Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Easy gingerbread house

What do you think of our mini gingerbread houses?

These were so easy to make, just bake a thin sheet of gingerbread and cut square and rectangle shapes while the biscuit is still warm and soft.

Decorate with icing sugar and sweets.

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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Can you rescue a cat this Christmas?

We don't have any pets, but I know my children would love a dog. I am tempted, but right now, I'm not sure we have time to look after an animal properly. Have you ever bought a pet for Christmas? this guest post tells you all you need to know.

Christmas is a perfect time to take a few moments out to think about how lucky we actually are. Although some might think that commercialisation and 'me' culture can be shown at their worst during the festive season, many people actually embrace the opposite.

A sense of compassion and considering others less fortunate than themselves plays a big part at this time of year but it isn't just other people who can benefit from; dogs, cats and various other animals in rescue centres can end up finding themselves in a brand new loving home just in time for Christmas.

Should I rescue an animal?

If you want to do some good this Christmas then you may want to consider rescuing an animal. If you think a dog will be too much hard work for your schedule and you won’t be able to dedicate enough time or space to them then why not consider a cat?

Cats are far more flexible when it comes to domestic living arrangements and this is why adopting a kitten or older animal from a cat rescue centre can be a perfect idea at any time of year, but especially so at Christmas.

Charities such as the RSPCA have thousands of cats and kittens that need rehoming so why not take a look at the animals in their care and see if you could offer one of them the chance of happiness.

Life changing

For people of all ages, having a cat can be a life changing experience. The Animal Hero Awards which is joint run by the RSPCA and The Daily Mirror highlights many different cases where pets can play a far greater role than might otherwise be expected.

Usually, dogs and cats bring joy and companionship to young and old alike. They can be entertaining and amusing as easily as they are comforting and cuddly but some of them are real heroes and heroines who go above the call of duty to look after their owners and improve their lives.

Being able to give a cat of any age a new chance of happiness by taking them into your home can be a wonderful way to really join in with the true spirit of Christmas and become a hero yourself.


Of course, taking on the role of caring for any animal is a commitment that should not be entered into lightly. Getting a cat for Christmas can be a wonderful present for all the family but it isn't one that can be taken back after Boxing Day and traded in for something else.

The joy that adopting a rescue cat can bring easily outweighs any extra responsibilities that come with them. As long as it is given careful thought and attention is given to the animal’s needs and requirements, taking a cat into your home is something that could make this Christmas a truly special one to remember. You can find more information about cat rehoming and adoption with the RSPCA.

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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Easy carve pumpkins

I'm a bit late sharing our pumpkins this year, we didn't have a lot of time, so my rabbit was a bit rushed, but luckily we have a very patient and artistic uncle who made the very cool spider.

What pumpkins did you make this year?

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Top tips for homemade pet food

Did you know you can make your own petfood? This great guest post gives you some simple ideas and things to be wary of.

Top tips for homemade pet food

Is it possible to create your own pet food? That’s the question many pet owners ask themselves. There’s a worry that creating your own pet food won’t be as nutritious for the animal as specially made food from a pet store will be.

However, the truth is homemade food can actually be a lot better for the animal; you know exactly what is in the food and provided you do enough research, it can be a lot healthier for your pet too.

Discover some of the best tips to create your own nutritious and delicious pet food right here.

Doggie roast dinner

One of the simplest natural dog food recipes you can create is the canine version of a roast dinner. Using turkey mince instead of beef makes this a healthy, low fat meal. You will need brown rice, turkey mince, water, green beans, carrots and optional fish oil. This can be cooked in bulk and stored in the fridge for up to five days.

You cook the brown rice; vegetables and turkey mince exactly as you would if you were cooking it for yourself. The only difference is you should avoid using a high fat oil to fry the mince as this could potentially upset your dog’s tummy.

Never feed cooked bones

Dogs love a bone, that’s a no-brainer. However, under no circumstances should you ever feed your dog cooked bones. This especially applies to cooked chicken bones. They can splinter and damage your dog’s organs.

Without good multi pet insurance from More Than, the vet bills could be extremely high for your pack of pets. To avoid this, only ever feed them raw bones. They can be excellent for your dog’s teeth and will also help to keep them quite for an hour or two!

