Spooktacular Crafts for Halloween with Viking-Direct

#AD

As my boys are growing up it takes a little bit more encouragement for them to get crafty. I really enjoy making things and try my best to encourage the boys to do so too. They have a set of art drawers in their bedroom that is full of arts and crafts, the boys would often rummage through them and create little masterpieces. And when they do get crafty they do produce some lovely art pieces, my youngest has just finished an art project (set by school) to create a Halloween scene in a box – he loved doing it, but just needs that extra little encouragement to do so.

Viking – an online stationary and office supplies company – invited us to take part in a Halloween Craft Campaign, which I thought would be a lovely idea for the boys to get involved in some spooky arts and crafts.

In the box

We were sent a box of goodies to use our imaginations with and creative to produce some spooky crafts and to share with you all what we come up with.

Our kit included:

  • A selection of coloured paper and card
  • A pack of felt tip pens
  • A set of Halloween based stencils
  • A gold and silver metallic craft pen
  • A ball of string
  • Glitter
  • A pumpkin carving kit
  • Elastic string for masks
what's in the viking craft box

What we created

I love getting crafty with the boys, they have great imaginations and i just enjoy spending the time together sitting at the table. It is far better than watching them playing games on their phones or tablets

Frankenstein’s Monster Mask

We cheated paper, card, felts, metallic pens, scissors, glue and the elastic to create a Frankenstein’s Monster mask for my son to wear on Halloween. He really enjoyed this craft and we are pretty smug about how it turned out. We used black card for the base and stuck the green paper on top, my son then went on to add in the details with the felts.

drawing the scar on the mask

Halloween Card

A Westham halloween card
Happy ‘Hammers’ Halloween

As my son plays football and trains once a week at the WestHam Development centre, he really wanted to make a Halloween Card to give to them. He used the coloured paper, the stencil and felts to create a spooky picture. The broom and the sword are creating the famous ‘Hammers’

String cobweb

Next up we made a cobweb using the ball of string and 3 twigs that we had collected from outdoors.

Cobweb made from string and twigs
String cobweb

Here is how we made it:

  • Secure three, same size, twigs together with some of the string in the middle to make a star like shape.
  • With the rest of the string start to wind the string around the twigs, moving from one to another.
  • keep on going around the twigs, wounding the string around and around.
  • We wrapped the string around the twigs once before moving on the next twigs as this helps to secure the string in place.
  • When you get to the end of the twigs, tie a knot in the string.

Pretty cool eh! And very effective when you leave them hanging around the trees in your garden.

We also created a tiny spider from the black card and placed it in the cobweb

String and twigs spiderweb hanging in the tree

Pumpkin sweet treat holder

Halloween isn’t just about dressing up into the scariest outfit you can find but, for children, it is also about knocking on the neighbours doors ‘trick or treating’. These cute little Pumpkin sweet favours are not only sweets but also double up as a little gift that you can give to the children.

Pumpkin favours

You will need some orange tissue paper, string and green paper.

  • Cut out a circle from the tissue paper – big enough to hold some sweets in
  • Place the sweets in the middle and then bring the ends up into the middle
  • Secure the middle with some of the string
  • Place some green paper over string to create a green stem
  • Draw on a scary face or leave plain
  • They are now ready to give out to children as gifts

Pumpkin Carving

The last part of our Hallowe’en crafts was the best bit, the bit where we got messy. Pumpkin carving is always the best part, in my opinion, of celebrating Hallowe’en.

We used the pumpkin carving kit that was provided to us in the box. Once we had decided on what design we was going to put onto our pumpkin we was ready to get going.

First we cut off the top of the pumpkin and then using the scoop we scooped out of the middle of the pumpkin. Once it was empty of all of the flesh and the seeds we drew on our design and then following the lines we cut it out.

Pumpkin carved put as harry potter
Harry Potter Pumpkin

The boys like to do something a little different with their pumpkins and this year they wanted a Harry Potter Pumpkin. What do you think?

