11 articles Tag birthday

Let’s Celebrate! How To Throw A Perfect Kids’ Birthday Party

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No matter how confident you are in your parenting, there’s one thing that strikes fear into the heart of every parent: your child’s birthday party. Once they graduate from family parties to parties that seem to include every kid they’ve ever met, you know it’s going to be an extremely busy day! But there are definitely some ways that you can make it easier…

Pick A Theme

First of all, pick a theme. This will make the party more fun, and it will also allow you to personalise it for your kid, making it more memorable both for them and for the other kids who are attending. Choose something that your child loves, but make sure that it’s a theme that’s general enough to encompass a lot of different activities. For instance, if your kid loves dinosaurs, you could play a pin the tail on the dinosaur game, you could have the kids make their very own dinosaur tails, you could make dinosaur party hats. The possibilities are endless.

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Get Your Timing Right

It’s important to get your timings right. If your party is too short, your kid may get upset when it ends, but if your party is too long, the guests will get over-tired and fractious. Two hours is a great length for a kid’s birthday party. You should also do your best to keep the timings away from naptime, if your child is a little younger!

Include All The Kids

It’s important to make sure that if you’re inviting more kids than your offspring’s small group of friends, everyone is included. This includes the kids in your child’s class who may have special needs or learning difficulties. It is so important to ensure that they feel included, and chances are, you will have a friend for life in their parents, who will be delighted. Talk to their parents about whatever needs they may have, invite those parents along too if necessary, and make sure they’re included in the festivities.

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Talk To The Parents

It’s a good idea to talk to all the parents, not just those of kids with special needs. Note down any dietary requirements – and get some gluten and dairy free snacks, just in case! It may not be a terrible idea to ask the parents if they want to stay and hang out during the party if their kids are still young – provide coffee and snacks so they can relax and assist with their kid if emotions start to run high.

Don’t Be Afraid To Order In

Remember that you don’t have to do every single thing for this party yourself. If you’re not crafty, you don’t need to create handmade decorations. If you’re busy, why not hire a caterer? If you’re worried about making the perfect cake, look for companies like Anges de Sucre who provide a huge variety of cakes that are much prettier than anything an average parent could create! There is absolutely no shame in hiring a magician or entertainer instead of trying to corral the kids yourself. Don’t put yourself under unnecessary stress – life is far too short and you should try to enjoy the day as well.

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Plan Out Activities

It’s a great idea to plan out some activities, and to have some contingency plans if they fall through. If you want the kids to spend some time running around in your back yard but then the heavens open and it starts to pour with rain, have a CD of kids’ music ready so you can play musical statues or musical chairs inside. Remember that a dance party is always fun for kids of any age too! 

Make Easy Goody Bags

Costs for kids’ parties can really add up, and you might be surprised at how much cash you need to push into your child’s fifth birthday – don’t even start thinking about that sweet sixteenth… If you want to provide goody bags at the end of the party, you don’t need to go big or expensive. A great idea is to buy a book for each kid – you can get cheaply priced books online. With a slice of birthday cake, this is ideal. You could also provide a few pieces of sidewalk chalk, a small tub of play-doh, or a slime-making kit for slightly older kids. Just remember not to provide anything that stains or that makes loud noises, or you definitely won’t be the most popular parent at the school gates the next Monday!

Kids’ parties don’t have to be as stressful as they may feel – these simple tips should keep it fun!

What To Put in Party Bags

Sausage is now in year 5 at school which means that we’ve been to, and thrown, more than our fair share of birthday parties in that time. Party bags are an issue of great debate, with some parents choosing to go down the sweetie cone/pre-packed bag route, making it as low-effort as possible and there’s no denying that the kids love this type of party bag. There are, however, a lot of parents who’d prefer their kid didn’t get sent home with ten different types of sweet and nothing else, so I thought I’d make a list of all the things we;ve included in our bags or have had in bags we’ve received which have gone down well with both kids and parents:

ONE bag of sweets!

