Alternative Christmas present guide

Hey readers,

This guide is to help people who don’t want something traditional but a little bit different to get excited about this Christmas.

DNA testing Kit.

I will kick off with this interesting idea called Living DNA sampling kit. If someone that you know is interested in learning about your past history and relatives then this is the present for them.

It is basically you will receive a kit that includes activation code to set up an online account and this will be where you find out about your results. In the kit that will be sent directly via post in a box and inside there is a testing kit. You can’t drink for one hour after that time you swipe your mouth with the swab around anti-clockwise for about 45 seconds giving that enough time to collect some check cells. This then gets closed up ceiled in a bag and then you place it into the prepaid envelope to get your details tested.

Once the test sample is received you will be given details on your online account about information about past relatives, where they are from, what parts of the country they are from. Great if you want to find more about your family tree. Really simple to do and clear instructions on each step. The kits themselves are dispatched between 5-7 working days.

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What the sampling kit looks like when recieved in the post.
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Inside the kit instructions, sealed envelope, swab, and pre paid envelope.
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Taking a swab of my inside cell checks to send off to get tested.
pre paid envelope
This is what the sealed envolve looks like.

Mystery box.

Mystery Boxes

Next on the list is the very popular trend that has occurred on Youtube and that is a mystery box. You get to send a box of random items through on Firebox you can select the kind of items you want such as gadget, unusual,foodie etc. It is great fun because there is that thrill of not knowing what to expect and opening up is a big surprise. It can either go two ways – really amazing stuff or absolutely pants. But hey the surprise and not knowing is what it is about.

Frefall Abseil at The ArcelorMittal Orbit.

This idea is for the person in your life who is an adrenaline junkie and gets their kicks out of risking their own life. I present you freefall abseil at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London. You can buy this experience from Red Letter Days. You can’t say this is not unique. What it comprises of abseiling down the tallest sculpture in the United Kingdom. It is located in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and showcases a stunning 115 metres in height. You can see iconic places such as the London Olympics. It is also a freefall abseil. Ascend to a platform on 80 metres up and take in the sky-high views of London. whilst being attached to the specially-designed safety system by expert Wire and Sky staff. Then take a deep breath, lean back and abseil down without touching anything until the ground is reached. Relish the scary yet exhilarating feeling of being mid-air and marvel at views of the Gherkin, St. Paul’s, the O2 Arena and more on the way down. The duration of the experience lasts for two hours of pure excitement.

Cheers for reading X

This is an advertisement feature. I was given a Living DNA kit for free in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

The A-Z of Christmas

Hey readers,

Not sure if you are aware that it is the month December which can only mean one thing….. Christmas! Get ready as I give you the A to Z of Christmas, Ho Ho Ho.

A – Christmas would not be Christmas without an artificial tree to set of the living room decor nicely and place them Christmas presents under.

B – The bells, the bells yep them lovely shiny gold and chiming away in the classic Christmas hit of Wizard’s ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’. Though personally not sure I would want that as it would be a hell of a chore to do every day.

C– Well as December is the Christmas month that means it is socially acceptable to have chocolate EVERY day and shock horror you can even have it after breakfast, whoop! No guilt is needed, it is all about getting in the spirit of Christmas ok people!

D Decorations are one of the main features at Christmas time. Some people like tradition plain baubles or glittery baubles but not me, I have a cow, ice-cream and a pink fluffy silhouette. I personally, got more interested in tacky and non-related Christmas decorations when I learnt how much my husband hated them, lol you have to get your sh*ts and giggles somewhere.

E – Christmas is all about exchanging them gifts, who doesn’t like a Lynx gift set or a pair of socks, this is the dream right there.

F – In the UK it is freezing during December, so remember to wrap up warm.

G – Christmas is all about making memories and having a good time. But you need to have at least one argument because you know it is bloody Christmas and it is stressful.

H – The ultimate beverage is no other than the hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows – now your talking!

I Irrational fear about where you left the Christmas presents that were saved from the January sales. Arghh, they are hidden so well you have forgotten where you have left them, PANIC!

