Easy, low cost, last minute Halloween costumes and decorations


If you need Halloween accessories, costume and decorations in a hurry, never fear, Kodak free Halloween printables are here.  If you’ve left it to the last minute, you’ve got a party to go to and no costume, or a costume and no mask, you’re trying to keep the kids out of trouble over half term or you’re looking for a disguise for yourself or Halloween on a budget, these free Kodak printables could get you out of a fix fast.

I was meant to take my 6 year old trick or treating tonight, it’s not easy where we live, a main road is far from a child friendly cul de sac.  So we’d arranged to go to just to two houses, a neighbour and a friend who lives round the corner. But with both the houses we’d agreed to trick or treat off limits with a sick bug it seems I am going to have to pull a Halloween party out of the hat to distract Miss L from the lack of trick or treating. I have until 3pm to pull this off and Mr G has just dropped and smashed the pumpkin.

Luckily I remembered Kodak had got in touch to tell me about their free Halloween printables over at iChild, so while she is at school Mr G and I have been busily preparing a little spooky surprise, we’re going to Halloween-up the Alexander Residence. Here’s what we are planning, I will try and pop back and add some photos as they develop!

Cat & Pumpkin Halloween Bunting

I really love the images in these bunting and Mr G has a cat obsession, so these will be perfect

Bat Folding Figures

Bat halloween printables folding figure - body

Bat wings - Halloween decoration printables

I like these hanging bat decorations, we are going to turn a corner of the house into a bat cave. Perfect half term Halloween craft activity too. A crafty distraction for Miss L me thinks!

Mummy Face Mask

Add a roll of toilet paper and you have the ultimate costume on a budget.  This will work brilliantly as an accessory for my favourite Halloween party game turn your mummy into a mummy. Although I might make Daddy be the Mummy this year.

I have some more Halloween party games on a budget you might like too. Big thanks to Mummy Barrow who sent me some lovely American Halloween style sweety treats for the kids after I entered her caption competition, they have come in so handy for tonight too!

Kodak’s full set of printable Halloween items can be downloaded here. iChild is an online resource for parents, children and childminders providing fun and educational printable materials. Kodak is the preferred printer partner for iChild and with Kodak’s low cost, high quality inks you can now print as much as you like without worrying about cost.

Happy Halloween! What have you got planned?

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Getting Personal this Christmas

Unbelievably my wonderful children have already started talking about what they want for Christmas.  Rather than spend the next few months bickering about this and repeating idle threats about Father C and his elves catching them moaning, I thought I would allow them to get it all out of their system through the medium of art therapy.  I dished out glitter, glue and some select pages from Christmas catalogues we’ve already had through the door and we spent a chilly afternoon over half-term cutting and pasting.


This craft idea was inspired by Getting Personal online gift shop who had challenged L to design a stocking. I made sure the outline I drew was modest and the catalogues contained stocking filler type items which wouldn’t bankrupt me, and L got to work while I took a look at Getting Personal’s website.  Here is her finished creation which doubles up as her Christmas list:

Christmas, I know it is early, but we’re moving house, I want Christmas organised so we can focus on settling in. The year Mr G was born we had Christmas all sorted by mid November, and December was one long baby moon (that or a blur of sleepless nights, a jealous toddler and lots of visitors).

If you want personal gifts now is the time to order them. Getting Personal have some really original gifts with the personalised touch.  I love the personalised notebooks, camera lens mug and the personalised wooden baby rattle. You can have a personalised Keep Calm and Carry On poster in a frame, or your bucket list designed and printed. There’s lots of unusual gifts for the person who has everything, I love these heritage plaques:

I like the idea of making gifts personal, but it can be really tough when you don’t know people so well or you don’t have the same style or interests. Much of the time we all think we know our nearest and dearest better than we do when it comes to gifts. I think there are lots of gifts here you can’t go wrong with, while still adding the personal touch. I was surprised looking through how many times I was prompted to think of various family members.

Check out Getting Personal

Disclosure – we received a voucher in exchange for our review. L spent it on two awesome presents for Daddy’s birthday, which I can’t reveal here for fear of ruining the surprise!

