Thursday, 13 December 2018

Christmas Gift Ideas for Children

Buying gifts for children at Christmas can be hard. They get toys from Santa and for the most part everything they have asked for has been quickly picked up by prepared family members. So what is that you buy for children? I'm sharing just a few ideas on what might make some good gifts this Christmas and many of them aren't toys!

Zoo Imagination Biscuits from Bahlsen

A perfect little gift at Christmas time for children is a delicious treat and usually when it comes to dietary needs we can think about just avoiding food gifts all together. We aren't always sure which products they can have and which they can't. This year you'll not need to worry about anyone on a gluten or diary free diet thanks to Bahlsen. Their Zoo Imagination biscuits are both gluten and lactose free. These shaped biscuits are fun, tasty and worry free. They would make the perfect snack at Christmas while watching a family movie or just to keep the cravings of smelling your Christmas dinner at bay. They would even be great for popping inside the Christmas Stocking.

You can purchase Bahlsen Zoo Gluten Free Biscuits for £1.79 from most major supermarkets and Amazon. Use the link to head over to Tesco.

Adventures in Petlandia Personalised Book 

Petlandia are a whole different kind of personalised book. You see these stories are all about your child's beloved pet and an amazing adventure they can go on. With three pet types to choose from (dog, cat or rabbit) before adding the breed by choosing the image similar to them and gender along with their pets name. It's these details which bring adventures in Petlandia to life. Your child (you can also add a second child) is also included in this exciting story with your pet. The story is available in soft back, hard back and as a premium gift box.

I wasn't really sure what to expect but I was so impressed with this book. It's a good long story which really sucks you in to the pets adventure. I loved that there was an Instapaw, YouChew and other social media channels that our children will all know of! It added a whole other element to Petlandia and it made it all feel more exciting too. This would be the perfect gift for a child with a pet this Christmas or if you know a child who is getting a new pet it would be a fantastic surprise. Plus you'd have to be in on the secret to know! Very impressive.

You can purchase your own Adventures in Petlandia or the other two books available from £19.99

Where Next, Teddy? Personalised Book

Creating a magical book for children this Christmas who don't have pets can still whole an entire world full of adventure. Chapterful's Where Next, Teddy? is the perfect book for children who love adventure, books and being included in the story. Teddy has some magic powers which can bring him to life and let him transport your child to do amazing things like swim in the depths of the ocean or visit space and catch a star! There is not even one dull moment on any of the pages inside Where Next, Teddy. What's more is that the personalising doesn't stop at hair colour and gender, oh no you are able to add in some extra special personalising which includes adding a wheelchair or adding glasses. You can even add both. The Where Next, Teddy? book is available in softback, hardback and deluxe (a special cushion back)

I was seriously excited about this little book from Chapterful. Dylan recently had his opticians appointment and he'll be wearing glasses for at least another year. He loves them but he can get a bit annoyed when he doesn't see people who wear glasses in stories, or even worse only the old people do! To have such an engaging story that includes him wearing his glasses and going on so many amazing adventures is really inspiring. Because needing to use glasses or even a wheelchair shouldn't stop children from being a great explorer, especially in their dreams. Another element of the Where Next, Teddy? book that I really like is that the words are big, clear and the sentences are well placed without too many on one page. This layout is perfect for us as Dylan is getting to grips with reading on his own and I know that he will love being able to read this one without us sometimes.

You can purchase a personalised Where Next, Teddy? from £16.95

Heelys x2 Duel Up Shoes

Even I remember Heelys from my childhood. The shoes that let you skate around without a change of shoes! These days Heelys are in a whole new league with wheels that are entirely removable you can easily think these are two different pairs of shoes. The brand new range which is already available from is the Heelys x2 Duel Up Shoes. These are a completely upgraded version of those long distant memories from my childhood, The x2 Duel Up Heelys contain two wheels in each shoe to give better stability and ease of use. Two wheels makes these perfect for children like Dylan who have never experienced shoes with wheels before. Beginning the world of Heelys is much easier to master on two wheels. I love that this version stays with the iconic skate style of shoe too. 

You can purchase all of the Heelys range  from £39.95 at (They currently have a lot of the range on sale at the minute.

I hope you all find the perfect gift this Christmas.

