Monday, December 15, 2014

My fifteen festive favourites

I’ve been tagged to do my Festive Favourites by Liz at Expression and Confession. I enjoyed reading hers (Cheese!!)  so here are mine:

Favourite Festive Food. A difficult one to start as I love all Christmas food. I like turkey and roast potatoes and parsnips and gravy, stuffing, bacon, even sprouts. But as you can have roasts most of the year without anyone commenting, I'll go with mince pies. I do love a mince pie. This year we've been making our own (though shop bought mincemeat!) as the commercial ones all seem too sweet.

Favourite Reindeer. A what? Hmm can I say a dead one? You can eat reindeer and I haven't tried it yet. I hope it's nicer than moose.

Favourite Day of Christmas. I like Christmas Day. But specifically the afternoon, after the dinner is eaten and cleared away, we can have a mince pie, a glass of cava and sit around the tree and open our presents. Lovely. Then a movie and a snooze, maybe more cava. I can't wait.

Favourite Christmas Song. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen has been a favourite of mine for years, great up beat tune, glad tidings and a reminder of why we are partying. Love it.

Favourite Present:I blogged once about my worst christmas present. My best very Christmas present was my favourite toy as a child, Action Girl and her Horse. Absolutely brilliant. Still prefer her to Barbie and Sindy, and am not averse to having a sneaky game with her even now.

Favourite Festive Film.i used to adore Polar Express and forced my family to watch it every I year. It's still high on the list but recently my husband has converted me to repeated watching of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, with the genius that was John Candy. Not strictly a Christmas film as it's about Thanksgiving, but close enough.

Favourite Festive Cracker Toy. Fortune telling fish. No contest.

Favourite Cracker Joke. Where does a baby chimp sleep? In an apricot. It's my favourite because I didn't get it for years, I think I first heard it when I was about 6 and didn't get it until I was in my 20s lol

Favourite Christmas Decoration. I have a pair of tiny felt slippers that were inherited from my grandma. They are decorative only but of course I tried to wear them as a toddler and then DD tried the same trick. They have many family memories.

Favourite Christmas Candle Scent. Due to reasons we won't go into here, I'm not allowed candles. It's not something I'm proud of. If pushed I'll pick cinnamon and apple,

Favourite Christmas TV Advert. I pride myself on not having seen any (we watch almost everything on delay or prerecorded so we can skip them) but I did catch a glimpse of a family dinner where they were using a gravy boat shaped like the Titanic...I WANT that gravy boat. So who ever that was for, I pick that one.

Favourite Festive Tradition. I still like hanging the stocking with my daughter, and thinking of what Santa will bring, I think it's a shame he never gets to see if she likes what he brings, he always picks good stuff and it can be hard to get things that fit into a stocking.

Favourite Place to Spend Christmas. Home. Though if anyone wanted to send me somewhere warm, all inclusive I'd be willing to give it a go...just to check.

Favourite Christmas Fact. I like the whole St Nicholas story. The mix of fact and fiction that surrounds it.

Snow man with carrot nose and berries in the snow
Copyright: olgacov / 123RF Stock Photo
Favourite Snowman Accessory. A carrot of course, so many places you can use use it...though you may have to add snowballs too.

I’m tagging the following to do their festive favourites and looking forward to reading them!

Rachel at

Vicky at

Chimping Dandy at

and Tammy at

Get blogging and pass it on!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dettol - Fighting Colds and Flu so you don't have to

I was sent this video this week and it made me laugh.

Each year I have my flu jab, but I do hate seeing people coughing and sneezing all over the place! I try to sneeze into my elbow rather than my hand, but touching all those things that other people have sneezed on or touched with coughed into hands ... just yuk. At home I can keep antibacterial sprays around (and yes I've talked before about not being scared of the odd germ or two but cold season is starting and this is WAR!) but out and about ...I carry anti bacterial gel. Being a festival goer I always have a few small bottles around (those festival loos!) . I am much keener on hand hygiene in the sneeze season.

Do you worry? Avoid door handles? (and stair rails?) or just hope for the best? Some tips on hand washing here.

Disclosure - I am being sent some Dettol products in exchange for sharing this video - but it's true about the laughing, and the elbow, and the hand gel...oh and the flu jab...look it's all true OK?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Fun

Now that DD is a grownup teen we don't do so many of the fun little Christmas things we did when she was small. Partly because she is older and partly as I'm back at work full time.

I sort of miss the messy glitter, the cotton wool stuck to fingers with PVA glue. Maybe that's why this year I did the silly little present a day advent calendar!

I received an email today with some fun Christmas ideas so I'm going to share in the hope you can do some, because trust me one day your little monsters children will be all grown up and you'll miss it all - no really!

So here are some ideas from  London’s most trusted nanny agency , giving their tips on how to make Christmas truly magical:-

Make Christmas Crafts
Letting your children loose with some craft supplies or making handmade Christmas decorations together is a great way to bond and get excited for the arrival of Father Christmas. Whether it’s paper snowflakes or something larger such as painting a model of a Christmas tree, it’s a fun way to pass some time and talk about the jolly season. (it may also cause you to need a new carpet, and will ensure a house full of glitter well into February, but that's half the fun!) Red Ted Art is my go to crafting blog for ideas!

Bake Christmas cookies
Kids always love baking, but especially at Christmas time! Christmas eve can be a great day to bake, as you can leave some of the treats for Father Christmas to enjoy. Festive shaped cookie cutters are quite easy to find, such as stars or holly, and are fun to decorate too. If you are having guests over for Christmas dinner or a party on Boxing day, you can bake a large batch and the children can be proud to show off their baking skills to family and friends. I have a great no spread (and no chill!) cookie recipe here - we will be making some for Christmas this year.

Copyright: katyjay / 123RF Stock Photo
Make traditions
Every family has its own traditions – what’s your Christmas tradition? Does everyone own Christmas pyjamas or a onesie that you all wear on Christmas eve? How about writing and sending letters to the North Pole on 1st Dec without fail, or attending your local nativity as a family? Perhaps you always go to the London light switch on and even invite your daily nanny to join in the festive celebrations. A Christmas tradition will make it feel like a special time of year. We sort of started a 'new pyjamas on Christmas eve' tradition a few years ago, and we always watch a family movie together, with snacks and hot chocolate (or booze!) on Christmas eve. I also try to continue my family tradition of opening Christmas presents after lunch on Christmas day, but I'm fighting a losing battle!

What are your ideas for the perfect Christmas? And are there any things you miss from your childhood, or when your children were younger?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Cards

If you look around you at this time of year you cannot escape being told it's the season to send cards to everyone you know, actually you may even find you are being told to make cards with your toddlers, to create and to send a Christmas masterpiece.

When I was small I took delight is giving out cards or sending them (via the battered cardboard and cottonwool-adorned school postbox) to all the other kids I knew. I would not enjoy the writing of them so much, you were probably lucky to just get my name scribbled inside, maybe your name too if I really liked you but certainly no personal message of cheer. The choosing of the card design was always important, some years I favoured a mixed box, other years all the cards needed to be the same size and theme. Once written that stack of cards felt magical, and the joy of getting a similar stack of my own with my name on was equally delightful. Decorating the house with cards on ribbons or strings was part of Christmas.

Copyright: markaumark / 123RF Stock Photo
But a lot has changed in the 40 years or so since little me wrote 40 cards a year. For a start I have a smaller circle of friends (I'm not including the thousands of oddballs I chat with on twitter of course - not being a stalker, I don't know where you live) and the friends I do have I see regularly, or if not I chat to via Facebook, twitter, email or text...or even phone! So the urge to send cards is less. Postage is expensive too - sending 40 cards even 2nd class and UK only would cost £21.20 on top of the cost of the cards! Hardly surprising then, that fewer and fewer people send cards.

Many people prefer to spend that sort of money on something more meaningful such as a charity donation or a gift for someone that normally wouldn't get anything.

This year I'm wondering whether to send any cards at all. Part of me feels mean, and how do you tell people? I'm sure to offend someone who won't know why they don't hear from me. I suppose that, like last year, I will restrict my card sending to the extremely tiny number of people and relatives that are not on Facebook, Twitter, Email, Text and that I don't see in person from one year to the next...but a tiny part of me wonders why I bother with a card at all if it's a once a year thing?

Do you send cards? And if so who to?

Sunday, December 07, 2014

JamAudio Bluetooth headphones - Review

The very same day that I griped on twitter about too many baby items and nothing for teens to review on blogs and I was offered a free pair of bluetooth headphones to review by JamAudio!

JamAudio bluetooth headphones black
So I obviously leapt at the chance. I confess that we have never really bothered to get decent headphones while DD was growing up - too worried about her breaking them! But now that she is 15 I felt she could do with something a little better to listen to her music on. We have also tended towards 'ordinary' headphones with cable.

It was with some excitement that DD opened the rather nicely packaged Jam Transit Wireless stereo headphones. They were incredibly easy to set up and sync with her phone too, in fact by the time I had binned the outer wrapping and turned around, as they arrived pre-charged (great idea!)  I was faced with this

So score 10/10 for packaging, and 10/10 for ease of set up. The headphones allow you to skip tracks, pause and alter volume all via the headphones too! So you can leave your phone in your bag and still listen to what you want when you want. DD was impressed that there is a microphone on the headphones so she could take a call all while her phone was on a table a few feet away. 10/10 for usability.

The bluetooth range is great and the quality of the sound is excellent. The noise leakage seems minimal too - I had to lean in close to be annoyed by her taste in music, and she assures me that when listening via the headphones she can't hear me talking...certainly she couldn't hear me tell her to tidy her room! She has used the headphones in the car while I was driving too - when I wanted to catch up with the Archers - and confirmed that the music still sounded clear even over the car and radio noise, there was no interference. 10/10 for sound.
Collage of Jam Audio bluetooth headphones

The headphones are slick looking, have a solid reusable case and charge easily via a USB cable. With a rather awesome battery life of 11 hours! So you could probably run a marathon in them (I'm not suggesting they will give you super power, you'd have to train and stuff, but they'd supply the music while you did it!)  If you are looking for quality headphones at a good price I would recommend these. They would make a good Christmas present for any age but nice to be able to let your teen listen to their music without having to share the experience. Of course you can link to other devices, anything with bluetooth really. So they are really handy.

All the technical info about the headphones can be found on the JamAudio website - where they also have other headphone ranges. They retail at £59.99 and they have another bluetooth headphone at £29.99 Jam Fusion  Both sets of headphones are available in various colours.

I was sent the headphones for free but all thoughts and the words in this post are my own (and sometimes DD's)