Christmas Gift Ideas 2018

Christmas 2018 is less than 2 months away

How fast did that come round again? At this time of year I like to start lining up gift ideas for my children . Here are some items that I like the look of and have been reviewing this month.

For 2+ year old

This count with Peppa toy is lots of fun, Peppa helps children count to ten. Whilst also learning to recognize colours and numbers.  My little girl loves playing with this toy at 3 years old she is just learning to count to ten, this toy will  help her practice. My Daughter enjoyed slotting the coins into Peppa’s purse counting them as she went. Peppa also helps children with listening to instructions that are asked and following sequential steps, what’s not to love learning whilst playing. My Daughter is very protective of this toys and likes to show us that she understands what Peppa is asking.

For 4+ year old

This Fuzzikins Campervan is so much fun! The set includes x2 Cat Fuzzikins ( a medium and a large)  that can be coloured in with the x5 felt tip pens included. The inside of the Campervan is amazing the cats can sit at the table on the rubber chairs or the table turns into a bed with the blanket to go over the cats of a night time. There is also 3x Colour your own sticker sheets which my daughter really enjoyed.

All clips away inside the Campervan which is great as less mess and chance of the Fuzzikins or contents going missing. My 6 year old Daughter absolutely loved playing with this toy, being able to colour the cats in was an added bonus, she especially loves letting them pretend to eat together at the table, then putting them down to bed for the night.  She said it’s great because it clips together and my sister can’t open it!

For 10+ year old

This Science Mad – Crystal Growing Kit

Includes 14 experiments that are all safety tested. With everything you need to grow and cultivate your own beautiful crystals.  This comes in a large box , So there’s a lot to get creating with. It’s the kind of gift, I myself as a child I would have been so excited to receive.  We have loved creating crystals, As my eldest Daughter is 6 she needed my help and was really happy with the end result.  Some real one on time with my Daughter. It really brought me back to my childhood. Make sure you wear the goggles and follow the safety instructions, I would recommend the help of a grown up.  So far we’ve only created one set of crystals but still so many more to try, definitely value for money. Science is so much fun!

Some of the crystal’s we made:

 

Baby 6months +

Sophie La Giraffe Beaker, It’s just so cute! I will be getting this for my baby as absolutely love the hidden Sophie in the middle of the beaker.

Match Stick Monkey – These looks like exactly the kind of toy my baby would love at the moment as he can only hold little things. Plus it has a toothbrush at the end to apply teething relief or practice brushing !  Both seen in JoJo Maman Bebe.

*Three of the above items were gifted for review by Wire Pr, The Peppa Pig – Count with me             ( Trends UK ) , The Science Mad Crystal Growing Kit. ( Trends Uk ) and Fuzzikins Campervan.

All opinions are my/ children’s own.

Disneyland Paris – Tips before you go

We’ve just arrived back from an amazing few days in Disneyland Paris.

It’s truly magical and a real treat for the whole family even when travelling in the School Holidays. I’ve written a post below that helped our trip go smoothly with 3 children with us ( one of whom is a 3 month old baby ) :

Travel 

We travelled by car on the Euro Tunnel, it was so straightforward for us. Approximately 1.5 hour drive to Folkestone  ( Little shops/ duty free etc whilst you wait to drive on ) then half an hour on the tunnel once in Calais the drive is 3 hours but we took a few stops and there are so many little rest stops with toilets it made the drive very simple and it’s a pretty much straight route. The toll was $22 each way which in my opinion was very worth it for the route is far simpler and has the rest stops easily available.

Food

Take the meal plan option either half board or full board if staying at one of the Disney Hotels, I believe this saved us a lot of money as actually kept to using the plan instead of eating the more expensive options whilst still going to the best restaurants in the park.

Book your restaurants in advance, it may seem crazy but everything is so busy there, it’s a relief to walk in somewhere and be seated straight away especially to get out the heat if travelling during the Summer.

Whilst using the plan if one person doesn’t like all of their options ( you get a starter, main, desert and normally one soft drink each) order it anyway as normally one of the party will like it.

Tap water is free! So we often ordered this just at meals to keep hydrated and I only drink water anyway, so would give my soft drink to whoever fancied it. Also there are water fountains dotted around the park so take an empty bottle to fill up. ( we had no issues with anything from drinking the water in the resort )

If you want to save time in the parks it’s definitely worth booking the Character restaurants well in advance, we went to Auberge de Cendrillon, Inventions and Cafe Mickey , the Interactions the children had were priceless. If you are only going to do one Character restaurant i’d probably say go to Inventions in the main Disneyland Hotel just because the atmosphere was wonderful and the buffet food made it simpler and some fun puddings.  As these restaurants were an ‘upgrade’ on top of the pre paid plan price of approximately £100 per time.

Bread! You get a lot of it – Everywhere! at one meal ( the Cinderella one! ) bread came as you sat down, starter and a side. In the end we had to try to limit the girls as they only wanted bread, which didn’t do them any favours.

The children’s meals are well catered for as everything is separated i.e pasta from the sauce.  The starters for children weren’t  great as usually some form of salad covered in dressing. (But maybe this is my fussy children!)

 

Shortbread

Adult Desert from Auberge de Cendrillon ( Princess Restaurant )

Rides / Attractions 

We loved the rides in Fantasyland, probably because they appealed the most to our girls age 3 & 6 so head to the areas that appeal most to your party first.

If staying in a Disney Resort hotel make the most of the Magic Hour before the park opens to the public, we were able to go on some rides two or three times with no queue’s, Then queue at the end of the Magic Hour for any other rides/ attractions to cut down queue times. We loved the Peter Pan ride and went on it multiple times!

