A Tasteful Halloween

I know it’s all for the kids, but if you are as horrendously particular about your house as me, you’ll get that shudder at the thought of covering it it with vulgar bright orange decorations, plastic spiders and replacing your beautiful cast iron door knocker with a battery operated skull that roars….you get the gist.

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Easter is pretty and pale with yellows and blues and fluffy chicks (that I can do) Christmas is understandably a complete delight (bar tinsel, tinsel makes me cringe) but Halloween is just such an ugly holiday. Whether my mums hatred for the holiday has rubbed off on me i’m not sure but I will rarely venture further than a carved pumpkin when it comes to October 31st.

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It crossed my mind that Pintrest is where all the inspiration is at, so I searched for ‘Classy Halloween’ and was pleasantly surprised that one I am clearly not the only mother with house OCD trying to keep everyone happy, and two there are some great ideas for non offensive (and actually quite nice) decorations to inspire your Halloween decor.

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There is hope for us yet!

Thanks for reading and I hope some of this inspires you if you are also not a fan or bright orange and plastic!

Georgie xx

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Top Tips for Throwing a Kids Party

Tips for throwing a Kids party

My daughter Arabella turned six last week and I threw a rather large party for her this weekend. Having never done a party this big before (30 kids and all the parents and our family) I thought it would be good to run through my tips (well basically the mistakes I either made this time or have made in the past) an why it is key to avoid them.

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Organising your own kids party is stressful (I’m not going to lie about that) BUT if you do it yourself you will end up with much more for your money, and a much more ‘special’ occasion for your little one.

So here are my top tips:

  1. Organise it early

Send those invites out early and make sure you give a way for parents to RSVP. You need to make it clear on the invite that if they don’t RSVP there won’t be a place at the party for their child. This avoids the numbers being completely out on the day. I sent Arabella’s invites out two months before the party, firstly to make sure that the most important friends were able to be there and secondly to kick start me in to starting to organise things avoiding the panic of last minute ordering and hanging out of the front door waiting for the postman on the morning of the party because he’s bringing the party bags!

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  1. Sandwiches

This year is the first year I actually considered using a caterer to provide the sandwiches, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. DO NOT GO NEAR CATERERS.  I was quoted £45 + Delivery for 30 sandwiches (and that’s not fancy fillings, that’s ham, cheese and jam) To make 8 loaves worth of sandwiches it took me two hours on the morning of the party, I bought fresh bread from Aldi that morning that cost me 55p per loaf. Turn up the radio, get your little production line going and do it yourself. Caterers will absolutely rip you off for something that is really quite inexpensive and lets face it easy to do.

My other sandwich tip is making sure you always butter both sides of the bread. I have no idea why I don’t do this naturally anyway (perhaps I’m just lazy) but by habit I only butter the side that the filling is going on. When you are making sandwiches that need to not fall apart on a tray it is key to butter that second side. They will stick together nicely and the bread won’t dry out half as quickly.

  1. Entertainment

You may think some cake and party hats would be enough but from experience I can tell you it’s not. Kids need entertaining (always) so make sure you have some entertainment, i have never used ‘paid’ entertainment in the form of a person but there is always some kind of attraction. We have done, various pets, racing pigs (battery operated don’t worry) disco with a mic so we can play various games with them, a bouncy castle twice and various planned party games at festive parties. The one party there was no entertainment and we had riled parents and bored children so that’s not something I would do again!

  1. Don’t open the presents on the day

You can imagine it now, thirty children all running round, screaming, eating sugar and loud music. That is not a place you want presents to be opened, they won’t be appreciated, cards get lost, nothing gets written down and it’s a free for all with all the other children. I was really strict (much to Arabella’s frustration) that we weren’t going to be opening any of the presents at the party and we would open then a few days later (or consecutive days later as there were so many) with a pad ready for the thank you cards in a calm environment where she actually has half a chance to take in what she had received.

