Make it Rust-oleum, upcycling jam jars!

Armed with a can of Rust-Oleum spraypaint and their rather lovely pink can of Painters Touch in Candy Pink I surveyed my collection of glass jars; hubby is convinced I only buy jam for the empty pots!

When I spotted these goodies in my bag from a recent blogging event I knew I’d try my skills on a mini project before trying a biggie, more on that later. Upcycling jam jars is becoming something of an obsession of mine!

I took a little kitten toy from a kinder egg and glued it to the lid of one jar, then sprayed with my can of gold paint.

I then tried swilling a little of the pink paint into one jar to give a lovely rosy glow.

The other I painted on the outside quite roughly to give a rustic look, then when it was dry I took a little wire brush to it to make it look old and chipped, I love the results and Joss is delighted with her little kitten jar that now holds her threading beads!

diy upcycled jars1

DIY Budget Wedding Anniversary Ideas

History Lesson!

You know that term, Hallmark Holiday meaning a commercially designed holiday or festival? Well the cynic in me doesn’t really ‘do’ them; but I am interested in marking our wedding anniversary (9th July dear readers!)

It got me wondering where anniversary celebrations originated from.

Anniversary Gifts

It seems the historic origins of wedding anniversaries date back to the Holy Roman Empire, husbands would crown their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty fifth anniversary and then with a gold wreath on the fiftieth.

Later in the twentieth century commercialism led to the addition of more anniversaries being represented by a named gift, I knew some of the traditional ones, but where do they come from? A spot of googling showed that the themes have expanded and adapted over time, diamond was always a well known symbol for the 75th anniversary, but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after Queen Vic’s 60 years on the throne was widely marked as her Diamond Jubilee.

In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweler Association introduced an expanded list of gifts (I bet they did!). The revamped list gave a gift for each year up to the 25th, and then for every fifth anniversary after that

[Source: Wikipedia, natch]

DIY Budget Wedding Anniversary Ideas

I’ve created a Pinterest board with ideas for DIY budget wedding anniversary gifts, I’ve done this for the modern list, but I’ve presented the traditional too, if you’re an old soul!

Follow Thereandbackagainamotherstale’s board DIY Budget Wedding Anniversary Ideas on Pinterest.

And finally here’s my own latest make for our third wedding anniversary (glass), a terrarium, he loved it!

Glass terrarium


 photo 93142f35-6d39-479f-b3de-d94dbca68162_zps58499252.jpg

Stop and smell the roses mumslist

Real Life and blog life

This weekend we are doing really very little after a bit of a nuts week at work, note to self, do not plan six meetings in one day, and if you do, make sure you eat at the blogger breakfast!

This week I went to my first proper event for bloggers, OPR’s #Ocademy, it was lovely to see some familiar faces and great to meet some folks whose blogs I’ve read for years like Jen Walshaw from Mum in the Madhouse – returning to work with a fabulous goodie bag of treats was a really welcome surprise!

And then the meetings, oh the meetings, s0 many meetings! Time to chill this weekend, to stop and smell the roses, or the coffee, or just drink the gorgeous whisky from my goodie bag, whatever your poison!

Stop and smell the roses

We’re starting with a walk to the Farm at the end of the street this morning, we’ve been enjoying an evening stroll there too, and last week popped down in time for some celebrations; a rather amazing local photographer KJ Ranson was down there too, and I really love this shot she took of Joss tucking into her farm sausage sarnie!

Joss 2


This week I’ve been inspired by Joss to start slowing down! She’s so excited by the prospect of these toms ripening that we’ve popped out to the yarden a hundred times a day to enjoy them, she’s already pretty good at stopping to smell the roses so I’m taking a leaf from her book and having a lazy weekend!

toddler gardening

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Toddler Resist Art with 3M Scotch Magic Tape

I’ve always liked painting with Joss, she really throws herself into it, literally sometimes! When I heard about toddler resist art it took me back to my own childhood, using crayons as the resistant material to make aztec prints in the paint.

I liked the idea of trying this with tape, and when 3M Scotch sent me their guide to having a go with a toddler we took a roll of 3M Scotch Magic Tape, some paints, a brush and a canvas or sturdy card and a bit of imagination and away we went!

