Tuesday, 31 October 2017

24 Christmas movies to watch in December

*Post contains affiliate links

I probably watch the highest concentration of movies EVER in December. I would say I pretty much watch one a day! There's something so nostalgic about watching old 80s movies with the kids or heartwarming romcoms whilst wrapping gifts with a glass of sherry! My all-time favourite Christmas movies are Love Actually (always the first one I watch - I cry every time), The Holiday, Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus the Movie and Elf. As a family we're fans of Home Alone, Arthur Christmas and Nativity. Steve will usually go on and on about Die Hard being the best Christmas movie. I'm not so sure about that but I've included it anyway. 

24 Christmas movies to watch in December

If you're after Christmas movie recommendations, here are a few to get you started.......

Let me know which Christmas movie you'll be watching first.


Monday, 30 October 2017

50 Ideas for your Child's Christmas Book Basket or Advent Tree

*Post features affiliate links

Ever since my Harry was tiny we've had the Christmas tradition of our own Christmas book advent tree. We started it off with 12 books and then gradually built our collection. Once you've made the initial investment it's a lovely inexpensive tradition and bringing the same books out year after year always brings out those feelings of nostalgia. My children's reading habits have changed quite a bit since the toddler years now and every year I tend to replace a couple of the younger books with something new. 

The idea of a book advent tree is that every evening, a book is unwrapped and read before bedtime OR you can simply create a Christmas book basket and leave it in a place your children can help themselves to. 

If you're looking for new ideas for Christmas books this year, I have 50 ideas for you below. Simply click on the images to read more. Let me know if you have a favourite Christmas book to add to the list. 

 Let me know if any of these books are favourites in your house.

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50 Ideas for your Child's Christmas Book Basket


Monday, 23 October 2017

Traditional Dresden Stollen | Christmas Recipe

Traditional Dresden Stollen | How To Rock At Parenting Blog
If you fancy trying something a little different to a traditional Christmas cake this year, why not bake this Dresden Stollen? You can find the recipe by How To Rock At Parenting here. 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Win an Award Winning Northumberland Christmas Pudding with The Proof of the Pudding

Christmas Pudding is a massive part of Christmas for us. For years ours was always made by my grandad and it's the part of my Christmas dinner I look forward to the most. Unfortunately, my grandad is now unable to bake due to ill health and I'm no cook so over the last few years I've bought homemade Christmas Puddings from local businesses and one of my favourites in The Proof of the Pudding. Homemade Christmas Puddings really are 1000000% nicer than a shop-bought/manufactured one and it's an area of Christmas I won't scrimp on.

Based in Northumberland, you may recognise the name as The Proof of the Pudding appeared on the Christmas edition of BBC's Countryfile's showcasing their award-winning Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding.

I love that these puddings are genuinely homemade from a farmhouse kitchen in Northumberland by Susan Green. As well as Christmas puddings, there are a few varieties of steamed pudding to choose from including Sticky Toffee, Spotted Dick and Sticky Ginger.

The Original Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding

This pudding was rated 20/20 by The Independent and is homemade in a Northumberland farmhouse kitchen using Susan's traditional family recipe with a generous slug of Alnwick Rum. It's fruity, boozy and everything you'd want from a Christmas Pudding and more. Available in sizes small, medium or large, you can order direct from The Proof in the Pudding website or ask a local stockist to reserve one for you. You can pick one up from Fenwick Newcastle too. Order books are also open for new stockists.

Win an Award Winning Christmas Pudding

For your chance to win an award-winning Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding for your family this Christmas, simply enter using our rafflecopter below. You can enter using all options or just one. Daily entry is available via Twitter. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

Prize is one medium sized original Christmas pudding from The Proof of the Pudding including delivery to a UK mainland address
One winner will be selected at random from all valid entries
UK entries only
Extras not included and no alternatives or refunds are available. 
Giveaway ends midnight 12/11/17


Monday, 16 October 2017

Cranberry Infused Gin Recipe

Cranberry Infused Gin | Supper in the Suburbs
If you know someone who loves gin, I'm sure they'll really appreciate this homemade gift this Christmas. It looks pretty too! Follow the recipe by Supper in the Suburbs here. 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Fenwick Newcastle | A nosey around the Christmas Department & Christmas gift ideas for 2017

One of my favourite places to spend the build-up to Christmas in Newcastle is Fenwick. Their Christmas department really is the best in the region and over the weekend I spent a good hour browsing all of the treats they have for sale. I could easily buy a gift for every person I know here - if you're stuck for ideas of what to buy someone, a trip to the Fenwick Christmas department on the second floor will sort you out! 