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  1. Attach the cards to the presents if they aren’t already

As a parent that attends a lot of parties this is my pet hate, lots of people don’t attach their card to the present which basically means you have a lot of nameless presents and a lot of separate cards. I stood with a roll or cellotape and every time I spotted a present with a precariously balancing card I taped it down. This means that every present has a person attached to it. I would personally hate someone to think I had forgotten the gift!

  1. Provide something for the parents

In all honesty how much fun are kids parties for parents? Exactly. So they need something to get them through. I wouldn’t recommend gin and tonic, unless you have a huge budget, but making enough food for the parents to be able to eat and providing them with caffeine (either in the form of tea or coffee) makes a huge difference to how bearable a loud kids party is. I know if I’m sat down with a cuppa I can dull out the noise and catch up on social media for a couple of hours.

  1. Make more party bags than you need

We had a little hiccup this year. It’s easy to forget that with the invite for a child it does mean their siblings could also end up coming along. I hadn’t allowed for siblings when I made the party bags so we were two short at the end of the day which brought tears and all sorts of upset. Always make about five extra and you won’t be let down, you can always give any leftovers out at school the next week or save them for friends that weren’t able to come. Believe me it’s a much better alternative to feeling like the worst person in the world when they realise you haven’t got them a party bag.

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  1. Check for allergies

Always worth a check, one of Arabellas school friends has a severe egg allergy. Luckily her parents emailed me and let me know the things she did eat. I made sure all the food was labelled so her parents knew what she was safe to eat. I made her a special egg free sponge cake and labelled it for her. They actually ended up taking the rest of the cake home with them which was so nice. Allergies or not no one wants to be left out at a party.

  1. Shop around for party ware

Being a complete Amazon prime addict my searched naturally started there, once I started to shop around online and in shops I started to realise there were cheaper options I ended up looking all over for the best price. I put a lot in my basket on Ebay, working through a list I had made of what I needed. I then went to the Poundshop and looked at what  could get from there saving on the postage then the rest ordered from various shops on Ebay, the only tip I would give for doing it this way is make sure you allow time for things to arrive, the dates they give you for delivery aren’t always what you get!

  1. Take lots of pictures or get someone else to do it

I had my big photography camera at the party for taking pictures of the kids on the princess castle backdrop but when it came to actual pictures of the party, the parents and the set up, I failed miserably. I got caught chatting to a lot of people and topping up various sandwich plates and to be completely honest didn’t have time to even think about picking up my camera. If I could do it again I would definitely ask a friend or family member to take some photos for me as I have barely any memories to save from this party.

So there you have it, my top ten kids party tips. If you have any others please feel free to leave them below.

Thanks as always for reading!

Georgie x

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

It’s almost that time of year again where we get to celebrate our mothers (I still personally think this should be monthly, but hey i’m a mum so i’m biased).

Every year I try and do something different, more meaningful, more sentimental, but after the 20 odd years I have been doing it for that’s getting quite hard. I decided in a very organised manner to start early this year (I have been known to regularly be one of those lastminute.com people). I have had a good old browse and come up with some of the things I think would be lovely to receive as a mum or give to my own (but realistically Arabella is 5, So I won’t be getting anything!!)

Here is my Mother’s Day gift guide

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Personalised cushion

How gorgeous is this, especially if you have siblings, you could all chip in and get this together. I like the idea of something you can keep to be reminded.

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Mother mug

Probably the truest quote going, everyone loves a mug and drinks either tea or coffee.

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Hand painted artwork

This gift idea I absolutely love. You have to send the artist some pictures of you and your mum and she will create a portrait of you with whatever quote you like. How personal!

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Mother cushion

As you can tell I am a little bit obsessed with the personalized cushion idea, another great one to pop on an armchair or decorate a bed.

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‘With my Mummy’ Book

This is actually a book we have and it is so nice to read with Arabella (sometimes she needs reminding of how special us mums are) Perfect for mums with youngsters.

