Living Arrows Week 48 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

It seems to be getting more and more difficult to get a snap of Bess so for now I thought I would include 2 of Moose!

The first pic this week was actually requested by Moose for once. He usually requires a bit of persuasion to pose for a photo but he was pleased as punch to have chosen something to spend his birthday money from August on.

We happened to spot this scooter in a local shop. It has a backpack on the front which is very handy because Moose can use it to carry things while he scoots and then when he gets tired of scooting (scootering?) I can fold the scooter up and wear it over my shoulder. Moose has asked to go out on it every day since he bought it. He loves it. I love that he loves it. Also he is wearing his eye patch every day without complaint.

The second photo this week was taken while Moose was home from school with Chickenpox. I thought since we were stuck indoors we may as well get the xmas decs down from the loft and get cracking! I was very good and didn’t even reorganise the tree (much) after Moose had finished hanging the baubles!


Living Arrows

Christmas Gift Ideas – Children

This post contains gifted items

My least favourite part of Christmas is shopping.  Choosing gifts for children however is a horse of a different colour. Whether I am selecting gifts for my own 3 or to donate to our local giving tree I love it! Here is a selection of gifts which I believe will be a hit this Christmas.


Playmobil is such an incredible toy for imaginative play. I had Playmobil toys when I was child and now all 3 of my own children have loved it too. Moose is really into it at the moment and I just know that he will adore the How To Train Your Dragon set.

A little while ago we were sent the Playmobil MARS Space Station to try out. Moose hasn’t stopped playing with it since so the Mars Mission Rocket will definitely go down well with him! I really like that the MARS Playmobil can fit together so that they can be played with as one big set or as smaller modules.

That’s the great thing about Playmobil, it is adaptable and has a range of ways a child (or a particularly eager adult) can play with it.

playmobil rocket



Moose opted for Angry Birds 2 as his birthday movie this year at the cinema so it came as no surprise whatsoever that an Angry Birds version of a family favourite might be popular. This one is really easy to play, doesn’t take very long and is great fun.

Flags of the World is a great fun game packed with information about countries, capitals, lakes and populations. The game contains 200 high quality cards each showing the flag of an independent nation. On the back of each card you will find information about the country, its capital and geographic location, as well as clues to its identity such as mountains, rivers, natural resources and so on. There are three sets of rules for adults plus one for children. The rules can be modified according to the levels of difficulty and to your own ideas. Great fun!

Don’t Rock The Boat game is a great one for families. Arrrr ye ready for some fun? Take turns to balance your pirate penguins on the ship but if you rock the boat and send some mateys overboard ye be a landlubber! This 10-1/2×10-1/2×3-1/2 inch package contains a ship with three masts two piece water waves sixteen pirate penguins and rules. For 2 to 4 players or teams. For ages 5 and up.


Take N Play Anywhere – Magnetic Travel Game Tins are one of my favourite finds for Moose this Christmas! Not only are they inexpensive (around £7.99) but because they are magnetic they are great for stashing in your bag so you can play anywhere.

Gifts for the really little ones

Whether you are buying for a boy or a girl the Baby Gund Sleepy Seas Light & Sounds Whale would make a perfect gift. This musical soft toy will help your babies drift off to sleep. The whale is presented in an oh-so-soft light blue fabric, with blue ribbons for its hair, and dark embroidery creating a smiling face. Press the left fin and the animated whale splashes into life. Press the musical note on its right fin and the plush starts to play one of five different noises: Ocean Magic, Soothing Ocean Whale Sounds, Brahms’ Lullaby, Bubbles or Ocean White Noise.

Sometimes practical gifts are the best option for new babies. The award winning Microwave Steam Steriliser from MAM now comes in a new trendy grey colour with 6 bottles! The MAM Microwave Steriliser helps make cleaning your baby accessories that little bit easier. Up to six MAM bottles fit comfortably across the two levels and in as little as 5 minutes all of your feeding equipment will be cleaned and stored hygienically for up to 48 hours. The compact design allows for easy storage in a cupboard or microwave when not in use, keeping your work service free from clutter. When travelling, the Microwave Steriliser can also be used as a Cold water steriliser.


