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.

 

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.