We had been challenged to use our creativity to come up with a modern take on the traditional Halloween Jacko Lantern, by using other fruit to carve and decorate for Halloween. This is a great way to make some healthy Halloween party food, to balance out some of the other sweet treats that little ones may be having at this time of year. The “spooky” fruit was lots of fun to make and eat for my kids and made a fun seasonal table display a long with lots of sparkly Halloween sequins and glitter.
I took the children to the supermarket to choose our selection and we came out with:
Small Pineapple Pieces
We decided to make a table display out of all of these. It was our first time carving fruit, so although not the most advanced fruits carvings I am quite pleased with it.
We decided to place some black and silver glittery scarfs down on the table to set the scene for our Spooky fruit display, and we also sprinkled black and silver shiny sequins and stars. The boys wanted to sprinkle the pineapple pieces and some hundreds and thousands too – why not!
Although the challenge is more about other fruit, we couldn’t resist having a pumpkin too! We decided not to carve it though as I wanted to try out an idea I had seen on the Imagination Tree – Pumpkin Drip Art Painting – although we should have added more paint really to get the proper effect (We started running out of paint!!!) it still looks cool 🙂 We also sprinkled the sequins and stars onto the paint of the pumpkin so it stuck to it as it dried.
The other decoration we made for the table was to paint letters onto stones with nail varnish and paint to spell out Halloween. (Mr T recognised the letter H! So proud!)
Onto the fruit! We carved simple faces into the melon, apples and pepper. We did a more scary angry face for the pepper and the others are smiley. We also made a face on the bananas using googly eyes and tissue paper for a surprised mouth. This was Mr T’s favourite fruit character!
I also wanted to try a simple idea that I had spotted earlier on Pinterest – making Pumpkin designs out of Oranges or Satsumas and celery pieces. This is so easy and looks quite cute.
Mr Z and Mr R love satsumas, so this is a sneaky way to try and persuade them to eat a bit of celery as well!
So here is the finished Spooky Fruit table!
As soon as it was finished and the boys had admired it for about 5 seconds they dived straight in to start eating up all the fruit!
The boys do love a pack of Pom-Bears at any time of year, and so do I! But it is October and Pom-Bears are getting into the season of Halloween with their seasonal pickled onion special Halloween packs!
We were sent a multi pack of Halloween Pom Bears to try out and they were very popular with everyone in the house. The children enjoyed this flavour as much as the original Pom-Bears and were really happy to eat them. I liked them too, they have a bit more punch to them than the standard Pom Bears as the flavour is stronger.
The flavour and packaging fits in really well with Halloween, and looks great! I don’t like “gross” Halloween things – I’m sure we all know the type of Halloween food which has taken it a bit too far. I have slightly traumatic memories of childhood Halloween parties where the mums went a bit over board and made food disguised as worms, eyeballs and all of that – a massive no no to me! Pom-Bear has the balance right. I love the purple colour scheme and his vampire Halloween costume, which still manages to look cute. The actual Pom Bear crisps in the packet have their usual shape, just with the limited edition pickled onion flavour.
Each packet is a good size, ideal for children or adults. With some crisps I find my boys can not finish a whole packet but I don’t have that problem with Pom Bears! I have given these for my children’s packed lunches or as a snack as home, they would also work well to hand out to Trick or Treaters to make a change from sweets, especially with the Halloween packaging.
Each pack contains 96 calories which is pretty similar any variety of Pom Bears, and they are suitable for vegetarians. Pom Bear Anyone? 😉
Eid is now only two weeks away so it’s time to start getting everything prepared, from the crafts and decorations, to the new clothes and of course the gifts. Being young, gifts is one of the favourite parts of Eid for my children!
I have been having a browse on Alex and Alexa to get some ideas!
They also have some lovely games like these from Djeco which Mr Z would like!
Super Heroes Game:
Naviplouf Battle Game: Eid is also a good excuse to browse for girls things for my niece, which I do enjoy having only boys myself!
There are lots of cute things like this Djeco Wooden Flower Jewellery set which would make a nice Eid gift:
Or for the younger ones there are some very cute stuffed toys like this one from Moulin Roty:
I have to admit I am not really prepared yet apart from browsing around, and a few things I do already have stashed in my cupboards, so I will have to get a move on! We haven’t made our decorations yet either. Last Eid we made bunting, but it would be nice to do something different. I will have a look around on Pinterest for some inspiration and then hopefully get something done in the next couple of weeks (and show it here on the blog of course!)
