Half Term

  • 4 Fun Easter Activities for the Whole Family

    Easter is almost upon us, and so is the 2-week break from school for all those happy kiddies out there! What better way to spend it as a family than doing some creative and crafty activities together? Here's a pick of 4 fantastic things you can all do together and make this Easter truly special?

    Crafting & Making

    Let both grown-ups and little ones alike get crafty with this Easter-themed craft kit! It's the perfect set of coloured paper shapes (with glittery butterflies and bunnies in abundance), string, and sequins. You'll have everything you need to make great Easter cards for relatives or even an Easter masterpiece to put on the fridge!

    However, if you feel like wearing what you craft, why not check out our Make Your Own Easter Bonnet Kit! What better way to celebrate Easter and give the kids something fun and creative to do than designing their own Easter bonnet?! It's a great and fun activity for all the family.

    Baking Up A Treat

    Get your bake-on and try your hand at making some delicious Easter cupcakes with this decorating kit! Baking is the perfect Easter activity, and with this adorable cupcake decorating kit, you'll be able to make and decorate your own easter cupcakes! Containing 24 cupcake cases and 24 assorted toppers, this cupcake decorating set is bound to help you create some delicious Easter treats!

    Or if cupcakes aren't your thing, why not check out these Easter Cookie Cutters! Containing 2 rabbit shapes, an egg shape, and a chick shape, this cookie cutter set is bound to help you create some delicious Easter treats!

    Decorate Your Own Easter Egg!

    Why not just get into the Easter spirit and take part in the grand tradition of decorating your own Easter egg?! With this standard carton of designable plain eggs, you can use the 5 washable markers provided so your little ones can turn those six boring eggs into something fantastic and egg-citing using all manner of patterns and colours!

    Easter Egg Hunt

    Finally, why not go with the tradition and fun activity that is a grand Easter egg hunt?! With our very own Easter Egg Hunt Kit, you and your little ones will have everything for the perfect activity for this upcoming break! Contains various egg counters, adorable 'this way signs', and storage bags, everything needed for an egg-citing time!

    How about checking out where your nearest store is so you can grab these fantastic bargains before they're all gone? Our useful Store Finder is the ideal way to find directions and opening times of all the stores in your area. Be sure to check out our Facebook Twitter pages to hear more about other great bargains and competitions happening right now!

  • Recipe: Devilicious Halloween Cookies

    These devilicious cookies are the perfect treat for your ghoulish guests this Halloween!  Use our cookie cutters to create spooky shapes then get creative with your icing to really make these cookies spooktacular!

    Preparation time: 1 to 2 hours

    Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins

    Serves: 20

    Ingredients

    • 250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
    • 250g/9oz golden caster sugar
    • 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 500g/1lb 2oz plain flour
    • red and black food colouring (optional)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • Halloween-themed cookie cutters
    • red, white and black writing icing
    • 200g/7oz ready-to-roll fondant icing
    • 1 tbsp apricot jam, warmed with 1tsp water

    Method

    1. Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, preferably using an electric mixer, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. (If the mixture looks a little curdled, add a spoonful of the flour.) If you’re using food colouring, add a few drops to the mixture.

    2. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Stir the flour into the butter mixture and work into a dough using floured hands. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead into a ball (the dough will be quite wet). Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

    3. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

    4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on lightly floured work surface. (It’s best to roll out one portion of the dough at a time, leaving the remainder in the fridge.) Cut shapes out with the Halloween cutters. Take a few limbs and heads off the gingerbread man for added gore.

    5. Place the cookies onto the baking tray, leaving a gap between them in case they spread a little.

    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

    7. Once cool, let your imagination run wild. Use the red writing icing along the edges of the missing limbs and heads as blood. For the skeletons and mummies, roll the fondant icing out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a work surface dusted with icing sugar and cut out shapes using the same cutters as the cookies. Brush the cookies with the warmed apricot jam and stick the icing onto the cookies. Decorate with the white and black writing icing.

    Recipe credit: BBC Food

  • 6 Easy DIY hacks for spooktacular Halloween decorations!

    Looking for an affordable way to turn your home into a devilishly sinister haunted house this Halloween? Look no further because we’ve put together 6 easy Halloween hacks for spooky decorations below! Scroll down if you dare to discover some amazing DIY decorations, from petrifying painted pumpkins to creepy candles!

