Floral garlands!

This year the British Summer hasn’t really gotten started, so to brighten up our days my daughter decided to make some lovely floral garlands for everyone! These garlands are super pretty and super simple! They use minimum materials so are really cheap to make too!

To make your garland you will need – coloured paper, straws, scissors and thread/wool.

Begin by cutting out some flower shapes from different coloured paper. My daughter finds it easier to draw her flower shapes first.

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Next cut some straws into small pieces. My daughter used different coloured straws to add some colour to her garland!

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Make a small hole in the centre of each flower and thread them and the straws onto your thread / wool. My daughter chose a pattern of flower, straw, flower, straw, but you can choose to place them however you like. Other shapes look really effective on the garland too!

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Keep threading and leave a small gap at the end to tie your garland together!

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My daughter loves making these pretty, bright garlands and they look super cute!

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We hope you like our floral garlands! A simple craft for the kids to have a go at which will bring a little sunshine!

We hope you are all having a wonderful Wednesday!

Our very first make under doll!

I am so excited to share mine and my daughters latest project with you! It is something that my daughter has wanted to do for a long long time but I have been putting it off as I wasn’t sure how it would go and I really didn’t want her to be disappointed!

A few months ago I came across an article on my facebook feed about a lady called Sonia Singh who gives old, unwanted Bratz dolls a new lease of life by giving them a make-under and calling them Tree Change dolls. I was so impressed! I am not a huge fan of Bratz dolls – my daughter has them but I have never understood why they needed such copious amounts of make up – not the best message to be sending out to our children! I much preferred Sonia’s more natural looking dolls! As I was browsing through her website I found some DIY tutorial videos where she encourages parents to give it a go themselves. I showed my daughter and she instantly fell in love with the changed dolls (and then instantly asked if we could make under one of her dolls together)….. I can honestly say I was not sure at all! Don’t get me wrong I love creating and crafting but I doubted if I could make my daughters doll look anywhere near as lovely as Sonia’s creations!

After endless nagging pleading from my daughter I eventually gave in and we started work on the make under! She chose a doll that had been given to her by a friend which was in desperate need of a little love!

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As you can see the doll looks wonderful – complete with what looks like extra felt tip eye make up!

We started by using nail varnish remover and cotton pads to remove all of the make up from the face. Try not to scour the face as it can scratch it, instead firmly rub! The glitter lipstick was pretty tough to get off and needed quite a bit of time.

Once all of the make up was removed from the face we started painting her new face with acrylic paints. We looked at lots of Sonia’s creations online for inspiration and then took the plunge! (I must admit I was pretty scared I was going to mess it up – I was in charge of the lovely dolls eyes – eeek)! My daughter painted the lips and we both painted her eyebrows. I had to mix up a little skin coloured paint to paint over a biro mark and I was really pleased with how it covered the pen mark up. We also added freckles!

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Once she was finished my daughter was ecstatic and I was pretty pleased myself! I don’t think she turned out too bad considering it was our very first attempt. My daughter has already picked out more dolls to make under!

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The doll (renamed Daisy!) has not left my daughters side since being finished and is even heading to a sleepover with her tonight at my sisters house!

We really hope you like our make under doll! I would definitely recommend giving it a go yourself. It was a lot of fun and not nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be!

Happy Friday guys!

A beautiful Mothers Day!

Firstly, apologies for not posting in a while! We were all struck down with what can only be described as a truly vile bug! It zapped all energy levels as well as making me feel awfully ill so I was pretty useless for several days. We are all feeling much better and I can finally write again! (Hooray)!

I hope you all had a lovely Mothers Day? I think it is a lovely way to say thank you to our Mums for being so wonderful and for always being there. It is nice to show our mums how appreciated they are. A few of my friends have lost their mums and they are always at the forefront of my mind on special days and celebrations. I think our Mothers day celebrations remind us of how important our mums are!

