Tag Archives: christmas 2018

Blogmas Day 9: Our Annual Visit To Harrod’s Christmas Grotto

Yesterday we drove into London to visit Father Christmas on our annual grotto visit to Harrods. It has become a tradition for us to go to the Harrods Grotto and we have been going since 2012. I booked our slot back in September. You have to have a Harrods reward card and depending on what you spend in store throughout the year you are then given a tier and the higher your tier, the earlier the email you get to book your slot. This year I had to pay £20 per child to book and every year previously it had been £10 per child and then you got the money back on your Harrods reward card to spend in store. We would usually let the Oscar and Archie pick a decoration each. This year though I asked when we arrived about the £40 going back on the card and I was told they had changed it and you didn’t get it back anymore. This surprised me but I thought maybe the gift would be different and maybe that is why you now have to pay double the amount per child and not get it back to spend in store anymore.

When we arrived we checked in and waited and then we were greeted by Robin the Elf who did a few magic tricks and jokes and then we went into the Fairy and Elf airport. The Elf’s taught the children some sign language which was nice, asked them what they wanted for Christmas and then all the children had to hunt for envelopes around the room and post them for them. Then we walked into a room with three giant swans in them. Each family sat in a swan and we watched a video on the walls of the room and time travelled to Christmas day and then back to December the 8th. The boys were then given a Fantastica grotto time pilot licence.

We then went in to see Father Christmas. The room didn’t look as Christmassy as usual but the boys didn’t notice. Father Christmas was really nice and chatty, asking the boys what they would like for Christmas and congratulating Oscar on learning to ride his bike this year and asked Archie about starting nursery. He then gave them a Harrods grotto gift bag with a 2018 teddy bear inside and a giant chocolate coin. We then had our photo taken with him. We went outside and chose our photo which cost £14.50 for a large photo and you get a download code so you can have it on your phone too.

To be honest I am not to sure why they decided to charge more as the gift was the same size as last year and the grotto itself was a lot smaller. Afterwards we headed to the toy department to have a look around then went for lunch at our favourite, Honest Burger. Overall Oscar and Archie had a lovely day and really enjoyed it. I thought it wasn’t as good as last year and over priced really. Would we go again, of course its a tradition for us now and I will book again next year so we can get our annual photo.

Blogmas Day 6: Deck The Halls

As you will have seen on my Instagram our beautiful Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree arrived last Thursday from Pines and Needles and kicked off Christmas in our house. Traditionally for us the cheeky Elf On a Shelf’s Eddie and Ernie arrive on the 1st of December and bring the boys advent calendars and at the same time the Christmas fairies bring the rest of the decorations for the boys to wake up to.

We always have a artificial tree in the lounge, we’ve had this 7ft one for a few years now and it is so easy and quick to put up. I just need to get a new star as our usual one broke. On this tree as well as normal baubles are the ones the boys have chosen over the years from the Disney store as well as my collection of Harrods Bears. I have every bear from the year Greg and I met in 2006. I also had a decoration made of their joint school photo on Snapfish.

Under the tree we have our new light up presents which we brought a couple of weeks ago at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas. We also brought the light up snowman which is by the fireplace as well.

Our plush Father Christmas we brought in 2007 for our first Christmas at our last house. We got him from Ayletts nursery. They also have a lovely Christmas display each year and we used to visit there when I was a child with my parents and grandparents and always got to choose a new decoration for the tree.

Last Christmas I brought the NOEL nice and the Father Christmas Christmas countdown. The little silver candle holders and the berry candles were from a Christmas market in Prague that Greg brought me a few years ago.

Last Christmas I also brought the garland over the fireplace from John Lewis, four pine cone stocking holders from Amazon and our personalised stockings from Mr Mole Blankets. I absolutely love our fireplace!

In the hallway along with our Pines and Needles tree is my Santa in his rocking chair that I got from Van Hage last year and our giant snowman that lights up and sings from Costco. (Oscar and Archie chose this!!)

I always decorate the boys rooms and they wake up on the 1st with their Christmas sheets on, snow globes on the side and their stockings ready for Christmas Eve. I also have a selection of Christmas books in Archie’s room that we can read at bedtime.

Downstairs in the dining room where we will eat Christmas lunch I have a few decorations on the sideboard from Tilly B Handmade and am having a centrepiece made by Love Flowers like I did last year. At the moment my ball of pine cones is in the middle of the table that I brought last week. The wooden stars I brought back from Canada a few years ago.

I always love looking for new decorations or bits to add to the tree. If you have any websites you use let me know. And last but not least we have the Elves door that stays there until they go home with Father Christmas on Christmas Eve.

Outside the front door I have little light up trees that we brought from Waitrose.

