World’s Best Pesto Recipe! (For Real)

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For those of you who don’t know, Adam and I are getting married at the end of June, and one of the main reasons I am marrying this rather marvellous man, is the fact that his pesto recipe is the best I have ever tried! It beats even the best jar pestos hands down, and is just so so flavoursome. The children also love it, and it delicious simply with pasta, or in a sandwich or salad. The man has many talents, but this bright green, party-for-the-palate pesto is definitely high up on the list!

World's Best Pesto Recipe
A delicious, bursting with flavour, green pesto recipe, great with pasta, or in salads and sandwiches.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 chopped clove of garlic
  2. 4 decent handfuls of fresh basil, minus tougher stalks
  3. 1 handful lightly toasted pine nuts
  4. 1 large handful grated Parmesan cheese
  5. Extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1 small squeeze of lemon juice
  7. Sea salt
  8. Ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whizz the chopped garlic, basil leaves and salt and pepper in a food processor.
  2. Add the pine nuts to the mixture and whizz again.
  3. Empty into a bowl and add half the parmesan, before stirring in enough olive oil to bind everything together (don't let it get too runny).
  4. Season again to taste, and then add the rest of the cheese, again, stirring in gently.
  5. Add more olive oil if necessary (consistency preference depending), and stir.
  6. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like (we find this gives it a nice 'twang'!).
Notes
  1. The pesto can be stored in air-tight tupperware in the fridge for up to a week.
The Spirited Puddle Jumper http://www.spiritedpuddlejumper.com/

My Home Style: Edition 5

Welcome regular readers to My Home Style: Edition 5, and also to any newcomers out there! This is the feature where the lovely Emma (of Life at the Little Wood) and I showcase our favourite housey/interiors/home lust-haves that loads of lovely people have been sharing with us on Instagram, using the #MyHomeStyle. 

It’s a mixed bag this week, but definitely veering towards the bright and cheery, which should make anyone smile on a Monday morning :-)

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I almost can’t explain why I like @Sussie_79’s picture, but I think it’s the fact I really love the visual effect and the contrast in colour /texture the dresser has against the white wooden wall. The vases on the dressers, plus the super-cool picture on the wall just add to the feel of a lived-on home that belongs to someone with a bit of edge!

 

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Now, because my current mismatched dinner set is cracked, chipped and god-knows-what-else, I had SERIOUS homeware envy when I saw Sian’s (@pottymouthedmummy) bold and blue, nautical inspired set. It’s made me sorta wish Adam and I had decided to have a gift list for our wedding in June- I definitely would’ve put a new set on the list!

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Jess’ (@wrymummy) pic warmed my cockles, as she has beautifully displayed and coordinated her nephew’s painting with her flowers. My kinda woman! We are drowning in artwork from Freddie and Sasha here, and Jess has made me realise that both homemade-family and grown up interiors can work really well together.

 

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Aaah, Emily’s (@brickdustandglitter) nursery wall is just darling, and I’m always jealous of someone who can write well on chalkboards, especially small ones! <glares at the scraggy written one above the kids’ play kitchen>

 

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I adore Chloe’s (@chloegraceb) black and white roll top bath- so unusual. I also love the detail that is the taps resting on the wooden ledge in front of the subway tiles- I’ve never seen a bath have it’s taps like this. Definitely the little details that make a room special!

 

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As a Mum of two small ones and all the paraphenalia that comes with them (artwork/preschool letters/ certificates), it’s always hard to find a way of housing and displaying them all well (ours is on the back of the kitchen door). This brilliant tree in @Little_green_tree_ ‘s playroom really made me smile, and is a great, themed way of doing so- the kids would love it!

 

 

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Now, I featured Gill’s (@gill_c) gorgeous rainbow pom pom garland the other week, and I had to feature it again as it’s been joined by the most perfect cushions for fans of colour! Gill has a tour of her little girl’s room currently on her blog- you should hop over and take a look HERE.

 

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I’ve said before that I’m a massive chalkboard wall fan, so had to finish off by featuring this one in Aimee’s (@missaimeefleur) house. I love how they get everyone in the family to be more creative, and they really do become the heart of the home-ours is used nearly every day three years after having it painted on our hall wall. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

Anything take your fancy here?

