Easy ideas for a Harry Potter party

A few years ago, I had the idea of throwing my Mum a Harry Potter bonanza! I say bonanza and not party because we didn’t have a lot of people round but it was a very magical day and she enjoyed it immensely! Some of the ideas I’ve seen online didn’t suit what I wanted for her day and I thought some of you might be in a similar situation so I thought I’d write about some of the ideas I had that went down a treat!

These ideas can be done using really simple methods or they can be done by going the extra mile, they can suit the situation you’re in. They can also be converted into things for a large group or for a small group. Let’s get started!

(I have had to crop and blur the photos where faces, names and other things are for the privacy of my family and friends)

  1. The layout of the day    This was really important for me, I didn’t want to just throw a party when her friends arrived, I wanted the whole day to be an experience. This can be done very simply, it just requires some preparation. I wrote a Hogwarts acceptance letter for her (which you can actually print out instead) h.p. party 1and I did another letter for her explaining what the day was about. hp party 2I also bought a mini Hogwarts trunk from etsy that was filled with lot’s of mini things like spell books, Hedwig and a potions set! (I also added Haggord’s keys)h.p. party 4To top it all off, I dressed up like Hagrid to wake her up and surprise her! (But I called myself “Haggord”.)I also made a timetable to loosely base the day off. h.p party 3It’s good to let who your throwing a party for know what they’re in for and it’s a nice little help for you as well. This also went really well with the school theme! Just don’t be too strict with the timetable, if a few things don’t start or finish at the time you want them to then it’s okay.
  2. Themed food    There are LOADS of Harry Potter related foods out there, but these are the ones I found easiest and tastiest. As this was for my Mum and I was living with my parents at the time, I had to prepare all the food the night before, so having easy food was very important. In the morning, I made her a poached egg very much like the one Ron had (or didn’t) before his first Quidditch match in the Half Blood Prince.
    h.p. party 34

    “Drapple” is an inside joke in the fandom so it’s a fun but healthy addition to the food! 

    h.p. party 29

    Cockroach clusters- melt some chocolate and mix it together with popcorn

    h.p. party 28

    Weasley’s Dragon Roasted Nuts- recipe here: http://inliterature.net/food-in-literature/2013/09/harry-potter-weasleys-dragon-roasted-nuts.html

    h.p. party 36

    Just plain old Chicken and ham sandwiches, Professor Mc Gonagall gives these to Harry and Ron in “The Chamber of Secrets” (the book) as they weren’t allowed into the great hall for the feast. This is a great one for testing the die hard fans knowledge!

    h.p. party 32

    I’ve got a friend who makes very nice pumpkin pasties but I simply didn’t have the time nor the talent so I just got Cornish one’s and called them “(not so) pumpkin pasties”!

    h.p. 30

    Another one for if you want an excuse to add some more “normal” food. The weasley’s family owl Erol crashes into a bowl of crisps at lunch time in the Chamber of Secrets

    h.p. party 35

    My Mum likes to imagine that cauldron cakes are just a more magical way of saying pancakes, so I just filled up a plastic cauldron of American style pancakes. You can find lot’s of Halloween decorations to put food in at your local supermarket. Fortunately, we already have lot’s of these kind of things!

    h.p. party 31

    Of course I couldn’t miss out Hagrid’s legendary rock cakes (also just from the books). Hagrid is constantly making these for when Harry, Ron and Hermione come over, little does he know that they’re rock hard and the kids can’t eat them! Luckily, mine turned out edible! Here’s a good recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rock_cakes_03094

    h.p. party 27

    The little lightning scar sign reads “Harry’s Favourite” as every fan of the Harry Potter Books will know that he loves this sweet treat! Luckily, you can buy nice ones that aren’t overly expensive and it went down really well. 

    h.p. party 26

    For a drink, I made lot’s of orange juice, put it in a glass jug and told everyone that it was Pumpkin juice! Everyone likes to pretend sometimes and let’s face it, if you’re throwing a Harry Potter party everyone there will be kids or big kids! And of course, I couldn’t leave out jelly beans and sherbet lemons!

    h.p. party 37

    Then I put up this cute little sign over the oven and made Butterbeer for everyone. Here’s our favourite recipe: https://secretmenus.com/starbucks/secret-menu/butterbeer-latte-hot/ Warning: it’s SUPER sickly, so you might want to thin it out a bit if you don’t want everyone bouncing off the walls!

    h.p. party 48

    After dinner (which was the left over food we didn’t eat from lunch) we had this amazing cake made by a close friend of my Mum’s! (it was personalised with her name)

  3. Decorations     Obviously for any themed party decorations are a really important part. I had a lot of fun with these! Obviously there are some things that I’ve shown you already, all these things can easily be made on a computer but I drew all of my decorations to give it an extra personal feel, here goes!
    h.p. party 8

    So I introduced this after my Mum had breakfast. it’s just brick wallpaper pinned to the walls. It looks a little silly but it’s a great touch for the day! If you’re throwing a party, why not cover your door with this wallpaper instead?

    h.p. party 9

    Through the brick wall was this little sign I drew! (the Caution ghost crossing was just conveniently still up from Halloween) 

    h.p.party 10

    Next, I made my Mum go down the stairs sitting down as if it were a train. Because of this, I made this sign of the adorable trolley lady!

    h.p. party 11

    I actually made these shields ages ago, but again, I’m sure you can print off your own from images online and stick them onto cardboard. I also had the sorting hat and our stool, my Mum was in Hufflepuff!

    h.p. party 12

    In the same hall, I made these “Floating” candles. Roll up some thick white paper, stuff orange and yellow tissue paper down the top and tie them with fishing wire. Because our ceiling is white, I stuck them up with white tac. 


