Archive for Christmas Blogs

The Woodland Trust Family Membership – A Fab Christmas Gift!

As Christmas approaches and the days are shorter it can be hard to find ways to keep your kids occupied.  After you’ve watched a film, let them play on their iPad for a while and negotiated a few sibling battles over a board game or two everyone is usually ready for some fresh air.Woodland Trust trees

So it’s time for hats, scarfs, big snuggly coats and a pair of wellies so you can explore autumn in all its glory. As the trees turn different colours it’s a perfect time to explore your local woods, our kids love identifying the different trees and spotting wildlife, they never fall to be amazed at the speed of squirrels!

My local woods were an important part of my childhood, building dens, climbing big oaks and finding conkers and treasures to take home and turn into art projects. And I want to know that those woods will still be there when my children are taking their children on autumn walks.dedication tree woodland trust

The Woodland Trust Family Membership

The Woodland Trust is Britain’s largest charity protecting our woodland and the wildlife that lives there. Over 250 of our most threatened species depend on our native woods for their survival. Yet in the past 70 years, more than half of our ancient woodland has been destroyed.  So it’s vital that families get involved and help them protect woodland and nature for future generations.

Just £5 a month contributes to saving woodland locally and nationally. children Woodland Trust

If you love nature and getting outdoors with your children then Woodland Trust Membership is perfect. As a member you’ll help The Woodland Trust protect the countryside by buying threatened woods to save them from destruction by development. And you’ll help give homes to the endangered birds, insects, plants and mammals that depend on the woods. The Woodland Trust doesn’t just protect the woods we have but also plant millions of trees, creating important new habitats for rare plants and wildlife.

Woodland Trust flowers

As part of the new Woodland Trust Family Membership each child (9 and under) in your family will become a Nature Detective with their own welcome pack. Grownups receive your own pack including a directory showing all Woodland Trust woods, plus a unique guide to native British trees, a quarterly publication and more.

You can visit The Woodland Trust website and find out more about their festive events. You can also find The Woodland Trust on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter@WoodlandTrust

Find out what SusanKMann and her children think of The Woodland Trust Family Membership
family Woodland Trust

And if you’re on the hunt for Christmas presents The Woodland Trust have a fantastic shop crammed full of nature-inspired gifts

by Nicola Cooper-Abbs

GALT Christmas Gifts

Christmas is on our doorsteps and my present-buying is almost complete.
This year is no different to any other and I have bought quite a few GALT gifts. This brand is reliable and affordable especially at such an expensive time of the year and there are some pretty good online discounts around too. GALT products are creative and crafty and always have something to suit each of my children. Whether it’s a stocking filler or a project for a rainy day, the GALT sets I have chosen this year will keep us all busy during the Christmas holidays.

GALT First Pottery (6+) Making & painting is a great way to create an object to be proud of. My 6 year old daughter will love this. And no doubt, whatever she makes will take pride of place somewhere in the house!GALT First Pottery

 

GALT Robo Slime Factory (5+) Slime and boys always make a good combination. This is why I’m sure this will be right up my son’s alley.GALT Robo Slime Factory

 

GALT Sewing Case (7+) This set is a simple introduction into sewing and comes in its very own carry case. I’m sure this will inspire my older daughter. She is always keen to learn new skills. Who knows maybe I’ll see her on GB Sewing Bee next…

 

Take a look on the Galt website and you’ll find plenty of GALT Christmas gifts for children of all ages!

 

GALT Christmas

by

Sian Laycock – Mum to 3 children 6 to 10

Rylan Does Christmas Carol-oke for BuyAGift.com

Buyagift.com give X Factor star Rylan Clark-Neal a Christmas challenge he will never forget as he takes on ‘Christmas Carol-oke’!

The UK’s leading gift experience provider, Buyagift.com specialise in offering unforgettable experiences so they wanted to treat (or should we say challenge?) a very special guest with an experience he will never forget!

Rylan’s task was to sing Christmas carols whilst being driven around Brands Hatch by a pro racing driver at over 100 miles per hour. Hair-raising stuff!

It’s pretty safe to say Rylan failed the challenge but as usual he was a good sport.

Rylan said, “Singing Christmas carols whilst being driven around a race track at over 100mph was certainly an experience I won’t forget in a hurry! It was harder than I thought it would be to sing at those speeds and even though I was worried about getting helmet hair, it was definitely an adrenaline rush!”Rylan Clark BuyAGift gift experiences

Gift Experiences

So why don’t you make your loved one’s Christmas even more special this year and give them a Christmas they’ll never forget with a gift experience from Buyagift.com’s extensive range of over 4,500 gift experiences, with everything from adrenaline fuelled days including the longest zipwire in Europe, sky diving and car racing, to relaxing spa days, afternoon tea and hotel breaks.

