2014

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A lot happens in a year. Some good. Some bad. It is what makes us stronger. For us there has definitely been more good than bad although the few bad have been pretty bad. The fact that we made it through the bad and still have each other is the main thing. Looking at the children's faces each morning certainly reminds you how lucky you are. This year has seen us finally make our first step onto the property ladder, celebrate Zach's first birthday and have our first holiday as a family of four. I have taken a look back at all these things in my looking back on 2013 post.


I have many great memories to take away from 2013 but will certainly be happy to welcome in a New Year with hopefully bigger and better things for our family. The only resolution I have for 2014 is to be happy! I want us all to do things that make us happy in order to have an even happier life.

Would love to know if you have any resolutions?


HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Wishing you all a year full of happiness!

Lots of Love

Mummy and the chunks 

xx


baby books

Review: Parragon Book Buddies

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'm a little behind on our book reviews at the moment as we had our book advent through December and so had a new book to read EVERY DAY! So we didn't get to re-read enough times for me to tell you how much we enjoyed them.


In December we received two new books from our friends at Parragon. One suitable for each of the kids! 


The first book was another adorable set for Zach called 'Thank you for being my friend' the set contains a small book with a cute Cleo giraffe soft toy. As I have said before, these sets are lovely and my favourite thing about them is the little story with cute illustrations that Zach adores. Cleo is a cuddly giraffe who after bursting out of some brightly coloured wrapping paper finds that their new home is full of scary monsters. She eventually comes across a nice fluffy yellow duck who looks after her that night and shows her the following day that the 'scary monsters' where just household objects that look scary in the dark.  It is just the right length to keep him interested (he's 15 months old) and he loves that he can be clever and look at it himself. I will always say these books make fantastic presents for babies for Christmas/birthdays/special occasions.
 
 
 

The second book was 'Everybody loves Butterflies' which was the perfect age for Gracie. It is about a little caterpillar that is scared of change, he doesn't want to be a butterfly. He visits lots of other insects who tell him how great butterflies are but he doesn't want to listen. Then after a Visit to the wise old owl he's not scared anymore and that night he becomes a butterfly. When he becomes a butterfly he realises that everyone was right. It is great being a butterfly and wants to be a butterfly for ever and ever! It is a lovely story that shows children from a young age that change is good. I love that the last page of the book has a detailed, child friendly, life cycle of a butterfly diagram. Gracie loves this book and already remembers bits of it off by heart and so sits and reads it on her own making up her own version of the story. It is quite discreetly educational which is great for preschool children.

Two more great reads from Parragon Books that we are proud to have in our book collection. The books are available to buy from Amazon here:

'Thank you for being a friend'

'Everybody Loves Butterflies'
 
 
Disclaimer
We were sent these books free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

2013

Looking back on 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's certainly been a crazy year and for the first time ever I have a years worth of blog posts to remind me of some of our most memorable moments. 2013 has been a tough year for me personally, after a family tragedy we suffered late this year, I couldn't see things ever getting better. Thankfully I have some amazing friends that supported me through the tough times and I can finally look back and remember the good that came out of 2013. It's easy to let these things overshadow everything but it consumes you so looking back at the positives at the end of the year is a great way to end it on a high.




Well for me I have managed to have more of a social life outside the family. Blogging has really helped me come out of my shell and have met lots of bloggy friends at different events such as the baby show, Britmums Live and one or two of our blogging days out. This is something I am planning to do more of next year as I love meeting new people and the parent blogging community is a very friendly community. I also got to see Olly Murs Live earlier on in the year with a friend which was fantastic and we even got to see him again when we made a trip to Manchester to see Robbie Williams on tour and Olly was supporting. I saw Robbie Williams for the first time when I was just 16 and as he hadn't toured since I was so excited to see him again. In fact we've booked to see him again next year in Birmingham! Another big thing for me was starting my second blog. I love blogging and I love my new house so I am so happy to be the proud owner of a home interior blog. I am having lots of fun both researching for it and getting on with my personal projects.

As a family we have tried to spend as much time together as possible doing fun things since I've been back at work after having Zach. We had our first holiday as a family of four at (HAVEN BURNHAM ON SEA) We had a lovely time away it's not very often we get a whole week to spend together without work getting in the way and the kids really loved the fresh sea air. We've tried to plan plenty of fun day trips for the rare days we get to do stuff. We've visited the seaside for the day, been to Cadbury World, Sea Life Centre and spent lots of weekends going to the park, visiting the woods and going on nice family walks. We also managed to buy our own house this year after years of renting. This was a very proud moment for us as I didn't think we would ever be in this position and I'm so thankful for the security it brings with it.

