#MakeItDontBuyIt

Christmas Fireplace

Christmas is a magical time for children and this year I am determined to make it extra special.

For all I promised myself to be done with the shopping by December so I can concentrate on the build up, it looks unlikely to happen so I have reset the goal for the 15th of December. (Keeping everything crossed that I can stick to this deadline).

The build up has however started, we have written our Christmas lists and hoped with all our hearts that we would get the blessing of an “Elf/Fairy Door”. Last year and the year before we had an Elf visitor, Olaf and Olly the Elves were lovely additions to the family and the girls especially, were hoping that a door would appear the morning after they had left their letters.

Imagine our joy when we got up to find a door waiting for us on the fire place.

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After visiting the Crafting Tea Rooms in September, my bestie and I decided that this year we would set about crafting with the kids for Christmas.

I absolutely love making and creating but simply do not get the time these days. However, making the time to sit down with the kids and make it rather than buying it, has been really fun. Something we will most certainly be doing more over the weeks to come.

What better way to start, than with an amazing array of goodies from Hobbycraft. This year they are running a campaign which has been entitled and tagged #MakeItDontBuyIt. They also have an amazing Christmas range.

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The kids were so excited to see what was in he basket and pulled every item out in a matter of seconds and spent the weekend putting pressure on me to get the crafting in motion.

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I had a shift swap on Sunday so it mean’t I had more time on my hands. So once I had caught up on the night shift sleep and got put straight we got a big sheet out to protect the floor.

In the basket was a Christmas Stocking and it took quite some debate as to who would get the Stocking. Would it be one of the kids? Me? The decision was made, on the basis that he doesn’t have one, that Louie the Dog would get it. Libby nominated me to draw a picture of a dog on the stocking and while Penny sprinkled glitter on to the glue dog, Libby would find his name in amongst the felt letters.

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His ears were filled with Pom Poms and we put him to one side to dry. I have been nominated to sew on some bells to the stocking when it dries. The kids have also decided that they would like to add some sparkly Pom pom’s to the stocking to make it “more fancy”.

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Next we opened up the Advent Calendar boxes. What an amazing idea this is. I have looked at the ready made ones and thought about getting one in years gone buy but to be able to make our own means it is extra special….we decided that Libby would be in charge of the big box on top, Penny the upper set of small boxes, Libby and Penny on the next layer and the bottom layer is all mine…YEY!

Out came the paints and brushes.

Penny stole one of the greens and started to do hers green. With a little help we managed to cover the boxes but for complete coverage we would need at least another layer on when this one was dry.

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Libby decided that she wanted to go white and then paint glitter snow flakes on it.

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The girls both painted the middle layer red and I went for white on the bottom layer.

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As everything was wet and needed another coat of paint we left them to dry over night…….

The following day the boxes needed another coat of paint so while I did that Penny set about picking what needed to go on the stocking and where. As you can see she added quite a bit and is very pleased with her little self at how it turned out. (Not sure Louie is impressed but I am sure a few treats in it from Santa Paws will change his mind).

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The next few days…..

So we painted some more and the time came to decorate the boxes. The girls decided that we should alternate the doors and have bows on some and Santa sequins on the other so that is what we did. The glue gun came in very handy and I used all the glue sticks included so went and invested in some more.

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Desperate to use the Pom Pom’s some more Penny set about sticking them in the gaps, so armed with the glue gun we stuck them in place. Libby decided that she would like some white pom poms to put on the top box so it looked like snowballs.

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Then we have the finished product…..

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What a creation, they love it and are very proud of what they have created. I love it and I am sure Santa will too, here’s hoping he fills it full of goodies for them.

The products we used to “MakeItNotBuyIt” are:

The Wooden Present Stack Advent Calendar

Green Felt Christmas Stocking

Christmas Sparkle Pom Pom Bumper Pack

Hot Melt Mini Glue Gun

Hobbycraft School PVA Glue 300ml

Silver Glitter Shaker 80 g

Ready Mix Paint Christmas 150ml 6 Pack

Deco Mache Decoupage Papers

Assorted Adhesive Felt Letters

Single Tartan Mini Bows 20 Pack

Gold Christmas Star Wooden Glitter Toppers 12 Pack

Multi-Coloured Jingle Bells 30 Pack

Red Santa Sequins

Kids Paint Brush Set 3 Pack

A massive thank you goes out to Hobbycraft for getting us involved in the #MakeItDontBuyIt campaign. We had lots of fun and have even been for a sneaky visit to the Team Valley store to purchase some more bits for us to have fun with.

Look forward to creating some more, to find out more about the Hobbycraft Christmas ranges please visit them here.

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Where did October go?

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You blink then it is gone……

Well that’s what it feels like to me. Where on earth did October go?

I seem to have fallen in to the habit of filling you all in the monthly happenings in The MaryLou house so here goes nothing….

October traditionally stands out to me as the month that we have half term and the month that we celebrate Halloween. I dare say for most of us this is also the case. In some cases you will have started your Christmas shopping and in others you may have completed it (OMG I wish).

We started out the month launching Libby’s event “The Big Chop”. I am sure you have read the post already but in case you haven’t I will give you a brief rundown.

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Libby recently asked us to explain to her what Cancer really was. We are very honest with the children and obliged, telling her in as much detail as we could, but still keeping the details child like, what Cancer is, who it can affect and the treatments it can involve. She went away and processed the information and decided she would like to raise money for children and their families “near our house” that are and have been affected by Cancer.

She had already decided she would like to have her hair cut and donate it to The Little Princess Trust but she decided she would like to gain sponsorship for The Toma Fund.

I set about finding a Hair Salon that would be happy to help us and to our delight Toni and Guy came forward and offered to help us at their Durham Salon.

From there, fundraising has gone from strength to strength and over on JustGiving we have so far raised just over £250, we have sponsorship forms out and about that have raised about the same so far, along with that I am running a raffle. When I told Libby’s story there were some amazing people and companies that stepped forward and said they would like to help. We have had some fantastic prize donations from Metro Radio and Brian Moore, Newcastle Greyhound Stadium, Sunderland Greyhound Stadium, Begu Tea, Sharron Bates, Sweet Evangelines, Tanfield Railway, Arriva, Chiquito, tombola, Lickety Split, 3M and Babsyliz.

Numbers are still available over on the Facebook page. Priced at £1 each. All money raised goes to The Toma Fund and will be drawn on the 18th of November or when all the numbers are sold.

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School photo’s….they happened…..it’s really scary how much a like these too are. Love their pictures though (really must remember to order them this week).

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October brings the delivery and publishing of the “Santa Clause Toy Books” to us adults that is the Smyths Book, Argos Christmas Book, Tesco Toy Book and the random other Christmas Toy Books. This year Libby is circling items in Red Pen and Penny has the Black Pen.

As you can see from the picture Penny has spent a lot of time writing her very understandable lists…

We have yet to write our lists properly but high on Penny’s list is a Furby, A Cry Baby and a new Baby Doll.

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Libby has asked for a Hatchimal, a Cry Baby doll, Harley Quinn Doll, Harley Quinn Dress up and a Shibajuku doll.

Lets hope Santa is preparing himself for the pages and pages of the tatty toy books that are heading in his direction.

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Penny and I had some lovely jaunts in October to collect prizes for the raffle and just because.

We visited Seaham one very cold windy morning, but there is something so homely about the seaside for me. As you know from previous posts I lose all my woes when I go to the seaside (Even if it is cold, wet and windy).

Whilst there we visited the amazing Lickety Split. We had never been before and I was so desperate to have a try of their treats. Penny was very adamant that she would like a Pink Ice Cream, So she got a Sundae with Strawberry Ice Cream, Bubblegum Ice Cream, Strawberry Sauce and M & M’s.

Her face says it all…..

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I was sensible and ordered a Panini…..(lets not mention that I finished Penny’s Sundae shhhhh )

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Definitely worth a visit if you have not been before.

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A month would not be complete without a night or two with my bestie.

Deborah (Country Heart and Home) and I were invited along to the Autumn and Winter launch at Katie’s Garden in Sunderland. It is always a good night no matter what we do but on this occasion we got craft and create fairy houses together. To read more the post I wrote about the night is Katie’s Garden – Sunderland.

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Then came the buying of Halloween Costumes. I begrudge paying an absolute fortune for them and was quite stressed that both the girls needed a new one. Regan had decided that dressing up for Halloween was “not his thing” this year so that left me with just the two too buy.

I did the usual browsing around and was absolutely blown away by not only the selection in Home Bargains but the prices too.

Penny chose a “Pumpkin Witch” Dress and I chose for Libby and got her the “Witch Bride” dress.

Both girls were delighted with their dresses and the hyper for Halloween began.

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I had a very productive ride up to the Intu Metro Centre. (I say productive, it was simply made productive as I found my Christmas Eve box PJ bottoms.)

Every year I go up before Christmas and see PJ’s that are Chritmassy and think, yes they are fabulous, I will get them the next time I am here. Then I go back and who knew? They have none left. So I ceased the opportunity and got them and the girls Christmas PJ’s from Primark.

