I’m feeling so uninspired recently and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I have an urge to sit and write lots, make plentiful notes in pretty notepads and film tonnes of videos and edit my heart out. But then I just don’t. I sit during nap times and think thank f**k she’s asleep and wonder how I’ll cope through until bed time.
I’m the sort of person that likes to do something properly or I don’t want to do it. I like to put my all into something and produce something I’m proud of. I’ve written many half hearted blog posts just to ‘get something up’ but they’re mostly sitting in my drafts because I feel like a fraud writing something just for the sake of it. Who cares what colour nail varnish I’m loving this week or what my meal plan is? I don’t!

I think since Florence started school we’ve been on a slippery slope of illness. Florence has had a cough since the week before half term and she’s just coming to the end of it. Since then Matts been ill, Elsie’s been really ill with a high temp and all that jazz and I’ve just come down with the same cough and cold Matt had. I cried at the breakfast table this morning as I wondered how I’d find the energy to make a sodding pack lunch. And actually I did make the pack lunch and then Florence informed me she wanted hot dinners *insert red angry emoji*

I’m praying, with all my mite, that we’re all going to be back on top form by Christmas Eve because I really want to immerse myself in it all. It’s our turn to have Logan with us for Christmas Day and seeing as it’s Elsie’s first Christmas it just feels like it’s going to be really special.

I guess I’ve said all I need to. Hopefully just tapping this out has made me feel better. Bugger, ive got to go anyway….Tesco’s is here. I bloody hate putting the shopping away.

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Last weekend we were invited* to visit the ‘Enchanted Christmas’ event at Westonbirt Arboretum and it sounded like just the thing to get us all in the festive spirit. We booked a 6-7pm slot and headed off on Saturday night wrapped up in our scarves and bobble hats. It made a nice change to do something out of the ordinary and the kids were excited to be going out instead of getting ready for bed. Just getting cosy in our winter gear felt festive!

The drive to the arboretum was lovely, Tetbury in particular was stunning. We couldn’t miss the arboretum entrance as the trees were illuminated in beautiful, bright colours. The clear skies that evening made it even more spectacular. The kids were fascinated and Florence loved the ‘sparkly’ tree in the car park. At this point I was thankful for my wellies as we were parked on a field and I should imagine, come the final weekend, it will be rather muddy so consider yourself warned!

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It soon became apparent that the event was extremely popular which made me even more excited to get inside and see what all the fuss was about. As the event is ticketed and time slots are booked for each evening the ticket processing was quick and we were soon on our way through a large marquee which housed a hog roast (the smell was amazing), hot chocolate, mulled wine, burgers and sweeties! It was lovely and the steam from the food billowed through the air whilst Christmas carols could be heard in the distance.

The kids spied a carousel and we promised them a go once we’d walked through the illuminated trail. I guess we bribed them! Initially the trail was very busy and it was a job to see the kids amongst all the people. I was probably annoying everyone as I stopped at almost every single tree to take a photo. Each one was stunning in its own way. Some were lit from the ground, some were lit from various other angles, some had disco balls hung inside them and some had lanterns or projections cast across them. The kids favourite tree was ‘disco tree’ which had a huge disco ball and bubbles falling from it.

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By the half way point we were ready for a short break. Elsie also needed a feed so we were pleased to see a few benches and we perched, under lanterns, enjoying the scenery.

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There were a few areas which are interactive such as a bike which, when pedalled, illuminated a large display of lights across the floor and also a pad which you jump on to clear the leaves on the screen in front of you. All of these sorts of things were a hit with the kids – you’ll just need to be prepared to wait your turn.

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All in all the trail took about an hour for us to walk around (including a 15 minute break) and the kids must have enjoyed it as we didn’t have a single complaint of ‘tired legs’! The trail was suitable for our pram and I think Elsie enjoyed looking at all the colours as it was well past her bedtime and she was wide awake!

At the end of the trail the sound of Christmas carols comes back into ear shot and there are chestnuts roasting and arts and crafts for the children to take part in.

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We spent about two hours at the arboretum and we left feeling rather festive. I think if I were to go again I would buy some food there (we ate before leaving home) and use the opportunity to soak up more of the atmosphere.

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Enchanted Christmas runs from 25th November to 18th December and tickets can be booked via the website.

 

 

*We were invited to attend this event in exchange for a review.  All opinions of this event are my own.

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We’re big Disney fans in this house so when we were recently asked if we’d like to review Colours of the Sea Ariel we were just a little bit excited! I did a bit of research on the product before it arrived and quickly realised it’s a bath time toy – perfect for Florence as she absolutely loves a bath yet we have a very sad selection of toys for her to play with whilst she takes a soak.

As you can see Florence was beaming when she saw Ariel and I was surprised how big it is. It’s much bigger then some of her other Disney dolls and seemed like good value for the price.

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The doll arrived before school so Florence was very patient and waited until the evening before opening her up.  I’ve not seen Florence so excited for a long time – she was almost shaking with anticipation! I finally untied and cut Ariel from the packaging and handed her over. Florence didn’t realise Ariel lit up and sang so when I told her to press Ariels necklace she just stood there in awe as Ariel belted out all the classics from the film whilst her tail flashed in time with the music. What I love is that the doll sings quite loudly so even when it does go under water you can still hear it. There are 14 phrases in total and I guarantee after 24hrs of owning Ariel you’ll be singing all the songs too!