 

Use your fast passes then arrange to come back and get straight on your ride, it’s so easy and quick!

If wanting to watch the parade, shows or illuminations get there at least 45 minutes in advance ( for this reason it may be worth packing snacks, drinks etc to keep children busy ) this will ensure you get a good view or get in to shows like Mickey and the Magician which is amazing.

There are character meet and greets dotted throughout the park, if you see an umbrella and a cast member standing around it usually means a meet and greet is imminent.

 

Hotel 

We stayed at Disneys Sequioa Lodge which for us was perfect. I love the style and theme of the hotel like an ‘Aspen Lodge’

We booked to stay there, because A) It had a pool indoor’s and outside, which we loved as a great way to cool off after a busy day at the Parks  B) The hotel was very close to the park which made it really convenient.  The hotel staff were pretty accommodating, We arrived early on our first day and were allowed to check in a couple of hours before the normal time of 3pm to our room which was great after such an early start.

Video – Standard Room 

Shopping 

I brought a few items in H & M and Primark before we went as the price difference was huge ( Mickey Mouse Ears £2 in Primark vs $24 in the park,  although saying that some of the items sold in the park once their were quite unique. I also took a few of the girls Princess dresses with us.

Snacks – You can take these into the park and worth taking with you. We run slightly low and brought some biscuits for the girls whilst they were Mickey Mouse ones they were $7.99 for two relatively small packets.

We have put together a 30 minute video of our trip to Disneyland Paris.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Baba Bing Day Tripper City Deluxe Changing Bag – Review

Being pregnant with my 3rd baby, it was time to buy a new changing bag as pretty much starting from scratch with all baby items.  As our 3rd baby is to be a boy we decided to choose a bag in the colour grey as it matched our Mountain Buggy duet which is also grey.

The Baba Bing bag has many useful features my favourite being that you can reach straight into it when out and about whilst attached to a buggy using the clips enclosed, this shows it must have been designed by parents who are forever reaching in and out of changing bags for wipes and snacks!

The bag is also waterproof essential for when out and about in the UK! It has many useful compartments which are pictured so you know straightaway where to put various items such as nappies/ wipes. Another great feature is the ‘bin’ section underneath the bag where nappies/ rubbish can be stored until you reach an actual bin.

The link to the bag is below.

https://www.johnlewis.com/bababing-daytripper-city-deluxe-2016-changing-bag-grey/p2491195

This is my own opinion of the bag and not been paid / gifted to review.

 

Review of the Become Tank Top

A couple of weeks ago I was kindly sent a Become vest to review by Talk to Mums UK.

I find my temperature has rapidly increased during this pregnancy especially whilst busy with my two girls and working, I also remember all too well the night sweats I experienced post birth whilst breastfeeding. This silky smooth top can be worn on it’s own, perfect for the gym, to bed or under a jumper ( I’m a vest under a jumper type of person ).

The Become vest helps regulate your body temperature and wicks moisture away from the body to help reduce odour with 18 months product research at the Hohenstein Institute, the clever material uses flat yarns to draw the moisure away from the skin and evaporate it.

I wore this vest in black all day and then to bed with pjymas and felt the freshest I’ve felt in a while, it even covered my 22 week bump, so if you are like me and never fully lost the ‘stomach’ it would cover it by going a size up from your usual size.

The vest arrived prettily packaged in black and white spotty paper and fitted through my letter box meaning I didn’t need to be in to sign for it.

Until Monday 15th January using my code TAlKTOMUMSGEMMA you can secure 20% off Become vests and knickers at http://www.webecome.co.uk/products/tank

Flying with Children

About a month a go we took our two children who are almost four and nearly one to Cancun, Mexico.

We thought both their ages were a good time to travel long haul because the eldest was able to sit and watch films, play nicely with colouring books/ craft type activities and my youngest still sleeps quite a lot and didn’t want to get on the ground as wasn’t crawling then.

She just started this week …..

Before the flight I gave my eldest lots of warning we were going away and that the flight would be long but if she kept busy and slept it would go much quicker. We got a taxi to avoid too much lugging around of suitcases and the double pushchair. Once at the Airport we had breakfast then brought some magazines, sweets and small toys then played in the soft play. ( LGW )

About a week before we went away I went to the Pound Shop and spent about £10 on various activities/ toys such as colouring books the small travel type ones, small puzzles, stickers. and also some other bits to play with once at the hotel in the room. I wrapped all the presents and put them in my husbands ruck sack, we then staggered all the presents being opened as soon as she got a bit bored or used them as a bribe if her behaviour started to change ( not ideal in real life but on a packed plane a bribe was a godsend!)

Planning ahead really is key!

We also used the opportunity of saying there’s a meal/ snack / ice cream coming to encourage something to encourage her to think about the next thing on the agenda. We were lucky enough to be travelling in Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy on the way to Cancun which meant we had a little more space and I could hold both the children on me if necessary and the cabin was smaller so more of a calming effect on the children I think.

Another thing is to go on a walk of the plane ( I know more parents do this anyway!) which can use up quite a bit of time if you get talking to other passengers as it was a large double decker 747-400.

If travelling with an infant under one, request a sky cot it’s excellent as you can strap them in ( my baby slept the whole 9.5 hours straight of the flight home ) you then have your hands free to eat.  The eldest ate her meal,  watched one film ( The Good Dinosaur) and slept the rest of the flight as well, it really wasn’t as bad as some make out, although as much as I dislike night flights when travelling with children it really helped.

At the end of the return flight we had several compliments about how well behaved our children were (I could see their faces when we first say down near them thinking ‘oh no two children for the duration of the flight’).

Luckily for them all went smoothly! Thanks for reading!