Rylan said “Experiences are the perfect gift for Christmas as the sentiment lasts longer than other gifts and they create long-lasting memories. Its experiences like I had, speeding around a top race track in a supercar that you can give to your family and friends this Christmas, which are sure to be remembered for years!”

Buyagift.com and Rylan are making it easy for people to give their loved ones a Christmas they’ll never forget by offering a discount of 25% off the Buyagift.com website, just enter the code RYLAN25 at the checkout.*

BUYAGIFT COMPETITION

buyagift logo gift experiencesBuyagift.com is looking for some more Christmas Carol-oke stars!

Send a video of you or your friends singing ‘The 12 days of Christmas’ carol and you will be entered into a competition to win £300 worth of Buyagift.com vouchers, just in time for Christmas. Not only that, but you will also be in with a chance of starring in the Christmas Carol-oke video made from the entries!

Just go to www.buyagift.co.uk/christmas-caroloke to enter

*Expires midnight 7th December 2016. Exclusions apply

Buyagift.com Delivers Happiness across The UK

Buyagift.com launches ‘delivering happiness’ campaign to enable their customers to give something back to their heroes with the help of ITV’s Stephen Mulhern

Buyagift.com customers were asked to nominate someone who they thought deserved a special thank you, this could have been anything from charitable work, keeping a positive outlook through adversity or going the extra mile to help others. They were overwhelmed with the huge response they had from people wanting to surprise their Christmas hero, and after much deliberation three winners were chosen.

ITV presenter Stephen Mulhern personally went to surprise the winners with their special gift on their own doorstep alongside the person who nominated them, so they could personally tell them why they are a hero.

Stephen Mulhern was delighted to support the campaign and said, “It’s so important to take the time to truly appreciate those that have done fantastic and selfless things for others, and this is what the campaign with Buyagift.com is all about, just taking the time to say ‘thank you’. We have surprised some incredible people with a gift that will create special memories for them, to show them that they are truly appreciated. We travelled nearly 500 miles to surprise our heroes but it made it all worthwhile just to see the smiles on their faces! ”

Watch the video of the winners being surprised on their doorstep and the heart-warming reasons why they were nominated.


The BuyAGift Heroes:

Callum Wilson from Southampton was nominated by his sister Samantha Wilson to receive the Ariel Atom 300 Thrill for serving in Afghanistan for 8 years and overcoming a serious injury whilst still managing to be a huge support to her.

Stephen Mulhern and winner BuyAGift

Callum Wilson (left) with his sister Samantha Wilson (right)

 

Antonia Kingscott from Birmingham was nominated by her Mum Sonia Kingscott, to receive the Two Night Family Treehouse experience in Wales for being a huge support to her whilst she battled cancer, and still managed to carry on with everyday life and secure her dream of getting into the West Bromwich Albion football team.

Stephen Mulhern BuyAGift

Sonia Kingscott (left) nominated her daughter Antonia Kingscott (right)

 

Jean Hancox from Wolverhampton was nominated by her friend Sian Hallewell to receive a 5 Star London Hotel Break with Top Price Theatre Tickets for Two for all the volunteering she does to improve health services in Wolverhampton.

Stephen Mulhern and BuyAGift Hero

Jean Hancox (left) was nominated by her friend Sian Hallewell (right)

 

To help you say thank you and deliver some happiness to your loved ones this Christmas, Buyagift.com are giving you 25% off purchases made on the website.  Just use the code HAPPINESS25 at the checkout.

Buyagift.com is the UK’s leading online provider of gifts and experiences, and offers over 5,000 unique and exciting gift ideas for all occasions. For more information, visit www.buyagift.com.

Sponsored Content

WowWee – Toys for Boys at Christmas

I know I’m going to get it in the neck but I have got two gifts for Christmas that screams ‘BOYS’. Adding insult to injury I am also planning to give them to my two sons. Miposaur WowWeeNow I know that there are certain sections of the media that scream ‘SEXIST’ the moment you let it slip that your daughter likes wearing pink, but at least I have the recommended age group on my side in these two cases.

The WowWee toys I’m talking about are the R.E.V. Robotic Enhanced Vehicles (aka a remote controlled car) and the Miposaur which is a remote controlled dinosaur. The toys themselves look fantastic and although they are quite pricey they operate with the latest interactive technology and I know that my boys will spend all of Christmas morning chasing them around the floor.

The Miposaur comes with a trackball and the reactions it shows differ according to the mood of the toy, sometimes angry, sometimes curious, a bit like our current pet cat Slinky, but WowWee Miposaurhopefully without the dribble. Similarly, it responds to hand gestures -often a dangerous ploy in Brighton but something that I know Harry will absolutely love. He’s already got the ‘I’m listening to you but I’ve heard it all before’ stance down pat -which is impressive in a 7 year old- so I’m hoping the Miposaur sometimes puts him in his place by implying that it doesn’t really care if it watches Strictly Come Dancing and then slams the door on its’ way out!

