December 2014

How to Make Gingerbread Tree Decorations!

Posted on Dec 22, 2014

Gingerbread Man Tree Decoration

Gingerbread Man Tree Decoration

As you may have guessed I absolutely love Christmas! But, being on maternity leave means this year I have had to be a bit more careful with my money. When we put our tree up this year I thought it looked a little bare, a few of the glass decorations had broken as we moved flats last year, & the stocking and robin looked a bit lonely on the tree.

A friend suggested adding some tinsel, but my husband has very definite ideas about tinsel so that was a no! So I started looking for Christmas tree decorations that would be nice & cheap and decided to make Gingerbread Tree Decorations. If you have children old enough, then this is a really easy recipe to make with them & they will enjoy decorating them afterwards. So how do you make Gingerbread Tree Decorations? This recipe is loosely based on one from the National Trust, but adapted by my mum over many years.

Gingerbread Recipe

  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 190g butter
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 450g plain flour
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Icing writing, sweets, gold balls, anything you want to decorate your gingerbread with.

How to Make Gingerbread Tree Decorations

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Grease x 2 baking trays with butter.
  • Put the sugar, golden syrup, black treacle, water, cinnamon and ginger in a large pan.  Heat to boiling point, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stir in the flour. Leave the mixture for at least half an hour until it becomes firm.
  • Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/2 cm thick.
  • Use a cutter to cut out your gingerbread shapes & place on the greased baking tray.
Use a cutter to cut out your gingerbread shapes.

Use a cutter to cut out your gingerbread shapes.

  • Use a carving fork to pierce to a hole in the top of the gingerbread shapes about 1/2 cm from the top.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes until firm & golden.
  • Leave to cool on the baking tray.
  • Gently push the carving knife back through the hole made to ensure there is room for the thread to go through.

    Gingerbread decorations

    Gently push the carving knife back through the hole made to ensure there is room for the thread to go through.

  • Thread embroidery thread through the hole & tie to make a loop so you can hang your decoration on the tree.

    Gingerbread Christmas Tree Decorations

    Thread embroidery thread through the hole & tie to make a loop so you can hang your decoration on the tree.

  • Decorate your Gingerbread shapes.

    Gingerbread Tree Decorations

    Decorate your Gingerbread shapes.

  • Put your Gingerbread Decorations on the Christmas Tree!

    Gingerbread Star Tree Decoration

    Decorate your Christmas Tree with your Gingerbread Decorations.

If you want to use the above recipe just to make gingerbread men can I recommend that you only put them in the oven for 10 minutes? Then they will be soft & gooey even when cooled.

If you like baking biscuits then please check out my blog on how to make chocolate chip cookies & champagne.

It’s All About Sparkly & Metallic Flat Shoes!

Posted on Dec 17, 2014

N4 Mummy's Sparkly Trainers

Loved & worn, N4 Mummy’s Sparkly Slip Ons (Bought in China)

At this time of year sparkle & metallic shoes are everywhere, but can they only be worn for the Christmas party season? Is it worth spending money on shoes that can only be pulled out once a year? And which ones should you buy?

Last September when the Spring Summer 2015 catwalk shows were unveiled, Christopher Bailey at Burberry Prorsum & Alice Temperley at Temperley London revolutionised the fashion world by putting all their models in FLAT SHOES! Now, we are no longer are expected to squeeze our feet into sky scraper heels, as trainers, slip ons, Birkenstock style sandals & loafers became the must have items. For once the fashion world has given our feet a real treat!

The trick is to dress your outfit down; wear a pair of metallic brogues with cigarette trousers, or a pair of sparkly trainers with a mini skirt. Also, a pair of sparkly flats in your wardrobe is a bit like a bar of chocolate in your nappy bag, a pick me up for those low energy moments. I confess to owning several pairs of sparkly flats because whenever I am tired, had a bit of a rough day or just can’t think what to wear I put them on & suddenly the day is that little bit brighter! Plus sparkles captivate any child.

N4 Mummy’s Favourite Sparkly Trainers

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Silver Glitter Slip On Trainers – £106 DKNY

Dainty Silver Glitter Trainers – £50, Converse

Dialog Plimsolls – £25, ASOS

N4 Mummy’s Favourite Sparkly & Metallic Flat Shoes

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Sparrow Glitter Slipper Shoe – £28, Topshop

Lace Up Brogue Shoes – £55, Twiggy for M&S Collection

Rose Gold Metallic Flat Shoes – £19.99, NewLook

Silver Moccasins, £49.99, Zara

It isn’t just about sparkly & metallic flats, try adding a bit of sparkle to your accessories too, click here to read my post on Shimmering in Silver.