Most parents resign themselves to the idea that at least some sweeties will be consumed on the day of a party, but we find that sending home just ONE bag or Haribo sweets or similar is much better received than a whole selection. It gives the kids a treat without upsetting parents and makes the whole thing more economical in the long-run.

Erasers

I don’t know if this was just a trend with Sausage’s friends but one thing that they absolutely love getting in party bags is erasers, which I’ve discovered come in not only a huge range of shapes and sizes but also SCENTS! Buying multipacks of novelty erasers means you can open them and put just one or two in each bag, making it a cheap gift which goes a long way.

Books

When they’re smaller, buying packs of books is another thing which seems to be loved by both parents and kids alike. Keep an eye out in catalogues for multi-packs of card books or miniature books – this works especially well if your party is themed with something like superheros and you can get books on the theme.

Friendship Bracelets

Something that Sausage and I love to do together is make friendship bracelets and they make a really nice inclusion in party bags. We buy embroidery thread in bulk and make them in all different colours, depending on what her friends might like and they always go down a treat. It’s another thing which works well if your party is themed as you can make bracelets in the party’s colour scheme which will help your friends to remember a great day.

Hot Chocolate Bags

This works especially well at Christmas or if your child has a winter birthday – get plastic cone bags and layer hot chocolate powder and mini marshmallows – add a paper tag or even some antlers for decoration and you’ve got a gorgeous party favour which everyone will love.

Sausage’s Ninth Birthday Gift Guide

In just twelve short days Sausage, my tiny ginger bundle of happiness and wild imagination, will be turning nine. I genuinely cannot get my head around the fact that I’ve been a mother for NINE whole years, and I’m so proud of the amazing little human she’s become. On the down-side, Husband and I have discovered that shopping for an almost-nine year old is so much harder than it was to shop for an 8-year old. She’s less interested in toys and more interested in Dr. Martens and ear piercings (she’s just had her second lobe piercing and now is basically the coolest kid in her whole school!).

We’ve been wracking our brains about what to buy for her and, aside from consulting BannerExperts for her birthday banner, have come up with a few suggestions so far, and I thought I’d share a few of them with you here:

Converse

She’s already got a leather black-on-black pair which she wears as school shoes, as well as a silver pair, but she’s definitely her mother’s daughter in her love of Converse so I reckon another pair in a super colour or print would go down really well. Clothes become a much more viable gift when they’re this age, so this is definitely on the list for this year.

Perfume

Okay, so this is much a present for me as it is for Sausage – she’s suddenly developed a bit of a fascination with my perfume collection, which is fine, but my bottles aren’t cheap and hey seem to be running out FAR too quickly! Vivienne Westwood make scents which smell incredible but are also a little bit edgy – she’s quite into her punky stuff at the moment, so a perfume made by the woman to styled the Sex Pistols will definitely go down well!

Jewellery

Sausage is a major accessoriser; no outfit is complete for her without co-ordinating earrings, a few bracelets and a necklace, not to mention the hair bows! She’s got such a gorgeous, unique style that I’m always in awe of, and Husband and I love encouraging her individuality. As I mentioned above, she’s now got her ears pierced twice on each lobe so the potential for new earrings has doubled! She’s already got her eye on some which are specific for double piercings, which a little chain between the two and they definitely fit her new punky look.

Roller Skates

She’s not massively into toys anymore but one thing that she has mentioned wanting is a pair of roller skates. Full disclosure: I HATE the idea of roller skates!! For me, they’re a one-way ticket to fractured wrists and bruised coccyges, but I can’t wrap her up in cotton wool forever…as much as I’d love to!

A Keyboard

She’s mentioned wanting to learn an instrument for a while now and although we don’t have space in our house for a full piano, we DO have room for a decent electric keyboard. She already owns a little one that she got a few Christmases ago, but that’s more of a toy, so we want to get her one with a full set of keys so that she can learn to play properly. It’ll fit in our dining room nicely with a proper stand and a stool.

