My Mummy's World

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Elf On The Shelf® A Beginners Guide

The Elf On The Shelf® A Beginners Guide

Theres just 5 weeks left until Christmas now, how scary? So I'm continuing my theme of Christmas this week with the famous elf, The Elf On The Shelf®.
Last year I intended to begin this tradition with Jack, however with everything else that happened at the end of last year it was difficult to find the time to do it and before I knew it we were half way through December. However this year I'm determined to do it and I'm prepared ready with our adopted elf. I'm excited to start this fun and magical tradition with Jack and Isla. I know Jack will have so much fun trying to find our elf and seeing what he has been upto. 
However I often see lots of people asking about The Elf On The Shelf® and what all the fuss is about, and I've already seen it this year so I thought I'd write a little post answering the most common questions. 

What is The Elf On The Shelf® all about?
The Elf On The Shelf® quite simply is an elf sent from the North Pole which watches you; each night the elf reports back to Santa Claus in the North Pole about the activities from the day to help make the decision about the naughty and nice list. When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the magic is received by the elf meaning he can report back to Santa. Each morning the elf returns to the family and sits within a different place to watch the days fun. The Elf On The Shelf:A Christmas Tradition is the rhyming story explaining the story of the scout elves and their job. The story explains how an elf's magic disappears if he is touched. Originally starting in America with the elves arriving after Thanksgiving, here in the UK most people start at the beginning of Advent, which is when we shall begin.

Are there any rules to follow?
Not really, the world's your oyster so to speak. There's just two simple rules that every child knows, or can be reiterated from the book. 
Firstly, a scout elf cannot be touched. The scout elf comes from the North Pole and gets it's magic when you adopt him or her and the magic of Christmas is very fragile. If you touch the scout elf the magic may be lost making it impossible for the elf to fly back. 
Secondly, a scout elf cannot speak or move whilst anyone in the house is awake. This is why a scout elf's magic always happens on an evening. A scout elf's job is simply to listen and watch. 
A scout elf should also never be depicted as naughty and showing mischievous behavior. The scout elves' behavior should promote family fun to re-literate nice list behavior. 

Where can I adopt an Elf from?
The official The Elf On The Shelf® adoption centre can be found here where you can adopt your own elf. You can also adopt an elf from many other Santa-Approved stores including Amazon.  There are also clothing items in which you can get to keep your elf warm during the winter seasons and make them unique, although they are used to the cold of the North Pole. Many other stores have now caught onto the tradition and are selling there own versions of the elf, although the original comes with the story to help create the magic. 

Do I have to participate everyday?
Of course not, The Elf On The Shelf® is a fun activity and shouldn't be seen as a chore otherwise it will loose magic. You can start the elf whenever suits your family and if it suits you to only participate in weekends that's fine too. Sometimes elves have to go away during the week to elf school or to help make presents ready for the festivities. You could also begin the week before Christmas when the schedule isn't as busy. 

What if my elf forgets?
Thats okay too, your elf can fly back to the North Pole and move position whilst your child is at school or nursery and your at work or out for the day. Providing no-one is in the house awake, the magic is endless. 

What about when it's time for my elf to leave?
Our elf will be bringing a welcome letter to explain and in there it will say how long he is staying for. Your elf may also leave a note at the end of their stay explaining about the exciting time they have had but they are going back to see their friends. 

You can follow my The Elf On The Shelf® journey during December on Instagram. I also have a pinterest board with lots of ideas for your elf

Have you taken part in The Elf On The Shelf® before, or are you planning to for the first time? Let me know below and I'll be sure to follow your journey too. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Babies First Christmas Gift Ideas - #ChristmasGiftGuide

As parent's we find all of our children's first's a special time and their first Christmas is no different. For Jack's first Christmas I really struggled with what to get him but he ended up getting spoilt with lots of toys and clothes. So you think, subsequent children would be easier - well for me it's not. I promised myself I wouldn't purchase lots for Isla, but we will see how that pans out. 
Over the past few weeks I've been lucky enough to receive lots of ideas for Isla's first Christmas and hopefully you can be inspired by these too. 

