The Not so Secret Santa

Some of my lovely blogging friends decided to get together to do a festive not so secret Santa, what a great idea. Its difficult buying for a new friend is it, but as we all have blogging in common I decided that my gift would be at least a little blog related.

Before I get on to that I wanted to write a little about the wonderful ladies I have met along the way. I have met some truly lovely and generous people since I started blogging in February. And now chat to a community of wonderful people who offer me advice a tips.

I have said this before, but I never ever envisaged making true friends through my blog. Yet here I am 10 months later with a group of wonderful friends most of who I got to meet in November, and do you know what? We got on like a house on fire. I suppose that was inevitable, we have the love of blogging in common.

I would like to say a huge thank-you to all these lovely ladies for picking me up when my blog breaks, or I am exhausted from working, being a Mum and blogging till midnight. I am so glad I found you all.

Drum Roll for some of my new-found blogging friends. Check them out they are fantastic. The lovely;

Kat,  Jess, RachelJuliaKarenKarenLucyHayleyStephBonitaKatieAmyKatieHeledd

And last but no means least the lovely Jenna who I exchanged gifts with. We had a budget of £6.00.to choose a gift for each other.

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Christmas in Catalonia, Tió de Nadal

It’s amazing how we live in our own little bubble isn’t it? Not knowing about other cultures and traditions. So when I got the opportunity to write about Christmas traditions from another country I immediately chose Spain.

Why? One of my closest friends has a second home in Spain, so often spends Christmas or the New Year out there. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to find out a little more about the history and culture of this wonderful country.

I have chosen the tradition; Tió de Nadal.

Tió de Nadal it is a Catalan tradition, in English it translates to the Christmas log (or the pooping log). When I first read about this I found it very odd, but the more I have read about this cute little log, the more it  has grown on me.

The Tió de Nadal is decorated on the 8th December, the day of the Immaculate Conception. It used to just be a hollow log but over the years and has evolved to have 2 front legs and a cute smiling face.

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So, I hear you ask; what is it, why have a log with a face?  From the 8th December Catalan families feed and care for the log, they also cover it with a blanket to keep cozy and warm. Then on Christmas Eve children sing songs and hit it with a stick, a bit like a piñata although they do not intend to break the log, just encourage it to bear gifts.

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The Ghosts of Christmas Presents Past

Now before you read this, I am not an ungrateful person AT ALL, I just don’t get how people struggle buying for me.  However despite this Chris has made some EPIC mistakes over the years when buying gifts. After 22 years together he is getting better. So I thought I would share all the things I love in life, things that would make me so happy to receive as gifts.

Yes I do have expensive taste but the problems is when people buy gifts they want it to look big, however I would appreciate one l’occitane item as I appreciate the brand and it feels like a treat.

So here is my perfect pressies list, you might want to take a seat; it may take a while

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 20.27.28Champagne Pink or White, I am not fussy

Any Mulberry item

Any Tiffany Item

Any l’occitane item but I do love Verbena, just a hand cream or wash would be lovely

Any Jo Malone item and I mean ANY I love,love,love it

Turkish Delight

Yankee Candles

Nice notebooks, I love stationary

Estee’ Lauder blockbuster Christmas set, I would have this ever year.

Theatre tickets, any show, I love the theatre, I have been hinting at the Phantom of the Opera and Oliver for blooming years, will he ever get the hint, I doubt it.

Hotel stay

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Portable North Pole

This week I got the opportunity to test the premium version of Portable North Pole. We have used the free version before, but never tried the premium version and I must say it is fantastic.

pnp2014_imgPromo_highres_pereNoel_v1So what is it? Well if you haven’t heard of it before and have children you have been missing out. Portable North Pole is a video link to the North Pole, where Santa sends a personalised video to your child. I never forget the first time Joe received one of these videos his little face lit up, he was thrilled.

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It has several options to choose from.

Classic video, this is 3 minutes long, this offers only one story option, no mobile sync and 2 photo uploads (Free)

Premium video, is 5 minutes long, which includes a choice of three story lines, five photos and mobile sync and exclusive footage of Santa’s Village (£2.99)

Holiday pass , unlimited calls and videos from Santa, and a special Christmas Eve video message,and exclusive footage of Santa’s Village. Perfect for large families and mobile Sync (£7.49)

Jingle Bells Bundle,which has a call fromSanta and the Premium Video. (£3.99)

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The Mumsnet Preview of Annie

I can honestly say I have never ever been as excited about seeing a film in my life. The original Annie came out in 1982 when I was only 10 years old, and I absolutely loved it. At the time it was the modern-day fairy tale, and every time is has been on T.V ever since I have watched it. I love the story the songs, the romance of it all.

So when I got the opportunity to attend the Mumsnet preview of the all-new Annie at the Odeon Cinema at The Manchester Printworks, I was beside myself. All week I have been just like a child, giddy with anticipation.

aaaaaIt’s difficult watching a remake of an old favourite isn’t it? What if you are disappointed, what if you hate it? But within 5 minutes I knew I loved, loved, loved it, and felt tearful when Annie sang maybe. I bet you are all thinking, “She needs to get out more” But anyone who loved Annie in 1982 will know exactly what I mean.

The cast is pure genius, Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan, Jamie Fox as Will Stacks and Quvenzhané Wallis is amazing as Annie.  The whole cast is fantastic which makes the film so real. What I just don’t get is how they managed to make Annie better? Although I was so excited to see the film I didn’t think it could ever be better than the original, yet it was. The new Annie is much more urban and cool. Continue reading →

Spinningfields Ice Rink

Last Sunday we visited Spinningfields Ice Rink for a spot of skating. Now I just love Ice skating so was very excited, I do fancy myself as a bit of a pro ha ha. Well, I say pro I can go quite fast but if I am really honest I can’t stop, which I suppose is a bit of an issue.

IMG_4806Chris on the other hand is completely rubbish, he says he is not but get him on ice and he turns into Bambi. And when he does find his feet a child whizzes past him and he collapses in a heap on the ice. Continue reading →

The Mighty Midland Q

Last Saturday as part of our Q Hotel ambassadorship duties we were lucky enough to stay at The Midland Hotel Manchester.  This was our first visit to Q so we were excited but nervous about the task ahead. Now I would imagine the Midland is one of the most grown up hotels of the Q family, It first opened its doors in September 1903 and is every bit as grand now as it was back then.

On first impressions the atmosphere in the reception area was just amazing. It was very grand with a huge tree and with a pianist playing festive tunes, It felt very special.

PicMonkey Collagemidland3Check-in was easy, there was plenty of reception staff available and although it was busy, we did not feel we had to wait or were at all rushed during the checking in process. Alex, the Lady that checked us into our room was efficient and very helpful.

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The Festive Studio, Christmas Eve Box

I just had to share this amazing Christmas Eve Box by The Festive Studio. I met Ben by accident at the Clothes Show Live this week, and just fell in love with these cute little boxes.

If you read my post about Peter the Elf last week you will know Elf culture is a huge part of our Christmas family traditions. This lovely little box fits in just perfectly.

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On Christmas Eve if we have made it on to the nice list, Peter the Elf leaves us a new pair of pj’s and some reindeer dust. The Christmas Pack takes it one step further, and is just so so cute.

You can buy all the components of the set separately but at £11.99 it is great value.

In each pack you will receive;

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