Tackling the children’s toys

I’d been putting it off for ages but I have finally got round to tidying up the children’s toys.  This is such a terrible job – partly because it can’t be done when either of the children are around as they either become hysterical or start playing with all the broken baby toys that they haven’t looked at for years.

The cupboard at the start
The cupboard at the start

As well as the cupboards, there were some random bags of different bits of toys and one of those mesh tube baskets from Ikea that everyone has.  I ended up pulling everything out and sorting through it all.

One pile was baby toys to be donated, one was soft toys to be kept, one was toys to be returned to their original collection and one was broken toys to be binned
One pile was baby toys to be donated, one was soft toys to be kept, one was toys to be returned to their original collection and one was broken toys to be binned

I’m glad I got this done; I now have separate sections for everything.  I haven’t shown everything in the photos but we also have an old baby change table that has separate boxes for dinosaurs, Duplo, dressing up clothes and toy cars.

There are some doll pram / cradle / high chair toys that are pushed up by the side of the wall (these contain some dolls) and a mesh tube filled with soft toys (I should get rid of some of these but haven’t the will at present).

The cupboard (not all is shown) has musical instruments at the bottom, “active” stuff above it (stuff like the skateboard and footballs), then we have a load of Lego and play medical kit, then we have some puzzles, jewellery, letters and sticklebricks and puzzles and artwork on the top shelf.  Above that is a smaller shelf that contains DVDs.

There's now a system
There’s now a system

Children’s parties

Last weekend, we hosted a joint birthday party for my children.  I LOVE hosting parties – once they’re properly underway and / or over.  The trick is to start really early.

So, for a late September party:

  1. Book the hall at least three months beforehand.  Yes, it is ridiculous but they only had one afternoon left in the whole of September when I booked last June – perhaps I should have sorted this out in April;
  2. Book the entertainer almost immediately after you book the hall.  If you have a lot of children, you just plain can’t entertain the kids and make sure that the adults are having fun.  You need an entertainer (I had a guy called Jamie from Froggle … who was super.  I tipped him about £25);
  3. Sort out party invitations.  These should give at least a month’s notice of the party and include your child’s name, date and time of the party, address, directions, whether siblings are welcome, your contact number and, ideally, a date by when you want people to have RSVP’d;
  4. Manage the RSVPs.  It is no use whatsoever if you can’t immediately whip out your spreadsheet / list and say how many children you are expecting.  Update this whenever someone texts you to RSVP, otherwise you end up in a blind panic because you’ve lost track of who is and isn’t coming;
  5. Sort out or order party bags.  I knew I had at least 40 kids coming so I ordered 50 bags.  It meant I had some left over but removed the anxiety over whether siblings should get bags.  I might wander into the street and give the remaining bags to random children.  Unless their parents get, you know, funny about it;
  6. Order the cake.  Unless you are a brilliant baker, order the cake at least a week in advance.  Although I LOVE to bake, I know that I can’t make a cake for 40+ kids and their parents;
  7. Sort out the catering.  You need prosecco / champagne / cava, beer, soft drinks for the adults plus some sort of adult crisps.  It is definitely unreasonable to expect adults to attend a children’s party where booze is not served.  The food you do for the kids will depend on whether you are having the party during a mealtime.  However, even if you are not, you will need to provide some form of food and drink for the kids.  Squash, Fruit, hula hoops, chocolate biscuits etc.  You will need this stuff;
  8. Once the party is underway, HAVE FUN.  Make sure that you offer everyone a drink and keep their glasses topped up while the entertainer keeps the children amused;
  9. Make sure that you bring candles AND A LIGHTER for when you want everyone to sing happy birthday.  No one smokes these days so one child’s granny ended up having to pop into a restaurant to borrow their heavy duty lighter (she was a kind woman);
  10. When there are about twenty minutes to go before the end, stand near the door, ready to hand out party bags and balloons to the children as they go (a few will leave a bit early);
  11. Enlist a couple of kind friends to help you carry the remaining stuff back to your car / the house;
  12. Do your thank you cards really early.  I know that you’re shattered and just want to hide away somewhere for a bit – but do them really soon after the party otherwise this job just hangs over you.

One thing I haven’t put down is to have a good clear out of the toys before the party so that you have somewhere to put all the lovely presents that people bring.  The reason I haven’t put that in the list is because I still haven’t done it.  But I need to do it.

All these lovely presents need a home
All these lovely presents need to go in our toy cupboards

Mango jeans

I’ve just bought these jeggings from Mango.  I know that I have just donated half my clothes to my charity shop but in fact this revealed that I was really short on jeans.

Dark wash massha jeggings
Dark wash massha jeggings

I like these – I know that skinny jeans are meant to be over, over, over but they can be worn under a summer dress for autumn and have an elasticated waist (which is handy, as I have a fat stomach but reasonably normal legs).  The black version that I have have been worn so often, they’re nearly falling apart.  PLUS, they’re not expensive.

I told my Mum that I’d bought some jeans from Mango and she said “but isn’t that for thin people?!?”  Well, yes.  These came from their plus size range – but as the plus size started at UK size 12, I’m not going to feel too shitty about that.


I don’t think I ever played conkers as a child.  Or perhaps I did but never saw the point of it at the time.

Conkers are extremely satisfying
Conkers are extremely satisfying things – if not terribly useful

Anyway, it is conker season, which is part of Autumn and therefore awesome.  Did I mention how much I love Autumn?  I must pop out and pick up some things for my son to take in to school for Harvest Festival.  And take some more photos of Autumnal things.

Day of little achievement

Yesterday, two of my goals were to clear out a cupboard in my daughter’s room and find my rainbow wool gloves.  I achieved neither; the cupboard because I just couldn’t be arsed with it and the gloves because I just couldn’t find them.  I’m really hoping they weren’t in the pocket of that pink Landsend mac I lost.  Perhaps they are in the IoW – I will check.  If not, maybe I could ask my Mum to knit me some more?

I didn't clear this cupboard out yesterday
I didn’t clear this cupboard out yesterday

I did find a bag that I no longer use and give that a good clear out.  I found a hat that will still fit my daughter (Brora so quite smart) and a pound coin.  The rest was old papers and some mouldy raisins.

I cleared this bag out
I cleared this bag out

The bag was quite gross (bags usually are) so I washed it out with washing up liquid and have propped it upside down on a chair outside.

I chucked this out
I chucked this out

Yesterday was the Autumn Equinox – basically the time of year when day and night are more or less equal.  From now on, the nights get longer and the days get shorter.