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5 Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Quarantine

Thanks to the coronavirus, Halloween 2020 may look a little different, but it still has the potential to be super fun. The holiday falls on a Saturday this year, which means we get a whole day to dress up, eat sugary snacks and play lots of Halloween themed games – yay! Plus, it’s a full moon which adds to the eerie atmosphere.

We’ve been brainstorming, and we’ve come up with some ideas to help you safely celebrate the spookiest night of the year in style.

Go All Out With The Decorating

Go All Out With The Decorating

Get the whole street into the spooky spirit with some fangtastic house and garden decorations. Seen as you can’t go out to celebrate Halloween this year, it only seems natural to bring Halloween to the house!

This is a great one for the kids too. Let them haunt the neighbours with decorations that they made and displayed themselves! From spooky paper cut-outs to paper pumpkin plates and monster hats, Country Living has some excellent Halloween craft ideas for the kids for you to try. 

Make Scary Costumes

Make Scary Costumes

The best thing about Halloween is the dress up, right? Right! Get in the fake blood, dig out the old witches hats and unravel the bandages, it’s time to get creative with costumes. Nowadays it’s acceptable to dress up as just about anything – scary or not.

You might not be able to show off your costumes to your friends in the usual way, but who needs face to face contact when social media exists? Stage some Halloween themed family photos to post on your Instagram, your family & friends will love it!

Rustle Up Some Spooky Snacks

Rustle Up Some Spooky Snacks

Forget the tricks and go all-in on the treats this year. You might not be able to throw a big Halloween party or go trick-or-treating this year, so why not channel your spooky energy getting creative in the kitchen? 

You can go as creepy and mysterious as you like with your cooking decorated with bats, pumpkins, ghosts, spiders and more.

Pumpkin Carving Contests

 Pumpkin Carving Contests

Pumpkin carving is a tradition that doesn’t have to change because of a lockdown, thank goodness – and a little healthy competition just adds to the fun. 

Get the family to take our their carving tools and create the best pumpkin design they can; then it’s time to start judging. It’s only natural that the winner get heaps of candy – it is Halloween after all! 

You could even expand the contest to the other families on the street by displaying your pumpkins in the windows and doors.

Play Some Halloween Games

 Play Some Halloween Games

With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, that gives us a full day to fill with games. And with the kids hopped up on sweets its an excellent idea to find them an outlet for their energy.

We’ve all played the classic bobbing apples and pin the spider on the web, but if you’re looking to take your games up a notch, here are some great ideas!

Remember to social distance this holiday and have some spooktacular fun!

3 Alternatives to Going Abroad During the Six Week Holidays

The summer holidays have arrived at a strange time in 2020, we’re slowly easing out of lockdown and can do more than what we’ve been used to over the past six months so we’ve got some alternatives to going abroad during the holidays.

Some of you may have been at home with your kids for the past four months as they’ve been off school, and you’ve either been working from home or been furloughed.

Some smaller children did go back to school around 3-4 weeks ago, so you may have been lucky enough to get back to work or have some time without the pressures of looking after your kids.

While holiday restrictions were lifted at the beginning of July, many holidaymakers have struggled with refunds and don’t want the hassle of taking their kids abroad with all the limitations and safety concerns.

Here are our alternatives to going abroad this summer:


Book a Holiday in the UK

1. Book a Holiday in the UK

If you’re still on furlough, but you think you could afford to get away for a week, then going on holiday could be an option. Also, if you’ve cancelled a holiday, you may want to think about replacing it with something a little closer.

The important thing is to check the logistics of the trip. If you drive 200 miles to find that all the on-site entertainment isn’t on and there isn’t much to do in the local area you could end up quite bored for a week.

Have a look what’s open and make a few calls before you book anything online as some companies may not have updated their websites, especially if they’re acting as a third party.

Also, check with your employer and ask if they anticipate you coming back to work anytime soon.


Go & Visit Family

2. Go & Visit Family

While it’s not necessarily a holiday, it’s always great to catch up with the ones we love, especially as we haven’t seen them for three to four months.

If your kids have grandparents, they’ll want to catch up with them too. Be mindful of who you’re going to see. For example, if you’re going to visit an older person, you’ll want to assess the risk of going before you make plans.

Ensure you take measures to stay safe by washing your hands and avoiding any family members that have Covid-19 symptoms.


