30 November 2019

Christmas Gift Ideas For The Lady in Your Life

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I've written a couple of gift guides so far this year but nothing for the ladies so I'm going to share some lovely ideas for what might be a nice little gift to give. Sometimes it's the simple gifts that are the most effective and welcoming at this time of year. Hopefully this will at least kick start your own ideas for the women in your life.


Happiful Magazine
I love a good magazine to cosy up with and what better way to remind your friends and loved ones to look after themselves and look out for others than with a monthly gift subscription to Happiful Magazine. Happiful contains a wide range of features, interviews, actionable advice and true stories. It's all about mental health, positivity and mindfulness. Happiful have kindly offered a 50% off 6 and 12 month subscriptions for you lovely readers. This specially-priced gift subscription can be purchased here. The discount code to use is HAPPYXMAS19 and the price is £24 (+ p&p) for 6 months or £48 (+ p&p) for 12 months. A great gift to give your loved one this Christmas.

Coulson Macleod Christmas Cards
I really do like a well thought out Christmas card and Coulson Macleod have some beautiful additions to their range to give this year. They really are super beautiful and why not make it even more special by popping a little gift voucher inside for a spa day for two! My mum and I enjoy a spa day so she would love a gift like this. Coulson Macleod have a fab range of festive cards starting at just £1.25 so definitely pop over and have a browse. They also of course have some lovely gifts available too.

Soul Analyse Bracelet
I've shared Soul Analyse on my gift guide for him however I think it deserves a spot here too as they have some lovely bracelets for women as well. Plus with mental health being such a huge thing it's always good to remind a loved one that they are enough or they are loved etc. It's such a small but powerful tool to have a little reminder on your wrists with you every day and from as little as £15 these bracelets make excellent quality gifts. They come in gorgeous gift boxes with handy drawstring pouches to store your bracelet in. I highly recommend these.

Phones Away
If your lovely lady is anything like me and maybe spends a little too much time on her phone *cough* then Phones Away is the perfect gift to give this Christmas. It's a simple gift that promotes less screen time and more family time. You receive a box with 4 simple instructions on it. Collect your phones, set a timer on one of the phones, turn all phones onto silent or airplane mode and do NOT open the box until the timer goes off. It's a very effective way of having less screen time but can you stick to it!? The box retails for £19.99 but is currently on offer at £9.99.

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own. 

27 November 2019

Review: Mardles hugARmals - Cuddle. Scan. Interact.

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My daughter absolutely loves her cuddly toys, we literally have mountains of them in our house but I always feel they have limited use. Wouldn't it be great if they could do something else as well as being super cute and hug-able? That's when I heard about a new interactive cuddly toy on the market and I couldn't wait to find out more.


Mardles hugARmals are 30cm cuddly toys with a difference! Harlow received the fabulous Unicorn to try out and of course she loved it. So what do hugARmals do? As well as being sparkly, soft and fluffy they also come to life using the free Mardles app on Apple/ Android devices. For Harlow's Unicorn you simply scan it's special hoof, after downloading the app, and it brings the Unicorn to life in digital form.


Here's some quick and easy steps to follow; 1 - got to your app store and download the free Mardles App. 2 - Open the App and point your device's camera at the badge on your character's foot to unlock your new 4D friend. 3 - Point your device at a flat surface then tap the star on screen to bring your character to life and use the controls to have fun with them.


It's very simple and easy to do plus there are some cool little features on the app. You can customise the colour of your new digital Unicorn friend using the on-screen slider or make it walk, eat, disco dance and even pirouette. Harlow loves it and finds it so easy to use the app, and once she's finished with the app she happily cuddles her Unicorn and role plays with it as well.


If you're not a Unicorn fan you can also get the hugARmals in Dragon form. I particularly love dragons and the hugARmals one is super glitzy and shiny. Being 30cm means these toys are the perfect size for little hands to play with. They are well made and quite eye catching with all their fancy colours, and I think kids love this.


As you can see from the photos my daughter loves her Unicorn hugARmal and you can get your very own from Mardles.com or Amazon. They retail for £24.99 and are definitely worth it for that extra interactivity. There's no faffing about either which I like, it's just straight forward and easy to use. It means the kids can have fun quicker!


We were sent the hugARmals Unicorn in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

19 November 2019

Dinner at The Stair Arms Hotel in Pathhead

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If you're ever looking for a family friendly place to stop near Edinburgh and have a delicious meal then The Stair Arms Hotel is the perfect place for you. We visited last month with the family (and the dogs) and had a tasty evening meal, plus breakfast the next day, which we thoroughly enjoyed.


