Gift Guide – Toddler Stocking Edition

Toddlers are one of the easiest people I have to purchase gifts for this Christmas, of course, I have a two-year girl, however, some of these you could use for different ages or girls boys as well. I have decided that this year I am going to only going to do stocking gift guides the reason behind it is because I prefer to purchase people smaller gifts which mean so much to them. I will say that Jess this Christmas is going to get a toy kitchen I think from us as her main present because this is something which she adores at nursery and she loves pretending to cook for us all of the time as well.

In this gift guide, they are items which Jess already owns nothing is actually her presents the reason behind this is she was with me when I was photographing and some of her presents are actually hidden already.

Toy ducks are something which we love in this house I think on last count we had 13 however, some of the ones which we have are starting to get all manky and horrible. They are something which Jess loves to play with in the bath and has a great amount of fun with. We have had it where we have been squirting each other while in the bath.  I think this is something which Daddy has taught her actually because I know she has the squirt ones at the grandparents as well as having some normal ones as you can tell we are a huge fan of ducks. I usually pick them up on Amazon or cheap shops because the quality does not matter as they still go mouldy after a period of time anyway. I think I might have to inspect Jess’s and see if she does need any more this year as I know this is something she loves playing with.

Flannel’s might not seem like something you would think about when you are thinking of what to purchase for a toddler stocking, however, if it has their favourite tv show on I am sure it will be a hit. We have a sponge which used to have Marshall from Paw Patrol on and every time Jess is in the bath and doesn’t want to put her body wash on I say well should we put Marshall all over your body and she loves it. I remember when I was a child there was nothing that I love more than putting the flannel on my head when it was wet. I know there is a picture of this somewhere don’t worry Joe I will show you on it I look the double of Jess. Flannel’s can be great if your toddler wants to wash the other toys they may have in the bath or something like this. You can pick them up for around £1 and they are something which could bring a lot of fun to bath time. I know Jess will lose her tiny mind when she see’s this one. The glove ones are also good which they sell in Primark for around the £1 mark and would make a great gift as well. 
These are the gloves which Jess had last year so there is a chance that you will not be able to get these exact ones however, gloves are something if your toddler is like mine and loves to be outside is something which we could not do without. I know some people manage to lose gloves easy so it would be a good time to replace them I am lucky that my toddler at the moment does not seem to be one of these people. You can purchase some gorgeous gloves I seem to remember these ones being from H&M however, you can pick them up anywhere including places such as Primark and they can be pretty inexpensive. I know at the moment Jess for some reason is obsessed with gloves maybe it is because she travels a lot when it is cold, however, they would be a good present which she would love at the moment. 
Having a mum like me means that Jess is loves sniffing bath bombs and shower gel I think this could be the start of an expensive addiction like Lush for the little monkey. So for Jess receiving something which she could use in her favourite place the bath or the splashy splashy as she calls it would be great. I found this one in Home Bargains I think it is around 69p and of course, it has her favourite people on the front Paw Patrol which is something she loves. I recommend getting one which is going to be suitable for your child you do not have to get ones which have their favourite characters on you could purchase one which smells good I know Jess would like that as much as one with her favourite set of characters on. 
Bath crayons are another item which we seem to adore in this house this is because of the fact that we can draw on the bath while we are in the tub. Jess loves to draw this is not something which she only likes to do in the bath she likes to draw anywhere. Last Christmas I actually purchased her these bath crayons I think I purchased them from Amazon however, I have since sene them in cheap shops such as poundworld. These have lasted us all year and we have actually been using them moth bath times you get them in a pack of 6 ours are starting to run down so I think I might actually have to repurchase some for her stocking this year.  To find them on amazon all I did was search bath crayons I think they are around the £1.25 mark so they are not that expensive should your child not be that interested in them. 
 

Books are another thing which I think would make a great gift for your, child I have to choose Dear Zoo because this is a cult classic and one which Jess is still obsessed with, however, you can purchase books which are more appropriate for the age of your child.  I will not be putting any books well maybe a couple of books in Jess’s stocking the reason behind this is even though she loves to read I am making her an advent calendar which is a book one if you haven’t seen about it I have a post which went up a couple of weeks ago.  I have listed the books which I have purchased so if you are looking for a book gift for a child around the same age as Jess I would recommend checking it out. Reading before bed is something which we love to do because it gets her interested in books at a young age and it gets me back reading because this is something which I do not seem to have as much time for any longer and it is something which upsets me.

