Introducing Children to Nature with Fun and Games

There are many ways to introduce toddlers and young children to nature. No matter where you live there will always be something to see. So here are my top tips on how you can start showing off the nature where you live, to your children. It’s never too early to start learning!

And I am sure that David Attenborough would agree with me when I say that “You’re never too young or too old to learn about the world around you”.

By making things fun children are more likely to learn and remember the information you are portraying. You can still stay safe at home but enjoy nature around where you live by keeping to social distancing guidelines.

Here are my Top 5 things to do at Home but Outside! Be it in your Garden or if you don’t have one you could just go on a Walk around your village or town or park. It may be lockdown but that doesn’t stop you walking socially distanced from other families.

Children are more likely to learn and listen if you turn things into fun and a game. So why not make your own games up, or take a look at my ideas below.

1. Bird Spotting
2. Bug Finding
3. Pick a Creature – Try To Find It
4. What Is That I See? What Is Around My Home
5. Eye Spy Lockdown Edition

1. Bird Spotting is easy enough to do, take a notepad and pen with you and write everyone’s names at the top. Make columns down the page and write down every different sort of bird that you spot. The person who spots the most species of birds is the winner!

2. Bug Finding is great fun in a small space, depending on how old your children are you could just spot basic bugs and say things like “Beetle” or “Spider” or you can go into what type of bug you are looking at such as “Stag Beetle” etc. You could even ask little ones to draw what they saw on the walk from their memory when you get back home.

3. Pick a Creature is a great game to play with children who already know what certain animals are. Take a walk and get everyone to pick something, one person might count Crows, the other Cats, another Pigeons, but whatever it is they have to keep score of their creature until you get home.

4. What is that I see? Use your knowledge of things around where you live and discuss things with your children like the seasons, if there are evergreen trees, what colour the flowers are you can find, any buildings and their purpose etc.

5. Eye Spy Lockdown Edition is literally eye spy but your children are only allowed to pick one type of thing during your walk. You could say just birds, or just objects, whatever is best for your children’s age.

Books I Recommend

I recently invested in several books for my son who is two and a half. He is interested in matching things up lately so I thought books with pictures of things to spot when we go out for a walk are ideal. I also have a number of nature books I have collected over my lifetime, anything with large pictures and easy to see nature depicting scenes are engaging for most children.

“Usborne Minis” are Great little books ideal to carry with you on a walk, and they have a range so you could pick which is most relevant to you and where you live, for example Birds, Trees or Bugs. There are always National Trust books and also RSPB for birds. Another great book I own is the DK Pocket Nature Wildlife of Britain book, it’s a few years old now but has excellent photography and information about British wildlife.

Of course you can always use a search engine on your phone to find out what you’ve seen, but the joy of these sorts of books is being able to mark things off when you have spotted them. The Usborne Mini book set have stickers for you to place on a grid inside the book in order to tick them off. This is great because you also have to identify the sticker as well as the creature or tree for example. Simple but it’s still learning at its best.

Thank you for reading this post today, I hope I have inspired you to get out and about in your area with your children (or just your other half). I have many more lockdown friendly ideas coming up over the next few weeks, so please check back another time if you enjoyed this post.

Have a lovely week!

✩ Sabrina ✩

A Week of Positive Things – Sabrina’s Tips for having a more Positive 7 Days at Home

A Week of Positive Things

Sabrina’s Top Tips for having a more Positive 7 Days

Everyone seems to be feeling a bit low lately, it’s bound to be the Winter Blues mixed in with everything to do with the Pandemic. There are so many people who have found themselves working from home again, and many young people who are studying at home again too. With all this time stuck at home there are lots of anxious feelings and negativity, so I’m here with some suggestions to try and put a positive spin back into your home environment!

So here is my solution to tackle the blues, try to take half an hour out of your day as a family unit, every afternoon for the next week, after work is over and after the schooling is done for the day. Pick one of these ideas of mine to do together, a different one every day in any order you like.

I guarantee they will have you feeling more positive by the end of day 7! You can do them in any order you like! Or do one of them twice if it’s a hit! If you play along please comment on this post or on my socials at the end of the week and tell me which activity your family preferred and whether these activities did in fact work for you and increase your family’s positive attitudes.

  1. Go for a Walk (Weather Dependent) and play a game as you go! Ideal for parents with younger children who are still enthralled by the nature of “eye spy”. But the fresh air and endorphins combined should make all of you feel better too. Older children may want to go for a jog or a bike ride if that’s more your thing, so long as it’s half an hour outdoors with your family, all together.

  2. Watch a Funny TV Show or Cartoon. Laugher really can help you to feel better, even for a brief moment, so why not stick on a tv show or a favourite cartoon that never failed to make you laugh and giggle together. Tom and Jerry is a good one!

  3. Bake or Make Something Delicious! I have a ton of recipes on my blog and some don’t even take that long to do. So why not make some chocolate crispy cakes or even some rocky road, something simple and even something that doesn’t require baking to save you time! Then you’ll have a tasty treat for a few afternoons to come! See what you’ve got in the cupboard! Here is my baking section HERE.

  4. Get Creative. You can do one of two things with this creative activity depending upon the age of the people in your household. Either, do a rotating draw-off where by you each start with a piece of A4 paper and one coloured pen (all varying colours) and you keep rotating the papers every minute, do this until 4 minutes is up. Everyone should’ve drawn on each of the pieces of paper. No talking! See what you’ve come up with! Share them with me on social media! #SabrinasCreativeCrafts
    OR
    You can play the Sentences Game. The idea is to make up a creative story, it should be funny, and you once again rotate the papers. This time you want long strips and not A4. Cut a vertical A4 in half twice or get your strips. Once the first minute is up and the first sentence has been written, you all fold over the section and pass it on. When the time is up you each open up the papers to find a story.

