Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Eco Friendly gift ideas for everyone in your life { Gift Guide }

 *AD - Some of the products in this post have been gifted. 

These items are marked with a * but inclusion has been on my terms and selection. 

All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. *

Christmas is a time of giving and it is important that when we are giving we are also looking after our environment too. Which is why putting together gift guides this year was something I wanted to do in a way that means there was an eco option for everyone you might be buying for this year. 

In this guide I will be sharing an eco friendly gift for the many people in your life, from the eco warrior to someone who is just starting a more eco friendly way of living and everything in between. Buying eco friendly gifts can be a bit of a daunting task, especially if your not familiar with more eco friendly brands and products. 

Sustainable Swaps Box from SaveMoneyCutCarbon *

I'm going to start where any sustainable lifestyle changes should and that is with SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Sustainable Swaps Box. This little box holds the key to trying out several different swaps to see the difference it can make not only for the environment but also for you. The box would make a perfect gift for a friend or family member who is starting to live more sustainably or who you think would like to make some changes but isn't sure where to start. 

The Sustainable Swaps box has an information that explains each of the products included in the box, how to use them and also what the impact of each change would make. Inside the box you can find a bamboo toothbrush, a beautiful beeswax wrap, a biodegradable bin bag with a sticker for your big bin to show your using biodegradable bin bags, a water flow bag for testing how much water your using, two bamboo plasters, a few bamboo cotton buds and an Ocean Saver Eco drop. It doesn't even end with what is inside the Sustainable Swaps box because you will get a code to sign up for the SaveMoneyCutCarbon membership where you will recieve 12 months of tips, advice, discounts on eco products and more sent right to inbox with the first email containing details on how to claim your Eco Laundry Egg, detox tablet and LED Lightbulb! There is a whole world of eco swaps inside this tiny box which fits perfectly through a letter box too. 

Give the gift of change this Christmas and show your friends and family just how easy swapping can be and how big of a benefit to the environment with a Sustainable Swaps Box from SaveMoneyCutCarbon. Even I have found new swaps I will be making in 2021 from this great little box, including the Ocean Saver Eco Drop which smells incredible and works better than other cleaners I have used!

Eco-Friendly Drawstring Bags

A really good place to make a big change is by swapping out the small things and if someone you know has started to make that change or is wanting to take the leap then another smaller place to start is with bags. We use a lot of plastic and it comes in so many forms but a particular one that is entirely unnessacery is the plastic surrounding our foods. Changing to a bag that allows you to carry your fruits and vegetables without the need for plastic can be life changing and reduce more single use plastic than you imagine. So why not help your friends and family see how wonderful drawstring bags can be with this pack of three sizes from Natural Elements this Christmas? They don't even have to be used for fruit and veg, you can use them to bag up and carry anything really! 

Spice Pots - Curry Night Kit *

One you might not expect to see in an eco gift ideas is the Spice Pots Curry Night Kit, however this whole kit is completely recyclable and even has refills that are biodegradable so it makes for a perfect eco friendly gift that works even for those who aren't as eco friendly.

Spice Pots is a company founded by a mum of 3 who wanted a way to enjoy her favourite Indian recipes in a quicker and easier way. She started to make up the delicious spice mixes for the meals in batches to do just that, to make cooking easier. I have to say I really think she has achieved this! There are five blends available and in this Curry Night Kit you will find four of those blends. 

As you can see above the kit includes spice blends to make Korma, Bhuna, Goan and Tandoori Masala. All of the spices used in each blend are 100% natural and come in a little metal pot with a metal lid. Inside each pot in the kit you will have enough to make 8 portions of the traditional Indian meals. However you can adjust the level to your tastes so if like us you prefer your curry to be milder, you can reduce the amount you add in for the whole meal by reducing the portions you add. I for one love this because it means we can enjoy the flavours without having to compromise on the spice level we are comfortable with! You don't even need to be a whizz in the kitchen to enjoy this kit either, inside you will find a recipe book with full instructions on how to create 8 delicious meals.

The Curry Night Kit from Spice Pots would make the perfect gift for any Indian food lovers this Christmas as well as families looking to change up their usual meals. 

Furoshiki Gift Wrapping from HanaBee

Once you have bought up all your gifts and your ready to wrap, are you going to use an eco friendly wrapping? I know for many we consider paper to be recyclable but many wrapping paper isn't, actually most aren't. Why not add to the gift you are giving by wrapping it up in Furoshiki Gift Wrapping from HanaBee?

Furoshiki gift wrap is a beautiful traditional Japanese folding square. The wrap is a square shape of single or double sided (depending on design) fabric designed specifically to be used in various ways. It's main purpose is to be a gift wrap which can be folded and tied around gifts in many ways from the basic tie I have done above to more complicated wraps and even one that is perfect for bottles! Each wrap comes with instructions and HanaBee's owner has created tutorials showing you how to tie the wrap.

