Thursday, 15 December 2016

We're Going On A Bear Hunt this Christmas...

Bert with his new Bear Hunt bear
Bert with his new bear friend

I've a very happy boy here at Chez Bishop. At the weekend we got a rather exciting delivery in the shape of a brand new bear friend for Bert. He's always loved a cuddly toy, but he especially loves this one as it's from one of his favourite stories 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' written by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury and published by Walker Books. 

This story has a special place in my heart too as I vividly remember having it read to me when I was small - I love books that pass down through the generations, there is something so special about reading a book to your own child that you too enjoyed when you were little. 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt tells the story of five siblings and their dog as they go on an adventure through swishy grass, squelchy mud, a cold river, a dark wood and a swirling, whirling snowstorm all to find a bear deep in a dark cave! The book is beautiful to read with a lovely patter and repetitive 'chorus' ...

We're going on a bear hunt...
We're going to catch a big one!
What a beautiful day! 
We're not scared! 

Excitingly, this Christmas, We're Going on a Bear Hunt is coming to our screens in the form of a brand new animated adventure from the highly talented Lupas Films (the people behind The Snowman and The Snowdog). It is being aired on Channel 4 at 7:30pm on Christmas Eve, and repeated on Christmas Day at 5:25pm. We are so blooming excited, I cannot tell you!  

This exciting new animation features the voices of Olivia Coleman, Pam Ferris and Mark Williams (as the grown ups!), some new young talent voice the siblings Stan, Katie, Rosie, Max, and the baby while the author himself (Michael Rosen) voices the bear!! 

The new animation also introduces an exciting brand new song written and performed by George Ezra. 

If you'd like a little sneak peek of the film then have a look at the official trailer... 


To coincide with the release of the exciting new animation  there is also a gorgeous cuddly bear by Aurora, which will be available in 3 sizes - 14 inch, 9.5 inch and 8 inch - stockists include Waterstones, Foyles, Harrods, Blue Diamond garden centres and Amazon. 


Bear Hunt goodies
Bert's Bear Hunt goodies! 
Also available now is the amazing We're Going on a Bear Hunt gaming app (priced at £2.99) which places the player within the story: inviting them to swish through the grass, splosh through the river and stumble through the forest (playing games and earning points as they go) before tiptoeinginto the cave to come face to face with the bear. 

Bert has been playing it since the weekend, and he's addicted! It's beautifully put together, very easy to navigate and has plenty of activities to keep your little ones entertained for ages. Bert especially likes the bug hunting game, and getting to change the clothes of the children in the dress-up part of the game. 

In fact, some of the mini games in it are so addictive that you'll want a go too, and then you'll find that you're desperate to try again and beat your score (I'm talking from experience, trust me!).

As well as the bear and app, Bert was lucky enough to receive a special pack of Bear Hunt goodies - a pin badge, stickers, a poster for his bedroom wall, and a bear ears crown! He was so chuffed with all the lovely extras, what a lucky boy just before Christmas too! 

Bear Hunt pin badge
Bear Hunt pin badge
Bear Hunt Stickers
Bear Hunt stickers (now all over my house, naturally!)
Bert and his Bear Hunt bear
One happy little fella with his new bear friend!

We've now watched the trailer umpteen times and we really can't wait to see the film on Christmas Eve - we've got special treat snacks planned, and we're going to cosy up on the sofa and enjoy it together as a family. It is also set to record, as I'm pretty sure it'll be one Bert will want to watch and re-watch before the DVD is released on Monday 8th February 2017. 
Bear toy from We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Who could resist this cute little fella? 

Have a peek at the trailer to whet your appetite...and make sure you tune in on Christmas Eve with your family.

Mrs B 

xxx

We we're sent a Bear Hunt goodie pack in return for this honest review.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Homemade Irish Cream (Baileys) Recipe

Homemade Irish Cream
Make the most perfect Irish Coffee this Christmas
I've a special festive treat for you today. This failsafe recipe is an absolute MUST MAKE this Christmas - if you're a fan of a cheeky Irish Cream then you'll adore this homemade version. Not only does it taste infinitely better than the shop bought varieties, it only takes about 15 minutes of work to complete and it works out at a similar price to the popular brand-name too!  

How impressive to be able to offer a homemade Baileys, or super-special Irish Coffee to family and friends this year?

Why not make some to give as a gift to someone special this festive season?

So, without further ado, here's the recipe...

Mrs Bishop's Homemade Irish Cream

Ingredients:

300ml single cream
350ml Irish Whiskey (I used Bushmills)
1 tin condensed milk (397g)
5 tbsp chocolate sauce (I used Sweet Freedom 'choc shot')
1 tbsp good vanilla extract (I used my homemade extract)
2 tsp instant espresso powder (I used Carte Noir Espresso)
1 tsp almond essence

Makes 1 litre 

*Store in the fridge in sterilised bottles for up to 2 months, shake well before you pour*

Method:

1) Firstly, you need to sterilise your bottles - do this by rinsing in hot, soapy water, then popping through my dishwasher, before placing on a baking tray in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Let the bottles cool before you decant your finished Irish Cream into them.

