Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas Round Up

I'd like to firstly apologise for the lack of blog posts in the last week or so, as you would imagine things have been a little bit manic with the end of the school term for Ruby and a certain event called Christmas.


This Christmas I have struggled to get excited about the festivities, especially in the last few days towards Christmas when I noticed on various social media platforms people complaining that they hadn't been able to get the food they wanted or telling the world how many hundreds of pounds they had spent on food and drink, some of the amounts really shocked me because as a family our monthly food budget is around £250, I can't imagine spending that in just one shop! 

On Christmas Eve I looked at the presents that were under our tree and started to feel guilty as to how much family and friends had bought us, when there are so many people who live without food, water, heat and washing facilities. I find it so hard that some children in third world countries have never had a Christmas present and how amazing it would feel for them to just get some colouring pencils and colouring books in some shiny Christmas paper. 

I have always tried to teach Ruby the value of money and to be thankful for what she has, although we don't have a great deal, we are happy with our little lives. On Christmas Eve I spoke to Ruby about how some people don't have any presents or food and asked her if next year she would like to come with me to a homeless shelter to help out, I explained that together we could bake some mince pies or gingerbread and offer them to people who don't have any food. So next year we have a plan, I'm going to search for somewhere that would be willing to hand out some home baked goods. 

A friend posted this on Facebook and it really gives something to think about:


The girls woke up at around 7.30 on Christmas morning and opened their stockings from Santa in our bed. We had breakfast in bed before heading downstairs to see if Santa had delivered any presents. Santa of course had delivered lots of presents and whilst I'm grateful I shall be talking to family next year as there really is very little the girls need and space is becoming an issue.


As a family we received so many lovely gifts, Ruby's favourite was her Playmobil camping set, Lottie loved her Peppa Pig camper van play set. Both girls have loved sharing and playing together with each other's toys. 

I was not feeling 100% on Christmas Day and now we know it was the start of a nasty kidney infection, I was unable to eat my Christmas dinner and just wanted to go back to bed, so that is what I did on Christmas afternoon, and have pretty much remained there ever since, it's not been a particularly good Christmas but I'm hoping for a better New Year, and then I turn 30 on the 3rd of January! Has anyone set any New Years resolutions? 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Save the Children - Christmas Jumper Day


Today like many other people Phil and I are wearing our Christmas jumpers in support of Save the Children.


This is the 3rd year of the campaign and so far they have raised a massive 1.6 million!

TEXT WOOLLY to 70050 to donate £2

The UK Government will match every £1 donated this Christmas so the money you pledge, they will double and make a big contribution to help save the children.


Visit jumpers.savethechildren.org.uk for more information.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Christmas Tree Festival

Last weekend my mum invited us to come along with her to her local Christmas tree festival; I have been to many christmas tree festivals in recent years, but I dont recall going to any as I was growing up, they seem to be growing in popularity and most are hosted in local parish churches.

Personally I think its a great idea to get people into a church building so that they can be familiar about how it is all set up; the festival raises much needed funds for charity and also a percentage of the money goes to the upkeep of the church building, which I know costs a lot of money as I was a churchwarden a few years back.

We left the car at my mums house and decided to wrap up warm and walk the 5 or so minutes to the church. I am always amazed at how many people enter trees into the fetival and even more impressive is that I have never been to a tree festival where there have been 2 similar themes.


Here are some of our favourites from the christmas tree festival we went to over the weekend.











Which one do you like? Have you been to a Christmas tree festival before and have you entered one? I would love to know so please leave me a blog comment below.

Friday, 5 December 2014

News Flash - Chocolate Monster on the Loose!

Well this morning whilst I was getting dressed, I came downstairs and look what I found:


A chocolate monster had decided to take pretty much all of the chocolates off the Christmas tree!

The monster then was able to unwrap the chocolates and leave a trail all over the lounge!


The trail led to the culprit ... who was caught with chocolate all over her face!

The chocolate monster was ... Lottie!


I managed to catch the whole investigation on film; it's very sweet what the chocolate monster has to say in response to what had happened.


As Lottie is so angelic she is able to get away with so much, those big blue eyes and blonde hair just melt my heart; but because of her eating all the chocolates, we now don't have any chocolates left on our Christmas tree! 


Please learn from this and do not put the chocolate is reach of your little "darlings"!


UPDATE; I have since found more chocolate wrappers stashed under the foot stool... to be continued.


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas is Coming!

I cant believe that I am sat here surrounded by Christmas decorations, this must mean christmas is just around the corner! Over the weekend we decided to put our Christmas tree up, although technical the 1st of December actually fell on Monday, it was just more practical to get it done on Sunday than try to do it on Monday with two over tired children. I do think though that the countdown to Christmas is becoming earlier and earlier as the years have gone by. What do you think? Have you already put your tree up or are you waiting? If so why?