    Even though my Mum’s in Hufflepuff, I decorated our living room to look like the Gryffindor common room as it’s shown and described more in the films and books. On the back of the door is the Notice board. I found this Proclamation poster at comic con.

    h.p. party 15

    I made these additional notices with a quill and ink. “Quidditch Tryouts start Saturday Come to the quidditch pitch at 10am sharp! No first years!”

    h.p. party 16

    “Second Hand spellbooks for sale… A history of magic- See Ryan Henry (13 Sickles)”… Fantastic beasts and where to find them for 5 sickles -see Podric Piles… The standard book of spells- Make me an offer! -Angus Motlart

    h.p. party 17

    “Reminder No magic is to be used in the corridors! -Argus Filch.”

    h.p. party 18

    I got some red candles and red potpourri to dot around the room. I also had a quill and ink so I displayed it here.

    h.p. party 19

    A gryffindor sign I got from etsy (it had a background of white cloth which I cut off) and a broomstick.

    h.p. party 21

    Crookshanks which I got from the Harry Potter studio tour and an Owl which me and my Mum call “Erol” I also got more red pillows for our living room.

    h.p. party 22

    To magic up our electric fire place, I drew this lively fire to stick on the front.

    h.p.party 20

    A Harry Potter card set which we already had and a chocolate frog box from the Harry Potter studio tour

    h.p. party 5

    I put this grumpy Moaning myrtle Ghost on the under side of our toilet lid!

  4. Activities     It’s no party without things to do. We watched Harry Potter ( I forget which one) during lunch time but that’s not all we did! For a lot of these, I had to ask for other people’s help but if you are doing it all on your own, with enough time I think you could do it.
    h.p. 6

    In the morning before going through to platform 9 3/4 we went to Gryngotts so she could buy the rest of her supplies. This was my brothers room. I laid out these coins I made on his carpet and as he’s got a reputation in our family to be a little grumpy in the morning, I told my Mum to beware the dragon! She loved it!

    h.p. party 7

    After Gryngotts, I told her that I’d gone to Madame Malkin’s to get her robes and gave her a robe that a good friend from church made. Next, it was Ollivanders which was in my room. I laid out a dark sheet over my bed and put three wands on it. Then I pointed a lamp at the wands and turned it on so that’s all you could see. When my Mum waved the wrong wands I played some breaking glass sounds I downloaded onto my i-pod which I kept behind my back. When she got the right one, I played the music that plays when Harry finds his wand in the Philosipher’s stone. My Mum absolutely loved this!! 

    h.p. party 23

    After we went on the Hogwarts express and got sorted, we played gobstones! This is just like normal marbles (I drew a circle on the ground with flower) but when you get someone’s marble out of the circle you dip your hand in water and flick the water in your opponent’s face! This goes down a treat! 

    h.p. party 24

    After that, we played Quidditch in which someone hides a snitch and the “seeker” has to go and find it. I had planned a game where my Mum had to shoot balls through hoops in the garden but it was raining. After Lunch we had Potions! 

    h.p. party 25

    I gave my Mum a potions book and some ingredients and she made some potions in a cauldron I bought from a cute shop called Magically in Stratford Upon Avon. 

    h.p. party 38

    Then, it was onto Herbology. My Mum’s friend did this as she know a lot about plants. It was a lesson based on re-potting mandrakes! I called our teachers similar but silly names to the professors at Hogwarts, this was Professor Sapling!

    h.p. party 39

    We each had a pot and a little potato on a leaf (this was the mandrake)

    h.p. party 40

    We then put our potatoes in a pot with a some kind of seed or nut.

    h.p. party 41

    Then we covered them in “Magic soil”

    h.p. party 42

    On the top we put some leaves and berries and a peg with a name we chose for our mandrake. Every plant did have some kind of meaning but I’ve forgotten it but I think even without knowing what the plants are for, this is a really fun activity! 

    h.p. party 43

    Then our professor gave us little pots filled with nuts and seeds for us to eat. Our professor told us it was a potion made by mandrakes to stop us being petrified! 

    h.p. party 44

    Next up was divination class with my brother (a.k.a. Professor Treloony) who prepaired the lesson by doing some research into reading tea leaves. (My Family don’t drink actual tea, so he got us herbal tea instead which works just as well)

    h.p. party 45

    If we saw a shape on Professor Treloony’s list in our cup, he’d tell us what our fortune was!

    h.p. party 46

    After classes were done, we were ready to sign up to Dumbledore’s army with a real quill and ink!

    h.p. party 47

    After we had cake, we had a small show of Dr. Filibusters wet start no heat fireworks! 

    h.p. party 49

    At the end of a day at Hogwarts, we were all qualified witches and wizards, so we did some magic with sparklers!

    h.p. party 50

    Here are our Mandrakes after four weeks of being in their pots! 

