Tag Archives: christmas

#Blogmas Day 10: A Snowy Sunday & Our Top Family Christmas Movies

Took we woke up to lots of snow! The boys were so excited, especially Archie as he has never played in snow before as the last time it snowed he was so young! As they were so eager to get outside they ate all of their breakfast up as quick as possible and then got wrapped up warm to go outside.

Today was meant to be our God Daughters christening but it had to be postponed due to the snow and the road conditions. So we spent the day playing in the garden, sledging and building a snowman.

As we couldn’t go anywhere we decided to get cosy in the lounge by the fire and watch a Christmas Film. We have watched a few over the last week or so and today watched Jingle All The Way which we loved. There are so many great Christmas classics here are a few of our favourites:

Jingle All The Way

Home Alone (1 & 2)

Santa Claus The Movie – My all time favourite!

Miracle on 34th Street

The Grinch (although Oscar hates it!)

The Snowman

Elf

Arthur Christmas

Frozen

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Oscar has gone to bed pretty excited as we had an email from his school and tomorrow he has a snow day which means more fun in the garden, hot chocolate and movies! If you have any other top Christmas movies let me know as we love a Christmas film!

Merry Christmas!

#Blogmas Day 7: Santa Spectacular At Willow’s Activity Farm Review

Yesterday we went with our friends to the Santa Spectacular At Willow’s Activity Farm. Willow’s Farm is a fantastic farm and full day out situated in London Colney, Hertfordshire which is near St Albans. We absolutely love Willow’s and visit on a monthly basis as there is always so much to do and they run fun programmes throughout the year, so there is something new to do on every visit. We have visited the Santa Spectacular for the last three years and it has always been a fantastic day out!

We arrived at Willow’s and each child was given their Elf Passport to stamp on the way around, a Create-A-Cuddle workshop token and a token to visit Santa.

Firstly we went and watched the 3D Film; Christmas Adventure. The boys were engrossed in it as they haven’t ever seen anything in 3D before. Luckily as we walked out the Nativity Story was starting where the story is told with real animals and the children can dress up.

We then went to the Create-A-Cuddle workshop and swapped our token for a reindeer, stuffing and a coloured heart. Archie loved stuffing his reindeer and chose a blue heart to go inside. You also get given a birth certificate for your reindeer and a lovely gift box for him to live in.

After we walked to the farmyard and saw all of our favourite animals, including new baby piglets and Santa’s Reindeers.

As we were walking around the farm we looked out for the 9 reindeer pictures to write in the Elf Passport to complete the reindeer hunt so we could collect our magic Reindeer food from the gift shop on the way out. As we also completed the Elf Tasks 1-7 in the Elf Passports and collected the stamps Archie became a fully fledged Willow’s Elf!

One of Archie’s favourite things about Willow’s is taking a ride on Tristan the Tractor and even he had had a Christmas make over. On board there were bells for everyone to shake and he played Christmas songs the whole way around. The festive wood ride had been decorated with Christmas decorations and snow and the kids loved it!

We then walked back up to the Grotto to meet Santa himself. The grotto was decorated beautifully with lots of twinkling lights and a lovely place to take a beautiful photo. We waited in line chatting to Holly the Elf and then went off to meet Santa. He was really nice, asking the children what they would like for Christmas and chatted away to them. He then gave each of the children a golden key which allowed them to pick absolutely anything from his Toy Shop. There were so many toys to choose from and finally Archie chose a Doctor’s kit which he hasn’t put down since and even took to bed with him.

We had a lovely day at Willow’s Farm and the Santa Spectacular is amazing with so many fun things to do. You can save money by buying your tickets online instead of on the day. Tickets are £18 per adult and £34 per child (2-15), under 2’s are £19.50 when booking online. The all inclusive price includes:

