|DADDY TIME|karlosvalderama's 5 last Pinterest posts

I thought it would be fun each month to pick a day and show you the last 5 posts the hubs (karlosvalderama) has pinned in Pinterest. There won't be many words, just an insight into the mind of my hubs!

Bulldog puppies

Art for our home

Holiday locations



|FAMILY|friday fun - egg carton daffodils

We recently made some cute daffodils from old egg cartons.

If like me you thought that you could cut a corner and use a yellow egg carton, beware, I thought that we could use a 'happy egg company' egg box, but when I started to cut up the carton I realised that the yellow boxes weren't quite deep enough to make the 'trumpets' needed for daffodils.

Start by cutting down the egg carton, rounding each of the petals, I did this before sitting down with T to start the craft.

I also cut out a basic daffodil.

I stapled 3 straws to the petal, then Using pva glue, I attached the trumpet over the top of the staple.  All of this I prepared in advance, as I know that T wouldn't be happy to just watch me using scissors and a stapler!!

T loved using his paint brush and getting into the trumpet to cover with the yellow paint - I had the bright idea of adding gold glitter to the paint thinking it would shine through, but it didn't work!!

Once painted we sprinkled gold glitter into the trumpet.

Hope you have lots of fun with your little ones this weekend. Lx

|MUMMY TIME|mascara review - l'oreal mega volume miss manga

First, let me start off by saying this post is 100% unassociated to l'oreal, have have received no payment or freebies in return for this endorsement. When I find a product that really think is worth shouting about I like to share that information, that's all!

I don't really wear make-up these days, but as I'm approaching 40 I've decided that I'd like to make a bit more effort, and so when I went for a little shopping spree on my birthday I picked up a new mascara, I'll be honest, I have no idea why I chose this particular brand but I did and it's fantastic!!!

For the purposes of demonstrating why this is so amazing, I've gone up close and personal and taken a photo showing what a difference this mascara makes, please ignore the scratched head and unruly eyebrows 😉

I don't really think I need to say anything else as this picture shows the results, and it's really quick to apply which is great for me in the mornings, and the best part - it was only £8.99!!! I actually purchased mine from boots on a 3 for 2 offer which made it even more reasonable.

So there you have it, I just wanted to tell you how great this stuff is.

My make-up repertoire is circa 1994 so if you know any good make-up artists looking for someone to make-over, let me know!!!!

Here's to a sunny fun packed week, Lx

|COOK|sweet & sour sausage with rice

I'm always looking for cheap, quick and easy midweek meals.  At the weekend, I love to cook, usually watching 'Come Dine with Me' with a glass of wine in hand, during the week our evenings go so quickly that I just want to get in from work and get dinner done.  This was one of those impromptu store cupboard recipes that I can see we'll be having again (or rather the hubs and T will!)

Serves 2
8 chipolata sausages (or 4 regular!) I used frozen and defrosted in microwave
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/2 pepper, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pack microwave egg fried rice
4 tbsp sweet chili sauce

1. Cut up the sausages, I just use a pair of scissors to snip into bite sized pieces.  Gently fry in olive oil until starting to brown.
2. Add onion and peppers and fry until sausages are cooked through (about 10 mins).
3. Cook rice according to instructions, then add to the sausages and veg, add the chili sauce, mix well and serve with prawn crackers

As you can work out for yourself, this can be easily be adapted to include whatever you have on-hand. Chicken and cashews instead of sausages, any vegetarian substitute or just overload with veggies (my kind of meal!!)

That's it from me this week, have a happy weekend, take care Lx

|FAMILY|friday fun - musical shapes and colours game

Every 3 months we have a consultation with T's key person at nursery and run through all the EYFS key stages progress, as part of this they give us some ideas for areas we can work on in the forthcoming months, one of those areas was T learning his colours and shapes.  Although he's been colour-matching from a very young age, he does get his colours mixed up still and by the next assesment should know them.

So for us, March so far as been our 'rainbow month' where we've been doing lots of colour and shape associated activities.

I came up with this little game as I think it leads to so many possibilties as T grows and can be played alone or with other children.

