New Honeydukes labels

Hello my lovelies!

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It’s a miserable rainy day in England and I was looking over my blog wondering what I could blog about today.  I realised, I had not updated the Honeydukes labels I created some years ago and decided they needed a little font make over and then I decided what the heck, let’s make some new labels too! So without further ado…

The old labels have had a font make over and to give you an idea of what kinds of sweets  or candies you could use with these labels; I’ve included some pictures for your inspiration.

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Sherbet Lemons
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Acid Pops

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Cockroach clusters (Chocolate Peanut clusters) from Cafe Delites
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Fizzing Whizzbees

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Fudge Flies
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Dolly mixture

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Jelly slugs
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Liquorice allsorts

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Ton-tongue toffee
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Treacle Fudge from Son Shine Kitchen

 

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Wine gums
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Tooth splintering strong mints

 

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and there’s 8 new labels for your Harry Potter party needs.

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Droobles best blowing gum

 

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Pink coconut ice 

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Chocolate wands
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Exploding Bonbons

 

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Chocoballs

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Pixie puffs

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Liquorice wands
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Ice mice

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Most of the sweets above are easily found in supermarkets or online but I’m sure with a little imagination you could use other alternatives.

As always, if you use any of my printables please tag me on Instagram or leave a comment down below.

I hope these come in handy for all the great Harry Potter parties you are planning for after social distancing rules are abolished.

Bright blessings

Mrs R

xxx

Decadent Butterbeer cookies

decadent butterbeer cookies

Hello my lovelies,

I’m sure I speak for every mom out there when I say that my family seem determined to eat me out of house and home. I find myself prepping food, cleaning the kitchen and washing dishes three times a day and that’s before snacks!  Snack packs of snacks are really expensive and I can’t afford the extra expense right now which means I have to bake! What a hardship! Hee hee!

It’s no secret that we are a household of Harry Potter fans and lockdown has thankfully meant that we can enjoy crafting with Harry Potter in mind. We have listened to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Audible and are looking forward to read JK Rowling’s latest release of the Ickabog.  But before we hunker down to read the Ickabog, we needed a snack which meant we simply had to create something Potter related!

And with no further ado, I give you Butterbeer cookies!

decadent butterbeer cookies

You will need:

230g Butter/baking margarine, Softened

2 cups Sugar (I used one white sugar and one brown)

2 whole Eggs

2 teaspoons Vanilla essence

2 3/4 cups Flour

1 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 ½ cups butterscotch chips – you can find them online at Partridges

Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter/baking margarine and sugar until fluffy, scraping the sides when necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients in batches to the mixer, mixing until just combined after each addition of dry ingredients.

Gently mix in butterscotch chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop up half filled ice cream scoop portions to baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are barely done but still soft and chewy. They will crisp up upon cooling and be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Allow to cool on a baking rack. Makes roughly 35 decadent cookies.

Accio butterbeer cookies!

Butterbeer cookie magical

You have got to make these, I can promise you, you will not be sorry!

Comment below and let me know how you liked them.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

Honeydukes chocolate wands

Hello my lovelies,

I’m not going to lie. Things have been difficult lately. ‘Rona, you got some ‘splainin’ to do! Missy has been missing her friends and feeling lonely so of course, I have to figure out a way to bring a smile to my little girl’s face.

Today after breakfast we got to work melting chocolate to make our own version of Honeydukes chocolate wands.

It was so simple. We melted chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time stirring in between each stint in the microwave. We then dipped the wands/scooped chocolate over the breadsticks with a spoon and lay on baking paper. We used assorted sprinkles that we had on hand and edible gold and silver spray to decorate.

Missy had a blast and can’t wait to eat them. Later on, we are going to watch Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone and eat our wands.

Sounds like a lovely way to spend the afternoon!

Bright blessings everyone

Mrs R

Xxxx

The Ultimate double chocolate chip cookies

Hello my lovelies,

Lockdown is dragging on isn’t it? It feels like it’s been going on forever, yet before I know it we will be required to go on as if nothing happened.  It makes me feel anxious and off kilter just thinking about it. Thankfully for now, I am concentrating on taking things one day at a time and trying to live each day with a grateful heart.

