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What's In Darcy's Christmas Stocking 2019*

Do you ever struggle with what to put in a stocking over Christmas? The difficult decision of not wanting to go over the top, but also wanting to gift something that will be enjoyed?

 

Darcy has turned very girlie recently, and has strong opinions about everything. I am not over stuffing her stocking as she also gets a Christmas Eve box, so everything is cheap and cheerful. Of course I will adding the usual to the stocking as well.. socks, candy canes and of course an orange. I love watching her open her stocking on Christmas morning.

You know when you go into Primark for some socks and you come out with everything but socks? I was spoilt for choice for stocking fillers. It can be hard sometimes to find age appropriate. Darcy loves Disney and Primark have loads of Disney theme things including this perfume which was only £3 and the cute penguin lip balm was a quid.

The fluffy cat key ring is from Home Bargains and will be put her school book bag, and the tree pen is from one of my favourite shops Flying Tiger and was also £1.

After LOL Suprise dolls, Darcy is obsessed with JoJo Siwa. Obviously I had to get her a
JoJo Siwa x Hair Secretz brush*, it's not just cute looking. It has storage for hair clips inside the brush and dual sided bristles, one side to detangle the other to smooth and style.
The detangling side has three different heights of bristle which allow the brush to glide through hair in seconds.
JoJo Brushes available from B&M Stores nationwide and at Amazon for £7.99

Zoo imagination biscuits* are not only gluten and lactose-free, they are the perfect snack for between breakfast and Christmas dinner. You can find Zoo Imagination at Tesco for £1.79.

I hope you find something on this list helpful in your search for stocking fillers. Do you put similar things in yours? Or what other things do you put in your Christmas stockings? I always love hearing stocking filler ideas.

Hippity Hop Review

One thing that Darcy and I loved to do, is go to the theatre. I think it is important that families make time to see a show from time to time as it allows you to have quality time as well as help children to be creative, learn to communication and to be imaginative. So when Darcy and I had received a invite to review Hippity Hop at the Artsdepot I jumped at the chance. 


Photo credit Suzi Corker
 
Photo credit Suzi Corker



Photo credit Suzi Corker

Before the Hippity Hop starts you are greeted by the performers themselves, and everyone gets a colourful cap to wear. Just don't wear your cap back to front or your child will end up giving you the evils, apparently it is not cool to wear it that way and who am i to argue with a four years old.

The production focuses around a pram containing a baby who had rolled away from the its Mummy. Whilst travelling around colourful Hippity Hop town calling on various shopkeepers to see if they have seen the baby's missing mum.

Hippity Hop is different to other productions, there is puppetry, rapping and singing. It is a sensory delight full of colour, scent and sound. Which makes it perfect for children with autism.

Darcy and I favourite was The Soundman, I watched her really lose herself in the music and she has informed me that she wants all her friends to go and see it.

The production is aimed for 2 - 5 years old, but I feel it is perfect for all ages. We absolutely adored the production and would definitely see it again. I urge you all to do the same!

Hippity Hop is at the Artsdepot until the 31st December 2018, before going on tour in the New Year to The Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford (12-13 January), Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester (15-16 January), Gulbenkian, Canterbury (23-27 January), Theatr Clwyd, Mold (29 January – 2 February), Stratford Circus Arts Centre, London (8-9 February) and Southbank Centre, London (13-17 February)

Last Minute Party Planning Ideas*




Ah, hosting the Christmas party. It's your turn and suddenly you need to come up with a theme, a guest list, a menu, the entertainment, the decorations--all at the busiest time of the year. But never fear because believe it or not, you are only a click or a phone call away from getting teverything you need for your party. It'll kick your party up a notch or two and make it hassle free for you all in one go. You ready?

First off, you need to decide where to host your party. As it is last minute, hosting the party in your home maybe be the best idea. Get some friends or family members to help you set up, put those valuabes and breakables some where safe, move some furtinure around for space and decorate to room to your theme. You canget the kids involves by making paper chains, it will also keep them busy. So you can get on with other things without being intrupted.

If you do not fancy hosting at home you could looking into hiring one of many party houses. They perfect for gathering groups of friends, family or colleagues, corporate events, special occasions or as stag do venues.

For a work christmas party, see if you can use a board room for a few hours. If not many resturants have rooms you can hire or you can look into hiring out a area in a pub. Many places will have a christmas set menu which will suit every dietary needs.

You'll need entertainment and depending on your guest list (young, old, mix, coworkers, family, etc) as it's a Christmas party you're creating so why not invite the jolly old elf, Santa, himself? You've got fun right in the palm of your hand when you rent out a performer for your special day.

