Saturday 30 December 2017

Mummy and Me December 2017

I wish I could say I had lots of pictures of Lily and I to show you this month, but unfortunately I don't. Lily is still going through a stage of not wanting to pose in pictures with me. I really have to catch her in the right mood and so usually when we are doing something silly and she can look at the phone and see herself doing that silly thing. So this month pictures are from Christmas day, when we were having fun with the paper hats which kept falling over Lily's face. She thought this was hilarious and so I managed to get some pictures of us.

Although Lily doesn't post for pictures with me, I am still going to carry on Mummy and Me and post our monthly pictures and going to still try and get pictures of us in the new year. She is growing up so fast and I know that I will treasure all the pictures I have of her.

Thursday 28 December 2017

All about My Year 2017 - #MyYear2017

I can't believe that the year is almost over already. I say this every year but it just seems to be flying by faster and faster. It also doesn't actually feel like I have done much this year but I bet as soon as I answer the below questions I will realise how much I have done.

So I hope you enjoy reading my highlights of 2017.

1. What did you do for your birthday this year? 
My birthday is actually on the 8th of January, so it was AGES ago and i'm about to celebrate my next one. I really didn't do much last year. I went out for a few drinks with friends, went to the cinema and then got really ill which wasn't fun. I also spent that weekend house hunting as we were planning on moving house.

2. Whats the biggest thing to happen to you this year? 
Probably moving house. It was a big move and happened all the way back at the end of february. Really can't believe it has been near a year since I have moved here. We moved from the south back up to the north where I am originally from. It just made more sense financially wise and for Lily. You can read about the move here

3. What was the biggest thing to happen for your child/children this year? 
As well as moving house, I would say that starting Nursery was her biggest thing. She started in May and has really settled in and is enjoying it now. She is about to start doing 2 days a week and I am excited for her. It was really lovely to see her do her first Christmas play this year. You can read about Lily and Nursery here

4. Could you pick a favourite week of the year? 
I would say probably my holiday in Weymouth. It was a real big shame my partner couldn't come but Lily understood being on holiday a lot more this year and really enjoyed the beach, the arcades and had so much fun. It was a brilliant holiday and great week. I really look forward to next year where my partner will definitely be coming with us. You can read about our Weymouth holiday here

5. Do you have a favourite photograph of yourself from 2017? 
I think mine would be this one of Lily and I before going to a Christening Party. She doesn't often pose with me in Photographs so it is really nice to get a picture where we are both smiling (and where I don't look half dead.)

6. What was your best day out? 
That one would have to be Blackpool. Lily, My Partner and I all went for a day out there. We had fish and chips, played in the sand, went in the arcade, had ice cream. It was just so lovely to have family fun all together. We don't often get chance to go out for days together so this is one I will definitely remember. It was also in June and so a nice sunny day, you can't beat going out on a sunny day. Here is my post all about that day out.  

7. What is the best film you have seen this year? 
Thats a tricky one. I love watching new films and must have watched so many new ones this year. It is a tie between Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman. Both of these I asked for this Christmas on DVD so they must have both make a big enough impact for me to want to own the films. 

8. Is there anything you wish didn't happen this year? 
I sat and thought about this for a little while and I can't really think of much that was bad about this year for me personally. I do wish that maybe I had kept on top of my fitness a little more and maybe tried to find more work but that is always something I can plan to work on in 2018. 

9. What would you like to achieve or improve for 2018? 
I have definitely planned to start doing some fitness courses. I used to do pole fitness and this is something I may want to start up again as it was really good for staying toned. I am also thinking about stretch classes and areal hoop just to try something different. I also want to try and be EVEN MORE organised than I already am. I am a very organised person but each year I always see ways I can improve the way I do things. Trying to plan more activities for Lily and managing my work will be one of my major priorities.

10. How will you be celebrating/did you celebrate New Years Eve? 
I am really looking forward to new years eve this year. The last few it has just been me and my partner and we usually watch films and fall asleep. This year we will be going to my parents house and my brother and his girlfriend will be there too and we are going to have a drink and play silly games. It is going to be really nice to be around family this year.

After answering all that I would love to tag Jenna from Chic Geek Diary, Kira from Unconventional Kira and Rebecca from Mum of a Premature Baby to find our all about their year.  

