Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Tree Brownies


Last week I shared with you a super simple Christmas Pudding Rice Krispie Cake recipe which is a great way to keep your kids entertained in the lead up to Christmas, today I have another simple baking idea to share with you which looks amazing but is actually really easy to make.


Christmas Tree Brownies would be perfect for Christmas parties or even as a cute little homemade gift for someone, all you need is a box of brownie mix, some icing (I just mixed icing sugar and water and added green food colouring), candy canes and Christmas sprinkles to decorate. 

I was so pleased with how well they turned out, they look really impressive to say how easy they were to make, for the full instructions on how to make them click here.

Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a very happy new year!

XXX

Monday, 21 December 2015

Summer's Sylvanian Families Wishlist

As I mentioned in my previous post my daughter Summer is getting some Sylvanian Families sets for Christmas and today's post is about all of the items on her Christmas wishlist.


The only Sylvanian Families item Summer owns so far is the Adventure Treasure Ship so she's basically starting from scratch and to be honest I'm not sure who's the most excited about her receiving these toys, me or her!

The first things she needs and most importantly are the families themselves, there are so many different animal families to choose from it's quite hard to decide but Summer eventually picked the Hedgehog Family and I think she made a great choice. I love how each family has names and a story behind them, it gives them a little personality and makes them all the more interesting to play with.

Next she wanted a house for her family to live in, choosing which house to get her was pretty tricky because they're all so cute. After a lot of thought I decided to go with Beechwood Hall, it has five rooms over two floors so there's plenty of room for the whole family plus it comes with a reversible extra floor panel which can be used as extra floor space for the house or a garden area. The house also has two working lights and connects to many of the other buildings so you can easily create a little community.

I thought it would be nice if Summer got a car for her families to drive around in so we've chosen the Bluebell Seven Seater, it has two detachable seats and three child seats so there's plenty of room for everyone. It comes with a book to keep the children entertained and a map so they don't get lost and as an extra bonus you can use the kitchen furniture from the Cosy Cottage inside the Bluebell Seven Seater to turn it into a camping car.

I thought it would be nice if the families could go on holiday so I chose the Seaside Camping Set which comes with the most adorable little tent and sleeping bag in a gorgeous floral fabric. You also get Tiffany Golightly aswell as everything that she might need for a weekend in the wilderness, there's a fire, some food and even crockery and cutlery. 

Lastly I thought it would be nice for her to have a shop so that the families could go grocery shopping so we chose the Supermarket, it comes with all of the fruit, veg, bread and meals you families could need. You also get the shelving units and a little shopping trolley which is so cute plus it connects to Beechwood Hall.

I think everything we've chosen will set Summer up nicely with her Sylvanian Families collection and then she can build on it as she goes along. What is your favourite Sylvanian Families set?

XXX 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A Bit Of Christmas Fun

I'm not sure about you but in our family we love a good game, especially at Christmas and I've got a great little game that you can have some real fun with to share with you today.

UKTV  have put together this brilliant TV Christmas Quiz which includes questions from several different TV channels including Dave, Gold, Watch and many more, you spin first to choose a channel and then you choose the difficulty of the question.


After that you get asked a multiple choice question which if answered correctly gets you points and you then spin again to choose another channel and so on.


You get 3 lives and the challenge is to see who can complete all of the rounds and win the most points, if you're having a Christmas get together then this would go down great with the adults and you could even throw in a prize for the winner to make things even more interesting.

Give it a try and let me know how many points you score.

XXX

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Make Christmas Magical With Portable North Pole

PNP - Portable North Pole is one of the most personal Santa experiences in the world. You can easily create customized video or phone messages from Santa Claus for your loved ones, adding information about the recipient and uploading photos for a completely personalized greeting. The high-quality messages make the North Pole village come alive, and you can experience the magic for FREE!


You can access the PNP experience online or via their mobile app (compatible with Apple and Android devices). Premium videos, available for a small fee, are longer and include more personalisation options and storylines. Bundle packages are great for families and an affordable option for those who wish to make more than one video (often selected by parents wishing to make videos for multiple children). The passes also unlock exclusive Christmas Eve video content and allows the video to be downloaded in HD to keep as a souvenir for years to come!

In the true spirit of giving, the PNP team has pledged to donate 5% of all web sales to Children's Hospital foundations across the world.

I've made a video for my kids for the last couple of years and they're absolutely brilliant, the kids love them and every time I watch the finished video I never fail to have a tear in my eye, it's so lovely and makes a wonderful keepsake.

I have a discount code that will entitle you to 20% off any paid products, all you need to do is enter the code - BLG20PNP

XXX

Friday, 18 December 2015

Last Minute Gift Ideas


It's less than a week until Christmas and I'm sure there'll be some of you out there who still need to get a couple more gifts so here's two ideas that would make great gifts for the ladies.

