How to throw a Superhero party. With only mild panic!

I have been sorely neglecting my blog for a very good reason, small boy turned 3! I just can’t believe our baby is growing up so fast!! He is superhero mad. Not sure how he got into it but I love it, being a bit of a superhero geek myself! (It drives me mad when small boy goes up and asks Mr PB the names of new heroes he discovers as he has never been into them and pretends he is, so small boy thinks he is cool. Pah! πŸ˜€ )

So a party theme seemed pretty straightfoward, I got myself onto Pinterest and had a lot of fun pinning things and deluding myself that I would actually have time to create all these amazing things!! What I did want to do was make something for the kids that they could decorate and take home, so I ordered a large amount of material and found an absolutely brilliant cape pattern, which you can find yourselfΒ here.

This is the pattern I used, so easy to print out too.
This is the pattern I used, so easy to print out too.

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It’s been a long while since I got a chance to do anything crafty and I had an epic fail the first pattern I tried to cut, what an idiot, I obviously missed the instruction, (and the clues on the pattern!!), and cut half a cape. Doh!

My first attempt. I did laugh at myself!
My first attempt. I did laugh at myself!

That was stupid but I soon realised my mistake and tried again. I think I was probably really tired that day because this happened…..

Seriously?! The instructions are so clear too, and even written on the pattern! I laughed a little more desperately at this one, then almost cried when I realised my idiocy has left me short on material!
Seriously?! The instructions are so clear too, and even written on the pattern! I laughed a little more desperately at this one, then almost cried when I realised my idiocy has left me short on material!

So I needed 11 capes and after my fails, I was short. Luckily I’d bought some extra material to do Frozen capes for big girl’s next party, (I know, I know, but when you have a good idea!!), and some bright pink to make her a Aurora cape for her birthday, (it’s a REALLY good pattern!!), so I made Small boy a special turquoise one with red lining and my super crafty friend took it away to make it ten times more amazing for his birthday pressie.

The special blue and read one for small boy, before it got some serious bling added to it, think sparkly red stars and lightning strikes!
The special blue and red one for small boy, before it got some serious bling added to it, think sparkly red stars and lightning strikes!

I made big girl a special, ‘it’s not actually my birthday but I am special too’ pink cape. I had initially been going to get the children to glue bits to them but when I started to think about it, I wanted them to have something that lasted a bit longer. (Don’t you just hate it when your ideas grow out of control!!) So I hemmed them all on my sewing machine, after a very unsuccessful, (and sticky!), try at hemming one with tape.

This pretty much sums up how I felt trying that one!

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I then bought a few metres of an amazing product called ‘Bondaweb’ from the haberdashery and ironed it onto felt squares. The backing paper is perfect for the children to draw their shapes onto before cutting out. I also bought some stick on velcro and once the children had made up their designs, we ironed them on and attached the velcro for the fastening.

Nb: I just stuck the velcro pieces on but this wouldn’t be any good long term as they were already coming off during the energetic play during the party. A couple of stitches are all that’s needed but I just couldn’t face it!! πŸ˜€

I also had a pack of foam sheets and decided to make masks, I found a mask template, (again through Pinterest), and used it to cut out lots of of masks from the foam, I then hole punched the edges for the elastic. Which I forgot to buy. Resulting in the dads improvising with masking tape! Another fail!! The cutting, glueing and sticking bit went down very well though!

Lots of late night scissoring! Looks like we're planning some serious burgling!! :D
Lots of late night scissoring! Looks like we’re planning some serious burgling!! πŸ˜€

So finally, and probably most importantly, food! I’d seen some babybel superheroes, (the little round cheeses in the wax wrappers), and thought they looked fun. My first attempt was, well, tell me if you can spot where I went wrong…

Oops!!
Oops!!

My other attempts fared a little better but honestly, they were so fiddly that I didn’t actually get a chance to make them for the party, I think I will just keep them for special lunches when there are only a few children!

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I also found the idea for a Captain America fruit/marshmallow shield and used strawberries, marshmallows and blueberries to recreate it.

This was actually pretty simple to do, and not as time consuming as you would think.
This was actually pretty simple to do, and not as time consuming as you would think.

We also made cheese and pineapple on sticks, (Thor’s hammers!), and had hot dogs as this is an easy party favourite. Every year we seem to go crazy with the food, spend a fortune and end up with a silly amount of waste, so this year I wanted to streamline it all a bit!

