100 Happy Days

I don’t know if any of you have seen this doing the rounds on Facebook?


The premise is simple, to post a picture on social media, using the hashtag #100happydays, once  a day for 100 days, of something that makes you happy.
And in the spirit of the New Year, and the compulsion we all seem to feel to strive for a shiny New Me, I thought that this sounded like a pretty fine challenge!

And you would think it would be easy, right?

Apparently not.
On the site they give the stat, that 71 % of the people who previously attempted this challenge failed.
Well, that is like a red rag to a bull for me! Surely I am not one of those 71%?!
I love a challenge, and if 71% of people fail, then that seems a pretty good challenge to me!

And for all those of you wondering why on earth anyone would want to do this…
It’s all about Mindfulness.
Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word of 2014 so far, and as well as a challenge, I love a bandwagon, so I’m jumping on.
Seriously though, being more mindful of what makes us happy, taking the time to register and acknowledge, and be grateful for, all the little things that happen every day that make us smile, is proven to make us happier. And who doesn’t want to be happier?
At times, I think we are all guilty of focussing on what we don’t have, rather than what we have.
Part of My Make Do and Mend Year, has been about realising that actually, I, we, have enough. We have enough (more than enough) material things. We don’t need any more.
And sometimes we (I) just need reminding to be grateful for what we have. For enough. To stop chasing after what we could have, and focus on what we have.
So that’s why I’m doing it.
Anyone else in?!

PS. I am already two weeks in, you can see my weeks 1 and 2 round ups here and here.

(Nearly) No Sew Nativity Costume

Hello again Pinaddicts!
Apologies for the radio silence and the distinct lack of posting-things have been a bit tough in the Make Do and Mend household for a bit, but I am back on it now 🙂

In case you hadn’t noticed, it is that time of year-Christmas.
And the need for Nativity Costumes to be merrily whipped up at the drop of a hat.
Being a devout Make Do and Mender, when BigSmall was appointed the role of The InnKeeper in last year’s Pre-School Nativity, I managed to whip up this costume,


at no cost and with very little effort, and in case you need to do the same, here’s how:

  • Take an old sheet, and fold it in half. Cut it to a reasonable size/length for your Small person, and then cut a semicircle in the middle of the folded edge to make a head hole. You can then try it on and adjust the length if necessary (obviously you can’t make it longer if it’s too short, so err on the side of caution when first cutting it..). Use a bit of string/cord to make a belt around the middle, et voila!
  • The cape/cloak is from an old curtain out of my fabric stash. Again, I cut a rectangle, and then folded over about 2-3cm along the top edge, and stitched this down to make a casing for some ribbon. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could easily do this by hand, or I guess you could also use iron on hemming tape, just as long as you can leave a channel for the ribbon to go. Then put a safety pin into one end of a length of ribbon, and gently feed this through the channel that you have made. Ta da! A cloak!
  • The beard was made from some fluffy material we got from the Scrapstore, held on by a piece of elastic, but good old cotton wool would also have sufficed, if you had glued it to a card backing
  • And then, all topped off with the obligatory tea towel headdress!

Easy peasy! It took less than half an hour. And it was free. Yay!

This year, in his first year at Big School, he is……..
A Bluebird!????!!!
Let’s see how we get on with that one-will keep you posted 🙂


The Lego Party

We did it.
We had a party, at home, for BigSmall, with other Smalls.
And we survived!
And I have to say, it was pretty awesome (even if I do say so myself…)

We had:

Lego cake

Lego party01

Lego chocolates

Lego party02

Lego party bags

Lego party03

Lego party04

Lego stickers

Lego party05

Lego colouring pads

Lego party06Lego bunting


Lego party08

Lego party09

Lego biscuits

Lego party10And Lego party games


Lego party12



You can read all about here over at My Make Do and Mend Year 🙂

Lego Party-the invite

As I mentioned last time, we are deep in prep for a LEgo Party extravaganza.

And the first thing a party needs is friends to come to it.

So, we need an invite.

This is what hubby came up with when left home alone for an evening, with the camera, the computer and his Lego mini-figures collection.


And here are a few others I found on Pinterest:

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 07.27.35

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 07.30.58

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 07.33.38Click on the images to go to the websites to find out more, and read all about some of the awesome Lego parties that these chaps have had!

