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Tracks of My Years - A Secret Life of The Baby / Words, Rhymes, Rambles

This week's Tracks of My Years comes from the very lovely Michelle. She writes two blogs (how she finds the time I don't know) a humorous, fictional one called A Secret Life of The Baby written by a baby aka @babyanonblog and a blog of prose and poems on parenting called Words, Rhymes, Rambles associated with her ‘real’ twitter account @michellegant76.

So, Michelle, it's over to you and the Tracks of Your Years....

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Drury and The Blockheads

One of my earliest memories is of dancing to this whilst pretending to ‘hit’ family members with one of my toys, much to their amused delight. I suspect that my interest in this song was very much down to the fact it gave me license to carry on in this way, and not get told off. It holds a special place in my heart, even more so as my dad gave me a vinyl copy of it on my 40th birthday this year.

Take On Me – A-Ha

‘Who is that man?’ I thought as I watched the video by A-Ha for the first time. Those cheekbones! Those eyes! That mullet! I do declare that at the tender age of eight, I had my first crush. I was agog watching the band – Norwegian! How exotic! -- on Saturday Superstore and bristled with bitter jealousy at the other girls who were in the studio asking my hero questions.

Do They Know It’s Christmas - Band Aid

I thought I was the coolest kid around when I bought my very first single using my very own pocket money. I carried that record around, hoping that people would notice it and ask me about it: ‘Oh this? Yes, I just bought it myself,’ I’d declare nonchalant. Sadly, such a response took place in my head alone, probably because the only people I was showing it off to were my parents – who had given me the pocket money in the first place – and my tiny twin sisters who couldn’t care less.

Insanity - Oceanic

I was 15 and embroiled in a battle: who would run the discos in the fifth year? I wanted it (mainly so I could impress boys. However, I think it’s fair to say that DJ’ing at a teenage dance in a school hall wasn’t going to up my street cred) and so did some boys in my form. Who would emerge victorious? Well, in the end we were forced to compromise by an exasperated teacher and we ran the discos together. Fair to say they did not rival an Ibizan club night. This song always reminds me of that time and the anticipation in the run up to those magical nights (which, incidentally, didn’t help my sad love life in any way, shape or form).

No Limits - Two Unlimited

I was 17 when I started going clubbing. And woah! These nights out made the school discos look like sad little shindigs in a cold, echoey hall (which they were). I have a very vivid memory of giving it large to this song, several Bacardi and cokes to the good, before picking up a burger (there are ‘restaurants‘ open at this time of night?!) on the way home.

Bonkers - Dizzee Rascal

On my first holiday abroad with my then-boyfriend-now-husband, we went to a resort in Tenerife which had its own nightclub attached. One night, we ventured to the club for karaoke night. There
were about five people there so it was clearly buzzing. I chose to rap this song – I don’t know why – and was so bad that, according to my husband, the DJ turned the soundtrack up to drown me out. That didn’t stop one the other clubbers raving hard along to my performance - this must be what it feels like to be a celebrity I thought. Probably not, I imagined, when I’d sobered up.

Pencil Full of Lead - Paulo Nutini

We wanted something a bit different for our first dance at our wedding so we chose this as the words just resonated with us, and it is a 50s-style tune which fitted in with our wedding theme. We didn’t let people know this was our song of choice though and began our ‘moment’ on the dancefloor with some gentle moves to ‘Especially For You’ by Kylie and Jason before we switched to this. I danced with more energy and enthusiasm than ever before, bursting with absolute joy.

Song for Gavin - Ludovico Einaudi

When my daughter was a little baby, we used to listen to the Classic FM chart on a Sunday before her bedtime. I remember very clearly on one occasion, this song playing as the album was number one. I just swayed my daughter in my arms to the beautiful tune. It moved me so much, that moment, that I cried. When my baby turned one, my daughter was featured as the ‘Sunday Special’ on Aled Jones’ show on Classic FM and this was played for her. I blubbed as I recalled the way I had felt the first time I heard it; unadulterated, absolute love for my girl, so much so that I thought my heart would burst.

There are some great tracks in Michelle's list - I love Take on Me, I have my mum to thank for liking the original and I loved it when A1 covered it in my teenage years. Do They Know It's Christmas has to be one of the best known Christmas songs ever and although it has a very serious message you can't help but sing along when it comes on the radio. 

What do you think to Michelle's Tracks? Want us to feature yours? If so please get in touch.

