Eat, drink and be merry - those are the sentiments of the season that I like to get board with, and don't we all like to indulge a little over Christmas?

To help us start our Christmas celebrations, the lovely team at Lambrini sent me a bottle of every flavour in their current range - and a couple of the bottles have had a festive makeover too.

If you can believe it, I've never really had this light and fruity perry drink before - of course I have been aware of it but it's not been something I have bought before. So now was a good a time as any to give it a go and I have to say, I do really like it!

Whenever I think of our family Christmas', I always think of the games that we have played over the years. We used to play 'guess who', where you write the name of someone famous and one person has to stick it to their head and guess who they are, after Christmas dinner. Then there was the year I received Screwball Scramble from Santa and that kept me busy until the new year. And of course, there's charades, which we play with our friends with hilarious results (Anna Karenina came up one year and we were in tears of laughter trying to guess the actions!).

Isn't it law that you have to play charades as a family every Christmas?

What about an annual game of Monopoly, to bring out the competitive side in everyone?!

This Christmas, we have a new game to play, and we tried it out the other week when we met with our group of friends for our annual Mock Christmas celebrations.

The Game of Things is something of a legend, as I have come to discover. It's a simple, silly game that you can play with, ideally, four players or more - and it can be a great children-friendly game, or you can keep it just for adults too, if you want to be a bit cheekier with your responses.
Just like decorating the tree and singing Christmas songs, my bumper guide to where to see Father Christmas, rounding up the best Santa grottos in the Midlands region, has become something of a tradition. 

I love sharing this each year, updating with the latest information and new locations too, and this is my BIGGEST SANTA ROUND-UP EVER, so I really hope that it proves useful to you. We have been to see the man in red several times at various locations across the Midlands so I’ve tagged past reviews where possible and key dates, ticket info and links are all below so you can see the best of what’s around.

So, here it is! My big 2017 grotto guide to the best places in the Midlands to meet the man with a belly that wobbles like a bowl full of jelly this Christmas…

Update! Check out this simply fantastic interactive Midlands Santa Grotto map so you can plot out exactly where Santa can be found across the region, and find out all the details you need about tickets and booking etc.

We LOVE our snuggles in this house. From a young age, Ethan has been a fan of curling up on the sofa with a soft blanket for cuddles, and if you throw in some hot chocolate, a Christmas movie and the twinkling of our tree in the background, well, you've got the perfect Christmas night in if you ask me!

Most of our evenings now involve some quality time together on the sofa having a snuggle and it's tradition to re-watch all our favourite Christmas holiday films too in the lead up to 25th December. So far, we have watched The Holiday, The Santa Clause, Elf and Jingle All The Way, with the lights dimmed, the tree on and usually something to nibble too.

Prepare to fall down the rabbit hole this Christmas in a charming stage show that is perfect for little ones and families looking for a special event to enjoy together over the festive break.
My sister-in-law is a HUGE fan of Lewis Carroll's classic tale, Alice in Wonderland, and when I was invited to the press preview the weekend before last, but couldn't personally attend, I knew the perfect person to fill my shoes.

The afternoon involved afternoon tea, arts and crafts and meeting the cast before seeing the show before it launches to the public. What better way to spend the afternoon, for an Alice fan?!
This modern adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale follows Alice on her journey through the enchanted and extraordinary Wonderland, meeting many peculiar characters along the way. From intriguing white rabbits, bizarre riddles, mad tea parties and dangerous encounters with the Queen of Hearts, will Alice ever find her way home? 

Ethan has recently got into Lego and can easily spend an afternoon creating all sorts of strange and wonderful buildings and characters from bricks, making and unmaking for hours.

To fuel his imagination and love of the little bricks, we recently attended Bricks Live and were introduced to Mayka tape by Zuru for the first time - the original toy block tape.

We were sent some of the wide blue Mayka tape, which is four studs deep, and a role of the slimmer tape in a bright green, which is two studs deep. The colours are bold and fun, and match Ethan's playroom perfectly, and the tape is really versatile so you can let their imagination take over.

We have several Ikea Kallax units, in the lounge and in Ethan's room, so with our first rolls we have lined the inside of one of them with the tape but plan on using the trim all around the inside of the square cubes in his bedroom unit too, to create a more fun surface for him to play with his figures.

