My Family

My Family

Monday, 29 December 2014

We had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas ..

We had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas ..

I'm sorry for the lack of posts this month but I always like to keep December blog free for family time. December is always such a busy month here, we have a birthday and Christmas to celebrate so there's always lots going on.

This year my eldest daughter Chloe turned 12, I have no idea how that happened. I still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday, it's crazy how fast time flies. Her birthday treat was a trip to the cinema with her friends (no adults allowed). Even though she's almost as tall as me now, she'll always be my little girl. I kinda wish she'd stop growing now as she's making me feel very small and very old - eek.

Christmas day this year was a celebration for our family as last year on Boxing Day our whole world fell apart when we received terrible news that a family member had been diagnosed with a form of terminal cancer. It's been a long year for all of us, we never thought she would see another Christmas. After seeking a second opinion and going private to see a specialist. After months of scans, tests, Chemotherapy and life saving surgery we finally got the news we were only dreaming of hearing. She had beaten Cancer and survived the year. We're still not sure it's 100% gone but we're much happier now.

Our Christmas started around 8am with the kids waking us up ready to go downstairs and see if Santa had been. We opened our presents together, which is always my favourite part of the day. The look of happiness and sounds of excitement always make my day.

Once our gifts were opened and breakfast was eaten, it was time to get dressed and set off for visit number 1 to my Mum and Dads house. We always visit my parents on Christmas morning so we can exchange gifts and hugs and smile once again. My parents spoil my children each year but this year they really outdid themselves. There was toys and clothes and gifts everywhere, they really are amazing people but I think that next year I will be imposing a 3 gift rule so we don't end up with so many toys to take home.

Visit number 2 was our final stop, this year we were going out for dinner, which was a first for our family but with 17 of us coming for dinner it was the easiest option and also meant no washing up. Having everyone together around the table was wonderful, to me that was what Christmas should be all about. Family laughing and smiling, talking and singing.  Everyone was so happy that we had made it another year but we raised a glass for those who hadn't.

The food was great but the company was better! Christmas Day wouldn't be Christmas without my family. Young and old, my family are what our Christmas is all about.

We many not have done anything extraordinary or out of this world but to me we had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas and that's all I could have ever wished for.

I hope YOU had yourself a merry little Christmas too.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

National Wrapping Day is Coming! (Sunday 14th December)

National Wrapping Day is Coming! 
Sunday 14th December

National Wrapping Day is coming - Are you all wrapped up yet?

I have to hold my hands up and admit I have only wrapped 4 presents so far. I tend to leave all my wrapping until the last minute and then have a stack to do on Christmas Eve. It doesn't take me long though so worry not as I have my trusted companion ready to help me. My cute pink 3M Scotch Pop-up Tape Dispenser is all set to get my gifts wrapped.

3M National Wrapping Day is so exciting, did I mention they're giving away lots of amazing prizes? If you go to their site you can vote for the prizes you want them to give away and then you can actually enter to win them. There's an amazing prize up for grabs each week. You can enter using your Twitter or Facebook, it's a simple vote to win!

Scotch really do have this Christmas All Wrapped Up.

So pop on over to the National Wrapping Day page and join in. Remember, you've gotta be in it to win it right? If you are lucky enough to win a prize, please do come back and let me know, I'd love to celebrate with you, I do love a Happy Ending.

Disclosure: I have written this post in association with 3M and their National Wrapping Day.

Christmas Toy Gift Ideas #ChristmasGiftGuide

Christmas Toy Gift Ideas

Christmas is on it's way and if you're anything like me, you're just not ready. I've got a few gifts bought but I'm still looking around for some ideas of what to buy. I have 3 children of my own of all ages ranging from 4 years to 11 so I know exactly how you're feeling.

These are just a few toys that I like and have either played with or bought for my children.

First up is Transformers Optimus Prime from Hasbro which costs around £20 from your local high street toy stores or online. It's aimed at children aged 5 and over, it's a great gift idea for any Transformers fan young or old. Your Optimus Prime figure has robot and truck modes like always, and is also armed with a sword in robot mode. Whichever mode he's in though, he converts back to the other mode in a flash when you smash him down! 

