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A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrokes

Crafty Christmas

The girls and I love crafts, especially at Christmas time. We were all excited when Ladbrokes sent us some lovely crafty items to make a stocking and some Christmas crackers as part of their Deck the Halls campaign.

We especially loved the stamping kits and the red spotty ribbon and bows for decorating the crackers with!

Crafting on my own!

Unfortunately, the girls didn’t get the chance to help me make them. The days over Christmas were hectic then they spent this week and the new year in Derbyshire with family. Don’t worry though, I’ve saved them some crackers to make for next year. I’m going to use them as one of our advent activities.
They’ll love filling them with gifts for one of their friends 🙂
Making crackers for A Crafty Christmas with Ladbrooks
As well as all the crafting goodies, I also received a voucher for John Lewis. My first thought was to buy more Christmas presents for the kids but Ant and his mum had said I’d bought them too much already!

John Lewis

I opted to treat myself for a change and bought some gorgeous things for our new kitchen (we’re moving house in the next couple of weeks). I’ve been so excited waiting for them to arrive! I ordered some ceramic measuring mugs and a tiny butter dish. The butter dish was a bif of a surprise as I had thought it was a proper sized one, (that’ll teach me to read the whole of the description!) but it is still totally lovely! Also, a beautiful ceramic cheese board and an old-style tin of hot chocolate.
I can’t wait to get them put on display in our new kitchen but, until then, I’ll just keep gazing at them lovingly!
Disclaimer: I was sent the craft goods and John Lewis voucher in return for this post.

De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas

Innovative Ways
to De-Clutter your Home Prior to Christmas!
When your home is filled with clutter, it can be very
overwhelming (particularly if it’s your turn to host Christmas dinner this
year!) With less clutter comes less stress, so de-cluttering prior to the silly
season is always a good idea. However, these do not necessarily need to be
thrown away. We’ve come up with a list of creative, innovative ways to get rid
of unwanted items around your house.
1. Sell them!
Other people consider their clutter as trash, but what
they don’t realise is that these items can easily be turned into cash (and
let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a bit of extra cash during the holiday
period!) The first step is to collect all the unwanted goods that you find in
your house, sorting the real trash from items which have resale value. You can
check similar second-hand items online by checking classifieds sites like Friday Ad or Quicksales. Have a look to see what
other sellers are pricing the same or similar items and this will give you a
good starting point. Remember to give your item a price that is right for the
current condition of it.

After determining the price of the item, you’ll need
to find a place to sell it. There are a number of places where you can sell or
list your item. The best, most affordable options would be to list it through
an online classifieds or auctions website which doesn’t charge fees, or have a
garage sale. You can also look into consignment shops but make sure you give
them a call first to find out their store policies, commissions and what
products they sell.

2. Renovate or
If you’re feeling crafty why not reconstruct your old,
unwanted items into something new! This is best done with furniture or homewares
, but can basically be done with anything. There are lots of
do-it-yourself websites which will give you inspiration and take you through a
project step by step (such as this one on how to refurbish old wooden
). You can give a boring cabinet a new look by painting its
surface or reupholster an old chair by using fun and fresh fabrics. You can
even get your kids involved and get them to create their own ‘masterpieces’ using
scraps of fabric, odd bits of wrapping paper, buttons, or basically anything
laying around!
3. Donate to


If you do not have the time to sell your items, you
can simply donate them to a worthy cause. This is a great idea this time of
year as plenty of charities collect Christmas gifts to give to the less
fortunate, such as the Domestic violence charity Refuge  A good rule of thumb when donating items is
that they should be in decent condition, do not require repairing or mending
and must be clean. Keep in mind that these items are going to be used by
another person or a family and the charity organisations often don’t have the
time or resources to repair or clean items.In collaboration with Quicksales

Lego Friends from Argos – Review

It’s nearly Christmas so excitement is in abundance at the moment in our house, so much so I didn’t think it possible for the level to rise any higher; however, when this Lego Friends set arrived from Argos for the girls to review, the level nearly went through the roof!


I told the girls to sit at the kitchen table and I’d be in shortly to help them. They must have misheard because when I went in they were sitting on the kitchen table and this became their preferred place to sit while building this lovely doll house 🙂

All the pieces to make the entire house were split into 7 bags and the aim is to work your way, in order, through the bags.