Have you got everything prepared yet, those of you who do celebrate Eid? What would your children like to have for a gift? Tell me in the comments 🙂
Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a new DVD from Abbey Media – Perfectly timed for Halloween! It is a movie which is suitable for younger children, at only 45 minutes long. This is great for those around 2 or 3 years old who can’t easily sit through a full lengthed children’s movie.
Spookley the Square Pumpkin is based on a Best Selling children’s book – “The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin” by Joe Troiano. I don’t know how come I had never heard of this book, but it does sound like that would be a great one for Halloween too.
The story of Spookley is all about how he, as a square pumpkin, does not fit into what is expected in the Pumpkin Patch. Some of the other round pumpkins bully him, calling him a weed and being unkind to him. Spookley and his square shape eventually save the day, and he makes some great friends along the way. This is a positive message for children, as everyone has something that makes them a bit different and its important to learn that this is not a good reason to be unkind of not accept others, and that sometimes differences could end up being really useful!
Mr R watched this DVD, and at just turned 2 he did still find it hard to concentrate on the whole movie but he enjoyed the songs (there are 5 as part of the movie) and this dvd will be perfect nearer to halloween. I am not really a fan of anything gross or overly scary at Halloween so this kind of cute story which still has a halloween feel is much better for my children. They do get scared easily but this is absolutely fine for them!
Together with some halloween crafts like carving a pumpkin, and some halloween sweets, this will make a perfect special halloween night in for the children.
See the trailer here for more:
If you would like a copy for yourself, I have 3 to give away courtesy of Abbey Media. Enter via the Rafflecopter below:
Innabox is a new site selling greeting cards, stickers and phone cases. We were sent some of their greeting cards with stickers to try out. There are four varieties in this animal range:
Stripey Bellied Penguin
Stripey Bellied Monkey
Spotty Bellied Panda
As you can see in the pictures these are all bright, bold and quirky designs. They look really unique and the fact that stickers are included makes it much more fun for the children and easy for them to customise quickly. Mr Z always enjoys adding some stickers after he writes his greetings or birthday messages into cards.
The quality of each card is well made, with a thick enough glossy card – not thin and cheap card. The designs are suitable for any age and for male or female, so they are quite handy to have in stock in the house for whatever occasion you need a card – whether an adults or child’s birthday or just to drop someone a note! Each card is blank inside so you can make it fit for whichever occasion you like and have space to write your own messages.
These cards are 150mm x 150mm and come with two sheets of stickers at 135mm x 110mm each, and a white envelope. The price is £2.50 per card and you will get free delivery.
So, the summer is almost over. It has been a lot of fun with lots of adventures and travelling around the UK. Now it’s time to think back about what are my top handy products for travelling with kids over the summer.
Earlier in the summer I posted the Back seat challenge about the best way to entertain kids in the back of the car, and I would recommend a small backpack filled with
small toys – Character figurines like Tree Fu Tom go down well with my boys
magazines – Cbeebies magazine is always great
a book or two
A snuggly teddy is always great, especially if doubles up as a pillow! Mr R’s fluffy sheep above right is from Zulilly but you could also try Pillow Pets. The bag you can see in the pictures is a TrayKit designed specially for the car, which you can buy through presentsformen.co.uk among other retailers.
Sometimes, it’s temping to turn to gadgets to help you out with keeping the kids entertained if the journey is really long! You can get such cheap tablets these days – such as this Leliktec one we reviewed in the Spring, at only 40 quid! Can not really go wrong for that price. If you are looking for free apps to try out why not have a look at Trunki Paddlepak party app, or Jump Up and Join in (which also comes with a cd for the car) both recommended by Mary from Over40andamumtoone.
For the younger toddlers, you could go for an Innotab as there is a new Innotab 2 Baby version out now. Mr R was sent one of these to try out, and they are very user friendly for the little ones, as they won’t get frustrated with the controls. It also seems pretty indestructable, although I have been a bit disappointed with the battery life – so do make sure to get a pack of rechargeable batteries and a battery charger!
Vtech also have a Kidigo multimedia player which is suitable for age 3-9 years and comes with headphones in case the rest of the family do not wish to listen to whatever the child prefers! We have just received this to test out for the Rainbow Toy Awards. Full review will be along later, but first impression is good!
Listening to CDs can also be great entertainment in the car, I have some recommendations from fellow mums Kelly from Writing ramblings and reviews recommended these Disney CDs and Pippa from Red Rose Mummy has recommended Justin Fletcher. I also made a driving playlist of some of our favourites which you can see here – although it is more my taste than for the kids!