 

Stocking Fillers for Men

Posted on Dec 15, 2014

If you have men in your life like my husband, Dad & brothers in law then you’ll know trying to find “cheap” stocking fillers for men is an absolute nightmare. Every year my husband & I set a budget for our Christmas present & stocking, & every year by the time I have bought those “little bits” for the stocking I am already way over budget! So I’ve put together a few ideas of stocking fillers for men.

8 Ideas for Stocking Fillers for Men

 

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Mr Natty Face Forest Soap – £15, The Grooming Clinic (free shipping for UK over £10)

Respect the Bead Mug – £11.95, Zazzle

Vintage Style Bicycle Pump – £5.95, Not On The High Street

Mixed Nuts in Shell – £3.00 or 2 for £5.00, Tesco

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Striped Socks – £15, John Lewis

Laphroaig Whisky – £25.00, Tesco

Build Your Own Rubber Band Plane, £8.00, John Lewis

Scrabble Fridge Magnets, £6.95, Fruugo

If you would like more ideas of what to buy people this Christmas then please check out my posts, What to Buy a Teenage Girl for Christmas & What to give a Mum for Christmas.

Happy Shopping!!

 

What to give a Mum for Christmas?

Posted on Dec 14, 2014

Two Turtle Doves Jumper,  Topshop £48

Two Turtle Doves Jumper, Topshop £48

I’m sure you’re familiar with the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, well if your True Love really were to give you 12 presents, what would you want? My family always asks me for a list of presents I’d like & this year it really got me thinking, as I realised since becoming a Mum my wants had changed. So here is a suggestion of things a Mum would really like for Christmas.

12 Things to give a Mum for Christmas!

12 Full Night’s Sleep! 10pm-7am please no interruptions zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

11 Baby Sitting Tokens. I’d like to go for dinner with my husband, go to a movie without a screaming child, meet my girl friends for a drink and go & watch my favourite band play. These things I used to take for granted before the birth of Daisy.

10 Beautifully Painted Nails. Then I can give the impression of being a mummy in control! I love this colour from Victoria Beckham & Nails Inc

judo-red

Judo Red Nail Polish, Victoria, Victoria Beckham x Nail Inc, £25

bars of chocolate, that should just about see me through to February! My favourite is Green & Blacks & Tescos currently have an offer 3 for £5 until 1st January 2015.

Green & Blacks Sea Salt Chocolate

8 (at least!) Meals Cooked by my Husband. Since becoming a mum somehow I have ended up doing all the cooking, how has that happened?

7 Days of Fun with my Daughter (every week). The sad reality is that most of us have to go back to work sooner or later.

Daisy & N4Mummy

N4 Mummy & Daisy on the swings at the park

Odd Job Men. Our flat needs sorting, 1 to put in a new boiler, 2 to redo the grotty bathroom, 2 to finish the nursery (I had so many plans & several Pintrest boards full of inspiration) & 1 to make a me cup of hot Ribena.

5 New Pairs of Knickers, one for each day of the working week!

Lace Brazilian Panties, Intimissimi £9.00 each or 3 for £22

Lace Brazilian Panties, Intimissimi £9.00 each or 3 for £22

4 Hours in a Spa. How about the Thermae Bath Spa in the early evening? The idea of champagne in a roof top hot tub overlooking the city appeals.

3 New jumpers, it’s so cold now I need to warm up. My favourite shops for jumpers are Cos & Whistles, they just use such lovely yarns, mohair, cashmere & merino.

Cropped Mohair Jumper, Cos £59

Cropped Mohair Jumper, Cos £59

Funnel Neck Cashmere Knit, Whistles £175 (Was £250)

Funnel Neck Cashmere Knit, Whistles £175 (Was £250)

Contrast Rib Jumper, Cos £69

Contrast Rib Jumper, Cos £69

2 New Nursing Bras, nice Elle Macpherson ones please. Having a baby feeding from my boob is unsexy enough without the added ‘help’ of maternity underwear!

