Coconut Oil Bath Melts

What a simple, yet luxurious creation to make – either for yourself, or to beautifully wrap up for a homemade gift.

This recipe is not really a frugal one, as coconut oil can be rather expensive – depending on where you buy it from, however, if you are able to get the oil inexpensively, then this would be a perfect frugal gift.

What you need:

Glass bowl

Pan

Water

Silicon moulds (alternatively, use cupcake cases in a cupcake tray)

Fridge

Ingredients:

340g / 12oz coconut oil

15 drops essential oils (lavender is comforting, but you can use your favourite)

Optional:  Dried flowers (try to match the flower to the essential oil – i.e. lavender buds)

Method:

  1. Fill the pan up with water, and place your glass bowl over the top.  Ensure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water in the pan.  Bring the water to the boil.
  2. Put your coconut oil in the glass bowl, and allow to gently melt – this should only take a couple of minutes.
  3. Optional:  While the coconut oil is melting, add a sprinkle of dried flowers to the bottom of your moulds.
  4. When the coconut oil has melted, turn off the heat, place the glass bowl on a heatproof surface, and stir in the essential oil.
  5. Mix well, and pour in to your moulds (or in to the cupcake cakes).
  6. Let the coconut oil cool.  If you have a warm house, this can take several hours.  I prefer to allow them to cool for approximately an hour, then transfer the moulds in to my fridge.
  7. Once fully cooled, and set, you can remove the melts from the moulds, and place in a container – be sure to store in a cool place.  Again, you may have to store these in the fridge / freezer if your house is generally warm.
  8. If you are giving these as a gift, place them in a clean, plastic tub with lid, and wrap / decorate.  Store them in your fridge / freezer until you are ready to gift to the recipient.

To use:

Simply run your bath, and drop one of your melts in!

Coconut oil is great for your skin.  It leaves your skin smoother than a baby’s bum, and also has some amazing natural healing properties.  If you are using lavender essential oils in your melts, you will also feel the benefit for easing headaches / migraines, and it helps you sleep!

Enjoy 🙂

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I forgot to take a picture of my melts, so this is one I found on Google…  I promise they will come out just as wonderful as the picture – if you follow the steps correctly 🙂

Edit:  These melts are suitable to use in your child’s / baby’s bath too – especially if they suffer from dry skin.  However, if your child is under 6 months old, please consult with your health worker before using any form of homemade creations in the bath.

Christmas Biscuits – no eggs

I have made this recipe time and time again, and when I come to make them again this morning, I realised that my eggs were TOTALLY out of date, so I decided to mix up the recipe a little to make them without any egg yolk.  They’ve come out a treat, and according to the hubby, these are the “best” I’ve ever made.

If I have calculated this correctly, the ingredient amounts below should make approximately 20 biscuits, and cost about 60p ($0.75).

Perfect for those family members and friends who have an egg allergy, try this out.

Ingredients

8oz (225g) butter – softened

4oz (115g) sugar (I used caster sugar, but standard, granulated is ok too)

Vanilla essence

5tbsp water

12oz (340g) plain flour

Hard boiled sweets (or hard boiled candies, if you live in the US)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C (170°C for fan assisted).
  2. Line your baking sheets with grease proof / baking paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream your butter.  You should really use the back of a wooden spoon for this, but I continually used my electric hand mixer on a slow speed.
  4. Add the sugar, and cream in to the butter.
  5. Add the vanilla essence – I really went overboard with the amount I used, because we all love vanilla, but you should only really use a cap-full; and the water.  Mix thoroughly.
  6. Start to combine the flour, bit by bit, until it becomes almost impossible to continue mixing, then combine the rest thoroughly with your hands.  Knead the dough a little in the bowl, to ensure it all sticks together.
  7. Turn the dough out on to a clean and floured surface, and roll out to approximately 1cm depths.
  8. Using your cookie cutters (I used a large gingerbread man cutter), cut out your biscuits, and place carefully on to the lined baking tray.  Repeat until you have used up all of your dough.
  9. Using a small cookie cutter (I used a small star this time), remove the “belly” / middle of each large man shape / biscuit.  With using the small star shape, I was able to use these for some regular, star-shaped biscuits for my Donut.
  10. Place a hard boiled sweet in to the middle of the cut-out you have just done (i.e. my star shape in the belly).
  11. Place in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Remove from the oven, and – keeping the biscuits on the grease proof paper, remove the trays on to a cool surface.
  13. Allow to cool for approximately 30 minutes – or until the melted sweet has reset, and you now have the choice to either scoff the lot, or decorate!

