WIN A 12-month Xbox Game Pass

We are a family of gamers and it's normally fairly easy to find a gift at Christmas or on a birthday because there's always a new game release available.  But buying games throughout the year can become expensive so, thanks to a fantastic collaboration with Smyths Toys here's the ultimate present... the XBox Game Pass and I've got one for you to win in time for Christmas!

WIN A 12-month Xbox Game Pass


First I've got the lowdown and some FAQs on the XBox Game Pass. Have a read through and then enter the competition below.



What is Xbox Game Pass library?


The Xbox Game Pass can be described as a 'Netflix for video games'.  It is a subscription service available to customers to purchase a multitude of games at a set cost each month. The Game Pass library includes over 100 great Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible titles including Forza Motorsport 7, Disneyland Adventures, Sea of Thieves and Halo. A Game Pass allows you access to the library to download and play all games. This continues until your subscription is cancelled or expires, or a game leaves the Game Pass catalogue. You can buy a pass as a gift for one person or the whole family!

How does Game Pass work?

  • Visit www.microsoft.com/redeem where you sign in to or create your profile 
  • Redeem your 25-character prepaid Game Pass code
  • Browse the Xbox Game Pass catalogue or visit your Xbox dashboard.
  • Install your choice of games.
  • Play as much as you want, whenever you want.

Why buy the Game Pass?

  • You can play new Xbox exclusives the day they launch.
  • You have access 100+ Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible games on your Xbox One.
  • You can play Xbox Play Anywhere games on your Windows PC and Xbox One.
  • You can buy subscriptions one month, six months or twelve months and play as much as you want 


What happens if your game leaves the library?

If your game leaves the library you will need a physical or digital copy of your game to continue playing. As a Game Pass member, you can save up to 20% off the purchase price of Game Pass games and 10% off downloadable content.

What is the difference between Live Gold and Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass gives you unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 backward compatible games.  The important thing is that  you don't need Xbox Live Gold to be able to use Xbox Game Pass but you can use XBox Live gold to play with your friends online.

So that's all the important stuff out of the way.  Do you still want the chance to win a 12-month XBox Game Pass worth £55? Of course you do!

There is one compulsory entry to this giveaway where you must tell me your best or worst Christmas cracker joke.  This must be typed into the comments section on the blog.  You can then check off hat entry in the Rafflecopter widget below. Additional entries are available which include social media activity.  Entries will be checked and verified and incorrect entries will be disqualified.  Full terms and conditions can be found below and in the Rafflecopter widget.




TERMS AND CONDITIONS * This giveaway will begin at 21:00 on 6th December 2018 and finish at 23:59 on 15th December 2018 * This giveaway is open to any of my blog readers aged 18 or above who reside in the UK. * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * There is one (1) prize in total which is a 12-month subscription to XBox Game Pass * There is one compulsory entry which asks the entrant to comment on this blog providing their best/worst Christmas cracker joke * Additional entries will be available once the compulsory entry has been completed * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified * The prize has been provided in conjunction with Smyths Toys * The winner will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct * The prize winner will be asked to provide their email address so that contact can be made to arrange prize delivery * Please contact me for further clarification on any of these T&C *


A huge thanks to Smyths Toys for providing the prize for this special giveaway.  Smyths Toys Superstores has 116 store locations throughout the UK and Ireland and you can check here for your nearest one. This leading toy retailer carries all the top brands and prides themselves on offering the most competitive prices on the best possible selection of products including toys, baby, outdoor and software games. Give them a quick follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.


Smyths Toys logo


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You Don't Bring Me Flowers...

Bloom Magic was founded in Dublin and focused initially on the Irish market but they've recently launched their services in the UK.  Their website is broken down in to "collections","occasions" and "price", making it really easy to navigate and find that special arrangement for your loved one. They also have seasonal offerings and the bouquets come with a flower care guide that provides you with plenty of tips to help your flowers last as long as possible (the bouquet in the pictures was one that I received from Bloom Magic and it lasted over two weeks!).

I was having a discussion with a friend this week about my first Saturday job in our local village greengrocers and florist (small family business). In any given week could be lugging sacks of potatoes about, bagging up carrots, serving customers on the till but my most favourite part was working in the florists section making up bouquets for passing customers.

