Homemade Playdough

For Christmas Amelia got some Play-Doh and she loves it so I thought I would give it go and make some myself. It’s really easy to do, really quick and makes lots!

Thought I would share the recipe with you guys in case anyone wanted to try it:

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The  only cream of tartar I found was in sachets and one sachet seemed to do the job for each lot! I got a bit carried away and made 3 colours, but I love how bright they came out.  (This recipe makes one ball shown above!)

  1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and stir until combined add choice of food colouring.
  2. Put over the heat and keep stirring until you feel the texture change.
  3. Take off the heat and keep stirring until one big lump attached to spoon.
  4. It will be quite sticky so you’ll need to work it with your hands until it isn’t.
  5. Store until cool for use – always keep air-tight so it doesn’t dry up!

There are lots of different ways of making playdough you can do it just by adding boiling water which might save on washing up! You can also use wholegrain flour for a different texture, glycerine to give it a shine, glitter for fun, or different scents and if you use self raising flour it makes it super stretchy!!

The only down-side is you don’t get the amazing smell of shop bought play-doh (or is that just me?!)

Hope this is useful and thanks for reading!xx

Home-made Gifts

 

Although it is well past the festive period and most people don’t even want to utter the C word this could possibly be a Christmassy post. But got to get prepared its only 349 days until the next one… I’m joking! If I could have posted this in the build up to Christmas I would have but I didn’t want my parents or my sister to know part of their Christmas presents. But the ideas in this post aren’t just for Christmas and could be used at any time throughout the year.

This year after becoming a bit of a Pinterest addict I decided to alongside normal presents do a bit of a home made affair. What started as a couple of ideas soon became an obsession and turned into two giant Home-made Hampers; one for my parents to share and one for my sister. There are so many different ways hampers can be done and if I was to do this again which I probably will I would be more specific with a particular theme for each hamper as these ones were lots of odd bits and bobs thrown in together. But it made a really great present and my recipients really loved them!

Something about receiving a home-made gift is just more personable than any amount of money that can be spent. Obviously for the things I made I did need supplies but I sourced everything via local shops and Amazon and though I don’t have exact costs it wasn’t that expensive. I loved doing this having a secret project going on  and learnt lots that will help me in the future when I do home-made bits again.

Apologise for the photos they were taken in a rush just after I had given these to my family before they started to get used. Would have loved to have taken better ones but just didn’t have the time but you still get the gist.

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These are the two hampers; the cream one was for my sister and the darker brown one was for my parents. I was going to get wicker baskets but decided that these would fit in better for use afterwards. I managed to get these at the Range for a few pounds.


I used lots of jars and cellophane bags to put things in so I began collecting used jars from home and bought a few extras. I covered most of the jars with decorative paper just to give them that extra touch which can be easily done.

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This was the contents of the two hampers. Quite a few items overlapped then some were unique to the specific person.

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The mugs are my favourite items I made and I’m really happy with the way they turned out. They were just plain mugs bought from a cheap shop that were decorated with nail polish. The lettered ones were for my parents and the two with the hearts on were for my sister. A really simple idea that could stand alone with some goodies inside the mug. There are a tonne of ways to decorate mugs too; Pinterest is filled with lots of sharpie mugs!

The decorative H is for my sister. She is moving house soon and I though that could be a really nice touch on her door or just leaning on her dressing table. Again an easy make; cardboard (I used a nappy box) and wool! I was going to add some flowers to it but liked how it looked without.

Both hampers included a jar of Vanilla Sugar Scrub Bars; might seem a bit more difficult but there are tonnes of simple ways to make beauty products with a few purchased ingredients and items from home. I’ve tried one of these and really liked it. As it is home-made you can put as much or as little scrub in it and they can be done in a variety of scents. I loved how the cubes looked piled up in the jar.

Whipped cocoa butter was in my parents hamper for my Mum and although home-made contains all the good vitamins and essential oils you need for good skin.