We celebrated Zach's first birthday in September this year and I can't believe how much he has grown this past year. We started 2013 with a small baby and since then he has learnt to roll over, crawl, walk, talk and play. He is such a clever baby and is so loving. We are very proud of him and can't wait to see what he has to offer in 2014.

Gracie has just turned 3 and this past year she has given up her dummies, learnt to potty train and has been the best big sister Zach could ask for. She is a little diva, she is so grown up for her age and she can't wait to start Nursery next year.

So much has happened and I could bore you by talking in detail about everything but chances are they are all things I've previously written about and you may have already read! 2014 is going to be a year of opportunity. I have so much planned already and I'm hoping that this year will be bigger and even better for our family. The only resolution I have made is to be Happy, I want all of us to do things that makes us happy in order to be happier as a family. The more you look after yourself the better you feel so I am going to plan things for each of us that will make us feel good whether it be days out to somewhere we want to go, date nights for me and Andy, individual child free time for both me and Andy with one of us watching the kids while the other goes out even for an hour or so. I also want to look after myself more when it comes to doing my hair nice or putting some make up on before I go out to boost my confidence.

I think 2014 year will be our year!

Anyway thank you for reading over the past year. I am so lucky to have so many lovely readers and to have worked with so many fantastic companies and PR agencies and hope to continue with these great relationships next year.

I am linking up to Emmy's Mummy's Looking Back on 2013 Linky if you have a blog and fancy writing about your experiences from 2013 then go and link up!

christmas

A Very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Well I thought I would write a little about our Christmas. It was wonderful (shame we only had two days off work to enjoy it!) I was much more organised this Christmas so had just a handful of last minute presents to wrap Christmas Eve and by 9pm all the gifts were wrapped, the room was set up (well Santa had visited) and I got an early night!


 
Unfortunately I didn't sleep well as Gracie joined me in bed after having lots of nightmares, she must have been scared of Santa coming in while she was sleeping! I on the other hand was scared of someone not so nice coming in the house! Typical isn't it us mums never get to rest you hear so many horror stories about break ins over Christmas, we actually had an attempted break in at our old house last year, and so I was awake listening for the slightest sounds. Of course there weren't any it was me being paranoid. Once the kids finally woke up at around 8.30am it was time to see if Santa had visited and he certainly had! The kids faces were a picture and they both had lots of fun opening their presents.
 

I had been so good this year not buying too much but of course by the time they had gotten the rest of the family's presents on Christmas Day and then more on Boxing Day, when I had my Dads side of the family all round for a second Christmas Day, they had been well and truly spoilt! The kids have both chosen their favourite Christmas presents already. Gracie's being her talking woody and Jessie dolls from Toy Story and her Iron Man and Hulk figures! Zach's being his scuttle bug bike and his megabloks.
 
 
 
 
Dinner was amazing! This year we had dinner at my Grandma's house just me, Andy, the kids, my younger brother and of course my Grandma. She is a fantastic cook and the most organised one I have ever known. It was a lovely dinner and a nice relaxing atmosphere where we ate and drank and laughed.

It was so nice to spend some time together although I wish me and Andy had had an extra day off to spend a bit of time just the four of us. For the kids this has been the most magical Christmas yet and I couldn't be happier to have seen their faces and realised that all the hard work had paid off. What's even better is this was our first Christmas in our own home!

I'm already preparing for next Christmas after doing a bit of sale shopping to put away for next year. You can never be too organised!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas? What was your best bit?

Happy 3rd Birthday Gracie!

Friday, December 27, 2013

So three years ago today I became a Mum for the first time. The birth was well traumatic to say the least ending in an emergency c-section to help deliver her safely. I didn't know what was going to happen but we were so lucky with the way things turned out and Gracie was born weighing a whooping 9lb 10oz. She was the cutest chunkiest baby I had ever seen and it was one of the proudest moments of my life.


The past three years have flown by and I have watched her become a loving, beautiful, clever little girl. She has learnt so much and has even become a big sister to Zach, who idolises her! 

So today I am hoping to give her a birthday to remember! I will tell you all about it shortly :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACIE!! 

