Wednesday 3 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide For Toddlers 2014 & *GIVEAWAY* WIN Dinosaur Storage Bin from Freckled Frog, worth £33!

I am so majorly excited about Christmas this year. Although at 16 months old Bert still won't really "get" it, he will love being around all of his family, all the special attention he'll get, the yummy food treats, the new toys to play with and, of course, having his Daddy at home for over a week. 

Buying gifts for toddlers is so fun - mainly because they are young enough to not be demanding a list of things they "need" (I hate that). With toddlers, you can buy a nice mix of things you know they'll enjoy (toys, food treats, books, DVDs etc) and a selection of the "boring" practical things as well such as clothes, winter accessories, footwear, tableware, and even items like reins if they're coming to that age where you need that extra bit of security when taking them out and about. 

When buying the typically "boring/practical" gifts I like to find quirky versions of them to make them really fun for whoever is receiving them. I've popped a few of my quirky gift ideas below, as well as some gorgeous toy and clothing choices for your little ones this Christmas. 

I hope you enjoy my selection and it gives you plenty of ideas for your December Christmas shopping...

1) Chocolate Rabbit Family from Sylvanian Families 

When your children are small toddlers you can still exorcise influence over what they play with. I was a huge fan of Sylvanian Families as a child, but they were always outside of my mums price range, so I only used to be able to play with them at friend's houses. I always vowed I would collect them for my sons and daughters when I had them, and so we have started to collect them for Bert.

We have begun his collection with the Chocolate Rabbit Family, and we will also buy him the Cosy Cottage Starter Home. I love classic toys like this that can be enjoyed by almost any age child and certainly any gender. Sylvanian families are robust and well made toys, with bags of old-fashioned charm, and I can't wait to expand Bert's collection, and watch him create a little world of make believe with his new figures. 

The Chocolate Rabbit Family, priced at  £15.99

Cosy Cottage Starter Home from Sylvanian Families, priced at £24.99

2. Any Gender Tights from Slugs and Snails

Beautiful tights from Slugs and Snails

I cannot tell you how much I love these adorable tights! I'd been on the lookout for some funky tights for Bert to wear for a while - he hates socks and was forever throwing them off, and getting cold feet! I said to a mummy friend of mine when we were out one day how lucky she was to have two daughters and be able to put them in tights in the winter, when the idea hit me...why couldn't I put Bert in tights too? 

I'm not one for gender stereotypes, and I'm all about the practical side of dressing a toddler - however, the pink sparkly/stripy tights available in most retailers were clearly aimed at girls, and all I could find for Bert to wear that were 'non-girly' were plain navy tights, which were okay, but a bit dull! Bert is a snappy dresser, and I wanted something a bit more fun for him. 

Then I stumbled upon Irish company Slugs and Snails through a thread about boys wearing tights on Facebook, and I was delighted! Slugs and Snails make the most beautiful range of fun patterned tights for children of any gender. Every pair is non-gender-specific, and the range of patterns available means theres truly a pair for everyone: from cars to space rockets, mushrooms to rainbows, skull & crossbones to puzzle pieces - they even sell a few matching pairs of adult tights! What's not to love?

Bert was sent three amazing pairs of these tights, and I am just so chuffed with them. Not only are they absolutely incredible quality with a beautifully embroidered logo on the bottom, and non-slip pads on the feet: the prints are all just so fun, and they do a perfect job of keeping him snuggly on these cold wintery days!

Rollin' Road tights priced at €13.50

Out of This World tights priced at €12.99

Hampton tights priced at €12.99

A close up of the fun design on the Rollin' Road tights from Slugs and Snails

There is stunning detail on all of their tights. 

Bert looks SOOO cute in them! Around the house he wears them in just a shirt, and on colder days they are a fab under-layer!

Non slip bottoms saying 'Slugs and Snails' and the size, which is so handy if you have multiple pairs/sizes to sort through! 

These tights would make the PERFECT stocking fillers for any toddlers: boys or girls. As a parent I would be completely chuffed to receive such a beautiful but useful gift for my little one over the festive season. 

They come in sizes: 

0-6 months
6-12 months
12-18 months
18-24 months
2-3 years
3-4 years

3. Farm Tails "Boing" Ball from Agnes & Vera

Bert absolutely loves animals - especially toys with animals on. He loves to point to each one and have a go at making the animal sound (his "Baa!" is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever heard!). He also loves balls, and is currently learning to play catch and to kick a ball with his Daddy every evening during their play time sessions before bed. This ball by Jellycat is perfect combination: covered in lovely animal illustrations, soft so it won't cause any injuries or breakages, and it makes a fabulous "boing" noise when its dropped! Perfect!

Farm Tails Boing Ball by Jellycat available at Agnes and Vera for £8.00

The ball measures 13cm and is priced at £8.00 which is an absolute bargain for such a cute toy. This would fit perfectly into a large stocking, or would be equally great as a wrapped up gift under the tree. I cannot wait to give this to Bert on Christmas Day - I have a sneaky suspicion it might be his No.1 toy of Christmas 2014. 

4. Pirate Skittles from Agnes and Vera 

When I saw these brightly coloured wooden Skittles from Agnes and Vera I fell instantly in love! I have a real thing for classic style wooden toys, and I love to buy them for Bert. I think wooden toys hold so much charm, and they tend to last longer and wear better than their plastic contemporaries. 

