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12 Reasons Why Yoga is So Important for New Mothers

*Guest Post

So you’ve successfully made it through the gestation period to the birth of your newborn. Congratulations. As exhausting and life-altering childbirth and motherhood are, the healing of a new mum’s body is just as crucial as the baby’s safety and health. So your post-partum recovery is a high priority.

No, this does not mean enrolling in/going back to a gym and immediately hitting those crunches. A regimen that is more soothing and mellow is much more advisable and this is entirely possible through the practice of specific yoga postures that are kind to the postpartum body.

Of course, most sleep-deprived new parents barely have time to think about, much less actually do, any exercise, when their life has just been turned upside down by a newborn! Exhausting days and debilitating nights hijacked by constant feeding, rocking, nappy changing, carrying etc leave little desire or energy for anything.

However, making time for regular yoga practice even if regular means just once a week (attending a class while someone takes care of baby or using an app at home while baby naps) rather than occasional sporadic sessions) can be highly effective and healing for a new mum.

So what exactly are the benefits of yoga for women who have recently undergone the intense process of child-birth and gestation period?



1) Yoga Strengthens and Tightens the Pelvic Floor Muscles

If you gave birth naturally rather than via c-section, then a loose pelvic floor is normal after delivery. Drop the kegels and try yoga for strengthening and tightening the pelvic floor to help restore it to its original form.
Most Recommended Yoga Poses (Asanas): Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Chair Pose (Utkatasana), Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby), and Locust Pose (Salabhasana).

2) It Strengthens the Spine

Nine months of carrying another life inside one’s belly is bound to affect the agility and strength of one’s back. It is vital to recondition and strengthen the spine, which bears most of the load and this can be accomplished effectively with a regular yoga practice.
Most Recommended Asanas: Downward Dog Pose (Adho-Mukha-Svanasana), Bhujangasana(Cobra Pose), Phalakasana (Plank Pose), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Cat Pose (Marjaryasana), Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

3.) Yoga Corrects Posture

Crouching, slouching, bending: these are common postures that expectant mothers seek comfort in when carrying a baby. This often leads to a tweaked posture which Yoga practice can safely and evidently help correct.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Tree Pose (Vrikshasana), Cat- Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Warrior Pose (Veerbhadrasana), Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho-Mukha-Svanasana)

4.) It Provides Deep Relaxation for the Upper Body

During the gestation period, a woman’s upper body is affected the most. A new mother holds a lot of tension and stress at various points in her body that need to be relieved. A soothing yoga practice can safely eliminate this pent-up stress and from deep within.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana), Crocodile Pose (Makarasana), Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Rabbit Pose (Sasakasana)

5) Yoga Can Help Ease Pain

Body-ache is a common issue women face after delivery. With recuperative yoga asanas, this pain can be safely managed and gradually relieved.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana), Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana Bitilasana)

6) It Promotes Faster Recovery

We all know life changes forever after baby comes along; but to feel at least a bit normal again, a faster recovery of the body is essential. Schedule as regular a yoga practice as is realistic for your circumstances to speed up the recovery process.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani), Plank Pose (Phalakasana), Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Chair Pose (Utkatasana), Marichyasana I (Marichi’s Pose)

7.) Yoga Helps Safe Shedding of Pregnancy Weight

Yoga is the safest and most effective method of losing pregnancy weight and regaining (some of!) the body’s original shape.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Half-Spinal Twist Pose (Vakrasana), Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

why yoga is so important for new mums women in studio practising yoga

8.) Toning the Abdomen and Body

Pregnancy affects the elasticity of the skin around the abdomen.  You can get rid of this post-baby belly with the help of a dedicated yoga practice that helps recondition the skin.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Locust Pose (Salabhasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Bhujangasana(Cobra Pose), Navasana(Boat Pose)  

9.) Yoga is Great for Detoxification and Releasing of Fluids

Fluid retention is another common issue that surfaces in a majority of mothers in their post-partum stage. Yoga provides a safe effective way of releasing excess water and eliminating unwanted toxins.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Bharadvaja’s Twist (Bharadvajasana I), Plow Pose (Halasana), Half Locust (Ardha Śalabhāsana), Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana), Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

10.) It Improves Blood Circulation

Blood circulation slows down after child-birth as the body goes into a domicile mode. Hence, it is crucial to retrigger it. Yoga asanas promote healthy circulation, channeling the blood it through the entire body.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana), Leg’s Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), Corpse Pose (Shavasana), Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana), Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

11.) Yoga Aids Hormonal Imbalance Correction

Hormones are thrown out of kilter during pregnancy and need to be brought back on track. Medication helps, but not as safely and effectively as with the support of a regular Yoga practice.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Standing Head to Knee (Janursirasana), Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

12.) Yoga Revives the Body’s Energy Centres (Chakras)

Delivering another human being utilises a woman’s energy to its maximum extent. Extreme weakness and lethargy are entirely normal. Yoga stimulates the body’s chakras (energy centers) and regulates the energy through various channels of the body from head to toe.
Most Recommended Yoga Asanas: Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Warrior II (Veerbhadrasana II), One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

In addition to all of the above, yoga has many more profound mental and spiritual benefits which can help through the post-partum period with ease and comfort. Undergo a regular practice of the art to reach the stage of complete recovery.

Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. He loves writing and reading the books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas. For more information, visit his superb website.


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10 Shops with Everything You Need For Halloween in Malta

women dressed up standing against decorated fireplace for halloween in malta


Love it or hate it, the spookiest week of the year is around the corner and Halloween in Malta has become a BIG deal the last few years.

We now see numerous events held across the island over the last week of October, house parties galore and ‘mass’ trick or treating in various residential areas (with certain households going to town in their decorative efforts) on the day itself. Yes, Halloween in Malta has turned into a large scale celebration.

It’s a far cry from when Halloween on this little island was nothing more than a few children wanting to mess around with makeup/dress up slightly on October 31st or events at the American Embassy and the International School!

Of course this means that more and more shops are providing a range goods to help both young and old enjoy Halloween in Malta to the full.

skeleton, sweets, witches cauldron for halloween in malta

Image courtesy of Flying Tiger, Malta


Whether you’re a newcomer to Malta who needs a entire range of Halloween goods or an ‘old timer’ like me who just needs to add a few bits to their existing stock of paraphenalia of costumes and decorations:


It’s good to know where to go the in the run up to the spookiest week in the calendar. So I’ve compiled this handy list of 10 shops that will help you get ready for Halloween in Malta!

