Advent Book – How Winston Delivered Christmas

An Advent book is such a lovely idea, isn’t it? We were kindly sent How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith to see what we thought of this twenty-four-and-a-half chapter book. For each day, from the 1st December, there is a story and an activity you can do. This gorgeous Macmillon book is perfect for children aged 5-9 years but Izzy (4) found the activities easy to do too.

How Winston Delivered Christmas 

Advent Book - How Winston Delivered Christmas

Advent Book

I love cosying up with the girls to read and this book is ideal! I love that it is full of fun activities to do as well as stories. Most of the activities are really quick, simple and extremely fun! From Letters to Santa, Recipes, Crafts and more, this book is bound to keep children occupied throughout December. 

How to read How Winston Delivered Christmas

Fun Activities 

One of the first few activities in the book is to make your own Winston the Mouse finger puppet! Each activity has a list of things you will need and full instructions. 

Make Your Own Winston Finger Puppet

The girls were really excited to make their own Winston and quickly set to work making their own Winston. For this activity, we used a piece of white card, scissors, sticky tape, pens and string.

Making a Winston The Mouse Finger Puppet

This activity was lovely and quick to do and the girls really enjoyed making their own Winston. When we snuggle down to read another chapter each day the girls now get their Winston’s out to read with us!

Eva's completed Winston Finger Puppet

A Beautiful Story

A beautifully written story of a brave little mouse called Winston who sets out on an adventure on Christmas eve. Winston found a letter that has gotten lost on its way to Father Christmas and he is on a mission to deliver it himself in time for Christmas day! Along the way Winston makes some wonderful friends.

This stunning Advent book makes a beautiful gift that can be re-read and used again each year, becoming an enjoyable Christmas tradition. Full of gorgeous illustrations this is certain to fill you with Christmas Cheer all through December.

Have you heard of How Winston Delivered Christmas before? What do you think of the idea of an Advent book?

Christmas Gifts For 7 Year Olds Under £40

I’ve put together a list of  Christmas gifts for 7 year olds covering everything. We have a fantastic advent calendar, Christmas Eve box, Toys, Crafts & more!

Advent Calendar

Christmas Gifts for 7 year olds - Mad Beauty 12 days of christmas advent calendar

We discovered this gorgeous Mad beauty 12 days of Christmas advent calendar for just £9.99 whilst looking for Christmas gifts for 7 year olds. The 12 Days of Christmas advent calendar contains bath products, lip balms and body lotions, suitable from 3 years. Perfect for either of my girls but Eva will definitely appreciate it. She loves beauty products & is becoming very girly so this is a perfect alternative advent calendar for her.

Christmas Eve box

Christmas eve box from My Pocket Money Toys

You may have already seen the fantastic Christmas Eve boxes from My Pocket Money Toys for £30 which includes EVERYTHING you need for the perfect Christmas eve. We reviewed the 6-7 years Christmas Eve box last week and absolutely love it. This fantastically festive box contains a gourmet chocolate pizza slice, cuddly toy, a Christmas book, a festive craft, a puzzle, something cosy to wear, a toy, Belgian hot chocolate stick, bag of reindeer food and even a certificate from Santa!

A Craft

Amigami

I discovered the Amigami Large Figure for £5 when hunting for Christmas gifts £5 and under at Sports Direct. Eva loves to craft and this looks like a great gift that she can really get creative with. Suitable from 5+ this had to be added to our list of Christmas gifts for 7 year olds.

Colouring Pens

Magnetips

Colouring at Christmas is a bit of a tradition in most households, all children get a colouring book of some sort. These fantastic MAGNETIPS are the perfect companion for £39.99! We received a set of the MAGNETIPS, a colour refill sets & 10 chrome balls. MAGNETIPS are not your typical fine liners, they have 2 magnets inside allowing you to build fantastic creations. You can build all sorts of shapes with these fun magnetic pens and adding the chrome balls allow you to make fun structures too!

Magnetips

What do you think of my Christmas gifts for 7 year olds? Do you know a 7 year old who would love these too?

