Monday, 22 December 2014

Elf On The Shelf 2014 - Week 3

We went away for 3 days to Brussels last weekend so we're missing a few days of Elf on the Shelf antics this week however Buddy did still managed to get up to some mischief, here's what he's been up to.

I've seen this idea on Pinterest and thought it was so sweet that I had to do it myself, basically Buddy brings the kids some magic seeds (tic tacs) and leaves them instructions to plant them in sugar, we used brown sugar as it looked more like soil and then they wait 24 hours for the seeds to grow into candy canes. Riley and Summer loved this and really enjoyed planting the seeds, they were so excited to see what would grow and couldn't wait to get up the next morning.

The next morning the seeds had grown into candy canes and the kids were amazed!

Buddy got confused when he did some wrapping and instead of wrapping up the kids presents he wrapped up himself!

Buddy decided to bring the kids some Christmas themed crafts in the shape of stickers and stamper which they loved, unfortunately they got most of the stickers and stamps on my coffee table than on the paper.

This is another idea I saw on Pinterest and as Riley loves googly eyes I had to do this one. Buddy needed some help keeping an eye on the kids so he signed up some new recruits.

If you want to take a look at what Buddy has been up to in previous weeks click here for week 1 and here for week 2.

We've got lots more fun things planned for the next few days so if you want a daily update of what Buddy is up to then follow me on Instagram.



Friday, 19 December 2014

LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit Review

My kids love playing doctors and making their toys feel better, we bought Riley a doctors kit about 18 months ago and he's played with it a lot but it was only a cheap one and I've been on the lookout for something better that would suit both him and my daughter who is coming up to 2 years old.

The LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit is the perfect solution for us as it is suitable from 2 years+, it has all of the main tools that the kids like to play with like the syringe, otoscope, thermometer and stethoscope and it has a cute little ambulance which plays songs.

The tools are nice and chunky so they're perfect for little hands and they're really sturdy so they're not easy to break like my son's original medical kit. I like how the tools and the ambulance have faces, it makes them much cuter and less scary as things like syringes can be quite scary for children. It's really easy to use, you just press the big red bar on the ambulance's head and it plays 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes' which is great for teaching the kids the different parts of the body.

My kids have had hours of fun with this already and I think it's something they'll play with for a long time. If your children like playing doctors then they'll love this, it would make a great Christmas gift.

You can find the LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit in ToysRUs, Amazon, Argos and Tesco.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Thinking About Next Years Holiday

It's around this time of the year that I start to think about where we can go on our holiday next year, it's nice to daydream about sunshine, beaches and the seaside when it's freezing, dark and raining outside. We're going to be having some building work done on our house next September so we've already decided that we're not going abroad for our holiday to try and keep costs down which doesn't bother me too much as I love to holiday in the UK.

There are so many beautiful places to visit in the UK like Devon, Cornwall and Dorset that you don't really need to go abroad to have a fantastic family holiday. The only negative I can think of is the weather but as long as it's dry and we can get out and about I'm happy and the kids are too which lets face it is the most important part.

For our holiday next year we quite fancy a Dorset Cottage Holiday as Dorset is somewhere I haven't been and I do like to try new places plus you can stay in some beautiful cottages there.

They have beautiful natural landmarks such as Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Golden Cap and you also have lovely seaside towns like Weymouth nearby with it's golden, sandy beaches.

I think we're going to aim to go in the first or second week of the school holidays and keep our fingers crossed for good weather. Have you started thinking about next years holiday yet? If so leave me a comment and let me know where you're thinking of going.


Treat Your Kids To A Magical Personalised Video From Santa This Christmas

What would be more special for your children than a magical, personalised video from Santa himself in the lead up to Christmas? Thanks to the lovely people at Portable North Pole this is something you can create and show your children to help keep the magic of Santa alive and also help to remind them to behave if needs be.