My inner child tests the Little Chef

Over the Summer me and Mr A saw a Little Chef ahead of us on a long journey with the kids, we exchanged one of those ‘are you thinking what I’m thinking’ looks and we swung off the road and piled in.

As you can see from the picture, the Little Chef has changed.

We liked the American diner feel at the new look Little Chef

Continue reading

Meerkats are not just for Christmas

It all started when we went to a Sylvanian families Twitter party hosted by Becky from Baby Budgeting. Mr G was the token boy, he happily road tested the campervan, gave the tree house a run for its money and became the dystopia to the girls’ peaceful, orderly Sylvanian utopia.

Then he won a set of Meerkats. His heart melted, he fell in love. He now takes them everywhere, burrowed into his coat pockets. He puts on a cute voice when he talks about ‘my ear cats who live in the desert’. How can you not love them, look:

He was utterly thrilled to find Emily Gravett’s Meerkat Mail in the library yesterday. A beautiful book if ever I saw one, all about a little Meerkat called Sunny who leaves home and sends postcards from all the places he visits.  They are real postcards too, flaps you can lift and read Sunny’s letters home.  And Ms Gravett has a lovely sense of humour, enough to keep adults entertained too. 

Tonight I was perusing the internet and look what I stumbled upon, the perfect room decorations for Christmas, for my boy. Christmas Meerkat statues.  I like to remain as stylish as is possible with small children when it comes to Christmas room decorations, but Mr A likes to introduce at least one comedy item a year. I nominate this.

Get SnUGGly

I’m going to tell you about the new UGG slippers Mr A and I have been asked to review, but before I do let me set the scene.

The damp has hung in the air all half term. ‘One of those Autumn days before the chill kicks in’, so my Dad said, ‘still mild though’.

So he packed us off, daughter and grandchildren, for a day of tree gazing at Wollaton Hall. Wollaton is one of my favourite places in Nottingham, a huge gothic hall surrounded by amazing trees, parkland and deer. It was used as the set for the latest Batman film. In Autumn it is an amazing sight.



We walked, we stamped in mud, kicked leaves, pretended to fish, launched sticks in the lake, walked the toy dog, we found fairy mushrooms, we tried and failed to find our first geocache and we watched the rutting deer through Grandad’s ‘noculars.

Dad was grandchild worn in the best possible sense of the word, and so set sail for his home. The kids were fresh air worn. How lovely was it to return from a day’s adventuring, to find my new UGG slippers had arrived. The kids put on their PJs, we curled up on the sofa with some Scooby Doo DVDs. They dozed off on the sofa, a special half-term treat.


Mr A had been working at home, pacing the draughty wooden floorboards in his old slippers, talking on the phone. He does lots of pacing as he talks, his slippers from last Christmas look like this:


View of the garden through Mr A's slippers

We carried the kids up to bed. Mr A unpacked his new slippers and we snuggled down to watch some telly. They’ve made a big difference in our lives. I love snUGGly Autumn.

UGG slippers aren’t cheap, I won’t lie, but I have never set foot in anything quite so snug in my life. You can’t see in the picture but both pairs are fully sheepskin lined. They are really well made with really tough soles, so will last much longer than the last pair. The tough soles mean they can double up as an outdoor shoe, Mr A can pace the garden and I can potter in it during tea breaks. When you work at home, don’t have carpets and take garden tea breaks, decent slippers are vital.

Mr A has a ‘slipper system’, he leaves them by the bottom step before he goes to bed, for the rest of us to trip over. He puts them on as soon as he comes down in the morning. I just lose mine. Until now, my UGG slippers now have their own spot in the hall next to Mr A’s so I always know where to find them.

Mr A chose Men’s Ascot China, and I chose Grey Cosy Toes,  you can see the full range of women’s UGG slippers and the men’s UGG slippers here.

What’s making you feel snuggly this Autumn?

I really hope he reads this. Ask Her Friends.

Dear Mr A

I have found something truly amazing. No longer do you need to worry about what to buy me for my birthday, our wedding anniversary, Christmas or better still for those you’re amazing and I want to shower you with a gift days. Continue reading

Halloween Story Writing

Girl's Halloween Costume with light up LED panel and wings, ASDA. Foam mask kit, Baker Ross. Effects, Pic Monkey.

