how the Grinch stole christmas

‘Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more’ 

There is a tiny part of me that completely resonates with the Grinch. Like him, I too raise my eyebrows at people who put their decorations up way too early (the first of December is early enough) and people who seem to buy every single product out there to give their loved ones at Christmas, overkill. In fact, the Grinch is one of my favourite Christmas books and films that I enjoy watching on the run-up to the big day.

This year, The Grinch is celebrating 60 years of being one of literature’s most iconic seasonal characters and Mari’s World has been chosen to be one of the Grinchmas bloggers – an accolade I am incredibly proud of.

Harper Collins has put together a fabulous Grinchmas hub full of wonderful Grinchy ideas and I decided to make a Merry Grinchmas door wreath to add to their pot of Grinchmas fun. Don’t panic as it really is quite simple, you should know by now that if I can do this – then anyone can!

How to make a Merry Grinchmas door wreath

merry grinchmas door wreath

What you’ll need

1 polystyrene ring
Dark green tissue paper
Assorted coloured ribbons
1 large green bauble
Red Felt stars
Light green deco mesh
LED lights
Card for the sign
Red and white pipe cleaners for the candy canes
Box of pins

  • Start with the polystyrene hoop and cover it with dark green tissue paper.
  • Wrap a red and white ribbon around the hoop until you are back where you started.
  • Wrap a string of LED lights in the same way and secure the battery pack with a tight knot that will enable you to get to it and change the batteries as and when required.
  • Glue on the felt stars and add bows made from assorted ribbon (mine are in gold). These can be pinned in place.
  • Take the large green bauble and draw on the features of the Grinch with a permanent marker. I started with the nose and eyes. There are plenty of drawings online to work from. The yellow eyes were painted using a nail varnish! Hang the Grinchtowards the top of the hoop and pin the ribbon or string in place to prevent it moving.

merry grinchmas door wreath

  • Cut large strips of the deco mesh and roll holding it tight in the middle, tie the middle with two kinds of ribbon to hold firmly in place. I used the red and white ribbon plus a snowflake version. Pin your deco mesh bows across the top.
  • Using red and white striped pipe cleaners form a couple of candy canes and glue into place.
  • Lastly, take a piece of cardboard and with a pencil, draw on the Merry Grinchmas and the small arm with the bauble. I found lots of examples online and copied directly from one of them. I then painted it and glued it in place on my door wreath.

merry grinchmas door wreath

What do you think?

I am really pleased with it and I shall hang it in our classroom from the 1st December.

Talking of classrooms, I’ve taken a look at the Grinch Classroom Lesson Plans too on the Grinchmas hub and I think we can have a lot of fun with them. Do pop by and take a look, you can have endless fun Grinchifying yourself like this…

Mari Grinchified

 

There are some wonderful ideas on how to grow your heart three times bigger, activity sheets to download and a 12 days of Grinchmas to join in too.

The time is nearly here and this weekend, if you haven’t got one already, I would advise you make your final choice of Advent Calendar for the run-up to Christmas 2017.

It might not be an easy choice as there are so many different types to choose from.

beer bottle advent calendarwine bottle advent calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have noticed the market has become flooded with advent ideas this year. What started as a joke on Facebook, a tired parent drawing fake windows to open on the exterior of a case of 24 bottles of beer, or adding pretty tags to 24 bottles on the wine rack, has sparked a lot of marketing minds and today we have, wine calendars, gin calendars, beer calendars, candle calendars, cosmetic calendars…you get the picture. Everyone has put a beautiful calendar out there for you to choose from.

I love all of them but…I’m not a huge fan of cosmetics, so I quickly ruled that one out. I was tempted by the alcohol but seriously? I’m heading towards the most indulgent time of the year and I want to lose weight on the run-up rather than put weight on. That thought quickly ruled out all alcoholic versions!

I really enjoyed the candles last year but I already have some candles on the go which I am enjoying so I didn’t need any extra this year. So….

