(Almost) Healthy chocolate muffins.

promomuffheader

I’ve been on a real health kick recently. I started P90x3 four weeks ago & with (tough) daily workouts I’m getting more reluctant to ruin my hard work with junk food. But as motivated as I am to be strong & healthy, I do still also have a major sweet tooth, once the girls are in bed I’m craving chocolate or sweets. Both of which are packed full of sugar, and so I’ve had to start looking for alternatives.

I found a recipe on My whole food life for flourless chocolate muffins, but was sceptical… some of these healthy alternatives just taste bland and aren’t worth the effort or ingredients to make.

I can confirm however, these are delicious!

Lets be honest, these won’t taste like a double chocolate chip muffin from Starbucks or wherever.  But as a sugar free, gluten free, healthy alternative, its pretty damn good! Its hard to believe something with such a chocolatey/nutty- Fudgey centre can come with only 250 calories. *calorie estimate from the main recipe source* And the best thing about this recipe is not only can they be made in only four steps, but you also only need four ingredients!

The perfect guilt free sweet treat.

 

So here’s what you need.  (These quantities will make 8 muffins)

225g Peanut butter (any other nut butter will be fine)

2 ripe bananas

56ml maple syrup or honey (I used Maple syrup)

40g cocoa powder.

1

 

And heres what you need to do:

– First preheat your oven to 180c (fan 160 or gas mark 4)

– Next, pop all your ingredients in a blender & give it a good whizz up.

2

 

– Then spoon out the mixture and put into cake cases *Remember to place your cake cases in a muffin tray before you put your mixture in* And place into the oven ( you want your shelf near the top) for 15 minutes. If you want you can top with a few sprinkles of some chopped chocolate for a little bit more chocolatey-ness  – but this is completely optional.

– Finally after taking your muffins out, leave to cool for ten minutes or so – if you can last that long- and they’re ready to eat.

4

 

 

Easy as that!

end

 

 

insta

 

Enjoy!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Support Small Saturday: Bows & Bespoke part two.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 23.06.21

 

Continuing on from the first part of our Support Small Saturday feature that was published this morning – scroll further down the page or click Here to see that.

I’ve spent the past few days trying to whittle it down to my top picks from Bows & Bespoke. This wasn’t an easy task!

1. Quilted bows: Chantal is undoubtedly the Queen of Quilted bows. She created these little lovelies back in 2012 & I think this is without a doubt her stand out product. Her completely unique take on a standard bow, finished to perfection with her gorgeous fabric choices. If you look through the Bows & Bespoke catalogue you will find every single fabric you could ever imagine made into one of these quilted beauties. – Prices start from just £5.75

You can find her full quilted Bow catalogue Here.

quiltedbows

 

2. Collars:  Just look at the picture below for a second. Do we actually need an explanation on why this is one of my top picks? ADORABLE. Thats why! They will make absolutely any outfit that little bit more special. – Prices start from £5.75 (not including hair accessory)

You can find all of the Bows & Bespoke’s available Collars Here.

collars

 

 

3. Sunsuits: Well, I’ve certainly saved the best until last. These Sun suits are the Must have children’s wear item of 2015 & if your looking for an amazing quality, beautifully designed garment with a quirky fabric… look no further. These are perfect for the warmer days  -Prices start from £24.

sunsuits

And if you those didn’t convince you, then this beautiful Nautical print sunsuit will change your mind. Link for this particular one is Here & is priced at £25.

nautical suit

 

 

innumbers

925

 

 

 

 

 

2012

Untitled

 

mixture

I managed to grab a few last words from Chantal, here is her advice if your thinking about starting up your own small business.

Work out what you want from your business before you get in too deep. Do you want to be rich, or to be happy? Sometimes you can’t have both and it’s good to work out which is more important before you start.

And I think thats the perfect way to end this weeks Support Small Saturday.

Thank you for taking time out of your Crazy schedule to talk to me Chantal.

bonnet

You can shop for any Bows & Bespoke products at

http://www.bowsandbespoke.co.uk

Facebook

and

Instagram

Enjoy the rest of your Bank holiday weekend.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Support Small Saturday – Bows & Bespoke.

1

 

 

Hi there! Today i’m back for another Support Small Saturday and oh my goodness am I excited to showcase this one! This week I’ll be sharing as much as I can possibly fit into two posts for the fabulous Bows & Bespoke!

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 23.06.21

 

Bows and Bespoke is run by the immensely talented Chantal Turner. I first came across B&B Back when I had just started out selling with TLWP, to say I was completely besotted is an understatement. With her army of loyal fashionista- followers & an array of gorgeous products. It wasn’t long before I found myself envious of Chantal’s amazing talents.

