World Cord Blood Day

On the run up to Christmas people often begin to think about good and charitable causes and November is a month full of awareness days and weeks. With this in mind I've decided to pick one close to my heart and bring back my old Charity Spotlight feature. 

Writing about World Cord Blood Day takes me back five years! Back to when I was expecting out little boy! Wow, I can't believe it was that long ago?!

Baby scan photo

Anyway, as I sat with my cup of tea balancing on my bump, scrolling through social media on my phone, I spotted a post about donating your cord blood. It was something I hadn't heard about but on reading more into it I found that the cord blood could do amazing things. 

Cord blood is rich in stem cells and can help treat over 80 diseases! There are new developments every single day and cord blood could be the answer for so many illnesses.

During my pregnancy our local maternity unit became part of the cord donation scheme and as I heard more about it I was keen to donate our cord. There are some restrictions if you've had fertility treatment and regular readers will know that we had some help to have our son, but as we'd avoided IVF we were still able to donate.

The process was incredibly simple and one of the cord donation team came to see me during the early stages of labour. They helped me complete the form, explained the process and most importantly that there was no pain or risk to the baby and I.

After Joseph was born the placenta and the remaining part of the cord were delivered, placed into a sealed container and whisked away. If I hadn't chosen to donate my cord this would have headed to the clinical waste bin. It's crazy to think that something that is regularly and routinely thrown away could do such amazing things!!

Newborn baby in a hospital cot

My labour was a bit of a blur but even after all these years I still think back to it and wonder what our cord did, it if helped anyone or saved lives.

World Cord Blood Day takes place on 15th November. To find out more about cord blood donation, the science and stats behind it take a look at this article by Smart Cells. You'll spot a quote form me too!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Christmas Gift Guide - A Gift For Babies & Toddlers!

Welcome back to my Christmas gift guide!!

This gift is one for the babies and toddlers in your lives!

Little ones can usually be easy to buy for and toys will probably be your go to but what if you want something a little different? Maybe the parents plead with you for no more toys and something educational as an alternative.

This is where Babel Babies comes inA great alternative to a toy, their Sing Languages Together CD, brings multilingual music and stories together to learn, sing and play. 

Flat lay showing a Christmas wrapping paper, ribbon and a CD with a cover that reads Sing Languages Together and a dancing crocodile

There are songs in Italian, Welsh, French, Russian, Norwegian and more.

Sing Languages Together gives the opportunity for a child to try and learn languages without even realising! Studies show that learning languages and becoming multilingual is much easier when done at a younger age. We all know too well that children repeat things over! They also love new sounds and words, meaning they grasp languages much easier than us grownups! 

Flat lay showing the open CD and insert that details what the CD is about

As a teenager I struggled so much to learn French at school and was amazed to discover that my teacher's two year old son was fluent as he'd been taught at such a young age. My own son is now four and having started school is no longer a baby but he has really enjoyed singing and bopping along. 

Grown-ups can enjoy it too and there's a handy booklet that features all the the song words so you can sing along easily and help with pronunciation.  

Flat lay showing the open CD case and booklet showing the song words

At a price of £10.00 (plus postage), Sing Languages Together gives you a gift that's educational but also fun.

For more information on Babel Babies, their classes and to visit their online store take a look at their website here.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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November Giveaway!

October has gone and we are now well into November, so it's time for this month's giveaway! 

I'm excited to say it's a Christmas one! 

American style mailbox sticking out of the snow with Merry Christmas written on the side

This month I'm working with Lapland Mailroom to giveaway away one of their letter bundles.

Screenshot of Lapland Mailroom website

One winner will receive a personalised letter from Santa including a nice list certificate and activity pack! 

The kind elves will send up to four letters to the winner, so it's ideal if you have a big family!!

If you want to be in with a chance of winning simply tell me what you remember asking Santa for when you were little!

Good luck!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Lapland Mailroom

Christmas is a magical time for children and I love little touches that can add to the experience for our little boy.

Elf doors, magic keys and snowy footprints all make an appearance at our house. With our four year old, Joseph, a little older this year and understanding Christmas a lot more I also wanted to add a letter from Santa.

So, when I was contacted by Santa's elves over at Lapland Mailroom I was super excited! 

Heading over to their website to place my order, I was impressed by what I found.

Lapland Mailroom offers four different letters to choose from, with one of the options to mark a child's first Christmas. How cute! 