I love the Sakura Red wrap shown above as I think the red makes it a little festive while still being a perfect fabric for us after Christmas for gift wrap or as a bag, hairband, lunch bag, water bottle carrier and more. Gift an extra gift with some reusable Furoshiki gift wrap this Christmas. 

HanaBee also have a whole range of beeswax wraps and facemasks available too. 

ModiBodi underpants *

This one may seem a bit out there in terms of a Christmas gift but it could be life changing for your significant other or daughter in your life. ModiBodi is an Australian underwear brand with a bit of a difference. Their underwear offers protection for women from leaks of all kinds from sweat, discharge through to overnight period protect with their extensive range of underwear and sports wear. Giving the gift of underwear has always been a bit of cliché that we are told to avoid but I think ModiBodi underpants offer a protection that can give women back a sense of freedom. Being able to get dressed in the morning and actually be ready for the day when you deal with periods, discharge or even with pelvic floor issues can be life changing! 

ModiBodi underpants offer just that protection inside their underwear, no additional products and no handbags full of sanitary products. It's even good for the environment since their underpants are reusable by simply rinsing under cold water and washing in your machine after each wear. 

If you have a lady in your life who has mentioned wanting to try reusable sanitary products then ModiBodi would make a perfect gift this Christmas. They even offer a selection of colours and styles in a variety of sizes so there is something available for everyone. You can see two of the colours available in the sensual hi-waist bikini style which is so comfortable and fits perfectly snug. You can see the Coral and Blueberry colour way available in this style. 

I hope you found something in this guide that has helped with your Christmas shopping, the ideas included would all make great gifts this year while still be eco friendly and helping the environment out too. 

Are there any Eco Friendly gifts your buying this year that aren't included, why not share them below in the comments for others?
Merry Christmas! 

Friday, 27 November 2020

Gift ideas that are perfect for children and teens of all ages { Gift Guide }

*AD - Some of the products in this post have been gifted. 
These items are marked with a * but inclusion has been on my terms and selection. 
All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. *

This time of year we are probably all thinking of the same thing, gifts! I usually share at least 3-4 gift ideas posts in the run up to Christmas. This year it is going to be a little bit different. I will be sharing just two gift ideas posts and they will both come over this weekend so be sure to keep an eye out for those. 

It's hard to buy gifts, particularly for children, you never know if it something they will enjoy or may already own if they don't give you a specific idea. I wanted to share some ideas that I think children and teens would like, in this gift guide of ideas I have tried to include something that will be good for as many ages as I could. Some will even be versatile to cover all ages but there is something for everyone. 

Mama Designs muslin squares - Geometric Hearts

Let's face it, babies just aren't that into Christmas. They love the lights and the excitement but what do you buy for a baby who is just weeks - months old? The answer is muslin squares, I can't even begin to explain how many times a day in the early months I reached for muslin squares. They can be used for anything from cleaning up or catching baby sick, milk dribble through to a soft light blanket to put over baby. I love these muslin squares from Mama Designs, they are cute while being really soft, 100% cotton and a good size too. The Geometric heart design is just one of the four designs available so you can find a design you like. 

Moon and Me 20cm soft toy from Playskool - Pepi Nana and Sleepy Dibalo

Moon and Me has been a huge hit in the last two years, recently it's been a favourite for Avery in particular and I have found these adorable soft toys. The whole character range is available but you can see the Pepi Nana and Sleepy Dibalo soft toys above that I have for Avery. They are so soft too! Each soft toy in the range is 20cm tall with it's own fabrics and design for each character to match those in the show. I think they are of a good quality although the Dibalo is a bit smaller in height I think it's still perfect for small hands, it is super soft and cuddly too. Perfect for toddlers since the range is suitable from 18 months. 

Busy Things - 1 year's subscription *

Getting online to learn has seen an increase like never before this year. I have found that my children are really enjoying this online learning at home. So I had wanted to include a learning tool or site that can offer that learning in a safe way. We recently reviewed Busy Things and we have loved it.  
Busy Things offers access to hundreds of curriculum based games and activities on their site. It is all done in a safe way with children even having their own log in's under the family umbrella to help build online knowledge and independence. Each family can even have up to 5 children added so you only need one subscription for the whole family. 
I think Busy Things would be a fantastic gift and would be particularly good for those who will be getting a big gift of a tablet or laptop this Christmas. A gift subscription to Busy Things also includes a certificate that can be printed out and gifted in an envelope to be opened since that is all part of the Christmas excitement.

You can purchase a gift subscription to Busy Things for £34.99 (currently on a special offer for £24.99!)

