Stockings for Toddlers!


Christmas is coming and this means one thing, more toys to litter my home!

My little boy doesn’t have massive amounts of toys but still, my house is being invaded by the large ride on toys, diggers, cars, Duplo and various tools (can you guess I have a boy?! My attempts to infiltrate gender-neutral toys has not worked!). My little boy would love more toys and far be it for me to deprive him of these but I do find myself shuddering as my dream of an ‘all wooden, picture-perfect, grand designs living room’ fades off into the distant abyss, as more and more VTech trash enters my world. (Like  the dream living room could have been a reality anyway!)

So whilst I cant control what he receives, I may be able to influence Father Christmas and reduce the number of ‘treadable- swearables’ that will litter the floor of my house and eventually end up in the bin!

So here are some ideas for your little lodger‘s stocking this Christmas.

Stockings for me are one of the things that truly sums up Christmas for me. As a child, I  have vivid memories of waking up in the morning with pure excitement to a bursting stocking, sometimes because my mother had decided to give us a box of tissues that year and it was literally bursting out! All of the gifts inside were cleverly chosen to capture our attention, stop is in our tracks and ensure we didn’t leave our beds for at least another hour, so Father and MotherChristmass could get an extra minute in bed!

So my little boy has recently turned two years old, so alongside some dramatic tantrums, and the rather annoying repetitive phase of” I do it”  that haunts my getting out of the house in the morning, I also have a little monkey who likes to wake up early, 5:30am in fact! So my thinking this year is to get him to sit in bed for just one minute longer and let me and his dad have an extra minute in bed and this is my attempt to take on the role of Mumma Christmas and begin the tradition again.

A recipe for a toddler stocking:

1# The token tangerine. Those aware of traditional Victorian traditions will know that an orange was a treasured thing and even nowadays a stashed tangerine in the change bag can be a godsend! So that goes in first.


2# Chocolate coins. Now, these are optional, I know the that Christmas is full of chocolate for kids so feel free to change these for other things, even raisins or apricots. I, however, am a gluten for punishment and will include these. Who wants to negotiate with a sugar-induced toddler having a tantrum? I do!

Stockist: Fairtrade Chocolate Coins (These are fancy pants ones but cheaper ones can be found in the supermarkets and pound shops, as I’m sure you know already!)

3# Socks. Now these may sound boring, and they are, but my boy always needs socks! Wrap them up several times will keep them occupied for at least a few minutes.

Stockist: ZARA

4# Buttons. My little man loves treasures so I shall be including a selection jar of buttons, found treasures and a few stones (of course) which I will wrap up and he can enjoy pouring them out, never to be found again, probably in his bed, or better yet our bed.


Stockist: SewMuchtoDo

5# Toothbrush. [See 2#] This might be obvious considering the treats on offer over Christmas but my mother started us kids every year with a new toothbrush, and I’m continuing the tradition.


Stockist: Boots

6# Paintfree Colouring Book or Magazine. These are not only good for Christmas but for car journeys and cafes!

Stockist: John Lewis

7# Little music box. Optional, could drive you mad but it was so pretty!


Stockist: Tindalls

8# New shirt for Christmas day. We always had a new smart outfit for Christmas Day and this is something for them to open too.


Stockist: NEXT

9# Pretty wooden toys

img_1086.jpg

Stockist: Unknown

10# Chocolate soldier. Now please don’t think I’m one for popping along to the V&A for all my Christmas gifts, I wish! But this was really nice and I loved how traditional is was!


Stockist: V&A Shop

So I hope this gives you a little bit of an idea of what might look great and hold their attention for at least a few moments on Christmas morning. If you have any more great ideas for stockings please do share! Us mumma elves are always grateful!

Festive Greetings to you!

This blog was written in collaboration with HotMama. (Who I wish I had discovered when my little one was younger!)

Advertisements

Make Up Tips for Busy Mummas!

Blog take over from the wonderful Caro Watson; professional make up artist.



As mums we all know that its difficult to look our best while the little ones have kept us up half the night, and are tugging on our legs while trying to get ready to do anything, and if you’re anything like me then your little ones probably end up looking ten times better than you do when you do eventually leave the house, in a beautiful new outfit, while you’re still wearing your maternity tops because they are comfy and you can breast feed in them, am I right?!?!

Well I am here to help you try to achieve a natural make up look that will help you look fresh and hopefully not like the walking dead. Obviously time is of the essence, and the quicker you can do your make up, the less likely it is that your toddler has drawn all over the walls in your absence. The key to this is to look after your skin! The better your skin is the less make up you have to wear to cover up and therefore the less time it takes to complete your desired look. Staying hydrated is key to to good skin, as is sleep (I know thats not always possible). Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks and load up with water. 
A good skin care routine is essential also, now a lot of this can be done at night after the kids have gone to sleep, so hopefully you can spend a bit more time on yourself, give yourself a little evening pamper. Always take your make up off at the end of the day, NOT with a baby wipe!! Use a cleansing product that is suitable for your skin type, then use a toner and moisturise, all skin types need moisturising, even oily skin, you just need to find a moisturiser that is suitable for your skin type, shop around, take advice from friends and family, ask for advice at the skincare counter, but don’t always believe everything they say, remember they are trying to sell you something. Do this routine morning and night and your skin will thank you. 

Now on to make up, always use a moisturiser and if you have oily skin probably a primer too before putting your foundation on, you don’t want to apply your foundation onto bare skin as it will not look as even and probably won’t last as long. Ensure you are using the correct shade of foundation for you, your face should end up matching the colour of your neck, so you don’t look like you are wearing a mask, all make up counters should offer a colour matching service. For a daytime look you could also opt for a BB cream or tinted moisturiser instead of a foundation. For my demonstration I used MAC face and body foundation, I applied this with a kabuki brush to create a light coverage on the skin, I then used a light reflecting concealer under the eyes, this should be patted in and not swept so as to avoid it going into and accentuating any fine lines you may have gained since becoming a mum. Set this all with a light dusting of translucent powder. 

For the eyes, a simple mascara will help to open your eyes up, always curl your eyelashes first to achieve the full open eye look. When buying mascaras, its all in the wands, find a wand that you like and suits your eyelashes, most people will go for a black or dark brown, but feel free to experiment with colour, I find that a blue mascara really helps the blue in my eyes to pop! 

Next is lips, for my demonstration we just opted for a nice shiny lip balm to soften and give the lips a bit of a sheen, a gloss or nude lipstick could work too. If opting for a lipstick, apply a layer, then blot onto a tissue and apply another layer for longevity.


Finally finish with your cheeks, a blush or bronzer will help to finish the look and give you a healthy looking glow. For the demonstration I used Charlotte Tilbury blusher in Ecstasy, I applied a small amount (you don’t want to look like a clown) to the apple of the cheeks and blended outwards. 

Ta dah! you now have your finished daytime look, which with a little practice should only take you 10 mins or so to complete. 

Good luck ladies!! 🙂

Do what makes you feel good…

 So we have all seen those beautiful Mummas who manage to get the little ones ready aswell applying a immaculate layer of make up. Well done to those of you who manage it, but for me I’m having a good day if my hair is washed and iv brushed my teeth! 

Make-up seems such a luxury these days, not only in putting it on but also buying it! From spending pennies as a teenager on cheap lipstick, to investing in some really lovely bits for my wedding, through to not even thinking about it when I had my little one. I now have an amalgamation of all sorts but can not bare to part with any of it! It symbolises a time in my life where I had time, where I had head space to contemplate what might look best rather than what stops me looking worse! Although that balance is shifting back slowly.

Please don’t get me wrong, I do not believe us Mummas have to wear make-up in order to feel good, we should do whatever makes us happy, but for me it’s one of those things that helps me feel better. We all have a variety of things we do to give us confidence, for others it’s shoes, food, hanging out with friends, singing, playing instruments, or simply going for a walk or all the above, we all need a boost of energy and confidence!

For me make-up was a sign that I was in control and I think for many people it is the same. I even remember trying to put my make up on moments after giving birth! I look back and laugh, but that was my routine and I went into automatic pilot, dazed by the whole thing.

Now, getting out of the house is a monumental task, so there is no way I’m slowing that down! So makeup has really fallen down in my list of priorities. Now if I put make up on it takes me ages! My skin is awful due to lack of sleep, my bags under my eyes need industrial strength concealer and make up is generally applied whilst wrestling most of my really expensive eye shadows and brushes from a toddlers vice like grip as he’s insisting he wants to do it himself! (He has left the house several times with glittery eye shadow and blush on!).

For me I’m now at a stage where I need to know what the minimum is that I can put on in the shortest amount of time, without looking like I did in school when I had no idea how to apply make up! Oh and with my tiny pocket of money, I need to know I’m buying the right things.

So for a bit of fun and indulgence we are launching our Spring programme with a demo and talk from Make Up Artist Caro Watson at our next Tea,Talks and More event. It’s on Monday 22 May 2-4pm at the Old Dispensary in Ely. If you’re not up for the make-up part just come for the cake! 

Oh and because people loved the recipe last time, here is another one-( very handy for picnics as some if you already know!): 

Cinnamon and Sugar Popcorn

10 cups of popcorn popped

2 tbsp Light brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon 

2tbsp melted butter

Method:

Pop the popcorn

Melt the butter, pour into popcorn and mix

Mix the cinnamon and sugar

Coat the popcorn and shake! 

Done! 

I’m looking forward to it and I hope you join in too!

One chef, 6 Mummas, 3 bottles of Champagne!

