Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Keeping Your Home Safe at Christmas*

We are very much looking forward to winding down for the Christmas break. We work so hard all year and it is important for us to spend lots of quality time together as a family without the interruptions of stress and work.

That's why keeping your home safe over the festive period is very important. I know a lot of people, myself included, tend to stock up on Christmas presents throughout the year. I like to be very organised and ready for the Christmas period, this includes purchasing and wrapping gifts. I also recognise the importance of keeping these gifts safe. According to Chill Insurance, households can spend between £100 and £300 on Christmas gifts, and I'm sure that some people spend more.

Christmas shenanigans!


Over the years we have been careful with our Christmas presents and try to make sure that our house is secure. As well as being insured for all contents there are some other measures that you can take to endure that your home stays safe this festive period:

* Make sure all doors and windows are locked. This may seem obvious, but windows also need to be secure.

* Leave all valuables out of sight when you are out of the house

* Ensure that you have a working house alarm fitted to ward off potential burglars

* Also make sure you have a smoke alarm fitted and check it weekly

* If you are making a trip away from your home over the festive period, do ask a neighbour to check your home and give them your emergency telephone number

* If you do have valuable gifts to leave in your home while you are away then maybe think of storing them at a friend's house or parents house for extra peace of mind.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I know that safety can easily slip off the top off the to-do list when it comes to such a busy time like Christmas - but it's really important.

All the best!

*This is a collaborative post. All words and views are our own.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Review: Every Day Matters Diaries

As a student, a mother and basically a very busy person - it is really important to me to have lists, diaries, calendars and notepads. I know that this is the electronic age and we should be thinking about moving everything across to digital, but sometimes it's better to just stick to paper. I know where I am with paper, I can feel it's pages and I can cross it off or tear it out when it is done. Although I do have an Outlook calendar, I don't think I will ever not buy a diary for the New Year.



That's why I was delighted to be sent two diaries from Every Day Matters. Every Day Matters produce beautiful diaries. I received a pocket size calendar and a desktop one. I love this - I always carry my paper diary with me and I like to have one on my desk in work too. I know that this means that I duplicate information, sometimes things do cross over, but generally I keep my family life in my bag and my work life on my desktop. This seems to work out fine for me, and although I am busy and sometimes slightly frazzled, I think I do a good job.





The diaries themselves are just perfect. I love the design of them, and of course the message. Every Day Matters. It really does. We are only on this earth once - we really need to fill our days where we can. I love the motivational quotes on the pages.




Disclosure: I was sent two of these diaries free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Review: Christmas Menu at Table Table

We were very excited to be asked to test out the new Christmas menu from Table Table at the Derby Lodge in Huyton. We love eating out as a family and menu testing is one of our favourite things to do. We are always looking for places to eat that will accomodate children but also be quiet enough for us to eat too - we don't want to eat every meal in a child-focussed arena. When we arrived we were really happy to see the Christmas decorations on the table. The kids loved pulling all the crackers and of course we hads to wear our paper crowns. Emily read us all the little jokes in the crackers and we pretended to laugh heartily, as is the Christmas tradition of course!

The staff were really lovely with us - we had pre-ordered our meals which meant that they were all ready for us when our table was booked. This was  massive help as you know if you have kids they can get a little bit fed up, especially if it is after school. The meals came out hot and ready and we were very happy! For this meal we decided to order three starters, three mains and three desserts - all adult sized and then share the food with the two little ones. We don't often eat three courses and I feared that if we got kids' food as well then it might go to waste and I hate waste. As it turned out the three adult sized courses were definitely enough for all of us and staff were only too happy to oblige with giving us side plates for the kids. I had a well-deserved glass of white wine and Warren had red. It was actually a lovely relaxed environment, the kids were well behaved and the food was spot on.



Our Food

To start we ordered the soup of the day, which was roatsed pepper and tomato and included bread, breaded garlic mushrooms with a barbecue dip and a pate dish. I'll be honest we wolfed the lot. The soup was so fresh and the bread was delicious. Alice didn't fancy a starter - the kids often don't, but she was happy enough colouring in with teh crayons and sheet she had been handed on the way in. Next up came the mains, we ordered the festive steak, a full Turkey Christmas dinner and a festive burger. We shared out a bit of everything for the kids, who wolfed down turkey with gravy, some chips, bts of potato, and we even coaxed them into trying a couple of sprouts each! There was no waste, and everyone was full. However, as Emily keenly explained, no matter how full you are, you always have a "dessert belly."

