Our Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas Traditions – when you’re a kid you don’t really think about the things that you do each year at Christmas as it’s a given. It’s not until you’re an adult and have children of your own that you realise that it’s these traditions that make Christmas special. It’s those things that our children will remember.

A Pinterest Pin with colourful Christmas trees with the wording Our christmas tradtiions

My Childhood Christmas Traditions

I was born and brought up in a little village called Rishton in Lancashire and my Nan would visit us most years from Exeter, Devon where we live now.

We always looked forward to my Nan coming as she would always bring us treats.

Every year without fail my Nan bought us all a new dressing gown, slippers and pyjamas (nightdresses for us girls). Looking back they were really old fashioned grannyesque nightdresses with quilted dressing gowns with material buttons. My sister and I always got the same but in a different colours or patterns.

We always went to Sunday school and took part in whatever crafts and carol singing they were doing.

My Nan was an amazing baker and whenever she visited she always made various things including jam rolypoly. We all fought over being the helper and would play with the biscuit scraps for ages

The Christmas number one was always something to be anticipated. We used to listen to the radio for the top 40 countdown every Sunday whilst my mum ironed our school uniform, and Top of the Pops was a much watch. Of course you had to watch it ‘real time’ which I know is quite retro these days.

A trip to Rays – this was a local shop that sold a bit of everything. Growing up with a single mum meant that it was always up to my Nan to make sure that we bought our mum a Christmas present. So we went to Rays to choose something. I remember buying her this like picture frame on a swivel stand (a bit like a mirror) that was full of coloured sand that you tipped up to create sand patterns. It was really naff but my mum said she liked it.

Christmas films – any Christmas films that were on the TV (all four channels) were something that everybody looked forward to. Santa Claus the movie and Home Alone were my absolute faves.

We had an Advent Calendar that was shared between the three of us. It wasn’t like the calendars are now. There weren’t even any chocolates in the doors. It was pictures that represented Christmas such as a Christmas Tree, a mince pie, the Three Wise Men etc. We had to take it in turns to open the doors, and we loved it.

My Mum used to pay weekly for a food hamper for Christmas which was delivered in these huge polystyrene boxes. They were full of all sorts of what we considered ‘treat’ foods. We had ham in a tin which you had to open with a little key that came on the side of it. It came out of the tin in a huge blob like mass and was covered in jelly. It makes me cringe when I think back to it, but we really enjoyed it at the time. There was a cupboard in our lounge where all the good stuff was kept – boxes of biscuits, the Christmas Puddings and mince pies, bags of nuts and the tubs of twiglets and crackers.

Creating our own Christmas Traditions

When Ryan was born we had to make our own traditions, based on what we enjoyed of our own childhood christmases.

I love the idea and thought behind the Christmas Eve Boxes, but it wasn’t heard of when Ryan was little, but we had our own things that we did every year without fail.

Christmas Pyjamas

Every year the kids get new ones to wear on Christmas Eve. In the last few years, it’s been matching family pyjamas which I really like. I’ve yet to convince Chris to wear matching pyjamas but one of these days we’ll get him to do it.

Christmas Eve Just Us

Christmas Eve is definitely a hot chocolate and Christmas movie day. We quite often have takeaway or pizza and snuggle up on the sofa ready for a solid few days of non-stop eating. We don’t make any plans with friends or family on Christmas Eve as it’s OUR day as a little family. Something we’ll carry on for as long as we can.

Christmas Decorations

I love seeing all the colour coordinated glamorous looking trees, but I love our tree. Our Christmas decorations have been collected over the years or made by the kids an mean so much more. We buy a new Christmas decoration each year so we’re building up quite a collection. I feel quite nostalgic when we unpack these as we remember where they came from or who made them. We always decorate the tree to cheesy Christmas music whilst eating Christmas sweets and chocolates.

Writing Father Christmas a Letter

The kids love doing this and then we make a special trip to the post box to post the letter off. It’s such a lovely thing to do each year.

Father Christmas visit

Who doesn’t love to take the kids to see Father Christmas. We’ve been to some lovely ones and also some not so lovely ones over the years. I think we missed a couple of years as Isabelle was terrified of him. The worse one we went to was one that just ended up being a photograph opportunity that you could buy for an extortionate amount of money and we were shuffled along like an Aldi checkout.

