Showing posts with label home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home. Show all posts

6 June 2018

Transform Holiday Photos into Wall Art + Giveaway (AD)

Making use of my digital photographs is something I’m really keen on. I create a photo album every year and we do have some of my travel and kids photographs framed and on the wall at home. No canvas prints on our walls though, so when I was contacted by CanvasChamp recently and asked to review their canvas print online service I said yes. 

Read on to find out more and the opportunity to win your own canvas.

Transform Holiday Photos into Wall Art with canvas champ

29 June 2017

10 Rainy Day Ideas in North East England

Last week it was too hot. This week it's too wet. Got to love the British weather.

On average it rains one in three days in the UK, so as Brits it's always good to have in mind things to do, places to go and activities to enjoy as a family on rainy days. 

Living in the UK we are the used to the changeable weather, but as well as the sunshine that also means rain. Britain has four distinct seasons of fairly equal length - spring, summer, autumn and winter - and here in North East England we have a mild humid temperate climate with warm summers and no dry season. 

Much of our region has at least 105 days of rain every year so it's no wonder that we have so many great indoor places to enjoy family days out when it is wet.

10 Rainy Day Ideas in North East England

14 March 2017

A Delivery of Flowers and its not yet Mothers Day (REVIEW)

It is always nice to get flowers, even when they are sent to you to review. That's what happened to me this week. Lucky me! Flowers already and it's not yet Mothers' Day!

A Delivery of Flowers and its not yet Mothers Day. We test out the 24 hour delivery service from Prestige Flowers.

17 February 2017

Our Five Favourite Breads We Can't Wait to Bake

*** Collaborative Post ***

We love bread in our house. I have posted before about re-discovering our breadmaker that had been lurking at the back of a cupboard. Now that I’ve found the time to get back into home-baking, I’ve decided it is also time to look for a new bread machine – one that’s not 15 years old!

As I’ve said we love bread of all types and I’ve been really impressed by the bread machine recipes by Panasonic. Whether it’s a veggie sausage sarnie, soda bread with homemade soup, a wholemeal crusty loaf, croissants, wraps or buns for our homemade burgers, it all gets eaten in our house.

10 January 2017

How to clean your house - naturally!

Today is Houseplant Appreciation Day. Who knew? But after receiving a Peace Lily as a Christmas present from a friend, and following my subsequent googling on ‘how to care for it’ properly, this led me to multiple pages informing me about the amazing ‘cleaning’ properties of houseplants, and the Peace Lily in particular. 

And the fact that today is the day we should be appreciating our houseplants!

Houseplants that can help clean the house. Houseplant Appreciation Day 2017

15 December 2016

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box (REVIEW)

I set myself a Christmas Challenge this year. It was nothing to do with presents, or cooking or wrapping but something that was new, hopefully relaxing, would take my focus away from a ‘screen’ for a short time, and be enjoyable. 

The challenge? It was to be my first time trying out the paper art craft of papercutting … 

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

Until a few weeks ago I hadn’t really heard of papercutting. I’d seen the results on craft stalls, but to be honest had not really looked into it or realised how they were made. However, a local small business was launching a new business of delivering beautiful, printed, papercut templates & backing papers straight to your door and wanted people to try it out. Always one for a challenge I thought I’d give it a go.

The parcel from Embellish Box arrived with lovely, distinctive packaging. 

It had a HYGGE theme. 

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

Inside were:
  • printed templates
  • backing papers
  • a self-assembly house to collect
  • exclusive themed items such as Snowman Soup(hot chocolate and marshmallows), fingerless gloves, candy cane, candle and a free news subscriber gift of a scalpel – an essential tool.

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

It really is a lovely and well-thought out package. I can imagine any 'papercutting' fan loving it but also too, anyone who likes craft activities that haven't already tried papercutting.

I decided to attempt the cut-out house. My aim was that it would maybe make a nice Christmas bauble for the tree!

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

I carefully put the scalpel together, found a hard chopping board to sue, made myself a cuppa, played some festive songs, and immersed myself in papercutting.

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

I'm not going to lie. It's not easy. You do have to concentrate and take your time. Some parts you cut, others you fold to create the house. It is fiddly, it is tricky and it is a challenge. But afterwards, I also felt like I'd accomplished something.

I did find the smaller more intricate parts of the design particularly difficult but a seasoned papercutter would probably have no problem at all. 

My finished result is not perfect. It's not the neatest but I have made it, and it was my first attempt. See what you think of it ...

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

If papercutting is your thing or if you like a new challenge. The lovely Amy at Embellish Box is offering 15% off your first subscription valid until 20 December 2016. 

Simply use the code: MYBOYSCLUB15

Papercutting for the first time with an Embellish Box

Cost: A one-off box costs £19.  A monthly subscription costs from £18 per month. 
I was gifted this box in return for an honest review.
Time: The cut-out house took a few hours so all in all the box with four activities would provide
My Boys Club Rating: Yes it was a challenge but it was creative and enjoyable. I'm not sure I'm going to become an avid paper cutter but if I was bought one of these boxes as a present I wouldn't be disappointed.

Have you tried papercutting?

Deb x

12 December 2016

Should you buy your child's teacher a gift for Christmas?

How do you show your appreciation to your child’s teacher? Is it a Christmas card, a simple thank you, a present – whether bought or homemade. Or do you not bother?

The end of the school term is nearing, and yes it’s time for that question again  "What can I give my child’s teacher to say thank you?"

