Monday, 17 December 2012

A Charity Shop Girl At Heart

" It is not important what is under the Christmas tree, but the people who are around it...."

....However Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without giving a little gift or two and this Christmas I really wanted to put a lot of thought in finding gifts for my loved ones. Sometimes I really can't believe how much money is spent at Christmas, often it seems the more money is spent on someone the more we must care. Of course this is not the case and for many, who like me, simply can't afford to spend hundreds of pounds on gifts at Christmas, I like to moochy around the charity shops. I really enjoy thinking of what that person may like and so many times have found the perfect gift for a loved on in a charity shop. you just never know what you may find in there....

Oh how I loved this. Perfect for Master Poppins who shall have hours of fun with these ever so retro pocket binoculars which I think were made in Japan, and from the 60's....





He shall absolutely love these binoculars, and I think an utter bargain for £. I can't wait for him to view the world through them. As for my next charity shop fine, I can only give a peeky as I wouldn't want someone to spy it before the big day. I adored it as soon as I saw it and I knew would be the perfect gift for somone special. Hopefully she shall fall in love with it like I did....




I couldn't help but pick up a Christmas pretty or two along the way. As I have somewhat of a silver theme going on with the tree this year, I loved these NOEL decorations, 4 for £1....




They really do go so nicely with the rest of the tree....




My humour really knows know bounds as I just HAD to have this kitsch gnome that makes a little , urmmm bottom 'noise' when one walks past it. Well worth the £1.95 price for all the laughter we've had already. This is going to be a special treat for a person who I know shall really appreciate it ;)


Now this little £3.95 charity shop number may not look like the kind of gift one would like to unwrap on Christmas day....


Not my usual pretty little number huh, but kinda cute. He is actually an original, handmade in Norway Ny Form Troll, which being the Speed Skater troll, has now been discontinued. You can read about the trolls here if you fancy. It was actually Miss.Poppins who spied this one in the charity shop as she thought was a bit of a bargain and knew the original trolls, especially the discontinued ones could fetch a bit. Think I'll take her every time we go troll hunting....



Ah, I think he has rather grown me and have thought of the perfect person he can go to for Christmas. They apparently bring good luck too, so actually I think quite a sweet, unique gift and he still has his original label....




There really is something quite special in my opinion of having a vintage Christmas. I think it is perhaps the nostalgia of it all and I just love helping myself to a choccy or two served in a pretty vintage dish....


So bring on the Sinatra.... 


And gather those we love around the table to remember days gone by....

Merry Christmas one and all :))

X

Saturday, 8 December 2012

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Finally, after some days of feeling under the weather, poorly and generally not feeling like doing anything, I  found the energy to begin the decoration of the tree. I find Christmas a really cheery time and love looking at everyone's pretty decorations and the twinkling lights on trees always bring a smile to my face. This year I have stepped away from my normal traditional red/white look and gone for a somewhat silver look. I thought it would have a cold feel to it but actually I really, really like it. When we got tree #2 (long story, tree #1 didn't quite work out) in its little stand with water and stretched out the branches, it was time to get the decorations out. I am really happy with the look....   


The silver aspect rather than giving a cold feel, actually looks very pretty and there is certainly enough sparkle on there. The Poundland butterflies are perfect and so easy to just clip on....


Decorations I already had  from over the years also suit the look....   

It did feel strange though leaving off all my red decorations, but I have dotted some of favorite ones around the house so they can still be admired. I think this little Bonne Mamon jar I had and popped some candy canes in looks cute. The ribbon I glued on creates a special Christmas touch....


I had bought these 12 baubles a while ago from the charity shop for £1, they are beautifully vintage, and so pretty I had to photograph them twice. I cant wait to get them on the tree.... 

So until I am feeling a bit more with it, and can finish all of it off with the children, we kind of have a 3/4 decorated tree, but I think looks good for now...

 Nearly there....

Merry Christmas one and all. Have you got your tree up yet?

X

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas At Poundland!

