Getting ready for Santa
Having children with slightly unusual names or names spelt the French or Welsh way can be really tricky when it comes to personalised gifts. I often see two of my children look at those racks of personalised gifts and sigh sadly when their name isn’t there. So having a personalised sign from Hey Santa! solves that problem. Hey Santa! is a small, family run business based in South Wales and they make these gorgeous Hey Santa! signs to hang on your children’s doors. With a choice of message in English or Welsh and five different colour options, they are all individually handmade all for £7.95 with free delivery in the UK. Order yours here.
I’m not sure how November crept up on me quite so quickly this year, but it is here already and Christmas is fast approaching. I am totally disorganised this year as life has been busy but I am now grasping Christmas by the bells and starting to think about those all-important gift ideas for friends and family.
Five Gold Rings
The quiz program with Philip Schofield is surprisingly addictive and we quite enjoyed playing along with the show using the app. If you haven’t seen the show, it is a really clever idea where you have to show that you know the answer to a range of questions by putting a ring on the correct part of an image showing the answer. The questions can be anything from the exact location of a particular place on a map to comparing the sizes of two well-known world landmarks. As you progress through the game, the rings get smaller, meaning you have to pinpoint the exact answer to get the money. The board game from John Adams comes with a game arena where you place one of the 245 question images and of course the all-important rings. It is a brilliantly fun game for three or more players and is suitable for players who are 8+.
Grabolo from Ideal is one of those simple games that is really fun to play. There are 36 brightly coloured pieces in Grabolo, with 6 different icons in 6 different colours. You roll the two dice to determine which icon and which colour needs to be grabbed and then the first to grab. Once you’ve grabbed a piece, put it behind your back and don’t look at it. If you roll the dice and the piece isn’t there and someone has grabbed it before, be the first one to shout out who has it to either keep it (if you already have it) or steal the piece from another player. This fun and fast game will be a test to see who has the quickest hands and reactions. It is also really easy to store and can easily be popped in a bag or suitcase too.
Dodgy Dogs is a beautifully designed card game about badly behaved dogs, beautifully illustrated by world-renowned visual artist Jean Jullien. Created in collaboration with the creative games company, Yolky Games, the game started life as one of the highest funded games ever to appear on Kickstarter. Dodgy Dogs is a family-friendly fast-paced game that is lots of fun. Easy to play and suitable for 2-5 players, the aim of the game is to get rid of all your cards before everyone else does. With jokers in the pack replaced with speciality cards such as dog whisperer, pick up puppies and the crafty cat you are set to have some woofing great fun this Christmas. Find out more about Dodgy Dogs and order the game for £25 here.
A game for younger children (although older ones will enjoy it too), Hamster Race is a really fun game. Choose your hamster and race around the board as quickly as you can, collecting cheese as you go. Make your way to the seesaw, tip the seesaw to get onto the hamster wheel and the last hamster with cheese left in its mouth keeps their cheese and wins that round. The player with the most cheese after three rounds is the winner. This is a brilliant game, it doesn’t take long and is quite fast-paced and fun. Hamster Race is suitable for 2 – 4 players and for children aged 4+.
Usborne Lift The Flap Engineering
We love Usborne books in this house and the lift the flap series of books have always been popular as they contain lots of information and there are lots of extra nuggets of information and images hidden beneath the flaps. They are also ideal for showing how things work and what you find inside things and this is the case with the Lift The Flap Engineering book. Released for the 2018 Year of Engineering, this books teaches children how engineering shapes the world around us. The illustrations are amazing as you would expect from Usborne and each double page spread is jam-packed with lots of fascinating information. Find out more on the Usborne website.
The First Christmas Jumper by Ryan Tubridy
If you are looking for a new Christmas book to read with the children, The First Christmas Jumper and The Sheep Who Changed Everything by Ryan Tubridy is it. You only have to open the book and look at the contents to see that this is a fun book with chapters like ‘It had to be ewe’ and ‘It was fun wool it lasted’, it is immediately a book I would want to read. Ryan Tubridy, presenter of Ireland’s The Late Late Show is well-known for this many Christmas jumpers so it is only fitting that he should write a story about the first one. A brilliant fun read that I can’t wait to share with my daughter this Christmas. Find out more here.
