Bee was round for tea the other night. Belle was cooking and we were watching Dirty Dancing because apparently neither of my children have ever seen it. (Which officially makes me a bad parent.)
‘Mummy’s smiling a lot,’ said Belle, from her position in the kitchen chopping onions, ‘it looks weird.’ (Our downstairs room is one biggish space that’s half a kitchen and half where we watch TV.)
‘Yeah, why are you smiling?’ asked Bee.
‘It’s a good film!’ I said.
‘Yeah but not that good,’ said Bee, ‘not as good as Wikipedia said it was going to be.’ (I don’t understand why she can’t just watch a film and wait nicely to see for herself what happens at the end.)
‘Well I like life,’ I said, cheerily.
Bee looked doubtful.
‘No one likes life,’ she said, ‘they do it, but no one actively enjoys it.’
‘Well I do,’ I said, smiling. ‘I like waking up and getting up and doing things like going to work and getting coffee.’
‘PAH!’ said Bee, looking really sceptical by this point, ‘NO ONE likes getting up!’
‘I do,’ I said.
Because actually I do, most of the time. I mean sure, there are days when I’d rather not straight away, but that’s more because I’m enjoying so much the feeling of being in bed, not because I particularly have anything against life outside of bed. I’m just generally quite cheerful. (Which is why I find it so hard when I do have periods of feeling sad or anxious.)
Most of the time I just bumble along, looking forward to lunch, buying props for photos, not thinking too much about anything serious.
Belle, now 14, has always been massively in to Halloween. I think it’s something to do with the creativity of it. She really likes dressing up (remember last year she won that competition by dressing as a cereal killer?) and she loves doing make-up. I mean she really loves it. She has a massive make-up collection and she is the appointed make-up artist for this year’s school scary tours. (It’s a bit like a school show, but you walk around the school in small guided groups and spooky stuff happens to you. Kind of like a ghost train but you don’t get to sit down.)
She’s ace at it too.
She did my Halloween make-up last year, and every time I look at the photo I forget that I have my eyes shut. Seriously, I just typed that, so I should know, but I still looked and saw big open eyes:
One of her other very favourite things is watching TV, and so, today, I bring you…
In case you’ve forgotten, we’re DisneyLife ambassadors, and we’re excellent ones at that. We all genuinely love Disney and apps. So it’s a no-brainer. Duh! The DisneyLife app has absolutely masses of content – it’s the best of Disney all in one place, and it’s only £9.99 a month. Even better, you can try it for free, so if you want to give it a go over half-term, then just sign up now.
Where was I? Oh yes, spooky shows on DisneyLife. Presumably you’ve just gone and signed up for the free trial (such is my power and influence). Excellent. Now you’re all set to check out our top six Halloween picks. I picked out the films and Bee, who is now 21 but still a massive Disney fan, picked out a couple of Halloween-themed episodes from her favourite Disney TV shows. (The app is multi-generational you guys!)
Wizards of Waverly Place – Season 3 episode 2
“The Wizards of Waverly Place Halloween episode is great because they have to design a haunted house,” says Bee, “so it gets you in the Halloween mood. It’s really funny, as well as there being a couple of jumpy parts to try and scare you. If you like ghosts and trick-or-treating, then definitely watch this episode for tips on how to get enough sweets to last you a whole year!”
A classic Disney Halloween film if ever there was one. Belle has never seen this so it will definitely be on our half-term playlist. It stars the likes of Bette Midler and Sarah-Jessica Parker. It has to be said, the make-up and wardrobe is slightly less subtle than in Sex and the City.
Toy Story of Terror
Toy Story has to be one of my favourite ever film series. I went to see Toy Story 3 three times at the cinema and I cried every single time. The characters feel like they are an actual part of my life. Honestly. I don’t know what it is about Toy Story, but there is a real connection there.
