Saturday, 31 October 2015

Enjoying Halloween & fireworks but now it's is almost over. Thing 4 turns six tomorrow. Now can we mention Christmas, please please please!! Christmas 24 movie channel starts tomorrow too!

I know it's still Halloween but it's almost over and we can start talking about Christmas!. We have been out having our annual Halloween fireworks, soup and hot dogs at my parents house. The children always have a fab time watching the few fireworks that we set off and having a sparkler or two to wave around making shapes with.

Thing 4 and 5 watching the fireworks. Ear defenders come in handy for all of the noisy ones! 

Thing 5 has the right idea. Snuggles under a warm blanket after watching the fireworks outside.

The chocolate fondue with marshmallows and sprinkles is always a hit too. The giant marshmallows I bought were greatly received as you can get lots more chocolate and sprinkles on top!

Halloween pumpkins and the remnants of some trick or treating

When we got home we took the children to a few of the neighbours houses for a spot of trick or treat and to go and see the wonderfully decorated 'scary house' in the next street along. They always have an amazing looking house each year and the children always like to go and see it on Halloween although Thing 5 didn't want to go in!

My big birthday boy, turning 6 tomorrow. Where do the years go?

Tomorrow is Thing 4's sixth birthday. We are off to a local play area for a party with his school friends. I have everything ready, I think! He chose a chocolate cake shaped like a gingerbread man, I've made sweetie cones for his friends and I have the presents wrapped and cards ready. This also means that it's the 1st of November, eeek!

Ready for the birthday boy in the morning.

My attempt at sweetie cones for Thing 4 to give to his friends after his party tomorrow.

I've been on a Christmas countdown for a while now but I think it's more acceptable to start the Christmas countdown once Halloween is over and Thing 4's birthday has been celebrated. Not long to go and I still have so much to do.

Christmas 24 movie channel starts tomorrow (Nov 1st) too. Thing 2 is very excited as she loves watching Christmas films. Just when you think you've seen them all there are new ones to watch. So head over to Sky channel 327 to see what festive offerings they have.

I'm off to blow up balloons and hang up birthday banners. After tomorrow we can mention Christmas a bit more!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Redesigning the living room. Trying to choose the right home interior decor and making it cosy and comfortable with lots of colour and cosy accessories

I'm not great at home interiors and decor or making things look amazing. I would love the house to be finished and immaculate, looking just the way I want it. The interior needs a huge splash of colour with home accessories and neatly placed pictures etc... It's hard work, especially when you don't have much creative flair but also when there is five children in the house it's hard work to get them to appreciate having things that look nice and they need to stay looking nice. Each month I get home home magazine through the post and I sit looking through it so jealous of the homes inside. Even the ideas pages, which are fab, would never look like they do in the magazine if I recreate them. I shouldn't be so scared to try new things and then maybe the house will finally look the way I want it to!

The children's bedrooms look like a toy shop threw up in each one, my bedroom becomes the dumping ground for all things entitled 'miscellaneous' until we have a big sort out and realise all those things we were keeping but had no space for actually just needed throwing out ages ago. Outgrown children's toys and clothes seems to be the majority of the clutter but as well as the clutter we do need an interior decor update!

As well as having huge dreams for a huge kitchen/dining all in one room which will come in a few years I have decided to tackle each room one at a time and try and be a bit more creative and co-ordinated!

Changing the storage boxes from teal to all white has taken the focus away from the colour as this is probably not going to be our colour scheme. I also need to sort out those cables on the right hand side, they are annoying me! 

I recently decided that I wanted to making the living room my first project and the one room that looked half liveable! Having lost my creative flair way back when I flunked Art at school I was as clueless as my husband is when using the washing machine!

So I got the basics covered. New sofas, new TV unit and new rug. Then I'm stuck. I need some new cushions but unsure of what colour scheme to go for. I would like 2 ladder shelves for either side of the fireplace and some lovely friends helped out with suggestions of a mirror above the fireplace, lots of arranged framed pictures on the wall above the sofa and then I need to accessorise. OMG, I'm now out of my depth.

Fireplace wall with and without door. I want the door moved to the other side of the door frame and then possible some shelving on the wall next to the fireplace. (The wall still needs to be painted white in the corner where the old shelves are!)

I've seen lots of ideas on Google of what I would like but I'm scared I will get it wrong and it will just look a mess. As I flick through admiring all the gorgeous room sets in the magazine and thinking how gorgeous they all look I wonder if I will ever get it right. It's not working. I'm failing miserably and I don't want to fail. I want my one sanctuary. The one room where I can say I did that, I made it look fantastic and yes everyone come in and see how lovely it looks.