Oh my, where is the time going? I think my real life 'to do' lists are stretching sooooo long that blogging has taken a bit of a back seat of late. Especially at this time of year I really love reading other people's festive blog posts near Christmas so am hoping to get my Christmas blogging hat on. Talking of Christmas, a little while ago Poundland who have a blog were inviting customers to apply and offer their services to become a Poundland Ambassador. Well I couldn't resist applying, especially as I have purchased many a pretty and useful item from Poundland and indeed is a store where many a bargain can be found. Soon I was told that I was to become one of their Ambassadors and I was to take part in monthly challenges to share my experiences of the store, goods purchased, and general customer service. My children like it there too, and I occasionally offer them a little pocket money to pop in and choose some £1 items. I wanted to include them very much in these challenges.

Here are all the ambassadors involved....


   

This months challenge was of course focused on Christmas and we were to purchase items from many of their different ranges on offer. So with a £20 gift voucher in my purse I made my way to the store for this months Christmas challenge. I was to pick at least two Christmas inspired items from these Poundland ranges....

Christmas Wrapping & Accessories 
Christmas Gifts (Adult)
Christmas Stocking Fillers (Children)
Christmas Party (Beauty/Clothing)
Christmas Tree Decorations
Christmas General Decorations
Christmas Table Decorations
Christmas Sweets
Christmas Homeware

The two extra items left over could be purchased from any of the ranges. Of course the children wanted to head straight over to the sweet isle ;) 




Well they had to pick Santa didn't they ;)




Then it was on to Christmas wrapping and accessories. These cute, vintage inspired labels caught my eye and in the basket they went....




I must have chosen wisely as later on that evening whilst reading one of my house-y magazines, there they were as a top item to buy this Christmas....



I also picked out some pretty Christmas ribbon and bows that I knew would coordinate nicely with my Christmas wrapping paper already purchased.... 




Christmas gifts chosen for the adults were this pretty trinket box and iphone cover....


I chose the cute Christmas stocking fillers for the children as a surprise, I just loved the cute light up brooches.... 




Next up it was beauty and clothing. I am finding in this bitterly cold weather my hands need a bit of tlc so chose something to make those hands of mine look as best they can at Christmas festivities....  


We had great fun picking decorations for the tree and these beautiful butterflies came away with us...


 I am going a little different this year and where normally I would opt for a red/green/gold traditional theme for our tree, I am going very girly and colourful. So lots of pinks, blues, silvers and I can't wait to get decorating the tree that we purchased over the weekend. For general decorations we decided to include our two extra's as well, so our 4 items were this cute little snowman decoration....




 Oh we love him and I have seen very similar items in other stores that cost much more than a pound. Then Miss. Poppins wanted a little Chrismas tree for by her bed and when she saw this one for a £1 she knew it would be perfect. She can't wait to get decorating it....




She also saw these cute dog window stickers, how could I say no. TOO CUTE....




Our final choice from the general range was one I picked and I thought would go perfectly with my colourful and girly theme this year....



I love a pretty table at christmas and I do like a traditional feel to it, so from their table wear range I opted for 2 of these charger plates in a lovely Christmas red....(more were indeed bought by myself)




For our final 2 items from homeware, we picked a useful roaster tray and some festive tea towels....


So in my opinion we chose a really good variety of Christmas items and I think a great Christmas stash for only £20....



 I am really pleased with the items and so far the quality is really good. The shopping experience itself was quite fun, and staff were helpful when I asked about their different ranges etc. Some may point their nose up a little at 'bargain stores' such as Poundland and the like, but as we all know, money doesn't grow on tress and I for one am never shy of hunting out that next bargain ;) They also have a great Pinterest page that can be found here

X

Disclosure: We were provided with a Poundland shopping voucher to the value of £20 for the purposes of this blog post. Many other items from Poundland were also purchased by myself.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Craft-A-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects

I really like this handy craft book that was sent for us to have a little play with, and I wanted to share with you what I thought of it. Firstly I really love the punchy design on the front....


CRAfT-A-DAY-365 Simple Handmade Projects really is a super crafty book to have on the bookshelf. It includes daily inspiration with weekly themes. You can learn to make magnets, garlands, cupcake toppers, cards, wall art, and much much more. There are 52 different themes so there are many craft ideas to suit and that would appeal to people....


