Saturday, 16 August 2014

Disney Frozen Party Ideas


We recently threw our own Frozen party - no reason, just because - well who doesn't want to celebrate the awesomeness that is Elsa and Anna?

Anyhow, I thought I'd share a few ideas of mine and some of the best the web has to offer in case you're planning your own Frozen inspired birthday party.

Invitations:

I used these lovely free printable invites from 31 Wife Fo Life.  But I also love the 'do you want to build a snowman' idea from Mummy Mummy Mum as an invite - we did these as party favours too.


Drinks:

We bought mini  flavoured water bottles and removed the labels.  Then, I cut out replacement sleeves from some Frozen wrapping paper and used a glue stick to attach.  I coloured the water with the teeniest tiniest drop of blue food colouring (use a pipette or old kids' medicine dose syringe to control the drops!)

Or for a somewhat healthier option, Here Come The Girls has some adorable Olaf juice cartons.


Food:

If your party is going to involve watching the movie, then popcorn is essential!  I made some popcorn buckets (see my tutorial) using some more of the Frozen wrapping paper, and left a huge bowl out so they could refill.


We also made cake pops using the same clever no-bake method that Here Come the Girls uses.  It's a great excuse to break out the old Christmas sprinkles!


We had sandwiches cut with snowflake cookie cutters, and because I was feeling guilty about the distinct lack of fruit and veg, we had Olaf noses (carrots of course).  We also made some crispie snowballs - use white chocolate and cereal to make a Frozen take on the old classic.  Sprinkle with blue edible decorations.



If you're feeling more ambitious with your sandwiches, Mummy Mishaps has some amazing Frozen inspired sarnies - Love is an open door sandwich is genius.


Party Games:

Lots of traditional party games can easily be adapted to make them more Frozen:

Pin the tail (or antlers!) on Sven
Musical Ice Statues
Stuck in the Ice (a game of tag like Stuck in the Mud)


I made some very quick and easy bean bags, decorated with felt snowflakes for a throwing game.  You just need a bucket or a hula hoop to throw into, and score points.

Activities:

There are lots of free printable colouring sheets available at Better In Bulk

You could try some no-cook play dough and build your own snowmen like over at Jennifer's Little World. She also shares this lovely idea for making reindeer antlers.


Speaking of headgear, Mummy Mummy Mum has a beautiful Elsa crown, and Kids Chaos these adorable paper cup crowns.



Cake:

If it's a birthday party, then of course that wouldn't be complete without a cake, and you'd be hard-pressed to find one (or should that be two!) as stunning as this by Here Come the Girls.


Party favours and bags:

There's a myriad of Frozen stuff on the market now, but you can still make your own bits and bobs to go in party bags.  We added some cake pops wrapped in cellophane with a pretty blue ribbon, a DIY snowman kit made of marshmallows, some edible eyes and a sugar carrot cake topper.  Ruby also made some simple bag charms by threading pale blue and white or silver beads onto yarn and attaching them to a keyring.



You can also buy thrifty favours such as packs of temporary tattoos, Panini stickers and Frozen inspired coloured loom band packs which won't break the bank.

What other ideas do you have?


Friday, 15 August 2014

How to make fabric cutlery rolls - perfect for picnics and BBQs



I recently found the perfect fabric for this project I'd been meaning to do for a while.  A set of 4 linen place mats in a charity shop for £1.50 and they were crying out for a bit of upcycling!


Of course, you can use any fabric for this, but the beauty of using place mats is that they are the ideal size and they are already hemmed and finished, so there's minimal sewing.  This took me about half an hour to make all four from start to finish.


First take your fabric (portrait way up) and fold about 1/3 of the way up. Press with an iron.

Then pop in your cutlery and see where you want to sew your channels.  Mark with pins or dressmakers chalk - love this fabric, it already has lines to follow!

Cut a length of ribbon long enough to tie around when the fabric is rolled up, fold it in half and tuck inside between the two layers of fabric, hanging out on one side.

Stitch along both edges, and where you have pinned to hold your knife and fork etc.

When you've finished, add your cutlery and a napkin then roll and tie.  You're ready for your alfresco dining!










Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Get Ready for Back To School with Stuck On You - a Giveaway



Well, the holidays are zooming by and it's time to start getting all the new uniform, lunchboxes, book bags and shoes ready for the first day back.

One of the most hated jobs has to be sewing on name labels, but thanks to Stuck On You, life just got so much simpler.

They offer a wide range of personalised items including iron-on clothes labels and stickers.

Choose from tonnes of gorgeous background designs, chose the pack set you want, enter the name and your order will arrive by post.