Burnished Chaos

Back To Normality After Christmas

After a hectic few week’s thing’s are finally getting back to normality after Christmas. I’ve been much quieter than planned on the blog so thought I’d write a quick catch up post. We had a brilliant one this year and were on top of the girl’s presents thanks to starting early and picking up a few bargains along the way.

The lead up

 

The lead up to Christmas was very busy especially with the Mr painting characters on the walls for the girls including Olaf (don’t mention the body 😉) , Gingerbread man  and an elf! The girls absolutely loved them and I personally don’t want the gingerbread man to go!

 


There was plenty of last minute buying and panicking about the Mr’s present which luckily a very good friend (you know who you are!) helped me out with. So the Mr at least had a few beers to go along with a top I bought him instead of nothing.. good job really since he got me a Microsoft Surface 3!!!! Admittedly I still feel guilty & going to order him another box of beers for him next payday from Beer52, as I said I would for Christmas but ran out of time!

Santa visit

We visited Santa with Alex (my brother) on Christmas eve again this year. Carrying on the tradition we started last year. Although I forgot to pre-book so we had almost a 2 hour wait it wasn’t too bad. We chatted inline with a mum and her son Oscar after we watched him so she could grab McDonald’s for them to eat whilst they waited. They helped keep the girls chatting to stop the boredom. We also took pictures with the big bears that came round to entertain those queueing. The girls and Alex also ended up with a HUGE stash of candy canes as they all had to go and Izzy was being cheeky and cute haha!

Christmas Morning

 

Christmas morning we had a 30 min wait for my brother to arrive. Well once the girls were eventually awake the Mr and I were up rather early so it wasn’t too bad! The girls couldn’t wait to see their Uncle Alex and make sure he joined in. They all opened their stockings then took a quick break to eat some more chocolate before moving onto bigger presents. They were all over the moon with their gifts which was lovely to see. My jaw was on the floor though when I realised my blogging life was about to become a whole lot easier. Thanks to the Mr buying me a Microsoft surface pro 3! 

Normality after Christmas

We had a delicious Christmas Dinner cooked by the Mr with all the usual yummy stuff! We all ended up in a food coma and wanting bed quite soon after! My brother spent most of the day saying how happy he was and how the day had given him a sense of normality and family life. It was brilliant spending the day with him and spoiling him along with the girls. He joined us again to see in the New Year and again couldn’t stop saying how happy he was. It’s really hit him how well he has done over the last year. He’s turned his life around with a little bit of help and knowing he does have family who really do love & care about him.

Coming to an end

So all in all it’s been a fabulous time but as always very tiring with all the running around & cleaning. As the holidays came to an end Izzy was quite ill and had a few sofa days. Eva began to misbehave quite a bit over the last few days which has made me feel quite low. Luckily she is back to school today and normality has returned.. fingers crossed so does her good behaviour!

How was your Christmas? Are you relieved to get back to routine or wishing it was Christmas every day?

Spreading The Joy Of Reading This Christmas

I have always loved to read and reading was my favourite thing to do as a child so I love the idea of spreading the joy of reading this Christmas by giving 3 amazing Penguin Random House Children’s Books (teamed up with Britmums) I received to Izzy as Christmas presents.

Izzy is really enjoying reading books with all of us and as we did with Eva, we intend to encourage her love of reading. We sometimes go to baby rhyme time at the local library and always come back with a stack of books which we read over and over at home. The girls have an ever growing book shelf too & these books will make a lovely addition!

Max & Bird

Max & bird looks like quite a funny book about a kitty who wants to be friends with Bird. He also wants to chase and him as a tasty snack . But that’s not what friendship is all about… is it? I can’t wait to read this to Izzy, I know she will love the illustrations as she loves cats!

 

The Little Elephant Who Wants To Fall Asleep

 

The Little Elephant who want to fall asleep is a the latest book from the author of The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep which is a global best seller! It’s aimed at helping children fall asleep.  Following Ellen the elephant on a journey through a magical forest that leads to sleep! This sounds like a brilliant book and I’ll definitely be trying it out on those nights the girls just can’t sleep.

