DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper

When you buy gifts for a lot of people at Christmas time it can become very expensive buying wrapping paper and all of the things to decorate them.  I have been known to spend around £40-£50 in Marks and Spencer on my wrapping paper and decorations which could be spent on better things in my opinion.  In a few easy steps you can create beautifully wrapped presents for a fraction of your usual cost by making DIY Christmas Wrapping paper.  My supplies cost under £20 and some bits will last until next Christmas.

DIY Christmas Wrapping

I love the smell of dried fruit as it reminds me of Christmas when ever I smell it, to make it I slice Oranges, Lemons and Grapefruit and bake in a very low oven for 2 hours turning over once.  Once the fruit has cooled I place on a radiator or in the airing cupboard for a couple of days to completely dry out.  We always take a family crafting foraging trip where we collect pine cones and pretty branches that would make a good base for a project and I tend to use them in my decorating at Christmas time, you can also use some of the branches from your Christmas tree  (only pick the bits that you can’t see so chop from the back).  If you can get hold of glitter spray, pine cones can look amazing all glittery and twinkling (a tip from my friend Kate)

I start by wrapping my parcels in brown paper which I buy for £1.25 for 15 metres, I then wrap the parcel in ribbon or gardening string, it gives a fabulous rustic feel to the present and makes you feel like you are back in olden days where brown paper was used to wrap everything.

It’s entirely up to personal preference what decorations you use on the present but I quite like to use pieces of cinnamon and fruit, holly berries and sprigs of cedar, pine cones, sprigs of rosemary and coloured jingle bells, Miniature baubles or home made gingerbread.

I cut my own tags from old cardboard boxes (recycling is good) and either leave them plain or add a silver sticker.  If you have time you could draw something on the tag or stencil the initial of the recipient.  I love this tutorial for Felt Gingerbread men gift tags on Grace’s Favours blog.

DIY Christmas Wrapping

 

Not only do these presents look and smell great your recipient can recycle the decoration next year!  You will have saved so much by not purchasing expensive wrapping paper and decoration that you can treat yourself to supplies for next year in the January sales saving even more money the following Christmas.  Brown parcel paper can also be recycled so you are doing your bit for the environment too!

How do you wrap your presents?



Essential Christmas Countdown Checklist

It’s less than two months until the big day which means thoughts of mistletoe and wrapping paper are probably spinning around in your head but have you thought about your Christmas checklist?  Now is the perfect time to plan your Christmas and festive celebrations so its probably a good idea to start with a pen and paper so you can jot down everything you’re going to need over the next few weeks or feel free to pin this page (There is a pin button below).

1) Beat the crowds by starting your Christmas shopping now. Plan a budget for each person and stick to it, November is a great time to purchase your presents as the shops are still relatively quiet and will still have the “most wanted” gifts in stock.  November is a great time for discounts and Amazon are extending their Black Friday offers this year so do check them out to see if you can pick up a bargain.

2) Most of the big stores like Marks and Spencer, Paperchase and supermarkets have 3 for 2 on their cards and wrapping paper so be sure to stock up now before the prices go up.

3) Start writing your Christmas cards now so you’re all ready to post once December arrives, make sure to use this time as a good opportunity to update your address book. Buy your Christmas stamps now while the post office is quiet, wait until December and you face huge queues.

4) Begin wrapping presents and find somewhere safe to store them like the bottom of a wardrobe, loft or cupboard.

5) Make things that you can freeze such as mince pies, cakes, tarts and pastry, and you won’t be left feeling flustered in the kitchen at the last minute.

6) If you’re planning to visit family or friends who don’t live locally now is a good time to look for cheap train/bus/flight tickets.  If you will be driving you can use the time to give your car a winter check, make an emergency kit to keep in the boot should you break down and check that you have spare lights, snow chains, shovel and blankets.

7) Plan your festive menu and look out for key ingredients that may be on offer in the supermarket such as spices, dried goods, flour, chocolates and alcohol.

8) Check that your Christmas lights work.  There is nothing worse than putting your tree up to find that your lights no longer work.  There are lots of offers on Decorations in stores during November so purchase any bits that you need now rather than waiting until December when the good items may have sold out.

Pin this essential Christmas countdown checklist for later

christmas countdown Checklist



Halloween Trick or Treat Lollypop Ghosts

Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year, I love to decorate the house and make “spooky” food to eat on the night.  We don’t go trick or treating and we never get people knocking on our door which is one of the benefits of living in an apartment.  My children like to get treats for Halloween and one of my favourite things to do is hide the treats around the house for them to find.  This year I will be hiding a variety of Halloween treats around the house including these rather cute trick or treat lollypop Ghosts.

Trick or treat ghosts

The Lollypop ghosts are such a simple Halloween treat to make and you can pop them in a bowl to hand out to any trick or treaters who come to your door.  To make the ghosts you will need:

lolly ghost supplies

Tissue / Toilet Paper
Lollypops
Elastic Bands
Ribbon
Black felt tipped pen

It couldn’t be more simple to put these together, me and my 3 year old had great fun although I did have to stop him trying to eat every one of the lollypops!

