- About mummylish
I was invited by Country Baskets to enter their Festive Face Off. A what? I hear you cry!
The festive face off is a Christmas craft competition run by Country Baskets. 30 bloggers compete with each other to make a crafty decoration from a basket of craft goodness that we received.
So the last week I have been very busy making all kind of homemade decorations. The house is an absolute bomb sight and I have managed to sustain 2 knife cuts and one hot glue gun wound in a week! But with my game face on here is my entry to the competition ;)
The lucky winner will receive £250 voucher to spend at Country Baskets. Awesome! More mess and injuries here we come! No seriously I would love to win this as I am hoping to get my crafting / Etsy business back up and running in 2014.
The basket of crafting goodies we received was enormous, there were artificial flowers, ribbon, bark, decorations, buttons, baubles. I was excited for a whole week about what I was going to make out of it! We are going for a Nordic look this Christmas, you know the simple, naive, traditional Christmas with lots of red and wood (you can’t escape it, it is everywhere!) so I wanted to create something that would work alongside this.
We’ve seen the trend for stick Christmas trees all over Pinterest and I thought I would attempt to make a branch garland for on the fireplace.
Here is how I went about it!
1. I chose the best looking branch I could. This particular one is taken from my mums walnut tree and I love the moss and spiky twigs. It is pretty beautiful on its own!
2. I made some bell bunting out of little gold bells I found in the charity shop for 50p and some red string. I tripled the thickness of the string so it was nice and sturdy and tied the bells in equal spaces across the length. I then draped this over my branch.
3. I added the little golden apples to the branch. Remember with Nordic that less is most definitely more!
4. I made a few simple decorations out of the birch bark. This was literally as easy as pie. I just drew a freehand shape out on the back of the birch and used scissors to cut out the shape. I made a hole with my ‘hole maker’ (is there an official name for these?) and threaded them with some thin gold wire. These were also dotted around the branch.
5. It was already starting to look quite full. I had loads of other decorations that I had made that I was tempted to add but I didn’t as it immediately spoilt the simplicity which is the look we are going for when we think Nordic!
6. Lastly I made the word NOEL out of some wonderful maleable wire that was in the kit and sprayed this gold to fit with the colour scheme. I hung this from one of the twigs and my creation was complete.
How simple was that? But I think you will agree it looks lovely, rustic and charming. Let me know what you think of my design?
And please pop over to I’m home honey in the next few days were you will see how to make a few other decorations like these ones!
Last week I was invited to London by Magnet Kitchens, to pay a visit to The Ideal Christmas home exhibition. All ready to embrace the Christmas spirit and pick up some Christmas trend inspiration and tips I headed over to Earl’s Court where 650 exhibitors were waiting to show me their finest festive fare!
Showcasing Interiors & Home Accessories, Food & Drink, Home Improvements & Outdoor Living, Fashion & Beauty, Technology & Gadgets, Gifts and Decorations, there really was something for everyone and I spent many hours perusing the various stands picking up cool present ideas, here were my top pics!
How about a gorgeous beach towel / sarong / towel / throw for your Bestie? From www.foutala.com
Or a beautiful candle for your Mum? From www.ameliacandles.co.uk
Some absolutely fabulous magic pens for your favourite little girl? From www.selkinmedia.co.uk
A gorgeous name book for your new baby Nephew? From www.lostmy.name
A funky fox cushion for your sister? From www.sassandbelle.co.uk
A new mug for your papa? From www.sassandbelle.co.uk
A Moroccan light for your beloved? From www.moroccanbazaar.co.uk
There were also some gorgeous room sets designed by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen with a very opulent, rich purple theme running throughout. Very Laurance, very Luxurious… Don’t you just love that chrome bath?
I personally fell a little bit in love with the Tesco Direct stand as I am totally feeling the rustic Nordic Christmas trend. It is so warm and Christmassy :)
The rest of my afternoon was spent listening to Laurence Llewelyn Bowen giving a talk on how to have a Glamorous Hollywoods style Christmas. It seems black and gold are very much in this Season. Laurence has a new range of decorations for sale at Littlewoods of which he kept reminding us ;) They are pretty fab though… Laurence also gave us some tips on creating your own home made decorations with a personal touch, explaining that originally tree decorations were all meant as mini presents.
