Thursday, 15 November 2018

Trying out diamond painting

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit the US on holiday, and as well as enjoying the tourist attractions we also made the time to visit some craft stores. I love craft stores in the US, they are so much bigger than the ones that we have here and have all sorts of different things that I've never seen before. The prices are also very reasonable, and there are plenty of reductions as well as coupons that make the prices even better.

We visited over Halloween and so there was lots of seasonal stock reduced. I bought a few craft kits for the children and also lots of bits which I'm planning to use as little gifts for our planned Halloween Disney cruise next year. The only trouble was making sure not to go overboard and stay within our baggage allowance!

Something that caught my eye in the clearance section at Michaels was a Halloween themed diamond painting. I've heard of diamond painting before, in fact I've been offered kits to review here which I've turned down as I've never been very taken with any of the designs. But it was still a craft that I really wanted to try, and when I saw this Halloween sugar skull in the sale I couldn't resist.

Diamond painting sugar skull for Halloween

Despite the name, diamond painting doesn't involve any diamonds. You start with a canvas which has the design printed on in colour, and a selection of tiny plastic 'diamonds'. The canvas is very sticky, and you uncover a small area at a time to work on. Using a special tool, you dip it into a pot of wax, then pick up the diamond and place it in the correct position. When it's finished you place the piece underneath something heavy to make sure that all the plastic pieces are stuck firmly, then you can frame it, preferably without the glass so that the 'diamonds' can catch the light.

Diamond painting in progress

I very much enjoyed working on this kit, it's a lot like cross stitch or mini Hama beads, but way quicker and very satisfying to put together. The finished picture really catches the light and sparkles. I'm going to pop it in a frame and keep it with the Halloween decorations to put out on display next year!

Diamond painting kits seem to be mainly mass produced in China and can be bought online very cheaply from places like Amazon and eBay. The designs tend to be brightly coloured with a hint of fantasy - unicorns and fairies are popular - and not really my sort of thing. I've not seen any other designs that really appeal to me, but I had such fun doing it that I'd love to pick up another kit that is more my style!

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Los Angeles Natural History Museum review

On our recent family holiday to Los Angeles, we spent a great morning at the Natural History Museum. We began our visit with a showing at the 3D Theater - Oceans 3D: Our Blue Planet. Narrated by Kate Winslet, this 3D oceanic adventure explores stories of under the sea creatures and it was truly fascinating and beautiful. 

Oceans 3D Our Blue Planet

Then we explored the rest of the museum. We began with the mammal halls - African Mammals and North American Mammals. Each massive hall contains dozens of dioramas that recreate the natural environments of these creatures over a range of habitats. You can study the animals in detail close up, and I wasn't surprised to find out that these habitat dioramas are amongst the finest in the world - I've certainly not seen anything as magnificent in other museums that we have visited.

Like many children, both of mine are fascinated by dinosaurs, so we spent most of our time in the Dinosaur Hall. The center piece is a growth series display featuring a baby, juvenile and sub-adult Tyrannosaurus Rex, which is the only one of its kind in the world and includes the youngest known T-Rex fossil in the world. There is also a Triceratops, and my favourite dinosaur, a Stegosaurus.

Dinosaur Hall at Los Angeles Natural History Museum

We all spent a lot of time playing with this interactive digital table where you could take part in a fossil dig and act as different characters digging for bones and wrapping fossils - a really fun way to learn about how a fossil dig runs.

Los Angeles Museum of Natural History digital table game

In the Age of Mammals exhibit we admired this mastodon, a species which once lived in this area alongside the giant jaguar and sabre-toothed cat. Both children have studied the Stone Age recently at school, and this exhibit was the perfect accompaniment to their learning.

Mastodon at Los Angeles Natural History Museum

We also enjoyed a visit to the Spider Pavilion which is a temporary exhibition available until the 25th November, 2018. You can walk through inside a safe pavilion and observe spiders up close in their webs without any barriers - not one for the arachnophobics! I was a bit nervous but luckily the spiders don't move, and are large enough that you can keep a close eye on them!

Spider Pavilion, Natural History Museum

We finished our day spending some time in the Discovery Center. This area is fully aimed at children and there are plenty of hands on exhibits to entertain them, for example reassembling skeletons and  touching items like minerals, furs and fossils. The favourite area was the dinosaur dig pit, I think that the children would have spent hours here if we'd had time!

Los Angeles Natural History Museum Discovery Centre

I also made a little video of our day which you can see below:


We really enjoyed our visit to the Natural History Musuem, and I'd definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area. It's also ideally located to combine a visit with the California Science Center which is on the same site.