You can add their name, photos and even choose the story of your child's video to make it as authentic as possible. You can also have Santa make a phone call to your children or wish them happy birthday no matter what time of the year their birthday is.

I made a video for my 4 year old son Riley and he loved it, it's so well made that everything on the video looks so real, you can really tell a lot of time and effort has gone into making these videos, I had a tear in my eye every time he watched it and seeing his face light up when he got a phone call from Santa was so lovely.

If you would like to make a video for your children just head over to the Portable North Pole website where you can make a classic video for free or a premium video for just £2.99, you can also use the promo code on the image above to get 20% off.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Stay Warm & Cosy This Winter With The Relaxwell Faux Fur Heated Throw By Dreamland

Yes you read the title correctly, there is such a thing as a heated throw and let me tell you it's officially the best invention in the world, ever!

The Relaxwell Faux Fur Heated Throw by Dreamland is an incredibly luxurious faux fur throw which feels super soft against your skin. It looks really stylish on our sofa as it matches the colour perfectly and it has the amazing added bonus of being heated making it ideal for keeping you warm and cosy in winter while you're watching tv or in my case while I sit and write blog posts.

It's really easy to use, all you do is plug it in, switch it on and select the heat setting that you want, it heats up really quickly and automatically shuts off after 3 hours to prevent over heating. 

It's super energy efficient, costing less than 1 penny to run for 3 hours and is even machine washable which I think is brilliant and really convenient especially as my dog has fallen in love with it too, I love how he's almost camouflaged on it as it matches his fur. 

I can honestly say that for someone like me, who is cold pretty much all the time this is the most perfect gift that I could ever receive, I've used it every day since it arrived and I know it's something that will get used for years to come.

Here's a short video of the Relaxwell Heated Throw in action.

Don't worry if faux fur isn't your thing there are other options available like the Relaxwell Luxury Heated Throw which is a gorgeous chocolate brown microfleece throw or even the Relaxwell Heated Comfy Cushion which is perfect for soothing away aches and pains.

The Relaxwell Heated Throw is available to buy from the Dreamland website where you'll also find a wide range of heated bedding perfect for winter. You can also find them on Twitter and Pinterest.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

How To Soothe Your Sore Throat

I was recently sent this lovely little care package from the really thoughtful people at Ultra Chloraseptic filled with things to help soothe a sore throat and it couldn't have come at a better time as were're all ill in our house at the moment.

In the box was a gorgeous scarf to keep my neck warm, a lovely mug from John Lewis and some honey and lemon which we all know soothes a sore, dry throat.

As well as these methods my favourite way to help deal with a sore throat is to use Ultra Chloraseptic Throat Spray, my husband always buys this and it really works to numb the pain and discomfort.

Ultra Chloraseptic® Anaesthetic Throat Spray provides an ideal way to help ease the pain of a sore throat fast and help you make the most of your day.  Unlike some anaesthetic lozenges, which can numb the whole mouth area, Ultra Chloraseptic’s gentle spray goes directly to the site of the pain for faster, more effective and targeted relief.Just three sprays of Ultra Chloraseptic can numb the pain in seconds, compared to some lozenges, which can take minutes to dissolve properly and take full effect.

Dr Mike Smith, GP says: “Often sore throat remedies contain ingredients to dampen the inflammation , which in doing so are negatively interfering with your body’s own natural defences. Ideally, sufferers should go for something that relieves  the pain associated with the inflammation, like an anaesthetic throat spray, so it does not dampen your body’s reaction but eases the soreness of the  throat instead. However, if your sore throat persists, always consult your GP for further treatment.”

UC_new 2011 lineup packshotUltra Chloraseptic® Anaesthetic Throat Sprays are available in three great tasting, sugar-free flavours – Blackcurrant, Cherry and Original Menthol. 
All are available in pocket-friendly capped bottles for ease of use ‘on the go’ bringing ultra-fast, ultra-effective relief for the pain and discomfort caused by sore throats.
The products contain the active ingredient benzocaine (a local anaesthetic to numb pain). The swivel head applicator delivers the spray straight to the throat, targeting the pain and working in seconds.

