23 November 2021

Treat Your Mum this Christmas - A Gift Guide

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This Christmas Gift Guide is all about the Mums. I think we can all agree that us mums work pretty hard all year (and especially at Christmas) so it's nice to get a little treat during the festive season. So for those of you needing some ideas on what to give your mum, I've put together this little Christmas gift guide to hopefully help you out. Read on to see some of my picks for lovely presents to give this year. 

Colour Me Beautiful Compact
This Christmas Colour Me Beautiful is here to help you wish your mum a very Merry Christmas with a selection of gift ideas to put the colour back into their life. One such gift which caught my eye is their gorgeous refillable make-up compacts which contains everything they'll need to ensure that mistakes in their make-up bag become a thing of the past.


These compacts are available in either Cool or Warm tones with each set compromising of 4 eye shadows, 1 blush powder, 1 highlighter and a multi-purpose cream blush that can be used on cheeks or lips. There's also a festive red lipstick included, designed to complement the shades in the make-up palate, Red Carpet for the Cool and Red Velvet for the Warm collection. Colour Me Beautiful was one of the first companies to launch refillable compacts picking up on a desire by their clients to only have make-up in their compacts that they use. It's a great idea and definitely one which I love. All the products in the range are made in the UK and are cruelty free. Colour Me Beautiful have a special Christmas offer - Compact and Lipstick is £75.00 (a saving of £20 on the RRP) offer ends 23rd December 2021. Locate your local consultant and try before you buy. 

Il Gusto Drinks
New for this year Il Gusto are offering a range of cute tasting sets with different alcohol to choose from including; Gin, Vodka, Whisky, Brandy or Rum. Gin is pretty big at the moment and their gorgeous tasting set has 8 different deliciously chosen flavours which your mum is sure to love. Each bottle is 40ml and includes favourites such as Rhubarb, Cherry Bakewell and the ever popular Turkish Delight.

Il Gusto have an extensive range of quality spirits, cocktails, sparkling wines, liqueurs, oils and vinegars which make the perfect personalised gifts so if your mum isn't a Gin fan there's always lots more on offer to choose from. The miniature Gin gift set retails for £29.95 and be purchased directly from the Il Gusto website.

PrimaBerry Crossbody Bag
I love a good bag and so does my mum so I know she'd love this gorgeous crossbody bag from PrimaBerry. It's made in Portugal using superior quality cork which in turn is a 100% natural raw material removed every 9 years from the cork oaks that make up the vast but delicate ecosystem of the Alentejo Montado, in Southern Portugal. Absolutely fascinating! It is of course eco-friendly and vegan. This gorgeous bag retails for £39.99 and is 100% worth every penny. It's super soft and super comfortable, perfect for taking on shopping trips and theatre dates as it doesn't get in the way. Honestly a great bag you won't regret buying for your wee mum. You might even want a matching one for yourself!

Ballonet Socks
Who doesn't love a funky coloured sock and Ballonet have a ton to wet your appetite. I'm the type of mum who adores a fabulously designed sock so these are right up my street. Ballonet have some wonderful sock designs on their website with my particular favourties being the Flake Socks (as they look so Christmassy) and the Flash Socks for their boldness. Each pair retail for around £8 but there are of course some lovely sales on at the moment so you could grab a bargain for your mum. Ballonet socks are made from brushed cotton yarns without polyester, therefore they look bright, eye-catching and durable. They feel super soft, comfy and breathable - just what your feet want. And they're a British brand! Go check out their website and pick your favourite design. 


4 November 2021

An Educational Christmas Gift Guide from Learning Resources

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As Christmas approaches us parents are always on the look out for great gifts to give to our kids either from ourselves or from Santa. Obviously Santa always needs a hand so why not make it a bit easier for him. I find it easy to always spot the common well liked toys such as Barbies, Lego, PlayStation Games etc that are on the Santa List but what about some lovely educational toys for a change? They might not seem like an obvious choice but these toys often last longer and come in handy when trying to teach your child new life skills. 

Learning Resources have a wealth of educational toys available at the click of a button and a lot of these toys are so fun the kids won't even know they're learning! Read on to see my top picks and hopefully they give you some nice inspiration for Christmas Gift ideas. 


Mental Blox Go
This critical thinking game is the perfect travel companion for holidays and long car journeys. Not only does Mental Blox Go encourage problem solving skills but it comes with a multicultural game & puzzle instruction book featuring 10 extra ways to play so kids will never get bored. The three-piece storage case features removable challenge tray and contains 20 puzzle pieces. Inside there are 20 double-sided puzzle cards, 16 puzzle pieces in four shapes, colours and patterns and all pieces store easily inside the case for easy pack up and play. Games which can be played from this set include; Shapes Sudoku (10 puzzles) – for 1 player, Memory Match – for 2 players, Slide & Solve – for 2 players, Piece by Piece – for 1 - 2 players, Swap 2 – for 1 -2 players, Attribute 3s – for 2 players, Spot the Blox! What's Missing? – for 3+ players, Spot the Blox! What's New? – for 3+ players, 4 x 4 Chess – for 2 players and Tower of 4 – for 2 players. There's also multilingual packaging available. All in all a great fun educational game aimed at ages 5-9 years and retailing for £16.50. An excellent gift to give this Christmas. 

