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Christmas Competitions 2016
I haven’t done a round-up post for a while so I thought I would get back in the saddle since there are so many great competitions around at the moment especially for parents to make Christmas that little bit easier with children to buy for.
Here are some of my favourites. Please give me a nudge if you find any gems on your travels.
I’m totally loving the concept of subscription boxes. Choose the box of your choice, set up a payment plan and then BAM, every month a box appears through the post fully of lovely goodies. Boxes range from everything from make-up, feel good boxes and I’ve even seen some foodie type boxes.
Isabelle loves to make things, colour, cut, draw, stick so we’ve built up quite a good craft collection and often use Pinterest for inspiration.
We spotted toucanBox a few months ago which is perfect for Isabelle’s age range so when the opportunity to review the boxes came up we jumped at it.
toucanBox is aimed at children between 3 – 8 years. Each box comes with the complete kit and instructions to complete a crafty project.
There are three choices of subscription
Petite – contains one project and is shipped fortnightly
Grande – contains two themed projects and a reading book and are shipped monthly
Super Boxes – contains four themed projects and are shipped monthly
Payments are made when you first place the order and then monthly after that. There are no ties so you can cancel your subscription at any time and if you are away there’s even an option to pause your boxes and set them to come once you return.
toucanBox is addressed to your child which is lovely as all kids like to get post!
There’s a cool quiz that you can do on the site to find out your child’s personality. I did mine based on Isabelle and it came back with her being a Creator which I would totally agree with.
Isabelle is always making things. If she’s not drawing then she’s cutting things up or sticking things together.
So let’s get stuck in.
Isabelle was very excited to get the toucanBox through the post with her own name on it. I love the fact that it fits through the letter box so no waiting in or delivery cards through the door if you’re out.
Poor Isabelle is full of a cold in this video but doing some craft cheered her up.
I love that you get everything included to make the project including a glue stick and crayons. You could easily pop one of these in your bag and take on a train journey or away on holiday in case of rain.
Treasure Map & Parrot Partner
As explained in the video the box contained:
A tea bag
A paint brush
A Cardboard Parrot
A Glue Stick
A wiggly eye
A Jumbo Lolly Stick
The instructions were very clear and even tell you the difficulty and messiness rating as well as some cool pirate facts. There was also a sheet with ideas on pirate themed games once the project is complete.
First of all we had to make a cup of tea – perfect.
Crumple the paper into a ball and then flatten. I should have taken a picture of Isabelle as she did this as she was quite surprised as I usually tell her off for wasting paper and screwing it up.
Using the cup of tea (no milk, no sugar), paint the piece of paper and set aside to dry.
Whilst the paper is drying, colour the parrot with the crayons.
Then add the feathers to make your parrot. Isabelle was starting to get tired again as she was a poorly girl but making this made the day bearable and fun for both of us.
Once the paper was dry, add the stickers to create your Treasure Map.
Any boxes ordered between 17th November – 15th December will include Christmas themed projects which will be nice to do on a cold day. They are also running a Christmas Advent Calendar with a surprise a day.
As I did a round-up of some of the great Kids Advent Calendars on offer this year I thought it was only fair that I did one for us grown-ups. I’ve got my eye on one in particular but it’s a bit pricey so it’s unlikely that I’ll get it, but never mind.
Everyone loves an advent calendar, and things have seriously moved on since the once a day chocolate calendar with your favourite character on the front.
Last year we pinched an idea from Pinterest and did a Book Advent Calendar for Isabelle which you can read our blog post about, but essentially you wrap up twenty-four books and number each one and every day they unwrap a new book which could be the bedtime story for that day. I noticed that some people did Christmas themed books each day, but I really struggled to find enough so just chose books that I knew Isabelle would love. This went down really well with Isabelle, and to cut costs even further you could buy books from Charity Shops/ebay/selling pages.
The year before we bought a Playmobil Calendar where each day you get a new piece and at the end you complete some kind of scene. We had the King and Queen Fairy Set which was really lovely.
Here is a round-up of some of the fantastic chocolate alternatives to Kids Advent Calendars.
Toot-Toot Animals Advent Calendar. Suitable from 12 months. I love this calendar as it’s tricky getting something suitable for ‘little little’ ones. Each day you get a new piece to complete a playset and the box turns into a Toot-Toot drivers road.
Play-Doh Advent Calendar. Suitable from 3 years +. We lurve Play-Doh! This calendar includes five pots of play-doh, tow of which are sparkly ones and lots of cutting accessories and shapes.
Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. Suitable from age 6+ and comes with 24 LEGO Star Wars themed gifts including an exclusive holiday themed mini figure. There are also lots of other scenes from Playmobil that you can get, but I was purposely trying not to make this an ‘all about the girls’ round-up.
Trolls Trollific Advent Calendar – I showed this one to Isabelle who had the widest eyes ever. Who doesn’t want a calendar packed full of lip glosses, hair clips and nail stickers.
Match Attax Advent Calendar contains 120 cards (24 packs) including a Gold Limited Edition Player. My son would have loved this when he was younger. I’m sure that we’ve got all his collectable cards and sticker books still somewhere.
A Smiggle Advent Calendar. This is packed full of Smiggle goodies, and each calendar has an envelope attached that could contain a £250 voucher for a Smiggle Shopping Spree. Isabelle’s eyes were out on stalks as this is her absolute favourite shop at the moment.
This Benross Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar has 25 drawers that you can fill with your own treats to suit your children and even comes with lights. The advantage of this is that you can re-use it year after year.
I’d love to know what Advent Calendar ideas you have for your children. Pop a comment below or head on over to our Facebook Page.
My sidekick (Isabelle) and I have been selected to be resident bloggers for the Theatre Royal Plymouth which is really exciting.
The programme is much much more than attending and reviewing the many shows that they host there. We’ll be going behind the scenes, finding out about how the shows are put together, meeting the cast, checking out the cool costumes and props and getting knee deep in the excitement surrounding the whole theatre experience.
We had our very first meet-up on Tuesday which was really lovely, and there was a real mix of personalities and reasons for wanting to get involved. Isabelle wasn’t able to attend on this occasion with it being a school night but she’s eager to get stuck in.
I’m not one for getting star-struck but it is nice spotting people that you recognise from the telly, but for Isabelle and I it’s the Witch from The Room on the Broom that drew us in the first place.
Having all of Julia Donaldson’s children’s books we’re huge fans, and have already seen ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ in theatre and loved it. If we were to meet ‘The Witch’ that would be totally awesome.
We were fortunate to be able to go along and watch Big The Musical starring Jay McGuiness, Diana Vickers and Gary Wilmot based on the film with Tom Hanks (definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already).
We were given a backstage tour by Gary Wilmot, who was absolutely lovely and his love of performance and the credit he gave to the whole production team was lovely to see.
There were people everywhere, checking, cleaning and checking to make sure that everything was set for the night. I had thought that it would be totally manic with loads of stressy people dashing about, but it was very calm (even with just an hour to go).
We got to go on stage and have a look at Josh and Billy’s stage houses, as well as the toy shop. They have this enormous screen which weighs about 4 tons which provides the backdrops for the scenes and is rotated around from scene to scene. It’s not until you watch the show that you see how amazing this is.
The story is based in the 80’s about a boy who is just about to turn thirteen wanting to be ‘Big’. His wish is granted by the Zoltar machine at the Carnival when he wakes up trapped inside the body of a man. The only person who knows who he really is, is his best friend He finds himself alone and grown-up in New York to fend for himself until he befriends the local toy shop owner who likes his kid-like knowledge of cool toys. He then finds himself with a job and an apartment and all is great and exciting, even meeting a ‘grown-up woman’ who seems to have taken a liking to him. Life in the boardroom is fun but he’s ruffling feathers amongst the ‘real’ grown-ups and their lack of imagination and fun needed to make toys. Josh opens up the eyes of the ‘grown-ups’ and makes them remember what fun they had as kids before realising that being a kid himself wasn’t so bad and his quest to find a Zoltar machine to return to life as it once was.
I loved it from beginning to end! There was lots of humour and it was exciting throughout.
My favourite part was when the stage was turned into a giant piano and both Josh (Jay McGuiness) and George Macmillan (Gary Wilmot) danced on the keys.
Overall it was a great show and I actually had cheek ache from grinning.
I cannot wait to find out whats in store for us next.
Big The Musical is running at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth until the 12th November before it heads to the to Dublin and then onto the West End and is definitely worth a watch if you get the chance.