Christmas Stockings

Where do you put yours? We started off by putting it at the end of Ryan’s bed l, but one year he was terrified about Father Christmas being in his bedroom so we started putting it outside his bedroom door and we’ve carried this on. The kids all have different stockings. Ryan who is a fully fledged adult these days has a knitted one that stretches so much that you can fill it with quite a lot, and we still fill this up for him each year.

Christmas Crafts

We always do a few Christmas Crafts in the lead up to Christmas. This includes making Christmas Bisuits, decorations, cards and other handmade presents. The kids always enjoy this and like to choose what crafts they do.

Christmas Day Outfit

We always have something new to wear. We do get dressed for Christmas Day, I know a lot of people like to stay in their comfies, but I like something with a bit of sparkle in it.

Elf on the Shelf

We now do the Elf on the Shelf, but be warned. Once you start it, there’s no going back. You can find loads of inspiration online for what you can do that range from really easy to putting in a ridiculous amount of effort. My only advice would be to plan this as its the absolute pits when it gets to 10pm and you’re have to think of what to do with the Elf!

Christmas morning always starts the same way. I’m always awake first and I either noisily make my way to the loo to wake the kids up or send the dog upstairs. I then make Chris a coffee and myself a cuppa before the kids pile onto our bed with their stockings. I should at this point mention that even the dog gets in on this as well. He has his own stocking and you’ve never seen such an excited dog! This is probably my favourite part of the day when the excitement is at its highest. We then make our way downstairs for the present reveal.

Christmas Market

We have a lovely Christmas Market in Exeter and we make two separate trips. One with the kids (a nightmare) and one on our own (total bliss).

I enjoy these things far more than the whole buying and wrapping presents which I find quite stressful. I love seeing my children’s faces on Christmas morning but the pressure to spend seems to get more intense every year.

What traditions do you have with your family?

Updated post – Originally posted 30/11/18

A Step by Step Guide to Decluttering your House

A Step by Step Guide to Decluttering your House

Having a cluttered house and a dirty house are very different. Your house can be clean but untidy and cluttered with stuff that you may not need or even want any more. I’m not a fan or ornaments or trinkets, but having three kids, we have a lot of stuff! Decluttering your house on a regular basis is probably a must, especially when you have kids.

We’ve been running out of space for quite a while now so it’s time to do something about it. We’re hoping to make some spare cash from some of the things that we not longer need or want anymore so that’s the biggest incentive to do it at the moment.

I’m doing it over the course of the month so that it doesn’t turn into a nightmare job. You know, when you pull everything out and then instantly regret it. So here’s what I’m doing to make sure it doesn’t turn into a mammoth nightmare task.

A Step by Step Guide to Decluttering your House

Setting Clear Goals

Before you dive into decluttering, it’s essential to establish clear goals. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to make your home more functional, create a more visually appealing space, or simply get rid of the excess stuff that’s been weighing you down? Setting clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the process.

Gather Supplies

To get started, gather the necessary supplies. Make sure you have bin bags, boxes, labels, pens and cleaning stuff. Deciding what you want to do with stuff will make it easier. Having everything on hand will make the process smoother and more efficient. Cleaning each area as I go is something I’m going to do as well – might as well!

Choose a Room or area

Start with one room at a time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you try to tackle your entire house in one go. Choose a room where the clutter is most bothersome, and start there. Common starting points are the living room, bedroom, or the kitchen.

Sort and Categorise

Once you’ve chosen a room, begin by sorting and categorising your belongings. Create three piles or areas: Keep, Donate/Sell, and Bin. Be ruthless in your decision-making. If you haven’t used or needed an item in the last year, it might be time to let it go.

Decluttering area by area

Within the room, declutter area by area. For example, start with one wardrobe, one drawer, or one shelf. Remove everything from that area, clean it thoroughly, and then decide what items belong in the “Keep,” “Donate/Sell,” or “Bin” piles. Continue this process until you’ve decluttered the entire room.

Storage Solutions

Invest in appropriate storage solutions to keep the items you want to keep organised. Storage bins, shelves, and drawers can help you maintain a clutter-free space. Be sure to label these containers for easy identification.