It isn't really Christmas for a child without toys, and that's no different for a first Christmas. Back in July I was invited to the launch of the My First Forever Friends range, but I was unable to make it; however the range is absolutely beautiful. Within the range is this My First Forever Friends Musical Softie, it's a lovely soft bear which is around 21cm high. The bear features soft pink cheeks which light up and emit a lovely warm glow, it also plays two lullabies -Brahms Lullaby and Twinkle Twinkle. Upon the chest of the bear is a small picture frame which is baby safe and enables you to place a photo of a family member in; I think this makes this unique. There is also the My First Forever Friends Bedtime Lightshow which I've previously reviewed. 
My First Forever Friends Musical Softie

One thing that I started with Jack, was purchasing him a decoration each year and he's already started a little collection and I shall be doing the same with Isla. I love the idea of them having their own decorations to take with them when they grow up and leave home. Even if they don't choose to use them at least they have the choice. I like to buy ones which are personalised and that will be lovely in time to come and this year for Isla we have had a beautiful one from Born Gifted. Born Gifted have a lovely range of personalised baubles, and I opted for a lovely Engraved Glass Reindeer Bauble. I've had it engraved with 'On Your First Christmas Isla'. It features a glass blown reindeer within a clear glass bauble, and will look beautiful on any colour tree. It is also a timeless design which I thought would be perfect. It's priced at £9.99 which I thought was a brilliant price for the crafting which has gone into creating it. 

I love traditional style gifts so we have this beautiful book for Isla from I Just Love It, which I've wrote a little about in my gift guide for younger children. It's a beautiful personalised book which is titled The Twelve Days Of Christmas and I'm sure it's going to make a lovely read. 

There's stocking fillers to think about too, if your weaning a perfect addition to the stocking is the Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner from Ellas Kitchen - sprouts and all the trimmings included. Ella's Kitchen have teamed with Charity Kids Company helping to provide meals for hungry and vulnerable children. From each of the pouches 30p is donated to the charity. 

Many children love cBeebies these days and the different programmes on there, Jack did and still does and therefore Isla is growing up around it. There are many gifts you can get from the different shows, again made by the wonderful Golden Bear Toys (like the Forever Friends Toys). There is a range of Twirlywoo gifts available from different toys, soft toys, bedding, books and DVDs. The books and DVDs make perfect stocking fillers and can be used over and over again. 

Then there is the more practical gifts, you can never really go wrong with clothing for children. They can never really have too many and I came across these beautiful Christmas outfits from Prezzybox. I particularly liked their Christmas Pudding Rompa which can be personalised and kept as a memory from their first Christmas. They also have other clothing this was just my particular favourtie. 

You could also purchase your baby some lovely shoes to match their outfits. Clarks have a lovely range of pre-walkers and there are lots of lovely styles which I've picked out as favourites for Isla. There are also these stunning Shilo Jena slippers, although these start at size 2, so for larger feet; they are the most adorable and I'll probably end up buying some for Jack and Isla if her feet are big enough. 

Keeping with the Christmas theme and clothing, there are some lovely items from Nuby which are perfect for babies this Christmas. As well as their range of some toys, they have some beautiful Christmas dummies as well as some dribble bibs. 

As well as clothing there are things for around the home and nursery. One thing which I would highly recommend as a first Christmas gift is the Jumperoo - we had one for Jack which he loved and it's still going strong with Isla. There are also the lovely items from My Baby's Name Is sleeping bags, and the Gro-Hush both of which we have found amazing and been really useful. 

Don't forget to read my tips on how to save money this Christmas

Please Note: I was gifted samples of some of the above products.  

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Wow Toys Advent Calendar. #ChristmasGiftGuide

