baking, cooking, cooking with kids

How to make a REALLY easy no-peel apple crumble

How to make a REALLY easy no-peel apple crumble

apple-crumble-for-oats-with-recipeThe apples fall a little later up North (we’re in Lancashire for half term long weekend) so we’ve been cutting apples ‘the special way’ to make a really lovely warming crumble for lunch, what are you up to?

And do you peel your apples before you cook them for your crumble?

We’ve tried a different way of baking ours this time – none of this nonsense peeling lark!

1kg/2lb apples
Tablespoon of liquid (water or juice)
100g/3½oz plain flour
75g/2½oz butter
100g/3½oz rolled oats
100g/3½oz demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Wash and lay each apple on its side…  slice the apples, from the bottom to create ‘circles’ so that you  reveal the pretty star in the centre of the apple – the core looks so lovely like this! With its natural floral shaped pips… Then cut these round slices up and discard the ‘core’ – no need to peel…

Put all of the slices into a pan. Add a tablespoon of water or fruit juice and cook over a medium heat for about five minutes, until the apples start to soften. (not for too long, you want a little bit of bite).
Tip the softened apples into a shallow ovenproof pie dish – we love the look of the white and blue enamel ware.
Mix the flour and butter, the oats and the demerara sugar in a bowl, and get your hands in there, stirring until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle over the cooked apples in the pie dish. Pop it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown on top.

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crafts, create, halloween, monster, Uncategorized

How to make a Halloween Leaf Wreath

How to make a Halloween Leaf Wreath 

autumn-leaves-wreath_incredibusy-square-copyrightWe’ve been making some really cute things with Conkers this year – It all started with a white pen… we found these pens in a local stationery store, (you can find them in the links at the foot of this post) and they can write on glass and metal, and CONKERS!

We were just having a bit of fun with conkers, and making a pile of little skulls, and it’s just grown from there!
Instagram rather loved our bowl of these little skeleton chums, so we just kept making them, and decided to DO something with them, see video below – we made a Halloween Leaf Wreath! We are going to hang these on the front door, and actually have made a couple, so youngest has one on his bedroom door too! (to ward of his big brother apparently… So – you will need:

    1. Paper Plates
    2. String
    3. Scissors
    4. Leaves
    5. Conkers
    6. Glue gun here in the UK and in the US
    7. Hole punch
    8. Pen for writing on conkers – available here in the UK, here in the US

Well; that’s the weekend… conkers and scary skulls; this is what I’ve been doing with 12yo whilst 13yo seems to be drowning in homework – hardly fair right? So we’ve left him to it at home and walked up to tennis; the weather is wonderful and we’ll be scrumpy-ing some little apples we’ve spotted on the way home… Oh incidentally: we have a “plan” for our conker skulls; will keep you posted… Meanwhile do keep your #halloweencrafts 🎃 coming for judge @innerchildfun #kidscrafts101 and your #sgiew_potplant shots too so that @komoonko can find them 🌿 . #sgiew #conkers #autumn #littlestoriesofmylife #flatlayforever #fromwhereistand #potplant #cactus #cactuslover #slowlivingforlife . Hosts – we should have a party! @babbledabbledo @redtedart @willowdaygram!

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

How to make a Halloween Leaf Wreath – really easy, lots of fun, and uses lots of natural materials, to encourage foraging and getting outdoors!

autumn-leaves-wreath_incredibusyAli also writes at

halloween leaf wreath skulls

baking, cooking, cooking with kids, key stage 2, key stage 3, kids

The science of perfect porridge

Perfect Porridge

Porridge, oatmeal – not just a pretty face, according to a study by Harvard University, wholegrains such as oats may be the key to living longer – so on that thought, and the desire to avoid sugary breakfast cereals, we set about making porridge INTERESTING – and from experience, that involves cooking with the tween/teenager kids, getting them making it, and hey, even throwing a bit of basic SCIENCE into the mix! ie – Oats contain starch, mix this with water, heating it as you go, and watch those molecules become porridge!the science of porridge

A good sciency word for this is ‘polymerisation’ – Starch is a bunch of molecules made of huge numbers of sugar molecules joined end-on-end (polymerisation). Cooking breaks starch molecules into smaller starch molecules and ties water molecules to the starch molecules. This effectively expanding and softens the starchy food, causing the potatoes to turn soft white and the soup to thicken. For porridge this takes about 10-12 minutes.