I've chosen this mirror to go horizontally above the fireplace.

These shelves to go either side of the fireplace.

I want to sit in the evening and not be surrounded by chaos, toys piling up in the corner or drab decor and uninviting furnishings. I want to cosy up on the sofa surrounded by comfy cushions and enjoy looking at what I have achieved. However, I need to make a start and I don't know where that start is now. I've hit a dead end and it's looking very plain and boring at the moment.

Shopping around is probably best, we are on a budget after all and as much as I would like to go into one shop and everything will be there that I could possibly need, that's not going to happen. I want it all done at exactly the same time, I really should try a bit of patience with these things too!

The pictures all need to be moved, the canvasses were put there out of reach of a young child until I decided where to put them and they haven't been moved since! It was suggested to do a big wall of framed pictures above the sofa. 

If anyone can help with decor suggestions, colour schemes, accessories to go for, what I can add I would be ever so grateful. I've added pictures of the work in progress, such a blank canvas I know! The carpet can't be changed. The rug, TV unit and sofas are new and are a base to work off of hopefully!

Please help me oh wonderful home interior gods of the Internet!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

A special shout out for Honeywell Bakes stylish iced biscuits. Biscuit gifts for all occasions including the upcoming Christmas season.

Back in July I attended a blogging event and met the lovely ladies from Honeywell Bakes. I was amazed by the wonderfully decorated biscuits that they make.

The wonderful display of Honeywell Bakes goodies at the Christmas in July event. 

Honeywell Bakes was created over the kitchen table by sisters Rebecca and Rosie and their baking skills come from their mother who always had a fresh cake coming out of the Aga when they were children. 

Honeywell Bakes produce stylish iced biscuits gifts which are sold online as well as in selected retailers such as Selfridges, London. 

When I met the ladies back in July they were wonderfully friendly and completely understood my large family status! I was sent home from the event with a biscuit for each of the children which they were super excited to see and very much enjoyed eating. 

They have biscuits for every occasion from new baby to weddings, children's biscuits to get well biscuits. Biscuits for him or her and they also have a bespoke and corporate biscuit section if you are looking something unique for a special occasion or company event. The biscuits come in various different shapes from animals to cars, baubles to hearts, barbecues to teacups. Whatever you are looking for there is something for everyone.

 Their seasonal biscuits section includes lots of goodies for the upcoming Christmas season. As well as the advent biscuit gift tin which I featured here in my advent calendar buying guide there is also the woodland animals gift tin which contains 16 woodland themed biscuits, the polar bear biscuit set and the personalised gingerbread decorations as well as the bake it yourself advent Christmas gift tin if you are up for making your own cookies. 

The advent biscuit gift tin

All of their products come well packaged and the biscuits last for up to two months if kept in an airtight container. Their website lists all ingredients and allergen information too.

Honeywell Bakes have their own website and can easily be found on Twitter and Instagram. Why not check out their website for some wonderful festive goodies on the lead up to the big day or a gift for someone's birthday or maybe a special celebration. 

#MySundayPhoto My Sunday Photo 25th October 2015


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Our Christmas guide to Advent calendars for all of the family including Honeywell Bakes advent biscuit gift tin, Lego star Wars, Play Doh, Yankee Candle house, Lindt gold bear and friends advent house, VTech toot toot drivers and Smiggle stationery advent calendars.

As we stampede fast towards November I'm already thinking about buying the Advent calendars for the whole family ready for the 1st of December. I love Christmas time and whilst the presents are already piling up that I've bought in preparation there's always other things that need organising too.

Back in the day (without making myself sound really old!) we just had chocolate advent calendars. The excitement of waking up every morning in December and being allowed to have a chocolate after breakfast was amazing as a child! There are still lots of chocolate advent calendars to be found in the shops including the Lindt Gold Bear and friends advent house. With a scrumptious Lindt surprise behind each door including the gold bear and reindeer mini chocolates plus Lindor mini milk truffles with a smooth melting filling, Lindt swiss milk chocolate mini napolitains and Lindt milk chocolate snowdrops with a creamy double milk filling. There is also a large gold bear behind the final door. Lindt chocolate is a firm favourite in our house and the detail in this calendar is fab. Each chocolate is individually wrapped too. My children love seeing the Lindt gold bear and reindeer behind the doors whereas all of the chocolate was lovely and the OH loves the truffle filled chocolates. Priced at £12.

