Friday, 31 October 2014

Hallowe'en Spooktacular! Read if you DARE!

 My (second) favourite time of year is upon us at last Guys & Ghouls!

As always in Sparkles & Stretchmarks land, we are celebrating Hallowe'en in suitably scary style!

Last year, I shared with you my own spooky experiences and my experience with a friendly ghost ... this year we had a little brush with the paranormal once more when we captured a strange ghostly hand in a photograph of Tyne!

This year, as all of my own spooky stories have been shared, I invited some of my lovely blogger friends to share their own spooky experiences with you....Read on if you dare!

And if you fancy taking a look at my Hallowe'en inspired scary Make up tutorial...check out yesterdays video below!

Lauren's Story...

Lauren is a 20-something first time mum to daughter Beau - she is currently taking a blog break but you can find her posting lovely photos of family life and her home-baked goodies at

It was a late summer’s evening, probably somewhere between 10:30 and 11pm. I was out with a group of friends as I was most nights, hanging out on a local park. 

To get home, I usually took a shortcut – straight across a field which lead to the back of my house. To go all the way around, it would have probably added another ten minutes to my journey and being a typical teenager, I wanted to stay out for as long as possible. 

Come home time, my friend who was a few years older than me, asked to walk me half way across the field. 

We had literally just started walking along the path, no more than two minutes in to it, we noticed a man. 
Now, we say man because he was tall, wearing a long dark coat and an old fashioned, tyrolean type hat....He was travelling down an adjacent path but we noticed something wasn’t quite right…he was moving rather quickly without any other movement…almost like he was on a scooter or rollerblades as he was standing perfectly upright, yet, the path was stony and we’d have been sure to hear something. His arms weren’t moving and his movement along the path was smooth. 

We were a little hesitant but we continued to walk anyway. But things were still not right. The closer we got to the man, the stranger it looked. Eventually we stopped walking and waited until he reached the bottom of his path – which met ours. 

It soon became clear that this man wasn’t on a scooter or wearing rollerblades. When he reached our path he disappeared behind the hedgerow to our left but only for a second, he soon came back out and headed towards us. His movement is so hard to put in to words, he was moving so strangely… fish like. Flicking in to different directions until he was facing us. 

At this point we didn’t hang around to get a better look. 

My friend had probably started running a few seconds before me without saying a word – yes HE abandoned me!! 

I then started running and ran straight home, I didn’t even speak to my friend…we just ran.

From that day, I never walked over that field again. I don’t know what he was… whether he was indeed a he. A spirit maybe? One thing I know for sure, it definitely wasn’t normal. 

One thing that really sticks in my mind though is the colour of the sky that night. It was red… and unusually light. Still too dark to see the figure perfectly though, it was more of a silhouette.

Part of me wishes I hung around to see it properly but my gut instinct told me to run, as it did my friend so I will never truly know what it was we saw that night. 

Becca's Story...

Becca is a mum of two living in London - she blogs at Keeping Up With The Jones

We bought our apartment 3 years ago and right from the start, things seemed to be constantly going wrong, even the sale itself took almost 6 months! 

Once the flat was actually ours, it needed a full renovation and nothing, I mean nothing, went to plan. I can remember paying someone to plan a kitchen for us, the designs were never sent. We would order items for the renovations and there would always be something missing, or broken. We were forced to change builders half way through the job.
 My husband and I would joke that the place was jinxed and that it felt as though someone didn't want us to move in.

Finally, 18 months after picking up the keys, the place was ready for us to move in to.
 Almost straight away we noticed that parts of the flat that felt unnaturally cold and in my daughters room there is always this unsettling feeling that you are being watched, friends and relatives visiting have even pointed this out to me without me having to prompt them.

 I kiss my daughter good night and often leave the room with the hairs on my arms standing on end, for no apparent reason. My husband, who is a complete skeptic when it comes to the paranormal ( as was I prior to this) has even felt someone push him out of my daughter's room.

Then there were the noises, I would hear laughing and shouting when both children were fast asleep. My daughter who was then 2 would speak of people and children in the house that no one could see. 

We didn't really think much of this at first but then one afternoon the children and I went for a walk in the gardens of our apartment, we saw a lady coming towards us, smiling. 
Both children were looking in her direction and I believe that they both saw her too, I looked down for a second to tell my daughter to say Hello and when I looked up she was no where to be seen! 

Totally and utterly freaked out by this, I messaged my sister. Her reply 'I had a funny feeling that you were going to tell me something like this and I had goose bumps when I picked up my phone to read your message'.

