Tag Archives: Presents

Treating and being treated: Mother’s Day

Mother's DayI’ve sent off my card (a beautiful one from local stationers Needle & Fred) and my sisters and I are planning a joint present for the best mother I know 🙂

In terms of my wish list for Mother’s Day? I’d say these rank pretty highly:

  • Breakfast in bed (preferably involving poached eggs)
  • A hot cup of tea and a magazine
  • A lie in (a realistic one – I’m talking 8am rather than early afternoon)
  • A long bath with no small children helpfully sharing their plastic toys which I’ve already tried to hide
  • (See how many of these revolve around relaxation?…)
  • A lovely sunny day
  • Some time in the garden
  • No whining before 9am (again, realistic – I’m not asking for miracles)

I would obviously love a grand gesture (hint, hint) but small treats are just as special. Baylis & Harding sent me some Mother’s Day treats which I hope might put a smile on my Mum’s face, are spot on to aid relaxation and can still be ordered in time for the weekend.

Baylis & Harding candle Baylis & Harding Tin  Baylis & Harding Socks

I thought the candle in particular was lovely and would fit into a bathroom or a bedroom very stylishly – I was surprised it only came in at ÂŁ15 (it’s really large). The enamel tin is packed with goodies as well as doubling up as a planter. And the luxe socks are always a nice addition and are beautifully soft, plus I love the name of the range – Pink Prosecco & Cassis. Gives me some other ideas for pressies!…

I hope you have a restful Mother’s Day and get treated as I’m sure you deserve to be.

Thanks to Baylis & Harding for sending the goodies which were:

Linen Rose & Cotton Large Single Wick Candle, ÂŁ15 from House of Fraser
Pink Prosecco & Cassis Luxury Foot Set, ÂŁ8 from Amazon
Linen Rose & Cotton Bathing Essentials Tin, ÂŁ30 from Argos

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Scrip’s 5th birthday – our one stop shop for party supplies

PartyBagsAndSupplies.jpgWith a busy start to the year work-wise I really enjoyed spending some time planning Scrip’s 5th birthday party. It was nice to concentrate on something totally different and fun.

We were lucky enough to hire a spacious converted barn at Jamie’s Farm, I bought up all the green food dye I could for Scrip’s farm cake, we found lucky dip presents at Tiger at a pound each and we got all our decorations and accessories at Party Bags & Supplies.

I was first approached by the site for a review at the end of last year and I kept it in mind for Scrip’s birthday. As soon as we knew there was a farm theme I had a browse of the site and found there was a wide range of items on offer – from ready-made party packs to mix and match plates, cups, balloons and even games.

Party table

We based our theme on the venue but we could have equally been inspired by the site itself which has almost 100 themes on offer – from Batman v Superman to Fairies to Glitzy Gold. I’d say any age is catered for (even grown ups). There’s everything from traditional themes (football, butterflies, unicorns) to current children’s cartoons (Paw Patrol, The Good Dinosaur, Moana). There’s even a whole section on 1st birthdays.

Paper pom pom

Some accessories were definitely more to my taste than others (I particularly loved the paper pom poms and the Very Hungry Caterpillar range) but I’m sure children would love everything, lurid colours and all! We went with farm cups and plates as part of ours which Scrip was very pleased with.

Farm party supplies

I found our ÂŁ30 review budget stretched pretty far. We also chose balloons – including a fab and massive silver 5th birthday balloon, designed for helium but fine just blown up normally – noisy blowers and sugarcraft cake decorations. They do a lot of cheap party bag fillers, party games and even accessories for dressing up.

I was pleasantly surprised with the ranges, inspiration and prices on offer. It’s not the most beautiful site but it’s easy to navigate and find what you like. Delivery was quick and everything looked good. Most was good quality but I was a little disappointed with the blowers that didn’t all make a noise.

Party Bags & Supplies

But generally it’s a great one stop shop and well worth a browse when planning a party. I only wish I’d bought Thank You cards as well…

Thanks to Party Bags & Supplies who gave me a ÂŁ30 voucher to spend on Scrip’s party accessories.

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NOTHS: Christmas has got Scrip and Baby D’s names all over it!

My lovely sister donned her jingle bells for a preview of the notonthehighstreet Christmas collection this week. Here are her highlights. 

Anything personalised was always a big hit with me when I was little (remember those catalogues filled with pages of personalised coloured pens and pencils?) and if Scrip and Baby D are anything similar, NOTHS have got this aunty’s Christmas shopping sorted!

Tree decorations, wooden zoos, pyjamas, tents, dolls houses and Christmas stockings – you name it, you can have that special name put on it!

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A personalised tent will keep those furry friends safe

There’s a cushion for the cat, a monogrammed chef’s apron for the big chef, a kitchen for the little chef – and a coffee pot for the whole family.

Oh, and if it’s a baby bear or a little badger you’re buying for, they’re covered too!

notonthehighstreet.com Christmas in July 2016

Baby bears can keep snuggly in this sweet sweater

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Cute cubs cuddle up in this charming playsuit

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There’s no mistaking the owner of this beautiful dolls house

They'll have sweet dreams in personalised pyjamas

They’ll have sweet dreams in personalised pyjamas

Original tree decorations

Original tree decorations – flamingos, pineapples and cactuses

Coffee

Personalisation gets grown-up!

notonthehighstreet.com Christmas in July 2016

Christmas is looking beautiful at notonthehighstreet.com’s Christmas in July 2016

A guide to turning one – by Baby D

A guide to turning oneBaby D’s first birthday has been and gone with all its ripped tissue paper, cake crumbs and crawling in and out of cardboard boxes. We were joined by family from both sides of the country and it was a lovely day, despite some worrying news hanging over us.