Saturday 23 December 2017

Monthly Book Roundup - What we been reading in December

Its time for my monthly book round up again. Each month I write about new books that I have introduced to Lily at bedtime and what we think of them. We always read around 3 books a night and most nights we end up reading the same ones with a few odd ones read in between. I find reading the same books helps Lily relax and not get over excited at bedtime but she does grow fond of the stories each month and is happy when I pull out the stories she enjoys.

You can read all our other monthly roundups here.

This month is a Christmas Special and we have a selection of christmas books we have been reading. Lily has really loved having Christmas stories this month and it has been making her even more excited for christmas. 

So here is this months selection. 

1. Puppy's First Christmas by Steve Smallman 
This is such a delightful Christmas story about a puppy and his first Christmas. He is good friends with the cat that also lives in the house and is totally confused by all the christmassy things happening and cat has to explain them all to him. Not only is the story really festive, it also is a soft to touch book and the things like christmas hats and Father Christmas's suit is soft and nice to stroke. Lily loved this book as has had me reading it to her most nights, I think it is easy to say it was her favourite of the roundup this month. I got this book from the Books and Pieces website

2. The Stink before Christmas by Sam and Mark
You can't beat toilet humour and this book really is funny. It's all about Father Christmas having a little bid of a dodgy tummy and needing to do a big trump! All the trumping that he and his reindeers do get them into all sorts of trouble and problems along the way. It has brilliant rhyming and such a good storyline and Lily thought it was brilliant. I really enjoyed reading this to her. You can buy this book from the Scholastic Website. If you want a preview of this book, why not listen to me reading it to Lily in the video below. 

3. Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan
Even more toilet humour here with this story. As well as a great rhyming story about father Christmas needing a wee, it is also a counting book as you count all the drinks that Father Christmas has had on his journey delivering gifts. Lily really enjoyed it and she has also started to learn parts of this story to be able to read it back to me. Its a great book that I think a lot of children will enjoy. I bought this from a book shop but you can also pick it up in places like amazon and ebay.

4. Little Ducks first Christmas by Dawn Richards 
We didn't actually read this book very much, Lily never wanted it each time I offered it. I think although it was a sweet story, it wasn't as good or exciting/funny as the other stories and so just didn't interest her. The story is about a little duck who is worried that father christmas won't come because she hasn't been good enough and hasn't found the perfect gift for her parents. On her journey she actually does some really nice things but that prevents her getting to the market and so doesn't end up getting her parents anything. In the end Father Christmas does bring her gifts because she has been very good and her parents end up with the perfect gift after all, which is duck herself. It is actually a really nice storyline so it is a shame that Lily wasn't to interested in this story this year. I bought this from a book shop, but you can pick it up online.

Which of these books do you like the sound of? 

Wednesday 20 December 2017

What's Inside Lily's Christmas Eve Box

I do love doing traditions at Christmas and one that I started 2 years ago for Lily was making her a Christmas Eve Box.

I think the trend of them is something new as I don't think I had them when I was a child. But I think they are a great idea.

I love that they bring such an exciting build up to Christmas day and also you can put some nice relaxing activities in there to get them ready for going to bed. 

I usually give Lily her box after she has had her dinner. This gives her plenty of time to eat the treats and do the activities before bedtime.

So here is what is inside Lily's Christmas Eve Box. 

First I always pop a new teddy for Lily to snuggle at night. This year I got her an Elf. Last year was a snow man and the year before that, a Santa. Then for some yummy treats. This year I have put her a chocolate Lolly, Some Chocolate coins and a biscuit that you can paint. The biscuit will make for a really nice activity as well as yummy treat. I probably won't be letting Lily eat all the chocolate but well, its christmas eve and she can definetly have a good go at it.

Then I have some more activities for her. Some christmas themed colouring with pencils, and some stickers. She will love the stickers as she is sticker mad!
The colouring will be a nice calm activity for her to do before bed. She also has a very special letter from Father Christmas which we will be reading. This came inside the Christmas Eve box when I got it.

Last but not least is a key for the front door so Father Christmas can let himself in to deliver all the gifts. There is also a little note with it. We also sprinkle reindeer dust incase they need a little extra help to fly.

