Creating a Magical Unicorn-themed Birthday Party*

*This is a collaborative post*

For the last few years, this wondrous mythical creature has dominated every aspect of modern living. Clothing, gifts, drinks and even what we eat has all been touched by unicorn magic.

Pastels, glitter and rainbows play a huge part in creating a unicorn theme and it is a great option for a birthday party for little ones as well as adults! Who doesn’t love a unicorn?

Your first port of call when organising the party is to head to somewhere like Pinterest to get some awesome ideas and to really delve into the unicorn mindset…

Unicorn-inspired Party Food

First things first, let’s get the food sorted. The main event is definitely the birthday cake, and you can either roll up your sleeves and give some home baking a go, or make your life a little easier with something shop-bought.

For the latter, Marks and Spencer have an impressive rainbow layer cake that has six spongy layers of multi-coloured yumminess and an endless number of sprinkles. Or, if you want to keep it strictly unicorn, then notonthehighstreet have these cute little cake pops for your guests to feast on.

If you’re taking on the bake yourself, this YouTube video from Nerdy Mummies – with over 8 million views – talks you through the process and the end result is pretty impressive.

For drinks, you can go with any pastel coloured drink including pink lemonade (one Pinterest user has coined this ‘prancing pink lemonade’); a blue coloured drink – perhaps blueberry or bubblegum – named ‘unicorn tears’; and even some mouth-watering milkshakes packed full of colourful ice creams, sprinkles, edible glitter and rainbow sweeties.

Alcohol-wise, Cosmopolitan recently shared 12 unicorn cocktail ideas that are sure to go down a treat if your party is for the over 18's. The ‘Golden Unicorn’ cocktail looks so delicious!

Fancy Dress Options

The unicorn onesie is an excellent choice for comfort and style. This one from ASOS combines rainbow colours with a cute hood of unicorn ears, nose and horn. Another onesie option, this time for children, comes from ASDA and is just adorable.

If you want something a little more ‘partywear’ than ‘sleepwear’, there’s so many ways to go. You can do something homemade, making sure you include glitter, rainbows and a unicorn horn; you could make a real statement by joining the hair craze of unicorn dyed hair; or you can go all out with a costume that makes you look as though you are a princess riding a unicorn!

Magical Party Games

To make the most of these games, be sure to create as big a space as possible in your home. You can move furniture around or move it to another part of the house to create lots of room for unicorn-themed fun, as well as using internal room dividers to really open two rooms into one.

Let the games commence!

Unicorn piñata – All you need is a blindfold, small bat and a unicorn piñata filled full of colourful sweets. Adding some glitter in too will mean that the winning whack will shower the floor with sparkles.

Pin the horn on the unicorn – Just like pin the tail on the donkey but that little bit more special. Blindfold required!

Unicorn-themed ring toss – You can easily create some colourful unicorn horns to be glued onto paper plates. Place them at varying distances – each with a different amount of points to be scored – and see who has the best aim…

The tallest unicorn horn – This game is so simple and cheap to put together. Simply buy some packs of Oreos (the colourful filling ones are best) and get the participants to work in teams of two to stack the cookies on one of their foreheads. The one who stacks the highest without it toppling over is the winner.

Don’t Forget the Party Bags!

One of the best things about a birthday party is the little goody bag you get to take home at the end of it. Without spending a fortune, you can give a little party bag that is filled full of magic. To start with, you can throw in some colourful sweets to brighten up the bag – some great options include fizzy rainbow bites, rainbow drops (a classic) and love hearts.

Etsy has some great party bag ideas that include hair ties, crayons, toys, badges and unicorn headbands. Even cheaper options are tiny unicorn jigsaw puzzles, small colouring in books and pencils, and unicorn magic.

The last of these party bag options is something you can easily make yourself. Just buy some super small glass jars with a cork stopper and fill with pastel coloured glitters – the more the better! Place a tiny label on the bottle saying ‘uniron magic’ and you’re done.

Too Hot To Handle*

*This is a collaborative post*

If you're looking to escape the cold with a winter sun holiday, then have a read of this and you'll soon be dreaming of jetting off to some exotic location!

We all have that one holiday photo right? The one that causes mass hysteria or that you show to every friend and family member. The one you love so much that you use it for every one of your social media profile pics! Well for me, this photo would be the one above of my nephew. Taken by my sister whilst holidaying in Alanya in Antalya, Turkey, it's my favourite of all the pics because it's such a candid shot and Isaac's expression is priceless! 

