Monday, 31 March 2014

Hillarys Country Crafts competition

Hillarys blinds have challenged bloggers to a country craft competition and provided us with a meter of one of their new country retreat fabrics. I chose the Calluna print, I loved the bright colours and thought it would work well with my decor.

I'm in need of some new storage boxes so I knew straight away what I was going to make... a box for my daughters room to put some of her ever growing collection of cuddly toys!

I started by getting everything together that I needed. The calluna fabric and I had some old satin from my bridesmaid dress from when I got married. I used it the wrong way though so the shiny side wasn't showing but the dull side, it just matched the fabric better that way. I also needed some cardboard boxes.

Firstly I cut out the outside of the box by making two squares (28cmx28cm) for the end pieces and 3 rectangles (28cmx32cm) for the sides and base. Then you have to sew them all facing together. If you are sewing on a 'normal' machine then leave a 1cm seam allowance.

I popped round to my Mum's and used her overlocker!! Once all the side are sewn together you will have your box shape. Like below. 

Do exactly the same with the lining your using and turn them the right way. Cut and sew the lining the same size as the outer box. 

Next you need to make your box. I used cereal boxes which I found out later are a little bit too flimsy. You would be better with a postage box, something a bit sturdier. Don't forget you don't have to make a box, if you already have a box, work with the one you have it will be easier!
I made my box smaller than the fabric. The two sides were 20x20 and the end pieces and base were 20cmx30cm. Then i used sellotape to hold them all together.

The next part was the trickiest. First put the box in the outer fabric, make sure all the corners are pushed down. Then once that is in place put the lining inside the box, it will seem baggy and the fabric will come a lot higher than the box but don't worry about this.

Next you need to sew the fabric together at the top, look at the picture below! I did this on the machine but you can hand sew if you prefer.

Once the fabric is sewn together you can fold it over slightly to cover the stitch then fold again as far down as you can so you can see the lining. You can tack the corners in place if you need to, if your fabric is thicker or tight around the box you probably won't need to. Then fill with your treasures.

It really is simple to make and once you have made one you will want to make more. You could add handles next time or use the same fabric for the outer and inner. I think this box would look great if you matched it with you curtain fabric. 

 Millie has since filled it with her shoes...

Why don't you have a go and make sure you send me your pictures if you do!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Weekend box review

We were recently sent a box of goodies from the weekend box club, I actually saved it until the boys were at school and did it with Millie. The boxes are suitable for 4-8 years old, Millie is only three but with having two older brothers she is quite advanced. The activities were suited to her perfectly and she really enjoyed working the through the box and collecting the stickers after each activity.

It came in a little box that fit through the letterbox, its colourful and very eyecatching. 

The box is packed with little colour co-ordinated bags to each activity. They are each sealed with a sticker explaining whats inside the bag and which activity it is for. I really like the fact that they are sealed as children do tend to have a habit of getting everything out at once. It really ensured that nothing got mixed up.

The first one Millie wanted to do was the blue 'creative' activity. I wasn't surprised in the slightest, it looked fun and involved painting and cutting. The instructions were super easy to follow and nicely laid out. 

Everything was in the little blue bag that was needed. All I had to do was add water the the powder paint and find something to draw a circle around. Unfortunately though the glue that was provided was all dried up and we were unable to use it, luckily we had some in the cupboard though. Phew!

The finished result! She was so proud of her little bird and was really excited to show her brothers what she had made. I thought it was good and easy enough to make without much help at all.

We worked through the other activities including a sound sheet that helped you discuss and match up different sounds things make. We had lots of fun guessing which sounds we were each making. The sound sheet also provided you with links to a website where you could watch a video. I think this would be better for older kids and to be honest we didn't watch it.. it felt nice just to be in the kitchen without the laptop around. For this activity you were also provided with balloons and a straw to recreate a robot voice.

We quickly moved onto the next game 'The pot O gold game', we made it up which was super easy and started playing. This has been a huge hit in our house with all members of the family. In fact its still on the window sill and gets played with most days since its been out. All you have to do is see how many of the 6 coins (provided in the box) you can get under the pipe cleaner rainbow and in the mug.

