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UK Bloggers Christmas Competition


Now Halloween is over, We're officially allowed to talk about Christmas!! I don't know about you, but I am excited for the lights, the decorations, singing, pretty gift wrapping. And mostly, or more so the energy of ‘coming togetherness’.

To share my excitement for the most wonderful time of the year, I have got together with a bunch of lovely bloggers to host a Christmas giveaway.

So if you fancy getting a Christmas freebie then you can enter the competition below.





This Christmas, some of the UK Bloggers have come together to offer you the chance to win five Virginia Hayward The Magic of Christmas Hampers. Five lucky winners will win a Christmas hamper delivered before Christmas. Keep reading to find out how you can enter.

Who are the bloggers behind the giveaway?

The UK Bloggers are a group of bloggers, podcasters, and influencers in the UK who are passionate about helping you to improve your life. We are a mix of lifestyle, parenting, food and money bloggers. Whether you want to make more money, find recipes, read about parenting or other lifestyle topics, we are your people. Here's who we are:




Savings 4 Savvy Mums | My Beautiful Mess | Rachel Bustin | Soph Obsessed | Charlotte Musha | The Somerset Foodie | Odd Hogg | Keiran Crying | Thrifty Chap | Bronni | Yorkshire Wonders




Earning By The Sea | Welsh Mum | Mind Over Money Matters | My Money Cottage | Bargain Bunny | Slimming Violet | The Life Of Dee | Tuppennys Fireplace | My Three and Me | Side Hustle Directory




Daily Deals Blog | Chilling With Lucas | Tammy Mum | Whinge Whinge Wine | Big Family Organised Chaos | Midlands Traveller | I Always Believed In Futures | Melanies Fab Finds | Really Missing Sleep | Life Loving | The Money Whisperer



Ruth Makes Money | Jupiter Hadley | At Home With Kayla | Our Adventurehood | Looking After Your Pennies | The Free From Mummy | You Have To Laugh | Attachment Mummy | A Rose Tinted World | Mighty Mama Bear | Parenting Phils



I Beat Debt | Run Jump Scrap | The Parent Game | Accidental Hipster Mum | Mummy Saver Money Maker | Miss Many Pennies | Savvy In Somerset | Dolly Dowsie | Yeah Lifestyle | Just Average Jen | Pain In The Head




Raising Moonbows | Lindy Loves | Boxnip | Me Be Geek | Mrs Pinch | Thrifty Husband | Pounds and Sense | Boring Mother | A Mum Reviews |




My Balancing Act | Emma Drew | Make Money Without A Job | Bump and Beyond | Life In A Break Down | Mummy Vs Work | Lisa's Notebook | Christmas Magic And Markets | 



For The Family | The Money Saving Mum | Three Little Zees | Family Travel With Ellie | Two Plus Dogs  | At Home And Online | Adventures Of A Yorkshire Mum | The Willow Tree |

The prizes


You can win one of five Virginia Hayward The Magic Of Christmas Hampers.


The rules

The giveaway is open until midnight on 17th November 2019, when the five winners will be chosen. 

The giveaway is open to UK residents only.

Winners will be contacted by email from laura@savings4savvymums.co.uk

Should the Christmas hampers be out of stock then a suitable replacement will be found. 

How to enter

You can enter by completing as many of the Rafflecopter widget entry options below as you like. You can enter multiple times by clicking on each blog link above and entering via their own widget. All entries will then be put together and five winners will be randomly chosen. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Easy Halloween Crafts for Kids with Vikings*


These quick and easy Halloween kids crafts can be made in under 30 minutes and best of all no special tools or skills are required, so ANYONE can make these.






We had lots of fun making these quick and easy Halloween crafts, with a package of craft supplies we were sent from Viking.

Viking is one of the largest suppliers of office stationary in the world, selling everything from photocopying paper to coffee. Not only can you stock up on office supplies you can also find lots of creative items to get crafty at home with too.








Halloween cards

kids will love-making their own hand print ghost, hand print pumpkin and hand prints Frankenstein! And the best part is they are really easy to make!

What you will need;
 

Colour card
Black Sharpie
Googly eyes
Glue
Scissors
Pencil

Frankenstein
1. Fold your green card in half. Trace the hand print so that the pinky is on the folded part of the card. Cut out the hand print being sure to leave the pinky part uncut so that the card will open at this part.

