Thursday, 14 November 2019

York brings the festive magic to life!

Taking your child to meet Santa is such a special experience. My girls are a little old for it now and it makes me rather sad because the grotto's and Christmas experience seem to get better each year. 

York is aiming to secure its reputation this year as the most festive city in the UK by offering the most remarkable Santa experiences in the country from sweet adventures with the great man to magical encounters on a steam train.

Santa’s Sweet Adventure at York’s Chocolate Story from Saturday 23 November to Tuesday 24 December invites guests to meet Santa on special themed tours in which they complete a mission to help him save Christmas! On the way children will experience Christmas games and learn festive facts about iconic confectionery brands and how chocolate was involved in Christmases past. There will also be an opportunity to make Christmas-themed lollies and watch special festive demonstrations with the talented chocolatiers. 

Santa’s Sweet Adventure includes meeting Santa, commemorative photo, festive chocolate making activity. Child: £17.50, Child under 4 years-old: £6.00 & Adult: £9:50. 

A perfect way to celebrate a baby’s first Christmas is Baby Meets Santa at Web Adventure Park a relaxing, sensory, two hour Christmas experience that gently introduces little ones to Santa in a festive environment, with activities and Christmas songs led by elves. There is also the chance for individual family time with Father Christmas in his grotto to capture that all-important first baby and Santa photo. 

Selected dates from Thursday 12th - Friday 20 December from 10am to 12 noon. Ticket prices: £10 child, £1.75 adults, available in person or by calling 01904 692221. 

Fans of a traditional Santa’s Grotto are in for a treat at Stockeld Park where a cosy, rustic wooden cabin, decked with twinkling lights, awaits Santa’s arrival from Lapland from 16 November until 24 December, as part of Stockeld Park’s famous adventure season which includes The Snowflake Maze, Winter illuminations in the award-winning Enchanted Forest, a Nordic Ski Trail and ice skating. Tickets available on site on the day but for best prices book online.

Taking the experience to another level Castle Howard’s exclusive evenings with Father Christmas start with a festive tea party in the Grecian Hall before setting off on a candle-lit trail around the beautifully decorated historic house, before they find Father Christmas and his friends in the magnificent Great Hall which is filled with one of the largest indoor Christmas trees in the country!  Children are invited to gather by the tree and join in with music and stories before receiving their personalised present from Father Christmas, with photo opportunities too. 

The event runs from 6pm to 8pm (approximately) on selected dates from Sunday 1 December to Monday 23 December.  Please note: accompanying adult tickets must be purchased upon booking and will include admission into the event and refreshments. Evening with Father Christmas tickets do not include admission to the house and grounds during the day. £75.00 per child, £15.00 per accompanying adult.

 Castle Howard is also hosting two other Father Christmas experiences for the Audience with Father Christmas, the big man and his friends gather round the fire telling stories and singing songs before handing out personalised presents and posing for photos. For those looking for a more ‘spur of the moment visit’, the drop-in Santa’s Grotto in the Courtyard Grotto offers an easy way to meet Father Christmas and his elves in the Courtyard Cafe.

Audience with Father Christmas: Child ticket includes: visit to Father Christmas, access to House & Gardens, invitation from Father Christmas and a personalised gift. Each session lasts approx 45 minutes at selected times throughout the day from Saturday 23 November to Monday 23 December 2019 (please check the booking page for individual dates and times). £27.50 per child. NB: Adults accompanying children are required to purchase either an inclusive (House & Gardens) or Gardens only ticket. 

Drop-in Santa’s Grotto is just £8 per child, with timed slots available each day and no booking necessary.

For a festive journey with a difference, join Santa and his special helpers on a magical adventure aboard the Santa Express, which runs on selected dates in December.  Departing from Pickering, Grosmont and Whitby Stations, these Santa Specials bring Christmas to life and give children the chance to meet the legendary man in his grotto on board the train. Children will also receive a fun activity sheet with colouring pencils and a juice drink when they visit Santa plus an age appropriate present along with a North Yorkshire Moors Railway Santa hat. The festive round trip lasts approximately one hour from the departure station and each Santa Express Ticket includes a delicious mince pie and a warming hot drink for everyone with a little alcoholic tipple for the adults. Tickets cost £20 each and pre-booking is essential to guarantee the time slot and date.