My sister and her other half had opted for Turkey after coming across a good two week all inclusive deal - and in the school summer holidays - so it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Note that the price went up just a few days later too, talk about dropping lucky! 

The holiday itself had been kept a secret from Isaac right up until the very last moment, it's something my sister thought they'd only be able to get away with once, and so they pulled out all the stops to keep it under wraps, only revealing the surprise once they got to the airport. Giddy with excitement, at first Isaac didn't even believe it was happening and kept asking if it was a dream. Little cutie that he is, Isaac rang me on the way to congratulate me on managing to keep the whole holiday quiet - I am terrible at keeping secrets! 

As for the photo, we're all Christmas lovers in our family so it was a given that when Isaac saw this sleigh, he'd want the obligatory photo. There were numerous statues in the centre of the town but the sleigh was a firm favourite. Isaac sat in it pretending to be Santa, not realising just how hot it was going to be (although he did find it very funny!) A little bit of Christmas in a 42 degree heat! Not quite the frosty Christmases we're so used to in the UK - or so fond of. 

Joelle said they couldn't have felt safer where they were or in the places they went to and that the hotel, Diamond Hill resort and spa, is one she'd recommend if you're looking for somewhere to book. There were so many nice restaurants nearby with really friendly staff, although sadly, the staff said they don't have as many English tourists since the terror attacks. 

Wether it was relaxing by the pool, Isaac - little fish that he is - spent lots of time swimming, or enjoying one of many day trips out, it really gave them two weeks of what they needed - uninterrupted family time. 

Although they'd go back, they try to book somewhere different each time just for variation. After all it's nice to give somewhere new a chance! 

On a final note, my sister says if you get the opportunity to surprise your child with a holiday then definitely do it!

Are you planning on taking a holiday soon? Would you go to Turkey?

*With thanks to Joelle for her help in writing this post and for all her input.

Getting Online Dating Right And Why It Doesn't Matter*

*This is a collaborative post*

They say if you stay single long enough, you'll get wiser about dating, so why is it that ten or twenty years into dating you can still experience those dating disasters? How can you miscalculate so insanely that the dark brooding six foot guy you swiped right on Tinder would arrive to a cinema date in a pair of joggers and a coupon. Leaving you wondering are you really getting wiser? Should you have known better at this point or is the world of online dating making it harder for anyone to be an expert?

Dating apps have changed the game, suddenly to speak to that guy or girl you've been crushing on you have to wait in hope that a swipe right provides you with the permission to do so, gone are the days you could buy them a drink from the bar and let that peppy bartender do the talking to break the ice. Creating dating profiles filters down the specific type of individual a person is interested in too... so as soon as someone states they're looking for a high earner, it doesn't matter how much charm or personality you have that ordinarily would have won them over... you can't tick that high earner box so you won't be on their radar.

So all this leads to a new style of dating, I call it the stabbing in the dark method. Obviously you've already seen something in a person that attracts you physically to them, so that base is covered at least. Beyond that though, excluding a brief profile of interests (which let's be honest, are hardly ever honest!) you really don't know anything about that other person. So you're not to blame when you arrive at the date, to find the most intellectual conversation they can form revolves around their pecs, or when they eat with their hands on a first date. These aren't things a profile is going to tell you, and you just have to learn them as the night goes on.

Most people will know within an hour if you're planning on taking the date further, whether that's further into the night or into more dates... and that's fine. You've misjudged, you're not an expert, you're no wiser in dating then you were when you tried to awkwardly smile at the guy from the smoking area in the bar back in 99', it doesn't matter. Take everything in, enjoy the evening to its fullest. Drink your drink and remember that you don't want to see this guy again... so what does it matter if you get drunk in front of him? Let him talk about his pecs, let him use the coupons, let him do all the things that are making you cringe. By the morning it'll be over and and by the weekend you can sit at brunch and laugh hysterically with your friends at every little detail that could have been agony had you decided to take it seriously. By the time you're in your 40's, reminiscing about it all, just remember, its cannon fodder for your hilarious autobiography detailing what it was like to be a single during the wake of the age of dating apps, and how before everyone had it figured out, you were wildly stabbing in the dark hoping that eventually you would get it right. 

After all, you only need to get it right once right?

No matter where you live, there's a dating site for you! Why not try one of these?

Aberdeen dating site, Norfolk dating site, over 50s dating Northamptonshire, Sheffield dating site and Southampton dating site.

