|FAMILY|birthday interview download




The 26th December marked a big birthday in the Bramham household! T turned 4 he's officially a self proclaimed 'big boy' now ;)

From now on to mark his birthday's I intend to 'interview' him and keep all the responses to give him when he's an adult (probably keeping a copy for us too!). I expect the questions will evolve over time, but for now I've kept them pretty basic.

Along with the questions I added somewhere to write his name himself, draw a picture of something of his choice and add a photo.

He loved doing this little birthday activity.  

You can download a copy of our birthday interview here if you'd like to use it.



Please do use #larabeeuk if you use this as I'd love to see your versions.

Lx

|FUN|kids travelling craft swap


The Rules - updated for 2016!

As this is an ongoing craft swap there is no cut off. 

I will post the first box by Friday 8 January. 

I will email you details of the person to post your box to. 

1. By signing up you are committing to sending the box on to the next recipient at an approximate cost of £3.20, so if there's nothing you'd like when the box gets to you, I'm afraid you will still be responsible for posting on.

2. You commit to sending on your box within 3 weeks of receiving.  

3. You agree to post on the Facebook group when you've received the box showing the current contents and again when the parcel is on it's way to the next recipient.  You also agree to post on Instagram #kidstravellingcraftswap

4. Partially used items are fine to add as long as they are in a usable condition. 

5. Remember to put in items to an equal or greater amount to those you take.

6. Due to high postage costs, I'm sorry that this swap is open to UK residents only.

7. Proof of postage should be obtained and kept until your recipient has posted that they have received. 

8. Please keep to under 2kg to keep postage costs down.

9. We'd love to see how you've used the items from this swap, please participate in the 'community'.

10. By agreeing and posting photos you agree for your photos to be shared in future swaps or blog posts. Please do not join in if you do not want photos to be shared.

Interested?  Email me your address with the subject '#kidstravellingcraftswap'

xx

|FUN|nativity stained glass picture


T has his nativity play at nursery at the weekend and he's paying Joseph!  So we've been reading, singing and drawing all things nativity at the moment!  T has never really understood the true meaning of Christmas until this year and now I think it's really important for him to understand why we celebrate. 

This is a really simple activity which we did this week and have added to our Christmas gallery! 


I printed off a picture from a Google search, the transparencies I have are not compatible with our printers so instead of printing directly onto them (which of course would have been much better!) I placed the transparency on top of the picture and drew over it in a sharpie. 


When I'd finished we turned it over and T coloured it in using sharpies. 

We were then able to stick it on our gallery Windows, it looks lovely when the sun shines through and we had so much fun making it. 


What part are your children playing in the school/nursery productions this year?

|CREATE|quick and easy Christmas cushion covers


I wanted to give our bedroom a bit of a chrissmasy feel this year and so I purchased a few items to update it, I have a blog post coming which will give more details about the ful makeover, but for now I thought I'd show you this simple way to update some existing cushions, cheaply and easily. Also if you are short on space like I am you don't have to find somewhere to store your 'usual' cushions whilst the Christmas ones are out!

You will need:
A pillowcase
Felt
Double sided tape
A stencil (I used a reindeer sharp from some lights we've used in our makeover)
Small scissors
Needle and cotton


1. Use the stencil to cut out the desired shape from the felt.


2. Add double sided tape to the reverse of the felt shape and stick in place. 


3. Fold the pillowcase around the cusion, obviously this will change depending on the size and shape of the cushion you use. 

4. Stitch along the edges of the cushion, I only sewed about 1/4 of the way up, but you could go right around all sides to make it neater. If these were in our living room is have been a bit neater and particular but this is fine for the bedroom. Use a nice big stitch so it's easy to run scissors through and un-do the stitches after you've finished with them. 


Obviously, the double sided appliqué won't hold a lot of handling so this really is just for decoration and of course they cannot be washed!