11256459_10206882454242728_1471665924_n

 

It all started with a simple Bow. But with an eye for luxurious fabrics & a passion for design, Chantal has created not only a successful small business, but a brand, renowned to women throughout the UK for its expertly hand crafted (and utterly gorgeous) accessories & children’s wear.

bows

 

 

I’ve been lucky enough to bag a bit of time taken out from Chantal’s busy schedule to find out just how she works:-

Hi Chantal, thank you so much for taking the time out to speak to me, first up. How would you describe the style of Bows & bespoke?

Classic styles in a modern palatte with a little bit of childhood nostalgia.

What gave you the courage to jump in and start your own business?

I never really did a “jump” It kinda just snowballed out of nowhere. I couldn’t find any nice hair accessories for my daughter so I pulled out a glue gun from under the kitchen sink, found a scrap of ribbon and cut a clip off an old hair bow. A bit of a play around and some very blistered thumbs, and I had just made my first bow! Of course it was instagram worthy, so from then on I was dishing out bows to friends and family. It all grew from there really.

Running bows & bespoke is a full time job (and then some) so what made you brave it & start another business?

I had a feeling in my stomach that I had to do it. My partner wasn’t on board and thought I was crazy, but he is eating his words now because it’s running smoothly and I can see it growing already. Starting up the fabric side was, and still is so scary and expensive. I haven’t broke even yet and I doubt I will for a while, i’m happy just having all these wonderful fabrics at my disposal. You and I both know that shopping for fabric is not a chore, it’s like a day at the spa for anyone in our field. I think it’s fantastic that I can disguise it for work.

Oh definitely, fabric shopping is just the best! As well as working hard for your business’s you’re also a mother, how do you manage to find a balance between mother-hood and work?

I read that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I don’t feel like i have a “proper” job, i feel as though i have a proper hobby! I have restricted working hours to Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I will work from 8am until 5pm on those days, whilst my daughter is at nursery. Tuesday and Thursdays are our days. We do crafts, go swimming, go to the play area, do baking and always fit in a tea and scone date. I spend a lot of time with my daughter and really utilise the days that we have together. As soon as i collect her from nursery she is straight on my hip and doesn’t leave my side until her next nursery session. I have staff in on a saturday who work from my home. This enables me to do my housework and stay with my daughter without having to have her in nursery for any longer than is needed. Obviously nursery is cheaper and I can do the work myself, but I made the decision to offload and take a pay cut so that I can invest in my family life.

A very smart decision! What would you say are the best things about being your own boss?

After lunch naps without a doubt! My daughter may be 3 but I still believe that if she is sleeping, I should be sleeping. All this stands for when she’s at nursery too. I don’t tell my boyfriend this, because he doesn’t need to know. He won’t read this, right? If he asks, I never get a minute.

Ha ha, What would you say has been your personal business high?

This is a hard one Robyn. I love it when Minnies Bowtique is on and Amora starts telling people (her teddies) that her mummy can make bows too. I’m like ‘You’re damn right i can kid’. That and of course taking the leap to set up Floral and Thread and investing every penny I owned into it, and seeing it grow.

There’s an ongoing issue of ‘Copying’ amongst small business owners, particularly within the handmade community. How do you keep your ideas so fresh? Do you have any fail safe tricks to re-boot your creative juices when you’re struggling?

Don’t follow fickle trends and be inconsistent with your design. People value integrity and originality more than you would think. Put your phone away, re connect with the world and wait for something to come into your head. Try not to look at what others are doing as that can infect your own creative process with other peoples ideas.

You’re constantly thinking up new creations, what has been your favourite garment or accessory so far?

I would have to say the quilted bow. I love the detachable collars too.

And finally what are your plans for the future of both business’s?

I would love the two to come together one day and be available from the same premises. That’s all i’ll say as this is a pipe dream for now..

Thank you for taking the time out to be a part of Support Small Saturday Chantal!

11335469_10206889884388477_581030821_n

As well as Bows & Bespoke, Chantal recently started on a new venture, Floral & Thread. An online fabric store providing luxurious, high quality fabrics at an affordable price.

fabrics

 

As well as using it to offer an insight to the one-off projects she creates for her adorable daughter Amora.

sneekpeeks

Amora.

The Floral & Thread website is currently under construction, but you can purchase directly from Chantal by visiting her Instagram

You can also shop for any Bows & Bespoke products at

http://www.bowsandbespoke.co.uk

You must be quick – I mean really quick, her products sell out almost instantly!

