I started writing my blog this year and it has changed my life completely. It has opened the door to many opportunities that I would never have been open to without my writing. When I first started I didn’t think anyone would want to read about my life but how wrong was I. As I have watched my blog go from strength to strength I have been overwhelmed with the number of people that visit my site, comment on my posts and follow me on my blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. Its blown me away. I have been lucky to go to some fantastic places and I have met some amazing people and become good friends with lots of people all through my LOVE of blogging. I feel blessed to have met all these amazing people I would never have come across if I hadn’t started this.
The Bird Family have had a fantastic year and that leaves me to say I hope you all have a brilliant Christmas with your family and friends. I hope that Santa brings you and your children everything you dream of, and to all you hard working Mummies out there I hope you get some time in between playing with your children to put your feet up and have 10 minutes to yourself.
Below is a little message from Big Bird and Little Bird who wanted to give you a little message. (I hope it works its the first video I have put on my blog, I hope you like it)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
The Bird Family
For the last 5 years we have taken the children to the same place to see Santa and that is to Baytree in Spalding. I am not going to lie its fantastic there, they have a lovely winter wonderland and Santa is amazing. We decided last year we were going to try a different Santa then for some reason things didn’t go as planned and we ended up at Baytree again. When we all came out we agreed it was fab but we felt we were getting a bit bored with the same place every year. I hadn’t really decided this year where we were going to go until I saw a Tweet from Jennie Cox telling me Santa had arrived in the Kiddicare store in Peterborough.
Jennie posted a photo of Santa on Twitter and as soon as I saw him I knew we had to see him, he looked fab and as Big Bird is getting older now I was worried she would look really hard into the outfit and say “thats not Santa” So we made our way to see him the following morning, we arrived early so we did not have to queue for long. We did well because we were first to see him. As we walked down to see him he shouted out “Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas” He welcomed us in with open arms and straight away he got Big Bird to sit on his knee.
I have to say this now ……. this is definitely the BEST Santa we have ever seen, he was fabulous with the children, come to mention it he was fab with the adults too. Little Bird was a bit frightened and decided to stand near the door for most of the visit but Big Bird was mesmerized by him. She was staring into his eyes listening to every word he was saying. As Santa went into a deep conversation with her about Lapland and where he lives, also talking about the elves he has working for him and not forgetting the all important information about what she should leave out for the Reindeers to build their strength to get them through Christmas Eve.
I have said it before on my blog about Big Bird being very observant and dreading the day she asks me “Is Santa REALLY real?” There was no way after this visit she was going to ask me that question this year. My favourite bit was when Santa said ” You know I am the REAL Santa don’t you? I am the real Santa, this is no fake beard, go on pull it!!” Bless her she looked at me as if to say ‘am I allowed?’ I gave her a nod and she gave it a little tug, it was probably more like a tickle as she didn’t want to hurt him.
Whilst Santa was talking to Big Bird, Little Bird started to come closer to him, but he still wasn’t sure. As he got a little bit braver he decided to sit next to Santa but Big Bird was still sat on his knee so he couldn’t see him. Santa tried his best to win him round but he was still a little bit wary of him. Santa gave both children a lovely present, we had a couple of photos and then left.
The children talked lots about Santa after the visit and Big Bird still talks about pulling Santa’s Beard. Well done Kiddicare for finding such a brilliant Santa. It was free to see Santa and all the presents were donated by brands who’s products you can purchase in the Kiddicare Store. We were so pleased with our visit I would love to have seen a collection box for a local charity. I would definitely have put in it because it really was a lovely experience for both me and the children.
Have you seen Santa this year? If so where and was he as good as the Kiddicare Santa? I would love to hear.
Every Christmas in our area the Deeping Lions Club drive around our streets towing Santa on his sleigh. I remember him coming around the streets when I was a little girl and I used to love seeing him. When we moved into our new house last year I was not sure if he would call by because it was a New Housing Estate on the verge of completion. It turned out that the did come down our street he arrived at 7.15pm. I didn’t know they were coming so I had put the children to bed at 7pm. When I heard Santa pull into the street I raced upstairs to get the children but both of them were fast asleep.
So this year I was determind to keep them up, after finding out what day they were coming I decided I would let the children stay up and see him. They knew he was coming and were really excited. My Nephew lives on the estate over the main road to us and I asked him to give me a quick call when they were over there so I could tell my children he was on his way. My children knew Santa was doing the rounds between 6-9pm and from 6pm onwards they were asking me every 5 mins “when will Santa be here?”
Well I was not expecting the phone call I received last night at 7.30pm from my Nephew, he rung to tell me that Santa was on his side of the road but had just turned around and gone in the opposite direction to our house. I was gutted and so were the children, so I did what any good or some might say MAD parent would do and I put the children into the car and we chased after Santa. We caught up with him a few streets away and I parked the car up around a corner so that Santa would drive past us. The children were really pleased and happy to see Santa, its just a shame we couldn’t see him from the comfort of our home, he called the children over and gave them both a sweet, so they were pleased.
