6 Handprint Art Projects for Kids

Since Lock Down, I’ve had to fill my afternoons with activities for my toddler. Going to the park or soft play or seeing friends/family isn’t an option, so I started doing things like: music time, story time, more garden play, messy play and painting! Olivia gets bored of painting quite quickly and she’s still too little to do proper art projects. So why not have some fun with it? So we tried some handprint art!

I found ton of handprint art for kids ideas on Pinterest so, I thought I would recreate some of my favourites. You can do these in paint or card. You can make these into greeting cards or gifts for loved ones. I love these because not only is it a fun activity for you and your kid but it’s also a treasured keepsake. Something you can look back on and reminisce on when they were small.

All you need for these crafts is:

  • kid-safe paint
  • coloured card
  • scissors
  • tape/glue
  • felt tips
  • pencils/pens
  • child’s hand

1. Flamingo Handprint Card

  1. Make an outline of your child’s hand on pink card.
  2. Draw the neck and head of the flamingo to roughly the same size as the hand.
  3. Cut both out and attach with tape or glue.
  4. Draw some legs, cut out and attach with tape or glue.
  5. Write your message on the back.

2. Dinosaur Handprint Card

  1. Make an outline of your child’s hand on card (colour of your choice) ensuring your child’s fingers line up with the edge of the card.
  2. Fold the card so the fold lines up with the edge of your child’s wrist.
  3. Cut out hand ensuring you cut through both layers of card while keeping the fold by the wrist. You should be left with a hand shaped card.
  4. Draw head and neck of dinosaur in the same coloured card. Cut out and attach to the back of the card with the hand facing down (so the fingers are like the legs and tail).
  5. Draw on eyes, nostrils, mouth and any other features of your dinosaur. You could even use goggley eyes for your dinosaurs to make them extra cute!
  6. Write your message inside.

3. Family Handprint Art

This one is my favourite and makes the perfect gift! You can also do this with paint but I preferred it with card)

  1. Draw an outline of your child’s hand in their choice of coloured card. Cut it out.
  2. Do the same with members of your household until you have a collection of different coloured handprints.
  3. Layer them so the smallest is on top and the largest is on the bottom. Secure together with glue.
  4. Frame for a gift. This would also look great in the centre of a wreath for the holidays or a Christmas ornament. You could write people’s names on them and the date on the back for a memento that will last forever.

4. Volcano Handprint Art

I think this one is so cute! Again, can be made into a card or gift. This can also be done with paint. Instead of cutting out your child’s handprint just get them to make a handprint in paint.

  1. Make 2 outlines of your child’s hand. One on yellow card and one on orange card. Cut them out.
  2. Draw and colour in a volcano. You could print one off or get your kids to draw one (even better).
  3. Use the handprints as lava spewing out the top of the volcano. Glue the card cut-outs or get your kids to make a handprint in paint at the top of the volcano.
  4. Decorate how you wish.

5. The Hungry Caterpillar Handprint Art

We had the most fun making this one!

  1. Paint your child’s palm green with kid-safe paint and their 4 fingers (not their thumb) in blue kid-safe paint.
  2. Make a handprint on white paper/card.
  3. Repeat until you have 3 handprints next to each other.
  4. Paint a red circle for the caterpillar’s head (or use a round sponge stamp like we did).
  5. Once fully dry, draw on the antennae and nose. I made the eyes with yellow card and drew on his pupils then attached with glue.

6. Seasonal Tree Handprint Art

I love the idea of this project because it would be a great activity to teach children about the seasons. You could get them to make 4 of these (one for each season) and make their tree look different for every season. For example, Spring could have light green and pink/yellow dots, Summer could have dark green, light green and red dots, Autumn could have orange, red and brown spots and Winter could have none (make it a snowy scene). I made an Autumn one because it’s my favourite season.

  1. Place your child’s hand in the middle of the page. Draw around your child’s hand and arm. Colour or paint it in brown. This will be the trunk of the tree.
  2. Using your chosen colours, create the leaves making it more crowded around the trunk of the tree and gradually getting more spaced out away from the trunk. I used felt tips to make the dots but I love the idea of kids using cotton buds and paint to make this.

