Monday, 30 November 2015

Dear Santa

Dear Santer,
I relly like Chrismas and it's my favoriot time of the year and I was thinking about that if your relly real send me a letter please and put your name on the letter so I know YOUR real. I do belive in you still but is it true that when people don't belive in you they get stupid presents and they get unapropret stuff. If this is true put true, but if not put false if the other one. I gave you the thing you needed to do. I hope you have a happy chrismas Santer and I will give you the best mint pie, drink and the best carrots because I like your raindeers,
yours senserly,
Boo :)


This is my 8 year old daughter's letter to Santa, completely unedited. Do you think he will read it? I wonder what he will reply. The inappropriate stuff she is talking about comes from a conversation we were having, if you don't believe in Santa, you only get socks for Christmas. I guess she thinks socks are inappropriate, so I best not get her any, I wonder if pyjamas are ok?

She also wrote a list for the big man;

This is the stuff I want Santer
A pair of Warlky Talky
new teddy
pokemon deck zapdoze
Another Santer book
a little toy
a Teksta puppy and
Teksta dinosaur
Bye, and who wrote this list is Boo :)

Nothing on that list is anything she has asked for previously, and as you can imagine, with five children I have most of my Christmas shopping sorted. As her big brother pointed out, the Santa list is not for Mummy though, it's for Santa. I may be able to provide a few of the things on the list, apart from the last two items there is nothing really expensive on there after all. 

Next we have to work on some Christmas spelling :)

Christmas (with a T in the middle)
Santa, not Santer
Reindeer (although she was pretty close)
and I'm pretty sure Santa will prefer Mince pies to Mint pies ;)

Merry Christmas Boo, may all your wishes come true xxx





Sunday, 29 November 2015

How to Make the Most out of a Small Bedroom for a Child



A major problem with most homes is that child bedrooms are often quite small. Even if you're lucky to have a home with big rooms, no room will ever be as big as your child's imagination to run riot fully. Here are a few tips to make sure your child's bedroom is big enough for them to play as well as sleep.

Fitting a bed into a small room can be frustrating but also obviously that's what turns a room into a bedroom. The bed is essential for the night time but will often just get in the way of the child's play during the day. That's why it's best to get a bed that serves more than just one purpose. For example, you could get a trundle bed that doubles as a comfy chair that they can read books on during the day. The Serene Eleanor day bed fro Bedstar can be turned from an extremely comfy chair into a bed within minutes. It even has the option of creating a second bed that raises to the same height if your children share a room or ever want a sleepover. It's built with a sprung slatted base for extra comfort and out of a beautiful hardwood so will look stylish in any room.

Once you've sorted the bed, it's time to look at how else you can maximise the space in your child's bedroom. when it comes to furniture, only put in what your child really needs. Your child's clothes are probably much smaller than yours, so they won't need as much space to store them. Buy a tall, narrow wardrobe to save on floor space. If you struggle to fit all your child's clothes in it, you could install a second rail below where the other clothes sit to use up that wasted space at the bottom of the wardrobe.

Other than a bed and a wardrobe, children don't really need any other furniture in their room. If they enjoy having a drink at the side of their bed at night, swap their bedside table for a small floating shelf at the side of the bed. then you'll have more freedom on what can store underneath. If they want a chair or table to play board games or do art and craft, choose ones that will fold away when they're not using them.
Now you've created a lot of room, you'll need to make sure you have enough storage so their toys don't end up cluttering the floor. Buy boxes that will easily stack on top of each other to give them more floor space. You could even colour code them or label them to help them know where their toys need putting away. Install some shelves within their reach where they can store their books and smaller toys. Also make use of wasted space like on your door by buying a hanging organiser  with lots of different pockets.

Once you've done all of this, your child will have lots more room to play games in. The only problem will be reminding them to put their toys away at the end of the day so it stays tidy.


Disclosure: Written by Emily West

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Fifty




Fifty! All year that number has been haunting me, but there is no turning back now. I look into the mirror and it's a 50 year old woman that's looking back at me.