Deep Cleaning

Once you’ve decluttered and organised a room, give it a thorough cleaning. Dust, vacuum, and mop, paying attention to the areas that were previously obscured by clutter. A clean space is not only visually pleasing but also healthier. Giving a room a deep clean also prevents any nasty germs from lingering about, if you’ve ever been or seen a hoarder, you’ll know that leaving dirt around can attract all manner of horrible pests and bugs who enjoy the smell of dirty, untidy areas of your home. If when you’re cleaning you come across signs of unwanted visitors, it might be a good idea to contact the Aptive Environmental Group GA (or another similar elsewhere more relevant) in order to get pest control services to eradicate the problem and prevent it from reoccurring. This will also give you more reason to keep your home clean, so keep on top of it unless you want those critters to return!

Donate or Sell

Items in the “Donate/Sell” pile can be given to charity or sold online or through Facebook Marketplace. Make sure that you do this or you’re just creating more piles.

Dispose Properly

Dispose of items in the “Discard” pile in an environmentally responsible manner. Recycle or properly dispose of these through your local recycling centre.

Maintenance

Decluttering is an ongoing process. To maintain a clutter-free home, develop a habit of regular tidying up. Designate specific times each week to deal with incoming clutter and reevaluate your possessions.

I’m going to keep going with this, possibly every six months to keep on top of things so that we don’t accumulate stuff that we don’t need or use.

September is the new New Year

September is the new New Year

I really feel like this is true as a Mum. As we head towards each July we tend to build it up in the same way as we do Christmas. Making sure that we have every little detail covered to embrace the six weeks that the kids are home from school. For some this means military like precision in terms of getting childcare organised, or you could be one of those Mums who has to have activities organised for every minute of the day.

September Challenge - Let's get organised

 

I think I sit nicely in the middle as I don’t over organise activities which is just as well going by the summer we’ve had weather wise. I do have huge regret that I didn’t organise any childcare though.

This is the first Summer of being 100% self-employed. Usually I can organise the work I have to do around the kids, but this Summer has been hectic for us with our son getting married and a family holiday to organise. I felt like the school holidays hit me like a speeding train, like I wasn’t expecting it and that’s totally on me.

Don’t get me wrong, I was more than capable of getting my client work done and schedulers are my absolute best friend, but it was all the bits that I wanted for myself and my business that I haven’t been able to do and that’s the huge difference between being employed and self-employed. When you’re employed there are no negotiables – you have to start and finish work at a set time, but when you’re self-employed you can push back and shelve things. That’s the beauty of working for yourself right? I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself to get things on my to-do list done.

Anyway, there is light at the end of the tunnel and next week both kids are back at school and our routine will return.

September is the new New Year

As with the actual New Year, a new school year feels the same in terms of getting organised and starting new things. Having the kids home 24/7 means that there is very little order in the house, always toys on the floor and the constant requests for them to be fed. So, with this in mind I’ve started this September with a 30 Day Decluttering Challenge. I’m therefore working towards getting more organised across everything in my business and homelife to make things easier for all of us.

30 Day Declutter Challenge

Every day for the month of September I’m going to focus on a particular area in the house so that we have less clutter and a more organised way of living. We have stuff in drawers and cupboards that we haven’t used or needed for a very long time so it’s time to get rid of all the excess. I’m going to start with all the random mugs, cups and glasses that we have and go from there. One of the things I will have to tackle at some point is the kids artwork and schoolwork which I know I’m going to find heart-wrenching but do we really need to keep Belle’s maths book from year 3 (she’s now in year 7).

You can keep up to date with my decluttering over on TikTok and Instagram, and you can join in too if you want to using the hashtag #30daysdeclutterchallenge

Getting back into Blogging

I’m also going to blog every day for the month of September. This feels like a huge commitment, but I’m going to give it my best. I’ve been doing quite a bit over on TikTok in terms of making extra money by doing Side Hustles. This has given me a great insight into what I definitely don’t want to be spending my time doing. It has made me more conscious of how and where I spend my money though for example by signing up to cashback sites which I would highly recommend.  You get money back for doing essentially nothing. You can have a look at some of the things that I’ve tried on this post – Side Hustles to Boost your Income from the Comfort of your Own Home. 