Two Pack of Kids Headphones with microphones

This one kind of connects to the last gift so if you are co-ordinating gifts for a child or children with tablets or laptops as a gift then this two pack of earphones for children would be perfect. You get two different colours in the pack, which also includes a splitter. What makes these headphones great is that they are made specifically for children so they have a noise dampener which will ensure they never go higher than a safe level for children's ears, even at top volume! The noise level is capped at 91dbs which makes it perfect for travelling on a plane or in a car as it will cover the engine sounds.
One feature I really like about these particular headphones is that they are foldable! You can fold down each side and nestle them inside the head band area to make them much more portable for travel and great for storage. The headphones also come with a 2 year warranty. 

You can purchase your own Two Pack of Kids Headphones for £22.99

The Gruffalo Jigsaw Book 

Books and puzzles are always a surefire way to strike gold in our house. Scarlet has been particularly enjoying The Gruffalo lately and I knew when I found this Jigsaw book that it would be a big hit with many fans out there too. Inside you can read along to the whole story on one side of each page while the other has a 12 piece puzzle you can take out and complete. They fit snuggly back in place so they can be stored right inside the pages of the book. Each jigsaw features a big picture you can find inside the original story book so is easily recognisable to fans. Even so there is a smaller image on the adjoining page for reference

Lego sets - Lego and Lego Friends 

Many children are fans of Lego, who can blame them, it is so much fun! One disadvantage is that it is quite expensive for the sets which is why I really like that you can get smaller sets like the ones above. Each year we have at least one set as a request and I think they can be a really good gift too. 
The smaller sets available for both Lego and Lego friends are different but still create a small world that be added to or used with other sets or alone. I think this element is really important as it doesn't have to depend upon them having other Lego. 

The first set of the two above is the Lego City Forest Fire Response Buggy and Firefighter set which includes all the pieces to create a Fire Response buggy with water blaster, Firefighter, Tree, Flame and an owl. Which creates the perfect scene for a fire rescue when the building is complete. 

You can purchase this set for £9 at The Entertainer using the link above.

The Lego Friends Heart Box set above is the Emma's Summer edition but there is one for each main character in the Lego Friends range. This set includes the pieces to make a heart shaped box, Jet ski, underwater seaweed/ coral with a crab holding a gem and Emma with flippers and a snorkelling helmet. Which is not only everything you need for an under water adventure but the heart box also doubles up as a storage container making this set perfect for on the go play too! 

You can purcase this set for £7.99 at Amazon using the link above.

Fine Art Pins and Prints from Pulse Gallery *

Last but by no means the least is a gift idea that is perfect for older children, pre teens and teenagers. Actually these gifts are even perfect for adults! Which is the incredible fine art pins and prints from Pulse Gallery. This year they have released a whole limited- edition  range of fine art pins and prints that are Disney and Pixar themed! They are officially licenced by Disney and Pixar themselves.

You can see two of the fine art pins from the extensive series available in the Disney collection above. Each collection has it's own theme and style of pin available but each design is limited edition and even comes with it's own certificate of authenticity which will be on the back of the card the fine art pins come on. I was honestly completely blown away by how amazing these fine art pins are. I do collect pins myself but I don't have any which are of the quality and detail that goes into those from Pulse Gallery really shows the Fine Art quality you are guaranteed from their collections. 

Firstly I am going to talk about the Mad Hatter which is from the ACME/Artland cutout series. The fine art pin stands at 1.5 inches in diameter and is made with a gold edging and outlines. It is full of vibrant colours that perfectly show the Mad Hatters uniqueness from the original Alice in Wonderland Disney Movie. Even the backers for the fine art pins are Disney themed with the iconic Mickey Mouse shape. This Mad Hatter fine art pin has only 200 pieces in the edition making it a very limited edition. 

The other fine art pin featured above is honestly even more impressive. The Aladdin Carpet Ride pin from the Aladdin series is made with a gold back and outlines which are expertly filled in not only with the vibrant colours but you see transitions of colour in the clouds which of course don't have a clear outline.  If you look closely you can even see the brown iris of Princess Jasmine and Aladdin's eyes. This is so impressive especially since this pin stands at a 3 inch diameter, it is about the size of my palm!  Just like the other Disney themed pins you can find Mickey Mouse shaped backers, this large size has three on the back. The Aladdin Carpet Ride fine art pin is one of the 250 in the edition created.

If pins are not what you are looking for then you can take a look at the whole range of fine art prints available from Pulse Gallery instead. They are just as impressive when it comes to quality and detail. There is a very extensive range available including those which are licenced by favourites including Disney, Harry Potter, Starwars and more with prices starting from £55.

I hope you've gotten an idea or two for some of your Christmas Gifts this year from our selection in this guide. It really does cover something for all ages from the babies all the way up to the teenagers in your life. There are some really lovely gifts included but if you have another great idea why not share it with me and others in the comments down below? 