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10 things that made Christmas in the 80’s the best…

I’ve neglected this blog a little recently, so I think it’s about time that I brought a little “Festiveness” (is that even a word?  No?  Oh well…  I like it, so I’m going to use it anyway) to you, in the form of a list!  Afterall, who doesn’t love a good list?  🙂

Christmas just isn’t the same nowadays is it? We find it very difficult to feel that magic we felt as kids. The whole experience has changed so much over the last couple of decades, with Internet shopping, a million TV channels and a whole host of electronic gadgetry available to us, it’s easy to forget the simpler times.

In no particular order, let’s give you my top ten reasons as to why Christmas was so much better in the 80’s.

  1. TV Times / Radio Times

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With no internet or smartphones the only way to find out what was coming up on TV was on teletext or in TV listing mags. The TV Times and Radio Times were the go to TV guides and of course, back in the day, you had to buy both to know what was on all the channels. When the bumper Christmas Edition was released no one could stop us sitting and circling everything we were going to watch over the festive period.

2.  Selection boxes

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Let’s face it they were just better back then.  The bars were bigger, they tasted better and they had some awesome treats inside!  Oh, you also definitely got your moneys’ worth.

3.  The Argos catalogue

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The Argos catalogue, or any other catalogue for that matter (remember Index?!).  We couldn’t browse the internet back then so this is what we used to find things to put on our list for Santa!

4.  The music

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At least we had a couple of REAL Christmas N0.1’s in the 80s!  The charts were filled with Christmas classics from Shakin’ Stevens, The Pogues, Band Aid, Paul McCartney and Wham!

5.  The movies

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We had some classic Christmas movies in the 80s.  They were that good they are repeated every year on TV!  Santa Claus The Movie was one of my favourites, at the time.  What was yours?

6.  TV Christmas specials

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Christmas specials were the business in the 80s.  What ever your favourite TV show was, I bet they did a Christmas special. Some of the Kids Christmas Specials were a little interesting to say the least!

7.  Decorations

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They may seem a bit old fashioned and out of style now but back in the day the louder, the shinier, and the brighter, the better!  These decorations were hung all over our house – attached to the ceiling with a drawing pin!

8.  Christmas shopping

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Remember when we actually had to leave the house to do our Christmas Shopping?  The high streets were packed at this time of year with people trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones.  Shops went all out with the Christmas decorations, and you couldn’t carry all of the FREE carrier bags you’d been given to get your purchases home!  Oh, and let’s not forget, that for some reason, it was also much easier to buy gifts to people too!

9.  Christmas present hunt

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I’m sure kids all over the world still do this, but do you remember when your parents weren’t looking, you used to dive into the cupboards and wardrobes to try and get a sneak peak at all the gifts they had bought you? You’d have to be quick though before they sent them all off to Santa for him to deliver on Christmas Day!

10.  The toys

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Toys in the 80s were just better.  There’s no doubt about it all of the things we had as kids were well…  Just cooler than the toys that are around now!  I never did get that Mr Frosty though (thanks mum) 😦  Ha ha x

20 ways kids make Christmas magical

It’s easy for Christmas BC (Before Children) to feel more about our hangovers and expanding waistlines (not to mention our overdrafts) than any real festive spirit. Then you have a child and all that changes. Not since you were a nipper, anxiously listening out for Father Christmas in your PJs, have you felt so infused with joy and enchantment.

Here are 20 ways that Christmas becomes magical when you’re a parent …

1. It used to drive you bonkers that Christmas started pretty much in October (oh, yes it did…) but now you can’t wait for the shops to bust out the Christmas lights and to hear Noddy Holder’s dulcet tones. Ooh, and the advent calendars, and the ads and the Christmas lists…  How many times have you rewritten yours?

2. Nothing can prepare you for the heart-melting sweetness of watching your little one in their very first Christmas nativity or school play, whether they have a starring role or not (it’s Gning’s first Nativity on 7 December).  Don’t forget your tissues!

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3. Kids make it OK to sport clashing decorations and an OTT Christmas tree.  In fact, the more of mash-up of colours and styles of baubles, the better.

4. It’s FINALLY acceptable to buy chocolate decorations again. Just remember to leave a few for the kids, eh?

5. Their Christmas list to Santa reads like a stock-taking sheet of ToysRUs and Smyths combined.  But it’s the ‘and I’ve been soooo good’ line that really makes you smile.