Elle Macpherson Intimates Bra £32.00 House of Frazer

Elle Macpherson Intimates Bra, House of Fraser £32.00

1 Pretty Necklace. Alex Monroe please, he is my favourite jewellery designer.

The Goring Shrimp, Alex Monroe £195

The Goring Shrimp, Alex Monroe £195

If you liked this post & want ideas of What to Buy a Teenage Girl for Christmas pls click here.

What to Buy a Teenage Girl for Christmas?

Posted on Dec 9, 2014

Fashionista & uber cool teenager - Tabby!

Fashionista & uber cool teenager – Tabby!

I like to think that I am young(!) & because I’ve worked for fashion companies over the years that I have my finger on the pulse & I’d know what to buy a teenage girl for Christmas. Helping run my church youth group for teenagers has reminded me that it has been well over a decade since I was a teenager & that I actually don’t know very much at all! The teenage world is a whole new culture, they use words I’ve never even heard of & forget about knowing the latest band, it’s all about YouTube stars!

So to help us all out this Christmas I asked budding fashionista and über cool teenager Tabby for some help. Here is her Wish List from Santa!

Tabby’s List of What to Buy a Teenage Girl for Christmas!

Real Techniques Starter Kit 
This is a great starter kit for eye makeup. It’s good quality, but it isn’t too expensive either. The purple brushes are pretty too!
£12.50 www.amazon.co.uk
Real Techniques Starter Kit
Lily Aztec Cape
Great for layering, it also has a fashionable print and would make a useful basic.
£20 www.boohoo.com 
Lily Aztec Print Cape Boohoo 
Blue Mini Structured Tote Bag 
This bag is so useful as it is a great size, not huge, but big enough to fit stuff in for a day out! It also has a shoulder strap, which is so useful for teens like me who get so annoyed at having to carry a bag in their hand all day!
£30 www.riverisland.com
Blue Mini Structured Tote Bag River Island
 
Bad Gal Lash Mascara 
This mascara is expensive but a reliable present to get – Benefit is one of lots of teen girls’ favourite make up brands as the quality is amazing, their packaging is gorgeous and their products last for ages. 
£17.50 www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk
Bad Gal Lash Mascara Benefit
 
Shell Pink Wool Mix Boyfriend Coat
I LOVE this coat, it would be so easy to wear as it has a really relaxed, slightly oversized fit and a pretty neutral colour. It looks so cosy and soft too! 
£49.99 www.newlook.com
Shell Pink Wool Mix Boyfriend Coat New Look
Girl Online, By Zoe Sugg 
This fiction book was written by Zoella, a youtuber watched by lots of girls age 11-15. If you know that the girl you are buying presents for watches Zoe’s videos, I would definitely recommend getting her this book (if she hasn’t already bought it!)
£5 www.amazon.com

Girl Online Zoe Sugg
And for those of us who have never watched a Zoe Sugg you tube video check out
 www.youtube.com/user/zoella280390
For more thoughts from Tabby check out her blog www.chunkyjumpers.blogspot.co.uk

Get Christmassy – Attend a Church Carol Service

Posted on Dec 8, 2014

How do you get in the Christmas spirit? Since the birth of Daisy I feel like we are now a family & so need to start creating some Christmas family traditions. I don’t know about you, but after I left home Christmas became so important and I wouldn’t let my parents change the way we did things! Even down to what we ate on Christmas Eve had to stay the same. Every race, culture & family does it differently and some won’t celebrate it all, but I love Christmas and want it to be a special time of year for my family, so how do I start creating these traditions for Daisy? Over the next week or so I will be posting a few ideas of easy & fun things you could do to celebrate Christmas with your family.

For most of us December is a time of crazy shopping, baking & finding small nooks & crannies in our houses to hide presents from prying eyes. However we are in Advent which is a time of waiting & preparation for the coming King, Jesus as a tiny baby in Bethlehem many many years ago – hence advent calendars! One of my favourite ways to remember why we are celebrating Christmas, amidst the craziness, is to attend a church carol service.

Most churches will run a carol service at this time of year. You can find a church near you by going to www.findachurch.co.uk

Alternatively for those who are local to N4, Trinity Church Islington (St Mark’s Myddelton Square, EC1 1XX) has a great family carol service on 14th December at 4pm. There are always homemade mince pies, mulled wine & cake, we go every year and love it! For more info go to www.trinityislington.org 

Trinity Church Islington Carol Service

To get us in the Christmassy mood feel free to listen to one of my favourite carols ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ 🙂