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Powder Beauty Drawer Box – I got one!

Powder Beauty Drawer Box.

As a big social media fan I’ve been drooling over the many subscription boxes that are available on the market. My daughter is now subscribed to the toucanBox craft box for kids which is fantastic and totally affordable even on a tight budget.

There are various subscription boxes available including beauty, stationary, tea, sanitary products (too cute as they even include chocolates at that time of the month when you NEED it), craft and books. Actually there’s probably a subscription box for anything you can think of – just google it and I’m sure you will find it.

I’ve been coveting several subscription boxes for quite a while and have left many a hint at the OH at certain times of the year and nothing so far had emerged.

The subscription boxes that I would be most interested in having are either beauty of stationary. I’m not particularly high maintenance but I do like nice perfume and make-up that has a bigger appeal if it comes in lovely packaging. I love face-masks and nice shower/bath stuff and creams oh and stuff for my frizzy wizzy hair as well.

My stationary obsession is very similar. I like prettily presented stationary with stickie notes, cute folders, pretty diaries and notebooks. This has rubbed off on Isabelle who is absolutely obsessed with Smiggle at the moment.

Before Christmas I saw an advert (full magazine page) for the Powder Beauty Drawer Collection which isn’t technically a subscription box, but they produce four a year and you can be notified if you want to by email when they are available so there’s nothing tying you into buying it.

I wasn’t quite so subtle this year and just shoved the magazine in Chris’ face and got him to take note of the website. Hint hint!

I wasn’t very hopeful as they had such an amazing Bumper Christmas Box that it was featured on the Money Saving Expert Website so I knew it was going to be selling fast.

Well surprise surprise I got myself a Beauty Box from my lovely little Isabelle.

It wasn’t the Christmas Bumper one as I was right on it being sold out, but I got the Secret Santa Edition which was full of loads of lovely stuff.

This is what I got:

Powder Beauty Box

You get a booklet which tells you about each of the products that are in the box.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser – This is a full sized 200ml bottle which I’ve started using already. I really like foaming face washes as I don’t really feel like my face is clean without adding water. I haven’t used this one before but it makes your skin squeaky clean when you’ve used it which is great.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser Facial Wipes – This handy pack is great for putting in your bag for a night away. For all you pregnant mummy’s reading this post, these would be great for your hospital bag even if you don’t wear make-up.

Scwarzkopf Live Pastel Spray – Hmm this one is a bit of a random one for me as it’s not something that I would choose myself. I have the Apricot Sunrise which is for blonde hair and can be used just on the ends to create an ombre look. Isabelle is keen to give this one a go so I might save it for a ‘rainy day’. Memories are coming back of when I decided that I might like to dye my hair red and ended up with a really awful streaky pink effect.

Popbands – A set of two in gold and navy. These are perfect for tying your hair back without stripping your hair. Although I have almost shoulder length hair I put it up in the mornings and most days when I get home from work so these are perfect for keeping on the end of my brush for those times.

DKNY Be Tempted – This is a little 1.5ml spray. I haven’t tried this one before but absolutely love perfume and am already a fan of the Be Delicious one.

Roger & Gallet Replenishing Body Lotion – This smells divine and absorbs really well leaving a lovely smell. Definitely one to wear after a long soak in the bath.

Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolour – Devotion – This is a really lovely colour and something that I would wear during the day to work. It’s a matt colour and it stays on for ages which is really great for me since I’m a lip biter so lipstick doesn’t usually last that long.

Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2 in 1 Cream Cleanser – This comes with a little muslin cloth and is very similar to the Liz Earle Hot cloth cleanser. I’ve used this on Christmas Day morning as it only takes about 10 minutes to do and makes your face feel really clean and soft. This again as a Mum can be a lovely treat that you can easily manage to fit into a hectic life

Fruit Loop Soap from Bomb Cosmetics. This soap is infused with essential oils and this one is  a citrus one so great to give you that extra boost of a morning.

Hydraluroni Moisture Boosting Mask – This is one of those masks that have eye and mouth holes in them. This one takes 15 minutes and is great to give winter skin that much needed hydration.

Rimmel Rita Ora Sweet Retreat Nail Polish – This is a cute bright pink which I will use when my nails have regrown following the pre-Christmas stressy period. I’m not much of a pink girl so this might be a toenail colour for me.

So there you have the lowdown on what I got in my box.

I think I’ll definitely be keeping my eye open for the next box as it’s really exciting opening it to find out what lovely goodies are inside.

Warning – I will be posting again when the next box comes out!

I hope you got some lovely goodies for Christmas as us mums need a bit of pampering.

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

 

 

The Nightmare before Christmas

The Nightmare before Christmas. 


Christmas is a lovely time and we all get caught up the merriment of meeting up with friends, nights out, eating too much and the hustle and bustle of present buying. 

This is the great part of Christmas, but behind closed doors it’s also a time where the kids turn into little terrors. 

We’ve crammed in loads of fun things to do, but that very second that you stop, the famous ‘I’m bored’ can be heard from every crevice of the house. It drives me nuts that Isabelle can’t seem to entertain herself for longer than 30 seconds. 

So we’re able to get anything done (like normal housey stuff) we’ve armed ourselves with kids YouTube and Christmas films. 

The fridge door may as well be a revolving door as the boredom also means rummaging for food a hundred times a day. 

We’ve taken Isabelle shopping a few times which was ok but we get caught off track as we get sidelined into the sections that she wants to look at, and then when she spies something she wants. Her attempts at blackmailing us into buying her things with a promise that she will be good if we buy it (sneaky but clever tactic).

And then there’s the trips to the toilet. 

Hands up if you’re kid uses ‘I need a wee’ line when you’re trying to choose parent presents (i.e. Not in the kids section) so that you have to immediately stop what your doing and mentally locate the nearest loo before coming back and starting the process again. 

Queuing is boring for us adults but when you’re six it’s an impossible ask. 

Isabelle really can’t stay still. I know a lot of parents say that, but never have I met a child (or anybody) who cannot stay still. Walking down a street we have to constantly tell her to keep her arms and legs in as she waves them about for fear that she will kick or hit somebody. I must point out that she’s not intentionally trying to hit people she might just be practising a dance or pretending to be a Disney princess. 

All of her current toys are boring unless of course we were to have a clear out and then they’ll all be her favourites. 

We’re sat here on Christmas Eve morning watching a Christmas episode of Spongebob Square pants. 

We’re going to try and have a chilled day by walking the dog, watching films together, eating and maybe later we’ll pop to our local pub for a Christmas Eve drink. 

Have a fab time guys! 

Here’s hoping that there are no household appliances waiting under the tree for us tomorrow.

Lisa x

Www.babynotincluded.co.uk

Cheesy Baked Egg Toast

Cheesy Baked Egg Toast.

Cheesy Baked Egg Toast

I think everyone gets bored of the usual breakfast offering of cereal, toast, fruit and yoghurt so I’ve been having a little search around for some great brekkie ideas which are quick but tasty.

What you will need:

  • Crusty White Loaf
  • Grated cheese (enough to top as many slices of bread you want to make)
  • Butter
  • Salt and Pepper (optional)
  • Eggs

How to do it:

Slice the bread into nice thickish slices.

Using a spoon or knife press the middle of the bread down to form a square that will hold the egg.

Cheesy Baked Egg Toast

Season the bread to your liking (lots for Daddy).

Butter the non-flattened edges of the bread and add the grated cheese to the edges.

Cheesy Baked Egg Toast

Season the top.

Bake in the oven at gas mark 5 for about 15 – 20 mins.

Breakfast is ready!!

