12 articles Articles posted in How To

Upcycling Roses Part 2 – Homemade Bath Bombs

Last week I showed you how to make a pretty and more-or-less free centrepiece for a table using recycled rose petals and today I’m going to show you how to make homemade bath bombs using some more of your dried petals. You will need:

150g Bicarbonate of Soda (food grade)

50g Citric Acid

5ml of Rose Essential Oil

Edible Glitter

Pink Food Colouring

Dried rose petals (method for drying in previous post, see link above)

Tools:

Sieve

Kitchen scales

Large mixing bowl

Rubber gloves

Teaspoon

bath bomb mould (we used a rose shaped one)
Hand sprayer full of cold water

1. Begin by chopping your rose petals into smaller pieces with a sharp knife – remember, they’ll need to be able to fit down your drain when you enpty the bath!

2. Measure out the dry ingredients (bicarb, citric acid, glitter) and sieve them into the mixing bowl

3. Add the food colouring a couple of drops at a time. The mixture will start to fix and you need to mix quickly to get the colour through evenly. You could also use powdered colour, which would avoid this altogether

4. Add the rose petals, then the essential oil and mix thoroughly. Some oils have a yellow tinge, depending on the carrier oil, which may alter the colour of the mixture. Try to find a clear oil, or adjust the colour after adding with the food colouring, adding a drop at a time

5. Using a gloved hand, grab a handful of the mixture and spray LIGHTLY with the water in the hand sprayer then push the mixture firmly into the moulds (do not allow too much water as the mixture will start to fizz). The back of a teaspoon is handy for smoothing out the flat side of the bomb once it’s in the mould

6. Once you’ve filled all of your moulds (the amounts above made two of our rose shaped bombs but you can multiply the amounts to make more bombs) leave to set for 30 minutes.

7. Ease the bombs out of the moulds

Voila! You have yourself some homemade bath bombs! I used one of them a couple of nights ago to test it out and I must say, they felt wonderfully luxurious. The rose scent was delightful and I felt a bit special having such a lovely bath, full of rose petals and glitter.

Obviously, you’ll need to be careful with these if you have sensitive skin or are pregnant.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Upcycling Rose Petals Part One – Simple Table Centrepiece

I love receiving flowers, same as most people, but I always feel a bit sad when they start to die. Roses are my faves (in fact, Sausage’s middle name is even Rose) and they start off so beautiful and full of potential, but whither away to nothing in such a short time. Recently, Sausage insisted on making me buy buying a bunch of flowers for her Dad and she chose pink roses for him. They lasted quite a while, but when the time came to add them to the compost heap, I decided to keep the petals and dry them for later use.

Drying the petals

The drying itself was a simple process, I simply pull the petals off of the stalks, spread the petals out on a microwaveable plate and buzzed then for a minute at a time until they started to feel a bit crispy. I think it took three one-minute sessions in my 800w microwave and then I spread them on an old tea towel laid flat to soak up any excess moisture. I then stuck them in a lock-tight tupperware box until I needed them.

Simple but pretty table centrepiece

The first thing I decided to use my dried petals for was a pretty table centrepiece, based on an idea I saw at Christmastime on Pinterest but never got around to making. You’ll need:

Dried rose petals

Small bundt cake tin

Boiled water

Tealights

Pretty saucer or bowl

1. Fill the bundt cake tin with the dried rose petals. At this point, you can also add a few drops of rose essential oil if you want to, but mine hadn’t arrived yet, so I didn’t.

2. Pour boiling water on top of the petals

3. Use a spoon or other pokey thing to press the petals down so that they are all submerged below the water and laying flat

4. Place directly into the freezer (it’s a good idea to put a piece of cardboard between the shelf and the tin as it may freeze together and be a total pain to try and extract

5. Once it’s frozen and you’re ready to use the centrepiece, remove it from the freezer and run the outside of the tin under a lukewarm tap to release the ice

6. Place it upside down on your saucer or bowl (it’s a good idea to measure how much water the saucer will take as it may overflow as the centrepiece starts to defrost if you don’t use something big enough). Something vintage and floral would probably look lovely

7. Place your tealight into the dimple in the bottom of the ice and light

8. The ice will probably outlast your tealights, so you may need to replace the candle a couple of times, but as the ice melts, providing you use a plate or bowl that is deep enough, you end up with a candle floating on beautiful rose petals and rose tinted water.

