Christmas Traditions Calendar

For me Christmas starts on the 1st December.

Not into the Elf on a shelf as yet so this is how we like to enjoy Christmas each year…

1. Put the tree up and decorate downstairs with various nick nacks from previous years .We like to let the girls decorate the main tree and their smaller one.

Christmas decoration

2. Book a ‘Meet Father Christmas’ session and day out somewhere fun for the children, this year we went to Drusillas Park, in Sussex.

Girls visiting Father Christmas at Drusillas Park

3. My Husband and I go Christmas shopping on our own  if we can (this year with our baby) to buy all presents somewhere special to make a nice day of it. Plus we obviously don’t want the girls to see what they will be getting on the big day.

4. School Fair, My eldest loves this as lots of fun interactive crafts and activities to get involved in.

Paint in pots

5. Go to get my nails painted with gel in something red and shiny.

Hand with red gel nail varnish

6. Attend either mine or my Husbands work Christmas party.

7.  Nursery Christmas crafts, normally something like covering a bauble in glitter.

8. Christmas Carol’s this year something I will get to watch whilst on maternity leave.

9.  Nursery Nativity,  This year my youngest Daughter is in her final year so Pre School and will  be singing Jingle Bells apparently.

10.  Getting ready for the big Father Christmas visit with mince pies, milk and carrots for the reindeers and prepare the decorations on the dining table.

11.  Christmas Day –  We host most year so will start preparing in October with an online food  order, then prepping all the vegetables first thing.

Then we enjoy  a leasurely breakfast whilst opening presents, watching my children’s faces is the best part.

Then family come round, I will usually have started cooking beforehand.

Cook the meat at about 11am, I usually cook just a crown of turkey, then the vegetables and trimmings. The thing that helps the most is heated sectioned tray from Robert Dyas.

Then after the 3 courses, we will sit down to watch TV and play games this year what’s that smell will be on the agenda, kindly gifted by Wire Pr.

What’s That Smell Board Game

Plus the flour game ! If you haven’t played before it is so much fun.Pour some flour into a bowl then tip out onto a plate, place a chocolate on top, each person cuts a slice in turns, the person who lets the chocolate fall in has to get it out with their mouth. It’s hilarious.

12.  Pantomine usually at the Hawth in Crawley, Something to cheer the girls up after the excitement of Christmas has died down. Plus we love it as guaranteed a good afternoon of laughter.

Then relax ready for January to begin. Maybe I’ll buy Elf on the Shelf in the January sales ready to start in December.

 

Christmas Gift Ideas 2018

Christmas 2018 is less than 2 months away

How fast did that come round again? At this time of year I like to start lining up gift ideas for my children . Here are some items that I like the look of and have been reviewing this month.

For 2+ year old

This count with Peppa toy is lots of fun, Peppa helps children count to ten. Whilst also learning to recognize colours and numbers.  My little girl loves playing with this toy at 3 years old she is just learning to count to ten, this toy will  help her practice. My Daughter enjoyed slotting the coins into Peppa’s purse counting them as she went. Peppa also helps children with listening to instructions that are asked and following sequential steps, what’s not to love learning whilst playing. My Daughter is very protective of this toys and likes to show us that she understands what Peppa is asking.

For 4+ year old

This Fuzzikins Campervan is so much fun! The set includes x2 Cat Fuzzikins ( a medium and a large)  that can be coloured in with the x5 felt tip pens included. The inside of the Campervan is amazing the cats can sit at the table on the rubber chairs or the table turns into a bed with the blanket to go over the cats of a night time. There is also 3x Colour your own sticker sheets which my daughter really enjoyed.

All clips away inside the Campervan which is great as less mess and chance of the Fuzzikins or contents going missing. My 6 year old Daughter absolutely loved playing with this toy, being able to colour the cats in was an added bonus, she especially loves letting them pretend to eat together at the table, then putting them down to bed for the night.  She said it’s great because it clips together and my sister can’t open it!

