Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Festive DIY Gingerbread In a Jar Gift & Recipe.

If your struggling to budget this Christmas and need some affordable gift ideas then look no further! This DIY bake your own gingerbread kit is not only very inexpensive to put together but also so easy to do its almost fool proof.

You will need:

  • A small clip lock jar like a Kilner jar. 
  • A gingerbread cookie cutter.
  • Christmas ribbon, string and tags to decorate.
  • 350g of plain flour.
  • 100g of light brown sugar.
  • 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp of ground ginger.
  • 1tsp of cinnamon.

To put this gift together all you need to do is measure out and layer your ingredients into the jar starting with the sugar then flour then your spices on top....its as simple as that! Use some twine and ribbon to decorate tying a gingerbread cutter to the top.

Dont forget to add a tag letting the recipient know what wet ingredients they will need to add, in this case they will need 140g of butter and 3tbsp of golden syrup or honey.

Another thing you will need to do is write on a label come baking instructions and sick to the jar:

Pour contents of jar into a mixing bowl add your 140g of butter at room temperature rubbing it together with your finger tips until everything is combined and you are left with a breadcrumb like texture. Add your 3tbsp of golden syrup and stir until a dough starts to form, need with your hands until smooth. Roll out your dough on a floured surface and cut out your gingerbread placing them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden then take out and leave to cool. 

I love making gingerbread this time of year and this is a great festive treat for any keen baker or even for children. You can make similar jarred gifts with tons of other recipes including muffins and cookies.

Why not give one of these ago for a yummy stocking filler!

Thank you for reading.


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Wedwoods - Rustic Wooden Gifts and Table Settings.

Since giving up my job this year to look after my two little boys full time I have wanted to find a way to work at home but found it difficult to find something that caught my interest and that I was passionate about.....But that has suddenly changed. 

I would like to introduce to you Wedwoods my own little online shop! We supply and sell handcrafted rustic wooden gifts and table setting for your home or for weddings. Our wood is 100% recycled from my partners tree surgery business and is all cut and crafted by hand in a small village in Kent. I am so excited to finally have a few pieces finished and ready for sale but most of our items will be made to order so heres a little preview:

Currently we have for sale these beautiful rustic silver birch log slices with a rare spalted pattern which makes them ridiculously pretty. The log slices are lightly sanded to smoothen but remain otherwise natural to give that desired rustic woodland feel. These log slices make perfect table centre pieces for in your home or for a wedding especially over the festive period and can be used to display cakes, flowers, candles and even can be used as place mats. Here are a few examples:  

We working on a whole rustic wedding range including table numbers, place names and notice boards and wedding favours and well as a gift range including candle holders, christmas ornaments and personalised wooden plaques....all of which will be available within the next coming weeks.

I absolutely love working with such a beautiful material and the fact that it is being recycled is such as added bonus. Interested in a piece for around your home? For someone as a Gift? Or a selection for a wedding? Please take a look at my Facebook page here for more information, drop me a message or like and share with your friends I would be more then grateful.

Thank you for reading.

LouLouLoves presenting Wedwoods.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Top DIY Gift Ideas Courtesy of Pinterest.

I love the idea of a homemade gift its a bit more special knowing that person put in the time and effort to make something themselves. Its also a great way of keeping to a strict budget over the christmas period whilst giving your gifts that personal touch. Thanks to Pinterest there is so much DIY gift inspiration out there here are my top pics: 

The Night Before Christmas Box.

This one is brilliant for young children but can be adapted for adults or by adding themes such as a romantic night in box. For the night before Christmas box add some cosy Christmas pyjama's, a Christmas film, hot chocolate, marshmallows and popcorn to a box. This could be any box covered in some left over wrapping paper and could also contain snacks to leave out for Santa and his reindeer.  

Salt Dough Decorations.

There are tons of recipies for salt dough on Pinterest and it is so simple to make. Get the children involved and get really creative making your family their own personalised tree ornament all you'll need is some cookie cutters, rubber stamps and some paint.  

Pamper Jar.

Fill a recycled jar with everything you will need for the ultimate relaxing night in. Nail varnish, sachet of face mask, small candle, nail file, aromatherapy oils or handcream....the list is endless. 

