Need Inspiration? Here’s my Christmas Gift Guide

Tiny Tots

The Jumperoo has made it on to all of my gift guides for babies and for good reason. They are simply brilliant. Over the years, we had two and I loved them both. We’ve tried the The Fisher-Price Roaring Rainforest and Luv U Zoo Jumperoo. There are so many different designs now and although they are quite big, it’s definitely one of the toys that all of the babies I know have really enjoyed. It’s fun and engaging with lights and sounds and it also teaches them about cause and effect. The most recent Roaring Rainforest Jumperoo even folds away! If you’re quick you can get some great deals on this from Amazon- it’s currently £69.99.

I haven’t met a baby or toddler who doesn’t love these squeaking eggs from TOMY. These have lasted four years in our house now and they and are still played with routinely. We’ve lost and found some of the parts so many times but they really are a must for all babies.

How about a bath toy? Both my two love baths but sometimes bath toys are a little samey. Well we have the VTech Bathtime Singing Froggy and it’s by far the best bath toy we’ve purchased. You can sing along to the frog’s tunes into the microphone, learn colours, instrument names and sounds it even has a water spray (just make sure the bottom foot is in the water to ensure it works!).

Toddlers

For the slightly older toddler, how about a play kitchen or play shop? Isabella and Benjamin have used their shop for the past two years. There are so many different elements to it that it can become anything your child likes, the possibilities really are endless. We went for this one from Amazon and although it’s a great size, it’s not the sturdiest of shops. We’ve also taken off the German stickers and stuck different ones on. We’ve since seen in the flesh the shops from GLTC and although more expensive, you can definitely tell the difference in the quality. These role play items will last for years and years too so well worth the investment.

Ride ons have always a massive hit in our house too and we have several that would make excellent gifts. The Scuttle/Scramble Bugs have got to be at the top of my list as they are relatively cheap and easy to store. They are great for both indoors and outdoors and again, last for years.

Last year we bought Benjamin this amazing ride on Digger. Although it was slightly too big for him to begin with, we knew it would grow with him. It’s great quality and although it took a while to build, it’s a sturdy piece of kit and has been a huge hit with all the children who have come over to play.

One of our other favourites for toddlers is the Orange Tree Toys Alphabet Crocodile Puzzle. It is played with every single day and has engaged both the younger and older child. The youngest loves simply piecing the puzzle together while my 5 year old has been using it to practice letter recognition and learning to write her lowercase letters. It’s bright and colourful and is a solid piece. I’ve seen other similar puzzles but this one has been the best quality.

Another piece that’s stood the test of time is Lego Duplo. We’ve got several sets now, including the Around the World set which Benjamin got for Christmas last year. This is a brilliant set which has such a wide variety of animals in, there will be plenty to share around with friends. We’ve made various vets, zoos and clinics over the year to play with and even Isabella at 5 will enjoy playing with this set.

This year the children are adding more to the collection with the Batwing Adventure set*. With Benjamin being that bit older, he’s getting quite into his DC Superheros and this set is perfect for introducing him to the world of Batman. There’s plenty to get your hands on with this set and you wouldn’t require additional sets to role play scenarios. This set is perfect for playing alone or with someone else as there are two vehicles and characters. A brilliant little set with hours of fun packed in.

Because Benjamin is into his diggers, trucks and cars, Smokey’s Garage* is going to be another huge hit. Smokey, Lightning and another car in this set and are easy to assemble. I like that there isn’t a lot to assemble for this age as it limits the potential of losing items! Benjamin loves all the smaller tools and will spend hours fixing things so this will be no exception. His favourite will of course be the drill by a long way. With three cars, tools, a crane and fixing station, there is more than enough here to keep younger children and older children occupied.

Young Children

Sticking with the LEGO theme (you can never have too much in my opinion!) Isabella is very much into her fantasy role play at the moment. The Lego Elves The Capture of Sophie Jones* is a brilliant little set which offers your young ones plenty of interesting things to do. Included in the set is the minifigure of the new character Sophie Jones, a little goblin and Mr Spry the squirrel. As well as the characters, you get to build the squirrel shop, the portal and a vehicle with a net to capture Sophie Jones in. When the vehicle moves, the little net moved up and down which is a lovely little addition to the play set. Inside Mr Spry’s shop/house, you get little jars and food pieces as well as a little picture of Mr and Mrs Spry!