(In fact, you could even add a bit of HISTORY into the saucepan as the New Scientist writes that stone-age people were making porridge some 32,000 years ago!)
Besides its role in the life of the early stone-age humans, porridge, loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibres, is also being celebrated by food scientists and health experts due to its health benefits. As the Harvard University research shows, a small bowl of this popular breakfast option can reduce the risk of a range of health problems including potentially life-threatening medical conditions… the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

As a recent convert to the Couch to 5k exercise, I’ve found that eating a bowl of porridge oats an hour before, with their slow-releasing, wholegrain goodness an hour keeps my blood sugar levels steady throughout the work/run, while providing us with enough energy to keep us going.

Food scientists who investigated the reasons for the many health benefits of porridge explained that just like other whole grain foods, porridge is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibres and some other compounds. Some of these have been shown to be crucial for normal physiological function, while others are believed to have protective effects. One of the best examples are antioxidants which reduce the risk of disease by ‘blocking’ the effects of free radicals. These have been linked to cellular damage which is thought to be responsible for a range of health problems including cancer.

the-science-of-porridgeWhat are you waiting for? Our favourite way to enjoy a creamy bowl of porridge? Too many to number – but here’s how we make ours…

160g rolled porridge oats
500ml water
100ml organic milk, or soya milk

1. Place the porridge oats, and water in a large pan over a medium heat.
2. Stir with a wooden spoon.
3. Bring to a steady low simmer for 6 to 10 minutes, stirring as often as you can to give you a smooth creamy porridge,  add the milk to loosen the mixture once it had cooked through…

And then add your toppings – We often add seeds for an extra crunch and nutritional boost too… Try sunflower, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds, grated apple, or add sliced bananas, honey, and or dried fruit if you’re out of fresh fruit. A dollop of coconut oil also adds an extra nutritional dimension too!

Are Oats Gluten Free? Oats contain avenin, which is a protein similar to gluten. However, research has shown that most people with coeliac disease can safely eat avenin. Problems can occur if oats are produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye, as the oats can become contaminated with these other grains. (via Coeliac UK)

the-science-of-porridge-incredibusyActually, whilst we are mentioning Chia Seeds – this is also a really fun science experiment – just add some water to the dried chia seeds, walk away for an hour, and when you come back – wow! It turns into a ‘chia gel’ as it has hydrophilic properties (ability to soak water) makes the seed much more valuable to your body. Soaking chia will activate the seed making it more bio-available to your body, helping to prevent blood sugar spikes, decreasing cholesterol and keeping you hydrated longer (And – more history – This is one of the reasons why the ancient Aztec athletes consumed chia on a regular basis) Oh, and the gooey slimey texture will really entertain your kids – science in the kitchen rocks!

And don’t worry if you make too much porridge or oatmeal, we keep our leftovers in the fridge for up to three days, and it’s easily heated up again on the hob, stir in some milk as you do so (soya milk or otherwise) and you’re ready to go!

Photos and Story Ali Clifford
Ali also writes at and
Bowls – Amanda Banham ceramics

crafts, education, kids

The Good Life Experience – family festival

The Good Life Experience 2016

Helter Skelter na na na na na

We’ve had ourselves a full and active summer, we just didn’t want it to be over…

Youngest started at ‘bigger than ever’ school and we thought, that’s it, Autumn is on its way – And then, with great joy, we packed our tent into the back of the car and took ourselves off for a long weekend to North Wales. We were meeting my sister, husband and Gracie the dog, for an amazing family weekend at The Good Life Experience, and WHAT a wonderful family festival.

Located in the grounds of the Hawarden Estate, former home of Prime Minister William Gladstone and now owned by his great-great grandson Charlie Gladstone and his wife Caroline (they of vintage lifestyle brand, Pedlars). You may have seen us talking about Pedlars over on too – as they’ve been one of our #sgiew (@sogoodineveryway) photo challenge judges.