Joss cracked on with this activity whilst I was cooking our evening meal, her having fun and learning to do it her own way was a really good test of her independent play skills and she really enjoyed it. The concentration on her little face was amazing and the results were so effective!

toddler resist art 2

I marked out a rough heart shape on sturdy card and masked it with the tape, then Joss set to work! At this stage she started covering the tape (that’s exactly what you do, cover the whole piece tape and all) and said she was painting a pig! I was surprised by her brush control and clearly our frequent arty sessions are paying off!

toddler resist art 1

Then the ‘finger painting’ began, in purple and yellow, lovely!

toddler resist art 3

When she finished she got to work on another piece and we set this aside to dry.

After 30 minutes I took a sponge and some water and gently sponged the tape clean to reveal the tape heart, magic!

toddler resist art

We now have a really special card for Grandma and Grandad and I have lots of ideas for other tape resist art projects, next up I’m going to mask out a little house!

Disclaimer: Thanks to 3M for providing the materials and ideas for this project, all views are my own

Getting crafty with The Creation Station!

This is the first in a series of posts about getting crafty with your kids, and where better to start than getting crafty with The Creation Station’s founder Sarah Cressall!

As well as running a growing business Sarah is mum of three boys and so I’m very grateful to her for taking time out of her busy schedule to be interviewed about crafting with children; her passion for nurturing creativity and design shines through!

Sarah Cressall and family

Sarah Cressall and family

Offering children’s arts and craft classes and parties The Creation Station is all about encouraging children to have a go and to try out their own ideas encouraging sensory play, experimenting and interacting with others through art. With franchises nationwide there’s sure to be a class near you!

I asked Sarah five burning questions about craft with kids and here’s what she had to say:

1) Do you have any advice to offer mums and dads or carers who feel they’re not very creative in getting started with craft with their children?

It can feel overwhelming to know where to start. The best advice is really to just see creativity as a journey of learning. It’s really helpful to see creativity as just exploring and experimenting rather than focussing on a specific end product. That helps take pressure of trying to teach, and turn it more into enabling a fun opportunity to learn together though play. With some newspaper and old clothes and some creative materials it’s amazing to see what happens. A relaxed atmosphere really helps the ideas, creativity and giggles to flow.

2) What are your favourite ideas for summer themed craft activities?

Ooo! I’ve loads! I love children being able to enjoy doing creative stuff together. I love having friends round and letting the children get out all the painting tools and buckets of water and water painting the garden!

Chalk drawing on the patio is fun especially if they make a draughts board or hop skotch, or drawing a target to throw balls into.

As my boys have got bigger origami water bombs have gone down really well. Also letting the children paint each other faces – and the grown ups is great fun. Important to remember to wash your face if your popping out to the shop though! Really it’s about finding creative play opportunities that they can really get involved in and have fun. The magical thing about creative fun is it inspires all ages. We find our family fun sessions work really well for families who maybe have a 2yr old a 5 yr old and a 8 yr old cousin who’s visiting. Everyone does it in their own way – and that’s how true creativity is nurtured and developed.

Brilliant butterflies from Creation Station

Brilliant butterflies from Creation Station

3) I get really excited about all the possibilities for crafting with my daughter but sometimes feel she’s a little too young for them, what would you say is the best way to introduce babies and toddlers to craft and messy play that’s age appropriate?

What’s lovely is your passion and enthusiasm will come across – and that’s a wonderful way to play with babies, toddler and children of any age! The sensory development through hands on creative play is a wonderful way for babies and toddlers to learn about their world. So some ideas are to introduce a range of safe materials and textures. It’s helpful not to have any expectations of making things. Just sharing, talking about and exploring the different shapes, sounds, textures, colours, smells is a wonderful fun, bonding experience that you can both enjoy and grow through.

Fun for all ages with The Creation Station

Fun for all ages with The Creation Station

4) Many of my readers have children of different ages and at different stages, are there ways to involve children of different ages in the same activities?

That’s such a great question and one that many families naturally have to deal with. Our approach to nurturing creativity is a bit different to others. Instead of starting with the end in mind we encourage a journey of thinking. One of the magical aspects of arts and crafts is that every person can use materials in a way that inspires them. So a 2 year old could create with card board boxes and paper and glue in a completely different way to an 8 year old, and they both feel really proud of their creations.

5) And finally do you do any ‘grown up’ crafting in your spare time, and if so what do you like to do?