One of my favourite things about Mothering Sunday is receiving lovely home made treats from my little ones. The sheer joy on their faces when they hand you their little treasures makes my heart melt! So thoughtful and kind. I received a beautiful bunch of flowers from my two little ones (thanks Daddy!) and some gorgeous home made cards. We all spent the day together at home as we were too poorly for anything else! Nevertheless it was a lovely family day – my favourite type of day!

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A home made gift – Hot Chocolate spoons!

My little ones school broke up for their Christmas holidays the other day. They decided that they wanted to get each of their teachers a little gift to say thank you and Merry Christmas (Diolch and Nadolig Llawen as we say here in Wales)!

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We do this each year as their teachers do such a wonderful job through the year and don’t really get much appreciation or acknowledgement. I think a little thank you will always go appreciated!

Their school is a small, village school and they love going there! They used to attend a much larger school and my daughter really didn’t like it. She has developed and progressed so much since changing schools and I am very grateful to the teachers and staff for all the work which they do. The school is more like a family, and everyone’s opinions are listened to, from the head teacher to the nursery children. It is very much a community focused school too which I love! As it is such a small school there is a smaller number of staff. This means that my kids always want to give every staff member a little gift, including the cooks, cleaner and helpers!

We usually give shortbread or butter biscuits as gifts, but this year I thought we would do something a little different. We decided to make Hot Chocolate spoons. We love Hot Chocolate spoons in our home as they are super simple to make, look so pretty and taste amazing!

To make Hot Chocolate spoons you will need – chocolate, plastic / wooden spoons or wooden lollipop sticks and sprinkles / decorations.

Begin by melting your chocolate in a jug in the microwave. Check it frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn! Once it has all melted, pour into an ice cube tray.

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Next chill in the fridge. You need it to be of a solid consistency before you can put your spoons / sticks inside, but not completely set – a sort of soft solid! You will be able to tell if the chocolate is set enough to put the spoon inside. If it has not set enough the spoon will not stand upright alone. If this is the case, chill it for longer!

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When you have the right consistency push your spoons / sticks into the chocolate and add your decorations (we used green, red and white hundreds and thousands and chocolate strands to make them look more festive). Mini marshmallows also look cute! (My kids love this part as they get to go sprinkle crazy)! Next, chill again, until completely set and solid. Gently push them out of the tray.

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I then wrapped them in spotty cellophane and added ribbon to make them look pretty and extra special!

These taste so good swirled into hot chocolate to make it taste extra chocolatey or warm milk to make chocolate milk. A very delicious treat!

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The teachers loved their home made gifts and said what a lovely, thoughtful, yummy gesture it was!

Nadolig Llawen to you all!

Fingerprint Christmas Trees!

Each year the kids love making home – made Christmas cards for family members. I think it’s lovely receiving a personal home – made card from a loved one!

I thought it would be a nice idea to make a Christmas card with my niece for her mum. I put a few ideas to her and she chose to make a fingerprint Christmas tree. I love this activity as it is so simple which means even very young children can take part!

To make your fingerprint Christmas tree you will need – paper, paints (green and a few more different colours), card, glue and sequins or glitter.

To begin cut out a template from card, to use as your tree shape. I find using a triangle shape works really well. Then place over a piece of paper and begin fingerprinting inside your template with the green paint. (If you are doing this activity with young children, you may like to stick the template to the paper with blu – tack, to stop it from moving around).

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Continue fingerprinting with the green paint until you have filled the tree shape. You can then add a few more fingerprints in different colours to be your tree ‘lights’. My niece also added a yellow print at the top of her tree to be the ‘star’!

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When you are happy with how your tree looks, gently lift up the template and allow the paint to dry. Once the paint is dry you can add sequins or glitter to give it some extra sparkle! We then cut out and glued her tree down onto a piece of card, and she made a plant pot from sequins too!