So I did a little research in to the history of our apartment block and of course it turns out that the development was built on the grounds of an old hospital which closed in the late 1970's. I put up a few crosses and evil eyes around the house, in the hope that it would ward off any unwanted visitors. 

We managed to live with it for a while but just last week something happened that we couldn't ignore...

 I was putting some things away in my daughter's room and my youngest child, who is 1 crept in to the room. I said 'oh hi, Mr I didn't see you in the corner' to which my three year old daughter replied. "Is that the Nightman mummy?" 

I asked her who the Nightman is, her reply was... "He stands in the corner of my room and at night he stands by my bed and covers my face with his hands"

Needless to say, we went House hunting last weekend!!

Emma's Story...

Emma is a 30-something mum of two from Derbyshire - she blogs at Handbags To Changebags

In 2009 me and my husband were on holiday in Toronto staying at the Delta Chelsea hotel.

We were there for 5 days and every night when I was in bed I could see a large black shadow on the ceiling but I couldn't work out what was making the shadow, I thought it was odd but it didn't really worry me. 

Then on the third night I woke up to what I thought was my husband talking to me but when I rolled over to look at him he was asleep, at that moment I started to feel something crawling up the bed on top of me, completely pinning me down, it was so heavy it squashed all of the air out of me and I couldn't breathe or talk, it must have only lasted for a few seconds but it felt like forever and then all of a sudden it was gone. 

The only way I could continue to stay in the hotel was to totally convince myself that I had imagined what had happened and try not to think about it but it kept playing on my mind so when we arrived home I googled the hotel only to find loads of people who had posted similar stories about their stay in the same hotel.

Apparently there have been several murders there and it's frequently haunted by the spirits of the victims, needless to say I won't be staying there again.

Lucinda's Story...

Lucinda is a first time mum to baby son Eliot - she blogs at Teacher2Mummy

For a 30th Birthday treat two years ago my other half had surprised me with a weekend away, or so I thought! My birthday was in the September and our trip was in December (when I was three months pregnant.)

When we arrived at our hotel we went down for dinner. My other half was keen to finish the meal quickly, I had an inkling he was taking me on a ghost hunt as we’d booked one a couple of years earlier but ended up not being able to go. I remember saying, ‘you better not have booked a ghost hunt!’

Of course he had, an all night ghost hunt at Guys Cliffe House.

 It just wasn’t my cup of tea, staying up all night particularly being pregnant. I wanted to be tucked up in bed!
 I do believe in ghosts and other paranormal happenings but they also freak me out. I’ve had a handful of strange unexplained experiences over the years which have always left me thinking ‘did that really happen’ or ‘there must be an explanation for it’. But you know yourself there is something more to it.

One thing happened that night left me feeling exactly that way.

We arrived a tad bit late as we couldn’t find the entrance off a quiet country road. Once we’d arrived we sat down inside a welcome area with hot drinks and snacks we could help ourselves to throughout the night. We had a welcome from the team who explained how the night would go. We were split up into groups and sent to different areas.

We’d been to a couple of different areas, ruins with nothing out of the ordinary hapening before we were taken into what were the old stables.

All torch lights went out, it was pitch black and a medium began attempting to entice some spirits. It wasn’t long before she was telling us there was a spirit there, a hostile spirit who wanted us out. From what I can remember he was not a pleasant character and claimed he had done terrible things to women.

I remember other members of the group saying they heard movement, they had felt a gush of air. I snuggled in tightly to my OH, All of a sudden I felt something
touch the side of my stomach, I literally screamed the place down.

There was no question I had felt something as I wouldn’t have reacted that way. I though it was really odd to be touched on my stomach when I was pregnant, why me, why my stomach? No one else on the tour was aware I was but perhaps a spirit was? They asked what had happened and checked I was ok before continuing. Thankfully our time in the stables was almost over and we were not in there much longer. When we had some light, I asked the people in front of me if they had stepped back in case they accidently brushed me but they hadn’t. It totally freaked me out and I didn’t really want to participate in anything for the rest of the night.

Nothing else too spooky happened to me, I saw a couple of orbs like you do on Most Haunted but that was it. For the last part of the night you could choose where you wanted go. I chose the welcome room with hot drinks and food! I was all alone and was convinced something strange was going to happen but it didn’t.

The other half went back to the stables, he tried to convince me to go but there was no way anyone could’ve got me back in there. He said that they’d sat round a table to hold a séance and that the table had started to move, quite violently at one point. In the pitch black though, who knows if it was someone else from the group or not. My other half wasn’t convinced but I think you automatically question strange occurrences anyway.

