Thursday, 18 December 2014

Butlins | Bognor Regis | Accommodation

Hello all!
As you probably know by now, we were chosen as Butlins Ambassadors for 2014/15! Our role entitles us to 2 breaks away to review the whole Butlins experience, from the activities to the accommodation  through to the staff and the surroundings! We recently got back from our first trip and can honestly say we had THE best time! It was our first holiday away together and things couldn't have gone any more perfect! :)

To start off Part 1 of our review, I thought I would kick things off with the Accommodation as it's probably one of the most important factors, so without further ado, here is what we thought!

Walking into the lobby was straight away festive and magical, lots of fairy lights and Christmas trees with presents, Abbie LOVED it so much, it took me 15 minutes to get her away from it all and up into the room! 


We booked into one of the Family rooms and specifically asked to be on one of the top floors away from the noise of the main restaurant. The room itself is pretty basic, but enough space for the 3 of us, i've never been one to pay a lot of money for an actual hotel as you don't ever spend any time in there other than for sleeping! 

As you step through the door you have a little hallway with the kids area on the right, this includes a double bunk bed with storage under the bed and a cabinet with a TV and DVD player! Simple but all you need for winding the little ones down ready for bedtime! The hallway had lots of storage space for all your clothes, suitcases and bags, hanging space, an iron and ironing board, and even a little safe to keep all your valuables in when you're not in the room! Walking to the end of the little hallway is the main bedroom, complete with a mini fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, tv & dvd player and a hairdryer too! There were towels on the bed that were made into the shapes of elephants which was a lovely little touch, Abbie however pulled the off before i could snap a photo!

The decor was simple and although the room had a little wear and tear, it wasn't enough to bother us and was to be expected really, the rest of the room was spotlessly clean and tidy too! My only little qualm would have to be the "kingsize" bed, not actually a kingsize but 2 singles pushed together, I wouldn't have mind so much but one of them was slightly higher than the other so it was pretty uncomfortable, the mattresses on both were firm and a bit lumpy too so not the best night sleep for me, but I understand why they've used the 2 singles, it's convenient for them to either push them together or to keep them separate as per the customers requests, so I don't mind too much, just might've been nice to know before arriving so we could bring a thick blanket to put on over the mattress!


Bathroom
We were really surprised at how big it was, it had a lovely modern design and also the added bonus of a HUGE bath which Ben could actually fit in! Again it was super clean and perfect for our little family! :). Abbie absolutely LOVED the little yellow duck that came with it too, it was the first thing she asked for when we walked in the door! Easily enough space for a bigger family too, you are provided with a few little toiletries but nothing big so make sure to take your own bits too! I loved that they provide you with a little step up to the sink for the little ones, so much easier for them to brush their teeth on!



Last but not least, the view. I actually forgot that we had booked a partial sea view with our room so that was an amazing little surprise, I've seen other reviewers mention the car park was the first thing they saw outside their window, which yes is correct but your eyes automatically go straight to the sea and the beach! It was absolutely gorgeous throughout the day and was amazing to hear the waves too!  For that little bit extra money I'd definitely recommend booking the sea view, it really makes the room that much better :). Below i have taken photos throughout our stay of the view, I think i've fallen in love with Butlins a little bit more!




If you can't jet ski in the middle of December, when can you eh?



Overall the Accommodation was exactly what we expected, spotlessly clean, plenty of storage space, quiet and a gorgeous view from the 3rd floor! If you can book a Stateroom I would highly recommend it, however a partial sea view is definitely second best and made the time we spent in our room even nicer :)

Come back for our review in a few days of the Dining too!

Visit the Butlins website to book you and your family in for a wonderful holiday for 2015! I promise you won't regret it!

Jess x

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Fifteen Festive Favourites!



Hello all!
I was recently tagged by the lovely Jenna from Chic Geek Diary to take on the "Fifteen Festive Favourites", tag, I'm a bit of a sucker for anything Christmassy or Tag's for that matter so this was perfect for me! I tag all of you to get involved too!

1. Favourite Festive Food
Oh it has to be pigs in blankets, I could literally eat about a hundred of them, I wasn't even going to do turkey this year and just do those ha ha.

2. Favourite Reindeer
Vixen? IS that one? I like the name ha ha.

3. Favourite Day of Christmas
Christmas Day! Waking up and going downstairs with Abbie, showing her the presents, sitting together having breakfast before digging in to the presents, chocolate, biscuits and other yumminess!