  • Meeting Santa and receiving a golden key to his Toy Shop where children can choose one of the hundreds of gifts piled from floor to ceiling to take home
  • Create-a-Cuddle workshop runs all day and children can make their own reindeer cuddly toy to take home along with a naming certificate and special gift box
  • Attend Elf Academy and learn some of the basics on becoming one of Santa’s elves including how to tiptoe like an Elf and the important letters of the Elf-a-bet
  • Pop your glasses on and take off on a 3D adventure with Santa in a 3D film
  • Join in the fun at the Christmas shows including Christmas Storytime, our Elf Sing-a-Long and special Nativity performances featuring some of the farmyard animals
  • Write a letter to Santa and pop it in the post box to receive a free reply delivered to your home and make other Christmas crafts
  • Glide around the synthetic ice rink with ice skates available to fit all sizes
  • Hop on Tristan the Runaway Tractor for a ride around the festive wood
  • Meet Mischka, Santa’s reindeer and all of the other Farmyard animals

Obviously all the usual Willow’s things are included to; Festive Funfair Rides, Cotton Tail Village, Woolly Jumpers indoor play barn with spectacular slides and soft play and the Peter Rabbit playground.

It really is a spectacular day out for all over the family to enjoy this Christmas!

 

Merry Christmas!

#Blogmas Day 6: The Perfect Christmas Lunch

Since Oscar was born I have always hosted Christmas Day. I love having all of the family over and we always have a house of around 14 people. I am super organised and start planning Christmas Day in November and start buying drinks and things on my weekly shop to spread the cost a bit. Up until now we have always rotated each side of the family for actual lunch and then the rest of the family would join us in the afternoon. This year as we are in the new house we have space to have everyone for lunch, 12 of us and I can’t wait!

I always order my Turkey from Waitrose and pick it up on Christmas Eve. This year as there are twelve of us for lunch I have ordered two turkeys; one large and one medium. Luckily I have two ovens now to cook them in in our new house. Any leftover goes into my Mother in laws Turkey soup for Boxing Day anyway. I make sure my Turkey is ordered and I have my desired collection slot in November as soon as I get the email from Waitrose saying the slots are available.

A couple of days before Christmas I go to Marks and Spencer and buy all of the vegetables, a couple of ready made carrot and suede mashes, yorkshire puddings, ready prepped parsnips, pigs in blankets and the sausage meat.

I have already booked my Tesco delivery slot for the 23rd. Having it delivered this day means if there is something out of stock I have time still to grab what I need from the shops. From Tesco I get all the drinks, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, goose fat, maris piper potatoes plus all the other essentials I need to get us through the Christmas period.

I always bake a chocolate cake and my Mother in law brings the Christmas pud. I also do mince pies and brandy butter and Christmas cake for desserts.

On Christmas morning I get up early and prep the Turkey. On my first time cooking at Christmas I googled ‘best way to cook a Turkey’ and followed a Jamie Oliver step by step guide. I have done the same with my Turkey every year since and it always tastes amazing. I remove the giblets, place a large cooking apple and a large orange inside the Turkey, carefully without tearing the skin put a fine layer of butter between the bird and the skin, the lay strips of bacon on top of the bird and cook for the amount of time calculated by the weight of your turkey.

I then write out on a piece of paper all of the timings, when things need to be cooked and how long for so everything is ready at the same time. It’s actually really easy if your organised.

I cook everything in disposable bacofoil trays so afterwards it can all go in the bin and then its only plates, knives and forks in the dishwasher. I also clear up/wash up as I go along so there is minimal mess.

Our finished Christmas Dinner always consists of; Turkey, pigs in blankets, sausage meat, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, yorkshire pudding, brussel sprouts, peas, carrots, white cabbage, carrot and suede mash and bread sauce and gravy. Its a good job we have big plates! As Oscar isn’t keen on Turkey yet I also cook a piece of gammon in a honey glaze for him.

Merry Christmas!

#Blogmas Day 5: Our Annual Trip To Harrod’s Christmas Grotto 2017

Yesterday we picked up Oscar from school and drove into London to go to the Harrod’s Christmas Grotto 2017. Every year in September I eagerly await the email to let me know when I can book our visit. This year the bookings opened in October and at 9am I got my email and by 9.05 our slot was booked! When booking you pay a £10 deposit per child over 3 years old, under 2’s are free. On the day of your visit to the grotto you get your deposit back to spend on your Harrods reward card. The boys then get to choose a new decoration for the Christmas tree with it.

