Christmas Bazaar at Preston Park Museum

We visited Preston Park Museum in the Summer this year for their Great British Summer event and absolutely loved it. So when I noticed that they were having a Christmas Bazaar last weekend I knew we’d be missing out if we didn’t go for another visit! Whilst talking to my friend on Saturday evening I mentioned that we were going and invited Sarah and her family along- everyone loves a Christmassy day out!

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On Sunday morning we jumped in the car ready for the forty minute drive to Preston Park. Obviously the weather this time was totally different to the last time we visited so this time we were all wrapped up, ready for the day ahead.

When we arrived we headed straight through the gift shop, (which was super Christmassy!) and into another room which was filled with stalls selling allsorts of Christmas gifts and decorations. I had my eye on a few things but decided to hang on and see what else was on show as we didn’t really know what to expect.

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From this room we then exited into the replica 1895 Victorian Street which, exactly like last time, was abuzz with people, some dressed the part in Victorian wear. There were also a lot more stalls selling anything and everything from illuminating candles to cheese! The street itself was decorated beautifully and we could hear a brass band playing as we walked further along. Most of the shops were still open as normal so you could still pop in to have a look and all of the volunteers were more than happy to stop and chat and explain things for you.

We had a slot booked to visit Santa, aka Father Christmas, in his grotto so we pretty much headed straight there with our rather excited kids. Violet’s never visited Santa before so she was a little nervous! Mrs Claus was already there at the door to chat with us and keep the little ones entertained whilst we waited our turn. We didn’t have to wait long though, within five minutes he was ready for us and the kids were straight in. Violet was rather shy and nervous but seeing that look of sheer delight on her face was priceless!

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The grotto itself was amazing! It was all decorated and set up perfectly with a nice and toasty fire, a proper (real) Christmas tree and traditional decorations. I was pretty impressed with Santa too. He was really good with the kids, asking them lots of questions, answering any questions they had and they both received an early present from him too. We didn’t feel rushed at all and he offered to have some pictures taken with the kids which I thought was a lovely touch! Violet loves telling everyone she had her photo taken with Santa now- even though she doesn’t look too impressed on the photo!

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Next we headed over the courtyard to another room where you could make your own Magic Reindeer Food! I loved this one! It was set up with a line of tables and on each table was a different item so by the end of the line you had your very own finished bag of the food. Then on Christmas Eve the little ones can sprinkle this all over their garden, so the glitter will shine bright and guide the reindeer to their house- perfect little item for Christmas Eve boxes!

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The staff were really helpful with this activity and didn’t hesitate to help Violet whilst I took some photos of her.

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Next up, the donkeys. Now the donkeys made an appearance the last time we visited as they fit with the Summer and beach theme perfectly. Well, they actually fit with the Christmas theme too- if you stick some antlers on them! They looked super cute bless them! Both of the kids had a turn each and enjoyed it as they got to have a ride around the orchard. 
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After the donkey rides were done we were all feeling a bit peckish so headed off to see where the amazing smells were coming from. We found a couple of food vans selling hot food and luckily there wasn’t a queue so I headed straight for Blackwells of Norton for pie, peas and gravy! I have absolutely no idea why there wasn’t a queue as it was perfect comfort food for a cold day and at £3.50, an absolute bargain- I was expecting to pay a lot more!

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The blokes had burgers and hotdogs from another stand which were also pretty cheap at £3.00. They said they were good but as they’re men, no photo’s could be taken before they were inhaled! Typical 🙂

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After our lunch stop we then headed on to have a peruse of some more market stalls, passing some rather colourful entertainers on the way!

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There was another marquee full of stalls with all sorts of different items available to purchase for Christmas presents. I bought a gorgeous hot chocolate spoon for Violet’s Christmas Eve box, another hot chocolate mix for two, a brownie in a jar baking kit and a cupcake for Violet- this didn’t even come to £10 so again I was surprised with how reasonable the prices were.

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After another walk around and a few small purchases made by both families, we headed on out of the museum so the kids could have a good hour on the park to burn off some energy!

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All in all we had an absolutely fantastic day yet again at Preston Park Museum. The Bazaar was on for last weekend only, however they have lots more festive activities planned in the run up to Christmas and you can visit Santa every Saturday and Sunday until the 18th of December. A family ticket into the museum costs just £5.00 (2 Adults and up to 4 Children) and lasts the whole year, so you can visit as many times as you like! You can find their website here.

Have you visited before?

Mother Hermit xx

Christmas Gift Guide for the New Years Resolutions

New Year. 2017 is nearly here! We probably all know at least one person who set themselves New Years Resolutions- probably the same ones every single year too. Whether it’s to lose weight, join a gym, be more organised, quit smoking; it always happens and a lot of people probably don’t even last until the end of January. I can say this because I’m totally one of them.

So what better way to help someone on their resolution journey than gifting them something which will help them get one step closer to achieving their goal?

Fitbit Flex

This is the perfect gift for those who want to try and lose weight, start a healthier lifestyle or just be a little bit more active each day. I’ve had my eye on these for a long time and have just received one as a gift from my other half for our anniversary- never mind him, I’m totally in love with this!

It’s probably the most basic and cheapest of the Fitbit range but it’s perfect for what I want. It tracks and counts your daily steps, your calories burned and even tracks your sleep, all to an app. You can set it to track your sleep before bed each night and when you wake up in the morning it will show you how well you slept; how many times you were restless, how many times you woke up and how long you were actually asleep. Pretty cool huh?

You can also input your daily exercise, water intake and set your own daily goals- totally personalise it for you.

You can find them in Argos and they’re currently £59.99.*

ECigs and Shisha Pens

Giving up smoking. This is probably still the most popular resolution of all and with all of this change happening with horrible packaging and higher prices, I think this is a certain for a lot of people this year!

Vapelux of London

So the alternative is an Ecig or Shisha Pen. I know a lot of people who have successfully given up cigarettes by using these but I never realised the options available in the Shisha Pen Liquid! From cookies, doughnuts, all sorts of fruit flavours to menthol and tobacco flavoured- the selection is unreal. You can also get each liquid in different strengths of nicotine which I’m guessing depends on how addicted the user is, how much they smoked per day and how long they’ve kicked the habit; starting on the highest strength first and working your way down to nicotine free.

Sounds like the perfect gift for those wanting to kick the habit for good!

Organiser for 2017

I’m obsessed with Busy B stationery and have a planner for everything as I’m a serial list-writer! Even to the point where I’ll write something I’ve already done on a list, just so I can mark it off as done! Sad, I know.

This beauty is Busy B’s Family Diary for 2017 which I have in already and I have to say it’s amazing! If you can’t get yourself and your family organised using this then I don’t know what can help you. It has room for every family member so you can keep track of who’s doing what and when every single day of the year- absolutely perfect for us being a family of two adults, two young children and two dogs.

Busy B don’t just have family diaries though, they have planners to suit absolutely everyone, travel planners, one-page-a-day diaries, calendars; anything you can think of they have it. And who doesn’t love stationery right? Have a look for yourself here.

Alcohol Free

This isn’t one I would probably consider because I’ve got two kids under 3 and hardly get a chance to have any alcohol, but there’s no chance I’d give up the few chances I do get. Nope. Not an option.

However, if you know someone trying to cut back a bit or even kick it all together, what about a recipe book on Mocktails? Maybe you know someone who’s pregnant and craving the taste of their favourite cocktail? This looks like the perfect gift…

When I was pregnant with my second, for the first few weeks after me finding out I was craving the taste of Becks. No idea why because it’s not something I ever drink! Maybe they’d prefer this alcohol free Becks…

Yeah, me either, I’m just here trying to provide some ideas!

Are you a serial New Years Resolutioner? What’s yours for this year?

Mother Hermit xx

 

This is a collaborative post with Vapelux

 

*Prices correct at time of writing this post on 5th December 2016.

 

 

 

Mr Tumble Has Come To Play!

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, most recently in my Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party post, both of my kids absolutely love Something Special and Mr Tumble. I think most kids do- he’s clearly a very likeable character and I have to admit, sometimes I even find myself having a chuckle at him! So when I  was asked if I’d like some new Mr Tumble toys to try out from Golden Bear toys, I couldn’t really say no, knowing how much everyone loves him.

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I’ve never come across any Mr Tumble toys before so didn’t really know what to expect. We received a Fun Sounds Musical Car and Felt Set. Both of these are aimed at children 3+. That means nothing to my two as they’ll have a go at playing with them regardless- I think that probably goes for any child too. The musical car was a huge hit as it makes many different noises, sings the Something Special theme tune and each character features with different phrases. There’s also a Mr Tumble figurine and he fits into the car. Violet loves this one but it’s definitely more of a hit with Billy, who even at only 9 months, is becoming a huge fan of cars, especially those that make a ‘broom, broom’ noise like this one does! It even has a flashing nose on the front which he finds fascinating! It also comes with four makaton word cards which slot into the back of the vehicle. He plays with this one everyday and it’s usually the first toy he crawls to.

MrTumble7Violet’s favourite is the Felt Set. When this arrived she spent the full afternoon playing with it. It comes with Mr Tumble and other characters from Something Special and absolutely loads, over 60, different pieces so you can dress them up in numerous different outfits and give them different accessories. I remember having a felt set like this when I was little but she wasn’t up for letting me play so I just got to watch. Can’t complain about that though as there truly is something magical about watching your child use their imagination like this! It’s provided hours and hours of fun for Violet. She’s constantly playing with it and creating different scenarios- when it’s time for bed, she’ll put Mr Tumbles jarmies on for him, when the sun is shining, he needs his sunglasses on!

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There are lots of toys to choose from in the new Something Special Mr Tumble range from Golden Bear Toys and you can find out all about them here.

Do your little ones like Mr Tumble?

Mother Hermit xx

I was very kindly sent both of these toys in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Brush-Baby for Teething- A Review

Teething. As a parent I can honestly say that having a teething baby is absolute hell. Watching your child scream in pain and not being able to do anything for them is horrible! And the awful things which come with teething like the runs, snotty noses, nappy rash- my two had all of these things.

Billy has been teething since he was around 4 months old and was managing with the dummy in the freezer trick until he hit 6 months. That’s when the real pain hit and I started trying everything from teething gels to teething rings- but nothing seemed to ease the pain for him longer than five minutes.

That’s when the guys at Brush-Baby spotted my pleas for help on social media and offered to send me some bits to try out. Brush-Baby was founded by Dominique Tillen who was inspired by her little girl who used to chew her toothbrush.

 

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The first one we tried out was the My FirstBrush and Teether set. The teether is very simple to put together and after Billy had given it a full inspection it wasn’t long until it was straight in his mouth and he was having a good chew. It seemed to give him a lot relief straight away due to the soft silicone bristles and we didn’t have to use any teething gels which was a first for us. The bristles are designed to help clean the teeth as baby chews which is great as babies aren’t usually that willing to have their teeth brushed! He loves this teether and tends to use it most days. He’s even managed to get four of his teeth through whilst using it and two of those are his two front ones which caused him serious agony!

The FirstBrush is designed so adults can brush little ones teeth. It has a long handle which makes it easier for you to reach the back teeth and gums and has a small head with very delicate bristles to make it comfortable for baby when brushing. We’ve been using the Applemint Teething Toothpaste when brushing which he totally loves- his sister keeps pinching it too so it must be nice! It’s also specially formulated with camomile to help soothe during teething.

We were also sent a Chewable Toothbrush Teether which is ready for him when he hits the next stage as this is suitable for 10-36 months. It’s designed for teething toddlers who refuse to brush their teeth as it cleans their teeth whilst they chew! Clever right?!

Brush-Baby have a range of products designed for three stages; Baby, Toddlers and Children. To find out more, have a look at their website here.

 

I was sent these products is exchange for this review. All views and opinions and that of my own.

 

Winter Warmer Recipes with Rachel’s Organic

Until recently I hadn’t ever tried Rachel’s Organic yoghurts. In fact, I’d never actually heard of them until I was asked if I’d like to try out some of their new recipes for Winter.

Rachel's Organic Yoghurts

I picked three recipes to try, a soup, a pasta dish and some cupcakes. I actually picked four originally and if you follow me on my social media you’ll have seen that my attempt at the Salted Caramel Malt Cake was an epic fail. Only because I used the wrong size cake tins though- the bits I rescued were amaaaazing! I also managed some Peanut Brittle- have a look at my Instagram.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Homemade Breadsticks

As I recently bought my very own soup maker I had to give this one a go. Whether you use a pan on the hob or a soup maker like me, you’ll find it’s super simple to follow. I’m a massive fan of Cauliflower Cheese and have it with everything, even my Sunday roasts, but I wasn’t really sure about it being a soup. Verdict? It’s honestly the tastiest soup I’ve had in a long time.

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Ingredients;

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek- finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove- chopped
  • 500g Cauliflower- cut into small florets
  • 1 Litre Hot Vegetable Stock
  • 100g Cheddar Cheese- grated
  • 2 tbsp Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Yoghurt
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pinch of English Mustard

For the Breadsticks;

  • 450g Strong Bread Flour (extra for dusting)
  • 1 x 7g sachet of fast acting Yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Low Fat Yoghurt
  • 150g Water
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil for greasing

Toppings (Just whatever you fancy!);

  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 2 tsp fresh Rosemary or Thyme
  • 2 tsp Paprika

Serves: 4 & makes 36 breadsticks Preparation & Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Method for soup:

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan or heavy bottom saucepan, add the leek and garlic clove and fry until softened

2. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked

3. Add the cheese and allow to melt, remove the pan from the heat and add the Rachel’s yogurt and seasoning; salt, pepper and a little pinch of English mustard powder

4. Allow the soup to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor and blend until smooth. Season again if necessary

5. Serve in a bowl with warm breadsticks (see recipe for homemade breadsticks below)
Method for breadsticks:

1. Preheat the oven 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7

2. Dust 2 large baking trays with flour

3. Put the flour, yeast and teaspoon of salt into a large bowl

4. Using a jug weigh out the yogurt and water, and warm slightly in a microwave until just tepid or hand hot. Alternatively, warm in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water

5. Add enough of the yogurt and water mixture to make a soft dough

6. Knead the dough well for 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface or for five minutes using an electric mixer – the mixer must be fitted with a dough hook

7. Divide the dough into 36 equal portions and roll the portions into balls, then roll them out into a long sausage shape approx 25cm long. Tip: for best results make the thickness of each breadstick equal, try making twists by splitting the dough piece in half and then braiding the two halves together

8. Place the breadsticks on the prepared baking trays and space them apart. Cover the breadsticks with oiled clingfilm making sure this is airtight. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the sticks have doubled in size

9. Remove the clingfilm and sprinkle the bread sticks with your choice of toppings. Bake the breadsticks until they are golden brown and feel firm. Remove the sticks from the oven and leave to cool on baking trays

Violet absolutely loved helping me make the breadsticks (she decided to make bread rolls too) and she’s a massive fan of the soup. I think I might actually have to use this one on my Christmas Dinner Menu as a starter option this year.

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Macaroni Cheese with Crispy Leeks & Bacon

I’m a huge fan of Macaroni Cheese and this is another super easy recipe suitable for all of the family. I made this for dinner one evening for us both and the kids and there wasn’t a scrap left- huge thumbs up!

Ingredients

  • 350g dried macaroni pasta
  • 100g streaky bacon, un-smoked, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • 15g parmesan cheese, grated

 

Sauce:

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 285ml whole milk
  • 200g Rachel’s Greek Style natural set yogurt or Rachel’s crème fraiche
  • 200g medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt & black pepper

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Method

Preparation time: 30 minutes Serves: 4
1. Prepare the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large saucepan

2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan fry the bacon until cooked through and crispy. To this, add the finely chopped leek. Once they are both cooked, take the pan from the heat and keep to one side

3. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan and then whisk in the flour. Mix until a smooth paste is formed

4. Little by little add the milk, with the pan still on the heat, whisking after each addition and until the milk is all incorporated. Add the yogurt or crème fraiche and cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted

5. Drain the cooked pasta and return to the saucepan, pour over the cheese sauce and toss well

6. Spoon the macaroni cheese into serving dishes and top with the reserved fried bacon and leek, and scatter with breadcrumbs, extra cheese and parmesan

7. Place the dishes under a hot grill for the cheese to melt and the topping to become nice & crisp

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Orange & Cranberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a major hit with anyone, anyday and these beauties are no different. Violet helped bake these and once they were finished, declared that they are ‘Christmassy!’. She’s totally right. Not only do they look perfect for Christmas, there’s just something about orange and cranberry which shouts all things festive! Oh, and from now on, I’ll be making my icing with yoghurt- it’s gorgeous!

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Ingredients:

  • 225g margarine or butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g Rachel’s low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 70g dried cranberries,
  • chopped Orange zest,
  • juice of ½ orange

To Decorate:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 30g Rachel’s low fat vanilla yogurt

Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 15 mins Makes: 12 cakes
Method:
Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas Mark 5. Arrange paper cases in muffin or bun tins. Place the margarine, sugar, flour and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat for about two minutes until smooth, light and fluffy. Fold in the yogurt, dried cranberries, orange zest and juice. Divide the mixture between the cases so that they are half filled and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with the yogurt and mix until smooth. Tip: the icing should be runny and flow.
Decorate each cake with a blob of icing and spread with a palette knife. Alternatively, leave to run to the edges of the paper case. Leave the icing to set.
Cakes will keep in an airtight container for up to four days.

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There you have it- three incredibly easy recipes all using Rachel’s organic yoghurts! If you’d like to find out more on the Rachel’s Organic range or have a look through some more of their fantastic recipes, have a look here.

Don’t forget to give me a tag or tweet if you try any of them- I’d love to see your photo’s!

Mother Hermit xx

“I was very kindly sent some vouchers for the Rachel’s Organic yoghurts for the purpose of this post. All views and opinions are that of my own”

 

 

 

The Shack Review- American Inspired Food

‘The Shack’ have launched nine meals inspired by the flavours of America which are exclusive to Iceland. I was asked if I’d like to try them out. Silly question really because the other half wouldn’t have forgiven me if I’d said no- which I obviously wouldn’t have done.

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When I agreed to review these meals I was given a delivery date on a Friday. Our first thought was to cook it all up that night and have a huge feast in front of the telly, that way we’d get to try a bit of each. However, once the delivery arrived, we sharp changed our minds as each meal is rather large and there’s no way we would have gotten through the lot of it in one sitting. So we decided to fill the freezer and share them out whenever we were too tired to cook or just too busy.

This was the perfect option as I work lates on Thursday evenings and having a quick and easy meal I can throw in the microwave is ideal. That being said, sometimes a ‘microwave meal’ is the last thing I fancy as I’ve found they can be quite tasteless and rather unappetising. Not in this case though- I’m surprised at just how tasty this range is!

Apologies for the lack of photo’s, I managed to get some of the one’s I tried however G obviously couldn’t wait to eat and when I asked for his photo’s I got a rather blank look!

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“Beef burger with smoky bacon, signature BBQ pulled pork and mature cheddar cheese in a brioche bun.”

The Ultimate Burger.

Probably the messiest burger I’ve eaten in a long time- but oh so worth it! There was loads of pulled pork smothered in plenty BBQ sauce and the brioche bun finishes it just right. The only thing I would say is that it could do with another burger or a thicker one as it’s quite difficult to taste it through the BBQ pork. At £2.50 it’s a very reasonable price and filling burger.

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“Pulled spicy chicken chilli and long grain rice wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with our house smoky sauce, with garlic and chive dip and chilli salsa.”

Smoky House Pulled Chicken Burrito.

This was definitely on the spicy side. I’m usually quite a weakling with spice but I managed it- it was just right. It was however, absolutely huge and stuffed full- I didn’t manage the full thing but G made quick work of the rest. This one comes with a couple of dips and certainly worth it’s £2.50.

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“Chunky chicken, spicy and smoky fajita sauce with flour wraps, with garlic & chive dip and tomato and chilli salsa.”

Chicken Fajita with Dips.

I didn’t get to try the dips with this one as you need to take them out an hour before you have the meal, to allow them to defrost. I hadn’t realised that and wasn’t patient enough to wait! They were gorgeous though and I was surprised just how many chunks of chicken were in the fajita mix. Again it was really filling and I couldn’t manage it all by myself so it’ll make a great sharer. I added some salad and extra cheese to mine but they were lovely just as they come. Full of flavour and not too spicy. This one is £2.50.

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“Skin on potato wedges topped with pulled pork in a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce.”

Smokehouse BBQ Pork Wedges.

Unreal. These were absolutely unreal. I was worried that the BBQ sauce might be a bit too rich as there’s a lot of it smothering the wedges, but it wasn’t. The pulled pork and melted cheese was just gorgeous and exactly what I needed after work last week. Well worth £2.

I would definitely buy all of the above again and obviously I’ll have to buy the others so I can try everything!

I enjoyed reviewing these, can you tell?! The only thing I would complain about is the fact that I don’t have any left!

Have you tried The Shack American inspired range yet? Which is your favourite?

Mother Hermit xx

I was sent these products for the purposes of this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

 

Getting In The Christmas Spirit with Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party- A Review

Christmas is fast becoming a huge deal in our household. Now we have kids, our daughter due to turn 3 just after the festive season, Christmas time is becoming just as magical as it was when I was a child. Being a parent really does make you appreciate it all so much more and we’re now trying to make this time as special as possible for our two. One huge thing which makes me feel all Christmassy is the music and sing-alongs!

A few weeks ago I was asked if I’d like to be sent a copy of Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party album to listen to with the kids. Both of my kids absolutely love Justin Fletcher in all of the roles he plays on CBeebie’s but Something Special Mr Tumble is definitely their favourite. This year he’s released his very own album with 20 classic Christmas songs which means that he can now be involved in the our family’s run up to Christmas with his singalongs!

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The twenty tracks he’s recorded are;

1             Here Comes Santa Claus

2             Do You Want to Build a Snowman

3             Santa Claus is Coming to Town

4             Winter Wonderland

5             Frosty the Snowman

6             It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

7             A Sleigh Ride Together with You 

8             White Christmas

9             I Can’t Wait for Christmas

10          Silent Night

11          Let it Snow

12          Jingle Bells

13          All I want for Christmas Is My 2 Front Teeth

14          Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

15          Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

16          12 Days of Christmas

17          Little Drummer Boy

18          The Xmas Song

19          Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas Time

20          We Wish You a Merry Xmas

The kids absolutely love it- granted Billy is only 9 months but he has a boogie along and loves watching his sister dance. Violet loves every single song, with the second being her favourite as it’s a song from her favourite film, Disney’s Frozen. As soon as she realised that it was Mr Tumble singing the songs her face lit up and the dancing became much more ‘jumpy jumpy’ as she calls it! Especially when she noticed that Lord Tumble, Aunt Polly and Grandad Tumble all join in too.

This album is the perfect for any young family either in the run up to Christmas to get you all feeling festive like us or as a stocking filler to make Christmas Day itself a fantastic party- especially to help you work off all of that dinner! There’s a song for everyone with an added Mr Tumble twist!

You can find the album for yourself on Amazon – your little one’s will love you for it!

Mother Hermit xx

 

*I was kindly sent a copy of this album in return for this post. All views and opinions are that of my own. This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link*

Christmas Gift Guide- For Him & For Her

Christmas is coming. Like really quickly! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone! I started my Christmas shopping early this year for the kids but I’m still shopping for everyone else.

So here’s my gift guide, a selection of goodies that I’ve come across recently. It might just provide you with some inspiration!

Espensen Spirit

Espensen Spirit are a recently launched- Bristol based booze company. You’re interested, right? Well, they produce a range of vodkas, gins and whiskies with a twist. They’re available in 50cl, 20cl and 5cl bottles which in my opinion, makes them a perfect Christmas gift- for the over 18’s obviously. Prices start from £4 and you can get a 5cl miniature collection, which has a bottle of each flavour, for just £16.I’ll be sharing my miniature collection with the family on Christmas Day 🙂

The flavours available are;

  • Gin Genie – Blueberry Gin– “perfect for the dachshund/dog lover, Bowie fan or the gin enthusiast” 
  • Ruby Cuby – Rhubarb & Custard Vodka– “for those wanting a special celebratory festive drink, you can use it to create a Ruby Cubellini by adding it to Prosecco or Champagne!” 
  • PG Sips – Pink Grapefruit & Raspberry Vodka “ideal for your cat loving friend or relative – or anyone who fancies a deliciously fruity vodka tipple” 
  • Pump Up the Jam – Raspberry Gin – “this drink goes down equally well with gin lovers or those who just fall in love with the label – it features an 80’s B-boy and a homage to the artist Keith Haring. For anyone who wants to score cool points with their younger relatives, this is the one.”

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And here’s why Espensen think that they’re the ideal Christmas gift;

  • “First of all – they taste blooming delicious – made using fresh fruit and a seriously good base alcohol from Langley Distillery, and they contain absolutely no artificial colours or flavours
  • From a really special 50cl bottle of Ruby Cuby as a main present, to our 5cl miniature collection as a stocking filler or Secret Santa, or even a single sample – we have something for every budget
  • The branding is ‘silly but stylish’ and we describe it as post-punk pop art – there are SO many references to film, music and animals, that there is bound to be a drink that appeals to everyone – from David Bowie fans to cat lovers to art appreciators – we have a drink with their name on it
  • Espensen Spirit is all hand made in Bristol by Sam Espensen – she puts so much care in to them and has spent years developing and perfecting the recipes
  • Donations from every 50cl and 20cl bottles are made to various small charities based in the South West, including the homeless Caring in Bristol, Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary, the Racehorse Rehoming Centre and a local cancer charity
  • Our beautiful Italian glass bottles are unbranded – so if you purchase a 50cl or a 20cl bottle for a special person in your life, they can re-use it as a vase,  or for oils or vinegars.” 

You can find out more about Espensen Spirit and their amazing alcohol creations here. Don’t forget to get yourself a little bottle of each. You have to taste them before you gift them, right?!

Amazon Echo

I love a gadget and this Amazon Echo looks amazing. You may have seen it advertised on TV– she’s called Alexa. Well it’s connected to Alexa voice service which can provide you with information, play music, sports scores, news, weather and more. If you have Prime you can also ask her to order products for you using Prime. Clever huh?!

It’s £149.99, available in black or white and you can find it here; Amazon Echo, Black

Bristol Papillion

Handcrafted jewellery by Rebecca Miller. Absolutely beautiful handcrafted jewellery might I add. Each piece is individually made by Rebecca using reclaimed silver, copper, semi precious stones and vintage finds- which means that no two pieces are the same- ideal Christmas gift indeed.

“Your jewellery should be a reflection of who you are – beautiful, inspiring and unique.”

BristolPapillion BristolPapillion2 BristolPapillion3

Rebecca very kindly sent me a piece so I could see how beautiful they are for myself. Now I’m not a massive fan of jewellery, the only thing I really wear is my charm bracelet, yet I’ve fallen in love with this piece. I was going to gift it to one of the ladies in my family for Christmas, but I love it so much I’m considering keeping it for myself!

You can find Rebecca’s gorgeous creations on her website here. You can use the code TENOFF for 10% off too!

Boxcitement

Boxcitement is a monthly subscription box full of surprise stationery and other goodies- a rather exciting box, hence the name! You can purchase them in monthly subscriptions or one off gifts and the longer you subscribe, the more you save.

Boxcitement Boxcitement2

Where do the contents come from? In their own words;

“Ah well, that’s what makes our boxes so special. Our Boxscientists are constantly coming up with new ideas and designs and working with a select team of suppliers, makers and printers who create our inventions just for Boxcitement. Numbers are limited and they can only be purchased through us – how exclusive is that!”

These boxes really are gorgeous and make the perfect gift for the ladies. You can find out more here.

MotherlyLove

MotherlyLove was founded by Jan, a loving mother, grandmother and midwife of 40 years. She’s also a registered aromatherapist and has created some beautiful oils for mothers and mothers-to-be.

MotherlyLove

I’ve been testing the Footloose massaging oil as now I’ve gone back to work, being on my feet all of the time means they ache constantly! It smells lovely and leaves my feet feeling super soft.

Prices start from £7.50 and they have some lovely gift sets available which would be perfect for any Mother or Mother-to-be. You can find the full range here.

Text-A-Potato

If you’re doing a Secret Santa this year, this might just be the perfect gift! Okay so, Text-A-Potato, you’re thinking WTF?! So in their own words;

“STUCK FOR A GIFT IDEA? POTATO. BAD BREAKUP? POTATO. PROPOSAL? POTATO

SOMEONE’S LEAVING THE OFFICE? POTATO. WANT TO CREEP YOUR FRIENDS OUT? POTATO

IT’S ANONYMOUS AND TOTALLY HILARIOUS”

TextAPotato textapotato2

You can literally send a potato to anyone, no matter what the occasion. I was sent the Christmas edition as an example and it’s freaking hilarious. Prices for the Santa potatoes start at £7.99 and there’s limited stock so order yours quick from here.

EasiYo Yoghurt Maker

These EasiYo Yoghurt makers are amazing. We have the large red one in our house and it’s so handy for us having two kids who absolutely love yoghurt. However, for those who don’t have kids or just don’t have the need for 1kg of yoghurt each time, you can also get a mini maker which makes 500g.

EasiYo Maker
EasiYo Manual Yoghurt Maker (Homemade Yogurt in 8 Hours) Makes 1Kg

They’re super easy to use and the EasiYo flavour range is huge! I reviewed the large red EasiYo maker a few weeks ago which you can read here.

You can also check out the full EasiYo range here.

Fitbit Flex

This is the perfect gift for those loved ones you just know are going to start banging on about the ‘diet starting in the new year’, like they do every year. I can say that because I’m totally guilty of this myself and I really want one of these to get kickstarted in January! The Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker basically records your daily activity and sleep. It records your steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned and allows you to track your goals using online tools and mobile apps.

OcuShield

Ocushield is a screen protector which blocks harmful blue light which is emitted from the digital devices we use everyday. This is a rather sensible gift for anyone. Whilst also protecting your screen, by blocking these harmful blue light rays, this can result in protecting your vision and eyes and helping you get a better night’s sleep if you use your devices in bed before sleep.

OcuShield OcuShieldFact

Apparently the Welsh Rugby Team use these on their iphones; this might just be a great gift for my other half then sayings as he’s welsh, rugby obsessed and always glued to his phone!

To find out more on OcuShield, visit their website here.

I hope this has given you a few ideas!

Mother Hermit xx

*I was sent some of these items to review for this post. This post also contains affiliate links. All views and opinions are 100% that of my own*

 

Santa’s watching…

Ah the magic of Christmas. It’s back with me full force now I have kids, especially as my daughter will be three in January and now has a bit more understanding of what’s happening and who the famous Santa Claus is. I’m not going to lie; I’ve been taking full advantage.

