Simple dairy-free sausage rolls

Hello my lovelies,

Tonight we are going to the Luna Open Air Cinema to watch The Greatest Showman. And it’s a sing along! I can’ t wait!

It’s been a run around of a day. We’ve seen two sets of friends at two different parks, made Elderflower cupcakes that don’t actually taste much like Elderflower but look good never-the-less.

But the real show stopper for tonight are our home made, dairy-free sausage rolls.

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These are just too good not to share and so easy to make!

You will need:

4 good quality pork sausages (We used Porky Whites)

1 package Jus- Rol ready rolled puff pastry sheet

Dairy free spread to grease the baking tray

Set your oven to preheat to 200 degrees if it’s a fan assisted or 220 if it’s not a fan assisted oven.

Unroll the pastry and cut in half width ways.  Slit the skins of the sausages and remove from the skin.  Place two sausages on each piece of pastry.   Fold the pastry over and roll over the edge making sure the sausages are nice and snug inside the pastry.

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Next crimp the edges with a fork

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Cut each sausage roll into 8 even slices and place on a tray.  Brush with beaten egg.

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Bake until risen up and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool before devouring!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

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DIY all natural lip scrub recipe

Hello my lovelies,

It’s half term here in the UK and it’s raining. Of course it’s raining. It’s half term and I have a seven year old to entertain.  Of course, it’s bloody raining!

Anyhoo!

I found some cute little clear butterfly pots at The Works a couple of weeks ago and thought they would be perfect to make some lip balm with.  But it’s that time of year when my lips are always dry and rough from the change in the season.  I’ve seen lip scrubs in some high end stores and figured, it couldn’t be that difficult to make one.  So Missy and I gave it a go.

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The ingredients, are probably those that you already have in your pantry.  You will need:

1t coconut oil

1t honey – we used some lavender flower honey we got in Germany last year

2 1/2 of white sugar or brown if you prefer

1/4 t vanilla bean extract (optional)

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Measure all ingredients into a bowl and combine well.  Try not to eat it!  It smells and tastes fabulous!

Spoon carefully into the little pots and there you have it!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Harry Potter Christmas Tree

Hello my lovelies,

I’m finally getting five minutes to blog about our awesome Harry Potter Christmas tree.  It’s been manic around here the past few days for various reasons and having to prepare for Christmas has made it more so.  But enough of that, onto the tree!

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Isn’t it fab?  Missy and I are so proud of our handiwork.

We’ve split the tree into the four house colours  using baubles but then decided against splitting the other decorations into sections and just went to town decorating to our hearts content.

I really love how some of our homemade Rememberall, Grim tea cup, spell book and potion bottle baubles turned out.

The homemade flying keys turned out well although it’s a bit difficult to see them on the tree from afar.

I’ve had so many good comments about the Weasley jumpers.

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One of my favourite decorations on the tree though are Luna Lovegood’s spectraspecs.  I got them 3D printed and decorated them with sharpies.

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Not all of the decorations are homemade. Many are shop bought due to time constraints.  The flying key (known in Matalan as dragonfly key) was £3 in Matalan.

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Primark had loads of amazing Harry Potter items in this year.  Although some cheeky folks were buying anything Potter related they could find and selling them on ebay for quadruple the price, I still managed to get my hands on a few bits.  Like this gorgeous platform 9 3/4 bauble that I got for £5.SONY DSC

In the top left corner, of the picture below you’ll see some potter book page scrolls.  I rescued a copy of a Harry Potter book from the bin (it had been scribbled in) and used the pages to craft.

The marauder’s map was purchased from ebay along with the acceptance letter in the next picture down.  The white owls are from the Range and were £1.29 each I think.

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Big Ben was from Poundland of all places.

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The chocolate frog shell came on a keyring with a plastic chocolate frog.

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Another Poundland purchase.  Although these London themed decorations are not strictly Potter based, I thought they fitted in nicely with the theme since Harry is British.SONY DSC

I had planned on sewing a Dobby from scratch but ordered this one below when I ran out of time.

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The bundle from ebay included this cool platform 9 3/4 ticket and the knight bus ticket shown later.

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Harry’s glasses were from a fancy dress shop on ebay and the deathly hallows pendant came from a bracelet also from ebay.

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I adore the house ornaments I got from Primark fro £4 for the set.  I used a gem decoration as the Philosopher’s stone and got the mini broomsticks from ebay too. SONY DSC

This blue bauble looked like Jame and Lily’s patronuses and fit in perfectly.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Crookshanks had to have a look in. Which cat can resist a Christmas tree?

