Portable North Pole

Christmas is such a magical time. You know it is upon you when the slightest mention of Father Christmas send the children in to hyper mode.

I think we all do it, but it is an amazing time of the year when you can use Santa as not only a treat but a threat for any naughty behaviour. (That sounds awful but how many of us are lost come January when you can’t use Santa as a behaviour bribe).

Over the last few years, since I discovered PNP (Portable North Pole) I have taken advantage of their make a video of Santa free download. Every year it has worked a treat, not only in completely captivating the kids but also in getting me in the Christmas Spirit.

So What is PNP? I hear you ask….

“Portable North Pole (PNP) is an online platform used by Santa and his elves to send personalized video messages and calls to the people you care about most anywhere around the world. In just a few simple steps, you can help Santa gather all the information he needs about your loved one and create a tailor-made video message or phone call that is positively magical. But that isn’t all Santa and his magical elves have in store! To create truly unforgettable memories, you can even download a HD version of your video to keep for years to come”

This year I have full access to the PNP.

I was blown away by the videos/calls that are available for you tailor to your own needs.

On entering the site you are offered the choice of Videos, Phone Calls and also stories that are read out to your children.

I opted to have a different video for each of my three making each one different in behaviour too. Just to try it out and see what happens if you are on the naughty list.

For Penny I did the Visit Elves House video. I was prompted in some very easy steps to add the details I would like to the video. This includes her age, a picture of Penny and one of our house, what she had been asked to do this year and also which list I felt she should be on. (As she had been particularly trying that day, I chose naughty list). The video lasts for just under six minutes and Penny was drawn in from the very start.

She wasn’t that overjoyed when Santa told her she needed to try harder to make the good list however and despite feeling really bad, I hoped that hearing she had been naughty from the man himself might do the trick.

By the end of the day she had been a little angel and it would seem a chat with the big man did the trick. So, I decided to give the phone call option a try.

This is simple, you have to enter your contact number a few simple details of the child and they get a very authentic sounding call in return.

Santa told her she was on the good list and to make sure she kept her behaviour good. (I would like to say it was still having an effect and if I threaten the phone call she soon snaps out of her little tempers).

Libby had The Big Book message. The details that you enter are fairly similar only in “The Big Book” you are asked to enter something that your child has asked for or is working towards with their behaviour. The video concentrates on the book hat Santa holds for each of us and like with the first on you can enter four names from your family that appear along side the child in questions name on the book shelf.

Libby was on the good list because of her recent achievements and she was overjoyed that Santa told her she was doing well and he would try his best to make sure her doll was under the tree on Christmas morning.

Regan had a video too for him I did the Secret Places Video. He was unphased by the whole thing but then I wouldn’t expect any the less from a grunting teenager.

PNP for me is now something that I love to see the kids watching in the weeks leading up to Christmas. On top of the Christmas Videos, Stories and Calls there is is also the opportunity to get Birthday greetings for your children and a special Christmas Eve video, there is also an Online Shop with official merchandise.

The phone calls can be tailored to the situation with call categories including, Congratulations, Behaviour to improve, Encouragement and Christmas Eve, there is something for us all to get excited over.

The kids are taken in by Santa, the Elves and the landscapes and settings they use for the videos. It is a truly magical thing to be able to do for the kids and seeing their faces is priceless.

Full Membership is reasonably priced and for what you get in return it is well worth the investment.

For more information or to visit PNP, you can find them Online, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Me and my tea…….

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Establishing my love for Caffeine Free and Fruit Tea has been something I seem to have done successfully. To say I am a bit of an addict to new varieties and tastes is an understatement.

My caffeine free story was one I shared with you a couple of months ago but drinking “normal” tea gives me extreme migraines, so touching tea with it in is simply not worth it.

I love my Peppermint tea and drink that like it is going out of fashion, however I do like a change a couple of times a day because sometimes Peppermint does just not hit the spot.