Ultra Chloraseptic® Anaesthetic Throat Sprays are available in most Boots, Superdrug, Grocery and leading pharmacies in the UK without prescription. Ultra Chloraseptic costs £5.75, with each bottle containing more than 100 sprays (30 adult doses) and is suitable for children 6 and over at the lower dose of 1 spray. Contains Benzocaine. Always read the label and viist for more information.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Elf On The Shelf 2014 - Week 2

We've been having lots more fun on our second week of doing Elf On The Shelf, Buddy has been getting up to all kinds of mischief and the kids have loved every minute of it. Here's what he's been up to over the last few days.

Day 8 Buddy bought the kids some Christmas colouring books and crayons, they had hours of fun playing with them particularly Summer who has decided colouring is her new favourite activity.

Day 9 saw Buddy playing doctor and taking care of an injured Sponge Bob, Minnie and Dolly, he was also kind enough to bring the kids a new toy.

Day 10 was date night with Dolly, they watched a Christmas film and ate popcorn while they kept warm under a blanket.

Day 11 and we caught Buddy in the middle of a lovely bubble bath, he looked very relaxed.

Day 12 Buddy did a little baking and made the kids a lovely cake with a message from Santa to "Remember to be good". The cake was yummy but Buddy sure did make a mess.

Day 13 and we found Buddy reading a story to the toys.

Day 14 was a bit dramatic, Dolly had been kidnapped by the evil Khyber and Buddy had to come to her rescue.

We're still really enjoying setting up the scenarios with Buddy every night, it's so much fun and I'm finding that a lot of people that I'm friends with on Facebook are enjoying it too, they often tell me that they look forward to seeing what Buddy gets up to everyday which is nice to hear.

We've got lots more fun things planned for the next 10 days so if you want a daily update of what Buddy is up to then follow me on Instagram.



Staying Healthy During The Winter Cold & Flu Season With Dettol

With winter in full force and everyone coming down with colds or even worse the flu it's really important to stop germs spreading as much as you can, Dettol have just released an interesting and quite amusing video about the best ways to avoid sharing germs this winter.

How far will you go to avoid the doorknob?

Take a look and let me know your top tips for avoiding the germs.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Merry Christmas From The Half Shell Heroes

My son Riley is 4 and he loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the moment so he was over the moon to receive a card and special bauble containing a a figure from the Half Shell Heroes.

In the run up to Christmas the Half Shell Heroes are giving away a prize a day on UK Mums TV so if your kids love the Turtles then be sure to pop over and enter for your chance to win.


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

GLTC Cavendish Wooden Play Kitchen

My kids love to do everything that Mummy and Daddy do and that includes pretending to cook and clean so a toy that I knew they would love is a play kitchen, I love the look of the wooden ones as they are nice and sturdy and also look really cute, much nicer than the plastic ones.

I decided to go for the Cavendish Play Kitchen from Good Little Trading Co. and I really love it, it has a cute, retro look and the colours are perfect for boys or girls which I think is great because it's not just girls who like to play with kitchens.

It was pretty easy to put together and didn't take too long which is always nice, there's nothing worse than flat pack items that are impossible to build. It comes with 3 wooden utensils, a clock with moving hands, wooden salt and pepper pots, a hob with clicking dials, a shiny removable sink which the kids like to take out and use as a mixing bowl and turning hot and cold taps.

It's a good size, not too big that it's difficult to fit into your house but not too small either. There's plenty of room for two children to play side by side with it and not have to push each other out of the way which is nice and stops them from falling out.

It has a good size oven with two shelves so they can fit plenty of food in there and it has two other shelves on the side which are really handy to store all of their pots and pans.