 

How to Start Meal Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Start Meal Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide

Meal Planning is a great way to make sure that you’re not overspending or wasting food, but it’s also great for your sanity as well. The amount of times that I would stand in front of a fridge or cupboard full of food and had no inspiration or idea what I was going to make for dinner. It drove me mad, and it’s not great when you’ve just come home from work or got the kids in from school and everyone’s hungry. I already knew it was a great way to save money since you’re only buying the food that you’re going to eat, but believe me when I say that it just takes a little bit of the mental load off. I wasn’t sure how to start meal planning before I did it, so here are the things that I do to make it easy.

Do a Stock Take

This sounds way more official than it is, but knowing what you have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer is going to make it a lot easier. For example, if you have packets of rice or loads of pasta then that’s going to be on the menu for the coming week. Basically you’re going to take stock of the things that you have and incorporate these into your meals. This is an ongoing thing so it’s a good thing to do from the start.

Basic Supplies

This is going to be different for everybody, but we always have a stash of things like tinned tomatoes, baked beans, rices, pasta, pasta sauce, Ketchup etc etc and each week we have a look to see what we’re low on and add it to the list if needed. We like to do it this way rather than buying just what we need for our weekly meal plan as you never know when you need to change your plans such as an extra child for dinner or forgetting to take something out of the freezer. This way, we know that we always have options such as a quick pasta and sauce or beans on toast!

Let’s make a Meal Plan

Ok, so we’re going to start planning out seven meals. Start off simple. What do you like to eat? Keep it simple to start with by picking meals that you eat regularly and then there are just a few things that we do to make it work a bit better. If one of your meals is some kind of salad, that needs to be at the beginning of the week so that your salad isn’t going to be off by the time you need it. The other thing to consider is what you’re doing for the next seven days. If your kids have after school activities then you need to either choose a meal that you can put in the slow cooker or a quick and simple one that you can make quickly when you get home. Likewise, if you have a roast dinner on one of the days, what can you make the following day with the leftovers? Making sure that you get the most out of the food that you’ve bought is just as important. You’ve paid for it, so don’t let it go to waste. Here’s a sample meal plan that we’re having this week:

What to include

You will see that my Meal Plan doesn’t include breakfasts and lunches as these are more on the day decisions for us, but we are mindful of what we buy so that we don’t overbuy and waste food. We always have a selection of options for breakfast such as cereal, toast, waffles, fruit and yoghurt and we do the same for lunches which during the week is packed lunches for the kids. This works for us, but if you started meal planning specifically to budget then I might include that as well.

Get Everybody Involved

If you have kids, then get them involved in the planning. Let them pick a favourite meal each so that you have less chance of anybody moaning on the day.

Leftovers and batch-cooking are your new friend

We consider leftovers as maybe one portion or less than one of us can have as a lunch option the next day, but anything more than that can be frozen and used as a future meal option. Of course, if we’re making things such as bolognaise or curry then we tend to make more so that we have enough to freeze for another day. These are then taken out for days when we’re all busy so that we can still have a tasty meal with zero effort. You can see what we did with our leftover Spaghetti Bolognese over on Tiktok.

Get a Slow-Cooker

If you haven’t already got a slow cooker then you NEED one. The smug satisfaction of a Mum on the walk home from the afternoon school run knowing that dinner is slowly bubbling away is as good as it gets! I’m fortunate enough to work from home, and I love the sense of achievement of popping something in the slow cooker in the morning, and going about my day knowing that dinner is done and I can crack on with work. A slow cooker also works really well with cheaper cuts of meat as it’s slowly cooking and ends up melt in the mouth.

Meal Planning made Simple

Our meal plan is literally a list of seven meals (dinners) and we buy the ingredients that we need to make these meals. We don’t stick rigidly to the plan, so we may eat what we’ve written next to Tuesday on a Wednesday for example. We usually play it by ear on the day. You can buy a fancy planner or you can simply write your meal plan on a scrap of paper. It really doesn’t matter, but believe me you will find it so much easier when food shopping. Here is a meal plan that we had recently.