When I came across Bluebird Tea Co, I was so excited to see their range and was not disappointed by the tea and products that they produce and supply.

The advent calendar drew me in and from there the rest is history. Obviously, the Calender was not an option for me but having spoke to Bluebird’s amazing team we sorted an amazing array of teas for me to try and I was hyper when my delivery arrived.

In the box there was a fantastic selection of teas for all of the family. These included:

Snowball Tea Bauble

Strawberry Lemonade

Rhubarb and Custard

Mulled Cider

Birthday Cake

Pineapple and Mint

Gingerbread Chai

Lets start at the very beginning….

The boys were desperate to get in to the Bauble and try the Snowball Tea.

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“Award-winning Snowball tea bags in a giant luxury bauble – perfect for your Christmas tree or Secret Santa pressie!”

This tea contains in amongst the Black Tea, marshmallows, chocolate pieces, cacao bean and coconut. I didn’t get to try this one as it contained tea but it smelt amazing and I am judging by the now empty bauble that the boys enjoyed it too.

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OMG….I fell in love with the Strawberry Lemonade Tea.

“Bluebird’s best selling fantastically fruity tea infusion that tastes as good as it smells!”

It is recommended for both Hot and Chilled drinking but I enjoyed it the most when it was hot. The flavour of not only the main ingredients comes through but the elderberry and orange a subtly there too, its amazing and you really get the Strawberry Lemonade taste. I found it very comforting to drink and it kept me going for a few shifts at work.

High from that one I moved on to the Rhubarb and Custard and was equally blown away.

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“Tangy rhubarb tea, creamy custard guilt free sweet treat”

If I could do scratch and sniff for you this would be a post that would most certainly benefit from it. The smells when you open the pouches of tea are amazing.

Being alcohol free at the minute means the likes of Mulled Wine and Mulled Cider are off the menu, but the Mulled Cider tea brings Christmas in a teapot. The aroma is simply divine. I can try with all my might to explain it too you, the closest I can get is by saying, “Christmas in a Tea Pot”.

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“Sweet spiced apple fruit tea, what a winter warmer! Brew a Christmas fruit infusion or to make your own Mulled Cider!”

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“Vanilla sponge, notes of sweet icing + cake sprinkles!”

Birthday Cake…..Tea that tastes and smells like cake. Is that really possible?

With this one having Black Tea in I didn’t get a try but the smell was amazing, the fine detail of the sprinkles makes it all the more appealing on the eye and adds a special touch. The boys tried this one too and told me it was fabulous.

Another OMG moment when it comes to the Pineapple and Mint. I wasn’t sure on the combination at first but it caught my eye first on the website. I love pineapple and had never tried a pineapple tea before.

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“Minty fresh, tropical fruit fusion + coconut – a real crisp cuppa!”

This one was an amazing follow up to the Strawberry Lemonade tea when I ran out of that. It has a very light and refreshing taste. Like the Strawberry one this can be drank either Hot or Cold but personally I prefer it hot. You can really taste the fruit and the Mint is subtle yet very much there. (Saying that I prefer it hot, I think this is because it is winter. I can see both of these teas being lovely served over ice with a touch of something alcoholic to add an extra punch in the summer, being lovely)

Then there is the Gingerbread Chai.

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“Award-winning, spiced Gingerbread Chai rooibos tea”

I have only had one pot of this and I shared it with family. It was lovely and so warming. Who doesn’t love gingerbread so close to Santa coming? The flavour that you are promised from the ginger is there, again it is not overpowering and truly a delight to drink.

In fear of repeating myself, Bluebird Tea Co. make some simply amazing products. Not only are their products amazing but so are the team behind them. Nothing is a problem and as a company they have been a pleasure to work with. Thank you so much for letting me sample your delights…

If you are looking for a unique Christmas Gift or you simply fancy giving their products a go you can find Bluebird Tea Co. over on their website or via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Male….13 years old….Christmas Buys??

