Christmas Craft Ideas!

2020, crafting

Hello!

I still can’t quite believe it’s December and Christmas is less than two weeks away, but whilst life is as busy as ever for many with work, pandemic-safe-socialising and figuring out present shopping when you’re not seeing everyone at the same time and what to buy when and from where but there’s always time for Christmas crafts, right?

Personally, handmade crafts have been a wonder for my mental health this year and it makes me feel really creative and accomplished! So I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been making (or intend to make) that can be a couple of hours of offline festive fun.

  • cotton wool ball snowman

My beloved Frank who now hangs on my porch door!

6 sheets of A4 paper taped together, 3 bags of cotton wool balls, probably too much PVA glue, a Poundland hat and some pipe cleaners is a recipe for a few hours of wondering why you thought sticking that many cotton wool balls was a good idea, but then you get to the fun decorating bit and he looks amazing!

I’ve made a little Frank (can’t decide whether to call them Franklin or Franklette) that I might put up with him and it brings back that ‘Primary school art project’ feeling of doing something not because it needs to be skilled or perfect or challenging but making something just because it’s fun!

I’m going to get one of those big art folders so I can store him safely for next year and not waste all those cotton wool balls, but I really hope next year I can visit my godmothers children around Christmas and we can all do this together because I think it would be so much fun!

  • paper crafts – like paper chains and paper snowflakes!

Seems simple, sticking strips of paper and cutting out shapes but it can be a really great activity to do with younger children and is a really easy way to make the house feel more festive in a homely, unprofessional way (though no shade to anyone who’s home looks like a homeware catalogue).

Although you can buy paper chains at most shops around Christmas, making your own and having fun drawing Christmas designs with coloured pens can make it a much more involved festive activity.

Paper snowflakes are really simple to make, just folding paper, cutting sections out and opening up again but it’s a really effective window decoration and can even be fun to hang from the paper chains if you’re feeling fancy!

  • cardboard Christmas tree piñata

If I make this, it’s definitely not for piñata purposes, but my friend send me this link for a cardboard, tissue paper tree and whilst I haven’t got round to it yet, I have lots of festive pom-poms and pipe cleaners and I think it would look really cute!

Spending an afternoon not thinking too hard about my responsibilities and getting my hands into something creative, festive and cute always helps calm me down (assuming I’m not ignoring all of my other responsibilities to do it!).

Maybe it’s just some tissue paper on a cardboard box that’ll go in the recycling in the new year, but it’s worth it for the impact it has on my mental health and it’s much cheaper than therapy.

  • baking!

Perhaps should be counted separately to crafts, but snowman shaped cookies, cupcakes with chocolate fingers as reindeer antlers or a full on Yule log (which I am very proud of, biggest of thanks to Mary Berry for her recipe that I followed), it’s the time of year for sweet treats.

Whether you’d making your own buttercream or using a box cake mix, eating something you’ve made yourself is always satisfying at this time of year.

My mum bought a gingerbread house making kit for my fiancé and I and had initiated a little competition within my family, so I need to find some time to make a pretty gingerbread house (and find some ideas on Pinterest, I’m a bit stumped at the moment!)

  • card making!

My Nan used to be really into making cards, always sending personalised cards with pictures and 3D stickers and those fancy inserts on the inside that essentially make it a small book and I always treasured them.

But whether you’re buying Hobbycraft out of stickers and fancy blank card sets or folding a piece of paper in half and drawing with some crayons that you have no recollection of buying, the personal touch will certainly be appreciated by your loved ones!

Plus points if you let your children write a little message on the inside. I asked my fiancé to write some messages for his family in our Christmas cards (which I didn’t make, I must admit) and he wrote the card for his dad entirely with his left hand like an actual child. Pretty sure last year he did a drawing for my godmothers kids and even though they were 3, 7 and 8 I’m pretty sure they all did nicer drawings for us!

It feels like this entire year has been months of saying ‘I can’t believe it’s already X month’ and it’s whizzed by but felt really slow simultaneously. Only 10 days till Christmas!

I can’t wait for this year to be over, but I’m definitely tentative about putting too much hope on 2021, but I have to be optimistic about things getting better and seeing friends and family again soon because I don’t know how I’d cope if I wasn’t.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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October photo diary

2018, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

I mean, we all know I’m a big fan of capturing memories, documenting things and taking photos, so is this post a surprise to anyone? Probably not!

I’ve always liked having printed photos – I’ve just finished an album of some of my uni photos and I’ve got a couple of other photo albums and scrapbooks on the go. I’ve recently started making the most of getting 50 free 6×4 from Snapfish each month and I love choosing which ones I want to print to capture my month.

So I thought I’d do a more digital scrapbook, photo album thing and make a little snapshot of my month so far! Not sure if this is something I’ll do regularly, because I’m really enjoying making physical photo albums and I don’t think a blog post of 50 photos to summarise my month will have the same long term impact (nor do I think anyone is really that interested) but for the moment, I’m sticking with it and this last week has been pretty manic so it’s a good time to share!

[ o c t o b e r ]

I actually really love Sainsburys TU clothing, but I can’t justifying buying any part of this outfit at the moment (though after payday is a different matter entirely)

the first crunchy leaves feet picture of the year!

I wasn’t joking when I said I got loads of photos printed – there’s 140+ in this batch

Sainsburys released these collectable Lego cards for children. My 22 year old boyfriend is obsessed and very disappointed that it’s now ended and he didn’t complete his collection!