Shops are listed alphabetically by geographical location

1). Spells, Attard 21421172

Spells is one of Malta’s best-stocked toy/stationery shops, housed over four floors. You’ll not only find idea items for trick or treating but also a decent range of tableware and decor. A loyalty card offering 10% discount is also available.

2). Ta Lira, Iklin (superstore) and various locations

Ta Lira (Malta’s equivalent of the common pound store concept) goes all out for any major occasion and Halloween is no exception. Costumes, trick or treat items and more, at seriously affordable prices.

3). Lidl, Mosta (superstore) and various locations

Depending on the year (sometimes it’s hit and miss), the quality of Lidl’s Halloween items can be hard to beat. Although some of the stores on this list have a larger range of Halloween goods, Lidl often sells items not found elsewhere (at better prices) and of course has the sweets/food side covered too. It’s also rather convenient being able to pick up your Halloween bits and pieces along with your weekly grocery shop!

4). Once Upon a Time, San Gwann 21385006 / 79993226

A party supplies and rental store, this is probably one of Malta’s better known stockists of Halloween items, alongside Mecca. Their Facebook page claims their range of Halloween costumes is MASSIVE (yes in capitals) and they offer items from decor and tableware to outfits and accessories.

5). Flying Tiger, Sliema

Reminiscent of quirky stores that popped up in the UK such as the now long gone Covent Garden General Store, Flying Tiger is a haven for people who like Scandi style design. This store is well worth a visit (although you may want to leave the kids at home as they will go NUTS in here and beg you to buy the entire shop). These folks have some unusual goods in specially for Halloween you’re unlikely to find elsewhere, that are sure to make you smile.

Halloween in malta

Image courtesy of Flying Tiger

6). Mecca Carnival and Toy Centre, St Pauls Bay 2157 3278

One of Malta’s oldest most established toy stores, Mecca has pretty much everything covered in terms of dressing up for Halloween from costumes to wigs to makeup as well as accessories. The layout isn’t open or bright and airy like some of the stores listed but more of an old curiosity shop packed from floor to ceiling. It’s worth a visit and it’s highly unlikely you’ll come away empty-handed!

The following may or may be useful and you may need to call in advance to find out what they have:

7). Toyland Mosta 21411152

8). Bow and Ribbon Naxxar 2141 0382

9). Bemania, Mosta 21419580 / 79373214

10). Party Time,, Rabat 2740 2205


Additional Places to consider:

  • It’s also worth considering actual clothes stores such as Kiabi in Burmarrad and Qormi as they often offer outfits for special occasions or at the very least sell accessories near the checkouts.
  • The supermarkets in Malta have come a long way since only selling sweets for Halloween. Toys, masks, decorations and table decor are now available at certain of the larger stores such as: Smart Supermarket and Pama. It looks like Greens Supermarket, Ibragg are getting in on the act although judging by how they wrote this board, it looks like they may be selling something else 🙂

Happy Halloween!

A Brilliant Way to Actually Get. Your. Child. To. Sleep.

It’s That Time Again: The Time of Day You Have Come To Dread!

The time of day your home turns into a battlefield, filled with tears, tantrums, and finely tuned theatrics that make you wonder when exactly you morphed into the villain from a Disney film, and all for asking your children to get ready for bed.

Sound familiar at all?

If you currently struggle to get your kids into their pj’s and convince them that yes, they do need to brush their teeth before bed and that yes they do in fact need to sleep to avoid faceplanting with exhaustion into their breakfast the next morning, then the above scenario is likely quite familiar to you.

Having trouble persuading your children to get ready for bed is sometimes only half the battle. I haven’t even breached midnight snack requests, 3 am bedwetting, or The alarm isn’t for another 2 hours, go back to sleep, we are not playing trucks right now bedside visits.

Bottom line is: when your kids don’t sleep, YOU don’t sleep. Simple as that.

So, why do some people [she almost cried with relief at never having this problem herself]  encounter such resistance from their children when trying to put them to bed? And what can we do about it?


Common Culprits Behind Bedtime Tantrums

There are many reasons you could be experiencing difficulty at bedtime. Here are the most commonly cited ones:

  • Overstimulation (too much screen time)
  • Lack of bedtime routine
  • Separation anxiety
  • Frustration over lack of control
  • Nightmares
  • Allergies
  • Screens in the bedroom
  • Stress (yes, kids get stressed too!)

There are quite a few things you can do to ease the burden of nighttime tantrums. Be sure to set a bedtime that remains consistent. Centre a bedtime routine (washing the face, brushing teeth, etc.) around the established bedtime. Limit screen time leading up to bedtime. Read a story together in bed to encourage the relaxation response.


But What If You’ve Tried Everything Under The Moon To Encourage Your Kids To Go To Sleep And STAY Asleep?!

What if just can’t seem to make any of it less troublesome for everyone involved? Then why not consider this amazing way to actually Get. Your. Child. To. Sleep. 

Meditation! Bear with me… Yes, meditation can actually be adopted by children to great effect.

Meditation is growing in popularity around the world and for good reason. Its benefits are numerous and it can help alleviate the symptoms of many health conditions, including chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.  Now, you may be thinking:


“Isn’t Meditation a Little Too Much to Ask of a Child?!”

I hear you ask. (Believe me, I wondered the same myself at first)

I mean what child is going to willingly sit in the lotus position for 20 minutes with their eyes closed, humming a mantra? Actually, that question could have just stopped at ‘sit’!

  • Meditation is a field that’s unimaginably wide in scope.
  • It incorporates many different practices
  • There are meditation techniques for kids proven to be a very powerful tool for parents.

get your child to sleep sisters meditating together


So How Exactly Can Meditation Ease Bedtime Struggles?

A lot of children’s meditation involves the use of a tailored visualisation technique which takes advantage of children’s inclination towards vivid imagination. Given children’s natural energetic tendency making it hard for them to sit still for a given period, the visualisation technique provides a ‘diversionary’ tactic that encourages them to use their imaginations to decompress and relax.  The child sees this as fun rather than focussing on the silent aspect of meditation.


Here is one effective visualisation meditation technique particularly suited to young children.