So out came the desserts: Chocolate brownie with caramel and icecream, a chocolate sundae and a choclate fudge cake with cream. As you can tell from the pictures, we all dug in and it was enough for all of us.



Our bill came to just under £60 which to feed five of us with a drink from a festive menu is really good value for a treat. They do have a really brilliant kids menu but on this occasion, I decided to share but of course you know your own kids and what they can and can't manage with a full meal.

We had a lovely night. It was great to have a night off cooking and also to eat a three course meak - we don't do it often so it was a lovely treat.

We would definitely recommend Table Table for a Christmas meal out. The food was great, there was plenty of choice on the menu, there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere and the staff were really helpful.



Disclosure: The cost of our visit was covered in exchange for this honest review. All words and views are our own.




Blackpool Tower Circus Panto - Jack & the Beanstalk

If you were to ask my kids what their favourite days out are, they would say pantomimes and circuses.  So we were delighted to be able to combine the two when we were invited to watch Jack and the Beanstalk at Blackpool Circus.




The classic tale was given a twist with the addition of the circus element.  We have visited the circus in the past, and have always loved it, and this was no different.

After taking our seats, the show starts with regular circus star Mooky playing the part of Jack, with Mr.Boo as the villain of the piece. Without wanting to give too much away, the regular pantomime story is given a boost with a variety of circus acts performing their speciality pieces, including incredible balancing acts, trapeze, clowns, a daredevil spinning wheel and much more.



All of this was wonderful aided by the house band, who played lots of well-known songs from down the years to accompany the acts.
The circus show is designed to appeal to adults as well as children, and all of us had a fantastic time.


We were sent a family ticket to the Blackpool Circus pantomime show in exchange for this review.  All views are our own.


Review: Liverpool Day Out

It's getting colder and Christmas is almost upon us. It's that lovely time of the year where the diary is packed full of fun and exciting things to do with the kids. We love taking them out and showing them new thing s- it's how we bond together and chill out as a family (sometimes literally in this weather!)

So we were more than excited to be sent on a Blogger Day Out to our home town. We are always singing the praises of Liverpool. We often go to the town centre, especially in the summer. There is something so warm and beautiful about Liverpool. It has such a rich history and there seems to be so much more to it every time we go. We like to go and be tourists in our own city, it is fun.

So we had a busy and fun schedule set out before us. The kids were all wrapped up warm and ready to go.

Dreamworks

Our first stop was at the beautiful St. George's Hall, what had been turned into a festival of light starring the characters of some of Dreamworks' best known films - Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.  The scene was set before we even entered, with a giant Shrek looking out of the city from the roof.

Once inside, we toured around the hall, taking in scenes from films that we have watched over and over with the kids, who took great pleasure in pointing out their favourite bits.


Christmas Markets

After the Dreamworks tour, we decided to take a quick pit stop at the Christmas Market outside on St. George's Plateau.  A wide variety of market stalls covered food and drink for all tastes, as well as others selling Christmas gifts and goodies.  Alice and Rosie took full advantage, quickly working their way through chocolate covered marshmallow men.




Rides

Suitably refreshed, we heading up to Chavasse Park, with has been turned into a Christmas fairground.  The girls love getting involved in the fair, and could be heard screaming and laughing as they enjoyed the wide variety of rides.






Ice Skating

After making a point of testing every possible ride, we headed to the Ice Festival, situated at the historic Pier Head on the riverfront, in the shadow of the magnificent Three Graces.  Emily loves ice skating, and was soon on her way, speeding around on the ice.  It's fair to say Warren isn't quite as nimble, so decided to stay with Alice and Rosie and help them try and find their feet on the ice (whilst struggling to stay on his own feet).



Viva Brazil

By now, we were all hungry, so headed to one of our favourite restaurants, Viva Brazil on Castle Street.  We love getting the girls to try new foods, and this restaurant is perfect, with a wide variety of freshly barbecued meats being brought to your table throughout your meal, and a fresh salad bar available with a wide variety of Brazilian flavoured sides.



Overall we had a wonderful day out.  The kids had a great time, and we all enjoyed ourselves, spending time together and getting to see more of our wonderful hometown.  I would definitely recommend Liverpool for a family day out over Christmas.

Disclosure: We were invited on a Liverpool blogger's day out.  All our costs were covered for the purpose of this honest review.  All words and views our own. 


