Make A ‘Not Back To School’ Tote With Pencil Holder And Notebooks {BostikBloggers}

The theme for this month’s #BostikBloggers is Back to School, which is obviously a bit problematic for us, so we decided to do a Not Back To School craft instead. For this month’s #BostikBloggers we’ve made a Tote Bag with a playful ‘Not Back To School’ checklist, decorated two notebooks and made a pencil holder to sit on our desk. We’ve also made an on-the-go pencil case for when we’re out and about, but I’ll pop that in a different post.

I’m actually really pleased with how this month’s craft worked out, not least because it’s something we’ll actually be able to use over the next few weeks. Not back to school

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Party Ideas For The Fantastic New Beauty And The Beast Movie

I, along with much of the rest of the world, went to see the new Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson on the weekend and I absolutely loved it. I found myself smiling through most of the movie – right up to the mass of villagers and their pitchforks descended on the castle, anyway.

While I think Luke Evans plays dangerous vapid vanity with frighting acuity, Emma Watson absolutely stole the show, as I’m sure she was supposed to, being the lead actress and all. I could honestly not imagine a better actor for the role of Belle, a headstrong, before her time, literate girl from a French village (with an exquisite peasant wardrobe! I’d dress like that all the time, if I could!)

If an actress brings something of herself into a role, Emma Watson is the perfect person for this. Alone up there (if I recall) among the Disney films that look at love as more than a physical attraction based on a your place in society – a beautiful maiden in one or another form of distress, and a prince – and it’s one of the few that place the female lead in the heroine role, so there are many reasons to love this story, original or new.

Something I thoroughly appreciated in the new film, however, was how reminiscent, but better, it was of the original, with similar dream like sequences and choreographies. It harked back to the original so much, yet was so enhanced and just beautiful. Everything about it was beautiful. I walked out of the cinema thoroughly inspired.

I did also walk out thinking that this new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast was going to spark many a Beauty and the Beast birthday party with the crowd that may have outgrown the cartoon version some years before. I know if I was planning a party around now, I’d probably be planning Beauty and the Beast!

So here are some of the best party ideas I’ve found, but I expect there’ll be many new, fresh ideas coming out as the new Beauty and the Beast fanbase grows!

Top 10 Food Ideas

There are some incredible Beauty and the Beast Party Food ideas around, but I don’t know many mamas who have the time, skill or resource to go to the lengths some of the Pinterest mamas do, so here are some of my favourite, I-could-probably-do-that, Beauty and the Beast party food ideas.

Top Party Game & Decor Ideas

6 Creative Baby Photo Shoot Ideas

One of the joys of having a newborn in the family is that you get to see that little angel grow up right before your very eyes. But many parents secretly wish that their baby won’t grow up too fast. Well, that angelic, innocent-looking face, precious smile, and pink chubby cheeks won’t last forever, but you can capture your baby’s cutest moments and immortalize them through photos.

You don’t need to be a skilled photographer or hire a professional photographer to take adorable pictures of your little munchkin. With the help of your family, a few props, and right newborn photography gear, you can do it on your own!6 Creative Baby Photo Shoot IdeasRead more: 6 Creative Baby Photo Shoot Ideas

Make Your Own Gift Box #BostikBloggers

Whether you do Valentines for the love of your life, or you simply do it for the kids, these little gift boxes are easy to make, and the perfect size for jewellery, cufflinks, or gift vouchers. I make them from half an A4-page. You can also make them bigger, of course.

You can also make them from paper, but they’re obviously not too strong then, or from card. I made this one from corrugated card, which is nice and strong, but the colour doesn’t run all the way through the paper.

Make Your Own Gift Boxes
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Lollipop Snowflakes Craft

Decorative snowflakes using lollipop sticks are just gorgeous, and so very versatile too. There’s no end to what you can do with them to personalise them. You can use coloured lollipop sticks, or normal ones. You can paint them or glitter them. You can make them massive or small (-ish. If you use regular sized lollipop sticks, there’s only so far you can go to make them small!)

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Beauty And The Beast Rose Table Decorations & Thank You Gifts

My head may still be spinning about the fact that my little girl turned five this weekend. I can still remember her as a newborn in my arms, the feeling of looking in her eyes the first time. Ah, the memories.

Despite my violent protestations that my girls would never be into princesses, it seems the princesses found them, even though we don’t own a single princess movie! So when Ameli asked me months ago if we could have a princess party, I had to put my personal feelings on the matter aside and decide to just let her be five. 

