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Showing posts from November, 2014

Scented glitter pinecones

I love pinecones, me and frog collect them on our nature walks. They make great additions to treasure baskets and craft cupboards, especially this time of year. Pinecones and Christmas go together. To make pinecones hygienic for babies and toddlers, you have to bake them in the oven. 
You can use pinecones for all sorts of Christmas crafts from potpourri to decorations. In this post, I'm making a jumbo batch of scented glitter pinecones that could be used for both. Place your pinecones on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. For a festive smell sprinkle over  a teaspoon of each - cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Place in a preheated oven at 150c for 30 minutes.
Once cooled, pour over pva glue.
How much glue you use will effect how glittery the pinecones turn out. I prefer a light drizzle so the glitter is just a light sprinkling on the tips of the pinecones. Then for the fun bit- shake over your glitter and allow to dry. When done they look like this-  You can add string to make…

Toddler treasure basket

Treasure baskets aren't just a great way to keep babies entertained, you can put together an engaging treasure basket for toddlers for less than £5 too.
Whether your looking to create a unique gift for your toddler this Christmas, or simply keep them busy with their own basket, so you can get on with some craft, this easy to put together Heuristic treasure basket should be just the thing.

#festivefriday linky week 3- share your posts

Wow. It's four weeks now till the big day, and we have reached our third link up week for #festivefriday. I've so enjoyed reading all your posts over the last fortnight and hope, with advent around the corner, I will be bombarded with plenty of posts to get me crafting, cooking and creating this December.

British Pecan Pie recipe

Pecan pie, is an American thanksgiving staple. A delicious end to a special meal, and a scrummy treat to enjoy in the days that follow.

My recipe for pecan pie uses just ingredients readily available in the UK. It's a sentimental dish for me, as it brings back lots of memories.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry sauce becomes so much more than a condiment when you take the time to make it from scratch. The problem with making it in the UK, is getting hold of fresh cranberries, which are usual only available for a week or two in December and cost a bomb to buy.
My Cranberry sauce recipe uses dried cranberries, which are available year round and are much cheaper than fresh.
This is the recipe I use year round in our pub, it's so tasty and requires no difficult to get hold of ingredients.

Handprint wrapping paper

Rainy weather cancelled my plans for lots of nature walks this weekend. I decided Saturday afternoon that I wanted to try some of the lovely handwriting Christmas crafts floating around on pintrest.

Christmas mason jar lantern

Looking for a five minute Christmas Craft to do with the kids this weekend, or even with a sneaky cocktail once the kids have gone to bed? I went to a Christmas Craft event, with my mum at her church last night. There were lots of tables set up with various festive crafts. This mason jar craft was really simple and mess free, so I thought it was the perfect thing to share on my blog.

Festive Friday Linky Week Two

Welcome to #festivefriday. A blog link up specifically for your festive posts in the run up to Christmas, feel free to join up your Christmas crafts, activities, events, reviews, competitions and recipes here.

Christmas cake with a twist

This Sunday is stir up Sunday. The official day (last Sunday before advent) to get your festive bakes made. If you've never made a Christmas cake, or perhaps don't enjoy the tradition recipe, then my easy Christmas cake recipe is for you.

Homemade Christmas Mustard

Foodie gifts make the best stocking fillers, they can be used during the Christmas season, and help make your loved ones holidays extra special. This week we paid a visit to Fortnum and Masons. It's such a gorgeous place full of delicious foods and preserves. I was toying with the idea of buying my husband some of their delicious mustards for Christmas.
But in line with my blog mantra, I thought it be far nicer to give some homemade options ago. In my opinion they have just as much flavour for a quarter of the price.

Science Museum with a toddler

For me, London is one of the most Christmassy places on the planet. I used to work in London, and I always struggled with the crowds, but its even more hectic with a bump and a toddler. Especially around kids holidays, so we decided to make our Christmas shopping visit a month earlier! We booked with National express, as we have no trains in Ringwood.

Celebrating Matinmas

Did you know that the 11th of November is not just Armistice day, but it is the official feast of St. Martin.

Festive Friday blog link party week 1

PoPDid you know there's only 5 fridays left to Christmas! That means there's five weekends left to make homemade gifts, delicious festive treats and adorable handmade decorations.
For my first ever blog link party I wanted to invite everyone to share their festive posts. And help share the #festivefriday inspiration.
So if you've written a festive post please feel free to add it to the link up.It's open all weekend until midnight Saturday.

I'm really looking forward to reading your posts.
The rules- try to visit other posts, and don't forget to tweet me your links @mamafrogblogs

How do you use Soap Nuts

We've been living without shopping in supermarkets for six months, and using cloth nappies for over a year. During this time, I've been making my own washing powder to reduce the cost of doing laundry. But recently I discovered soap nuts and have decided to try them.
What are soap nuts?Soap nuts are a completely natural, organic, vegan, vegetarian, no chemical, hypoallergenic and animal testing free laundry detergent. They come from a group of trees in the lychee family called sapindus, a name derived from the Latin for soap, Saponis. They have been used to make soap for hundreds of years.

