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How To Make December Birthdays Special

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Disclosure - This is a collaborative post

As you probably know Christmas starts showing up in stores from September and it's pretty hard to keep away from it especially when you start hearing Christmas songs as you're walking round doing your weekly shop. I always think birthdays that are in the last quarter of the year must be tough, especially December birthdays. You have to wait all year for your special day then Christmas is just around the corner too. It must also be hard as a parent or family member to come up with children's gift ideas for both birthday and Christmas in the same month. I think those that celebrate their birthdays in December should have lots of extra fuss and here are some ideas on how to make December birthdays special.

Happy Birthday sign


No Christmas Until The Birthday Is Over
This may be tough to do if the birthday is in the second half of the month but I think if the birthday is within the first two weeks of December there should be no Christmas until the birthday is over. Make sure you have lots of birthday banners, balloons and other party decorations for the birthday boy or girl. If the birthday falls in the last two weeks of December make sure you still put up lots of birthday decorations, banners and balloons as well as your Christmas decorations. 

Give The Same Amount Of Presents You Would For Any Birthday
Christmas time can be very expensive but it's important not to give the birthday boy or girl less than you would if the birthday was at another time of year. They have waited all year for their birthday and just because Christmas is in the same month they still want lots of presents. 

Keep The Birthday And Christmas Separate 
When buying birthday and Christmas presents make sure you keep the presents separate and use both Christmas and birthday wrapping paper for the gifts. Try to stay away from seasonal gifts too, keep them for Christmas. 

birthday party


Plan A Birthday Party
We all like people to make a fuss about us on our birthdays and what better way than to have a birthday party. The weather in December is likely to be cold so you can choose to throw a birthday party in the house, hire a party venue or if it's for the kids then there are lots of indoor play centres that have great party packages. 

Most Importantly Plan
Planning is the most important part of making a December birthday special. 

Presents become harder to buy in December as there is such a huge demand especially for the most popular items. Make sure you buy well in advance to prevent disappointment. 

Make sure you have birthday cards and wrapping paper bought in plenty of time before the shops are overrun with Christmas. 

Birthday cakes can also be hard to find, maybe decide to bake one instead. 

If you are planning on hosting a birthday party make sure you get your invites out super early as December is such a busy time for everyone, give people plenty of notice. 

I'm sure those that celebrate their birthdays in December don't mind as they are used to it but it's always nice to be made a fuss of no matter the month.

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways

Are you looking forward to celebrating any of the days above? Leave us a comment below and let us know. 

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Michelle
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Win £100 Love2Shop Voucher

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love2shop voucher


No tricks just a big treat for one lucky Playdays and Runways follower and reader. We have a £100 Love 2 Shop gift card to giveaway. 

All you need to do to enter is just complete the form below and remember to pop back daily for bonus chances to win, it really is that simple. 

Good Luck


Michelle
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Children's Bloomsbury Books Perfect For Autumn and Halloween

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Disclosure - We were sent the products below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

We love having a bedtime story and some nights little J likes us to read to him, other nights he reads to us and then he also likes to read to himself. We have a lovely selection of Bloomsbury books which suit his bedtime reading and are perfect for Autumn and Halloween too. 

Leaves book


When a wise old tree takes a tiny sapling into his care, they both learn what it means to make memories and put down roots. He keeps her sheltered from storms and shaded from the scorching sun, and supported by his love, she grows and grows.

There are so many things to see and to learn: how to appreciate the beauty of the world; how to be strong against the wind, but flexible enough to bend. Together, they make memories they'll hold on to forever.

But when the old tree's leaves begin to fall, it's time for the sapling to grow up and take her own place in the world - and to learn how to hold on to the memories that mean so much.

Filled with beautiful, luminous artwork, this beautiful picture book is a story for everyone - both young and old.


pirate stew


Long John has a whole crew of wild pirates in tow, and - for two intrepid children - he's about to transform a perfectly ordinary evening into a riotous adventure beneath a pirate moon. It's time to make some Pirate Stew.

