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Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Party ideas

When I was young we went Guising at Halloween. Basically we dressed up, scary or not scary, went round the town knocking on doors and performing some party piece in return for some sweets, a tangerine or two or a handful of monkey nuts. Then we returned home and my mum had arranged a halloween party in the house. Usually it was just me and my neighbour. Even with just two of us, it was great fun and those halloween memories have stayed with me. We didn’t have a lot of money, though we never lacked for anything but with everything being so commercialised today I thought it was worth compiling some ideas for Halloween. Ideas that won’t cost the earth but will be fun for all and leave memories that will last a lifetime.

I think for a first rate Halloween party all you need is food, some decorations and games. And to be honest you don’t really have to have the decorations but I’ve added a few ideas anyway.

Halloween Party Food

My mum hates cooking! We didn’t have fancy halloween snacks we had regular food but it was all labelled. Nothing looked gruesome or oozed with fake blood. It was all food we knew but every plate was labelled. Crisps became ‘witches toenails’, sausages became goblin toes and jelly became slime. It doesn’t have to take hours of culinary prowess to conjure up a Halloween spread. If you do want to go a bit out of the ordinary then here are some simple ideas.

At a time when the children bring home sweets and chocolate in abundance there are loads of ways to dress up fruit in to Halloween themed treats.

Take some oranges or satsumas and one black permanent marker. A little creativity and you’ve got lots of tasty mini pumpkins to eat.

Use cocktail sticks to cover a pumpkin in fruit skewers/kebabs. If you can’t be bothered carving the pumpkin, draw a face on with a black marker pen. Result, one pumpkin with a wild and scary but very healthy hairdo.

Buy some sausages and some ready to roll puff pastry. Roll out your pastry and cut in to strips and wrap round your sausages. Hey presto some sausage mummies. Add some eyes with writing icing.

You’ll find all these Halloween ideas on my Halloween Party Food board.

Halloween Party Decorations

Rock painting has become somewhat a craze here in the UK. When my 2 year old and I were doing some recently I discovered I could paint rock monsters really quickly and keep his interest. I’ve since seen a suggestion for using these for Halloween. What’s more you could paint your rocks, use them for your party and then hide your rocks later for others to find. You could even have monster rock painting as an activity at your Halloween party. All you need are some rocks, some paint (acrylic is good) and some permanent markers. You don’t have to give your rocks a background colour. With just a couple of marker pens you can do eyes and teeth on any rock and they look really fun, cute and so quick to do. I found that a white marker pen was a lot quicker and less messy than paint!

Use old sheets or towels draped over a balloon and hang up to make ‘ghosts’. Add eyes if you like or just leave ghostly shapes hanging (especially if you want to reuse your sheets!).

Halloween colour in tableclothEveryone likes colouring in. You could colour in this giant poster/tablecloth over the days leading up to Halloween or have it out as an activity at the party. Either way it will provide some much needed therapy on a scary night.

Halloween Party Games

You’ll need your black marker pen again for this game and some toilet rolls. Draw black eyes and ghostly mouths on your whole toilet rolls. Stack them up and then play knocking them down. Use a pumpkin as a bowling ball. I’ve seen this game done with plastic cups too but you can always reuse the toilet rolls after.

While you’re buying toilet roll in bulk anyway, you can play wrap the mummy. Choose one or two ‘volunteers’ to be the mummies. See how long it takes to wrap them in toilet roll, please do leave a space for the mouth and nose! Or split in to teams and race to wrap, or give a time limit and see who wraps the most in, say, 5 minutes.

If you can get pumpkins with stalks still on then set them up for a ring toss. Use glow sticks in the dark for extra spook fun.

Of course there is also dooking (or dunking) for apples, also called apple bobbing. Not sure it passes health and safety requirements these days but it’s a classic. Do have a towel on hand!

We used to make treacle scones and hang them up on a string. We had to try and get one in our mouths with our hands behind our backs. I have to say that jam doughnuts are my children’s preferred food to stretch for.