 The Santa Cruise experience takes to the River Ouse on Saturday 30 November until Monday 23 December.  The one-hour trip includes a welcome to the Grotto, cleverly hidden away underneath Lendal Bridge, a personalised present from Santa hand delivered to each child, face painting, refreshments, fun and surprises. From £13.00 per person. 

In a new and unforgettable experience at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, families can meet Father Christmas and hear all about his adventures, travels and holiday washing!  Storytime with Father Christmas – rewashed! Runs from Saturday 30 November – Sunday 22 December, 11am-3.30pm, and includes meet and greet, storytelling and a gift. 

Booking essential 01904 472014.  £10 per child and one adult plus normal admission charges. 

Are you planning on visiting Santa this year?

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

(Ad - Gifted) The Baylis & Harding 2019 Christmas Range!

I am a big fan of Baylis & Harding products. They are affordable but also have a bit of luxury about them. I like to use them myself and there sets make fantastic gifts.

It's that time of year where our thoughts are turning to Christmas and what to buy for loved one's and I don't think you can go wrong with something from Baylis & Harding. Last year's Christmas range was fantastic but this year I think it's even better! There is something for everyone!

Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry festive hand wash. 
£2.00 from leading supermarkets and Boots.

Baylis & Harding´s iconic hand wash are known the world over. Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry is brand new Limited Edition collection for 2019. The stunning new fragrance blends the juicy, ripe fruits of mulberry and raspberry with accords of plum and creamy vanilla undertones.

Beauticology Rudolph Festive Treats for Feet Set.
£8.00 from Amazon.

The Treats for Feet Gift Set makes a fabulous stocking filler or secret Santa gift for Christmas. This fantastic gift set contains everything you need for a perfect home pedicure. The 50ml vanilla icing foot Lotion is enriched with vitamins A, B and C for super moisturisation and there's the fun and festive super soft striped socks for cosy toes and toasty warm feet!

Fuzzy Duck Sloe Gin Cocktail Candle.
£15.00 from Next and Amazon.

The luxury fragranced double wick candle fragranced with the scent of Sloe Gin is presented in a stunning coloured glass jar with a gold coloured metal lid, this is a must have for any stylish home! This is inspired by the fabulous Sloe Gin made at Baylis & Harding's very own boutique Cotswold's inn: The Fuzzy Duck!

Fuzzy Duck Cotswold Collection Luxury Wrapped Soap Set.
£6.00 from Debenhams.

A stunning set of 3 individually wrapped 100g soaps in 2 beautiful; Wild Flower, Meadow and Woodland Bluebell. Silicone free, cruelty free and suitable for vegans!

Fuzzy Duck Whiskey Bath Bubbles.
£8.00 from Sainsbury’s and Asda.

What better way to enjoy a bath then with this Whiskey Premium Bubble Bath from Baylis & Harding? These bath bubbles come in a bottle containing 750ml bubbles that will leave your skin feeling clean and smelling delicious. Packaged in a green, plastic bottle with a silver, screw top lid, it has been designed to look like the real deal! Whether it’s for yourself or a friend, this lovely whisky bubble bath is the perfect present for Christmas!

Fuzzy Duck Winter Wonderland Festive Bath Bubbles Bauble.
£6.00 from Boots.

This fabulous bauble shaped bottle is filled with indulgent bath bubble and fragranced with the most festive Mulberry & Mistletoe scent. The perfect stocking filler or Secret Santa gift!

Beauticology Unicorn Rainbow Fizzers.
£15.00 from Asda and Morrisons.

