My Family

My Family

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Riding into December on The Polar Express Train Ride #Review

Riding into December on The Polar Express Train Ride


To celebrate 15 years of Polar Express, we were invited by Warner Bros to attend an afternoon on The Polar Express Birmingham steam train! Vintage Trains are proud to be hosting this exciting and captivating experience like no other. The Polar Express Train Ride has returned to central Birmingham this Winter, bringing the magic and charm of the 2004 motion picture, The Polar Express to life. With theatrical characters that entertain you all the way, your family can relax and immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and intrigue of this classic children’s tale. You will be totally engrossed in the story of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg as you enjoy delicious hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. The Chefs were so good, they made us laugh out loud on several occasions and showed us pages from the beautifully illustrated book for the carriage to join in and read along too. 


Chef Nutmeg looked after our carriage and did a wonderful job of entertaining us throughout our journey today. She sang and danced with us and put on a real show. We helped her with the '12 days of Polar-mass' and even sang along to some classic Christmas hits too. 


The hot chocolate was yummy and the chocolate chip cookie was a nice treat too. 


The Polar Express train ride is a magical experience filled with fun and laughter, stories and songs. Both Lily and Ryan had a lovely time. It was so nice to see them enjoying themselves. We've been on many a Santa Visit but none quite like this. Santa was special, he took his time to talk to everyone on the train and really listened to the children. Each person, young and old was given the first gift of Christmas, a beautiful, magical bell.



Our journey lasted around an hour in total and costed £49 per seat. It is cheaper to go on a weekday but for what we experienced today, I think it was worth every penny. We all joined in and had a wonderful time visiting the North Pole. Everyone was so nice and friendly and really made you feel welcome. Guests, young and old are encouraged to wear pyjamas just as the children did in the film. The children will love it and maybe you can persuade family and friends to join in too. I wore my Christmas jumper as It was a little too cold for my PJ's but once aboard, the atmosphere on the train comes alive for a truly magical experience!


Our trip to the North Pole today was our way of celebrating the 15th Anniversary of The Polar Express Movie with Warner Brothers UK and what a wonderful way to celebrate.

The Polar Express Limited Edition Box Set costs £19.99 and is available to Buy Here

The Polar Express Train ride is going to be one of those family adventures that we talk about for years to come. Our trip to the North Pole and the dancing chefs who made us laugh. I'm so glad that we went along today, I had a blast and would happily do it all over.

Tickets are still available from the Online Booking up until December 22nd.

Grab your Golden Ticket and prepare yourself for a Magical Ride this Christmas.


Disclosure: We were gifted our tickets today in order to review our experience but all opinions expressed within this review are 100% honest and entirely our own.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

The Snow Queen - A Truly Magical Musical - at The Old Rep Birmingham #Review

The Snow Queen - A Truly Magical Musical 
at The Old Rep Birmingham.


This afternoon I took my Mother and the kids along to the Press Day showing of The Snow Queen at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham. I don't know the story very well so I was very excited to go and see it. Every year The Old Rep Theatre bring a Christmas Story to life and this year, their story is The Snow Queen. It's a modern day musical version of the Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale. It's magical adventure follows inseparable friends Kai and Gerda.  When the heartless Snow Queen steals Kai to help rebuild her broken treasure, can Gerda rescue him in time before she plunges the world into an eternal winter?

With the help of an unlikely band of companions, Gerda travels to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and rescue her friend, but will she get there in time?

I don't want to spoil the story for you, so I'm not going to tell you - sorry.


(Photograph from The Old Rep)

The show is fantastic, we had such a great time. The story is so much fun and the songs are very catchy. I loved the funny man in the dress, you'll have to watch it to find out what I'm talking about, but he was hilarious and made me smile from ear to ear on several occasions.

It's a lovely family show filled with laughter and silliness, drama and suspense. My two loved it and clapped along throughout. The Snow Queen looked amazing, her dress and light up cape were stunning and so magical. She was mean like every theatre 'baddie' should be but not too mean that she scared the children. One of the highlights of the show was when she came on stage on her motorcycle, now that was pretty epic, even my boy looked impressed.


