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!

Gifts For Teens From Prezzybox.com

Teens and pre-teens are notoriously the hardest group of people to buy for, and for me it’s especially hard when it comes to little stocking fillers for Christmas morning.

Mine always have a stocking until well into their teens so that nobody is left out from that exciting treat of dipping into the long sock filled with goodies.

This year I have got together with prezzybox.com and managed to find some fun, affordable and quirky gifts for Izzy and Archie that I know they are going to absolutely love.

Izzy who is twelve loves anything pink, glittery or social media related and they had gifts aplenty to fit this.

The Iris The Unicorn Travel Mug which will be perfect for keeping warm in this freezing weather, a Neon Magic Hairbrush that is a super vibrant colour that fits perfectly inside her schoolbag and the one that I think is going to be a favourite is a Selfie Light that attaches to the back of your phone to create that perfect selfie.

Archie the moody teen who has just turned fifteen is now and has always been so hard to buy for. I love the fact that he rarely asks for gifts, but this is not much help when trying to get ready for Christmas.

However it only took a few minutes to find some gifts that were just perfect for him.

What teen doesnt love sweets! well mine certainly do and the tub of Personalised Retro Sweets is going to go down a storm I’m sure. Next up was a set of six Emoji Golf Balls that come in three different colours with a cool emoji on each ball. Lastly he was a real fan of the fidget spinner when the craze hit a few moths ago so I went one better with the Baffle Puzzle that is a little like a Rubik cube in a cylindrical shape.

Prezzybox.com not only caters for teens but for all different ages, genders and occasions and can be easily ordered from the comfort of your home to avoid that manic high street shopping. It’s the perfect site to stock up on different gifts at this time of year and there really is something for everyone.

* I was gifted these products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Teaching Children To Give A Little This Christmas

With the media whirlwind that surrounds Christmas it can be very easy for children to get wrapped up in the commercialisation of it all and loose the true meaning.

It is very easy to get swept up in all the splender that surrounds Christmas and loose sight of the fact that this time of year is not a happy one for all of us.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach children the gift of giving and set them up with skills to show understanding and compassion for those less fortunate.

Something small such a helping out an elderly neighbour with odd jobs or simply a gift of their time is a simple way to give something back.

There are many ways to get the children involved and below I have listed a few charities local to me that offer a great way to do this:

  • Loveworks Christmas Appel Loveworks are a Reigate based charity that’s aim is to help the most vulnerable groups of people in the local area. Over Christmas they run a campaign where you can collect non perishable goods during November and drop off to your local Loveworks food bank in the first week of December.
  • Stripey Stork, Help Santa StorkStripey Stork is a charity created by a group of mums who wanted to make use of their unwanted baby and children’s items by giving them to people in need in the local community. Over the Christmas period they run a campaign called Help Santa’s Stork that allows you to either pick a brand new gift for a child either directly from Amazon or chosen by purchasing and dropping off at local collection points.
  • Give A Christmas Gift – Give A Christmas Gift campaign allows you but a gift from the list they have compiled and then drop your special gift off to several collection points that will then be distribute the collections amongst several local charities.

I hope this post has given you some food for thought and I would love to hear any ideas of charitable acts that you carry out with your little ones at this time of year.

Home Of Black Friday Pop-Up Experience With Amazon

Christmas is well on the way now and for many of us the worry of being able to get everyone their much longed for gifts is something that is hard to deal with.

Christmas is a truly magical time of year but the pressures of financing everything can make this happy time dampened by the pressure.

There are however ways around this with Black Friday being one of the best ways to save a fortune in the run up to Christmas.

Amazon are streets ahead when it comes to Black Friday and have taken things a step further this year with a super quirky pop-up experience in the heart of Soho Square to celebrate.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch last night where we got the chance to see what is going to be on offer and listen to the thoughts behind Black Friday from retail expert – Clare Bailey.

Claire was explaining that for most of us over the years we have realised that giving money is a better option of gifting as the January sales start the minute Christmas finishes and all those gifts we have spend our hard earned money on are dramatically reduced.

However there is no thought or love behind gifting people with cash so being able to make huge savings before christmas is a great way to allow people to enjoy giving an actual gift.

The pop-up shop is a way of showcasing over 100 curated Black Friday deals with the addition of being able to try out games in their super cool games room, take part in games for your chance to win some great prizes and partake in workshops from Amazon Handmade Artisans, YouTube stars and TV chefs.

I had a wonderful evening meeting talented sellers from Amazon Marketplace such as the lovely Lavinia the owner of Lavolio who makes delicious and beautifully packaged handmade chocolates. And the guys behind Cozy Glow candles that would certainly give that well know candle male a run for their money!

They have such passion for their brand which makes their products so much more appealing.

One room in the shop was set up like a beauty salon where I was treated to a hair makeover from GHD and tried out some fabulously vibrant Max Factor lipstick that lasts for an amazing 24 hours.

The shop is open from 12.30-7.30 from Tuesday 21st November until Friday 24th November and is certainly worth a trip for a fantastically interactive shopping experience and some fantastic bargains.

My First Scalextric:Review

Scalextric tracks are something that I remember fondly from my youth, in fact the first one was bought out in 1957…my memories don’t go that far back.

I never had one of my own but loved going to my cousins to challenge them to a race and spent hours watching the cars speeding round the track.

My eldest son still has a set that he is keeping well out of reach from his destructive little brothers, much to their annoyance.

When I was asked to review the My First Scalextric I had high hope for what the boys were going to think.

Their eyes lit up as soon as they saw they saw the brightly coloured packaging and they couldn’t wait to get inside.

Once opened the figure of eight style track was super easy to assemble which was very pleasing as the boys were itching to get started.

