Category Archives: Arts and Crafts

Learning Through Play With Orchard Toys

Orchard Toys games have always been a permanent fixture in our house since Oscar was 2 years old. Our games draw in the playroom is full of them, some are almost 6 or 7 years old that I saved from Oscar for Archie to now play with. When Archie gets a party invitation 9 times out of 10 the present we give is always a Orchard Toys game as they are educational and super fun to play at the same time, which is definitely a win win from a parents point of view!

A few weeks ago we were kindly asked to review some of their new games which I knew the boys would love and get hours and hours of play out of. We love to play games as a family and every Sunday when they see their grandparents we try to always take over a game to all sit and play together.

My most favourite thing about the games and puzzles are that they really promote learning through play. Archie is almost 5 and is really enjoying learning is letters and numbers at the moment and being the little Brother is eager to catch up to Oscar. Oscar is 9 and even though most of the games are for a slightly younger age group he has enjoyed playing them with Archie and you can see a great sense of pride when he helps Archie to learn new things.

Archie loves doing jigsaw puzzles and we were kindly gifted two from their range; Number Street and the Giant Road. Number Street has lovely chunky pieces which are perfect for little hands and is aimed at ages 2-5. You have to piece together the number line, recognising the numbers and then counting the correct number of animals to play above the number. This is great for number recognition as well as counting objects aloud. Obviously for 2 year old’s its great for recognising and naming colours and animals too. Now Archie is 5 and secure with 1-10 we tried maths, for example how many more butterflies are there than the giraffes. We had so much fun with this puzzle!

The Giant Road was a big hit as Archie is car crazy. He loves playing with cars and makes huge traffic jam lines. The Giant Road is a huge interchangeable floor puzzle where you can create lots of different road maps to drive your toy cars on. You can also purchase expansion packs to make your road as big as you would like it. I have actually purchased this to go in Archie’s stocking for Christmas. There are other similar jigsaws available like the Giant Town and the Giant Railway.

Archie’s favourite of the bits we were gifted has been Little Bus Lotto. He has played this literally everyday since it arrived. Its for up to 4 players so we have each had a bus and he has loved it. Its a game of memory and matching and over the last week he has become so good at it. It is easy for him to understand which is great and something the boys who have a 5 year age gap can play together and both get really involved. It is amazing how competitive they get!

Llamas in Pyjamas is a matching game from the mini games range. Each player starts with a pyjama bottom card. The aim of the game is to be the player with the most matching Llamas In Pyjamas. It can be quite a fast game when the players get competitive and the boys got really excited playing. The Mini Games range is fantastic, we have a few now and the boxes are small enough to put in your bag when travelling or to take to a friend’s house to play. At only £5 each they make great birthday party gifts and are the perfect price point for Christmas stocking fillers.

Giraffes In Scarves is a great game to boost colour matching skills and counting too. This was probably the first game for Archie using a dice, which admittedly took a couple of attempts for him to not turn it onto the colour he wanted, haha! Once he got it the actual game is really simple, you have to roll the dice, pick a card and build your giraffes neck taller and taller. The winner who is whoever collects the most scarves. This is for ages 4-7 so is perfect for Archie and his learning age. It is great to take around to his grandparents to play is for 2-6 players.

The Knights and Dragons game is again a game of collecting cards and matching them. There are 40 cards; 20 Knight tops and 20 bottoms and you need to match and collect as many as you can. Archie thoroughly enjoyed this game and loved the brightly coloured pieces. You have to watch out for the Dragon in the pack of cards and he found it very funny when someone else got them. These games are only £8 and are so well made, they are really chunky pieces that don’t bend or break easily. Once again the price point is perfect for a birthday or Christmas gift. The games really do last for years.

There is a great first games selection for children of 18 months and over. At this age children are super inquisitive and are learning all the time from everything around them. They also reach lots of different milestones between 18 months and 3 years and absorb so much information. This range from Orchard Toys is great way to introduce gameplay, turn-taking and other early learning skills with chunky, wipe-clean pieces which are ideal for little hands. We were sent Mummy and Baby and Farmyard Heads and Tails which are both 2 piece games. Mummy and Baby is a two piece puzzle, with 6 different puzzles in the box. They are all different animals and the perfect set of first puzzles. The two pieces slot together easily and are great for hand-eye coordination. Farmyard Heads and Tails is a matching activity games, matching the different halves of animals, a tractor and the farmer. There are 12 pairs to match and you can also use cards to play a game of pairs. As Archie is older he preferred to play this version of the game.