The Stair Arms Hotel is a unique hotel, restaurant & bar with large garden. The hotel is conveniently located in the Midlothian countryside & 10 minutes from Edinburgh city park ‘n’ ride. Located on the main Edinburgh to Borders route the hotel began as a coaching inn in 1831. They are the ideal destination for lunch, three course meal, coffee & home baking or a cooling drink. They welcome dogs and children so it's a very friendly atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.


The Stair Arms has recently been refurbished by the Ramsay family who own & manage the hotel. They have created beautiful interiors where freshly prepared, locally sourced food is served. Serving tempting menus full of delicious dishes, the chefs focus on providing the tastiest meals throughout the day. The specials adapt with the seasons and make the most of wonderful local, fresh produce.


The restaurant itself has been beautifully decorated and makes for a warm cosy inviting area to relax in. We were seated by the fire which has a little bench round it for you to warm your tootsies. The kids particularly  liked this and found it very cool. The waiting staff were all very attentive and answered any questions we had on their dishes, changing things for the kids, where the toilets were etc. Nothing was ever too much trouble so we felt right at home.


It took us a minute or two to peruse the menu and choose our meals for the evening. Everything looked so scrummy it was a hard choice. They of course have a children's menu too which both of our kids chose from. Whilst we were waiting for our dinner to arrive the lovely waitress offered us some of the chef's homemade bread which had been freshly baked that day. I'm so glad we said yes as oh my goodness it was amazing! I can't honestly describe how tasty this bread was, my mouth waters every time I think about it and I might just have to take a trip back for more. It came with two tasty dips as well just to make it even better.


Our starters arrived and again we weren't disappointed. I chose from the daily specials menu and went for the Pan Fried Scallops on pea puree served with black pudding and crispy bacon. It was fabulous, full of flavour and the scallops were cooked perfectly. The hubby also chose from the specials menu and went for the Pan Fried Local Wood Pigeon Breast served with black pudding, bacon and apple sauce. It was as equally tasty as my starter. The kids went for garlic bread each which they munched down happily.


Very impressed with our starters we couldn't wait to tuck into our mains. I opted for the Pan Fried Perthshire Venison Lion with roast beetroot, mash and a cranberry and rosemary sauce. Another fab dish which went down really well. The venison was still tender and the sauce was fragrant and satisfying. It reminded me of Christmas. The hubby chose the 8oz Aberdeen Angus Steak wrapped in Bacon served with a pumpkin puree, parsnip crisps, mushroom and madeira sauce and triple cooked chips. As you can imagine the hubby was extremely happy when his steak was brought out. Presentation was superb and everything on his plate was one delicious mouthful after another. The kids had chicken, chips and beans and sausages, chips and beans. They were very happy with theirs and had nice healthy portions.


We were all so full from our starters and mains that the hubby and I shared a pudding and the kids had ice cream. We tried the stick toffee pudding which again was amazing. The kids were happy with their different flavoured ice cream and us adults were happy chilling with full bellies.


In the morning we came down to a reserved table for breakfast which was really nice. Everything was laid out beautifully and nothing was too much bother for the staff. Harlow chose boiled eggs and toast soldiers, Logan was happy with lots of toast and the hubby tried the hearty porridge. We were all happy and well fed after such a lovely stay. We'll definitely be back to The Stair Arms Hotel for another visit soon.

This meal was gifted in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

11 November 2019

Review: Pomsies Lumies - Rainbow Charged Pom-Pom Pets

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My daughter absolutely loves anything to do with rainbows and unicorns so when we received some Pomsies Lumies to test out I knew she would be over the moon to have them. So what are they all about? Lumies are interactive plush pom pom pets that change colour. With a simple tap, Lumies can match any colour and even turn colours into musical beats! There's up to 1,000 possible mixes.


We've been testing out our Lumies for a while now and they really do work perfectly well. They pick up colours using their little clicking sensor button underneath them and it's simple to use. My daughter picked it up instantly and starting running around the house clicking anything that was colourful. It kept her busy for ages. If you think it's time for your Lumie to go to sleep then you simply hold and press their nose for 3 seconds. If you want to wake them up then press their nose again. All very easy for kids to understand.


Pomsies Lumies have over 100 different sounds and phrases, bold hairstyles, sparkly unicorn horns, and heart-shaped faces! Kids will honestly love them, my daughter definitely does. They are like her little friends and she plays with them constantly. They're a good handful size (Dimensions: 9L x 7W x 10H cm) as well so great for smaller hands and of course super colourful and bright. Lumies require 3x AAA batteries to work but these are included which is fab. I love a toy that comes with batteries especially if you're giving as a gift or on Christmas morning!


