Posted in Holly's fun corner

Hallowe’en Special!

Today is Hallowe’en and Holly couldn’t be more excited! She looks forward to 31 October almost as much as Christmas because not only does it involve lots of sweets, she also gets to dress up. Tonight she will be going out as a spooky female vampire and I might be accompanying her dressed as a terrifying nun. Or maybe not – last year I frightened a four-year-old.

We’ve carved up three pumpkins and a large marrow. Normally our garden produces two massive monsters of pumpkins but this year we didn’t get any and had to resort to buying from a supermarket. We laughed in derision at the sight of ‘large’ pumpkins, which weren’t even half the size of our homegrown ones. So we bought a ‘monster’ pumpkin, which was still around a third smaller. We did grow some monster marrows though so Carl carved one up just for fun.

I have added the pictures below but they have come out on their side! I am doing this using a Mac so I will try to adjust these later when I can work out what I am doing!


Pumpkin family!
Pumpkin family!


Scary squash (well, actually it's a rather massive courgette). He's behaving and has come out the right way up!
Scary squash (well, actually it’s a rather massive courgette). He’s behaving and has come out the right way up!


Holly has produced a little crafty Hallowe’en special for any children wondering what to do today with a spare piece of paper and a black pen (and a pair of scissors). Enjoy this brief video and have a fun and spooky night!

Sam and Holly!

How do you celebrate Hallowe’en? What is the scariest story you have ever read? 


Posted in general and welcome, Holly's fun corner

Easter decoration inspiration!

Easy-to-make Easter decorations!

To make your house look more ‘Eastery’ why not make these simple Easter decorations?

Holly: First, you need some Styrofoam Easter eggs. We got ours in a cheap stationer’s shop. And also some coloured pens to decorate them with.

Decorating Styrofoam eggs!
Decorating Styrofoam eggs!


Holly: You can colour your Easter egg in with whatever colour you like. You could also put a crack on it if you like!


Putting on the finishing touches
Putting on the finishing touches


Holly: You might want to put some other little drawings on it as well, such as flowers or Easter eggs. When you have finished, dot them around your house or put them in your bedroom.

Styrofoam bunnies
Styrofoam bunnies


Sam: Holly’s taking no responsibility for the above. These are my attempt at Easter decorations using, yes, Styrofoam cups! We had quite a few left in our cupboard so I decided to make a bunny out of one, with pipe cleaners for ears and whiskers, and on the other, I stuck mini-rabbits. The cup in this instance is meant to be a grassy hill, with little bunnies on the side. Except I used sellotape to stick them on and they kept falling off. Oh well…


Easter tree
Easter tree


Sam: This is a cutting of twisted willow, which I bought at a local florist. I loved the shape of the branches and the florist told me that it should last at least a month should produce some greenery or even flowers. I hung little Easter eggs onto the branches to decorate them, rather like what you do with Christmas trees. There was a beautiful display of this in the florist’s window so I wanted to try it at home. And the good news is, you can plant the cutting into the garden afterwards, if the bottom starts to grow roots.


Yummy Easter chick
Yummy Easter chick


Sam: Pooki loved our decorations and decided to sample the fluffy chicks. They weren’t very tasty, apparently, so she ended up chasing them around the house, along with the remaining Styrofoam eggs.

We have a couple of videos too but unfortunately our uploading mechanism on You Tube isn’t working correctly. I will try to add these later, once I work out what’s going wrong!

Happy Easter!

Sam and Holly

Posted in Competition, Holly's fun corner

Blue Peter Wimbledon Competition

Blue Peter are holding a competition to draw and design a poster for Wimbledon 2013. The deadline is the 3 rd April 2:00 pm. You need to include the date of the tennis event on your poster. This a great,fun thing to do and if you enter this competition you could end up with your poster in Wimbledon. I think this competition sounds like a really cool competition. I definitely recommend this to everyone because it is a really good chance for your poster to win and end up at Wimbledon. For more details go to the Blue Peter website following the link below. So please draw and design your own poster!!

Review Holly


Posted in Holly's fun corner

Our very first Santa Fun Run!

