Wednesday, November 25

The Snowman and The Snowdog: Great Festive Bake Off Blog Tour

It's now almost December and we are certainly beginning to feel the festive spirit building, our tree will be up at the beginning of December and most of the presents are hidden away (now just to remember where they are safely hidden and not forget as I usually do).
One thing that gets us really into the Christmas mood is watching The Snowman and of course The Snowman and the Snowdog - this will be aired once again this Christmas on Channel 4.
To celebrate this I have teamed up with a group of bloggers to join in with a #SnowmanSnowdog blog tour.  This is a Bake Off Blog Tour - we have all been sent a wonderfully cute The Snowman and The Snowdog Cookie cutter set from Party Delights these are priced at £4.75 for the set of two.
Now sadly I am no baker and I am rubbish when it comes to decorating biscuits and cupcakes etc.
Thankfully they also send over a decorating tutorial from the Biscuteers team but sadly for me it didn't seem to make a blind bit of difference especially as the children were helping to decorate too.

To make our biscuits I used a recipe I have used many times before, a basic biscuit recipe which is easy for the kids to make and roll out themselves.

The children happily got stuck into getting messy and kneaded the biscuit dough and rolled it out flat - spilling most of the flour onto the floor and wearing the rest in their hair and on their clothes.

They had great fun making our biscuits but even more fun decorating them, using nearly all of the icing on just a few biscuits.

 Didn't they do well? They copied the pictures on the cookie packaging and tried really hard.  They then happily went off to play with their new Snowdog soft toy, a large Plush dog which looks just like the dog from their much loved movie.  This is available from Argos, Amazon and all good retailers and is priced at £17.99.

Of course I just had to had a try myself so melted some white chocolate and came up with these creations, I did say I wasn't very good but I did at least try hard.

#SnowmanSnowdog, The Snowman and the Snowdog, Blog Tour

Why not hop on over to  who will be posting her creations tomorrow.


Monday, November 23

Hornby My First Scalextric

Scalextric is something that I remember from my childhood,  my Dad and Brother had a large collection together, a shared hobby I guess. I remember going to the model shop with them to buy replacement parts for their cars (metal connector things for the bottom of the car - yes I'm sure there's a correct name for them but I've never known it).
Paul also had Scalextric  growing up, infact while moving around the spare room recently I found a big box of different tracks and cars etc. which he's kept hold of.
Another thing I remember is it being fiddly to put together, well the more elaborate tracks anyway. Clicking the track together, adding barriers etc and making sure all the connections were pushed together properly or it wouldn't work.
Recently Hornby got intouch to see if Harry would like to try out their My First Scalextric set and I was intrigued to see if it was simple enough for younger children (a reason we've not had Paul's set out yet as I thought Harry was too young at 3).
Setting it up was simple. There are instructions but I actually just followed the picture on the box and it was set up in less than 5 minutes.
The set is a basic elevated figure of 8 setup, there are two little bridge like pieces which you slide under the track to elevate a section.
You then plug the controllers into the slots on the track and the power supply too, pop the cars onto the track and you are ready to race.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the cars gripped really well to the track and even when you pushed the trigger right back so the cars were at maximum speed they held firm to the track (I remember playing with the sets when I was younger and you would have to decrease power on the bends or the cars would fly off the track as you went round the corner -always a hard thing to remember to control as a child).

Harry was able to control his car alone without help. Shouting "I win Mummy, I win" even when he clearly didn't.

Hornby, My First Scalextric, Review

At 3 he can't set this up himself but once done he can play happily with this on his own, with us or with Emmy.

A video posted by Clare Nicholas (@emmysmummy1) on
This is a really lovely beginners set, an introduction to the world of Scalextric and would make a great gift for both boys and girls this Christmas.
Priced at £34.99 and available from

Saturday, November 21

Changing the hall and stairs - Room makeover progress report

If you follow me on any of my social media channels you will have seen we are amidst a makeover project - we are changing the look of our hall, landing and stairs currently.
When we moved in, this house had previously belonged to Paul's parents and obviously was decorated by them - we've now been here for around 12 years which is a very long time and although we have decorated a few of the rooms by painting the walls and adding our own furniture a few things have never been changed including the carpets.
As our hallway and stairs are the areas to get the most traffic throughout the day, times that by 12 years of use, two kids, 2 adults and a dog you can imagine the wear and tear. 
When we moved in the hallway walls were a vivid green colour, there was a dark green carpet, yellow bookcases and cupboards in the hall and a dark wood banister.  One of our first jobs was to paint white over the green walls and that's as far as the hall decorating went, barring a few deep cleans of the carpet.
It had been on my list of jobs to at least repaint as it was a bodged quick job, just to cover over the horrid green until we had time - as you can imagine life just takes over and you never really find that time.
Carpetright, Valspar, room makeover
Carpetright, Carpetright Clapham, Room makeover
When Carpetright got intouch to discuss a room make-over project I jumped at the chance and knew the hall and stairs would be the perfect project.  Emmy and I had great fun browsing the Clapham Store and discussing our flooring needs with the team before finally picking the perfect options for us.  I went in with a vague idea of what I liked and came out with something completely different but totally perfect for our needs.
Over the past two weeks we have been preparing ready for this makeover project, the walls and ceiling have been painted, mirrors have been put up and after a discussion late one evening Paul and I decided that the banister and bookcases would look better if we painted them.
Sadly it has taken us a lot longer than we had initially thought as it's not a job which can be done while the children are around.  I planned to do a little during the time both children were in School all day but sadly Harry was off sick with Croup and then Emmy has been off with stomach pains, this just left a few evenings but as often happens things don't go to plan and evenings have been limited too.
This meant that we have only managed to give the banisters 3 coats of primer and the bookcases 1 coat.  I have to say though that the banister already looks better than it did and I can not wait to show you the finished makeover. 
Room makeover project, carpetright, valspar
I won't tell you which colour we have chosen as I want it to be a surprise but of course you are welcome to guess.  We decided after an email hit my inbox, upon opening an idea started to form - the email was to showcase the new PAN palette collection from Valspar.
Valspar, pan, palette, room makeover

 The new colour palette has been inspired by the movie release of PAN, the colours are inspired by scenes from the movie from the magical night's sky to the rich turquoise of the enchanted lagoon.
Of course one of the plus points was that the Premium paints feature a super scrub formula and have undergone vigorous scrub testing which means that they won't fade or chip when cleaned making it our perfect choice for a high traffic area such as the hall, especially with the kids still being quite young.
Now the carpets and tiles are down we have to really crack on with this project and I honestly can't wait to show you the final finished project which WILL be finished in time for Christmas (Paul are you reading? This has to be finished ASAP)
"This is a collaborative post"

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Friday, November 20

Giveaway: Win a Bratz Snowkissed Doll

Calling ALL Bratz® Fans!

The #Snowkissed photobooth is in town! So grab your besties, your favourite accessories and head on down to strike a pose....The famous Bratz®  photobooth is back by popular demand, with an all-new festive theme, and will be visiting INTU LAKESIDE this weekend!

When: Saturday 21st November
Where: intu Lakeside Shopping Centre
Cost: Free activity, no booking required 

Perfect for getting into the festive spirit, the Snowkissed themed photo booth comes equipped with lots of winter themed Bratz props including Ski's, Fur Hats and festive accessories for added fun.  It's Free of charge and you and your friends will receive a copy of your picture to take home with you. 

Head on over the Facebook page and tag yourself in your picture for your chance to win great Bratz prizes including a hamper of Snowkissed goodies.

The new Bratz ranges were released earlier this year focusing on current trends and seasonal themes.  From #Selfies to spas, skiing to sleepovers, the new Bratz range has something to suit everyone.

