The Ideal Home Show at Christmas in London

This I am very excited about and thankfully only have a week to wait. This years Ideal Home Show at Christmas will be taking place at Olympia London for the first time ever. The UK’s biggest Christmas exhibition will be open from the 25th – 29th of November to provide everything you could possibly need in the run up to the festive season, from over 600 exhibitors showcasing top Christmas shopping inspiration, a plethora of celebrity appearances and a Christmas bandstand hosting live entertainment……………c’mon you Christmas lovers what more could you need?








I’m feeling festive already and cannot wait to see the venue transformed into a winter wonderland. There will be exhibitors across 7 sectors, as well as a host of festive favourite celebrities including Gino D’Acampo, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Olly Smith and Katie Piper who will be making her Christmas show debut and  experts will be on hand at the show offering their own festive hints and tips to make your Christmas Ideal.


There will be live entertainment for visitors to enjoy as they shop, a wide range of expert talks and advice,  a food & drink theatre featuring top tips from celebrity chefs, and even a champagne bar as well ( so that’s me sorted then!).

The Ideal Home Show at Christmas sponsored by has everything you could possibly need to create the perfect Christmas all under one roof! So, for a chance to be part of history and experience Christmas for the first time at Olympia London, get yourself a ticket!


To book tickets log on to or call 0844 209 7330.  For Group bookings call: 0844 412 4650

Weekday Adult £12.00
Weekend Adult £14.00
Weekday Concession (Over 60’s) £10.00
Weekend Concession (Over 60’s)     £12.00
Children (Under 15) go free when accompanied by an adult      

Timings for Ideal Home Show at Christmas:

Wednesday 25th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Thursday 26th November 2015 10am – 9pm

Friday 27th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Saturday 28th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Sunday 29th November 2015 10am – 5pm

I am looking forward to spotting some lovely new Christmassy bits to add to my ever growing collection that I manage to add to each year. Our decorations go up at the start of December and I love the festive run up to the big day itself. However, I do think my OH may disown me if I buy any more fairy lights for him to put up…………………………………… so watch this space.

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Lunch at Bexleyheath Marriott Hotel

I was recently invited to have lunch at my local Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath and having only been in there once before many years ago for an afternoon tea with friends I took the opportunity to go and have a look at what was there. It has always ‘appeared’ quite business like to me as an outsider however, once you are inside the spacious and open reception area automatically that view is changed.

Love these light trees dotted about the hotel areas

Love these light trees dotted about the hotel areas

We were directed to the bar area which is much more informal than the restaurant looked and also had a different menu on offer. The bar had a welcoming feel with a mix of table styles, smaller ones with straight backed chairs as you would expect but also lower style tables surrounded by lovely comfy sofas for those who were just having a drink rather than eating.

While my friend and I was there we saw two other groups having an afternoon tea, as well as two ladies in their spa robes ( yes they have a spa here too) who wandered casually in for a drink and snacks in between their treatments which in fact we thought they were very brave to do so!

We were given the Copper Lunch Menu to choose from which had everything from sandwiches and panini’s, salads and burgers and then individual style mains. I chose the Battered Haddock Fillet ,Beer Batter, Scraps, Pickled Onion, Minted Mushy Peas, Lemon, Tartar Sauce, Double Cooked Chips priced at £12.50 and my friend chose the (V) Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Ravioli, Chestnut Mushrooms, Sage Butter, British Truffle Oil, Pecorino priced at £15.00. We also enjoyed a gorgeous glass of Pinot Grigot rose while we had a good old gossip and waited for our food. In all fairness, we did wait quite a while for the main course and then dessert considering it wasn’t very busy that particular day, however, as we were having a lovely catch up, and didn’t need to do a school pick up it wasn’t an issue for us and it was a lovely relaxing atmosphere anyway.

When our food arrived I immediately new I had made the right choice on mine, it looked beautifully cooked, crisp and smelled delicious.

The chips were amazing and the batter on the fish was beautifully dry and crisp and don't even get me started on the minted mushy peas! :)

The chips were amazing and the batter on the fish was beautifully dry and crisp and don’t even get me started on the minted mushy peas!

My friend however, was a little disappointed at the portion size of her pasta dish as a main, especially for the price, but she did say she thoroughly enjoyed it none the less.

As you can see the portion size of the pasta came up a little disappointing considering the price although the taste was  lovely

As you can see the portion size of the pasta came up a little disappointing considering the price although the taste was lovely

It was a tough choice on desserts as I probably could have ordered any one of them to be honest, but I opted for the Rhubarb and custard, Honeycomb crumble priced at £5.95 as I though it was a lovely traditional crumble and custard. This couldn’t have been more wrong it came up almost as a trifle and although I was a little disappointed it was truly lush! After gorging on my fish and chips, which was a very filling meal this dessert was light and creamy and a perfect finish to my meal, I think anything more substantial for me would have left me feeling a little too stuffed. The only thing I would say is that 4 tiny pieces of honeycomb on the top does not make a crumble and it would have benefited from some more honeycomb.