2. Paint or use a sharpie to colour the top of the hand black to make the hair. Add some zig zag lines in the hair when painting.

3. Draw on the eyebrows and mouth.

4. Glue the googly eyes on top of the eyebrows.

Pumpkin
1. Fold your orange card in half. Trace the hand print so that the wrist part is at the folded part of the card. Cut out the hand print so that the wrist part is not cut and the card will open up at this part.

2. Draw the pumpkin eyes, nose and mouth using a black sharpie.

3. Cut out a small stem from a darker green and glue down.

4. Cut out a small strip of lighter green and wrap around a pencil to make it curl. Then glue down to the stem.

Ghost
1. Fold a piece of white card.

2. Trace your hand print so that the pinky is at the folded part of the paper. Cut out your hand print leaving the folded side where the pinky is so the card will open up. Watch the video tutorial at the bottom of this post for full details on how it opens!

3. Draw on a mouth and eyes with a black sharpie.






Halloween Mummies

This string wrapped mummy craft is perfect for keeping the kids busy. Try hanging several of them up together on a string to make a spooky display.

You will need;

Card
String
Googly eyes
Tape
Glue
Scissors
Pencil

1. Trace the template on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. You can also free draw a shape, like i did.
 
2. Use Glue Dots or tacky glue to glue on your googly eyes.
  3. Tape the end of your string to the back of the card and begin wrapping the yarn around the face of the mummy, leaving a space open for the eyes. Continue wrapping the mummy all the way down and wrap each of the legs.

4. When you are finished wrapping your mummy craft, tape the end of the yarn onto the back of the mummy.



Halloween masks

These Halloween masks are an easy and inexpensive Halloween craft for kids.

What you will need;

Mask template
Cardboard
String
Glitter
Glue

1. Download or make your own template and draw on card or other heavy weight paper so they won’t tear

2. Once you cut them out, let your imagination go wild and design them how you like

3. Punch holes for the string. Thread elastic string through the holes on the side and the masks are ready to go.

A big thank you to Viking for providing us our Halloween package, we had loads of fun getting our craft on.

If you like this then you might like these Halloween pumpkin carving tips and tricks

Halloween this half term at SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium*




We were invited along to check out what SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium had on at Halloween. Darcy has really fallen in love with Halloween and I thought that the Sea Life Centre would have a great event.









When we entered the centre the kids were handed an Ascarium trail sheet each and we set off to hunt for the missing spell ingredients! Each tank that contains one of the missing objects was labelled with a big sign to make it easier to spot them as you walk around. The objects were a good size and mostly quite easy for us to spot.

Along the way, we discovered facts about some of the freakish creatures of the sea, including shoaling fish, vampire tangs and Poison Dart Frogs.





The staffs were all out in forced and dressed up for the occasion. There was also crafts stops and special bugs demonstrations. We were there from 11am, which is apparently one of the busiest times. However we were able to move about freely with no problems.

Ascarium is running from the 19 October to 3 November at the SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium. Make sure you book your tickets online, to save up to 20% off your ticket. This spooktacular experience is one for the family to enjoy.




For more details, please visit the website https://www.visitsealife.com/london/discover/ascarium/

You might also like:Our fun day out at Carters Stream fair and our experince at Sherk Adventures


*we were gifted tickets in exchange of a review, however as always our opinions are our own

Baby Born Surprise Review*




Darcy was recently sent some Baby Born Surprise to unwrap, they are cute little bundle of joy with 10+ surprises! 




Each baby is wrapped up in an adorable snugly swaddle, sewn in a surprise design like a ice cream cone, pink flower or an adorable unicorn.












Water is needed to wake baby up, by wiping a wet cloth over its face to reveal their eye colour. Unwrap the swaddle to uncover baby's unique hairstyle, and baby's bottle colour tells if it's a boy or a girl. Feed baby born suprise water and they pee to reveal the colour change nappy pattern. Darcy was impatient and placed the nappy into water, which you can see also works.



There are so many adorable babies, cute swaddles, and colour change nappies to collect! Also Included is a collector's guide with surprise games to help find baby's name, birthday, and favourite food and a birth certificate to fill out.