Unleash the rainbow with five pastel Bath Fizzers. Gorgeously scented so that you can sit back, relax and release your inner unicorn! This super cute set contains 5 bath fizzers and a 50g jar of bath salts to transform your bathroom into a fantastical unicorn paradise. Fragrances include Ice Cream Sundae, Vanilla Ice, Unicorn Candy, Mint Choc Chip and Cookies & Cream.

Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit Luxury Home Gift Set.
£15.00 from Debenhams.

This beautiful gift set contains a 500ml hand wash and a luxury 1 wick candle with a metal lid and is perfect for adding a touch of style to the smallest room in the house and also makes a lovely gift to a host this Christmas.

Fuzzy Duck Men’s Pink Pepper & Oud Wash Bag.
£21.24 from Amazon.

A stylish wash bag that contains all the essentials needed when on the move. Contains 100ml shampoo, 100ml body wash, 50ml aftershave balm and 50ml shower gel.

Will you be buying any Baylis & Harding products over the festive season, for yourself or someone else?

I was sent these Baylis & Harding products free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Period talk & the contraceptive implant!

Just after my youngest, Ellie was born I tried a couple of different contraceptive pills. They didn't work for me. One gave me terrible migraines and the other made me sick! I felt like I had morning sickness again. I couldn't function so I went back to the doctors and she suggested the contraceptive implant and I have been using that ever since.

I had the first one put in and had an utter nightmare with the healing process especially when it came to taking the bandage off. There was blisters, massive bruising and it bloody hurt. I did actually ring the NHS helpline because I was so sore and worried. As soon as the steri-strips were off it did start to heal.

I stuck with it and I am glad I did. I had about 2 and a half years without any periods and then they came back just before I was due to get the implant changed. I got the implant changed and my periods disappeared. 2nd time around the minor operation (it is classed as that) was fine. I was obviously a little sore but nothing compared to the first time. There was hardly any bruising and no blisters at all. My periods vanished again.

When I had the 3rd implant put in there was debate about where the implant should be placed. The first and 2nd implant were on the under of my upper arm but the third one was moved further around my arm but next time it would need to be in my other arm. Eek! I am dreading it.

Now is the time where my body is screaming for my implant to be changed. For the last couple of months my periods have been erratic to say the least! As of writing this on the 9th of November I have been bleeding, on a heavy period, or whatever you want to call it for 3 whole weeks. I've had the whole lot over the past three weeks: cramps, clots, heavy bleeding, bloating, mood swings, aching, spots, diarrhea and constipation. I feel exhausted with it all! I feel like my body is saying here's all the periods you missed out on, enjoy. It's quite normal with the implant says the nurse at the GP's.

Before I had the implant in I would suffer with most of the period complaints to some degree but when I've had the implant in I don't have hardly any periods. The worst I get is one that lasts a day maybe every 6 months. I've spent 2 and a half years in ignorance and it's a shock to the system when they do come back!

I have totally milked having this stupid period though. I have had my fella heating up a hot water bottle for me to partly ease the cramps and mostly warm me up because I hate having the heating on during the day. I have scared my dad. He isn't a modern fella. He hates the word "period" and gets totally freaked out by it. If you get a sanitary pad out of your bag he will turn around, walk away and pretend he's not seen it. His partner, Sarah knows I have been "on" forever and sympathises and she keeps saying "Kim feels like rubbish, it's her time of the month" and he asks no more questions.

My dad is 70 odd years old and is of the generation which doesn't talk about periods. Thankfully my fella does talk about them and understands them. It's a good job living with 3 females. When Becky and I have periods he supplies us with hot water bottles, blankets and an endless supply of chocolate. hahaha

When I saw the nurse when we registered with the doctors back in the summer I did say my periods were coming back and she suggested to get the implant changed a couple of months before it was due. That is now!! I did ring up the doctors and the only appointment they could offer me at the time was on the 21st of this month. That isn't going to work. It's my 40th birthday so I'm going to ring later this week to see what other appointments they have.

I have heard horror stories about the contraceptive implant but so far it seems to be working well for me, well apart from the last few months of it's lifespan. Have you had any experience with the contraceptive implant? How did it work out for you?

