We are going to Lapland

That’s it I cannot keep it in any longer……. we are going to Lapland. Actual Lapland. I am so very excited I just had to share it with you all.

Going To Lapland

Although parenting things are not the normal find on my blog, this was just to exciting not to tell you about. Since having the children we like so many families visit Santa each year. We have for the last few years had a Christmas weekend at the start of December, we have visited some fabulous grottos, Christmas markets, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, The Polar Express on Weardale Railway and last year we visited Lapland UK. Lapland UK was the most amazing experience we had been on as a family from start to finish it was fabulous. But to top that we decided that the only way to do that was to go to actual Lapland in Finland.

Our trip to Finnish Lapland was booked almost a year ago and the children still don’t know we are going. I had spoken with a friend who had visited a couple of times when his children were younger, he gave me lots of advise about not going on a set Santa trip but to book it all separately. Which is exactly what we did, he also recommended that we used holiday company Inghams. He said they offered the best prices, he was not wrong.

Finding our perfect holiday

I had looked at a few options but we decided to book it all separately. Inghams offer Finnish Lapand trips to Ylläs, Saariselka and Levi, after reading about them we decided that Levi was the best place for us. Although Levi is the biggest of the ski resorts, it also offers the most for the children with extra activities, restaurants and supermarkets. It is also only a 20 minute transfer from Kittilä airport.

We already knew that we wanted to stay in a cabin, we wanted to be able to open the door and step onto the snow (eeek….. real thick magical snow). The cabins we chose were the Immelmokit Cabins they are a fairly basic 3 star cabin, however they offer everything we need, plus they have really good reviews with lots of returning customers.

The Immelmokit Cabins are about 400 meters out of the resort centre, they are on the edge of the resort. Just far enough away to be quiet yet close enough to get to everything we need. The other thing that drew my attention to these cabins was that they are set very near a Lake Immeljarvi and away from all of the light pollution of the resort, giving me the best chance to cross seeing the Northern Lights off my bucket list.

Our activities

Choosing out activities was the easy bit, there are a lots of different trips that you can choose, we decided to pick 4 different options. Knowing that during the week we would have some time playing in the snow. However should we decide to add another trip while there we could do with the Inghams reps.

The Reindeer Safari and Sámi Farm

The Reindeer Safari & Sámi Farm visit, this is a local trip only 15 minutes away. Where you get to feed the reindeer, learn about the Sámi farmers and their way of life, reindeer herding and lassoing. We opted for the 3km scenic sleigh ride costing from £45 an adult and £29 a child. After your sleigh ride you get to go back to the family house to enjoy coffee (I am hoping for tea) and cake.

The Husky Safari

The Husky Safari was our next pick, visiting the local husky farm. We get to drive the Husky pulled sleds before heading in to a Kammi hut for a hot drink and a snack. With prices starting from £35 for adults and £19 for children.

The Lainio Snow Hotel

I really wanted to visit a snow hotel, so we have booked a visit to Lainio Snow Hotel. It is an evening coach trip that gives you the chance of seeing the Northern Lights on the way. During this visit you get a guided tour of the snow village, seeing all of the ice sculptures and get to see the snow hotel bedrooms. Then you get the chance to have a drink in the ice bar. Although I would have loved to have had an over night stay, it is not really suitable for the children. Prices for the trip start at £25 for adults and £16 for children.

Santa’s Elves Hideaway

Of course with a 8 year old and a 4 year old a trip to see Santa was the top of the list. There are a couple of options but we choose the Santa’s Elves Hideaway, which is a 2.5 hour trip but it is only 15 minutes away from Levi. Santa’s Elves Hideaway is set in a the forest, we will get to meet the reindeer, attend Elf school, do some gingerbread baking before enjoying some snow fun and meeting the big man in red. Each family is given a private meeting with Santa. Prices start from £55 an adult and £45 per child.

The Aurora Cabins

Inghams have also kindly offered us an over night stay in one of their Aurora Cabins while we are away. We am so excited to be staying in one of these cabins with a glass roof so we can lay in bed and look up at the stars and fingers cross have the chance to see the Northern Lights.

I cannot wait to go, it’s going to be a trip of a life time. I cannot wait to tell the children, any idea’s on how best to surprise them please let me know.

 

What to get the lady who has everything for Christmas?

Us ladies often get to the stage in life where we want something lovely for Christmas, that we would love as a gift but not always something that we need. There is no denying that I have expensive taste, I always have done. I have this skill for picking the most expensive item, want it and not really need it so they are normally left in the shop as the family comes first.

What To Get The Lady Who Has Everything For Christmas

So this year I thought I would put together a gift guide of items that the lady in your life would love to see under the Christmas tree. Something that she will want a special treat.

Beauty gifts

Every lady loves a spa day, so why not add some Ragdale Hall spa vouchers. A perfect gift to help your lady unwind after all of Christmas preparation.

Luxury face cream and moisturisers by Skin Doctors are going on my list, Instant Eyelift, Skin Resurfacing cream, Beelift and Instant Facelift are on my wish list, they have fabulous reviews and any of the range would be loved.

Relaxing bath products are always a nice like luxury bath salts from Dead Sea or gorgeous bath oils from Olverum. The most amazing smelling bath oil to help you have a wonderfully relaxing bath.

Food and Drink gifts

My gift list always has a nice bottle of champagne added to it, so what about some lovely champagne flutes? Or what about this years craze of Gin, and especially Gin baubles from Find Me a Gift, you could add them to the Christmas tree as little treats throughout December. With Gin being so popular at the moment why not get a Gin & Tonic Infusions set, they give you all the ingredients to make your very own flavoured gins, available from Sous Chef.