    Creepy Candles

    These creepy candles are super easy and a great decoration to place anywhere around the home this Halloween! Simply take a permanent marker and draw on two eyes and a mouth to create ghastly faces! No matter how simple or complex your designs, these candles are bound to creep out your guests!

    via www.growingspaces.net

    Painted Pumpkins

    Want to create some petrifying pumpkins without the mess? Grab a paintbrush and get creative with some painted pumpkin designs! Take inspiration from these amazing creations and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. So easy but SO effective!

    via www.thismama.co.uk

    Mason Jar Mummies

    These mason jar mummies are a great way to create a spooktacular atmosphere this Halloween. Simply wrap bandages around your jar and secure with glue (or even tie in a knot!), then glue on some googly eyes and pop in a tea light! You can even place in our colour changing LED tea lights for a twist on the classic lantern! Browse our selection of mason jars here!

    via www.alittleclaireification.com

    Wall of Bats

    A simple yet fangtastically effective Halloween project is to create a terrifying wall of bats! Print out this bat stencil, then take some black card and fold in half. Place the edge of the stencil marked ‘FOLD’ along the fold in the black card and cut out your bat shape. Unfold and stick to the wall with blu tack! Create as many bats as you like in as many sizes as you want…the more the better!

    via www.madeeveryday.com

    Tangerine Pumpkins

    A cute and quirky alternative to the classic pumpkin, these tangerine pumpkins are perfect for Halloween! Simply take a black marker and draw on your scariest pumpkin design!

    via www.pinterest.com

    Lollypop Ghosts

    We love these cute lollypop ghost creations and they’re super easy to make! Take a lollypop, like one of these Swizzels fruity pop lickables, and wrap a tissue around. Secure with ribbon or an elastic band and draw on your spookiest face! The perfect Halloween treats for your party guests!

    via www.onelittleproject.com

     

     

  • The HOW TO guide: get fired up for National BBQ Week and avoid the backseat grillers...

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    If there’s one thing us Brits are good at apart from complaining about the weather it’s justifying a BBQ the minute the sun comes out. It could be 4°C with gale-force winds but, if there’s a whisper of sunshine, you can guarantee an apocalyptic-type surge will descend on the supermarkets for bread buns and burgers.

    But as national BBQ week is upon us, and, with the weather set to reach fore-head burning temperatures, I feel it necessary to map out the essentials you’ll be needing to make sure you put on a show-stopping BBQ!

    Tools

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    BBQs have come a long way since the days where you’d shove a couple of sausages on a disposable BBQ and wait until they were suitably scorched. Nowadays, even the disposable BBQs are like inexpensive mini-ovens so it’s easier to get your own alfresco grill on the go! Generally, what you pay for is what you get but for those of us not willing to take out a second mortgage for a piece of equipment that, realistically, might only be used a couple of times a year, you can pick up a decent portable BBQ and get change from a tenner!

    Stock your Toolbox!

    shutterstock_400890382Secondly, it’s important to remember the essential equipment to optimise your cooking experience whilst minimising any unnecessary hiccups. The last thing you want is singed fingers because you picked up your Rib-Eye directly off the grill with your bare hands. Be prepared! And get your Barbi toolkit stocked with prongs, tongues and a spatula. You can thank me later when your chicken breasts are evenly cooked and your fingerprints are still in-tact.

    Condiments and Sides

    They say behind every great man, there’s a great woman supporting him and the same applies to a BBQ. It’s not all about the BBQ. To be successful, a BBQ cannot stand alone— no BBQ’s an island. It’s almost become its own culture­— a state of mind, an art-form.

    shutterstock_452355661When you go to a BBQ, you know you’re not going to be sticking to that beach-ready body diet you’ve been miserably following all week. It’s the weekend! Those two beautiful days where Sauvignon flows at lunch time and nibbling becomes a national sport.

    The bits on the side.

    Make sure you kit the tables out with the basics; nuts, cucumber batons, egg mayo, spring rolls, samosas, battered mushrooms, sausage rolls, pork pies! Then, if you’ve got space; crispy sweet potato fries and cheesy nachos, pasta salads and coleslaw are all strong contenders to add to the grazing table too!

