Tuesday, 13 November 2018

15 Great Gifts to buy a Teen Boy for Christmas - Gift Guide

Christmas is fast approaching and I do love to get ready nice and early so that I can spend most of December spending time with my family and enjoying Advent. I have to admit that I far prefer buying for women than men, probably because I'm a woman but it just seems so much easier.  I'm determined that my teenage son won't miss out on the fun though and I thought I'd share with you some suggestions of items to buy for a teenage boy this year.

If you ask my son what he'd like for Christmas or a birthday his stock answer is money, that's because he is always saving up for the next laptop, gaming headset, phone or other such gadget. I'm sure we will give him some money but he needs some gifts to open too and I've found in the past when I give him items that he doesn't even know he wants, he ends up having fun and it keeps him off his tech for an hour or two and that's a win in my book!

Gifts for under £5.00

Haribo Festive Treats - from £1
Who doesn't love Haribo sweets? I don't think there is any age cap on them and I know all my kids will be pleased to receive a selection box, cracker or tree hanging gift this year. With prices starting from just £1 they are a delicious bargain and can be picked up at any supermarket.

Haribo sweets

Sudoku Cube Puzzle - £2.99
I love this 6cm x 6cm x 6cm cube, it is an amazing price and looks great quality too. Even better it will fit in JJ's stocking. Here is what they say on the Find Me A Gift site - "through the ungodly union of Sudoku and Rubik's cube, we bring you the Sudoku Cube! This fiendishly difficult little puzzle might look unassuming, but it's here to make you grit your teeth and swear under your breath in frustration." Just perfect for my smarty pants to keep him occupied for a few hours over Christmas, or in the car on a long journey.

Suduko game cube

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Posterhaste Family Portrait Review - A Perfect Gift

I love personalised gifts and I think this quirky family portrait from Posterhaste is a perfect Christmas gift for my husband. It was super easy to create, I could customise it to get it just how I wanted and there are a range of options to make it affordable for all pockets. An 8" x 10" print is just £20 and the largest size 20" x 32" print, in a 24" x 36" 100% wooden sealed frame is £115.00.

We went for a 12" x 16" print in a 16" x 20" black frame, as chosen by Miss E. I did fancy the light natural wood, but she (quite rightly, I expect) pointed out that my husband would probably prefer the black. This retails for £70.00.

I found the customisation tool on the Posterhaste site to be very easy to use. On the right hand side of the screen you choose whether you want a print, poster, framed print or box canvas and then you have the options for orientation. We went for landscape as there are five members of our family and also our new cat, so this seemed the most spacious way to display everyone.

You then choose the size, colour background for the picture and a title name. Next you add each of your family members and customise them to get a fun but recognisable likeness. I liked the fact you can choose some quirky items like headphones and a crown. It was an obvious choice for us to put a crown on Miss M's head and I'm sure it will make my husband smile when he sees it.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

36 Hours in London with my Hubby - A Big Reason to be Cheerful

How are you today friends? I hope the week has been treating you kindly. It’s been quite a good one here and I’m looking forward to a chilled and uneventful weekend.

The basis of this weeks Reasons to be Cheerful post was my overnight stay in London with my hubby last weekend. We only had 36 hours up there but it was enough to tire me out, as well as provide a fabulous time.

We headed up on the Friday morning once the kids were off to school and started the day with a wander of Borough Market, with coffee and cake at Southwark cathedral. It’s so nice to be able to chat without interruptions, and I really needed a break from hearing ‘Mum’!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Lunch at London Steakhouse Co.and Visit the Shard, Buyagift Experience Days Review

With Christmas just around the corner it can be so hard to know what to buy for friends and family, especially as you get older as people have all the 'things' they want or need. In recent years I've been giving the gift of time to those I love. I have taken my Mum and daughters away to hotels, for gorgeous food or for thrills like Go Ape but it really can take so much time finding the best deals and planning it all.

What I've discovered this year is that there are companies who can do all the hard work for you, and brilliantly you can still secure a great price. I've been working with buyagift.co.uk to review their "The View from The Shard with Three Courses and Cocktails at London Steakhouse Co." experience. The current price is £95, against an RRP of £160, so that's a brilliant saving of 41%.