Our party this year was small – the smallest we’ve ever had – both because I decided she was old enough to select her own guests.

Beauty and the Beast Party Decor

One of the first things we did was to make these ‘Beauty and the beast floating rose’ table decorations – slash – thank you gifts. I must say, I am so pleased with how they turned out!

You will need:

Cut a strip of double sided tape, and stick it inside the lid of the bottle. Make sure to leave enough room to peel off the other side then fold the end of the rose – the stem – so that you have enough surface contact with the tape.

Pour a small amount – a teaspoon or so – of the gold glitter into the bottle. You want to use the fine glitter, so that it sticks to the inside of the bottle and is light and magical. Large glitter obstructs more of the rose than fine glitter does.

Gently put the rose through the opening, and close the lid. Shake the bottle around gently to spread the glitter around.

If you’re putting thank you tags on, attach them to the lid and you’re done.

I think these are gorgeous, and are a magical touch to your party decor for very little effort indeed!

How To: Make An Outdoor Chalkboard

Outdoor ChalkboardMy children never owned a cot. In fact, I wanted to buy Ameli a gorgeous sleigh cot at great expense, but from an hour after her birth, Ameli (and later Aviya) slept in my bed with me, so a cot never became a necessity, and I’m glad in retrospect that we never bought one ready for her arrival. As such, I’ve never paid much attention to the repurposed cots and cribs on Pinterest, but recently I was looking for a piece of outdoor-primed wood to turn into an outdoor chalkboard.

I was collecting a wooden pallet for the garden when I noticed the owner of the pallet had an dismantled cot lying by their skip. I had a lightbulb moment about our outdoor chalkboard, and asked if I could perhaps have it.

So, now we are proud owners of someone else’s discarded crib, and I can’t wait to put it to good use. I bought chalkboard paint some time ago, so all I had to do was the DIY – something I’m not normally great at. I’m the queen of Pinterest Fails. None the less, I set out to create our own chalkboard.

How To Make An Outdoor Chalkboard

I used masking tape along the outsides of the crib head board to create a frame, although I don’t suppose this was necessary, really. I could just as easily have left it and painted the whole thing, but I wanted the frame. Next I took one of the children’s thicker paint brushes, and painted the paint onto the board.

It was quite streaky, which concerned me, but it dried perfectly smoothly within half an hour.

After testing it and seeing the chalk created a few ‘scratches’ as it wrote, I decided to paint a second layer.

Chalk Board

Once that had dried, I pulled off the masking tape – pull away from the direction of the paint, so that if it does create any ‘chips’ it doesn’t pull the ends of the paint off, negating having created a border in the first place. If it does, just touch those up.

Being a cot, it already had holes drilled into it for the sides to slot into, so I just threaded some string through those to tie it to the fence.

And there we have a lovely DIY outdoor chalkboard for the children… and I’m quite pleased with myself!


LEGO Party Plans And Ideas

I seem to be pretty consistent in running a good six months behind on birthday party photos when it comes to blogging them, and Ameli’s fourth birthday photos from October last year are no exception! But, as they say, better late than never, so here are 12 ideas for your very own LEGO (Duplo) Party. Ameli’s favourite LEGO are the Friends range, which she’s been playing with since just after her second birthday. She loves them. But since she’s one of the oldest in her friendship group, we decided that a DUPLO party might be more appropriate for our little friends.

The first thing I did for our LEGO party was our photo frame – this is our tradition now, to have this wooden frame decorated for photo opportunities at parties. The guests loved it and almost half our friends used the photos from their LEGO frame for their Facebook profile picture for a while, which thrilled me no end.

It was actually just wooden skirting board that we cut up, hammered together, and used Velcro sticky tabs to stick the LEGO pieces on. This was quite a fun way to do it as people customised the frame a little bit each time.


The biggest tip I can give anyone organising a LEGO Duplo Party is this LEGO Duplo Sticker Book. It comes with hundreds of stickers that can be customised for anything. We decorated our party bags with them. We played four different party games with them. I cut some pages out and put a few stickers in each child’s goody bag. The options are limitless, and there are so many of them, that we didn’t even run out.

I also managed to get hold of two LEGO Duplo height charts, but unfortunately can’t find them online now. There are two different ones available, one in the UK and one in the US. With these we played two games:

1) Our Tribe

Every child had a turn to measure themselves – some with a bit of help – on the chart, and compare themselves with their friends (fun? well, the 2 – 4 year old’s thought so!)