Meal Planner Download

Making Digital products and templates is actually a bit of me, so I’ve made a very simple pastel meal planner that you can download and print off or you can fill-in digitally which you can buy very affordably on my Etsy Shop. There’s the weekly planner in a few versions as well as a shopping list which you can fill in as you plan each meal.

Give it a go and let me know what you think x

Side Hustles to boost your income from the Comfort of your own Home

Side Hustles to boost your income from the Comfort of your own Home

We’ve all seen and received emails and stuff on the net stating that you can make your first million in half an hour if you just sign up for this or that. Now whilst there are a LOT of scams out there, there are in fact a lot of ways to make an additional income should you wish to, but which of these Side Hustles actually work?

A lady sat with a laptop at home working on her side hustles for additional income

As a Virtual Assistant I see a lot of things online stating that you can make a lot of money in just a few hours a week in your spare time. Now, this is sort of true but not completely. Working as a Freelance Virtual Assistant started as an additional income for me alongside my part-time job, but it has since become my main income. This didn’t happen overnight, you have to be visible and present to attract clients and do the actual work itself. I was also offering services that I have a lot of experience doing, but if you feel that you have transferable skills to offer this as a service then I 100% recommend it.

Anyhoo, the whole ‘side hustle’ culture really intrigues me, so I thought that I would put a few to the test to see how much money I can make in six months. The best way to follow me on this Side Hustle Journey is on TikTok where I talk about the different kinds of side hustles that I’ve seen, and to see if they can in fact make me any money. On a side note, be prepared for your inbox to explode as mine has since signing up for various things.

I’m not going to be doing anything that requires any upfront costs such as ‘pay me £27 to unlock the secrets to six figures’. I might just be a suspicious person, but I’d be happy to bet my soul that this would not be the case.

I will be keeping track of my earning on this Fabulous Spreadsheet that I bought from Jamie Rose. You can find the link on her TikTok profile if you want to jump onboard.

Here are the things that I’ve looked at so far, and most importantly any sign-up codes I may have which will earn me a little bit more money to put in the pot.

Survey Sites

Attapoll Surveys 

This is an App that you can download and sign up for. Every day you are allocated some polls and surveys to complete, and these vary in money paid and time that they will take you to complete. The more stars they have next to them, the more relevant they are to you based on the information given when you sign up. If you sign up for this using my referral link, I will receive 20p for each person that signs up and then 10% of your earnings (not from you) which you can also do by referring your family and friends.

MSR Surveys 

This is a great app that I’ve already made a small amount of money by really simple tasks. It doesn’t pay in cash, but you earn points that can be converted to vouchers which you can use towards Christmas or Birthday presents.

Branded Surveys 

I really like this one, and although they have an App I prefer this one on my laptop. You automatically get 100 points when you sign up and the surveys are both easy and fun (they can be a bit repetitive). You get paid by either Paypal, Gift card or you can donate your earnings to various charities.

Qmee 

This is such a fun survey site and possibly my favourite out of all of them. They also do daily polls which you can earn a few points from.

Testers

Sign up to become a Tester with www.testingtime.com. I have yet to be sent any assignments so will keep you posted.

Selling Sites

Vinted 

Vinted is a great way to sell your unwanted and outgrown clothes, and it’s not just clothes, they sell homeware, beauty and even toys. It’s really easy to upload your items, and no fees are taken from Vinted. There are several postage options, but I find the easiest one for me is Evri which I can send from my local Tesco and haven’t had any problems to date. What’s more there is no bidding, people can make you an offer on your items, which you can accept or decline.

Digital Templates

As part of my job as a Virtual Assistant I’ve made many social media graphics, ebooks, headers, banners etc etc and these are very popular for small business owners who don’t have the skill or time to make them for themselves. I love Canva, it’s such an easy platform to use and has so many capabilities. Creating template bundles and selling them time and again, is a great way to make some extra cash. You can sign up for a FREE Canva account Here. My Canva template bundles can be found:

Etsy Shop – Lisa’s Templates Design

Payhip Shop

Cashback Sites

Top Cashback 

Earn money back off purchases such as your every day groceries, furniture, holidays, gifts. There’s literally loads of retailers that you can earn cashback just by going through the site link. Here is my Top Cashback referral code if you aren’t already signed up.