We seem to have gone a little bit mad this year with the christmas decorations, well mad for us not compared to some peoples standards though :)


This year our main Christmas tree is in the lounge and on top of a table, we did this last year as it offers more room for presents under the tree and takes up much less room in the lounge. The tree is covered in so many different decorations, but the glass baubles and of course the chocolates are my favourite, I think there are about 60 chocolates on the tree!


In the girls playroom we normally have a slim pop up tree but because of how full the playroom is the tree is now in the dinning area of our kitchen. We only bought this tree last year and I love it because its different, its white and contains multicoloured baubles.


My husband appears to be getting into the festive spirit this year and has placed lights outside on the hebe shrub growing in the garden and even placed lights on the stairs! As a child he never had a house full of what he calls "Tacky" Christmas decorations and the tree didn't go up until very near Christmas so I think he is reliving his childhood!

Last year I purchased a lovely wooden nativity set and both Ruby and Lottie are loving playing with it. 


With regards to Christmas presents, all have been bought! yes really all of them have been bought. I try and buy them throughout the year so the financial burden isn't as great. However this comes with a problem as I always see things I like and end up buying more especially when it comes to the girls.

Well I suppose I should stop typing and start writing the christmas cards, do you send Christmas cards? I don't know why but for some reason we seem to be sending more and more each year.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

An Update on the Christmas Dilemma

You may recall that I recently wrote about the dilemma we faced as a family, we were unsure how to combine both mine and Phil's childhood Christmas traditions together to form the father Christmas story to tell to Ruby and Lottie. If you would like to read more then you can read the post in full here.


I asked for your help in my blog post, by sharing with me your Christmas traditions; I was surprised at how similar some of them are, but equally how different they all are. here are just a few comments that I received from you.

"To place the presents as and when they come takes the 'wow' element away of coming down Christmas morning to find Santa has 'been', however we used to take it in turn to open presents and still do as it's nice to see what the other has and their reactions etc"

"Growing up we had a stocking on our bed which was filled by Santa and all other presents were put under the tree after we went to bed but not delivered by Santa. Now I put presents in the living room as they come as a lazy way of making the room look Christmassy but don't set it all up 'properly' with all presents under the tree until Christmas Eve. We don't pretend Santa is real but we have a toy Santa who puts a present in each stocking. We take it in turns to open presents mainly so we can keep track of who gets what from whom but we don't do all of them in one day as my family visits with presents on Boxing Day and John's family in January."

 "We used to leave stockings out on Christmas eve, all the presents from Santa were in them (we asked for 2-3 things depending on price range and we got lots of wee stocking fillers) most stuff from relatives and friends went under the tree as we got it, but any thing from parents was put out Christmas eve/Christmas morning. We would open all the Santa presents that morning as soon as we got up (except for the year we woke up at 3, ran into our parents who had just finished everything and just got to bed themselves and we were told to go back to bed and wait til proper morning) then we would open all the under tree presents either before or after dinner. The presents would be passed out into piles then everyone opened them together at the same time. Ahh ... memories." 

"Presents from family and friends go under as and when they arrive/are given. Santa gifts and stocking are separate and go under Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed. In our tradition here (and most people I know over here), Santa brings separate gifts and fills the stockings. He doesn't bring all the gifts. We definitely just open all together, one person opening one thing at a time while everyone watches would make me cringe."

"We had all presents appear on Christmas morning delivered by Santa but only one and stocking from him, we do this now as well. We always took turns and we still do this otherwise I feel it turns into a bit if an ungrateful frenzy where no one really acknowledges anything, knows what anyone got or says thank you - just my opinion though!"


"Yes I totally agree with you I never had presents put under the tree till after id gone to bed an Santa came at night and delivered them all. Still took it in turns to unwrap though (sometimes my sist├Ęs didn't do this) because mum and dad wanted to know who was off and what we got etc so we could say thank you."

"I agree with you, Santa brings presents Xmas Eve after bed. But only a couple are from him, we sent the rest for Santa to deliver. We usually each open one pressie at the same time so it gets done a bit quicker!

"I grew up like you. No presents under the tree they were sent to Santa for him to deliver. We did however do one present in turn so everyone could watch. We do this now too. The only thing I have added is a stocking. We never had a stocking as child but I have one for the boys which I fill with small things, chocolate coins etc. and I place on there bed for the morning. The rest are downstairs."

"Santa always comes at night and has done since I was little just keeping it the same for james. I have a stocking that goes on his stairgate of his bedroom door which are presents especially from Santa. I get random cardboard boxes and wrap them up for display purposes only and tell him that they are the presents for the elfs."

