The Benefits of Journaling for Children

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Journaling is a tool that is used by many to unleash negative thoughts, creativity and simply reflect on one’s day. Journaling has many more great benefits for children as it allows them to improve on their literacy skills such as reading and writing. A boarding school in East Sussex shares more on the benefits of journaling for children.

Clarity of Thought
With so many thoughts whirling around your head and emotions to deal with, it can be hard to think clearly at times which is where having a journal can help. Writing things down offers perspective and allows for detachment from problems. This helps children to deal with difficult situations and emotions better.

Mental Health
Talking to somebody when you're going through something difficult can be a scary thought and keeping a diary can help. It can help your child to get some weight off their chest and make the process of talking to someone easier.

Working Towards Goals
All you need is a notebook and a pen to start actioning your dreams and explore your talents. According to studies, those that write down their plans are more likely to achieve them.

Improved Literacy
Journaling on the daily can help your child to improve on their literacy skills such as reading and writing as they get into the habit of conveying their thoughts into words. It also gives young children the opportunity to improve on their handwriting so that their writing becomes more legible and easier for teachers to read.

A Way of Expression
Children can also freely explore their ideas and imagination, allowing them to become innovative and creative thinkers. Exploring this from a young age can help your child to become a pioneer of tomorrow.

Christmas Gift Guide For Kids 2021

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It's the countdown to Christmas yet again - can you believe it? I'm so excited! After the past couple of years, it's nice to have some Christmas normality again and we are well and truly full of the festive spirit. To add to the excitement we've collaborated with different brands to put together a collection of gifts that would be perfect for children this year.

1. Build Your Own Microscope - £16.99
This is the perfect gift for those children that love to learn and build things with their own hands. It's eco-friendly, fully functioning - with 30x magnification. A fabulous STEM toy that is suited for ages 8 and over. You can view their full range of Build Your Own products over on their website.

2. David Walliams Book Boxset - £34.75
If your child likes to read then you can't go wrong with books by David Walliams - he is such a hit with the kids, and a bestseller. There are various books, and book box sets available online at Books2Door - all for great prices. You are really spoilt for choice as they cater for so many age ranges and stock so many genres of books.

3. PuroSound Labs JuniorJams Headphones - £59.99
Puro Sound Lab’s JuniorJams Bluetooth headphones for kids have been designed to give high quality performance and comfort at an affordable price. Available in a variety of different colours these are a must-have for both parents and children alike. Peace and quiet for us grown-ups and sound at a safe level for the kids. They are lightweight, wireless, volume-limiting, and fit comfortably around the ear. You can purchase them online here.
4. LittleDug Workstation - £19.99

Due to popular demand BiGDUG have launched a children’s version of their famous workbench - The LiTTLEDUG Workstation! Inspired by BiGDUG’s BiG400 Heavy Duty Workstation, the LiTTLEDUG Workstation is this year’s must-have Christmas present for engineers and DIY gurus of the future, who want to help out Mum & Dad with odd jobs around the home. I can imagine so many children enjoying this toy - it's great for building those fine motorskills too. At just 19.99 – it’s a Christmas bargain!

5. Orchard Toys Dizzy Donkey - £8.50
Suitable for children from the age of 5 - Dizzy Donkey is another hit from the ever so popular Orchard Toys. Act out crazy combinations in this fun-filled action and performance game - a fantastic twist on charades that will have the whole family laughing! I think this will go down a storm on Christmas day!
6. Learning Resources ABC Puzzle Cards - £13.50
Learning Resources are another favourite brand of outs - every toy or activity is always of value to us and we like to donate to school or nursery when we are done with them. Perfect for preschoolers and reception children - this set of 26 puzzles each features a letter of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase form and a word beginning with that letter on one piece, and a full-colour illustration on the other. From apple to zebra, your child will pick up new language skills as they play. Great for nurturing those early literacy skills.

7. Geomag Magicube Shapes - £29.99
Little inventors will love getting creative with this 13-Piece Magnetic Blocks & Wheels set from the Geomag Magicube range. This exciting construction set is the perfect first introduction to the world of block building. With unique magnetic blocks, children will love using their imaginations to create anything they like. As well as colourful blocks, this set includes 4 magnetic wheels to help bring their creations to life. Plus, the blocks are all made from 100% recycled plastic.

8. Blopens Sequins Activity Set - £14.99
My kids are big fans of BLOPENS from John Adams - they love creating their very own airbrush pictures. With this set, you can create sparkling airbrush-style pictures using sequins too - a little bit extra for Christmas! It includes over 200 sequins to add those sparkling finishing touches.

9. Pets Alive Pet Shop Surprise - £15.00
Available to buy now online at Argos - these fluffy pets are bound to be a big hit this Christmas. Adopt, Cuddle and Interact: With the electronic interactive features, your child can experience the joy of a new pet – encouraging friendship, excitement, and the importance of celebrating others! There are 6 pets to collect and there are lots of surprises to discover.

