Charity Spotlight - Women's Aid


For many of us Christmas is a time for happiness, fun and laughter but sadly this isn't the case for everyone. For those suffering domestic abuse Christmas can be a time of fear, manipulation and violence. A time where their experiences can worsen even more.

Christmas is one of the busiest times for charities like Women's Aid.
Women's Aid logo

Since their creation in 1974, Women's Aid has lead the way in supporting those suffering from domestic abuse. As a group of 180 organisations they provide nearly 300 lifesaving services to women and children across the country. 

Fleeing domestic abuse is a frightening and often spur of the moment decision. Living in an abusive relationship, one where you are watched constantly, means there is no time to pack a bag or find somewhere to stay. 

When women and children flee it has to be done quickly and it is often with just the clothes on their backs, sometimes even barefoot. 

Women's Aid supports families start new lives. Lives away from abuse. 

Paper heart with string threaded through, the help is torn slightly down the middle

This Christmas your local Women's Aid will find emergency accommodation for women and their children and help clothe and feed them. Most of all it will keep them safe.

You can support Women's Aid by donating on their website here. Alternatively you can support your local Women's Aid by donating clothes, toiletries and toys. To find you local service click here.

If you're suffering domestic abuse please contact Women's Aid via their website here or call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx


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Christmas Gift Guide - A Gift For The Cat!


Christmas is just around the corner and in the hustle and bustle of getting everything ready getting a gift for the furry members of the family might slip your mind! Especially if they're a cat as they tend to only make you aware that they're around if they want something!

The latest gift to the guide is for our feline friends.

Hexbug Remote Control Cat in it's packaging surrounded by wrapping paper and ribbon

The Hexbug Radio Control Mouse is a great little gift for the cats that like to chase and catch. It may even get the attention of those lazy ones!

Small toy mouse and remote control

Using the remote control, the mouse can go in all directions and can even spin. Both the control and mouse are small and easy to store. 

For us it has meant that our little boy can play with the cat without one of them getting carried away and running off scared! As you can see Bruce is fan of the little mouse, even when he's snoozing!

Cat curled up on a blanket with it's toy mouse on it's side

Bruce has destroyed a couple of toy mice lately but this one has taken a battering and lived to tell the tale! 

The Hexbug Radio Control Mouse is available from Amazon here

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx

Item gifted. Post contains affiliate links. 

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Messy Jam Tarts


Jam tarts are a traditional treat, which plenty of us sample around Christmas time! As I've brought you an alternative to mince pies with my Christmas Star Bites, I thought I'd do an alternative to jam tarts by jazzing up the recipe a little!


Jam tarts with meringue and chocolate toppings

Want to try my Messy Jam Tarts? You will need.........

  • 1 tablespoon of butter or spread
  • Ready made pastry - £1.00
  • Santa Rosa Cherry Jam - £2.30 
  • Mini meringues - £1.59
  • Milk chocolate - £1.00
  • Baking tray
  • Chopping board
  • Pastry cutter
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Wire rack
  • Greaseproof paper 
Ingredients and utensils listed

Preheat the oven to 180c and grease the baking tray using the butter/spread and greaseproof paper.

greased baking tray

Roll out the pastry on to the chopping board and use the cutter to cut out the pastry, lining the tray as you go. If you don't have a pastry cutter you can use a cup or mug instead.

pastry being cut with the cutter

pastry in the baking tray

Once the tray is full add a spoon full of the jam to each. As these tarts are going to have a sweet meringue topping I wanted to use a good quality jam that wouldn't lose it's flavour when baked. 