Their value packs offer great value for money and we've been trying out the 'designer' set.  For £27.99 you receive 50 iron on name tags, 50 name stickers and a personalised bag tag.

(Apologies my photos look strange, but I don't refer to Ruby by her full name here so I've blanked out part of the label with her surname on).





The clothes labels are so easy to affix, simply iron on a medium-high setting for a few seconds, holding the parchment paper which is included, over the label.  Hey presto, you're done.  No more stitching, no more getting high on indelible markers writing out names!

The stickers are really useful for lunch boxes; water bottles; pencil cases; glasses cases etc etc and the book tag is really fun - not that we have that much more room for hanging anything else off it!

The print quality is great, as is the range of designs. We're really happy with our goods.

Stuck On you have such a huge range of items from stationery; lunch bags; laundry bags; toy storage; puzzles and party packs so you'll be pleased to hear I'm giving away 2 £25 vouchers for 2 lucky winners to spend on whatever they fancy.

Simply complete the rafflecopter below by midnight on Wednesday 20th August to be in with a chance of winning.

Two winners will be chosen at random from all eligible entries, and notified within 14 days.  The prize will be provided and fulfilled by Stuck On You.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with a pack as described for the purposes of this review.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Sky Sports at the Sky Studio O2



From now until the 28th September, sports fans young and old can try out their skills, have photos taken with their favourite stars and have a go at presenting the latest Sky Sports news.

This free event is open every day, and you'll find it located just inside the entrance to the O2 arena - if you're local or in the area, it's worth popping in and spending an hour or so there.


The activities are aimed at children aged 6 and over, although I'd say 8+ would probably get the most out of it, my 6 1/2 year old found some of them too challenging, but she had fun nevertheless.

It's a great way to try out unfamiliar sports - why knows, it may reveal a hidden talent?

Ruby got into the Ryder Cup spirit by taking a few swipes at the 17th at Gleneagles.  Take your swing then watch as your shot is mapped by computer generated image on the screen. Other than a bit of crazy golf on holiday, she's not really played any golf, so she was pleased to get some tips.






She loved taking shots at the Soccer Am shoot out - there are 4 different levels depending on age, and if you score you can win yourself a coveted Soccer AM T-Shirt - we spotted a few people young and old wearing theirs with pride.




The basketball area was very lively with lots of people taking turns, although Ruby thought it was "too high for her"!


Sadly the Team Sky Time Trial Pinarello bikes were out of action when we visited, so no work-out for me, although I did get quite competitive testing my reactions on the Batak - top tip to the mums: don't try it whilst wearing a boob tube!


The F1 simulator cars were a big draw, and with only one in operation they attracted quite a queue. Unfortunately, even with adjustments Ruby's feet were miles off the pedals so we teamed up, with her steering and me operating the accelerator and brake with my hands - lets just say we won't be entering a rally anytime soon.




We really enjoyed the green screen photo booths where you can have your picture taken with various sports personalities or presenters.  Simply take a card, scan the QR code, choose your background and smile.  The snaps are then all available to download and print or share when you get home.





Ruby also tested her presenting skills in a mock-up studio.  Perched behind the news desk, the auto cue rolled and she was filmed delivering the latest Sky sports news. This is also transferred onto your own QR code, and you simply enter a code number into the website to access your filmed clip.  She was a bit phased by the amount of writing, and this is best done in pairs, but I witnessed some amazingly animated older kids really getting into it - I think these are going to be the news reporters of the future.



So, if you have sports-mad kids (or partner), or just want to get your family more excited about sports, pop down to the O2 and join the fun.

Details: travel by tube to North Greenwich.  The O2 is a couple of minutes stroll from there.
Open: Every day from 11am-7pm until 28th September
Cost: Free
Further info: http://www.Sky.com/TheO2 

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Monday, 4 August 2014

Mars Bar Ice Lollies

Mars Bar Ice Lolly Milk Pop Lollies

Boy it's impossible to photograph frozen stuff in this heat!  Anyway, you get the idea, these are indeed, Mars bar ice lollies.  I've recently made some coffee and Lotus biscuit ice cream but Ruby decided she didn't want it as coffee is too grown up (even the de-caf variety it seems!), so I thought I'd better make something for her.  Ok, I might have had one or two myself.  Just to test you understand.

The Mars chunks seem to freeze harder than the milk, giving you chunks of delicious chewy caramel and nougat to discover as you bite through into the lolly.

This is ridiculously easy, I feel a bit of a fraud even calling it a 'recipe'. It takes only 2 ingredients, no cooking and virtually no prep.  The kids could make these themselves.


