Category Archives: Uncategorized

Easter Gifts

Easter Gifts


On the look out for alternatives to chocolate this Easter? Look no further than my no chocolate round up with items to suit all budgets, and it isn’t for kids!

Easter serving platter
£6.97 –

Williams Sonoma mini spatula
£11 –

Easter wreath
£17 –

Sur La Table home decor
£4.85 –

£10 –

Yellow gold pendant
£1,045 –

Weekend Box: Do we have time?

According to a third of UK parents they have just one hour available each day to spend with their child.

A survey commissioned by children’s activity provider Weekend Box Club, revealed that 90% of parents long to spend more time with their children. Modern living and pressures dictate that finding quality time to spend together is proving difficult.

They asked their subscribers to complete the questionnaire to get a picture of how parents juggle the balance of quality time with their family and modern day living.

The survey of more than 1,200 parents revealed that:

  • 98% of parents enjoy quality time with their children
  • 98% of parents see the benefits of spending time together
  • 98% of parents say enjoying activities together brings them closer
  • 95% of children love trying new things with their parents
  • 65% of parents struggle to come up with ideas of things to do

    Fun is the top thing UK parents look for in activities and every day, parents are faced with the task of finding fun, stimulating and educational activities for their little ones after school and at the weekend.

    Newcastle-based Weekend Box Club creates and sends out activity packs to subscribers each month, filled with two or four activities to enjoy together.

    Make, bake, create and explore are all covered by the boxes, which aim to ensure time spent by parents with children aged 3-8 is quality. The boxes can be used at home, away, in the car or with friends.



We are currently bloggers for Weekend Box after using them on and off for quite a while, I like to think of myself of being very crafty and home educating means that over time you start to see the educational value in all things but my girls love them and really enjoy waiting for the next one to drop through the letter box.

The boxes come complete with activities and easy ‘how to’ sheets, for the parents and children to follow together. So easy to follow in fact the girls will often just make something from the box without even telling me!

They are also created with education in mind, with each activity supporting early years learning and development. This pleases me as i can tie it in to other work we are doing.

You can subscribe for regular boxes (which fit through the letter box) or buy gift boxes to be posted to a little one, addressed to them.

Child psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, seen recently on Channel 4’s ‘Secret Lives of Four Year Olds’, said: “Weekend Boxes are so much more than an activity pack. They are a genuinely great way to spend time with your children and support their development.”

The activity boxes aim to provide easy resources for the 65% of parents who struggle to find original things to do.

And for the 71% of parents who would pay to have resources sent to their door, the Weekend Box Club solves the problem of what to do with their children when they have time available.

Most parents said they had 10-20 hours available for spending quality time with their children each week, but most of these wished they had more time.

More than half said they often ran out of time to actually enjoy an activity after having to plan it.
And 89% said if they had access to resources, they would spend more quality time with their children.

Andy Stephenson who founded the company in 2013, said: “The survey has shown that parents really do want to spend time with their children but just need a helping hand in finding things to do.

“They want something to hand, something ready and something fun, low cost and stimulating which promotes their child’s development – all of which Weekend Box Club answers for them.

“Children need time and attention and the benefits to both parents and their children when they can spend time together is priceless.”


So what do you think? Will you be trying a weekend box? At just £4.95 for a the mini box and £7.50 for the bumper box and now you can try your 1st Weekend Box for free – use the promo code LIZ145 when signing up at what are you waiting for?



Calling all film buffs, writers and movie lovers!

A brand new competition is searching for the UK’s most inventive and creative film fans to take on Hollywood and come up with an alternate ending to a movie classic for a chance to win £2,000.

If you ever thought you could write a better ending to Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman or Ghost, then this competition – sponsored by – is for you. Whether it’s getting ET home, Bogart and Bergman at the airport, that twist in Sixth Sense, it is the ending that can truly make a movie and this is your chance to give it a rewrite. All The Alties needs is for you put pen to paper and submit 750 words, either as prose or scripted dialogue. Visit for full details.

There are five categories to enter: best comedy or rom-com; best action or adventure; best fantasy; sci-fi or horror; best family or animation; and best drama or thriller.

Entries will be judged by jury panel of three acclaimed industry experts: Manchester Metropolitan University’s senior Lecturer of Film Studies Andy Moor, Film & Theatre Critic Kevin Bourke and script writer Martin Paul Roche.