Floating Balloons Meditation for Kids

  1. Have your child get comfortable, ideally lying down in bed.
  2. Ask them to close their eyes, and place their hand on their belly.
  3. Now, have them take a deep breath, and focus on expanding their belly like a balloon.
  4. Tell them to fill their ‘belly balloon’ with air, then release the balloon through their mouth with a gentle whoosh.
  5. Now, have your child imagine their favourite movie character or superhero. Tell your child that you’re going to play a game with this character. The game will involve collecting enough balloons so that their favorite character will be able to float all the way to the moon
  6. In order to collect balloons for this game, your child will need to fill each belly balloon with a deep breath, and also, will need to add one thing to the belly balloon that is worrying them.
  7. Have you child fill up their belly balloon while thinking of something that’s bothering them. Then, explain that as they breathe out and release their balloon into the air, the problem that’s troubling them is now captured within the balloon.
  8. See how many belly balloons your child can fill. There must be at least a few in order to send their favorite character flying high!


You Can Also Employ The Use Of Guided Meditations, Something You Can Follow Alongside Your Children As You Prepare For Sleep.

I actually did this with my kids years ago, taking my inspiration from a yoga teacher I once had and they absolutely loved it! It worked time-wise as all three were in the same room. Sadly, now as a busy mum who has to get back on the blog after the kitchen clear-up and kids’ bedtime, I don’t make time for it now they are in three separate rooms. It’s something I really would like to get back to because


Guided meditation also has the additional benefit of creating a calm effect on the parent, instilling some peace into what can often be a hectic evening routine in the household.

This visualisation technique, along with many others you can find available online, are wonderful tools for encouraging relaxation before bed. Learn more about meditation for kids to incorporate some fantastic visualisation exercises and meditation techniques to your nightly bedtime routine.

Who knows? Perhaps you will benefit from these nightly meditation exercises too!

Collaborative Post



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Golub, Erica. “A Bedtime Meditation For Kids So Good You’ll Do It Too.” Mind Body Green.

Hardy, Rebecca. “Zen and the art of bedtime: How we turned to meditation to stop the children’s evening tantrums.” Independent.

“Slideshow: Top Reasons Your Child Can’t Sleep, Including You.” Web MD.

Stephens, Betsy. “Solution for Kids’ Sleep Problems.” Parents.







How to Secure Your Family’s Financial Future #MoneyMatters


They Say Money Can’t Buy Happiness…

It seems we can’t go a day without stumbling across some sort of mantra about how our happiness is down to our general outlook in life. I do agree with this yet surely it’s hard to have a truly happy life if you’re constantly plagued with money worries and unsure of your financial future? Whilst we are fortunate enough to live in a far less turbulent era than the one our ancestors endured a century ago, these are still rather daunting times. Rising global unrest, fear of terrorism never far from our minds (and real incidents on our very doorstep), worsening economic and political upheaval…sadly, it is fair to say that these are uncertain times. The effects on individual families are real.

For parents, one of the highest priorities is to take care of things at home and try and ensure that we build for the future as best we can.  Central to this is looking after household finances, living within your means, and saving for a rainy day. In a time where real wages are being squeezed, this is easier said than done, but with a bit of work and discipline, you can chart a solid course. Yet the last thing you want after putting in the hard yards is for your money to sit idle. After all, if you work hard to put money away, this money should then work hard for you.  Again, at a time of record-low interest rates, this is easier said than done. But the truth is that there are some good options out there. It just needs you to research them, rather than falling foul to simply lumping it all into the bank!



Now, Here is Where I Have a Confession to Make: I Used to Be Really on the Ball When It Came to Money Matters

As a career girl, I set up savings and thoroughly monitored my accounts. To my regret and shame, however, I’ve let things slide since becoming a stay-at-home mum (I know, shocker). Having said that, all our finances are ploughed into our children’s school fees and household expenses so there isn’t much for me to stay on top of with regards to savings! Now I run an income-earning blog, though, one of my financial goals is to kickstart our savings plans again. With this in mind, someone suggested I take another look at ISAs.


A Change of Momentum With Savings Rates

For the best part of a decade, savers have had to watch on with dismay as returns on savings and cash ISAs have frittered away. However, in recent times, the landscape has begun to shift a bit. The advent of best buy tables and competition from challenger banks has lifted the bar. You can earn 2.05 per cent from the likes of Paragon if you’re willing to put your money away for two years, while Shawbrook offers 1.9 per cent for a one-year term. As for instant-access accounts, the 1.02 per cent from Charter Savings Bank brings some welcome relief after many months of near-zero returns being the norm.


‘Help to Buy’ and ‘Lifetime’ ISAs

If you don’t already own a home, a Help to Buy ISA is a great way to get the ball rolling. With this scheme, Government contributes 25 per cent of all money saved (maximum bonus of £3,000), thus giving you great encouragement to get onto the housing ladder. But even if you aren’t in the market for a first-time home, these accounts still offer great rates of interest – usually above 2 per cent. Alternatively, Lifetime ISAs are a new way of saving for the future. It is similar to the Help to Buy ISA in the sense that Government offers a 25 per cent bonus on all the money you save, although the bonus for this is capped at £1,000 per year, so the incentive is sizeable. There are some restrictions regarding age, and when you can access your money, as this is geared more for retirement. However, it is definitely an option that should be considered.



A New Type of ISA

The record-low savings rates on offer has been a hotbed for alternatives, and the one to really emerge at the forefront is peer-to-peer lending, whereby those looking to grow their money can do so by lending directly to a consumer in need of a loan. Online platforms facilitate this transaction, and vet borrowers for creditworthiness, but essentially by eliminating the bank or building society in between, both parties benefit from a streamlined approach, and thus get a better rate of interest. Although capital and returns aren’t guaranteed, prime platforms have built a good track record, and the addition of a new category of ISAs has made returns even more lucrative – with interest in the region of 5 per cent generally established as industry standard.


A Hike May Not Be Too Far Away

This one depends very much on whether you have existing, variable-rate loans or not. But for those with savings, signs that the Bank of England may soon increase rates for the first time in over a decade is welcome news. Such a shift will invariably push up savings and investment rates across the board, and, given that inflation continues to rise, this will be a great relief. After all, if inflation goes up more than the rate of return you are getting on your savings, you are effectively getting poorer in real terms. Hopefully, the gap will begin to close in the not-too-distant future, and you really can start getting more for your money.  After all, life with kids is not cheap so we could do with the help!


This is a collaborative post.The owner and editor of is not in any way affiliated with any financial service providers. Readers of this article are advised to seek independent professional advice from a financial expert before investing in this or any other ISA.



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How to avoid these 8 homeowner disasters happening to you

8 homeowner disasters image of house and stressed man and woman

Who on Earth in Their Right Minds Would Buy a New Build?!