Some books and travel activities which have been recommended are
We were camping on our trip and once we arrived needed some things to keep the kids amused while playing outside. I took part in the 99p summer, which provided me with some really simple outdoor fun ideas like
I would say my #1 product for entertaining toddlers outdoors is hands-down the Toddlebike. You can see all my toddlebike posts here. It is really lightweight so perfect for travelling and is a lot of fun.Followed closely behind by the simple ball – also a must-have for keeping kids entertained on a camp site. A Trunki would also be great, as it is the suit case and doubles-up as a ride-on! This has been recommended by Eileen from Et Speaks from Home and you can see the review here. This is something I am definitely meaning to look into getting for next time we travel.
Finally, not forgetting the really practical and handy products that give you extra peace of mind while travelling with little ones.
DryNites bed mats – We were sent some of these for our travels. While staying away in an unfamiliar bed, you really wouldn’t want to be guilty of letting the mattresses be wet in case of accident, so these give some peace of mind and are very small and convenient.
Kattoo – Temporary tattoos for children, with a space to write your phone number in case your child gets lost. This is especially reassuring for Mr T to have due to his Autism, he is not very verbal and he has no stranger awareness – not a great combination! Luckily, we never lost him but the kattoo gives a little bit of reassurance just incase, that if he did somehow wander off and someone came across him that they would be able to get in touch. It’s also fun for the kids to wear the temporary tattoos, so a double benefit. The pack is so small you can easily fit it into the suitcase!
Sun cream – Can’t forget this! I like the Sudocreme sun cream as it’s in an easy mousse format.
If you find half your suitcase is taken up with kids stuff, then managing to fit in a selection of different shoes for yourself can be a bit difficult. I came across some really handy shoes that solve this problem, from Slinks shoes. The come with one base which you can attach various uppers to, to easily change your look without having to pack more than one pair of shoes! The uppers are really quick and simple to change, as I have seen this demonstrated. They also look great – there’s a lot of varieties so likely to suit every taste. It’s not that often you see shoes which combine being really practical and looking really good at the same time, but Slinks have managed it
This is the luxury truffle travel set and can be mixed and matched which any of the other uppers you like.
Is there anything else you would add to the travel list? Let me know in the comments!
Disclaimer: some of the items mentioned were sent to me for review, and some affiliate links are included.
It looks like a flower shape but the cool thing is, that when you cut each slice they will each turn into a heart!
To make the recipe we have used a basic sponge. I used a plain sponge packet from the supermarket and then adapted it. It is easy to make your own sponge cake if you do have all the ingredients in stock in your cupboard though.
We added hot chocolate powder to give it a more chocolate flavour, and added some Hershey’s Kisses to the mixture as I thought kisses will match with the heart theme! The effect is like giant chocolate chips. These should be available in the international section of larger supermarkets, but mine were brought from America by one of my friends.
Soon it was all done and ready for the oven. Of course Mr Z wanted to lick the cake mix from the spoon – He has seen Peppa and George doing it on Peppa pig!
Once the cake had cooled I added some chocolate topping, and cut it into slices…
..and Ta – Da! Heart Shaped cake!!
As it was a heart, of course I gave the first slice to my husband 🙂
Father’s Day is not too long off now – This year it will be on Sunday June 16th, so time to start helping the kids think of ways to spoil their Dad and hopefully our Father’s Day gift guide can help with that!
We have reviewed quite a few Father’s Day items recently, and also still have some great Father’s Day competitions running, so I have gathered them all together for you in a handy guide to make life easier – With a few extra ideas of my own thrown in.
Gifts for Dads with a young baby
A teething necklace for Dad to wear, to help him spend some quality time bonding. Have a look here for details about this from Gumigem, and our competition
Bibs or clothing with “Dad” slogans to dress up baby for the occasion! Funky Giraffe have Father’s Day bibs available, see our review and give away here.
Another personalised clothes suggestion, Mothercare have bodysuits with “Daddy I love you, love from <name>” from £6 which is quite reasonable. Have a look here.
Personalised gifts always have the extra thoughtful touch. What about a personalised photobook customised exactly how you would like it, for the children to read with their Dad at bedtime? We reviewed love2read personalised books here, and also have a giveaway here
Or you could make Dad the main character of a story. We also reviewed a personalised book from Its Your Story, all about a zoo adventure with Dad! Have a look here for more details and to see our thoughts. You can get 20% off by using the code DADDYCOOL
You could also get a phone cover or mug printed with a picture of Dad and the kids.