Something to read


How exciting it would be for a child who is learning to read to be able to find a book all about them. We love Mason Goes To Sleep because it’s a great little story which runs through the bedtime routine and is just long enough to entertain.

mason goes to sleep

The Toniebox is something completely new and unlike any other children’s audio book I have seen before. It’s an easy to set up audiobox which plays stories. You place a Tonie character on top and the audiobox uses that to play a story through it’s speakers. Moose absolutely loves listening to The Snowman on his and we even have a blank Tonie onto which we can record our own audio book. Neat!

If you have an older child who loves to read then you should check out Freya Fontaine and the Winged Lion of Aretas. It’s an exciting new adventure story and Bess loved it!

Freya was just a regular eleven-year-old from London until the friend she’d only just met told her something she’d never expected. ”There is buried treasure in Petra Freya, buried golden treasure,” Hiyaam whispered, her dark eyes sparkling with excitement. ”A jewelled winged lion, Freya, and I know where it is.”

2 reading books

Getting ready for the big day

The toys the kids will love

Lego is always a really safe bet when it comes to Moose so I was thrilled to find this smaller set which will easily fit into his stocking!

Foodie Roos are adorable mini plush collectible characters that look, feel and smell just like their favourite foods!

Each Foodie Roos container gives a hint at which character inside, with a unique “Peek a Roo” reveal!

Super cute plush friends, with 20 characters to collect in series 1.

The food container also becomes the Foodie’s room! Comes complete with stickers to decorate the inside to make your Foodie Roos feel right at home.

It’s my opinion that all parents should know about Paint Sticks. They are a revelation especially for Mums like me who love crafts but hate the tidying and cleaning which usually goes with it!

Paint Sticks are a bit like giant lipsticks in an array of colours. We love them and Moose plays with them most days.

Little Brian paint sticks 2 in 1 Mini art station is a table top double sided easel, featuring a white board and a chalkboard. Features 6 chalk sticks, 6 mini paint sticks, 1 Duster, 10 sheets paper stored inside. The perfect size for table top utilisation and is simple to fold away. Features a handle so you can transport around with ease and to unleash creativity anywhere. The handy clip can be used to utilise the art station as an easel for painting or drawing On paper.


Decorate your child

One of the best new toys of 2019 has to be the Face Paintoos. I was put in charge of these at a recent kids birthday party and I managed to face paint 80% of the kids at the party in record time because they are just so simple to use!

Face Paintoos transform the magic of ‘face painting’ into a fun and easy activity for everyone. With Face Paintoos, it is simple to achieve great results every time!

No artistic skills required! Face Paintoos don’t smudge, they are quick and easy to apply and remove.

Face Paintoos Party Pack comes with 20 tattoos, including wild animals, magical creatures and cutest pets! Perfect for parties, playdates, school fetes or for everyday fun!

Removal wipes, applicator sponge and instructions included.


A future James Bond?

The Micro Spy Gear set is perfect for mobile Spy Surveillance! Features a utility belt with 4 micro tools, including a Micro spy light (with an ear clip for hands-free), an Invisible ink pen (decoder light reveals secret messages), a Micro Motion Alarm (beam detects movement or vibration) and a Micro listener (features ear piece).

Harry Potter’s all the rage here with pretty much everyone. No surprise then that the Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak was rather popular. You can see what we thought about it here 


It’s school time for fuzzi babies! Fuzzikins school pop-up playset comes complete with four students (hamster, lamb, monkey, Mouse) and a wise owl teacher. The pop-up opens to reveal three school sections, all with built-in furniture; the playground, the classroom and the dining room. Have you coloured the classmates and the teacher with the washable pens? When you wish to change your design, rinse in warm water, dry then free-colour! Now, colour The stickers and decorate your school! The pupils can sit at their desks and learn about numbers and letters on the wipeable white board! When it is lunchtime, their lunch will be served through the serving hatch then finally, it is time to Have fun playing hopscoth in the playground! Perfect for story telling and hours of creative play with endless possibilities of personalization. Simply create, rinse, free-colour and play!

Teamsterz Car Transporter is a huge, free-wheeling car transporter with 12 detailed die-cast cars and lots of barrier and traffic cone accessories. Transporter features detailed cab and space for up to 40 cars. With carry handle so you can pack up and take with you wherever you go! Suitable for ages 3+.

