My Christmas Gift Guide| Let’s shop!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! December is HERE. Let’s Christmas shop!

I really wanted to do a gift guide post this year, as I really enjoy buying gifts and found some presents that I absolutely LOVE and think your loved ones will too. There is stuff for children, parents, grandparents, friends, well everyone really!

So Merry Christmas, here we go…

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Above we have…

Zoella Journal
£14 and currently on 3 for 2 at Boots, she has had a bit of bad press recently, but I like her range @ Boots and they make excellent gifts. This Jot pad is great, it is a nice big size, and very pretty. It is of good quality – so it isn’t going to drop to pieces in your bag. The perfect item to organise your 2018!

Fearne Cotton, Cook Eat Love
£7.99 on Amazon, I LOVE this cook book. I have made so many cakes & savoury items from this book, it isn’t just a one recipe wonder! Importantly they are healthy recipes that you can share with your children, excellent gift for the cooks in your life.

Giovanna Fletcher, Some Kind of Wonderful
£6.49 on Amazon, this heart warming book is perfect for the Christmas period. If you haven’t read any Giovanna before this is a great place to start. Great stocking filler.

Joe Wicks, Cook for Family & Friends
£7.99 on Amazon, I think I have all his books now, they are all good and this one doesn’t disappoint. Bigger recipes for families and dinner parties. Again healthy cooking but still absolutely delicious. Bargain at £7.99. This would make a great gift for anyone looking to impress in the kitchen with minimal effort (or to drop a hint that someone should be cooking more).

M&S Shortbread Tin
£5, this is my number one bargain as it is full of surprises…

Zoella Shot

Up next we have…

Zoella Stationary Bento Box
£12.50 and currently 3 for 2 at Boots, it contains a notepad, ruler, pencils, rubber, sharpener & tape. It is a must have for any stationary lover. Decorate your work desk with these golds & greens. Do you have a stationary fanatical friend? Then here you go.

Urban Veda Ritual Travel Set
£11.99 @ Urban Veda. All their stuff is vegan friendly and they currently have 3 for 2 across all their gift sets on their website. A great travel set for a bit of luxury whilst you travel. **Stocking filler alert**

Kate Spade Thermal Mug
£15, is there anything better than Kate Spade stationary & accessories? Nope. The striped gold mug (flask) is ideal for commuters. It also brightens up a dull desk.

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And finally…

M&S Paddington & the Christmas visitor
Only £3 and £2 goes to the NSPCC Childline! So it’s cheap and you’re giving to charity. Winner. Great gift for your friends children.

Toddlebike2
£23.95 You are going to be hearing more about this from me as Hallie LOVES it, so it deserves it’s own post. There is very little time that she isn’t on this balance bike. It is so light & bright, we just shove it in the car wherever we go. If you are looking for a balance bike this Christmas for your little one, look no further! Suitable from 18 months.

Early Learning Centre Vegetable (cutable)
£14 Crate of cut and play fruit & vege. This is a great gift for the little ones. Not only are they fun, they will be learning whilst playing. Also ideal if you are introducing a play kitchen to your toddler. Great price for what you get.

That’s not my snowman
£5.24 on Amazon, who doesn’t love these books, the whole collection is great. Touch & feel book and don’t forget to play spot the mouse (he is there on every page)! Hallie has already received this as a gift and she loves it.

So there are some ideas! I am about 3/4 of the way through my shopping (I hope), so going to go and read other gift guides! 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

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The mental load: The thankless tasks

I read an article on the Guardian online about the ‘mental load’, did you read it? If not here is the link, it’s well worth a read. It just made sense of everything I have been feeling in the last year.

