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Friday, 19 December 2014

Makies - customisable dolls

A couple of weeks ago I presented my girls with a Makie gift card each, which was beautifully presented in a little box.

I told them that with this gift card they could create their very own doll on the Makie's website.  My girls aren't massively into dolls and so I wasn't sure what their reaction would be, but they were positively thrilled.

We set aside an evening to create the dolls and made a real occasion out of it.  They weren't allowed to look at each other's design (their rules) and wanted to be able to show off their design in person. They chose hair colour/styles, clothes, eyes, and a name.  Once they submitted their design they asked me every single day when their doll would be arriving.

And they were not disappointed when the 3D version of their design did arrive ( very promptly).  'It's totally magic' they squealed. There was a lot of excitement.  They are now desperate to order their dolls some of the many accessories available online - Father Christmas May be surprising them with some new shoes and bags etc.

I loved that the dolls have almost a wood-like feel and are of a very high quality.

They are a lot of fun, and we have all enjoyed the whole process from receiving the beautifully packaged gift card, to designing the doll, to then receiving the real thing in the post.  Oh how times have changed!

'Makies are totally customisable dolls - the perfect gift for a creative child! Each one is guaranteed unique, and with an ever-growing range of looks and styles, a Makie is a friend for life.'

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Lincoln for families

This is a guest post about Lincoln! Supplied by Linden Homes

If you’re looking for property for sale in Lincoln, you’ll be pleased to learn that it is an extremely diverse area and one that is suited to the entire family.

From the buzzing High Street to the renowned Cultural Quarter, to the surrounding suburbs and the nearby picturesque countryside, there is something to suit all.

Moving to Lincoln

One of the challenges that comes with moving is ensuring your children are going to be happy in their new surroundings. Unlike adults, who are more practical when it comes to a move, children tend to be more sentimental.

Aside from leaving their friends and family, they’re also leaving their very own room, their favourite park and a school that they have become accustomed with.

It’s therefore important to ensure they are aware of the many benefits that come with relocation.

From meeting new friends to having free reign over the d├ęcor of their new room, there are various advantages for the little ones to contemplate when it comes to moving house.

Choosing the right place

It’s important to ensure you choose a location that is suited to the entire family. From checking out the local schools and amenities, to certifying you’re a suitable distance away from your place of work, there are a number of factors to consider.

Wait for the right time

It’s important to never move mid-year as this could affect your children’s studies. Try and wait until they are at the end of the year or if needs must, the very beginning of the school year. Doing so will ensure that they fit into the correct curriculum at their new school, without missing any important exams or classes.

Good to know

Lincoln is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities and is also an area that is rich in heritage and culture. Apartfrom this, Lincoln remains at the forefront of contemporary living.

It’s a great place to both work and live, which means it’s a perfect relocation option for the entire family. You’ll find a number of good transport links in this area – many of which are set to undergo a number of improvements in the very near future. Lincoln has been described as botha beautiful and friendly place to build a home, which makes it an ideal option for families.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A healthy start to 2014 with Bimuno IMMUNAID

In the midst of all those January routines and New Years' resolutions, now is a great time to start thinking about your health. Frequent exercise and a balanced diet are great ways to keep in shape and ward off those back-to-work bugs, but supplements have their place in any fitness regime, too. With all the cold weather and drizzly nights we're sure to have over the next few months, your immune system will thank you for any help you can give it.

One way you can help your body stay healthy is by boosting your body's good gut bacteria. While these are naturally-occuring compounds that are present in some foods, you can also give your gut an extra helping hand by using prebiotics, which effectively "feed" your good bacteria, stimulating growth. Bimuno is the leading prebiotic supplement, and Bimuno IMMUNAID has been specially formulated to provide all your prebiotic needs in the form of simple, chewy pastilles. Taken twice a day, IMMUNAID fits into any lifestyle or routine with ease.

What's a prebiotic?

More beneficial than probiotics, but less well-known, prebiotics work in a significantly different manner. Whereas probiotics contain living, "good" bacteria to help top up the immune system in your gut, probiotics instead contain a kind of food which helps the good bacteria already present in your gut to thrive.