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6. Thank goodness this year you’ve got a good excuse for the misshapen mince pies.  All your toddler’s own work, yes?

7. You love channelling your inner-storyteller with stories of Father Christmas and seeing your children’s eyes widen with delight.

8. Creating your very own traditions is something you’ll share for a lifetime.  Maybe you write a Christmas poem together, or put on a little festive play for the grandparents?  Or leave one more present in the garden to be discovered – “Oh look!  Santa must have dropped it!”

9. Leaving a glass or milk (or something stronger) for Father Christmas, and a carrot for Rudolph, never loses it’s charm.  And neither does…

10. …drinking that something stronger on Christmas Eve, when the wee ones are safely asleep.

11. Nothing beats that amazing feeling of satisfaction on Christmas Eve when everything is wrapped and ready for the next day.  Savour the scene – because the next day it’s carnage!  Hope your recycling bins are empty…

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12. Not to encourage your inner bah, humbug, but it’s a great time of year to dodge any tedious social engagements: honestly, babysitters are so unreliable…

13. Family films are no longer an indulgence, they’re mandatory.  From the Muppet’s Christmas Carol to Home Alone, it’s the perfect season to snuggle up on the sofa.

14. Talking of which, make your brood hot chocolate with marshmallows. And have one yourself.

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15. Place your bets on what time Christmas Day officially starts.  And yes, it feels magical even though it’s 5am.

16. As you watch them open their pressies, you remember the fizzy feeling of thrill and excitement you had as a child.  And seeing the joy your children bring to their grandparents is priceless.

17. Eating together as a family is something to take time over and savour.  Who cares if the potatoes are a tiny bit burnt, or the sprouts a bit hard?  It doesn’t have to be perfect to be appreciated.

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18. Snow is what dreams are made of when you’re five.  And snow at Christmas…  Cue delirious children and giggling parents!

19. The pleasure of tumbling back into a warm and cosy house after a good old stomp outside brings the colour to everyone’s cheeks.

20. Knowing at the close of Christmas day that the hard work is over for another year – and despite the odd flurry of tears and tantrums – they’ve had a pretty wonderful day.  Well done, you.  Only 365 days to go…

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Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

In case you haven’t noticed by now, each post that I make throughout the month of December has a bit of an ongoing theme when it comes to titling each post.  Todays’ is aptly named as I have literally just “rocked around my Christmas tree”.

Today I officially started my Christmas shopping.  I’m rather pleased with myself; and I have literally just finished (as in 5 minutes ago) wrapping up everything that we had bought.

My little man was kind enough to assist me with the “sticky tape”, and he carefully placed each delicately wrapped item under the tree.

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A ten month olds’ letter to Santa Claus

Please note that I did not write this. I take no credit what-so-ever for this post.  It was just too funny not to reblog…  (Credit at the end of the post)

 

Dear Santa,

 I am a ten-month-old baby and I write because my mother has been sending out my “Christmas List” to people, and her list does not in any way represent the things I really want.  I could give two s#*ts about receiving stacking cups.

And I know you’re ready to make the joke about ten month-old babies and how all we want is the wrapping paper and the boxes.  Touché,Santa.  Touché.   We do, of course, want those things.  But I have a number of additional things I want very badly.

My list is enclosed below.  Have a lovely holiday.

-Ten Month-Old Baby

*          *          *

A Comprehensive List of The Things I Want For Christmas:

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Dearest Santa: For Christmas, I would like the following:

*          *          *

1.) This Laptop Cord

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I want this laptop cord more than I have ever wanted anything.   Please.  I also want the power strip with the orange on/off button and the white label on the other cord pictured (the one not connected to the laptop).  I would be ok with just a bunch of electrical cords in general, but I would really love these specific ones that are located behind my mother’s desk next to the air-conditioner (whose cord I also want).

*           *           *

2.) This Wall Mount Entertainment Center

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I have no idea why my mother does not want me to play with this thing, as it is obviously a child’s toy.  I would like one for my room.

*          *          *

3.) House Keys

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I would love a set of house keys.  To eat, obviously.  Only metal house keys will do.  Please do not buy me plastic ones.  I am not an idiot.  I know that plastic house keys are not real keys.

*            *           *

4.) Everybody’s Eyeglasses

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I pull these off the face of every person I meet, only to have them pried from my fingers and reclaimed by their original owners.   I would love a pair of my own.  Again, these are going to be for eating.