I know a lot of teachers who always say it’s not necessary to give a present. But hey, it’s Christmas and isn't it supposed to be all about the giving.

Should You Buy Your Child's Teacher A Gift For Christmas

It came as quite a surprise though to read in The Telegraph, that a Mumsnet survey found that 10% of parents spend £25 on gifts for a child’s teacher. A further 20% spend nothing at all. But if that’s what some people choose to do, then so be it. It is all down to the individual.

At our school, we've been advised that as part of a 'Poverty Proofing' initiative, children will not be asked by staff, after Christmas, what presents they received. The reason being that, children have informed the initiative themselves that, they find this a very uncomfortable situation depending on their circumstances, causing some of them to make things up. It has made me aware that what children do or so not present their teachers with at Christmas, could have an impact too.

However, my boys do like to give their teachers something. Even accounting for holidays and weekends, my boys spend time with their teachers on over half-of-all-the-days in the year. That’s a lot of time, and for my young boys, their teachers play a big and positive part in their lives. 

Yes, they do get paid a salary – but although they shouldn’t expect, I think it’s nice for them to be appreciated too with a small gift. And I see it as a good way to nurture an appreciative ethos in my boys. It really doesn’t have to be expensive, though. It’s not about how much you give but about thought and effort.

So a few years ago, I decided it would be nice for the boys to make something for their teachers, rather than simply buy a box of chocs. We decided on fudge – it is quick, easy, can be made by the boys and most people like it – including the boys. The boys then make a handmade card to accompany it.

Should You Buy Your Child's Teacher A Gift For Christmas

We have been making it for a few years now and tried different methods and flavours, click here for our favourite version.

Do you buy a gift for your child's teacher at Christmas?

Deb x

17 November 2016

Baking Bread on Homemade Bread Day

I have been the owner of a bread maker for quite a few years now, however, for at least the past five years it has sat in a cupboard, alone and unloved. That all changed this summer, however, when I re-discovered my love for homemade bread, spurred on by the fact that my boys are quite happy to eat much nicer bread rather than white sliced. 

Thankfully the machine still worked!

Now with today being, Homemade Bread Day, I thought there was no better day of the year to share with you, my rekindled passion for baking.

Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. It is an important staple food around the world, prepared by cooking a dough of flour and water and often additional ingredients too. In fact, baking was introduced as a respectable occupation for Romans around 300BC.

It's no coincidence that it is often referred to as the staff of live - a basic food. But its name can also denote money too. The 1980s sitcom by Carla Lane about a family with little money was called Bread; a breadwinner is a person who earns money to support a household, its uncooked form dough is also synonymous with money. Breaking bread is to share with another and also often referred to in the bible.

Home-baked bread is often healthier, higher in fibre and lower in salt and additives than commercial varieties, and it is easy to adapt recipes to personal tastes, with grains and spices etc. And the invention of the breadmaker has taken a lot of the effort out of baking too.

I have been baking soda bread as a quick and easy accompaniment to homemade soup for a couple of years, but I decided it was time to venture back to bread.

Cheese oozes out of the Soda Bread 

Here is my soda bread recipe:

  • 12oz plain flour – any sort and quantities can be swapped for oats
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 250ml of hot milk with lemon juice added
  • Additional cheese, seeds, garlic, chopped onion (handful of each)

All of the ingredients are mixed together then kneaded very gently to form a round. This is then placed on a greased baking tray, a cross cut across the top and baked in an oven at 400F/200C/Gas 6 for 25-30mins

It is supposed to be buttermilk so we never have it so we just sour milk with lemon juice and that seems to work. Something I learnt just by googling it.

We have added garlic, onion, and cheese as flavourings and it is perfect to dip in soup. The boys love it. We’ve even baked it in the convection oven that is part of the microwave and it works just fine.

Soda Bread with cheese and garlic 

Now I have nothing against shop bought sliced bread. We always have a loaf or two in the freezer. It definitely saves time. I also love soda bread we make but there is nothing better than the yeasty, delicious aroma of bread baking in the oven. So today on Home-Made Bread Day I’m baking a few loaves.

We like granary style bread the best so we’ll be following the instruction that comes with the machine to make bread – just like this one. 

Wholemeal bread 

Slicing wholemeal bread 

Ingredients include:
  • wholemeal or bread flour 
  • water 
  • salt 
  • butter 
  • sugar 
  • dried yeast 
  • and milk powder 

You simply put the ingredients in the machine in the correct order and quantity, set the machine to the chosen program number and a few hours later you'll have fresh bread. 

There is even a delay timer function so that you can bake it overnight and wake up to a fresh bread smell in the morning wafting through your house. 

It doesn't matter if it doesn't come out perfect - this one is cracked across the top because it still tastes and smells so good. I'm certainly not going to be applying for The Great British Bake Off anytime soon or challenging Paul Hollywood for a presenting job!

The boys now ask when is the bread machine going to be on. Today they should be very happy.

Baking bread – what could be better.

Deb x

13 September 2016

Save money and memories

Save money and memories for your kids by upcycling their outgrown t-shirts into comfy cushions. I'm really glad I did this with my boys' old t-shirts. As it is Recycling Week, I thought I'd share with you the cushions we made from old clothes.

My boys had some favourite t-shirts that they loved wearing but were now just too small - no matter how they tried to fit into them. Some had already been hand-me-downs, and me, as much as them, (and probably more so), didn’t want to part with them.

Save money and memories by upcycling old clothes