Friday, 29 September 2017

Lolly Stick Monster Bookmarks ~Bostik Challenge



It's really important to develop kids imagination and the perfect way to do it is by crafting. Each month I receive the Bostik Crafting Box and my (niece) little crafting buddy Little M and I enjoy making crafts to the monthly themed box. This months box was all about monsters and last week we made a lovely Monster Wall hanging, we still had a few items left over in the box so we made these cute Lolly Stick Monster Book Marks.

Now we all know that kids are often scared of monsters (so are some adults actually) so our monsters we create are the cute and adorable type. Also little M insisted that her monsters were going to be girls and they would wear skirts. Who was I to conflict with a child's imagination, so you can see from the video on how to make the Lolly Stick Monster book marks  and also see that they are wearing skirts!!!! She has also named them, the one in the yellow skirt is Molly and the one with the blue skirt is Milly. Little M has a really good imagination and loves role play.


To make the Lolly Stick Monsters Bookmarks you will need:

  • 2 Lolly Sticks
  • 2 Feet and hand shape foam cut outs
  • 2 pairs of Stick on eyes
  • 2 Cup cake wrappers
  • Bostik Glue
  • Bostik Glue Dots

Please watch the video below to see how we made these cute Lolly Stick Monsters Bookmarks:



This craft is suitable for young children although, adult supervision may be required for using scissors  and using sharp pencil.
If you like this project check the link below for more art and craft projects, that you can do with your children this Autumn.

Kids Arts and Craft Videos
Kids Arts and Crafts Projects

Being part of the Bostik 2017 bloggers with Tots100 and Merrily Crafts, I was sent some craft items in a box to create this project.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Enjoying live Music and Pizza at Pizza Express


I love eating out in London, there are so many restaurants and places to eat at. However one of my all time favorite place to eat is at Pizza Express. I love their thin crust pizzas and the fact that they have gluten free and vegetarian options too is ideal. Pizza express restaurants are dotted all around London, however on my recent visit to Greenwich I visited the newly refurbished Pizza Express restaurant in Greenwich.

The restaurant which is in the  heart of historic Greenwich in London, close to the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park is spread over two floors. It is tastefully decorated to bring out the character of the building with large graphics art work showcasing the architecture of the area which is set within the world heritage site.


In the basement, there is a bar and seating area and every Thursday evenings the restaurant runs a live playlist where you can enjoy live contemporary music played by local artists whilst having a drink or two and enjoying a tasty pizza. I was totally impressed with the new autumn menu, which has a few new vegetarian options added, this is a definite thumps up from me since I am a vegetarian.


My evening at Pizza express was very enjoyable, I had the Brushetta for starters whilst my friends tucked into a meaty platter of cold meat, olives, pickled peppers, flatbreads and dips.

Having a spicy palate, for the main course I ordered the Leggera Pollo ad Astra which is under under 600 calories. The pizza has a topping of chicken, light mozzarella, sweet Peppadew peppers, tomato, Cajun spices, garlic oil and red onion. however being vegetarian I asked if they could make it without the chicken and they agreed. The pizza has a hole in the centre which is served with a green salad. It was delicious and the salad had a lovely tasty dressing on it.


My friends ordered the Caponata Pizza which is new on the menu.It was topped with fried aubergine cooked with green olives,tomatoes, onion, capers, oil and vinegar and topped with buffalo mozzarella and tomato and finished with Gran Milano cheese and fresh basil.

Another friend who eats a gluten free diet enjoyed the gluten free dough balls and the Broad Bean Rigatoni which has broad beans, spinach and vegetarian Pecorino in a creamy white wine sauce, with gluten-free rigatoni, finished with Gran Milano cheese, pesto and fresh parsley



I was totally full and declined the offer of dessert, although my friends did recommend the new sticky toffee pudding on the Autumn menu which apparently was amazing and I regretted not ordering it. In fact it was so delicious that I caught my friend capturing it on camera. I guess I have  all the more reason to return for another meal. I finished my meal with a cup of latte.

