Mothers day gift ideas

Its almost mothers day which brings with it the struggle trying to find the perfect prezzie for the most important lady in your life. My mum is quite good when it comes to things like this as i can just ask her what she would like but below are some ideas for those of you who's mums give the vague answers "oh anything is fine" *rolls eyes*

  • Corioliss Titanium straighteners - I know everyone is on the GHD bandwagon but let me tell you from the point of view of a hairdresser, i wouldn't buy anything other than Corioliss. The titanium plates are so gentle on the hair and they leave it so soft and smooth. They come with varying temperature and a swivel cord so you don't get tangled up when using them to add waves.
  • No7 Gift set - There are many gift sets available for different skin conditions/needs but I've yet to find a brand that beats No7. I use the Everyday moisture and i feel like a total perve sometimes as i cant stop stroking my face. Its also an amazing brand if like me you have sensitive skin. Recommend them 1000%.
  • Hugo Boss Orange - What mummy doesnt want to smell nice? And with Spring starting to make an apperance, the fruity notes in this fragrance will go perfectly. I love this scent and wear it in the warmer months (and Hugo Boss Red in the colder ones).
  • OPI Mini Collection - OPI is without a doubt one of the best Nail companies I've ever used. I love the coverage that their polish gives and it goes on so smooth. This collection of minis has some of their best colours (and a few i haven't tried yet). Perfect if mum likes to change her nail colour quite often or if she's new to OPI and doesn't know what she'll like yet.
  • Techniques Make-Up Brush Set - You can have the best make-up in the world but if your putting it on with below par tools then its never going to sit right. These brushes are a great starter set for applying your make-up. The soft bristles are gentle on your skin but hold the make-up well, allowing you to build up coverage as you need it.

Make it Mondays #2

Hey lovely's ... welcome to my linky! Thanks to the few of you that linked up last week. I appreciate it and hope you are all able to come back this week :) For those of you new to the linky ... Hello!!

This linky is for all you creative people out there to showcase your favourite craft or recipe posts.

If you made it, We'd like to see it :)

I've also set up a Make it Monday board on pinterest so I'll be adding your posts there for everyone to share.

Once it becomes a bit more established, i will start to have a featured make each week but since its early days i thought i would take it one step at a time.

The rules are simple ...
  • Link up maximum TWO posts - They can be old or new. Please don't just link up your blog home page.
  • Comment on the 'Host' post and at least 2 others, though more if you have the time. Its all about sharing the love here.
  • Add the "Make it Mondays" badge to your linked post so that others can find the linky and join in. 
Feel free to tweet your post(s) along with the hashtag #MIMlinky and mention @craftymama087 so i can retweet for you.
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Silent Sunday - 28/2/16


Caramel and Banana Cake

Some days you just need something sweet. And some days you need cake.

Well Agent M and i had notion for cake the other day so i decided to bake while i was making dinner. Rather than just plain vanilla cake however, i decided to make something a bit different. 

In all honesty its a once in a while treat as its really sweet but its so delicious that i wanted to share it with you all.

You'll need
4 oz Self Raising Flour
4 oz Caster Sugar
4 oz Margarine
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tin of Carnation Caramel
2 ripe bananas

I only had Extra large eggs in the house so i only used one

How to Make
Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line/grease a loaf tin

Cream together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and Vanilla and mix.

Gradually add the flour and keep mixing till its all combined.

Next you will need to slice the banana. *I like the slices a little thicker as we love bananas here*. About 1cm thick would be perfect.

Layer the banana along the bottom of the tin, then pour over half of the tin of Caramel. 

Lastly pour the cake mix on top of the caramel layer and place in the oven for 20 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool and then serve :)


A Vikings Guide to Deadly Dragons Exhibition

Agent M as always been into books. Even as a wee toddler he would always bring me books to read to him and night time especially was out book time, reading stories before bed.

As he's grown up, this has continued, only with him being able to read on his own. He has loads of books he loves but if you ask him, his favourite above all others is the How to train your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell.

So you can imagine how excited he was when the "Vikings Guide to Deadly Dragons" Exhibition came to our local museum.

The exhibit was based primarily on the book series, which at the time didn't include the final novel.
There were excerpts from the books and some audio by David Tennant. I loved that bit as his voice is just *Swoon* :)

Along the walls were original illustrations of the characters that are in the story. Agent M had a great time telling me all about what happened to each person in which book. It made me realise just how much he loved the stories and how close he paid attention to them.

They also had in depth details of some of the characters. Hiccup as you may know is the main Viking in the series and the books are told from his perspective. He's an "unlikely hero" according to Agent M but he's "the coolest Viking ever".