Christmas Decorating with Gel-A-Peel

As a family we are always looking out for new and exciting things to do with the kids. Sometimes we take them out and other times we like to sit and engage in creatve play. This is really important to us because it helps us bond as a family but it also encourages the girls to get creative and do something different

We were really excited to be sent a sample of Gel-A-Peel and we were very much looking forward to trying it out to make some wonderful Christmas decorations! Now everyone know that Christmas is definitely the time of year for getting our craft on. As you know, I can't claim to be the best crafter that there has ever been, but I do try, and I always encourage my girls to get involved even if what they produce is a little less than perfect!

Gel-A-Peel is a jewellery-making set for kids who want to get creative with gel.


The set comes with colourful gel tubes that you use to colour over the stencil. The gel is then left to set overnight and once it is set you have an amazing piece of jewellery.

First of all I let Alice and Rosie create some Christmas decorations using some glitter gel and gems.






This was an aside to the Gel-A-Peel - I thought it best that they use something a bit more age appropriate - Gel-A-Peel is recommended for children aged 8+. So while Alice and Rosie created the base for our decorations, Emily, who is a bit older and more sensible set to making some tree decorations using the set.

Emily said that it was quite fiddly at first but once she got the hang of it she really enjoyed it. It was simple to use and there were lots of designs to cover with the gel.

Overall we really like this product and as you can see it really did make some cool decorations for our tree.

The set is available in all good toy stores and would really suit a child over the age of 8 who loves to be creative and make jewellery or decorative items - I am sure that there are lots of ways that this set could be used and lots of ways the gel could be used to decorate trinkets or whatever you fancy.

Disclosure: We were sent this set free of charge for the purpose of this review, all words and views are my own.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Review: Bogs Boots

As the festive season approaches, one of our favourite things to do as a family is to visit Christmas markets.  It’s a great opportunity to get into the festive spirit, try new foods, maybe have a quick drink and generally enjoy being a family together.



However, more often than not, the British weather intervenes and makes things more difficult.  So we were delighted to be asked to review Bogs children’s wellies, and took the opportunity of trying them out at Liverpool Christmas market.



Both Alice and Rosie decided on the striped rain boot design.  The boots are 100% waterproof, lightweight, with a soft, flexible natural rubber upper.  Both girls loved the design, and were eager to test the waterproof properties by launching themselves into every puddle they could find.



Suffice to say, their socks remained bone dry (unlike me, who ended up covered in splashback).  The girls have already made big plans for taking advantage of their boots on even muddier terrain.

We were sent two pair of Bogs children’s wellies in exchange for this review.  All views are our own.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Review: Disney on Ice Presents Frozen at Liverpool Echo Arena!

We love taking our kids out to events, especially at Christmas. Christmas is such a great time of the year to realise what is important in life and spend time with the ones you love. Speaking of love, our girls absolutely love Frozen and Disney. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know any children who don’t like Frozen – it really is such a great family feel-good film.
We were delighted to be asked to review Disney on Ice presents Frozen. The kids were absolutely over the moon excited to go, dressing up in their brand new finest Elsa and Anna costumes. (Both myself Warren and Emily just wore our normal clothes, just to clarify!)

Disney on Ice presents Frozen was on at the Liverpool Echo Arena. This is not too far for us so straight after school we got the girls ready and set off. We even got to see the stars of the show beforehand for a photo.




The production itself was brilliant. Every song from Frozen was played and acted out on the beautiful ice rink. We were sat quite high up but we could see everything. The show began with an introduction by some of our favourite Disney characters – Ariel, Cinderella and of course Minnie and Mickey Mouse as well as others. There was a real party atmosphere in the arena and the Disney characters really got the show started. When Frozen began our girls were so excited. The ice skating was fabulous – the choreography was perfect. Every detail was brilliant from the costumes to the props. One of our favourite parts was close to the end when the ice monster scares Anna, Kristoff and Sven away – it was really well produced and the monster was a little bit scary but just enough to make it fun.



Rosie said her best part was the end when they live happily ever after. Rosie is a huge Olaf fan, so she was singing and dancing along to the brilliant In Summer. Of course, we all loved Let it Go, and the Love Expert Trolls were so cute. Fixer Upper was a lot of fun! At the end of the show the whole Disney cast finished with an impressive song and lots of amazing moves on the ice. We loved it.



Overall we had a wonderful time. There were lots of little Anna's and Elsa's dressed up running around, the whole show was brilliant and the atmosphere was superb.

If you would like to see Disney on Ice presents Frozen this Christmas, do see their website to book. Tickets start from £20 each at the Liverpool Echo Arena and  the show runs until 4th December.

Disclosure: We were invited to attend this event free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own.

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