My kids have got really into Halloween this year, fuelled by their love of Scooby Doo. We settled down with pens and paper and started to draw, as they drew I asked questions, scribbled down what they said and before long we had a story.  Continue reading

Have you forgotten what you love about Soreen?

Paws off, it's mine

I asked people on facebook and Twitter. and in real life, how they liked their Soreen. We’ve been testing lunchbox loaves and Soreen Toastie loaf.

I had to explain malt loaf to Transatlanctic Blonde, who’s from Cincinnati ‘Do you get malted milk in the US? Malt bread is mixed with malt so it’s sweet and squidgy and dark’ was my best attempt, but in no way does the concept justice. But it was enough to prompt DownsSideUp‘s Hayley to go out and buy some there and then.

Amanda likes her toastie loaf with Banana, for breakfast   Annie likes Soreen with jam. I like it with Cheshire cheese but I think I might be in the minority there.

Dave likes it pre-sliced with marg, until Jen suggested butter, definitely better with butter. Tina thinks so too, lashings of it. My friend Jon form Guernsey says it has to be Guernsey butter. Sarah added tea, and I think she’s right, toastie loaf with butter and tea on a cold day is heaven.

Pretty traditional it seems. Although, not afraid to be creative, my friend Andy said he likes Soreen with Luke, it brings back good childhood memories. It always takes me back to my Gran’s bread bin. Andy also threatened to make Soreen burgers. At which point Sarah suggested Soreen trifle. I’d like to add Soreen Toastie loaf bread and butter pudding to the mix.

Kerry and Janine like light and packaged lunchbox loaves in their bags for child food emergencies. Dave likes one in his anorak pocket when he’s out walking.

So, how so you like your Soreen? Have you forgotten what you love? Have you tried the Toastie loaf yet, it’s like Soreen but it’s toastable. Did you know Soreen has new flavours?

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Kellogg’s help to fill the breakfast club gap

Last year I reported on Kellogg’s breakfast club scheme.  Having worked as a secondary teacher breakfast clubs are close to my heart. I wrote about something that happened in my teaching days, to try to explain why breakfast clubs were a lifeline. I also visited a breakfast club in a primary school in Nottingham to report on some of the community benefits they have. Continue reading

Have no fear the shreddies are here

I have found something so amazing I can’t stop going on about it. Last week I saw a tweet by @fivegoblogging, read her post and bought the 30 Day Shred exercise video there and then on Amazon for £5. Advertisers take note, blog conversion rates can be amazing.

On Monday I started on earnest. It’s 20 mins of personal training done every day for 30 days. Bite sized chunk of proper exercise. So doable. 3 levels so you up a level every 10 days. I loved working with a PT before my wedding and after kids, but I’m on a stricter budget now.  This has to be the best £5 I have spent.

Plus I now have a great gang of people on Twitter to share achievements with. I’m feeling more positive than I have ever felt about finally getting fit again. I can feel muscles and definition returning, fat falling off, motivation coming back, I’m happier, I’m feeling assertive, watch out world. I think I might have actually found some exercise that fits in my life, and that I like. I’m enjoying Twitter again too.

Meet the Shreddies! I know they will kick my backside if I fall off the wagon,it is only day 4 after all.



@fivegoblogging  http://fivegoblogging.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-shreddies.html

@MelkShamMum  http://melkshammum.blogspot.co.uk/

@WritingForFun  http://munchiesandmunchkins.com/

@StressyMummy  http://www.stressymummy.com/

@LakesSingleMum http://beckywilloughby.blogspot.co.uk/

@from_fun_to_mum http://www.fromfuntomum.com/

@Aresidence http://aresidence.co.uk/

Not Nineteen Anymore

Every now and again I feel like I have totally lost touch with music. I look back at the days spent drooling devouring every inch of the NME and wonder what happened to that girl who liked music. Her stereo broke, her iTunes died with her old laptop, she got kids and there was never spare minute to sort out the musical mess she was in. Continue reading