Blogmas Day 5: A Fun Filled Christmassy December

If you haven’t guessed already, I blooming love Christmas! I am literally like a big kid and love to make it as special as possible for Oscar and Archie whilst they are both still young. Christmas in our house started last week with the arrival of our beautiful Pines and Needles Christmas tree. Then on the 1st of December our cheeky little elves, Eric and Ernie arrive and bring the boys advent calendars and stay with us until they fly home on Santa’s sleigh on Christmas eve. When the boys wake up on the 1st of December the Christmas fairies have also put the rest of our decorations up and our other Christmas tree in the lounge. The excitement was off the scale, they both woke up and their bed sheets had been changed to Christmas ones over the night then they ran downstairs to see if the elves had arrived!

This year our December is jam packed full of Christmas fun. We always visit Father Christmas at Harrods. This is something I did as a child so we are carrying on the tradition. I booked it back in September and we are going this week and every year it is so amazing! They have a different theme each time, the staff are so enthusiastic and the boys always choose a new decoration each and then we go out for something to eat afterwards. I can’t wait! This is where the boys put their letters to Father Christmas in the post box at the grotto and then they get a reply a couple of weeks later.

We are also going to the Pantomime this weekend to see Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. It is such a great day out at Christmas and fun for all the family. We are going to The Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth and this year it is running from the 7th to the 31st of December and has EastEnders and Dancing on Ice star Sam Attwater playing Prince Simon. Come back on Monday to read my full review.

We also have Oscar’s carol service and Archie’s nursery concert to look forward to over the next week which I absolutely love. It is so sweet to watch them perform amongst their class mates. Then the boys both finish next Friday for Christmas for three and a half weeks which will be great fun!

The Coca Cola Truck is touring the UK like it has for the last few Christmas’ so nest week I am going to take the boys to our local ASDA store to see it in the flesh for a bit of fun. You can see all the dates and locations HERE. You queue up and have your photo with the iconic Christmas truck. In the afternoon when its darker and iuts all lit up it looks really good!

Before Christmas we are also going to Bruges to visit the Christmas market. Oscar is so excited to go on a little road trip and go on the Euro Tunnel. The photos people have posted online before of the markets are amazing and its something I have wanted to do for a few years but now Archie is old enough to enjoy it too. We have booked a hotel near to the main market square with parking to make it as easy as possible to get around.

Image result for bruges christmas market

We also have another trip planned before Christmas, but it is under wraps at the moment.

On Christmas Eve we always go to our close friends and the boys Godparents house for the most amazing pork baps and Christmas carols around the piano. The children are always so excited as its not long until Father Christmas’ arrival. Oscar is learning a Christmas carol on the piano and a few of the children who can play each do a little solo piece. Then the children sit down around our friends Dad in the chair who reads them all ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’ story. Its always a lovely afternoon/evening and then we leave there and come home and leave the milk, carrots and cookies out for Father Christmas.

I would love to hear what you have planned and how you make your family Christmas as magical as possible?

Blogmas Day 1: Our Pines & Needles Christmas Tree

On Thursday this years Christmas Tree was delivered and dressed from Pines and Needles. I have been super excited about it as we had a tree from them last year and it was a complete show stopper, so beautiful. We have it in our hallway and even when the postman delivers a parcel he comments on how amazing it looks.

Pines and Needles offer the most amazing service where you can reserve and collect your tree from one of their stores or order online and have it delivered straight to your door. When you shop online you can pick the size of your tree and then add lights, decorations and a stand if you need too.

They also offer a service where two of their delivery men or women, dressed in their kilts will decorate the tree to perfection for you. As we had this last year I already have the stand, lights and decorations so you can just purchase the decorating service along with your tree.

I always pick a gold theme and for our 7ft Nordmann Fir I already have the Deluxe Gold decoration set from last year which is £345.95. I also have two sets of ice white lights and the tree stand, so I got everything out and ready for when they arrived.  The 7ft tree costs £75.95 and last year it lasted from the last week in November until the end of December and didn’t drop at all. Our house smells amazing too, you just can’t beat the smell of a real Christmas Tree!

If you live in London there are a range of convenient services to choose from to make the installation of your Christmas Tree as easy as possible, ranging from a drop off to door right through to the full Decoration Service.

  • Budget Deliver Tree to Door: Drop off to door from £16.95
  • Deliver Tree to Room : Drop off to room of choice from £20.95
  • Premium Delivery: As above, and installation into stand from £29.95
  • Premium Delivery & Lights Installation: As above, and lighting of tree from £65.95
  • Decoration Service: As above, and Decorating tree with decorations Price dependent on tree size.

Our driver updated us throughout the day to let us know when they would be arriving. They arrived and immediately got to work. Our tree was up and dressed in just over an hour and they cleaned up afterwards as well. I did buy a dust sheet this year to make it easier and quicker to clean up afterwards.

This years tree is absolutely huge and a lot bushier than last years and I absolutely love it!

I am so happy with our tree and the boys were so excited to come home from school and see it as soon as I opened the front door. Christmas has well and truly begun in our household!

This post is in collaboration with Pines and Needles. We were gifted our tree but all views are honest and my own.