This photo doesn’t really do it justice as it was quite late and taken under the light above my hob, but the water and petals looked a lot prettier in reality!

I think this would make a lovely (and pretty much free) table decoration for a romantic meal for two. You can replace the flower petals with seasonal things like berries or seashells for different occasions too and experiment with scents and colours.

Just a tip – boiling the water first is quite important as it makes the ice clearer when it freezes, allowing you to see what’s inside. As an additional bonus that I wasn’t expecting, the boiling water took some of the pink colour from the petals and make the ice a beautiful pale rose pink colour. The photo below is my first attempt, made without boiling water and it did not work at all!

Part two to follow – come back to see how I get along with making my own rose-scented bath bombs!

Edible Sparklers

We’re not much ones for Bonfire Night in the Mum’s the Word house; as dog owners, it tends to just upset the whole household and we find it hard to enjoy.

One thing we can enjoy though is Bonfire Night food and these edible sparklers are super simple to make and super fun to get the kids involved in. You’ll need:

Cadbury’s fingers (we used the milk chocolate ones)

 

 

Edible cake sprinkles

 

 

A cup of boiling water

 

 

 

 

Dip the tip of a choccy finger into the hot water for about 5 seconds

 

 

 

 

 

Dip the melted end into the sprinkles, which you’ll need to spread onto a saucer

 

 

 

 

 

Leave to set for a while before nomming in large quantities, preferably with a nice cup of tea.

Banana, Blueberry and Walnut Cake (It’s Healthy, Honest!)

I start my new job tomorrow so I wanted to do something nice with Sausage  today, but while we were getting ready to go out, the sky went black and didn’t fill me with much of a desire to go out and get tiddled on, so I suggested we do some baking instead. The trouble is, I’m trying to lose weight, so I had to find something vaguely healthy for us to make. My friend Kerry (And Then All I Thought About Was You) mentioned that the Slimming World banana cake recipe was nice and low-fat, so I found it online and decided to experiment by adding a few things. It also uses sweetener rather than sugar which, as a diabetic, makes it perfect for me. Here’s the recipe:

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Get Crafty – A Royal Crown

Sausage has a great imagination, so when she asked me this morning to have a Royal Tea Party with her, I thought it only fitting that she have a proper crown to complete her outfit. I gathered up various bits from around the house and I’m pretty chuffed with what I came up with, so with the Queen’s Jubilee coming up I thought it’s quite good to share our little project.

You’ll need:

  • A cereal box or other thin-ish cardboard
  • Crepe paper (yellow for the crown and some coloured bits for the jewels)
  • Glue stick
  • Stapler or strong tape

Method:

 

 

1. Cut a strip of cardboard long enough to go all the way around your child’s head. We cut out two pieces and stapled then together at each end to make the right size.

 

 

2. Cover your cardboard in yellow crepe paper (or gold paper, you can use whatever you have. I guess tin foil would work too). If you use crepe paper, I recommend folding it over a couple of times and gluing on a few layers as singles layers are a bit see-through and flimsy.

 

 

3. Cut triangles out of one edge to give the nice spiky edge that all self respecting royal crowns should have.

 

4. Embellish your crown with whatever you have, be it rhinestones, coloured paper, glitter, pen or crayons, or like we have with screwed up balls of different colour crepe paper. I quite like the scrunchy 3D effect this gives and I even made a special crepe paper flower for the front of the crown by cutting out squares of crepe paper and gluing them together in alternate layers.

So there you have it, four easy steps to a beautiful royal crown, made with stuff that most of us have kicking about the house. We’d LOVE to see yours too, if you have a go at making one, just don’t upstage ours, yeah?! (Oh, and our Royal Tea Party was lovely, with real tea in a proper tea pot and everything!)

 

Coughs, Colds and Easter Cupcakes

As I had a few days holiday owing to me, I decided to use them while Sausage was on her Easter break from nursery and because of my shift pattern, it’s worked out that I have a total of 17 days off. Which would have been great and we had a ton of plans, but Sausage and I have both had a horrible cough and cold since about 24 hours after our holiday started.

We’re both starting to feel a bit better now so yesterday we decided to get on with the Easter cupcakes that we’ve been planning for weeks (seriously, I bought the daisy fondant cutters weeks ago in anticipation of a fortnight of craft!). Anyway, here’s a few pictures of our creations. You can find the full recipe and method over at Flying Start Parenting. The icing just wouldn’t go green enough, but I was still pleased with the overall effect!

