1 Dec 2016

Christmas 2016 // Kids Crafting with Baker Ross

I have always got big expectations of the Christmas crafting I want to achieve. For me there is always a long list of stuff I want to do - and ultimately this does not happen due to life being busy. But one thing I do try make time for on my list is sitting down and getting creative with the boys. There is so much fun stuff and ideas out there that is simple and quick to do with them. Taking 20 minutes out of my day to sit and colour or stick or decorate something - that is special. An important part of Christmas for me is not the presents or the food or anything like that. Its using the time to make memories with my boys. Happy Christmas memories - like the ones I had growing up.

To help aid my Christmas memory making task the Baker Ross team sent this fantastic bundles of self contained kits for us to play with. We have a selection of fun stuff from coloring sets to more involved activities like the cross stitch jumper cards.

This was our full bundle - I love that I have activities which even little man can do on his own. The scratch cards have been great fun and Maxwell was experimenting with different types of mark making, textures and colours. A few sets are to make Christmas decorations which I am excited to see hanging on the tree. Our full listing of  kits include :  Scratch Art Pictures / Cross Stitch Pals  / Snowflake Fingerprint decorations / Santa Mix and Match decorations / Gingerbread house decorations / Santa wish lists / Christmas baubles colouring in

 The sewing card kits are so cute. There are 6 cards in totals with festive character rocking a Classic Christmas jumper. The cards are pre punched with holes to allow little fingers to stitch in the pattern with some threads. Maxwell was keen to get a start on this as he has been wanting to learn to cross stitch as he watches me with my hobbies.
Looking at our table makes me happy. I set up a box with all the goodies in - long with some pens and pencils. The kids dip in and out of the box and Christmas creations are appearing as each day passes. I like leaving a station like this easily accessible to the boys - to encourage them to be curious and want to create without it feeling like a forced activities.

Check out the Baker Ross Christmas shop and pick up some bargainous Festive fun!! Theres lots to pick from - even some kits to make some handmade gifts at home with the kids.

Do you have any plans for some festive crafting with the kids? Still on my list includes Christmas card making, cookie baking and maybe just maybe another attempt at a gingerbread house!!

28 Nov 2016

Christmas 2016 // TK Maxx Home Decor

I love Christmas and super excited that this time of year is here again - time to dust off the decorations, pull our the tree and make lists! All the lists. I love pulling out the boxes and looking through the bits we have collected over the years. The Christmases we spent before our lives were made all the more crazy and busy with the boys. The times when our tree was not full of pretty hand made decorations that they have lovingily made at school and nursery.

Each year I try and add a few new pieces to our collection - just a couple of things (I have to remind myself I do not need it all!!) just a few pieces that in years to come I will look at remember this Christmas - Christmas 2016.

Recently the team over at TKMaxx sent me through a voucher to hit up their store and get some new pieces for this year. I must admit I have not frequented TKMaxx much in the past - I find it a bit stressful hunting around. But it clicked when I visited last week - on my own. It was not the the visit I found stessful, it was the fact I had kids involved trapseing behind me - and on a time limit. But taking time to browse the aisles on my own - well that was a bit lovely.

And look at the goodies I got!!

There was so much pretties stuffed on the shelves - with all types of different designs and patterns to sort all sorts. The platter plate is china, and has a slight curve - I'm thinking will be perfect for serving up Christmas cookies over the coming weeks. I picked it up for £7.99. The Merry & Bright is a painted wooden canvas which is sturdy and stands well (£2.99). The pottery candle votive is so pretty with a star snowflake pattern (2.99) And I have a serious thing for cookie cutters - its an addiction. These are quite small which will perfect for decorated with the little ones. and the gingerbread house !! (3.99)

They have some gorgeous ranges which will inspire that festive look for your home.

These scandi inspired designs

- with bare wood and pretty accessories to add some festivity to your guest room without it feeling too like sleeping in a snow globe.