The age range is from 6-12 and whilst Ella (6) could follow the instructions, she couldn’t maintain her concentration for very long (she’s very active and likes to be on the move a lot!) so Kaycee (8) who just loves this methodical way of working, ended up making the majority of it on her own and Ella took interest again when it was all done and she could get down to the business of playing!


It took Kaycee a couple of evenings, with a little help from me at times, to complete it and when it was done she loved it 🙂
She didn’t want Ella to play with it though because she didn’t want it breaking so we had to have a little talk about sharing and the beauty of Lego which is it can be easily put back together!

They now want the other sets from the Lego friends collection!

Argos have a large selection of all things Lego available to buy here

Disclaimer: We were sent the Lego friends kit to review but all opinions are my own and are honest.


The Croods DVD – Big thumbs up!

We received a copy of The Croods on DVD from 20th Century Fox and Mumsnet and I have to thank them for bringing a little bit of peace and quiet to this house for a while!

I think it must have been the first time the girls and Aiden had agreed on the movie choice and sat together to enjoy it 🙂
This movie got us all laughing, especially at belt who is easily our most favourite character. Ella does a great, ‘dun dun dun’ Belt impression and makes us all laugh!

I must admit, we did spend a lot of time laughing at Ella laughing at the movie. When she finds a movie funny she lets it all out, very loudly!
I think her and our favourite part has to be where Guy shows them fire and they accidentally make fireworks and popcorn.

For those who don’t know, the movie is about a family living in the Croodaceous period who find themselves having to travel through a fantastical land when their cave is destroyed.
The dad, Grug is very over protective and clashes with his teenage daughter, Eep who wants more from life. She doesn’t think it’s worth fighting so hard to stay alive if she’s not allowed to really live.

Grug’s married to Ugga and they also have Thunk and Sandy who I have to say is a little crazy but so adorable! Grugs mother in law lives with them and is another of our favourite characters; the relationship between Grug and Gran is archetypal mother and son in law, which makes for great jokes!

Eep meets Guy and Belt at the start of the film and he tells her the end is coming. They all end up working together to survive and as expected, there’s a lovely happy ending for them all 🙂

The Croods will be available to buy on Blue Ray and DVD from Monday 9th December 2013, just in time to fill the stockings of your little darlings, who will love it, I’m sure, just as much as we all do 🙂

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Croods on DVD to review. All opinions are honest and accurate.

Learn Cliki – A Review

If you’re looking for online classes, working one on one with your very own tutor, or indeed, if you want to share your skills and be a tutor, Learn Cliki is a great place to go.

I was asked to review this new website and I have to say I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the lesson.
I chose to do a graphic design lesson as I like changing my blog design occasionally and it’s been a few years since I last did web design but there are loads of other topics to choose from.
Hobbies and crafts, cooking and academic subjects, among others, are all on offer.
To take part in a lesson you will need a webcam and microphone, a computer or laptop (availability on tablets will follow soon) and a good quality Internet connection.
When you book a lesson, you send a message to the tutor and tell them the date and time you would prefer. You then work out with your tutor a date and time that suits you both. When the lesson is confirmed you make your payment.
I was a bit nervous about using the webcam as I’m quite shy but once the lesson got going I was put totally at ease by my tutor, Alison.
After a few technical difficulties to start off with, we got them sorted and started the lesson. She was very patient with me and explained things in a way I could easily understand.
We managed to cover quite a lot during the lesson and I definitely feel it was worth the money. I made my new blog header with help from Alison and I’m going to get the girls to draw me a picture that I can then scan in and use for my blog background 🙂
When the lesson is complete, you’re asked to rate your tutor and leave a comment about them/the lesson.
I’d definitely use Learn Cliki again, maybe to get some help with the accounts that I have to do being self-employed because I find all that self-assessment malarkey very confusing!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I was given the lesson for free but this didn’t guarantee a favourable review. All opinions are my own and given honestly.

Turtle Mat Christmas Challenge

The people at Turtle Mat have set a challenge for bloggers to create a mood board showcasing their perfect Christmas theme that will help make their home more welcoming during the holiday season.

