Easter Half Term

The kids have had two weeks off school to celebrate Easter and we’ve done a fair bit. The weather has been pretty kind and it’s coincided with both my birthday and a friend’s wedding. 

We’ve been out and about, we’ve celebrated Easter, my birthday, and a wedding. We’ve baked (those ice creams are really cake!) and I’ve done a bit of sewing.

We even went to the seaside for a couple of nights. 


How was your Easter holidays?

2016 Roundup

Wow! Can you believe it’s 2017 already? Little Lady will reach her double figures this year! Time really does fly as you get older. Last year has gone in a flash. I think I have achieved quite a bit in 2016.

I did quite a bit of running


We did quite a few things as a family


I made a number of things from fabric and wool

And food featured a lot in 2016 too


I love looking back at highlights of the year and can’t wait to start making “highlights” in 2017 too. 

What was the best bit of your 2016? Can you pick one?

The Impossible Dream?

Last weekend brought D’s 4th birthday. Now let’s just take a minute to wonder how on earth my baby could be 4?? Argh! Time moves so fast!

Anyway moving on. So D turned 4 and he decided he wanted a party. With a bouncy castle naturally!  So I booked a hall and the bouncy castle but then my mind turned to the waste side of things. How little waste could I produce at the party? I knew I couldn’t go Zero Waste as it’s quite difficult to get ingredients without packaging here but I could at least try to reduce unnecessary waste.

The main culprit at parties are party bags. Plastic bags filled with plastic tat that break and/or gets thrown away the same day. I decided to make my own party bags out of fabric I already had.  

The bags were all different sizes depending on how much of that particular fabric I had. D wanted a dinosaur party and I did have some dinosaur fabric from a few years ago. Each child also got a toy dinosaur in their bag which seemed to go down well.

Food wise we tried to keep waste to a minimum and I made the birthday cake using items we already had to decorate it  


Cakes were made in reusable cases 

And all the food was placed on proper plates instead of disposable ones

 Drinks were served in plastic beakers we had borrowed from church so no cartons to throw out afterwards.  

Despite all this we fell down in a lot of places. I had surgery the week before the party and was quite poorly afterwards meaning I didn’t  concentrate fully on the zero waste aspect. I panic bought crisps and other party foods that have a lot of packaging at the last minute. We also used tea bags instead of loose tea as I wasn’t well enough to concentrate on a lot of things at the same time. I also panic bought sweets and surprise eggs to go in the party bags.

Next year I plan to start preparing early and make reusable napkins to wrap the birthday cake in for the party bags (we used paper napkins) I would also like to make more of the food myself.

Although my surgery didn’t help our zero waste quest we still only took away one small bag of rubbish at the end of the party. Which I was quite pleased about, considering.

My one sadness though is the one thing I cannot control and that is other people. Any tips on cutting down the mountain of wrapping paper we were left with?

Or is a Zero waste party an impossible dream?

Homemade Hobnobs

Yesterday I shared some of my favourite upcycled gift ideas. However, I think there’s nothing quite like receiving some nice biscuits at Christmas. Maybe that’s because I’m too tight frugal to buy nice biscuits very often during the year? If there’s nothing quite like receiving nice biscuits then homemade biscuits goes one step further.

This is not my recipe and I could never claim it to be. This recipe came from a poster on the MSE forums. It’s quick, it’s easy, you’ll have most of the ingredients already and most of all it’s yummy! I’m sure you can already think of a few people who would appreciate homemade hobnobs for Christmas. So let’s get to it

Recipe

8oz Self Raising Flour
8oz Sugar
8oz porridge oats
8oz Margarine
1tbsp golden syrup
1tbsp hot water
1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Method

Mix the flour, oats and sugar.
Melt the margarine, syrup and water in a pan.
Stir in bicarbonate of soda and add to the dry mix
Mix well

Take some of the mixture and make into a smallish ball
Put the balls of mixture onto a greased baking tray and flatten slightly with a fork.
Bake in the oven at 180*C for 15mins or until golden brown in colour.
Allow to cool on the tray
homemade biscuits
Whenever I make a batch of these I have to hide some so that they don’t all get eaten in one go. Everyone in my family loves these. I keep them in the biscuit tin (a promoted chocolate selection tin) but to be honest they don’t last more than 3 days in my house.
Homemade hobnobs
When giving as a present (if you manage not to eat them!), wrap them in greaseproof paper and tie with raffia or ribbon, whichever you have handy. You’ll be the most popular visitor all Christmas.

Hobnobs wrapped as gifts

Tea for two?