    So there you have it. A great day and fun for everyone. I hope you found this list helpful, if you have any more suggestions or experiences from Harry Potter parties you’ve been to then please leave them in the comments, I’d love to read them!!

10 things to have in your kitchen for good breakfasts

Breakfast for me is the most frustrating part of the day if you haven’t prepared anything and you still want a tasty but healthy meal. It usually falls on me to make breakfast because I love it so much and I’ve seen loads of things online about how to either prepare breakfast in advance or how to make quick on-the-morning breakfasts. With all this research I feel like I should give back with my own advice! I should say, there is absolutely no excuse if you don’t have a lot of money. We shop at Aldi and/or Lidl (I’m not sponsored) and always have all of these things in our kitchen. Our week shop is usually around £35 (for two people who like to eat a lot of food, plus buying food for storage and emergencies). Seriously, it’s easy to be on a budget and still have nice things, don’t let it limit you!!


  1. Oats    Oats are at number 1 because they are so useful, yummy and healthy. They are really easy to add to anything to bulk out a recipe. Me and my husband both hate porridge because of the consistency, so don’t think that’s the only use for this!! If you look at the channel “Tasty” on youtube and go to their breakfast playlist, they put oats to really good use! img_20170703_080833200.jpg
  2. Bananas     Again, these are here because they are delicious and bulk out a recipe with minimal effort. You can make a loaf of Banana bread in about an hour to use up your mushy bananas, put it with yoghurt, in smoothies, even on top of toast. What’s best about bananas is that they’re a slow release of nutrients throughout your day so they are an excellent breakfast fruit. img_20170703_081530149.jpg
  3. Cupcake tin and cases       This is for meal prep recipes, these are very good for making granola cups- granola in the shape of a cup which you can fill with yoghurt and/or fruit in the morning- or banana bread if you even want to cut out the fuss of slicing the bread in the morning. I’m sure you can use this for many things that are similar to these as well, I just really love using it as a good portion regulator to make sure you’re not just stuffing your face every morning! I find one muffin case  each with a smoothie/filling drink or two without is a good portion size. img_20170703_081353884.jpg
  4. Frozen fruit         Not an obvious choice but frozen fruit is really useful to keep for a long period of time (duh) making it perfect for those times when you don’t have fresh fruit left. It’s just as healthy and way more convenient than fresh. It’s also great for smoothies as you don’t have to add ice separately if you like your smoothies cold. If you do use frozen fruit for smoothies though, be aware that you have to use more liquid than usual if you don’t want your blender to die. img_20170703_081202382.jpg
  5.  Leading on from that: a blender/food processor.      So this is a lot more pricey than all of the other items on this list but it is SO worth it!! If you’re on a budget, save up for a while and get one, you won’t regret it. We spent about £50 on ours and it comes with a blender, cheese grater and food processor. We use it for making smoothies, fake nakd bars, tomato sauce for pizza, pesto, and lots more. I’m obviously putting it here for smoothies but if you want to cook healthier and don’t want a lot of fuss this is a great item to buy. img_20170703_080754522.jpg
  6. Greek yoghurt         Yoghurt in general is great for breakfast but obviously if you want it to be as healthy as possible, greek is the best. However, this doesn’t mean it has to stay it’s bitter self. Even mixing it with a bit of granola and fruit makes it a lovely addition as it really compliments sweets things. img_20170703_081512183.jpg
  7. Honey and/or maple syrup          Having a sweet breakfast is a very good way to get into my good books. I do like the occasional fry-up but 90% of the time I crave sugar. This does not bode well for a healthier life style, but with honey or maple syrup you can kind of cheat your way around it. Basically, it’s my way of making things taste amazing and not feeling too bad about it! The good thing about these is that they are natural which means they are far healthier than using anything else. Don’t get me wrong- they’re still not fantastic for you, all I’m saying is that they’re much better than dumping a load of caster sugar on (or in) your breakfast. img_20170703_081109906.jpg
  8. Vanilla extract Again, this is just another of natures sweeteners. A small amount adds a powerful and sweet flavour to any recipe. However, don’t go over board with this, otherwise it can actually make things taste super gross (I learnt that the hard way). If you’re adding it to a smoothie add a few drops at a time or if you’re adding it to something more substantial just stick with the standard teaspoon. img_20170703_081555703.jpg
  9.  Sundae glasses Sundae glasses may be the most unusual item on this list but believe me, they are a great way to get your breakfasts looking great and if you’re anything like me, that’s really important for a meal. Sundae glasses are especially great if you’ve got kids or if you’re a big kid, let’s say you’ve just made a great tasting smoothie but the colour is green, yuck! Never fear, just popping into a sundae glass with a stripy straw makes it look lovely! You can also make faux ice cream sundaes in these as well. img_20170703_081625424.jpg
  10. And lastly, Nuts. I try to use nuts in every breakfast, it doesn’t always work but most of the time they’re great. If you’re looking for a less crunchy filler then why not try powdered almonds? They still have the nutritional value but great for if anyone in your family doesn’t like nuts. I choose almonds in particular because they’re the most common one to find in shops and they’re really tasty! Allergic to tree nuts? Coconut is a safe and yummy option that again, you can throw into just about anything!

