December 2012 | Modern Mummy

Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Modern Mummy Christmas

Well Father Christmas has been and gone and its all over for another year! We had an absolutely lovely first Christmas all together in our new house. 

 ....We got to watch Daisy play a sheep in her nursery nativity play....



.... I was a cruel mama and dressed my girlies up in matching Christmas jumpers....


.... Himself and  I got super excited wrapping all the girls pressie's on Christmas Eve....


 .... and pretending to be Father Christmas and Rudolph!

  
THIS was my favourite present!


And our Christmas lunch was divine


Wishing you all a very Happy New Year ~ see you in 2013 xoxox
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Friday, 21 December 2012

Make Your Own Christmas Cards with the Kids

Nothing quite says 'Merry Christmas' like a homemade card and Daisy and I spent a morning last week making some for our friends and family.

I'm a bit of a geek and love to collect bits and pieces to use in crafting sessions (we have no less than eight drawers full of stuff saved up at the moment!). It's a crime to throw anything away when it comes to crafting; almost everything has a use! From toilet rolls to pieces of ribbon and scraps of material and old birthday cards - if you're keen to get crafting with your small people I would whole heartedly recommend keeping a drawer full of odds and ends to get out on a rainy day. 





To make our cards we used (clockwise from top): coloured pens and pencils, glitter, sellotape, snowflake stamps and punchers, old Christmas tags, sweet wrappers, normal A4 computer paper, card and envelopes (of course!), felt, wool, ribbons, PVA glue and pipe cleaners

The snowflake puncher and stamp both came from Hobbycraft (there are lots of different sizes available here) as did the pre-folded cards and envelopes, the pipe cleaners, the wool and the felt. The glitter and glue came from good old Poundland (its fabulous for cheap and cheerful crafty stuff) and the sweet wrappers, ribbons and old Christmas tags were things we had lying around.

Making Christmas cards is so much fun ~ its a great way to spend a few hours with the kids, especially if you have a bit of festive music playing in the background and lots of mince pies to keep your energy levels up!


We made a COMPLETE MESS but had awesome fun in the process!



And the finished products didn't turn out too bad either!


Top left: This card was made by sticking a square of felt onto the card, covering the felt with glue and sticking a star shaped tag onto it and then sprinkling glitter all over it. The excess glitter was shaken off (and saved to reuse! ~ never waste anything when crafting!!) and the star was peeled off. Voila!

Top right: This was Daisy's creation. Glue was squeezed onto the card in a zig zag shape (you could do ANYTHING) and all different colours of glitter were sprinkled over it to leave a rainbow zig zag effect. The sweet wrappers and wool were added later.

Bottom left: A purple sweet wrapper was glued onto the card and glitter added as a border. The snowflake shapes were the off-cuts of the card on the bottom right.

Bottom right: A square of felt was stuck to the card (again, this could have been a sweet wrapper or a piece of coloured paper) and wool used to make a border. Glitter was also added to the border. Then snowflake shapes from the puncher were glued on.

This is our entry to Moneysupermarket.com's Christmas Card Craft Off competition. If you've been getting crafty this Christmas you can enter the competition here - they have categories for both adult and child entries.
xoxox
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Monday, 17 December 2012

The Motherhood

This is the most amazing video I have ever seen. So amazing I'm not going to say anything more about it.

Enjoy! xoxox


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Christmas Pyjamas ~ The Essential Gift!

You may have noticed I've been tweeting about Christmas traditions a fair bit recently. That's because, since starting my own family, I have been keen for us to have lots of our own. 

This year, for the first time ever, we chopped down our own Christmas tree at an event the National Trust hold every December (you can read all about it here). We had such a lovely day that we have decided to do it every year on what will officially be known as Christmas Tree Day (original, non?!) and which will involve choosing and chopping down our tree and having a winter picnic together before heading home to decorate the house!

We've also carried on some traditions from our childhoods, such as declaring Christmas Day the only day of the year you are allowed to eat chocolate before breakfast, getting super dressed up for lunch and, one of my favourites, buying eachother pyjamas as a gift every year!

Yes, PYJAMAS! When I think of Christmas presents, I always think of PJs. I have been given a pair every year for as long as I can remember. And every year, as soon as Christmas lunch is over, I have changed out of my party frock and into my new jammies and got comfy on the sofa, ready for an evening of silly games and festive telly with my family.

This year Christmas came early for me and Joe Browns sent me THE MOST AMAZING ONESIE (and slippers!) I HAVE EVER SEEN!

Check me out!

I don't think I have ever felt so cosy!

The Warming Onesie comes in a very festive red and white and in three different sizes.

The Furry Trim Slipper Boots are ankle length so easy to slip on and off, they are lined with super soft fur and also come in three sizes.