So we picked Oscar up from school and drove into town and parked in our usual spot. When we got to Harrods we walked around the outside and looked at all of the decorated Dolce & Gabbana windows. They were really good, and had a photo by the huge Christmas Tree. We were a bit early so we then looked around the Toy Kingdom on the third floor which is every child’s idea of heaven.

When we arrived at the grotto which is located right by the Toy Kingdom Oscar presented our ticket and then we went into a roped off area that had Christmas colouring, mini golf and other games and lots of friendly elves to play with. The boys were given green bells to look after and then when the green bells group were called we went through a red curtain into a beautiful room with a huge Christmas tree and two of Santa’s elves.

They told the children all about the magic of Christmas and every child got an ‘Official Elf’ badge and a Harrods gold chocolate coin. The elves were really friendly interacting with the boys asking them what they would like for Christmas. We were then called through to meet the big man himself and Oscar and Archie knocked on the door and Father Christmas greeted them.

He was really nice, congratulating Oscar on learning to ride his bike since he had last seen him and asked him about school and his friends. Archie wasn’t so sure to start with but within minutes was giving Father Christmas a high five and telling him he would like a blue car for Christmas. We then had our annual Christmas photo taken with him (this is our eight year at Harrods).

Oscar and Archie were then given lovely red gift bags with a Harrods teddy inside as their gift. They were over the moon. We said our goodbyes and went to view our photo, which we brought to go with all the others which was £14.50.  The boys also posted their letters to Father Christmas in the special postbox outside.

We then went and brought our Harrods 2017 bear decoration (we buy one every year) and Oscar also chose another bauble. We had a great time and its just so magical and we love it! We always then walk around to Pizza Express for some dinner then drove home. Needless to say the boys were shattered by the time we got home and went straight to bed!

Merry Christmas!

#Blogmas Day 4: Our Pines & Needles Christmas Tree & Decoration Service

Yesterday was a very exciting day! One I had been counting down too since my Pines and Needles Christmas Tree delivery and tailored decorating service had been booked in. Pines and Needles are the Christmas Tree Specialists and offer a huge range of services to suit everyone.

You can go to one of their stores and pick your perfect tree and they will deliver it straight to you, or you can have them place the tree and add the lights and decorations for you and then they can come and collect and dispose of the tree after Christmas too.

As it is our first Christmas in our new house I really wanted a show stopper of a Christmas Tree for our hallway. When I saw that Pines and Needles would bring me the perfect tree and decorate it all for me, I knew this would be perfect. You also get to keep all of the decorations that the tree is decorated with choosing from three different level packages; Festive, Classic and Deluxe. We chose the Deluxe package in Gold and Silver and 360 lights for our 7ft Nordmann Fir Tree and the stand. I love that I now have decorations for our hallway tree for years to come!

Anyone who knows me well knows that Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love to decorate the boys rooms with their Christmas books and duvet covers and make the whole of the lead up to Christmas Day as magical and as special for them as possible! On Christmas Day we always have the whole family over for lunch and I love hosting and having everyone we love around us enjoying themselves!

Getting back to yesterday….. I received an email confirming my chosen time slot which was between 8 and 1 and then at about 7.45am our personal driver text me to let me know a more specific time. I also got an automated text when they were on their way from their last appointment to mine, telling me that my tree was on its way. You can also use an online tracker, the link was sent to me via email.

The van pulled up outside at 11am and I watched at the window as the two Pines and Needles men, dressed in their Christmas hats and kilts brought my tree and decorations to the front door. Wearing the kilts is a great touch, showing that Pines and Needles are a British brand with Scottish Heritage.

Firstly they set up the stand and placed the tree, then the lights and decorating began. They were total perfectionists and kept taking a back step and checking, then rejigging until they were happy. They took so much time and attention to get it perfect. The two men were super friendly and in full Christmas spirit. They did a fantastic job! After they were finished they even packed up all the rubbish and cleaned up the mess too!

I am absolutely over the moon with our tree and when Oscar got home from school he was so excited and the boys absolutely love it! Its a proper traditional Christmas Tree and it is so much better than what I visualised that it would look like. I have my show stopper tree!