If you liked this, you may also like: Fathers Day Crafts For Kids
Super Easy Valentine Crafts To Do With Your Kids
At Home Activities For Toddlers
Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cupcakes

If you want to see more fun things to do with your little ones, check out my Pinterest! I have a “Kids Activities” board and a “Toddler Activities Board”: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ramblingsoflottie/boards/

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. It really does mean a lot. Keep your eyes peeled because I have some very exciting things coming out on the blog in the next week. Two posts in particular I am incredibly excited to announce to you! See you soon! xx

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Cajun Veggie Stew

I found this recipe recently and I thought I would share it (along with my alterations). This recipe is Vegetarian, Vegan and (most importantly) a one pot meal, making it perfect for a midweek meal you need to cook in a hurry or a simple comforting dish when the weather is, well, British. It’s packed full of veggies so it is perfect for kids. “My kids don’t like veggies”. Well, guess what, Karen, neither does my fiance. He is a big kid or a ‘manly man’ when it comes to food. It’s either turkey dinosaurs or lots of meat and failing that, lots of cheese but he actually liked this AND had seconds AND requested I made it again!

I find this is best served with warm crusty bread but you could serve it with rice. This recipe makes enough to serve 4. Being a one pot meal you will literally only need one large saucepan, a chopping board, a sharp knife and a sieve (if you want to rince your tinned chickpeas). That’s it!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g sweet potato
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 clove of garlic (I buy the jarred, already minced stuff because I’m lazy)
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning (I buy the Schwartz one found in the spices aisle)
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • tinned chickpeas
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut sweet potato, red onion and bell peppers into bite sized chunks. Mince or finely chop the garlic.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the sweet potato, red onion and peppers.
  3. Sauté until softened then stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the Cajun seasoning, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and vegetable stock. Simmer on a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally,  until the sweet potato is soft enough to your taste. This should take between 10-20 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve with warm crusty bread.

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It is literally that simple. I like to make a big batch of this so I can reheat it for lunches or make multiple dinners for my little one. You can add more Cajun seasoning to intensify the flavour or add chilli powder to give it a kick. It is so versatile that it will suit almost anyone’s tastes.


If you make this, I would love to hear how it went. Follow me on my socials and you can share pictures with me when you make this! Hope this has helped with the dreaded meal planning or a last minute “what do I make?” panic. Thanks for reading!

How’s Your Quarantine Life?

COVID-19 has thrown all of us into a new way of life. With that, I want to know what you have done with this ‘new life’? Have you completed Netflix? Did you learn a new language? Did you boastfully show off your basic banana bread on Facebook? Did you play salon and cut/dye your own hair? Did you throat-punch your way to the last toilet roll in Tesco? No? Just me? Okay! Whatever you did, I want to hear about it, see pictures and/or police reports about it. You can share in the comments below or on any of my social medias.

“But Charlotte, did you really throat-punch someone in Tesco?” Of course not. I’ve avoided shops like the plague and instead sent out the human I love the most (Steven) to go for me. That’s true love. It’s the same type of love that means I feel safer in bed with him laying next to me because I can use him as a human shield. Sounds selfish but it’s actually proof of how much I love him. Anyway, what have I been up to during quarantine? Well, owning a human that is 100% dependant on me takes up a lot of my time (and no, I don’t just mean Steven). Since he has been home, he’s helped me out a lot, allowing me to have some time to do other things like…

Cooking

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I cannot tell you how much more enjoyable cooking is when you aren’t tied to a schedule or have a kid hanging off of your leg. Before Lock Down, I was racing around from 5 pm prepping and cooking dinner to be on the table for 6 pm (when Steven gets home from work) while simultaneously entertaining a toddler, making sure she’s safe (not climbing on the dog) and listening out for the dog destroying something. That sound is absolute silence, by the way, so that means every 5 minutes I run into the living room expecting some sort of baby toy, bib or cushion in his gob that I would then have to prise out from between his teeth. Now? Now, I offload the gremlins, I mean, adorable daughter and pooch, to Steven and can just concentrate on the cooking and enjoy it. Sometimes, I even put some music on and pour myself a glass of wine. I know, quarantine has turned me into a party animal. I just find cooking so therapeutic and I always feel like I’ve done my family a service after making them a meal. I’ve put a bit of love into that meal for them and if they eat it and don’t contract horrendous food poisoning, then that’s a pat on the back for me!

Cleaning

One thing I am thankful for in Lock Down is the fact my laundry hamper has returned to a normal level. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not empty. It’s never empty, but seeing it at an acceptable level (i.e. not spilling out onto the floor) has made me feel a little more relaxed. Normally, I can see the wash pile in the corner of the room while I lay in bed, anxious. It’s like an unwelcome spirit at the end of my bed, haunting me, reminding me. You didn’t do the laundry today. You said you were going to do it yesterday and you never did. Feel like a failure? You should! And as it gets larger and larger, I worry it gets closer and closer until one night it might be standing over me, glaring, breathing on my face. Until one night, a pair of dirty Christmas socks wrap around my neck and suffocate me in my sleep. Now THAT’S a horror story for you. But, thanks to Lock Down (and the amazing weather), I have managed to sleep at night, looking into the corner of the room and seeing, well, just a laundry basket. Ah, peace at last.
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Disney and Day Drinking

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Haven’t we all?

