Category Archives: Christmas Gift Guide

Don’t even mention the C word!

It happened, just as I thought it would.  Straight after the August Bank Holiday weekend my darling Mother mentions it, the C word, Christmas!  Christmas?  Imogen isn’t back at school, we haven’t carved pumpkins nor watched fireworks and she states that she’d very much like to know where we are spending Christmas Day, what the children would like for Christmas and what day we should go to the Panto!  The very next day I spotted these in the supermarket.  I say spotted, they weren’t hidden – there were stacks of them!

MInce Pies!

I know that for most that forward planning is the key to being organised and if you want to eat out on Christmas day then reservations should have been made and deposits paid yonks ago but I simply can’t get my head around it.  Most of my family work in careers where the Christmas holidays still mean work and I’ll be lucky if I find out two weeks before the big day what Tony will be working, so making plans and organising visits and trips out can be really tricky.

One thing I like to try and be a little bit organised with though is gifts but purely for financial reasons.  Having been paid yesterday I now only have 2 pay days left until Christmas and as I’m a terrible saver it just makes sense to spread things out.  The only trouble is that my internet browsing only seems to add to my Christmas list!  For example, whilst hunting for a watch for Tony (shhh) at Best Designer Gift Company I spotted a necklace that I quite like the look of from Best Unique Jewellery Bracelets Company so that’s been added to the list along with a new bag and a rather beautiful pair of shoes!  I must focus more and my Mother will be terribly impressed at the fact that I have actually started a list (for everyone else) and there are actually things on there!

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Five horsey Christmas gifts

If you have a horse lover to buy for this Christmas there are hundreds of gift ideas to choose from.

Practical presents to aid in their chosen pursuit, interesting books to learn new ideas from or unrelated items such as diaries and pencil sets decorated with pony pictures – the list goes on.

Here are a few of the best bargains around:

1)      Magic horse bath towel. This pretty patterned bath towel has a spotty pink design with a picture of two horses in the centre. Not only that but it comes in a surprisingly small package – when you soak it in water for the first time it grows to its actual size. Children who love horses and surprises will delight in this magical pony present.

2)      Horse-Opoly board game.  A new twist on the classic property purchasing game. The rules are the same as in the original version but the whole game has a horsey theme. The playing pieces are all different types of horse and players battle it out to purchase the biggest and best stables in order to win the game. 

3)      Horse backpack. For younger pony enthusiasts, you can’t go wrong with a fluffy horse backpack. Its adorable design lets it double as a soft bedtime friend and during the day lets everyone know just how horse-mad the recipient really is. 

4)      Riding gear. Having all the proper clothing to go horse-riding in is a must but can end up being quite pricey if you don’t know where to shop. Get your loved ones some classic dressage gear on equestrianclearance.com so they can really look the part without you or them having to break the bank.

5)      Adopt a horse. For a gift that keeps on giving all year, why not adopt a horse or pony on behalf of your loved one? For a set fee every month you can set your chosen recipient up as a ‘foster parent’ for a horse, pony or donkey living in a rescue sanctuary. These animals have been saved from mistreatment and need financial aid to allow them to live out the rest of their lives in peace and safety. For as little as £12.50 for the full year your recipient will receive monthly updates on their horse, including photographs and personalised letters. They will also be issued an open invitation to visit the sanctuary in person at any point during the adoption period.

Festive Food and Drink

We all enjoy food at Christmas, me probably a little bit too much, and here are a selection of lovely treats to get you in the festive mood.

Crisps are my dieting down fall but because it’s Christmas I have an excuse to stock up!  We were sent a selection of Kettle Chips in some wonderful new festive flavours to try out, Blue Stilton & Port and Sea Salt, Rosemary & Garlic.

Port and Stilton is a great Christmas tradition in our house and it also makes a great Kettle Chip flavour, the creaminess of the Stilton mixed with the sweet port and seasoning is delightful and perfect served with a large glass of red wine!  Sea Salt Rosemary and Garlic flavour is a real classic. A simple, yet distinctive taste of blended garlic and sea salt provides the ideal base for the fresh flavour of rosemary.