Pines and Needles offer a fantastic service with a smile. They couldn’t have done anymore to make it any better, it really is a 5* service! We are so happy with our Christmas Tree and I will pack our Christmas decorations away neatly after Christmas so that next year they can come back with a new tree and decorate it for me again! I think next year I might even go for a 9 or 10ft! Thank you Pines and Needles!

Disclaimer: We were gifted the Christmas Tree for the purpose of this post. However all opinions are honest and my own and we absolutely love our tree and would use them again and again!

#Blogmas Day 3: Jump With Santa At Energi Newport

Last Sunday we went to Energi Trampoline Park in Newport, Wales to attend one of their special Christmas Jump With Santa sessions. If you are looking for something special to do with the kids in Newport this Christmas, then Jump With Santa is for you!

Energi Leasuire Parks

When we arrived we were given our special Christmas edition jump socks and were briefed by one of the Energi Elves and we watched the safety video. The children were then allowed onto the trampolines, then a fun video of Santa arriving at the park was played on the big screen and then when all of the children turned around Santa was standing behind them on top of the stairway to heaven.

The children ran over to him in excitement then Santa made a spectacular entrance by flipping into the huge Christmas airbag.

The boys had so much fun jumping, dancing and playing with Santa. It really is something for all the family to do together and enjoy. Sessions are exclusively for Jumpers aged 2 -16 years old. (All Jumpers aged 2 – 4 years must have full parental supervision on the Trampoline Arena). It’s a great way to get your older kids, who wouldn’t normally visit Santa to have some Christmas fun. A few of the older boys were having a dance off with Santa like you can see in the video I made below.

Santa and his Energi Elves danced along with the children, they all joined in to do the conga and the staff kept the kids entertained the whole time. Santa played dodgeball, challenged the kids on the ninja assault course whilst the adults with older children sat back and relaxed in the cafe with a coffee and a slice of cake.

At the end of the session each child were given a cute soft toy! All Jump with Santa Sessions are one hour and priced at £12.95 per child and will include admission to the Trampoline Arena, Christmas Socks and gift from Santa himself. There are limited spaces on these #JumpWithSanta sessions so book online now to avoid any disappointment. The remaining sessions are on:

Sunday 3rd December 11am & 2pm

Sunday 10th December 11am & 2pm

Sunday 17th December 12pm & 3pm

Friday 22nd December 4pm

Saturday 23rd December 11am & 2pm

Don’t worry if you have little ones under 2 as they also have a lovely soft play area too. There are also Jump With Santa sessions especially for toddlers on Friday the 8th of December 10am & 11am and on Friday the 15th of December 10am & 11am. These exclusive Toddler Sessions are £7.95 per Toddler including a gift and jump socks with one supervising adult attending free of Charge. All Children must be aged 2 -4 Years.

There are also lots of other fun things going on at Energi Newport this Christmas!

FESTIVE BEATS!

Join in on Friday 22nd December and Friday 29th December for their fantastic Festive Beats sessions which will be accompanied by the best Christmas Hits, Party Tunes and all your favourites. During the sessions the lights will go down and the music up as we party like it’s going to be 2018! Admission is £7.00 per Jumper and the following age restrictions apply:

6pm -7pm 5 -11 Year Olds

7pm – 8pm 5 -16 Year Olds

8pm -9pm 11 -16 Year Olds

CHRISTMAS CRAFTS AND GIFTS!

On Sunday 10th December they are hosting a Christmas fair full of local craft and gift suppliers in the Cafe Area to showcase their products and be a perfect venue to pick up some fantastic last minute gifts without all the hassle of going to the shops whilst your children jump and have fun! Stress free shopping!

CHRISTMAS EVE AND NEW YEARS DAY FAMILY JUMP

On Christmas Eve and New Years Day they are running Family Jump Sessions all day. Family Sessions are suitable for ages 2 – 100! and are priced at £7.95 per jumper. An ideal way to burn some energy so your little ones get to bed early on Christmas Eve and a great way for you to relax in peace with a cuppa and a cake on New Years Day whilst the kids have great fun! (Jumpers between 2 – 4 years must be fully supervised on the Trampoline Arena.)

Get jumping and have fun!

Merry Christmas!

