Monday 30 November 2015

Advent Ideas - Counting Down to Christmas with Crafts, Books and Elves!

Now we are counting down to christmas - how about some of these ideas to get into the festive spirit!

make your own advent calendar
make your own advent calendar
Frozen Wreath
woodland wreath
Make your own festive trophy head
make your own rudolph
Penguin bag
create your own felt decorations
Decorate your own marquee letters
Make your own snowman decoration

Decorate your own advent calendar - love this frozen inspired idea created with items from Hobbycraft
Hobbycraft do some amazing plain wooden advent calendars to decorate - I love the Rudolph and sleigh design for a more traditional feel too.

Or get crafty creating your own wreath (I will be making one too!) and decorations.

All the above ideas are from Hobbycraft.

Chicken Wire Card Holder - DIY - Craft
Waney Edge Card Holder - DIY - Craft
Christmas Tree Shelf - DIY Craft
Create an alternative way to display your Christmas cards - these ones are made using supplies you can find at B and Q
The top one uses chicken wire, the middle is using Waney edge wood - love the way the rope has been attached, and the bottom one has shelves arranged to form a Christmas tree shape.

Christmas themed books

Christmas Books 2015
 The Nutcracker - Vintage Books
Waiting for Santa - Little Tiger Press
Belle and Boo Very Merry Christmas
Miffy in the Snow 
One Snowy Rescue - Little Tiger Press
The Magical Snow Garden - Little Tiger Press

Have fun with an Elf

An Elf for Christmas - Elf on the shelf UK
An Elf for Christmas - comes with a complete kit from reward cards, to notes and cards. Get creative - what would your cheeky little elf get up to? 

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer - I've compiled these ideas from press events I've attended, items I've received and things I have purchased for my own family - There are some amazon affiliate links in the article. These are all ideas I hope you will like and ones I enjoy and do myself. 

Thursday 19 November 2015

Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Part Two

Christmas Gift Guide Part Two! I know how much you all enjoyed Part One so I thought I'd offer some more Christmas Gift Ideas! 

Christmas Gift Guide 2015 Part 2 - Emma in Bromley - Fairy Door
We love our Fairy Door from the Irish Fairy Door Company - ours is in the playroom and we love the magic a fairy brings to any home or garden. There are lots of additional things you can buy too - such as a washing line!

Christmas Gift Guide 2015 Part 2 - Emma in Bromley - Fairy Tales
Hans Christian Andersen  - Christmas Gift Guide 2015

This special hard back edition of The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen by Parragon Books is beautifully illustrated and a great keepsake.

Project Mc2 Doll  - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Project Mc2 dolls reflect interest in science and engineering - this is Camryn, and she comes with a kit to design, create the blueprint and build her skateboard as many times as you like. 
Project Mc2 Camryn's Skateboard Core Doll with Blueprint

Wooden Fairy House Reward Box   - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Wooden fairy house by The Reward Box comes with silver wooden stars and stickers to personalise your box - a great way to encourage and reward achievements with your child. Beautifully designed and a pleasure to customise.

Reusable Animal Stickers from Aspace   - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Adorable reusable sticker pad from Aspace - different habitat scenes to chose from and 150 different animal reusable stickers to let your child's imagination explore and learn about different creatures.

Clare Brownlow Animal Procession   - Christmas Gift Guide 2015

Beautiful hand painted design  (painted with pheasant feathers) by Clare Brownlow showcasing a wonderful animal procession around a small porcelain cup.

Bettys Handcrafted Chocolate   - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
The most delicious chocolate gifts hand crafted by Bettys - Swiss chocolate fawn slab is enchanting and the set of 3 penguins will put a smile on anyone's face - young or old!

Travelove  - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Planning a surprise romantic trip? Travelove can help customise your trip with extras and will make a special book tailored for your specific trip right down to arrival times. Plenty of wonderful unusual  ideas such as cooking with a local family or a private tour not in the standard guide books. 

Sophie Allport Candle  - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Cinnamon and Orange scented candle by Sophie Allport has an amazingly wonderful Christmas inspired scent and makes a great gift or a festive addition for your home.