10. Mini Brands Surprise Toy - £7.00
These surprise toys would make the most perfect stocking filler. At £7.00 from The Entertainer they don't break the bank either. Unwrap, peel and reveal miniature collectibles of iconic and loved brands like Heinz Beans, Aunt Bessies, Slush Puppy and so much more! There are over 100 Series 2 Mini Brands including rare, super rare, and even ULTRA rare miniatures to collect, and even new accessories to create your mini shopping world. Ideal for children who love to collect!

11. So Slime DIY Ice Cream Factory - £20.00
What is it with kids and slime? You can make 10 different slime sundaes this Christmas with your very own slime ice-cream factory! The kit comes with all you need to serve up amazing slime creations! Scoop and squish your ice cream, shake and squeeze on the sauce, then decorate with toppings and serve. Scoop the Ice slime, add the squishy Fluffy slime, and top with the wonderfully scented DIY Slime Sauce! I know Ava is going to be delighted to find this under the Christmas tree! Check out all the So Slime toys over on Argos.

12. Canal Studio Creator Unicorn Light Up Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - £29.99
The Unicorn Light Up Bluetooth Speaker is a real show-stealer of a Christmas present - gifting children magical music and lights. This fun portable, bluetooth speaker lights up with 8 fun colour modes. It can be used both as a light-up lamp/ night light and a fabulous portable speaker. It also comes with stickers so children can decorate the unicorn as they see fit. Another fabulous gift suggestion from Canal Toys.

13. Bloomsbury Mill Duvet Cover - £14.99
Bring some festive cheer into your children's bedroom with this Winter Wonderland duvet set from Bloomsbury Mill. Cosy up this Christmas with our vibrant winter wonderland printed bed set. From Santa and his sleigh to reindeers and elves, this fun and festive set is the perfect way to bring the magic of Christmas into any bedroom. A vibrant and playful design, it’s crafted from an easy-care cotton blend so it’s super soft, durable, quick-drying and requires minimal ironing.

14. Elf On The Shelf Puzzle & Blind Bags - from £2.99
If you bring out the elves every year like I do then you need to know about these products. The Elf on the Shelf puzzle the perfect gift for the elves to bring your child - perhaps when nearing near the big day. A Christmas Eve puzzle night! The Elf on the Shelf and Elf Pets blind bags are a lovely addition also - we hid them around the house for the children to find one morning. The puzzle retails at £8.99 and the blind bags are £2.99 each - you can find both online at Santa's Store.

15. FourFit Mini 2 - £29.99
Want to get the kids outside and get them moving more. Perhaps you want to encourage them to sleep more? The Fourfit Mini 2 may be just the ticket. It features; sleep tracking, activity monitoring, vibration smart alarm, get up & move reminder, step tracking, Heart rate tracking, blood pressure monitoring, calorie counter, easy find from the phone app with built-in anti-lose feature, and comes in 5 colour choices! You can purchase it now for £29.99.

16. Frugi Clothing - from £20.00
Frugi is hands down one of my favourite clothing brands for children. Their clothing is ethically sourced, made from organic materials, and with the utmost quality. Their designs are always so unique and feature modern twists and some nods to classic styling. Frugi kindly gifted both Noah and Ava an outfit each and I cannot wait to get them dressed up in these outfits on Christmas day! Visit the website to check out their amazing A/W range.

17. VW Campervan Bedspread - £295
As I get older I really value a practical gift, one which will be used all year round and not at Christmas. Things like clothes, bedding, towels - always a hit with me. This year we've slowly been piecing together Ava's new bedroom and I've added this fantastic bedspread from Snug Company to my wishlist.

18. Pokemon Toys - from £9.99
Pokemon celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion released an array of different merchandise. 
First on the cards were the stunning Silver Pokémon Plushes - Kanto region's favourites; Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander. They feature incredible detail and a soft feel, they are only available for a limited amount of time this year so catch them while you can! If plushes aren't for you then do check out the 3” Silver Figures - also highly detailed and only available for a limited time in 2021! Both officially licensed Pokémon products from Jazwares. You can also celebrate 25 years of Pokémon with this Pikachu construction set. This Electric-type Pokémon stands over 4 inches tall and can be posed in different positions. This faithfully modeled Pikachu stands ready to celebrate with a party hat and gift - I know that Noah is going to love finding him under the Christmas tree. 

19. Bluey Plush - £9.99
Bluey has won the hearts of kids and parents around the world since it first launched in Australia in 2018 and has also scooped awards including an International Emmy Kids Award. Toys and gifts hit shelves in the UK this summer and Bluey is the #1 new UK toy property, year-to-date. This Bluey plush would be a lovely surprise in your little ones stocking this year and at just £9.99 you can't go wrong.