Smash and change in the ultimate Transformers combat.

Next up we have these Glow in the Dark HEXBUG Nanos from HEXBUG which cost around £4.00 each. They're super fast little bugs that are always on the go and with these cool glow in the dark ones, they'll glow brightly for even more added fun.

The HEXBUG Nano is a tiny, collectible, micro robotic creature that uses the physics of vibration to propel forward and explore its environment. Powered by a tiny motor, and 12 fixed, angular legs, the industrious critter traverses the ground beneath it and quickly navigates through the most complex mazes which can be purchased separately.

Last but not least is my Lily's favourite, the Littlest Pet Shop playset toys which start from around £14.99 upwards. These are aimed at children aged 3 and over.

We recently did a REVIEW which you can check out for more information.

Littlest Pet Shop is first-and-foremost a collectors item, with so many different pets for your children to cherish but with the new playsets there's even more fun to be had.

The playsets are sold separately and each come with a pet or two but they can connect together to make even bigger sets to play with. My Lily loved these so I'm sure they will go down well with all the Littlest Pet Shop fans this Christmas.

I'm sure your little ones will be delighted with whatever gifts you choose for them this Christmas. These are just a few ideas of gifts I like, that you might like too.

Disclosure: I received samples for the purpose of this Gift Guide for photograph purposes. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Design your Littlest Pet Shop world your way. #Review

Design your Littlest Pet Shop world your way.

Littlest Pet Shop is all about self expression. 

The Littlest Pet Shop playsets give children the opportunity to create their own unique worlds from limitless combinations of pets, playsets and accessories. Along with their friend Blythe who's a real fashionista with her own “Blythe Style” there's lots of fun to be had. 

Littlest Pet Shop is first-and-foremost a collectors item, with so many different pets for your children to cherish. Meet the cutest, most adorable pets you'll ever see. Featuring fun bobble-head motions, they'll make the perfect addition to any pet collection. 

You can now play with your pet digitally, too, with the free Littlest Pet Shop app. Once you've launched the app, simply hold the pet, scan with the mobile device and play.

My daughter Lily who's 7 loves the Littlest Pet Shop toys, she loves collecting the adorable pets for her collection. The new playsets are great too, they seem to bring out her creative side which I don't get to see very often with her any more.

We've been playing with three Littlest Pet Shop sets over the past two weeks. The Pet-cular Fun Room Style Set (£14.95), the Spa Style Set (£14.95) and Blythes Bedroom Style Set (£29.99). Each set comes with one or more collectable pets, is fully customisable, and is stackable vertically and horizontally to create a unique world.

Each sets comes flat packed in their boxes so there full assembly required. They're really easy to put together though, most bits just slot into place which means even the kids can do it. There's lots of little accessories and stickers to personalise things just the way you like. You can change the way the rooms look for a different vibe every time.

Lily has been having so much fun playing with her new sets. She's got them all stacked up like a tower block at the moment but often takes them down to have a play. Blythe and her little pets have been getting up to all sorts of dramas over the past few weeks, someone fell into the bathtub just the other day. That was lots of fun.

The pets can play in the hamster wheel or slide down through the tunnels in the Pet-acular Fun Room Style Set or they can go for a haircut, bath or facemask at the Spa. There's always lots to do in the Littlest Pet Shop playsets, that's for sure.

Lily loves bathing her pets before they go to bed, because like she says 'no one wants mucky pets in their bed'. Lily loves the fact that the playsets are interchangeable and movable so that she can easily move the sets around to create different formations each time she plays. I also like that feature as it means you can store them away really easily, I just stack them all up on top of each other and push them to one side.

The Littlest Pet Shop toys are great, not only do you get lots of fun for your money but you also get access to the website where your children can go for even more exclusive Littlest Pet Shop content such as TV clips and music videos. There's also the App which gives you access to even more games and fun features. The possibilities of fun are endless.

I sure know that Lily is going to enjoy her Littlest Pet Shop sets and Pets for a long while to come. There's a new adventure to be had every time she plays and with even more Pets and Playsets to collect, her journey has only just begun. She's added a few of them to her Santa List for this Christmas so I'm sure her collection will be growing real soon.

