Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas gifts for under £5 – the SDfiverChallenge

Hope it is not too early to mention the Christmas word. Britmums have challenged bloggers to take the Christmas #sdfiverchallenge to find some great gifts for £5. And as one of the first 100 to sign upto the challenge, I received a free £30 SportsDirect voucher to purchase my gifts.

Now I regularly pop into our local branch of SportsDirect to buy football boots for the boys and my running gear. So I have noticed other items like kids’ wellingtons but had no idea that they stocked toys and other gifts.

Sportsdirect.com is not just football boots and inexpensive trainers. It features fashion brands, leisurewear and more! Because of its buying power, Sportsdirect.com is able to get products you’d expect to pay more for elsewhere. Their range of £5 gifts for Christmas means you can shop for family, friends, teachers and even your book-club buddies for less!

I think I am trying to do my Christmas shopping too early, as this gift link wasn’t visible from the homepage menu. But that didn’t put me off and I chose the following gifts from their £5 and under range.

SportsDirect gifts

A Manchester City Fidget Spinner for £5

and a 4 piece Minions wash set for £2. I think I must have got the last one of these, as I couldn’t find it subsequently to add the link. Hopefully they will restock this. I did notice that most of the items in the gift range were aimed at children.

However sticking with the £5 price, I bought some other items, not from the Christmas range, but just as good for gifts in my opinion. These were
Star Wars mens underwear
I chose to buy 2 pairs of these as they were priced at £5 each or 2 for £8.

Marvel Civil War t-shirt
Minions trunks
The trunks are a tried and tested product as we already have a similar pair in a different design, which need replacing due to fading.

These all came to a total of £25 as I had saved the remaining £5 for shipping.

I then completed the checkout process easily but do have one complaint. When I added my voucher code, it automatically repriced my multi-buy on the men’s underwear back to the original price with no prior warning. This was disappointing, as I ended up paying £2 more than anticipated.

Standard shipping is a flat rate of £4.99, but I did notice that they do offer an alternative collect in store service, where they reimburse the shipping with a £5 voucher. Seems a rather cheeky way of enticing you to make another purchase. Why not just offer a free collect in store service.

SportsDirect gifts

I was pleased with the dispatch service as the items were delivered very quickly and the clothes were all individually wrapped in polythene. However a total failure when I tried to remove price labels from the fidget spinner and the wash set. When I buy something from a gift range, I expect to be able to easily remove the price, not end up with the result in this photo below.

SportsDirect gifts - Fidget Spinner

Also if I pay £5 for an item like the Minions swimming trunks, I’m not particularly impressed to receive them with a price label of £2.50, half the price I actually paid. At least son2 was happy.

SportsDirect gifts

Son1 wasn’t quite so convinced though as I had decided to get him a t-shirt in the next size up to ensure he didn’t grow out of it too quickly. But it was huge. Never mind, he will grow into it. So full marks to SportsDirect on sizing, as it looks like it would have been roomy enough if I had got it his actual age.

SportsDirect gifts

And I’ve already mentioned how I was disappointed to end up paying £10 rather than £8 for 2 pairs of men’s underwear. To rub salt into the wound, they arrived complete with “2 for £8” labels still.

SportsDirect gifts

So in summary, yes I succeeded with the #sdfiverchallenge of buying plenty of gifts for £5 or less, but I did have a few issues along the way.

I’d love to hear what you would buy from the SportsDirect Christmas range?

And subsequent to the delivery, I’m very pleased to say that SportsDirect refunded the additional £2 that I had paid.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I purchased using a voucher I was sent for free. All opinions are my own. This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge Christmas Challenge, sponsored by Sportsdirect.com.




12 Days of Clink Street Christmas – Red Scarf by John Hickling

I have received an exclusive special Christmas short story Red Scarf written by John Hickling, to share with you. Earlier this year, I read Champagne & Lemonade, a collection of his short stories, which I enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this. And I have to say, it certainly lived up to expectation. So I hope you like it too.

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas

Red Scarf

The snow was thick and blissful on 23rd of December. The beautiful white streets of this normally dirty City were bursting with life, people of all ages and race shopped for xmas presents for their loved ones. Christmas trees, decorations and lights were strewn all over, making the streets look like a delightfully pretty xmas scene painting. Unfortunately, not everything was perfect, as beggar’s, the unfortunates were dotted around the City. Shivering, wrapped up in anything they could get their hands on, to try and keep warm.

