Get The Party Started

Snapshot_20141020_12So my daughter is off to a “red carpet” themed party today and a “Build a Bear” party at the weekend, this will be the fifth party this month!

In the past the kids have been invited to a wide range of birthday celebrations including; bowling, animal handling, football, cinema and good old in the house with jelly, ice cream and pass the parcel parties.

Of course we’ve hosted our fair share ourselves the most recent being a soft play venue and a science museum trip. Every couple of years though I suffer some sort of amnesia or perhaps I have just deliberately blocked out the memories because despite the sausage rolls squished into the carpets, the groups of screeching kids hyperactive on a mixture of haribro and adrenalin and the hours spent planning and preparing I decide it will be a good idea to have a house party!

Not just any old house party though, much as I know you can’t go wrong with musical chairs and chocolate fingers, I just can’t help myself, I love a “theme”, so here are my top 3 themed parties and how we did them.

1. Dinosaur party

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This party is perfect for little boys who love their t-rex’s and pterodactyl’s and is really just a twist on a normal kids party.

Guests were greeted with a few well placed dino paw prints leading to the front door and more strategically placed cut out dino foot prints inside were the clues for our dinosaur egg hunt. Foil wrapped eggs were decorated with spots and hidden around the house for hungry dino hunters to find. The house was festooned with our plastic prehistoric pals and the games were dino themed takes on party classics including musical dinosaurs (just in case rather than dancing the kids act out being dinosaurs until the music stops) and pin the tail on the dinosaur.

We had a best dino roar competition (remember the headache pills for later) and loads of dino delights to eat. A dinosaur shaped cutter made fun sandwiches, to have along with Bernard Matthew Turkey Dinosaurs, topped of with plenty of dinosaur sweeties courtesy of The Natural Confectionary Co (just to limit those e-number a little bit) and of course a dino cake for a roaring good time!

2. Popstar Party

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAWhat little girl could resist a red carpet (ok burnt orange) and bubbly reception, with an old carpet off cut and some plastic champagne flutes and lemonade that’s just what we did for this popstar party.

After arrival the girls were let loose with more feather boa’s,
sparkly sunglasses and bling than you’d find in a Lady Gaga convention.

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Fruit juice cocktails complete with fresh fruit and umbrellas set the scene, and a melted chocolate fondue along with fruit and marshmallows for dipping made for a sweet and sticky treat.

After that it was time to get the singing underway with a selection of Singstar games for the Playstation the girls were in their element, air guitars were played and a game of pass the microphone was had and the girls posed for pictures with a life size poster of their heroine Jessie J.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThe best bit about this party? Possibly the cake which was so simple but effective,
a plain shop bought cake topped with a customised rice cake topper bought from ebay but honestly? the fact that mum got to dress up too and even take on some red highlights for the day, who said parties were for kids?

3. Sonic and Mario party (here we go)

My son and his friends love all things Mario or Sonic so it seemed like the perfect party theme.

Can you tell what it is?
Can you tell what it is?

Any fan of Mario will hopefully recognise this as a mystery block and that’s exactly what it was, my cardboard box, decorated with a brick effect was filled with shredded paper and pocket money toys to be used as a lucky dip during rounds of games. Note to parents everywhere though seven year old boys find it hilarious to strew shredded paper as far and wide as possible, 2 years on and I’m still finding bits down the sofa!

A Mario Kart tournament was set up with the boys taking turns on the Wii and cheering each other on, then it was time to head to the garden to play Sonic Rings!

mario1This consisted of tying chocolate dough rings to my laundry dryer (or whirligig as we like to say) and getting the boys to eat them hands free, queue mass hysterics and some messy little boys, once we were cleaned up it was back inside for Mario cake and more of Sonics rings in the form of hula hoops, cored apple slices and party ring biscuits.mario

The star of the show was the hand painted pin the moustache on Mario game made by the kids more artistic parent!

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed these, I’d love to hear about other party themes or ideas people have tried, but don’t forget my no 1 tip for home parties – always make sure you have wine in for the adults for after, you’ll  need it!

Note: This article was first published on Mental Parentals

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Going Back To My Roots? – Never!

My name is Heather, I’m 5’2″ (same height as Kylie but that’s where the similarity ends) with blue eyes and blonde hair, wait scratch that, blonde looking hair! It has in the past also been, raven black, chestnut brown, mahogany, various suspect shades of copper and in one disastrous home streaking attempt, straw yellow with shades of vibrant orange.

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Yep I’m a hair dye junkie, I’m not sure I remember exactly what colour my natural hair is, it’s not been that shade since I was about 14 and that is too long ago to recall but I do know I’m not ready to go natural yet (who knows what may be lurking under there.)

I have used sachets of semi permanent dye which while not permanent on my hair definitely left a permanent impression on my cream carpet and bathroom grouting! I’ve tried gels and mousses, and even pulled strands of hair through one of those plastic caps in an aborted attempt at home streaking which resulted in and emergency hairdressers appointment. In my younger days I used Sun-in and lemon juice to lighten my hair but in my older days I have learned that there is really no substitute to getting your colour done by a good professional (no that doesn’t mean your bezzie mate after one too many Pinot Grigio’s!).

However hairdressers can be expensive so I try and limit my appointments but in the meantime I have found a new saviour.

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A sample of Loreals Mousse Absolue was sent to me a couple of years ago now to try out as they were launching it in the UK and while to say it has changed my life may be a slight exaggeration it has certainly changed the way I dye my hair forever.

So what’s so great about it, it’s a hair mousse like lots of other hair mousses out there is it not?

Well no, for starters it’s great quality, it gives a good coverage, natural colour and doesn’t seem to damage my hair but the main difference is it’s reusable and so easy to use.

Unlike other hair dyes where you have to faff around mixing the colour with the developing agent in this case Loreal does it for you, the two cannisters are connected, so all you have to do is apply the diffuser lid, shake the can and press and the mouse is automatically mixed as it comes out of the dual canisters, brilliant!

This also means that when you are done you just put the normal cap back on and you can re-use the remaining mousse anytime, I normally get 3 applications from one can, hence the slightly higher price than other one use dyes (£10.99 at Superdrug or at most chemists.)

The mousse is thick and drip free and after 30 minutes rinses out, a quick application of the high gloss conditioner supplied and your back to blonde (or whatever other colour you fancy).

One day I’ll grow old gracefully, but till then thank goodness for Loreal.