The evening was totally different from my previous Pizza Express visits as the live music was a lovely added touch that made the evening more enjoyable.
I was a guest at Pizza Express Greenwich and all the views expressed are of my experience of the meal.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Monster Wall Hanging ~ Bostik Challenge

Its September already and Autumn is here, the nights are drawing in and soon it will be winter. I hate the dark evenings and just want to hibernate when its cold and dark. I am definitely a summer person. This Sunday the weather was awful, there was intermittent rain throughout the day and the wind was rather breezy.

My Sunday was cheered up by my monthly visit from my Little M my crafting buddy. However there was not much we could do outdoors so we were both cooped inside watching the rain. We enjoyed our smoothie making session which is our regular ritual before we start crafting. Berries were the flavour of the week so we created a delicious blackberry coconut smoothie.


It's so lucky that to occupy our time we had the September Bostik Challenge Box awaiting to be opened. The theme for September is Monsters, I let little M look through the box and choose some papers, and crafting bits and we set about to make a monster wall hanging.


To make your own Monster Wall Hanging you will need:


1 piece A 4 Black Card for body
Coloured Card for mouth
Purple foam for fangs and eyes
2 Stick on eyes
6 Pipe cleaners
2 Foam feet cut outs
2 Foam hand cut outs
Pencil
Scissors
Bostik Glue
Sellotape

Instructions:

1. On the black card draw any shape that you want for the monsters body.
2. On The coloured card cut a oval wiggly shape and cut a half moon mouth out like in the picture



3. Cut out two oval eyes from the purple foam and cut two triangular fangs.
4. Stick the mouth shape on the monsters body with the Bostik glue
5. Stick the purple oval eye shapes onto the face and stick on the stick on eyes.



6. Wrap the pipe cleaner around the pencil to make a coil and repeat for all six pipe cleaners.
7. To make the feet pierce a hole in the foam and push the end of the pipe cleaner in and wrap it on it self to secure. Repeat for the second foot. Do the same this time using the hand cut outs.



8.  On the right and left sides of the body about 1cm in,  pierce a hole with the pencil very carefully and secure the pipe cleaner by threading the end through the hole and twisting it on it self.
9. At the bottom of the monsters body pierce two holes on either side and secure the leg pipe cleaners by pushing the pipe cleaner through the hole and wrapping it on it self to secure.
10 For the antenna pierce two holes on either side of the top of the monsters body and thread the pipe cleaners in and secure by wrapping it on it self.


11. The monster wall hanging is ready to hang up.



This craft is suitable  for young children although, adult supervision may be required for using scissors  and using sharp pencil.
If you like this project check the link below for more art and craft projects, that you can do with your children this summer.

Kids Arts and Craft Videos
Kids Arts and Crafts Projects

Being part of the Bostik 2017 bloggers with Tots100 and Merrily Crafts, I was sent some craft items in a box to create this project.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Basic kitchen essentials when furnishing a flat.

In my last two posts I have written about 10 things to do when renting a flat and look out for when choosing a flat to rent, I then followed a post about furnishing the flat with basic essentials and finally this post is all about what basic kitchen essentials we bought for the flat.

Although it is not essential and compulsory to have all these items, it certainly makes life easier if you do have them, especially if you are a foodie and enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen.

Below is a list of items we added to the kitchen.:

1. Kettle, this is just a basic design that does the job.
2. Toaster, Sandwich toaster, both these items are handy and extremely useful. It saves having to use the grill in the oven and much safer.
3. Microwave, not essential but really handy to warm up food and make quick speedy meals.


4. Plates, bowl, mugs, glasses, these are essential and a necessity in any kitchen.


5. Microwave safe glass dish and server, I love having these as you can cook nad serve in the same container.
6. Food storage containers, always useful to have to store cookies, cereals, spices, grains to keep them fresh.


7. Cutlery spoons, forks, knives, teaspoons, these are an essential item and a must in any kitchen.


8. Cooking utensils such as chopping knife, paring knife, kitchen scissors, wooden spoons, silicon spatula, whisk, grater. I like these items as some of them are two in one saving space .