Today, Missy and I made the best double chocolate chip cookies I have ever had and I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you.

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These taste like a little bit of heaven; all chewy and crispy and are very easy to make. You will need:

230g Butter/baking margarine, Softened

2 cups Sugar (I used one white sugar and one brown)

2 whole Eggs

2 teaspoons Vanilla essence

1t Camp coffee essence

2 cups Flour

3/4 cups Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 ½ cups dark choc chips – I used 2 packs of morrisons dark choc chips (they are dairy free)

Preheat oven to 180.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter/baking margarine and sugar until fluffy, scraping the sides when necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in vanilla and coffee essence.

Add the dry ingredients in batches to the mixer, mixing until just combined after each addition of dry ingredients.

Gently mix in chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop up half filled ice cream scoop portions to baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are barely done but still soft and chewy. They will crisp up upon cooling and be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Allow to cool on a baking rack. Makes roughly 30 decadent cookies.

You have got to make these, I can promise you, you will not be sorry!

Comment below and let me know how you liked them.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Pumpkin fritters

Hello my lovelies,

Happy Mother’s day!  It’s been a long day here at Swish Cottage and filled with yard work. I had hoped for a roast lunch cooked for me by Toby carvery, new pyjamas and possibly time to put my feet up this mother’s day but we have been in isolation since Tuesday and haven’t left the house.  Since we decided to plant a vegetable garden, yesterday welanded up clearing the old trough that Mr R built some years ago and today, I cleared another flower patch in the bag that was just over grown with weeds.

One side of the trough has become Missy’s fairy garden (thanks to my fairy garden Pounland haul last year) and she’s been playing out there ages with her miniature dolls.

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I wish I had taken a before picture. This was literally a wilderness.  At least now the snowdrops, chives and roses have a fighting chance.

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After my foray into the wilderness, I had to make lunch and knew I wanted to use up a tin of pumpkin puree that I had in the pantry from Halloween. I remembered a recipe I used to make in South Africa for pumpkin fritters and today seemed like a good day to dust of the recipe.

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They’re super tasty. All crisp and spicy in cinnamon sugar on the outside and deliciously squidgy in the middle.

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These are pumpkin fritters but you can use mashed banana, cooked and mashed sweet potato or cooked and mashed butternut squash.

You will need:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Splash of milk if the mixture is too thick
  • Oil for shallow frying
  • Sugar and cinnamon for dredging.

Recipe can be doubled.

Not freezable.

Mix all ingredients except oil and sugar cinnamon for dredging. It should be a drop scone type consistency.

Fry in small batches of shallow oil until golden on each side.

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Dredge in sugar and cinnamon and serve immediately. With coffee. On the patio. With your feet up.

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‘Cos it’s mother’s day.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

xxx

Home school art lessons: The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross

Good morning my lovelies,

My daughter has been off school with a tummy bug and we received news yesterday that the schools in the UK are due to close on Friday so it would seem that she is not going back.  With this in mind, I have been thinking of ways to educate her while she is at home because I refuse to let her play Minecraft for 12 hours a day for the foreseeable future.   If you are looking for resources for things to do with your children, check out my last blog post:  Fun and Educational activities to do with your kids during the Coronavirus shutdown

Yesterday, Missy wanted to do some painting and I used the opportunity to do some learning. We watched a Bob Ross, Youtube tutorial called Secluded Bridge and painted along with him. We have never done anything like this before and both of us found it therapeutic and very relaxing. Old Bob was a very quiet and relaxed man!

And here is the fruit of our labour- first Missy’s and then mine.

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I’m definitely no great artist but considering we used the really cheap acrylic paints and brushes we had lying about, I think they turned out pretty good. The plan is to do a weekly art session trying different mediums with what we have on hand.