"I grew up with same as you but I have adapted ir slightly in that we buy adults presents and then they go to Father Christmas to deliver, this means they can be involved in buying for us which they enjoy and we get round it by saying we wrap adults presents ans leave out for F.c. To collect so he can deliver, now we blow a message up to f.c.'s fairies telling him they arw there for him to collect and then he 'collects' them that night. Yoy could say presents under your tree are adult ones and f.c. Collects xmas eve and delivers to correct people. F.c. Is just to busy to do all adult's buying so grown ups help in this way xxx"

"This is what we do. We are lucky as both rich and me had similar Christmases so it's worked out well for us. The girls stockings from father Christmas contain an orange, chocolate coins, something like a cd or a book a & hair clips or something similar. All other presents are bought by us because F.C has to buy present for all the children. My oldest helps to wrap up the other presents (except her own) in the week before Christmas. We put these under the tree on Christmas Eve & take a photo of her with them. Santa delivers the stockings on Christmas Eve night & the girls open these in the morning. We alternate going to my parents or my in laws each year we live within 30mins of each so take the relative presents to their house on Christmas morning often going to church too. The girls open one present before lunch (one that will occupy them) lunch is at about 1.30. Other presents are opened after lunch. Emily seems very happy that FC brings smaller presents & loves leaving the mince pie & carrot out, she really enjoys helping to wrap the presents we have bought. For me this is part of the magic of Christmas watching her get excited about relatives receiving their presents."

"Not sure but now xaras nearly 8 and because she found a few presents last year we now tell her that we buy the presents and Santa delivers them with a gift from him and if and she has to be good. They arrive Christmas Eve after she has gone to bed and she puts out food for Santa and the rein deer before she goes to bed. Then she opens up the presents in the morning first before us. I think she still believes as she got a letter this morning and her face lit up! "

"We had the same thing as Phil - my dad played Santa and gave out the family gifts from the tree, it took ages watching everyone open them but we got to see everyone enjoy each gift and it made the magic last and taught us all patience. The pressies in the stockings/sack were left at end of the bed by santa (unwrapped) though so we had already had our santa pressie and chocolate coins"  

"Father Christmas brings everything apart from one special present you buy and presents that grandparents etc give"

After reading through all the suggestions and talking it through with my husband, we have come up with our story. Ruby and Lottie will be involved in buying and wrapping up presents for everyone except our own little family. This I hope will encourage their excitement about giving presents away to people. The presents that are wrapped for other people shall be placed under our own Christmas tree until Christmas eve where Santa will remove these presents and take them on his sleigh to the other peoples homes, and then will put their presents under the Christmas tree. 

Stockings will be left out on Christmas eve and Santa will fill them with little presents from Santa himself, these are allowed to be opened before breakfast. After the stockings have been opened, we will go downstairs to see if Santa has delivered any presents for them, we will then have a family breakfast before we open the presents under the tree. We will not take turns to open presents one by one, but will will also not rush through them so that myself or Phil can write down what everyone gets so we can write our thank you cards. 

So that's our Father Christmas story, do you think it will work? I would love to hear if you have any more suggestion.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Lottie's First Bike

We were recently asked by the lovely people at Toddlebike if Lottie would like to try out one of their bikes, and after looking on their website we jumped at the chance.

The Toddlebike, as the name suggests, is a bike aimed at toddlers; their website states that it is can be used from when a child is able to walk, until approximately three years of age. The Toddlebike is unique as t is a pre-balance bike. I remember when Ruby turned two we purchased her a lovely wooden balance bike, however it was way too big for her even on the lowest setting; so the Toddlebike is really well placed in the market as it is a step up from a ride on toy.


The Toddlebike retails at under £25, which I think is fantastic value for money. The bike comes in three different colour combinations, Lottie received the pink girlie bike, and she instantly fell in love with it!


When the Toddlebike arrived it was already assembled, there was no messing around and spending ages trying to work out how it all fits together. The bike is incredibly lightweight and made of strong plastic. Its so lightweight it only weighs 0.8Kg! It is very easy for Lottie to pick up as you can see from the photos.


Ruby was a little jealous that Lottie had received the Toddlebike in the post so she had a go too, and it's safe to say that she absolutely loves it.


Lottie has not stopped riding on it since it arrived, and even tried to take it to bed with her, carrying it upstairs herself!


If you have two children it's well worth buying them one each to save on the arguments as the Toddlebike is so well loved in our house. 

I would highly recommend the Toddlebike to everyone with a toddler, it is a massive hit with Lottie.
You can find out more details about the Toddlebike here.



Ruby + Lottie 9/10


Disclaimer: We were given the Toddlebike for free to review, however all views and opinions are our own.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Christmas Dilemma - I need your help.

