tilly makes & bakes

Always striving to achieve a state of domestic bliss!


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This little piggy…

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I found this little 1970s piggy bank at the local charity shop and I just had to get it for my 3 year old. I gave it to her as a reward for being really brave when she had her preschool booster jabs and she has been collecting stray coins from all over the house and saving them. How cute does that silly pig look? I just had to share! ūüôā

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Owl babies

I have been crafting owls as birthday party invites for my little girl who turns one in a few months. As we have lots on over the coming weeks, I thought I would get ahead of myself and start making a few bits and pieces ready to use nearer the time. I used just a few bits of card and patterned paper.

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I made hand drawn templates on thick card and checked if everything looked ok when put together.

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I drew around the body template twice, whilst overlapping the two shapes a little. I then folded the two body parts over one another to make a card.

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I used patterned  and plain paper for all the other parts to create the patchwork effect I was after.

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I love the way each little owl is different and just look how you can create their owly characters by changing the eyes slightly.

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And whilst talking about owls…¬†have you¬†come across¬†the book¬†“Owl babies” by Martin Waddell ? One of my all time favourite children’s books.¬†Tugs the heart strings every time¬†and¬†the illustrations are just gorgeous!

Cover of "Owl Babies"

Cover of Owl Babies


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Milky breakfast bars

Whilst trying to keep to a monthly food budget, I have recently been looking for cheaper and healthier alternatives to shop-bought cereal bars. Especially the kid-branded organic ones can cost an arm and a leg and I find that many of the ones aimed at adults are full of dodgy stuff. Also, you can pay anything up to £3 and still only  get about 5 bars per pack- rip off!

I have therefore¬†tried a few different recipes for granola bars and flapjacks but haven’t had great results. Either there were tons of golden syrup and butter involved or the bars just simply didn’t stick together very well.

I then came across¬†a brilliant idea that I had to try out straight away…cereal bars made with special ingredient….sweetened condensed milk!! I have made several batches with different flavour combinations and I have tweaked the basic recipe a little bit each time. It really is genius…the sweetened consdensed milk magically transforms in the oven and makes all the oats and other goodies stick together perfectly. You don’t get greasy butter bars, no rock solid bricks either…just perfectly yummy, squidgy bars that are easy to cut and even easier to eat!

Per batch, I used

1 regular tin of sweetened condensed milk

1 tbsp butter

1tbsp honey

200g oats

These are the basic ingredients to which you can add any combination of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate chips that you like. I went for:

75g dried cherries & berries mix

75g whole blanched almonds

75g cashew nuts

2 tbsp ground almonds

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

You basically just need to warm up the condensed milk with the butter and honey in a pan and then stir in the other ingredients.¬†(If using chocolate chips, these are best sprinkled on top before baking as they will¬†otherwise melt in the¬†warm condensed milk.) ¬†Transfer into a lined baking tin and bake at 160 ¬įC for 35-40 minutes. Leave to set in the tin, turn out and cut into bars or squares.

Here is my last tray of goodness cooling on the hob:

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Om nom nom!


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Wedding- Teacher- Easter gift idea … Herb garden with money butterflies

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Whilst looking through my photos I came across this lovely herb garden in a basket with butterflies that I photographed at a wedding last year. It made me feel instantly excited for Spring which should (hopefully) be just around the corner!

Apart from being a really sweet wedding present, this idea would also be great as a teacher gift for Easter. You could easily replace the money notes with coloured or patterened papers or get all the parents to chip in and get a collection started. It would definitely make a welcome change from the usual chocolates! Teacher or not, this would be a brilliant gift for anyone for Easter!

All you need is

a pretty basket

several pots of herb plants such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, parsley, lavender

a few pipe cleaners

money notes or coloured papers

decorations of choice (ribbons, pinwheels, etc)

To make the butterflies you could just simply fold the notes into fans and tie the pipe cleaners around their middle. However, there are also lots of tutorials of how to make a proper origami butterfly from money notes online. I did a quick search and found an instructional video here.

This is definitely at the top of my “must-do” list of craft and gift ideas!