For children parties, keep it simple! Kids love parties foods, party time can often mean an excuse for overloading kids with sweet treats! But do you really want a bunch of sugar-fuelled kids running around your house?! The trick to serving healthy party food is to make it look as appealing as possible to the kids. Buffet food such as; String Cheese Snowmen and christmas pudding cake pops are so simple to make.

For office parties, a great thing to do is to make funny awards up, either in the form of made trophies or just certificates that you have printed off the computer. These can be for anything from 'first to arrive at the office each day', 'the one who always makes the coffee', 'the one who never late for work', 'the one who always wears a quirky tie', etc. and is a great way to 'award' coworkers for their silly habits. All in good fun of course.

So those few a few last minute christmas party ideas to help you get started, I hope you found them useful. Do you have any parties ideas you would like to share with me?


The ultimate Christmas gift guide for everyone on your list — all for under £50

Christmas is so close! But don't freak out I GOTCHU! Here is a gift guide for LITERALLY anyone... For Her, Him and the kids! I have some expensive things and I have some cheap things. These are all things that I generally like or have used, so they are Leighanne approved.

So what are we waiting for, let's start the Bump and Beyond ultimate Christmas  gift guide 2018


For Her


Gin has become a favoruite tipple to a lot of people, including myself lately. I am always on the hunt for some new favours to try. This Gin & Tonic Infusion Set* is perfect as it livens up the classic G & T or even create your own personalised gin infusions.


Add a personal touch with a bottle of personalised Prosecco* it is a perfect way to mark a special occassion.


We are all trying to be more environmental friendly, one way we can do this is by reducing the amount of plastic we use. A Chilly's Reusable Bottle*, is not only gorgeous  and res usable it is lightweight and insulated enough to keep the contents cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours.


A goal setting planner which everyone needs, Deluxe Law of Attraction Life Planner is perfect for the woman in your life. This planner helps set priorities (daily, weekly, monthly), there’s a monthly as well as a weekly overview.  The rose gold finish with the subtle engravings at the front and back is gorgeous and gives the planner a luxurious feel.


For the kids


From LOL Dolls to Num Noms, kids just love collectiable toys. A new one on the market is Party Pop Tennies, which is currently on offer at Argos. Pull, twist, and pop six Surprise Poppers to discover stylish dolls and fun accessories! For ages 4 years and over.


Do you remember last year when the Fingerlings were sold out everywhere! This year they are back with Fingerlings Hugs. Kiss them, swing them, or throw them in the air for different reactions. Fingerlings can also repeat what you say in a funny voice, For ages 2 years and over.


The cry babies, cry real water and make realistic baby noises. Give them their dummy and a cuddle to stop them from crying. For ages 18 months and over.


You cannot go wrong with a Leap Frog toy, The Learn and Groove Music Player is a child-friendly portable music player pre-loaded with 20 upbeat songs to encourage children to move as they learn.

The Untamed Raptor Dino is part of the Fingerling family. They react to sound, motion, and touch, and roar hiss and chomp to scare off your enemies.

The PJ Masks Stretch Catboy is Super Strong! Super Stretchy Fun! Grab hold and stretch Catboy's arms, legs and torso! Release and Catboy returns back to his normal size and shape. You can even tie him in knots! Not suitable for children under 3 years old

For Him 


What do you buy the man who has everything? A star of course!  With the Name a star gift set* You receive detailed info to help you track down your star with a telescope, and an official certificate proving that it has been registered.



The Spice Kitchen: Flavorful Recipes from Around the World is an excellent cookbook. Just perfect for adventurous home cooks interested in ethnic cooking



A Nintendo Switch is the perfect present for all the family, and now that Fortnite Battle Pass Season 6 is now available on the switch. It will make the perfect present for the man in your life.




Drones are at the top of plenty of wish lists this year, and if you want to take aerial photos or just get airborne, this Hawkin’s Bazaar drone is cheap and cheerful and should gives hours of fun.

Are Your Windows Ready for Winter?*


It only seems like yesterday, that we will moaning about how hot it wass. Cracking open all our windows and sitting in front of the fan. Now the weather has most definitely changed and it is time to keep our homes nice and toasty over the winter period.

Don’t wait till temperatures drop to weather proof your windows – use these helpful, cheap tips to keep your home warm. If your windows have seen better days, it is time to invest in some brand new Upc windows to not only keep your home warm but also safe over the winter period.

Clear sills and moving parts of dirt and debris. Debris like dirt or leaves can get caught in window sills and moving parts of windows or doors. Clean these areas with a dry brush to create a tighter seal and enhance window and door performance.