There's three different Lumies to collect (Sparkle Rush, Pixie Pop and Dazzle GoGo) and they come with their own little hair clip comb to keep their long flowing hair in tip top condition. As well as changing colour, which is pretty cool, these cute Lumies also have different modes to try out. There's "Let's Find Colours" - Lumies wake up craving colours so keep them happy and balanced by feeding them with colour. Listen closely and they'll react differently depending on how they feel and the colours you touch. The next mode is "Let's Mix Some Beats" - Lumies turn colours into beats. The more colours you touch the more crazy fun mixes Lumies create. There are three other modes to try as well which are more games such as "Let's Play Lumie Says" and "Let's Play Colour Chase". My daughter loved trying all of the different modes and found the Lumies very interactive and encouraging to play with.


One thing that's super exciting about these cute critters is that there's over 50 secret sounds hidden inside your Lumie! You can unlock these surprises by touching certain colours in a certain order. How exciting is that.You can discover some over on Pomsies.com so be sure to check it out.


You can find Pomsies Lumies at Smyths Toys Superstores retailing for £19.99 but they are currently reduced which means it's the perfect time to buy and store away for birthdays and Christmas. Better to be organised than miss out! My daughter really does love her Lumies and now wants to buy them for all her friends so I can see us stocking up for birthday gifts.


I was gifted this product in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

8 November 2019

Gift Ideas for Him - A Christmas Gift Guide & GIVEAWAY

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Every year I find it harder and harder to come up with Christmas gift ideas for the other half, and the other men in my life such as my Dad or father-in-law. They practically have everything they need and if they want something they go out and buy it! So I've been searching hard for a couple of alternative ideas and have come up with a little list. Read on to see what I have selected, some are absolutely fabulous.


Soul Analyse Affirmation Band
Mental health is such a big thing for men now and is being recognised more and more which is amazing. Anything which can help with your mental health is all good with me and these gorgeous Soul Analyse Affirmation Bands are just perfect. It's a nice chunky bracelet for men to wear, with an affirmation on it such as I Am Enough, which acts as a reminder to say your affirmation regularly causing positive change in your mental health. There's different affirmations to choose from such as Never Too Late and Pain Is Temporary and they all retail for £30 which is a fair price for such lovely quality. I'd highly recommend as they really are different and so needed for some men out there.

Il Gusto Flavoured Alcohol Minis
It wouldn't be Christmas without a little tipple and these cute Il Gusto Flavoured Alcohol Minis are perfect as an extra treat during the festive season. I love that they come in fab Christmas shaped bottles, from Gingerbread Men and Stars to Christmas Trees. The alcohol flavours sound delicous too. Sour Cherry Vodka, yes please! Or what about Salted Caramel Cream Liqueuror Cherry Bakewell Gin? All sound like perfect gifts and there's loads to choose from. Even better is that you can pick some up for under £10 as well as some special offers.

Portrait Pals - Personalised Pet Portraits
Who doesn't love the family pet and who wouldn't want a cute little portrait drawing of them for Christmas!? My other half loves our two dogs so much, they're like our little fur babies, and I know he would definitely appreciate a gorgeous drawing of them from the lovely Portrait Pals. Even better is that Portrait Pals donate 20% off all proceeds to their chosen charities, what an amazing thing to do. There's different styles you can choose from starting at £25 so it doesn't have to break the bank at all. It really is such a great personalised gift that will be treasured for years to come.

The Great Escape Game - Escape Rooms
My other half loves a challenge and so I've thought about getting him a voucher for an Escape Room. I've done one before myself which was really good but the people at The Great Escape Game have some seriously spooky escape rooms going on. My hubby loves horror so this would be right up his street! There's so many different games to choose from and some can have just 2 players such as The Devil's Playground. The sets all look so real and it's a great idea to get a group together and pop along. Luckily for you guys I have a £25 off voucher for The Great Escape Game to giveaway so enter via the rafflecopter widget below to be in with a chance of winning. Have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

4 November 2019

Review: Hatchimals Royal Snow Ball Pixies

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My daughter is a super fan of Hatchimals. She loves them so much, sometimes they are all she can talk about! She has quite the little collection but has been spotting all the new and wonderful range coming out via YouTube (she loves watching a toy unboxing) so was desperate to get her hands on some. Luckily for her she was sent two fabulous Hatchimals Royal Snow Ball Pixies to review so here's how we got on.


