Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but the hustle and bustle, packed scedules and lack of time can take a toll on us all and the need to switch off from it all can be much needed.
Its not just the adults that need to take a break. I am definitly guily of trying to put too much on the kids at Christmas. I want these few short weeks a year to be crammed with as much magic as possible, but in reality it can all be a bit too much and they need something that give them a more chiiled day out – and this is were I was hoping the ‘Calmer Christmas Experince from Calmer Bananas would be perfect.
On Sunday morning we headed to Buckland Park Lake, Reigate to take part in this event. We parked up on the edge of the lake which was a stuiing sight to see and so surrene – however the boys were a little worried I was going to get them to join in with the wild swimmers!
We headed towards the gingerbread house where we were greeted by a super friendly elf that told us all about what our morning was going to hold. Buckets and scavenger hunt sheets in hand we headed off on our scavenger hunt to find all the pieces we needed to build our own snowman. In my head I had imagined a much lower key hunt, with us literally finding bits and pieces in the wooldna, so I was thrilled to discover a huge trail filled with activites, questions to answer and lots of little elves scattered aroynd to make it a really thetrical dispaly.
At each stop thier was something to keep the boys brains ticking over and thet loved the challange of having to complete a task to gain a piece towards their snowman.
After walking through the beautiful woodland we troated across a liitle bridge over a stream to play a few games of Pooh Sticks and made our final journey toward a pretty shleter nestled betwwen the trres. The numbers are kept low and we didnt bump into anyone the whole way round which made it even more speical and you didnt have the anxiety of having to rush trough tasks to let ohter people in for thier turn.
As a big fan of outdoor fun I actually think I was more excited at the sight of the shelter than the children. I was beatifuult decorated and homed an open fire where we sat down with a hot choclate after building our snowman.
Hot chocolate in hand and toes nicely warming up there was even more fun to come. We each had a gingerbread man to decorate and the boys made thier own christmas decorations. Whislt all these activites were being completed Mother Claus read the children christams stoires and sang a few songs to really get us in the christmas soirit.
There is also an option to have lunch whilst you are there and i was amamzed at the quality of the snack boxes. The boys has christmas tree shapped sandwithes, a candy cane cheese straw and a super cute reinderr brownie. so much thought had gone into it and they gave a big thumbs up for the taste test!
The adult boxes were just as good, and I enjoyed a festive treat with a turkey and cranberry sandwich, homemade sausage roll and a gooey chococlte brownie.
The whole experince was as relazing as i had hoped for. The boys are extremlly boysterous and can sometimes get more than a little over excited, but being ocupied the whole time gave them a mental workout, alonf with a good walk trough the woods, allowing them to really kick back and enjoy the peace and quiet of the calm actitives in the twnt.
This experience far excided my expectations and I would defintly put it top of our activites this year. It was someting differnt ans we will definlty be retrning next year!
Christmas is fast approaching and it’s time to start thinking about what we are going to be putting under our tree.
As always my guide is a one stop shop as I like to think we all have different likes and tastes and its hard to put these all into one box – so I’ve got sweet treats to naughty tipples, things to help you sleep and things to help your creativity. Take a look now and let me know what you think:
Doing It For The Kids – I have a little selection of some of the top toys this christmas, as well as some beautiful personalised pieces.
Count With Peppa: Who doesn’t love Peppa Pig. I know each and everyone of mine have been huge fans and you can now learn to count with the new Count With Peppa toy. Peppa comes with a purse full of coins that once promoted by Peppa you can slide them into her purse ,she will recognise it and then reply.
As well as being great fun, this toy helps will fine motor skills and colour and number recognition.
Barbie My Ice Cream Shop: Follow recipes, blend different colours and flavours and make delicious ice creams to share with your friends and family with the Barbie My Ice Cream Shop.
This set comes with everything you need to prepare, create and then serve to your family and friends.
