Tag Archives: xmas

Christmas holiday wear £150+ giveaway

Well we are into November now, so I believe it is perfectly fine to mention the Xmas word. Perhaps you are thinking about ordering personalised Christmas photo cards. We did some cards of the boys a couple of years ago which everyone loved. But how about taking it a step further with the whole family wearing matching Christmas outfits in the picture. No I’m not just talking about Christmas jumpers. I actually mean the entire ensemble from top to toe.

Christmas family outfits

So what’s your opinion on this fashion statement – cute or cheesy? You would certainly make a grand entrance at the Christmas party.

Christmas family outfits

And here is one just of the kids. The above are just two of the designs sold by https://www.shinesty.com/

Shinesty can kit the whole family out in matching Christmas dresses or suits plus a onesie for the baby. There’s even an outfit for your four-legged friend.

But watch out if you plan to browse their website with your children, as they do sell more risqué items too. Plus there are a few rude words on their website. Shinesty are based in the US, but they ship worldwide.

And I’m hosting a giveaway courtesy of Shinesty to win a set of matching Christmas outfits for all the family – parents and children. This giveaway is open worldwide.

The winning family can choose between three matching sets – Millenial Snowflake, Navy Nordic or Lincoln Log, selecting their preferred style and sizing requirements.

Prize value will vary depending on sizes and styles chosen by the winner, but I estimate it to start from upwards of £150 for a 3-person family. And obviously more for a larger family.comper friendly badge

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 like to wear best for Christmas.

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Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any products.  All opinions are my own.

The Christmas that didn’t go to plan – part2

For those of you who didn’t see my initial post last Saturday, son1 went into hospital on Boxing Day. His temperature had breached the 38 degree limit when he has to go to hospital, due to his increased vulnerability to infections whilst undergoing chemotherapy. And most of the Christmas presents were still under the tree at home waiting to be opened.

So after sleeping at the hospital with son1 on Friday night, late Saturday afternoon I swapped over with my other half, in order to also spend some time with son2. But I was awoken at about 2:30am by son2 being sick in bed. Whilst cleaning up, I received a text from my other half saying he had been sick too. Uh-oh. Looked like they both had the same bug, which I really hoped son1 was not going to get. I had barely got son2 back into a clean bed before he was sick again, luckily in the loo this time. I spoke to my other half and agreed I would come back to the hospital asap to swap over with him. So once I had finished cleaning up and got the washing machine on, I quickly packed a bag. A slight delay as son2 was sick for the third time, just as we were about to leave. So he was bundled in the car, holding a bowl just in case and we drove back to the hospital. I texted my other half on arrival and we swapped over in the car-park, in order to prevent son2 from entering the premises.

Son1 was still asleep as I crept into his room, but was very surprised to see me there when he woke up the next morning. I explained what had happened overnight and checked that he was feeling okay. Yes he said. But no, he too was sick before 7:30am. The night-time swap had been to no avail. And he was slightly sick again a couple of hours later. Meanwhile I was washing my hands very frequently, thinking what happens if I get this bug.

From speaking to my other half on Sunday, I found that he had been sick a second time after he got home, but poor son2 must have been sick about 8 times in total. They were having to look after themselves as best as they could. Then just to add to everything, son1’s temperature spiked above 38 degrees again around 6pm on Sunday evening, which meant that the 48 hour countdown restarted. We were now going to be in hospital until at least Tuesday evening.

As his coughing hadn’t eased he was prescribed an inhaler on Monday morning. Then a chest x-ray later on Monday which thankfully was clear. The doctors were fairly confident that it was viral. And I was glad when the hospital restaurant reopened on Monday, as I was getting a bit fed up of toast.

When the doctors did their round on Tuesday morning, they said that nothing had been found on the blood cultures, so as long as his temperature remained okay that we would be able to come home that night. By late afternoon, son1 was getting hyper, having been cooped up in a little room for 4 days, so I was very relieved when they did the final temperature check at 6pm and it was low. He just needed a final 30 minute of IV antibiotics before his port was deaccessed.

At last we were out of the hospital and on our way home, after a short delay defrosting the windscreen. And I was pleased to see the other two were also better when we got back.

Finally Christmas could resume. The boys stayed up late opening Christmas presents and the last presents have been opened today. Although I think the last few days have caught up with me as I feel rubbish today. I’m starting a cold and I doubt I’ll succeed in staying up until midnight to welcome in 2015.

Opening Christmas presents

Opening Christmas presents

Opening Christmas presents

(No photography permitted on the ward).

The Christmas that didn’t go to plan

Well I always knew it was going to be a strange Christmas as I was working a 12hr shift on Christmas Day. But I hadn’t anticipated son1 getting poorly and going to hospital.

I had thought that the boys would both be awake before I left the house at 6:30am, but no all was still very quiet, even after waiting an extra 10 minutes as I knew the roads would be empty.