Marvellously silly and gloriously entertaining, this tale of pirates, flying ships, donut feasts and some rather magical stew is perfect for all pirates, both young and old. With a deliciously rhyming text from master storyteller Neil Gaiman, and spellbinding illustrations by the supremely talented Chris Riddell, three-times-winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, this is the picture book of the year! Joyful, quirky and action-packed, it makes a spectacular and magical gift.


The witchlings wish


The Little Witchling lives alone in her mountain top and more than anything else, she wishes for a friend. So, when her spell-book tells her that the secret ingredient is the fur from a little girl's favourite teddy, she knows what she must do.

But the teddy belongs to Lily, who can't bear to part with him. Will the Little Witchling give up her dream of a real friend? Or just maybe, is there a way for her and Lily to make the wish come true, together?

With a heartwarming rhyming text and breathtaking illustrations from Sarah Massini, this magical friendship story is perfect for little witches everywhere!


october october book


October and her dad live in the woods. They sleep in the house Dad built for them and eat the food they grow in the vegetable patches. They know the trees and the rocks and the lake and stars like best friends. They read the books they buy in town again and again until the pages are soft and yellow - until next year's town visit. They live in the woods and they are wild. 

And that's the way it is.

Until the year October turns 11. That's the year October rescues a baby owl. It's the year Dad falls out of the biggest tree in their woods. The year the woman who calls herself October's mother comes back. The year everything changes.

Written in Katya Balen's heart-stoppingly beautiful style, this book is a feast for the senses, filled with the woodsmoke smell of crisp autumn mornings and the sound of wellies squelching in river mud. And, as October fights to find the space to be wild in the whirling chaos of the world beyond the woods, it is also a feast for the soul.


stoney wish book


From a mysterious traveller who leaves an injured horse with a stranger, to a garden plant that slowly creeps into a house during a thunderstorm and a man who comes across two angry forces in the middle of a forest, this chilling collection of stories will have readers jumping at bumps in the night.

Much-loved author Joan Aiken is best known for The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and the Arabel and Mortimer books. This brilliant collection has spooky black-and-white illustrations by Masha Ukhova and is perfect for children who are developing as readers


shock forest book


A wizard's house with coloured windows that look into worlds of treetops and deserts, cloud-castles and diamonds. Two riddles that, once solved, will stop Shock Forest from burning. A flute-playing bear and a boy who just wants to spread his wings and fly... These fantastical short stories will take readers on a journey; sometimes haunting, sometimes surreal but always enchanting.

This collection of brilliant stories from double Carnegie Medal winner Margaret Mahy has wonderful illustrations by Laura Borio and is perfect for children who are developing as readers.


the thing in the basement book


There's a thing in the basement of Scott's new school and it's a thing only Mr Crawley can control. There's a thing in the basement of Scott's new school and it flashes and ROARS! There's a thing in the basement of Scott's new school and surely it can't be a dragon... or can it?

This mysterious adventure from Michaela Morgan has quirky black-and-white illustrations by Doffy Weir and is perfect for children who are developing as readers.


on the ghost trail book


A ghost has been haunting Ben's grandpa's house with cobweb trails and the TAP-TAP-TAP of its heartbeat. So when the clock strikes twelve, Ben's brother dares him to go on a hunt for the ghost in the church graveyard. Will he be brave enough? 

This quirky story from Chris Powling has engaging black-and-white illustrations by Loretta Schauer and is perfect for children who are developing as readers. 


fire burn cauldron bubble


Can you hear the distant dragon's rumble of thunder? And smell the sweet swampy aroma of the ogre? Can you taste the tangy tarantula tarts? And see the girl who's really a wizard? From magic carpets and wands to unicorns, potions, creams and lotions, Paul Cookson's brewing a spell of fantastically magic poems.

On this tattered magic carpet
You can choose your destination
For nothing's quite as magical
As your imagination

Beautifully illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon, this enchanting anthology brings together work from a range of classic, established and rising poets. Whether you're in the mood for a haunting or a spell gone wrong, this collection of mesmerising poems will have you bewitched from beginning to end! 


pumpkin power


You've probably heard the story of Cinderella; how her father married for the second time and how his wife was a nasty, mean woman. But did you know Cinderella had a friend called Perkin who worked in the garden? She wasn't the only one the fairy godmother helped. You see, it all started with seven, big seeds...

