Christmas Shopping For Toys

Collaborative Post.

It’s now officially the countdown to Christmas! How prepared are you? I have written a long list of things to do to make sure Christmas runs smoothly! Or as smoothly as it can with 4 children in the house!

While Father Christmas brings gifts, we also treat our children and family to gifts too. So toy shopping is a big annual event. Shopping is always fun, I say that with a hint of sarcasm! I will be honest, I try to avoid shopping with the children as it is often just too busy! It’s no fun trying to push a buggy around a busy store, and the children get bored in queues anyway! So, I either shop while the older children are at school, or shop online. 

Online or In-store?

Online shopping is great as it means I can often find a deal to save money on gifts. Though I have also discovered you can find deals online which are valid in store too! Sometimes you just want to shop in a store rather than on line – so you can see the item you’re buying! 

If you’re shopping online, remember to check how the item will be delivered. You don’t want a toy delivered with the packaging on display as it could ruin the surprise! Some retailers allow you to select discreet packaging to ensure the parcels get delivered wrapped. 

Which toys?

There are some classic toys which children seem to want every year, these are relatively easy to shop for as they never seem to run out! But then there are the newly popular toys, or TV character toys. At the moment PJ Masks toys are really popular at the moment, and I’m sure they will be appearing on many Christmas lists! These are sometimes harder to get hold of, and even hard to get a deal on. But it is always worth checking for toy deals!

Things to remember…

When you’re buying toys, do check you don’t need any extras to make them work. Whether it is extra batteries or an accessory, you don’t want to discover you can’t get the toy to work on Christmas day! 

It’s also worth considering whether the packaging is frustration free, or whether to take toys out of the packaging before they get handed over. We tend to make sure there is always a pair of scissors on standby for Christmas morning!

Panto in Basingstoke – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Post in collaboration with The Anvil.

It’s officially the start of Panto season! The Anvil in Basingstoke plays host to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 13th December until 6th January! Starring Dani Harmer – perhaps best known for her role in the CBBC show Tracy Beaker!

Anvil Theatre, Basingstoke. Snow White Christmas Panto 2018. Photograph By: Sean Dillow. www.TheBigCheesePhotography.co.uk

“When the Wicked Queen’s magic mirror declares that Snow White is the fairest in all the land, the evil Queen wants her out of the way.  Snow White escapes to the forest where she meets seven little friends. But the Wicked Queen doesn’t give up, and with a poisoned apple in her possession she tracks down Snow White …”

Anvil Theatre, Basingstoke. Snow White Christmas Panto 2018. Photograph By: Sean Dillow. www.TheBigCheesePhotography.co.uk

There is a BSL signed performance on Tuesday 18th December 6pm. There is also a relaxed performance on Wednesday 2nd January at 2pm. 

For more information or for tickets, call the Anvil Arts box office on 01256 844244, or visit the Anvil Arts website anvilarts.org.uk.

How Mr Bump was offended by me again…

So, you may recall a few months back I wrote about how I appeared to have accidentally offended someone. Apparently calling a stranger Mr Bump is not the done thing. In my defence, it was after his many references to injuries he had sustained.

Looking at the whole debacle several months on, I think he was keen to look manly. Unfortunately I perceived him as clumsy. Still, I feel Mr Bump was an amusing reference, I could have easily made a comparison to Mr Bean…

I digress.

So a few weeks after the last post, Greg got in touch.  It went a little like this; 

V, I am so terribly sorry, I’ve been off saving the world, could I possibly pop over this afternoon?”

Ok, so he didn’t actually say he had been saving the world, but again I’m trying to retain a little bit of Greg’s dignity. So I won’t reveal the nature of his occupation any further. Though, he probably does wear his pants over the top of his trousers. 

I smiled when the message arrived, thankful that that guy had a sense of humour. However, I was in the throes of a princess party (true fact, I was wearing a tiara and everything). So I responded hastily explaining that it would have to be any other day over the weekend, and I was glad he was OK. The following day I read his response. 

‘Ahh ok I’m away until next month, oh and… if you’re not breaking yourself you’re not doing it right…’

I read the response and read it again. Erm, ok, I was not entirely sure what to reply. Unusual for me! It’s hard with the written word, it can be easily misinterpreted. After a puzzled face or two I decided, ah banter! So, I responded with a little more banter. 

“I guess it depends what you are doing?!” then I inserted a quick joke about his occupation and thought nothing more of it.

I had anticipated by now that Greg may have been in touch. But, it seems that he may have misinterpreted my banter. Or perhaps he is nursing a broken limb somewhere in darkest Peru.  Either way, I still have the boat bits, annoyingly. 

It really made me realise how easily the written word can be misinterpreted. Greg was happy to joke and be vivacious face to face. But clearly the written word was just a little too complex? While I found the  saga amusing I can’t help but wonder what he read into the written word. 

Weirdly the entire saga took me back to my early twenties. Text messages were first becoming popular. I texted someones brother, quite an innocent text thanking him for rescuing me and dropping me home. His then girlfriend responded in a rage. As she had only got part of the story… 

V

My Grief is like the Ocean.