I became pretty adept at throwing a few flowers, a bit of foliage and some gypsophela together into a presentable arrangement, wrapping it in plastic and adding some trimmings. I had no idea which flowers were which but had a good eye for colour. I was also fascinated the first time I saw ribbon scored with the edge of the scissors to create the decorative curls!

Bloom Magic was founded in Dublin and focused initially on the Irish market but they've recently launched their services in the UK.  Their website is broken down in to "collections","occasions" and "price", making it really easy to navigate and find that special arrangement for your loved one. They also have seasonal offerings and the bouquets come with a flower care guide that provides you with plenty of tips to help your flowers last as long as possible (the bouquet in the pictures was one that I received from Bloom Magic and it lasted over two weeks!).


One of the best parts of working in the florists though was putting together a gorgeous arrangement for a special birthday gift or watching the men (it was always the men... *sigh*) run in either very, very early or very, very late to pick up a forgotten anniversary or birthday gift. It sounds stereotypical but it's so true. I sometimes wish we got extra payment for speed arrangements.

I moved away eventually but returned to the very same florists when we were planning mum's funeral. We had said "no flowers" and wanted donations to go towards a much-needed machine at the hospital that treated mum but my sister and I also wanted our children (five in total) to find special gifts for her so we let them loose and asked them to pick their favourite flower. The age range of the children was between 2 and 13 and each flower that they picked represented them perfectly; a great big sunflower, a perfect white lily, others that I still didn't know the name of... but each one was matched with plastic and ribbon and the children wrote their own cards. Personal, pretty, perfect.

Flowers are such an intimate gift - so many ways to get it right, so easy to arrange and something that brightens up the room immediately. So when you can send or receive a beautiful bouquet direct to the door with minimum fuss and at reasonable prices, it's a gift that is very special. And that's why I loved working with Bloom Magic recently.


Bloom Magic was founded in Dublin and focused initially on the Irish market but they've recently launched their services in the UK.  Their website is broken down in to "collections","occasions" and "price", making it really easy to navigate and find that special arrangement for your loved one. They also have seasonal offerings and the bouquets come with a flower care guide that provides you with plenty of tips to help your flowers last as long as possible (the bouquet in the pictures was one that I received from Bloom Magic and it lasted over two weeks!).

The company was founded in Dublin and focused initially on the Irish market but they've recently launched their services in the UK.  Their website is broken down in to "collections","occasions" and "price", making it really easy to navigate and find that special arrangement for your loved one. They also have seasonal offerings and the bouquets come with a flower care guide that provides you with plenty of tips to help your flowers last as long as possible (the bouquet in the pictures was one that I received from Bloom Magic and it lasted over two weeks!).

Typically, I can count on one hand the amount of times that my husband has bought me flowers... FIVE!! When he first met me, after the birth of each child and then after a big operation. So I'm leaving this blog post open on my laptop as a HUGE hint and also, every time this song (the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain version is my absolute favourite) comes on the radio, I sing it at him. Loud!



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The Queen’s fashion secrets

With the Queen having an extremely busy schedule, it really is astonishing how she manages to look flawless at every occasion, whether it was during her sapphire jubilee celebrations or giving her annual Christmas day speech; her impeccable fashion constantly grabs the attention of everyone in the room.



Photo by Lea Fabienne on Unsplash - Buckingham Palace - the Queen's fashion secrets
Photo by Lea Fabienne on Unsplash


So, just how does The Queen continue to look elegant at every royal engagement she attends? Join us as we explore some of the style secrets that help to keep Her Majesty looking so effortlessly sophisticated…


Facing the British Weather


We all know how the British weather can be. What starts as a bright day can easily end in downpour. During her many royal appointments, which often take place outside, it’s important that the Queen’s wardrobe is up to the job.

Before she wears any dress or coat, her team tests their fabric using electrical fans. Helping to establish how the material would move in a breeze, small curtain weights are then sewn into the hem to give the fabric more weight where required.

Of course, the chance of a sudden downpour is not uncommon in the UK. The Queen’s umbrella of choice is a birdcage umbrella created by Royal Warrant holders, Fulton Umbrellas. The umbrellas have to be transparent, so crowds can see her.