A brand new game from Orchard Toys is Rainbow Unicorns. This is for age 3-5 and for 2-4 players. It is one game but with two ways to play, so there is hours of fun! It is a fun and colourful matching game where players must gallop over the rainbow, match the Unicorn heads and tails along the way to reach the pot of gold at the end. Each player has a coloured Unicorn player piece and if you come across a sad cloud card the play passes to the next person. You can also go on the Orchard Toys where they have lots of free downloadable activities from crafts to recipes. To match this game you can download a Unicorn colouring sheet.

Talking of fun activities, their colouring and activity books are fantastic. Archie loves to sit down and colour and draw and these books have also been a must for us when travelling, they provide hours of entertainment on a plane. We have the Jungle sticker colouring book and the More Things To Do sticker activity book. The More Things To Do sticker activity book is full of colouring, puzzles, odd ones out, wordsearches, dot to dot’s, crosswords and much more. The books are £3 each.

Match and Spell is a great game for Archie at the moment as he is learning to read and is always sounding out his letters to blend them together to make the correct word. Match and Spell is a spelling and reading game. It helps Archie to recognise his letters and Orchard Toys also have the next level games available to really help along the reading learning journey. I really liked this game and without had so much fun without Archie even realising he was learning along the way. You can play the game in two different ways; you can either match the letter cards to the letters shown on their board in the correct order to build a word or in the more challenging version of the game, players can use the blank side of their boards and use the letter cards to build the word of the picture shown which really helps with spellings.

Last but not least and the biggest game of all with 300 hilarious challenges is What A Performance! The aim of the game is to be the first person or team around the board to win. Along the way there are tasks like making animal sounds, different actions and fun activities. Oscar and Archie loved the magic decoder which gives out hidden forfeits too. This is great for a family fun game for all ages so everyone can get involved. We will definitely be playing this on Christmas Day with the whole family!

Orchard Toys really do make amazing educational games that are full of fun! The Educational games, jigsaws and colouring books make the perfect Christmas gifts for children! I have brought a few mini games as stocking fillers and some of the games from their French range as Oscar and Archie both learn French in school.

 

*Disclaimer: We were gifted the above mentioned games and activities by Orchard Toys. All opinions are honest and my own and we love the brand and have used them ourselves for many years.

 

AD The Tonies TonieBox

Archie is four and absolutely loves having stories read to him every evening before he goes to bed and some days I often find him with a book looking at the pictures, trying to make out the story inside. Listening to stories is so important for little inquisitive minds and helps to grow children’s imaginations. Did you know that if your child listens to just one story every day by the age of five they would have enjoyed 1825 stories, isn’t that amazing!

I first saw the Tonies Toniebox on Instagram a few months ago and wondered what it was. It is a super clever little box which is full of audio fun for little ones to enjoy. When Archie received his in the post he was very excited. I set it up which is easy as you follow a few simple sets, connect it to your wi-fi and your away. The box itself looks great, made of super soft material that your children can hug in bed whilst they listen to a story but durable enough to take out and about with you. It comes in six different colours to fit in with your child’s bedroom decor.

Once your Toniebox is set up you simply place your story time Tonie on top and your box downloads the audio content. Once downloaded each Tonie has a story on it and songs too, with a running time of roughly 25-30 minutes. We have two of the Disney Tonies; The Lion King and The Jungle Book. Archie really enjoyed listening to the stories and dancing and singing along to his favourite Disney songs. The Tonies themselves are really well made and Archie also uses them as play figures too.

Once your audio content is downloaded onto your Toniebox you can listen to your stories and songs anywhere without wi-fi connection and with a battery life of 7 hours it is the perfect travel companion as well. It’s perfect for long flights and car journeys. Next time we go on holiday I am taking this with us for sure! You can even purchase a carrier to keep it safe. Archie also brings it in to the bathroom and listens to a story whilst he plays in the bath.

The Toniebix starter set is £69.95 and comes with the box in the colour of your choice (6 to choose from), the charging station and a Creative-Tonie with room for 90 minutes, so you can upload your MP3s, audiobooks or even narrate your own stories. There is also a promotion running at the moment where you can get a free Tonie worth £14.99 when your purchase your starter kit.