First of all, there's Paddington bear which seems to be a running theme throughout the store this year (is this a hint to the window theme I wonder??). There are lots of Paddington-themed gifts for sale which are perfect for little ones and their grown-ups too. I highly recommend a trip to the pop-up Christmas restaurant which is Paddington themed this year. Serving delicious cakes, afternoon tea, marmalade sandwiches, turkey sandwiches and more with Christmas songs playing in the background, you won't want to miss out. Read more about the Paddington Bear restaurant here.

There are SO many decoration options to choose from either from the Paperchase concession or the main Christmas department itself. With tree ornaments, elaborate centrepieces, table decor, foliage and wreaths, stockings, lights, trees and more. You really are spoilt for choice.

I love that there's an 'elf on the shelf' section too - you can buy your elf his own pet or clothes this year!

I am so pleased that foxes are in vogue this year - they're my favourite!

If you'd like to get your hands on Christmas Monopoly, Fenwick has it in store......

There are loads of fab ideas to fill your Christmas Eve boxes and I'll be popping back in a few weeks to stock up and make a start on ours. I've bought these hot chocolate stirrers for the last few years and they are lovely stirred into warm milk on Christmas Eve.

I also think these rice pudding bottles are super cute! 

Honestly, when it comes to hot chocolate making, Fenwick have you covered. They have a whole section dedicated to creating an ultimate hot chocolate treat.

Nevermind the kids, I would like these mini gingerbread men with salted caramel dipping pots in my Christmas Eve box!

Along with these bottles of 'make your own melt in the middle chocolate pudding'. 

For the drinkers amongst us, you will be in heaven! There is an actual Gin Lane featuring so many different types as well as a nice selection of Champagne and spirits and ideas to pimp up your Prosecco.

Fenwick really excel themselves with their stocking fillers and smaller gifts I think. There are so many gadgets and novelty items that will put a smile on your loved-one's face this year. There is even a whole section dedicated to unicorns!

Light boxes are apparently still a thing and there are a fair few to choose from at Fenwick - from pens to write your own messages to retro letters and magnets. There is a light box for every occasion!

Finally, there's a nice selection of local gifts too. I love giving Geordie themed presents and these ones caught my eye.....

This is just a teeny, tiny peek at what's on offer. There are festive home fragrances and candles, christmas cards, wrapping paper, books, chocolates......pretty much everything you need on one floor!

I love that you leave via a Paddington Bear themed escalator or lift. Cute!

You'll find Newcastle's Fenwick Christmas department on level 2. If you're looking for somewhere to dine, check out these options all available in store:

Let me know if you've visited yet and if anything has caught your eye. 


Monday, 9 October 2017

Candy Cane Rocky Road | Christmas Recipe

Candy Can Rocky Road | Foodie Quine
This special Candy Cane Rocky Road recipe by Foodie Quine is quick and easy and require no baking so perfect for kids! It looks very festive and would make a wonderful gift too. Check out the full recipe here. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

20 North East Bloggers Share their Favourite Christmas Memories & Traditions

I love reading about the Christmas traditions that other families enjoy and share year on year. I love that every family celebrates in their own special way. Today 20 North East bloggers are sharing their favourite Christmas traditions and memories - I'd love to hear if you have any special traditions to add to the list.

Caroline from Sprog on the Tyne remembers being forced to head out for a Christmas Day walk with the extended family and the ground being covered in snow. Despite moaning about it at the time and preferring to stay in and play with her new toys, it's a tradition that has stuck with Caroline and this year you might just spot the family taking a stroll along Tynemouth.

Katie Jane Online's favourite memory is from Christmas morning. Katie's father would always pop into the garden room and ask if he's been - something he still does today.

Christmas Eve is a special time that Laura from Look At My Clothes recalls with fond memories. New PJs, slippers and fresh bedding were always a tradition and something Laura's mum still does today despite Laura being 30!

