Sunday, 29 November 2015

Coping With The First Christmas After Losing A Child...

The first Christmas after you lose one of your family is incredibly scary.

Christmas was always one of Elspeth's big things, she adored it and drank it all in with a glow of excitement. She'd sing carols from November onward and watch marathon sessions of Christmas movies. We had no idea how it could possibly be good without her there. As Christmas drew closer we began to panic more and do less.

One of the most crippling things about the depression following grief is that everything takes so much effort and seems so hard that you can't face it, but the longer you leave it, the scarier it becomes. Eventually you simply don't understand how it can ever be possible. We realised on 7th December that we were going to be letting our small children down if we didn't create Christmas.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Dream Letters - Making writing fun for children aged 5-12

Dream Letters is a big hit in France where it was first launched and now it's coming to the UK, just in time for Christmas. Designed to help encourage children to really enjoy reading and writing, it places your child into an imaginary storyline and uses their own responses to carry the story forward in a way that suits your child.

We'll be reviewing Dream Letters later on, but it'll only just arrive in time for Christmas, so it'd be too late to order if you want to look at it for your child.

Receiving letters through the post is a delight for any child, and writing letters in reply can be a great way to get a reluctant child to become excited about writing. When they are older penpals can be great for children, but younger children aren't really equipped to chat to a stranger who doesn't prompt them and talk about things that they understand.

Dream Letters is very different because your child is placed into their own personalised fantasy story. Your child's first letter informs them they're now King or Queen of their own kingdom, and the first pack contains 4 letters, a map, certificate, paper crown, stickers and a badge saying "Call Me Your Majesty".
Dream Letters has launched in the UK with a Dream Letters Kickstarter, and they have already gone way past their target, so they aren't desperate for donations, they are collecting orders.

The packs cost around 20€, which is currently £14 and the subscriptions are monthly, so it's slightly more expensive than buying your average comic each week. Longer subscriptions are better value (12 months seems to be around £130). If you order (pledge) by December 16th then you should get your first pack in time for Christmas.

In their own words, with a Dream Letters subscription, your child will:

  • Receive personalized letters in the mailbox
  • Discover and enjoy the pleasure of reading
  • Create their own story at their own rhythmLearn real facts about history, biology, etc.
  • Upgrade their vocabulary level
  • Develop their imagination 
  • Write and draw their own responses in a non-judgment state of mind
  • Receive updated letters based on their decisions
  • Develop self-confidence.
They have a promotional video explaining how it works in more detail....

I'm really looking forward to seeing what my boys make of their first Dream Letters pack, and I'll tell you all about that in the new year....

Caseapp £25 Voucher Giveaway and 20% Discount Code

How would you like a new personalised case for your Samsung phone with your best dressed Saturday night selfie, or maybe you could sort out that tricky-to-buy-for person by having their pride and joy Subaru Impreza or herd of cats pasted into an iPad Mini case? With a £25 voucher from Caseapp, it's really possible.

Caseapp use 4 colour printing to get excellent reproduction of colour and high resolution printing, and have a choice of either high gloss or satin finish, whichever design you choose.

As well as using your own photo's, Caseapp have a huge range of custom cases for you to choose from for your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or iPad, including plenty that will be great for this Winter...

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

TinyMe Personalised Family Calendars Review

In my Christmas Present Giveaways I'm giving away a TinyMe £40 voucher, and here's a lovely example of what you can buy if you win. This year for the first time they're creating Personalised Calendars, and we were sent a voucher to order one for review.

TinyMe Personalised Family Calendars Review

Creating my calendar was a 5 minute job. It really was incredibly easy. The personalisation includes the wording on the front, the pattern or print, the inside layout with columns or a grid, and for most styles you can also choose the colours.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Raving With Big Fish Little Fish : 2-4 Hour Party People!

Big Fish Little Fish are, in their own words, "a music and events crew that put on family raves with all the freedom and excitement of a mini-festival, right in the heart of cities and towns".

I was asked if I'd be interested in coming along to review a Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave being held in Manchester. I had absolutely no idea what that was going to entail, but it sounded a laugh, and incredibly intriguing, so it wasn't an opportunity to be missed.

Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave Review Manchester

Kids And Video Games

This is a post by Sam Rimini.

Children love to play video games. Traditional toys from the old days don't play the role they used to, although a good old teddy bear is always appreciated, especially when it can be personalized like at Build-A-Bear. Also, there is no problem with parents feeling the need to enact a new set of rules to govern how long their kids are playing, which is the case with video or games, or which titles they are consuming. While many of them offer a variety of benefits to players and they're not only meant for kids, there are numerous disadvantages, as well. The time has come to take a closer look at the pros and cons associated with kids interacting with video games!

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Christmas Gift That Lasts All Year From

I'm a huge advocate of buying books for Christmas, but books aren't the only things we can read for pleasure. are the UK's leading magazine subscription site, offering subscriptions to hundreds of magazines, covering every topic you can you can think of and they usually work out substantially cheaper than buying each edition separately - regularly less than half price.

A magazine subscription is much better on your waistline than chocolates, and lasts longer than smellies. It really can be the gift that keeps on giving.

The savings by subscribing are possible because the magazine manufacturers aren't sending copies out to sit on a shelf and then go back, there's very little waste in the form of paper and ink, delivery, time and effort, so the savings from all of that can be passed on to you - and better yet, each issue is delivered to your door free of charge.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

How To Choose Your Child's First LEGO Sets

Christmas is expensive, and presents that are opened and then sit in the cupboard all year are a disappointment to everyone. Especially when you are buying the first sets, you want to make sure your LEGO investment will be a set that your child will like, and will open up a huge world of creativity for them.

The most important thing is to start by thinking of LEGO as a creative puzzle toy, rather than a brand. Following a LEGO instruction book to build a model is not so different from following any model instructions, or even completing a jigsaw. The difference is that once you've finished, you can play with it, dismantle it and rebuild it however you want.

Choosing might be more simple than you think, and to me has 3 main questions:

1. What toys does your child like playing with?
2. What is your price range?
3. What age and ability range is your child?

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Card Gallery Personalised Christmas Cards review

The Card Gallery are a Shropshire based online company selling personalised cards and other stationery. They started out 11 years ago catering for Weddings and Christenings, and now have a massive range of personalised products for all occasions including birthdays, thank you's, new babies and pretty much any event you can think of - including Christmas - and cards start at 70p each.

The Card Gallery also create personalised stationery and other products for business and schools. They even print iron-on name labels and personalised gifts for your child's teacher.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Ticket To Ride: European Edition Family Game Review And Giveaway

Ticket To Ride is one of my personal all-time favourite games. A turn-based board game for 2-5 players aged 8+ where players create rail routes from location to location in order to score points. The original ticket To Ride was first published in 2004, and there are now 4 different full game versions, all together selling more than a staggering 3 million copies already. There are also a host of expansion packs featuring different maps worldwide.

Ticket To Ride: European Edition Family Game Review And Giveaway

Until now I've only ever owned a copy of the Nordic Edition, but I've been sent a copy of the European Edition of Ticket To Ride to review, and I will also being giving one away thanks to Esdevium Games.