*Written by Jason Machin

By Request: September Catch Up!

This rather impromptu post comes your way due to one reader's request! Apparently some of you are missing my older style posts, the personal catch ups and the likes, so here this one is just for you! *Waves* (And don't worry, I now plan to schedule more of these in the future.)

What's new?

Since I last did a catch up post - btw when even was that?? Time flies - Things have been altogether hectic. I have been literally non-stop with my writing work which is fantastic and exactly what I wanted. There's loads more collaborative posts coming to GGD over the next few months and I do love working on each and every one of them. I've even had to take on writers to help with the workload. You may have noticed my brother has written a couple of posts? You'll be reading more from him and the other contributors on a regular basis. 

I took two weeks off from the day job in August. The first of which saw me just *chilling at home - *read blogging and writing non stop - and I loved every minute of it. The second week was spent at Craig Tara Haven in Ayr, Scotland. The holiday itself didn't turn out so great for me, purely because I fell really poorly whilst I was there and spent the majority of the week in bed, on antibiotics, holed up in the caravan. The boys however, and my sister, seemed to have a wonderful time. I managed to get out a couple of times later on in the week just to watch the boys do some of their activities. 

On a plus note - and this is HUGE for me - I drove us all the way from Lancashire to Scotland. Yeah, yeah some of you will be like and? But this is me. She who never ventures further than the end of her nose. She who will not travel on a train by herself. My anxiety usually wins out. But not this time. A patient kindly loaned me his sat nav and so off we tootled. After almost four hours - and several stops - we arrived at our first destination of choice, Gretna Green. Obligatory photo with my eldest nephew here...

An hour or so more of travelling later and we arrived at Haven. I have to say it was actually not that bad. And after doing it, I now feel confident at trying other road trips. Watch this space...

Back in the land of reality now the holiday is over and it's all been work, work and work. I may potentially have landed an 'actual' writing job too. Time will tell if it works out but I'm hugely excited. Career wise, things are starting to all slot nicely into place, all part of the much bigger plan!

Nathan turned eleven on Wednesday. Eleven. How did that happen? The years have whizzed by. So proud of what a fine young man he is turning into. He'll no doubt tell me I'm embarrassing him when he sees this! :)

Lastly before I go, who else is psyched that it's Autumn? Strictly has started, the colours are changing, the weather is cooling and I can smell Christmas in the air! Ahhhhh. Love it. But enough of my craziness... 

Until next time my lovely lot... xxx

A Little Auto Love N' Car: Car Maintenance with Fife Auto Centre*

*This is a collaborative post*

I think it's fairly safe to say that Summer is well and truly over, the nights are drawing in (minutes earlier each day to be precise), there's a freshness in the air and already some trees are beginning to shed some of their leaves. This of course can mean only one thing, Winter is on it's way. And so with that in mind and with the perils that the British Seasons can poise to drivers here a few tips which will hopefully come in handy should you need them regarding simple car maintenance.
N.B. I myself am not a mechanic nor am I at all knowledgeable when it comes to any kind of vehicle related technical jargon, but I have found tips such as these useful in recent years. 

Tyres; every two weeks check the pressure of your tyres, look out for cuts, general wear and tear and also check your tread is within the legal limits. For those whom it may be of interest; you can reserve your tyres in Stirling on Fife Auto Centre and get local fitting.
Water; while your engine is cold, check the coolant level is between the Min and Max points, and a seasonal piece of advice as we enter these colder months is to check your anti freeze and ensure it is topped up. Also with regards to your windscreen wash system, please make sure you check weekly and use a good screen wash additive which does not freeze and which clears oily grime. 
Lights; check all of your lights weekly, look out for blown out bulbs, cracks and/or dirt on the lenses. Remember to check all lights, fog, brake, indicator, reversing and hazard lights. 
Oil; every fortnight or so, use a dipstick to check oil levels, and top up where necessary, make sure you check the oil levels prior to any long journey too.
If your vehicle has a spare wheel, ensure you carry a jack and the necessary toolkit to carry out a wheel change should the need arise.
Car Maintenance is really important and with a few simple checks and knowing a few tips it can just give you a little extra peace of mind when out on the roads, as well as potentially saving you money. Drive safely good people. 

*Written by Michael David

Michael is a graduate of the University of Durham. As well as writing he has a keen interest in various sports from Rugby Union to MMA, he is also passionate about Business, Finance and Current Affairs. 

You can read more from Michael here.

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