 

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas

 

I can’t wait to read the dinosaur that pooped Christmas! We’ve read the dinosaur that pooped the world which the girls absolutely loved. This time Danny’s new dinosaur eats Christmas!! I wonder what happens next!?

 

 

They all sound like brilliant books, I can’t wait to read them to Izzy!

I loved books growing up and The Secret Garden was always my favourite as a young child! I have saved a copy for the girls to read. Hopefully one day it becomes a favourite for them, getting lost in the beautiful secret garden and storyline.

What was your favourite book as a child? Do you read it or plan to read it to your child/ren?

Are you giving books as gifts this year? Which ones?

*I’ve been sent these books by Britmums and Penguin Random House as part of their children’s books Christmas present challenge.

Children’s Christmas Gift Guide

Children’s Christmas Gift Guide

I am fussy when it comes to shopping for the girls at Christmas. I like to know what I’m buying is something they will genuinely use or play with. I’ve put together a small gift guide for kids that I think would make great gift ideas.

1. Itty bittys newest craze by Hallmark UK Christmas gift guide - itty bittys

These super cute little soft toys are Hallmarks latest Soft toy series ‘Itty bittys’. The girls love anything small and cute! The Wizard of Oz series make a lovely addition to any little girls soft toy collection. Itty bittys come in a range of characters and are currently available on Amazon. If your little one loves role-playing these are great for acting out scenes from their favourite films. As you can see we made our own yellow brick road out of lollipop sticks!

 

Christmas gift guide - jungle jam2. Jungle Jam Book 

My girls still can’t get enough of Jungle Jam, following Mikey the monkey on his musical adventure. It’s such a lovely & colourful story and a brilliant addition for any bookshelf.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Emoji book & Minecraft booksChristmas gift guide emoji & minecraft books

I recently reviewed these amazing books by P.T Evans. The Emoji & Minecraft book series are great for children aged 6 upwards and are easy to read and follow with your finger. If you are looking for a way to encourage your kid to read, these books would be a brilliant way to get them having fun & enjoying reading about their favourite characters.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Mobicep Parenting Control’s App – Filter and manage the on-line content your children access across all devices they own or will own after Christmas such as Phones, Tablets & Computers.

mobicip-300x100

5. Santa’s Answers Letter – Order your child a magical reply from Santa, personalised just for your child. With 3 beautiful styles and several packages to choose from they make a lovely gift to get your child into the Christmas spirit!

*This post contains affiliate links

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit!

We’ve started getting into the Christmas spirit already which you may have noticed if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram!Christmas spirit

 

We’ve been counting down the days until Christmas and doing lots of planning and making! The girls have made a few Christmas cards & pictures & Eva made an rather long paper chain!

Out and about

 

On Friday we popped into town for the Christmas Light show.The girls got a ride on the little Trains, ate hot doughnuts, made elf badges & collected their hoof bell which was part of ‘Come as yourself leave as an Elf’. It was fairly busy and the girls were quite tired so we didn’t do them all but the girls really enjoyed themselves. 

 

Eva was particularly happy to have Anna & Elsa head straight for her to have a good 5 minute chat! Belle tried to join in too bit seemed a little upset as Eva pretty much ignored her.. Although in all fairness Anna was rather talkative haha!

We didn’t stay to watch the lights being turned on as it was freezing & the girls wanted to go home for dinner. But we did return the next day so the girls could get a picture with the tree!

Every day we have been adding doing something Christmassy (yes that is a word as is Christmassing 😉). The Mr has been repainting the living room for Christmas.. based on an an idea Eva had. He has gone slightly crazy and come up with a brilliant/crazy idea! I can’t wait to share with you all so look out for my next Christmassy post!

The girls bedroom is slowly getting there too with their Christmas tree up, tinsel on their chest of drawers & the ‘Santa please stop here’ sign the girls made!


Are you getting into the Christmas spirit yet? Have you been making or buying anything special?