(Photograph from The Old Rep)

The Snow Queen started on Saturday 16 November and will run right up until Monday 30 December at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham. We love The Old Rep as it's so intimate and cosy. You'll always get a great view from where ever you are sitting in the theatre. Ticket prices are, General tickets cost between £18 and £21 or a Family ticket is £70. If you're looking for a Magical Musical to enjoy with your family this Christmas, then this is a must see. The Snow Queen is fantastic and not to be missed. It gets a fab thumbs up from us.

Thank you to The Old Rep for inviting us along today, we had such a great time.

We all left the theatre today feeling very excited and would happily go see it again.

Disclosure: We were invited to the Press Day Showing for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

The 'All In One' Christmas Gift Guide 2019

The 'All In One' Christmas Gift Guide 2019


Christmas is coming and I for one, am very excited! It's time for my annual Christmas Gift Guide to help give you some ideas for the Christmas gifts you might want to buy this year. My family are growing up so fast, my youngest is now 9 years old, so this year we'll be focusing on older gifts for the family or friends in your life, all suitable for ages 8 and over.

Let's start with the kiddies, after all, they're what Christmas is all about. 

First up we have the iBeani which is a stylish and lightweight, award-winning tablet bean bag stand designed to hold any size tablet device securely, so that you don't have to. 
It's hand-made in the UK and available in a range of designer fabrics. The iBeani is ideal for a huge range of different situations. It's an iPad stand for bedtime or an iPad Pillow for relaxing on the sofa. It costs £24.99 making it a nice gift idea for the teens in your life.


Next up we have the Amazing Mystery Box which is a surprise box full of items worth £40 plus for just £24.99. It's an online Subscription service or a One Box Purchase off too. The Amazing Mystery Box is part of Character Kingdom Limited which means the merchandise you receive is all official. You simply choose the type of box you want and off you go. We received the Doctor Who Mystery Box and look at all the treats we found inside. There's Character Figures, Activity Books, a Diary, Stationary Items and so much more. 


Something sweet for the kids are these HARIBO goodies. There's a HARIBO Selection Box, a HARIBO Hamper and a HARIBO Pip Polar Bear Z!NG and Puck Penguin Gift Boxes. You can't go wrong with a few HARIBO treats at Christmas time. We love them so much in our house, all year round, not just at Christmas but just look at those Christmas Boxes. They're so bright and colourful and full of delicious treats that everyone will love and enjoy. Prices start from £2.50 so these make great affordable Stocking Fillers as well as Christmas Gifts.

If you do buy a box, use the code MYSTERYBLINDBAG and they'll pop in an extra item.


For the Creative Kids in your life, we have these Geomag sets from Brightminds. My son Ryan absolutely loves these sets and has great fun building things for hours on end. We have two sets to show you, the Geomag Glow 64 pieces set which costs £39.99 and the Geomag Panels 83 pieces set which costs also £39.99. These sets are made up of original Geomag magnetic rods and steel balls which link together to create buildings, vehicles, spaceships and more. The creative possibilities with these sets are endless.


For the Stationary lovers in your house, kids or adult, we have these awesome 2020 Official Calendars and Diaries from Danilo. We've got a Harry Potter Calendar and Dobby Came To Save Harry Potter and His Friends Diary. Both will cost you £9.99 each but are very lovely. We also have a Minecraft Calendar which will cost you £9.99. There's so many character calendars to choose from so no matter what you love, there's a calendar to suit you. Both useful and practical, a calendar is always going to come in useful and last all year round.


How about something for the man in your life? We have Tomatin Whisky which is Matured in a combination of Bourbon barrels and Virgin Oak casks. It's Strength: 43% alc./vol. The Tomatin Distillery was established in 1897 and it's time in the Bourbon barrels and Virgin Oak casks brings a light sweetness to The Tomatin Legacy, which boasts aromas of vanilla, marshmallow, pineapple and lemon. Sounds like a pretty nice Whisky to me.


Again for the man in your life, we have the Black Nappa wallet from Zippo which costs £26.50. It's a gorgeous black leather wallet that he wallet has 4 card slots, 3 slip pockets, 2 banknote compartments and a coin pocket and is fully equipped with RFID blocking to protect your information. It also comes beautifully packaged in a gift box making it the ideal, practical but useful, Christmas present for your Dad, Brother, Son or Friend maybe. 