These two Kettle Chips flavours are available in sharing bags in supermarkets nationwide.

Joe & Seph’s, the gourmet popcorn makers are releasing two new flavours for Christmas.  The new Mince Pie flavoured pieces are coated in a luxury mince pie filling and contain brandy infused fruit, caramel and almonds. The new rich and aromatic Brandy Butter flavour is coated in a rich butter and Spanish brandy gives a final fruity finish! Both new flavours are available in stunning gift jars, as well as in individual 70g packs. The jars are visually very impressive so excellent for displaying the exciting flavours in the kitchen or living room and offering to guests instead of the usual mince pies, clementines or nuts. They are an alternative and quirky Christmas offering and gift!

Joe & Seph’s popcorn pouches start from as little a£4.00 and are available from www.joeandsephs.co.uk.

Being Devon born and breed I have been brought on cream teas and this little Christmas Cream Tea Hamper is a great little edible gift.

It contains freshly baked scones, Devonshire clotted cream from local farm, award winning strawberry jam, Westcountry blended tea, organic clotted cream fudge – with an attractive Gisella Graham reindeer mug.  All beautifully packaged in a rustic gift box with a wooden gift tag.

This delightful Christmas treat is available from www.delimann.co.uk priced at £19.50.

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a drop or two of bubbly and why not make it pink this year?  Champagne Jacquart Rose boosts delicious aromas of red berry-fruits which ensure a wonderfully fresh and full flavour as well as delicate bubbles and impressive pink packaging.

Priced at £34.50 from Great Western Wine it would make an impressive gift or wow guests at any dinner party.

Christmas Gift Guide for Mums

I’ve had my fair share of awful Christmas gifts in the past so I’ve carefully hand picked a great selection of gifts that any Mum would gladly receive, hint hint!!

By now you should all know about my love of bags and this Cath Kidston Day Bag is high on my personal Christmas list this year.

The oilcloth makes these bags highly durable and wipe clean, essential when there are mucky paws about.  With a main zippable compartment as well as two external side pockets everything you ever need with be close to hand and beautifully encased!

The Cath Kidston Day Bag is available in a variety of different fabric prints priced at £48.00 and available from www.cathkidston.co.uk

If there is something that always makes me smile it has to be photo gifts and Jessops have a huge variety to chose from.

Personalised calendars are a great way of displaying precious photos and sharing memories but also make a great gift and one that will be used very day!  With prices starting from just £17 they are the perfect gift solution for any busy Mum.

Front Cover Cosmetics has been Boots biggest selling make up brand in the last 4 years, selling £4.5 million of products in Oct-Dec last year alone!  They take the latest catwalk trends and turn them into ready to wear make-up kits.

This year’s collection has some fantastic kits including everything you need to create the perfect look this season including the metallic look from Moondance as well as classic sets such as True Colours.

To view the full selection of kits available check out www.frontcovercosmetics.com

If you happen to be buying for a blogger, then what about this mug?

£9.95 from The Literary Gift Company

Find me a Gift have lots of unique Gift Ideas for Mum and I’m loving these Knitted Bootie Cat Slippers, perrrrrrrfect for keeping toes warm!

Christmas Gift Guide for Girls

There are a whole host of toys on the market aimed at girls and here’s just a small selection of our favourites for Christmas 2012.

Launched last year LEGO Friends is a hugely popular choice for girls aged 5+.  Based around the everyday lives and personalities of 5 girls (Emma, Olivia, Mia, Andrea and Stephanie), there are sets available to suit every girl and budget.

High on Imogen’s Christmas list is Olivia’s Tree House priced at £19.99.  It’s the perfect retreat for the friends to camp out catching ladybirds and butterflies and chill out with the cat.