I’d like to say that this indulgence was because we had been to so many restaurants in our local area that we had exhausted all options, (as if I got out that much!), no, this was purely for giggles, and it really was so much fun! After seeing lots of different reviews of professional chefs visiting people’s homes, I teamed up with some blogger friends( do you like how I’m putting myself in that category? What a fraud am I?!) and we hired the wonderful, WildinthePantry chef ….best decision ever!!! Not only did he cook amazing food, he did the washing up and we got to have a go too!! All we had to do was eat and drink bubbly!

Find out more about him here: http://www.wildinthepantry.co.uk/

We drank, we ate, and we had lots of fun planning our next adventure! Any suggestions?

I would highly recommend it, it didn’t cost more than a meal out and it was so much more chilled!

I’m going to let the pictures speak to themselves-enjoy!!

img_0027-1

Spring, Mummas, Easter &More!

So it seems that with the blossom blooming and the sun shining, it is not only nature that coming out of hibernation but so is my inspiration! It’s hard to believe how much the sun has an impact on us as happy people, but as I walk around, on my hundredth sleep walk this year, people seem happier, well some! (Some people really need to learn to how to smile!Geez!They need some more sun!)

You can feel people starting to come out more, be up for more and generally happier. I wonder if its to do with the fact that children can now come out to play, what do you think Mummas?!

So as I wondered the paths of the beautiful Anglesey Abbey surrounded by gorgeous blue bells and blossom lots of ideas for events sprung to mind!

Events that might include some making with artists, some knot knitting, some gin drinking, some book reading and some playing with flowers! Fancy it?!

With Spring now here and lots of talk of Easter all I’m thinking about is food and chocolate, what’s new I hear you say! My bubba and I love cooking together and thought we’d share a recent recipe to try at home too:

Easter Egg Brownies

Ingredients 

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g dark chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 3 cadburys creme eggs (or your favourite equivalent!)
  • 150g mini eggs (again go with your favourite!)
  • Sprinkles, edible glitter, go crazy,  more is better!

Method

  1. Melt chocolate and butter together and allow to cool.
  2. Heat oven, 180c/160c fan/gas4
  3. Grease and line 20cm square tin
  4. Whisk eggs and caster sugar together until double the size.
  5. Fold in melted chocolate
  6. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the eggs and chocolate
  7. Pour into tin and bake for 20mins
  8. Cut up the creme eggs, and smash the other mini eggs in a postal and mortar (pent up anger? Here you go!)
  9. After 20 mins take the brownies out and push the creme eggs and mini eggs into the brownies. Bake for 5mins
  10. Once baked allow to cool and put in fridge to firm up
  11. Cut up and sprinkle more eggs, melted chocolate, glitter!! Put some cute fluffy chics on too if you like?!
  12. Take a picture!

Send us some pictures via Facebook and instagram. Tag #mummacake we’d love to see your creations!

Here’s some cakes picked from a few past events! Mummas and More events wouldn’t be the same unless accompanied by some expert mumma cake creations! It’s great having great cake-maker friends! So always know, if you come to one of our events, there will always be cake!


Hope you all have a wonderful Easter and keep an eye out for future events coming up, we’d love to see you there!

IMakeKnots & More

img_4796
*Imakeknots&more* Much of my career in the past has been about programming workshops, talks and events for galleries and museums. These events aspire to explore exhibitions, collections  in different ways; giving people new skills and inspiring ideas. These events can; provoke questions, teach new skills, share skills, widen aspirations, begin conversations and allow young people and adults to further understand themselves and others. Most of all, they can make them feel happier, more respected and valued people.

img_4794
I wanted to create a programme like this for Mummas & More and help mums stay strong, be inspired, gain skills and have fun! I wanted to create a programme that kept mums mind active whilst giving the opportunity to develop skills and make new friends.

The first creative workshop, a few weeks ago now, was led by the wonderful IMakeKnots. These ladies make the most beautiful knotted, knitted and crocheted necklaces, snoods, scarves and accessory wonders!

img_4781

 

The delightful thing about sitting around a table making, is the conversations that all makers have. There is a neutral ground that everyone enters into, that allows inhibited conversations to happen and pressures and nerves of meeting new people to be defused. So a group of mummas, met, knitted, knotted and made some beautiful knitted necklaces. There was lots of chatting and people learned new skills. It was to my delight that my lovely friend Michelle not only enjoyed the workshop  but she was now also bitten with the crochet and knitting bug, so much so, that she has has now set up her own little business called @a_bit_knotty . Its brilliant news and I’m so pleased! I’m addicted to the thrill of being inspired and so it so great when I see others experiencing that too.

It’s these stories that reassure me that that I’m heading in the right direction, so hopefully we have lots more of these event in the future! So if you have an idea just go for it, you’ll never know until you try !

img_4782

Keep a look out for more creative workshops in the future. I always need Mumma’s inputs and would love to connect more with creative practitioners so please feel free to get in contact.