Merry Christmas!

Learning fun with Busy Things {AD - Review}

 * Disclaimer: The subscription featured has been gifted for the purpose of this review. *

* However all thoughts and opinions are our own. *

This year has completely changed how I view learning at home, We've homeschooled and seen a new online learning system for homework become the new normal. Now with Christmas and a New year on the horizon I have been looking into finding out apps and online sites that are good for educational games and learning content in a safe way. When I heard from Busy Things I was really interested to see how their whole system worked. 

Busy Things is an online learning system that allows your household to access learning games and activities using their own logins without losing control of what children are accessing. The site is set up to allow children access to games and activities with independent login details, easy to navigate pages and the content available is based on their school curriculum. It's a perfect combination of safety and technology based learning at home. 

When you first log in to Busy Things you open up a new window and your parent account is able to access a bar across the top with options including talk to us, my children's profile's and settings. In the my children's profiles section you will be able to add up to five different children. Each child profile lets you add a unique username and password for independent log in, their own name, age/learning level and a customisable icon for their profile. 

In this children's profiles area you will also be able to edit which areas and activities are available for your child on their profile. This is perfect for if you want to ensure your child focuses on certain learning areas or if you need to remove anything for any other reasons. I like that this is a feature although I can't see it being one we make much use of. 

Once everything has been set up your child or children can get in using their own login details (you can also access through the parent account too). Their screen is set up with easy access in mind, the home screen is designed with large square shapes that contain both an illustration and a category name, these can be subjects or a general idea of what activities will show up when you click it.

Throughout the whole Busy Things site there are hundreds of activities and games to play that cover the learning ranges from nursery (age 3-4) up to year 5-6 or Primary 6-7 here in NI (age 9-11). Depending on the age and learning level you will be able to choose and see different activities and games. Scarlet  (nursery) sees a very different options than Dylan (Year 3-4) does. However some of the activities are very similar across the board, for example the current festive games and activities are the same across the board but are altered for each learning stage.

While there are many educational areas inside Busy Things you can also find activities that are just for fun, Scarlet in particular enjoys playing the games in this section. She is still exploring all of the areas and activities available on Busy Things but she has particularly liked the Personal, Social and Emotional development games like building a sandwich. Now that doesn't sound to you and me like something under that category but the pop up for opening the game gives you talking points that makes the game relative. I like that Busy Things has thought the games and activities through enough to provide points for conversations and engagement with children to add on to the learning.

Dylan so far is enjoying the maths based learning, he likes being able to use his strengths to make the games work. He has particularly enjoyed playing the newer Christmas themed game Santa's Sleigh Dash - Mental Maths. It encouraged him to get his sleigh to the end and advance more on his maths in a timely manner to finish the game. I actually think we'll use this games words version once he's got his goal of hitting 5 stars on the Maths game. 

I am honestly surprised by how great the Busy Things site is. I feel secure knowing what the children can access and not having to doubt myself on if it is suitable for them. Scarlet is happy with the games she can access while many are similar enough to Dylan's games that they can both play at the same time without fighting, which is a huge plus for me! 

Another great thing about Busy Things is that they offer the option to gift a subscription, with Christmas coming up I think this can be a great gift. It even comes with a printable certificate. This year both Dylan and Scarlet have asked Santa for a new tablet, being able to add on to that with a subscription to Busy Things adds on an excitement and an instant playability with minimal setting up. 

I am delighted with Busy Things and I think it is something that will be able to work for every family, you can easily access and change the learning level of each child so even those who are more advanced in learning can still be involved and challenged to learn. 

You can purchase a subscription to Busy Things for just £34.99 but over this Black Friday weekend they have a sale for just £24.99 what a bargain! 

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Our favourite books - The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty & the Beast

Taking time to read in the evening for our bedtime routine has always been a big thing for us as a family and it's a part of our daily lives now. I really love that having this regular reading time means all three children are often found with a book of their own through the day at some stage and it's these books that I like to think of as their favourites. Our favourites tend to change along with the book selection which I swap out at least once every month, from here on out I wanted to start regularly sharing what books are big hits and end up being read over and over again. Let's face it, we all have those books our children just can't get enough of!

The big favourite book this last month was The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty & the Beast written by Abuse Longstaff and illustrated by Lauren Beard. It's actually one that has been in our collection for a while but has been recently rediscovered and enjoyed, particularly by Scarlet. She found it in the bookcase first and has been found almost every day sat at her little table looking through all the pages. 

