Things to Do With Kids on New Year’s Eve

Do you let your children stay up to see in the New Year on New Year’s Eve?

We don’t usually, but the boys are getting a little older now, so if they can manage it, I think we might let them stay awake. Otherwise, it’s just the two of us plus Jules Holland, and Cal falls asleep before 10.30, so it’s getting a little dull!

I always stayed up on New Year’s Eve when I was a child. All of the neighbours got together, including the kids who were all of a similar age, and went around each house having food and drinks, and doing the conga in between! If only things were so neighbourly these days!

I’m not sure what we did to entertain ourselves as kids back then. Probably spent time laughing at the adults! But here are some ideas if you’re spending New Year’s Eve together as a family, whether you stay up late or not…

  • Have fizzy drinks and mocktails – there are plenty of recipes out there, but try fruit juice mixes with lemonade or soda, or smoothies with cherries, umbrellas or sparkler decorations.

    Mocktails and fizz!
    Mocktails and fizz!
  • Watch fireworks – have some of your own fireworks in your garden, or join in with an organised display at a local hotel or park.
  • Crackers & party poppers – our kids go crazy for party poppers! For them, they are the ultimate permission to make a noise and a mess, and definitely say ‘celebration’. Crackers are another great pop and surprise – you may have some left over from Christmas, or could pick them up cheap in the sales. Alternatively, make your own.

    Party poppers, streamers, crackers - all signs of a great celebration!
    Party poppers, streamers, crackers – all signs of a great celebration!
  • Make a Photo Booth – grab a few props, silly hats, wigs and glasses, and have a fun photo shoot. Make some memories!
  • Dress up – see above. Dress up in something silly or fun, or dress up smart or in party wear. Whatever takes your fancy – anything goes.
  • Dance-off – have lots of fun dancing to your favourite tunes, or using your favourite video game maybe?

    Have a dance-off!
    Have a dance-off!
  • Make Resolutions – talk about resolutions, write or draw them, or maybe video them for future reference?
  • Games – board games or party games are always fun, especially when the whole family are together. I’m sure you’ve been given some for Christmas this year – what a great time to try them out!
  • Reminisce – look at photos from the past year, make a time capsule or a scrapbook of your year. Gather together any tickets, postcards or other souvenirs you have saved from special trips this year.
  • Make a Time Capsule for the future, like this one from My Kids Adventures
  • Bake some special treats – how about these fabulous New Years Confetti Clock Cookies from Repeat Crafter Me

    New Year's Eve Cookies from
    New Years Eve Cookies
  • Do some New Year crafts – you might like to try this New Year Wishing Wand from
  • Or some toilet roll tube confetti poppers from Smashed Peas and Carrots  
  • You could also make your own party hats or masks
  • Have lots of glow-in-the-dark activities: glow sticks, a disco ball if you have one, flashing glasses and other cheap Pound Shop novelties, torches, glow balloons…you get the idea! Lights out, party on!

Finally, and most of all, have some fun together this New Year’s Eve!

New Year's Eve Happy New Year Champagne and Streamers

Happy New Year!

Things to do with kids on New Year's Eve - tons of ideas for all ages
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You Baby Me Mummy
Adventures In Websterland

Look After Your Gut in the New Year

Hello friends! Did you have a lovely Christmas? Are you still finishing off the leftover turkey and mince pies? Lounging on the sofa all bloated and full? I know, me too!!

Christmas over-indulgence
Christmas over-indulgence

It isn’t over yet! We have New Year to come. More alcohol, more naughty nibbles. Staying up late and over-indulging. It’s what this season is about, isn’t it? Then helping the kids with all those selection boxes, and dipping into another tin of Quality Street, followed by the guilt and the resolutions to eat better and get fit in the New Year!

More indulgence in the New Year?
More indulgence in the New Year?

In among the resolutions, please remember your gut! Think about what you’ve put your poor belly through recently, and make a resolution to make amends with your body!

