Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Christmas Packaging - What can you Recycle?


A pile of wrapped gifts, under a small Christmas tree
Over Christmas, the UK population generates 25% more waste than normal. With waste collections becoming less frequent and rubbish bins getting smaller (in our county, anyway!), this can pose a real problem for households. Add to that, the strain on the environment, and this means it is even more important than ever to up our recycling and upcycling game to try to keep landfill to a minimum. Sadly, there will still be some Christmas packaging which can't be recycled, but below you will find lots of items that can and ideas for reusing some of your Christmas packaging too.
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Monday, 24 December 2018

How to Handle Difficult Relatives at Christmas


A house completely covered in festive lights and decorations.
In an ideal world, relatives would be like other people, we would be surrounded by the ones we like, and not obliged to spend time with those we don't get on with. Sadly, it doesn't work like that and Christmas is probably the prime time for testing the tolerance levels of the average adult, often to Hulk-esque proportions, but you can make it easier on yourself. If family politics (or personal guilt) rule out going away for Christmas, pretending to have a highly contagious disease, or faking your own death, here are some suggestions for helping things go more smoothly when difficult relatives threaten your Christmas spirit.
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Friday, 21 December 2018

Beautifully Simple Gifts to Make with Children


Everyone loves a handmade gift, and it's a great way to get children involved with the gift giving process. Little ones don't have much concept of shopping, or choosing gifts for important relatives, so a gift they have made is something that they can personally be a part of. Two problems often arise with crafts though: they can be time consuming and surprisingly expensive. In this post I have some ideas of gifts you can make with household items that won't break the bank, take ages, or make a crazy amount of mess. If you're having a last minute panic about gifts from your children, this might just be the answer!
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Wednesday, 19 December 2018

T'was the Night Before Christmas, a Modern Tale


This poem was my entry for a competition in 2016, where you had to modernise the poem T'was the Night Before Christmas. I didn't win, so maybe it's terrible, but it took me ages, so I thought I would republish it this year, as a reminder that there are a lot of people going without this Christmas. I thought it would be good to highlight the fact that sometimes we don't see what is right in front of us and anyone can be struggling in one way or another. So, if you get an opportunity to help someone out, or make them smile this Christmas, have a go, it might make you smile too! 
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Tuesday, 18 December 2018

How to Help Retain Important Memories


A boy looking thrilled to have caught a small fish while ice fishing. I have never been very good at remembering things. My short term memory is diabolical, I don't just forget to do something, I can forget I even agreed to do it in the first place! I try all the usual tricks to help me remember, such as writing things down, but then I have to remember to look at what I wrote. It's a work in progress. What bothers me more, though, is my long term memory. I hate not being able to remember things we've done as a family, or details about my children's earlier years. Recently, I've been looking at ways to help me retain important memories and I thought I would share them with you.

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Monday, 17 December 2018

Rocking a New Suit, with Roco Clothing



We had a very important event to attend, which required new outfits for everyone. This is something that doesn't happen every day, the graduation ceremony for my daughter's BSC Hons degree in computing and I intended to do it right. Which meant the boy needed a new suit. I had no idea where to start with this, I haven't bought a lot of suits in my time, especially not for small people, but Roco Clothing offered to send us a complete suit from their range, for free, in order to show us how much choice and style is actually available for boys. We chose the Navy and Navy Check Waistcoat set and this is a review of the product and service.
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Friday, 14 December 2018

In the Audience of a Live TV Show - The Last Leg #IsItOk


My daughter and I have been big fans of The Last Leg for a very long time. The show, which was first commissioned to accompany the 2012 Paralympics, is hosted by Adam Hills and co hosted by Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe. It has evolved to become an insightful and fun topical show, focusing on the previous week's major events and explaining politics in such a way that even I can understand the more complex issues affecting our nation. The show has a live studio audience and did you know, you can get free tickets to see it? My daughter managed to get tickets and has written this guest post to give you an idea of what to expect if you get the chance to watch a live show being filmed.
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Westonbirt Arboretum Enchanted Christmas


Westonbirt Arboretum lit in different colours, with title overlaid
On a chilly Friday evening, I went with my son, sister in law and two nephews, to visit Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum, where we had been offered free tickets in exchange for our review. Considering it's not that far away from me, I'm surprised to say, this is the first time I've ever visited Westonbirt and, after experiencing Enchanted Christmas, the next visit may seem like a bit of an anticlimax, when the trees are returned to their natural brown colour and no longer sparkling or glowing. If you are  wondering if there's enough to entertain two adults and a small assortment of boys, aged between five and twelve, here's how we got on.
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Monday, 10 December 2018

Santa's Secret Cottage Review, Kuusamo, Lapland


Santa, seated with title overlaid
Travelling to Lapland to meet Santa is something many parents dream of for their children, so it's really important to find out as much as you can before booking your Lapland trip. If you are  planning to make the journey, or even thinking about it, here is the low down on what to expect when you visit Santa's Secret Cottage, which is about a 30 minute drive from Ruka, Kuusamo. We visited Santa there in March, as part of our trip to the Ski resort in Ruka and wanted to share our experience, to help you know what to expect and to prepare for this exciting part of your Lapland adventure.
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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Children's Book Gift Guide - From Tots to Teens


If you haven't heard about the Icelandic Christmas Eve Book Exchange and why it's such a great idea for a Christmas tradition, you can read all about it in my previous post. Whether or not you will be taking part in this tradition, or if you subscribe to the 'something you want, something you need, something to wear something to read' mantra of gift giving, there are lots of reasons to buy a book as a gift for a child. This list was compiled using recommendations from our brilliant readers and other parent bloggers, so you can be sure they've been tried and tested by enthusiastic youngsters!
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Monday, 3 December 2018

Blogging, Advertising and Sponsorship


Flatlay of a calendar, watch, envelopes, with title overlaid.
I've seen a few posts on social media recently talking about advertising and sponsorship in blogging. A few things came to light, from reading the posts, that made me feel it was time to write about it, from a personal perspective. One of the overriding points that came from comments I saw, was that there is some confusion and negativity around the role of blogs in advertising and media. I thought this might be a good opportunity to explain a bit about the different types of blog advertising and why I, and possibly other bloggers too, sometimes advertise products or services through my blog.
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