The final item might seem one which is a little bit strange however, it is a bobble hat again hats are something which Jess likes to keep her head warm as well as play peek-a-boo with. This is one which was actually hand knitted by her great nan and this is something I am very thankful for. If your toddler does a lot of playing outside this is something which they at adore because it means that they are still able to play outside even when the weather turns a little bit chilly. I have seen some beautiful ones from the like of Next and even Primark this year so there is a hat for every budget. 
These are just some ideas what you could fill your toddler’s stocking with. I have not fully thought about what Jess is going to get this year however, I am sure this is going to be something which will change during December once my assignments are handed in.
What are you putting in your toddler’s stocking this year?
Charlotte x

Supporting Small Business

Tomorrow is actually shopping small business Saturday I think it is a day which has come over from the US and it is always the first Saturday of December. If you have read my blog, previously you will know that I like to support smaller companies whether that should be companies who make bows or toddler clothing to beauty products and candles.

As Christmas approaches quickly and many of us are still yet to purchase gifts so those who we love why not have a look at some of the smaller companies. Today I am going to share with you 9 of my favourites who I have either used this festive period or have used in the past don’t forget some of these people run them as a hobby on top of the full-time job and the majority of them are also parents.  These companies can change people’s lives forever so please support them.

If you are looking for a blanket for a toddler or a baby this festive season I would recommend checking out gladragscustomcloths. This is a company who I used very recently and Jess adores her buggy blanket so much that she actually gets very annoyed if I do not pick it up when we go in the pram. She has a wide range of fabric so you can customise what you have it does not have to be Marvel like mine and the fleece on the back can be changed to be brushed cotton and the colours can be personalised as well. We have has so many compliments on our blanket in the few weeks we have been using it so if you want something a little bit different I would recommend checking them out I think this cost me £20 so it will not break the bank. 

 A company who I know I have mentioned previously is a bow come true I actually got some bows for the rugby final back in August and Jess’s Birthday bow from this company. Along with a handful of other bows, I have not actually purchased her Christmas ones yet however, there is a penguin one which I have my eye on and a few more so beware I am sure a bow haul will be coming up before Christmas. If you want your little girl to have something pretty in her hair these would make an amazing gift, they would be great in a stocking you do not just have to get festive ones she still is making normal ones which you can wear all year along and they are such a reasonable price of around £2.50. You do not have to be a toddler to rock a bow either.

 Another, company that I have used a couple of times now and would recommend is Pretty penguin clothing. Recently, I purchase Jess a children in need skirt from this store and she has so many compliments on it when I took her to nursery. They are such good quality fabrics in a lot of different designs I think we currently own about 4 different skirts they also do bibs, leggings and rompers. I am unsure what size they actually go up to so this is going to have to be something which you might have to contact them about. I have my eye on a few more skirts for the future which after Christmas I think I am going to purchase. These skirts wash so well I could not be more impressed they are only £8 for the size which Jess needs which is crazy as that is cheaper than some of the high street stores.