Monday, 11 November 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 11th - 17th Nov. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went well. Every meal was eaten and enjoyed usually at least one of my family moans about at least one of the meals but last week nobody did. 

My dad was given a huge bag of potatoes and gave us half of the bag as he wouldn't get through them all. I swear the potatoes are as bigger than a babies head. lol so we're going to have to work our way through them.

Over the weekend I got my usual grocery order delivered but I used the Tesco Club Card vouchers I have been saving up all year. I got £65 off my shop so I got a ton of things for Christmas. The wine for Christmas day and cupboard things which will last until the big day. I also bought the girls a few presents as they have the health & beauty gifts all half price. 

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Lentil and bacon soup with crusty bread.
Tuesday - Leftover soup with pasta added to it. Martyn from Inside Martyn's Thoughts gave me the idea from his Chicken Casserole post.
Wednesday - Gammon steaks, chips, pineapple rings and a fried egg.
Friday - Pizza.
Saturday - Burgers in buns with fries.
Sunday - A casserole of something in the slow cooker with mashed potato.

(Ad - Gifted) Become a spy with the SpyX Micro Gear Set ! Review & Giveaway!

Ellie is a fan of all little gadgets and thought a spy kit would be fantastic for her to try out. The SpyX Micro Gear Set is perfect for children's undercover and secret missions. They can feel like a real spy with this set!

The sophisticated SpyX range offers working features that fuel the imagination, kids can role play with cool crime fighting gear and gadgets, just like real hero agents.

This set includes a handle utility belt with four special tools that no spy should ever leave the home without!

Ellie was very keen to get into the box and try everything out. Everything apart from the motion alarm was ready to use. We had to add two AAA batteries to it. The rest of the equipment already had the button cell batteries included which I thought was great because looking for batteries is the last thing you want to do when a child is keen to play with something!

The four micro tools are:

 An ear spy light!

The ear spy light has a LED flashlight you can attach to your ear. Perfect to see where you are going and to do secret spy things. The flashlight is so bright and great for when you are in the dark. Ellie tested it out in the garden when it was dark and she thought it was fantastic fun. She liked that it was on her ear and her hands were free to use.

An Invisible ink pen.

The invisible pen is great to write and decode secret messages. This was Ellie's favourite of the spy tools. At one end of the pen there is a pen with invisible in and at the other end there is UV light which you shine on what you have written to make it visible.

Micro motion alarm.

Use the micro motion alarm to set up a secret alarm trap to surprise your opponents. This worked so well. You put it somewhere where you think people might walk or on something that you want to protect and turn it on. Once the red light has flashed it is ready to go. Whenever anyone walks in front of it an alarm will sound. Ellie has put this in her bedroom to let her know when her sister is going in it. lol

Micro listener.

Use the Micro Listener to listen to conversations from far away and out of sight. You put the earpiece into your ear and you can then hear any noises the other end picks up. It was a shame that the cable is so short so it's not like you can put it in another room and hear what people are saying but I suppose that is a good thing so Ellie doesn't hear something she shouldn't. hehehe

Ellie and I both think this a fantastic set and it's already given her a couple of hours of fun and I can see her playing with all the micro tools for a long time. All of the spy equipment can be attached to the utility belt so you can keep everything together and carry it around.

This set is suitable for ages 6 years+ and can be bought from Amazon or Argos for around £19.99. I think it would make a fantastic present for Christmas.

I have one of the SpyX Micro Gear Set's to give away! Please enter using the rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional. You can do just one or all of them and you can  come back each day to gain extra entries.

Terms and Conditions:
I am giving away one SpyX Micro Gear Set. There will be one winner.
You must be a UK resident aged 18 or over to enter.
This competition will close on 26th of November 2019 at 12am.
The winner will be contacted within 48 hours of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen.
You will have to supply your name and address for delivery of your prize but that information won't be used for anything else.
No cash alternative will be offered.

I was sent the SpyX Micro Gear Set free of charge in exchange for this blog post.