JEveryone has to be jolly and plaster that fake smile because it is all about having a good time ūüėČ

KKris Kringle the main geezer of this big event, every single year.

L – If you do have an argument you can sit in the room having a sulk and staring at the twinkly lights.

M Moody me? No only when my husband decides to lie back and snore and I can’t watch The Royal Family (not the real one but the comedy).

NNob my favourite word to mouth at my husband when he is stressing me out and we need to sort out dinner.

OOrganised because that is how I like my life.

PPanic when you forgot the goose fat, these things matter at Christmas.

Q – queues everywhere, heating whacked up in the shops. I think I might be sick with this overload of chaos. Christmas is the air when you enter a shop so be warned because everyone is on the same mission.

R Rejoice it is 8 pm on Christmas day and now we can sit back and check out the sales.

S – Must remember to stock them stockings.

TTrimmings are crucial in the Chrismas dinner game.

UUnwrap and leave your mummy to move around like a ninja with the black bin bag.

V Visit from Aunt Sue who sits there and moans.

WWintery because it is freezing.

X – Is for Xmas in case you might have forgotten.

Y – I blinking love a chocolate yule log just for your information.

ZZZZ because this Christmas business is knackering init.

Cheers for reading X

Christmas events in Coventry

Hey readers,

I live in Coventry so I thought I would use the information I know to tell you of the festive events that are happening locally to me to get you in the mood for Christmas.

Vintage sleigh ride.

I have already written a post about my experience of visiting Santa at the Coventry Transport Museum so can read more detail here. It is the classic vintage Santa sleigh ride where you have to travel to the North pole to meet Santa. You do get to see Santa as well, so magical experience for kids. Tickets cost £6 for children and £1.50 for an accompanying adult.

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 Kenilworth castle.

Not far from Coventry is Kenilworth and they have a beautiful castle. This time of year Christmas at the Castle is a beautiful event that showcases a nostalgic feel with the falconry, storytelling and toy making. There is also festive jester is great entertainment for all the family and of course, there is a tea room to enjoy a sit down with a hot drink. Finally not forgetting that you can hand deliver your letters to Father Christmas. Christmas at the castle is held on the 8 & 9 of December 10 Р4 pm. A family price cost £29.40 (other tickets are available on their website).

Belgrade Theatre.

Going to the theatre at Christmas time is a wonderful experience to have. In Coventry, there is the¬†Belgrade Theatre and they are showing Santa’s sparking surprise for young children. The performance is about Ellie the Elf and her gang and how they have forgotten Christmas themselves because they are preoccupied in getting all the gifts together for everyone else.

The performance lasts approximately 35 minutes and after if you wish you can go and see Santa for a meet and greet.

It is on Wednesday 12 December till 24th December. The tickets price at –¬†adults: ¬£8.75 & ¬£9.25 children: ¬£11 & ¬£11.50.

Santa's Sparkly Surprise

The Herbert Art Gallery.

On the 7th December at The Herbert Art Gallery, there is a making merry Christmas arts, crafts and gifts fair. It runs on the 7th and 8th of December from 10 till 4 pm. You can view local and ethical sourced art and crafts. There will be workshops, music, choir and plenty of unique gifts to buy. There is also a cafe to relax with a treat. It is free to attend so go check it out the weekend!

How to Make Music Appreciation Incredibly Fun Yet Super Simple with SQUILT | My Little Poppies

Nutcracker trail.

At Coombe park they are doing a nutcracker trail where you pick up a leaflet and you have to go find nutcrackers in the park. Each nutcracker will give you a clue on how to open Santa’s safe and collect your prize. Please give yourselves at least an hour to take part in the trail. It cost £2 per leaflet plus car parking charges. It is currently running every day between 10 am Р3 pm up until 22nd December.

christmas nutcracker on top of red textile

Christmas tree festival.