We were provided with complimentary entry to the museum in exchange for sharing our visit on my blog and social media.

Friday, 9 November 2018

How to make some mini Christmas gift bags

Have you started Christmas shopping yet? I must admit that I've barely thought about it! But I'm definitely starting to feel Christmassy, and so today I'm sharing my latest craft as a Bostik craft blogger - how to make some simple mini Christmas gift bags. These little bags are ideal for gifting small items like jewellery or sweets and you can customise them to make any size that you want.

Mini gift bags for Christmas tutorial

You need:

Christmas paper or wrapping paper
Bostik Fast Tak Spray Glue
Tape
A small box to use as a template
Sequins or other embellishments
Bostik Glu Dots
Ribbon
A hole punch

How to make a simple gift bag tutorial

Instructions:

First prepare your paper. My Christmas paper is not double sided, so I used Bostik Fast Tak Spray Glue to glue two pieces together back to back. This glue is very sticky and will stick almost any surface. It's easy to use, although do make sure that all nearby surfaces are covered! You just need to spray both sides of the paper to coat with glue from a distance of about 15 to 20 cm, leave to dry slightly for a couple of minutes until it is tacky, then press both pieces together firmly and leave to dry.

Decide which side of your paper is going to be on the outside of the bag, and fold over the top so that a strip of the inside paper will show on the outside.

Gluing Christmas paper together to make a gift bag

Next find a small box that you can use as your template. I used a matchbox, but something like a pack of cards would also work well. This helps you to make the shape for your bag. Wrap the paper around the outside of your template box and tape firmly in place. If your paper is quite thick you can remove from the box and press down the sides to make sure that you have a crisp fold line.

Using match box as a form for a gift bag

Fold the paper around the bottom of the box in the same way that you would if you were wrapping a parcel, starting about 1 cm from the bottom of the box. Secure in place with tape. You can also push in the paper down the sides of the bag.

Making a Christmas mini gift bag

Use a hole punch to make two holes in the top on each side of the bag. Cut two lengths of ribbon and tie a knot in one end of each. Thread them through the holes on each side from the inside of the bag so that the ribbon is held in place by the knot, then thread them back through the bag and tie another knot so that the ribbon forms handles for the bags with the knots hidden inside the bag.

Making ribbon handles for a gift bag

Finally decorate the bag using sequins or other embellishments. I used Bostik Glu Dots to hold my large star sequins firmly in place. The Glu Dots are easy to apply and very sticky, and you can use them for all sorts of decorations. You just peel off one side of the plastic covering, apply the glue dot to one of the surfaces, peel off the second side of plastic and press the surfaces together firmly.

Bostik Glu Dots for Christmas crafting

Your gift bags are ready to use!

Mini Christmas gift bags made using Bostik glue products

These simple gift bags would also make lovely decorations for the Christmas tree, filled with sweets or small presents.

Mini Christmas themed gift bags with Bostik

Bostik are currently running a great giveaway over on their Facebook page where you could win an Amazon Echo Plus! All you have to do is to leave a comment with your favourite #BluHacks - a way that you use Blu Tack! Enter here - Bostik Amazon Echo Plus Competition.

This is a collaborative post in association with Bostik. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum review

The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California, are a collection of tar pits which have preserved the bones of trapped animals over tens of thousands of years. They are one of the world's most famous fossil localities, and the Ice Age fossils found there include saber-toothed cats, dire wolves and mammoths. The accompanying museum is dedicated to both researching the finds from the pits and displaying the specimens for visitors. You can visit the pits, watch scientists and volunteers excavating and cleaning the fossils, and we spent a fantastic morning here as a family

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles

The Museum entrance is located opposite the Lake Pit - a large lake which bubbles as gas is released to the surface and is home to iconic sculptures depicting a mammoth trapped in the tar. It's a dramatic way to start your visit! An animal trapped in the pits would have remained there until it died of exhaustion, and a large trapped herbivore might have attracted the attention of other predators which would in turn become trapped and die alongside it. With the amount of fossils recovered it would seem as if this was a regular occurrence, but in fact an entrapment event probably only occurred every ten years or so over a very long period of time.

La Brea Tar Pits with elephant

Inside the museum we began our tour by watching Titans of the Ice Age, a 3D journey back in time which helped to set the scene by introducing the main creatures discovered at the site, and showing how they became trapped in the tar. We also enjoyed the Ice Age Encounters show, which featured a life sized Sabre-Toothed Cat puppet and was incredible to watch.