So that wraps up my list but I said this post would be helpful and I aim to please, so here’s a super duper quick and easy recipe to impress your family with little effort, unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this at the moment but as soon as I make it again I will take a picture and add it to this post:

Breakfast Sundae.

Time: 10 minutes the evening before. 15 minutes in the morning (absolute maximum, usually takes me 5)

Ingredients: (you can add anything but this is what I use)

Greek yoghurt

honey and/or maple syrup

vanilla extract


fresh or frozen fruit




  1. The night before,  pore any amount of greek yoghurt into a bowl and add honey or maple syrup (however much you think tastes good, it really does. not. matter.) and a teaspoon of vanilla extract (I actually use a little less, it’s just what you prefer) and whisk or stir with a spoon until very well combined.
  2. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the freezer overnight.
  3. If you’re using frozen fruit, take some out the night before and put it into a bowl to defrost, you don’t want it frozen for this.
  4. In the morning, get your chilled yoghurt mixture out. It’s different to ice cream and may be quite hard, so I usually get a wooden spoon to break it apart with instead of using a scoop.
  5. Fill each glass with oats about 1/4 full. Pour all of these into a bowl and add either maple syrup or honey a little at a time whilst mixing until the oats are well coated. If you have a little extra time, you can bake the oats for about five minutes before hand but I never bother as it doesn’t add anything to this particular recipe.
  6. Chop the banana (no less than half per person. For an adult, definitely a whole banana.)
  7. Fill the glasses with the rest of the ingredients, banana, oat mix and frozen yoghurt, staggering it. For example: some Banana, then some Oats, then some yoghurt, then some nuts, then some fresh fruit. Repeat until the glass is full.

And there you have it. A healthy, yummy, easy breakfast! And you can add anything you want, if it’s a desert why not add some unhealthy ingredients like chocolate chips or whipped cream? For a bit of fun, lay out the prepared ingredients and have everyone assemble their own! You can do loads with this recipe, I absolutely love it!

I really hope this list and recipe have inspired you to make some creative and quick breakfasts that give your mornings that extra boost they need! Most importantly, experiment in the kitchen, change recipes to suit you and your family and have fun!


You will always be my Mother

A lot of people ask me what my favourite Disney movie is and then get really surprised when I tell them. See, they expect my favourite to be “Tangled”, “Princess and the frog” or “Brave” ect. I do love all of those but my favourite Disney movie is Tarzan.

It baffles me that I am still the only person that loves Tarzan more than all the other Disney’s that I’ve met. They’ll say ‘well it was a good movie but it wasn’t amazing…” Why?! Why can’t Tarzan be amazing? However, I’ve never always loved Tarzan, so here’s the main reasons why I absolutely adore this movie and hopefully I can convince some of you to watch it again and find a new love for it! (I can’t believe I have to say this but this post does have major spoilers in it so if for some strange reason you haven’t watched it GO WATCH IT NOW!!!)

First and foremost I’m a sucker for equality and Tarzan promotes equality really well. Teaching kids that two people that look completely different can be friends is in my opinion, possibly one of the most important things that a child can grow up knowing. Okay, so I know it’s about man and monkey living in harmony but kids can take things and apply them to different situations in a heartbeat. For me, the scene where Tarzan’s mother explains to him that it doesn’t matter what he looks like is the best scene to illustrate this. Tarzan is found rubbing mud all over his body in a desperate attempt to make himself look more like a gorilla. Kala (his mother) cleans him off and and shows him that they both have two eyes, five fingers, two ears and lastly, they both have a heart. I always get so touched by this gentle, simple explanation and it can be used to teach children about equality, animal cruelty, you name it.

Secondly, the music is absolutely out of this world and the lyrics are some of the most meaningful lyrics ever to be in a Disney movie.

“no words describe a Mothers tears, no words can heal a broken heart.”

“Take strength from those that need you.”

“In learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn.”

Are some of the lyrics you’ll hear in Phil Collin’s songs. I often feel that when there are songs in movies they don’t contribute anything new to the story. They’re just there to fill out the movie and make it more “child friendly”. *cough* Frozen *cough cough* Well, you know what else is also child friendly? And Adult friendly? And just about all people everywhere friendly? A talented musician who knows how to move the story along with simple yet powerful songs.

Third but not last is how Disney didn’t market this movie for anyone. Yes, it might seem like it’s more geared towards boys on the surface but in reality it’s got plenty for boys, girls and everyone outside and in between. They didn’t think “well, we’re known for making movies for girls so we better do that” or “We should get more boys watching our movies let’s make a film for them” (I’m looking at you Cars.) For once, it seems that Disney had an idea and thought “What the hell, let’s just make a movie, who cares who watches it?” which is something I really appreciate. I love it when movie makers create just for the pure love of creating and not worrying about who their target audience is and how they can design the characters so factories can mass produce overly expensive plushies of them.