For 10+ year old

This Science Mad – Crystal Growing Kit

Includes 14 experiments that are all safety tested. With everything you need to grow and cultivate your own beautiful crystals.  This comes in a large box , So there’s a lot to get creating with. It’s the kind of gift, I myself as a child I would have been so excited to receive.  We have loved creating crystals, As my eldest Daughter is 6 she needed my help and was really happy with the end result.  Some real one on time with my Daughter. It really brought me back to my childhood. Make sure you wear the goggles and follow the safety instructions, I would recommend the help of a grown up.  So far we’ve only created one set of crystals but still so many more to try, definitely value for money. Science is so much fun!

Some of the crystal’s we made:

 

Baby 6months +

Sophie La Giraffe Beaker, It’s just so cute! I will be getting this for my baby as absolutely love the hidden Sophie in the middle of the beaker.

Match Stick Monkey – These looks like exactly the kind of toy my baby would love at the moment as he can only hold little things. Plus it has a toothbrush at the end to apply teething relief or practice brushing !  Both seen in JoJo Maman Bebe.

*Three of the above items were gifted for review by Wire Pr, The Peppa Pig – Count with me             ( Trends UK ) , The Science Mad Crystal Growing Kit. ( Trends Uk ) and Fuzzikins Campervan.

All opinions are my/ children’s own.

Bassetts Multivitamins ( Ad)

Recently we were given the opportunity to trial Bassetts Multivitamins tailored for ages 3 -6 with Talk to Mums.

Giving my children a vitamin daily is something I aim to do, however in the past hadn’t always remembered consistently.

The Bassetts Multivitamins are soft and chewy in various flavour’s so appealed straight away to my girls who are 3 and 6 years old.

At breakfast each morning I like them to have either cereals or toast ( my eldest won’t eat toast  but will have a cheese and ham toastie  – very continental! Plus at least one piece of fruit normally apples ( has to be a red one ) , grapes or strawberries and a yoghurt. I feel especially as we head into winter a daily multivitamin rounds off their breakfast nicely.

My girls do have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I was pleased to see that they contain no added sugar, as they consume enough already. As a Mum I try to do my best for my children so giving them a daily multivitamin gives them a bit of an extra top up that they may be missing especially with one of my daughters being quite fussy at the moment, although I am hoping this to shall pass! as they say, whoever they are!

The girls say the vitamins make them happy because they have a smile on them. This has also been their opinion on the Bassetts Omega 3 and Multivitamins that come in a orange flavour with no reports of a fishy aftertaste = Happy me!

The Bassetts Multivitamins contain vitamin A, B6, C and D to help support healthy eyes, skin, teeth,bones, muscle and immunity.

Currently on offer in Tesco at 3 for the price of 2 each pack contains 30 vitamins.

Train Travel with a Young Baby

I took a little trip yesterday into London to meet the team at Talk to Mums.  It was my first time travelling into the city via train alone and something I initially thought would be trickier than it was.

So I decided instead of my double pushchair which could have been tricky to maneuver on and off trains, to take my Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier, which for me made the trip a lot of easier. As I could wear my baby and be hands free.

So my tips would be:

  • Wear a bag that can go on your back with just what you need for that period of time. So for my baby it was a spare change of clothes, wipes, x1 muslin clothes and nappies
  • Carry a spare muslin cloth ( Useful for cleaning dribble and as a cover whilst breastfeeding )
  • Ensure you carry a bottle of water and a snack for you ( I always carry some paracetamol as often get headaches when travelling )
  • Carry hand gel in your bag as again this is useful when touching so many surfaces that have been touched by others
  • Leave plenty of time as everything takes longer when travelling with children no matter how small they may be
  • Purchase the train ticket in advance
  • Travel off peak
  • Install the Trainline app, It’s really useful when you need to change train
  • If I were a regular commuter by train I’d have my phone in a case with my debit card as can see you need to get them out frequently
  • On your return leave in good time as there can often be delays

I am only writing this because I drive and rarely use Public Transport and thought it may be useful to some one.

Pampers Pure Nappies and Wipes

I was very happy to be asked by Pampers to be one of the selected parents in the UK to trial the new Pure range

Pampers Pure

The pure range provides up to 12 hours of dryness like the other Pampers nappies. Yet they are clinically proven for sensitive skin on even the most delicate of little bottoms and are so soft!

