My Family

My Family

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

How to choose a children’s party theme.

How to choose a children’s party theme.

Let’s face it – throwing a party for your child isn’t just fun for everyone involved; it’s also an opportunity for a nice bit of escapism from a lot of the news headlines and societal restrictions that are likely to depressing us right now. Plus, you’ve got ample excuse to organise such a party every time your young one’s next birthday looms. 

There is, though, one particular obstacle to getting started with planning a kid’s party: deciding on a theme. “After all,” you might tell yourself... “my child’s into anything and everything!” 

So, here are some tips for narrowing down your options when it comes to kids’ party themes. 

Ask your child for their input. 

Now, it’s advisable to be a little bit careful about this one. On one hand, presuming that your child is old enough – say, two or three years old – to have their own ideas about a theme, it’s great to get inspiration from them, and they’ll love feeling included in the planning. 

But on the other hand, with kids’ imaginations being what they are, they can sometimes come up with themes that are a little too specific and quirky to be able to easily plan for – for example, a specific character from a TV advert that might be here today, gone tomorrow. 

So, be ready to ‘edit’ or broaden your child’s theme suggestions if required, but do definitely ask them. The emphasis should be on you working together to come up with a theme that’s achievable and that you’re both really happy with. 

Seek out ideas online and offline.

If you’re slightly stuck for a party theme, an obvious step is to look around your home, considering the toys your child likes or what themes you might have devised for other aspects of their lives – for example, how you decorated their bedroom. 

Also don’t be afraid to look online, perhaps typing “unusual girls party themes” into Google, or browsing relevant hashtags on highly image-based social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest. 

Another possibility is to browse the websites of online stores for party essentials, such as GO International, which has categories dedicated to popular children’s party themes, ranging from pirate and dinosaur themes to media franchises like Star Wars and Super Mario. 

You’ll then be able to pick a theme and obtain all of the required paper plates, napkins, cups and other necessary items from one place. 

Choose a coherent and focused theme.

So your little one likes Captain Jack Sparrow, Aleksandr Orlov from the Compare the Meerkat ads, and Sunderland Football Club... it’s an interesting combination, but trying to bring them together in one kid’s party is likely to produce a confusing mishmash. 

Sure, adults have pulled off children’s parties with ‘mixed’ themes before, but trying to combine too many themes for a party can slightly negate the point of giving your child’s party a theme at all. So, it’s almost certainly better to settle on one theme and stick with it. 

Another reason to pick a single theme for the party, is that it will be less stressful to source the various essentials when you know exactly what theme every single invitation, banner and balloon needs to fit in with. You won’t have to make quite so many tricky decisions. 

What do you reckon? 

Have I covered all of the most important things when it comes to children’s party themes, or are there other tips you’d share? Feel free to share your thoughts below! 

This is a Collaborative Post.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Trying to get Married in a Global Pandemic ..

 Trying to get Married during a Global Pandemic .. 

So today was the final nail in the coffin for our October 3rd wedding day, or so to speak! 
Boris Johnson announced today that weddings in England were to be capped at 15 guests max even though funerals could remain at 30. How is that fair? How is that right? I've literally spent the whole day crying in anger. With just 11 days to go until our wedding day, he's pulled the rug. After a whole year of planning and years of waiting, our dream is almost over. Thousands of pounds have been spent and lost in deposits of items we can no longer use, and plans are all in place. We've cancelled one wedding to downsize to 30 and now we're trying to salvage that. 

 Right now, I don't even know what's going to happen next week. I want us to get married still even if it's just with our children and our parents by our side but the wedding reception is proving much trickier. I don't want to upset anyone by uninviting them and I don't want to offend anyone either but I have to think about US in all of this, and what WE want. I'm happy sharing a family meal after the ceremony but I'm not prepared to have to hire our room just to have 3 little tables dotted about within it. That would look so ridiculous, a room meant for 100 with just 15 people sat inside it.

Whatever happens, there's going to be tears and so much wastage. If we cancel the reception, I'll have to cancel the room decorations and the table decorations and the chair covers and sashes. I'll have to cancel the light up LOVE letters sign and I'll be stuck with 84 Krispy Kreme doughnuts or I'll have to cancel those too. Whatever I cancel at this short notice though, I will be losing money for and that's not OK. I could lose the huge deposit I've paid to the hotel venue and hundreds of pounds more that's already been paid to vendors. It's all such a horrible situation.

Today's been a hugely stressful day and I just wanted to get it all out of my head so that I might actually get some sleep tonight. I've had several journalists contact me today for my 'story' but I decided I was in no emotionally fit state to be talking to any of them so I'd rather write it here myself. That way, no one mixes up my words or changes them in any way. Life is tough right now and for many people it's just a wedding. But for me, it's so much more. It's my wedding day, the day that I'd been dreaming about and saving for and waiting for, for a many many years.