20. MyFirst Headphones BC - £75.00
Unlike traditional headphones, myFirst headphones use bone conduction technology to transmit sounds via the cheekbones. The technology leaves ears open to the surrounding sounds, meaning parents can get their child’s attention and most importantly, allows a child to listen to music and still be alert to their surroundings. The headphones are wireless and can be connected via Bluetooth smartphones, tablets, or even watches to play music or audio from 15meteres away. They are unbreakable and featherlight weighing just 26 grams. Once fully charged they can be on standby for 480 hours and playback for 5 hours. They are water-resistant to IP66 meaning they can survive whatever a child does to them. They retail at £75 from myFirst.Tech.

21. Jurrasic Park Kids Interactive Smart Watch - £40.00
Kids will think they are the best thing since sliced bread with this Jurassic Park Black Interactive Silicon Strap Watch! This touch screen watch has dozens of features; 10 watch faces (5 analogue and 5 digital), selfie photo/video camera, games, fitness tracker, alarm/stopwatch/timer, voice recorder & calculator. It is powered by USB cable which is included and also used for data download to a smart phone/device. It is Officially licensed Jurassic Park merchandise and perfect for all those dinosaur lovers out there.

22. Disney Cinderella Castle Snow Globe - £25.00
Last, but certainly not least we have my favourite item from the entire gift guide - the Disney Cinderella Castle Snow Globe. It's officially licensed and absolutely stunning - a real statement Christmas present and something which can be treasured for years to come. You can purchase it online now at Lost Universe.

What is your favourite item from this gift guide?

Swizzels Sweet Hamper For Christmas - Review & Giveaway

AD - I was sent this product for the purpose of the review and compensated for my time.

Swizzels are a beloved brand here in Britain and have been around for generations - since 1928 to be precise. I remember back when I was a kid, skipping to the corner shop and filling my paper sweet bag full to the brim with Parma Violets - my favourite! Love Hearts are also iconic to me - they were our love language back in primary school. My friends and I would dig out of favourite Love Heart message and sneak it into the boy's backpacks - haha. Swizzels fills me with fond memories and lots of nostalgia - it makes me so happy to see them still around and enjoyed just as much as my children.

This weekend, on a dull and dreary afternoon we had a surprise delivery - a Swizzels hamper! The kids literally squealed in delight when they spotted the box. At just 8 and 4 years of age recognise their iconic logo and couldn't wait to tuck in. They were both already suited and booted in their new Christmas onesies and couldn't wait to gobble up some Swizzels whilst watch a Christmas movie. 

We received the retro premium hamper which retails at just £12.99. Every sweet in this hamper is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and the hamper weighs a whopping 1.1kg. Inside are the favourites that we all know and love such as Rainbow Drops, Parma Violets, Fizzers, Drumstick chews, Refresher bars, Love Hearts, and more! 
The dimensions of the hamper are, 8cm high x 25.5 cm wide x 15cm deep. Contents may vary from hamper to hamper and it's worth noting that the lollipops aren't recommended for children under the age of 2 years.

The kids didn't waste much time in picking out their favourites and I couldn't wait to get my hands on those Parma Violets. Swizzels stock an array of different hampers which I think make a lovely change to selection boxes for Christmas. Prices start at just £9.99. How would you like to win a Swizzels hamper? To enter simply use the form below.

Swizzels Hamper

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize provided by Swizzels. 
3. Competition ends 05/12/21.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only. 18 years old to enter.

Classic Wooden Games from Jaques Of London - Review

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As a parent, in this fast, ever-growing digital world I'm always striving to take things back to basics - back to the way that I remember it. My childhood revolved around me using my imagination, making my own fun, and playing classic games with my parents and siblings - these are the childhood memories that I truly treasure. They are also experiences that I want my own children to appreciate and enjoy so we often have screen-free days where we dig out our favourite board games, books, and toys and just enjoy one another's company.

With this in mind, when Jaques of London got in touch to collaborate with us I think I emailed back within 2.5 seconds. Their website offers a plethora of incredible wooden toys and games suitable for all ages - at affordable prices. We chose the Tumble Tower and Four in a Row game to review as I knew they were games that my children were familiar with and would enjoy playing with together.

Four in a Row was the first game on the agenda. It came packaged in an eco-friendly way - in a reusable cardboard storage box, and paper. It was very easy to set up, simply open up the box by sliding out the wooden frame, separate the wooden discs and voila - ready to play! It's made to the utmost quality and I appreciate how each wooden disc is thick and sturdy - they won't go missing easily and will stand the test of time.

The instructions for this game are pretty self-explanatory and I think most people have played it. Taking turns, the first person to connect four discs in a row wins. Don't forget that you can go vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. I forgot the latter and then lost my first game, whoops! 
Four in a Row - Home Edition costs just £16.99 and would make the most wonderful Christmas gift.