Last but not least, we have something for the Pet Lovers. Beautiful hand draw Pet Portraits from Portrait Pals make such a lovely, personal gift that will last a lifetime. Portraits start from £24.99 depending on what you would like. Not only do they produce beautiful artwork but they also do a lot of charity work. Online, 20% of their proceeds are set aside for their artists to participate in community leadership and skills-building workshops. They're a community focused company who love to give back to the local people which is lovely. I sent them a picture of our Teddy which they then drew and set too me, and it's gorgeous. Mine is going to make a gorgeous gift for a family member who loves their dog more than most.


So there we have it. My 2019 Christmas Gift Guide full of lovely gifts for the family.

I hope you've enjoyed looking through them all and maybe you've found something that someone in your family would love. I do hope I've given you some food for thought at least.

Disclosure: Items were gifted for inclusion in this Gift Guide. Opinions are 100% my own.

Hatchimals Royal Snowball Jewellery Box Dozen #Review

Hatchimals Royal Snowball Jewellery Box Dozen


The first week of November is the Spinmaster Week Of WOW and to celebrate they're giving away Hatchimal prizes every day on their Twitter account. There's loads of goodies to be won and to top it off, they're having a Twitter party on Saturday 9th November at 6pm where you can win even more prizes. We'll be there so we hope to see some of you too.

This week we've been playing with the Hatchimals Royal Snowball Jewellery Box Dozen which is a gorgeous sparkling glitter egg box which contains two figures without an egg, including one of eight exclusive Mer-Pandors and 10 Royal Eggs just waiting to be hatched.


There are a dozen enchanting Royal Hatch and Royal Snow Ball CollEGG characters to discover and hatch in this jewelry box set. It's such a pretty set, Lily loves it so much. My children love toys like this as you get that real surprise element which they get to discover for themselves. It's always exciting when you get to break something open to discover what's inside. Lily and Ryan shared the eggs out and hatched half each. It was nice that there was different coloured eggs as Lily went for the pink and purple ones allowing Ryan to hatch the blues and greens. It was nice that there were colours for them both. Each egg is so pretty, it's covered in glitter and shimmers in the light. You rub the hearts on the front and then press down to break into them to reveal your collectible inside.


Each character can be found on your collectors sheet with their name and family information. There's also a hidden accessory that can be found in every egg make for even more glamor. One came with a little crowns, another had brushable hair and a comb. whilst one had a tiny skirts. They're all adorable and so pretty, you'll really want to collect them all.

The Hatchimals Royal Snowball Jewellery Box Dozen will cost you around £24.99 but there are lots of other sets to choose from. You can buy bigger playsets and smaller ones too so there's something to suit every budget. I think these are going to be really popular this Christmas as my two loved them. They're lots of fun to open and great to collect too.

Disclosure: We were gifted our Hatchimals Royal Snowball Jewellery Box Dozen for free for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed within it are 100% honest and our own.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Wedding Planning - Finding the Right Venue.

Wedding Planning - Finding the Right Venue.


I've been struggling a bit this week as now we've set our date and booked our Marriage Ceremony. Now I need to find my Reception Venue. Budget wise, I've always known that it was going to be a small, simple affair but now that I'm actually visiting places and seeing them in real life, I've found myself wanting (hoping) for more. Originally I was looking for a simple Social Club style hall where I could dance the night away with my friends and family.

Last week, I found a gorgeous local social club but soon found myself disappointed when I discovered they didn't hire their room out on Saturdays as they host their own functions. My heart sank a little and I had to start my search over. I've looked at several halls since but none have the same wow factor as the one I first fell in love with. After a few days, I had to pick myself up and forget the first hall as it was only holding me back from loving a new one.

We visited another local room this week and I thought I was happy with it. It was a nice room with a nice back garden but it was a little on the small side. It holds 100 guests but my first draught of who I'd invite was much bigger. I sat there crossing people off my list but found my heart began to sink again with each name that disappeared from my big day. I was willing to compromise and downsize my party for the sake of getting something booked so I could get on with the rest of my planning but yesterday when I went to meet the owner and pay my deposit, something inside my head was screaming "No, this is not the place".