Priced at £34.99 and £14.99 respectively, these would make fantastic Christmas presents for friends and family alike and it's not too late to order from Joe Browns either! Give the high street a miss and buy some pressies online - Joe Browns sell heaps of gorgeous lounge wear (as well as other clothes and gifts for the home) and orders placed by 3pm on Tuesday 18th December will be received in time for Christmas. 

Happy shopping! xoxox
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Sunday, 16 December 2012

MaterniCare Pre & Post Natal Nourishing Cream: A Review

Just after having Evie I was sent out a new 'wonder cream' to review. It is called MaterniCare and has been developed by pregnancy skincare specialists to help take care of your skin during and after pregnancy.

Here's a little fact for you. Did you know that your skin stretches an average of TWO SQUARE FEET when you're pregnant? And then it returns back to normal in a few short months. Wow. That's a lot of strain for your skin to be under ~ it's no wonder that so many of us develop stretch marks in the process.

Ah stretch marks. Or tiger stripes as I prefer to call them. In actual fact it is a massive 75% of us that get them during pregnancy - on our bellies, boobs, hips, bums, pretty much anywhere and everywhere. But what causes them?

They appear when collagen tears below the skin ~ which happens as we get older, or lose or gain weight rapidly ~ basically when our skin loses its elasticity. Moisturising the skin helps to keep it strong, smooth and supple and supposedly stops stretch marks appearing.

MaterniCare, which contains a unique blend of plant oils and essential vitamins (including the all important pro-vitamin B5), claims to help prevent the appearance of stretch marks, relieve the itchy dryness that can affect us during pregnancy and also helps to keep our skin soft and resilient.

Although the science behind the cause of stretch marks and the benefits of this cream both sound perfectly logical to me, I am personally of the opinion that stretchmarks are hereditary and, as such, no amount of preventative moisturising will help if you are predisposed to getting them. I used a certain well known brand religiously when pregnant with Daisy, spending hundreds of pounds in the process, yet I still have a tummy covered in tiger stripes!

I DO however think that there are some products out there that help reduce the appearance of these marks and MaterniCare is one of them. In just a few short weeks my stretch marks have already started to fade - so much quicker than after I had Daisy - and my body has enjoyed the pampering sessions it has been receiving twice daily too!

The cream itself is rich and luxurious and smells clean and fresh. It isn't greasy and, at £14.99 for a 200ml tube, is much more affordable than a lot of other products on the market at the moment.

It is available at all good chemists and online from Forum Health here. It gets a big thumbs up from me xoxox
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Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas Lights Giveaway: The WINNER!


Thank you to everyone that took part in my Notcutts Christmas Lights giveaway

Rafflecopter has now worked its magic and the winner of a set of these magical twinkly lights, worth £29.99, is.......

{drumroll please}

VICKY HALL-NEWMAN!

Vicky, please will you contact me with your address details so that I can arrange for Notcutts to send them to you. Well done! :) 

Merry Christmas everyone xoxox 
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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Parsnip Crisps: The Ultimate Festive Nibble!




I love parsnip crisps. 

I love the sweet, buttery, slightly spicy taste of parsnips however they're cooked but the crisp texture of them when they're cooked this way makes them melt-in-your-mouth DIVINE. PLUS they are a vegetable so scoffing hundreds of these little niblets all contributes towards your five a day! Yes REALLY.

You can buy packets of parsnip crisps in the shops quite readily these days (mixed root vegetable crisps are even easier to find, with most big brands selling a variety) but nothing beats the taste, and smell, of a warm, crunchy, peppery homemade bowl of these little beauties - and they are so easy to make it's almost a crime to buy the ready cooked ones.

What you need.
A vegetable peeler
A mixing bowl
A baking tray and sheet of greaseproof paper

Ingredients.
Parsnips! Hundreds of them! (On a serious note, two parsnips will make a regular packet of crisps worth)
Olive oil.
Salt & pepper.


 

What to do.
Pre-heat the oven to 200degrees.
Peel your parsnips, then use your vegetable peeler to slice super thin ribbons.
Place them in a mixing bowl, drizzle olive oil over them, sprinkle with black pepper and use your hands to make sure all the parsnips are evenly coated.
Spread out onto a piece of greaseproof paper on baking sheet; try and make sure they are all separate so that they crisp up easier.
Bake for twenty-ish minutes - give them a shuffle once or twice during the cooking time. You'll know when they're done as they'll be golden brown and look like crisps!
Pat the excess oil off of the cooked crisps with a bit of kitchen roll and add salt to taste.
Enjoy a few while they're still hot - then serve at your festive drinks party alongside lots of delicious mulled wine and cider! xoxox
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Make Christmas Decorations with the Kids


So the school holidays are nearly upon us and soon we are all going to have to come up with things to keep the kids entertained. Nothing could be simpler than these super-cute Christmas tree decorations.