Surviving Society is a company which allow you twin with your child because they do the same designs for adults as children. They are actually unisex as well so you could have the whole family matching which is very tempting. Twinning is not something which I have yet done with Jess however, it is something which I can see myself doing in the future. These are such high-quality t-shirts which would make a great gift for a child or adult I think they are a company which I will be purchasing off again in the future I might even have to get this top for myself and I have my eye on another one but who knows I might be lucky enough to receive it as a gift this Christmas. I think the children’s tees are around the £12 mark and the adult ones around £22. 
Cards a something which we all seem to send at this time of year, of course, the picture above is the one of Jess’s birthday card, however, Handmade by Bubblestorm is a company that I adore for cards. They have some beautiful ones which they have launched for Christmas which even can include a picture and a calendar inside of course this is something which I have had to order. The people have not seen them yet or I would have shared them. This is a company who I will be using more in the future I think they would be amazing at weddings and other big occasions where you want something perfect cards are £3.99 each so not the cheapest but I can tell you they are of such high quality and they do discount for orders over 2.
Dot Creates they do some of the most amazing stationary that you have ever seen. I technically could not show you it as it is part of my own Christmas present but it got delivered to my house. If you are a blogger you might want to check out the new blogger planners. I am someone who needs to be actually very organised I need to know when I have my posts going up and as well as knowing how I am actually growing on social media. Dot creates do actually some other items which you do not actually have to be a blogger to use they even do phone cases. These products are something which I would recommend I used the ultimate blog planner all of last year so I really can not wait to start using my new one. Everyone love stationary after all right? 
Hunter and the three bears is a company which I discovered this year and actually ordered a present for they do the most beautiful necklaces.Which you can have personalised with your children’s name or any other name you want to. I love the idea of been able to have personalised jewellery they also key rings which says things such as this daddy belongs to and then the name of the children. I have actually ordered one of these for Jess’s great nan as I think this is something which she will really enjoy don’t worry she will not read this post at all. They are super reasonable as well they are cheaper than I found them on Etsy with postage a necklace and keyring cost me I think less than £15. Making things personalised always means so much more right.
Happy place cosmetics is a brand which I have been looking at for a long period of time however, I have not purchased them before Christmas. One of the reason is that I have so much Lush things which I would love to use up. I have decided that some people who are on my Christmas shopping list would love to receive some of the items they do which include bath bomb, soaps and body and shower whips. I love receiving gifts which have has some effort put in them rather than the something which has just been picked up. This company do some different scents which I have not thought of in the future, I would love to receive some of these but they sell out so fast. They are the same price as Lush so not too expensive. 
Paiges sweet treat shop is another small business that I would recommend of course as the name suggests they sell a lot of sweet treats. They have items to make hot chocolate like the picture above, they also do wine glasses with your names with gummy bears in them. Of course, you can get a lot of pick n mix and chocolate treats I think that with sweets that it is nice to sometimes get things which the person may not purchase for themselves or something which they maybe have not seen for a long time. I have ordered something for Jess’s key worker from this store however, I can see me having to make a couple more orders from this site yet before Christmas shopping is over. 
Do you have any favourite small business if so let me know in the comments I always love checking them out?
Charlotte x

10 Ways To Save The Pennies This Christmas

Christmas can be an expensive time of year but it does not have to break the bank. This year we are trying to save money because we are actually looking to purchase a house our first family home next year so of course at them moment every pound matters because we know getting the deposit and then all of the other hidden costs is going to cost a fortune.

This year we have set budgets for people so that we do not go crazy when we are shopping and spend way to much money. We are lucky and do not have a lot of people to buy for I think in total it is around 10. However, anyone who has a toddler knows that you can blow your budget just thinking about it because you want to make them have a great time and toys other things such as clothing you want them to dress in are not cheap. So today I am going to share with you ways that we are trying to save the pennies this Christmas.

– The first tip I would say is set a budget we have done this for example we have different budgets for different people with people like our parents having a higher budget than my brother. Having a budget means that you are less likely to end up spending more than you planned.

– Don’t be afraid to shop early if like us you see something which you know is going to be perfect for someone and it is discounted maybe in August pick it up make a note of what you have purchased though so you do not end up having too much for one person. This is what I did with Jess’s book advent calendar I made it when the works had their 10 books for £10 offer.

–  Shop around the amount of times I think I have found a really good deal to only find that it is actually cheaper on amazon than it is in the store advertising the discount. I always check if the item is not one on the cheap side the price on Amazon and even have been know to do it in store because I have the app on my phone.

– Shopping online google discount codes valid for that shop sometimes you can get as much as 20% off and sometime free delivery which is always handy because all them £3.95 delivery fees add up and could nearly be a budget for a person. While on this topic if there is an option of free click and collect to store rather than paying the deliver fees why not do this. I have done it in a number of stores including Sainsbury & Next.

