Getting This Year Organised With Gel-a-Peel

All of my children are extremely unorganised…sadly a trait passed down from me and it’s something that I really don’t want them to take into adulthood.
I am always forgetting things, turning up to appointments at the wrong time or occasionally not at all!

I have made a really rubbish role model in this department and as well as getting myself organised this year I wanted the children to start taking more responsibility of their day to day life and get their days into order so I’m not running back and forth to different schools dropping off all their forgotten items.

This year we were challenged to create a personalised diary to start off the new year with Gel-a-Peel and I took this as the perfect opportunity to get number three a little more organised.

She is probably the scattiest of them all and will be starting secondary school in September which is going to be a whole new ball game with regards to the amount of responsibility that will be on her shoulders. So filling out a week long diary of the activities she has and what she needs for each of them will be a great start.

Last year we were lucky enough to be sent a set from Gel-a-Peel that number three had lots of fun creating bundles of jewellery for herself and her friends.

It is a great concept and allows them to use their imagination to get creative and using it to decorate a diary will give it a really individual feel.


She set to thinking of a design she wanted and used a variety of different coloured gels and tips sizes to create something that was individual to her.


Once she was happy with her diary she couldn’t resist some more jewellery making with the sixteen templates provided and the hair clips, bracelets and earrings that are also provided in the set.


Let’s hope the fact that she has been allowed free rein on the design of her diary it will help with the want for her to be more organised. Watch this space!

Getting Christmas Off To A Cracking Start With Poundland

Decorating the house for Christmas is a bit of a big deal for me and something I like to selfishly go at alone!

Don’t get me wrong I do let the children ‘think’ they have a hand in it, but ultimately it’s a job I love and want to get just as I like.

I have a loft full of different colour baubles, reams of sparkly ribbon and wreaths and swags coming out of my ears.

With my ever changing want for new colour schemes and a lover of a bargain somewhere that can give me good quality decorations at a good price is always something I’m on the look out for.

When I was asked to decorate my mantelpiece for Christmas using items from Poundland I was excited yet a little  apprehensive that it might be mission impossible.

As I said I’m a real bargain hunter and love to snap up great deals from Poundland on a regular basis.

When the children’s birthdays come around they are my first stop for party bag fillers but home decor is something I would never have associated with this store.

To my suprise they had a great range of Christmas decorations in a variety of colours and styles and plenty to go with my silver and white theme.

I wanted to mix fresh foliage with a selection of different decorations to create a really Christmassy feel.

I gathered some pretty glass baubles, sparkly tree toppers, silver string beads, scandi style wooden lights and wicker hearts, mantelpiece snow, glitzy stockings and some simple white candles.

Once the basic foliage was set up it was time to add the decor.

I didn’t use things in the conventional way and instead put the tree toppers onto sticks.


I wound wire round the baubles and added these too.


In the centre of the arrangement I placed a couple of candles and deconstructed the wicker hearts to make them individual.



I lastly sprayed some thin twigs with spray paint that I also got in store and draped the lights and silverbeads throughout the whole arrangement to finish it off.


I carried on the theme by adding some extra baubles, hearts and beads to my tree to match the arrangement.

This experience has really shown me that you can create Christmas arrangements from very little money that can still look beautiful and elegant without breaking the bank.


If this has inspired you to take a trip to Poundland then join in with the Twitter party I will be hosting on Friday for your  chance to win some vouchers to help towards your shopping. 

Creating A Wintery Scene


The first lot of creative homework came home with number four last week and whilst some of my friends recoiled at the thought I was more than happy to get going with it!

I was never one for the academic side of things at school and have always found I took in much more information through hands on, creative projects.

I do however still find it a little hard to let the children have free reign when it comes to crafts and always go at them with a very ‘hands on’ approach!

They were set the task of a winter scene and I immediately thought of snow covered houses and glitter.

Being out of glitter I had to settle for spray snow and this is how we made our little snowy town.

You will need:


  • 6/7 toilet roll tubes
  • A hard base such as cardboard 
  • White felt to cover base
  • PVA glue
  • White paint
  • Spray snow
  • Thin white card or paper
  • Battery operated tea lights
  1. Firstly get yourself a firm base of cardboard or thin plastic and attach white felt in a rough fashion to create a bed of snow. 
  2. Get your toilet roll tubes and trim down so that they are all slightly different heights. 
  3. Take a pair of sharp scissors(adults only) and cut out small windows near the centre of the tube.
  4. At one end of the tube create small cuts all the way round and splay out to make a firm base.
  5. Paint all the tubes with the white paint and allow to dry.
  6. Whilst they are drying draw around a mug onto the card and cut out to make a circle.
  7. Make a small triangular cut from the outside of the circle to the circle. Turn the circle onto itself to create a cone for the roof of the houses.
  8. Once dry position the tubes onto the base and attach with the glue.
  9. Pop a tea light inside each tube, place on the cone roof and create a dusting of snow with the spray snow.