* Products featured in this post have been sent to us for the purpose of featuring. However all opinions are my own and I have had the final decision in all products being featured*

Monday, 10 December 2018

Gift Ideas when your buying for Babies and Toddlers this Christmas

Buying gifts for Babies and Toddlers can be tricky. Smaller babies are harder to buy for since they can't use toys and already have an abundance of clothing. As they grow and become toddlers they love everything and at that age people get lots of toys for Christmas which can all add up. Today I'm sharing just a few ideas on what you can buy for babies and toddlers this Christmas.

Childs Farm Baby Bedtime Set.

Childs Farm have been our go to baby bath and body wash for a long time now. Their products are kind to sensitive skin and can use on all skin types including those who are prone to eczema. With approval from dermatologists and paediatricians you can be sure the range will be kind for all skin types. The Baby Bedtime Set is just perfect for babies at bath time with everything you need for that bedtime routine all inside one box. In this set you'll find Baby Bedtime Bubbles, Baby Wash and Baby Moisturiser all in 250ml bottles.

You can purchase the Childs Farm Baby Bedtime Set for £13.

That's Not My Book

All year round we are all book worms and Scarlet is no different. She adores looking at, reading and turning the pages of books. Some of her favourite books come from the 'That's Not My' book range from Usborne Books. It seemed perfect to include one in our gift ideas list since so many children love these books. We've choose this lovely little festive book from the range that is called That's Not My Angel. with lots of different surfaces and textures throughout the book they are perfect for toddlers this Christmas. 

You can purchase this That's Not My Angel book for £6.99.

Animal Shapes Puzzle 

Another great love of ours is puzzles and games. From a very small age children love puzzles and games. Surprisingly there is a huge range available for toddlers and one of our favourite puzzles for toddlers is the Animal Shapes Puzzle from Orchard Toys. We are big fans and own an ever growing selection of Orchard Toys puzzles and games. This one is a box of animal shaped pieces which each have one shape missing from their middle. Your toddler needs to put the right piece into the right animal. Each animal has it's own colour too. Perfect for helping them develop new skills and still have fun learning through play this Christmas. 

You Can Purchase the Animal Shapes Puzzle from Orchard Toys for £8

A New Stuffed Friend.

By now we've all heard of Build A Bear. They make great stuffed friends and with a huge selection to choose from there will be something for everyone and for every budget. This Christmas why not give your child or toddler the experience of building their own bear. Now this one might be a little different as I don't actually suggest going out and buying the bear. However I think a gift card with a date for after Christmas when you can go together and create the special bear or animal together would make a lovely gift this Christmas. 

You can purchase a gift card for Build a Bear for various amounts starting at  £25. 

There you have it. Just a few ideas to help if your buying for a baby or toddler this Christmas. 

*This guide contains gifted items. All opinions are mine and I made the final decision to include all the items above.*

Monday, 3 December 2018

What is included in our Christmas Eve Box this year

It's Christmas time, throughout December the magic grows in children all across the world in anticipation of Christmas day. As adults that magic fades, however one of my favourite things about being a parent is getting to relive that magic every single year through their eyes. 

Who am I kidding? I love Christmas! I don't think the magic ever really faded away for me and I adore being able to add my own magic for Dylan and Scarlet each year. One of the ways we add magic is to create our own Christmas Eve box. 

Christmas Eve boxes first started in America and in recent years they've made a big splash here in the UK too. I've seen everything inside from little fun and cheap ideas right through to toys and more being hidden inside for children. Personally I prefer to do our box as a treat that helps us to build a little extra excitement. We have a budget for our box and as our family has grown over the last two years we have chose to keep things the same but just to double most things inside.

We still have one box for everyone, this year we will be using this white distressed look crate which actually came with a hamper I won earlier this year. The crate is the perfect side to hold enough treats for us all to enjoy alongside everything else we will include. In previous years I have used a handmade box which was made by a family member along with a small crate type box I found in Poundland. 

The most important part of the Christmas Eve Box is of course brand new pyjamas for both Dylan and Scarlet. This may seem very ordinary but growing up I always remember getting new pyjamas on Christmas eve for getting out of the bath and I felt it was important to keep this part of our traditions for my own children. This year I went with matching Christmas pyjamas for Scarlet and Dylan. We went with cute Santa Squad ones from B&M Bargains. At just £3.99 for the baby sizes and £4.99 for the children's sizes they are cute and fitted well within our budget. There are even matching men's and ladies versions for a whole matching set. 

Along with a new pair of pyjamas I like to get both children new socks. Neither Dylan or Scarlet tend to wear slippers for long and new socks make a lovely alternative and keep their feet a little warmer after their bath and through the exciting morning of Christmas. Usually we go with some nice fluffy socks or ones with a funky little design. This year we picked up two pairs in Poundland of all places.