It’s a stunning location, with a castle, rolling grounds, a lake… before you even start to take in the iconic helter skelter, the beautiful bell tents, and general loveliness that goes to make this such a fabulous spot for a family festival of Music, Culture, Food & The Great Outdoors.

Andrew Berry Brui good life experience prints

We bumped into so many people we knew from the world of Instagram, including the talented illustrator Lucie Sheridan, and sweetly lovely Ruby @RubyDiamonds and her family, the winners of our #sgiew_goodlife Photo Challenge earlier this year – you can read Ruby’s review here.

All of the workshops and stall holders were happy and enthusiastic, and a delight to meet bumping into a chatting to the nicest of people… nods at Amanda Banham ceramics, Ali Dover, Jennie Maizels (pictured below on the swing!), Beth from Decorator’s Notebook, YuyoHepple Gin (yep, I might just have sampled the gin), Edward Carefoot Journeyman, Dorte from Lewes Map, Elinor and Michael, Beachhutcook, Helen from Nellie and Eve; who have I missed!

A video posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

The Good Life Experience was founded in 2014 by four friends Cerys Matthews, Steve Abbott and Charlie & Caroline Gladstone, and they’ve crafted a festival that is wonderfully entertaining, based around themes of slow living, hand crafts, and the great outdoors, with a bit of poetry and live music thrown in for good measure. Fabulous guest speakers, art & craft workshops, swing bands and lindy hop dancing, coffee stops, ceramics, archery, axe throwing, Jennie Maizels‘ sketchbook clubs, Alex Pole forge kitchenware, plasticine stop motion animation, bushcraft,  a dog show(!) and so much more!

Plasticine dogs for the Amazing Scene Machine
Lea and Spike’s Plasticine dog for the Amazing Scene Machine
Looking forward to seeing the finished animation Jim Parkyn!

Between the six of us, we managed to cram a LOT into the weekend, listened to the amazing (and hilarious) Doctor John Cooper Clarke, adventurer Ben Fogle talking about his life, DJ78 with his classic wind up gramophones,  and John Higgs, talking KLF and the spectacular Swing Patrol swing dance class… yes, I’ve looked them up on the internet, there IS a class near me!

Amanda Banham has us hard at work – the two Ali-s – Clifford and Dover

We marvelled at Neil from the Harwarden Estate and his amazing pumkin carving, we danced and cheered for the amazing Stealing Sheep.

The wonderfully polka dot Stealing Sheep

As Tim at Gather Outdoors said, it’s great to meet up with so many like-minded people all in one place (and many that we follow and interact with on the ‘gram!)

We’re already planning our visit to The Good Life Experience next year and there are some Super early-bird tickets on sale here for 15-17 September 2017. We seriously can’t wait!

Black cow vodka
Roll up roll up – the academy awaits
Neil’s amazing pumpkins
That moonlit sky though…
Jeremy Vine in full flow…
Jennie Maizels brings the blue skies
Gill Meller and his smokin’ fish…
The forest bar
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
Adam Stanley, Welsh seafood pit bake
FANFARE CIOCĂRLIA and the wonderful Cerys
dj78 – we like his style!
Diabel Cissokho wowing the crowds
A field of clover for Gracie the dog to bounce around in
Instagram Stories came into their own! @incredibusy
Cerys reads Sue Boyle – ‘a leisure centre is also a temple of learning’
Cerys gets us all singing ‘let’s go fly a kite’
Caught by the river
Apples and Glitterballs


Jennie Maizels and me, Ali Clifford on the best swing ever


Words and photographs, Ali Clifford
Also writes over on

cooking, kids

Eating for peace – Conflict Cafe

Eating for peace – grubclub

grubclub-conflict-cafeIf delicious food, finding out about other cultures, and a love of peace sound like your perfect evening’s entertainment, book your place at Conflict Café, in the atmospheric tunnels underneath London’s Waterloo Station.

Here chefs including Imad Ghossain (pictured) from Lebanon and Ruby Kughanathan (pictured) from Sri Lanka will delight diners with food from their home countries, helping to show how much we can get to know about others and their countries simply by breaking bread with them and sharing a meal.


rubyBoth Imad and Ruby became passionate about food by watching their mothers at their stoves at home as they cooked for the family, and then joining in. They left their countries of origin for a safer life and believe very much in the power of food to help transform attitudes, hence their support for Conflict Café.