    Get on the sauce

    But no BBQ would be complete without an army of condiments ; mayos, mustards, ketchup, BBQ sauces, home-made salsa and guacamole, tangy salad dressings and creamy Hummus. Get ‘on the sauce’ this BBQ season and embrace the benefits of a good Saturday afternoon snacking session!

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    So, give your guests something proper to go with their chicken wings. Long gone are the days when a block of cheddar and a family-sized jar of pickled onions would’ve sufficed. You’re playing with the big [hot]dogs now so make sure you take your spread seriously!

    Remember: This isn’t the charity bingo at your local town hall.

    This… Is… BBQ’ing.

    The Main Event

    Once upon a time, a British BBQ would typically have involved the cheapest of minced beef burgers and possibly a 60p pack of sausages thrown on to be cremated for an added treat. How times have changed!

    So make sure you don’t get a ‘grill’ing from your guests and get creative with what you’re putting between your baps this season!

    Get your guests chomping at the ‘spit’.

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    If you have the time, marinating is a good way to go. Toss a few prawns in with some garlic, chilli and a squeeze of lime for a fiery Thai-style starter. Or maybe give your guests a taste of the exotic with some middle-eastern Lamb Kebabs? If you want to keep it simple yet delicious, tin foil a seasoned Sea Bass fillet with a lemon wedge nestled in there for zest or why not go the whole hog and get sizzling some Sirloins?

    The world, as they say, is your oven.

    And for the foragers…

    BBQ’s are not just about catering for the carnivores anymore. No longer do the vegetarians of the group have to sit in the corner, sadly crunching through blackened bean burgers and bread sticks whilst everybody else gnashes at chicken drumsticks with a Henry VIII - type vigour.

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    Set to overtake Prosecco in terms of trendiness this summer: the dawn of Halloumi. Get those skewers piercing through peppers and courgettes and fire up some ‘squeaky cheese’ for a tasty veggie alternative to chicken! Mushrooms, aubergine, beef tomatoes- with the right herbs and spices, you can finally make your veggie mates’ mouths water because, after all, they deserve to enjoy a BBQ too!

    The final act.

    shutterstock_103581095Obviously when it comes to desserts, it’s up to you how you do it. Everyone loves the great British summer classics; Eton Mess, Victoria sponge and, of course, the illustrious tinned fruit trifle. But if you’re looking for scrumptiousness with minimal effort, then BBQ’ing a banana in foil with some chocolate works a treat! Obviously you can improvise with your choice of chocolate- anything from Lindt to a chopped up Crème Egg, and when it’s ready, you’ll have a delicious gooey treat to demolish. A guaranteed crowd pleaser!

    It’s messy but it is so worth it.

    Revive your refreshments!

    For many connoisseurs of the 'Bar-Be-Cue' realm, the food is the main event but if your drinks station isn’t properly  prepped, you may end up with a small rebellion to mediate. Having a crate strewn in the corner with a couple of bottles of warm pop for the drivers just won’t cut it anymore.

    People are a lot harder to impress nowadays. So, don’t fall short of the order and give your guests something to fizz about! In recent years, this retro-quirky-chic style has become immensely popular but can sometimes be pricey to replicate.

    278841-mason jar with straw_group on chopping boar_1000x1000Getting some fun glasses, though, can be a cheap way to create a ‘wow’ factor. Drinking your Orange juice out of a cute mason jar with a straw or an old-fashioned style milk bottle would definitely put a smile on your face- even if you are the designated driver. And from 49p a glass, you can plug a cork in your spending.

    And if you want to be really impressive, get your hands on a fabulous drinks dispenser for the table. Whether your style is vintage or quirky, a dispenser is an incredibly easy way to tart-up that homemade fruit punch you probably should’ve followed a recipe to make…

    Jazz up your drinks and make your guests feel special — it's a party, after all!

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    Give your garden a spring clean.

    Nobody’s expecting a ‘Mrs Bucket’ type approach when it comes to tidying up your garden after the grotty winter months, but there are a few economical and simple ways to inject some life back into your garden.