Cheesy Baked Egg Toast

Enjoy

Lisa

Ps – I have to confess that my earlier attempts at this were a major fail as I put them in the pan which resulted in the bottom of the bread burning and the egg not cooking so I flipped them over and this is what I got!

For more Scrummy Breakfast Ideas pop over to our Yummy Breakfast Ideas Pinterest board.

 

Theatre Royal Plymouth – The Emperor’s New Clothes

Theatre Royal Plymouth – The Emperor’s New Clothes by Stuff and Nonsense.

The Emperors New Clothes

As part of the Blogger Programme for the Theatre Royal we were invited to go and watch The Emperor’s New Clothes.

This is a story that I was told when I was little and I was going to get a copy of the book to read to Isabelle before we went, but I thought I would leave it as a surprise.

We did watch the clip on the Website which Isabelle really enjoyed.

The show was in the Drum which is a more intimate setting which is great for kids.

The Emperors New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes is about an Emperor who has a fantastical wardrobe of clothes but doesn’t have a single thing to wear for his upcoming birthday. Thank goodness that two Fashion Designers learn of this and offer their services to make the Emperor a new outfit to wear to his birthday parade.

Little does the Emperor know that the Fashion Designers are two crooks (Claude and Hugo) hoping for a bag of gold by tricking the Emperor into wearing ‘no clothes’ and parade through the town on his horse.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is performed by Toby and Jenny as well as a whole host of really cool puppets.

The performance had very little in the way of props with the main prop being a wardrobe which they slept in, was the Emperor’s Palace and Claude performed some acrobatic’s in as well.

The show interchanged between people and puppets in a very fun way and it was easy to forget that there were only two performers on stage with lots of fun opening doors and drawers.

All the children (and adults) joined in with the performance with clapping and shouting.

And then there was the part of the parade where the Emperor paraded through his Kingdom wearing NO CLOTHES! Isabelle thought this was so funny and had her hand over her mouth laughing as the Emperors bottom stuck out of a window!

The show lasts an hour which is great for little one’s who get restless. As well as watching the show I love watching Isabelle’s reactions as she watches a performance and she smiled, laughed, clapped and interacted the whole way through.

The Emperor's New Clothes

We both really enjoyed the show, and we were super excited to meet the cast including some of the fab puppets.

We met both Jenny and Toby who told us a bit about the background behind Stuff and Nothing and how long it takes to put together a production like this. Jenny and Toby have both had lots of training including going to ‘Clown School’ and Jenny is skilled in acrobatics.

Stuff and Nonsense is based in Bridport, Dorset and you can keep up to date with their performances by checking out their Facebook Page.

I loved the fact that they test all of their ideas on children to gage their reactions to see if it works. What better way to have the critical eye of a child who would boldly point out if they thought something was pants or not.

We got to hold some of the puppets which was quite awesome. I had a hold of Molly but I couldn’t work out how to keep her head up and Isabelle had a got with Molly’s pet pig which she loved as it was her favourite character. She mastered the mouth quite well.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is running at the Theatre Royal Plymouth until the 14th January so there’s still plenty of time to go and watch. It is recommended for 2 years + but they have some information available for you to read so you can work out if you think it would be suitable which you can read here. I would have taken Isabelle to see this at two though.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Isabelle had already eyeballed the Fairy Wands that were on sale for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and quickly rushed over to buy one before we left the theatre.

We then had a wander around the Christmas Market before getting the train home which finished off the day perfectly.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

 

 

Slow Cooker – Easy Chicken stew

Slow Cooker – Easy Chicken Stew

Easy Chicken Stew

 

What you will need:

Chorizo cut into small pieces (approx 7cm piece)
4 chicken breasts
400g tin green lentils
500g carton passata
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 good teaspoons smoked paprika
1 veg stock cube
Small teaspoon English Mustard
New potatoes and carrot chunks – as many as you can fit into your slow cooker/pan Salt and pepper
Fresh Parsley

If using a slow cooker, make sure that you put this on in the morning (just before school run is a good time). You can prepare everything the night before so that in the morning you can just pop it all in and leave all day long.

