Thursday, 7 May 2015

Let's Make... House Pictures

Making house pictures is easy and fun! It's also a great opportunity to learn our shapes. Just cut squares and circles for windows and doors and a triangle for the roof. Use a glue stick to attach and felt tips to add detail. (Stevie says a mouse lives in this one)

Tip - For a 'treat' sprinkle cinnamon on your apple! Plate from here.


Friday, 1 May 2015

Collections Part I

One of our favourite things is to collect treasure. Kat and I are avid car-booters and we are now passing this habit on to our children.
When we go out on walks, on holidays or just exploring we love to collect things. You can also make collections at home with buttons, jewels and and sparkly bits you have lying around.

Spring flowers, shells, pretty glass found in the sand, leaves, dead starfish, feathers and plastic from the beach. Its a great way for you to get the kids to learn about their surroundings and also walk without too much moaning.

As they get older, when you get home you can give them a board, tray or plate and they can make the treasure they've collected into a display and photograph it themselves.

Its a lovely reminder of your day and great fun.

Happy hunting love Tess x

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Yummy Healthy Almond & Orange Flapjacks

We've been making the healthy flapjacks I posted about a while back almost on a weekly basis so much so I felt like it was about time for a change. The fab thing about this recipe is that it is so easy to adjust and I knew I was onto a winner when S got a whiff of the almond essence and declared it smelt like cake!

Almond & Orange Flapjacks
6 dried apricots
10 dates
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup flaked almonds plus some to sprinkle on the top.
5 tbsp ground almonds
1 cup porridge oats
2 tbsp wheatgerm
2 tbsp linseeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
juice and zest of one orange
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cold-pressed flax seed oil
1 tsp almond essence

Put everything apart from the flaked almonds in a food processor and blend until you have a firm dough ball, add the almonds and mix well. Line a small baking dish with greaseproof paper and spread the dough into the pan to a thickness of roughly 2cm. Sprinkle over some almond flakes to decorate and press down well. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting. Store in the fridge covered with clingfilm.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Play Cooker

This little play cooker has been a long long time in the making. Sometimes life just gets in the way and even though it wasn't too hard to put together it has been hanging around in my studio for at least a year. I'd thought about buying S a cooker for her second birthday but all the ones I liked just seemed so expensive. I had a look around online and discovered loads of brilliant DIY play cookers made out of old bedside cabinets and decided to make my own. I picked up this little cupboard at the local charity shop. It was the perfect size but it didn't have a door on the front so I roped in my brother in law to attach a door to it and that's when my project ground to a halt. Fast forward to the new year and I decided that the cooker would be a brilliant 'you're the best big sister gift' to try and ease the pain of no longer being the one and only!

I fixed some batons of wood onto the inside using 'no more nails' and cut out a shelf from plywood. I drilled four holes for the knobs which are I bought from an Ebay store in Hong Kong - Don't you just love the internet! I made them quite tight fitting as they didn't come with nuts to fasten them but you could easily find some in a DIY store. I painted the whole thing with peachy pink Farrow & Ball paint leftover from another project (Inspired by this gorgeous vintage play cooker). To stop it looking too pretty pretty I added a bright red 50's handle that I bought second hand from Ebay. I used blackboard paint on the interior of the door and hob tops which are just MDF circles glued on. Finally I added a few hooks to the side so she can hang up her pinny and tea-towels (another project in the making!)

She loved it and played with it straight away. She even has a little pad and pencil that she keeps in her apron pocket for taking orders.

As usual if you get inspired we'd love to see the results!


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Easy Peasy Sugar Free Low Carb Cookies

Some of you may or may not know but my son Zephyr was diagnosed with Epilepsy just after he was two after suffering a few seizures. This was and has been a massive shock for us and one we are still coming to terms with. 

This is something I will delve deeper into in another post, but to cut a long story short Zeph in now on the Ketogenic Diet. This basically means very low carbs (so no sugar) some protein and lots of fat. So hence I have been exploring lots of low carb baking and sugar subsitutes. I have made this recipe with liquid stevia and with sukrin gold which is made from Erythritol. 

Zeph being on this diet has been a blessing in many ways as its really made me look at our sugar consumption and as a family we are all eating a lot less sugar which has gotta be good. Zeph has also been incredible at excepting the diet and all the weird and wonderful concoctions I keep making him!