Why not try making your own:
- Miniture frangrance bottles tied with a beautiful ribbon to the tree. Get samples from your local department store and make one for all the family.
- Vintage alcohol minitures. Find some lovely vintage mini bottles and fill with homemade Sloe gin! Fun!
- Gold sprayed anything. Take something, spray it gold, tie it to the tree with a ribbon. It could be a mini toy car, an animal… anything looks Christmassy when it is sprayed gold!
I will also be showing you how to craft some of your own homemade Christmas decorations over on I’m home honey so why not come and see what I’ve been making!
Thank you to Magnet for the invitation. If you would like to check out what the kitchen trends are f 2014 visit their trend pages here!
Today’s guestpost is another FODMAP free recipe for those with food intolerances and looks delicious. Food tolerances or no food tolerances…. I’d like to tuck into that right now!
Macaroni and cheese is a classic family favourite. Sometimes nothing beats a hot, bubbling, stringy mac and cheese, and with FODMAP free ingredients, this is one you can enjoy without having to sacrifice on taste. Anyone suffering with IBS can find it hard to give up their favourite food, a low FODMAP diet can help you still eat some of your favourite meals or find a substitute.
This meal is really simple, and can even be cooked in advance and simply reheated. For those who haven’t tried macaroni and cheese, it is similar in many ways to lasagne – it’s all about layering, only this dish leaves out the mincemeat and tomato layers so it’s a lot simpler to make, and doesn’t leave you with as much washing up afterwards either! Ideal for rushed, busy days when all you want is something wholesome, serve with salad for the extra crunch. Simply follow these instructions for a delicious and warming feast.
- 1 pack of plain Gluten Free Crackers
- 450g of macaroni
- 4 tablespoons of dairy free butter
- 1kg of grated lactose free cheddar cheese
- 2-3 cups lactose free milk
- salt & pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Once cooked rinse with cold water.
Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
1 Crush the crackers into small crumbs.
2 In the bottom of the dish spread a thin layer of crushed crackers.
3 Layer a third of the cooked pasta over the cracker crumbs.
4 Dot with butter
5 Season with salt and pepper
6 Spread a third of the grated cheese over the top
Repeat directions 1 to 6 twice until you have three even layers of cracker crumbs, pasta, butter and cheese.
Pour you lactose free milk over the dish. Milk should fill half way up the layers, so feel free to use less or more milk depending on how deep your dish is.
Sprinkle the remaining cracker crumbs over the top, season to your requirements and then place into the preheated oven.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cracker crumbs are toasted golden brown and the cheese is bubbling and beginning to crust.
Remove the dish from the oven and leave to stand for five to ten minutes before serving.
If you think you may have a food intolerance be sure to check out YorkTest.
Image Credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/naotakem/
There is a new Government (DfE) initiave out called CANparent, aimed at providing high quality parenting classes to support the parenting skills of both mothers and fathers. They have released a video about myth busting and the ‘tips’ we are given as new parents.
As a mum of a four year old, baby days were a while ago. But I still remember being a new mum, feeling bombarded with advice from all kinds of people whether you asked for it or not! It seems everyone and anyone had a golden tip for what you should do when your baby wouldn’t sleep through the night / had a temperature / wasn’t hungry… you name it!
As a new mum (or dad) you are naturally concerned about the welfare of your child. You have thousands of questions, is this normal, should my baby be doing this? Why isn’t my baby doing that? Who do you turn to for advice…
Being a mum is mostly an instinctive thing for me, I tend not to listen so much to well meaning friends and relatives. I normally smile and nod and then just do what I wanted to do. I had pretty strong ideas about what my baby should be eating, how I wanted to put her to sleep… I felt comfortable parenting my way (which is probably closest to attachment parenting) and went with that.