The book is from The Fairytale Hairdresser collection which currently has eight books published with the wonderful main character Kitty Lacey, a hairdresser who lives in Fairyland. Her clients are all familiar characters found inside our beloved children's fairytales. Each story has it's own little twist from the originals and I find we all enjoy the little differences. I think The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty & the Beast is actually my personal favourite from the series too. 

In The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty & the Beast you follow the story of Bella, Kittie's friend who is a painter. There is a big ball coming up in Fairyland to celebrate the birthday of Cinderella and Prince Charming's son. It's as you can imagine a very busy time for Kittie Lacey getting everyone ready for the ball. While on a picnic break with Bella to test out hairstyles it begins raining. They escape to Beast's castle for shelter, well I'm sure you know most of the story from there. Although this version contains a few more twists and a whole lot more hair! 

We see Beast's feelings coming out in The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty & the Beast as he expresses his fears and confides in his friend Kittie Lacey. You can read all about who Beast was before the wicked curse was cast upon him and watch his transformation as Kittie Lacey works her hair magic just in time for the ball and his true transformation but will Beau be able to find his own perfect style once he is no longer a Beast?

I have so many favourite pieces to this story but one that I really enjoy seeing is that Bella is actually a person of colour, she has beautiful dark skin and her hair is a voluminous afro. Kittie Lacey can be seen to use the right combs and hairstyles for Bella's hair. It's refreshing to see a whole mix of characters and skin tones featured inside a story based on the fairytales we all know and love. 

The story also touches several times on the various jobs people in Fairyland have, the jobs are vast with Bella herself being the official royal artist. How cool is that? There are many jobs in Fairyland which have wonderful characters with their own stories. Usually in fairytale style books the things like jobs are quickly rushed over or completely left behind. This aspect adds to the reality comparisons in The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty & The Beast. 

All in all I think it's a great book, it's diverse, full of great characters and has the whole fairytale experience but in a different way than the classics. The bright colourful illustrations bring the whole world to life on the pages of the book too. We would defiantly recommend this book to any fairytale style book fans. It makes a great addition to any collection and would even make for a good Christmas gift.

You can purchase your own copy of The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty & The Beast for just £5.94 on Amazon. 

Friday, 30 October 2020

A DIY Wicked Witches Hat Ring Toss Game { DIY Halloween activities }

 Halloween is going to be very different this year, things are going to feel more secluded and some big traditions are just a straight up no-go for so many. I know for us it will be a new experience for sure, we usually celebrate with lots of local events and a spot of trick or treating on Halloween night. All of which is totally cancelled so I wanted to do something different for the children this year, especially since they are already excited. 

Over the last few weeks I have been thinking about ways I can add to Halloween but still be safe and make it 2020 friendly? Now that it's under three weeks away I thought it would be nice to share some of the fun activities I created. The first of which is wicked witches hat ring toss, a fun game to play, this would be a perfect night time game as it uses glow sticks!

To create your own wicked witches hat ring toss you will need:

  • Black card
  • Witches hat PDF Templates
  • Coloured card and/or coloured foam
  • Scissors
  • Glue Gun
  • Extra Glue sticks for glue gun
  • 1 pack of bendable glow sticks

1. Take your templates and cut out the biggest circle and semicircle piece. You will need to cut two of each piece from your black card. This should use 3 A4 sheets of black card. Position the circles to one end of the card to allow space for the smallest circles later. 
2. Cut around the second circle and semi circle pieces in your template. Again you will need two of each piece and this will be another two pieces of card. You should be able to get a circle and semicircle from each A4 sheet.
3. The final cut out are the smallest circle and semicircle in your template. Cut four of each piece for these instead of two. Cut the circles out of the card leftover from step 1. The semi circles can be cut from a new sheet of card. 
4. Now that you have all your pieces cut out it will be time for assembly. Take each circle and pair it with one semi circle. Starting with your semicircle you need to glue along the tabs, attach to the other side of the semicircle to make a cone shape.
5. Add glue all around the rim of the cone (be as close to the edge as you can) and press onto the matching circle. 
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each witches hat.     

7. Create a coloured band for each hat by cutting out the final pieces of the template and choosing your colour and either card or foam. Cut each piece to match your witches hats. 

8. Glue down the bands to all of your hats and you can use this band to cover any spots where the glue is visible around the seam. 

9. Take your glow stick pack and create rings (or bracelet shapes) with each, you can attach two together to create a larger ring. 

10. Now you can play the game by placing your wicked witches hats on a table or the floor and having your rings nearby.  I recommend using blue tac to secure them or adding them onto some cardboard for  a more stable game. Why not place tape on the floor at varying distances to add some degree of challenges too.

I love how this game turned out! It was so fun to make and something the whole family can get involved in. I did go back at the end and cut a hole inside each hats bottom to allow me to stack the up for storage too. 

Do see what other DIY Halloween activities I have shared. 

