Maleficent party food table

I took the girls to watch Maleficent at the cinema when it came out and all three of us loved it, we were totally taken with the story and I knew we would enjoy watching it again and again.

When Sky Movies got in touch and asked us to throw a party, one glance at the list and my eyes fell on Maleficent I knew that would be our chosen theme.

sky movies

We returned from our holiday to an enormous box waiting from them and inside we found everything we would need to throw a Maleficent themed party, so I spent some time on Pinterest looking for good ideas.

Follow Marianne’s board Maleficent party ideas on Pinterest.

I wasn’t disappointed and soon I had a long list of way too many ideas, now all we needed was a date and some guests. Maleficent party costumes We enjoyed great food found on the supermarket shelves saving valuable time to chat with the mums rather than being busy in the kitchen. We played games with prizes to win and we sat and watched the film. The party was called a success by all attendees and you can find all of my top tips below but first a chance to win a fabulous prize – 

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Our Maleficent Party ideas


Kindly supplied by Sky Movies, beautiful black wings and long black cloaks. As it’s all set in the Land of Make Believe we decided that any costume would work which allowed each child to dress up as they wish.

Maleficent party food


I didn’t have the time to prepare home made food as ours was a last minute party thanks to a wet weather day so I whizzed around the local supermarket and picked up some children’s favourites, once plated up I dreamt up some new names for the food to make the children smile.

Ham and cheese sandwiches – Roasted raven sandwiches
Berry and apple juice – Dragon’s blood
Orio biscuits – Coins from the Land of Make Believe
Sponge fingers with sultanas – Prick your Finger Surprise
Assorted mini cakes – Bites from Far, Far Away
Maleficent’s Chocolate Fudge Cake with custard or squirty cream


Silent Warriors aka Musical Statues – to represent the fight between the warriors and and the King’s men.

pass the raven game

Pass the Raven. Sky Movies had kindly sent us a couple of decorative ravens and we used one as a pass the parcel, whoever was holding him when the music stopped was out. The above photo is when we were down to the last two contestants.

Watching the film

Of course this was the excuse for our get together and the girls settled down quickly to watch the film. They all enjoyed it and I must point out our afternoon started with watching the film to set the theme and then moved on to party food and games.

Party Bags

Black balloons, pink sparkly bouncy balls and a selection of sweets were given in purple and white striped paper bags.

festival fun in a tent

Once upon a time husband and I used to attend festivals, the last one we attended was in Chelmsford Essex at the V Festival and it was fantastic. I got to see so many of my favourite bands and solo artists and just being part of V Festival, the camping, the food, the atmosphere is something I have never forgotten.

Nowadays, the only music I get to listen to is kiddy music and I am enormously grateful we have moved on from the ELC nursery rhymes and at least are now enjoying Now that’s what I call music CD’s.

Last year we had a small taste of Camp Bestival which was superb, I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone thinking of going as the perfect festival to take children to.

This year we didn’t manage to attend so we decided to make our own mini festival in the back garden with a little help from Tesco who sent over some festival essentials to make it more real.

teepee festival

What do you need to make your own mini festival?

A tent

One of the best parts of attending a festival is the sleeping arrangements, from pop up tents to last year’s accommodation in our caravan at Camp Bestival, anything goes. Tesco sent us this fabulous Teepee which was perfect, even Baxter moved in much to the delight of the girls.


Wellington boots of course! There is an awful lot of walking at festivals from one tent to the next to see your favourite musicians, Britain doesn’t have  the best weather records promising wall to wall sunshine and it has been known on many occasion to get very muddy so wellies are the best footwear. The girls loved their flowery wellies as they had a heel on them. There is nothing like a heel to make them feel more grown up!

Festival accessories

Hats, sunglasses, flowers for your hair. Anything goes and the beauty of being at a festival is playing with what’s available to you. Usually there is a lot of carting back and forth with gear from the car to the tent so the less to carry the better. A great look can be made even better with a couple of well thought out accessories.


Layers, layers, layers. That is how festival dressing works best, you can strip off layers as it gets hot and put them back on as it gets cold.


It’s a great idea to pack some snacks in your bag, raisins, nuts that are good energy and won’t give you a sugar slump later. As for festival food, well look at my Camp Bestival food post EVERYTHING on offer from the perfect burger to South American favourites. Take cash and prepare to try lots of interesting street food from around the world.

