A Festive Carnival

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Are you feeling festive yet?

I have to admit, I’m one of those annoying people who starts looking forward to Christmas around October-time.

And now we’re in full-on countdown to the big day, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

There’s just so much magic around at this time of year. And blogland is no different.

Which is why I jumped at the chance to host this week’s Britmums carnival of festive posts.

Whether you’re a festive fairy or a grumpy little elf, there’s bound to be something in this little bag of tricks to thrill you.

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Review: Wooden Pirate Ship Set

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If you’re anything like me, you’re probably sick of the plastic rubbish that so many toy shops offer to kids over the Christmas period.

Your little ones convince themselves they must have these items. And you buy them.

Then halfway through Boxing Day a piece breaks off. Your child shrugs, discards the toys and moves on to play with something else.

You might as well have set fire to your cash.

I’ve always found that good quality wooden toys are a hit with my boys – plus they’re hard-wearing enough to withstand their rough play.

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Thinking Outside The Box This Christmas

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This guest post comes to you courtesy of the lovely Nikki over at Stressy Mummy.

She’s a mother-of-four kids, aged from tots to teens, and a teacher turned freelance writer and social media consultant.

Check out her blog next time you have the chance. But in the meantime, she has a few Christmas gift ideas to share.

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Deal or No Deal?

BlackFridaycollageI’m always looking for ways to save money on stuff.

But I imagine I wasn’t the only one watching in horror last week as the Black Friday crowds stampeded over each other, in the hype to get a discount deal.

What sort of discount? Most of the shoppers being interviewed for the news channels had no idea.

They’d just heard there might be some good bargains inside, and so they waited and then threw themselves into the scrum as soon as the doors opened.

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Let’s End Going Home Alone

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Do you know what I find the saddest thing of all about Christmas?

It’s the fact that charitable giving and goodwill go up a notch at this time – showing that we generally don’t think of others for the remaining 11 months of the year.

And for those who are suffering, the festive season only seems to heighten their isolation, their poverty, their hopelessness.

So when the Royal Voluntary Service got in touch to tell me about their campaign to help the elderly who may be facing coming home from hospital all alone, I was happy to tell you lot all about it.

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Share the Magic with Disney

Woolly and Tig actor Colin McCredie with daughters Maisie, 11, and Betsy, 6.

Woolly and Tig actor Colin McCredie with daughters Maisie, 11, and Betsy, 6

We were invited along to the Glasgow Disney Store last week for a very special launch.

I’m only sorry we couldn’t make it, because I know the boys would have had a great time.

But I wanted to share with you a little of what the Disney Store gets up to at this time of year. We’ll certainly be paying our local outlet a visit very soon to get involved.

This year, The Disney Store is supporting In Kind Direct, for its annual Share the Magic charity campaign, which launched with Scottish celebrities and their families attending Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre Disney Store.

The Share the Magic initiative invites families to post their own Letter to Santa at Disney Stores across the country and online at disneystore.co.uk. For every letter posted a soft toy is donated to a child through Disney Store’s chosen national charities, up to a total of 25,000 across the UK and rest of Europe.

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Ten Years On

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My darling angels,

It’s been 10 years this month. Ten years since the hope was first taken from me. The hope of you.

A decade since my body let me down. Since I let you down. And you were taken from me.

Getting that little blue line which told me I was pregnant, and carrying that special feeling for more than a month, gave me emotions I’d never experienced before.

We were looking forward to telling our family about you. To preparing for your arrival. To becoming a family with you.

But all too soon, at the nine-week stage, I experienced bleeding and waves of stomach cramps.

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Let’s all Be Safe Be Seen

roads at night

Is it just me or did someone in the sky turn out the lights?

Seriously. After many months of long Summer nights, desperately putting up the blackout blinds so my boys would go to bed before 10pm, all of a sudden the sun has disappeared.

By the time school’s out, the light is rapidly fading.

And I’m driving home from work in the pitch black, feeling a serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder coming on.

Which is why the Be Safe Be Seen campaign is so important.

Road safety is something I’m trying to drum into my six-year-old – who runs everywhere at a million miles an hour.

At this time of year, it’s even more important that Blake knows to be careful when crossing the roads, when it’s likely motorists will struggle to see him.

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Energy Saving Tips You Might Not Have Thought Of

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We all pride ourselves on doing our bit to save energy – not just for the environment, but to cut down on our household bills.

When it comes to saving energy, I assumed that it was all a matter of common sense.

Recycle, turn the heating down when you can, switch off appliances when not in use… that sort of thing.

But once I’d done the Happier Homes energy quiz, I was surprised to score just 3-4 points on a scale which went up to 10. And I’m no dunce (honest!)

I bet there’s a few things on there you’d never thought of.

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Preparing Your Teen For The Road

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The many stages of childhood are just many stages of worry for parents, as far as I’m concerned.

At first, you worry about whether they’ll sleep through the night. When they do, you go through the milestones of walking, talking, eating solids, potty training (urrrrghhh!) – all the time worrying whether they’ll do it in good time and without any mishaps.

Then it’s school. Will they struggle to read and write? Will they make enough friends? Find confidence? Avoid bullies?

We’re at the schooldays stage now, having survived those early worries, and so far my boys seem to be coping well.

The next stage I’m dreading is when they’re learning to drive.

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