The new Pure range of nappies are made with new plant based materials, premium cotton, sugarcane based material and responsibly sourced pulp whilst also being made with 0% perfume, chlorine, bleaching, latex.

The Pure wipes crafted with organic cotton are made up with 99% water and 1% gentle skin protectors, 0% perfume and alcohol free.

I’ve been trialing these nappies and wipes for 5 days now and I am very happy with the results. They fit my little boy comfortably, the designs are very cute ( my favourite being the milk bottle one ) as love clothes in that design too.

The Pampers  Pure nappies also withstood 2 explosions which normally would have been up to his neck ruining whatever he was wearing, so this was a huge plus for me.  Also after a full nights sleep, he woke up with no leaks and seemed very happy, Something I shall be recommending to my friends who are pregnant and those who have young babies.

The Pampers Pure wipes are also great and can be used on newborn skins as they are so gentle.

I also feel more aware now of how much better these nappies are for a baby’s skin and the environment compared to cheaper ones that are not made in such a considerate way.

*I have not been paid to write this review but was provided with a pack of nappies and a pack of wipes to sample.

#PurePioneer#PampersSquad#PampersPure

 

Natvia – The Natural Sweetener

I was recently given the opportunity to sample and give out samples of Natvia, A natural sweetener that can help you quit sugar.

For me sugar mostly in the form of chocolate is a huge problem and one that has lead to a two stone weight gain over the last 6 years since the birth of my first child.

I even had gestational diabetes in my last two pregnancies, no doubt linked to sugar consumption although once diagnosed I did all I could to keep my blood sugar levels under control, As I’ve had gestational diabetes I am now more at risk in fact 1 in 2 chance of getting type 2 diabetes so I really do need to cut down my sugar levels.

I used Natvia as an alternative in Cooking, baking and tea/coffee’s the feedback was over whelming good where people who tried it said, they couldn’t tell the difference. I am shortly going to be commencing a healthy eating 12 week plan from home and will be substituting sugar for Natvia in lots of recipes which I am quite excited about.

Natvia is available in Tesco, Ocado and Whole Foods.

Natvia has zero impact on blood sugar levels ( I even tested this on my old blood glucose monitor recently ) It also doesn’t contain: Aspartame, Saccharine, or Fructose like some sweeteners can do and is made from 100% natural sources. It’s definitely worth trying and is far easier to quit sugar with Natvia.

 

Disneyland Paris – Tips before you go

We’ve just arrived back from an amazing few days in Disneyland Paris.

It’s truly magical and a real treat for the whole family even when travelling in the School Holidays. I’ve written a post below that helped our trip go smoothly with 3 children with us ( one of whom is a 3 month old baby ) :

Travel 

We travelled by car on the Euro Tunnel, it was so straightforward for us. Approximately 1.5 hour drive to Folkestone  ( Little shops/ duty free etc whilst you wait to drive on ) then half an hour on the tunnel once in Calais the drive is 3 hours but we took a few stops and there are so many little rest stops with toilets it made the drive very simple and it’s a pretty much straight route. The toll was $22 each way which in my opinion was very worth it for the route is far simpler and has the rest stops easily available.

Food

Take the meal plan option either half board or full board if staying at one of the Disney Hotels, I believe this saved us a lot of money as actually kept to using the plan instead of eating the more expensive options whilst still going to the best restaurants in the park.

Book your restaurants in advance, it may seem crazy but everything is so busy there, it’s a relief to walk in somewhere and be seated straight away especially to get out the heat if travelling during the Summer.

Whilst using the plan if one person doesn’t like all of their options ( you get a starter, main, desert and normally one soft drink each) order it anyway as normally one of the party will like it.