Create Your Own Happy
Written by brilliant bloggers Penny Alexander and Becky Goddard-Hill, Create Your Own Happy is a little book of positivity for tweens and teens. Filled with creative ideas and tips, this is a book that can help children to boost their well-being and self-confidence through creativity and to encourage them to turn negative situations around and deal with different situations in a positive way. FIlled with gorgeous illustrations, amazing activities and lots of humour, this is a book that all children and their parents should have access to. Create Your Own Happy is available to buy here.
Stationery is always top of my gift list and I have been drooling over the wonderful collection of journals and diaries on the shelves for the new year. Notebooks always make a good present and the idea of a stationery subscription box would definitely be a perfect pressie for me.
Positive Thinking Notebook from Hope House Press
Hope House Press make luxury leather notebooks, diaries, journals and accessories and they are truly beautiful and a must for stationery obsessives like myself. Hope House Press has also launched a pop-up collection called Happy Paperclip. Within this range, there are personalised notebooks and diaries with fun and interesting designs. I love the Positive Thinking Notebook which is personalised and has an A – Z of positive thinking on the front. If you love stationery I definitely recommend taking a look at the Hope House Press website, you won’t be disappointed.
Papergang: A Monthly Stationery Subscription Box by Ohh Deer
A monthly subscription box filled with stationery is pretty much my idea of heaven. Every month you receive exclusive stationery and desk accessories designed in collaboration with different artists. And for every 4 boxes sold they also plant one tree. A monthly subscription costs £10.95 plus postage and subscriptions are also available for three, six or twelve months. Take a look at past boxes and find out more here.
Maped Helix Stationery
Maped Helix is one of our favourite stationery brands with the Oxford range being stylish, practical and affordable for kids and parents. I absolutely love the Oxford 4 Iconic Heritage Erasers which are bold British designs and all for less than £2. The Oxford Premium Writing Gift Set is a beautiful set which includes a fountain, rollerball and ballpoint pen with traditional Oxford branding. They come in a storage tin and are really great quality. The neoprene Oxford pencil case is a great size to keep all of your pens and pencils and more.
For crafty kids, they can have endless fun with Gel-a-Peel kits. You can use the gel with the moulds included to make the jewellery design ideas or have a go at you own ideas. Gel-a-peel is also brilliant to decorate anything from stationery to cards. We have made Mother’s Day cards with it and used to decorate notebooks and pencil cases. It creates a really lovely 3D effect which looks really effective. Alternatively, you can try Nail-a-Peel which allows you to create 3D false nails with a variety of colours and designs and includes accessories so that you can create lots of different nails to try.
Threaders Cute Companions Crochet Kits
Craft and crochet fans will absolutely love the Threaders Cute Companions Crochet Kits as they contain everything they need to create gorgeous crochet animals. There are three new kits to choose from: Leo the Lion, Zack the Zebra or Pippa the Panda. They are super cute and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
Buy all three kits from the Crafter’s Companion website.
Funky Pigeon has an impressive range of personalised gifts and there is quite literally something for everyone. Keyrings and mugs, water bottles and cushions, wall art and chocolates, t-shirts, teddy bears and more. With so many things to choose from, the hardest thing is choosing just one. For me, my favourite is the Best Dad Ever Personalised Sign. Made from wood with a thick string to hang it, this sign is perfect for dad’s to hang in their favourite space as a reminder of how great they are. It can be personalised with up to 15 letters and costs £12.99. Find this and lots more fab gift ideas on the Funky Pigeon website.
I Just Love It
Another of my go-to websites is I Just Love It where there is always something for every occasion. They have a wonderful range of personalised gifts for children including a huge range of personalised storybooks for children of different ages, toys, stationery and more. My absolute favourite is the Personalised Engraved Charm Bangle Bracelet which is a simple silver-plated bangle which looks stunning and comes with two heart charms and the biggest heart can be engraved with a date, name or initials (up to 8 letters) for £21.99. It is a really beautiful gift and something to treasure. Find out more about the bangle and the many other amazing gift ideas on the I Just Love It website.