Open jar of jam being held

The Santa Rosa range by Ciao Gusto are ideal for these types of bakes and worth paying a little extra for. I used the cherry conserve and it is super tasty and full of fruit.

jam in the pastry case

jam in the pastry cases

Bake for 15-20 minutes on 180c until golden brown. 

baked jam tarts

Use the knife to remove the tarts from the baking tray and place on the wire rack for cooling. 

baked jam tarts

Whilst the jam is still lukewarm add a mini meringue. The warm jam will soften the bottom of it and keep it in place.

jam tarts with meringue tops

Place 9 cubes of the chocolate into a bowl and melt in a microwave or on a hob over a pan of water. Using a spoon or knife drizzle the chocolate over the tarts.

tarts with chocolate being drizzle over them

Leave to cool on the side or in the fridge. Once its set your tasty Messy Jam Tarts are ready for eating!

finished tarts

finished tarts

finished tarts

two tarts on a plate with one cut open

Enjoy!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx

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Christmas Gift Guide - Dressing Up Outfit


After a few days off the gift guide is back!

This gift is for the kids that love fancy dress, creative play and most of all dinosaurs!!


Dinosaur outfit laid out among wrapping paper and ribbon

Created by the Natural History Museum this Stegosaurus outfit is ideal for those that love dinosaurs!


Little boy dressed up as a dinosaur

Available for a range of sizes the costumes are soft to touch, easy for little ones to get on and off and washable.  


Side view of little boy dressed up as a dinosaur

The Stegosaurus outfit we were gifted had a hood, which acted as the head for the suit.


Little boy dressed as a dinosaur showing the hood

It also has a wonderful tail that is ideal for swishing around!


Back of the costume showing the long day

There's also fabric claws on the feet and arms. 


Little boy dressed as a dinosaur showing the claws on the sleeve and growling

Our little Stegosaurus has had lots of fun in this awesome costume and it's refreshed our creative play.


Little boy roaring dressed as a dinosaur

We now play find the dinosaur and there's often a fierce battle between Joseph and his dinosaur toys!

Available from Amazon here (currently £24.95) this dressing up outfit is an ideal Christmas gift!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx


Item gifted
This post contains affiliate links
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Goodbye November!


How are we in December already!!! I can't believe it's time to look back on November! 

At the start of the month we enjoyed the last few days of Joseph's first half term! It was great to have some family time together and with Daddy at home we paid a visit to Cadbury World and the new visitors centre at Sherwood Forest!


Little boy dressed as Spider-Man walking on a woodland path

November also saw lots of gift ideas being shared on the blog and that will continue into December. 

I also shared some very yummy and easy bakes, I think the Christmas Star Bites were my favourite! The house smelt of Christmas as they baked! 


Christmas Star Bites

Having been so busy over the last few months, November has caused me to be a little more focused. We are still busy but I'm trying to change my thinking a little and focus on what's important. A bit more planning, a little less running around and more time together is definitely what we needed.

November seems to have gone so quickly and we've been so busy especially as we near Christmas. I'm looking forward to slowing down over the festive period that's for sure!

Now let's see what December has to bring!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx

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December Giveaway!


It's a brand new month so it's time for a shiny new giveaway!!!

This one will close a little early than usual as I hope to get the prize out to the winner ready for the start of the new year! The reason for this is that this month's prize is a good one to start the year with and to help get you organised!

This month's giveaway is for this Harry Potter Collectors Box Set by Danilo!

Black box with gold writing and edging that reads Harry Potter, surrounded by wrapping paper and ribbon


Including a calendar, pen and diary, this box set is ideal for those Harry Potter fans!

Picture showing the contents of the box


To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic Harry Potter set enter below by telling me your favourite book from the Harry Potter series! You can also gain additional entries by following me on social media!

Good luck!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx


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How To Fight For Your Family


As a parent you will always want to fight for your family so that they can lead the best possible life. Life though can be difficult and challenging which means that sometimes a parent needs to be there to help and there are many situations where this is required. Additionally, a good parent will know when to let a child fight their own battles and provide them with the skills that they need in order to do this effectively and well. Knowing how to do this as a parent is tricky but read on for a few tips on how you can fight for your family and help them to succeed in all walks of life.


Father and son walking hand in hand through the woods

Upbringing


The first way that you can fight for your family is to raise children in the correct way. While sometimes a parent must fight on their child’s behalf (more on this to come), at some point children need to leave the nest and fight their own battles. This means that you need to teach your child important life skills during their time at home. 