I did however listen to the advice I received from the health visitors /midwives (in Holland as we lived in Holland until Littlelish was nearly 2) and I do remember them having some good tips that seemed to make sense. It is difficult to know whether every bit of advice you are given is correct or not but I just used my common sense and followed my instincts to decide if it is something I agreed with. At the end of the day we all do it our way.
Littlelish was an easy baby in many ways but difficult in others. She was very content, but didn’t sleep much, wouldn’t drink from a bottle, had difficulty winding down, often seemed deep in thought. I determined (evenutally) she was probably a highly sensitive baby / child which I have written about in more depth here. It seems four years later, we have learnt the best ways to manage and deal with any issues that arise. We did this mostly by instinct and a little but of help from some books (as mentioned in my previous post).
My top parenting advice:
- If you can, prepare baby food yourself. This will mean they are not eating processed food and that you can introduce all kind of foods at an early age. They say you have to give a baby food 3 or 4 times until they get used to the taste of it! I have a little girl who eats fish, avocado, asparagus and all sorts! I loved this book by Annabel Karmel.
- Sing to your baby. I sang day in and day out to Littlelish, I loved how she enjoyed it and it was our way of connecting. Apparently singing to your child is very important for their speech development and is scientifically proven to calm them and lower their pain perception.
- Read to your baby. We all know this is important and why. Give them a love of language and learning for life, help expand their vocabulary, teach them…
- Wear your baby in a carrier. If you are doing this correctly (ie. not forward facing) it is a great way for your baby to feel safe and secure and very loved. I carried Littlelish everywhere are we both loved it!
- Do what works for you with regards to sleeping! There is not golden tip that will get them to go down instantly or sleep through the night, every baby is different. Littlelish was a pretty terrible sleeper as a baby. For the first 6 months she slept in a moses basket right next to my side and occassionally with me in bed. When she moved into her own nursery, I always had to rock her to sleep otherwise she literally would.not.sleep. She has only just started to go to bed on her own (since she started school). It wasn’t always easy but this is we did what worked for all of us.
- The housework is not that important. As long as the house isn’t a total cesspit, it is fine. Sleep when the baby sleeps if you feel the need to catch up. Everything seems more bearable if you have slept enough.
Tips I listened to:
- Do not put your baby in a walker or bouncer for too long it is not good for their hips.
- Do not let your child under the age of 1 watch television, it is not good for their development.
- Do get your baby drinking out of a normal cup as quickly as you can. Sippy cups are not good for the development of the muscles in their mouth. Neither are dummies.
- Don’t say no all the time, you will sound like a broken record. Save the word NO it for when it is really, really important and they might actually listen ;)
Tips I didn’t listen to!
- Let your baby cry it out when you put them to sleep, they will learn to self soothe.
- Don’t give your baby too much attention as they will expect it and become a nightmare!
- Don’t pick your baby up every time she cries. It will only teach her to cry for things…
Everyone knows one of the best things about returning home from a holiday is getting back to your own bed. You have done everything at home to make your bed super comfy, you’ve got a lovely firm mattress, soft bed sheets, fluffy pillow and your awesome snuggly duvet. Just how you like it! That is unless your holiday break was in a top luxury hotel, where you slept in the most incredible bed with the plumpest of pillows and softest duvet known to man…
Our bed at home is super comfy, the kind I could lay in all day, we are definitely trying to channel the ‘hotel’ vibe ;)
Back in September we were asked if we would like to review a new duvet from The Fine Bedding Company. I wasn’t sure as we already had one and we slept fine but I agreed to see what the fuss was about. The Fine Bedding company have a new duvet on the market – The Boutique Silk duvet from £55 “ultimate in luxury, offering a taste of hotel opulence within a washable silk duvet”. I liked the sound of it already, man I am a marketeers dream.
I can honestly say it lives up to it’s name. I have not been disappointed, this duvet really does feel different. It is super soft (with a cotton finish), snuggly and warm yet incredibly light and bouncy. It is the perfect combination, just like in a luxury hotel. I am very happy with our new arrival and may go and reaffirm my love for my new duvet by going for another nap! zzzzzz
Disclosure: Thank you to The Fine Bedding Company for sending me their Boutique Silk duvet. I received this free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are honest and very much my own.