We scored our Littlest pet Shop toys a fun filled 4/5. They're great fun and enjoyable to play with. They're great creative toys and are reasonably priced.

Disclosure: We were sent our samples for an honest review and were also compensated for our time in creating this review for Tots100/Hasbro.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

ToxicFox Christmas Gift Ideas .. #ChristmasGiftGuide

ToxicFox Christmas Gift Ideas

All I Want For Christmas Is... No one knows. What do people really want for Christmas?

ToxicFox have a wonderful new look Christmas Gifts section packed full of Christmas ideas for the whole family. You can pick from LOL, OMG or WTF categories for funny, unique or unusual presents, or check out their many other options to help you easily track down the best gifts for each individual. You really are spoilt for choice.

How about a ClaireaBella Large Jute Bag (£39.99) 

This bag features an elegant rosette bow, a 'handmade with love' silver charm, Swarovski Elements, 2 fabulous painted hearts (featured beside the name of your choice) and plenty of sparkle and glitter! You get to choose what you would like your girl to look like and wear.

The bags are gorgeous, they're very pretty to look at and really comfortable to carry. I love the way you can personalise them to make them look like you too.

How about a Cocktail Glass Matt Frame (£39.99)

Why not celebrate your life with this fabulous Cocktail Glass themed typography framed print. Each print comes wonderfully presented with a selection of mixed colour gems, a vintage frame and of course lots of words of your choice with meanings to you.

I chose 10 words that meant something special to me, mostly I picked my families names but then I added some emotions like Love, Fun and Happy too. I was really pleased with my finished print. It's going to sit really nicely on my bedroom wall now.

How about a Beautiful Bath Bomb Christmas Cracker (£7.99)

The pack contains:

Fresh Berry Blaster
It's Xmas Blaster
Cherry Bathewell Blaster

This bright pink christmas crackers contains three fruity, berry bath bombs which are all 
Christmas themed cupcake bomb shapes. They're the perfect treat for all bath bomb lovers. It's a simple gift idea but perfect if the lady in your life likes to enjoy her baths.

How about a Retox Pamper Pack (£7.99)

The pack includes:

1 Pomegranate & paw paw invigorating and nourishing face mask
1 Grape & Ginseng really revitalizing eye gel pads
1 Almond oil leave in hair mask
1 Shea butter & peach kernel softening intensive foot cream

It's a lovely little stocking filler for the ladies in your life. It's a novelty gift that screams 'Enjoy Me' If you like smellies or beauty goods then this is a great gift choice for you.

Whatever you fancy this Christmas, be sure to check out ToxicFox for some amazing gift ideas and all sorts of Christmas Treats and grab a cheeky 10% off with code TFBlog.

Disclosure: I was sent samples in return for an honest review.

Check out My Abra-ca-Debora Pancake Art & #win Your very own Pancake Hamper.

Check out My Abra-ca-Debora Pancake Art 
& win Your very own Pancake Hamper.

I don't quite fancy myself as a Picasso, Salvador Dali or a Turnover but when I was sent an amazing hamper of Abra-ca-Debora pancakes and some mystery ingredients, I just had to give it a try. Remember the word try there as my efforts were not brilliant but I tried.

Inside my hamper I found everything I could possibly need to create my Pancake Masterpieces. I decided on two pieces of well known art and gave it my best shot.

I give you my very own interpretation of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. 

I used dried apricots, slices of chocolate orange, raisins, chopped almonds and of course a Abra-ca-Debora Sweet Pancake. Everything in the picture is completely edible, I should know as I ate it shortly after taking this picture. It was delicious.

Next up is my slightly dodgy version of Scream by Edvard Munch.

For this one I used dried apricots, raisins, chocolate orange slices, chopped almonds, 2 silver cake decorations as eyes and nutella spread for added decoration. 

I had imagined it to be much easier to create than it actually was but I'm quite happy with how it turned out. What do you think? Is it a worthy effort?

Just for fun I had one last go at getting creative with my Pancakes and replicated the Eiffel Tower. What do you think? I think this was my best effort out of the three I did.

If you could create your own Pancake Masterpiece, what would you make?


