Festive Films for all the Family (+ giveaway!)

I absolutely love Christmas for so many reasons but one big one has to be gathering the family together and sitting down to enjoy a festive movie together. I loved family themed Christmas films before I even had children but now they are so much more special because I can see how excited my kids get watching them.

Warner Bros. has a fantastic selection of favourites to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit.



The Polar Express
I think everyone has to have seen this movie at least once in their life! If you aren't familiar with the story, a young boy who is doubting the existence of Santa Claus embarks a train to the North Pole. The journey is full of adventure and he receives a gift that only those who truly believe can experience. The way that this movie has been filmed and animated is absolutely incredible, I've never seen anything like it. It's worth watching just for that - and to see Tom Hanks in six different roles!

Get Santa
In this movie, a six year old boy discovers that Santa has crashed his sleigh into his parents shed. He gets his dad to help get Santa back to Lapland in time for Christmas but unfortunately his reindeer have escaped and are running around London. This is a film full of laughs and definitely one to watch if you're after something funny and light hearted.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

This is an oldie but a goodie! In the third instalment of the National Lampoon movies, disaster-prone dad Clark must survive Christmas with his in-laws. Of course, not everything goes smoothly and there are tons of gags and humour along the way. A proper dysfunctional family movie.

Jack Frost

This is one of my favourite Christmas movies as it's just so magical. Michael Keaton stars as a man who is in a car accident and comes back to life as a snowman. In life, Jack (Keaton) doesn't spend enough time with his son so when he is a snowman, he tries to make up for lost time. It's such a heartwarming movie and a must-watch this year.

Do you want to win a copy of all four of these movies? Check out my Twitter competition!




A Christmas Gift from Casdon

We've worked with Casdon on a couple of reviews in the past (of the Shopping Trolley and Kitchen Set) and it has quickly become a brand that the kids love and those toys are still played with a lot. With Christmas coming, the lovely people at Casdon sent the children a little Christmas gift. It was wrapped up and even had a little chocolate tree decoration and candy cane - a cute touch!



C and E were so excited to see what was inside, take a look at the video below!
 
A video posted by Rebecca (@13rebecca13) on

It was the Chip n Pin Till! I knew that C especially would love this because he always wants to use the self serve checkouts at the supermarket.





The set includes:
  • Till
  • Chip and pin machine
  • Pretend food
  • Money
  • Credit cards

The till takes 5 AA batteries and I was so impressed with what it could do. As I have two children, they loved that they could play together, one being the shopper and one being the shopkeeper so this was great for exploring their imagination and creating their own little shopping scenarios. 

Everything is so realistic and the buttons are a working calculator. Although C is a little young to properly understand this, it will be great for him in the future. You could even roll out a little fake receipt which was a nice addition. I'm not sure if the microphone is supposed to work, we couldn't seem to get ours too and C did ask, "where's the scanner?" but soon got distracted by the rest of the features and didn't mind too much about there not being one.


The chip and pin really impressed me. Each of the cards has a set PIN number which is embossed onto the bottom of the card. When you insert it into the reader, an orange light shines to tell you that the number is ready to be punched in. Depending on whether you get the number right or wrong, a light will shine green or red. C got really excited when he got the number correct, but similarly it helped him to understand why it was shining red if he accidentally typed the wrong thing.



Both of the children adore role play and it really gets their minds working. I think they both seem to like doing grown up things so they feel like mummy and daddy when they play with toys similar to this one. C tends to enjoy iPad time and does ask for it a lot (I limit his screen time) but this type of play gets him more excited and engaged.


The Casdon Chip N Pin Till retails at only £15 at Amazon (currently on sale at £13.29 at the time of publishing) and it's suitable for children aged 3-8 years old.