To make 6 Mars milk pop lollies, you'll need:

1 pint of chilled Mars Milk Drink
2 Mars bars - full sized ones not fun sized.  There's nothing 'fun' about a fun sized Mars, it's just mean.
A lolly mould and sticks

Slice up your Mars bars into thin slices and pop inside the mould. I squidged them onto the side of the mould to make sure they were evenly distributed and that you'd be able to see them on the outside once you pop your lollies out.

Fill with the chocolatey Mars milk, then add your lids with sticks if you have that type of maker, if not freezer for about an hour before sliding the sticks in.

Leave for 6-8 hours until fully frozen then pop out and enjoy.

This one definitely passed the kid test!




Friday, 1 August 2014

Get Your Craft On Challenge! Leaf Art and Craft

Wow I can't believe it's been 5 months since I last hosted #GetYourCraftOn.  Where's the time gone?

Last month we were in the capable hands of Red Ted Art, who was hosting Stationery Crafts - do pop over and check out the 75+ link ups, perfect for summer holiday and back to school crafting.


This time, the theme is LEAVES.  Anything goes, it can be crafting with natural leaves; dried; pressed or skeleton leaves.  Leaf rubbing; printing or painting.  Or crafts depicting leaves, made out of clay; fabric; felt; paper - whatever you like!

I'm thrilled that this challenge is being sponsored by Craft Merrily who has kindly offered a prize of this Hama bead kit to the best craft linked up (as chosen by me!).


With this kit you can make your own leaf charms to decorate keyrings, book bag zip pulls, they're even compatible with loom band jewellery!  Speaking of which, Craft Merrily stocks a wide range of loom bands including the the hugely popular scented ones.  You'll also find modelling clay, Fimo, crochet supplies, paper crafts and much much more.

Do check out her tutorials too for inspiration and the Facebook page.

So, what do you need to do to join in?  Simple, share a picture of your leaf craft - be it a child's craft or something you've done yourself.  Link up below with either a blog post; an Instagram image; a Facebook image or a Twitter picture.  Don't forget to follow the hosts on Instagram too:


Check out some of the other entries too searching the #GetYourCraftOn hashtag, and find some lovely new people to follow.

On 31st August this linky will close and I'll select my favourites in terms of creativity and originality and pick an overall winner for the Hama bead kit.

Have fun and get your craft on!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

5 Wall Decor Ideas


Are you looking for something different to decorate your walls other than family portraits and pictures? Something more novel, a bit of a talking point? Maybe you want something more in keeping with a room's theme and design than a painting can lend?  Or maybe you're decorating a property to rent or to sell and want something less personal and more appealing to a wider audience?

There are plenty of other ways to add interest and substance to plain walls than prints or photos, and Graham and Brown is a great place to start.  Better know for their wallpaper designs, they now have a whole section on their website dedicated to wall art at affordable prices.

Here are my five favourites:

Castle Key (currently reduced to £16)



This large solid metal key will add a touch of romance and fairy-tale to your home.  Sized at around 17 inches long, it will add a statement above your dressing table, hall console or in your washroom.  Because it's cast metal you could also mount it on exterior walls.

The concealed fixing brackets give it a clean look when mounted, and it stands proud of the wall giving depth and dimension.  It can be fixed either horizontally or vertically.

The metal casting is good quality and I think this is a great price for this whimsy wall decoration.


Birds on a Wire (currently reduced to £16)


For a more contemporary' crafted look, this wired bird design will bring life to the most neutral of walls.  It's chirpy and fun, I may get one for over my desk to remind me to 'tweet more often'!


Fretwork Mirror (currently reduced to £80)


More of an investment, but we all need mirrors right?  Not only are they essential for checking our lippy as we dash out the door, but they bring light and space to a room.  This fretwork design will bring a touch of faded Moroccan grandeur to your home.  


Tia Sequin Art by Monsoon (currently £40)



This stunning sequin artwork will add Eastern promise to your home.  Graham and Brown's collaboration with Monsoon brings us this intricately embellished piece which will bounce light around.  The gold abstract design will bring a touch of exotic opulence to any room.


Map Art Letters (currently £28)


Offering vintage style to those with wanderlust, you can plot your next vacation with this wall art.  Neutral colours mean it will fit with most decors.  The bold type font, perfect for those who love typography art and these letters can be used free standing or wall mounted.

So which is your favourite?  What do you have adorning your walls?

Disclosure: Thank you to Graham & Brown for sending me the Castle Key for the purposes of this review.