A beer with lunch, a bottle of wine with dinner (on a Tuesday?!), Jack Daniels for breakfast? Why not?! There are no rules in Lock Down. I will stress for ‘those people‘ amongst you, that I do not drink alcohol for breakfast. My headaches in the morning are a result of caffeine withdrawals due to my coffee addiction, not a hangover. Having said that, my coffee intake has gone up since Lock Down.

Upon the news that Steven would be home for a month, we invested in Disney+. Oh boy (as Mickey would say), is it worth it! I am a huge Disney fan anyway, but it also has all of my childhood TV shows on it. So you can bet your ‘sweet nibblets’ (if you get it, you get it) that I’m going to binge those cheesey 00’s Disney Channel shows! Not to mention, it allowed me to do a little bit of Homeschooling myself. Giving Olivia an education in Disney Classics. Everything from the princesses to the more recent Pixar movies. Is she too young? Never! Does she understand it or even watch it properly? No! But I do!

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Anyway, I’m sure there are much cooler things other people are doing with their time than I am. Please share them with me so I can live a cool life through you? Maybe you have some amazing tinder stories? Did you text your ex out of boredom? Did you stalk that girl from high school that called you fat and bullied you and you found out she’s working for her Mum as an estate agent single and alone? No? Me neither…
Maybe you did something less dramatic, like take up gardening? Maybe you became an online quiz master? Meditate? Take up Yoga? Ate everything in sight? Painted that wall you kept meaning to? Literally anything. Tell me in the comments!

How To Go Out But Stay In

Lock Down has cancelled a lot of our plans for 2020 but does that mean we still can’t do them? Well, sure you can’t go on your all inclusive holiday to Lanzarote but don’t let Lock Down tie you to your sofa!

I have thought of 4 ways you can go out without actually going out!

1. Coffee With Friends

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I love nothing more than catching up with friends over a coffee. It instantly lifts my spirits and sets my mood for the day. Before Lock Down, I would meet with one of my mummy friends every week for a walk and a coffee and have a good ol’ chit chat. We had organised a girl’s night out for a huge group of us but that got cancelled (thanks Corona) so we, instead, had a zoom chat. It was like meeting up in a cafe with the girls. We all sat at our laptops with cups of tea and coffee and giggled together. It made me so thankful for modern technology allowing us to actually see each other and talk in a big group. I left that zoom chat feeling my usual uplifted and refreshed self after seeing the girls.

2. Date Night

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I don’t know about other Mums, but I love having a date night every now and again. A little break from the little one, a chance to reconnect with my partner and, more importantly, eat something I didn’t have to cook or worry about the washing up! Well, that’s just another thing Corona has mucked up for me! So, instead, we put the baby to bed early and tried to have a date night at home!


We ordered a take away (so that took care of the cooking problem) but I didn’t want it to feel like another night on the sofa. So, we got dressed up like we would on a normal date night. I put make up on and Steven even put on after shave! I lit candles, switched on the fairy lights, laid out a blanket on the floor and dished out the take away into fancy dishes (like we were in a real restaurant) to set the scene. I even put the wine on a fancy tray. Simple, yet effective. We then sat down, watched TV and had our fancy Chinese take away picnic!

3. Boozey Lunch

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If Lock Down isn’t an excuse to day drink, then I don’t know what is! Steve and I love going to the pub at lunch time when the weather is gorgeous. Sitting outside in the sun with a cold beer and nibbles, bliss. So, when Olivia was down for her nap, I laid out some nibbles (all fancy like, so it felt like we weren’t at home) and opened up a couple of cold ones. We turned on some music and sat under our pear tree and I swear, it felt like we were on holiday!

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Even Cody wanted to join us.
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4. Trip To The Cinema


Wanted to go to the cinema with the kids? Now you’re stuck at home and the weather is horrible? 3 words: At, home, cinema. And, no I don’t mean stick a film on and sit on your sofa. What do kids love to do? Build a sofa fort! Grab bed sheets, sofa cushions, chairs, anything you can find and make a fort with your kids. Add blankets, pillows, fairy lights and snacks! Movie snacks are essential. Turn off the lights, turn on the fairy lights, sit on the floor in the fort and watch a movie with your kids. Doesn’t sound like much but you’ll be surprised how much they love it. My little girl is only 18 months and she absolutely loved it!

You could go a step further and set up a projector (you can even buy projectors for your phone). This would be so fun to do outside, too. Like a sundown cinema experience!