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Strikes me that I can not be the only one that is having issues with ideas for my 13 year old Son for Christmas.

The main present thing is simple enough, with him leaving us the option of a couple of technological items.

It’s the stuff that fill out the pile, the stuff that you can tell other people he would like, that is causing the issue.

With Regan just having his birthday we wait until after to make him a list, that way he can get what he would like and the rest gets added to the Christmas wish list.

So, if you have a teenager like mine (mood swingy, grumpy on occasion, happy on others, little bit of a combination of all the characters from Big Bang Theory, and utterly charming), then this may be of use to you.

We sat the other night and went through some websites for things he might like and stuff to add to a list and this is what we came up with…..

“Gaming”

I refer to it as gaming because there are so many platforms these days that I can’t keep up. Once over I used to enjoy a game of Super Mario, but these days my poor little eyes can’t keep up with the graphics, causing me a migraine (I sound so old). This in turns means that I have lost touch with the platforms …(I did think I had found a game I could get away with when Minecraft came on the scene, but alas it also gives me a migraine.)

There are many games that he would like that are not age appropriate, but good old Mario and Pokemon have made the list…..

Super Mario Maker 3DS (GAME £34.99)

This game was released for the Wii U some time ago and both Regan and Libby enjoyed playing it. They were both hoping for it too make the smaller hand held console and here it is doing just that.

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Pokemon Sun/Moon 3DS (SMYTHS £31.99)

The games are released at the back of November and follow the same format as previous Pokemon games. I am not going to pretend I know more about it but there is a full description of the game here… Pokemon Sun and Moon.

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Funko POP

I didn’t quite realise how much of a “thing” these were until a couple of months ago. Regan has a few and wants to exted his collection. I have been trying for quite some time to get him to colect something and these seem to have become the in thing to collect. They are widely available online. Here is a selection of the ones on his wishlist….

Funko POP Newt Salamander (SMYTHS £9.99)

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Funko POP Bobble Winter Soldier (AMAZON £7.99)

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Funko POP Picc0lo (AMAZON £9.99)

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Funko POP Trunks (MY GEEK BOX £8.99)

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Funko POP Skyrin Dovahkiin (EMP £9.99)

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Hawkin’s Bazaar

I was introduced to Hawkins Bazaar by Regan’s Dad and I have done the honour of passing the love for the company on. When Regan said he had no idea what he would like for Christmas it was a site that needed to be visited for inspiration (then the Intu MetroCentre shop a couple of days later).

For those that have never hear of Hawkins Bazaar, in their own words….

Hawkin’s Bazaar is the home of great gift ideas, geeky gadgets, terrific toys and everything else that makes a perfect present!”

These are a few of the things that have made the shortlist…

Bat Signal (£20.00)

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Regan seems to have developed not only a collection of FUNKO Pop figures but the desire to collect various novelty lights, his collection includes a Superman Light. Darth Vader Lava Lamp, Pacman Alien….and a few more. To add to the collection he would like the Bat Signal.

Flashing Air Football (£13.00)

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Simply because……(apparently as it will work well on the laminate flooring!)

Captain America Vintage Canvas Wallet (£18.00)

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I am told this is because his wallet is “utterly rubbish”.

Colour Changing Egg (£6.00)

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Like I say, he has a thing for lights 🙂

There are so many more things that he has picked out but I would be here all day if I started to list them all.

Something Geeky

Regan has discovered a love for clothes this year and like any teenager is starting to care about what he looks like. When looking the other week we came across the Something Geeky website and he has found some stuff he has fallen in love with and, you guessed it added it to the ever increasing list.

Glow in the Dark Power Symbol Hoodie (£22.99)

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Pixellated Long Sleeve I need love T – Shirt (£19.99)

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Killing Zombies T – Shirt (£12.99)

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I realised very quickly that anything that I look at and think “Naaa” is actually something that he would probably appreciate. Shopping for a 13 year old is maybe not as hard as I initially thought…….

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