2) To make the Irish cream pour all of the ingredients into a blender, food processor or smoothie maker (a Nutri-Bullet or stick blender would do the trick too!) and blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Taste and add extra chocolate/coffee/vanilla/almond essence depending in your personal preference. 

3) Pour into your sterilised bottles, label and place in the fridge to chill. 

4) Shake well before you serve in a glass over ice, or add a splash to your favourite coffee for the perfect festive treat!

Do let me know if you give this a go - tag me in your pictures @lucybishop2012 I'd love to see you all enjoying this delicious treat this Christmas. 

Enjoy! 

Mrs B
Mrs Bishop's Homemade Irish Cream
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Dressing for Christmas with Nutmeg at Morrisons

If you're not one to embrace a good old novelty Christmas jumper, this post isn't for you - you've been warned! 

Before kids, although I absolutely loved Christmas, I never really went in for novelty jumpers, hats, Christmas earrings etc...but ever since having our kids I'm really loving it. 

For me, the more silly and รผber-festive, the better! Seeing Bert's little face light up when Liam or I sport something super Christmassy is priceless and getting dressed up all together is the best fun of all. 

This is our fourth Christmas with children and we're now amassing quite the collection of Christmas-themed attire; from fair-isle jumpers to elf socks, Christmas pudding hats to Brussels sprouts boxer shorts, we wear it all at Chez Bishop! 

The lovely people over at Nutmeg (the clothing range from major supermarket Morrisons) have drastically improved our festive-wear game by sending every member of our family a seasonal outfit, I can't wait to share them with you...

Connie was sent this amazing 4 piece set (retailing at just £16) which consists of a robin motif t-shirt, tartan skirt, red chunky knit cardigan and navy tights. I've genuinely not seen anything cuter for a baby girl this Christmas, and I think it is amazing value for so many pieces - each item could be worn by themselves too, making it a really useful buy. The whole baby range at Nutmeg this Christmas is fab, so do check it out. 


Connie wearing baby festive outfit from Nutmeg at Morrisons
My smiley blue-eyed baby girl in her Nutmeg Christmas outfit! 

Connie wearing baby festive outfit from Nutmeg at Morrisons
Oooh squidgy baby legs!! 

Albert was sent a cute musical Christmas jumper from the Nutmeg children's range, and he blooming loves it - can't you just tell from the smile on his face? 


Bert wearing Christmas jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons
CHEESE!!

This jumper retails at £9, and has a cute Rudolph and Santa motif with 3D pom-pom noses, plus a Snowman, Christmas trees and a North Pole signpost on the front. When you squeeze Santa's hat it plays 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' - which of course, Bert sees fit to demonstrate at any opportunity he can! Lol. 


Bert wearing Christmas jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons
T'ah Dah! 

Liam and I were both sent festive jumpers from the adult range - mine has a huge gingerbread man on (Bert is obsessed with gingerbread men, so this jumper goes down very well with him!) and Liam's is a fair-isle style jumper, which basically looks like Christmas threw up on him! Fun times. Both the adult jumpers retail at £12. 

Mrs Bishop and Bert wearing Christmas jumpers from Nutmeg at Morrisons
Aww, my cheeky gorgeous boy! 


Mrs Bishop in Gingerbread Man jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons
Gingerbread Man ladies jumper from Nutmeg at Morrisons, £12 



Mr Bishop & Connie in Nutmeg Christmas outfits
Squee!! Christmas cuteness overload! 

Mrs Bishop & Bert in Nutmeg Christmas Jumpers
Gimmie a kiss!!

All of the items we were sent are true to size; Connie wears 9-12m, Bert wears 3-4 years, I wear a ladies size 12, and Liam a mens medium. 

If, like us, you love a good old Christmas jumper then there's still time to get to your local Morrisons and buy one before the big day. Oh, and don't forget the official Christmas Jumper Day (for Save The Children) on Friday 16th December, join in and raise loads of money for a great cause. 

And, just because it was so funny, and if you can't laugh at yourself at Christmas time then when can you, I thought I'd leave you with this corker of a shot...SUCH a shame its blurry...

Mrs Bishop & Bert in Nutmeg Christmas Jumpers
Ain't that a pretty face? Tee hee. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Getting crafty this Christmas

All my regular readers will know that I'm a bit craft crazy! I love any opportunity to have a go at making something from scratch, from crochet to baking, paper craft to sewing - I'll try my hand at pretty much anything. 