This magical retelling of a classic fairytale from bestselling author Patricia Cleveland-Peck is perfect for children who are learning to read by themselves and for Key Stage 1. It features magical illustrations from Hannah Marks and quirky characters young readers will find hard to resist.


What stories have you been reading this October?

Michelle
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Trick or Treat Halloween Gift Guide

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Disclosure - This post features gifted items that were sent for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post also contains affiliate links.

Every year we always buy big and little J a treat for Halloween. It's one of our favourite times of year. We have been on the lookout out for some treat inspiration and if you are too then here is our Halloween Trick or Treat Gift Guide.

Pumpkins
Springin Spiders Game
 Little J has been watching Ryan's Toy Review for as long as I can remember. Ryan has released a lots of toys from his Ryan's World range and Springin' Spiders Game is the perfect Halloween treat.

There is nothing better than a quick and easy game and Springin' Spiders is so simple. Just flick your spider and get the most spiders onto the web before time runs out to win.

1,2,Boo Book
1, 2, Boo! Is a spooky counting board book suitable for all ages. When a brother and sister go trick-or-treating, they compete to see who can find the most bizarre and brilliant things. They try to count all the hair-raising creatures and need your help.

skeleton costume
Little J has his Halloween costume sorted already this year wearing the Wilko Halloween Scary Skeleton Onsie. The costume has a scary skeleton design on a black background, it's perfect for Halloween parties and trick-or-treating.

first day at skeleton school book
Do you dare take part in the First Day at Skeleton School? There are monsters and witches, not to mention ghouls. They howl in assembly, fly broomsticks in the library and learn how to float through walls.

Disney Traditions Violet Vampire Minnie and Mickey
Disney Traditions Colourful Count Mickey is playing a scary Halloween host, dressed as the King Vampire and Disney Traditions Violet Vampire Minnie, is about to scare up some Halloween fun, trick-or-treating as a sweet-toothed vampire.

Disney Traditions are handcrafted in Jim Shore's unique folk-art style. Each figurine features quilt patterns, rosemaling designs, and a playful mix of colours.

The graveyard book
The Graveyard Book tells the story of a baby who escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family. Who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead.

But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

Witch wars book
When Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim's shed to tell her she is a witch, Tiga doesn't believe her.  Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH and magics her away down the drainpipes to compete in Witch Wars the competition to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City.

Crazy Rumours Lip balm
Two lip balms that are perfect for Autumn and Halloween. Pumpkin Spice is everything nice and so much more! Cozy up to pumpkin with a touch cinnamon spice too. Candy Corn is a Halloween classic for the true candy connoisseur, sugared caramel and sweet cream.

Crazy Rumors are wonderfully colourful and flavourful vegan lip balms from the USA with big personality. Established over 15 years ago, the exceptional 100% natural lip care is still handmade in small batches for the purest and freshest balms. The mouth-watering flavours are sourced from fruits, vegetables and spices - no synthetic lab created flavours, nature creates it all.

I went trick or treating book
When a brother and sister go trick-or-treating, they compete to see who can scare the creepiest creatures. As they try to remember each hair-raising encounter, everything escalates - until they get the biggest fright of all.

I Went Trick or Treating is perfect for little monsters at Halloween! This brilliantly funny book is based on the much-loved memory game 'I went to the shop...' - but with a super-spooky twist.


What treats will you be buying or enjoying this Halloween?

Michelle
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Face Your Fears With These Spooky Experiences

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Disclosure - We were sent a Buyagift experience to try. The idea for this post, thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

Today is face your fears day and as it's Halloween season I have selected the best spooky experiences that are available around the UK to enjoy this October.

ghost holding a suitcase
Take A Walk Through Europe's Most Haunted City, York.
Due to it's horrifying past which involved brutal murders, mass suicides and executions York is the place to be if you want a spooky experience. 

With apparently over 500 hauntings in the city, you can join a guided tour where you will be taken around back alleyways whilst learning the about the city. Will you see the lost boy or hear the lonely piper?

Where? Nightly from The King's Arms pub - Ouse Bridge (The famous pub that floods)
When? Everyday 8pm (except 24/25/26 December)
How Much? £7.50 Adults £5 Children and Students.

