Posted in Winning at Parenting

Harry Potter Potion Class!

When my dance school closes for the summer holidays or any other holidays for that matter… what am I to do with my time?! As much as I love the dance and it is nice to have a break the inner child in me just can’t resist putting on school holiday fun as well. So every time school breaks up I run Legends fun days or summer school and I love it!

Constantly racking my brains for new ways to entertain the children (and myself! ha ha!) I first thought of a Harry Potter potion class whilst lying in bed. I mean as a child myself there was something very satisfying about perfuming making… please tell me you can relate?! This was an activity which consisted of getting water, lots of petals off plants in the garden and stirring them in a bowl, swishing them into the sides and then putting them into jam jars to store. This would create hours of fun trying to create different smells.

So when potion making sprang to mind and was a similar concept I knew this would go down a storm at summer school. A quick google told me actually I wasn’t a genius and indeed other people had done similar before which basically made my job easier. I still thought it worth sharing my tips and experience of the doing it with a big group!

Firstly I realised I needed to collect bottles and jars of different shapes and sizes. Now my intention was to do this myself and ask other people but I kinda forgot and a trip to ikea came to my rescue. In there I managed to get all kinds of potion bottles much to my delight and I only spent around fifteen pounds.

I was ready to create labels when I checked on eBay and saw actually I could just buy those ready done too for a couple of pounds. I also came across a few links to print them yourself but as my printer is not great this was the best option for me. Once they arrived I thought carefully about which bottles to stick them on.

The labels gave little explanations under them so I was careful to put some on jars and others on bottles.

How did I decide what to put in each?! Well I just winged it. But the most important ingredients needed is washing up liquid (I used red as unicorn blood), white vinegar (which I added glitter too) and bicarbonate of soda. These three things react and foam when added together.

I added cut up feathers to one jar, lots of little leaves in one and glitter in another. I put water in all the other jars and added food colouring to change it to different colours.

I gathered a group of five children and started potion class by showing them my potion (that was with the three reactive ingredients I mention above) I did this in a jar so I used less ingredients and it would rise fast, I stood the jar in a bowl to save mess. The children were delighted when it bubbles over.

Then they sat at the table with a mini bowl each (sat in a larger one – again to catch the mess) and were left to mix there own potions. Some had obviously listened as they went straight for the same concoction as me. Some of the younger ones (I have children 3-11 years) relished in pouring in lots of glitter. I had given them all a wooden spoon each to mix their potion as well.

Now this activity was loved by all… a lot hadn’t seen Harry Potter but potion making was exciting none the less. Surprisingly this appealed as much to the older kids as it did to the younger ones. The trickiest part was after each group the bottles and jars needed refilling, table wiping etc and bowls washing and resetting up for the next lot. This was difficult to do quick enough with several children bursting with excitement for their turn!! We had other activities going on along side but none quite as exciting as this! We had to do this for five groups in total. That was a lot of cleaning up! But it was totally worth it… the children loved every second. I would do it again but I did think this would be lovely maybe as part of a smaller party.

Have you ever tried a potion making class? How did it go? I would love to hear!

Rachael 🙂 x

Posted in Holiday Happiness

Why Disney is always a good idea! 

1. Because there is no where else in the world quite so Magical

Disney has an undeniable magic about it. If you’ve never been it’s hard to explain. As soon as you enter the magic kingdom you feel it… this is really the happiest place on earth. Your worries will literally lift off your shoulders. Stroll down Mainsteet USA past the barbers, boutiques, bakery amongst the old cars tooting and horse-drawn carriages. Can you smell the freshly baked cookies? It’s not just coming from the bakery. Imagineers figured out how to pump a potpourri of chocolate chip cookies into the air which put an all-out assault on your sense of smell. Cast yours eyes to the end of the street and there is the iconic Disney castle. It doesn’t matter how many times I see it… every time is just like the first time – simply magical.

2. You can Embrace your Inner Child

I have been to Disney both with my son and without (he was away with dad, I’m not a cruel mother ha ha!) and whilst it can be argued there’s something even more special and magical about seeing your child enjoy it, it’s still fun as an adult too! After all as Walt said ‘adults are only grown up kids anyway’ Whether you’ve got kids with you or not you can still do all the things kids do! Queue for autographs, hug Mickey, wear Disney merchandise, collect pins, ride Dumbo the flying elephant. Nobody cares… it’s not weird, it’s Disney…

3. The Parades are Amazing

Lining up along Main Street USA or by the castle waiting for the parade is all part of the experience. There is a buzz in the air as cast members organise the area for the impending celebration. I like to arrive early and soak up the atmosphere with some popcorn or a hot dog. The parade itself is like a carnival of colour, singing, dancing, stunning Disney themed floats & of course all your favourite characters . I doubt you will be able to leave the park without humming the infectious parade song.

4. Rides aplenty

With four separate lands there are so many rides… it’s hard to pick what to do first! Their really is something for everyone. If you have younger children they may enjoy Fantasyland the most. Peter Pans flight & the teacups being popular choices. A great family choice is Pirates of the Caribbean. For the adults space mountain is not to be missed! But I’m not gonna lie… even without my son in tow I check them all out.

5. Yummy food galore

Everywhere you turn in Disney you can buy something to eat! Ice cream, popcorn, hot dogs, pretzels, Disney’s famous dole whips. Obviously a lot of food is mickey shaped and just how cool is that?! Not into food on the go? Disney does provide some table service pricey options. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle book a table and dine in style. Personally I’ve only checked out Walt’s as I’m more of a ‘don’t want to miss anything kinda gal’ and don’t have time to stop long to eat ha ha! That said I found Walt’s really good and loved the theming with photos of him everywhere. If you want to dine properly lots of options are available so be sure to book well in advance so you don’t miss out. I always leave Disney with my taste buds satisfied but also probably a few pounds heavier ha ha! But ohhh it’s so worth it.

6. You can dine with the Characters

Want to hang out with your favourite characters but avoid the queuing? Book some character dining. I have always been a fan of Mickey and friends but you can also dine with the princesses. The all you can eat buffets provide plenty of choice and whilst you tuck in the characters come round to each table and you can get an autograph, hug and that ever so special photo. Not got kids with you? No problem! I guarantee you wont be the only adults in there just as excited as the kids!

7. Fireworks & shows

Disney is full of shows… on my recent trip to the Paris one I watched the 25th anniversary celebration which was fabulous. But I’ve watched many over the years… Finding Nemo, Fantasmic, Wishes… the list goes on and they are all amazing. For me fireworks are always the pinnacle of my trip. Nobody does fireworks quite like Disney. Throw in the iconic castle back drop and Disney music to set the fireworks too and it really is something special. In recent years they have also added effects where they project images onto the castle and water fountains either side. I don’t want to even try to explain further… just be sure to go so see it… it’s will send tingles down your spine.

8. You can shop till you drop all things Disney

In Disney you can shop till your heart’s content! Disney have merchandise nailed. Often you come off a ride and straight into a store… if your with kids you would be wise to give them a spending limit. Buying Mickey ears or a hat of some description should not be missed! It makes you feel involved and makes for great photos. For little girls being made into a princess is somewhat pricey but they look simply adorable walking round the park with beaming smiles. There are plenty of clothing options too. I love a good Disney t-shirt, sweatshirt or pyjamas. Plush toys, home ware, stationary, key rings, toys, swords, wands, you get the picture… but why would you not want to buy a piece of the magic to remember your trip!

Bonus – You can shop for Christmas decorations all year! 

If your into Disney it’s highly likely your into Christmas and guess what? Disney has a Christmas shop and it’s open all year! With twinkley Christmas lights and tree decorations you should stop by to pick up a Disney themed decoration to remember you trip. Or if your like me and you’ve been several times perhaps you can aim for a fully Disney tree.

9. It Brings Families Together

Disney is a great place to bond with your family. Disney in my eyes is the ultimate family holiday. You will not be bored, there really is something to entertain everyone, even stroppy teenagers. It is non stop and exhausting though if you want to do everything… many come away feeling they need a holiday to recover! But is it worth it? absolutely… it really is the holiday of a lifetime.

10. On a final note if your child does drive you mad some days you can buy beer! 😉 hahaha!

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I am an avid Disney fan… 10 trips over the years to both Paris & Florida and a Disney cruise. Hoping to do California in a few years. This post is based on the main Disney park the Magic Kingdom but there is so much more still. I wrote this post whilst in Paris but casting my mind back to Florida too. Do you think I have missed anything out? What are your favourite things about Disney? X