The Power Of Christmas Songs

I’ve spoken many times about the struggles I have getting Arthur not only to go to sleep at night but also to stay asleep.  At 21 months old he still wakes twice a night for milk and sometimes doesn’t actually go to sleep until gone 10pm at night and never ever sleeps past 6am.

I’ve found on a couple of occasions that if I play certain Christmas songs via my phone or ipad I can get Arthur to sit down, relax and have a cuddle which in return can make him sleepy and on one or two occasions has actually put him to sleep.

What are these magical songs I hear you ask, believe it or not they are not your typical songs that get radio play or feature on the usual Christmas albums which is why you may be surprised to find out what they are, some of you may not have heard any of them.

I’m sharing these songs with you today in the hope that if you suffer from sleepless nights like I do these songs might just work with your children too.  The Christmas songs are not miracle workers but they do seem to relax Arthur and if they work for your children I’d love to hear about it.

In no particular order the songs are as follows:

River – Joni Mitchell

Silver Bells – Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell

Christmas in Killarney – Bing Crosby

Christmas Alphabet – McGuire Sisters

If you have any suggestions for Christmas songs that Arthur might like I’d love to hear them!


My Little Cosy Box


If you’re new to the world of My Little Box you can find out all about it here, if you have found yourself here because you want to find out what was inside the My Little Cosy Box you have come to the right place.

my cosy little box

This is my 3rd My Little Box, each one has been as well thought out as the others but I personally like this one the best.  The box has an autumnal feel to it and on the day it arrived I was looking for a pick me up as I was stuck indoors with the heating on trying to warm up and outside it was windy, wet and miserable so to answer the door and receive a package from France really did put a smile on my face.

my cosy little box

Just like previous boxes My Little Cosy Box is a mixture of lifestyle and beauty, this time there were three beauty products that I immediately had to open as they were not only perfect for me but perfect for the season.

my little cosy box

First of all we had the lifestyle items which this month were a gorgeous little espresso cup which is currently housing my hair grips and my little bouilotte by Tsumori Chisato which is a little cushion to heat in the microwave, I’ve passed this on to my mother as she is a big fan of heated pillows and will get lots of use from it.

my cosy little box

The beauty products this month are my favourite by far and I’ve been using them every day since they arrived.

The first item is a single colour eyeshadow by Yves Rocher in coffee brown (£13.20) a company I used to order from in my late teens but for some unknown reason stopped using, I love the deep colour, coverage and lasting power I get from this eyeshadow and I’ll definitely be ordering more products from the brand in the future.

The second item is a black waterproof eyeliner by Arcancil (£5.50) I’d never previously heard of this brand before and it couldn’t have come at a better time as my trusted Dior pencil was on it’s last legs.  I’ve never used a waterproof pencil before as I was always worried that I might struggle to remove it but this seems to have great staying power and is incredibly easy to remove.

The third and final item was a My little beauty volumising mascara (£15.11) the mascara has a great formulation and although it doesn’t add as much volume as I would usually wear it’s actually great for daytime use.  I would definitely consider purchasing this one again.

This box just keeps getting better and better and it’s a real pleasure to receive unlike subscription boxes I’ve had in the past.  If you’re considering signing up you can fin more information by visiting My Little Box (It’s not an affiliate link and I’ve not been paid to say nice things, I bought the box with my own hard earned money)

Advent Calendars Without Chocolate

Advent Calendars are a big part of Christmas for not only children but adults alike.  Most people like chocolate but sometimes it can get a bit boring, if you’re looking for an advent calendar but want something that’s a little bit different you need look no further.  I’ve researched some great products that are not only affordable but offer something other than chocolate (keep those ones for the kids).

More and more brands have realised that consumers are willing to pay upwards of £100 to have a little Christmas treat, certain calendars sell out within minutes of going on sale and others have waiting lists in early November, who would have thought that a simple advent calendar could cause mayhem and inflated ebay prices?

smiggle advernt

My first Advent calendar is perfect for both children and adult, maybe you could buy it and share it with your children so you each get something on alternative days.  This item isn’t available on the Smiggle website any more but you may still be able to find one in store, they were selling for £25.  I have one of these great calendars in my possession and will be showing the items on my Instagram page (madame gourmand) so don’t forget to follow.

yankee candle advent

I had a Yankee Candle advent calendar last year and loved lighting a different scented tealight each day.  This year you can get a choice of two calendars either a house or the traditional wreath calendar for £21.99

topshop 24 days of nails

Topshop are offering 24 days of nails for £50, each day you will receive a different nail polish from the topshop range.  This would be a great calendar for teenagers and I know my daughter would love it.

