Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas

There is just one week left until we hit Christmas! Can you believe we are here already? With Christmas creeping up and school preparing to finish for the year it's time for me to turn on my out of office, (I actually have one of those now!) to say goodbye and get myself into celebration mode.

It's been a busy month for us as, I'm sure it has been for many and I do love to blog through the festive season. To remember so many of the great things we do over Christmas through our own traditions. I enjoy sharing gift ideas and other festive posts. Not to mention celebrating my birthday. However with just one week left before the big day it's time to take a break. 

Christmas after all is about family and spending time together. This year I have decided I want to take this break now and come back in the New Year ready to start again, refreshed, stuffed to almost bursting capacity and hopefully filled with many great memories. I hope that this Christmas will be all of that and more for our little family as well as for yours.


So Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays should you not celebrate Christmas. Have fun with your friends and family and most of all cherish every moment of this magical time.


Monday, 17 December 2018

Our top ten Christmas books for the festive season

Each year I take some time in November to wrap up all our Christmas books in an advent calendar. I started this tradition a few years ago as a way to increase our Christmas book collection. Since then we have added to our collection and now we have almost enough to do all 24 days that lead to Christmas. Well minus the board books that both children like to have out on the book shelf from November. This year I am adding in our last 4 books which means that most of the books will be those we already own. I plan to wrap up every book and randomly number each. 

While it is 10 days into December I wanted to share our top 10 books for Christmas. As avid readers I love that through December we get to experience different Christmas or winter themed books with our bedtime stories. The children also love the excitement of not knowing which book is for the day from our Advent Calendar. 


1. The Night Before Christmas

Of course we have to start with a classic. We have a range of classic Christmas stories which we have picked up however the favourite out of our collection is The Night Before Christmas. It's a story we all know and it's one of the first Christmas stories we ever bought. The traditional tale is told about Christmas eve when Father Christmas comes to visit the children and everyone is fast asleep. This one is a must for any Christmas Book Collection and a great place to start if you haven't got one.


2. The Snowman

This is another great Christmas Classic and if you haven't read the story of The Snowman then you've watched it. A tale all about a boy who builds a snowman which comes to live on Christmas Eve to fly the boy on a great adventure. I must say The Snowman has always been a fond Christmas memory for me and I want it to be for my own children. I think this is another must for a Christmas book collection.


3. Mog's Christmas Calamity by Judith Kerr

The final big classic that is in our top ten had to be one of the Mog stories. A lovable little cat who seems to get into a lot of trouble. We love Mog's Christmas Calamity. Disaster strikes and Christmas seems ruined when Mog ends up tangled in some tinsel. After setting Christmas alight it almost seems like Christmas can't happen. The love and neighbourly kindness saves the whole day in the end. This story really shows the Christmas spirit and the joy it is all about.


4. Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler

We had to include one of Dylan's all time favourite Christmas Books which is Stick Man. A story about a Stick Man and his stick family. Stick Man is mistaken for a silly old stick and ends up being very, very far away from his family at Christmas time. He sad, lonely and alone. Will he be able to make it home before Christmas?
As huge Julia Donaldson fans this is one of our go to Christmas stories for the festive season and you can guarantee it will be read several times over the coming days.



5. Norman The Slug who Saved Christmas by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

We are huge fans of Sue Hendra too. This Christmas book has a favourite character of ours, Norman the Slug. This time he's saving the day in Norman The Slug Who Saved Christmas. Fast asleep in his bed on Christmas Eve, he finds himself the bearer of more gifts than he thought he would get this year from Santa. Only to discover they have been accidentally delivered to him. Can he wrap up the gifts without any tape and deliver them to the right children in time for Christmas Morning?
This book is new to our collection this year however Dylan and Scarlet already love hearing the story and I know it will be one we look forward to each year.


6. Little Duck's First Christmas by Dawn Richards and Heidi D'hamers

This story is one which we got last year for Scarlet's first Christmas. Little Duck's First Christmas is about a little duck on is first Christmas. He would really like for the Christmas Bear to come and visit him. However he isn't sure if he has been as good as he should have. He sets of to find a good deed to do and help his chances of getting that important visit from the Christmas Bear. It's a lovely little story which shows how there is always time for more good deeds at Christmas time, even if you haven't done any yet.


7. That's Not My Elf

The books in the Usborne 'That's Not My' range have been a firm favourite ever since Dylan was a baby. As you can imagine we've grown quite a collection of them. However we've not had any of the Christmas range up to this year. The That's Not My Elf book is already Scarlet's favourite out of our Christmas books and we've only had it a week. I don't even think it's made to the book shelf yet! This book is filled with the touchy-feely pages of the whole range and is the perfect Christmas book for babies and toddlers.


8. Ten Skinny snowflakes by Russell Julian

Each year we add new books and this is one we added when Dylan was in nursery. He loved counting books and inside Ten Shinny Snowflakes you can watch the snowflakes disappear through the pages as all the woodland friends come out and play games in the snow. This one is perfect for practising counting with a snowy, winter twist.


9. Laura's Christmas Star by Klaus Baumgart

I think this one might be one of my favourites from our collection. Laura's Christmas Star, this book is about Laura and her family who face car troubles on their way to visit family at Christmas. They must return home and have nothing ready for Christmas. Laura and her special star make Christmas magical for her brother, Tommy. A little story about the magic of believing at Christmas time and all the wonderful things Christmas can be.


