Saturday, 30 November 2013


 Decorating the tree, seeing Christmas lights and opening a stocking top list of adults’ favourite festive traditions 

New research out today from the National Trust reveals Brits are never too old for childhood Christmas customs, with nearly a third of 18-55 year olds (31 per cent) admitting that they still hang their stocking out for Father Christmas every year.

The study of 2,500 adults found that 15 per cent still write a letter to Father Christmas and 18 per cent make a visit to see him and his elves. One in three of 25-34 year olds (34 per cent) are given an advent calendar every year by their parents, and over half (64 per cent) think the best Christmas dinner they’ve eaten is their mum’s.

The research revealed that the most special Christmas moments for adults are decorating the tree and seeing the Christmas lights switch on (90 per cent). It also showed that Brits are most fond of timeless traditions, with customs such as opening their stocking (85 per cent) and getting an advent calendar (75 per cent) beating the office end of year party (60 per cent).

One in three (67 per cent) agree the Queen’s Speech is a special Christmas moment, with three quarters (72 per cent) stating that carolling is an important Christmas custom.

One in three (34 per cent) revealed they have a unique family Christmas tradition that has been passed down through generations, with 76% feeling their traditions are what makes Christmas truly special.  Nearly one in five (19 per cent) have developed new traditions in recent years that they hope their own children will continue, such as a Boxing Day walk. Over half (59 per cent) of Brits admitted they hold onto their childhood Christmas traditions for as long as possible.

The top ten special Christmas traditions for adults:
1.    Decorating the tree
2.    Seeing Christmas lights
3.    Opening your stocking presents
4.    Visiting a Christmas market
5.    Eating your mum’s roast dinner
6.    Christmas music
7.    A family game e.g. charades
8.    Getting an advent calendar
9.    A Boxing Day walk
10.   Putting out your stocking

Proving that Brits are very particular when it comes to Christmas, over half of Brits (52 per cent) think their family roast dinner is unbeatable.  Small wonder 62 per cent of cooks follow their mum’s Christmas recipes to the letter, and one in two (51 per cent) replicate the same Christmas day schedule they followed growing up. 

The research also showed how three quarters (73 per cent) of people enjoy a ‘homemade’ Christmas, citing it as a family tradition (58 per cent) or a way of reducing costs (56 per cent). One in five (20 per cent) admitted to making their own Christmas tree decorations, with nearly a quarter (22 per cent) crafting their own Christmas cards. Over half (58 per cent) said that the homemade gifts made by their family were far more important than expensive presents and over a quarter (27 per cent) admitted to still putting out Christmas decorations they made as a child.

Off the back of the research, the National Trust is inviting everyone to share in the magic of festive traditions old and new. Over the yuletide season special events will bring to life the spirit of Christmas; from food and crafts to winter lights displays and atmospheric grottoes, National Trust places will be decked out with Christmas sparkle for all the family to enjoy.

Tony Berry, National Trust’s Director of Visitor Experience comments:
‘Our research highlights how important traditions are to families at Christmas time, and so this year, National Trust places around the UK will be rekindling the magic of a family Christmas with events that embrace traditions old and new. Whether carolling, making your own decorations or mince pie tasting, our Christmas activities are the perfect way to enjoy some of the nation’s favourite customs – whatever your age!’ 

National Trust Christmas events are taking place at many properties across the country, these include:

South West
Brownsea Island, Dorset – Christmas walks, 1, 8 and 15 December Avebury, Wiltshire - Christmas through the ages, 5-22 December Coleridge Cottage, Somerset - Georgian Christmas at Coleridge Cottage, 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22 December Lanhydrock, Cornwall - A Victorian Christmas with Tommy and Eva, 7-8, 14-15, 21-24 and 27-29 December,
Killerton, Devon - Victorian Father Christmas, 7, 14 and 21 December   
Castle Drogo, Devon - Father Christmas letter writing, 14-15 and 21-22 December Arlington Court, Devon - Picnic with Father Christmas, 14-15 and 21-22 December Montacute House, Somerset - Hug a husky, 21-22 December

London and South East
Bateman's, East Sussex - An Edwardian Christmas, 30 November-23 December Bodiam Castle, East Sussex – Christmas pudding clout, 5 January Osterley Park and House, Middlesex – Deck the halls, 30 November-1 December Petworth House and Park, West Sussex – A festive feast for the eyes, 30 November-22 December (Saturday to Wednesday) Standen, West Sussex – Garden of lights: the Nutcracker story, 30 November- 1 December, 6-8, 13-15 and 20-22 December Clandon Park, Surrey - Christmas regency ball, 1 December Mottisfont, Hampshire - The Swan Queen’s Ball: Christmas at Mottisfont, 1 December– 5 January 2014 (except 24 and 25 December)

East of England
Anglesey Abbey, Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire - Winter lights festival, 29 November-1 December, 6-8 and 13-15 December Ickworth, Suffolk - The servants' ball, 30 November Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk - Tudor yuletide at Oxburgh, 20-22 December

Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire - A Victorian Christmas, 30 November-8 December The Workhouse, Nottinghamshire - A Victorian workhouse Christmas, 6 December Attingham Park, Shropshire - Lord Berwicks’ Christmas, 7-8 and 14-23 December Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire - Preparing for a Medieval Christmas, 7-8 December Belton House, Lincolnshire - Jane Austen's Christmas, 10 December

North West
Speke Hall, Garden and Estate, Liverpool - Victorian Christmas weekends, 30 November-1 December and 7-8 December    
Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire – Tudor yuletide celebrations, 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22 December Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate, Cheshire - A Victorian Christmas at the Mill, 7-8 and 14-15 December

Yorkshire and North East
Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire - 1920's Christmas experience, 23-24 November, 30 November-1 December, 7-8 and 14-15 December Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire - Santa’s grotto, 30 November- 1 December, 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22 December Wallington, Northumberland - Christmas carolling and crafts at Wallington, 6-8, 13-15 and 20-22 December

Tredegar House, Newport – Christmas at Tredegar House, 30 November – 1 December, 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22 December Chirk Castle, Wrexham – Christmas at Chirk Castle, 7-22 December Powis Castle and Garden, Powys – Christmas at Powis Castle, 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22 December Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey – 1930s weekend, 14-15 December

Northern Ireland
Mount Stewart, Co. Down – Santa experience, 6-8, 13-15 and 18-23 December The Argory, Co. Armagh – Santa’s Christmas grotto, 7-8 and 14-15 December Springhill, Co. Londonderry – Magical Christmas memories, 7-8 and 14-15 December

About National Trust:
The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 742 miles of coastline and hundreds of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information and ideas for great value family days out go to:

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Aldi - One Stop Christmas Shop

After I found out my exciting news, I started to browse the Aldi website and was amazed by the upcoming products.

Aldi today revealed it’s cutting back the cost of Christmas by unveiling its ‘one stop Christmas gift shop’. Ticking mum, dad, the children and even grandma and grandad off the costly Christmas gift list, the retailer’s ‘one stop shop’ caters for the whole family with a whole host of gifts at just a fraction of the typically pricey Christmas splurge.

Now, you may, like me be a little sceptical when you see items priced so cheaply, maybe thinking that the quality may not be as good, or they won't last as long, so I challenged Aldi to prove me wrong....

Our house ADORES socks, don't ask me why, but everyone has crazy coloured socks or characters on them, Eowyn can often be found going to school in Minnie Mouse socks and Kaide in Star Wars, Neva will lift her trouser leg to reveal crazy striped socks and Xene and Lochlan use the weekend to display a vast array of colour, as they have to wear plain black to high school.

Every Christmas, My stocking is filled with various brightly coloured socks with different motifs on them, so when I saw that Aldi were going to be selling Character Socks, at £2.59 for two pairs, I was intrigued.

I have been sent the Betty Boop socks to review, unfortunately, Xene saw the parcel arrive and promptly took them, next thing I know, she has them on her feet!!
She says that they are very comfortable and not too tight, they kept her feet warm whilst on a Rugby Treasure Hunt. At less than £1.30 per pair, I think they are extremely good value for money.
The character socks will be in store from Thursday 28th November.

Along with some other fabulous gifts for the men in your life !! 
Mens wool socks £2.99, Adult winter hats £3.59, Men's pyjamas £8.99, these will certainly be welcome in our house, and by both grandads!

Another item that caught my eye was Ladies Sherpa Fleece Booties.
I do not have a very good track record with slippers! I definitely get on better with the boot style, and when I saw these will be on sale in Aldi stores from 12th December for just £3.99.

I LOVE them! they are like walking on cotton wool, my feet are so warm in them, my only negative is that they have material bottoms, so I have to remember not to step outside on the patio in them!!
The ones that I have are size 2/5 which is quite a range, although my two big footed daughters can't get in them which is a bonus and means I have a pair for myself!!
At the same time there will be Ladies onesies, now I have never been a fan of these, but all of my friends tell me I will love them, at £8.99 maybe I will give one a try!!

I shall be bringing you more Aldi Special Buys, so keep an eye out for them

Monday, 25 November 2013

Exciting News!!

Don't panic, I am NOT pregnant again...