Last week was something out of the ordinary for me. We escaped to Marrakech, the Red city for a long weekend away, just me and my love. Marrakech is one of those places I have always wanted to visit, an artist/photographers dream destination. Vibrant, colourful, hectic, dusty and so very exciting! The whole trip was planned as a surprise birthday trip for my man, who I managed to sneak to the airport, bags already packed for a little adventure.
We arrived in Marrakech at around 6pm local time (same time as the UK) and were greeted by a warm evening and thankfully, our taxi driver. Turning out of the airport grounds we joined the throng of vehicles on the street. There were cars, trucks, bicycles, donkeys, carts, mopeds… you name it, all darting in and out, fighting for every free space that appeared. After an exciting 15 minutes we reached our Riad which was hidden behind a large door, down a maze of alleyways.
Riad O2 was a welcome retreat from the frantic city streets and its cool white washed walls, elegant shutters, ponds and large green plants, calmed and relaxed us. It has been lovingly designed with beautiful, authentic details and feels very private and quiet. Our bedroom carried on the white, elegant theme, dashed by interesting objects from Morocco and the desert. The Riad had several places for you to sit and enjoy a drink or a little quiet time, from reading corners and lounge areas to small pools to cool down in. We spent most of our time up on the roof terrace where there was a collection of places to sit, tables, loungers, lounge tents. It had a very chilled, boho vibe – perfect!
It was here that we started our days with breakfast made by the cook Rachida and what a treat they were. Different types of traditional pancakes, the most delicious jam and syrup you have ever tasted, fruit salad, Moroccan bread and coffee. Breakfast in the morning sun, honestly, nothing beats it.
We spent our days sightseeing, trying to capture as much of Marrakech as we could in 3 short days. It was every bit as fabulous, interesting, frantic and exciting as I thought it would be.
Here are our must see / do’s:
Visit the Jardin Majorelle - A stunning, colourful garden (once owned Yves Saint Laurent) home to beautiful cactuses, palms and water features. It is a breathtaking place and you can take some really fantastic photos here. It does get busy so I would aim for morning or later in the afternoon so you aren’t battling with the crowds. We stopped off at the juice bar and healthy restaurant just outside called Kaowa which was a great little find and when you’ve finished eating you can browse a little in their gorgeous shop 33 Rue Majorelle.
Visit a Hammam - We chose the Heritage Spa and it was one of the best experiences of the holiday. A couples hamman treatment (Moroccan sauna and scrub experience) followed by full body massage, heavenly. The staff were superbly trained and very friendly. I have never felt so clean and relaxed ahhhhh….
Visit the Islamic school and Palaces - We wandered the streets a lot. They are hectic, hot and dusty. There are so many wonderful things to see, local people going about their daily lives, fruit sellers, metal workers, children playing in the street. Scattered in between are a few gems that you need to visit if you can find them! We went to Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Islamic school which was a beautiful, serene place to visit with the most exquisite details. There are also a few palaces in Marrakech which we also payed a visit that have the same peaceful vibe and beautiful design work.
Dine in a traditional Moroccan restaurant – We dined one night in our Riad where they serve us traditional Chicken, lemon and herbs in a tagine accompanied by couscous. It was divine and totally authentic, we loved it. The following night we chose Dar Moha a lovely traditional Moroccan restaurant. A beautiful setting, you can choose to sit outside among the garden, the tables surrounding a green lit pool. The staff are friendly and the food delicious. I would definitely recommend.
Take a wander around the Souks - What an incredible place. A maze of tiny alleyways full of workshops and stalls selling local handicraft. Leather, silver work, woodwork, herbs and spices, you can buy it all there. It is very easy to get lost there and feel a little bit hemmed in especially when the traders start calling to you to look and inevitably buy. My tip is to just stay calm, friendly and ignore if you do not want to buy!