For more information visit The Original Ghost Walk Of York

The London dungeon


Escape The Clutches Of Jack The Ripper At London Dungeon
Enter the London Dungeon and immediately you are experiencing the gruesome history with the use of special effects, themed sets and very scary actors.

Wander through 19th century Whitechapel  with 18 gruesome shows and two underground rides to experience on your way, including the torture chamber, a close shave from Sweeney Todd (aka The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Guy Fawkes The Gunpowder Plot and Henry's Wrath Boat Ride.

Where? Southbank, London. 5 minute walk from Waterloo station.
When? Everyday (Check website for specific opening times)
How Much? Tickets start from £27

For more information visit The London Dungeon you can also access information about The Dungeons in other locations around the UK. 


cursed carnival breakout room


Breakout Of An Escape Room
Enter the room and hear the door lock behind you. You now need to use everything you have to try and escape before the clock counts down to zero. Over the 60 minutes you will be faced with puzzles and challenges that you will need to complete if you want to escape. 

Where? Breakout at Chester, Manchester and Liverpool
When? Available all year round.
How Much? £70 for two adults and two children

For more information visit Buyagift

people screaming


Fright Nights At Thorpe Park
Prepare yourself as Fright Nights at Thorpe Park returns for another year. Fright Nights are not for the faint hearted as you will be scared senseless at the UK’s premier Halloween event. Ride Europe’s most thrilling coasters in the dead of night before taking on live action scare experiences. 

The Fright Nights event is recommended for guests age 13+ and certain Merlin passes are excluded so a ticket would be required and can be purchased at a discounted rate. 
Where? Thorpe Park
When? 8th - 10th then then 15th -31st October
How Much? Tickets start at £39

Photo credit and for more information visit Thorpe Park

FEAR Scream Park


FEAR Scream Park
Voted the UK's best scream park in 2019, FEAR returns for the 2021 Halloween season. Featuring five intense scream mazes Anarchy:Live, X4, House of Clowns, Vita Nova and a new maze for 2021.

You’ll also find thrill rides, visuals, music, street food and bars.

Where? Avon Valley
When? 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st October.
How Much? Tickets start at £14.50

Photo credit and for more information FEAR Scream Park

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways

Are you looking forward to celebrating any of the days above? Leave us a comment below and let us know. 

Like us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 

Michelle
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4 Tips That Will Help You Pass Your MOT

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Disclosure - This a is a collaborative post.

If you are planning to go on a road trip with family, you need to make sure your vehicle is fully prepared to embark a long journey. Family safety and wellbeing comes as a main priority for everyone, hence one of the important things to check that will cover all your vehicle safety check is having an appropriate MOT certificate.

cleaning a tyre


What used to be called the Ministry of Transport test has now been shortened to the simple – but much more comprehensive – MOT test. The test looks at your vehicle with a view to ensuring that your car is roadworthy rather than in good condition. This distinction is subtle, but it is important, unless you always book a service concurrent with your MOT test, as servicing looks at the running condition of the car, while the MOT takes care of its roadworthiness.

To make the distinction clear: a car with a failed MOT but in good running order might be difficult for other drivers to see on the road; it might struggle to pull over to the side smoothly and stop promptly; or the number plate could be loose, not present or unreadable.

On the other side of the equation, a vehicle with passed MOT, but in sore need of mechanical repairs to the engine, will be able to activate warning lights, will be able to stop safely, and the stricken vehicle will be steerable while it is in motion. Furthermore if you are driving in London or a nearby area , you can also book an MOT in London by contacting DAT Tyres today.

With these fine distinctions in mind, let us take a look at four tips that will help you sail through your MOT without any issue. 

Brakes, Steering & Lights
These three items: brakes, steering and lights, were the only three checks on the very first MOT tests, back in 1960. The tests were performed on vehicles that were over ten years old, but so many of them failed the tests that the time limit was brought to just three years in fairly short order. Make sure your brakes, steering and lights are always in good condition, and not just to meet the criteria to pass your MOT! Being safe on the roads also means being able to react to other road users in a safe and timely fashion.