Topshop freedom advent calendar

Topshop are also offering a Jewellery advent calendar from the Freedom range.  This was selling for £25 but has been reduced to £17.50.  The calendar contains twelve pairs of stud earrings, four ditsy fine bracelets and eight ditsy charm short necklaces in both silver and gold look finishes.

elemis 12 days of beauty

Elemis are offering a 12 days of Christmas calendar for £59.50 which has a value of £113.00.  The products are suitable for all skin types and this is what you will get:Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm 20g, Pro-Collagen Marine Cream 15ml, Pro- Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream 15ml, Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm 7ml, Papaya Enzyme Peel 15ml, Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules 14 caps, Revitalising Babassu Facial Wipes 4 sachets, Frangipani Monoi Shower Cream 50ml, Frangipani Monoi Body Oil 35ml, Skin Nourishing Shower Cream 50ml, Pro-Radiance Hand & Nail Cream 20ml, Treat Your Feet Foot Cream 20ml.

No7 beauty calendar

The No7 calendar is sold out online now but you may still be able to pick one up in store for £35.  This calendar has a value of £135 so is a bargain if you can get hold of one.

beer advent calendar

Beer lovers will be very grateful for this amazing calendar from Best British Beer, £95 will get you  24 different bottles of seasonal beers including several that are exclusive to Best of British Beer. It will be a real mix and will include 24 x 330ml craft beers and some festive ales.

Mini Mani Manor Ciate

Last year I had a Ciate advent calendar and they are back again with the Ciate Mini Mani Manor which is your for £49.  You will receive 15 Mini Paint Pots: Headliner, Sharp Tailoring, Members Only, Sloaney, Sweetie, Velvet Tuxedo, Big Yellow Taxi, Mineral Clarity, Strawberry Milkshake, Silhouette, Unrestricted Glam, Cupcake Queen, Amazing Gracie, Candy Cane, Sand Dune, Sherbet Fizz .  1 Full Size Paint Pot in Celestial and 8 effects: Girl With A Pearl, Runway Ribbon, Prima Ballerina, Let It Snow, Slumber Party, Tinsel Trail, Frozen Daydream, Fairisle Style.

Body Shop Days of Joy Advent Calendar

My daughter would love the Body Shop advent calendar as she is a huge fan of their products, for £50 you will get Almond Hand and Nail Cream 30ml, Almond Nail File, Frosted Cranberry Heart Soap 25g, Frosted Cranberry Shower Gel 60ml, Frosted Cranberry Shimmer Lotion 60ml, Eye Definer Black 1g, Strawberry Heart Soap 25g, Strawberry Lip Butter 10ml, Strawberry Hand Cream 30ml, Colour Crush™ Nail Colour 6.8ml (Relish the Moment), Glazed Apple Heart Soap 25g, Glazed Apple Body Lotion 60ml, Vitamin E Moisture Cream 15ml, Vitamin E Moisture Mask 6ml, Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream 15ml, Moringa Shower Gel 60ml, Moringa Body Milk 60ml, Mini Crinkle Lily, Honeymania™ Lip Balm 10 ml, Wild Argan Oil Body Lotion 60ml, Eyeshadow Brush, Shea Shower Cream 60ml, Shea Body Butter 50ml, White Musk® Eau de Toilette 10ml.

tesco advent calendar

Tesco have a beauty advent calendar for £25 (was £50) which contains a whopping £125 worth of beauty products including brands like  Nip+Fab, Korres, Katy Perry, Dr. LeWinns and Tanya Burr.  I may have just purchased this for myself to collect at my local Tesco store!

