Easter Gift Baskets #BostikBloggers

We used all the felt from our #Bostikbloggers kit last week to make Easter themed felts, but we still had loads of goodies left over in our box from CraftMerrily, including all the embellishments – eggs, buttons, flowers – that are as much Spring as they are Easter.Easter Gift Baskets

We received a miniature basket, some ‘hay’ as my children call it, but it’s not hay! It’s the stringy stuff though, and a supersonic glue. It’s called Bostik Blu-Tack Fast Tak and seriously, this glue is like Spiderman got it on with superglue. Get that stuff on your hands and you spend the rest of the day clinging to everything around you. It’s effective though.

For these gift jars or gift baskets we made egg shaped biscuits, which the children and I decorated. You could make anything though – Jellybean Fudge is pretty and looks kind of egg shaped too. Or if you don’t have time to make something, fill it with chocolate eggs.Easter Gift Baskets

We then stuffed the ‘hay’ into the baskets, leaving enough overlapping so the glue has something to cling to. You could glue the strips in, but I didn’t really find that necessary. It clings quite well on it’s own. These little baskets are only big enough for about 2 – 3 tiny eggs, so don’t over fill it. Easter Gift Baskets

Spray the glue (or use your regular glue) to the eggs, and lay them inside the basket.Easter Gift Baskets

Fill a jar with biscuits, fudge or other Easter treats.

Easter Gift Baskets

Thread a strand of the ‘hay’ through the basket handle and attach it to the jar. You could wrap it around the lid of the jar so that there’s easy access, or you can seal it by threading it through the clasp.

Give your friends and family their beautiful Easter gifts!

We receive a craft pack as part of the #BostikBlogger project once a month. This contains craft materials and Bostik glues to hold it all together.

Easter Felt Crafts- #BostikBloggers

When I was a child, my dad made us a big felt board on the back of a Carrom board and we spent hours playing with felt shapes, making up and telling stories using this board as our base. We had a huge bag of different felt ‘stories’, but now, 20 years and two continents later, I can’t begin to image what ever happened to all of that. Unfortunately I don’t really view myself as particularly crafty – I mean, I can’t make a lady bird out of felt, or a fish out of felt, for that matter… but a little bit of Pinterest and Google later, I realised I probably can make them out of hearts, and I can make hearts!

In our BostikBloggers box we seem to receive some felt sheets every month, so with last month’s box I made these heart-based-animals.

Bostik Bloggers February

This month the theme is Easter, and our box contained yellow and pink felt sheets, so I made some Easter eggs, spring flowers, bunnies, chickens and a duck. Easter Felts

I need to buy a nice large felt sheet for the girls to be able to use their felt shapes properly, but with any luck, and a bit of practice, I will be able to make them many more shapes in the weeks and months to come.

For these I didn’t really follow a pattern as such – I just free cut, which meant I made some mistakes, but in general you can see what they’re supposed to be. Easter Felts

My girls really loved their Easter shapes, despite Ameli thinking the bunny is a bit creepy looking, Aviya figured since it was pink it had to be fine. Perfect logic in my book! I know they’re not perfect, but they are fun, and that’s good enough for me.

Valentine’s Craft Ideas #BostikBloggers

I was really pleased to find out that we’d been selected to be Bostik Bloggers again this year, and our first box is Valentine’s themed. It may be about a month off the celebration of love, but it’s never too early to get started, so here are some Valentine’s Craft Ideas for you!

Valentine’s Heart-flakesHeart Flakes

These are as individual as snow flakes, but they’re fun to make.

You’ll need equally sized strips of paper, preferably of the double-sided variety. Fold them in half without squashing the middle, and glue the loose ends together. Once they are secure, glue the strips together – you may find it easier to glue them at opposite angles (so in a figure of eight) rather than all together like in the picture bottom left.

When they are all glued together you’ll have a circle of loops (bottom middle) and then push the middle of each loop to the centre, giving the middle a little squeeze to make a heart.

Add a loop or string to hang the heart-flake from. Read more: Valentine’s Craft Ideas #BostikBloggers

Teen Beauty: The Heavy Pressure On Young People

Whenever there’s a discussion on beauty, people talk about ‘youth today’ and the pressure they are facing. I don’t believe that’s a new thing that applies only to ‘youth today’ – I remember the horrible emotional swings of teen years and the pressure to be noticed, or not, depending on the day and place! And that was in life before the internet and celebrity culture, Facebook and being ‘on’ 24/7. I can only imagine the world my daughters are growing into, and I won’t lie: it terrifies me.

The media is partly to blame. American teen dramas like Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill depict teenagers as impossibly gorgeous, coiffed to within an inch of perfection. Adding to this is a magazine culture which delights in showing the failures of A-list celebrities, from cellulite to spots. Think about it: Society pressures society to look the way no one in society can!

Redtop newspapers feed off the imperfections of celebs like a vampire sucking a neck – and the more we buy into their spite, the more we indulge insecurities about appearance. But don’t think for a moment that this only applies to teenagers! Ameli is only 6, but she is more fashion conscious than I’ve been in all my life! Aviya is only 3 and today she told me she couldn’t wear her muddy shoes because ‘people will laugh at me’! Read more: Teen Beauty: The Heavy Pressure On Young People

Higher Education: What Path Will You Take?

When you look at your baby, the idea of them growing up seems almost impossible. But as we know grow up they will, and all too fast and we only want ‘the best’ for them.

And, when they’re old enough, many of our children may want a university education.

But attending university isn’t the ideal option for families on a low income. Tuition fees are costly (most will set you back around £9,000 at this point, not to mention 18 years from now), and living expenses are high. The idea of sending a child to university can feel like putting your life savings on one colour at a roulette table!

