Keeping The Magic Of Christmas Alive At Lapland UK

Do you remember the wonder that each sparkling light on the christmas tree would behold, how the smell of the fresh pine needles used to fill the house and your heart with such excitement, how every sip of warm hot chocolate and each bite of your delicious mince pie would fill your tummy not only with good food but with butterflies from the anticipation of the arrival of Father Christmas each and every year.

As we get older sadly these feelings dwindle and our hopes and expectations of christmas change and the magic slowly fades away.

However once we are blessed with the gift of children this magic fills our hearts once more as we see the wonder through our children’s eyes.

I have soaked up every moment of my children’s twitchy fingers as they try to adoren the tree with the delicate decorations, looked on in wonder at each and every nativity play as the stand their fumbling through the words of those heart warming christmas carols and for me one of the most magical moments is clinging onto their wriggly bodies as they stand in line to see meet the big man himself…Father Christmas.

All these moments are precious yet sadly as fleeting as our own and each and every year I try my upmost to keep the magic alive for as long as possible.

Familiar traditions such as baking the Christmas cake and writing letters to Father Christmas all help with this but as with anything as children grow and their knowledge widens the belief in Father Christmas begins to be questioned and I can honestly say that the reality of having a non-believer has always been way harder on me than it has been for them.

If there was a place you could visit that was as magical and as mysterious as the thought of Father Christmas himself then surly this would help keep the magic alive for that little bit longer would it not?

This is what I has high hope of when we were asked along to Lapland UK last weekend. In its tenth year now I have never heard a negative comment about anyones trip and after meeting the charming husband and wife team Alison and Mike at an event last month I knew that the love and passion that came across as they spoke so fondly of their creation was going to shine trough on our trip.

I decided for my sanity to leave telling the children about our trip until the day before we left. I am completely at fault when it comes to making the children little balls of excitement as this time of year but even I couldn’t take how excited they were going to be on hearing they would be going on the trip.

The invitations get sent through the post in a beautiful presentation box with each child having a personal invitation, complete with a gorgeous wax seal.

The box itself can be placed in the freezer to make for a gust of cold air when they open it up which Frankie was absolute amazed with and went rushing over to the window to see if he could see the tail end of Father Christmas’s reindeers that must have just delivered them.

That night was like putting the children to bed on Christmas Eve, the excitment was immense and after reading The Untold Story Of Father Christmas which is written by the founders and is the perfect way to get them familiar with the lovable charters they would be meeting the next day, they finally settled.

We couldn’t believe our luck when we woke to snow the next morning and as we came off the motorway and drove a short way through snow covered woods it really couldn’t have been a more magical build up to or visit.

A short walk from the carpark we arrived at a beautiful snow covered building where we checked in with the friendly elf and enjoyed a quick snack before our tour started.

It wasn’t long before it was our turn to be guided through the huge bookcase into a magical enchanted forest where we were told the story of how each tiny pinecone turns into a elf that then helps out with making all the toys for Father Christmas to deliver.

This is also what our children had been enrolled to do and as we were about to set off to take up the challenge the huge set of doors was slowly opens to reveal a cascade of snow and a stunning snow covered walkway.

Once inside the workshop the children were all settled at work benches where they has the job of stuffing super cute polar bears ready for delivery on Christmas Eve. This could have lead to many tears and tantrums as the toys were not for them to keep, however the story had been told so well and their role for the day described perfectly so there was not one tear or moan from any of the children in the room.

After all their hard work we then made our way to meet Mother Christmas in her kitchen; the kitchen was snug and cosy and the warmth from Mother Christmas was infectious. The children carefully decorated their gingerbread trees and packed them away to hang from their own trees once they got home and then settled down to a story read by Mother Christmas herself whist the parents got the chance to snack on a delicious biscuit themselves.

When all the work was over we had free reign of the village where you could grab something good to eat and drink or like us get tempted by a few to many sweets in the sweet shop. We picked up a small gift in the shop that really was a child’s dream with a huge selection of gifts and of course not to be missed a trip to the ice rink.

Skating is really not my forte and although I braved it I stayed pretty much in one spot while the children fearlessly skated off with their Dad. Oscar was over the moon as ice skating is normally of the agenda for him as he is only three, but with the help of some super cool strap on skates and the aid of a penguin he was well away.

It was now time for the most anticipated part of the day…our trip to Father Christmas. The walk to the grotto held yet more beautifully snow covered pathways, the cutest of little elf homes and of course a stop off to visit the reindeers where we also got the chance to help out with preparing their food.