Make amends for all that indulgence!
Make amends for all that indulgence!

In advance of the festive season, I made sure I was stocked up with Probiotics. I’ve often turned to yoghurts or yoghurt drinks to top up the good bacteria in my gut, but then I got a bug which made me not tolerate dairy products very well, and I had to rethink my strategy. So I was pleased to receive a sample of Nutri Advanced ProbotiX Daily 5 Live.

ProbotiX Daily 5 Live probiotics for gut health
ProbotiX Daily 5 Live probiotics for gut health

Have you heard of Probiotics? How much do you know about these tiny guys doing all the good work in your intestines?

Here’s the science bit:

Probiotics are ‘friendly’ bacteria that offer positive health benefits. Bacteria are essential for the health and function of your intestinal tract, which has a tremendous impact on your overall health. They play a crucial role in the gut’s ability to fight infection and support general digestion as well.

Probiotics support the friendly bacteria in your intestines
Probiotics support the friendly bacteria in your intestines

Many factors in our normal life can disrupt the balance of our good bacteria, leading to poor health. Do you recognise any of these?

  • Antibiotic Use
  • Stomach medicines such as antacids
  • A high fat, high sugar diet (mince pies and Quality Street?)
  • A low fibre diet
  • Foreign Travel
  • Food & Water contaminants (Chlorine, pesticides etc)
  • Alcohol (oh dear!)
  • Stress (Oh deary dear!)

Well, no wonder I needed to crack open the ProbotiX at this time of year!

Needing more friendly bacteria for gut health at this time of year
Needing more friendly bacteria for gut health at this time of year

I took the ProbotiX capsules for the month of December. During this month we had a very busy time, and were also all fighting off a bug which threatened our family (and finally brought the little one down in the final week of school). Of course everyone’s lead up to Christmas is busy, and I also decided to take part in Vlogmas (which you can see week 1 & week 2 plus here), plus I was in hospital 3 times for procedures on my back! We also had the usual Nativities, School Discos, Football parties – all the pre-Christmas craziness.

Christmas craziness put the probiotics through their paces!
Christmas craziness put the probiotics through their paces!

The poor little probiotics were certainly put through their paces! I was lucky I even remembered to take them half the time!

How did they make me feel? I’ll be honest, at times it was difficult to say. Not surprising really, with the amount of pain relief I was taking and the number of sleepless nights I had. But I did feel a difference, the greatest amount when I took them right before bed. I guess when you lay off the mince pies for a while you give probiotics a better chance to do their thing! I awoke feeling much less bloated and looking much ‘flatter’, which also felt more comfortable. There was also less of the early morning nausea and generally grogginess I sometimes feel. That has to be a good thing, right?

At other times, even when I didn’t feel a massive difference, I still had the reassurance that my friendly little bacteria were keeping me topped up and doing their hard work for me, quietly and without complaint. Thanks guys!

Finally, we should ask ourselves what makes a good probiotic? They need to be scientifically studied, effective bacteria strains, have proven delivery and survival in the gut, guaranteed stability and quality, high potency, and clinically effective probiotic formulas. Did my Nutri Advanced ProbotiX have these? Why yes! The strains of good bacteria within ProbotiX Daily 5 Live have been chosen to work synergistically together, and provide over 5 billion good bacteria in each capsule. They help each other grow as well as creating an optimal pH range for good bacteria in your gut.

For more information visit


Disclosure – we were sent some ProbotiX Daily 5 Live supplements for the purpose of this review, but all opinions and experiences are our own. This is not a clinical trial, nor does it intend to replace the advice of a health care professional.

How to look after your gut with probiotics - are they for you?
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Hot Pink WellingtonsA Mum Track Mind

Easy Last Minute Christmas Treats to Make With Kids

Last minute? Me? Haha never let it be said!!

OK, I’m no Super Mum, but I’m trying my best! My kids are high as kites, and we need some activities which will capture their interest and keep them (relatively) calm!