I don't feel 50, I'm still stuck somewhere between my late 30s and early 40s. The kids really do keep me feeling younger. The other 'older' women picking up kids from reception class are generally grandmothers not mothers.

I did think about having a party to celebrate my Big Birthday, but I knew I'd end up doing all the work and I didn't fancy that. I don't mind doing it for others but I wouldn't have enjoyed doing it for myself. So I though about a night out, but then I got plagued by illness so I have postponed until I'm feeling better. I have the dates booked so no worries, and not long to wait.

So, how did the day go?

Well, I did feel really spoilt by my friends and family.

I woke up to some lovely cards and presents.


I was really surprised by some of them, and may have been feeling a little emotional when I opened the very last book ever written by the late great Terry Pratchett.


My eldest Daughter brought me a Sat Nav to help me stop getting lost (along with lots of other gifts, I'm sure she gets paid too much!) and my son bought me lots of chocolates (And I mean LOTS) and my gorgeous new babies Doc and Marty my Roborovski hamsters. Here's a sneaky peak, but I'll be posting more about them soon. They are so cute, so tiny and so fast!



Then while we were waiting for our takeaway to be delivered, you can't cook on your birthday, I had these delivered from my lovely online friends. They are beautiful.





Of course after dinner there was cake, made by Boo and Dad. They did a real good job too!



I've decided that being fifty is not so bad. We all have to get older, there is nothing you can do about it so why fret.  


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Breakfast With Santa at Brewers Fayre

I love taking the kids to visit Santa and we try to do something different each year. This year we were invited to preview the Breakfast with Santa a Brewers Fayre at the Guild in Bromsgrove.

As it was breakfast we had an early start but the kids were eager to get ready and go out to meet the Big Man himself. I'm not really sure that the girls still believe in Santa but they went along with it. The Little Man was most excited and thought we were going to the North Pole. What a pity the snow from the night before didn't stick around as it would have looked great driving through the hills to get there. Saying that, I don't really drive in the snow so probably a good idea it didn't stick!

We were shown to our table on arrival and the kids went straight into the colouring in and activities set out for them.



Then we helped ourselves to a choice of continental breakfast and cereals. There was a lot on offer and plenty of tea, coffee and soft drinks to wash it all down. The kids went straight for the cereal, but also had toast and croissants.
While tucking into breakfast we were visited at the table by Santa himself, looking very authentic and causing the Little Man to gasp 'It's really him!'


Then each table in turn was taken to visit Santa in his grotto. Santa was very accommodating and made the kids feel at ease as he chatted with them. He did look very much like the real Santa, who should be really busy in the North Pole right now! The kids were soon chatting away telling him all the things they wanted for Christmas and nearly giving me a heart attack! (How come they tell Santa the want the really really expensive things that they never mention to me?) Then Santa gave them all a little present (Denis the Menace related) and the kids asked sheepishly if they could open it straight away, to which Santa agreed if it was okay with mum and dad.



After our visit to the grotto, it was time for our cooked breakfast which was rather nice. The kids especially liked their sausages, which they exclaimed loudly, were much  nicer than mummy's sausages that they had at home. 


When breakfast was over it was time to have some fun in the play area, which as always with Brewers Fayre,was superbly equipped for a fun time. 









The Breakfast with Santa at Brewers Fayre starts on 5th December and is on every weekend until Christmas from 10am to 11.30am. It will also be on from Monday 21st December to Thursday 24th December. The cost is £8.99 per child and for this you get breakfast, a visit to Santas grotto with a gift and lots of other craft activities while you are waiting. You can find all the details and book your place locally by visiting the Brewers Fayre Website.




Monday, 23 November 2015

Our Favourite Christmas Books

The Little Man has already has me reading his favourite Christmas books at bedtime. He loves the stories to help him build up his excitement as we race towards the holiday season. I love them too and here I am sharing a few of our favourites.

Santa is Coming to Birmingham

by Steve Smallman

This is definitely one the Little Man will always ask for. I know this book is set in Birmingham but you can get the story in various towns across the UK.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

The story tells of Santa visit going a little awry but the day is saved by a new little reindeer out on his first ever journey. It features some famous landmarks that will be recognised and is loads of fun. Although it doesn't actually mention our suburb, it does mention some  nearby.