If you haven’t thought of using Youtube as a good resources for learning new art techniques, check out the following channels:

Bob Ross

Kids Art Hub

Art Arena

And if you wanted to make puffy paint to paint with, check out our video for DIY puffy paint here

Bright blessings

Mrs R

xxx

Fun & educational activities to do with kids during the Coronavirus shutdown

Hello my lovelies,

stick figure corona lockdown

The Coronavirus has most people in England glued to their telly sets, waiting for news of when the school will close, or if indeed they will close. Most companies are have already told staff to work from home, and others are preparing for staff work from home scenarios. I can’t see that it will be long before the schools shut in the UK. For those in other countries who have already had lock downs or those in the UK who are choosing to isolate your families regardless of the current advice, the next big issue becomes how do we entertain and educate our children during the lock down?

I have spent the last week taking inventory of our food supplies and anxiety cleaning but this morning, after reading a beautiful post in one of my Hygge groups on Facebook my focus shifted entirely. I began to wonder how my daughter must be considering and dealing with the current levels of anxiety and disruption in our community.  I’ll post the passage below so you can see what I mean.

”Mama, remember when we were little and we had to stay home for a month because of that virus? It’s actually one of my fondest childhood memories. It was so awesome being home together.

Remember how we would check on the neighbors and drop food and supplies off on people’s porches? I remember listening to you and daddy on the phone calling family, friends, and people from work and asking how they were and if they needed anything- it was different because usually we just saw you text them.

Remember how we didn’t use the cars and you and daddy had to start them up every now and then to make sure they still ran? We normally had a long ride to school and it was so nice to have a break from that. Remember how we had to conserve toilet paper- what was up with that?

I remember you didn’t turn on the TV much during that time. We read so many books and listened to podcasts while we knitted. I remember daddy read us the Harry Potter books while we snuggled under blankets together. He did all the crazy voices- to this day, it’s one of the reasons I love reading so much.

You and daddy told us that we needed to stay home because lots of people were getting sick. You shared with us every now and then that people were getting better and less people were getting sick. It was sad not see our friends so much and go to fun places, but you explained that we were helping the hospitals. By staying home we were letting the hospitals care for the people who really needed their help. I do remember we had to wash our hands a lot and that’s when I finally stopped biting my fingernails.

I remember you and daddy working from home on your laptops while we did our school lessons. And we would take breaks to drink tea and have snacks on the porch in the sunshine. You and daddy would make us warm lunches and we would all eat together. I remember baking bread with you and you would teach us yoga in the attic. I remember all the art projects we did and how you displayed them all over the house. I remember you gave us bubble baths whenever we wanted.

I remember we would take walks in the woods and if you saw other people you would whisper to us “stay 6 feet away”…honestly, that was kind of creepy.

I remember Dewey and Dora, our Welsh Terriers, they were kind of old and we got to cuddle them so much those days- they loved having us home more than anything, didn’t they?

I remember later that year you and daddy were so happy about the election of the president. I had never seen you jump up and down in front of the tv like that. I remember you guys cried and daddy grabbed your hand and made you dance.

Was this a scary time for you and daddy? I don’t remember it that way at all.”

I released after reading this that I had two choices. Once our family has locked down, I had the power to make or break the experience for us.  Yes, the situation is dire because of a global pandemic but it’s up to me to make this time bearable for my 9 year old daughter. I decided to focus on the positive and make this a time of togetherness and cosyness and general positivity. That’s not to say that everything will be all roses and that we won’t get on each other’s nerves but I think trying to keep us engaged and occupied will go a long way to making this time easier for everyone.

Emotional well being for our kids

Before I get into the fun and educational activity ideas, here are so general guidelines to maintaining a more positive atmosphere.

  1.  Watch the news when the kids have gone to bed or catch up online, if you must.
  2.  Don’t talk about the virus and your fears surrounding it in front of the kids.
  3.  If your kids ask questions about the virus and what is happening in the world, explain things to them in a matter of fact way, leaving  your emotions and fears out of it. Explain to your kids that they can talk to you about their worries about the virus if they need to. There’s a great article in The Guardian that may help you and your family to emotionally prepare.
  4. Make a point to Facetime and Skype friends and family members often so that kids can see everyone is okay and still interact with those they miss.