Each year I buy Jack an advent calendar, even for his first Christmas aged just 10 months.Generally they tend to be filled with chocolate in various shapes and forms relating to the festivities. But some parent's don't wish to give their children chocolate, or maybe there are intolerance's.
Last year I got Jack two advent calendars, a chocolate one and a WOW toys one and he loved it. This year WOW toys got in touch asking us to review one of their calendars and I jumped at the opportunity. WOW Toys Advent Calendar Review
If you've not seen these before, they are fun toy filled advent calendars working the same way as a chocolate one. However instead of a small chocolate treat, you get a lovely toy surprise, which at the end sets up a lovely play scene. Each toy from the day can be placed on the corresponding number on the fold down play scene during advent making your very own festive scene. WOW Toys are a company I love, they have  fantastic range of battery free toys which are hard wearing - perfect with a rough toddler playing with them. The advent calendars are suitable for children aged one to five.
WOW Toys Advent Calendar Review
The advent calendars they make come in three different versions Farmyard, Town and Wonderland. The Town and Farmyard are great if you have WOW toys already and want to add to the collection, but the Wonderland is more festive although they all have Christmas aspects. Each calendar includes 24 toys, which are multi-gender.
WOW Toys Advent Calendar Review

I found this great also for Jack's learning, as like a traditional advent calendar he had to find the number, but he also had to then match the toy to the correct number on the play scene. We talked about colours, the different items and had fun using imaginative play.
I'm excited for Jack to get the experience again this year as I feel its better value for money.

Do you buy your children an advent calendar? What kind do you opt for?

Please Note: I received a WOW advent calendar in exchange for an open, honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Food and Drink for Christmas - #ChristmasGiftGuide

Food and Drink plays a huge part in Christmas both as gifts and for your Christmas parties. So I thought I'd share with you some of the good things which are around this Christmas to enjoy as part of your celebrations.

Godiva Chocolates

Almost everyone loves a little bit of chocolate at Christmas, and Godiva provide that with a little bit of luxury. When giving Chocolate as a gift, its nice to be able to give a good quality chocolate which has a good quality taste too. Godiva has been around since 1926 and is a truly beautiful brand. With a wide range of product choices available you are sure to be able to find something from Godiva range to gift to someone. Godiva do a range of truffles, which always remind me of Christmas which come packaged within a beautiful red box. You can smell the beautiful chocolate scents as you lift the lid and are greeted with 12 soft truffles. The Christmas gifts start at £11.50 upwards, and the Truffles in which I've featured are priced at £23.00
Godiva Truffles

Custom Cookie Co

So not everyone may be a fan of chocolate and for those or even the chocolate lovers of course you could always get biscuits or more so cookies. Why not treat someone to a selection of beautifully hand decorated cookies which can be personalised with a hand-piped message from Custom Cookie Co. The cookies are freshly baked and iced each day and if ordered before 12pm can even be baked the same day for dispatch the following day. Prices begin at just £8.50 which is perfect for such beautifully crafted cookies, you can see that they are all individually crafted.
Custom Cookie Co

Holland and Barrett Free-From

It can be stressful enough at christmas without having to worry about finding gifts which cater for those with allergies and intolerance's. Luckily, the little elves at Holland & Barrett have created a wonderful range of free-from gifts. These include advent calenders, mince pies, christmas puddings, truffles and selection boxes . These gifts start from 99p and shall be stocked online & in stores nationwide. 
Holland and Barrett Free-From

Echo Falls Tisane

I am not particularly a drinker, but at Christmas I do enjoy a glass of wine with my lunch. However, there of course are those who cannot have an alcoholic drink, the pregnant ones, designated drivers, or those who simply cannot. Echo Falls have added to their collection with Tisane. This is a healthy non-alcoholic alternative to Champagne or Prosecco. It is a sparkling infusion made from a combination of premium green tea and fermented grape juice containing zero alcohol. It's also a healthier alternative being a mere 26 calories in each 100ml glass. Priced with an RRP of £3.49 it's a fab alternative to champagne. 


It's always ideal to have a drink on hand for those mum-to-be's, designated drivers, tea-totallers or those just having a night off; Shloer Celebration provides this.
Shloer has unveiled a brand new look just in time for the festive period this year, whilst packed with the same bubbly tastiness. With their new look Shloer have added a signature popping cork. As well as being an enjoyable drink, it also makes for a beautiful gift for the party hostess too. It's available in crisp refreshing White Bubbly or fruity Pink Fizz, priced at £2.99 per 75cl bottle. In addition to these two flavours there are eleven refreshing flavours of original Shloer.

