A Visit To Santa’s Fantastical Post Office - The Mall Blackburn

AD - We were gifted tickets and paid for our time, however, all opinions are my own. 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - everywhere you go! It really is, and we couldn't be any more excited if we tried! We have so many festive activities and days out planned for over the next few weeks, and our recent visit to Santa's Fantastical Post Office at The Mall in Blackburn has really set us up on the right foot. It's truly a magical experience and has added even more excitement towards this festive period.

Santa's Fantastical Post Office is located in the heart of The Mall, across from the 'Ask me' desk - it's very easy to find, however, booking is essential and you can do so by visiting the website. Prior to this, we had a spot of coffee at Costa, while the kids wrote out their Christmas lists - I'd advise you to prepare this before you arrive unless there's another opportunity to do so before you go inside.

The attention to detail is evident as soon as you spot the red door of the Fantastical Post Office and from then on you are in for a real treat. It's a live-action, interactive show which lasts 15 magical minutes - you won't want it to end.

Once inside the post office, you are greeted by the Post Master Elf who speaks to each child individually, takes their letter, rolls it up, and sends it to Santa through a magic shoot - they are then given a stamped letter to take through to Santa. The room looks magical, decorated to the nines, and there are a few surprises in store - ones that I don't want to spoil for you. 

Children are paired up in small groups for this experience, however, the elves and Santa speaks to each child individually. I think having a group of children together makes it even more exciting as they really bounce off one another's energy. Each child gets to walk the red carpet to Santa, is spoken to in a very gentle and kind demeanor, and presented with a gift. Noah and Ava left the room with the biggest smiles on their faces. It was priceless.

Santa's Fantastical Post Office costs £9.95 per child, it opened on the 23rd of November and will remain open up until Christmas Eve - select dates only. Visit the website to check dates, times, and most importantly, to book your session - it's certainly not to be missed.

Christmas Gift Ideas For Foodies & Festive Tipples

AD - This post contains PR samples and affiliate links.

It really is starting to look like Christmas - there are just four weeks to go until the big day! Are you prepared? If not and you have gifts yet to purchase then this gift guide may be of some use to you. It features dozens of food and drink (hic) suggestions that are ideal for many members of your family, or friends.

1. Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo Gin - £35.95
Gin is my tipple of choice, and I know it's currently one of the most popular spirits on the market. Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo Gin is a favourite of mine - Made with Williams GB gin as the base spirit and infused with a delicate range of eight botanicals including; juniper, orange peel, licorice, elderflower, and bitter almond before distillation in a copper gin still with pink grapefruit and pomelo peel. You can find this gin and more over at 31Dover.

2. EasiYo Yogurt Maker - £16.75
The EasiYo Yogurt Maker is an option for those who like to make their own foods, all while cutting down on plastics. It's has a sleek and simple design, which would suit any kitchen. It's able to create delicious, thick and creamy yogurt, without the use of any electronics or moving parts. It's easy to make, and fun to do! The Yogurt Maker Pack retails at £16.75 and includes the Pink Yogurt Maker, 1kg Yogurt Jar, and Information leaflet. Yogurt sachets can be purchased separately, at £3.00 each, or in various multipacks.

3. Cranes Cider Gift Set - £16.99
This gift set from Cranes is perfect for those who enjoy fruit cider. Included in the set is one of each of their flavous of fruity ciders; 1 x Cranes Cider Cranberries & Limes, 1 x Cranes Cider Raspberries & Pomegranates, 1 x Cranes Cider Blueberries & Apples and 1 x branded glass. Handcrafted in Cambridge, the drinks are made from all-natural ingredients and contain 30% fewer calories than brand leaders. I have this wrapped up for a family member already.

4. The Gin Club Subscription Box - £34.99
Another suggestion from 31 Dover is their gin subscription box which costs £34.99 per box. Every month, or every quarter, depending on your subscription you'll receive a bottle of gin, plus mixers and other accompaniments. The gin will always be something interesting and exciting as they like to select unique bottles from talented distillers across the world.

5. Beanies Mini Stash Box - £9.00
For lovers of quick, flavoured instant coffee, the Beanies Mini Stash Box would be ideal. You can select 3 flavours from their extensive collection of coffees, including their decaf options. The Christmas box includes; Mulled Wine, Christmas Pudding and Ginger Bread 3 x 50g jars and costs just £9.00. Beanies Thick Shakes would also make a great stocking filler at just £3.50 each.