I’m going to add to this post as and when I find a new side hustle. I would love to know if you have any of your own that you could recommend.

 

What kind of Pancakes do you Prefer?

What kind of Pancakes do you Prefer?

I’ve tried quite a few different types of pancakes, but I think traditional pancakes with sugar and lemon are my overall favourite. My kids love pancakes, and it’s their breakfast of choice for any special occasions such as their birthdays. Here are some of the recipes that I’ve used time and again over the last few years.

Simple Pancake Batter 

I know you can buy packets of ready made mix, but there couldn’t be anything simpler than this recipe, and you’ve probably already got all the ingredients at home already.

My simple Pancake Batter Recipe is easy to make for the perfect pancakes

 

Pancake Kebab Recipe

These pancakes were a firm favourite with Freddie when he was weaning as they’re easy for small hands and bite-sized.

Pancake Kebab Recipe

 

American Pancake Recipe 

I wasn’t sure before I made these, but the bacon with the maple syrup just goes. If you’ve been sitting on the fence, just give them a go. It’s delicious!

Simple American Pancake Recipe

Red Velvet Pancake Recipe 

With cream cheese frosting. These are a great alternative, especially if you’re a chocolate lover.

Recipe for making Red Velvet Pancakes with photograph of pancakes topped with cream and chocolate shavings

 

Happy Flippin Pancake Day!

Do you have a Back-up Plan for Christmas?

Do you have a Back-up Plan for Christmas?

Do we need a back-up plan for Christmas? We all thought that this was going to be the year that normality returned. We are allowed to mingle and there are no restrictions in terms of numbers gathering etc etc. We all know that we have to be personally responsible in terms of if we’re ill don’t knowingly spread our germs around by visiting others, going to work or just carrying on as normal.

But this year, we’re still not in a great position.

Do you have a Back-up Plan for Christmas

Coughs, Colds and Everything Else!

We’re all coming down with coughs and colds, which we’re spreading around. Employers want you to be at work and we don’t want to be penalised financially, so it’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

The school’s stance is that if your child has a general cough and cold that they should attend school, which again adds to the spreading.

People aren’t using their heating as much which probably isn’t great if you’re poorly and need to stay warm to recover.

We’ve also got Scarlet Fever going around both of our kids’ schools at the moment which is very contagious and not very nice. Belle had this a few years ago and it was a very worrying few days for us.

Strikes

It’s not just illnesses that we’re contending with at the moment. Just when we thought we could have a normal Christmas, the rail strikes were announced which is going to impact so many people hoping to travel to see family this Christmas.

Border strikes are also happening, so again if you are planning to travel by air there are loads of warnings that delays and cancellations are inevitable.

Postal strikes have meant that some of our purchases might not turn up over Christmas, which isn’t the end of the world but has a huge impact on small businesses that have taken huge hits over the last few years anyway.

Health strikes are going to have a huge impact on routine healthcare, but all emergency work will continue.

Cost of Living

Never has life felt more doom and gloom than it does at the moment. I’m part of local mums’ Facebook groups, and every day it’s flooded with people asking for advice regarding not being able to cover bills, not having enough money for food and lately a very sad stream of parents offloading their worries over not being able to provide a ‘good enough’ Christmas for their kids.

I should mention that there are a lot of people who are in a better position offering help and support to families which is absolutely amazing. We’ve been putting together presents for children who otherwise might not get anything for Christmas. I think this is a good lesson for our children to know that they are fortunate and not all children have the same as them so showing kindness is always a good thing to do. We’re not well off by any means but are happy to support others.

Weather

We live in Devon and had a very light sprinkling of snow at the weekend. We were predicted snow last night but this didn’t happen. However, we have had heavy snow in the past and given that we as a country are completely unprepared for and may also have an impact on our plans.

Back-up Plan for Christmas

So my point of this post was that given all of the above, many of us might not make it to our preferred destination this year. Given the predicted weather and strikes you may not be able to get where you want to be, and if someone in your household or the household you’re going to gets ill, you may need to change your plans.

So does that mean we all need to have a back-up Christmas Dinner plan just in case?