Udi's Tortilla Chips

Christmas is a time for lots of nibbles, and Udi's help with this with their Gluten Free Tortilla Chips available in Peri Peri BBQ flavour. Sometimes it can be hard to cater for everyone at parties as you never know which allergies or varying diets people are following however these are Gluten Free whilst still having a delicious crunch and flavour.

Cherizena Coffee

Nearly everyone is a lover of coffee these days, although I'm not so it would be wrong to not include a coffee product of some sort within my gift guide. This year coffee specialist Cherizena have brought back their limited edition Christmas coffee. With a delicious aroma of plum pudding it's a real Christmas flavour. Like all coffee's in the range they contain no syrups or coating created by simply flavouring the beans. The coffee is available as beans or ground and priced at £3.25 for a 115g pack.

Dark Horse Wine

Yet another drinks product, but lets face it you can never go wrong with buying someone wine. Dark Horse provide a premium wine for under £10 being a perfect option for a gift. They have created both a chardonnay and cabernet sauvigon. The cabernet sauvigon features dark, earthy flavours giving a silky, deep flavour. Where as the chardonnay offers bright, sweet aromas giving a refreshing crisp taste.Priced with an RRP of £8.99 it's the perfect gift. 


With winter setting in, J2O have introduced some new flavours to their range. J2O always reminds me of christmas  which you may find strange but my Nan always brought some at Christmas. The new tastes are Midnight Forest and Midnight Amber, which is exclusive in Marstons Greene King and Fuller pubs. The new flavours can be enjoyed as they are or made into some cocktails. Midnight Forest is priced at £4.39 for a pack of four, and would make a great alternative drink. 

Please Note: I was gifted samples of some of the above products. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Gifts For Young Children - #ChristmasGiftGuide

Now Jack is older I find him a little easier to buy for - however I still struggle with some gifts. Luckily with Jack I cannot go wrong with trains so if all else fails buy some trains, but he does have so many.

Firstly, lets talk about the bit before Christmas, where they write a letter to Santa. They all love the magical time when Santa write a letter back, many places do these now but why not get one a little different. Talk Of The Town Parties is a new company founded in August this year by Jennifer Combes who is a zoologist turned crafter and mum. Jennifer offers lovely personalised letters from Santa which are on reindeer poop card, it's 100% clean and 100% recycled.As well as the letters Jennifer offers Christmas cards too, again made from the reindeer card  but they also have real Christmas tree seeds embedded meaning you can re-grow your card after use. The reindeer poop acts as excellent fertiliser for the seeds and you will always remember the Christmas from the tree you will grow. 
Personalised Santa Letters and Christmas Cards

Recently launched are Moochies for Kids, the wearable tech keeping children safe and parents in the know. Launched in October this year and aimed at children 3 to 12 Moochies are phones for children. Worn exactly like a watch, allowing children and parents to communicate. It allows the child to ring two people and only allows twenty people pre-approved to ring the child. Featuring an SOS button for emergencies and GPS tracking. Priced at £79.99 they aren't exactly a stocking filler but are definitely a practical gift for children.
Moochies For KidsMoochies For Kids

A more personalised gift comes from I Just Love It, with a range of personalised children's books. We as a generation are full of technology and stories are becoming forgotten. I Just Love It have a range of books from more tradition style stories with My Book Of Nursery Rhymes, Twelve Days Of Christmas as well as Disney Frozen and Star Wars Adventure Books of which are personalised. Prices starting at just £9.99, they are the perfect gift for children of all ages.
IJustLoveIt Personalised Books

Anything dinosaurs related is sure to be a hit with many children at the moment too. Jack and my friends boy are both really into dinosaurs; my friends boy more so mind. These inflatable dinosaurs I've reviewed previously would be perfect for a dinosaur lover. Also, there are many dinosaur toys which you are able to purchase at many shops and they can be as reasonable as you wish them to be.

Then you've got Disney Princesses, what girl or even boy doesn't love a Disney Princess. Theres endless possibilities in which you can purchase out there which your little prince and princesses would love. You can get small dolls as well as larger ones these days.