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Mummy Desk Tidy

Something for a working (or very organsied mum) I love the idea of this on my desk, lets face it being a mum is something to shout from the rooftops about.

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Emma Bridgewater ‘Mummy Mug’

I own a lot of Emma Bridgewater but not one of these, though it is something I’ve always wanted (might have to wait a few years, not sure they let 5 year olds do online shopping)

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Personalised ‘Yummy Mummy’ hanger

I might actually go ahead and order myself one of these, I (mostly) hang tomorrows outfit out before I go to bed so this could be for that. What a cute idea!

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Mummy Mug

Any mum with small children will laugh at this, because it’s true. I microwave every single cup of tea I make at home because I get called away for one reason or another and it goes cold #everytime.

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There it is, a few things that caught my eye on the lead up to the Big Day. another factor to consider is the card (speaking from experience a homemade one is best) and the more hearts the better.

I hope all you mums get spoiled rotten on Mothers Day, and for those of you with children under 7, I feel your pain getting zero appreciation 365 days a year!

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Autumn Vibes

Autumn is my absolute favourite season (with Winter close behind) as a sun worshiper this might come as quite a surprise to you but I love the turn from summer to autumn watching all the leaves turning and knowing that Christmas is on the way. We move from late nights feeling we should stay up because it’s still light at 10pm to cosy evenings in front of the fire under a blanket with a mug of Chai tea.

So much goes on in the Summer that I always feel like I should be out and about doing something until the light goes, given that the majority of each day is spent working I struggle sat looking out at what little sunshine we have, believe me It’s not fun.

I find Autumn and Winter much easier to knuckle under and work longer hours because the draw to a warm cosy house is much higher and the potential of being locked inside for long periods of time is much more appealing.

The only new addition to the darker months for me is Vitamin D. I came back from Spain in the spring and hit a massive slump in energy, motivation and mood and after a trip to the doctors realised that with so much time without sunshine that it was probably a vitamin D deficiency. As soon as I started up the daily dose I was back to normal so I will make sure I continue that as the light hours become less and less (and let’s face it the sunshine becomes zero).

Later mornings in bed because the sun isn’t rousing you at 5am, chucking some boots on and heading out to the farm to spend a couple of hours with Daisy (the pony) surrounded by leaves of every colour. Let the Winter begin.

Thanks for reading

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The Life changing magic of not giving a Fu*k

This book was the most refreshing, honest and accurate book I have read in a long time. With regular appearances of the F* work (tut tut) and brutality from page one I loved every word.

It is basically a breakdown of life (which you inevitably transfer to your own life) and the things you should and shouldn’t give a fuck about. With some hilarious anecdotal stories and examples, it had me laughing and agreeing with a lot Sarah (the author) had to say.

The irony of the book which I’m sure people take in a light hearted manner given the title, is that it actually hit home hard about quite how many ‘Fucks I am giving away’ unwillingly (again another extract from the book).

 

I am one of those people that continually feels the need to please and impress people (for whatever reason) so I regularly find myself agreeing to do things I haven’t got time to do, helping people I don’t particularly like or buying things I don’t really need, so potentially the wake-up call I needed.

The book is broken down in to categories of things you might give a fuck about, it then expands on each category helping you understand how you can learn to say no to various people and situations without offending, letting people down or basically looking like an ‘asshole’ again a terrific quote from the book.

I found it very liberating and since reading it I have definitely stated to rein in the fucks I’m giving out and who they are given to so it has clearly made an impact on me and my never-ending need to please everyone including the postman (when he receives a card and a homemade mince pie every Christmas) (I know COMPLETELY unnecessary).

One I would highly recommend if you find your free time and weekends doing jobs for people that you really don’t want to do or donating towards Betty’s sponsored walk for three legged dogs (and yes there is a charity for this)

I rest my case, and I am also half way though reading the next book in the series ‘Get your Sh*t Together’ so will of course feedback once I have finished that!

Thanks for reading

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