Good Visibility
As well as ensuring that you can be seen, you should make sure that you can see as well as possible too. This means fixing cracks and chips on your windscreen promptly, keeping all the windows clear and free from obstruction (no stickers, for example) and ensuring that your mirrors are clean, in good condition and positioned so as to give you the most comprehensive view of the road and the sides of your vehicle.

Solid Body
Having bits of your car falling off – bumpers, number plates, important chunks of the exhaust system – is never a good idea, and having these hanging loose or beginning to wear or fracture is a sure-fire way to fail your MOT and endanger other road users to boot.

Keep It Clean
Having a clean car is good for visibility – it is hard to see through clutter and treat packets blowing around – but it also helps you to keep an eye on the overall condition of your vehicle. Clean bodywork will show up signs of damage or wear much more readily than a car that is caked with mud. An MOT inspector will also fail you should you take your vehicle in for its test in such a grimy condition, so do try to get in the habit of keeping it clean.

Hopefully these tips will help you pass you MOT. Do you have any other tips you could share?

Michelle
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Halloween Events At Merlin Attractions

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Halloween is almost here and there are so many events happening close to us. However as we are Merlin Pass Holders we usually try and visit as many of the Merlin attractions as possible to experience their spooky events. Here's what in store for 2021

boy at Legoland Windosr


Where?
 Legoland, Windsor
What?
Brick or Treat
When?
14th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Lord Vampyre is throwing the ultimate Halloween party and would like to invite all little monsters and their families to the Legoland Windsor Resort for his favourite time of the year, Halloween! Lord Vampyre promises to make this years Brick or Treat event the most spook-tacular event of the year.

With many fun Halloween activities for you to dig your fangs into, including my very own Haunted House Monster Party Ride and NEW for 2021 Harbour Show, Lord Vampyre’s Creepy Crypt Trail, Monster Rocker’s fang-tastic Pumpkin Trail, costume competitions and so much more – plus all of our rides including the brand new land Legoland Mythica - World of Mythical Creatures, live shows and attractions, it’s a frightfully fun day out for all the family.

Photo credit and for more information visit Legoland Windsor Resort


a group of people looking frightened


Where?
Thorpe Park
What?
Fright Nights 
When?
8th - 10th then then 15th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Prepare yourself as Fright Nights at Thorpe Park returns for another year. Fright Nights are not for the faint hearted as you will be scared senseless at the UK’s premier Halloween event. Ride Europe’s most thrilling coasters in the dead of night before taking on live action scare experiences. 

The Fright Nights event is recommended for guests age 13+ and certain Merlin passes are excluded so a ticket would be required and can be purchased at a discounted rate. 

Photo credit and for more information visit Thorpe Park


a ride at Chessington


Where?
Chessington World Of Adventures
What?
Howl 'O' Ween
When?
16th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £34
What Can We Expect?
The mischievous Wild Witches of Adventure Point have conjured up a devilish spell this Howl’o’ween and brought back to life spooktacular characters across the Resort. With lots of tricks and plenty of treats, watch your step as you explore the lands, because you’ll likely encounter all kinds of delightfully ghastly creatures around every corner. Maybe you will bump in to the vile villagers, plunderous pirates, ferocious pharaohs or barbaric bandits. 

Make sure you check out the Legends of The wild witches show, the curse catchers and the forgotten forest. All included in your admission. 

Photo credit and for more information visit Chessington World Of Adventures 

Scarefest sign


Where?
Alton Towers
What?
Scarefest
When?
8th - 10th October then the 15th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Open until 9pm each day guests can face head-spinning, hair-raising rides and attractions in darkness including Wicker Man and the Alton Towers Dungeon! If that’s not scary enough, 4 multi-award winning, terrifying mazes are set to return. In addition, older families will be able to enjoy the brand-new Trick o’ Treat Town, an interactive walkthrough a special town where every day is Halloween and as well as treats, there are tricks aplenty.

Returning for 2021 is the free attraction ‘Garden Lights Walk: Whispering Souls’, where the gardens come to life in a whole new spooktacular.

Younger families can enjoy live shows including the CBeebies Monster Ball and the Freaky Fun Zone characters and shows.  There really is something for all the family to enjoy.