4. Favourite Christmas Song
Oh oh oh I can't choose just one, the three songs that always get me into the spirit and brings back lots of memories are;


Paul McCartney - Wonderful Christmas Time
Wizzard - I wish it could be Christmas every day

& anything Michael Buble sings ;)

5. Favourite Present
Anything camera-like, perfume and chocolate!


6. Favourite Festive Film
Elf! I literally can never get bored of it, every day I can watch it and will still laugh the exact same every time! Next it has to be Home Alone 2, it was my inspiration to go to New York and made my little childhood dream come true! :)


7. Favourite Festive Cracker Toy
I don't even know what they put in them anymore, can i just choose the party hat? It's a necessity!


8. Favourite Cracker Joke
Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars? Because their days are numbered! - I had to google them, couldn't remember any but this one made me smile!

9. Favourite Christmas Decoration
Fairy lights! They make the house look so festive and pretty, I love driving past houses with the whole outside decorated in them too, I just don't think I have the patience to do it all ha! 


10. Favourite Christmas Candle Scent
I actually had one last year that I can't remember the name of, it was some sort of Gingerbread man scent that literally smelt like i'd been baking all afternoon!


11. Favourite Christmas TV Advert
The Coca Cola ad, it's a classic! Everyone knows it and it's not changed or updated in the years i've known it on tv which is amazing too! 


12. Favourite Festive Tradition
I guess for now it's that Abbie puts the star on the tree, but as she gets older we will probably make a couple of our own baubles to go on the tree too!

13. Favourite Place to Spend Christmas
At home :) being somewhere familiar is a must! Although every year we would go to my Nan's for Boxing Day and it was the best day ever, lots of food, games and extended family too! I miss it actually, I've not had the whole family get together thing for about 8 years so over the next few years i'd love to have it again!

14. Favourite Christmas Fact
I had to google this one too but this one is unusual..


Mistletoe is from the Anglo-Saxon wordmisteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads through bird droppings....who wants a kiss now?? ><


15. Favourite Snowman Accessory
It's gotta be a scarf, then you can cover up the fact you couldn't make a proper circle shape for his head.

x

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review | Thule Ride Along


Not too long ago, we were introduced to the amazing brand known as Thule, a brand designed with active families in mind to bring you products such as bike carriers, sport strollers, bike seats and luggage to name a few! Whatever adventure your family will go on next, Thule have you covered to make your experience safe easy and stylish! 

The Thule brand was established in 1942. Under the motto Bring your life, Thule globally offers a wide range of premium products for active people that allow them to bring what they care most for safely, easily and in style. It offers among other things roof racks, bike carriers, roof boxes, computer/camera/sports bags and child related products like child bike seats and multifunctional strollers. The products are sold in more than 125 countries world-wide!


"Whatever your passion, whatever your pursuit. Wherever you're going, whatever you're bringing. With Thule, you're free to live your active life to the full."



Bring your board.

Bring your bike.
Bring your skis.
Bring your love.
Bring your passion.
Bring your dreams.
Bring your life.



We were given the opportunity to review the fantastic product RideAlong and have been using it for the past few weeks with Abbie and now wanted to share our experience with you all! 

I was so excited to start using this, as soon as it arrived and we unpacked it, Abbie was trying to sit in it whilst it was on the floor, she was completely intrigued by it and knew straight away it was something she'd be sitting in! The assembly was a little fiddly but to be expected really, products like this need to take a little bit longer to ensure complete safety for your little ones, so we didn't mind it took a while. Once secured to the bike, we popped Abbie's helmet on and put her straight into the seat, securing her legs was easy and can be done using only one hand which is a plus! We kept the seat upright as she's used to it with her highchair and pushchair, however it can be reclined to 5 different reclining positions to suit every child!


As soon as Ben pulled away Abbie instantly lit up and the biggest smile came on her face, she loves motion anyway and loved being high up as well, she was a little annoyed she couldn't really move her legs but soon got over that as Ben went around the corners, although when we took the photos after the 3rd time she no longer wanted her legs strapped in, we were both confident and happy she was still secure and safe so let her legs stay unstrapped as she is sturdy and old enough to keep them still!

 My heart melted seeing her enjoying herself so much, it was like Christmas Day for her! We will definitely be using this for future bike rides and more so in the Summer when the sun is shining! I have so many memories when I was younger of family bike rides around Gloucester, riding through the woods and loving all the big bumps, they're fond memories I would love Abbie to have and now she can! :)





Here are a few features and details!


