playing, sharing of treats & equal division of snuggles. That’s why when Paw5 asked us whether we’d like to incorporate their Rock ‘n Bowl (click here) – part bowl, part puzzle in our playtime I nodded excitedly – that’s exactly the kind of toy that these two will love! Recently they got a food dispenser ball from RSPCA (click here) which is very little (a one-cat size if you like) but they have been playing with it every day nonetheless. Rock ‘n Bowl works similarly but is much larger – so the two of them can play together rather than against each other! Originally aimed at the pooch population, it works perfectly fine for cats too. Pippin mastered it straight away – she’s a naughty monkey but pretty damn clever when she wants to be. Cookie took a little longer – he explored the toy with more grace & patience, as you do when you’re a fluffy cat-bear! After a couple of days the growling and hissing stopped completely when around the bowl. They don’t even fight over the treats anymore! Hurray!

We are still on a look out for more bonding toys – fingers crossed they will have something fun at the National Pet Show (click here) at the NEC, Birmingham where we’re off to tomorrow!

Have you got any bonding tips for cats? 
What’s your cat’s favourite toy?

Paw5 puzzle feeder cat toy review
Paw5 puzzle feeder cat toy review
Paw5 puzzle feeder cat toy review

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from Cityscape Bliss http://www.cityscape-bliss.com/2016/11/Paw5-puzzle-feeder-cat-toy-review.html

That embroidered dress

Embroidered satin shirt dress from Primark

And a very faint completely washed off fake tan. That’s how I roll these days. When I first saw this gorgeous embroidered satin shirt dress on Primark’s Insta stories (you don’t follow Primark on Insta stories?? WHAT?!) I knew I had to launch a quest for it. I’ve tasked everyone I know (read: about 3 people with particularly weak will power) to alert me immediately when availability of this dress comes to their attention. Well, as the luck would have it I spotted it behind some less exciting shirt dresses in the Birmingham Primark. There was less than a handful of pieces left. Phew! That was close. 

It cost me an outrageous £13. The best £13 ever spent or what! Don’t get me wrong – I do question whether it is an actual dress or whether I should throw it on just before snuggling up after 3 layers of duvets, but hell it’s pretty! I think it makes for the perfect effortless romantic dinner outfit. If you’ve got the balls. Chuck it on with a pair of strappy heels, some red lipstick and a little black bag and BOOM! 


✖️Primark embroidered satin shirt dress (click here)
✖️H&M strappy heels (sold out)
✖️Aliexpress bag (buy here)
✖️Bering men’s watch (via WatchShop – buy here)
✖️Silver vintage pendant of St Bernadette
✖️Silver vintage rings  

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Embroidered satin shirt dress from Primark

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from Cityscape Bliss http://www.cityscape-bliss.com/2016/11/Embroidered-satin-shirt-dress-Primark.html

Traditional Czech soul cakes

Dusicky a kosti recept

Not many people know that Halloween is not all there is at this time of the year. In Christian based cultures (be it now or historically) Halloween is the eve of two much more important days – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, the latter being the one widely celebrated in the Czech Republic. All Souls’ Day is held on the 2nd November and it’s a day of remembering those who passed away. There’s many traditions associated with this day but unfortunately most of them have been long forgotten.

I’m all for sticking to traditions and reviving them (plus Czechs, including myself, are incredibly superstitious!) – I’ll paint eggs at Easter, I’ll shake an elderberry bush on Christmas Day, I’ll eat lentils on New Year’s Day. And I’ll bake soul cakes on All Souls’ Day.

Czech soul cakes are very different from the English ones. They can be either sweet or savoury, and come in very specific shapes. They are either shaped as bones, the letter S (for Saint), crosses or little ghastly souls – hence the common name Souls & Bones. Traditionally they were given to those less fortunate and homeless – which is where you can trace the beginnings of trick or treating back to.

I’m not trying to say go all out and do each and every All Souls’ Day tradition you come across, I’m not saying forget all about Halloween. But if there’s one thing you’ll do today then please remember those who can’t be here with us – perhaps go to the cemetery to weed out around the graves, light a candle or two and leave a bouquet of chrysanthemums behind.

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PRINT RECIPE
Traditional Czech soul cakes

Also known as Souls & Bones
Ingredients
  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a sachet of yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of warm milk
Instructions
1. Mix flour, sugar, salt, egg and yeast. 2. Add warm milk & work into a smooth dough. 3. Leave the dough to rise for at least 40 minutes. 4. Shape the dough into small buns. 5. Place in a preheated oven (200ºC) for 20 minutes. Glaze with whisked egg throughout.
Details

Prep time: 1 hour Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 1 hour 20 mins Yield: A plateful

Have you ever heard of the forgotten tradition of soul cakes before?
Have you ever baked them?

Dusicky a kosti recept
Dusicky a kosti recept
FANCY SOME MORE SCRUMPTIOUS BAKING?

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from Cityscape Bliss http://www.cityscape-bliss.com/2016/11/czech-soul-cake-recipe-dusicky-recept.html

A huge Korean beauty haul

Koreanmall Korean beauty haul

Ever since BB cream became a thing in the UK (or even a little before that time) I have been obsessed with Asian beauty products. And it’s one of those obsessions that lasts – not like collecting Essie nail polishes or all the chubby sticks you can find. This trend of Korean beauty industry is time-resistant. Why? Because it’s not a whim. It’s based on a never-ending research of Korean scientists and also very, very savvy consumers. But you know what’s hard? Getting your mitts on all these products! You might know by now that I’m somewhat of an eBay expert when it comes to searching for Korean beauty products – but recently I have discovered a whole new world. It’s called Koreanmall & you can read all about it here. And today I can finally share with you my favourite products from the website – the ones that immediately caught my eye & made me click through to the checkout faster than the speed of light!

🇰🇷 Skinfood
Skinfood is most definitely up there with my top 3 favourite Korean beauty brands. It was founded in 1957 and they aim for their products to have nutritional value of food (and that’s why their packaging looks so incredibly cute & everything smells delicious!). I’ve picked up a few bits from their Black Sugar range – the Perfecting Serum, 2x Essentials pack and also the Cleansing Balm. Black sugar is less refined and more nutritious than the white sugar we’re used to which means it’s more effective for exfoliation. Now to the more unusual ingredients – the Black Sesame Hot Mask is high in anti-ageing properties & warms up when applied to your skin! It also smells like tahini, ha!

I’ve always wanted to try the vegetable inspired range of products – that’s why I’ve picked up these two toners – one is the Premium Tomato Whitening Toner & the other one is the Premium Lettuce & Cucumber Watery Toner. Especially the Lettuce & Cucumber one (with 20% of cucumber water!) smells heavenly! Like a homemade cucumber salad with vinegar and salt, served in a
the garden when the sun’s out & shining bright. Aaaah!

And of course I’ve picked up the Gold Caviar Toner because – sparkles!! This must be hands down the most beautiful product I’ve ever seen – the bottle’s made of real heavy glass and the detail is just unreal – there’s even a little angel hanging off the lid! I’ve never tried an SPF from a Korean brand so I’ve also chucked the Miracle Food 10 SPF 50 into my basket – can you believe it has SPF 50? I might need to book a holiday to be able to use it!

🇰🇷 IPKN New York
IPKN New York is a brand I haven’t heard of before but the name stands for Independent Professional Knowledgable New Yorker and has been created to cater the demanding big city life. Many of their products are detoxifying and rejuvenating, including the Peel off Pore Mask which contains green tea extract (and smells like a freshly made cuppa!).

🇰🇷 Innisfree
One of the top Korean brands Innisfree is well known across the globe. What you may have not known though is that the name Innisfree comes form a poem by WB Yeates ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ and it is an actual place in Ireland. How interesting is that?! The brand takes on a naturalism inspired approach (after the poem) which means a lot of their product contain natural & earthy ingredients. I’ve decided to give these two a go: the Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask & It’s Real Squeeze Mask with Rose & Manuka Honey. The clay mask has got clusters of volcanic matter in it which allows for a super deep cleanse and the sheet masks rehydrate & nourish.

🇰🇷 TonyMoly
Another strong Korean brand TonyMoly is known for their fantastically cute packing – and Tomatox Magic Massage Pack is no exception. It looks like a tomato, whaaaat!! You massage it into your skin after cleansing, leave for about 5 minutes and wash it off (or leave it on overnight to completely soak in) – et voila, your skin is super fresh & plump! 
I’ve also thrown in Delight Tony Tint in Cherry Pink which smells divine – like a freshly baked cherry pie!

🇰🇷 Rearar Diaforce
Eye patch masks are so ridiculously expensive here – Hydrogel Eye Patch by Rearar Diaforce are, in comparison, super affordable and they come in a pack of 60! They contain gold dust, diamonds and white flower extract (which is very precious in Asia) and you can use them not just under your eyes but also on fine lines around your mouth, nose & forehead. You can also sleep & shower with them!