The weekend box was really fun to complete and once the child has done all the activities they can fill in their very own poster with stickers and colour in their certificate, this was all part of the fun for Millie. The weekend box is delivered fortnightly and contains different things each time always following the same catergories of :Something to Cook, Explore, Make and Green

If you want to try the weekend box you can do for FREE (including free delivery) by using my exclusive code VICKY26. Just enter the code at

If you do try it come back and let me know what fun things your little one got.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

My Favourite TV moment

The TV in our house is where we all sit down and relax, I'm not afraid to say one of my favourite things to do at the end of the day is to chill out on the sofa and watch TV, weather its trash, a documentary or a reality TV show I don't really care, the kids are in bed and its time for me to wind down :) In fact we all like TV in our house my husband likes the sports channels and the children like cbeebies and cbbc. And no one EVER turns down the chance to watch a Disney movie (OK maybe my husband does).

I try not to let the children watch hours and hours of TV although I do think alot more of the programmes are educational now, I still prefer them to play. Once they have done their homework after school they do get chance to watch it whilst I'm making tea. Luckily because there isn't much age difference in them all they like similar TV shows and Millie is just happy she gets to hang out with her brothers so she will watch anything :)

We do make a big deal about watching TV in the evenings at the weekend, we often have 'cinema nights' where we watch a film, usually a Disney one, and we have popcorn and hot chocolates. I love Disney films and I can't imagine ever getting bored of them. Ha! Luckily the children are the same. I remember as a child my sister and I used to sneak downstairs early in the mornings and put our favourite Disney VIDEO on before our parents used to get up.

Although I have many favourite TV moments with my family I think my very favourite has to be this week. Not because it was a happy one or particularly enjoyable but because I realised how much my children could learn and how much I could learn about my children. 

On Friday night we sat down as a family to watch Sport Relief. We were all excited to watch a fun packed, exciting, funny show. We snuggled on the sofa under the throws and everybody was sat in place to watch. Millie fell asleep quite and soon and the boys sat lovely and felt grown up been able to stay up late, they had been looking forward to watching it all week after talking about it and fund raising for it at school.

The clash of the titans, David Beckham and the only fools and horses, Gary Barlow's The greatest day, Littlemix and the fun clips of people doing daft things to raise money. Then there were the clips that the show was all about. The poor children suffering... dying. I didn't think about these clips before we started to watch... I didn't think about the effect they would have.

After a few clips the boys started to ask questions about why and how these children were suffering. They wanted to know where they got their birthday cakes for their birthdays if there wasn't any shops? If they didn't have any money how can they receive presents? How can they drink from a river... that animals wee in? Why do they have to go to work, why don't they go to school? Why are the walking all over a rubbish tip? Where are their shoes? How can they live without a Mum and Dad? If the babies are hungry why can't they just give them some milk? The questions went on and on. It reminded me how lucky we are, sat under our throws snacking on popcorn just taking it for granted whilst watching people - children- starve.

They started to chat over the programme and Toby who is five burst into tears, the starving babies that were dying got to him, he didn't like how thin the were, how sad they were and it devastated him when they died, it devastated him when a child the same age as him died because they were ill. He wanted to know if I could make nets on my sewing machine so we could send them to the children. He told us all 'When I'm older I'm going to save my money up and fly to Africa and take lots and lots of food and feed all the children and give them pens so they can learn to write their name. And I'm going to take lots nets so they don't get stung anymore.'

Leon and Toby learnt whilst watching this how incredibly lucky they were to be able to eat and have cake, to have clothes that fit them and that were clean. To live in a house made from bricks, and heating when its cold, they realised that we are lucky that we have doctors and hospitals just down the road that we can drive to in our car. Also that they have a choice of toys, bikes and scooters. They decided between themselves that they wanted to help in some way, they wanted to do their bit and raise some money.