You can also catch Chantal’s sneak peeks & words of wisdom on her

Facebook 

and

Instagram

I’ll be back for our second instalment of this weeks Support Small: Bows & Bespoke,  later on this afternoon.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real home inspiration- It’s my bathroom!

Last week I was asked to take part in the real home inspiration article for wayfair.co.uk. I’m super excited to say you can now see my bathroom featured over on their website – amongst other gorgeous blogger bathrooms!!

Pop on over & have a look.

http://www.wayfair.co.uk/Inspiration/Real-Home-Inspiration-Bathroom-Edition-E9042

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 15.32.55

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 09.30.50

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Personalised bunting tutorial.

I’m currently in the middle of re-locating all of my sewing stuff up to our spare room. Since my machine’s are both packed up, I’ve not been able to get a sewing tutorial up. I do however have a very talented friend who’s letting me share hers. Clare over at Maybush Studio recently Vlogged (Video blogged, for those not in the know) a very simple & completely adorable Personalised bunting tutorial over on her blog.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 21.12.50

 

These are the perfect project for some of you that I know aren’t completely confident on your machines yet, but still want to make something useable. Claire explains everything so simply, you’ll most definitely be able to pick it up in no time.

The link for her tutorial is Here.

Claire is also my top pick for the 2015 MAD awards Photography category, If you’re planning on nominating this year I urge you to pick her. Not only does she make fabulous tutorials but she is absolutely amazing with a camera. See her recent idyllic  beach picnic photographs for a perfect example!

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 18.16.22

 

P.S I’ve also been nominated for the best craft blog category, I’d love a couple of other nominations if your voting!

Nomination forms are Here.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

5 ways to beat a creative slump.

5ways

 

 

We’ve all been there. You’re just about to start or are already in the middle of doing something crafty and all of a sudden it just feels like a chore,  before you know it your absent mindedly muddling through, making silly mistakes and practically ruining what should be something great.

Well here are my top five tips for beating that slump and getting yourself back on your way to completing awesome projects.

1. Stop. Stop whatever you are doing. Go make a tea/coffee/glass of wine. Watch an episode of Friends, fold some washing. Just do anything but your craft half heartedly. You’ll come back re-energised after a little break.

2. Go outside. The outdoors is an entire world of inspiration – litterally. Go for a walk, somewhere scenic where you can gaze at the natural beauty surrounding you, fresh air is proven to re-fresh and there WILL be something that catches your eye and helps push an idea you didn’t even realise you had stored.

3. Use pinterest. Make an inspiration board. Remember to pin everytime an image inspires you, no matter how random.

4. Ignore what others are doing. Creativity is a personal experiance. Do yourself a favour and keep it that way, copying is a disservice to your individual brilliance.

5. Have other outlets. I love sewing, but sometimes when i’m feeling crafty I just don’t want to sew. So instead i’ll go and tackle another project. I’ll make something new & delicious for us to eat or tackle a project I’ve had planned for the house. Creativity comes in a million and one different forms & you’re allowed to have more than one outlet.

creativity

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

DIY: From wooden pallet to farmhouse shutters.

7777

 

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I had a little ‘Pallet project’. Heres the finished product. I am so, ridiculously in love with them. So much so that I’m already planning the next pair to be made for the kitchen. Anyone would be pushed to find something similar for less than £100 – if not more & so I’m so pleased to tell you these cost us the grand total of….. £11.96 – I’m actually not even joking.

1 Pallet – Free

4 butterfly hinges – £1.98 for 10 (ebay)

4 strap hinges – £4.12 for 4. (B&Q)

2 handles  – £5.86 (B&Q)

Sandpaper – Free (already in)

White paint – Free (I already had it in)

Clear matt varnish – free (I had that in too)

 

It was a joint effort, Sam doing all the hard labour, me doing… the easy stuff & eventually taking all the credit.

before11

 

before22

 

before33

 

save44

 

maybe

 

22

33

 

 

I’ve managed to find a ready made tutorial thats very similar to what we did, you can find that Here.

these really are so simple to make & look absolutely amazing! The bathroom is one step closer to being the luxurious retreat I dream of!

2323

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Support Small Saturday – Koppits creations (Part 2)

header

 

It was impossible to fit everything into one blog post, so i’m continuing on from the first part of our Support Small Saturday feature that was published this morning – scroll further down the page or click Here to see that.

I’ve spent hours upon hours trawling through Sam’s work trying to pick my favourite items for this feauture. Not an easy task, I genuinely love it all, but somehow I’ve managed to narrow it down to the three ‘Must buys’ from Koppits creations.

