Hanging Hearts For Valentine’s with #BostikBloggers

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:

Valentine’s Hanging Hearts

What You Need –

Glitter foam sheet
Corrugated card
Brown card
Felt hearts
Jewel hearts
Patterned paper
Glue dots
Glue stick
Hole punch

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.

Being Present This Christmas

How many of you spend too much gazing at a screen, running backwards and forwards trying to get a million and one things done or getting bogged down with a huge workload.

This all sounds to familiar to my everyday life and it is something that I think about continually. I tell myself I am going to change so many of these things but life gets in the way and I never do.

I know that my phone and my camera are like a third hand to me and I spend way much time using both of them more than I should. Doing the job I do makes it hard to switch off as so much of my day to day life is in fact my work and I always end up using this as an excuse when I know that this isn’t healthy for any of us.

The children also spend more time than I like using devices so this Christmas we have all taken a step back and spent our Christmas how it should be…making conversation and playing games with family and friends.

I would usually be filming and photographing every minute of the day from the minute we wake up, right through the day, but instead I took a few snaps and a few Instastories that I couldn’t resist and spent the rest of the past few days being in the moment rather than trying to capture it.

I also made a conscious effort this year to buy the children games that allow them to use their imagination and interact with each other and that is exactly what has happened.

We have all been coming together to build Lego creations and the boys have been playing relatively argument free with their Playmobil models which has been so lovely to see.

It has also come to my attention that simple things such as board games are a real novelty to my children when really I should be making time much more often to sit down and play games like this with them as they bring so much joy to us all.

Emails have been ignored and any impending work has been put to the back of my mind so that I can concentrate on the people that are most important to me.

The world hasn’t stopped spinning because I haven’t opened posted to Instagram, the children haven’t missed out because they haven’t spent endless hours playing games on their Kindles, but what we have had is a few days of enjoying each others company that happens all to rarely and is certainly the best gift I have received this year.

Hot Chocolate Stirrers

With only a few days left until christmas I sure that most of you are all prepared and have gifts all bought and wrapped ready to go…however if you are anything like me then there are always those last few presents that you completely forget about!

My recipe for hot chocolate stirrers will make a lovely gift and is something super easy to make.

I use wooden spoons as the handle for mine but you can easily use lolly sticks or even something like cardboard straws.

The stirrers can be wrapped individually or like we did for the teachers gifts you can add a few homemade biscuits together with the stirrers and package them up in a nice Christmas mug.

If this sounds good to you then the recipe is below for you to try:

Makes 24 sticks

  • 800g mixture of dark and milk chocolate
  • 8 tbsp cocoa powder
  • hundreds and thousands, marshmallows or fudge pieces to decorate
  1. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and heat over a Bain Marie until completely melted.
  2. Slowly add the cocoa and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a silicone mould(we used a round ice cube tray) and into each section place the spoon/stick into the centre.
  4. Decorate with your toppings of choice and then place in the fridge to harden for about an hour.
  5. When they are ready pop them out and gift wrap however you fancy!

Shop Small And Share The Love This Christmas

Christmas lists have been written and people are heading to the high street in droves and spending many an hour sat staring at a laptop filling their virtual baskets with very little thought behind where each of these presents is coming from…many will also think does it really matter?

We are all looking to get value for money and ease of purchase and very rarely take five minutes to search independent shops that offer so much more than the big chain stores.

Small business offer you something completely different to just a straight transaction. There is a little bit of love send with each order, a personal touch with each package and that warm feeling inside knowing the fact you are helping to build someones dream.

When they package arrives through your door beautifully packaged, usually with a little handwritten note inside it makes the experience so different and so worthwhile.

Over the past few years I have found a real love for many small business, most of which I have stumbled upon on scrolling through Instagram and not only do I get fabulous products with amazing customer service, I have built good friendships with many which makes a huge difference to my whole shopping experience.