Do you have a nine year old? What did they want for their birthday? Leave me a comment below!

My 33rd Birthday

This Sunday is my 33rd birthday. Woohoo, right? Except, not really – who actually celebrates being 33?! I’ve actually been spoilt rotten already by Husband – my laptop died a few weeks ago, so he bought me a brand-spanking new one as an early present, AND surprised me with a grey leather Pandora bracelet and moonstone birth charm that I’ve been coveted for ages last week! However, I usually get money as a gift from other family members, so I’ve been trying to think about what to spend it on (rather than doing what I do every other year and keeping the cash in my purse until it ends up being spent on takeaway or petrol!). Here’s a few things I came up with:

Garden Furniture

We’ve got an amazing garden where we live now, but it’s basically just a massive plain lawned area with a little bit of patio. I’ve been planning to get some garden furniture for ages so that we can make the most of our outside space but nothing struck my fancy until I looked at Nest. Their ranges are so much more contemporary than average garden furniture and it would look absolutely fabulous in our back garden!

A Latte Maker

Even though I’m on a strict low-carb diet, one indulgence that I haven’t given up is a daily latte. I have a loyalty card for the supermarket opposite Sausage’s school which entitles me to a free coffee and I do tend to go in most days, but I would absolutely love a proper coffee machine to enable me to make myself a decent drink at home.

Books

This one might seem really dull, but I used to spend a fair amount on books and I’ve basically stopped since the girls came along, I’ve got a list as long as my arms of things I want to read and since BB is starting school in September, I’ll have more time to read. I’ve been adding the things I want to read to a wishlist so perhaps I’ll start at the beginning and work my way through!

Perfume

The last time I bought myself a bottle of perfume was back in 2012, when I started a new job. The job didn’t last and the perfume is all gone, and although I’ve been bought perfume as a gift by Husband since then, I haven’t treated myself, so I might spend a morning at the perfume counter sniffing new scents and seeing what I like.

Afternoon Tea

This may sound bonkers seeing as EVERYONE seems to go for afternoon tea these days, but I’ve never actually been for afternoon tea before. Part of managing to be succesful on my diet has been allowing myself the odd cheat day here and there, and I think treating myself to an afternoon tea for my birthday would be the perfect cheat meal and celebration!

Quirky Party Ideas For Birthday Boys And Girls

Not too sure what kind of party to organize for your child”s upcoming party? No problem; I’ve got your back! Here are some quirky ideas that won’t seem like any old birthday party. Every child will definitely have a whale of a time when you host one of these!

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Pamper Party

This is one for the girls, but some boys may enjoy it as well! Why not treat your little darlings to a pamper session? Lots of mobile beauty therapists now take bookings for children’s parties. They can come around to your house and give all the kids manicures, massages, and apply glitter tattoos. Lots of families are now having hot tubs from specialist companies so if you have one in your garden, you could take the party outside for a bit of a spa experience!

Cinema Party

Does your child love movies? Then why not turn your living room into a cinema for the evening! There are now lots of smartphone adapters that you can buy which you can use to project videos onto a wall so you can watch your chosen film as if it were on a cinema screen. You can see these cool types of projectors online at sites like www.prezzybox.com/smart-phone-projector.aspx. You will also need to make sure you have plenty of yummy drinks and popcorn so that everyone has plenty to snack on during the movie. If you are having your cinema party through the day, remember to draw all the curtains so that the room is as dark as possible. This way, you will see the film better!

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Karaoke Party

Older kids will love showing off their vocal talents at a karaoke party! There are various ways you can organize this. If you can’t be doing with the hassle of having a load of kids singing their lungs out in your own home, you could see if you could host it at your local karaoke bar. Most bars with karaoke features often hire out singing booths for parties. However, if you want to keep your party budget as low as possible, you will find it very cheap to host at your own home. You can buy or hire a karaoke machine for use in your home.