I managed to talk to the Deeping Lions Club members who were out collecting donations and I told them how I was gutted they had missed our street out and that I had told the neighbours children he was coming so they had let them stay up late to see him. They apologised and said they would do it next year but it was to late for them to turn around now. I was really disappointed but I do hope they remember us next year. I remember being so excited waiting for him to drive by when I was little, it used to make my Christmas.
Yesterday I took the children to Happy Faces in Glinton for their Christmas party. When we arrived at Happy Faces the children were so excited and could not wait to go in and play. It wasn’t long before we were joined by my sister in law and her two children and my mum and my nephew.
Claire who runs Happy Faces had done a lovely job and made this party really special for every child who attended. In the craft area she had set up tables and chairs for the children to have some party food, this was accompanied by helium balloons. When we walked in there were lots of little stocking hanging on the washing line with all the childrens names on them. They were waiting to be decorated and it wasn’t long before my children and their cousins dived in to get started.
All of the children designed their stocking beautifully and then hung them back on the line. They would be needed later for a very special game. Big Bird was so excited about the party she woke up so many times the night before, she was really looking forward to seeing her cousins. She doesn’t see her cousins very much mainly because when we meet up with them she is at school and she really misses them.
When she saw Bobo’s with her Little Brother ( Mini Bobo’s who is 1 years old and VERY cute) She ran off and wanted to play with them. Bobo’s and Mini Bobo’s are familiar with Happy Faces as they do attend when they can but its the first time that Mini Bobo’s had been and was able to wonder off and play on his own and he really loved it. He walked around the whole time smiling and enjoying the independence of doing what he wanted when he wanted in the safety of the Happy Faces setup.
I love the photo on the left its of Big Bird and Mini Bobo’s having a dinner for two, being cooked by Little Bird. Claire had set up a few Christmas themed areas for the children and they loved it. Little Bird loved playing in the area where there was a Santa’s sleigh and helpers, he sat there for a long time playing with Santa and setting up the reindeers ready to pull the sleigh.
After the children had eaten their party food Claire had set up a treasure hunt for the children, armed with their stocking that they had designed earlier they were on the hunt for Chocolate coins. Big Bird being the competitive person she is started racing around to try and find the most. When they had finished they placed the coins into their stocking ready to take home.
After Parcel the Parcel, bubbles and the parachute the child all received a present from Claire. All the children in our little group had a lovely time. Claire is amazing with the children and really pulled all the stops out to make the Christmas session lovely for everyone. Claire works really hard all year round, Happy Faces is her pride and joy and you can see how much she loves running her fabulous business. It amazes me how she remembers all the childrens names who attends her groups. Bless her she is now having a well earned rest until the New Year. Happy Christmas Claire, enjoy your break, we look forward to seeing you Next Year. Thank you for making yesterday so lovely for all of us. xxx
Last night I took Big Bird and my Mum to our local Christmas Bingo. Bingo has been really good for Big Bird, she has really come on well with her high numbers since we started to play. Don’t get me wrong we are not serious Bingo Players we go once a month to a local one, we heard about it through Big Birds school and she loves going. Last night was the Christmas Bingo so the prizes where extra good. Halfway through the night I looked at my mum and said “Its not going to be our night” then out of the blue I glanced down at Big Birds bingo card and saw she needed one number and before I had time to tell my mum 52 was drawn and me and Big Bird were shouting “BINGO”
Well Big Birds face was a picture, she was chuffed to bits with winning I took her to the front to pick a prize. They had 5 lovely hampers to choose from and I knew as soon as we walked up there which one she would pick. It had to be the one with the Thorntons big Chocolate Santa in it. She didn’t care about the rest of the stuff in it, it was all about the chocolate Santa.
The Hamper contained:
- Big Thorntons Chocolate Santa – For Big Bird who has promised to share it with her brother
- Bottle of wine – For Daddybird
- Tin of Shortbread – For Mummybird
- A Christmas Cake – Which we decided Nanny/My Mum could have, as she walked away with nothing!!!
As a treat for all the children last night they had one game of Bingo for all the children to play. It was a fab idea because one child won a big chocolate selection box and because it was Christmas they didn’t want to send any of the children home empty handed so they gave all the children in the room a smaller selection box. When we arrived home Big Bird couldn’t wait to show Daddybird what she had won and because Little Bird was in bed asleep she showed him in the morning with the promise she would share it all with him. Bless her they do love each other sometimes, it must be the Christmas spirit in the air.
I was amazed when I received an email this week about how I can save money with my weekly shop. I had to share it with you in the hope that I can encourage you to join me in making some massive savings for your family. The place where you can get all these savings is ………. Poundland.
We have a few Poundlandsscattered around our local area and they are a shop I have been into quite a few times. I regularly take the children to spend their pocket money in there because they always get a bit more for their money. I also purchase party stuff and crafty things to do with the children. Even though I have popped in for these bits I never really thought about all the other things they do…… well that’s until now. So when I saw this email about the savings I could make on other products it really made think very carefully about what I can save and how I can make our money go further.
A survey of 2,000 UK shoppers conducted by Europe’s biggest single price discount retailer, Poundland, has revealed that 40% of consumers plan to spend at least ten hours in December sniffing out Christmas bargains. This is before they actually buy the goods, the ten hours will be dedicated to researching deals to ensure they are buying at the best possible price. What’s more a staggering 20% confirmed they actually expect to spend three hours each week in December researching where the best deals are – that’s equivilant to two whole working days.
The research asked how consumers feel about budgets in the run up to Christmas and found that five out of 10 shoppers visit at least three different stores to purchase weekly household and grocery essentials. By contrast, the same percentage confirmed that before the recession they were more likely to be loyal to one brand or shop. The reason for the change? To make sure they get the best deal to save money.
Jim McCarthy, CEO atPoundland comments: “It’s clear that when shoppers feel squeezed, brand loyalty becomes less important than getting the best price. Supermarkets change their offers all the time, it leaves consumers confused and pushes them to shop around before making a purchase. By contrast, with one single price point, shoppers can be savvy and budget as they fill their basket, making it easier to work out whether they’re getting a bargain. There’ll also be no shock with the final price of their basket at the till point.”
As more and more families start to feel the pinch, shopping in budget stores is becoming socially acceptable. Over half (52%) of consumers taking part in Poundland’s research said they now shopped reguarly in budget stores – one in three of this group confirmed they wouldn’t have stepped foot in a discount store two years ago.
McCarthy continues: “Consumers now talk about ‘good deals’ they’ve found and share them with friends and family. It’s obviously great for discount retailers – however, we do need to continue offering shoppers execptional quality products for amazing value.”
Poundland is Europe’s biggest single price discount retailer and winner of the 2011 Discount Retailer of the Year Award. It has over 370 stores in the UK and sells an extensive range of high quality top brand and own brand products all for the single price point of £1 each, providing customers with amazing value every day.
Serving over 4 million customers every week, Poundland is an irresistible shopping experience where shoppers are guaranteed to find over 3,000 quality products and over 1,000 Top Brands, across 17 shopping categories including food and drink, health and beauty, household, gardening, DIY, pet, stationery, books, DVD’s and toys.
With a growth strategy of at least 50 new stores every year, Poundland is again on track to create approximately 2,000 new jobs.
Poundland also asked 2,000 UK shoppers what retailer they thought would be offering the best deals on gifts and decorations for 2011. The top five favourites are:
These were the figures that shocked me and made me think about how and where I will spend my money in the future. I will definitely be changing the way that I shop starting from now and I will be trying to keep a log of how much I have saved. I received a lovely Christmas Hamper for the purpose of this post and I was amazed at the quality of the products, and I struggled to get my head around the fact that it only cost £11. When I saw the charts above with the prices of what it would have cost me in the supermarket it really got me thinking about how I shop. From now on Poundland will be a shop I visit regularly to stock up on essential products for my family and home.
On Tuesday this week we went to Big Birds Christmas School Play. I thought I was not going to get there as I have been poorly this week with a flu type bug, but I rested all day and made myself go. Big Bird had asked me on the morning if I would be there and I said ” I would try my hardest.” I hate missing out on anything that my children do. So when she walked in the school hall and saw me standing at the back she instantly put a smile on her face. It was worth dragging myself there for because she was so happy to see me.
Big Birds School play was called “All Booked Up” and it was a modern twist to the Christmas story. It was really good fun the children were rapping and dancing on the stage to pop songs and your traditional Christmas songs. Big Bird had been practicing her songs at home for weeks so I knew all the words like she did. When it came to her time on the stage I had to laugh as she was dressed in a boys dressing gown, (which she was NOT happy to wear) shorts and t-shirt and then a tea towel on her head. She was a traveller and she had to dance on stage in a Congar style with the other children I couldn’t help feeling very proud of my girl, every time she came close to the front of the stage she would look over at me and smile.
All the children did really well and pulled off a lovely performance for the parents and Grandparents. I love the childrens Christmas plays it really makes Christmas feel closer. I am such a big kid, I love the run up to Christmas and I really do put alot of thought into making Christmas special for my children, afterall ‘Christmas is ONLY as special as the children who believe in it.’
**Disclaimer – I have blurred out the faces of the other children in the photos because I do not have permission from their parents to show them in this post**