All you need is:



3x lolly sticks
Green paper
Goggly eyes, sequins and/or pom poms (you can buy big mixed bags of these in *ahem* Poundland)
Ribbon/curling ribbon/string
Glue

To make them you just need to glue the three lolly sticks into a triangle shape with the two top corners overlapping to look like antlers.
Cut holly leaf shapes out of the green paper and stick on one corner with berries made from sequins or pom poms.
Stick goggly eyes and another pom pom on to make the reindeer face.
Add a length of ribbon at the top to enable the decoration to be hung from the Christmas tree.

Ta dah!!

How adorable are they?!

This really is an extra easy craft project that even pre-schoolers will be able to do with the supervision of adults/older children. Have fun making them! xoxox
 

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The Quickest and Simplest Mince Pie Recipe for Busy Mamas

I have always been a big believer of cooking from scratch. Not only do I find the whole baking / meal preparation ritual incredibly therapeutic (I even find watching cookery programmes relaxing!) but I also like to know what is going into the meals and treats I am making. 

Since having Evie five weeks ago, I've had next to no time to do any baking. In fact the recipe I'm about to post is the very first time I've baked since her arrival. This is very unlike me, especially at this time of year, when I love to make lots of festive nibbles to offer friends and family when they drop by. I have, however, found the time to watch a fair few cookery programmes (mainly during the night feeds!). 

Those of you that follow me on Twitter will know I'm a massive fan of The Great British Bake Off (I have all three series Sky+ed!) and I am a fan of Ruth Clemens, a contestant from the first series, in particular. She has a fantastic baking blog called The Pink Whisk, that I read regularly (have a read of it yourself here) which is packed full of brilliant recipes. She also has a number of videos on YouTube (her tutorial on how to make Christmas Biscuits, which are divine, can be seen here).

So now I am a proud mama of two I have slowly come to the realisation that if I want to carry on with my baking while my girlies are small, it might be time for me to take a few short cuts.

I'm not talking bashing mince pies from Sainsbury's gently with a rolling pin before passing them off as my own at the school Christmas party a la Kate Reddy in Allison Pearson's book 'I Don't Know How She Does It'. Like I said, I ENJOY baking and when you take pleasure in doing something, you will always find the time to do it.



I just feel the time is right to cut a few corners. At last I am just going to accept it. And so I bring you The Quickest & Simplest Mince Pie Recipe for Busy Mamas, where the ingredient list might include ready made pastry and shop bought mincemeat ~ but the finished product really is homemade!

This recipe makes twelve mince pies.

What You Need.
Muffin/yorkshire pudding tray
Rolling pin.
Pastry cutters.

Ingredients.
Mincemeat. I actually made mine myself when I was pregnant and the recipe I used can be found here. However it is perfectly fine to use shop bought stuff - I will be doing this next year! Just make sure its the best quality you can get - you don't need much, a 400g jar is more than enough.
Ready made short crust pastry.
Sugar for dusting (any is fine - most would recommend caster or icing sugar but I prefer the crunchy texture of granulated).
An egg (for eggwash).
Butter (to grease tin).



What To Do. 
Pre-heat your oven to 200degrees.
Grease your yorkshire pudding tin.
Roll out your ready made pastry so that its super thin (2mm ish).
Use a pastry cutter (or the base of a mug like I did!) to cut out the bottoms of your pies and line the tin with them. Prick each base with a fork so the pastry doesn't rise.
Add a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat to each pie.
Use a smaller cutter for the tops. At madam's request we used a bell shaped one. Place the top of the pies on top of the mincemeat. If you are sealing your pies (use milk to do this) then prick the pastry with a fork again. 
Cover with eggwash and dust with sugar.
Put into the oven for 20mins ish (you will know when they are done - they will be golden brown and look and smell AMAZING!)



The downside of cooking is usually the washing up, however I am a bit of a geek and I actually quite enjoy that too! Persil's Warm Spice Washing Up Liquid makes the whole experience even MORE enjoyable as it smells just like mulled wine. We're talking orange and cinnamon and ginger and cloves. So even if you're not mulling wine or baking mince pies, your house can still smell beautiful and Christmassy!

This post has been sponsored by Persil.

xoxox
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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas Tree Day!

Saturday was Christmas Tree Day for the Modern Mummy household! Hurray!

We usually put our tree and decorations up on the 1st December but this year we held out until the 8th so that we could chop down our own, and hopefully start a new family tradition of doing so every Christmas.