Chinese Lantern Fairy Lights

Are they necessary? Absolutely not but aren’t they just the prettiest lights you ever did see? Plus they charge using the sunlight. The girls loved them so much they took them down to the caravan last weekend and were delighted to see them lit up when we returned late from the beach in the evening.

caravan fairy lights

Disclosure: I am working with Tesco and they have sent the above mentioned products for the purpose of this post. See more Tesco festival essentials.

last day of infant school

Yep, today (24th July) was the girl’s last day at Riverview Infant school and it seems the time has shot by since our first day in reception. I have two very different girls now to back then and I couldn’t be prouder of them as they walk out of the infant school with top marks in all areas.

If you are wondering why they aren’t in uniform it’s because we are celebrating the 50 year anniversary of our school today.

First day of big school

When we first started in reception they barely knew the alphabet and could just about hold a pencil, by Christmas they were reading words and phrases and now I am constantly on the hunt for new books. Current favourites are Dorky Diaries, Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates.

When they started back in reception they knew their numbers 1 – 10 and maybe to 20 (Is it bad that I have forgotten what they knew back then?) Now we are learning times tables and tackling division, fractions, the time and money.

Thanks to school they have made firm friendships with a number of girls in their class and I hope these friendships continue through junior school even if they are all being split up into different classes. Good friends are so important in life.

christmas elves in school play

Thanks to school they now have a greater understanding of the world around them and how to interact with people, play with the nice kids.

They have learnt to play recorders, speak Spanish, make puppets in art club. They have acted fantastic productions on stage in front of hundreds of parents remembering their lines and what they have to do.

fallen teeth

We lost a LOT of teeth this year

I can only say great things about Riverview infant school and thank the teachers for the dedication they put into their work, without you I wouldn’t be looking at these two little rounded people today, thank you.

I want to thank the wonderful TA’s we have been lucky to have who with their careful assistance have completed the circle of learning in each year, thank you.

easter bonnets

I want to thank the dinner ladies who sent them home with ‘I bumped my head’ stickers and rubbed away the soreness in my absence, thank you.

I want to thank the secretaries who phoned me when they are poorly and looked after them whilst I ran to collect them.

Fairies in school play

Fairy Liquid (left – Alice) Fairy Sajollygoodfellow (right – Bessie) Cinderella and Rockerfella Leaver’s Concert

I’m going to miss the innocence of infant school, I’m going to miss the unity I felt with the class mums and dads as we all go our separate ways. I’m going to miss the fact they are, sorry were, so small… my babies.

Growing up.

We’re moving up to junior school in September, in Mr Harris’s class (a male teacher – interesting) who will be teaching them about the Stone Age and the Romans and Sexual Education, WHAT?

Really UK? Do we have to start Sexual Education now?

I’m really not sure I am ready for this, are you?

Back to school

Back to School image via Shutterstock

This year’s Back to School in September is a biggy for us as we’re going up. Yes, the girls will be moving on to Year 3 and junior school and although the school is only next door and has the same name we had to reapply.

It means not only a change of teacher but of school uniform, school times and much more that I am finding out as the time draws closer.

We’re going to have to teach the girls to put a tie on and tie up shoe laces. We’re going to have our larger school bags to contend with, satchel or rucksack? Pencil cases are needed with named products inside. So as you can imagine there’s quite a lot of preparation already taking place.

Back to school tips and tricks

Marks and Spencer asked me to share some of my top tips for making sure our Back to School is worry free and painless.


Think ahead – I have already been to the local shop and bought the school cardigans with logos on, I’ve sent in money for the school ties and the compulsory PE bag too as last year some students had to go without at the beginning of term. Also by thinking ahead you can take advantage of the sales and pick up quality uniform at a fraction of the initial price.

Getting dressed – It’s important to get the girls into a habit of dressing themselves and I find if I have laid out the uniform with them the night before so they have to think of what they need for the following day it makes them more responsible (she says with fingers crossed)


School dinners or packed lunch? I must admit after a whole year of not having to worry about making a packed lunch every day I’m tempted to pay for them to continue with school dinners. If we do find ourselves reverting to packed lunches then they will be prepared the night before and once again I shall rope the twins in to sorting out their lunch boxes with me

Pencil case

I shall be taking them shopping over the school holidays and choosing a school bag and a new pencil case. I have invested in a Stamptastic stamp which allows me to stamp EVERYTHING they own.

Keeping the knowledge

It’s important to keep their knowledge ticking over on the summer break and by that I don’t mean over doing it with homework but little games for the times tables, at least the 2s 5s and 10s plus lots of reading good books. Visit the local library or start a book swap with other school mums.