Cut the Chorizo into small chunks and add to slow cooker.

Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks (you can use skinless/boneless chicken thighs as well).

Add the lentils, passata, two cloves of garlic crushed, and two generous teaspoons of smoked paprika.

Add in a small teaspoon of English Mustard.

Peel approximately 4 carrots and cut into small batons.

Cut new potatoes into quarters (I find that 6yo Isabelle prefers quarters).

Once all of this is added to the slow cooker, add the vegetable stock cube and add water to fill the slow cooker.

Towards the end, add a generous amount of chopped fresh parsley, and if needed add a bit of flour to thicken it up. Add salt and pepper to taste.

We also like to add butterbeans, but unfortunately Isabelle isn’t a fan but I would usually have them.

This is a really tasty but filling family favourite and because it’s made in the slow cooker it’s perfect for busy family life. Ryan can grab a bowl full before going off to football training, Isabelle can eat as soon as she is hungry and we can eat when Isabelle is in bed in peace and quiet. That is if we’re not having it together as a family meal.

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

The Polar Express

The Polar Express

Gone are the days where you went to see Father Christmas in Debenhams or at the school fair.

Seeing Father Christmas is an experience these days with themed days out in  theme parks, holiday destinations and magical experiences.

A friend of ours recently went to Lapland which I think will be top of my list for things to do next Christmas (yikes thinking about next Christmas already). It looked amazing and I think will be just as enjoyable for us adults as it will be for the kids.

This year my in-laws treated us to tickets for the Polar Express train in Okehampton.

If you haven’t watched the film then you should add it to your Christmas film list to watch with the kids.

So the film is about a boy who doesn’t believe in Santa. On Christmas Eve a train stops outside of his house heading for the North Pole. The Conductor lets him on and he is given a golden ticket. All sorts of things happen on train in including meeting a man on the roof who claims to be the owner of the train and the King of the North Pole and dancing/singing waiters and chefs. When they finally reach the North Pole they meet Santa and the Elves the boy realises that Santa is real. One of the bells falls off the reins of the sleigh which seems to be broken as it doesn’t ring which he then loses on the train ride home. On Christmas morning the boy opens his presents and finds the bell which now rings as he has recaptured the spirit of Christmas and believes once more.

When we arrived at the station (in pyjamas) the train was in the station waiting to be boarded.

Polar Express

All the kids (and adults) were excited and there was a lovely atmosphere in anticipation of the train ride ahead.

Like in the film, the conductor came and shouted us all aboard and we went to find our seats.

We had a lovely conductor and the funniest two chefs running up and down our carriage singing and dancing on our journey to the North Pole.

 

We took the 6pm train so it was pitch black outside which I think added to the experience.

Then we reached the North Pole where Santa and his dancing elves where the sleigh was loaded up with an enormous sack of presents.

We were served hot chocolate and the chef’s brought round ‘magic cooling milk’ to cool the kids hot chocolate down and big chocolate chip cookies.

Polar Express

Polar Express

There was a magician with a strange ball that spun and hovered in his hand.

Polar Express

A naughty elf sneaked onto our train and ran up and down the train being chased by the conductor and the chef, and we also had an appearance by the man who is on the roof in the film.

Polar Express

Polar Express

Polar Express

Isabelle even had her golden ticket clipped with her initials in it and then so did Nanny Pat.

Then Santa made an appearance and Isabelle immediately lost her voice when he asked her what she was hoping for Christmas.

Polar Express

Isabelle was given a Bell by Santa which she’s been keeping by her bed ever since, and keeps checking that she believes by ringing it.

This was such a lovely family experience and it was lovely for Isabelle’s Nanny and Papa and Aunty to see.

The trains are running until the 28th December and there are some tickets still available.

