Fairies in a Jar? More like Toxic Sludge…

Fairies in a Jar? More like toxic sludge...

You’ll know by now that I’m throwing a Harry Potter Party for Halloween next week. It’s getting to that stressful sage of pre-party planning where you’ve planned everything you can but it’s too early to actually DO anything yet! Well, too early to start cooking anyway! I’m feeling a bit stressed with the prospect of making chocolate wands, exploding chocolate frogs, pumpkin pasties and death by chocolate-cake as well as lots of other things I’ve probably forgotten!

Anyway, I’ve made some garden lanterns to light my November barbecue but I suddenly thought how lovely it would be to have some ‘Fairies in a  Jar’ for the garden. Glowing, glittery pretty jars, “how magical” I (naively) thought…

So I had a good search around and there seemed to be two main ways of making Fairies in a Jar. One with glow-in-the-dark paint which you dab around the jar and then have to charge in sunlight, and the way I chose: with a glow stick and some glitter. Continue reading


Homemade Halloween Lanterns

Homemade halloween lanterns

Just a quickie today! I wanted to show you the Halloween lanterns I made last night. I’ve been collecting jam jars for a few months now so that I’ve got enough to light the garden. All I needed was jam jars, glass frosting spray and a star shape I cut out of paper and ta daaahh! I think they look great! I’ll put wire around the top of some of them so I can hang them up and they can light the garden for my Harry Potter party!

Homemade halloween lanterns

Harry Potter goody bags: The Standard Book of Spells and Bertie Botts every flavour beans

The Standard Book of Spells: (Printable) Harry Potter

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re planning a children’s party. Costs can escalate alarmingly as you just keep just adding that *one extra thing* and from my experience party bags are the main culprit.  I think most mums have a fear that children will judge the success of your party based purely on the contents of the party bag. Long gone are the days of just giving out a slice of birthday cake wrapped in a serviette, lots of mums seem to buy in party bags now which filled to the brim with sweets, toys and other rubbish which nobody really needs. It costs a fortune, but I guess it saves time and effort…

I’m trying to keep costs down for my Harry Potter party though, and what I love about this theme is that you can hand-make so many of the decorations and party treats!  For the kids party bags I decided I’d make each child a copy of The Standard Book of Spells, and give a packet of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. The cost of this? A few sheets of regular A4 paper, a couple of tea bags and some jelly beans!

The Bertie Botts Every Flavour beans are just repackaged jelly beans, but I figured the repackaging combined with the anticipation that they *could* taste like bogies or ear wax will be enough to keep the kids more than happy! You can download the labels here. To find instructions how to age your labels see below.

Bertie Bott's every flavour beans

How to make The Standard Book of Spells:

I found a great printable pdf at Dirt&Sunshine of The Standard Book of Spells, which prints on A4 and is nice and easy, but I wanted to make my spell books half that size (A5) so that they were more child-friendly. I also wanted to print on both sides and make it into a proper little book.

To do that I needed to re-arrange the pages in the pdf and print 2 sheets to a page, so I re-created the pdf to make an A5 book and you can download it here if you’d like to. The first page is blank, as it needs to be to print correctly, so don’t think the file is empty when you download it!

Please note that the original work is not my own and comes from here. Please check out their blog, not only out of politeness, but because they also have lots of other amazing Harry Potter printables for your party too!

How to print and assemble:

  • Print pages 1 and 2 on the same sheet of paper. Leave the other side blank. This will be your cover.
  • Print pages 3 and 4 (letters O and A) on one side of a sheet of paper, and print pages 5 and 6 (letters B and L) on the other side.
  • Print pages 7 and 8 (letters I and C) on one side of a sheet of paper, and print pages 9 and 10 (letters E and F) on the other side.
  • Once your pages are printed you can age them by dipping them in cold tea for a few seconds and drying them out in a medium oven for a few minutes (about 160 degrees C).
  • Then simply put into order, fold in half and staple into a book.
  • The pages tend to be a bit crinkled after the whole tea process so you might want to put some heavy books on top of them for a few hours to flatten them out.

The Standard Book of Spells: (Printable) Harry Potter

My Other Harry Potter Party posts:

Harry Potter Party food: Chocolate Wands and Exploding Chocolate Frogs

Harry Potter Chocolate Wands

Preparations for our Harry Potter party are coming along nicely! The Marauders Map Invitations have been sent out, our costumes are organized and I’ve turned my mind to Harry Potter-themed food! Here is the first batch: Chocolate wands, Exploding Chocolate Frogs and Cheesy Shooting Stars.

Chocolate Wands

These are super-easy to make. I used breadsticks, dipped them in melted chocolate and sprinkled them with sugar strands. You could add a little popping candy to them if you fancy an extra surprise too. The popping candy will fizz a little when dropped onto the melted chocolate, but plenty of crackle will be left. Leave on greaseproof paper and pop into the fridge until set.