I usually pop some brand new Pjs for her to wear inside too, but unfortunately the ones I got for her haven't arrived and i'm not sure they will in time for Christmas Eve.

There are so many different things you can put inside a Christmas Eve Box. I would love to know some of the things you include in yours? 

Friday 15 December 2017

LalaLoopsy Crumbs Sugar Cookie

Lily and I are HUGE Lalaloopsy fans! Both of the TV show that is aired on Netflix and of the toys. We are starting to get a nice collection of Lalaloopsy and we are super happy to introduce Crumbs Sugar Cookie to our collection.

The first thing that strikes me about her is how super colourful she is. I think its her bright pink hair that stands out the most! It really is super pink! Also, Lalaloopsy dolls now have REAL hair! This dolls hair is curly and short, and she has a super cute headband on her head.

I think that Lalaloopsy dolls are super cute and this one is no exception. She is super smiley and is wearing the cutest little dress with baking apron. One thing that makes her different to other dolls is her cute little button eyes. I love them as I think they make her such an individual looking doll.
I really love the size of Lalaloopsy dolls. They are a great height and the fact that they arn't dainty dolls is a real plus for me. It means that my daughter can carry her around with her knowing that her doll won't break or get lost.

In the past Lalaloopsy's heads used to be a little heavy. But now they have real hair it makes there head less heavy and so they can now stand up. 

She can also sit, and turn her head to you. This allows for children to be able to extend there imaginative play as much as they would like to and is perfect if your child has more than one doll and so can make them talk to each other.

When you take your doll out the box you will notice she has a cardboard whisk and jug in her hand. These are tied on with little bands and so can be removed if need be. 

She also wears super cute shoes and comes with a brush so you can brush her hair. She also comes with a cute little mouse friend.

See more about her here on the Lalaloopsy Website

What do you think about Crumbs Sugar Cookie and about the fact she has REAL hair?!

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Making Ginger Christmas Cake with Opies

It's Christmas! Time to get your apron on, your mixing bowls out and pre heating that oven as its time to bake to Christmas Cake!

But how about making a Christmas Cake with a little bit of a difference this year? Sound good?

Well I have an amazing recipe for Ginger Christmas Cake from Opies.

They have some wonderful ingredients perfect to add to a Christmas Cake recipe to spice it up this year and they sent me some of these to try.

I was sent some Stem Ginger in Syrup, Crystallised Stem Ginger, Cocktail Cherries and Pickled Walnuts.

I will definetly be using some of these to make some special Ginger Christmas Cake this year. 

Here is the recipe...

75ml Ginger Wine plus extra for ‘feeding’
200g Opies Crystallised Stem Ginger roughly chopped
200g Currants
50g Opies Cocktail Cherries roughly chopped
200g Dark Muscovado Sugar
280g Opies Stem Ginger in Syrup
3 Medium Free Range Eggs
250g Self Raising Flour
1 tablespoon Ground Mixed Spice

For the Marzipan layer:
20g Reserved Stem Ginger Syrup
500g Marzipan

For the Royal Icing layer:
500g Icing Sugar
3 Egg Whites
Juice of ½ a Lemon

1 teaspoon Glycerine

You will need one 15cm/6inch cake tin, greased and lined on the bottom and insides with baking paper and wrapped in a couple of sheets of newspaper. Place a slim wad of newspaper on the shelf of your oven shelf to sit the cake on too to protect it whist baking.

1. The night before (or at least a couple of hours before – the longer ahead of time you do this, the better…) place the chopped stem ginger and currants and ginger wine into a bowl. Cover and allow to soak overnight.
2. The next day: Set the oven to 150C oven, 140C fan 
In a large bowl, place the softened unsalted butter and dark muscovado sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy.

3. Whisk the eggs together, and add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time, beating well in between additions. 

4. Rinse the cherries in water – dry with kitchen paper and add to the weighed flour, this will stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake.

5. Pour 20g of the syrup from the Stem Ginger Jar and set to one side. (You will need this to spread over the cake after baking). Place the rest of the jar – syrup and Stem Ginger pieces into a food processor or blender and whizz until you have a puree. (It doesn’t have to be exceptionally smooth.)