Jack loves puzzles and games, so this year we will be getting him more from the Orchard Toys collection. There is a fantastic selection of them on the website and they are always a big hit with Jack. They always feature bright colours, being eye catching for children. 
Another wonderful gift in which we have discovered this year are the Magformers - they are perfect for children of all ages and you can read our review here

Don't forget to read my tips on how to save money this Christmas

Please Note: Some of the products listed above we were gifted samples of. 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Dressing Up as Hulk

Jack loves dressing up when he gets the opportunity, when he was at private nursery he would often be dressed up in some outfit. Whether it be a princess dress or a police man, he loves it all. Even now at school nursery he dresses up given any opportunity.

Recently we were asked by Fun Warehouse if we would like to review one of the dressing up costumes they stock and I just knew Jack would love too. At the moment he is really into Hulk - so it was obvious with his choice when I showed him different characters.
Fun Warehouse - Avengers Assemble Deluxe Hulk Dress Up

When the outfit arrived I was impressed and so was Jack when he saw it. I opted for the Deluxe Hulk Costume in size small, which is aged 3-4 and is the prefect fit on Jack, he wears 3-4 shop brought clothes. The costume is excellent quality as are the stitches and looks excellent on Jack. It's a green jumpsuit type outfit, with sewn on shorts which are loose at the bottom so they look more natural. It has padding within the chest and arm areas which Jack loved. To complete the outfit you have a mask, 

Jack absolutely loves the outfit and calls himself 'Jack Hulk' when he wears it rather than 'just Jack' when he takes it off. It's so amazing how it can bring their imagination out and encourage their play. Jack is impressed and so am I and I'll definitely be returning there to purchase more outfits in the future. 
Fun Warehouse - Avengers Assemble Deluxe Hulk Dress Up
Fun warehouse have a fantastic range of dressing up outfits for both adults and children and there is lots of variety in traditional ones, Disney ones and unusual ones. 

Please Note: We received a costume free of charge for the purpose of this review however all views and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

5 ways to save money on gifts this Christmas

5 ways to save money this christmas

Christmas with children can be expensive if you allow it to be. I know I as a parent go completely overboard and Jack is spoilt rotten at Christmas and this year I have two!
Last year I tried to convince myself it would be the last year I could spoil Jack as I was pregnant and knew I would need to purchase for two this year. However, it doesn't seem to have made too much difference although he still has lots less than previous years. 

However, you can still purchase lots of gifts, but for a cheaper price if you look around. If your willing to not just shop in one place there are plenty of opportunities to makes Christmas cheaper. So I'm sharing some tips with you on how I've still managed to buy for everyone and spoil the children but on a lower budget, a maternity pay one.

Set a budget for each person, and stick to it. Easier said then done if you are anything like me. But for the older ones, parents etc. I tend to make a budget and stick to it as much as possible. You could make a printable list or spreadsheet to keep track of everyone, what you have got and the amount spent. I've used a spreadsheet this year to help me along and keep on top.

With extended family, only purchase gifts for children. This is something new we are trying this year with my mums family. For my nan there are three grandchildren and two of us have children of our own so it makes for expensive purchasing. This year we are just purchasing for what would be my Nan's great-grandchildren therefore my children and my cousins little boy. Yes those who have children may feel they are being left out but personally I would rather the younger ones have a better gift than myself. Theres only so many pairs of socks you can have. If you wish to still purchase gifts for other family you could always take part in a secret santa, with a small budget for the recipient and everyone gets the same amount of gifts then. 

Talking of children, many of us find it easier to purchase toys or books for children. But some of the top toys can simply rise in prices the nearer we get to Christmas.You could use a price finder such as the one below which shows you the best prices of the day for many toys and at which retailers. Perfect for getting the toys your children like at the best prices. This of course is THE BEST way to save money. Getting your kids favourtie toys at a discount price.

If you purchasing online you can use online cashback sites such as Quidco. Since using these cashback sites I've enabled myself to earn a little extra, I've been purchasing what I normally would and still paying the same price, but from going through the site I've enabled a little extra money back for a treat in the future. Ok yes you don't get to save the money straight away but I look at it as it's money I wouldn't have any other way and enables me to get things for free in the future. 

This is my first year trying to be a bit more frugal and I'm continually looking for new ideas.
What ways do you use to keep your costs down? I'd love to hear your tips. 

Brought to you by My Voucher Codes.