Fuzzikins: These super cute characters have been popular for a while now and are avaliable in a whole array of different options. The Home Maker sets are great for stocking fillers and let you draw and decorate the house time and time again due to its easily wipeable surfaces. Another popular set is the Doll Set that comes with three gorgeous cats and the accessories you need to customise them.
Wonderbly Books: Now I have been a fan of Wonderbly books for a long time now. Wonderbly is an online personalised children’s book company with over 40+ personalised books. Their easy to use website allows you to create a perfectly unique book for that special little one in your life, and I have to say I have really fallen for their Christmas collection.
Something Pretty – We all love a little sparkle at Christmas and here are a few thing to help you shine!
Bloom Boutique Christmas Necklace: Bloom Boutique offer beautiful,delicate jewellery and gifts and I have enjoyed many pieces over the years. This Christmas they have a gorgeous range of christmas gifts, including this stunning Secret Star Birthstone Personalised Bracelet.
A Bit Of Beauty – Christmas is a time to receive treats to make us feel special and pampered, so here are a couple of gifts that fit the bill perectly.
Something Silky: Silk is well known for being a luxurious fabric and This Is Silk have some amazing gifts made from the softest silk. This silk pillowcase would make a wonderful present for anyone looking to tame their tresses and be kind to your skin during the night.
Shaving In Style: For those guys that like a traditional shave, this plant based shaving brush will allow for a good shave as well as being kind to the environment – so what’s not to love!
Night, Night: Help getting off to a good nights sleep is something I know I would love and I know that a few sprays of this Echor End Of Day Pillow Spray is a great way to drift of. The gorgeous combination of lavender, geranium, eucalyptus and sweet orange will have you counting sheep in next to no time.
Scrub Up: I love nothing more than getting rid of a days full of dirt and grime with a good facial exfoliator, and this one from Forever Living gently works its magic to reveail soft and healthy looking skin.
Kissable Lips: This time of year plays havoc with the skin, especially our delicate lips; so giving someone something to protect their lips with would be most welcomed. Lansinoh Linolin Lip Balm is 100% natural so as will as soothing the lips, many Mums use it to treat nappy rash or dry skin on their little ones.
Something For The Foodies – Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a foodie treat or two, and I have a few to check out now.
Choccies: You can’t go wrong with chocolates can you, and a classic such as these Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashells are a luxurious treat for sure. The hazelnut praline covered with luxury Belgian chocolate makes for a winning combination.
Chin, Chin: Along with a lot of others, gin is my tipple of choice. This outstanding gin from The Secret Gin Distillery is made with a combination of different herbs that have been lovingly grown in the garden of a herbologist who is the brainchild behind the brand.
Their Christmas gin is a heady combination of christmassy herbs and spices and would make for a wonderful gift for any gin lover. And their miniatures give you the chance to sample a range or different flavours so you get the chance to pick your favourite!
Get Prepared: Christmas is definitely party season and with party after party this can put a lot of strain on our bodies, so the best thing we could do is give them a little prep before we put on our dancing shoes.
Inside Out drinks are a combination of water, hibiscus, cranberry, goji extract, stevia, milk thistle, potassium sorbate and gree tea extract that helps to support your liver and prevent the dreaded hangover!
Keeping Healthy: Swicily is a day to day natural sugar that melts easily into food, tastes great and is low in calories- making it a great substitute for sugar and a brilliant stocking filler for those looking to improve their health.
Experiences – Gifts don’t always have to be something physical, and I am actually a big fan of creating memories through gifted experiences, and here are a few for you to take a look at.
Racing Ready:Team Sport Karting have 35 indoor go karting tracks across the county and would make for a fantastic day out for any adrenaline junkie. They have a great range of gift vouchers that you can choose from to give someone a very special gift.
Tech Fans – This section is for all those tech fans out there.
I Love Music: Wireless headphones are a great fit for so many people. These TES1 pro true wireless stereo earbuds are noise cancelling, Bluetooth connectable and have a huge 42 hour playtime which is a fantastic feature.
Something For The Home – Something to enhance the home is always a welcome gift. From a simple vase to a beautiful throw, nobody would be disappointed with a gift for the home.