We were enjoyed getting crafty with our little box of stationary that Viking gifted to us

Happy Hallowe'en
#spooktacular Hallowe’en

Why not take a look at what Viking-Direct has to offer for your next arts and crafts projects here

We were gifted with some craft items for the purpose of this post

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Beat That! – The Bonkers battle of Wacky Challenges – Review

Beat That! The World’s Wackiest Party Game

Limber up and prepare to bounce, flip, stack, hop, roll, blow, balance and catapult your way to victory. Beat That! is a new family party game aimed children aged 11+, where you pick one of the 160 bonkers challenges and bet on your ability to successfully complete it using an assortment of random objects. All players attempt the same challenge. The game encourages motor skills, coordination, dexterity and self-confidence. It is also, a very fast and competitive game – an ultimate battle of abilities.

Beat That Game Box

What’s in the box?

  • 160 Challenge Cards
  • 80 Betting Tokens ( Yellow worth 5 points, Orange worth 3 and Blue worth 1)
  • 10 playing Cups
  • 5 Plastic Balls
  • 4 Dice
  • 2 Chopsticks
  • Memo Pad
  • Tape Measure
  • Sand Timer
  • Rule Sheet

How To Play

You will need lots of space to play the game and I would recommend a clear table top. Each player starts with 10 betting tokens – 5 blue, 3 orange and 2 yellow. All players roll the dice to go first – the highest number picks up a challenge card from the pile and reads the category and challenge out loud.

Each player must then bet one of their tokens based on how confident they are in their own ability to complete the challenge.

Once all bets have been placed, all players take it in turns to attempt the challenge.

Players who successfully complete the challenge gets to bank the token that they betted with. Players who fail places there token back into the box. You start with 10 tokens so means that you have rounds of challenges.

Continue until all 10 rounds have been completed.

The player with the most points at the end of the 10 challenges is the winner.

Challenge Categories

The 160 challenges are split into four categories:

  • Solo – Attempt the challenge alone
  • Battle Royale – All players compete against each other
  • Buddy Up – Work alongside another player
  • Duel – Compete against another player
Category challenge cards

Each and every one of the challenges have been given wacky names like Bounce it home, Wimbledon and Feelin’ lucky, punk?

Each card has a description of the challenge and an illustration of how it is done.

What we thought of the game

Although the game is aimed at players above the age of 11, we played as a family and our youngest child is 8. He managed to do all of the challenges that we pulled from the pile bar one; his head was too small to balance a cup on.

The game can get very frustrating at times and is quite competitive. It definitely helps with hand eye coordination and encourages concentration.

It is a fast paced game which I can see being played with a group of adults being very fun.

Beat That is simple to play and lots of fun. My youngest loves a challenge and is always taking out a card and challenging me. I must say, he is far better at the ball games than I am.

The challenges are simple and easy to understand. Each challenge doesn’t last that long and fun to partake in. The game is quite addictive, especially if you are competitive and need to win.

There are balancing games, flipping cup games, word games, ball and cup tricks, dice games and games that involve using chopsticks. There is something that everyone can do (as long as you have patience).

Beat That! Key Info:

  • Brand new for this Christmas. Launched September 2019. £24.99.
  • Family Party Game. Age 11+, 2 – 8 players. 
  • Available on Amazon and John Lewis
  • 160 dexterity based challenges in total.
  • Fun for both kids and adults.
  • Encourages motor skills, coordination, dexterity and self-confidence. 
  • Company website: www.gutter-games.com

We was provided Beat That for the purpose of this review.

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Discovering the Back-Streets around London Bridge

Secrets of Southwark

This iconic area of London with its cobbled streets, winding alleyways and array of exciting bars and restaurants is one of London’s most popular areas. Step away from the tourist track and be amazed with the hidden gems and bustling back-streets.

