The Snowman™ and The Snowdog Great Festive Bake Off Blog Tour

The animated film of The Snowman first graced our screens back in 1982 when I was just seven years old, although it is one of those films that I remember clearly and have watched many times over during it’s annual viewing each Christmas.  The 20th anniversary film released in 2012 shares the snowman’s adventure with another little boy along with a Snowdog, of which has become one of my little boy’s favourite cuddly toys since taking part in last years blog tour.  If you haven’t seen the film or want to watch it again then keep your eyes peeled as The Snowman™ and The Snowdog will be shown on Channel 4 again this Christmas!

Snowman Bake off bannerThis year we have received some lovely Snowman & Snowdog gifts to try out as shown below.

snowdogThe Snowman Indoor Light String with LED bulbs is available from Christmas Trees and Lights priced at £15.99.  The set contains 10 moulded snowman which gently illuminate to a soft glow.  The set requires 2AA batteries to operate it, which I do like as it means they can be hung anywhere.  We chose to hang them from our picture rail between our lounge and dining room.  The children really love these lights and can’t wait for me to turn them on each evening.

snowdog 2A product that will always prove popular in this house is chocolate and when it’s a white chocolate snowman from Thornton’s, you know you are onto a winner!  The chocolate is creamy and very yummy, a firm favourite with my little ones and also myself, great for a Christmas treat!

snowmanThe fun twist on this years Snowman & Snowdog blog tour is a bake off along with the other bloggers taking part.  We have all been sent this lovely set of Snowman & Snowdog biscuit cutters available from John Lewis and Party Delights to see what we could come up with.

snowman 3I didn’t have to ask my children twice if they wanted to help, they absolutely adore baking, and as soon as I mentioned we were starting they were in the kitchen doing up each others aprons and sitting at the work top ready to begin.  Due to an imminent house move my food processor is all packed up, so luckily the children love getting their hands in the bowl and effortlessy rubbed the butter into the flour for our biscuit mixture.  They then rolled out and cut a variety of shapes ready for baking.

snowdog 3I love their results, so sparkly and festive!

snowdog 4And aren’t these snowdogs super cute?

snowdog 5Then it was mummy’s turn with the other half of the mixture.  I carefully cut and baked my shapes before attempting to ice them!  I’d had a long weekend of DIY at my new house and was feeling pretty shattered, so was a little rushed, but I gave it my best shot!

snowdog 6I really enjoyed this challenge and found it really fun to do.  I’ll definitely be trying out some more biscuit designs in the new year when I have a bit more time on my hands.

snowdog 7Mister B’s snowdog came down to the kitchen for a visit and approved of my biscuit creations of him and thought the children would love them!

snowdog 8I have to say the finished biscuits are very tasty and the children couldn’t wait to sample them. I can confirm they do taste absolutely delicious are make the perfect festive treat this Christmas time.

snowdog 9For more Snowman & Snowdog gifts and bake off adventures head over to Madhouse Family Reviews tomorrow for more wonderful festive ideas.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the Snowman & Snowdog goodies in order to write an honest review.

A Sparkly Christmas at Lush

Christmas at Lush is a sparkly, glittery and seasonally fragrant affair that will leave you feeling all festive with all the products and gifts they have on offer.  I had a preview on the launch day of the new Christmas and Halloween ranges as they were fresh into my local store in Plymouth, to see what amazing new products have launched and which firm favourites have returned from previous years for another festive season.

lushWe were greeted with drinks and some fabulous cupcakes from the local Mrs Brown’s bakery which looked too good to eat and very festively decorated!

lush 3Then it was on to the bath section, packed full of glorious bath bombs, melts and bubble bars.  We had some demonstrations of bath bombs in action but here are some that caught my eye.

The Magic of Christmas reusable bubble bar is so festive, a star shape decorated with cloves and star anise, it’s perched on a cinnamon stick.  It’s burnt orange colour gives a warming feeling as the chilly evenings draw in and it’s covered in golden glitter, perfect for a hot bath to relax in the evening.  It has a cute ribbon tied around it’s collar along with a cute anti rusting bell.  The idea is you swirl it in the bath water to create a heavenly, softening bubble bath, packed full of bubbles and a Christmassy aroma of cinnamon, orange and almond.

Stardust is a snowy white Frozen inspired bath bomb with bergamont to uplift you.  Inside it’s white exterior lies a blue and white swirly mass of bubbles and a surprise of edible stars that will float around your bathtub twinkling under the lights.

lush aMagic Wand is a silver glitter coated pink bubble bar on a stick with a festive bell and ribbon attached.  I know my daughter will just love this so got her one to try out.