This lovable, robotic, remote control puppy is designed to follow you wherever you go. ROBO DASH will follow your gesture commands to perform tricks and actions, like chasing his tail like a real dog. He has two modes: follow me – bringing ROBO DASH to life as he shadows your movements – and manual control mode using the multi-directional remote. ROBO DASH comes complete with touch sensors on top of his head which grow and shrink his spring-like fabric body up to 45cm. ROBO DASH will fetch the ball shaped remote when you roll it on the floor.

Dragons’ tower garden is a grow & play playset featuring a magical tower castle that is home to mummy and baby dragons and the beautiful fairy Thea. Take the baby Dragon anywhere in his egg shell. You can use the egg shell to water the plants as well! Dragons’ tower garden comes complete with pea and grass seeds to grow in 3 growing areas. Just add soil!

Christmas Gift Ideas – For foodies

Post contains some gifted items

Do you have a foodie to buy for this year? If you do then this is the gift guide for you! Read on for some of the best ideas around for the food or drink lover in your life.

Hot drink lovers

Beanies have a great alternative advent calendar idea. A wonderful gift for anyone who loves coffee but also people who are watching their calorie intake as each cup is only 2 calories. Beanies coffees are available in 20 flavours including Cookie Dough, Caramel Popcorn, Irish Cream, Amaretto Almond, Chocolate Orange and Coconut. A flavour for everyone!



I absolutely adore filter coffee but it’s usually just me drinking it and I have to limit my caffeine so putting a big pot of coffee on would feel like a bit of a waste. The Pact Hario v60 is perfect for me! I love the Christmas blend coffee which comes as part of the Newbie Gift Set and the Pact Advent Calendar is a great way to try new blends!

Something new I did this year was to start drinking tea! I love the idea of this Organic Herbal Tea advent calendar. It would be a great way to try out new teas for the first time as well as a good way to keep hydrated during those busy weeks of Christmas preparation!

For those with a sweet tooth

When I was a child I used to love getting a Thorntons Easter Egg with my name on it and now you can order an personalised advent calendar too! It doesn’t cost any extra to have a name added so it would be rude not to really! I also love the cheeky elf and snowy bear – the children will be thrilled to find them in their stocking come Christmas morning!

We always grab Kinnerton advent calendars for the children. They feature an array of characters and the kids just love them – plus they are usually really easy on the wallet!

Chocolate is always a winner. My Mum has always been a big fan of the Guylian Seashells and I can see why! Guylian invented Sea Shell chocolates as a souvenir at the Belgian coast. It soon became a bestseller and synonymous with the brand. Every elegantly crafted Sea Shell chocolate is filled with their original hazelnut praliné filling, that is still made according to the recipe of their founder.


This cute penguin shaped gift box from Haribo makes the perfect stocking filler – full of polar bear or penguin shaped jellies in strawberry & vanilla, blackcurrant & vanilla and peach & vanilla flavours.


We absolutely love Fiona Cairns so we simply had to include some of their products on our guide. Christmas in a tin (£12) looks so luxurious.  The Christmas cake is made with premium French culinary brandy and topped with an attractive snowflake design.

We thought that the Iced Gingerbread Penguin was both adorable and delicious and Moose loved the little gingerbread men! Both £4

Harry Potter is definitely a firm favourite in our house and these sweet treats from Jelly Belly would be great stocking fillers for any Potterhead! If you love Harry Potter too why not check out review of the Invisibility Cloak!

Festive Kitchenware

Have you tried for any of your Christmas shopping? I absolutely love these embossed rolling pins. They come in an array of designs suitable for use throughout the year. I think that they would make a great gift!

If you have a taco loving teenager like me then you could do worse than this fabulous taco stand from Aldi and burrito blanket from!

What better time of year than Christmas to get into the kitchen and rustle up some gorgeous homemade fare? If you have a baker to buy for then Tala Homeware have you covered. Tala have been a household name in our kitchen since my own childhood and they have a beautiful range of products that would make great gifts this Christmas. Every master baker needs baking beans in their kitchen cupboard, a shaker to add that finishing touch and of course somewhere to keep your cakes tasting fresh!

Some of the products featured were sent in exchange for inclusion. All opinions remain my own.

[Ad] Spice Up Your December With Schwartz. 3 Ways With Cinnamon and Christmas Stollen Cookies Recipe

This is a paid post in collaboration with Schwartz.

I don’t know about you but even though I love the pretty lights and the decorations at Christmas, it is the smells and tastes that make me feel festive. Nothing beats cinnamon when it comes to christmassy smells! 

Food is such a huge part of our festive season. Whether it’s curling up with the Supermarket food catalogues and planning out our food selection – just me? or perusing the Christmas markets. It really is all about the smell and the taste at this time of year!

3 ways with Schwartz cinnamon 

The king of the cinnamon recipes is of course, the cinnamon roll. They always feel like an indulgent treat. I love them with a nice frothy coffee. Admittedly I eat these all year round but I do like to make them too! My favourite recipe can be found here at This Farm Girl Cooks

Cinnamon can be used in savoury recipes too – and it is beyond great! Not your usual festive fare but you can only eat so many roast dinners, right? I love these Moroccan Lemon and Cardamom Meatballs. So good for warming you up on cold nights! 

My Mum did lots of baking when I was a child. With 5 children to look after (plus all of our friends of course) I suppose it must have worked out lots cheaper to make rather than buy our snacks. Sadly I don’t bake very often but when I do, I like to involve Moose. It’s usually good fun and keeps him busy.

So, last but not least and one of our favourites to make at this time of year is Stollen Cookies. They are really yummy and definitely make my house smell wonderfully Christmassy while they are baking. Double win! 

stollen cookies

Makes approx 24 


150g salted butter
80g light soft brown sugar
80g granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
180g plain flour
60g ground almonds
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp (or a big pinch) salt
80g marzipan (chopped)
50g sultanas
50g dried cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice


  1. Heat your oven to Gas 4/350F/180C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl pr using a mixer, cream together the butter and both types of sugar. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg.
  3. Sift in the flour and bicarb, add the salt, ground almonds, cinnamon and mixed spice, and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Fold in the cranberries, sultanas and marzipan.
  5. Put equal sized amounts on the baking trays and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.


How To Be A Savvy Christmas Shopper

I think most of us have been there. Despite knowing full well that Christmas is on the same day every year, we are simply not ready for it. 

Each year I promise myself that I will be prepared and therefore make the whole ordeal of being “the organiser” just a bit less stressful. Guess what, it doesn’t happen. Well. It does, but not as much as I would like ideally? I always manage to improve a little but ultimately I can only do that by not embracing the Christmas crazy

With a fairly large family to shop for I need to have a plan, and here it is. My guide to living your best Christmas shopping life.

shopping arcade

Make a list – and stick to it

This is the first and most important tip. Make sure that you are buying because you want to and not out of obligation. Nobody should be forcing this on you. If your financial situation would be improved by having a shorter list then it’s time to talk to the people on your list – they may well be relieved that you did! 

Remember, it is only a bargain if you were going to buy it anyway

Join a community

There are loads of groups on facebook and websites like Latest Deals which are updated by their members with news of the best and newest bargains around. I love places such as this because it saves a LOT of legwork. 

Use Cashback sites

Just the other day I was reminded by KatyKicker to use one on a Fridge Freezer purchase I needed to make. It saved us nearly £100 and cost nothing but a minute of my time to login. You really cannot argue with a return like that! 

I always try to check 

  • Top Cash Back – Always check to see if the retailer your buying from is listed and take advantage of money back and promotional codes
  • Swagbucks – You can earn cashback on your shopping as well as taking part in short surveys.
  • Quidco – Again, another one to check out before making purchases to see if there are any savings to be had.

Use the 5 gift rule 

Something they..

  • eat
  • wear
  • read
  • want
  • need

Really simple and very effective. Use this to reign yourself in when you need to! 

Be Honest

If you are low on funds then perhaps there is a gift you could make or something you could do for the recipient instead? If you are going to offer babysitting though, do make sure you like the children in question because trust me, those babysitting vouchers WILL get used.. 

Most of all though, if it will hurt you to buy them a gift then you shouldn’t be doing it. The person you are buying for would much rather you be happy than be stressed out because of this (and if that’s not the case then you should have crossed them off your list years ago anyway) 

christmas gifts


Good luck with your shopping this Christmas and most of all remember that it is meant to be fun! Do what you can to take the pressure off and make sure you take time to enjoy the sights and smells all around you. 

I would love to know your tips for Christmas shopping?