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November 2018

Countdown To Christmas Cookie Recipes

Welcome to my Countdown To Christmas Cookie Recipes. Starting tomorrow I’ll be posting a daily Christmas cookie recipe until Christmas Eve. Most of these recipes are new to us and we’ve had great fun testing all these recipes and sampling the goodies!

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Christmas Craft Ideas For Children Of All Ages

We’ve rounded up some Christmas craft ideas for children of all ages from the craft advent posts we did a couple of years ago. KayCee and Ella had great fun making all these crafts and did an excellent job. You can find links to all of the Countdown To Christmas 24 advent Crafts on my Pinterest board

Christmas Craft Ideas

Paper Plate Angel

Paper plate angel

Cinnamon Dough Tree Ornaments

cinnamon dough tree ornaments

Scrabble Christmas Tree Ornaments

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

Toilet Roll Christmas Trees

toilet roll Christmas trees

Embroidered Snowflake Card

embroidered snowflake card

Folded Book Art Christmas Tree

A Christmas carol folded book tutorial

Paper Star Chain

paper star chains - craft ideas

Candy Cane Reindeer

candy cane reindeer

Bathroom Updates – Tips To Help Your bathroom Look Better

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the house. If it looks tired and dated you could lose money when you want to sell.
Quite apart from that, it’s lovely to go into a well designed and decorated bathroom every morning when it’s shower time so you may feel it’s time to do some bathroom updates.

New Bathroom Suite

We’re starting off with the most expensive change you can make and that’s having a brand new bathroom installed, or indeed, installing one yourself.

If you’re handy with tools and know about plumbing you can remove the old bathroom and install a new suite yourself. There’s no doubt that fitting it yourself can save money, but you need to be confident in your abilities and make sure nothing gets overlooked.

There can be many aspects to installing a new bathroom that you wouldn’t even think of. For example, you may need to buy extras that aren’t always included with the new shower; shower trays and door seals may need to be bought separately.
You can buy a range of door seals, including curved shower door seals, from Byretech.

luxe look bathroom

Accessories

If completely changing your bathroom isn’t in the budget right now, there are still lots of ways to update it.

Changing the bath mat, shower curtain and towels can make a big difference to the look and feel of your bathroom.
If you choose a neutral paint on the walls, you could change your accessories with the change of each season.

neutral bathroom with blue accessories

Paint

As mentioned, repainting is an excellent way of refreshing a room. Don’t only think about painting the walls, though, the tiles can be repainted as well.
Removing and replacing tiles can be a huge job, not to mention, an expensive one. You can create a whole new look in your bathroom by painting the tiles.

Be sure to buy the correct paint for the job in hand. The wall paint needs to be made especially for bathrooms so it can withstand the steam and moisture that is inevitable in the bathroom.

Lighting

Lighting is very important in all rooms of our house, but it can be even more important in the bathroom because it’s usually one of the smallest rooms in the house.

However, you don’t want a bright glaring light that’s going to blind you every time you go in there.
Strip lights are usually the first choice for bathrooms, but there are so many lovely light fittings out there you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Have fun shopping around and pick a fitting that will also double as a feature of the room.

bathroom lighting

Flooring

There are so many options for bathroom floors you may have trouble deciding between them. Your budget could have a big impact on your choice of flooring; hardwood floors are gorgeous but can be pricey. Laminate is a cheaper option and can usually be laid over the existing flooring.

Vinyl can be cheaper still and with so many different patterns available you could have any look you wanted.

 

This is a collaborative post

7 Autumn Activities You HAVE To Do Before Winter Arrives

feet with socks on, a small pumpkin and autumn leaves - autumn activities

Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

 

With just over three weeks to go until Winter arrives (on the 21st December), it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to make the most of the rest of the season. Autumn is a great time of year for family activities, so I wanted to share with 7 autumn activities you have to do before winter arrives…

 

 

  • Going For A Walk In All The Stunning Autumn Colours

 

 

We have just a few more weeks of the stunning autumn leaves and whilst most of them have fallen, it’s still a beautiful sight to walk through. If you’re planning on a big family walk, ask your children to spot different colours and shapes of leaves as you go. Don’t forget to wrap up warm though, it is nearly winter after all!