These individual and a little random in design baubles will really ad some individuality to your tree. They are a touch vintage chic with the bold colours but look really modern at the same time. Teaming these with some plain metallic baubles on your tree will really make them pop. And that taxi perfect little gift for any NYC or USA expats enjoying Christmas in the UK.

Then something very differnet with these Nordic inspired pieces. Soft colours, fablous textures will create a lovely peaceful enviromeent to celebrate the season.
 Whatever your style - go take a browse in your local TKMaxx and get inspired to find a design and style that makes our heart sing.

10 Nov 2016

A Basketball **3rd Birthday Party**

Yes - he has turned 3. Man, where has the time gone that my baby boy is now a big 3 year old. For his party we decided against a big party in a hall or soft play - instead a "gathering" of friends and family at home. This also give me the excuse to get in the kitchen, and whip up some goodies for the guests. As much as I stress I really enjoy sharing our home with our friends, sharing a glass or wine and well eating cake.

My little man is currently obsessed with basketball - hes been watching high school musical and space jam on a loop for weeks. Getting basketball themed party supplies in the UK is a little tricky but seeing his birthday falls at Halloween we were not in short supply of orange party bits. Teaming these with a basketball themed cake, cookie and cupcakes it gave the Basketball theme effect.

Instead of a basketball shaped cake I opted for (an easier to manage) basketball jersey cake. This was baked in rectangle tin and I trimmed the cake at the top. I used the cake recipe in the Great British Bake Off Children Party book  - which is fantastic for basic cake recipes and tons of ideas for turning those into great kids birthday cakes (and ones for adults too) The reciepe was a really soft sponge and baked evenly. It was filled with a soft vanilla butter cream and strawberry jam. Instead of baking two cake I baked one large cake and cut it in the middle  - using dental floss. It really did work. 
Look at the great texture in the middle. I have a few more cakes on the horizon and think I will use this recipe. It used a little bit of cornflour in the recipe which I have not done before but pleased with the effect. The cake held up well to have the icing laid on, and didn't dry out too quickly either.

For the main cake I used a layer of buttercream before the red icing over the top.I cut a semi-circle in the top but added white and blue accents to make the jersey style. Adding a little orange sash across the corner with a Happy Birthday piped in royal icing.
From the same book I used the shortbread recipe. These are my go to biscuits to add to any season - a good biscuit which cuts well, keeps its shape and can be iced in all manor of pretty ways. My number cutters have gone missing!! Instead we had stars and circles (which were piped in a basketball pattern).  I'm glad that a basketball is pretty simple to pip - my maths skills wouldn't stretch to a football i'm sure. 

The table was complete - some cakes, biscuits, dips and chips and the cake the table was good to go. A little bit for everyone offering all manor of various opportunities for all kinds of diets. For hot food I did chicken nuggets and chips and homemade mini pizza ( I used this recipe from Holly Bell Mummy - her recipes for a busy mum cookbook which is another fantastic one to add to the collection) We had tomato based and cheese based pizzas on offer which I carried on topping up throughout the afternoon (pre chopped all the toppings in mini bags before hand)

We had carved pumpkins (being a Halloween baby how could I not carve a number pumpkin!!) along with various serving platters. I don't have many and try and keep an eye out in charity shops and on sale. I like simple pieces that allow the food to shine. This chips and dips tray I picked up form at Sainsburys in the summer (was £2 in their summer sale) The orange and black start table cloth fitted the brief and was showing in the Halloween decorations in Sainsburys also - win win.
All in all I think my little dude had an awesome fun time. He had food (his favourite thing) he got to have cuddles and play with his cousins. What more would a 3 year old want?

Happy birthday darling boy. You are so very loved.

You can check out his birthday haul of gifts (which includes toys, clothes and various other bits) over on my YouTube. My vlogging skills need work!! But for the time being it will do. (excuse the dodgy faces in the screen shots!! The vlogging curse!)