How to have a cracking (adult) Easter egg hunt party

Easter bunny drinkingEveryone loves Easter, what with the four day weekend, masses of chocolate, lots of cute chicks everywhere and all the eggcellent Easter puns (well, maybe not so much those).

Unfortunately, gone are the days of running around the garden searching for bag fulls of chocolate Easter eggs hidden (mostly poorly) about the place. Instead, now that we’re older, we count ourselves lucky to receive a single egg from our parents as a token gesture. I mean COME ON!? We’ll demolish that in seconds…

That’s why here at WDMM we’ve come up with some legendary ideas for your very own grown-up Easter party (we’re not talking about orgies, you filthy scoundrel), which will bring back the good old days of Easter egg hunts, with an adult twist to keep even your most demanding housemates happy:

1. Replace chocolate with booze

Fill shop bought / homemade Easter eggs with alcohol miniatures and hide them around your flat for your guests to find. Include multi-coloured jello shots about the place to make the hunt even more entertaining.

2. Have a game of Russian (egg) roulette

Hard boil almost enough eggs for all, but leave the others runny, then take turns to smash an egg on your forehead – you can guess what’ll happen to the unlucky ones

3. Make Easter themed cocktails

Hollow Easter eggs make for great shot glasses – fill them with some homemade skittle vodka! Alternatively, make some of these yummy Easter cocktails.

4. Play some Easter eating / drinking games

Everyone loves a bit of competition: who can eat the most Creme Eggs in one minute (officially a Guinness World Record)? Or have a game of Easter egg hunt truth or dare (hide plastic / chocolate eggs with various cheeky forfeits hidden inside).

5. Organise an Easter beer hunt (and tasting)

Buy in a wide selection of tasty canned beer, cover up the labels with coloured paper (each one representing a particular brand) and hide. After they’ve all been found, have a tasting competition!

Image courtesy of Anirudh Koul, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Parents coming to visit: How to survive Mothers and Fathers Day invasions

Middle aged couple mothers fathers dayMothers Day / Fathers Day – it’s bad enough how commercial it’s all got, let alone all the hassle it brings. Gone are the childhood days when you could paint them a picture and that was enough. Now they expect flowers, cards and to be taken out for the day. Or even worse – they somehow invite themselves over to visit you in your flat or house share.

Now you could try squirming out of it: “I’ve got plans” or the like, but eventually they’ll catch you off guard and anyway, it’s your mum / dad we’re talking about – THEY KNOW WHEN YOU’RE LYING, ALWAYS! Besides, it’s not all bad, a parental invasion brings with it some benefits:

  • Help from your old man with any DIY tasks that need doing
  • Having your empty fridge and cupboards restocked by your caring mother
  • Being taken out for breakfast / lunch / dinner in return for a nice day out

Although there’s likely to be the usual drawbacks and pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Embarrassing stories from your childhood and teenage years – “remember that time you wet the bed
  • Awkward conversation in front of your flatmates – “your father has started taking viagra
  • Petty arguments – “You don’t visit us enough anymore

But not to worry, WDMM is here with some handy pointers, to help make your parents visit more fun than fail:

The preparation

The accommodation

  • Work out sleeping arrangements (if they’re staying over). Who’s going to sleep where? Do you have enough CLEAN spare bedding?
  • Get tidying – Dirty diggs are only going to get your mum on your back, so don’t give her the opportunity in the first place (if you have enough on your plate – arrange a cleaner)

The visit

  • Sort out refreshments – tea, coffee, milk and their favourite biscuits are guaranteed to go down a treat
  • Have safe conversation ready – Avoid any topics you know you don’t agree on, or are likely to dampen the mood (a read of the latest good news should help)

Image courtesy of Rennett Stowe, licensed under CC BY 2.0

The 50 / 20 / 30 diet (for your pocket)

Calculating bills and spending money renting flatshareIt sounds like 2015’s latest fad, but the 50/20/30 rule is actually a handy way of knowing how much cash you ought to be allocating to different pots each month. I know, rules like this aren’t helpful on those days when you’d prefer to simply live in the dark and spend money on pizza and wine, but trust us on this one.

The rule goes that of your take home salary, 50% should be allocated to fixed expenditure; that’s your rent, bills, food, travel costs and anything else you’d go hungry or homeless without (no, your Netflix account doesn’t count).

The next 20% is where the grown up stuff comes in – it’s money to put aside to secure yourself, financially, over the coming years. That means paying off credit card debt, starting a savings account and paying into a pension.