Technical Specifications

Built in reflector 

Comfortable premium harness 

Foot straps 

Height-adjustable foot rests 
Height-adjustable harness 
Protection wing 
Quick release bracket*
Reclining Seat 
Safety buckle 
Seat length adjustment lever 
One Key System Compatible 
Padding 
Recommended Ages 9 months to 6 years
Weight 5 kg
Warranty 5 years

*The universal quick release bracket allows seat to mount/dismount from bike in seconds and is compatible with most bike frames.

Childproof safety buckle with large buttons quickly secures child
Detachable, water-repellent padding is machine washable and reversible, offering two color options.

Built-in reflector and safety light attachment point provides added visibility.
Lockable with Thule One-Key System (lock included).


Meets international safety standards.



 We really really REALLY love the RideAlong, it's perfect for getting the little ones out the house into the fresh air whilst the parents get some exercise too, yay! I was really surprised at just how sturdy it was, it's amazing how far products have come and I feel 100% confident with Abbie secured into the seat which is a lot to say from an anxious mummy! I can't recommend this enough, whether you use it to take on holiday or just for a local bike ride, the whole family can enjoy a lovely day out!

Also, if both parents want to use the seat, instead of having to take the seat off and on and mess around with all that again, all you need to do is buy an extra quick-release bracket for just £25 and put this on the second bike! Done!

Visit the Thule website for more amazing products and to purchase your very own RideAlong!



Monday, 10 November 2014

The Christmas Tag!


Afternoon all! 
Today I have a lovely little Christmas tag to share with you all that I found over at Milk Bubble Tea, one of my newest reads this month! I am loving her blog already and have only read a couple of posts! :). Now the Christmas spirit is fully in my system, Christmas shopping is well underway and the Coca Cola advert has now been on, I can start writing more and more posts for Christmas and no-one can judge me (yay!), I thought a little tag post would be a fun way to get you all involved too, so I tag all of you to get involved too!


1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
Oh boy where do I start!? Growing up I always loved the Home Alone movies, the second one in particular, there were always the most amazing decorations and Christmas trees and the McCallistars house was my dream house too! Now I think it has to be Elf, such a hilarious and adorable movie, I laugh so much during it and can literally watch it every day over Christmas without getting bored! 


2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning! Although when I was younger my Nan would let me open one on Christmas Eve if I was round her house, but I think it can kinda take away from the whole Christmas morning vibe! I can't wait for Abbie to come running in our room begging to get up and seeing her little face as she see's all the presents :)


3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
There are so many I could mention but one that's stuck out in my mind the most was when I was about 5 or 6, I had written out my Christmas list and at the very top was a new bike, I had my heart set on one and I didn't really care about anything else I got, so Christmas morning came and i'd had all my presents and I looked around and didn't see a new bike, so I did what any 6 year old would do, I cried, a lot. That was until my Dad pushed a gorgeous pink bike out from the bedroom to cheer me up, I remember that feeling of joy I felt, spoilt brat I was ha ha


4. Favourite festive food?
What, how am I suppose to pick just one? Ummm, probably pigs in blankets, they're the first thing I look for if someone else cooks Christmas dinner, the thing I most look forward to and the thing I eat far too many of! This year i'm cooking for the first time and I plan to eat as many as my stomach can take, I'm having a day off my diet especially for them, mmm!


5. Favourite Christmas gift ?
It was probably when I was bought my first DSLR camera, I didn't ask for anything except for that and I literally spent the whole day taking photos or anything I could, food, frost outside and even the back of the tv to test out the focus! 


6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Oh it's got to be the food, every time the oven is opened to check on everything, that waft of turkey, roasties and rosemary, yum! 