 

 

  • Make A Root Vegetable Soup

 

 

Whether you’re a pumpkin or butternut squash fan, it’s the perfect time of year to make a cosy autumn soup that the whole family will enjoy.  

 

There are lots of different recipes available online so pick your favourite one, grab your apron and get everyone involved in making something delicious!

 

 

  • Visit Your Local Farm Shop

 

 

During Autumn there are always lots of different activities going on at farm shops. Whether it’s pumpkin pickings, vegetable displays or arts and crafts – it’s a great time to go with the kids.

 

 

  • Have A Cosy Night In Watching Movies

 

 

There is nothing better than lighting a few candles, switching on your fairy lights and cosying up under a comfortable blanket. Why not pick a few of your favourite movies and make a whole night out of it with some snacks and a takeaway?

 

 

  • Taking The Family Apple Picking

 

 

Autumn is the perfect time of year to go apple picking or any other fruit trees for that matter. If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding day out for the whole family, search your local area for picking farms and off you go!

 

The kids will absolutely love the satisfaction of picking their own fruit, and it makes for some cute family photos too!

 

 

  • Baking Some Delicious Autumn Recipies

 

 

Now that you’ve picked your own fruit, why not make some delicious autumn recipes using it?

 

Our family favourite is a gorgeous apple and cinnamon pie that has everyone going back for seconds. If that doesn’t take your fancy you can find more autumn pie recipe ideas if you visit the Bustle site here.

 

 

  • Make A Fire Pit In Your Garden And Toast Marshmallows

 

 

If you want to try a little autumn DIY project, try making your own fire pit in your garden. Once built you’ll be able to have the whole family around to spend the night toasting marshmallowsan American favourite at this time of year.

 

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could buy the ingredients to make smores.

 

What do you like to do in Autumn? What will you be doing to make the most of the last few weeks? Let us know in the comment section below.

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5 Ways to Pay for Home Repairs When You Are Cash-Strapped

Are you experiencing a minor plumbing issue or major problems with your roof? Though home repairs are an expensive undertaking, they are inevitable. And you must set money aside for it.

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Magic Reindeer Food That’s Kind To Animals + Free Printable

The children have sprinkled magic reindeer food on Christmas Eve for many years. Sometimes we bought it from the school Christmas fair but they much preferred it when they made their own. We’re going to be making bags of reindeer food for the younger cousins […]

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Frosty Windows – Winter Like It Used To Be

After the very hot Summer, I keep seeing it mentioned that we could have a bad a Winter this year. Now when they say bad, they mean lots of snow, but to me, that’s not a bad thing! That would be a very good Winter because it’s the kind of Winters we used to have when I was younger and I loved lots of snow and frosty windows!

Frosty Windows

I remember waking up on a cold Winter morning, opening the curtains and seeing frost on the window. I loved the patterns it made. Then I’d gaze in wonder at a world that had been turned into a cold, snowy wonderland.

I loved that feeling of excitement I’d get and I couldn’t wait to get dressed and go out in the snow.

frost on a window

School Closures

I’m sure our school must have closed sometimes when it snowed but I can’t remember it doing so. I do remember having to walk to and from school in the snow. To get to my school I had to go down my street, along a short bit of the main road, through a little field, over a small bridge and up a big field that was quite a steep hill and it was called The Flat!

Sledging

The Flat was the place to go when you wanted to go sledging. I can’t recall us having a proper sledge, though. We used whatever we could find. One year someone brought an old car bonnet and loads of us would pile on. It was brilliant!

I did get in trouble with my parents one year, though. I think I’ve mentioned this before (probably more than once….my memory is terrible!), after school, some friends and I were messing around in the snow on The Flat and we lost track of time. It was dark and way past tea time when I got home. I got into serious trouble and I always went straight home from school after that day!

a boy sledging - Winter like it used to be

Outside Toilet

Our house was a council house that had brick outhouses, one was an outside toilet, one a coal house and the third was a storage area.
If we’d been out playing in the snow and we needed the toilet, we weren’t allowed to go to the toilet inside because with four children and lots of friends, it would mean we were in and out all the time so we had to use the outside toilet.