I hope I’ve given you some ideas for how to run a Halloween Party without great expense and without too much time to prepare. Your children will love it. I’d love to hear what other simple, low cost Halloween ideas you have or how your party went. Do leave your ideas in the comments below.

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Things to put in a Christmas Eve Box

Christmas Eve Box

Ideas for a Christmas Eve Box

Thought I would ask my three older children (10, 7 and 5) what goodies they would like in a Christmas Eve Box and here’s what they suggested.

First find a box, add a few sweets and maybe some hot chocolate and you will keep the whole family entertained. Start the Christmas festivities off the night before. This one is ideal and not too pricey either.

1 Refill pack

Save yourself time and get the Christmas Eve Box Refill containing craft, colouring, decorations and games. Just add your own sweets and hot chocolate.

2 Snow

Even if it’s a beautiful sunny day outside, you can still have snow inside with this safe, non toxic instant snow – just add water. For a couple of quid you can’t go wrong with this in a Christmas Eve box.

3 Doodling

With 6 sheets in this Christmas Holiday Fun pack there are oodles of doodles to keep the whole family scribbling if necessary.

4 Colour in Ideas

Colour In Christmas TableclothThis huge paper tablecloth will keep everyone busy at Christmas. Either use it just as something to do or for maximum value put it on the table for Christmas dinner with a few pens, crayons or coloured pencils and watch all ages get stuck in. Also makes a great poster.

Alternatively try the colour in Christmas Tree from Flamingo Paperie, or their colour in nativity bunting.

5 Christmas Cracker

It’s Christmas after all, there probably need to be some sweets and what better way to add to a Christmas Eve box than in a cracker. Cadbury have lots of Christmas confectionary ideas as you would imagine. If you don’t do chocolate, e.g. if you’re dairy free then Hampergifts have some fabulous retro sweet hampers and packs.

6 Craft Ideas

If your children love craft activities then check out Flamingo Paperie’s DIY gift tags. They have other craft packs too.

7 Books

If you need some ideas of books for Christmas Eve then we traditionally read Twas the Night Before Christmas before they go to bed on Christmas Eve but they also love Illustrated Stories for Christmas. A Christmas Carol is also a great read for older children. Christmas Day will be so busy that bedtime stories probably won’t happen. I believe no Christmas Eve Box is complete without a story. Settle them down for bed and take the chance to stop for a minute and remember what Christmas is all about amidst the preparations. If you are true bookworms then plan ahead with some Christmas advent books.

8 Jigsaws

All my family, from ages 1 to 80+ love jigsaws. So I always get a couple of Christmas jigsaws in for the holiday. It’s just perfect for those ‘I’m bored’ moments when the weather is too bad to send them outside. When I get a chance to sit down for 5 minutes it’s great relaxation for me too.


It's a wonderful life dvdOf course there is always the option of a DVD. Why not schedule in an hour or two to put your feet up, get out the popcorn and watch a DVD together. Our Christmas favourites are Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and Elf. What’s your favourite? Share with us in the comments below, it might give someone else who’s stuck an idea for their Christmas Eve box.

10 Chatterboxes

chatterboxes fortune tellersRemember these? We called them fortune tellers I think. This pack from Flamingo Paperie has 6 sheets, with jokes, forfeits, fortunes and more. Great fun for Christmas Eve and could be used for Christmas Dinner entertainments too. For just a couple of quid it provides lasting fun for all.

I haven’t tried myself but I did think if you are making your own Christmas crackers that you could include one of these in each cracker if you do some of the initial folding.

You can see a video I did of a Christmas Eve Box full of activities  here.

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7 Activities to keep Children Entertained at your Wedding.

Happy Families

Yes, you know the panic – little Johnny is coming and he’ll never sit still for 5 seconds, nevermind the speeches! Well don’t worry here are some great ideas to keep children entertained and happy and their parents over the moon that you’ve taken time to think of them.

