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Make Your Own Christmas Wreath | AD

21 November 2019

10 comments
Disclosure - This post is a paid collaboration with Rainbow Chalk.

Handprint wreath
When it comes to Christmas decorations around the house and on our tree our theme each year is always 'anything goes'. I love seeing photos of trees and houses that are decorated in certain colours but since big J was little we have always added homemade decorations each year to our tree and I wouldn't have it any other way. We have already started creating some decorations and this year little J asked if he could make a Christmas Wreath. We browsed the internet for lots of ideas but in the end he just went with what he felt right and he created the most perfect wreath ever, and I love it.
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Choosing An Eco-Friendly Christmas | AD

19 November 2019

16 comments
Disclosure | This post is a paid collaboration with Liverpool One. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

Brown paper and scissors
I was watching a series of instagram stories from a celebrity I follow recently and she was making her own Christmas crackers. I was intrigued so I watched as she made them and filled them with prizes that she knew the recipient would like. It got me thinking about the amount of crackers we have pulled over the years and how all the plastic toys inside have just ended up in the bin. It's such a waste and not very environmentally friendly at all. I am actually thinking of making my own this year too. I have also been looking at more ways that we can enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas.

We did start thinking more about waste and our environment a few years ago and we started to make some steps to becoming eco friendly. We made a decision to stop giving and receiving cards, not just at Christmas but birthdays too. Not only do they cost a small fortune but it's such a waste and they do end up in the recycling bin anyway.

This year I will definitely be making our own Christmas crackers and I am thinking about ditching the wrapping paper for brown paper and string. I actually think it looks so much prettier than the multi-coloured paper.

shopping centre
We love heading to Liverpool One at Christmas time to buy all our Christmas shopping. There are so many ways that you can enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas and you could start by making little tweaks when it comes to buying gifts.

John loves coffee and we have a lovely Nespresso coffee machine at home so for Christmas I am thinking about buying him a nice supply of Nespresso pods and a new reusable take out cup. This way he can make his own coffees in the morning and use his cup. Then once he has finished with his Nespresso pods we will take them back to the shop for them to be recycled. I know there will be some morning when he will feel like a Costa Coffee and that's fine, all he needs to do is take his reusable cup with him and they will fill it with his favourite drink. Not only is he helping to save the planet but the pennies too as Costa will take 25p off the cost of his drink.

John will probably head to Lush for some goodies for me this Christmas and if you didn't know already the black pots that Lush products come in are not recyclable everywhere so to encourage you to help the planet Lush asks that you bring back your pots so they can be reused. As a thank you for every five pots returned they give you a free face mask. The Body Shop also offer you the chance to return bottles to them for recycling and whilst there is no reward it is nice to know that you are helping the planet.

These a just a few ideas that we have in mind for this Christmas and whilst they are only small if everyone made just a little effort we could all be enjoying an Eco-Friendly Christmas.

Michelle
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Portable North Pole Magic Pass | Review

6 November 2019

15 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted a magic pass for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Portable North Pole App
Halloween and Bonfire Night have been and gone so I can now start to get excited for Christmas. It's just 8 weeks till the big day and I cannot wait to start all our Christmas shopping and enjoy family days out. We have lots of Christmas traditions and one of them is the boys receiving a video call from Santa through the Portable North Pole App. We have done this since they were little and each year it just gets better and better. This year we are trying out the Portable North Pole Magic Pass.

If you may not have heard of Portable North Pole before, if you haven't its an app thats very easy to download and simple to use.

Portable North Pole App
Once downloaded all you need to do is enter as a parent. You input all your child's details in for example their name, age, school year, country they live in and within moments a personalised video message will be sent to your child. It's truly magical and I can still remember the look on little J's face when he receives a special message each year.

There are lots of different videos to choose from for both kids and adults.

Portable North Pole App
To access the parents corner you will need to pop in your phones passcode. This prevents little ones finding things they shouldn't! They do have access to the children's sections which has lots of different activities.

Portable North Pole App
Santas Advent Calendar is locked at the moment until the 1st of December and we can't wait to click on the doors to see what's behind.

Bedtime stories is a lovely feature which has Santa telling a variety of stories. Choose from 10 stories including The Elf in the Storm, The Sock Drawer or Christmas in England. All stories are less than 4 minutes long.

Talking Elf is a new game that when you say something in your phone the elves will repeat. Lots of fun hearing what you would sound like if you were an elf.

Tree Shaker is a fun game were you have to shake the tree to bring down as many decorations as possible in 30 seconds. Can you beat your high score?

Memory Game is another game which has you flipping and matching the pictures on the cards.

There is also a Santas Voicemail section which is coming soon.

The magic pass is the perfect way to create personalised messages for your little ones. We have been using it for years and its lovely to hear that PNP has delivered over 220 Million messages since it was created in 2008.

The magic pass is currently priced at £12.99 however there will be free videos available closer the the big day so make sure you visit Portable North Pole for more information and updates

Michelle
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Breakfast With Santa at Alton Towers Hotel

9 January 2018

16 comments
One of our favourite Christmas traditions is visiting Alton Towers each year for Santa’s Sleepover. This is a tradition that we have enjoyed for about 11 years now and over those years we have seen the special event change and evolve with new activities added each year. This year we enjoyed a breakfast with Santa for the first time.

Santa Breakfast at Alton Towers


Usually we visit Santa on our first day over at CBeebies land in the theme park and whilst this is still an option we were staying in an Arctic Explorer room so had the chance to have breakfast with Santa instead.

Breakfast was booked for us at 9:15am on the day of our departure. There were two sittings, one at 7:30am and one at 9:15am. I can’t say how busy the 7:30 sitting was but the later one was extremely busy in fact it was full and we did see a very disappointed family who had obviously booked but there was no room for them.

If you have enjoyed breakfast at the Alton Towers hotel before in the secret garden well the Breakfast with Santa is just next door in the Emperors Suite. We were advised to arrive at 10 minutes early and even by this time the waiting area was full.

When the doors opened there was a stampede to get through the door and find a table however there was no need as we had all been allocated a table already.

Santa Breakfast at Alton Towers
We were given a table for four and I will say it was a squeeze. Not only was the table of four small but we were packed in between other tables and it just felt a little overcrowded. Having said that little J didn’t seem to mind and was quite happy tucking in to the pastries that were on the table already.

meeting Mrs Claus
Once everyone was seated we were welcomed by Sir Algenon who is the explorer mentioned throughout Alton Towers. He told us of a time when he met Mrs Claus and then suddenly she arrived. She had prepared a lovely breakfast for us all but before it was time to eat we had to help decorate the tree. Some of the tables had tinsel on and some had presents. We had a present and little J took the present down to the front and placed it under the tree while Mrs Claus and the elves sang a very upbeat and happy song.

Then a special visitor arrived down the chimney - Father Christmas. He was sat throughout the breakfast by the tree so you could visit him, have a photo taken and receive a gift. Mrs Claus and the elves were happy to have their photos taken too.

Once the buffet opened everyone was on their feet to get some food. It was about 9:50am by this time so I can imagine there were quite a few hungry tummies by this time.

The selection of breakfast was just as you would expect. Cereals, fruit and pastries then hot food such as sausage, egg and beans.

There was plenty of food and it stayed available throughout right until it was time to go.

When it was little J's turn to see Santa he went very shy as usual but Santa was great and chatted to him before posing for a photo and then giving little J a gift. He received a cute elephant hand puppet.

Once everyone had finished their food and had their photo with Santa it was time for him to return to the North Pole to prepare for the big day. He sang a lovely duet of ‘Its the most wonderful time of the year’ with Mrs Claus as they made their way through the tables and towards the exit.

meeting elf
Little J really enjoyed the breakfast and was entertained throughout.

*****
What We Loved

A nice addition to the Santa’s Sleepover experience.

It was something we hadn’t experienced before so was good to try something new.

The room and tables were decorated perfectly for the festive season.

Great selection of food and drinks available throughout.

Chance to meet Santa and receive a nice gift.

What Could Improve

The number of people in the room. The room was overcrowded.

There was no professional photograph with Santa as promised. We had to take our own.

The gifts were not wrapped and were not as good as previous years of seeing Santa at the resort.

*****

Overall it was a nice experience for little J and I think we would definitely book again if it is an option next year.

Michelle
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Santa Special at Llangollen Railway

18 December 2015

12 comments
Christmas is a very special time for us and we have many traditions that we do each year. As a family we like to visit Disneyland Paris and Santa's Sleepover at Alton Towers. My Mum and Dad enjoy taking the boys to the grotto and then on to a pantomime in the evening. My in-laws go on the Santa Special - Llangollen Railway. It's so nice that we each do something with the boys that makes Christmas that little bit more special. All these traditions have been every year for at least 11 years. This year we decided to go on the Santa Special too and I'm so glad we did.

Llangollen Railway Sign
It took about 1hr 15 minutes to arrive at Llangollen from Liverpool and when we arrived there were plenty of car parks to choose from. We parked about a 5 minute walk from the railway and it only cost £1 which was great.

We had something to drink at a local cafe/ restaurant before the train although there was plenty of choice in the station itself. There was a small cafe and also sandwiches to buy on the platform.

boy on a train
Our train left the station at approx 1:35pm. The carriages had christmas decorations hanging from the windows and felt nice and christmassy on board. We hadn't been before so had no idea what to expect. There were 12 of us in total spread out on 3 tables in the same carriage. 

boy eating lollipop on train
Once we were seated and the train was on it's way to the station at Carrog we were given a paper bag each. Now I say we, what I actually mean was everyone except me. They had run out so unfortunately at this point I had nothing. In the bags there was a chocolate lollipop for the kids and a carton of juice. The adults had a mince pie and a small 50ml of Baileys. The booking did say mulled wine but that was not offered.

Santa walking through the train carriage
Very soon an elf appeared in the carriage and got us all to sing a christmas song as we did Father Christmas made his way to see us. 

santa talking to boys
I was so impressed that he stopped to talk to all the children and gave each and everyone a gift. 

Meeting santa
When we arrived at Carrog, Father Christmas hopped off the train and on to his sleigh. We queued to get a photo with him.

There is a little gift shop and a chance to grab a hot cuppa and a snack if you wish before its back on the train to Llangollen.

Talking to santa
When we got back on the train Father Christmas made another appearance. He sat next to little J and chatted about Christmas. This really does make the train so special because the children get to see Father Christmas at least three times.

Llangollen

Llangollen Railway
Both Daddy and I really enjoyed the Santa Train and obviously so did the boys. It was nice to experience a tradition that big J had enjoyed for so long. 

Michelle


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