Yes, it is that time of year again when the streets are becoming dusted with orange pumpkins and houses start to resemble a scene from The Haunting, adopting creepier façades with giant spiders, cobwebs and skeletons, in favour of hanging floral baskets. Let’s face it, thanks to our North American friends we have all become besotted with Halloween. Children have been planning their costumes, and mothers busily sew or recycle last year’s outfits while cramming endless packets of sweets into cupboards for hungry, eager trick or treaters! We have seen streets and neighborhood’s come together in recent years to celebrate this ancient Celtic Festival which has now become the highlight of every child’s October.
We have dedicated this Edition to everything that is spooktacuarly Halloween and how you can best prepare! So, let’s grab our pitch forks and scythes and lead the way in preparing for a memorable Halloween.
To kick us off we have Miriam Cooper from Mimi’s Bowl, the kids and family food specialist who founded this fantastic online community for parents to come together and share thoughts & recipes, to share her inside thoughts on Halloween and children’s food this time of year…
Miriam mother of 2 is the founder of Mimi’s Bowl. We love her modern baby and toddler recipes and her daily posts about what they eat at home @mimisbowl via Instagram and Facebook. Miriam shares her honest and realistic experiences of cooking at home for her family; whilst offering parent cooking hacks and recipes.
S: TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT MIMI’S BOWL?
M: Mimi’s Bowl is an online community for parents: who want parent-friendly recipes, from weaning onwards. There are so few relatable parent voices out there, sharing what they are actually eating and kid-tested recipes. Only a parent, who has been there, understands the determined rejection given by your baby, toddler, or child, when they squirm at the sight of food, you have lovingly made for them. I have been there… I post and write about children’s food to try and make it easier for parents who want their kids to be eating more healthily, with less hassle.
S: HOW DO YOU PREPARE HEALTHY NUTRITIOUS SNACKS, FOR THE KIDS?
M: This is actually the question I get asked most. I think it’s because it is all too easy to reach for a packet snack, in a rush. Don’t get me wrong packet snacks are convenient and easy, for instance I wouldn’t travel without them, but they just aren’t what I want my kids to be eating twice a day (for a morning and afternoon snack).
The key thing with snacks is they should be easy: a banana/ a mashed avocado, a pot of natural yogurt all take seconds. Account for snacks in your weekly shop: if you are going to make oat bars that is great, but make sure all the ingredients are in your kitchen ready. The other thing I would say is whilst we all consider our footprint and wasting less, I find snacks a great way of using up leftovers: a boiled egg from breakfast, or roasted veggies from dinner, chopped up and mixed with a little grated cheese, then toasted in a whole meal wrap. The list goes on… It is also worth investing in snack boxes, with compartments (I liked stainless steel ones). Children are very visual and like a selection of snacks to choose from, they often try more new foods this way too.
I recently wrote a bigger feature on Snack Ideas at Mimi’s Bowl, if you want more simple and quick ideas.
S: WHAT ARE HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE TREATS?
M: My kids love my Hot Chocolate Porridge, which is really delicious and adds cacao, to their morning oats. Also I often make them Mimi’s Hot Chocolate, my version has added banana and cinnamon. Good for kids and grownups too, especially if you have been out in the cold.
S: ANY TIPS ON HOW TO STOP CHILDREN OVER-INDULGING ON CANDY THEY HAVE COLLECTED?
M: I think the fun is in collecting the sweets, with their friends, more than really eating them. I try and put the emphasis on the experience, dressing up in spooky Halloween outfits and spending time together. We collect sweets and then agree to choose a couple of try. But every parent must do what works for them.
I think it is also worth trickle treating early, the timings work better for small children. Then you can get them home for a proper supper, with the promise of a few of their sweet treats afterwards. It is important to remember that chocolate contains caffeine and is not ideal for children under 2 years old.
S: YOU ALWAYS HAVE BEAUTIFUL PRESENTATION – HOW WOULD YOU DRESS YOUR HALLOWEEN TABLE?
M: I like a variety of mini pumpkins down the centre of the table: they look gorgeous and last brilliantly. Often, they migrate, to the mantlepiece in my kitchen and serve as decorations for a few weeks. I like small bowls of tangerines down the table too, for everyone to help themselves. I also make gingerbread biscuits, using bat and cat cookie cutters which go in little bowls on the table also.
For decorations I like Meri Meri, who have a great selection for Halloween. This year I love their Skeleton Crackers, Spider Balloons I would tie one on each chair and Ghost Napkins for each table setting. Not on the High Street, also has a good selection I like these Themed Fun Glasses for photos and dressing up.
S: ANY GREAT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HALLOWEEN TRICK OR TREAT BAGS THAT ARE ECO FRIENDLY?
M: I think we are all wary of not buying single-use plastic buckets. You can get some great personalised bags, made from fabric: which can be kept for the following years to come. I also like smaller designs, like this Bat Bag, as they hold a small/ reasonable amount of treats. Some years we have also used little baskets, which I have decorated with personalised tags.