So, what have you done to make this Lock Down experience more bearable? Share your experiences in the comments below!

 

#MakingOverMotherhood

Next week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week. Bit of a mouthful but nevertheless very important!

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t know anything about mental health issues after birth. I just thought, you have the baby and that’s it! You just have to cope. Anyway, how could you ever feel sad, down, depressed, angry, lost or just nothing while looking after your gorgeous baby? Oh, how I laugh now. I definitely had my fair share of all the above every now and again (and Lord knows sleep deprivation can do scary things to you) but I was lucky to not feel like this all of the time.

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So, when I saw that it is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week next week, I wanted to do something. A quick Google and I stumbled upon #MakingOverMotherhood. A social media challenge to raise awareness of Maternal Mental Health disorders and struggles. Everyday, for 5 days, post something that shows what motherhood is really like. The good, the bad and the ugly. It can be something light-hearted that might make someone chuckle or something serious and revealing. It’s up to you. The idea is to end the stigma of mental health issues for mothers.

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As Mothers, it’s very easy to feel like EVERYONE relies on you and therefore you don’t have time for yourself. You don’t have time to be weak because you’re so busy being strong for everyone else. You can’t be seen to be struggling because you might be seen as a bad Mum, a Mum who can’t cope, a lazy Mum, an incompetent Mum. You might not even notice you’re struggling because you don’t have time to take a step back and see that you are. Well, take that step. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do. And if you notice you are, reach out. There is no shame. I truly believe that everybody struggles with something and I guarantee, you won’t be alone and you won’t be the only Mum who thinks the way you do.

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It’s so vital to get help when you need it because (as the old saying goes) you can’t pour from an empty cup. Basically, you can’t take care of others, without taking care of yourself too. Now, I don’t mean going to get your nails done every week or making sure your hair is perfect (unless that helps you feel better). I’m saying practise self care on the regular, be selfish when you need to be, reach out for help even if you think you aren’t desperate for it. Don’t feel guilty (and trust me, I am no stranger to Mum guilt) because fundamentally, you’re doing it for your kids.  You’re taking care of you so they can have the best Mother possible. A happy Mum, a calm Mum (most of the time, I mean, whistles, right?), a Mum who isn’t constantly emotionally and physically exhausted, a Mum they deserve.

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Now, I’m not saying every time you have an outburst and scream at your child about playing the baby shark song for 1098th time that day that you need to call the doctor. There are many ways you can reach out for help.
Obviously, during these times, it’s a little different. I can’t reach out to my Mum to watch Olivia for a few hours while I get some work done or just lay down in a dark room for a while. However:

  • Talk to your partner (if you have one). I cannot imagine how I would do this whole motherhood thing, without Steven by my side. I’m so lucky because he is such a good Dad and so supportive. So I know, if I ever need to, I can talk to him about my stress and if he’s home to help, I can ask him to give me a couple of hours. He will happily take Olivia and Cody (because sometimes, he causes me more stress than my human child) out for an hour long walk and give me the house to myself. I cannot tell you how blissful that is. Even if I just need to rant or cry or a cuddle or time he will give it to me. THAT is invaluable!
  • Reach out to family. I know not everyone is on par with their family but maybe you can meet some mummy friends and they can be your family. I am fortunate that my Mum absolutely adores my little girl and would do anything for her (or me). I honestly love having her one town away and I know that if I needed her, she would be here at the drop of a hat (she has done many times before). In the early days of my new adventure into motherhood, she took a week off work to come over everyday and help me with Olivia. Nothing major. She would watch Olivia while I had a shower (absolute heaven), bring me lunch everyday (I love her) and sit with me while we watched TV and chatted (priceless). She didn’t know it but all of these things meant the world to me. Especially when she made me cups of coffee, I could have cried!
  • Mummy friends. I couldn’t cope without my mummy friend, Lisa. It is so worthwhile to have that someone who gets it. Before lock down, we would grab a take away coffee and go for a walk with the babies every week and just talk. Talk about our struggles, our stresses and what crazy stuff the babies have got up to that week and it was so therapeutic. We would then laugh together at how messy our lives have become but how beautiful it all is too. I would come home and feel refreshed (not to mention caffeinated, which always helps) and like maybe I am a good Mum because I’m not alone in this, because someone else is thinking the exact same things as me!
  • Reach out to professionals. Reach out to your GP, midwife or Health Visitor. That’s what they’re there for! They are the superheroes equipped with all the resources and connections to get you the help you need!
  • Baby Buddy App is an NHS accredited app which offers evidence-based information and self-care tools to help parents during pregnancy and early stages of parenting. Best bit is it is absolutely FREE! Download in the app store or click here for more information.
  • If you are in need of immediate help or support call 999, go to A&E or call Samaritans 116 123 (free to call and it doesn’t show up on your phone bill)

Whatever you think you’re going through, whatever you think you’re struggling with, I can guarantee there’s a Mum out there going through the exact same thing. So do the right thing, reach out and talk. If not for you, for your kids.