6. Then gently fold in the flour and chopped cherries, the mixed spice, then the soaked fruit and Crystallised Stem Ginger and lastly the pureed stem ginger in syrup.

7. Scoop the mix into the prepared tin, smooth the surface and place on the newspaper in the preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours. 

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for around 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

9. You can then ‘feed’ your cake with extra booze should you choose to. Create tiny holes in the top with a tooth-pick and weekly, drizzle a couple of tablespoons full of Ginger wine into the holes. Wrap between feeds and keep in a cool place.

10. Once ready to ice, with a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of the reserved ginger syrup over the cake. Fill any holes with little pieces of marzipan and then roll out the block of marzipan to ½ cm thick and lay over cake. Trim the edges and leave to set for a few hours or overnight.

11. To make your royal icing: place the icing sugar, the egg whites and glycerine into a large bowl and preferably with a stand mixer or electric hand whisk, whisk until stiff peaks form.

12. Place icing into a piping bag.

You can ice the cake however you like, It looks great to splodge the icing on to the marzipan layer in little piped peaks all over, but be creative! The icing will set hard, but not teeth crackingly hard – due to the addition of the glycerine in the mix. You can find this in the supermarkets cake and baking sections. It comes in a tiny little bottle. The icing will also help to keep the cake fresh and delicious until you decide to crack it open. What a joy!

Opies Stem Ginger in Syrup (350g £2.50) & Crystallised Ginger (200g £2.35) are both available from Tesco 
Opies Cocktail Cherries (225g from £1.49) are available from all major supermarkets.

Would you like to win a Christmas bundle of Opies Food? Includes Opies Stem Ginger in Syrup, Crystallised Ginger, Opies Cocktail Cherries and some pickled Walnuts. Enter on the Gleam app below to WIN!

Win a Selection of Opies Foods

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Making Christmas Cards

I just love doing crafts at Christmas time. 

We have already sent out our real cards this year but I thought it would be nice to make a few extra Christmas cards with an extra personal touch to them. The personal touch would be that they would be made by Lily and given to people from Lily.

Lily loves to do sticking and so as soon as I told her we were getting out the glue sticks she got very excited and said "Yey lets make Christmas cards". 

So here is everything we used.

There is so much you can get to make your christmas cards, but I got some Christmas sheets of paper, some wrapping paper, some Christmas scene stickers, green tissue paper, seasons greetings and merry christmas stickers and some snow. We also needed glue, scissors and paper. 

I do all the cutting for Lily at the moment. She is learning how to use scissors in nursery but I don't have any special kids scissors for her yet and so its best I do the cutting.

I first folded the paper in half for Lily. Then I cut up the Christmas paper to stick in the middle of the card.

I gave Lily the choice of colours and designs and so she chose which ones went onto the card. She then chose some of the stickers and placed of the christmas message stickers. I cut out the christmas tree's from the wrapping paper and she also stuck those down.

An activity like this is great for lots of reasons, creativity, decision making, hand and eye co ordination and working on fine motor skills. Lily made 4 cards that were simular to this one and we wrote inside them to who they were too. We decided that we would give one to her nursery.

After making these cards we decided to do something a little different. I asked Lily what we could make out of green paper and she answered "Christmas Tree". So thats what we did. I cut out a christmas tree shape in the tissue paper and Lily put glue on paper so we could stick it down.

She then did lots of decorating and she decided where the baubles would go. She had our Christmas tree in the room with her for reference and it amazes me that she was clever enough to put them to the ends of the tree. I helped and got told off because I didn't put it to the end of the branch and had to pull it back off for her to stick back down. Thats me told! haha

Lily is so precise with where she likes to stick her stickers and everything has to be neat when she is doing her art. 

After this we sprinkled snow on the bottom of the card and added a present sticker.

Here are our finished results.

Do you make Christmas cards at Christmas time? 

Friday 8 December 2017

Playing Games at Christmas - Catch Phrase Review and Giveaway

For me, Christmas time is the perfect time to play board games. As a family we don't often go out on Christmas night. After stuffing our faces full of Christmas food its usually a short nap (for some) and then we all get out some yummy Christmas snacks, some festive drinks, and a brilliant board game to all enjoy some family time together. 

