Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Do You Want To Build A Snowman? A Frozen Birthday Spectacular!

Recently, my eldest niece Amelie celebrated her 7th birthday in style with a wonderful party themed around hers (and most other childrens!) current Disney obsession...Frozen!

Ever since seeing the movie for the first time almost a year ago, Amelie and her sister Lottie have been utterly besotted with all things Elsa, Anna & Olaf!

Her birthday party was centered around this lovely frosty theme, and my sister pulled it off brilliantly.... with Frozen cupcakes, an Ice Palace cake, pretty Elsa party bags, a Frozen bouncy castle, tables decorated with icy crystals and beads and scene setting white twigs, and of course lifesize cut outs of Elsa & Anna really was a site to behold!

Of course my sister did have some help from my Mum who just happens to be a fantastic childrens party planner specialising in Frozen parties! (If you're based in the Liverpool area, check out Princesses & Pirates Childrens Parties for fabulous birthdays with live appearances from Elsa herself!) 

Amelie dressed, of course, as her heroine Elsa while Lottie opted to be sister Anna....I do wish I'd have thought to get Tyne an Olaf costume but instead he just wore a sweet little dungaree and bow tie set from H & M for the occasion.

One very welcome addition to the party, and something which helped very much to set the theme, was this fabulous Elsa balloon creation!

Modeled entirely from balloons, and using water to weigh it down at the bottom, this fantastic Elsa character was a perfect table centre piece next to the birthday cake.....the children loved it, and I was amazed to find that this stayed perfectly inflated for 10 days after the party before showing any sign of deflating at all!

Elsa is available, along with a whole host of other characters and creations, from the wonderful Balloon Baboon for just £18.95 which I think is a fantastic price for such a show stopping creation - please click HERE for more details.

The party was spent bouncing, eating goodies, playing a Frozen themed version of the traditional Stuck In The Mud game...where people are "Frozen" if caught by Elsa rather than stuck in the mud! (My idea! i`m quite proud of that one!)....and dancing under a fantastic snow machine!

There were also many renditions of "Let It Go" belted out, of course!

Amelie had a lovely birthday, and the theme worked wonderfully.

Is your little one Frozen mad? Will you be indulging in a Frozen party this year?

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Me & Mine: September 2014

dear beautiful
I knew the end of the month was rolling around, and that immediately brought to mine the Me & Mine linky which I have so enjoyed taking part in....but I had thought any chance of me getting a photograph of the three of us this month was a no-hoper.

Hyperemesis is absolutely caning me right now, and I can count on one hand the number of days this month that I have made it off the sofa and out of my any chance of doing anything worth photographing or looking and feeling at all like it were slim to say the least.

But then I suddenly remembered that back on 13th September, one of my very best friends tied the knot in a lovely ceremony in nearby Exeter.

I wasn't feeling my best but luckily it hadn't completely got a hold of me then, and - although I didn't have the energy for clothes shopping and ended up wearing an outfit I would never usually wear to such a special event - I made it to the day and got to see Sarah & Colin looking perfect, enjoyed their beautiful day with them, and as it happened - we had managed to balance the camera on the roof of the car and grab a timed family snap before we rushed in to the ceremony!

Sadly we were running late so there was no time for re-dos, and of course Tyne had his eyes shut....but it's the only photo of the 3 of us from this month and I'm just glad to have it!

The wedding was lovely, it's been a real topic of conversation ever since Sarah & Colin first got engaged a couple of years ago so it's hard to believe that its already been and gone....but we loved enjoying their special day with them, and I'm sure you'll all agree that Sarah (who also happens to be Tyne's godmother) made a very beautiful bride!

I loved having the opportunity to get Tyne all dressed up in a proper little suit, complete with bow tie - it's so rare that these kind of special occasions come around and I only wish I'd taken more photos on the day (I thought I was recording the ceremony only to find that I'd had the camera on standby the whole time! DOH!).

We wish Sarah & Colin a long and happy marriage.....and we hope they get cracking on the babies soon, Tyne needs a god-cousin! ;)

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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Getting The Family Outside

Getting the kids outside can be a tricky task at the best of times. With constant indoor distractions like iPads and Playstations, it can be almost impossible to get the kids off the sofa and into the garden to be active. 

As we go into the colder months, this is a problem that simply gets harder and harder to solve.
One time you can be sure they’ll want to go outside is bonfire night. Whilst it’s ingrained in kids from an early age to not play with fire, they are still drawn to it, so having a bonfire in the garden will definitely get them up and about! 
For a more everyday approach, consider investing in a fire pit from the likes of BeGardenHappy so that you can have mini-fires and cook outside even when it is slightly cooler.

We all know that kids love games. Normally these days, they’re electronic. But things like playing conkers are becoming a bit of a lost art. 
However, in the Autumn the conkers are ready, and kids will just need to be shown once how to have a conker war to get started! 

If they get really into it, there’s even the World Conker Championships coming up that you can go along to! There’s plenty of fun outdoors games to play in the autumn beyond conkers. Have fun with piles of leaves or in muddy puddles, or better still in the snow when that eventually comes. 

Remember, they may be getting messy, but at least they’re up and exercising outdoors!

Another way to get the whole family outside in the autumn months is to take a guided walk. There are plenty of ghost and history walks in most towns, but if you’re in London the Jack The Ripper Walk comes highly recommended. Kids often just need a little stimulation, or a purpose to take a walk, and something fun like a guided walk that’s got plenty of stories is a great place to start. 
These are often better when the nights get a little darker, as you can go at a decent time, but still get the spooky effect.