They taught me that they had empathy and had feelings way beyond what I thought they did. They can sympathise with others and realise how privileged they are. They taught my that no matter how much I question myself I am a good Mum I have installed these values into them. It reminded me of how proud of them I am and I truly believe they will come up with something to help these poor children that they watch in disbelief.

It taught us a lot as a family and that's why it is my favourite TV moment...

TalkTalk have developed a quiz so you can see just what type of viewer you are. I came out as 'The Compliant'.

 I guess this could be true as I don't mind what I watch as long as its good viewing, but get between me and Big brother, Britain's got talent and I'm a celebrity get me out of here - there will be trouble :)

Why don't you take the quiz and let me  know what you are?

This is my entry to Tots100 share your moments competition

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Schwartz Flavour shots review

I have recently been trying out some of the new range from Schwartz. These are great for me as I sometimes struggle to come up with different meals for my family. (I can bake anything but cooking I just don't have the same inspiration).

Flavour Shots are a blend of spices, herbs and seasonings infused in sunflower oil for amazing tasting meals in a shot,  all of which are so simple to prepare - just Spoon, Sizzle and Serve!  They are super, super easy to use, not only that they have the ingredients that you will need on the outside of the packet- handy when your out shopping. The inside of the card tells you how to cook up your meal. Plus different variations if you prefer.

First we tried the Spainsh paella, I've never had this before but I really liked the look and sound of it. It when down a storm with the whole family, two of which are fussy eaters. The flavour was delicious and I was so impressed of how smoothly it all went! The only downside is that the portion sizes are really generous so I had to do it in 2 seperate frying pans. Of course this might be because my frying pans aren't as big as everyone elses :) On the up side I had it for lunch the day after. I have already re-stocked my cupboard with this flavour shot!

Spanish Paella

Tonight we had the Spicy Jalapino curry, I wasn't sure how this was going to go down, my children do like spicy foods, but this was hot! I cooked it with rice and they really enjoyed it admitidly the two fussy ones didn't finish the whole meal but i think the spice was just getting a bit much.

Schwartz have also introduced 3 new perfect shakes:
Perfect Shake Pasta – a delicious blend of tomato, oregano and basil. Ideal in tomato based pasta sauces and Bolognese for adding Italian flair.

Perfect Shake Spanish – a tasty seasoning blend of smoked paprika and red/green bell peppers. Perfect used in a tomato sauce over patatas bravas or sprinkle into a omelette.

Perfect Shake Chips – a sweet and spicy blend of paprika, onion and garlic. Great for adding a delicious twist to classic chips or potato wedges.

There have really 'spiced' up our meals, they are fab for added extra taste. It's so simple, I don't think I will ever have bland chips again!

I would really recommend these products to people that have a busy lifestyle and want a homemade meal but haven't got time to completely prepare it all yourself. For me they have been great to encourage me to try new meals and gain confidence with cooking. They can be bought at Sainsburys and Tescos and I'm sure they will be bringing more meals out soon. They have got to! My children even get excited about what tasty meal we are having next!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Upcycled bedside tables

This week I have been updating some bedside tables. I want to decorate my bedroom this year and I don't mind doing it slowly but I want to do it on the smallest budget as possible as we want to move house early next year. I have a mood board and I would like to work as closely as possible to create that.

I came across a pair of bedside tables on ebay for £15, they were literally down the road from me so I didn't need to pay for postage.

Once I picked them up I realised they had already been upcycled and stained from a light pine. So I sanded them down with a little help from Millie (or little red riding hood!) I did them one at a time just because I didn't have the time or space to do them together.

 I didn't use a primer because I had plenty of paint, so I just did a thin coat of the paint I had and it covered really well.

After two coats it was almost covered and I was tempted to leave it as you could just see the wood slightly underneath but the hubby didn't like it!! So I went with a third coat and I must admit I much preferred it. But we won't tell him that.

I decided to experiment on one of the drawers with a blue on the outside I actually really liked the effect but decided it was pointless as you would't really see it as the drawers are always closed! But it's definately something I would do in the kitchen or living room in the future.