Another tradition of ours is making Santa treats to have when he visits on Christmas eve. Each year we make a batch of biscuits which we get to enjoy alongside our hot chocolate and then leave some out for Santa. Usually I would spend extra time making up a mix that contains all the dry ingredients in a glass jar. This year I opted for a little cheat and got this packaged mixture of Rainbow Cookies from Betty Crocker. This will be perfect and make things a little different since we usually make shortbread, this year it will be rainbow cookies! I did get this in a hamper of American treats and I have kept it to the side for our box however there are plenty of others available herein the UK from Betty Crocker. 

We also include a colouring book or activity book. The aim is that the box will contain everything we need to enjoy the whole day. By including a little activity that only needs some supervision we can ensure that at the times through the day when we need a break or we need to do adult jobs then we can still keep the children busy and excited. I try to get something themed to Christmas and we'll add to it by getting out our Christmas puzzles and books that have attachments. This year I just picked up an activity pack for around a pound which we opened and included with colouring for Scarlet and the activity book for Dylan. 

Towards the middle of the day we will take a walk and once we get back it's cold and we are all feeling the chill. When we get inside I love to warm up with a good hot chocolate so we include a hot chocolate inside along with marshmallows. This year I added some small sachets of Options hot chocolate. I'll add four into our box so everyone has one of their own, perfect paired with cream and mini marshmallows.

Another little treat I include is a special bath bomb or bubble bar from LUSH. Both children love being in the bath with bubbles and wonderful colours. This year there is a new Snowflake Bubble Spinner from LUSH that has the scent of fresh snow. Personally that is one of my favourite scents and I think it will be perfect for Christmas to add a little scent of snow. I love that these are also reusable and will last for a good few baths over the festive season too. A great little treat for £6.95.

After bath time we will all settle down for a movie. Almost every year that film will be The Polar Express. It's Dylan's favourite Christmas movie and this year I finally got around to buying the DVD which will be slotted into our box. I got a copy on Amazon for just £4.98 so it will be well loved for many years to come. Along with our film we will have some popcorn and various special treats to enjoy. I picked up a selection from shops over the past few weeks. There is something for everyone in our selection.

The final part of our box is our Christmas Eve Book. Each year we will create our own Christmas Book Advent with 23 Christmas themed books inside. I recently shared some of our favourites which are inside our advent. On Christmas Eve our book comes from the box and this year it is The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher. These are some of Dylan's favourite books so it was obvious that we needed the Christmas edition too! Plus I couldn't say no at £4.

I'm so excited to see how both children will like our Christmas Eve box this year and I am pleased that overall we have managed to stay within £40 which seems like a lot. However when you consider I have managed to get two pairs of pyjamas and socks along with a book, DVD and LUSH treat in that as well as all the goodies for our movie I am pretty pleased. 

Do you have a Christmas Eve Box? 
I'd love to know what you include in yours.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender {Review}

It's hard to believe that this time last year we started our weaning journey with Scarlet. A year later and there are still new tastes and food experiences we've yet to try. It has been an exciting journey for everyone and there is plenty more to come. We're still home cooking most meals for everyone and Scarlet is no exception. When Tommee Tippee got in touch with me to try their Steamer Blender out I knew it would be perfect for those meals Scarlet has that are adjusted for spice and for quick lunches through this winter.

The Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender will take the stress out of cooking fresh recipes for you baby through their weaning journey. Not to mention taking half the time. Designed to be quick and easy to use the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender is perfect for busy parents who want to give their baby or toddler healthy home cooked meals and tastes. By using steam to cook meals for your little one you won't loose any of those vitamins, minerals and all round goodness the food contains. Which makes the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender perfect for weaning from the start.

Inside the box the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender is already assembled and only requires you to remove the packaging and give everything a wash before it's ready to use. The box contains the care instructions on how to wash and use your Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender, a recipe idea book for all stages of weaning, the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender machine, a spatula and two Tommee Tippee pop up freezer pots. 

To get started on using your Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender it needs to have 450ml of water added into the water container. This is located at the top of the machine and can be opened by turning the smaller black circle to the unlock position and lifting up. Just fill it up with your water and close. The second larger dial is what locks the food jug in place for steaming and blending. 

Once your filled up and ready to go you need to choose a recipe you want to make. With various selections in the recipe book inside the box for every stage you'll not be short on ideas! There is everything from super smooth first tastes right up to chunky recipes perfect for toddlers over the age of one. You can make any recipe you can think up in the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender too.