Homemade Chutney or Jam.

Jams and chutneys are simple to make and have a reasonably long shelf life as long as you sterilise your jars. So start collecting any old jars to recycle and get creative with your flavours there are tons of recipes online.  

Infused Vodka.

This is an amazing idea that was completely new to me! You literally crush up any bag of hard boiled sweets such as lemon sherbets, skittles or toffies place in a jar with your chosen vodka and leave for a week giving it a good shake every day until most of the sweets have dissolved. You may need to strain the liquid before decanting back into bottles.    

Biscuit Mix In A Jar.

Encourage your family and friends to get baking by layering up in a jar the ingredients for their favourite sweet treat whether it be gingerbread, chocolate cookies or muffins.....but don't forget to leave them instructions on what wet ingredients they will need to add and cooking guide lines. 

The Ultimate Hot Chocolate Kit.

Choose a mug or even decorate and personalise a mug then fill it with sachets of hot chocolate powder, marshmallows, biscuits and even a little miniature bottle of their favourite tipple such as Baileys (obviously for adults only) this will keep them warm over the festive season. 

Thank you for reading, you can find all these DIYs on my Pinterest here. 


Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Haul.

I am desperate to put my decorations up, I am literally having to hold myself back! So to stop myself from decking the hauls in NOVEMBER....I seem to be buying a lot of new decorations instead! I have about twice the space to decorate this year now we have a new house so there is logic in my spending but here is what I've bought over the past few weeks.

Lets start with lights, for the first time I am able to put lights on the outside of our property so I went for these icicle fairy lights from Wilkinsons, something simple and pretty. I also couldn't help but get these ridiculously pretty paper star lights which are battery operated, they look so stylish and a lot more expensive then they were so well done Wilkinson! I plan on hanging these in the porch around the mirror and you could even get away with using these all year around although they are pretty delicate.

You may be able to see a theme here....Rustic wooden decorations....I cant get enough of them! They don't have to be expensive either, I managed to find some real bargains starting with the best one....The stag head. Now I had seen something similar in next and it was around the £25-£30 mark but then stumbled across this wooden stag head in Wilkinsons for only £8 combined with a pack of their small battery operated fairy lights for £3.50 I managed to recreate the look for less then half the price.

The 3D tree and snowflake decorations were also from Wilkinsons 'Wild Wood' collection....I tell you they are really on form this year and such affordable prices, the snowflakes only being £1 each!

Another fantastically affordable shop to buy Christmas decorations is Matalan, this is where I purchased this wooden block 'Noel' ornament for £6 that matches so well with the other bits and bobs I picked up.

Now I do love bunting and garlands and I have two options for you here. The first and more expensive is this lovely felt Christmas bunting from Next at £10 or for something a little more budget again from Wilkinsons packs of make your own heart garlands are only £1 each!

I really can't wait to start decorating, I need to go and pick out our real tree soon!

Thank you for reading.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Pin Addiction - A Glimpse Into My Pinterest.

I've had Pinterest for a long while now but have only just grasped the magnitude of uses it has and have recently become a little bit of an addict. My most favourite ways of using Pinterest for interior decorating inspiration, craft ideas for the kids and recipes.....but honestly the list is pretty endless! Its like a rabbit hole you can get completely lost down for hours on end.

Here are a few glimpses of what my Pinterest looks like and a few things I am loving right now:

I have been looking for some table decorating ideas for Christmas and am loving the rustic look using hessian pinecones and wood. 

I am going to ikea next week to pick up a long Ribba Picture Ledge for above the sofa and have been looking for some inspiration on how to create a gallery picture display using different sizes and styles of frames.  

Whilst browsing for Christmas ideas I found this lovely idea of how to personalise wrapped presents and decided to give it a go. It gives such a lovely added decorative touch to gifts and you can even find free printable mini bunting on Pinterest too. 

How cute is this jewellery display? Using a framed pin-board to hang necklaces, earrings even rings this way you can see what you have and are more likely to get more wear out of each piece.      

Im tempted to make a few homemade Christmas treats as gifts and decided to give making fudge a shot and how nice does this pumpkin fudge look?? And very seasonally appropriate. 