The photobooth will travel across the UK starting with intu Lakeside (Saturday 21st November), intu Metrocentre, Gateshead (Sunday 22nd November), intu Trafford, Manchester (Saturday 28th November) and intu Victoria Centre, Nottingham (Saturday 5th December) - the full tour schedule can be found on the Facebook page

Giveaway Time
To celebrate the Snowkissed photobooth's heading to shopping centres near you I have been given one Bratz Snowkissed doll to giveaway (this will be a surprise and you will receive one of the dolls pictured below)
For your change to win please fill in the rafflecopter form below, this giveaway closes at midnight on 9th December - Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, November 19

A Festive night out at #Hogwartsinthesnow

There is still the magical hold over me when I think of Harry Potter, although it's been many years since I read the books I can still remember the first time.
I've re-read them all many many times over but nothing beats your first time does it? There will always be the memories of staying up through the night because I just couldn't put the books down, they were the first books which provoked that reaction for after page devoured, and when a chapter finally ended I just couldn't leave it there, I had to read 'just one more chapter ' - it wouldn't take long,  just one more......then it's 4am before I knew it and it's almost finished so best to continue.
Did anyone else do that? I know many of you are nodding here.
Then came the films, for me not as gripping as the books as sometimes your own imagination can portray parts of a story differently but thrilling all the same.
I've visited the Harry Potter Studios before with Paul, Emmy and Harry, the kids hadn't seen Harry Potter and had no idea who he was but became captivated by it all so much so we had to beginning watching as soon as we got home (stopping at the third movie as it became too scary for Emmy).  This was a few years ago and a lot has changed.
Warner Bros Studio Tour, Harry Potter tour, #HogwartsinthesnowLast week I was invited to a special preview evening of #Hogwartsinthesnow and I took my best friends eldest and a friend of theirs.  Hogwarts had had a festive makeover and we got to see it first.
I'd not told the teens where we were going and the screams of excitement when we pulled up were overbearing, you'd have though I'd taken them to a 1 Direction concert.
Now the magic happened all over again for us all, the whole place had been made over to embrace a festive feel.  Beginning with a giant Christmas tree in the entrance and then seeing the Great Hall decorated with Christmas trees and the table laid with a HUGE Christmas feast.

#Hogwartsinthesnow, Warner Bros Studio Tour, Harry Potter Studios

The dorm rooms and Common rooms had taken on the Christmas theme and even the broomstick flying experience had a snowy theme - well you can't go to Hogwarts without flying can you?

#Hogwartsinthesnow, Warner Bros Studio Tour, Harry Potter Studios

Snow was falling outside on Privet Drive too and also when riding on the Hogwarts Express you were taking your journey in the snow.  This is a new feature added since my last visit - you can walk through the train and see the carriages as they would have been in the films but then you can sit in the interactive train where the scenery moves around you and you watch the action through the window.

Hogwarts Express, Platform 9 3/4, Hogwarts
In Diagon Alley you will be told secrets of how they made the footprints when Harry wore his invisibility cloak and throughout the tour you can find out various show secrets such as how they make the snow for the sets and how to create the fire effects.
Somehow Hogwarts becomes even more magical at Christmas time.

Hogwarts, #Hogwartsinthesnow, WB Studio Tour
If you'd like to see for yourself then it will maintain the Christmas decor until 31st January so you still have plenty of time to book in your studio tour. Visit the website for details -
I'd suggest allowing lots of time for your tour, this is a self guided tour (once you've had the initial welcome briefing and watched a short movie clip in the cinema) however on both occasions I've visited I have been there around 4 hours.

If you would like to see the official photos taken by Warner Bros Studios on this opening evening including all the celebrities present you will find them on the Facebook page here and in the meantime I will just leave this picture here because it's not everyday your able to get a photo with Rod Stuart is it?

Rod Stuart, Emmy's Mummy, #Hogwartsinthesnow


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