Two Easy Halloween Crafts To Do With A Child Sent Home From School Poorly (But Not All That Ill). 


After being sent home from school poorly yesterday, I made Freya a snuggly bed on the sofa, gave her the iPad and expected her to rest. 

And she did.

For five minutes. 


“I think we should go outside and play football, the fresh air will do me good,” she said.

It was a nice try, she’s definitely learning how to push my buttons but, on this occasion, it was a no. I wanted her to be aware that being sent home from school was a serious thing, not just an excuse to play all afternoon.

She definitely wasn’t herself, had a slight temperature and was losing her voice but there was no way she was going to just lie on the sofa, which is what I’d like to do if I was ill, so I went for the middle ground – and got the craft stuff out.

October is Freya’s second favourite month because it has Halloween in it, which she loves even more than Christmas. She suggested we could decorate the house this year but is frightened of all the decorations in the shops (plus I refuse to buy them anyway). Luckily I had some ideas and Pinterest helped with the rest.

Spooky/Autumnal Jam Jars.


You will need:

Jam jars.

Masking tape.



Black pen.


LCD candle.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you will know I have a ‘thing’ for jam jars. I’ve managed to give a few away but keep a stockpile, just in case. 

Obviously, as they are glass, this craft might not be suitable for younger children.  Freya  quite often paints vases and I thought they would make a cool spooky fake candle holder along with a more autumnal one. The plan was to make two but then Freya came up with the idea of making a fox. I was a bit worried it looked more like a pumpkin but either worked.

Step 1.


I asked Freya to write a list of things she associates with Halloween. I then did my best to draw some of them on to masking tape.


Step 2.


While Freya is a dab hand with scissors now, it’s a bit fiddly with sticky tape so I cut the shapes out and handed them to her to stick on.

Step 3.


Paint the jars. Yes, she is wearing a witches hat and using two brushes. Whatever floats your boat, right?


Step 4.


After they have dried, carefully (or not in Freya’s case) peel off the tape. This can be the end but I used a marker pen to define them. I think it works well. If I was feeling really fancy I might put some ribbon around the top to make it look a bit more appealing. It’s quite hard to take photos in the dark but you get the idea.

Top tip: If you use washable paint you can clean the jam jars after a suitable period and reuse them for more painting fun.


Toilet Roll Halloween Decorations.


You will need:

Toilet rolls.

Card and paper.

Googly eyes.

Pipe cleaners.


Double sided tape.


One of the things I ponder quite regularly is how we as a family of three go through so many toilet rolls – I’m seriously thinking of rationing paper.

On the plus side it means I did have a supply in the recycling bin to use for this craft.

Freya is a huge fan of the Hotel Transylvania films and was keen to make the entire cast. We settled on Drac with the promise to make more at a later date. I’m sure you can work out how to do this yourself but just in case…

Step 1.


Roll the toilet roll in card or crepe paper.

Step 2.


Decorate as desired. There a huge selection of things to make on Pinterest (I’ve made a board). I had a look at what craft stuff we had (a severe shortage of black card) and, along with Drac, the cat and pumpkin fit best.

Step 3.

Hang them up. It’s a bit too early for that at the moment but my plan is to hang them around the living room nearer Halloween.


So there you go, that’s how we spent some of Freya’s afternoon off school. Hopefully she will be heading back today, if she’s well enough – otherwise it might be time to start on the Christmas decorations!


Is A Health MOT At 40 Really Worth It?

This was supposed to be a photo of just me but she refused to get out of the shot 🙂

“Have you considered eating just one square of chocolate and saving the rest?” She asked.

My answer was swift, succinct and emphatic.


Oh, wait, maybe she wasn’t really asking me so much as suggesting this might be a way forward?

I get it now.

And if my will-power hadn’t been disappearing at the same rate as sleep in the last few years I might be willing to give it a go but, as it stands, I think a Plan B is needed.

Luckily, the lovely health care assistant I saw during the dreaded “midlife” *cry* MOT at my GP surgery had some other suggestions – including healthier, energy-boosting snacks.


Like most people, I imagine, I only really go to the doctor when I’m ill – and sometimes not even then. The thought of going for a general health check, offered free to those over 40, felt a bit alien. I’d also read several stories about a study which suggested there were only “marginal benefits”.

Still, while I feel like I’m in pretty good health at the moment, I am an older mum, there’s no getting away from that, and I want to make sure I’m around for Freya as long as possible.

What harm could having a quick check do?

The big thing I was worried about was my weight. If you calculate my BMI I’m technically obese but it’s not like I don’t know. I have scales and a mirror. I felt being told exactly how much I need to lose might actually be more than a little discouraging, especially as I’m working on it (I run, walk a lot and chase Freya about most days). As it happened though, aside from the chocolate advice, it was all really positive.

healthcheck-1I went for the blood test and then two weeks later followed up with a 30-minute appointment.

Right away she started off with good news.

“Your cholesterol levels are lovely and low,” she said with a smile.

I felt myself relax a bit.

We then talked about my veggie diet, lifestyle choices and exercise before I had to hop on the scales, have my waist measured and my height checked.

I had warned her that I knew my weight would be an issue and she confirmed that was the case but rather than make me feel horrible and self-conscious we chatted through the causes of my over-eating (which I know is a complete luxury) and ways I might look to improve it.

She then calculated my risk of a heart attack in the next 10-years, which came out at 1.24%, which sounded pretty good to me, and told me I could be “quietly pleased”. I know it’s not a guarantee of good health and a long life but I felt like if anything had been especially wrong I would have known and could work on it, like I am doing (slowly) with my weight.

I came out smiling, which is more than I can say for when I went in.

What do you think? Are general health checks worth it?

When you don’t have a week (or even a day) to rest.

The doctor will see you now.

“Mummy is poorly, darling,” I say, swooning on to the chaise longue* with the back of my hand to my feverish forehead like a 1920s film star in need of her smelling salts (or drugs, any drugs, please).

“Ok,” Freya says, pausing for about a second before she asks: “Are you all better now?”

My head is throbbing, every bone in my body aches and I’ve got a cough which, if you’d just met me, would make you think I had a 50 cigarettes a day habit, but she looks so hopeful – plus we’ve had this conversation five times in the last minute – that I say: “Yes, all better now.”

I slide down on to the floor and attempt to concentrate on an intricate game she is playing with her assortment of little people before she commands me to make her a fort.

Then I realise… I can’t get up.


I’m pretty sure I’ve had the flu, including (TMI alert) some gastric distress, as one friend described it recently, which I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve ever had in my life.

It’s been an interesting few days.

I have Googled “how to get rid of the flu quickly” and then “quicker” a fair amount but the advice is always it’ll take a week and will only go with rest.

Two year olds – or at least my two year old – don’t understand rest (even at night).

My admiration for those parenting solo and/or without support is always high but it’s through the roof for those who do it with flu (or, I don’t even want to imagine, worse).

I know there is often no choice but to cope and I guess I would have just got through the days as best I could but I thank goodness I didn’t have to.

I woke up on Thursday and actually felt like crying because I didn’t know how I was going to do it. My poor parents also have it but luckily Mark was able to beg for the day off at work so I was able to go back to bed. Where I spent most of the day. I can’t remember the last time that happened but it completely floored me.

I’m well on the mend now, luckily – I won’t be eating (dry) toast for a while once I’ve fully recovered – but it puts things into perspective.

I hope you’re all feeling good, lovely people.

* Actually more of sofa.