I really want to add some plants around the house to brighten up the place but I am not the best at remembering to water them so I think Cacti are a good idea! I love how cute and modern these succulents look, especially hanging planters which will keep them away from the kiddies little hands. 

I have such a tiny office space in my living room and have been looking at ways of making it look more interesting. I love how cute this little space is with the inspirational art work and momentos displayed on the wall. 

Lastly a pre-planned date night envelopes one for every month each describing what you are going to do on the date including, cash gift cards or anything you will need. You could even make this a lucky dip instead of labeling them with months, this way you don't neglect to spend quality time with each other making one night a month really special. 

You can find all these Pins on my Pinterest Here.

Thank you for reading.


Sunday Family Funday.

I realise I haven't posted a Sunday Family Funday post in a while mainly because life has been so busy since we have moved that we haven't actually been out and about much. I also realise this isn't Sunday.....I did schedule this for Monday but for some reason wasn't successful! 

Sunday was mostly a dry day so we wanted to make the most of it and do something in our new local area and Eli voted for a trip to see Rochester castle. I am so glad this little town is now only just down the road as it has so much character and history with lots of independent shops and restaurants not to mention the historic castle and cathedral.      

We had a stroll down the high street and around the castle grounds Eli loved the castle. After we built up a bit of an appetite I had a real craving to check out Costa Coffee's new festive food and drink menu so we nabbed a table for a bite to eat. I opted for a gingerbread latte with cream which was delicious and even came with a mini gingerbread man on top! I also had a turkey, bacon, stuffing and cranberry toasted sandwich which was so scrummy and really got me feeling festive. The boys were so well behaved whilst eating their toasties it made me really proud and after we sampled a couple of their cakes including a gingerbread muffin and a salted caramel yule log.    

Such simple things really made me feel christmasy, I love spending time with my little family and am so proud of my two boys. I think this will quickly become a Sunday ritual as well as more exploring around our new hometown. 

Thank you for reading.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Choccywoccydoodah Brighton Review.

Recently I took a weekend trip to Brighton for my best friends hen do and one of our hen activities was a trip to the very well known Choccywoccydoodah for an all you can eat afternoon tea in on of their secret rooms. I have wanted to go here for so long after hearing so much about it and of course watching the T.V show, who wouldn't want to check out such an extravagant chocolate shop.

The shop is hidden away down one of the winding lanes of Brighton and although it is tucked away you cannot miss it because of their beautiful window displays full of the most ornate and decorative season appropriate cakes. Another thing you will notice straight away is how busy it is, but then it is to be expected we were lucky enough to be able to book one of their secret rooms as there were 17 of us in the hen party so we skipped all the queues and had a waitress to attend to all our needs.

The room itself was called 'The Boudoir' it is very Moroccan-esk and only just about held all 17 of us! Im not sure if they have any larger rooms but it had a nice and intimate and cosy atmosphere which was great when were playing games and we were able all to chat away with lots and lots of laughs.

When we first arrived in our secret room the coffee table in the centre was filled with nibbles including pots of dipping chocolate and things to dip like strawberries, marshmallows, rocky road, sweets and much more. We were able to bring our own champagne or prosecco and they supplied us with glasses which made it even funnier once we had gone through 8 bottles, there was also speakers to you can play your own music to improve the ambiance. 

But that wasn't It a part of our all you can eat was being able to order anything we wanted off the menu and oh my god chocoholics you will love it! The menu includes an array of cakes, ice-cream sundays, milkshakes and many more, we asked for a platter of all of their different cakes with a huge mound of ice-cream in the middle and it was the most tasty thing I have ever eaten. My favourites were the coconut cake, chocolate truffle cake and chocolate chilli cake, my only criticism is that even though its all you can eat....there is only so much chocolate you can consume in one sitting! So you have the option to totally get your monies worth but you may end up feeling a little sick in the process. 

The staff were so friendly and attentive and they even boxed up any leftovers we were unable to eat to take away with us which was really great as like I said there is only so much you can eat! The cost of our trip was £25 per person for a 2 hour session but prices may vary depending on the amount of people in your party I am not too sure but it was a really nice experience and one I definitely would recommend especially if there is a large celebration group looking to do something a little different and memorable.

Thank you for reading.