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Because I have two girls, I find that whenever I get one something, the other wants exactly the same thing.
It’s a frustration that I hope they will grow out of. Except when it comes to clothes. Secretly, you see, I quite like them when they wear matching dresses. It’s adorable in a slightly kitsch way, makes people say “Oh how sweet!” or similar and- and I do find this a total bonus- makes them much much easier to spot when we are out and about at a party and I lose sight of them.
Recently I ordered LBG a heap of stuff from Florence & Fred on the Tesco clothing site when I realised she’d had a growth spurt and was in danger of looking like Miley Cyrus when she left the house. Included in the order was a fabulous Animal Print Party Dress, which sent her into delirium: she ran around the house shrieking “Oh Mamma, this is the most wonderful dress ever!” (She gets her dramatic flair from me.)
Sadly this caused the Dimpled One to melt into a pool of distraught tantrummy three-year-old, a condition I thought she may never recover from. And yet the next day the Tesco Christmas Fairy got in touch offering us an item to review. A mere 24 hours later, Dimples had a dress as chic as her sister’s, and Mamma’s Bacon (not to mention ear-drums, sanity and general Christmas Spirit) was saved.
Hurrah for F&F Kids Clothing: easy to wash, easy to wear and easy on the wallet! Chic as chips, I say.
Such a shame that the aforementioned overjoyed Dimpled One was a little reluctant to have her picture taken in the Christmas dress. You can’t always get what you want when you are a parent, even one that blogs. But the dress looks pretty!
Disclosure: Clothing at Tesco very kindly offered us a review item for the purposes of writing this post.
In this season of giving, there is a lesson that sometimes gets lost: it’s not the size of your gift but the thought behind it. A chat with a few teachers ahead of end-of-term on Friday has reminded me that the things people appreciate most are handmade gifts that are given with love and made with care.
Home-made treats can be given on their own, or you can attach them to the gift as a way of giving extra Christmas cheer to a shop-bought gift: cookies make wonderful gift tags! Halifax- the people who give you extra – are hoping to inspire more people to get creative and give extra with the homemade touch this Christmas. And it is the extra touches that take a gift from ordinary to legendary. The simple cookie is the perfect place to start.
I’ve put together a list of 12 Christmas Cookies that are easy to make- in some cases all you need is a decoration or two to embellish a shop-bought biscuit- and can be made by all ages as an end-of-term treat for friends and teachers.
1. Reindeer Noses: a twist on the American Classic, the Snickerdoodle, these biscuits are coloured with red sugar and so easy to make that even very young children can pitch in.
2. Carrot and Clementine Cookies: full of Christmas spice and hidden vegetables, they’d make a perfect healthy treat for Santa, and Santa-lovers everywhere.
3. Angel Cookies: give the gift of baking this Yuletide with a Cookie Mix in a Jar. Or make them and give them in the jar! Either way they taste great.
And if you want to Get a Little Extra this Christmas, then Halifax are offering a wonderful prize to Domestic Goddesque readers.
For your chance to win a 16GB Air Wi-Fi iPad (approx. value £400), please comment below and tell me your own tip or recommendation for a great homemade gift this Christmas.
Terms and Conditions: Competition closes at 12.00pm (midnight) on 18th December 2013. Entries received after this time and date will not count. One entry per person. UK residents only. Winner will be selected at random after the close date and will be notified on 19th December 2013. MEC Global and Halifax Bank are responsible for provision and delivery of the prize. For full terms and conditions for the competition, click here.
“Giving extra this Christmas ” is a partnership post between domesticgoddesque.com and Halifax, for which I have been compensated.
On Friday 13 December Save the Children is inviting everyone to make the world better with a sweater by wearing a Christmas Jumper and donating £1 to raise money for its life saving work with children the world over.
Just wear your fabulous festive sweater on Christmas Jumper Day on 13 December and donate £1 to Save the Children at www.christmasjumperday.org.
It’s that easy.
Kate Thornton supports Save the Children’s 2013 Christmas Jumper Day campaign. Kate wears John Lewis’ Women Reindeer Jumper, Grey, RRP £49.99. £25.00 per jumper is generously being donated to Save the Children. John Lewis is delighted to be the official retail partner for Save the Childrens Christmas Jumper Day. This partnership is aiming to raise over £100,000 to give children in the poorest parts of the UK the chance to fulfil their potential. Celebrities have dug out their festive knitwear to support Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 13 December 2013. Join them and donate £1 by texting JUMPER to 70050 or visiting www.christmasjumperday.org.uk
There’s still time to get down to your local John Lewis and pick up a Christmas Sweater, which will be perfect for Office Christmas Parties or for opening presents on the big day, before Friday so that you can join in.
But if not, how about customising your own? Bring your Christmas Jumper and your imagination down to Westfield Stratford, E20 between 5th – 13th December.