Tap water is free! So we often ordered this just at meals to keep hydrated and I only drink water anyway, so would give my soft drink to whoever fancied it. Also there are water fountains dotted around the park so take an empty bottle to fill up. ( we had no issues with anything from drinking the water in the resort )

If you want to save time in the parks it’s definitely worth booking the Character restaurants well in advance, we went to Auberge de Cendrillon, Inventions and Cafe Mickey , the Interactions the children had were priceless. If you are only going to do one Character restaurant i’d probably say go to Inventions in the main Disneyland Hotel just because the atmosphere was wonderful and the buffet food made it simpler and some fun puddings.  As these restaurants were an ‘upgrade’ on top of the pre paid plan price of approximately £100 per time.

Bread! You get a lot of it – Everywhere! at one meal ( the Cinderella one! ) bread came as you sat down, starter and a side. In the end we had to try to limit the girls as they only wanted bread, which didn’t do them any favours.

The children’s meals are well catered for as everything is separated i.e pasta from the sauce.  The starters for children weren’t  great as usually some form of salad covered in dressing. (But maybe this is my fussy children!)

 

Shortbread

Adult Desert from Auberge de Cendrillon ( Princess Restaurant )

Rides / Attractions 

We loved the rides in Fantasyland, probably because they appealed the most to our girls age 3 & 6 so head to the areas that appeal most to your party first.

If staying in a Disney Resort hotel make the most of the Magic Hour before the park opens to the public, we were able to go on some rides two or three times with no queue’s, Then queue at the end of the Magic Hour for any other rides/ attractions to cut down queue times. We loved the Peter Pan ride and went on it multiple times!

 

Use your fast passes then arrange to come back and get straight on your ride, it’s so easy and quick!

If wanting to watch the parade, shows or illuminations get there at least 45 minutes in advance ( for this reason it may be worth packing snacks, drinks etc to keep children busy ) this will ensure you get a good view or get in to shows like Mickey and the Magician which is amazing.

There are character meet and greets dotted throughout the park, if you see an umbrella and a cast member standing around it usually means a meet and greet is imminent.

 

Hotel 

We stayed at Disneys Sequioa Lodge which for us was perfect. I love the style and theme of the hotel like an ‘Aspen Lodge’

We booked to stay there, because A) It had a pool indoor’s and outside, which we loved as a great way to cool off after a busy day at the Parks  B) The hotel was very close to the park which made it really convenient.  The hotel staff were pretty accommodating, We arrived early on our first day and were allowed to check in a couple of hours before the normal time of 3pm to our room which was great after such an early start.

Video – Standard Room 

Shopping 

I brought a few items in H & M and Primark before we went as the price difference was huge ( Mickey Mouse Ears £2 in Primark vs $24 in the park,  although saying that some of the items sold in the park once their were quite unique. I also took a few of the girls Princess dresses with us.

Snacks – You can take these into the park and worth taking with you. We run slightly low and brought some biscuits for the girls whilst they were Mickey Mouse ones they were $7.99 for two relatively small packets.

We have put together a 30 minute video of our trip to Disneyland Paris.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Sanctuary Spa – Wet Skin Moisture Miracle ( Ad )

Recently I was lucky enough to work for Talk to Mums on a Sanctuary Spa campaign.

Distributing their new Wet Skin Moisture Miracle to local Ladies in my community.

 

The Wet Skin Moisture Miracle samples were 50ml each and contained one of three fragrances, Original, White Lily & Damask Rose, Green Lemon & Orange Blossom.  ( Below are the full size )

I distributed the samples at several places locally, including School parents, Children’s Centre’s, Nursery’s, After School club, local Hospital and a Summer Fair.

I carried a handy canvas bag to use for the distribution with a badge that showed I was giving away free samples. Although initially going up to people you don’t know can be a little disconcerting I soon overcame this and people were very happy to discuss the product and to receive a free sample to take home and try.

Working on this campaign also got me talking to people who I didn’t usually or who I hadn’t met before.  I was also lucky that feed back came in quickly:

  • “Wow it smells amazing”
  • “Saved me lots of time in my daily routine”
  • “My skin smelt wonderful all day”
  • “I love all the options of different scents”
  • “I had to go out and buy the full size”

The Wet Skin Moisture Miracle can be purchased in Boots if you are looking to buy.

Have you tried it yet? Or do you have any questions about working with Talk to Mums?