– Cashback sites such as Quidco and Topcashback can be your best friend recently when renewing the car insurance I used this site and managed to get £29 back by going through this site and on a recent  Christmas present I managed to get a couple of pound back on a purchase. Every little bit helps I am trying to remember to do this throughout the year.

– If you are purchasing experience days do not go straight to Virgin Experiences shop around for example last year I purchased a fast car experience day I actually managed to save over £100 by shopping around so it is worth checking sites such as Buyagift, Wowcher, Groupon & Travelzoo all of which I have used and would recommend.

– Need things such as small socking fillers head to places such as B&M, Home Bargains, Pound stretcher & TkMaxx they have a fantastic selection of things which are not too expensive for example I know  you can get things such as sweets for a fraction of the price in their I have been known to purchase them before. Sometime you can get gift sets for a fraction of the price of Boots and Superdrug so it is always worth checking out.

– Something which I have been known to do in the past is trawl eBay sometimes you can get unwanted gifts for a fraction of the price I have done this for people’s birthday’s in the past. I have also purchased clothing which can be only worn at occasions such as Christmas which has been hardly worn I have found this is a good way to be able to get items such as Christmas Jumper’s for Jess. Don’t forget you can also sell your unwanted items and make some cash I know this is what I will be doing with some of Jess’s old festive outfits.

– Use Loyalty cards last year I has purchased Jess a car seat from Boots which meant that I got a shed load of points.I actually saved them and used them at Christmas when I needed to purchase some gifts from there I think in the end I got around £70 worth of gifts for around £7 which is amazing and I did not do anything. Boots was the cheapest place to purchase the car seat and I got the gifts as a result. This year I haven’t shopped in Boots as much so will not be able to replicate that crazy amount but even if you just have £5 worth of points its always worth cashing them in during the festive season.

– Looking to purchase a gift card try purchasing them off Zeek which a website that is the main marketplace for giftcards either buying or selling. People sell them as they are from stores which people do not end up using so it means that you can get them sometimes for as much as 20% off. You could use them to purchase gifts or give them too people as gifts as long as you know they may not have that long left on them.

What are your top tips to saving money this festive season?

Charlotte x

Jess’s 2nd Birthday Haul

As you might know on the 15th September Jess turned two I know where had my baby girl gone now she is a grown-up little toddler who loves been super independent. On the run-up to her birthday, I have been reading up on what other people had been purchasing for their toddlers because as you might know, Jess is rarely at home because she is in full-time nursery and this means she does not actually get a lot of time spent at home to play with toys.  So I thought I would share with you what Jess actually got for her birthday.

I am not bragging about what she got because I know she is a very lucky little girl people did not have to spend any money on her however they did and I am sharing with you the lovely gifts she got.
First of all is the card which we actually got Jess usually I wouldn’t include cards in a post like this, however, I had it specially designed from the lovely handmade_by_bubblestorm on Instagram. Jess is paw patrol mad and I had been trying to find one which was paw patrol with daughter on with no much success so when I found this lovely lady I knew I had to purchase. I think either the crayon and colour of Skye it was £5 as part of an offer she was conducting one Friday. I would recommend checking her store out because she does amazing cards.

Jess was super lucky to that her grandparents purchased her some amazing toys which she loves to play with. The first one which she received was the my little pony slide and ramp. Jess has never seen the my little pony show however this does not mean that she does not love playing with this toy. We have had all sorts go down the ramp not only the ponies and car which are supposed to. Jess also likes to try and make them go even faster so that they crash and hit people wow that just tells you a lot about the kind of person my child is to be honest.

Books are something which recently Jess has really got into she loves having a bedtime story read to her most nights if we are not in too late. As a big paw patrol fan, these books are going to be perfect which she received because they are small enough so she can try and read them herself they are board books which means she shouldn’t be able to damage them as easy. They feature all of her favourite characters and are something which I had not seen prior to her birthday but since have seen multiple times I would recommend these for any paw patrol fan.

The next item which she received does have a story as such behind it last summer when we were on holiday with her grandparents we saw these hoodies however they did not go small enough I think they started at age 3-4 which would have buried her. This is a really nice pale blue shade which says totally awesome on the front and has a huge crab on the back this is something which I am sure Jess is going to wear a lot in these autumn mornings and the early spring ones when you need something on because it’s still chilly.