If you have children, how do you display their paintings (if at all!)? 

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*Giveaway* Win tickets to Grand Designs Live 2015!

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If there’s one programme on TV that Adam and I can unanimously agree to watch, it’s Grand Designs! We’re both fans of interiors and home design, and for several years now have absolutely loved seeing people be brave and bold enough to fulfill their dreams of a fabulously, innovative home. 

Well, for those of you who feel the same as us, I have a fantastic giveaway on the blog today: Your chance to win tickets to this year’s Grand Designs Live event at London’s Excel Centre (running 2nd-10th May)!

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You can choose which day you would like to attend, and will get the chance to catch some of the highlights of this fab event, including:

  • Ask An Expert, sponsored by Express Bi-folding Doors, promises to offer aspiring developers, and those undertaking a home improvement, build or renovation venture, specialist advice to assist with getting their own Grand Designs project underway.
  • For the eco-conscious visitor, Kevin McCloud’s Green Heroes will showcase show ambassador Kevin McCloud’s hand-picked selection of the most impressive eco-innovations and technologies; aiming to improve housing and our way of living.
  • ‘The Green House’ – Grand Technology, new for 2015, the Green House is an interactive walk through experience, showing the latest innovative gadgets and eco technology, as well as lighting designs and systems for the home.
  • The Grand Designs Eco Trail will feature highlights of those exhibitors that have eco or sustainable build products, making it easier for visitors with an interest in eco-friendly innovations to seamlessly navigate through the show to discover the products that matter to them.
  • The Grand Kitchens feature, sponsored by Miele, will boast a unique interactive cookery demonstration stage, a kitchen design seminar stage, a private consultation area for visitors to receive expert advice on their kitchen projects as well as a display of the winning kitchen design finalists. Visitor are also given the opportunity to see celebrity guests take on the ‘Celebrity Cook Along’.
  • A new Grand Kitchens feature this year is the Miele Live Kitchen Seminar Stage, which will host a busy schedule of kitchen design talks. These are set to include kitchen design, technology in the kitchen, trends and materials, colour and much more!
  • The Garden Design Competition – is set to run at the London show for the third time in the Grand Gardens section, sponsored by Hydropool. The competition will see entrants submit a garden design based on ‘Encouraging Wildlife in your garden’. The competition gives an opportunity for garden designers and landscapers who are interested in boosting their profile to showcase their skills and their designs at the show.
  • The Grand Village promises to showcase best-in-class innovation as seen on Channel 4: ‘Grand Designs’, featuring eco homes by Natural Building Live and Easy Domes, each demonstrating unique sustainable building techniques, and offering hands-on activities for visitors.
  • The Grand Theatre, sponsored by Airflow, will host a ‘Meet the Grand Designer’ seminar each day of the show, featuring a celebrity host alongside a couple or family from the recent Grand Designs series, talking through the challenges of their build project. The Theatre will also feature topical debates and talks as well as addressing local planning and building issues with a range of experts and guest speakers including: Kevin McCloud, George Clarke, Wayne Hemingway, Dan Hopwood, Sophie Robinson, Charlie Luxton, Lucy Hedges, Jo Hamilton and James Alexander Sinclair.
  • This year Grand Interiors will feature the Grand Designs Live Interiors Theatre, which will host a series of talks regarding home decorating, and interiors roomsets, for home inspiration.

PHEW! Sounds pretty awesome to me <faints at thought of all this good design stuff going on>

HOW TO ENTER:

I have 5 pairs of tickets to giveaway, and all you have to do to enter is follow me/the blog on Twitter and Facebook. So easy! Please make sure you fill in the Rafflecopter box below for your entry to count.

The closing date is Tuesday 21st April, and a winner will be picked at random via Rafflecopter. 

Good luck!

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Gratitude Express: Things that have made me happy this week

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Well hello there! I’ve had a rather lovely week or so off blogging- 1. Because of the children being on Easter holidays from preschool = pretty much nadda time to do anything bloggy, and 2. I had my hen do (whoop!) slap bang in the middle, which took up a fair few days (more on that later ;-) ) and it was quite a nice enforced break.

