I added some Christmas cheer to my dining chairs.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

I was recently sent a box of crafting supplies from the lovely Hobbycraft.

One of the items in that box was a large roll of red organza. I have found it to be so useful.

So far I have lined Livs advent boxes with it, I also used it to line the inside of a Christmas hamper as well as making a bow for the hamper and also a bow for a wreath I made.

While I was sitting on the dining room floor adding the bow to the hamper I was looking at the back of one of our brown leather chairs which seemed really un festive compared with all of the other lights and decorations, so I thought I would try to tie a bow around the chair like you sometimes see at weddings.

 Here is the result:


I think it looks really good and the best part is if you can tie your shoelaces you can do this!

The organza is available in a whole range of colours so you could choose the best colour for your occasion.

Why not take a look at Hobbycrafts website - www.hobbycraft.co.uk have a try yourself and let me know how you get on.

Disclaimer - I was sent a box of crafting supplies from Hobbycraft for the purpose of the review, however all opinion is my own.

Are you struggling to find the perfect gift?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

There is always one difficult one isn't there?

When I saw this wicker hamper in the box of goodies I was sent from Hobbycraft I immediately thought of my Dad. He always asks for Blu Rays for Christmas but I seriously HATE buying gifts for people where they know what it is before they even open it, what's the point?

So I decided to fill this lovely hamper full of all of his favourite treats as a surprise. 


I cut off a good sized piece of the red organza and pushed it into the base of the hamper. Then I bought some treats: a bottle of port, some shortbread biscuits, chutney his favourite coffee and some chocolates. I am also going to add in a couple of his favourite cheeses.

Because I need to add them at the last minute and the fact that the hamper looks so lovely, I didn't want to wrap it so instead I tied a giant bow around it using a length of the red organza.



I think it makes a brilliant present and would quite like one myself. I also love that the hamper can continue to be used, it would make a very good picnic basket for the Summer months. What do you think?

Disclaimer - I was sent some products for the purpose of the review however all contents of the hamper and opinion is my own.

More crafting with Hobbycraft!

When I found this hollow cardboard cone in the box I immediately thought I could turn it into a Christmas tree decoration, with Livs help of course!

Firstly we painted the cone green, while it was drying I tied some small bows out of the various ribbons we had been sent. Once dry we glued on some googly eyes, a Merry Christmas bow on the top, some small pompoms out of the box and the bows I had made.




Here is the finished article!



Liv honestly loves this Christmas tree. She says "Goodnight Mr Christmas tree" every night and gives him a lovely wave and smile every morning, I think she will be devastated when January comes.


One of the items in the box had me stumped for a while, it was a book of lovely Christmas paper.

Then my Sister in Law posted this link to demonstrate how to make a 3D snowflake from paper.

I decided to give it a try with some of the beautiful paper I was sent.
I absolutely adore this vintage newspaper type print so I thought it would be perfect. The only problem I found was that the paper is very thick, card almost so I was unable to add 6 points in as they simply wouldn't fit, however 5 still looks lovely and we have a star instead of a snowflake.


It was very easy to make and is currently sitting in the centre of the blind in our living room. I think this is my favourite piece because it is home made, so easy to make and very effective.
Disclaimer - we were sent a box of crafting items for the purpose of the review, all opinion is my own.

Christmas crafts - wreaths.

We are very lucky to have been sent a huge box of crafts from the fabulous Hobbycraft. 


Over the next few days I will be writing up our experiences of Christmas crafting - for the first time too!
This post is about the two wreaths I have made.

  I started with the large wreath and simply wrapped it with two kinds of ribbon, one is red with Merry Christmas written on it and the other is super cute with reindeers and Christmas trees.

I used the glue gun to attach the ribbon to the wreath, made a bow out of some of the tulle and attached that with the glue gun too.

Then I simply hung it on the living room door.


With the smaller wreath I took the large sprig of mistletoe and took it apart, making it into seven small sprigs.
I then pushed these through the wreath at equal intervals and wrapped the stem around a branch of the wreath to secure it.

Next I made a bow out of the beautiful knitted wool ribbon I was sent and attached that to the bottom of the wreath.

Lastly I glued a small piece of the Merry Christmas ribbon onto the back to make a hanging loop.


Voila wreath #2


I am very happy with the outcome, especially as I have no imagination or crafting ability whatsoever! 