We didn't have a holiday this year as all our money was tied up in the wedding, we didn't even get to see the sea which I'm really sad about. For the past 6 months, we've been nowhere, done nothing, following the rules like good little people, in the hope that we would get our day, our celebration of love. Our one treat to look forward to that would mean 2020 wasn't all bad, but now that's hanging by a thread. 2020 has been the worst year of my life. I can't wait for it all to be over now. I've had enough of wedding planning. It was supposed to be fun.

So, Thank You Boris Johnson for ruining that for us.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Wedding Update: Adding those Final Touches!

Wedding Update: Adding those Final Touches! 

There's now just over two weeks left until our Wedding Day and I'm finally starting to get excited. Now that we have our beautiful venue all lined up, it's time to start finishing off those final touches, those little things that are going to help make our big day, a little extra special.

The Dress is all fitted and currently being steam cleaned, the suits are all bought and hanging up. The bridesmaid dresses are nearly sorted, there's just one daughter left to dress and the best man is all prepped and ready for his role. I'm still trying to confirm my room decor details which is proving a bit difficult when vendors are taking a long time to get in touch but I'm confident that it'll all come together in time. Or so, I hope it does - eek.

I had my makeup trial this week but it didn't quite go to the plan so I've now decided that I will be doing my own makeup on the day. Being a small family wedding, this isn't a problem at all. My family and partner love me with or without makeup so I'm not too worried really.

Next on my list of 'Things to Do' was finding the perfect favours and I think I found the most gorgeous ones. I wanted to treat my guests now that there wasn't going to be so many of them, to something they could keep and savour or enjoy on the day, to remind them of our special day. How special are these Mini Prosecco Personalised Bottles from Say It With Champers, they're perfect for my guests. There's 13 designs to choose from, all lovely but I choose the gorgeous Wedding Couple design and I'm so pleased with how they turned out.

Now that I have the perfect wedding favours, I feel like I can now relax a little more and get ready to enjoy the most perfect day. My Mum is baking lots lately as she's practising her cake making skills before she bakes the final masterpiece. We're having a three tier cake, one traditional fruit, a lemon sponge and a chocolate cake all covered in delicate icing with beautiful flowers and our golden cake topper. I know she's going to do an amazing job.

Thinking about what's left to do now, there's isn't that much. I have one bridesmaid dress to find for my eldest daughter, the wedding breakfast taster meal which is happening this Thursday and then it's just planning the final day running details like timings really. I can't believe that it's all starting to come together now and may actually finally happen. All being well, that Birmingham doesn't change the rules again. We just need to get through the next few weeks and we'll be married. I will finally be Mrs Christine Churchley, how exciting!

This might be my final update before the big day but if any big changes happen, I will let you know with another update. I bet you'll all be glad when there's no more wedding updates.

Disclosure: I received a small discount off the cost of my Mini Prosecco Personalised Bottles. This fact didn't influence my thoughts on the final product though. 

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Wedding Update - Just One Month to Go now.

Wedding Update - Just One Month to Go now.

I can't believe that exactly one month from today, I will be getting married!

It's been a bit of a crazy ride these past few months but we're finally going to tie the knot. It may not be the BIG White Wedding that I'd hoped for but it will be wonderful no matter what. Our local Register Office in Birmingham is allowing us a total of 22 guests, the bride and groom, plus the 2 witnesses so that's a total of 26 in all. They are letting us have a photographer as an extra as long as they stand on their X marks the spot the entire time.

Originally we'd only planned for 40 people to be there with us at our ceremony anyway so it's not been that bad reducing those numbers. We've literally just cut out anyone who's not immediate family. There's a few sad parts about our ceremony though as my bridesmaids won't get to walk down the aisle with me, but nor will my Dad which has been a tough one to take in. It's taken me quite a long time to get used to the idea as we're so close normally.

Our original Wedding Reception Venue is cancelled as our original contract was a special offer that couldn't be fulfilled due to the new restrictions. I wasn't going to re book anything else after this but then Receptions for 30 are allowed to go ahead in only Licensed Venues so I was then desperate to find us something else. Which I am super to say that I have.

One month today we shall enjoy a lovely sit down meal together with all our closest family members at the beautiful Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel which isn't too far from where we live. We may not be allowed dancing but we are allowed background music so it won't be all bad.

We're determined to make the best of this bad situation and enjoy our special day.

Now that we have our new plans in place, there's so much to sort out and so little time to do it all in so it's going to get a bit manice around here. Hopefully as we get closer to the date, I'll be able to get more excited about it all because right now, I'm just full of nerves and worries about what is going to happen, what could happen and what might happen. Eeek.

Love is Not Cancelled.

Watch this space ...... and ....... Wish us luck x

How to save money on your Back to School shopping.

How to save money on your Back to School shopping.