This pop-up restaurant is being run by peacebuilding charity International Alert for the third year running from 22
September – 2 October 2016.

Conflict Café was inspired by a tradition that is common to many cultures around the world: coming together and reconciling differences by preparing and sharing meals. Diners will sit at communal tables and enjoy traditional dishes while finding out more about issues facing countries affected by conflict. It’s hoped that strangers will be inspired to talk together and start conversations about building peace through food.

Rebecca Crozier, International Alert’s Head of Emerging Programmes, explains the reasons behind the idea: “Across different cultures and continents, food has the power to bring people together and encourage the act of sharing. In some Middle Eastern countries, it is custom for the perpetrator of a crime to cook a meal for the victim and their family as a way of fixing broken bonds. In Europe, too, we find ways of using food to calm domestic storms, to unite communities and bring neighbourhoods together.
She adds: “We hope that Conflict Café will give diners a glimpse into the diverse cuisines and complex histories of some of the countries where we work, highlighting the positive role that food can play in peacebuilding.”
The organisers say that eating a meal may not obviously be changing the world but, if a diner is giving a thought to Lebanon or Sri Lanka in their hurried life, they believe that they are already ahead. The event changes – or creates – that person’s perception of that country. People will not often take three hours to read everything about world events. But if they go out for a great meal and hear someone from that country talk, they will be experiencing human detail from that country. They may tell their friends about it or write on social media and that’s how change can take place.
The initiative kicks off with Conflict Café: Lebanon, a country which ended its civil war just 10 years ago and is now hosting more than one million refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria.


The focus will then shift to the delicious flavours of Sri Lanka where, after nearly 30 years of conflict, more than a generation of Sri Lankans have grown up with no real experience of peace.

Conflict Café is part of the Talking Peace Festival organised by International Alert, a charity established by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other visionaries 30 years ago in a bid to secure an end to some of the world’s most bitter disputes. Once you’ve eaten you can take a look round the other tunnels in the House of Vans complex. These are housing other parts of the festival including the Create Syria multimedia exhibition.
This shows footage of exiled Syrian artists and cultural figures running workshops in Lebanon with refugee children and young people to help them to overcome their experiences of war.
The whole event is at the House of VANS, Arches 228 – 232 Station Approach Road, London SE1 8SW

Tickets are £35 for dinners and £20 for brunch. They are available online at

Twitter: @talkpeacefest
Instagram: @international_alert
Hashtags: #ConflictCafe and #TalkingPeace
Talking Peace Festival website:

otto-schade-illustration‘Say it with flowers’ – a powerful image from Chilean artist @ottoschade for #ART4PEACE.

baking, cooking, crafts, create, key stage 2, kids

Fforest gather – a new kind of family holiday

Cheese makingOh…what a summer it’s been… the best yet, and August has been marvellous, the weather fine, and family time together just so special as our boys get older – they are more independent and dare I say a little ‘feral’ this year? We’ve had the best of times and made new friends, made memories, and given us something to look forward to next summer too – why? what? how? you ask? Well, a week at Fforest gather, that’s what!

If you’ve not heard about Fforest gather – you’re clearly not following me on the instagram – or @coldatnight, which you should remedy forthwith – follow us here and here… It’s through instagram that I, and it transpires, chatting to fellow campers at Fforest gather, many others, have ‘met’ Sian and fallen in love with what she and husband James have been doing in Cardigan, Wales for the last couple of years…

A small intimate ‘festival’, not really a festival, but that explains the basis of the event – week long holiday with accommodation (optional, you can also bring your own tent/camper van) and daily workshops you won’t want to miss… a new kind of holiday in fact! Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity and simple pleasures.

view from our group tentWe stayed in one of the ‘group tents‘ – our family in one end, in two bedrooms, and our friends and their three small children in the facing ‘tent’. We brought our own sleeping bags and pillows, and the shared bathrooms a short walk away were positive luxury compared to some campsites we’ve stayed in! The group tents have a communal cooking, and eating area in the centre – and an amazing view across the fields. However, after trying the first catered meal in the canteen, we decided that we’d ditch the camp cooking, and eat with the majority of the other campers – the breakfast and evening meals were just amazing – and the dining area was super conducive to socialising too.