Magical Letters From Santa’s Answers

 

Magical Letters From – Santa’s Answers

Magical Letters - Santa's Answers
How amazing is this personalised letter?

 I order a letter from Santa for the girls every year but wanted to find them one that really added a touch of Christmas magic. Santa’s Answers have definitely helped add a touch of magic to Christmas for Eva this year!

I order a letter from Santa for Eva every year but this has been my favourite one yet. The letter is beautifully personalized and I absolutely love the design. There are a range of packages available from a personalized Santa’s Answer letter all the way up to the Deluxe Package I received which came with a letter, 4 colouring pages, Christmas stickers, Reindeer food and a signed photo of Santa himself!

Santa Letter

Ordering your letter

You can choose from 3 different letter styles, and add your child’s name and age along with a load of other information when ordering. This helps Santa’s Answers personalise the letter perfectly for each child. The more information you put in such as presents on their wish list, accomplishments, reasons why they are on the good list and a lot more.

The Letter arrives in an envelope addressed to yourself to check the contents before sealing in an envelope with you child’s full name and town on.

 

 

I love the deluxe package, especially the signed photo and reindeer food. The letter was written so well with the information given which makes it much more believable. I chose the Santa’s Stationary letter but there are 2 other beautiful designs to choose from too. The colouring pages and stickers will keep any child happy for 5 minutes too!

Do you order personalised Santa letters too? What do you think of the letter we received?

Christmas Bargains & Lies

Ugh Christmas bargains.. I love them.. OK.. I admit it.. I’m a liar. I said NO TOYS this Christmas after getting halfway through writing a post on why I’m not buying toys this christmas.. and what did I do? That’s right I acted like a child myself when the Mr spotted this Wilko Wooden Pirate Ship reduced from £15 to £5!!!!! Well now..

Christmas Bargains - Wilko Pirate Ship

At that price and being the last one on the shelf, I couldn’t resist. I can’t wait to play with it I cant wait to see Izzy play with it.. Especially as she is a huge pirate fan just like her Mummy! 😉

On to the next Aisle and I spotted the Wilko Wooden Peg Story kits reduced to 50p each!! So of course I had to grab one of each… Realising I had officially started Christmas shopping!

I had that ‘I’ve started so I’ll continue’ moment and picked up two £1 Shopkin Activity Kit’s as we’ve bought a few. As there’s always at least 2 of the activities inside the girls love to do them together. Not exactly a bargain as all these activity packs cost £1 in most places but still well worth it. (Again I lied, as I had previously told Eva NO SHOPKINS THIS CHRISTMAS!)

I have to admit although I totally lied to myself about not buying toys this year, I am pretty pleased that for a grand total of £8.50 I am up to 6 presents already! Ah I do love Christmas bargains!

I may have talked myself into believing I technically only bought 1 toy as the rest are ‘craft kits’ but I’m hoping we don’t end up buying too many toys. In all honesty though with Wilko amongst other’s reducing things like this and me still being a bit of a child at times, I can see it being a struggle, haha!

Perhaps I’ll just stick to non character toys?.. Or maybe I’ll fail miserably, get carried away myself & end up picking up toys for the next 10 or so years lol! (When do children stop wanting toys?) Keep an eye out for future posts & fails 😉

Have you started Christmas shopping? Have you found any awesome bargains yet? I’d love to hear and see what bargains you’ve found so far!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

 

August MS515B Bluetooth Speaker Review

You may have spotted my post offering a one day only early Christmas deal with a 40% discount on a set of August MS515B Bluetooth Speakers. Sold on Amazon for £29.95.

For sharing August Lab’s early Christmas deal I was given an awesome discount on the bluetooth speaker myself & ordered them first thing Thursday morning when the discount codes went live.

Friday morning we received our email letting us know our parcel was being delivered later that day!

This made me pretty excited as A) I LOVE opening parcels 😂😂 & B) I love listening to music! Especially when cleaning & these can easily be moved around room to room without disturbing the music!