Storybook Party

This is an excellent party option for those of you with very young children. Even though they may be young, I’m sure they will all have their favourite books already. When you send out the party invites, make sure you include a note asking everyone to come dressed up as their favourite book character. It will be so fun to see all the kids turn up in cute fancy dress and costumes! You’ll be able to take some gorgeous pictures and upload them to your Instagram for all your other mummy friends to swoon over!

Don’t waste too much time thinking about the different options for your child’s party. Hopefully, the tips above will have given you plenty of food for thought!

 

Gifts To Make Your Kids Think You’re Super Cool

kids gifts coolOkay, so let me just say that I’m perfectly happy with my role as ‘boring mum’ and I definitely don’t buy my kids gifts to make them like me, but every now and then it IS nice to buy them something to show that I’m not quite dead from the neck up! I’ve been thinking about what we could buy the girls which would show them that we do still have some street cred left (which has probably just been decimated by my own use of the phrase ‘street cred’) and here’s what I came up with:

Concert Tickets

When I was a kid, I didn’t get to go to a concert until I was 13, where I saw Alanis Morissette and The Who, which was pretty cool at the time (although not many of my friends really knew who The Who were!). We’ve been thinking about taking Sausage to her first gig soon and were hoping to take her with us when we see The Cure next month but sadly she was too young, so we’re still on the lookout for the perfect first gig for Sausage.

Heelys

I won’t lie; I watch my younger cousins using Heelys and I imagine all sorts of injuries befalling me if I attempted to use them, which is probably exaclty why the kids all think they’re so cool. Anyone can buy their kids a pair of trainers but super-cool parents buy their kids trainers with WHEELS in them!

Spa Days

Probably more one for the girls, unless you’ve got a boy who loves a bit of pampering, but not much will earn you Mum points by taking your daughters/nieces/cousins to a spa for a day of luxury. I know this is something that Sausage would absolutely love, and there are lots of great deals around so you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Experience Days

There are So many companies who do experience days now, ranging from falconry to Segway rally to recording a CD to so many other things. There’s an experience day out there to suit almost anyone and the photos and memories from a fab new experience will last SO much longer than smellies!

A Subscription

When I was younger, I had a subscription to The Beano and it was the highlight of my week, getting a new comic. These days, subscriptions aren’t limited to magazines or comics; there are SO many monthly box subscriptions from beauty to food to crafts – you can even subscribe to receive STICKERS on a weekly basis, which is something my girls would absolutely love! There’s something so nice about the delayed gratification of a weekly or monthly gift which lasts all year long.

Tween Party Ideas

Sausage will be 8 in August and has decided that she doesn’t want to have a party this year, which is fine by us as we’d rather plan a nice family day out for her (and we have a big surprise planned!). However, I’m sure this won’t be the end of parties for her forever and I was thinking the other day about fun tween birthday party ideas of her age. Here’s a few things I came up with:

Garden Tea Party

If we had been having a party this year I think we would have opted for something along these lies as we have such a lovely big garden now and her August birthday usually means it’s nice weather. Setting up a few tables with cake stands and teapots (bought from charity shops and bootsales) would be fairly simple and decorating the garden with bunting would really finish the look well.

Photo Booth

OMG Photo Booth Hire is really popular these days and you can completely see why. I reckon Sausage and her friends could have HOURS of fun with a box of dressing up gear and sole use of a photo booth. It’s a really unique idea for a party which I absolutely love and could be complimented by a buffet and music for dancing to.

Sleepover

Sausage is getting to the point where she’ll be old enough for sleepovers soon (god help us all!) and I think they can be a lovely way to celebrate a birthday. Go old-school with films, popcorn, face-masks and pyjamas and the party more or less makes itself! If you’ve got kids who aren’t keen on sleeping away from their Mum and Dad, you can always offer the option to take them home later on in the evening.