We’re due to go to my in-laws and it’s about a half an hour drive away from us, Chris’ sister is around an hour away and our son is coming from Winchester.

I’m keeping everything crossed that none of us gets poorly so that we can spend the day together, but obviously, if any of us are poorly we’ll have to stay at home.

I’m thinking that we might have to stock up the freezer just in case this happens so that we can still enjoy a Christmas Dinner. Otherwise, there’s going to be a mass hunting of turkeys, veg and all the trimmings come Christmas Eve!

Do you have a back-up plan?

Cool Christmas Stocking Ideas

Cool Christmas Stocking Ideas

Hands down the Christmas Stockings are my kids favourite part of Christmas Day. We leave ours outside their bedroom doors (Belle didn’t want an old man in her bedroom AKA Father Christmas) and then in the morning we all pile on our bed to open them. It’s total chaos but we love it, so there’s a lot of pressure to get the perfect stocking fillers.

As you know, we as parents don’t fill the stockings, Father Christmas does so these are things that I think the children (and adults) of the UK would like if I were to have to buy them!

Slime Baff is slime that you add to the bath or a tuff tray for kids to play with

Slime Baff – RRP £4.50

Okay, I’m not going to lie, this is messy but the kids love it in the bath or in a tuff tray in the garden and then it can be dissolved with additional water when finished. My only tip if you’re playing in a tuff tray is that it’s super slippy on a patio!

Silicone topped plastic water droppers

Water Droppers – RRP £6.99

These are great for water play on a Tuff Tray.

Things to do while you Poo book

Things to do while you Poo – RRP £4.99

A fun book full of riddles, word searches, facts, mazes, and more….What more could you want!

Reusable Organic Cotton Pads

Reusable Organic Cotton Pads – RRP £7.99

I don’t use any other kind of pads for removing make-up anymore. These are so good and you only need to use one.

Bath Water Flutes

Bath Water Flutes – RRP £8.99

These are great for little ones. The flutes make different sounds based on the amount of water and at the end of play, pop out the plug and the water drains away.

Personalised Hot Chocolate Spoon

Personalised Hot Chocolate Spoon – RRP £3.49

My kids love hot chocolate so would love a special hot chocolate spoon with their names on.

Dinosaur Spaghetti Soap

Dinosaur Spaghetti Soap – RRP £3.50

Baths in our house have become an event where we have to have coloured water, extreme bubbles, or something else. This Spaghetti soap is going to go down a treat for Freddie.

Orchard Toys Dinosaur Dominoes Game

Orchard Toys Dinosaur Dominoes – RRP £6.99

These mini games are a great introduction to games for wriggly children with little attention span.

Grow a Sloth

Grow a Sloth – RRP £5.97

Who doesn’t love a sloth!

Cats Vs Pickles Collectible toys

Cats Vs Pickles Collectibles – RRP £14.49

These little plushies are very popular with my kids. They’re both cats but I feel like I might be a Pickle.

Happy Shopping x

*This post contains items I have been gifted as well as affiliate links which means I receive a small payment if you make a purchase following one of my links at no extra cost to you.

Christmas Gift Guide for Tweens

Christmas Gift Guide for Tweens

This is definitely the age group where the price of everything hikes up and the size reduces. When they were younger, you got a lot of brightly coloured plastic for your money and this age group everything is smaller with a huge price tag attached. I remember the look on our son’s face on Christmas Day (Belle’s first) when her stuff filled half the room (think Jumperoo, megablocks etc) and he got a games console which cost three times as much!

Truck Wooden Model Kit

Wooden Truck Model Kit – £24.99

These are great if your kids are into any kind of construction kit and will keep them busy for a while. You can keep them in their natural form or paint them.

Jenga

Jenga – RRP £14.99

All three of my kids love Jenga, but the only one we have at the moment is a drinking game one complete with shot glasses so maybe it’s time to buy the actual game and let Ryan have his shots one back!

Pastel coloured Nike Socks

Pastel Coloured Nike Socks – RRP £8.00

This is the price per pair of socks but apparently is something that she ‘NEEDS’. There are loads of lovely colours from sellers over at Etsy.