Once you have your starter kit there are so many amazing Tonies to choose from. From Disney characters, themed songs, educational Tonies, stories for older children, Julia Donaldson favourites like The Gruffalo and Stick Man and many more. At £14.99 they make great gifts at Christmas and Birthdays to grow your little ones Tonie collection. I have brought the Snowman Tonie ready for December for Archie to listen too.

We were kindly gifted Archie’s Tonie Box but I genuinely couldn’t recommend one of these high enough. It would make a fantastic present for your little one this Christmas and its something you can keep adding to, so will last for years!

How To Design & Organise The Perfect Utility Room

My utility room without a doubt is one of the most used rooms in our house. When we built our house two years ago I loved designing the utility room as I had never had one before. Our utility room is directly off of our kitchen and leads to a door out to the side of the house and a door to the garage as well.

With every room in our house, storage was important! So in our utility we added a large cupboard for shoes, coats and also a store for bottled water and toilet rolls. Having this cupboard keeps everything neat and tidy and out of sight. We also added a motion activated light in here which is handy.

In our old house we had a Butler sink and I loved it. I chose a different sink in the kitchen so opted for a Butler sink in the utility. I chose quite a big one as its perfect for rinsing of football kits and cleaning muddy boots in.

We have a NEFF washing machine and tumble dryer in here, one on each side of the sink. When purchasing I opted for machines which held large loads so I could get as much as I could washed and dried in one load. I love these machines and they are so easy to use and keep clean.

Under the sink Is a secure cupboard where my main cleaning products are kept. I stock a few of each bottle at a time so I never run out. I purchased lots of Curver storage baskets which I love and have in every cupboard of this room. Under the sink I have one with all my cleaning clothes, rubber gloves and spare Vileda mop cloths in. Having everything organised like this means whatever I need I can grab quickly.

I have used the Curver baskets to organise everything. I have separate ones for medicines, sun creams, hoover bags, shoe cleaning, washing products, dishwasher products, toilet Bloo, candles, Zoflora, cleaning wipes, Minky’s and sponges, light bulbs, batteries, charging wires and USB’s and lint rollers. Everything has a place making it neat and tidy! I love this washing tablet tin that I picked up in Tiger, its so cute!

I have a craft cupboard with all the boys paints, playdough etc in here too which is all organised in boxes too. So when they want to do a craft activity they know where everything is kept.

I made sure I had a long cupboard that would easily fit in my ironing board and Vileda spray mop and there was even room left to add a shelf at the top to store my vases on.

At the end if the utility room near the side door I have a boot room area with a bench for the boys to sit at when they take their dirty shoes off. This is also storage and keeps our wellies inside. Above the seat is where my Pulleymaid beadboard drying rack is. This is one of my favourite things in this room. It folds flat against the wall to store easily but comes forward as a drying rack which is great for me as with the boys swimming 3 or 4 times a week, Oscar having two dirty football kits on the weekend and the dirty kit bag coming home with Oscar on Friday with a swimming kit, a PE kit and a very muddy games kit inside I have plenty of space to dry the things that can’t go in the tumble dryer. Before I had the Pulleymaid I would hang it off cupboard handles and it would drive me mad, this keeps the utility looking neat and tidy all of the time and from the kitchen you cannot see the drying clothes. Win!

On the work surface on one side of the sink I have some pasta jars that we have had for years and my lovely Enesco Beatrix Potter Miss Tiggywinkle biscuit jar and on the other side is my trusty slow cooker, my Shark handheld vacuum which is perfect for hoovering up crumbs and cleaning your skirting boards with along with a recipe book stand where I keep any important forms etc on. I also have a weekly notice board which was from Next that has our yearly calender, letters and all of the boys clubs on the daily blackboards. I find it really useful.

I absolutely love my utility room and it so functional and makes all the household chores so much easier as everything you need is easy to find. I hope you can pick up some useful organisational tips from this post.

If you need any help with organising your home my lovely friend Leone has just started a new business called Cluttercation.  If you haven’t got time to get everything in order or just don’t know where to start, Leone can help you to achieve an organised and clutter free home! Quote SPRINGCLEAN1 to get your 10% discount before the 31st May 2019.