Flowers are a beautiful gift to give at any time of the year and you can get some gorgeous Christmas bouquets to give to the ones you love. Debenhams Flowers have a stunning Christmas range including this Festive Rose & Freesia bouquet which is so pretty. If you would like to give the gift of flowers this Christmas I have a special discount code for you which entitles you to 25% off, the code is DFBLOG25.

Another lovely gift idea are these super cute Ted Baker Christmas Crackers, there are four to choose from and each one contains a mini fragrance and nail polish. They make perfect stocking fillers and would look really pretty on your dining table as a table gift plus they're only £10 each.

Are you all sorted for Christmas?

XXX

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas Gift Guide

With only two weeks left until Christmas time is running out to buy presents so I've got some more ideas for you if you're struggling for inspiration.



Perfume is always a lovely gift to give and my favourite fragrance right now is the gorgeous Fantasy Intimate Edition by Britney Spears, aside from the fact that it smells amazing the bottle is absolutely stunning and would look beautiful on anyone's dressing table plus it's currently on offer in Boots so go and grab yourself a bargain.

Another great gift to give are candles and there's no better than Yankee Candle, their new 2015 Christmas range smell so good, Cosy by the Fire and Winter Glow are my favourites. They come in a range of sizes and prices so there's something for everyone and would make a great gift or stocking filler.

If you're anything like me then you'll love a good mug, I have so many I'm running out of space in my cupboard but I still keep buying them and I think they make great gifts because mugs are something we all use. Starbucks have a lovely range of Christmas mugs, my favourite is the Candy Cane mug and I think they would make a fab gift for women or men of all ages.

I love anything to do with home decor and I really like receiving homeware gifts because quite often people get me items that I wouldn't normally have bought myself but end up being some of my favourite items. Flamingogifts.co.uk have lots of gorgeous homeware gifts as well as fashion items and gifts for children. I love the Wicker Heart as it would fit in well in most people's homes and I adore the Orla Kiely Bird House because it's so pretty and makes a really unusual gift idea.

My last gift idea is perfect for a friend or relative who loves to cook, we cook a lot in our house and the one thing we never have enough of are good quality knives, this knife block and knives from Brabantia would make a really useful gift for someone and it won't break the bank. The thing I love the most about this particular knife block is that instead of having different sized slits for each knife to fit into it has lots of movable rods which adjust to accommodate any cutlery size and shape so you can put any knives you like in there, how cool is that?

Hopefully this gives you some last minute gift ideas, now get out there and finish your Christmas shopping!

XXX  

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Christmas Pudding Rice Krispie Cakes


If you're looking for a quick and easy activity to keep your children entertained in the lead up to Christmas or a cute little alternative to Christmas puddings for party guests who don't like the traditional version then these cute little cakes are just for you.



We just made classic Rice Krispie cakes using melted milk chocolate and Rice Krispies but we added some melted white chocolate on top and then just popped on some red and green sprinkles to look like holly. You can get your hands on some cake decorations that look exactly like holly but this is just what we had in our cupboard and I think it still looks cute.


The thing I love about these simple little treats is that you can add any ingredients you like, for example you could add some raisins, mini marshmallows or even nuts, it's completely up to you and who you're making them for.


Me and the kids had loads of fun making these over the weekend while it was wet and horrible outside and we're having even more fun eating them. They were so popular that I'm thinking about making another batch for all of the kids in our family to have on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and I'm sure some of the adults will want some too.

XXX

Monday, 14 December 2015

Win A £50 Shoetique.co.uk Voucher!

Now that the weather has really turned cold, wet and for some snowy we could probably all do with a good pair of winter boots, to help you out with this Shoetique.co.uk have kindly given me a £50 voucher to giveaway to one of my lovely readers.


Shoetique.co.uk sell a wide range of boots and shoes for women, men and children so there's something for everyone. Whether you're looking for Hunter wellies or Chelsea boots they've got everything covered and all you need to do to enter is fill in the Rafflecopter form below, giveaway is open to UK residents only.


XXX

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel

Every year around Christmas time me and my husband try and get away for a child free night or weekend just so that we can relax and spend some time together before all of the major Christmas madness starts and this year we were lucky enough to be invited to the beautiful Ox Pasture Hall Hotel


It's a stunning country house hotel in the gorgeous Yorkshire Moors which couldn't have been more perfect for us because the Yorkshire coast is somewhere we visit every year and we absolutely love it, especially Scarborough and Filey plus Ox Pasture Hall is a dog friendly hotel which was great because it meant that we didn't need to put our dog in the kennels which I never enjoy doing.