IMG_0061
Can you believe I found this post in my drafts folder, unfinished? This post is actually from last October!
IMG_0063
Item number 21 on my Day Zero List is to raise £500 for charity and this ties in nicely with number 78 – Organise a Charity Coffee morning at home.
IMG_0057
I chose a date and sent out invites to everyone I knew. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I made some cakes, and bought some cakes, and then I cleaned the house again! Having people round makes me very nervous. I feel that they are judging me and the house. I feel that the house has to be magazine perfect. I get myself worked up and so stressed that I hardly invite anyone around to the house. And this time I had invited a lot of people. :/
IMG_0065
In reality I had no need to worry as people were coming for tea and cake not to see the house (although I’m sure some did come for that reason 😉 ) I decided to keep the “coffee morning” theme going and arranged flowers in tea pots despite the eyebrow raising from hubby. I thought it all came together pretty well and I managed to raise quite a bit towards my £500 target.
IMG_0059

2015

I have put off and put off writing this post as I look for the “perfect” thing to write about! I wanted to publish my goals for 2015 on New Year’s Day but I kept changing my mind over and over again about what to actually put on the list. I am going through a pretty tough time personally at the moment which has really affected my self confidence. Comments have been made which has made me question everything I do. I won’t bore you with details but the whole situation has saddened me more than I would have thought it would.

My main aim in 2015 is to simplify my life. I am guilty of trying to do too much and then stressing when things are getting too much. I really want to do my part to reduce my impact on this world but I am afraid of failing. Everytime I decide how I will do this, my self doubt tells me I will fail 😦

So what I have decided to do is set out smaller aims and update them as and when I claw back a bit of self confidence. In keeping with the “reducing my impact” theme I am “reusing and recycling” a lot of last year’s goals 😀

1.Curtains for D’s bedroom I have bought the fabric so I have no excuse really. Just procrastination!

2.Decluttering I really need to get on top of this. I am fed up of the house being so full of clutter. I still don’t have my craft room in the attic properly due to all the stuff in there. I will concentrate on sorting and getting rid of items that I no longer use, ethically of course, not just throwing them away. I will also aim to use a lot of the fabric I have in boxes in the attic. What a waste that they just sit there!! I’m so embarrassed! 😮

3. Running I want to imporve my running again this year. I am looking for a sub 30min 5k and a sub 1hr 10k. The 5k is definitely doable but I will have to work harder at the 10k. I am also planning on running another 2 Half Marathons and would like to get 2:30hr for at least one of those.

4. Be more adventurous in the kitchen I want to bake more. I want to know more about what foods and snacks my kiddies are eating and what goes into them. I would like to buy more from local independant shops rather than big supermarkets but I can’t commit to going supermarket free like westywrites

5. Sewing Jen has posted about her aim to make one item a month in order to produce a handmade wardrobe. I don’t think I will achieve this as I want to make dresses for Little Lady and I would also like to start dabbling more in boy’s clothes so that I can make something for D. I will however, commit to weighing up whether or not I can make something before I buy anything new. If it can be made (out of fabric – I’m not that good!!) I will make it instead of buying it. Which leads me onto….

6. Handmade presents I was embarrassed by how little presents were handmad this year. In fact the best handmade present all year was the one made by hubby for his parents. Good for him!! I’m not committing to ALL presents being handmade as I don’t think, at this moment, that I would cope with the stress, but I would like as many presents as is possible to be handmade.

So there you go. My goals for 2015.They are not earth-shattering but they are good enough and I need to be content with that!

Made it Monday #9

Wow. Two posts in as many weeks. This scheduling lark might actually be working (now I’ve said that, I’m bound to mess it up aren’t I?)

Last week was my lovely mum’s birthday. Little lady had announced about 2 months ago that she and I would make a cake. So my mum started looking around for cake ideas! About 3 weeks ago she showed me a magazine with the cake she wanted. I was oblivious to the fact that little lady had volunteered us to make a cake so was a little surprised by being handed a picture and being told “that’s the cake I want for my birthday” :/

To be fair, this cake wasn’t hard to do but looks quite impressive. I made 4 sponge cakes and cut holes in 3 of them.

IMG_3520.JPG
I filled the hole with sweets – haribo and Aero bubbles at mam’s request! The 4th cake then acted like a lid.

IMG_3521.JPG
I am rubbish at icing a cake so I looked up tutorials on YouTube. They really helped! I did a crumb coat which I never do and really took my time kneading and rolling the icing.

IMG_3523.JPG
I have to be honest, I was pretty impressed by this attempt. It was my best attempt ever. Okay there were a few issues on the side where I hadn’t rolled the icing equal enough so had to add an extra bit to cover the gap 😕. Little lady then stuck little cupcake shaped chocolates around the edge

IMG_3524.JPG
With this cake, it’s the cutting that makes it special.

IMG_3532.JPG
This was the bit I was most disappointed with. The magazine picture showed the sweets tumbling out of the cake once cut, but in reality I found that they stuck to the inside of the cake and needed a bit of coaxing out. Hubby claims that the magazine probably added extra sweets for the photoshoot to give the “tumbling out” effect but I suppose we’ll never know.

Have you ever made a cake similar? Did your sweets stick or tumble out artistically? I’d love to know the secret