And now on to the practicalities.

Routines

Without a routine, kids struggle. Heck, adults struggle!  Thankfully, I found a great schedule online that I wanted to share with you.

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I found this to be a fantastic schedule from Jessica McHale that gives a rough guideline for everything that needs to be done in a day for a family.  Of course, you can tweak and readjust this to suit your family.

Educational activities

Most schools, when they close, will provide some sort of online learning which will need to be done and the schedule should allow for this. Other ideas you could incorporate in your schedule to maintain kid’s education are things like learning to type and reading books online.

Typing club allows kids to learn to touch type for free which in this current digital era is a valuable skill. Anyone who has to type up a report using the old two finger method will appreciate how important it is to type adequately.

If you haven’t been able to get to the library and take out some books to keep up with the kids daily reading and don’t have a stack of books at home then Get Epic is for you.  It’s the leading digital library for kids 12 and under and offers a 30 day free trial that you can cancel at any time and is free to educators and librarians! Also, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you will have access to loads of free Kindle books.

For those who enjoy museums, art and culture, Google arts & culture offers you an opportunity to explore in 360 degree virtual tours of museums, parks and national icons from the comfort of your sofa.

Mystery Science is offering free science lessons to anyone who needs them without the need to open an account of pay for services. There are loads of great links there to awesome lessons from reception/kindergarten to Year/Grade 5.

Twinkl a fabulous teaching and home educator website, full of national curriculum resources is offering a free service during the Coronavirus pandemic to assist schools and parents.  Sign up for free and use the code UKTWINKLHELPS for free access.

Get moving

A sedentary change for children who are used to burning off a lot of energy is a recipe for disaster.  If the weather is miserable, as it has been recently, here are some great resources for indoor exercise for kids and adults alike.

Cosmic Kids Yoga – Check out the link for great yoga workouts to famous stories like Frozen, Pokemon, the Gruffalo, Sleeping Beauty,  Harry Potter and more.

Kidz Bop is so great for kids dance workouts (minus the definitely not age appropriate twerking!) to all the latest dance tracks. Perfect for a dance and a laugh while you get your disco on.

Get outdoors

Get out in the garden! Even a small garden can yield loads of fun.  Check out Youtube for fun outdoor games or call on old favourites like egg and spoon races (plastic eggs!), sack races, relays, obstacle courses or even just put up the tent and enjoy doing your learning outdoors. Get the fire pit out and toast marshmallows, or cook your lunch.

Dust off the Swingball set, frizbee or get out the cricket set and football.  Even 10 minutes outdoors can relieve stress and elevate your mood.

Not very sporty? I got your covered.  Go outdoors and explore your garden for signs of spring.  If you have a local park or woods get exploring. Just remember to keep a safe distance from anyone else.  Don’t feel up to walking? Take your picnic outside and enjoy flasks of soup and sandwiches. You could even feed the birds or wash the car. Give a kid a hand spade and tell them to pull up all the weeds. They’ll enjoy digging and getting messy.

Craft activities

With St Patrick’s day on it’s way in a couple of days, check out Twinkl’s resources for a bit of fun.  Or check out Pinterestfor loads of St Patrick’s day crafts. I particularly like this one by theresjustonemommy.com

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Use your crafts to decorate the house for St Patrick’s Day.

Plan a fun St Patrick’s day mealusing some of these great ideas on Youtube. Get the kids involved with baking, cooking and decorating for your special meal.

Check out Pinterest for loads of fun ideas for Easter crafts.  There’s so much you can do just using stuff you have laying about at home.  Let the kids help you decorate for Easter – they love to get involved. This is not the time to be Martha Stewart about your decor! Have fun with Easter recipes and let the kids help.  Check out my Easter Freakshake for a sweet treat. Make some cookies and decorate. Baking and cooking help kids with maths skills and teach them essential life skills. Cleaning up is an essential life skill too!