XX

christmas apps

Our Christmas App Picks

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

With just days until the big day I thought I would share with you all our favourite Christmas Apps. With so many people these days owning tablets and smartphones, the number of fun family apps has massively increased and these are our festive favourites;

The Snowman and The Snowdog

The official game for the popular animation ''The Snowman and The Snowdog''. Fly from the UK to the North Pole as you take control of The Snowman and The Snowdog. Collect snowflakes as you go to use as payment for different costume outfits. Avoid obstacles or you will have to start your leg of the journey again. Fly past many of the UK's large cities and landmarks. This is a truly magical game, fun for all the family. Gracie loves playing it although I can't say she's very good at it. She finds it really funny to make him crash! This app is free to download on the Apple App Store.




Bear and the Hare

A heart warming story of the Bear who had never seen Christmas, inspired by the John Lewis 2013 Christmas TV advert. An interactive christmas tale, scroll through the pages to listen to the next part of the story. The pictures are all hand illustrated and move to tell the story. The added extras on this app are; The Christmas Card Maker, a lovely feature where you choose a template and add a photo to create a lovely e-card to send to the family. Gracie made her own cards to send to Daddy and Grandad to cheer them up while they were at work. There is also a catch the snowflakes game, a very easy to play game perfect for children. Gracie gets so excited to be able to play alone and actually win at a game as it hasnt't got any rules you just simply tap the snowflakes as they are falling. This App is free to download on the Apple App Store.


PNP Santa Sprint

Portable North Pole, the makers of the number One Christmas App have released their first ever game for 2013.

' Winter has breached into Santa's workshop, library and stable! Items have been scattered throughout the environments and must be collected by a young Elf to help Santa. Sprint through mazes collecting items but be aware of the frosty creatures that await you...'

with 45 levels of excitement (I haven't got that far yet!) the game promises hours of fun and is slightly addictive! Gracie has been a bit too young for the game this year, she doesn'y understand how to play but I'm hoping next year she will. I however have been playing the game and think its fab, it would be perfect for kids aged 4+ with a greater understanding of games. The game contains great music and sounds and the Elf is even guided by the voice of Santa himself! The game can be bought from the Apple App Store for just £1.49 which is a great price for such a fun game!


Disclaimer
We were sent the Santa Sprint game free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Our Christmas Eve Snowman Pictures

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A simple easy to make craft activity for Christmas. Ours was bought by our Elf as a parting gift to Gracie.



 Draw the outline of a snowman on a sheet of A4. Use either white tissue paper or cotton wool balls for the snowman's body. I had lots of left per cotton wool balls to use up so we used them. Black tissue paper for his hat and buttons or even a black felt tip for the hat and actual buttons. We used orange tissue paper to make a carrot nose. Glue the bits together and that is it! The quick, easy and not to mention fun! Christmas craft for any child! 

Zach and Gracie's snowman pictures above.


christmas

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Well another Christmas has arrived, we've been preparing for months and now it's time to enjoy! Surrounded by your loved ones and tucking into a festive dinner. I hope wherever you are or whatever you are doing you ALL have a wonderful Christmas!





MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Lots of love

Mummy and the chunks

x    x    x

bedding

Preparing the home in the post christmas sales

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is not yet over but the sales are already starting. This year I am being sensible and deciding what household items I need so I can do some searching as soon as Boxing Day comes. There is so much I want/need for the house at the moment and I am doing every room one at a time. You can't help but prepare early though can you?

Now that I am almost finished both of the kids bedrooms, I have decided my next project will be my bedroom. In all the houses we have lived in, we have never decorated our own bedroom. It is always the one that is left until last and doesn't ever get a second thought. I have decided this time that we deserve a nice bedroom, the way we want it. So no leaving it last as no one else goes in there, no one will see it. No, we will have a room that we will be happy to spend time in and I am determined to make it perfect.

So where do you start? We need a new bed and mattress (should be easy enough to grab those at bargain prices). Then comes the more exciting bits choosing a colour scheme and matching up accessories, bedding and wallpaper. This is always my favourite part! My best tip is to browse different wallpaper samples but always go in store to look before you buy as the colours can be deceiving in pictures. I always check to see if I can find bedding that will go nicely with whatever coloured paper I choose or vice versa. Finding a website with a large range of items is a great way to get inspiration. Argos has a large range of bedding available here.