This includes skills like

- Communication skills
- Independence 
- Confidence
- Negotiating
- How to handle conflict
- Compromise


This can be done in a few different ways but ultimately it is by leading by example and communicating as a family and advising on how to handle challenging situations.


Mother and son paddling in a lake


Making Sure That They Get Care & Attention


There are times where your child will need care and attention from another, such as if they find themselves in the hospital. In these times a parent will need to ensure medical professionals are providing the best possible care and taking them seriously. This can be done through firm communication without being rude and carefully listening to the authoritative figure and asking if there is any way that you can help.


Handling Adult Matters


There are sometimes issues that come up which can be difficult or impossible for a child to handle by themselves. This means that a parent needs to step in and fight the battle for them. A good ex-ample of this is if the child is injured in an accident that was not their fault. You will want to fight to get the compensation that they deserve and this can be achieved by approaching specialists like the-compensation-experts.co.uk. Often the child will need to be involved in someway, but the parent can handle the difficult matters for them and shield them from upsetting or difficult matters. 


Avoiding Helicopter Parenting


While it is important that you are there to fight for your family in certain situations, it is vital that you avoid helicopter parenting which involves paying too much attention and intervening too much in a child’s life (this is most common at school). Helicopter parenting can actually be detrimental and stop the child from developing important personal skills and knowing how to fight their own battles. This becomes particularly more important as they age.


Every parent wants to fight for their family to help them succeed and achieve their goals. There are a few different ways that you can go about this and it all starts in the home by setting a good example and communicating regularly. There will be times where a parent will need to intervene and fight battles but it is also important to pass on important life skills so that a child can one day stand on their own feet and find their own way.

Everyone parents differently but hopefully these tips will help you to fight for your family in the right way.

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx


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Making your home eco-friendly: How to transform your old appliances


It’s a great thing that the world is becoming more eco-aware. With the news of just how much plastic is suffocating our oceans and how our carbon emissions are putting the world at risk (with London reaching its whole year’s quota for air toxins in under one month this year!) everyone is starting to take pride in defending our planet. 


Hands made into a hearts shape over the bark of a tree

After all, it’s us, our children and grandchildren who must live here, and no one wants to live in an unclean, unhealthy, toxic environment.

No doubt you’re dutifully recycling your cans and plastics, and maybe trying to use the car less and walk more. A lot of environmentally-friendly advice though seems to fall on investing in new, greener appliances. While newer models often come with a range of eco-friendly elements, they can be expensive and not all of us can afford to replace our larger appliances just yet! Myself included! That doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to help reduce carbon emissions and have an energy-efficient home or workplace.

We’re here with domestic experts, Daikin, to find the best ways to transform your existing appliances into better, more efficient, greener versions of their old selves! They'll also help you save money, which is vital for most of us on the run up to Christmas or if you want to start the new year more eco and financially savy!

Stop the night-time stand-by!

We’re all guilty of this — leaving the TV on standby all night. Charging our phones overnight when they really don’t need that long. Games consoles left to hum away in the dark. If you’re looking to lower your bills and your carbon footprint, switch them off completely before you go to bed. According to Energy Saving Trust, the average UK home spends £30 every year just on appliances left on standby! Spending £30 for something you’re not using isn’t good, and worse, it’s not good for the environment.


Hand holding a tv remote control

So, when you’re doing your check around the house that all the windows and doors are locked before going to bed, be sure to cast a quick eye to your plugs and devices and switch them off properly before heading to bed!!

Save a few degrees!!

Your boiler should be ideally replaced every 15 years but your old boiler can still do a better job of being eco-friendly with a few easy changes. Simply turn the thermostat down a few degrees and turn it off at night. You’ll sleep better if your body can cool down anyway and a few degrees less during the day won’t make you uncomfortable. Consider popping another layer on next time you reach to turn up the thermostat as usually this is enough to warm you up! Personally I love to wrap up in a blanket!

Clean or change your fridge coils!!

Like your boiler, fridges tend to last a while; around 10 to 20 years. If your fridge is coming up for replacement an eco-friendly model is definitely the way to go but let’s focus on your current fridge. 


