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Showing posts from April, 2014

Making our own washing powder

This is a similar recipe to my no borax recipe from earlier this year.
This time I'm using ingredients all available from the high street. Washing powder made at home is really easy to make and unbelievably cheap.  The ingredients below cost roughly £1.39 and makes enough for 2 months worth of washing ( we use cloth nappies and launder the pubs linens with that amount too). We used to spend nearly 5 times that amount.
The other awesome thing about homemade washing powder is that bicarb is the active ingredient in Calgon, meaning your machine gets cleaned and limescale broken down with every wash, extending the life of your washing machine. You will need
2 bars of baby soap (grated)
1 cup of soda crystals
2 cups bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup Bio tex stain remover
10 drops of thieves oil Simply mix the ingredients together and use sparingly (1-2tsp) per wash. No need to increase the heat we've been using this powder for half a year with no issues.

Baby friendly day out Mompesson House

Earlier this year I signed up for National Trust membership. It was a fantastic deal at £20 for a young persons membership.  
I've been increasingly impressed with how baby (and breastfeeding) friendly all the national Trust sites are.  Today's destination  was exceptional in their welcoming to two mummies with babies. 
Today we visited Mompesson house which is opposite the cathedral in Salisbury.  It was the home of artist Barbara Townsend. Below is one of her paintings of the parlour.  The volunteers in every room were very friendly.  The ladies in the entrance watched our buggy and chatted to the babies whilst we got our slings on. 
We went straight to the lovely tea room for lunch. The staff caried our food to the table,  bought us a high chair and didn't raise an eyebrow to weaning frog dropping food on the floor. 
We sat on the terrace over looking the lawn, which meant when the babies got distracted we were able to let them enjoy the garden.  
Frog enjoyed somewhere new to …

Why I didn't take my husbands name

My wedding was a very special day.  It was exactly what I wanted. And so is my fabulous husband.
But I chose not to take on his name when we got married.
This isn't because I'm a modern feminist (far from it). Or because the paperwork is a nightmare (well maybe a little). Or even because I don't think it suits me (it doesn't).
The reason I refuse to take on his name is the same reason (I assume) that he chose not to adopt my maiden name, even in double barrel form.
That simple reason is I know who I am and my identity is my name.  That person bh (before husband) is not dead.  No longer is a woman  identified by who her husband is.  In a society where we are supposed to have it all, it just doesn't seem appropriate that a woman has to be the only one to rebrand.
I'm a happy full time mother and housewife, while my husband works to support us.  We are a very old fashioned household.  My husbands only chores are taking out the rubbish and heavy lifting. I'm …

My little blog got a lovely big mention

I'm so thrilled. My blogs just had its first in print mention in an amazing magazine too.  
I featured in article on traditional gender roles,  home making and craft

I joined in the debate on the side for more respect for stay at home mothers, sharing how fufilling a life of a stay at home mum can be when you handmake clothing,  food or toiletries.  I'm not sure my dh would quite call my homemaking skills domestic bliss but hey I'll take it.

This issue of Mollie makes comes with these nifty fashion flash cards for clothing and accessories. They are all fantastically simple fixes that could be made from old clothing you don't wear any more.   Perfect for novice sewers- theres even an all inclusive brooch sewing kit freebie perfect for complete craft virgins. 
Check out their website here

Heuristic play with the half yearling- 6-9 months

With a change in seasons comes a change in our play space set up.  Now froggy can crawl and sit up  independently the name of the game is less is more.  I've curated his toys down to three small boxes on his quilt in the living room floor.  This helps prevent anything going missing (update gnomey has now been found safe and well ) and  makes it possible to present all in an easy to access format to encourage independent play. 

As you can see its a small amount of stuff.  I tend to switch it around as much as possible to keep the baby on the mat and out of trouble. 
So what keeps the curious half yearling happy?

There's a few "real toys" we keep one bear, frog enjoys holding him and chomping his paws.
The other wood toys are pretty simple.  There's a handful of Farm animals and a wooden peg puzzle of fruit. These reinforce regular concepts into our day to day vocabulary. 

These are mixed in the small boxes with a mix of heuristic bits. I write about heuristic play a fair…

Easter in the kitchen garden

This is part of a collection of posts recording the story of our journey into self sufficiency.  It started in March 2014 with some seeds and a trowel and has been growing ever since. This post marks our kitchen garden adventure a month in - Easter 2014We had been holding back from planting in the garden. After our hot snap in May the papers threatened a white Easter and potentially frost.  However we seem to have escaped this and the weather has finally fit warm enough again to liven up the plants in our kitchen garden, and for us to get planting out.It's been good news for outside playdates too as froggies been able to have his cousins over to play.  We bought his first paddling pool and have enjoyed lots and lots of water play. 
I've found the secret to an early night and a happy baby is plenty of outdoor time.  So we are out there as much as possible at the moment. 
As for the kitchen garden that's doing okay too. We finally have growth in our Patio planters. 

Our Spuds a…

Stocking filler idea- homemade yarn dolls

It's not long til Christmas and I have lots of small Children to make gifts for this year.
 So I decided to give an idea from one of my Floris books (creative play with small children) a go.  These yarn dolls are easy to make and a great way to use up left of wool from your stash.  They would make an adorable stocking filler at Christmas or a nice alternative to money from the tooth fairy. After all, children do love handmade gifts.