Happy Christmas Everyone x

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

Our Christmas Decor Hacks

Our Christmas Decor Hacks

Christmas Decor Hacks

Following on from yesterday’s Christmas Decor Hacks post I thought it would be nice to share some of our own little things that we do in the run up to Christmas to save time and money.

Christmas can be a major squeeze to the finances and the cost of what is essentially a few days can overcloud the ‘meaning of Christmas’. Here are a few tips on how to make life a bit easier on yourself and keep on track whilst making it a family event as it should be.

Christmas Decorations

When it comes to Christmas Decorations, we don’t have a colour scheme or a theme of any kind. Our Christmas Tree is decorated with decorations that we have collected over the years and lots that the kids have made. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here are some of the decorations that we have.

Christmas Decor Hacks

Christmas Decor Hacks

Paint your own Baubles  – My Mum bought Isabelle a couple of sets of Paint your Own Baubles which she painted and covered with glitter. This gave Isabelle something fun to do on a cold dreary day and the new baubles are added to our collection of much loved decorations. We made some Lollipop Stick Stars a few years ago which are still going strong.

Christmas Decor Hacks

We’ve got a few bits and bobs that both of the kids have made over the years, but this little Christmas Tree that Ryan made when he was about five (he’s now 17) comes out year on year, and will for as long as it lasts. We’ve put it at the top of the tree so the dog doesn’t attempt to pinch it and eat it.

Christmas Decor Hacks

We also have some personalised tree decorations which were given as gifts in stockings or from Grandparents. We even have one for both of them which doubles up as a money box.

Christmas Decor Hacks

Christmas Decor Hacks

For hanging Christmas cards get a large ribbon from a card shop and attach it to a long piece of ribbon. Hang from the wall. We attached baubles to the bottom to weigh it down (and looks pretty too) and then staple the cards to the ribbon.

Chalkola Review

Tea Light Jars – Decorate jars by painting them and add tea lights to them.

Make decorating the tree a family event – We bought sweets and put on Christmas music whilst we decorated the tree followed by Homemade Hot Chocolate and a Christmas film. This took the whole afternoon and is always really nice reminiscing as we unpacked our decorations.

Gift Giving

Get a notebook and write down everything. Write a list of all the people that you are buying a gift for and as you buy it, write down what you’ve bought (I’m terrible at remembering what I’ve bought and often unearth things that I’ve bought without remembering). Keep this in your bag so that if you make a trip into town or do a spot of online shopping you can quickly refer to it and add as you go along. This goes for Christmas cards as well. This will also help to stick to your set budget.

Shop around – If buying online make sure that you do a bit of research, especially if buying expensive presents. Sign up for newsletters and take advantage of any Christmas offers that arise in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Making a Christmas wish list that you can share with friends and family would also avoid doubling up on gifts that the kids already have.

Only buy gifts that you know that the kids want. It’s really easy to bulk out the tree with additional presents to give it a bigger WOW factor. We learnt this mistake the hard way when we realised that a lot of the last minute, unthought of presents weren’t really played with so were completely unnecessary.

It’s not just you that has financial worries over the Christmas period. Do you need to buy gifts for everybody? Check with your friends to see if they’re happy to maybe just buy for the kids or buy a token gift. Not everybody wants a big flashy present. Buy a token gift but set a date to go out and do something together. Time can be the biggest gift you can give.

Make your own handmade wrapping paper – All you need is some brown paper and some little one’s to decorate.

Christmas Cards – Make your own Christmas Cards with the children. If you have kids then you must have craft resources. All you need is a pack of plain cards which can be bought cheaply, lots of glitter and some pain. I keep these to family only but they mean so much more and the kids love making them.

Use last year’s Christmas Cards to make gift tags for this Christmas by cutting out, making a hole punch and using coloured ribbon or string.

If you have kids and have bought this year’s school photo’s – put them in a nice frame and give as an inexpensive present.