In the long run, this has a number of benefits. It's a long journey from your mouth to your gut, and the hostile, acidic conditions in your stomach often kill off large portions of any live bacteria you ingest with probiotics. In fact, even oxygen can be hostile to the good bacteria that live in your gut – so its no surprise that they don't all make it safely.

In contrast, a prebiotic contains a complex carbohydrate, rather than any bacteria. These carbohydrates are incredibly stable, meaning that they can travel through your digestive system without becoming broken down or destroyed. Not only does this mean that the effects of a probiotic aren't affected by your body's natural systems, it means they don't have to be stored in the fridge, either!

What exactly is Bimuno IMMUNAID?

IMMUNAID is one of Bimuno's range of prebiotics, and is specially formulated to help strengthen your immune system. Scientists have long recognised how important the health of your gut is to your overall health. In fact, over 60% of your body's immune system is centred in your gut, so taking care of the bacteria that lives in it can have huge benefits.

IMMUNAID contains a patented prebiotic compound (galacto-oligosaccharide) that is the only second generation prebiotic available on the market. This means that it exhibits extra properties not found in other pre- or probiotics, such as the ability to help force harmful bacteria out of your gut. It's also gluten free, and contains vitamin C for an extra immune boost.

You can buy IMMUNAID, or any of Bimuno's prebiotic range, from Boots, or directly from their website, http://www.bimuno.com/ . You can also follow them on facebook, for access to all the latest Bimuno news and competitions: https://www.facebook.com/BimunoUK .

This post was written and sponsored by Bimuno

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Feasting in Pizza Express

Going to Pizza Express in Hereford on Christmas Eve has become a bit of a tradition for the Button family. We normally follow it up by going along to the Cathedral for the carol service, where Tom and I spend an hour trying to convince our children that they are enjoying themselves.

This year we went to Pizza Express as usual but ate so much and so slowly that we missed the carol concert. The restaurant is based in the old post office and possibly the town’s finest family eatery. We were served a really delicious three-course meal from the Christmas menu by an excellent waiter called Nick Selway.

The pizzas are always pretty special - they are becoming ever more inventive in fact - and someone recently came up with the idea of putting an entire roast meal onto a pizza. Tom was almost beside himself as he was served a porchetta romana, which featured small curls of pork crackling and little bits of apple sauce, among other delicacies. He gets a bit overexcited in the presence of pork. Once he couldn’t stop laughing because he was so overwhelmed by the taste of the pork belly that he was eating.

The only downside during the main course was that the smell of the gran padana cheese on Tom’s pizza was so powerful that our seven-year-old Betty threatened to go and sit on a neighbouring table. I managed to win her around with the promise of pudding.

About three hours after arriving we finally left the restaurant, in the dark, with brief flashbacks of the year we left Pizza Express in a snowstorm and got trapped on Whitecross Road. Luckily the weather held and we spent the journey home attempting to sing carols at our shouting children, to make up for the failure to get to the cathedral.

Thank you to Pizza Express for the meal very kindly supplied to us free of charge.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Mini mincemeat puffs - a recipe for the control freak mum

Dolly's mini mincemeat puffs
When my children were babies I threw myself into being what one friend of mine calls a 'Playdough Mum'.  

I indeed made an abundance of playdough, and did lots of baking with them - at a time when they were too young to hold a spoon.

However, when they got old enough to start wanting to crack their own eggs into bowls, or measure out flour, or dollop mixture into cakes themselves, I found that our kitchen became a very tense environment indeed.

I have a friend who lets her kids go wild in the 'baking' stakes, and they make all sorts of interesting (inedible) concoctions and they completely trash the kitchen while they are at it.  I really really respect her for letting them do this in the name of letting them have fun and learn, because when I bake with my kids, it is in very controlled conditions.

So when the lovely people from the Great British Chefs website contacted me and asked if I fancied cooking a festive treat with my kids from their website, I chose the recipe I thought would create the least amount of mess.