2) Who Are You?

For this one I stuck a bunch of the aforementioned stickers on the chart, from the bottom up. Each child could then check to see which Duploville character they are, by measuring up to the same character.  If they were the same height as the princess, they were a princess in Duploville. If they were the same height as a penguin, ditto.


Before the guests arrived, my husband and I walked around the forest area and hung about 100 stickers (from the book!) in little baggies all around the forest and orchard, so that the children had to go out and find five little bags each – this was our sort of treasure hunt. It was such a glorious day, it was wonderful to have them running around outside.


They then brought their found treasures into the hall, and matched each sticker to it’s spot on the sticker wall – pages torn from… you guessed it: the sticker book!  In this book there are tons of different themes, as represented by real Duplo: farmers, circus, zoo, princess, construction and more. So the children – and parents – had to find the right sticker and fill up the pages. A really simple activity that kept them busy for ages. lego10

In our friendship group we have quite a few babies at the moment, so while it’s not actually LEGO, we bought a bag of large bricks for the little ones, and as it turns out some of the dads, to play with while the party was going on. lego11

The games and foods were all sign-posted with card I’d cut out to (sort of!) look like LEGO bricks, and the stickers were used to decorate all of those.

We used Duplo bricks for place card holders on the food table.

LEGO Party Games

I also incorporated the LEGO Duplo toys we have into the table decorations and serving dishes. This orange version isn’t available anymore, but there’s a blue garbage truck out now, and it makes a great M&M or small sweet holder. LEGO Party Food

The number train is great for carting around edible LEGO Bricks. (I bought these here in the UK, but they’re available in the US too. Unless you’re awesome, I wouldn’t bother buying the silicone shapes to make your own – aside from the fact that you can only make about 8 at a time, I couldn’t get any of the recipes I tried in them [cake, candy and jelly] to come out without breaking off the little circle bits. I even tried different ways of freezing/icing/buttering them before. In the end, I bought the candy.) It’s stackable, which was quite fun to play with too.

As you can vaguely see in the back, I made a square out of Duplo and used it to hold the cutlery.


The LEGO Cake was really special, and nerve racking. I made a yellow cake layer, a red and a green one, the cut three sizes out of each cake, swapped them around and iced them all together. I had no idea how it had or would have worked, as I couldn’t cut it open to check! It worked out pretty cool, and looked like a LEGO wall, although I think the yellow layer could have cooked a little longer.

Because the inside was so colourful, we kept the outside a deceptively plain white.


On top of the cake, I used Ameli’s very first ever DUPLO set, a 13-month present from her daddy, to decorate. There were probably ‘cooler’ sets we could have used to decorate, but this one had significance to us. lego2

For the brownies we used more M&M – the LEGO colours, having used the non-LEGO colours in the garbage truck – despite my … interesting colouring skills, they were delicious vegan brownies. lego

Another LEGO themed food were the coloured, layered jellies, made with the LEGO Brick sweets layered throughout. The jello/ jelly made them quite soft, so they were a lot easier to eat than the rest of the bag!. lego8

Finally, the LEGO Party Bags.

As I said earlier, these contained a page of stickers each, and some edible brick in a the same organza bags (US) as above, Lego Pencils (aside from these generic wooden ones, in the US you also have to options of Chima pencils, and Friends pencils), Lego City notebooks (US), bubbles and crayons. I also made ‘LEGO bubblebath’ by decanting bottles of Earth Friendly Baby wash into spherical bottles, and dropping LEGO bricks into the mixture.

LEGO Party Goodie Bag

So that was our fourth LEGO Party for Ameli, and she loved it so much, when she saw me writing this post, she asked if we could have the same party again!

Here are a few more LEGO Duplo books that we have – they could make great ‘quiet corner’ activities for your party, or goody bag fillers if you have the budget:

Product DetailsProduct Details


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Mulled Wine And Russian Tea Gifts

With all that’s been going on here, I have not had much time to be or feel Christmassy, or get far in the whole Christmas gift making endevour. One of the things I have managed to do, however, was prepare mulled wine spices and the tea-total version, Russian Tea spices, for our December food swap.


It made quite nice gift parcels, and even if you just make a batch for yourself, it fills the house with a beautiful aroma and makes a most delicious wine or tea. The tea is a wonderful alternative to mulled wine if you can’t drink or want an alcohol free alternative. It’s worth making, totally.