I can honestly say that these preschool holidays have been the most enjoyable yet- we’ve had a lovely mix of days out and days at home, the latter helped by the glorious spring weather we’ve had, which has meant both F&S have spent many hours playing and pottering in the garden. 

As I type I’ve dropped the children off at preschool, and am sitting in the kitchen with the back door wide open, drinking a cuppa, and trying to cram some work and wedding planning into a couple of hours. The sun shining sure does help lift the mood!

Here is what has made me happy this past week or so:

  • MY.HEN.DO. Honestly, it was quite simply one of the best friend-related weekends EVER! My pals surprised me with a trip to Amsterdam, and had thought of so much detail: from quizzes, to drag queen cabaret, from (pretty disgusting) fancy dress to places to eat and drink, they had put so much effort in and we all had a blast. I am a very, very lucky lady!
  • Watching close friends of ours get married on Friday. The weather was glorious, the location perfect, and again, it was the little details that really made the day an awesome one (hello, his and hers after dinner cocktails, and personalised wedding songs!).
  • Gardening with Freddie and Sasha. We spend last Wednesday helping out for a couple of hours at their preschool, tending to the beds in the park by weeding and putting some new ones in. My gardening knowledge is pretty limited to be honest, but I still enjoy the feeling of being outdoors and pretending that I am actually participating in the growing of ‘stuff’. The kids raked around and pulled out some weeds for a bit, before going off and playing on the playing fields surrounding preschool. This was lovely to see, as there were children of different ages, and watching them interact with older ones was how I would imagine it was ‘back in the day’, when children could play outside/go off and play for hours without adults being there. Fab.
  • Getting our daytime wedding guest invites out. Massive weight off my mind! 
  • Freddie and Sasha (mostly) playing so well together, and making up little games and scenarios with their Peppa figures. Great to watch, and has freed up loads of my time- I sometimes don’t know what to do with myself! (Note to self: WEDDING STUFF).
  • My little lady starting swimming lessons in the pool without me- I was worried she’d refuse to go in with just the teacher, but she handled it like a pro, all smiles and waves. I could have burst with pride!
  • It being light in the mornings. Okay, so it’s aiding the small, already early risers in our house, but tis so much easier to bounce out of bed when that sun is shining!

and finally…

  • Getting the old trotters out in my fugly Birkenstocks. My feet might be blinding people this side of the South Circular, but boy does getting air on them feel GOOD!

What has made you happy?

 

Potty Mouthed Mummy

 

Linking up with Sian and KA for ‘Count Your Lucky Stars’!

Ideal Home Show 2015 Uncovered!

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For interiors lovers, the yearly Pilgrimage to the house-and-home-Mecca that is The Ideal Home Show is a calendar highlight. I’m sure I remember my own Mum attending when I was small, and as I’ve developed my own passion for the latest in home design, it’s been an event that I’ve been super-keen to go to myself. So when the fab bods at Kinetico offered me a chance to go the London Olympia and sniff out the latest in home appliances, decoration, furniture, food and innovations, I totally jumped at the chance and I might well have squealed a tiny bit. 

The actual event is HUGE, much bigger than I was ever expecting (there are hundreds of stands, plus areas hosting informative talks and demonstrations). So, after grabbing a coffee, and gathering my thoughts, but not before getting sucked in by a very convincing chap from The Cats Protection League (I will now be paying 6 quid a month for my very own pen of cats somewhere up north), I was ready to rumble. I decided to mostly bypass the beauty section on this occasion, in the interests of interiors/home research, and after spending a day perusing some truly awesome stands, I can bring you my picks from the show:

Prettiest Frames:

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 The first stand to really catch my eye because I’m such a lover of photos, and because we’re looking to add a few photo walls to our home later this year, was ‘Ayers & Graces’. They are the No.1 supplier of reproduction antique mirrors and picture frames in the UK, and oh-so-very pretty. I would love a combination of these frames on the wall of our stairway, once our loft conversion is complete.

 Best of British:

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 Not everyone’s cup of tea I’m sure, but this fabulously lairy sofa by ‘Make Me A Sofa’ would be a real focal point in a muted living space. I loved it, and it felt pretty comfy too!