*          *           *

5.) The Contents of This Thing

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I would love for the contents of this thing to be emptied out onto the floor– particularly things like used, wet cotton balls and discarded pieces of floss.   If you would like to just take the contents of this bin and transfer it directly into my stocking, that would also be fine.

*          *          *

6.) Handfuls of the Dog’s FurIMG_3127

This stuff is the best.  I keep trying to pull it off but she moves frequently, making collection difficult.  My favorite thing to do with it is put it in my mouth and then immediately realize that I didn’t want it in my mouth.

*          *          *

7.) The Hole in the Hallway Floorboard

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Such a strange existential dilemma.  I spend hours looking at this hole and poking at it with my fingers.  I know that I cannot “have” a hole, as a hole is not a thing that can be had.  A hole is an absence.  And yet this is supposed to be a list of the things I want, and I want this hole in the hardwood floor the way Gandhi wanted peace.  The way the dog wants to lick my face.  The way my mother wants me to stop pulling off her eyeglasses.

*          *          *

8.) This Stuff, Which is All Over the Apartment

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I have no idea what this stuff is.  All I know is that I want it in my hands and no sooner have I grasped its sweet, delicate softness than my mother comes running over yelling something like, “STOP TOUCHING THAT– HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO F*#%ING VACUUM THE G*#@&MN HALLWAY?”

*          *          *

9.) The Dog’s Food

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Every time I get close to this, someone pulls me away.  If they don’t want me to eat it, why is it on the floor?

*          *          *

10.) One of These

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No idea what these do, but it’s clearly a lot of fun, given that my mother never stops looking at it.

*          *          *

11.) Bobby Pins

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These are my favorite!  If I had a nickel for every bobby pin I found on the floor I’d have double the number of little metal things I could put in my mouth because, go figure, I also totally love nickels.

*          *          *

Here’s the original post: The Ugly Volvo

Frugal Christmas – Homemade Hand Warmers

Christmas is magical.  I love getting in to the Christmas Spirit, and I have to admit that I am one of the sad people who will play a Christmas songs CD in my car almost right the way through December.

Well, it’s fast approaching, and although it’s still only November, I can officially say I’m almost completely done with the Christmas present shopping.  I only have to buy one more thing for my father, and then I have to buy my (1 year old) son his presents.  There’s still plenty of time.

A lot of people have lost the true meaning of Christmas.  Yes, gift giving has become the norm, but too many people are expecting lavish gifts that will break the bank, and will melt your credit card…  And that’s just one person out of the twenty or so you have to buy for.

I love homemade gifts.  Some items are really useful, some are really yummy, and some make you look at them and wonder what on earth you’re going to do with them…  Afterall, where I’m from, it’s still the thought that counts, and I’m easily pleased with anything I’m given.

A while ago, I found a webpage that teaches you how to make rice-bag hand warmers.  I can’t find the original post, but thankfully, there are plenty of pages that teach you this if you google it.

Here’s my take on the idea, and I will be making them for a few people on my gift list.

What you need…

Material (cotton, muslin or flannel – Any colour and design that you like!)

Matching thread

Sewing needles or a sewing machine

Long grain rice (I’ll be using white)

Dried herbs (rosemary / lavender / peppermint / etc.)

OR

Essential oils (whatever you like!)

What to do…

1.  Cut your material into squares.  You’ll need two squares for each bag…  You need to cut them approximately 4″x4″.

2.  Turn the patterned sides towards each other (so it’s plain side out) and stitch all sides, but leave about an inch on the fourth side.

3.  Turn the bag the ‘right way out’.

4.  For oil scented rice, you need to mix approximately 1-teaspoon of essential oil to 1lb of rice.  I find the easiest way to cover all the rice here would be to put it all in a large food bag, seal it and shake, shake, shake!

5.  For herb scented rice, I use approximately 3-tablespoons of dried herbs to 1lb of rice.  Ensure you mix it all together!

6.  Use a small funnel, and pour your rice mixture into the bag until it’s about 3/4 full.

7.  Carefully turn the remaining open sides of the bag over, and sew them shut.  Check the perimeter of the bag to make sure there are no small holes where the rice would escape…

There you go!!  With a little practice, making these bags would take you about 5 minutes each.

To use…

Place the bag in the microwave, on medium high, for 2 minutes (adjust time accordingly for your microwave).  Your hand warmer should stay warm for approximately 30 minutes!

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