Christmas Stocking Ideas…

Its another Christmas themed post I’m afraid! I have been much more organised with Christmas shopping this year and this has actually worked out really well. Most of Amelia’s presents this year have been bought when there were sales on or with discount codes etc which means I’ve spent less…well not entirely it means I’ve bought more. I think its fair to say I have gone maybe not overboard but I’ve definitely bought enough presents for Amelia this year. But her birthday is a long way off so she needs enough bits and pieces to keep her going. I’m finished with Amelia’s Christmas sack/stocking so I thought I would share with you what I have got and it can hopefully give you some ideas if you are stuck or after some inspiration.

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What I really like this year is that the presents can be separated into groups of things; bath stuff, educational toys, books and arty/messy play supplies. I can’t remember the price of each item but I will include where I bought them; some bits were from actual shops and some online.

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Arty Supplies:

  • Giant colouring book – ASDA
  • Painting Tub- ASDA
  • Play Doh – Lidl
  • Paint brushes- Net price direct
  • Water colour paints- Net price direct
  • Chunky crayons- Net price direct
  • Washable Markers- Net price direct
  • Chunky pencils- Net price diret

I’m so excited for these bits to be opened and used. If you frequently read my blog/follow us on twitter you will know that I love doing crafts and messy play activities with Amelia and all of these bits will come in handy for that. This is Amelia’s first colouring book and something like crayons and pencils make for excellent stocking fillers. I found this site Net Price Direct and have actually bought a few bits off here. The prices are quite a discount for what you might spend in shops and they have some really fun bits (especially the wooden toys!)

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Bathtime/bedtime bits:

  • Alphabet foam bath letters – Sainsburys
  • Bath Crayons- Sainsburys
  • Gruffalo socks- Sainsburys
  • Peppa Pig slippers- Next
  • Minnie Mouse Cuddle robe- Home Bargains

I’ve wanted the bath crayons for such a long time but thought it was best to wait until she would use them properly and I think foam bath letters are present in every household bathroom if you have children! I love the Minnie Mouse bath towel and its an actual Disney product from Home Bargains and I think it was something like £1.50, could be wrong but it was super cheap. Amelia is a huge huge Peppa Pig fan so pretty sure the slippers will go down well plus they are fur lined so will keep her feet super toasty. The Gruffalo socks were a little extra and come in a pack of three!

 

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Educational toys;

  • Gruffalo puzzle- John Lewis
  • Seashore threading fun- ELC (Mothercare)
  • My complete learning pack cards- ELC (Mothercare)
  • Star links- ELC (Mothercare)
  • Wooden stacking train- Lidl
  • Wooden animal skittles- Sainsburys
  • Stacking cups- Sainsburys

These are the bits I’m probably most looking forward to using. I absolutely love wooden toys and when we were away glamping they had a skittle set that we taught Amelia to play with so I think she will really enjoy these plus she loves throwing and rolling a ball. She has a set of four stacking cups and can stack them but I think this set comes with 10/12 so she can get better at balancing things. This puzzle is great as each one has an extra piece so one is 2 pieces the next is 3 etc etc. She is starting to be able to push pieces together plus who doesn’t love the Gruffalo. The cards are more for introducing words to Amelia being able to point to the picture on the card and say the word so she can start to copy. I’ve seen a lot of threading and cotton reel sets but they are quite intricate but this set comes with thick laces and chunky wooden characters with large holes to thread through. The star links will also be good for concentration play to learn how to push them together and pull them apart. I know babies learn through all of their toys but I don’t see the harm in introducing some educational toys especially when it is as subtle as this!