Most Innovative:

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One of the reasons I was so keen to come to The Ideal Home Show courtesy of Kinetico, was because I was genuinely keen to chat to the guys on the stand to find out more about the brand. Even before they’d got in touch with me, I’d seen a telly ad in my doctor’s surgery, and heard from other sources, that their water softeners really helped with eczema, a condition that Freddie in particular suffers from. We also live in a Hard-Water area (SE London), and our taps and appliances often become victims of that annoying affliction, limescale. Water softeners such as those from Kinetico protect your home from such limescale damage. 

After chatting to the tres-knowledgeable staff on the stand, they explained that their water softeners remove the impurities that cause limescale and that can also irritate sensitive skin such as Freddie’s. Anything that can relieve my boy of his itchy bod will always be something worth considering. 

I was also pretty impressed with Kinetico’s ‘Kube’ Advanced Water Filitration system, which provides you with filtered water straight from your existing tap. You can cook without chemicals, and your tea and coffee has a new-lease of life! A water ‘win’, and truly innovative product. 

Iconic Design:

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Like a wayward pigeon, I saw the homing beacon sign of ‘Smeg’ a mile off. I just can’t get enough of this iconic brand, and being a Smeg fridge owner myself (mint green here), I always have huge affection for it. Their 50s style range of kitchen appliances is to die for (I’m eyeing up a new kettle), and I’m sure no one minded me much stroking the beautiful products in a trance-like state.

Best Food-related Product:

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 These ‘polycarbonate vacumn’ (say what?) containers by ‘Nova UK’ were my pick of the food section. Whilst I’m not usually drawn in by food storage boxes masquerading as posh tupperware, the guy on the stand was so enthusiastic I couldn’t help but be won over. For as it happens, these are most certainly not posh tupperware, but a super hi-tech way storing and preserving the food in your fridge, by essentially vacuum-packing it. Ever wondered how those diet and fitness gurus on Instagram manage to prep a week’s worth of salads, without it going limp by day 5? Well, they’re probably using some of these. These babies keep things fresh for WEEKS.

If money were no object:

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 There were several massage chair stands at the show, and after pounding the isles for a couple of hours, I was in need of a well-earned rest. The guy from the Sasaki stand let me try one of these (for AGES I might add, I think I was in one of these for 20 minutes before he came back. Not complaining mind!). I got some amused looks from passers by, but they were worth it for the heaven that was a turn in one of these chairs. The downside? You’ll have to say buh-bye to the best part of 5K! Ouch!

Best Homeware:

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My head was immediately turned by the beautiful Burleigh pottery stand. Anyone who knows me, knows that as well as the mid-century homeware that I sell, I also adore anything with pretty florals. The English handcrafted tableware has been in production since 1851, with the stand showcasing the new Coronation Meadows Collection, produced in collaboration with Highgrove, and inspired by HRH Prince Charles’ Coronation Meadows project. 

To update your kitchen:

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 If you’re looking to update your boring kitchen with some funky tables and chairs, look no further than the cheerful, retro-inspired diner range by Cola Red. The black and white chequered table (complete with chrome trim) would make a fabulously bold statement. I love the baby blue stool too!

Super-cool lighting:

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Like a moth to a flame, I was fluttering around (arf, arf) the most amazing lighting stand, featuring some statement lighting concepts by ‘Jam Jar Lights’. I couldn’t get enough of the giant hanging bulbs (pictured), and have been wracking my brains ever since to find somewhere for these to go in our house.

 For your mini-mes this summer:

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 One things I was surprised about at the show was the apparent lack of Children’s design, especially furniture, beds etc, which I was rather disappointed about, especially since we are going to be giving Sasha a brand new room by the end of the year. What did cheer me up though, was coming across this adorable mini outdoor table, benches and chairs by Riverco Trading. The owner, Peter, handmakes everything to order, and at £199, the above set is something I’m seriously tempted to order for my little ones. Too cute!

