We have been shopping at Morrisons for years, and I have loved seeing it evolve with its market street stores, to toys and beautiful, affordable kids clothing. They not only have delicious fresh foods, and are a great place for the weekly (and Christmas) shop, but with tasty treats, lovely seasonal delights, entertainment and now even plush home-ware’s too, they are are basically a one-stop Christmas shop!

We were excited this last week to receive from them a gift box containing goodies for a cosy family night in; complete with cute festive itty bitty’s, treats, a gorgeous purple throw and a copy of the new “Beauty & the Beast”!

All available in their stores, it was so delightful to have some samples of what is purchasable this Christmas time from them. Their stuff is such lovely quality and would make wonderful and affordable gifts for teachers, friends, kids and family. With bigger gifts to stocking fillers, to even delicious things for food hampers Morrisons has really become the one-stop shop for the whole families needs this Christmas time. We are more than excited to steal some time together over the weekend to snuggle down, crack open their best fudge and mince pies, and enjoy some family time with a film (we surprisingly haven’t seen yet) courtesy of them!

With the festive period right around the corner, why not pop along to your local Morrisons and discover their tasty treats and plush home furnishing’s, sparkly decorations and that all important family entertainment. Their stores are packed with all sorts of goodies at great prices and with this season of giving you are bound to find something for everyone you’re still to buy for!! They also have a beautiful array of cards for everyone, as well as yummy things in their seasonal foods range. Check out my video below as I explain a little more and do a little show and tell of what we received! Then  go see for yourself the goodies in your local store…you are sure to find something for everyone.

*Thanks to Morrisons for sending us these goodies/cards for the purpose of this review 

 

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As we approach Christmas I am excited for Alice to have her first Christmas where she is actually aware that something is happening. Because of this increased awareness of gifts, (and things that are hers) that comes with being almost 18 months old, I have been way more thoughtful about her gifts and what she will love! With this, I have had a lot of joy in choosing for her things she can play with and enjoy, all whilst building her confidence and skills.

At the top of the list has always been a Playmobil Noah’s ark, followed closely by a little toddler bike, and then a doll or something similar since she has taken a shine to Megan’s! I think all of these things will be so lovely for her and are things that grow with her and will be used for a good couple of years! The Doll and playmobil are very straightforward, however when it comes to a bike suitable for her age I have wondered, which would be most suitable?!

We have been excited to review with her (and then hide away before the kids get home) the Toddlebike2, and have found it to be a lovely little toy for toddlers with great benefits.

Toddlebike 2

The Toddlebike2 is a unique pre-balance bike for ages 18 – 36 months and will certainly make a great Christmas or birthday gift for the little tots in your life. Available in 3 lovely colours (red, pink, blue) it is fun looking and there is something for everyone. They are really reasonably priced too at £23.95 which I think is brilliant.

Whilst Alice already has a scuttlebug she has inherited (and I only bring this up as I am sure many will think they have no need for this as well), the Toddlebike2 is a lot different, as it is specifically designed to be more like a real bike and give the child their first cycling experience. I absolutely love it for its simplicity, and that it promotes balance, is light weight and easy to clean. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and over all terrains so gives them lots of practice! It fills the gap from the baby ride on toys they have outgrown to the age when they can handle a balance bike or scooter.

As I said one of its great features (aside from being a pre-balance bike) is that it is super light (like under 1kg light) and so can hang on the buggy when out and about, be easily carried to the park, or the best part for Alice – she can easily manouver it and move it around the house when she isn’t on it too (goodbye frustrated tot). It really has been thought about from the perspective of little one and you can see how well it fits into their life. She loved riding it, carrying and pushing it.

When Alice first saw it she shouted some delightful gabble at it and then was itching to have a go! She sat on it and grinned, and then began shuffling around the room! She struggled a little to get her leg over the cross bar, but it doesn’t phase me because with practice I know she will tackle it – I just see it as promoting her problem solving skills!

I loved after we had been out on it, I could so easily wipe it clean and when she wanted to walk, we could easily carry it!

She has had lots of fun both inside and out trialling this, and has found great delight in her new toy bike! I loved watching her toddle along with it across the village green, and chatter away as she went. As it hung on the buggy she would periodically turn to check it was still there, and give it a reassuring pat, and then as we walked she kept pointing at it and smiling! Yes it’s safe to say it gets the thumbs up from Alice, and me… she loved being on it…so much so that she wailed a little when it went away for Christmas!

I am really pleased to have discovered the Toddlebike2 as it is perfect for kids around Alice’s age and a little older too. It has great benefits; promoting balance, steering and confidence and is something that will teach her all of the skills she needs as she grows into a preschooler and towards a balance bike. For now though I look forward to getting it out again on Christmas morning, seeing everyone’s excitement (especially hers), and for it to become a daily part of her life to have fun on and master!

If you are looking for a fun and yet practical gift that will last a good year or 2 for your tot, then give them a Toddlebike2 this Christmas! Hours of fun and adventure await for them in their little world whatever the weather!!

 

Family Fever
 *We were sent the Toddlebike2 for the purpose of this review! All thoughts and pictures are my own.
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I absolutely LOVE Snapfish for all of my on line photo needs, I have been using them for a good few years as they always have excellent service, quality, offers and generally just great value. So when they asked me recently if I would like to work with them to create some personalised photo calenders for next year I said “Yes”! It was a really exciting project that made the most of this years Instagram, holiday and blog pics.
WP_20151204_13_55_20_ProThe first one I made was for our home. I like a good sized calender in our kitchen to keep track of everything in easy view (which was reflected in the size I chose). I chose seasonal family pictures; some from Instagram so that they were already edited lovely and had been snapped quickly in the moment, some were from this years holidays and others just from the blog and then uploaded these into an on line album where I could then select which ones I would insert.

For the cover I chose a family pic of us on Holiday in Italy last year, as it was such a joyful time for us and to me epitomised a joyful family adventure and then titled the calender “A year of Joyful adventures” as this is our overall family goal for 2016.
WP_20151204_14_35_28_ProAs soon as I heard of this opportunity, I came up with the idea of it being a “bucket list” of adventures for next year, to keep us focused on good family fun and so as to save time having to think of family days out or things to do, but that they would already be in easy view to just decide “when” we would do them during that month! It would reflect seasonal adventures and goals with seasonal pictures and be a lovely thing to look at as oppose to somewhere just to record the “To Do’s” of the month!
WP_20151204_13_58_27_ProI loved that they then had a huge array of backgrounds to personalise it and so played around with it for AGES! Each one I chose had a “scrap booking feel”, which was also one of the reasons why I chose to do it in the 12 x 12 sizing, so that at the end of the year, each page can be slotted into a scrapbook as a reminder of all of our adventures for the forthcoming year.

I then began writing a list of 4 or 5 activities each month that we either loved last year, or would be a new and exciting experience to look forward to next year and used their text feature to put these in a list on each page, changing the font according to the season… I love the example of December as the background is festive, the pics are seasonal and the cursive font just finishes it off.
WP_20151204_14_36_56_ProI matched some pictures according to the activities I had planned (like the farm/outdoors/baby animal theme in April and Easter eggs in March) so that the kids could look at it, remember it, talk about it and then look forward to doing it all over again!
WP_20151202_10_42_38_Pro WP_20151202_10_42_23_ProI think my favourite months are definitely September, with the Poppy background and a mixture of family and instagram pictures. I love that all of my kids are on one page!
WP_20151204_14_37_54_ProAnd also October, the pictures are gorgeous and it feels so beautiful and seasonal to look at.
WP_20151204_16_39_30_ProAnd finally for this one, I loved that not only can you write ahead of time important dates, but that you can also insert a featured image which just makes it that all the more personal and beautiful!
personal datesThe Second Calender I created was a desk calender and this is going to be part of my secret Santa gift for my Brother in law (whom I am almost certain and hopeful doesn’t read my blog!).
WP_20151204_13_59_33_ProI used pictures from their recent trip to Scotland, as I know it was somewhere he wanted to visit for a while so felt he would enjoy looking back on them and reflecting on a lovely trip with his new wife and then also added in a couple of dating and wedding pics from last year and some of his wife in her single days!!!  This time kept the backgrounds quite minimal.

I loved again to make use of the text boxes and really went to town with it putting little quotes each month under the pictures. I chose film quotes, marriage quotes, family quotes and generally nice little sayings to create a memory calender with inspiring monthly words to reflect on, that I feel matched the picture!
InstagramCapture_73b49ce4-28b4-4e6f-a4f9-a723c20ffd84I found this project really quite addictive with so many options and I began to think of all of the combos I could do for people as gifts and how flexible it is to make it 100% personal and as a result love that we have our very own bucket list calender with beautiful pictures of our family on.

I found it very straight forward to use, and especially loved the seasonal backgrounds and text features to make the most of it and hope that my Brother in Law enjoys his as much as we will ours! The quality of both calenders was splendid and they are gorgeous!

If you would like to make your own calender(s) for next year with all of your lovely holiday pics, adventures and snaps from instagram, then the lovely people at Snapfish are offering 50% off for my readers…just make your creation and add use the code SFUK411

Disclaimer: Snapfish gave me credit for 2 FREE calenders to use how ever I imagined, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

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Here we all are on the countdown to Christmas, and I don’t know about you, but I am pretty unorganised this year with very little purchased and absolutely nothing wrapped yet! EEEKKK! I am nowhere near where I wish I was for the time of year we are at, I do however think that it is unavoidable that for the next few weeks I will be writing about the bargains and ways to save money to make Christmas magical and wonderful with out it being anything that causes large expenditure or debt.

I wrote recently about how I wanted the gifts we give to our kids to be quite minimal and for them to focus on others more than themselves. I have also said on numerous occasions that I am more than happy to give them good quality second hand than always going for the obvious 1st thing you see in the shop. So with that in mind, it leads nicely in to 2 of Ethans 3 gifts he will be getting for Christmas this year (thank goodness he doesn’t have the internet or any level of reading) which combined cost me £6 and a few quid postage!

I have deliberately gone for things that they haven’t whined about getting, but I know they will absolutely love and get lots of use out of, they are things that will grow with them for a few years and things they can easily share with cousins and friends that come to play.
Hearty Life

  1. A new train bridge 
    Ethan absolutely loves and will spend hours playing with his extensive train set. He loves the various creations and tracks he makes and he loves everyone to play it with him and appreciate each unique set up and with that, as parents, we all know that Brio is a name to be trusted and that is because its made to last. To me that means that a second hand piece of Brio is likely to be (give or take the odd scratch) in pretty good condition!
    WP_20151203_19_15_14_ProThis Bridge (and 2 pieces of track) was won on Ebay for £5 and I really love it, not because it was a barg, but because it reminds me of tower bridge in London, and as we hope to take him in the not too distant future (provided its safe) I can just imagine him seeing HIS train bridge in real life…I know he will love lifting up the bridge and making a whole new lay out with his trains!
  2. A Medieval Castle
    Ethan has gone through phases of being into knights, but never really asked for anything to do with them.
    So why buy him it then?  I hear you ask! Well as I watch him each time he goes to the royal armouries, and with his new “fighting talk” and rough and tumble stage of life, I really think and feel like this will be right down his street. He absolutely loves imaginative play, he loves castles when we are out and about, and it will be a huge surprise that I don’t think he could ever guess! I decided I would get him a castle and it turned out to be this one:
    WP_20151130_10_50_58_ProIt cost me just 99p (yes pence) on ebay and I went to pick it up about 1/2 an hour away! This has to be the biggest bargain by far, and I plan on buying 5/6 knights to wrap up with it and to start him off with so he has a reasonable number to explore and battle!For Gift number 3 I am thinking “A Costume”
    Dress up is something both Ethan and Megan enjoy and I find it quite a traditional gift too! I really enjoy seeing them take on a new character and play for ages together so lovely in their own little world. I am hoping over the next week or so to make him either a knights costume to theme with his castle gift, or a pirates as he loves them too (I might do a knights and pirate trousers!).I have looked around at various shops to buy them, but honestly feel the quality and price aren’t too great and for what you pay for better quality and lasting fabrics, it seems more sensible to sew him something! So watch this space…

     I love the 3 gift giving approach we have taken and so very much look forward to also buying a few little bits, small toys, treats and underwear to fill his stocking from Santa with. It has taken away a lot of stress to really consider why we are getting it and how they might like it, instead of a list of so much they think they want!

    On our list to buy for we have 2 of my nephews. I am still deciding on what direction to take for one, but for my sisters little boy, I Picked up a gorgeous floor puzzle in HomeSense for just £3.99 which I know he will love, and which has an RRP of £9.99 – another Barg!!
    I have also made some Pajama bottoms to go with it, which put the whole gift at about £6, and which I will show you in a later post!
    InstagramCapture_433ce196-bae7-4be9-b61b-b318c5165dcfI am absolutely going nuts that Ethan’s main gifts barely scratched the surface on our budget and we snapped some great deals and saved an absolute bomb… I like that I can also give our family some lovely thoughtful gifts for just over £5 and this really makes me feel a little more excited for Christmas day and seeing all of their little faces!

    What has been your biggest bargain so far? 

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