Work Smart, Not Hard – Mum’s the Word Cleaning Tips.

As I’ve mentioned about a billion times before, I’m not a fan of housework. I’m not ashamed to say that if I were rich, I’d probably pay someone to do it. It’s a thankless task that is never done. As soon as you think the place is spotless, someone wears something, eats something or pees somewhere and you have to start all over again.

Just recently, I’ve discovered a few little things that have helped to make the cleaning process a little easier, which is something we could all do with. We all know about white vinegar, lemon juice and newspaper being a great help, but the ones I use may not be so well-known. So here are a few things that could make your daily chores a bit less of a, well, chore!

1. WD40

WD40 is one of those things that most people have in the garage or shed but never think to use for cleaning. In fact, WD40 is AMAZING a getting rid of grease. Just recently, I cleaned our cooker hood using WD40 and a soft cloth and not only did it cut through the cooked-on grease with seriously minimal effort, the cooker hood came up to a beautiful shine too. In the grand scheme of things, WD40 doesn’t even smell too bad either and I can’t convey just how easy this made the whole job.

If you go to the WD40 site, there’s actually 2000+ uses for it and Husband informs me that it’s also amazing at getting waxed crayon off of painted walls!

2. Fabric Softener

This is an odd one, but I’m not a massive fan of polish or aerosols in general. I find it smells pretty rough and as is the modern way, I don’t really have a lot of true wooden furniture, mostly Ikea-tastic units that don’t actually like polish very much. I don’t know where I read this one, but instead of polish I use a tiny bit of fabric softener on a cloth instead. It smells nicer and helps you to pick up dust and remove drinks rings far better than a dry cloth. I wouldn’t recommend this if you have antiques or wooden units as it’ll dry out the wood, but for anything laminate, this is perfect.

3. Bicarbonate of Soda

This is a pretty well-known one, I think, but it’s pretty old-fashioned too so I’m not sure if it’s as well-known to my generation. We keep bicarb in the house constantly as it is so useful for so many things. We’ve used it on a saucer in the fridge to wick away any unpleasant smells, diluted in boiling water to brighten stained mugs, made into a paste and used with a toothbrush to clean tiles and the bit round the base of the taps that goes scummy. We even used it to get the smell of sick out of our memory foam mattress after Sausage did an EPIC chunder one night and no amount of cleaning product would get rid of the odour.

4. Chamois Leather

If you have a dog which is a short-haired breed, especially at this time of year, you’ll notice that those spiky little hairs are BLOODY EVERYWHERE. You can’t brush them like you can with a longer haired breed, but rubbing their coat with a slightly damp chamois leather a couple of times a week helps to get rid of all of the loose hairs and will make their coat come up a treat. Plus, if your dog is anything like our big baby, they’ll just love the fuss! (It has to be a proper chamois though, not an artificial one)

So there you go, four little tips which may make your day a bit cheaper and easier. If you have any of these little gems, let me know!

Help Us to Help You – iPhone Users Wanted!

Some of you may or may not know that Husband is a tech journo, writing mostly about mobile technology and one of his current series of features is to write user guides for iOS5 or anything Apple related, like THIS one here about how to add a custom ringtone to your device.

This is your chance to get your questions answered – if there’s anything you want to know about using your Apple device or if there’s a burning question you want to ask, leave me a comment below and we’ll try to get your answer published, then tweet you the link to the article.

Thanks in advance for your input!

EDIT: I’ve just been informed that it’s NOT just Apple, but questions about any devices, so if you’re an Android user, WP7 user or anything else besides and have a question, let me know!

UPDATED: How to Make a Blog Badge and Code Grab Box

I know there are a fair few of these tutorials kicking around on other blogs, but after Not Just a Mummy’s  post asking for help, I thought I’d show you how I make mine. All you need is a picture or design you want to use, a Photobucket account and your PC’s notepad. If you don’t have a Photobucket account, go and get one now!

1. First things first, open notepad and copy and past this in:

<a href=”PASTE YOUR PAGE URL IN HERE”_blank”>
<img src=”PASTE YOUR IMAGE CODE IN HERE” /></a>

go to the page of your blog that you want the button to point to, copy the URL from the address bar and paste it onto Notepad where it says PASTE YOUR PAGE URL IN HERE, ensuring you keep the speech marks either side.