This is what I asked myself years ago, when entering into the oh-so-daunting overwhelming experience of house hunting for the first time in my life, after the ‘post-university London flat-share/Parisian appartment wonder years’ had come to an end and it was time to grow up [sniff]. Totally the opposite of the new builds I viewed – all of which were shiny and modern but ultimately no bigger than a shoe box – my first ever property was a one bedroom flat in a 1960’s purpose-built characterless block, complete with monstrous time warp mustard-coloured velvet wallpaper and lurid purple spiral carpeting which still makes me shudder thinking about it almost 20 years later.

Despite requiring a leap of faith and a whole heap of imagination to turn it into something you could actually live in without wanting to vomit, it was nevertheless the best decision at the time in terms of cost/size etc. To this day, I’m still rather proud of how I rolled up my sleeves for four long months and got on with the enormous task of gutting, renovating and decorating the place whilst also settling into a new job; I became a dab hand at using enormous power tools, became strangely attached to my Black and Decker drill, spent more money at Homebase, Ikea, Habitat etc during one year than I think I’ve spent on fashion or makeup in a whole lifetime and got the place looking pretty decent. All in all, the whole experience went smoothly.


Then ten years, a wedding, a new baby, two rentals and one country move later, it was time to buy again. 

This time we abandoned the old property idea and ‘wisely’ bought a new build…and the entire process from negotiation to purchase to finishing the property could not have been a bigger nightmare (or better example of homeowner disasters you really don’t want happening to you)! I have since learned that some of the stress was in fact avoidable had we known that there are in fact home warranty insurance policies available that can help guard against or retrospectively resolve the majority of the homeowner disasters that we experienced.

Although the nightmares are now behind us and construction insurance could not have prevented the following:

  • losing money on the UK sale (which was funding our Malta property purchase) as the estate agent neglected to disclose our purchaser was his brother and undervalued our flat .
  • being stitched up on the Malta side with something similar, with the agent selling us his brother’s property and arranging the transaction so that his brother’s tax exposure was thousands lower than ours.
  • our then two year old son ended up in hospital with an asthma attack, not that this was anyone’s fault but frankly I’m just recounting all the stress!

I do know that a self-build policy would have prevented the following eight homeowner disasters from happening:

  1. absence of tiling in our outside alcoves due to the builders claiming that it wasn’t part of the developer’s agreement, by which time we could do nothing as this was after completion
  2. lounge doors not being fitted with locks, resulting in us being burgled six days after moving in and just hours after a solid wood front door was installed (and if you’ve read this post you’ll be utterly amazed we’ve not been burgled again since)!
  3. discovering that two terraces – the biggest selling point as we were told master bedrooms could be constructed on them – were not only absent from the plans (how didn’t the mortgage lender’s surveyor spot this?) but had in fact been built illegally and were therefore never ours to use at all, never mind further develop!
  4. inadequate drainage being installed on one of the terraces, thereby forcing our neighbours to install an enormous pump to drain both ours and their own sewage
  5. water constantly leaking into the communal garages thanks to the faulty drainage pipes of the building which backs onto our own
  6. drainage pipes leading from our property being left to hang in mid air, instead of being connected to the main drainage pipes resulting in more flooding in the garages
  7. two interior walls that we had specially built not even being featured on the new plans that were filed after construction finished.
  8. damp problems due to incorrect installation of membrane sheets


In the worst case scenario, had these issues not been picked up beforehand, at least a latent defects policy such as the one offered by CRL would have helped us.

In short, ripped off by estate agents, developers, builders, workmen, land registry – and let’s just throw in Tom, Dick, Harry and their cousins for good measure – the whole affair was an absolute catalogue of nightmares, one that could have been avoided.

So if you’re ever building a property, make sure you avoid these homeowner disasters happening to you by considering construction insurance. I wish we had!

Collaborative post.


Have YOU Have any tales of Homeowner Disasters of Your Own? I’d Love to Know!

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Why Introducing Your Child to Marathon Running is a Good Idea

Children marathon running image

Prabs, it’s such a shame you didn’t start running when you were younger. Who knows what you might have achieved?

Deirdre Farrugia, 100m & 200m sprinter, Barcelona Olympics, 1992 and Personal Trainer

Yep, an actual former Olympic sprinter said those very words to me a few months after I started running. I couldn’t believe my ears (or my legs for that matter).  I was never sporty, you see. Still not. I’m not one of those people who needs to be always doing some form of physical activity. I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a couch potato (I can pilates, get my yoga on and run like the rest) but I have fallen off the exercise bandwagon more often than I’ve managed to stay on it. It’s a shame because I do love exercise when I do it.


And there you go, it’s the ‘when’ that’s the issue.

I was that kid who had to run several laps around the sports ground in the freezing cold for forgetting her sports kit. The kid who froze with panic when the ball was thrown to her.  The poor blighter who couldn’t swim for toffee because of a crippling fear of water (mind you, if the swimming instructor had actually placed toffee at the bottom of the pool, I might have overcome my fear). As a twenty something, I discovered the gym and got hooked on aerobics. Even later, the kids came along and with them childcare issues, hampering my gym-going ability. The creche was an abysmal failure as I was repeatedly called out of studio classes to fetch a young Cheeky K. It got depressing relying on a babysitter/Hubster just so that I could get out and exercise the post-kids body.


That’s How I Got into Running

At one point, I had a home helper who was happy to mind Cheeky K. So one day, on went the trainers and out went Prabs!  It was a miracle as I thought running was THE most tedious thing; I’d spent many a coffee morning bored and inwardly rolling my eyes as the other mums talked about races and PB’s. Even more surprising, after the first few times where my heart almost burst out of my chest and my lungs felt like they were on fire after just two minutes, I was running longer and longer. The biggest miracle of all? I loved it! However, much as it’s never too late, age does play a part. I may have run two half marathons and even won my category in a race but fact is if had I started running before my forties, I could have achieved much more.


Which brings me onto the topic of this post.


My son’s PE teacher says he regularly outruns his peers and gets amazing results in his beep tests at school. My kids aren’t super sporty but they’re also not terrified of sports like their mum was. Naturally, I want to encourage the running; it’s a shame to ‘waste’ the example they’ve seen being set by their mum and it’s also something we could do together. So I sought a bit of advice from Dan of True North Athletics who shared the following advice.

Disclaimer: Please note you should seek advice from a running coach/athletics club as well as your family doctor before commencing any form of marathon train for your child. It is also recommended you check the minimum age of eligibility for marathons in your country of residence. The following tips are for a child aged minimum 14 years old.