I have listed a few of my favs below and I highly recommend you go and check them out:

Five Boys Clothing:Five Boys Clothing is an amazing online store that I came across a couple of years ago now. They turn the stereotypical thought the all boys clothing is boring on its head and offer an amazing range of cool clothes and quirky gifts that would bring a smile to any face if they were tucked under the tree this year.

My boys are absolutely in love with Lego and its the only toy they go back to again and again. However somethings they could do with something a little different to create and this is where the Brikkon Ninja Temple is a brilliant gift.

The easy to assemble wooden structure can be put together and then covered with Lego bricks from your own collections. It really allows children to use their own imaginations and create whatever they want.

Little Gnashers: Mine may be past the teething stage now but it dosent mean I can’t enjoy the contempery designs of Little Gnashers teething jewellery.

The fab necklace pictured here would be perfect to cheer up any outfit and still keeps my youngest one occupied whist out and about.

Handmade in London these necklaces come in a huge range of colours and shapes and can be mixed and matched to create the perfect combination for you.

Kids LDN: Kids LDN is a brand that is relatively new to me but has had me hooked since I first caught sight of them on Instagram.

Their bold colours and edgy designs give a quirky look that suits my youngest two’s personalities perfectly and certainly makes them stand out in the crowd.

Oscar and Frankie are both the proud owners of these super cool beanies that not only keep them toasty but also puts a smile on their face with every wear.

Sweetpea Pantry: Getting the kids in the kitchen is something that is very important to me along with trying my hardest to make good food choices.

Sweetpea Pantry have come up with a fantastic range of mixes that allow little ones to prepare delicious, nutritious goodies that are fun to make and soooo good to eat.

These mixes would be perfect to keep the children busy over the holidays and what could be better then getting them involved with the present giving by getting them to make some delicious gifts.

Sidneyboo: If you are looking for fun clothes for boys and girls under the age of 10 then this is the place to come.

Sidneyboo has been on my list of favs for a long time now as their clothes are so wearable which is a big must for my very active family. I love clothes that allow kids to be kids and Sidneyboo offer just this.

One item that I go back to time and time again are their Individual sweaters like the ‘trail’ footprint sweater.

Its cosy fit and fab colours make it a real favourite of ours.

Have you opted to shop small this Christmas? If so I would love for you to give a shout out to some of your favourite brands.

* I was given these items for the purpose of this gift guide and they are all my own, honest options and I’m sure you would share the same love as me too!

A Christmas Classic At The Snow Kingdom

Last year we were lucky enough to visit the super cool Backyard Cinema in South London that really is a cinema with a difference. This cinema gives you a unique experience with each and every visit.

With it being Christmas time they have gone with a wintery theme that sees you transported into a wonderful magical Snow Kingdom.

As we arrived and grabbed our tickets we waited patiently in the queue until we were handed a cute lantern to enter through a little door, behind which we were greeted with a snow covered cave and a little wobbly bridge that took us over the frozen lake us into the cinema that had been transformed into an enchanted castle.

A huge stained glass window filled the screen and a crispy white flooring that created the illusion of snow across the whole floor. Candelabras and old books were scattered around creating the perfect setting that made you feel anywhere but a cinema.

We headed to the bar to grab some sweets and took a look at the delicious looking cocktails that were on offer.

We took to our seats…well actually our cosy beanbags and snuggled under a blanket to wait for one of our favourite Christmas films – Elf.

Before the show we were treated to a short story that brought the whole cinema alive with flashing lights, dramatic music and puffs of smoke before the main film began.

Nothing could be heard from the packed audience aside from rustling of popcorn packets and fits of laugher as Will Ferrell graced then screen and came out with those all familiar catchphrases.

A trip to the backyard cinema is no ordinary cinema visit, it is an immersive experience and a feast for the senses.

If you are looking for a special way to watch on of your favourite Christmas movies then this comes highly recommend from me!

