Looking for Christmas gifts with a difference this year? Forget scouring the internet for an alternative to that boring Lynx gift set (which you know he'll receive 3 of) and take a look at my favourite gifts for all the family in this convenient roundup:
Clockwise from top left
Personalised golf tees bag. Golf mad partners, dads and grandads will love this cheeky little golf tee bag. You can personalise with any name and it comes with 10 wooden tees. Made it the UK. £6 snapdragononline.co.uk
Rainsthorpe Manor liquors, jams and jellies. Made in Yorkshire using locally sourced fruits, there is an abundance of different award winning tasty treats whatever their tipple. The raspberry gin is my favourite and apparently it is amazing over Eaton Mess. You can buy in singles or fab hampers and presentation boxes. From £3.50 rainsthorpemanor.com
Anti-Snore Pillow. A good night' sleep for all the family, possibly the best gift ever! Super soft foam core supports the head and neck to encourage better breathing and reduce snoring. Fingers crossed! £9.99 thebeddingcompany.co.uk
Top Gear track experience. Be the star in a reasonably priced car, race hot laps and even drive with the Stig! Make him part of the action instead of watching from the armchair at home. The perfect gift for a wannabe racer. From £70 topgeartrackexperience.com
Computer game inspired Xmas jumpers. Buy him a novelty jumper he'll love for a change this year! Choose from retro Street Fighter, Sonic or Playstation designs. He'll still be wearing it come the New Year... Sizes up to XXL. £34.99 yellowbulldog.co.uk
Clockwise from top left
I'll Be Watching You by Beverly Barton. Do you know someone who loves a thriller with a racy edge? This book has all the right ingredients. Murder, intrigue, scandal and suspense with just the right amount of romance. £7.99, Avon
The Royal Palaces Collection from Briers. Green fingered ladies will love this range of stylish and practical gardening gear. There are 3 designs to choose from all inspired by Royal Palaces. The Baroque collection in a deep purple design (pictured) is my favourite. From £7.99 briersltd.co.uk
Diva Chromatix hairdryers and straightening irons. Look at the amazing range of colours! I nearly had a fit when I saw them. The hair dryers use ionic technology for glossy locks and are super light with 4 heat and 2 speed settings. The irons have argan oil infused plates for super smooth styling. Did I mention the colours? From £49.99 divapro.co.uk
Rokit gel manicure nails kit. Save her a fortune by bringing the salon home with this new gel manicure kit. The easy 1step application promises a rock hard finish which lasts up to 14days. My nails lasted a week which was very impressive considering the bashing they took. It comes with 1 hot pink polish but you can buy more separately. £99.99 (currently on sale for £63! Bargain...) debenhams.com
Scholl Energy Percussion massager. This 3in1 handheld massager is perfect for gym bunnies to ease overworked muscles or frazzled mums who need to relax and wind down. The 3 interchangeable massage nodes mean you can choose intense deep tissue, relaxing massage or warming infared heat therapy. Plus you can control the speed to your requirements. £39.99 amazon.co.uk
For big kids...
Clockwise from top left
The Original Sound Asleep Speaker pillow. Perfect for teenagers. Simply rest your head to learn a language, listen to music or revise in comfort. The speaker is undetectable inside a hollowfibre filling. £8.99 thebeddingcompany.co.uk
Lazer cut butterfly necklaces. I couldn't have a gift guide without a butterfly somewhere and these are simply stunning. Made in the UK these wooden necklaces come in a variety of beautiful designs. I want one in my stocking! £14 ladybirdlikes.com
Clippy tote bag. Help them stand out from the crowd. These clever bags allow for personalised styling with photos, fabrics and mementos. And the best bit is it can be changed whenever the mood strikes, which is bound to be often! £24.99 clippylondon.com
Spotify premium subscription. Give the gift of music. Unlimited, ad free music they can download to their iPods to listen to offline. Premium subscriptions cost £10 a month and gift cards are available in 1,3,6 or 12mth denominations. You can buy an e-card for instant delivery or buy a physical gift card to wrap up under the tree. spotify.com
'Not awake' tshirt. Ever attempted to speak to a teenager before midday? This tshirt says it all! £24.40 notonthehighstreet.com
For little kids...
Clockwise from top left
Chicco Musical Tales Singing Bear. This was Little E's favourite toy when we visited Chicco HQ and she is still talking about him! The interactive bear's mouth moves as he sings and speaks. Kid's can select a new tale by choosing a story from bear's backpack and press his feet to learn letters and numbers. £40 boots.com (currently part of their 3for2 mix and match gifts promo!)