tea forte advent calendar

For the tea lovers out there Tea Forte are offering a £33 calendar containing 24 festive steeping cups of good cheer. Includes Belgian Mint, Blood Orange (organic), Caramel Nougat (organic), Chamomile Citron (organic), Cherry Cosmo (organic), Cherry Marzipan (organic), Chocolate Rose (organic), Ginger Lemongrass (organic), Harvest Apple Spice, Lemon Sorbetti (organic), Moroccan Mint, Peach Brûlée (organic), Rum Raisin Biscotti, Sencha (organic), Spiced Ginger Plum, Sunrise Breakfast (organic), Sweet Orange Spice, White Cinnamon Sage (organic), Wild Apple Ginger (organic), Winter Chai Orange Pomegranate, Flora, Peach Jubilee, Winter Spice.

Barbie advent calendar

If you or your children are a fan of Barbie you might be interested in this calendar from John Lewis.  £17.99 seems like a lot of money to me for this but I’m sure fans will be happy to pay for it.  Gifts include a fabulous festive dress for Barbie, a gorgeous gem bracelet for you and lots of doll’s accessories including a Barbie-sized mobile phone and sunglasses. Jewellery, purses, clutches and pairs of shoes.

Biscuiteers advent tin

For £45 you could buy a beautiful Biscuiteers Advent Calendar. The gorgeous limited edition Advent Calendar Gift Tin contains 24 festive biscuits, including all the seasonal favourites like Christmas trees, crackers, Christmas puds, as well as some vintage (and not so vintage!) toys.

If you’re looking for the perfect present to buy me, I’d love the Masters of Malt advent calendar.  £149.95 will get you  Glen Garioch 1797 Founder’s Reserve, Glenfarclas 10 Year Old,  The Lost Distilleries Blend – Batch 6,  The Macallan Amber – 1824 Series, Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Old Special Reserve, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Auchentoshan Three Wood,  Arran – Batch 4 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company), Bowmore 12 Year Old, Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey, Glenfiddich 18 Year Old, Rock Town Arkansas Bourbon,  Haig Club, Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt – The Journey, Isle of Jura 16 Year Old (Diurachs’ Own), Timorous Beastie, Mortlach Rare Old, Monkey Shoulder, The Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps, Nikka Whisky From The Barrel, Dalmore 15 Year Old, Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No.2 Merak, Balvenie 12 Year Old Single Barrel – First Fill, Paul John Edited.

Imperial tea advent calendar

My final advent calendar is for the coffee lovers out there, Imperial Teas are offering an advent calendar of coffee for £31.95 which is a unique opportunity to try a selection of twenty five of their freshly roasted coffees including the rarest varieties presented in a luxurious gift box. Each coffee can be drunk in the order suggested or picked at random. The leaflet gives the precise brewing time and water temperature. Each packet holds enough coffee (approx 16g) to make a perfect 3 cup cafetiere (one mug!).

Do you have an advent calendar this year? if so what sort?





LED Hut Christmas Lights

10m lights LED HutLast year you may remember that I wrote about the warm white Christmas lights I received from LED hut.  I’d never used LED lights before so really wasn’t sure what to expect.  I used the 5 metre indoor/outdoor Warm Lights which contained 50 bulbs throughout the whole Christmas period and they are currently on the top of my tree this year.   The lights are fitted with a control box which when pressed has 8 different functions Fast Fade, Random Fade, Random Flash, Off, Fast Flash, Slow Fade, Pulsing and On Static. LED HUT Warm white christmas lights This year I have the 10m Multi function LED lights from LED Hut (shown in the top picture) which are suitable for indoor and outdoor use and come in 8 different effects including Combination, Waves, Sequential, Slow Glow, Chasing Flash, Slow Fade, Twinkle Flash and Steady On.  There is a 5m cable from plug to first light which means you can use them in a variety of places and they don’t need to be directly next to a power source.

The lights don’t seem to get hot which is great when you have inquisitive children, the lights really can light up a room when on a steady setting, it gives the house a real Christmas feel however I have noticed that Arthur likes them to be on the fastest flash setting which can make it feel like you’re in a rave especially when you have the tree and the fireplace going off at different times.

I suppose the biggest bonus is you don’t have to worry about individual lights going off and knocking the whole system off while you replace the bulb.  There is also less energy used when you switch on these lights meaning you electricity bill will be lower than if you used traditional lights.