It would be very rude not to pop over to IKEA while I was there of course. So I ventured over and came away with some bits and pieces for people for Christmas, some candles (standard for me ) and some irresistible wrapping paper.

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Then came the week of Surgery.

The day before I went in Mark and I were invited to the amazing Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham. What an amazing place to visit. To read more about our visit it is the Crook Hall and Gardens post.

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On the evening of the night before surgery, following a family funeral, the hair got cut off. It needed to be off so my surgeon and I could see what was really going on under it. I do find it so liberating having no hair. Cutting it off wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The gut wrenching when the first clump dropped to the floor was quite significant but I made sure I went straight down the middle first. (No turning back that way) and before I knew it, the hair was no more.

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The following morning involved a 4am start and an early arrival at hospital ready for my surgery. I was first on the list and arrived in recovery 4 hours later having had 13 BCC’s removed.

I was really quite poorly after and incurred an overnight stay as a result. Due to the excellent care of the Nursing Staff at UHND,  I went home the following day and I did feel fractionally better. Yet in so much pain. The kids were all on standby though and as one left me to go to bed another one of them took over and made sure I was OK.

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As the days have gone by and the stitches have been removed and fallen out I feel a lot better and the scars are so neat and well healed already. The support I was offered by not only family and friends but people that don’t know the full story was unbelievable and I can only thank you all for that. The flowers that got sent from work were also amazing.

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To read more you can find the story on the Surgery Update post and if you want more in depth pictures check out Before, During and After.

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Dance Schools Halloween Party. Costume outing number one. In hindsight spraying her hair red for the first outing of the white costume maybe wasn’t the most sensible of ideas but it added to the effect. (the dress however looks like someone has sprayed fake blood all over it).

We painted her face with a lovely little kit from B & M . I got the face paint in there last year and was over the moon to find that they had the same kit in for this year (£3.99). A fraction of the price that bigger shops were selling.

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Oooooh now, Mark’s Bovril addiction is no secret and I thought my Peppermint Tea one was just as bad. That is until my hospital stay. As I can not have caffeine my options were a cold drink or Horlicks. Well I fear I may have developed an addiction that rivals the Bovril addiction.

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I have always liked it, but not to this extent. Saying that I think my addiction has been made worse by the fact that I am having to limit myself to one cup a day due to the sheer amount of milk that you use to make it.

Last but not least was Halloween with Deborah (Country House and Home).

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As you well know we always have a good night and it was lovely to be invited down to share Halloween with my Bestie and her beautiful family. The house was decorated fantastically.

This is the first year in quite a few where we haven’t had a party or decorated much. So the decision has been made that we are going all out next year.

Deborah had arranged a Tin Can Alley, Put The Smile on the Skeleton, Bobbing for Apples and some other lovely games for the kids and an amazing spread for us all. Every little detail was considered (I wouldn’t expect anything else from Deborah though). What a fantastic night.

The kids went trick or treating on Halloween itself and came hold with their bags full. They have had “The most fantastical Halloween ever” apparently. I certainly will not argue with that……

xxxxxxx

A Date with a Mate @ Flannels.com

Last night (21.07.2016), I had the pleasure of accompanying Deb from Country Heart and Home to the VIP opening of the new Flannels.com store at Intu MetroCentre.

My first event of this kind, I was taken a back by  not only how eye catching the store and it’s layout was but the beauty of the team, that was on the floor to assist with the smooth running of the night. Most of them wearing items that were in the store to purchase.

We were welcomed with a drink of our choice (Champagne, Beer or Water), then invited to look around. As always it was nice to meet other bloggers but also nice to be in the company of some North East Celebrities.

All I can say is WOW, there is an amazing range of both Mens and Womens Designer Clothes. With items from Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Hugo by Hugo Boss, Vivienne Westwood and so many more.

They stock ranges for Women, Men and have a selection of Children’s Shoes, (which, along with the Women’s shoes, I stood and looked at in awe for quite some time).

I have to say I was impressed with the price range of the products too. For all there were items that were in the four figure bracket, there were indeed some lovely pieces that fell in to the high street price band.

Here are a few photos from the night, thank you for inviting me Deb and thank you for having me Flannels.com

Unisex Uggs for Kids

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Pink Uggs (*LOVE*)

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Jimmy Choo Mavy 100 Booties

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Jimmy Choo Shoes

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Michael Kors

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Giuseppe Zanotti

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Watches

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Alexander McQueen

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Dresses, lots of amazing Ladies clothing….

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This is but a tiny selection of items that tickled my fancy but for more selection please have a look at Flannels.com

Or if you are out and about, why not pop in to have a look at the new Flannels store at  Intu MetroCentre .