The Ideal Home Show at Christmas in London

This I am very excited about and thankfully only have a week to wait. This years Ideal Home Show at Christmas will be taking place at Olympia London for the first time ever. The UK’s biggest Christmas exhibition will be open from the 25th – 29th of November to provide everything you could possibly need in the run up to the festive season, from over 600 exhibitors showcasing top Christmas shopping inspiration, a plethora of celebrity appearances and a Christmas bandstand hosting live entertainment……………c’mon you Christmas lovers what more could you need?
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I’m feeling festive already and cannot wait to see the venue transformed into a winter wonderland. There will be exhibitors across 7 sectors, as well as a host of festive favourite celebrities including Gino D’Acampo, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Olly Smith and Katie Piper who will be making her Christmas show debut and  experts will be on hand at the show offering their own festive hints and tips to make your Christmas Ideal.

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There will be live entertainment for visitors to enjoy as they shop, a wide range of expert talks and advice,  a food & drink theatre featuring top tips from celebrity chefs, and even a champagne bar as well ( so that’s me sorted then!).

The Ideal Home Show at Christmas sponsored by Gocompare.com has everything you could possibly need to create the perfect Christmas all under one roof! So, for a chance to be part of history and experience Christmas for the first time at Olympia London, get yourself a ticket!

Tickets

To book tickets log on to www.idealhomeshowchristmas.co.uk or call 0844 209 7330.  For Group bookings call: 0844 412 4650

Weekday Adult £12.00
Weekend Adult £14.00
Weekday Concession (Over 60’s) £10.00
Weekend Concession (Over 60’s)     £12.00
Children (Under 15) go free when accompanied by an adult      

Timings for Ideal Home Show at Christmas:

Wednesday 25th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Thursday 26th November 2015 10am – 9pm

Friday 27th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Saturday 28th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Sunday 29th November 2015 10am – 5pm

I am looking forward to spotting some lovely new Christmassy bits to add to my ever growing collection that I manage to add to each year. Our decorations go up at the start of December and I love the festive run up to the big day itself. However, I do think my OH may disown me if I buy any more fairy lights for him to put up…………………………………… so watch this space.

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Oh my little blog how I have missed you……

I took a break, not a pre planned determined break but an impromptu, had no time or inclination to write sort of break all over the festive holidays. I was about on Twitter and Instagram and very occasionally on Facebook, but my little spot on the world wide web I completely stayed away from.

There was just so much going on to be honest and I applaud all of you who managed to cope with and enjoy the festivities and find the time to show your blog’s a little love! Anyway I did keep up with all your goings on via the other more instant platforms and loved seeing how you all enjoy the festive season with all your own little traditions and quirks.

For me though I just didn’t ‘feel’ like writing on here and so managed to occupy myself doing other things and at the time was very glad to take the break.

The decs went up!
  The decs went up!
Christmas goodies were made ( and all eaten!)
Christmas goodies were made ( and all eaten!)
pressies wrapped and unwrapped
pressies wrapped and unwrapped
food prepared, cooked, devoured and enjoyed!
food prepared, cooked, devoured and enjoyed!
get together's arranged , enjoyed and photos taken
get together’s arranged , enjoyed and photos taken
Parade's seen and days out enjoyed
Parade’s seen and days out enjoyed

In amongst that lot were pj’s were worn, boardgames were played, Prosecco was drunk and lots and lots of chocolates were eaten. Although it passed very quickly the holidays were fun.

Now the teens are back to school, the OH is back at work and normality has started to resume in this house. That’s when I started to miss my little corner of the web, after reading up on all the new 2015 posts of new starts and changes being made, my fingers started to itch to ‘get back to it’.

So, I’m now back, with ideas of what I want to add here, things I want to sort at home and stuff I hope to achieve this year…………… so Happy New Year to you all and I look forward to catching up with all your posts soon.

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What category of parent are you?

There are only two choices available here:

A) a parent that DOES or

B) a parent that doesn’t!

Now I only have to spend 15 minutes on Twitter to know that anyone from there that reads this will be an A, you just have to take a look at the links to blogs and pictures of what your kids (and you ) are up to.

However, I bet if you were completely honest you could name a few parents that you know that are a B, right?

My friend and I have had experience of this over many years, and after taking the kids down to the local park sledging on Sunday we started talking about it on the way home. Yes we had an extra with us then ( i would never begrudge the child ever) which is what started the chat.

That said parent had contacted my friend to say she would call when she needed him back!!!!! ER excuse me……..we will not be gone for the rest of the day, maybe an hour or two!!