Forth, Tarzan. I mean, need I say more? He is a great role model for anyone of any age. He loves all animals apart from the ones that try and hurt him or the people he loves. When he sees Jane he doesn’t think “Aaaaah! Something I’ve never seen before!!” and runs away, he saves her life and recognises that she looks kind of similar to him, even though the best reflection of himself he’s seen is in rivers. His first reaction to any living creature is to find out more about it and befriend it if he can. Even when he (this really is major plot-ruining spoilers now) discovers a picture of his real parents he still sees his mother as the person who brought him up and taught him- a gorilla. Yet amazingly still, when given the opportunity to kill the man who tries to poach his pack and kill him, Tarzan recognises that he can be different and chooses to spare his life.

Fifth, Jane. I can’t not mention Jane, she’s one of the best heroines I’ve seen. Yes, sometimes she’s a bit ditzy but for once that’s not a trait she’s got just because she’s a girl, she actually inherits it from her father. She’s so accepting, brave and smart. And truly talented, I mean did you see the drawing she did of Tarzan just from a fleeting glimpse of him? The movie wasn’t afraid to make her funny either. Disney constantly falls into the trap of making women “proper” or in today’s Disney movies “empowered”. If I’m being honest, I’m getting a bit sick of all the girl power that’s going on right now. I just want a movie that shows a natural woman with an actual personality doing normal things. And boom. Jane fits right into the “hey, I’m just a normal woman” category. I feel like Disney needs more women like her, that are just regular women and not a character specifically designed to be a stance on Disney’s feelings towards what’s going on in the world.

I could go on for aaaages but I won’t bore you any longer. It just annoys me that a lot of people really over look Tarzan and don’t give the movie a proper chance. It’s not just about swinging on vines in the jungle and hanging around with monkeys. It’s about love, trust, loyalty and friendship. I hope you’ll give it another chance because when I did, I watched it three times in one day and never looked back.frozen movie prison

LDS Secrets revealed?! The truth behind Mormon churches!!

*cough* Now that I’ve got your attention… Hello! So, you want some dirt on the Mormon faith do you? I’ve seen a lot of people confused about this church and it’s beliefs. Well, here are 10 real facts about the LDS Church!

  1. The proper name for the Mormon Church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”
  2. Meaning that, yes! They are in fact Christians! Shock horror :O The word “Christian” actually only means ‘a person who believes Jesus is the saviour’ in other words “messiah”.
  3. Mormon’s actually have not one, not two but four books: The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and The Doctrine and Covenants. Members of the church read them ALL. And learn from them ALL. And treat them ALL the same.
  4. Mormons believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are all separate beings. A belief that separates them from a lot of Churches but is not unique to their Church.
  5. It may come as a surprise but Mormons don’t actually hate black people! Crazy! They respect, accept and teach literally ANYONE.
  6.  Leading on from this point, this includes people who are LGBT+. Some aspects of their beliefs towards the LGBT+ community are hard to wrap your head around. But if you give it time and actually bother to listen to what they believe in, it makes a lot of sense! It even takes actual Mormons a long time to understand the beliefs on this subject. The important thing to know is they respect and accept them! (And teach them if they want to be taught!)
  7. LDS members have a living prophet on the earth today. This Prophet gets inspiration and revelation from God. Meaning, their *core beliefs* do not (and will not) change but some aspects of the *Church* can, do (and probably will) change. Hence why they have “Latter Day” in their name and why they do need a prophet.
  8. They also believe in Joseph Smith. Technically, the actual organisation of the “Latter Day saint” church didn’t start until Joseph Smith organised it. He was a prophet of God and God asked him to organise the Mormon Church. Jesus was a Jew. Not a Mormon. Mormons believe all that he taught and said is true. The thing that now separates them from Jews is what they believe about Jesus. (See fact number 2)
  9. Among not drinking, smoking, wearing revealing clothing ect. Mormons also believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men. So it’s not all doom and gloom “don’t do this, don’t do that”. They believe in being active members of their communities, helping others in any way possible and following the laws of the land as well as their own laws!
  10. And lastly, the most important thing about the LDS faith is that every. Single. Person has the right and privilege to choose. Just look at the popular Mormon children’s song “Choose the right”. The title isn’t “Do the right” is it? It’s “Choose”. Their religion is a choice and everyone in and out of it can make a choice whether to accept or reject it. Multiple times. One time rejected does not mean you don’t have the ability to accept it later. All rules are actually guide lines. Mormons only follow them because they *want* and choose to. They want to get back and live with their Heavenly Father. They want to be like him. They want to be good and helpful people. And they believe that the only way of achieving ALL of these things together, is to follow the commandments that God has given them.

Now, the interesting thing is, I don’t have to be a Mormon to know these things and to respect and have an interest in the religion. All I have to do is go to a reliable source. A good one is their actual, legitimate website: www.lds.org Or, even simpler, just read their 13 very short, easy to understand “Articles of Faith”.  I don’t have to be a Mormon to know this. But the truth is, I know these things because I’ve been a baptised Mormon for 13 years and have been learning the gospel for over 21 years. Which is to say, I was born a Mormon.

But I didn’t have to stay. I didn’t have to write this blog post. I don’t have to believe in it. Both my brothers, who are incredible examples to me, aren’t active members of the church any more. The reason I wanted to say this at the end of the ten facts, even though it may have been obvious from my knowledge or the sarcastic nature of my language is that a lot of people like to learn from “x-mormons” who for whatever reason have negative feelings towards the church or from unreliable sources that share “dirt” and throw shade on our religion.