The Hatchimals Royal Snow Ball Pixies eggs are much bigger than the normal smaller animal type eggs. They are a good handful so perfect for kids hands. As you can imagine Harlow was dead excited so receive these beauts so she got stuck right in opening them. The actually packaging was easy to open, we just pulled the hanger tab at the top and it came away easily. For the actual eggs you rub the heart until it changes colour then you can push your thumb into it to break it open.


Once cracked you can peel away the shell to reveal your surprise pixie inside. I think that's one of the reasons Harlow loves Hatchimls so much, the surprise element really adds to the fun of the toy. There are 8 different Royal Snow Ball Pixies to collect in this series and they all look fab and super cute. Harlow managed to hatch out Peach Paulette and Polar Piper. Peach Paulette came out of the pink and gold egg and Polar Piper came out of the purple and silver egg. There's also going to be a mega secret surprise one coming soon so watch out for that.


When Harlow hatched her Hatchimals eggs she was delighted to find her pixies inside with a little spinning dance floor, dance floor backdrop and a pack of accessories. Inside there were 3 items; a necklace, a tiara and a mask like you would wear to a ball. She also discovered that the pixies have magical fluttery wings! They're lovely and giggle around as you pretend to make them fly, such a nice touch.


The pixies themselves have a lot of detail on them from sparkly glittery hair to dainty little shoes and gorgeous eyes. Harlow loves them and hasn't stopped playing with them. She's added them to her ever growing Hatchimals collection and has asked for more for her birthday.


Unlike the normal small Hatchimals eggs that you don't keep, these Royal Snow Ball Pixies have a solid base on the bottom of their eggs which mean you can keep them to play with. It's so handy for putting all the accessories in then the dance floor on top then your pixie on top of that. Great way to store so nothing is lost or misplaced.


Hatchimals Royal Snow Ball Pixies retail for £7.99 and can be purchased from Smyths Toys Superstores. Spin Master have done an awesome job with them. They're honestly lovely and at that price make a great present. I think I might buy a few for Harlow's friends as it's almost birthday party time.


We were gifted these toys in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

3 November 2019

Review: Our Family Friendly Stay at The Stair Arms Hotel

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As you probably all know we love a little trip away, even just a night away from the front door can do wonders for the soul. We were recently invited to stay at the lovely Stair Arms Hotel in Pathhead for the night and we all had such a nice time. Here's how we got on.


The Stair Arms is a small family owned and managed hotel, that has a warm Scottish welcome. Although it's situated by the main road the hotel has a very country feel so if you’re not keen on the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the place for you. We arrived in the afternoon with the kids and the dogs and were welcomed with open arms. The lovely lady on reception checked us in quickly and smoothly and explained were everything was and how to get to our room. We decided to put all our things in our room first before exploring.


The Stair Arms has recently gone through a fresh refurbishment so our room felt new, modern, chic and fresh. We had room number 3 which has a comfy double bed but joins onto room 4 which has 2 single beds. This was perfect for us and the kids plus there was plenty of room for the dog's bed and of course the dogs to move around. The bathroom was beautiful with a big deep bath, which the kids couldn't wait to use, and we had plenty of storage space for our clothes and things as well as tea and coffee making facilities. Everything you'd every need for a good nights rest. Oh and can I just mention the USB plug sockets beside the beds. What a nice touch. We have so many gadgets to charge and only one plug (silly me) so this was perfect and such a life saver.


The hotel has some lovely warm hospitality and a nice relaxing atmosphere, although the kids tried their best to disrupt this haha. Apologies to other guests for my crazy kids! The lounge and reception are to your left when you walk in and it's all modern with some seriously comfy chairs. After we had put our things in our room we chilled in the lounge for a bit before going outside to the gardens to investigate.


I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Stair Arms Hotel have a lovely play park for the children out back as well as lots of picnic tables and seats to chill in whilst the kids burn off some energy. It was a beautiful evening when we were there so we sat outside for ages making the most of it with a little cider. There's loads of space for the kids and dogs to run around outside here and they have some super cute apple trees that the children enjoyed playing around. They particularly loved the oak tree in the car park which was currently dropping it's acorns. Lots of fun from something so simple.


When it started to get a bit chilly we headed into the comfortable and cosy restaurant, which is beautiful by the way, for some tasty food. We sat beside the fabulous log fire and again the seats were so comfy. There was lots on the menu to choose from as well as a special menu and a children's menu. Both the husband and I loved the look of the specials so we had pan fried scallops and pan fried local wood pigeon breast to start with and the kids had garlic bread. Whilst we waited on the starters the waitress brought us over some homemade bread and dips. OMG!! They were still warm and totally amazing. Everyone scoffed them down and could have eaten them again. Highly recommend ordering these.