Visit the new part of town (Gueliz) - We took a walk into the new part of town one evening. This is a very different Marrakech to the medina, more westernised, it reminded me a little of Paris. Think busy roundabouts with lots of cafes, bars, shops and restaurants. Surprinsingly things were cheaper out here than in the medina, especially drinks in the cafes and restaurants.
Visit the desert - The Sahara desert is about 7 hours away from Marrakech but you can still venture out into the desert around Marrakech and see what life is like out there. We went out on quad bikes which was fun and very dusty! You get to ride through little villages (slowly) then fast out in the open desert, over bumps and up mountains, where there are some great views. We stopped at a little village for mint tea and pancakes, it was a great experience.
And then our short time in Marrakech was over… We said goodbye to the sun and the city but headed back to the gorgeous Littlelish who made coming home absolutely bearable :)
I have a vivid childhood memory of a boy, the same age as me crossing the road in West Hampstead only to be hit and instantly killed by a motorcycle. We were sat in traffic on the other side of the road and watched it happen before our eyes. There are details of this accident (too graphic to share) I will never, ever be able to erase from my memory. I was about 10.
Road deaths are the biggest ‘accidental’ cause of death of children and young people. This week is National Road Safety week 18 – 24th November and the theme for this year is tune in.
“Driver distraction is a major cause of death and serious injury in the UK. Driving is the most dangerous thing that most of us do on a daily basis and requires your full attention, but many drivers have a sense of over-confidence and feel cocooned in their vehicles, so attempting to multi-task is common.
While it’s illegal to use a hand-held phone to text or call at the wheel, around a third of drivers flout this law, and many others use a hands-free kit, despite both activities causing a dangerous distraction. Other distracting activities such as eating or smoking at the wheel have been shown to increase your risk of crashing, yet lots of drivers own up to it.”
I have to admit that while I feel fully in control of the car and a completely confident driver, I too find myself distracted at times, I think we all do, don’t we? We forget just what a dangerous machine it is that we are driving, what damage it can do… that it could potentially kill or seriously injure another human being. Checking that message that came through on your phone doesn’t seem so important after all.
Drivers, let’s make a concious effort to turn off our phones and not multi-task at the wheel. Mums and Dads, let’s teach our children to ‘tune in’ to the dangers of the road and how to keep themselves safe. Here are the top road safety tips for children from www.nidirect.gov.uk
On the pavement:
When walking near a road it is a good idea to:
- hold your child’s hand – don’t let them run ahead
- look out for and encourage your child to be aware of hidden entrances or driveways crossing the pavement
- put reins on a younger child if they’re not strapped in a pushchair
- make sure your child walks on the side of the pavement away from the traffic
It can be hard for motorists to see small children, especially when they are reversing, so take extra care. Never let your child go near a road alone or even with an older child.
Children are generally not ready to cross roads on their own until they are at least eight years old – and many will not be ready even then.
Crossing the road:
When the time comes to teach your child about crossing the road, remember the following:
- always set a good example by choosing a safe place to cross and explaining what you’re doing
- let your child help you decide where and when it’s safe to cross
- tell your child that it’s safest to cross at a pedestrian crossing or a crossing patrol
- tell your child not to cross where they can’t see far along the road
- explain that they should not try to cross a road between parked cars; drivers won’t be able to see them very well and the cars might start moving
- use the Green Cross Code with your child – explain that you have to stop at the kerb, then look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing
- when it’s safe to cross, walk straight across the road and keep looking and listening out for traffic
- remind your children to concentrate – they may be easily distracted, forget what they have been taught and dash out into the road
- make sure that anyone else looking after your child follows the same road safety rules that you do
You might feel that pedestrian crossings are safe, but they can still be dangerous for children if they don’t take care.