    For example;
    There once was a man who couldn’t find his shoes.
    I think I want some KFC he thought.
    He headed off in the direction of the sunset.
    In the end his dog ran away and joined the circus.

    If you have teenagers then you could play the game another way, this is called CONSEQUENCES, you start by writing on each of the papers the following things, add extra if you have a large family so that everyone will get a go at each section when the papers are passed on. They usually go like this…
    ___
    Met
    ___
    At
    ___
    They said ___
    What happened next was ___ OR The Consequence was ___

    Then unroll it after everyone has had their turn and the sections are completed, then take turns in reading them out. See my photo below this list for an idea of what it would look like when you finished! Warning my examples may cause laughter!

  5. Photos! Another fun thing that would brighten your spirits is to look back at any photo albums that you have or digital slideshows. You could even play a game while you look through them. Every time that your mum is seen with sunglasses on she gets a point, each time someone hasn’t got their hat on when they should you lose a point! First person to spot the water in the photos gets a point. Etc etc! Make up some rules before you start and say that the first person to 10 points gets out of doing the washing up tonight! Or the winner chooses what’s for dinner the next night! Involve one another in every day things.

  6. Write a List of Goals and Aspirations for 2021 – but only write the do-able ones! For example, I want to bake a cake for mums birthday. OR I would like to walk a mile on the next weekend that is dry and sunny. When you achieve something, even if it’s a little thing, you feel so much better about having accomplished it. Setting some realistic goals now for the year might seem silly when we don’t know what’s around the corner, however even if the goals are just for the people in your bubble, it’s still doable. Put them up on your fridge or board and tick yours off when you have completed it.

  7. Make a Meal Together. No matter how old you all are there is something fun about making dinner together. May I suggest something that everyone can get stuck into such as Fajitas, Curry, Sausages and Mash or Lasagne (dietary requirements permitting). I have tons of recipes on my blog if you need inspiring! But making and preparing food together before you eat it can be a real bonding experience, and it can also be important for teaching younger children where foods come from or that by mixing this with that you achieve this outcome. Food is something that has been so important during the first lockdowns so I thought I would continue on with that and try and get you back into your kitchen to make something you love together. Check out my Recipes HERE.
Why Not Try And Make My Delicious Cookies? Click the link in section 3 for the recipe!
The Consequences Game – Imaginative Fun for the older children in your family.

I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and that you would like to participate in my week of positivity. If you do participate in any of them or attempt to get those in your bubble to do so, then please let me know how you got on! I can’t wait to see if you make anything as well 🙂 tag me online! And thanks for joining me!

✩ Sabrina ✩

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How To Make Your Own Unique Gift Tags This Festive Season

I have always had some creative flare, but one thing I had never done before was to make my own Christmas Present Tags! I came up with lots of ideas while spending time at home.

I took the plunge this November and ordered the things I would need to design them. I already had two awesome sets of Staedtler Pens in both fine line and bold. I also had various sequins. But I needed the tags and the string. I tried my best to use natural string and cardboard that was made from recycled materials.

What you could do if you can’t get any of these brown tags, is to cut up some old Christmas Cards and make them into similar shapes like these, add things like sequins in order to sparkle them up.

String Christmas Lights

The easiest of all my tag designs to make, you will need both thicker pens and fine pens of the same colour. The trick is to create the light shape with the finer pen and then colour it in with the same thicker style pen after. Make sure you leave the small crescent shape on one side of each light bulb so it looks three dimensional.

Begin by drawing the lines and bulb attachments with one pen, dark colours work best for this part. Then choose the pen colours you want for your bulbs. Ensure you don’t put the same shades next to one another and alternate colours like Red and Green for a Christmas look.

The size of your bulbs will depend on how many you want to do across your tag. If it’s just lights and no writing then you can fill up the space. If you plan to write “Merry Christmas” for example then perhaps do the lights top and bottom of the tag and leave the middle area blank.

Check out my images for some inspiration. Give it a go on a piece of plain paper and decide which way to do your bulbs, before doing them on to a tag.

Snow Scene with Tree

If you aren’t very good at drawing then you can still achieve something like this tag, just take your time and follow my instructions.
Check out my videos on my Facebook Page too!

You need a brown pen, the finer the tip the better, and you want to start by drawing the outline of your tree. Fill in the branches afterwards, getting smaller to the ends. Next to add a 3D aspect to your tree draw circles for holes and darken undersides of larger branches and the trunk to add shadows. Use a silver, white or light blue mixture of pens now to create the snow. You could do a snow scene or just do the tree. Be creative and have fun! Look at mine below for some inspiration.

The Christmas Tree

I quite like the abstract or deconstructed Christmas Tree type of tags. Mainly because when I try to draw symmetrical and lifelike trees they never look quite right. If you’re good at drawing trees however, then putting one in the centre of a tag would look really great!


Use a nice dark green pen for your tree. Add either stick on crafty bits and pieces or draw on some festive decorations, or do a bit of both! PVA glue is best because it will dry clear! If you want to do a more 3D tag then glue dots or adhesive squares also work well too.

Me on the other hand, I prefer to do the continuous line and have a sequin star on the top, kind of a tree!

Christmas Sparkle

If you have various diamanté, sequins or sparkles you want to use on your tags then you need to come up with designs that suit them. Check out my tags below for some ideas. Hanging decorations or bauble type designs work best for rounded craft items.
Think about when items hang on a tree, what they look like. Window decorations like a line of hanging stars or snowflakes are also very nice.