Camp Out in Your Back Garden

3. Camp Out in Your Back Garden

If you’re concerned about going away or don’t have the funds to, you can cut costs by setting up a camping space in your back garden.

Your kids will love being able to stop out in the back garden, and you won’t have to buy too much gear because they’ll be able to come inside.

You could buy a paddling pool or some garden toys to make it feel like they’re on a proper camping trip. You could even get the marshmallows out if you have some equipment to make a fire.

Whatever you do, watch out for those muddy feet if it’s raining!


You should not:

  • socialise indoors in groups of more than two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from exclusively from two households or support bubbles
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, besides small wedding celebrations as outlined above
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)


For a full list of government guidelines, click here.

Here are some tips for staying safe when you leave your household.

How to Keep Your Kids Entertained at Home

To stay safe from the Covid-19 pandemic, schools are only accepting children who’s parents are key workers, and many of us are faced with spending a lot of time at home.

Keeping the kids entertained during this time can be a challenge, but being stuck inside doesn’t mean you have to go berserk with boredom!

Relaxing at home may have sounded amazing at first, but let’s face it, too much time inside can make you stir-crazy – especially with the kids running riot. Here are some ideas to help you to keep them entertained:


1. Create a Daily Schedule

Create a Daily Schedule

School kids are used to having a daily routine, so inputting some structure into their days at home will help keep the chaos to a minimum. Let them create their own timetable, so they feel like they’re involved with the decision – this will make them much more likely to stick to it.  Think about allotting time to eat, to exercise, to learn, play, do jobs around the house, have some free time and get some fresh air.


2. Write An “I’m Bored” List

Write An “I’m Bored” List

You’ve probably heard the dreaded words ‘I’m bored’ 100 times already, and no solution you suggest seems to be good enough. Get each person in your family to list ideas for what they can do when they get bored. Then use the list when you get bored – simple! This way, the ideas will be their own.


3. Make a Fort

Make a Fort

Making a fort never gets old. It’s a sure-fire way to keep your kids out of trouble for a few hours, plus, it’s cheap. Let them use old cardboard boxes or blankets and pillows to transform their bedroom into the most epic fort ever! You may even find yourself wanting to join in with this activity.


4. Baking & Cooking

Baking & Cooking

Everyone in the house needs to eat, but why not make mealtime prep fun? You’ll feed the family, teach the kids some skills and keep them entertained all-in-one. Turn your kids into little chefs by letting them help with mixing ingredients, cracking eggs and the best bit – licking the bowl! There are plenty of easy to follow baking and cooking recipes that they’re sure to love.


 5. Play Dress-Up

Play Dress-Up

Let them raid your wardrobe or the fancy dress box, get dressed up in their favourite garments and strut their stuff! This activity is a great way to get your kids to use their imagination and pretend to be whoever they want. It’s fun for them and fun for Mum and Dad to watch.


6. Put On a Talent Show

Put On a Talent Show

Everyone loves a talent show. This idea is one that the whole family can join in with, after all, the only thing more fun than watching is participating! Maybe your kids are bursting with talent that you know nothing about. Now is the time for them to showcase their best skills, from singing and dancing to magic tricks and drawing.

With any luck, the above ideas will keep your little ones entertained for a while. Give our Facebook page a follow for more ideas. 

In the current situation, remember to:

  • Keep any gatherings small – ideally between the people in your household.
  • Avoid contact with anyone you think has come into contact with the Covid-19 virus.
  • Provide lots of hand wash and hand sanitiser if you have it.
  • If you live in close proximity to other people, be wary of them being outdoors.

Check isolation and social distancing guidelines for more information.


3 Tips to Get Your Toddler to Eat Their Veggies

As a parent, you want the best for your children, and that includes giving them all the nutrients they need to grow up healthy. But as we all know, getting them to eat their veggies can be a serious battle, and often doesn’t feel worth the hassle.

But, there are ways to make it easier. From sneaking vegetables into their food to making fruit and veg more appealing, here are a few tips and tricks and get them eating the right things.


1. Smoothies


The best part about smoothies? You can put in whatever you want, and your kids will be none the wiser! They’re packed full of health benefits and are super easy to customise for breakfast, snack time or supper. They also tend to be naturally sweet which kids love.

