Friday, 19 December 2014

For the love of Scotland (Travelodge giveaway)

Many of my friends (and maybe some of my regular readers) will know how much I love The Highlands of Scotland. I'm sure I must have mentioned it a few times and I have hundreds of photos. Pre-children The Highlands was a great place to visit for a relaxing holiday but there's no such thing as a relaxing holiday now, is there?... Though I'm sure we will visit again at some point when the children are a little older.

Nowadays with an active inquisitive toddler in tow, then we need to head for destinations with plenty to do & see. Another more vibrant place I have always wanted to visit in Scotland is Edinburgh. We have only really done one city break and that was London. We were nearby to Edinburgh a few years ago and were going to have a little day trip there but we never got the chance, though I think at least a weekend of it is needed really with so much to do; Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, The Royal Mile, Royal Botanic Garden, art galleries.. I could go on! We would probably stay in a Travelodge hotel which are great for families.

All of the above would be on our must-do list as everywhere we go I have to visit a castle - I love them, and the history behind them is a great educator for the boys. J loves animals and could spend all day going back & forth so the zoo is a must. I love floral (and nature) photography so again, the Botanic Garden is a must, plus I could still get a little bit of relaxation then. Oh, and I could probably burn off enough calories with walking to fit in some yummy food too! Though when we do manage to fit in a visit, I must remember my posh camera and plenty of batteries!

If this has whet your appetite and you fancy a night away then I am so happy to be able to offer you the chance to win an overnight stay at a Travelodge of your choice! Just complete the Rafflecopter below and cross everything - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & conditions
Open to UK residents 18 & over.
Entries must be received by 11.59 pm on 01/01/2015.
The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter/ when the giveaway has ended and will be sent an email informing them they have won.
The winner has 28 days to respond to the email or a new winner will be drawn.
I will pass your details over to the PR who will then contact you.
-              1 night at a Travelodge of your choice
-              Maximum of 4 people ( unless it’s a family of 4+)
-              Not redeemable between the 15th Dec – 5th January
-              Rooms are subject to availability

-              Must redeem the prize within 6 months of winning.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Portable North Pole 2014 - #IBelievePNP

Last year was the first year in which we used the Portable North Pole and though J wasn't really too aware of Santa last year, he was absolutely mesmerised by it so I couldn't wait to do it again this year now he is much more aware. And of course, it is N's first year; though he's not at all aware of Santa but it's lovely for them to both have one and start the tradition with him.

The video is really easy to create and literally takes just a few minutes to input all the information to truly personalise it for each child. I created a premium video in which you can choose from 3 different story lines and includes 5 photo uploads and is 5 minutes long. With your child's photo, age and location the child is shown their own file and you can even input friends or family names so they can see their book among those. You are able to choose whether your child is on the nice or naughty list, or whether they have a bit of extra time to make it all the way onto the nice list by Christmas Eve! There are many options to choose from for what your child has been asked to do this year - for J it was being nice to his brother, though with N being a baby there wasn't really a suitable option so I chose this for him too. There are also many options to choose from for the photo categories, such as holidays, achievements, birthdays, awards, new family addition, favourite animals; so if you have more than one child you really can make them completely different.

J was really excited to see his - all of the way through he was saying "Santa Claus!" and he had so much concentration on it. For his age I still wasn't expecting him to be so entranced but he really was captivated by it. N didn't really know what was happening watching his and I think J enjoyed it more, but N is only 9 months; he was still concentrating on it though and had a couple of giggles!

You can create a basic video free of charge and a premium one is £2.99; you can also purchase bundles so you can also have a phone call, make a video for more than one child, etc. so no matter your budget, you can still create a magic part of Christmas.

Check out the code below to get 20% off your video!

Our rating - 4.5/5

We were sent a promo code in order to purchase our videos, but all thoughts & opinions are honest & our own.

*Check out this infographic about Santa believers!*

Elf on the Shelf adventures (days 9-16)

This week hasn't really been planned as much as last week was as we've both just been way too tired so it's been a kind of "Ooh, let's put him somewhere quick before we go to bed!" kind of week. Nonetheless, J has still enjoyed finding him and he's just embarked on his final week here before heading back to the North Pole until next year.

Here's what Buddy got up to this week...

Day 9
Buddy got caught in the card holder and it took a while for J to spot him!

Day 10
Buddy decided to catch a lift in the digger!

Day 11
Buddy was caught playing naughty games on Daddy's Xbox!

Day 12
Buddy got himself stuck inside the lego box! It took J a while to spot him today too.

Day 13
Buddy decided the wreath was a good place to sit. Neither hubby nor J spotted him for a long time!

Day 14
Buddy brought some paint & supplies to decorate the salt dough we made last week.

Day 15
Santa & Chris-moose came from the North Pole to have a picnic breakfast. J was so cute and even got them a drink from his kitchen then sat and joined them.

Day 16
This was one of 'those' evenings and Buddy, Santa & Chris-moose had a boogie in front of the Christmas tree..

Join us again next week for Buddy's final week of adventures before heading back to the North Pole!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Silica Lodge Winter Wonderland & Santa Visit

Last Friday we had our annual Santa visit, which also turned out to be N's first of many - I hope! There are two great Santa's nearby but we decided to visit the one at Silica Lodge Garden Centre as we really enjoyed it last year and it looked much more magical this year. I'm not sure who was more excited to be honest! J wasn't really too fussed last year as he wasn't really aware of who Santa was, but he is a lot more so this year and so he kept saying "Going Santa's house" before we went.

The garden centre also has reindeer there up until Christmas so it was a great chance for J to see Rudolph in real life. Though they also had donkeys and pygmy goats there which he was mesmerised with - he does love watching animals in general though.

I'm glad we chose to go on a weekday rather than at a weekend as we were able to go in pretty much straight away and there was no queue. The visit to Santa starts with an enchanted train ride through a magical winter wonderland; past deer, Eskimos, polar bears, Santa himself, the elves, and we even encountered some snow! J didn't want to go near Santa at first - I think he was a bit surprised at seeing him in the flesh! - but he eventually spoke to him after some encouragement from me. He told him he wanted dinosaurs for Christmas, and that Noah just wanted a present, bless him. Once we had seen Santa, we got to visit Santa's toy shop where the boys could choose their own present. there was a great selection to choose from and J chose a clockwork train set, whilst we chose a 'my first camera' for N.

Before leaving we visited the animals again and had some photos taken on Santa's sleigh, out of which J decided he wanted to try and steal a 'present'! We put it back of course...

For £6.50 I think it is a very reasonable price as J absolutely loved it and wanted to go on the train ride again. I'm just wondering if they can beat it again next year!

I paid for this myself and wasn't asked to write this review, I just wanted to share our experience!

Family Fever
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