And yesterday Dolly and I produced these delicious and extremely easy mini mincemeat puffs - a much nicer version (in my opinion) of the traditional mince pie.

It was the perfect recipe for us, because Dolly almost had total control (for a change) and she really felt she had produced something by herself without me breathing down her neck.  And the best bit was that she and Betty really enjoyed eating them, as did family and friends - they really were a winner!

The Great British Chefs website has loads of fabulous looking recipes for kids, and I am really looking forward to trying out some more.

Thank you to Great British Chefs for sponsoring this post - Dolly now thinks I'm a nicer mum...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Festive filmsets - how to make your home shine like scenes from Sainsbury's new Christmas movie

With friends and family coming from far and wide to share in the seasonal fun and festive spirits, Christmas is the perfect time to deck out your house and show off your interior for all to see.

In Kevin Macdonald’s new film, Christmas in a Day, we have the rare opportunity to glimpse into other family’s homes, seeing first hand how different people celebrate Christmas across the country.

And though these are all real families and real homes, you can’t help but see them as cosy Christmas sets, ready for the performance of the year on the 25th if you’re just about to start building your very own festive scene, here’s how to make your home shine just like those in Sainsbury’s Christmas in a day.

Setting the scene

If you’re like many households, the job of getting the scene ready for Christmas begins weeks before the day itself.

Preparing the tree, making the decorations, digging around in the loft to find those oversized Santa lights from last year; all of this and more goes into transforming your home into a winter wonderland.

In order to make the most of your Christmas set, try to have a big clear out before the decorating begins. This will help you to clear away the previous year’s clutter and will give you more room to store your brand new presents once the festivities are over.

Assembling the perfect cast

If you watch the Christmas in a day video, you'll soon see that it takes a large and varied cast to properly fill your Christmas set.

Everyone from grandparents to neighbours and second cousins to life-long friends can play their part at one point or another, so get those invitations out now and start preparing for a real feast.

If you’re hosting a Christmas party this year, why not go all out and create some personalised decorative touches 
for your friends to enjoy, they’ll appreciate the effort that you’ve gone to and you can reuse any left over decorations to make your house shine on the big day.


Lighting is always an important feature of interior design, but at Christmas time it’s absolutely crucial. 

A few cosy lamps placed around your home will help to make the space feel warm and well loved. You can also use white and multi-coloured fairy lights to highlight your interior design features and to add a touch of sparkle to your home. 


Just like the families in Christmas in a Day, you can turn your home into a real film set by investing in a video camera of your own and filming your family as they open their presents and enjoy the Christmas feast and festive fun. 

By capturing these special moments you can treasure them year after year, seeing friends and family grow as time goes on. You could even make a screening of past Christmas videos into a traditional part of your family Christmas celebrations. 


With your Christmas tree in place, the lights plugged in and ready to go and all of your friends and family around to enjoy the fun, there’s nothing left to do but shout ‘Action!’ and let the festivities begin. 

Just make sure that after all of the effort you’ve put in to create the perfect day that you get your due credit and maybe a standing ovation or two once the credits have finally rolled.

This is a sponsored post supplied by Sainsburys.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Styling head from ELC

We recently received this Styling Head from ELC.  Betty has wanted one for a long time and so is very happy indeed (I remember spending much of my childhood wanting one too, but my mum wouldn't wouldn't allow it, and told me to brush my own hair instead).

I have seen many of these dolls in the shops, but this one seems far superior to the others I have seen.  Some of the faces look really scary/distorted, and are just too small to be realistic - but this one has a kind gentle face, thick glossy hair, and is the right size.

I have a nightmare every single morning trying to brush Betty's long thick tangled locks - she is a moving, squirming, moaning target, and we normally end up falling out, and me threatening to cut all her hair off.

So: if I completely tangle up the hair on this styling head, and shake it around and shout a lot while she is trying to make her look nice, she might gain an insight into what I have to go through every single morning.  Of course, once my point has been made, I will leave her in peace to play and have fun with it.

This head costs £22.00, it comes with 13 accessories including brush, clips, and make-up, I am really pleased with it.  I am looking forward to having a little play myself.