10. Little Lost Penguin

The final book in our top ten is the story of Little, Lost Penguin. A lonely little egg hatches all alone in a frozen landscape and goes on a great adventure with lots of different animals on a mission to find his missing mum. Follow along with his adventure and see if he can find his family.
This one is a lovely tale which is always enjoyed by us. It's exciting, fun but it's full of love too.


Have you got a favourite Christmas Story?


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Adults in your life this Christmas

Each year I find I have to really think about what it is I should get for the adults in my life at Christmas. For the most part they tend to buy the things they want themselves which is good for most of the year. However it leaves us trying to find gifts that they will use and enjoy. Usually at this time of year we see a lot of for him or for her and I must say I decided I wanted to include ideas for everyone. Sometimes a perfect gift for him ends up being perfect for her too and why shouldn't they be together?

Here is some ideas on what can make some great gifts this Christmas.


NextBase Dash Cam

Everyone has a driver they know and will buy for this Christmas so why not add to their road safety this year. A dash cam can make a fantastic gift for drivers. It can provide everything from piece of mind through to security and evidence should anything ever occur on the road. The NextBase 112 Dash Cam is small, easy to use and lightweight which makes it perfect for any driver. Endorsed by AA means that this really is a tool you'll want on the road with you. With a 720p HD recording ability it will make for a useful bit of tech on the dashboard. With the option to take still images while recording and a feature that allows loop recording you won't run out of space to record on any journey. This NextBase Dash Cam comes with a magnetic mount that makes it perfect for grabbing quickly when your leaving the car too. This dash cam comes with an in-built battery that will still record for 30 minutes after any accident. This could be the piece of tech your loved one needs to add to their car this Christmas.

You can purchase the NextBase 112 Dash Cam for £49.99 from Argos (click the link), Halfords, Curry's, Very, John Lewis and Euro Car Parts.


Dad's Don't Baby Sit 

As you may know we are all avid readers in our house and there is certainly no shortage of books around here! In fact most of my family enjoy reading and I personally love the feel of a real book in my hands over reading on a tablet or phone. There are many books out there this year but one new one that will be perfect for any parent out there is, Dad's Don't Babysit: toward equal parenting by David Freed & James Millar. A book that released earlier this year that sets to tackle everything that is standing in the way of equal parenting between mothers and fathers. You'll find everything from the gender pay gap right through to the media's portrayal of parenting while offering up suggestions to make it easier to achieve. It's not too heavy, easy to read and it is entirely relate able for parents everywhere.

You can purchase Dad's Don't Babysit: Towards Equal Parenting by David Freed and James Millar for £11.99



Handcrafted Coconut bowl set

This year has saw so many of us change some of thing things in our lives to better watch out for the environment and why should our gifts be any different? We all know being more eco friendly is something we should bear in mind. This set of four handcrafted Thai Coconut bowls from Vie Gourmet will make a beautiful and unique gift for anyone. These bowls are handmade from reclaimed Thai coconut shells and are perfect for everything from your favourite breakfast bowl through to showing off some beautiful decorative items around your home. The individuality of these bowls is amazing, you'll not find two of the same so you'll have the most unique bowls. I love the smooth feel of these. They are so much smoother than you can imagine and each sits in it's own way which I think just adds to the experience of using it. These are easy to clean and they are built to last. You even get a matching set of four spoons to team with these bowls.

You can purchase your own set of four Handcrafted Thai Coconut Bowls for £19.95
I also have a 10% off code for our readers 89FJHSTC this expires 31st December 2018.


The Love Detective

I already included a book that is perfect for parents however sometimes you need a good book that helps you to escape into the story. The Love Detective by Angela Dyson is a book they'll be sure to get hooked on. A stuck in a rut waitress is just going through life when her friend asks her to do a little snooping and find our if her romantic partner is actually interested in her or the benefits of her job. With the help of her work pals along with a few blunders as she stumbles through this investigating role she finds herself in a world she wasn't prepared for. A whole world full of shady criminal work inside a whole criminal enterprise. A book full of twists and turns to create a wonderful romance with a dash oh thrill and crime added to the mixture. It's perfect for the cynical romantic in us all. 

You can purchase The Love Detective by Angela Dyson for RRP £9.99


LUSH Bubble Bar

At anytime of the year I am always a fan of LUSH and I know that a lot of my family are too. Come the winter months laying down in a hot bath full of bubbles surrounded by a lovely scent can feel amazing. It not only helps you feel warm, clean and relaxed but it also helps you to find some time alone. Which to a busy parent can be a real treat! One of my all time favourite products from LUSH is their Bubble Bars, they last for more than one bath and they fill the whole bath with wonderful bubbles as well as a beautiful scent. With a whole range there is bound to be something for everyone. I am really enjoying their new Yog Nog Yule Log, it's a limited edition bar and it just smells of Christmas! Any of the range would make for a lovely present this Christmas and with gift boxes available you can make this gift fit any budget.

You can purchase the Yog Nog Yule Log for £5.95


Lynx gift set 

Let's face it at some point this Christmas you'll buy a Lynx Gift set for someone. We all do it. In fact I don't think I've ever not bought one. Simon loves their range and I must say I do enjoy their female range too. The ever growing range of scents means that you'll probably find one suited for anyone you need a gift for this Christmas.

You can purchase any of the Lynx Gift Sets from most super markets and big health and beauty retailers from £3. (Link leads to Tesco)


Just some ideas on what might make fantastic gifts for your loved ones this Christmas.




*Some products featured in this guide have been sent to us for the guide. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


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 Skates.com 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 Skates.com (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.


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