If you’re not sure what to buy as a gift make a hamper – pick a theme, buy a gift box and some of that shredded coloured stuff and add to it anything that you think the recipient would like such as a pamper hamper, sweeties, chutney’s and Jams, nail varnish or chocolate.

It’s a bit late in the day for this tip, but for next year make a Book Advent Calendar for the kids. Buy a selection of kids books (Christmassy or non-Christmassy) and wrap them. Add a numbers to each one and make that the bedtime story for that day. To cut down costs have a scour of your local charity shops where you can pick up books cheaply.

Make your own presents – There are oodles of recipes available (try Pinterest) for edible gifts that you can make including homemade jams and chutneys and sweet treats.

Booze and Food – We all feel like we have to fill our houses full of food (some of which we don’t actually like) and drink for that just in case ‘so and so’ pop in. For larger items such as alcohol check out the comparison sites to work out the best deals. I love all the picky food that we get over Christmas for the endless trips to the fridge because we’re feeling a bit peckish. Who else has a fridge full of cheese that they then live off into the New Year??

Don’t forget to go to the shops in January and pick up wrapping paper, Christmas cards and maybe one or two ‘nicer’ Christmas decorations that are now on sale and cost a lot less for next Christmas.

The most important tip is to enjoy it.

Just for a bit of fun here are the Christmas Number 1’s for the year we were born:

Me – Don’t you Want Me – The Human League 

Daddy – Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade 

Ryan – I have a Dream – Westlife

Isabelle – When we Collide – Matt Cardle 

Have any great tips of your own?

Pop them below.

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

Christmas Decor Hacks

Christmas Decor Hacks

*This is a collaborative post

Christmas Decor Hacks

These are some fab tips, and there are loads more on the blog.

Why not take the quiz and find out How Christmassy you are. I am 69%!!

Find out what the Christmas trends for 2016 are. I wish I could be totally trendy and follow a colour scheme, but we don’t our Christmas tree and decorations are things that we’ve collected over the years.

Let us know your Christmas Decor Hacks to make Christmas that little bit easier.

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk 

Chalkola – A Review

Chalkola – A Review

Chalkola Review

We were really excited to be sent some Chalkola Chalk Pens which can be used on any non-porous surfaces such as chalkboards, whiteboards, glass, plastic and windows. It is recommended that you do a test patch just in case.

We were sent a set of Chalkola Neon Colours which is a set of 10 and a set of Chalkola Earth Colours which is a set of 8.

As it is Christmas I thought we’d have a bit of fun with these and make some cool tea-light jars which could be used for a centre piece or placed on the fireplace.

When you first open the pens you have to give them a really good shake and then press down the nip so that the chalk comes through, and then you’re good to go.

Isabelle was really keen to get started with these.

Chalkola Review

We decided to make some tea-light candle jars which we could use as a centre piece for our Christmas table.

Chalkola Review

What you need:

Jars – Of any size or shape as long as you can drop a tea-light candle into them
Chalkola Pens
Creative imagination

Chalkola Review

This is Isabelle in action with the pens which could be used just like felt tip pins.

As it was on glass we just had to be careful that we didn’t smudge them, and also allow time to try (only a couple of minutes) or some of the colours run together.

Chalkola Review

These are our Christmas Tea-light jars which as you can see we have decorated with Christmas Trees and Christmas Lights.

Chalkola Review

Isabelle was keen to keep going with the pens so we decided to Jazz up our Dog’s Treat Jar which I think he quite likes.

I think the Chalkola Pens would be really great if you’re using chalkboards for your wedding – you could make some really cool personalised table number plaques or use a large one to create a seating plan.

These pens get the thumbs up for both Isabelle and I. You can get your hands on a set for yourself and we have a Discount Code for you. Just add 20OFFSTR at the checkout to get 20% Off.

Chalkola Neon Colour Set 

Chalkola Earth Colour Set 

 Visit their site for their whole range and updates at www.chalkola.com

Lisa

www.babynotincluded.co.uk