GeoSafari SeaScope
One for the explorers and adventurers out there this GeoSafari SeaScope helps you to discover a hidden underwater natural world without getting wet! GeoSafari SeaScope lets you see into streams, ponds, lakes and rock pools thanks to the 5x magnification and built-in LED torch that illuminates what’s going on below the surface. This sturdy exploration tool features a ruler and thermometer so kids can record observations about what they find. GeoSafari SeaScope is a real working scientific tool which develops observation skills and promotes STEM learning. This scope measures at 33cm length compact and extends to 56cm. It requires 3 AAA batteries which aren't included and retails for £34.50. I honestly think this is an amazing piece of kit and one which I would have loved as a child. If you're like us and are always by the sea, rivers and ponds then this is a fantastic gift to give your child. Highly recommend. 

Time Activity Set
I'm definitely more of a hands on learning and my daughter seems to learn the same way. Telling the time can be hard for some kids so to actually have a clock and suitable resources to hand for learning this skill is super helpful. This Time Activity Set isn't really a game as such but it'll be really good for helping with the hands on learning of telling the time. Included in this pack are; 3 time dice (two hour and one minute) to illustrate digital time, 24 double-sided analogue and digital puzzle cards to help visualise the relationship between digital and analogue displays, 12 double-sided, wipe-clean daily activity cards to encourage a link between time and everyday activities, Plastic clock with moveable hands (measures 13cm H). Hours and minutes are colour-coded for easy identification and a Wipe-clean clock. There is also multilingual packaging and comprehensive teaching guide. So if your little one can use some extra help with time telling then this is the set for them. Retails at £16.00.

Kanoodle Duplexity
A great game for older kids Kanoodle Duplexity is a brain-bending puzzle game for 8 year olds and up that’s ideal for developing critical thinking, problem-solving and spatial reasoning skills through scree-free play. These 200 logic puzzles have been designed to put brain power to the test! Simply select a challenge card, place it in the case and play! Included in this game there are 200 puzzles (100 double-sided puzzle cards), 28 two-colour magnetic pieces, a carry case and multilingual instructions. Challenges increase in difficulty as you work through them from 1 – 200 and the carry case features magnetic surfaces and carry handle for on-the-go fun. This is a single player game so great to take on your travels as well. Retailing at £21.00 it's definitely something different for older kids to enjoy.

BrainBolt
It’s time for the ultimate memory test with BrainBolt. Challenge your brain by memorising the light sequence and following along for as long as you can without breaking the pattern. Sound too easy but honestly it isn't and this game keeps you hooked as you always want to beat your last try and win. Aimed at ages 7-11 years this electronic brain challenge helps develop memory skills and visual scanning. Engage your brain by remembering the light sequence and following along for as long as you can without breaking the pattern. It's perfect for solo play, two-player mode, timed mode for quicker games, and advanced mode for expert players. BrainBolt comes with 3 AAA batteries installed for instant game action and retails for £20.50. Highly recommend this game, loads of family fun and it never gets old. 

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


2 November 2021

Campervan Adventure on the Isle of Skye

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During the Summer holidays the family and I decided to hire our very first campervan and do a little tour round the Isle of Skye. We've done plenty of staycations up and down the country but nothing quite like this before. There would be 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs all in the camper so I knew I had to be prepared and pack light but essential items that we would be using daily. It was a challenge but I really think I nailed it.

I hired our campervan for 4 nights (Sunday to Thursday) from the lovely Carry On Camping Scotia Ltd in Edinburgh. They weren't far from us and it took 30 minutes from Fife to travel through to collect the camper. The easiest thing for us to do was drive through with 1 car and 2 drivers so we could collect the camper and bring it home plus bring our car home as well since it wasn't far. After a demonstration of everything in the camper we headed home to pack her up. 

I had been packing on and off during the day before collecting the campervan so it took me about an hour to load it up. I bought packing pods from Amazon to keep our clothes in. These were brilliant and I would highly recommend them. I took things like toiletries (remember the smidge spray!), camping chairs, essential food items as there's a small fridge in the camper, sensible shoes/boots, pillows, sleeping bags, jackets, all the dogs stuff, charges for mobiles/ipads and some games to keep the kids occupied. It really is worth having a think and packing light if you can so you have optimum space inside your camper.

When everyone was ready we hit the road and headed for Fort William. This would be our first stop on our trip. We left our home around 4pm ish and booked into the Ben Nevis Holiday Park arriving at 8pm ish after a few stops to admire the mountains on the way. I should say I had planned an itinerary a month or so before our actual trip and had booked several campsite so I could secure electric hook up pitches although the camper does have an extra battery which makes it suitable for wild camping. Most locals prefer you to use campsites and help out local businesses though so be aware of this. 

Our first night in the camper was quite fun. The kids were full of beans and wouldn't stop annoying each other though! And if you shout the whole campsite can hear you ha ha. We got there in the end and it wasn't too hard getting everyone sorted for bedtime, we were quite tired so everyone thankfully went to sleep quickly.