The lovely people from Abra-ca-Debora have kindly offered me a Pancake Hamper as a prize for one of my readers to win. It's nice and easy to enter so please do join in.

The Prize will include:
  • 3 packs of Abra-ca-Debora Sweet Dutch Pancakes
  • 3 packs of Abra-ca-Debora Original Dutch Pancakes
  • 3 packs of Abra-ca-Debora Diddy Dutch Pancakes
  • Whole Earth peanut butter with sunflower, pumpkin & flax seeds
  • Clarks maple syrup
  • Clarks clear honey
  • Moose Maple Butter

To Win, simply use the Rafflecopter Form below.

This Competition will end on December 17th. One lucky winner will be drawn at random from all the correct entries and emailed with how to claim. Open to the UK Only.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Looking for cool kids watches? Check out Ravel watches. #Review

Looking for cool kids watches? 
Check out Ravel watches.

Ravel, who produce British designed watches for all age ranges and lifestyles have a big focus on quirky designs for young children that they will love. They would make a great Christmas gift for a good, affordable first watch. There's so many cute designs to choose from, there really is a watch for every boy and girl of every age.

When faced with the choices shown above, my children were absolutely delighted to be given the chance to choose one of these watches each for themselves. 

Ryan went first as he's the youngest, he chose the blue strapped alien design which was the perfect theme for him as he loves aliens. Ryan is only 4 so he's not yet learnt to tell the time by himself but he was eager to get his watch on so he could try.

It's a very cute watch with nice bright colours on it for him. The clock face itself is clearly marked and easy to read. It has one side red for the 'past' times and the other side blue for the 'too' times. It's nicely designed and very cute for young boys like Ryan.

Next up to choose was Chloe who's my eldest daughter, she's 11 so went for the oldest looking watch out of the five. She chose a simply black strapped watch with a clean white clock face surrounded by sparkling diamantes. It's a very pretty choice.

This watch could be the perfect gift for more confident time tellers or even adults. I wouldn't mind wearing this one myself but sadly Chloe got there first. There's no number written on this one, it's simply marked by crystal dots for each hour. It is lovely though.

Third up was Lily, I wasn't sure which one she was going to choose a there was three left, all suitable for her age and gender. To my surprise she went for the pink doggies one.

This one is a cute watch for the younger girls in your life. It has the two coloured markings to help with the past and too times but on this one they are shown in red and pink. It has a plastic feel strap with a simple buckle style clasp. It does up easily and stays on well.

All three of the watches are now loved and used every day. 

I have three happy children who are now enjoying their Ravel watches very much so. 

Ravel watches are lovely affordable watches and are available from many different retailers. They really do have a design and style to suite everyone in their range.

Whilst we enjoy our new watches, I will leave you with one last thing. The Ravel Blog is a new addition to their range so why not pop over and check it out if you get a chance.

Disclosure: We received watch our samples in return for an honest review.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Have a Scent-sational Christmas with Febreze

Have a Scent-sational Christmas with Febreze 

Hosting the perfect Christmas takes lots of preparations, we need the perfect gifts, the perfect meal, the perfect tree and even the perfect Christmas scents. 

Whether you want the sweetness of a Vanilla Latte, the traditional warm infusions of Apple & Spice or Warm Cedarwood, the fresh fragrance of Winter Wood or a light spritz of Festive Spice. Febreze's new collection of seasonal scents could be the perfect perfumed accessory for any keen host or hostess this Christmas.  

This week I have been enjoying the festive smells of their Apple & Spice range which includes a Febreze Candle, Febreze Air Spray and Febreze Set & Refresh Diffuser.

I love this smell, it's so spicy smelling yet fruity and oh so scrummy. I've sprayed it throughout my whole house and have to say it smells so good. My candle burns at night spreading it's delicious smells throughout my living room whilst my Diffuser spreads it's yumminess throughout my dining room. Thanks to Febreze and their yummy Apple & Spice range my home is smelling very festive this Christmas.

The prices are great, they're so reasonable and very affordable yet smell great. I'd be happy to receive these as a stocking filler or even a Secret Santa gift maybe.

