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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Mini mincemeat puffs - a recipe for the control freak mum

Dolly's mini mincemeat puffs
When my children were babies I threw myself into being what one friend of mine calls a 'Playdough Mum'.  

I indeed made an abundance of playdough, and did lots of baking with them - at a time when they were too young to hold a spoon.

However, when they got old enough to start wanting to crack their own eggs into bowls, or measure out flour, or dollop mixture into cakes themselves, I found that our kitchen became a very tense environment indeed.

I have a friend who lets her kids go wild in the 'baking' stakes, and they make all sorts of interesting (inedible) concoctions and they completely trash the kitchen while they are at it.  I really really respect her for letting them do this in the name of letting them have fun and learn, because when I bake with my kids, it is in very controlled conditions.

So when the lovely people from the Great British Chefs website contacted me and asked if I fancied cooking a festive treat with my kids from their website, I chose the recipe I thought would create the least amount of mess.

And yesterday Dolly and I produced these delicious and extremely easy mini mincemeat puffs - a much nicer version (in my opinion) of the traditional mince pie.

It was the perfect recipe for us, because Dolly almost had total control (for a change) and she really felt she had produced something by herself without me breathing down her neck.  And the best bit was that she and Betty really enjoyed eating them, as did family and friends - they really were a winner!

The Great British Chefs website has loads of fabulous looking recipes for kids, and I am really looking forward to trying out some more.

Thank you to Great British Chefs for sponsoring this post - Dolly now thinks I'm a nicer mum...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Festive filmsets - how to make your home shine like scenes from Sainsbury's new Christmas movie

With friends and family coming from far and wide to share in the seasonal fun and festive spirits, Christmas is the perfect time to deck out your house and show off your interior for all to see.

In Kevin Macdonald’s new film, Christmas in a Day, we have the rare opportunity to glimpse into other family’s homes, seeing first hand how different people celebrate Christmas across the country.

And though these are all real families and real homes, you can’t help but see them as cosy Christmas sets, ready for the performance of the year on the 25th if you’re just about to start building your very own festive scene, here’s how to make your home shine just like those in Sainsbury’s Christmas in a day.

Setting the scene

If you’re like many households, the job of getting the scene ready for Christmas begins weeks before the day itself.

Preparing the tree, making the decorations, digging around in the loft to find those oversized Santa lights from last year; all of this and more goes into transforming your home into a winter wonderland.

In order to make the most of your Christmas set, try to have a big clear out before the decorating begins. This will help you to clear away the previous year’s clutter and will give you more room to store your brand new presents once the festivities are over.

Assembling the perfect cast

If you watch the Christmas in a day video, you'll soon see that it takes a large and varied cast to properly fill your Christmas set.

Everyone from grandparents to neighbours and second cousins to life-long friends can play their part at one point or another, so get those invitations out now and start preparing for a real feast.

If you’re hosting a Christmas party this year, why not go all out and create some personalised decorative touches 
for your friends to enjoy, they’ll appreciate the effort that you’ve gone to and you can reuse any left over decorations to make your house shine on the big day.


Lighting is always an important feature of interior design, but at Christmas time it’s absolutely crucial. 

A few cosy lamps placed around your home will help to make the space feel warm and well loved. You can also use white and multi-coloured fairy lights to highlight your interior design features and to add a touch of sparkle to your home. 


Just like the families in Christmas in a Day, you can turn your home into a real film set by investing in a video camera of your own and filming your family as they open their presents and enjoy the Christmas feast and festive fun. 

By capturing these special moments you can treasure them year after year, seeing friends and family grow as time goes on. You could even make a screening of past Christmas videos into a traditional part of your family Christmas celebrations. 


With your Christmas tree in place, the lights plugged in and ready to go and all of your friends and family around to enjoy the fun, there’s nothing left to do but shout ‘Action!’ and let the festivities begin. 

Just make sure that after all of the effort you’ve put in to create the perfect day that you get your due credit and maybe a standing ovation or two once the credits have finally rolled.

This is a sponsored post supplied by Sainsburys.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Styling head from ELC

We recently received this Styling Head from ELC.  Betty has wanted one for a long time and so is very happy indeed (I remember spending much of my childhood wanting one too, but my mum wouldn't wouldn't allow it, and told me to brush my own hair instead).

I have seen many of these dolls in the shops, but this one seems far superior to the others I have seen.  Some of the faces look really scary/distorted, and are just too small to be realistic - but this one has a kind gentle face, thick glossy hair, and is the right size.

I have a nightmare every single morning trying to brush Betty's long thick tangled locks - she is a moving, squirming, moaning target, and we normally end up falling out, and me threatening to cut all her hair off.

So: if I completely tangle up the hair on this styling head, and shake it around and shout a lot while she is trying to make her look nice, she might gain an insight into what I have to go through every single morning.  Of course, once my point has been made, I will leave her in peace to play and have fun with it.

This head costs £22.00, it comes with 13 accessories including brush, clips, and make-up, I am really pleased with it.  I am looking forward to having a little play myself.