You can also get some gorgeous little wooden accessories to go along with the kitchen from GLTC like this super cute Breakfast Set and the adorable Cafe Drinks Machine aswell as lots of other lovely wooden items.

I can't recommend this kitchen enough but if it's not quite to your taste then go and check out the GLTC website as they have lots of different play kitchens in different styles and colours so there's something for everyone.


We were sent the play kitchen free of charge for purpose of review but all thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Elf On The Shelf 2014 - Week 1

Last year was the first time I'd ever seen anyone taking part in the Elf On The Shelf tradition and I was hooked straight away, it looked like so much fun for the parents and the children that I couldn't wait until Christmas this year so that we could join in.

If you haven't heard about The Elf On The Shelf then I'll quickly sum it up for you, basically you have an elf turn up at the beginning of December sent by Santa to watch over your children and report back to him every night to determine if they should go on the naughty or nice list. As well as that every night while the kids are asleep your elf gets up to a little mischief like making snow angels in flour or wrapping the Christmas tree in toilet paper and every morning the kids are excited to wake up and find out what he's been up to.

My first reaction to this whole idea was "wow that looks like so much fun, I know my kids are going to love it" and I couldn't wait to get started but I have noticed quite a lot of really negative comments about the tradition and to be honest I really don't see why. I completely understand that it may not be everyone's cup of tea and it's totally fine if someone says they just don't like the idea and don't want to take part but some of the reasons people have given for thinking it's wrong just don't make sense to me.

I've read people say they think it's too expensive, my answer to that is only spend as much as you want to, you can use any elf you like to take part, it doesn't need to be this particular elf and actually it doesn't have to be an elf at all if you don't want it to be and as far as spending money on the elf's antics again there is no set budget, you decide what your elf get's up to and therefore you decide what it costs.

Some people think the elf looks creepy, again you don't have to use this particular elf, there are lots of different elves out there so just use one that you think is cute.

People have said that because the elf does some things that are quite mischievous that it's setting a bad example to the children and telling them that it's ok to be naughty. There is no set rule that says that your elf has to be naughty, if you use your imagination then there are lots of activities that your elf can get up to at night that don't involve being naughty at all.

Some people think it's too competitive, my attitude is it's only competitive if you make it that way, to me it's a bit of fun that makes my children extremely happy and excited to get up every morning which is really what it's all about.

So with all of that said, here's what our elf Buddy has been getting up to in his first week in our house.

Buddy arrived on day 1 with balloons for the kids, a mini Christmas tree each and mini baubles to decorate them with, the kids were thrilled when they saw Buddy and couldn't wait to get started decorating their trees, when they had finished we all sat down and read the Elf On The Shelf book so that they understood why Buddy was here and what would be happening over the next few weeks and they were so excited, it was lovely to see them so happy.

Day 2 saw Buddy having fun riding around the living room in a shoe train with some of the other toys, Riley loved this idea and thought it was really funny.

Day 3 was poker night with reindeer, Sponge Bob, snowman and dolly and it looks like Buddy was winning.

Day 4 the kids woke up to Buddy leading an army of dinosaurs up volcano mountain, this was Riley's favourite day so far, he nearly exploded with excitement when he saw this and made me promise to leave everything where it was until he got home from school so that he could play with it when he got home.

Day 5 and Buddy turned our living room door into a snowman.

Day 6 we woke up to Buddy rolling down the stair in a toilet roll.

And Day 7 Buddy spent the night camping and toasting marshmallows with his friends which was also a big hit with Riley who played happily with this set up for hours. 

Our first week with Buddy has been brilliant, I love the excitement especially from Riley every morning when he wakes up and the look on his face when we comes downstairs is priceless. I know this is a tradition that is here to stay in our house and I can't wait to see what fun week 2 brings.

What are your thoughts on The Elf On The Shelf? Do you love it, hate it, or just not really care? Leave me a comment and let me know.