🇰🇷 Son & Park
I’ve wanted this for the longest time and couldn’t find anywhere that would deliver to the UK. It’s the infamous Beauty Water developed by Son Dae-Sik & Park Tae-Yun, two ridiculously famous make-up artists from Korea. It’s one of those multifunctional products that cleanse, brighten, exfoliate and soothe all in one whilst delivering a super dewy complexion. How could I not like this!

🇰🇷 Lacvert
Lacvert, I believe, is a name of a lake in Switzerland – and also a Korean brand focusing on products containing extracts from marine plants and algae. I’ve picked up the Marine Collagen Mist to give me a much needed boost after long hours in front of the computer screen.

🇰🇷 Etude House
It wouldn’t be a Korean beauty haul without a dash of Etude House. The Precious Mineral BB Cream comes in the shade Light Beige and apart from smelling like a meadow it also provides a decent coverage. Definitely one to try if your skin is oily and you’re looking for something slightly thicker than your average BB.

🇰🇷 Skin79
And of course I had to pick up my ultimate favourite – Hot Pink BB Cream by Skin79. I reviewed this BB cream YEARS ago (read my review here) and have not looked back since. I’ve gone through multiple tubs of this and am so incredibly happy it’s back in my stash!

Have I managed to get you excited you at least half as much as I am? Koreanmall is a real gem for anyone looking for Asian beauty products (they also sell food, K-Pop & loads more!), I’ve already filled my shopping trolley half full with ditsy make-up bits and even more skincare (it’s just Christmas presents, okay?). As I’ve already mentioned in my previous post – they do FREE SHIPPING on orders over $49 which is super easy to spend with such a wide range of products to choose from!

You can find Koreanmall here:

KoreanMall: www.koreanmall.com/app/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/koreanmall_official/ 

Don’t forget to check my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Youtube (all @cityscapebliss) – there might be a cheeky giveaway popping up in the next couple of days!

Koreanmall Korean beauty haul
Koreanmall Korean beauty haul

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from Cityscape Bliss http://www.cityscape-bliss.com/2016/11/korean-beauty-haul-koreanmall-review.html

It was a beautiful bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you could drown in it

A day out at Westons Cider Mill

And that is the most beautiful kind of day, isn’t it? One that crunches under your feet & smells like a mushy red apple. And where else to enjoy a gorgeous sunny day like that other than at a cider mill surrounded by thousands of apple & perry pear trees! I had the chance to spend mine at the Westons Cider Mill at Much Marcle, nestled cosily in the Herefordshire countryside.

All the magic of traditional cider making happens at The Bounds – a 400 year old farmhouse where the mill itself was established in 1881. You can take a guided tour around the farmhouse and its grounds and see everything from the original stone mill which was used to make the very first cider with the help of a horse power to the larger than life vats (with endearing names of Weston’s family members) full of golden fermenting cider. You will get to meet Old Rosie, wander around the autumn orchard and watch the harvest happen in front of your very eyes. And of course – you’ll get to taste a couple of scrumptious ciders!

I would lie if I said that tasting all the different ciders wasn’t fun – you get to taste the strangest flavorous such as rhubarb & custard and damson, however I do have to admit that I was enchanted by the grounds of the mill the most. You can’t even tell that there are tons & tons of apples being washed, milled, pressed and fermented just around the corner from where you’re sat eating a plate full of pork belly for tea. I expected loud noise, machinery, big trucks! Yet all I saw around me were bushes adorned with autumn berries, peaceful orchards, wooden crates (way fancier than the ones you can get off Etsy) and even a couple of Shire horses calmly nibbling on patches of green grass. It’s like time has stopped there.

After a stroll through the alleys of cider making history you can pop into The Scrumpy House – a quaint & cosy restaurant where you can snuggle up next to the heating with a cuppa of mulled cider or a pint of refreshing Stowford Press.

For anyone planning a trip to Westons Cider Mill (be it in time for harvest or after – I bet it looks bloody gorgeous when it’s all covered in snow too!) you can find more info here.

Have you ever been to a cider mill before?
What’s your favourite cider?


Photos of me taken by talented Zoe Goldsmith – you can find her work here & follow her on Instagram here. Thank you Zoe! 

Oh, and do you know where the title quote is from? Tweet me @cityscapebliss if you do!

A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider MillA day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill
A day out at Westons Cider Mill

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from Cityscape Bliss http://www.cityscape-bliss.com/2016/10/westons-cider-mill-day-out.html