Your partner comes home from work, you are knackered, but the house is a tip, what exactly did you do with your day? You are sure you spent the day caring for your toddler and tidying, but there is nothing to show. Your partner is probably (secretly as he doesn’t want to start an argument) thinking, you have it easy, they have to trek to work everyday and you get to…chill? That might cause them to resent you a bit and you might resent them as they don’t fully recognise what you do. That is when the ‘mental load’ comes in, as the article explains, the mental load is invisible – and there lies the problem. It is all the stuff you don’t see

  • The constant tidying and picking up after people
  • Mentally making note of whats running out and what you need to buy
  • Mentally making note of what clothes & shoes your toddler has and when they will grow out of them
  • Budgets – monthly, holiday savings, Christmas savings etc etc
  • Holiday planning
  • Managing the family calendar
  • Bills bills bills
  • Renewals of insurances
  • Paying toddler classes
  • Cleaning every inch of the house
  • Selling toddler items, ready for the next lot
  • Present buying & planning
  • Cooking & meal prep
  • Childs progression
  • Keep vege plants alive
  • Medical appointments for the family
  • Repeat prescriptions
  • Planning weekends away and budgets
  • Keeping toddler alive day to day
  • Childcare planning

Those are just a few of the things that most of us have to think about, for us full time Mum’s/Dad’s who have businesses or blogs, we also have that thrown in. That is A LOT of stuff that just happens and no one knows it has. This is a load that mostly falls to women, or stay at home Dads. My partner is great, I do feel supported, I feel he does a share, but it is only when we made a list of what we each do, it is apparent, even in our equal relationship, I have a way longer list, and I think we are both to blame. I think I should have made the list before now, and asked for help before now.

I have been feeling slightly overwhelmed lately and think the article just made me have a PING moment, I have over stretched myself, and something has to give. In fairness it has been a busy year, buying a house, renovating it, learning to drive, travelling abroad for work etc.
I am lucky that my partner gets it totally and wants to do more, he wasn’t angry at the list or annoyed, he knew I wasn’t having a go, as I do feel he does a lot, but I am just doing too much and he didn’t realise, because it is invisible and he doesn’t see it, and I just carry on doing it all.

I have read some blogs lately, saying women can’t have it all, they can’t be a stay at home parent and run a business or work part time, because something will suffer. Well before I discovered the ‘mental load’ article, I would have agreed, but now I say bollocks. Yes we can! Providing we are not overloading ourselves with mental tasks that could be shared. No we can’t do everything, and we shouldn’t have to. We don’t have to. I think a lot of couples I know would be the same as me and my partner, they just didn’t realise it was happening and of course should be sharing it all out and would going forward.

I would highly recommend making a list of what you think about week to week and what physical tasks you do, a column for both you and your partner, and just see how it all falls. My partner and I talked it through, we moved some to his column, or said we will share some of them and work together more, as a team, because that is what we should all be, parenting teams. We went into it equally together and that is how it should go forward. Please don’t let it all get on top of you, and if you can’t share them out, ask yourself do you really need to be doing everything on the list? Can you drop somethings?

We our going to look at ours again next month and see how we have progressed.

Fingers crossed!

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My top 5 home accessories: H&M, Next, Tesco & Oliver Bonas

We bought our house in Feb and spent a few months doing it up. We managed to keep some money to the side for accessories to make it more our own. We got some mixed budget items, some more expensive than others as a treat, but most very reasonable.

We have gone for the wall colours of grey white and some light pinks throughout, to keep it simple and used our accessories to lift it with blocks of colour.

1. I love this vase from H&M, I have it sat on the windowsill in the living room to add some colour. I also have a throw from there with similar colours in blocks. The rest of the room is decorated with quite neutral colours so this just adds a splash of colour.

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H&M Home

2. Pineapple & watermelon candles from Tesco, there were about £1.50 each and sit either side of the vase for a hint of fun and pleasant scent, we never actually light them they just look cute! Also hours of fun for a toddler to stick their fingers in, if your windowsills are low enough 🙂 (obviously not whilst lit or hot, it is just naturally soft wax!)

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Tesco Home

3. Oliver Bonas vase, this is a light green/grey colour and sits in the kitchen, but could pretty much go anywhere. It isn’t that big so is more for show, or Hallie and I like to pick the large daisy flowers that we grew and put them in there.

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Oliver Bonas Homeware

4. Oliver Bonas doormat, so good I bought it twice (for the front & back door). The colours are bold with pinks, blues & greens and everyone comments on it when they come in. Practical for feet wiping but also adds colour to the hallway & kitchen.

