Prep for Halloween Birthday Bash

Poppets birthday is fast approaching which means party planning is well under way – you cannot move in our house for halloween decorations, scary pictures, banners and a whole host of halloween themed funfair stall games.

Poppet decided this year she wanted a halloween costume party but not too scary, and she wanted some games for all her friends to play, the sort of games you might play at a fair or carnival. BUT she wanted everything to be in line with her theme. Not asking for much then! 🙂
It is a good job, I love a good theme and I love to make things for my children to enjoy.

First, we had to think about which children to invite. Poppet has not been in school long, she has a few friends outside of school and from the other class, it wasn’t going to be as easy as just inviting the whole class, plus the hall we wanted could not cater for a whole class plus extras.
I made Poppet make a list of everyone she plays with, and who she could remember the names of. This was a start, we included friends from other classes, friends from out of school activities and included some family friends.
Once we had a list – we needed an invite. I googled to get some ideas, and I saw a wonderful invite to a halloween party on Grealish Greetings blog (I spent hours scouring Pinterest). I wanted something unique but cute for Halloween, not scary and not monsters.

There was a huge amount of ideas to search, but I was so happy when I came across this beautiful and cute design for an invite. It inspired my little poppet so much, this became her request for a cake too. (She has since changed her mind about the cake but it was cute whilst it lasted, more on that later.)

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(Original invite can be found at Don’t be scurrrred! )
Poppet is a very particular, and wanted to be included as much as possible. I showed her the invites, and I gave it a go at making my own. I had over thirty to make and we had a mix of boys, girls and a few from the same family. I set to work, I love making things and I don’t claim to be amazing but I was still happy with my result. Poppet was happy with the invites and was very excited to give them out to all her friends.

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What do you think to my finished results? I hand cut all the ghosts myself, on the blog it does provide a template but I quite liked making them all different shapes and sizes. I just couldn’t imagine all ghosts would be identical. I also added a button to some ribbon to make the bows, as I have an abundance of buttons, and I didn’t have any bows on hand. I went with it, and it is close to the original with my own little spin on it. I think they turned out ok. Grealish Greetings have so many other ideas for invites, and it is worth checking out if you have a party coming up.

When planning a children’s birthday party, it always helps to be organised. I have spreadsheets and alsorts to make sure everything is done and everyone accounted for. Ive got lists for food, checking with parents for allergies, lists for games and prizes. I could go on and on.

I won’t bore you with all of those details, I just like to have everything written somewhere. I also quite like a list to tick off, nothing better than completing a list of tasks and getting to tick or crossing them off.

Decorations are bought, banners are ready (ooh that reminds me, I need blu-tac), and we have ideas for food. Next, on the agenda is games for the children to play. I have started these already, so keep an eye out for another post shortly with some finished products.

 

*Book Review* The Art of Hiding

The Art of Hiding
by Amanda Prowse

What a wonderful read!! I had no preconceptions before trying this book. I had not read any other books by Amanda Prowse but based from this reading I will certainly be looking out for more.

It tugs the heartstrings in all the right places, the drama, excitement and story builds up little by little but it is worth engaging. I could not put it down and once started I had to finish it. A wonderfuls story about loss, sadness and how it can affect all aspects of your life and building back up from the feeling of despair and realising that as much as you may hate hearing it at the time everything will be ok.

Getting to know the family within the books was the best part for me and my one and only issue (not really issue but something I missed.) I would love to have had a bit more information from when they lived in Denmark, maybe seen a bit more of this culture showing up especially in Tiggy.
I also must admit as we didn’t get to know Finn as well as we could have, I didn’t really feel for him they way I should, my heart definitely was with Nina, Connor and Declan.

The story itself never felt rushed and I really enjoyed slowly getting to know all the characters. My favourite was Declan with his optimism being something we lose as grown ups so it was nice to read about. Overall the story was heart wrenching but true to life. I am also really happy Nina did not end up with the guy as is quite common, my favourite part was where she admitted she needed to live life by herself to move on and realise what she needed before she could meet anyone else. It really brought the story to life for me.

Amanda dealt with all the stronger issues really well and portrayed the children’s behaviours amazingly. I would most certainly recommend to friends and I think I will suggest this to my book club on goodreads as it is a good story but it also makes you appreciate the smaller things in life too. And this is definitely something we should all do!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (five out of five stars.