There are three themes to choose from:
A welcoming entrance
A welcoming living room
A welcoming dining room
I’ve chosen the living room and here’s my mood board 🙂
welcoming Christmas living room
I love the Christmas door mats from Turtle Mat but unfortunately, all of their Christmas designs have sold out!
I don’t know what it is that appeals to me about The Nutcracker but I’ve always wanted one as part of my Christmas decorations but never got round to buying one.
Now we’ve got a fireplace and mantel, I’ll definitely be adding one to our collection so he can stand on the hearth at the side of the fire 🙂
We used to always have mistletoe at Christmas when I was younger but it’s a tradition I haven’t kept up with since getting my own home. It’s time that changed!
The most important thing at Christmas that helps make our living room welcoming and cosy is the twinkling lights so I like to have lots on the tree and on the mantel.
It looks so lovely with the fire switched on and the lights all shining round the mantel 🙂

Child Sponsorship with Plan UK

Someone Smile this Christmas

Give Child Sponsorship with Plan UK as a gift
It’s fun to give gifts at Christmas time – sometimes it’s
even more fun to give than to receive. However, other times it becomes a
competition, or a nightmare, trying to buy something wonderful for the person
who already has everything.
This year, why not give that gift to someone who has
Purchasing a child sponsorship as a gift is a beautiful
present, both for the recipient and for the child who will benefit from it.
This action brings us back to the true spirit of Christmas, and is sure to
bring a smile to the face of someone special when they realise that this year,
they have received the gift of giving.
Child sponsorship is a wonderful opportunity to make a unique
connection with a child who has the chance to shape their future for the
better. Make someone’s Christmas extra special this year by giving them the
chance to forge a special bond with a child who is in need.
Letters, photos and reports between the child you have
sponsored and the recipient of your Christmas gift will continue to make a
difference long after Christmas has passed. You will learn how your sponsorship
has made a difference, not only to the sponsored child but to the community as
a whole. Your contribution will be put to work where it is needed most, be it
education, agricultural training or the provision of clean water and
healthcare. Most importantly of all, the focus is always on giving the
community ownership of these initiatives so they can continue to grow stronger
and develop.
Local children are involved in deciding, planning and
carrying out these projects, and you will be able to see your sponsored child
benefit directly from your contribution through the letters and photographs sent.
You can also rest assured that you money is going where it is needed, as at
least 80 pence of every contributed pound goes towards each individual
charity’s development work for children and their community.
For as little as 50 pence a day you can give someone an
amazing Christmas gift, the effect of which will last for generations. You can
choose which country you’d like to sponsor a child in, and you can even choose
the gender of the child as well as their approximate age. Children are usually
sponsored until they are 18, but you can stop at any time if you need to. The
benefits of child sponsorship are manifold, from the obvious benefits of
education and clean water, to the subtle improvements to a child’s self-esteem
and motivation to succeed by simply letting them know that someone else


Sponsoring a child means that child is more likely to
survive in to adulthood, be free of disease and be educated. Make someone smile
this Christmas by giving them something completely unique and special – the
gift of giving a child a brighter future. Visit

Mantel garland – Festive Face Off

I love Christmas.

I love crafting.

I LOVE Christmas crafting!

You will not believe how excited I got when I received this in the post the other day!

Isn’t the basket just gorgeous?

Look what was inside….


My first stop, after swooning over all the gorgeous craft items, was my Christmas board on Pinterest. I was finally going to able to make one of the hundreds of things I’d pinned over the year!

It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted to create a mantel garland using greenery from the garden so I went out with my trusty secateurs and cut large ivy, small ivy and branches from the evergreen trees.

Here’s how I made my mantel garland:

You will need:

A piece of hessian long enough to drape either side of your mantel
String lights
Evergreen branches
Florists wire
Assortment of decorations

Step one:
Lay your hessian cloth on the mantel and adjust it until you have an even drop each side….make sure to do better than I seem to have done!! I’m sure it looked even when I was taking the photo!
When I’d got it right, I used 2 pieces of ribbon and tied each one at the place where I wanted the drop to be.

Step two:
Get all your supplies ready so you have everything to hand

Step three:
Lay out your hessian and unravel your string lights…

Step four:
Using florists wire, attach the lights all along the hessian, making sure to go right to each end.