So then we started thinking about all the stuff we do even though our eldest’s (who will be 15 this year)are probably getting way too old:

*Halloween, we still have a get together and do the Trick or Treat thing and want to progress on to an ‘older ‘style party to include the adults dressing up too.

*Easter, although family and friends drop the Easter eggs into the boys we keep them aside and still hide them around the house so they have to ‘hunt’ for them in the morning.

*Christmas, my two are old enough to know that ‘Santa’ is not real *cough* however, they do play the game even though they roll their eyes when I go onto the NORAD site LOL

*Pancake day, we still love to have home made pancakes for breakfast before they go to school and after our tea on the same day.

*Summer beach days, in the hols we still love a day at the beach and we still make our sand angels before the tide comes in to cover them.

*Snow, as this is often a very rare sight we make the most of it, they still make a snowman and love to go sledging AND even though they are both old enough to go on their own we like to go with them!! How else do you get those pictures???

*New Year, we had friends around and celebrated with fireworks and we all set off lanterns with our hopes for 2013 written on them ( we wont mention the fact that we almost set our neighbors fence alight! *cough*)

We came to the conclusion that if we don’t as adults make the effort to enjoy these events with the kids they will grow up and never pass on that enthusiasm to their children. I cannot believe there are parents who just cannot be bothered or for whatever reason just don’t do these things. Or is it that they are happy for the kids to go off with others to do it so they don’t have to?

What do you think?

So tell me, what do you do with your kids that you hope they will pass on?

Out with the old and in with the new?

Isn’t that the general feeling after Christmas and New Year?

Christmas this year seemed to fly past, was it the same for you?

Also as the boys get older Christmas changes slightly, we no longer go for our Santa visit ( apparantly at 12 and 14 they are too old!), however, we start new traditions that will hopefully keep a bit of fun in the celebrations for them.

This year we got some colour in placemates but bear in mind we are talking teenagers and so they had free reign to do as they wished with each of theirs…………………

Amazing they actually sat and did it.
However teenagers added their own additions to the scene!!!

This was also the first year their pressies have been put under the tree on masse, as normally they will have their own pile and then they have their family pressies seperate. But as things they are interested in get smaller but more expensive it looked much better overal to put everything under the tree.

We also went for silly bibs at the dinner table and thankfully the grandparents played along!

This year my OH has been off over Christmas and New Year so we have enjoyed jammy days in, meeting up with friends, getting out for fresh air at Shorne Park and also having friends over to celebrate the New Year.

 

Our motely crew letting off their lanterns with their wishes written on!

We had fireworks at the end of the garden and a VERY scary moment with the lanterns when one decided to drop onto our neighbors fence!!!

Thankfully a gust of wind came at the right time and we were spared a visit by the Fire Brigade, although admittedly our friends on their short walk home scoured the area for burned out bushes or sheds!!

Our decorations have all been packed away now and we are getting organised for the boys to return to school on Monday ( both of them are moaning about it already and I am dredding the early mornings again!)

Now for this year. What resolutions have you made? This year I plan to expand my home based craft business to try and earn some income and will be taking all the opportunities that come my way. So this time next year ( we’ll be millionaires- good ol’ delboy) it will be interesting to look back at what the year had in store for us.

What are your big plans for 2013?

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas actually………….

For some people Christmas begins when the decorations go up or when they have all their presents wrapped or even their cards written and sent.

My decorations went up at the beginning of December, my family presents are all wrapped and have been farmed out to the appropriate people, my Christmas food shop has been done and it has all been a last minute chuck together as usual (story of my life really).

However, I have one thing that makes me sit back and think that’s it Christmas can start. I hasten to add it is none of the above. My Christmas starts when I watch Love Actually!!

Not exactly the most Christmassy film as such but it has a great feel good factor to start me feeling the Christmas spirit. We did actually watch this film last Sunday evening with a little glass of wine when the kids had gone to bed…………….just lovely.

It doesn’t mean I’m totally ‘ready’ for the holidays, no that’s generally when my panic sets in. You know the OH MY GOD HOW MANY DAYS LEFT AND I HAVENT EVEN GOT………..

Although everything gets left last minute I always have faith it will be done. Today alone I have made 2 chocolate dipping hampers for neighbours and friends:

Not a great picture but gives you an idea of what was in it!

Included was chocolate chunks to melt, Christmas tree shaped marshmallows, strawberries, fudge and honeycomb, napkins and the skewers to dip in the bits!!

Complete with wapping!