It doesn’t matter what the parents might bring to keep their own children occupied, kids will always be more interested in something ‘new’.

1 Colour in Tablecloth

Colour in tableclothYou can’t go wrong with a colour-in tablecloth. Even better if the children are sitting amongst all the adults, this will keep all ages entertained with the adults having a great excuse to doodle, colour and create.

2 Paper dolls

Remember these? Paper dollsThese paper dolls are great fun.

3 Games to keep children entertained

Happy Families

For smaller children how about some happy families (the ultimate wedding game surely?!).

4  Colour in finger puppets.

Have some fun both colouring and creating your very own puppet show with these simple farmyard finger puppets.Colour in finger puppets

5  Sticker Sets

Repealable sticker sets are great too, with either a Fashion Boutique or Funny Faces option.

6 Colouring

colour in party tablecloth

Other colour in activities include the colour in party poster. Perfect for older children. Or the colour in around town.

Finally – No. 7 – an Activity Bag to keep children entertained all day

why not combine some of the above in an activity bag for each child. Maybe, finger puppets, and Happy Families for the younger child and party poster, and Happy Families for the older child.

Having children at your wedding need not be a headache. With these ideas they will remember the occasion for years to come, enjoy every minute without disrupting the event and happy children means happy parents and happy guests…plus, trust me, the adults will love colouring in too!!!

Other things you might like:
Spy party ideas games and food
Wedding superstitions

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Spy party ideas games and food

Spy car

How to organise a spy-themed children’s party

(I saw this on Mumsnet and thought it was brilliant – and that we had a couple of things that could really help to make it even better, so I’ve added in a couple of things here and there)

For your eyes only: here’s the perfect blueprint for a spy or secret agent-themed extravaganza – from the invites through to the party bags <taps nose>


Share vital intelligence about the day’s proceedings in a suitably secretive manner

Use a cotton bud to write your invites in lemon juice on plain white paper – when the lemon juice dries, it will become invisible

  • When the paper is held in front of a lightbulb or other source of heat, the message will reappear. Don’t forget to tell parents this, or add an explanatory note in normal ink!
  • Give them a secret password to remember to gain access to the party
  • Put them in large brown envelopes with Confidential or Top Secret stamped or written on the front

(Or use our secret agent kit, the paper is just perfect for this…

Secret Agent Pack

…comes with stickers and matching envelopes and you could even write your invitations in code!)

Or just send a card, we think this Spy Car is perfect!

Costume ideas 

Recommend guests dress up to fit the theme

  • For a suave James Bond look, style black trousers, a white shirt and bow tie with slicked back hair and a briefcase
  • Alternatively, go for all black – trousers and a T-shirt or polo neck – with sunglasses
  • A utility belt full of toy gadgets completes the look
  • Take a photo of each child as they arrive (or ask parents to send one in advance) and put them in plastic name badge holders to give each child their own spy ID cards

“We also got the children to add their fingerprints to the cards using an ink pad.”

  • Buy or make some fake moustaches and search charity shops for a selection of hats, coats and glasses for children to perfect their disguises when they arrive at the party



  • Make children enter the party venue through a secret passageway – direct them round to a back entrance or put up a pop-up tunnel
“I hired a hall and made a camouflage tunnel that the children entered by”
  • Have a few spies lurking ominously in the shadows: cut life-size silhouettes out of large sheets of black paper or card and stick them to the walls for a really effective decoration. A cartoon-like spy can be easily mastered, or if you’re especially artistic or overambitious, aim for a classic Bond figure.
  • Put signs on doors reading ‘Restricted Access’, ‘Agents Only’ or ‘Top Secret File Room’
  • Make wanted posters from photos of the birthday child or your guests
  • Use crime scene tape on banisters, across doorways, and to decorate the table
  • Create a playlist of theme tunes from your favourite spy films

Activities and party games

All spies need a secret mission, so get creative dreaming one up

A spy-themed treasure hunt with plenty of clues will guests occupied for a while.