Making Conker Snails

Currently I have conkers in pots, conkers in pockets in fact I have conkers anywhere imaginable!

I get as excited as the kids when I spot the first lot hitting the ground and we gather them up by the bucket load.

Unfortunately playing conkers at school has been banned for many years now and I just get stuck with he little beauties gathering dust.

Last year we did some autumnal painting with them which was great fun but I wanted to try something a little different this year.

We’ve have put wiggley eyes on them to create little people which was fun, but my favourite has been these conker snails. 


All I did was to get the kids to take small amounts of plasticine and roll into a long sausage shape, place the conker near to the end of the sausage leaving a little for the tail(not sure that is the correct term). Then finally create the tentacles by splitting and moulding into shape at the top.


The children had great fun rolling out the plasticine and just needed a little help with the tentacles.


I still have hundreds left so really need some more ideas if anyone has any!

Gel -A-Peel Review

Number three loves jewellery and if she can create it herself that’s even better.

When the Gel – A – Peel package arrived she excitedly planned who she was going to give her creations to. We were really taken with the simple, cool packaging that really appealed to my pre-teen.

Patience is something she’s not gifted with so luckily the instructions were easy to read and very clear so she could get started straight away.

First up were some bracelets which looked liked the simplest thing to start with.

She placed the clear plastic sheet on top of the templates provided and then chose from the three colours and different nozzle shapes to create the design for her bracelet.

The gel needed to be applied in sections so that it can dry slightly before the next colour is added.


It took longer than expected to dry but when it did the bracelets were very pretty and she was extremely proud of her creations.

Once her confidence grows she is going to try to create her own designs and give the hair clips and earnings a try that are also provided in the pack.

For me this is a great gift for anyone that loves a relatively simple craft with great results.  You can stick to the ideas that are given or really let your imagination run wild and create something more individual.

I think I know what we will all be getting for Christmas this year!
* I was given this set for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Getting Creative With Viking Arty Party

A few months ago I was invited along to a workshop with Viking who are some of the largest suppliers of stationary and office goods in the world.
Due to my inconsiderate husband rupturing his bicep I wasn’t able to attend which was really disappointing.

I was however still sent lots of goodies over so that I could use them from home.

The minute anything vaguely crafty enters our house though number three claims it, and that is exactly what she did with my Viking package!

I sat with her for hours while she created intricate patterns with the fine point Sharpie and transformed her plain mugs into something spectacular with the gold and silver Uni paint markers and washi tape, which unfortunately can only be used as decoration now but makes for a pretty neat pen holder.

The quality of the products really shone through and upon looking further into the company their range of craft supplies is huge and we will most defiantly be stocking up with them again in the future.

Discovering Croydon’s Heritage Festival

Croydon was my Mother’s birthplace and home to my secondary school so it is an area that has been part of my life for many years. 

I have noticed huge changes to the area over time, so when we were asked to come along and join in the celebrations of the Croydon Heritage Festival I was happy to take a trip to see what was going on.  

Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration project at the moment and events such as this help people to understand how things are moving forward to create a better future for the ever growing community whist educating people on the important and colourful days of times past.

With community spirt as a whole dwindling with people’s lives become busier and more insular as a whole,  events like this really bring people together to create some much need community spirit.

This is the fourth festival of its kind and this years focus was on ‘Undiscovered Croydon’.  From the 18th-26th June people have the opportunity to take part in a whole host of activities from looking at exhibitions, listening to talks, trying their hand at workshops and much more.

Saturday was the grand opening and the town centre was alive with people grabbing delicious food from the many stalls, kids rushing around taking part in the family themed activities that were on offer and crowds of people enjoying the music and performances put on by some extremely talented people that had taken to the main stage.


Inside the Whitgift Centre the children had great fun creating their own masterpiece on the interactive art cube. Next to this were some fantastic Victorian themed spyglasses the children could decorate, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop as we needed to move onto our next activity.


Feeling crafty we made our way up to Whitgift Wennies where number three and four took part in the mosaic tile workshop.


I had not come across this on my past visits to Croydon and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to try it out as it is a fantastic concept that is open to any child as the session are all complexly free.

Activity sessions are put on throughout the month which are posted to their website and are free to take part in.  Once you are a registered member you simply book your time slot and arrive with your membership card and get set to have some messy fun.

After all of their activities I had the chance to grab a little retail therapy and try out the recently launched dual branded Centrale and Whitgift gift card.  This can be used in 130 stores across the two shopping centres.


For me this would make the perfect gift as there is such a vast choice.  I’m sure is the same for many of you, birthdays have come around and you open a gift card to a store you never use and it a waste of time and money for everyone.  With this card everyone is covered from clothes and jewellery to toys or grabbing a bite to eat.

I treated myself to a couple of sale bargains in Topshop and treated the kids to a hot chocolate a huge slice of cake in House Of Fraser.