After dinner Florence was bouncing around the kitchen asking for a bath….I wonder why! We filled the bath and she asked for all her other toys to be taken out.  Seems like there’s a new favourite toy on the block!

I thought we might have to dim the lights in the bathroom to see the lights but they were so bright, even under water.

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Ariel also comes with Flounder, her fishy companion, which squirts water. Florence has found this particularly useful when sharing a bath with her little sister; Elsie.

Ariel takes three AAA batteries which are actually included when you purchase the doll so Ariel is ready to play with as soon as you are.

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I was really impressed with this toy.  All too often we buy toys for the kids and are left feeling like you really didn’t get a lot of your money but I’d recommend Colours of the Sea Ariel (RRP £34.99) to anyone with a child over the age of 3.

 

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*I was sent Colours of the Sea Ariel for the purposes of this review.  All opinions are my own.

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Happy New Year folks!

Christmas has been and gone in a flash and I’ve barely had time to appreciate my presents.  We’ve been in Cornwall for a week so I’m only just getting all the gifts unboxed and put away in their new homes. I was really spoilt this year which was totally unexpected but very much appreciated.

A picture speaks a 1000 words so here are just a few…..enjoy!  Of course, there was a lot of chocolate but we’ve all seen enough of that right?!

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No, my husband didn't buy me a huge country estate.  He did, however, book two nights at our favourite spa hotel Barnsley House.  We visited Barnsley House after our wedding in 2013 so we have some very fond memories here.  It will be the perfect babymoon!

No, my husband didn’t buy me a huge country estate. He did, however, book two nights at our favourite spa hotel Barnsley House. We visited Barnsley House after our wedding in 2013 so we have some very fond memories here. It will be the perfect babymoon!

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It’s never more apparent then at Christmas just how lousy a mum I seem to be.  Social media has turned me into a scrooge!

Our Christmas tree decorations don’t have the date we bought them for our kids lovingly etched on the base of them using a Sharpie.

We don’t have a plate which has specific areas marked out for Santa’s mince pie or Rudolph’s carrot to go on.

The kids don’t receive Christmas eve boxes filled with melamine divider plates, Christmas pyjamas or hot chocolate.

There is no elf on our shelf!

Winter Wonderland, Santa’s grotto, German markets? No thanks.

A winter overhaul of my kids bookshelves? Errrr…..maybe next year.

Do I want the kids to help me make mince pies? No, not really.

My kitchen table doesn’t look like something from Christmas at Hogwarts on a permanent basis.  It’s usually full of junk mail, odd Kinder egg toys and crumbs from breakfast.

My house doesn’t smell of a Christmas Eve Yankee Candle or a Jo Malone Winter.  It usually smells of washing or bleach.

I love Christmas and I love to spoil the kids and see their faces light up when they’re just totally overwhelmed with happiness but where the hell do people find the time for all of the above.  I didn’t even know what a Christmas Eve box was until I started blogging and then it seemed to be the ‘in thing’ to create for kids.  I’m not having a dig at anyone ’cause each to their own right but buying Christmas pj’s and only getting use out of them from 24th December seems daft!  I think, if I were to ever make a box up for my kids (God knows when I’ll have the time), I’d do an advent box and make use of the contents throughout the whole of December.

I saw pictures and a vlog the other day of a childs ‘Christmas book shelf’.  What a lovely idea but seriously? Taking all the books out that you currently have and replacing with winter or Christmas themed books? I barely have the energy to pick up the books they have and put them back on the shelf let alone swap them out for others!

When I was a kid, we’d go in to the kitchen and choose a plate for Santa’s treats.  We’d poor some milk, pop a carrot and a mince pie on the plate and leave it by the tree before bed.  Now I feel like my kids are missing out because we don’t have a sentimental plate or wooden board with our family name etched on it which can be handed down through the family like an heirloom.  The same with decorations.  As a child my mum and dad had a box of Christmas tree decorations which were put on the tree every year.  We might buy some new ones every now and then but I certainly wasn’t allowed to pick one and nor were my brothers or sisters.  I don’t have a bag full of decorations which have 1984, 1985, 1986 and so on scribbled on the base.  It’s not ruined my life.

Don’t even get me started with Elf on the Shelf.

I know I sound like a massive party pooper but I realised the other day when staring at my Christmas tree that I wouldn’t really know about any of these types of traditions if I wasn’t on social media.  It kind of made me feel bad for a while, like my kids were missing out. I’d like to think we make Christmas a really special family time for the kids without giving in to every trend that, well, trends!  We do a little bit of crafting, they might help decorate the tree, we might watch a Christmas film if they can both agree on one they want and we might read a Christmassy book if someone has ripped the pages out of it.  I’m not going to kill myself for not finding the perfect pair of Christmas pj’s though.  Santa will still come whether they wear their usual mismatching, ill fitting ensemble or matching fleece onsies adorned with fair isle print.

 

 

 

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