*Book Review* Summer at Rose Island

Summer at Rose Island (White Cliff Bay #3)
by Holly Martin

“Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.”

This isn’t my first trip to White Cliff Bay and I hope it won’t be my last. I love Holly Martins lovely little seaside town, with all its little charm and personality. I have loved falling in love with these two new characters and seeing some old favourites make an appearance.

I love escaping to this cosy little town, where all the neighbours are nosey but its endearing, where everyone just wants to se everyone else happy and content in their life. I like how charity and helping others is such a huge part of this book. I think the lighthouse becomes a character all of its own, and I wanted to donate to help save this fictional landmark.

My favourite part of this story is how we grow to fall in love with place and the characters, and when romance hits, it hits hard. Spending most of the books falling in love with the lighthouse to hear, “if I had to choose between keeping you in my life or saving the life house” and you still rooting for the relationship, you know you have found a good book. We all wanted the lighthouse saving, but we all want the guy to get the girl too! And we all know in real life, we can’t have it all, I love in books we can.

My second favourite part of Holly’s book after the characters, is the amount of work she must put in researching small little nuggets of information which I am sure one day will come up on my pub quiz and I will be thanking her.
I love the sea and swimming, but I have never shown a great interest in marine biology or appreciated more than I appreciate any other little wonders of the world. But, Holly puts so much detail, and information into work, I found I couldn’t wait to visit out local sea life centre and continuing my marine education. For me this is the most important part of reading, I want to escape and discover new things but I want to learn to, whether it be learning about relationships, marine biology, ice sculpture, history, or people, I want to learn. And Holly Martin offers all the above in this series, and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next.

Overall, this is a lovely book, and even though it adds to the experience if you have read the previous books, its not a necessity. Each book is enjoyable on its own, and all the characters are worth getting to know. If I could ask for anything, it would be some more insight into the characters we already know. Its great seeing little snippets, but I would really love to see how Penny is getting along, or even how Rileys Grandma is dealing with her new relationship with her Grandson.
If you like funny romances, with a hint of drama and lots of quirky characters, this is definitely for you.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️★ (four stars out of five)

The Problem with Peppa

I think every parent on the planet recognises this pig! Poppet is still at an age where she enjoys a bit of Peppa Pig. I’m not a fan! Is any parent a fan? img_6902.jpg

I really try not to let her watch it. But she is allowed to pick something to watch on her iPad on tv, for half an hour in the evening before bed. And unfortunately, sometimes she picks Peppa!

For me, Peppa Pig is not a very good programme on any level. Peppa is mean spirited, a bit of a bully,  and rude to pretty much everyone she meets. The parents are not setting the greatest example, and let the children get away with lots of really inappropriate things either by laughing or sighing “oh Peppa!” I just can’t see the appeal, but apparently it is like gold dust to a toddler (up to 5 year old), and it has to be pretty popular as they have built a theme park dedicated to it. The theme park is based at Paultons Park which is not far from us, and has a new part called The Lost Kingdom, all about Dinosaurs. My son is a huge fan of Dinosaurs, and I has been asking if he could visit for a while now. And of course, Poppet heard all about Peppa Pig world. So I told them if they got enough House Points* over a whole year, we would see about getting tickets.

The end of the summer holidays – we counted our points and we had agreed they had to reach 2000 points between them. I had sort of hoped they wouldn’t reach it, Peppa Pig was not exactly a high priority for me. However, they had both worked really hard, and had amassed 4000 points between them. So, a Sunday in September came along, and we were ready for our adventure.

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The best ride for us was probably the Rabbits helicopter ride. Monkey is a little scared of heights, but it was Poppets turn to pick the ride. We queued, and we queued and queued some more. I asked if monkey wanted to go on, and he could make up his mind. So we waited in the queue, and eventually he said “I’ll go on it, but I want to sit next yo you mummy!” Perfect! He was going on a ride and if he got scared he could cuddle me. After all, I’m not exactly fond of heights!:)

It was a success! Monkey loved it, Poppet loved it! Check out the pictures below where we are showing our pretend scared faces. We enjoyed it so much, we even managed to take the mick out of ourselves.