Pink Trophy Head   - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Eclectic mix of patchwork fabrics and colours make a refreshing touch to the current  Buck Trophy Head trend - this one is by Dora Designs.

Yankee Candle Hot Towel   - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Brilliant barbershop collection from Yankee Candle - love the Hot Towel scent in a black footed candle jar - the rest of the barbershop collection are also well presented in these sleek jars.
Felt Father Christmas  - Christmas Gift Guide 2015
Handcrafted felt Father Christmas decoration by Olga at Sunflowers Creations.

Would you like to read more about Christmas? I have a whole section full of gifts, decorations and festive food - yum! 

Merry Christmas!

Emma in Bromley xx

Disclaimer: I received some of the featured items for the purpose of this gift guide, some are my own purchases and their are 2 amazon affiliate links. I'd like to hope that my gift guides have helped someone. Merry Christmas xx

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Death Star Planetarium Review

You know how every now and again a toy comes out that actually its you that gets really excited about it - well this is one of those!

I'm a Star Wars fan, have been since the early 80's and I love space - there was a time when I was small where I'd have liked to have been a astronaut - I was super lucky as a child, I got to go the the Space Centre at Cape Kennedy in Florida - somewhere I'd love to take my children. (My Astronaut dreams were short lived once I realised short sighted British girls with kidney problems don't get to go to the moon) 

So when I received a planetarium to review, I was so excited - This Star Wars Death Star Planetarium projects not just the Star Wars galaxy but also the earth's sky too! 

Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium by Flair Plc. 

Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium

Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium

There's a little bit of simple assembly to do - besides inserting batteries (3 AA not included) you also need to pop the bulb in too. Its all straight forward and takes a few mins. 

Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium
The black dome shows the Earth's sky. 
Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium
There's a small on of switch - its cleverly disguised as one of the grey panels on the death star. 

Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium
Great attention to detail on this Death Star. 
Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium
Projecting the Earth's sky onto the walls and ceiling. 
Uncle Milton Star Wars Death Star Planetarium
From the Star Wars galaxy I spotted Naboo and Tatooine straight away - how about you? 

My little boy is really getting into Star Wars which I'm really enjoying helping with - and he absolutely loves this planetarium.

Disclaimer - I received the planetarium for the purpose of this article. 

Monday 16 November 2015

Fighting Bugs This Winter

September was a big month in our house, our youngest - Maegan (age 4) started reception at primary school, just like her big brother (Blake age 6) she started school straight from 3 days at preschool. Of course 5 days a week has come as a shock, to all of us, but its also been extremely exhausting and having 2 children in primary school - its come with a number of bugs. 

Since September, our little family has suffered a stomach bug as well as a cold virus that seems to linger for about 3 weeks! - needless to say we've all been poorly more than well - or at least thats the way it feels!

Beat the bugs and prepare for cold and flu season with Dettol surface cleanser to kill 99.9% of bacteria. 
Fighting Bugs This Winter

I've been using Dettol products to help me get rid of all the bugs floating around our home! I love that Dettol surface cleanser protects against bacteria, flu virus and allergens - in our house we have a few allergy sufferers and asthmatics so anything that can help keep allergens under control is a plus. 

The bathroom wipes have come in very handy - I always worry with stomach bugs as they can just keep going round the family so these are just a quick and convenient way to help.

The laundry cleanser is actually rather clever - as we tend to wash on a lower temperature, not all bugs disappear in the wash - so a bit of laundry cleanser can really help to kill of any bugs. I was a little hesitant the first time we used it as our laundry products are all non bio and skin foundation approved - however for our family, we've got on well with the laundry cleanser. The Dettol website has some great tips.

Incidentally - Dettol are running a Care For Your Bear on Twitter @DettoTeddy #careforyourbear with the laundry cleanser. 

Research conducted by Dettol found that almost 50% of Mums worry about germs on soft toys yet nearly 50% of teddies were washed with contaminated items such as dirty underwear and tea towels and one in five teddy bears has never been washed at all!

Laboratory research found that 25% of bacteria on teddies were linked to faeces and 66% contained staphylococcus aureus which is linked to skin infections, respiratory disease and food poisoning.

I've got a Pinterest board full of tips for beating the common cold this winter that you might like to see.

Emma in Bromley xx

Disclaimer - Dettol sent me some products to use in my article.

Monday 9 November 2015

Bizzy Bitz Review

I was recently introduced to Bizzy Bitz and I was intrigued to find out more, I do love construction toys, anything that helps build fine motor skills and fires creative minds is great for children. Bizzy Bitz are a UK brand. 
 I received a box of 350 pieces to try out, they come in a handy plastic storage box. 

Bizzy Bitz - Emma in Bromley
Bizzy Bits come in a useful storage box and plenty of inspirational ideas. 

Bizzy Bitz - Emma in Bromley
The box contained a good assortment of creation booklets to refer to for building ideas. 
Bizzy Bitz - Emma in Bromley
There is such a large variety of shapes, sizes and colours to use, all clip together with a nook and nobble, really simple to clip together and take apart. There are so many options you can build 2d or 3d constructions. 

Bizzy Bitz - Emma in Bromley
The instructions for creations are all really simple, it starts by telling you exactly which parts you need, they are broken down into easy steps and clearly show you what part goes where. 
Bizzy Bitz - Emma in Bromley
We decided to have a go at making a caterpillar, we deviated slightly just to see what would happen if we used different colours to the suggestions. Although we followed the steps, it soon became intuitive to create our build.
Bizzy Bitz - Emma in Bromley
Here is our completed caterpillar! 

Emma in Bromley xx

Disclaimer: We received Bizzy Bitz for the purpose of this article.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Christmas Gift Guide 2015 Part One.

I absolutely love Christmas - more so now I have children - so I'm really excited to share with you my Christmas Gift Guide for 2015.

Sit back with a hot chocolate and prepare to be inspired and feel a little Christmas joy!

BigJigs wooden farm train set and christmas train - Christmas gift guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Adorable Bigjigs 44 piece Farm Train Set looks brilliant running around the base of the Christmas tree - I've paired the farm set with the Christmas Train available separately.

Polar Bear Sylvanian family - christmas gift guide 2015 - emma in bromley
Adorably festive Polar Bear family from Sylvanian Families - Peter, Barbara, Julia and Beth Polar Bear are all set for christmas! 

Rainbow Designs Interactive Talking Paddington Bear - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Marmalade sandwich anyone? cute and cuddly Interactive Paddington Bear from Rainbow Designs repeats key phrases from the movie. Incidentally Rainbow Designs also sell spare clothes for traditional Paddington Bears

Aquabeads - Christmas gift guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Aquabeads are a great gift or even stocking fillers, the range has many different accessory packs so you can really let your imagination go with these - the website also has printable templates too.
Autumn Leaves Lottie - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
If you haven't already come across Lottie Dolls- they are award winning dolls for children that reflect a 9 year old in both clothing and anatomy - Lottie comes in a choice of hair and eye colour and skin tones as well as a boy action figure. This one is Autumn Leaves Lottie all wrapped up warm in her winter coat and brown boots. Besides the UK Lottie website, there is now one for  EU Lottie too.
Lottie Accessories - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Also from Lottie are amazing accessories packs, absolutely perfect as stocking fillers or to go with someone's first Lottie! We've gone with Biscuit the Beagle, Super Lottie costume and Gone Fishing Finn  (for Finn action figure from Lottie) 

Illumi-Mate Stuart Minion Night Light - Christmas gift guide 2015 - Emma in bromley
Colour changing battery operated LED Illumi-mate Minion Stuart nightlight from B&Q is lots of fun and a great friend for bedtime! (Dave is also available)
Paul Lamond Paint by Numbers rainbow magic and dinosaur roar - Christmas gift guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Great paint by numbers kits by Paul Lamond are perfect for all craft loving children- Rainbow Magic kit creates 3d fairy pictures whilst the Dinosaur Roar kit create 3d dinosaurs.
Budkins Berties red tractor and pabo simmental calf from farm toys online - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Le Toy Van Budkins Bertie's Red Tractor is a lovely wooden tractor and trailer set that comes complete with Bertie the farmer himself - shown with a Pabo Simmental calf available separately both from Farm Toys Online.

Warmies Heatable Toys - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Warmies heatable soft toys can all be warmed in the microwave and are infused with the relaxing scent of lavender, Warmies Alfie the dog, Warmies Penguin and Warmies Bagpuss are all nestled together in this handled lined basket from Choice Baskets

Harry and Jacks Jetpack backpack rucksack - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
The best backpack I've ever come across - this one is the Harry and Jack's Jetpack but they also do a scuba diving one too! Very well made and cleverly thought out, right down to reflective areas, removable wrist strap "control panel for blast off" easy to use zips and drawstrings and plenty of pockets. Perfect for all Adventurers and Explorers.

Le Toy Van TV341 Wooden Jolly Pirate Ship - Christmas Gift Guide - Emma in Bromley

Le Toy Van TV341 Wooden Jolly Pirate Ship - Christmas Gift Guide - Emma in Bromley

Le Toy Van TV341 Wooden Jolly Pirate Ship - Christmas Gift Guide - Emma in Bromley
Award Winning TV341 Jolly Pirate Ship by Le Toy Van is a great wooden toy with brilliant details including sails, a plank to walk, a cannon (including two balls to fire) rope ladder up to the crows nest and an anchor to drop are just a few of the imagination sparking features. 

Peter Rabbit Wooden Building Blocks - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Really sweet Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit wooden building blocks from Rainbow Designs are perfect for the smallest people in the family.
Philips SoftPal Olaf light - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
This Olaf is actually a night light! Philips SoftPal portable Olaf nightlight is squishy and battery operated LED - just tilt him and he remains lit for 5 mins. 
Children Books - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
I always think books make great gifts for children, Have you seen newly published The Person Controller by David Baddiel  I'm also loving these classic boxsets The Famous Five collection and My Naughty Little Sister collection from the Works

Stocking Fillers for Grown Ups - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
A celebration of Owl keyrings from Dora Designs in tweeds and traditionally British fabrics, Yankee Candle Winter Glow small candle and the Real Shaving Co toiletries make the perfect stocking fillers for grown ups!
Lucia Oliver luxury candle - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Beautiful scented candle by Luxury boutique Lucia Oliver makes a great gift - packaged with care, includes a bow detail lid to protect your candle from dust and presented in a white opaque glass jar - a sublime selection of fragrances are available, I've gone for a festive spiced mandarin, cinnamon and myrrh. 
Dora Designs Doorstop, Choice Baskets picnic hamper, Martha and Hepsie, Premier Decorations - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Dora Designs Frog and Dog Doorstops are lovely - great details and really well made, they make great gifts. Everyone loves a hamper basket and this one from Choice Baskets is lined. Martha and Hepsie make great wrapping paper such as the penguin wrapping paper featured here and Premier Decorations created the little snow boy peeping through.  
Premier Decorations Glass Cake Dome - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Stunning glass cake dome and stand from Premier Decorations, beautiful lace detailed powder coated metal stand. 

Beautiful white metal  butterfly lantern by Puji looks great indoors or hung from its loop in the garden. 
Blue Suntree Nesting Penguins russian dolls - Christmas gift guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley

Love this modern Danish take on the babushka - a family of 5 wooden, hand painted nesting penguins from Blue Suntree. 
The London Silver Compant Spitfire Cufflinks - Plump It - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Handmade sterling silver Spitfire cufflinks with RAF roundel  from the London Silver Company are beautifully made. 

Plump It volumising lip plumper is one of the current fasted growing beauty products and I'm a fan of it myself!
The Personal Barber - Christmas Git Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
The Personal Barber subscription shaving service offers a starter box including Safety Razor, Brush and wet shave guide, the monthly box will include a selection of blades, balms, soaps, cologne etc tailored to the sophisticated and luxury shaving experience. An array of subscription and gift options are available. 
Mr Robin Bag by Katy Webster - Christmas Gift Guide 2015 - Emma in Bromley
Made by Talented Mr Robin bag (Katy Webster) natural cotton canvas tote shopper makes a brilliant sustainable gift. 

Rope Light, Stag Print and Faux Fur throw props are from B&Q and will feature in more of my Christmas articles :-)

Part Two Christmas Gift Guide 2015 Coming Soon!

Lets get Merry!

Emma in Bromley xx