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Books and extras; 

  • Goodies selection box- ASDA
  • Milkybar buttons tube- Lidl
  • The Highway Rat & Zog Multipack- Tesco
  • Peppa Pig Little Library- TK Maxx
  • My first books set of 4-  TK Maxx
  • Sofia board book- G&T’s

Who doesn’t love books! She has got a few other books coming as under the tree presents but these were all my bargain books! We love Julia Donaldson books and have most of the collection with Axel Scheffler but when I saw the multipack for just £5 I had to get it as you can normally only grab one board book by Julia Donaldson for that price. Amelia loves Sofia and although this book only has a couple of pages I think it was £1 and I’m sure she will like it as she will recognise the characters. We already have the original Peppa Pig little library so when I saw the fairytale version I had to get it; plus they are small books which are easy to keep in a bag whilst you are out and about. The set of my first books were an absolute steal for the price. They were £3.99 for the four and are bright, colourful and will be great when Amelia starts saying more words. I haven’t bought books from TK Maxx before but I would definitely recommend having a look as they have lots of great pack’s and sets for really discounted prices.

I have also been pretty eager and wrapped these bits already to get a head start…

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So this is it bar the odd present I may just HAVE to buy in the next couple of weeks. I had an entire roll of the brown tree wrapping paper from last year that I thought I would do the stocking bits with and I’m hoping to get some Peppa Pig wrap or something fun for her presents under the tree.

What do you think are great stocking fillers?

Thanks for reading!xxx

Amelia’s Christmas Box!

Last year I discovered the idea of the Christmas Eve box or other similar ideas and I loved it. Although this year isn’t Amelia’s first Christmas last year she was only 4 months old so it really had no affect on her at all so this is the first proper year of starting little traditions and such!

I went with the idea of the Christmas Eve box contents but decided she would get it on the first of December so she gets use of the things inside the box!

I haven’t gone mad just a few little bits to help kick off the festive season.

So inside there is:

  • An advent calendar- yes to some of your horror a chocolate advent calendar!!!! I personally don’t see anything wrong with Amelia having one chocolate a day and went with a Milkybar one as she likes the little white chocolate buttons. I am a pretty creative person so I think in the future I would make one not involving chocolate or treats but maybe when Amelia’s a bit older and can appreciate all the hard work behind it.

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  • Festive Pjs- the pyjamas were from Sainsburys they are super cute with the fair-isle legging print and I love that they come with matching socks. I’m pretty certain these will be a hit as Amelia is a huge Peppa fan!

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  • Christmas books- I already have a few winter books and some of my Christmas books from when I was a child but got these two that are a bit more Amelia friendly. The nativity is a lift the flap book, it will be a really nice way to introduce the nativity story to Amelia in an exciting way. Another Peppa Pig feature; Christmas board book. And I couldn’t get a Monty the penguin from John Lewis so settled for the story as she got the bear and the hare story from last years John Lewis ad!

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  • Christmas films- I’m sure there will be a tonne of Christmas films on in the next few weeks but saw these in Lidl for £2.99 each and couldn’t say no. Amelia really loves Curious George and I’m not afraid to say I do too so I think we will both really enjoy this film and I got the Smurfs as I thought Amelia might enjoy it!

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  • Christmas jumper- a must have for everyone! This one is from H&M and I love that it’s more of a sweatshirt with the soft reindeer face on it. And only £5.99!

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  • Antlers- it is unlikely that Amelia will keep these reindeer antlers on but its a novelty fun item that she can keep for the next few years.

 

  • Soft toy- really soft and cuddly reindeer toy! Amelia’s not that into soft toys but he’s fun as he is festive and another cheap addition to the box!

 

  • Craft- I picked this sow your own decorations craft up from Wilkinsons for £1. They have loads of different ones which is great. We love crafts so this will be fun to do!

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There is also a list of things to do over the Christmas period including; visiting Father Christmas, other crafts and messy play ideas I’ve gotten from Pinterest, events we want to go too and fun days out. This list is mainly for me but it will be nice to tick them off!

I really love this idea and you can completely do it however you want; spending as little or as much as you want too. I probably would have bought most of these bits in the next few weeks anyway so why not get them before hand and make up a little pre Christmas present.

I also love that you can adapt the boxes as children grow up and interests change. I think as Amelia gets a bit older (possibly next year) I would include the Elf of the Shelf idea maybe “bringing” the box to Amelia on December 1st. I think she is too small for this idea this Christmas but it is something I definitely want to do.

Have you done this or something similar for your children? Would love to hear what you have included!