Monday morning and our plan was as follows;

Monday
10:00 (Before 12:00) - Check out of Ben Nevis Holiday Park and head towards Isle of Skye.
11:30 – Stop at/near Eilean Donan Castle.
12:00 – Stop at Manuela’s Wee Bakery for cakes/snacks and toilet break.
13:30 – Stop at Kylerhea Otter Haven Car Park, walk to see the Otters.
17:30 – Stop at Skyeskyns Café for refreshments/ toilet break.
18:30 – Visit the Old Man of Storr
19:30 – Check in to Staffin Caravan & Camping Site for the night.


All the timings were a guide and just so we kept moving and didn't lose track of time. Some things like stopping at Skyeskyns Cafe we never managed but we took each day as it came and just went with it. The views of Eilean Donan Castle were lovely, they unfortunately don't allow dogs round the castle so we never went in. There was a little food truck selling treats and drinks right beside the car park so we stopped to take some photos for a minute. Manuela's Wee Bakery is very cute but limited parking (only about 4 spaces) and it's down a side street where people's houses are. They had tasty snacks and drink and we even bought their own gin. Good thing is they have a toilet which is always handy on campervan trips. The Otter Haven is a nice wee walk and there's a chance of spotting dolphins/whales etc too. We saw plenty of seals but no otters sadly. We did hear some dolphins/whales but just couldn't spot them quick enough. The Old Man of Storr is quite a walk, we never managed right up as it was getting cooler and there were a swarm of midges so we walked up a little bit then turned back to head to the campsite. Highly recommend Staffin Caravan & Camping Site, people were lovely and helpful and the site is small, very tidy and toilets/showers were lovely. 


Tuesday was another day and our plans were;

Tuesday
10:00 (Before 12:00) – Check out of Staffin Caravan & Camping Site.
10:05 – Stop at An Corran Beach, 5 minutes from the campsite.
11:30 – Stop at The Fairy Glen (30 minutes from An Corran Beach).
12:30 – Stop at The Galley Café & Takeaway for food/toilet stop (5 minutes from The Fairy Glen).
14:00 – Stop at Claigan Coral Beach Car Park (45 minutes from the café).
16:30 – Stop at Neist Point Lighthouse (40 minutes from Coral Beach).
17:30 – Head to Glenbrittle Campsite & Café for the night, 1hr away from the lighthouse (no pre booking allowed, just turn up).

Our camper wouldn't start on Tuesday morning but luckily the lovely man from Staffin gave us a jump start. Couldn't thank him enough and after that our camper was fine. I must have pressed the wrong switch and drained the car battery by mistake, whoops! We headed to An Corran Beach which is famous for its dinosaur footprints. Luckily the dinosaur footprints are pretty easy to spot when you start looking and they're close to where you park so no mad trek searching for them. The kids loved this and honestly it was fascinating to see. After this we popped along to the Fairy Glen for a walk and nose around. It was actually really lush with greenery and great for kids to explore. Lots of places to hide and climb and take in the views. We then stopped by the Galley Cafe for some food and a toilet stop. Really recommend this cafe as it has some delicious seafood on offer. Coral Beach was our next top and it didn't disappoint. On a sunny day it really is a fabulous please although a word of warning to get there. It's a single track road with very few passing places and a tiny long thin car park that you cannot turn your car around in. You have to be good at reversing and there's no way a motorhome will fit or be able to reverse sadly. It's also a good walk to reach this beach so if you have young kids be prepared to maybe carry them. We decided to bypass the Lighthouse stop and go straight to Glenbrittle Campsite since it's first come first served for pitches, you cannot book in advance. Luckily we secured the last EHU pitch with a beautiful view. 

It was soon Wednesday and our plans looked like this;

Wednesday
10:00 – Check out of Glenbrittle Campsite & Café.
10:10 – Stop at the Fairy Pools (10 minutes from the campsite).
12:00 – Stop at Talisker Bay (20 minutes from fairy pools).
13:30 – Stop at The Old Inn & Waterfront Bunkhouse food/toilet stop. Dog friendly. (15 minutes from the bay).
15:00 – Travel back to Ben Nevis Holiday Park for the night (2.5hrs away from skye).
17:30 – Check into Ben Nevis Holiday Park.


Wednesday turned out to be a complete change of plans. I completely scraped everything on the list and we just went with the flow. Harlow loved the beach at Glenbrittle Campsite as there was lots of fish and shrimp to catch in the water so we spent the morning doing that. When it was time to check out of the campsite we basically just headed for the closest cafe for lunch before hitting the road and heading for Fort William. It was more of a relaxing day but the kids didn't mind and neither did us adults. 


On Thursday, after spending the night at Ben Nevis Holiday Park, we packed up early and zoomed down the road to unpack the campervan and hand it back to the lovely Carry On Camping Scotia Ltd in Edinburgh. It was a lovely trip and something totally different. I think the next time we hire a camper we'll maybe try it just us adults and see how we get on. It's definitely a busy holiday and not a relaxing one but the different places you visit and the sights are just beautiful and 100% worth it. 

 

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