Within walking distance from London Bridge Hotel you will find all of the top tourist attractions such as The Shard, The Golden Hinde, The Globe Theatre, Tower of London and The River Thames. Take a step back from all of these areas and discover what this area really has got to offer

Gelateria 3BIS- Borough Market – Park St

For a welcome and friendly Italian experience head on over to 3BIS gelateria where you can grab home made gelato, frozen yoghurt, crepes, waffles and much more. Within walking distance from London Bridge station, it’s the ideal place to stop off for a sweet treat after a busy day shopping or sight seeing. They offer a broad selection of flavours that you can enjoy inside or out.

3Bis gelateria borough market
3BIS Gelato

We opted for a Mango and Rasberry sorbet in a cone, but you can also choose to have it in cup, and some chocolate filled cannoli’s. A new product that are selling is the chocoshot cup – a flavoured cone cup filled with your favourite gelato flavours.

3BIS also supply to events, such as weddings and parties. You can hire a gelato cart to turn your event into a special and unique one.

Bird & Blend – Borough Market – Park St

Bird & Blend is an award winning tea company who are on a mission to spread happiness and reimagine tea. The shop is light and airy and the staff are friendly and full of knowledge about all things tea. They offer a wide selection of tea blends and if you’re not sure on what to buy the staff are more than happy to make one up for you to try.

Not only at Bird & Blend can you get a perfectly brewed tea but you can also grab tea gifts, tools to make tea and even book onto one of their mixology tea blending and tea tasting experience workshops.

We are big fans of Matcha tea so was pleasantly surprised by the huge selection of flavoured tea to try. The member of staff that served us was brilliant and very friendly, offering us lots of advice on what delicious blend of tea to try. As it was a hot day we went with cold blend tea, which he mixed in front of us and even allowed the children to join in with making their own tea; they were shown how to use a bamboo whisk and how to add the special ingredient that made Unicorn Fizz drink change colour.

Bird & Blend shop front

We tried and Iced Black Matcha and Coconut, MojiTEA, Unicorn Fizz and an Iced Gingernut Matcha & Apple drink.

I couldn’t recommend this place enough, the staff were friendly and approachable, the quality and taste of the tea was perfect and reasonably priced.

Backstreets

One thing I noticed about the area around London Bridge was that no matter where you turn there is always something to catch your eye. The street art and buildings are amazing. Wander through the railway arches and follow the Low Line walk, which spans the length of the Old Victorian Rail viaducts from London Bridge to Bermondsey. The Low Line connects the neighbourhoods and communities, celebrating the heritage of the railway arches, unlocking places of interest along the way.

Drawing of swans in a railway archway
Art work under a viaduct on the Low Line walk
Malagonisa street art
Colourful wing street art at Cluedupcoffee

The buildings still show signs of the old days. Something I always tell my children when we are visiting a new area is to look up. When walking along we tend to just look straight forward but when you look up you will notice the infrastructure and architecture of old buildings. There is always an historical, strange or artistic inspirational find.

Flat Iron Square

Flat Iron Square is a new foodie hub in Bankside that is nestled in the heart of London Bridge. It offers a unique cultural and culinary experience with tantalising food vendors, restaurants, street food, bars and live music. It’s a great outdoor space that runs along the railway arches and hidden behind a grass wall. The garden is a welcome space to sit and enjoy time with family and friends in a casual and vibrant environment.

This is a nice little hidden secret within London, very vibrant and a great place for lunch. Head over here for a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere and a variety of food and drink options. Not only was there a DJ on when we was there but they had a big screen up showing a sporting event.

We opted for some light bites from the summer menu at the Lime Hut, which were zesty and rich in flavour, all freshly cooked on a huge pan in front of you.

The younger of of our group opted for a sugary treat from Waffle On. Yep, you guessed it, they sell freshly cooked waffles with a selection of toppings.

Crossbones Graveyard

Whilst walking around we came across a very interesting, but rather odd yard and was lucky that we managed to have a quick look just before it closed for the day. Crossbones Graveyard is the site of an old burial ground with an extraordinary background. Back in medieval times it was a graveyard for prostitutes, by the 18th century it became a burial ground for around 15,000 paupers and is now a sacred place and sanctuary in the heart of the City dedicated to the ‘Outcast Dead’.

