This year I thought it would be fun to share with you the contents of Bert's Christmas stocking - this is the first year I've really done him a proper stocking full of gifts, we did separate bigger presents last year, as I found stocking fillers for a one year old a bit tricky.
This year however, as I mooched around the shops, and browsed online I found lots of lovely little things that I knew Bert would love and I'm really pleased with the contents I've put together - I can't wait to see his little face tomorrow morning when he rifles through it all.
I thought I'd write a list of the contents and then share some pictures with you as well, I hope this might inspire some of your stocking contents next Christmas - Bert is 2 years and 4 months exactly, and I confidently know that he'll love the things we've chosen for him.
-3 DVDs (Jungle Book, Brother Bear 2, Wreck it Ralph)
-a pot of yellow play dough
-3 giant pavement chalks
-a toy cow figure
-a wibbly frog toy
-Wooly & Tig 'Feelings' picture playing card set
-a DK 'First Facts - Dinosaurs' book
-a set of knights and horses
-a set of Cloud Babies mini puzzle books
-a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles boxer shorts
-a Spiderman pants and vest set
-a set of 5 dinosaur pants
-a Father Christmas and Reindeer itty-bitty cuddly toy
I'm pretty chuffed with his stocking fillers this year - hopefully we'll have a very happy two year old on our hands this Christmas morning!
I do love all things nautical - I'm pretty fond of a Breton stripe or two, so this gorgeous little nautical Freya Rabbit is a real favourite of mine, I know Bert will just love her too! Thanks to Sylvanian for sending her to us in time for Christmas.
We are always excited to add a new family to our Sylvanian collection, and we thought this family of Polar Bears was perfect for the festive season!
All ready for Bert to have a rummage! Exciting...
I feel pleased that I've managed to include a good combination of different things in this years stocking: from practical items such as pants for the coming months of potty training fun, to activities for a rainy day such a Play Dough and playing cards, adding some great new titles to his ever-growing DVD collection, some brilliant little figures (his favourite type of toy), a lovely book I know he'll love along with a few festive items too. I'll throw in a bag of chocolate coins, and a tangerine at the last minute (both Christmas stocking traditions on my family) and 'Bob's your uncle' one complete Christmas stocking for my cheeky little toddler.
I want to add that not all of the contents of this years stocking are brand new - Christmas stockings really don't need to be expensive, you can pick great little items up from charity shops, markets, car boot sales etc over the course of the year, and a couple of items were kindly gifted to us by friends who had been given duplicates of various bits and bobs. The cuddly festive Santa and reindeer toys were prizes that my hubby won in a blog giveaway - entering regular competitions is a great way to accrue presents and stocking fillers over the course of the year. I'll probably even start having a peek in the January sales for any little items that might be good in his stocking for next year - I do love a bargain.
I'd love to know what you've popped in your kids stockings this year, do let me know!
Merry Christmas to you all - I hope you've enjoyed a super-festive Christmas Eve and are all organised and ready for the big day tomorrow!
We're spending today with Liam's side of the family, and then heading off to visit my side over the rest of Christmas, tonight I plan to enjoy a warm mince pie, maybe a naughty small glass of red wine and put my feet up!
My work here is done.
Thanks to Sylvanian Families for sending us the new Polar Bear family, and the special edition Freya Chocolate to include in Bert's stocking this year.
I thought I'd bring you a nice little giveaway today which could help out hugely in the New Year when our bank accounts are looking just a little bit empty... Bargain Fox is a FAB discount codes website, offering brilliant codes for all sorts of shops on the High Street and online, and this Christmas they are giving away a £150 Tesco voucher to one lucky winner, all you need to do is enter via the Gleam app below... Win £ 150 TESCO Gift Card
The fabulous breakfast porridge brand MOMA has conducted a survey of 1400 people across the UK asking...
It's an interesting question - and one that fascinates me!
Anyone who reads my blog regularly or follows me over on Instagram will know that I'm food-mad. Not only do I really love eating it in all its guises from health food to cakes and chocolate, I also love to cook, create recipes, test recipes and just generally experiment and evolve my skills in the kitchen.
Since embarking on my weight loss journey I have become something of a calorie aficionado: counting calories every single day for two and a half years does that to a girl! So I'm pretty clued up and realistic about the calorie content of foods and drink, and also know what my average daily calorie intake is and what it needs to be to lose/maintain/gain weight.