We were sent a CATCH PHRASE game to review from Drumond park and It is going to be the perfect game for us all to play on Christmas night. 

A little about the Game
ITV’s hugely popular CATCH PHRASE game show is back on UK TV screens. Now up to six players can take it in turns to step into Stephen Mulhern’s shoes and play host in the latest version
of the All-New CATCH PHRASE TV Board Game. 

The ultimate aim is to accrue the most ‘money’ by guessing Catch Phrase puzzles over each of the
rounds… with increasing amounts of ‘prize money’ on offer.

Our Review 

I was so excited to get to play this game. I have often watched the show and loved trying to guess the catch phrases, although I wasn't always very good at it. I am also a huge lover for board games so could not wait to try out this game.

When I opened the box it was full up of lots of items. The contents are - 
  • 96 Double Sided REGULAR Catch Phrase Cards
  • 15 Double Sided BONUS Catch Phrase Cards
  • 48 Single Sided SUPER Catch Phrase Cards
  • 1 Mr Chips Card Holder
  • 1 Bonus Catch Phrase Picture Frame with Clip
  • 1 Super Catch Phrase Board
  • 9 x Window covers
  • Sand Timer
  • Red Filter 
  • 60 Bank Notes 

The game was really easy to set up and the only things that needed to be done was pop out the holes of the bonus frame and pop out the frame covers. You also needed to pop out Mr Chips and bend the arms of him so then he would hold the cards.

We firstly played the game with just 2 people. The game does play better with more than 2 players but there is a 2 player option. One player is the host and one player is the contestant. You take it in turns who is the host and the one with the most money wins.

The host places the cards onto Mr Chips, turning the timer round giving the contestant 20 seconds to guess. The card will show an image which is a 'Say What you see' image and you have to guess what you think the phrase is. The answer is on the back so the host can see but the contestant can't.

I loved playing contestant and did quite well to get some of them right. Each time I get one right, I got £100 of pretend money and got to remove a square onto the bonus board. I then had to try and guess what the bonus picture was. I didn't do too well at this part though and didn't win any money. 

You then move onto Round 2 which is the Super Catch Phrase round and the host puts the catch phrase cards picture side down on the board. The host goes through all of these and each card is worth a different amount if you get it right. I love how the host can reveal the answer. You can't see any writing on the card until the host places the red filter over the card and it magically reveals the answer. 

After both players have played, you count up your money and the one with the most is the winner.

When playing with more players it is much more like the real show you watch on Tv. You play just like the 2 player version and each player gets a chance to guess whats on the card to win money. They also get to have a guess of the bonus round when they guess one correctly.

There is also a quick fire round where the host shows them the card and the person to give the answer first in the 20 seconds wins the money.

When it comes to the Super Catch Phrase round, when playing with more players it works just like the quick fire round where who ever gives the answer first gets the money. Again the one with the most money wins!

I think the game does take a little getting used to but when you do get used to it, it is great fun. It is definetly more fun when playing with with more players and so I look forward to Christmas night when there will be a big group of us playing. It is perfect for around 4 players.

If you are a fan of the show then you will LOVE this game as it really is just like being on the show. Apart from unfortunately, you aren't winning real money. 

The game is recommended for children aged 8+ and retails at £22.99. If you fancy playing this game at christmas then you can buy it here.

The game isn't just great for christmas though and is perfect for all year round and so I have got one game to giveaway to my readers.
For your chance to win, enter on the Gleam App below. 

Win The Game Catch Phrase by Drumond Park

Thursday 7 December 2017

Who gives your children the presents at Christmas time?

So we all know who delivers the presents, Father Christmas? Your children wake up christmas morning and amazingly he has been and dropped off lots of presents.

I remember waking up and being amazed at seeing all the gifts left for me. I have one year on video where my mum asks "has he been?? and Im shouting YES YES" at the top of my voice. I also say in that video that he has eaten the milk and drunk the mince pie. Yes, I think I may have still been half asleep haha

But the one question I want to ask my readers is -  Who it is that the gifts are from? You or Father christmas?