Hope you and yours enjoy them too. Much love Tess x

Makes about 12

130g (1 1/2 cups) ground almonds or ground hazelnuts
50g butter melted
120g (1/2 cup) almond butter
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla essence
10 drops of liquid stevia or 50g (1/2 cup) sukrin gold

Melt the butter and leave to cool while you measure out all the other ingredients, then mix everything together, roll into balls and place on greaseproof paper on a tray. 
Squish with a fork and then bake at 175 degrees for 10-15 mins. Eat.

Zeph is also partial to adding a little bit of chopped up dark chocolate.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bleached Boards

We recently had our downstairs floorboards refinished and it's amazing what a good floor treatment can do to a space. We've gone from oiled orangey pine to bleached out beautiful boards and we're so happy with them. I can't believe what a difference it has made to the whole space, making it feel more open and light. 

For anyone wanting a similar look we used Morrell's white classique base stain with a Morrells total matt laquer on the top. So far it seems pretty hard wearing and considering we have a dog and often muddy kids that's very good news. I've heard it's water over muck that ruins a wood floor so I've been pretty careful to clean up any spills straight away and also dry the floor straight after mopping.

Tess has done her living room floorboards recently with similar results using Osmo wood wax in snow ragged off and finished with Osmo raw. The end result is slightly different and the finished look is also dependent on the original wood so if your thinking of a similar project the best thing to do is make a test area in the space. 

We haven't regretted it for a single second though, Even though we have a million and one other more important jobs to do around here!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Healthy Flapjacks

Making these flapjacks are becoming part of our weekly routine. They are so easy and fun for kids to help make and better still they're actually good for you but still feel like a treat. We don't have a full size food processor so we blend ours in our mini chopper in parts and then mix everything together in a bowl. It does seem like a lot of ingredients but they last ages, we keep all ours together in a box in the cupboard so we can just whip it out when we want to make some.

Thank you to the lovely ladies from The Crockery Cupboard for the recipe! I've modified it slightly to use American cups rather than using scales as it makes it easier for little ones. These are the ones we have at home. Also I really recommend investing in a good zester, like this, rather than using a cheese grater.

6 dried apricots
10 dates
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup porridge oats
4 tbsp wheatgerm
3 tbsp oatmeal
2 tbsp linseeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of mixed nuts
juice and zest of half a lemon 
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp cold-pressed flax seed oil

Put everything in a food processor and blend until you have a firm dough ball. Line a small baking dish with greaseproof paper and press the dough into the pan to a thickness of roughly 2cm. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting. Store in the fridge if they last that long!

Coming soon - Yummy Orange and Almond Flapperjacks

Monday, 23 March 2015

Silly Dice ~ Printable

Click on the image for a larger version and left click to save to your computer and print. Cut out the shapes and stick the tabs down to form your dice. Use the blank dice to make up your own words or pictures for more fun.

To play the game
Roll the dice to find out what action or emotion you have to act out. Roll two or more dice to combine actions for more hilarity!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Ink Painting

Ink paints are a fun and easy alternative to poster paints and they give a really nice effect. I had this set of Windsor & Newton inks in the back of the cupboard left over from my college days and I discovered if you put a few drops into some water they're very easy to use and last ages. Our paint palette is just perfect for this, we got ours here but I have also seen them in Tiger. Use watercolour brushes or even sponges cut into different shapes. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

What Pete Ate A-Z

Is there anything Pete won't eat? Dog food is off the menu in this hilarious book that takes us through the alphabet discovering what it is exactly that Pete has consumed. Accordion sandwich anyone...
Buy the book here and visit Maira Kalman's website here

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Flower Headbands

Pretty little ladies rockin their headbands
Firstly let me apologise for the quality of these photos. We made these headbands one rainy afternoon just before Christmas to gift to some very special little ladies we know. Sadly we didn't really have much light to capture amazing shots but we did have a lot of fun making them. They were just so pleasing to put together. 

We sourced some fake flowers from the £1 shop (they come on stems but just cut or pull them off) The pom poms came from here and the headbands from here. All very reasonably priced. Then you just need one of the best inventions ever, a glue gun! This is ours which we can highly recommend. Simply alternate a flower with a pom pom making sure they're placed quite tight together. Be generous with the glue as it should be hidden by the petals anyway. 

n.b. This is a super easy craft and so it's perfect for kids though please use your discretion as to what age your mini person is able to use a glue gun.