We visited Witley Common (just down the road from us in the Surrey Hills) and helped the National Trust clear scrub and pine trees - and as a 'thank you' were allowed to pick out and chop down a Christmas tree of our own to take home. We loved the idea of doing this - it meant we could spend some quality family time together in the great outdoors, help our local community and the environment (clearance helps to conserve the heathland's rare habitat for its special wildlife) - and get a tree at the same time. Perfect, non?



We picked a gorgeous, huuuuuge tree and a teeny tiny one for Daisy's bedroom and had great fun chopping it down and carrying it through the woods to our car!


If you live nearby and would like to join the National Trust for this Christmas tree event, they will be clearing the scrub again next Saturday (15th December) in between 11am and 3pm. You can drop in anytime and stay as long as you like and ready cut trees are also available for a donation. 


After tying the tree to our car and taking it home we then had the fun of decorating it (and the rest of the house!).

We just l-o-v-e Christmas and have been gagging to get all our festive bunting and ornaments out in our new house. The front room is still a work in progress but we are getting there, and now that the tree is up and the lights are twinkling it really does feel like home!







I just love the view of the tree from outside, the twinkly white lights look so pretty and make the room look super cosy.

Which brings me onto a lovely Christmassy giveaway!

We've teamed up with Notcutts, the family-owned garden centres, and have a set of warm white LED cone lights worth £29.99 up for grabs! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

There are five ways to take part (which means a grand total of five entries per person!). You can leave a comment below, follow me and Notcutts on Twitter, like Modern Mummy on Facebook and tweet about the competition too. The competition closes at midnight on 14th December 2012 and the winner will be announced on here, on Facebook and on Twitter on 15th December. This competition is open to UK residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions
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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Garden Games Wigwam: A Review


She may be obsessed with pink and dressing up as a princess but, believe it or not, my Daisy Moobags is actually a bit of a tom boy.

She loves nothing more than splashing about in muddy puddles, climbing trees and making dens - so when Garden Games asked us to review one of their play tents I knew we would have one uber excited little girl on our hands.

The lucky thing was allowed to choose the tent she wanted from this fabulous collection and, rather surprisingly, seeing as there was a fairy princess tent on offer, she opted for the super cool native American wigwam (which was secretly my favourite too!)




The wigwam is 1.2m tall and has a diameter of approximately 1.4m which makes it perfect for indoor use as well as outdoor. The height makes it feel spacious while the diameter means it doesn't take up much floor space. It was easy to assemble - I did it myself! - and the six wooden poles holding it together makes it feel really solid and robust. The decorative textile cover is strong and tough - perfect for your little savages to run in and out of and generally cause trouble! - and it will protect them from the elements when the weather isn't too favourable which, lets face it, is most of the time!

The wigwam is recommended for ages 1 and above and is a brilliant play tent that will keep your little people occupied for hours on end - and for many years to come.

This would make a perfect Christmas present and is currently for sale at the fabulous price of £49.99. xoxox
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Lollipop Lane Stroller Giveaway: The WINNER!


 

 Thank you to everyone that took part in my Lollipop Lane stroller giveaway!

Rafflecopter has now worked its magic and the winner of one of these fabulous strollers is.......

{drumroll please}

PAULA FAZEKAS!

Paula, please will you contact me with your address details and choice of stroller so that I can arrange for Lollipop Lane to send it to you. Well done :) xoxox
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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Twickenham Green Christmas Fayre

 
It's the first of December! Which can only mean one thing....

Fifteen days to go until the very first Twickenham Green Christmas Fayre!

Yes that's right, on Sunday 16th December, at 4pm, Twickenham Green will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the first time EVER - and I for one am very excited!

Local residents, the Friends of Twickenham Green, and Arthur's Restaurant have all got together to hold a festive community event which looks set to be fabulous.

Snow? Check.

Reindeer? Check.

Carol singing? Check.

Father Christmas? Check.

A 17ft Christmas tree? Check!

Yes there really is going to be guaranteed snow. And real life reindeer! The Salvation Army will be getting you all in the festive spirit by singing carols and Father Christmas will be there to find out what presents you're all hoping for this year (but only if you've been good). 

But that's not all! There will be children's rides, food stalls, a beer tent and a fantastic raffle with heaps of brilliant prizes, including rugby tickets, a champagne meal for two at Arthur's, bouncy castle hire and real ale boxes!

And the icing on the cake? (or should that be the angel on the tree!) Local celebrity resident Rob Brydon will be switching the Christmas lights on at 5.45pm.

It's going to be an absolutely wonderful evening ~ hopefully the first of many festive events on The Green ~ and I hope lots of you can make it!

Merry Christmas! xoxox


For more information, and to show your support, please follow the organisers on Twitter here.
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