Tag Archives: Christmas

Children’s Books Christmas Present Challenge

We love books in our household, so when we were invited to participate in the Random House Children’s books Christmas present challenge it was a no brainer that we would accept.

childrens-book-challenge

Some of the books that Arthur reads now belonged to Lucie and before that belonged to me, I still have a book on my bookshelf that I was given for Christmas 1987 (Alice through the looking glass) although I don’t let anyone touch it as it was a favourite of mine and in mint condition still.  I love to receive books as a gift although i don’t get a lot of spare time to read these days so I’m so thrilled that my children are both avid readers too.  I must add that Arthur isn’t a child genius so we read the books to him and ask him to describe the scene in the picture.

I can’t imagine a life without books, I find them so magical and my favourite story growing up and still as an adult has probably got to be Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood (The original with Jo, Bessie and Fanny not the reprint with Joe, Beth and Frannie?).  I’m thankful that I still have all 3 original Faraway Tree books and not the new versions.  I hope that when I’m old and have grandchildren of my own I can still read these stories to the next generations in their original format.

We were sent 3 fabulous children’s book which are age appropriate for Arthur who will be 4 in March 2017.  Two of them are new to us and one of them Arthur already owns so this will be gifted to my good friend Clare who i’m sure will enjoy reading it to her daughter.

kitty-in-boots

I’ve wrapped up The tale of Kitty-in-Boots for Arthur’s Christmas Eve stocking, I love Beatrix Potter books and I’m ashamed to say that this will be the first one that Arthur has owned but I’m sure it won’t be the last.  I love the Quentin Blake illustrations, they always transport me back to my childhood favourites by Roald Dahl but I digress.

Shirley Hughes is also a new author to Arthur and I know he will love not only the story of Alfie and his best friend but the lovely illustrations in the book.  Lucie used to enjoy reading Lucy & Tom’s Christmas by the same Author as one of her Christmas books, it was so well written and I’m looking forward to sharing Alfie’s adventures with Arthur on Christmas day when he opens this book.

puffin-books

The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Pea is a book we purchased a couple of weeks ago for Arthur as I fell in love with the fun pictures in the book, it’s a really funny book with some very funky hairstyles and outfits and a great book for me to gift to my friend.

What was your favourite childhood book?

*This post contains a press sample


DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper

When you buy gifts for a lot of people at Christmas time it can become very expensive buying wrapping paper and all of the things to decorate them.  I have been known to spend around £40-£50 in Marks and Spencer on my wrapping paper and decorations which could be spent on better things in my opinion.  In a few easy steps you can create beautifully wrapped presents for a fraction of your usual cost by making DIY Christmas Wrapping paper.  My supplies cost under £20 and some bits will last until next Christmas.

DIY Christmas Wrapping

I love the smell of dried fruit as it reminds me of Christmas when ever I smell it, to make it I slice Oranges, Lemons and Grapefruit and bake in a very low oven for 2 hours turning over once.  Once the fruit has cooled I place on a radiator or in the airing cupboard for a couple of days to completely dry out.  We always take a family crafting foraging trip where we collect pine cones and pretty branches that would make a good base for a project and I tend to use them in my decorating at Christmas time, you can also use some of the branches from your Christmas tree  (only pick the bits that you can’t see so chop from the back).  If you can get hold of glitter spray, pine cones can look amazing all glittery and twinkling (a tip from my friend Kate)

I start by wrapping my parcels in brown paper which I buy for £1.25 for 15 metres, I then wrap the parcel in ribbon or gardening string, it gives a fabulous rustic feel to the present and makes you feel like you are back in olden days where brown paper was used to wrap everything.

It’s entirely up to personal preference what decorations you use on the present but I quite like to use pieces of cinnamon and fruit, holly berries and sprigs of cedar, pine cones, sprigs of rosemary and coloured jingle bells, Miniature baubles or home made gingerbread.

I cut my own tags from old cardboard boxes (recycling is good) and either leave them plain or add a silver sticker.  If you have time you could draw something on the tag or stencil the initial of the recipient.  I love this tutorial for Felt Gingerbread men gift tags on Grace’s Favours blog.

