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Talking Online Safety with "Once Upon A Time... Online"

We have recently become Parragon Book Buddies and last week we received an early Christmas present, a fantastic new Parragon book to review. The Mini Reviewers were of course very excited to tear off the paper and we sat down to read it immediately...

Party Planning Tips with Qualatex

November was an extremely exciting and birthday filled month for us. While everyone else seemed to be busy Christmas shopping, or discussing Christmas shopping, I was still chaotically hunting for birthday presents and haphazardly party planning. Fortunately everything came together and we celebrated Izzie turning five and Poppy's first birthday with a fantastic joint princess party.

The Elf on the Bookshelf

Christmas is very nearly here and over the past few weeks I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the special traditions different families share during Advent. I have been delighted to see so many bloggers posting about their Book Advent Calendars, a lovely idea which really seems to have gained popularity over the past few years. 

For those of you who are regular readers, you will know that we are reading a different book each day as part of our 366 books in 366 days reading challenge. However, during December things have got a bit more interesting with the return of our cheeky scout Elf, Elvis. This year Elvis has been helping us by choosing the Advent books for our reading challenge. I guess you could call him The Elf on the Bookshelf!

The Mini Reviewers are now so excited to come downstairs each morning to see what Elvis has been up to in the night and, I confess, I seem to have developed a slightly unhealthy obsession with sharing Elvis' antics and daily book choices on Instagram. Just take a look at what he has been up to so far...

And here are his book choices, I'm sure you will agree that he has very good taste...

Day 1: The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition
Day 7: Elmer's Christmas
Day 9: Dear Santa
Day 15: The Snowman
 Day 16: Merry Christmas, Blue Kangaroo!

Day 17: The Snowman and the Snowdog (Book & CD) and tomorrow (Day 18) Elvis will be blasting off into space with Aliens Love Panta Claus...

I am just hoping that I can keep up the "elfish" antics for another 7 days. 
Does an elf visit your house? Where do you find your "elf-spiration"?

UPDATE: As you can see we did keep it up for the remainder of Advent and even Christmas Day:

Day 24: The Night Before Christmas (this is my childhood copy but you can buy another version from Ladybird here; and finally The Queen's Present was found under the Christmas Tree on Christmas morning!

The question now is, how are we going to top that in 2017? Eek!

Kate & the Mini Reviewers xx

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366 Books in 366 Days: Getting Creative with Nosy Crow

Advent is here and in our house a big part of preparing for Christmas is getting creative. Unfortunately I am not artistically gifted (in the slightest) but I have always enjoyed making things and I am very lucky that the Mini Reviewers share my enthusiasm in this department. I am always on the look out for activities to do together and, during my search for festive inspiration, I came across this stunning set of activity books from publisher, Nosy Crow. Just imagine my delight when a set appeared on our doorstep to review! Would you like to find out what we thought of this beautiful collection? I thought so...

Very exciting post!
This beautiful spiral bound book immediately caught our attention and was the one Izzie (5) was most excited to try out. It contains 10 highly decorative press out birds created by illustrator Zoe Ingram. When assembled they make fantastic hanging decorations. They look great even without being coloured in due to the intricate silver designs but obviously we had to add our own touch! We had such fun doing this together and it kept us entertained for a very long time. We used marker pens and were delighted with the results. This book would certainly make a great present for any colouring fans regardless of age.

This book is packed full of year-round greeting cards and envelopes. Rebecca Jones' designs are beautiful and even the envelopes are decorated to match each card. What I love most of all is the versatility of this book. It is perfect to have in the cupboard as there is something for nearly every occasion, from Birthdays and Christmas, to Valentine's Day and Easter. The 24 cards and envelopes tear out easily and are ideal for the whole family to colour. The book, which has been published in association with The National Trust, even contains coordinating stickers to seal the envelopes. Everything has been thought of, now if they would only post themselves!

This book is similar to the previous book but is a collection of Christmas cards. The 24 festive designs are great for the whole family to enjoy. Matching envelopes and stickers are provided making this the perfect creative package for this time of year.

Finally we received this beautiful book of 24 pull-out gifts boxes. Just tear out, colour and assemble then fill with your favourite treats. If you need gift inspiration there are even recipes at the back of the book for snowball truffles, gingerbread stars and peppermint creams. They are the perfect size for jewellery, make up and small gifts. Izzie filled this one with a necklace she has made for her Grandma! The instructions were easy to follow and the boxes are relatively easy to assemble. Again stickers are provided to seal the boxes. A truly lovely collection.

I cannot express just how beautiful these books are, the photographs really don't do them justice! So if you are looking for some crafty ideas and inspiration this Christmas, why not try one for yourself?

*Disclaimer: We received these books for the purpose of this review. All opinions are, as always, our own.