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Poppets face does look more puzzled than scared, probably because she wasn’t scared in the first place, and was thinking that mummy and monkey need to get out more! 🙂

Waiting for Grandad Dogs boat ride! The queues were a little long, and as you can see excitement is starting to wear off.

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We decided it was probably time for change, and we wanted to fit all the places in that each child wanted to see, so off we went to find The Lost Kingdom.

The Lost Kingdom, I believe is quite new to the park, which might explain why it wasn’t incredible. It was good, a huge improvement on sound effects from Peppa Pig which was basically just the theme tune, over and over and on repeat. But I think I was expecting more dinosaurs than what we got. However, that is from an adults perspective. My son loved it! We journeyed first into The Lost Kingdom by going on a dinosaur safari. My children are both so small they could not see over the wall between the beginning and the exit, so it looked like all the cars were coming back empty. So my son being the imaginative creature he is, told everyone the dinosaurs must have been eating all the people before us, but we are safe because my son also believes he is a dinosaur.

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Heres a safari truck returning with no passengers! And yet my brave children still intended on going on safari and hopefully getting a safari license we had seen on the way round. IMG_6916.jpgIMG_6920.jpgI even got daddy to smile for this picture! We really enjoyed the safari! We won’t give any secrets away, but we managed to not get eaten, but  the kids did jump a few times!

Little monkey especially liked this guy! He was good!

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So we had ventured around The lost Kingdom, we went on a few more rides but a lot of them were aimed at older children.

So we moved onto Paultons Park, and after spending a good few hours in the two places the kids wanted to go, the kids favourite ride from the whole day turned out to be an old favourite of mine, The Log Flume. We rode it 6 times in a row and got drenched but we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We spent a huge part of our day walking around the place itself. It was beautiful, with lots of hidden gardens, and pretty landscaping and also lots of wild creatures to discover.

We saw an iguana, a chameleon, some birds and then we had chance to discover some really spectacular crazy animals….

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Newly discovered creatures in with the grasshoppers, a little monkey and a poppet!

After all that excitement, and money spent – because we can’t forget the 45 minutes we spent in the shop. We headed home, and both children fell asleep for a good part of the journey, and they missed a beautiful sight.

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What a beautiful end to a perfect day! Me and the husband saw about 6 balloons that evening, and two gliders. It was a spectacular sight and I’m sad the kids missed it, but there will be plenty more beautiful sights for them to see on our next adventure.

 

*I am a huge Harry Potter fan and thankfully my children have followed in my footsteps, so a year ago we chose our houses and we made my dining room into a sort of great hall. Every house has a jar and fir good behaviour, we gain house points and lose them for bad behaviour. Adults included.

Robot Dinosaur or Man in Costume?

At the start of the summer holidays, my son saw an advert for an animatronic dinosaur that would be visiting Palmers Garden Centre. Now anyone who knows my little monkey will know he loves Dinosaurs! Loves them to the point he believes he is one, but he is in disguise because people think they are extinct. He has a whole theory on where all the dinosaurs are hiding. Its incredible and yet crazy to listen to. However, no matter how much he believes he is a dinosaur, he is still a little afraid of them.

But on we ventured to Palmers Garden Centre on what was quite a cool Saturday, we rock up, and the car park is not too busy, there isn’t anybody else milling around. We proceed into the Garden Centre, its a lovely place but where are the crowds of excited children. My son, eagle eyed as he is spots a sign, “theres a picture of a trex mummy! over there!” He rushes over, and we slowly follow and he shouts “Mummy, it says its on Sunday!” So we have ventured out, braved the cold weather, and instead of coming face to face with a ferocious dinosaur, we have a nice walk around the garden centre.

But did we give in, I hear you shout! No we awoke on Sunday morning, and tried again. This time, the car park its filled with cars, we can hear the excited chatter of children, and we make our way to the Gazebo to wait for the adventure.

The young lady who is presenting is bright and cheerful, and despite the loud children and chatty parents, she tries her hardest to entertain the masses. She brings out small lizards, a big frog, snakes and all sorts. Poppet was begging to hold everything, Monkey was moving further and further to the back of the room, practically begging the young lady to bring out the dinosaur already.