New Look Gift Cards

Gift Cards – RRP As much as you can afford

Belle has reached the age where she likes to pick out things herself, particularly clothes so gift cards are a great option. New Look is her current favourite shop hence the image, but you can get gift cards for pretty much all shops, and cinema ones are a good option too.

Instax Mini Poloroid Camera

Instax Mini Camera – RRP £78.00

These cameras are great for taking pictures with their besties so they can cover their walls with them.

Pink Nike Air Jordans Trainers

Pink Nike Air Jordans – RRP £125

These trainers are on Belle’s Christmas list this year………….

Metallic Marker Pen Set

Metallic Marker Pen Set – RRP £7.98

Belle loves all the different types of marker pens to use in her colouring books or to just make her homework look prettier.

Bop it electronic Game

Bop it! – RRP £17.99

This is a real hit, especially at Christmas. You can challenge each other to see who can follow the instructions for the longest. A warning though – It’s addictive!

LED Light Strips

LED Light Strips – RRP £25.99

Isabelle has put these LED lights on her Christmas list to put around her bedroom. They’re quite clever as they can be controlled by a remote or through an App on your phone.

Bath Bomb Gift Set

Bath Bomb Gift Sets – RRP £14.95

We’ve been giving some kind of bath bomb set to Belle for a few years now as she loves them and these are pretty cool.

Happy Shopping x

*This post contains items I have been gifted as well as affiliate links which means I receive a small payment if you make a purchase following one of my links at no extra cost to you.

Christmas Gift Guide for 9 – 12 Year Olds

Christmas Gift Guide for 9 – 12 Year Olds

Hmm the age when they still like to play with toys but are also trying to be completely grown up and waiting for the teenage years to kick in. Let’s make one thing clear, this age group are still kids and whether they only play when they’re on their own in their bedroom or openly they still need toys to keep them entertained (and off technology).

 

Lite Brite Oval with templates to create a light sensory display using coloured pegs

Lite Brite Oval – RRP £24.99. We were recently sent a Lite Brite Oval to review and it was such a hit with both my 12 year old and my 4 year old. Once you’ve completed a design you can pop it on a shelf for a light sensory display.

fidget Toy box set containing 36 fidget toys

 

Fidget Toy Box – RRP £15.99

These sets make an excellent present for this age group. You don’t know what you’re getting so it has the added element of surprise.

The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch Book by Tom Fletcher

 

The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch – Tom Fletcher – RRP £7.99

I haven’t read this book but I have it on very good authority (Belle’s) this is a really good book that she has read several times.

Barbie Extra Doll with Accessories

Barbie Extra Doll – RRP £39.99

This is obviously up to the individual child, but our eldest likes to collect Barbies and accessories and so she got this one a couple of years ago.

Kinetic Sand Set

Kinetic Sand Set – RRP Around £20.00

This set is really great for some quiet play and weirdly satisfying for all. It comes with a variety of tools and can be kept in this handy case.

Plasticine Morph Animation Kit

Morph Animation Maker – RRP £26.99

If your kids like making stop-start animation movies then this is the kit for them. Who remembers Morph? We always had Plasticine as kids.

Hip Hoppa

Hip Hoppa – RRP £24.99

This is like a pogo stick without the stick. It takes a while to work out how to get on, but once you do you’re ready to bounce away. We had a play on this recently and it was so much fun!

Word Master is the five letter word guessing game

Word Master Game – RRP £19.99

This is a great family game to play. Guess the five-letter word to be the winner!

Oversized blanket hoodie for kids

 

Blanket Hoodies – RRP £23.00

There are so many designs and colours to choose from but kids seem to be going crazy for these, and with heating being so expensive at the moment it’s a good buy. My daughter has one and loves it, and our youngest is getting one for Christmas as well.

Rainbow Scratch Pad

Rainbow Scratch Pads – RRP £12.99

You can get these in all different designs depending on what your kids are into, but Belle will sit and do these when she’s feeling a bit tired or more than likely when she’s had her phone taken away and she needs to have a bit of screen-free time.

Happy Shopping x

*This post contains items I have been gifted as well as affiliate links which means I receive a small payment if you make a purchase following one of my links at no extra cost to you.