So basically, I created some A4 sheets, each with a different coloured shape on, I printed 2 copies of each and laminated 1 set.

I gave T the laminated set and asked him to lay them out on the floor (excuse the mess in the photo's!!!!)  I put on some music that he likes to dance to, I told him that when I stop the music I will shout a colour or a shape and hold up the mat I want him to stand on, if he gets it right he hands the card to me.  So cue T throwing some serious shapes on the 'dance floor' and me stopping the music and holding up my paper sheet shouting 'Yellow', then 'Heart' etc you get my point!  The game is over when all cards have been handed over.

I thought that he'd soon get bored of this, but if I heard 'do it again please Mummy' once, I heard it 10 times and so, on and on we went.

I think he's already at the stage where I can drop the paper set of cards and just call out the colour and/or shape.  The game can also be enhanced as the child grows to add additional colours and shapes or different actions eg 'touch your nose when standing on the purple triangle'.  If you had enough mats and children it could be adapted to a 'musical chairs' game.

A really simple game that can be easily created at home - even by the child themselves with paper and crayons.  I'm sure this one will be hanging around our house for a long time!
If you'd like to have a go at this yourself, to save you time, here's a .pdf I've created to enable you to print off the mats for yourself. Please note that I am not looking for any artistic or design awards for these, they are very simple and not perfect but they will save you a little bit of time!

Have a great weekend looks as though the sunshine could be out in the UK, Lx

|FAMILY|world book day

World book day this year was on 6 March, this year T was old enough to choose his favourite book and character from it.

T's favourite book has been flashing fire engines by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker for quite sometime, the book was actually first published in the 80's and I bought this version from the church stall at our village fete for 20p when T was a small baby.  It was one of the first 'proper' books he looked at when he transitioned from board books, so yes, I can probably be blamed for his fireman obsession.  Obviously he went dressed as a fireman!

Lots of the parents at nursery didn't want their vouchers and so I was fortunate enough to be given 8 additional vouchers.

In T's age range there are 2 books, Hello hugless Douglas and Little book day parade.

Hellow hugless Douglas is a story book which T loves, Little book day parade is a colouring and drawing book which I'm sure T will enjoy once he's a little older

We are lucky enough to be blessed with a little boy who LOVES books, something that I, as a fellow bookworm am happy to indulge!  I swapped the rest of our donated book vouchers for the books below which I'll be putting away until T is old enough to appreciate them.

If you haven't already redeemed your book voucher, I'd highly recommend you do so, this is a great scheme and I feel very passionate that parents should take full advantage of it.

Enjoy your Thursday - it's nearly the weekend!! Lx 

|CREATE|upcycle washi picture frame

When I saw these photo frames reduced in sainsbury's from £12.99 to £3.00 I knew I could do something with them (I bought 2).

There's no lime green in our house and so I needed to change the colour somehow, I wanted a frame for T's room to put pictures of him, K & H and had some lovely red spotty washi tape.  The only problem was that the 'white' dots on the washi tape were, in fact quite translucent and still showed the green through, which did not fit with the red, white & blue theme of T's room.  With the success of my button frame upcycle I decided to spray the frame cream before applying the washi tape.

I used Rust-Oleum spray paint in Ivory silk  I got mine from Homebase but it is in fact cheaper from Amazon.  I removed the glass and sprayed 2 coats in a cardboard box in the garden.  This paint covered really well, and in hind-sight I think 1 coat would have been fine considering I was also using the washi tape.  I'm afraid that I completely forgot to take a photo of the painted frame before I started to add the washi tape.

I used hobbycraft's red polka dot washi tape, unfortunately, it's no longer available, but there are lots of other brands available if you do a google search.

This was a really quick, easy and cheap project and I think it's turned out really well.

Here's the photo frame in-situ, you can see why the white spots on red were so important!