If you are in the same situation, or are short on time or skill like me (!) here are two extra-easy yummy last minute treats to make with the kids for Christmas.

  • Chocolate Yule Log

This is so easy. Just take a ready-bought chocolate swiss roll of your favourite variety, and ice with chocolate buttercream icing. Then pull a clean fork through the icing in a slightly wiggly pattern, and decorate with ready made icing toppers or holly leaves, and sprinkle with icing sugar for snow. It’s a no-fail kid pleaser!

Chocolate Swiss Roll Yule Log
Chocolate Swiss Roll Yule Log

2. Chocolate Biscuit Houses

A great alternative to the gingerbread houses, much easier and much more likely to get eaten too! Take chocolate biscuits, put them in a triangle shape and stick together with icing. Once dried, put more white icing along the top and let it drip down like snow, then embelish with sweets, sprinkles or anything else your heart desires!

Christmas Chocolate Biscuit Houses with Sweets
Christmas Chocolate Biscuit Houses with Sweets

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Easy Last Minute (and very yummy) Christmas Treats To Make With Kids
Easy Last Minute Christmas Treats To Make With Kids

Vlogmas Week 2+ Is This The End?

Week two of Vlogmas saw us flagging somewhat. We managed 6 of the 7 days I think, plus a few more, and then….. well it’s all starting to fall apart a bit!

Last week was the final week of school, which meant so many busy things happening. Two nativities, school disco, and Santa visit which I’d co-ordinated via the PTA. I also had my little one off school sick,  which meant I missed out on the school dinner I was invited to. Lots of school events which I wasn’t allowed to share unfortunately, so no great Vlogmas content!

Then the panic also set in with Christmas shopping. Suddenly  I feel very disorganised. I haven’t bought everything I need yet, and haven’t wrapped anything at all. I didn’t even write a card until Sunday!

So I’ve pulled back with the Vlogmas thing. I hope nobody minds. I suspect nobody even noticed!

It isn’t likely to improve much any time soon. I was at the hospital today for a follow-up consultation from the procedure I had done last week. It was successful, but means that the doctor is going ahead with the Radiofrequency Ablation operation THIS THURSDAY!! I’m then going to be out of action for two weeks (like I wasn’t out of action already!), but I’m now in total panic mode trying to do all of my last minute Christmas preparation in the next two days. Or alternatively, I could just write about it…..!

Please wish me luck as you watch some of my Vlogmas videos from the past week or so….. Merry Christmas!

Diary of An Imperfect Mum


Family Makes Christmas Now TV Giveaway

We’re feeling generous here at Family Makes. Well, it is nearly Christmas! So we’ve decided to have a little last minute giveaway!

We all know about the notoriously great TV on offer over the Christmas period, but what to do once the New Year comes? We’re giving you the chance to win a Now TV Box including 2 Months’ Sky Cinema Pass in time for the start of the New Year. That way, when the festive TV stops, the great viewing doesn’t have to!

Win Now TV Box Prize Giveaway
Now TV Box Prize Giveaway

All you have to do is enter via the Gleam widget below. The more entries you complete in the panel, the more chances you have to win. Easy!

UK entrants only please.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Family Makes Christmas NowTV Giveaway

Amazing ‘Augmented Reality’ Greetings Cards & Giveaway from

Welcome to an excited Family Makes!

I’m always impressed by technology (perhaps because I’m in the ‘Over 40’s’ age group?!), but friends, let me tell you, this is so cool!

Greetings cards from have just gone to a whole new level! For the same price as many ‘personalised’ greetings cards (ie £2.99) you can send an Augmented Reality card to your loved ones! Amazing, no? Augmented Reality Greetings for Christmas Augmented Reality Greetings for Christmaas

I was so completely blown away by this concept, that I’ve enthusiastically made a list of people far and wide we can blast with a very animated ‘Merry Christmas’ message this year, as well as an extra special message for my Mum’s 70th birthday on Christmas Eve (she’ll cry, for sure!). We’re sending messages to France and America, as well as just around the corner to Grandparents who we know will be absolutely delighted to see their Grandchildren in Christmas jumpers, merrily dancing and singing, presenting their Christmas message in such a unique way.

