Macmillan Coffee Morning with the South Wales Parent Bloggers

Yesterday I was invited along to Parc Play, Cardiff, with several other local parent bloggers for a Macmillan Coffee Morning. I’m a huge supporter of coffee mornings, what’s not to love about getting together with friends, eating cake and raising money for a great charity?

Macmillan coffee morning with the south wales parent bloggers

We’re very lucky as we have a fabulous blogging network in South Wales, we are all there to support each other and always welcome new bloggers into the mix with open arms. Unfortunately, not everyone could make the meet yesterday, but there were still seven of us in total. From left to right on the photo : Kate from Hippy Christian Mum, Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says, Sally from Teddy Bears and Cardigans, Alina from We Made This Life, Kerry from Kerry Louise Norris and me. Heledd from Yummy Blogger also came along a little after this photo was taken.

selection of Marks & Spencer cakes for Macmillan coffee morning

Marks & Spencer kindly provided us with a huge selection of cakes. I got a little lost on my way hence the photos of half eaten cakes! The cakes were delicious and I can see why everyone was eager to get their hands on them!

Parc play cardiff

The coffee morning, organised by Cathryn of Cardiff Mummy Says, was held at Parc Play, Cardiff. I don’t tend to take Aria to many soft play places as she isn’t walking yet so can’t really do a lot at them. She had a little go in the toddler area, she particularly enjoyed exploring the tunnels but quickly got bored, she much prefers to sit with the adults, especially when there is cake involved! She quickly made friends with Kerry’s youngest daughter, Ophelia.

two babies sat in high chairs

Thanks to Cathryn for organising, Parc Play for hosting and Marks & Spencer for the cakes – we raised a total of £30 which isn’t bad at all for just seven people.

If you are thinking of organising your own coffee morning register here for your free kit.

Easter Gifts For The Whole Family

I buy for a variety of ages for Easter, ranging from one right up to thirty three, me being me I like to find gifts that are a little bit different, whether it be an unusual egg or a chocolate flavour beer. I’ve already shared Aria’s Easter basket so in this post I will be sharing what I’ve bought for the rest of the family.

blog post easter gift guide easter gifts for the whole family - chocolate beer, hello kitty easter egg easter basket bunny egg with carrot hot cross bun popcorn

Easter gift guide marks & spencer kids eggs and luxury adults eggs chocolate beer and hot cross bun popcorn books and clothing for baby
I started my Easter shopping quite a while ago, I worked in Marks & Spencer as a Christmas temp, I finished at the end of January which was when their Easter stock came out so I made the most of my staff discount and bought a few bits in readiness.

I bought the Alfie bunny for my four year old nephew and the Hello Kitty egg for my eight year old niece, the small bunny and chick chocolate lollipops are also for them. M&S have since released a Frozen and dinosaur egg, even though I’m sure my niece and nephew will love these part of me does wish I had held off and bought those instead.

For Spencer I’ve bought this pretty delicious looking coffee lovers egg from Marks & Spencer along with their Cheshire Chocolate Porter beer, I couldn’t resist the beer when I saw it, I thought it was a fab twist on the traditional Easter present. I just hope he lets me try a sip, and also lets me help him eat his egg.

I’ve also got the Butterkist Hot Cross Bun popcorn* for us both to have a nibble on, as much as I love chocolate it will be nice to have a change at Easter time, I’m really looking forward to trying this.

What have you bought your family for Christmas? Are you tempted by any of these treats?

9-12 Months Baby Girl Clothing Purchases January 2016

I love buying baby clothes, I rarely buy clothes for myself now, just Aria. I think it is because I know Aria’s clothes will look good on her, where as what I think will look good on me usually doesn’t! She has a ridiculous amount of her current size clothing, 6-9 months, so I’ve started buying 9-12 months in readiness. I splashed out on a few items from Marks & Spencer, Asda and Primark in January, they are all so gorgeous I just had to share.

9-12 month baby girl clothing purchases January 2016

baby girl clothing Marks & Spencer January 2016 9-12 months
You may or may not know that I worked in Marks & Spencer over Christmas, I obviously had to make the most of my discount card before handing it in when my contract ended at the end of January. The Summer cat hat is size 6-18 months and is way too big for teeny tiny Aria, I knew it would be but I couldn’t leave it there. One day it will fit. The two pack of leggings are beautiful, I love the knee detail on the pink pair. The floral playsuit was quite expensive at £16, but look at it! How cute will she look wearing this playsuit and the hat together in the Summer, if she ever grows…

baby girl clothing from asda and primark january 2016 9-12 months
These pink floral jeans are another item that will be perfect for the Summer, I picked them up in Asda of all places, I think that both the jeans and the Primark jumper look more like Next clothing, but thankfully cost a fraction of the price. I really should have bought the jumper in 6-9 months to wear now as it will likely be the Summer by the time it fits her so we may not get a lot of use out of this.

What are your favourite shops for baby clothing? Have you started buying Summer clothes yet?

Recycling The Christmas Waste

That is it, Christmas is over for another year and we are left with a tonne of rubbish to clear up. With more and more of us turning to recycling nowadays and most Council’s giving out smaller bins or collecting rubbish less often it can be quite a struggle to dispose of the excess rubbish that Christmas brings with it, which is why I have put together this handy guide detailing what can be recycled where.

recycling the christmas waste handy guide for what can be recycled where

Local Council – First up, check your local Council’s website to find out exactly what can be recycled with them. We are fortunate that our local Council recycle food, cardboard, foil, paper, certain plastics and much more at the kerbside, this meant that the majority of our Christmas waste, including wrapping paper, packaging, Christmas cards and foil from cooking could all be recycled from outside our house.