The others each offer different wording and messages from Santa, meaning you can pick the one that best suits your child.

Personalisation means you can add your child's name and what they'll be asking Santa for, as well as how you'd like the letter signing off. Great if you call the big guy Father Christmas instead of Santa!  

There are two packages available, with a letter and a nice list certificate for £8.95 and a package with an activity pack for £9.95. Both packages include international delivery and are posted out during the first week of December, bringing excitement for the start of the festive period.

Placing the order for ours was really easy and I love that Lapland Mailroom have different letters to choose from. I can't wait to see Joseph's little face when his letter from Santa arrives!!

Spreading the Christmas cheer the elves are giving my readers 10% with code xmaspromo18.

Keep your eyes peeled as you might just see the Lapland Mailroom again in this month's giveaway!!

Mummy Snowy Owl
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Christmas Gift Guide - A Gift For The Foodie!

Welcome to my first ever gift guide!

As I mentioned in my Here Comes Christmas post, my gift guide is going to feature great gifts and will hopefully even give you ideas for the hard to buy for! 

This first gift is for the foodies in your life! Perhaps they've got all the tools of the trade and a ton of cookery books, so what can you get them?

These herb and spice gift sets from Steenbergs are sure to be loved by any food fan!

There are lots of different gifts sets available. The two I'm featuring are the Organic Curry Spices Blue Tower and the Mediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box.

The Organic Curry Spices Blue Tower retails at an affordable £12.00 and is ideal for curry fans.

The set contains four good sized jars of organic cayenne pepper, madras, garam masala and turmeric.

A great gift for your foodie family member or friend the curry spices smell AMAZING!!! So much fresher and stronger than any supermarket brand!

The Mediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box retails at £15.99 and is ideal for those that love the tastes of the med.

The set contains eight mini jars of tagine, ras al hanut, za'atar, harissa with rose, Italian herbs, Lebanese seven spice blend, paella spice blend, chermoula spice blend.

This selection is another great gift for foodies and if they love to make dishes like paella and bolognese they will love this. 

To find out more about the great selection of gifts at Steenbergs visit their website here

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Here Comes Christmas!

November is here!!!

So, it's officially OK to talk about Christmas! Right!!??

Christmas tree with gold decorations and ribbons

Before all my festive posts take over, I wanted to tell you all about what you'll find here on Mummy Snowy Owl on the run up to Christmas.

First, I will be running my first ever gift guide! Gift buying is something I love doing and I always try my best to choose gifts that people will love. Maybe it's something that they've mentioned they need or like earlier in the year. Maybe it's a gift that fits their existing hobbies or one they've said they'd like to try.

Christmas gifts wrapped in red paper, with white ribbon and pine cones

Most of the gifts in my guide are unique ones that are ideal for the hard to buy for. They may not be budget buys but they are awesome gifts!

On the craft and baking front things will stay low budget and easy to do! They'll also be last minute checklists and what to do with unwanted gifts and leftovers! 

Christmas Rocky Road with small bottles of milk

Oh, and they'll be a couple more giveaways before the year is out too!

Keep calm..........Christmas is coming!!!

Mummy Snowy Owl
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Goodbye October

When I wrote Goodbye September I mentioned how busy it had been but looking back I feel like October was in the wings, chuckling away to itself thinking you've seen nothing yet!

Autumn woodland with orange leaves on the ground

October has been very busy on the home front, with committee and parents evening, volunteering at school and my usual Snowy Owl duties and much, much more. We have found the time though to finish my little office, although there already seems to be a squatter in my comfy corner!

Little boy sitting across a comfy chair doing colouring in

October brought a very Halloween vibe to the blog and as always my aim has been to bring affordable crafts, bakes and activities, meaning whatever the budget people can enjoy the seasons or events. 

My hauls are from bargain stores and our costumes and food homemade, and I try to do them as cheap as possible.  That was one of the reasons I was excited to work with the team at B&M on this foodie post, Toffee Apple Bread and Butter Pudding

Two bowls of bread and butter pudding, one with custard, alongside the baking dish and remaining pudding

I've also done a couple of Fibromyalgia related posts, with one of them being the first guest post to my blog. Life In A Breakdown blogger, Sarah, shared her Fibro experience, and I shared how I'm strengthening my core

The end of the month brought our first ever half term and I have LOVED having our boy home! I will miss him so much when he goes back to school and it seems crazy to think his next break will be Christmas!! 