School bags

Always get prepared the night before. Only last minute addition could be a lunch box out of the fridge.

Walk to school

We are just down the road from our school so we walk every day unless it’s tipping it down in which case we jump in the car. We have a checklist we all say before we leave the house so we all remember what to take: – Book bags, water bottles, keys and so on. We’ll often talk about things we see on our walk to school or use the time for conversation.

First day back

An exciting day and a worrying one too for some? On our first day back parents will accompany the children to the junior school hall form that day onwards the children will have to enter via the school gate on their own and in past years I have noticed this can be quite daunting for some children. We shall be organising with the other school mums to meet at the gate from the second day onwards so the children can go in together.

Reaching half term

I always think the first term back is the hardest especially when it’s a new school, new teacher and lots of new information to take on board. I like to get homework done over the weekend in the morning so the day is clear and we haven’t to worry about it anymore. I think weekends should have something to look forward to, this can be playing in a local park or baking some brownies, anything that for the children is a fun task.

Marks and Spencer got in touch and asked me to share some of my top tips with them, have you got any to add? How do you make your Back to School smoother?

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Marks and Spencer they have a 20% off promo that runs until the 14th of July

cabo de palos - la manga club resort

Michelle from Mummy from the Heart set about asking us what Big 5 lessons do we want to pass on to our children and it made me sit and think. After all we spend our lives teaching them, how to walk, talk, run, swim, and behave but what do I really want the twins to focus on as they grow older and hit teendom and beyond?

I took my time and focused on my big mistakes as, like most parents, I want them to avoid messing up like I did. Here are my life lessons Alice and Bessie (and for Tommy and Megan if you still need a gentle reminder now and then)

1. You are beautiful. You are enough.

If I look back to my younger days I was desperately trying to be like ‘everyone else’. The magazines I read, the adverts I watched all told me I should have a big bust, I should be skinny, my nose should be just so, I should laugh like this and act like that. This would make me the perfect person that everyone loved and admired. All along I should have listened to my dad who always used to tell me ‘You’re beautiful. You are enough just as you are.’

He was right, I wasted so much time trying to be someone I wasn’t, it took me a lifetime to understand that the image sold to us by the media doesn’t exist. What does count is that you are happy and surrounded by people who love you. Accept you for what you are and you will climb mountains.

2. Be yourself, like yourself.

This one kind of carries on from the above but I am referring to character. I have lived through so many excruciating moments convinced nobody liked me that I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s friendship, that everyone thought me, stupid, silly, a show off, bossy boots, a horrible person that no one wanted to waste their time on. Because of this highly critical way of looking at myself I have managed to bust up good friendships, I’ve managed to wreck a marriage (my own – not anyone else’s!) If only I had had more faith in myself from the start, if only I had accepted me for what I am, maybe I wouldn’t have made those mistakes?

I guess we’re never going to be liked by EVERYONE but those that do accept us, don’t go analysing every word they say looking for an excuse to put yourself down. Accept their friendship and accept that you are you.

3. Have courage and be kind

This one is taken from the Cinderella film we have been to see recently, Cinderella’s mum tells her to have courage and to always be kind and that advice serves her really well. Now I doubt you’ll be marrying princes but I have a theory that whatever you do in this life comes back at you sooner or later so if you are always kind then you should receive lots of kindness in return.

As for courage there will be lots of moments in your life that you need to hold your breath and take a step forward not knowing what the outcome will be. I say if you have thought about it, go for it otherwise you will never know. You only have one life and I want you to make the most of it in the best possible way. Have courage my lovely girls (and boy).

4. Listen to your heart

I’m a great believer in intuition and listening to your heart. If it doesn’t feel right STOP right there and don’t do it. Your heart will always be true to you, learn to listen to your bones, your stomach, your feelings and you will hear the right tune. Sometimes it might not be what you want to hear but the lesson will be the truth. Learn from it.

5. Don’t mess with other people’s feelings

Maybe another way of saying treat others as you wish to be treated. This is so important as you can’t go through life upsetting people, you have to take responsibility for your actions, think before you speak. Trust me when I say that sometimes it is best not to speak your mind, sometimes it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself. Sometimes people don’t want to hear it so don’t be the one to upset them. If someone is upsetting you, walk away and stay right away. Don’t get involved and you won’t get hurt. And when the time comes that someone falls in love with you, if you don’t love them back be kind, be gentle, it’s someone’s heart you’re dealing with.