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My niece really enjoyed making her card and thought so carefully about which sequins she thought her mum would like best. Her mum loved her extra special card made especially for her!

Christmas Eve surprise parcels!

As most of you probably know I love Christmas! I love everything about it – the crafts you can make, the decorations, the lights, the food, the celebrations, the nativities, the time spent together as a family and of course your own personal family traditions. It is such a magical time of year, especially for children, and you can make it super special with your own family traditions.

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I cannot stand bah humbug people who complain about the commercialisation of it all! I do not spend huge amounts of money on things that my kids don’t need (that is not to say I don’t buy anything – of course I do)! I just don’t go over the top! I had a friend who a couple of years ago spent £1000 on each of her two children, aged 3 and 6, only for her to then complain after Christmas that they only played with a couple of the new toys she had bought them. I remember being completely flabbergasted!

To me personally, presents are only a small part of Christmas. Christmas is made up of many different things. When I was a kid, my favourite memories are of spending time as a whole family (my dad worked such long hours it was a big treat to be able to spend whole days over the Christmas period with him). I also used to love the Christmas dinner, my Gran’s mince pies and watching Christmas films on the TV. If you ask my daughter what her favourite part of Christmas is she will say Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve parcels and our Christmas Eve walk (this is one of our favourite family traditions – we go for a walk in the woods by our home and then come back for hot chocolates and a Christmas film). If you ask my son, he will say spending time with Daddy and helping to decorate the tree.

Each year one of my personal favourite family Christmas traditions is giving the kids a Christmas Eve surprise parcel! I make a little parcel of things for each of the kids to use on Christmas Eve. I never spend much money on them as I pick little bargains up or make things myself.

I made their parcels today whilst they were both in school and have hidden them away until Christmas Eve! I thought I would share with you what I have included in them this year!

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I bought them each a new onesie, a Christmas colouring book, a Christmas canvas picture to paint and a Santa mug filled with Hot chocolate and marshmallows. I also made reindeer food (using porridge oats and edible glitter) and wrapped it in a cellophane cone, tied with pretty ribbon. Everything I bought was bought from my local discount shop so hardly cost me anything! I then wrapped the items in pretty cellophane and secured with an elastic band. I then popped some Christmas ribbon over the top and added a little bow.

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I love making these little Christmas parcels and giving them to the kids Christmas Eve. I can’t wait for Christmas Eve now!

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Christmas biscuits!

Today we decided to spend the afternoon baking as it was so wet and windy outside (again)! I must admit a little part of me quite enjoys the winter weather, as there is nothing nicer than being cosy inside with the little ones baking or making!

We chose to bake butter biscuits as they are a huge favourite in our house. They are simple to make and taste amazing. I usually make a few batches at a time, as they seem to disappear very quickly! I was also looking after my 6 year old niece and my (very nearly!) 2 year old nephew, and the kids all decided they would like to turn the biscuits into Christmas biscuits by adding some fun decorations! So we got plenty of ingredients and set to work…… (when I say work, I mean throwing ingredients around and getting covered in flour and icing)!

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To make your Christmas biscuits you will need – 

Biscuit recipe – 110g (4 oz) softened butter, 55g (2 oz) caster sugar, 2 – 3 tbs cold water, few drops of vanilla extract and 175g (6 oz) plain flour Topping – icing sugar, water and decorations of your choice (we used sugar sprinkles, sugar balls and mini sugar gingerbread men) You will also need cookie cutters in ‘Christmas’ themed shapes!

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Begin by preheating your oven to 160C. Then put your butter and sugar into a bowl and mix until fluffy.

Add your vanilla extract and water and mix. Slowly add your flour, mixing it in well. (We tend to use our hands at this point to form a ball, ready to roll out – I split it into two balls here to share between the kids).IMG_3249.JPGRoll your biscuit dough out onto a floured surface. We always pop some flour onto the rolling pin too, to stop it from sticking.IMG_3251.JPGThen use your cookie cutters to cut out some Christmassy shapes! Place them onto greaseproof paper on a baking tray.