They will award the winning entry with the £2,000 prize fund to be invested as the winner desires – be it film equipment, an adventure to fire your creative juices or a pilgrimage to the heart of film, Hollywood, it’s completely up to you. The competition just wants to reward your fun and creativity handsomely. Two runners-up will receive £250 and The Alties will also be awarding two further entries from each category a box set to the value of £30.

Entrants can get hints and tips from the judges, plus full details of how to enter, at

Judge Kevin Bourke believes everyone has got an alternate ending tucked away waiting to be unleashed. He says: “Every film has twists and turns right up to the end, that’s why we love them so much. Imagining a different twist than the one you see on screen is something everyone has done in the cinema.

“It’s best to start with a film you really love and characters you know inside out – that will make it easier to imagine how else their story might have played out.

“After that, it really is limitless, these people are under your control and you can come up with a finale more explosive than anything Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese or Orson Welles could imagine!”

Ian Cowley, managing director of, comments: “We are massive movie fans and love the idea of challenging writers to imagine ‘what if…?’ with their favourite films from over the years.

“It’s the ultimate director’s cut – to re-do a classic movie the way they’ve always wanted to see it.”

Closing date for entries is 4th September 2015.

Go ahead, make our day!

Competition time with the Weekend Box #scribble4stardom

Kids, it’s competition time! It’s your chance to get your drawing on the front of an upcoming Weekend Box and win an amazing creative, drawing book bundle worth £49.95 courtesy of b small publishing.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to draw your interpretation of your ‘Perfect Weekend’. Where would you be? Who would you be with? What would you be doing?

Listen up parents, here’s the small print. Send a scanned copy/picture (A4) of the drawing to with your name, your child’s name and age. Entry is open to both club members and non club members. Entry closes on the 22nd of July, where a shortlist will be announced on Facebook and a winner will be voted for by you, the Weekend Box Club! Best of luck!

More info at

Maxwell Scott Bags

Now you know how I am about British companies, I strongly believe we need to get firmly behind anyone trying to create a small business in this economy AND even more so when it’s in your own country and when they produce something as beautiful as Maxwell Scott do it’s a no brainer in my eyes!


Luxury leather goods company Maxwell Scott Bags has recently re-launched its website after an exciting rebrand. An international business based in York, North Yorkshire, Maxwell Scott Bags fuses British design with Italian craftsmanship to create luxury leather products ranging from briefcases and luggage to handbags and accessories.

Founded in 2002 by William Forshaw, Maxwell Scott Bags began life supplying briefcases to corporate clients in London. After noticing that many of his colleagues brought plastic bags to work instead of business cases, William saw a gap in the market for high quality, professional briefcases in the workplace.

After a family trip to Italy sparked an interest in the traditional craftsmanship of Italian leather, William began looking for the highest quality tannery to begin producing the leather for his bags. A highly esteemed factory in Tuscany was chosen, and the business was able to take flight.


William Forshaw, Founder of Maxwell Scott Bags said, “Back in 2002 I had a tiny vision and a passion for leather, and the business hasn’t stopped growing since! With well over a decade of professional design and craftsmanship experience under our belts, I felt a rebrand was necessary to appeal to a new generation of leather lovers.

“Since 2002, Maxwell Scott Bags has branched out and we now sell our products internationally. Although still a small business with a small staff base, the company is expanding all the time and eventually aims to be the most-loved luxury British bag maker in the world.”


The British company stands out from the crowd by using only the finest, premium Italian leather which adds to the longevity of the product. The leather produced in the tannery comes from premium quality full grain hides that are tanned using completely natural processes, reducing the impact on the environment and giving the leather unique qualities. Marks and scratches can be buffed out and the leather develops a beautiful patina over time, meaning that products from Maxwell Scott Bags only improve with age.

After spending the past year rebranding, the company is now ready to show off its brand new image. With a sleek new website, a newly launched informative blog and a range of upcoming products in the pipeline, it’s an exciting time for the British company.


To find out more about the Maxwell Scott Bags story or to browse the extensive luxury collection, visit the new website:

New Year, home makeover

It’s a spanking new year and this year I made a vow to not make any resolutions or “changes” to the way we live. I did however make myself a promise, one to travel more this year and secondly to finally get this house into the home I have always wanted.

I’ve mentioned before how it isn’t in the best place, it isn’t the biggest but it is detached and is modern enough to have nice square rooms with no funny business so pretty much anything goes. We get flooded with light all year long but I have always decorated with what society has expected from a family. Instead I made a vow to decorate just the way I wanted.

In fairness this has been a challenge, fun but hard work finding the furniture from charity shops that is always hit and miss and finding wallpaper or paint that matches my vision. I began boldly with making over the downstairs loo. It is a tricky space as it has pipe work boxed in, it has a tiny sinking the smallest window but i wanted to add a nerdy look but with an expensive feel but with things we already had, I forgot to mention my budget for the whole house is practically zero!

We had some old star trek annuals that I had bought the husband a few christmases previous that had barely seen the light of day and thought these would make a great feature wall…



I have to say I wasn’t wrong! I love the look, it was a dream to put up, simply with wallpaper paste and it doesn’t look overpowering, it also makes great reading!

I had planned to leave it at that, just a feature wall and the rest staying white but I found a new love for deep strong colours whilst checking out pinterest so I made a little adjustment…



We had the plum left over from the tv wall in the lounge, the towel rack was an old one that used to be behind the front door for coats, the vintage mirror is about 4 years old and was bought on eBay for £3 and the cute rug was a few quid at tesco a few months back and i couldn’t find the perfect home for it.

I LOVE the space now! It hasn’t become a pram dumping ground again, it doesn’t feel cold and unloved anymore and even though the window is small it just bounces light around its almost magical!

It’s the perfect start to my end goal. What do you think? Would you be so bold in a small space?

Are you dreaming of a Write Christmas

A top children’s author is launching a competition encouraging children to pen a new festive classic for inclusion in a Winter inspired book.

Sam Hay, author of the Undead Pets series of books, has partnered with to stage the competition which is open to children aged between 4 and 11 and invites children to write a short story (less than 200 words) or poem inspired by winter or Christmas.

The very best 50 entries from across the region will be published in a special free to download e-book, released in early December 2014. In addition, the winning schools will receive £500 to spend on books or writing equipment and the winning child in each category will receive a stocking packed with festive treats worth £50.

Stories or poems will be judged by top children’s author Sam Hay and a representative from

Children, parents and teachers can get hints and tips from Sam Hay, plus full details of how to enter, at Schools will also be receiving entry packs in the coming days

Sam Hay believes the competition is a great step towards unlocking children’s creativity. She says: “Writing books for children has given me the opportunity to meet and talk to many young people and I’m always amazed and impressed by the stories they come up with.

“The season is a magical time and has so much potential for storytelling. I can’t wait to read the entries.

“I’m passionate about encouraging children to read and write more. And harnessing the power of the imagination is a brilliant way of enhancing a child’s development, as well as being lots of fun.”

Ian Cowley, managing director of, comments: “We like to encourage creativity across all age groups and are right behind the idea of children using their imaginations to come up with magical Christmas stories.

“Having the best entries collated into a beautifully designed e-book also gives parents and children a lasting memory too.”

Useful information:

● The competition has three categories: 4 – 6, 7 – 9 and 10-11

● Each category will have one overall winner. The winning school will receive £500 to spend on books or writing materials, a school visit from the author and the winning child will receive a goodybag worth £50.

● The best 50 entries from across the categories will be selected to appear in the ebook.

● Poems and short stories (less than 500 words) must be entered by a caregiver, parent or teacher who can give permission for the story, name and age of the child to be included in the book.

● The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Closing date for entries is 7 November 2014.

Is your boiler safe this winter?

It’s that time of year again and as the cold dark nights set in we all reach for that thermostat and central heating clicks on up and down the street.
But, have you ever stopped to wonder if your boiler is as healthy as it needs to be?

Every year in the UK, more than 200 people go to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, and around 40 people die. Small children and the elderly are most at risk, and our client CORGI HomePlan is campaigning for every home to get a carbon monoxide detector, so that they can keep their family safe.


This is a critical time for boilers, most people will have had the heating switched off for the summer and will fire it up with their fingers crossed hoping it comes on so that their family will be toasty warm. But without a detector they will have no idea that carbon monoxide may be seeping from their boiler. This colourless, odourless gas is a silent killer.

In the last three years, an estimated one in six homes inspected by the Gas Safe Register was found to have an unsafe gas appliance and one in eleven has an unsafe boiler.

Every year in the UK, more than 200 people go to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, and around 40 people die. Small children and the elderly are most at risk, and our client CORGI HomePlan is campaigning for every home to get a carbon monoxide detector, so that they can keep their family safe.



CORGI HomePlan are campaigning for every home to have their own CO detector and have created a microsite to help families be aware of the dangers of gas appliances in their own home,

Packed with easy to follow advice and warning signs to look out for, this site is an easy reference resource for homeowners unsure about how to protect themselves and their families and what to do when things go wrong at home

So before you reach for that trusty on switch to what you hope will be a toasty winter season, get your boiler health checked because well, do you know the signs?

Frozen Tutu’s with The Dressing up Chest


Christmas is fast approaching, it’s something terrifying like 9 saturdays away, 9 SATURDAYS!!!! * faints*

Frozen is still a massive THING, yes I personally know it well, 2 of my 3 girls are slightly obsessive about all the pretty things and even though I’m not the girlies of girls I totally get it.  The film portrays lovely moral values, no men in shining armour to save the day, it’s Spice Girls Girl Power all over again!

Now I’m sure you have all seen some of the stunning replica dresses doing the rounds along with some of the not so special along with the shockingly horrifying price tags and with the big day fast approaching I’m sure you are all scrimping to afford that Frozen attire.

While scouring the internet for these prized possessions try checking out the wonderfully lovely The Dressing up Chest. It’s crammed to the internet rafters with beautifully handmade outfits for your little people. Anything from Red Riding Hood to Little Miss Muffet and everything in between and all at purse friends prices for the quality you receive.


I was very lucky in getting the opportunity to review one of her very new and very special Frozen Tutu’s before they hit the store. Delivery was seamless and the Tutu was beautifully wrapped and very well packaged. Something that I find very important when shopping online, especially at Christmas time.

It truly was a magical experience for my then 4 year old when unwrapping her new Tutu, she was literally bursting with excitement! The Tutu did nothing to disappoint, it was beautifully made, the tulle was lovely and stiff and really full and the beautiful additions of snow flakes and a double bow to the front really finished off the whole piece. I had to literally crowbar it off my daughter and she really takes great care with it. It goes away into the box it came in every time she is done playing with it. And you know little folk, they are hardly the most tidiest of the peoples!



So what are you crazy internet Christmas shoppers waiting for? Make a child’s christmas truly magical this year with The Dressing Up Chest.


*The Frozen Tutu was sent to me free of charge for a review, all opinions are my own*

Can the quintessential British breakfast unlock the key to romantic happiness?


Well can it? Duerr’s and Roberts seem to think so with their quick marmalade and toast quiz.

He’s funny, charming, handsome – but how can you tell if your new fella really is Mr Right? Make him breakfast (or let him make it for you!)Academics have uncovered that the way you take your toast in the morning can reveal more about you than you think. The simple act of spreading a knife across toast can indicate if your breakfast companion has the potential to be a long-term match (slice of heaven) or if it’s time to call a taxi (oh, crumbs!).

Marmalade makers Duerr’s teamed up with breakfast bedfellows Roberts Bakery to commission the study which evaluated how people preferred the thickness of the bread, the choice of their spread, if they liked to double dip (butter knife in the jam jar) and if it is served hot or cold among other criteria.

From this, the academics were able to identify 15 well-recognised personality types and match up the potential love matches/mismatches, allowing you to cut through any early-date ‘best behaviour’ to get to the heart of what you need to know.
Applying some digital wizardry to the science, they have created an online tool available at
imagesSenior Psychology Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, Dr Sandi Mann led the project, analysing possible subconscious motives that prompt even the simplest of choices.

Dr Sandi Mann said: “How we eat our toast and marmalade might seem intuitive but the fact is, we each individually make a series of choices at breakfast – based on learnt preferences, innate behaviour and conditioned learning – which could underscore the personality type of last night’s bed fellow.”
Tim Wild, Commercial Director at Roberts Bakery, comments: “We’ve seen a huge rise in our sales of Roberts 50% White 50% Wholemeal which suggests – initially – we’re a nation of angels. Yet it’s the personal touches we each instinctively make from the moment we put a slice of bread in the toaster, that subconsciously reveals so much of the inner you – that this might be the fastest way to determine if your partner is a slice of alright – or should be toast.”Richard Duerr, Sales and Marketing Director at Duerr’s, adds: “The Duerr’s family has been evaluating their future love matches using the breakfast test for years – morning harmony simply can’t be achieved when one of you likes to double dip and the other sulks over getting butter in the jam. Best to know as early as possible so you can make your excuses and leave!”

Visit to put your partner’s toast eating habits to the test.