Sunday, 7 December 2014

Our Christmas Tree 2014

I'm the kind of person who literally counts down the days to the 1st of December because I can't wait to get the Christmas decorations up, we always put them up the first weekend in December so that we can have a full month of twinkly, sparkly Christmas magic.

This year we decided for the first time ever to try having a real Christmas tree, I've never been very keen on real trees before as the only ones I'd really seen were quite small and very sparse, I like a big, thick, bushy tree so I always thought artificial was the only way to go but I couldn't have been more wrong.

Our beautiful tree is from Pines and Needles and I'm absolutely in love with it, it's about 7 feet tall and really thick and wide, everyone keeps asking me if it's really real because it's so perfect. I'm blown away by how much I love it and how gorgeous it looks, yes it does shed a little but all it takes is a quick sweep everyday and it's sorted and as far as the upkeep as long as you keep the water topped up it's fine.

All of the trees at Pines and Needles are guaranteed premium quality and if you're not happy with your tree on the day of delivery you just let them know and they'll replace it. They grow their own trees and offer exceptional value, plus they will price match any like for like quote where feasible. For every tree that is felled they plant 3 more, they have 20 years experience and are trusted to supply trees for some of Britain's most well recognised businesses and brands. They also do their bit for charity and have raised £16,000 this year in aid of Action for Children.

With our order we also got these 2 super cute little mini trees which the children had lots of fun decorating and I have an amazing discount code for all of my lovely readers which will enable you to get a mini tree, mistletoe and holly free if you order a tree from Pines and Needles. 

All you need to do is enter the code BAGS14 at the checkout.

We have a few new tree decorations this year which I think are really cute, we have an R and an S for Riley and Summer, my super cute little knitted snowman, the beautiful jingle bell star and our lovely wooden Kershaw Family 2014 decoration.

I have to admit that I'm now a total real Christmas tree convert, I've never loved an artificial tree as much as I love this tree and I'll be absolutely gutted when we have to take it down.

Do you love a real Christmas tree or are you a fan of the artificial trees? Leave me a comment and let me know.


We were given our tree free of charge for the purpose of review but all thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Perfect Christmas Gift - The Book Of Everyone

The Book of Everyone – a timeless treasured Christmas gift
Making the World a better place one book at a time.
Did you know...
·         You share 50% of your DNA with a banana?
·         Which famous historical event you share your birthday with?
·         What the number one single was the week you were born?
The Book of Everyone is the perfect Christmas present for someone you love. This one of a kind gift is a book full of stunning artwork, glorious personalised facts and fun statistics of the journey through the world they were born into.The Book of Everyone can be made in minutes, customised, previewed right away, printed and dispatched to you in under one week!

This Christmas the wonderful people at The Book of Everyone have teamed up with the charity Age UK and with every book you buy it goes towards the “gifting” of a book for an elderly person who may not receive a gift. Helping to bring a smile to an elderly person’s face this Christmas (a time which can be lonely for some) because after allamazing people deserve an amazing gift.
The Book of Everyone is a nostalgic, beautifully designed 50 page book that offers options that are affordable for all budgets from, Digital £7.50, Paperback £19.50, Hardback £29.50 and Deluxe £49.50.
The Book of Everyone also offers the option for you to add personal touches of photos and quotes along the way, ensuring that the gift is truly unique. Unlike any other gift on the market each person that receives the book gets an ant named in his or her honour, from The Book of Everyone’s ant farm where they are said to perform a special naming ceremony with honey and water!

To make The Book of Everyone as a gift for someone, all you need is their full name and date of birth. If you can not remember their exact birth date, don’t worry as the clever inbuilt Facebook feature can help find the details for you.  For a free preview just enter the details of the person you would like to make the book for (this takes under ONE minute!) and you can see what each page of their book will look like in seconds.

I've made one for both Riley and Summer for Christmas and I think it'll be something that they'll read for many years to come, it's a great keepsake and would make a lovely gift.

The Book of Everyone is available via their website
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