When I was a child the classic Raymond Briggs story of The Snowman was a constant each and every Christmas and my love for this story has been passed down to all my children who have all been enchanted by the story as I was all those years ago.
Saddler’s Wells have bought this iconic story to life by way of a glorious stage adaptation that we were lucky enough to go along and see this weekend.
The story of a little boy’s magical adventures on Christmas Eve come to life in front off your eyes, as you find yourself getting immersed in the magic as the friendship of the snowman and the little boy grows and the adventures they have traveling to and partying at the North Pole.
There are a few extras added to the original story which ordinarily I wouldn’t like. But it fits in absolutely perfect and just enhances an already wonderful story.
This really is a show for young to old and is the perfect way to introduce dance to little ones; and even though there is a running time of just under two hours there wasn’t a moan or a fidgety bottom in the house!
This really would make for the perfect festive treat and there are still tickets avalible for this stand out West End show. It is running at The Peacock Theatre – Holborn until 31st December and you can book tickets HERE.
You can also take a look at some of the fun we had HERE.
[AD] The kids are back at school now which means most people who have young children will now have a calendar full of weekend parties.!And dare I say it – Christmas will be upon us before we know it – which means finding presentsfor a whole variety of different tastes!
Wether you are buying for your own, or for other peoples children it can be an absolute minefield. Nobody wants to buy something that is going to be looked at once and then tossed to the side, and although I hold my hand up to this one – we all like to think a little more thought than some money in a card has gone into the gift buying process.
So with this in mind, here are a few tips to think about before you get buying:
Just Ask – A pretty simple solution here in theory is to just ask! Kids aren’t usually backwards in coming forwards so ask some leading questions, find out what interests they have or even have a look around for a list they may have been scribbling down somewhere.
Check With The Parents – A quick chat with the child’s parents is always a good idea. It might be to see if they have any ideas, maybe they can give you some tips on the things they might like, or simply just to check to see if you have an idea that you think would be good to go with.
Check Out The Top Sellers – Each and every year there will be a list of toys compiled that are set to be the best sellers for the year. There is bound to be something there to suit most tastes so it’s always a great place to start.
Something To Last – For me buying a present that is going to have a long life span is super important. A toy that can be enjoyed for years to come by lots of different children is always a winner in my books.
Something To Help Them Learn – Kids learn though play, so something that is going to spark their imagination and get their creative juices flowing will always be a winner.
Something That Can Be Shared – Now I’m not suggesting here that you but a child a ‘shared’ present, I am thinking thinking more along the lines of a gift that can be played with, with others. This then helps to get children used to sharing and in turn making it a more fun present.
Let Someone Else Do The Work – There are some amazing sites out there that take the hard work out of it for you. Wicked Uncle has everything set up into categories so that it is easy to find something special and a little different too!
Saftey First – As much as possible, choose non-plastic toys made of sustainable materials, free of BPAs, phthalates, PVC or toxic chemicals and dyes. I know this can sometime be a tricky one, but it’s definitely a good move if you can.
Gift An Experience – This always has an always will be my favourite gift. Giving someone the opportunity to create memories is a priceless present to me.
Buy A Book – If all else fails then go for a book. Children can never have to many books and it’s always a fail safe option.
I would love to know if you have any tips on present buying?
[GIFTED] None of my children have been avid readers and it has always taken a lot to get them into a book. Most of the time it’s a lot of trial and error and even then it can be a battle to get them to sit down and read. So when I was asked to try out the reading subscription box from The Reading Adventure Club I was eager to see if this would help to build a love of books.
The Reading Adventure Club was set up by nine year old twin brothers who have a love of both reading and opening presents and thought it would be a great idea to combine the two! The idea is that you read the book that is sent and throughout the story at different points you get the opportunity to open a special gift that has been loving wrapped and put inside the box too.
For me the clever part of this though is the gift can only be opened once the child has answered a question on the story. All the questions are listed and tucked away in a envelope that is marked – To be opened by responsible Grown Up only.
The presents are a good mix of useful items, mainly linked to reading as well as fun stuff and if you’re really lucky you might even find some sweets in there!
The books have all been loving selected and road tested by the boys, so you know they are going to be something perfect for the age range selected.
All you need to do to get started is to choose your subscription period and your box will be lovingly packed and sent off for it to arrive on the 15th of each month.
This box would be perfect for avid readers and those less inclined to read alike. The boys loved reading the story; and knowing there was a prize coming after a few pages kepted them engaged and wanting to really take in the story rather than just skimming the pages to get the book finished.
It comes with a big thumbs up from us and I would love to know if you are keen to give it a try.
[GIFTED] The past couple of years have been such a shake up for us all, and for me going through everything the pandemic has brought us, it has been a time to really reflect on me. As mothers we always leave ourselves at the bottom of the pile and this can often lead to us loosing who we really are and what we really want.
After months of sacrificing myslelf for my families needs – something I dont regret at all as lets face it who would have ever thought we would have been in this situation, I’ve decided it is time to reclaim me and I have been helped on this journey by the amazing Abundant As A Mother by Ashley Butler.
Ashley has created her two-step abundance manifesting program that allows you to live a full and abundant life by switching off to the noise from social media, friends, and the endless juggling.
So much of what Ashley speaks of rings true with me. After twenty plus years of parenting I would like to think that I’ve got things down pretty well when it comes to managing the family. I’m a clean freak and always go with the saying ‘a tidy house is a tidy mind’ but in reality I may seem to have have everything together on the surface but not everything is as it seems.
A lot of my worries are then stored in my head and this is definitely more problematic than having an untidy home and this is one of the sections that Ashley covers.
She teaches you how to let you of all those comparisons we put on ourselves thanks to the constent content being thrown at us through the use of social media. I’m sure I’m not alone in comparing my life to those we are constanly shown on those little squares on our phone!
A big change for me is going to be learning to say no. I’m a people pleaser and always find it hard to say no as I have a fear of letting people down, even if this is detrimental to my own sanity. Ashley teaches us that its ok to say no to anything that doesn’t serve us.
For me the stand out comment was ‘If you aren’t happy with your life right now its kinda on you’.
Stop competing with others, put your own needs first and most importantly go out and get the life you deserve through manifesting a happy and abundant life as you are the only one who can make these changes.
[GIFTED] “Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all the same” is something I’ve always reminded my little ones of. We often talk about all the different factors that make families special and celebrate this. I am ashamed to admit though that being a blended family ourselves with my father in law coming from Mauritius we haven’t really delved into what life is like there, how people live and how it differs to here in the UK and this is exactly what the beautiful book – What Makes Our Family Special GUYANA by Danielle Clarke does.
Our thoughtfully hand wrapped booked arrived with a hand written note attached from the stars of the book, along with some colouring sheets which was such a lovely touch. Oscar opened the package with such excitment and the beautiful, colourful illustrations from Lily Carver immediately caught my eye.
Evie and Isla are tucked up in bed and all set and for a special bedtime story about their Guyanese grandparents when they are transported on an adventure to Guyana; learing lots of facts about this gorgeous county. While they are there they come across a distressed river otter who’s baby is trapped under a huge log. Working together as a team, they manage to free the baby otter and head back home with dreams of Guyana and their exciting adventures.
This book allows children to think about how different families are up and this is what makes each one so special, they are able to learn a whole host of facts about Guyana…I learnt more than a few myself and finally it shows how coming together as a team gets is always the best way the job done.
Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated and most importantly a very important message delivered in the perfect way! Oscar absolutely loved this book and we are egarly awaiting the next in the series!
[GIFTED] World Book Day often fills parents with dread, but I love it for so many reasons. It gives the children the opportunity to use their imagines and recall all their favourite stories from over the years.
For reluctant readers and can give them a more creative way to look at reading and this is exactly what I have been doing with Viking.
I was sent a gorgeous parcel of craft materials to create something around the theme of World Book Day; included in this was a gorgeous book of book craft creations. They were all stunning, but super delicate and with my youngest two being bundles of destruction I wanted to create something for them that would stand the test of time.
I simply took a piece of A4 black card and onto that randomly stuck some pages from old books – the older and more dishevelled the better.
Then I look some pages that were partly blank and using the old typewriter style alphabet stamps I printed out a couple of quotes from one of our favourite authors – Roald Dahl.
One complete I roughly tore the page until it was a good fit and put in place on top of the pages.
Lastly I placed inside a pretty frame and it was all ready to take up home next to the boys bookcase to give them a little reminder every time they walked past.
I have lots of other ideas running through my head so watch this space for more book crafts to come!
[AD] I’m not going to lie, since my last two came along parenting has taken a completely new turn for me and has become a whole lot harder than it ever was with my first three.
I have spent so much time trying to work out what has changed. Has my will become a little broken with the more children that have been added, is it the fact that they are both very strong willed boys close in age, is it that I haven’t been as strict with them, is it I’m older and feeling the strain more. The list really has been endless and I am still in search of the answer to make for an easier and happier home life.
The combination of a large family and busy work lives makes things pretty manic and I do thrive off of the hustle and bustle of a large family but sometimes it really does take its toll and a quieter, more relaxed pace of life would be a welcome change.
When I was asked to review the book – Simple Happy Parenting I was immediately taken in with its promise to show the secret of less for calmer parents and happier kids.
The basis principles were put together after Denaye Barahona had her first child and found herself trying to give her all to her children by ways of gifts and activities which I’m sure we are all guilty off and actually realising that maybe this isn’t the best thing for them and a simple way of parenting is more beneficial to you all.
By simply buying less, fearing less, referring less and entertaining less we can make a happier life for the whole family.
This is all done in stages and over the summer I am going to implement some of these strategies to see if they can help us.