Now a garden of remembrance, with shrines, open to the public and to celebrate life in all imperfection.

It was once the final resting place for the’ Winchester Geese’ which is a rather quaint term for medieval prostitutes who were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work in the brothels.

As you enter the yard you will walk under a wooden structure which is in fact carved out to be the wings of a Goose

crossbones graveyard geese wings wooden structure
Carved wings

Along the top it says

‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your book of hours

your fingers, your thumbs, your ‘miss you, Mums’.

Here hang your hopes, your dreams, your might have beens,

Your locks, your keys, your mysteries’

A very interesting place full of history, there are plenty of places to sit and contemplate and reflect on life. An incredible space that truly moves you, despite being in the City it has a peaceful silence.

An unusual find but one that we were glad that we had stumbled across. Possibly somewhere that we wouldn’t have normally visited but has definitely opened our eyes to exploring backstreets a little more.

This is a collaboration post. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views and pictures are my own

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Encouraging your child’s Passion

As a parent you want to encourage your child’s passion. As they learn and grown, their interests and talents begin change, we need to foster their natural abilities. Our children have been given a gift and we should try our best to encourage and support them. Our child’s hobbies and interests can set the course for what they will later do in life.

Attempting to guide our children into a specific area of interest, could do more harm than good. Children need time to find their own passion and flourish; to explore without pressure or limits.

My partner and I both have hobbies and interests, this is a good way of setting an example to the children. By showing them that we too are involved in activities that we enjoy doing.

Encourage your child to try different things, explore different areas, try new sports – open the door for your children to new experiences and opportunities. If your child is never exposed to a new experience then how will they know that it will make them happy and what sparks their interest. It will help to build up their confidence and develop lifelong skills

My older two boys have followed in their Fathers footsteps and taken up running. All three of my boys have been introduced to the sport and all three enjoy doing it. At first it was a way for their dad to find a common ground with the boys; a way to reconnect with them as they became older. But now, they run side by side at the training ground, in races and over the park. Sometimes they may run in silence, others they a may chat about their day or how their training regime is going. Something that started as a hobby for their dad has now become their hobby. Both boys have joined a running club and compete not only for the club, school and borough but have also competed for their County. They have found that they have a natural talent for running and have learned that the more effort they put in the better they become.

Running together

The youngest boy, although loves to run, has taken a different path with his hobby. Football. He loves to play football. Now, no one in the family are followers of football so this is a sport that he has taken up completely by himself. He came home from school one day and asked if he could play football over the park. My son has a deep love for playing Football but not really in watching it, he is not a supporter as such. I remember as a baby, he loved to watch ball sport on TV, he would become enthralled with what he watching. At times it was the only way to keep him quiet – put him in front of a sport on TV and he would calm down and just watch it.

Because our boys have taken different sport paths, it means that Dad and I both have to put in the time to take them to training. Dad, obviously, takes the older two to running and races and I take the youngest to his Football training. We both like to attend the races and matches together as a family, I think this is important as it just shows how much we all support each other.

Through my sons love of Football and taking him over to the park every Saturday morning for training I have also started to play walking football with Westham Foundation. I absolutely love it – it’s keeping me fit and I am still there on the same field watching my son play.

We have noticed that the youngest boy has shown some natural talent in Football so we took him along to a soccer school run by Westham Foundation. After a few weeks he was asked to come along and train with their advanced development squad. So, he now trains with them on a Thursday as well as his training with his club. This is his choice of commitment, given the chance i think he would train every day.

Playing football

They have all shown to have natural talents in sport and I think this is because they have grown up in an active family; they have watched their Dad compete in races and have wanted to do the same. They not only participate in sports but also attend drama lessons, debate clubs and are members of an acting agency.

I will continue to support their choices and will offer guidance when needed.

What way do you encourage your child’s passion?

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