To have a look at the full LEGO Friends range check out www.friends.lego.com

WOW Toys have always been favourites in our house and Pippa’s Princess Carriage is the ultimate toy for your little Princess.  It includes Pippa and her fairy godmother as well as Snowdrop the horse.  A gentle push of the pumpkin carriage produces clippety-clop sounds as Snowdrops rushes to get Pippa to the ball.

Pippa’s Princess Carriage is available from Amazon priced at £16.99 with free P&P.

The Bratz girls have gone crystal crazy, sporting sparkling new hairstyles and fabulous fashions in the new range, Bratz Crystalicious Deluxe (RRP £19.99). The new doll line encourages girls to get creative by designing trendy, beaded and crystal hair styles for their Bratz™ dolls, using the cool hair accessories provided. Girls will have hours of play time fun creating new styles and looks for their doll.

Each doll comes with a range of accessories including: glitter hair gel; hair clips; sparkly jewel stickers for hair or skin; glitter shimmer flowers to decorate fashions and hair; a star brush; and a crystal bead strand with a glitter tinsel hair extension for use on the doll or girl’s own hair.  The doll also comes with a hair dryer to use on the doll, which has realistic sounds and light-up function. Characters available in the range include Cloe, Jade and Yasmin.

What on earth is going on? The Novi Stars girls have landed and are on a galactic mission to invade Earth girls’ hearts, try new things, update our fashion trends, and make some new friends along the way!  The Novi Stars, from MGA Entertainment, are the girls from the stars who combine outrageous, out of this world adventure with cutting edge toy features never seen before in doll play. Each doll comes with a galactic pet, a glow-in-the dark doll stand and the package handle even becomes an antenna headband for girls to wear. Novi Stars dolls are suitable for girls aged six-plus, priced at around £19.99 and available from all good retailers from the 1st September.

If your children are forever playing with the boxes rather than their toys at Christmas then how about Makedo?  Makedo sets are project kits designed to encourage unstructured creativity and play. Kids transform the stuff around them — primarily found or reclaimed materials, such as cardboard boxes and plastic containers – into play objects and let their imaginations and creativity run free. 

Each pack contains three simple parts Safe-Saw, Re-clip and Lock-hinges and you will also find stickers and you you need to add is cardboard, a few bits from your recycling and imagination.  To view the full range visit www.mymakedo.com

Chistmas Gift Guide ~ Stocking Fillers

One thing I really struggle with at Christmas is Stocking Fillers, the kiddywinks always have a stack of big pressies but are aways a little disappointed with their chocolate coins,  colouring books and crayons :(  This year I have made a lot more effort and this little lot cost less than a fiver!

Both Imogen and Joseph love WOW Toys and these little Pocket Friends make the ideal stocking filler at just £1.99.

Each contains your very own WOW Toys figure and an activity sheet with WOW pictures to colour in.  There are 12 in the collection, 6 boys and 6 girls and are only available in independent toy retailers nationwide, so keep your eye out for them.

Books make a great stocking filler and one that will used again and again.  Harper Collins have a huge range of activity and story books with a lovable range of favourite characters including Paddington Bear and Hello Kitty.

Highly appropriate for 2012 Paddington Goes for Gold sees Paddington taking part in a family sports event with The Browns but, as always with Paddington, things don’t always go to plan!

Harper Collins also have a huge range of Annuals, a must have for any Christmas Stocking!  Packed with activities, games and puzzles they bring back memories of my own Christmas mornings and many a day thereafter.

The Hello Kitty Annual 2013 is available from Amazon currently priced at £ 4.68, a small price to pay for hours of Hello Kitty fun!

Dunelm Mill is a great place for crafty Stocking Fillers for the kids, this Make Your Own Fashion Keyring Set is a bargain at just £2.99 and is bound to bring a smile to any mini fashionistas face.

If messy fun is more your little ones thing then this Sponge Painting Set is the thing for them. At £3.99 it includes paper, four stencils, eight sponges, four primary coloured paints, three sponge rollers and one flat sponge, everything you’ll need to creative the perfect colourful picture.

