Saturday, 13 December 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Hi guys,
The Christmas decorations are up and we are officially ready to enjoy my favourite time of the year! With just twelve days to go, we are breaking out the Christmas films, snuggling under our Christmas blankets and the seal on the Quality Street tin has been broken. The plan for tomorrow is to take a walk around the dinosaur park, make mince pies and then head to Waitrose to do the big Christmas shop. All normal routine is out of the window, and all things Christmas are the order of the next twelve days.
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I love putting up our Christmas decorations and making the house look all festive. I love remembering where each ornament came from and the look on Wilbur's face when he first saw the tree was a picture. He can sit and look at it for an age, touching all the ornaments and watching the lights twinkle. It's awesome! And don't even get me started on how he feels about the bowls of sweets everywhere....
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I finished wrapping all of our Christmas presents this afternoon and I have only 6 days left of work before I am very generously giving myself two weeks off: The stack of Christmas DVDs is primed and ready, and the board games have been dusted off. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
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How are your preparations for the big day coming on? Have you got your Christmas tree up yet? Don't forget to head over to my twitter page to enter my Christmas competition, in conjunction with Shelter and Monster Slippers: there are two pairs of slippers of your choice to be won! 

Love Tor x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Competition: Win Two Pairs of Monster Slippers With #SlippersforShelter

Hi guys,
We're now less than two weeks away from Christmas and as I write is post I am sitting all snug and cosy looking at my Christmas tree twinkle in my Christmas pudding print onesie and my fluffy pnk slipper socks (don't judge it 'til you've tried it, my friends, for this is my definition of comfort). Mike is upstairs giving Wilbur his bath and I can hear giggling and splashing coming down the stairs. Soon he will be scooped out of the water and wrapped in a big fluffy towel before being dressed all cosy in his pajamas and slippers to come downstairs for a story and a bedtime cuddle with his mummy. We might even build a train track together, if there's time before bed. All of these things make me so happy.
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So why am I painting you this picture of domestic bliss? Because I know how lucky I am to have it. Because so many mummies don't know where they'll be putting their babies to sleep tonight, or are having to put them to bed in hostels or temporary accomodation that they don't feel safe in. Because 90,000 children in the UK are homeless right now. And at all times of the year, but especially at this time of the year, that makes me really sad.

Christmas is a time for family, and a time for being comfortable. For putting on your slippers, for snuggling under your tree, for eating too much chocolate. But mostly for knowing that you have a roof over your head where you can keep your children safe and warm. That's what Shelter's brilliant new Slippers for Shelter (#slippersforshelter) campaign is all about. Nothing says warmth and comfort more than your favourite slippers: putting them on is the sign that your finally home after a long day. So what better way to raise money for people without homes this Christmas than by wearing that ultimate symbol of home?
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And Now For the Competition!! Because this is all about all things slippers, I'm giving away two pairs of Monster Slippers: that can either be an adult and child pair (family matching is so hot right now) or two children's pairs if you'd prefer.I would choose Dick van Dyke-style penguins for myself and cheeky monkeys for Wilbur (as shown above) but you can choose any design you please: If you love oversized novelty slippers (and what's not to love) then the world is your oyster!

To enter all you have to do is head over to my twitter feed @torbrierley where you will find my slippers for Shelter competition tweet! Simply RT that tweet and follow @shelterslippers on twitter and your competition entry will be complete: it's that easy! I will announce the winner shortly after the competition closes on the 18th December.

Oh, and as well as entering the competition you can also take part in #SlippersforShelter day on the 18th December. All you have to do is wear those comfortable slippers that you love and donate £2 to Shelter. It's amazing the difference this will make to those 90,000 children who won't be waking up in a bed of their own this Christmas morning.