The opening of the festival may have been and gone but there are still plenty of activities to take part in.  I for one will be booking a tour of the Alms Houses as I have walked past this secret, gated area for years and have always wanted to discover what treasures are hidden behind the gates!   
* I was given a shopping centre gift card for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Making Sea Creatures 

Unusually we had a Sunday in this week so it was time to get the craft box out and start creating.  We’ve been so busy the past few months we’ve not had a lot of time to sit down and create someone more than just the normal finger painting that is always requested in this house.

Numbers four’s nursery are fantastic at encouraging parents to follow on the nursery topic at home with the children; and as sea creatures is being covered for the next few weeks we couldn’t wait to think of something to create.

First up was a crab that was super easy to make.  We took a paper bowl, painted it and left it until it was dry.

  
  
Once dry we added some wobbly eyes to the top of the bowl and cut three pipe cleaners in half and stuck to the underside of the bowl to make the legs.  Lastly we made the pincers for the front by again cutting a pipe clear in half and twisting a small section onto the top to make the pincer itself.

  
 
Next we started on our octopus.  Taking a toilet roll tube we cut eight tentacles by cutting about halfway up the tube and then curling up slightly to create the tentacle. 

 
  
Number four picked bright orange to paint him.  Again we left it to dry and then added some more wobbly eyes.  I finished him off by adding a sweet smile! 
 
I think this week we will have to go out and get some blue and green tissue paper to cut into strips and give them an ocean to play in.

Do you try to follow your little ones nursery theme at home?

Getting Children Into Upcycling

  

Global warming and climate change are hard enough subjects for us as adults to get our heads around, so how on earth can we get this message across to our children?

Children are like sponges and soak up everything that is going on around us.  They learn so much through imitating adults and copying our actions that we need to use this to our advantage and educate them on important issues early on so they can carry this information into adulthood.

For me the best was to teach children is to be hands on.  How many children come out of school and can’t recall anything from their day in the classroom, whereas taking them out and about to touch, feel and really sence everything around them leaves a much more lasting impression.

There has sadly been a huge decline in the amount of time children spend in the open air exploring their natural environment and this is one of the best ways to explain to them the affects the modern living is having on the world as we know it.

Another great way to get them thinking about the environment is by teaching them the value of upcycling and recycling.

Taking them to recycling sites and allowing them to sort all the recyclable items and getting them to think about what these things could then be made into.

Upcycling is the perfect way to teach the children about the benefit of substances such a plastic as the durability of it allows you to have so many uses for it and it can last a lifetime.

There are so many uses for plastic now and because of the resiliance and strength in plastic there is less waste which is so much better for the environment.

We get through pints and pints of milk in this house so we always have plastic cartons by the bucket load.

I decided to mix some upcycling along with caring for the environment by making a watering can out of one of our many milk cartons.

   
  
 It was so simple to make.  I took some acrylic paint and added some pretty spring flowers to the outside and then with a metal skewer carefully made some holes in the lid of the carton to make the water spout.  Number four happily filled this up again and again and set to watering the flowers in the garden.

   
  

 
Have a little think about other ways you could use things that would normally be thrown away that the children would love to help create.  It would be great to hear your ideas!
*sponsered post

Bubbles And Blossoms:Craft Sessions Review

A few days before Christmas we were invited along by Bubbles And Blossoms to try out their ‘Messy Minikins’ session and a special festive session that was put on for older brothers and sisters.

I love crafts and do lots at home with my little ones but the ‘Messy Minikins’ session is perfect for people who would rather keep the mess out of their own home.  I love sessions like this as you get the fun of crafts as well as the interaction with other children.

The boys enjoyed making a large selection of crafts that could be done at their own free will which I found a welcome change to the more structured type of class.  There were also sensory bins, play dough and sand areas that the children could go to when they wanted a break from crafting.


  

The boys came away with a lovely pouch full of cards, masks, glittery pine cones and Christmas decorations.


  
  

We walked into town for a spot of lunch before it was time for number threes session.  The church where the sessions are held is on the doorstep of Sutton town centre and there is also a cafe within the church that has a good menu of well pried food.  This also comes in handy if you fancy a coffee during the children’s session!

I have always found it hard to find craft classes for older children so it was a welcome surprise that Bubbles And Blossoms were offering this session.

The children were given a large canvas and a huge abundance of paints, jewels, beads, sequins and much more to create anything that took their fancy.



Number three is having her room decorated in the New Year and wants a Hollywood theme so this was in her mind as she set to work on her masterpiece!

It gave here some time to herself to let her mind really get to work and create something she could take home and hang proudly on her wall.

Both these sessions has a friendly, laid back atmosphere that I really loved.  My boys don’t have a very good attention span so the fact they could hop in and out of activities was perfect for them.

Number three had a wonderful time at the older session and came out asking when she could go back so I will be keeping an eye out for more session in the future.
We were asked along to these sessions for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.