Sarah Boddy is a Leicestershire artist and creates a wide range of homewares, textiles and greeting cards featuring beautiful original pencil and watercolour artwork of British wildlife. All products are proudly made with love and care in the UK and there are some beautiful products on her website. I am totally besotted with Sarah’s flamingo range, the design is stunning and adorns cards, crockery, cushions and more. The worktop saver is £24 and what a wonderful way to liven up your work surfaces. Find out more about this very talented artist at sarahboddy.com
If you thought Funky Pigeon are all about the fun and novelty gift ideas, you would be wrong as they also have lots of practical gifts in their range too. The Handy Man Gift Set would be ideal for Mums or Dads who DIY or teenagers in training to be more helpful around the house. For £19.99 the gift set includes: a 4-in-1 pen tool, mini level keychain, mini folding ruler keychain and a classic survival tool.
Bic Shaving Club
How about signing up your dad, boyfriend, brother or similarly deserving males to a Bic Shave Club subscription? You get a choice of two razors (three or five blade), as well as picking how frequently you’d like to receive your pack of four refill blades – monthly or every other month. Top-quality blades delivered straight to their door for as low as £4.50 per month.
Malki Dead Sea Body Scrub with Frankincense Oil
Cocoa & Heart
Cocoa & Heart are a small independent chocolate making company whose chocolate tastes as incredible as it looks. All of their chocolates are handmade in small batches and they are decorated and packaged to perfection. You can stock up on stocking fillers such as lollipops and hot chocolate spoons, chocolate doughnuts, truffles and even a chocolate stiletto or you can buy gift boxes brimming with beautiful looking chocolate gifts. Cocoa & Heart also run chocolate making courses in their Victorian kitchen in Bexleyheath in South East London. If you are tempted by their treats or the idea of a chocolate making course, readers can get 10% off everything in the chocolate shop with the code XMAS18 (valid until the 31st January 2019).
Haribo has a colourful selection of sweet goodies to treat everyone this Christmas from the Share the Fun Pouch containing 20 mini treat bags of Starmix, Tangfastics and Super Mix, boxes of your Starmix or Tangtastic favourites and a selection box with a selection of different bags from the happy world of Haribo.
Gifts for Children
Squeezamals might just be my favourite toy ever. Not only do they look super cute, but they also smell delicious and they are the softest, squidgiest cuddlies ever known. They are designed to be squeezed and cuddled and feel like a plush but act like a squishie with a slow rise back to shape. There are four to collect, we have the dog and he smells of delicious melon. There is also a unicorn, a sloth and a very adorable panda in the collection.
Tangles from Zuru are made up of a series of curves that connect and pivot with no beginning and no end that can be used as a fidget toy or a stress reducer. They are brightly coloured and quite addictive and will make great stocking fillers this Christmas.
My daughter has an Emoji Illumi-Mates colour-changing nightlight and she loves it. It is a gentle nightlight that softly changes colour and is really fun too. This year there are new Illumi-Mates in the collection alongside the classic favourites such as Star Wars, Paw Patrol and My Little Pony new additions PJ Masks, Batman and Marvel The Avengers’ Groot will be popular. There is an Illumi-Mate with every child’s name on it this Christmas.
Being a long time wearer of glasses, I love the idea behind Fairy Specs. It is a website with gifts for girls who wear glasses. And these are gifts suitable for girls who are big or small with mugs and drinkware, compact mirrors and a beautiful range of sparkly glasses for girls called the Crushed Gem Collection. The gifts are a lovely way to make someone who wears glasses feel extra special. Find out more at fairyspecs.com
Gant clothes for Teens
If you have brand aware tweens or teens, they will have undoubtedly heard of Gant and the exciting news is that Gant has launched a Teen Collection to their range. With the same styles as you would find in the adult ranges such as classic American sportswear or preppy styles, this is a collection that most kids will love. We were sent one of their Teen Girls 1949 Crew Sweatshirts and my daughter has barely taken it off, she loves it so much. The quality is amazing and the sweatshirt has been washed and worn a lot and still looks brand new. Find out more about the Gant Teen Collection here.
Many of the items in this post were sent in return for being featured. Any opinions given are my own.