Every girl wants some chocolates wrapped up under the tree, Guylian chocolates are one of my favourite as they contain praline, which is my go to chocolate… yummy. This year they are 15% bigger and so very delicious. Sous Chef also sent me this beautiful Panettone the most amazing sweet Italian bread that is very popular in our house at Christmas. We often sit down with a nice cup of tea and enjoy a slice of this fruity sweet bread.

I always love a personalised gift, so what about a jar of prosecco flavoured bon bon’s from Gift Pup. They have so many lovely gifts to choose from. I can’t wait to get started on mine.

Subscription Box gifts

Have you thought about a a floral subscription box? I love having flowers in our house, they always make me smile. Flowers just seem to bring happiness on even the gloomiest day. Beard and Daisies offer a range of different postal flowers, your Christmas gift would be a surprise delivery for months after Christmas.

The Pink Parcel is also a fabulous monthly subscription box, it is designed for us ladies. The Pink Parcel is delivered monthly in time for your time of the month, packed with all the products you need plus a box of little treats to help you feel better. Each month your ‘for you’ box is full of different items so you never get the same thing. Mine contained chocolates, a face mask, a couple of different beauty products.

Whenever I am at home, I have a a candle burning just about all of the time. The lovely team at Sandwick Bay Candles are launching a subscription candle box, which for me is perfect. If they smell anything like this gorgeous festive cinnamon and orange then I can’t wait to get my hands on the first months. Who wouldn’t love this gift?

Just gorgeous gifts

You cannot go wrong with beautiful stationery. What about a gorgeous personalised pen, beautiful note book and some stress therapy colouring crayons from The Pen Company. For me stationery is a must at any time of the year, not just at Christmas.

Of course no Christmas is complete with a gorgeous piece of jewellery. I love it, each year getting something beautiful to wear throughout the year. Rock ‘n’ Rose have a fabulous range of fashion items, you will find the perfect gift for any lady in your life.

Unicorns are so popular right now with both adults and children, that it seems silly not to add a cute little personalised mug and cuddly unicorn from Gift Pup. They will look lovely on my desk, to add that little bit of cuteness to my day.

Fitness gifts

I have always wanted a pair of retro roller skates, I used to skate as a teen. Why not bring back a childhood memory with a gift to remind her of her childhood. Roller skates are going on my gift list this year, as I am also reliving my Sylvanian Families obsession through my daughter this Christmas.

Or how about a lovely personalised t-shirt? You could have one made just for using in the gym or out running. How about ‘I run to eat cake’ or ‘This girl can’ you could put anything you wanted on to the top. Why not think of something that’s really personal to the lady in your life. Printsome offer a fabulous range of personalised t-shirts.

Of course with all of the yummy gifts at Christmas, most of us then start the new year wanting to get a bit fitter and what better way to help than buying a gorgeous Yogabellies yoga mat.

Something a bit cheeky

Why not treat your lady to a little gift that will spice things up in the bedroom? Why not try out the satisfyer pro penguin it’s a fabulous little toy for you both to enjoy.

 

*Big thank you to all the wonderful Brands who have contributed to my Christmas Gift Guide. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Buying a new car, what I looked for…

*This is a sponsored post, as always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

A few months after we bought our first house almost 10 years, we bought a new to us car a Honda Civic. It was only 3 years old and at the time offered us very thing we wanted. Something a bit bigger to fingers cross start a family with. I loved that car, even after my Hubby went to buy a brand new car a few years later, I kept my Honda Civic. Until about 4 weeks ago when at 12 years old my car needed to be upgraded.

Looking for a new car isn’t always easy, it can be a minefield of choices, make, model, colour, engine size and the list goes on. For the last few years I have been wanting a 7 seater car, we only have two children and no plans to expand our family beyond having nieces and nephews. I am a bit particular about car seats, and I also don’t really like the children sitting in the front seat of the car, I’m not sure why but just don’t. So I felt that with a 7 seat car it would mean I am able to invite the children’s friends out with us, while still ensuring that can have a proper car seat and also not have to sit in the front.

What I looked for when buying my car…

When it came to looking for a new car, I already knew that I wanted a 7 seat car, which really narrowed down my options. We had a budget to work too, which I also knew wouldn’t stretch to a new car, but would get something less than 2 years old.

I really don’t know to much about cars, so the Hubby and I discussed what we wanted from our new family car.

  • 7 seats
  • diesel
  • bluetooth contection
  • low road tax
  • dark colour – no red, no white,
  • high spesification
  • parking sensors
  • amazing condition
  • less than 2 years old

With this criteria for a new car, we started our search. I test drive a couple of different cars, a Toyota Verso and a Kia Carens.

My Hubby currently has a Kia Sportage, which he loves, we bought it from new almost 5 years ago and it has so far been a brilliant car. It was the Carens that first made me want a 7 seat car, really spacious and doesn’t look like a mini bus. However, new they were really quite over our budget and when we first looked they only had a white used one and one that was already 4 years old which wasn’t what we wanted.

The Verso we both really liked, we owned a Toyota Yaris a few years ago and loved it. The car garage was what let the Verso down. When we first went to look at the cars, we sat down discussed our needs and our budget. After we had test driven a brand new one, having been told about various different schemes being ran that it would fail within our budget. When it came down to it, they couldn’t match our budget and we walked out. I was so unhappy with the service, that I would now never go back there.

Luckily after walking out of the Toyota garage we popped back over to Kia, who had just taken delivery of a black Carens, top of the range, diesel car that was as only 15 months old and within budget…. yay! We test drove it, loved it and bought it within about 30 minutes of visiting the garage.

A month later I still love the car, it’s fabulous to drive and now the colder weather is setting in the heated seats are something I wouldn’t be without.

What do you look for when buying a new car?