Sick of St Patrick’s day and Easter crafts?  Get scrapbooking using all those old magazines in the recycling, journaling,  start a gratitude journal, create your own Wreck this Journal, make DIY puffy paint or let the kids make dream boards. There’s so many things to do.

Chores for kids

With the kids home, no doubt, the house will be trashed in no time, however, this is the perfect opportunity to get kids helping around the house. Check out Fun Cheap or Free’s guide to chore charts for some help. Implement 5 minute tidy time after each activity to get kids helping to tidy the mess they’ve made.

Cards and board games

Go completely old school and break out the deck of cards!  Forgotten how to play the card games you played as a kid? No problem! Youtube has loads of tutorials to help you.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve hoarded board games hoping your kids will soon be old enough to play them or for those idyllic winter nights when you imagined Swiss Family Robinson like gatherings. Go dust them off and get rolling those dice!  This is the perfect opportunity!

I will be honest, right now, I’m out of ideas! But I’m sure you can help me with some cool ideas in the comments.

Stay positive and chat to you soon!

Bright blessings

Mrs R

xxx

My Random Musings

 

Intermittent fasting

Hello my lovelies

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I’ve been enjoying a mindful and quiet day.  I’ve had quiet Youtube video’s on in the background from channels like Fairyland Cottage while I baked banana muffins, roasted tomatoes and baked Irish soda bread.  It was satisfying waiting for my eating window to open knowing I had such lovely, fresh goodness waiting for me.

Since the beginning of January, I have been following the Intermittent Fasting way of life.  If you are new to Intermittent Fasting, you can read up more about it here.  In a nutshell, I fast from after dinner at night – so  around 6pm for 16 hours, or 18 hours depending, and break my fast with brunch or lunch at 10 am or 12:00 noon respectively.  During my eating window, I eat what I would like to eat and close my window again after dinner.

I started Intermittent Fasting for a number of reasons. Yes, I want to lose weight, however, this way of life and eating, while it can and does produce weight loss,  has many other health benefits both mental and physical. I chose Intermittent Fasting because I wanted a way of life that would promote healing in my body and mind and help me to avoid some of the diseases of later life.

Since I started, I am happy to report that I have experienced relief from arthritic knee pain and swelling.  I have reduced my weight by 6 lbs and inches too. The weight loss has not been fast like on some eating plans I have tried but I can see my body transforming through body re-composition and I feel healthier.

While I am determined to lose weight, I have realised that much of my struggles with food are to do with past trauma,  past fears and ways of thinking that do not support a healthy way of living or eating. I’ve am slowly overcoming my fears of food scarcity and learning that nothing bad will happen if I do not eat regularly.  I wouldn’t say that Intermittent Fasting has been difficult for me. In fact, simply delaying eating until my window opens, has been one of the most freeing things I have ever done in my life. It feels wonderful not to overthink whether or not I should have a muffin, whether it would be healthy for me or whether it would help me to lose weight, how many calories are in it and so on. I now tell myself, yes you can have the muffin, when you’re window opens. And I do.  The hardest part for me has been breaking old habits of eating at certain times,  trying to figure out if I am really hungry or just bored, lonely or emotional.  Learning strategies to remind myself that I do not have to eat loads now because there many not be food later. I live in a home where there is always good food to eat and this fearful thinking,  while irrational is something I am having to challenge daily.

I am lucky that I do not have many health complaints that impede my weight loss but this does not mean that Intermittent Fasting (IF for short) is not healing any hormonal issues, inflammation issues etc before it can shed weight.

I am not expecting immediate miracles. For now, I am trusting the process and allowing my body and mind to heal while I fast on. If Intermittent Fasting is something you are interested in, I would highly recommend Gin Stephen’s book Delay, Don’t Deny which can be purchased on Amazon.

Time to reboot the laundry.

Bright blessings

Mrs R

xxx

 

Harry Potter Craft & DIY Round up

Hello my lovelies,

I am so excited to share my latest news with you. Are you ready for it?