I didn't have the heart to tell Agent M he's too cute to be a Viking. It did make him keen to learn more about the real Vikings too so afterwards we went into the library to take out some history books :)

The books have been adapted by DreamWorks into 2 movies, which have nominated for Bafta and Oscar awards. There is also a spin off TV series which Agent M is a fan of.

He did however tell me that the books are different and that he prefers them ... Its always the case when they adapt a story though isn't it?

All in it was a nice afternoon and Agent M enjoyed learning more about the author, Including that she used to holiday is Scotland and go hunting for Dragons. He's convinced that she would have found Nessie given the chance :).

The tour is currently at  Norwich Castle Museum from 6th February 2016 till 30th May 2016 then is moving to  Tullie House Museum, Carlisle from 18th June till 9th October 2016.


Gratitude #8

Having depression makes you very anti-social (at least in my case). Its hard sometimes to force myself to get out of my bed let alone deal with people which can become very lonely. Its hard for people to want to maintain friendships with someone who could be mistaken for being "flaky". That's one of the reasons i love my family.

They might not understand the feelings of depression and anxiety that i go through but they are accommodating of it when its at its worst.

My little sister for example. Although she stays over 350 miles away, i know that i can contact her when I'm feeling really bad and even though she cant make it better (to be fair, no one can, though she gives it a good try) she'll at least listen to me and try to calm me down if i start to properly melt down. One one occasion she even kept Agent M busy on the phone while i sobbed in the bathroom calming down from a very bad panic attack. I'm beyond grateful for that as its scary for adults to witness a panic attack ... i cant imagine how terrifying it is for an 8 year old.

I know that even when we're at odds with each other (the joys of being a sibling), we always have the other ones back. I guess that is one of the reasons i feel bad that Agent M is an only child. He wont get to experience the love and patience that having a sibling gives you. She's my wee cheerleader on my shoulder and I'm hers.

I'm so unbelievably proud of my 'Midge' and i couldn't imagine not having her in my life


Make It Mondays Linky #1

Hey all and welcome to my first ever linky!

I'm a bit nervous about this first one in case there are any initial hiccups but with any luck it will go without a hitch. I'm hoping that it will become a weekly thing *fingers crossed*.

This linky is for all you creative lovely's out there to showcase your favourite craft or recipe posts.

If you made it, We'd like to see it :)

I've also set up a Make it Monday board on pinterest so i'll be adding your posts there for everyone to share.

Once it becomes a bit more established, i will start to have a featured make each week but since its early days i thought i would take it one step at a time.

The rules are simple ...
  • Link up maximum TWO posts - They can be old or new. Please don't just link up your blog home page.
  • Comment on the 'Host' post and at least 2 others, though more if you have the time. Its all about sharing the love here.
  • Add the "Make it Mondays" badge to your linked post so that others can find the linky and join in. 
Feel free to tweet your post(s) along with the hashtag #MIMlinky and mention @craftymama087 so i can retweet for you.
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Silent Sunday - 21/2/16


My Week in Pics - 21/2/16

Its been a quiet(ish) week here since the weather has been so horrible. With  the exception of college and swimming lessons we've not been out the house much.

I honestly cant wait till the warmer DRIER weather starts cause I'm fed up getting soaked all the time.

From top left ...

  • Practising my hair ups at college. This one makes me think of Minnie Mouse 
  • Some bridal looks too - My little sister has decided I've to do her hair if she ever gets married ... fingers crossed :)
  • This is an honest to god toy i found in a child's toy shop ... personally i think its a bit sick, but not as bad as the 3D hangman where you actually hang a character after you add all his limbs. I remember when the tiny tears that pee'd was a big deal. Oh and the titanic brick model that comes with an iceberg was a nice touch too *shakes head*
  • I finally caved and bought a new kit bag after spending ages sewing my old one back together. Still it lasted me almost 2 years so that's not too bad.
  • Agent M made me a flower at our Gran and Papas ... Hes so cute :)
  • Shabba coming to snuggle while i was blogging. He's always close by me these days which i find really sweet. (He's doing the same thing right now as i type on my bed)


Frugal 4 -Week 5

Its been a long week here at the crafty household. The schools are on their half term break which should have been the perfect excuse to get out and about with Agent M, except the college was on and the weather was horrific!

It wasn't a total loss though as it gave me a chance to catch up on the housework i let slide while i was sick and Agent M was keen to help which was nice of him.

I did manage to make some savings this week which was great as I'm gonna be spending more money over the coming weeks.