For a pick-me-up read my Mum-tivation post!

Lock Down Help!
Lock Down Daily Routine For Toddlers
At Home Activities For Toddlers
Best Bedside Books
My Netflix List
Movies Made For Comfort

To see more pictures like this one the regular, follow me!
Instagram: @charlotterose293


 

Life of a Beagle Bum Mum

It was brought to my attention recently that this April is National Pet Month. I couldn’t let this pass by without introducing you to my pet, or what I sometimes like to call him, my other toddler in a fur suit, Cody!

Cody is a Beagle. Now, anyone who has ever owned a Beagle is now laughing at me and/or thinking “you poor sod”. You’d think I’d know better, growing up with two Beagles from a young age, but no. I thought, the first dog I owned should be a breed I’m familiar with and, I mean, how much harm could this little ball of fur really do?

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Turns out, the answer to that is, a fair amount! I’d forgotten about my childhood dogs destroying felt tips (resulting in multi-coloured poos) or one particular Beagle eating batteries, chainsaw oil, a whole Christmas loaf (tin foil included) and a whole hedgehog of cheese and pineapple (yes, with the cocktail sticks). Not to mention that same beagle getting hit by a bus and electrocuted AND SURVIVED! He had issues. One scenario after another, vet visit after vet visit, he was still healthy. He passed away at the age of 12, which is pretty good going! His sister, who was sensible and, well, normal, passed away less than a year later. I think that’s what made me forget all the drama we went through. Now they’re just funny stories and happy memories.

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I knew I wanted that again. Sorry? When was the first time I regretted that? Um, probably, yep, 2 weeks after we got him. I came home from work and from about 5 weeks old, Cody had been crate trained (he was about 14 weeks old at this point). So we attached a run to his crate for when we were out so that he still had somewhere to play and do number 1s and 2s. Well, didn’t he take advantage of that? He had pushed the side of the run towards the curtains, pulled the curtains down into his run, gathered all of his toys and bedding on top and did a massive shit over the lot. So I came home to my darling puppy covered in his own shit, my curtains covered in shit, all of his toys and bedding covered in shit and my carpet ruined.
Despite this, he was still so happy to see me as I came through the door. He had an air of “Look at me Mum. Look what I achieved today!” as he wagged his tail vigorously. That, ladies and gentleman, was the first time my Beagle had me speechless and having to sit down for a little weep. First time of many.

That was just the beginning of our journey. Since then he has: destroyed books, ran after Muntjac deer, gotten beaten up by a cat and slurped up a whole packet of bacon like it was spaghetti. However, we have also spent many an evening on the sofa snuggling under a blanket together, he’s cuddled my pregnant belly, he’s been so calm and patient with Olivia and now (secretly) loves her, he dances in the kitchen with me, he’s my drive thru food buddy, he’s my hot water dog when I’m sick and he even helped us announce our pregnancy to the world! Now he’ll be Olivia’s memories of trouble and laughter and comfort.

That’s the funny things about pets though. No matter how much they put you through, how much they push your buttons, how many times they strike panic in your heart, they’re worth it. They bring back memories that you can laugh at or memories like when you were sick and they slept with you on the sofa and it instantly warms your heart. I look back at my childhood dogs and think “Life wouldn’t have been half as colourful as it was without them.” and I hope I can create that for Olivia, too.

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At the end of the day, from the moment we saw him (and couldn’t sign the forms quick enough) to now (which is him snoozing on the sofa) he has been one of the best adventures in our lives and there’s still so much more trouble for him to do!IMG_7591

Please share your stories of your beloved pets in the comments below. I really do love reading them! Oh, and Happy National Pet Month!

After reading this post, the lovely people at Marcy Dog would like to offer you a discount code on their beautiful dog (and human) products!

Head to https://www.macrydog.com/ and use the discount code: MACRY20 for 20% off your purchase!


Best Bedside Books

I, personally, really like having a collection of books on my bedside table or my ‘night stand’. I think it’s a great tool for when you can’t sleep and let’s be honest, I think there’s quite a few of us that are struggling to sleep during this time. Instead of reaching for your phone, grab a book. The light from our phones can actually keep us more awake. It triggers the part of our brain that tells us when it is day or night and could potentially make it harder for you to drop off. So whether you can’t get to sleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t switch your brain off, these are some of my favourite books to relax my mind and ready my brain for slumber.

