{Review} Stampin’ Up Cookies Present Kit

We were sent a rather cool ‘Stampin’ Up‘ cookie present kit. It’s a stamp with different silicon ‘faces’ (Halloween, Snowflake and Hearts) on them to stamp the biscuits and then some lovely packaging to make them into mini presents for friends, neigbours or family.

Miss L was pretty excited as she’s been studying all things biscuit for Food Tech this term, so she was more than happy to try the kit out. We screwed up a bit and missed entirely the recipe that came with the stamps – oops! So we ended up making chocolate shortbreads which didn’t take the faces that well – well at all when they were cooked!.  Next time we’ll use the recipe that came with them, I think it might work a lot better!.

But we had lots of fun and I really loved the packaging and the stamp is lovely, wooden and solid, so we’ll be making some as stocking gifts for friends and family at Christmas. Stampin’ Up items seem to be sold through local demonstrators and not through shops (which is a shame), so have a look on the website and see if there is one near you.

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The Sofa’s Are Here!

Finally after 2 years of pretty much sitting on the floor on one broken sofa and getting a numb bum on a really uncomfortable sofa bed, the new Ikea sofa’s have arrived!  The sofa bed was taken away last week by a local charity but they laughed at how bad the other one was, so that’s being collected by the council to take to the tip next week.

After MUCH arguing loud discussion, consultation with readers, bloggers, twitter and pretty much anyone else I could ask we went with Ikea sofas because well…they were cheap, delivery wasn’t insane and they could get them to me in a couple of weeks.  Originally we were going for the Ektorp because I liked that they were washable but as Mr VP pointed out Miss L and Betty aren’t babies anymore so wipeable should be ok so we went with the Kivik because I liked that they are a bit deeper and can double as almost single beds when we have visitors.

They came on Friday in 7 BOXES! Oh my word, so pleased I’d cleared out the dining room for the delivery.  I didn’t realise that we’d have to pretty much be putting them together.   But it wasn’t as horrendous as I thought it’d be because Ikea have joined the 21st Century and instead of the unfollowable instructions – which are still in the box but useless as always – they now have a video you can watch and copy! Putting them together took about 2 hours, which wasn’t as long as I thought it’d be.

Can I just say this video saved out marriage, we would have spent hours arguing without this!  I of course still managed to drop the extremely large footstool on my knee – oww! But that was the only Ikea related injury 🙂

The finished result!

We’re really pleased with them, they have memory foam in them which means they are currently a bit stinky but the smell is dissipating fast. However unlike the old ones they keep their shape and are dead comfy. We maybe should have measured the footstool – it’s massive and way bigger than we thought it would be but that’s not a bad thing we can all get our feet on it and it’s got storage in it too, which means I can hide my magazines yay!.

The only thing I don’t like and this is entirely our fault is we should have thought about the colour more, it doesn’t go with anything else in the room. The rug, which is on it’s last legs anyway now really needs to go.  The brown and grey clash is driving me mad everytime I walk into the room. The blue of the old cushions isn’t too bad but just looks a bit off, so we think we’re going to accessorize with a new smart red rug and some grey and red cushions come next payday. I think it’ll make a big difference to how the room will look.

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Half Term Glittery Fun

We’re on half term- hurray!  It’s so nice to have my girl home, and today we’ve been having fun with glitter, card and felt.  I bought some glitter glue, felt, cards and a ton of other craft stuff a few weeks ago in a sale and then hid them all away at the back of the cupboard so Miss L wouldn’t find them early and use them all up. She was so pleased when I got them out this morning as a surprise.

So as she’s older now I’ve pretty much let her do her own thing, and she decided to make Christmas cards for her friends and some Christmas tree decorations.  She’s been reading through Thrifty Christmas and gotten inspired, you should see the list of things we have to make this year!

The good thing about glitter glue is that it’s harder to get everywhere so much less messy than glitter and glue together – probably less fun for her but easier for me to clean up!

There’s lots leftover so she’ll have something to play with for the rest of the week. I think we’ll have Christmas cards for everyone in the school by Friday!

 

 

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Mini Bake Off

I do like it when I get sent a good book to review – especially when it involves cake!  I was sent ‘The Great British Bake Off – Learn to Bake’ which is a cookery book aimed at older children to teens I would have said.  We’re addicted to the show here and we’re all Team James for the final. He won Miss L over with his crazy gingerbread derelict barn which was just a genius recovery from something going to terribly.  A good life lesson for Miss L I felt – you can mess up and still win – good work James.