DIY Christmas Wrapping

 

Not only do these presents look and smell great your recipient can recycle the decoration next year!  You will have saved so much by not purchasing expensive wrapping paper and decoration that you can treat yourself to supplies for next year in the January sales saving even more money the following Christmas.  Brown parcel paper can also be recycled so you are doing your bit for the environment too!

How do you wrap your presents?



Essential Christmas Countdown Checklist

It’s less than two months until the big day which means thoughts of mistletoe and wrapping paper are probably spinning around in your head but have you thought about your Christmas checklist?  Now is the perfect time to plan your Christmas and festive celebrations so its probably a good idea to start with a pen and paper so you can jot down everything you’re going to need over the next few weeks or feel free to pin this page (There is a pin button below).

1) Beat the crowds by starting your Christmas shopping now. Plan a budget for each person and stick to it, November is a great time to purchase your presents as the shops are still relatively quiet and will still have the “most wanted” gifts in stock.  November is a great time for discounts and Amazon are extending their Black Friday offers this year so do check them out to see if you can pick up a bargain.

2) Most of the big stores like Marks and Spencer, Paperchase and supermarkets have 3 for 2 on their cards and wrapping paper so be sure to stock up now before the prices go up.

3) Start writing your Christmas cards now so you’re all ready to post once December arrives, make sure to use this time as a good opportunity to update your address book. Buy your Christmas stamps now while the post office is quiet, wait until December and you face huge queues.

4) Begin wrapping presents and find somewhere safe to store them like the bottom of a wardrobe, loft or cupboard.

5) Make things that you can freeze such as mince pies, cakes, tarts and pastry, and you won’t be left feeling flustered in the kitchen at the last minute.

6) If you’re planning to visit family or friends who don’t live locally now is a good time to look for cheap train/bus/flight tickets.  If you will be driving you can use the time to give your car a winter check, make an emergency kit to keep in the boot should you break down and check that you have spare lights, snow chains, shovel and blankets.

7) Plan your festive menu and look out for key ingredients that may be on offer in the supermarket such as spices, dried goods, flour, chocolates and alcohol.

8) Check that your Christmas lights work.  There is nothing worse than putting your tree up to find that your lights no longer work.  There are lots of offers on Decorations in stores during November so purchase any bits that you need now rather than waiting until December when the good items may have sold out.

Pin this essential Christmas countdown checklist for later

christmas countdown Checklist



Big Bloggers Christmas Giveaway

Today I have something incredibly exciting to share with you, I don’t usually do a lot of giveaways at Christmas time because the internet is usually full of them but this Christmas I have teamed up with a wonderful collection of bloggers to give away an amazing prize just in time for Christmas.

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One lucky winner will be walking away with a fantastic £150 worth of Amazon vouchers while two runners up get £30 each (if the winner is from a country other than the UK the prize will be delivered via PayPal cash).

Before we get down to business lets meet the blogging team:
Amazon-Giveaway-1

Sally Akins | The Gingerbread Hous | Mummy Lala | Bubbablue and Me | You Baby Me Mummy | Madam Gourmand | Missing Sleep | Wishful Wonderings | Trials & Tribulations Of A Brummie Mummy | Hello Beautiful Bear | Cookies and Cwtches | Odd Socks & Lollipops | Futures | Don’t Cramp My Style | Ickle Pickle’s Life and Travels | Bark Time

Collage-2

Rambling Through Parenthood | Life at 139a | Julie’s Notebook | Spanish Mummy | Hex Mum | Garden, Tea , Cakes and Me | Mummy’s Little Monkey | A Testing Time | Bump And Beyond | Emmy’s Mummy | Angel Eden Blog | Precious Little Worlds | All The Beautiful Things | Hubby Helps | Life in a Break Down | UK Bloggers | One Frazzled Mum

To enter all you need to do is answer the following question:
What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck.
*Please note all other entries after answering the question are optional, however they do get you extra entries into the final draw and help support all the bloggers who are helping to provide this wonderful prize.