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Thanks for reading xx

AskHerFriends – Voucher

For the men who don’t know what to buy their loved ones, mothers, sisters or friends. For that awkward friend who has everything, that first wedding you are attending or that mum to be who you have no clue what to buy for. This is the site you are going to want to look at…

AskHerFriends

This site is like no other place to buy gifts for women as AskHerFriends focuses strongly on the lifestyle and style preference of whom you are buying for. The website is extremely easy to navigate helping to make the shopping experience stress free.

One of my favourite things about the site is the Idea Map. You follow a series of questions about the person you are buying for narrowing it down to some gifts for you to then choose from. This could be super helpful for those of you who really struggle with gift buying or have no idea where to start!

We live in a world where people have most of the stuff they need and often don’t know what they want. The last thing you want to do is waste your money on a gift that will sit in the back of the wardrobe or worse be secretly returned!! AskHerFriends allows you to scroll through an amazing selection of gifts. They literally have everything from necklaces, cards, bags to days out and hampers. Prices start under £10 and go up to £250+ which makes the site available to anyone and the range in price is perfect as you shop for your different recipient.

So female readers push this website under the noses of your other half, your brother that buys you a rubbish present every year or your dad who never knows where to start. Also let it help you get some excellent gifts for those females around you this Christmas!

Or like I will be doing treat yourself to a little something!

To help you do so the lovely people at AskHerFriends have given friends and fans of Alice & Amelia £5 to spend using the code ALICE or £10 off if you are spending over £30 in your basket using the code AMELIA. These codes are valid until 15th December 2014 so make sure you don’t miss out and get some of your shopping done on this fantastic site!

Happy shopping!!xxx

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Homemade Artwork

As one of mine/Amelia’s Christmas presents my sister made this beautiful photograph. It’s one of my favourite pictures of Amelia and she has collaged it with cut outs from magazines to match the colours from the original photograph and has drawn over the solid lines with a black pen. I’ve never seen something like this but think it is great! I’ve put it up above Amelia’s cot and it looks perfect. It’s so nice to get homemade gifts that have had real thought behind them. An idea I will be sure to use again and hopefully you will try out too!!

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First Christmas Party of the Season…

Today was my first Christmas party of 2013…the under1’s club Christmas Party.

Still a party though! 

Me and Amelia, well mainly me, no just me made some cakes with us to take to the party. I like to use the Hummingbird Bakery recipe for vanilla cupcakes and buttercream frosting so we set to work to do those yesterday.

Baking Necessities

Baking Necessities

Obviously I was baking alone and Amelia sat in her little seat on the table watching/crying/sleeping. Had to do a kind of elaborate baking method that involved a lot more moving around a bit of singing and showing Amelia the ingredients to take her mind of the fact that she did not want to be sat in her chair. Eventually I bored her so much she fell asleep. Baked the cakes and left them to cool then decorated them with what was meant to be red icing that went pink-ish and some silver balls and little holly leaves. Sadly I didn’t take a picture of the finished product before they were munched down at the party today.

Baking became my “thing” I guess a couple of years ago, probably the time I got the Hummingbird book. I love baking not so much for the eating of the cakes but I love decorating them and making the frosting to go on top etc. I don’t like to just bake cakes like to do other deserts, bakes and treats; a family fave is key-lime pie. As you can probably guess The Great British Bake Off is one of my fave tv shows!! *cry* its over! So since having Amelia I haven’t had the time to do as much baking as I’d like too but looking forward to being able to make things like cakes etc for occasions such as parties!

Chocolate Oreo Cupcake

Chocolate Oreo Cupcake

Rocky Road

Rocky Road

Victoria Sponge-Fresh Cream & Strawberries

Victoria Sponge-Fresh Cream & Strawberries

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

Brownies

Brownies

Key-lime Pie

Key-lime Pie

Chocolate Fondant

Chocolate Fondant

Blondies

Blondies

We both got ready for the party I dressed Amelia in a little jumper dress and pink tights (from Sainsbury’s)  as she was allowed her Pavlik harness off for 8 hours today. You may have seen in my previous posts that Amelia has shallow hips so she has been in a soft-fitting harness to encourage the ball into the socket for 16 weeks. We have started the weening process with it so starting today she was out of it for 8 hours which is so exciting!