Mouse's Christmas Wish

By Judi Abbot

A lovely story about animal friends coming together to spend Christmas together. But everything is going wrong for little mouse. Will he ever make it to his friend Rabbit's house or is he doomed to spend Christmas alone?

A feel good book that has a little twist at the end. Of course everyone knows that Christmas is best spent with friends.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom: Christmas Adventure

Such a big favourite on the television, Ben and Holly have a fabulous adventure when Father Christmas makes a surprise visit to the Little Kingdom. The grown-ups get trapped in various Christmas decorations and it's up to Ben and Holly to rescue them.

The Little Man has grown out of Peppa Pig and no longer watches Ben and Holly, but we do love this story it is such fun.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk


The Sheep that Saved Christmas.

by Jason Page

Everyone knows someone like Cynthia, someone that is crazy about Christmas. Only Cynthia is a sheep and her woolly friends are a little fed up of her festivities all year round, so they send her off to the North Pole to help Father Christmas. The problem is, there is not a lot a sheep can do to help...or is there?
Cynthia is a loveable character, you can't help but wish that it all turns out good for her in the end.

So that's what we are reading for now, I'm sure our Christmas collection will grow, we still have some old favourites tucked away that haven't found there way out yet.
What are your kids favourite reads at Christmas time, I would love to know.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

My Sunday Photo 22 November 2015

Breakfast With Santa



Yesterday we met Santa for Breakfast. This photo is very special to me. There may be other photo opportunities with Santa this year but I realise that this may not be the case for much longer. In fact I know that the girls no longer really believe and are just going along with it. Of course the Little Man is still very much a believer, but this will probably be the last year that I have all three buying into the Santa mystery.



OneDad3Girls

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Frozen Toiletries Gift Wish List



 My Boo loves Frozen, she had a fabulous Frozen Birthday party last summer, we even had snow in July! This Christmas she has helped me put together this gift wish list of Frozen toiletries.


Frozen Lip Balm Trio.


Now the weather is colder, Boo suffers from sore lips a lot and she loves her lip balm to keep them soft and smooth. This pack contains three beautiful crystal balls filled with lip balm in three delicate shades and sweet smells. They make a lovely gift and can be purchased for £6 from Boots.

Frozen Bath and Beauty Wash Bag.




























This lovely bag comes with a selection of toiletries, 50ml Hair Spritz, 50ml Bath and Shower Gel, 50ml Shimmer Lotion, 30ml Body Sprtiz and 2x Bath Fizzers. The bag is reuseable and very good quality, Boo's eldest sister has already tried to nab it for her make up! Boo really loved the bath fizzers and can't wait for the party season to use the glittering hair spritz. A lovely gift at £10 from Boots.




































Shimmer and Sparkle Bubble Bath 




























This was our favourite. An adorable bottle with a jewelled lid, decorated with a bracelet and shimmery ribbon. The bubble bath shimmers when shaken and the whole thing is just really pretty. Boo loved the bracelet and couldn't wait to wear it. The bubble bath produces lots of shimmery bubbles when poured under running water. At just £5 it's a lovely gift or stocking filler from Boots.

Boo's Verdict.

Boo thought all the items were really lovely. The lip balms were very cute and she is always popping a little onto her lips, she said they make her lips feel smooth and taste nice.
The wash bag is really pretty and full of lovely things. She said she loves the picture on the bag and want to be a Queen of Snow, now she wants it to snow! The bath fizzers were great fun and made the bath all pink and sparkly.
Boo's favourite was the Bubble Bath because the bottle was so pretty and the bubble bath sparkled when you shook it. She loved the bracelet too.

All products can be purchased from Boots. They are not suitable for under 3 years old. They are not edible. 

Disclosure: We were sent these products to review in return for our honest and unbiased opinions. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Where is the Train to a Better World?

Over the weekend I saw most of my friends Facebook profiles turn blue, white and red in support of the people in France. I also saw people slam Facebook for doing this because they have not offered the same support for other countries that have suffered similar atrocities, like Beirut. In truth it's happening all over the world and it is horrifying.

Still, when it happens so close to home it strikes a chord, those of us in European countries know it could be us next, or our family. It scares us, shocks us and we join together in support and mourning.

Does this really have to drive a divide between East and West though?

For some maybe, after all, those that are instigating the attacks are coming from the East are they not. Even if those carrying out the attacks may be natives to the West, and some are, they are receiving their instructions from elsewhere.

We cannot let this cloud our minds though, there are just as many people, innocent people suffering in the Middle East. That's why they are running away, coming to us for help. They are being attacked by the same people who are attacking us. They are not opposing us.

Beyond the blame, beyond the cause, we have human beings being slaughtered in many countries on a regular basis and this is wrong.

It's also driving a wedge between those of us that are not fighting, causing us to oppose each other's opinions, argue with each other. It's not just them and us any more.

Why are we allowing this?

The media will always give us more coverage of attacks closer to home. Most of the attacks are carried out far from home and we only get more news coverage when they happen in holiday destinations like Tunisia or Turkey.
We will feel more shock at countries that are attacked that are not in the Middle East because the fighting has been going on so long there we are more accustomed to hearing about it.
I'm not saying that either of these things are right or wrong, but we shouldn't be arguing with each other about them.

Straight away people were saying close our borders, stop them from coming into our country. Yes, we are scared, but the sad thing is, they are probably already here. That doesn't mean they are among the Asian family that run your local shop or restaurant though, or even those refugees that have just arrived in camp. It's easy to think that the terrorists have sneaked in with those. The truth is we can't tell, we have to put our faith in the experts to find out where they are and weed them out. One of the terrorists in Paris was French, remember that. Again, it's just something to drive a wedge between us, those of us that should be sticking together, standing together, keeping everything together.

We should know who our enemy is, We should stand together. Don't let them turn us against each other because we are stronger as one.

We may not be fighting with kalashnikovs or bombs but we should not be attacking each other with words either.

I will show my support to Paris but I will also think of the families lost in Beirut.
Also, this year, France, Libya,Yemen, Tunisia, Afghanistan,Texas, Baghdad, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey and Bangladesh, some of these places have been attacked more than once.

I will continue to teach my children how to accept other people's views and opinions gracefully even if they don't totally agree with them. I will teach them right from wrong, and mostly that harming other people is wrong. Will there even be a future for my children with the way the world is turning? If there was a train to  a better world then I'd be first in line to buy my family a ticket.





Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Three Different Kinds of Poorly

I know every child is different but it really shows when you have three young children with three very different personalities. I've written about this before when they were doing an afternoon of decoupage. This time I'm observing how different they are when they are poorly.



I'll start with Boo. She's been really poorly a few times since they started back to school in September, she seems to catch everything  that's going around, but mostly ear, nose and throat infections. I was the same as a child and had a tonsillectomy by the time I was Boo's age. When she's poorly she's very subdued and sleeps a lot. If not sleeping she'll lie on the settee watching tv. She rarely complains, even if she's being sick or in real pain. I tend to worry about her more because she doesn't complain. I always know when she's not feeling well because the first thing she'll ask is for me to take her temperature.

Star, is not ill very often, which is probably a good job considering everything else she has to put up with. She has pain in her joints on a daily basis and her stomach problems would make an adult squirm, these things she deals with and just gets on with it. She'll ask for painkillers or a wheat bag, or a rub if it's her knees hurting, and that's it. Oh, but it's a different story if she has a cold or sore throat or similar, it's like the world is ending. We have constant moaning and groaning, constant demands for drinks and hugs. We can't leave her alone for two minutes, she needs lots of attention. I find it quite amusing really, and I do tend to humour her.

Finally we have the Little Man! Who quite refuses to be ill. One minute he can be throwing up all over the bathroom, then two minutes later he wants to play Minecraft or bake cupcakes. "I'm all better now Mummy" he'll exclaim with his pasty face and burning temperature. Trying to get him to lie down and relax for more than five minutes is a nightmare. He has to be really, really poorly to rest at all. Thankfully, with all this daytime activity, he does sleep well at night now. At least his poor little body gets some chance to recover. He doesn't get sick very often, today he's off school, the first day off this year, and I mean since January! He was poorly during half term for a day though. He's such a little whirlwind though, no time to get sick.