Toy Story of Terror is a short film, exclusive to DisneyLife. I’d tell you what happens, but you already signed up remember? So you can watch it and see for yourself.
Nobody does creepy quite like Tim Burton. Expect some classic Tim Burton animation in this spooky tale about a boy who brings his dog back to life. Hilarity ensues, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Also on the DisneyLife app you’ll find a short behind the scenes film about the making of Frankenweenie.
JONAS – Season 1 episode 17
“In the Jonas Halloween episode,” says Bee, “as well as loads of cheesy Halloween jokes and funny moments, the handheld camera shots make it really spooky and the plot twist at the end is totally worth watching the whole episode for. This episode is one of the best in the series and even though it’s quite light-hearted, there are a few jumpy moments, so it’s perfect to watch on Halloween night.”
Mom’s Got A Date With A Vampire
I’ve been on my fair share of bad dates. Like that guy who twiddled the hair on his mole – remember him? He would make a pretty good Halloween short film. As far as I know, though, I’ve never been on a date with an actual vampire. Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire is a film about two kids, desperate to get their mum out of the house, but it turns out they’re not the only one dying to get her on a date…
(See what I did there?)
Definitely worth a half-term watch.
What are your family’s favourite Halloween TV shows or films?
Skeleton image –Burhan Bunardi Xie/shutterstock. I am a DisneyLife Brand Ambassador and this post was created in partnership with DisneyLife who have provided me with a free 12 month DisneyLife membership.
You know sometimes you have one of those days, or an outing of some kind, and at the end you sort of sigh to yourself, and think ‘well that was lovely’?
Nothing hugely adventurous happened, you didn’t spend loads of money, but you did something that was just nice, that left you feeling all warm and content with life.
That happened to us a few weeks ago.
Belle and I went to Stourhead, a National Trust place about an hour away from us, and met up with a friend and her nine month old twin girls. (#Rinstwins if you want to check them out on Instagram – how awesome to be called Rin and have twins?! They are made for social media.)
The sky was a bright blue, the forecast promised sunshine all day long, and we had nothing to do and nowhere to be. (Apart from sat down at regular intervals for the twins to snack, which suited me just fine.) We hadn’t got quite as far as packing a picnic, because I love the treat of eating out in a cafe, but I had packed us a little rucksack of essentials – water bottles, mini-cheddars, suntan lotion, and Kleenex pocket packs. It’s weird, but although I was always the parent who forgot wipes, I’ve turned into the woman who always has tissues. There is something very comforting and satisfying about carrying tissues, and that feeling of needing one, and then actually having one – it’s ace.
(That’s me being down with the kids to prove that I’m not a grandparent yet.)
I’ve got a little story to tell you about chips, but first…
This Sunday is Grandparents’ Day, and environmental charity Hubbub and Unilever are seizing the opportunity to highlight the importance of cooking with grandparents as a way to spend time together, pass on valuable skills and reduce food waste. They’ve set up an online resource to help you #CookSomethingGrand, offering tips and a whole load of great recipes.
To demonstrate the issue, Hubbub and Unilever conducted a survey of 1,000 UK parents. The results showed that eight out of 10 parents wish they had more time to teach their children to cook and over half expressed a concern that their children won’t have the skills needed to cook a meal for themselves when they grow up. Cooking skills are essential if we want to use up leftovers, maximise the value from our food and tackle the 7 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year.
Just to frighten you, by the age of 11:
– 44% of children have never boiled an egg
– 28% have never peeled a potato
– 28% have never mashed potatoes
– 23% have never chopped vegetables with a knife
68% of parents also said they’d like their children to spend more time cooking with their grandparents, hence the link to Grandparents’ Day. Take a look at the video that Hubbub and Unilever have put together if you need a bit of inspiration.
My story about chips
I have very fond memories of cooking with my Gran. We didn’t make cakes though, or scones, or anything traditionally grandparenty like that. The only things I ever remember making with my Gran were crinkle cut chips.