 Awesome Artwork:

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 Browsing the stands, there were a few pieces of art that really stood out for me. I still can’t decide if I would give them house room or not (although I’m veering towards a ‘yes’), but each one would definitely be a talking point! I really, really do want the Oxo r2d2 (stocked by Generation Gallery Manchester) on my kitchen wall though!

and some more Awesome Artwork:

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With a resident stall already in East London’s Spitalfield’s Market, ‘A Book on One Page’ creates fascinating literary prints, made up of the entire works of a book. I fell in love with the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ one, and would love this print for Sasha’s room.

Beautiful Cards: 

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 As I was nearing the end of my day, my eye was caught by these beautifully intricate pop-up greetings cards by ‘Dragon Greetings Cards’- great to send to a special person in your life who appreciates the tiny details.

and finally…

My Bargain Buys:

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 I thought I was extremely restrained  throughout the show, especially when so many fabulous potential purchases were dangled before my greedy eyes (it also helped that I deliberately left my credit card at home), but I couldn’t leave without buying anything. The little purchases that quenched my spending thirst, and made me a happy lady, were these beautiful Easter decorations from the ‘Sass & Belle’ stand. Reduced from £6 to £2 each, they simply had to come home with me- I just need to find somewhere good to hang them now!

So that was my Ideal Home Show… I found it a brilliant experience and would definitely go again next year. There’s always something really satisfying about finding that dream home-buy, that little interiors gem, or clamping your eyes on that brand new product before anyone else does!

So What do you think of my picks? Have you been before? I’d love to hear!

BritMums

BritMums

 

The biggest thank you for Kinetico partnering with The Spirited Puddle Jumper and for sending me to the Ideal Home Show, and generally being awesome at their stand! 

 

My Home Style – Edition 4

Last Monday I promised I would squeeze in an extra My Home Style blog post, due to the fact I couldn’t ignore that there were so many beautiful Easter-inspired Instagram pics that just HAD to be featured. So slightly out of sync, here are all the awesome non-Easter interiors pics that otherwise would’ve been featured last Monday. Confused? Let’s just say I’ve added in an extra week here! Edition 5 will be next Monday as per usual, along with my housey blogging partner in crime, Emma of ‘Life at the Little Wood’.

So curl up, grab a cuppa and your Pintrest page, and be prepared to be inspired by some super-creative ladies :-)

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Aimee’s (@missaimeefleur) bright and bold display of blue, white and yellow screams ‘SPRING’ perfectly- I adore the storage pots on the shelf, and the bird pictures are a quirky talking point that might not be to everyone’s taste but I LOVE them.

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As someone with a chalkboard wall of my own, I have a soft spot for Emily’s (@brickdustandglitter) one, and her little girl seems to be enjoying it too!

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Lucy’s (@capturebylucy) Instagram feed is one of my go-to ones whenever I check in to my favourite picture place- there is always so much to love, and this pic is no exception! I’m loving seeing her do up her ‘forever home’, and I think the ace modern-retro (can that be a word?) chair really works with the olde-worlde fireplace. I am totally salivating over this seat!

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Sian’s (@pottymouthedmummy) retro-insprired oven glove and tea towel would brighten up any kitchen- they caught my eye as we badly need some new ones for our home!

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Katie’s (@mummydaddyme) new shared bedroom for her little girls is simply fantastic. There is so much to love in this room, where do I start?! The prints really personalise the space, plus I love the Farg and Form cloud bedding- I nearly chose the grey version for Freddie a couple of years ago, and this has made me think that I still might have to make that purchase! A great alternative to a traditionally ‘girly’ room. 

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These adorable felt balls by Gill (@gill_c) would brighten up any bedroom- I want!

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Gaby (@lifeineight) has managed the holy grail of interiors when you’re a parent: A super-cool space that is still child-friendly. I’m coveting the geometric curtains and the giant knitted poofs!

and finally…

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My blogging chum Alison (@iamalisonperry) always posts pictures of  her gorgeous at-home workspace that is so bright, and often complete with fresh flowers and on-trend accessories. Puts my grubby laptop and breakfast-bar desk to shame! Bring on the study renovation! 

So, what did you think of these this week? Any faves?

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BritMums

 

Him and Her #6 (Say Happy Easter!)

