You may have seen my annual bumper guide to Santa grottos across the Midlands, and I have a new experience that has shot to the top of my 'nice' list - the Jingle Bells family escape room event at Resorts World Birmingham, which is open now.

We were invited along to be one of the first families to enjoy Jingle Bells and we kept it a surprise from Ethan - so seeing his face light up when a friendly elf opened the door to greet us, all the way through the activities and meeting the main man in red himself, was just so lovely. We had wondered whether we would have time to actually visit a grotto ourselves this year, given the timings of when baby number two is due, so we were so happy to have had this chance and I can honestly say, having been to a fair few places over the past few years as Ethan has grown up, this is one of our favourite grotto experiences.

*Updated* I've been making my list, and checking it twice, to bring you my round up of some of the best places in the Midlands to see the man in red this Christmas, 2018. Whether you call him Father Christmas, Santa or jolly ol' St Nick, this is one place you can find information on the best grottos in and around Birmingham and the West Midlands.

It's a tradition of mine, just like decorating the tree and singing Christmas songs, and this is my fourth bumper guide to where to see Father Christmas in the region. It takes time, but I love doing it and find that my past posts on grottos are some of my most popular - so I really hope it's useful.

This is going to be my BIGGEST SANTA GROTTO ROUND-UP YET, with new info and locations added as and when I have it. Now, some are so popular, they sell out long in advance, but I hope these links help you find out more and choose a fun festive day out for your family.

Enjoy, share and let me know if there's anywhere else I should be adding to my 'nice' list... 

I will keep this post updated with new events, and every attraction featured is based on my own research and no content has been sponsored.

There is nothing that can match up to natural things, but what if we tell you that for your outdoor space , we have something even better, yes the HDPE manufacture rattan garden furniture

* Sponsored post

Also famous as synthetic rattan, this younger cousin of natural rattan has been very much in demand since it came and is now one of the most preferred choices of UK homeowners for reasons best known to everyone. However, we still have put on the points together that make rattan garden furniture the first and the foremost choice of homeowners in UK.
This bump of mine turns 36 weeks today which means there could be as little as one or as many as five weeks left. Either way, that's no time at all!

I feel like I have been pregnant for a long time; I've enjoyed it, but those first few nervous weeks dragged on and on, waiting for one early scan then the next, and being pretty damn big and heavy now, I do feel like this baby has been cooking for ages now. They can stay where they are for another three weeks at least! I am of course looking forward to meeting them, so so much, but it still feels pretty surreal.

I've been busy getting prepared this week - to finish work, to get the house and baby's room ready - and need a bit more 'me' time to practice relaxing and drink in these last few weeks as a family of three. Because life will never be quite the same again...

There's a few things that have been helping me to take care of myself, my bump and my mind too.

I love stationery and since creating my little work nook in the dining-room-turned-den, I've really enjoyed using and working in this space. It's a pretty corner of our home and a place to store special bits of stationery, including some beautiful notepads from the 5mm Paper collection by designer houseware site Crowdyhouse.

Offering a range of beautiful items, from prints to home accessories and even jewellery, Crowdyhouse is all about bringing designer style into any home, with affordable prices. They work with local independent designers and pride themselves on the style and unique range that gives you something different to what you can find on the high street or from large-scale stores.

And it was love at first sight.

I do love a good shopping spree. I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to using online a lot for the convenience, but whenever I plan a day out to pop to the shops, I always get excited and love planning what I need to get whilst wondering what gems I might find. Nothing quite beats walking into a store and not quite knowing what things you may come away with.

We live in Birmingham and it tends to be the main place we go to for a shopping trip, but there is somewhere which has all of my favourite shops under one (massive) roof... intu Merry Hill. They’ve got everything from clothes stores to toy shops, homeware to shoes, accessories and stationery. 

Crayola Scoot is a new four-player game that's released today for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC, and we've been lucky enough to be one of the first families to review it. Pitched as a non-violent old school co-operative game, Scoot is Crayola’s first video game in 14 years and it creates the chance to get the whole family together on the sofa to beat the Scoot Legends in a rainbow of exciting events like Splatter Tag, Trick Run, and S.C.O.O.T.