1. The ‘Polly’ shorts – An original Koppits creation piece, these adorable little shorties are the perfect addition to any little girls wardrobe. Using her own handcrafted pattern, Sam has created a completely versatile garment.. Whatever the weather, with tights & wellies or bare legged with sandals, these trimmed pretties will always be both practical & fashionable.   – Prices start at £20 (excluding Liberty prints)

11212235_10206797148230131_1579247112_n

 

 

2. Handmade Bibs – Why, why WHY, Hadn’t I found these back when my girls where both babies?! They are just the most adorable bibs I have ever seen and of course completely practical as well, the best bit? You can have them personalised completely free of charge! – £7 including UK delivery.

bibs

 

 

3. The ‘Bella’ dress – Does this even need a description? These are the ultimate in handmade luxury. Every special occasion calls for a bespoke ‘Bella’ dress (she offers a bespoke service so you can mix & match your own choice in fabrics). A truly classic piece that will last forever. – Prices start from £35 depending on fabric choices.

belladress

 

 

numbers

8weeks

300+shortsold

3hours

4belladresses

 

 

I managed to grab a few final words of wisdom from Sam, So here are her top tips for getting the most out of your Small business:

1: Do as much research you can on the industry you are entering and ALWAYS research your prices.

2: Be unique! don’t copy other people, where’s the sense of achievement in that?

3: Be pro active!

4: Be polite and kind always giving the best customer service.

5: Remember that cheaper doesn’t always mean better.

6: Put in what you want out of your business, if you don’t work hard you won’t get amazing success! You have to work very hard at anything to make it work. 

Fantastic advice from someone who’s making a big impression within the handmade community.

photoshoot

Thats it for our very first Support Small Saturday. Massive thank you To Samantha Koppit of Koppits creations. I couldn’t have asked for a better business to launch this with. Hopefully your feeling inspired, And if your not interested in the business side of things, at least you’ve discovered a brand new shop – apologies for the hit your bank balance will no doubtedly  take once she re-opens her order book at the end of the month.

full

*Please note I have not taken payment of any kind for promoting Koppits creations today, doing it simply because she’s amazing at what she does & I want to share it with my readers*

You can find a full catalogue of Koppits creations designs over on her Facebook & Instagram page, and all enquires can go to koppitscreations@hotmail.com.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support Small Saturday – Koppits creations.

1

Good morning! Happy Saturday & thank you for coming to check out our first Support Small Saturday.

 

I’m so pleased to have our very first Support Small Saturday business. Koppits creations, and what an amazing small business to spend the day sharing with you all.

header

I first came across Koppits creations over on instagram at the beginning of the year & I was immediately in love – anyone who knows this company will completely agree no doubt!- Samantha Koppit -Owner & dress making extrodinaire – is one talented gal.

11216057_10206797227592115_995078085_n

Whether its her gorgeously trimmed polly shorts or her trademark fairytale ‘Bella’ dress. There really isn’t anything Samantha can’t do (Seriously, there isn’t! Sam also offers a bespoke service, choose your style, choose your fabric & she’ll whip it up for you!)

2

‘Bella” dress, prices start from around £35 (depending on your chosen fabric) & Polly shorts, prices start from £20 (excludes Liberty print)

 

With an extraordinary eye for detail & a passion for all things design, its not hard to see why people are flocking in droves to get their hands on one of Samantha’s creations.

11143722_759786864135665_5185716351039709014_n

 

I have been extremely lucky to bag this super busy lady for my first Support Small Saturday, so I took complete advantage and managed to grab five minutes of her time for an interview

Hi, Samantha. Thanks for being TLWP’s very first Support small Saturday business owner. I have a million questions, but i’ve had to whittle it down to as few as possible. So lets start, How would you describe the style of Koppits creations?

Well the style of koppits creations, I would say is a modern spin on classic clothing using high quality fabrics with a vintage feel.

What gave you the courage to jump in and start your own business?

Well, this is a very long story so I apologise in advance; I had a very difficult pregnancy with my youngest and was put on bed rest at 16 weeks. Having worked my entire adult life, going from several jobs to nothing was incredibly challenging for me .

Eden arrived 8 weeks prematurely and left me with some health complications, which in turn meant that I was unable to return to my hairdressing and gymnastic coaching . When Eden was a few months old my mum gave me a second hand sewing machine. I have never used a sewing machine despite my mother being a bridal dressmaker and my sister designing for an adult clothing label, I had never been interested in doing it myself.

