Easter activities from Phoenix Trading

The Easter break can end up feeling like a really long time for some families. Children are off school for 2 weeks and that’s a lot of time to fill with things to do! Although Erin is only 1, I have been looking for some things to keep her busy this Easter weekend. Phoenix Trading helped us out!

Phoenix Trading

little woodland animals colour in card

Who doesn’t love colouring in? This Little Woodland Animals card is for children a fair bit older than Erin. Well, Erin could certainly give it a go but she’s more interested in eating crayons at the minute than figuring out how to colour with them. This card has loads to discover and a good mix of large and small bits to colour in.

happy families card game

The Happy Families Card Game is probably my favourite out of the three activities. We love anything animal related in our house. This card game has 40 cards, with 10 different animal families. Not only is this a fun card game to play, collecting families of animals, but it will also help to teach Erin about animals.

I really love how cute the pictures are on these cards. Each animal is dressed differently and doing something different!

Holiday fun pack

It might not be summer yet but this Holiday Fun Pack really gets me in the mood to go away. We’re not going abroad this year colouring in sand castles, ice creams and sunglasses really help me to look forward to some sunny weather and trips to the beach. The great thing about this pack is that it can be used all year round and it’s a really fun way to help get children excited about a holiday.

Phoenix Trading not only offer a really fun range of activities at super affordable prices but they also sell stationery too! Come back during National Stationery Week to see what else they do!

Disclaimer: We were sent items for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Morse Toad personalised chocolate messages

When it comes to Christmas I sometimes feel like I do the same thing over and over again. I am always on the look out for new and exciting gifts to give people. Personalised items are by far my favourites this year as they can be suited to a person better than a generic gift. Morse Toad have some fabulous offerings of personalised chocolate messages and cards. Yes, chocolate cards!

If, like me, you have family members who live away you’ll know that sending gifts through the post can be a pain. Then, you have to send a Christmas card on top of that as well. I think Morse Toad’s idea of combining the two is genius.

chocolate

The chocolate cards can be personalised in a number of different ways. To start with, prices vary depending on how many rows of letters you want. The one pictured above cost £11 but a card with 4 rows would cost £19.

You can also change the picture if you like as well for an extra £1. When I ordered our chocolate card I didn’t have a specific person in mind so I kept the Morse Toad logo. However, you could add a personal family picture, or a blog/ business logo etc!

Along with chocolate cards, Morse Toad also do fab little stocking fillers. Even though Erin is only 11 months old I wanted to get a couple of people presents just from her. However, I also didn’t want to spend a fortune.

For only £2.75 you can get a cute little box containing 7 letters or characters. I guess you could either pick the name of the person you’re giving it to or the person it is from! Plus, the more you order the cheaper they get.

Even though it’s nearly Christmas, there is still plenty of time to get your order in. Morse Code ship orders placed before 1pm on the very same day. I found that our order only took a couple of days to arrive too, which is perfect for this time of year.

Morse Code have been kind enough to allow me to share a discount code with you all! use mehimdogbaby for 10% off!

(expires Christmas Day)

Disclaimer: We were sent products for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

Storytime Saturday: Belle and Sebastien

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week I’m talking about Belle and Sebastien by Cecile Aubry.

storytime-saturday

The son of a Gypsy woman, Sebastien is found as a newborn baby in the Alps and brought up by Guillaume and his grandchildren Angelina and Jean. Born on the same day, Belle is a beautiful white Pyrenean Mountain Dog who has been neglected and passed on from owner to owner, until one day she escapes from a kennel. When Sebastien rescues the runaway Belle from the wrath of the villagers, the boy and the dog form a lifelong friendship and embark on exciting adventures in the mountains.

Belle and Sebastien

The idea behind this story is absolutely beautiful. Poor Sebastian’s mother dies while giving birth to him and ends up living with another family. While living in the Alps, Sebastien meets and befriends a mountain dog, Belle, who has problems of her own.

I really enjoyed the story because both Belle and Sebastien had things to overcome. They were also able to find something in each other and their friendship was wonderful. As someone with both a child and a dog, it made me wonder how much Erin will grow up to love Jackson. She’s already obsessed with him now!

