Monday, 24 November 2014

Our Family Christmas Traditions

I absolutely love Christmas and love it even more now that we have children. It is such a magical time of year and I love to make it as special and as memorable as possible for Oscar. As a child I always remember our Christmas' being full of happiness and family and I want Oscar to look back in years to come and feel the same.

This Christmas I have the whole family at our house, one side of the family has Christmas lunch with us which we rotate each year and the other side join us at about 3pm for present opening and an evening cold meat buffet. I love having a house full and making the day special for the whole family.

We have a few traditions that we love to do each year and I thought I would share them with you all.

1. A visit to see Father Christmas at Harrod's Christmas grotto

We take Oscar to the Harrod's Christmas Grotto every year to visit Father Christmas. This is something I did with my parents and grandparents as a child and we were always allowed to choose a decoration to add to our tree. Each year I always buy the photo and you pay £10 to reserve your grotto slot which gets reimbursed onto your Harrod's reward card to spend in store afterwards. We are going to see Father Christmas there next week and Oscar is counting down the sleeps.


2. Making a Gingerbread House

When my brother and I were children we used to make and decorate a gingerbread house each Christmas and I remember the kit used to come from Ikea. We had great fun last year decorating our gingerbread house which I brought from Morrisons. This year I already have the kit from Tesco and all the icing and sweets to decorate it. It makes a great table centre piece on Christmas Day and tastes great too!

3. Singing Good King Wenceslas with the Christmas Pudding

This is a tradition from Greg's side of the family. When the Christmas pudding is served after lunch his family always sang Good King Wenceslas after lighting the pudding. The first time I had Christmas with Greg it did make me giggle and now it's a run tradition that everyone has a laugh at once we have done it.

Christmas 2006

4.  Turkey Soup On Boxing Day

Ever since I met Greg we have always spent Boxing Day at Greg's parents house and in recent years since we have had Oscar my parents, brother and my nanny come along to. We always have Turkey Soup and crusty bread and it is delicious! We then play a fun board game like Logo or Articulate.

5. The Fairies bring the decorations

Oscar believes that the fairies bring the decorations and on the 1st December he wakes up to the Christmas Tree up and the house covered in decorations. I always decorate Oscar's room with his own little tree, Christmas bedding, bunting and a selection of Christmas books on his toy box. He loves it and it get's him so excited about Christmas and heads straight to his advent calender for his first chocolate!


There are a few of our traditions, I would love to know what fun traditions you have in your families. 

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Recipe: Banoffee Pie

When we have friends over for dinner I often make a Banoffee pie and it always goes down a treat. Today we have had a lazy day at home so Oscar and I decided to make one for Daddy, plus I was craving the amazing salted caramel sauce from Marks and Spencer. 

To make the Banoffee Pie you will need:

2 x Salted caramel sauce from Marks and Spencer

1 x packet of digestive biscuits
175g of butter
1 x dairy milk
1 x 284ml Elmlea double cream
4 x bananas

1. Firstly break up about half a packet of digestive biscuits and put them in a food processor. I have a really great Breville hand blender from Amazon and it was only about £30. It is really good and comes with an electric whisk, food processor, measuring jug and chopper which can be used at two different speeds.

2. Put the butter in a saucepan over heat and let it melt then add to the processor and mix with the biscuit.

3. Put the mixture into a flan dish and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours. I line the dish with foil to make it easier to get out when it is set without cracking the biscuit base.

4. Once set take out of the dish and then layer the salted caramel over the biscuit base, I normally use about one and a half jars.

5. Slice the bananas and layer them on to the salted caramel sauce.

6. Whisk your double cream up, make sure it doesn't go to thick and clotted.

7. Cover the bananas with the cream and then grate chocolate over the top for decoration.

8. Place back in the fridge for about 15 minutes then it is ready to eat!


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Review: Our Meal At Tortilla

On Thursday night Greg and I went for dinner at Tortilla in Watford. We didn't pick the best night as Watford was heaving as they had just switched the Christmas lights on, I didn't realise this until the day before.