Sunday, 1 November 2015

What to do in Birmingham

I've lived in Birmingham all my life and I love my City. Of course I'd like to be closer to the sea side, but being central it's never that far away.

I'd like to share some of my favourite places in Birmingham with you, some are obvious, some not so obvious but I'm sure there is something for everyone.

If you need to stay over Birmingham has a selection of fabulous Travel Lodge hotels for you to stay in, including five in the city centre. Look our for their new upgraded rooms which are more comfortable than ever and each room has a new king size bed.


Shopping in the Centre.

It's worth a trip to Birmingham just for the shopping. Come by train and you will most likely to arrive at Grand Central, a brand new station and shopping centre with lots of new shops including a great John Lewis store. There are also many places to grab something to eat. Then right next door you have the Bullring Shopping Centre, three floors of fabulous shops with something for everyone. That's before you've even stepped outside onto the high street! The shopping experience just goes on and on. If you fancy a break there is the Museum and Art Gallery you could visit, or the library. Why would you want to visit a library? Well, just take a trip to the roof garden and soak in that view! If you come around Christmas time (12th November to 22nd December) you can catch the wonderful Frankfurt Market, which extends to the Christmas Market and Craft Fair.


Birmingham Symphony Hall

Just a stones throw from the library you will find Birmingham Symphony Hall. Maybe you fancy catching a show, coming soon you will find Will Young and Jimmy Carr, or maybe you will like something classical, there is plenty to choose from, from Beethoven to Mendelssohn.

The auditorium is a model of a modern concert hall with superb acoustics so whatever you decide to see you will enjoy.
Or you could even opt for a tour of the hall, they are held frequently.

Canals

Just the other side of the  Symphony Hall you will find one of Birmingham's famed canals. The canals have been restored and are now a lively hub of activity with bars and restaurants. You can take a trip on a barge, or just take a barge taxi to another canal area, the Birmingham Mailbox.


Think Tank

On the other side of the City is the Think Tank, which is Birmingham's brilliant science museum. It's a real fun day out for all the family with so much to do and learn. There is even a fabulous science garden to explore on nicer days. It's a wonderfully interactive museum which will capture imaginations. You can explore the science behind manufacturing, see the world's oldest working steam engine, find out about the future, visit the planetarium and much more.


Sea Life Centre

Birmingham also has a wonderful Sea Life Centre which has been voted one of the best things to do in Birmingham. It has an interactive rockpool, a 4D cinema and a colony of  Gentoo penguins in the Penguin Ice Adventure. An all time favourite has to be the 360 degrees tunnel with the sharks and giant turtle called Molokai.


Cadbury World

If you want to venture out of the City Centre then why not visit the home of chocolate...Cadbury World. This is where Cadbury's chocolate began. It's not just about the factory though, Bournville is a whole community which was built for the workers at the chocolate factory. (Because the Cadbury's were Quakers by religion, you will not find a pub in Bournville!) The tour of Cadbury World is fun and enlightening, with lots of taste testing on the way. There is a Chocolate shop you can visit, and many photo opportunities. If you visit, do take a look around Bournville village too. Just across the road from Cadbury World you will see a Clock Tower which hosts a Carillon, which is one of the largest and finest in Britain. It is actually 48 bells held in a cupola which are worked by a keyboard, so the tunes that can be played are quite amazing. You can hear the Carillon being played at the weekend in the afternoon. 


Whatever you decide to do I'm sure you'll find plenty to keep you happy and occupied in Birmingham.


Disclosure: This is a collaborative post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.




My Sunday Photo - November 1st 2015



My pumpkins seem to have a theme, last year I did Pikachu, this year it's Haunter! I guess I have a family of Pokemon fans.


OneDad3Girls

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay



Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I've also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me...is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I've loved. If I don't love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It's always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I'll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.
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