One of the problems I had with this book, unfortunately, was the translation. Belle and Sebastien has been translated from French and in the process, some of the tenses have gotten a bit mixed up. This threw me off a bit while reading. However, I’m not sure that children will pick up on this too much though, especially with a parent reading to them.

Belle and Sebastien was published by Alma Classics on 21st July 2016.

Amazon

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

Pride of place

It’s been a while since I have written anything to do with the house. To be honest, I haven’t had the time or money to do anything to it. Recently though, I have given Erin pride of place in our living room.

Pride of place

A few weeks ago at Baby Sensory we were able to have a photo session with Louise Walpole Photography which was fantastic. The session didn’t cost us anything and there was no pressure to buy anything. However, I loved most of Erin’s photos so I had to buy some.

Last week I found some chunky black 7×5 frames in Sainsbury’s on sale for only £4 each. I bought 5!! I knew that I wanted black frames to do a picture wall somewhere in the house at some point so I bought all the frames Sainsbury’s had. I bought photos of Erin, 2 were 7×5 and 1 was 10×8 so I couldn’t frame all 3 pictures.

I’m not quite sure where the picture wall is going to go yet but I was desperate to put up the pictures of my little girl. Our mantelpiece needed a bit of rearranging so I decided the pictures would go there, where I could see them every day. Unfortunately this has meant wedding photos of me and John have come down now.

Pride of place

I am so in love with how this looks. The black frames are fantastic. Now I have two photos framed it makes me want to get a load more done.

We had another photo session done a couple of weeks ago and I’ll be ordering some more prints soon. I have a spare 3 frames so I know exactly what will go in them now. Unfortunately, I have no where to put them at the moment until I redecorate a room and make a feature of the framed pictures.

How do you display family photos around your home?

Tesco Finest Fresh Cream Profiteroles With Swiss Chocolate

As part of the Orchard at Tesco program I got to try something from the Tesco Finest Party food range over Christmas for free. I got sent a voucher that I could either use in store or online. Ordering online didn’t work as the product I wanted was out of stock when the delivery arrived and then I found that no nearby Tesco stores had any of the desserts in stock either which wasn’t very good. I did finally manage to find the Tesco Finest Fresh Cream Profiteroles With Swiss Chocolate though.
I took these to my aunt’s house on Christmas Day for us all to share although there was only 8 profiteroles in the box so they didn’t go very far! The profiteroles were really soft to bite in to and the fudge chocolate on the top was delicious. The box also has a chocolate cream underneath ready for dipping the profiteroles in and I thought everything went really well together. For £3 I think this was a good dessert although if entertaining a few people one box won’t be enough!
*I tried this product for free through the Orchard at Tesco.

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver is a stand-alone contemporary novel. 

When Rachel finally realises that her relationship is going nowhere and the boyfriend is a complete waste of space, she begrudgingly head off to Paris for Christmas. Her friends have entered her into a competition to become famous chef Henri Salernes’ apprentice. She really didn’t want to go but finally figured that Paris might be good for her. 

In one week Rachel must face her competition, an incredibly tough and mean chef and do the best baking she can ever imagine doing. 

Review
Let me start by saying I have never watched The Great British Bake Off and I know a lot of people will be drawn to this book because of that. 

Protagonist Rachel is stuck in a bit of a rut. Her boyfriend is beyond terrible and she finally sees that. Her mum passed away not too long ago and she misses her terribly, as does the whole village of Nettleton where she lives. Rachel’s mum was a fantastic baker and everyone knows that Rachel likes to cook and bake as well. Just before Christmas one of Rachel’s friends lets her know that she’s going to Paris (even though she says she doesn’t want to) to take part in a baking competition. 

Rachel is an easy character to like because from the beginning of the book you can see that she’s been through a lot and just wants something better for herself. When she finds out about Paris and the competition she really doesn’t want to do it and even once she arrives she’s still unsure. I was rooting for Rachel from the minute she stepped foot in the competition kitchen. It was obvious that she wasn’t very comfortable and she also didn’t think she should be there compared with the other contestants. 