I bought 4 new handles for a very reasonable price from ebay, these are the exact ones, although there are loads to suit your own taste. I thought they might look really tacky with them being so cheap but they look great and you certainly can't tell they are cheapos!

I'm really pleased with the finished result. In fact I was going to shabby chic them and rub them down but I just loved the perfect finish these had. They look brand new and expensive I honestly don't think people wouldn't know if I didn't beg them to come inside and look what I've done! 

I decided to add a bit of extra luxury to the drawers mainly because they weren't too good inside. They were a but dirty and had a few scratches etc. I actually had a single piece of wallpaper hanging on my wall for ages trying decide if I liked it or not. When I decided to go for a duck egg colour I thought this would be perfect. Wallpaper is great for lining drawers with because its so thick. So it should be hard wearing. 

I'm super pleased with how they turned out and now they are all full of my trinkets. 

Next I need two lamps, I was hoping to get to the car boot sales today but the weather hasn't been too good so we gave it a miss. 

I know I have two lamps up to the attic but they have a patterned glass shades... has anybody got any good tips for upcycling them? Please feel free to leave your link in my comments if you do I would love some ideas!

Sunday, 9 March 2014


You all caught me taking your photo. Winding down together after a busy weekend, you have all behaved perfectly xx

Thursday, 6 March 2014

How to make a cushion cover from a old jumper

Although I haven't shared many diy or craft projects on my blog I do love doing them and hope to feature them from now on. I have had an interest in all different types of sewing and crafting from a very early age. My parents have their own sewing business, my Dad has been a sewing machine mechanic all his working life and my Mum has always had a sewing job, with lots of different companies and her own. I actually sew golf flags in my 'spare' time to make extra money to enable us to go on holiday each year. Its nothing exciting or challenging but it pays.

Today I'm going to show you how to make a cushion cover from an old jumper. Cushions really are the easiest thing to make and are great for beginners plus the are an instant way to spruce up your decor.

Take one old unloved jumper and a cushion. Chunky cable knit really do work well, if you haven't got one I'm sure you can pick a cheap one up from ebay.

Cut around the cushion this will be the front of the cushion (I used the front of the jumper). Cut another piece around the cushion but add extra a few inches on to it  and use the bottom of your jumper as the hem. (sorry the picture isn't great, the piece on the right is the same width)

Cut the back piece in half. Then layer the pieces as you are going to sew them. The front piece needs to be facing up. The next piece is your hem piece, make sure the hem is not on the edge (like mine, I did notice before I sewed together!)  and line up the other side face down.  Place the other piece face down on top of that one. Pin together if you wish, I didn't with this as I found it stayed together quite well.

Sew all the edges together, if you fabric is as thick as mine you may need to give it a little pull through the machine.

Turn out and add you cushion

Congratulations you have just upcycled a jumper and made something fabulous.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Recent competition wins

January and February have been really slow months for me in terms of competition wins. This time last year I had won over £750 worth of prizes. Up to now this year I have won Just over £100.

I much prefer creative competitions and recently I haven't seen as many around, there seems to be much less than last year. I've tried my hand at twitter comps as well this year, just the simple follow and retweet. I've had no luck, in fact I've lost a bunch of followers on twitter and I wonder if thats why, because I'm spamming their timeline.

Anyway the prizes I have won I like and they are all very useful to me! First up is a £50 Wallis voucher I won from Super lucky with a silly video I did to wish her luck in the teamhonk relay.

I bought these boots with the voucher and I have pretty much lived in them since I got them!

An angry birds dvd which was a runners up prize from a text competition that I found in compers news.

I won a blog competition with a prize of go-karting for 2. I had a good feeling when I entered this as there wasn't many entries. My husband and I love go-karting and only usually go on holiday so this will be a nice treat. We get a bit competitive though!

I did win a twitter competition for a soppy tweet I sent to lakeland in their Valentines competition. I won a heart shaped cookie tin. 

So there we have it, my best wins of the year so far, whats your best win so far?