La Brea Tar Pits skeleton in museum

There is plenty to see inside the museum. The Tar Pull exhibit lets you try and see if you could escape from sticky tar, and at the end of our day having learned more about the tar pits the children both wanted to go back and try again to see if they could have escaped (unfortunately the answer was no!) There are huge assembled skeletons and several animated models like this Columbian Mammoth that is really very realistic.

La Brea Tar Pits animated mammoth

Since 1906, more than three million items have been recovered from the pits, which represent over 231 species of vertebrates as well as 159 species of plants and 234 species of invertebrates. It's an impressive number which will continue to increase as excavations continue. It's difficult to get a sense for just how many specimens this is, although displays like the one below help a little - this case contains many many different examples of just one bone. There is also an entire wall composed of just dire wolf skulls - it's amazing to spot the similarities and differences.

La Brea Tar Pits display case with bird bone

In the Fossil Lab you can watch a group of scientists as they work on cleaning the new fossils, with some of the work magnified on screens for a clearer view. It's not just the large fossils that are important, there are also many micro fossils like tiny insects and plants which are excavated and studied with just as much care and interest.

La Brea Tar Pits scientists working

There is lots more to see outside the museum too. You can visit Pit 91 which is an active dig site in the summer. Even when not in use it's still fascinating to look down on, and there is plenty of interpretive signage and photographs to help you imagine how the work progresses. We also joined a free museum tour to Project 23 - a collection of 23 large wooden boxes containing fossils which were removed during the construction of an underground car park for the adjacent Los Angeles County Museum of Art. There is years and years worth of work still to go here and it was fascinating to learn all about it and watch the fossil specimens being cleaned.

La Brea Tar Pits Pit 91 active dig

We had a brilliant morning at the museum. It was truly fascinating, and we all felt like we learned a lot. I'd definitely recommend a visit! You can see some of our highlights in the short video below, including the very realistic life sized Sabre-Toothed Cat!


We received complimentary admission to the museum in exchange for sharing our visit on my blog and social media.

Monday, 5 November 2018

How to make a nature postcard

This guest post is from Becky Goddard-Hill, co-author of Create Your Own Happy (affiliate link) - a happiness boosting activity book for 7-12 year olds and their families. All the activities are based on scientific findings that explain why doing them will create happiness.

  How to make a nature postcard

Making a ‘nature photograph’ is a great way to tell the story of an outdoor adventure, and bring nature inside your home. This is a really simple activity and suits kids (or grown-ups of any age) It can be done by yourself or in a group and combines a little nature hunt with a beautiful craft.

 What you need: 


A postcard sized piece of coloured card

Double sided sticky tape

A forest, wood, park, garden or anywhere nature is growing.

How you make it: 


Put a strip of double-sided sticky tape across the middle of one side of your piece of card and take it out with you for a nature walk.

Pick things up as you go and stick them on your card. Try looking for different colours, textures, shapes and sizes, from tiny seeds to bits of bark, leaves and small flowers.

Only pick up fallen things as we don’t want to disturb growing things.

You can arrange them on the card to make an interesting picture or pattern.

You should now have a beautiful ‘nature photograph’ that you can hang in your home or seal with sticky back plastic and send to a friend.

How to make a nature postcard with children

Why nature makes you happy 


Here are 2 amazing bits of research that show us how being out in nature can make us happier and healthier

When a group of scientists at the University of Chicago tracked people’s happiness for 17 years, they found the people were happiest when they were living near trees. Pennsylvania hospital patients with a window with a tree view went home on average a day earlier than people with no view.

Japanese researchers found that a one-day trip to a park can boost our ‘natural killer’ white blood cells and proteins that help to fight off illness for at least seven days afterwards

You really create your own happy by getting out in nature. This will make you healthy AND happy and you will have a beautiful nature photograph too!

Create Your Own Happy book for children

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Our Disney cruise - adding some magical extras

On our first Disney cruise we were puzzled by the decorated hanging pockets hanging outside staterooms. On our second Disney cruise we joined a Facebook group and learned about Fish Extenders - a way of exchanging gifts with your fellow cruisers. You sign up to participate and swap presents with ten or so other cabins, and the gifts are delivered to a receptacle which you hang outside your stateroom door. The gifts can be large or small, something to use on the cruise or a souvenir to take home, and are generally Disney themed. On our third Disney cruise I came very close to signing up, but chickened out in the end after I joined a Fish Extender Facebook group and was overwhelmed by the generous gifts that people were preparing.

