Forestry Commission – picking that perfect tree and Christmas activities


So as a follower of my blog you will know I am a firm believer in the great outdoors and a great supporter of the Forestry Commission, I can guarantee over the Christmas holidays we will be visiting Haldon Forest our local site to have some adventures and to walk off the copious amounts of food consumed in the name of fun!

Now choosing your Christmas tree is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the festive season, but other than the size, what are the things to consider when buying your tree?

Well Forestry Commission England have come up with a handy guide to tell you how to pick the best Christmas Tree for you!


Each tree species can be a little bit different in size, scent and needle retention so it’s difficult to know which one is perfect for you, below is a handy guide on three of the most popular trees:

Norway spruce

The Norway spruce is the traditional Christmas tree – it’s known for:

  • A wonderful shape and an abundance of branches – great for hanging lots of decorations!
  • A lovely ‘Christmassy’ scent that’s perfect at this time of year
  •  Being a little sharp and spikey to touch 

Who does it suit?

With a long lasting scent and a traditional shape, Norway spruce are perfect for those who appreciate the classic look and smell of Christmas.


It’s best to buy your Norway Spruce nearer to Christmas as it can lose its needles quite quickly once brought indoors. To help your spruce retain its needles for longer, keep it away from the radiator and ensure it’s watered every day.

Nordmann fir

The Nordmann fir is the most popular Christmas tree in Europe – it’s known for:

  • Having soft foliage and an even shape – making it a joy to decorate!
  • Glossy, dark green needles that have a whitish/light blue underside
  • Strong branches, which are great for hanging those big glass decorations

Who does it suit?

With its big needles which are lovely and soft, Nordmann fir are perfect for those with young children.


Our top quality Nordmann fir can be quite a wide tree, so you will need reasonable space to show it off to its best. For a 6ft tall tree allow approximately 5ft space.

Lodgepole pine

The Lodgepole pine looks best in a big space with high ceilings – it’s known for:

  • It’s bushy appearance and luscious long green needles
  • Branches that point upwards
  • That wonderful pine scent
  • It’s great needle retention, which makes it a long lasting tree

Who does it suit?

With the best needle retention of them all, Lodgepole pines are perfect for those who like to decorate their tree and little earlier and don’t want Christmas to end.


The long needles on Lodgepole pines draw attention to any decorations. More is definitely more with this tree!

Real v’s fake



Being experts in trees, woodland and sustainable forestry, Forestry Commission England’s real Christmas trees are so good, even Santa has given his stamp of approval. But why buy real?

Real trees use 10 times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees. And they are completely biodegradable.

Forestry Commission England only sell trees that are grown in the UK in a well-managed way and more trees are planted each year than harvested. This year, you can even plant your own!

Every tree sold will come with a free baby sapling, allowing you to plant and grow you own real Christmas tree for the future.

It will also come with a certificate of authenticity to guarantee the trees quality, which will be signed by Santa himself.

There is also so much more to offer than just buying a tree. Many of the Forestry Commission sales centres offer a whole Christmas experience including a Santa’s grotto and a whole range of activities for both little and big kids to get into the festive spirit!

Listed below are details of the Christmas , purchase a 100% Santa approved Christmas tree online or check out top tree tips on keeping your tree fresh and healthy over the festive holidays visit www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas

Listed below are the Christmas tree sale centres throughout England.

Christmas tree sale centres:
1.       Haldon Forest
2.       Sherwood Pines
3.       Birches Valley, Cannock Chase
4.       Delamere Forest
5.       Moors Valley
6.       Alice Holt
7.       Queen Elizabeth Country Park
8.       New Park
9.       Bedgebury Pinetum
10.     Wendover Woods
11.     Hamsterley Forest
12.     Whinlatter Forest
13.     Rothbury Forest
14.     Dalby Forest
15.     Guisborough Forest

There’s loads going on at sites across the country this December including
Christmas tree sales at selected sites, self-led trails, selfie stations and
some sites even have Christmas markets and Santa’s grottos.  Please check here
to see what’s on offer locally:

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas (tree sales sites)
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas-trails (self-led trails sites)
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/BEEH-AEEH6C (Christmas craft ideas)


So visit one of your local Forestry Commission sites, enjoy the great outdoors, find your perfect tree and have fun.








Snapfish – Create something beautiful for Christmas


Here I am again talking about finding something that little bit different to give as a Christmas present and you cannot make anything more personal than using your lovely photos and memories to give as gorgeous bespoke Christmas gifts to friends and family.

I have worked with Snapfish previously and the choices for truly meaningful gifts gives you the option to create something perfect and unexpected.