As a child all my gifts were labelled with who the gifts were from, and Father Christmas was the one who delivered them and a few extra toys that he had brought from his toy workshop. I also learnt that If I wanted to buy a gift for my mum or dad, that gift I bought would get sent to Father Christmas and he would deliver it for Christmas. My Nan and Grandad would usually take me shopping and this is what they would tell me would happen.
I did always find it amazing that those earrings I bought my mum one year ended up under the tree and was always thought it was amazing that it was Father Christmas who put them there.

This is the way I teach Lily about gifts. Father Christmas isn't the one who gets her all the gifts, we are and then we send them to him. He also has her list to check off all the items we send to make sure that we have got her what she asked for... Otherwise whats the point in writing a letter to Santa? Right? 

Father Christmas will of corse be giving her a few presents, but they won't be anything over the top. Just a few simple nice gifts.

I really want her to appreciate that it is us that get her gifts as I think its important for her to learn appreciation. She knows we go to work to get money and she understands that money buys things. 

I understand that maybe children thinking its Father Christmas supplying all the gifts is maybe a little more magical, but no magic was ever spoiled for me.

But the one thing I wanted to write about is how I have seen parents out there asking parents to be careful about telling their children Father Christmas is the one getting all the gifts. In the same classroom of school there would be parents who can afford a lot and parents who can afford a little and after christmas children will be chatting about what they got. Some children may think that Father Christmas is favouring some to others if one child got more than the other and it could be upsetting, especially now with such big presents such as ipads and mega expencive interactive dolls. So I can compleatly understand parents concerns about this one. 

So I am very curious to what people do tell there children about Father Christmas and do urge parents to think about other children out there and other childrens parents when telling there child that Father Christmas gets them ALL their gifts. 

What do you tell your children about Father Christmas in your home? 

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Making Christmas Special for your Kids

It is now December so I can officially say its Christmas Time. Of corse Christmas is a really special time of year itself, but I do find that it can be made even more special by doing extra things that children will love. 

Here are a few things you can do to give your children an extra special Christmas this year. 

1. Buy them an extra special advent calendar
Lily is loving waking up each day and getting to open one of her doors to her advent calendar. It really makes each day special for her and is also a great way for her to countdown the days until it is Christmas day. You can get all sorts of calendars from toys, colouring, pictures and Lily's favourite, chocolate. You can also buy ones that are themed to the child's favourite characters such as this Teletubbie one.

2. Make your own Christmas Cards 
Lily loves doing arts and crafts and so this year we shall be making our own Christmas cards. I think this is a lovely way to put a touch of personalisation to them and also a great way to get your child to get crafty. There are so many ways you can make the cards too. We have some special sequins and stickers ready for ours.

3. Decorating the Tree

I think no matter how young your child is, they can always help you decorate the tree. Or better yet, why not let them have their very own tree to decorate. Lily is going to be decorating her very own tree tonight and then she also has this mini advent tree where she adds a decoration a day. In each drawn there is a tiny little decoration ready to place on the tree. This is also another lovely way for her to count down the days to Christmas.

4. Christmas Baking
Getting the children involved in the Christmas baking is such a lovely thing to do and will create such nice memories. They will love getting involved in doing the mixing and stirring and then also love getting to do some great decorations. Some great things you could bake for Christmas are Ginger Bread Men, Cookies, Shortbread Stars, or even Mini Christmas Cakes. There are so many ideas. Then comes the best bit! Getting to eat it all.. YUM!

5. Paint your own Biscuit

What better way to mix 3 great things, Christmas, Cookies and Crafts! These biscuits you can paint and then eat by just adding water to the colours and then painting the icing. It is all edible and Children will love that they have personalised there own cookies. They are also great for stocking fillers, Christmas party bags or Christmas Eve Boxes. You can buy these for your children here.

6. Visiting Father Christmas 
I think this one is quite the obvious one, but a trip to see Father Christmas is always such a special thing to do. Lily isn't to keen on the big guy just yet, but I know one day she won't be able to wait to meet him and tell him all about what she would like for Christmas. If you search "visit santa" in your local area, it should tell you the best places you can visit him. I did this and found out that near me there is a steam train ride where he is onboard. So it is worth a look to see if there is something special happening near you.