I can still remember having to sit on that freezing seat! I also remember the smell of the oil lamp. Because of the freezing weather, my dad would wrap the pipes in cloth and keep an oil lamp lit in there overnight.
You wouldn’t think much heat would be produced by an oil lamp but it did the job brilliantly. The pipes never froze!

These days we’d just get the pipes properly insulated by this pipe insulation company. I know if I were the one responsible for lighting the oil lamp every night I’d totally forget!

I Live In Hope!

Ant will not be agreeing with my wish for a snowy Winter because he’s not a fan, but even so, I’ll live in hope!

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Christmas Traditions To Start With Your Family

Like the song says, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and it’s definitely true for me. I love everything about it, including all the planning and organising that leads up to the big day.
It’s made even more special when you have your own family Christmas traditions. We seem to add a new one each year!

Christmas Traditions

Christmas tree decorations - Christmas traditions

Special Tree Decoration

Buy a special tree decoration for your baby’s first Christmas. Wrap it and add it to the stocking so they can open it on Christmas day and add it to the tree.
Do this every year and when they have their own home, you can package them all up and give them to your child so they can put them on their first Christmas tree in their new home.

Christmas Mug For Hot Chocolate

A few years ago I started buying Aiden, KayCee and Ella a Christmas mug for their Christmas Eve hot chocolate. We now have a great collection of mugs and I’m going to package them up the same as the tree decorations and give them to the children when they have their own home.

Santa's hand picking up a cookie from plate that's next to a mug of hot chocolate with a candy cane sticking out of the top

Decorating For Christmas

We always decorate for Christmas on the first Saturday of December. We put Christmas music on and I put the lights on the tree then Aiden, KayCee and Ella hang all their own tree decorations.
While we’re decorating, Ant makes us all a snowball, well, he makes a very weak one for Ella and none for KayCee because she doesn’t like it!
I always buy chocolate tree decorations, not all of which make it on to the tree 🙂

Different Ways To Countdown Advent

The usual chocolate advent calendar is all well and good but it’s not the only way we count down to the special day.

Christmas storybook advent – I bought 24 Christmas storybooks from the charity shop and wrapped them in Christmas paper. KayCee and Ella take turns to open a story each day and we read it at bedtime.

Activity Advent – Pick 24 different activities and write them on little paper scrolls. Roll them up and tie with Christmas ribbon. Pop them in an empty advent calendar – we have one similar to this felt Santa calendar

Random Acts Of Kindness Calendar – This calendar from Coffee Cups & Crayons has ideas for doing a random act of kindness every day of advent.

Make A Gingerbread House

KayCee and Ella love making gingerbread houses; one year we made them as gifts for family and everyone thought they were great.
We used this recipe from Tesco and it’s now our go-to gingerbread house recipe.

gingerbread houses

Christmas Movie Night

Popcorn, hot chocolate and treats from the Christmas trolley are a must on our family Christmas movie night. We usually watch Elf while snuggling under our Christmas blankets.
We all love movie night and sometimes have more than one!

Christmas Eve Box

Our Christmas Eve boxes usually contain a new pair of PJs, the new hot chocolate mug, some special hot chocolate and a pair of Christmas slippers.
We open our Christmas Eve boxes at night but if you wanted to open yours in the morning, you could put Christmas quiz books, a storybook, Christmas DVD and some chocolate coins in. Your children will have plenty to keep them occupied while you get on with any last minute organising you need to do.

What are your favourite family Christmas traditions?

4 Tips to Transforming your Kitchen

Most people feel that they need to transform their homes at some point in life. One of the places that most people want to transform is the kitchen. There is a lot that goes into the kitchen and it is that one place in your house that guests will always see and come to especially when you have gatherings and dinners.

 

It is also important to transform the kitchen so it can always sparkle and be hygienic. Here are 4 simple tips to help you completely transform your kitchen to make it more inviting, give it a bold new look and maintain hygiene.

make your kitchen look larger - renovating your kitchen

  1. Paint or Add Wallpaper

 

One of the easiest things you can do to have a new look for your kitchen is paint it or add wallpaper. The choice between the two boils down to preference, size of your kitchen and condition of your home. If you have a small kitchen, painting it might be the way to add character to your kitchen. Choose a paint that can resist the conditions in the kitchen and one that can be cleaned with ease.