Five Gold Rings are individual bubble bars, glistening and tied onto a ribbon.  With a sparkly gold coat they are infused with fair trade vanilla and uplifting moringa oil.

Peeping Santa is a rather cute bubble bar that can be split into two halves for two baths!  Bursting with strawberry sweet bergamot and geranium oils and cocoa butter in the middle section, this sounds like a refreshing but relaxing bath full of bubbles.

Candy Mountain is a swirling pink bubble bar rich in vanilla for a soft, relaxing soak.

lush bNext stop, the shower section which was packed full of an array of different and interesting products.  First off, Snow Fairy, a popular favourite with candy floss aromas in a delectable pink colour.   I was tempted but opted to try the Rose Jam as I’m rather partial to to roses and love their fragrance. Never having tried Rose Jam I’m keen to give it a try in the shower over the next few weeks and trust me, it smells heavenly!

lush 7The Icing on the Cake Roulade is a shower smoothie and definitely one that looked quite luxurious, full of citrus peels and chestnut puree.  Perfect for a relaxing shower at the end of the day.

Santa’s Scrub is a mixture of castor sugar, dates and cherries to leave your lips smooth and soft and then you can follow it with Santa Baby, a long lasting lip tint with carrot oil and cinnamon.

Something that was new to me was shower jelly in the form of Santa’s Belly or Snowman.  They literally are just like jelly but quite stable and you rub them over your body to lather them up and wash.

The Cranberry Festive Face Mask smelt lovely and felt great on the back of my hand.  I think this would be wonderful on your face, packed with cranberries, fennel seeds, argan oil and rose clay.  It left the back of my hand feeling smooth and soft.

lush 5The soap bars available this Christmas are Yog Nog, Snow Cake and Baked Alaska shown below along with Reindeer Rock which I didn’t catch a picture off.

lush 2With so many products on offer, you really need to visit a store to check them all out.  Some I haven’t had time to mention are Christingle a body conditioner, Fairy Dust a fun glittery powder along with lots of other bath bombs and bubble bars.  Get along to your local store today and check out the amazing array of ethical goodies to fill your bathroom during the festive season.

I must just mention the Christmas gift selection with it’s cleverly thought out packaging, all very ethically sourced I must add.  Christmas Wishes is a wind up carousel that plays a festive tune, Sleeps ‘Til Christmas has a countdown dial on the front to help you count down the days and The Human Cannonball with it’s cracker snap to open the box that greets you with a colourful display!

lush 6I’m going to finish off with a quick overview of the Halloween range of which includes Lord of Misrule bath bomb and shower gel, Nightwing shower jelly and Sparkly Pumpkin which I couldn’t resist trying.  With juniperberry, lime and grapefruit oils this filled my bath with bubbles and left my skin feeling supersoft and relaxed. Definitely one to use again.

lush 8Keep an eye out for my review of the Xmas products once I’ve tried them in a future post.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some Lush goodies in order to write an honest review. Online Gift Store – Review

I Just Love It is a wonderful online gift store, with a wide variety of gifts, many of them personalised giving them added meaning to the recipient.  They also have things that are a little bit different from the high street, meaning you can find something unique and special for birthday’s, anniversaries and Christmas etc.

I chose a selection of gifts, all for me to try out and I have to say I haven’t been disappointed!

giftsI should save the best till last but I just have to show you this amazing personalised cake tin.  I absolutely adore it, both in style and quality and it will take pride of place in my kitchen.  It is a little pricey at £42.99, but when you see it with its personalisation and feel it’s strong sturdy quality, you’ll know it’s worth having!

gifts 4The metal is really thick and strong, this tin really is made to last.  It has a handle on top of the lid to aid in opening.  What makes this tin different to others I’ve seen is the airtight seal, meaning that your cakes will stay really fresh and biscuits will stay crisp.  I love the grey colour, neutral but stylish.  The personalisation really makes this tin special though, and makes it the perfect tin to keep on show as well as the perfect storage for all my lovely baked treats.  I can’t wait to serve visitors with a treat from my tin when they come round for tea!

gifts 3This Personalised My Family Keyring is so cute with a silver charm for each child that is engraved with their name and a heart for wording of your choice, of which I chose my name.  The charms are made from a zinc alloy making them sturdy and strong.  At £12.99 I think this would make a lovely gift, I certainly would be more than happy receiving this from my children at birthdays or Christmas (obviously with another adult helping them to buy and order it).  This will be home to my house keys from now and live in my handbag,  I’m very pleased with this item.