Did anyone enter this competition on facebook ?

I was absolutely amazed to receive an email informing me that I have been chosen as one of the ten lucky winners, with nine mouths to feed and Christmas looming, it has to be THE most fantastic news ever!!

And the best part is they don't just do food, every week they produce magazines, listing upcoming special buys and products that are due to hit the shelves, everything from gardening equipment to kids clothing.

So, I have spoken with the lovely lady today about my prize and it consists of £70 per week for 52 weeks, and they are being printed as we speak, so I should have them very soon and then I can start spending!!

Already, Asa and I have been scanning the Aldi website to see what is coming to the store soon, the only negative thing is that some of the special buys go really quickly, so I shall be queued up straight after the school run, like a military operation if there is something I desperately want!!

Follow our Aldi Shopping for a year, its going to be fun xxx

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens starring Mike the Knight

During the summer holidays, very close to my due date, we visited Bressingham Steam & Gardens.

The boys love trains, and with the added bonus that Tyrus and Eowyns favourite TV knight was going to be making an appearance, we set off on the 40 minute drive. It is located within the stunning Waveney Valley and is a lovely family day out for all ages.

On arrival, we were met with various knight themed activities, including little tents for the children to go in, dressing up clothes, storytellers, jester skills and of course appearances throughout the day from `Mike the Knight' himself!!

Throughout the season they have many special guests, including Moshi Monsters, Tree Fu Tom and Peppa Pig, with more due to visit in 2014.

The children and Asa had an amazing time on the Gallopers, I was surprised how fast they went, no sooner had I waved to the children, they seemed to be back round again!! We need to visit again minus bump just so I can have a go on the Gallopers...

The train rides were just the right length of time, even for the younger ones, and there is plenty to things to spot on your travels.

They enjoyed the gardens and reading all of the different names of the flowers and plants, they even made a note of their favourites, just in case I get green fingers over the winter months!!

The younger children enjoyed the Play Area, the older ones pretended they were only on there to supervise!

The traditional sweet shop was a struggle, with so many delicious sweets to choose from, however we chomped away merrily for the afternoon on Rhubarb and Custards, Cola Cubes and Mint Imperials.

The old fashioned Penny Arcade was a huge hit with all of the children and Neva was very lucky, winning quite a few pennies.

If this looks like a day out for you, then I have some great news!

Father Christmas is coming to Bressingham this December. Rudolph is away on his holidays so Santa decided to use his old faithful Steam Car for the journey to Norfolk.

He and his wife and elves, will be at Bressingham on the 1, 7/8, 14/15, 21,22,23,24 December 2013. Entry times vary depending on the day.
All days but the 24th have entry from 2pm to 5pm close no earlier than 6pm. 15, 21, 22 have an additional 12pm to 2pm entry slot, 24th has an 11am to 2pm entry slot and we will close earlier.
 Why not stay all afternoon and visit Walmington on Sea at Christmas.
This year Santa is including:
  • A ride on the Steam Train on the Nursery Line for everyone
  • For those up to the age of 12 a visit to Father Christmas and a present from him. Rides on the Gallopers are included too.
  • The Dads Army Exhibition will be decorated for Christmas and a Childrens entertainer will be in the Village Hall.
There will be food available at Blooms if you arrive before Santa is ready and at The Steam Museum too during your visit.
  • Adult (advance) tickets are £9.50
  • Children (advance) 3-12 £11.00
  • under 3's (advance) requiring a present are £5.00
Booking is advisable and can be made by telephone on 01379 686900online  or in person at the ticket office. You can also choose to pay on the day (if tickets are still available), Ticket numbers are limited so it's best to book online.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Energy Consumption Through The Decades

The evolution of energy consumption through the decades

Be smarter with your consumption and choose the right energy tariff.

this is a sponsored post.

Christmas Lists For All Ages

Writing your Christmas list is something that you will remember from childhood well into your adult years. It’s a big part of the excitement of Christmas to sit down and write your letter to Santa. With a little thought, you can make this experience extra special, from your baby’s first Christmas, right up until they stop writing their letter to Father Christmas. Here are some great tips for Christmas list traditions for each age group.

For the first couple of years, your little one won’t really have any idea about what is happening at Christmas time. At best you can expect they might get quite excited about the lights and colours of the wrapping paper. Christmas at this early age is for you to enjoy making memories with your baby. Snuggling them up in their new clothes they’ve received and excitedly showing them their new toys is just as much for your benefit as theirs. Do something for them that will be there when they are old enough to appreciate it. Make a list on their behalf of all the things they receive, write a letter about your feelings on their early Christmases and take plenty of photos. This way you can show them when they are older how loved they were as infants.