My frugal 4 this week ...
  • Since Agent M was off school i needed a babysitter and my Dad was brilliant enough to take him for me. As a result he drove me to and from College so i didn't have to buy a bus ticket this week. I'm grateful for the extra tenner in my pocket :)
  • We are also a month out from Agent M's birthday which is when i usually start to buy little bits and pieces for him. He is keen to finish his How to train your dragon and Diary of a Wimpy kid book collections so i went on eBay to see what i could find. He only needed 2 from each to complete them and i bought all 4 for £11.24. Yeah they are second hand but he doesn't mind that and it means i can use the money saved to get him something else.
  • One thing i really hate about hairdressing is how quickly things can get stolen from your kit. Seeing at this is my second year, i have pretty much replaced all my basic 1st year kit with some expensive pieces so when they grow legs, i tend to get annoyed. I had to replace my dressing out brush this week which should have been £10.99 ... I did however find a cheaper alternative on Amazon that works just as well for £4.25. Here's hoping no more brushes decided to leave the family cause its getting irritating having to replace them.
  • We went into Home Bargains again this week after swimming to stock up on Lunch box snacks. I love that shop. Can get so many name brand treats for a lot less. All in it worked out better than half price compared to going to a supermarket

N is for ...

I love trying out new crafts and even better when i find them on offer. So imagine how excited i was when i found this kit in Hobby Craft last summer. Its been sitting in my stash for a while now till i decided to give it a go.
N is for Needle Felting

The kit comes with everything you need to make the monster, including a reusable mould so you can make a family of them (if you buy extra wool).

There is also a full colour instruction sheet which tells you exactly what to do.

Needle felting works by repeatedly piercing the felting wool using a felting needle till the start to bind together. Gradually adding extra wool helps build up the desired shapes and you can then pop them out and mould them together by hand


Vanilla Sponge

For most of my recipes i use the same basic sponge recipe and the add as needed i.e cocoa powder or chocolate chips. This recipe is one my Granny gave me years ago and its never let me down.

Its easy to increase the mix too if you need more since its a 2:1 ratio
2oz each of the flour, sugar & margarine per 1 egg

You'll need
4 oz Self Raising Flour
4 oz Caster Sugar
4 oz Margarine
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

How to make
Pre-heat your oven to 180c and grease a cake tin (or line a muffin tin with cases).

You'll need to cream the butter and sugar together until its light and fluffy.

One at a time, you'll need to add the eggs and allow to mix in between each one. This is where i love my standing mixer as makes life a lot easier. 

Gradually add the flour a little at a time and mix until its all combined nicely.

Pour into the tin (cases) and bake for 15-20 minutes (10-15 minutes for cupcakes) or until the top is golden brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the biggest part.

Decorate as you like :)


I'm Loving - February

Being a mummy isn't a job to me. It's my life.

It comes first before everything else including myself, but lately I've noticed that putting my everything into my family and college is leaving me rather run down and feeling a bit shit if I'm honest.

So starting last month I've been trying to find some "Me time" and treat myself a little more. 

Although mummy's tend to just forget or put themselves second (or third/fourth/fifth), I've realised it's as important to take care of myself as much as I take care of others.

After all ... a happy wife (and mum) gives a happy life :)

This month I'm loving ...


Gratitude #7

Its funny that the theme of this weeks Gratitude is "Something i was given" when i consider that my Laptop (which i was given by my mum) has been my life line this past week.

Having been sick with the flu, i couldn't be bothered sitting in a cold living room when Agent M was at school so i climbed back into bed (with the electric blanket on) feeling rather sorry for myself. Problem was, Netflix was hooked up to the TV downstairs ... Solution - My laptop.

I do everything on my laptop ...

Blog, Shop, Surf the web, College work, Edit photos, Play Sims, Watch movies etc

As much as i hate to admit it, i don't know what i would do without my laptop. When the disc reader decided to play up last year and i had to send it away to be fixed, i was about ready to cry. There is only so far a smartphone will take you, A laptop however will take you where you need to go (and you can take it where you need to go too - being portable and all).

Yes i love my purple shiny laptop and i am beyond grateful to my mammy for gifting it to me 

My Week in Pics - 14/2/16

This week was really rubbish.

It was the February break from College which should have been great but since i was in bed all week coughing up a lung and sneezing my head off, it wasn't so.

Same goes with the pics i was taking. I made a point of keeping up with the #Project366 but other than that, i wasn't feeling very snap happy. Here's hoping next week is a bit more productive for me.


Silent Sunday - 14/2/16


Frugal 4 - Week 4

Although i have been in bed most of this week with the flu, its turned out to be a quite good week to be honest. At least for my bank balance.

Being ill, I've been house bound feeling rather sorry for myself so my plans to go out during the week for coffee and what not, got squashed. In fact other than the school run the first time i was out the house was this weekend. So I've been quite good in terms of frugality ... by spending practically bugger all :)

What i did buy i managed to get reduced so i still got my frugal 4 :)


Beef Chow Mein

I love Chinese food.