Febreze Apple & Spice and all things nice!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Gift Ideas for the Lady in your life #ChristmasGiftGuide

Gift Ideas for the Lady in your life 
My Christmas Gift Guide 

Looking for a treat for the lady in your life this Christmas? I've got a few ideas to help you out, whether you're looking for a gift for your Mum, Sister or Daughter. 

The Rokit Gel Polish Professional Kit will cost you £99.99 and is available from select Debenhams stores and online. The brand new and unique Rokit Gel Polish Professional Kit makes gel nails even easier by reducing a typically five stage process to an easy one step application. Just polish and cure for shiny, salon quality nails that last up to 14 days. 

The kit comes complete with a high performance LED lamp which combines the latest LED and gel nail polish technology with a solvent free formulation that's kind to nails. With 32 LED lights, the Rokit lamp promotes a super-fast curing time as well as a built in treatment timer for ease and even better there’s no drying time!

You can check out my full Rokit REVIEW right here on my blog.

Next up we have the Elle Macpherson Heel Smoother by HoMedics which is available from Argos for around £19.99. This handy little gadget gives you the perfect at home pedicure with salon professional results. The battery operated rotating buffer and blade gently removes dry and rough skin on your soles and heels with ease. It has two speed settings so you can tailor your pedicure and a useful 'residue' chamber so there's no mess!

Last but not least I have the NEW Jam Transit Bluetooth Headphones which are available from HMV for £59.99. These new stylishly sleek Jam Transit headphones deliver excellent sound quality without the hassle of tangled wires and they have an integrated microphone for taking phone calls on the go. They're compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices including smart phones and the headphones connect wirelessly up to 30 feet. They have a full on ear remote functionality FF/RW/play/pause/volume +/-
and they're rechargeable battery allows up to six hours of wireless play.

Read my full Jam Transit Bluetooth Headphones REVIEW to see what I thought of them. 

There's 3 different gift ideas that might help your Christmas gift search a little bit easier.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Saturday Night at the Bhujon Cocktail Bar and Indian Restaurant #Review

Saturday Night at the Bhujon Cocktail Bar
 and Indian Restaurant

What happened when a curry lover and a complete curry restaurant newbie went to the Bhujon Cocktail Bar and Indian Restaurant on a busy Saturday night?

Daddy and I were invited to dine at the Bhujon Cocktail Bar and Indian Restaurant in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham this Saturday night. I love eating out and often enjoy a nice Indian takeaway at home but it had been a while since I'd enjoyed a meal out in style.

The Bhujon Cocktail Bar and Indian Restaurant looked really nice from the outside, it was all lit up and looked really pretty giving it a nice, friendly first impression.

Once inside we were greeted and shown to a table for two to be seated. The restaurant itself was well laid out with pretty paint splattered pictures on the walls. There was a section of comfy booths for larger groups on one side of the room and a row of smaller 4 and 2 seater tables on the other. The tables were a little close together (we thought) but the overall layout and presentation was very nice. We felt quite comfortable throughout our stay.

Our waiter offered us drinks and poppadoms as soon as we had been seated. He brought us a rather nice little basket filled with two different types of poppadoms and a selection of dips and sides. The dips were amazing, the chutney style one was so good.

Once we had finished these, which we did. We ate every single crumb in the dish, there was nothing left they were that delicious. We really enjoyed them and happily moved onto our starters which we were struggling to decide on. The starter choices were all so appealing, there was a plentiful range to choose from on their menu and everything was marked clearly with Mild, Slightly Hot or Hot next to them so you could make an informed choice depending on how you like spice or in Daddies case, not. In the end we choose three starters to share so that we could try more of their dishes, for review purposes only of course.

 The top picture is the Tandoori Chicken, the middle picture is the Meat Samosas and the bottom picture is their Chicken Cutlets Special. Each one came beautifully presented on long plates accompanied with a pretty salad and a cute drizzle of sauces. Everything tasted great, the food was delicious and well cooked. It looked and tasted fantastic.

Next up was our Mains, I played it safe with a Chicken Tikka Masala which is my favourite whilst Daddy ordered something completely new to us, their Chicken Makhani.