1. Notes on a Nervous Planet

I’ve mentioned this book before in a blog post (about how to survive January) but I have found that keeping this book next to my bed is the perfect solution for easing my anxious mind. Sometimes, I can have a great day, totally anxiety free (for the most part) but then, when my head hits my pillow -BAM! Oh there you are, anxiety. All of a sudden, I have irrational thoughts rattling around in my head. “What would I do if someone broke in right now?”, “Is Olivia still breathing? Maybe she choked on her bed sheet because I didn’t put it on right?”, “Does Steven get mad at me for not keeping the house tidy enough?”, “Should I have a full time career? Do people think I’m lazy?”, “Maybe I need liposuction”, “What if lock down never ends?”, “Am I doing enough? Am I good enough?”. It can get loud. Especially recently. But when I reach for this book, it’s a huge reminder that I am human. I am flawed but that’s okay because so is everyone else. And what about the bigger problems in the world? Well, we all worry about those too but at the end of the day. If it’s not in your control, there’s no point worrying about it. This book just helps me feel less alone when it comes to my irrational thoughts and brings some quietness to the noise.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

A classic! I keep this by my bed because sometimes you just want to escape, right? Sometimes you just want to live in a different world for a while. To help me wind down before bed, I like reading a chapter or two just to transport me to another world but also another time. A time where I am 8 or 9 years old reading this book for the first time and really believing in magic. I think we could all use a little belief in magic right now, don’t you?

3. Happy Mum Happy Baby

I love this book! I started reading this while I was pregnant with Olivia and I am so glad I did. I love Giovanna’s outlook on motherhood and I find it so helpful to have it by my bed so when I question my mothering and “Am I a good enough Mum?” or “Why am I so burnt out?” I can pick this up and remind myself. As a Mum, you need to take care of you before ANYTHING. Seriously. You cannot care for your children, your partner, your work or your house if you haven’t taken care of you first. You need to be happy and healthy on the inside in order to be happy and healthy on the outside. Your kids need a happy, well-looked-after Mum who will then be able to take care of them. Not a Mum who is stressed, tired and burnt out yelling at them because she’s at the end of her tether with everything! So this book really does preach what it says on the tin.

4. The Little Book of Hygge

Now, this one is a little different. This is one I like to read when my mind is in ‘to-do-list mode’. When I’m thinking of everything I have to do tomorrow in what order not forgetting this and that. This book is a gentle reminder that it doesn’t matter if I forget to dust the TV unit or don’t have dinner ready for when Steven comes through the door. It matters that we talk at the dinner table to each other about our day and be thankful for the food on the table. It matters that I soak up every cuddle before bedtime and take pleasure in the simple every day things.
This is also a great one to read first thing in the morning to start the day off in a good mindset.

5. A Dream Dictionary

There are hundreds of different dream dictionaries on the market but this one is one my Grandmother gave to me when I was about 12. I am a frequent dreamer. I mean, every night, I have at least 3 dreams and they’re always wacky, disturbing or very vivid. I love looking up things that appear in my dream in a dream dictionary. More often than not, I find my dreams are reflecting an aspect of my life or the mess that is my mind. It’s so helpful to observe these reflections so you can give them some proper attention and get to the root of what’s bothering you or be thankful for things that you may have taken for granted.

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Let me know what some of your books are that you like to keep by your bed! Just FYI and in case you’re wondering, I also keep: photo booth pictures from my best friend’s wedding (because they make me happy), Roary (my microwavable dinosaur), body moisturiser, hand cream, a tiny Buddha and tissues beside my bed. Also, how cute are these bed sheets? They’re my favourite!


 

Simple But Cute Easter Treats

So, in the midst of this chaos, here’s some normality. 4 simple treats to make at home to celebrate Easter. There’s nothing fancy required or ingredient you need to brave the shops for. You won’t be elbowing Hugo or Biffy in the wholefoods shop for the last Madagascan Dodo Bird Feather to make these. Just your normal baking supplies. I really hope some of you can create these and find some escape in these recipes. Baking, for me, can be really therapeutic and, if that fails, you can always stress eat your bakes. Whichever way, I hope this helps.

1. Easter Bunny Sugar Cookies

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These are great to make with little ones because you can make the dough ahead of time and they’re really simple and quick. If you don’t have any Easter cookie cutters because ever other Mum in the country has bought them, then this is for you!