See it's not a traditional crumble.............but absolutely gorgeous, so light and creamy!

See it’s not a traditional crumble………….but absolutely gorgeous, so light and creamy!

My friend though opted for the Sticky Toffee pudding, butterscotch with frozen caramel cream priced at £4.50, again as her pasta dish was not overly filling this was a perfect dessert for her and was exactly what it said on the menu. I did try a little and it tasted beautiful and was a good size dessert too.

Looks lush and tasted lush.............enough said!

Looks lush and tasted lush………….enough said!

I loved the tree lights the hotel has both in the bar area and the reception are they are truly stunning and really added a touch of elegance for the hotel. The staff in the bar were very approachable and friendly and we were ‘checked’ on a few times and even the barman came over checking if we needed more drinks too. It was a lovely lunch overall and having never really used the hotel in that respect before I would certainly go back as a treat again. I think when you see a hotel it doesn’t really occur to you to book into the restaurant or bar for lunch unless you are staying there, but obviously with special lunch menus, Christmas dinner and New Year options and afternoon teas available it is actually a shame not to when it is on your doorstep.

DISCLOSURE: I was invited  to enjoy a courtesy lunch at the Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath for review purposes however, all views are my own

My teen gets an ASD diagnosis at 17

This is what we have been going through recently. My eldest has always shown Asperger traits throughout his growing up, but has been very high functioning that it has never been a major issue to him or us as parents. He noticed himself after being at secondary school for a year or so that he ‘seemed’  different to his friends, that’s also when his lack of management skill came into play big time and and we had a discussion with him then to see if he wanted to pursue it further and get a diagnosis. At that time he said no, he didn’t want to be labelled different or have any spotlight put on him and so we helped him along with the school to get him more organised. It has also not hindered him in any way with friends, he has some great friends in the last few years that just accept him and his sometimes ‘odd’ ways and in fact it was one of those friends who encouraged him to go to his GP for help.

However, as he got older and then headed through the pressure of his GCSE’s it started to take it’s toll resulting in high levels of anxiety (which we were totally unaware about as he hid it very well under a laid back exterior) which led to a secondary period of ‘low mood’. This is when he as a 16 yr old then made an appointment with his GP and went off to discuss his ‘depression’ before telling us that he had gone and they were going to follow it up with a referral to our Children’s and Young Adults Mental Health clinic. We have supported him in his decision fully and have found out from our consultations that this high anxiety and low mood is very common in undiagnosed, high functioning, ASD cases in teens. They get to a certain age and then start to feel socially awkward and uncomfortable in a time that is turbulent for most teens anyway! This leads to the high anxiety resulting in a secondary ‘depression’.

We have since then been through the necessary assessments and he got his official diagnosis over the half term. I have emailed his Head of Learning at school to inform him of the diagnosis and arrange a meeting to see what help ‘if any’ he can get in his last year of A levels. There is an urgency to this meeting from my point of view as he has his UCAS forms to send off very soon and they need to know his requirements from school.

What I need to know is what sort of things he could be entitled to from others who are in this situation. If, at the very least, it would be nice if he qualified for some extra exam time, as his writing is atrocious and that could take the pressure of time off him as 2 of his subjects are essay based and he struggles to make his handwriting legible!

I would love to get some ideas from people in the same situation so I have an idea of what I should expect or not when I do get a school meeting.

Can you help?

Some Easy Craft Ideas For Kids This Christmas

christmas bunting picture

As my boys are now 17 and 15 years old this is something I am starting to miss. We used to do quite a lot on the run up to the festive season and even made lots of sweet treat pressies like the hot chocolate cones, decorated biscuits and cakes. Once they hit mid teens the enthusiasm for crafting waned and it is definitely something that I miss these days ( I expect I have to wait until I become a granny- although I am in no rush for that just yet!). My 15 year old however, will still decorate his own bedroom and will happily make Christmas paper chains if he is in the right mood……..and he won’t thank me for telling you that! I always think doing Christmas crafts starts all the build up and excitement, any time from Oct/ Nov all parents are already talking ‘Father Christmas’ to the kids and the crafts become an extension of that, I still have their school home made decorations too.

Take a look below for some fabulous and EASY craft ideas to get you started:

Some Easy Craft Ideas For Kids This Christmas

Christmas is the time for kids to enjoy and rejoice. This is the time when they get time off from school and are able to spend quality time with parents. So most of the time parents try to bring in new craft ideas that they can enjoy with their kids while preparing for Christmas. You can even find many craft products for your kids at Baker Ross.

Christmas stocking

  • Take a felt cloth and cut two pieces out of it in the form of socks.
  • Now sew or staple them together in such a way that top remains open.
  • Stick the sides with lace to hide the staple and use felt pieces and buttons to decorate the socks.


