Monthly Archives: January 2013

We won!

Woohoo we won the Abel & Cole photo competition!! You can read about the fun we had making the shortbread here.

We won the key ingredients to next months competition which is to make Stilton and Celeriac Soda Bread and the judges said they LOVED our entry. Yay! It made my day ūüôā

Here is the photo that we submitted….

Abel & Cole competition

I think¬†we have now¬†caught the baking bug ūüôā

Gem x

We had a go at baking for a change!

We started an Abel & Cole veg box scheme a couple of weeks ago and it is great! I love that the veg is organic, I’ve tried and liked veg I wouldn’t have bought before and all the packaging is recyclable plus the company is fun and quirky which leads me to the reason for this post.

Abel & Cole do fun¬†competitions that I came across when I read their blog and this months was a Photo baking competition. All you have to¬†do is bake¬†some¬†Citrus & Spice Shortbread, the recipe is located on their blog which you can find here and send in a photo and you can win the key¬†ingredients to the next months recipe. Now, I don’t bake¬†but when I read that they like a bit of quirkiness in the photo’s it appealed to my creative side and I knew the girls would love to do some baking so we had a go!

Toddler baking          Making Gingerbread

The recipe was really easy and great for the kids to get stuck in, we soon made the dough and the girls used alphabet and shape cutters which they loved! Here they are being cheeky monkeys.

Gingerbread for Abel & Cole DSC_0422 Abel & Cole gingerbread

We agreed that we should add fruit and veg to the photo and once I got the girls on track to not eat the biscuits which was¬†REALLY hard as they smelt loooovely, they started adding the produce from our recent delivery…

DSC_0441    DSC_0439    Abel & Cole competition

The girls had great fun especially as they were making up new vegetable names whilst they were doing it like broccopear and carroty apples, which they thought was hilarious!

We finally got¬†our photo which¬†is this one…..

Abel & Cole competitionI love the¬†photos with the girls in as they had such a good time but I thought this one was more generic to enter the competition! ….oh I might just send them two anyway, who doesn’t love a photo of two happy children! ūüôā

We also made these with the leftover dough ….apparently the top left is me and the top right is Daddy :-/¬†DSC_0450We really enjoyed baking and actually I CAN do it! The shortbread was really yummy, I recommend it!¬†We had nearly polished off the lot by the end of the day…….diet starts Monday right?!

Gem x

Calming Glitter Jar

Calm Jar

Today we made a calming jar especially for those occasions when¬†your child or even¬†‘you’¬†are feeling a bit stressed or upset and need to take a few minutes to calm down. You just shake it up and watch as the glitter swirls around and falls gently to the bottom.

If my girls get upset or have an outburst I’ve been teaching them to take a few deep breaths and I count with them and by the time I get to 5 they have¬†generally calmed down at least enough to tell me what the problem is so this really is¬†another way of doing that but so much prettier.

It’s really simple to make, all you need is

  • A screw top jar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of glitter glue
  • 3-4 teaspoons of glitter
  • Fairly warm¬†water
  • Optional Extra: A drop of food colouring

Making a Calming Jar

Just fill the jar with the hot water leaving¬†a small gap at the top for shaking room. (If using a plastic jar be careful the water isn’t so hot that it warps¬†the jar)

Add the glitter glue and stir, stir, stir. The hot water will break up the glue and this is what will make the glitter move slower.


Calming Jar

Add the glitter and screw on the lid tight! Do not use a jar with a push on lid – I tried that the first time and it fell off mid shake even with my hands over it….I really needed to use the calming jar at that point!

Using the calming jar

This is my first one ………

Calming Jar

Then I added a drop of food colouring and swapped the jar!

The food colouring makes it really vibrant and I think the blue is really quite calming.


The amounts of glitter/glue you will need will vary depending on the size of the jar just don’t put too much glitter glue in or it will be too slow-moving and if you do then maybe add some bigger sized¬†glitter that will fall quicker. I used very fine glitter and it takes a good few minutes to settle.¬†Either way you can add more of each until it looks¬†about right.

Some people use these as a Time Out aid so when the glitter has settled the child can join back in. I would probably avoid giving the jar to a tantruming toddler who may throw it; a plastic jar maybe safer for younger children. You could also use it for anxiety to take their mind off a problem for a moment or these can be used for adults if they are seriously stressed out and need to calm their thoughts.

These are great fun to make and brought up a discussion on feelings¬†and why its good to take a few minutes to collect our thoughts. The funny thing was after we made it, I then had a particularly stressful couple hours dealing with work on my day off and my eldest who is 4¬†just said to me ‘mummy I think you need calming down’ and handed me the jar ūüôā

Keeping Necklaces From Tangling

Straw to keep necklace untangled DSC_0229

The one thing I find annoying is going to put on a necklace and spending half an hour taking all the knots and other bits of jewellery out of it! This is a good tip for both at home or when you are travelling, to keep your necklaces from tangling up.

Just thread one end in to a straw and do it back up. If you want to make it stay in place you can make a small slit in one end and feed the necklace on it.

I do it for my bracelets too – just chop a straw down to fit!

New Year – One Word…..

I love a new year. Its kinda like a chance to start afresh. To try again. Make promises and resolutions…. then dive head first in to the year and see what happens. If you are anything like me –¬†LIFE happens and it all goes to pot after the first month and the year disappears fast. I always have in the back of my mind the things I want to achieve but never quite do what I want to do. This year though is different. Absolutely. I promise.

The reason this year is different is because I am focused, I want this year to be my best year yet ‚Äď personally, creatively, spiritually. My resolutions are normally half thoughts, not really thought out and no planning as to how I will accomplish them. This year though I have a secret weapon to achieve my goals. You know what that is – it is a PLAN. Yep, a plan. A hand written plan of action. 2013 is going to be BIG!

To help me on my way, instead of listing a load of resolutions, I am going to use one word to live by. To define my year and push those dreams my way. I¬†thought about the words that meant something to me which you can see below but finally settled on this one ‚Äď DRIVE.

Dictionary Definition: (verb) To strive vigorously toward a goal or objective; to work, play, or try wholeheartedly and with determination. Yep that’ll do me just fine for this year.


One Word

The other words I thought about¬†will still be whirling around me as I take on the year,¬†but the one I am going to think hard¬†about when life is being awkward is DRIVE and you know what? Its going to be great…….. because I have a plan.

Care to join me on a one word journey this year? Let me know what yours is…