Image result for cluttercation

 

Blogmas Day 13: Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular

On Tuesday morning we went to Willows Activity Farm in London Colney, St Albans as they are running their annual Santa Spectacular. If you have read my blog before you will know that we absolutely love Willows Activity farm and it is somewhere we have been visiting since Oscar was little. We are so lucky that we only live 15 minutes from the farm and visit at least five or six times a year.

Their Santa Spectacular is always amazing and a real fun filled magical day out for the whole family. What I love about Willows is the ticket price is what you pay, there are no hidden extras. Every activity, ride and experience is included in your entry fee. Archie always gets so excited when I say we are going to Willows, he absolutely loves it. We met my friend and her daughter at the farm at 10am when it opened and got our Santa Spectacular visitor guide, our Elf passport, animal feed, and three tokens. One for meeting Father Christmas, one for decorating a gingerbread man and one for making a cuddly toy. You also get given a free child return visit voucher to use in the new year between 5th of January to 15th February and the 25th March to the 29th March. We will making use of that for sure.

We decided to go and visit Father Christmas first before the farm got really busy. You walk through lots of decorations; from the Polar Express to Santa’s Sleigh, the decorations are beautiful. There is also a lovely spot on a log under lots of lights which is perfect for a photo. We went in to see Father Christmas, he was really lovely chatting to the children and in exchange for their token he gave them each a magic key to get into Santa’s toy shop. I love this idea so much, so instead of Father Christmas giving them a gift, the children can pick anything they want from his toy shop. It was absolutely full of toys, there were so many to choose from. Eventually Archie picked a Doctor’s kit. You can then also purchase your photo that you had taken with Father Christmas.

We then went to watch the 3D movie which was great. The gingerbread decorating was also in the same barn so we did that as well. It was nice to sit down and enjoy a hot cup of tea whilst the children iced and decorated their gingerbread men. You can also purchase snacks in the barn as well.

We walked back to the Farmyard and fed all of the animals and got to see the Reindeer. Archie always loves the Farmyard and last time we were there the piglets had been born and he couldn’t believe how much they had grown.

Next to the Farmyard is the Create-A-Cuddle Worskshop where you exchange your token and are given a empty bear, stuffing, pick a coloured heart, a birth certificate and a lovely bag for your bear to go in. We stuffed our teddy and put in the heart and then zipped him up. Archie has taken him to bed ever since, its a really lovely teddy.

We walked across the farm to where Tristan the Tractor is as he was ready to take us on a Festive Wood Ride. As we got on the tractor each child can choose some bells and throughout the ride he plays Christmas songs and Archie sang along and shook the bells. On the ride you can see the sheep, cows and pigs as well as festive scenes set around the route.

We headed to the Peter Rabbit adventure playground as the kids always love it. It is such a fantastic play area and Archie loves all of the interactive games and musical instruments. Mr Tod’s Lair is another great Peter Rabbit attraction that opened at Easter and for any little Peter Rabbit fan is great fun.

We went into Woolly Jumpers and got some lunch and a drink and then Archie and his friend played in the soft play. The soft play at the farm is huge and has different areas for different ages. I often come here in the Winter months, even on a rainy day as you can use the soft play and the Farmyard is covered too in the barn.

We went to go on the ice-skating but missed the time slot whilst we were having lunch. I think on the weekend it is open longer. We finished our day by going on the rides and then headed home to get Oscar from school.

We had a lovely day and you really do get so much for your entry price as well as picking a great gift from Santa’s toy shop. The prices for  the 15th-24th December 2018 is £22 for an adult, £38 per child, senior £21, under 2 paying (so they can take part in all the activities) £22.50 and disabled child with free carer £25 and a disabled adult is £12.50. You can save £2 off of those prices by booking online beforehand. It really is such an amazing Christmassy day out for the whole family to enjoy!

We were gifted the tickets to Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular event and had a wonderful time!

Blogmas Day 8: Making My Own Christmas Wreath

On Thursday morning I was kindly invited along with a few other Mum’s from school to go to our friends house for a wreath making workshop. I have never done anything like this before and have wanted to take part for a couple of years but now Archie is in nursery on a Thursday morning it meant I was child free and could join in.