You can find out more about the range of roleplay toys at the Casdon website or you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



(We received this item for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)
 


Something Special Mr Tumble Toys from Golden Bear Toys

C has been a fan of Something Special and Mr Tumble since he discovered CBeebies at ten months old, then when E was born she took a liking to it from seeing C watching. Even now, at 4 and 2, they watch every day and join in with answering questions when Justin asks them.



Golden Bear Toys have created a range of Mr Tumble toys for mini fanatics like mine! We were lucky enough to receive two items in the range to try out for ourselves. We had actually seen them advertised on TV so C was aware that they existed and asked if he could put one in particular on his Santa list.






Mr Tumble with Tumble Tapp (£29.99) was the first toy and E had an instant love for this one. It is a plush toy so it's perfect for cuddles from little ones - it is suitable for children aged 10 months+. The soft Mr Tumble holds his very own Tumble Tapp (which is sewn on and attached to the doll) which has five icons that you can press. Each icon will play a song or phrase that Mr Tumble says in the TV show. E's favourite is the music - she is always singing along and making me sing too! Mr Tumble's nose lights up when the buttons are pressed which is a cute little addition.




Next up was the Mr Tumble's Fun Sounds Musical Car (£29.99). This was the one that C had been asking for and ever since it arrived, both of my children have fought over it. Every. Single. Day. The car itself is heavy duty plastic which is perfect as my two can be a bit heavy handed! There are four buttons; the Aunt Polly and Grandad Tumble ones play phrases, the music one plays music and the big red nose flashes and makes sounds.

A Mr Tumble figure is included which can be put inside to "drive" the car by lifting the front up. When you push the car along, engine noises are made. C thought it was really funny how the car can be quite rickety as it goes along but it's exactly how you would imagine Mr Tumble's car to look as it drives. 

As if that wasn't enough, there are even four Makaton cards included and there is a slot on the back of the car where you can store them. My kids still haven't lost them which is a huge deal because they lose everything. E is really enjoying the Makaton cards - one of the first things she learnt as a baby by watching Something Special was to sign "friends". 



The car requires 2 AA batteries but luckily these are included and it's recommended for children aged 3 years+. E is two but she can play happily with it, whilst supervised.
You can find out more about the full new range of Mr Tumble toys at the Golden Bear website and you can keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter.

(We received these items for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 

 

Christmas Crafts with Baker Ross

We have been Baker Ross Bloggers for over two years now and C still gets excited when he receives the boxes in the post. I knew that this month's box would go down well because he is so excited for Christmas this year because he understands it more.

Here's what was in our box:

Firstly, the kids were pleased to see easy crafts that they know how to do. The Gingerbread frames, Christmas list kit and Santa and Elf Mix & Match are the ones where you peel the backing off the foam and stick them on the 'base'. 




At 4 and 2, they have both mastered these and now they can work away at them themselves, E only needs helping removing the backing. Although they are so used the the foam Baker Ross products, I feel like they don't get bored because the themes and pictures are so different at the end. 




They were both really excited to write their lists and put their photographs in the gingerbread house and hang them both up. We even hung our Mix & Match Santas on the Christmas tree. These were probably my favourite of the foam activities as we liked how you could make Santa look a bit untraditional.


Both children love to colour so the window bauble decorations went down well. We dug out the markers and let them get to work. There are 12 in a pack and you can choose from Santa, an angel, a penguin, a robin, an elf and a snowman. They make a nice, personalised change to regular Christmas window decorations.

The Scratch Art kits were great! C was a bit confused at first as he thought you had to colour them but when he got the hang of it, he loved it. You just need to use the scraper supplied to scratch off some of the blackened image to reveal rainbow colours underneath. 2 year old E got a little stressed out over it though and did throw her scraper across the room a few times. I think she was maybe a bit too young for it! There are six different Christmas scenes to choose from.


Finally, both children adored the fingerprint snowflakes! If it means they get to get messy, it's a winner! There are three different inkpads (purple, blue and pink) and the same colours foam snowflakes, ribbon and gems. I gave them complete free reign to put their fingerprints and gems anywhere and I think they did a pretty good job! The ink washes off easily too - thankfully!