Tissue for lolly ghost

The first step is to cut a sheet of tissue into 4 pieces, this gives you a small square which you will place your lolly on and it forms the head section. Lay your tissue down on a flat surface, depending on the size of the lollypop you may need two sheets, place a small square in the centre.

lolly ghost tutorial

Place your lollypop on the small square as shown above.  You are then going to fold the top down over the lolly.

lolly ghost tutorial

Secure the tissue around the head of the lollypop with an elastic band.  Don’t worry about the aesthetics at this point as we will be adding ribbon and separating the tissue to form the ghost later.

lolly ghost tutorial

Tie some spooky ribbon around the elastic band to form a scarf.

lolly ghost tutorial

Draw on some eyes and pull out your tissue to make it look like a floating ghost.

These ghosts are great to hand out to children who come to the door trick or treating.

trick-or-treat-pin

Pin this for later.

*Some of the craft items used in this post were provided as part of the on-going Bostik Bloggers campaign

 



Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

I originally wrote this post back in 2013, as I’m still actually using the Clinique CC cream as my day to day face make up I thought it was time I printed an updated view of the product which you can read in the italic font.

clinique

 

I’ve been a fan of BB creams for a while now and swapped my heavy foundation for the light textured cream that really did offer what it said on the tube.  When I heard about the new contender to the market the CC cream I was really excited, it offers a colour corrector which can help cover and correct redness in the skin.

Since hitting my 30’s I’ve noticed that my cheeks are getting more and more colour of the red variety, I also have some pigmentation marks on my forehead which I can only assume is from sun damage.  I find trying to cover areas of colour on my skin a very hard task, what works on my forehead doesn’t work on my cheeks and if I have any spots that’s another product needed.  My skin is looking very dull and seems to have lost it’s radiance over the past few years.

I don’t ask much from my skin products!  I would like to see some of the radiance restored,  some of the colour to be corrected, natural coverage and an SPF.

I’m 36 years old and over the past couple of years have noticed an increase in enlarged pores, fine lines and discolouration.  My skin is not radiant and I have an increase of fine broken capillaries on my cheeks.  The skin underneath my eyes has a blue/purple tone to it and I have increased pigmentation marks.

clinique_cc

The Clinique moisture surge CC cream is suitable for all skin types and comes in 9 different shades, Very Light, Light, Fresh Peach, Natural Fair, Natural, Light Medium, Medium, Medium Deep and Deep.

cc_cream

I picked Light which I felt was the colour best suited to my skin tone, it’s actually a perfect match and looks flawless on the skin.

What really stands out for me about the CC Cream is the SPF30, I’ve never seen such a high number in any skin care product.  The cream is thicker than my usual BB cream but blends in very well and a little really does go a long way.  I like to know I’m getting value for money with my face products and I predict that this 40ml tube will probably last 4-5 months with daily use based on the amount I need to cover my face.

I actually get around 5-6 months use from each tube, the product is not full coverage but can be built up and even worn underneath foundation if required.  I use the CC cream after moisturising and set with powder.

face_no_makeup

face_makeup

In my opinion the CC cream has definitely helped to enhance my skin’s natural radiance.  I suffer from very dry skin and I have noticed that a level of hydration is added to my skin when I use the product.  My dry patches are not enhanced when I use this product and it doesn’t seem to cling to eczema.  My face seems to have more of a  flawless look which I’ve not been able to achieve for a long time.  My pigmentation marks are completely covered and the redness on my cheeks is toned down when using the cream.  I can’t advise how this product will work on different skin types to my own but what I can say is that if you have sensitive dry skin with eczema breakouts like myself you should pop down to your nearest Clinique counter and give this a try.

The cream formulation is still very well suited to my skin and if I’m having a particularly rushed morning I’m more than happy to go out with just a small amount of this by itself to enhance the appearance of my skin.

I love the idea of wearing make up that doesn’t look like you are actually wearing any and this make up really does offer that natural look.

Clinique CC cream is available to purchase from any Clinique counter or online at a rrp of £28.00  The price has not increased since this post was originally published in 2013



15 Snacks to Improve Productivity

I’m a mum of two but I also work from home, my home office is right next to the kitchen and as a result I snack a lot during the day. My children are both grazers so when it comes to snack time I like to provide a range of snacks that are both nutritious and delicious and not full of empty calories.  I do sometimes struggle to be productive and a lot of time it’s due to my energy levels dropping.  I figured there are probably a lot of home workers and busy mums out there who feel the same when it comes to productivity and energy so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite snacks that are full of flavour and don’t contain too many naughty ingredients.

Kale Chips

One of my favourite snacks and a favourite of my children too is Kale Chips. I make mine in the Actifry with a small spray of coconut oil and some smoked paprika, it makes a delicious snack which tastes a lot like crispy seaweed from the Chinese takeaway and it has none of the calories!  I can quite happily munch through a bowl of Kale and 1 bag usually lasts me two days.

chia porridge

I love Chia seeds and I add them to my porridge every morning.  Chia seeds contain lots of protein, fibre, good fats and 15g is enough to provide a much needed boost.  I love Blueberries which are full of antioxidants and as a treat I like to make a blueberry chia pudding which I leave to soak in the fridge overnight, which consists of chia seeds, almond milk and some chopped blueberries. Delicious.

hummus

Hummus is one of my families favourite snacks, I always make it from scratch so I know exactly what has gone into it.  Hummus is high in protein so a great way to boost your protein levels.  I’m happy to eat Hummus with a spoon but it’s always good to add some crunchy vegetables to add a bit of texture and crunch.

The infographic below has some great ideas for more snacks that boots energy and productivity, how many are your favourites?

15 snacks to improve productivity

GoToMeeting

 

*This is a collaborative post