5 Ways to Beat the New Year Blues

Oh my don’t you think Christmas flies by faster and faster each year? All the planning, preparation, wrapping and cooking; then before you know it, it’s gone. You are left sitting in your pyjamas on Boxing Day morning surrounded by bags of wrapping paper and enough leftovers to see you through to the end of January. If you are like me post-Christmas can leave you a little flat! So here are my top tips for picking yourself up in the New Year.

Top Tips for Beating New Year Blues
Lazare / Pixabay
  • Make a pledge to get active – yeh I know it’s a cliché and that January sees an influx of gym memberships (that are never used after February) But you don’t have to join the gym to get fit. Just a promise to take the dog out more often, or to walk to school on those cold bright mornings. Keep your goal achievable – you don’t need to set yourself up to fail!

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  • Clean out your wardrobe. Come on admit you are never going to wear that dress ever again. And those shoes? What were you thinking. Be ruthless – if you haven’t worn  it in 6 months get rid of it. Better still bundle the best bits together and get yourself on eBay. With all that extra cash you can hit the sales, buying things you actually want to wear!

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  • Book a holiday – I was doing this whilst cooking Christmas dinner! It doesn’t have to be the holiday of a life time (unless you got a Christmas bonus in which case go for it!) But just a weekend away later in the year will give you something to look forward too. Loads of places take a deposit these days so if you are strapped for cash you can book now and pay a little later in the year when your finances have recovered from Christmas.

    Pexels / Pixabay
  • Set a goal – what do you really want to do this year? Sky dive, feed a meerkat or something more simple like read a book or spend more time with family. Decide what 2017 is going to mean for you and set yourself a target. It doesn’t have to be life changing – but it does us good to have something to work towards. Pudding, for example, has decided that she is going to curb TV use at HQ by chewing the buttons off the remote. You have to have goals people!

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  • Appreciate what you have. It’s not always about striving towards the next thing. Sometimes it’s learning to enjoy what’s around you. Taking the time to really make the most of friends and family. Finding joy in the little things, is the beginning of true of happiness. So whilst the New Year is a time to look forward and plan, it’s also a time to reflect.

So there you go a few simple ideas to banish those New Year Blues. Have you got any others you would like to share?

The pine-ful reality of a real Christmas tree

Oooh it’s finally here, the build up to Christmas. Ok if you are in retail the build up started shortly after Halloween. But for us normal people December marks the start of the festive season. Well apart from that smug mum I heard at the schools gates who was regaling people with how she has not only completed her shopping but wrapped it already. Seriously go away with your uber-organisation…

Still I am on it this year – advent calendars are in and by the fire-place. We have already missed one day for Pudding… but that’s still retrievable. We have our amazing elf from An Elf For Christmas. This is great fun and much appreciated by Pie. It’s day two of Elf and I am still managing to get up and do something interesting with her.

Mr Pud's romantic idea of what our Christmas Tree will look like
Mr Pud’s romantic idea of what our Christmas Tree will look like

Next week will see the annual Pudding HQ trip to buy a tree. Mr Pud will have delusions of grandeur and decide that what our tiny house needs is a 10ft monster tree. Pie will pick the dead one and be sad that we won’t let him have that. Eventually a reasonably sized tree will be picked and then stuffed into the car, probably stabbing both kids in the eyes with needles and blocking all driver vision.

Locked and loaded - ready to spread needles far and wide on removal of that net!
Locked and loaded – ready to spread needles far and wide one removal of that net!

Then the fun really starts. Where to put said tree? Space is an issue but more concerning this year is 1-year-old Pud. With her propensity for eating stuff she probably won’t manage any Christmas dinner due to the large amount of pine needles she will consume between now and Christmas Day….

Of course the first course will start when we take the netting off the tree and it pings out like a jack in the box covering the surrounding 6m radius with needles. These will then drop at an exponential rate until January the 6th. Upon which I expect to pick up the tree and the remaining 7000 needles will then drop and scatter themselves through the house to continue to be found until July. Leaving me to struggle outside with a bald Christmas tree which itself will sit in my front garden until May when I finally take it to the tip.

The needle-less tree that will stay in my front garden until the spring…

Should we find a suitable place to put the tree, which is doubtful, we do at least have a tree stand to put it in. This will avoid the sawdust disaster of 2012 and the unsuccessful planting of wonky tree in 2013. Let me tell you filling a bucket with either sawdust(?) or mud when you have no roots is not a successful or sensible method for securing a Christmas tree.