I have been having a good look through and a few have caught my eye and I'll be watching out over the next few days to see if I can grab any bargains! Let's hope I can find everything on my list.

Do you make plans for the post christmas sales?



*Posted in collaboration with Argos

bedding

Review: John Cotton Complete Bed Bundle

Monday, December 23, 2013

Have you ever had someone come to stay and had a sudden panic about not having enough spare blankets/pillows/covers? I hope I'm not the only one anyway. Now that my brother is living away at University, he comes to stay every christmas to spend time with the family. We have been sent the most practical solution to all our bedding problems with the JOHN COTTON COMPLETE BED BUNDLE. 


The Bed Bundle includes;

  • 13.5 Tog Duvet
  • 2 pillows
  • Mattress Protector
  • 2 pillow protectors
  • storage bag
The bundle comes in a large handy storage bag so that the items can be packed away when not in use. I would say the quality of the items are not as good as you would use in your own bedroom, I don't think they would last being used day in day out for the long term. I do think that they are great as guest bedding which is their intended use. Obviously as they are meant to be used and repacked into a storage bag they need to be able to fold back small enough for storage and with the amount of things included in the pack, each item is going to be slightly thinner than an everyday item of bedding. I love how when packed up, the bundle fits nicely in the bottom of the wardrobe.

As the bedding has been used by my brother I asked him what he thought of it and found that he has had no problems with it being to thin or not warm enough and has had no problems sleeping in until almost dinner time each day since being back (lucky for some!). 

So all in all I would have to say that this bundle is a good buy and perfect for those Christmas guests.

Disclaimer
We were sent the product featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own (and a few of my brothers).

Homeserve Warm your house for winter challenge

Friday, December 20, 2013

I was recently asked to take part in a competition with Homeserve that involved making a room in my house look or feel warmer for Christmas. Not hard considering I have just bought a house that has no central heating and very undesirable decor. It wouldn't take much to add some nice warm tones and immediately make a huge difference! The hardest part was that I was given a £50 voucher for B&Q and just two days to complete my challenge!



Anyway, the room I decided to do was my front room. As decor goes this isn't too bad. It's not to my personal taste but it isn't a complete lost cause. I looked on the B&Q website and it wasn't long before I came across some interesting wallpaper (which wasn't what I was looking for), I instantly fell in love and decided to base my makeover around the gold/purple colours featured in the paper. I decided I would look for some nice cushions/throws and home accessories as I was on a tight budget. With my non matching throws and the cushions that came with my sofa, my accessories lacked personality and I think a bit of personality can completely change a room.


I didn't want to risk ordering online incase  the items didn't arrive on time so I went into my local store. First thing I did was look for a sample of my chosen wallpaper to help me match up some accessories. I then headed to the furnishings, there wasn't much choice to be honest I was disappointed that such a big store has such a small homeware section but I did come across some cute purple cushions that matched perfectly. Unfortunately there were no throws but with the cushions costing £9.98 each and needing four altogether, costing £39.92, I had already used a big chunk of my budget. I then had just £11.08 left so needed to use my imagination! I bought a heart wall decoration for £2.98, hearts represent love and you can't get a warmer feeling than that. I then went to look at the Christmas section for inspiration. I wanted to make my fireplace look warm and Christmassy. I picked up some gold tinsel for £2 and then I came across a beautiful Christmas plant which is so different to your usual poinsettia flower. It is called a Bromeliad, I had never seen or heard of one of these before but just had to buy it. It reminds me of the Caribean and so brings back warm memories.

So with all the items I bought:

Cushions: £39.92
Heart wall Decoration: £2.98
Tinsel: £2
Christmas Bromeliad: £6

My total spend was £50.90. I think even though I only bought a few items and my room is far from finished, I have added some much needed warmth and personality into a previously unloved room. It shows how much you can do with a small amount of Money. 

This competition has made me determined to finish of this room exactly how I want it and will be using my new chosen paper to finish it in the new year.

*This is my entry to the Homeserve warm your home for winter competition. I received a £50 voucher to help with my challenge.

adventure play

Review: Garden Games Wigwam

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One thing I have always wanted to buy Gracie is a pretty wigwam/teepee for her bedroom. If you've taken a look at my home interior blog (if not you can see HERE) you will see I have been planning a huge exciting project for Gracie's bedroom. It's taking longer than expected but it is coming together perfectly. When I was given the opportunity to review a wigwam from Garden Games I was so excited and straight away I planned to use it as a little reading corner for her bedroom. 