Love Tor x

And now for the science bit! Here are the Competiton Terms and Conditions:

1. No purchase necessary. 2. The closing date of this competition is 18 December 2014. 3. Only entries from 11 December to 18 December 2014 will be counted as eligible for this competition. No new RT made after this time will be considered. 4. The winner will be picked at random by Tor Brierley and will be announced on Twitter and Fab Frocks. The prize is 2 pairs of slippers from Monster Slippers 5. No cash alternative will be available and the donation is non-transferable. 6. Entrants must be aged 13 years or over and resident in England, Scotland or Wales. 7. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time. Entry in this competition implies acceptance of these rules. 8. Fab Frocks reserves the right to remove comments which may be deemed inappropriate or offensive. 9. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Twitter or Blogger. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Twitter and Blogger from any claims 10. By entering this draw you agree your personal data will be used by Shelter in accordance with our data protection policy. 11. Fab Frock's interpretation of the rules and decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered in to. 12. These terms and conditions shall be governed by English law and the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction.​ 13. The employees and family of Fab Frocks, Monster Slippers and Shelter are not eligible for this competition.

Days Out: Drayton Manor's Thomas Land at Christmas

Hi guys,
Last weekend was a big deal in my house: Mike turned 30 on Saturday and then Wilbur turned two on Sunday (I can't believe my baby boy is already two!) To celebrate these momentous occasions we loaded up the car with presents and headed off to Thomas land, which is in Drayton Manor in Staffordshire. There seemed no better place to celebrate the birthday of my Thomas mad little boy!
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Because Wilbur has a December birthday, we were there for the Magical Christmas event and the whole park was beautifully festive, with lights and garlands everywhere and Christmas music being constantly piped out. It snowed several times a day and we saw the most wonderful Santa I have ever seen: he was so gentle and patient with a very shy Wilbur, who knew he wanted a present but most definitely didn't want to get too close to the big bearded man!
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We all loved Thomasland: it looks just how you imagine the Island of Sodor would look, and every detail is accurate, from the station to the 'sodor ironworks' markings on all the tracks: I love aesthetics and attention to detail, so it really impressed me that everything was just right. Although Thomasland was the main draw for us, the park offered so much more: there was a zoo full of animals, a small dinosaur park, and plenty of other more 'grown up' rides if you're travelling with bigger kids or adrenalin seeking adults. For us though, riding Wilbur's favourite four rides in Thomas land over and over again was the order of the day! The only downside? The food. If you're travelling in the summer months though do consider packing a picnic: we had burgers that, whilst cheap, were definitely not very tasty. My husband will eat pretty much anything, and even he couldn't manage more than a couple of mouthfuls!

We stayed in the Drayton Manor hotel which is wonderfully Thomas themed: everywhere you turned there was another fantastically Thomas-y touch. They even had huge wooden Thomas train tables in the breakfast room and restaurant so that the little ones could play whilst they were waiting for their food to arrive (take your own wooden trains for these though, as they aren't provided). We knew this so we wrapped up a couple of wooden trains as extra birthday presents and he didn't let go of them all day, just in case another opportunity to play presented itself! As it was Wilbur's birthday we also paid a supplement (of £7.99 per person) to have a special VIP breakfast with the Fat Controller, and an extra £5.99 to have birthday balloons waiting for him in the bedroom when he arrived.
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I think the hotel must have a lot of young people travelling to see them for their birthdays as they were really geared up for it and offered lots of nice little touches to make the small birthday people feel special: the fat controller even wished Wilbur a happy birthday with a friendly 'toot toot'!

Overall it was an incredible experience, and one we will definitely do again: we're already planning a day trip next Easter where we can take Wilbur's equally Thomas crazy cousin with us for double the trouble and double the fun!It was a very cold weekend in December and even when wrapped up like Eskimos we felt cold to our bones by the end of each day. But the festive atmosphere and the look on Wilbur's face when he got to meet all his favourite trains was simply priceless.

Love Tor x

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Time to talk Christmas jumpers!