Would your family enjoy playing Wicked Witches Hat Ring Toss?

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Homemade pumpkin jammy dodgers perfect for Halloween

 Every year on Halloween we create a little tea party type dinner with lots of spooky themed treats, yummy savory bite and we usually spend the days leading up to it making everything together. This year won't be any different other than the fact it falls on movie night! However this year will see us use one of my own Halloween themed creations to add to our tea party. 

A hexagon shaped plate filled with pumpkin shaped biscuits with happy, sad and funny faces cut out with red strawberry jam visible. The plate sits on a light white/grey wood background with a white tea towel under the plate to the right side.

I'm using my go to recipe for shortbread, I don't think this recipe came from anywhere in particular it is just a basic 3-2-1 recipe that I adjust depending on how much we want to make at the time. With the shortbread recipe I made our very own pumpkin jammie dodgers and they are so simple, not to mention adorable!

You will need: 


  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup of butter 
  • 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • Jam (any flavour) 
  • extra flour for rolling
  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking paper
  • Rolling pin
  • pumpkin shaped cookie cutter 
  • Small cookie cutters for faces (a knife works fine too)
  • 2 trays for baking
  • Measuring cups
  1. Preheat your oven to 180oC. Line your baking trays with baking paper. 
  2. Once you have all your ingredients measured out you can combine the sugar and butter in a bowl and mix until combined. 
  3. Add in the flour in several parts ensuring you mix well between each addition. Towards the end of the flour your dough will come together and may be easier to handle with your hands.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  4. Sprinkle some flour on your surface and roll out your dough to about 0.5-1 cm thick. Cut out pumpkin shapes using the cookie cutter and place on the trays.
  5. Combine all the leftover dough together and repeat the last step until there is no dough left. You should have two separate trays with even numbers on each. Our dough gave us about 26 pumpkin shapes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  6. Place one tray in the oven to cook for around 12-15 minutes. These will become the back piece for the jammy dodgers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

  7. Meanwhile you can use your cookie cutters or knife to cut out faces or words/ shapes in the remaining pumpkins. I used a knife as our mini cookie cutters hadn't arrived in time. You'll notice there are also a few ghost shapes in our photos, you can make them any shape you like!
  8. Once you have the faces or shapes cut out you will be ready to bake this last set, be aware these will take less time than the previous set. Our took around 8-10 minutes to go golden brown.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  9. Allow all the shortbread biscuits to cool fully. I added some lustre dusting in an edible gold spray to some of our pumpkins to give them a bit of fun colour and shine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  10. Finally you need to start sandwiching together a back and front with your chosen jam. I went with strawberry jam as it's the favourite in our house and it's the classic jammy dodger flavour. 

All that is left is to enjoy! 

What are your plans for Halloween this year?

Thursday, 22 October 2020

You never let me say goodbye. {An open letter after the death of a family member}

A book with blurred writing sits tilted to the left and open on a table. To the top right is a glass candle lit with a deep orange flame. The camera is focused on a small bunch of baby's breath that is closer to the camera

You knew, you've known for a while. It's cancer, your dying and you never thought I deserved to know, to hear it from you. You have 6 months left, or that is their guess but you don't want to see me and that hurts in my chest.

What you don't realise is that you mean so much to me, your like a father to me. It's been a while but I think about you often and wonder if you still smile. Do you remember my children? You've only met one and they won't know the man that you are. They won't see who you once where. They won't remember you holding their hand or you running around to catch them and make them laugh like you did with us. They won't see you smile or laugh or even frown. They won't know that you cared or loved them. They won't know who you where.

You taught me how to tie my shoes and you helped me up when I couldn't be me. You built me up when others tore me down and you loved me without need for love in return. You protected me when you needed to, you steered me right and you felt like a friend, there to listen and offer your advice, never to judge or look down upon my choices. You cared and you listened, you helped and just been there. How can I just forget that your there. Just a few miles away and I can't just come, just give you a hug and tell you just how much you are loved.

I watched you get married and smile and love. I watched you live and now I don't get to say goodbye. It's not something your giving to me and I understand it's your wish but I wish it wasn't true. My heart hurts when I think about you not being here. You'll never be there to give me away. You'll never watch as my children grow and learn. You won't know who I become or where I'll end up and I miss you for that.

You won't be here for Christmas nor will you see another birthday. It's oh so close now but just so far away. You have weeks now, not months and I can't breathe when I think about a world where you don't exist.

A book sits open on a table, inside a poem is written called I never got to say goodbye, a rose gold pen with an elephant on top sits on the opposite blank page. to the right above the book is a cream coloured lit candle in a glass holder. To the left is a bouquet of red chrysanthemum and baby's breath that sit closer to the camera.