We had a very short wait until the children names were called and we were lead to his Grotto, the doors opened and the beaming smile from the big, jolly man filled the beautifully decorated room.

The children sat next to him, hanging on his every word in complete awe. The heart melting moment for me though was the look on the children’s faces when he spoke bout each one individually, letting out little snippets of their lives that they never imagined he would ever know.

Mouths aghast at what they had just experienced and me with tears in my eyes I know that there is no way that this visit could ever be topped and will certainly never be forgotten.

The attention to detail at every point is unbelievable, there wasn’t a queue in sight and the whole day ran seamlessly. But I think what stood out most for me was I didn’t hear a moan, a cross word or a cry from any child all day which is certainly a first for us and just shows that the whole experience is put together with the childs enjoyment being the top priority.

I experienced this day with children aged from fifteen to three and each and everyone felt and shared the magic of this wonderful place. Archie integrated with his younger siblings and loved every minute of watching their delight as we did and although he is way past the age of believing it was still an amazing experience for him.

The one that I most wanted to see the reaction of was Izzy though as the start of High School has already had an effect on her and her belief has been waining since last year, yet the sparkle in her eye and the smile on the face after this trip has given me at least one more year of magic with her and for that I will be forever grateful.

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

Chocolate Playdough Sweets For Valentine’s Day 

I am literally going stir crazy this weekend staying in with the children due to number five’s chicken pox!

The only thing for it was get crafting and with Valentine’s Day just round the corner I thought I would try something that would allow the kids to get involved in the celebrations too.

Mine always love playdough so I made an allergy friendly chocolate playdough that they could create chocolates from and wrap up to use in role play.

I used the same recipe that I use for my lavender playdough and just substituted the lavender for cocco powder.

It literally smelt good enough to eat and I had to stop the boys several times from doing so!


They had great fun rolling the balls to form the chocolates but had more fun creating poo!


When the balls were ready I popped them into the freezer for a while to harder up and then wrapped up in a square of cellophane and finished off with a piece of ribbon tied into a bow.


If this looks like something you fancy trying out yourself then take a look at this really simple recipe:

Chocolate Playdough

  • 150g gluten free plain flour
  • 50g salt
  • 2tbsps oil
  • 150g water
  • 4tbsps cocco powder
  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the oil and then slowly add the water until the playdough forms a ball.

Getting This Year Organised With Gel-a-Peel

All of my children are extremely unorganised…sadly a trait passed down from me and it’s something that I really don’t want them to take into adulthood.
I am always forgetting things, turning up to appointments at the wrong time or occasionally not at all!

I have made a really rubbish role model in this department and as well as getting myself organised this year I wanted the children to start taking more responsibility of their day to day life and get their days into order so I’m not running back and forth to different schools dropping off all their forgotten items.

This year we were challenged to create a personalised diary to start off the new year with Gel-a-Peel and I took this as the perfect opportunity to get number three a little more organised.

She is probably the scattiest of them all and will be starting secondary school in September which is going to be a whole new ball game with regards to the amount of responsibility that will be on her shoulders. So filling out a week long diary of the activities she has and what she needs for each of them will be a great start.

Last year we were lucky enough to be sent a set from Gel-a-Peel that number three had lots of fun creating bundles of jewellery for herself and her friends.

It is a great concept and allows them to use their imagination to get creative and using it to decorate a diary will give it a really individual feel.


She set to thinking of a design she wanted and used a variety of different coloured gels and tips sizes to create something that was individual to her.


Once she was happy with her diary she couldn’t resist some more jewellery making with the sixteen templates provided and the hair clips, bracelets and earrings that are also provided in the set.


Let’s hope the fact that she has been allowed free rein on the design of her diary it will help with the want for her to be more organised. Watch this space!

Getting Christmas Off To A Cracking Start With Poundland

Decorating the house for Christmas is a bit of a big deal for me and something I like to selfishly go at alone!

Don’t get me wrong I do let the children ‘think’ they have a hand in it, but ultimately it’s a job I love and want to get just as I like.

I have a loft full of different colour baubles, reams of sparkly ribbon and wreaths and swags coming out of my ears.

With my ever changing want for new colour schemes and a lover of a bargain somewhere that can give me good quality decorations at a good price is always something I’m on the look out for.

When I was asked to decorate my mantelpiece for Christmas using items from Poundland I was excited yet a little  apprehensive that it might be mission impossible.

As I said I’m a real bargain hunter and love to snap up great deals from Poundland on a regular basis.

When the children’s birthdays come around they are my first stop for party bag fillers but home decor is something I would never have associated with this store.