For many adults, outdoor running, clocking up the miles on the open road or amongst hills, provides an escape from everyday life’s stresses and mundane chores. It’s also a flexible way to exercise without being tied to a gym schedule, parking nightmares etc; just stick your running shoes on off you go. The increase in the number of people running marathons and participating in multi-sport challenges, Ironman events etc is no surprise; it may be demanding on the body but the mind is fully engulfed by the experience.

When it comes to children, introducing them early to longer endurance events such as marathon running can have a lot of advantages on their physical, cognitive and psychological development and have lasting benefits to their adult lives.

The Art of Playfulness and the Link With Sport

To begin with, playing is essential for children to develop their motor skills, coordination and mental awareness.  Sports are an excellent way for them to learn new skills, and place some essential groundwork for a life of physical activity. Moreover, children are exceptionally fast learners with little to stop them, so any sport they pick up early, they are likely to excel at later in life. They have a natural tendency to get engrossed in play and not hold back, traits that lend themselves well to running.

Parents, however, are often highly protective of their children and may not want to expose them to high risks or large physical loads. As with anyone, it takes some time to pick up new activities and adjust to new loads but do not underestimate your children.  If your children are already into sports and outdoor activities, iust provide opportunities to further encourage progress and foster their passions through family outings such as weekend walks, Saturday sports or summer swimming etc. If available, sports clubs can lay important technique groundwork also providing a team of friends and coaches.

If your child is inactive, avoid forcing your child into any activity. Ultimately it has to be their choice and by making them do things, you are likely to achieve the opposite! It is best to start them slow and lead by example – bring them out for trips that involve sport and outdoor activities. Instead of watching TV in the evenings, hit the track or a local park; go for a swim or a bike ride if the homework schedule allows it. Let them discover what they might enjoy by demonstrating your own passion. Parents’ lifestyle choices and outlook to life has a massive influence on child’s mindset and personality. Introduce them to local sport and outdoors community – maybe they will meet some like-minded peers.


Sports for Growth and Development

In addition to the motor skills, co-ordination etc mentioned earlier, participating in sports also helps children develop essential personal traits such as strength of character, courage, confidence and perseverance. In his book Run or Dieone of the world’s best and most well-known mountain athletes, Kilian Jornet, describes how since he was a young boy, his mum would bring his sister and him out to the mountains. He described in great detail what a massive role it played in his life as a mountain athlete and a person. Children are often seen as highly dependent and fragile creatures, but the truth is that they require space to grow – to reach their full potential as adults. Distance running requires well developed connective and muscle tissue; hence starting early may enable faster progress later in life.

Many events these days have an option of short-distance children races to allow the smallest of people join the racing spirit and measure themselves up against their peers*. It is also not uncommon for young teenagers to compete in adult races and perform rather well, eg Candace Hill, an American teenage runner who competed for a spot at the Rio Olympics. In addition, it’s not only about the performance; children are very likely to become even more passionate about sports as they have more freedom and less pressure than adults whose time is dominated by work and responsibilities.


So, How Do You Start Them Off With Marathon Running Training?

There are also a lot of beginner training tips online that could help you decide on how to approach the training.

  • Most importantly don’t push your child into running longer than they are comfortable with at the start! I suggest staring with a walk/run of 5-10km (if they are capable) and each training session work their way up to longer distances as they are getting more comfortable. Never increase distance by more than x% each consecutive run.  A marathon is 42km so it may take some time to get them up to that type of distance 🙂
  • Here is a 30 week training schedule I would use for someone training for their first marathon:
Week 1-5 Rest 2.5 km run 6 km run 2.5 km run Rest 6 km run 30 min walk
Week 6-10 Rest 5 km run 10 km run 5 km run Rest 15 km run 60 min walk
Week 11-20 Rest 10 km run 20 km run 10 km run Rest 20 km run 10 km run/walk
Week 21-25 Rest 15 km run 30 km run 15 km run Rest 30 km run 20 km run/walk
Week 26 Rest 20 km run 35 km run Rest 20 km run Rest 35 km run
Week 27 Rest 25 km run 40 km run Rest 20 km run rest 40 km run
Week 28 Rest 30 km run Rest 40 km run Rest 20 km run Rest
Week 29 Rest 30 km run Rest 40 km run Rest 20 km run Rest
Week 30 Rest 20 km run 10 km run 30 km run Rest Rest Marathon


In conclusion, due to their energy, fascination about adventure and low reservations, children are likely to benefit tons from getting involved in sports and outdoor activities early. The nature of these activities will help them develop their motor and mental skills and experienced adventures might lead to a life-long love for active lifestyles.

This is a collaborative post.

Absolutely Prabulous is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.” 


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woman looking shifty holding handbag smuggle evidence


Did You Know Half of us Are Still Doing the Handbag Smuggle?!

Ever done the Handbag Smuggle? It’s a nifty manouevre, but not a very pleasant one. You’re in the toilet and realise there is no bin for your tampon or pad. You don’t want to block your friend’s loo so your only solution is to wrap it up in tissue and sneak it out in your handbag. Research* shows that 52% of women have mastered this manoeuvre, but of course it’s not something you boast about, and that’s the problem.


Of all the taboos being tackled in the 21st century, who’d have thought that the taboo around periods would be so enduring?

Whilst we may bond over period pain and hot water bottles, women don’t discuss sanitary disposal. This silence is covering a great deal of angst as well as causing something of an environmental crisis.

The majority of women flush their tampons, blissfully unaware that they are blocking sewers, causing overflow into rivers, with their tampon washing up on the beach. It’s hard to blame them when discussing disposal remains taboo, and you’d need a magnifying glass to find the instruction on tampon packaging recommending that tampons should be binned.


Women are divided into flushers and binners, and each group is amazed that the other group exists. 

Such is the secrecy around disposal that sisters, besties and flatmates would have no idea what each other do behind the bathroom door. Flushers are horrified to discover they’ve been sending their tampons downstream. Meanwhile binners encounter regular cringe-worthy problems of their own.

women whispering about handbag smuggle


Whilst binners are doing ‘the right thing’, the experience has little else to recommend it. They are wrapping their used tampon in bits of toilet paper and praying for a bin. In homes, bin provision is patchy, and often come without a liner or lid. In public washrooms, the dreaded sanitary bin often looks like a murder scene.


Suddenly, the high incidence of the Handbag Smuggle starts to make sense.