I need your help with a really big dilemma; my husband and I can't seem to get our story straight when it comes to Christmas and Santa bringing presents. Phil and I come from different family Christmas traditions and we're trying to find a way to link them both together, but it's proving very difficult and we really need to get our story straight as Ruby is becoming wise and clever and we want to keep Christmas magic for as long as we can.



In my childhood there were no presents placed under the Christmas tree until Santa brought the presents on Christmas Eve. We didn't have a particular present from Santa he just delivered them all but we knew they were from family and friends, you could say Santa was the courier driver. On Christmas morning we had a stocking filled with small gifts and we used to go downstairs and into the lounge to find the presents that Santa had brought and we would open them before eating breakfast. 

My husband on the other hand has very different Christmas tradition, presents are placed under the tree as and when they arrive from family and friends. Hubbie used to have a stocking but the presents contained within came from Santa himself. On Christmas morning when it came to opening presents hubbies dad would hand out presents one at a time and everyone would watch as you opened your gift, this is something I know I wouldn't like, having to wait ages to open my presents, there have been times when even at 5pm at night Phil's family are still opening presents! 

So this is where the dilemma lies, what do we tell Ruby and Lottie? How do you do Christmas and keep the magic alive? I would be so grateful of any advice you can offer, thank you.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Questions and Answers

I was recently tagged by the lovely Kate over at Kate On Thin Ice, and have been set the following questions to answer.



1. What work pattern suits you best – stay at home parent, part-time employee, full-time employee, freelancing/own business? And why?

I am currently a full time stay at home parent, however I do hope to take up something part time. I love being a mummy, but now my girls are getting that little bit older and Lottie soon to start playschool, its time for me to find something to do to both keep my brain active and to achieve something for myself.


2. What do you have on your bedside cabinet?


Well too much to be honest it looks a bit untidy, but there is a bottle of water, some painkillers, a basket containing some jewelery, my latest knitting project and a few odd coins.


3. What do you collect?


I don't really collect anything, I have a habit of maybe buying too much wool! I do also have a lovely 16 person Denby dinner set, but there really is no more room in the kitchen cupboards for any more!


4. Name a fictional character that you think you are like? From soap operas, books or plays. 

Mmm that's a tough one, I can't really think of one, can you? If so let me know.


5. What is your top housework tip?

Get your hubbie house trained so he can do most of the housework!


6. If I paid for you to go to the theatre, what would you see?

I love musicals, so would be happy to attend any musical


7. Do you have a signature dish? What is it?

I can make a good lasagne and chocolate pudding.

 
8. If you wrote a book, what would it be about?

I think it would be a parenting book as people keep telling me I have lots of good advice.


9. Name the treat you would buy with each of these prize amounts

£1 - A chocolate bar

£100 - I would take a few friends out for High Tea

£1000 - This would help to pay for a trip to Disneyland in Paris


10. What is the thing you have great faith in?

Being a Christian I have faith in God.



Now its my turn to tag some lovely bloggers, I would like to tag @mylifeasamummyx @readlearngrow @kykaree @charliechinuk @Rachel_IRL @dadwhoblogs @susankmann @NorthumMam


Here are the questions that I have set for you:

  • What was the last thing you bought?
  • Do you have any hobbies other than blogging?
  • What is your favourite book and why?
  • Tell me one thing that most people do not know about you. 
  • Which blog post are you most proud of?
  • If you could change one thing in your life what would it be?
  • What would be your perfect night out?
  • If you were a celebrity who would you like to be and why?
  • If you had £1000 what would you buy?
  • What are you hoping for this Christmas?





Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Elizabethan House Museum

Whilst we were away in Norfolk during the recent half term break, we had the pleasure of visiting four National Trust properties; all of them were very different, but equally fascinating.

We first visited the Elizabethan House Museum which is located near to the quayside in great Yarmouth. I was a little unsure what to expect as I've never been to a National Trust property that isn't a big state home set in lots of grounds. The Elizabethan house museum however did not disappoint at all.


The house is set up as it would be during Elizabethan times, and most items on show where available for children to touch and interact with, which added to the girl's experience.



Once inside the kitchen and laundry area of the house, children and adults are encouraged to dress up in traditional Elizabethan clothes; Ruby and Lottie did not hesitate to get stuck in.


I really think they suited the girls, what do you think?



My mum, who is a big kid at heart, also dressed up too! 


Upstairs in the house is a traditional bedroom and more dressing up clothes for adults. My sister, with the help of my mum, tried on a traditional Elizabethan dress; it looked really lovely on.


She tried to get her boyfriend to try an outfit on, and after quite a lot of convincing he got involved too; I don't think he was very impressed!. 

Also upstairs is a room full of traditional toys; Ruby and Lottie spent a lot of time playing with the toys and having lots of fun. 



I would highly recommend the Elizabethan house museum as there is lots to do and see for both children and adults.