So from calendars (I have a tradition of giving my parents a calendar with different photos of H every Christmas) through to cushions, mugs, ornaments, photo canvases, personalised phone cases, magnets, keyrings the list goes on and on, you really will find something that you like.

I created a gorgeous photo panel, it is so unusual and means so much to me as it is a photo of H when I was personally going through a difficult time and a day out that we had in the summer which lifted my spirits no end, it reminds me so much of the joy of having a child and how simple things can mean the most to people.


Now enough of me, have you thought about making personalised Christmas cards?  This seems to be something that is becoming a bit of a trend now, we would have loved to have done some this year but needed all members of the family to be about to do it otherwise it would have looked a little odd so it is definitely something we will plan next year.

Snapfish have come up with a handy guide on how to shoot the perfect or maybe not so perfect personalised Christmas card.


8 Creative Tips to Shoot the Perfect Christmas Family Photo

1) Get an extra pair of hands. Rounding up the troops for a family shoot is tricky enough without the added stress of positioning the camera, setting the timer and then sprinting back into position. Grab a friend or neighbour to play director, you can always return the favour to spread some Christmas cheer!

2) Lighting, crucial to any photoshoot, it’s the trickiest of elements to get right. Natural light is your best friend, so if you’re indoor, set up near a window to take full advantage of the winter sunshine.

3) Look the part! Matching accessories will add a touch of festive fun and help take your shots to the next level; think Santa hats, woolly reindeer jumpers, or even matching Christmas mugs!

captureProduct: Colourful Mugs, only £8.99, Snapfish.co.uk

4) Prop it up. Christmas is all about fun, so why not jazz things up with a few Christmassy props? Your family photoshoot doesn’t need to rely on the house being transformed into Santa’s Grotto or a Winter Wonderland – a few tinsel touches or the odd sprig of mistletoe will do the trick.

5) Pets complete your family! So whilst your puppy may be hell bent on getting his teeth around the fairy lights, including them in will be well worth the hassle when you see the finished result. (See Tip 6 for how to do this!)

6) Rewards (also known as bribery!) are the easiest way to keep pets and children interested! Guarantee their full attention throughout the photo shoot by keeping a suitable stash of treats to hand. (But keep them in separate bags… Health and Safety!)


Product: Photo Cushions, from £19.99, Snapfish.co.uk

7) Tell a Story. Snapping people when they least expect it often results in the best photographs. So tell a funny joke or encourage them to, and be ready to capture candid, relaxed moments instead of saying ‘cheese’ and hoping for a few stiff grins.

8) Keep it fun! Your family shoot doesn’t have to be a solemn occasion. Get everyone involved in the planning process and encourage them to contribute their ideas to make for a happy, relaxed atmosphere and a truly memorable shot.


Product: Photo Placemats, from £8.99, Snapfish.co.uk

So give it a go check out the http://www.snapfish.co.uk  and create something beautiful and memorable this year, let your creative juices run wild!  Even better post some pictures on my blog of the wonderful creations you have made I would be very interested to see.🙂
Disclaimer – I was given some Snapfish product to review but all opinions are my own








Funky Cushion Giveaway

cushion-3Ok so my followers are in for a treat again courtesy of Funky Cushion.  You will know from previous blog reviews that Funky Cushion have an absolutely gorgeous collection of cushion covers available on their website.

There is such a huge selection of some wonderful designs there really is something for everybody.


Funky Cushion allow you to completely change the theme of a room with affordable designs or allow you to buy one off cushion covers that are perfect as a gift for someone special or just for yourself!


I have found that replacing cushions themselves becomes quite an expensive exercise but by simply changing the covers you can save yourself quite a fair bit of money and also have something that little bit different.

cushion-5Now once again the wonderful team at Funky Cushion have agreed to run a giveaway on my blog for a cushion cover of your choice, this competition will end in time for you to have your delivery before Christmas, simply enter the Rafflecopter competition below and good luck everybody.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Corbico Jewellery – Silver Rhodium Plated Drop Design Jewellery set giveaway

Ok so it is getting around to that time of year where there are lots of parties happening and you are on the lookout for that extra special something to jazz things up.  Well I have spoken to you on a number of blog posts about the wonderful Corbico Jewellery and the gorgeous pieces that they have available on their website.

Well once again the lovely team at Corbico Jewellery have offered to giveaway an absolute stunning Silver Rhodium Plated Drop Design Jewellery Set just in time for those Christmas Parties!


This is a beautiful elegant set and is one of the many offers that you will find on the Corbico Jewellery website.

It is really worth the time to take a look at all the wonderful pieces that are available, there is something for everybody.

capture-6capture-3capture-1capture-5I have listed just a few pieces above that are on offer and you can see that the selection and choice/design is very wide.