Beautiful Signs: A stunning number to identify your home makes a real difference to the exterior of your home and Village Green Signs are just the people for this. They create beautiful, traditional handpainted house signs as well as more modern acrylic and slate signs – so there is somthing to suit every taste.
Getting Crafty – This is one for all the crafty people out there!
Get Painting: This art palate from mouth and foot painting artists is designed so that people can get creative when they need to use either thier hands or mouth, but it can also be used by hand if wanted.
Looking After Yourself – Here are a few pieces for those people that are conscious of looking after their health.
Getting Organised: Thoses big clumpy pill boxes are now a thing of the past and slick elegant designs have taken their place with pill cases like this lovley tabuu case that is waterproof, durable and fits up to six tablets. Perfect for popping in your bag and taking anywhere you need.
Everyone Getting A Good Nights Sleep: In our house it is me that is the snorer! I get no sleep as my husband continually wakes me up and of course neither does he! Mute could be the answer to these problems with 78% of people breathing better, 75% snoring less and 73% of partners reporting a reduction in snoring.
A small device that sits inside the nose is a hastle free way of getting better sleep so it is definetly worth giving a try.
Mute is available from Boots, Amazon or www.mutesnoring.com starting at the trial pack to find the right size rrp £12.99.
I now have no idea what week we are on in lockdown but I do know that during this time we have all been trying to find ways of coping with being around each other 24 hours a day and for me I have found structure is key and trying to give the children some kind of home learning has been a must.
I am no teacher and so with the help of work set by school and the wonders of the internet I have been trying to find ways to keep the children happy and engaged.
We have been lucky to have been blessed with this wonderful weather and have tried to utilise this as much as possible and taking our home learning outside.
Most homeschooling activities can be done outside as it allows children to have freedom of movement, increases their physical development, helps build towards a healthy and activity lifestyle and hopefully makes them happier and more motivated to learn.
I have compiled a few of our favourite activities below and hope you find something that’s a good fit for your family to try:
• Den Building – The boys love building dens, so this was a great excuse to get something set up in the garden where they could play and read independently.
• Skipping – Skipping is a great way to get them using their gross motor skills as well as burning off a lot of steam!
• Climbing Tree – This is great for them to challenge their dexterity and build their confidence.
• Digging In The Dirt – All kids love to dig around in the dirt and without knowing it they are getting a real sensory experience. From making mud pies to hiding and finding different objects this is a great exercise.
• Getting Out For A Walk – The government is still allowing us out for 39 mins exercise a day, and we can use this time to clear our heads, strike up conversations to check that your little ones are coming with this situation and make it into a game by spotting different things on the way.
• Planting – It’s the perfect time to plant seeds and flowers in the garden which can turn into a science lesson by talking about the lifestyle of plants and then drawing and labelling what you have planted.
• Still Life Painting – There are so many things that can be painted in the garden, just pick something that catches your eye and get painting.
• Rough And Tumble – This might not be for everyone, but my youngest two literally can’t keep their hands off each other; so for me allowing them to battle it out for a while works. It’s a way for them to relive stress, read social cues, make decisions on their own and of course have a good cardio workout!
• Nature Collage – Take some time to walk around the garden and pick up anything you find interesting to create a masterpiece with.
• Painting With Water – A big pot of water, some paint brushes and some space on the patio, a wall or a fence will allow children to create their own murals with no mess at all.
• Shadow Drawing – Grab some paper and some objects that will create good shadows…our favourites are dinosaurs; position them on the paper so that the sunlight casts a shadow on the paper and the draw around the shadow.
• Make A Bug Hotel – Find a space in the garden where you can put together as pike of bricks, logs, sticks, tiles and just about anything else mini beasts can create a home. The children can then go back and take a look at the insects and write up their finding.
• Scavenger Hunt – Write a list of all kinds of different objects you might find outside such as leaves, flowers, rocks and set the kids a challenge to find them all.
• Bug Hunt – Lift up rocks, dig around in the leaves and see what insects you can find and them write down and discuss your findings.
Tree And Leaf Rubbing – Grab some paper and crayons and find all kinds of different tree barks and leaves to rub over with the crayons and compare the different textures.
Giant Bubbles – If you have a tuff tray or something large enough to hold a hula hoop then make up a bubble mixture using washing up liquid and water. Place the hula hoop inside and make as many giant bubbles as you can.
Outdoor Gym – Nature gives us a huge array of items we can use to build our own outside gym which allows the children to left off steam and build gross motor skills. Stepping stones from logs, a rope placed between two objects to limbo under, a bench to do tricep dips from a just a few ideas. Let me know what else you would use!
The slime trend is still going strong and has children all over the country absolutely hooked! There are over three million instagram posts available to see and countless Youtube videos that my lot are obsessed with watching.
The Glam Goo Pack allows you to customise and decorate your own slime and store it in pretty items of jewellery such as a ring and a glitter purse. As well as looking pretty you can add some scents to it so it smells as well as looks good.
If this sounds something like your little ones would like then feel free to enter the competition below.
This months challenge for BostikBloggers was based on flowers. As I had chosen a more complicated craft based on a flower for Easter I decided to do something that the little ones could join in with this time.
What you need:
Thin Green Paper
Textured Green Felt
First take your coloured card and draw round your little ones hands.
Next cut out the handprints to form the flower head and put to one side.
Next take your wooden skewers and wrap in a little of the thin, green paper and fix along the edge with glue to create a flower stem.
Whilst the glue is drying draw varied leaf shapes on the felt and cut out ready to attach to the stem.
Once the glue has dried on the stem attach the hand prints to one end with a couple of strips of sellotape.
On the other end of the stem take a little glue and attach the leaves that you have cut out.
Once the glue has hardened the flowers are all good to go. My boys decided to give theirs to their Nanny, who would you gift yours too?
The theme for this months Bostik Bloggers challenge was birds and flight and to be honest it left me a little stumped for a while and everything that came into my head involved hand painting and I wasn’t feeling up for the mess that this always creates!
I then thought I could revolve the craft around one on my favourite birds…the majestic peacock and here’s how we got on.
Paper Plate Peacock Fan
What you will need:
Small paper plate
Blue foam sheet
Green crepe paper
Blue tissue paper
Yellow foam sheet
Two googley eyes
Firstly take the green crepe paper and cut around 14 small circles to cover the edge of the plate. Then take the blue tissue paper and cut a large circle to create the body and finally the blue foam and cut a smaller circle to make the head.
Once the circles are complete then the the yellow foam and cut a small triangle to make the beak and cut the top of the feather to make it a little shorter to be a good fit.
Next take the paper plate and put it onto the table with the back facing upwards and attach the wooden stick with a couple of pieces of sellotape.
Next take the green circles and cover the outer edge of the plate to form the feathers.
Once all the feathers are in place put the tissue paper circle at the bottom of the plate to make the body and then the foam circle above to create the head.
Now that the main part is complete glue the beak into the centre of the head with the eyes just above this and the feather in the centre of the head.
The last thing to do now is to cut small sections of the blue tissue paper and scrunch into little balls and attach them to the centre of the feathers with a little glue.
The first glimpses of spring have started to show over the past few weeks from longer evenings and sunny spells to my favourite blooms showing their pretty heads.
Daffodils and tulips are my absolute favs and with Easter not to far away I thought I would create a card that sums up the beauty and brightness of spring with a pop out tulip card for my #BostikBloggers project this month.
Pop Out Tulip Easter Card
What you need:
Ready made blank card and envelope
Firstly take the yellow card and draw the shape of six tulip heads of the same size, then take the green card and draw four leaves and one stem for the bottom of the tulip.
Cut out each of the components and discard of the rubbish.
Take each tulip head and make a fold down the centre of each one, then take the glue stick and apply glue to one side and stick another of the heads to each side.