Why not give it a try, you never know what you might come up with!

You can view a huge range of products at www.hobbycraft.co.uk

Disclaimer - I was sent a box of Hobbycraft items to review however all opinion and final product is my own.

We made our Advent this year.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Instead of making a calendar though we used 24 paper mache boxes from Hobbycraft.

We painted them red or green, attached a fabric number and some ribbon around the edge of the lid and popped some red organza inside for the treat to sit on.

Number 1 - 23 have a chocolate inside but number 24 (which also has some small white pom poms glued on) has a small bag of Lego inside, just to make it a little more special.

We haven't made it easy and simply given them to her, she has to go on an Advent hunt every morning after breakfast, one was found in the tree, another had snuggled itself into the singing snowman decoration, but her favourite so far was when lumpy tried to steal number 5!



She is having great fun finding them and it feels a little more special than just opening a door on a calendar. With more time to prepare next year I am hoping to find some small gifts to put in some of the boxes too.

Do you have your own traditions for Advent? Please do share if you do.

Disclaimer - I was sent some crafting goods for the purpose of the review, however all opinion is my own.

Mr Men - The Christmas Tree review.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Liv absolutely LOVES reading, she attempts to read her own books and memorises certain parts which she likes to repeat to herself. Among her favourite  books are a lot of the original Mr Men series, so when we were asked to review Mr Men - The Christmas Tree by Roger Hargreaves, I immediately agreed.

 
The book is about Mr Forgetful who has forgotten to buy a Christmas tree. We then drop in on a few other Mr Men characters and take a look at their various trees.

Worried where Santa will leaves the presents on Christmas Eve, Mr forgetful heads into the forest to find a tree but gets lost and stranded until a special someone gives him a lift on his sleigh!


As predicted Liv loves the book and as a result I now know it off by heart! Brilliant story and animation as usual from the Mr Men range. Highly recommended.

Disclaimer - we were sent this book for the purpose of the review, however all opinion is my own.

LED Hut Indoor / Outdoor Christmas lights review.

Friday, 6 December 2013

I was thrilled when I was asked to review these lovely LED Christmas lights from LED hut as ours broke last year and we have spent all year consciously swapping our bulbs over to LED's


In the box when they were delivered, there was a little pack of Haribo sweeties for Liv, what a lovely thought!
Some LED facts for you:
  • Did you know that an LED bulb lasts for 50.000 hours? That's about 20 years if you use them for 6 hours a day - FIFTY times longer than an average bulb.
  • Traditional lights lose most of their energy through heat, LED's use a massive 90% less energy, so they are extremely efficient.
  • The average household could save over 5 tonnes in CO2 emissions by replacing their standard lighting with LED's.

The lights we chose are 10m Indoor / Outdoor Christmas LED string lights in warm white.  Priced at £14.99 for 100 bulbs (1 bulb every 10 cm) I think they are a bargain, my two favourite things are the fact that the bulbs don't heat up so Livs inquisitive little toddler fingers won't get burned when she is rummaging in the tree, and also the 8 different settings that are available:

1 - Fast Fade
2 - Random Fade
3 - Random Flash
4 - Off
5 - Fast Flash
6 - Slow Fade
7 - Pulsing
8 - On Static
I would definitely recommend these lights, especially if you have a toddler like us!
LED hut also offer up to a 5 year warranty on all bulbs, 30 day hassle free returns and worldwide shipping.
You can view the full range at www.ledhut.co.uk

Disclaimer - I was sent these lights for the purpose of the review, however all opinion is my own.

Clarks toddler boot review.



Regular readers will know that we are big Clark's fans in this household. Liv has only ever had Clark's shoes and I have written about them twice now here and here.

Once again we were offered the chance to review a pair of the new range, and obviously I couldn't say yes fast enough!

We are quite limited in choice because as well as wide feet and a high instep she is far from dainty in the ankle/calf department so a lot of boots are a complete non starter no matter how pretty.

After measuring in at a 7.5 G, we went over to take a look at the lovely range of boots available. We browsed the shelves and chose 3 pairs to try on but unfortunately two of the three pairs weren't in store in her size, luckily the Dolly Ruby leather boots (our first choice) were in stock and as I held my breath they slipped on like a pair of handmade glass slippers. A perfect fit!