For some parents, the last few months may have felt like the longest summer break ever, with millions of children across the UK unable to attend school due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the government is planning for all pupils to return to the classroom as normal in September, which is welcomed news for all those mums and dads who have had to add ‘part time teacher’ to their list of skills over the recent weeks. 

But the impending return to school brings with it challenges of a different nature. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to look after your financial situation, costs of uniforms, textbooks and stationery can soon mount up ahead of the new term. With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to ensure your back to school shopping doesn’t cost you a small fortune. It's expensive enough with one child and we have three - eek.

Take an inventory:

Before you begin, it’s worth taking stock of what you already have. Will the uniforms last another year? Do they still fit? Do you have plenty of books, pens and paper still in the cupboards that you can still use? By making a note of everything you need, and crossing off those items that you already have, you’ll find your shopping list suddenly gets a lot shorter!

Leave it late if you can:

Some people may see this as a risky approach that adds an unnecessary level of stress to your shopping, but you might find that you can get great deals on certain things by leaving it until a few days before term starts. By that point, vendors might be happy to be rid of their stock and be willing to sell at a reduced price meaning you can save a pound or two.

Bargain hunt:

Think outside of the box a little bit when it comes to picking up some of the more generic items. For example, local pound shops and charity shops are great places to find things like stationery and reading books for your kids’ English classes. If you’re prepared to scour the shelves, you might find that you can make some significant savings which is great.

Be inventive:

Uniforms are usually the largest of the back to school expenses, and purchasing direct from the school can prove pricey. But, if you’re talented with a needle and thread or know someone who is, you can always buy plain garments and sew the school logo on yourself, at a fraction of the cost. It may be worth contacting other parents to see if they have any hand me downs that can be passed on, another great way to ensure that sending your kids back to school doesn’t break the bank. Being Inventive will help you out a lot.

Disclosure: This is a Collaborative Post.

#WIN Cadbury Halloween Chocolate Treats

WIN Cadbury Halloween Chocolate Treats 

Happy September everyone! I hope you're all well? It's been a whirlwind of a Summer this year, so I for one, is so glad it's over. My kids went back to school quite happily yesterday which was so lovely. We're all just looking forward to getting a bit of routine back into our daily lives and seeing our friends in the flesh again. It's so nice to have other people to talk to again. And now that it's September, that means, October and Halloween is on it's way!

One lucky winner is going to win some fantastic Cadbury Halloween Chocolate Treats. Inside the gift box you will find lots of spooky Halloween treats to enjoy with family or friends. There's Cadbury treat size chocolates with a Cadbury Goo Heads Egg box and Goo Heads Minis Eggs bag. Cadbury Goo eggs and Goo Head Minis are individually wrapped foiled milk chocolate eggs with fondant filling. They sound very very yummy. Oooh.

To WIN - Simply use the Rafflecopter Form below to complete as many or as few of the entry options as you like. It's completely up to you how many you do but remember, the more entries you do, the more chances you have to win. 1 lucky winner will be chosen at random after it closes on Thursday September 1st  - Open to the UK Only - Good Luck xox

This is not a sponsored Giveaway - The Prize is supplied by myself.

Terms and Conditions: One winner will be drawn at random using the Rafflecopter App. 
This Giveaway is only open to the UK. The giveaways ends on Thursday September 1st x

Advent Calendars - Which will You choose this Year?

Advent Calendars - Which will You choose this Year? 

I know it's only just turned September but Christmas is on it's way whether we're ready for it or not. Normally I would leave all my Christmas shopping until the last minute and buy my gifts early December but then I find myself spending money that I may not have. That's why, this year I've decided, I'm getting more organised and starting much earlier, like now. Because budgeting for Christmas early helps reduce debts in the new year. And I don't want any of those. 2020 has been a tough year for all of us without the extra stress and worry over debts going into next year. 2021 is going to be a new start, and a better year hopefully.

Each year, I buy my children a different style of Advent Calendar to help build up the excitement in December of the big countdown to Christmas. We've had all sorts of calendars over the years, we've had everything from stationery gifts to socks and toy collectibles but this year I'm thinking of opting for a personalised advent calendar, it's back to delicious chocolate treats for us and making it personalised is a great way to stop the arguments over which one belongs to who in our house. Last year my children wrote their names on their calendars with a felt tip pen so this year, they won't need to do that.

My two would love this cute Polar Bear Advent Calendar. It's very attractive to look at and the chocolate treats look very exciting too. It's so cute, I'd even get one for myself too. 

Whichever Advent calendar you choose this year, I'm sure it'll be wonderful. There's so many to choose from this year though so it's going to be a tough choice for all of us but chocolate seems to be the way forward for us. We're going back to traditional, simple, yet delicious chocolate treats every day. What Advent Calendar will You be having this year?

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.