Lego Party

First of all, apologies for my slightly patchy posting. I finished My Make Do and Mend Year at the end of August, and was enjoying a bit of a break from blogging so much, I forgot about my posts here-sorry!

Anyway, back to it.

BigSmall is going to be FIVE, in a matter of weeks.
So we need a party.
A lego party to be precise.

Inevitably, I turned to Pinterest, and set up a Lego Party board

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 15.34.05

We are planning homemade lego invites, a cake, lots of lego games, and the beauty of it is, a jar of lego will make for a very good party bag!

Free Jam!

Given that Kerry and Louise have dubbed me “Mrs Thrifty”, I thought I would share with you my recipe for (practically) Free Jam.

First of all, you need to talk nicely to a friend/neighbour, or go out ‘scrumping’ (stealing) apples.


Then, you need to go Blackberrying



To make the jam, you need 500g of blackberries, 500g of cooking apples, peeled and chopped, the juice of a small lemon, and 1kg of jam sugar.

Put the blackberries and apples in a pan with the lemon juice, and 100ml of water, and simmer gently over a medium heat until tender.

Add the sugar, bring to the boil, and boil rapidly for approximately 5-10 minutes, until it reaches the setting point.


Cool for an hour our before potting in sterilised jars,


And then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your foraging and frugality 🙂

Fill Your House for Free

Did you see it?
There was a brilliant series with the Queen of Crafting Kirstie Allsopp, on Channel 4, called Fill Your House for Free, where she basically did up people’s houses on a shoestring, using ‘pre-loved’ bits (and a couple of amazing designers…).
It is possibly a little bit cruel/pointless to tell you about it now if you missed it, but you can always catch up on 4OD.

I am inspired.
Even more inspired than I was before about Buying Nothing New, and now I want to do up my whole house.
Hubby is less excited…

They did some pretty crazy upcycles, like chairs from bath tubs,

bath tub chair

and coffee tables from car engines, but there was some more acheivable stuff too.
The over-riding message was that you can do up your house for a fraction of the price, and with significantly less environmental impact, by avoiding the likes of Ikea, and B&Q, and Next, and heading off to your local auction house, or having a look on your local Freegle site, which I think is a brilliant message.

For those of you who have not yet discovered Freegle (or Freecycle, or any similar sites), you need to. It will change your life.
People give stuff away.
Sometimes little things, but sometimes really crazy things, like TVs, and washing machines.
You can search for your local group, and then away you go.

And if you like the sound of that, then here is the link to a blog post I did a while back, with a list of sites for free stuff.

Homemade Gnocchi

I am on a bit of a roll at the moment, making things that I have never made before, fearing them a little.
Last week, I made real live actual custard, from egg yolks.
Oh yes, I did.

And I also made Gnocchi.

And guess what? It was super-easy. And fitted in with my requirement for pretty much all the meals I make, that they have to be makeable in an hour. Fridge/cupboard to table.
AND it tasted ok! As ok as gnocchi tastes anyway, given that it doesn’t really taste of much.

If you are inspired by this glowing testimony, then…

This is what you need:

  • 500g mashed potato-I think I weighed out roughly 500g of raw potatoes, and then cooked them, and then mashed them (without adding any milk/butter etc), and then weighed them, but I can’t quite remember. Don’t sweat it, the measurements are not that exact (although this would be a great way of using up leftover mash too)
  • 150g plain flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is what you do:

  • Add the flour to your mashed potato and mix well with a wooden spoon
  • It should all start to come together and then you can kind of pound/knead it on the worktop for a bit until it is nice and smooth
  • Roll it into a big fat sausage, and then divide the saisage into 4 equal pieces
  • Roll each new small sausage into a thin ling sausage about 2cm diameter
  • Use a knife to cut the long sausage into segments approx 5cm long
  • Boil a large saucepan of water, and then add the gnocchi-it will sink down, but then float to the top when it is done
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and eat!

We had ours with homemade pesto (basil, ground almonds as we had no pine nuts, rapeseed oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and parmesan all whizzed up together) and it was very nice indeed :)
There is no photo, because I forgot and was too busy filling my face with gnocchi, fetching drinks, blowing on tea to cool it down, mopping up drinks, picking up dropped forks….