What you will need:

  • A batch of sugar cookie dough (see my recipe here).
  • Rolling pin
  • Gingerbread man cookie cutter
  • Chocolate eggs with a sugar crisp shell

Method

  1. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1 cm thickness.
  2. Cut out your ‘gingerbread men’.
  3. Place cookies on a lined baking tray upside down. The ‘legs’ will be the bunny’s ears.
  4. Place a chocolate egg in the centre and bend the arms over the egg so it looks like the bunny is cuddling the egg.
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  5. Using a cocktail stick, give the bunny some eyes.
  6. Bake in a preheated (160ºC fan) oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Once cool add a nose with a blob of chocolate or a sprinkle.
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2. Easter Nest Cupcakes

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Everyone knows how to make the traditional chocolate Easter nests. Well, they inspired me to make these in cupcake form with a difference.

What you will need:

  • A batch of 12 cupcakes (I used my vanilla cupcakes but you could make chocolate ones to make these treats even more chocolatey)
  • A batch of chocolate buttercream (bought or homemade)
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Mini chocolate eggs

Method

  1. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a round piping nozzle, with chocolate buttercream (if you don’t have a nozzle, just cut the end off to size).
  2. Pipe two rings (one on top of the other) of buttercream onto the top of the cupcake.
  3. Dip your cupcake (gently) into a shallow dish of chocolate sprinkles until the buttercream is coated in them. It should look like a sprinkle covered doughnut!
  4. Place two mini chocolate eggs in the centre of your nest.


3. Lemon Shortbread Bunnies

These are just so delish! Again, these are so simple and great to make with kids. Get creative! Pick your favourite sprinkles and unapologetically decorate!

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What you will need:

  • 125g butter (room temp)
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (I put in more because I love the lemon flavour)
  • 65g caster sugar
  • Bunny cookie cutter
  • Small flower cookie cutter (optional)
  • Icing sugar
  • Your favourite sprinkles

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together until creamy. Then add the lemon zest.
  3. Sift in the flour and combine. Using your hands, form into a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the fridge and roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 5mm thickness.
  5. Cut out your bunny shapes and place on a lined baking tray. You could also cut out some small flower shapes for the tail! If you don’t have a flower cutter, don’t worry! Continue reading!
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  6. Place the baking tray of cookies into the fridge for 10-15 minutes. You could also put a large hole in the top of them if you with to put ribbon through them to hang.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies have a golden tinge.
  8. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
  9. Mix together icing sugar and water to make a simple icing (you could also add lemon juice to give it more lemon flavour).
  10. Cover the flower shaped cookies in the icing or carefully spoon/pipe the icing onto your bunny to give it a tail. Add your sprinkles to the icing to create a tail made of sprinkles or simply leave it as it is! If you’re creative, you could give him sprinkle ears!

4. Floral Bunny Ear Cupcakes

These are slightly more challenging but I think they’re so cute! I used these reusable cupcake cases that are silicone plant pots which I think were perfect for this design! You can use whatever you like.

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What you will need:

  • A batch of your favourite cupcakes (or you can use my vanilla cupcake recipe)
  • A batch of vanilla buttercream
  • Piping bags
  • Variety or piping nozzles
  • Food colouring
  • Candy melts or chocolate

Method

  1. Melt your candy melts in a piping bag (I used a microwave. Heated for 30 seconds then squeezed the bag to mix the melts. Then heated for another 30 seconds and repeated until I got my desired runny texture). Then snip a small piece of the end of the piping bag off. You can use chocolate, however, it is not as stable.
  2. On grease proof paper, pipe bunny ear shapes. (I draw my design before hand and placed it underneath the grease proof paper so I could trace it).
  3. Leave to harden on a flat surface for 24 hours.
  4. Separate your vanilla buttercream into different bowls and colour. I used yellow, pink and violet as I thought they were nice spring colours.
  5. Put your buttercreams into separate piping bags with different nozzles.
  6. Apply a base of green buttercream to look like grass.
  7. Carefully peel your candy melt bunny ears off of the grease proof paper and delicately push them into the buttercream.
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  8. Pipe a variety of flowers and shapes onto the cupcake. You can always just pipe swirls and dots! Try to pipe them onto the cupcake in a way that supports the ears.

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And there you go! Very simple and quick Easter treats. I hope this brings some joy to your household. If you do create these, please share pictures with me! I would love to see them!

Be kind. Stay Safe.

 

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Instagram: @charlotterose293
Twitter: @Cook2903

Movies Made For Comfort

During this time, I want to help keep people’s spirits up as much as possible. Since we’re all stuck inside with more time on our hands, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this COVID-19 chaos, doom and gloom. We could all use a little mental escape and what better way than curling up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie. The type of movie that doesn’t require thought. The type of movie that transports you to a simpler time. Something that makes you smile, laugh a little and brings a little bit of light in the darkness.