Bake them in the oven for approx 15 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool and sprinkle with some caster sugar.

Now you can make some icing with your icing sugar and add whatever decorations you like! We went crazy with sprinkles, sugar balls and sugar gingerbread men!

Our finished biscuits were completely yummy and went down a treat! The kids all had brilliant fun and my nephew especially enjoyed decorating his biscuits (even if it did mean sending him home covered in icing – sorry mum)! We sent some biscuits home for my sister too from my niece and nephew and she loved them!IMG_3287.JPG

These biscuits would make a lovely Christmas gift for teachers, wrapped in pretty cellophane and tied with a cute ribbon. (This was what we made for teachers last year and all of the teachers loved them. My daughter said they ate them at break time with their cups of coffee)!

Apple printing and home – made gift wrap!

One evening last week it was just me and my daughter at home, as my son was at football club, much to my daughters delight! “Girlie time mum” she shouted, followed shortly by “Can we do some apple printing?”

Apple printing is one of our favourite activities as it is so simple and looks super effective, especially in pattern form. My daughter decided on making some home – made gift wrap. Her Grandpas (Popsys!) birthday is just around the corner and with him being an avid and fantastic gardener, my daughter knew Popsy would love his home – made apple themed gift wrap!

You will need – apples, paints, paper and old bowls / tubs.

To start, cut your apples into halves and de – pip. Next, cut a handle into each apple half. Us grown – ups should do this part as it can be difficult and dangerous for little hands!IMG_2109IMG_2108

Then dip your apple (core centre down) into your paint. Make sure you have plenty of paint on your apple otherwise you may only get half a print!IMG_2112To make your gift – wrap decide on a pattern and the type of paper you want to use. My daughter decided to use a simple, two colour alternating pattern on brown parcel paper. Brown parcel paper makes fantastic wrapping paper as it is nice and strong and can be printed on easily. IMG_2113 IMG_2114 IMG_2115A fantastic printing activity that makes fabulous home – made gift wrap too! We are sure Popsy will love his extra special gift wrap!

A lovely home-made gift

When I found out that my sister was expecting her second baby a couple of years ago, and it was to be a he, I was filled with a need to give her something lovely and home-made. I really wanted it to be super special and I came across the idea of making her a nappy cake. These were traditionally given as part of a mum to be’s baby shower, but are becoming much more popular as stand alone gifts now .

I must admit that when I first looked at how to make them (as a pure novice I hasten to add!) I was a little daunted, as some of the designs were incredibly elaborate. I then stumbled across an easy to follow video on YouTube which showed me how to make a simple two – tiered nappy cake, step by step. After a few practices I had it mastered! I spent the majority of my free time thereafter rolling and wrapping nappies, hiding little surprise vests, mittens and bottles, and generally transforming a bunch of teeny tiny nappies and blankets into a cake!

Once it was finished I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. (Shock horror – it actually looked like a cake)! I wrapped it in some pretty cellophane and added a bow to finish it. (Hey, it’s all in the presentation right)?!

Once our beautiful nephew was born I couldn’t wait to give my sister her nappy cake, bow and all. She was so pleased with it and couldn’t believe I had made it with my own fair hands (I tried not to take offence when several other family members repeatedly asked if I had actually made it)!

If you know a lady expecting a beautiful bundle of joy give this a go! It is a lot easier than it looks and will be very much appreciated by the recipient. I really enjoyed making the nappy cake and my pride level got raised a few notches afterwards! It didn’t cost too much either as I bought everything when on offer (or brand new from a well known on-line website)!

Now all I need is one of my lovely, beautiful lady friends to ‘be with child’ so I can put my ‘cake’ making skills to good use again. Be warned – it is slightly addictive! A gorgeous, perfect way to welcome a much loved, new addition to a family!jakes nappy cake nappy cake