6. I Heart Wines Rioja - £8.00
I have family members who swear by a bottle of red, especially at Christmas time. With top notes of red berries and a hint of vanilla from aging oak, I heart Berceo Rioja is ideal for drinking with a Christmas dinner and works just as well with sweet dishes too. Rioja and Christmas pudding - it sounds like a winner to me! It's available to buy at Bargain Booze, Nisa, and McColl's - or you can treat yourself to a case of three from Amazon.

7. Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso - £11.00
Red isn't my thing personally, but Prosecco is. Mionetto Prosecco is known for its style, quality, and taste. It's so fruity and light, with notes of honey, golden apple, white peach, and acacia blossom. I might have to save this bottle for me! You can find Mionetto Prosecco at Morrison’s, Tesco, NISA, Budgens, Bargain Booze, CostCutter and Londis or online at Amazon.

8. Popcorn Shed's Popcorn Gift Boxes - £3.50 each
Many people like sweet treats at Christmas, how about popcorn for a chance? Popcorn Shed is my favourite popcorn brand, they have a wide range of different sweet and savoury flavours, presented in bags, cardboard sheds, jars, and they even come in hampers too. Butterly Nuts and Pecan Pie are the two flavours that stood out to me, and I'm looking forward to gifting and trying them this Christmas. You can purchase multipacks and more on Amazon.

9. Four Seasons Gin Gift Set Collection - £25.00
There are lots of gifts for gin lovers at Yumbles and their four seasons gift set would tick many boxes, for many people. The gift set contains each one of their limited edition seasonal flavours, all in 5CL bottles. The varieties are; Lemon and Rosemary, Summer edition Strawberry and Black Pepper, Autumn edition Apple, Blackberry and Cardamom and the Winter Edition Cranberry and Clementine - all of which sound amazing.

9. Masha - £39.99
Masha is a multipurpose kitchen tool that is a must-have for all kitchens. It can be used to mash, whisk, beat, blend and puree in a matter of seconds. Its lightweight design has non slip sides, making it easy to handle and use. It's also dishwasher safe as the electric components can be removed for easy cleaning. Masha would make Christmas dinner much easier, that's for sure. You can order a Masha directly from Amazon for £39.99.

10. Booja-Booja Dairy Free Chocolate Truffles - £9.99
This Booja-Booja Award-Winning Selection features 16, dairy-free chocolate truffles for just £9.99 RRP. This is their best-ever value gift box to date, it is a dream come true for chocolate lovers across the UK. The box contains melt-in-your-mouth truffle varieties including; Hazelnut Crunch, Almond Salted Caramel, Around Midnight Espresso, Rhubarb & Vanilla Fool and more. The Booja-Booja Award-Winning Selection is available now from Holland & Barrett, online and in-store. It will be available from independent health food shops across the UK from December.

Which of these items do you like the sound of the most?

The 2019 Christmas Good Toy Guide By Fundamentally Children

AD - This is a collaborative post.

I'm sure you are well aware by now, there's no escaping it, but Christmas is right around the corner - in fact, there's just one month to go! I tend to be a little disorganised at Christmas time, leaving certain things until the very last minute. This year I planned to be different, and so far it's going well. I'm almost done when it comes to buying gifts, however, there are a few children in our family who I am yet to by for and that is where Fundamentally Children's 2019 Christmas Good Toy Guide has come in very useful.

The 2019 Christmas Good Toy Guide from the independent experts at Fundamentally Children has been put together to help parents, grandparents, carers, uncles, aunties, and so on, find the ideal toy for their recipient child. It includes over 50 toys, from 4 different age ranges. Each toy has been tested by children (the best kind of tester in my opinion) and each toy is endorsed by experts - which basically means they are reviews and toys that you can trust. I like how many are educational based because those to me, are the best kind of toys.

It really is a great guide as there's something for every child, at every age, and with every interest. There's a couple of toys in their which we are familiar with, most recently Learning Resources Coding Critters which we reviewed here
Fundamentally Children are also running their annual mega Christmas Giveaway now, until Sunday 1st December. Entrants can win a bundle of toys worth over £500! You can enter online here.