Speaking of Christmas, my last post of October is that it's OK to say no, especially during the rush of the festive period. 

So, as we turn towards Christmas it's time to say goodbye October, hello November.

Mummy Snowy Owl
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It's OK To Say No!

In the past I've shared my fertility and health troubles, and I've recently shared a guest post about Fibromyalgia too. Many of you have contacted me and said it's helped to explain to your family and friends how you feel and why some days are harder than others.

With this in mind I wanted to share another post before the Christmas rush, hustle and bustle start. I feel this is an important one and it's for everyone, not just those of us with chronic pain, Fibro etc. 

Whether you work full-time, part-time, are a stay at home parent, a full time carer, step parent or child free, this is important.

As we take a step nearer to Christmas and the craziness that surrounds it I say's OK to say no. 

Patchy yellow wording 'NO' on a red background

Say no if it's going to cause you stress.

Say no if it's going to make you unhappy.

Say no if it's going to overstretch you financially.

Say no if it's a trigger for bad memories.

Say no if you don't have time.

Say no it's a place you don't like going to.

Say no if it's going to make you too tired to do other things (Fibro peeps I'm looking at you).

Say no if you just don't want to bloody do it!

And if people ask why you're saying no don't feel the need to explain yourself, fib, lie or come up with an elaborate story! A simple I can't or we're busy will do.

Pace yourself.

Only do what you want and what makes you happy.

Mummy Snowy Owl
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Our Homemade Halloween Costume

Regular readers will know that when it comes to costumes I often knock something up myself, especially for World Book Day.

For Halloween though, Joseph has had some awesome bought costumes that were a bargain find from one of his aunties. Picked up for a few pence he's been a cute spider and a scary skeleton! This time though I wanted to have an attempt at making him something.

A picture of cutting board with scissors, thread, tailors chalk, pins and a shirt and trousers laid out on it

After a scroll through Pinterest Joseph chose a wolf boy/werewolf. It looked easy to do, so I decided to give it a try.

I bought some furry fabric for a bargain of £2.00 for half a metre and set about making a tail and cutting out patches of fur. I sewed some around the cuffs and then onto the shirt, so it looked like it was bursting through.

Shirt with fur sewn around the cuffs

Tail sewn on to shirt

After the first attempt though I wasn't happy with the results and decided to try and cut a hole in the shirt and have the fur really poking through. This was a huge fail though! You could see the stitching and there were gaps, so I went back to sewing it on top of the shirt fabric but switched to a zigzag stitch, which was much more successful!

Shirt with fur sewn on to look like it's bursting through

Back of shirt with fur sewn on to look like it's bursting through

With a painted face and his wolfy shirt Joseph has his costume! 

Little red haired boy with his face painted to look like a wolf, whilst wearing the made shirt

Little boy dressed as a wolf

No, it's not as good as a shop bought one but with the fabric, thread and face paint it has cost less than £3.50 to make and it's made with a huge amount of love! 

Little boy dressed as a wolf

Wow, that was soppy!

Mummy Snowy Owl
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5 Budget Activities For Halloween

Halloween is now a matter of days away!! 

Black wording reading Happy Halloween, on a yellow and orange background

Unfortunately though, and like many things, the cost can soon spiral. Many of you will be having or about to have term and the cost of keeping the kids entertained can be pricey! So, if you want to do something Halloween themed but stay on budget, here's 5 things to try!

Carve a pumpkin!

Pumpkins can be found for as little as 69p over at Lidl! 

Selection of orange pumpkins

Carving kits vary from 50p to £1 dependant on where you shop but a knife and spoon will do but you'll obviously need to supervise!

Decorate some spooky biscuits! 

Co-op currently have a kit that includes biscuits and icing for just £2.00!

Little girl smiling and holding a plate full of pumpkin shaped biscuits that have been iced
(Picture credit to the wonderful Jess Cunningham @prodigalfox)

Get creative and decorate these spooky biscuits, and maybe enjoy them with a hot chocolate or glass of milk for an indoor mini picnic.

Try going Halloween spotting!

Take a look at the Halloween Spotters post I did last week.

Two children in fancy dress walking away down a path

Pop on your coats and have a walk round your local area and see how many things you can spot!

Go trick or treating!

When I was little a witch's hat and a bin liner dress went a long way!