I have always thought that ‘Fun Run’ was an Oxymoron. Suitable for us, really, being in OXford and me being a MORON for volunteering to put myself through the paces, albeit for charity. However, running under the team name of Childtastic Santas, Holly, her dad Carl and I turned up to run for Helen and Douglas House, an Oxford-based charity that looks after children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and supports their families. There are two houses – Helen House, which opened in 1982 and became the first children’s hospice in the world, and Douglas House, which opened in 2004, which was the world’s first hospice for young adults (from 16 to 35 years of age). Click on the link above to find out more about the wonderful work they do.

Holly and Carl both like running. Carl completed his first (and he says only) London Marathon in 2002, in an impressive time of 3 hours 50 minutes. Holly just runs and runs like a little greyhound. I used to do cross-country running when I was young but have never really enjoyed it. And with two dodgy knees I’d more or less given up on running as something that I enjoy. Admittedly, we did a one-mile fun run for Comic Relief earlier in the year, which gave me confidence in being able to hobble around in knee straps, but I’ve not managed two miles (the distance today) since I was in my teens.

Anyway, we DID manage it and in less than half an hour. Not mega-impressive when compared to proper athletes but we were pretty chuffed with it. Below are some pictures, and some reports of our experiences today. Holly interviewed me, and I interviewed her and Carl. Enjoy laughing at all the santas and, if you feel like being generous, why not give towards this wonderful charity?

Ready to start our two-mile adventure outside the Sheldonian Theatre!
Ready to start our two-mile adventure outside the Sheldonian Theatre!

Interview with Holly Santa:

I entered this fun run because I thought it would be fun from the pictures I saw last year and I like running. The Santa suit I was sent was very big! Mummy’s was too but hers split [Edit by mum – so did most of the adults’ costumes!] but not mine. Daddy pinned the bottoms of my trousers so they fit me. I liked dressing as Santa because it was exciting. The beard was good but it was sometimes annoying as it got in the way and once when I pulled it down to have some water it went flying around the back of my head!

The warm-up was fun. The best bit was when we all did Gangnam-style Zumba all dressed as Santas! The race wasn’t too difficult but midway I needed to stop for a drink of water as I had lost a bit of energy. But I got it back on track again after having a drink. It was amusing seeing all the Santas running – when I looked back there were loads of Santas and no end in sight!

The best bit was the end as I was getting tired by then. Everyone was clapping us and cheering too which makes you feel good. After the race, I felt tired but happy because we had raised money for Helen and Douglas House. Now I am going to chillax for the rest of the day… until I have to go and sing in my local Christingle Service! I’d recommend doing the Santa Run as it’s a fun thing for families to do and it’s good to raise money for charity.

Zumba warm-up, Santa style! Once Gangnam Style started, there was no stopping us!
Zumba warm-up, Santa style! Once Gangnam Style started, there was no stopping us! (PS You can see the famous Bridge of Sighs in the background… sighing at the sight of us!)

Sam Santa

I decided to do the run because Holly and Carl were going to do it. I wanted to challenge myself and also raise money for charity. I was a bit nervous in the morning before we left because I have bad knees but I started feeling better when we saw the other Santas – more than 1200 of us in total!

The warm-up was very fun because everyone was doing Zumba in Santa outfits. The run itself was not as hard as I had thought which was a relief! It was tiring but I kept going which made me feel very happy. And it was more fun going running with Holly and Carl and all the other Santas. It was all being done for fun and charity so there was no unpleasant competitiveness. I enjoyed the whole thing but I was relieved to get to the end!

I will definitely do the Santa run again as I know I can do it now and it made me feel good. What a buzz afterwards! I could feel all the endorphins whizzing around even though my face was as red as my suit! It was great too because we raised money for a brilliant charity. So I say to you all – why not do it next year? Go on, have some fun!

The ducks didn't quite know what to make of us all in the University Parks...
The ducks didn’t quite know what to make of us all in the University Parks…

Carl Santa

I heard about the Santa Run through my work colleagues who had run it in previous years. I thought it would be a fun family activity for winter and we’d also be raising money for Helen and Douglas House. The distance was good too – the whole family can do two miles and it’s even better that we could do it in Santa suits! It certainly helped get us into the Christmas spirit.