How do you use Soap nuts The one kilo bag I ordered, contained two small Hessian drawstring bags. Depending on your water area and how dirty your washing is, you place between three and six individual soap nuts in the mini drawstring bag and place in your machine with your laundry.

When you remove the laundry from the machine, remove the nuts and allow them to dry too.
Soap nuts are biodegra…

Christmas in November

Okay don't think I'm crazy, but this year with a growing bump and a toddler to contend with, I've decided to start my preparations for Christmas a little early.

It's been quite fun actually, I really feel like me and froggy are starting a magical Christmas tradition. He's been a fantastic helper, and hopefully it means I can but my feet up a little more in the run up to Christmas rather than dashing around with swollen ankles and spd. *shakes fist and rotten pregnancy symptoms*

Christmas Piccalilli Recipe

Me and my husband are chalk and cheese when it comes to condiments. I love tart and sweet chutney, where he prefers a hot tangy relish. His favourite being piccalilli.
We've been together 6 years, and every year when I do my Christmas chutney making or pickling, he asks meekly if I might try to make a batch of piccalilli. This year I've decided to make him his own batch for Christmas (darling if your reading this, you better still act suprised!).



Christmas Chutney Recipe

If you are looking for an extra special chutney recipe this Christmas, this is it. It's packed full of festive flavours, and is something a little different to a shop bought offering.

I've been making chutney with my nan since I was a little girl, it's a skill that's come in handy in my life as a pub landlady and wife to a cheese lover.

Cauliflower Soup Recipe

Cauliflower is an underrated vegetable. Not only is it delicious as Cauliflower cheese and piccalilli, but it makes surprisingly good soup too. I made my own Christmas Piccalilli this week, which resulted in a lot of leftover cauliflower soup and stem. Rather than throw them in the bin, I used them instead in this modified cauliflower soup recipe.



A supermarket free Christmas

This year I'm claiming back Christmas. I'm going to be the merriest little elf this side of the North pole. I will not be scrabbling for last minute gifts or stressing about getting my toddler around the shops .Because this year I'm not setting foot in a Supermarket.


Homemade Cinnamon Syrup stocking filler

Nothing makes a Christmas gift special, like making your own. Food gifts are always my favourite to share with friends. This year I wanted to make my sister something special. She's a known coffee fiend, who loves Christmas almost as much as I do.

Magical Christmas books for Children

A truly wonderful Childrens Christmas book can help build up the festive feeling and inspire a child's imagination. I read this lovely round up of Christmas books by Knees up mother brown this morning. It's worth a read as the list features some of our absolute favourites, but there were a few titles missing. So please see this post as an extension of hers.

1. The Jolly Christmas Postman


Set on Christmas eve, this book follows the Jolly postman on his rounds, he delivers beautiful gifts to friends. This book is interactive and includes jigsaw puzzles, mini books and rhymes.
I remember loving this book as a child, and it would be a great way to keep little ones busy on Christmas eve.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies (vegan friendly recipe)

These homemade vegan pumpkin cookies, are delicious and really easy to make. They'd be awesome to give away as a homemade Christmas present, as they are slightly more unusual than your standard cookie and are suitable for vegan friends and family.
I love  cooking with pumpkins.  I grow them at our allotment, and love eating seasonal treats like  pumpkin pie. This pumpkin spice cookie is inspired by the famous Starbucks latte.

Homemade mincemeat

If I had to sum up a homemade christmas in one word- it'd be making festive mince pies at home. There are some great recipes online including the one featured above by Jeena's Kitchen. But I find they taste best when you make your own mincemeat. It's actually easy to make mincemeat. Using this vegan mincemeat recipe.
What is mincemeat? Mincemeat is an English Christmas tradition. It used to feature meat, nuts, citrus fruit, dried fruit and brandy. But over the years the meat content has been reduced to just suet. Because I'm trying to cut meat out of our diets where not necessary my version excludes suet making it a lovely vegan Christmas recipe.

Making Christmas Gifts with Toddlers- Vases and Candle holder

There's nothing better than handmade Christmas gifts, apart from homemade presents that children have helped make.
The toddler who made Christmas is a series of posts on the best homemade gifts to make with your little one.
I'm going to only cover gifts that I would actually want in my own home (no macaroni jewellery here), that I would personally treasure and be proud to give people. Like these cute decoupage vases and Candle holders. Who wouldn't mind these brightening up their kitchen?



Project quick view-
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Toddler hands on time: 15 minutes
Mess factor: low
Cost: 5p each vase or candle holder plus cost of artificial flowers or candles



People are doing WHAT with left over pumpkin?

Uk parents have taken up pumpkin carving in recent years as if it's a tradition of their own. But it's what happens to these halloween trophies after carving that's got me feeling pretty sick to be English.

Welcome Home for the Holidays

November is finally here, which means it's time to start thinking about Christmas festivities. I love all seasons, but in the UK November can be a bit of a filler between halloween and Christmas.