Lindt gold bear and friends advent house calendar

Moving on from the chocolate advent calendar comes the Yankee candle advent calendar. My parents first bought this for me a few years ago. I didn't even know they existed until that moment and wow. You get a scented tea light behind each door and then a votive candle behind the last door. Comprising of five different festive scents inc. Candy Cane Lane (which is my favourite at the moment), Winter Glow, Snowflake Cookie, Icicles, Bundle Up and Spiced Orange. This is a lovely advent calendar to have. It's nice to get a scented tea light each day that you can light and have burning releasing festive scents floating around the house. The scents are randomly placed too so it's nice to get a different scent each day. Priced at approx. £30.

Yankee Candle advent house calendar

Side of house with tea light scent details

One of my favourites this year is this wonderful advent biscuit gift tin of 24 gloriously iced vanilla biscuits from Honeywell Bakes. Each biscuit is shaped in a lovely festive design and in lovely seasonal colours. From reindeers to penguins and snowflake shapes to candy canes. The last biscuit is a large bauble with your name on it. These biscuits are delicious. I love the idea of having a scrumptious biscuit to eat each day with my cup of tea (or hot chocolate!). It's different from the usual chocolate calendars yet still something lovely and edible. These are proving to be very popular and I would very highly recommend them to everyone. Displayed in a gorgeously decorated tin to keep them fresh they look too good to eat but definitely taste wonderful when you do eat them. For the purposes of review I am slowly making my way through these gorgeous biscuits, I may have just eaten too many for one evening. They are divine.  Lovely and soft biscuits with soft icing too and very tasty. The biscuits will last for up to 2 months from purchase date if stored in an airtight container and full ingredients and allergen information is available on their website and order page here at; Honeywell Bakes advent biscuit gift tin Priced at £27 for the biscuit gift tin and definitely worth every penny. 

The gorgeous Honeywell Bakes advent biscuit gift tin and gorgeously decorated biscuits. 

Next is the advent calendars for the children. 

First of all we have the Lego Star Wars advent calendar. Thing 4 had this last year and loved it. He is very much into Lego at the moment so it seemed the ideal one to buy. Behind each door is a small model to make and there are a few minifigures to be found too. The front panel of the advent folds down as a place to stand all of your models that you have made. Instructions to make each model are on the inside of each door. This year we have an exclusive Darth Vader mini figure in the calendar as well as C3P0 and R2D2. RRP £25

Lego Star Wars advent calendar with limited edition minifigures and fold down Christmas scene to display each days Lego model or figure.

Next up is the Smiggle stationery advent calendar. Thing 2 and 3 desperately wanted these calendars. They are both obsessed with stationery and with the Smiggle shop every time we walk past! Behind each door is a stationery item so either a rubber, sharpener, pen etc... It's a very decent sized calendar and Smiggle state that the contents are worth £40 so with an RRP it's worth a buy and is full of useful items that the children will love. In the few doors I opened there was a scented lollipop shaped highlighter, a small star shaped slinky, a puzzle toy and a rainbow pencil. RRP £25

The Smiggle advent calendar and some of the goodies you can expect to receive from behind the doors each day.

For the younger ones there is the Play Doh advent calendar with 5 tubs of Play Doh including 2 sparkle ones and cutters/shapes/rollers behind each door. Ideal to build an activity tub up over the days and provides scope for play over the festive period. RRP £20

The Play Doh advent calendar

Why not try the Vtech Toot Toot Drivers advent calendar. The toot toot drivers are very popular toys with the younger children at the moment so this was ideal to grow their collection. Including a sleigh with music and lights, detachable trailer, Christmas decorations, a book, storage bag and more. This is a fab calendar and I know Thing 5 will love it. RRP £25

The VTech toot toot drivers advent calendar including musical sleigh, lots of accessories and even a bag to keep it all together. Thing 5 will love this one. 

As well as all of the advent calendars featured here there are hundreds more including alcohol ones, tea advents, jelly sweet tubes, cosmetics, advents for the pets and so much more.

My favourite for myself this year is definitely the Honeywell Bakes advent biscuit gift tin. Go and check their website out for the advent tin as well as other festive goodies plus lots of biscuit gift ideas for other occasions too. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Applications soon open for next years school places. Applying for a school place for Thing 5 even though he turned 3 just two months ago. Will he be ready?