supper time

The beauty of the Fforest gather is that the workshops, talks, walks, performances and activities are all included in the ticket price. Two sessions a day, one at a very civilised 10am, and the afternoon sessions start at 2pm – Between our two families, we tried Screenprinting, Nature illustration; natural dyeing, canoeing, Tamsin with her pencil and puppet making, Bees make honey with the honey farm, making bacon, smoking fish, making cheese,  cooking with fire; axe & knife craft; yoga and wellness; drumming; beer cocktail classes; bird illustrations, silver ring making;  forest school sessions; den building; tree climbing; wild swimming and learnt about foraging with Jade and coppicing with Bruce – woah, all in one week?!

the pubThe evenings were equally entertaining, with, Music from Eyre Llew, and DJs and chatting, and Fforest Island discs, and beer drinking at the adorable little ‘Bwthyn pub‘. Candle lit, and roaring fire – this little pub is located at the heart of the Fforest camp.

A brief selection of our favourite workshops:
Natural dyeing with Hazel Stark – Indigo Shibori (a Japanese pattern technique) – we were so blessed with the weather, so a day spent outside in the Fforest vegetable gardens, patiently folding, pegging and dipping our canvas tote bags was well spent.

Indigo Dye
Indigo Dye

Bird drawing with Matt Sewell, such a delight; as was the glasses onto inanimate objects with Finn Thomson making faces and giving objects sight – such a fun workshop! Seeing objects – using wire, paper, glue, and a LOT of imagination, in the project barn.

Screenprinting was a really big hit with Lex from Feather studios and her patient partner @morganhenryjames.


Cheese making was a revelation (and made for the best photos! #instagramthat) Curds and whey with cheese chief Max – who it transpires, can also tell a tale, and sing a song….

Beer O ClockBeer was high on the agenda, with Evil Gordon doing a turn talking beer cocktails, Beerbods, and sourdough bread making in the wood fired oven.

Jade Wild Pickings

And then there was foraging! @wildpickings 🍃🌿 Jade took us on a walk; foraging for edible hedgerow wonders – we’ve learnt such a LOT this week 🍃🌿

Oh and Sam! The Newquay Honey Farm Man – brilliant and enchanted!

Seriously, this is an event/holiday/week long party I would recommend – such a lovely way to spend time with your family.
We went with good friends, and came away with even more…


The Farmhouse
Music from Eyre Llew
Beer cocktails in the Farmhouse
Coppice College


In the tool shed
walk into Cardigan to visit the PizziTipi
walk into Cardigan to visit the PizziTipi
Sunset over the Tipi
Sunset over the Tipi
Forage baskets
Forage baskets
making Sour dough
making sour dough
Coppice College Woodburner
Coppice College Woodburner


Time to plan for 2017… 14-27 August
A new kind of holiday.
Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity, making, growing & simple pleasures.
500 acres of bliss. Only 300 tickets available each week.
Week 1 – Monday 14th – Sunday 20th of August
Week 2 – Monday 21st – Sunday 27th of August
Accommodation released on 29th of September 2016.

Ali also writes over on

charity, create, education, gardening, gardening with kids, key stage 2, kids, life

Q&A with a community gardener

Q&A with a community gardener

Hannah and Kevin

Community gardener and founder of yourspace.sutton Kevin Plicio runs local community garden nursery Seears Park Nursery in Sutton. This nursery runs on pure volunteer manpower and community spirit, running training courses and therapeutic activities in a calming and peaceful environment. He has been running the beautiful non-profit nursery for almost six years, transforming it from a run-down nursery to a social and stunning community hub which has just recently been opened to the public.

As his daughter, Hannah, I’ve grown up around the transformation of the park, seeing it go from overgrown and slightly wild, to open space and inviting. Perfect for family days out and picnics, the nursery offers scenic and photogenic open areas, free for the public to utilise.

