Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eight

This week has been a pretty quiet one but some small changes in different areas of our lives have bought some joy to this pretty miserable time of year.

Spring Has Sprung: There has been a little bit of sunshine peeping through the clouds and my favourite daffodils have been showing their pretty heads which always gives me a bit of light relief after the harshness of winter.
It has got me thinking about festivals, holidays and getting outside more and I really can’t wait.

Big Improvements In Frankie’s Reading: For a long time I felt that Frankie was progressing slower than he should as far as his reading and writing was concerned. I tried not to compare him to his siblings and his peers but it is always something thats hard not to.
Thankfully though a few months ago his teacher had had the same concerns and felt that he was showing signs of dyslexia and this was why he was struggling so much.
With the help of a special coloured filter that he places over his books his reading has really improved and with this so has his confidence and I am so grateful that he has such a wonderful teacher that has picked up on this so early on in his schooling.

Getting Back Into Crafting: I’ve has a love hate relationship with crafting over the years. With my older children is wasn’t something I ever did at home as I couldn’t stand the mess and always wanted things to turn out perfecting, not allowing the children to use it to express how they feel and interpret their own ideas.
Things have certainly changed as I got older and I now love giving the children free reign, even if it does involve a few glitter explosions!
This year I was chosen as a Bostik Blogger which allows me to get crafty with the kids every month and its something we have all loved getting involved in.

Pop Out Tulip Easter Card #BostikBloggers

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
Yellow card
Green card
Glue stick

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.

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.

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.