Darkened kitchen with the fridge door open

When was the last time you cleaned the coils? According to Architectural Digest, cleaning the coils of your fridge can encourage better energy use. Your fridge’s coils are usually located on the bottom, the top, or the back of your appliance. Turn your fridge off before you start and remove the base grill if the coils are on the top or bottom, or pull your fridge carefully out so you can see the coils at the back. With a refrigerator coil brush, you can brush out any dirt or debris that has gathered on the coils. Take the opportunity to sweep the floor too! Then, pop everything back in place. 

Be sure to wear gloves and be careful when moving your fridge and if it’s too heavy ask for help moving it. If you don't fancy trying this yourself your local domestic service or repair assistant will probably be able to do it for you for a fraction of the cost of a new fridge!

Clean your dryer filter!

Next, turn your attention to your tumble-dryer. The filters are meant to be cleaned after every use but everyone has forgotten once or twice! Clear out any lint that has gathered in the filter, then pour a little water on the filter screen to see if the water passes through. If it doesn’t and pools on top of the filter, your filter needs a thorough cleaning. 

Give it a good scrubbing in soapy, warm water, then rinse it off and try pouring a little water through again. If it still pools a little, repeat your soap-water attack on the filter!

Consider a cold water clean!!

Your washing machine can be easily more environmentally friendly by cooling down a little. 


Washing machine with the dial being adjusted

Opt to wash your clothes on a cold wash setting for the following benefits beyond saving the planet:

* Protect colour vibrancy
* Protect elastics 
* Better stain removal (warm water actually keeps the stain in!)
* Money saving

Be eco-dishwashers!!

Keep your dishwasher working hard and always wait for a full load before setting your dishwasher off. Also, be sure to have your full load placed efficiently in the dishwasher to fit in as much as possible without compromising on cleaning.

Tree Hugger advises that, if your model has the option to, turn off its drying cycle and just let your dishes air dry. You can open the door at the end and leave them overnight to dry off.

AC checkup! 

If you're lucky enough to have a good air-conditioning unit it can provide effective relief from an overly-warm home, but like any other appliance it needs a little TLC every now to keep it working effectively and prevent any overuse of energy.

Greener Ideal recommends getting a professional out to inspect your air-conditioning unit to make sure it is still running efficiently and effectively. If your system is making any strange noises, best to give a professional a call!

There’s plenty of ways older appliances can still do their bit to be environmentally friendly! Take these tips on board and your home and workspace can be its greenest. When the time does come to replace your older appliances, be sure to keep in mind whether or not it is energy efficient. For example, if you're looking to replace an old, noisy air conditioning unit, your main focus might be on a quiet model but don't neglect to check how eco-friendly it is!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx


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Brie & Cranberry Sharing Bread


Christmas is full of food, parties and time with family but if you're super busy there's not always the time to create tasty and amazing food from scratch.

This brie and cranberry bread is something that is easy to make, great to share and most importantly of all is yummy!!

Finished bread on a chopping board, cut with some portions on a plate

To make it you will need

  • Loaf of tiger bread - 69p @ Lidl
  • Butter or spread
  • 200g jar of cranberry sauce - 59p @ Lidl
  • 200g brie - 85p @ Lidl
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Spoon
  • Foil
  • Baking tray
Some of the ingredients and utensils listed

Preheat your oven to 180c. Place your bread onto the chopping board and cut part way down the loaf, along the centre and width ways. Make sure you don't cut completely through the loaf.

Bread sliced

Spread butter down the centre cut.

Sliced bread with butter down the centre

Cut up the brie into small chunks and place into the cuts. 

Brie cut up

Brie slotted into the loaf

Spoon in the cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce in the bread

Wrap in foil and place on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.

Bread wrapped in foil and on a baking tray

Then open up the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. 

Bread filled with brie and cranberry sauce

Serve warm for the lovely gooey brie!

Baked bread

Completed bread on a chopping board with portions on a plate

Portions of bread on a plate

Enjoy!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx
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