That was my most recent spooky experience and I’m happy if none happen ever again!

Happy Halloween!

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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hallowe'en Unzipped Zombie Face Make Up!

Today I thought I'd try something a bit different!

I experimented with a Halloween Unzipped Zombie face look!

I love how completely simple and quick this is to do, but how effective it looks!

All you need is:

*Spirit Gum
*A zipper
*A small paintbrush
*Some fake blood!

I chose to do the look with a normal everyday face of make up as I wanted it to look as though I`m just a normal person...with an unzipped face!
But you could do this with any kind of make would look really effective with dramatic Halloween inspired eyeshadow and fake lashes, or even with face paints such as a white face with black shadows around the eyes or even a green zombie face.

All you do is apply a line of spirit gum on your face using the brush, wherever you want the zip to go.

Then apply a line of spirit gum to the zipper.

Then fix into place and hold on the face for about 60 seconds.

Once that's done, you simply fill in the area beneath the zipper with the fake blood!

Job done!

I filmed a little video showing how I did it, and how quick it took literally two minutes!

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Monday, 27 October 2014

Santa's Secret Spy #2

Ho-Ho-Hullo there!

Following on from my first installment last week, I'm back with more great bargain finds ideal for children's Christmas gifts this year!

(Please note, all prices are correct at time of post going live. I cannot be held responsible for any changes, please double check before purchasing)

Personalised Rocking Horse - Blue or Pink! - £29.99

I have bought this for Tyne myself, as I just love the idea of a traditional looking rocking horse and anything personalised is a definite winner in my book.

I think this is a beautiful and special gift, and one that will be treasured for years....and I cannot believe what a bargain it is!
At this price I am also planning on buying one for my Nephew for Christmas.

RRP: £79.99
Current Price: £29.99 - Click Here To Buy From Studio

Fisher Price Disney Princess Little People Songs Palace - £26.49

I know quite a few people who's little girls have this on their wishlist to Santa this year, so it's great to see it reduced to half price via Argos!

RRP: £52.99
Current Price: £26.49 - Click Here To Buy From Argos

Mega Bloks First Builders 3 in 1 Play & Go Table - £19.99

This is such a great gift idea for pre schoolers!

RRP: £39.99
Current Price: £19.99 - Click Here To Buy From Amazon

Mega Bloks Halo UNSC Anti-Armor Cobra - £17.98

This is originally a pretty eye watering price and it certainly seems like something that would appeal to slightly older boys for Christmas, so nice to see it offered at a much more affordable price!

RRP: £44.99
Current Price: £17.98 - Click Here To Buy From Amazon

Spider Man Force Web Blaster - £13.20

Another sure favourite on the Spider-Man fans list this year!

RRP: £21.99
Current Price: £13.20 - Click Here To Buy From Amazon

My Little Pony Crystal Empire Playset - £9.99

Big thanks to my reader Chrissie Curtis for sharing this bargain on last weeks post!

RRP: £19.99
Current Price: £9.99 - Click here to buy from Argos

And finally, here are the bargains I found this week at my local Home Bargains store!

Peppa Pig Electronic Play Kitchen - £17.99

RRP: £24.99
Current Price: £17.99 in Home Bargains

Thomas The Tank Engine Ride On - £79.99

We bought this for Tyne last Christmas and it has to be easily the best money we've ever spent!!! He has played with it every day since!

RRP: £119.99
Current Price: £79.99 in Home Bargains

Don't forget to check back next Monday for more bargain finds, and don't forget....get in touch if you find any deals you'd like to share! 
 Please share this post with any friends who might like to save a little money on their Christmas Shopping this year!

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Dear Santa...

Lately I've been focusing a lot of my attention on sorting out Christmas.

I spend most of my free time writing endless lists ... ticking off what I've already bought and making idea lists to help me figure out what I'll buy for other family members.

One thing I never get around to thinking about is what I would like for Christmas.

But of course as Christmas gets closer, those close to us start to ask for hints and suggestions on what we might like to receive...My mum in particular is always asking as she finds me difficult to buy for.

So tonight I decided to sit down and write my own Dear Santa list....

If we're honest, I think most of us have certain Christmas favourites that we love to find in our stockings year after year...things we'd miss if we didn't receive them....

And these are mine!
xmas list


It just wouldn't feel like Christmas to me without new pyjamas! I buy myself a new pair to wear every Christmas eve...this has always been a tradition of mine and one I'm carrying on with my children, in fact I have already both mine and Tyne's Christmas Eve pjs for this year!