As I walked away without booking the room, I feel like I'm back in the unknown but I realised something yesterday. I'm rushing and I need to slow down. I must take my time and keep looking until I find my perfect place. I'm not going to settle, that won't make me happy at all. 

I may not have my wedding venue just yet but I'm feeling much more positive today and even though I don't have a place for my guests just yet, I do have my Guest Book and isn't it beautiful, I love it so much. My White Leather Wedding Guest Book from I Just Love It is so lovely and I can't wait to fill it with message from the people I love most in this world.


So for now the search continues, but at least I'm feeling much happier about it. I'll keep you all updated as I go and will hopefully be able to show you my 'Perfect' venue real soon.

Who knew that Wedding Planning was going to be so stressful?

Disclosure: I was gifted my Wedding Guest Book for inclusion in my Wedding Posts.

Monday, 4 November 2019

#Win a Hotel Chocolat The Classic Christmas Sleekster

WIN a Hotel Chocolat The Classic Christmas Sleekster


Christmas is coming - Hooray!

 I love Christmas, it's my favourite time of year. I love the festive food and the yummy treats and the slightly tipsy family get togethers. I love the whole run up where we decorate the tree and sparkling spreading tinsel everywhere and the excitement of unwrapping gifts. 

So, today, I have a special gift for you! I've treating one of you to a Hotel Chocolat The Classic Christmas Sleekster. Containing 30 filled festive chocolates in 16 recipes. There's 
Caramels, pralines, tipples and more. I know I'd be happy with a box of these for Christmas.


To WIN - Simply use the Rafflecopter Form below to complete as many or as few of the entry options as you like. It's completely up to you how many you do but remember, the more entries you do, the more chances you have to win. 1 lucky winner will be chosen at random after it closes on Saturday 30th November  - UK Only - Good Luck xox

This is not a sponsored Giveaway - The Prize is paid for by myself.


Terms and Conditions: One winner will be drawn at random using the Rafflecopter App. 
This Giveaway is only open to the UK. The giveaways ends on Saturday 30th November x

Friday, 1 November 2019

PNP – The Portable North Pole - The Magic Pass #Review

PNP – The Portable North Pole  - The Magic Pass


November 1st is always an exciting time of year for us in our house. With Halloween now over and done with, it's time to start the Christmas countdown and what better way to do so, than with a personalised message from the big man himself - Santa Clause. 

The Portable North Pole is an online platform used by Santa and his elves to send personalized video messages and calls to the people you care about most anywhere around the world. It's the original Santa messaging service that globally has send over 220 million messages since its creation in 2008. In just a few simple steps, you can help Santa gather all the information he needs about your loved one and create a personalised video message or phone call that is positively magical. I created a video last year for my son Ryan who's face lit up when he saw it. It was a magical moment that he hasn't forgotten about yet.

There are free videos available but there are Premium options that you can purchase too. 

The Video Pass £9.99 - Gives you unlimited access to all Premium videos for unlimited kids. The reaction recorder with the mobile app and web browser (Chrome).

The Magic Pass £12.99 - Gives you Unlimited access to all Premium videos and calls for unlimited kids. The reaction recorder with the mobile app and web browser (Chrome). New Enhanced videos and All new multi-device scenarios. New Family options and the option to create a message for more than one child (available in 2 scenarios). 1080 HD downloads of all your videos and Video calls from Santa so you can see and hear Santa on a face-to-face video call. There are also Bonus features of a First name guaranteed
If requested before November 15th and a Printable nice list certificate, Santa approved.

Ultimate Magic Pass £32.99 - Gives you all of the Magic Pass features for 10 years.


We've been checking out the PNP Magic Pass which has let us create our own personalised video and video call from Santa which was lots of fun. I think I had as much fun creating it as Ryan and Lily had receiving it. It's such a lovely idea that all Santa 'Believers' will love.

I'm so excited about Christmas this year and can't wait to show Ryan and Lily the video I have created for them this year. Let's hope it encourages them to be good and stay on the 'Good List' to get all the toys and presents they want this year. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


We love the PNP and hope you will to, so from our house to yours - Merry Christmas!

Disclosure: We received a complimentary Magic Pass to help with our review.