So once we have secured said tree in an appropriate place. Probably sworn at each other and drunk a little too much mulled wine we will begin the decoration. Pie will have wandered off by this point. Bored of the ‘what about here’ or ‘how about there’ or ‘we could try shoving it where the sun doesn’t shine’ conversation. Pudding will be sat in the decorations box. Probably working her way through some tasty tinsel whilst wrapping fairy lights round the sausage dog. The decorations and lights will be flung unceremoniously on to the branches of said Christmas tree. Gathered mainly at the top to prevent any theft of tinsel by Pudding. At this stage the lack of Sausage Dog and Pie will be noticed. They will be found in the other room, quietly unwrapping all 20 Christmas tree chocs and eating them.

Its amazing how many of these one dog and one small boy can get through...
Its amazing how many of these one dog and one small boy can get through…

 

This is the point where one of us will add some brandy to the mulled wine, whilst declaring that next year we are having one of those LED twig Christmas trees…

A Letter to Santa with a little help from Peppa Pig

It is that time of year where all over the country excited children are putting pen to paper, sending letters to a jolly old man dressed in red. Hoping to prove how good they have been all year and asking for their hearts desires. At Pudding HQ we have joined with Ladybird Books and Peppa Pig to send our letter to the North Pole. Lets hope we are on the nice list!

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With Pie starting school this September his writing has really come on and the downloadable Peppa’s Santa Letter was perfect for him to practice. Super easy to print off and really colourful he was very excited to sit down and put pen to paper.

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We had a great time together deciding what nice things he had done this year. As well as what he wanted Santa to bring him. It was a really magical experience for me watching him work so hard. He was so thrilled to write to Santa for the first time.

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Once we had finished we left the letter by the fireplace for the elves to collect and take to the North Pole.

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Ladybird Books have recently published a fantastic book ‘Peppa’s Christmas Post’ filled with Christmas activities and fun Christmas themed baking ideas. All with the story of how Peppa and George are taking Christmas into their own hands this year! We have joined with Ladybird Books to offer the chance to win one of these fabulous books. To enter all you need to do is take a picture of your little ones completing their Peppa’s Santa Letter and tweet it to @petitepudding using the #Ladybirdchristmas. What are you waiting for?!

You can download your copy of the letter here. Be sure to leave it for Santa to find!

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This is a collaborative post with Ladybird Books. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Puddings Gift Guide 2016: Get Personal With Hello Moon Posters

I really love personalised things for the kids, I think its because when they get older I know they will like that somethings were just for them. Everyone enjoys that feeling of being a bit special. Now Pie already has a few personalised goodies but Pudding doesn’t. So with their room freshly decorated it felt only right that she should have something that was just hers.

Hello Moon had just the type of thing I was looking for. They have a great range of posters all of which can be personalised with a name. Some go further than that and you can design gorgeous New Baby posters which include name, weight and date and time of birth. They are exceptionally cute, a perfect gift to welcome a new bundle of joy into the world.

You can also order adult posters as well! This hilarious one has gone on my own Christmas list this year.

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The other great thing about Hello Moon is that they will mount and frame your poster for you too. This is priced quite reasonably too and saves you having to go out and do it yourself.

After much deliberation and distraction through all the wonderful things on the Hello Moon website. I finally decided on the Little Monster Poster, I felt it struck a remarkable resemblance to Pudding… I really liked the poster when it arrived. It looks really classy mounted in the frame and is very cute with the little bit of personalisation. I am sure you will agree that Pudding does look a bit like the monster!

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I think Hello Moon have a great selection of posters to choose from to brighten up any room with a personal touch. Starting from £16 for the poster they make an excellent and thoughtful gift this Christmas. You can order Hello Moon posters here.

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DISCLAIMER: We received the Little Monster poster courtesy of Hello Moon in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinion are our own.

Puddings Gift Guide 2016: Messy-Me Takes the Stress out of Mess

Ah the weaning stage! How as parents we love it, watching those little people stuff food in there mouths ears, nose, eyebrows… Yes you and I both know that getting the food actually in to the child can be a bit a of a challenge! Still its all part of the fun right? So long as the clear up operation afterwards is not to onerous. Well let me introduce to you the marvel that is Messy-Me.

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These beautiful oil-cloth products are not only wipe clean, parent friendly items but they also look super stylish as well. No more day-glo bibs and high seat covers, your babies feeding station can blend in with the decor. Even if last nights spaghetti it still hanging off the ceiling!