Halloween is a great time to get outside with trick or treating becoming ever more popular here in the UK. 
Sending the kids out to trick or treat has often been frowned upon, and seen as am American past-time. However, as it increases in popularity, streets are being designated ‘safe zones’ for trick or treaters, where the residents know what to expect, and often decorate the street in a spooky way.
 It’s great fun for the kids, and safe if organised well. 

Consider getting some Rock Salt to ensure that the ground isn’t slippy if it does get particularly cold for instance! It’s still best to go with them to keep an eye on them, and to set some ground rules around the tricks to make sure everyone has a safe evening! 

But best of all, they’ll be outside in the fresh air, getting some much needed exercise!

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Monday, 29 September 2014

Quick Ways To Raise Some Cash For Christmas!

With Christmas just around the corner, money worries can start to become somewhat to buy, cupboards to fill, halls to deck with bows of holly and so on.

I think its fair to say that the majority of us could do with a bit of extra cash around this time of year, so with that in mind I thought I'd share with you some of the ways I like to drum up some extra spending money when Santa is coming to town!

Online Selling

At this time of year, people are always on the lookout for Christmas gift ideas and you may just be storing something away that someone would be willing to pay a pretty penny for.

A few years ago, I listed a very old Playstation console with a few games on any other time of year I'd have been lucky to get £10 for it, but with Christmas coming....a bidding war soon started and before I knew it I'd pocketed an easy £70 for my unwanted old console.

Timing is everything with online selling, be sure your listing ends at a suitable time....not in the middle of Eastenders or early in the morning when nobody is about!

Sites like Gumtree and local Facebook selling groups are also worth checking out, as people are looking to buy but you don't need to worry about paying the listing fees.

Getting Rid Of Old Jewellery

It's surprising what you find laying around sometimes, an old unwanted gift from an ex or a piece of jewellery you simply don't like anymore can earn you a fair amount in a decent pawnbrokers.

I recently pawned an old ring with H & T pawnbrokers which has helped to fund Tyne's Christmas gifts this year without me needing to dip into my savings.

Turning A Hobby Into A Business

Most people have a skill that could potentially be profitable if you think about it enough.

I've done many things in the past including selling online tarot readings and personalised Christmas crafts, so have a think about your skills....are you a good amateur photographer? Handy with a paintbrush? Keen to do a bit of extra ironing in the evening?

You never who might be willing to pay you for services you can offer from the comfort of your own home.

Sell For The Season

There are many companies around that allow you to earn commission by selling on their behalf, and the Christmas season can be the perfect time to start.

Consider reputable companies such as Avon, Bettaware, Ann Summers, and Usborne Books....they won't take up too much of your time and can be a great way of mingling with people too.

Have A Clear Out

And finally, there will always be a bit of spare cash laying around your home if you just set out to find the form of unwanted old clothes, old cds and books, etc.

Have a good clear out, and make use of websites that buy unwanted DVDs and CDs or local stores that pay per bag for unwanted clothes.

It may only be a few pounds here and there, but it all adds up.

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Guest Post: Gift Guide for 7 Year Olds....

Hi, I`m Laura and I blog at First Two Then Blue...

our oldest little girl has recently turned 7, and today I am sharing with you some of the gifts we thought were perfect for celebrating her birthday!

Amelie is a typical girly girl. She is still very much into Disney Princesses but also loves arts and crafts.
She has recently been trying out new "big girl" crafts like sewing and stitching, and knitting! Something I find hard to help her with as I am not very good at it myself!
She was delighted to received plenty of Crafts and Loom bands from her school friends.

Here are some Toys that our 7 year old LOVES to play with.


Amelie loved the idea of making her own pullback powered toy. She loved choosing which colours went where and how many spots and spikes he would have.
It took Amelie about 15 minutes to make her Wizzamal.
It is very straight forward to make. Simply mould of foamy doh over the plastic body and create the look you want. Add the eyes and maybe some ears if you wish? Leave it over night to dry and then your wizzamal is ready for fun.
Pull him back and watch him whizz around the room.
I am often stuck for ideas for 7 year old boys whenever one of Amelies friends has a birthday party, this toy would be ideal!

Now that your little one is a little older, how about a Birthday outing treat!
A visit to the Build a Bear workshop would be ideal for children around this age. We took Amelie here a few days before her Birthday, she just loved the whole experience of making her very own Bear.
Please see our review here.

Magic Tricks Book

Amelie just loves Magic Tricks, she has had many Magic trick sets before but she has never had a book.
This little book is fantastic and is probably aimed at children aged 7 and up in my opinion as the words are quite small and some of the tricks are a little complicated.
Amelie enjoyed trying out the Magic card tricks with her daddy. There are a lot of tricks that she can't quite get her head around but she is practising!
There are many other Books in the Crafty Books range from Tobar, all priced at £4.99

La la Loopsy Cherry Crisp Crust Doll

I know that La la Loopsy wouldn't be everyone's first choice of gift for a 7 year old, but I guess that all depends on what kind a 7 year old you are buying for?
Amelie is still very much into Dolls and anything cute and girly.
You can't really get any cuter than La la Loopsy can you? Although there is not much play value in these kinds of toys, if a little girl loves sweet looking dolly's than you can't go wrong with this!

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