I was born in the late 90s so most films I find comforting are from the 00s. They just take me back to a simpler time of watching movies on the sofa during rainy days or cinema trips with my Mum. Back when my world was a little smaller. So here are my top 10 comforting films.

1. Legally Blonde

I know, I know, super girly but this film was a constant favourite of mine as a child. Not only is the soundtrack upbeat and fun but the message is empowering. You can do anything you work hard at, despite what people say or think about you. If you keep going through all the struggles and backlash of other people, it will pay off even if no one is on your side. It’s also a good reminder to help people along your way. Elle Woods has lapses in confidence and sense of direction in her life but ,throughout it all, she is kind. She is nice to people who are continually cruel and helps anyone. I think we could all use this reminder right now.

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2. Cheaper By The Dozen

This is another one of my ‘regularly viewed’ from my childhood. I know Steve Martin can be a crowd divider but I just can’t help but love this movie. This also has an awesome soundtrack (can you tell I’m a sucker for musical montages?) and is upbeat and easy to watch. A family of 12 kids and their parents go on holiday together. What could go wrong? It’s filled with typical PG physical comedy (and some adorable kids) it will definitely give your mind a break.

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3. Bridesmaids

A CLASSIC! This film holds so many memories for me. I remember watching it in the cinema with Mum for the first time. We shared many a cinema date just us two and they were so special to me. We’d go while other kids were at school so the cinema was practically empty. It was those times it felt like we were the only people in the whole world. On our drives home we would reminisce about our favourite moments and laugh together all over again. 
I also remember watching this film after my first (and last) night out clubbing. My friends and I collapsed on my sofa and put this movie on. We kicked off our heels, got under blankets and giggled together. I’d take that over clubbing any day!

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4. Practical Magic

Another one of mine and my Mum’s favourites. I can’t remember the first time I watched this but I remember being about 7 or 8 and trying to get my spoon to stir in my cup or trying to get flower petals to fly in the wind. Maybe it was this movie that made me so wary of men? It definitely made me suspicious of a beetle’s squeak. It has everything I love wrapped up in one movie: witches, love stories, revenge, sisterhood and family. This is not just a Halloween movie. 

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5. Hocus Pocus

Staying on the witch theme. This movie is one I normally save for Halloween season but desperate times call for desperate measures. It is an absolute classic and I think I know this movie word for word. It’s one for the whole family and really puts me in a cosy mood. And, yes you guessed it, it has a musical number that I recreated in my bedroom when I was 8. As a kid, I wanted to be Sarah. The funny one, the one who wore purple and the one who all the boys liked, lol! Not sure that happened for me. Sorry 8 year old me!

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6. Christmas With The Coopers

From one holiday to the next. Yes! A Christmas film. Even though it’s spring, I see no harm in recreating the ambience of Christmas. Christmas just seems to be a happier time for me, a cosy time and I can’t help but feel safe in a way. I know that’s not the case for some but it’s a time I really treasure. This film in particular is humbling and beautiful. Not to mention it has an incredibly cute dog. It’s just one happy reminder to love your family, even if they drive you mental or aren’t perfect themselves. So if you’re in quarantine with your family and need a little convincing to love them, this is the movie for you.
P.S in other countries this movie is called ‘Love the Coopers’

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7. The Mask

My friends and I used to watch this round my house all the time. Jim Carrey is a true talent. This was the first movie I saw that combined live filming with animation. I think  this was my first Jim Carrey movie too and it sparked my love for his work. Like all good movies, it has an excellent dog in it too! Oh, and a musical dance number or two!

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8. Bad Moms

This is a perfect time for every Mother in isolation with their kids to watch this. This movie always reminds me that it is okay to not be the perfect parent. The most important things you can give to your kids are love and happy memories. Spend time with them, listen to them, teach them things they will need in life like how to apologise or take care of their mental health. Show them how to unwind, be a good person and just be kids. This movie also highlights the different types of Mothers out there and that it’s okay if you don’t iron your kids underwear like Becky down the road or have 15 million colour coded worksheets. If you’re a good person, you’re a good Mum.

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9. Wine Country

This is more of a recent discovery of mine. It’s about a group of friends going on a weekend break together for one of them is turning 50. They go on a girls trip and tour vineyards but it gets a little messy. They show getting older as something to look forward to and true friendship as something to treasure. I can only hope that my life looks a little like this when I turn 50.

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So there we go, they are the top 9 films I find comforting. I hope they give you some comfort too. Now, please remember this is personal opinion. You may not agree but please feel free to share some of your favourite and comforting movies!

Stay safe. Be kind.