  • For cryptic clues, take photos of really obscure parts of your house – a corner of a bedroom, or a close-up of the top of the TV, perhaps – and send the kids to find them
  • If the party is for older children, consider a trail of code-breaking exercises. You can find plenty of examples online, or pick up a book fairly cheaply
  • Hide sweets or other small items around the place and get the children to scour the room for hidden ‘bugs’
  • Get the kids to decipher a secret message revealing where their lunch is, or lead them to a ‘safe’ (a cardboard box covered in tin foil) containing their party bags

Test your spies’ stealth with large games of sardines or hide and seek.

Laser beam maze: create a course of ‘lasers’ down a hallway with red wool or streamers zigzagged from wall to wall. The children have to get from one end to the other without touching a beam. “We put the tea table at the other end for an added incentive!”

Test the kids’ spy instincts by blindfolding them in turn, and getting them to guess who is standing in front of them just by touch.

If it’s a warm day, hand out water pistols or water bombs and send guests outside for a shootout or get them all involved with target practice.

Train older children for secret agent missions with this simple memory game:

  • Draw or print out a map with plenty of landmarks and keep it hidden from the children
  • Split the group into two or more teams
  • Each team sends one person at a time to look at the map. They have ten seconds to memorise as much as they can, before returning to their team and drawing as much as they can remember
  • The next player adds to the drawing, and so on
  • Whichever team has the most information on their map, wins

You can also give well-known party games a new twist:

  • Pin the disguise on the spy
  • What’s the Time, Mr Wolf, where children are on the trail of a supervillain
  • Chinese whispers, with secret spy messages
  • Pass the parcel, with a spy mission in each layer – eg. dressing up in spy gear in less than 30 seconds, or creeping around the room without being heard while everyone has their eyes shut

Party food

  • Her Majesty’s secret sandwiches – with various fillings
  • Espionuggets – chicken nuggets
  • Dynamite sticks – carrot or pepper batons or mini sausages
  • Hot on the trail mix – combine a variety of snacks including nuts, dried fruit, chocolate
  • ‘Pop’ secret snacks -popcorn
  • Truth serum – change the labels on bottles of whichever drinks you’re serving
  • Binoculars – two mini rolls stuck together with icing
  • Exploding jelly and ice cream – with hidden popping candy
  • Fuse wires – strawberry laces
  • Hand out (non-alcoholic!) drinks in martini glasses – shaken, not stirred…

Cake inspiration

Cover a rectangular sponge in icing to make it look like a briefcase. Add other spy accessories made out of icing.

What to put in the party bags

Stock up on cheap gadgetry for the ultimate spy kits:

  • fake mobile phones
  • watches that are really calculators
  • magnifying glasses
  • a compass
  • pens with extendable pointers or lights
  • keyring torches
  • Secret Agent Pack

Spies should also take home their accessories for disguise – fake moustaches, glasses etc.

And of course, a slice of cake (for sustenance on long missions!).

via Spy party ideas games and food | Mumsnet

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Paper Chain Hearts

Christmas Paper chain hearts garland decoration craft activity

Remember making paper chains when you were little? Endless cutting up of newspaper, or old wrapping paper to make the strips, then glue or staples as you linked them together?

Want to do it again?!

I love making paper chains with my children but I confess I take the easy way out now and use pre-gummed paper chains.

However, recently I’ve been busy trying other ideas Paper chain hearts kids Christmas craft for children with the paper strips, like these heart decorations. Really simple to do and my 9 year old discovered if you turn them upside-down they look like Christmas trees.

I did make a video of how to make these hearts for Valentines Day.

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The Jackson Family

The Jackson Family

“Before I came I hadn’t heard of Rachel House. I think everyone has this image that you’re going to walk through the door into sadness and death and people crying in corners. It wasn’t until I walked through the front door that I thought “wow”. It’s smiles as soon as you enter.