Messy-Me offer a wide range of items from floor mats to help protect the carpet, tunic style bibs for those super messy eaters and comfy inserts for your high chair. Now Pudding is as most of our regular reader will know, a bit of a foodie. She loves it, and I have to say she is not too messy because she wouldn’t ever want to waste anything that could be eaten!  With this in mind I opted to review the gorgeous inserts for her high chair and one of the bibs. Although I spent a long time browsing the Messy-Me site and marvelling at all the lovely things on there.

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The bib and the insert arrived super quick. I was immediately struck by the quality of the Messy-Me products. The oil-cloth was really soft and you could tell it had been well manufactured. The insert was lovely, all soft and squishy. Perfect for getting Pudding to sit a bit longer at the table after she has finished stuffing her face.

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I picked a print that is called Vintage Floral on the Messy-Me site. A beautiful feminine print, just perfect for Pudding. I hoped it would add a touch of class to her eating. Unfortunately it hasn’t and she still resembles a piglet that has fallen into a bowl of tomato soup most meal times… Still at least the bib itself is very easy to clean!

Messy-Me have some fabulous items, not only are they useful they are beautiful looking and made to a really high standard. If you are buying for a weaning Mum & baby this Christmas you should definitely consider these. You can order them here, prices start from £7.99.

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DISCLAIMER – We received the bib and high chair insert courtesy of Messy-Me in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

The Puddings Gift Guide 2016: 4D Flashcards, Augmented Reality for Kids

There are somethings that on the surface you think look quite cool. Then there are things that are actually more amazing than you ever imagined! Well the 4D Space+ flashcards sent to us from Octagon Studio are such an item.

When I was approached to review them for the gift guide I thought they looked interesting. Knowing how Pie loves Space I thought they were a good stocking filler for him.


The 4D flashcards arrived and they are good quality material, but the fun begins when you download the special app…


Downloading the app was super easy. All the instructions come in the packet. Once opened the app needs access to your camera. As you hover the opened app over the 4D flashcards look what happens…



The planets literally popped off the cards! You can turn them round, zoom in and all the orbiting moons are there as well.


Even better this lunar buggy popped up and then you could drive it across the moon!

I was seriously impressed and can’t wait for Pie to play with these Christmas morning I know he is going to love them. So I went back to the company to get a bit more information from them and this is what they sent me:

‘We produce and sell educational products that help make teaching and learning more fun. Some children require visual learning or are in special education needs. These products are a perfect resource to help make that happen.

We do this by using the latest technology called Augmented Reality. AR is the process of superimposing digitally rendered images onto our real-world surroundings, giving a sense of an illusion.’

I am by no means an expert in Augmented Reality. What I can say is I love it! Kids are going to think this is amazing. It’s so interactive even as adults we spent ages looking through the 4D flashcards and getting thoroughly engrossed in what we could do.

The 4D flashcards cover several subjects including Animals+, Dinosaurs+ and Space+. There is even a colouring book so that children can bring their own creations to life! Prices start from £9.90 and you can get 10% off with the code PETITEPUDDING when you order them here.

I can not recommend the 4D flashcards from Octagon Studios enough, they are a  must have this Christmas.

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DISCLAIMER: We received the Space 4D Flashcards as a gift in order to complete this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Puddings Gift Guide 2016: Misson Cookpossible! 

Are glorious memories of baking of kids. It’s one thing I still remember, licking the spoon, arguing over the bowl! At Pudding HQ cooking and baking only really happens if I am feeling particularly strong. This is for two reasons firstly my kitchen is tiny. Second I am a terrible cook. I mean really awful. So bad that Pie has started to ask me to try really hard not to burn the tea. What we needed was a few pointers for beginners. Enter Mission Cookpossible!


So this is more than just a cool cook book. Personalised with your child’s name and their own character. The whole book is written as a story. With some fab villains and a quirky plot this book can be read without having to do the recipes.
You can pick out the recipes for the book – which is great as you can tailor them to your child’s taste. Personally I chose the recipes that not only Pie would like but that sounded quite simple! There was a great selection to choose from as well so something for everyone.

I am really excited to give this to Pie for Christmas. I can’t wait to get in the kitchen with him and actually produce something edible. Watch out Deliah we are coming to get you!

If you want to get you and the kids one of these great books you can order them here. The ordering process is really simple and you get taken through each step. You can preview the book before you order and there is an option to add in your child’s best friend too.
Please be aware that if you want one of these brill books for Christmas you need to get ordering before the 2nd December.