I love living in Birmingham and all that a city has to offer, but we do like to travel too and find that this time of year is perfect to visit somewhere else and take in the sights and sounds of the season. Last Saturday, we did just that and headed less than two hours up the M6 to Liverpool to see what #OneMagicalCity has in store this Christmas.

I have been to Liverpool a couple of times myself - the last time was last year for a friend's hen do, as her family are from the area - and have loved the vibe, variety and walking-friendly nature of the city. Hubs has only ever been once, on a flying visit to the passport office, so we had every reason to head up north for a fun, festive day out together as a family.

We've all been busy of late so needed to find some festive spirit.

Our #OneMagicalCity experience, organised by Visit Liverpool, began with a trip to the Liverpool Ice Festival. Right on the dock at Pier Head, there's a lot to enjoy here and you could easily spend a couple of hours without even thinking about it.
I'm a bit late getting my Christmas decorations up this year. I am usually there on 1st December, ready to deck the halls, dust of the decs and plump up the Christmas tree. The longer the tree can be up, the better so the whole month of December, our house is full of festive cheer.

We've just been so busy with work recently, and various commitments and family or friend meet ups. Our working week routine is pretty full on then, when you throw in a touch of the flu, with Ethan now very unwell, we are just a bit behind on it all.

We had a day at the end of November, hubs and I, to hit the shops and get the Christmas presents bought and stored away and it felt good to get this tackled.

Then came the house.

Before any decorations can be put up, of course you need to have a proper tidy up first. With our house pretty full most of the time any way, and with a dog, two cats and two rabbits to care for, things can accumulate and cleaning can quickly fall by the wayside.

I love buying gifts for people and can get a bit carried away with it all. I often find more things I think someone would like after my initial Christmas shopping spree, and I can't resist a bargain. Who can?!
*Sponsored post

We all know that Christmas is a busy and expensive time of the year - at least, it can be. There's different people to think of - and some who aren't the easiest people to buy for - and so many different offers or deals to take in, it can be a little daunting sometimes and you feel like you have to really shop around to get the best price, which in itself can be exhausting although it is rewarding in the end.

I like to think a bit differently and try more out of the ordinary places to shop and pick up the perfect present, at an even more perfect price - and Groupon in one such place.

I've used the site to get discounted tickets to family shows and for spa weekends with my friends too but I hadn't thought about using the deal site for Christmas shopping before, and I have no idea why!

There's plenty of inspiration to be had. For a lovely lady in your life, you can find plenty of gifts for her at Groupon, whether it's a pamper session, experience day or a great bargain on her favourite perfume.

Here's just a few ideas that might be right up her street for Christmas this year...

For foodies and festive spirit, look no further than the BBC Good Food Show at Birmingham’s NEC, which starts this Thursday!

I’ll be there on Thursday (see my Insta feed for updates during the day) and the organisers have given me a special 20% off for my readers - how nice is that?!

Here’s what you can expect...

Exciting live entertainment, the UK's top chefs and the best festive shopping and inspiration
Our flagship Show this winter has the UK’s greatest chefs and experts, plenty of festive shopping and inspiration, exciting live entertainment in our unique Big Kitchen and on numerous stages across the Show. Plus discover the widest variety of food, drink and cookery products from over 500 exhibitors, including great brands and a vast range of independent and artisan producers. It’s the biggest and tastiest day out in the UK!

To claim your exclusive TBM 20% off tickets, just enter code TF20 at the checkout - and it applies to all BBC Good Food Shows!

I had never been to Benidorm on holiday before and certainly had a preconceived idea of what it would be like; lads on tour, neon signs, full English breakfasts and a metropolis of music, drinking and sun burnt Brits. I hold my hands up and admit that I really wasn't convinced it would be my kind of place to visit - and I know that makes me sound pretty judgemental - but that changed when I visited last year in late May.

* Sponsored post

One of my best friends was getting married and wanted to go to Beni for her main hen do, with around 15 friends and family members. The bride-to-be had visited this popular Spanish resort every years since she was young, at least once, and knew it like the back of her hand but I had never been and as her Maid of Honour, I didn't quite know what to expect.