    Firstly, make sure you’ve got enough furniture.

    shutterstock_104506379Although most people tend to end up milling around the garden lazily, chatting, nibbling and slurping their Pimms, you want to give your guests the option of a comfy seat. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get some nice chairs. Outdoor furniture has come on leaps and bounds since those abominable plastic white yard chairs that your Grandma always brought out for garden parties.

    Pick up a few panama chairs – they come in loads of bright colours and actually make you want to sit down— not like their predecessors. But if they don’t take your fancy, there are loads to choose from, varying in colour, material and comfort, so you can give your guests a proper place to curl up when the sun sets and everyone’s eaten their fill!

    Twinkle under the stars…

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    And for when the sun goes down, sprinkle some solar onto your garden. With gorgeous fairy lights, hanging bulbs and stake lights from as little as 75p, it’s easy to give your garden a sparkling make-over without blowing your budget!

    So, there you have it —

    —a guide to not getting a ‘roast’ing this summer by bettering your neighbours’ BBQs and making sure yours is the best BBQ your street has ever seen!

  • The Savvy Parent's Guide To Half Term

    The Savvy Parent's Guide To Half Term

    So the kids are off, they’re full of energy, and they’re expecting their much anticipated half term to be filled with all manner of cool stuff to brag about when they get back to school. No problem, right? You’ll just whisk them away to some tropical island that’s always hot, is made of sweets, and is populated by all 802 Pokémon – easy.

    For those of us who don’t live in a fantasy world, coming up with ideas for half term that’re both fun and within our budget is slightly more difficult. While you’ll always have old faithful’s like a trip to the cinema or a wander around town, you can’t exactly fill an entire week with them - and even if you could, you want your kids to have a bit more fun than that anyway, don't you?

    Well luckily for you, Poundstretcher has just what you need to keep your kids entertained this week!

    loomz

    Arts and Crafts

    Let’s be real – while we’re all praying it won’t, it’s probably going to rain/ be cold/ be windy for the entire half term. But don’t worry ‘cause with our great range of arts and crafts kits, we’ve definitely got something to keep the kids occupied if you end up being stuck indoors this week.

    Why not see this as a chance to get the creative juices flowing and even learn a brand new skill? With the help of our incredibly fun craft kits, you can hold your child’s attention, and (if you’re lucky) get them into a brand new hobby!

    Give each other a stylish make over with the help of our Super Loomz Deluxe kit! Packed full of bands, beads, charms, and clips, along with a helpful loom board, this is the perfect kit for any budding fashionista!

    But if glam isn’t your kids jam and they’re more into traditional crafts, you could always introduce them to the wonderful world of knitting! Our super cool knit kit comes with 4 colourful yarns, a hoop needle, and some handy instructions on how to knit their very own hat! But don’t worry if they fall in love with the craft so fast that they run out of wool, as we also stock loads of yarn –meaning they’re free to try out loads more patterns and colours!

    And if you’ve got a budding scientist in your sights, you can blow their mind with this amazing solar robot kit! Educational and exciting, this cool character can be transformed into 14 equally exhilarating robot modes, including a crawling crab and a flashy speedster! Plus, with the added bonus of it taking on both land and water, we’re pretty sure you’ll be just as excited about it as your child!

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    And if your kid’s more arts than crafts, you can always pick up one of our great Disney themed art sets, and sit back and watch as they nurture their natural artistic talent!

    Outdoor Activities

    If by some miracle it’s actually warm enough to venture outside this half term, then you’re going to want to take a look at our great range of sporting equipment!

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    Combine the thrill of friendly competitive fun, with the kick of staying fit and active! With loads of great sporting sets to choose from including our cracking cricket kit, the glorious golf set, and our terrific tennis gear – you’ll have to start thinking of ways to get them back inside!

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    Camping

    If you’ve got itchy feet and are dying to get away, but you’ve just not got the funds to go abroad, then why not dig the tent out and take the family camping! With our extensive range of camping gear including our very useful picnic mat and travel rug, tent ground sheet, plastic cups and the all-important disposable BBQ set – you could give the kids the exciting trip away you’ve all been craving!

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    So if you’re stuck for ideas for on how to make this half term a humdinger, then get yourself down to your local Poundstretcher and pick up some supplies today!

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