The Red Onion Chutney was the first thing I made for the hampers. I made this back in November as the longer you leave it the better it is supposed to taste! Really happy with how this turned out and will definitely be doing more jams and chutneys to follow as who doesn’t love a caramelised chutney!!!

 

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Brownie bites in a jar as a little treat featured in both hampers!

Rosemary infused oil was in my sisters hamper as she loves Rosemary. This could be done as a little gift to someone who has moved house; a selection of flavoured or spiced oils with some ribbon and labels on could look really lovely and slightly different from the usual giving of a plant.

Chocolate bark was in both hampers and although this was nice it was soo sickly so I would definitely make it differently next time but love the idea of really tasty chocolate treats in cellophane bags.

The mixed fruit Granola was for my sister and probably my favourite looking of the foodie items. She is a huge Granola eating fan and this was home-made so contains a tonne of seeds and dried fruits to kick start your day in the right way!

 

Things that aren’t in individual photos are candles and truffles. These were both made too but the chocolates were soo rich they could only be eaten like one a day! Definitely something I would do again but would tweak the recipe slightly. And who doesn’t love a home-made candle; such an uncomplicated process and can be jazzed up with decorative jars or scents. There was also a ‘Manly Scrub’ for my Dad in the hamper that seems to have missed the photo.

Things that weren’t made my me included some Turkish Delight, Marshmallows and Mint Imperials in a jar. I think you could put anything in a jar and it would look cute.

 I might do some individual recipes and how-to’s for some of my favourite things or let me know if there is a specific recipe you are after and I can guide you in the right direction!

Have you ever done anything home-made for Christmas/someones Birthday, would love to know!

Thanks for reading xxx

Family Friendly Meals!

Life is so much easier now that Amelia just has a smaller or slightly tweaked version of what I have for dinner. Having to cook up purées and different batches of food for Amelia used to be time consuming but I was set on making my own so persevered. I feel like it has paid off as most of the time she isn’t particularly fussy with food and will give anything a try.

I love cooking tasty meals and expanding my food knowledge. We never did have many jars or sauce packets but since having Amelia most meals are made from scratch. I think a lot of people don’t do this because of time constraints but once you’ve perfected a recipe it’s just second knowledge and can get done just as quick. I know what’s going in Amelia’s food and I can fill it with lots of tasty herbs and none of the bad stuff!

Most meals she has exactly the same just chopped a bit smaller and then a few she might have cooked along side with a few tweaks e.g. When I cook a curry she has less spice!

It also means that we can have dinner together. Family meal times are really important to me. I grew up having had dinner together most nights as a family bar when it didn’t suit due to hobbies, commitments and seeing friends but it’s a really good way to catch up on everyone’s day. Obviously Amelia can’t quite fill us in on what she has been up too. But you get the idea.

Here are some meals that we have that are perfectly suitable for a 16month old baby:

  •  Lasagne
  • Bolognese
  • Chilli (less spice)
  • Shepherds pie
  • Fish pie
  • Chicken casserole
  • Sausage casserole
  • Stir fry
  • Fish cakes
  • Chicken curry (less spice)
  • Roast dinner
  • Fajitas (less spice)
  • Tomato pasta
  • Creamy chicken pasta
  • Salmon and veg

I’m sure you all have lots of food ideas so I won’t go on anymore. Just wanted to show that meal times don’t have to be a gazillion different meals and times. That lots of different meals can be adapted to suit those eating.

Amelia’s favourites are fajitas, lasagne and fish pie. She loves holding her own mini fajita and munching through it. Then the bolognese based sauce for a lasagne Amelia also enjoys but think her favourite bit is the garlic bread! Amelia absolutely loves broccoli she eats it by the handful so she usually gets a side of that with any meal it suits.

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Big & Mini Fajitas

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What are your little ones favourite meals?

Thanks for reading!xx

First Birthday Party!

