What a busy week! Literally not stopped shopping and wrapping and wrapping... and more wrapping! How do you hide all the presents from the kids? Next year we are going to have to find some more ingenious hiding places as Little E gets more savvy.
On the diet front great news. Not only have I hit my 'lose half a stone by Christmas' challenge, I have exceeded it. I have lost 8.6lb over the past 6 weeks. I am more than happy with that. Hopefully I won't put it all back on over Christmas but I'm not going to worry about it too much over the next week as Husband finishes work today so Christmas officially starts now!
I'm signing off for a week as we have a crazy schedule and lots of lovely family time to enjoy. I hope you all have an amazing Christmas!
I am feeling very Christmassy this week I thought I'd join in with mamamummymum's Christmas linky to fill you in on my festive favourites!
1. What is your favourite Christmas song?
Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin' Stevens is my all time favourite. I loved it as a child and had a massive crush on him! I also like the Alexander O'Neil's Christmas album which reminds me of decorating the tree with my Mum.
2. What is your favourite Christmas book?
I'm not sure I have a favourite Christmas book but last year the kids received Santa is coming to Surrey which is really magical and includes lots of places near where we live. I can see it becoming our family Christmas book.
This week started off so well! I was so good during the week then the weekend ruined everything with lots of eating out and treats. Oh dear. I managed to lose 0.6lb which is better than nothing but I am still 0.6lb off my 7lb target with only 1 week left to go! Talk about leaving it to the last minute.
Hopefully final loss is achievable this week as I have a Christmas admin week ahead sorting everything out. Husband is out 3 nights so I can eat light dinners and we are only entertaining at the weekend. I've got everything crossed!
Bestie and I are well, besties.
Our eldest kids, Little E and Little B are besties
It looks like our youngsters, Little I and Little T, are firmly set to follow suit. They are always kissing and cuddling!
Bumped head, bloody nose. It's a hard life being a toddler. Definitely time for a nap!
Busy couple of week and things have slipped somewhat on the diet front but I have been thinking more about my health in general including my non existent vitamin intake. I've been hearing loads about the benefits of vitamin E and have been researching the best vitamin E supplements out there so click for more info.
Back to the diet. Week 3 I stayed the same which was a miracle after eating a lot of Chinese food, pizza and hosting a 70's themed party which involved lots scampi and Babycham. Then this week I lost 1/2lb, which is better than nothing but was less than I was hoping. So I have lost in total 5.6lb in 4 weeks. I have 2 weeks left to lose the final 1.4lbs to hit my 7lb target. Completely doable if I knuckle down and as Husband is out at so many work events between now and Christmas I should be able to avoid his bad influence!
Meal plan for this week:
Salt and Pepper Basa fillets, sweet potato fries and baked kale
Chicken sausages with pesto quinoa and spinach
Spanish chicken with brown rice
Roast gammon with sweet potato mash and broccoli
Chilli con carne
Soy and honey chicken with pak choi
Christmas Sunday lunch with my Besties
Christmas is officially on in this household. Our tree is up. Decorations adorn the house. Cards are written. The presents are bought (not quite wrapped - yet). It is safe to say I'm feeling suitably festive.
My favourite time of year is upon us. Nothing beats Christmas, especially when you have little kids. But if the thought of battling with the hoards on the high street for hours to find perfect Christmas gifts leaves you feeling queasy, do not fear! I have compiled a Christmas gift guide bursting with fantastic gifts for the whole family. These products have all be road tested by me and my family.
Wannabees role play packs
Play for real. These kits are fantastic for imaginative play. There are lots of exciting forms to fill in on perforated pages so little hands can easily remove the sheets from the pack. It is the perfect gift for youngsters who love to play at being grown ups! You can choose from the Doctor pack, Teacher pack and Café owner pack. £14.99 each. wannabees.co.uk
Kano computer kit
Kano is a computer kit that kids can make themselves. Unlock your super powers, building a computer from scratch in under 5 minutes! No prior knowledge required. Designed for 6-14 year olds, it's as simple and fun as LEGO and comes with the step-by-step Kano Book to guide you. Great for curious kids with big imaginations looking for new and creative ways to make, learn and play. Usually £119 but currently £89.99 until 31st December. uk.kano.me
Jelly Belly lip balm gift set.
These scrummy Jelly Bean inspired lip balms are the perfect stocking filler and a great alternative to make up for younger girls who are desperate for their own 'lipstick'. The flavours are just like the Jelly Beans with flavour like Tutti-Fruitti, Very Cherry, Blueberry, Strawberry Jam, Bubble Gum and Green Apple. £12. jellybelly-uk.com (The gift sets are also available on the high street from Claire's Accessories.)
Every child loves to be comfy and warm in the winter and what better than to cuddle up with a snuggly, soft, warm toy. Kudleez characters contain a microwavable wheat pack which provides gentle warmth and soothes little tummies. There are three gorgeous character to choose from: Elephant, Hippo or Monkey. £10 each. theheatpackcompany.com
The Great Cream Robbery children's book
A criminal cat, clever cows and Cornish clotted cream come together in this imaginative children’s tale, created by Rodda’s to mark its 125th anniversary.‘The Great Cream Robbery’ tells the adventurous story of Merryn the criminal cat and the lengths she will go to have just one lick of golden crusted clotted cream. Beautiful language and illustrations throughout the book bring to life a passion and love for cream teas in fun-filled pages. Suitable for kids age 5+. £7.99. roddas.co.uk
Little I loves Twirlywoos (and I find myself singing the theme tune all day!) These fun jigsaws will keep the little ones entertained whilst stimulating their cognitive development and helping with co-ordination. Suitable for children 18mths+. £4.99. Smythstoys.com
Lost My Name personalised book
A child wakes up to find his or her name missing! What can be done? They can go on a magical adventure of course to find each letter and retrieve their name. This beautiful, personalised story teaches children that with courage anything is possible, even finding a lost name. The interactive ordering process allows you to fully personalise your book with full page previews. You get to choose fun characters to help your child find the letters of their name. £19.99. lostmy.name
LEGO Juniors Pony Farm
Nothing beats a bit of LEGO construction on Boxing Day. Lego have created the easy to build Lego Juniors range for those younger master builders to learn the trade. This design is a Pony Farm - perfect for horse obsessed Little E. LEGO is for everyone and should away feature under the tree! £24.99. Tesco.com
My Little Pony Rainbow Dash Style & Groom
It's a pony. It's a styling head. Basically it is the perfect gift for any budding young hairstylist obsessed with braids and beads. Style Rainbow Dash's rainbow mane with glamorous hair accessories and pink mane brush to create an incredible masterpiece, use the fun colourful stickers and dazzling gems to glamourize her body. Little ones can even create real jewellery with the beautiful beads and rainbow dash's cutie mark charm. Check out how much fun Little E had with it at the launch party. £24.99. Argos.co.uk (You get a free My Little Pony DVD when you order before 15th January).
Clockwise from top left
Art of Football t-shirts and prints
Got a footie mad relative? Art of Football create fantastic illustrations that capture the energy, emotion and euphoria from split second moments in football. You can buy prints or t-shirts depicting iconic moments from your team or country's footballing history. There are only a limited number of each design, so your t-shirts are exclusive and completely original Prints from £9.99, t-shirts from £22.00. art-of-football.com
Hunter Gatherer steak branding iron
Buying for King of the BBQ or a steak connisseur? This branding iron comes with a full set of letters that can be slotted into the frame to personalise your steaks. Simply heat on the BBQ or grill and press into the steak and the message will be seared in. £32. notonthehighstreet.com
Cafédirect Handpicked subscription
For the coffee lover why not give them a taste of the finest coffees from around the world with a Cafédirect Handpicked subscription. Each month they will receive a different coffee specially created by experts who have unearthed hidden gems from the finest farms across the world. They will also receive a tasting guide so they can learn all about their coffee and see their personal taste profiles emerge. Subscriptions start at £24 for 3mths. handpicked.cafedirect.co.uk
Braun Cruzer 6 Face
This sleek 3in1 shaver turns facial hair into a slick beard, stylish stubble or a clean shaved baby face. Husband loves this shaver as he can trim his stubble to 4 different lengths whilst using the twistable mini trimmer to give a sharp edge. £69.99. amazon.co.uk
Watching video clips, sports and TV programmes on your phone when out and about just got a whole lot easier with the nifty Standeasy device. Fitting snugly into your wallet, the credit card size plastic stand is perfect for turning smartphones, mini tablets and e-readers into handsfree devices. No more balancing the phone in the fruit bowl while you follow that recipe or watching the football in the pub one handed. And it also keeps kids sticky fingers off your phone when keeping them entertained. £2.99. standeazy.com
Do you know someone who is forever loosing their key, phone, bag? This little pagertag helps you keep track of your valuables by wirelessly detecting their proximity. It pairs to an app on your phone and an alert sounds when your item shifts outside of connection range and you can track the location of your possessions - no more valuables left on the bus! £18.95. beetsblu.com
Clockwise from top left
Bakedin Baking Club Subscription
A Bakedin Baking Club subscription is the ideal gift for anyone looking to start up home baking in the New Year, supplying everything needed to bake delicious cakes from scratch at home – with just a few additional fresh ingredients required to get started. Perfect for a GBBO fan! The Baking Club subscribers will receive exclusive baking kits including dry ingredients, recipes and baking tips through their letterbox each month. Gift packages available for three (£28.99), six (£54.99) or twelve (£99.99) months. bakedin.co.uk
Garmin Vivofit 2 activity tracker watch.
