Thursday, 25 February 2021

DIY World Book Day Costumes on a Budget

Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

It’s nearly World Book Day, which means it’s time to start thinking about costumes. And with 40% of us parents choosing to make our kid’s costumes, according to a recent survey from Kiddi Caru, it’s time to turn to the arts and crafts, and for some, even dig out the sewing machine.

Whilst the majority of parents seem to enjoy making costumes for their children, dressing up for this event can soon rack up in costs, as over half of parents surveyed admitted to spending up to £30 on their child’s World Book Day costume. But if you’re on a budget this doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve put together some of the most popular costume ideas for World Book Day and given you an insight into how to create these characters’ looks easily and cheaply.

Read on to find out more about our top tips and tricks.

Harry Potter

According to the survey by Kiddi Caru, Harry Potter is expected to be the most popular costume for this year’s World Book Day. And it’s easy to see why, as it’s a pretty simple costume to pull off. Pair some grey trousers, or a skirt, with a white shirt and a V-neck jumper, and you’re already most of the way there – plus you’re likely to already have these items in your child’s wardrobe.

If your child wants to be in the Gryffindor House, then make sure to also include a red and gold tie. See if a family member has one in a similar style to borrow, or you can use some fabric paint to draw the stripes onto a plain tie. Simply change up the colours if your child would prefer to be in Ravenclaw (blue and silver), Hufflepuff (yellow and black) or Slytherin (green and silver). You could also make things even easier for yourself by using felt, which can be stuck onto a coloured tie, or added as a trim of your chosen House colour to their jumper.

If it’s Harry Potter that your child wants to be, then add some round lens-less glasses that can be bought online for an affordable price, or make some from a piece of card. Add a black cape that can also be handmade (see below) and draw a lightning bolt on their forehead using a makeup pencil, and the costume is complete.

But the wizardry costume ideas don’t have to stop at the main protagonist. Add some funkier glasses and unusual clip-on earrings to create Luna Lovegood, or re-use a wizard costume from Halloween, with the addition of a fake beard, for a Dumbledore-inspired look.

Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash

Thursday, 21 January 2021

An Easy Guide to Understanding Allergies

An introduction to what allergies are and how they can be diagnosed by use of a home blood test kit.
Image by cenczi from Pixabay 

{This is a paid collaboration with Klarify}

It's reported that over 20% of the UK population is affected by one or more allergy (1) nowadays. I find this a staggering figure and the growth has been rapid over the last few decades. I suspect none of us have managed to go through life without being impacted by allergies. One of my earliest memories is of my Nan being stung by a bee whilst we were shopping on a summers day. Within 30 minutes we were calling an ambulance for her as she had gone into analphaltic shock. It was a scary experience that has stayed with me and reminded me never to underestimate the potential severity of allergies.

I, personally, had manged to live an allergy free life until I was 41 and developed asthma; my GP and I believe this was bought on by the gasses and pollen emitted from the rape seed fields that I had moved close to and decided to take a walk though to appreciate their beauty. Even with a pretty mild case of intermittent asthma I've realised that there are life changing implications of having allergies. 

What is an allergy?

You can go through most of your life allergy-free and then all of a sudden your immune system is exposed to something new and it becomes sensitised and can go on to evelop an allergy. Simply put, an allergy is an overreaction of your immune system to a substance that is normally harmless. The first time you are exposed to this substance, that we'll now refer to as an allergen, your immune system memorises the particular structure of the allergen so that it can produce specific IgE antibodies in defence. This is called sensitisation.

Each time in the future that your body is exposed to this allergen it will produce IgE and some people can go through life sensitised to a substance/ allergen but never experience any symptoms and thus it is not an allergy, as they don't have any outward or adverse impact to being sensitised.  Other people will have symptoms and thus they have an allergy. Your allergies can flare u and subside throughout your life. 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

The Whole Family Can Go Greek: Child-Friendly Holidays to Greece

Family corfu beach
Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

I have to be honest, when I think about child-friendly holidays Greece isn't the first place that comes to mind but actually, when you start to investigate and look a little deeper Greece is a wonderful place to take all the family. Be it the mainland or an island, there is such diversity of the places to visit. Some of the islands are developed and ready to embrace British culture and families, but others still remain traditionally Greek and very unspoilt.