13118933_577749772401247_5145497625308435159_n13119073_577749822401242_8007960149422514965_nQ- So, tell us about what made you want to run a community project?
Well, the idea originally stemmed from me working at other projects, but these projects were all tailored to one specific group of people, or had one specific service, and I wanted to do something more socially integrating and open to all users, regardless of their background, age, or ability.

Q- What is there to see?
Honestly, there’s so much! We have this really great pond that’s just teeming with life, frogs, fish, newts, and even in the evening we get the occasional duck family coming to stay – it’s such a sight! We also have vegetable patches, some art display inside the main classroom from a local artist Santiago Plicio, the polytunnels have a great plant selection, including a great cactus area. We’re also in the process of making smaller gardens as part of the garden nursery, where 6 out of the 16 planned are complete. We also have this really stunning willow circle, which is just beautiful.

thanks to Stephanie Krist for this photo

Q- Tell us about your volunteers, and who helps run the nursery.
We have quite a large group of volunteers here at the nursery, and without them, there would be no way that the place could be running. Some people volunteer for a month, and some have been volunteering for years, and we appreciate every bit of help we get. Their generosity and time is something I’m always going to be so grateful for.

Q- You’ve just opened to the public for the first time in almost six years, how does that feel?
It feels amazing, we’ve been getting this place ready for the public for so long and now it feels as if our work is finally paid off, and we can do what we’ve always set out to do, create a community project that everyone can benefit for. We’ve been running training courses and school placements for years which is so amazing, but now we can finally make it open to everyone, which was always the plan. We now run a plant sale every Saturday from 10:00am until 4:00pm, and the nursery is otherwise open Monday-Thursday from 9:30 until 5:30.


Q- Got any last words or comments that you want everyone to know?
I’d just love to see you there! Bring your friends, family, dogs, come and experience and enjoy the nursery, see what’s here, and if you want to contribute in any way then we’d love to hear from you too!


Seears Park Nursery is open to the public from 9:30am-5:30pm Monday to Thursday, and 10:am-4:00pm on a Saturday for the plant sale and general public use. Follow them on Facebook for events and updates here

Note from Ali – Thank you so much, Hannah, for introducing me to your dad’s amazing community project. Here’s a picture of a pond that my 13-year-old son made, with the addition of the Junctus that he bought from the Nursery!


Written by Hannah Plicio-Keattch

create, life

Colour Lover YELLOW

Colour Lover YELLOW

MiniModernsHello – My name is Ali Clifford and I go by the name of @incredibusy, and I rather like the colour YELLOW.

I think this colour penchant is quite a recent phenomena  – if you look through my instagram feed, it seems to be somehow dominated with brights, and spots of yellows – I don’t really think it was intentional, it just seems to evolved that way!
We even had a ‘sogoodineveryway‘ theme a couple of weeks ago! #sgiew_YELLOW click here to read about that.

Ali Clifford Britmumslive ringsWhen I was a child, with red hair and freckles, my mother would tell me, “oh no Alison, you CAN’T wear yellow! It just doesn’t suit you….” so I started rebelling… From my eyeshadow at art school (seriously, not a good look, like a gone-wrong watermelon) to the frocks I wear today.
I’ve all sorts of outfits, and accessories in yellow now, and even have a small collection of yellow shoes.

yellow shoesI’d LIKE to be maybe someone who wears more muted colours – I love the style of friends like Ali Dover – we have similar colouring (oh, and the same name), and she just always looks so fabulous – denims, and stripes, straight out of the Toast catalogue… I do try, but the wabi-sabi in me means I’m better off multi-coloured (and a bit scruffy…)

My favourite flower in the garden happens to be yellow FORSYTHIA – to look out through the kitchen window on a rainy day and see that Forsythia bush shining like the absent sunshine, really lifts my spirits too.