Someone asked me how I felt. They were being kind. Actually, they were kinder than they realise as it made me think, how do I feel? It’s the first time I have sat and thought about it. I shan’t lie, it took several attempts to write this, and many tears.

Grief

I have tried many times to explain the emotion, and faltered. It’s such a personal emotion. I am not an expert, not a counsellor, just a thirty-something who is grieving. This is the only way I can describe my own feelings.

calm seas view of the Isle of Wight

Calm Solent Sea

My grief is like the ocean.

My grief is like the ocean, it is always here.

It is great and changeable.

Some days, it rolls in and out and merely laps at my toes. Those days I smile, as I remember happy times and though you are gone, I almost still feel you are here.

Then there are the days when the waves of grief roll in violently, knocking me off my feet.

I am hauled into the ocean, out of my depth, out of breath, struggling against a barrage of waves. I try to swim back to the shore, away from the turbulence of this grieving sea, I am weak. I struggle, scrambling in the shallows, my fingers clawing at the shingle. I feel so lost, so sad that you are gone. Angry that you left. We should have been old together, drinking tea with blue tints in our hair.

Then suddenly the calm comes again.

I am standing on the beach. Watching those waves of grief as they recede. The sun is shinning, I feel the warmth on my face. A gentle reminder, that you are gone, but I am here.

V.

Tea and Biscuits

My experience of grief is that there are good days and bad days. I often remind myself that life is short. She would want me to live as exciting a life as I can, and toast her with tea and biscuits with a blue rinse in my hair if I am lucky enough to grow old where she did not.

Bereavement Help

If you have been bereaved, charities like CRUSE can offer help and advice.

The Baby Hamper Company – Review

Buying a gift for a new baby can be a challenge. Especially if you are looking for something a little different! When I gave birth earlier this year, I couldn’t have many visitors due to ill health. So, I really appreciated gifts which people had chosen with care and posted to us. When The Baby Hamper Company got in touch to ask if we would review one of their hampers I was delighted. They create beautiful gifts to be delivered to new parents, wrapped with care. Perfect if you want to show someone you’re thinking of them.

I love the concept of being able to treat a new baby with a lovely gift delivered to their door. There are multiple options of hampers available including a build your own. 

Baby Hamper Contents

The hamper arrived looking beautiful, carefully wrapped in  brown box tied with a neat red ribbon. Wrapped in a box, it was low waste, which I love! Plus I think the box and ribbon will be re-used anyway!

I chose a Really Useful hamper as I am always pleased with a beautiful but useful gift! This contains a beautiful Winnie The Pooh Aden & Anais Muslin Cloth, A Lamaze Tiger, Sock ons (no more losing 1 sock!) a short sleeve baby body, and a long sleeve/leg body suit. The clothes are both size 0-3months, so perfect for a new baby.

Baby gifts

I have to say I was impressed with the quality of the baby clothes, they are really soft cotton. The footless style on the long sleep suit is great, as I always found my babies had long legs so the feet never fit on normal sleep suits! 

0-3months Sleep Suits

I think these hampers would also work well as a baby shower gift, or as a present for someone leaving work to go on maternity leave. All the gifts included are high quality, and I feel that they are packed and sent with care. The Baby Hamper Company offer good value high quality gifts, which are sure to be a hit with new parents.

Winter Skincare with Aquaphor

“This post is an entry for the BritMums #MyAquaphor Challenge, sponsored by Eucerin. Discover the benefits of Eucerinhttps://www.eucerin.co.uk/
products/aquaphor/soothing-skin-balm-45ml”

Winter is a time when I struggle to keep my skin happy. I suffer with dry chapped skin, and it happens almost over night. 

Aquaphor is a balm, so you only need a tiny bit to moisturiser effectively. It absorbs into skin with ease, leaving my skin looking instantly revived. 

My children have started to use Aquaphor on their hands and face before school too – just across their cheek bones. It means they skin is protected from the change from cold outdoors to central heated classrooms. Changes in temperature from damp outside to dry central heated room can play havoc with sensitive skin in our experience. I keep our tube of Aquaphor in the change bag along with my gloves, ready to pop on after every hand wash! 

This entry was posted in Reviews.

History Buffs in Ulan-Ude: Living The Dream

This article is published in partnership with Mediabuzzer

History Buffs

As there are plenty of interesting facts related to the history of the Trans-Siberian railway route, there is no real surprise that lots of passengers riding this main line are keen amateur historians or in some cases history professors from around the world. People booking a train trip taking in a stopover at Ulan-Ude are bound to know at least a thing or two about this popular destination along the Trans-Siberian route or in fact, where the Trans-Mongolian line can take us all the way to Beijing.

Image Source: Pixabay

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This entry was posted in Travel.

Top 5 Kids Christmas Films

I’m the first to admit that I’m getting a little excited about our first Christmas as a family of 6! One of our favourite ways to get in the festive mood is watching a Christmas film, and we usually watch a couple after School each week on the countdown to Christmas.

Now, my list is controversial, it doesn’t include many of the great festive favourites we have come to love each Christmas (Elf doesn’t feature…) but it is 5 films which we love as a family – and they may give you some inspiration for the season! So, why not get ready with a cosy blanket, mug of hot chocolate and some popcorn and one of these festive favourites! Continue reading →