We arrived to pastries, fresh juice and hot drinks and then picked between a round or heart-shaped wreath. I picked a round one as I was aiming to use it as a table centrepiece with a handle in the middle as I can’t attach a wreath to our front door as we don’t have a knocker and the door is too thick for a hanging hook. Annoying!

My friend had asked Emily from who is a local florist and she brought along Nordmann fir pieces from a local Christmas tree farm along with other exotic pieces, decorations and lights. She started as off by showing us how to attach the hanging hook and then how to place your pieces on and which way to go around the wreath using your copper wire to secure everything as you go. To be honest at the beginning mine looked shocking and I wasn’t very impressed with it but as I got further around it suddenly all came together. In the end I used the fir-tree pieces and gypsophila and few pieces of eucalyptus.

At the end my wreath was huge and I did ask Emily to secure the last bit of wire and trim it down for me. I then added little sticks of cinnamon, wooden decorative hearts and fairy lights. I am really pleased with the finished result and it looks great on my dining room table. It smells absolutely amazing!

This is a great Christmas activity to do at home with the girls and it was nice to do something at Christmas time that is more for the adults.

Blogmas Day 7: Swizzels Stocking Fillers & Festive Sweet Tub Give Away

I cannot believe it is only 18 days until Christmas, December is flying by. I have started preparing the boys stockings that they hang on the end of their beds on Christmas Eve. As well as filling it with books, games and little toys I always add a sweet treat. Swizzels have a huge range of amazing Christmas gifts and stocking fillers to make your little ones jump for joy on Christmas morning. From sweet shop favourites to bumper bags of your favourite sweets, there is something for everyone.

There are also fantastic retro sweet hampers that you can personalise which would make the perfect gift for my Dad. He loves sweets, retro ones in particular and the hampers are a bargain at £16.99! There are also vegetarian and vegan gifts available, so there really is something for everyone.

My absolute favourites are Love Hearts, Drumsticks and Refreshers, they just take me right back to being a child when my Grandad would give us a fifty pence piece every Thursday and my Brother and I would go to the local newsagent and spend it on them. Even now when Oscar gets given them at parties and especially on Halloween I always eat the drumsticks!

Online on the Swizzels website throughout the whole of December you can get 15% off everything using the code DEC2018. After looking through the website I also ordered our whole family a packet of personalised Love Hearts each to put on the Christmas table. I will share a photo with you when they arrive.

On the Swizzels website they also have fun Christmas recipes, quizzes, jokes, cracker making tutorials and Christmas crafts. Perfect to keep your little ones entertained up until Christmas. Oscar and Archie love doing Christmas crafts and baking so we will be making the Drumstick Squashies Rocky Road and printing off the colouring sheets.

So here’s something to set your jingle bells ringing! Thanks to the lovely people at Swizzels, to celebrate Christmas, I have two scrumptious Swizzels 5kg Party Sweet Tubs (RRP £24.99) to give away. They are filled to the brim with the finest Swizzels sweeties and each tub is enough to satisfy even the sweetest of tooth right through Christmas and into the New Year! They are perfect for sharing, filling multiple stockings, or even as a staff room treat, these tubs have been packed with all your childhood (and adulthood!) Swizzels favourites: Refreshers, Parma Violets, Mr Chews, Love Hearts, Fizzers, Fruity
Pops, Drumsticks, Double Lollies and more… It’s enough to make your mouth water!

To enter this fabulously mouth-watering competition all you need to do is enter below! Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is in collaboration with Swizzels.

Blogmas Day 3: Christmas Dining Table Inspiration

I cannot wait for Christmas this year! Oscar is so excited and Archie understands all about Father Christmas this year properly for the first time, so its really magical. This Christmas as usual we have both sides of the family for lunch, there are 12 of us around the table for lunch. Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I love adding personal touches to make it as fabulous and as special as possible for everyone.

I have been searching on Google for Christmas table ideas over the last few months and found so many great ideas. I have decided to stick with my usual Gold colour theme to match our fabulous Pines and Needles Christmas Tree. This is our second year of having our gorgeous tree delivered and dressed and its a show stopper! I’ve picked up lots of little bits from Christmas fairs and garden centres and online as well and thought I would share a few ideas with you. We also went to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas where I brought some new decorations.

For the last few years I have used Gold chargers on the table that I brought from Next. This year I wanted to get some gold place mats instead and again brought them from Next, one side is a shimmered gold and the other is glitter gold. I prefer the shimmer but you could alternate each mat to jazz it up a bit. They come in a pack of four with the coasters for £20.

