Thursday, 20 November 2014

Christmas countdown - five weeks to go

Welcome along to Christmas Countdown, it's the place to link up any Christmas themed posts, competitions, tweets or Instagram pics. The link up opens every Thursday evening, and closes again the following Wednesday. Please join in - any old or new posts are very welcome!

Can you believe there are only five weeks to go until Christmas day? Eep! We've been getting festive round here, and as I type I have some no-alcohol Christmas mincemeat merrily cooking in my slow cooker and making my house smell delicious! I'm also feeling inspired by Pinterest - check out my Christmas Inspiration board.

What Christmassy things have you been up to?  Last week I loved reading about Ellie Bear Babi's crafty candy cane Christmas decorations - they are so easy to make and look fab! You can read about them over on her blog.

Please grab the badge and link up, not forgetting to comment on another post or two while you're here.  If you do link up, enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a fantastic Paperchase Christmas Countdown sticker book. 

Have a great festive week!

Me add three

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Fill your Xmas stockings for free - some great competitions

Christmas can be such an expensive time, any help with cheap or even free presents for the kids is always welome in my house.  Entering (and hopefully winning) competitions is a great way of receiving wonderful parcels and treats for family and friends that you wouldn't normally buy yourself.  It earns you loads of brownie points at Christmas too!

There are some great pre-Christmas toy competitions around at the moment, here are three of my favourite which are perfect if you have children to buy for:

Win Chicco toys weekly, and an overall bundle of toys and Merlin pass with Chicco Sleigh 

There are two great chances to win in this great Facebook competition where you become a Chicco elf and choose the toys to be added to Santa's sleigh.

You can win £50 of Chicco toys every week in the run up to Christmas, and one lucky winner will receive all the toys voted to go into Santa's sleigh plus a Merlin annual family pass at the end of the competition.  Great! We're currently on week three, and the prize is a fantastic Quattro 4 in 1 ride on toy.

Vote for the toy to go into Santa's sleigh from every Tuesday from 4th November to enter, and the overall prize is drawn on 15th December.  Enter via Chicco's Facebook page.

Waltons win a playhouse

Waltons Garden Buildings often run great competitions, and in the latest one you can win a fantastic kids' wooden playhouse.  Waltons asked 5 of the UK's top family bloggers to decorate and transform a Walton's 6'5 x 5'6 Honeypot Honeysuckle Playhouse with a maximum budget of £50.

Vote for your favourite on the Facebook site before 8th December 2014 and (hopefully) win.  Simples.

Win a Tesco Hudl tablet with Jaffa Fruit

I'm sure loads of older kids and adults would love a Hudl tablet.  And if you're feeling creative Jaffa Fruit has a great competition to win one.  Recreate a film scene using oranges on Vine (it only has to be six seconds long) and tag #LoveJaffaCitrus.  Creative competitions like this usually only get a handful of entries, so you have a great chance of winning!  Find out more at Jaffa Fruit's Facebook feed, and make sure you enter before 30th November.

Let me know if you enter any of these, and definitely let me know if you win!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Family life is...

Christmas presents hidden on top of a wardrobe.

No one has spotted them yet!

Me add three

Sunday, 16 November 2014

My Sunday Photo

As photos go, this one is pretty terrible.  I'm sure you've noticed the bin, and what looks like gravestones.  I took this at Hatton Adventure World, where the halloween theme was in full swing.

At the time, I didn't notice the bin.  And even when I looked at the pic again, I still didn't really see it.  The gravestones completely escaped my notice too.

The first thing I saw was toddler girl's happy face.  Going high on the swings is one of her favourite things, and she looks so like she's having so much fun here.  It's all I can still see really.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Words #WotW

I love choosing a word of the week that means different things to me, and this week is no exception.

Toddler girl is getting really chatty now, and knows so many words.  Her brother has taught her lots of car related words (obviously, as he's a car fanatic).  Words that she's been saying for a little while now are also much clearer.  My once peaceful days at home with her are now filled with "more raisins", "no", "book", "sit down" etc.  It's lovely to hear.

I've also been really busy at work, and my week has been taken up with lots of words written in emails.  I hope plans get signed off at some point!

And finally, I have loved reading all the words in the blog posts linked up to #ChristmasCountdown.  I was so nervous about starting a linky, but it's getting some momentum now and I love it.

Does 'words' hold any meaning for you this week?

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Christmas Countdown - six weeks to go

Christmas is definitely moving up a notch, I keep seeing it everywhere!  Have you had your first red cup coffee yet, or seen the Coca-Cola truck on its tour?

I love to look at all the Christmas decorations and crackers around.  In last week's linky, it seems day trips to garden centres to look at them are popular with lots of people.  

My favourite post from last week was the idea of a book advent calendar, which Hannah and her Monsters linked up with.  Wrapping and choosing a different book every day in December in the run up to Christmas is definitely something I will do with our kids this year.

I'd love to hear what Christmassy thing you're up to this week.  You're welcome to link up any old or new posts, images, competitions or even tweets with a Christmas theme.  Please grab the badge and link up, not forgetting to comment on another post or two while you're here.  Merry Christmas!

Me add three

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Is it summer or winter? Chicco 2015 collection

Is it summer or winter? Neither - it's autumn!  But it was both summer and winter at last week's Chicco 2015 collection launch. 

Toddler girl and I love being Chicco Happiness Testers, and I was invited along to Chicco's lovely new offices and showroom just outside London to see what's new across the whole Chicco range.

And as this is the collection for 2015, the showroom was themed summer and winter.  I loved the Christmas food; those Christmas puddings were delicious.

And a few wonderful new and updated Chicco products caught my eye too. 

Brand new to the range is the Chicco Lullago travel crib.  This is a lightweight and secure crib, which can be folded down into a bag.  Perfect for when you're on the go, and I think it would work really well as a first cot too - an ideal step between a moses basket and cot.

The legs clip into the side of the crib and have anti-slip feet so it's ultra secure.  The crib and mattress both fold easily too. I love the mesh panels, which are great for air circulation and for checking on baby.  Best of all is the mattress, which unlike other travel cribs and cots is really thickly padded and feels really comfy.

The whole thing can be taken apart and folded in a matter of minutes, and stored in a handy bag that would fit really well in the boot of all cars.  And it weighs just 17lbs, so it's easy to carry.
With an RRP of £99.99, this was my top pick of the event, and I reckon will be used by loads of families when out and about, kept at grandparents' for impromptu naps, and even used at home in place of a moses basket or crib.  I wish we'd had one!

And across the rest of the range, a few other things caught my eye at the event too - I loved the new Chicco toys, including Danny Drift - a remote control car that drifts!  How much would our son love this? 

I also loved the new winter pack for the Urban pushchair (with hand warmers), and a brand new multi-functional activity walker 1-2-3.  But I'll blog those with more pics later.

I'd love to hear if you have a favourite Chicco product, or what you think of the Lullago crib.  Which travel cot did you use?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

We will remember them

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Ode of Remembrance, taken from 'For the Fallen', by Laurence Binyon