7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Not really, except for finishing the wrapping! I think as Abbie gets older we will start traditions but for now we're enjoying the fact we don't have to do anything and the madness can start first thing the next morning

8. What tops your tree?
Our tree will be a homemade star to carry on the tradition my Dad and I had, we'll make it from Aluminum foil and cotton wool and lift Abbie up to put it on top of the tree! :)

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
This is going to make me sound really really spoilt, but I got everything I asked for, as I got older I asked for bigger things that I would use as opposed to little things here and there, I've never had that moment where I didn't get something and felt disappointed, lucky me I guess! This year i've got a few big things I've asked for so ask me this question again next year ;)

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Quality family time, the whole festive feeling, the amount of food you are allowed to eat and will not feel guilty about and now Abbie is a bit older, seeing her little face opening her presents and playing with her all day, then taking her to her Grandparents for more presents and then stuffing my face full of naughty food some more!


x

Friday, 7 November 2014

Christmas | Decorations & Craft Ideas


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I'm well and truly in the Christmas spirit now, which means I can only get more and more excited as each day passes! Since living together we've not really gone mad on decorations, usually just some fairy ligths and the tree with some baubles! But this year we wanted to go a step further and actually make the living room look a lot more Christmassy, we want to keep it pretty traditional and simple but with a really sweet and cosy feel when you walk in! There's a misconception that decorations are pricey, which yes, if you go to the high end places, they will be, but one of my favourite gift websites DotComGiftShop have everything you need with amazing prices too, so if you're looking for some unique and special items, hop on over and have a browse at their Christmas section (and everything else for that matter), I promise you won't be disappointed!

I wanted to share with you my favourite picks from the website that we will hopefully be getting too, which is your favourite?

TREE DECORATIONS
Probably my favourite thing to decorate, being the main centrepiece of the whole room, and me being pretty OCD, the tree has to be perfect, we tried tinsel one year and it just didn't go to plan, so we try and keep it simple and easy really, this year we've gone for traditional red and gold for the tree, we have lots of baubles and will be purchasing the mini polka dot ones above for Abbie to put on too, I think it's important that she has something that is just hers now she's old enough to kinda understand what's going on! We will also be making our  very own star to go on the top of the tree this year, it was a tradition in my family so I will be using my Dad's method to create an aluminium star and Abbie will be putting it on the top every year from now on! 

ROOM DECORATIONS
Last year we didn't have much else other than some fairy lights wrapped around the staircase, but we will be adding lots more this year, starting with the fireplace, we will be using the garland from above to sit across the top, it has battery powered lights too which will add that adorable cosy look at nighttime! I am in love with these gorgeous chapel tea light holders, there are about 5 or 6 on the website, all in different shapes and sizes, they are so much cuter than the regular holders you can get, they give a really sweet pattern against the wall and really make it feel a lot more christmassy! As I said before, we have fairy lights wrapped around the staircase, pretty pink ones that brighten up the whole room, I think we might use some warm yellow ones this year to keep with the colour theme but they really transform the living room and make it look more magical!

HOMEMADE IDEAS
Adding that personal touch is always a cute way to keep your home looking unique! No matter what age your little one's are, there is something they can do to help too! Something that can be done for all ages, including newborns, is making special christmas cards! Even if you make one each for the grandparents, they'll really love the personalised touch! One of my favourite ideas is to paint their little feet in brown paint and help them to push their feet against the card to create the face of a reindeer, then just paint on the antlers, eyes and nose and you'll have an adorable reindeer card! Hand them the pen and let them scribble inside too, or hold the pen with them and let them sign their name, it'll definitely give that awww factor! 

source
If they're just too wriggly or just not wanting to co-operate with this one, maybe draw out a Christmas scene and just let them colour everything in, inside the lines, outside the lines, add glitter, stars, cotton wool for snow etc, grab a load of crafting materials and let their imagination run wild! I have found a few crafting ideas online you might be interested in, click the links below to see more :)


*full credit to DotComGiftShop & Jill Dubien for the images

x

Review | Degustabox October


Today I have a review of the amazing Degustabox! A monthly subscription box that provides you with a surprise of 10-15 products from sweet to savoury, fresh ingredients to drinks, even brand new items you may not have heard of yet! I think one of my favourite things about this is the surprise of what you're getting, I'm always too excited for mine to arrive and I can honestly say, this is my favourite month so far! Lots of yummy treats and recipe helpers! If you like what you see then why not sign up and start receiving your very own Degustabox as of this month, for only £12.99, plus I have a £3 off discount code too if you do register! 5WNB9 :)


Special K Cracker Crisps - £1.89
As you'll probably know if you follow me on Instagram, Ben & I are currently on a healthy eating plan and have both lost 18lbs EACH! We are always on the lookout for foods that although we are craving, come in a much healthier option, when we saw these in our box this month we both got a little excited...first of all, they're my favourite flavour, BBQ, secondly, they have 60% LESS fat than most other crisps on sale, it's safe to say we treated ourselves to the whole packet after dinner on Wednesday and still stayed within all our diet targets, so win win! They are light, crunchy, full of flavour and only 122 calories per 23g (or about 21 crackers to be exact). Definitley recommend these to anyone looking for a healthier alternative to your favourite crisps or just for a yummy snack! Also comes in a range of other flavours, Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar, Sour Cream & Onion & Sweet Chilli.



Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce - £1.39
I could literally eat sweet chilli sauce with everything, they add that sticky and sweet flavour to your meals without being overpowering and too spicy! Blue Dragon are one of the biggest brands when it comes to Chinese food and this sauce in particular has been voted Britains best tasting too! Yum! We tend to have some sort of stir fry for dinner every week so this will be perfect on the side!



Get Buzzing Flapjack - £1.30
Who doesn't love a flapjack? I remember having them at school pretty much every day and they're also one of the easiest things to bake, although I'm healthy eating at the moment and not allowing treats like this till I reach my target, it's going to be o nthe forefront of my mind once I get to my goal, it'll be the first thing I grab! Get Buzzing offer a range of 100% natural healthy eating flapjacks that complement a well ban aced yet by produvind fast and slow releasing energy that will keep you going for longer. Enjoy 10% off your first order with discount code 'newbuzz10'



Enhance Drinks - £2.49
I've seen a lot of these sorts of thing around recently, I think they're a great idea for sprucing up your boring old water and giving you a bit of flavour! I peronally struggle to drink water by itself, but since starting this new lifestyle, I've literally forced myself into it and although the first few days were hard, I'm actually used to it now and haven't drunk anything else in the 6 weeks since I started! So this is one i'll hand over to Ben, he's not really a water person either but after trying this and knowing its only 1cal, he's going to be taking it to work with him! Oh and it also has no added sugar so a healthier alternative to the Robinsons version! I do think it's a little bit pricey as a bottle of squash comes in at about £1 and can last for up to 40 glasses, but who wants to carry a huge bottle of squash around with them at work?



Kent's Kitchen - £2.50
I've not actually heard of this brand before, but they provide you with little meal kits consisting of 3 steps to creating an authentic, delicious meal in just 20 minutes! Use the 3 clever pots and add a few fresh ingredients to create 'restaurant quality' meals! And don't worry, it's all natural ingredients and can be stored in your cupboard for a long time until the right moment comes to using it! I've not used it yet so can't really give my opinion on the taste, but I am looking forward to trying it with a stir fry dish I'm cooking next week! 



Solo Marhsmallow Creme - £1.99
Just reading that title makes my mouth water, it was one of the first items I picked out of the box this month and I was in absolute awe that someone has even invented such a product! THANK YOU! I had a sneaky little smell under the lid and floated off to heaven for a few moments, so what it is? It's a spreadable, bubbly sweet marshmallow treat that can be used as a baking ingredient or even straight from the tub if you're feeling naughty! Why not grab some wafers from the shop and spread a load of this between them for a nougat sandwich! Mmm! 




Dr Oetker Products - from £1.89
In this months box we received the Premium 90% Extra Dark Chocolate pack first of all, made from single origin Ghanaian cocoa beans to give you a deliciously indulgent taste to your baking treats! Ideal for melting and adding to your favourite recipe just by using the microwave! Next we received the Fine Dark Cocoa Powder, made from the finest quality cocoa beans to give a rich dark chocolate colour and flavour. I love that each packet comes with a little recipe card, just to give you some inspiration on what to bake next, and with Christmas on it's way fast, you might be thinking about a yummy dessert to cook after your Christmas dinner, Dr Oetker are always my go to products when it comes to baking, for the price and the convenience, as well as the taste of course!



Bear Paws - £0.55
We are already big fans of Bear Paw products, they seem to have popped up out of no-where and are taking the snacking world by storm! Abbie absolutely loves them and ate half the packet as an after dinner treat, they're made from only pure fruit with no added sugar, concentrates or any other nonsense, i'm always conscious about what i'm feeding Abbie, the more natural the better so these are perfect! With 5 different shaped paws in each packet and different flavours to match too!