Laying on a carpet of grass looking up at the blue blue skies… (#nofilter!) We have enjoyed our half term break; but it’s got us thinking about the SUMMER (and getting away from ✈️ flight paths!) – any top tips for festivals this year?? Late summer September looks like a weekend at the @goodlifeexperience – and we have August covered off with a week at the @fforestgather summer camp, a festival that’s not a festival (see blog link in profile for more on that!) but what about you lot? Anything early summer festival-wise we should check out? Anyway how about we celebrate the impending SUMMER with a new #sgiew hashtag? If you’d like to join in next week; this is a “heads up” that we will be looking for your #sgiew_goodlife photos; so tag us on your festival pics; school fête photos; tea in the garden; bunting on your tents; and how about we throw in a PRIZE TOO? We have two adult tickets with camping @goodlifeexperience worth £198 up for grabs – get tagging! Use #sgiew_goodlife to join in #sgiew #blueskies #laburnum #bunting #teainthepark #teaparty #festival #summerfete #belltent #greatoutdoors #goodlife #summer #simpleandstill #slowliving_nurture #underthefloralspell #theartofslowliving #aslowmoment

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

Evening sunshines! 💛 Finally finished our latest mid-century-modern upcycle project with the help of @madebymrsm and her AMAZING fabric design… *windows*. Two #found chairs given some love. We appeared on #periscope today sharing this project and asking whether to chalkpaint the back-rest, or legs, and the result is just divine! What do you think? We have three further chairs, should we leave them unpainted or try yellow this time? #wildandwolf #retro telephone prop courtesy @4_living Oh I have 25% OFF for you until Sunday MIDNIGHT with discount code *incredibusy* Colours: 💚peacock green 💛English mustard (seen here) 👤black 💙petrol blue 😺concrete grey #midcenturymodern #upcycle #AnnieSloan #ParisGrey #chalkpaint #london_by_incredibusy #homedecor #interior #design #capturingcolour #epig #abmlifeiscolorful #DScolor #yellow #retrophone #midcentury #textiles #upholstery #upcycling

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

I’ve even started painting furniture in tones of yellow and grey, that combination really works well for me, you can watch me making some desk stationery below in some beautiful fabric by my friend Kate madebymrsm – (oh, and I appear to have a yellow telephone prop too… guilty!) And – really – you have to check out Kate’s hashtag – #100daysofyellowstuff

Rustic Chopping Board

And finally, I’d like to give a big shoutout to instagram, for helping me find my creativity again – after a long absence from my art school hobby of photography, I’m back in the game – finding the love of yellow peppers – probably my biggest ‘like’ on instagram to date!

Thank you Becky, for the prompt, loving all of the colour stories over on!

education, Uncategorized

BritMumsLive 2016 Instagram Panel

So, this year I’m back at BritMumLive…

BritmumsLive Instagram workshop

And at 14:50 in the afternoon of Saturday 25 June 2016 I shall be joined in stage by some rather lovely friends – we’ll be talking about Instagram,

Our team:
@incredibusy – that’s me, Ali 
@redtedart – Maggy
@coldatnight – Sian
@paintsewgluechew – Diana

I’ve known Maggy for a long time, we are good friends and neighbours with similar creative and social media interests, and we also curate a craft blog together, click here.

Our instagram feeds are similar, yet quite different – I think this is perhaps due to the age gap between our families? And Maggy crafts and creates a WHOLE lot more than I do… Plus, I spend time creating and curating content for my clients’ instagram feeds too, so we perhaps don’t dedicate the same time to to our accounts as each other! (I’ll be wearing a couple of them – and so make sure you follow their instagram feeds for me!!)

I was late to instagram, well, two and a half years ago I didn’t have a phone that supported the app, and experimented with my iPad – if you scroll back through my account, you’ll see I was having fun with filters and frames, and although I cringe at some of these shots, I’m loath to delete photos, as each tell #littlestoriesofmylife – and my family’s life.

This garners a couple of questions – do you delete old photos?? and do you feature photos of yourself and your kids??

Maggy and I both share an interest in themed photo challenges – we co-host #KidsCrafts101 and #SGIEW – two weekly hashtagged instagram challenges which we’d love you to join in with – go find the hashtags, and see what this week’s challenge is, we’d love you to join in!

For me, this has been an amazing way of finding new accounts to follow and connect with, it’s also been a wonderful prompt for me more recently, to be creative, as my own boys have grown older, they are less inclined to ‘craft’ yet have really enjoyed creating stop motion animation – so we’ve been experimenting with that too!