This Christmas is no exception, I've been getting my craft on big time this festive season and I thought I'd share some of my makes with you today - hopefully providing you with some inspiration - there's still plenty of crafting time left before the big day. 

At the weekend, I finally completed one of my biggest makes ever - I've been working on this cotton granny square blanket for two whole years (on and off) and on Saturday I hooked my final stitches. I'm so chuffed with the finished blanket, and I'm already enjoying snuggling underneath it on these cold winter nights, all 150 squares of it! 


Mrs Bishop's crochet granny square blanke
100% cotton crochet granny square blanket in Rico cotton Tangerine, Mouse Grey & Natural. 
As well as crochet, I have also enjoyed learning some origami. On Saturday I attended an Origami workshop run by my friend Erica Roffe from BedPop/The Bedford Clanger, who taught me how to make these fabulous Christmas star hanging decorations. I'm totally addicted to paper folding now, and have ordered myself a book on her recommendation to expand my origami skills. 

Origami star decorations
Origami star decorations!
Each year we try to add new decorations to our Christmas haul, and this year is no exception - well, except that this year I decided to make some new decorations instead of buy. I wanted an orange, cinnamon and pine cone garland, but they were all super-pricey and I had one of those "I could make that!" moments...so I did. 


Homemade dried orange slices
Dried orange slices (second batch - forgot the first batch & burnt them - oops!) 
I dried the oranges for 3 hours in a low oven, purchased pine cones and cinnamon sticks in bulk online for just £12 (a fraction of the price of the garlands, and had lots left over to arrange in glass jars and bowls around the house for extra decorations) and used twine, wire, two mini Robins and foliage to create a big garland and door wreath. 


homemade Christmas garland
My little robin friends! Homemade garland.
homemade Christmas garland
Ta Dah! My homemade Christmas garland
homemade door wreath
My homemade door wreath
There is one homemade item that I make absolutely every Christmas without fail, and that is homemade vanilla extract. I make a large bottle at this time of year, which lasts me for the whole year. Trust me, it takes seconds and is so much better than any store bought vanilla extract you might pick up. It also makes a great Christmas gift for any foodies/bakers. 

To make vanilla extract you'll need:

vodka
madagascan vanilla pods x8
sterilised bottle 
sharp knife

  • Pour vodka into your sterilised bottle until almost full.
  • Slice open your 8 vanilla pods and push down into the vodka filled bottle. 
  • Pop on the lid and give it a vigorous shake. 
  • Shake well each day for 30 days, you'll see the liquid darken. 

After 30 days your vanilla extract is ready to use, but the longer you leave it the better it will get! 



homemade vanilla extract
Homemade vanilla extract
Inspired by a Christmas themed woodland walk for children that we went on at the weekend, I made these fun pom-pom snow strands to hang at our windows to make it look as if it is snowing outside. 

I found the iridescent white pompoms in Poundland, and threaded them onto invisible string/nylon thread, with knots to keep them in place, then attached them to the top of my windows using Blu-Tack. Bert absolutely loves them! 


pom pom snow
Pom pom snow
My final make for this Christmas was this Christmas stocking for Connie. I'm so excited for her first Christmas and I'm really looking forward to seeing Bert share Christmas with his new baby sister - he totally 'gets' Christmas this year, and is so excited and full of excited anticipation already. I made Bert his own personalised Christmas sack for his first Christmas, so it was only fair to make one for Connie too. 

I was kindly sent some of the materials I used to make the stocking from the kind people at Turtle Mat, who are encouraging people to get crafty this Christmas with their Christmas stocking making competition. I thought I should take part as I was planning to make Connie a Christmas stocking anyway! 

Firstly, I made a pattern for my stocking on pattern paper, and cut it out in my desired fabrics. 


Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Creating a pattern for my homemade stocking
I sewed the main stocking and trim on my sewing machine, but added the 'C' , the christmas tree and the button and bell detailing by hand. I'm mega chuffed with the final result and I can't wait to fill it with gifts for Connie this Christmas. 
Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Connie's giant Christmas stocking
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
The detail on my homemade stocking
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
'C' is for Connie & a Christmas tree - both finished with real jingle bells! 
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Top detailing to my homemade Christmas stocking, complete with ric-rac hanging loop!
Mrs Bishop's festive fireplace
Looking uber-festive on my living room fire place. 
I'm not done yet either... I'm currently in the process of crocheting a beanie hat with the leftover cotton yarn from my blanket - I'm hoping to have it finished in time for the much colder weather on its way! 

Have you crafted anything this Christmas?

Mrs B

xxx

This post is my entry into the Turtle Mat Christmas craft competition 2016.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Finding a reliable babysitter...



finding a reliable babysitter

Babysitting- it's a minefield of a topic as a parent. 

Who do you trust to leave your precious children with? 

How old should your sitter be? 