I still wanted to join in somehow though, and a few days before the cruise I spotted a sign up list for a Pixie Dust exchange. It was a list of people that were interested in giving and receiving Pixie Dust, with no obligation. This appealed to me a lot more because I knew that I could make up lots of little gifts, but with only two days to prepare I was a little pressed for time, and I decided to do my best to gift everyone on the list but with something small.

I settled on a pack of chocolate buttons, a coloured pen and a glow stick. Unfortunately, even though I was very careful the glow sticks were a fail as most of them snapped before we even got on the ship - whoops! Next time I would pack them separately in a sturdy box and assemble just before handing them out! I tied them up with some ribbon and a free printable Pixie Dust gift tag that I found.

Simple Disney Cruise pixie dust idea

I also spent a good few hours making some little magnets which were much more successful. I used a picture taken on a previous cruise at a port we would be visiting again and added a cruise line graphic, the date, and the Danish and Norwegian flags. Each magnet measured about 6cm across. I cut them out, laminated them, cut them out again, and glue a small piece of magnet to the back. I ended up with over 60, and we had fun on the ship walking the corridors and selecting our favourite doors to add them to as a little surprise for the inhabitants. I hope that they were pleased to find them!

Disney Cruise homemade magnets for Pixie Dust

When I got back I was thrilled to find that I had been lucky enough to win a Disney collage design offered by one of the other members of the Pixie Dust exchange! This gorgeous collage is by Saffron Rose Designs and I just had to mention it because we were so pleased with it, it's a lovely way to display our favourite photos.

Disney Cruise collage picture from Saffron Rose Designs

We are hoping that we will be able to go on another Disney cruise next year, and this time I'm planning to step it up a level and join in with the full Fish Extender exchange, as well as making more magnets to hand out and probably some Pixie Dust too. It's just a case of fitting it all into the suitcases! I've found a blank door hanger to customise, and while I'm not quite sure where to start, there is plenty of inspiration online. I'm thinking about decorating each pocket with our favourite character, although I'm not sure which to choose for mine!

If you want to know more about the extra magic that a Disney cruise offers you might enjoy my guest post for Cruising with Kids - Top Tips for Cruising with Disney and Life Onboard a Disney Cruise.

Monday, 29 October 2018

The little blue house in Stavanger

Our our cruise over the summer holidays we docked for the second time in Stavanger, Norway. Stavanger is the sixth largest city in Norway but it doesn't feel like a city at all. The town centre is compact, very walkable, with lots to see and do. Next to the harbour is Old Stavanger, a collection of small, white wooden houses built around 200 years ago and set amongst pretty cobbled streets filled with museums, galleries and small shops.

Well, the houses are almost all white. What's that down at the bottom right of the photo?

Stavanger Old Town viewed from a docked cruise ship

This little blue house caught my eye as soon as we docked and looked out over the city. It's right opposite the cruise ship dock, nestled among the white wooden houses, showing its own personality. 

I fell in love with it straightaway. It's such a pretty house, in such a beautiful location, and I do love Stavanger. I can imagine myself living here, sitting by the window with a hot chocolate, riding my bike to the shops, wandering the cobbled streets, smiling at the tourists, and in the evening retreating to a little bedroom under the eaves with a book.

Little blue house in Old Stavanger

Of course in reality I know nothing about this house. I can guess that the view from the front window isn't the best, as the gorgeous view across the harbour would be blocked most days by at least one cruise ship docked literally right outside - you can see ours reflected in the windows! You probably also get lots of curious tourists like me wandering up to snap photos and peer through the windows. Being part of Old Stavanger there would be the obligation to keep the house looking nice for the tourists, and I'm sure that a 200 year old house has many more problems than our new build.

But I can still dream, and if we should happen to return to Stavanger I'll definitely be checking to see if it's still there!

The little blue house in old Stavanger

If you find yourself in Stavanger, and I hope that you do, you might enjoy my post about things to do in the port of Stavanger.

Friday, 26 October 2018

My happy places around the world

On our recent cruise we spent a day in Stavanger, Norway, and I mentioned to Harry, almost without thinking, that this was one of my 'happy places' around the world. It reminded me of some of the other places around the world that I've been lucky enough to visit, and some of them stay so firmly in my memory as places that I feel happy, at peace, and I'd love go visit again and again. So I thought I'd share with you some of my happy places, and why I love them so much.

I've already mentioned Stavanger. Possibly one of the reasons that I love it is that I have visited it as part of a cruise, which has already put me in an excellent frame of mind, but it's a lovely city, everything is in walking distance, and the houses are lovely. I think I could happily live here!