Sequins can be used on their own or accompanying pen lines.
Use your imagination and design your thoughts on a piece of plain paper first using a pencil, once happy with it, you can then transfer the ideas to a tag.

You can purchase the brown tags in most craft shops, online at places like The Works, Hobbycraft and Amazon. Try and pick ones that are already made from recyclable material.

I had previously bought my pens online from Amazon, Sequins from The Works and my Glue is also from The Works too. Other crafty items have been purchased by me over the years from various shops and also Tesco superamrket, they had a nice range of sequins this year too.

Other fun tags include, “Merry Christmas”, Holly, Baubles, Rudolph, Robin, Christmas Trees, Christmas Lights, Snowflakes, Snowmen, Santa Claus, Snowy Scenes, Penguins, Stars and things such as “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and “Let It Snow”.

Thank you for reading this post today, if you do give making Christmas tags a go then I would love to see them! Tag me on social media using the hashtag #SabrinasChristmasCrafts

Have a great Christmas!

✩ Sabrina ✩

You can see my tutorial videos on my Facebook page here…

The Three Additions To Your Wardrobe You Never Realised You Needed, Until Now! Since I Bought Mine I Cannot Do Without Them!

Sabrina’s “How To Get More Space In Your Wardrobe” Post.

Most of us have far too many of something in our homes, be it clothing, shoes, bags or other items that take up space. Usually hidden away in our wardrobes or cupboards… Personally I am a Boots and Dresses kind of woman! And why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy my nice items. After all, I worked hard for them… So if you’re like me and you haven’t had the pleasure of knowing any of these items in your home as yet, then check out the rest of my post below. One of these might just change your life!

Shoe Storage – Stackable Boxes with Mesh Fronts

I first bought these boxes when I was in university, so I could stack up my shoes against a wall. When you live out of one room space is definitely key! They were fabulous! Especially because I could fit a double shoe of anything flat into one box due to my little size 4 feet! Fast forward to the 32 year old me (covers eyes with hands) and I still use these, but now they go in the space underneath my ottoman bed. Out of sight but also neatly packed away. I even bought three different colours so I knew that Purple contained Boots, Teal contained flats and Black contained Shoes…

(Coloured ones are usually only available in store and do change every year). I love being organised! And I love tidy!

These boxes are wonderful! Mesh fronts allow the footwear to breathe, they have Velcro sides on the front panel for easy removal and they can even be stored flat when not in use. So many reasons to love them! Place them under beds, inside cupboards or wardrobes, the possibilities are endless. I have even stacked up to 6 boxes on top of one another with light shoes inside, they are sturdy too.

I bought mine from Ikea, they still do them. Currently you can get Grey or White, a set of 4 costs just £7. What a bargain! They measure 22cm x 34cm x 16cm, so it is worth measuring your footwear before purchasing. I think they are a great space saving alternative, especially because it stops you having shoes stacked up all over your hallway.

I do tend to wipe the bottoms of my shoes and let them dry fully especially if they were wet after use, before putting them away again inside the boxes. If you have a little space somewhere that you could convert to a shoe area these are definitely worth considering.

Wardrobe Storage Options

As someone who has quite a number of lightweight clothing items, I found that my wardrobe was quickly filling up every time I caught up on my washing. I began researching ways in which I could maximise my space.

There were two options I could use, the first were Hanger Space Saving Bars (aka Hanger Heroes or Magic Hangers) and the second were Coat Hanger Connectors. I decided to try both, I begun with the Connectors and then bought the Bars, and it has more than doubled my wardrobe space. You must make sure your wardrobe rail is suitable for additional weight though before buying these items.

Coat Hanger Connectors are wonderful small pieces of strong plastic, you slide the one end (the loop) on to the top of a hanger and the longer section hangs down so you can push a second coat hanger through it. I used them for lightweight t-shirts and cardigans. I have managed to hang 6 items in a vertical row, long term, and none of them have broken as yet.

Depending upon the height or your wardrobe or your freestanding pole, you can figure out what would work for you. They are ideal for lightweight t-shirts and shirts and can save you lots of space. They range in price from around £4 for a bunch of 20 of them.

The final items that I want to review are the wardrobe bars, or hanger heroes as they are also known as. You can purchase these on Amazon and from Must Have Ideas. I have bought from both companies, and they were both of equally strong metal and good quality materials. These range in price but you can get metal ones for around £12 and upwards for 6 or more.

I kept seeing these advertised and I really needed the extra room when I moved house. I went from built in wardrobes to zero wardrobes! Having borrowed a metal freestanding pole and rail from a family friend, until I can go wardrobe hunting! I found that these worked really well to give me much needed space!

Depending upon the weight of your clothes you can fit a minimum of 8 items per hanging bar. I have found I can place 14 lightweight items on one, including using the thinnest and most lightweight plastic hangers that I own too. As you can see in my images I have tried to use thin hangers and ensure I don’t place heavy items on the bars.

Once your bars are filled you gently remove one hook and lowed one side down. When the bars were all flat along the metal rail I had no space remaining for other clothes. When I have released one side of each bar, as you can see below, it has freed up a huge amount of much needed space.

I have no idea how I ever managed without these amazing inventions! I am so much more organised now too! I have long sleeve tops on one bar, short sleeve tops on another, cardigans and thin jumpers on a third one, the list goes on! You get the gist!

Obviously you need to judge how much weight your own wardrobe could take. I would be tempted to reinforce my wardrobe honestly if it were a plastic pole.

In this image below you can see my 6 bars in a row. The only irritating thing is that if you place more than 6 items on it, sometimes the hangers slip down out of the notches into the ones below. I think that’s because of the weight and angle that they are at with the more you put on. My suggestions are to play around with the weight and with what hangers fit on best. The far left are rubber coated metal hangers and the rest of them are thin lightweight plastic ones.