I spent the majority of my first year of weight loss eating just 1200 calories per day, after a year I upped this to 1500 a day, as I was happy to lose the rest of my weight at a slower rate. By the end of my weight loss journey I was eating around 1700 calories per day to maintain my weight of 10 stone 8lbs.
Since falling pregnant with Baby Bishop #2 I've been struggling a huge amount with nausea, to the point of needing to be medicated - and because of that my eating habits have been all over the place - I've been craving dry, salty, carb-heavy foods, which aren't usually a part of my diet as regularly as they have been these past weeks. A few weeks ago the thought of eating a vegetable was making me heave - thankfully, I seem to be moving out of that phase just in time for Christmas, and although the nausea is still rearing its mean old head, I am feeling a lot more myself, and my eating habits are getting more balanced and nutritious.
Christmastime is another ball game when it comes to consumption though - and for my family, on Christmas Day especially there are just no rules when it comes to food and drink.
Champagne or Bucks Fizz for breakfast? Sure.
Chocolate before you've even gotten out of bed? Why not.
A full Turkey dinner followed by three helpings of dessert? Knock yourself out.
Being so full you can barely move, but managing a mince pie and some chocolate once the Downton Abbey Christmas special starts...yes, that's pretty much us on Christmas Day.
Christmas Dinner with my lovely in laws last year - tucking in happily! Calories? What Calories?
My Christmas-Dinner Cake (a fun take on carrot cake) from last Christmas - I MAY have eaten two huge chunks of this on Boxing Day, as well as half the buffet table! ;-)
If you can't throw all calorie-caution to the wind on Christmas Day, then when can you? That's what I say! Christmas for me is definitely a time to enjoy treats guilt-free, and to just deal sensibly with any gained poundage in the New Year.
I was pleased to read that I'm not alone in my Christmastime greed -the results of the MOMA survey showed that the majority of both men and women expect to consume 3,000 to 3,499 calories on Christmas Day!!
HA! Brilliant - I'm taking this as licence to double my usual daily food consumption on Christmas Day knowing that I'm in good company. Especially as ALL THE ALCOHOL is out of the equation this year - boo!!
Through my weight loss journey I've learnt not to bury my head in the sand when it comes to what I consume, so I will still try and count my calories as best I can over Christmas - so that I can still see and be realistic about just HOW BAD I've been. I will be WAY over my calorie target during the Christmas break, but that is fine, as I will work hard in the New Year to make amends, and will just enjoy the glutton while it lasts.
The important change for me in terms of Christmas eating is that I no longer make Christmastime the start of a slippery slope back into overeating in definitely. I decide on a specific time-scale for my Christmas glutton (usually Christmas Eve to New Years Day) and then jump back on the healthy/balanced wagon after that.
What are your Christmas eating-habits like?
Do you exorcise moderation all-year round and then have a blow out at Christmas?
Or are you much more restrained and sensible? I'd love to know!
Today I wanted to share with you a very quick post about one of my favourite brands: Wrendale Designs.
This gorgeous family business all stemmed from artist Hannah Dale and her incredible ability to paint animals - her pieces capture a variety of animals at their most playful. There is something so enchanting about the movement and energy she manages to portray in her work, and as soon as I saw her first hare pictures I was completely captivated.
Although her designs were originally only available printed onto greetings cards, the business has now expanded to include a collaboration with ceramic producer Portmerion, and fabulous tinware, stationary, and gift wrap as well as frames and prints. They also have some very exciting new ranges launching in the New Year (but Shhh, I didn't tell you that!)
I've followed Hannah's business since she first started selling her cards, and I'm now the proud owner of many of her beautiful pieces, including some of the tinware collection (tea/coffee/sugar canisters, biscuit tin, cracker tin) as well as her first ever children's book: Mr Hare's Big Secret, which is a favourite in our house.
Hannah's first children's book - one of Bert's favourites! I even bought a second copy to give my little nephew as a gift, as I loved the book so much!
My tea/coffee/sugar canisters...cuteness overload.
Cutest biscuit tin ever! I love the attention to detail on Wrendale products - even the inside of the tin is beautiful!