Children of nursery and pre-school ages will have some concept of the festive period, and know about Santa. This is a wonderful time to introduce them to the idea of writing lists, although at this young age they will not have the literacy skills to do this themselves. There are a few ways round this that are actually great fun. The first is to get a catalogue, and help them to cut and stick pictures of their favourite dolls, puzzles, the Imaginext Castle, remote control cars, colouring pens, or whatever takes their fancy into a collage. The alternative is to make a video recording, with your child, which doubles as a fantastic way to preserve a memory.

From the moment your child starts primary school, they will begin to develop reading and writing skills. Even if your child is in reception they will likely be able to write some words by the time Christmas rolls around, and most will be keen to write their own letter to Santa. Help with spellings if prompted, but let their imaginations run wild in their letters. Use one of the online or postal services to get a reply to your child’s letter from Father Christmas himself – the NSPCC is a good one with the added benefit of donating to a fantastic charity.

Whatever the must have toy is, and whatever age your little ones are, there is a way to make a Christmas list an integral part of your Christmas tradition. So start making memories and get your kids excited for the holidays!

Brought to you by Kira

Thursday, 14 November 2013


As you know we are HUGE fans of gNappies, Viggo only managed a few days in Tiny Gs as he was such a larger than expected baby, the smalls have been amazing, and now the news you have all been waiting for...The gJingle

The Limited Edition gJingle perfectly captures the joy of the season with this vibrant red and silver foil design. Collect this design for babies first Christmas to remember the magical day.

I LOVE it and know what Viggo will be wearing to bed on Christmas Eve ready to meet the Big Guy!!

gNappies is committed to creating a world where conventional nappies no longer exist. In 2005 gNappies introduced the disposable nappy inserts that can be composted. The inserts tuck inside gorgeous looking, thoughtfully-designed nappy covers that have helped make gNappies one of the most respected baby brands on the market.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Amoralia Review - THE most luxurious camisole set EVER!

Being pregnant seven times you would think I would be used to it all, but every single one has been different, Viggo's pregnancy was different because of my size, I kept saying it was just because he was the seventh baby and everything was stretched, now we know it was because he was nearly two pounds heavier than the rest!!

Towards the end I certainly did not feel like I was blooming, in fact I felt more like a hippo, so when I was asked if I would like to review a camisole and briefs set, I agreed, but wasn't very hopeful that it would make me feel any better, however I am pleased to say I was proved wrong!!

As it was the middle of summer I was sent a camisole set in Pewter colour.

Here is what it says about the set

  • soft stretchy fabric for comfort
  • ruched front to accomodate a growing bump
  • hidden support that lifts for easy nursing
  • brief is cut lower to fit comfortably under your bump
  • generously cut at the back - very flattering!
  • the pewter and aqua colour have a mesh inner layer to keep nursing pads in place
  • machine washable at 30 degrees
and here is a picture of it !

It arrived in a lovely gift wrapped package, which made me feel good before I even opened it.

The material was very soft and felt lovely against my skin, I ordered my pre pregnant size, but due to my massive bump I wasn't sure if it would fit, but I needn't have worried, it was stretchy enough to go over. The shorts fitted perfectly under my bump and didn't dig into my skin like other shorts I had tried.
Dare I say, I even felt a little bit womanly, and not so hippo like!
Since giving birth to Viggo they have been perfect for those night time feeds and hold a breastpad in place perfectly, the shorts are a perfect fit and the top shows no sign of being stretched when it was supporting my huge bump, it just looks like a very pretty camisole post pregnancy, here are the very rare seen pictures of yours truly, I loved showing off my bump, but i'm afraid you won't see one of me now, minus Viggo bump!!
Its me with a 9 lb baby in my belly!!

Really!! 9lb
Good Thing I have a lovely camisole to cover it!

The Verdict
Any pregnant ladies that are feeling a little bit down about their pregnancy size, go and buy this set NOW, it really will make you feel one sexy mama xxx

Butlins Here We Come!

As you may have noticed, on my sidebar I have a lovely badge that says Butlins Ambassador, you may remember that last year we were chosen to visit Butlins in Skegness and we all had a wonderful time. You can read about it here, here and here.

Well I was absolutely amazed and delighted to learn that we had been chosen to continue carrying the Butlins Baton for 2013/14, although the constant refreshing of the twitter feed did make my heart race a little faster!! Poor Viggo must have thought he was laying next to a railway track inside my belly...

When we told the children the fantastic news, they spent twenty minutes dancing around the garden, which is a good indication that they loved it and and wanted to return.

The children would happily return to Skegness, because they had such a fab time, but Asa and I would like to see what else Butlins has to offer, so we spent a long time deliberating which of the other two parks we would go to and what type of accommodation would suit us best.

Our choices as always are occupancy lead, we need somewhere that can take 8 people plus a baby. The room only option that we had last year was great, but we found once the children had gone to bed, Asa and I were reduced to sitting on the bed in our bedroom watching TV,with only a kettle, but we also had Tyrus in a travel cot in our room, so the noise kept him awake.

Bognor has the very nice looking hotels, that do interconnecting rooms, so we could all fit

But after much deliberation, we decided that with so many children to put to bed at different times, an apartment would be the perfect choice and we opted for Minehead, as it is somewhere we have never been before, so perfect for a Tourism Consultant to explore!!

We do not enjoy huge crowds of people, although I am sure this can't be avoided at Butlins, but we have chosen to go February Half Term, as the cold weather doesn't bother us, in a Gold Four Bedroom apartment, but this time on the ground floor!
Something lovely to look forward to after Christmas.

Those boots WERE made for Walking Hooray!

I posted a few days ago about a new pair of Walking Boots I was sent from Hi Tec here, we went on a lovely, but very wet and windy short break at half term, so I thought it would be the perfect time to try them out.

 Here we are out for a lovely walk at Hubbards Hills in Louth.(Asa is taking the photo, we very rarely get one of us all together!!)
I always think the sign of an excellent pair of Walking Boots is how they feel after their first outing, I am not one of these people that likes,or has time to wear them in first, I need to put them on and go without having to worry about sore feet or blisters. So that is what I did, took them straight from the box and put them on as we were going out.

Here they are dancing in the leaves...

The Verdict

They are extremely comfortable, I had no red marks or blisters after wearing them the entire time we were out. It was extremely wet and muddy whilst we were out, but my feet stayed nice and dry and toastie warm.
The grips were excellent on the wet leaves and I felt safe carrying Viggo in the sling whilst wearing them.
They gave good support on my pathetically weak ankles and once the mud had dried, it just brushed off, leaving a perfectly clean pair of boots, ready for our next adventure.
The boots are called Sierra Lites and they are available in both ladies and men's styles. I would definitely recommend these boots for anyone looking for a good pair of walking boots, and they are reasonably priced. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

These Boots Are Made For Walking - Hopefully!

Our family loves going out for walks, and although where we live is very flat, most of our holidays involve some hills or mountains to climb, so when I was given the opportunity to test out a pair of Walking Boots, I couldn't wait..

From the giving of my address to the delivery of the boots was only 48 hours which was very impressive, and no-one else could claim the box as it clearly stated where it was from...

They were packaged in a very sturdy box, which meant that they were not crushed or damaged in transit.

 On opening the box I found a very funky looking pair of boots with very good grips on the soles, extremely important for me as I am usually carrying one of the children on my back when we go out walking, so the last thing I want to do is slip, especially as we tend to go out in wet and cold weather, or snow, our friends and families always comment on the fact that we very rarely go on holiday in warm weather!!

One of my favourite parts was the fact that I had a choice of two pairs of laces, meaning I could make them look more girlie or stick with the beige laces, but I may then run the risk of one of the older children stealing them!!

They are not too high up the leg which I have found with some boots, especially for a shorty like me!! 

For more information on Hi tec footwear you can visit their website

Look out for my next post on these boots to find out how they held up out walking in Lincolnshire during the wet weather at Half term

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Unusual Names means problems finding personalised items!

When I first met my husband he was a little surprised that I didn't comment about his slightly unusual name, well the truth is, I had been at school with a boy called Asa so it didn't seem uncommon to me!

I can remember having the conversation about children and naming them very early on in our relationship (I already knew that I would marry him) and I had loved the name Xene since I first came across it aged 12, and it had always been in my mind that I would love to call my daughter it, if my husband agreed, as it turned out, Asa also loved the name and that is how or family began.

As you can imagine, our children have stopped looking on the stands that have personalised items because they NEVER have their names, so if they require anything with their names on they have to make it themselves or have them individually made.

One item that all of the children love are badges, as you can see from Lochlan's hat

Which made me think how cool it would be to have their own badge, I found a great website called Badgemaster which specialises in all types of badges that you can have made with whatever you like on them, which would be a perfect little stocking filler for the festive season.
This also got me thinking about badges as a promotional tool for Birth Pools Online, as they have a great choice of button badges that could be used to tell the country about my business, or maybe this blog, in fact the possibilities are endless, all from looking at Lochlan in his hat, or the HUGE amount of badges around our house, I can't decide which!!

If you had a badge made, what would you have put on it ?

*this is a featured post*