Gifts Via Post

This year I’m doing things a little differently when it comes to Christmas gift guides, a lot of the blogs I read tend to do the same sort of thing and newsfeeds get swamped with the same products which is great for the brands mentioned but not so great for the reader who may be looking for something that’s a little bit different.  I thought I’d make my gift guides this year useful and hope that other people like me might just be looking for the same sort of thing.

My first gift guide instalment is gifts that can be sent via the postal system and I’ll concentrate on the items that fit into the large letter and small parcel category because if you’re sending an item via post you want to keep your postal costs down.

This year I won’t be visiting my family or friends until after Christmas, the 28th and 29th December to be precise so I’m posting my presents, some of the items in this guide are the actual items I’ve purchased and others are one’s that I would have purchased if I had more money to spend on people.

Tactus Smootch phone case

The Tactus Smootch (from £9.99) is a reusable phone skin and protective case for hands-free photos and videos.  The case has micro-suction technology allowing you to stick your phone to smooth surfaces including glass and mirrors, without leaving a sticky residue.

If the gift recipient is a fan of taking a selfie or using facetime this could be the perfect gift.  There are seven colours to choose from meaning there is something for everyone.  The Tactus Smootch is available as skin for the iPhone 5/5s and as a protective case for the iPhone 6.

TheSundayGirlCompany_1084314_FrenchJoiedeToileRetr

The Sunday Girl Company has a fantastic range of aprons for adults and children, my favourite is the royal blue sweetheart adult apron (£24.99) but I’d be happy with any of the  ultra glamorous range. ‘Let Them Eat Cake’, inspired this French Joie de Toile design which would make the perfect gift for someone who likes to keep stylish whilst entertaining. The collection incudes a Little Miss Sunday Girl apron in Royal Blue for mini Mademoiselles (£14.99).

BerylBettyGifts_1082450_Eventhoughyourefarawayyour

This beautiful silver plated bangle (£14.95) by Beryl Betty with a subtle twist would make the perfect gift for a friend or loved one who you don’t see often enough.  Inscribed with the words ‘Even though you’re far away…you’re in my thoughts every day…’ Bangle’s are presented in an organza bag with a care card inside a black box tied with ribbon ready for you to present as gift. The bangles are silver plated and in time the plating will slowly wear off to show a copper coloured bracelet.

burts bees

The Burts Bees Endless Shine Trio (£9.99)  contains mini tubes of Blush, Pink, Wink, and Flutter would be a perfect stocking filler for someone who likes a bit of shine from their lip product.

Magnets cream fridge

These fridge magnets (£10 for 12) from Instajunction are a great idea for sending pictures of yourself of your children to friends and family who don’t live near, you might actually like them so much that you decide to keep them for yourself!

 

travel walletPeople who love to travel will love this Travel Wallet (£29.95) from Hampton Blue.  The travel wallet is made from leatherette with a bicycle and floral design on the outside. The design includes a bicycle, flowers, suitcase, bird print and some cute stitching. There is also the inscription ‘Packed and Ready To Go’ on the front cover.   Inside you will find lots of different compartments for passports, a pen, hotel information, documents, tickets, currency and also spaces for essential cards and other tickets and information. There is also a small zipped pocket with a scissors pull for lose change. The wallet is fastened with a grey leatherette strap with stitched heart motif.  Just perfect for travelling in style.

 

bookmarks

The Little Mr and Mrs bookmarks (£5.00) by Little Man Shop would make the perfect present for a couple, If you love the idea of these but don’t have a couple to give them to you can also choose from snowman, little man and romance bookmarks which are equally adorable.

pop goes your name

I can’t think of a better gift to buy a child than a Pop Goes Your Name CD (£12.95).  The POP Goes Your Name album is a collection of fun and upbeat songs, personalised for your someone special. Children can experience a selection of musical styles, with catchy melodies and sing-along lyrics whilst hearing their own name being sung back to them. The songs are written for children in their early years. From Noisy Farm to Rock it Out, the album is full of themes and sounds that children can recognize and understand and is guaranteed to get mum & dad’s feet tapping too!