A Review of Hotel Chocolat’s Mingles & Jingles Bag

I’m very excited. I love chocolate and have been given the opportunity to review some Christmassy Hotel Chocolat Choccies! The Mingles & Jingles Bag contains 35, individually wrapped chocolates in white, milk and caramel chocolate. This particular gift costs £21 and would make a really lovely present, especially for those difficult to buy for people.

I love the fact that they’re individually wrapped because as they’re slightly bigger than your average chocolate they can be used as stocking fillers, treasure hunt prizes or bauble fillers if you don’t want to give as a gift, (see below!)

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The penguin chocolate is quite a dark, milk chocolate. It’s thick and chunky and incredibly moorish. I’ve never had Hotel Chocolat chocolate before and as a bit of a chocco connoisseur I have to say I’m very impressed.

The white chocolate bell is creamy and delicious with a lovely hint of vanilla, you can actually see the little vanilla dots in the chocolate.

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The caramel chocolate Angel, is definitely my favourite though. It’s melt in your mouth scrumptious and unfortunately there were fewer of these than the other two!

I have to be honest, although we only opened the bag 5 hours ago the chocolates have nearly all gone. The kids were obviously fighting over them and even my husband found them hard to resist. All in all, these are fabulous Christmas chocolates, they’re a bit special and definitely worthy of a little splurge…
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A Rather Exuberant Review of The Hama Beads Group Suitcase.

I like to think of Hama Beads as a gift from God. For me and my family, they are literally like Hama from heaven (quite pleased with that). Apart from Lego and Play Dough (Dough Dough), they are the only toy we have that all the kids like playing with together. If I’m totally honest, Izzy seems to prefer throwing them around, but sometimes when she’s not feeling destructive, she almost gets it. I give it three months and she’ll be sitting with her bro and big sis, making equally impressive creations. Another wonderful thing about Hama Beads is that the whole process of making the little mosaics is fantastically therapeutic. Forget the kids, parents, if you’re feeling stressed, get the ol’ Hama Beads out, turn on the radio and make away. You’ll find yourself in a much better place after creating a day-glo dolphin or a psychedelic princess.

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For those of you who don’t know, Hama Beads are tiny beads that you place on a frame to create a sort of mosaic. Once your child has made a mosaic they like, a grown up covers it with some special paper and irons over it so that the little plastic beads all stick together. I discovered them by accident a few weeks ago during a play date. The mummy host (Hi Kinnary!) wheeled out her Hama beads and all of the kids were instantly entranced. After that, I decided we needed them in our lives and went on the hunt to get some.

We ended up getting the Hama Beads Group Suitcase from Argos which costs £39.99. It has loads of beads and plenty of templates to use, but prices do start from as little as £7.99 for the Little Princess set which also makes them brilliant stocking fillers or gifts for kids birthday parties. It looks like Argos have loads of deals on these at the moment but I’m not sure how long they’ll last for.

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What I don’t understand is, how did I not know about Hama Beads before?? Everyone else seems to have them and love them, but they’ve completely passed us by until now so we have a lot of making up to do. Here are some of our beautiful creations…

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We recently had our cousins over and after the initial excitement of running about and giving Maisie and the baby an extraordinary makeover, they noticed the Hama beads and immediately wanted to play with them. What ensued was an hour of peace and companionable quiet.

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Hama Beads are a bit like Lego, kids are happy to play with them for hours without squabbling or more importantly parental guidance. If you’re after some inspiration for Christams gifts then do consider these as an alternative to all the robots and crazy electronics that are about this year. If however, you’re feeling the need for some electronic craziness then check out Argos’s Dream Toys 2013 list which has loads of inspiration.

Sock Monkey – A Gift Idea

Monkeygang Sock Monkey
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All of my kids have a sock monkey, Sam got his from his Uncle Grant and Auntie Sarah and Maisie and Isabelle got theirs from their Nana. They’re all rather precious. The Monkeys that Nana bought came from The Darryl Nantais Gallery in Linton, which has an amazing selection of paintings, sculptures, sketches, prints and… Monkeys! The monkeys, originally came from http://www.monkeygang.co.uk though and are all handmade in Norfolk. Prices range from £7.50 – £20 and can be bought online. We love them, you might too!

Review of Memento – A Fabric Photo Book.

Memento

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These little books are a great idea. Mitali Peckham, who came up with the idea and creates each book by hand, let me borrow some to have a look at. I have to say they’re a real hit with the kids, even though they don’t contain any pictures of themselves! The idea is that you provide Mitali with 8 pictures and the text for each page, so you can make a book about whatever you like. I’d like to create a little story based on pictures of my kids but you could add pictures of the first newborn days or a christening or even just a special day out.

This is a memento that your kids can play with and enjoy every day, I think they’re lovely and so does Maisie! If you’re interested in getting one then you can just go to Mitali’s website http://www.babytreasures.eu and order online. The cost is £27.50, which includes the postage. A super gift!

A Review of Good Night Bunny Fabric Book by Oskar and Ellen

Oskar & Ellen Interactive Books
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One of my best friends got this book for my eldest daughter for her first birthday, she loved it then and she still loves it now. It comes with a gorgeous little squeaky bunny who you dress, undress, bath, play with, read to and put to bed. It’s fantastic for helping develop fine motor skills and is generally just great for growing imaginations. This book would make a lovely gift and they also have a boys version which is just as cute by all accounts. Mine has been loved so much that the bedding on the front page is coming apart and one of the toys has disappeared, surely a sign of a greatly loved book!

It’s pretty expensive, the cheapest I could find it on the net is £28.99  from http://www.borngifted.co.uk/baby-gifts/product/BG-3043 (Lucy you’re very naughty!) but for a special occasion or if you’re just feeling flush, then it’s a gift that’ll just keep giving!