Although this post is not necessarily relevant anymore I haven’t posted about Amelia’s first birthday party yet and thought I would just do a brief post mostly including photos!

So you know those crazy party planners that turn into complete psychos on the day…well that was me! I had a vision of how I wanted it to be and how I wanted it to go and there wasn’t going to be anything getting in the way of that. So I apologise again to anyone who was involved and experienced this! But the birthday and the party were a huge success and definitely an amazing way to spend and celebrate Amelia’s first year of life. We were really fortunate that all important family and friends could make the event and as you can imagine Amelia was spoilt rotten by everyone that loves her.

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These were Amelia’s birthday party invites, all completely different and handmade. Took a while so probably won’t be doing that again!! Half got the idea from Pinterest and then a trip to Hobbycraft got the rest of it going.

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This was Amelia’s first birthday cake. Made by myself and a close friend of mine who is very talented and did the really hard bit (covering the cake). I was so happy to be able to say that Amelia’s first birthday cake was homemade to a design that I chose and very lucky to have a friend who has a steady enough hand to cover it!! It was just a vanilla sponge with buttercream and jam inside. I was worried making this a few days before if it would still taste yummy by her party but it did and the two weeks later that we were still eating it!

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There was so much food! Went a tad overboard with the food; a sweet table and a savoury table. There was a huge variety; I didn’t just want to do sandwiches etc so we had chicken skewers, sausages in rolls, cheese scones then nibbly bits like crisps, cheese and pineapple, vegetables and dips and lots of other bits. The sweet table was my favourite as it included some really yummy deserts most of which are my favourite; brownies, mini keylime pies, strawberry tarts and loads of cupcakes! Pretty much everything that could be homemade was and there wasn’t too much left over so the guests obviously appreciated it too.

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It wasn’t the sunniest of days but thank goodness it did not rain so it was an inside/outside kind of affair which was really nice. The party had a few different groups of people ranging from family, family friends, girls I went to school with and mummy and baby friends so having a large space meant there was plenty of room for everyone to mingle but not be on top of one another.

Decoration wise there was lots of balloons and cute bunting that I had found at various places in the lead up to the party. I managed to get some really lovely cardboard cake stands, plates and napkins all in a pink spotty floral pattern from Asda and I had cute striped straws from eBay. I made a ‘Happy Birthday Amelia’ birthday banner which I can see still getting cracked out for Amelia’s 18th birthday or something! I also got some of the honeycomb balls from Sainsburys which came in a pack of three and perfectly fitted the kind of colour scheme I was going for. These again have been packed away ready for the next party!

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Amelia’s birthday was on the Friday and we had the party on the Saturday afternoon from 2-5pm! It was a really close call but everything was done just in time for a glass of Pimms before the first guests arrived. I know that a first birthday isn’t going to be something Amelia will remember and it was probably more for me but it was such a nice day to spend with everyone in her life and will be great for her to see these photos when she is older!

Here are a few more photos:

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Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you did for your little ones first birthday!

xxx

Cornflour Paints

Ok so just to clarify this ended up more like cornflour gloop but still gave the same effect as finger painting! So if you do this be prepared to get VERY messy!!

I had seen the idea from Instagram and thought it was great to do something homemade with paint or messy play. The great thing is that they are just made from cornflour and water with a drop of food colouring so it really wouldn’t be the end of the world if your little one put their fingers into their mouths!

Recipe:

  • Mix one cup cornflour with one cup cold water.
  • Add your choice of food colouring and mix (I have the gel so you literally need a tiny tiny amount).
  • Place over the hob on a low heat and one at a time add three cups of boiling water.
  • Keep stirring as it will thicken all of a sudden and take off the heat. It goes to a thick custard-like texture.
  • You can add more water to make it thinner if you like. When it came to using it I did thin it out slightly.

SAFETY: Make sure you let the paints cool before use!!

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This was my finished product I made a pink, green and a blue paint. I wanted to do yellow but didn’t have the food colouring, something I must invest in! I like how bright they came out and was pleased with the contrasting colours.