gifts 6A girl can never be without too many make up bags, you know what it’s like, some get a bit old and need replacing, you need one for make up, one for hair bits, one for other toiletries etc.. I really like the simple but elegant style of this Beauty Parlour Wash Bag and with its neutral colours and pvc coated cotton outer, it’s practical and also a good size.  This one does seem really well made and at £14.99 is a good price for the quality and has room to hold quite a few items.  It’s sitting proudly in my bathroom at the moment, full of little bits and bobs to make it look at bit tidier but I’m also looking forward to using it when I go away.

gifts 2A small but cute gift is this Grow Me Say It With Flowers Seed Kit and priced at £3.99 is a bargain.  I love roses and hope this successfully grows and is something I can plant in the garden.  An ideal stocking filler or smaller gift if you are doing a bag of presents, then this is the perfect extra.

gifts 5I’ve been really pleased with the selection of gifts from I Just Love It and would happily shop there again.  The items are certainly different from what you’d find elsewhere and the personalisation on the some of the items is unique and makes them stand out a bit.  If you are stuck for gift ideas, then I’d definitely give here a look, the range is vast and you’re sure to find something for person you are gifting.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the items in order to write the review.

Our Christmas 2013

Christmas is the perfect time for family to get together and enjoy relaxing, although it’s always a bit hectic with young children around.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get Christmas Eve off work this year so luckily my mum and dad offered to look after the children.  They took them out for the day to a local garden centre to have lunch and meet Santa.  It was lovely seeing the photos when they got back as they looked so happy and had a wonderful day, leaving them full of excitement in anticipation of Santa’s visit that night.

EndsleighLater that evening I had the job of icing together a gingerbread house that Miss M had baked the previous day.  I couldn’t let her down by not finishing it, but having not made one before, I didn’t realise how long I would need to stick bits together – definitely not something to be doing while you are busy and rushing, but after a few mishaps I managed to put something together.  I see it as a learning curve for next years which I hope will look much improved!

And so Christmas Day arrived, I was so busy playing with the children, helping chop the vegetables for dinner, drinking something bubbly, that I hardly took any photos, but I do have a few as memories of the day which I’ve shared below.

Miss M spent the day playing with her new Lego, as well as building huge marble runs, crafting with all her arts and crafts materials, making customised headbands with a headband kit, and making 3D pictures with a 3D kit she got.

Xmas MaisyMister B loved his Chuggington train set and spent much of the day playing trains, but did enjoy joining in with Orchard Toys Pop to the Shops game and both children had so much fun and giggles playing Pumpaloons!

Xmas BlakeAll in all we had a fabulous Christmas, everyone had fun, we had lots of laughs.  We were all tired out and had a lazy Boxing Day but I did manage to pop to the shops yesterday for a quick spot of sale shopping.  The children may have been too tired to walk round, but they spotted some huge teddies to curl up next to and relax while mummy picked up a few bargains!

Xmas Sales

The Night Before Christmas – Book Review

The Night Before Christmas by Parragon books is the perfect book to read to children on Christmas Eve or anytime on the run up to Christmas.  This Parragon picture book is a lovely quality with beautifully illustrated full colour pages by Henry Fisher that are sure to delight any young child.  The front cover is glittery and gives a magical feel to the book.

The Night before ChristmasWritten by Clement C. Moore this delightful story about The Night Before Christmas when Father Christmas took to the skies with his reindeer pulling his sleigh delivering presents in the quiet of the night is a pleasure to read.  With it’s rhyming lines, children are eager to hear what happens next and use the pictures to help bring the story to life.

My two children love this and it has been on the reading pile every night.  They find the story enchanting and love the excitement of the quick paced tale.  I’d highly recommend for everyone to read this to their children through the festive period.  It really helps keep the spirit of Father Christmas alive!!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

The First Christmas – Early Reader Book by Orion – Review

The First Christmas is a great story for this time of year, written especially for young readers in this Early Reader by Orion books.

The First Christmas orionMy daughter who is 5, picked this up as soon as it arrived and sat and read the entire book out loud to me.  It really appealed to her being very topical for December, and something she could relate to as she is currently practicing for her school nativity.  The First Christmas tells the story of Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem where their son Jesus is born. The shepherds and kings come to visit after following the bright star.

Early reader books make children feel more grown up reading and they love turning the page as they make their way through the book.  To ease them into more advanced books, there are pictures on every page to keep them engaged in the storyline and help them understand what’s going on.