 I started with the Mexican Red Meat Mash Up which is basically Chilli Con Carne. A favourite of Scarlet's. To get started I got all our ingredients together. 
You'll need: 50g lean beef mince, 25g Onion, 25g red pepper, 25g red kidney beans (tinned), 50g chopped tomatoes (I used 4 baby plum tomatoes) and a pinch of chilli powder.

Chop up all the ingredients and in the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender jug add the mince, onion and pepper. Pop onto the machine and you just need to set the time you want to steam it for. This recipe calls for a 10 minute steaming period to start. 

Once steamed remove the excess liquid you can see above before adding in the other ingredients. Pop it back on the steamer and set it to steam for another 15 minutes. I do recommend keeping the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender in an open and ventilated area since it does push out a lot of steam. You don't want to use it while it is under a kitchen unit or shelves. The final two steps are to drain out the liquid again and then to blend using the blender setting. Since Scarlet is almost 18 months I used the recommended on the recipe which was 4-10 seconds. This made a nice consistency for Scarlet without big chunks. I do think by blending for longer you could make a smoother consistency. 

All that is left is to add in some basmati rice and enjoy! I did find that this recipe made enough for two potions when the rice is added which is perfect for a lunch and dinner over two days. Great since all you need to do is keep the extra mix to heat up and add rice. As you can see Scarlet wolfed the lot down! She loved this recipe and I love just how easy it was to make. I used the extra time when this cooked to get us both dressed after a a lazy morning at home.

During the earlier stages of weaning you want recipes that are simple, taste good but that also contain one or two flavours to allow your baby to adjust. The recipe book has some great ideas to use the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender to whip up something for every taste. I love that even now these make for great dipping sauces for finger food as well as being great to add extra to some yoghurt for snacks too. 

I made Scarlet some pear and blueberry puree for a snack using the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender. Just as before you need to chop up the pear after you've washed, peeled and removed the core. Pop it in the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender with the 25g of blueberries and steam for 15 minutes. Drain the liquid out and blend it up for 20-30 seconds. I did ours for 30 seconds although 20 would be plenty for more texture when your baby is 7 months or over. 

I added ours to a pot and allowed it to cool down ready to add to some yogurt for dessert later that day. Although it can be used on it's own, add some crumbled up biscuit or fresh baked crumble mix while still warm for the perfect toddler dessert. You can even remove half of the mix before blending to add some chunks back in for toddlers if your making a quick crumble dessert. The possibilities are almost endless! 

What I loved about the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender was that even at the end it was super easy to clean all the components. The blade comes off the blender pot by twisting the bottom and holding the blade in place with your finger. simply wash and dry everything before reassembling and your ready to go!

I can't recommend the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender enough. I actually wish we'd had one from the start of weaning journey. I made as much of Scarlet's food myself as I could and I still do. I know that even though she's 18 months we will be using the Tommee Tippee Steamer Blender for many more months to come. It's perfect for quick easy cooking for babies and toddlers. Just what every parent needs through the weaning journey. 

You can purchase your own Tommee Tippee Steamer blender (RRP £117.49)  from Amazon (click the link), Argos, Dunelm, George, Very and Boots.

Disclaimer: The product featured above have been sent to us for this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. 
Thursday, 22 November 2018

Visit Santa at Belfast's Continental Christmas Market & Help Pretty 'n' Pink

Christmas is well and truly under way with last weekend marking the start of the season with Belfast's Christmas lights officially switched on. This week all around the country lights switch on and Christmas markets open to the masses. The infamous Belfast Continental Christmas Market is already here and is open right through to 22nd December. 

Inside the market you'll find an array of food, drinks and all manor of unique items. You'll also find Santa himself! Each year Santa is a unique part of Belfast's Continental Christmas Market. What you might not know is that each year the Lord Mayor's Charity of the year is responsible for all things Santa related and it's the chosen charity who will be hosting Santa and his elves for everyone who visits.

This year that charity is one that is close to my own heart and one which we ensure to support throughout the entire year when we can. A unique charity here since they are the only registered Breast Cancer charity in Northern Ireland! Pretty 'n' Pink started over a decade ago in 2006 by the founder Noleen Adair. An inspirational woman who despite battling cancer herself still campaigned and fund-raised with her small team of volunteers for Pretty 'n' Pink. The charity helps women diagnosed with breast cancer and their families through the funds raised. These funds can be used to help take the financial strain that breast cancer diagnosis can put on people and their families. It can provide home heating, travel expenses, clothing, mortgage or rent payments, specialist bra's or swimwear and even for adapting homes to meet their new needs. The funds can also be used to provide additional therapies for patients too. 