Pirate Skittles priced at £8.75 from Agnes and Vera

This collection of cheeky little pirates love nothing more than being toppled over, straightened up and then knocked over again! A classic game which is ideal for fun play sessions with your toddler. These little skittles help to develop dexterity and co-ordination, and are super-fun in the process.  Bert will absolutely adore them - he loves any repetitive game and is at the stage where he constantly stands up/lines up his toys (such as dinosaurs etc) so I think he'll get a lot of pleasure out of standing up his pirates, and what child doesn't love knocking things down after they've built them up? 

The pirates are priced at £8.75 for the set, which I think is fantastic value for money. Again, the set is small enough to go inside a large stocking, or to be wrapped up as a separate present to open on the big day. 

These pirates are suitable for children aged 2+ years, and each pirate measures 8cm high.

The set consists of 7 play pieces (6 pirates and a ball). 

5. Pip the Duck Pyjamas by Ava & Luc from Little Peco

Bert's first word was "duck" and he is still totally obsessed by them! He is at his happiest when we are by a lake or pond feeding the ducks (he happily tucks into the bread at the same time - note to self: never take mouldy bread to feed the ducks!) He always looks out for ducks in books, toys or on the TV and proudly shouts "duck!" at us in his loudest voice whenever he spots one. So, when I saw these beautiful pyjamas by children's clothing designer Ava & Luc available at Little Peco (a beautiful online children's clothing boutique), I just had to have them! 

Made from organic cotton, this stunning top and bottom set is covered in a repeated image of a beautifully illustrated duck called 'Pip'. They come in a wonderfully bright and cheerful shade of orange, making them unisex -which I love - there's nothing worse than kids clothing coming in either pink or blue in my opinion!

Pip the duck pyjamas by Ava & Luc from Little Peco priced at £24

I plan to buy Bert a new pair of pyjamas each Christmas Eve to go to bed in, ready for opening his gifts on Christmas morning looking super-dapper and smart! I have so many photos from my own childhood of me and my sister in ropey old pjs or holey nightdresses on Christmas morning! Haha! I vowed that when I had my own children that they would always look as smart as possible for their Christmas morning photos: hence the new pyjamas rule!

I think that for children & adults alike, pyjamas are such a useful gift if you shop around and choose a well made, quirky/fun design that can last way past Christmas. I know a lot of people choose Christmas themed pyjamas, but I prefer to choose a design that we can get plenty of wear out of all year round. 

Bert's Pip the Duck pyjamas are all washed and ready for him to open on Christmas Eve - the problem is that I love them so much that I now want to collect some of Ava & Luc's other designs for him- they also do pyjama sets with sharks, helicopter and T-Rex illustrations on! I think they'll be added to his current Christmas can never have too many pyjamas, right?

I genuinely can't wait to see him covered in ducks - I wonder how long it will take him to get bored of pointing to himself and shouting "DUCK!". 

Pip the Duck

Ava & Luc pyjamas are available in sizes:

1-2 years
2-3 years
3-4 years 
4-5 years

and priced at £24.00 a pair. 

6. Dinosaur Storage Bin by 3 Sprouts from Freckled Frog 

As a mum of a toddler who has lots of toys and is about to get another influx of new toys this Christmas; it is always a bit of a mission to store them nicely, and to not let his toy collection take over my whole house!

I like my house to be relatively tidy/organised, and on the whole I try to find a place for everything. Bert's books all live in a wooden trolley, his Mega Bloks in two MB storage containers, his plastic toys live in a big red trug, but I needed somewhere to store his many soft toys, and that's when I discovered this beautiful storage bin by 3 Sprouts from Freckled Frog. 

Dinosaur Storage Bin by 3 Sprouts from Freckled Frog priced at £33

The perfect gift for a toddler who already has a huge toy collection, this elegant storage solution is sure to please parents and toddlers alike! Priced at £33, this beautiful extra large storage bin measures 17.5″ in height and 17″ in diameter and is made of a strong organic cotton canvas. The bin is tough enough to hold whatever you throw in it but stylish enough to complement the best dressed home. It really is such a great space saver and even better, it folds easily away when not in use! 

Some of Bert's soft toys peeking from the top of his fab new dinosaur storage bin!

Bert's beautiful Tricertops toy storage bin! 

I'm chuffed to bits with it, and it looks just beautiful in my living room (where most of Bert's toys are stored and played with). It feels good to give a gift that benefits me as much as it does Bert, and it doesn't feel selfish at all, as I know he'll enjoy pointing at the giant dinosaur design and roaring at me!

I think it is important to make the most of these toddler years when our children are un-assuming and non-demanding when it comes to the gifts they receive. It is during these years that we can buy things for our children which will last through their childhoods, and come in useful, without any tantrums or backlash because they wanted something plastic that will likely be broken by boxing day! 

If you're buying for any toddlers this year and know they could benefit from some toy storage help, then why not choose a fun and fabulous storage solution that's sure to bring a smile to their faces (and the faces of their parents!)

The dinosaur storage bin also comes in other animal designs: zebra, pink elephant, fox and hippo. 


The lovely people over at Freckled Frog have kindly given one of my readers the chance to win a Dinosaur Storage Bin of their own, worth £33!! 

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is enter using the Gleam App below. 


(UK entrants only)

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Disclaimer: We were sent one of each of these products for the purpose of this review. However, all of the words and opinions are my own.