I truly love all of my Wrendale products and I am always excited about the prospect of adding new things to my collection. I follow them over on their Twitter and Facebook pages, which is a great way to keep up to date with their news and new releases and now I'm pleased to say they have also launched an Instagram account...
Instagram is such a visual platform I think it really is the perfect platform for Wrendale to showcase their beautiful designs, latest news, and run little competitions and giveaways. As a Social Media Consultant in my day job it is always reassuring to me when you see brands making positive steps in developing their online presence through the use of social media, it is an amazing marketing tool if used correctly and I'm sure their new account will be wildly popular.
So, if like me, you're a fellow Instagrammer and a fan of Wrendale's work then head over to @wrendaledesigns and give them a follow, if you're quick you might even get a chance to enter their recent greetings cards giveaway which ends later today!
@wrendaledesigns on Instagram
I always have a super-long Wrendale wish-list and at the moment I'm lusting after their
-placemats/coasters for my kitchen-diner
As well as my all-time favourite image from Hannah - her Highland Cow, especially in this fabulous print called 'Accessorise'.
Last Saturday Liam, Bert and I headed out for a festive evening in Bedford's 'Black Tom/Primeministers' area. I love this specific area of Bedford not just for it's awesome cake-spot 'Fancy' which does the most amazing Christmas stollen, and for the friendliest pub you could ask to have a drink in The Burnaby Arms, but mainly because of its incredible community - who regularly come together to make awesome things happen in our wonderful town. There are a handful of mega-fantabulous women all based in the Black-Tom area who make this greatness happen - namely Emily Finney, Katrina Allen, Erica Roffe and Janet Lehain - once you know these ladies, you know Bedford as far as I'm concerned. Their drive and passion makes really great things happen in our town - and I try hard to support their efforts whenever I can. One of the things I adore about Bedford is its incredible community: networks of amazing people who work really hard to make sure that brilliant things happen in our great town. I hope I am becoming part of that tribe, and my work with the WI and my lovely friend Liz certainly made me feel on-the-map in terms of my place within Bedford culture. Last weekend's festivities came in the form of a wonderful social initiative window-trail aptly named 'Winter Wanderland' arranged by the fabulous Emily and Kat. The idea being that the residents of Black-Tom were offered the chance to sign up and submit a decorated window display in their home for the people of Bedford to enjoy as part of a trail on foot. We arrived at Black Tom after a good 40 minute walk from our house - as my regular readers will know, I pretty much walk everywhere and always try to get out on foot as much as possible, it's a brilliant excuse to get some air and plenty of exercise. We were super excited about what was to come as we'd never been to anything like this before. Kat handed us a map of all the houses taking part on arrival and we headed straight to my friend Janet's house to start the walking trail. Her window was fabulous, her family were swelling with pride at what they had created, and we even got to purchase a delicious bag of homemade pistachio fudge to fuel us around the trail.
Janet's brilliant window!
We were delighted to see so many houses had taken part and we spent over an hour and a half working our way through the roads to see the stunning displays - what a lot of work everyone put in to making our experience as trail-walkers just marvellous. I wanted to share with you the pictures I took on the night - to encourage you to make this happen in your own hometown next Christmas - it was a beautiful way to feel festive, come together as a community, be creative and a really healthy way to spend an evening (minus the fudge!). You can find out more information about creating a Winter Wanderland in your own town here. So here we go, my little gallery from the Bedford Winter Wanderland 2015...enjoy lovely people and I hope this post leaves you feeling super-festive!
BEDFORD BLACK-TOM WINTER WANDERLAND 2015
These really are just the highlights, so many people took part and there was so much to see - I loved seeing the diversity in people's designs and creativity - aren't the people of the Black Tom area just a wonderful bunch?
Bert absolutely loved discovering all the amazing displays, lights and so on as we pushed him round in his buggy. He was so well behaved, and totally adorable saying "wow mummy, look!" when he saw a window that particularly grabbed his attention. Towards the end of the trail we saw this window, and Bert's reaction was adorable...
"Wow Mummy, look, cat window sleeping curtains!"
He absolutely loved this "display" - haha it just goes to show that it's the little things that kids appreciate! Our cute little cat lover was chuffed to bits with this window. :-)
Huge thanks to Kat and Emily for organising such a great event - I can't wait to visit again next year, and hopefully see even more residents taking part!
Does your community come together to make awesome things like this happen? I'd love to hear about it.