  • Use patterned paper to cover cardboard tubes.
  • Now cut a triangle for reindeer head and two small and big oval shapes for ears from paper.
  • Now paste the small one inside the big one and fold them in half. Now paste these oval ears on the two sides of the triangle.
  • Now paste the triangle on the cardboard.
  • You can have antlers prepared for your deer using pipes and straws.

Christmas tree with cones

  • Take cone water cup and paint it with green colour.
  • Now use ribbon or rick rack to wrap around it.
  • Now decorate it with pom-poms.


  • Cut the shape of some snowmen out of felt cloth.
  • Now prepare some hats for snowmen from some coloured felt.
  • Now glue the hats on the snowmen.
  • Put holes inside the snowmen and pass a string through it.
  • So you will have a series of snowmen together.


  • Get sugar cookie dough for your kid.
  • Roll them and ask your kids to cut different shapes out of it.
  • Bake the cookie and now decorate them with cream cheese or peanut butter.

Kids with strong motor skills grow up to become active and intelligent. Different art lessons and craft activities helps kids to improve their motor skills as well as strengthens the muscles of wrist and hands. Some of the ways to improve the motor skills are:

  • Playing with play dough helps kid to use its hands to stretch and squeeze, thus strengthen their hand muscles. They also develop their sensory experience.
  • Painting helps in improving eye and hand coordination. So why not give your child a paper and paint brush to start working on it.
  • Drawing and using colour pencils also helps to improve the motor skills in kids. Moreover, they learn to hold the pencil using the forefinger and thumb.
  • Making craft items helps the child to widen their imagination and bring in creative ideas.

Kids should be encouraged to get involved in more of such craft and art lessons. Click here to get these products for less from your favourite stores.

What are your favourite crafts to do with your kids at Christmas?

My Sk:n Treatment- a Glycolic Peel

I had the pleasure of attending the Dartford branch opening of the Sk:n clinic a while back which you can read about here

A week or so afterwards I had the opportunity to try one of their treatments that they offered called a Glycolic Peel. This isn’t a normal ‘fluffy style’ facial that you could get elsewhere, this is a treatment. It is the one most suitable for sensitive skin before heading down the microdermabrasion route. The treatment itself lasts about 25 minutes in total and overall is a very pleasurable experience. If you wear make up there they will remove it but leave any eye make up alone. There is several stages to it and you will probably feel a tingling or a bit of ‘heat’ when they apply the actual product that is used.

Ok not an attractive shot but this is me having the treatment and you can see the darkness around my eyes in this picture

Ok not an attractive shot but this is me having the treatment and you can see the darkness around my eyes in this picture

Afterwards they use a coolant that instantly takes any of the tingling away and then your face is fully moisturised and covered in SPF sunscreen which I didn’t really think about before but obviously if they are deep cleansing your skin and using products for the peel itself then it does make sense to protect your skin when you go outside in the sun.

Now I really suffer with large dark circles under my eyes due to my sleep problems associated with my ME/CFS. It doesn’t matter how much I try and keep hydrated and I really do try they are always there, and if I am having a really bad day there will be bags under there too…………..I know I have ALL the luck!

It was actually my teenage sons that remarked a day or two after that I didn’t have the dark circles under my eyes which I myself hadn’t taken much notice of but I was pleased that someone else did think it made a difference. My skin itself felt soft and fully moisturised for a few days after and I was surprised and very pleased that I didn’t break out in any spots ( which I would be prone to with a normal facial).

Top is me normally and generally looks as though under my eyes are bruised- especially on a bad day. Bottom is me 1 or 2 days after my peel and you can see that without any make up most of the darkness under my eyes has disappeared

Top is me normally and generally looks as though under my eyes are bruised- especially on a bad day.
Bottom is me 1 or 2 days after my peel and you can see that without any make up most of the darkness under my eyes has disappeared apart from the left side which is always the worst!

Now because this is a ‘treatment’ rather than just a facial it is reflected in the price with this Glycolic Peel coming in at £80. I know myself, with only one wage coming into the house and two teenage boys to feed and clothe etc then I think I would probably not be able to justify the money to have this as a regular occurrence. However, with that said, as a treat I do think this is worth the money as I was certainly pleased with the results and to have others notice the dark circles were gone is definitely worth it!

So if you are in a position to pay out this sort of money I would certainly recommend this treatment over a normal facial- as it was great not to break out in spots afterwards. I would certainly think about having one of these if I had a ‘big’ occasion to go to, such as a family wedding or party etc. They also do Gift Vouchers so if you wanted to treat someone for say a birthday or ask others for vouchers to treat yourself that option is available. With the festive season coming up and Christmas knocking on our door this would be a lovely present.

** DISCLOSURE- this treatment was offered free to everyone who attended the opening of the clinic, I have decided to review it to show exactly what to expect from the treatment- all views are my own.