I especially love the alphabet garland and is on my to do list for a handmade Christmas decoration this year....



The book comes with easy to use templates and has a very easy to follow feel to the directions throughout. The how-to photographs are great, and the book would appeal to people of all ages and who have an interest in craft. In fact this is a really good craft book to enjoy with young ones and many of the creations are ideal for children's hands to get involved in. My children love doing paper crafts and there are plenty of card based projects to get stuck into....


The themes for the week do tend to be around the same main theme, so for example you have Fox Week for January 8-14 and Gnome Week for Jan 15-21. Therefore all crafts for those weeks would be centered around foxes and gnomes. Overall I think there are more than enough crafty projects to keep us going and is a perfect rainy day craft book to get out with the family and get crafty. Here is a little animation, courtesy of  Quirk Books that showcases the many design ideas on offer in the book, which really is one the cutest craft books on my bookshelf.... 


X   

Monday, 5 November 2012

Fun At Chill Factore

Over half term the children and I were invited along to experience what is reputed to be the UK's most authentic indoor ski resort, complete with real snow. I am of course talking about Chill Factore where you can try your hand at skiing, snowboarding, or indeed even try out one of the many snow activities like sledging, and the luge slide. The new Snowscoot activity, a cross between a bmx bike and a snowboard looks super fun. What I like about Chill Factore, having never been there before, is that although proficient skiers and snowboarders can tackle the main slope, which is the longest indoor slope in the U.K. those of us ( like me) who need a little practice can go for just a fun old time in the snow.

There are realistic Alpine themed streets, with specialist shops, bars and family friendly restaurants overlooking some fantastic views over the real snow slopes. Miss. Poppins especially liked the look of the 12 metre high climbing wall and would like to go back to try that out.


 The snow fun activities on offer for us to try out were the sledging, the luge and the tubing. So off we went to get dressed for the occasion. Master P especially loved his snow bound attire....


Then it was off to the slopes. I have to say the children just loved the Sledging and I think was their favourite snow activity....



And they got some decent exercise too bringing the sledge up the hill again.... 


A certain Master Poppins, kindly knocked me over whilst I was filming him, getting into the spirit of the activity and we didn't half giggle about it. By his second go he had really got the hang of it, well almost, not quite remembering to break!

Next up it was The Ludge which is the only one of its kind in the UK. Now I wasn't brave enough to try this one out, but the children raced up to the top of the hill, am not quite sure they knew what they had let themselves in for....


Yes you do have to lie on your back and basically just hold on. I could barely look as I saw my six year old zooming past me, I was a happy mama when he and Miss Poppins got to the bottom. A real thrill seekers activity this one, and everyone zooming past me seemed to really enjoy it. As for my two once was enough ;) Finally it was time for the Tubing they really, really enjoyed this, and had mucho fun. Here they are sliding down the special tubing lanes....  


Soon it was time to head back into the warmth and the mornings activities certainly got the thumbs up. We would certainly come back again and I do know friends who have had successful Birthday parties there also. I would say is well worth a visit but costs can mount so I would be mindful of that. However for a very special treat we would definitely go back again. 

X

Disclosure: The children and I were provided with a mornings free snow activities, including The Luge, The Sledging and The Tubing as well as lunch for the purposes of this review blog post. All words and opinions my own.    


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sleep Well At Ibis? Oh Yes!

As the husband had gone on his little trip abroad that I won and where I couldn't go with him, and the children were each going on their own little holiday, I happily accepted and looked forward to a one night break away at an Ibis hotel to try out their new Sweet Bed system. As someone who lacks sleep due to many reasons I had to attend this sleep related event as I desperately wanted to learn lots of new tips and tricks for getting a good nights kip. I was also very excited to hear there would be a talk from leading physiotherapist and sleep expert Sammy Margo who really knows her stuff. I was invited along with 9 other bloggers to the newly opened Hotel Ibis Shepherds Bush This particular Ibis has 128 rooms all featuring the new and revolutionary bedding concept that Accor unveiled, and with an in-house committee comprising sleep experts and outside researchers worked together for several months to develop. This bedding system has been designed to deliver the perfect nights sleep so my expectations were already very high. 

