Thursday, 27 November 2014

Santa's Little Buddy

If you're a regular reader here, you might have noticed a few unicorns and fairies about the place and perhaps my general penchant for making life as magical as possible for my little girls. I believe childhood should be full of wonder and enchantment. I want my girls to feel that their imagination knows no bounds and that anything is possible. Childhood is so fleeting and life gets serious so quickly (and stays that way for a long time!) that I want to make sure that things are as carefree as possible for them while they are still so very young.

I was really excited to hear from a dear friend of mine recently who has developed a gorgeous new product to make the run up to Christmas more manageable for young children and even more magical than it is already, for the whole family. It's called Santa's Little Buddy.
"Santa’s Little Buddy is a unique pack designed to explore magical play. It includes a daily journal for the month of December, a Christmas story, a magic poem with stickers and a step by step guide written by Joanna Fortune (Director, Solamh Parent-Child Relationship Clinic) on how to use the pack. Why is magical play so important for children? Using imagination enables children to develop on their impulse controls, reasoning skills, patience and the importance of emotional self regulation. With the help of Santa’s Little Buddy, parents can utilise the magic of Christmas to invest in their child’s development of these life skills and at the same time reinforce and encourage good behaviour." 
The developer of this pack, and my old drama buddy, Joanna Fortune is a Clinical Psychotherapist specialising in child and adolescent Psychotherapy, with 12 years experience under her belt. While I was busy birthing my babies in 2010, Joanna was busy founding her clinic - the Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic which helps families of all kinds deal with the challenges parenting can bring. They help parent(s)/carers of young children work through things like separation anxiety, attachment disorders, sleeping trouble, tantrums and challenging behaviour. Joanna is a fount of knowledge in that area and I have, on more than one occasion, badgered her for tips when dealing with my own parenting challenges.

Joanna is passionate about making young children's lives as stable, stress free and fun as possible. She's also passionate about equipping those caring for young children with simple tools and techniques to cope with the challenges life with littles can throw at them and introduce more laughter into daily life. She is a huge advocate of 'play' as therapy and you can find fantastic videos and step-by-step guides on her site to help with all kinds of issues. You should definitely check those out too.

The buildup to Christmas can be so overwhelming for little ones. I use an advent calendar every year to try and help my girls understand how many days they have to wait for the big day to arrive. (They still have absolutely NO concept of time). This pack will definitely compliment that and help us all connect as a family over the festive season. Parents can be so stressed during the build up too, and busier than usual trying to get all the shopping done and the food prepared and the party frock to zip up that it can be easy to get swept along by it all and not notice the days flying past. I love that the idea of this pack is to encourage a few minutes of 'slowing down' and spending some time with your children. To make memories with them and forge lasting connections.

This pack is easy to use too, with only five simple steps to follow:
  1. Buy the pack and tell the story.
  2. Help your child select the right teddy for the job. 
  3. Whisper the magic poem in teddy’s ear to bring teddy to life for the month of December.
  4. Put up the wall planner and complete the journal every day.
  5. Wake up each morning to see what teddy has been up to under the influence of giggle magic.
What I also like about this idea is that, unlike other products (I'm looking at you Elf on the Shelf) there is no need to go and buy an expensive toy to use as the 'Buddy'. The child's own favourite toy is the star. AND this Buddy reports back to Santa on the nice things the child is doing, rather than focusing on the 'naughty'. That appeals to me much more than that snitchy elf!

I can't wait to get started on this with the girls. I already have a few lovely things to mark on the calendar such as our Letters to Santa Party, a trip to the panto and putting the tree up. I'm trying to imagine what kinds of things our little buddies will get up to over the month too!

The pack costs €26.00 with FREE standard delivery for up to five packs. Order yours HERE now and join in the fun this Christmas.

Joanna has also very kindly offered my readers a chance to win a bumper pack of their very own  - which is suitable for two children.

It's so easy to enter:

Just 'like' Santa's Little Buddy on Facebook and post a comment on the page saying which toy you would have chosen to be your buddy when you were a child, and why.

A winner will be chosen at random at 12 Midday (GMT) on Saturday 29th December and Joanna will send you the prize as quickly as possible so that you can experience as much magic as possible this advent.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of the Santa's Little Buddy as a gift from my friend Joanna. I wasn't obliged to review it, but couldn't NOT tell you all about this fabulous new idea. I asked Joanna if she would like me to host a giveaway and she kindly agreed. All opinions are my own and I was not paid to give them.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Another Free Santa Letter Printable

I shared a free Santa letter printable on this VERY day, last year. I think I'm accidentally starting  a tradition, because I have another one for you today!!

I enjoyed designing my new header (did you notice my new header?!) so much that I have been trying to doodle a bit more often. I used to draw quite a lot when I had the greeting card company, but I've fallen out of the habit since I sold the business to my lovely sister.

I really like sitting down with a few pens and pencils and trying to figure out how to draw things in my own style. I call it a style, but really, it's the only way I can draw - so now it's become my trademark. I never did art in school (much to my regret) so I have pretty much drawn the same way since I was a child. I don't mind though. I just pretend it's Naive Art, which is one of my favourite art styles anyway.

People seem to like it though. The cards I designed always sold well and continue to do so. And I've been getting some lovely compliments about my blog design lately. So that gives me confidence to just keep doing what I do.

My little pictures aren't to everyone's taste though. A woman at a craft fair once asked me, in a sneering tone, if I got a child to do the art on the cards I was selling. I felt a little bit awkward and ashamed admitting that it was me... and that it just looked as if a child had done it... but afterwards I didn't care, because her stall (selling very expensive plants) did very little business and I did REALLY well that weekend.

All that has nothing to do with writing letters to Santa though - does it?! And that's probably what you're here for.

Back to the task at hand...

Click HERE for the Santa Letter Printable and HERE for a few ideas on how to make writing those letters an even more special occasion.

Happy writing! I hope you get all you ask for!

Note: The attached printable is for personal use only and not to be used in any commercial way. Don't make Santa put you on the naughty list!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Alflorex Winter Health Kit Giveaway

I've written before about my dodgy digestive health and held a giveaway during the Summer sponsored by Alflorex.  I have since tried Alflorex for myself and found it really, really good for reducing abdominal discomfort and bloating. So, when I was approached again recently, to offer my readers an amazing Winter Health Kit worth €25.00 as a giveaway, I couldn't say no!

Christmas time is always a time for indulgence, but a couple of weeks eating ALL THE TREATS can really take it's toll on your tummy. This kit is the perfect antidote.

The Alflorex Winter Health Kit contains 3 month’s supply of Alforex, organic Pukka teas, organic prunes, organic porridge oats, Panda Liquorice bars and a mini hot water bottle. Once again, I'm mad jealous that I don't get to enter this competition but I am delighted to be able to offer it to one of my lovely readers instead.

Alflorex is a new, once daily, food supplement. The unique PrecisionBiotic™ strain used in Alflorex has been clinically tested in IBS patients and is shown to reduce abdominal discomfort, passage of gas and bloating/distension. It is the only product to contain the unique bacterial strain BIF 35624™ developed in Ireland by Irish gastro scientists. PrecisionBiotic™ cultures are elite bacterial strains which have been selected to have targeted action where needed.

This is the ideal opportunity to bag a nice little Christmas present for yourself so, do enter, using the gadget below. I have my fingers crossed for you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. If you don't like liquorice, I'll gladly take it off your hands ;)


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