Shops – There are quite a few shops that offer various recycling schemes. M&S are planting one tree for every 1,000 Christmas cards recycled in store between 2nd – 31st January, in an effort to help them hit their target to plant 6,000 new trees in the UK I will personally be taking my cards to them despite being able to recycle them in my normal kerbside collection.

Batteries should never be put into general household waste or recycling, there are quite a few shops who will take these including Argos, Tesco and Asda.

Mobile phones can often be recycled and a lot of the time you can get paid for it, I’ve previously recycled old phones with Envirofone, the process was quick and easy and they also accept damaged phones.

Charities – People often receive unwanted gifts for Christmas. Instead of wasting space storing them why not donate them to charity? You could simply take them to a local charity shop or possibly donate them to a local children’s hospice or Women’s Aid hospice depending on what it is.

Metal Recycling – When we’ve had new appliances such as fridges in the past we’ve generally been lucky enough to be able to pass them onto someone else meaning that we haven’t had to worry about disposing of it. If you don’t have anyone to pass your old metal appliances onto and they aren’t in good enough condition to donate to charity I would recommend contacting your local scrap yard, some may even pay you for the metal.

Christmas Tree Recycling – You will need to check this one locally, for those who are local to me Greenmeadow Community Farm are taking trees from 5th – 30th January.

*Post written in collaboration with CJ Metals*

Festive Favourites From M&S & Giveaway Winner Announcement

Not surprisingly my M&S giveaway has been very popular, I have received so many entries but unfortunately the prize can only go to one very lucky person. Carry on reading to find out if you are that lucky person, and to discover some festive favourites from M&S.

festive favourites with Marks & Spencer

With less than two weeks until Christmas it really is time to get in the festive spirit and start stocking your kitchen with Christmas foodie delights.

New M&S Foodhalls opened in Chepstow and Newport on Wednesday 9 December, in perfect time for all the yuletide preparations. Here, the store managers share their favourite festive food picks from the new M&S Christmas range.

Jenny Hall, Store Manager at M&S Foodhall Chepstow, said: “We’re so excited to be opening two new Foodhalls in South Wales this December and can’t wait to welcome customers to see all we have to offer to keep families in Chepstow and Newport merry this Christmas. Our new Christmas range is all about the creation of classic festive dishes but with a bit of twist. Think Prosecco-flavoured crisps, Brussels Sprout Bangers, Parsnip in a Pear Tree juice and even a Chocolate Candle Wreath.”

And it’s not just food getting in on the act”, added Sian Young, Store Manager at M&S Foodhall Newport. “Our tempting tipples have also been given a bit of festive sparkle. Why not try our exquisite White Christmas cocktail with yogurt liqueur, rum, vanilla and lemon, or a Mince Pie Martini for an extra special treat? Our Black Forest Liqueur is also sensational; rich and indulgent, it’s like a gateau in a glass!

Find out a little more about some of the festive favourites below.

Berries & Prosecco Hand Cooked Crisps with Fizz & Sparkle, 150g, £2.00

Everyone is talking about these crisps, and it isn’t surprising. They are hand-cooked British potato crisps made with blackcurrant and raspberry juice and M&S Prosecco. Garnished with edible gold stars, they promise to leave your tongue fizzing!

10 Mini Meatball Pastries, 244g, £7.00

M&S mini meatball pastries

Continuing the trend for Turkish food but in miniature format, these handmade pastries are topped with lamb and pork meatballs in a tomato sauce and then sprinkled with Turkish red pepper flakes.10 Mini Lobster Mac & Cheese, 226g, £10.00

M&S mini lobster mac & cheeseTender pieces of sweet lobster with conchigliette pasta in a rich cheese sauce. Served in pots with mini spoons, this is party food at its best.

British Easy Carve Oakham Turkey Breast Parcel, 1.45kg, £20.00

A great choice for those looking for an alternative to a whole bird at Christmas. This British turkey parcel is made with only succulent breast meat, making it simple to carve and easy to portion. Filled with a generous helping of caramelised orange and fig stuffing, this is the perfect option for those like myself who are cooking their first ever Christmas dinner.

Gold Melt In The Middle Chocolate Pudding, 680g, £8.00

M&S gold melt in the middle chocolate puddingA festive twist on the M&S chocolate pudding classic, this deliciously soft and rich chocolate pudding has a hidden golden orange centre and finished with gold lustre. An impressive dish both looks wise and taste wise.

White Christmas Cocktail, 50cl, £12.00

M&S white christmas cocktailPerfect for any Christmas celebration, this cocktail is made with yogurt liqueur, rum, vanilla and lemon. Just pour over ice and enjoy. The perfect tipple for both the run up to Christmas and the big day itself (and after if you fancy!).

Which of these festive favourites are you fancying? I will definitely be picking up a bottle of the Christmas cocktail, a packet of the prosecco crisps and some of the fab M&S party food.

Non-perishable items are available in-store now. Fresh food items will be available closer to Christmas. Christmas food orders can be placed now, orders must be received by 5pm on 15 December.

Congratulations to Jess H – you are the very lucky winner, I suggest you treat yourself to some of these delicious festive favourites, have a very merry Christmas!