When the wigwam arrived there were a few steps needed to build it up. All I needed to do was slot the poles together and thread them through the loops in the material. I then had to attach them together at the top with the string provided with little wooden balls (also provided) inbetween each pole to keep them in place before tying the string tight to hold it together. You then just need to spread the poles out at the bottom to get it how you want it. Tying the poles together and opening it up is the most fiddly bit as I found I had to play around to get it perfect but it isn't difficult at all.




From the second I built it up both kids fell in love with it! They played for hours running in and out of it, pretending to sleep and playing peek-a-boo. It was great watching them. I then took it up the stairs to find its home in Gracie's bedroom. I found the perfect spot in the far corner of her room and stuck her favourite bean bag chair and a few cushions inside along with her favourite books ready for bedtime. She was over the moon when she went to bed to find her new story corner! It's amazing how these wigwams seem so magical to children. There is no limit to the fun they can have using their imagination. As the material has a waterproof coating it can also be used outdoors, we can't wait to try it out in the garden next summer!

I would honestly say that this would make the perfect gift for any boy or girl. I am a bit sad I never had something similar for me as a child!

The Wigwams from Garden Games come in five different designs suitable for both boys and girls. Not that our pink one would bother Zach at all! They are all available to buy on Amazon. The Flower/Butterfly design is available to buy here.


Disclaimer
We were sent the item featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

book

Review: Michael Morpugo Christmas Stories

Monday, December 16, 2013

I know that Michael Morpugo is a very well known author but I have never actually got round to reading any of his books. I was sent a copy of his new 'Christmas Stories' book. The book contains four short Christmas stories. The Goose is Getting Fat, The Best of Times, On Angel Wings and The Best Present in the World. The book is aimed at children aged 5+ but I have been reading it with Gracie as one of her latest bedtime stories.


The Goose is Getting Fat: – The latest of his christmas stories. Gertrude the goose is getting bigger by the day, and Charlie is proud to look after her. But as Christmas approaches, the thought of the grizzly fate awaiting her fills him with sadness. Can he save Gertrude from the Christmas dinner table?

The Best of Times: When the Prince and Princess marry, joy rings out across the land. But all too soon it fades away and a shadow hangs over the royal palace. As Christmas approaches, Prince Frederico must find a way to warm his new bride’s aching heart.

On Angel Wings: A singing of wings, a glorious light, and a sudden beacon of brightness? It can only mean – can it really? – a visit from the Angel Gabriel himself...

The Best Christmas Present in the World: A mysterious letter in a secret drawer brings one night in the Great War vividly to life. Writing home from the front, a soldier has an incredible story to tell.

This book reminds me of being a child and when I first remember the magic of losing myself in a story. I loved my big collections and treasuries which were full of short stories full of meaning and adventure. I can see both these qualities in this collection and definitely think it is a book that will be read year after year with both the kids. Our favourite in the book is 'The Goose Is Getting Fat' a lovely story with a truly magical ending!

The book is available to buy from amazon HERE.

Disclaimer
We were sent the item featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Childrens craft activities

Review: Making Christmas Wreaths with Hobby Craft

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Remember me saying I wanted to make a Christmas Wreath? Well the team at Hobby Craft must have been listening as they offered me the chance to review a wreath making kit! My front room is now starting to fill up with handmade festive decorations but this was by far the most fun. In the package they sent me I received one plain wreath, and a selection of christmassy looking pieces to attach to it however I like. As this was such a simple task I had my crafty assistant Gracie help me with this one. She was in charge of deciding what went on the wreath and where the bits went.


The first thing she chose was the silver glittery flowers and we set out attaching them exactly where she wanted them (not quite evenly but very close!). We then decided the decorative pine cone should hang right in the centre of the wreath so I had to attach it just like a decoration on a tree and hope it stayed in place. She decided she didnt want the other flower piece as we already had enough flowers and so routed through our craft box to find more bits. She chose some little glittery apples and some 'jingle bells' . So we popped the extra pieces on and Tah Dah! Our Christmassy wreath was ready to hang up. To hang it up I simply tied some wire wool to the back and secured it on the wall with drawing pins. It couldn't be easier!





















This was such a fun activity for us to do together. Gracie is so proud of herself, and although it's not perfect, everytime we look at it we remember what fun we had making it and that is what Christmas is all about! With all the Wreath Making products at Hobby Craft, you can make a home made wreath for less than £5!