To tie in with the theme, I’d seen an amazing backdrop idea with a black skyscraper ‘skyline’ with lit up windows. I recreated it by cutting a piece of A1 black card, using a book to get the different size building effect, and sticking small cut out rectangles from yellow felt for the windows. This was really last minute and done very quickly but I was so pleased with how it turned out.

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Finally, the most important bit of all, the cake!! This was a bit of a rush job and probably the most stressful part involving a last minute dash to two different supermarkets to try and find the right sprinkles as I actually made it the morning of the party! Good job the kids get up so early really!

I made two square sponges and sandwiched them together with raspberry jam and bright blue buttercream icing, (I used the gel colours that I had left over from last year’s rainbow cake, they are the only way to get such bright colours in my experience), then I iced over the whole thing with a bright yellow buttercream.

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My lovely friend had made a ‘Pow!’ stencil for me from a cereal box, and I used it to ‘write’ on the cake with bright neon sugar. I then used the edge of the stencil to freehand a zigzag line around the words to give it more impact. Considering it was finished about half an hour before the party started, I was really happy with how it turned out, as you can see from my face below I think!!

Checking the ‘bounce back’ of the sponge. Oh and totally showing off my batman themed nails!!!
It really did taste good too, bit too good, everyone left with a lot extra as it really isn’t a good idea to have all that cake in the house when you have ‘cake resistance’ as low as mine!!
Can you spot him? The ever present labrador lurking in the hope of a fallen crumb!!
Getting artsy for my instagram! I’m pinkpearbear if you fancy seeing more piccies.
You will NEVER guess what we got him! πŸ˜‰

It was an absolutely brilliant day. We had a bouncy castle and between that, the various crafts and the eating, the whole thing went very quickly and smoothly. I really did enjoy it and found it far less stressful then previous years, even if I was swearing just a tiny bit at the capes!! πŸ˜‰ If you’re on Pinterest, do check out my boards, I’m a bit of a pinning addict and love looking at other people’s too. It really is heaven for me, although a big part of me wishes I was less of a diy mum and more of a buy it one! I just can’t resist, I love crafty stuff and see all these beautiful things that I want to make too, and then kick myself when it’s midnight and I’m sobbing into my pva glue! πŸ˜€

I’d love to hear about party themes and ideas you’ve had, what worked and what didn’t, some funny fails would make me feel so much better about my first two cape attempts too!!

The next party I’ve got coming up is a princess themed one, look out for my unrealistic and over enthusiastic princess party pinning that will soon be commencing……..!!

Keep scrolling down for a few larger pictures from the post, for some reason they post much bigger from my phone but I can’t work out how to do that from the laptop.


I knew I couldn’t let the backdrop go to waste, so I had a little fun with a Gotham City window display! We started these last Christmas and got such a good response from passers by on the school run that we’ve kept it up. Every few months we change it but I think this one might have to be my ultimate favourite!

Β I also had a little fun trying to add the Batman symbol to my nails. My first attempt at nail art and I think I need some practice!! πŸ˜€

babybrain

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Where are you from? Also a step by step guide to giving blood.

Not literally, but historically! I give blood and I am a B negative which is so rare that only two percent of the population have it, and today the nurse who was taking my blood was very excited because she has the same blood group and noticed that I was the second person she’d come across with the same blood group and same very slightly odd toes as her.

She told me that from the research she had done already, our blood group is likely to die out in the not too distant future and that no-one is quite sure how it came about.

She also said that she found an article about possible links to skeletons found that are sort of human but with extra long limbs. Sounds very bizarre to me……and also very intriguing! So I am going on a mission to find out more. We all know how accurate the internet is, (hah!), so I will take it all with a pinch of salt but I’d love to know if you have anything that makes you unusual or know something about the origins of your blood group or mine, the stranger the better!! πŸ˜€

Any truth in this do you think? Source Waking Times
Any truth in this do you think? Source Waking Times

I also thought I’d do a quick guide to giving blood and some tips as these things can be very nerve-racking the first time you and it is such a worthwhile cause so if I can allay anyone’s fears about going, I’ll be very happy.