How do you know they're trustworthy, reliable, responsible and suitable for this important role? 

Do you go on recommendation, use an agency, ask a friend or relative? 

So many questions...

Liam and I are extremely lucky to have an amazing network of family and friends around us, who we know will (and regularly do!) look after our kids for us, for an evening, over night - our parents even looked after Bert for a whole week when we was 1, as Liam and I won an adult only trip to Cyprus and couldn't turn down a free holiday! 

Our lovely network of reliable and loving family and friends love our kids and always do their best for them when they're in charge; Liam and I can walk out of the house content, knowing that they are in the best possible hands. And that feeling of contentment is priceless. 

This got me to thinking how hard it must be for parents who don't have a network like ours on hand to take over and give them a night off...what do you do if you don't have family nearby? Do you ask a friend, get a recommendation for a babysitter they use? Do you call an agency? How do you know the person that arrives will be the right one for you and your kids? 

The thought of leaving your children with a complete stranger is a scary one - how will you know they are trustworthy and responsible? With the website http://www.sitters.co.uk/ you can hire their babysitting agency with confidence knowing that the person you're hiring is referenced checked, has professional childcare experience and is continually appraised to ensure the best care is being given at all times. 

Peace of mind for those who don't have the luxury of family members on hand to babysit, I hope this helps those of you who are struggling to get a night off this festive season! 

Have a evening off, you deserve it! 

Mrs B 

xxx

This is a collaborative post. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Degustabox Review: Christmas Box

Degustabox Food Boxes info

I can't believe this is our third Degustabox - the time is passing so fast, how is it December already??

Our November (Christmas) box didn't dissappoint - it was full to bursting with new to the market food products and we're excited to give them all a whirl...

Bert really 'gets' the concept of Degustabox and when it arrives he gets really excited "Oooh what will be in our food box this time Mummy?" ... he's definitely going to be a right foodie like him Mum and Dad. 

November Degustabox


November (Christmas) box contents:
  • Hartley's Glitter Jelly x2
  • Christian Potier Peppercorn Sauce 3 x 50g
  • Butterkist Choc Mallow Popcorn
  • Butterkist Sweet Cinema Style Popcorn
  • Ryvita Thins, Caramelised Onion
  • Ryvita Crackers, Cracked Black Pepper
  • Pipers Crisps, Wild Thyme & Rosemary
  • Jules Destrooper Butter Crisps
  • J20 Glitterberry, Grape & Cherry
  • Michel et Augustin, 4 cookie squares
  • Broderick's Crunchy Slam Dunk Peanut Chunk Bar
  • The Good Cider, Wild Berries x1 Strawberry Lime x1
  • Grufalo Apple Juice drink cartons x3
  • Ahmad Tea, Citrus Mint Sorbet

What a corker of a box, containing something for all the food-eating people in our house (Connie's a bit small to appreciate any of the goodies just yet!). Luckily for Bert popcorn is one of his absolute favourite snacks, so he has been devouring the two bags that came in this month's box. He's also a huge fan of The Grufalo, so he was mega excited when he saw the little cartons of drink.

My favourite snacks are crisps, anything peanut flavoured and crackers (with cream cheese) so this box was a total winner for me - the Ryvita thins have almost gone, Liam and I shared the Broderick's Peanut Chunk bar (which incidentally was DELICIOUS!) and I had the Piper's Wild Thyme & Rosemary crisps with my lunch the day after the box arrived. All in the name of reviewing, obviously! HA! 

As I said earlier, there are sometimes items in the box that you might not get round to using - and this month that was the two packets of Hartley's Glitter jellies - Bert really isn't a fan of jelly, so I knew it would just sit in our cupboard - instead I gave them to my twin sister who is a teacher in a Primary school for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties - they often use jelly for sensory experience, and so this glittery number was perfect for an activity in her classroom - no waste and getting to spread the Degustabox joy, win win! 

I've now got a really well-stocked tea cupboard full of all sorts of delicious, enticing fruit and herbal teas - I have lots of visitors who often opt for a non-caffienated drink, so I love to get new tea bags for them to try out, I'm excited to try the citrus mint sorbet ones, they sound amazing!

Finally, I've popped the butter biscuits, cracked black pepper crackers, ciders and J20 away in our Christmas box, where I'm saving up goodies for the festive holiday - we have family coming to stay with us this year, so I'm having to stock up on treats for us all. 

Degustabox November Box 2016

Nice one Degustabox, another great selection of foodie/drink treats for my family to indulge in...three months in and we are still loving these boxes. 

If you'd like to give Degustabox a try you can get a box with a massive discount using the code below...

To get a whopping £7.00 discount on your own Degustabox use code:

1VRVA

For more info follow Degustabox on their social media profiles...


We are sent a Degustabox each month in return for our honest review.