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Friday, 19 December 2014

My Favourite Christmas Movies!

One of the best things about this time of year is, without doubt, settling down on the sofa in your PJs with a Hot Chocolate to watch Christmas Movies!

As with everything Christmas-related, I get so excited about the festive film offerings and I have a list of firm favourites that I watch every year without fail!

And I'm not ashamed to admit that I cry during every single one....

Infact, lets play a little game! I'm going to tell you all my favourite Christmas movies and at exactly which point I first start to cry...let's see if any of you cry before me?!

Santa Claus The Movie



This is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE Christmas movie - not to be confused with Tim Allen's The Santa Clause!!!

Santa Claus The Movie is a very cheesy, pretty dated movie from the 80s which means a lot of people don't enjoy it thanks to the outdated special effects and cringey soundtrack - but these are the reasons I love it!

It reminds me so much of Christmases from my childhood, I love how cheesy it is, and to me the Santa in this movie is the most realistic Santa there ever was!!!

I watch this movie EVERY Christmas Eve without fail!!!

Where I cry: When the roof opens up at Santa's workshop on Christmas Eve ready for him to fly off and the snow starts to fall through....



Elf


One of the best Christmas movies of all time and certainly the best recent one in my opinion!

Buddy The Elf is a guy after my own heart with his love for Christmas, and his quotes are just fantastic - "Smiling Is My Favourite"...."Buddy The Elf, What's Your Favourite Colour?!"...they just keep coming! 

And as a big Zooey Deschanel/ She & Him fan, I love getting to hear her crooning Christmas tunes throughout too!

Where I cry: When Santa's sleigh flies over the head of Buddy's disbelieving Dad

Home Alone & Home Alone 2



It just isn't Christmas until I've seen Kevin grab his face and scream!

I've watched these movies in the run up to Christmas every year since I was a kid, and it signifies the start of the Christmas season to me as I always watch them first out of my Christmas DVD collection!

Where I cry: Home Alone 1 - when the old man wishes Kevin merry Christmas at the church watching the choir
Home Alone 2 - when Kevin talks to the bird lady about her past in the concert hall

Scrooged



This is another one I usually watch pretty early on in the Christmas build up as it's not overly festive and does have some darker/slightly depressing moments so not ideal for Christmas Eve viewing - but nonetheless its hilarious and Bill Murray is always worth a watch!

A definite classic!

Where I cry: When the homeless man dies :(

Miracle On 34th Street



This film is just about as charming and magical as they come - for me it's one of the few occasions where a remake of a movie has exceeded the original, it has to be the 90s version with cute lispy little Mara Wilson and Adorable Santa Richard Attenborough everytime!

I can't help but feel that it will be a little sad to watch this year as its the first Christmas since the wonderful Sir Richard sadly died, but he'll certainly live on as Santa in this house for many years to come - WE BELIEVE!!!!

Where I cry: When Santa sits the deaf girl on his lap and starts to talk to her in sign language...

As well as all of these classics, there are SO many Christmas movies that even I - the Christmas Film Fanatic! - have yet to see and I am SO excited to work my way through the ones on offer from Netflix this year!

Take a look at the selection below:

Santa Baby 2 and Christmas Angel will definitely be on my Watch List!

I`ve already seen All I Want For Christmas and I really enjoyed it! 

There are plenty of tv comedy series Christmas Specials available too! Netflix has Christmas viewing totally covered!

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Household budgeting for 2015!

With the new year aproaching it's a great time to start thinking about your household budget and ways you could better organise your finances in 2015 - with a new baby on the way, this is certainly something I myself have been doing.

I admit that I am not the most thrifty of people, I never count the pennies and I happily hand over my debit card whenever I see something I like the look of in a store - I have very little willpower when it comes to spending.

But I'm sensible in other ways - I regularly use comparison sites to check where I could be saving money on bills, I keep an eye on offers when it comes to grocery shopping and I make sure I keep a detailed document showing our outgoings each month to ensure that every cost is covered.