  1. First off, make an appointment. They get too busy to take walk ins often and if you have an appointment they can send you out the forms to fill in at home. In peace, unless you have children obviously!
  2. They can also check that you are eligible to donate to save you a wasted journey. Things like tattoos and piercings don’t mean you can’t donate but there are time frames you need to adhere to and you need to mention it so they can run a few extra tests.
  3. When you arrive, there is a reception area with a computer and you will be ‘checked in’ and given a guide to read containing all the important information you need. You will be given this every time to refresh your memory as there is usually 3 or more months between donations. Our donation centre is a church hall so don’t worry that you’ll have to go to hospital or have to pay for expensive parking.
  4. You will be directed to a waiting area with some magazines. I usually bring my own or a book. It can be a long wait as things like someone calling in sick or a donor feeling a little unwell after can delay the process a little. Usually it isn’t too long a wait and they will keep you well informed if there are any delays. There is a nice camaraderie I’ve found, and so you will probably find someone to chat too to pass the time.
  5. Your name will be called and you will go into a little screened off cubicle to confirm your details and to go through the questionnaire you answered in more detail if you answered yes to any of the questions, things like medication changes, trips abroad etc, and the answers will be expanded on and signed off. Then there is a test to check your iron levels. A tiny pin prick will be made using what looks a bit like a dog training clicker and a couple of drops squeezed out into the tiniest pipette. This will be squirted into a test tube of green or blue liquid and timed to make sure it sinks in the requisite time. If not, your iron levels are considered too low to spare any blood and you won’t be able to donate in that session and directed to see your gp.
  6. All being well with your iron, you are then sent to a second waiting area and invited to help yourself to a drink of water or squash & have a seat.
  7. When they have a chair free, you will be asked if you prefer left or right arm and they will adjust it accordingly. You’ll sit in the chair and they will make you comfortable.
  8. There is a machine to whichever side they are taking from the makes a bit of noise when it is going as it keeps the bag of blood moving continuously and beeps when you’re done, nothing to panic about if it is being loud! πŸ™‚
  9. The nurse will thoroughly clean your arm and then insert a needle. Not the most pleasant but it really is just a scratch. Once in, you genuinely won’t feel it and the blood will start flowing down the small tube attached to the needle that will get taped to your wrist. You will also be reclined almost flat.
  10. There are two bags attached to the tube, a very small one that samples will be taken from, how many samples depends on whether you have been abroad/ had a recent tattoo etc, and the larger one on the moving platform.
  11. Then you are left while the bag fills up. It is recommended to clench and un-clench your fist to help the flow and you are also given a sheet with some exercise suggestions. You are generally advised against reading if it is your first time but if you’ve been a few times, you can read now…..a book is far easier to hold than a magazine one handed as I have discovered from personal awkward experience!
  12. Once the bag is full, (I promise it’s not that big, they aren’t leaving with a brimming carrier bag!), the machine will alert them by lots of beeping, there is nothing to worry about if they are tending to someone else at that minute as nothing bad can happen if you are waiting a little while, (not that that happens often!), then the needle will be removed and you are given a gauze to press down on the seriously tiny hole and they sort all the tubes and your donation out.
  13. You will be sat upright and given a few minutes to check how you are doing. It is very rare for people to faint but you can feel a little light headed if you’ve not eaten or drank enough in the day. I’d say from sitting in the chair to being sent for a biccie is around 20-30 mins.
  14. Once satisfied you are ok and when you’ve had your gauze swapped for a plaster, you will be sent over to the refreshment table and offered a cold or hot drink and there are a large selection of biscuits. These are obviously calorie free as you have just given away a lot of calories! πŸ˜‰
  15. Another appointment will be offered for the next session and when you are fully recovered, (finished your biscuit!), you can go home. Feeling pretty awesome for potentially saving someone’s life and having a license to eat cake when you get home. (Still calorie free obvs!)

It may be different in other areas of course, and for different people but that is my experience as an NHS donor in the UK. I PROMISE you that it isn’t scary, it doesn’t hurt much and they honestly don’t take very much, and the fluffy feel goods last aaaagggges. Oh, and all the staff are lovely and friendly and make it a fun cheerful atmosphere, even if they have been there all day and you are the last donor as I was tonight.

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Installment 2 of my personal alphabet challengeΒ where I am attempting to omit one letter from a paragraph at the end of each blog post to see which is the most difficult to write without using.

To B or not to B!

This is easy, no difficulty, I think it would seem a whole lot harder to actually have to use the letter in every word. Although if I wanted to write the post that comes in front of this I would certainly struggle.

I would need an alternative word for that red stuff that pumps through your veins, pushed around using the fantastic, strong heart, taking vital nutrients and vitamins and cells to your extremities, keeping you warm, running your organs, fighting infections and healing wounds.

Claret perhaps? Though that is a little Silence of the…….youthful sheep!! πŸ˜‰

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