These remind us so much of the LOL Surprise dolls because of the colour changing nappies, the bottles, and the cute collectible baby dolls.  These were a lot of fun, Darcy has asked for some more including the new Bottle Playset for christmas.

If your little one loves collictables, then they will love baby born surprise. They retail at £9.99 and are available to buy at Smyths Toys and Amazon.

*We were sent Baby Born Surprise of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own.

How to Make Money Fast - If You’re In A Hurry!*


 

So you need quick cash to cover an urgent cost,  but where do you turn? Here are some smart ways to raise cash quickly without causing irreparable harm to your finances.

Sell
I have been having a massive clear-out at my house over the few weeks or so. Especially Darcy’s toys and clothes as it’s very much-needed!! If we don’t have a use for something anymore, why shouldn’t you make a little money on it?


Selling old household items and clothing you’re not using anyway is a great way to clear out your storage areas and make some cash at the same time!

Meal plan
If you're trying to save money, the first thing financial experts will tell you to do is stop eating out and start cooking your own meals. I am a strong believer in feeding my family nutritious and well-balanced meals.. however, I also like to do this when shopping within a budget!

Make the effort to stick to a meal plan for a few weeks and you will be surprised how much money you can save

Online surveys
Everyone has an opinion on something. Why shouldn’t you get paid for yours? There are websites and companies that are willing to pay for your input and ideas on making their products and services better! I use Prolific which I find really easy to use and they pay out via PayPal.

Borrow
The idea of debt can seem stressful and scary. And in many cases borrowing money isn’t the most sensible thing to do. But there are also times when it does make sense to get into debt.

Even if your credit history is not the best, there are companies like Cashlady who offer bad credit payday loans so don’t get disheartened! Payday loans are only a short-term solution so only take one out if you know you are able to pay it back quickly.

If you find your are struggling often financially, please contact Step Change who are a debt charity who give free debt advice & debt management. Step Change are fantastic, they will deal with contacting your lenders so you don't have to, they are happy to give you advice when you need it.

Disney Princess Travel Time Suitcase Review*


Darcy absolutely loves anything Disney related and she also loves to roleplay, so when I was recently contacted to see if she would like to review the new Disney Princess Travel Time Suitcase. I knew she would be excited to get her hands on it.






She couldn't wait to see what was inside, and with a massive 17 items, which includes;1 Suitcase Tag, 1 Pair of Sunglasses, 1 Passport, 1 Passport Folio, 2 Plane Tickets, 1 Sticker Sheet, 1 Eye Mask, 1 Pair of Play Earbuds, 1 Ear Bud Holder, 1 Lip Balm, 1 Hand Sanitizer, 1 Travel Map with Case you can imagine she was not disappointed at all.

They're good quality products, Darcy could open the case herself and play with all the travel essentials, which is always a big plus, and she has played with it all pretty much every day since she received it.




She especially loves the play ear buds, and pretends she is listening to her favourite singer JoJo Siwa, she also loves pretending that she cannot hear a word that I am saying, as the music is too loud.




Darcy loves that the suitcase has wheels and a retractable handle. She has been walking around our home with her suitcase, clutching her passport asking when we are off on our next holiday.

The suitcase gets extra points from me as everything packs away nicely in the suitcase and is the perfect size to be stored without taking up lots of space. She has also been able to squeeze one or two of her disney princess outfits in it as well.






If your little one is a fan of any Disney's iconic film then they'll just love The Disney Princess Travel Time Suitcase. It retails at £39.99 and is available to buy at Smyths Toys and Amazon.

 
*We were sent the Disney Princess Travel Time Suitcase for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own.

Light meals for summer


Summer’s in full swing. We’re loving the longer days, balmy temperatures and outdoor cooking and dining.

Not many folks want to be a slave to the stove on hot summer days, and my go-to meals are simple pastas, salads and food on skewers during the warmer months. And they’re all ideal for al fresco dining, too.

Grilled Lemon Salmon Skewers and Super-Light Chips

Who doesn’t love eating food off a stick in the summer? These tasty salmon skewers are drizzled in an easy-to-make garlic-lemon sauce and then grilled. The result? An unbelievable moreish, succulent lemon salmon that is absolutely delicious.