My teeny tiny just turned 3 year old is really enjoying his time at preschool. As of September 2015 he started going for 2.5 days a week. He loves staying for lunch and has made some friends that he enjoys going to play and learn with.

Then we get the leaflet in his book bag 'Applying for Infant School for September 2016'. Such a huge leap, or so it seems. Maybe it's made worse by the fact that this is the last time I will be doing this so it makes it even more daunting.

He turned three on August 10th so will be one of the youngest ones in the school year. When he starts school next September he will have only just turned four. I know all children are different and he may well be ready. There may be some children who turn five in the September and aren't ready at all. I firmly believe it's not always about the age of the children as to whether they are ready for school but each individual child regardless of age may or may not cope with this new venture in their lives.

So we've had the reminder through that applications soon open. Thing 5 is very much knowledgable about what goes on at school. With four siblings he's been doing the school run since he was a few days old so he's known well at our local Infant School and Ashe got older he became familiar with the morning routines in Reception Class when we took his older brother into school. His preschool is attached to the Infant School too so he's familiar with the building and the teachers.

Will will he be ready though? He's still not toilet trained. Something that we are trying to tackle and should be done soon. He's still so small and it just seems crazy to be filing in forms for him to start school. I'm sure my 'last baby' anxieties are playing heavily on my mind too. It's going to be a huge change for us all not just for him starting school.

If he was a September born rising five would he be any more ready or prepared? Will he be ready by next September? Will the school be ready for him?!

For now we will get the forms filled in and enjoy our days together before the school years take him away from me. We still have a year or so and a lot can change in that time. He's still my baby and always will be (even on his first days of Senior school, college and work!!)

Introducing the new Bugaboo Diesel Denim collection Buffalo and tailored fabric set for Bugaboo Donkey

Bugaboo are thrilled to announce the reveal of the second Bugaboo by Diesel collection. Bugaboo and Diesel have bundled their creative and rebellious spirit to design a collection that takes the iconic lifestyle brand’s DNA as a starting point: Denim. Two new pushchairs are taking centre stage this time round with a complete makeover for the all-terrain pushchair, the Bugaboo Buffalo, and a Tailored Fabric Set for the convertible pushchair, the Bugaboo Donkey. The military-inspired Bugaboo by Diesel Cameleon3 from the first collection will also remain available in store.

We know that accessories make the difference, so they have added a matching denim bag with leather details to the collection, featuring functional inside pockets for parents on the go. To complete your pushchair wardrobe there is even a special-edition Bugaboo by Diesel Seat Liner, Footmuff, Parasol and Mosquito Net in camouflage print from our first release.

Bugaboo by Diesel Denim collection
This time the focus lies on Diesel’s denim heritage; the Bugaboo by Diesel Denim collection features a washed and specially-treated denim that is effortlessly stylish. The denim is hand- ripped, distressed, and features paint splatters in various denim hues. Over time, the denim will naturally fade, just like your favourite pair of jeans would. Thanks to the Bugaboo by Diesel Denim collection, denim lovers will be sure to stand out in a crowd!

The Bugaboo Buffalo by Diesel comes in a blue anodised chassis, washed denim sun canopy, carrycot and seat, and many new and interesting details. The central joint, for instance, is based on a rivet you will find on your Diesel jeans, the wheel rims have been coloured blue to complement the denim fabric, and the hand-treated fabric itself has been given a unique finish with paint splatters. Black, leather-look details on the handlebar and seat give the pushchair a rebellious touch. There is also a matching bag in denim and leather which can be hung on the handlebar of the Bugaboo Buffalo.

The Bugaboo by Diesel Denim collection also comes as a Tailored Fabric Set for the Bugaboo Donkey, featuring an extendable sun canopy in washed denim and carrycot apron.

Fashionable Parenting
Once again Bugaboo step into the world of fashionable parenting exploring those almost unbearable moments that parents face, and telling those small ironic stories with a smile.
To illustrate the funny and sometimes messy side of fashionable parenting, children were invited to the set of their latest campaign, where they ran riot with squirt bottles and released their creativity while creating the original background for the photo shoot, wearing Diesel Kid jeans. To accompany the iconic campaign image, a making-of video showing these great moments will be released.

RRPs as follows:

Bugaboo Buffalo by Diesel Denim is £1089 / 1299 euros
Tailored Fabric Set for the Bugaboo Donkey is £139,95 / 69,95 euros Sun Canopy for the Bugaboo Donkey is £89,95 / 109,95 euros
Bugaboo by Diesel changing bag is £134,95 / 109,95 euros