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DISCALIMER – We received Mission Cookpossible for free in order to complete this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Petite Puddings Gift Guide 2016: Trolley Bags

Have you seen these before? I did last year and thought I really need these, they would make my life so much easier! Thank goodness that this year Trolley Bags” offered us the opportunity to try them.

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If like me you love to shop at Lidl or Aldi you will know the sheer panic at the checkout as things fly at you and there is nowhere to put them. You desperately chuck them in the trolley and then have to move out the way to pack them ‘properly’. Well enter Trolley Bags! No longer is this an issue. I can face even the largest of shops now with these in my trolley.

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Super easy to use, you just spread them across the trolley and start packing your shopping in them. The Trolley Bags stay open so you don’t have to keep fighting the bags. I did have to fight Pudding who kept trying to dive into the nearest bag and unpack it. But you can’t have everything right?! Then when I got to the car, it was stress free. All the bags came apart easily, allowing me to lift them into the car. Seriously it was a breeze. Sorry not so much of a breeze I could take pictures!

Trolley Bags come in a variety of colours, personally I like the pastels ones that we were sent. But you can also get them in bright colours and in a slightly smaller size to fit in the small trolleys. You can even get a special cool bag for your frozen items. For £19.99 for the original size I think they would make an excellent gift for the busy parent.

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You can order Trolley Bags online here . I know that I shall be using mine for that huge Christmas food haul we do every year. At least packing at the checkouts won’t be stressful this time, just the unpacking when I get home! Unfortunately I haven’t found a product that can squeeze all the items in to my already bursting cupboards!

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DISCLAIMER: We were given the Trolley Bags for free in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Pudding’s Gift Guide 2016: Boxcitement

Are you like me? Do you love getting little boxes of goodies through the post? Or maybe you know someone that does? Well let me tell you about Boxcitement. This lovely monthly subscription box is perfect for those people into crafts, stationary and gifts. You can decide whether you want a one off box or a subscription, all of the boxes have a theme. I was sent Octobers ‘Patternista’ box for review.

The Boxcitement box itself is quite small – I was surprised to find that it fitted in my tiny mail box! But what looks small on the ouside packs in lots of goodies. Remember what they say about dynamite?!

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Firstly I loved how the box was presented and that the label on the inside told you exactly what was in there.

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As you can see from the picture, there was a lot in this little box, Personally I was really pleased with the tea towel as these are always in short supply at Pudding HQ.

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All the items in the box really fit well with the Patternista theme and have been carefully selected to complement each other.

I think Boxcitement have done a really great subscription here. These boxes certainly inspire creativity and they are beautiful as well. At £18.00 a month they would make a lasting present for someone throughout the year. You can order a Boxcitement subscription here rel=’nofollow’  and if you enter the code FIRSTBOX there is a 10% discount.

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Boxcitement are also creating special one off boxes and mini boxes perfect for Christmas. Check out their website rel=’nofollow’ for more information, but remember boxes mustbe ordered by the end of November.

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DISCLAIMER: We received the Boxcitement subscription box free of charge in order to conduct this review. All the opinions contained within are our own.

Pudding’s Gift Guide 2016: Willow The Pillow

Let us introduce to you the amazingly cute and super snuggly Willow The Pillow. This sweet idea is more than just a play thing. As the Willow The Pillow website explains: ‘Deep relaxation boosts our concentration, decision making and creativity. It also promotes greater health and happiness. Sleep allows the brain to clear away the waste products that can contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s, while processing and making sense of the data we absorb during the day.’ See I told you Willow was more than just cute and cuddly!

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I had originally thought that Willow would be perfect for Pudding, who is some what reluctant to snooze on occasions. However, Pie took a real shine to Willow and he has been curling up with him on these cold evening after school. Willow has now made his way into Pie’s bed! Such a simple idea but so great for providing comfort and hopefully an afternoon snooze to your little one. I love the fact that you can take Willow in the car and to friends houses, meaning there is always a sleepy hug at hand.

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Willow is an organic cotton pillow case that fits most standard sized pillows or you can have a toddler sized one! Designed with two sleeping eyes and super soft he is perfect for a hug. I have to say that all of us have enjoyed a little cuddle with Willow when we are feeling a bit sleepy in the evenings. Even Mr Pud has been a fan…. Keeping that pesky sausage dog of of Willows face has also been a challenge.

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We think Willow would make a great stocking filler. He is certainly going to feature in my post Christmas dinner snooze. You can order Willow here. If you want to check out Willow’s Facebook page with all his current adventures you can find that here.

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DISCLAIMER: We received Willow the Pillow free of charge in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.