S: SUSTAINABLABILITY IS VERY IMPORTANT TO STORCX AND OUR CLIENT BASE. WHAT SORT OF SUSTAINABLE DECORATIONS WOULD YOU RECOOMEND?
M: Absolutely pumpkins! The best and original decorations for Halloween. You can carve them, but last year we painted some last year in white and black and they looked amazing.
If your kids love crafts, then why not make Halloween bunting, or letters, out of fabric. Use pretty fabrics with stars and moons and add to it each year.
Finally, baking together: biscuits or muffins: I now use reusable muffin cases, which you can get on amazon.
S: WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER WORN ON HALLOWEEN?
M: Pre-children my husband and I went to a Halloween party and I left him in charge of the costumes. I was busy travelling, I was formerly a fashion buyer and not in the UK. He hired Fred and Wilma Flintstone costumes. On my return, I was horrified to find my outfit was essentially a white bikini set and a can of orange hair spray. Given the temperatures in London were sub-zero I ended up having to take an old white dress and slash it at the last minute. That was the last time he was ever given the task of picking me an outfit.
S: WHAT IS THE BEST GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
M: a pair of vintage earrings my husband bought me after the birth of my daughter from William & Son I will give them to my daughter when she is older.
For most of us Halloween this year falls during October half term, which means we can take advantage of all London has to offer. Being a city rich in history, treachery and murder, offers the most wonderful backdrop to an array of activities at Halloween, with the majority of palaces, museums and historic buildings offering an eclectic mix of Halloween themed events.
Think The Tower of London, London Dungeons, Hampton Court Palace and some of London’s most notorious cemeteries which are hosting a series of talks during London Month of the Dead www.londonmonthofthedead.com. Try it if you dare!
Ever fancied a tour of London on a ghost Bus? Discover London’s most haunted, dangerous, and gory secrets on board a sightseeing bus with actors and lighting trickery to get you in the spirit! www.theghostbustours.com
You can also experience the Tales Of Plague Walk (age 10+). www.talesofplague.co.uk Boasting heart-stopping tales, the surprise appearance of humorous historical characters, and views of some of London’s most famous landmarks, this is the ultimate tour and the best value couple of hours in the capital.
Experience what it is like joining the Victorian Police searching for the infamous Jack the Ripper, walking the streets of White Chapel hunting history’s most infamous serial killer through the crooked, cobbled alleyways of the Victorian abyss. www.jack-the-ripper-tour.com “Step by blood-curdling step, you will find yourself spirited back to the mean streets of the 19th century East End where every corner turned and every step taken will lead you further in to a murder mystery that has been baffling and terrifying people for more than 125 year.”
Why not go on one of London’s Ghost Hunting experiences www.hauntedhappenings.co.uk and actually explore one of London’s oldest supposedly haunted venues. There are a number of ghost hunting experiences and ghost tours in London with Haunted Happenings for you to choose from, including “a museum on the site of England’s oldest prison, The Clink. The Ragged School in East London is a spooky Victorian School formed by Barnardo, Charlton House, a haunted Jacobean mansion, Avenue House in Finchley and of course the infamous London Tombs, where the skeletons of Plague victims were discovered. You are only ever a scream away from one of our locations in haunted London.”
OCTOBER GIFTING GUIDE
While the winter evenings are drawing in and the earlier dusky light the change of season often requires a change of scent, so we feel at this time of year perfumes, weather for your house or for the skin are always well received! Our favourites;
FOR HER or HIM
Ambra Room Diffuser
From £28 – £600
FEU DU BEAUMONT
The Golden Goblet in Wild Fig
OPUS V Fragrance
From £128 – £380
We are thrilled to announce STORCX has been nominated for the second year running for The Good Web Guide Awards 2019, in the categories for Best Start Up, Most Useful & Luxury. This is a huge accolade for us to have and this year we are determined to win! Please can we ask for your support, just click on the link! http://www.thegoodwebguide.co.uk/votefor/storcx
LONDON RESTAURANT FESTIVAL
Select restaurants, London
Now in its 11th year, London Restaurant Festival in partnership with American Express ® celebrates London’s extraordinarily diverse range of restaurants. Our unique programme of 60 events includes Restaurant-Hopping Tours, Gourmet Odysseys, Chef-Hosted events, Eat Art and Ultimate Gastronomic Weekends.
11- 20th October
Bloomsbury Festival is annual celebration of the area’s pioneering creativity, presenting an inspiring programme of arts, science, literature, performance, discussion and reflection.
Inspired by the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s lunar landing, our 2019 Festival theme Small steps and giant leaps will act as a springboard for a host of creative and engaging Festival events and projects for 2019.
MUSEUMS AT NIGHT
31 October – 2nd November
Museums across London
Museums at Night is a twice-yearly festival of late openings, sleepovers and special events taking place in museums, galleries, libraries, archive and heritage sites in the United Kingdom. … Museums at Night is core funded by Arts Council England and administered by Culture24.
Remember Keep Life Simple – #storcxit xx