Category Archives: Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas at Poundland

It’s been over two years since I became an ambassador for Poundland and it’s no secret that I love the place especially at the most expensive time of year, Christmas. This Christmas Poundland have set me three challenges.  To create one look from there Christmas ranges, get crafty and creative something festive and stock up of stocking fillers and to do it all for under £30!

This year most of the kiddywinks stocking fillers have come from Poundland that I have stashed away during the year, complete bargains including Disney Cars Squinkies for Joseph and Polly Pocket blind bags for Imogen.  My most recent haul included this impressive bundle of Disney Frozen goodies which includes a hair wrap, shimmer lip balm, a 5 ring set, Anna and Elsa bath sponges and a colouring pencil set all for a pound each!

Poundland Disney Frozen Range

In Joseph’s stocking this year will be a Disney Toy Story 3 hardback book and two Microblox festive characters, Santa and a Snowman.

Poundland Stocking Fillers

They’ll also have one each of these lovely Nestle festive figures, both a pound each a massive 50% saving compared to the supermarket’s price of £1.50.

Milkybar Snowy OwlSmarties Robin

My second challenge was to get decorating using one of the many different Christmas themes available from Poundland.  I decided to decorate our hall as it always seems get neglected at Christmas and lacks a little sparkle.  I chose the Cosy Christmas range as the base colours of blue, cream and read with a splash of grey fitted in well with the colour scheme.

Poundland Cosy Christmas

I picked our the Merry Christmas felt banner, wood and felt Noel letter decoration, star lanterns and hanging felt decorations as well pack of 10 baubles.  I filled an old glass jar with the baubles and a set of LED battery operated lights and I think it makes a really nice feature.

Poundland Cosy Christmas

I also decided to have a little bit of fun with some soft toys, a snow blanket, a couple of icicle drapes and some more LED batteries operated lights……

Poundland Sliding Penguins

…. and created a wintery slide for our new plush friends!

Penguin Banister Slide

The last of my challenges wasn’t the easiest as I’m not a particularly crafty person.  After some time spend on Pinterest I decided that I’d attempt to make a photo frame wreath.  Armed with a white ornate photo frame, some pretty ribbon baubles (again from the Cosy Christmas range), a spool of festive trim and a couple of left over baubles from my bauble jam jar I got to it.

Poundland ChristmasAfter removing the glass and the back from the photo frame I simply threaded the baubles with the ribbon and blu tacked them into the position, trimmed off the excess ribbon and added a large bow to finish.

Photo Frame WreathI spent a total of £28 topping up the kiddywinks stockings and fully decorating my hall leaving me a couple of pounds to get a chocolate mould from the infamous Jane Asher baking range and to try out Poundland’s new Make Up gallery range, the Gorgeous Flawless foundation is awesome and a steal at just a pound!

If you’re searching for Christmas inspiration then there’s some great, easy to make gift ideas on the Poundland Youtube channel.

The Top Tech Toys this Christmas

Unsurprisingly tech toys have some of the top spots on what’s predicted to be the biggest selling toys this Christmas, whether it’s wearable technology, virtual pets or the latest games console here’s my top picks of the newest tech toys on the market this year.

Xeno is a cute interactive baby monster with amazing animatronics that really bring him to life!  With over 50 different expressions he will interact with you, other Xenos and will his dedicated free app!

Xeno

Xeno has an RRP of £79.99 and you can read our full review here.

Teksta have a lovely range of robotic pets and the Teksta T-Rex is hotly tipped to be a favourite in Christmas stockings this year.  He’ll respond to your voice, and you can control him with your hand movements.  Feed T-Rex his bone, watch him crunch, munch and spit it out followed by an almighty burp!

Teskta T-Rex

There are also various puppies and a kitten (you can see our review of her here) available in the Teksta range and they are priced at £59.99.

The Kurio has the be ultimate table for children and new for 2014 are the Kurio Phone, Kurio Tab, Kurio XL and Kurio Pocket.

Kurio XL

Kurio XL

With a whole host of parental as well as time management controls they have to be the safest tablets on the market for children.  With a range of sizes from the 4″ pocket to the family sized 10″ XL the Kurio has a tablet suitable for everyone!  The new Kurio Phone is first Smartphone especially made with children in mind, it’s stacked with safety features such as Geofencing, Ichaper Mobile Chaperone technology allowing parents to remotely manage the phone’s usage and amazing In Case of Emergency features.

Kurio Pocket                                                            Kurio Phone

Kurio Pocket                                                                                               Kurio Phone

Kurio Tab

 Kurio Tab

Prices range from £79.99 for the Kurio Pocket to £169.99 for the Kurio XL and they are available from Toys R Us and Argos as well as other online retailers.  You can find out more about the range and find the right Kurio for you on their website www.kurioworld.com

Another of my favourite tech toys is the SparkUp Magical Book Reader.  With SparkUp you can record your voice reading ANY book a camera will scan the pages of the book as you do this.  Then when your child wishes to hear you read the book, they just clip SparkUp to the book and press play.  If they skip a page then SparkUp will cleverly do so too!

SparkUp Magical Book Reader

The RRP of The SparkUp Magical Book Reader is £39.99, however it currently has an amazing 58% off at the bargain price of £16.99 on Amazon.

Festive Fashion Round Up

We have a tradition in our house that involves the whole family gathered on Christmas day in their most festive attire, be it fancy dress, garish, flashing jewellery or the more traditional Christmas jumper.  It started on Imogen’s first Christmas back in 2008 and has quickly turned fairly competitive.  Here’s a little round up of what our family will be “rocking” around the Christmas tree this year.

Mamas and Papas have a great range for the youngest members of the family.

Girl's Two Piece Snowman Outfit

Girl’s Two Piece Snowman Outfit – £24.00 – Sizes Newborn – 18 mths-2 years

Snowflake Knitted Romper

Unisex Snowflake Knitted Romper – £24.00 – Sizes newborn – 9-12 months

Both of the Kiddywink’s Christmas jumpers were sorted quickly with just one trip to Next this year.  Imogen has chosen this red gingerbread jumper whilst Joseph opted for a light up number!

Gingerbread Jumper

Gingerbread Jumper – from £18 – Sizes 3 months to 6 years

Light Up Reindeer Jumper

Light Up Reindeer Jumper – from £15 – Sizes 3 months – 6 years

Tony and we both be sporting Tipsy Elves this year, they’re the biggest retailer of the “ugly Christmas Jumper” and their selection had Tony and I crying with laughter as we selected these beauties.

Happy Birthday Jesus

Happy Birthday Jesus men’s Jumper – £38 – Sizes S – XXL

Santa Jumper Dress

Santa Jumper Dress – £38.00 – Sizes XS – XL

There’s a huge range to chose from, from traditional fairisle with a comic twist to the well, eyebrow raising and whilst their jumpers aren’t what I would class as “cheap” they’re quality made and a proportion of each sale goes to Stand Up To Cancer to help children in their fight against cancer.  What’s more for every new like on their Facebook page they’re donating $1 of warm clothing and kid-friendly merchandise to Children in Need, click here to do your bit.

Just because I couldn’t resist, here’s a picture of my very own “tipsy” elf!

My Tipsy Elf

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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