Surprisingly, these aren’t good sources for religious information. A lot of people don’t like us because they’ve been finding false things about us online or from angry people who actively go around giving inaccurate information. I’d like people to know us from the inside out. That’s the best way to learn about something like an organisation and/or religion- from the inside.

Why does it matter?

Recently I read “The Coming Revolution Inside of Mormonism” by Greg Trimble and it gave me a lot of thoughts about what matters and what doesn’t matter. Humans in general seem to have very strange ways of judging people. In Todd Rose’s “The end of average” an old study of averages is explained. The study was to contribute the dimensions necessary to make the perfect cockpit for US war planes. Scientists would take the measurements of all the pilots and find the average of all their sizes but in the late 1940s it became apparent that the pilots could not control their planes.

No-one could figure out what was wrong until they hired Lieutenant Gilbert S. Daniels, who’s job was to measure pilots’ limbs with a tape measure and finding out the average otherwise known as “typing”.

“For example, many physical anthropologists believed a short and heavy body was indicative of a merry and fun-loving personality, while receding hairlines and fleshy lips reflected a “criminal type”.”


However, Daniels had already done this kind of research before and did not care for it. Daniels’ undergraduate thesis consisted of the comparison of the shape of 250 male Harvard students’ hands.

“The students Daniels examined were from very similar ethnic and sociocultural backgrounds (namely, white and wealthy), but, unexpectedly, their hands were not similar at all. Even more surprising, when Daniels averaged all his data, the average hand did not resemble any individual’s measurements. There was no such thing as the average hand size.”

This same discovery was what lead Daniels to discovering the secret to making the perfect cockpit for all the militaries pilots.

“Using size data he had gathered from 4,063 pilots, Daniels calculated the average of the ten physical dimensions believed to be most relevant for design, including height, chest circumference, and sleeve length. These formed the dimensions of the “average pilot”… Before he crunched his numbers, the consensus among his fellow air force researchers was that the vast majority of pilots would be within the average range on most dimensions. After all, these pilots had already been preselected because they appeared to be average sized. … The scientists also expected that a sizeable number of pilots would be within the average range on all ten dimensions. But even Daniels was stunned when he tabulated the actual number. Zero. Out of 4,063 pilots, not a single airman fit within the average range on all ten dimensions.”

Daniels findings finally brought to light that “If you’ve designed a cockpit to fit the average pilot, you’ve actually designed it to fit no one.”

This story was really interesting to me as it illustrates how we judge people in todays society. We judge based on our imaginings of the “ideal human.”  I say imaginings because an ideal, average, normal human being doesn’t exist and it never will. No one can live up to the whole worlds expectations of “normal.”

In his blogpost, Greg Trimble states how he envisions Mormonism in the future. One of these things is “this revolution will produce a people who don’t make a checklist of things they can and cannot do on the sabbath… and then hold others to their own standard and checklist.” We are constantly comparing people to ourselves or others. Why didn’t Daniels’ discovery make us think differently about people?

“The end of Average” talks of another study, one who’s results turned into a new gruesome method of judgement which still exists today. This study was designed to find out the average size of a woman. A sculpture had been made by gynaecologist, Dr. Robert L. Dickinson  and Abram Belskie representing the size data collected from fifteen thousand young adult women which they named “Norma”. Norma brought about the same discovery as Daniels made about pilots; that no woman alive could match Norma’s “average” size. However, this didn’t mean that we thought about the individual rather than the masses, it meant that we thought something was wrong and began to pressure the masses to change themselves to look more like Norma, aka. the average woman.

This judgement falls upon us all. Men, Women, teenagers, even babies. A baby will constantly be compared to the average to make sure it’s development is “normal”. But of course, no-one can be normal because there is no normal. From the discoveries humanity has made over the years, the word “normal” shouldn’t even be in the dictionary any more as far as humans are concerned.

This phenomenon of averages can be found everywhere. But the place were I see it most is inside my church. An LDS church should be the last place to find judgements but sadly, it’s usually the first. At School and work, my differences -religiously or not- have usually been widely accepted. The only time they have not been accepted was at school because some of my peers knew that I was ashamed of some of my differences. However, when I learned to accept myself, I was accepted by others. Only in the church have I seen a difference.

We seem to be obsessed with “typing”, putting people into categories. The gay one, the one who didn’t serve a mission, the one who was ex-communicated, the one who used to smoke, the one who can’t get over her addiction to coffee. Why do these things matter? Trimble wishes us to be more accepting. ““Who are you now?!” is what we’ll ask. Not “who were you then?””. Past failures, be they five years ago, five months ago, five days ago or five minutes ago shouldn’t matter. We should see that person coming out to church every week and accept them for being who they are at. That. Moment.

They are trying. Just like we are trying. Just like our President or Bishop is trying. Just like our prophet, President Monson is trying. Why should we cast stones at them when they could just as easily cast stones at us? We only think they are different from us because we haven’t bothered to learn more about them. My church has accepted me despite my flaws but only because I was born and raised into that church. They knew me already and were comfortable with me. Why isn’t it the same for visitors, new members or for people who have gone and come back? Let us stop typing and start getting to know people for who they really are.