Rachel House takes the stress away. I don’t have to be running around, cooking meals and sorting Mark out. It lets Morgan, Eden and Sky just be kids. When we’re here, I’m more relaxed and I know that my kids are very happy and safe. It’s just a home from home.”

Help families like the Jackson’s by buying our special butterfly basket products, or indeed anything from my shop as I’m donating 10% of all sales to CHAS

via The Jackson Family.

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Noah and Gracie

Just one family story about how the charity Together for Short LivesWS361_butterfly_and_blossom has helped them – if you’d like to support children’s hospices you could hold a Butterfly Tea Party in June.

Noah and Gracie

It’s hard to know where to start, so maybe the beginning is good. I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant with Noah. I’d always wanted to be a mum. Noah was born on 31 October 2006, a healthy little boy. As a parent you have so many dreams for your child, I wanted Noah to have all the things I didn’t have and so much more.

Noah developed as a normal little boy; he started to walk when he was 11 months old. But when Noah was about 13 months we noticed that his walking pattern didn’t seem quite right, he seemed to drag his left leg slightly. I explained my concerns to my health visitor and she referred Noah for an x-ray, this came back all clear. No one could explain Noah’s unsteady gait. When Noah was two and a half he had a little fall, as I picked him up to comfort him I noticed that although he was crying, his eyes had a slightly glazed look. When I went to put Noah down, he couldn’t stand on his feet and had no mobility at all. I’ll never forget that day; it would be the day I really knew something serious was wrong with Noah. Whilst Noah was on the waiting list for an MRI scan he continued to have these episodes and his walking deteriorated. One morning, as Noah tried to get out of bed he couldn’t walk at all. I took him to A&E in a panic and he was admitted for further tests. After two days in hospital the consultant asked to see us. As we walked into the room and saw two other doctors, we realised that something was wrong.

It’s amazing how your whole world can change within seconds with just a few words, the words we heard ‘Noah has a very abnormal brain scan’. The doctor explained that Noah had a condition called Leukodsytrophy, She explained that Leukodsytrophy is a life-limiting condition. I remember feeling physically sick and just sobbed and sobbed. I was seven months pregnant with my daughter at the time. We were told that there are around 40 different types of Leukodsytrophy. Noah’s tests were sent away to a specialist in Holland who diagnosed Noah with Vanishing White Matter Disease, a form of Leukodsytrophy.

Vanishing White Matter is a very rare condition which affects the white matter on the brain. It is genetic and runs in the family, and both Greg and I were carriers of the mutated gene. Symptoms generally appear in a child who has been appearing to develop fairly normal. The condition means that Noah will lose each of his abilities and will become physically disabled. A striking feature of the disease is that the symptoms get worse slowly for the most part, but there are episodes of rapid deterioration that follows an infection or mild head trauma. Noah could partially recovery following these episodes, or the episode could lead to coma and death.

We decided to have our daughter tested for the condition and were told that our beautiful little Gracie also had the same disease. As far as we know Noah and Gracie are still the only two children living in Northern Ireland with Vanishing White Matter Disease so we have to travel at times for treatment in Holland.

Although our life is not how we ever expected, we are truly blessed with Noah and Gracie in our lives.

Noah is our little Superman, a true hero to us and all who meet him, he is passionate about life and everyone who meets him comments on his infectious laugh. He is the happiest little boy I know, and even though he is ataxic at present and suffers from regular pains in his legs, he never complains. He is a joy to be around and at times puts us to shame with his ability to live life to the best of his ability.

As you can imagine it’s very difficult trying to keep a six and a half year old safe when he actually believes he is superman!

Gracie is now three years old and a little princess who also loves life. She is so affectionate and I truly believe that when she was born she was our little light, at a time that seemed very dark. She really helped us to get though.

We now just have different hopes and dreams for our children, and we will continue to trust that God will give us the strength to get though each day, because tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us. We prefer to live one day at a time. We love Noah and Gracie with all our hearts; they have amazing strength and have touched the lives of so many people who have met them. We will never give up hope and will continue to pray for a miracle or that a cure maybe found.