I have wrapped in-laws, god daughters, a nan’s present, delivered them and popped in on friends for a mince pie and a cuppa. I have sorted all the family presents for the boys under the tree, cleared my table and decorated it with the Christmas stuff……….Oh and sorted the boys with thier presents for dad!! Then I made dinner and attended a Christmas carol service down at the local church.

However, we STILL have to wrap the kids stuff!! Should be getting done tonight but I think the OH will be getting instructions for that.

Tomorrow I have booked the cinema to see Nativity 2 in the afternoon and when I get home it will be dinner, then preparing the veg and stuffing for Christmas Day, sort the rest of boys presents under the tree, we still have to colour in our place mats ( don’t laugh my boys are 12+14 but if their Nan and Grandad can do it then so can we!! LOL)

But still my Christmas hols started OFFICIALLY last Sunday evening with a lovely glass of wine and Love Actually…………..

WHEN DOES YOUR CHRISTMAS OFFICIALLY START?

Christmas memories

What does Christmas mean to you?

For me Christmas means lots of things:

Family……………traditions…………..treats…………..presents

However, images that make me think of Christmas are another thing. Santa, mince pies, Christmas trees, Quality Street, and crackers!!

So what would you think if one year the powers that be decided to take one of those away?

Well the makers of Quality Street may just do that…….

Quality Street tin end of an era?

Watch our video to see if you agree with what the public we asked think

It’s that time of year again, Christmas is just around the corner and we are all manically organising how to make this year even more memorable than the last.

But is it all about decorating the Christmas tree? Or is it maybe something as simple as sharing a tin  of the much loved Quality Street with the family?

What would you do if you found out that Quality Streets were no longer going to be sold in tin, but instead in a plastic substitute? You’d be horrified, wouldn’t you? Indeed, recent research conducted by Opinion Matters found that almost one in three (31%) people view plastic packaging as feeling less Christmassy than the  traditional tin.

Well plans are afoot to scrap the tin. We invite you to join us in saying  #Keepittin.

Watch our video to find out more http://ow.ly/g9LP3

 

 

Review- Le Toy Van Car and Mat set

I was asked at the end of summer if I would review a selection of toys from  a company called Doll Houses via Big Game Hunters at http://www.dollshouses.co.uk

The toys on offer were really for children who were much younger than my boys, however, a friend of mine agreed to review them as her youngest was the perfect age group as he has just started in reception at school.

I chose the Le Toy Van Car Playmat which retails at £27.50, and the Le Toy Van London Car Set which is £13.00.

Delivery was swift and the items were very well packaged together.

This is what was in the package!

 

The cars still boxed
The mat unrolled

On first glance when I opened the roll mat I thought it seemed a little thin considering the price! However, it has a non slip back on it which compensated as most modern family houses have wooden or laminate flooring and the backing would be very practical.

The cars seemed in keeping with most other wooden car toys aimed at that agegroup, but I thought the London set was a great  idea as it was just after the Olympics and most adults and kids could relate to it.

So I handed the toys to my friend whose children seemed to enjoy immediately. She has 2 boys and 1 girl, 1 boy just started school and 1 just started secondary school with the girl in the middle!! She did pass on that they all had a play with it so we can certainly say it’s a universal toy suitable for slightly older children than it is targeted to as well.

SO HERE’S WHAT WAS SAID……….

 

‘At first glance this mat seems rather expensive but when I compared it to others on the market I would say it offers better value. It lays flat as soon as it is rolled out and has an anti slip backing which is great for our wooden floors! The pile is flat too, which made it far easier for my children to move the cars around. I particularly liked the attention to detail e.g. Disabled parking bays and bus stops.
The London car set that came with it was great too as my children immediately identified them (living in greater London). There was only one small design fault. The steering wheel had been painted on the left! My 8 year old daughter spotted this straight away which is a shame, as the car mat is designed for right handed vehicles.
Overall I would say they were both very good value for money!!’

So have a look at their website here as they cater for both boys and girls with what looks like good quality wooden toys. With Christmas coming this company is worth a look.
DISCLAIMER: these products were sent for review purposes only. All opinions are for a candid and truthful review of the product. No other payment was received with regard for this review.

Ok who mentioned the ‘C’ word!

It’s sad that we haven’t even experienced our summer yet *cough* and already Christmas is being mentioned!!! Shoot me now!

But in all fairness if you have kids it’s best to get organised and be ahead of the game, so………………………………………………………………………..

Sneak Preview Of This Year’s Must-Have Christmas Toys

Log on to our live and interactive WebTV show to get the inside track on Argos’ Top 10 Christmas Toys countdown

Show date: 19th July

Show time: 3pm

Christmas may still be five months away, but millions of children will already be starting to think about what they want in their stocking come December the 25th.