There are no strings on me

Imagine living in a big cage. In the cage, there are lots and lots of rings drawn on the ground, like a big target and you’re sitting in the middle one that’s only just bigger than the space you need to sit comfortably. You’re told that the only way you can be happy is if you stay in the circle. There is grass and sunlight outside of the cage, people laughing, eating, chasing butterflies and you can see that they are happy. Years go by, you do as you’re told and sit in the middle ring. Sure, you’re safe in the ring even if it’s a little boring. Yet, something is bothering you in the back of your mind as you watch everyone play outside…

“Where is their cage? They are happy but they’re not in a cage.”  

You begin to question the cage, the more you think about it, the more you’re uncomfortable, cold and lonely. The more you look at them, the more all of the rings that surround you are making you dizzy. At long last, you creep out into the ring just outside of the centre.

“Well, that was simpler than expected.” You think.

“No-one’s telling me off, the person that told me to stay in the middle is gone and I am closer to getting out and joining those people.” 

You tentatively move to the next ring, and the next one, slowly getting closer to the edge of the cage. You’re half way there now and you get so happy and excited that you run the  rest of the way there.

You pause at the cage door. You notice that there’s no lock and you reach for the handle, yet you hesitate. You’ve lived your whole life in the cage, what if the outside isn’t as good as you expected? You’re worried that you might get hurt as you watch a child fall, scrape his knee and burst into tears. You let go of the handle and tears fill up your own eyes as you take a step back from the edge of the cage. Then, the child’s parent takes him into her arms, puts a plaster on his knee and kisses it better. The child runs back to play.

With a joyful smile, you wrench open the cage door and step into the light. It’s bright at first and you squint – it takes a bit of getting used to. But soon you begin to make friends and learn new things. You’re free.

That’s how I see a lot of People with overprotective parents act when they can leave home and finally try new things. That’s how some people who have been brought up in religion  believe they feel in their childhood. They feel restricted and caged. It makes me really sad to see how parents (not of anyone I know) teach religion to their children. Like there’s no choice. This is how we do it and there’s no other way. Then it becomes confusing for the child when they see non-religious people being perfectly happy but they aren’t following anything that’s been taught to the religious child.

They’re so naive about the world around them and to the concept of not following a set way, that they feel like they have to escape and learn about it all. And of course they’re going to think that doing things without religion is better because now they’re not being controlled by their obsessive parents. And then the parent’s think “Where have I gone wrong?”

My parents didn’t teach religion in this way and I saw it differently. So did my brothers even though they’re not religious anymore. Here’s how I saw it:

Imagine you’re a young child and you’re in a park with your friends. There are three of you. You are blue, one is yellow and the other is green. You ask your parents if you can go exploring and they say

“Of course, stay safe and be back by two o’clock.”

Your friends both go and ask their parents as well. The yellow parents say

“No, come and sit on the bench with us like a good child.”

The green parents say

“Yes, go do whatever you want and be back whenever you want.”

Off you and green go, leaving poor yellow behind. Along the way, you see all kinds of amazing things, you play together and have a great time. After about half an hour, you see a cave and it’s dark and scary. Green says to you,

“Hey blue, this cave is pretty cool, we should explore it!”

You look into the cave, it has an interesting shape, and looks like a cool place to play games and explore but it also looks slippery and has jagged rocks on the sides and you can see it doesn’t look very safe.

“Hmmmm, it’s pretty cool, but I don’t know… It doesn’t look safe and I might not get back to my parents in time.” You say to green.

“Oh, sure you will” says green. “I heard that you have to be back by two, we’ll only be quick and I have a torch with me, we’ll be fine.”

You follow green into the cave and it looks pretty cool, you have fun playing games and looking at the rocks but along the way you fall and hurt your ankle. Also, whilst you were exploring the cave you were having so much fun that you forgot about the time! You realise you only have ten minuets to get back to your parents! Green helps you up and walks with you.

When you get back, green goes to their parents. You come back to your parents with your head hanging.

“what’s wrong?” ask your parents.

“I’m late, it’s 2:02 and I didn’t stay safe, I hurt my ankle when we were in a cave.”

Your parents laugh and you’re confused, if you disobeyed, why are they laughing?

“Did you have a nice time?” Says your Mum.

“Well yes, until I hurt my ankle.” You answer.

“So what if you were a little late, it probably took you a bit longer than expected to come back because you were hurt. We were worried, but we’re more worried about getting your ankle better” Your Dad says, kindly.

“What did you learn?” He asks.

“I learnt that the rules you teach me are to keep me safe and I should be careful when following my friends, even though they might want me to have fun and try to do what they think is best. Sometimes what they do is fun, but if I’m not careful I might get sidetracked and forget what you taught me.” You reply, proud of yourself.

“Perfect!” says your Mum “now, watch” She says, pointing to the two other children.

“What did you learn today?” Asks the green Mum

“Caves are cool! There’s lot’s of different rocks in them!” replies your friend.

“Wow, that’s great!” Says green Mum.

“What did you learn?” Asks the yellow Mum.

“I am safe here with you.” Says your other friend.

