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 to review. 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!

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

Recipe – Lemon & raisin loaf cake

One of my favourite flavours for a dessert (or anything sweet really) is lemon, and I really love it in this cake as it makes it so moist. I think lemon & raisin go really well together and of course having raisins in a cake makes it healthy, right?…

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g self raising flour (plus a little extra)
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g raisins

  • Preheat oven to gas 5 / 375F / 190C, and grease & line the bottom of loaf tin.
  • Mix together the butter and sugar until smooth & creamy. 
  • Add the flour & the eggs bit by bit and mix well.
  • Add the lemon juice & zest and mix until well combined.
  • (If you’re lazy like me you could just chuck all of the above in a stand mixer at once).
  • In a separate mixing bowl, coat the raisins with the extra flour, this will stop them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  • Mix the raisins into the cake mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into a loaf tin then bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool, or serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Little man N at 9 months old

Nine months old. My youngest baby is now three-quarters of a year old. I don’t like it. He is growing up way too quick! He is developing quicker than J did too (I think he was just a lazy baby) which makes it seem faster I think.

I finally made it to baby clinic to get him weighed and he now weighs 24 lb 1 oz which means he’s only put on not even a couple of pounds in the last couple of months. Like I thought, now he’s moving around a lot more he’s leveling out a little bit. Though he’s still my chunky monkey as he’s in some 12-18 month clothes! He’s still on the same amount of bottles that he was in his last update, so 3 x 6 oz (sometimes 4 if he wakes in the night). He is also still loving his food and he eats practically everything. The only thing he’s really spat out is cucumber.

He really is developing his own little personality now and is such a cheeky monkey. He’s going through a raspberry blowing phase again, but he’s also started pinching and scratching, ouch! He’s learned how to give kisses now – when you pucker up and say give me a kiss, he opens up his mouth and then leans in and kind of sucks your lips, it’s so blimmin’ cute! He’s so snuggly & soft, I could snuggle him all day long. He’s still being a diva though and hates having his nappy changed or sitting still to get dressed, and I often have to do it on my knee so he can’t move far!

He’s been waking up a few times in the night recently, I think it’s because of his teething as sometimes he will cry for quite a while before he settles down again. Talking of teeth – we finally have some – TWO to be exact! They came through just before he turned nine months. It’s not the usual two lower central incisors though, it’s his lower left incisor and his lower left lateral incisor, so he looks a bit quirky at the minute – still beautiful though!

He’s a non stop crawler now and I can’t keep up with him, it’s like he ‘run crawls’ and he’s so fast! He’s pulling himself up on absolutely everything too and is often falling down and bumping himself, he’s already had a couple of bruises; I think I’m going to have to watch him more than J! He’s started cruising around the sofas too and if we’re sat eating he will move between us like a little dog! He stands up holding our hands and depending how brave he’s feeling, will take a couple of steps. He’s going to be walking unaided much sooner than J was.

He’s always stealing J’s toys which gets J really frustrated and I really have to watch them and never leave them alone just in case. I can see me having to double up on a few toys, though I’m sure they’ll still steal the same things! N is starting to ‘get his own back’ on J now, when J is having his nappy changed N crawls up to him and starts pulling his hair and smacking him in the face – this also frustrates J and we’ve had to start telling N that it’s naughty, even though he doesn’t really understand at the minute, but maybe it will help him learn from a younger age!