I love design and the arts and still love making things myself. As a family we are trying to build an outdoor cinema in the garden- well, the plan is a deck and roof and a projecter. We’ve had great fun knocking down the old shed, sawing and building the deck and roof and painting it. As far as smaller projects go I’m often inspired by what I see within our franchise network. We’ve been working on our favourite top tips and and ideas and are now writing them up and sharing them through our soon to launch Creative Sparks site (Ed.- sounds exciting, watch this space!)

Huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her crafting insights, she gave me real food for thought about a journey of thinking that I would extend into other areas of my parenting and our play and learning together.

I’d love to here from readers about the activities they try out with their little ones – what activities does your family enjoy?

Disclaimer: I interviewed Sarah to gain ideas for my readers, this is not a sponsored post but a post for the love of craft! All photos were supplied by The Creation Station

We Review Natural Sun Protection SPF30 Spray for Kids from Aubrey Organics

When I wrote this post about dressing a toddler for summer outdoors the sun’s harmful rays were in the forefront of my mind. Joss is often to be found outdoors, and her favourite activity is water play so I needed a sun protection that could offer an element of water-proofing too, the more natural the better.

toddler water sand play

Formulated for children’s more sensitive skin Natural Sun Protection SPF30 Spray for Kids from Aubrey Organics is an SPF 30 sunscreen offering full UVA/UVB ray protection in a convenient spray bottle for quick and easy applications. It’s water resistant for a full 40 minutes which is about the length of our water play sessions; paraben free and organic it meets my requirements and as it’s fragrance free I was happy to give it a go with our sensitive-skin toddler.

aubrey natural sun protection

I really liked the easy spray bottle and it added an element of fun for Joss, it had a pretty accurate spray for less mess! That it can be locked in transit with that little side button you can see under the spray cap means no spills so I was happy to keep it in the changing bag knowing it wouldn’t leak and it offered a really good coverage, a little harder to rub in than others we’ve tried but it meant I knew we were getting good coverage, it was perfect for her sensitive skin and wasn’t as ‘sticky’ as alternative brands.

Priced at £15.98 this is pretty close to the pricing of other brands that offer natural sun protection and I liked that they offer an SPF 45 coverage too as I’d want to use that level of protection should we holiday abroad; I’d recommend Aubrey as a great natural sun protection product for toddlers with sensitive skin

Disclaimer: We received this product to review, all views are my own

Lowdown on Liberty of London

When I get a bit of free time in the big smoke I love to head down to Liberty of London, hopping off at Oxford Circus into the buzz of the shopping streets is a total treat and on my most recent visit I took some snaps so that my lovely blog readers could see what the fuss is all about!

“Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper.” Oscar Wilde

Since 1875, Liberty has been synonymous with luxury and great design. This wonderful emporium was designed by Edwin T. Hall and his son Edwin S. Hall who designed the Tudor building at the height of the 1920s fashion for Tudor revival. It’s said that founder Arthur Liberty wanted to create the feeling that you were walking around your own home when you came to his store, so each of the three main light wells was surrounded by smaller rooms to create a homely feel. Many of the rooms had fireplaces and some still exist today. It’s a sight to behold with it’s grand front entrance!

liberty of london front

The famous florist entrance is one of my favourite ever sights!

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

Liberty is a good old-fashioned department store with beauty and homewares aplenty but my heart lies in its haberdashery!

Liberty of London Haberdashery

Image courtesy of Liberty of London

The displays are enough to keep any crafty blogger interested, I never want to leave as there’s so much to look at, the fabric, the buttons, the displays, did I mention the fabric?

Liberty of London Haberdashery 2

Image courtesy of Liberty of London

Liberty of London Haberdashery 1

Image courtesy of Liberty of London

This time I came away with Betsy Tana Lawn fabrics and gorgeous old school hankies in vibrant prints, more on what I’m going to make with them over the coming weeks!

liberty collage

In the meantime check out this gorgeous Liberty print watches to get a feel for their classic style with a twist!

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

Image courtesy of Liberty of London Facebook

And these Liberty washi tapes found on Etsy, amazing!

liberty washi tape

Liberty washi tape as found on

Lazy crochet hooks

Real Life

Lately I’ve been too tired to pick up my hooks and this little granny square blanket was making me feel guilty, I couldn’t finish it, so instead I put down my lazy crochet hooks and turned it into a cushion cover, one work in progress down, two to go!


I used this method for afixing, from Knitting on Trains and it served me rather well, it seems I stopped crocheting at just the right time to fit my Ikea cushion inner!

Some new washi tapes arrived this week, so watch this space for more makes!