- explain that pedestrians have to wait on the pavement until all the traffic coming from both directions has stopped – only then is it safe to cross
- explain that if there is an island in the middle of the road, your child should treat each half of the crossing as a separate crossing
- tell your child it’s important to keep looking and listening while crossing, in case a driver has not seen them
- warn your child to watch for cyclists or motorcyclists who might not have seen them
- make sure your child can be seen easily – bright or fluorescent clothes are best during the day and reflective materials work well at night
- always use a zebra or light-controlled crossing, or a school crossing patrol if there is one
This post is written in collaboration with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who have created this interesting infographic on rehabilitation after a road accident, click here to view.
I love keeping up with the latest fashion trends but as a stay at home mum I don’t have a very large budget for splashing out on a new wardrobe every season. This means I need to be very selective and pretty thrifty. One of my favourite places to pick up a gorgeously designed and well made garment is Sainsburys, TU.
I am known to compliment and question/interrogate my friends “Oh that is such a lovely top / skirt / jumper, where is it from?” Very, very often, the answer is Sainsburys and every time I am surprised, maybe because it looks so very lovely and designery that I can’t quite believe it comes from a supermarket! This Autumn Winter Sainsburys have really exceeded all expectations, as September saw the relaunch of their TU brand with a gorgeous new AW range. It is really stunning, expensive looking and such good quality.
Tu has revamped the brand to provide even more trend led pieces, as well as providing a stronger range of on trend collections and versatile essentials for the whole family. Encouraging customers to ‘wear it your way’ – Tu inspire with fresh new ways to tap into autumn’s key trends and help make your wardrobe go further.
There is also a commitment towards increased ‘newness’ with range refreshments happening every 6 weeks – helping bring ‘seasonal must-haves’ and trend led fashion to customers more effectively.
I was sent an outfit for both Littlelish and myself to review. We chose 2 lovely dresses and I also chose the beautiful navy wool cape (above). Let me tell you there is not one day that has gone by, that I have not worn my new cape. I wear it with everything, it is so versatile, I adore it! I will be showing you different ways to wear a cape, so you can “wear it your way!” soon but in the meantime here are our lovely dresses from TU.
She looks so cute in it, don’t you agree? The dress is a great winter party dress and would even make a lovely Christmas dress. The red shoes are just divine and so so well made. She has already had a lot of wear out of them, you can’t beat a gorgeous pair of red shoes can you?
I opted for the checked dress £22. It is a perfect dressed up smartly for in the office or as an alternative to a jumper dress with boots, tights and a thick knit cardi for every day wear. You can also wear it as a smart casual option for going out, I wore mine recently out to dinner. This seasons shape, the tube dress is actually extremely flattering. Being a size 14 and by no means a skinny minnie, I wasn’t sure if the length and the neckline would flatter me but I think they do, I felt feminine without exposing too much of myself. I also felt warm as it is made out of lovely warm (but not too warm), quality fabric. The check is subtle enough so you are on trend without wearing full blown checkerboard. One very happy customer here.
Thank you for sending us these outfits, Sainsburys, we are thrilled to bits with them! Check out the full AW range at Sainsburys TU now.
It is nearly a full year since we moved out of our family home, after Littlelish’s daddy and I separated. She took moving out of the family home as well as can be expected and still loves to visit her Daddy on weekends.This year has brought new adventures and more recently I moved in with my partner. It was a big step that required much thought on behalf of Littlelish but ultimately it was not something I could avoid forever. We were happy together and we wanted to be together, to move on together.After a month in the new house, I’m happy to reassure you, that it was most definitely the right move. Right now we are working very hard on making a warm, family home where Littlelish feels settled. We want to make the new house very much ‘her’ house, a space she feels comfortable in.
I loved this video by ikea who have captured all the tiny details of how to make a home work for children, have a watch! I love ikea for this kind of thing, they are so good at it!
Over in our house, we’ve taken steps in the right direction. We’ve given Littlelish her dream bedroom with a great bed and bedroom furniture from ikea. You just cannot beat them for childfriendly, durable kids bedrooms. I’ll be doing a grand reveal it of her room shortly…
I’ve also added some of my own ideas over on I’m home honey where I’ve created a post on how to create a stylish, warm family home for children. Check it out, I think you will find there are some good tips!