C and E have had so much fun doing their Christmas crafts and as you can see above, the prices are fantastic for what you receive. They also have 20% off their Christmas range until midnight December 9th so you should definitely take advantage of that!

(We received these items as part of our role as Baker Ross Bloggers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 
 

Look in my Letterbox #79

I can't believe this is my 79th Look in my Letterbox - that is crazy! It feels like I only just started writing them. I am so excited that Alice Megan (who originally started the LIML linky) is bringing it back again after her relaunch. I can't wait to link up again and see what other bloggers have been receiving in the post.

Anyway, here's what I got this week!

Wins:
Bow advent
I was lucky enough to win E a bow advent from a handmade store on Instagram (@mummymakes_bowtique) so she gets a bow a day up until Christmas. It's the perfect type of advent for her!

Christmas cards
 I won a bundle of ten Christmas cards from Coulson Macleod on Twitter. I haven't got a photograph because I'm obviously not going to spoil the surprise for those who will be receiving one - ha! I love handy wins like this. The cards are so cute so you should definitely check Coulson Macleod out.

LeapFrog bundle
 I won this back in September and it finally arrived! I'm so glad it got here before Christmas and I've put it away for Santa to bring to E.

Reviews:
Dinotrux toys
 I am so excited to be a Dinotrux Blogger! C loves watching the show on Netflix so look out for our review next week!

Heat pod
This is an item that I've received for my Christmas gift guide. It is amazing!

Other:
CBeebies mag
We have a subscription to CBeebies magazine and the new edition arrived - with a competition in so of course we entered!
 
Nina Ricci 'Nina' perfume sample 
This perfume sample is a SoPost freebie and it smells so nice! 

Miffy calendar
 How cute is this?! I've worked with Miffy on the blog and they sent us this as a little Christmas/New Year gift. Thank you Miffy! 

Did you receive anything nice this week?
 

Keeping the Christmas Magic Alive with Portable North Pole Magic Pass

C is four years old and this is the first year where he properly understands what is happening at Christmas and gets excited about Santa. We have already done a few Christmas themed things this year to spark the magic - visiting Santa was probably his personal highlight.


Portable North Pole (PNP) website and app is back to delight children across the world and this is the first year that I have tried it with C. The 2016 edition has lots of new features and its aim is to bring the magic of Santa into our homes with personalised videos and phone calls.

The PNP Magic Pass costs £9.99 and for that price you get:
  • Unlimited premium videos
  • A reaction recorder (mobile app only)
  • Unlimited Santa calls
  • HD downloads of your videos
  • Storytime with Santa - a video each week in December
You can also get a Santa approved certificate to print for each of your videos.



They have packed so much into these videos and the scene is so realistic. Santa can say your child's name, display personalised photographs and there is a huge list of items to choose from so that Santa knows what is on your child's Christmas list, from games consoles to toys. You can even choose specific topics for him to talk about, for example, I chose the fact that C had been asked to share with others. The videos vary in lengths depending on which one you choose and how much information is given. I particularly like the Christmas Eve video as it's sure to get your child excited about the fact that Santa is just about to leave the North Pole with their presents in his sleigh. There are even personalised birthday videos too, I'll definitely be creating those for the children in September.

The Reaction Camera for the mobile app is fantastic idea. You get to see, and keep, the memory of the happiness in your child's face when Santa speaks to them by name. 


Like many parents, I hope we aren't the only ones!, we do use the "I'll phone Santa and tell him you're misbehaving!" threat so C truly does believe that we have a direct line to Santa. C got quite excited about the fact that Father Christmas was able to call him (it comes through like a real phonecall) and it's great that there are little pauses for your child to answer his questions.

For £9.99 you really get a lot for your money as there are just so many different scenarios and aspects to choose from. I think that any child would be delighted to experience the magic through PNP.