9.Disposable chopping boards, these make clean up easy and less chances of cross contamination.




10. Saucepans, frying pan, wok, these basic cookware is again another essential to cook in.
11. Baking trays, roasting tin, pie dish.


12. Place mats and coasters.
13.Oven gloves and tea towels
14. Sink Tidy, This handy sink tidy will hold the washing up liquid, scourers,sponges and dishcloth in this rotatable sink tidy.


15. Single Tea Server- This is must for a tea drinker!!!



The kitchen is now fully equipped and has everything for meal preparation, storage and serving. Many of the items featured in this post were gifts from brands which we are very grateful. All the items have been extremely useful and we will make full use of them.

We would like to thank Sainsburys Home for the crockery, OXO for the bakeware, Aldi for the saucepans, Gourmet gadgetry for the sandwich toaster, Pavara for sink tidy and also Tomorrows Kitchen who provided the turner and  tongs, vegetable knive and brushutensil tidy, vacuum storage containersHerb and spice pots, disposable chopping boardssingle serve steamer and the single tea server. 

Its personal choice of each individual how they equip their kitchen and this depends on how much they are going to spend time in the kitchen and if they plan to cook or not. My daughter like me is a foodie, she loves cooking so some items that we have added may not be necessary for those who don't have an interest in baking etc.

What items do you think is necessary to equip in a kitchen??? Can you recommend anything else we could have added???

Monday, 11 September 2017

Furnishing a flat with basic essentials.


In my previous post I wrote about the 10 essential things that you need to check before you move into your new flat. Assuming that everything is in order and you have signed the contract and are now holding the keys in your hand, the next thing to do is to clean, dust and furnish the flat.
My advise is that clean the flat whilst its empty, this way you can clean in every nook and cranny and be assured that its spotless. Also use a carpet freshner when vacuuming to refresh the carpet and remove any odours.

The next step is to furnish the flat, this we kept to a basic minimum. You can source furniture from charity, shops, check local papers for things to sell, check on facebook groups for local areas where people want to giveaway stuff. However the drawback of this is that everything will be mismatched and you cannot get all the furniture you require at the same time. Also even if the furniture you get is free you will have to find a mode of transport to get it to your flat and get it up the stairs. So in the long run it may not be practical.


Having weighed up all the pros and cons we decided to buy new. Ikea was our out next stop, we ordered a bed, a wardrobe and chest of drawers for the bedroom, for the lounge/ diner a sofa bed and a small dining table and chairs. Finally we ordered a desk for studying as my daughter is going to be doing a practical training year so together with work she will need to study too.


                                Before                                                         After

Ikea do offer a service where they will deliver the items to your door for a fixed delivery charge, they also provide a service where they will build all the items for you for a set fee. We declined that and chose to make up the furniture our selves to save on the additional cost.

On delivery day all the items came flat packed, inside the boxes were assembly instructions which were fairly easy to follow. The trick with assembling flat pack stuff is to check you have all the parts before you commence and read over the instructions fully before starting. It took us two full days to assemble all the furniture.


Next we needed some curtains so we headed over to Dunelm and picked up some in the sale, armed with a sewing machine and lots of cutting and snipping  and sewing the flat has some curtains. My husband lent a hand fitting the new curtains to the tracks. With all hands on deck, the flat was cleaned hoovered, dusted, furnished  and and ready to move in.


It certainly has been hard work setting the flat up and making sure its in order before she moves in. However it is coming together nicely. The flat is furnished and below you can see the results.



Have you managed to get any great bargains or have suggestions on furnishing on a budget??? Do share your ideas in the comments section below.

In my next post I will share details of the kitchen, what basic utensils you will need and what  store cupboard essentials to stock.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

10 things to do when renting a flat.

As parents its a relief when your children finish all their exams and the summer vacation begins. But with the holiday coming to an end there is always for those with older children the arrival of results day. We wait with baited breath as the GCSE results, A level results are announced and the university offers are secured. We have been there and done all this, so with total  relief I can say and this year my daughter has graduated from university with wonderful results, securing a degree in Dentistry.