Christmas santa sacks

Earlier in the week we had discussed the possibility of my other half bringing the boys over to my workplace if it wasn’t too busy at work. But he told me on the phone that son1 was coughing and looking tired, so we decided it was best they stayed home. We did do some FaceTime, so I saw some of their excitement as they opened presents from their Santa sacks. Other present opening was to be saved until we were all together on Boxing Day morning.

Although we did have a few minutes before bedtime to open their presents from “Mummy and Daddy” – some photo magnets purchased from Picstick on the Black Friday, buy 1, get 3 free deal similar to the magnets I reviewed a few months ago plus a Match Attax album each. They had been wondering why Santa had ignored their request for Match Attax, so I explained that Santa’s magical powers meant he knew if someone else was buying them something from their lists.

photo magnets

Some of son1’s photo magnets

I had originally planned to delay cooking Christmas lunch until Boxing Day, but as we also had planned a trip to relatives later on Boxing Day and timing would be tight, we modified the plan. Instead my other half was going to be in charge of cooking our Christmas meal to serve after I returned from work on Christmas Day. He didn’t wish to spend most of the day in the kitchen, so he opted to buy everything preprepared from Cook. The boys don’t like roasts, so they would eat earlier.

We have occasionally purchased food from Cook before, but never a traditional Christmas meal. Part of the Christmas enjoyment for me usually is planning, preparing and serving a homemade Christmas lunch. I wasn’t very fond of the roast potatoes from Cook, but the rest of the meal was nice, although it did feel strange not to be cooking a proper Christmas lunch myself. With hindsight, it was probably a wise decision, as otherwise the food would still be lingering uncooked in the fridge now.

Christmas dinner

However by Boxing Day morning it was evident that son1’s cough was worse and his temperature was rising. So the plan was changed again. Instead of setting out later in the day for a long drive and an overnight stay, son1 and I stayed home whilst my other half and son2 left straight after breakfast to drive about a 6 hour round trip in a day.

But resting at home did not prevent son1’s temperature from breaching the 38 degree limit when he has to go to hospital, due to his increased vulnerability to infections whilst undergoing chemotherapy. So he and I headed off to the hospital late yesterday afternoon. He is now on IV antibiotics and his temperature is lower today after peaking in the night. As long as his temperature doesn’t spike again or the blood cultures show anything untoward, we should have him home again on Monday.

Meanwhile the Christmas presents are still waiting under the tree for all the family to be home together. Although one of the nurses kindly found that Santa had known son1 was coming in and had left him 2 presents there.

(No photography permitted on the ward).

Snacks for Santa and the Reindeer

I’ve drawn the short straw as working 12 hour shifts all this week including Christmas Day. This meant I missed one of my favourite parts of Christmas today – the crib service at church. The rest of the family went without me. However I did get home in time to help the boys make some magic reindeer food. We mixed together oats and star shaped cake decorations. The boys then sprinkled this on the lawn for the reindeer.

Preparing magic reindeer food

magic reindeer food

sprinkling magic reindeer food

Son2 had made some mince pies at school a couple of weeks ago and had specially frozen one to save for Santa, so we got that out to defrost. The boys put it ready on the table by the fireplace along with a drink of milk and a carrot for Rudolph.

snacks for Santa

So we’re all ready for the big arrival tonight. Just need to wait for son1 to go to sleep. I’d love to hear your Christmas Eve traditions.

And as for tomorow. I don’t want to miss out too much on the boys’ fun. So I’ve just learnt how to use FaceTime and if it is not too busy at work, I hope to remotely watch them open some of their presents.

The boys do Christmas baking!

We have a family tradition that the boys decorate boxes and then fill them with tasty homemade goodies as Christmas presents for their grandparents and cousins.

Making marzipan sweets

Making marzipan sweets

This year we did white chocolate shapes made on a mould from an old advent calender, marzipan stuffed dates, coloured marzipan shapes, popcorn and then they chose to make chocolate fudge from a recipe in a book they bought me for my birthday. The recipe was for a very large quantity to fill a 20cm x 30cm baking tray, so I reduced it to make two thirds of the quantity. Even so, we had some spare for ourselves and it was delicious. I adapted the recipe as I didn’t have any unsalted butter and I also chose to add cream. I’m sharing the adapted recipe here.

Chocolate fudge

Chocolate Fudge


800g granulated sugar
175 ml milk
75 ml cream
75g margarine
350g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract


Grease a 20 x 30 cm baking tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Prepare an ice-water bath.
Break the chocolate into small pieces.
Put the sugar, milk, cream and margarine in a large pan.
Cook over a moderate, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and margarine melted.
Stop stirring and bring mixture to the boil.
Without stirring, cook at a slow boil for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the chocolate.
Immediately place the pan in the ice-water bath for a few seconds.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour into the tin and leave to cool.
Remove from the tin and cut into pieces.
Store in an airtight container.
Serve and enjoy.

chocolate fudge

homemade Xmas goodies

Do you make any Christmas gifts? If so, I’d love to hear what you make.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Homemade Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations

I love it at this time of year when I fetch the boxes down to decorate our home for Christmas. So many of the items are homemade by the boys and I have a little nostalgia trip as I remember whether it was something we made together or something they proudly brought home from school. I particularly love seeing son2’s beaming smile on this little tree decoration that he made a few years ago at nursery.

Christmas decoration

Son1’s term hasn’t finished yet, but son2 has brought home a Santa hat and a beautiful reindeer picture that he made at school. Of course, son1 immediately wanted to wear his Santa hat which he made 2 years ago.

santa hat

Son2 made a santa hat

Rudolph reindeer picture

Son2’s picture of Rudolph

santa hat

Son1’s santa hat

I always make my own tags for the Christmas presents but I’ve recently started making some decorations too. Something I probably hadn’t done since I was a similar age to the boys. So last Christmas I blogged about the table decoration that I made. And this autumn I put my sewing skills to the test to make some tree decorations from a docrafts kit. I’m planning to also make a baubles table decoration.

Christmas table decoration

My Christmas table decoration

And here are a couple of lovely decorations that my mum has made for us. Craft is one of her favourite hobbies.

Christmas decoration Christmas decoration

Disclosure. I am entering this post into a competition run by Victoria of Victoria’s Vintage in association with Able Skills.

Letters from Santa via the Lapland Mailroom

Letters have arrived for both boys from Santa today. They are going to be so excited when they get home from school and see these waiting for them. These are personalised letters from the Lapland Mailroom which we received free for the purposes of this review.

Lapland Mailroom - Letter from Santa

I wish that I had started writing this post when I ordered the letters back in late September, as I’m now a little hazy regarding that part of the process. However there were 3 choices of standard letter plus one for a baby’s first Christmas. There was also a little magnifying glass to zoom over part of the text. I would have preferred to zoom the whole letter to a readable size in its entirety.

I chose letter version 2 for both boys. The details you could personalise are as follows…

Santa Name Preference – I chose Father Christmas.
Child Name
Child Gender
Child Age
Which city or town will you be in on Christmas Eve – great idea if you are not at home.
What did you leave out for Santa and the Reindeers last year – I said reindeer food and carrot.
Child’s best friend or family member
Gift the child is hoping for
P.S – Your chance to add any special notes or achievements to the end of the letter (up to 255 characters)
Delivery Address
Delivery Town
Delivery County
Delivery Postcode

Here is a screenshot of a personalised letter.

Lapland Mailroom - Letter from Santa

The letters cost £6.95 each or £7.95 with an activity pack. I opted for the version with the activity pack. We also received Nice Child Certificates. There is currently a special offer to get one of these certificates free with every order, an additional saving of £2.99.

I thoroughly recommend these letters. It is such a delight to see your little ones’ faces light up with the special Christmas magic. But don’t delay. The last ordering date from Lapland Mailroom is 20th December.

Christmas activity pack

Contents of Christmas activity pack

Lapland Mailroom letter from Santa

Lapland Mailroom letter from Santa

I’ve highlighted where all the personalisation goes on the letter.

Lapland Mailroom Nice Child List Certificate

Nice Child List Certificate

And I was correct. The boys were both very excited to open and read their letters. They both got most excited by the mention of their best friend’s name, so that was a nice touch to include.

And they are looking forward to doing the activities. Son2 has already written his name on the doorhanger.

Lapland Mailroom Nice Child List Certificate

One very excited little boy

Lapland Mailroom Christmas Activity Pack

Another boy excited about Christmas

I’d love to hear what you or your child would ask Santa for?

Family Fever

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

Christmas crafts review and giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I made a docrafts Roald Dahl decoupage card a few months ago. With the school Autumn term having only just started, dare I say that I am already starting to think about Christmas, having received a free Sew & So On Christmas decoration kit from docrafts to review.

Festive Decorations Kit

This kit is to make 5 Festive Decorations to hang on the Christmas tree and it includes everything required except a needle and glue. It has step by step photographic instructions. All contents were as specified although one of the fabric pieces for the toadstool stem had a 7mm nick in it, but I think I should be able to stitch this together.

Christmas decoration kit

Kit contents

I started by making one of the heart decorations. It was very simple to sew on the lace trim, but I wasn’t sure whether to sew the ribbon onto the outside or inside of the decoration. I personally would prefer to also have written instructions which hopefully would have helped at this point. I opted to sew the ribbon to the inside, but with hindsight it may have worked better on the outside. Then I sewed the back and front together inside out, turned it out the right way, stuffed it and sewed it closed. However the stitching where I closed it, doesn’t look as good as the rest, so again written instructions may have helped, to pinpoint most discreet place to stitch closed.

heart xmas decoration

Christmas decoration

Overall I am pleased with my spotty heart. It will look nice on the tree. And I’m now making the gingham heart. In summary, a lovely craft kit, but more detailed instructions would be helpful.

This kit is available to purchase from docrafts for £4, which equates to 80p per decoration. A fantastic price for 5 nice little craft projects.

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.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway one of these Christmas kits courtesy of docrafts to two lucky winners.  A lovely prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can’t see the Rafflecopter box above, either click the Rafflecopter link or you may alternatively enter via my Facebook page. And you may see my other giveaways here.

Family Fever

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