I give every item I have mentioned in this blog post a 5 star rating, they have allowed me to live a more organised life and make my bedroom tidier too. I think it’s important that the space that we sleep in isn’t too cluttered. I am working on trying to get myself some furniture in order to make that a reality. Until I am finished with my renovations though, these pieces will help me to keep at least some areas of it tidy!

Thank you for reading this Review today, I hope you have found this post interesting. If you would like to ask me any questions about the items I will do my best to answer them for you. Until the next time, thank you for reading and see you on my website again soon!

✩ Sabrina ✩

If you like the look of these items then make sure you’re following me on my social media channels because some of them will be featuring in my Christmas giveaway in December!

How To Eat A Rainbow In A Week and Ways to Help your Children Eat Healthy too

So many people are looking for healthier choices in the wake of this awful pandemic. The fitter and healthier we are, hopefully the stronger we will all be if and when we need to be. So in this post I will be giving you all some ideas on how to eat a Rainbow worth of healthy foods in a week. I once read a study that said its about variety over quantity, so now I try and mix it up each week.

TOP TIP: An easy way to get veg into children is to add tiny cut up amounts into casseroles or anything which has a sauce or gravy to disguise any strong tastes. I like the bags of tiny frozen veg you can buy, just tip a mugs amount into every meal you make.

TOP TIP: If you are doing any baby led weaning, here are some ways that you can cut up fruit and vegetables to make it easier for children to pick up and eat.

Here are some inspirational colours of Fruit and Vegetables that you could use for your week enjoying an Edible Rainbow of Food.

RED

Strawberries
Raspberries
Tomatoes
Apple

Chilli
Pepper

Cherries
Cranberry
Grapefruit

Pomegranate
Red Currants
Red Onions
Water Melon

ORANGE

Oranges
Carrots

Apricot
Pepper
Peach
Squash
Nectarine

Pumpkin
Papaya

YELLOW

Mango
Lemon
Pepper
Sweetcorn
Pineapple

GREEN

Lettuce and Leaves
Avocado
Spinach
Kale
Kiwi
Apples
Lime
Leeks
Pears
Chilli
Pepper
Cucumber
Courgette
Spring Onions

Honeydew Melon

BLUE

Blueberries
Acai Berries

PURPLE

Blackberries
Black Currants
Red Cabbage
Aubergine
Carrot

Grapes
Plums


I love nothing more than to eat a big bowl of berries with some Vegan yoghurt on top for my pudding.

I started my son on fruit and vegetables when he was really young, a large variety at his weaning stage. Because it’s really important that children eat healthily to get the necessary vitamins and minerals they need for their growth and development. And if you start them young, the more likely it is that they continue to eat that variety as they grow up.

Here are some examples and TOP TIPS that I use to get my toddler to eat his fruit.

Toddler Size! Cut up into ideal sizes and shapes to minimise choking hazards and also to inspire them to pick them up themselves. My son prefers to eat some things independently.

Make It Fun! Whether you sing a song about a Rainbow, or the Birds Eye Vegetables Advert, make food fun! Kids think things are funny and that will bring a positive energy to the scenario. I remember giving my son a piece of Mango for the first time, he must have dropped it about ten times before getting it to his mouth. He thought the slipperiness of it was hilarious! Then realised how great it tasted and there was no stopping him.

My Son has some Fave Fruit Combos!

Bowl of Mixed Berries
Mango Chunks and Melon Chunks
Apple Slices and Shapes

My Son’s Bowl of Fruit Versus My Bowl of Fruit


Some children need encouragement when it comes to eating their fruit and vegetables, check out these awesome phrases in the diagram below to get you started. You should always stick to the facts, fun and inspiring things to tell your children and young adults. Do not use language that will confuse, stick to what actually happens when they eat their greens.

Eating A Rainbow In A Week

Monday

Strawberry Yoghurt with Apple Slices
Glass of Cranberry Juice
Fajitas with Red Pepper Slices and Tomato Salsa
Bowl of Strawberries and Raspberries

Tuesday

Peach and Passionfruit Yoghurt with Peach or Orange Slices
Glass of Orange Juice
Carrot and Coriander Soup
Stir Fry with Carrots and a (Orange) Pepper

Wednesday

Chicken Breast with Sweet Potato Mash and Sweetcorn
Mango Chunks

Thursday

Kiwi Fruit cut up into some Plain Yoghurt
A Pear and an Apple
Salad with tasty leaves, crispy lettuce, spring onion and cucumber slices
Beef Stir Fry with Green Pepper, Green Chilli, Leeks and Spinach


Friday

Blueberries in Plain or Vanilla Yoghurt

Saturday

Blackberry Yoghurt with added Blackberries

Blackcurrant Cheesecake

Sunday

Mix it up! Choose some of your favourites from the week, try something new, make up your own recipe or go with other colours of food such as Pink, White or Black! Plenty of unusual fruit and veg out there!

Thank you for reading this post today, I hope you have gotten some fun ideas of things to try with your children and your weekly fruit and veg.

✩ Sabrina ✩

HALLOWEEN 2020 – How to Make Memories for a First Halloween and create Fun for a Halloween at home during this difficult year

Halloween is one of those holidays where people either love it or loathe it. Whether or not you like Fancy Dress and Decorating your Home, it’s an important right of passage for your little ones to experience the fun of a Halloween.

If it’s their first Halloween then I have lots of ideas that you could achieve easily at home and make some nice memories and keepsakes to show the child when they are older.

With the pandemic still affecting us all, there are many children who would love to be trick or treating and having fun and games with their friends. It’s highly likely not to happen this Halloween 2020, however that doesn’t mean you cannot do things at home.

