Planning a Halloween Party

Since the boy was a newborn, we have hosted Halloween parties for friends at home. By “friends”, I mean little people the children know; we’ve never had an adult Halloween party. In all honesty, I don’t really see the point of them. Halloween, in my eyes, is just another way of having fun with children. If it weren’t for my two, I highly doubt I would pay it any attention at all. Here’s a photo from our initial foray into Halloween partying…


Clearly, the boy was not impressed. Miss J, however, has always been a fan. Each year since, we have had a few friends over during the week leading up to October 31st. I try to incorporate crafts and fun foods, and there is usually time for a themed movie, though the children often lose interest in this after a while. Perhaps this year, at the respective ages of four and almost six, they will sit through a whole DVD? Just in case, we have Room on the Broom, Toy Story of Terror and Monsters University on standby.

I’m not going to lie, my favourite part of Halloween, aside from seeing the kids happy, is choosing which craft activities to try. This year, I’ve been scouring Pinterest and have found some corkers. I tend to choose simple crafts – things that will hold the interest of the children and be attainable by all. Obviously, they should be fun and fit in with the theme, too.

Here are my ideas for this year’s party:

Witches wands and edible hats

Two great and easy crafts to keep the little ones amused. Simple, yes; cheap, of course but, most importantly, effective.

witch wands

witches hats

Cotton bud skeleton handprints

I had been thinking about using chalks on black sugar paper to create skeleton pictures, but these handprints are even better. Again, so simple and cheap but they look great, and the kids probably won’t have made them before.

skeleton pictures

Apple print pumpkins

I love these for a little splash of colour. With six children attending the party, we won’t have time (and the small people will probably not have the inclination) to hollow and carve individual pumpkins, so this is an alternative nod in that direction.

pumpkin apple printing


Spooky satsumas

Finally, I will provide a bowl of satsumas and a couple of markers so that the children can replicate traditional pumpkin designs in a safe manner. Of course, they may well not turn out quite like those pictured, but I am sure the kiddies will have fun regardless…

Halloween oranges

I look forward to checking in next week with a party update and, hopefully, some photos of our very own Halloween crafts.

20 Things You Probably Never Knew About Me

During my English class today, my teacher noted, with some surprise, a little-known fact about me.

“Well, there’s a lot you don’t know about me!”

I said in reply. That got me thinking and, having realised what a dull life I’ve led, here are 20 things you probably don’t already know about me:

1) I have no qualifications
2) I have never seen Bambi
3) There are 19 years between my (soon-to-be) husband and me
4) I don’t know my left from my right
5) My middle name is longer than my first and last names
6) I have a phobia of being sick
7) When I was small, I wanted to grow up to be a teacher
8) Despite having three sisters, I’m technically an only child
9) My grandad has six children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren but I’m the only one who inherited the ginger gene
10) My left (I think) thumb
is double-jointed
11) 15 year old me was obsessed with Gareth Gates
12) My specialist subject on Mastermind would be: The Life and Times of Father Ted
13) Rob Brydon once fell on my foot
14) I was born on a Sunday
15) It took me five months to realise I was pregnant with Miss J
16) I adore Christmas
17) I am a total pedant when it comes to spelling and grammar
18) I eat food from my plate in ascending order of preference and prefer the ingredients to all be separate
19) I have never been a bridesmaid
20) The first funeral I went to was of someone I had never met

Now you know a little more about me, please feel free to leave a comment with a random fact about yourself!

Books and a Childhood Rediscovered

Books are incredibly evocative of my childhood. Browsing the shelves of Waterstones with my little sister at the weekend, we were caught in wreaths of nostalgia as we encountered forgotten treasures (Mrs. Pepperpot) and all-time favourites (A Little Princess). I remembered weeks spent enveloped in the lives of the Twins at St. Clare’s; she reminisced over Roald Dahl classics. Meanwhile, Miss J sat on a stool and read Oliver Jeffers’ The Day The Crayons Quit to herself, from cover to cover. We could have left with armfuls of books. Instead, we chose two and added the rest to a virtual list entitled “Books We Need“.


The reading bug is rampant within our household; even the boy, who cannot yet read by himself, spends an awful lot of time revelling in fictitious realms. Miss J, at the age of five, is a proficient reader and, more importantly, enjoys reading as a pastime, which I am oh so pleased about. She has progressed at great speed over the past year. From sounding out CVC words this time last year, to reading the boy’s bedtime story to him and teaching him CVC words now, the transformation has been quite remarkable. She is getting better every day, to the extent that I have started revisiting childhood favourites with her. Books that I read between the ages of 8 and 12. We devour them together, taking it in turns to read a page at a time. My five year old and me.

Our reading adventures make me happy, in a way I never thought possible. I cannot wait to head back to Waterstones and grab the rest of the “Books we need”.

Vienna Festival Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Ever since Miss J was a baby, I have wanted to take her to the ballet. Before I even knew what an accomplished little ballerina she would turn out to be, it was a dream of mine to share such an evening with my girl. This last week, I was given the opportunity to do just that, when the Vienna Festival Ballet visited Worthing. Miss J and I each invited a friend to join us for the evening, and the festivities began with a meal at Pizza Express, where the little ones enjoyed three courses.

photo 2

After dinner, we headed to the nearby Pavilion Theatre, at the head of Worthing Pier. We were a little late and the show had already started, but Miss J was transfixed from the moment we took to our seats. At the interval, the girls enjoyed an ice cream and we bought a programme from the artistic director himself, Peter Mallek. The glossy souvenir was full of photographs and information on the ballet company and their shows, which made for interesting reading prior to the second half of the show.


Miss J was so excited when the Nutcracker resumed after the interval. She kept nudging me to point out a particular move that had impressed her, and commenting on how amazing the dancers were. As for the show itself, we were treated to some wonderful dancing, with styles and inspiration from around the World. The energy and enthusiasm of the cast was captivating, their professionalism impressive; they did not put a foot wrong all night.

The four of us had a great evening; the children, in particular, loved the show. So inspired was Miss J that she twirled and spun and danced on her tippytoes all the way home!

photo 4

Thank you, Vienna Festival Ballet, for making one of my wishes come true. Enjoying an evening of ballet with my girl is an experience I will never forget. Perhaps, one day, I will be watching her on that stage?



We received four complimentary tickets to The Nutcracker for the purposes of this review. All thoughts are my own.