Oops it fell into my basket? (I really like the sunlight in this photo)

and here, three thousand years late, the girl discovers Huji – the photo app that says you’re living in 1998

when the boy takes outfit photos and then asks you to take a photo of him

I love cooking so much – this is the stuffing mixture I make usually for putting inside roasted peppers, but recently we’ve been putting them in wraps and making enchiladas with them and it’s been a big success (would anyone care about a blog post recipe?)

a photo of my granddad 1954 (left) – he just looks like such a ladies man and this is why I love printed photos!

my boy and I on our way to London!

Nick was our housemate for two years and one of our best mates at uni for all three years, this was the first time we’d seen him since graduation in July – three months!

Huji returns 4 The Circle Final – hosts Alice Levine and Maya Jama on the right and all the contestants are on the sofa on the left but it’s not very clear in this photo

We got moved to the other side of the studio and for a while we had a much better view (until some rude boys pushed in front of us) but I love this photo of all the finalists!

the view from our hotel was actually really cute

Really felt my make-up – I often avoid looking at myself at any opportunity but I didn’t hate myself on this day lol

underground signs aesthetically make me happy

the Natural History Museum is actually stunning

my tol boy with real tol boiz

I’m now obsessed with Dinosaurs and skeletons are proper cool

I thought this photo was proper artsy when I took it but it was mostly so I could read about the dinosaurs

trying to be creative but I wasn’t quite tall enough for this cool granite stone wheel thing to be a cool background and the lighting was rubbish but STILL

Huji photos and lens flares? CUTE

weekly card game night with le fam (minus my sister, who’s at uni)

RIGHT let’s talk about this – we’re quite competitive so we’re keeping track of overarching scores and somehow I’m OVER SIX HUNDRED POINTS BEHIND? Raging m8

even more Autumn-y leafy feet photos

the amazing cupcakes I made for my sister’s birthday (I wrote an insta post all about them which you can see here!)

family squeeze themselves into a car for a long ass drive to Bournemouth

Le Birthday Girl!

my sister in her funky new coat / the outfit she would wear if she was the Doctor

family birthday dinner at TGI Fridays

the birthday hat

I FINALLY GOT THE BIRTHDAY GIRL TO WEAR THE BIRTHDAY HAT!

nobody gets left behind… (he did though, reluctantly)

the drive home was SO PRETTY and all the trees were full of Autumnal colours but I couldn’t properly pick it up on camera

and my phone is mostly full of very exciting screenshots like these! Where are my Arrowverse fans at?

‘I can’t share a post with 50 photos in, that’s too many!’ she thought, then not being able to cut her photos from 17 days to less than 30.

Ah well, who doesn’t love a long post every now and then! It’s a bit like scrolling through Instagram but it’s just me, bit vain. Maybe I take too many selfies, maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world, but I’m getting better and taking family photos and documenting the everyday and I’m really happy with my mentality towards preserving memories – I’m going to have rooms full of photo albums and scrapbooks at this rate!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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How to make brownies! | Recipe

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I love baking, but I don’t often get the chance to do it because ingredients are expensive or I’m trying to eat more healthily or I don’t have time. But I have, however, perfected how I make brownies and I love writing these recipe posts so I thought I’d share!

Ingredients!

  • 8 oz butter
  • 1 lb soft light brown sugar
  • 3 oz cocoa powder
  • 4 oz self raising flour
  • 4 oz plain chocolate
  • 4 eggs

The first step is to pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees. I always feel like I’m doing it too early but if I don’t do it now I forget to do it at all.

Next step is to measure out the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder and melt them all down. Don’t do this until all the ingredients are fully liquidised otherwise they’ll burn – do it in thirty second bursts until it’s just a few lumps that disappear when you stir them. I find two bursts of thirty seconds in the microwave is fine.

Whisk the eggs and the brown sugar in another bowl (yes, you do need that much brown sugar). Then add the previously melted chocolate and mix it all together. I find it works just as well with a wooden spoon than an electric hand whisk and it keeps it all light and fluffy and airy or something.

Measure out the self raising flour on top of all the other ingredients and mix it all together gently, making sure all of the flour is definitely mixed into the rest of the ingredients.

Line a rectangular tin with grease proof paper – personally I find it makes it a lot easier to remove the brownie in the end but that might just be me being very lazy. If you don’t use paper, grease your tin properly! It’s meant to be quite a gooey brownie.

Once you’ve transferred your mixture to your tray, put it in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes! I thoroughly recommend checking it at 30 minutes (if not earlier) then deciding how much longer you want to leave it in for, then if you want it particularly gooey in the middle, or any other feature to your preferences, you can monitor it more closely.

If not, cook it for around 35 minutes (it worked best for me!) and just poke a knife straight through the middle to make sure it’s cooking – if it comes out completely clean it’s done!

Remember to turn the oven off. That helps.

Leave the brownie in the tin for five minutes, then take it out the tin and leave it to cool for five more minutes than tuck in to your hearts content! I find between me and two hungry male flat mates, half the brownie is gone in one night.

Last tip! Whilst milk chocolate does make a nice brownie, to get that rich gooeyness that makes people pull really funny faces of pleasure when they take that first bite, plain or dark chocolate is the way forward.

In general, plain or dark chocolate is the way forward but particularly in brownie.

(Yes, I know I missed another Wednesday post – I’m going to make some mental changes to the diary to make sure Wednesday posts can continue to go up on time in the future!)

Thank you for reading and good luck with your brownie!

Sophie xx

 

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