But living on a budget doesn't lend itself well to getting take out. That and its not the healthiest in the world.

But making your own? Its good for the purse strings and the waist line. Plus you can add extra veggies if your so inclined. So I've decided to share with you one of my favourite recipes


My Week in Pics - 10/2/16

I'm really not loving this weather!

With the high winds and horrible rain my internet has been dropping all week and as much as i like starting posts on my phone, they never format right when i try to upload them to the blog ... so I've got a backlog waiting to go live.

Including my week in pics.

This weeks snaps was due up 3 days ago so apologies that there will be 2 this week ... That's alot of snaps :)

From top left ...

  • After a crappy day at college, What you need is banana fritters and Orange is the New Black on Netflix ... Its the perfect pick me up.
  • Practising Bridal hair at college - Hair bows, flowers and tiaras. I love the long hair work we do. Its a great way to get creative.
  • February is the month of Love ... so my nails are matching. OPI "Ro-Man-ce on the Moon" is a gorgeous deep red ... with perfect coverage as always.
  • I have applied for the SVQ 3 Nail course for after the summer. Fingers and toes crossed i get a place.
  • My wee Shabba sneaking onto the bed ... Cheeky week monkey :)

Gratitude #6

Naughty me ... I have skipped my last 3 weeks of gratitude. Not good. The whole point was to help keep positive, perhaps that's why I've been in a dark place recently. Perhaps the negativity made me forget the positive. Who knows.

Anyway, I'm going to try and get back on the gratitude wagon. 

This week I am grateful for my bestie "S". 

I met S about a year and a half ago at college and since then our friendship has bloomed. I feel like I can talk to her about anything and she'll never judge me. She's also painfully blunt and to the point that if I ask her honest opinion then I know I'm gonna get it and I love that about her. Her two little ones are a credit to her and they get on great with Agent M too meaning that we can have wee play dates where the kids can play and us mummy's can chat. 

Never underestimate the importance of having a fellow mummy friend.

S is almost like a big sister to me. I know she will always have my back and is there to put me in my place when my mind takes over and I start to freak out. She's talked me through many a near panic attack and yet is still standing by me knowing how crazy I can turn myself.

I love that woman so much for everything she does for me and without her I probably wouldn't have made it through college this year.

Hopefully this will prove to a lifetime friendship and that even as wee old ladies we will meet up for coffees and a bleather :)


Frugal 4 - Week 3

It's been a hard week.

And in terms of frugality it's not been much better. It's the beginning of the month which seems to be the hardest on the bank balance. Everything seems to come out within the first 10 days and as a result my savings over the past few weeks has been eaten up. But on the bright side, the household bills are covered, there is food in the kitchen and we have gas and electricity too. That's the important things really isn't it!

I've not been as frugally minded this week at college. I've been stressed out a lot more this week which has been screwing with me sleeping at night so I've been drinking coffee all day at college. In between the caffeine buzz I've been topping up with sugary juice to keep me going. Terrible for the waste line and the purse strings but at least i made it through the week.

I did however manage to be frugal a little so it's not a total loss.
  • I worked out a meal plan to use the last of the big shop to stretch it that to little bit further. I managed the weeks meals with a few pork chops and chicken breasts to spare for next week. The weekly top up of milk, bread, cheese etc came to only £40 which included dog food so I still managed to save on my usual £80 weekly shop. 
  •  I picked up some deals in "Home bargains" this week too. Agent M loves these Barney Bear cakes which are £1 a box. In home bargains they were reduced down to 30p since they had a shorter best before date. They are good till the end of the month and knowing Agent M they will be long gone by then. His play piece is sorted for the rest of the month too.
  • I took on extra clients this week in my personal time which gave me a bit of an income boost. It is probably why I was so inclined to have lunch at college. If I had taken the money out of my purse be for I left then I wouldn't have it there to spend. *mental note for the future*. Still, I have that little bit extra to help us. 
  • I've been a heating hoarder this week too. We've been feeling the cold with the crazy weather but I've been reluctant to put the heating on unless it gets unbearable. I usually have it on from 6am till 8am in the mornings and from 2pm till 5pm at night (it's an old boiler and it usually takes about an hour for the house to heat up at the best of times) but I've switched off the timer this week and started throwing blankets over everyone instead. Skipping it in the mornings entirely and only having it on 2 hours in the evening has stretched my gas top up that little bit further and by hounding Agent M to put on a jumper and his slippers, he's not even noticed the drop in temperature. On my days off college I've not bothered with the heating at all since its just me home. I don't mind sitting in front of my laptop with an Iggle Piggle fleece wrapped round me. It's all the fashion in the three year old scene :)
I'm off college this week so here's hoping that i will be able to scrape back some of my savings ... Fingers crossed!
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