Here are a few tips if you're hoping to focus more on household budgeting in 2015:

1) The first step for me is to look at your bank statements over the past few months - get an idea of how much money is coming in and how much is going out, and where exactly it's going to. This can immediately highlight some problem areas that you can aim to improve upon. 
In particular, pay attention to unnecessary payments going out - this is where you need to focus on having more restraint.
If you find yourself spending a lot on impulse purchases during the weekly shop for instance, perhaps its time to consider switching to online shopping to reduce the temptation.
If you spend a lot on snacks at work, start making an effort to take your own with you....and so on.

2) Next look at the largest payments you make regularly each month - your standing orders/bills. Use comparison sites to see if there's anywhere you could be saving money by switching supplier, if you've been a customer for a while it may be worth calling the company and questioning the tariff you're on - sometimes they can offer certain reductions to long standing customers.

3)Be sure to check your government entitlements. There are certain benefits and reduction schemes you may not even be aware that you are entitled to, and every little helps. It's not just standard benefits that can save you money either - when I worked for a water company there were schemes in place to save people with certain skin conditions money but they HAD to ask to be put on to the scheme first and we were not allowed to inform them of the scheme unless they asked - know your entitlements and ask the right questions!

4) If you're currently renting but considering buying instead, check whether it would be cheaper for you using TSB's online mortgage calculator

5) Forecast the years expenses ahead and budget for them - make a list of all birthdays, factor in Christmas gifts and more expensive gas/electric prices in winter and budget for them throughout the year.

6) Use online budget and cutback calculators to check where you can save money

I hope these little tips can help, and fingers crossed for a more frugal 2015 for us all!

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Hudl2 Review and our first weekly family vlog!

Keeping up with blogging, being a mum, carrying a new baby and trying to start a YouTube channel all at the same time can be pretty hard going....so any tool I can get my hands on to make life a little easier is something I definitely want to know about.

Sadly for me, I've yet to be offered any PA services - but I was recently given the opportunity to try out a pretty nifty tablet which A)Allows me to blog more freely (I usually write my blogposts on my desktop which isn't always possible with a toddler in the room....tablets are ever so handy as I can sneak into the bathroom for 5 minutes to do a bit of work!) and B) Allows me to film on the go and upload directly from it.

Introducing the Hudl2 from Tesco!



Features include:

*8.3" HD touch screen
*Dolby optimised sound
*Intel Atom Quadcore processor
*2GB of RAM
*8 Hours of battery life
*5 Pixel rear camera
*Built in wifi

I also love the fact that it comes in an array of funky colours - ours is the purple one and I love how much it stands out from other tablets!

The Hudl 2's screen appears sharp and detailed with clean whites, and makes it feel like a much more expensive tablet.

The tablet is just lovely to hold, with soft-touch plastic wrapping round the rear and sides. 

I find it so easy to operate, and incredibly user-friendly - I gave it to my Dad to try out, which is the ultimate test as he is possibly the least tech-savvy person around, and he was on fire! He was zooming around various apps and webpages like a pro within minutes, which really goes to show how easy it is to get familiar with quickly.

The photo quality admittedly leaves a little to be desired, but I don't find that to be all that important on a tablet personally - and I did find it perfectly acceptable to film with - obviously it doesn't equal a dedicated camera but it certainly does the job well enough.

Infact, I filmed all the home scenes in the below video using the camera on the Hudl2 - so take a look at the quality for yourself!



I honestly think that the value for money with this tablet is unbeatable - it costs just £129!

To find out more about the Hudl2, please click here

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Beautiful Baby Boy Style with Emil Et Rose


Ever since I first found out I was having a baby boy, I have been on a one-woman mission to prove that little gents can be just as stylish and fun to dress as little girls.

I have to admit that my first thought was of regret at not having the opportunity to buy all of the tutus and frills I so adore seeing on girls (thinking about it, it's probably a good thing that I don't have a daughter as I imagine I would have her dressed in some kind of pink frou frou nightmare constantly!) - but I soon discovered that boys clothes can be just as adorable.

In fact, because it's more challenging to find beautiful and stylish clothing for boys than it is for girls (I challenge anybody NOT to dress a girl well with so much fantastic choice available in every supermarket and high street store!) I find it more rewarding to dress my son well - a little extra effort has to be made to find stunning outfits so when I find them, I feel pretty proud of myself!