What ingredients should you avoid?

When creating your own pet food, there are a number of ingredients you should avoid at all costs. Some of these foods include bacon, ham, pepper, sugar, dairy products and chocolate.

It is highly recommended you do more research into dangerous ingredients if you’re planning on creating your own food.

Creating your own pet food will take a bit of time, but it is definitely worth it. You will be providing a healthier, more balanced diet for your dog.

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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Easy pinecone painting

I love Autumn, crunching through colourful leaves, collecting pinecones and sticks, family walks with boots and jumpers and cosy evenings with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

The girls collected lots of pinecones last weekend so we set about decorating them. These are so easy to make and would look great hanging from the Christmas tree or in a pot by the fire.

We tried a bit of colour mixing with the paint too, which was great fun.

Beautiful, pretty pinecones.

What's your favourite Autumnal craft?

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Monday, 22 September 2014

Awesome Birthday Chocolate Cake

My little girl was 6 last week, I spent a LONG time making an Elsa cake for her birthday party, so needed something easier for her actual birthday. She asked for something chocolately, so this is what I came up with.

This is just a normal sponge cake, I usually add a bit of milk to keep it extra moist, covered in lovely fudgy icing and lots of chocolate sweets.


Sponge Cake Recipe

I just add the ingredients below to a mixing bowl, mixed till smooth, then baked for about 15 minutes.

250g Caster Sugar
250g Self Raising Flour
250g Unsalted Butter - room temperature
4 Eggs
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 splash of Milk

Chocolate Icing

80g icing sugar - sifted
25g cocoa powder
50g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar

Place the butter, a couple of spoonfuls of water and butter in a pan and melt on a low heat. Pour over the icing and cocoa powder and mix well. Leave for a few minutes until it's cool enough to spread.

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A Beginners Guide to Drawing

Do you love to draw? I've got a great guest post today about pencil drawing, just the thought of it makes me feel relaxed. I might have to get it a go.

Pencil drawing can be a truly fulfilling hobby. You don’t need lots of equipment, the creative possibilities are almost endless and you can produce something beautiful. Here’s a guide on how to get started with some top tips on how to get on the road to draw like an artist.

Get the right tools
There are many places where you can pick up pencils and pastels online. You can get high quality drawing materials from George Weil who have individual pencils as well as sets. You don’t need every pencil available at first but getting a selection of five or six is a good place to start.

Choose your subject matter
You may want to try out ideas before settling on a style of drawing. Landscapes, portraits, still life and abstract are all options. Looking at past famous artists may give you inspiration and help you decide which style you prefer or suits your skillset.

Hone Your Own Technique
Do not try and be too much like someone else. Working on your own craft and being yourself will mean you produce truly original work. But it is good practice to try and recreate some existing pieces first.

Master the Basics
There are six pencil techniques to practice which will give you a good grounding in drawing which are: 
outline: draw individual lines lightly to start with to guide your sketch and then heavier to complete oultines.
Hatching: straight up and down shading technique to indicate shadow or blocks of colour.
Cross-hatching: as the name suggest this is like the above technique only crossing the lines.
Stipping: Tiny dots and dashes to shade an area giving texture.
Scumbling: This is a good technique which lends itself well to blending dark and light. Simply move the pencil in circular motion and increase pressure to illustrate darker section.

Learn When to use Which Pencils
There are plenty of guides online to talk you through your 2Bs and 3Hs. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to render more realistic scenes and instinctually know which pencil to use when.

Teach Yourself How to Blend
Blending means fading deeper shading into lighter and vice versa. When you master this you will be able to realistically illustrate all different surfaces and reproduce all kinds of surfaces and objects in different settings.

Look at things like an artist
Start imagining everything you look at as subject matter for a drawing then imagine how you would draw it. 

Perfect Your Proportions

One of the biggest challenges for artists is getting the proportions of a subject right. This is the space between the different elements of the composition. The trick is to reduce or increase these spaces relatively to how you are resizing the subject. This will take practice.

Practice Practice Practice
You are not going to be a pencil perfectionist straight away. Enjoy practicing and experimenting and you will quickly see vast improvements.

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