2. Upload the photo you want to use to Photobucket (I’m using the badge for my new fortnightly fiction meme <—- cheeky plug) Once it’s uploaded, click View Album.

3. Find the picture you want in your Photobucket album and hover over it with your mouse so that the code options appear. You want IMG code, so click on it once and it’ll copy it for you automatically. Go onto your notepad file and paste the image code directly over where it says PASTE YOUR IMAGE CODE IN HERE. Once you’ve pasted it, go in and remove the highlighted bits below:

You want to delete the square brackets and everything within, making sure you don’t delete anything else around them.

4. Hey presto! This should be your completed code, I suggest pasting it into a widget and briefly publishing it to check that it’s worked.

If anyone has any questions or needs any help, just let me know, I’m more than happy to.

 

UPDATE!

If you want to add a badge in your sidebar with a box for others to be able to grab your code (like my Closer to Nature one in the sidebar ——>) use the following code, obviously replacing the image URL and page URL with your info:

 

<a href=”PAGE URL HERE”><img src=”IMAGE URL HERE” border=”0″ alt=”NAME OF BADGE HERE” /></a><br />
<textarea cols=”20″ rows=”10″><a href=”PAGE URL HERE” target=”_blank”><img src=”IMAGE URL HERE” border=”0″ alt=”NAME OF BADGE HERE” /></a></textarea>

 

This should give you the perfect button and grab box to place in a sidebar :-)

5 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming an Adult.

There are certain facts that you just don’t know until you reach adulthood/move out of your parents house/have kids. I was pretty much wrapped in cotton wool until I was 21 (that’s not a complaint Mum, just an observation) and these facts just did not enter my consciousness until I made the decision to propel myself into the big wide world.

Just in case anyone is reading this who is new to the ‘grown-up’ thing, or just wants to brush up on some harsh realities, here are five of the most important things I’ve learned.

1. Any rubbish bags you buy with the words ‘large’ or ‘heavy duty’ printed on them will inevitably actually be the same size as a leprechaun’s scrotum and in fact have the same strength qualities of wet rice paper. I thought this was confined to the ones I bought from the Pound shop or the ever so slightly cheaper 99p shop, but it happens everywhere.

2. Some men seem to think that MILFs (if you don’t know; look it up but keep your Google Safe Search on!) are this exotic breed of experienced older women, and while I won’t debate that many women regain their pre-baby body, the vast majority end up with nipples that point towards the floor, a stomach like a road map and either a whacking great scar across their pubic line or a chuff like a Wizard’s sleeve from squeezing human beings out. Then there’s the sick in the hair, sleep deprivation and cracked nipples (or so I’m told). Sorry lads, that’s just the cold, hard truth.

The Fantasy
The Reality

3. It doesn’t matter if you’re a brilliant cook who can make things from scratch. You may be the master of the meringue, the queen of the macaroon, your talents know no bounds. But I guarantee the first time you boil an egg for yourself, you’ll have to look up on Google how to do it and I bet, even then, it won’t come out perfect. The best advice I can give you? Buy one of these:

The Tefal Toast n Egg. Genius.

4. People will ALWAYS surprise you. Unless you’ve spent every waking moment of your life with someone, there will always be information about a person which will knock your socks off. The other day, my boss was telling us a story about how, a couple of years ago, she and a female friend booked a cheap package deal to a Greek island that turned out to be horrible due to a rotten hotel and largely rubbish beaches. One day, they stumbled upon a nudist beach which was the nicest sun spot on the island and spent the next ten days returning to play beach tennis, stark-bollock naked, with a group of young ladies. Just so you know, my boss is 67 and an accountant.

(I won’t be illustrating this point with a picture, as above. I wouldn’t want to scar you for life)

5. If you’re the type to have kids, you’ll no doubt have a set of ideals that you’ll formulate once expecting, or maybe even before. Once your little bundle of joy is born, largely, these ideas will be torn up and thrown out of the window. I’ve lost count of the amount of parents-to-be who insist they’re anti-dummy, anti-bottle, anti-TV, anti-everything-that’s-not-organic, Gina Ford worshippers who, within weeks of bringing the baby home have given up on their hard-and-fast rules and are helicoptering their arses off with a dummy in one hand, a bottle in the other and a Baby Einsteins DVD on repeat for 8 hours a day. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s called COPING.

So, there are my pearls of wisdom for a Sunday morning. They may not be profound, but they may save you a lot of time and effort and what could be better than that? YOU’RE WELCOME.