Plus there are so many different ingredients available; spinach, strawberries, bananas, kiwi, carrot, the list goes on, so there are bound to be a few different variations that are kid approved. 

All of this makes smoothies one of the easiest and most delicious ways to get your toddler to drink their fruit and veggies.


2. Hide Vegetables in Food

Hide Vegetables in Food

Yes it’s sneaky, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them – in fact it will do them a world of good!

Here are some examples:

  • Add some mashed cauliflower to mashed potato – you really can’t tell it’s there.
  • Blend onions, mushrooms and tomatoes to spaghetti bolognese.
  • Finely grate some vegetables of your choice and add to homemade burgers or meatballs.
  • Add a layer of spinach to a lasagne.
  • Slice some peppers and use them as a pizza topping (covered in cheese of course).
  • Swap fries for sweet potato wedges – they’ll notice the change here but they might love it!


3. Serve the Veg First

Serve the Veg First

It may seem obvious, but if kids are hungry, they will eat. Putting vegetables on a plate next to other more appetising food won’t work, they’ll fill up on the unhealthy stuff and the veggies will always loose. Here’s a better idea…

When your kids are getting tetchy during the pre-dinner hours, don’t give in and let them have a snack of their choice. Instead, try placing a plate full of veggies on the table, you might be surprised what they will munch on when they’re hungry! Chopped peppers, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers are great snacky food ideas full of goodness, and it shouldn’t fill them up too much before dinner time.

Our professional staff at The Riverside Village Nursery often put some of these tricks into practice and we’ve seen great success! If you want to read more about what our nursery offers, click here.

Riverside Nursery

3 Ways to Get fit in January When You Have Kids

It’s the start of a new decade, and if you spent most of the 00s promising yourself you’d get fit, the 20s are a perfect opportunity to make it happen!

Getting fit can be tricky when you’ve got children to look after, though. They need a lot of care and attention, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about yourself. getting fit in January doesn’t have to be a slog, here are three ways you can get the 20s off to a slim start!


1. Get a Free Gym Pass

Get a Free Gym Pass

If you don’t want to commit to a gym because you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to go often enough, you could try a free pass. Most gyms offer free passes at this time of year because it’s a great way to get people through the door when they want to get fit in January.

If you have a friend you could go with, invite them along. Think about what gym you’d like to go to. Do you want to work out on your own? Are you into classes? Do you like swimming and saunas?

The prices will vary depending on the facilities, and the location is always worth considering, too.

Hussle allows you to type your postcode in and get free or discounted passes from various gyms. However, if you Google gyms near you, you’ll be able to find one that suits you.


2. Start Walking or Jogging

Start Walking or Jogging

There are plenty of benefits of walking and running. To begin with, they’re both free! And to add to that, you don’t have to faff around getting to a gym; you can leave your house and start straight away.

Many people think you aren’t doing ‘proper’ exercise if you aren’t doing something to exert vast amounts of energy, which is untrue. Walking or jogging for 30 minutes has many health benefits:

  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Reduced body fat
  • Stronger bones
  • Reduced risk of disease
  • Better core balance

You can also use apps to track your progress and see how far you’ve run. All you need is a smartphone.


3. Start Making Some Healthy Recipes

Start Making Some Healthy Recipes

Healthy cooking doesn’t have to take forever, and if you’ve got kids you probably don’t want it to either. Weekdays can be especially hectic, and spending hours cooking isn’t an option.

But healthy eating helps you get fit. Exercise and healthy food come as a package; you can’t have one without the other.

Think about your life as well when you make healthy foods, if you’re always on the go you’ll need carbohydrates in your diet. If you’re sedentary most of the time, you could cut down on the carbs.


Are You Ready to Make 2020 Your Year?

If you’re ready to get fit this year, trying these three options will help you on your way to success. Come down to Riverside and treat yourself to a hair appointment after all of that hard work!

3 Fun Indoor Games to Play With Your Kids in Winter

Autumn is coming to an end, and it’s barely warm enough to stand outside for five minutes – never mind go out and play games with the kids (unless it’s snowing of course).

You don’t have to sit in front of the fire warming yourself up all winter though – you can keep your mind and body active by playing some fun, engaging games with your kids.