We arrived at the hotel at around lunch time and although we knew we were too early to check in we thought we'd pop in to see if we could put our bags inside, the staff were incredibly accommodating and told us check in was at 3pm but our room was ready for us and we could check in and get settled which was really nice.


We were staying in a luxury suite and were blown away by how nice everything was, the room was stunning with a huge king size bed, a lounge area and an amazing bathroom. I was really impressed by the fact that our dog was so well catered for, waiting in our room for him were bowls of food and water and the offer of some chicken to go with it if he would like some, it's clearly a very popular hotel with dog owners and they're even allowed to dine with you in the bar area which is lovely because our dog doesn't like to be separated from us for long. 


After getting settled in our room we had a lovely lunch in the bar area in front of the wood burning stove which was so nice and cosy and then we went out for a walk with the dog to explore the surrounding area. It's ideal for dog owners as there are lots of different walks you can go on around the Yorkshire Moors, we chose to have a walk around the nearby woods and lake which was great, a little steep in places but really nice and we saw some fantastic views.





 We then went back to our room to relax for a while before dinner, Macho got a little muddy on the walk but we managed to get him cleaned up in the shower, I think a dog washing area somewhere in the hotel would be a great little addition as it would be really handy for dog owners walking their dogs during winter.


Before our dinner in the Courtyard restaurant we had a lovely bottle of Prosecco in the bar area by the fire while we chose our food from the menu and when our starters where almost ready we were taken to our table. The restaurant was lovely and the food was honestly some of the best food I've ever had, we thoroughly enjoyed every bit of our meal and the service was second to none.




The food was so good that in my excitement I forgot to take a photo of our main course which was an amazing pork belly dish but you can see the standard of the food from the photos of our starters and desserts. After finishing our meal we decided to have a drive to the sea front at Scarborough which was about 10 minutes away, there wasn't much open but it was nice to walk off our food and get some fresh air before bed.

We slept really well in our room although it was a little warm for us but we opened the windows and it was fine, we woke up to a beautiful view of fields with pheasants wandering past our window, it was so relaxing and peaceful, just what we needed.



Breakfast was a choice of cereals, yogurt, toast and then a full Yorkshire which we really enjoyed, it set us up well for the rest of the morning. Check out was at 11am which gave us plenty of time to go back to our room and get packed before loading up the car and checking out.




After checking out we went to our favourite place in Yorkshire, Filey is a place that is very dear to our hearts and somewhere we holiday every year without fail. It's a lovely little seaside town with a beautiful beach which is dog friendly at one end and off season and also most of the shops are very accommodating with regards to allowing dogs in which makes life much easier as a family that likes to holiday with their dog. 


 We'd never been to Filey at Christmas time so it was really nice to see it with all the Christmas lights up, we even squeezed in a visit to our favourite chip shop The Brown Rooms. 

Overall we had an amazing time even though it was for just one night, we enjoyed our stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel so much we're already thinking about staying there again and also my husband is hoping he can stay there when he is working in the surrounding area.

The hotel has several different room options so everyone is catered for and if you are not a dog owner don't worry there are no signs of dogs having stayed in the rooms, they were immaculately clean. If you're looking for somewhere to stay that feels like it's in the heart of the countryside but is only a 10-15 minute drive to the coast then this is the place for you.

You can find out more information on rooms and facilities here and you can also find Ox Pasture Hall on Facebook and Twitter.

XXX

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Enchanted Christmas Kingdom At Hatton Adventure World

We were recently invited to visit the Enchanted Christmas Kingdom at Hatton Adventure World in the West Midlands and as we'd been there before at Easter and had an amazing day we couldn't wait to go back and experience Christmas there.

As soon as we got there we booked a slot to go and see Santa which is nice because it means no queuing up for ages and as we got there at lunch time we went straight to Snorty's Superslide Mania Restaurant which serves lovely food and is in the middle of an amazing soft play area. We had our lunch and the food was really nice and then it was time for a little bit of soft play fun which the kids absolutely loved.




 They would have happily stayed in the soft play area all day but we knew there was lots more to see and do so we set off to see some of the animals, there were pigs, goats, sheep and a really cute donkey who was so friendly.


Then we went through to the kids favourite part, the guinea pig village. There are hundreds of super cute little guinea pigs all living in a little village, they even had their own Christmas tree. This time there were some guinea pigs out that we were allowed to pick up and stroke and the kids couldn't wait to give them a cuddle.







Next we made our way through to the Scales and Tails area with all of the lizards and snakes and we stumbled upon a private birthday party where they had an entertainer making balloon shapes for them, of course when Riley and Summer saw this they wanted some too and even though we weren't part of the party they made sure that Riley and Summer both got to have a balloon sword and a balloon snowman which I thought was really lovely.