7. Leaving out a Special Santa Tray
Now that Lily understands Father Christmas, she is really excited that he will bring her presents. I am now starting to teach her some of the traditions of Christmas, like when santa comes and what he does and so I have been telling her all about how we have to leave him some milk, a mince pie and a carrot for the reindeers. I spotted this tray while out shopping and just thought it was a lovely idea. Im really looking forward to using it to put out all our santa items on Christmas Eve. 

8. Read Christmas Stories 
We are starting to get a nice little collection of Christmas stories now. It is a really nice way to help build the excitement of Christmas and also fill there dreams of nice christmassy thoughts. There are so many titles out there and we still need to find some more to read for this Christmas but you can go to my book section and read all about what we was reading last Christmas

9. Letting your Child choose a New Decoration
This has started to be a little bit of a tradition for us. And each year I let Lily choose a new decoration for our main Christmas Tree. Her first year she was 5 weeks old, so she didn't that year, but at one year old she chose some owls, and 2 year old she chose a rocking horse, and this year she chose this little glass Christmas Tree. She loved her choice so much she wanted to hold it all day but of corse I couldn't let her as it would break. But it now sits nicely on our tree.

10. Giving your child a Christmas Eve box 
For the last 2 years Lily has had her very own special box that contains Christmas goodies. I usually put new Pjs in there and always some activities and a nice Christmas treat like biscuits and chocolate. My Christmas eve box also has a little key that she can leave out for Father Christmas, as we don't have a chimney. It also has a little letter from him telling her that she needs to go to bed and sleep tight so then he can come. I shall be sharing the contents of this years Christmas Eve box on the blog soon.

Which of these ideas do you already do with your children? Which do you think you may start doing? 

Saturday 2 December 2017

Brio World - Village School and Expansion Pack Review

Lily currently really enjoys playing with her Brio railway. But lately she has got a lot more into the characters and using her imagination to make them act out a scene. So Brio kindly sent me a Brio World Village School and the Expansion pack to review. I knew Lily would love them! 

The sets are both 3+ and with Lily recently turning 3, they were the perfect toy to try out with her. 

Lily was so excited when she saw the boxes and especially loved that the school set came with a slide. 

I decided to start with the school set and so we got to taking the contents out of the box.

The school set is partially built when you get it out and then comes with some extra pieces. Such as Slide, Ladder, Bricks and Benches. Also 2 little characters and some steps so they can walk out of the buildings.

I set to putting the school together. It is really easy and the 2 buildings just slot together making it one building. Then you put 2 side panels onto the roof, slot in the slide and ladders, place the steps by the entrance and its all ready to play with. Although the buildings do come in the box set up, you can pull them apart so you can make your own designs with them.

It looked great when it was all put together. Its really nice that they have used a mixture of plastic and wood in the set. One of the things that I do love about brio is that they always do involve wood in their toys. 

Lily started to play with her set straight away and was putting the people down the slide and making them have conversations. The set is so good for the imagination and lets children make there own little world up. 

After playing with this one for a while I got out the expansion pack for Lily. This one came all dismantled and was in 14 pieces. This was great as it meant we could design the buildings to look how ever we wanted them to. There was a panel with a green door, and 2 with windows and one that was to look like a glass panel. It then had 3 floor pieces and 2 roof pieces. It also had 3 supports and a bench. This set did not come with any people as it was just an extension to the Brio World buildings. 

I started the building off with Lily, and then she joined in and helped. She was very adamant to where she wanted everything to go. Lily managed with some parts of the building but needed my hair a fair bit to build it correctly. But she has only just turned 3 and so it's something she will learn in time. 

It really is great that these sets the children can build them selves. It teaches them to design and is also great for there motor skills.

I am not the best at building houses, and I must admit that later on in the night my partner made a much better one than I did, but I managed to make something for Lily and she enjoyed playing with it. 

The other great thing about the expansion pack is that you can join it onto the school to make the school a bigger school.  

I think this toy is great and would really recommend it to parents of children who love play sets. I can't wait to get Lily more people and more buildings to extend her Brio world play further. 

You can see more about the Brio World Toys on the Website. 

What would your child enjoy about the Brio World toys?