(I received a free Magic Pass to Portable North Pole for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.) 


What I've Won: November 2016

Woohoo, it's December which mean Advents start today. If you are unfamiliar with advent competitions, a lot of companies run a competition a day either for 12 or 24 days in December. It can be very full on and there are tons of competitions around. I'll be using the Competition Database Advent list this year - why not give it a try?!

For now though, here's a look at what I won in November.

1) Thermo mug from Peachy Loans
I don't have a photo but it is a branded mug that I won in their Halloween giveaway as a runner up prize! It's handy for Chris to take to work.
 
2) Frozen wand (RRP £12.99) from Personalised Santa Letters
 I am so chuffed with this. E is obsessed with Frozen so I've put it away for Christmas.
 
3) Playbrush (RRP £26.99) from Arepops
C really dislikes having his teeth brushed so I was excited to win this. I'm hoping it distracts him and makes it more fun.
 
4) Finding Nemo plush (RRP £8.99) from NowTV
The kids love Finding Nemo and Finding Dory so this is a huge hit. E especially loves it as she's a sucker for a cuddly toy.
 
5) Star Wars Funko Pop (RRP £9.99) from Underground Toys
Chris is a big Star Wars fan and we started collecting Pops about a year ago so this is perfect for him!

6) MSM powder (RRP £7.96) from Kiki Health
This was a really low entry Twitter comp and I actually entered for my dad. He's really into all this kind of stuff - he swears by coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. He has told me it's working wonders.

7) The Italian Baker cookbook (RRP £20.99) from Cakes and Sugarcraft
I love a good cookbook and these recipes look amazing! I can't wait to try them out.

8) Kilner money jar (RRP £15.00) from dotty_and_bear
I love love love upcyling Kilner jars and I opted for a pink one with white hearts. I'm thinking that it would be a lovely money jar for E's room.

9) A year's supply of chocolate (RRP £365.00) from Chocolate and Love
This is a pretty amazing one! Chris and I are both chocoholics so I am so excited to receive this. I've never actually tried the brand before but they look so good.

10) Nuby bundle (RRP £25.95) from Mummy of Two
I love the Nuby brand and I will be keep half for E and sending the younger stuff to Jenna for her baby girl when she arrives.

11) Bracelet (RRP £149.00) from Tresor Paris
Amazing! I won this on the Tresor Paris instant win game on Facebook. Keep an eye out on their page as they are always running them.

12) £10 spend at sausageandmissus
This was a little Instagram win. Sausage and Missus sell pom pom garlands and I think I will choose a nice pink one for E's room.
 
13) Avengers pyjamas and advent calendar (RRP £14.95) from Character
C adores the Avengers so this is just the perfect prize for him. He can't wait to open his advent calendar and he already asks to wear the pyjamas every night.

14) Thorntons advent calendar (RRP £12.50) from Tiaras and Wellyboots
Yum - more chocolate! I can't remember the last time I had an advent calendar for myself.

15) 10 Christmas cards (RRP £25.00) from Coulson Macleod
I love handy wins! I don't send a lot of Christmas cards so I probably won't have to buy any now - woohoo!

So this month I won 15 prizes worth £705.31 and because I love a comparison, in November 2015 it was 22 prizes worth £403.37 and 14 prizes worth £227.50 in November 2014.

Did you win anything nice last month? Will you be joining in with the advents in December? 
 

Christmas Gift Ideas: Food

I love food (my increasing weight since having E is proof enough of that!) and Christmas is the perfect time to indulge, in my opinion. Diets start in January, right?! I've put together a little gift guide, or maybe bits to include in your own Christmas parties, of food items that would be great for this time of year.

Opies

Opies are a family owned company that has been around since 1880. This Christmas you can pick up their Pickled Walnuts which are a must have with cold meats and cheese. I love a cheeseboard at Christmastime but I'm not a fan of walnuts at all. Instead, I opt for gherkins. Opies do mini pickled gherkins which are just amazing! 

