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Are Your Feet Trying to Kill YOu?

My feet are weird. One is slightly bigger than the other, I have very high arches, every pair of shoes rubs on my foot somewhere and causes blisters, I can't walk in high heels, the skin on my heels has been chewed up more times than I care to remember, and my shoe size seems to be somewhere between 7 and 7.5. Arg.


So basically, my feet are annoying and I can hardly ever find shoes that don't seem to have some kind of vendetta against me. I therefore end up walking around in clumpy trainers the whole time.


I went to London once on a trip and took 3 pairs of shoes. Within 3 days, 1 pair had made my feet feel like a piano had fallen on them; 1 pair had made my heels bleed, and the other pair had literally disintegrated (the sole came away from the upper as I was on my way to get the train...I missed my train). This pretty much sums up the ongoing nightmare I have with shoes.


So, when I was planning to go to New Zealand, I was determined to not let shoes get the better of me and ruin my trip. My luggage allowance was very limited so I could only take 3 pairs maximum. The chosen pairs were my brand new VANs, my trusty ballet flats and some walking boots. No heels at all, and the shoes would cover a variety of occasions. I did want to take more but my luggage was already bursting at the seams so that was that.


But 3 pairs of shoes had gone wrong before, so I needed more backup to put my mind at ease. I ended up buying a big pile of Compeed products, insoles, some moleskin roll and some other padding that sticks to you feet. I was taking no chances with my trip-of-a-lifetime, especially because I knew there would be a LOT of walking.

Photo of a funny homemade witch prop - by Rozanne.



An Introduction To A Homemade Halloween


Halloween is a fun holiday where for one day only it's completely normal to dress up like a living corpse and demand sweets from strangers (which is kind of weird if you think about it!)

Also called All Hallows Eve, the holiday falls on the 31st of October and is the amalgamation of Christian and Pagan festivals from the past, although the origin is not known for sure because Halloween seems to have been influenced by many different rituals and celebrations.


Fancy dress, trick or treat and home/garden decorations are the 3 most popular ways to celebrate Halloween, although my favorite thing to do as a kid was go to a local event which combined fancy dress, a disco, a bonfire, fireworks and toffee was fantastic, and it made Halloween into a much-loved holiday for me, especially as it falls very close to my birthday.


This page focusses on making decorations at home from scratch, which is great fun as well as (usually) being cheaper. For people with young kids, the decor is usually kept family-friendly, with cute ghosts and inoffensive designs, but if you don't need to worry about scaring children senseless you can really go to town with the blood and horror! The style of your haunted abode can be anything you like, including sophisticated (think gold leaf pumpkins and blood cocktails), silly (funny props) or downright terrifying (bloodied handprints, fake corpses and flickering candles) - just pick what suits you best and run with it.


The usual themes for Halloween are: black and orange colours, bats, zombies, vampires, skulls, skeletons, spiders, witches, Frankenstein, blood & gore, horror and monsters. You can stick to one (e.g. transform your house into a witch's coven) or you can mix them all together for an overall spooky effect. The tutorials below usually incorporate one of these theme ideas, although don't be afraid to invent your own project from scratch and simply use the how-tos on this page for inspiration.


Even if you're not into crafts, I think that everyone should carve their own pumpkin, right?! The humble Jack 'o' Lantern is the symbol of Halloween, plus it's relatively easy and quick to cut out a face, and it looks fantastic in the dark when you put a flickering candle inside. If you're up for the challenge, you can also take on much more advanced carvings - examples of which you can find below.


With regard to decorating the garden, any props are usually made from wood or other durable materials so will require more heavy-duty tools to make, but on the plus side they will last for years so it's totally worth the extra effort! Popular ideas include: a fake graveyard with funny names on the gravestones, and pumpkins placed in the porch area. Sound effects coming from hidden speakers in the garden are lots of fun for trick-or-treaters too, as are fake skeletons and scarecrow-like figures you can make yourself to look like a witch or other scary beast.


If you are a fan of electronics and/or invention and you want to go the extra mile, I have seen a few awesome ideas for making moving puppets, ghosts and other creepy characters in the garden so that they move at regular intervals or are controlled from inside the house - this often involves a motor but you could also rig up an effective prop using just a rope or string to provide the movement. Whatever you decide to do, just have fun with it!

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