I also follow a lot of independent sellers on Instagram and Facebook and ordered some lovely personalised wooden Christmas tree place setters from Pretty Personalised who sell lots of personalised gifts.

Last year I had a beautiful centrepiece made by Love Flowers in Rickmansworth and it looked amazing and smelt divine! I think it was about £100 and I will definitely be getting another one this year.

Last year I also found these cute wooden personalised napkin rings and brought thick disposable napkins from Marks and Spencer to put inside them. They have similar ones available from Not On The High Street, a set of 12 is £48.

To go with my Gold theme I also have Gold Cutlery from Viners. The sets come in lovely display boxes and are £135 a set for four people. The only annoying thing is I can’t put them in the dishwasher so have to wash them up by hand.

I hope I have given you a few ideas. I would love to see your Christmas Dining tables and any great ideas you have, so make sure you share them with me!

Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise Review

Last week we were kindly sent the Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise to review and as Archie loves making slime with Oscar I knew he would find it fun. When it arrived I absolutely loved the packaging and the whole surprise element of it.

Archie unwrapped it and as you peel back the outer cardboard all of Poopsie’s accessories are attached to the card. She comes with over 20 surprises; 4 Unicorn Food slime packets, 4 Unicorn Magic packets and 1 packet of Unicorn Sparkle, a Poopsie key chain where you can store your slime, an exclusive bottle, a unicorn shirt & nappy, a spoon, a hair brush, a cleaning tool and a measuring cup. Everything you need to make your unicorn slime poo and to also keep her clean so you can use her as a doll as well.

Inside the box is then your surprise Poopsie Unicorn. There are four different Unicorn’s to collect. Archie got Rainbow Brightstar.

We laid everything out ready and then followed the step by step instructions provided. They are easy to follow and Archie enjoyed mixing the unicorn food and drink and feeding it to her. He managed to help me mix everything and be involved in the whole process which made it much more fun and engaging for him. It is for children over 3 years old.

He then found it hilarious as he shook her and then placed her on the potty and he watched her poop! The slime is then made in the potty, you leave it for 10-15 minutes to set and then you can play with it.

Cleaning Poopsie was easy and I flushed her through with warm water and used the cleaning brush. I had read before hand not to leave it and wash her straight away otherwise it is harder to clean.

Archie really enjoyed getting creative and making his unicorn slime, he found it great fun. It is a great toy and is easy and fun to use.

The Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise has an RRP of £49.99 and is available at Smyths, The Entertainer and Argos. It was recently ranked in the Dream Toys Top 12 Toys for Christmas this year so grab yours before they sell out!

You get enough packets to feed and make more slime and when you run out you can purchase more when needed. I also noticed Poopsie Pooey Puitton bag which you can purchase which is full of unicorn magic, unicorn crunch, glitter and colouring to make the ultimate slime!

 

We were gifted the Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise for the purpose of this review.

My Top 5 Places to Visit At Christmas With Kids In The UK

I love Christmas and over the last couple of years we have been to some fantastic places with the boys over the Christmas period. Some are our family Christmas traditions and others places we just love to go to as they are so magical. Here are my top 5 places we have been to so far….

1. Lapland UK

Lapland UK is so amazing! We went two Christmases ago and I was blown away. It is magical from start to finish and other then real snow I imagine it’s just as magical as Lapland itself. It’s quite pricey but in my opinion I would pay it time and time again. We had the most magical family day out and the boys, especially Oscar as he was 7 couldn’t believe it. You come away full of Christmas spirit!

2. Harrod’s Christmas Grotto.

We have been visiting Harrod’s Christmas Grotto since Oscar’s first Christmas. I eagerly await my booking email every year and book up straight away. It’s a Christmas tradition in our house as it’s the same Grotto I visited as a child too. Each year is so different with a different theme and decorations and the boys love it! We always buy the Harrod’s Christmas bear for our tree afterwards then have dinner together. It’s nice to have a special Christmas tradition as a family. You have to pay a deposit (this year was £20 a child) when booking the Grotto but get it straight back on your Harrod’s reward card afterwards to spend in store, we use it to buy more Christmas decorations. I booked our slot last month and can’t wait to go!