I never got to say goodbye,
No holding close while we both cry. 
I never got to say goodbye,
No last I love you or final words.
I just never got to say goodbye. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Blog anniversary celebrations with ModiBodi { Giveaway }

 *AD - The product featured in this post have been gifted for this giveaway.*

To help us celebrate six years of blogging at Us Two Plus You I have been running several giveaways across the blog and on our social media channels in the last week. Today we are continuing the celebrations by joining up with ModiBodi! Which works out to be perfectly timed with World Environmenstrual Week.

If you have never heard of ModiBodi before they are an underwear brand from Australia with a bit of a difference. ModiBodi create beautiful, comfortable underwear that is made to fit all women of every shape and size, oh and they are made to be period, perspiration and pee proof! They even make swimwear, so you are covered for every need. 

The founder of ModiBodi, Kirsty Chong has spent years making incredible technology like the patented Modifier Technology which is used in the ModiBodi underwear range. Her journey started after she had her second child and dealt with pelvic floor issues. It was then that she realised our underwear hasn't changed even though we have made significant advancements in the technology available. This Modifier Technology brings women around the world a whole range of leak-proof underwear that is comfortable, lightweight and even looks fantastic on. What more could we want? 

In the UK ModiBodi offers a wide selection of underwear and Swimwear with 16 different styles available. The range covers everything from underwear that is moisture wicking and perfect for exercising in right through to maternity underwear to see us through the challenging changes that brings our bodies. In fact they even have a leak-proof breastfeeding top for when baby arrives and our bodies change all over again.

Today I am going to focus on their underpants range, I think this is the biggest range they do and it covers you for everything from light spotting and discharge to heavy periods or pelvic floor issues. You won't miss out on having your favourite style of underwear to enjoy either since the ModiBodi range has seven styles available including a thong that is suitable for occasional discharge and period spotting which is considered to be super light on the ModiBodi flow ratings. 

The other six styles cover a range of the available flow ratings from moisture wicking for exercising in through to moderate to heavy which is perfect for heavy periods and discharge or light bladder leaks. Some of the styles even offer a sensual or seam free option which means you can enjoy your favourite underwear without restricting your wardrobe choices!

The other six styles you can get at ModiBodi are listed below with their available flow rating alongside. 

Brief: moisture wicking, light-moderate.

Boyshort: moderate-heavy, heavy-overnight.

Boyleg: moisture wicking, light-moderate, moderate-heavy.

Full brief: light-moderate, moderate-heavy, heavy-overnight.

Bikini: moisture wicking, light-moderate, moderate-heavy, heavy-overnight, maxi-24 hours.

Hi-waist bikini: light-moderate, heavy-overnight, maxi-24 hours.

The range doesn't just stop at different styles being available, many of the underpants in the ModiBodi range comes in a variety of colours too. Being able to choose underpants colour is both fun and practical. I know I love having my underwear be fun colours instead of just black so the ability to choose the colour while benefiting from the technology of ModiBodi underwear is a big plus for me!

So why would you decide to change from what you use now to ModiBodi underpants? 

Honestly they are better for everyone, firstly the impact on the environment from disposable products for periods, discharge and pelvic floor issues is huge. Inside disposable pads you will find up to 90% of the materials are plastic! Even tampons contain plastic without considering the plastics they are wrapped in or the plastic applicators on tampons. By deciding to change from disposable pads to ModiBodi's reusable underpants you will be saving plastic from entering the ecosystem. Not to mention the savings you will make from not having to keep purchasing all the disposable products that currently take up space in your bathroom. 

Another question you might ask is 'isn't it hard to keep up with the washing and upkeep?' 

The answer is no! You don't need to washing your ModiBodi underwear in any special way to benefit. You shouldn't use fabric softener and they should be in an underwear bag in your washing machine to give them a long life of use. However those should be included in your normal underwear washing! The only difference with using ModiBodi underpants is that you should rinse them when you take them off in cold water until the water runs clear. This helps them last longer and prevents staining. It's actually just as easy as it sounds and is really a matter of a routine when you start wearing them ! 

You can purchase the whole range of ModiBodi underpants on their site with prices starting at just £14.50 up to £25. 

Now for the giveaway.

ModiBodi are giving our readers the chance to win two pairs of their underpants in your size! To enter you can fill in the Gleam form below.

Win two pairs of ModiBodi Underpants 

Terms and Conditions:

  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise. 
  • There will be one winner.
  • The underpants styles will be chosen at random from those available in stock on ModiBodi when the winner is announced and details have been confirmed. 
  • The winner can choose their prefered size from those available on ModiBodi.
Friday, 16 October 2020

Win a Victor Badminton Longsleeve in Blue Melange from BadmintonHQ { Blog Anniversary Giveaway }

 *AD - The product featured in this post has been gifted for the giveaway*

To continue on the Blog anniversary celebrations I have joined up with BadmintonHQ to give our readers the chance to win a Victor Badminton longsleeve in Blue Melange. It is a perfect top to wear for badminton and many other sports now it's getting colder.