Make a DIY draft stopper
Common places for drafts to enter your home include; underneath doors and around windows. Making a draft stopper is rather easy. Al you need to do it make a tube with fabric and stuffed it with dried rice, padding or even old pieces of clothing. You can place these on any drafty windowsill in your home to help keep heat in and cold air out

Insulate your windows using plastic wrap
Window film creates an insulating barrier between the interior of your home and your windows. Kits typically include plastic shrink film that you apply to the indoor window frame using double-sided sticky tape. Simply heat the film with a hair dryer to shrink it and remove wrinkles. 

Hang thermal curtains
Insulated curtains are designed to effectively block the cold outside air from seeping inside your home. It is also a way to add some must needed colour and drama to your home.




Get Your Garden Ready For Winter*


Winter may not seem like the time to think about your garden. But take advantage of this break from the growing season to catch up on tasks that were put off during the rest of the year. Whether it’s protecting plants from severe cold, decorating the front garden for Christmas, or planning for next year, there’s plenty to keep you busy while you dream of spring.

Pack away your tools 
Leaving your tools out over the winter without protection they will more than likely be rusty and need replacing.


Remove weeds
There are weeds that thrive through the changing seasons; so you need to make sure you keep on top of them over the winter. Find yourself a good herbicide or if you want to do remove them naturally. White wine vingear is perfect for spot treating weeds. 


Clear out compost bins
Now is the ideal time to clear out last year's compost and use it around the garden, making room for this year’s waste. If your compost isn't quite ready, turn it to improve decomposition, and create a new heap next to it for fresh organic matter. You can never have too much compost.

Plant your spring-flowering bulbs
Winter is the perfect time to plant daffodils, crocus,  hyacinths and tulips. Make sure you plant them before there is too much snow and frost. To give yout flowers the best chance for survival by nestling bulbs about six inches deep in the soil.


And if all end fails hire yourself a gardener. Some may deem a professional gardener as simply an unnecessary luxury. However a garden is a big game player when selling your home, so think of it as an investment if you can afford it.

Moving Home Hacks | Tips Everyone needs to know !*




I cannot believe it has been a year since Darcy and I moved into our home, time really does fly. Today I thought I would I share with you some tricks and tips that helped our move be as stress free as possible.

Cut handles into boxes Get a knife or a pair of scissors and carefully cut slits into the sides of the box, fold the cardboard up inside and do the same on the other side. The handles will help make lifting the boxes so much easier.

Label your boxes, There's nothing worse than trying to look for something and not knowing where it is. You don't want to be opening box after box looking for a can opener. Also, consider placing the things that you use daily into separate boxes, that way you will have an easy access at them when you are into your new home and you won’t have to guess in what box they are.


Hire a Removal Company, do you really want to be carrying boxes all day long? As frugal as I am, I knew hiring a removal company would be the best option for me. Thankfully there are companies out there like getamover, where you can get lots of moving quotes, then pick the company which suits all your needs. 


Keep your clothes together bunch your clothes together into a bin liner, pull the liner over the clothes and tie up. This will keep your clothes and hangers organised and easy to pack away in your new home.

Don't get locked out of your home Twist an elastic band over a lock, this will prevent you from getting locked out. 


What handy tips do you have to make moving stress free?

5 Quick tips and tricks to save on winter heating and energy costs*


Winter is truly here, keeping our homes warm is crucial. And with energy prices remaining high, it’s now more important than ever to think about cheap and efficiency ways to keep your home warm and to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to on your energy bills.

Today I am sharing with you some easy and cheap ways to save yourself some money and keep your home a little warmer without spending a lot of money.

Watch out for drafts
Common places for drafts to enter your home include; underneath doors and around windows. Invest in a door draft stopper, simply place the insulator against the bottom of your door or window and it will stop the cold air coming through. For windows tape along the edges of the window panes as this can prevent those pesky drafts from making the room feel cold.

Close your curtains
Although natural sunlight is a great and free way to keep your home warm during the day. As soon as the sun sets, it is a good idea to close your curtains to stop heat being lost.

Move furniture away from radiators
Keeping radiators free from obstructions is one of the best ways to make sure that the heat travels across the room as much as possible.  

Replace your boiler
As your boiler gets older it becomes inefficient and often unreliable leading to more breakdowns and increased energy use. That means the cost of using your boiler will increase over time. There are lots of advantages when it comes to new central Heating Boilers. One being they are safer than older central heating systems and will not leak carbon monoxide, which is one of the biggest threats with older boilers.


Put a rug down
Wooden floor boards and tiled floors can directly make you feel cold when you walk on them. A rug not only can make a room look good, it can act as a heat trap.

Those are some quick tips and tricks to save money on winter and energy costs. But do remember that while there are many ways to help save money on heating costs, not every way will be applicable to your home.

Do you have any energy saving tips?

5 Frugal Holiday Tips | How To Save More Money This Christmas Season

 
Create a budget before buying any gifts.  By creating a Christmas budget you’ll be able to determine, on paper, how much you want to spend before actually spending a penny. It’s important to have a plan for your money so it doesn’t control you. Take a few minutes to determine who you need to buy, what you want to get, and how much you want to spend.

Don’t be afraid of DIY Christmas gifts. There are some great DIY gift ideas on Pintest that you can make. You might even have everything for a great gift at your house and it won’t cost you anything

Get together with friends and do a Secret Santa. This is something which I have been doing with my friends for years. Let’s be honest, gift buying can get overwhelming and expensive, Secret Santa experience help relieve some of the stress and financial burden of exchanging gifts esepcially if you have a lot of friends and family.

Shop Online. You can find amazing deals online by using voucher codes and promotional discounts.  Always search on Google for a voucher code before checking out to make sure you’re getting the lowest price.  Another great way to shop smart is by going to Poundland, Home Bargains and other discount stores.  If you’re willing to go earlier in the holiday season you can find some great items for a fraction of the cost as other retailers. And do not forget to use cash back sites such as Quidco and TopCashBack.

Know When to Stop When your list is finished and you’ve checked it twice, it’s time to stop shopping. Know when you’re finished, and avoid taking a trip to the shops “just to see what they have” – this can lead to making poorly planned purchases and blowing your budget.

Do you have a Christmas budget? How do you save money during the Christmas season?

Win an Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

Fancy winning a chocolate making kit? this giveaway is most definitely for you!


Inside each kit is everything you need to get started.  It includes pre-weighed ingredients, recipe & instructions and the ingredients are 100% pure botanical ingredients, absolutely nothing added. The pack includes Goji Berries & Brazil Nuts and Makes 20-25 small chocolates. The chocolates are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan and made from 100% pure botanical ingredients with nothing else added



The kit is super easy to use, so much so that Darcy did most of it herself. We had lots of fun making them and it was not messy at all!

Not only does the kit make a great Christmas present, you could also use the kit yourself and give the chocolate away as a gift.

Indigo Herbs sell a broad range of Natural health ingredients including herbs, superfoods, wholefoods and natural botanical. Raw Cacao contains over 300 nutrients, including antioxidants and minerals and it’s sweetened with Raw Agave Syrup which has a low glycemic index.

Indigo herbs have been lovely enough to give me an Indigo Chocolate Making Kit Gift Set to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. To enter, simply complete one or more of the entries on the Rafflecoopter below. Good Luck!

So tell me, what is your favourite chocolate?



Terms & Conditions
  • The closing date is 12am Sunday 9th december
  • The prize is one Indigo Chocolate Making Kit
  • The prize is valid on date specified above only and cannot be exchanged for monetary value
  • This competition is open to residents of the UK only
  • Entrants must log in via Rafflecopter widget
  • All entries will be verified
  • The winner will be chosen at random using the widget
  • The winners will be notified via email within 5 days of the closing date and must respond by Monday 17th December to claim their prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you ready for Black Friday?


So tomorrow, Friday 23rd November 2018 is the biggest sale event of the year! It's Black Friday!! What is Black Friday? Black Friday is an informal name of the day following Thanksgiving in the US, which is regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season.


Most people prefer to shop online to avoid all the hustle and bustle of crowds, queuing up for hours before the shops open, people pushing and shoving, and people arguing over discounted gadgets and appliances etc.

Black Friday is a great opportunity to get some bargains in time for Christmas and save some money too.So today I thought I would share with you some of my tips

Make a list, you don't want to go straight into all the Black Friday deals without a list of what you want. When you are making your list think of everything. Obviously you want to think about yourself, but Christmas is around the corner so it is the perfect opportunity to buy Christmas presents, upcoming birthdays, tech stuff for the home, Christmas decorations, new clothes with all those Christmas parties coming up etc. Next thing you will want to do is put a budget next to each item, Black Friday is not a sale event if you're spending more money than you wanted to.

Follow all your favourite brands and social media influencers,  this is because they will be working together to promote their Black Friday sales. Make sure you have signed up to their email lists as you will be notified straight away when a hot new deal has gone live. Signing up also means you can join reward clubs, which give you points which you can spend at a later date.

Prep your shopping basket, go through all the websites that you want to shop with and get used to the website. Add the products that you want into your basket, the last thing you are going to want to do when the sale goes live is to look at the website and see that everything you wanted is sold out, because you spent too much time looking at everything you wanted to get. 

Earn cash back, Quidco and Topcashback are best friends!! You can save even more money as you will receive cash back on all your purchases, up to 20%! You are literally get paid to shop!

Sign up to Amazon Prime, not only do you get your first 30 days free, which includes free next day delivery and Prime Video.  Prime members get 30 minutes access to Amazon's lighting deals before they go live to everyone else. Download the Amazon app as you can set it up to give you a notification when a deal you are watching has gone live. 

Make sure your details are up to date! the worse thing is after you have been really quick to add your items in your basket. Is to go to the check out to find out your postal details are incorrect,your bank card details are out of date etc. By the time you have updated them your selected items could be gone!!

So those are some of my Black Friday hacks, are you excited for Black Friday? What are you planning on buying? I am on the look out for a Nintendo Switch for Darcy Christmas present.

Is your car ready for winter?*



When I think of Christmas I think of two things. Spending time visiting friends and family and icy cold weather. I don't know about you but I dread travelling in a car in winter, especially when it snows. We hardly ever grit the roads in London until the last minute, which means the worst travel conditions ever.

Get your car serviced
Before you use your car, you should really take it to get a service. A service will make sure that your car will run for longer. To get fuel efficiency, improved, tyre performance, smoother vehicle handling and manoeuvrability book you 4 wheel alignment in Northampton with Calmac Tyres Auto centre now!


Check your battery
A well charged battery is necessary to start a car in the colder weather. Have your battery charge or change if needed. And also check to see if there are any loose connections


Pack an emergency kit
Prepare for worst case scenario by packing an emergency kit in the boot. The kit should include:

  • A blanket
  • Warm clothes
  • Food and water
  • Shovel
  • Torch
  • De-icer
  • Window scraper
  • High-vis vest
  • Warning triangle.

Change your tyres
Make sure your tyres are in tip-top condition, the legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm. You should also check that your tyres are not over or under inflated as this cause issues with your steering which could lead to a collision.

Check that neither the treads are not cracked or damaged. Any damage here can get worse on the roads.


Stock up on the essentials 
Don't wait until you're out of antifreeze or de-icer before you head to the shops — the shelves might be empty when you get there. Stock up in advance so you know you've got what you need, when you need it.



 



3 Top Tips for Travelling Abroad with a Newborn*


New-born babies aren’t typically thought of as interesting or witty travelling companions.  
Instead of regaling you with a barrage of rib-tickling bon mots and restaurant recommendations, new-borns prefer to sleep, gurgle and cry. A lot.  

However, a dearth of witticisms is the least of a new mum or dad’s worries, especially when negotiating the tricky business of travelling abroad for the first time with a very young baby.  
Most new parents are understandably reluctant to travel long distances with a new-bornfeeding and changing nappies is exhausting at the best of times, never mind at 36,000ftbut it is possible to make your journey abroad enjoyable and (almost) stress-free.   

Here’s how …  

1. Remember to arrange a child passport 
It’s obvious your newborn lacks the cognitive skills required to illegally gain access to a country, but stricter border controls mean that the days when a child could travel on a parent’s passport are, sadly, long gone.  

Due to the law change, you now need to apply for a passport for your baby when travelling abroad. Your child must have British nationality to apply for a British passport, which you can apply for through the gov.uk website.  It’s £9.50 cheaper to apply for a child’s passport online, which is a saving you can use to sort out the next issue …  

2. Pre-book a meet and greet airport parking service  
An airport can feel more like a portal to hell if you’re unprepared, particularly if you’re travelling there in your own car with a young childnot to mention that trying to find a parking space close to the terminal can leave you licking your wounds from painful open wallet surgery.  

What promises to be an Elysium of easy and inexpensive parking is often revealed as an unending dystopia of pricey and confusing multi-storey car parks that would make Hades in a Honda hot under the collar.  

The solution? A meet and greet airport parking service.  By using Looking4.com to find the best deal, you can simply drive to the terminal entrance, meet the driver, take your luggage and head to the check-in. On your return, call the driver and they’ll meet you with your car outside the terminal entrance. Easy!  

3. In-flight safety 
For very young children, sitting alone on an aeroplane is not an option.  
This may be painful news for a worn-out parent keen to escape the piercing cries, so it’s important to map out your plan before you book your flight. For long haul journeys, having a newborn on your lap can be tiresome and unsafe, so it often pays to pre-book an in-flight cot.  

Some airlines even allow you to bring along baby car seat, but it’s important to check with your operator in advance of booking your journey.  

What do you think?  

Do you have your own top tips for travelling with a newborn that you can share with our readers? Please let us know in the comments section.