The Fortnite Battle Royale Collection - Review & Giveaway

AD - I was sent these products for the purpose of this review & this post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Fortnite Battle Royal Collection has landed and is bringing the popular game to life through various character figures and playsets - just in time for Christmas! Noah has played Fortnite a couple of times, with his older cousins, basically just cutting down trees - however, he's adamant that he's a huge fan and like most children, he knows all those silly Fortnite dances too! As you can imagine he was so excited when a loot crate box full of Fortnite Battle Royal toys arrived for him to unbox.

The Mission Specialist & Dark Voyager pack were the first characters to be unboxed and Noah couldn't have been any more delighted with them. They are both popular characters/skins in the franchise and look just like they do in-game. Their arms and heads are moveable, and they come with removable, interchangeable weapons and stands. The duo pack retail at £7.99 which I think is very reasonable - especially for branded toys which are usually priced ridiculously high.

Next, we opened the Sergeant Jonsey & Carbide set, which again retails at just £7.99. Carbide seems to be a popular character and having a different weapon option is a great added touch. Noah made sure to kit them up with their correct pieces, with a spare weapon on their backs. 

It was then time for the single packs; Omega and Aerial Threat - both very popular characters in the Fornite series and with an RRP of £4.99. Omega is Noah's favourite out of all the figures and he now wants to collect them all - that's over 100 characters!

The Fortnite Battle Royale Collection, from what I've seen, is fantastic. The figures are a great size, standing at 2 inches tall, they are perfect for play and for display. The collectability and playability of these toys are a big draw and we like how the weapons and accessories can be swapped between figures.

The collection is available to buy now, online and in-store at Amazon & Smyths. I can see the figures, vehicles, and playsets being popular with Fornite fans far and wide. How would you like to win a Fortnite Battle Royale Collection Aerial Threat figure? To enter simply use the Gleam form below and don't forget to enter my other blog competitions.

The Fortnite Battle Royale Collection Ariel Threat Figure

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize provided by me. 
3. Competition ends 25/12/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only. 18 years old to enter.

My Sunday Photo - 47/52

Christmas Stocking Fillers & Festive Treats For Children

AD - This post contains PR samples.

There's no denying it now, Christmas is just over a month away! Can you believe it? Whether you are organised or not, the pressure is now on to have everything ready for the big day and as ever - everything is a little chaotic for us. We have quite a large family, and the gift-buying always tends to be left to me - I have so many different Christmas lists on the go. Over the next week or so I'll be posting various gift guides, containing samples I've been sent that I'll be gifting to my own family this year.

1. Chocolates from Thorntons
- £5.38
Thorntons are known for pulling out all the stops at Christmas - providing a wide range of delicious chocolate products. Thorntons Cheeky Elf is back for another year, along with the Cheeky Reindeer and Snowy Bear. They retail at £5.38, perfect for in Christmas stockings and are bound to be popular with the little ones. 

2. Mizzie The Kangaroo - £16.80
Mizzie is a baby teething toy is designed for infants’ sensory development and sore gums. Stimulating babies’ sense of sight, touch, smell and hearing. And of course, she squeaks! Mizzie The Kangaroo is made out of 100% natural rubber, contains water-based non-toxic dyes and is free from PVC, BPA, nitrosamines, and phthalates. Designed by parents, you just know it ill be a well-received gift for youngsters.

3. Stib Jumbo Pencils - £9.95
Stib Jumbos are more than just a tub of coloured pencils - they have designed to support and inspire children, making them feel good on the inside and to encourage them to do good deeds too. The pencils are all embossed with a positive and inspirational word and they are presented in a brightly coloured tube. The pencils come with a pencil sharpener, sticker sheet or colouring templates. They retail at £9.95 and 10% of profits go to charity.

4. Foodie Roos - £7.99
Foodie Roos are a new collectible toy on the market, brought to you by John AdamsEach Foodie Roo is presented in a brightly colored, realistic-looking food container - ids can choose from popcorn, gummies, chips, cookies, fruit cup, soda, pretzels, juice, cereal, and rare treats! Inside is a collectible, soft plush, which is scented and great for sensory play. Read more about Foodie Roos here.

5. Haribo Christmas Selection
- from £4.00
Forget chocolate, some people prefer candy for Christmas. Featuring a mix of favourite sweet treats, the Haribo Hamper is ideal for those with a sweet tooth. Bursting a fab selection, the hampers include a little something for everyone; sour Bear Buddies, Squidgy Strawbs, Jelly Beans, Balla Stixx, Chamallows, and delicious Dummies Z!NG. The Haribo Selection Box and Sweet Medely Box are also great inclusions to the range.