You can see here for all of Hobbycraft's christmas range http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/christmas 

Disclaimer
We were sent the products featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

chocolate gifts

Review: Hotel Chocolat Magical Christmas Collection Stocking

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I was recently asked to review an item from the Hotel Chocolat Christmas range. Of course I couldn't turn down testing chocolate from one of the best chocolatier's around could I? Hotel Chocolat has a great reputation for their luxury chocolates and I'm ashamed to say although I've always wanted to I hadn't actually tried them until now.


I chose to review the Hotel Chocolat magical Christmas Collection Stocking. With a mix of white chocolate, milk chocolate and caramel milk chocolate characters individually wrapped and placed in a cute Hotel Chocolat stocking. The stocking contains six milk chocolate penguins, 4 caramel chocolate Angels and 2 white chocolate reindeers.

Now I can admit that I ate all but one of these chocolates and I may have only shared one with Andy so he would like it and want to buy me more! Although I did let Gracie have a few bites, I can't resist her smiley face when she sees me eating anything nice, and she was just as big a fan. I absolutely love the caramel chocolate it is the best tasting chocolate I have ever had (and I eat way too much chocolate). I was half expecting it to be your average caramel centred chocolate rather than a caramel flavoured chocolate so was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was.




I can't believe I hadn't tried Hotel Chocolat before, it was even better than I imagined. In fact we even visited a store last week whilst Christmas shopping in Bimingham and bought some nice treats for me and Gracie. I can see this turning into a regular thing. With the Magical Christmas Collection Stocking costing just £10, it is the perfect gift for a loved one this Christmas. What better way to show you care than the best chocolate you can buy? 

You can buy the stocking on the website HERE or in any Hotel Chocolat store. 

You can also find more of the Hotel Chocolat range at http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop or you can find them on Facebook or Twitter.

Disclaimer
We were sent the item featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

christmas

Visiting Santa's Grotto and the Coca Cola Christmas Truck!

Friday, December 06, 2013

This week we went on an exciting trip to see Father Christmas. Last year Zach was only a few weeks old and we never got round to visiting him so this year was Zach's first visit to see him and well Gracie was only one the last time she saw him. We headed to our local Co-op as they have a fun Santa's sleigh ride that takes the kids to see him in his grotto.



The kids absolutely loved the ride it was great seeing Gracie open mouthed from the excitement. Of course it is really a decorated room with moving walls and benches to make you feel like you are moving but the kids certainly believed it was real. We then got off the 'sleigh' to see Santa himself in his grotto full of toys. Gracie went strolling over to see him and had a little chat telling him she wanted a bike for christmas. Zach went over shouting at him in excitement and giving him high fives not that he knew what he was there for! They both posed nicely for photo's before choosing themselves a toy each from the grotto. Zach chose a toy car and Gracie chose a plastic tool kit. As soon as we walked out Gracie came out with 'oh no merry christmas didn't give me an iPad!' She really made us laugh. She is now telling anyone that asks what Father Christmas is buying her that she is getting an iPad, it's safe to say she'll be disappointed ;)


 


We then took a stroll up to see the Coca Cola Christmas Truck that was in our city centre. You can't get more festive than that! We posed for a few pictures by it and finished the day off drinking White Hot Chocolates in Costa Coffee before going home. It was the perfect family day with hopefully some magical memories for the kids!

a very knightly Christmas

Mike the Knight: A Very Knightly Christmas

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Those of you with little Mike The Knight fans will be glad to know that there is a new DVD out just in time for Christmas. Discover the world of Glendragon this Christmas and enjoy more knightly adventures than ever, in this new two disc DVD collection from CBeebies favouriteMike the Knight: A Very Knightly Christmas includes six fun and festive episodes.


It’s Christmas Eve in Glendragon and one of Santa’s reindeer is sick. Mike makes it his mission to save Christmas and does everything he can to nurse the reindeer back to health, making sure he is included on Santa’nice’ list. Meanwhile, Mr Cuddles is sent on a wild toboggan ride, Squirt gets stuck in a giant snowball and Mike learns that Vikings like to have fun in the snow too.

Little knights-in-training can also follow in the footsteps of their medieval hero with a host of DVD extras. This includes a fun modern day version of the chivalrous code and a sing-along theme tune. Mike the Knight:  A Very Knightly Christmas also comes with a special bonus DVDMike’s hidden Treasure, containing six additional episodesHuzzah!