Philips Spider-man 2in1 Projector Light. This exciting light will make storytime interactive and exciting. Simply choose one of the 3 film wheels and watch it project Spidey action scenes up onto the ceiling. When it is time for bed it becomes a comforting nightlight. Cool touch LED's make it kid safe. £19.99 philips.co.uk
Whizzimals. Whizzimals start life as a pull back car base, some magic foam and stickers. Your imagination does the rest creating whatever magical animal body shape you fancy. You get different colours to add patterns and designs. The magic foam sets hard overnight so you can add googly eyes and stickers the next day to give your creation personality. Then pull back and watch it whizz! £5 tobar.co.uk
Vtech Ziddizoom smart watch. Hotly tipped to be a Christmas best seller, this smart watch takes photos, video, voice memos, plays games and more. Plus it tells the time in digital or analogue format. Guaranteed to keep them entertained. Available in a variety of colours. £39.99 argos.co.uk
OMY Design and Play giant poster. Colouring in was one of my favourite hobbies when I was little. Now the whole family can colour together with these giant posters. There are lots of designs to choose from including the cities of London, NY and Paris. They really are exceptionally detailed and there is an adult design if you don't fancy sharing the kid's! £9.90 stonegift.com
HEXBUG Nano V2 Hurricane. My Nephews love HEXBUGS and this new tubular track system showcases the little robots' climbing ability perfectly. The track is completely customisable allowing the kids imagination to run wild. It would make a great starter kit for those new to HEXBUGS. £39.99 amazon.co.uk
Baby Born Dr Doll. Standing out in the crowded doll aisle this Chistmas is the doll who moonlights as a Doctor. Not only does she drink, wet and go in the bath, she has a full doctors outfit including a stethoscope headband! Plus she doesn't require batteries, perfect for Christmas morning! £44.99 smythstoys.com
My Magical Mermaid. First there were RoboFish, now there are RoboMermaids! They are great fun at bathtime and Little E adores hers. She swims around in the bath or you can buy an aquarium for them. If you place the little metal band provided on different parts of her body she swims in different directions. There's three different magical designs to choose from! £12 tobar.co.uk
Some of the products in this gift guide were sent for review but all opinions are my own.
A little late with this week's update. I'm still reeling from the shock that my baby is 9months old! How did that happen!?!?!?
On her 9mth birthday Little I decided to crawl. Proper knee crawling. No commando crawling for her which is no big surprise as she hates tummy time. She is still quite slow but she's getting the hang of it.
Life will never be the same again now she can follow us (or escape us!). She is now working on pulling herself up and can make it up onto her knees.
3 new teeth have joined the party making for a snotty, red cheeked, unsettled baby. She is sleeping ok surprisingly but crying out a lot at night. It was destiny that she would cut 3 teeth this week as it is National Teething Week! We attended a lovely event to celebrate the launch of the week and learnt lots of facts about teething from a wholistic dentist. Here are some of them and you can find out more at nationalteethingweek.co.uk
Note to self: do not allow plenty of time to get to a kids birthday party or you have to wait an hour in the cafe next door with a very bored child and spend a small fortune on bambinocinos and chocolate muffins. Plus you will inevitably eat a muffin and have muffin guilt all day. Then you'll lie about it in your food diary...
Six weeks until the big day! Definitely time to start Chrismas crafting. We are big fans of handmade gifts and each year Little E makes something for her grandparents. This year she has decided to paint these cute little ceramic tealight holders from Baker Ross.
There are 4 tealight holders in the box. They are all the same design, a little house with cut out windows and stars. You need to paint the houses with ceramic paint. We were sent glittery porcelain and glass pens. Little E was vey excited that the project involved glitter!
The pens are very easy to use and dry super quick. They give a subtle shimmer to the paint. Little E went for a colourful, interpretive style on her houses. They ended up looking like Mediterranean villas!
With LED tealights popped inside they are going to make fantastic Christmas presents for the grandparents!
Pack of 4 ceramic house tealight holders £4.69, Pack of 5 glitter porcelain and glass paint pens £9.99 and pack of 4 LED tealights £2.99 available from bakerross.co.uk
We are part of the Baker Ross blogger network but all opinions are our own.
Playing together now and loving being sisters. Little I is always looking for Little E and desperately wants to be wherever she is. Big sister adoration has begun!
Back in May I reviewed a fantastic new ebook, Falling, by debut author Emma Kavanagh. Due to it's phenomenal success, a paperback version has been released this month. Hurrah! As much as I love the convenience of reading electronically, nothing quite beats the feel of a real book! To celebrate the release, Emma has written this guest post sharing her thoughts on motherhood as part of her blog tour.
Motherhood is never easy - no-one ever said it would be. And I am luckier than most, able to design my working day around my children’s needs. But there is a downside to that. It means that there is rarely a time when I am completely off work. My second son is now seven weeks old and I am writing this stretched across his sleeping form. It’s fine. He’s dressed in a panda suit, so there’s an awful lot of cuteness going on here. My children bring me so much joy and so much exasperation, and even though there are times when I fantasise about escaping to an isolated cabin where no-one is touching me or wearing my underwear as a hat (what is with that?!), I know that I would last about 20 minutes before I needed those sticky cuddles again.