6. Ion8 Leak Proof 'Ladybugs' Kids Water Bottle
- £10.00
As a parent, I really appreciate useful gifts and the Ion8 leak proof water bottle is just that. It's just the right size for children, looks super cute and is easy for them to use with the flip lock, soft feel and carry strap. It's BPA free, made from phthalate-free, non-toxic TRITAN and is suitable for hot or cold drinks.

7. Goes To Sleep book - £16.99
Personalised gifts are also a favourite of mine and the Goes to Sleep bedtime book would make a thoughtful gift, especially if the recipient doesn't sleep very well. The book has been created in partnership with ‘The Children’s Sleep Charity’ and each copy is easily personalised for every individual child, and is proven to help children and parents sleep better through the night. What more could you ask for in a gift?

8. Experience Voucher from Red Letter Days - from £20.00
If you wanted to think out of the box this Christmas then I would highly recommend purchasing an experience voucher from Red Letter Days. There are lots to choose from which are specifically aimed at families and children. We have a voucher for Drayton Manor and we are so very excited.

9. Baby Born Clothing - from £9.99
Baby Born sells an array of different clothes, accessories, and furniture which are great for children who have Baby Born dolls or dolls of a similar size. I have a few outfits that I've put away for Ava's dolls for Christmas that I know she'll adore - which will also add more excitement when it comes to role play.

10. Snacks from Fruit Bowl - from £2.99
Great for stocking followers, snacks from Fruit Bowl are a healthy treat and are perfect for nibbling on during the festive period. Their fruit yogurt flakes have been a favourite of Noah's for years so he'll be delighted when he discovers the variety pack in his stocking this Christmas. They are filling and contribute towards their 5 a day. The blackcurrant and raspberry peelers are something new for them to try - I'm sure they'll enjoy them just as much.

11. Bamboo Tableware Set - £15.95
Finishing off the guide nicely is a very practical gift idea with the Miko the Panda Bamboo Tableware Set from Rex London. This set is ideal for children from weaning age, through to toddlerhood and beyond. It features a matching plate, bowl, beaker, fork, and spoon - all made from bamboo and melamine. I adore the the design and I'm sure my children will get many years of use out of it.

12. Klean Kanteen Kids Classic Sports Bottles 12oz - £16.95

I've been a fan of Klean Kanteen for the past couple of years, however, the kids were yet to have their own bottles. These 12oz stainless steel sports bottles would make the best stocking filler, as they are a useful and practical gift and one which is environmentally friendly too. The bottles are great to use at playgroup, nursery, school, at home, and on the go. Read more about Klean Kanteen and purchase them on their website or at Amazon.

Which of these stocking fillers or treats do you like the sound of the most?

5 Tips for Having the Perfect Caravanning Holiday with Children

 AD - This is a PR collaboration.

Caravans are quickly becoming the most popular way for families to travel and enjoy a holiday. If you are thinking of taking a trip with a caravan with young kids in tow, check out our quick guide for some helpful tips.

Plan Your Packing Carefully.
Many people make the mistake of packing either too much or too little when planning their caravanning holiday. Be a little ruthless and don’t pack too many toys or games for your kids and instead make sure you pack some of the consumables you will need on your journey. Caravan sites are usually expensive when you want to buy simple things like washing up liquid or laundry powder, so be sensible and remember to pack these kinds of items to save yourself money on the road.

Make Sure You Pack with Children in Mind.
Caravans are a great way to travel with children, as you can take a lot of things with you and include some of the comforts from home that give them reassurance. Pack with children in mind though; it is no good packing away the things they will likely need at the back of all your packing space or tucked away somewhere that is difficult to access quickly. They need to be close to hand for when they decide they need them.

Dot the I’s and Cross the T’s.
Just about anyone with a standard driving license can tow a caravan (provided the combined weight is less than 3.5 tonnes), but make sure your licence is up to date and has the appropriate permissions. The last thing you want to happen when you are travelling with children is to get into trouble with the authorities, as it can be very distressing and worrying for little ones.

You should also check your insurance. Many car insurance policies don’t extend their coverage to something you’re towing, so you should make sure you insure your caravan before travelling. You can use a comparison site to ensure you save money that can be put towards your holiday.