Cruise ship docked in Stavanger

Bryce Canyon in Utah is an American national park. I fell in love immediately with the distinctively shaped orange rocks, contrasting with the blue sky and the green trees, but it became even more special as it is where Ram proposed. I'd like to take the children there one day, and see if we can find our way back to the same spot.

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Castaway Cay is Disney's private island in the Bahamas, which you can only visit as part of a Disney cruise. It's just lovely - gorgeous calm blue sea, soft sand, lots of activities to keep children busy...it really is paradise. I bought a key ring on our visit that I keep on the keys to the garage, and in winter when I'm braving the trip outside to put the washing in the dryer it reminds me of our fabulous day there. I hope I'm able to visit again one day!

Castaway Cay, Bahamas, Disney's island

Center Parcs has been one of our favourite holiday destinations since the children were tiny, in fact it was our first holiday with Harry when he was just four months old. I love arriving at the lodge in the forest, unpacking, and then sending the car away for the next few days. The lodges are so cosy, the swimming pool keeps everyone entertained and tires them out, and there is plenty of forest to explore.

Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest

Port Campbell in Victoria, Australia, is one of many popular stops along the Great Ocean Road drive. I loved Australia in its entirety, but even though we were only in Port Campbell for one day amongst many other stops, there was something about the town. My memories are getting hazy and I'm sure it has changed a great deal, but I remember a beautiful sandy beach which was enclosed on each side with cliffs, and going for a walk along it in the evening. There was also so little light pollution that you could see the stars really clearly and it was such a peaceful and relaxed place.

Finally, there is at least one of my happy places that I can visit pretty much as often as I want to. Goring Beach, Worthing. I love it here at all times of the year, the pebbles that you can sit on without needing to get rid of sand afterwards, the winds and the kite surfers, walking along with beach on one side and grass on the other listening to the sound of the waves. I also have many happy memories of times spent here with family and friends.

Goring Beach, Worthing

Where are your happy places around the world? Are they ones that you can get to easily, or do you need to hope you can travel back there someday?

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

A year of blog post ideas and inspiration

A year of seasonal blog posts and inspiration

If you are looking for ideas to fill your blog editorial calendar for the foreseeable future then look no further - here you can find plenty of ideas to inspire you with seasonal themes that will suit blogs of any niche. There are plenty of blog post prompts and inspiration for Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Christmas themed blogging. I hope that you find them useful!


Spring blog post inspiration


* A list of ten things that you love about Spring - a great way to make you feel happy and positive! 

* Share a garden update at the start of the year - what is growing at the moment, can you spot any signs of Spring?

* What are your garden plans for this year? You could also write about growing things on the windowsill, your allotment, or a garden of a friend or family member that you love.

* Do you have a vegetable patch? What will you be planting and growing this year?

* Share some photos from a walk that you take regularly, for example the school run or the walk to work, and notice the changes. This is a good one to update throughout the year as we go through the seasons.

* Do you Spring clean the house? Why, or why not?

* Do you have any Spring cleaning tips or hacks to share?

* What other things do you Spring clean? For example, do you Spring clean your blog, your calendar, your business?

* What is going on locally? Share details of Farmer's Markets, open lambing at local farms, Easter Egg hunts. If you visit something you could write an individual review, or list a roundup of activities, perhaps themed by type, location or audience.

* Share a Spring or Easter themed craft - whether it's something to do with the children or making some seasonal decor for your home.

* Share a seasonal recipe or two using fresh ingredients to suit the season.

* How are your New Year's Resolutions going? Share an update, and if they've fallen by the wayside make plans to get back on track.

* Look ahead to the summer holidays, what do you have planned? What are you most looking forward to?

* Have you made any seasonal purchases lately? Share your favourites in a blog or vlog.

* Do you pack away your warm jumpers and coats for the winter? What new seasonal clothing have you bought so far?

* Share some Spring flowers that you've bought recently, great for some pictures for social sharing too.

* Does what you eat and drink change as the weather gets warmer? What are you looking forward to eating or drinking this season?

* How does your routine change as Spring arrives? Do you spend more time outdoors, find it easier to exercise, go to bed later?

* If you've been having a Spring declutter or clearout, share some of the treasures that you've discovered while you've been hunting through the basement or attic, like old school work, sticker collections, or other sentimental items.

* How do you know that Spring has arrived? For me I think it's the smell of freshly cut grass and a feeling of warmth in the air!


Summer blog post inspiration


* Share your favourite summer recipe - a barbecue staple, a refreshing drink or your best summer cocktail. If you have published posts already over the last few years you can create a roundup of themed summer recipes to get some new views back to your older content.

* Share a garden update, a balcony update or even a windowsill update with pictures of what you can see from your window. What has changed recently, what is growing, do you have a beautiful tree or flowerbed to share or is the garden full of summer toys.

* Summer home decor picks - a good place to add some affiliate links if you have any, perhaps choosing items along a theme like the beach, nautical, sunflowers and so on. You might have review items to include that would fit well with the theme.

* Write about a summer walk somewhere, and contrast it with a visit at different times of the year. For example a summer walk along the beach, a summer walk through some local public gardens or through the forest. What is special there at this time of year? Take lots of photographs!

* A summer activity list - a list of all the things that you want to achieve this summer. Also a great resource for bored children during the holidays!

* What happens in summer where you live? Are there any special events locally? Share a list of local activities like pick your own or car boot sales, or showcase something bigger like the International Bognor Birdman or the Eastbourne Air Show. If you write about an event, make sure to share your post on the appropriate Facebook page or with the Twitter account.

* Write about some of your favourite summer memories from childhood. What do you do now to create fun memories with your children, are they the same things or different? 

* Summer tips and hacks - How to keep babies cool, what to pack for a picnic, what you need in your hand luggage on a flight and so on. Everyone has advice to share!

* Free summer holiday fun - How to find out about free local activities and some ideas for things that you can do at home to save money on expensive day trips.

* What has been the summer craze where you live? There always seems to be one or two, whether it's loom bands, fidget spinners, Lego cards or Pokemon Go! Have your children been obsessed by anything recently?

* How has the last school year been for your child? What did they achieve, what milestones did they reach, what fun things did they do? How do they feel about moving on to the next year, especially if they will be starting at a new school.

* How does your routine change over the summer - do the children stay up later, do you eat dinner outside, does what you eat change? Do you enjoy being more flexible, or do you prefer the routine of term time?

* Carry out an interview with your child at the end of the school year, perhaps comparing a photograph of them on their first day with one taken on the last day. This also makes a good vlog and creates great memories to look back on.

* Are you going away on holiday? Write a preview post about where you are going and what you hope to see and do. You could ask other bloggers for their tips about a particular location to make a helpful crowd sourced post.

* Write a review of your summer holiday destination. Include useful information to help people that might be planning their holidays, and remember to re-share in January when people are booking for next year! It doesn't need to be a press trip as people will value your honest opinions and photographs. If you managed to save money when booking share your tips, and write a list of packing essentials.

* Blog a summer craft, either for kids or for yourself. If you have blogged about a few you can combine them into a summer craft round up post.

* Make a list! Choose ten (or more!) things that you love about summer, about the warm weather, the light evenings, about the school summer holidays, favourite summer foods, favourite places to visit locally.

* A review of a local attraction, with plenty of factual information and perhaps a video.

* Summer garden ideas and inspiration - some things you've done to make your garden pretty, share a Pinterest board if you have one, reviews of garden equipment that you've purchased like play or cooking equipment.

* A summer holiday travel wishlist - where would you like to visit in the summer holidays? For how long? Or do you prefer to travel out of peak season?


Autumn blog post inspiration


* Before the memories fade, it's a good opportunity to reflect back on the summer. You could share some of your favourite summer photos, and remember some of the fun things that you got up to. This could be done as an interview with children, asking them about the things that they enjoyed the most.

* Did you travel anywhere for summer this year? Now is a good time to think about what you enjoyed, what you didn't, and make your travel plans for next year.

* As the children begin a new school year it's a good opportunity for a catch up. You could write about how the children have changed since last September (perhaps along with some photos to compare) and what you hope the new school year brings for them. This could be done in an interview style, asking questions about their favourite school subject, what they hope to be when they grow up, and so on.

* Do you have any school tips to share with new school parents? Essential items for schoolbags or perhaps some packed lunch ideas, as well as helping children settle down and make friends.

* Has September brought a new change in routine now that the children are back at school? Do you have a little one that has started school for the first time and you finally have some extra time to yourself, or are you back at work after a summer break? How do you feel about it?

* I always find September a good time of year for a new start and new resolutions. Do you have any goals that you want to accomplish before the end of the year? Similarly it's a good time to catch up with those New Year's Resolutions and see how they are going!

* One of my favourite things about going back to school was always new exercise books and new stationery. You could do a roundup of the favourite things that you've bought for your children (or yourself!) this new school year, or a round up of new bits that you've spotted.