And if you are a blogger, then you should get your jingle on and take part in an enormous #xmasjumperday twitter party, orchestrated by the Save the Children Champion Thinly Spread! I’ll be there in a fancy red-nosed number and I cannot wait to see all the tweets and Instagrams at the biggest Blogger Party of the year. All the parent blogger channels are involved so join the fun and give what you can to help Save the Children this Christmas! Check out: http://thinlyspread.co.uk/2013/12/09/xmasjumperday/ for full details.
Monday: which seems like a very long time ago now, was a usual kind of Monday. Dimples was extraordinarily tired and ended up sleeping all the way through my shopping experience, waking only as I popped her in the car for the school run. I did get to eat my lunch in peace though so there’s a silver lining! The sunset after I picked up LBG was divine: we spotted colours all the way home, and finally decorated our Christmas Tree. It lights up our hallway!
Tuesday: I hung out with a few crafty bloggers whilst the girls were at school, wearing a fabulous Elf hat that the people from Coca Cola had sent as a Christmas gift to remind me that this year’s Designated Driver Campaign is up and running. Had a funny moment on the hangout when DH- who was working from home- casually wandered into the kitchen and made toast whilst we were live on air!
Wednesday: Santa and I went up to London for lunch with a former employer and I called in at Peter Jones on the way back to the station where I scored a perfect dress as well as a pair of shoes I have coveted for a while- and both in the sale! It was meant to be! LBG has been making flower pots for the teachers, and the craft bug bit DH too who crafted a wood pig from logs in our log store.
Thursday: Nativity Day, photos from which I am not allowed to share for the usual legal reasons. LBG made a great villager- she knew all the words and actions and her eyes were permanently on the Drama Teacher who was directing! Dimples made the school video hall of fame by falling asleep whilst sitting on the front row in a star costume! Home to Granny, who was babysitting, and I had a swift turnaround before heading up to London for a Christmas Party. In a room filled with people who came direct from work I felt quite pleased to be wearing my new red dress and shoes. We had booked a cab to bring us all the way home too, so no rushing for trains in new shoes.
Friday: I was tired, so tired. But I had little time to sleep as I got everything ready to head up to Birmingham after school for a weekend with friends. The Girls were fed, bathed and onesied before we loaded Barbie A Perfect Christmas into the DVD player and hit the road. It was a relatively painless journey, broken in the middle with a loo stop, gingerbread latte and doughnuts, and we reached our hosts at 9pm. Then lost track of time talking and didn’t get to bed until nearly 1am!
Saturday: a bright day made better by children who slept until 8am, we had breakfast then headed out to nearby Packwood House for a walk in the gardens, a shopportunity at the local Christmas Fair and a lovely pub lunch down the road. The men went to the pub later in the day too, whilst the women made salt-dough and watched four very tired children lose the plot altogether. Post-Strictly they fell fast asleep and I managed to get to bed before midnight.
Sunday: another moment in history where the girls woke after 8! Too bad we had to leave to head home! But we had a clear run and were back hugging Granny whilst the sun still shone. I had a go of her fab new gadget which may become my new best friend, and we toasted marshmallows on a bonfire Daddy had built in the wood. DH and I caught up on Masterchef but were in bed before 9.30am afetr a very busy week!
When I was a little girl I always thought it would be wonderful to live in a Gingerbread House when I grew up. The air would smell like Christmas every day and I could nibble a corner of the room if the cupboards were bare. There would be pink love hearts around the door and a little path of sugar balls that crunched delightfully under your feet when you walked to the front door. Every day would start with a fall of sweet snow that covered the chocolate roof tiles and fell on the window ledges. It would make every day magical.
Wouldn’t you know that the people at Sykes Cottages have recently calculated how much a Life-sized Gingerbread Cottage would cost to make: £66,037.05, which seems like a good deal in today’s housing market. On the assumption that it could cope with so much rain.
They also sent us a Gingerbread House making set so that the girls and I could create our very own pink gingerbread cottage on a smaller scale: perfect for two little girls and a dog. Just like our home!
Disclosure: we were sent the aforementioned set for the purposes of making our house, which has been entered into a competition. No payment was received.
Helen Neale is popping on the blog today. She is a freelance writer, and mum to Stuntboy and Chatterbox, the stars of both her blogs at kiddycharts.com and stickersstarsandsmiles.com. She writes parenting advice, as well as selling personalised charts on KiddyCharts. Stickers, Stars and Smiles is a bit more personal, and a lot more cluttered. She can be occasionally found on there having a beer, which she clearly can’t do in the office.
As always, Domestic Goddesque is the perfect host. *munches chocolate hobnobs*
I am visiting today to give you a bit of news about what is going on over at KiddyCharts, my slightly more serious, and every so much more professional blog.
