My Festive Fireplace!

I thought it fitting to write a small post on this the last day of 2014. I know I have been rather quiet of late but hopefully with the new year we’ll be settled comfortably into our new home and I’ll be able to find some more time :)

We’ve had a wonderful, if slightly chaotic Christmas complete with a heavy dusting of snow on Boxing day, which is still with us (much to the children’s delight). I’ve decorated around boxes and wrapped around suitcases but slowly everything has come together and Christmas day itself was actually very relaxed. We like to celebrate the full 12 days through and have built our own set of traditions around various days. A new tradition this year though has been gathering around our fireplace after playing in the snow and coming inside wet through. We never actually had a fire of any kind at our previous home and it’s been a very welcome addition.

Unfortunately the fire is rather old fashioned and not quite to my personal taste, I’ve already managed to paint the surround that was originally a deep cherry colour but really I’d like to replace the whole lot completely. I’d love a multi fuel burner, or a limestone surround with granite hearth. I heard that Cast Fire Places were running a festive competition and I couldn’t help but give it a shot. They wanted to see a photo of my festive fireplace, so here’s mine by Christmas tree light complete with Dalmatian admiring the tree. Fingers crossed they like it and I can show you all a lovely new fire soon 😀dogfiresmall

For now though I’d like to wish you all a very happy new year and may 2015 (gosh that doesn’t sound real, it may take me a while to get used to writing that!) bring you much happiness and peace.
Festive Fire Competition Entry

Christmas crafts with Bostik!

Christmas crafts with BostikChristmas is nearly here! The tone of that statement and whether it strikes fear or excitement is often directly correlated with just how prepared you feel for the festive season. Many of us find ourselves flooded with obligations both pleasant and stressful, but if there’s one Christmas tradition I always make time to fit in it’s crafting, especially with my children. So in an attempt to bring a little normality back into our chaotic home (see my previous post!) I bring you our Christmas crafts with Bostik!

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As usual our box was jam packed with creative goodies:

Bostik Glu Dots and Blu Tack

Pipe Cleaners and Pegs

Polystyrene Ball & Star shapes

Cardboard Cone

White Foam and Coloured Card

Gift Bag

Ric Rac and Ribbon

Glittery Stickers and Pom Poms

Gift tags

Decorative paper

Small brass bells

 

What we made:

Christmas Angel

Christmas Angel

The cardboard cone could have become many things but as we had a new Christmas tree sadly lacking a winged friend to adorn the top, an angel was the obvious choice.

I started by cutting the wings out from white foam.

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Next I made a hole in the polystyrene ball and pushed it onto the top of the cone to give the angel a head. I painted the head using a mixture of chalk paint colours which gives a lovely soft matt finish, it also dries really fast! It is more commonly used to paint furniture.

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Once the paint had dried I used the Bostik glu dots to stick ribbon around the base of the cone (or dress).IMG_0567-1

This was further accessorised with silver ric rac, also stuck using the glu dots.IMG_0568-1

Next her wings needed to be attached. If you want to test to find the best height then use a little of the blu tack. Final adhesion is achieved using the glu dots once again (they really are useful to have at hand).

Finally I used a gold bell (so she can ring out the good news!) looped onto a ribbon to give the angel a pendant. This is attached at the back using yet another glu dot.IMG_0583-1

Gift Bag

My youngest was in charge of the gift bag decoration and chose to use a selection of sparkly stickers to create this festive wonder.Christmas Giftbag

Gift Tags

All three children were given free reign to cut paper, stick pom poms, stickers and anything else they fancied onto our gift tags. We were given two pre-cut tags, but we also used the cardboard to cut more out.

Gift tags

Peg Princess

My daughter made a Peg Princess using ribbon and off cuts from snowflake stickers to make a tiara.IMG_0587-1

We had a wonderful time listening to Christmas music while crafting away and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Meeting Santa at Chill Factore

A visit to see Santa Claus is an essential part of Christmas preparations for many families. This year we stepped the tradition up a notch by visiting Santa in the ‘real’ snow covered wonderland created at Chill Factore in Manchester. We even indulged in a sledging session to ensure we were truly in the festive mood.IMG_5945

We’ve never visited a snow dome before and I have to confess it’s several years since I last took to the seat of a sledge, so I was somewhat apprehensive as we arrived. After navigating the slightly confusing car park (signage was small and we ended up accidentally parking in the overflow area) we walked into the building not really knowing what to expect.IMG_5974

As a family we’d dressed in warm clothes with gloves, however you can hire a set of waterproof clothing for £6 in the changing village. Snowboots and helmets are available free of charge which was great for the kids but my Dad had to swap his pair as they were wet on the inside! I wore my own wellies and didn’t find they hindered me at all, so that’s definitely an option if you’d rather wear your own footwear. Next we made our way to the waiting area where our instructor met us bang on time.IMG_6234

I’ve completely forgotten our instructor’s name but she was absolutely wonderful! She talked the kids through the basics of using their sleds and off they went… expect my youngest had a complete meltdown at the top of the slope and was terrified. The instructor coaxed him onto a sled and took him down slowly with her hand firmly attached to the side. Unfortunately his brother had other ideas and against safety protocol decided to come down straight after and knocked my youngest over. No one was hurt but as you might imagine my youngest was not going to be convinced back onto the slope and I worried that his afternoon had been ruined. Unfazed our instructor asked if he would like to go into the snowplay area instead and he had a wonderful time in a much smaller environment. IMG_6097

Both my Dad and myself were rather apprehensive about sledging but jollied on by the children we gave it a whirl and had a fantastic time. In the wild (aka outside) I’m always nervous of sleds hitting rocks or tumbling out and whacking my face. In the controlled environment of Chill Factore with the safety equipment and instructors on hand it’s easy to enjoy an activity like sledging as if you were once again a care free child, purely enjoying the thrill of racing down across the snow.IMG_6226

Our time was up before we knew it and we made our way back out to the changing area before walking over to see Santa.

IMG_0070Santa’s grotto is located in the snowplay area and as you walk towards the door his elf pops out to greet you. Santa himself was attentive and friendly, however his grotto is teeny tiny and fitting everyone in was cosy to say the least. Santa made time to talk to each of my children and they all left feeling very excited. You can’t take photos inside the grotto but Santa has his very own camera to catch the special moment which you can then buy for £3. There are also several other photo packages, we were given a snow globe photo frame and large print which would normally cost £15.IMG_0072

Final Thoughts

We had a fabulous time at Chill Factore and can’t wait to go back, my son would like to learn to ski and this seems like a great location to give it a go. The thing that really struck me about our visit was how much I felt we hadn’t merely had a day out, we’d had a real experience to treasure and remember! The staff were all extremely attentive and friendly and obviously enjoy their work, children are welcomed and catered for as well as adults. It’s a great family location and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking to get into the festive spirit!

Details

To find about more about Chill Factore or to book visit their website here.

Full details of Santa’s grotto area available here.