* As the evenings start to draw in it's fun to think about making your home more cosy for winter. You could pick out some seasonal decor for your home, like cosy throws and comfy cushions with an Autumnal theme.

* You could also do some seasonal wardrobe picks and share some of your favourite Autumnal clothing pieces.

* It's a great time to share Autumn recipes, using seasonal ingredients, that are warm and comforting, for example my Spicy Butternut Squash Soup. If you have published several on your blog over the years then you might want to consider publishing a round up so that readers can easily find them all in one place.

* Similarly, what are your favourite Autumn ingredients for cooking and baking? We have an apple tree in the garden, and I love trying out new apple recipes. Many years I manage to grow a pumpkin, and I love making pumpkin soup.

* Before the weather gets too cold, plan a visit out and about to see the beautiful natural Autumn colours. Write about a family or solo trip to the forest, and collect plenty of fallen leaves to use for crafting when you get home.

* There are lots of other natural things that you can use for Autumn crafting - like conkers, acorns, pine cones. See what you can come up with, and share the results on your blog. It's also a good opportunity for a round up of Autumn crafts, either sharing your own or choosing posts from other bloggers to share.

* Write a list of your favourite things about Autumn. You also could ask friends and other bloggers for their own favourites to add to your list. Great to look back on too when the cold dark evenings are in full swing!

* Think back to some of your favourite Autumn memories. Did you have any back to school traditions, a place that you always visited as a family to collect Autumn leaves, or a favourite meal or drink that you enjoyed with family or friends.

* I'm not a coffee drinker but I've noticed that everyone seems very excited about the yearly launch of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte, are there any other seasonal releases that you look forward to?

* On the 5th November in the UK we celebrate Bonfire Night - you could write about Bonfire Night memories and how you celebrate with your children.

* You could write a round up of firework displays in your local area to help people planning trips out (you could share it to local Facebook pages or groups), or write a review of a display that you've been to. You could share safety tips, or tips for visiting a fireworks event with young children.

* Also in Autumn comes Halloween, do you mark the occasion with your family? Do you go trick or treating or host a party at home? How do you carve your pumpkins? Share some of your favourite Halloween memories and traditions.

* Do you decorate your home for Halloween? Share some of your ideas, or share photographs of houses in your area with the best decorations.

* If you are hosting a Halloween party, share some Halloween party food and costume ideas. This could be homemade, or things that you've picked up or spotted in the shops.

* If you have published lots of Halloween posts over the years you could consider a Halloween round up to bring new eyes to older posts.


Winter blog post inspiration


* What do you love about winter? A great way to share some positives if this isn't your favourite season.

* What do you hate about winter? What can you do to make yourself feel better about the parts that you don't like?

* How do you know that winter is on the way? What are the first signs?

* Where is your favourite place for a frosty Winter walk? Share some photos!

* Share a recipe for your favourite winter meal or comfort food, using seasonal produce if you can.

* Share your favourite warming winter drinks, whether a classic hot chocolate or something a little stronger.

* How do you make your home cosy for winter? Do you change your decor to match the season?

* What are your favourite winter outfits - share your cosy knitwear picks.

* Do you decorate your home for winter, not just Christmas? Share your ideas and inspiration.

* What are your winter family traditions?

* Share some favourite winter family films to snuggle up together with, or books that you enjoy reading at this time of year. What other hobbies do you associate with winter? For me it's a jigsaw puzzle or two!

* What is your winter travel wish list? (you can see my winter travel wishlist here!). Where would you love to visit that is especially beautiful during the winter.

* Share your favourite winter memories - is it just me, or did it snow every year when I was little? I have many fond memories of being taken to school on a sledge and building enormous snowmen.

* Tips for keeping warm, both at home and out and about.

* Write a winter themed poem or short story to share on your blog.

* Share your top winter gear picks for the family - snowsuits, wellies, hats and so on.

* Cheer yourself up with some sunny memories - share some pictures from your last summer holiday and share plans for the next one.

* If you have a few winter themed posts from previous years then combine them into a round up - for example crafts, recipes, days out.

* Did you write any blog posts over the last year that could do with an update? For example a home renovation project, moving house, a new addition to the family - share how you've been getting along.

* Write about a television series or two that you've been binge watching lately under the blankets.

* What do you do in that period between Christmas and New Year? Do you stay at home eating chocolates, or is it a time to visit friends and family or get out and about in the fresh air.

* What are your New Year's resolutions and goals? How did the ones from last year go? What could you change this year to improve your success?

* Do you have any New Year's decluttering or organising tips or hacks to share?