The costly situation at universities doesn’t look like it’s going to improve any time soon– Russell Group universities are actively campaigning for higher tuition fees – and it’s making many parents search for a viable alternative.

It’s the capitalist ideal that something new will come along to counter the problems of the old – and education is no different.

Beyond these old institutions, a number of other educational forms have gained traction, and they could help you trim your budget while still giving your child the finest possible education.

Education – going the distance

The first has technically been in existence for a century, although in a variety of forms.

Distance learning used to be considered the inefficient and impractical counterpart to a university education. To get the most from a course, you’d have to stay up late watching Open University programmes on BBC2, scour libraries for textbooks they might not even stock, and communicate with your tutor via snail mail. That’s how I started my correspondence degree!

When the internet began making waves, however, distance learning took on a more efficient form. Nowadays, it’s improved on the core aspects of university, allowing people with full-time jobs to study whenever they’ve got a few spare minutes – I know! I was working full time while I gained my degree!

Although generally vocational, online degrees can offer a variety of career paths. Anglia Ruskin University, for instances, offers a football degree, accounting degrees, managerial qualifications and much more.

So it’s a broad area, and will cut down on living expenses and tuition fees.

Making a decision

What if your child doesn’t know what they want to do when they leave school? Again, the internet has all the answers.

Free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become the in thing in the educational world. Essentially, they’re taster courses which allow you to dip in and out of short modules, providing you with a foundational knowledge of a subject – just enough to decide if you’d like a degree.

Fortunately there are years yet before most of us have to worry about our toddlers knowing what they want to do with the rest of their lives, and perhaps in that time the face of education – along with that of much of the rest of life as we know it right now! – will have changed, but it’s never a bad idea to know what’s going on and what the options are.

 

Narnia Party Decoration Ideas

Last year, before her birthday, Ameli and her dad finished reading the Narnia books, so when she asked for a Narnia party we were all very excited. We did, in the end, decide to limit it to a Lion, Witch and Wardrobe party, which she loved.

I had so many plans and ideas for this party. Everything from a horse drawn cart to take the guests from the ‘train station’ (the car park) 20 metres up the path to the manor house (the hall) and an indoor forest made of Christmas trees and a snow machine, but unfortunately in the real world, budgets prevent a lot of dreams. Story of my life.

None the less, I’m really happy with what we did manage to achieve.

Outside the hall, while we were waiting for everyone to arrive we had a thin vegetable soup, boiled potatoes, and butterless toast – war time provisions! We also had games suited to the era: pick up sticks, yo-yos, marbles. It was interesting having to teach most of the children how to play these!

Narnia Party Decorations Wartime

I didn’t have means to bring a backless wardrobe to the hall, so hung a sheet over the door, which the children revealed with great ceremony. I bought a couple of fur coats to hang in the ‘cupboard’ which was great for a walk-through experience.

Narnia Party Curtain Decorations Between WorldsRead more: Narnia Party Decoration Ideas

#BostikBloggers Christmas Crafts

The difference between crafting for the blog and crafting for the kids is pretty much in the output. If I’m crafting for the kids, I kind of let them go for it, whereas if I’m trying to make something specific for the blog I tend to micro manage their every step. That, of course, is no fun for them. I once went in search of my 6 year old mid craft – session to find her hiding in the bed, saying she was bored of watching me having fun. Parent-fail, right there.

The good thing about being a #BostikBlogger for me is that they send a box, and it’s a bit like a lucky dip of things to do. The first few months we were doing it I tried to dictate what we could do with it, and the kids were really only half hearted about it. This month, however, I decided to do something a little different, and just leave the kids to their own creative endeavours.

Our pack this month included Glitter Pens and a Fine & Wide Glu Pen, and a variety of paper craft items, including pompoms, papers, ribbons and pipe cleaners (these are awesome pipe cleaners though! They look like Christmas tree branches, and I can’t find them online!)

Bostik Bloggers

Read more: #BostikBloggers Christmas Crafts

Sweet Christmas Gift Ideas

With just two weeks to go till Christmas, it’s time to get the teacher gifts done, the little token presents for colleagues and those final stocking fillers for holiday guests too. While it’s all too easy to grab a couple of boxes of chocolate and give them out, there’s something to be said for personalising, even in the little gifts, so here are a few ‘sweet’ ideas that won’t take very long, but will be unique. Go to your local old fashioned sweet shop, or shop online for retro sweets and feed your sweet tooth.

Crackers

Make your own Christmas crackers by saving up toilet paper rolls, then filling small sandwich bags with a selection of sweets and stuffing them inside. Use fun Christmas paper to wrap the toilet rolls, leaving enough on either side to make it look like a cracker. You can even go professional and include cracker snaps to make sure they ‘bang’. 

Read more: Sweet Christmas Gift Ideas

Scooter Tips & Tricks Infographic

If your small people will be finding a scooter under the Christmas tree this festive season, Halfords have put together a fantastic tips and tricks infographic that would look great printed out and included with the gift (print it at 5 pages x 5 pages, trust me!)

The infographic has nine tricks that kids can learn and master, then there’s also a bit on what to wear and where to ride your scooter safely.

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Simple Christmas Decorations For A Child’s Room

I don’t know about you, but my children are worse than any cat I’ve ever had when it comes to Christmas decorations, and fiddling with things on the tree! They simply can’t leave well enough alone. Of course Christmas is a family affair, but when you’ve spent hours putting it all together, it can be soul destroying to have little hands pull it all apart again – especially when they do that to everything else all year round anyway!

There are a few things you can do give children their own creative space for Christmas – preferably in their own room.

If you’re lucky enough to have an amazing room for your child already, like one of these nursery ideas, then you’re off to a good start:Read more: Simple Christmas Decorations For A Child’s Room