Lido Party

A few weeks ago, we went to my mother-in-law’s house for the afternoon and she’d set the garden up with a huge paddling pool for the girls, water toys, a buffet lunch for us and loungers/umbrellas set up for us to use. I remember thinking at the time that this could actually be a really fun party for youngsters – we might not be rich enough for a full swimming pool in the garden but we can do a good job of faking it!

Sushi Party

Sausage has actually had two different versions of a cooking party, one in a test kitchen making cakes and another in a pizza restaurant but a way to drag it into the tween era could be to have a sushi making party! If they don’t like fish, they could use cucumber, peppers or strips of omelette, and I even saw FRUIT sushi in the supermarket recently!

Big Girl Birthday Party Ideas

Birthday PartySausage is at an age now where the average soft-play birthday party just won’t cut it anymore. In 2014 she had a Pizza Express party where guests made their own pizzas and then ate it all once it was cooked, and last year she had a party at our local Waitrose test kitchen – both of which were lovely parties, but these days I think she needs something a bit more…rowdy! I thought I’d take a look at some of the viable ideas for Sausage’s 8th birthday, which may be 8 months away but it can’t hurt to be organised!

Skating Party

Sausage attended a skating party a couple of months back and it was a slightly mixed success – many of the kids had a great time, but one girl actually broke her arm and Sausage spent more time on her bottom than she did on her feet! It may have helped if she’d had some practice and a pair of Proline Skates, so I won’t rule out this kind of party for the future!

D.I.S.C.O!

Sausage’s favourite parties are usually ones which allow her to just spend a couple of hours dancing with her friends, and if the D.J. also interects with them and does games, that’s even better. Just last week she attended a party with a fab entertainer who also had a snow machine and plenty of sweets to give as prizes, and the kids all loved it! Take a look at That Sweet Gift for some lovely gift ideas for kids.

Garden Party

Sausage is lucky enough to have her birthday in the summer and this year we’ll probably opt for a garden party. We’ll do something a bit ‘grown-up’ in terms of some sort of Afternoon Tea…but we’ll probably also hire a bouncy castle which will give the kinds plenty of opportunity to burn off all the sugar they’ll consume!

Animal Experience

A few years ago, Sausage went to a party where a company brought along a whole host of reptiles to meet the kids. As well as being a learning experience and a chance to get hands on with animals that they might not usually meet, having a whole bunch of photos of the kids with tarantulas on their heads or holding massive snakes and lizards was a HUGE plus point! There are also companies who bring along softer, more cuddly animals if your kids prefer softness to scales!

BOUNCE!

Trampolining seems to be the new craze amongst the young’uns, with activity centres opening up all around the country which are completely filled with trampolines. Sausage’s trampoline got a bit battered by the weather and wasn’t really in good enough condition to bring with us when we moved, so something like this would probably be really popular with her after missing her own trampoline for so long!

5 Fun Gifts For Your Child

Post provided by Penny Skateboards.
Happy_Birthday_Gift_by_Jon__BoyYou’ve just finished neatly wrapping up that new gift for your child, excitement fills the air as you begin to pictn ure their little face light up with joy and delight. They unwrap their gift and…fail. Bless their little hearts as they pretend to be excited with your gift. But nothing is worse than seeing them pull off an awful B-grade movie performance.

Perhaps it is time to be less predictable and give them something that will really excite them. Your child can only smash that toy truck or give barbie a hairdo so many times before they start pulling their own hair out. Give your son or daughter a childhood they will never forget with one of these fun gift ideas:

1. The need for speed.

Every child is an adrenalin junkie. Grab some knee and elbow pads along with a skateboard to get their little hearts racing. If you really want to impress their socks off, get them a fully customised skateboard made exactly to suit their little feet. Companies like Penny Skateboards do an incredible job of designing boards to suit their specific dimension and build. The best part is that you can do all of it online- their website layout makes it clear and easy to decide on every detail and make sure they get the smoothest ride.