Missy has asked for a Harry Potter party this year!  I nearly cried with happiness! I’ve been waiting to throw her a Harry Potter party since she was born and have practically been planning the party – in my head at least, since then!  I’m soooooooo super duper excited!

We will be having the party at our home, which makes me want to break out in hives  just thinking about it because 2020 is the year we will be doing our loft conversion, getting bees and doing some major re-jigginging in the garden at Swish Cottage which a friend has now dubbed The Burrow so remind me to refer to our little home as The Burrow from now on. But, I am not deterred!  This party is going to be awesome!

Thank goodness, I already have some Harry Potter resources and ideas from other the years; check out my previous Harry Potter posts here:

Harry Potter themed Christmas:

Harry Potter themed Christmas decorations

Harry Potter themed Christmas tree

Harry Potter themed North Pole Breakfast

Harry Potter themed Hogwarts feast Christmas dinner

Hot chocolate butterbeer station

Harry Potter themed Halloween movie night:

Harry Potter themed Halloween movie night

Harry Potter crafts:

Harry Potter craft swap

DIY Wand tutorial

Harry Potter Filofax planner flip through

Three broomsticks tray

Free Honeydukes printable labels

Ollivander’s wand box tutorial

My favourite Harry Potter tutorial resources:

Favourite Harry Potter Resources – Part 1

Favourite Harry Potter Resources – Part 2

I’ve been collecting Harry Potter paraphenalia for literally years, we’re talking physical items, books, and printables so I think between all the resources I’ve accumulated and some stuff I can make and print off, we are all set. Just have to get my butt in gear and start collating and making!  I know the party is in August, but I nothing if not organised and don’t want to leave anything to the last minute.

If anybody wants to see my Harry Potter inspiration, check out my Harry Potter Party Pinterest board  for tons of ideas.

I’m hoping to blog about each class we intend to attend at the party and show you all the DIY’s we do for the party too. And of course, the actual party!

I can’t wait to get started!

Bright blessings

Mrs R

x

Things I learned from Mary Poppins – Lesson 1: Well begun, is half done

Hello my lovelies,

mary poppins

It is a very well known to anyone who knows me that I love Mary Poppins.  As in read the books, watched the movies, know the film scripts off by heart and all the lyrics to all the songs kinda love Mary Poppins.  Yeah, that kind of love Mary Poppins. And while the books are a little strange and the movies are hugely entertaining, there’s a heck of a lot that can be learned from Mary Poppins herself and indeed the messages from the films.

Today we start with

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And before you tell me that it was in fact, Aristotle who actually first said this, let me point out that if it wasn’t for Mary Poppins, I never would have heard this quote.

In essence the quote means that if you start off a job well it is easier to finish the job. But what I find highly interesting is the motivation factor at play here.  For instance, last week I had promised to make a cake for our dessert. I did not feel like making a cake and put it off until Thursday because  I simply was not motivated to do it. The task itself felt too large to do and I had zero motivation. So, drawing on well begun is half done, I decided that before the school run, all I would do was set up the ingredients and get my mixer ready. That’s all. So I got it all out and took Missy to school.

Do you know that on my walk back home, I realized that the job of making a cake did not seem hugely arduous now that I had everything laid out and ready to go. In fact, the butter would be at perfect room temperature and ready to go.  I got home and the cake was a cinch to make and was in the oven within a short while.

Taking this motivational tool to heart, I decided that I was going to sort out the absolute mess of a spare room. It was such a pig stye in there, just thinking about it made me feel crappy.  So I went in there with a bin bag, a large Ikea bag to stuff with things for the charity shop and some Poundland storage boxes.  I stripped the bed bare and I left the decluttering ‘equipment’ on the bed and got on with my other priorities for the day.  And the most extraordinary thing happened.  Over the next few days, I went into the spare room a few minutes at a time and started sorting things into binnable (is that even a word?) items, stuff to donate and stuff to put away and I couldn’t believe how quickly it all came together.  It’s a lot nicer in there now and all because I kind of set myself up for success by making a tiny start.

Definitely a good lesson to take away with me!  Thanks Mary Poppins!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R