If you are making some festive cocktails, the cocktail cherries and sliced lemon are perfect accompaniments to these. 

Christmas baker? Add some Opies Stem Ginger to mince pies, chutneys or even apple based stuffing to give them some extra oomph.

When you think of Christmas, you think alcohol and Opies have preserved some fruits in alcohol for the occasion; Stem Ginger in Famous Grouse and Christmas Fruits in Courvoisier - yum!
 
Peter's Yard
Peter's Yard are authentic, traditional style Swedish crispbread that are made here in the UK. They are perfect for cheeseboards! Aside from the original flavour that suits any cheese, you can try Charcoal (recommended for Brie and soft goat's milk cheese) or Spelt & Poppyseed (to go with Single Gloucester, Camembert, Wensleydale or Caerphilly). None of the flavours mask or overpower the flavours of the cheese and they are light and crisp in texture - perfect!

In addition to these, Caraway and Pink Peppercorn have been added to the range for this year. Caraway is recommended with a strong, hard cheese whereas Pink Peppercorn is great with a wide selection of cheeses but also a rich pâté too.
 
Stag Bakeries

Stag Bakeries is one of the most remote bakeries in the UK, being based in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis on the Outer Scottish Hebrides.

I've been writing a lot about cheeseboards but if you want something different, why not try Stag Bakeries 'Something Different for Cheese' Fruit Cake? It is made with raisins, sultanas, currants, dates, cherries and cranberries which are generously soaked for 4 weeks in ruby port and whisky. It is also flavoured with pecan nuts, almonds, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to create a rich, delicious eat.

West Coast Dipping Crackers are available in three different flavours; Chickpea & Garlic (great with Middle Eastern dishes and dips), Green Bean & Ras el Hanout (perfect for tagines and couscous) and Lentil & Biryani (which works well with curry as an alternative to poppadums).

New to the range are Sweet Straws. They are a great alternative to tradtional sweet biscuits and are a cool twist on savoury straws. The flavours available are: Apple & Cinnamon, Blackberry & Basil, Raspberry & Chocolate and Sour Cherry & Vanilla.
 
Baru 
Baru are quirky, contemporary Belgian confectionery and even their packaging is cool! This year they have added luxury marshmallows to their collection, all "non-chocolate" flavours; Vanilla Bean, Toasted Coconut, Sea Salt Caramel, Blueberry & Basil, Strawberry & Cacao and Raspberry & Mint.

They use natural ingredients and are made in small batches to ensure high quality. Referred to as clouds due to their soft texture and light eat, they are hand crafted in Belgium to a carefully developed recipe.

Tyrrell's 
Tyrrell's are probably my favourite type of crisp so I was really excited to hear that they were adding a festive flavour to their range. Three Bird Roast is (as you've probably guessed) a trio of roast chicken, turkey and duck. I have to say, Chris and I devoured the entire bag between us in one night and the flavours and crispness are just spot on. At £2.19 per bag, I will definitely be picking more of these up over the Christmas period.

They have also added a very fun flavour to their Poshcorn range - Bellini! This is perfectly popped in small batches at Tyrrell's Court Farm using gold standard kernels. It is perfect for a cosy night watching Christmas movies!
 
EasiYo
Easiyo's bright red yogurt maker is the perfect way to make delicious, fresh yogurt at home. The brand new design is sleek and stylish yet simple. It has no moving parts or electronics so it's easy to clean and is so compact, it'll fit on your kitchen shelf. 

All you have to do is mix a EasiYo with water, put it in the maker for 8-12 hours and you will have made 1kg of fresh yogurt. There are 30 different sachet flavours to choose from and because it is made in the comfort of your own home, there are no artificial colours or flavourings. Both my children absolutely love yogurt so this would be a great hit in my house!

(This post contains PR samples.)


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