A big part of Christmas in the North East is going to see Fenwick's Christmas Window and Gemma from Gemma's Journey remembers the first time she saw it. Gemma remembers thinking she didn't understand what all of the fuss was about until she saw it with her own eyes and then she realised - the snow falling, Christmas music and the story unfolding across the windows is something she'll always remember and a trip to see Fenwick's Window still remains a Christmas highlight for the family today.

For Jessica from Highlighting the North East, it's Boxing Day that she holds most dear. They used to bring their mattresses downstairs and spend the whole day lounging around, eating leftovers and lots of chocolate with the family. This sounds like bliss to me!

Amanda from Family Times UK can still remember that feeling of waking up in December to find that the Christmas Fairies had put up the Christmas Tree whilst they slept, a tradition that has passed down the generations and still happens for their family today.

I thought Christmas Eve Boxes were quite a recent thing but Rebecca from Becx Blogs has fond memories of her own special box complete with PJs, hot chocolate, sweets and a new game to play.

I don't share Pixie from Fashion Voyeur's love of snow but the anticipation of waiting for the first few flakes to fall is something we all remember from our childhoods. Pixie remembers the effort her parents went to and create a lovely family Christmas along with the excitement of hearing Sleigh Bells on Christmas Eve.

For Hannah from Fab Fat Mama, it was all about the tree and they'd always put the Christmas Tree up as a family whilst watching a Christmas movie - a tradition that continues today with the next generation.

Sitting at the top of the stairs with her sisters and waiting for dad to check if Santa had been is a special memory shared by Deborah from Country Heart and Home and Lindsay from Newcastle Family Life remembers the magic of Christmas Eve and not being able to sleep.

Cat from Here Come the Hoopers shares that for others, the smell of Christmas is the pine needles on a real tree where as for her it's always the smell of dust and loft insulation as you dig your artificial tree out of the loft that reminds her of Christmas.

Helen from Nelly's Cupcakes fondly remembers Christmas mornings where she'd wear matching PJs to her sister and spend the whole morning playing with just the immediate family.

Mandy from Mandy Charlton Photography Blog has always focused on ensuring Christmas Eve is as magical as possible. When the sleigh bells ring, you know the elf has delivered your new Christmas PJs!

Growing up on an army base camp, Helen from Honestly Helen remembers a few of the younger soldiers dressing up as Santa and Elves to deliver extra presents on Christmas morning. By the time they got to Helen's house, they were always legless after one too many sherries.

Christmas Tree Day is a big thing in Nymoi from Nomipalony's house. As a child, they'd always put the tree up together with Christmas music playing in the background and it's a tradition Nyomi has continued with her own children - Christmas Tree Day involves new PJs, decorating the house and then snuggling down with ht chocolates to watch the first Polar Express of the season together.

The pre-Christmas excitement was always the best part of Christmas for Stuart from Go-Eat-Do and opening the last door of the advent calendar always meant that the wait was almost over.

Bryony from the B-Line always remembers Christmas Eve and carefully selecting the perfect snack for Santa with her dad and then being amazed when a few crumbs were left on the plate the following morning.

For Karen from Monkey Footed Mummy, it's the socks that she remembers fondly. Not shop-bought ones but her dad's long socks. They'd be packed with a satsuma, bubble bath, pencils and undies but opening the stockings (or socks) first thing was always memorable.

Sharon from Best Before End Date remembers her dad tucking her into bed on Christmas Eve and reminding her that she must be asleep if she'd like Father Christmas to visit as if you're awake, the magic doesn't work.

Akvile from AkvileStan.com did not celebrate Christmas in the UK and remembers the tradition of eating 12 dishes on Christmas Eve - they didn't have to be large meals and could just be 12 tapas style dishes and contributing to the table from an early age is a memory of Christmas that Akvile will never forget.

Let me know if your family shares a special Christmas tradition......