#Blogmas Day 2: Our Family Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas traditions start for us on the 1st of December when Oscar gets home from school and the fairies have brought our Christmas decorations. Our Christmas tree and decorations have always gone up on the 1st of December. When I was little my brother and I always woke up on the 1st to our tree and decorations and I can still remember just how amazing and magical that was and wanted to do the same for our boys. In their bedrooms they have snow globes and Christmas duvets and their stocking ready for the end of their beds on Christmas Eve.

When they wake up on the 1st the boys wake up and our two naughty Elves, Eddie and Ernie are back to stay with us until Christmas Eve and get up to lots of mischief. They bring Oscar and Archie a letter and come through the Elf door which must never be touched as the secret door leads back to Father Christmas so they can let him know how they are behaving. They always bring the boys their advent calender’s too. They each get a chocolate one and a toy one too.

On Monday we are going to see the big man himself at the Harrods Grotto. I always rush to book this in September/October as soon as I get my ‘You can book now’ email. We have been every Christmas since Oscar was born and I love getting the family photo taken every year. After we have been in the grotto Oscar and Archie always get to pick a Christmas tree decoration each and I always buy the Harrods Christmas Bear decoration too. We then walk around to Pizza Express for dinner. The boys love it and we get to see all of the Christmas lights around London on the drive home. Again this is something we did as children, going into London at Christmas to a big department store grotto.

We always put together and decorate a gingerbread house (I buy a kit) nearer to Christmas for everyone to enjoy on Christmas day. I buy loads of sweets and icing and we have great fun in the kitchen making our masterpiece. Its a really cheap and fun activity to do with the kids!

This year I have started a new tradition, a backwards advent. As Oscar is old enough to understand about charity and realises how lucky he is each day of advent we put something in our box each day, whether it be a toy, toiletries or food and on Christmas Eve we will take it to a food bank or charity collection for another family to enjoy at Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we always go to Oscar and Archie’s godparents house and they make pork baps and we sing carols around the piano and the children all play and have a great time. They always have a fantastic 10 ft tree and its just such a lovely house full of Christmas cheer. This is why Oscar wanted to start playing the piano as our friends children had lessons and would play a song each. As Oscar has been having lessons this year he has been practising ‘Jingle Bells’ ready to play for everyone this year. He is really excited! We then go home, the boys bath and get into their pyjamas and then we leave a mince pie and a glass of milk for Father Christmas on their plates they made at a pottery cafe and a carrot outside for Rudolph and then off to bed.

Please comment and share with me your family Christmas traditions!

Merry Christmas!

 

#Blogmas Day 1: What’s On Oscar’s Christmas List & Gift Ideas

I LOVE Christmas! Everything about it, from the tree, to our annual visit to Harrods to see Father Christmas to hosting Christmas Day itself. It just truly is the most wonderful time of the year! The boys are super excited and as its our first Christmas in our new house so I want to make it our best Christmas yet!

Oscar is 7 almost 8 and his Christmas list this year contains a Nintendo Switch with the Mario Kart 8 game. He has wanted one since they were first released and loves playing Mario Kart on his handheld Nintendo DS. The difference with the Nintendo Switch is that you can use it as a handheld when out and about but use it as a proper games console when at home. We brought it off Amazon in the grey rather than the neon blue/red version for £279 and the Mario Kart 8 game for £41.99.

Image result for nintendo switch grey

Next on his list is a Drone with a camera and he wanted a camera that recorded as well. I really want one too so will be borrowing Oscar’s to make videos. I searched around and ended up getting the Sky Viper V2450HD Streaming Video Drone from Tesco Direct it was £120. It is only £69.99 at the moment on Amazon which is a great deal!

Image result for Sky Viper V2450HD Streaming Video Drone

Next on his list is the complete collection of the new Lego City Jungle range. Including the starter set there are 7 sets to collect, he has the smaller two already. We have got him the main set which is the Jungle Exploration Site which is £84.99 and the other sets have been distributed among the family.