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He was counting down the days

until his preschool Easter Egg Hunt,

was giddy with excitement seeing the Easter Bunny,

and ran the whole way around the park in search of the aforementioned eggs!

 

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She wasn’t quite so keen on seeing the Easter Bunny,

Despite a lot of talk,

But was a singing star at their preschool Easter show,

‘Hot Cross Buns’ being her favourite song.

 

Happy Easter from all of us!

Make a Rocket BackPack and WIN with Harvey’s Furniture this Easter!

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 When it’s the preschool holidays, it can sometimes be a challenge to keep my tiny terrors suitably entertained. Luckily, here in the SPJ household we do like to get our craft on, and choosing the right kind of one for Freddie and Sasha to enjoy can mean they are occupied for a decent amount of time. Even better, is when that craft can be done from the comfort of our living room AND they get to use what they’ve made/ play with it! (Even if this does mean knowing the best way of cleaning up this mess afterwards!)

The other day I decided to make Rocket Backpacks for both of them to wear, and it was the perfect craft for them to get involved with. I carried out the majority of the construction, yet they could decorate their backpacks with bright star stickers, as well as practicing their cutting when making the ‘flames’ out of tissue and crepe paper. 

As you can see, they had lots of fun, and there was a fair bit of jumping off the sofas and pretending to be astronauts afterwards! For more ideas this Easter, you can have a look at some other fun and easy projects HERE on the Harvey’s Furniture Website. For this project though…

You will need:

  • 2 Drinks bottles
  • Silver paper
  • Piece of cardboard 20cm x 20cm
  • 2 pieces of elastic 8cm each
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Star stickers to decorate
  • Red, orange and yellow tissue or crepe paper
  • Double-sided sticky tape

Instructions:

  1. Staple the pieces of elastic to the cardboard to create loops for little arms to fit through.SPJ 4
  2. Using the double-sided tape roll the silver paper around both of your drinks bottles, and get your little ones to decorate with the star stickers. SPJ 5SPJ 8
  3. Stick 4 strips of double-sided tape on the other side of the cardboard, and stick both of your bottles onto them, bottle tops facing down. SPJ 9
  4. Get your children (or do this yourself if they’re too young) to cut long strips of the crepe/tissues paper to make ‘flames’ for the rockets. SPJ 16
  5. Wrap more double-sided tape around the bottle tops, and then stick the strips of tissue/crepe paper on. Repeat with until you have a variety of flames. SPJ 10

Voila- a super-cool rocket backpack!

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 …Now all you have to do is clean up the mess!

*My best tip is to remove stickiness off leather (yes, glue gets everywhere, despite my best intentions!), by filling a bowl with warm soapy water until bubbles form. Using a barely damp cloth, I dip the cloth into the bubbles on the surface and rub the leather gently until the sticky bits have gone. You can dry it out with a dash of bicarbonate of soda. When it dries just vacuum it off!*

You can see some more great furniture cleaning tips, such as looking after your fabric and upholstery, cleaning leather furniture, and removing scratches off glass, all on the Harveys website. There are some ace tips from some fabulous fellow Mums too! 

To celebrate Easter, all things crafty, and reward you for cleaning up the aftermath ;-) , Harvey’s Furniture are hosting a FANTASTIC competition, giving their social fans and Spirited Puddle Jumper readers the opportunity to win a children’s den from ‘Not On The High Street’, by sharing their own Easter children’s project photos.

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The competition is open from today until the 13th April 2015, and is centred around the hashtag: #HarveysHandmade – you can post your craft pictures on their Facebook Page, Tweet them, or share them on Instagram. @HARVEYSHQ 

Good luck, and enjoy your crafting this Easter break!

 

A big thanks to Harvey’s Furniture for partnering with The Spirited Puddle Jumper.

Retaliation: Is It Ever Okay For Your Child To Hit Back?

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I’ve been in two minds about writing this, but weighing it up I thought it would be interesting to get opinions of others. After all, we’re all in this parenting lark together, right?

Last Thursday I was dropping F off at preschool, when one of his teachers wanted a quick word in private. My heart pounded as I followed her into ‘the quiet room’, wondering what was wrong. Turns out, what his teacher said next surprised me, and got me thinking about a contentious subject when it comes to parenting.