Scare mazes and Trick O'Treat town are an additional cost.

Photo credit and for more information visit Alton Towers

If you are a Merlin Pass Holder then you can also visit Legoland Discovery Centre in both Manchester and Birmingham and Sealife centre across the country to enjoy their Halloween events. Please check the individuals centres for up to date information. 


If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways

Are you planning to attend a Halloween event at any of the Merlin attractions this year? Leave us a comment below and let us know. 

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Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 

Michelle
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Autumn Bucket List To Do With The Kids

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Autumn is here and half term will soon creep up too. If you are looking for fun things to do with the kids this Autumn then check out our list. 

Things to do with the kids in Autumn



1. Go For An Autumn Walk - Put on your knitted jumper and your wellies and head out to your local park or woods.

2.  Go On A Scavenger Hunt - See What Autumn Items You Can Find.

3. Jump In Puddles - Easy to do but lots of fun.

4. Jump In Leaves - Find a pile of leaves and see if you can make them blow up in to the air. 

5. Collect Leaves, Conkers and Pinecones - How many of each can you find?

6. Spot A Squirrel - They all be on the hunt for food so make sure you look both high and low.

7. Create A Leaf Rubbing - Pop a leaf under a piece of paper and rub with a crayon.

8. Play Conkers - Who will be crowned conker champion 2021.

9. Make Hedgehog Pinecones - Fun and easy.

10. Paint With Conkers - put out a large piece of paper, dip your conker in paint and roll.

11. Paint With Leaves - smother your leaf in paint and print on paper.

12. Make A Leaf Garland - dry out your leaves and make small holes, thread with string and hang.

13. Fly A Kite -  No better time to fly a kite than in the Autumn wind.

14. Go For A Bike Ride - It's the perfect weather to ride your bike. 

15. Visit A Farm - Go see some of the animals before they close for Winter.

16. Plan An Autumn Picnic - Flasks of soup, crusty rolls and a big picnic blanket. 

17. Star Gazing - On a clear night you can see thousands of stars. 

18. Visit A Pumpkin Patch - Most patches are open already ready for you to pick a pumpkin.

19. Visit A Corn Maze - The best thing about visiting a maze is getting lost. 

20. Paint With Autumn Vegetables - Chop up carrots, potatoes and turnip to make some vegetable printing pictures. 

21. Make A Bird Feeder -  You just need a kitchen roll, lard and seeds. 

22. Make Cinnamon Playdough - Great to keep little hands busy and smells amazing.

23. Host A Movie Night - Bring down the duvets, light the candles and get the popcorn ready. 

24. Create An Autumn Playlist - Get in the Autumn mood with songs perfect for the season.

25. Read Autumn Stories - Check out our recommendations of bedtime stories perfect for Autumn.

26. Roast Marshmallows - pop them between digestive biscuits to make s'mores.

27. Drink Hot Chocolate - the perfect drink for cold evenings. 

28. Have Cinnamon Rolls For Breakfast - Just-rol are delicious. 

29. Bake An Apple Pie - or my favourite Apple Crumble.

30. Make Pumpkin Soup - A lunchtime treat.

31. Make A Pumpkin Pie - bake some for family and friends too.

32. Donate To The Harvest Festival or Food Bank - So important especially this time of year. 

33. Carve A Pumpkin - Prizes for the best design.

34. Bob For Apples - The kids might not want to eat them but the may want the pennies inside. 

35. Buy or Make A Halloween Costume - Who will you dress us as this year?

36. Host A Halloween Party - Decorate your home and garden with scary decorations and spooky treats.

37. Attend A Halloween Event or Party - Great to get you in the Halloween mood. 

38. Make a Spooky Playlist - Choose a selection of songs from Monster Mash to Ghostbusters.

39. Tell Spooky Stories - Turn out the lights, light the candles and see who can tell the scariest tale.

40. Make A Scarecrow - If you are clearing out your wardrobe ready for your Autumn clothes save some for Scarecrow. 

41. Go Trick Or Treating - Look out for decorated houses and see how many treats you can get. 

42. Go See A Bonfire - A planned bonfire and firework are the best for keeping safe. 

things to do with the kids in Autumn
If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways

What are you planning to do this Autumn? Leave us a comment below and let us know. 