When they are all attached stick the flower into the top centre of the blank card.
From the bottom on the flower head stick the stem to the card. Then take the leaves and bend them slightly at the top and stick to the bottom of the stem.
Once everyone is in place then the card is complete.
* I was given a craft box from Bostik for the purpose of this review.
Crafts are something that sadly got sidelined a little last year and something I have really missed doing with the children. Life seemed to get so hectic that sitting down to be creative was always put on the back burner; so I was really pleased when I was asked to become a Bostik Blogger for 2018 as it has given us all a great opportunity to put of thinking caps on and let our creative juices flow once again.
Now that Christmas is over the house is feeling empty with the distinct lack of decorations filling each and every corner, so with Valentine’s Day just round the corner there is no better excuse to fill the house with pretty things once again.
The lovely people at Bostik sent a box brimming with pink and glitter that I was itching to get up around the house.
I decided upon hanging hearts that would look great hanging from the branch in my conservatory that had been looking pretty sparse since the baubles had been taken down, but they would look equally great hanging from just about anywhere you fancy.
Take a look below at how we got on and have a go if its something you think you fancy:
With these hearts there really is no right or wrong way to decorate them. Once the basic heart is made then simply use your imagination to decorate however you wish.
Start off with either paper, card or foam sheet to simply draw on a heart to the size of your choice and cut out ready for the next step. You can have a variety of different sizes like me or more uniformed if that would be your preference.
Next up you need to get your hole punch and make a hole just under the dip in the heart. This then makes it ready to thread through a small length of string to make a loop to make it ready for hanging.
Lastly is where the real fun starts! pick a variety of different paper, foam, felt of jewel hearts and attach to the main hearts with glue dots of the use of a glue stick.
They are now ready to adoren the house in time for all your Valentine’s celebrations.
*We were given a craft box for the purpose of this post.
I have had a love for shopping since before I can even remember. I loved trawling the shops with my Mum as a small child and spent every Saturday looking at the new clothes that were hitting the shelves as a teen.
As my family grew though my love for shopping dwindled.
The stress hits me as soon as we get in the car with the anticipation of how the children are going to behave.
They usual don’t disappoint and by the time we hit the first shop I have already had a toliet request, a need for imidiate food and the dreaded ‘how much longer’ question.
Last week we were asked along by Centrale and Whitgift shopping centres to see what they had to offer in the way of family shopping.
First port of call was Build A Bear which is always a winner with my children.
Children get the opportunity to select a bear of their choice from a huge selection, stuff them full of fluff using the super cool machine and dress them up in an outfit of choice.
This whole process is done with the help of the friendly staff that make it even more special by adding games and activities to do along the way.
Next stop was Zara which was always going to be a little trickier as it wasn’t going to be nearly as much fun as building your own bear.
Zara is my favourite high street shop as it covers something for the whole family, is bang on trend and is very reasonably priced.
To take the boredom out of clothes shopping I let him have his own little catwalk show and have a hand in choosing an outfit for me too.
Kids need to feel included and I know how hard this can be but by giving them a little responsibility can go a long way.
The last treat was a trip to Weenies kids club in Whitgift Shopping Centre.
Right in the middle of the shopping complex was a whole area dedicated to littlies.
To join in with the activities you must be a member that is easy to subscribe to online and completly free. The sessions can then be booked within minutes by using the Centrale PLUS app.
Once they are signed up the have access to all the session that are put on during the holidays and on selected weekends throughout the year, plus discounts on a number of retail outlets for parents and children.
Frankie was able to get up close and personal with a huge array of animals from chicks to frogs, snakes to rabbits.
There were crafts to join in with, story competitions to complete and face painting fun.
I really was astounded by this event. The friendly staff keep the children engaged throughout the whole session and they got so much out of it and for absolutely no cost.
I came away from the day with a fresh new outlook on taking the kids shopping.
Whitgift and Centrale offer a complete package for families and with a little bit of forethought and planning it really doesn’t have to be the nightmare I always imagine it to be.