Once you start talking to women about disposal, all the stories of disposal disasters come flooding out, stories to make your hair stand on end!  While we can salute the ingenuity of women caught out in this way and making use of an old receipt or crisp packet, it’s crazy that we’ve put up with it for so long. And as for the nappy sacks sometimes deployed for the purpose, you have to wonder who’s idea it was to make them see-through (a man’s perhaps?)!

These private struggles seem so out of place in our modern world where women operate with confidence in every other sphere. It’s led me to develop a solution which is long overdue: a fit-for-purpose disposal bag. I knew it had to be opaque, sealable and biodegradable. And it had to be easy to open when holding a used tampon in one hand.

Now my FabLittleBags are a reality and allowing women to manage their periods with a bit more dignity. Let’s hope that awkward bathroom manoeuvres and unnecessary taboos can be consigned to period history.

Guest post courtesy of Martha Silcott, inventor of FabLittleBag

FabLittleBag is available from Amazon, Waitrose, Ocado, Whole Food Market and from If you purchase this product via the Amazon link herein, yours truly receives a small commission…not quite enough for a coffee but maybe enough for the chocolate sprinkles ☺️ [Official disclosure below.]

Absolutely Prabulous is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.” 


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Emmy and the Whale Review


I don’t know how many times my mum would call to me as I sat on a stool in the corner of my parents’ shop or was in my room, reading a book cover to cover.  It was A LOT of times.  I’d be so immersed in the world within those pages, I just couldn’t hear anything or anyone around me.  Then something happened; not sure why…maybe study pressure and the fact I had to read as part of my French and English degree. I just stopped reading. I’m ashamed to say that apart from a brief ‘resurrection’ in my mid/late twenties and then my mid 40’s (sssh) when I gasp-oh-no-you-didn’t! got a kindle as a birthday gift, my reading days have suffered a terrible blight…a blight that I’m fully aware only I can fix. Sadly, unless I stop blogging, then I’m afraid all I have time to read now are blogs before falling into bed exhausted each night.

Emmy and the Whale book



This is the bit I’m sort of dreading revealing as it is a total slummy mummy confession. I’m afraid my deceased passion for reading greatly impacted bedtime story time in my house. With my first child, I bought book after book. I even spent a small fortune on stunning French books and I read to her all the time.  Somehow, it fell by the wayside with my younger two. Thankfully, all three of my kids are now old enough to read ‘chapter’ books and I’m delighted to say there has been a turning point in the last six months. This Christmas, all three kids received books as gifts and can be regularly found tucked up in bed absolutely engrossed and it is not uncommon to come across this:

Prabs' kids on sofa

Yes, alright. What we were thinking buying brown sofas when we have brown kids?  Don’t worry, I’m buying cream ones next time just so I can see the kids.  Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that every time I see a sight like this, my heart just sings!



…And all three of my kids read it!  Created by the rather clever Julian Burrett and Chris Cor, Emmy and the Whale is a book that you just WANT to have on your book shelf. As I explain in the vlog below, it took me back to my childhood (although my clumsy turn of phrase in my vlog suggests we had CGI when I was growing up!) and reminded me of just how magical books were to me when I was young.  The story is fairly short, ideal for children with a limited attention span or busy parents that don’t have time for a more ‘demanding’ read. As for the rest of the details and to find out how Emmy and the Whale went down with my kids:



Watch my Vlog!



Visit the official Emmy and the Whale website


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How to stop Linkis from adding their link to your tweets!

This has been written in response to increasing confusion amongst bloggers about what Linkis actually is and does.  The purpose of this article is to highlight that a vast number of Linkis ‘users’ are in fact using Linkis without realising they are doing so or understanding what they have signed up to. You will find instructions on how to delete linkis towards the end of the post if you choose to.


black twitter bird with title on front


A site that is your baby, your brain child, your own corner of the internet? If the answer is yes, then let me ask you this.


A third party app that in fact then obliges people to activate an account BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED TO READ YOUR POST and then only lets them read your post within that app’s own screen WITHOUT ANY MENTION OF YOUR OWN SITE IN THE BROWSER WINDOW:

What am I talking about?



    • Do your tweets (for your content) show YOUR url or a Linkis url?

    • Do your tweets (sharing other people’s posts) show THEIR url or the url?

If the answer to either or both of these is yes, then you may want to do something about it! Why do I say this? Blogger Life of Tont tweeted me to ask:

Do you know that have taken over your Twitter account?

I didn’t know what he meant. Upon closer inspection, I noticed this:



screenshot of tweet sharing blog tips

I was horrified. It turned out I had unintentionally activated a account.



Here is a recent example. Look at this tweet that my blogger friend Jane of Maflingo kindly sent out to share my post 25 Things that Annoy the Hell Out of Bloggers (in which this linkis issue is number 20!)

screenshot of Maflingo tweet of Abprab post


See the problem? Instead of being shown my url you are being shown

Upon realising that this was in fact a linkis customised tweet, Jane was dismayed as, like so many others, she had not even realised what was happening to her tweets. She has since revoked Linkis access to her tweets…see below on how to remove Linkis prefixes from your tweets. 



If you were to click on the link in that tweet (on Twitter I mean, not here) you would be  greeted with this:

That’s right. Same problem as on the tweet itself.

  • Instead of being shown my url you are shown
  • Can you see how my site is hidden underneath? You have to click on that authorise button to get to my site. (It’s even more galling when you’re trying to click on your OWN content and have to authorise an app to view your own site.)
  • However, upon doing that, you would be viewing my site from within the linkis frame to which they then add a further bar showing the details of the linkis user (who tweeted the post). Hang on. Where does my site feature in all this?


WHY IS IT PROBLEMATIC WHEN TWEETS FEATURE THE LINKIS URL? SURELY IT’S JUST A URL SHORTENING SERVICE LIKE BIT.LY, OW.LY ETC? describe themselves as a link customization service. Unlike URL shorteners, Linkis allows its users (who in most cases don’t even realise they are Linkis users!) to add their own information, image, bio, social accounts etc to their tweet. Linkis also adds a further top bar above the content (ie your post) that its users share. This is marketed as a benefit.  Perhaps there are bloggers out there who see it as a benefit to share someone else’s content (but change their link while doing so) whilst also adding their own ‘promotional extras’.  I must clarify that this does not apply to Jane’s tweet obviously.

But think of it this way.



You have no control over this!  All your hard work can go down the drain just like that. Whilst doing my research for this post, it wasn’t clear if linkis cover themselves in their T&C’s about the user being responsible for using the linkis service.



If like me, you have copyright notices on your blog, then those people using linkis to share your content are committing copyright infringement. Yet they don’t realise as they’re not doing it deliberately or maliciously.



