This week I popped my 2017 mince pie cherry.

To be honest, this is pretty late in the year for me to be starting on the festive themed snacks. Come to think of it, I’ve not even had a glass of mulled wine yet. Honestly, what’s the matter with me? The more I hear people complaining about Christmas songs playing in shops the more I want to crack out Slade and whip up an eggnog, so you’d think I’d be onto chocolate yule logs at least by now.

You can probably imagine then that my arm didn’t take a great deal of twisting when Iceland asked if I fancied hosting an elegant Christmas party to showcase their luxury foods range. Plus, having been up to London to for a preview of Iceland’s Christmas food earlier in the year, (in a heatwave), I already knew how tasty their luxury range is.

Festive no brainer really.

It got me thinking though about what makes a good Christmas party – how do you put on an impressive party over the festive season? What’s the secret?

I’m slightly strange in that although I love GOING to parties, now I’m at the age where I own decent carpets/am pretty lazy, I’m not massively keen on HOSTING parties. Ditto Christmas – I’ll happily turn up anywhere with a sack of pressies and a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream, but please don’t make me baste anything. (Thinking about it, perhaps that’s not so strange really.)

Christmas parties then. Here’s what I think you need:

Christmas decorations

Oh look! The Christmas wreath has ACCIDENTALLY fallen out of the cupboard and hung itself on the front door, even though it’s only November. What a shame!

One of my favourite things about my new house is that it has a fire place in the living room. It’s not for the open fire – I’ve had to stick a cushion up the chimney as an anti-cat climbing measure – it’s so that I have a mantelpiece to decorate at Christmas with festive twigs and snow globes and what not.

If you’re hosting a Christmas party this year and want to impress your guests then you MUST have good decorations.

Christmas party decorations View Post

Hands up if you’ve got a cold.

*surveys show of hands*

I suspected as much. It’s that time of the year isn’t it? We’re inside more, the heating is on, we’re all starting to feel a bit tired – it’s only natural. It’s not much fun though.

What’s worse is when your baby or toddler gets a cold. They’re sad, but you can’t really explain it to them, and it can be difficult to know what to do for the best.

Here’s Bee as a baby:

olbas for children

Can you just imagine her with a cold, looking all snotty and upset? It’s not nice is it?

One thing you might like to try is Olbas for Children. Olbas for Children is a gentle yet effective decongestant, especially for children aged from three months to two years. It offers effective day or night relief for little stuffy noses using plant oils to relieve congestion and ease natural breathing. (Always read the label and keep out of sight and reach of children.)

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I had a boyfriend once who refused to kick piles of autumn leaves.

Every time I did it, he would do that thing where you draw your breath in sharply between your teeth.

‘What’s the matter?’ I would say, foot mid air, ready to send a heap of red and gold leaves flying across the path.

‘You shouldn’t kick the leaves like that,’ he would reply. ‘You never know what might be under them. You’ll probably end up kicking dog shit.’

It took the edge of my autumnal fun, that’s for sure.

It made me sad too, because as an attitude to life, what even is this??

why you should kick autumn leaves View Post

I’ve been sleeping on my new Simba Hybrid mattress for over a week now. (Night times only, not non stop.)

Simba mattress discount code

I love it, and even better, you can love to it! Use my link to claim your Simba discount code for £50 off, plus I’ll earn a little bit of extra cash too. Everyone’s a winner!

So, the mattress…

I’ll be totally honest – I was expecting NOT to love it. In fact, so sure was I that I would want my old mattress back, that I didn’t take advantage of their ‘we’ll take your old mattress away’ offer, and now I have a double mattress in my spare room to somehow get to the tip in my Renault Clio.

Awkward.

My scepticism was nothing to do with Simba, it was just that I really did love my old mattress. I’ve had mild back issues since a car accident years ago and I’ve never found a mattress that I like as much, even in fancy hotels where they claim to have amazing beds. I tried to think about it logically though – my old mattress is at least seven years old, and has been through two house moves, so how long exactly was it going to go on being comfortable? Also, having recently separated, a new mattress felt like quite a cleansing thing. Fresh mattress, fresh start and all that.

Plus I was offered a Simba discount code to pass on to you, so I thought it would be the nice thing to do.

So I took the plunge and said yes to testing the Simba Hybrid mattress. View Post

Last year I discovered the joy that is vacuum packing a duvet. I’m a woman of simple pleasures, one of which, it turns out, is watching all the air get sucked out of bedding.

IMAGINE MY DELIGHT then, when I realised you could do it to food too!

The idea behind the FoodSaver Fresh preservation system is simple – keep food fresh for longer and so spend less on shopping and throw less food away. As someone who hates food waste, and will eat out of date yogurt rather than put it in the bin, you can see the appeal.

You can use your FoodSaver Fresh for anything where you want to keep fresh food fresher for longer, whether it’s that second half of your avocado in the fridge, or baking supplies in the cupboard. Air is the enemy of freshness, so the FoodSaver Fresh locks out air and moisture, meaning your food doesn’t spoil as quickly.

The FoodSaver Fresh preservation system has two elements. First up you have the machine itself, which I’m guessing is essentially a mini hoover. It’s a nifty size, and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space on the worktop: View Post

Post in association with EE

Last weekend Belle and I went to Bristol as Belle wanted me to take some pictures of her against cool backgrounds.

Belle

(The backgrounds in some of the others are better I promise.)

MY BABY GIRL!!!

When did she get so big??

It always makes my insides twitch a bit when I see pictures of either of my baby girls looking so grown up. There is such a vulnerability at this age isn’t there? She’s 15, and so very nearly on the cusp of being an adult, at yet at the same time she is just a child, full of doubts and insecurities. I think this photo of Belle captures that mix pretty well.

Parenting at this age is hard too. You want to protect them, but you want them to be exploring their independence and learning to make good decisions. It’s like you’ve put in all the work and then you have to step back and see if it all holds together. (A bit like when I do crafts or DIY, but hopefully sturdier.)

I’ve been exploring this theme with EE today in a post about cyberbullying and the Royal Foundation’s Stop Speak Support campaign. In the post I talk about the challenges as a parent in keeping kids safe online, and highlight three things that you can talk to your children about that will hopefully go some way to equipping them with the right skills, should they ever come face to face with cyberbullying.

Please go and have a read now and make sure you know what those three things are.