Anyway back to the book.  I must admit I know it’s aimed at kids but I’ve actually found it quite informative. It has nice concise instructions and isn’t too overwhelming but not condescending either and not like a lot of kids cookery books  just full of cupcakes with smarties on.

There’s whole sections explaining basic ingredients, equipment and what baking terms mean which is good because I had no idea what ‘whisking to ribbon’ meant.  The book much like the programme is broken down in cakes, little bakes, biscuits, bread, pastry and puddings.

Miss L has been rummaging through it for cooking ideas for the half term that’s coming up next week and apparently we HAVE to make the rather amazing looking swiss roll in the book.

Anyone who was with me in a Home Ec class in 1984 stop sniggering now – there was an incident with me, a swiss roll and a coverup by my whole amazing class – really long story.  I’m just hoping that the swiss roll murdering gene has skipped a generation and my girl is less cack handed than me – shouldn’t be hard!.

I’ll post some pictures of our baking’s next week!

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Views of London

I love London when it’s sunny and the sky is clear, I personally cannot think of a more beautiful city.  Here are some photos when I was down at The Mads a couple of weeks back.

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And then on the train home, back to my little girl 🙂

 

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Mummy’s (not) in the Picture

A friend shared this article “The Mom Stays in the Picture” from The Huffington Post on Facebook and it made a few of us quite teary.  It’s a beautiful article about how the writer Allison Tate who feels that as a mother her life now largely goes undocumented because of how she feels about herself now.  Allison is utterly right, I am the photographer/documenter of my daughter’s life, but I’m hardly ever in a photo with her or have an photos of me. Any Miss L takes of me…well generally they end up deleted.  Mostly because in my eyes I’m too fat or look too tired/old/grey/crap.

In fact in the run up to The Mads, they asked me for a family photo of the three of us and I realised the last one was taken on holiday by a Disney photographer in 2009.  I just didn’t have anything more recent than that, which was a bit embarrassing to admit for someone known for taking loads of photos!

So I’m changing this, from now on I will accost strangers to take our photo, use Phootbooth to take silly ones, and let my girl take more photos of me and I’ll stop worrying about looking crap/fat/old.  So to kick myself off here is the latest photo that was taken of me and Miss L a month ago (snapped by my Dad as we were Harvest Decorating their local church windows)

Thank you Allison Tate, I think you’ve woken a lot of us up!  Who’s joining us?

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Dark Inspiration

The new dark sofas are a massive change in taste for us. We are the house of cheap, painted, wipeable shabby chic and the new sofas are well sleek and uncrumpled.

If any of you follow my Pinterest you’ll see I’ve been pinning all manner of dark and sexy lounges. So I was delighted when this Ikea image dropped into my inbox yesterday, a little bit of fate I think.  I love the dark greens and pinky purples with the black, these are my new inspiration.

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An Evening Out

I had the most wonderful time at The Mads on Friday, it was so lovely catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones.  Thank you for voting for me so I could be there! I didn’t win, Heather from Growing Spaces did – hurray! Her blog is fabulous and it was so well deserved – go and check her out. I want her home 🙂

The finalists were really spoilt as we had onsite hair and make up – get in! Just as well as my hair had gone into a Kate Bush style, just huge and curly. Luckily the hairdresser tamed it and then a lovely makeup artist called Sue, sorted out my face. I forgot to take any photos with me in, too busy talking!  But I found this nice one on the Tots100 instagram stream, I’m sitting with Elaine from Mortgage Free in Three who was wearing the most amazing dress!

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As you can see everyone was in a party mood.  I had a good catch up with the very lovely Becky from Baby Budgeting and my fellow Geek Mum, Ruth from GeekMummy (bottom right photo)…

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…(bottom left photo) the stunning Mirka from All Baby Advice and Kat from Slugs on the Refrigerator (who was the big winner of the night – yay!).  Pippa from A Mother’s Ramblings (bottom right photo) who had me in hysterics as usual, she is one of the funniest women I know. I also got to meet for the first time Jen from Love Chic Living which was great as we’ve chatted so much on here and twitter but I didn’t managed to snap a photo of her).
It was a wonderful evening and many thanks to Sally and her team for organizing it and giving us bloggers such a great night out.
 

 

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