* we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Getaway:Review

All of my older children have been fans of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series and there is always great excitement when a new book is released. The realistic, comedy fiction books that are aimed at older children and teens have been capturing the imagination of children since 2007 and have gone from strength to strength.

We have all loved watching the trials and tribulations of Greg Heffley and his family and friends as he struggles with life in and outside school.

His chaotic life with his lovable family and quirky friends draws you in and really allows you to bond with the characters.

There is always great excitement with each new book release so you can imagine the excitement when we were sent a copy of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Getaway to preview before its release.

This time we see Greg and his family setting off to warmer climbs to avoid the stress and strain of the Christmas holidays.

As you have probably guessed the visions of a relaxing few days soaking up the sun turns into a disater even before they arrive at the airport.

Flight delays, stomach problems, sunstroke and venomous spiders are just a few of the problems the family encounter on their suposide relaxing getaway.

I will now leave you to find out if the whole of Christmas is ruined of if they manage to grab some kind of good from the usual disastrous situation.

This book has not failed to live up to the other editions and would make a for a great present under the tree this year.

Kicking Off Christmas At Winter Wonderland

The sparkling lights of the christmas trees, hot mulled wine and creamy hot chocolates, thrilling fairground rides and captivating shows are just a few of the attractions that bring people to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London in droves year after year.

Although this attraction has been running since 2007 its somewhere I have never visited before; so when I was asked along to a preview day last weekend I was just as excited as the children.

We arrived early on Sunday morning to minimal crowds which gave us the opportunity to get check things out and stroll round the Christmas Market before we headed to the Megadome to see the Sooty Christmas Show.

This was a real blast from the past for me and I was surprised that my lot had absoulty no idea who these super cute hand puppets were! This however had no bearing on their enjoyment of the show and I looked on with such delight as the whole audience of little faces squealed and giggled with delight at the slap stick comedy going on before their eyes.

From near the mark jokes to keep the adults entertained to soaking the audience with water pistols there was a laugh a minute and my children didn’t take their eyes off the fun for the entire show.

We had a short break to grab some refreshments before heading back to watch the amazing Zippo’s Circus Christmas Show.

I am ashamed to say that I don’t think in my twenty years of being a mother I have taken any of my children to a circus. I have no idea why this is and after watching the show last week I have really missed out.

Zippo’s is a family run circus and I was lucky enough to meet Zippo’s wife the lovely Julie who’s love and passion for her work really shone through.

We were treated to a whole host of wonderful acts from singing, dancing and comedy to escapology and the most spectacular acrobat who took to the air in a huge metal structure that was absolutely breathtaking.

Zippo’s circus is pure family entertainment and would make the perfect Christmas treat.

From here we had the rest of the day to explore Winter Wonderland and all it has to offer.

The site itself is free to get into and then there are pre-booked attractions to enjoy such as ice skating, the Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella On Ice, Cirque Berserk and the giant observation wheel.

If rides are more your thing then there are hundreds on offer from huge roller coasters for the thrill seekers like Izzy or plenty of tamer rides that I stuck to with the boys that can be used by purchasing tokens.

The rides vary in price and there are limited stalls that accept card so taking cash is the best move.

Our favourite ride of the day was the observation tower that takes you to a nerve wracking 80 metres to give you a breathtaking 360 view of London’s skyline.

I not the biggest fan of heights, but once we were up there I couldn’t help but wonder at the view.

It was now time to find ourself some much needed food and it was pretty hard to decide upon what we wanted as the choice is so vast and absolutely everything was massively tempting.

From succulent meat sticks to chunky chips to sticky waffles and crispy churros there was something to tempt any palette and I could have easily eaten my way round each and every stall.

As the sun began to set and the crowds began to grow we started to make our way home after a truly fabulous day that filled our heads full of memories and hearts full of the magic of Christmas.

Winter Wonderland was everything I expected and more and it is firmly on my list for next year.

*we were invited along to this preview for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.