Three Fun And Easy Valentine’s Crafts #BostikBlogger

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Once again this year, I have pushed home the idea that Valentine’s Day is about celebrating all sorts of love and not just romantic love – although, aged four, Freya has already decided who is she going to marry and seems quite determined.

Anyway, we’ve gone a bit craft crazy because when she started thinking about all the people she loves, it was quite a list!

Here are three more fun and easy Valentine’s Day crafts, which we will be sending to various family members and friends.

Hearts and flowers card.

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We used:

Pretty card

Green card.

Red card.

Ribbon.

Our monthly craft box, which we receive from Craft Merrily as part of our role as a Tots 100 Bostik Blogger, had lots of beautiful patterned paper and card in it this month, which we thought would be perfect for flowers.

We drew around a heart shape we already had and then cut them out. We folded them to make them look a bit more 3D (although not sure it actually makes much difference).

The stalks are made from green card and we positioned them on the red card first before sticking on the heart blooms. We then stuck on the pink ribbon to make it look like one of those hand-tied expensive bouquets.

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String heart.

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We used:

String.

Bostik White Glu.

Mini paper roses.

Baking paper.

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I’d say this was by far Freya’s favourite craft because she got to get her hands messy.

We started by drawing a heart on the baking paper and then dumping the string in a pot of glu (I diluted it the first time but it didn’t dry very well so we made the next ones with pure glu).

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Once is was well covered, we then bended it to made the shape on the baking paper and left it to dry over night.

It was really quite solid. I thought it looked a bit bare on its own so I wrapped a couple of the little paper roses around it.

It works well as a hanging decoration, stuck on a flower put or on a card (I think so, anyway).

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Salt dough hearts.

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Salt dough is an old favourite in our house – and we made these on a day Freya was home from school poorly.

Our tried and tested recipe is a cup of plain flour, a cup of salt and half a cup of warm water. This rolls out well and holds the shape. I know you can oven dry them but, as we’ve had the heating on recently, I just put them on a baking tray on top of the radiator for a few days (I turned them over when the top turned lighter) and job done.

Freya wants to write her name on the back but I also thought you could write a nice message on card and stick it on, in case it’s hard writing directly on to the salt dough.

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Please note: We were sent a box of craft materials for free in return for this blog post.

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A “Tea-rrific” Valentine’s Gift For Teachers #Bostikblogger

IMG_5449Ever since she went back after the Christmas holiday, Freya hasn’t liked school.

When we talk to her about what’s wrong there’s a different problem every day – “she hasn’t got any friends”, “the work is too hard”, “a boy pushed her”, “she can’t do maths’.

We’ve had tears and tantrums (and that’s just me) but once she gets there she’s absolutely fine – I often don’t even get a proper goodbye. Throughout it all her teachers have been brilliant; addressing her concerns as well as reassuring me that they are keeping an eye on her. As a result, I thought it would be nice to show our appreciation with a small thank you.

A quick search of Pinterest gave me a “tea-rrific” idea and, using the contents of our latest craft box, sent to us from Craft Merrily as part of our role as a Tots100 Bostik Blogger, we set to work.

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We used:

Foam hearts.

Corrugated card.

Ribbon.

Glu Dots.

Mini-pegs.

Heart doilies.

Assorted heart decorations.

Teabags (we later switched to individually wrapped for hygiene purposes, which was Mark’s idea.)

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I let Freya decorate the front of the hearts first. While I thought she would just stick on as many hearts as possible, she surprised me by carefully selecting each one (my baby is growing up!).

Step 2.

Using a Glu Dot, we stuck a heart on to the peg (so cute) and then the peg on to the ribbon. We then checked placement in relation to how big the teabag is (I didn’t want it to show from the front) and stuck the ribbon on accordingly.

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Step 3.

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After writing out ‘You’re tea-rrific” on five pieces of card (making sure to explain to Freya that it’s not actually how you spell terrific), I then asked her to sign her name on each before we stuck them on. Freya then decorated the back with stickers.

Step 4.

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We cut the ribbon to size and then stuck another heart at the top (if they want to put them up they can stick Blu Tack on the back).

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I think they look really pretty, I’m tempted to keep them!

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Our love-fest doesn’t end here either. We’ve got some more Valentine’s crafts coming up next week.

Please note: We were sent a box of craft materials for free in return for this post.

Book Review: How To Be Happy.

cover123755-mediumA book where you know at least one person dies doesn’t sound like it’s going to be uplifting but if I had to use one word to describe How To Be Happy, by Eva Woods, it would be that.

There’s something about this story that really appealed to me. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – it covers difficult, sensitive topics (and could even be a trigger for some) – but it made me laugh and cry (and not just sad tears).

I felt completely absorbed by the mix of characters and their unfolding story.

The somewhat gallows humour is refreshing and the take on life, love, death and what it means to be happy genuinely made me think.

You need to read the blurb to get what I mean:

It’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.

Annie has been sad for so long that she’s forgotten how to be any other way. She’s trudging miserably through every day, sheer determination keeping her going. Until she meets Polly.

Polly is everything that Annie is not. She’s colourful, joyful, happy. And Polly is also facing the greatest challenge of her life: how to die well.

Polly has one hundred days to help Annie find happiness. Annie’s convinced it’s impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey, Annie begins to realise that maybe, just maybe, there’s still colour to be found in the world.

But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.

While Annie is (understandably, once you get into the story) living in shades of grey, Polly is running around in a rainbow. While it initially looks like Polly is bringing colour back into Annie’s world, it becomes clear that Annie has a part to play in helping Polly deal with her situation too.

They are unlikely friends but each has something the other needs and seeing how they grow and change is inspiring.

All of the characters have their own issues and it’s so well written I got really caught up in their lives.

It makes for heart breaking reading at times – and not just to do with Polly – but it’s also entertaining and funny. I couldn’t help but think how good it would be as a film.

How To Be Happy is an important reminder that we never know what tomorrow might bring (although if it brings you this book, I hope it also comes with tissues).

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to Little, Brown Book Group (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.