One of the first brands I discovered early on in my pregnancy with Tyne was Emil Et Rose - I fell completely in love with their classic style and bought so many adorable baby outfits from their range.

Whenever there has been a special occasion coming up, I have always turned to Emil Et Rose - he wore one of their outfits for his birthday celebrations and for his cousins christening - so why should Christmas be any different?!

When we were recently given the chance to take a look at an outfit from the winter range, we were delighted and I was absolutely in my element browsing through the collection.

I have spotted SO many adorable outfits that Baby Boy Number 2 absolutely HAS to have!

So, what did I choose for Tyne?

I love to see Tyne wearing smart, classic clothing so I opted for the 3 Piece Knit Tank Top, shirt and mini rob woven trouser set (£63.50)


I absolutely adore the grey and navy colour combination, the tank top is made from incredibly soft 100% cotton and the quality is frankly exceptional. The ribbed detailing on the collar and waist line is beautiful, and the long sleeved white shirt and navy trousers make it the perfect little outfit.

I paired this with the adorable Grey woven mini-rib Baker Boy hat (£11.50) and I think it finishes this smart look off perfectly.

We also chose a coat to compliment the outfit and complete this stunning winter look - we went for the Wadded Microfibre Jacket in Navy (£44.75) - this again is very high quality and will certainly Tyne warm and snug through the winter, it comes with detachable mittens which I find a real plus and also has a fully detachable hood.


We ordered all of the items in size 23 months, as Tyne is currently 20 months old and the size below is 18 months.

All of the items are quite large on Tyne so I would say the sizing is quite generous, but this is ideal for over the winter as no doubt he will grow plenty!

I think this outfit is absolutely gorgeous, and I love seeing Tyne looking so smart - I would not hesitate to continue shopping with Emil Et Rose for him and his soon-to-be baby brother as I have done all along, and highly recommend them for your own children or gift giving for others - I cannot think of a baby gift I'd rather receive!




To see more of the collection, please visit Emil Et Rose


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Monday, 15 December 2014

Little Tikes Bath Toys - Review

We were recently sent some bath toys from Little Tikes to try out with Tyne.

We were really excited to give them a go as bath time is Tyne's favourite time of day but, ever since he was tiny, he has been a little obsessed with splashing as much as possible - meaning that myself and the entire bathroom end up drenched! Lots of fun for him, not so fun for me!

I hoped that some new bath toys might distract him from his splash obsession!

We had a few bath toys already and he enjoys using bath crayons, but the Little Tikes toys are a lot more exciting! Tyne was intrigued as soon as he saw the boxes.

We were sent:





Suitable for ages 15 months - 3 years, this cute turtle attaches to the wall and acts as storage for the instruments in the set - which include a whale whistle, a blowfish maraca, starfish tambourine, clam castanets and the turtle itself which doubles up as a drum! 



and Bathketball - £9.99

Suitable for ages 6 months - 3 years, this set includes a basketball net that attaches to the wall and 3 balls. 



Tyne struggles a little at the moment with the Bathketball game as, being so young, his aim isn't great and he's a long way off shooting any hoops just yet! I do find the set slightly flawed in that the net is supposed to pull closed at the bottom to store the balls but never seems to actually hold them - however for the price of the set, I can't complain too much and certainly think its great value for money.

 I would personally recommend this for slightly older children who are more capable of playing the game, and of understanding instructions as Tyne often tries to stand up to retrieve the balls which can be dangerous in the bath - obviously an older child would understand not to do this. 



The seaside bath band was definitely the biggest hit with Tyne - there is plenty there to keep him interested, and he particularly enjoys the starfish tambourine and whale whistle - he likes to play with them as toys as well as use them as musical instruments.

He loves the little faces on all of the instruments, and enjoys packing the instruments back in to the turtle at the end of bath time - this is slightly more expensive but I personally think you get a lot more out of it, and I can see it being a toy that is used and enjoyed for a long time.

We filmed a little video showing Tyne having a play with his bath toys so you can see them in action for yourself!




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