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Oliver Bonas Homeware

5. Oliver Bonas Carafe, this comes with cute matching glasses, I like to keep it sat on the dinning/kitchen table. Can be used for your favourite wine, water at dinner or just for decoration.

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Oliver Bonas Homeware

I find buying home stuff addictive, especially since we bought our own place. I rented flats in London for years and spent hours on Pinterest planning my home for the future, so this year has really been a dream come true. Next year we will be concentrating on the garden and artwork for the house, it would be great to have a wall of art in the office and kitchen. We have decorated the whole house but will be adding accessories bit by bit as we save up again.

I love looking at other people’s houses and their decor, so planning on a home series of posts! I would love to see yours so make sure to link to them in the comments!

 

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Day 2 inside with a sick toddler: WTH is with kids programmes these days?

Day 2 and Hallie is still not well, day 2 is always the worst because you are tired from being up with them the night before. You just want to pop out, anywhere, even a small walk, but you can’t.

So instead it is another day of Calpol and Peppa Pig. Children’s TV isn’t what is use to be. What happened to Sooty or Playdays. Does anyone remember Greenclaws? That was the BEST show, A huge green monster that lived in a greenhouse, that would put a seed into a tree with a very loud lady, and out would come an amazing plant, like a chocolate plant, great TV.

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And what do we have to put up with now, Peppa Pig, who is pretty bratty and lives in a world where people don’t believe Mummy pig can hit the top of the hammer bell at the funfair. Today I downloaded the Peppa Cinema Experience for Hallie to watch, as a treat because she is poorly, she is currently loving it. No one warned me about the highly annoying beginning and in between bits, but at least I can leave the room here, I couldn’t have done that at the cinema!

Also I loved Postman Pat back in the day, but he’s changed. I feel it is a sign of the times that Postman Pat is over stretched in his job. He rarely completes a special delivery on time, and has the stress of the helicopter to contend with, as well as his van and bike. Poor Pat Pat, there’s just too much going on.

The only thing getting me through these shows (is blogging obvs) but mainly Hallie cuddles. All she wants to do is cuddle and its lovely, she is quite affectionate anyway but especially so today. I am hoping for a better night tonight, it is an awful feeling having to wake them up to give them medicine, but her temp was high so I had no choice. She normally loves it, but not at 2am. The only time you wake a sleeping child!

Cant wait for her to be better, hate seeing her poorly.

 

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How horrible is it when your little one is ill. I think the temperature bit is the worst, when they just don’t know what to do with themselves. Hallie woke up early from her nap and just kept repeating ‘hot hot hot’ over and over again. She didn’t even want her ‘bar’ (Goodies bars), so I knew something was wrong!

She is currently taking comfort with Peppa Pig and her Dumbo teddy, which she absolutely hates, but whatever she wants is fine. I sense a long night ahead, and to top it off I think I am getting it, which is good as I will know how she is feeling and can help her, but also bad as I will know how crap she is feeling. But we all know, if we do get sick, especially when our children are sick, you have to carry on regardless.

High temperatures always make me edgy, and very worried. Calpol is currently working its wonders and she is starting to feel a bit cooler (fingers crossed). It’s when they are so lethargic and a bit delirious that is really worrying, then they have Calpol and within half an hour they are more themselves again and you wonder how you got so worked up.

Tomorrow will be filled with lots of cuddles and ‘Peppa Pigs First Cinema Experience’, we missed it when it was at the cinema, sadly, but I think she deserves it tomorrow.

There has been two highlights of this spat of illness so far;

  • Hallie using my hand and arm as a tissue.
  • Hallie putting her snotty finger in my mouth

 

So it’s not all bad!

Hopefully she will be feeling better by tomorrow, and won’t have too bad a night. But if she did seem to get worse, I wouldn’t hesitate to call NHS 111 to speak to somebody, or if I was really worried I would go to A&E. Nothing is more important than your children’s health, you are not a burden to anyone.

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