Next, we have the Tumble Tower - which retails at just £13.99. Just like Four in a Row, it was packaged in an eco-friendly reusable storage box. It was so refreshing to open two games and have zero plastic to contend with - thank you for that. You can get large versions of this game, however, we opted for the smaller, indoor version to keep us busy when indoors during the winter. It contains plenty of sturdy wooden blocks, some printed with the Jaques of London logo, and others not. I had the task of setting up the tower ready for play and let me tell you, the kids were buzzing with excitement for this one. What is it with children and knocking down towers?

This was by far Ava's favourite out of the two - she's spent so much time over the past few weeks, stacking with extreme precision and exhibits such pride and confidence once she's completed the tower. She has also, somehow, become with family champion - much to Noah's frustration. I keep telling him that practice makes perfect and let me tell you, he's been practising hard ever since! It's been a joy to watch their faces when they are studying which block to remove next and it makes us all laugh every time the tower takes a tumble. This game is so much fun.

I cannot recommend Jaques of London enough - so much choice when it comes to games, and toys and the website is so easy to use. I'm already looking at what to buy next and will be reusing all the games at our wedding next year. These traditional family games are both such bargains and are available to buy on their website now. Please use this link for 15% off for you and your purchase

Which game would you play first?

5 Things I'm Loving Lately - November 2021

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I've been meaning to update the blog with a post like this for a while now - life has been so busy lately that I'm only just getting around to it. It's been a crazy time for us all, hasn't it? I'm still coming to terms with what has actually been happening the past (almost) two years. If COVID has taught me one thing it is to appreciate what you have and celebrate the things you love. Here are 5 things I'm loving lately.

1. Wedding Planning
After a 12 year engagement, myself and Nick have finally set a date and are getting married next May! We are both quite low-key people and don't like being the center of attention but we are setting that to one side. It's a day to celebrate our love for one another and to bring our families together after the rough time we've all had lately.

2. Routine
Don't get me wrong, I can't say we are a very routine-based family - however, I'm just so appreciative to have some sense of normality back. Both Noah and Ava are at school and are thriving. It's wonderful to see them back with their peers and with smiles on their faces at school pick up. 

3. Stardew Valley
I'm going to sound like such a nerd but one of my favourite ways to relax in the evening is to dig out my Switch and play Stardew Valley. If you've not heard of it yet then you are totally missing out. It's more than just a farming sim and has become a cult classic. The sole creator Eric Barrone has also just announced a new game, The Haunted Chocolatier.

4. My Dogs
I don't mention my pups enough as I should - they are fabulous and a never-ending supply of entertainment, support, and love! With the kids being back at school we love wrapping up and going on long walks together. It's a great way for me to get my steps in too and wonderful for mental health.

5. Making Time For Me
With the kids back at school and having more time to myself I've been making sure that I treat myself every now and again. It's easy to lose yourself when you are a parent and to put your own needs on the backburner. Every month I go and get my nails done, my eyebrows threaded, and my hair done. It might not sound like much but it does me the world of good. For those of you who really want to spoil yourselves, you can go a step further and pamper yourself with laser hair removal - saving you time and money in the long run, and leaving you feeling permanent, pleasantly smooth. New York Laser Clinic offers advanced, medical-grade laser hair removal in London, and their gold-standard lasers provide effective, pain-free hair removal for every skin type. Book a free consultation today and, for November only, enjoy 55% off laser hair removal.

What are you loving lately? 

How to Raise a Respectful Child

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Great relationships are built on the principle of respect and while we know what that is, how do we teach it to our children? A girls prep school in London shares a few ways that you can do this.

Tackling Disagreements
Knowing how to deal with disagreements is a key skill for being respectful that can help your child to socialise and work with others diplomatically. Teaching your child that it's okay to be faced with disagreements and the value that differing opinions hold can help you to do this. You can do this by having healthy debates at home which get your child to think about their standpoints and respectfully take differing views on board.

Being Considerate
Having an appreciation for the feelings of others can help your child to be more respectful and considerate. This is something that you can teach them by being kinder to those around you and making them aware of how they treat others. Tools such as a feelings dictionary may be useful for this or character books such as those on the MR Men series.

Communication Skills
Having the patience to listen to others is important when demonstrating respect. This is known as active listening, and it can help your child to improve on their comprehension too. Questions are a great way to demonstrate interest and can help your child to gauge situations better.

Using Manners
Manners cost nothing and can help your child to appear courteous and respectful when talking to others. Reminding your child to use their manners from an early age can help them to become accustomed to using them and become a respectful child.

Keeping an Open-Mind
Teaching your child to keep an open mind is important when raising your child with respect. This is the ability to be receptive to new ideas that are different to your own by agreeing to disagree and being open to understanding.