  • John Doe see’s Jane’s tweet about my Annoying Things About Blogging post. He thinks “Wow this looks worth reading” (he’s a smart fella…it is quite good, if I say so myself 🙂 ).
  • He reads it, staying within that linkis screen and doesn’t register he’s on because that bar on the screen shows Jane’s avatar and social media buttons, not mine.
  • Worse, he’s so put off by the authorise button, he clicks away without reading it at all. Reader and potential follower lost.



Firstly, look at this survey Tony carried out on Twitter.

Incidentally,  according to Tony, the ‘No I love them’ 1% response came from….!

Now consider this:

  • John Doe see’s Jane’s tweet about my Annoying Things About Blogging post. He thinks “Wow this looks worth a read”.
  • He clicks on the tweet, then hits that authorise button.
  • BOOM he’s now a linkis user meaning that EVERYTHING he tweets from now on will be replaced with
  • He loves the post so much (thank you John), he retweets it
  • John’s friend Joe Bloggs sees his RT. Joe thinks “Wow, this looks good” and clicks and reads
  • BOOM he’s now a linkis user… See what’s happening here?
  • History repeats itself and like a contagion, the linkis usage spreads uncontrollably and apparently with very few people realising they’re infected and that they’re infecting others.

The final straw for me is when I looked at my daily stats and noticed that one of my ‘referrers’ was linkis. Hang on. Someone has shared my content (thank you to them) but linkis assumed ownership of the post url and is then referring my traffic back to me?! Er no thank you!

I set about solving the problem and restoring ‘ownership’ of my tweets.



The only way to extinguish this Twitter wildfire problem is for bloggers to be aware of this negative side of Linkis and SPREAD THE WORD. Hopefully, if enough people catch on – PlLEASE SHARE THIS IF YOU FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THIS ISSUE – that will spread as effectively as the linkis issue. (In the spirit of transparency, there is a caveat at the end of this post explaining Linkis’s side of it.) However, f you are not convinced of the ‘positive’ side that Linkis promotes in the articles mentioned in the caveat, then do the following:



  1. Go to your Twitter settings

  2. scroll down to apps and locate linkis amongst authorised apps

  3. click on revoke access. 

You can’t see linkis in this particular screenshot because I removed mine but if you’ve authorised Linkis, they should show up in this tab. If not, see option 2.



  1. Go to (Don’t worry, you won’t be accidentally authorising them to do anything on your behalf by signing in!) You sign in via Twitter.

  2. Turn off ‘auto-branding’. 

  3. That’s it! Your linkis is deactivated and you are linkis-free!


CAVEAT claims to offer a service that enhances your branding and promotes your Twitter account as well as other apparent ‘benefits’ such as stats info. Readers can decide for themselves if they think Linkis offers a beneficial service by reading these links:

I did ask Linkis to clarify what benefit they think they bring (although in hindsight, I should perhaps have asked how it is in fact legal given the aforementioned copyright infringement).

screenshot of question to linkis re clarification of their service

At the time of writing this article, I’ve not yet received a response.

If you’d like to pin this post please do!

black twitter bird with title text


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Thanks Muchly!

Litecup Review and Giveaway

AbPrab's youngest child with beaker


I dread to think how many beakers, drink bottles and cups I’ve bought in 12 years of parenting for my kids to get water down them.

Sippy beakers, anyway up cups, non-spill this or that. Some too low capacity that didn’t last one playground trip before needing refilling, some that cracked easily, some stainless steel options (in an effort to avoid harmful plastics) that were ridiculously heavy once filled, yada yada.

And then there’s the number of things we’ve tried to provide a bit of low lighting for the kids while they sleep.   Ugh. How many?! Loads. Just loads. Simple small pluggy inny ones from a general hardware store, dedicated ones for kids with Disney theme of choice, mobiles with music when they were younger and I can’t remember what else.  I don’t know why we’ve been so unlucky with them up til now.


Anyway, severely challenged on the ‘drinking receptacle that will last more than one ruddy year’ and ‘night light that actually works’ front, I was more than a little intrigued and excited when Litecup contacted me.

litecup logo
I’ll be honest, when the company found me on Twitter, I almost zoomed past the Litecup followed you’ notification. This was partly because keeping abreast of my Twitter followers is not one of my strong points but mainly because most of the brands that approach me generally market products geared towards children much younger than mine.  Luckily I spotted Litecup and noticed their image which despite featuring a child younger than any of mine still peaked my interest.  End result: a gorgeous lime green cup (they have a whole array of colours to choose from by the way) sent to me a few days later, for my youngest to try out.  I had fingers and every crossable appendage crossed that I had finally found the answer to my tiresome search for a beaker that didn’t drive me bonkers.


Cheeky K from the side


So…did the Litecup come up to scratch in my opinion?

Well I decided that if a picture paints a thousand words, then a video is even better.  So I shot a wee vlogette about how we’re getting on with the Litecup.  Yes those are my youngest’s hands clutching her cup just before going to bed.  Watch my litecup vlog review to find out what she/I thought.  (Naturellement, if you end up checking out the rest of my YouTube channel, I shan’t complain).  

NB:in this vlog I mention the Litecup being geared towards toddlers.   Since shooting this, I’ve noticed from images sent to me for possible use in this post that it is in fact also meant for older children.
I also say it is not meant for outdoor use. Whilst I personally choose to keep the litecup for home use only, for reasons of my own, again I’ve noticed the company’s marketing materials showing it being used out and about.


I’ve also got one Litecup up for grabs (for my UK readers).

One lucky reader has the opportunity to WIN A LITECUP by following the simple prompts below.  You can enter as many times as you like.  Seriously, a video of me and a giveaway? It’s like Christmas already…you lucky lucky lot 🙂

Litecup Giveaway




6 Easy Halloween Ideas To Make Your Home Look Spooktacular

title image pumpkins outdoor window sill

As a kid the most we used to do for Halloween was spend the day ruining black bin bags

and adorning them (adorning is far too posh a word for our end result but hey ho) with those red, silver and gold foil tops from glass milk bottles, to create witches’ outfits. A few badly cut out foil stars, carved up cereal boxes, painted paper plates and copious amounts of sellotape later, we had ourselves some witches’ hats.  That was it for Halloween ideas and creativity. My siblings and I then erm…just sat about in the house as far as I can recall. Excited, dressed up, wreaking of bin bag plastic…and that was that. We didn’t go anywhere and trick or treating was out of the question. Halloween also happens to be my mother’s birthday so I guess that played a part.