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Here’s the ministry of magic interdepartmental memo that we made earlier in the year following the tutorial from 10digitdesign.  There’s a free printable too.

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I was quite excited to find this Hermione Grange figurine in a local charity shop.SONY DSC

In the left hand side of this picture you’ll see a bauble filled with a cat collar and a toy.  These belonged to our cat George who went over the rainbow bridge to the Great Christmas Tree in the sky a couple of years ago. This bauble will remain on our tree year after year.

There are also some angel wings behind the Slytherin locket (ebay) as a reminder of those in the Potterverse who died in the fight against You-Know-Who.  You can also see the Amortensia potion and the Aquila magazine that featured Harry Potter in the Summer.

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Here’s a prophesy baubleSONY DSC

And a unicorn horn SONY DSC

Ravenclaw’s diadem is in the front and you can just about see some mini potion bottles too.   Somewhere in the nooks and crannies of the tree there’s a time turner, a felix felixis bottle, a golden snitch, a Hufflepuff tie and the Tri-wizard cup.SONY DSC

The bunting I got from Primark and the signs frame the fireplace nicely along with the potion bottle lights I made.

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I am still in love with my Hedwig owl that I got from Paperchase about 8 years ago now.   But check out the marauder’s map wrapping paper from Primark!  Amazing, right?

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There is so much more I could have done but I just ran out of time and tree space!SONY DSC

Maybe next year?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Hot Chocolate Butterbeer Station

Hello my lovelies,

I have a confession to make.  I had planned on setting this Hot chocolate Butterbeer Station up on the last weekend of November, just in time for Christmas tree decorating but it’s just been so cold outside!

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Unfortunately, this little bureau is in a weird spot; on the small piece of wall that joins the back door of the kitchen to the living room sliding doors which means there are windows on either side. This makes taking a decent picture impossible, however, it means that everything I need to make a gorgeous cup of hot chocolate butterbeer is near the kettle.

This Butterbeer sign is from Two Delighted. As two fellow potterheads they have some gorgeous free printables for anyone wanting to recreate their fantastic Harry Potter party.

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Our hot chocolate station last year was a total mish-mash of different hot chocolate and drink powders and sprinkles.  This year, I wanted a much simpler look and I guess sticking with butterbeer instead of every other hot drink known to man means I’ve achieved that.SONY DSCKnowing I wanted to create a hot chocolate butterbeer station meant I could incorporate a few of the other Potter related projects I’ve worked on including the Three Broomsticks tray I made a couple of summers ago and my newest addition, the Butterbeer mugs.

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Originally, I was going to wait until we went to the Harry Potter Studio tour and buy some Butterbeer tankards there to make hot chocolate in.  I then realised that they would probably crack with hot liquid in them because they’re plastic and meant for a cold drink.   I then found a lovely lady on one of the groups I follow on Facebook who made me these specially printed labels that get baked onto glass!  I can’t tell you how delighted I am with how these heat resistant Butterbeer mugs came out.

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On a trip to TK Max earlier this year I found the Hazelnut and Vanilla syrups for £3.99 each and had to scoop them up for my Butterbeer station.  They taste awesome and really add something special to the mix.  I’ve also added some caramel syrup which was one  I picked up at Morrisons on sale for £2.

The sprinkles above are small honeycomb pieces I got from B&M in the baking section and tiny gold sprinkles that are from Morrisons Christmas range. They’re the perfect addition to any Butterbeer hot chocolate.

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The recipe for Hot Chocolate Butterbeer is as follows.  Make up your favourite hot chocolate the way you usually do.  Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla syrup, 1 teaspoon of hazelnut syrup, 1 teaspoon of caramel syrup and mix well.  Add squirty cream and top with white marshmallows and sprinkles.  Or chocolate ice cream syrup topping.

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It couldn’t be easier!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

xxx

Harry Potter Movie Night

Hello my lovelies,

Since we are not into going trick of treating since Missy was diagnosed dairy, soya and apple free we have chosen to celebrate at home this year.

I have been collecting Harry Potter its and pieces since the beginning of the year for our Harry Potter Christmas and lots of it is coming in handy for our movie night.

 

The Gryffindor and Hufflepuff blankets, and themed cushions were all bought at Primark.