Earlier this year, around Summertime, my daughter was still heading to bed every night with a bottle with at least an ounce of milk in, routine more than anything as it was getting to the point where she’d take it to bed and fall asleep without drinking it. Obviously, this resulted in her bedsheets smelling rather foul in the morning and that would add another load of washing to my already ridiculous washing pile. I attempted to convince her that she was a big girl now and no longer needed to take the bottle to bed, but she wasn’t having any of it and the tantrums she was throwing before bedtime just weren’t worth it; so, she kept the bottle.

She also had her dummy, pacifier, plug, whatever you want to call it, that thing that shuts her up for five minutes, every single day. This one got on my nerves, the older she was getting I just couldn’t stand to see it in her mouth all the time. The dribble and not being able to understand what she was saying, which then resulted in frustrated tantrums from both of us, was just far too much to handle. I love seeing babies with dummies in, they look super cute and I love the comfort they provide, but heading on 2.5 years old it just starts to get in the way of things.

This is where the fat man stepped in. Not my other half, Father Christmas, aka Santa Claus or Santy to us North Easter’s.

My daughter came home from nursery one day asking some questions about said fat man; they must have mentioned it within the session. So, I showed her some pictures and generally explained the jist of it in toddler lingo- “If you’re a good girl he’ll bring you some presents!” Well her face lit up like a Christmas tree and I had a lightbulb moment; the classic threat of ‘Santa’s watching’.

The next day I decided to go for it and told my daughter that Santa had been on the phone and said that she’s getting such a big girl that she no longer needs milk in a bottle to take to bed and should start having milk in her cup with her supper. At first she didn’t seem too convinced, so I explained to her that Santa is always watching and that he would know if she was being a bit naughty and not listening to him. Harsh maybe but my word it worked! After the usual bath routine, we headed up the stairs, read her story and that was it; no kick off’s, didn’t ask for it more than once and ever since then she’s always asked for a small cup of milk with her supper. Done. Bottle gone.

The next day I decided to push my luck slightly and try to get rid of the dummy! As we sat down to breakfast I told her that Santa had been on the phone again and told me how proud he was of her for ditching the bottle but he’d been watching and thought that she was such a big girl, she no longer needed her dummy during the day. This one she pulled a bit of a face at and looked a little worried, but she then handed me her dummy with an “okay Mammy” and seemed to forget about it. This one is obviously a bit more difficult for her as she’s used to having it whenever she feels upset or tired, but I’m pleased to say that she’s come so far and with the help of my rather crafty ‘Santa’s watching’ threats, she now only has her dummy for bed time.

So, if you’re trying to get your little one out of some bad habits, give it a go, you just might be surprised at how well it works.

And remember, Santa’s watching…nicholas-1817081_960_720

This post was first featured on MeetOtherMums.com

Asda Little Angels Christmas Nappies

Oh how I LOVE Christmas! Everything about it makes me feel all giddy and excited; from the songs, the television adverts, the food (obviously) and of course, the tacky Christmas jumpers! This year is an amazing one for us because Violet is coming up three in January so she understands more of what’s happening and she’s getting so excited and it’s Billy’s first Christmas!

And thanks to Asda’s Little Angels nappies, Billy is getting into the Christmas spirit early!

Asda Little Angels Christmas Nappies

I know he’s far too young to have any idea what’s going on but I love that I can dress him up all festive, even if just for photo purposes! The theme this year is ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ and they’re super cute! Even the back is decorated; as modelled by Billy 🙂

Billy modelling Asda Little Angel Christmas Nappy

This Christmas range is only available in the Little Angels Supreme protection nappies in sizes 4+, 5+ and 6+ and whilst they have this gorgeous festive design this doesn’t affect their quality at all. I swear by the Asda Little Angels range and have used them for both of my kids. They’re the only nappies I’ve tried where I’ve never come across a problem, whether it be rubbing, hanging loose or bursting during the middle of the night!

They provide superior comfort with up to 12 hours dryness- which means they might actually sleep through when Santa comes! Wishful thinking, I know.

They also have super stretchy sides and secure back elastic which means there’s less chance of leaks and poop-splosions creeping up their vest and they fit around Billy’s chubby little legs without gripping too much and rubbing. These nappies even come with a handy colour coded waistband which helps us parents identify when it’s time to move to the next size up.

The Little Angels Christmas nappies are priced at £3.50 a pack and you can pick them up online or in your local store now!

Have you tried Little Angels nappies before? What do you think of this years Christmas design?

Mother Hermit xx

I was sent this pack of nappies for the purpose of this review. All views, opinions and photographs are that of my own.

 

 

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