I went back to basics – aka chocolate! I fell in love with Hotel Chocolat’s calendar for two. A unique idea which allows grown-ups to share a small delight of an evening (at least that’s when I plan to open our window). A special chocolate as each day is a new truffle to taste.

best advent calendars for two

I know it’s indulgent but the chocolate is small and it will prevent me from tucking into the big boxes that are invitingly stacked up sky-high in all supermarkets right now, tempting me as I walk past. ‘Buy me! Buy me!”

Just take a look at it and tell me you’re not impressed.

Whilst you’re in Hotel Chocolat, you may wish to select something special for the children too. We went for this version. I think they’re going to really enjoy it.

best advent calendars

I have decided that this year, Christmas is all about keeping it small and simple and this is how I propose enjoying advent. What will you go for this year?

Disclaimer: Hotel Chocolate kindly agreed to send me a calendar of each featured for the purpose of this post.

sorry you're leaving

Just over two years ago I stepped into James Villas HQ as a social media executive and set to work on helping to develop the brand’s social channels. I was so excited to have been given the opportunity and I embraced it with open arms ready to get stuck into any task that was thrown my way.

It has been the most incredible journey where I have learnt so much!

Working as part of a team and having my copy proofed and checked has been a good wake up call, who knew I was so keen on long sentences? I have learnt to slow down, take my time and re-read my work. I hope you are starting to see these small changes coming through.

I have learnt to think more closely about images – do they reflect what I am saying?

I have learnt that social channels are fickle, we don’t own them ‘they’ do. Facebook might only show a tiny percentage of your followers your hard work, it’s incredibly frustrating and I can often be found ranting about Facebook…

I have also learnt that working full time alongside running a home, family and life outside of the office doors is a real struggle. My main challenge came with trying to cover the school holidays. The girls get 13 weeks off and I had 21 days. It was this, that led me to hand in my notice – something I never believed I would do. I had imagined working until my retirement at James.

When I was reflecting on my life and how to make it better I started to search for jobs that would compliment being a mum.

I needed a job that fits in with school holidays and school hours. That would allow me to take the girls to after school clubs without skidding out of one door and screeching into the next, red-faced and often having forgotten something or even worse – arriving at the wrong time.

I had always pushed teaching to one side as I didn’t think I’d be good at it but as I started to look more closely at the opportunities in local schools, I saw our local primary was looking for a TA. The more I thought about the job, read the role description, the more it became a very exciting prospect.

I applied for the job and was successful – I start work on Monday morning!

I am swapping the weekly business meetings for a classroom of 8 year olds.

I am exchanging my snatched half hour lunch to who knows? Playground duty, lunchtime clubs or getting to know the teachers in the staff room?

I shall be helping out with reading and maths, chatting about geography and science. I shall be doing all manner of tasks to assist the teacher and doing my bit to help these young fresh minds find their way.

I shall also be grabbing back a bit of time for me. I want to pick up my blogging, tidy my house, read a book, help Alice learn to sew, help Bessie learn to play the piano. I want to get back into cooking again, not just quickly pulling a meal together to feed the family.

I am also going to start the 0 – 5k challenge as I have managed to put a stone since working full time.

So many things to do but my heart is lighter and I think I’m on to something good here … what do you think?

desk

You know those posts you see on Facebook about untidy desks belonging to genii (or geniuses for you lesser mortals)? Well, I’d like to think my untidy desk is showing signs of my genius too. However, if I am honest with myself, it’s because I have too many ideas, too many hobbies and I’m trying to get too much done in not enough time. So it all piles up and has an incongruous look of efficiency about it …or not – depending who’s looking at it.

My husband is a very patient man and he lets me get away with it most of the time but occasionally he will make a dig, a snide comment about the amount of trash I have collected in my corner of the room.

I have a ton of excuses ready to throw back at him but if the truth be known, he’s right BUT YOU’RE NOT TO TELL HIM.