Here are our top three favourites for this winter:

1. Winter Scavenger Hunt

1. Winter Scavenger Hunt

If your kids are curious, active and like to indulge in a bit of friendly competition – give them a winter scavenger hunt to keep them entertained.

You’ll need a collection of identical winter items: think gloves, baubles, twin ornaments (if they’re not important to you) and write them all onto a ‘Christmas List’. 

Split your kids into two teams or 1v1, and set a timer. They have to find each item in the allocated time, and the winner is the one who does it the quickest.

You could arrange a surprise for the winning team as well.


2. Snowman Slam

2. Snowman Slam

Snowman slam is ideal for kids (and adults) that need to improve their target practice! All you’ll need is some foam or polystyrene cups – although recyclable cups would be better – and some cotton wool.

Stack the cups on top of each other into a pyramid and roll the cotton wool into throwable balls.

Get your kids to stand away from the cups and throw the cotton wool at the pyramid, trying to knock the cups off.

The winner is the team that knocks the most cups off. Brrrilliant!


3. Candy Cane Hunt

3. Candy Cane Hunt

The candy cane is a classic staple of the festive period, so it makes sense to include it in a winter game.

And the best thing is that you only need candy canes. You might want to tell the kids you’re playing the game after you’ve hidden the candy canes so as not to arouse suspicion. 

Also, consider the age of your kids and where you put them – you don’t want anyone trying to scale the Christmas tree! You’ve already got their reward, too.

If you’re feeling brave, you could take the game outside.


Are You Ready to Have Some Winter Fun?

These games should get you prepared for some indoor winter fun – if you’re willing to brave the outside, come and visit The Riverside Hub and visit our salon for some festive indulgence.

what to do with your kids in Blackburn autumn 2019Crisp, bright mornings, endless amounts of soup, soft brown, orange and reddish leaves crunching beneath your feet. It’s what autumn is all about, and we love it!

Autumn also starts the pre-build up to Christmas and New Years Eve, which is incredibly exciting. 

There’s no shortage of things to do in and around the Blackburn area during this period, and here’s our pick of the bunch:


Veganfest – Mellor Community Association

Veganfest - Mellor Community Association

Veganism’s popularity has been on the rise in Britain for the past few years, and events like this help to promote an ‘animal produce-free’ way of life. 

We’re not suggesting you have to ditch meat, but if you want to show your kids an alternative way of life and educate yourself on veganism, it’s worth going.

There’ll be plenty of Fair Trade gifts and delicious animal free produce, plus, there’ll be a positive atmosphere and a chance to learn from people that are passionate about the vegan way of life.

Also, with Christmas fast approaching, it’ll be a great chance to get some unusual upcycled goods, sample some vegan Christmas treats and make some eco-friendly adaptations to this year’s holiday season.

Location: Mellor Community Association, Mellor, Blackburn, BB2 7EW

Event Details: Sunday 10th November 2019 11:00am-4:00pm

Prices: You won’t need a ticket for this event, entry is free


Blackburn Cathedral Frost Fair

Blackburn Cathedral Frost Fair

If you and your kids love arts, crafts and great local artisan products, try Blackburn Cathedral Frost Fair.

There’ll be plenty of stalls with unique, specialist products such as handmade luxury confectionery, sweet & savoury treats, original art, homeware, unique children’s gifts and fashion

Enjoy a stress-free shopping experience, pick up a rare gift and relax with a warm glass of mulled wine.

It’ll be held in Blackburn Crypt (an underground room or vault within a church) which is not yet open to the general public, so there’s a certain mysticism surrounding the event. 

It’ll also be a great opportunity for you and your family to appreciate the fabulous architecture of the building.

Location: Blackburn Cathedral, Cathedral Close, BB1 5AA

Event Details: Friday 22nd November 2019 4:00pm-9:00pm/Saturday 23rd November 10:00am-5:00pm

Prices: You won’t need a ticket for this event, entry is free


What Else Can You Do This Autumn?

If you don’t want to attend specific events this autumn, you can still spend some quality time with your kids at home or in nature.

Witton Park is breathtaking at this time of year – you could take your kids to collect leaves and make a leaf wreath, or set up a bonfire at home at roast some chestnuts and marshmallows (make sure you ask your neighbours and do it safely!).