WHAT IS IN THIS BLOG POST… HALLOWEEN 2020

  • Fancy Dress Photo Shoot Fun – My Tips and Tricks
  • Hand and Feet Print Halloween Decorations – Fun Family Keepsakes
  • Halloween Games with Treats to be Found (at home) – My Lockdown Halloween Trick or Treat Ideas
  • Baking with Halloween Shapes – Fun Baking Tips for the Family to do together
  • What Else Can You Do With Halloween Baking Cutters as Stencils!

Fancy Dress Photoshoot at Home

One way in which I always like to remember a holiday event or day is to do a photo shoot. For the last two years I have dressed my son up and surrounded him with a variety of Halloween related items. I got some good photographs doing this at home that I can treasure. If you set it up correctly you won’t need to pay anyone to take photographs for you.

You Will Need

A decent camera or a phone with a decent camera
A camera which has a timer if you want to do a family portrait
Natural light coming through a door or window is best for colours
Fancy Dress items and any props that you would like to include

  • My Photography Tips
  • Natural Light is important to get clear and sharp imagery.
  • Use fairy lights to add depth to your image (supervised around the child/ren of course).
  • Props are important and make sure you arrange them so they can be seen, if you’re going for a theme try and stick to it.
  • If you want things to be inside the frame then choose your layout carefully and keep looking through the camera lens as a guide.
  • A sofa or chair is ideal to sit a baby on or you could even use a ball pit or a rocker with a sheet over it to block out any unwanted branding or colours.
  • Set up your photo shoot before you get a baby ready otherwise they may get fed up rather quickly if you ignore them to move things around.
  • If you can get a large pumpkin or a cushion you can sit babies inside or on top, just make sure to always have their necks supported!

If you can’t pull off a Photoshoot then why not use some Free Filters on some Photo Apps. Some of them are highly detailed. We did one to show you just how cool! And if you have older children they might be more interested in that too!

4 WAYS TO USE HALLOWEEN BAKING CUTTERS AS STENCILS

I’m not very good at drawing so using these cutters as outlines was a great idea for me! If you can draw well you won’t need to do this! Ha! Ha!


Halloween Decorations

Halloween Posters

Halloween Colouring In


Halloween Baking

I drew around the shapes and outlined them in pen, then let my child colour it in.

Halloween Decorations

Making Halloween Decorations is easier than you think! So long as you have got some card and some paint. There are tons of ways you can make nice posters or decorations. Here is how I have made mine…

Pumpkins – Apples Halved and Dipped in Paint.
Spider – Hand Prints leaving off the thumb so fingers make 8 legs.
BOO – B and two hands for the O’s.
Ghost – Foot Print (upside down)

I’m planning to cut out the Pumpkins once they are fully dry and hang them up against my window.

You can make a Halloween poster for your window or you can cut the items out and hang them up with string.

Trick or Treat at home won’t be the same, but it can still be fun!
Check out my ideas below!

1. Make Every Room A Different Theme with a Different Sweet to Find. You can tailor them to meet the needs of your family, no choke-able sweets for little ones etc. If you don’t do Sweets you could use Numbered Fruit like Apples which result in a Toy prize if they find them all.

2. Make It A Halloween Treasure Hunt with the Treasure being Sweets! Write little clues on paper for the kids to follow. Create traps and fun obstacles for them to overcome, riddles and rhyming works well too!
“Where you Sleep, Often Deep, Beneath the Covers is what you Seek!” things like that, E.G Under their bed covers is a Sweet or another Clue.

3. Use A Dice And Clues to Make a Halloween Game of your Own! Using how many rooms you have and how many children, you can send each child off to a room where they have to either complete a task or seek and find the next clue, which once put together with their siblings answers, will reveal their bounty of Treats! E.G Two Siblings, they each find a clue on paper, one reads KITC and the other HEN and when put together they go to the KITCHEN for the next clue etc.

HALLOWEEN BAKING

I have done some step by step baking videos on my Halloween cookie baking and these are available to watch on my Facebook page, I will drop you the link here Severn Wishes on Facebook.

Find my Cookie Recipe Here too!

Before Baking
After Baking

You can use my Cookie Recipe or a Shortbread Recipe to make these awesome Halloween shaped treats!

I bought the set of cookie cutters off Amazon, if you would like the link to those then here that is… Amazon

I always do a Seasonal Bowl on my Dining Table. It is all Autumnal now!


Thank you so much for checking out this blog post today!

Please tag me over on Facebook on my page if you try and of my Halloween things! Baking, Craft or Decorations!

If you like my trick or treat at home ideas, let me know if you use them over the weekend too!

Have a great week at home everyone! Stay safe!

✩ Sabrina ✩

At Home Storage Hacks for Parents, How To Keep All The Kids Toys Stored Tidy and Neatly

Featuring…
Aldi Stars Boxes
Argos Silver Grey Boxes
B & M Dark Grey Fabric Boxes

I think every parent will agree with me when I say “mess is a fact of having children” but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a tidy home when the children are asleep, or for when relatives come around! And can I just say, Square Furniture really excites me, its versatility knows no bounds!

But first, Tidy Hacks! When my son was only twelve months old I began a routine with him which involved us tidying up once we have finished with certain things. It started with me showing him then handing him the item and encouraging him to copy me. So… Books went back in his Book Tub and toys went back in the Toy Box. He soon realised that it was important to tidy up. My son took to it really well, he even puts balls back in his ball pit now, and has done since he was eighteen months of age. Instilling this notion early enough has paved a way for a toddler who understands how important it is to put something back when you have finished with it. My first TIP is to allocate boxes for different items, such as, the Grey box is for books, the Red box is for Cars, the Blue box is for trains and the Green box is for animals.