For the past three years, The Rotary Club of Coventry has put on a Christmas tree festival on at the Holy Trinity Church in the city centre. It is a delightful experience that showcases many different trees from different organisations and it is free to attend and have a look around. It really is lovely because you get that sense of community and working together which makes you feel really good after. It starts on the 12th of December Until Sunday 30th December. So if you nearby do pop in as it is a real treat.

blur branch celebration christmas

Cheers for reading X

Seeing Santa at Coventry Transport museum.

Hey readers,

On Saturday I took both my boys to see the big man (Santa) locally to where we live. The Santa’s grotto is held in Coventry Transport Museum which is in a perfect location to travel to as it is in the city centre – so very well easy to get to if you live locally or want to come and visit Coventry.

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Going to visit is not like any other typical Santa’s grotto – oh no you start of entering the room full of Christmas decorations, twinkly lights and Christmas songs blasting out of the speakers. It is great visual festive decor to get you feeling reading for Christmas.

Once you have gone through the line to the reception at the front you pay for tickets at the desk. You then depending on who is before you go through the door where you go take a seat on the sleigh.

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The price of tickets and times. 

‚ÄĘ The Santa vintage sleigh ride is open right up to Sunday 23 December. However, I would recommend going early as it gets very popular closer to Christmas and you could be waiting a long time in the queues.

‚ÄĘ Monday – Friday – 11am till 5pm (last ride 4:30pm).

‚ÄĘ Weekends – 9 am till 5 pm (Lat right at 4:30 pm).

‚ÄĘ Children ¬£6 / accompanying adult (up to¬†three adults per child) ¬£1.50. Entry fee includes a gift per child.

‚ÄĘ Adult ¬£5 (Individuals or where groups of adults exceed the three adults per child limit).

The sleigh is a mechanical moving transporter – it has a beautiful decoration with reindeers at the front, sparkling twinkly lights on the ceiling and Christmas decorations with tinsel etc. It is dark so bear that in mind but you can see with the low lights and the violet lighting that glows the reindeers of nicely.

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Once you have reached the North Pole, takes approximately maybe three or four minutes. The sleigh door is open at the back for you and your family to step out into the festive corridor. You probably have to wait may a couple of minutes. That is ok as they have activities such as finding the words in the word search on the chalk walk. Plenty of things to see whilst waiting to meet Father Christmas.

When it is your turn you hand your ticket to the Elf and then you can go into the room to see Santa. Bear in mind it will be just family that are in the room with Elf and Santa and it is private as the door frame has a fabric sheet that closes you off t others. Therefore, if you do have a shy child then they only have to worry about Santa.

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Now Santa is sitting on the chair waiting to hear about whether your child has been good this year. He is very friendly and makes you feel welcome. Both my boys were fine talking to him and Santa asked the odd question such as whether you are going to leave a mince pie out on Christmas Eve. Then they give out a present to each child which is wrapped in a bag so they have fun with the surprise of guesses what they get. The presents are what you can Santa grotto will have, both my boys received a dinosaur which is good because then there is no squabbling about the other one getting something different.

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The meeting lasted a max of 5 minutes. We were then lead over to the exit door by the Elf which takes you back to the beginning in the waiting area. You just go out to the door on the right and you are right back at Coventry Transport museum entrance. So, there is no panics about getting lost if you are unfamiliar with where you are going.

Overall, it is a good experience as you get the sleigh ride as well. I am quite attached to it personally because I did the same thing as a child bar the fact that Santa grotto was in a completely different location.

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It is a lovely festive treat if you’re into that then do go check it out.

Cheers for reading X

3 Little Buttons

My Christmas holiday traditions

Hey readers,

Today I want to talk about Christmas traditions that I and my family partake in.

So, where do I Start I guess with Christmas Eve I tend to now tune in to Channel Four’s special Christmas movie they air each year. I have done this since the boys were little and it is just a lovely way to settle down in the eve before Christmas. Channel four are normally good at picking some really calm films perfect to watch just for bed. The kind of things are The Snowman and the snowdog or we are going on a bear hunt.

Image result for the snowman and snowdog

Along with watching Christmas Eve film, we make a luxury hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows, yummy.

Each year my boys ‘help’ with putting up the Christmas tree whilst blasting out old classic Jazz Christmas songs, I also prefer that music and reminds me of my own childhood.

boy beside christmas tree illustration

On Christmas day I love to go for a family walk, normally ending up at a park. When we go to the park it is bizarre because it is so eerily quiet when normally it would be buzzing with kids everywhere.

Can’t be Christmas without an advent calendar to lead us up to Christmas. Nothing like getting a tiny chocolate in the morning, lol.

Every year we go visit Santa locally (it was the same one I went to as a kid so happy memories associated) so it holds happy memories not just for my children but for me as well. It is really fun as there is a Santa sleigh ride where you still in a sleigh and it moves. It is really pretty with the lights and the kids get all excited to go meet Santa.

My boys are now at that age where they love to write Christmas cards to relatives and friends. They love personalising it with their drawing and stickers – it is a lovely activity to do during Saturday afternoon.

Every Christmas I put up two stockings up for the boys to enjoy small little presents and random items, which ironically are some of their favourite things they get over Christmas.

This tradition is more of my husband’s thing, which is Christmas crackers at the table. Me personally I think they are a waste of money but I am sure I waste money on other things over Christmas. Nonetheless, the boys the surprise of the noise from pulling on crackers and we can have a laugh at the rubbish jokes that come with the crackers.

Going to school play at Christmas is magical to go and see as parents and see your little ones dressed up and singing Christmas songs. I always come away feeling cosy inside and the boys feel proud of all the effort they put into their roles.

Awful cheesy Christmas jumpers that are just glorious to wear during Christmas. My boys love Christmas jumpers especially when one of theirs has lights on it and sings songs, adds to the excitement of Christmas.

Finally, the last tradition is, of course, leaving a plate out for Santa that consists of a glass of milk, mince pie and a carrot for the reindeer. My kids after being super happy in the morning to see the plate empty bar a few crumbs, hehe.

Cheers for reading X

Top 10 advent calendars 2018

Hey readers,

Today I have picked the best advent calendars for you to countdown to the special day. I have a mixed bag but I think there is something for everyone on this list.

Top 10Advent Calendars 2018

1. Let’s kick this list off with a slightly unusual advent calendar from¬†Smiggles¬†and the content is all based on tricks. If you want some fun and pull some pranks then check this awesome calendar. It is a 12-day calendar and it has trick items such as the classic of a pretend poo or the old whoopee cushion. The advent calendar has dropped the price and now is ¬£12 instead of ¬£18.¬†Image result for trick or treat smiggle calendar

2.  Second on my advent calendar list is this kitch calendar from Cath Kidston . It contains 24 days worth of beauty products from hand soaps to body scrums this one has it covered. I like the fun design of the calendar as well however it does come in at £42.39!

Cath Kidston 24 Days Beauty 2018 Christmas Advent Calendar Gift Set

3. If you’re looking for something sweet bit luxurious then do check out this gorgeous¬†Ferrero¬†golden gallery advent calendar. You can buy it Debenhams for ¬£8. It consists of 25 chocolates that are a mixture of dark, white and milk chocolate to wet your appetite.

 

4.¬†Paperchase¬†has brought out their own advent calendar which has 24 days worth of accessories ranging from hair bands, hair clips and even some cute kids jewellery. Perfect for a child and something that isn’t chocolate based. It costs ¬£15.

