Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas on a shoestring

I do not have a huge family to buy for at Christmas but I do like to give my boys a nice Christmas.  I like them to have a lovely selection of presents to open on Christmas morning.  Their gasps of amazement as their eyes are drawn to the big pile in front of them.  The only thing is this year having bought a new house; we have focused lots of our finances on that renovation project!  Even now it’s a long way off finishing.  The tricky thing with big present piles is when they suddenly appear a lot less; the boys might wonder what they have done to upset Santa!

So I am trying to pad up the present pile with a few bargains using any money saving codes I can find.  It’s amazing what a difference you can make if you use every discount/promotional code going.  Sites like Net Voucher Codes are ideal as you can quickly see where you can make some savings and focus your gift buying in that direction!  It’s somewhere you do need to keep checking back regularly as offers are always changing and some are quite short lived.

At the moment there is a very limited offer of 20% off at the Disney Store when you spend £50 or more (check the exclusions before placing your order).  The Disney Store promo expires on Sunday so if your children love everything Disney then you will have to stock up quick!  20% is a considerable saving so I have picked out a few bits I know my boys will love!

The cute Sulley plush will be popular with Monster Inc fans, £20 currently so you can make a £4.00 saving at the moment.  I always like to include a soft toy on top of their stocking; it’s become something of a family tradition and Sulley is adorable, he looks so fluffy!

My youngest is into action play!  He is very lively and full of beans; he is also becoming a bigger Marvel fan as he gets older.  So for him the Avengers Bow & Arrows (£15.00 but less with the offer!) would be perfect and I am glad it only has foam arrows so no one gets hurt…

He would also like the Captain America shield (£25.00 so only £20) that fires foam discs, he has the fancy dress outfit already and a shield but just an ordinary shield not one with this exciting addition!  It’s living the superhero dream with toys like this.

All the battling might wear him out in time for bed!  I can live in hope.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Giving the Gift of Music

To be honest my boys Christmas lists can get a little repetitive with mostly computer games and figures for their computer games featuring!  I want to expand their horizons and motivate them to have time away from the screen on occasion.  I thought that the gift of music is something a bit different; I like the idea of encouraging them to learn an instrument.  The school have started offering instrument lessons and I am keen for my eldest to practise at home to make the most of the opportunity.  Music is a wonderful form of expression and you can often learn more effectively through the medium of music.  

The Musicroom have a great gift finder on their website which makes it considerably easier to pick out gifts.  You can tailor your search around a particular instrument and price, then aim it at kids, adults or both.  You are then presented with a large selection of products meeting that particular criterion.  It certainly takes the stress out of browsing through endless pages to find a suitable gift!  It really does let you see the best that the Musicroom has to offer in a simple and fun way!

I have stumbled upon a wide range of perfect stocking fillers; the Spongebob Squarepants themed instruments are ideal.  Great value and would be very popular with most children, I have not yet found a child who does not like Spongebob Squarepants!  The 6 inch tambourine is only £6.99 and the Egg Shakers just £4.99, Spongebob’s face looks particularly comical on them, both would make lovely gifts this Christmas.  Holding instruments can really help with hand eye co-ordination and these sets are just the right size for younger children to manage and of course the design makes them ultra appealing!  Children will relish experimenting with the different sounds the instruments make.

Now that eldest is having drumming lessons I think I will be shopping more regularly at the Musicroom!  If your budget is tight you can of course make your own musical instruments as a family but I still think at these prices it would not hurt to splash out on a few proper instruments as well.  After all apparently playing a musical instrument makes you brainier!  So I think that can help me justify spending a few hundred on a drum kit surely!  Well that's what I will be telling hubbie...

What's your idea of the perfect party?

If money were no object and you had a big party to plan, what would you do to make sure your event was unforgettable? Perhaps it's a 40th birthday, a note-able anniversary, or another special occasion that deserves to be thoroughly celebrated with a night of treats and surprises to share with your friends and family.  

Obviously you'd make sure the location was somewhere special, perhaps pick out a party theme, choose a fantastic caterer, but what about the entertainment? How are your going to make sure your guests have a fantastic time at your big bash? Here are a few ideas to inspire your perfect party pieces:  

Casino Glamour  

Pop-up casinos are a great way to get people in the mood to have fun. You can choose from all your favourite tables, from roulette to black jack, issue your guests with fun money to exchange for chips. You could even include a prize to be awarded to the person with the most money left at the end of the evening.  

Singing Waiters  

If you're planning a sit-down meal as part of your big event, why not employ the services of some professional singing waiters to really get the party started? Your guests will be entertained while they sample your delicious menu, definitely a surefire way to make sure people are talking about your party for years to come!  The waiters look quite cute too...

Photo Booth  

A fun photo booth is a great ice breaker, and a wonderful way to document your big event too. Encourage your friends and family to get a little silly with props and backdrops while they snap some candid shots, make prints for your guests to take away as souvenirs, and of course copies for you to treasure too!  This is our collection of props!

Live Music  

If a DJ doesn't get you excited, why not think about hiring a live band to play at your event? You could choose a group that suits your party theme, or simply one that plays your favourite sort of music. A live band is a great way to encourage your guests to dance the night away.  

Giant Games  

Sometimes, even grown-ups like to embrace their inner child, so why not hire giant versions of your childhood favourites such as connect 4 and Jenga to keep your guests busy? For the truly young at heart, inflatable jousting or sumo games can be really good fun too - both for those taking part and the spectators too!  Of course, whatever entertainment you decide on, what makes a party truly memorable is the company, so always make sure your venue is big enough to hold all of your nearest and dearest!