There is no right or wrong way to have your home, however one thing is for sure, cleaning it is far easier when everything has its own place. Boxes are filled and put back on to shelves. I love furniture and I love how it brings a room together too. I have a large wooden chest in my lounge along with several small lidded boxes to store my sons toys in. I always like to have that option to tidy things away completely, in case I have family over for example, or I may need the space to do messy play.

In my son’s bedroom I have several pieces of furniture that are square and contain various storage tubs and boxes. They look neat and tidy and are easy enough to maintain. The boxes are made of fabric and are often purchasable in many styles and colours to maintain the theme for your chosen bedroom. Great for anywhere in the house, such as hallway or living room too. Do you have any Square Furniture? I think they’re just great!

I have always been a fan of the clean lines that square furniture gives you. And with so many places now creating the relevant boxes to go into these holes, you have a wide range of choice to make your home how you want it.

B & M Boxes


Excellent Value for Money Square Storage Boxes

Argos – Great Quality and in a Variety of Colours and Patterns. Boxes are in packs of 4 with 2 Sizes Available. And prices start from £14.00 for 4 boxes. Argos also do lidded Square Storage Cubes in fabric and a leather look, which can double as seating for children in a bedroom too.

B & M – Fabric Boxes and Velvet Boxes, Good Quality but Less Choice Available (I only found Bright Pink, Blush Pink, Dark Grey and Silver). The Velvet ones were £7 for a pack of two and are very soft and of good quality. The fabric boxes are not as nice but definitely do the job well enough though and are ideal for toys, they were £5 for a pack of two.

Aldi – Special Buys Baby Event – Stars Boxes – Multiple Colours Available and were £3.99 each box. They were only available for a limited time.

Ikea – Several styles of boxes and tubs available from Ikea and many colours and patterns as well. They range from £3.00 upwards for a single box and the range is called Drona.

The furniture I purchased for my sons room is from Argos. But Ikea do a similar range as well named Kallax. Due to the Pandemic it has been far easier for me to get a delivery or click and collect option from my local Argos stores, mainly because its almost a two hour drive for me to get to an Ikea store, so I would rely on an online order and delivery.


My final TIP for keeping a house tidy is this, get one box out at a time, and teach your child/ren that once they are finished with that box, it gets packed up and placed back on to the unit or into the bedroom it came from. Then they can get another box of toys out to play with. In-still this idea at a young age and they should keep respecting their play space long enough to keep wanting to tidy up after themselves. These types of storage are so easy too, there isn’t anything complicated about it. You just need a system of what goes into what box, but you could always get labels for them too!

Great Value Square Furniture

Argos Home Squares range from £24 to £120.
Colours Available are Putty (Light Grey), Oak Effect, Black and White.

Ikea Kallax Square furniture range is from £19 to £129.
Colours Available are Black/Brown, White, High-Gloss White, Oak Effect, White Stained Oak Effect and Grey-Wood Effect.


Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope I have given you some inspiration on how to make your own homes more tidy by using square storage to its full potential.

Check out my Instagram for more inspirational images on storage and tidiness.

✩ Sabrina ✩

3 Reasons To Keep Your Supermarket Rose Plants

Today on my blog I am talking about those gorgeous mini rose bush plants you can buy them in your local supermarket. You can usually get one for around £3-£5 for a plant, sometimes they come in a pretty little pot as well. When choosing one, go for one with a nice thick and healthy main stem and with buds that are still yet to open and flower.

The Supermarket Rose is a beautiful gift for someone who just to brighten up your windowsill. I have had two yellow roses and a pink rose in the last two years. You can often find them in Red, Peach and even a pale White shade of Rose petals. Supermarkets usually stock a wide range of colours, I like Yellow as I feel it brightens up a room.

So many people toss their little Rose bushes into the bin when they finish flowering. One reason for this is because they see the label which often reads “Guaranteed to Flower for 14 days” and they presume that after this flowering rose is finished blooming then the plant is now obsolete, and that is so wrong! Did you know that with a little love and care you can make your little Rose last for months or even years? And they will flower again!

Well in this blog post I am going to tell you just how and why you should keep them. Here are my main 3 Reasons…

Reason 1. They can survive inside or outside! I will go into how you would care for each in a moment.

Reason 2. You sometimes get extra growth of the original plant after a couple of months, and some plants can be re-potted into more than one Rose bush. Then you could keep one for yourself and gift away the other if you like!

Reason 3. Looking after plants during difficult and uncertain times can help your mental health by giving you something to care for and focus on. It will also produce flowers several times a year to brighten up your home.

Just after I had separated the Rose Stems off and then set them back onto my windowsill.
They soon grew and grew and grew… and flowered again!

Keeping Your Rose Inside or Outside

Inside
A nice regular sized pot and a windowsill with half sun and half shade, your Rose bush should thrive here. Water it every day, keeping the soil damp and remove dead leaves and dead flowers to prolong its growth. Leave it inside the pot it comes in until all the flowers have finished, and then you can re-pot it into something prettier if you’d like, pop a few stones at the base to allow for drainage and if you’re increasing the pot size to allow for growth use some moisture controlling compost.

Check the plant if and when you re-pot it. You may find it has two separate stems and roots systems, if that is the case you can do as I did above (image) and pot in two pots and then you’ll end up with two plants.

Outside
A pot of any size because the bush will grow into it. But in order to be liveable outside and to survive the Winter you must do two things. One, is to line the pot with a sheet of bubble wrap plastic, this is to keep the roots safe from any frost. And two, you also need to put a few stones in the base and place the plant into some moisture controlling compost, which will retain water so as to keep the plant nourished. You must water it regularly in warm weather and do not let the pot dry out.

So far my Pink Outdoor Supermarket Rose is coming up to its third year in a pot outside. I got lots of flowers on it in June, I also gave it some flower food once the flowers began to show their buds. As you can see I had some rich new green leaves grow this summer. I may need to re-pot it into a larger pot next summer if it grows again.

The image below is of my Yellow Rose Plants, they were separated in the Spring and now it is September, they have more than doubled in size. They are now flowering for the fourth time this year. They are getting quite big now for my kitchen, I am contemplating potting them outside on a sunny day in the Autumn, I have some left over bubble wrap from my recent move ready to wrap around them to keep the roots warm and protected from any frost we might have. They have loved their new position in my new home, since July they have been on that kitchen window, and it gets lots of light.

I have treated myself to a new little rose now too, to start this process off all over again. I got this cute little plant from Aldi for just £1.79! Bargain!
Gorgeous Pink colour!

My plan is to grow this Rose to the same size as my yellow ones while indoors, then plant outdoors next late Spring time. Hopefully it can reach a similar size.


I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post, please let me know if you’d like to see more like this, such as gardening related or tips on making the most of supermarket purchases.

Thanks for visiting Severn Wishes today.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Sabrina’s Recipe for Dark Chocolate Chip Dairy Free Cookies

Sabrina’s Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies of mine are not only delicious, but dairy free and made with dark chocolate chips which add a real depth of flavour too! I haven’t baked anything else since I perfected this recipe! I can guarantee you’ll love them too! I have been trying and testing my cookie bakes for years and I have finally found a bake that I am totally happy with, I was so happy with the recent batches of cookies that I just had to share them with you. Did you see my images and videos all over my social media?

Trust me when I say you’ll love these cookies, I don’t even contemplate buying cookies anymore because these are just as good, in fact they taste even better in my honest opinion! So why don’t you give them a go and see what you reckon? If you need them to be GF then change the Flour, if you don’t need them to be DF then alter the spread to regular butter. Just make sure you follow my other ingredient amounts and the method exactly!

The trick with these cookies is to refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 20 hours, and then you must bake all the cookie dough batches within 3 days of making the dough. It will keep for a couple of days in the fridge if it’s well wrapped and air tight. This time around I baked one batch of cookies at 20 hours and the next batch the morning after around 36 hours after I first mixed my dough. The second batch tasted the best!

The longer you refrigerate the dough for the chewier the cookies will be. You could freeze some dough if you weren’t going to use it all in the time frame, but make sure you use it within a month if you do that. You will also need to add extra minutes to the cook time if you’re baking the dough from frozen too.

Because this is one of my quicker prep time recipes I used an average sized Mug as a measurement for the ingredients instead of scales and grams. Sometimes I don’t get a lot of time to bake with my toddler in tow! So if you want a recipe that is fast to prepare in an evening, ready to bake the following afternoon, then this is the one for you! This amount of ingredients made approximately 14 Cookies. If you make my cookies please share and tag me on social media.

Author: Severn Sabrina
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Refrigerate Time: 20 to 40 Hours
Cook Time: 8 to 10 Minutes
Serves: 14 Cookies
Allergens: Contains Egg, Gluten, Soya Lecithin.

Ingredients

½ a Cup of Dairy Free Spread (softened in the microwave in a small bowl)
1/3 a cup of Caster Sugar
2/3 a cup of Soft Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon of Salt
1 and ½ Cups of Plain Flour
A Bag of Dark Chocolate Chips (100g ish)

You Will Need

Two Bowls – 1 Large and 1 Medium
A Sieve
A Tablespoon and A Teaspoon
A Wooden Spoon
A Flat Oven Tray
Baking Parchment
A Microwave and a Small Microwavable Bowl

SABRINA’S TOP TIPS! Don’t over microwave the spread, just twenty seconds should be enough and then stir it gently until it melts and is smooth and pourable. You can use the same piece of baking parchment if you’re baking two lots of cookies, just place the next set of cookie dough mounds in the gaps that weren’t touched on the paper on the previous bake!

Method

1. In a large bowl you need to mix up the two sugars with the softened spread. Mix with a spoon until it is all smooth.

2. Next you add the egg and vanilla and once mix until it’s smooth and combined. I always do it by hand because this is a quick recipe, just put some effort into the hand mixing for a good 60 seconds. It should look smooth and pale.

3. In a separate bowl, sieve the flour to remove any large lumps, and then add the baking powder and the salt. Mix together well.

4. You now want to take your time combining the wet and dry ingredients. So use the sieve once again to sieve the dry ingredients into the wet, do this a quarter at a time, and between each quarter you want to stir the bowl and combine them. Once that quarter is mixed in to the wet ingredients you start with another quarter of dry, and so on. Once you have mixed all the ingredients together you will be left with a smooth and pale dough.

5. Now it’s time to add the dark chocolate chips or chunks, I prefer chunks because they stay a little more stable in the dough.

6. Refrigerate the dough overnight at least, and when it comes to baking you can do as little or as much as you’d like. It’s best to test a couple of cookies on your oven for a time frame before doing a full batch. Everyone has a different oven.

7. When you get to the baking stage I always recommend you take a Tablespoon size of cookie dough, using two spoons to press the dough together, and then gently make a little round mound of it as your cookie size. I use baking parchment over a flat oven tray so as to stop the cookies from sticking. Leave a space of approximately 6cm between each mound so they have space to spread out.

8. Bake for around 8 minutes, the best way to tell if they are done is that the colour changes around the edges of the cookie. You don’t want them to go too browned otherwise they will be overdone and more crunchy than chewy. I do mine at 180’c fan assisted oven for around 8 minutes. Set for 6-8 and then check them, some cookies could take up to 10 minutes.