The cauldron is an actual pot that you cook on the fire with. It’s called a Potjie pot in South Africa and I’ve served sweet and salty popcorn in it.  Being dairy free means Missy can’t have caramel popcorn but it’s good that she doesn’t really like it anyway.

I made the chocolate frogs using a mould I bought on Amazon and the ginger cats were from the Co-op.

The sherbert lemons can be found from morrisons and the time turner and Gryffindor scarf were from ebay.

I love this Polyjuice mason jar mug from Primark and drink my wine out of it!   I made the potion bottle lights using some led lights, potion labels from etsy and mini potion bottles from the Works.

The pumpkin drinking glasses are from Primark and were only £2.50 each. Bargain!  The owls were from the Range and the potion bottles were from Poundland.

Flossy the Pygmy Puff was a gift from a craft swap and is Missy’s beloved pet.

As you can see below we are having Bertie Botts every flavour beans, chocolate frogs, cat shaped cookies, liquorice wands, UFO’s of Flying Whizzbeez, lemon sherberts and sweet and salty popcorn.

Of course, we are having dinner before we tuck into all of these sweeties!SONY DSC

Happy Halloween!

Mrs R

x

Easy Focaccia

Hello my lovelies,

I must apologize for not blogging much recently, I am working on rectifying this and hope to bring you some great blog posts, recipes and ideas every week starting today.

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It’s half-term for us and as such I try to do some baking or cooking with Missy (DD has now been renamed to Missy since she’s 7 going on 15!). She was really craving pizza but as a dairy free kid she can’t have shop bought pizza.  I know I can buy frozen pizza bases but I find they expensive when we can whip up a batch of pizza dough for mere pennies.  Plus, I get the added bonus of teaching Missy about weights and measures and help her to learn the life skill of cooking.

We made her pizza and used Marchego cheese which is a hard goats cheese. While I know this isn’t dairy free it doesn’t contain the cows milk protein that affects her, however, she only has it occasionally.

After we made her pizza, there was a lot of dough left and I really didn’t fancy pizza because I was having chicken soup for lunch.  Then I had an inspired thought… I could make focaccia!

 

This pizza dough is really versatile and can be used to make pizzas, focaccia, calzones, dough balls and much more.  Check out Kitchn’s post for some great ideas.

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Here’s the pizza dough recipe I use.  It’s easy enough for kids to help but best made in the morning so that it has time to prove if you want to use it to make lunch. If you’re using it to make dinner, make it in the early afternoon.

Easy Pizza dough

500g plain flour

1 sachet of dried yeast

1 tsp each of sugar and salt

250ml of warm water mixed with 2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the dough is soft and well combined.  Knead well in the bowl for about 5 minutes to break down the gluten.

Place the dough in a warm place covered with a tea towel for about an hour until it’s doubled in size. Probably about an hour or so.

Knead the dough again  (also called knocking it back) for another 5 minutes. Cover with the tea towel and allow to rise in warm place.  About 1-2 hours.  It should be nicely risen.

This should make one small pizza and one swiss roll pan sized focaccia.

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To make the focaccia,  simply grease a swiss roll pan with a little olive oil and press the remaining pizza dough into the pan.  Make little dents in the dough with your fingers pressing all the way into the bottom of the pan.  Add some fresh sprigs of rosemary and brush with more olive oil all over the surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 220 degrees Celsius until it’s golden brown.

Simples!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and as always, if you try the recipe please leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

From doom and gloom to va va voom!

Hello my lovelies,

I have been a woman on a mission recently.  I have been watching loads of Youtube videos from some inspirational women who have been sharing their organizing and housekeeping tips and ideas. I’m totally hooked!

You see, for some reason if my home is messy and unorganized, I feel stressed.  And anxious.  And miserable.  And one thing I’ve learned in my life.  ‘Ain’t Mama happy, ain’t nobody happy!’  I’ve been feeling completely anxious in my home for years but haven’t known how to get my home in shape.  Not only that, I have been so trapped in my own anxiety and misery that I haven’t been able to do something more permanent about the clutter and craziness.   Of course, I’d open a wardrobe, see it in a mess, tidy it and next week it would be back to being a mess. I couldn’t understand why.  The answer, is mostly because

a) you can’t clean/tidy clutter

b) you gotta have a long lasting solution – not just refolding everything in the same way and hope that it will stay like that when it’s never stayed tidy before

So, watching these Youtube videos has been really motivating for me and is really helping me to see how I can improve the organization of my home. Not only so that I can keep it more tidy, but also so that it becomes easier for my husband and daughter to keep things tidy.  Another thing I am finding so refreshing and amazing is that I can now open a cupboard and lay  my hands on exactly what I need withing 30 seconds.  Life changing!  I’ll be sharing some of these organization pictures with you over the next few weeks but today I wanted to show you how we transformed a ghastly corner in our living room.