Step five:
I started off by marking the middle of the hessian which split my cloth into four sections, two end drops and two top sections which I’ll now refer to as top left section and top right section.
I used florists wire to attach some trailing ivy to each side drop.
I then used one of the evergreen branches on the top left section to cover the string lights. I threaded the florists wire through the hessian then around the branch to hold it firmly in place.
Repeat on the top right section, making sure as much of the string light wire is covered but also that the bulbs of the lights are sticking up through the branches.


Step six:
I added more trailing ivy to each top section then used the piece of green hessian that had tied the lid on the basket of craft items, around the end of the branches in the middle of the hessian.
I used florists wire again to attach the silver garland and string of gold balls.
I also added some of the smaller ivy to each side drop to cover the hessian a little more.

Step seven:
When I was sure everything was securely attached, I moved it onto the mantel and added the final touches.
I used a couple of flower sprays on the top sections as well a candle (which won’t be lit because it would be a fire hazard!) and some silver apple picks. I also attached a wooden star at each end of the mantel, where the ribbon was tied to mark the drop sections.
In the basket of craft items, there was a lovely leaf decoration that was the perfect finishing touch. I tied it to the green hessian in the middle of the middle of the display and let the leaves hang down.
I used an artificial spray of ivy behind the candle to hide the wires from the tv, which is usually covered by our wedding photo.





I love it with the lights switched on 🙂




Remote Controlled Helicopter – Review

On our recent visit to Cornwall, my husband took along his remote controlled helicopter that we’d been sent to review from
I think it’s fair to say that after some initial control problems (Ella got a bit too close and Ant wasn’t able to move the helicopter away in time before it got tangled in her long hair) he soon got the hang of it and now loves his new toy!

I was asked to pick an item from Tmart and spent ages looking at handbags! and other things like Christmas decorations but when I saw the remote controlled helicopters I knew Ant would love one.
I bought him a remote controlled dragonfly for Christmas a few years ago but he’s not been able to play with it much because it’s quite big and he needs to have plenty of room.
The helicopter is small enough to use indoors so he’s been able to get plenty of practice!
He said it takes around half an hour to charge which gives you about 10-15 minutes flying time. He also likes the fact that it’s made out of soft plastic which stops it from breaking easily when it crashes and yes, it’s crashed quite a few times since he’s had it!

The only issue I need to mention was the bit of damage on the box when it arrived but after letting them know about it, they’re now going to be making sure all items are packaged more securely when shipping.

For a great selection, check out Tmart RC Helicopters. Prices range from a little over £7 to over £100 and all have free shipping 🙂 The one we have cost £20 and I’d be happy to pay that amount for this helicopter.

Disclosure: We were sent the helicopter for free to review but that didn’t guarantee a favourable review. All opinions are my own and are honest.

Like Instagram? – Check out Instajunction!

I love Instagram so I was very excited to be asked to review a new site that uses your Instagram photos to make an assortment of personalised items such as coasters, mini books and calendars, to name a few.

I found the ordering process very easy at I decided to order a framed print of 4 photos; I picked a photo of Kaycee and Ella and one each of our grandchildren, Jamie and Damien.
Jamie was born a few months before Kaycee and Damien’s a little older than Ella. They all think it’s funny that the girls are aunts to the boys but are younger than them!

Apologies for the poor picture quality, the camera I usually use has broken again so I had to use my phone…I should have used Instagram and used a filter to make it look better!!

Anyway, back to the point! After signing into my Instagram account I picked the four photos I wanted then was taken to the checkout.
I had wanted to preview my framed print before ordering but as it’s a new site, they’re still working on a few features, one of which is the product preview.

I need not have worried however because when the print arrived I absolutely loved it 🙂 It’s excellent quality and is going to be a lovely addition to our family gallery wall. I did contemplate giving it to one of the grandparents/great grandparents for a Christmas present but decided against it because I really didn’t want to give it away!

If you’d like to check out Instajunction, I have a a code you can use for 25% off your order.


This code is valid until December 8th and can be used as many times as you like until then! If you’re struggling to find that perfect gift for that special someone, check out Instajunction 🙂

Please note: I was sent a code to order a free product from Instajunction but this didn’t guarantee a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own and are honestly given.