Finally, the moment has arrived… anticipation is building. I should probably admit we have seen a robot dinosaur before, it scared monkey then, but it was still cool. The drama was too much, and finally the dinosaur appeared to the sound of parents laughing. The children were fooled and from far away, it probably would have passed for a scary TRex, it scared my son enough.

img_6803.jpgNot my poppet though, she was brave and wanted to touch it whenever it got close. But really, it was quite amusing. The animatronic dinosaur was probably a bit of an exaggeration. Man in giant dino costume would have fit better, but may not have looked so good on the adverts. The dino was a little naughty but the kids loved it. He danced, he played musical statues, much to my sons delight, he also pooped on the floor. From where we sat at the back, you could quite easily have been fooled, I thought at least the children would be.

But then….

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He moved closer to us, and this is what you can see. How had this fooled all these children? My little poppet stands up, twenty children before her had cowered as it got close, not my little girl. She reaches over to it, the head snaps to her, and she strokes it! Wow! I thought Ive got a brave girl here, she sits back down and turns to monkey and says “Don’t be a baby, its just a man in a costume, I can see his legs!” I crack up every time I think about it. My girl, can’t be fooled by anything! But really, lets be honest was anyone really fooled?!

However, the morning was spent as a family having an amazing time. The young lady presenting really knew her stuff, the children learnt lots of new, interesting dinosaur facts. And they both got to play musical statues with a Giant Tyrannosaurus Rex, I would say this was a great morning. For after the show, if you hung around you also got the chance for some wonderful photo opportunities.

Monkey and Poppet enjoying some photos with some dinosaur bones and an egg.IMG_6827.jpgIMG_6830.jpg

Crazy but fun times ahead

Starting today our house is going to be on crazy mum alert. October to March is a crazy, hectic and amazing time in our household. Starting with Poppets birthday followed closely by Halloween and then all bets are off as we get in the Christmas Spirit early in our house. In fact, if you ask any of my children, we try to keep the spirit of Christmas all year long, we like to think of ourselves, (stealing the phrase from some Christmas film – bonus points if anyone can remind me which one it is) as Christmas Ambassadors, keeping the spirit all year long. We don’t keep our decorations up or sing White Christmas all year round, although Poppet is going through a Barbie phase and may watch the Barbie Christmas at any point on repeat, but generally its just the idea of being kind, forgiving and loving all year round. We are only human though, so swings and roundabouts. If you pop over to our house, after my car has broken down for the fifth time that month, you probably won’t find me very forgiving! 😀

So back to why it is crazy. Well I like to throw a good birthday party, not necessarily expensive and pinterest worthy but a good, well planned party and we love a good theme in this house. Poppet has decided as her birthday is nearish to Halloween, we are having a fifth Halloween Birthday Bash / Monster Mash! I am all kinds of excited!

IMG_7112.jpgI have been on the lookout for decorations, games, costumes and thinking what can I make for this party. I love a good craft, trying something new, getting the creative juices flowing. Biggest problem I face besides time to do this though, I am a serial un-complete person. I have a million projects started or on the go, and they are still on the go. Don’t believe me, I started a cross stitch for when my son was to be born. He turns 7 at Christmas, and its still not complete.

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But short term and quick projects I am your girl!

Poppet has already chosen her outfit, mask, makeup, kitchen sink…. My little monkey on the other hand has a serious case of fickleness (it runs in my side of the family – I can never make my mind up). He wants to be a transformer, or a skeleton, or a pokemon, or dobby, or voltron, or…. the list could go on!

IMG_7134.jpgHere he is trying on a witches hat, he doesn’t want to be a witch, and I can never get him to keep a hat on but what do you know, here we are in the fancy dress part of hobby craft and he wants to try everything on. Funny that!

We have a few weeks to decide and get everything prepared. My next few posts will probably be crazy ramblings about the price of eye balls, and how to get bats to fly from the ceiling, but don’t worry, even though I am a massive fan of Harry Potter, I haven’t gone crazy or worse started brewing potions in my dining room, its just party planning.

Or if I get chance, we have had some amazing day trips/ weekend fun the last few weeks, for all those parents looking for ideas or like to read about other families nightmares and daydreams, then keep an eye for that too.