Image result for lego city jungle

Oscar loves using my Apple watch and Kurio have a child friendly version of their own. The Kurio C17515 Children’s Blue Smartwatch 2.0 Plus is the Ultimate Smartwatch for kids! Personalise your watch with 2 x interchangeable coloured watch straps to match your style. Watch Pebble pops into an all-in-one strap and offers a splash proof and scratch resistant screen. Pre-loaded with 20 apps, a multi-function screen, camera/video, photo filters, messaging, media player, activity tracker, phrase translator and can also operate as a hands-free kit for a Smartphone when connected via Bluetooth. Boasts 256mb of internal memory and expandable storage upto 32GB. Includes one regular strap and one colour changing Thermal strap. I know he will love this!

Next up is the Playmobil Ghostbusters range. The toys look really great and Oscar has watched quite a few episodes of Ghostbusters now. I know Archie will like these toys too so it will be something they can play with nicely together. It looks really cool. There are six sets to collect ranging from £5.99 to £59.99. I love the Marshmallow man.

I hope this list has given you a few good ideas!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Hot Wheels® Track Builder Stunt Bridge Kit Review

If you haven’t seen the Hot Wheels Track Builder Stunt Bridge Kit yet it is set to be one of the Hot Wheels favourites this Christmas! As you have seen from my previous post the boys love Hot Wheels, especially Archie who is obsessed with cars!

The Hot Wheels tracks you can build with this kit are endless, there are so many possibilities! Oscar and Archie can use their imaginations to build whatever stunt/track they can think of, especially as it is fully brick compatible so you can add bricks to build it up and make the jumps as difficult as you like. Oscar built different jumps out of the bricks to see if he could get the cars to fly through the bricks and back down on to the track. It has a fully motorised bridge (you need 2 x D – not included) and the bridge goes up and down and you have to time it right to fly your car through the air and land it safely on the track the other side. You can launch 2 Hot Wheels cars through the motorised bridge and hope that your car knocks your opponents car off the track in mid-air! Trust me it gets very competitive! I can see this being a big competition on Christmas day with all of the family over!

You can add your Hot Wheels Track Builder Stunt Bridge Kit to other track you may already have to make one epic stunt track. The kit comes with a cars that is very lightweight which means you can make it fly even further through the air and across the large gap in the bridge. Oscar got so excited playing with this set and kept playing over and over until he managed to complete the stunt he had designed. There are three sets in one with multiple configurations, you can make a different stunt track for each day of the week, the possibilities are endless!

I loved the most that the boys had to get creative and build different tracks that they had thought of! Its great when you see them use their imaginations and how they bring their thoughts, ideas and creations to life! Also having the two track play the boys could race against each other and play nicely together.

For £34.99 this is a real bargain considering the size of the track and bridge you are getting and its a track that the boys will play with over and over again as every time you play you can build something new and exciting. Within the box is over 70 pieces to play with! Your little one will be thrilled to open this on Christmas Day!

 

Disclaimer: The Hot Wheels set was gifted to us for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own!

My First Scalextric Review

A few weeks ago Oscar and Archie were sent the My First Scalextric set to review.  Archie is absolutely obsessed with cars at the moment and I knew he would love a Scalextric set of his own.

The track is super easy to assemble and only tool a couple of minutes which was good as Archie was hoovering over me in excitement ready to play. It is aimed at children aged 3+ and after a few goes with Oscar teaching him Archie had got it and raced around the track without holding the controller at full speed and crashing.

With a five year age gap between the boys it was nice to watch them play with something properly together and have great fun racing against each other. Within the set comes two rally cars; yellow and red although the set is fully compatible with the Micro Scalextric range of sets and cars, allowing you to extend your track and add new cars. I have brought a few more cars for Archie for Christmas to add to his collection.

Scalextric is one of those toys that every generation of our family has owned. My Dad had a huge track with loads of cars when he was little, then my brother had a track and now my boys. As they get older we want to build a huge track and have a Scalextric room in the loft where they can keep their rack out and race over and over again. Scalextric is a proper traditional family toy that every age group can enjoy and is always a great gift at Christmas as you can have a lots of races with all the family!

The controls have magnatraction technology helps to keep the cars on the track, and variable hand-controllers allow the speed of racing to be adjusted depending on skill level which is great when you have your little racers starting out for the first time.

The My First Scalextric set is only £39.99 and there is free standard delivery over £30! Order now ready for Christmas!

Disclaimer: We were gifted this item for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own!