Our living room, dining ro om and kitchen are open plan. It’s basically a big L shape and up until a few weeks ago, we shared this space with my dirty little secret.  By this I mean, the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom.

It was just horrible.  So bad in fact, that I would chuck an old duvet cover over it just to hide the contents. I’m going to show you a picture, so you may want to sit down.

Are you ready?

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It was just plain nasty!  It was like a clutter magnet and sucked every bit of nasty clutter straight into it like a black hole. Something had to be done.  The problem was that in order to clear out this bookshelf, I needed to re-organize my kitchen cupboards and get rid of some stuff to make space for the things in the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom that we actually used.

So one morning, after a good bolstering of Youtube videos and motivation, I get down to work. We’d bought a Kallax unit from Ikea which one of my Youtube guru’s Clutterbug and I was determined to have it in my living room before the end of the day.

I’m not going to lie.  It took me the entire day!  And two trips to do the charity shop to donate items.  The ENTIRE day.  To sort my kitchen and set up this gorgeous unit. But it’s sooooooo much nicer and not only looks pretty but it’s so functional.

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Some of my glassware made it into the unit along with my Christmas planner – the striped file and my home control journal in the other folder along with a few recipe books we frequent.

The drawers contain all our hair supplies that we use every morning like hair brushes, ties, detangler and the hair dryer.  The second drawer keeps our stationery for homework.

The bottom drawer holds all our school homework aids, work books, dictionary/thesaurus etc. The bottom drawer on the right holds all my seasonally changed candle holders and other decorative knick knacks that I like to change around.

I am so happy with the way it came out!  Now when I see it, I feel almost zen like calm!  I go into the kitchen and can immediately find stuff.  It’s a homemade miracle!

Now you’ll have to excuse my kitchen cabinetry.  We are still renovating our house and the kitchen, while it has been rejigged using the existing cabinets, is still in need of a complete make over.  We’ve scrubbed the cupboards out but they’re still gross inside.

But look!

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When I open the plastic cupboard door everything doesn’t fall out on me!  It’s so liberating!  The blue plastic baskets were purchased years ago and were in the spare room holding crap we long since got rid of so they landed up in the plastic cupboard to corral everything. The plain white bin on the right was bought a few days ago at Poundland. I bought a whole stack and you will see how handy they are in later posts.

And I’ve just realised that I’ve stuck the labels for the blue baskets on the wrong baskets!  Nevermind!

This was our junk drawer. Excuse the crap picture.

IMG_3945You couldn’t close this drawer. It was shoved so full of rubbish. Now it has 4 little baskets – I got these in a set of 2 at Poundland – that hold our flashlights and lighters for the BBQ and my various candles.  The other little basket hold the electric toothbrush charger that we always charge on the kitchen counter for some reason.  We also keep batteries in another little basket (with zip lock bags to separate some rechargeable batteries that have been charged and some disposable batteries to be taken for recycling) and the last bin holds ties and pegs for open packages in the pantry.  It still looks messy but it’s organised mess and I can lay my hands on stuff in a second.

Can you hear the angels singing?

Now I could show you under the sink but it’s just more organizing really and nothing revolutionary.

But I wanted to show you this clever idea to help your kids feel more accomplished and give you a break.  My daughter is turning 7 this week and can quite easily make herself some squash or get herself a snack if she asks.  But she wasn’t able to do this because not only could she not reach the snacks/squash, she would have to  wade through the nightmare of a plastic cupboard to find her cups.  Well, no more!

She now has a little cupboard with her things in it.  She has her sports bottles and cups with the squash ready for her to use. And She has a basket of snacks that she can choose from if she asks.  She loves this idea and says she feels like a big girl.  Aw! Mommy heart melt moment!

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If you’re wondering where I found these fabulous labels that you can personalize, print off and laminate at home, check out Clutterbug’s website where she has them free to download.

Today I finished my Family Control Centre which looks fabulous!  I’ll show you that next time.

For now, just know that organizing like this takes time but it’s so rewarding when you feel less stressed.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x