With Scrip, turning one meant so many things and some were similar to Baby D but some totally different. I keep getting told not to compare the two but she’s my only other baby template so it’s hard not to. With D, one year seems to have been a real marker and he’s been frantically upskilling in the last few weeks so he could hit the milestone with a bang.

So this is Baby D’s guide to turning the ripe old age of one year old:

  1. Reveal your lightning quick crawling and start pulling up on everything – particularly relatives. Remember, walking’s for wimps (but if ‘helpful’ people encourage you to try to walk, respond with stiff legs and an instant sitting position).
  2. Use this occasion as an opportunity to eat as much as you can (don’t forget, honey and runny eggs are now fair game). If there’s a party, polish off crisps and at least a few pieces of cake and hoover up any dropped crumbs quickly and efficiently.
  3. Grown ups are likely to be distracted with ribbon and nibbles so now’s the time to try and get into those places you’ve only ever dreamt of going. Like the understairs cupboard, toolbox or a peep inside the (hot) oven [yes, this happened].
  4. New toys are for exploring – namely banging together or throwing, whatever kind of toy they are. Ride-ons are for pulling up on or pushing over. And it’s important to move on from each toy with record speed.
  5. Lull your parents into a false sense of security with a few nights of sleeping through around your first birthday (‘we’ve finally cracked it!”) and then bring them down to earth with a bump the day after.
  6. Your sister is now fair game for hitting (hilarious), pulling hair (even better) or wiping your nose on (convenient).
  7. And whatever you do and however much mischief you cause, know that your family couldn’t love you any more if they tried.

Happy one year Baby D. 🙂

 

Enjoying a slow Christmas

Slow Toys CollageWe were lucky enough to have a Granddad who was skilled in carpentry, so growing up we were surrounded by a beautifully crafted wooden farm, garage, doll’s house, baby’s cot. The list went on. And we played with them, loved them and probably took them all for granted. Amazingly, a lot of them are still in good shape for my little girl to enjoy 30 something years later (following a good clean).

I had similar ambitions for her toys and she’s always had just as much fun playing with simpler toys as the coloured plastic, flashing lights ones. But a quick look at her toy box shows me I haven’t always got the balance between the two toy camps right. So this Christmas we’re going to do it differently. We’re embracing slow toys: for her and for the other children we buy for.

The Slow Toy Movement – started in 2011 – celebrates toys that are carefully made, not entirely plastic, are available at independent shops, display craft and, even better, won’t leave you rummaging around for four triple A batteries at 6am on Christmas morning. Any extra investment should be worth it for their longevity; hopefully some of them will last for my little one’s children in another few decades.

Here are my slow toys top five for Christmas 2014: Continue reading

Christmas present inspiration: the BRIO Roller Coaster Set

BRIO Roller Coaster SetThere’s something so exciting about large, squarish packages coming through the post. Forget Scrip, I was like a small child at Christmas when I unwrapped this one. Unfortunately, she was peering over my shoulder at the time so any thoughts of giving this to her as a surprise went out the window. ‘Is it for me?’ were the words that came tumbling out of her mouth.

And yes it was (as long as I can have a go too). The BRIO Roller Coaster Set, from Marbel Toys, looks exciting from the box and the fact it’s tall, twisty and little wagons go whizzing down it means it delivers on the excitement as well. Continue reading

Jingle bells in July: The White Company Christmas list

White Company Christmas 2014 CollageDefinitely the first time I’ve enjoyed mulled wine in July surrounded by decorations, presents and crackers; I was lucky enough to have a preview of The White Company’s Christmas range recently.

Some beautifully decorated rooms dressed almost entirely with White Company products (I didn’t know they even did sofas – very Continue reading

Party bag toys for a two-year old: Tiger earns its stripes

BubblesIt’s straight back into party planning mode after a fab mini break in Berlin – which deserves a blog post in its own right with its amazing open air museums, fantastic food and interesting boutique-lined villagey areas. This one will be a low key party – as I keep telling myself and as I’ve written about before – but there are going to be Continue reading

We’re all going on a winter holiday

A holiday is approaching – which means we’ll all be coming down with colds, the iPad will be groaning with the Sesame Street and Peppa Pig downloads and I’ll pack three times the amount of clothes I need and four times the amount Scrip needs.
If I sound ungrateful I don’t mean to – we’re really excited about going away and are very lucky to be able to. But as Scrip grows, so does the amount of prep and organisation needed.
This year I’ve taken a tip from a friend and mum of an almost two year old and bought some Continue reading

The ABC of a first Christmas

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A is for ‘all’
As in ‘all together’ for a lovely family Christmas and ‘Having it all’, as Scrip’s present count was ridiculously high. So much so that we reached bedtime and still had a wide range of colourfully wrapped boxes under the tree. There was I, rushing around Westfield the week before Christmas, panicking that I hadn’t bought her enough, when I could have actually just picked up a bag of satsumas and we still would have filled a car with her haul. The ‘all together’ bit was the best, though. I couldn’t have wished for more.

B is for ‘bubbles’
Not particularly festive but it was Scrip’s first proper word, recently uttered, and it’s led to lots of others – although maybe we’re imagining some. So far various family members have claimed to witness her attempts at ‘paper’, ‘bird’ and ‘Grandma’. If she did say the last one, in particular, she’s made someone special very happy.

C is for ‘carols
Actually, not just carols but songs in general have been a major Christmas hit. Now that Scrip’s clapping has been perfected, any music – from the sugary children’s songs I bought on my mad shopping dash to the theme for Desert Island Discs – prompts a smile, a clap and a bounce. And sometimes even a ‘sing’ along.

As we prepare to brave Scrip’s first post-Christmas sales, and I reflect on the merriest of first Christmases, I could have written a whole alphabet of happy memories.