This little activity tracker watch is a fantastic gift for fitness fans or those wanting to up their activity. It learns your activity level and sets a personalised daily goal. It shows steps, calories, distance, time, date, monitors sleep, activity timer and reminds you to stay active with move bar and audible alert. I'm loving mine and it really is helping me be more active. It also comes with a spare strap. Available in a range of colours including bright pink. £79.99. Maplin.co.uk
'Popred' framed print by Sarah Ezekiel
Sarah is an artist who paints using eye tracking technology, due to suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. She has partnered with the Matt Hampson Foundation and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this print will go to the disability charity. The print is an A2 in a clear-waxed oak frame. A stunning addition to the home. £180. Available at your local Furniture Village store.
I hated not being able to wear jewellery when my babies were little. These fab soft silicone teething necklaces are a great way to look glamorous without the worry of hurting baby (or baby breaking your jewels!). They are 100% toxin free made from food grade silicone. They make a great gift for mums-to-be and new mothers. £8.00. facebook.com/boobiebeadsx
Paul Frank manicure set
This retro cassette shaped manicure set contains everything needed to keep nails looking fantastic. A nail file, clippers, nail scissors and a cuticle stick. Julius the Monkey has always been one of my favourite motifs. This is the perfect, compact stocking filler. £8. Boots.com (yes, it is part of the 3 for 2 gifts promotion!)
Stand out from the crowd with brilliant product combinations selected by the TIGI creative team to answer every hair care need, for the fearless fashionistas and thrill seekers on your list. With sets from Bedhead and Catwalk, get looks from a fast fix style mix to a post party-pick-me-up, volume that shouts to shine that sparkles. With at least 30% off on every pack, TIGI’s gift sets allow you to break the rules and wreck the halls this Christmas! From £16.95. Lookfantastic.com
And if you are still stuck why not take a look at last year's gift guide for more great ideas!
I was born in the 80s, but I've always loved the idea of the 70s. The fashion, the music, the rise of feminism and of course the dubious décor! So when Whitby Seafoods asked if I would like to host my own 70s dinner party I was very excited.
With 70s fashion everywhere on the high street, our thirst for all things retro continues to the dining table with 44% of us eager to see the return of Scampi, Black Forest Gateau and Lemon Meringue Pie to our menus. Let's face it, dinner parties these days are sorely missing a Prawn Cocktail starter and After Eight Mints. I was eager to test out some 70s classics on my Besties.
Managing money in the run-up to Christmas can be a tough ask – even more so when you are trying to get an entire family and accompanying home all ready for the big day. As well as your usual November, December and January outgoings, you also have to worry about presents, food, decorations and parties – so where do you even start?
The key is to save money where you can, and balance your payments out across the rest of the year where you have to. More and more people are paying for items using finance, but far from being a dirty word, these days it is recognised as an essential tool when it comes to balancing the books and building a good credit score.
In terms of festive cost-cutting, the rise of discount supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi have changed the way that British consumers do their grocery shopping and can be expected to continue slaying the competition across the Christmas period. Balancing excellent customer satisfaction with great prices and a wide range of products, there is far less taboo around shopping in these stores these days – but switching from the likes of Tesco, Asda or Sainsburys could save you up to 25% on your weekly shop.
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.