Combine the salmon skewers with some light, crispy chips, and you’ve got a heavenly (and uber-healthy) meal. If you don’t particularly fancy making the chips, why not cheat a bit with McCain low fat chips? They take just over 20 minutes in the oven and are still crispy and fluffy but with 30% less fat.

INGREDIENTS

Lemon Salmon Skewers
900g boneless/skinless salmon cut into 2.5-cm pieces
2 lemons, sliced
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
50ml olive oil
2 tsp salt 

1 ½ tsp lemon pepper

Wooden skewers soaked in water for roughly 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Super-Light Chips
3 medium white potatoes
Salt and pepper
Onion powder, garlic powder and mixed herbs

METHOD


 

Preheat the oven to 200˚C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper or foil, alternatively, you can use a cast iron pan for the best results.
 
Slice the chips into matchsticks, so they’re roughly 3/4cm in width. For a more rustic taste, leave the skin on

Season the chips with the salt, pepper and any extra herbs or spices you like.

Cook until the chips are golden brown, being sure to shake the tray occasionally. You want the chips to be light and fluffy on the inside with a golden coating

Serve and enjoy!


Lemon Salmon Skewers
Mix the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and lemon pepper together in a large bowl. Combine the lemon slices and salmon chunks.

Fold each lemon slice in half, add a piece of salmon to each one, then thread onto the wooden skewers. Repeat until all slices and salmon are skewered

Warm the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the skewers, rotating sporadically and delicately, until the salmon and lemons have crisped up and thoroughly cooked through

Serve right away and enjoy!

METHOD

Super-Light Chips
Preheat the oven to 200˚C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper or foil

Alternatively, you can use a cast iron pan for the best results.
Slice the chips into matchsticks, so they’re roughly 3/4cm in width. For a more rustic taste, leave the skin on

Season the chips with the salt, pepper and any extra herbs or spices you like.

Cook until the chips are golden brown, being sure to shake the tray occasionally. You want the chips to be light and fluffy on the inside with a golden coating

Serve and enjoy!

Creamy Pasta Taco Salad

Welcome in the picnic season with this moreish creamy taco pasta salad. Enjoy tender pasta drenched in a deliciously creamy taco dressing, tasty minced beef, complete with all your favourite taco toppings. It’s a must-have dish for those warm summer evenings – perfect for the whole family to enjoy.


INGREDIENTS

Creamy Taco Dressing
115g salsa
240g sour cream
60g mayonnaise
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Taco Pasta Salad 
1 small onion, diced
450g minced beef
2 tsp garlic (or 2 cloves)
450g macaroni or pasta
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onion, chopped
1 tin sweetcorn
1 jar sliced olives
125g grated cheddar cheese
1 avocado, diced
13g crushed tortilla chips

METHOD

Using a pan, warm the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Combine the onion, minced beef and garlic. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Fry until the meat is no longer pink. Place the cooked meat onto a plate lined with kitchen towel. Leave to cool

Next, cook pasta in salted water as per package directions. Drain and put to one side. Leave to cool

When the pasta has cooled, gently stir in the minced beef with the pasta

In a small bowl, mix in the Creamy Taco Dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the pasta and beef mixture, stirring until completely covered

Gradually mix in the tomatoes, green onions, corn, olives and cheese. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Garnish with diced avocado and tortilla chips just before serving.

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Bring a touch of oriental cuisine to your kitchen with this mouth-watering dish. Enjoy succulent teriyaki chicken wrapped in a crispy lettuce wrap – this is great as a light lunch or dinner. And the kids will love it, too.


INGREDIENTS

Lettuce Wraps
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 chicken breasts sliced into bite-size pieces
125g grated Monterey Jack cheese
teriyaki sauce (see recipe below)
8 pineapple slices
Romaine lettuce
spring onions, sliced
Teriyaki Sauce
100ml light soy sauce
60ml water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp warm water


METHOD

Teriyaki Sauce

Pour in the soy sauce, water, red wine vinegar, sugars, garlic and ginger into a saucepan and warm over a medium heat. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved

In a small bowl, blend together the warm water and cornflour, making sure the latter is totally dissolved. Gently blend the cornflour mixture into the sauce and simmer until thickened. Take off the heat and put to one side until ready to use

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Tip the chicken into the pan and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Fry chicken until it’s no longer pink inside, turning over each piece until they're brown all over