Brioche Pasquier  - from £1.60
We were sent 2 lots of their products this month, i'll start with the Pain Au Lait with Choc Chips (or similar to Pain au chocolate!). These always remind me of being in France a lot as a child, lots of croissants and other pastry snacks, these were always my favourite because of the chocolate though! Although they're not the healthiest of breakfasts, they are a lovely treat to have with a good ol' cuppa, you can even pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds to melt the choc chips a little...mmm! Next we were sent the Brioche Loaf, I didn't even know they made bread too, but this is delicious, a lot sweeter than regular bread but also a lot softer which I love, again it's not the healthiest alternative but can fulfil that sweet craving you might be having! You could also make a yummy Maple Pecan Pudding using this as well, definitely a winter warmer for the whole family!



Jelly Belly - £2.50
These really are the treat in this box, Jelly Belly are one of my favourite sweet brands and i'm actually gutted sweets are on my restrictions list this month, they would've been gone within 10 minutes! Jelly Belly aren't just your regular sweet makers, they go the extra mile to ensure the juiciest taste and only the finest ingredients are used, every single bean can take up to 21 days to create too! You might have seen a lot of YouTube videos with people taking the 'Beanboozled Challenge', where they eat weird and unusual flavoured jelly beans? They are made by the same brand, but don't worry the ones in this box and all the yummy scrummy flavours, phew!

Visit the Degustabox website for more information
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And follow on Twitter to keep up to date!

x


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Christmas | My Ideas for a Special Christmas

I'm sat here feeling pretty sentimental right now, it's 6 weeks till Christmas and as excited as I am about everything, I can't help but have that niggle in the back of my mind. I always had the best Christmases growing up, surrounded by food, presents, family and so much love, every year was more special than the previous and I have so many wonderful memories I won't ever forget! But there is someone who is missing from all the joy, someone I can't help but think about every year without fail, my Dad. 


I think now I have Abbie I've realised just how important life is and how at any moment, it can be taken away from you. It makes me want to give the same memories to her as I had, make it just as special and to make her feel as happy as I always was on Christmas morning. 


I wanted to share with you some moments from my childhood christmases that had that extra special touch and what I remember more than the 'regular' moments, I think it's those moments that stand out the most and I will be sharing them with Abbie through the years as a family tradition! I totally wish we had tons and tons of photos from Christmases growing up but camera's really weren't the be all and end all, plus I was never really interested in Photography back them either! But I have the opportunity to give Abbie just that, the special moments which stay in her head forever and the ones she'll probably forget, they'll be in photo form forever too, excuse the cheese ;)


source
Santa Footprints

One of my favourite things my Dad & Mum both did for me was creating 'Santa's footprints' in our hallway! I woke up on Christmas morning and climbed down my bed and as I walked past the front door I saw snowy footprints along the floor, this is where I made up the very unconvincing lie that I actually saw Santa last night and spoke to him...oh to have a kids imagination again! I never thought to question how there was 'snow' in the hallway when it hadn't even snowed outside, but the fact Santa even visited my house and we were now considered 'besties' was far more important to me! Just incase you were wondering how they did it and want to try it with your little ones, they used one of my Dad's motorbike boots (which were monster big!) and sprinkled carpet powder around them to make it look like snow, very convincing and looked amazing! You could also use cornflower or flour too!


Lucky Dip Game
Every year we would go to my Nan's on Boxing Day which became a whole family get together of all my Aunts, Uncles & cousins for a lot of food and games! My Nan was always the best at setting up the Christmas lucky dip, she would buy lots of cheap bits and bobs and wrap them up in envelopes with numbers written on them and chuck them in a huge wicker basket for after lunch! Us kids would get a few raffle tickets for the more child friendly presents and the adults would get about 3 tickets each to look for as well! Lots of silly, funny and random gifts that would no doubt start conversation and memory talking but also great for the kids, especially the whole element of surprise, who doesn't love that! It's cheap, fun and is a great unique way to pass some of the time too!


Christmas Tree Stumps
After our first Christmas together my Dad decided to cut off the bottom of the Christmas tree into 3 puck sized sections to keep till, well, forever, they then became an ornament piece on our bookcase every single year after it, even now they are still lined up at my Mum's house! He was always the type of person that wanted to go the extra mile to make something even more special and rememberable! So whether it's your first Christmas together as a family or you want something to keep as a special memory, have a go yourself and saw off the bottom of your tree and keep for years to come!