We parked and walked down to the restaurant and had to queue for a few minutes to choose our food. The staff were really friendly and apologised for the few minute wait as they were rushed off their feet. The menu is great with lots of different combos and extras to choose from.

Tortilla serve real Californian burritos and tacos and really serve you up with a feast. Started by a husband and wife team in 2007 they only use the best and freshest ingredients in their tacos and burritos.

I had a grilled chicken naked burrito with salad and salsa and it was absolutely delicious with a coke and tortilla chips. Greg had a pulled pork burrito crammed full of extras with a water and tortilla chips. The lady that served us was really lovely and really helpful and mixed us the most delicious salsa for our chips specifically asking how hot we would like it. It blew Greg's head off and he ended up with sour cream.

The food was really good and their menu is really reasonably priced. We would defiantly go back to eat at Tortilla. For a full list of their restaurants and for more info check out

Disclaimer: We didn't pay for our meal as we were sent to review the restaurant. All opinions are completely honest and my own.

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Baby Shower Breakfast

Last week the lovely Mum's from Oscar's school year threw me a baby shower breakfast. I didn't have a baby shower when I was expecting Oscar so was really looking forward to it and didn't really know what to expect!

We went to one of the local pubs near to the school after dropping the kids off and I was greeted with pink and blue balloons and some very yummy cupcakes one of the mum's had made. One of the mum's also had organised some games and there was tape and everyone had to guess how big my bump was and the other game was photos of Greg and I and they cut them up and mixed our faces together. The results were pretty scary haha! 

I had a lovely breakfast and to be honest since then everything has felt a lot for real. I am having a baby in five weeks! I feel so out of
touch with the whole baby thing. With Oscar being nearly five we will have to get used to the sleepless nights again! Greg is defiantly not looking forward to this part of it all. I received some amazing gifts and had lot's of fun. Bring on the baby!

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Oscar's List To Father Christmas

Last week I picked up the a brilliant Father Christmas letter kit from Card Factory for only 99p! It included thank you notes, stickers, letter template and envelope for Father Christmas, pencil and rubber, door hanger and colouring pencils. Bargain! We started writing it the other day ready to give to Father Christmas when we visit him at Harrods in a couple of weeks time. Visiting him at Harrods has become a Christmas tradition for us as we take Oscar every year.

On Oscar's list this year is:

A Playmobil Zoo. He loves playing with my Playmobil Zoo that I had as a child which is at my parent's house and he loves Playmobil and wants to add the Zoo to his growing collection.

A Galt Marble Run. When Nanny and Grandad Maycock moved house last year Daddy had to clear out his old bedroom which had lot's of great toys from his childhood for Oscar to have. There was also a huge box of marbles so Oscar would love a marble run to use them on.

The Peter Rabbit Tree house. Oscar saw this advertised on the TV a few weeks ago and hasn't stopped going on about it since. He loves the new Peter Rabbit series and at bedtime always reads one of my old Beatrix Potter collection books. I picked the tree house up on and have hidden it away and Oscar already has the characters.

Mr Peabody and Sherman DVD is one of his favourite items on his list since we watched it on Sky box office last weekend he hasn't stopped asking to watch it again. He will have to wait until Christmas to watch it again as we have ended up paying more than the DVD actually costs on downloading it a few times!

Bruno The Bear. Bruno the bear blinks his eyes and moves his big feet. He likes being hugged and tickled! Feed him his honey on a stick and hear him chew. When he falls asleep you can hear him snore. He has real sounds and movements. We have been searching Ebay for a Dozzzy bear that Daddy had in the 80's but Bruno the Bear seems to be the modern day alternative.

A Toothless Cuddly Toy. The one below is from the Build a Bear store. We watched How To Train Your Dragon 2 last week as part of the #Toothlesstweetalong and Oscar loved Toothless. I have had a long search online and this cuddly toy seems to be the best one I think.

I plan to have all this years gifts for Oscar, our family and friends all brought and wrapped by the end of November so if the baby comes early I am completely prepared for Christmas. I have also brought a few bits to wrap up for the baby in case he/she is here for Christmas.

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