Thursday, 15 November 2018

The best books for your Book Advent calendar!

When my girls were little they got a basic chocolate advent calendar and that was it. Now the advent calendars are fancier with bath bombs, toys and stationery. There is of course the book Advent calendars too which I think is a lovely idea. You simply wrap up 24 books about Christmas so your little one can open one every morning in the run up to the big day.

If my girls were younger this would be a fab idea. All the best Christmas books are aimed at younger children. Hmmf.

Here's my favourite Christmas books perfect for your Book Advent.

Dear Santa by Rod Campbell.
Lift the flaps to unwrap a Christmas present on every page of Dear Santa, a festive book by Rod Campbell, creator of the preschool classic Dear Zoo.

The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow & Axel Scheffler.
When Father Christmas sets off to deliver the presents, poor Bear is left behind in the workshop! How will he make it to Tom's house in time for Christmas morning? Lift the flaps to find out, as he chases Santa's sleigh through icy seas and snowy forests, all the way from the North Pole to Tom's cosy bedroom.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.
One winter's night, a snowman comes to life and an unforgettable adventure begins. Raymond Briggs' classic is a true piece of Christmas magic - narrated entirely through pictures, it captures the wonder and innocence of childhood and is recognised throughout the world.

Meg's Christmas by David Walser. 
Oh no! A flood means that Christmas is looking doomed! Enter a spell, a surprise stay in a castle and a party to plan for - will Meg, Mog and Owl make it home for a very special Christmas Day? 

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg. 
It's Christmas Eve and the JOLLY POSTMAN is delivering greetings to various fairy-tale characters - there's a card for Baby Bear, a game appropriately called 'Beware' for Red Riding Hood from Mr Wolf, a get-well jigsaw for hospitalised Humpty Dumpty and three more surprise envelopes containing letters, cards, etc. Everyone's favourite postman keeps on peddling his bicycle up hill and down dale and into everybody's hearts.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. It’s Christmas Eve and the whole house is sleeping – all except one little boy, woken up by the jingle of bells and the clatter of reindeer hooves on the roof. As he tiptoes downstairs, who will he find?

Ten Little Elves by Mike Brownlow.
Ten little elves set off on a mission to rescue Christmas. But what will the little elves do when they meet a growling polar bear, a yowling yeti and a scary Ice Queen? Will the little elves save the day?

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss.
With a heart two sizes too small, the Grinch is the meanest creature you’ll ever meet. He hates Christmas and the whole festive season. But when he hatches a dastardly plot to steal Christmas, he’s in for a big surprise!

The Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy.
When the ugly little fir tree is taken to the city, no one wants to buy him; they prefer the big tall trees. But a homeless boy asks the shopkeeper if he can take the tree, and down by the river in a cardboard box, decorated with a few candles, the tree finds itself at the centre of a magical Christmas Eve it will never forget. With a stunning pop-up of a snowy city skyline, this is a Christmas tale with a classic feel but a modern theme at its heart.

Alfie's Christmas by Shirley Hughes.
Join Alfie and Annie Rose for Christmas! Alfie opens his advent calendar and makes cards and presents. He sings carols and decorates the tree. And he writes a special letter to Father Christmas... But what will Father Christmas bring on Christmas Day? It's going to be such an exciting day!

The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis.
It's Christmas Eve and there's one very important question on everyone's mind - have YOU been good this year? For twins Sam and Charlie this is a big worry. Charlie has been especially naughty and everyone is sure that she won't get any presents AT ALL. But when Santa makes a mistake, it's up to Charlie to put things right.

Little Miss Christmas by Roger Hargreaves.
Little Miss Christmas lives in an igloo at the North Pole, next door to her uncle, Father Christmas, a long, long way from her brother, Mr Christmas. Little Miss Christmas works for Father Christmas. There are an awful lot of presents to wrap. Who will finish the wrapping when Little Miss Christmas decides she needs a holiday?

Father Christmas Needs a Wee.
At each different house that he visits Father Christmas drinks and eats all the goodies left out for him. Before long he really, really, really needs a wee. So much so that he even forgets to leave the presents behind. But he dashes back, delivers all the pressies and flies home at high speed to avoid an embarassing accident there's just one tiny problem he's lost his house key!

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.
Late one Christmas Eve, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer's harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.

The Christmas Story by Ian Beck.
High above the stables the night sky was filled with angels, who gave thanks to God and welcomed the new baby with their beautiful music. A perfect first book of the Nativity; simply told and beautifully illustrated.