We love early reader books, and The First Christmas is no exception.  Miss M enjoyed the story and it’s the perfect reading level for her.  She is able to read most words and needs prompting on a few others.  A great book for the festive period!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Lightbulb Baubles – Crafty Christmas Decorations

When Lightbulbs Direct suggested using old lightbulbs and recycling them into Christmas decorations, I knew someone who’d be up for the challenge.  My daughter Miss M loves her arts and crafts as is always keen to make something, forever looking for items in the recycling bin to glue together.  I hadn’t thought of using old lightbulbs before, but I found her a couple of and she set to work.

lightbulbs 1

We used some craft bits already at home and started by putting each bulb in a white square of tissue paper and gathering it at the top of the bulb.  We wrapped some Christmas ribbon around the top and made a loop to use to hang our baubles.

Miss M then took one of the lightbulbs and used her purple glitter glue tube to make swirls all around it.  The other bulb she covered in glue and sprinkled coloured glitter on to make it all sparkly.  We let them dry before hanging them on our Christmas tree.  Although simple in design they looked really effective amongst the other tree decorations and with the lights on the tree shining behind the baubles, the glitter shines and glistens away.

Lightbulbs 2

I think these our lightbulb decorations look great, a perfect addition to our tree. Unfortunately the glitter didn’t show up as well in the pictures as it does in real life but hopefully you’ll get an idea of the effect.  Miss M loves seeing her home crafted baubles hanging up and loves telling people she made them.  I’m really proud of 5yr old Miss M’s efforts and we are keen to decorate some more lightbulbs in the future – a great way of recycling your old lightbulbs and having crafty fun too!!

Why not try making some new lightbulb baubles with the children, a great activity to keep them occupied at the start of the Christmas holidays!

This post is a competition entry for LightBulbs Direct ‘Light Bulbles’ Xmas Crafting Competition

Christmas Activites for Children from Vertbaudet

Children love to make things at Christmas time and Vertbaudet have come up with a lovely selection of things to keep them occupied on the run up to the big day!

Here’s a list of things you can make and do:

  • An Advent calendar
  • Paper garland
  • Paper pompoms
  • Letter to Santa
  • Colouring pictures
  • Christmas gift tags
  • Woollen pompoms
  • Paper stars

Most things are easy to make and all have easy to follow instructions, you’ll have most things at home already so why don’t you give something a try.

My 3yr old Mister B wanted to try some colouring sheets so we printed some off for him, while Miss M was keen to try the paper star.  We followed the instructions and with a bit of help from mummy the star came together – she was so pleased and I love it too – it looked really effective hanging up by the tree.  We are going to make some more this week to decorate around the house.

Vertbaudet starsLots of lovely ideas to try – why don’t you try something this weekend to keep the children occupied and add to the festive decorations in your house.


Win a Thorntons Christmas Chocolate Bundle

It’s the season for chocolate, well it is all year in my book, but hey at least you can enjoy it at this time of year without worrying about your waistline.  There are a vast array of special designs and moulded figures available for the festive season that look almost too good to eat.

Thorntons have come up with a wonderful range suitable for children designed around The Snowman and The Snowdog, with much of it made of white chocolate.  There are beautifully crafted models, chocolate lollipops and selection packs.  Why don’t you check out the lovely range of Christmas gifts here at Thorntons.

ThorntonsIf you’d like to win The Snowman & The Snowdog Christmas Bundle from Thorntons, then I have one to giveaway to a lucky reader, just fill in the form below to enter:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms and conditions
Prize draw open to customers and non-customers aged 18 or over who are UK residents. Draw is not open to employees of Thorntons, their families or anyone associated with this draw. Proof of eligibility must be provided on request.
Winners will be drawn at random at the end of the promotion.
The promoter reserves the right (a) to add to or waive any rules on reasonable notice (b) cancel or postpone the promotion at any stage in the event of circumstances beyond its reasonable control; or (c) in its reasonable discretion to substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

Christmas Pringles – Sweet Cinnamon and Mint Choc

We all get excited about Christmas and Pringles have certainly brought a bit of festive fun to their ever popular potato snacks this year.  They have released two limited edition flavours just in time for the festive season, Sweet Cinnamon and Mint Choc.

WP_003906So, I can imagine you are all thinking – what do they taste like?  Well with my husband being a lover of Pringles I put him to the taste test along with my children.  He found the Sweet Cinnamon quite tasty once he got round the sweet flavour on a crisp and actually enjoyed munching his way through the tube.  I thought they were ok and had a few as an evening  snack.

Unfortunately the Mint Choc didn’t fare so well with us, the immediate bite seemed quite intriguing but the strong minty aftertaste really didn’t seem right on a crisp.   I have some friends coming over this weekend who I will share these with to see what other views people have on these limited edition flavours.

For us as a family we enjoyed the Sweet Cinnamon but the Mint Choc weren’t for us.  It’s lovely to try new and exciting flavours though and these are only limited editions – so if you fancy trying some for yourself, get to the shops quick!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.