No, our life is not as we imagined it to be but what we do have is faith, hope and of course an abundance of unconditional love within our family.

via Noah and Gracie.

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Is it possible to earn money as a full time mother without the kids suffering?

mums working from home

Mums working from home have a difficult task on their hands. Juggling work and looking after the children is a tough job. Is it possible to do both? I believe so. In fact I believe if you choose the right business it can enhance the whole experience.

How mums working from home can make it work for everyone

Allow me a brief introduction of myself. IMG_9962
I’m a full time mother of three, the oldest is now 9, the youngest 3. I’ve been a full time mother for 9 yrs. For the past 8 years I’ve also run a part time business.

I admit that we were lucky, at first it wasn’t about the money. My husband had a good enough job and we adjusted our lifestyle to suit one income. I did struggle in early motherhood with my ‘loss’ of purpose. It took me over 4 years to appreciate the value of what I was giving my children as a full time mother. The ‘business’ was a hobby and I didn’t even keep my commission but donated it to charity.

Then my husband’s job went downhill, wasn’t quite what he had hoped for, a little stress and disappointment and we began to wonder if this is what life was all about. Call it mid-life crisis if you wish.

So what, you might think?

Plenty folk hate their job, that’s life…but if you could change it wouldn’t you? If it was possible to do what you really wanted, what your deepest desire was, wouldn’t you at least give it a go?

My husband wanted to write. He wanted out of his job and via a bizarre set of circumstances I realised I quite enjoyed selling things and supporting others to fulfil their potential. Running a direct sales, network marketing business started to look less like a hobby. It looked more like a fulfilling way to earn an income.

WS364_storkWhat’s more, running a network marketing business like mine (I’m an Independent Phoenix Trader and I sell gorgeous cards and stationery alongside my growing team of Traders) not only seemed possible with a baby and toddler in tow, it actually seemed a positive part of full time motherhood. Perhaps mums working from home who have been doing these kind of businesses for years are actually on to something.

Here’s a few reasons why it’s working for me:

No childcare costs – maybe obvious but being able to take my children with me in my business means I don’t have to pay childcare or leave my children with strangers.

Flexibilty – because I can take my children with me I can work on my business when it suits me, not just after bedtime. And to be honest I’m not fit for much in the evening, I’m probably a morning person.

L278_Fairy_CelebrationStickers – my kids love stickers so they often volunteer to help with sticking labels on brochures or other ‘mundane’ tasks like putting cards in cellos or stuffing envelopes. They love helping me stocktake or set up my stall. This isn’t slave labour, they don’t have to do it, I don’t make them do it, but they want to. It’s fun to them.

Cute sales aids – I don’t really consider myself a people person. My social skills aren’t great and certainly don’t come naturally. So when it comes to fairs, events or even putting a basket in a workplace it’s so much easier with a toddler in tow. The children are the conversation starters just by being there, making it much easier for me.

Entrepreneurs – my kids are more entrepreneurial than me. Perhaps they don’t have my fear of failure, they’ll have great ideas and just go for it. My oldest who often lacks confidence has now raised a few hundred pounds for charity making and selling sweetie cones. But what astounds me is how she will confidently ask complete strangers passing by her stall if they’d like to buy a cone. My children are learning business skills way before they realise it and way better than me!

It is possible

So when people ask is it possible for mums working from home to be a full time mum and run a business, the answer for me is not only is it possible it’s a really positive thing and actually an enhancement of the parenting role. There are lots of different things you can do too.

If you’d like to find out more about what I do and how it works for me, just ask.


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How to make money working from home

Fantastic wee article about working from home and direct selling, including a Phoenix Trader!
Find out more about becoming a Phoenix Trader.

You can be a Phoenix Trader in the UK, Australia, New Zealand or France and an International Business Customer anywhere.

I’m happy to send information out to anyone who is interested in finding out more, no obligations!