Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas to Do - Party Games


Christmas family fun, party games, what to do during Christmas holidays

I love it when PRs put in efforts in our parcels, it make us feel so special! Look how beautifully wrapped this is? It's all the little details that counts, thank you lovely ladies from John Adam Toys!


Christmas family fun, party games, what to do during Christmas holidays

That's right! This lovely parcel came from John Adams' Ideal Games, containing 3 family games perfect for Christmas time to keep guests entertained  while I slave in the kitchen ! Our parcel includes:

Split Second - ssp £19.99, suitable for 3-5 players aged 8+
Think Words - ssp £19.99, suitable for 2-8 players aged 8+
Rummikub - ssp £22.99, suitable for 2-4 players aged 8+

The lovely Christmas bauble with 3 chocolates and candy cane are just for me of course!

We'll be playing the games with my family this Christmas, but I thought I should share with you how the games work as you might want to get them for your Christmas too!


Christmas family fun, party games, what to do during Christmas holidays

Split Second is a fast play game containing 500 questions split into 5 categories. The game tests players' ability to answer questions as quickly as possible. Players take turn to be the question master, who must spin the dial and ask one of the categories. The other players must write down their answers as fast as possible onto their spring-loaded game unit paddles and release them into the centre. The quickest correct answer wins a point.


Christmas family fun, party games, what to do during Christmas holidays
Stack of cards are stored at the base of the electronic gaming unit
Think Words , awarded a Best New Toy Award at London Toy Fair this year, comes with an electronic gaming unit (takes 2 AA batteries), 36 double sides cards, each side with 2 questions, ie a total of 144 questions and an instruction leaflet. Players take turn to pick a card, ask a question, press the timer button in the middle of the gaming unit, and the next player must think of an answer that starts with a letter on the gaming unit. That player then press the letter down on the unit and reset the timer for the next player, who has to do exactly the same steps but choose a word that starts with a letter that has not been pressed down on the unit yet. Players are eliminated by choosing the wrong word or not coming up with a word within the time limit, and the last one standing wins the game.


Christmas family fun, party games, what to do during Christmas holidays

Rummikub is a classic family game that's been played for more than 50 years. It comes with 4 2-tier racks, 4 rack holders, 106 engraved plastictiles (1 to 13 in 4 different colours) and instruction leaflet. In order to win, players must place all of their tiles in sets from their rack onto the table. Sets can be made up of either 3 or 4 tiles of the same number, but each in a different colour, or 3 or more consecutive numbers which are of the same colour.


Interested? Then buy yours now in any good toy stores and have an exciting Christmas with friends and family!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Intu Trafford Centre Santa Grotto 2014


Trafford Centre Santa Grotto 2014, visit Santa, Christmas family day out Manchester

Have you seen The Snowman and The Snowdog? We haven't, but after visiting Manchester Trafford Centre's The Snowman and The Snowdog Christmas Grotto last Sunday, we will be buying the DVD so that we can watch the full movie!

The last time we went to Trafford Centre's Christmas Grotto was back in 2011. We watched a short film (I can't quite remember but it could be The Snowman) before visiting Santa, and I remember feeling crowded as all the family visiting during the time slot were squeezed into the same room as Santa, and we had to wait for him to talk to the children in turns. A lot has changed since then, and the waiting time has shortened immensely. We even get Santa all to ourselves in a private room!


Trafford Centre Santa Grotto 2014, visit Santa, Christmas family day out Manchester

Trafford Centre Santa Grotto 2014, visit Santa, Christmas family day out Manchester

Trafford Centre Santa Grotto 2014, visit Santa, Christmas family day out Manchester

Trafford Centre's Britain's first The Snowman and The Snowdog Christmas Grotto is located in Barton Grange where Legoland Discovery Centre and Sea Life are (you can easily make a family Christmas day out out of this!). When we arrived, we noticed the sign saying that the Grotto was fully booked for the day, how popular!

The Grotto looked really magical inside and out, and we couldn't stop wow-ing at the sparkling lights! The staff were really friendly and helpful, and kept the children busy while we were waiting so that they wouldn't get bored. We didn't have to wait for very long though (less than 10 minutes since we joined the few other families), and soon it was our group's turn to go in and watch the film. We really liked how the storyteller told the story!


Trafford Centre Santa Grotto 2014, visit Santa, Christmas family day out Manchester

Trafford Centre Santa Grotto 2014, visit Santa, Christmas family day out Manchester

After we left the story room, the children were given a Letter to Santa template to write down what they'd like to get for Christmas, which they can then post in the post box situated in the hallway before meeting Santa. We were then led to a quiet and cosy room to meet him! He was very kind and gave each of the kids a lovely wrapped present, which are both under our Christmas tree, waiting to be opened on Christmas day.

I also appreciated that the helper offered us a picture with Santa instead of forcing us to take it, but it would be better if she took the 3 images a bit slower so that they didn't come out looking exactly the same hehe.

Both the kids really enjoyed this year's Christmas Grotto experience, and we can't wait to watch The Snowman and The Snowdog! The lovely PR has also given the kids an amazing goodie bag, making this a really magical and exciting experience for them, thank you so much!

Booking for Trafford Centre The Snowman and The Snowdog Christmas Grotto is still available, and you can book here on their website. It's only £4.50 per child which includes a gift, and £2.50 for an adult. They are open all the way until Christmas Eve evening (5pm), so do book it when you get a chance, it really is a lovely experience!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmas with Laura Ashley


Laura Ashley, Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas, Christmas Crafts

Most of you know that I'm not a very crafty person, so I was really excited when Laura Ashley invited me to join my lovely North West Blogger friends to attend their Christmas craft workshop and pick up some gift wrapping ideas. I can do the basic, but has always wanted to do something special with my gifts.

I arrived a bit early and saw the lovely ladies from the Ministry of Craft preparing our workshop, which includes a table full of sewing machines! I admit I panicked a bit as it was almost 15 years ago when I last used one, but I was sure it was going to be fun. At least I knew I won't be judged!


Laura Ashley, Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas, Christmas Crafts

We were split into 2 groups and I decided to get the sewing out of the way first. We were to sew a bunting present sack using Laura Ashley's lovely fabrics. My favourite was the one with the pink berries, which reminded me a bit of cherry blossom.

We were meant to sew 3 rows of bunting, but I ended up with no space for the 3rd. It's okay, I can still add a bow in the corner so never mind. But then I had to redo the top second flag because I aligned the ribbon and flag wrong, and I still didn't get it right the second time haha (hopeless). The last second flag came off as well and was hanging on its dear life as one of its corner came off. I managed to sew the rest of the sack together though, and I guess I can always use hot glue gun to glue the 2 loose bits!


Image courtesy of Laura Ashley
Laura Ashley, Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas, Christmas Crafts

Laura Ashley, Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas, Christmas Crafts

After indulging in some yummy canapes and tea (really good tea and coffee from Rosylee), we continued with the second craft - Origami gift box and bow using Laura Ashley's wallpapers! I chose 2 different pattern for the lid and base, and it matches my sofa haha.

The origami gift box is so easy to make and there was no sticking involved! I'm going to remember how to make this, it'll be perfect for presents with lots of bits and bobs or presents with an awkward shape. You can even line the base with a piece of cardboard just to make it a bit stronger.

The event's timing was perfect, but I had to rush to Trafford Centre, so I couldn't finish my gift bow. Luckily they've given us instruction sheets for the bow, so now I just need to get some strong double sided tape and redo the bow so it'll look just like the one on the sample boxes!


Laura Ashley, Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas, Christmas Crafts

I had an absolutely fantastic time and although there were hick-ups, I was very pleased with my creations! I was really happy to see my fellow blogger friends again as well, and there were plenty of giggles and catching ups too! After a long time without Internet, this was exactly what I needed! And Laura Ashley has also kindly given us each a lovely bag full of Christmas presents, including

a set of 6 lovely silver dinner candles
a beautiful Christmas bauble and
a fantastic cookie cutter decoration set, which comes with 3 pairs of cookie cutters for you to make Stained Glass cookies!

What more can a blogger ask for from a fantastic event??

If you are still doing last minute shopping like me, Laura Ashley is having a 50% off sale at the moment! Don't forget to pick up some lovely wallpapers and fabrics as well to get crafty and get yourself into the Christmas mood! 10 days to go!

You can see more pictures of the day, the pattern of the fabrics and wallpapers used and tutorials for the crafts we made at Laura Ashley's blog now.

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