 

Wallpaper is ideal for large kitchens. The patterns can be overwhelming for smaller kitchens. Wallpaper can add a lot of character to a kitchen that looks boring and dull. Ensure however that you choose vinyl based other than paper-based wallpaper.

 

  1. Counters

 

Another very important part of your kitchen is the counters. You can add quartz, granite or marble counters to add sparkle to your kitchen. Quartz is the most durable and is resistant to the conditions in the kitchen. The other two varieties will require sealing annually or semi-annually depending on the use to maintain their look.

Choose marble if you want an elegant high-end look for your kitchen. Granite adds a natural look to the kitchen because it is solid stone. Quartz doesn’t need sealing and costs less to install therefore it has the best savings.

 

  1. Add Splashbacks

 

If you want to really maintain the hygiene of your kitchen and keep it clean then you need to add glass splashbacks. They are available in many different varieties to choose from to match your other kitchen installations like cabinetry. Splashbacks made of glass add a lot of depth and sophistication to the kitchen.

 

They are seamless because they do not have grout lines so you can be sure of an elegant finish to your kitchen. The glass used in splashbacks is also heat resistant and toughened for safety. It doesn’t shatter when hit so safety is never an issue.

 

  1. The Floor

 

The floor is the other area of the kitchen that really determines the look and cleanliness. You can add a hardwood or tiled floor in your kitchen. With hardwood, you have a timeless look that can really keep your kitchen looking beautiful for many years to come. It will need retouching after some time and can be expensive to install.

make your kitchen look larger
Kitchen House Interior Floor Home Modern Room

Hardwood adds warmth and sophistication to the kitchen. Tiles have that contemporary look and are very easy to clean. Tiles and laminate are extremely durable and cheaper to install than hardwood.

 

Taking care of these four will give your kitchen a complete transformation.

 

This is a collaborative post

5 Office Renovation Tips for Small Spaces

Most businesses start out in small offices that they consider temporary as they consider moving in the future. However, it doesn’t mean that these offices should not be well thought out and functional. Most other businesses end up staying in such small spaces to keep costs down.

 

Real estate is also becoming an issue in many major cities. Therefore people have to make use of what is available. Regardless of the reasons you are in a small space, it doesn’t mean that it has to be neglected and cumbersome. Here are some 5 office renovation tips for small spaces that will enhance your space.

small spaces can work well as offices - laptops on table

  1. Functionality

 

When dealing with a small space, it is important to have the most logical layout in mind. You can consult a planner to help you come up with such a layout or you can just do it yourself if you are good at planning.

 

It is also possible to just sit with the other people who are using the office to brainstorm on ideas. Have issues such as the sitting arrangement, how many office appliances you have, the furniture you need and other such issues that will greatly affect the layout.

 

  1. Remove Things You Do Not Need

 

Do not have things you will not need in the office lying around because this will just use up the much-needed space. You may also have a storage space where you put those things that you do not use quite often.

 

For instance, if there is an item you use once in a week or a month, you can store it somewhere else and bring it in only when you need to use it. This will give your eyes some free space to look at which makes your office feel even bigger.

 

  1. Furniture

 

One of the things that can really eat up on office space is furniture. You do not have to use huge furniture pieces with a lot of wasted space. There is a lot of ingenious furniture out there made for small spaces. More details found on officeworthylist.com.

 

Such furniture is meant to be highly functional while taking up the least space in your office. You can, for instance, go for transformational furniture that can be adjusted for various different functions. You might also think about having custom-made furniture added to your office.

2 ladies working in an office

  1. Office Appliances

 

Office appliances are the other items that can really take up your valuable space. Have only the appliances that you really need to perform. Also, some appliances are also getting smaller as technology advances so go for the small most advanced ones and those that offer more than one function.

 

For instance, you can get a small five in one printer that you can use for colour printing, photocopying, scanning, black and white printing and even faxing. Also, people are now more mobile and devices such as phones and tablets can do most of what needs to be done on the computer. Opt for laptops instead of using desktops where possible.

 

  1. Concealed Storage

 

You can also add a lot of concealed storage options in your office to tack the things you do not need away. These storage options can be in hidden places, corners, and at places where you can pull it out.

 

With these five tips, you can make any small office space more functional and give it a bigger feeling.

This is a collaborative post

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