There’s no better way to make bath time fun than with Crazy Soap.  The range of Foam Soap, Bath Time Body Paint and Bath Goo are all paraben free and designed to moisturise and gently clean delicate skin.

The Bath Goo is a thick gloopy bath gel that provides squidgy fun as well as long lasting bubbles and clean children.  The Bath Foam is fun mouldable soap, great for making soapy headgear and general good clean fun!  Imogen and Joseph had great fun with the Bath Time Body Paint, each armed with a different colour they made it their challenge to cover each other with as much of the stuff as their bodies could take!  It all rinses off easily from both skin and bath tubs leaving only clean happy children!

The Crazy Soap range is priced between £2 and £3 each and available from stockists nationwide, for more information and more Crazy Soap fun visit www.crazyforkids.co.uk

Christmas Gift Guide ~ Babies and Toddlers

With only 48 days until the big day my Christmas Shopping has well and truly started.  I’m always on the look out for exciting, unusual and unique gifts for my family and friends and over the next couple of weeks I shall be sharing some great gift ideas for the whole family.

Today we’re starting off with pressies for the little ones in your life.

I’ve always loved Funky Giraffe Bibs, Joe has a huge collection and with prices starting from as little as £1.98 and personalised items from £4 these are quality products at very affordable prices, making them the ideal Christmas present.

Their range of special occasion bibs includes a gorgeous range of Christmas bibs in lovely bright designs just right for the festive season.

Weleda have just launched a a new Calendula Baby Care Starter Kit of travel-sized baby essentials. This set makes an ideal gift for a new baby, to introduce mums to the range. It’s also a great size to pop in a changing bag when out and about. The new travel pack contains 5 mini sizes of Weleda’s top sellers, including Calendula nappy cream, face cream, baby lotion, baby oil and body wash. They are zipped into a handy waterproof pouch that is large enough to hold a spare nappy or a few wipes.

The new Baby gift set also includes a pack of organic calendula seeds, so parents can enjoy teaching their toddlers about nature. The vibrant orange flowers are ideal sown in the veg patch to attract insect life into the garden, or to create in a colourful window box, and couldn’t be easier to grow.  It’s available selected health stores and pharmacies nationwide and from www.weleda.co.uk with an RRP of £12.95.

If you’re looking for a cute and practical way to keep little feet warm and dry this Winter then Poco Nido is the place to head.  As well as a stunning range of soft babies shoes, their new line of toddler ankle wellies made from 100% natural rubber and perfect for ease of on/off use and jumping in muddle puddles, of course!

They are currently available in two unisex designs, Blue Cats and Purple Owls and in sizes 4-10 and with a handy re-useable cotton tote bag.  They are available from www.poconido.com and carefully hand selscted stockist priced at £20.00.

The Pabobo Dream Theatre projects soothing light on the walls and ceiling to help children drift off to sleep calmly. With its low-energy LEDs, the Dream Theatre’s colourful and attractive animated projections captivate little ones attention and tell a beautiful story as they fall asleep, as well as having the option of playing music or nature sounds. There is no need for parents to get up to turn it off; the Dream Theatre’s gentle sleep action stops automatically after 45 minutes (15 minutes for sounds) and a sleep mode can be activated so that it  automatically turns back on if the child cries. Making sure that little ones and parents have peace of mind!

The Pabobo Dream Theatre is available from JoJo Maman Bebe, Lewis and Amazon
priced at £64.00.

If your children are anything like mine then they’ll receive an awful lot of Christmas pennies to stash away, so they’ll need somewhere to keep it safe.  I love this B Green Frog Money Box from Find Me a Gift.com.

This duck shaped children’s money box is green and comes with a super soft frog outfit – well why not eh? It zips off and on, so you can use it with or without the costume! Just like kids enjoy feeding ducks bread, they’ll love feeding this quack-tastic moneybox their coins!  There are other designs available in the collection too, all priced at £14.99.

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