To my suprise they had a great range of Christmas decorations in a variety of colours and styles and plenty to go with my silver and white theme.

I wanted to mix fresh foliage with a selection of different decorations to create a really Christmassy feel.

I gathered some pretty glass baubles, sparkly tree toppers, silver string beads, scandi style wooden lights and wicker hearts, mantelpiece snow, glitzy stockings and some simple white candles.

Once the basic foliage was set up it was time to add the decor.

I didn’t use things in the conventional way and instead put the tree toppers onto sticks.


I wound wire round the baubles and added these too.


In the centre of the arrangement I placed a couple of candles and deconstructed the wicker hearts to make them individual.



I lastly sprayed some thin twigs with spray paint that I also got in store and draped the lights and silverbeads throughout the whole arrangement to finish it off.


I carried on the theme by adding some extra baubles, hearts and beads to my tree to match the arrangement.

This experience has really shown me that you can create Christmas arrangements from very little money that can still look beautiful and elegant without breaking the bank.


If this has inspired you to take a trip to Poundland then join in with the Twitter party I will be hosting on Friday for your  chance to win some vouchers to help towards your shopping. 

Creating A Wintery Scene


The first lot of creative homework came home with number four last week and whilst some of my friends recoiled at the thought I was more than happy to get going with it!

I was never one for the academic side of things at school and have always found I took in much more information through hands on, creative projects.

I do however still find it a little hard to let the children have free reign when it comes to crafts and always go at them with a very ‘hands on’ approach!

They were set the task of a winter scene and I immediately thought of snow covered houses and glitter.

Being out of glitter I had to settle for spray snow and this is how we made our little snowy town.

You will need:


  • 6/7 toilet roll tubes
  • A hard base such as cardboard 
  • White felt to cover base
  • PVA glue
  • White paint
  • Spray snow
  • Thin white card or paper
  • Battery operated tea lights
  1. Firstly get yourself a firm base of cardboard or thin plastic and attach white felt in a rough fashion to create a bed of snow. 
  2. Get your toilet roll tubes and trim down so that they are all slightly different heights. 
  3. Take a pair of sharp scissors(adults only) and cut out small windows near the centre of the tube.
  4. At one end of the tube create small cuts all the way round and splay out to make a firm base.
  5. Paint all the tubes with the white paint and allow to dry.
  6. Whilst they are drying draw around a mug onto the card and cut out to make a circle.
  7. Make a small triangular cut from the outside of the circle to the circle. Turn the circle onto itself to create a cone for the roof of the houses.
  8. Once dry position the tubes onto the base and attach with the glue.
  9. Pop a tea light inside each tube, place on the cone roof and create a dusting of snow with the spray snow.

Making Conker Snails

Currently I have conkers in pots, conkers in pockets in fact I have conkers anywhere imaginable!

I get as excited as the kids when I spot the first lot hitting the ground and we gather them up by the bucket load.

Unfortunately playing conkers at school has been banned for many years now and I just get stuck with he little beauties gathering dust.

Last year we did some autumnal painting with them which was great fun but I wanted to try something a little different this year.

We’ve have put wiggley eyes on them to create little people which was fun, but my favourite has been these conker snails. 


All I did was to get the kids to take small amounts of plasticine and roll into a long sausage shape, place the conker near to the end of the sausage leaving a little for the tail(not sure that is the correct term). Then finally create the tentacles by splitting and moulding into shape at the top.


The children had great fun rolling out the plasticine and just needed a little help with the tentacles.


I still have hundreds left so really need some more ideas if anyone has any!

Gel -A-Peel Review

Number three loves jewellery and if she can create it herself that’s even better.

When the Gel – A – Peel package arrived she excitedly planned who she was going to give her creations to. We were really taken with the simple, cool packaging that really appealed to my pre-teen.

Patience is something she’s not gifted with so luckily the instructions were easy to read and very clear so she could get started straight away.

First up were some bracelets which looked liked the simplest thing to start with.

She placed the clear plastic sheet on top of the templates provided and then chose from the three colours and different nozzle shapes to create the design for her bracelet.

The gel needed to be applied in sections so that it can dry slightly before the next colour is added.


It took longer than expected to dry but when it did the bracelets were very pretty and she was extremely proud of her creations.

Once her confidence grows she is going to try to create her own designs and give the hair clips and earnings a try that are also provided in the pack.

For me this is a great gift for anyone that loves a relatively simple craft with great results.  You can stick to the ideas that are given or really let your imagination run wild and create something more individual.

I think I know what we will all be getting for Christmas this year!
* I was given this set for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.