Every year, there’s a must-have list of toys that all children are desperate to get their hands on, so what will be the big hits of 2012?

Last year it was all about talk-back toys such as Dance Star Mickey, a talking robot for girls called Fijit and Sesame Street Let’s Rock Elmo. In previous years it was all about kids’ construction toys, with the Real Construction Deluxe Workshop topping Christmas wish lists in 2010.

As the UK’s leading toy retailer, Argos will once again announce their Top 10 Christmas Toys list, a prediction of this year’s most-wanted toys and games.

Over the years many parents and grandparents have come to rely on the annual list to get the inside track on what will be on children’s Christmas lists so they’re ahead of the game when they start their festive shopping.

So what will be the new craze this year? Will digital toys continue to dominate or will we see a return to the retro? Log on to our WebTV show where all will be revealed.

We’ll also be discussing the importance of toys and how different types of toys not only keep your children entertained but also help them learn and develop key creative and problem solving skills.

Watch our live and interactive WebTV show from the launch of Argos’ Top 10 Toys Christmas event with [Richard Woolfson Child Psychologist, Mummy blogger and Toy Buyer at Argos]

The above guests join us live online at http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/sneak-preview-of-this-years-musthave-christmas-toys

on 19th July at 3pm
Click here to submit questions before the show http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/sneak-preview-of-this-years-musthave-christmas-toys

 

 

Vimto Hot Mulled Berry Punch – a review

 

I was sent a bottle of this before Christmas in order to test out a non alcoholic alternative to mulled wine.

I like normal Vimto and I’m rather partial to a cup of mulled wine to get in the Christmas spirit. So I thought this would be right up my street!

 

“…Vimto’s much-loved original flavor has been blended with an enticing concoction of aromatic cloves, warming cinnamon and sweet nutmeg to pack a seasonal punch. Just add hot water for a warming non-alcoholic drink or use as a mixer to create a hot winter cocktail…”

Ok I know I’m a bit late for the Christmas rush but life truly got in the way over December and although I worked my way through half the bottle before Christmas I haven’t gotten around to telling you all about it until now……………….sorry.

Now when I first made this drink up I was a little worried as I found the smell to be a little overpowering. However, as a lover of flavoured teas I had a feeling the smell would be stronger than the taste……..and I was right!

At first taste I was a little disappointed as I thought it was just a cup of hot blackcurrant. Then the taste of the mulled spices kicked in and I was hooked. It did really have the taste of mulled wine without the worry of whether you could actually drive home!

The limited edition was available over Christmas in Tesco’s for £1.89 a bottle.

If we are lucky they may have some still left! I have still some of my bottle and to be honest it is a lovely alternative to tea and coffee as a winter warmer drink. So I will enjoy what I have left…………..until the next time.


 

 

 

 

 

2012….I get my life back!!

 

Well, relatively speaking anyway.

My son has now finished his run in panto this season and my body is very, very thankful it is all over!

The last few days have been spent looking through all the presents again, taking time to read through books and listen to CD’s and actually play with some of the games that the boys got.

Decorations have come down and put away until next Christmas and the house has resumed it’s normal look and feel. It has been the boy’s last day off today before they return to school and OH returns to work………….tomorrow will be blissfully quiet for me.

I managed to enjoy a fabulously chilled Christmas day with the family and my Mum and brother who had come to stay. That was until my cat made a quick escape past us and caught my mum on the face millimetres away from her eye!! ( these events are not unusual in my house as a few years ago she came and fractured her pelvis trying to play tennis with the boys, and last year we were all ill with ‘Swine Flu’……………..your getting the picture now!).

Anyway, the last panto show was on New Years Eve and we headed off to Bluewater for a nice meal and a cinema visit before returning home to see in the new year and let off our lanterns with 2012 wishes on.

I haven’t caught up on all my blog reading and Twitter following yet so haven’t seen all of your New Years resolutions. I have decided to learn new skills this year and not only get back to my knitting ( something I really enjoyed doing many years ago) but also to learn how to crochet (something I have never attempted!!).

I cannot go down the route of exercise and diet as my body is taking a long time to recover from the panto schedule and exercise for me is out of the question at the moment ( as I suffer with M.E).

I would also like to do more reading as this is something I have neglected for some time. I have been given ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ as one of my Christmas gifts and I’m really looking forward to starting that.

So, that’s me back to normality, with a regular routine about to start from tomorrow.

A New Year.

A New Start.

A New Skill.

How has your New year been so far and what are your resolutions?