“That’s right.” Says Yellow Mum.

You look back at your parents and smile. Sometimes, their rules are boring, but there’s a point to them and you know that if you make a mistake, you can learn and try again.

A letter to schools

Dear teachers and students,

Some say that school can be the making and breaking of a person. For me it was about 10% making and 90% breaking. In fact, I just went back to my old school today because my music group has moved there and my mood wasn’t great just because I was in the building. Despite all of this, I love learning. I believe in educating myself and enjoy to improve my skills. The way the lesson is taught in *most* places is what I have a problem with.

So, to the students-

A lot of the reasons for my experiences here were pretty much out of any teachers control. I was very severely bullied and took away a lot of anxiety, along with awful trust issues when it comes to making and keeping friends. Let’s just put it this way, my year was the year that made the headmaster install a more secure door system… No student did anything to help until I made some amazing friends who got me through the later years. To their credit though, this was mostly because I was very quiet and didn’t like to bother anyone with my troubles. So, no one would notice if I was upset.

But if you do ever see anyone sitting on their own at lunch, looking the slightest bit down, or staying out of the way in a corner somewhere; go and sit with them, give them a smile, go talk to them. I know it’s scary, it might seem lame, or they might seem weird but let me tell you three of the most important things you’ll ever learn: 1) Every new experience is scary. 2) If you want to do it, don’t let fear of judgement tie you down. 3) Everyone on this planet is weird.

Be yourself. Don’t let anyone- ANYONE let you think you can’t be different. As soon as I learned that, a lot of the bullying stopped. Embrace your weirdness! Be confident! Don’t be afraid to do what’s right, even if you stand alone. Learn things you can do to help yourself out. I know of an incredible man, to me, he was one of the most amazing men I’d ever heard of apart from my Dad and he once said that to get him through each day, he stood in front of the mirror and said “everything is going to be okay”.

And, if none of this helps, it will all end eventually. School will become nothing but a memory and you’ll never have to go again if you don’t want to.

And to the teachers:

I went into high school as a tiny eleven year old thinking “I’m going to do better than I did at primary, I can get more organised, I’ll come to school on time and remember all my books.” In my first month I got a detention for forgetting my pencil. It probably fell out of my pencil case or someone could’ve taken it. It might seem like a very small thing to an adult and to me now, I can get over it. But to an eleven year old, it felt like my teacher got really close to my face and said “screw you”. In my first month at my new school I felt like I couldn’t accomplish my goal to try and get more organised. In short, they made me feel like a failure.

Although I said in the address to the students that most of my bad experiences were out of the teachers control, there’s still some things that you can do. In the example above, my teacher could have said “that’s okay, these things happen” and let me borrow a pencil. Some of our teachers were marvellous but that was only a select few. I’m very sorry to say that we weren’t treated very well by the majority of our teachers. They would make fun of us in front of fellow students, they would put us on the spot when they knew full well that we didn’t know the answer and they would stamp out any dream we had that was slightly abnormal.

Can I just say, that forcing a career onto someone will not make that career appear any more attractive to them. If someone has an achievable goal that is anything other than “normal” -whatever that is- then help them towards it with polite encouragement. If someone has an unachievable goal, then strive to make it achievable. If they have the passion to put in the work then that’s all that should really matter.

When I said to my teachers that I wanted to be an artist they didn’t support me at all. They said that it wasn’t a good or realistic choice and that it was too tough. Teachers: just because your student’s dream seems daunting to you, doesn’t mean you have to put your worries onto them. I knew of the risks, I knew that I probably wouldn’t make very much money but I didn’t need to hear it again, I needed to know what I could do to make my dream a reality.

I am now directly addressing the art department of any school. Art was, is and always will be my passion. But my school’s art department unknowingly did everything it could to stamp that passion out of me. If I could name the head of the art department at my school and talk freely about him, I’d probably get him fired. He had all the characteristics an art teacher absolutely should not have. He was unimaginative, closed minded, and just down right boring. He was blind to anything that wasn’t traditional art or Picasso. I would show him pieces that I had put great thought and care into, things that I saw as beautiful and he shot them down without even a second glance. It felt like getting a slap in the face each time.

We once did a project that was meant to be centred around yourself and I, once again, did my own thing thinking “Well, this project is meant to be about me, so I’ll make it about me.” apparently, I did it too much about me, he didn’t like it one bit.

What’s worse is that I’m hearing from lot’s of art students that art teachers are prohibiting the use of black paint as they see it as “cheating”. Let me tell you, as an artist, black paint is what I have most of and I guarantee that most other artists will say the same. The same goes for not letting students erase things. It’s silly and needs to be stopped.

To the Maths department: if a student get’s the right answer, you ask why and they say “because I know” please don’t tell them they’re wrong. They got the right answer. Teach them how to explain themselves. You’re a teacher. That’s what you’re there for. To teach.

To the History department: that one time we watched black adder in school taught me more than any other classes I took in history. Probably because we actually enjoyed it.

Teach with fun. Use your time as a teacher to develop the next generation of kids, not to put them into one end of a machine and have them come out as clones of the same person. I’m begging you, put joy back into teaching. Bring life into schools. And most importantly: let those children have an actual childhood.