Greece has everything that you need for a stress-free family holiday - sun, white sand beaches, beautifully clean and warm seas, hotels with children's clubs and amazing pools, friendly locals, stunning villas and history in abundance. Alpharooms have a good guide to Greece for you to check out.

Here are a few of my Greek highlights for places to stay and visit -


This is one of the largest Greek islands and has something for everyone, couple this with its low crime-rate and it is an island where you can feel safe to take your family. Across the island you have Acqua Plus for waterpark thrills, Dinosauria park for the younger ones and amazing underground caves at Dikteon. Depednign on the age of your children, one of these is sure to be a hit. 

You also have the beach lagoon at Elafonisi which many hail as the best beach in the whole of Greece, and there are hundreds and hundreds of islands with amazing beaches, so that is no easy accolade! It is exceptional as it is a long narrow peninsula with white sandy beaches on both sides. At times to reach the island you have to walk through the sea and of course kids love the excitement this brings. 

Friday, 4 September 2020

The Ion8 Leakproof Water Bottle I didn't know I needed!

Ion8 water bottle

Every parent is fully aware it is back to school time and we've all been getting our kids kitted out with all the things they lost or had stolen before term finished back in March. If my twin teens had their way they would have everything new, every time a new terms starts but, of course, that would be super expensive and not very eco either, so I put my foot down and with some things that are still in good condition they have to make do.

This new term has been an expensive one as they had both grown out of their blazers, one needed new school skirts and the other shoes. Add on PE kit, some stationery, calculators and face masks and I'm a few hundred pounds down. I was therefore super pleased when Ion8 offered to send me a couple of water bottles for the girls, as they didn't really need any but I knew they'd like them.

Naughty mummy that I am though, I haven't given the girls the bottles as theirs were fine and I have fallen in love with the pastel-coloured leakproof water bottles that were sent to us. So I now have one for taking out in my handbag and when I'm walking and one beside my bed for in the night when I need a drink.

I've often seen Ion8 bottles and they've always looked stylish and we already have a Friends of the Earth steel water bottle so I know they are good quality and last well too. I genuinely had no idea I'd like these ones sent to us so much. Looking on the website they are sold as a child's bottle, but I really like them for me and here are 9 reasons why

  1. At 350ml they are the perfect size to carry with you, without being too heavy or cumbersome. 
  2. There is a lock to keep the kid closed and make them leakproof
  3. You can open the lid with one hand and it is super easy
  4. The opaque bottle with white lid looks so stylish
  5. Easy to drink out of, as there is a vented smooth liquid flow
  6. Made from BPA free, phthalate-free, non-toxic TRITAN
  7. It's just the right width for my cup holder in my car
  8. It's odour resist
  9. It can be used for hot or cold liquids (-10 c to 96c)
I think you can tell I'm a bit taken with my new Ion8 bottles and I've been using them every day since they arrived with us. They retail for £11.99 and for a sturdy bottle that will last a long time I think that is OK. I was able to find various Ion8 bottle of this size and shape on Amazon with prices from as low as £8.99, so have a good shop around. 

Disclosure: We received these water bottles free of charge for the purpose of an honest review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Enjoying Ye Olde Oak Hot Dog Fajitas

{This is a collaborative post}

I don't know about you but I get quite bored with trying to come up with different meals that all the family will eat, whilst not taking too long to prepare. Of course, I enjoy a good roast dinner or a slow-cooked casserole but sometimes I just need a filling and wholesome meal that I can put together in 20-30 minutes.

Fajitas is one of my go-to meals as all the family like to be able to get hands-on and make their own choice of what will go in their wrap. We range from Miss E who likes a fairly plain wrap with meat, sour cream, cheese and sweetcorn to my husband, who will pack a little of everything in.

In past times we have normally opted for chicken in our fajitas or we've had veggie ones with sweet potato and mixed beans, but yesterday we tried something new and had hot dog fajitas. Hot dogs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fajitas but I know all my family enjoy them and let's be honest, they are a really cheap way of adding protein to your meal.