Make your own decorations/star
When it came to decorating the house, we did this as a family, sticking red and gold tinsel across the ceiling, throwing glitter strings over the tree and attaching baubles and fairy lights around too, but there was something we did every year, which we will be doing with Abbie from next year, we sat down together and made our own star to sit on the top of the tree, made from aluminium foil and stuffed with cotton wool! Such a simple idea but one that I remember doing to this day, he had to lift me up to place it on top of the tree up until I was 10! It was tradition and didn't matter I could reach it myself for the past 2 years, it was something only we did and is another memory I won't ever forget.


My Memories
One year I was bought a karaoke machine, amongst more presents than a 9 year old could ever need, and once again, he decided he wants to take over the one present I was most looking forward to using, so up he jumped, karaoke cd in (Abba of course, classic!) then proceeded to wrap my multicoloured feather boa around his neck and start dancing and shouting along to Dancing Queen!

My Dad was one of those people who would be more excited than the kids, I remember one year I finally got a Tamagotchi, the very thing that was at the top of my list to Santa, but did I get to play with it? Of course not! He found it far more entertaining than any of the manly presents he received! I remember sitting with him and showing him what you had to do and asking multiple times if I could have it back, but nope, it was his and no-one else's! 


When it comes down to it, as much as everyone likes presents and gifts, as you get older, you only really remember the special moments, the times that made you laugh till you cried and the magical moments where 'Santa' visited etc..So don't ever feel like you need to buy tons and tons of presents or that everything needs to be perfect, it's usually the impromptu moments that really make Christmas memorable! I wish I could spend another Christmas with my Dad, in fact i'd give anything to have that, but instead I will take the memories I remember from my childhood and pass them onto Abbie, I'll stop worrying about getting her everything in the Argos catalogue, as a family we will treasure each moment we get together, visit family, play games, eat far too much food and stay up late! 

It was a tradition we wore our Christmas hats at all times! 
The annual game of lucky dip! And check out that buffet table!!

I actually baked this when I was in year 4 for the Christmas bake off, I won 1st place and bought my own cake!! Ha ha

Feeling old now looking at this decor!

What are you favourite memories of Christmas?

x

Friday, 24 October 2014

Christmas | Decorate with H&M

My favourite time of the year is only 61 days away! I don't care it's only October, I'm too excited to not talk about it ha ha! Christmas means so much more when you have your own child too so I can't wait to get the house decorated and start getting into the festive spirit properly! We took a little visit into Bath the other day where they're setting up fairy lights and christmas sections in a lot of stores which made me even more excited! 

I'm a big big fan of H&M when it comes to clothing, but didn't even realise until very recently that they also do homeware! Everything from bedding to kitchen utensils, cushions to placemats, everything you could possibly need to set your house up for all the seasons! I had a little browse this morning on their New Arrivals page and came across a whole bunch of Christmas goodies, and at amazing prices too, I think i've now found my source for all things Christmas this year!

Below I have created a little mood board of my favourite picks from the website, are you feeling Christmassy yet?? You are about to! :)

CUSHIONS
STRIPED - £3.99
 MERRY XMAS  - £3.99
SANTA - £7.99

ACCESSORIES
GOLD STARS - £2.99
RED BAUBLES - £3.99
SANTA SACK - £7.99
ADVENT CALENDAR - £12.99
FLUFFY BLANKET - £49.99

Cosy Cushions!
Cushions are one of those necessities for the cosy winter home I think, the plumper the sofa or bed looks, the more inviting it becomes! Our bed is always full of them, I have about 20 different covers in the airing cupboard for rotating around the seasons, that is except for, Christmas ones! I do think a room looks pretty naked without them, they're that cosy effect you kinda need during the cold months, when you walk in through the door after some Christmas shopping, or a long day at work, the first you wanna do is sit on the sofa, take off your shoes, and relax!

Advent Calendar
They've been around for years and year and are pretty much a necessity when it comes to Christmas, Abbie is at the age now where she will understand the logistics and how they work! Unfortunately for her, chocolate gives her belly aches (just like her mummy), so we are going for something a bit different for her, still the same element of surprise, if not more, by using this adorable hanging calendar above! We are going to fill each day with a different little toy/non chocolate treat for her, nothing expensive, just something different every day! After a few days she should get onto the idea that she gets a little something every morning leading up to Christmas morning!

Decorations
Growing up my Mum would always decorate the entire house from top to toe with the same decorations, they were mainly gold and red with every kind of bauble and hanging glitter you could think of! I used to absolutely love it, coming downstairs in the morning after she'd decorated and feeling so excited that Christmas was coming! Since Ben & I have been living together, we've had a different colour theme every year, last year we had blue and white which was so pretty, but this year i'm going back to my roots and go with good old red and gold! No tinsel, just some pretty fairy lights, baubles and star to go on top of the tree! 