A couple of streets away were a married couple, both in their late forties, they were wrapped up in thick long coats and wore matching red scarves. They battled their way through the deep snow with bags full of xmas presents. Turning into a dark alleyway back to their parked car, there were a couple of beggars tucked up in old sleeping bags.

“Spare any change? Please” Croaked an elderly scruffy looking man. The man in the red scarf rummaged through his pockets and passed the beggar a couple of quid.

“Bless ya” mumbled the beggar. The couple smiled and carried on their walk. Further on, from nowhere, two men jumped out on the couple knocking the woman to the snow covered ground. Her husband fought back but was overpowered, one of the attackers pulled out a knife, the red scarfed man looked death in the eye, when a scruffy boy, hit the attacker with a traffic cone. The other assailant pushed the boy to the ground and grabbing what they could they ran away. The red scarfed man gingerly got to his feet. The boy jumped up and fled.

“Wait” yelled the man, then rushed to his aid his semi-conscious Wife.

The couple, whose names were Alan and Mandy, were drinking coffee in the police station. Mandy still had a groggy head which was not helped by ‘I wish It could be Christmas every day’ blaring out the radio. Alan who suffers from OCD was getting very irritated by the scruffy, leaning to the left Xmas tree.

The investigating officer read over the statement. Two men, both dark hair, one with a scruffy beard, 35 to 45 in age, both in black clothing. A boy in jeans, black ripped jacket, blue peaked woolly hat, 16 to 17 in age. Some bottles of wine, a games console and perfumes were taken. It was established that the couple had never seen the boy before or noticed where he came from.

“Transport has arrived to take you both home Sir. We will be in touch with any information”

“Thank you officer, will you please promise to search for the boy? He shouldn’t be on the streets, not just at Christmas, but at all” said the weak smiling woman, squeezing Alans hand.

“We will madam. Please go home and get some rest. The couple bid farewell and merry Christmas and left.

At the couple’s home, Mandy was in tears clutching a photograph of her, her husband and their daughter who had been swept of a pier on a daytrip to the coast over a year ago. They were all wearing matching red scarves, gloves and hats, that were Christmas presents, she was 13 at the time. Her body was never recovered.

“I do hope the boy is alright Alan” murmured Mandy. Alan held her tight.

The snow was now swirling down, it was very dark and cold. The boy, who was below a brick archway under a bridge, had managed to get a fire going and was munching on a sandwich he had bought from his begging takings. He bedded down in his smelly sleeping bag.

In an old abandoned warehouse, the two robbers were sat around an old oil drum that housed a fire. The robber with the beard was rubbing his head.

“I tell ya, that boy, he could blow on us if the coppers find him, we must find him first” The other robber nodded has he looked through the stolen bags.

Christmas Eve and Alan had just got off the phone from the police who had informed him that so far they had neither found the robbers or the boy. It was 630pm. Alan and Mandy were concerned for the boy’s safety. Alan felt it was his duty to at least look for him, after all he had saved his life. Alan wrapped his red scarf around his neck, donned his thick coat, hat and gloves.

“I must at least try Mandy I just hope to god those two scumbags are not after him” His wife hugged him. But that is what was happening, the two robbers had been searching for the boy.

Later, Alan asked a beggar, who he had given a fiver and a sandwich, if he knew of a young boy of his description. The beggar had told him to try the bridge brick archways, there are a few young uns that go there.

The boy was really feeling the cold, he hadn’t eaten since the sandwich and shivering he desperately tried to light a fire, when he thought he heard a noise. He looked around but couldn’t see anything, so attempted to light his fire.

“Well, well” yelled the bearded robber who was stood a few metres in front of the boy, the boy started to run but the other robber jumped on him. Both robbers had clubs and dragged the boy into the archway, the robber without the beard was about to whack the boy when he himself groaned and fell to the floor. Alan had hit him over the head with a stick, the bearded robber grabbed the boy, facing Alan

“Let the boy go” Alan shouted. The bearded robber laughed then pulled out a gun, the boy kicked the robbers leg and Alan threw the stick at his face, the gun dropped.

“Run” roared Alan, grabbing the boy. The robber grabbed his gun and gave chase. Alan and the boy struggled up a snow covered banking. The boy slipped and banged his head. Alan dragged the dazed boy to the top but the robber was right behind and fired a shot in the air. Alan and the boy stood with hands raised. The robber grinned

“Who’s first” he pressed the trigger but it jammed. Alan lunged at him pushing him down the bank, he and the boy ran.