But pyjamas are always a welcome gift for me....I can never own too many pairs, and if all I received on Christmas Day was pyjamas...I'd be happy!

A Breadmaker

This is something I've wanted for YEARS and just never got around to getting! There are endless little kitchen gadgets on my wants list - an ice cream maker and a popcorn maker wouldn't go amiss either, but a breadmaker is top of the list! Just imagine waking up to the smell of fresh bread every morning?!

A Calendar

One thing everybody needs is a calendar and it's something I just never remember to buy myself, so I always hope to find one in my Christmas stocking!
Thankfully I'm usually lucky enough to be gifted with one - last year my sister bought me a great photo calendar with a different photo of Tyne each month - Photobox sell them and I think they make an ideal gift!

My favourite Tipple

One of the things I most look forward to about Christmas day is curling up in the evening to watch Christmas TV with a glass of my favourite ever drink...Baileys over ice! It just screams Christmas to me!
Of course this year I won't be able to do that as I'll be 6 months pregnant...but I'll certainly miss it and will just have to make sure I have a double on Christmas Day 2015 to make up for it! ;)


I LOVE hitting the sales on Boxing Day but, of course, money is bound to be tight right after Christmas so to me giftcards are an ideal present!
 My sister often buys me a Debenhams giftcard for Christmas and I just love heading out to spend it on Boxing Day and coming home armed with new perfumes and outfits!


A new movie or, even better, tv boxset is possibly my favourite gift to receive! I love having a series to work my way through or a movie to snuggle up and watch on Christmas night - last year Jon bought me the boxsets of The Middle and Modern Family and they've lasted me almost all year! I'm hoping he buys me some new ones this year!

What are your favourite things to receive in your Christmas stockings?!

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Baby Born Doctor: Review

We were recently sent the Baby Born Doctor Doll to try out, and today we're feeding back our thoughts on this Christmas favourite.

Baby Born from Zapf creations are a brand I am familiar with as they have been producing the dolls for quite a while - my own sister had a Baby Born doll that she loved dearly as a child, and the design hasn't changed much over the years.

Baby Born is a hard bodied with moveable legs, arms and head - her eyes close when you lay her back and she doesn't have any hair, making her a good newborn-style doll.

Baby Born, however, had undertaken many different identities over the years and the latest of those is the Baby Born Doctor!

She comes dressed in a pair of adorable white croc-style shoes, pink leggings, and a Doctors coat with mirror style -headband.

Along with her comes a bowl and spoon, bottle, nappy, dummy and potty.

She also comes wearing a little friendship bracelet, and there is a child sized one included for her new owner as they become best friends...I thought this was quite a sweet idea.

I thought the items included were very sweet and Tyne certainly enjoyed spoon and feeding bottle his new "Baba"...however I did find it quite puzzling that the doll has an opening in her mouth for feeding and certainly "really goes" to the potty but the bottle included did not actually have an opening to enable children to really use it.

I suppose the idea is that they would spoon feed her, but surely water from a bottle would be easier?

The doll itself is of very high quality and is certainly both durable and realistic in its look, and just the right size for little toddler hands.

The same applies for all of the items included.

I am not sure that I really see the appeal of the Doctor theme as, to me, this is a baby so why would she need to be a Doctor? On the other hand though, Baby Born has lived so many lives over the years and there are so many different variations available...I suppose this is just one more option added and if your child is particularly fond of playing Doctors then this would certainly appeal.

There are numerous items that are available to accompany the Baby Born Doctor, one of which is the Baby Born Interactive Medical Laptop.

The laptop includes various X-Ray slides and a scanner, to encourage imaginative play - I love that the X-ray slides have Baby Borns face on as this makes it much more realistic and easy to understand for children.

The laptop also comes with some additional medical accessories, such as a thermometer, syringe, medicine bottles, etc.

This would certainly be a worthwhile addition to the Baby Born Doctor doll to really get the most out of the medical theme.

Tyne has really enjoyed playing with the doll, he immediately referred to it as "baba" and it was actually the first toy he has ever asked to take up to bed with him - he has been very affectionate and gentle towards it which I feel is fantastic practice as we prepare him to become a big brother in April.

I won't lie, his love of the doll did draw some negative comments from older & somewhat outdated members of my family....which angered me of course....but what could possibly be wrong with a boy learning how to be caring and look after a baby?

Although being a boy he may not be the target audience for this product, I think his enjoyment of it clearly shows that boys enjoy dolls just as much as girls do and certainly shouldn't be excluded from enjoying them - the way it encourages his nurturing nature can only be a positive thing.

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