9. Once they’ve begun to change colour on the edges remove them from the oven and leave them to sit for five minutes. Then you can gently pull them off and let them cool completely before eating them or storing them in an airtight container. They will last for 3 days if you make them air tight about an hour after baking.

Before…

You Can Make This Recipe Gluten Free by Using Gluten Free Flour!

After…

Thank you very much for reading this post today, if you do try my recipe please let me know how you got on. If you have any questions about my bakes then feel free to leave a comment, I’m more than happy to answer them and give you more tips.

You can keep up with all my cooking and baking by following me on my various social media pages.

Have a lovely weekend!

✩ Sabrina ✩

You should refrigerate the dough before baking it!
Freshly Baked!

Thanks for visiting Severn Wishes blog! See you soon!

Sabrina’s Dairy Free Chicken Tikka Style Curry Recipe

Sabrina’s Dairy Free Chicken Tikka Style Curry

Good Day All! It’s time for a cookery related blog post today. If you follow me on social media you will have seen me share images of this one already, it’s a great alternative to a take away, and it costs a fraction of the price of one too! It’s a simple recipe, easy to make and complete in just a few minutes. Of course I am making mine dairy free because of my sons allergies, I have worked on this recipe for months. You can use alternatives and I will outline those in my recipe below if you want to alter it.

So why am I sharing this particular recipe? Well, I really miss a proper Chicken Tikka, and I thought with a little experimenting I could make a recipe I would really enjoy. Coconut is often used in curry sauce anyway, so by using coconut yoghurt as part of the base it eliminates the dairy aspect and allows me to play with the spices. This recipe I have made is great, although proper Tikka has nuts and dairy in, usually Almonds, and I can’t have either because of my son. It is also more red in colour, so I am considering adding some Paprika next time! So I will be continually trying to better this recipe and cooking in every aspect of my life, but this is the best I have so far. If I make an awesome adjustment I will edit this post! But for now my Curry is both Tasty and a little spicy too!

This is my Dairy Free Chicken Tikka Style Curry Recipe

Author: Severn Sabrina
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes
Serves: 2 for Curry & Rice OR 4 (if you add sides)
Allergens: This Recipe is Dairy Free unless you change the Yoghurt

You Will Need

A Teaspoon
A Wooden Spoon
A Bowl for the Marinade
A Medium Saucepan
A Knife for Chopping
A Flat Oven Tray
Scissors for Cutting the Chicken

INGREDIENTS

Pilau Rice (it compliments the flavours of my sauce but you can have plain white rice if you would prefer) I sometimes just use a microwave rice packet for convenience.
300g Chicken or for a Vegetarian Alternative use Quorn Chunks
White Onion – 2 Onions chopped two different ways, large chunks and diced
2 Pots of Coconut Yoghurt (average size from a usual pack of 4 pots)

Optional Extras (to increase it for the amount people you’re serving)
1 Pepper diced into bite sized cubes and fried off with the onions
1/2 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (if you prefer a more tomato based curry with less spice)
Poppadoms and Chutneys
Naan Bread (Shop bought usually contains Dairy)
Chips

For the Marinade
1 Pot of Coconut Yoghurt
1 Teaspoon of Tikka Curry Powder (or something similar)

For the Sauce
6 Teaspoons Tomato Puree
1 Small Pots of Coconut Yoghurt (You can use regular yoghurt if not doing DF)
2 Tspn Tikka Curry Powder OR 1 Tspn of Garam Massala + 1 Tspn Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

(If you want to make a more complex curry sauce look through my blog for my other recipes).

METHOD

1. Start by chopping your onions and frying it off in a saucepan with a little oil. You want the onions to be softened but not caramelised. Once they are cooked you can start to build the sauce up. Start by using a teaspoon to measure out the other sauce ingredients and add them into the onions. Including the spices, yoghurt and tomato puree. Stir gently to combine. Leave this on a low heat stirring it frequently. Your sauce should resemble mine in the image below.

Onions Ready to Fry, Chicken Marinade and Ready to Chop Fresh Chicken.

2. Then take your chicken, cut it bite size pieces, try and get them all roughly the same size so they cook evenly. You want to marinade the raw chicken for as long as possible before cooking it, so I would often do this as a first step and then go ahead to chopping and cooking. But it all works the same way and it will be just as soft and tender but slightly less flavoursome than if you marinaded it for a few hours! So if you’re planning to do this recipe and have some time on your hands, marinade the chicken in the fridge for a couple of hours before putting it in the oven. (With a toddler in tow I often just get a short window to cook!) When you do get to this stage you should lay the chicken pieces out evenly on a tray and oven them for around 20 minutes at 180’c. They should look baked and coated, cooked through and still tender. See my images below as a guide.

3. For the next step you want to remove the cooked chicken pieces from the oven tray gently, and set them down in the sauce, try not to lose much of their tasty marinade coating! This will add extra flavour to your sauce. Stir all of the chicken up with the sauce and then leave it on a low heat for around twenty minutes.

Mix the oven cooked chicken with the sauce you made earlier.

4. Serve the curry as soon as your rice is cooked and hot, half and half works well, you could even accompany it with some poppadoms and chutneys, a naan bread to tear and share or even do half rice and half chips while the oven is hot – if you’re that way inclined! 😉
There should be plenty of that tasty sauce for dipping things in whatever way you decide to serve it!

The Final Curry Dish Served with Pilau Rice

Thank you very much for reading this post today, if you do try my recipe let me know how you got on. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment, I’m more than happy to answer them.

Have a lovely evening,

✩ Sabrina ✩