5. Who doesn’t love some retro sweets, check this Swizzels retro sweet advent calendar coming in at ¬£4 from Tesco.¬† A great way to enjoy the countdown to christmas with family faviourites such as¬† love hearts, chews and fruity gums.¬†Swizzels Advent Calendar 200G

6 Here is a budget-friendly advent that only costs £5 now from Wilko . The calendar is called countdown to Kissmas and it is a 24 day worth of makeup essentials. The item includes such products of lip gloss, nail polish and eyeshadow. It is a great alternative to a chocolate advent calendar.Kiss Advent Calendar Image 1 7. I think this would be my favourite advent calendar out of all the calendars chosen in this post. The advent calendar is quirky as it is an anti- advent calendar. If your looking for something a bit different then this will be the one. It comes to form an online site called  Prezzy Box  and costs £29.99. First, of I love the design of the calendar as it is striking and a hint of darkness. The advent calendar contains 24 unfortunate fortune cookies.  which are guaranteed to spread festive gloom. Fill the house with grim jokes, black humour and loud laughter. Each cookie is individually wrapped. The cookies are vegan black wheat pastry cookies with a note inside.

Misfortune Cookies Anti-Advent Calendar - Gruesome Christmas

8. If you are a lover of candles then do check out this Air wick adcent calendar from Robert Dyas for £4.99.  The calendar contains 24 days worth of tea lights that you can light each day. The tea lights come in three scents (mulled wine, winter wonderland and winter berries).

Image result for airwick pure scented advent calendar the work

9. Here is a fun advent calendar that is filled with 24 windows and are bombs cosmetics, what a way to enjoy December.  you can buy this advent calendar from All Beauty at the price of £14.90. The items include blasters, mallows, creamers & soaps.

10 Finally, if your looking for something savoury then¬†Sainsbury’s is the place to go with this cheese calendar, it costs ¬£10. The calendar includes 24 pieces of cheese to try out with the likes of Jarlsberg Medium Fat Hard Cheese Applewood Smoke Flavoured Cheddar and¬†Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries. So if you like nibbling then this one ticks all the boxes.

Cheers for reading X

Autism and Christmas.

Hey readers,

As you are probably aware that Christmas is upon us next month. Christmas can be a lovely time to spend with special people in your life, however, as a person with autism, this period can be rather stressful.

One of the triggers for me is that it is a massive change in my routine and expectations are the biggest areas that I struggle and get quite stressed, probably bound to have at least one meltdown.

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So, over the years I have tried to find ways that can help me not feel so overwhelmed by all the change because I hate it very much. I thought I would share some of my coping mechanisms, they could help you or someone you know.

Of course, Christmas isn’t just stressful for autistic people it could very easily be someone without it as there are a lot of extra of things you have to deal with especially if you have children, the stress quadruples.

Safe place.

One place that calms me is my safe place, where I go to when I am stressed and that is my bedroom. I have always associated my bedroom with my safe place, even though currently it looks like a bomb has gone off (hubby will one day decorate it, ffs). I still go to my bed to calm down. I have low lights on and put one throw and two sleeping bags, yes excessive but that is a comfort for me. I calm down and it is my space (not the website, lols).

bed bedroom blanket clean

Routine.

I know with Christmas everything goes right out of the window but loosely knowing what is happening helps me a great deal to feel I am in control and there is some structure. I hate not knowing what is happening. Also, my eldest is the same so basically we need it now just for me but for him as well.

Mantras

I like mantras, I like repeating over and over again especially when I am stressed. So saying to myself, ‘it is one day, it lasts x amount of hours and I can get through just like all the other days’ helps me because it is a statement, I can repeat it and it brings me back on focusing on the control which in turns help with managing my anxiety.

Walk.

I used to have this weird idea that you had to stay in all day at Christmas. I appreciate that some people love this, which is absolutely fine. However for me going out for a walk, getting some fresh air really does help clear my head. I feel less closed in with the tree and the disorder of all the toys everywhere etc not in their rightful place. It also calms kids down as well and gets rid of some of that pent-up energy they have.

adult adventure baby child

Talking.

I know it is ironic me saying talk to someone, as I myself am fully aware that communication is one of the hardest things to do, but even if it is written down one word such as change this can help other members maybe bit a bit more patient. I remind husband as brilliantly supportive he is, sometimes with his own stress, a polite prompt that you are struggling goes a long way.  It then gives him the opportunity to a bit more patient and it is a calmer environment for all to manage.

Cheers for reading X

3 Little Buttons