It’s about evolution – your own evolution, perhaps as your kids get older, or indeed, just looking back at how your feed has developed and changed. I don’t particularly have a theme or a style, and neither does Maggy – however, if we turn to our other panelists, and look at their instagram feeds, you will see that both @coldatnight and @paintsewgluechew have definite styles, and consistent feeds…

I’ve invited Diana and Sian along to #BML16 to share their own experiences of instagram, so if you’re lucky enough to catch them ‘live’ on Saturday, you’ll find out more about them – needless to say, I hadn’t met them before the introduction of instagram in my life, and now have a little look at their feeds every morning, to see what they’ve been up to, and to say hello, good morning, and sometimes good night too! I’ve been to stay at Sian’s amazing place, Fforest {luxury camping and outdoor living at its very best} and would recommend it, an amazing space – and great for the kids….

So – at BritMumsLive we’ll be focusing on:
How each of the panel have grown their channel, their instagram philosophies and working practices
How they make their feed look fantastic plus any photo styling tips/props
We’ll be asking the panel to share their favourite instagrammer/s…
Their best tips on gaining followers. When they were growing what strategies did they use?
What they use to edit pictures
Their use of hashtags, and favourites
Which Instagram communities they love

Here’s a link to each of our panel’s most recent photo:

[ so good in every way ] #sgiew theme… #sgiew_BISCUIT ☕️ Oh we are LOVING a bit of baking at the moment, so we thought you might like to join in with this week’s #sgiew theme to join in with is “BISCUIT” – some comfort in this the first week of summer, yet we’re wearing wellies and grumbling about the clouds… 🌧🌧🌧Join in by following your hosts, @incredibusy @redtedart @willowdaygram and tagging #sgiew #sgiew_BISCUIT – PLUS, biscuity-bonus, we’re delighted to welcome an old friend to be our guest judge – @NikkiMcWilliams! Nikki will select x9 at the end of the week, to feature on the @sogoodineveryway grid – and you have until Midnight Sunday to join in, so whether it’s a cookie with your coffee, or a biscuit with you breakfast tea we want to see them! Oh and we might just have a little prize this week too; more on that later in the week☕️ can’t find the tea cup emoji but it’s something to do with that!! Thank you @teapigs 💛. . #littlestoriesofmylife #cookies #biscuits #mymonthofsundays (if you are following me on snapchat you’ll know we made these on Sunday morning!) #aquietstyle #coffeelover #string #coffeecam #coffeeandseasons #flatlaylover #flatlayforever

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

More reading on Fforest:



crafts, key stage 2, kids

How to melt crayons into a rainbow!

How to melt crayons into a rainbow!

melted-CRAYON-rainbowIf like us, the kids have got a bit bored of crayons, don’t despair – there are creative things you can do with them!

Did you know about the hashtag #kidscrafts101? Every week, Maggy @redtedart, Me, (ali) @incredibusy and Ana @babbledabbledo – set an instagram challenge, with a ‘theme’ and this week in question was rainbows – now, we have a few rainbow crafts on the blog that we can call upon, however, having teenagers and pre-teens in the house, it’s good to push and encourage their creativity, as they have become more and more drawn to staring at their screens and not wanting to be quite as creative as they used to be…

So we have FOUND A WAY and that is stop motion animation – so – check this out, we set up a tripod, take a series of photos, and make an animation! What fun…

For this particular craft, we took a square canvas* and some unloved crayons, and got busy, you can watch the stop motion in the youtube link below….

You will need:
A Canvas
Some Crayons
Hair Dryer
Glue Gun (or tape, glue gun is quick and easy though!)

ALI-TITLE-FOR-youtube-video-CRAYON-rainbowWatch the video here for instructions, basically, glue the crayons to the top half of the canvas.

Prop the canvas at an angle and start warming the crayons with the hair dryer.

Move the hair dryer to the top of the crayons, and start heating from the top so that they melt DOWN… note, the red didn’t melt as fast as the other colours, yet it still looks OK in the final result.

Lower the canvas to a smaller angle so that the crayons don’t drip off the end of the canvas, have fun, and don’t worry if the crayons ‘splatter’ that’s all part of the fun and creativity!

Let us know if you have a go too…


melted crayons on canvas

Ali also blogs at and
Find Ali on instagram as @incredibusy too for other instagram photo challenges such as #sgiew (so good in every way!)