Halloween Party Essentials

Every party needs party games. Here are a few suggestions that your little monsters are sure to love this Halloween. For those who are too little to play games, I've included a few toy suggestions which I'm sure will go down a treat.

1. BeanBoozled Game - What's not to love about a game of BeanBoozled - Jelly Belly BeanBoozled jelly beans are a collection of 16 look-alike flavours and the ultimate candy roulette. Some are so crazy they are not to be believed, while others are the delicious Jelly Belly beans we have come to know and love. Canned Dog Food and Baby Wipe flavours are twinned with scrumptious Chocolate Pudding and Coconut. They join the delicious Tutti Fruitti and the not so delicious Stinky Socks flavour duo. Good or gag? And there’s Vomit or Peach. Truly. Either way, they really do taste shockingly authentic. The beans look identical and every bite will be a surprising dare.

2. Gross Magic - Gross Magic suitable for children aged 8 and up. This gruesome set is sure to be a big hit with budding magicians this Halloween. The set features props and ideas for more than forty revolting magic tricks and illusions. Impress your audience (or victims!) with your ‘clean to dirty’ toilet and ‘poo paper', hatching cockroach eggs, slime in a dustbin, jumping and vanishing bogies, pretend veins, a squidgy telepathic brain and much more. Lovely....

3. Ghost Hunt Evolution - Get ready to chase projected ghosts with the Ghost Hunt Evolution Game. Turn down the lights, put on the 3D glasses and shoot at the ghosts and bats that are projected on the wall by Billy Bones.There are 3 settings, easy, medium, and hard. Every time you hit the target, a point is rewarded. Highest score wins! Includes 1 x Billy Bones projector, 1 x laser gun, 1 x 3D glasses.

4. Tarantula Tango - The wild Tango Tarantula is desperately looking for one of the animals as a dancing partner! But the animals get scared and cry out every time the hairy and poisonous spider looks at them! The winner is the first contestant to get rid of their cards. A fast and fun game for all the family. Tarantula Tango takes 15 to 20 minutes to play and is suitable for 2-5 players aged 7 and up.

5. Star Wars Vile Villains Ultimate Sticker Collection - from DK is a fiendishly fun book with over 1,000 colourful stickers is perfect for Halloween (for children aged 6+). The collection is packed full of spooky places, scary monsters and vile villains from the Star Wars galaxy, including Star Wars The Force Awakens.Star Wars villains such as Darth Vader, Count Dooku and Kylo Ren are included. The book is bursting with reusable, full-colour stickers which you can use to decorate your pencil case, bag and other belongings.

6. Zombie Popper - Ever wanted to shoot a Zombie's brains out - well now you can with Zombie Popper. By putting a small foam ball in his head and squeezing his body you will be able to pop his brains out and the harder you squeeze him, the further the six soft foam brain balls will go. It can be used both indoors and outdoors.

7. Itty Bitty Witches - Fans of the Wizard of Oz will be blown away by these tiny versions of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. They are both available from Hallmark. These quality plush toys will make the perfect gift for anyone of any age. You can collect other Wizard of Oz Itty Bitty's as well as many other characters from well known and loved TV programmes and films.

8. Baby Born Baby Dragon - This super soft & cuddly plush Baby Dragon is one of Baby Born's newest friends. Touch Baby Dragon with the magic wand to activate cute music & sounds. The dragon would make a perfect Halloween present for a little one who is too young to enjoy party games or trick or treating.

Anyone going to a party or out trick or treating needs a costume for the occasion. Here are some of our suggestions for this year.

1. Aldi have a range of creepy costumes available to buy instore. Children can choose from witch, skeleton, mummy or pumpkin costumes and there's even a few costume choices for adults, should they wish to join in the fun, although if they want to get into the Halloween spirit but don't want to get fully dressed up Aldi have various Tshirt designs to choose from too. They also have accessories available to buy so you can complete your outfit including a Face Paint Kit, Halloween Boppers, Spectacles and Halloween Mask Books which has a variety of masks that are easy to colour in and pop-out.

2. Witch Tights - We all know how cold Trick or Treating can be and how little ones who are dressing up don't want to spoil their costume by wearing thick clothes, so why not treat them to a pair of these cute witch tights from the SockShop. I love the purple colour of these tights but love the sparkly witches that are dotted all over them - I wish they made them in my size.

3. Nail Wraps - Jamberry recently launched their nail wraps here in the UK. The vinyl nail wraps are easy to apply. They are pressure and heat activated to adhere to your nails for long lasting and a beautiful look. The wraps are made with durable materials, so smudges and streaks are never an issue and can last up to two weeks on hands and four weeks on toes - who says that making your nails look fabulous is a long and tedious job.

4. Sainsburys have a huge range of costumes available for little ones this Halloween, with prices starting from just £7 and in sizes suitable from 9 months - 12 years old there's sure to be something for everyone to wear whilst trick or treating. Our favourites from TU include their Vampire with lights and sounds costume, Blue Halloween Skeleton, Red Halloween Pirate and their Frankenstein Costume.

1. Cadbury treats are a firm family favourite, if you're having a party or expecting visitors to your door this Halloween they have plenty of treats that I'm sure would go down a treat.

  • Crunchy Spiders -  Delve your fangs into these tasty but oh so terrifying treats; each Cadbury Crunchy Spider is filled with crisp green rice balls covered in tasty chocolate. 
  • Ghooost Eggs - New for 2016 is a deliciously chilling Cadbury chocolate egg filled with gooey white fondant. This is a treat with a spooky twist, as pesky phantoms have stolen the yolks from some of the eggs this year. Devilish detectives who locate one of the 50 hidden eggs containing a yolk and winning coupon will instantly win a family ticket to Alton Towers Scarefest. So get hunting to find these delicious Cadbury ghooost eggs across the nation. 
  • Family Treat Bags - selections will help you delight every vampire or ghostly ghoul that knocks on your door. Available in variety and single bar packs and vary in size from 12 - 40 bar packs.

2. Aldi Specialbuys - Aldi has plenty of sweets and treats in store this Halloween starting from as little as 49p so whether you're hosting a part of expecting a tribe of trick or treaters at your door they are sure to have something you'll like including chocolate ghost eggs, Scary Chocolate Shapes or a huge Tub of Sweets from Swizzles. But as with all Aldi's Specialbuys once they've gone, they've gone....

3. The Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook - A cookbook written by monsters that has been edited so that humans can enjoy their "delicious" recipes. So whether you are entertaining trolls, hosting a vampire soiree or expecting zombies round for tea, you can make delicious treats to suit every occasion. It also contains helpful house (cave/lair/coffin) keeping tips and advice on entertaining your guests - there's even a section on how to carve a human - delightful huh?....

A Halloween party isn't a party without lots of spooky decorations, but you don't have to spend a fortune either for your house to look the part. There are some fabulous looking decorations out there too.

1. Transform any room into the spookiest of spaces with Aldi’s Animated Decorations and Hanging Decorations including a rocker, prisoner or skeleton as well as Aldi’s Halloween Webs & Clings that will create the spookiest of atmospheres or how about one of their Halloween Inflatable Characters (with LED lights) available in Ghost, Dracula, Black Cat or Pumpkin designs. Trick or treaters are sure to get a fright with Aldi’s Musical Door Knockers & Skeletons which sing, light up. 

2. We all know the dangers of candles at any time of year but more so at Halloween - we've seen the news headlines. But candles are a huge decoration at Halloween as they create the perfect spooky atmosphere. How about you using LEDs instead of a real flame to create that much needed spooky atmosphere. You could use both LED Tealights & candles around your home instead. LED Hut has both candles and tealight available so that you can be spooky and safe this Halloween.

  • Battery Powered Tea Lights - These LED tea lights come in a pack of five and are so realistic you’d never know that they’re battery-powered! They’re perfect for using in pumpkin lanterns and can also be used to create spooky displays around the home.
  • Real Wax LED Candles with melted edges - This LED candle set just got spookier thanks to the melted edges effect - they really could be mistaken for the real thing! They will create the perfect Halloween party atmosphere and unlike real candles, they’ll last longer and won't blow-out.

*The products mentioned in this post were sent for the purpose of this piece - all thoughts and opinons expressed are my own*

Tracks of My Years - Miracle Max

This week's Tracks of My Years is written by the very lovely Jo who blogs over at Miracle Max. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter and InstagramJo, it's over to you and the Tracks of your Years.

Music always has and always will be a big part of my life. So many songs bring back special memories to me but I’ve tried to narrow it down to some of my favourites:

Remote Control Thunderbird 2 Review

Thunderbirds Are Go... with the new remote control Thunderbird 2 toy from Air Hogs

My Three love trying out new toys so when they were recently asked to try it out they couldn't wait to put it through its paces.