I hope you've liked this simple little project, I can't wait to share the rest of the room with you! 

|FOOD REVIEW|La Terraza Tapas Bar, Northampton



We have found a little gem of a tapas bar in Grange Park in Northampton, I love that La Terraza tapas bar is so close to where we live too, so I’m sure we’ll be visiting often.  It’s certainly going to be on the top of my birthday meal venues!

Photo from laterraza.co.uk

We visited with 4 of our friends for a lovely night out.  La Terraza is located just behind Budgen’s on Grange Park and in an area of red brick and industry looks so warm and inviting inside, I couldn’t wait to visit.  We were given a lovely warm welcome and taken to our seats, the atmosphere was really buzzing but we were still able to chat and enjoy ourselves without being drowned out by music or other noise (oh gosh, I’m getting so old!)
 

The menu is pretty vast for quite a small establishment, with many items suitable for vegetarians, I didn’t go short of food at all.  I think we almost managed to order everything off the menu, I haven’t eaten Tapas in Spain before but our friends had, and they love it so much they’ve even been 3 times since our visit.  So I’m assured that it’s authentic and fresh, it certainly tasted pretty good to me.

Photo's from laterraza.co.uk

My favourite were the Patatas Bravas, the scrumptious potatoes served with lovely potent alioli!
 

I’ll be visiting again soon during the day with T and look forward to introducing him to some of the flavours and dining style, I'm quite certain that he will love the Tortilla Espanola which was delicious.
 


I personally loved that you could watch the chefs cooking up the food whilst sitting at the bar.  Great choice of Spanish beers, the house white was really nice and they make a mean mojito ok, so not Spanish, but it was very nice!!!

 


The salted caramel ice cream with crushed walnuts and caramel sauce I had for desert was delicious!  I will certainly be ordering that again!
 Such beautiful food, lovely surroundings and a fantastic atmosphere really made for a night to remember, I couldn’t recommend highly enough and just look how lovely it is all decked out for Christmas!

 
At between £3.95 and £5.95 on average for each dish it works out a very reasonable meal.
 
Disclaimer: We were given a £50 food bill in exchange for our honest review.  We highly recommend La Terraza if you are local or in the area, I keep telling people about it as I loved it so much!

|LEARN|kids graph introduction activity using christmas cards



I thought I’d share with you a simple little learning activity which I’ve been doing with T this Christmas.  As he’ll be starting school in less than 10 months (eeeeeeeek!) we’ve been doing a few more learning activities lately alongside our crafty or creative activities.

This one is to start to introduce the concept of graphs and charting with a little one, without them really having to understand what it is they are doing!


I created a very simple graph with numbers along the Y axis, and along the X axis we added some Christmas stickers to denote the Christmas card type.


Quite simply, each time we receive a Christmas card, T gets to open it and then he adds a sticker next to the relevant sticker on the X axis.  We have a little elf on the end which is where we add all the cards that don’t fit into any of the other categories.

T is loving doing this little activity and I’m hoping it is giving him the starting steps to recognise what a graph is when the time comes.

On the maths learning subject, I’ve noticed that T now knows all his numbers all of a sudden.  Now I’ve been working on these with him for the longest time and he can never remember.  Well it would seem that when he has to identify the correct number on his advent calendar he can manage it, the little monkey!  Sometimes he pretends he doesn’t know things when he really does, does anyone else notice this with their little ones?
 
 Toddler Approved Tuesday

|HOTEL REVIEW|The View Hotel, Eastbourne



We were very lucky to be guests at The View Hotel in Eastbourne recently, the hotel is located on the Grand Parade and offers amazing views.
 
Offering sea facing balcony rooms that allow you to soak in the very best view around.
 
From the moment we walked through the doors of the hotel we were greeted with a very warm smile from the receptionist who was lovely, she checked us in with ease and friendliness and instantly made me feel at ease.  I must admit I was slightly worried about taking (nearly) 4 year old T along to The View Hotel as it looked far nicer than the usual ‘family friendly’ hotel’s we have been to.  I really needn’t have worried, although The View has the luxury and style of a more exclusive hotel, it has the added bonus of being child friendly and T was welcomed by the reception and breakfast staff in the same way as any other guest.