There are quite a few companies that will print your Instagram pics into magnets, could be a cool idea if Dad is into his Instagram, especially if there are some nice pics of him and the kids. One company is picpack but there are various ones, so google it and see 🙂
There are loads more little personalised gifts around like chocolates, lighters, pens, mugs and many more.
A really good quality Jumper or hooded cardigan. I recently posted the Cashmirino Look book, who are doing clothes for Dads as well as children. It’s definitely at the luxury end with the mens items over £300 each but they do look very nice, if you have the money to splash!
Cufflinks – La Jewellery have some lovely ones with “I love Dad” on in a very subtle design, so it has the message on it but it’s something he could still realistically wear in the office. See our giveaway and more details here
Food & Drink Related Gifts
For the tea loving Dads, what about a tea subscription – different teas through the postbox each month! LoveTea is offering a variety of gift subscriptions on their luxury teas. Look here for our review, and you can use the code PLAYROOM40 for 40% discount!
Baker Days do personalised cakes with pictures or messages on, which we have tried before and are very nice! We had one before for anniversary. They also fit through the letterbox which could be handy if Dad is working away or anything like that.
A family meal out is always nice; Quality time for all the family.
Ideas on a Budget
Home-made gifts done by the children: They could make him the usual card or painting, or even try something a bit different like painting on rocks to make a paper weight or decoration for him. We made some of these before here, not for any occasion, but you could encourage the children to paint the word Dad on it, or paint a small picture of Dad if they are old enough.
Any painting or picture can be made a bit more special by framing it. They have some extra deep frames very cheap in Ikea if you need to accomodate kid’s masterpieces with bits and pieces stuck onto it (pasta, pom poms and all the usual!) There are some for £3.50 which is pretty good (It’s called Ribba frame) as I have seen this idea elsewhere a lot more expensive!
Making a special picture out of babies hand or footprints. There are loads of ideas for this on Pinterest, so you can tailor it to whatever Dad is into and make a really cute keep sake. This could be a good idea for the front of a card too.
After all that, If you are still unsure, then there is always the trusty gift certificate. Amazon is a good choice, because they have such a wide range!
Our Father’s Day Competitions
Make sure you don’t miss out on any! We have the following competitions running, all closing in time for Father’s Day:
It’s Your Story is a great website specialising in personalised books. This is a really lovely concept so I was happy to get the chance to review one of their “Dad” themed books, in time for Fathers’ Day.
We were given a code to use on the website so that we could go through the whole order process and see how easy it is. It took only a few minutes to go through it all. You can upload a picture of any background, and they will crop the head out for you. The picture I chose was a holiday snap of my husband. I was a little worried whether it would be okay or not as it did not have a plain background, but it came out absolutely fine. There are also several simple questions to answer, so that the book can be personalised even more by including little details here and there.
Here’s the front of our personalised book below:
The book is A4 size and has a glossy finish to the front cover, and is made of good quality thick and durable paper.
The story tells of the child and their Dad going on a trip to the zoo, and all of the different things they see and do. There is quite a substantial story to it with plenty to read, rather than just a couple of words on each page.
Here’s an example page from our book, showing Dada swinging through the trees with the monkeys!
One thing I particularly liked about ordering from this company is that they allow you to specify exactly how you name the father, whether it’s Dad, Daddy, or in our case Dada. It would have been all too easy for a company to just take the easy route and leave it all as Daddy without putting any extra thought or choice into it – but my kids don’t call their Dad “Daddy.” It’s a minor thing, but it does make the book feel so much more personal to the child.
You also get the chance to include your street name, child and Dad’s age, and favourite colours and foods. I also really liked that you can choose 2 friend’s names to include – handy for me as I have 3 children so the 2 who weren’t featured as the main child at least get to see their name in it too. Although I may have to go back and order one each for the others later, to make it fair!
I decided to make it for my 4 year old, as he is learning to read I felt a book like this may really encourage him. He enjoyed it but actually the one who was most excited seeing Dada on the book was my 3 year old so I think he definitely would love one of his own. He found it so funny seeing Dada with all the animals. There are some pages where you can see him hiding behind trees with the panda or hanging upside down with the bats and all of this really amused him.
There is plenty of choice available on the It’s Your Story website, so if you want a different theme other than zoo there are loads more to consider. They even have a clothing range now too! So it’s definitely worth a look.
I’m really pleased with the book we’ve got and I think it’s a great idea! I remember having a personalised book as a child, back then it wasn’t so advanced – no photos or anything just the names inserted into a story (and it’s not that long ago – I’m not that old!) but even that, I remember feeling excited to have a special book featuring me and my siblings. It makes a great gift.
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