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Michelle
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Our Top Tips For Moving House

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Disclosure - This is a collaborative post. 

I have mentioned it before on our blog that last year we had a full home and garden makeover. It was long overdue and although it took almost a year to complete if was definitely worth it. We did think about moving house first as we knew it would be quite costly to have a complete makeover but we also had to consider the cost of moving house. We made a Pro's and Con's list for staying and moving but in the end we decided we wanted to stay where we are. If you are in the process of moving or just even thinking about it, I have created a top tips list for Moving House I thought I would share with you.

Keys on a house keyring


Top Tips For Moving House

1. Start to gather lots of boxes, sellotape, bubble wrap etc as soon as possible. You will need to pack up everything you own so having enough supplies will make the job a lot easier.

2. Declutter your house before you begin to pack. Getting rid of old stuff that you don't want or need before the move saves unnecessary packing. You don't want to take stuff to your new house that will end up in the bin anyway.

3. Start packing early. It can take up to two months to pack up a 3 bedroom house so make sure you give yourself plenty of time.

4. Pack up one room at a time. Once you have chosen a room, pack everything that is not needed first then leave empty boxes to pack up the remainder of the stuff at a later date. Keep all the boxes from each room together until removal day. It will make it so much easier when the boxes arrive at your new home.

5. Label everything

6. Have a large clear tub with items you will need when you arrive at your new home. Think about items such as your kettle, milk, sugar, mugs, paper towels, toiletries, toilet paper etc.

7. Number your boxes or create an inventory. This is probably more for the super organised person but I would definitely create an inventory of everything I've packed so I know if anything has gone missing in the move. If that is too organised for you just clearly number the boxes.

8. Take photos. This is something we have done in the past mainly of different wires and cables that go in and out of the TV, Sky Box etc. It really does help. There is nothing worse than a bunch of loose cables and you have no idea what goes where.

9. Updating your address can be done as early as two weeks for places such as your bank, your doctors or dentist. Also make sure you contact Royal Mail for their redirect of mail service.

10. When it comes to moving day make sure you look for cheap, affordable home removals as some can be quite costly. Also let the house removals company you have chosen do all the lifting and moving for you. You may think it's cheaper hiring a van or getting family or friends to help but it's a big job and I would let the professionals do all the hard work.

Do you have any other tips for moving house?

Michelle

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The Stolen Ones by Vanessa Curtis Book Review

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Her name is Inge. She is sixteen. She lives with her Mama and Papa in Munich. Food is still rationed, though the war ended over ten years ago. Her boyfriend is Jewish. She has to hide this from her parents. She thinks they are hiding something from her, too. Letters arrive every year on her birthday, but they are not addressed to her. They are for a girl named Kasia. This is Kasia's story. 

A historical and interesting young adult fiction based ten years after World War II ended. The Stolen Ones by Vanessa Curtis.

The Stolen Ones by Vanessa Curtis


This is now the fourth book I have read so far this year (which is a lot for me when by usual total is zero). The Stolen Ones wasn't the book I voted for in book club and I almost didn't join in. However I decided to take part last minute and I am glad I did. 

Inge is 16 years old. She lives in a nice home in a cul-de-sac with he Mama and Papa. She comes from a privileged home and although it is ten years post war in Munich when food is still hard to come by, they manage to get the best meat and the freshest of vegetables. Her life is a completely different to Wilf's. Wilf is her boyfriend. He lives in a small apartment with his Papa, Stefan. Money is tight, food is rationed although sometimes Inge feels more at home there and she does in her own home.  Wilf is Inge's secret. She does not think her Mama and Papa would approve. Wilf is a Jew. 

Inge seems to have everything she wants and needs except every night when she closes her eyes she has a nightmare. A nightmare she has had for years. Mama and Papa don't seem interested in her nightmares so Inge tries to forget about them until her nightmares start to reveal some truth about her past. 


Like I said earlier this isn't a book I would normally choose to read however the point of book club is to push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to read genres you usually wouldn't. I really did like this though but it did take me the whole month to get through instead of just a few weeks like the previous months. 

Check out our other Book Club reviews
       

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Michelle
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