A new toy…

A friend upgraded his camera at Christmas, and very kindly passed his old one on to me.  It’s the first time I’ve had a half decent camera and I’ve had fun experimenting with it over the last couple of days.  Here are a few of my favourite snaps. 

image

We had a walk along a local canal yesterday.

image

Hubby and daughter through a metal loop on one of the locks.

image

Under a railway bridge as the sun was getting lower.

image

Dessert time after our walk. Yum.

image

My other favourite girls this morning. Vanessa, Jemimah and Sarah (Pepper pig fans will understand the names!).

image

What a pretty chook.

image

Sarah was very intrigued by the camera.

image

Here I am. Very happy with my new gift.
Happy New Year readers. Thanks for all your support over the last year. Here’s to more yummy recipes in 2015.

A little Christmas endeavour…

image

With Christmas coming up, this stay at home mum could do with a few extra pennies, so I’ve started making and selling these super cute cookie mix jars to family and friends. I’m thrilled with how they’ve turned out, and orders are coming in thick and fast. Another jar haul is on the agenda this weekend!

I have a Facebook page too now, so feel free to join me on there too. The link is here.

image

image

Festive Room Spray

Christmas is a season to indulge all the senses.  The sights, sounds, smells, delicious tastes and not forgetting having a cheeky squeeze of the presents under the tree in an attempt to work out what they are!

image

Here’s a really easy but very effective way for you to help your home exude the warming smells of Christmas, plus these make lovely little gifts.

You’ll need a dark glass spray bottle (mine is 50ml), 25ml vodka, 25ml water (preferably distilled) and a few drops of your favourite Christmassy essential oils.  I used frankincense, cinnamon and a bit of pine.

Simply mix all the ingredients, pop a label on, and spray away! Christmas in a bottle!

Coconut oil and baking soda skin brightening scrub

My skin has felt a bit lacklustre recently, maybe due to the cold I’m fighting or maybe the change in weather as Autumn sets in. Anyhow, I wanted a little scrub to brighten my face and get rid of all those dead skin cells… Gross. We all know baking soda has a trillion uses, as does coconut oil, so I thought I’d combine the abrasiveness (that’s not even a word is it?) of the baking soda with the moisturising properties of the coconut oil.

I used two teaspoons of baking soda and one of coconut oil and blended into a paste. Use a spoon or stick as if you use your fingers it’ll melt (trust me it’s easier to get on your face if it’s slightly more solidified).

image

Massage the paste into your face (it will start to melt at this point) avoiding the eye area. Leave it to work it’s magic for a couple of minutes while you’re in the shower or bath before rinsing off. Your skin will feel refreshed and slightly oily, but fear not, coconut oil absorbs very quickly leaving you with super soft and we’ll moisturised glowing skin.

If you enjoyed this post why not check out my Frankincense and cinnamon winter balm made using coconut oil.

Rose hip and Manuka Honey Syrup

Rose hips have long been used as an immune system booster, reportedly containing 50% more vitamin C than oranges. It’s no wonder these shiny little autumnal powerhouses have been made into syrup and gleefully spooned into mouths winter after winter.

image

Instead of using just sugar for the syrup I decided to experiment with Manuka honey to really give this syrup a health boosting kick.

Unfortunately, I only had a small amount of rosehips, but that’s part of the fun of foraging I guess, making the most of what the land gives you.

Wash the rose hips and cut in half removing the furry whiskers where the stalk attaches (don’t worry too much if you miss a few as we’ll be straining through a muslin later). Throw them into a saucepan, seeds and all, and cover with boiling water. The exact amount really doesn’t matter too much at this stage. Boil for 15 minutes before breaking them up a bit with a potato masher (obviously do not drain). Once mashed, boil for another 5-10 minutes. Add more water at any time during this process should it be evaporating too quickly.

image

After 20/25 minutes line a sieve with a clean tea towel or muslin and drain the mixture. Let it sit there until the pulp is cool enough for you to squeeze the remaining juice out of.

image

Now, pour the flavoured water into a measuring jug and take note of how much liquid you’ve got. How much sugar and honey you add depends on how sweet and thick you want the syrup. I ended up with 250ml water and added two tablespoons of sugar and two of honey. I poured the water back into the pan with just the sugar and allowed to come to the boil and reduce. I purposely didn’t add the honey at this stage as I wanted to limit the amount of damage done to the goodness of the honey through the heating process.

image

After about ten minutes I added in the two tablespoons of honey and allowed it to melt into the mixture without boiling.

image

The result is delicious! I put it in a sterilised jar and will be looking forward to enjoying a teaspoon or two a day be it over yoghurt, in my morning smoothie or simply off the spoon.

image

The holiday snake

image

Here in the UK, the school term has just come to an end which means the majority of children’s groups close for at least six weeks. For us, this means no nursery, no toddler groups, no Creation Station. All organised activities on hold, oh, except for the the crèche at the gym… Praise the Lord for small mercies!

Phoebe, like every other three year old on the planet, has absolutely no concept of time, referring to what happened yesterday as, “when I was a baby”, and “in six weeks time” to her may as well be six years.

So, to help her understand she won’t be going back to nursery for a long while I decided to draw a huge ‘Holiday Snake’, with a segment for each day that she can cross off; a super long advent calendar if you will, counting down to nursery. I’m hoping this will make the transition of getting back into the nursery routine easier at the end of summer, seeing as she’ll literally be able to see it coming on the calendar.

A snake seemed the obvious way to go, given the shape of its body lends itself well to accommodating seven weeks worth of segments. I drew it out on a roll of lining paper, then we all joined in to decorate it before sticking it on the back of the porch door.  We can fill in activities on it as we plan them, and it’ll be fun to look back over them at the end of summer to see just what we’ve been up to.

Enjoy the pics…

image

image

image

image

image

image

Easter Eggstravaganza cake!

image
One for the (ahem) kids…. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Just decorate your favourite chocolate cake.
image

image

image

image

image
Happy Easter. Enjoy the celebrations, and remember the real reason for the season… Romans 8:11 NLT

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Pink Ombre Piñata Cake

image
You may remember a while back, I posted a method for a Pink ombre birthday cake, well, tomorrow is Pb’s third birthday and she asked for two cakes. A ‘Frozen’ themed one, and a pink one. She had the Frozen one at her party on Saturday, and I’ve made her the pink ombre one for tomorrow. I made it exactly the same way as the first time around, except this time I’ve turned it into a piñata cake by cutting out the middles of the two middle layers and filing the gap with sweets.

image

Using a cookie cutter, make a hole in each of the two middle layers.

image

Spread with jam, and then on the bottom layer put butter icing around the edges.

image

image

Place the second layer on top of the first, like so:

image

Repeat the process with the third layer which should also have a hole in it.

image

Fill the hole with chocolates…

image

Jam and butter ice the top layer and place on top, before decorating with a simple pink icing and sweeties.

image

image

image
image

Phoebe loved it!
image