Pretty 'n' Pink is the Lord Mayors charity of the year and this year they've helped Santa to embrace all things pink as well as red. Santa's hut is decorated in a style that is festive, fun and very Pink. Which is only fitting since we are talking about Pretty 'n' Pink. 

Santa, his elves and his helpers from Pretty 'n' Pink are going to be working hard the whole way through the end of November and into December. They will be on hand to ensure Santa is available for all the children and families who will visit Belfast's Continental Christmas Market this year by opening every day. 

You will be able to visit Santa and his team during these opening hours:

Monday - 3pm to 6pm
Tuesday - 3pm to 6pm
Wednesday - 3pm to 6pm
Thursday - 12pm - 7pm
Friday - 12pm - 7pm
Saturday - 10am - 7pm
Sunday - 12pm - 6pm

Visiting Santa includes going inside his grotto, A gift from Santa along with a photograph for just £10. For two children you will pay £15 and each will receive a gift. 
Additional Photos cost £5.

The whole experience will stand out and be remembered by all I'm sure.

*The photographs featured belong to Pretty 'n' Pink. I have permission to share them.*

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Food lovers in your life

Christmas is creeping up on us again and as we pass the middle of November my thoughts have turned to gifts. Finding that great gift for everyone is hard work. I'm hoping to take some of that hard work away for you this year with our gift ideas. Today I'm sharing the first which is for all the food lovers in your life. 

We all know a tea lover or two and the new Aduna Super Teas would make the perfect gift for them. With five different tea flavours to choose from each is boosted with African superfoods. Yep, tea that makes you feel good! They have everything from tea to help you relax (How good does cinnamon spiced cacao tea sound?) right through to a cleansing tea (great for that after Christmas detox we all need!) Plus the Aduna Super Tea are all organic and natural. 
You can purchase all five flavours in the Aduna Super Tea range including Relax (the box featured above), Vitality, Cleanse, Radiance and Detox in single tea bags(£0.99), a box (£4.99) and three boxes (£13.99).

Another foodie I am sure we all need to think about is the one who loves spices! Yes you know that one family member or friend who adores to make great dishes filled with amazing flavours and spices from all over. We've got you covered there or I should say The Spice Pioneer has you covered. A subscription box which delivers spice kits for every spice you need to create a wonderful meal from somewhere around the world. What is even better is every month there is a new kit with a new recipe to try. This is the gift your spice lover will look forward to even after Christmas has past. 
Above you can see two different kits which create 
You can purchase The Spice Pioneer kits in a gift bundle which is perfect for Christmas time. With three options of a three month (£27), six month (£52.50) and twelve month (£99) subscription to choose from there is something to suit everyone and all different budgets too. 

For us one of the ultimate food gifts at Christmas is fudge. It's not really an event without some in our house! Christmas is no different. However we do try to go for something a little different at Christmas time. This year we will be indulging in some of Iceland's Luxury Fudge range which has just hit the shelves. With a variety of choice in the range that includes clotted cream, salted caramel and Belgium chocolate you can't really go wrong. 
You can purchase the Luxury Fudge Range from Iceland in store and online for just £1.50 per box or they also have a large tree shaped set which includes the whole range for £8

I say it every year but we cannot forget the chocolate lovers! Every year we enjoy of chocolates with friends and family across the UK. This year will be no different and my own personal favourite is Nestle Dairy Box. Filled with delicious,flavour filled chocolate treats to enjoy over the festive period this is the only gift I insist Simon must buy me every year. 
You can Purchase Nestle Dairy Box from Tesco and most other major supermarkets for around £3.

I'm not sure Christmas would be complete without some shortbread. I love to include shortbread as a little filler gift each year. The smaller tins are perfect for slotting into hampers nicely or simply wrapping on it's own as a little filler gift. They are delicious to enjoy with a hot cup of tea or coffee when you find a minute on Christmas day and in the week that follows. 
This little tin of Scottish shortbread is available in Poundland at just £1 so it's a real bargain to include as a little extra.

Hopefully I have helped you to find that gift you've been looking to find for the foodie in your life. Be sure to check back if your still in need of gifts for everyone else as I will be sharing more gift ideas over the coming weeks as we drive closer to the big day!

*This is collaborative post*



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