As parents our journey does not end there, my daughter has received an offer for a job where she will not be able to commute from home daily. Buying a property or renting is a choice everyone has to make at some point in their lives. With so many students graduating and starting out the property market is booming as they look for new housing. It is impossible for them to be able to buy so the next best option is to rent.


So our search for accommodation began throughout the summer. We researched the town where she will be based, registered with estate agents and booked viewings. We also did lots of research as to what the going rent was in our chosen area for a flat so that we could negotiate the best deal with the estate agent. Finally we secured a flat to rent and the journey began for my daughter for her next phase of life having completed her studies.



Some of the things that you will need to do before you can move in:

1. Check if you have metered electricity or pay as you go where you either have to feed a meter with pound coins or buy top up credit on a special key that fits into the meter. If you have meter take reading and  make a note of it to let the provider know.

2. Check about council tax, tv licence, water bills so you can budget this into your rent. 

3. Check  how to work the heating and hot water supply.

4. Check you have phone line and set up internet.

5. If its a flat make you you have numbers of the maintenance persons and also landlords numbers in case of emergency.

6. Check the inventory and make a note of any marks and scruffs or broken items and take photos for proof. Report to landlord immediately.

7. Check how to work oven, hob, washing machine and dishwasher if there is one in the kitchen. Make sure these are in good working order and if you find fault report it immediately.

8. Check where to dispose of rubbish and recycling.

9. Check with the landlord what you are allowed to put up in the flat like nails, fittings etc for pictures some landlords are very strict about this. Read the contract and do not do any thing you are not allowed otherwise you will lose your deposit.

10. Check about house insurance and what it will cover. Finally set up a budget spread sheet with all out goings and expenses so you know exactly how much money you will need to put aside each month.

Is there any other thing else that I have missed???

In my next post I will share how we furnished the flat.





Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Review of Songmics Interlocking Storage Cube Organiser and Giveaway



I am sure that those of you that follow my blog on a regular basis know that I have an  obsession  no I mean a love for collecting blog props. I love pretty tea towels, plates, crockery, bowls and antique bakeware and cutlery. I cannot walk past a charity shop or kitchenware store and not go in. With all these props that I keep collecting, I needed some extra storage space, which is where Songmics UK came to my rescue and introduced me to their lovely interlocking storage cube organiser. 



 The interlocking storage cube organiser comes in a flat pack. The kit consists of panels and doors that are made of high quality pp plastic sheets that can be put together with the ABS plastic connectors . They click into place without using any tools. A Little wooden hammer is provided to help to tap the connectors in place if needed, also provided in the kit are screws and fittings should you wish to secure the cubes to the wall. 

The storage cubes are made from wipe clean plastic and are handy for storing shoes, craft items, toys or other light weight items. Since the cubes fit together with the connectors you can assemble them to different shapes and sizes to suit your needs.



Verdict:
The instructions provided in the box were easy to follow,although initially I found assembling the panels tricky single handed but once I got the hang of it and got familiar with the technique the unit came together. I did find that the more cubes you had to join, it became harder to move the unit without some parts coming detached. However with help of my partner we soon had it put together. The Instructions say that the cubes can hold up to 10 kg in weight but I did find that they started to warp with large heavier items and they are perhaps best used for storing lighter weight things.



I assembled my unit in two separate parts. A stack of 6 cubes for my shoe storage and a six cube for my blog props and craft items. I am really pleased that the extra storage means that all my props  and shoes are now organised well and I can find things more easily. The Storage unit is available from amazon and retails at £ 35.99

**I was sent the Songmics Interlocking Storage Cube Organiser to review , all opinions expressed in this post are my own as are the pictures.

As always I love my readers to have a chance to try products I use. Songmics have been really kind and they have agreed to send one citrusspice reader an interlocking storage cube organiser as a giveaway prize.

How To Enter:Open to Adults over 18 and living in UK only.

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