In terms of the rest of the house we are planning on fairy lights around the stairs as we do every year, christmas bunting, candles, stockings and christmas sacks! I actually started Christmas shopping on Boxing Day last year and bought half of this years presents (thank god Abbie now likes Peppa Pig!) so i'm very prepared this year!

What are your plans for Christmas!?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Weight Loss | Week 2

What have I been eating?

Using My Fitness Pal i've been working out what I can and can't have in the day, what I tend to do is plan what i'm going to eat for the day, then see what the calories are and what I have left or what I have to substitute. The app took into consideration my current weight and active levels to determine how many calories I should be consuming a day in order to lose my request of -2lbs loss per week, so my daily food intake has to be 1300!

I've not taken any photos this week of the meals unfortunately but will start again for this week :)



Off the menu!
 Chocolate
Fizzy Drinks
Cake
Crisps
Sugar in Tea
Pizza
Takeaways
Alcohol
Bacon
Bread

Stats

Height: 5 ft 8in
SW - 10st 13lbs
FT - 10st (on or before our holiday in December)
GW - 9st 7lbs (pre-pregnancy weight)

WEEK ONE weigh in: -4lbs
to
10 stone 9lbs

Week 2

***


Thursday 2nd October

Breakfast | Cheerio's with semi-skimmed milk & handful of grapes

Lunch | Birds Eye Meditteranean rice fusion with salad and salad cream

Dinner | Pasta bolognese with little meat and parmesan

Snacks | Muller Light with Coconut & hint of lime

TOTAL calories: 1168
Earned 200 calories from exercise

***

Friday 3rd October

Breakfast | Cheerios with semi skimmed milk
Red Apple

Lunch | Prawn Cocktail Salad
4 x Crab Sticks

Dinner | Chicken in black bean sauce stir fry and noodles

Snacks | Nutri Grain Blueberry bar
Lots of grapes

TOTAL calories: 1213
Earned 180 extra calories through exercise

***

Saturday 4th October

Breakfast | Cheerios with semi skimmed milk
Red Apple

Lunch | Ham & Egg Salad
Nutri Grain bar (strawberry)

Dinner | 2 quarter pounder burgers with stir fried veg & cous cous!

Snacks | 1 1/2 Nutri Grain Bar


TOTAL calories: 1128
Earned 194 extra calories through exercise

***

Sunday 5th October

Breakfast | Cheerios with semi skimmed milk
Red Apple

Lunch | Tuna Salad with Light Mayo

Dinner | 3 sausages, mash and baked beans!

Snacks | Banana

TOTAL calories: 1217
Gained 90 extra calories from exercising

***

Monday 6th October

Breakfast | Bitesize Shredded Wheat
1/2 banana

Lunch | Thai Chicken Soup, wholemeal rice
Apple & 4 x babybel

Dinner | Weight Watchers crustless cheese & onion quiche
Salad, beetroot, reduced fat coleslaw and ham slice

Snacks | Red Apple

TOTAL calories: 1203
Earned an extra 211 calories from exercising

***

Tuesday 7th October

Breakfast | Bitesize Shredded Wheat
1/2 banana

Lunch | Chicken & wholewheat pasta salad

Dinner | Chicken kiev, chorizo potatoes & cous cous

Snacks | Red Apple 
Nutri Grain bar blueberry

TOTAL: 1305
Earned 187 calories from exercise

***

Week 2 Results
-4lbs!

TOTAL loss: -8lbs


I'm so so happy with losing another 4lbs, I've worked my ass off and will admit I had a few days of struggling not to scoff my face, but I persevered and so pleased I did! I'm down 8lbs altogether and am only 5lbs off my target I was aiming for, for December. It'll be nice to enjoy myself over Christmas a little bit so i'm going to carry on eating as I am and exercising everyday too! I've just started going out with one of my friends for jogs 3 times a week too for extra motivation, today was hard, different terrains and inclines. We are building ourselves up by walking, jogging and eventually even some running. Its been a long time since i've jogged properly so I struggled today, but we did 45 minutes and burned just under 200 calories! Yay, every little helps :)

If you want to follow my journey, add me on MyFitnessPal @ourbabyblog

x
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