Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Years Eve sparkle

New Years Eve is not a holiday that can really be properly celebrated with a toddler! However, we have ended our crafty year with lots of glitter to make fireworks 
Just basic supplies needed for this craft. The more variety of glitters the better.
Using a paint brush, I let the Zebra paint the glue onto the paper 
After that, just let loose with the "shake-shake" 
If you use the glue to write straight onto the paper, you can also make some funky pictures 
This glitter can be added all over to give a shiny look (just remember to leave it flat when drying!!!!)
 Or the glitter can go on in stripes or blocks!
Whatever you decide - you will still be finding glitter all round the house long into summer... 

How to enjoy New Years Eve when your a single mum to a toddler...

Wine. Lots of wine.
Yeah, if only! Having a toddler means you'll be up at the arse-end of dawn tomorrow, and being single means it's always your turn to do the early shift. And day shift. And night shift. So as much as I would love to drown in my sorrows, the thought of New Years Day with both a hangover and a child is way to scary.

End the year with a positive accomplishment.
No matter what ups & downs you've had over the last 12 months, end the year with an up. No matter how minor, it will make you feel better!
I finally tackled the baskets and piles of clean clothes that needed putting away or going into the "outgrown" box. 
It's lovely to walk down the stairs again without navigating the toppling pillars of cloth.  

If like 99% of the the population your resolution will be to go on a diet in 2016, today is a great day to enjoy tasty food before you say farewell. For a week at least. 
By removing all the temptations today, it will make tomorrow easier. Plus it means you get to eat every last scrap of chocolate and cheese and not feel guilty about it. 

Once the Zebra was asleep in bed, I did a quick tidy of the house. I wish I could leave the mess till tomorrow, but it would annoy me all night and that's no fun. But do allow yourself to do the upmost bare minimum that you can get away with. Shove it all in one room and shut the door if you can! 

Treat yourself. Be totally selfish. Do what makes you feel happy. You could read, or take a bath, do your nails or hair. Me? I bought my self flowers, drank a bottle of prosecco, ordered pizza and indulged in trashy films.
It was bliss.

As the clock strikes midnight, there are only two places you will want to be:
A) Watching your little one snoozing away, wondering how your child can look so innocent while sleeping
B) Passed out asleep, in bed or in the sofa, it doesn't really matter. Anywhere at home is better than the New Years of my past. Highlights include wondering around St Ives in the pissing rain, in fancy dress and unable to get any alcohol. In a pub with two friends literally crying on a shoulder each. Or the year which ended in A&E. 
Some times I miss being young and being able to party. Then memories like this come flooding back and I feel smugly happy about my cup of tea and blanket.
Nothing wakes you up and gives you a kick up the arse like weighing yourself after the festive season. I started to celebrate Christmas around mid-Novemeber and I'm certainly paying for it. Still - we all have to start somewhere.

After standing on those scales (and feeling a bit ropey from the food and wine yesterday), take the opportunity to get out into the blustery outdoors and blow away the cobwebs. Start the year as you mean to go on - looking bedraggled, feeling tired and craving a bacon sandwich. 

Happy 2016 from the Zebra and the Zoo Keeper xx

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Thank-You Cards

Living in a digital age, it's so easy to forget about the humble Thank You card.
Personally, I think if they are going to be sent, they need to be done within a few days. With it being such a crazy, busy time of year, I went for a quick but sweet idea.
I simply let the Zebra loose with some new craft supplies she got for Christnas.
First we tried out the pink paint and print blocks. She enjoyed working then out, and also stacking them!
The zebra then asked for the green paint, and we tried some of the big sponge-stopper style brushes. 
We then threw in some yellow for good luck, and a few more brushes.
There was a huge temptation from the Zebra to paint her hands and feet, but I just couldn't face the mess...
Once the paintings had dried, I glued each one inside a thank you card and cut to shape. 
The perfect way to get a toddler to "write" a card, before they can spell 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Mince Pies and Mulled Wine

It's Saturday, which in the zoo means it's baking day!! 
As we are in the festive mood we went for some mince pies and alcohol-free mulled wine 
I had a bottle of alcohol-free red wine, and added:
200g of caster sugar
2 satsuma's, including peel
2 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves 
1 tbsp nutmeg
3 bay leaves 
Cap of vanilla essence 
Stick it all in a pan on a high heat until the sugar dissolves on a rolling boil. Let it simmer for at least 20 minutes. I left it bubbling until our mince pies were ready
For the mince pies you will need:
1 jar of mincemeat for the filling
180g plain flour
130g butter
60g caster sugar
2 eggs
Icing sugar to decorate 
****preheat oven to 180****
Tip the flour into a bowl
Add the sugar 
And the butter 
Whisk one of the eggs and pour in
Mix well until you have pastry
Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 10 minutes 
As our table cloth is covered in glitter glue, I stuck down some grease-proof paper to roll out the pastry on
Cut out 6 big circles for the bases and 6 small circles for the lids
Fill the cases with the jar of mincemeat
Whisk the second egg and use to brush the top of the cases before adding the lids - it helps seal them when cooking
Pop in the oven for 15 minutes and have a tantrum when they take too long...
The middle will be boiling hot and take a long time to cool down 
They are worth the wait!!
The smell of the mince pies baking and mulled wine boiling really has made the house smell of Christmas 

Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Tree Plates

Another quick and easy make to occupy the Zebra in this rubbish weather!

I got three paper plates and painted them green. I then let the Zebra loose with different paints 
As our tree is gold and red, we used matching paints 
For the final paper, I squirted on some PVA and gave her the shaking glitter
Once dried, I cut the plates into thirds and stuck onto a strip of cardboard.
As easy as that! 

Christmas Cards

We made our Christmas cards a while ago but I've held back from posting so people could receive them first!
Cut an A4 piece of black card into 3. Bend it in half to make the card, and paint the front with PVA glue and then cover in glitter
Take some sheets of green card and swish patterns of glue all across
Shake glitter across all the glue
Leave everything to dry! Be warned, it gets messy as there is a lot of glitter.. 
Cut the green card into Christmas Tree shapes
Stick the tree to the card, make a star ontop with some glitter glue, and use cotton wool for the snow!

There was much more work from Mummy than the Zebra on these cards, but they look cute and there are many more years ahead for her to design her own!