My kids are both huge Mike The Knight fans and once again we're delighted with the latest DVD. The episodes are short and sweet and the addition of the bonus disc means I won't have to watch just Christmas episodes for the next six months! 

Mike the Knight: A Very Knightly Christmas is available at all good DVD retailers. 

For more information you can visit www.miketheknight.com. You can like Mike the Knight on Facebook or you can follow Mike the Knight on Twitter

Disclaimer
We were sent this DVD free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

christmas

Getting the home ready for Christmas

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

I absolutely love Christmas and this week I have been looking around for accessories to make my home more festive. Although my funds are slightly lacking, I have still been browsing shops and websites looking at all the seasonal products. Although I haven't got around to decorating the front room yet, I have lots of red accessories as we had a red theme at our old house. I've been digging out my red ornaments (along with the christmas ornaments as our tree is already up!), my red throws for the sofas'. I can't seem to find my rug or cushions though.


So I have been looking mainly for festive cushions and modern rugs to brighten up the home in time for christmas. I've also made a start on our home made christmas decorations which I absolutely love doing. The house is already starting to look more festive and I'm hoping to find some lovely bits and bobs I can bring out year after year especially for Christmas. I'm going to need to check out Pinterest too as that is always the go to guide for any home inspiration.

What do you do in your home for christmas? Do you have any tips on how to decorate on a budget?

We'd love to hear!


babys first christmas

Review: Funky Giraffe Stocking

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

I have worked with Funky Giraffe before when I reviewed one of their gorgeous bibs. So was very happy to get the chance to review one of their christmas stockings. Zach was less than 3 months old last christmas and so kind of missed all the celebrations and traditions while we focused more on showing his big sister the magic of christmas. This year they are both at an exciting age and we are already starting the countdown to christmas.


The Stocking we received was a 'my first Christmas' stocking. It is a typical festive style stocking but with lots of attention to detail and free personalisation of up to 9 characters. The material is very thick and quite obviously high quality. The cute little bobbles around the trim are a lovely finishing touch. The stocking is only £10.00 and with free personalisation and UK shipping I think that is a fantastic price. It is a very good size too with plenty of room for exciting stocking fillers!

The stocking will look perfect hanging on the fireplace year after year. You can order your own here.

To find more of the Funky giraffe range you can visit their website here or you can find them on Facebook or Twitter.

Disclaimer
We were sent the item featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.


christmas crafts

Festive Face-off with Country Baskets

Monday, December 02, 2013

A few weeks ago we were asked to take part in the festive face off blogger challenge with Country Baskets. The challenge was to make our own handmade Christmas decorations. I am not a crafty person but I do love to try! I am trying to become more creative especially with the kids so I was very excited to be involved. For the challenge all the bloggers taking part were sent a large hamper of craft supplies to help us along.




I couldn't quite decide what to make with what I had. I had my heart set on along a wreath but couldn't find the extra supplies I needed in time for the deadline! (I will give this a go before Christmas though). 


The first thing I tried was to get creative with a simple bauble to make something unique and pretty. All I used was a plain bauble, some lace ribbon and some beautiful butterfly clips. I simply wrapped the ribbon around the bauble, made the tiniest hole just big enough to thread over the top and stay in place, clipped on the butterfly's and hey presto! A pretty bauble in less than five minutes.


Of course a five minute bauble wasn't creative enough for a festive face-off so I got my thinking cap on and wanted to make something special we could use year after year and be proud of. I had a pack of 10 wooden hearts in our hamper and so decided to use them to create a bunting style garland for the wall. I found some acrylic paint in festive colours I bought last year for our salt dough decorations and some coloured glitter so we set out painting the wooden hearts. I painted two in red and sprinkled glitter all over them. I then painted two green. I used another four to spell out NOEL, painting the
letters in a festive red and green. I left the hearts plain behind the letters but used gold to paint around the sides. I then used ribbon to tie each individual heart in place to avoid them slipping. 

 
 

This is something that can be easily (and cheaply) made as a family activity and would look great hanging on any wall or fireplace. 

I love handmade decorations and am really happy with what we have made. I can't wait to use up all the other materials in our basket! 
 

Disclaimer 
We were sent the lovely hamper free I charge from Country Baskets to help us with our challenge.

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