LED Hut 10m lights The lights look great placed on a tree and positioned around a window frame, in fact they could be used pretty much anywhere!

So what’s so great about LED lights and why do I think they are better than regular store bought lights at Christmas?

led hut infographic

I honestly can’t recommend these bulbs enough and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular bulbs.

*Item received free of change in return for a honest review

Teen Parcel

When the time came for me to give my daughter ‘The talk’ I was petrified, I’m not really sure why as I have a good relationship with my daughter and no topic is banned from the house, we talk about everything as a family and now that Lucie is older (14) I sometimes wish that some topics were taboo because when she talks about things her friends have said and even things they have told her they get up to would make any parents hair turn white but I digress.

We had the talk about changes in the body and a brief understanding about where babies come from when Lucie was around 6 and I think because it was mentioned early before she had real understanding about what happens it allowed me to expand on this as she became more aware.

Lucie is now 14 and has been fully aware of why women have a monthly period for quite a few years now however she’s now at that age where she’s happy to talk about things that go on with other people but not so much with herself as it’s all a bit ‘cringeworthy’ (her word not mine).

When it comes to that time of the month I always have a rough idea when it’s about to happen as hormones turn her into an argumentative nightmare which she won’t mind me saying as she agrees she changes for the worst, I can sympathise though as I was just the same and she would say I probably still am. I’m not though.

Each month I always leave a good supply of various items in the bathroom that she has access to but I always wonder if it’s enough, should I be asking how she is or will it annoy her? Should I ask if she needs a hot water bottle or will she tell me if she does? Should I bring her some extra treats or will she complain that I’m interfering ?

I was 11 when I started my periods and I remember going into complete denial about the whole thing, I was mortified that this was happening to me and don’t get me started on the cramps, I felt like I was dying they were so painful.  Back in 1991 the choice of sanitary protection available wasn’t as great as it is now, the pads given to me by a school nurse were so thick they scared me, no one want’s their child to be scared about something that’s going to happen to them so I’m relieved that sanitary products have improved massively since I was a teenager.

Lucie didn’t get her first period until she was 13, some of her friends had theirs at 9 so I think the earlier you approach the subject the better so that your daughter is aware of what could happen to her body.  To make things more pleasant for your teenager there is a new subscription box on the market called Teen Parcel which is a monthly subscription service to help make that time of the month a little bit nicer, you just need to let them know if you prefer towels or tampons, what size you prefer, pick a brand and then you will be asked to fill in some information specific to your cycle such as the date your period last started, how many days it lasted and they will calculate when your next parcel should be due.

Teen Parcel

teen parcel

When you open your Teen Parcel you will see three boxes and a pouch all packaged up.  The pouch is something for your bag, the two large boxes contain your sanitary protection and the smaller box contains some treats.

tampons in bag

The little pouch contains 5 tampons and if you have selected to receive towels your pouch will contain those.  The pouch is a great size for a handbag at the weekend or a school bag and your child won’t be embarrassed if this pouch falls out, they can scoop it up and pop it back in.  The larger boxes contain all of the sanitary protection your teen will need during their period and the slimline boxes can be easily stored in their bedroom or the bathroom without taking up too much space.

tampon box

Teen parcel contents

There were a lot of little extras in the box including a Teapigs chocolate flake teabag, packet of jelly haribo sweets, nail polish by Binky, pink bracelet and 3 beauty products by Clean & Clear to help combat spots.

Lucie’s thoughts on the Teen Parcel were very positive, she would like to see an option for a mixture of towels and tampons and she would also like to see the option to choose your skin type so that beauty products can be more tailored.  Lucie loved the teabag and packet of sweets and thought the nail polish was a great addition she also thought the little black pouch was a great idea and has popped it into her school bag.  She has already been telling her friends about Teen Parcel and we will definitely be subscribing once she decides which package she wants.

The retail value of this box if everything was purchased separately is over £22.92 so if you’re wondering if the box is good value for money then my answer is yes.

Your first teen parcel will cost you £5.95 (price correct at the time of writing) and subsequent boxes are £9.95 a month, you can sign up here