Mix in roughly two-thirds of the teriyaki sauce so it covers the chicken. Save the rest of the sauce for drizzling or dipping

Next, split up the Romaine lettuce leaves. Rinse and gently and pat dry

Drain the juice from the pineapple and fry in a pan until caramelised (optional)

Now you’re ready to create your wraps: Spoon a piece of teriyaki-coated chicken into one of the lettuce leaves. Garnish with the cheese, spring onions and a slice of pineapple. Top with toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Garlic, Tomato and Prawn Spaghetti

If you want a healthy, quick, no-nonsense summer dish, look no further than this prawn pasta meal. You can make it in a matter of minutes and it’s a delicious pasta dish to enjoy on a summer evening.


INGREDIENTS
250g cooked spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
150g prawns peeled and deveined (roughly 20)
75g diced onion
4 garlic cloves
120ml 100% apple juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
300g cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
grated Parmesan
3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
kosher salt

METHOD

Warm the olive oil over a medium heat. Combine the prawns in a single layer and add a pinch of salt. Fry until the prawns are bright pink, flipping every minute or so. Shift to a plate

Pour the onion into the pan and fry until onion starts to soften. Sprinkle in the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir regularly to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn

Pour in the apple juice, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, oregano and red-pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer then tip in the cherry tomatoes. Leave to simmer for a few minutes, stirring often

Coat the prawns in the sauce, then the spaghetti. Scatter over the grated Parmesan and toss gently. Top with fresh chopped parsley and serve right away

Enjoy the best season of the year with the above family-friendly, light summer recipes. They’re quick, simple and incredibly delicious. And all of the dishes will taste even better alongside an iced tea, Margarita or cold beer.

FAMILY SUMMER BUCKET LIST



With the first day of the summer holidays starting next week. Darcy and I sat down to put together our summer bucket list. I’m on a big mission this summer, to make as many fun memories with her as possible. Some things are free or cheap, others will need a bit of planning and a few extra pennie.

Although the summer holidays is about having a fun time, I think that it is important to keep Darcy’s brains stimulated over the next 6 weeks. I have included a few educational things, doing work little and often, will maintain her stamina and concentration that she built up during term-time.

So here is our summer bucket list 2019;





I’ve shared ours….I’d love to see yours. What will your family be up to this summer?

Sweet Dreams with Baby Annabell*





Let me introduce you to the newest member of our family. This is Baby Rainbow, yes Rainbow... (more commonly known as Baby Annabell’s Little Baby Fun). She arrived in our house a few weeks ago now to shrieks of excitement from her new Mummy, Darcy.

Darcy has been a fan of the Baby Annabell range for a while and even attended the launch of Baby Annabell Learns To Swim. One thing that I like about the Baby Annabell range is how realistic looking they are, I have come across a few scary looking dolls in my time. In terms of her size and weight, she feels very much like a real baby in your arms. Yes, Darcy has trusted me to hold her whilst she went to make her some lunch. The body is soft, which makes it perfect for cuddling in bed, she even says Mama when you press her tummy, she can be burped and snores in her sleep, along with other typical baby noises.



 

 

When i'm struggling to get Darcy to sleep, I use Rainbow as part of our bedtime routine, Darcy put baby Rainbow to bed exactly how she gets put to bed. Darcy loved getting her into her PJs, reading her a bedtime story and tucking her into bed. Which makes the process a lot smoother for sure. I told Darcy she needed to sleep so then in the morning she could get up and get her baby up too.

In the morning Darcy came into my bedroom with her baby in her arms. It was great to see that she had remembered and wanted to carry on playing with her baby. I love toys that encourage imaginative role play and helps Darcy be more responsible and empathic. 





There are also many accessories available to buy separately. Darcy received an extra outfit and a sweet dreams bed. Which comes with a musical mobile that plays "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" lullaby and starlight tulle canopy, and a beautiful pillow and blanket with the signature sheep print.

I definitely think more outfits are going to be on Darcy’s Christmas list this year! She has loved including her into her bedtime routine. I think Baby Annabell
Little Baby Fun would make a fantastic Christmas gift! (It's never too early to plan for Christmas!)

The Baby Annabell Sweet Dreams range can be bought from stores such as Smiths Toys and other high street stores.

*We were sent the Baby Annabell brother doll for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own.