Our parcel arrived around about 4.30pm and we quickly got the box opened up to have a look inside.

August Bluetooth Speaker

I checked the manual and got them plugged in to charge up & was really impressed by how easy they are to set up. They come with a USB lead with a split lead to charge both speakers at the same time. The speakers connect by a lead included in the box. They also have an AV in lead so you can plug them in to devices without bluetooth. So you can literally use them with anything!

I quickly got my phone connected via bluetooth to test them out and was amazed by the sound quality. They are pretty loud too! For small speakers they really do have some power. Anything with bass (when up loud) makes them jump across the side a little which really amused Eva.

We had them set up in the kitchen and the sound filled the room & we all ended up dancing in the kitchen whilst I cleaned & the Mr cooked for the girls. 

The Mr loves music too and has play-lists saved on his youtube. He eventually got bored of typing in each song on my phone. He decided to connect his phone to the speakers instead and took over with his play-lists for a good hour.

We are seriously impressed with the quality of the bluetooth speakers. Especially for only £29.95 (Unless you used my discount code 😉 ) delivered the next day even though we chose the free delivery option!

I can see these becoming one of our new favourite toys. As Eva has seen them I cant give them to her as a present. Instead I have said we can all share them.  I can see the girls using them in our room and me using them around the flat when cleaning to save having the sound system on which we currently have no remote for & have the bass up high which can be a bit much at times! 🙈🙊

I love that the girls can connect using the Tablet as well as us using our phones & pc/laptop and as they are rechargeable we can take them anywhere. I’ve yet to find a problem with them. I like that I can skip forwards and back a track using the button on the back of the main speaker.

*This is a sponsored post & I received a large discount on the speakers in return for sharing the 40% off discount post and an honest review.

Christmas On A Budget – Starting Early!

I know, I know, summer isn’t even over yet but there’s only 17 weeks until CHRISTMAS so it’s time to get planning!

Although I do love Christmas it’s quite a stressful time for me especially being on benefits with 2 children means we really have to try and spread the cost of Christmas so we have to start early and pick up deals & Bargains on the way. This year I am determined to be well prepared again and get started early so from this week onwards I’ll be looking out for & picking up bargains & stashing them for the girls. With only 8 pay day’s to help us out I’m hoping to find and share with you some of the awesome bargain’s I’ll (hopefully) be finding over the next 17 weeks.

I’ll be looking for an Android Tablet of some sort for Izzy as she loves using Eva’s Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 which we bought Eva 3 years ago & has lasted surprisingly well considering the girls often fight over it!

So far that is all I have managed to come up with but I want to find more educational games/toys for the girls & activities or games they can play together, so I’ll be doing a bit of research to find things appropriate for 2-6 year old’s (if you have any idea’s let me know).

I’m also going to start planning activities and days out for the girls to help get into the Christmas spirit. As always there will be a letter to & from Santa, I’m going to have a look around this year and probably use a different company from the last 2 years & find something a little more special.

When Eva was born I started a little family tradition leaving a Christmas Eve sack from Santa out for when they come through from the their bath, which usually contains New Pj’s, slippers & a dressing gown to change into. I also put in a DVD, Book, Mug & Hot Chocolate & a little treat so they can snuggle up with their drinks, watch a film and read a story before bed which helps calm them down enough to sleep too.

I’ll be on the lookout for any Christmas Film & Book List’s to help me find some really good ones for the girls this year so if you have any helpful posts please share!

Last year we visited the Santa’s Grotto in Basildon with my Brother & we decided to make it another Family tradition to go together & get our photo taken so I’ll be booking us in for a visit again this year well in advance too.

Christmas Photo

The girl’s love making their own decorations so I think I need to spend some time on Pinterest & find some bits for the girls to make and some arts & crafts activities to make the flat feel Christmas-y and really get the girls into the Christmas spirit.

Have you started or are you thinking about starting Christmas shopping yet? Do you have any special family tradition’s or are you thinking of starting a new one this year? Do you have any activities you’d recommend?

Don’t forget to share your bargains too!