BadmintonHQ is an online shop that specialises in badminton equipment. BadmintonHQ was started by David Tuttlebee when he got frustrated about a lack of information and unavailability of a badminton racket he was trying to buy for a friend back in 2018. He decided he wanted to change things and in January 2019 he signed a deal with Niel Tiger (a former International badminton player) and Westgate badminton centre in Hampshire. The deal wase create the UK's biggest racket demo centre while providing all the information a player will need to decide on a racket purchase. In August of 2019 the online store BadmintonHQ was launched to provide players both new and experienced a trusted place to buy all their equipment and more at the best price. 


One of the products available on BadmintonHQ is the Victor Badminton Longsleeve, available in Blue Melange. A long sleeved sports top  that is designed with sports and exercise in mind. The Victor Badminton Longsleeve is made of a spandex material that is lightweight without compromising on comfort or movement while exercising and playing sports. As you can see the Victor Badminton Longsleeve features a quarter zip on the front to ensure ease of use when putting on or taking off this pullover style top.

The Victor Badminton Longsleeve also includes an inner fleece membrane which works to keep your warmth close to your body. This design makes it perfect for autumn when you want something a little warmer for exercising/ playing sports in. The even better news is that there is a good range of sizing with sizes XS to L currently available.

You can purchase the Victor Badminton Longsleeve in Blue Melange from £35.95 on BadmintonHQ

Now for the giveaway! 

To enter our giveaway with BadmintonHQ to win a Victor Badminton Longsleeve in Blue Melange you can use the Gleam entry form below. 

Good Luck! 

Win a Victor Badminton Longsleeve in Blue Melange 

  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise.  
  • The winner can choose their prefered size from those available on BadmintonHQ
  • There will be one winner 

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Our Favourite Books - The Ghost Train by Allen & Janet Ahlberg

Since it's October and we've already changed all of our books over to the Halloween selection a few weeks ago I thought it would be nice to share the favourite so far! Usually I would share last months favourite but it would mean the next few months books would come after each holiday so I'll share these a little differently. 

The big hit this month is a new one for us, I realised we hadn't got many spooky type books in our collection and of course that needed rectifying immediately! I purchased The Ghost Train by Allen Ahlberg the minute I found it on Amazon. We managed to get our hands on The Ghost Train by Allen Ahlberg at the beginning of October. It was very quickly added to the bookshelf and quickly became a hit with both Scarlet and Dylan. I remember reading the Funnybones books when I was younger and being able to share books I loved with my children is pretty special. 

The Ghost Train is one of the books in the Funnybones series which is written by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. A husband and wife duo who first created the original funny bones book back in 1980. The series grew to include several more books including The Ghost train which just like the rest of the series was republished by Penguin books. The Funnybones books are all based around a world that only comes out at night, a world in shadows with it's own spooky creatures like those we dress up as on Halloween.

The Ghost Train by Allen and Janet Ahlberg follows the story of the big skeleton, the little skeleton and the dog skeleton as they go for a ride on the ghost train. The adventure is only beginning as they travel through the dark, dark town and towards the Ghost-Town-by-the-sea.

There are many sights to see and things to do at the Ghost-Town-by-the-sea. Big skeleton, Little Skeleton and dog skeleton join in, they take time to watch the Monsters' Beauty Parade and before they hear the ghost trains whistle to signal home time at 3 o'clock. 
Something spooks the Skeleton gang on the way home, causing the to run and hide, I wonder what could it be?

The Ghost Train is illustrated by Andre Amstutz. It has it's own very unique and instantly recognisable illustrations. The whole book is full of bright, colourful illustrations that really show up against the dark, dark world at night time. You can spot lots of fun spooky characters and places inside the illustrations. I love that Andre Amstutz really captured the spookiness of the world while creating, cute and lovable monsters, ghosts and skeleton's to occupy it. The illustrations are really the perfect accompaniment to the story and captures it all really well. 

I cannot recommend The Ghost Train enough for a Halloween themed bookcase. It has the perfect amount of spooky feeling in the book while being balance out with fun. The Ghost Train matches up with so many every day experiences we might have whilst on a train but adds the element of darkness at night and unexpected characters like monsters and ghosts. 

I will be looking at finding the rest of the Funnybones series for our collection. 
Which was your favourite book growing up?

Search This Blog

Find us on Social Media

Blog Archive


Featured post

Our ordinary Moments - Stained Glass Panels

 This has been a wonderful long weekend for the celebration of the Queen's 70th jubilee. While we haven't really attended anything p...