* What were your top performing blog posts of the last year? Why do you think they were so popular? How could you replicate their success for the future?

* What were your favourite blog posts from the last year? Why?

* What projects do you have lined up for the year ahead? A list of unfinished craft projects, any DIY that needs to be done around the house?

* Looking a little way ahead, perhaps you have some Chinese New Year or Valentine's Day posts that you could start to write and schedule in for January - recipes, crafts and so on.


Christmas blog post inspiration


* What are your Advent calendar traditions? Pictures, chocolates or larger gifts? Does everyone have one, or just the children?

* Ten (or more!) things that you love about Christmas

* Review a local Christmas attraction - whether it's a big trip to see Father Christmas or just a visit to the local garden centre. Share information and tips with readers that may be planning their own trip either this year or in the future.

* Do you have a real tree or an artificial one? What are your reasons?

* Share your favourite seasonal recipe using seasonal ingredients if possible.

* List your favourite Christmas songs, you could even embed the videos from YouTube and share your reasons for choosing them and what they remind you of.

* Favourite Christmas films - both recent ones and ones that you remember from when you were little, ones that you want to share with your children.

* Give readers a tour of your Christmas tree and share some of your favourite ornaments and decorations, what is the story behind them?

* Do you keep the same Christmas decorations from year to year or do you like to keep update with new themes and colour schemes?

* Share a Christmas craft or two. If you've shared several in the past you might have enough for a round up.

* What Christmas traditions do you remember from childhood?

* What Christmas traditions have you started with your own children? You can readabout our traditions here!

* Ask a family member or friend to write a guest post with their own Christmas memories. My Mum wrote about her memories of a 1950's Christmas.

* If you've been blogging for a few years, link back to some older posts. For example you can see the evolution of our gingerbread houses over the years.

* There are plenty of controversial Christmas topics that you might have an opinion on, so keep an eye out in the news and parenting groups to see what people are talking about. For example, do you limit the presents that you buy for your children or do you go overboard? How do you split present giving between family and Father Christmas?

* How do you spend Christmas day? Snuggled up in onesies, out for a bracing winter walk, driving around between different relatives?

* What Christmas crafts do you remember from your childhood? I remember spending hours creating elaborate card and tissue paper decorations for our front door!

* Interview your children with some Christmas questions, for example 'what time will you be getting up on Christmas morning' and 'what do you think Mum or Dad would like for Christmas?' Share their answers, and then tag some other bloggers to join in asking their own children. Really fun to look back on each year!

* What are your Christmas Eve traditions? What do you leave out for Father Christmas?

* Who are your fantasy Christmas dinner guests and why?

* Does the Elf on the Shelf visit your family, and do you love or hate it?

* Gift guides - the possibilities are endless. Ideas for yourself or other family members, gifts for a particular hobby or interest (for example, gift ideas forcrafty Mums), gift guides with a particular theme (for example Minecraft or Pokemon). You don't need to feature review products, and in fact it's better to include items that you already own so that you can recommend them honestly. It's also a great way to add some affiliate links.

* What are your favourite seasonal treats, foods that you only buy and eat at Christmas?

* Do you make a traditional Christmas cake? How do you decorate it?

* Do you have any special Christmas memories? For example, have you spent Christmas in another country, or done something out of the ordinary at Christmas time?

* Can you share some Christmas tips or hacks to help others? Perhaps adapting a traditional Christmas dinner for young children, how to save money on food, drink or presents, dealing with spending Christmas away from home

* The Nativity play - are your children taking part? Did you have a star role as a child? Do you prefer a traditional Nativity or one that retells the tale from a different viewpoint?

* Ways to keep children happy when travelling if you will be spending time visiting friends and family

* Christmas cards - do you send them? How do you display the ones that you receive?

* How do you decorate your home for Christmas? Subtle or over the top?

* Are there any places near you to visit to see some awesome decorated houses? Take the reader on a tour of your neighbourhood through photographs and video.

* Do you have any older posts that can be combined into a roundup? For example Hama beadChristmas crafts for children or Christmas jigsaw puzzle inspiration.

If vlogging is more your thing then I have also put some ideas together for festive videos which you can find here - Vlogmas inspiration

You can also find more niche specific blog post ideas here - Blog post ideas for Craft Bloggers and Blog post ideas for Travel Bloggers.

Photo credits - tulips by Steve Enoch, sunflowers by Marco Secchi, autumn leaves by Hanne Hoft Bidtnes, winter trees by Atle Mo, Christmas foliage by Annie Spratt, all via Unsplash
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