So if you want the chance to win the lovely Silver Rhodium Plated Drop Design Jewellery Set please enter the Rafflecopter competition below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Corbico Jewellery – The Audrey Crystel Charm Review and Giveaway

CaptureYou will all know by now that Corbico Jewellery is one of my favourite go to places for some stunning jewellery pieces, well once again in collaboration with Corbico Jewellery I am more than happy to bring you this great review and giveaway.

Corbico Jewellery offer some lovely pieces that you simply cannot find on the high street, it really is worth checking for the new pieces that are introduced regularly as they are simply perfect as a gift for somebody or even to treat yourself.

I have been very lucky to receive these gorgeous Silver Rhodium plated double hoop earrings to review.


They are perfect to wear as they are just the right size (I find with big hoops sometimes it is tricky to turn your head!!)  The hoop collection of earrings is new to the site and you can also get these double hoop earrings in Rose Gold as well, for £7.99 they really are well priced.

Now look at these stunning bracelets that are new to the site too.


The Bette Coin Bracelet is really sparkly and so different along with the Audrey Crystal Charm Bracelet below.


They are a very stylish set of three bangle bracelets in three different colours: yellow gold, rose gold and rhodium. The bracelets are slightly elasticated and will fit small to medium wrist sizes. All bracelets have a matching crystal studded bead charm for extra sparkle. However I will say that I have very large hands (can stretch over an octave on a piano don’t you know!!) and I have no problem with the fitting of the Audrey Crystal Charm Bracelet🙂

So once again I do recommend that you take a look at the Corbico Jewellery website to find that something a little bit special and different and thanks to Corbico Jewellery one of my very lucky followers can win their very own Audrey Crystal Charm bracelet by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer – I received some pieces to review but all opinions are my own


Bentleg Badsmeller of Barnacle Bay Book Review and Giveaway


What’s a pirate’s favourite letter?  “RRRRRRRRR”!!!!!!!

H is obsessed with pirates, he loves the adventures they get up to and even more likes to dress up as one!

So when the opportunity arose to review Bentleg Badsmeller of Barnacle Bay it was a definite yes please from us!

Now this gorgeous book is written and illustrated by the very talented Jilly Bentley, the first book to be published about the colourful character of Bentleg Badsmeller.

It is a tale full of adventures involving many wonderful characters who all know and love Bentleg. Set aboard the ‘Jolly Jilly’  this first story tells about how he comes up against Snotwart Sniveller, his arch-enemy, and his faithful crew hatch a plot to rescue him from Snotwart’s clutches on Whale Island.


The illustrations are so lovely and really evoked conversations and story telling from H

Bentleg has some great support from some very likeable characters



Pearl the Mermaid:


Acne the Dog:


This picture book is great for everybody young and old, H is a little young for the whole story in one sitting so we dip in and out of the chapters and make tales up from the pictures.  All that glitters is not gold and there is a lesson to be learnt for everyone from the actual storyline.

What makes it even more lovely is the story behind how Bentleg came about, in Jilly’s own words she first wrote Bentleg 25 years ago when her children were young and it remained in a drawer until recently when Jilly illustrated it and decided to publish. It is based on their family and is a story told with much love and humour.

We couldn’t agree more and for that reason we are awarding Bentleg Badsmeller of Barnacle Bay a lovely 5 stars!


You can purchase your own copy of Bentleg Badsmeller of Barnacle Bay here and one very lucky follower can win their own copy by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below, Good Luck everybody.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer – I received a copy of Bentleg Badsmeller of Barnacle Bay for review but all opinions are my own


Annie Belle Designs – Father Christmas Key and Charm Giveaway


So you need something a little bit different and something unique and personal as a gift for yourself or somebody you know?  You will know that I am constantly on the look out for that little something quirky, that little something different and when I find it I like to let you know all about it!

Well let me introduce you to Annie Belle Designs, if you are looking for something handmade and that little bit special there is plenty to choose from. Annie Belle Designs can be found on Facebook or Instagram.


All items are lovingly made by Sarah-Jane who will make a bespoke item just for you, I especially love the child art that can be made into a charm, what a lovely reminder for somebody for years to come.


Then there is the hand drawn baby scan charm:


And gorgeous pendants for the young and old:


There really is something for everybody. Now one very lucky follower is going to have the chance to win one of the wonderful Annie Belle Designs Father Christmas Keys and charm.


This is a great little key and charm to use for the many of us who don’t have chimneys!  H was most upset that Father Christmas might not be able to get in to deliver his presents when he realised we did not have a chimney!

The Father Christmas Key comes with not only the key, but a charm, keyring and a poem written by Annie Belle Designs.

Please enter the competition by the Rafflecopter below and remember to take a look for yourself at what is on offer on Annie Belle Designs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway