Elf on the Shelf gone bad?

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Your Elf on the Shelf has been around for a few days now. He's settled in. He's feeling at home. But is he too comfortable...? It all starts off well. He brings gifts, makes cookies, plays with the other toys. Next thing you know, he's TP'ing the christmas tree and defacing the family photos!

Sounds like it might be time to elf-proof your house. But don't worry, we've got your back.

With a couple of years' experience dealing with our cheeky North Pole elf Figgy, we decided to share our top ten tips in a video for Channel Mum.

How's your elf getting on? Not too naughty I hope.

Dear Santa.... a kitchen gadget wishlist

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

As well as being the room I spend the most time in, I also happen to love my kitchen more than any other space in the house. It's where we all gather every morning and evening to chat about our days and spend time together. I'm pretty satisfied with the kitchen equipment I already have, but I also happen to have a penchant for wishlists. Of course, most of these will probably never make it to my house, but that's what wishlists are for isn't it?
I'll start with a practical choice. After all, if I won't use it on a daily basis, it can't take up valuable space on my worktop. I have a pretty basic microwave at the moment, which is fine but a model which can grill and doubles as an oven would definitely make my life that little bit easier. I like the sleek, black finish of this Panasonic combination microwave oven too.

From practical to utterly frivolous. Top of my wishlist is one of these bad boys. A Thermomix. At just under £1000 this is never going to happen, but in cloud cuckoo land a girl can dream. This amazing gadget can chop, it can cook, it can emulsify (whatever that is!), it can weigh, it can freeze, it can pour your wine. Ok, so it doesn't do that bit, but I'd pour my own bloody wine for the next 50 years if I could just have a Thermomix. Please Santa!

I feel a bit naughty adding this as I already have one in a different colour. However, in my defence, mine is ten years old, so one day it'll need upgrading. Right? This stunning copper Kitchenaid mixer is pure baking perfection and I would love it very, very much. 

With three kids, you can't get any more practical than an espresso machine; so it's safe to say this Sage by Heston Blumenthal one would get used on the daily. And it's so pretty!

What gadgets would be on your kitchen wishlist?

* This is a sponsored post. All words and opinions are my own.

We met Father Christmas at Hamleys

Thursday, 3 December 2015

If you could have picked any one person to read you a bedtime story as a child, I'm guessing Santa would have been pretty high on the list. My three children were lucky enough to have that opportunity when we were invited to meet Father Christmas at Hamleys toy store in Cardiff. 

With three children to consider, when I decide where to visit over the Christmas period, cost per head is obviously a factor. I also want to be sure that the experience is as magical and authentic as possible. 

I had high hopes for Hamleys. After all, meeting Father Christmas in one of the country's finest toy stores... what could be better?

We arrived at the store, excited and feeling festive, and were met by a group of elves who had us all singing Christmas songs and taking 'elfies' in no time. 

They led us through the store to Santa's grotto, singing all the way. The doors opened and we were shown into a beautifully decorated room, filled with toys, a cosy fireplace and a party table. The children were seated for food and there was plenty to go around, so everyone had chance to fill their tummies before meeting the man himself.

The elves spent a while chatting to the children, building their excitement and asking them what they would like for Christmas. Then, after an enthusiastic rendition of Jingle Bells, we were all delighted to see Santa himself appear at the door.

After saying hello to everyone, Santa took his seat by the fireplace to read the children a story. They all sat in awe and it was lovely to see.

This was followed by a few games and songs, before the moment everyone was waiting for - their chance to meet and have their photo taken with Santa. 

While the children waited to meet Santa, they were able to make their own Christmas crackers and cards, which was a nice touch and prevented having to wait in line for their turn. 

Finally, they were each given a wonderful goodie bag containing a Hamleys Christmas teddy bear, a reindeer tree ornament, a large bar of chocolate, a full packet of crayons and a colouring book. 

Although not the cheapest option for meeting Santa this Christmas (at £25 per child), I think you get a lovely experience for your money. Plenty of time with Santa himself, a great goodie bag for each child to take away and an overall feeling of the festive warm and fuzzies. 

You can meet Father Christmas at Hamleys throughout December  Full details can be found on the Hamleys website.