A few days previously, F was apparently minding his own business in the playground, when, unprovoked, a new little boy went up to him and punched him in the face.  Freddie’s teacher ran over to defend him and tell the boy off, but before she could, F had instinctively hit him back, twice as hard, leaving the original tiny perpetrator in tears and with a fat lip. Apparently they had been keeping an eye on said boy, as despite being small, he had been pushing and punching other children since he arrived, so had form for doing this. Freddie’s teacher said that whilst they certainly don’t condone violence, she didn’t tell Freddie off, it was the other little boy who was chastised, with then general words to the pair of them to be kind to one another. She said that from an experienced teacher’s, and a parent’s point of view, she didn’t think it was always a bad thing that a child learns what might well happen if they decide to go up to another child and whack them in the head. She wanted to tell me a. what happened ( as any good preschool/nursery would) and b. Let me know that my boy had a bit of ‘fight’ and ‘spirit’ in him, which she was surprised about as much as I was. 

Bear with me if that sounds a bit of a weird thing for a teacher to say to a parent, to justify any sort of hitting, and before you think my boy is a wee thug. You see, I know, and Freddie’s teachers know, that usually F is a kind and sensitive little boy. That’s not me being deluded as a parent, and protecting my ‘precious little snowflake’, it’s just a fact. (S, on the other hand, can be a feisty little madam and a situation like this involving her might not surprise me as much!). Don’t get me wrong, Freddie can scrap and argue with his sister, but when it comes to confrontation with other children, he’s always been the one that backs off. The one that gives up the toy when another child grabs it, the child who isn’t in to ‘rough housing’ with the boisterous boys, or the one into ‘fighting’ games, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles or Super Heroes (yet!). And weirdly this had made me a little worried about when he starts school in September. Despite being a big chap (95th centile for height) and having many friends as preschool, I have had concerns that due to his softer nature that he might be an easy target for more ‘physical’ boys at ‘big school’.

Anyway, when his teacher told me what had happened I was quite shocked, but I also surprisingly felt slightly pleased, and then really guilty for feeling slightly pleased, that my son had hit this boy back. It goes against everything in my parenting nature to want to ever give the go ahead for my child to be violent towards another, yet I actually felt reassured (and that’s what his teacher wanted me to know), that if ever F has any problems at school he quite possibly wouldn’t just sit back and be pushed around, despite his outwardly passive nature.

All sensible advice and common sense tells us to tell our children, if they were ever physically attacked, to go and tell a teacher. Which is what I would still tell either of my children if a situation like this ever arose again. However, I’ve read enough chat threads on Mumsnet and the like, to know that in these situations, some bullying has only ever stopped once a child has actually stood up to an aggressive child and given them a taste of their own medicine. 

Which leaves me asking the question: Is it ever okay for your child to hit back?

My personal view is that at primary school level, teachers should be supervising and able to sort any bullying issues out, without a child ever having to retaliate with violence. Being honest though, if it was persistent, if I felt my child was being seriously affected by being punched/pushed/targeted, it MIGHT get to the point where I would tell him or her to give it their best shot back. The thing is, giving your child the message that using their fists is okay, is one fraught with difficulty and potential danger the older they get. Watching the news and seeing all the knife crime stories involving teenagers makes me feel sick. As adults, I would always tell them to walk away if conflict occurs in a pub, club, or whenever alcohol if involved- the risks of fighting back are just too high when judgement is impaired. 

It’s such a tricky subject, one of many parenting minefields that I’m sure we’ll navigate as the years go on. 

So all this brings me back to my boy. The usually gentle giant who apparently has a mean right hook. 

I haven’t actually talked to him in depth about what happened, as preschoolers tend to have very short-term memory. When I asked him if he’d been hit, he looked a little confused, then said, in a typically just-turned-4 way “Oh yes, X wasn’t very nice to me in the playground” and that was it. I kissed his head, and said that if it happened again he should walk away and tell a grown up. Inside though, I had mentally relaxed about his ability to stand up for himself, and whilst not necessarily a desirable trait, he has shown he has a bit of fire in his belly.

But isn’t this an awful trait to be glad about? Am I a terrible parent for feeling this way?

What would you do?

 

BritMums

 

Linking up with Let’s Talk Mommy and ‘Share With Me’ and Super Busy Mum’s ‘Mad Midweek Blog Hop’

 

Beginner’s Guide to a Feng Shui Home

Feng Shui is something I’ve always been quite curious about when it comes to the home, and the spaces we inhabit most often. Can something as simple as placing an object, or a piece of furniture really make that much of a difference to your relationships, finances and health?

Well, I’ve been doing a teeny bit of Feng Shui-related research, and below are some simple tips I’ve found, for when it comes to ‘zenning’ your home and your life, so they are positively brimming with calm and happiness! I was surprised how many we already do, and I also had a think about what else I could do to improve my Feng Shui home:

Eight-point system of Feng Shui

Right, first up: Stand inside your home, keeping your back to the front door, and then look forward. You can then section up your home as per the diagram above. So for example, in my house, the bottom left hand corner of my Living Room would be the ‘Knowledge’ section, and the top right hand corner of my kitchen would be the ‘Relationships’ zone. Good shizzle is supposed to happen when you place certain objects in these certain zones. Some objects will have symbolic power, and others will have a literal connection to that area of your home. Comprende? Good – let’s begin!
Money: You are advised to place fresh flowers, or a jade plant here. Here would also be a good place to safely store cash or other valuables. Luckily for me this is the part of my house where my dining table is, and the spot where my fresh daffodils are currently residing!

Reputation: Shout about your achievements here! Display awards, accolades and certificates, plus here would also be where you could place good luck charms, such as a four leaf clover. A small back wall in my kitchen is here, and I’m off to a good start ‘reputation’ -wise as Freddie’s swimming certificate has pride of place!

Relationships: Pairs of objects or imagery are advised if you want up things in the ‘relationships’ stakes. Lovebirds, butterflies and cranes are particularly welcome, as is an image of two trees intertwined. If your living room is in this spot, a love seat, pair of pillows, or two matching chairs would give you extra Feng Shui brownie points. Unfortunately for me, the only thing matching in this spot of mine (top right hand corner of my kitchen) is a couple of Emma Bridgewater mugs in the cupboard. Must.Try.Harder. 

Children and creativity: Apparently this is the perfect place for a pin board or some kind of craft or sewing zone, or even a chalkboard wall or zany wallpaper. Now since this area of our home is either the downstairs loo, or the stairway heading to the first floor, it’s a bit tricky to get the old sewing machine out. However, we do have some incredibly loud Orla Kiely wallpaper in the toilet, (which is next to our chalkboard wall, although this is a little off target area!) so I’m going with that as doing my bit for the kids and creativity. 

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Friends and travel: Ideal for playful, happy photos, artwork/postcards/greetings cards made by mates, or a map that reminds you of your travels. Sadly, this is where our coat pegs and show bench are (although surely all the shoes and coats are indicative of all the traipsing in and out of the house that we do?). I like the idea of having a map near the front door, and the children like looking at maps too, so this might help us Feng Shui this neglected corner of our home. 

Career: This front part of your home should be as bright and as well lit as possible. Apparently you should put something here that relates to your passion and/or your job. Maybe i’ll keep a copy of my favourite photo book here, as it might help me take some better blog pics!

Knowledge: Here, you should create a ‘reading nook’ or a spot where you can have deep conversation. Well, we are doing well on both counts, as our main bookshelf in the Living Room is here, as is our newish purple sofa. Whether ‘deep’ counts as conversations relating to Crystal Palace FC, which child will wake first for a wee in the night, or the merits of our new Espresso machine is anyone’s guess…
Family and health: This is the area of your home that you should keep super-clean, and also maybe have a family photo wall. Well, our dining table in the kitchen is here, so I like to think I keep this in pretty good nick cleanliness-wise, although we are slacking on the photos. I think I’ll put a few on the dresser (there is no spare wall for us to hang some on), and hope that we all stay fit and healthy.

kitchen makeover 028

So what do you think of these tips? 

Have you ever looked into making your home Feng Shui?

 

Thank you to Furniture Choice for partnering with The Spirited Puddle Jumper.

BritMums