The final item which her grandparents purchased some wooden food, unfortunately, I can not show you a picture of this because Jess is currently busy playing with it. It is a meat and fish set which comes with a chopping board and knife. This will allow her to practice cutting up food as such and also learn what the item of food is this is something which she has not stopped playing with since she received it. Due to the fact it is wooden, it means that it is going to last a long time as well and shouldn’t be broken easily.

My auntie and uncle purchased this little mini kitchen which means that Jess, in theory, can cook the wooden food it did come with a frying pan and spatula, however, I think currently Jess has these bits. This is going to be interesting to see how much Jess uses this because we are planning on purchasing her a kitchen for Christmas. This one does actually have a hob which sizzles like you are cooking real food which makes a little bit more realistic. The only fault I have with this is the fact it doesn’t come with any food which means that you do have to purchase more food or they have to use their own imagination that you are cooking food.

The first item which we got Jess is Everest cuddly toy which is 27cm. The reason behind this purchase is because Jess did have 4 of the pups and it may just be me because I have an addictive nature I need to have the complete set so this was one of the reasons that Jess got this item. I knew that this would be something which she loved due to the fact that with the other pups which she had we have she actually sits and feeds them and even tries to put them to bed. It is so cute it is almost like what other children may do with dolls however Jess loves to do them with pups.

The other pup which Jess needed to complete the whole set was the Rocky pup. I am someone who is constantly watching paw patrol I knew we had to have this one as he was the main pup we had missing because Everest is only in the last couple of seasons. Again she will end up taking him to bed as well as putting him on the floor with a blanket over and telling us we have to be quiet because the pup is sleeping. She has not been home a lot which means that Jess has not actually been playing with them however I am sure this will change the more she spends time at home. We picked both the pups up on Amazon because we never can find the size we wanted to match the pups we already have I
know these are not cheap but they are something which Jess is going to get plenty of use out of these.

Books are something’s which Jess loves she loves to be able to have a bedtime story before bed on the nights when we do not get in too late and she is not too tired. The first book which we purchased is the very hungry caterpillar the reason I purchased this was because she is obsessed with dear zoo which is a book which she has been reading at nursery a lot. We have not read this book yet but I am sure she is going to adore it because she also loves fruit and this book might help her learn some of the fruit which she does not know the names of yet.

The next book we purchased is another cult classic and that is the tiger who came to tea I think this is a book which I actually remember reading in primary school.This is one which has an amazing storyline which I really can not wait to be able to read Jess in the future. I am sure she is going to love being able to look at the gorgeous pictures which this book has while I read this because of the fact she is not going to be able to read this yet. This for sure is going to be one which we are going to read at bedtime in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, this story is not going to disappoint and it is as good as I remember.

The next item which Jess got for her birthday is this book which is called where is the lighty faust the lion the reason behind this purchase is because I was in a bookstore looking for other books for her advent calendar. However, I spotted this book and because of the fact that it is a flap book a little bit like Dear Zoo which Jess adores I thought this is something which she might like because it is interactive when I am reading her a story which is amazing. I thought it might be nice for her to have a new story because I am starting to get a little bit bored of reading dear zoo sometimes I have to do it 3-4 times a night.

My brother knew that Jess recently had been getting into jigsaws because of the fact that she is growing up and sometimes like to spend a little bit of her quiet time doing jigsaws. He actually purchased her this one which has shapes around the edge which will help her learn her shapes because this is something which she is currently learning. It also has a clock face all over the front which would allow Jess to be able to learn the time when this is going to be perfect. Due to the fact it is wooden, it means that it is not going to break easily I am sure this is something which she is going to get a lot of use out of.

The next item which Jess got might seem a really random purchase to you because of the fact that she is only a 2 year old so why would she want bath bombs which change the colour of the water. These are the Crayola ones which you can use a couple of the bath bombs and they will go the colour as shown on the packet. I picked these up for Jess because of you read my bathtime post you will know that she loves being in the bath. I think that this is something different and it will blow her tiny little mind that you can mix these like you would paint. I actually saw these in Primark which that I do not know how long these are going to be available. I can not wait to see how these actually perform in the bath.