The final the 30% is the good bit. It’s everything else you want to spend your money on including meals out, beers, cinema tickets and so on. Of course, if you really wanted to be an A* student you don’t have to spend the entire amount on luxuries, but what fun would that be?

If you’ve taken a few minutes to consider how your salary fits into the 50/20/30 principle, you’ve probably just realised that you’re spending too much on rent, not putting anything aside for a rainy day, haven’t even thought about paying into a pension and are spending money faster than it’s coming in the rest of the time. All is not lost – a bit of time spent assessing what you’re spending on bills each month and a few minutes of admin could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

Go comparison site crazy

We know the ads drive you mad, but there’s a reason these sites exist. Gather up recent bills you’ve had from all your energy, insurance and entertainment providers and start switching. Living in a shared house can make this seem like a lot of effort (especially if you’re the ‘lazy freeloader’, not the ‘uptight parent’ of the house) but you’re almost guaranteed to save by taking the time to reassess who you’re paying for utilities.

Sign up to cashback sites

For those occasions when comparison sites don’t offer up the goods, look to cashback websites. Sites like Quidco are free to join and partner with major retailers to bring you discounts or cashback when you shop through them.

Set up Direct Debit payments

Sure it can be a bit more hassle if you’re in a house share (at least shared living means cheaper living costs), but signing up to regular Direct Debit payments for your utility bills can mean discounts. It’s unlikely they’ll be massive, but a saving is a saving and, by paying regularly, you’re less likely to be hit with a big bill at the end of the year.

Check out your company benefits

It’s an easy one to overlook, but depending on the size of your company you may find you could save money on travel expenses (through a season ticket loan or bike loan) or on gym membership (or quit the gym altogether and try these healthy options).

Flatmates who eat together, save together

Cooking a few big meals throughout the week with your housemates rather than cooking separately can save loads on your food bill. If you’re not keen on the idea – start slowly (how about making pancakes – easy and cheap!). Try it once a week and see how you get on. You may find you have more fun, eat better, save cash and get to split the washing up. Who can argue with that?

Image courtesy of Images of money, licensed under CC BY 2.0

5 Welsh bands for your St. David’s Day house party playlist

Happy St. David’s Day! It’s the day (1st March) we pay tribute to all things Welsh. It may not be as widely celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day – or as wholly ignored as St George’s… – but any excuse to have a house party will do, and St. David’s Day is a perfect one for a knees up with your flatmates.

So if you are having a party for your taffy housemates, or if you’re just in the mood for getting in the spirit, here are WDMM’s Favourite Welsh Bands. Stuff an iTunes Playlist with the best of these bands and you’ll be booking camping trips to the Rhonda Bay in no time.

Catfish & the Bottlemen


Catfish have sprung up out of nowhere over the last twelve months. They’ve toured the country relentlessly and, led by the charismatic Van McCann, have taken over almost every mainstream radio station and booked slots at every festival you can think of. They’re Wales’ freshest musical offering and, if two sold-out nights at London’s Brixton Academy is anything to go by, they’re not going anywhere for a while.

Manic Street Preachers


From politics to motorbikes, Manic Street Preachers have been the voice of the Welsh working class for more than twenty years. With lyrics shrouded in personal experience and coloured by the Welsh (and British) political landscape, it’s no surprise they’re one of Wales’ finest audio assets.

Los Campesinos


Perhaps lesser known in the mainstream circles, Los Campesinos have been writing infectious indie-pop songs since the late noughties. Their debut, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, is crammed full of delicious musical nuggets. We’ll admit that none of the members are technically Welsh – and merely formed at Cardiff University – but we challenge you to find a band that resonates with Wales more than these guys.

Super Fury Animals


Part nineties Britpop, part psychedelic rock, Super Fury Animals ticked all the boxes. And more than being able to pen a damn good tune (which they could in spades) they were the coolest chaps around too. Lead singer Gruff Rhys has had a healthy solo career post the band’s disintegration, but the magic of tracks like Golden Retriever and God! Show Me Magic inspired a tidal wave of young musicians to push the boundaries of what can be accepted by the masses.

Stereophonics


Yes. Of course we couldn’t forget the Phonics. Hailing from Cwmaman of the Cynon Valley, Kelly Jones and co penned tales of small town life in the Welsh suburbs. Their debut, Word Gets Around, paints a modest picture of life in outer-city Wales in the nineties; where girls playing football becomes high-street gossip, family weddings are awash with heads sunk in portaloos, and everyday tragedies become part of the landscape’s history. Over the years, Stereophonics have grown into one of the UK’s biggest acts.

Image courtesy of Calum Hutchinson, licensed for any purpose in the public domain.