Here's some of the cool things you can colourise and customise in Crayola Scoot:
  • Create and customize your own Crayola Scoot character and start your journey to becoming a scooter legend
  • Perform insane tricks and jumps to splash your colour and activate traps, boosts and shortcuts
  • Upgrade your scooter and your rider's style as you rise to fame and challenge for the championship
  • Keep it fresh with six team and solo events including Colour Frenzy, Crazy Crayons, Splatter Tag, S.C.O.O.T. and Trick Run
  • Challenge the outrageous Scoot Legends for the Crayola Colour Cup on 12 parks across three worlds
  • Leave your mark on each park by bringing mega-sized pieces of art to life on walls and on the ground. View your finished masterpieces at the conclusion of each level.
  • Splat your friends in four-player split-screen battles

With it being half term, Ste and Ethan have been spending some time getting to know the game and have put together the following review, sharing their thoughts and experience of playing this exciting new game...

As Halloween has passed now, it's ok to mention Christmas now, right? And as part of that, we can start thinking about buying presents, yes?! To be fair, I know plenty of people who get their Christmas shopping done early and I have got through most of ours as baby is due early December and I wanted to get it ticked off my list as soon as possible.

I really like creating, and receiving, personalised gifts and have recently tried a new website that helps turn your favourite photos into a striking piece of art - so more than just a standard canvas, you can create something truly unique.

The website is Pictabulous and it allows you to create custom art prints from your own photos. The process couldn't be easier; you choose the style you like - fantasy, fun or fine art - then you upload your chosen photo. You can choose from different canvas sizes and then all you need to do is pay, submit the order and the creatives at Pictabulous will transform your photo into a work of art.

I love any theme so with it being Halloween, it's another excuse to decorate the house, get dressed up and have some fun as a family. Ste is off with Ethan for half term and if you're looking for something to do today, then you could go and take part in a special trick-or-treat trail at intu Merry Hill this Halloween.

I can't wait to deck the halls this year, not least because we have an extra special present due for delivery early in December. My Christmas present buying will be done in good time because of baby and we always get out decorations up in our house for 1st December, so if things don't happen earlier for us than expected, we would love to go to the Festive Gift Fair.

It marks the start of Christmas for lots of festive fans and shoppers like us.  As one of the first Christmas Fairs staged in the UK, it's now in its 23rd year, and promised to be one of the best places to go this November to get your festive preparations off to a cracking start. 

It's a popular event at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Birmingham and is the biggest indoor event of its kind, so well worth visiting to get into the spirit of the season, and get a lot of your Christmas shopping done too.  

On this year from 15th to 18th November 2018, it looks like a lot of fun and I really hope that we will be able to go ourselves.

I have 10 PAIRS OF TICKETS to giveaway to the show! If you want to go to the Festive Gift Fair, enter via Rafflecopter below by midnight on Thursday 8th November, and you could be one of 10 lucky winners who will have a bit of Christmas come early thanks to Festive Gift Fair and To Become Mum.

Good luck...

Here's the information on how to buy tickets, and the offers the show has on:




(subject to availability so book now! and save money when purchasing tickets in advance!)

Adults Thurs/Fri £9 in advance (£11 on the door)

Adults Sat/Sun £11 in advance (£13 on the door)

5-16yrs £4 anyday (under 5's go free)

Don't forget the Special Promotion Price for Buy 3 Get 1 Free offer on adult tickets - select on checkout online

If you have never used firewood to heat your home before, then this is definitely a recommended solution. This is a brilliant way of heating your home whilst being cost efficient at the same time. Plus, no one can deny that you get an excellent dose of heat by using this method. This can really make your home feel cosy and comforting.

* Partnered post

However, a lot of first-time fireplace users are shocked by the fact that they have a few decisions to make when it comes to buying firewood. Many expect it to be as simple as going online and selecting firewood and boom – as easy as A, B, C. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as there is a lot of different types of firewood for you to select from. But don’t let this worry you.

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