I soon realised on arrival that the scenes seen on the TV show and the image that Benidorm seems to have aren't really all that fair. Like many popular tourist locations that promise sun and sea at affordable prices, it does have more commercialised areas where drinking and dancing late into the night is the name of the game - and of course, this attracts hen and stag dos. But it is a lot more than merely a home away from home for Brits looking for a good time.

Having spent a few days in Benidorm, these are the things that I loved about my holiday:

Reading is such an important skill and is a pastime that Stephen and I both enjoy and something that we have also passed on and shared with Ethan from an early age. Now he is at school, he is learning more about letters and sounds than ever before, and his journey to learning to read has well and truly begun.

He has a vast collection of picture books that he loves and he has one more that has captured his imagination - not least because it has pictures of animals (which he loves) and letters.

The Lost Words is a very special and one-of-a -kind book full of illustrations and 'spell-poems' that aims to 're-wild' the language of children. Designed to be a read out loud book for parents and children to enjoy together, The Lost Words  is a substantial book and is really rather beautiful to look at. Ethan was surprised when he first saw it and it was different to what either of us may have been expecting.

Now is a good time to start thinking about the gifts you will buy for Christmas. If you know what you are going to buy in advance, you can avoid the stress of having to make last-minute purchases. It also gives you the chance to shop gradually and get the best deals. To help you to make a start on your Christmas shopping I have put together a few gift ideas.

* Collaborative post

Unique gifts that you can order online

Firms like Hello Canvas make it really easy for you to take your favourite photos and have them turned into unique prints for the home. If you have family photos they can potentially be arranged into a collage print and be given to your parents. Interestingly, any image can be used. This means that you could take a landscape or action photo you have taken and have that turned into a print for a friend.

This firm can also take these images and turn them into unique phone cases. Other companies can create mugs, soft furnishings, t-shirts and other unique items using images you send to them.

It is also possible to order other products that have been personalised in some way. For example, a storybook that features the person you are buying for or engraved key rings or photo frames.
Today marks 5 years since I started this corner of the internet. Like many bloggers, it began as a simple way to document my journey into motherhood and it became a space for me to explore my new role and all the other elements that make up my life and loves.

I've shared highs and lows, things I love and issues that have me all riled up, days out, recipe ideas, beauty reviews, style of thirty and my take on being Ethan's mama. A lot's happened since my first posts!

TBM has had many looks over the years, as I tried to find the look that matched the voice of my blog; here's just some of the templates and logos I have used over the past five years...

TBM has grown with me and I have been able to do so many things as a result of my blog - especially in the last year - which has given my family memorable experiences and myself a platform to share, celebrate and just be me.

I often say that my blog is about finding the 'me' in mummy and I think that holds true even more so with each passing year.

I'm not the biggest or the best or the funniest or the most fashionable. I won't ever be, and that's fine - that's not what this is about. But I am me. I'm positive. I work hard. I love lipsticks and Cath Kidston a little too much. I like being able to talk to people who are like me or like what I like.

I am so proud of some of the projects I have worked on and brands I have worked with and love talking to you about my life and loves.

Thank you to everyone who has read, followed, liked, shared, commented or joined in with TBM.It does mean the world to me and together, we have come a long way.

Happy birthday TBM, here's to many more years sharing my take on mummyhood - and so much more.

Kelly x

Just a few of my favourite posts from the past 5 years...

Christmas 2017 Grotto Guide - where you can see Santa in the Midlands

Ultimate guide to Center Parcs - our top tips and things to know before you go

Good for you - my motto for a happy life

Be organised! - ideas on how to plan and get things in order

Becoming mum - it's a journey, not a destination

Parenting ain't nothing but a number - if we're always counting down to the next milestone, do we miss the moments that count?

Why don't we put ourselves first? - not feeling bad about 'me time'

Ok, so maybe you’ve just had a refurb: new carpet or new wallpaper fitted, or perhaps you’ve just moved into your new home and want to make it well, feel more like home!

* Collaborative post

Whether it’s a large architrave on all your doors to give it a more period feel, or a new lick of paint on a drab wall – it’s easy to get drawn into the big changes and forget about the little ones that can really make all the difference!

However, it can be difficult to find the time or the money to purchase high-end items that we think might make our home seem more appealing, but do we really need to spend spend spend? Here you’ll find a few tips on how to make your house, feel more like a home in no time!
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