Jenny Oliver shows a very different view of Paris in this book. There are some very magical scenes at famous landmarks but what I really loved about the book was the descriptions of hidden away streets, the patisserie and the magic of a view from Rachel’s window. The Parisian Christmas Bake Off doesn’t show the flashy side of Paris but instead it’s all about the magic of secret finds and not knowing what to expect. Oliver’s descriptions really are wonderful, not only of Paris but of the food being made during the competition. I felt as though I was there with Rachel. 

My only real criticism with this one is the time scale. The book only barely covers Christmas in Paris and a lot happens during this time. Some things, especially the romance, seemed really rushed which meant I wasn’t as invested in it as I could have been. I didn’t get to know Philippe the love interest nearly enough in the short space of time and I really wanted to. I did ‘get’ the attraction to him but I really just wanted more. 

Overall, The Parisian Christmas Bake Off is a lovely read with the magic of Christmas, Paris and baking but I wanted more from it. 

Recommendations needed

So, I have been out of blog land for at least six months now, maybe more like a year and I have just started to read again. I’ve read three books in the last week which for me is pretty amazing as I just haven’t been in the mood recently or I haven’t had the time. 

Two out of the three books I have read have new new adult novels and I have really enjoyed them. An Abbi Glines book always makes me happy and they never disappoint. However, I don’t have too many of hers left to read and I desperately need some recommendations. 

What’s new in new adult and who are any new authors I should know about?!

A book-less Christmas



It seems a bit strange to be writing this. I think this year may be the first in at least 5 years that I probably won’t be getting any books for Christmas. I don’t think I’ve even read the books that John got me last Christmas. If I’m honest, I don’t even know where they are. You see, when we moved house a lot of my unread books went up in the loft and I’ve only left about 15 downstairs. If they were all down here they would probably over take my living room and it’s a big room! 

I’ve never gotten loads of books for Christmas mainly because I’ve had so many to read already and no one ever knew what to buy me. Still though, John would try to get me one or two from my Amazon wishlist. My wishlists are probably really out of date now though and could probably do with being cleared out. If I haven’t bought anything from it in a year then I probably don’t want to read them enough. I do have a buy first list though which is quite current (full of Abbi Glines’ books) so he does have some kind of option. I don’t think he’ll bother this year though as I’ve only read a couple of books in the last half of the year. 

So, no book shaped presents for me this year for the first time in a long time. 

Festive nails



Yes, I know it is no where near Christmas yet but I wanted to write about my nails. I have a *slight* obsession with nail polishes and own far too many yet I cannot stop buying them. 

Anyway, last year I had my nails done at a local salon and loved the Essie polish they used and have been on the look out for something similar ever since (the Essie colour is discontinued). I found a Nails Inc. polish in the ‘Get it or regret it’ sale online a few weeks ago for the bargain price of £5 so I knew I had to have it. It’s called Nightingale Place and is sparkly red with a hint of gold glitter. I’m so in love with it!

As it’s only the middle of November though I feel it is far too festive at the moment so I will be changing it pretty soon. I will be using it again in December though and maybe adding some nail art to make it a bit more special. 

I miss my blog

It has been quite a while since I posted anything on here, let alone anything bookish. Life has been hectic and reading hasn’t been something I have done a lot of. Actually, that’s a lie. I haven’t done any reading. Not for months and months. I got myself into a bit of a slump and never really managed to recover. 

When I saw Kirsty from The Overflowing Library a couple of weeks ago though to see the hilarious Knightmare Live at the theatre she gave me a few books she thought I would like which she actually nicked from Sarah at Feeling Fictional. One of the books I picked up ready to start reading in the bath on my day off from work and that was Come Back to Me by Mila Grey. I actually stayed in the bath until it was cold because I was enjoying it so much. I finished that book not long after I got out of the bath. 

I think I realised part of my problem. I sort of got bored with young adult books. After reading a good amount of new adult novels last year I have realised that I much prefer these now and maybe that’s why I didn’t feel like reading much. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t not read young adult books but I do like contemporary stories more. I think I’ve gone off everything else… at the minute anyway. 

So, I’m not saying I’m back blogging like I used to because there is no way I’ll ever manage 5 posts a week with how busy I am now. I am saying that I am back but posting as and when I manage to read. I don’t know how often this will be but here I am… again.