The twins are fast growing up and also delving into lots of projects of their own. My mess has inspired them to have a go at weaving, to try their hand at sketchbook club and the latest passion – to sew.

After giving Alice a sewing machine for her birthday, it quickly became apparent that she loved it and would be making great use of her gift. The family very helpfully started mentioning projects she could help them with … ripped jeans, dad’s pants that needed mending and various buttons that needed sewing back on to shirts, jackets and trousers. But Alice wants to get creating, she would like to be a fashion designer she says and I would like to encourage that idea. After all, which mother wouldn’t want to be dressed head to toe in designer gear?

desk

Now, sewing can create a lot of ‘mess‘. Apart from the machine, there is fabric, cotton, needles, scissors and all manner of tools that go into making this hobby as enjoyable as it is. So we need a space to keep everything.

As the 4th small bedroom has only ever been used as a dumping ground and occasionally as a guest room, I decided to convert it into a creative space. Husband should be pleased as all manner of crafts can now live there rather than dotted around the living area. I haven’t had time to strip wallpaper and paint the walls but I hope you can look past the outdated decor we inherited 7 years ago and see what it will be soon. I have even been collecting ideas on a Pinterest board to inspire me and maybe you will get more of a feel from there.

To start our creative space we have this sturdy white desk from Kit Out My Office for Alice to sit at and sew, she has been drawing some designs for her first projects and I can’t wait to start helping her make them come to life.

The desk comes flat packed in 3 separate boxes and is easily put together with the help of an electric screwdriver. It didn’t take us long at all. The drawer slots in easily and is a good space to keep all manner of tools. It is sturdy and we chose all white but the drawer face comes in a variety of bright colours to choose from.

fashion designs

We are also going to use this space for my weaving and for keeping our sketchbook club bits and pieces. In fact, as the room has fitted wardrobes, I can see all manner of crafts moving up to this room soon.

Disclosure: We were sent the desk for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own

Learning to sew

 

It started back at Christmas, ‘Mum can I have a sewing machine please?’ but with one thing and another we just couldn’t add it to the already bursting gift list so, it rolled over to her birthday and for a very long time now Alice has been quietly reminding me, ‘I’d really love a sewing machine mum for my birthday.’ So I thought, why not?

When a child expresses such a deep desire, and we all know they can fizzle out from one moment to the next, maybe we should jump on that train and see where it takes them?

A recent trip to Hobbycraft sealed the request because as we walked into the store we were greeted by a wall of colourful sewing machines, from incy wincy ones right through to professional models. Alice spotted one and fell in love.

Pink. That was all it took.

For once, I was really excited about giving the girls their birthday gifts this year. They have never been huge on lists or knowing what they wanted (unless it is a mobile phone which is still a no) but this year Alice had requested and we had listened.

Watching her open her gift and seeing the joy on her face was a moment I shall remember forever. How could my little girl want a sewing machine?

Along with her sewing machine for kids, I had also wrapped up a Sewing for Beginners book and some fat quarters to get her started.

sewing machine for kids

 

She was itching to begin but life, being what it is, got in the way. It wasn’t until almost a week after her birthday that we finally got the box open and Alice started to sew.

I started her off with some pieces of felt and guided her to use the machine, running different sized stitches up and down, getting used to how the machine works, threading the needle, catching the bobbin underneath and sewing backwards and forwards.

I could see she wanted to move on to making something so we worked out how to make a bag and off she went again. We saw our mistakes and learnt from them and I have a feeling everyone in the family may be receiving handmade gifts this Christmas.

This is an ongoing project and one I know I will have to find the time to be hands on with to help her but I shall find the time, as I know how much this means to her and when your child finds a passion I think you should do everything to make sure it stays alive – move over Coco Chanel, there’s a new lady on the block…

Disclosure: I approached Hobbycraft asking them if they would like to work with me on Alice’s wish list. They sent the beautiful PINK sewing machine pictured in return for this review. All words and thoughts are my own and I want to thank them for making Alice’s dream come true. You can buy one too from around £50