Middle shot of a child dressed in black, holding a pumpkin pail and a wand

Grab a hat and broom or a wand from Poundland and pop the kids in some dark coloured clothes and you have a spooky witch or wizard! 

Watch a spooky movie!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my favourite scary movies!

Bowl of popcorn

Why not settle down for a movie afternoon with a bag of popcorn and some sweet treats.

Halloween doesn't have to be expensive. Only ever spend what you can afford and with these low budget ideas I hope there's something you can do to enjoy Halloween.

Mummy Snowy Owl
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My Favourite Halloween Bakes & Crafts

Over the past few years I've written and created lots of Halloween posts. With lots to make and bake, most are budget things to try at Halloween and as lots of you love them I thought I'd share my favourite ones here for you so you don't need to search around anymore!

First is......

A jelly in the shape of a brain with string sweets inside it

Who knew jelly could create such a gruesome dessert?? I certainly didn't! Use with a brain shaped mold and add sweets for an awesome brainy treat!

Glass jars, with bandages around and googly eyes to make them look like mummies

One of my first ever Halloween crafts was and still is very popular but what I love about it is that it's super cheap to make. Simply wrap bandages around glass jars and glue on googly eyes and you have Spooky Mummy Tealights!

A favourite of the boys in our house, these Eyeball Cakes are yummy and effective!

Easy to make and tasty too, a normal cake mix with a little colouring, icing and a bag of eyeball tweets goes along way

Another craft, this Pumpkin Picture and Bunting is one you can do with your mini crafters! 

Pumpkin print made with half an apple with a face and stork being drawn on

Let the little ones do the stamping and the big ones do the drawing and cutting out. Its a cute craft to give you homemade decorations. 

These Spooky Mummy Biscuits might be my favourite out of them all!

Gingerbread men decorated to look like mummies

These are again easy to make so the kids can get involved. All you need is a tub of ready made gingerbread men, white icing and a bag of chocolate chips. Great for a party!

Which of my Halloween posts is your favourite? Let me known in the comments!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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My Favourite Spooky TV Shows For Halloween

I love a bit of spooky viewing and as I've recently shared my favourite spooky movies I thought it was time to tell you about my favourite TV shows too! 

Glowing carved pumpkins

Like my movie post before I've tried to share something for everyone!

For the kids!

It might contain some familiar spooky types but Vampirina is a cute and kid friendly TV show available on Disney Junior.

Cartoon vampire kid

Telling the story of Vampirina and her family as they move to a new town from Transylvania, it can give you Halloween vibes without the fright! It's a favourite in our house! 

For a different story with every season!

If you're someone that can get easily bored or get tired of shows having slumps in seasons then cast your eye over American Horror Story.

Odd text that reads 'American Horror Story'

Although American Horror Story has a selection of reoccuring cast members each season sees a new story, era and characters. My favourites are Murder House and Coven, and it just so happens that those two are returning and about to collide in the new series!

For the documentary lovers!

A classic and cult TV show in the UK, Most Haunted is a paranormal investigation series.

Red haired TV presenter with the text 'Most Haunted'

It's currently back on UK TV on Really and I'm currently binge watching the last season. Even if you're not a believer give it watch and see the amazing evidence they capture. It's also well worth a watch to see presenter Yvette Fielding regularly give her husband and crew a good ticking off!

For a good zombie apocalypse! 

I'm pretty sure most people will know of this one but I'm going to tell you all about it anyway as it's one of my faves!!

Picture of an apocalyptic land with zombies and the main characters in red with a Sheriff in the forefront

Like a lot of zombie TV shows and movies before it, The Walking Dead starts with Sheriff Rick Grimes waking up in an abandoned hospital only to discover a zombie apocalypse seems to be taking place. The show develops as Rick locates his family and groups together with other survivors but surviving the zombie apocalypse isn't easy and there's a lot of death and gore. You'll cry at some losses and cheer at others! 

For those that love vampires!

At the time of it's original airing True Blood was one of the biggest supernatural TV shows around.

Blonde lying down with blood tripping from her eye, with the next 'True Blood'

Based on the Louisiana set bestselling books, the story of Sookie Stackhouse did have a couple of odd episodes, well seasons, that seemed to knock it off course a little but if you like vampires and werewolves you will love it. 

What spooky and creepy shows do you like?? Let me know in the comments!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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