Friday, 6 October 2017

A Magical Christmas at Drayton Manor (Thomasland)

Christmas at Drayton Manor | Boo Roo and Tigger Too

We've visited Drayton Manor and Thomasland at Christmas a few times and honestly cannot recommend highly enough. It's perfect for children aged 1-6 years old and there's lots of fun packed in. Just make sure you wrap up warm! Boo Roo and Tigger Too have reviewed the full experience here. Check it out! 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Tunnock's Teacake Christmas Tree Baubles

Tunnock's Teacake Christmas Bauble | Foodie Quine
I love this idea from Foodie Quine for these simple, edible Christmas tree decorations. Makes a change from the normal Cadbury chocolates we use. Follow the full instructions and make your own here. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Smyths Toys Reveal their Top Christmas Toys for 2017

*This is a collaborative post

Smyths Toys Superstores has revealed their top toy list for Christmas 2017. The list features some classics such as LEGO, Thomas & Friends and Nerf alongside a few surprises too. If you're looking for inspiration this year, check out the list below and don't forget to pick up your FREE Smyths Toys catalogue in store where you'll find over 300 pages of inspiration! Without further ado, here's the lost of toys your children will be asking Father Christmas for this year: 
  1. FurReal Roarin’ Tyler the Playful Tiger - buy here
  2. LEGO Ninjago Movie Destiny's Bounty - buy here
  3. PJ Masks Deluxe Talking Figure 4-Pack - buy here
  4. Laser X - buy here
  5. Paw Patrol Sea Patroller - buy here
  6. Sky Viper Stunt Drone - buy here
  7. Imaginext DC Super Friends Batbot Xtreme - buy here
  8. Nerf Modulus Regulator - buy here
  9. Luvabella Doll - buy here
  10. Toilet Trouble Game - buy here
  11. LOL Surprise Big Surprise  - buy here
  12. Bush Baby World Dream Tree and Bush Babies - buy here
  13. Cozmo by Anki - buy here
  14. Our Generation Healthy Paws Vet Clinic - buy here
  15. Thomas & Friends Super Station - buy here

I know the children in my family will definitely have their eyes on a few of these toys already. Heidi is a huge fan of the FurReal brand and after meeting a real Tiger at Busch Gardens this year, I know she will love to receive a FurReal Roarin' Tyler the Playful Tiger this year. This tiger pet responds with over 100 sound and motion combinations and is super huggable too. Find out more and buy online here. 

I just know that LEGO Ninjago Movie Destiny's Bounty is going to feature at the top of Jack's list. He's a huge fan of the show and already has a few of the LEGO Ninjago sets at home. This set is for ages 9+ so Jack will need to invest in his big brother Harry's help if Father Christmas grants his wish. Find out more and buy online here. Find out more and buy online here. 

Harry loves his tech and is desperate for his own drone! I know he'd love to receive Sky Viper Stunt Drone and impress his friends as he perfects the drone's stunts. Find out more and buy online here. 

My three love a good board game (along with toilet humour unfotunately) and I think they'd find the Toilet Trouble Game hilarious. I know they'd love it but I'm in two minds whether to go for it or not.....hmmm - what do you think? Find out more and buy online here.

Finally, my nephew is a huge Paw Patrol fan, I know he would love to receive a Paw Patrol Sea Patroller on Christmas Day morning. It's drop down wheels can transform the ship to a land vehicle in seconds and features a moveable crane, flashing lights, Ryder figure, Octopus and more! Find out more and buy online here. 

Me, I wouldn't actually mind a Zozmo by Anki this year. Oh my word he is so sweet! His unique personality evolves as you hang out and I think he'd be perfect to keep me company when the kids are at school. Find out more and buy here. 

I've just price checked the list (2/10/17) and the full list will set you back just shy of £1258 - best get saving! 

Smyths Toys have made Christmas Shopping as pain free as possible this year. With this list and their catalogue, you'll not be stuck for ideas and I love that Smyths offer free delivery on orders over £20 or you can click and collect in store within the hour. Perfect if you need to squeeze Christmas shopping into your lunch hour.

Win the chance to meet Father Christmas and his reindeer at the North Pole 

To coincide with their top toys selection, Smyths Toys and Canterbury Travel are offering one lucky family the chance to meet Santa Claus and all eight of his reindeer in his Arctic homeland in the North Pole. The winner and their family will get to meet Santa Claus in addition to experiencing a host of traditional Arctic activities such as a classic sleigh ride pulled by huskies and reindeer. Visit www.Smythstoys.com for more details on how to enter.

What do you think of the list? Which ones do you think your children will ask Father Christmas for this year? 


Monday, 2 October 2017

Rice Crispie Christmas Puddings | Christmas Recipe

Rice Crispie Christmas Puddings | Tantrums to Smiles Blog
My children LOVE a chocolate crispie cake and I'm sure they'll enjoy following this special recipe by Tantrums To Smiles blog which gives this treat a festive twist.
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