Our starters arrived and everything was cooked perfectly. My scallops were just right (as so often they can be overcooked) and the wood pigeon was tender and juicy. The kids enjoyed munching on their garlic bread and everyone looked happy and content. For mains the husband and I order from the special menu again as the choices were fab. I opted for the pan fried Perthshire venison loin whilst the hubby went for the 8oz Aberdeen angus steak wrapped in bacon. The kids decided on pork sausages, chips and beans and chicken strips with chips and beans. All of our dishes were healthy helpings so I was very impressed.


The mains were just as good as the starters. Beautifully cooked and well presented. We tucked right in and polished it off in no time. By this point we were pretty full but the kids wanted ice cream so the hubby and I decided to share a dessert of sticky toffee pudding. What a great choice it was too. Totally homemade it was amazing and melted in your mouth. I would definitely get this again.


By now everyone was super tired so we headed up to our room for a good night's sleep. I ran the kids a bath which they enjoyed since it was like a swimming pool and we chilled before getting some much needed rest. In the morning we headed back down to the restaurant for our breakfast. We were shown to our table and asked if we'd like some tea and coffee. The lovely waitress also pointed us to where the cereal and juices etc were. There was plenty on offer to keep us satisfied from cereals, toast to some tasty hot options. I ordered scrambled egg on toast, Harlow went for boiled eggs and toast soldiers whilst the hubby had porridge and Logan stuck with his usual toast. Everything was delicious.


We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at The Stair Arms Hotel and would happily stay again. The hotel is warm and cosy with plenty of places to chill and relax in plus the staff were so lovely and couldn't have done any more to make us feel welcome. We'll definitely be back.


This was a gifted stay in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

1 November 2019

An Ethical Christmas Gift Guide

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If you're looking to purchase an ethical gift for that special person in your life this Christmas then you've come to the right place. Being ethical is such a big thing now and of course it totally helps the environment and goes a long way to saving our planet. I have a few little gift ideas that I'd like to share with you all and hopefully they'll appeal to a few people looking to make a start down the ethical road.



muggi Drinks Tray
The muggi is a marvelous invention and is the safest drinks tray in the world! It basically allows you to carry 4 hot or cold drinks safely in one hand. As well as drinks you can carry a whole manner of things from crisp tubs, beer bottles or even turn it into a desk organiser! What makes this so eco friendly is that muggi have just brought out a fantastic new dark green version which has been made from 100% upcycled marine waste plastic. How great is that! It also has non-slip rubber feet allowing it to rest easily on trolleys or in the lap of a wheelchair user for example. Also guaranteed for 88 years it'll make the perfect eco gift this Christmas. At £9.95 it won't break the bank either. I'm going to take ours camping the next time we go or even when we're having a picnic.

Blue Rock Bamboo Toothbrush
I normally get the kids a new toothbrush of some sort to put in their stockings from Santa and this year I think I'll be going for these fab bamboo toothbrushes from Blue Rock. I love that they are very eco friendly and also have children sized ones too. You can either join their subscription service or make one of purchases. Plus if you sign up using their discount code SEALS you'll get 25% off and 50p goes towards WWF. A pack of 4 toothbrushes to buy on their own costs £15. A great gift to start helping your friends and family save the environment.

MYTHYN Candles
I absolutely love having candles burning around my home but trying to find one that is eco friendly is harder than it seems. Not to fear though MYTHYN are here to help. They've produced a lovely new DUSK natural sustainable candle in a gorgeous rose gold tin which smells amazing. With a blend of Ylang Ylang, Lavender & Virginian Cedarwood essential oils, this candle is designed to create a relaxing and inspiring environment. The best thing about these candles is that they have 100% natural ingredients and are made from rapeseed wax which is locally sourced and the most sustainable wax available on the market. At £16 for a candle that will burn 20hrs is petty good and such a lovely gift to give.

Hydrosil Turmeric Butter
This Hydrosil product would be a great gift for someone who often suffers from dry, damaged or inflamed skin, and I don't know about you but this always happens in winter for me. The weather definitely doesn't help my skin at all so I need something like this to keep me in tip top shape. The product isn't tested on animals and is a vegan formula (apart from the Donkey milk) but definitely suitable for vegetarians. It's great for protecting the skin's natural oils and helps repair the skin barrier. The 75ml tubes retails for £9.95 and is perfect for carrying around in your handbag for on the go. Great little secret Santa present too.

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own. 

 

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