We were given a suite on the hotel front overlooking the sea, even in the winter this is such a lovely view looking out at the pier from all windows.  Towards the evening as the darkness set in, the parade and pier lights came on and the view was fantastic, this, of course was a real treat for T.  He loved looking out of the large windows on his balcony to see the lights.




After settling in T decided that he wanted to try out the TV in the bathroom, which was very spacious, clean and modern.  T spent almost an hour ‘swimming’ in the bath and watching the TV, even though we visited Father Christmas the weekend we went, this was most certainly the highlight of his weekend!


Our suite had 2 rooms plus bathroom, the room T slept in had an incredibly comfortable sofa bed with some small chairs, a mini fridge (great for our prosecco!), hospitality tray and a TV.


Our room had a spacious wardrobe, dressing table area and TV.  One thing that really stood out for us was the number of power sockets!  We always seem to run out of power sockets when we go away, so it was fantastic for us to be able to plug everything in and not have to remember to shuffle about!


The hospitality tray was well filled, including biscuits and hot chocolate for The Hubs!  T also liked the fact he could put his juice in the fridge!

Because of the Christmas period we were unable to dine in the restaurant for dinner, which I really should have thought about and booked.  The bar was open for dinner though.


Breakfast was very good, a fantastic selection and very friendly staff.  T was the only child in the restaurant at the time we ate and was treated in a very friendly and kind manner.  The Hubs was thrilled to see black pudding on the server too!

We had a wonderful time at The View Hotel and will certainly stay there again, although we might not be able to afford the fabulous suite that we were so kindly given this time.  If it’s within your budget though, I’d highly recommend as it’s most certainly worth it.


The cost of the suite we stayed in would have been £203.00 per night.  However, a smaller room could be booked form £135.15.

In true 'Four in a bed' style this is how we'd rate our stay (out of 10) ...

1. How was the hospitality at the hotel?
9 - lovely friendly staff who made us feel very welcome

2. How clean was the hotel?
10 - exceptionally clean.

3. How were the facilities?
9 - good tv, free wifi, bar on site and restaurant on site, beautiful views, reasonable room service, iron & ironing board and hairdryer in room.  Great complimentary toiletries (including toothbrushes, razors & bath salts)  

4. How did you sleep?
10 – could not hear any noise at all, nothing from the road, nothing from inside the hotel.

5. How was breakfast?
9 – very good lots of choice, great for a veggie like me, some items were a little cold, but were replaced when this was brought to the attention of the catering staff.

6. Would you stay here again?
Absolutely

7. Would you pay the full rate for your stay?
Yes we would, for a special treat.  We would however, certainly visit again in a cheaper room.

8. What is your overall 'value for money' star rating out of 5?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

'A luxury family friendly hotel'

Pros
Family friendly
Sea front views
Fridge in room!
TV in bathroom
Very quiet and peaceful
Great breakfast
Cons
On street parking (we didn’t have a problem but I can imagine in high season it would be more difficult)
No check in until 3pm

Disclaimer: we were given a complimentary stay in return for this honest review, we would have no qualms in recommending this hotel to friends and family travelling for business or leisure.

 

|FOOD|orange hot white chocolate

 
This weekend The Hubs and I had a stay at home date night.  I’ll be writing about that more in a future post but for now I’m going to share with you a scrumptious hot chocolate that we had.

For this recipe for 2 you will need:
400ml milk
1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
2 tsp orange essence (or 2 shots of Cointreau)
Squirty cream
Orange sugar or sprinkles
White chocolate chips (or stars as we’ve used)

This is such a simple recipe which can easily be made in the microwave or made on the hob.

Method
1.    Pour milk and chocolate chips into a plastic jug and microwave on high in bursts of 30 seconds until the milk is hot and the chocolate is nicely melted.  (to cook on the hob, just add the milk, chocolate & orange essence to a pan and heat gently, serve once the chocolate has melted)
 



2.    Add the orange essence

3.    Pour into suitable cups, top with squirty cream and sprinkles, I used orange sugar, white chocolate stars and a tiny bit of silver edible glitter!
 
Enjoy!

 
I've linked this post to Cuddle Fairy's Holiday Recipes Linky.

|CREATE|snow place like home


We were recently challenged to create an igloo fit for 'Santa and all of his elves' from Ocean finance loans.

T wanted to go all out traditional with our igloo and so we decorated it in a winter theme with some of the frozen characters added on. 

We were sent the rather fabulous cardboard igloo playhouse and a vouchers for £15 to purchase supplies. 


As you can see the igloo is a fabulous size!

We set to work installing some lights in the top to make it look like a starry night, we they laid cotton wool 'snow' over the top. 

We brought a wooden reindeer from hobbycraft and painted it brown, attaching mini snowflake confetti all over the sides.


We finished our igloo with some drawings from frozen which The Hubs added for us, which turned out really well.  And we added more snow around the bottom and on the entrance.


We brought some snowflake kits from hobbycraft and make those up, sticking them around the roof of the igloo.


To complete our igloo, we added a fake fur throw and some winter blankets and T can now often be found nice and snug in there watching the iPad or reading a book!

|CREATE|christmas crafting with Baker Ross



 
I love Baker Ross products, I know I get a bit gushy, but they really are so great for kids.  T is almost 4 and he can't wait to open his Baker Ross bloggers pack and get stuck in making when it arrives.
 
 
Our Christmas review box, certainly didn't disappoint!
 
There's still plenty of time to order for Christmas and many items are discounted!

 
T picked out the Christmas stocking sewing kit £2.49 for 3 for his first activity, I was a little dubious as he's not the most patient boy and I thought the sewing might be too much for him but we gave it a go!

 
Each kit contains a plastic needle, with a rounded end it is perfect for this project and just right for little hands, I love that it can be used again too.  Each kit comes with one so if you have more children they don't have to wait in turn for it!

 
He did really well with the sewing, watching how I did it first to start him off, then copying himself.  The clean holes in the felt and his 'special needle' made this activity really enjoyable for him and felt very grown up being able to do it himself!

 
The felt details come in the form of stickers which make finishing off the stocking nice and easy, perfect for little hands.
 
 
T loves the foam coaster kits from Baker Ross, we've had a couple now and he loves that he can line up the stickers on the right colour do most of this by himself, he does struggle to get the stickers out of the little packs though so I do have to help out there.  He really enjoyed making the Snowman coaster kits £3.60 for 6

 
Our Snowflake wand kits £3.49 for 3 we all made together, I love a good old family crafting session and Daddy enjoyed these al,oat as much as T, although we didn't add the wands as we have stuck them on the patio windows, where they look super effective!

 
In true Baker Ross style everything you may need is included in each individual pack, with the exception of glue, this makes them perfect for taking away with you, doing in the car when travelling for Christmas or for passing a bit of time before Christmas dinner!


T customised his snowflake with a bit of glitter glue, he's definitely not a 'less is more' kind of boy! 

 
My favourite kit in the Christmas box were these fab Christmas owl sequin decoration kits £3.99 for 3 containing tiny plastic pins to attach the sequins T and I had lots of fun putting these together.

 
He really enjoys sticking on the foam stickers to complete the characters and is getting pretty good at lining them up nicely now.

 


The Reindeer handprint antler crown kits are now selling for £2.49 for 4 and T loved these, he even made up little packs for his 3 best buddies so they could have one on Christmas Day too!  T has stashed his away ready to bring out for Christmas dinner apparently! 

Who doesn't love a Pom Pom?  These Christmas Pom Pom decoration kits  £3.60 for 3 were in our kit, but as T can't yet make Pom poms, we've not got round to doing them.  They are so cute though, i particularly like the reindeer and T likes the Santa, he's going to be putting these on his tree in his room.

Remember there's still time to order your packs for Christmas, they make great stocking fillers, boredom busters or a great travelling activity if you are on the road this Christmas.

DISCLAIMER: we were sent this box of kits to review as Baker Ross bloggers, all words and opinions are our own.