Have a great day, if you have any other photo-frame up-do's or upcycle's please let me know, I'd love to see other ideas.  Now what shall I do with the other frame...?

|COOK|steak & guinness pie with colcannon (happy St Patricks day)

So this past Saturday we celebrated St Patricks day with an Irish inspired meal, I knew I wanted to cook with Guinness and as steak is popular with the 3 boys I used that as a starting point (K wasn't with us this weekend, she was off galavanting in London with her friends!). Guinness is not a favourite of the hubs and so I needed something equally strong to balance out the taste, I choose marmite and mustard.  I scoured pinterest for a suitable recipe, but couldn't find anything that seemed authentic (most had garlic and tomatoes in!) so I adapted a braised beef recipe and topped it off with some shop bought puff pastry, colcannon was an obvious accompaniment for me, although Guinness baked potatoes came a close second!

When presented with the meal choice, both H and the hubs said 'cabbage mash???', neither being fans of cabbage the thought of it mixed into their mash (a firm favourite in our household) was not popular!

This meal can be pre-prepared and/or frozen, I'm sure it could also be adapted to slow cook if preferred.  You could also serve after cooking the 'casserole' rather than serving as a pie.

Anyway, the meal was a huge success all 3 demolishing it.

Steak & Guinness pie
Serves 2 adults (or in our house 1 adult, 1 teen & 1 toddler)

500g cubed steak
1 medium onion, diced
250ml Guinness
150ml beef stock
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp marmite
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp mixed herbs
Puff pastry sheet

1. Heat oven to 180oC and toss the meat in the flour.

2. Fry off the beef until lightly browned, remove from pan and place in a 1.5l casserole dish, leaving as much oil and juices as possible.
3. Fry onions in the remaining oil, once soft, add the Guinness, stock, marmite, herbs and mustard, bring to the boil and cook for 10 mins.
4. Pour the gravy on top of the meat, stir and cook for 1 hour (uncovered) stir after 30 mins to avoid burning, the gravy will thicken and reduce during cooking time.
- At this stage, you could cool and freeze or leave until serving, if making ahead.  If freezing, make sure the 'casserole' is completely defrosted before step 5.

5. When ready to serve as a pie, heat oven to 180oC, place beef casserole into individual pots and top with a round of puff pastry, brush with milk or egg and bake for 25 mind or until golden brown, once the pastry has browned, the meat will have been heated.

Colcannon (or as it will now be known at Larabee HQ 'cabbage mash'
Serves 2 adults

400g potatoes, peeled and quartered
100ml milk
1/4 Savoy cabbage chopped finely
6(ish) spring onions (scallions) chopped
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp oil

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil, add the potatoes and cabbage, boil until the potatoes are soft, about 20 mins.
2. Meanwhile, gently fry the spring onions in the oil until softened.
3. Drain, potatoes and cabbage, mash then add the spring onions and milk.
4. Serve, use a spoon to make a well on the top of the mash and pour in the butter (I didn't do this - I wish I had!)

There you have it a family friendly meal approved by an adult, a teen and a toddler.  Happy St Patricks day Lx

About me...

I was recently tagged on IG to list 20 things about me, I thought it would be a good idea to post it here too and link to my profile, so people can get to know me a bit better.

20 things about me
1 I have just turned 39
2 I am 5ft 4, 10st and have brown hair (well grey!!)
3 I live in a small village in Northamptonshire called Gayton
4 I work as a Business Process Manager for the ICAEW , I've worked there for 19 years and this is my 5th position
5 I long to see a ghost
6 My (our) dream is to have a B&B
7 I never wanted to get married and have a child... until @karlosvalderama came along and it's the best thing ever!!!!
8 My favourite era is the 50's
9 I adore dogs and one day will have a black Great Dane to go with my black lab and the hubs' bulldog
10 I'm a planner and lister
11 I have 3 brothers and 1 sister (who I'm very close to), I'm the 2nd oldest
12 I want a 1950's Porsche 
13 I (we) swam with wild dolphins in Cuba in 2008
14 I love crafting
15 I really want to wear high heels all the time but they kill my feet
16 I am rubbish at swimming but love it
17 I wish I loved eating healthily and working out
18 My beloved deceased dog Taz's ashes are in a box on a shelf in our kitchen
19 I'd like to study Egyptology 
20 I am a homebody