KiddyCharts offers reward charts and other personalised charts for you lovely people. The idea was to help with those little challenges that screaming toddlers, and negotiating parents sometimes have to deal with. We sell a few different charts, but our reward charts which use a track are the biggest sellers. Because I am always willing to please, and love a challenge, we created something a little different using one of them for Christmas. We have made a rather cool advent calendar for you to have a bit of a play with.
Each giveaway is live for a week though, as we want to give you plenty of time to enter. That means you still have until Sunday 8th December before any of them start closing. *phew*
In total the prize value is over £1,800. This is on the up too, as we have a couple of days still to be filled. *crosses fingers for £2,000.*
It would be lovely if some of Domestic Goddesque’s readers had a chance to win some of these wonderful brands; why not sign up and receive a daily alert when a new giveaway is live?
Alternatively, why not join the party over on the site now. You never know what might be in store for you unless you give it a go. Have a champers with me while you are there as well, won’t you?
Disclosure: Helen is a super friend and as such did not pay me for hosting this post. I love her product and want to share her fabulous giveaway with you.
I recently mentioned that I am a bit Mamarazzi when it comes to taking pictures of my children. The thing is that with the advent of digital photography, all those images seem to remain on my phone or Dropbox and I do nothing with them. Christmas is a perfect time to really make full advantage of the pictures you take using the Instagram App so I’ve been having a look around at what you can do with your pictures: here are five ways to set your Instagrams free!
1. Blurb book: I was recommended Blurb by Vevivos and have discovered it to be a great Instagram conversion tool. A few minutes of my time and I had a fabulous book filled with all the Instagrams from our Norway trip earlier in the year, so that the Girls could take it in to school for show and tell. It was really easy to link to my Instagram account and the only real difficulty I had was bypassing the automatic features which added my most recent images rather than the ones that I wanted to use. I have made several photo books now using various tools and websites and I did find this to be one of the least time-consuming books. Your book will be a neat little 18 x 18 cm number, and it starts at just £12.99 for 60 pages. Check the site for current offers
2. Stickygram: I am a huge fan of Stickygram. I have a plan in my head to fill an entire wall with family moments caught on Instagram over the years. So when they got in touch offering me some free ones, of course I said yes. I find that they make great gifts: I get multiple copies of LBG with friends of hers or visiting family and then send them on to remind them of the moment too. In the run-up to Christmas I have ordered a lot to send with cards for overseas relatives. The site is simple to use, you choose photos in batches of 9 and the Stickygrams arrive very quickly in slick packaging. A sheet of 9 will cost $14.99 including worldwide shipping. Instagam now also make covers for phone and iPads which start at $34.99.
3. Polargram: I tested Polargram after hearing lots of bloggers talk about it. Another site that connects easily with your Instagram feed, Polargram specialises in printing off your images on good quality card stock with a border that gives them a retro Polaroid look (nothing to do with Polar Bears, which was a bit gutting.) Print off your shots in multiples of 12. Simple pricing structure, a no quibble money-back guarantee and a really good service. These photos are great for sticking in albums, using in crafts and take a lot of battering from small children without serious repercussions. I likey. Prices start at £5 which includes delivery.
4. Photobox: are always expanding their range of products and I was delighted to have a chance to test some of the Instagram options. They offer books and prints to make te most of your app images, but you can also use your Instagram pictures to make cute little photoblocks. In the drop down Upload Option box, you can choose Instagram, though there are also options for using Facebook, Dropbox and Flickr images. Upload them to an album and they are ready for use with the diverse range of products Photobox offers. The photoblock starts at £12.99 for a 5″ by 5″ block and are solid and robust enough to go in my daughter’s bedroom: she is beyond happy with the picture of her and her beloved Granny Crumble. And I have no need to worry about the potential of broken glass from a photo frame. I also ordered a phone cover for my smartphone using Instagram images, which took a matter of minutes and always gets comments when people see me use it. It was quick to produce and fits my phone perfectly. Unusually they are available for Samsung Galaxy (my phone), as well as iProduct, which seems to be unusual. Currently on sale at £9 each!
5. Boomf: oh my- marshmallow heaven. Connect your instagram account and you can have edible images going ‘boomf’ on your doorstep in 48 hours. You have to be quite careful with the images you choose to get the clearest picture on your mallows but the site has clear instructions. They arrive well packaged in a box designed to fit through your letterbox- which sadly we do not have- and are a great gift, party favour or because it’s a Tuesday. There’s always a reason for a “mallowgram”. £12 for a box of nine but you can get a discount of 10% by adding the code BOOMF-ME-HAPPY.
Disclosure: I paid for my own Blurb book and Polargrams. I received account credit to use with Photobox. I was offered free Stickygrams as I am a regular user of the site. I was a beta tester for the Boomf site and was entitled to a 50% reduction on my first order. All opinions are honest.