Decades later, I’m ashamed to say that as a mother I’m a bit of a humbug when it comes to Halloween.

I struggle to get into it, not least because mid November, I have two kids’ birthdays to celebrate three days apart and I don’t get a chance to recover before it’s time to throw myself into Christmas preparation; it’s like waiting for a bus, nothing or ages then everything happens at once. It was brilliant when the kids were little because Malta, our adopted home, didn’t celebrate this occasion at all so the kids had no idea they were missing anything. However, now they’re older, they get ridiculously excited about the whole affair from the start of October, sticking decorations up everywhere – oh the joy of starting the day being greeted by the sight of three skeletons hanging from the kids’ doors as I come out of my bedroom bleary-eyed – and planning their costumes. Add to this the fact they attend a school that does three dress up days and a big Halloween event…and frankly I don’t have much choice but to embrace it.

So…for the last few years, embrace it I have. Or at least tried:

  • I’ve bought makeup that dries up, breaks and stains my rugs but doesn’t actually make my kids’ faces Halloweentastic.
  • I’ve bought skeleton ‘doorbells’ to place on the front door which don’t actually work on Halloween night but manage to go off the remaining 364 flipping days of the year, scaring the crap out of us at the most inconvenient moments.
  • I’ve bought dressup oufits that haven’t lasted the distance, partly because they just fall apart but mainly because I think that cool ghost outfit/vampire cape/witch tights will magically still fit five years on so I stretch them to breaking point in attempt to make them do just that.
  • I’ve splurged on indoor decorations that couldn’t be properly suspended, stuck on, etc and fell down five minutes later.
  • I’ve found bat candles that just melted into one big messy gloop wrecking candle holders and surfaces.
  • I’ve come across charming baking utensils to make Halloween-shaped treats…chucked them in a cupboard…and never used them. (Actually this year maybe I’ll just take them out and hang them up as décor…after all they’ll probably be covered in cobwebs. Job done.)

And don’t talk to me about pumpkins.  More on that in a minute.

However this Halloween, with the aid of the following ideas, I’m determined to conquer my humbug attitude

and get a bit creative (within reason!) by decorating the house, using things we have already. So if like me, you’re more afraid of the hassle and work involved in Halloween than any ghoulish outfit or scary movie, here are


6 Simple Halloween Ideas To Make Your Home Look Spooktacular

Whether you simply want to give a Halloween feel to your house for you and your family or you’re hostng an actual party,

1) Window Dressings

Window décor is one of the most noticeable elements in any home. This Halloween, why not make a statement with ghostly draperies. All you need is tattered and torn cheesecloth. Cut the fabric and don’t worry about achieving perfect lines; the idea is that it should ragged. Soak the cloth overnight in a bucket of water with bags of black tea so that it achieves an aged effect, dry then hang.  

2) Eerie Entrance 

  • Hang a spooky wreath at the door to set the scene for what’s about to unfold indoors.   This is easily achievable by simply wrapping black crepe paper or black ribbon around a regular wreath.  You can also stick glow-in-the dark eyeballs (found at most toy stores during the Halloween period) onto a circular base.  Finish off with bats, spiders, spider web, and tiny pumpkins
  • Place a doll in a rocking chair/stroller or crib with a scary mask on its face (unless you have kids who have trouble sleeping through the night in which case perhaps not as this is likely to scare the crap out of them!)
  • If you have access to broken branches or logs, place bats or spiders or a witch’s hat and broom on one or two of these in the entrance. I’ll be making use of a large branch that we found one recent Saturday morning whilst clambering over the rocks on one of our favourite beaches and the kids are forever coming home with sticks from our Sunday hikes. At last! A use for the damned things!

3) Six feet under

Slightly on the more ambitious scale but a great idea if you’re hosting an actual Halloween party is the graveyard look. A common setting in horror films, graveyards can add to the overall Halloween ambience. If you have a garden or porch where these can be easily arranged (or if the weather doesn’t allow for this and you want to do this indors) why not try making tombstones out of foam boards. Foam boards are a lightweight flexible material and can be painted grey or black before being completed with sinister markings and messages with the use of a sharpie. Turn off the lights, play some intimidating background music and voilà, your very own graveyard scene.

4) Bats

One of the most commonly seen Halloween decorations, bats can be a central feature in your Halloween theme.

Simply use black craft foam or sturdy paper to cut out bat shapes (that can vary in look from eerie to cute, depending on the mood you want to create). Eyes can either be simply drawn on with a white sharpie or – for a more dramatic effect – made out of toy size white ping pong balls and black marker pen which are then attached. Homemade bats can be suspended from indoor ceilings or hung up on a porch; if you tend to have a dry October, hanging them on tree branches may be an option. You can also cut up cheese cloth to look like cobwebs to add to the creepiness factor, either sticking them on walls or on the bats themselves.

5) Pumpkin Mania

Inextricably linked to this time of year is the good old pumpkin, one of the most widely used items and most iconic aspects of Halloween. Pumpkins can be used in almost every corner of the home making them versatile Halloween decoration items. Every year I tell myself I’ll carve out a pumpkin or two but I never get round to it. I may have to try some of these this year (!):

  • place a candle inside to place at the house entrance to set the scene for kids who come knocking for trick or treating
  • paint a few pumpkins with pastel colors
  • wrap a pumpkin in lace (for the aforementioned cobweb look)
  • cut out small paper bats and stick them on
  • ham things up by sticking on a moustache (well the day after Halloween is the start of Movember after all) and a Chaplin-hat
  • trace fallen leaves onto yellow or orange tissue paper and stick them onto a white-painted pumpkin
  • carve out a Joker grin pumpkin and place tealights inside
  • put a witch’s hat on top

6) Ghastly Ghosts

As with pumpkins, you can experiment as there’s room for flexibility with the effect you want to create. You can go from cute and friendly Casper to a scare the crap out of everyone ghost. You can hang them, make them stand, or make them float.

The main material you need for homemade ghosts is tattered cheesecloth or black cloth. For ‘free-flying’ ghosts gathering at indoor ceilings, place a balloon underneath the cloth to make the fabric float from the head (balloon).


The bottom lines is that you don’t need to break the bank to turn your home into a haunted house

or your garden into a graveyard for Halloween. Match affordable materials with priceless creativity. You just need to plan what sort of Halloween you want this year and not be afraid to experiment.

This article features design tips provided by Anna Rodriguez of Homey Guide Blog



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