Viewing the Augmented Reality card
Viewing the Augmented Reality card

The choice of Christmas cards is so extensive, ranging from funny to cheeky, rude and cute. There really is something for everyone! There are, of course, cards for other occasions too, and for many different relations.

If you have any questions about how this clever kit works, you might want to look at the explanations here. Or if, like many of us, you’re scratching your head as to what Augmented Reality actually is, basically, you open up your card, scan the code with your smartphone, and instantly watch a personal video message from the person who has sent you the card. Clever or what??

If that’s not amazing enough, the lovely people at have let us get involved in a wonderful giveaway just for you!

The brilliant prize is £40 of Choosey credit, to create whichever personal cards you want. The giveaway is open to UK only. But HURRY HURRY HURRY it closes on 15th December!!

Enter via the Gleam widget below:
Win 10 free Choosey greeting cards inc postage #32

But don’t worry if you don’t with the star prize, all of our lovely readers can get an amazing 25% off your orders by simply quoting BGCHRISTMAS16 when you place your order. What are you waiting for? GO GO GO!!


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Vlogmas ’16 – We Made It Through Week 1!!

Did you know we were doing Vlogmas? Do you even know what Vlogmas is?? I didn’t until quite recently, when I made the somewhat rash decision to take part! It’s a Vlog a day in the run-up to Christmas, for the whole of December.

Shall I just reiterate – a DAILY vlog!

Crazy, I know! But when I started this blog, it was partly because my boys were really getting into YouTube and wanting to make their own videos, and I wanted to help, guide and supervise what they were doing to ensure they were being safe and sensible. Then, we kind of let things tail off, and it all went quiet for them. So I wanted to pick up the pace and re-spark their enthusiasm and mine.

I also wanted Family Makes to be much more crafty, and Christmas is the best time of the year for crafts, so another good reason to document it.

So, we’re winging it a bit, to be honest. I’ve made a list of ideas with possible dates, but we’ve already deviated from it, as I have such a painful back at the moment (and am going into hospital today to have a procedure done on it – eek!)

So without further ado, here are our first week’s worth of vlogs. Of course, it depends how it goes in hospital today, whether we’ll be able to keep it up or not. Wish me luck!

We’d also love it if you could follow us on Youtube, and leave some likes or comments too if you could please!

Thanks for watching!

RachelSwirlYou Baby Me Mummy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How To Make Chalkboard Gift Tins For Christmas Gifts

The nice people at Rust-Oleum sent us some lovely paints to use in our craft projects. They also sent us a link to their inspiring website where we found a fabulous idea for chalkboard painted gift tins, and decided to make it our own!

We recycled some sweet tins, one plastic and one metal, and covered them with Rust-Oleum Chalkboard spray paint. The steps are very straightforward, but we’ve made a how-to video for you to follow and see what we made:

  1. Eat all the sweeties from your chosen container. I know, this is the tough part!
  2. Make sure the tin is clean.
  3. Consider using a primer (or skip this part if you are impatient like me!)
  4. Spray the tin and lid separately with Rust-Oleum Chalkboard spray paint. Use two thin coats if necessary, rather than one thick coat which may run.
  5. Once dry, apply your chosen design with chalk or chalk pen – take care as chalk pen can be quite difficult to remove (although not permanent, it can leave a smudge). You might want to consider using a stencil or repeating pattern.
  6. Fill with your chosen gift and give to the lucky recipient!
All finished! Home made chalkboard gift tins
All finished! Home made chalkboard gift tins

You might also like to see our other project using chalkboard paint, the Advent Calendar.

Directions and a short video for how to make these lovely chalkboard painted tins. A great upcycle/recycle of your sweet tins or cake tins!
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You Baby Me MummyHannah Spannah
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayWe Made This Life