Geronimo by David Walliams. 
Meet Geronimo – the baby penguin who has one dream and one dream only and that is to fly! But everyone knows penguins can’t fly or can they? With a little help from his dad and friends, baby Geronimo discovers that even the wildest of dreams can come true.

Mog's Christmas by Judith Kerr.
The classic story of everyone’s favourite forgetful cat at Christmas - now as a board book for the first time! It’s Christmas, and Mog’s house is full of strange noises and peculiar smells. Everyone is busy hanging holly and blowing up balloons, and where is that tree going? Mog is not happy. So she escapes to the roof, and there she stays…until, unexpectedly, she returns with a bump!

Stick Man Paperback by Julia Donaldson.
"Stick Man lives in the family tree With his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three." But it's dangerous being a Stick Man. A dog wants to play with him, a swan builds her nest with him. He even ends up on a fire! Will he ever get back to the family tree?

That's Not My Snowman by Fiona Watt.
A touchy-feely board book with simple, repetitive text, tactile patches and bold illustrations suitable for babies and toddlers. A little, white mouse appears on every page, for children to spot.

Rudey’s Windy Christmas Paperback by Helen Baugh.
“Oh, dearie me!” said Rudey. Now I’ve done a windy pop!
This is a bit embarrassing. I’ll do my best to stop.” 
Rudey has eaten too many sprouts and the explosive effect is smelt all around the world as he Santa delivery presents on Christmas Eve… The other reindeer have laughed so much, they’re out of puff. How ever will they get the sleigh back home?

Katie's London Christmas by James Mayhew.
When Katie and Jack are woken up late on Christmas Eve by a loud sneeze, little do they realise that they are about to embark on the most amazing evening! Soon they are flying high across London, over snow-dusted landmarks, through the star-scattered sky with the one and only Father Christmas, in his sleigh, with his magical reindeer! But can they help Father Christmas to deliver all his presents and be back in time for Christmas morning?

Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs.
Father Christmas awoke from his dream of summer in the sun, and there is was on the calendar, December 24th, Christmas Eve - the start of his longest night's work of the year! 

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas! by Tom Fletcher.
Danny wants everything for Christmas. But what he gets is a dinosaur, a very hungry dinosaur. Danny's new dino eats up all of Christmas, but as we all know, what goes in must come out.

Is It Christmas Yet? Paperback by Jane Chapman. 
Christmas is coming and Ted is so excited. “Is it Christmas yet?” he cries. Poor Ted - will it EVER be Christmas?

Are any of your or your children's favourite here?

O'Keeffe's Hardworking Skin Care Gift Set - Review!

I was recently contacted and asked if I would like to have a look at something from O'Keeffe's which specialise in hand cream for working hands.

O'Keeffe's has launched three new gift packs just in time for Christmas which would be perfect for my dad. My dad is a typical old school man. He is not into the whole male grooming thing. He washes with soap and water and uses an own brand shaving foam and that's about it. He works outdoors all year through and his skin suffers especially on his hands and feet. 

O'Keeffe's guarantees relief for extremely dry, cracked skin. Their products are unscented, non-greasy, hypoallergenic and offer relief in days.

I was sent the Hardworking Skin Care Gift Set which contains three products.

Working Hands.

O'keefe's Working Hands is a concentrated hand cream that heals, relieves and repairs dry and cracked hands. 

For best results, apply a small dab as needed throughout the day. Apply after hand washing, after bathing and at bedtime as these are the most effective times for moisturising extremely dry skin. 

Healthy Feet

O'Keffe's for Healthy Feet Foot Cream is a highly effective moisturiser for extremely dry cracked skin. When used daily, O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet is clinically proven to instantly boost moisture levels, create a protective layer on the skin's surface, help prevent further moisture loss and make a difference that you will feel within days.

Lip Repair.

When used daily, O'Keeffe's Lip Repair is clinically proven to cool lips on contact, provide instand relief and all day moisture in 1 use, create a flexible barrier and heal dry, cracked lips, protect against dryness all day, even while you eat and drink and absorb quickly to provide soft, smooth lips.

This is the perfect gift for someone who works outdoors a lot or just needs a little TLC when it comes to their hands, feet or lips. 

There are three gift packs in this range. This one, the one containing tubes of the cream and lip balm and one containing two of the Working Hands hand cream and lip balm.

The gift packs are available from Boots, Sainsbury's, Lloyds Pharmacies and independent pharmacists and are priced at just £14.99 each.

I was sent this free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

A very generous Tooth Fairy....

A few weeks ago the kids had a check up at the dentist's. The last time we had seen our dentist he said he wanted Ellie back in 3 months. She had some loose baby teeth and he wanted to check they had came out OK. 

The three months was up a couple of weeks ago and the teeth still hadn't came out. We knew they were loose and so did Ellie. She was reluctant to brush her teeth properly or eat anything really chewy. She has had plenty of baby teeth come out in the past and she didn't know why these two were scaring her so much. They were the pointy one's, on the top.

For the first time ever she was upset to go to the dentist. She cried walking there, sitting in the waiting room and in the chair but our dentist is amazing and he calmed her down within minutes. He had a look at her teeth and we could see they were ready to come out. Ellie was having none of it though, her mouth was firmly shut tight. The dentist suggested numbing cream and Ellie agreed. Phew! After a few minutes both of the teeth came out and Ellie didn't even flinch.

It was another thing which Ellie built up in her head to be worse than it was. I am guilty of doing the same thing, making mountain out of a molehills. As soon as she got out of the dentists chair it was like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders and she was smiling properly.

Of course loosing teeth means the tooth fairy has to come and visit. As soon as she left the dentist she started negotiating and said she was going to write the tooth fairy to plead her case. She needed more money because in her words she had been through "an ordeal".

She did indeed write the letter and said instead of the normal £1 per tooth she needed £1.50. Our tooth fairy might be a little soft and she got the £3 for the two teeth. hehehe

I was sent an email showing the results of a study which looked at 2,000 families across the UK, showed the following 'going rates' for the Tooth Fairy:

Bradford - 50 pence
Edinburgh - 75 pence
Nottingham - £1.00
Manchester - £1.20
Bristol - £1.25
London - £1.50
Leeds - £1.50
Harrogate - £2.50

I remember when I was a child I would always get a really shiny 50 pence piece. 

We are coming to the end of our dealings with the tooth fairy as Ellie only has a couple of baby teeth left. She is gutted. She really does love the excitement of it all.

How much does the tooth fairy leave for teeth in your house?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A great gift for the hard to buy for! The Book of Everyone!

My dad has to be the hardest person to by for. Anything he needs he has or he will buy himself. For Fathers day I bought him a hammer with a message engraved on it and he loved it so I think personalised gift was the way forward.

When I had the chance to review The Book of Everyone I jumped at the chance. It is such a clever idea. You can create a beautifully designed book about anyone with a few taps of your keyboard. The book is aimed book aimed specifically at the person receiving it.

You don't have to be a computer whizz to make the book, you just enter a few details and the website does all the work for you. It is straightforward and simple to use.

The book I made for my dad had over 50 pages and there were some pages that I could edit which was a good idea. Not everyone is the same so you can make it suit the recipient.

There is so much information about the date the receiver was born, the age they are and their name. I found it really interesting and I am sure my dad will too! 

You find out things like how many people were alive on earth when you were, facts about your age, how long you spent as a single cel and when, the biggest film in your birth year, how to sign your name, how much things cost when you were born and so much more.

When you have finished editing you go to the checkout. The book is available in three covers:

Simple & high-quality, our softback edition is a wonderful way to celebrate that special person in your life.

For a lifetime of re-reading, our hardback edition has a laminated hardcover making it the perfect keepsake.

For those important occasions, our deluxe edition is hand-bound with a padded cover and luxury presentation case.

You can add gift wrap and a card too. There is an option for free delivery but you can pay extra to get your book quicker.

I was kept informed via email about how my book was doing. When it was sent to the printers and when it was dispatched. It was good to be kept in the loop.

A few days after ordering the book arrived and I couldn't wait to have a look at it.

It was brilliant. Each page made me smile. Some of it was silly and fun and some of it was interesting and informative.

Prices start from From £23.95 and I think it is well worth that price. It is a really unique book and will make a fantastic gift for the hard to buy for. I am sure my dad is going to love it.

I was sent this book free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Our weekly meal plan. 12th Nov - 18th Nov! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went really well. We ate just about everything. Yesterday we had a Chinese takeaway because nobody could be bothered to cook.

I decided for this week instead of getting my usual Tesco shop I would get one from Iceland. We were running low on freezer stuff. I over bought and now it's rammed full. Oops.

Have we all seen the banned Iceland Christmas advert? I think it is shocking that it was banned from TV for being too political. It raises such an important issue and gets the point across well.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - A turkey breast joint with mash and veg.
Tuesday - Fish steaks in butter sauce with new potatoes and peas.
Thursday - Cheese & onion crispbakes with potato wedges and spaghetti hoops..
Friday - Fish, chips and mushy peas.
Saturday - Spaghetti Bolognese & Garlic bread.
Sunday - Leftover bolognese in Stand 'N' Stuff Tortillas.