The cost to book direct with The View from the Shard for two adult tickets is £49 and if you booked a three course set meal direct with the London Steakhouse Co. it would be £59, then £21 for the two cocktails, so that makes a total of £129 when booked direct. This means the £95 really is a very good saving and considering you know the experience is tried and tested, and you can read lots of independent reviews on the site, I think that's great.

Last weekend my husband and I headed up to London to attend a conference and stay overnight and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to go and try out the London Steakhouse Co. and we were not disappointed. There is the choice of the City or Chelsea restaurant and we opted for the City as this was most convenient for us and it is a great location, easily accessible to all the major train stations and just a few minutes walk from Liverpool Street tube station.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Catching Contentment by Liz Carter, A Really Great Read!

Liz Carter
Fifteen years ago when I was pregnant with JJ, I didn't have any friends who were pregnant, so I found myself on a site called BabyCentre virtually meeting lots of other women who were also expecting a child at the same time as me. We were the October 2003 birth club and now in 2018, I still regularly chat to around ten of those women, having met some of them a few times over the years.

One of them is an amazing and inspiring Christian woman called Liz Carter who writes a blog called A Great Adventure, which is a really great read. Liz has a wonderful way with words and I've enjoyed reading her musings over the years, so I was thrilled last year to discover she was writing a book. It's evident from Liz's writing that she has a deep and profound relationship with God and it has been amazing and uplifting to see over the years just how she has dug into this relationship and remained strong in her faith despite having a chronic lifelong illness.

I don't know if it is is because of, or in spite of, Liz's battles with lung disease and all the medical complications that accompany it, that Liz has a quiet confidence in our Lord, but her writing on contentment and why we can all capture it, whatever our situation is inspiring and accessible to all.

Catching Contentment is such an interesting book that really opened my eyes and introduced me to so many new ideas and concepts that I’ve truly never thought through before. I loved the practical reflections which really drew you into the topic and helped you reflect on your identity and contentment in a personal way.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Happy Thursday Friends! What's making you Cheerful?

It's time for Reasons to be Cheerful and I really wasn't feeling it as I wrote this on Wednesday night. I'm tired (the cat has taken to waking me at 4.15am!), I don't feel as if I've been productive today and I suspect I'm hormonal but sadly I never really know as my cycle isn't reliable.

However, as always just the act of writing out a gratitude post has put a smile on my face and reminded me that generally its been a good week and I have a fab weekend to look forward to as well.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so here we go....

I get to live here and I just love the views as the sun sets. At this time I was happily working along chatting to my boy, with a cappuccino in hand.

Miss E made banana and chocolate chip bread all by herself. I can't wait to try it tomorrow.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Seeing the Seals at Blakeney Point with Beans Boat Trips

seal pup

At the end of the summer we had a lovely stay in Fakenham, North Norfolk. We stayed at the White House cottage, which is an Air BnB property and we love it there. This is our second year staying and I’m sure we’ll go back as it suits all the family, with animals to keep the girls entertained, good Wi-fi for JJ and a lovely lounge and garden for my husband and I to fully relax in.

About a twenty minute drive away is the NationalTrust maintained nature reserve of Morston Quay and Blakeney Point. This is a great place to go for a family walk and just have a look around at the boats mooring up or travelling down the river.

We went there specifically to go out on a boat trip to see the seals which head there to relax and carry their babies. There are a number of companies offering boat trips out to see the seals, the two most popular ones seem to be Beans and Temples and from I understand from friends who have used both, they are are both reliable, quality and pretty much of a likeness.

Mum & daughters on a boat

For no particular reason we used Beans boats trips and all the information about sailing times and prices is on their website. You do need to call to make your booking but there is no payment in advance, you pay on the day when you arrive. For this reason there did appear to be some non-arrivals and there were plenty of people who’d arrived without reservations and were waiting in reserve.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful - Italian, Community Day and Bathtime Bliss

I've loved it being half-term this week but I can't believe how quick it came about, and how quick it is whizzing by!

It's been a fab week, we took it pretty easy over the weekend as my husband was with his cub pack at camp but the girls and I enjoyed lunch at Prezzo.

Monday was community day here where we live, so everyone joined in with fun and games together. Loads of laughs were had and Miss E enjoyed making loads of cakes with my husband ready for the Autumn feast, we enjoyed in the evening.