Next it was time to see Santa so we headed off to his grotto, when we arrived we were surprised and very excited to see some reindeer outside which was a lovely treat for the kids.



We then went in to see Santa who was lovely, he was telling us all about his reindeer and asked the children what they would like for Christmas, then he got out his magic book which had all of the names of the naughty and nice children in to check if they were on the naughty list which they weren't. He then closed the book and asked the kids to give it a tap and when he opened it again there were two magic keys inside which open up Santa's secret toy shop where they could each choose a gift.


 The toy shop was packed full of toys for all ages, Riley and Summer were spoilt for choice but eventually decided on play doh and a space sword.

When we first arrived at Hatton Adventure World we were given a piece of paper with a little quiz where we had to find all nine of Santa's reindeer hidden around different locations and write them down, if you find all nine you get a prize and are entered into a competition. Riley loved this and made it his mission to find them all which he did and got a Christmas chocolate at the end which he loved.

Once we were all finished we popped into a few of the lovely little shops there and bought a couple of Christmas decorations and had a hot drink and a cake before heading off home.

We didn't manage to do everything while we were there as we were short on time but other activities we could have seen were:

Zoobee's Christmas Cracker Show
Real Live Nativity
Cool Colin The Snowman
Falcons Of The Orient
Christmas Decoration Making
Stories With Mother Christmas
Festive Friends Puppets

So as you can see there is loads to do for all the family, it's a great day out any time of the year but it's particularly good at Christmas so if you're looking for something fun to do with your kids then I'd definitely recommend you give it a try.

You can find out more information about Hatton Adventure World and their opening times and prices here.

XXX

Monday, 7 December 2015

Kids Christmas Gift Guide

Today I have a little gift guide with some great gift ideas for kids of all ages.


First up is the amazing 'Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal' sweatshirt from Zazzle.co.uk, as Home Alone is an iconic Christmas film this sweatshirt would go down well as a gift for most kids, I know my son would absolutely love it. It comes in a wide range of sizes starting at 2 years old all the way up to young adult size so all ages are catered for and it also comes in different colours. 

The thing I love about Zazzle.co.uk is the ability to customize your items making gifts much more personal and fun too.

Next is the Number Lovin Oven by Leapfrog which is a great gift for children aged 2 years plus, it helps them learn numbers using the oven and 16 ingredients while singing 30+ songs and phrases. Anything that makes learning important things like maths and counting fun is a winner in my opinion and kids love to pretend they're cooking so this toy is double the fun and perfect for both girls and boys.

A great stocking filler or small gift are the HEXBUG AquaBot 2.0 which my kids love, they're robotic fish that swim when you put them in water, it's all the fun of having a pet fish without the hassle of feeding them and cleaning them out. The AquaBot 2.0 comes in two styles, the Angelfish and the Hammerhead Shark and they come in ten different colours, they have an inner LED glow and a high tech sensor which allows you to wake the sleeping fish by tapping on the tank. They make a great gift for children aged 3 years plus and are guaranteed to provide hours of fun. 

Lastly is a super cute gift for the kind of kids who have everything and you're stuck for what to get them, why not get them something nice for their bedroom. Flamingogifts.co.uk have this gorgeous Sass & Belle Fox Tribal Adventure Cushion which is the perfect addition to your childs bedroom or playroom and it also comes in bear or raccoon designs. My son's room has elements of American Indian and tribal so this cushion would work so well in his bedroom and finish his bed off nicely.

I hope these gift ideas helped to give you some inspiration, let me know if you like them.

XXX

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sylvanian Families Adventure Treasure Ship

 As part of our Friends of Sylvanian Families duties we were lucky enough to get sent the Adventure Treasure Ship to review and Summer was very excited to get her hands on it, unfortunately Summer doesn't yet own any of the figures as she's getting some for Christmas but that didn't stop her playing with it.



The Adventure Treasure Ship is a lovely little playground for the children of Sylvanian Families with a slide, climbing net, swing and even hidden treasure for them to hunt.



There's a viewing deck with a flag, a treasure chest and even a tiny pair of binoculars, it's all of the little details like this that make the Sylvanian Families toys so special and so appealing to children.



Summer had so much fun playing with the Adventure Treasure Ship even without the figures, she loved opening the little doors and finding the treasure inside.



Summer is getting lots of Sylvanian Families toys this Christmas and I'm going to be posting very soon about everything she's getting in a gift guide post so if you're interested in Sylvanian Families then keep your eyes peeled for that.

 

You can buy the Adventure Treasure Ship from Argos, Toys R Us and Smyths.

XXX

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