Admittedly it was a bit of a struggle getting up early on a Sunday morning in the dark but we got in the mood when we put on our Santa suits. Then, on the way in, we saw loads of other Santas getting ready and that was great. It was nice seeing Oxford on a Sunday morning before all the crowds, with loads of Santas around the place!

The warm-up was good fun though it was hard to see how to do Gangnam Style as there were so many Santas in the way. The run was fine – gentle, fun and not serious. People could stop and walk for a bit if needed, and there was great support on Holywell Street as we came up to the finish line, and it was lovely to have Holly, Sam and me all finish together as a team.

I found it OK – a gentle jog really. I’d say it was about one-thirteenth as hard as the London Marathon! I am aching though now I am done so it wasn’t a total walk in the park. I’d definitely do it again, though I won’t be getting up every Sunday morning to repeat the experience!

Beards off! At the finish line - tired, sweaty and red (that's just Sam) but triumphant. A fantastic experience!
Beards off! At the finish line – tired, sweaty and red (that’s just Sam) but triumphant. A fantastic experience for the Childtastic Santas!
Posted in Competition, Holly's fun corner

And we have a winner!

Just over a month ago, Holly posted another competition on the site, based on her Fun Corner; she asked readers to send in their ideas of something fun.

The winning entry was from Andrea Kelly with her comment:

Lately I have been learning how to knit! I’ve made a few plain scarves in the past, but this year I’m learning several different knit patterns. It has been a lot of fun :)

Congratulations to Andrea! Knitting certainly can be fun, and we’ve tried it out a bit here (though with varying degrees of success!).

Andrea – if you could get in touch with us with your address we will send you a little memento of Oxford as a prize.

Well done once again!

Best wishes from

Holly and Sam

Posted in Competition, general and welcome, Holly's fun corner

Another competition! And it’s all about fun…

Holly thought it was about time to hold another competition as she enjoyed doing the amazing alliteration last time. So here goes…

Image from


What do you like doing that’s fun?

You know I usually do fun things on Holly’s Fun Corner but now I want advice from you. I want to know what fun stuff you get up to.

All you need to do is write down in the little comments box at the bottom of the page what you do to have fun.

The one I think is the most fun will win a special prize, so get started!


Closing date: Sunday 7 October 2012



Posted in general and welcome, Holly's fun corner

Summer Reading Challenge: Story Lab – it’s a lot of fun!

Holly has been very busy lately getting ideas for her fun corner. Here is another one, based on the Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge. The theme this year was ‘Story Lab’.

Image courtesy of

We mentioned this at the start of the summer holidays, when Holly had joined the challenge and had chosen her books. Now she wants to share the fun with you, so over to Holly!

Thank you, mum.

For my next Fun Corner Post, I wanted to write about the Summer Reading Challenge.

In England, there is a library challenge every summer and I do it every year. It is really good because it gets people to have more fun reading and visiting their local library to get books. This is also a good idea because you have to read six books in six weeks or so and the end of the challenge is when you have finished all your books. You get a certificate and a medal. So next year, do this challenge at your local library because it is so much fun!

My six books were:

1. Island of the Blue Dolphin, by Scott O’Dell

2. Tales of Trouble Doctor Doom, by Ceci Jenkinson

3. Molly Moon and the Morphing Mystery, by Georgia Byng

4. Bad Cat, Good Cat, by Lynne Reid Banks

5. Ruby Holler, by Sharon Creech

6. Mr Gum and the Power Crystals, by Andy Stanton

(Note from mum: a few of these are different to the ones Holly had originally picked at the beginning because of either not enjoying a couple of the books or because some had been reserved and had to be taken back to the library.)


Our local library

Our local library is Old Marston Library. It is the smallest in Oxfordshire!



And what is great is that on 22 September we will be having a 50th birthday party for the library with lots of fun activities, including an illustration workshop with Neill Cameron. We will report back on that soon!