At the police station, which was full of the usual xmas drunks, the two robbers were in custody, Alan and the scared boy were in a room, Mandy was also there. The police had constantly tried to quiz the boy who was looking more frightened by the second.

“Stop it” Said Mandy passing the boy a sandwich, the boy whose face was so dirty and bruised tucked in.

“We would like to thank you for helping us yesterday. We only want to help you. What is your name honey?” smiled Mandy, her husband and the police nodded. The confused looking boy, shrugged and mumbled.

“I am not sure; I can’t remember” tears welled up his eyes.

“Are you hurt? You did get a bang on the head when we slid down the banking” Prompted Alan. The boy held his dirty face in his hands and shrugged.

The officer was just about to go into another volley full of questioning, when Mandy pulled them all aside.

“Look the boy is hurt, confused and very scared, you will only frighten him more with the constant questions. Let me and Alan take him home, give him a nice meal, a bath and a bed, then I am sure he will come around” Alan smiled as he and his wife held hands. The police whispered among themselves for a couple of minutes, before agreeing with Mandy. Everyone was happy, even Mandy smiled at ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ on the radio.

Back at the couple’s house Alan had hung up their coats, red scarfs and hats, while Mandy put on the kettle. The boy stood near the fire looking confused.

“Please don’t be scared, I will make you something nice to eat. First I will run the bath” smiled Mandy. The boy smiled back.

“Let me hang up your coat” Alan said, gesturing for the boy to take of his dirty ripped jacket. The boy looked around at all the decorations then back at Alan and Mandy, smiling he proceeded to take of his woolly peaked hat and coat. The couple stood opened mouthed at the scruffy, thin looking blonde haired girl, with a red scarf around her neck.

About John Hickling

Proud father and grandfather, and jack of all trades John A.D. Hickling currently lives with his family in Nottingham. A lover of music, especially 60’s rock, John has previously recorded two independent albums, appeared in comedy band Space Cadets on Britain’s Got Talent and is an active member of Masque Productions amateur theatre group. His debut book, Champagne & Lemonade (published by Clink Street Publishing July 5th 2016 RRP £6.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit www.johnchewyhickling.com or find John on Facebook or Twitter.

Champagne & Lemonade by John Hickling

I’m participating in the 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas blogival. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of festive reading tastes.

12 days of Clink Street Christmas blogtour

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Disclosure. This post contains an exclusive short story I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Personalised Christmas cards and voucher giveaway

We’ve been creative and made our own personalised Christmas photo cards this year. Firstly I took some festive photographs of the boys and then chose the following two shots to use for our Christmas cards.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas

I uploaded these to Snapfish who have given me a free £25 voucher for the purpose of this review. I already have an account with Snapfish, as I have reviewed their products previously for both Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

But I recall that it was very simple to set up an account with Snapfish and it is also easy to upload photos.

Then comes the more time-consuming part, namely choosing your Christmas card designs as there is a huge range, over 1200 of them. Of course, you can do this quickly by limiting your selection to what you see on the first page, but I wanted to browse around a bit. There are plenty of filters to narrow your choice such as how many images you want on your card, orientation and colour. You can also narrow down by size and flat or folded card, but bizarrely I couldn’t find a way of combining this with the other filter.

I had already decided that I wanted folded cards using one image per card. I also wanted minimal text on the inside, as I intended to write my own greetings inside. So this is what I chose, both in size 7×5″.

Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards

The cards cost £1.25 each because I bulk-ordered 20 cards. The pricing is on a sliding scale, which currently ranges from £1.99 for an individual card down to 75p for 100+ cards.Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards

Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards

The cards arrived quickly, well before the estimated delivery date and were well packed. They looked great, nice and glossy.  Also 15p of the purchase price of each card goes to Macmillan Cancer Support.

I am very happy with my Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards and recommend that you take a look. They also do a wide range of other personalised products including Christmas baubles. Please note that the last order date for Christmas is 20th December.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a £25 Snapfish voucher to one lucky winner. What a great prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what you would choose from Snapfish?

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Disclosure.  I received a voucher to purchase items from Snapfish.  All opinions are my own.

Twenty Four Days to Christmas by Fred Arthur

As we approach the Advent season, we are waiting for our free paperback copy of children’s Christmas book “Twenty Four Days to Christmas” by Fred Arthur to arrive. In the meantime, we have been looking at the kindle version. Just like how you can have Advent candles as an alternative to an Advent calendar, here is a book with a tale for each day of Advent.

Twenty Four Days to Christmas by Fred Arthur

Here is the book blurb.

Poppy is in agony – it is the First of December and she has twenty-four days to wait until Christmas and she is convinced that she will not be able to contain her excitement and impatience: How can she possibly wait so long for Santa to arrive? Poppy’s parents put their heads together and come up with a cunning plan that has Poppy completing a different, Christmas themed activity every day, to keep Her busy until Christmas (and Santa) finally arrives. Twenty-Four Days To Christmas is an Advent Calendar of a book, which can be read one day at a time, or as a complete story, and centres on Christmas, family and the magic of the Christmas season.

This book is truly delightful and beautifully illustrated. It can be read each day throughout Advent or alternatively all in one go. Think of it as an Advent calendar but as a book. It is packed full of 24 Christmas activities for Poppy to participate in, all thought up by her parents to keep her busy so she forgets her impatience at waiting for the big day itself.

It is one of those timeless Christmas books that we shall enjoy year after year, just like The Night Before Christmas.

Twenty Four Days To Christmas by Fred Arthur

Twenty Four Days to Christmas is available on Amazon, currently priced at £5.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. and is published by Clink Street Publishing. Written by Fred Arthur and illustrated by Paul Winward. I highly recommend this gorgeous children’s Advent book. I’ve read the story in one go and we are looking forward to reading it together on a day by day basis throughout Advent. Son1 has also already enjoyed dipping into it.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. I will shortly also be receiving it in paperback format.  All opinions are my own.

The tasty alternative to a greetings card plus giveaway

I’ve reached the reminder in my list that says to buy Christmas cards. I have to say I buy much fewer of these now than I used to, mostly just for the boys to send to their school friends. Beyond that I tend to mainly send charity e-cards or I prefer to do something a little bit more memorable for close family and friends.

So I was interested to hear about Morse Toad Messaging which is a tasty alternative to a greetings card. They specialise in putting a smile on someone’s face with a surprise personalised chocolate delivery. And they gave me a free £10 voucher to spend on their website.

I showed the website to the boys and they wanted to surprise their dad with one. We decided to  stick with the seasonal theme, but as it is far too early to have a Christmassy house, we just dug out their Christmas hats for a photo, ready to personalise their gift.

Christmas hats

They chose the “Best Dad in the World” wording which currently retails at £12.50. We wrote a personalised message to be printed on the reverse of the card insert. And I uploaded their photo for the front of the card which cost an additional £1. Or there were a few free images of Morse Toad in his top hat that you can choose from instead of uploading your own image. All told, the ordering process was very quick and simple. And shipping is free for all UK orders over £5.

Alternatively you can personalise the wording for your chocolate. There are 11 character spaces per row and you may have up to 4 rows.

Morse Toad Messaging Chocolate

The service was very quick. I placed the order in the evening and had an email the next afternoon to say it had been dispatched. Two days later it arrived. It was well packed and is letterbox size.

Morse Toad Messaging Chocolate

Morse Toad Messaging Chocolate

Doesn’t that look fantastic, full of tasty Belgian chocolate? Wouldn’t you just love to give or receive one of these?

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a £15 voucher to spend at Morse Toad Messaging. So the lucky winner gets to choose how to spend their prize. Open worldwide.

And I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your order at Morse Toad Messaging with discount code: “YABMummy” (expires Christmas Day).
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear who you would like to give a Morse Toad chocolate message to and for what occasion?

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Disclosure. I received a £10 voucher towards purchasing goods from Morse Toad. All opinions are my own.

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins

I have received a free copy of a new twist on the classic poem “The Night Before Christmas” for the boys to review. We already have the version illustrated by Christian Birmingham and it is a family tradition to read that together every Christmas Eve and then listen to the CD. So the boys are already familiar with Clement C Moore’s traditional poem.

The Night Before Christmas

Here is the book blurb.

It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring,
Not even a … BEAR ?

Clement Clarke Moore’s much loved poem is brought beautifully to life in this gorgeous picture book with a twist- as Santa visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.

Share the Christmas magic and experience a whole new retelling of the timeless Christmas classic.

The Night Before Christmas

The boys have a huge number of cuddly bears, so I was interested to see their take on this version illustrated with bears rather than people. They liked the idea of bears, but thought that St Nicholas should have also been portrayed as a bear. From my point of view, the book looks cute, but I am glad to see that the poem’s words have not been altered. A lovely book to share for Christmas.

The Night Before Christmas

This book is available directly from publisher NurseryBox and is currently priced at £4.99 in paperback or £1.99 for an ebook, although I can’t seem to get the order buttons to click. You may also purchase the ebook version from Amazon or Apple, for £1.49 currently.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Final Christmas Preparations

Today I’ve been trying to get as much Christmas dinner preparations done as possible so I don’t spend too much time in the kitchen tomorrow missing out on watching the boys excited faces as they open their presents. So I’ve made bread sauce, sausage meat stuffing and chopped most of the vegetables except for the potatoes.

Plus we followed some of our usual family Christmas traditions. We went to the Crib Service at Church. We have been watching Santa’s progress around the world on Norad and videos to the boys on Portable North Pole. We sprinkled magical reindeer food in the garden. There is a mince pie and drink waiting for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph. I read Twas The Night Before Christmas to the boys at bedtime.

And the boys filled their hand decorated boxes with the goodies we had made together yesterday. These are their presents for their grandparents and cousins. We had made chocolate fudge, marzipan stuffed dates, chocolate shapes, marzipan shapes and decorated biscuits. A very busy cooking session.

Christmas baking

Christmas baking

Christmas baking

Christmas baking

Now I’m just wondering how late a night I will have waiting for the boys to go to sleep. So whilst I wait, I’ll share my bread sauce and stuffing recipes.

bread sauce
Bread Sauce


600ml milk
1 medium onion
6 peppercorns
1 tsp powdered bay leaf
100g stale white bread


Cut the bread into small pieces. No need to discard crusts.
Put bread in blender and grind into large crumbs.
Pour the milk into a saucepan.
Peel and chop the onion into 4 pieces.
Add the onion, peppercorns and bay leaf to the milk.
Heat gently and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Strain through a sieve.
Return liquid to saucepan.
Stir in the breadcrumbs.
Heat gently for about 5 minutes.
Season with salt.
Serve with turkey.
This can be reheated in the microwave, if made ahead of schedule.

Sausage meat stuffing
Sausage Meat Stuffing


600g sausage meat
85g sage and onion stuffing mix
250 ml boiling water


Pre-heat fan oven to 170 deg C.
Boil the kettle.
Measure 250ml boiling water into a large bowl.
Add the stuffing mix.
Stir and leave for at least 5 minutes.
Mix in the sausage meat.
Form some of the stuffing into balls.
Place on a baking sheet.
Put the remainder of the stuffing as flat blocks in 2 small ovenproof dishes.
Bake in preheated oven, the balls will take about 25 minutes and the blocks about 35 minutes.
Tip off any excess fat.
Serve with turkey.
This can be reheated in either the oven or the microwave, if made ahead of schedule.

I’d love to hear what preparations you do ahead of Christmas?

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A Christmas branch

I love making natural Christmas decorations. so on a Winter woodland walk I grabbed myself a large dead branch from the ground. Ideal for the project I had in mind. Although note to self for future reference, try and do this near the end of the walk rather than the beginning. It was rather cumbersome to carry several miles especially through gates, and I did get it snagged on barbed wire a couple of times.

I had received some silver glitter spray paint free to review from Rust-oleum and this was what I was going to use to jazz up my branch.

Rust-oleum glitter spray paint

Luckily the weather was dry enough and not windy for me to be able to spray the branch outside, as I’m sure if I had attempted it inside, that I would have ended up with paint flecks on everything nearby. I removed the remaining leaves first.

A Christmas branch

I’ve never used spray paint before but I found it is very simple to use. No brushes needed. However I was anticipating it to give quite a deep silver colour. Instead I found it was almost translucent. Looks very nice still, but doesn’t show too well in the photos. Perhaps I should have given it an extra coat.

A Christmas branch

It dried to the touch very quickly and the instructions indicated that it would be hard dry in 24hrs, so I left it in the garage overnight. Then I stood my branch in a plant pot and filled it with small pebbles, to ensure the branch was stable. And finally I hung Christmas baubles on my branch.

A Christmas Branch

I was very pleased with the finished result and it was very quick and easy to do. Next project is to make a Christmas display with the pine cones that I painted last Easter.

The silver glitter spray paint comes in a 400ml aerosol can. It also comes in gold. It is available from Homebase, currently retailing at £9.49. Also available at B&Q and other stores. A nice product but don’t rely on it looking as bright as the image on the can.

So I’d love to hear what craft projects you are making for Christmas?

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own. 

A fun night in

We love a great night in especially at this time of year when it is already getting dark by 4pm and feeling colder. So I was very pleased to receive a free mini party pack, courtesy of Primula.

Primula party pack

The party pack comprised of the following goodies.

– A Pass the Pud Christmas game
– A triple CD of Christmas hits
– A bottle of Advocaat
– A bottle of lemonade
– A packet of Cheddar & Cracked Black Pepper Ryvita Thins
– A packet of Mackies Sea Salt potato crisps

and five varieties of Primula dips
– Garlic and Herb
– Thai Sweet Chilli
– Spicy Nacho Cheese
– Sour Cream and Chive
– Spicy Salsa

Primula dips

The boys were very interested in the game when I told them it was a belching burping Xmas Pud. So I passed the game to son1 to set up. He pressed out the sixpences, shuffled the cards and then told me that the Pud wasn’t burping. Yes you guessed it. Batteries were needed, but luckily I always keep some spare, which reminds me I must add them to the shopping list, as the boys always seem to get some toys for Xmas which need them. I found it a little fiddly to open the battery compartment, but after a short delay, we were ready.

Let the fun begin. Tasty snacks to munch on. The aim of the game was collect the most sixpences and not be the one holding the Xmas Pud when it burped. The boys found it hilarious.

Primula dips

Pass the Pud

Pass the Pud

Pass the Pud

Pass the Pud

Pass the Pud

Although I frequently buy Primula Cheese, I haven’t come across Primula Dips at the supermarket, so I shall have to keep my eye out for them as they were great. And a big plus point is they don’t need to be kept in the fridge until after they are opened, so fab to have in your store cupboard. Also if you don’t eat it all in one go, they do keep for upto 7 days once opened.

The dip flavours were all delicious although we couldn’t agree which was best. My personal favourite was the Thai Sweet Chilli.

We had a lovely evening. Thank you Primula. But I admit I didn’t try the Advocaat. It’s not a drink I like. Anybody want a bottle going spare?

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

3d Decoupage Advent project plus crafting giveaway

Counting down the days until December, it is time for my latest craft project – a 3d decoupage advent calendar card kit which I received free to review from docrafts. I was very pleased to receive this as making 3d decoupage pictures and cards used to be one of my favourite hobbies before the boys were born. I still have a drawer full of prints waiting for me to find time to do more crafting.

docrafts advent calendar card

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

This kit contained an A5 size preprinted card, 3 die-cut sheets, a preprinted paper, 2 card extensions and an expandable envelope. There were some very small font instructions on the reverse of the pack, too small for me to read easily, but it seemed fairly obvious what I needed to do.

I pressed out the numbers and images to go behind the windows, plus an embellishment for the front. Mostly very easy to press out but there were a couple that I had to tidy the edge slightly with scissors. Then I used double sticky pads that I already had in my crafting stash to build up the layers, although I would have expected the kit to have contained these. There were additional smaller numberless baubles but I chose not to use these. I also didn’t use the preprinted paper, but this could have gone inside the card as an insert for you to personalise with a greeting message.

docrafts advent calendar card

I then folded the card extensions and glued them on to the card. And finally glued the front onto the card extensions. I’m not convinced I did this stage correctly as although my finished advent calendar looked fabulous, it was far too thick to possibly even fit into an extending envelope.

Afterwards I used a magnifying glass to study the instructions, but they were fairly minimal and didn’t give a detailed explanation of how to fold and stick the card extensions.

docrafts decoupage advent card

In summary, a lovely craft kit, but more detailed larger instructions would be helpful. It didn’t take very long to make. The kit also suggested that you could personalise it with your own photographs. A nice touch but it would take some effort printing them to such a small size to fit the windows.

This kit is available to purchase from docrafts for £3. An excellent price for a nice little craft project.

docrafts boy's activity pack

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a crafting activity goody bag courtesy of docrafts to one lucky winner. I’ve been sent one as a thank you gift and can assure you that it will be a lovely prize. Contents are worth over £18 but this retails at just £9.95 currently.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your craft projects.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.