I was so excited you would have thought that it was me leaving the store with a sparkling new pair of winter boots!

She has been calling them her princess boots so I think they are a hit.

As ever the quality is fantastic, high quality soft leather teamed with some lovely stitching detail, a very pretty heart with a diamante in the centre and some removable cross over straps with silver circular detail.

As always we are very happy with our choice, the quality at Clarks is second to none and we will continue to shop there exclusively and recommend them to Friends and Family.

You can view the full range at www.clarks.co.uk

Disclaimer - we were sent a voucher for the purpose of the review. However all opinion is my own.

Shoezone - suede effect military boots review.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

When I was offered the chance to review a pair of shoes or boots from the latest Shoezone collection, as usual I was immediately drawn to all of the lovely heels but unfortunately I have a back problem that was exacerbated by pregnancy and I can no longer wear them *cry*
 
So instead I decided to have a look for something more practical, but suitable for going out in over Winter. That's when I came across these beautiful Lilley suede effect military boots.

Aren't they lovely? And only £24.99 too.
 
They aren't my usual style but I decided to take a chance for a change, and I am honestly so glad I did, they are really lovely, and fit well too.
 
I have a very high instep as well as wide feet so usually struggle with boots but as these have laces (for show) and a zip, I have been able to loosen and tighten the laces until they fit perfectly and then I can just use the zip to take them on and off.
 
Shoezone sell over 25 million pairs of shoes a year - 
the equivalent to 50 pairs a minute!

They are very comfortable to wear and the suede effect material feels and looks lovely.
The soles feel quite hardwearing and have a small heel of approximate one inch.
 
I would definitely recommend these boots as I honestly love them, so much so that I am now shopping for my Christmas Day outfit to compliment them, any excuse!
 
You can see the full range of footwear for sale at www.shoezone.com
 
 
Disclaimer - I was sent these boots for the purpose if the review, however all opinion is my own.


Matalan fancy dress review - Sleeping Beauty

Liv turned 2 last month, along with her second birthday came has dressing up stage!

While very cute it can also run very expensive, so when I was offered the chance to review a fancy dress outfit from Matalan, I showed the selection to Liv and she asked for "the pink one please" (Sleeping Beauty)

I was glad she chose this one because it has long sleeves, I hate when she has bare chilly arms but no such problem with this outfit. I ordered age 3 because Liv is very big for her age, it fits her perfectly and is topped off with a matching princess tiara.

Please note jewellery, handbag and shoes were bought separately.



The quality of the dress is very good, Liv has done her gymnastic style Princess dancing in it around 12 times now and it still looks like new. I would also like to point out that unlike a lot of other outfits she has had, we were not showered with glitter from this dress at any point (this pleased Daddy!)

Along with flowers, stars and castles all made from glitter there are also sequins sewn down the bodice, a portrait of the lovely Aurora at the neckline, a lovely 3D rose on the belt and a half petticoat inside for a lovely puffiness at the top of the skirt. 

At the shoulders you will find an elasticated strap then there is then a small area of bare shoulder before the long satin type sleeve begins. Just under the elbow this becomes a beautiful flared, sheer cuff which I think really gives it the Princess feel. Liv always strokes this part of the sleeve saying "Wow Princess" whenever she puts it on.
 


I would definitely recommend this outfit to family and friends. Priced at only £12 I suspect one or two of the range may make an appearance from Santa on Christmas morning . . . .

Disclaimer - I was sent this outfit for the purpose of the review, all opinion is honest and my own.

Christmas Stories by Michael Morpurgo .

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

We were very lucky to be sent this lovely book of Christmas Stories as written by Michael Morpugo to review from Egmont press.

 
It contains four stories titled; The Goose is getting fat, The best of times, The best Christmas present in the world and On Angel wings.

While the stories are far too old for Olivia (just turned 2), she enjoyed looking at the beautiful pictures and I'm sure she will enjoy listening to and reading the stories as she grows older.



I would definitely recommend this book for older children, probably 8 or over as the stories talk about things like a Goose being reared for Christmas dinner and a Princess being so ill that she may die - they do all have happy endings though and are far more thought provoking than Fairy Tales.

If you purchase, or already have this book please do let me know what your children think.

Disclaimer - we were sent this book for the purpose if the review. All opinion is honest and my own.