3. Santa Spectacular – Willow’s Activity Farm, London Colney, St Albans

Willows Activity Farm is such a great day out in general with so much to see and do. But at Christmas it’s amazing! The Grotto is fantastic and when you visit Father Christmas you get a key to his toy shop where you can choose whatever toy you like. There is also ice skating and you can meet their husky dog. Here’s my post from our visit to the farm last Christmas. It runs from 21st November – 24th December 2018 and costs from £30 a child, £19.50 Under 2s, £14 an Adult, £13.15 Seniors, £25 Disabled child & free carer and £12.50 Disabled adult + free carer. It really is a fantastic day out for everyone!

4. Santa’s Sleepover At Alton Towers

We love Alton Tower’s and had a weekend away there staying in the enchanted village back in April. At Christmas Alton Tower’s put on their Santa’s Sleepover. Within the package you get an overnight stay in our amazing accommodation, a unique visit to Santa (experience dependent on accommodation), their fun-filled Pantomime, Alice in Wonderland , A festive evening meal, a delicious buffet breakfast, One day Waterpark tickets, One day Theme Park tickets with selected rides and attractions including CBeebies Land, evening entertainment including character meet & greets, shows, a Christmas cinema and a farewell from Santa Claus! Plus 9 holes of crazy Extraordinary Golf.

5. Warner Bros Studio Tour, Hogwarts In The Snow

I love the Warner Bros Studio Tour and luckily for us its only ten minutes down the road from us. We have been four or five times now but no time is as magical as Hogwarts In The Snow. The Great Hall is set up for a Christmas Feast, snow falls as you walk outside and we usually go in November and it really gets you into the Christmas spirit. This year it is running from the 17th of November through to the 27th of January 2019. For any Harry Potter fan this is not to be missed! It is beyond magical!

Another fun event to go to with the kids is visiting the #holidaysarecoming Coca Cola Christmas Truck. Every year they realise tour dates and we went and saw it at a local supermarket. The staff make it a really fun event for the kids and we got a free downloadable photo.

Our NumNoms Smoothie Movie Night

Last night we had a lovely chilled evening after school. The boys had pizza for dinner and then a bath and then came back downstairs for our very own NumNoms Smoothie Movie Night. We were sent a lovely package last week full of goodies for the perfect movie night. The boys snuggled under their new fleecy throw, tucked into their sweeties and we downloaded The Greatest Showman as we hadn’t watched it before.

As well as our movie night treats we were also sent the new Num Noms Snackables Silly Shakes Maker Play set. Archie was so excited when he opened the box and the play set smelt amazing! The set is made up of a sweet kitchen where you can mix up slime shakes. You use the mixing bowl to put the jelly base into and then add your choice of scented colouring and glitter or sprinkles. Archie then slotted the mixing bowl back into the kitchen and mixed up his slime recipe.

You then pull out the oven shelf tray and transfer your slime mix into the plastic shake dispenser. This rotates and you can fill the dispenser with all different coloured slime shakes. The set comes with three mini silly shakes cups and you then use the the special dispenser to fill up your shake cup.

Its a great play set to get involved in ‘messy play’ and Archie loved making different shakes in different colours and then starting all over again. The pieces are easy to clean as everything slots in and out of place to keep your set looking great.

If your children, like mine love making and playing with slime this would make such a fantastic Christmas gift. Archie also plays with it along with his other NumNom toys when were not making the slime shakes. All of the NumNom toys make the playroom smell amazing. The Num Noms Snackables Silly Shakes Maker Play set has an RRP of £39.99 and includes everything you need to make your slime shakes. You get the jelly base, two glitter toppings, two colouring tubes, three shake cups plus a special edition NumNom.

We were also sent a NumNoms light surprise in a jar, which has a gorgeous smelling NumNom plush inside and a light surprise edition NumNom inside too. A great stocking filler at only £12.99.

Archie is a big fan of NumNoms and has been since we went to a special event back in April and he has played with them ever since. He loves how each one smells different and whenever were in Smyths Toys we always pick up a mystery pack to add to his growing collection. Again the mystery pack or the starter packs would make great stocking fillers.

We had the best Smoothie Movie night thanks to NumNoms UK!

 

We were sent the above mentioned products so we could have our NumNoms Smoothie Movie night and for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.