Again the food was beautifully presented, the colours was just lovely to look at. My Chicken Tikka Masala was deliciously creamy and sweet, just as I like it. Daddies Chicken Makhani was also very creamy but much less sweeter than mine. Again I had to try both for review purposes, although Daddy wasn't impressed by doing this. At first I thought the dishes were very shallow so we wouldn't have enough to fill us up but with a good helping of chicken (7 pieces in each) and enough sauce to dip our Garlic Naans into we were more than happy. We were full up with sauce to spare, the Garlic Naans were pretty big.

Even though the restaurant was quite busy because of it being Saturday night, the staff were very professional, attentive and well mannered. They were always around if we needed them and often came over to check everything was going ok. I was very pleased with their service. Our glasses weren't empty for long and our table was cleared quickly after every course. I really couldn't fault the staff, they were delightful.

After our meal we took a look at the Dessert menu, just to check out the selection and the prices of course. We often find the desserts can be very expensive but not here. We were so surprised by the low prices of £3.90 each that we decided to get one each to try.

Again, the presentation was lovely, everything looked so good and I'm happy to say that they tasted just as good as they looked. They were delicious.

We both really enjoyed our night out at the Bhujon Cocktail Bar and Indian Restaurant. We were there for a total of 2 hours from 7-9pm but it didn't feel that long at all. We wasn't waiting around at all, everything flowed smoothly and overall was very enjoyable.

We would definitely go back, the food was delicious and the service was great. The Cocktails were the icing on top of the cake too, if you like Cocktails like me then this place is a must. They have a large selection to choose from and each comes served in a pretty glass and tastes so good. I tried two of them so I can easily recommend their French 75 and their Pink Lips. Both tasted so good and I would buy them again.

Disclosure: We were given a budget to dine with for the purpose of this review. We did go over it by £17 which I paid myself but was happy to do so as I enjoyed it so much.

#SilentSunday 16/11/2014

Silent Sunday 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Our #DesignAFriend Party Was a Huge Success.

Our #DesignAFriend Party Was a Huge Success.

Yesterday was party day for us here and wow what a party we had. The Design a Friend dolls were a huge success with all the girls, it was 'dress up' heaven here.

There was two beautiful dolls for our guests to play with along with a lovely selection of outfits. Everyone had lots of fun dressing them up and doing their hair.

It wouldn't have been a party without fun activities and games to play. We coloured our very own Design a Doll sheet and created our very own styles and looks. We were missing the clothing sheets from our party box so we improvised and drawn on our own.

We also made our very own Design a Friend Club Cards which was lots of fun. The girls could pick a dolls face which they stuck onto their pass before I laminated it into their very own Club Card. I think the girls really loved doing this activity very much.

We decorated cupcakes using delicious vanilla icing, marshmallows and coloured sprinkles. Cupcake decorating always goes down well at our parties, it's just so much fun to do and of course it means there's lots of yummy cupcakes to then be eaten too.

There was slots of party food, there was mini pizzas, mini quiches, hot dog sausage rolls and chicken tikka on sticks. There was a lovely selection of treats for everyone to enjoy. As you may notice from the pictures, I went to my local Iceland to get our party food but I am not promoting them in any way, I just like their party food range. 

We played Pass the Parcel which was lots of fun. The children won little prizes like Loom Band sets, Cuddly keyring toys and Craft sets. The main prize was a gorgeous Design a Friend bag and Stationery Set. It was a really fabulous prize.

At the end of the party every guest went home with a rather gorgeous Design a Friend Gift Box which contained a Design a Friend outfit, shoes, pen, bracelet charm and a selection of sweets. The girls were very happy with their take home gifts.

The Design a Friend dolls received lots of compliments, everyone commented on how pretty they were and how surprisingly soft the bodies were too. The dolls can sit down or stand up straight, their flexibility really impressed some of the girls. I think they were expecting a hard bodied doll, so they were pleased with the hard hands, face and feet but a soft bodied doll.

I think Santa Claus will be getting a few more requests for Design a Dolls this Christmas. If I was a few years younger, I would want one of these for myself.

Disclosure: Our party was held in association with Design a Friend and UKMumsTV.