Finding gnome-y

Have you seen this gnome?
For the purposes of the investigation we shall call him gnomey.
He went missing around a week ago he was last seen being carried around in froggy's pocket.
If you have any leads please get in touch my little frog is missing him very much.
Update: thought it might be prudent  to add further information
On last during gnomey was wearing an orange corduroy outfit with matching point hat. 
He has fair hair and for some time has been sporting a beard. He may however have shaved. 
Still no sightings

Making bunting

I've anyway known how to make bunting. It's really simple and so appealing.  I mean who doesn't love bunting? It's such a simple thing that can brighten up any home or garden. I'm planning a bunting project as soon as I can get some time on my sewing machine. In the meantime I've been making temporary paper decorations, including bunting,  to celebrate Easter.So here's a quick share of the Easter bunting me and froggy made this week,  using paper doilies strung together with coloured raffia.They are so dainty and look so pretty with the lace of the doily that they don't really require much embellishment.I wrote out the letters for Happy Easter and we sat down as a family to 'decorate' them. This would be more successful with older children as my seven month old seemed to prefer eating the doilies to colouring!
I love that he loves getting involved in the activities now, especially ones like this which are so open in their upper age limit. 
The res…

Making vintage style baby clothes

I like traditional baby clothes,  much more than the modern styles.  You know the vintage lovely all in ones from the 40s, 50s and 60s. It's so hard to find any  vintage baby clothes for sale that I decided to turn my hand to making  them This was my first time following a pattern so it was a bit nerve racking.  I felt for a while like I was reading something in French. I made a lot of mistakes along the way- I had to unpick the whole darn thing at least three times. 
I learnt that there is no blagging it or shortcuts.You need to read the pattern book thoroughly before starting. 
I also learnt that once you've read the instructions properly and prepared your garment and machine, the actual sewing  together doesn't take too long. 


Once on the right track this cute playsuit came together quite well.  It's not the most glamorous garment. Its not a skilled bit of sewing. But it is cute and practical for my little crawler. 
I enjoyed making it so much that I've made qui…

Making glitter dough

We are always looking for fun play ideas to trial with frog.  If you are looking for inspiration a-z of playdoh at nuturestore is a great place to start. I love the ideas they have for sensory play doh, and as frog gets older I'm sure he's going to enjoying being able to explore these ideas. Howeve , as I discovered when we made this glitter dough,  he's more into the making part of play doh than the playing bit. This playdoh creation was made with the assistance of froggy (7 months) and his cousin nutkin (18months). I bought a messy play mat from Avon (nutkins mama is an Avon rep) So  we set up our no cook play dough on the floor. 
Our mix was One cup salt Two Cups flour One Table spoon baking powder One cup of oil And lots of glitter We let the babies have a good mix of the dry ingredients first Cousin nutkin mixes very well Slowly we added the oil and food colouring Then we added some more glitter for fun  The end result was fabulous, but didn't appeal to the babies any where nea…

Making Easter baskets

Just a quick post for a quick craft perfect for the Easter break.  These baskets make a gorgeous addition to a season table. 
You will need:
a4 Card Stapler
To fill: Fleece Raffia Plastic eggs Felt egg shapes

These baskets are fun for all ages.  Simply mark an inch into each edge of the card, fold straight at each measurement and then diagonally fold each corner.  Staple in place then cut a handle strip which is also fastened with staples. 




We put the older two in charge of felting eggs out of fleece and cutting egg shapes out of felt

The plan was to use the Raffia and fleece to make a nest like lining to the baskets As you can see froggy had other ideas.  He now loves playing with his baket on the season table

Fruity Easter nests

As part of the weaning process with froggy I'm trying to income him in as much of the cooking as possible. 
Must of the time that means he goes in the sling whilst I cook. But this week I decided to go the whole hog and make easter nests. 
We had his aunt and uncle (1 and 7) visiting, so I gave them each a tub of cornflakes. 
Froggy loved playing with his tub of cornflakes. 
I I melted the mix on the hob (butter, chocolate,  sugar) then poured into the tubs for each child to stir their own mix. As you can see it isn't a very thick mix it only takes a small amount to hold the nests firm. 

Next instead of mini eggs I copied some fruit to top the Nests. 


We put uncle bear in charge of the decoration
Although both froggy and Bella were desperate to get stuck in - note the Chocolate mix war paint on the side of his head!  This post is linked up with mini creations and savoring the season

Baby friendly day out- Mottisfont Abbey

Today me and little frog loaded up some sandwiches, the dog and the daddy into the car and headed out on an adventure at Mottisfont abbey.We signed up to the National trust last week as they have a deal offering 25% off membership when you join online.  I was even cheeky enough to tweet them regarding their policy for breastfeeding mothers,  to which I got a positive reassuring reply. So reassured that little frog would be made welcome,  we met the extended family there for a baby friendly day out at Mottisfont abbey.
 Mottisfont was once the home of the famous Maud Russel who's love of art is  prevalent throughout the house.The house itself, was fine with the babies they enjoyed all the pretties, there was a cool dressing up box in the exhibition Hall and nearly all the staff seem genuinely pleased to see the kids there and wanted to interact with.  
A couple seemed a bit stand offish but I get a big group with lots of kids is probably not why some people volunteer to work in a his…

That breastfeeding myth

I remember looking through my bounty book and seeing this lovely illustration of a mum talking about how breastfeeding would help you loose weight and how the thought of a slimmer figure had her hubby supporting the choice to  breastfeed.
I didn't put much weight on while I was pregnant. My husband and I own a pub so during pregnancy I was run off my feet I was so active I ended up with spd and being signed off work.  We had to move when I was in my second trimester which again kept me on  feet.
My sons birth was a natural water birth I felt good and I was back to normal weight (size 10) by 10 days post delivery.  I'm a stay at home mum/blogger now so a lot of my day is sedentary- spent nursing or playing on the floor with my son.
We eat healthy and I don't drive so do walk a fair bit but it's nowhere near my previous activity. I thought my body had changed a little but was pretty shocked when I measured my waist and it was 3 inches wider than before making me a size …