A couple if extras that I forgot!!
21 I am vegetarian and have been for 28 years
22 I swing between obsessively clean and tidy to obsessively messy and dis-organised (eg our bedroom like a tip but my wardrobe is colour organised)
23 I can't say skeleton I say skelington
24 I have more ideas in my head than I have time or energy to execute (both personal & work)
25 I'd love a retro/vintage caravan

Looks as though it could be a nice day here in the UK, hope it's nice where you are today. Have a fantastic Saturday Lx

|FAMILY|spring bucket list 2014

So our spring bucket list for 2014 is ready, for this bucket list I wanted to include more activities that we can do as a whole family rather than tailoring the activities to each child. There are still a few just for T as he obviously spends more time with us. Unfortunately, our winter bucket list was a disaster, mainly due to the fact that most of the activities were based around snow and frost and we've had none this year, anyway onto the 
spring bucket list 2014...

Spring bucket list
1 Pet baby animals
2 Fly a kite
3 Easter play date
4 Attend a new club
5 Have family over for roast dinner
6 Hunt for frogspawn
7 Put marbles in the gate
8 Play silly family games
9 Put up a new birdhouse
10 Blow bubble snakes
11 Ts own garden area
12 Have a picnic 
13 Plant sunflowers
14 Run through bluebells
15 Stargaze

I'll be using hashtag #lbukspringbucketlist if you'd like to join in/follow along in twitter, google+ or Instagram

Happy friday, have a fabulous weekend Lx

If you are interested in our other bucket lists our summer list is here and our autumn list is here

|CREATE|fork pom-poms

If someone had told me I'd have an extra 2 1/2 days this week to myself, I could have listed 50+ things that I could have done! Including finally getting into a flow with scheduled blog posts.  Truth is that I've been knocked for six by this damn throat infection/virus thing, I've still got it and don't feel 100% but I'm certainly feeling better than I did, hoping to get lots of jobs done in the next few days that I've missed.
Onto a nice little craft that I started last night, tiny little pom-pom's made with a fork!  I've been wanting to do these for sometime, for some reason I thought that they would be a bit fiddly, but they were so simple I had a nice batch of them made in no time.
I think the first thing I learned was that the fork you use matters!  I chose the fork in the middle because they are my favourites, but the next lot I make I'll be trying the fork on the left, I think that the long, straight prongs will lead to a neater pom-pom, I'll try my theory soon and let you know.  I definitely won't be using the fork on the right because the prongs taper in a bit.
So down to business, pass your wool through the middle gap in your fork prong, leaving a bit of a tail to wrap up the pom-pom later.
I wound the wool round this fork 10 times initially, this is because the prongs then start to taper, but I would guess every fork is different!

I then continued to wind the wood around the fork, I did it 80 times, that seemed just about right to get a nice plump little pom-pom.
Once the wool is wound round as many times as you like, take the tail you started with and feed over the top from the front of the wool as shown below, take the end of the wool you were using to wrap and bring round from the back and poke through the little gap at the bottom, do the same for the tail the other side, pull as tight as possible, you might need to slide the wool up a bit to do this!
Then gently slide the wool off of the fork, try and keep it nice and flat, then knot once and pull the ends to really tighten the middle, knot again, twice this time to keep nice and secure.

Start cutting through the loops, I actually think that a smaller pair of scissors may be better to do this. Once all the loops are cut, give it a roll in your hands (like you do when making a ball with play dough!) that gives the pom-pom a bit more form.

At this stage the pom-pom might be a bit straggly, use your scissors to trim any long bits, including the tails and give it a good old tidy up!  This is the bit that I think will be neater if a fork with longer, straighter prongs is used (to be tested yet!!!)

There you go - cute little pom-poms!

I'll post soon with what we are using ours for, but first I've got to get some different wool colours, and get the rest made.
If you are in listening to the rain/hail, maybe you could give these a go, put the candles on, snuggle up and get pom-pom making, have a good evening Lx

Click here for a link to my easter mantle which shows the pom-pom garland that I made with them.
Monkey and Mouse