Come and Visit The Hub at The Riverside

If you want to teach your children how to swim, come to The Hub and try some of our swimming lessons – we cater to children of all ages. Or if you’ve got some time to pamper yourself, treat yourself to a new haircut in our salon.

summer holiday fun header

Whether you’re visiting Lancashire for a weekend getaway or a local wanting to spend some quality time with family, there’s plenty of activities for you to enjoy in the historic towns and magnificent countryside that this region has to offer.

The Hub at Riverside

This elegantly designed building offers a fantastic range of activities and services to the Darwen and Blackburn area. A regular favourite is Splash, a purpose-built swimming academy where there’s plenty of support to improve your fitness or to have a splash around with the family. The pool is eco-friendly and is bacteria free, making it a safe place for small children and babies who have sensitive skin.

Tenpin Blackburn

Only a quick journey away is Tenpin Blackburn, a classic activity for everyone to enjoy. There’s also offers on too, like adding in a meal at The Grill diner as it’s more affordable that way and you don’t have to worry about finding a place to eat. For a modern twist, why not go to the glow bowling disco nights which the older kids will love? They lower the lighting, blast disco-style music and have UV effects.

summer holiday fun activities banner

Blackburn Dart Zone

Take it to another level and be prepared for a Nerf battle at Blackburn Dart Zone. Play well-known games like capture the flag, bank robbery, zombies and Fortnite. The indoor arena is almost 3,000 square feet so there’ll be plenty of room to play. There are inflatables and tunnels as well as soft floor matting so no one will get any accidental battle scars!

Hoghton Tower

Hoghton Tower is only a few miles from Darwen and Blackburn and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and grounds which little princes and princesses will love. Join a house tour and discover the history of the house as well as the family, stop by the Tea Room for a quick snack and pop into the gift shop to complete your visit. Throughout the year there are family-friendly events where tours are offered with children in mind and the little ones can dress up in costume.

Have a lovely Lancashire summer! We look forward to seeing you at The Hub at Riverside soon.

Splash Riverside

We’ve had two very special team member anniversaries so far this year at Riverside Nursery.

In March, Nursery Practitioner, Sarah, celebrated being at Riverside for a decade, and Senior Nursery Practitioner, Lucie, celebrated her ten year anniversary in May.

Both Sarah and Lucie are fantastic assets to the team here in Darwen, and have met countless children during their years at the nursery – with their welfare and development of these children always their priority. We are very lucky to have them and we marked both occasions with a bouquet of flowers and voucher, as a token of our appreciation.


Huge congratulations to Sarah and Lucie, and here’s to the next ten years!

Have a whale of a time at splash

Swimming is for young and old, and can provide a fantastic way to improve fitness, while having fun. That’s why Splash, the purpose built swimming pool situated at The Hub at Riverside, is such an integral part of what we offer.


Perfect for the whole family

Perfect for the whole family

One of the best things about swimming is that we can do it together. Swimming as a family is brilliant for bonding, and we pride ourselves on offering a range of pool activities for all ages – from babies right up to adults. You might be amazed at just how quickly a trip to Splash! can become a weekly date in the diary which the whole family looks forward to.



Learn from the bestLearn from the best

Splash isn’t just a pool for fooling around – it is a swimming academy which offers children the benefits of instructors who are qualified up to ASA/STA Level 2. That means your children can learn good swimming habits for life, learning to do things the right way. Splash! is located in a secure area with lots of places to leave your car, and the good news is that parking is absolutely free.


Ticking the boxesTicking the boxes

Swimming is such a healthy activity on so many levels. At Splash!, your children and yourself can benefit from a pastime which is able to improve both physical and mental health. Furthermore, you can rest assured that your children will be swimming in a safe and secure environment which is designed to ensure that everyone enjoys their time in the pool, irrespective of the activity which they are undertaking.


Variety is the spice of lifeVariety is the spice of life

At Splash!, we have put together a programme of different swimming sessions which we believe offers more variety than any other pool in the area. We have Aqua Aerobics, which is a fantastic way to exercise while making new friends, there’s also Little Splashers, our regular class for toddlers aged one to three years old, and their parents, introducing best practices in the water. And our Pre School sessions are designed specifically for kids aged three to four years old, setting them on the path to swimming independently, before they even start school.

Read about our Splash! swimming classes in detail and view photos of our facility now!

Splash Riverside