Another item which Jess got was a paw patrol etcher sketch I think they are called because recently something which Jess has loved to do is draw however, this can mean having a ton of her pictures and sometimes she gets bored so far though. This allows her to draw to her heart’s content and constantly this is something which already ha a had ton of use. This is not just because it is paw patrol which is her favourite thing. Jess loves using the stamps which it comes with and calls them her dabbers this is something which I picked up on groupon so is not the most sturdy and I can see her breaking it at some stage. This is something which would be great for traveling because Jess would be able to sit and draw for a long time and keep herself entertained

I think the final item which Jess received for her birthday was another item which she is busy playing with and that is a Mama’s and Papas Cruizer pram. We decided that we were going to purchase this for Jess was because she really likes to push her walker around when she is at home and when at the grandparents she seems to gravitate towards the pram. So we decided that it may be time to purchase one for Jess however, I  have a feeling that instead of actually having dolls in the pram it is going to have pups in. This pram is actually very sturdy this is something I was looking for because I did not want her to break it easy as she can be very rough with her toys.

If you would like any reviews on the items Jess got for her birthday let me know? Also, what did your two-year-old get for their birthday?

Charlotte x

Keeping a Toddler Entertained Indoors

If anyone has a toddler like mine who loves to play outside. You will know how hard it is to keep them entertained when they are unable to  get outside because it is raining outside. Jess for one really hates been inside. There is only so many cartoons she can watch on the tv before she starts to her really bored and she doesn’t have the attention span yet to be able to watch films.

Since the weather this summer seems to have been really hit and miss one day she will be able to go outside and enjoy the sun and the next day it will be horrible and have to be a day in. At the moment she is going to nursery around 3 days a week which is great and really handy should the weather be really rubbish them days as nursery can keep her entertained . However, on the days that it is horrible I have had to become creative and have some ideas of what to do because we can not be running to soft play like everyone else because those places give mummy a headache and are also bad for her bank balance.

Due to the fact that Jess is hardly in it does mean that some days she will be very content just playing with her toys because they are all new again to her and ones which she might not have played with for a while. I recommend rotating your child’s toys around every couple of months so that they get to play with everything and it doesn’t always mean you have to fork out for new toys.

Having fun with paints is something which we have done as well. A while ago I think it might have actually been way back at Easter time we popped to Asda and they had large rolls of paper for around £1 and also had some finger paints reduced due to a battered box. We decided that we would tape the paper to the floor so that did not end up moving and Jess ending up painting all over the floor. I would recommend getting some paints and some coloured pencils because it helps children become so creative and i know it is something which keeps Jess occupied for a long time on a rainy day.

Yes this picture is from nursery and I promise she was not crying because she was in the ball pit she just didn’t want to leave nursery. Jess is lucky to have a ball pool at her nannys unfortunately currently we don’t have the room for her to have one at our house which is a shame because she loves playing it in so much. She will pick the balls up and tell you the colours of the balls as well as playing pass with you and having a whale of a time. You can pick ball pools up for around the £10 mark and then it is just getting the balls I would recommend around 100-200 for the chad valley one that is the one which she has at the grandparents house.

Blowing bubbles is another fun thing to do if it raining sometimes we will blow them in the house and sometimes when Jess has a bath. There is nothing more that she loves that to chase them and help try and pop bubbles. I managed to pick this huge litre bottle of mixture from the works which is not a place I would normally have thought to visit looking for bubble mixture.  I recommend looking in stores such as this home bargains , B&M and such for cheap toys and activities. I must admit I am always keeping my eye out in these kind of stores for things to keep Jess busy.

Speaking of baths sometimes we have a lot of fun when it’s raining by treating her to a lush bath bomb and then getting her bath toys out . I have known her stay in the bath for up to an hour and half which then makes her so tired and she has to go for a nap which means that she is entertained for even longer. Sometimes we do not even use lush we use her normal bubble bath because we keep lush for a treat.

What do you do to keep your toddler entertained when the weather is rubbish?

Charlotte x