Hi guys,
The 12th December is officially Christmas jumper day: a new holiday concocted by Save the Children to raise money and get everyone in the holiday spirit. I love Christmas jumpers (I am the proud owner of three) and so any opportunity to wear one is fine by me. But what to choose? What was once a very niche market has exploded over the past couple of years and now you'll find Christmas jumpers literally everywhere. Whether you want something subtle, something cute, or something all-out Christmassy as hell, there IS the right Christmas jumper for you. Here are my picks of the very best you can buy right now:
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Kissing robins jumper, £14, George @ Asda (Buy it here)
Red traditional jumper, £12, George @ Asda (Buy it here)
Christmas present jumper, £25, M&S Collection (Buy it here)
Green fairisle jumper, £40, Topshop (buy it here)

Seasons greetings jumper, £40, Topshop (buy it here)
Elf jumper, Florence and Fred, £18 (Buy it here)

I really like the Seasons Greetings jumper from Topshop which is super soft in the flesh and has really stylish looking sequinned embellishment. I also like that the background is such a neutral colour, meaning that you can wear it with anything: key if you like to wear Christmas jumpers for pretty much the whole of December like I do! I also like the wrapped present-style fine knit sweater from M&S, simply because I've never seen one like that before. The supermarket versions are all lovely if you're on a budget too (why would you spend alot of money on something you can only wear one month a year?)

Are you a big fan of the Christmas jumper, and will you be wearing yours throughout December? Or do you think Christmas jumpers are a throw back to the 1980s that should stay there?

Love Tor x

Monday, 3 November 2014

Beauty: The Benefit Christmas 2014 Advent Calendar

Hi guys,
I know it's only November, but it's time to start thinking about and (worse still!) talking about Christmas. All of my Christmas presents to be sent everywhich-way around the country to extended family are being distributed on the 30th November, meaning the usual December Christmas gift guides just come too late for me. I have to have shopped, wrapped and sent by then! I'm sure I'm not the only one that has to plan this early, so I thought I would get a head start on my Christmas posts this year!
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First up, on my shopping list: an advent calendar. On Saturday we popped to Debenhams to collect my Benefit advent calendar, which I ordered at the beginning of October. The theme this year is the 'Candy Coated Countdown' and the contents are:

- 0.25 oz “That gal” brightening face primer
 - 0.25 oz the POREfessional pore minimizer
 - 0.08 oz Benetint cheek and lip stain in Rose
 - 0.08 oz High beam liquid highlighter
 - 0.08 oz Chachatint lip and cheek stain in Sheer Mango
 - 0.08 oz Posietint lip and cheek stain in Poppy Pink
 - 0.04 oz Stay flawless foundation primer
 - 0.1 oz They’re real! mascara
 - 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in Dandelion
 - 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in A-lister
 - 0.22 oz Ultra plush lip gloss in Fauxmance
 - 0.14 oz BADgal lash mascara
 - 0.08 oz Stay don’t stray concealer and eye shadow primer in Light/Medium
 - 0.1 oz Fakeup concealer in 02 Medium
 - 0.1 oz It’s potent! eye cream
 - 0.3 oz Total moisture facial cream
 - 0.08 oz Ooh la lift eye cream
 - 0.08 oz Watt’s up! highlighter
 - Beauty sticky notes
 - Doodle pad
 - Heart-shaped paperclips
 - Pinky, polka-dot hair tie
 - Elastic hair band with bow charm
 - Metallic silvery hair tie

Lots of lovely miniatures and a wonderful way to try the full range of Benefit products to help you decide which ones work (or don't work) for you and which ones you like best. I'm sure a better blogger would have opened it all up to show you what's inside, but I want to open mine each day of December in traditional advent calendar style and be surprised and delighted by each of my daily treats - I will post little updates as I open it throughout December though.

The calendar cost £60, but the goods inside rrp at £110, so it's a massive bargain really. Although it is a lot more expensive than the £2.99 chocolate calendar I usually munch on! These have sold out in most Debenhams stores, but there are still some available directly from the Benefit website. It sells out really fast each year though, so if you want one of the few that are left be quick: there are plenty selling on eBay for £120 already!

Have you started thinking about Christmas yet?

Love Tor x