Each of the bespoke umbrellas are perfectly matched to the colours the queen will be wearing. Ahead of an event, her majesty’s senior dresser will send a colour swatch, which Fulton Umbrellas then use to create an umbrella with a perfectly colour-matched trim.

The Queen’s choice of colour


Did you know each colour that The Queen has worn has been carefully chosen, considering the event it’s for? The colours are chosen to reflect the nature of the event — for example, for her Diamond Jubilee concert, she wore gold influenced by the Queen Victoria Memorial statue the stage was built around.

Likewise, colours will also be chosen to avoid blending in. For example, if an appointment is taking place in a park, the queen will very rarely wear green, as she won’t be as visible to the crowds. In general, bright colours are usually chosen to help her stand out.

The colours the Queen wears are monitored to ensure the same shades aren’t worn too closely together. For example, if she was to wear a lemon yellow dress early in the year, it would be avoided again for several months.

Practicality


Practicality is at the centre of each of her majesty’s outfits as she needs to stay flawless throughout often lengthy royal visits.

Visits can often involve car journeys and extended periods of sitting, it’s important that each outfit remains pristinely pressed. A stipulation given to each designer is that the Queen’s outfits must be made from wrinkle-proof material, designed to withstand every royal appointment.

The Queen’s footwear and accessories are similarly practical — her heel height is kept at 2.25 inches to ensure her comfort, while added insoles are often included too. When it comes to handbags, the Queen’s prefers Launer’s Royale and Traviata bags. They are designed with a longer handle so as to not interfere with handshaking or catch on the cuff of her preferred three-quarter length sleeves.

What is inside the handbag is also well thought-out. Weight is carefully considered depending on how long she will be holding it for. Although nobody really knows what’s inside her majesty’s handbag, it’s rumoured to contain reading glasses, mints, a compact mirror, lipstick and a fountain pen. She also only carries cash on a Sunday — and it’s always either a £5 or £10 note that is precisely folded.

Hats are no exception either. Designed by her milliner of choice, Rachel Trevor-Morgan, each hat is designed to not obscure her face. As such, the Queen avoids wide-brimmed hats. Height is also considered to ensure her majesty can easily get out of a vehicle.

With so many royal appointments to attend, it’s difficult to keep track of the outfits the Queen wears. As such, all of the Queen’s dressers keep their own handwritten wardrobe diaries, which keep track of what was worn and for what. While the queen will occasionally wear the same outfit again, it’s on a strict rotational basis to ensure it isn’t worn too closely together.

She makes looking impeccable easy. As her reign continues, we can expect to see more of the looks we love — although now we know the secrets behind them!

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How should you approach chatting with your daughter regarding her period?

How should you approach chatting with your daughter regarding her period? - Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
 
Do you remember when you started your period? Of course you do! It can be a very confusing yet anxious time for many. Luckily, Lil-Lets have a variety of products available that will help your daughter as she begins the changes to develop into adult life.

Alongside Lil-Lets, we’ve came up with a few steps of how you can tackle the challenging experience of having ‘the talk’ with your daughter.

Make sure your daughter is prepared in advance


More often than not, your daughters biggest worry is probably starting her period when she’s away from home or in school. To help prevent this fear, it’s a good idea to give her some pads to keep in her school bag just in case. Teen ranges specifically for this moment are sold in a variety of cosmetic stores across the UK – containing a variety of all products so that your daughter can try each and every one of them out to see which works better for her. These packages also come in a discreet cosmetic bag so that it can’t easily be identified by others. Wearing a pant liner on a daily basis can build her confidence as it alleviates any fear that she’ll be caught unaware.

The science…


What just are the basics behind a period? Although it may seem obvious, talking this through with your daughter may make her aware of how a period works so that she’s well informed of everything she needs to know about the whole process. Talking through all aspects of her body and periods will really help, and information displaying this can be accessed via a large number of sites.

Run through the products available


Although you’ll be used to each product yourself, you may forget that your daughter isn’t used to products similar to this. Once you've bought a pack, show her a pad, how she should position it and how to dispose of it afterwards.

This should give her the confidence to do it herself next time. If you’d both rather not have this conversation directly, our ‘Becoming a Teen’ YouTube channel features animated videos on how to use pads so she can have a look in her own time.

The same applies to tampons as they can be really confusing, especially as they come in both an applicator and non-applicator formats.
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