The new Sweet Bed system has been incorporated throughout all Hotel Ibis's and more than 66,000 beds are already in place. This short video details all the components to the Sweet bed....


* Support- provided by the bed frame and mattress
* Comfort- provided by the mattress and topper

Oh I couldn't way to try it out. On arrival at the newly opened Ibis in Shepherd's Bush you could really feel a fresh contemporary vibe and everywhere was so clean and tidy....


The open plan ground floor incorporates the reception, bar and restaurant and has a modern d├ęcor with very stylish touches and creative lighting which I really liked as well as the business corner....


 Then it was up to the my room to drop my bags off and it really was lovely, being a very calm, uncluttered and well designed room and which I looked forward to spending the night in. Of course I couldn't resist trying out the new bed system, with it's hollow-fibre pillows, smart foam and spring mattress and uniquely designed 'S' duvet ;) I almost climbed in and fell asleep right there and then.


 However after a quick brush of the hair etc off I went back downstairs for the event sessions which I was looking forward to, along with a lovely cup of peppermint tea....


First up was a tour of the hotel with the general manager, who was helpful and friendly in answering our many questions about the hotel. I really liked that here our towels help plant trees....


And the pod style en suite bathrooms were great....


After our tour is was time for lunch....


And being a very enthusiastic cake lover I was delighted to see this plate of delicious offerings....


Next up after lunch it was time for Sammy's 'The Art Of A Good Night's Sleep' talk, and which I have to say was fantastic and a real eye opener. As I am someone who finds it hard getting to sleep I shall now be taking a banana to bed with me everynight ;) For sleep inducing purposes of course as they contain melatonin and serotonin as well as the muscle relaxant magnesium. We learnt why sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle and even that separate bedrooms from partners can be a real worthwhile decision, also how pillows can break and here is Sammy doing the shoe test....


Then it was time for Sammy to climb on board her pretend bed to share some tips on sleeping positions....


Apparently green is the perfect colour choice for a bedroom due to its calming influence, I however pointed out I couldn't think of a worse colour as green reminds me of hospitals and that certainly wouldn't have a calming influence on me ;) Bedtime routines can be very important, there should be no electrical gadgets near by, sleeping positions are very important and further on in this post you can see Sammy and I in our practical session to find my perfect sleeping position. A milky drink really does help before sleep as does trying to empty ones mind of all those worrisome thoughts, something that effects me being a natural worrier. After a short break it was indeed time for the practical session on one of the Ibis hotel's Sweet Bed's. I was asked if I didn't mind our session being recorded. At this point I did wonder what sort of event I had indeed come to ;)

It was a very valuable experience. Being a front sleeper, I now know why I often wake up with neck pain and my sleeping position has been improved since coming home. I am occasionally finding that I keep rolling over on to my front during sleep so a little more practice at my new sleeping position is probably needed. 

So, after we had all had our one to one practical, it was time for some Q&A's which again I found very useful. I really learnt lots at the event and I couldn't wait to do my very own shoe test to see if any of our pillows at home are indeed broken. After a lovely dinner which was a short walk away from the hotel it was time to head back to my room and get into my bed....


Oh it was lovely, perfect for me and that 7cm topper a delight to sleep on. so I did indeed wake up refreshed after a good nights sleep and was all ready for breakfast before heading home. I made a fond farewell to my sweet bed....

  
And a lovely big hello to breakfast....


I can't resist a bit of Nutella in the mornings and the breakfast on offer for a small charge at Ibis was super, I couldn't resist going back for more and more....

So, a thoroughly enjoyable event and I would like to thank, Ibis Shepherds Bush (who also kindly forwarded on my iphone charger that I left behind in my room) Kelly for her super organisational and friendly pr approach, Ellie for the heads up on the event, and lastly but by no means least Jeremy for bringing everyone together and being the main man on this.

As for now, I'm off to catch some more Zzzzzz's. I just wish it was on one of the Sweet Bed's ;) 

X

Disclosure: I was provided with a one night stay at Hotel Ibis, including lunch, dinner and breakfast for the purposes of this blog post.