Try and Get Friends Involved.
One way to make a caravanning trip a lot of fun is to get friends to join you on the adventure. If you have friends with children that your kids enjoy playing with, they are the perfect travelling companions for you and your family. A convoy of caravans is also a better way to travel, as you can all help each other out and your children can play together and keep each other entertained on day trips.

Don’t Stick to Your Routines.
Let the kids stay up late. It sounds like a bad idea, but it actually works quite well on a caravanning holiday. They may be sleepy the next day, but if you are travelling, that helps keep them quiet while they rest in the car! You can also spend extra time together as a family this way; you can stay up together to gaze at the stars or even try out the family disco at the campsite if you like. Travelling with kids can be a headache, but a caravan holiday can actually be an easier way to take young children on holiday without having to negotiate an airport or go abroad. When not give it a try yourself?

Discovery Digital Walkie Talkies - Review & Giveaway

AD - I was sent this product for the purpose of this review.

I have many fond memories of my childhood - most of them revolve around being outdoors with my friends, making daisy chains, building dens with fallen branches, and communicating with my friends via our "talkies!" As you can imagine I was delighted when the chance came to review the Discovery Digital Walkie Talkies - I knew the kids would love chatting to one another through them and hoped they'd enjoy having walkie talkies just as much as I did when I was a kid.

Presented in an attractive box, with limited plastic packaging - they were ready to use within a few minutes after inserting 6xAAA batteries. They come with easy to follow instructions that also feature different STEM-based play ideas.

The Discovery Digital Walkie Talkies are just the right size for children from 4 years of age - or younger, like Ava, when supervised. They are lightweight, made from thin plastic, however, they are quite sturdy and have endured some rough and tumble already.

They feature a small LED display with 3 channels and has an LED torch for use in the dark - perfect for sleepovers or camping. They have an alert button that rings when someone is trying to call them and has the ability to transmit messages for up to an impressive 3km away. 

Overall, I'm really impressed with the Discovery Digital Walkie Talkies and so are the kids. It didn't take long for them to figure out how to work them and they've had a blast with them so far. Noah likes to take his into his attic room - he then proceeds to call down and order a snack!

The Discovery Digital Walkie Talkies are brought to you by Trends UK, retail at £24.99 and can be purchased instore, and online at Argos or Amazon. How would you like to win a set for your children? To enter simply use the Gleam form and don't forget to enter my other competitions.

Discovery Digital Walkie Talkies worth £24.99

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Winners details will be shared with the PR to arrange delivery of the prize. 
3. Competition ends 22/12/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only. 18 years old to enter.

ICON Arctic Wolf Faux Fur Bean Bag from Bean Bag Bazaar - Review & Giveaway

AD - I was sent this product for the purpose of this review.

As a family, we love to cosy up together, especially at this time of year when it's cold and blustery outside. Usually, we all get on the sofa together, drag out the throws, and pop on a family movie - sometimes I like to sit and use samples by Mycustomessay.com when needed.

Our snuggle time has just had a serious upgrade - thanks to our new favorite brand!Bean Bag Bazaar linked me to their faux fur beanbag section on their website and asked me to choose whichever I liked the look of the most. I opted for the Icon Kenai faux fur bean bag in Arctic Fox as it looked gorgeous, and would suit most rooms in our home.

When the bean bag arrived I was blown away - it's huge, with a width and depth of 85cm and height of 50cm. It's described as "adult-sized" which is correct as I am 6ft tall and fit in it perfectly and the kids, well, they submerge right into it and they love it!

ICON Arctic Wolf Faux Fur Bean Bag is described as the most luxurious bean bag on the website and I can see why. The faux fur is high quality, extremely soft and the insulating properties that are inside the bean bag make it so warm and snug - almost like you are receiving a huge hug.

The FreeFlow technology inside allows the beans to move about freely, adjusting to your body and offering lots of support. This is amazing because it means that you are able to sit, lean or lay on the bean bag in many different ways, as demonstrated by Ava in the photos above.

The ICON Arctic Wolf Faux Fur Bean Bag from Bean Bag Bazaar costs £99.99 and it is worth every penny, if not more. The quality and comfort is next level - no bean bag compares. 
How would you like to win one? To enter simply use the Gleam form below. Good luck and don't forget to enter my other competitions.

Arctic Wolf Faux Fur Bean Bag from Bean Bag Bazaar worth £99.99

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will win the prize mentioned above.
2. Winners details will be shared with the PR to arrange delivery of the prize. 
3. Competition ends 15/12/19.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only. 18 years old to enter.