#Letgo

What’s in my suitcase? – Disney trip!

Disney image suntan lotion

Packing is one of the most exciting parts of planning a holiday for me, I especially enjoy writing lists before. Making sure I don’t forget to pack anything essential or that may be difficult to source in a different country or substantially more expensive.

So, before the holiday I’ll write a list of items needed for the Children and us, then a separate list of what I need to remember to pack.

This is the list of items I’ll pack / ensure I buy in advance broken down:

Snacks – My girls like a snack so I’ll pack some for when out and some for the room. As we are travelling by Car I will pack several packs of water (I managed to find some cool Disney ones!) For food it would be snacks such as popcorn, rice cakes or the little fruit stars generally foods that are quite light so that where possible they eat well still at meal times.

Clothes – Always allow extra and a change of clothing when travelling with children either by car or plane as there is nearly always a spillage or leakage of some form. I also went to H&M and Primark and brought lots of the cheaper T-shirt style dresses for them to wear each day as well as packing 3 of their Princess Dresses each for the meet and greets.  Then as it should be hot when we go away I’ll only take us all x1 Hoodie style top each plus a pair of leggings for my girls in case the weather turns cold. Also a buy them a packet of new trainer socks to save time searching for enough pairs that they already have. I found some trendy ones in Primark with bobbles on the back and a rather funky pattern!

Goodie Bags – I like to take little presents for them to unwrap if on a plane ( don’t make the mistake I did and wrap up play dough! as this got me lots of questions at security last year!)

This year I’ve been and brought lots of Disney merchandise from the high street mainly Primark  and H& M where it is substantially cheaper again, For example Mickey Mouse ears in Primark are £2 and in Disney they are £20 plus ( yes I’m sure the quality may better however how often they would wear them it wouldn’t be worth it ) Also included would be presents that are activity based like colouring books etc. This time we will place these on the children’s bed in the hotel for them to open when they arrive.

We have the car so can take more with us. If travelling by Plane I would add to the suitcase or hand luggage.

Essential’s in my opinion if travelling with young children / Adults:

  • Suntan lotion
  • Hats
  • Sufficient Nappies
  • Same for Wipes
  • Swim Nappies
  • Calpol
  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Diarrhoea Medication
  • Insect Repellent
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo / Conditioner
  • Shower gel (Can double up with kids depending on ages and skin type)
  • Face wipes
  • Face moisturiser that’s also a Sunscreen
  • Sanitary protection if needed
  • Little wind up / battery powered hand-held fan
  • x4 Way Multi Socket travel adaptor
  • Make up!

If going to Disney – Face glitter and a pot of Vaseline (I was given this tip by the Manager in our local Claire’s Accessories to apply the Vaseline first, then the glitter stays put)

Then lay it all out on the bed and assess whether I’ve enough outfits per day plus a few more spares.  My two girls have a Trunki each which I’ll pack as must of their clothes in as possible then aim to share a large suitcase with my husband and our baby will most likely need another bag for extra nappies etc.

Do you have any tips for travelling? What do you think is essential to pack?

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below:

 

 

Baba Bing Day Tripper City Deluxe Changing Bag – Review

Being pregnant with my 3rd baby, it was time to buy a new changing bag as pretty much starting from scratch with all baby items.  As our 3rd baby is to be a boy we decided to choose a bag in the colour grey as it matched our Mountain Buggy duet which is also grey.

The Baba Bing bag has many useful features my favourite being that you can reach straight into it when out and about whilst attached to a buggy using the clips enclosed, this shows it must have been designed by parents who are forever reaching in and out of changing bags for wipes and snacks!

The bag is also waterproof essential for when out and about in the UK! It has many useful compartments which are pictured so you know straightaway where to put various items such as nappies/ wipes. Another great feature is the ‘bin’ section underneath the bag where nappies/ rubbish can be stored until you reach an actual bin.

The link to the bag is below.

https://www.johnlewis.com/bababing-daytripper-city-deluxe-2016-changing-bag-grey/p2491195

This is my own opinion of the bag and not been paid / gifted to review.