And finally Joss has been cracking us up with some hilarious phrases including

“it’s alright for some”

said randomly when we were talking about taking the bus to the beach! By the looks of it, it certainly is alright for some!


Blog life

Not much to report, I enjoyed writing a post about life as a no car family with kids and received my highest ever views for a single post after a kind soul tweeted it out and it got RT’d frequently over a few days much to my surprise and delight!



I absolutely love Wolves in London and was inspired by her posts on finding and printing vintage images, armed with a £1 transfer paper pack of two sheets and a printer I set to work and will be sharing the results next week, lets just say I’ll be trying this again and no fabric is safe from the printer and iron!!

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Clean & Fair From Traidcraft Review

This Clean & Fair from Traidcraft review comes to you after a two week trial period, and boy was it needed! We have had a busy spell here at Casa There and Back Again… I was away in London for three days, then we had a bout of family illness and then we had to get the place sorted out again, so the chance to put our elbow grease to good use with some new products was a welcome distraction from work and illness!

The lowdown

clean and fair

From left to right we have:

Lemon and lime multi-surface cleaner

Lavender breeze laundry liquid

Lavender and aloe handwash

Lemon citrus washing up liquid

Why Clean & Fair?

This review is part tried and tested and part awareness raising; we need to educate ourselves about the products we use in our homes, and palm oil is something I’ve been concerned about for some time, this graphic from Traidcraft shows how palm oil is used in our day to day lives, in short, it’s everywhere!

Palm Oil graphics

But it’s not fair trade, much of it isn’t sustainable and whole ecosystems are being destroyed to produce it.

Traidcraft are working to challenge the assumption that demand for this versatile product can only be met by mass-production. Instead Traidcraft’s Clean & Fair range sources palm oil from small-scale farmers in Ghana who are working with nature rather than destroying it. When we use Clean & Fair products we know the benefits will go to some of the poorest farmers in West Africa.

Clean & Fair is the UK’s first ever fair trade household cleaning range

Tried and Tested

We used Clean & Fair products for two weeks, actually we tested them for two weeks, we’ve been using them for longer owing to their generous size and muck-busting abilities!

The range is eco-friendly and made from natural and plant based ingredients which is a big green thumbs up with this blog!

First up the moisturising hand wash, made with fair trade coconut oil and palm oil with moisturising aloe and gentle lavender this was a treat for my hands and well as my senses after a few weeks of cleaning up after a family illness! Some lavender products can have a really synthetic floral smell, this was just like my freshly cut lavender instead and pepped me up! Joss is really into washing her hands at the moment and asks for ‘slippy dippy soap’ before meal times, she loved Clean & Fair – “smells ‘licious” – high praise indeed!

The lemon washing up liquid is a great grease-booster, easy to see how we will get 75 uses from this bottle as you need just a smidge to give great bubbles that cut through grime.

The lavender breeze laundry liquid was my favourite product, it scented my washing beautifully and cleaned really well at lower temperatures too, even on our cloth nappies! It left my towels really nice and soft and I found that I didn’t need to use as much as my usual liquid which was a pleasant surprise!


And finally the multi-surface cleaner, it gave a lemon and lime hit that cut through highchair grease and cleaned my sink a treat!

Clean and fair does what it says on the label and performs brilliantly in the home; some products like the laundry liquid way out-performed our current products, and the peace of mind from knowing we’re supporting producers and in our case supporting local too (Traidcraft is based just down the road from us in Gateshead!) makes this range a great choice for our family!

Check out the Traidcraftshop website to find out more. There’s currently 20% off the range until midnight Monday 14th July.

Disclaimer: Traidcraft sent me these items for review purposes, all views are my (and Joss’!) own

My salt scrub recipe for smooth pins!

Hello sunshine, time to get my skin tip top with my salt scrub recipe!

lavender rosemary scrub

Measure out your wet and dry ingredients depending on the size of your storage pot which should have a nice well fitting lid, I use an empty Lush pot but a clean jam jar would do. To measure pour your salt into the pot you’ll be storing in and leave a centimetre gap at the top for your oils, use roughly five tablespoons of olive or almond oil for every half cup of salt. To prepare the fresh rosemary and lavender I simply snip the dried flowers and fresh stems with scissors, I used five drops of lavender oil for a 50ml pot.

Mix everything together well and pop into your pot, and away to the shower you go!

lavender rosemary scrub in pot

I make a similar scrub in a gorgeous pink here