My final Lego addition this year is the Heartlake Sports Center*. Ever since we started going to Legoland, Hearlake City has been one of Isabella’s favourite places. She loves watching the dances and will often recreate these when at home. This sweet set makes a brilliant addition to the growing set. The doors to the gym slide open for authenticity and it even has two little usable lockers and a turning treadmill! Accessories include trophies, weights, balls, water and a pineapple as well as a yoga mat, bike (with helmet), stereo and money. This set has a lot to offer and goes well with the other Heartlake City sets.

To make their Lego play a little more interesting this year, we’ve got some MAYKA Block Tape* in black. The tape is a bendy, durable silicon that can be cut easily to whatever length you require. This means you can adapt playsets you own, stick them to your walls or cupboards, under tables – basically you can turn almost any surface into a Lego playzone! Although you can peel this tape off of some surfaces, it may take paint off the walls so be careful! The tape does work well with Lego but works best on flat hard surfaces. This could make a great stocking filler for any Lego enthusiast.

As a family, we love to sit around and play games together so we’ve also got a few more additions that the whole family can get involved in. Shark Bite* is a really fun and entertaining game which is simple to play but gets lots of laughs (and makes you jump too!). It doesn’t need batteries either which is a huge bonus at Christmas time. The idea of the game is to save the fish from the shark’s mouth using a fishing rod. You roll a dice to see how many fish you need to rescue but you have to rescue them before the shark bites. The player with the most fish at the end wins. The shark bite is triggered by pulling different fish each game play so there’s always an element of surprise.

Now, if you your children think toilet humour is funny, they will love Gassy the Cow*. Once you have decided upon a colour boot, you spin a spinner and whichever colour it lands on, that player needs to walk their welly up to Gassy’s bottom to see if she will just moo, wee or whether you get poo on your shoe! She even makes farting sounds for effect. You have to slot the wee and poo discs into the hind legs of the cow before play and every time you lift Gassy’s tail, she will fart, wee or poo. If Gassy the Cow simply farts, you let the next player play. If she wee’s and you already have a poo disc on your boot, it washes away the poo. If you do not have a poo disc then return the wee disc to the pile. You can stand on 2 poo discs before you are out of the game. If you get a mega poo, you’re instantly out!

For the more crafty children

Isabella loves crafts and over the years we’ve tried a fair few. This year she’s getting more into the type of crafts that have a purpose to them at the end, rather than just because. The Makery offer a wide range of crafty kits perfect for a cold wintery day. The Cuckoo Clock kit *includes everything you need to create a beautiful, working clock. Inside you get: pre-punched felt, embroidery threads, plastic needle, clock mechanism, buttons and cotton tape. The gorgeous packaging helps make this the perfect present too. Although it’s aimed at children 7+, with a little help and guidance Isabella is more than capable of making this and getting a real sense of achievement from it.

Tech Will Save Us also have a huge range of brilliant crafty products like the Mover Kit*. Inside the kit you get: two electronics boards, the Mover Kit plastic case, a yellow USB cable and three different accessories for attaching the case to people and objects (a slap bracelet, a lanyard and a velcro strap). You have to attach the two circuit boards together before putting them in the case and attaching the power cord (which can be quite fiddly). It all closes with a silicone loop. You have to open the case to connect the USB cable for charging and programming hence the silicone loop rather than a simple snap on plastic cover. For less tech savvy people, there are built in codes already to get using the Mover Kit immediately and then you can work your way up to coding different things.

Books

We always buy the children books for Christmas. Reading is something we do every day without fail. Both children enjoy reading and it’s something we will continue to encourage as they grow. We’ve just received My Golden Ticket from Wonderbly*which is a fully personalised adventure of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Every child’s name will get a different story (including their own personalised sweet, Oompa Loompa song and Wonka-fied Family Tree!). This personalised book does more than simply swap in a child’s name. Both Isabella and Benjamin would end up with different stories which makes the book really magical and unique. While many of the elements are based around the original story, there are also some lovely surprise rooms to investigate and help your little one’s imagination grow.

We’ve also been reading these Ladybird Read it Yourself collection with Isabella to improve her reading and she loves them. They are short and interesting but easy enough for her to read. She absolutely  loves all of the stories and will often take them to bed with her to read by herself.

For the grown ups

Ideas for Him

I always find buying for my husband difficult as he tends to buy what he needs through the year and then doesn’t really want anything. He enjoys his sport and we do love binge-watching box sets together but apart from that, there is nothing obvious to buy.