I put down a wipe clean mat and decided to put on an old vest on Amelia that was too small rather than bothering with an overall as it was only cornflour and water it wasn’t likely to agitate her skin as there is nothing toxic about it!

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Something to point out: make sure you dress yourself in something you don’t mind getting mucky I didn’t and at the end had to pick up a messy baby and covered myself in gloop!

I took the paints out of the glasses and into bowls and masking taped some sheets of paper to the mat which made it so much easier rather than it slipping around.

To begin with Amelia was a bit grossed out with the gloopy paint but soon got stuck in. I attempted foot prints but they didn’t work out so great and the hand prints turned into more of a rainbow! She played for about 20minutes and loved having the paints between her toes!

I then rushed her up to the bath (as you can imagine I was doing that awkward holding baby as far away from my body as possible slight run up the stairs) gave her a quick shower off and got her wrapped up in a dressing gown! The vest she wore I threw straight out and began work to clean up, as this did create a huge huge mess!!!

Here are some photos of the messy paint play in action:

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As you can see we had a great time and definitely something I would do again. Maybe next time I will invite some of her friends over for a messy play date!!

I would definitely recommend you have a go at. It’s super easy and creates a good afternoon of fun! I felt at ease letting her squish it in her hands and over her skin knowing that it wasn’t full of chemicals!

Have you ever done anything similar? Would love to know some more messy play/homemade paint activities!

Thanks for reading xx

Binky Linky

The Easter Bunny has arrived…

Today was Easter Sunday and therefore Amelia’s first Easter.

Obviously this is another milestone but as she is still quite little we didn’t get up to that much. I have so many ideas for things to do when she is older and can’t wait to do crafts with her, egg hunts and buy her lots of sweet treats. I’m sure she will take after me in the loving of chocolate, I basically ate an entire Easter egg in 10 minutes today…oops!

I saved her bunny sleepsuit from Jojo Maman Bebe to put on last night in the hope I could get some pictures of her in the morning looking like a bunny. But as things go with baby’s Amelia decided she didn’t want to keep it on and had a nappy incident this morning as soon as she woke up so that Easter bunny was no more.

I gave Amelia an Easter egg box which she had great fun with for a while. She wasn’t bothered about the inside of the box just throwing it around and poking her hand in the cardboard hole and scratching at the foil covering the egg. She was quite alarmed when she saw me opening a different box and then eating!

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I decided that to carry on the theme we would get all of her toy bunny rabbits out to play with; one of which is a Peter Rabbit who is so soft. While she was doing this I decided to have an attempt at making some bunny ears for Amelia. I found some glittery card in the cupboard; pink and silver and thought that what a perfect way to make girly bunny ears! Pretty straight forward really although sticking onto glittery card is very difficult and involved clothes pegs to hold it all to set for a while. I had a headband that I didn’t really like on Amelia so I attached the glittery ears to that.

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Amelia only had the ears on for a small amount of time before she yanked them off…thankfully I saved them before she broke them. But hey they were fun to make and she looked so very cute in them which makes up for the fact that the house and Amelia’s scalp is covered in glitter.

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We watched Frozen this afternoon with my Mum as she hasn’t seen it and Amelia did actually watch bits of it in-between playing; mostly during the songs. During this Amelia tried some chocolate; she just sucked it and then had chocolate whiskers for the rest of the afternoon but I don’t think she that fussed over it. More for me then, thanks meelie!

Amelia also had her first lamb roast today which she really enjoyed; it is great now she eats a lot more of what we have for dinner or a similar version of! Hopefully doing batches of freezer food will soon be coming to an end.

She missed her afternoon nap so Amelia was absolutely knackered by 7pm. Carrying on the Easter theme she went to sleep in another Jojo Maman Bebe sleepsuit; funky chicks!

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Hope you have all had a wonderful Easter Sunday.

Thanks for reading xx