Everyone had brought some bits to nibble on; bread sticks, crisps, flapjacks and of course my cakes and we all sat around and did lots of christmassy songs. The nursery nurse who runs the under1s session brought some little reindeer finger puppets which Amelia absolutely loved she was going crazy trying to grab it off my hand (great news considering I bought a finger puppet book as a Christmas present). We also played with a bubble machine, some little maracas and some bells with Christmas music in the background.

Felt really weird saying to the mums like have a good Christmas see you in the New Year, feels far to early to be saying all that but that is our last session before Christmas! Its such a nice atmosphere at under1’s because everyone who is there wants to be there; everyone talks about not only their baby but they are genuinely interested to listen to what you have to say in the hope of gaining any tips for themselves.

First party of the Winter 2013 Season gets a 10/10 from me and definitely a 10/10 from Amelia. 

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Feeling festive

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Amelia in one of her Christmassy sleepsuits. Came as a set of three from next. Thought they would be a nice early Christmas present to make her look a little festive in the month leading up to Christmas. There’s this one, a white one with red bows on and a spotty white and red one with a frilly bum which is so so cute!

A baby’s first Christmas…

A first Christmas has to be one of the most exciting things and a time I want to make really special for Amelia and my family but the question that comes to mind is how far do you take it!? The sad fact is they won’t remember their first Christmas and will probably find the wrapping paper the most exciting part and cry through sitting down for so long to open all the presents they have been given.

A baby is a constant expense, going through clothes every few months, millions of nappies and milk powder and upgrading toys to their abilities. I have decided that although Amelia will most likely be getting spoilt this Christmas it will be more practical gifts as she will be needing things throughout this whole year. That’s not me being unkind or not excited that it is her first Christmas but just being a bit more realistic! From her grandparents I’ve asked for a highchair something that she will be needing around February/march time. I’ve chosen the mamas and papas ‘Juice’ highchair in raspberry which also comes with shorter legs to act as a little seat she can sit in up to the age of 5. I absolutely love this highchair and can’t wait for her to be sat up at the table with me.

I ordered a a Christmas sack a while back from Harrow and green which is a personalised hessian brown sack which I’m going to fill. I’ve got lots of weening items from Tommee Tippee; little pots and bowls and some spoons which will go in her stocking but I’m also intending to wrap nappies and Aptamil milk powder too; things I will always need and can get an extra supply of for Christmas to reduce spending in January and February.

Clothing wise I’m not going to buy much. I’ve got her some red and white sleepsuits from Next which look super festive which she can have and wear before Christmas and I’m going to get her a Christmas Day outfit (seen a cute dress in Zara) and something to wear for the under1s Christmas party but going to wait until the January sale for most of my clothing items I want to buy!

Amelia is starting to get a lot more clever with her hands reaching out and grabbing at things with a purpose and absolutely loves the zoo fabric book she has so I got a couple more black and white fabric books and a hand puppet book which I think she will love and I’m going to get a few more stories to put onto her book shelf. Also some more toys that are fitting for her age such as a tummy time ball and other things to shake and that make noises.

Present wise that is probably it but I want to get a few memorabilia to remember her first Christmas. On the website not on the high street I have seen personalised Christmas baubles which I think are lovely but haven’t yet decided which one to get!

I think Christmas for babies and children is such a special time but especially for a baby’s first year their isn’t a time where you aren’t buying or replenishing clothing so I’m not going to go to overboard. Also got to get my thinking cap on for cute presents to get for family and friends from Amelia! Cards with a picture seem like a good idea or maybe a frame with a picture of Amelia inside. Simple but nice ideas!!

I’m really looking forward to the Christmas; having my sister home for a few days and having the girls back from university for the holidays will be really nice. Some of them haven’t seen Amelia since September, can’t wait for them to see how much she has grown!

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