Falling by Emma Kavanagh, published by Arrow, at £6.99
You can follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaLK
I am the final stop on Emma's tour so you can hop over to the other blog stops right now!
If I hold my muslin over my face and ignore them perhaps they will go away and let me go back to sleep.
Or my sister may be persistent, climb into my cot and stick a cuddly monkey in my face....
Linking up with #wickedwednesdays over at brummymummyof2.co.uk
This week Little I has been very inquisitive and cheeky. Still not crawling but hauling herself about with a combination of bum shuffling and rolling. She has found the DVD player and is constantly trying to push all the buttons. Life will never be the same again...
Another new trick is standing up at the sofa. She can't move yet but it won't be long before she is cruising.
Despite being a bit grumpy as tooth #2 starts to bother her she has been very smiley. We have been on lots of school tours this week and she has kept been amusing all the other mums and dads with her smile.
I have been feeling under the weather so there has been lots of family time watching movies snuggled up on the sofa. Little I is not very cuddly and is continually trying to escape me and her big sis!
For the past 3mths we have been weaning Little I. She adores food and is never happier than when in her highchair eating! Chicco sent us their fun Pocket Lunch highchair to review and we have certainly put it through it's paces.
The highchair is very easy to assemble, it pretty much comes out of the box ready to go. We have the lime green design with orange accents. It is a really fun, bright design. The frame of the highchair is white with a large adjustable and removable white tray. Perfect if you are baby led weaning as they like a lot of space to make a big mess... There is also an adjustable foot rest for tired little feet (and to avoid swinging legs!).
The seat pad is very padded and comfy but a bit wide for Little I in the very beginning. She could have done with an insert to keep her stabilised but considering the RRP of this highchair is a mere £59.99, I wouldn't expect features like an insert for the value price. The seat cover is washable which is amazing as we all know what a mucky business baby weaning is!
It is ridiculous easy to collapse and store. You literally push a button and push the top half forward (with the tray attached!) and it simply closes up and folds in half. It stands up by itself when folded so you can pop it in a corner or carry it via the handle and plonk it in the car to take to Grandma's.
My favourite feature is the large basket underneath. I never have anywhere to put bibs so they end up scattered all over the kitchen. The basket is a godsend. They are always there on hand and I can chuck a pack of wipes in there too for cleaning up mucky faces.
The legs open up wide at the bottom providing a low centre of gravity to keep it stable. This is essential with a big sister climbing up the back of the highchair... Despite the wide leg base I have not tripped over the legs once. I think it is because the footprint of the highchair is similar to the seat and tray area so you are always spatially aware of it. The bright orange feet are a clever visual reminder too.
The only issue we have with the highchair is the angle of the back rest. It reclines which is great if baby falls asleep (this has never happened with my girls but I am aware some babies do have a post lunch snooze!) but the angle doesn't quite go far enough upright. So Little I is sitting slightly reclined all the time. Due to her reflux condition she needs to sit very upright so it isn't the best angle for her.
Overall we really like this highchair. Due to it's easy fold mechanism and low price it would be a great highchair to keep at the grandparents or to take on holiday. If you are looking for a highchair for home and are on a limited budget or have limited space this is the highchair for you. If you have a few more pennies to play around with check out the Chicco Polly 2in1 highchair which is very similar but has a some special extras such as an insert for when then are small and 7 adjustable heights.
Find out more about Chicco highchairs at chicco.co.uk
Buy online at Amazon.co.uk via the link below
We were sent the Chicco Pocket Lunch highchair to review but all opinions are our own.
Post includes affiliate links
It may be surprised to hear I have never cooked cauliflower for my children. I positively detest it and as a result it has not darkened my kitchen since... well, possibly never.
I was surfing the Cow & Gate 5 step weaning website (we are trialling the programme, review coming up next week) and I spotted a cauliflower cheese recipe. It occurred to me that I really should not be limiting the girls palette based on my dislikes. Cue a trip out to buy a cauliflower.
The recipe is super easy. So easy in fact I was kicking myself for not making it before. I scaled it up to use the whole cauliflower (I couldn't bear the thought of it lurking in my fridge) and it made 8 generous meals for 9mth old Little I. It did look revolting but most baby food looks unappetising so I figured the baby was the real judge of it. I certainly wasn't going to try it. Thank god they invented heat indicator spoons...
Guess what. She loved it. In fact she ate so much of it I was a little concerned! Little E refused to try it, proving my point that I need to make sure I offer the girls as much variety as possible, even if I don't like something myself. Husband is super excited as he loves cauliflower cheese with his roast and after this experiment he may get some now and then.
You can find the recipe on the Cow & Gate website here. While you are there you can sign up for the 5 step weaning programme and keep a record of your child's first tastes, likes and dislikes. Or just browse the scrummy recipes for inspiration!
We are trialling Cow & Gate's 5 step weaning programme but all opinions are our own.
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.