First up is to have a declutter to make for a simple family home and this is something I going to get the children involved in and explain to them that they don’t need such an abundance of ‘stuff’.
It’s not only going to be toys, it will be their wardrobes and mine and my husbands too!
With step one complete it will be time to move onto meal planning. This is something that I can actually say I’m already pretty good at but getting the kids involved is something I don’t always do enough so this will certainly be happening more.
For me the next steps will be a little harder as it involves slowing things down, letting the children get bored and find amusement for themselves and letting them explore and adventure without any fear from you.
All of these tips seem so easy to implement and it certainly sounds like a much more relaxed, happier and easier way of life and I am going to enjoy reaping the benefits.
If this sounds like something that your family would benefit from then I have three copies of the book to giveaway over on Instagram so click HERE for your chance to win.
[AD] I am notorious for my lack of organisation, love of procrastination and can usually be found somewhere compiling a list on an old envelope which will within minutes be lost and forgotten about.
This skill set doesn’t really lend itself well to a self employed mother of five and for as long as I can remember it has been something I just wish I could change.
With each new year comes a new zest to make it work and within a few months things are back to normal and I am chasing my tail with little knowledge of what is going on with my week ahead.
When I was asked to try out the Daily Goal Setter from Mal Paper I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to get myself into a little more order.
I continually feel that I have hundreds of tabs open in my head and none of them are complete and ready to close; so this planner has been a great way to dump the junk in my head onto paper and get it into some kind of order.
The goal setter starts off with a great introduction on how you can segment your day and get it into order. It allows to to scribble down goals you have for the short term and long term which is a great way to start thinking positively about life as a whole.
Things are then broken down and you can fill out tasks ranked in order of importance for your week ahead.
Breaking it down even further you can do a day by day list of tasks and notes that are interspersed with sections for you right down things you are grateful for, daily affirmations and great things that have happened to you that day.
For me life can sometimes get a little mundane and it can be hard to see all the good things that have happened day to day so I think having this allows you to take a moment to think of simple pleasures that have pleased you or have made you proud is a great way to make things a little more interesting and grateful.
My evenings are often spent scrolling aimlessly through my phone and this has given me a little outlet to be more organised, grateful and productive and I highly recommend you take a look.
If it sounds like something that would benefit you then click HERE for your chance to win your very own copy.
This week sees me celebrating much loved toys, birthday celebrations and the love of small businesses.
Lego – Lego has been the most played with and loved toy in our house for over fifteen years now. Those little bricks that clog up the hoover and create the most excruciating pain when trodden on can be a nightmare to tidy away but I love the way it keeps them occupied for hours and always them to use their imagination in a whole host of ways.
Birthday Celebrations – With Oscar starting school this September it has been so lovely to have already meet some lovely Mums and their new starters.
I feel so lucky that my children attend a school where it is so family oriented and such great friendship groups are build for the parents as much as the children.
This has allowed Oscar to celebrate a birthday of one of his new found friends and who is is so eager to start his school life with in the next few weeks.
Book Launches – Through my work I have had the opportunity to work with some absolutely amazing companies and this is just one of the many reasons I love my job.
I do however have a real passion for smaller businesses that are just starting out in this very competitive and crazy world of business.
So when I was asked along to cover the launch of the lovely Kate Bodell’s first book I was so happy to be able to be part of her journey.
Going along and seeing the love and support she had from her doting family and friends was so special and I was so happy to be part of this.
Tucked away in hustle and bustle of South London is a beautiful little secret garden that I was lucky enough to visit the other day for the launch of he lovely new book ‘Bumbelinda‘ that has just been published by the lovely Kate Bodell.
I arrived at the launch to be greeted by a beautifully decorated garden within a local primary school and a group of friendly faces that welcomed me and pulled me into the group that exuded the excitement and passion they had for the launch of Kate’s first childrens book.
Kate is a writer and illustrator based in South London who is a teaching Mum of two that has used all her experiences with children to put together the amazing picture book – Bumbelinda.
We were treated to a reading of the book by Kate herself and with an audience of little ones it was going to be a tough nut to crack!
We all settle in the sunshine whilst Kate introduced us to Bumbelinda, the fairy that has turned all those preconceived pink and fluffy images of fairies on their head with her scruffy appearance and toilet humour.
Bumbelinda being different to your stereotypical fairy means that this cute tale also appeals to little boys that might sometimes overlook the magic of believing in faries can bring!
When a very excited little girl stumbles across Bumbelinda she soon finds the task of getting her two wishes grated a pretty tricky one and I will let you all find out if she manages to convince Bumbelinda to make them come true!
Kate has poured so much love and effort into this wonderful book and this shines though in each and every detail.
The book is full of fun and as you turn each colourful page there is a cleverly hidden message about friendship and following your dreams.
I actually see Izzy very much in this story and this is probably why she was so taken with the story, along with the boys who love her cheeky character and her love of the word ‘poo’.