It didn’t take them long to pick up what they had to do and the adjustable hand controllers allow you to use variable speeds depending on the ability of the child. They are also colour matching with the track so they can easily know which car they are racing.

One of my less fond memories of Scalextric is the moment the cars come flying from the track just as you were in the lead. Thankfully they now use magnatration which has a strong magnetic force allowing the cars to keep better traction.

As well as being heaps of fun My First Scalextric helps to improve fine motor skills, manual dexterity, hand eye coordination and give them great practice in playing well as a pair which is much needed in this house!

With Christmas not to far away this would be a very welcomed gift under any tree.

*collaborated post

Quirky Gifts For Teens With Qwerkity

Presents for teenage kids are notoriously hard to buy for, with my fourteen year old son being the hardest of all.

I should be happy with the fact that he rarely asks for anything but when it comes to birthdays and Christmas it can be a real pain as I don’t even know where to start.

I always end up with the usual video games, smelly sets and chocolate which gets boring for me to buy so must be really boring for him to receive.

Luckily inspiration came my way in the form of a great website that has a whole host of different gifts for teenagers  that would please even the trickiest customer!

Archie’s room is usually awash with piles of rubbish and dirty clothes so what would fit in more perfectly then a stool disguised as a stack of pizza boxes.

The incredible cardboard stool pizza box is a super cool stool make of corrugated cardboard that fits together in nine easy steps.

It is just as easy to fold up as it is to assemble and can hold up to an unbelievable 200kg.

This would be such a cool addition to any teens room and has been a real talking point for all his friends.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t decide to recreate one with real boxes!

* I was given this stool for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinion.

Giving A Little This Christmas With Oxfam Unwrapped

Giving A Little This Christmas With Oxfam Unwrapped

For anyone who know me they will know I have a huge love for Christmas!

As soon as Halloween and Bonfire Night are over I’m on with the planning of yummy food, days out and pressies.

All this extravagance is something I have thought about over the past few years and at such an indulgent time of year I think it is important to give a little something back to those who don’t have the luxury that some of us do, and for who Christmas has a completly different meaning or a time that they have never had the chance to celebrate.

We all spend way to much on unnecessary gifts that we don’t need and more often than not never use. A lot of people already have everything they need and it is a real nightmare throng to think of something different.

If you are of the same mindset as me then Oxfam have a fantastic range of Christmas charity gifts that allow you to buy a gift for someone that goes towards helping people in underprivileged countries.

The gift that stood out to me was Care For Mothers And Babies that allows communities to try and get doctors, midwives and birth attendants to mothers and babies at such a crucial time in their lives.

After having five babies with the security of our fantastic National Health Service I could not even begin to imagine what a experience it would be for these women who ultimately do it all alone with very little help.

Purchasing this gift couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is select your gift, add your own personal message and a little extra chocolate if you fancy and then send onto your friend or family member.

I know that waking on Christmas morning with the knowledge that I have made a little impact on someone’s life will make my day that little extra special!
*collaborated post 

The Wicked Uncle Challenge

Number two is the hardest child to buy for.  He never asked for much for birthdays and always has a very sparse christmas list.  In a way this is commendable and a welcome change the the catalouge sized requests we get from the others.

When Wicked Uncle set us the challenge to pick a grown up to buy a gift for I knew that number two would be the biggest challenge of all my little ones!

My poor sister was my chosen grownup and was a little daunted by the task ahead.

She was actually really plesently surprised that the online toy shop was jammed packed with so many goodies that her challenge was going to be easier than she thought.

The site offers you the option to select the gender, age and type of area that is best suited which narrows there search down perfectly.

Number four is a techy teen so when she came across the x-cam quadcopter drone she hoped it would go down well.


Delivery  was super quick and when the big parcel arrived number four looked super happy to get a special gift through the post, the delight filled his face as he opened the box to reveal his drone.

After charging he headed straight to the garden where he spent ages perfecting his flying skills and trying to capture images of his younger brothers playing on their scooters below.

From the selection process of the purchaser to the reaction on the children’s faces Wicked Uncle have got the whole experience sussed!

This will 100% be my go to site for christmas presents for all the family and I have a feeling  the christmas list from number two may be a little longer this year!

*we were gifted this drone in return for the review. They are all my own, honest opinions. 

 

Candy Cane Bark Gifts For Teachers

I always like to make something for the children’s teachers at the end of term as the children can then get involved with the whole process and feel really proud when they hand it over to their teacher.

This Christmas we have made some yummy candy cane bark which is so easy to do.
Candy Cane Bark

  • 800g white chocolate
  • Box of 12 candy canes
  • 2tsp peppermint flavouring

  1. In a bowl bash the candy canes until broken into small pieces.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
  3. Add the broken candy canes and peppermint flavouring to the chocolate and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking tray lined with greasproof paper and place in the fridge for around 30/40 mins.
  5. Once hardened break into random pieces.


  
I took some cellophane and placed the bark into the centre and gathered at the top with some Christmas ribbon and attached a gift tag.


What do you normally but for your children’s teachers at the end of term?

Rubik Cube Review

When I was younger I always wanted a Rubix cube and never had one!  When we visited my cousins I would sit for hours trying to solve the puzzle but never could.

When John Adams set us the challenge of competing the Rubik challenge I couldn’t turn it down!


Number two who is as competitive as me was convinced he could complete it before me.

He came in every night after school and sat and tried to complete it.  After a couple of days he gave in and had a look at some tips online.  He has got really close but not solved  the challenge yet and neither have I!


This is a great puzzle for children aged 8 onwards.  It is fantastic to get theirs brains working at problem solving and using concentration skills.

I’ve found it increasingly hard to get number two interested in anything apart from computer games recently so this made a really refreshing change.
We were gifted this Rubik cube for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinion.