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Luke’s Christmas Recommendations- Gift Ideas for 9 year olds

Like most children at this time of year I am starting to get excited about Christmas (and my birthday!) and I have been looking at the toys to see what I would love to get this year. I have seen tons of great things and decided I would make a list of the my top toy recommendations for 9 year olds this Christmas. I would love to receive one of these things from this list- they all look awesome!

BTCC Touring Car Battle Scalextric– I am actually lucky enough to already have this set and it is amazing, I am going to be reviewing it in full soon but I can definitely say it is a top present for any BTCC fan old or young this Christmas!

 

LEGO Ninjago Lightning Jet– This looks awesome, it comes with 6 mini figures as well which is loads and means you can set up a really good game even if you don’t have lots of other Ninjago LEGO

BB-8 The Last Jedi Set  -I think this would be brilliant to build and would love to add it to my collection.

 

Nerf N-Strike Elite AccuStrike RaptorStrike – This would definitely give me a headstart in any every shot counts battle!

Sky Viper Stunt Drone I haven’t flown a drone before but think this looks excellent!

 

BB-9E App Controlled Droid– This is really expensive but I think it would be great for any huge Star Wars fan, it looks awesome. It is controlled by smart technology and I think you could have loads of fun with it.

LEGO Boost Coding Robot- I have started going to coding club and I really like it and I love LEGO so this is a brilliant toy to combine both, I think this would be a great present for children my age, it gives them something to learn and something to play with.

 

Base Ace- I love my Base Ace 3D play platform and have been slowly adding expansion kits and other accessories. It can be played with either way round depending on what you want to use the platform for. It is compatible with LEGO mini figures and bricks and I have often had LEGO Star Wars battles with my friends with it, I would definitely recommend this as a more unusual present for kids who love LEGO.

Battleships Game– I taught my Mum to play Battleships when we were on holiday the other week, I couldn’t believe she had never played it before! I would really like my own game of this so I will be putting it on my Christmas list!

 

Nintendo Switch- My friend has one of these and I really like playing on it. They are very expensive but I can still hope!

l hope that’s given you some good ideas for gifts for children around my age. My sister and brother will be doing a list of recommendations for younger children and we will also have another post with ideas for smaller presents and stocking fillers so if you are struggling to know what to buy then make sure you watch out for those!

 

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links which if you use when making a purchase would mean we would receive a small amount of commission

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Birthday Balloons!

If you follow our posts then you will know that Lottie recently had a fairy garden party for her birthday– she had been planning it for months and months and knew exactly what she wanted to do with her friends but we didn’t know how best to decorate the garden to turn it into the perfect setting, so she was really excited when we were offered to review some of the huge range of Qualatex balloons from Pioneer Europe.

We actually had a lot of fun looking through their online catalogue and choosing the balloons we would like- they have loads. I really like their Star Wars ones but funnily enough Lottie wasn’t keen on then for a Fairy Garden party! They had plenty of choice for any theme though and it gave us some great ideas for future parties we would like to have! In the end we had quite a long list of balloons we liked the look of and were able to start getting them organised.

The balloons arrived really quickly and we were even able to get the weights and ribbons we needed with them and as soon as our helium arrived we were ready to get them blown up for the party the next day.

The balloons looked absolutely amazing when they were inflated, Lottie thought they were beautiful. Some of them- like the trees and bumble bees are absolutely huge and the others inflated to be really round and looked really good.

When everyone started to arrive at the party the children were all really excited about the balloons- we put some of the normal latex balloons at the end of our path, there was a huge bumble bee outside the front door and some normal ones attached to the door, the children then went through to the garden where they were able to see loads of fantastic Tinker Bell balloons, another bumble bee, a huge butterfly and some pretty round flower and butterfly balloons.

My Mum had asked if we needed to do anything special to set the balloons up as Qualatex do some really fancy displays with arches and things that looked like they could be a bit tricky but these ones were very easy to set up- they suggested using a regulator to fill them to the right amount and that the round ones looked nice in groups of three of each of the same balloons. We grouped them like they suggested and they did looked really good in a small bunch and it meant they could be used to decorate each table.

All the parents said how much they liked the balloons and asked where we got them. The garden looked perfect for a fairy garden party, Lottie was so pleased with it.

At the end of the party we gave each of the children a balloon to take home with their party bags, they were very pleased to have one to keep especially when they found out they could be refilled.

The balloons that were left over lasted quite a long time after the party and still were completely inflated for our family tea party three days later and we really like the idea that they can be blown back up.

We loved the balloons, they looked brilliant and were great fun to set up and play with later. The people at Qualatex recommended a regulator when filling them and we didn’t managed to get one in time but my Dad said we definitely should use one next time as the round balloons could have been even bigger if he hadn’t been worried about bursting them, although they were still fantastic ever so slightly less filled!

If you have a Birthday, Christmas or Halloween party coming up soon we would definitely recommend you take a look at the Qualatex catalogue from Pioneer Europe. If you don’t have anything coming up then have a look anyway as you will probably then want to organise something!

 

 

Family Fever
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Planning a Fairy Garden Party

It’s my sister’s birthday today and she has been excited about it for ages. She had been planning her birthday Fairy Garden Party for months! We had it on Friday and she said it was the best party ever! I promised her I would write about it because she was too busy enjoying herself to take photos!

The Fairy Garden Party invitations were made by Diana Evans Artist and each was a tiny glass bottle with a fairy charm inside a jewellery pouch- inside the glass bottle was a glittery scroll with the party details on it, Lottie loved giving these out because they were so unusual and all her friends were excited to get a secret message in a bottle.

It was easy to decide where to hold it because the best place for a fairy garden party has to be in the garden. It did take quite a lot of work getting our garden tidied up and ready but luckily one of our family friends loves gardening and had lots of great ideas and did loads of work to make sure it was safe for everyone.

With garden looking nice we didn’t need too much in the way of decorations, just a few banners but we also wanted something eye catching that showed it was a fairy garden party rather than any other party. We were so pleased with the balloons we were sent from Qualatex UK as they really helped with the theme. We are going to review them in a separate post but they are definitely essential to anyone planning a fairy garden party and made the whole garden look amazing.

Lottie was only having a few children come so it meant we could get a few extra treats and activities for each of them than we would normally do. We got fairy wings and wands for the girls and an elf hat for the boys for when they arrived which they all loved.

We started off with making fairy gardens, we had got some large flat pots and mixed some top soil with sand. We put a little bit of gravel in the bottom for drainage and then added the soil and sand mix. The grown ups helped the children plant their plants- marigolds and little alpine plants. Then the children were able to choose from a selection of fairies, elves, houses, bridges, signs, benches, little creatures, ponds, and sparkly stones to decorate their gardens and had a lovely time doing this. They all looked amazing and everybody had make them different.

It was soon time for some food so the children all had lots of party treats and a few special fairy garden foods including twigs and berries (pretzels, blueberries and strawberries) snails (homemade cheese twists) and toadstools (strawberries on marshmallows). They then all tucked into ice-cream factory which isn’t very Fairy Garden but is really popular with all our friends!

After the children had eaten we got out lots of other fairy arts and crafts we had ordered from Baker Ross. They were able to colour in stain glass creatures, make fairy mirrors, decorate heart shaped boxes and do fairy scratch art. The children stayed busy for ages doing their crafts.

Then it was time to sing happy birthday. We had planned to make Lottie a toadstool cake but found a really nice Woodland one from Tesco which we ordered in the end. It was really tasty!

We used our own text on the cake!

 

We then had a fairy treasure hunt in the garden and it was soon time for the children to go home. They loved their party bag treats- they all got a fairy book and some sweets and were able to take home their wings and wands, all their arts and their fairy gardens which will grow so went home with lots of goodies- they even had a beautiful fairy balloon each to take thanks to Qualatex UK!

Lottie loved her party- she said it was her best one ever and all her friends seemed to enjoy it. I had fun too because when I didn’t have to help I got to have an Xbox tournament with the other older brothers!

 

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Things I have loved whilst blogging

Last week I posted about things I had learnt from blogging over the two years I had been doing it and today I am going to share some of the amazing products and places I have discovered thanks to blogging.

As I mentioned blogging can be hard work sometimes but the experiences I have had from it have been well worth it.

There are lots of things that stand out as being great but these are some of my very favourite things from the last two years.

  1. So many great books. I have read too many awesome books to list them all individually but have loved having lots of brilliant books to review and it has been fantastic to discover new authors who I might not otherwise have come across. One of my favourites is Abi Elphinstone who I am a huge fan of since reviewing her Trilogy on my blog.
  2. Finding new games- I especially like games that the whole family can enjoy together and we have found some great ones through the blog. One of our family favourites is the Randomise Game If you haven’t come across Randomise before then you should read the review I wrote a while ago- it’s really great fun and so very funny to play. We have played it so many times since and I would recommend it to any family that enjoys playing games together.
  3. Things that other people enjoy. It’s awesome finding a new product that I love but I have really enjoyed finding things my sister and brother love too. My sister has especially liked Aquabeads and Pusheen, both of which is she has been lucky enough to review for the blog.
  4. Challenges- I would never have even known about the kids version of Tough Mudder without the blog. My friend and I were lucky enough to do the Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder last year and it was an amazing experience. I would love to do it again and it got me into running a 5K run for charity too and helping as a steward at another.
  5. Amazing days out. We have been lucky enough to be invited to lots of great days out, I have enjoyed them all but some of the ones that I really liked were BRICKLIVE and the ‘Summer Saturdays’ Day at Newmarket Racecourse
  6. New experiences. It also falls under points 4 and 5 too but was so amazing it deserves a heading of it’s own! Our favourite experience as a whole family has been our visit to Camp Wilderness– the bushcraft day was so unlike anything that any of us had ever done before, we all learnt loads and came away having had a really fantastic day. It was such a different thing to do with my Mum and Dad- I would recommend the camps to anyone!

 

  

 

As  you can see I have been very lucky over the last two years, I have had lots of fantastic experiences, met some brilliant people and learnt a lot. I have loved having my own blog, even though at times in has been hard work and I have caught ‘writer’s block’.

I can’t believe I have managed to keep it up for two years and am holding a competition to celebrate this! One of our lucky readers will win their own copy of the brilliant Randomise Game, a copy of a fantastic children’s book -my current read- The Midnight Gang, by David Walliams, a £10 Amazon voucher to treat themselves to one of the amazing products we have reviewed and a 3 day place for a child age 6 to 15 at one of the awesome Camp Wilderness camps during the Summer Holidays- the lucky winner can choose between Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cheshire or Kent subject to availability.

This prize bundle is worth over £260! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Treat For Mum- Elizabeth Shaw Chocolates

I was lucky enough to go on three Easter Egg hunts this weekend and my brother, sister and I have done very well with our chocolate stash over the last few days. I always feel a bit bad that Mum and Dad don’t get Easter chocolates too and we like to share our treats with them but we really like it best of all when we can surprise them with a treat of their own.

I was very happy when Elizabeth Shaw offered me the chance to treat my Mum with a box of their chocolates- I know she has had some from their range before and liked them so this sounded great. They then made it really difficult by giving me a list of different flavours to choose from- they all sounded delicious! There was Orange, Mint, Lemon, Cappucino and Salted Caramel which all made my mouth water!

In the end I went with orange because I love chocolate orange flavour and although I planned to treat my Mum I was hoping she would share with me too!

The box of Milk Orange Crisp Chocolates arrived today with perfect timing as my Mum was worn out from listening to three hours screaming at a soft play centre and chasing my brother round so he didn’t keep trying to climb up the slides. I was able to give them to her when we arrived back home and she was thrilled with her treat.

We all tried them this afternoon and they were lovely- really good orange flavour and very tasty.  I liked the crispy honeycomb bits and Lottie liked the fact they were all wrapped up in shiny parcels like huge coins! We made sure we saved some for Dad when he got home from work and he really liked them too.

It was really nice to be able to give my Mum a treat especially after being spoilt myself with chocolate this past weekend but I think the Elizabeth Shaw range would make a great present for most grown ups for any special occasion or just as a special treat or thank you. I think I might keep an eye out for the salted caramel ones next!

 

 

Family Fever
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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Santa Claus is Coming to Town


I haven’t written much recently because we have been very busy the last few weeks and I know we have got lots of things coming up in the next few too. Like everyone else we are getting in to the Christmas spirit. I am really liking seeing all the Christmas lights going up as it makes the school run more festive and I love this time of year with all the parties, nativities and carol concerts so you can imagine how excited I was to be invited to go to Wyevale Garden Centre with my family for Tea with Father Christmas.

When we arrived we were greeted by an Elf and shown to our table in the garden centre restaurant, there was lots of things set up on the table to keep us busy including colouring, chocolate coins and Christmas crackers. So we pulled the crackers and put on our hats and did some drawing while we waited to see what would happen next.



The Elves came round and introduced themselves to everyone and asked if we had been good this year (I was honest and said I had been most of the time but not all even though Lottie said she had!) and then they brought our food out.We had been able to choose beforehand what we would like to eat and Lottie and I both had chicken goujons, chips and beans while Mum and Dad had a ‘Festive Sandwich’ which actually turned out to be an afternoon tea with cake and mince pies, tea and coffee – the cake was really nice (I had to try my Mum’s piece- just for research though!) 

After we had eaten we were given a Christmas biscuit to decorate, we got a Christmas tree shaped biscuit and a bag of icing and some sprinkles and got to work making some yummy creations.

Soon it was time for Father Christmas to make his appearance so we were all given bells and sang jingle bells to welcome him, when he arrived he looked very jolly and all the children queued up to see him. He was very nice and friendly and chatted to us all (although Lottie was a bit scared) and didn’t even mind when Sam tried to pull his beard!- We did stop him very quickly just in case he wasn’t the ‘real’ Santa!!




At the end of the visit we were allowed to chose a gift- there was lots of lovely things to choose from and it was really hard to pick but I chose a set where you dig for Gems and Lottie picked a Mermaid doll which she loves. The Gems set is really good and I think it will be something I can use for quite a while as I have only dug out one gem so far even though I have used it quite a few times.

I really did enjoy our visit- Santa and the elves were really good, the food was nice and we had lots of fun- this is a really great way for the whole family to spend an afternoon together and get in the mood for Christmas.

Bookings can be made at many different Wyevale Garden Centres across the country and details can be found here








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Party Planning

Party Planning


Birthdays are big things in our house. My Dad says it is because my Mum’s birthday is near Christmas so she always makes a fuss when it is ours as she always felt lots of people forgot hers when she was little.

My 2nd birthday cake- Bob the Builder on the building site


It’s not long until my sister has her 4th birthday and they are planning what to do for her party. I tried to help but my sister wasn’t too keen on my ideas of a Nerf party or a football party and seems adamant it needs to be a Frozen party so I have gone back to planning my own birthday. Sadly even my Mum thinks more than 6 months before the birthday is too soon to plan the party. I don’t agree as they have said this year I am going to do something smaller but special like going out with just a couple of friends so I really need to think carefully about what I would like to do.

In the past we have had parties at the village hall (age 1,2 and 4), hired out soft play centres (ages 3 and 5) visited the ‘race room’ for simulated driving and done the climbing wall (age 6) and been to Spy missions (age 7) so I know I have been really, really lucky but I can’t help wishing I could have just one more proper party- there are so many things I would still like to do like the football party or the nerf party but perhaps it is now time to enjoy the party my little sister will have and perhaps one day, my baby brother’s birthday parties- at least he might go for the football idea! Mum and Dad will still find a way to make my birthday special and I do have a little bit of time to decide who I want to spend the time with which is the most important thing.

Mastering the climbing wall at my 6th birthday party


In the meanwhile I will perhaps help with planning Lottie’s 4th birthday party- they have decided a Frozen theme with a disco and lots of traditional party games. We have thought of pass the parcel, musical bumps, musical statues, sleeping lions, pass the balloon, limbo and an air guitar competition so far but Mum is worried that if some children don’t like dancing they might be bored… do you have any great ideas for discos or traditional party games you like to play? 

We would love to know about the best birthday celebrations you have had for yourself or been invited to for somebody else.

My 4th Birthday cake- this one wasn’t homemade!