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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How to Embrace the Hate

Ok so this is not a post I really wanted to ever have to write but inevitably here we are.

The internet is a very big and un-policed place, a platform for people to share nice things and horrible things wherever they want and however they want and whenever they want. It’s pretty scary when you realise this.

I shared a video about single parenting (this was requested) with one of the big family companies in the UK. Having just sent them the raw footage weeks ago last night I made the terrible mistake of looking for it on social media after a friend had seen it. With their 304k following on social media the video has been viewed more than 100,000 times and apparently most of those people have an opinion about my views on being a single parent (and not a nice one).

So I read some (not all) of the comments last night and led in bed in a state of complete shock and upset, all the usual questions running through my mind ‘who do I try and help’ ‘why do i put myself in the firing line for this’ ‘why can’t I just be understood’ anyway after a phone call with my sister (at midnight) that brought me back to reality it made me realise that actually there are just some people that are really negative and miserable.

Every single one of us will have something going on in our lives that is worthy of being miserable about, whether it’s money, relationships, work or family there will be something for everyone. The big factor is how you react to this:

  1. You can be angry and bitter
  2. You can be sad and miserable
  3. You can be jealous and resentful
  4. Or…you can just accept it, make a plan to change it and try to focus on the positives (there are always some)

Sadly it seems that the great majority of people in the world opt for 1,2 and 3. This is a sad but a fact of life. How we react to a given situation can be down to how we were raised, how we’ve been taught to cope with things, the people around us influencing us and our own personality and outlook on life.

I am forever a ‘glass half full’ kind of person (not always the best mentality especially when running a business) but still I wouldn’t change it. having been through a fair few awful things in life I have learnt to take the positive out of every situation and focus on that. It’s just who I am and what I’ve learnt to do!

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What I have tried to focus on after reading all of these negative and nasty comments is that there is a reason that people react the way they do, and that not everyone is a ‘glass half full’ person like me. Being positive and upbeat is hard, being miserable and living in a pity party is easy, blaming someone else is easy and making yourself feeling better by attacking other people is self gratifying if you are that kind of person.

To just talk about the post itself: I highlighted how long I had been a single parent for (5 years) explained that I had been very embarrassed at the start not wearing my ring and being labeled as ‘divorced’. I focused on the positives that I had time to focus on things I wanted for myself while Arabella was with her dad. I then talked about why I thought it was something to be really proud of if you were managing as a single parent and that even though it’s hard there are positives to focus on.

However positive you are people will try and bring you down, knock you off your cloud of happiness so you can fall back in to the pity pit with them but like I mentioned earlier in any given situation it’s how you react to it. I have decided to take a step back (not to ever look again) and accept that some people are just not capable of seeing the positives, this doesn’t mean they are bad people they are just mis-educated people that either don’t want to see the positive, don’t want to accept where they are in life or just find it easier attacking other people and taking no responsibility for anything that has happened to them. With this in mind I feel sad for them, living an angry life is not enjoyable and will also influence the things that continue to happen.

To End…. Be kind, be positive and always remember that everyone has a reason to behave the way they do (whether it be good or bad) so just smile and scroll on.

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

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Solo Christmas

I know full well that a lot of my followers are mums and some even single mums like me. Speaking from experience It is such a daunting prospect facing Christmas as a single parent (especially a new one) but i’m about to give you a little vote of confidence on this one because it’s not that bad.

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Ok so my first solo Christmas, this was the hardest. I pulled the Christmas hamper out brimming with sparkles and glitter to find memories of family life, Surname based signs and I sobbed, I sobbed my little heart out. I wondered how it had all gone so wrong and how I ended up alone. I really did my absolute best to create the worlds biggest pity party, which all my family and friends were of course invited to. I think on your first solo Christmas everyone is fairly understanding of the change and the upset (but let me tell you this won’t last).

Come January all the decorations came down and went back in to the hamper and the year carried on, every day with me getting stronger and stronger.

Christmas year two I started to create our own traditions, cried less and started caring less about which parent had spent the most money or bought the best gift. (At the age of two lets face it Arabella was happy with the wrapping and the box). The next two Christmases moved forwards in a similar fashion until Christmas number 5 (which is the present day).

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Initially I just want to say it’s amazing how much good you will find if you start to look for the positive in any given situation.

We have always split the day 50/50 one of us will have Arabella on Christmas eve and in the morning, the other from Lunchtime on Christmas day through to Boxing day. Initially of course this was terrible and having to make the order in court was even less of a joy, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Arabella is actually with me this Christmas eve and Christmas Day morning, but when she goes to her dads at lunch time, do you know what…I’m going to crack out my pyjamas and binge watch Christmas films (something I wouldn’t be able to do if she was with me) I could go out for festive drinks, i’m basically a free agent. You can view this as  good or a bad thing ‘woe is me I don’t have my child on this magical day‘ or ‘Ok I’ve seen her on this magical day but now I’ve got 8 hours to be selfish, post Christmas day selfie pics on Instagram and generally bum around doing whatever the hell I want’ It’s entirely up to you whether you go for the positive or the negative but you will soon realise the easier road to go down.

My top tips for coping with a solo Christmas:

1.Chuck out anything that resembles the old relationship you had (take as long as you need to do this but believe me it’s easier when it’s gone)

2. Start creating your own traditions with your children, ones that only involve you and them (or maybe even your family) basically people that will be sticking around.

3. Get social, go out see friends, stay busy at the beginning an don’t sit and dwell.

4. Don’t get in to a present war with the other parent. Who cares who bought what as long as they get something, fill themselves with turkey an watch some sort of Disney Christmas film (these are kids it’s not an interview for the apprentice)

4. Turn off your ‘on this day’ setting on Facebook or you will be inundated with reminders of what you were doing last Christmas (and who with) who needs that shit.

5. Look for the positive, for example: ‘yes this is a shitty situation but in what way could it be seen as positive’ (silver linings do really come with every cloud)

5. And lastly an probably most importantly, put yourself first, have some downtime, do whatever makes YOU happy at Christmas, this can be anything from sleeping to getting blind drunk on Mulled wine (the choice really is yours).

I hope this helps you if you are going through your first, second or perhaps third solo Christmas. And like I said at the beginning it really isn’t that bad. (I promise)

Thanks for reading and as always speak up if you’ve got something to say.

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