So this year, I’m going to be getting him a subscription to Christian Benedict shirts. Christian Benedict offer a service whereby you order the first shirt and have it delivered to you. Your recipient can then decide where they would like their subsequent shirts sent to on a 30, 60 or 90 day frequency. This is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year and is something I know he’ll like.

As I mentioned before, we love binge-watching box sets. We tend to be quite behind when it comes to TV series and will often decide on a box set months (or even series) after it first launched. We’re just getting into Peaky Blinders so series 3 is going under the Christmas tree too this year. Last Christmas I got him the Luther box set series 1-4 and he loved it.

As a couple of little stocking fillers, I thought I’d get something whisky based from Just Miniatures. While they offer a huge range of miniatures, there’s also personalised miniatures, large bottles and glass engravings available. I thought a little personalised whisky miniature and a selection of other miniatures would make a nice treat.

I also thought I’d get him something practical in his stocking other than the obligatory socks and pants that he could use when he travels. The Z lok is an armoured reusable zip style tie that provides added protection for use on car-racks, bikes, buggies and sporting equipment. I thought my husband could use it to keep his workbag secure when out and about and when travelling as it’s so easy to use and very effective!

Things for her

This will always top my Christmas list and is very indulgent. I love White Wooden Cosmetic Organiser – it’s my all time favourite smell.

I also love my jewellery and have this year got my eye on a personalised necklace fromWhite Wooden Cosmetic Organiser. There are so many online companies who can make personalised jewellery that there’s bound to be something you’d like!

The kids always buy me new pyjamas and slippers and I look forward to this each year. I love my comfy clothes and pyjamas have to be my favourite. I love snuggling in the evening, especially when it’s cold. Next have a great range this year!

I’ve recently noticed my face isn’t looking as fresh as it used to so the Magnitone BareFaced * cleanse and tone was perfect. It has a Stimulator brush with rounded rubber bristles for a complete skin workout. It has a deep-pore cleansing technology for more radiant skin giving you smoother, clearer skin in 7 days! I’ve been using mine for a month or so now and after an initial few spots (probably due to clearing the pores), I’ve seen an improvement. It’s definitely one to put on your Christmas list this year.

If you don’t want to quite go for the full on brush, I’ve also been using White Wooden Cosmetic Organiser MicroFibre Cleansing Cloth. It removes even eye makeup with just warm water. There’s no need to add chemicals which is perfect for sensitive skin. You get two MicroFibre clothes in each pack so you can wash one while using the other. It washes in a 30 degree wash and really does work. I’ve been super impressed with this for quick and easy makeup removal!

If you have a gin lover in the house, Pickering’s Gin Filled baubles* are sure to be a huge hit! You get 6 brightly coloured baubles filled with really yummy gin! In the box you will get pink, blue, purple, yellow, red and green baubles with a rose gold screw top lid They come beautifully packaged and are selling out fast so you’d better be quick if you’re looking to get them!

 And to keep your bathroom looking tidy, why not give this White Wooden Cosmetic Organiser*a try? This wooden caddy is a great idea for popping on a dressing table or in the bathroom to store cosmetics, jewellery, hair accessories and more but keep it organised and neat. There are 13 storage cubbies and 3 removable drawers which means there’s plenty of storage space for all your bits and bobs. It looks very stylish too. It’s made a noticeable difference in our bathroom now everything is kept neat and organised. I love it.
My last item is from Naissance and it’s their Make Your Own Bath Bombs*. As son as this one arrived, I knew I’d love it from the smell alone. I chose the Geranium Rose and Lemon and the smell is amazing. In the kit you get enough ingredients to make up to 8 bath bombs and a really easy step-by-step instruction book to follow. Included in the ingredients are essential oils and natural flower petals. It’s also cruelty free, vegan friendly and has no hidden nasties. The packaging is beautiful and is also kind to the environment as it comes from sustainable paper and cardboard. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves beauty hacks & natural ingredients. It’s fun and creative and is also perfect to do with the kids!

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post. We were sent items marked with * for the purpose of this gift guide however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. Loved these ideas. And yes, I agree that you can never have enough Lego! Even after we have three boxes full ! I would add that the lego boxes to store the legos in (that look like big Legos) is a must too! You can get them here http://amzn.to/2hS3K9R and I love them because they come in so many different colours and can be stacked together to create whatever combination you desire!

    Also, there is a new post up on Shielded Baby with a great list of inspiration for places you can go with your little ones in winter, I think you would love it! http://shieldedbaby.com/lifestyle/places-to-go-with-small-children-in-winter/

    Look forward to your next post! 🙂

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