I was incredibly stubborn and taught myself from the simplest to what I currently do. It has in no way been easy but I have managed so far. For example up until 9 months ago, I wasn’t able to do button holes! – how bad is that?!

So after being asked by mothers in the playground about my daughters clothes, I started making them for other people, not quite believing that any would be interested. And look at how busy it is now! I’m still struggling to belive it all to be honest.

As well as working hard for your business you’re also a mother of three.. how do you manage to find a balance between mother-hood and work?

It’s a challenge thats for sure! Illana and Luca are at school, so they leave at about 7:30 am, then Eden goes to pre school for three hours three times a week. This interrupted sewing time does make a difference, but a day in the life of Sam  (most days ) consist’s of:

– Up at 6am,

-Feed the children,

– Get us all washed and dressed,

– Illana and Luca go to school,

– Take Eden to pre school,

– Then sewing what is on the already cut list,

– Collect Eden, feed Eden,

– Package the mornings sewing

– 2pm we leave to do the school pick up,

– Home at 4pm,

– More sewing,

-Get dinner going, do homework with Illana and Luca, whilst doing any admin/answering messages,

– Feed, bath & bed time stories for the children,

– 7pm more sewing or if i’m completely exhausted its more cutting,

And if I can squeeze in the washing and tidying and hovering that’s a bonus –  I call those good days!

What would you say are the best things about being your own boss?

I adore being my own boss, I get to make and design what I choose to which allows me creativity to flow. I would like to say that I can take time off when need be, but unfortunately that isn’t the case! I think my last full day off ( day and evening ) was on my birthday back in February.

Oh, I remember those days!  You’ve come so far, in such a short space of time, what would you say has been your personal business high?

Gosh there are just so many! I’m very lucky, but I think having my work acknowleged by liberty of London and them consenting to me using their fabrics was a huge deal for me and left me on cloud nine for ages!

Oh I bet, that is an amazing acheivement!

There’s an ongoing issue of ‘Copying’ amongst small business owners, particularly within the handmade community. How do you keep your ideas so fresh? Do you have any fail safe tricks to re-boot your creative juices when you’re struggling?

I take a lot of personal offence when I see hours or my hard work being badly copied.  It’s happened a lot recently as more and more people are seeing my work! Personally I look at adult trends as well as vintage styles and think how I can reproduce it in my taste, with the fabrics I use and put my spin on it. Looking at Pinterest fashion is a regular thing for me.

Pinterest… the stealer of time! It’s just so addictive, so much prettiness in one place!

What are your plans for the future of Koppit creations?

To take over the childrens fashion industry! Ha ha  I think with how busy it has become, that bespoke may become limited edition and I can concentrate on producing more ready made items. I have been contacted by several shops about stocking my range which is awesome but I need to create a stock. Having my brand recognised would be such a sense of achievement for me. Watch this space, maybe you will see my label on the high street soon!

No doubt about it Sam, I’ll be the here to say ‘I got her first interview!’ – don’t forget me when your all rich & famous! ha ha. Thank you so much for joining in with Support Small Saturday Sam, its been a pleasure! 

 

11071926_729864967127855_706762705165709563_n

Keep an eye out later on this afternoon for the second part of our Support Small saturday, where we’ll be taking Koppits in numbers, Sam’s tips for success & Koppits creations Top picks.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

You can find Koppits creations over on

Facebook

Instagram

or you can enquire via email at www.Koppitscreations@hotmail.com

Her books are currently closed until the end of May.

 

Support Small Saturday.

1

 

 

Once upon a time, I was a small business owner – not that long ago actually, I only closed in January of this year. Anyway, since I decided to re-direct my focus onto blogging & tutorials i’ve had a little niggle of guilt at the back of my head.

I am completely aware that I’m teaching would be small business customers how to sew & make their own things instead of buying. Which is why I’ve come up with Support Small Saturday. Once or twice a month I want to dedicate the whole day to Small business’s. Promoting your handmade goodies & showing to as many people as possible just what you can do.

As of tomorrow (Saturday 9th May 2015) I’m looking for awesome Creative Small business’s to work with. Each support small Saturday will consist of me sharing a whole bundle of pictures of your work on all of my social media sites, as well as sharing any discounts/deals you may be running, an article over on the blog which will hold a bio of your business. Plus an interview with the business owner & a competition to run via TLWP if you would like to donate a prize. The entire day will be dedicated to your hard work!

If you’d like to be a part of Support small Saturday, drop me an email over at info@thelittlewomanpretends.co.uk

You can see our very first Support small Saturday tomorrow. And I have someone Awesome to kick this off with!.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.