2. A young maestro.

You may have a the next Mariah or Justin hidden inside that small body. Some voice lessons would be the perfect gift idea to let that caged bird sing. Or, there may be a hidden drummer boy and musician ready to rock and roll. Check out your local music store to find that specific instrument that speaks their musical language. Their right brain will thank you as they spark it up strumming away on that new guitar or playing a melody on the piano.

3. Surf’s up dude!

Make the day at the beach extra exciting by introducing your child to the surf. Every surfer will say that the feeling of catching a wave cannot be compared to anything else. There is sure to be a surf shop at your closest beach providing you not only with surf lessons, but just the right board to fit whatever age your child may be. No doubt you will even want to join the kids out in the water!

4. A green thumb.

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the fruits of your own labour. Why not take your child to the closest nursery and let them pick out their favourite plant or fruit tree. Watch your child beam with joy as they get a free pass to get grubby in the soil and plant a gift that will grow at the same rate as they do.

5. Little Da Vinci.

Awaken that inner muse and introduce your child to the artistic world. Whether it is painting, drawing, or putting together a mosaic, being creative is not only fun but a plays a crucial role in your child’s learning abilities as they freely express themselves. Let them loose into the world of colour and creativity.

I am sure these gift ideas are helpful to you. Not only gifts, you can also plan a party for your kids as a gift. A gift will be cherishable and a party will be memorable.

30 Things To Do Before I’m 30

It occurred to me the other day that with my birthday coming up in two weeks, I’m going to be entering the final year of my twenties.

*cough* *hack*

Sorry, those words stuck in my throat a little bit, as I typed.

But seriously, I’m careering headlong into my thirties and while I’m not overly worried about the ageing process or about having a 3 in front of my age instead of a 2, there are things that I would have liked to have done or achieved before I hit the bit 3-0.

So, I’m compiling a list of things that I want to do in the next year – some are big, others are little, but all of them are things which mean something to me. Also, in the name of reader interaction and to make this even more fun, I’m leaving a space at the end for you guys to fill. There’s not a prize for the winner as such, but I’m going to whittle down the suggestions to my top 6 and then put it to a vote over on the Mum’s the Word Facebook page. Suggestions can be crazy-ish, but do bear in mind that they need to be things that are within reach (i.e. not ridonkulously expensive) as well as SAFE (I’m not chucking myself out of a plane, for instance) and can be achieved within a year.

So here’s my list so far (all fairly self-explanatory, but do ask if you need clarification!):

1. Start writing my novel (and hopefully finish it)

2. Perform stand up in front of an audience

3. Lose weight and get fit

4. Learn to play the Ukulele

5. Start my degree again and decide once and for all what I want to be when I grow up

6. Redesign this blog

7. Go on the London Eye

8. Visit Anfield to watch a match and take a tour of the ground

9. See Foo Fighters in concert again

10. Go for one proper big night out like we did in the days before parenthood

11. Take Sausage on holiday

12. Do a burlesque photo shoot (once number 3 has been achieved)

13. Join a netball team

14. Start sewing again and improve skills

15. Learn to crochet

16. Move house

17. Take Sausage to Bestival

18. Take part in a (peaceful) protest

19. Have something I’ve written published in a magazine or newspaper

20. Work out my ‘style’ (I’m useless at dressing myself and tend to look like a vagrant most of the time)

21. Go somewhere that requires the wearing of a hat or fascinator

22. Reverse or lessen my type 2 diabetes (maybe not entirely achievable, but it COULD happen with lifestyle changes)

23. Start to learn a language

24. Get a LOT better at taking photos

25. Get the three tattoos that I have planned

26. Eat at a restaurant with Michelin stars (preferably Le Gavroche as I’m a little bit bonkers about Michel Roux Jr. Hero-worship, much?!)

27. Overcome my fear of the sea

28. Go to the opera

29. Ride a horse

30.

So, leave a comment with your suggestion below for number 30 and we’ll go from there! This is by no means a comprehensive bucket list, just things that I’d like to do in the next year. The final list would be WAY longer and far more ambitious than this!