Harry Potter Exploding Chocolate Frogs

Look innocent enough don’t they? But beware these Exploding Chocolate Frogs pack a punch!

Exploding Chocolate Frogs

I was just going to buy Freddo chocolate frogs for the party, but I thought I’d go one further and make them myself. I bought a (very cheap) plastic frog chocolate mould (just Google around and you’ll find lots to choose from).  Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over some hot water or VERY CAREFULLY in the Microwave.

I used half Cadburys Dairy Milk and half dark chocolate. When the melted chocolate mixture has cooled a little tip in a good amount of popping candy. I got the popping candy from the baking section at my local supermarket, they sell little tubs of it for baking (thank you Heston for helping to make popping candy so readily available!).

The popping candy does fiz and pop when you add it to the chocolate but there’s till plenty of power left once the chocolate is set so don’t worry about that. Once you’ve filled the frog moulds just pop into the fridge to set.

Harry Potter Exploding Chocolate Frogs Harry Potter Chocolate Wands and Frogs Harry Potter Exploding Chocolate Frogs and Parmesan Stars

Cheesy Shooting Stars

I used up the same dough for these as I did for the Parmesan Dinosaur Biscuits. They are crumbly, light and ever so tasty. Just cut with a star-shaped cutter instead and sprinkle with a little edible glitter to make them look extra special!

What other food do I need for my Harry Potter party? Pumpkin pasties? Acid Drops? Ideas please!

My Other Harry Potter Party posts:


Making a Harry Potter Marauder’s Map

Making a Harry Potter Marauder's Map

I’m a day late in posting this so I apologise. I was very proud of my  dinosaur footprint biscuits yesterday and couldn’t resist sharing those instead!

As you probably know by now, I’m throwing a Harry Potter party for Halloween this year. I’m a total HP geek and can’t wait to start making gruesome potion decorations and chocolate frogs!

I made a version of Harry Potter’s Marauder’s Map for the invitations, mostly because I thought the kids would love them, but also because I though it was such a great idea!

I found an amazing tutorial here which I thoroughly recommend. It provides you with the maps to print out and step by step instructions too.

Once you’ve printed the map pieces, you soak the paper in cold tea and while the paper is still wet sprinkle with instant coffee granules to create age spots (how genius is that idea?!) Then dry the paper out in an oven for a few minutes, press, trim and seal with wax and you have yourself some VERY impressive Harry Potter invitations.

What do you think?

Making a Harry Potter Marauder's Map Making a Harry Potter Marauder's Map

My Other Harry Potter Party posts:

I’m so hungry I could eat a Hippogriff…

Harry Potter marauder's map

I’m such a little kid at heart. I throw a Halloween party every year. Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays and once it’s over you’re properly into the run-up for Christmas, so it’s a nice way to mark the very end of the summer.

This year I’m very excited: we’re having a Harry Potter themed party. All the guests have been assigned with a character so that we don’t get duplicates (adults being  the adult characters and the kids getting to be the children) and I can’t wait! I’ve already made the invitations (above) as versions of Harry’s Marauder’s Map and I’ll do a separate post showing exactly how I did those probably on Monday…

Our Halloween party is always the very last barbecue of the year, whatever the weather. The men all get out in the garden there in their oh-so-flamable fancy dress costumes pouring lighter fluid on the coals and cooking by torchlight (I love a bit of danger).

This makes the food for the Harry Potter party much easier, everyone loves chicken, burgers or sausages, so I’m not going to worry about making that Harry Potter-fied, and it does mean I can go to town with the puddings.

After pouring over the Harry Potter books, and doing some research on the internet these are some of the things I fancy trying:

  • Berty Bott’s Every Flavour Beans: (Jelly beans re-packaged – I might put these into party bags rather than the kids going TOO suger-crazed during the party)
  • Pumpkin Pasties: I have no idea how to make these. I’m thinking of a sweet pumpkin-pie type mixture inside sweet pasties, but I’ve never even had pumpkin pie, so I’m going to have to get Googling to recipes for that I think!
  • Chocolate Frogs: sounds pretty easy – I thought I might make these myself if I can find some frog moulds and mix popping candy in with the chocolate. Is there a trick to this though? Does the popping candy dissolve when mixed with the melted chocolate…? I guess I’ll find out!
  • Butter Beer: I thought I might make a concoction of something like cream soda and ginger ale for this.
  • Chocolate Wands: Chocolate pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate  with sprinkles or glitter

What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions? I though about making Cockroach Clusters, but I’m not sure how I’d do these yet… Any suggestions would be gratefully received!

Harry Potter Birthday Party Ideas – Part 1

I love these ideas for party decorations. I’ll have to get collecting jam jars!


Isn’t this cake amazing! There’s no way I’m going to be making one of these, but I thought I’d share anyway!


My Other Harry Potter Party posts: