Monday, 28 September 2015

Christmas Makes Prima Special 2015

I'm already starting to get excited about the Christmas build up.  I love this time of year most of all, when Christmas can be enjoyed from afar, with little to get on and do!

I was so excited to see the first Christmas magazine in WH Smith a week or so ago.  The Prima Makes Christmas Special with Create and Craft leapt out the shelf at me, and screamed buy me! 

With a few free gifts, it was in a plastic wrapper so I couldn't take a look inside.  At £12.99 this is a decent price - so is it worth it?

Free gifts

You get three free gifts with the magazine; 5m of 6mm white organza ribbon, and Embellishment Attic mini bow maker - a great gadget to help you make perfect bows and a Cake Crafting snowflake stencil, which is perfect for dusting icing sugar through to get a snowflake pattern.

These are lovely free gifts which add to the quality feel of the magazine.  I can definitely see I'll use the bow maker on extra special gift wrapping and the snowflake stencil will look great on some Christmassy cup cakes.

The magazine

The magazine itself is loads bigger than a standard mag.  There are 252 pages to the entire book and so many Christmas craft ideas suitable for experienced crafters or enthusiastic novices like me.  It's helpfully indexed by type of craft, from papercraft, die cuts, easy makes, stitching, through crochet, knits, baking - to name a few!  In fact there's so much, the index goes over four pages!

I particularly love the kids' makes section whih has four lovely makes of its own.  I can see our two making these lovely napkins and candy cane mouse decorations.

I also love this candle display, and will definitely use the idea of wrapping things up in music paper.  This would be great for someone in our family who plays guitar and loves his music!  The photography is top notch too - don't you think?

The magazine ends with all the templates you'll need for the makes and even some printed Christmas paper for use with card making or even some gift wrapping. 

This is a lovely craft magazine that I have picked up almost every night so far since I've had it.  It has loads of smaller ideas contained within each craft, and I really think there is something in here which would appeal to everyone.  It has a lovely quality feel which is reflected in the paper stock used and photography throughout.  At £12.99 it's quite a lot, but I think it's worth it and will definitely buy it again next year.  

I am inspired by it and feeling very Christmassy.

I'd love to know which Christmas magazines you like, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Family life is...

Family life is.... selling off old baby gear that has been very much loved, but no longer has a use or a home.

I know the sensible thing is to let someone else enjoy perfectly good baby stuff that we no longer need, but I will miss the music on this cot mobile that I have listened to for more years than I can almost remember.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A scarecrow to suit you #LVschoolboyerrors

Looking through family photos a couple of weeks ago, I found this picture of me taken in the mid-80s, all dressed up and ready to take part in the local carnival.

I was so proud of this scarecrow costume; I'd made it myself and it even won a prize!

A week or two later, Dad was getting ready for a really important work meeting.  I realised, with a sinking feeling, that until carnival day he'd had two dark suits.  Apparently, I'd run scissors, mud and straw all over the wrong one.

This is my entry to LV='s blogger competition to identify the funniest schoolboy error.  You can find out more on its blog.  I'd love to hear your schoolboy errors too.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Win a FireAngel carbon monoxide alarm worth £30

Project Shout is working hard to raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and carbon monoxide alarms.  You can read more about the project on my blog post from a few days ago or check out the Project Shout website.

As a blogger for Project Shout, I was lucky enough to try out a FireAngel CO-9D carbon monoxide alarm.  The CO-9D digital alarm has a seven year life internal power pack and provides an early warning of the presence of carbon monoxide in your home.  This could save your life.

The digital LCD display shows low levels of CO down to 10ppm and also peak readings over the previous four weeks. The display can be switched between CO monitor and the integrated room thermometer.

It's smart, safe, easy to use and provides a very high level of reassurance against the odourless and colourless carbon monoxide gas.  You can find out more about it here.

I have one of these potentially life saving devices to giveaway.  With an RRP of £30, no home should be without one.

To enter the competition, please complete one or more of the Rafflecopter options below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be emailed to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 17 Sept until 23:59 on 30th September 2015.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is a FireAngel CO-9D carbon monoxide alarm  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 7th October and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • Winner's details will be passed to Project Shout's PR team, so the prize can be sent.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Me add three’s decision is final.

Competitions at ThePrizeFinder

Monday, 14 September 2015

Shouting to make sure this silent killer is heard

Right now, this very second, 16,400,000 households in the UK could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This horrifying statistic is from Project Shout, a new initiative which is shouting about carbon monoxide alarms and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which cannot be seen, smelt or heard and is known as ‘the silent killer’. This gas is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels like coal and natural gas and common sources of carbon monoxide (known as CO) are faulty cooker, boilers and fires.  CO can't be seen or smelt and the only certified way to protect yourself from it is through an audio alarm.

Like almost two thirds of household in the UK, we hadn't considered a carbon monoxide alarm. We moved into our house a few years ago and our boiler, cooker and fire are all new-ish. We didn't think we needed one.  Yet the age of an appliance doesn't necessarily make a difference. Louise Aspinall had a newly installed boiler that was faulty - a CO alarm alerted her to highly levels of the gas once the boiler was up and running. That alarm potentially saved the life of everyone in her house. You can watch her story on the Project Shout YouTube channel. 

Project Shout very kindly sent us a FireAngel CO-9D carbon monoxide alarm to install in our house. With an RRP of just £29.99, this digital LCD alarm has an integrated battery which gives it a seven year life.  It gives visual and audio alarms for CO as well as peak CO reading over four weeks, CO test facility and also a handy digital room thermometer.

The alarm is about the same size as a smoke alarm and is very light.  It comes with screws to fix it to the wall, or it can be freestanding as we're now using it.  The instructions on where to position it and how to get started are very clear, and you'll be up and running with it in seconds.

It now provides absolute reassurance to me, especially as our kids are an especially vulnerable group to CO.  After reading the Project Shout website and realising the full dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, I definitely will never be without an alarm again and this one is reassuringly well made, easy to use and reliable.  You can buy this alarm from a range of retailers, including Amazon, Tesco, B&Q and Sainsbury's.

For more information visit the Project Shout website or connect via social media.  The project is active on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.  You can also join the thunderclap to help raise awareness and encourage others to buy a carbon monoxide alarm.

Let's all get shouting about this silent killer, so it's never silent again.

Disclaimer: thanks to Project Shout for providing the alarm and access to the information for this post.  I'm proud to support this excellent cause with my own words and thoughts.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Fistral beach is #MySundayPhoto

Last weekend we got back from a wonderful week's holiday in Cornwall.  This picture was taken on one of my favourite days at the gorgeous Fistral beach in Newquay. 

Living in the landlocked Midlands, the kids loved the sea, watching the surfers and building sandcastles.  The air was chilly but the sun was warm and the sea and skies almost completely clear.

We had a wonderful time and will definitely return.  Soon I hope!


Monday, 7 September 2015

Settling in for cooler, darker evenings

September's such a lovely month.  The weather is usually settled, with chilly mornings and evenings but lovely warm sunny days.

I love the evenings drawing in (well, until the clocks change anyway), to me it signifies the start of autumn with all the wonderful food, seasonal British fruit and vegetables and yes, the start of Christmas countdown.

Whilst shopping the other day, I saw this lovely sounding Cinnamon Stick Yankee Candle with lovely holder.

To me it just signifies this time of year, with warm comforting smells and lovely candlelight on the darker evenings when the curtains are drawn.  I had to buy it.

As I type this, it's alight on my fireplace and making our living room smell wonderful.  It's surprising that such a small votive candle's scent can fill the room.

I'm really looking forward to autumn walks, warm jumpers and all the wonderful colours of autumn.  I love snuggling in a warm candlelight room when it's cold and dark outside.

What about you?

Friday, 4 September 2015

Back to school top ten checklist

As our summer holidays come to a close and I get our son ready to go back to school next week, I definitely need some inspiration to get organised.

I bought most of his uniform at the start of the summer (I love M&S trousers and buy him school branded T Shirts), but the rest of my organisation skills leave something to be desired!  The very helpful people at The Fort shopping park in Birmingham sent me the following checklist which I hope you find as useful as me:

1. Uniform - be sure to label your child’s clothes to prevent them from being lost.  I always use a Sharpie to label our son's clothes which seems to last wash after wash.

2. Sizing - I always buy the biggest size clothes I can get away with, so they last as long as possible.

3. Jumpers – if possible, buy two so you can wash one/wear one.  I actually have three because they get grubby so quickly!

4. Shoes – Clarks and Brantano both offer a great kids fitting service at The Fort. Although our son has just learned to do his laces, he has velcro school shoes which are easier to do up quickly.  These Air Junior shoes were from Clarks at The Fort:

5. Socks – buy a pack of five or seven so you have one for each day (at least) allowing for more economical washing loads.

6. Coat – coats can be expensive, save money by going for a transitional option that is suitable whatever the weather, come rain or shine!  Our son has a waterproof with removable inner fleece for exactly this reason.  It suits all weathers.

7. Bag/rucksack – check it will be big enough to hold everything your child will need.  If your school has a branded book bag like our son's, make sure it's labeled.

8. Lunch box – if you're not having school dinners, let your child choose – it’s always an exciting part of the ‘back to school’ preparation.

9. Stationery – cut costs by taking advantage of multi-buy offers, WHSmith is offering 3 for 2 on selected stationery lines at the moment.  A good excuse to stock up my stationery stash too!  I love this pencil case from WHSmith, our son loves Mr Men!.

10. Homework – make sure you have a quiet and comfortable space prepared where your child can happily get on with their homework after school.  Our dining room table doubles up as a reading and homework space.

Are you ready for your kids to go back to school?

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The wonderful Cornish coast line

I just love the Cornish coastline.  We spent a few days at the very wonderful Coombe Mill over the summer, and spent a few days at the beach around the coast.  We drove the coast line from Padstow to Newquay and it really is a beautiful part of the world.

We stopped off at Carnewas at Bedruthan National Trust property for a bite to eat and a look at the beautiful view from the cliff tops, where I took this picture.  I just think our wonderful country, at its best, is breathtaking.

Don't you?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Learning to tie shoelaces - left handed style

We've been trying to teach our son to tie his shoe laces all summer.  He wears a size two shoe these days and finding velcro shoes in this size is getting really hard!

He's found it tricky, and we think it's because he's left handed and we've been trying to teach him in a right handed way.  Husband switched to showing him using his left hand as the dominant one (how he did it, I have no idea!) and bingo, son got it in just a day or two.

Today, he tied both shoe laces for himself and was made up with himself.  To him, it was a massive achievement and he can't wait to show his best mate when he goes back to school.

So if your left hander is struggling to learn, try tying shoelaces backwards yourself or have a look on YouTube for a few different videos which may help.