Aside from the trackball and hand gestures there is also an app you can download and with which you can control your dinosaur pet. We’ve not shown this to Harry yet, clearly, but my partner and I have played with it loads. My favourite is when you put the trackball on leash mode and the little dear follows you around. It’s like having kids, but ones who do as they’re told! Other trackball settings include dancing, feed or chase so the aforementioned Slinky is probably going to have a rough few hours on the 25th.

What I love about this is the deliberately robotic style of the Miposaur with his black and silver casing and blue l.e.d eyes. Harry loves a robot and loves dinosaurs so…hmm, a robot dinosaur for Christmas? Yeah baby.

R.E.V Robotic Enhanced VehiclesThe R.E.V. stands for Robotic Enhanced Vehicles and is a car that not only drives but thinks and (in a mode where you meet other people with similar vehicles) battles other cars. This is controlled again by an app and the first things that struck me is the speed these go at, especially in the turn when they spin on the proverbial sixpence (or 10 euros if you’re feeling modern). I must admit I was already looking for a remote controlled car for Tom but the first thing that swung this for me was the app control which is sleek, easy to use and at the same time rather fancy. Tom, my 10 year, is no fool but he’s a 10 year old boy and works on the principle that if it looks cool, sounds cool and it’s got an app, then it’s probably cool. In this case, he would be 100% correct.

All of which leads me to my second point and that is these cars remind me hugely of the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me. I’m not a car person really but I loved this car and I can still WowWee carsremember drawing various versions of it as a kid. Badly, it has to be said, but it clearly hit a nerve with its streamlined front and low-slung seats. I know the R.E.V. will have exactly the same effect on Tom and I’ll be getting ready to catch his eyes when he opens the box.

Christmas is always pricey but with these ‘toys’ from WowWee, at least I’ve ticked the first and most important box when it comes to deciding pressies for the kids: can the parents play with them as well and have a laugh? As far as I can see both of these answer in the affirmative here. And yes, before people start huffing into their muesli, I’m sure Caitlin will get a chance to play with them too, but I tell you this: she’ll have to join the queue

Win a KORRES Party Survival Kit

There’s a chance below. for you to Win 1 of 3 KORRES Party Survival Kits!KORRES Party Survival Kit

KORRES best-selling set for those with an active social life has had a makeover! The new look kit now features a window on the front so that you can see the miniature bits and bobs inside. KORRES Party Survival Kit contains everything you need to take care of your face, body and hair after a big night out…wherever the night takes you!

KORRES Party Survival Kit

The KORRES Party Survival Kit is available to buy  from www.Debenhams.com and contains:

  • White Tea Gel Cleanser 16ml
  • Wild Rose Cream 16ml
  • Aloe & Dittany Shampoo 40ml
  • Guava Shower gel 40ml
  • Basil Lemon Body Milk 40ml

To be in with a chance of winning 1 of 3 KORRES Party Survival Kits just RETWEET THIS TWEET and Follow @TheBabyWebsite on Twitterand @KORRESuk

The winners will be announced on Twitter and on our Twitter/Blog Winners Page on December 15th.

Handpicked Christmas Gifts

There are so many options for buying Christmas gifts on the high street and online, that it’s great when you find one or two sites where you can buy something for just about everyone you want to buy for.

Reindeer Born GiftedBornGifted is one such site. Apart from the wide range of personalised gifts you can buy there are also some very distinctive products that you won’t find everywhere else.  This stripey crocheted reindeer is made by Dutch designer Anne-Claire Petit.  He stands at an impressive 45cm high and is made from 100% organic cotton.  This colourful, baby-safe toy has floppy arms and legs and makes the ideal luxury Christmas gift for any baby!  Not cheap, priced £54.99 from www.borngifted.co.uk but very special!

Savanna Leather ShopperHandpicked Collection.

This simple but chic leather shopper from handpickedcollection.com seems to suit every situation and every age range! We love its ethical credentials – handmade from leather dyed using extracts of bark and plants by a Fair Trade cooperative of 40 families in Rajasthan. The leather is not “corrected” to hide its natural marks so it’s full of character. It’s not a bad price at all for a leather bag and we can see it lasting for many, many years. Women of all ages would love this bag to bits, so it’s a brilliant gift!

Artisan du Chocolat's No 1 Sea Salted Caramels

 

Artisan du Chocolat’s No 1 Sea Salted Caramels are unbelievably good. They have just the right balance of flavours and textures sweet and salty, crunchy and liquid and velvety. These chocolates are very special and perfect gifts for any chocoholic. The Handpicked Collection also have the most delicious Charbonnel et Walker Strawberry White Thins and we’re big fans of ‘Montezuma’s Chocolates:The Discovery Library of Bars’ – to die for……

Long Olive Wood Chopping Board

This beautiful and brilliantly versatile board in gorgeous, satiny olivewood is perfect for serving all manner of festive foods.  Great for cheese, a whole side of salmon, cold meats or for canapés. We love the fact that each board looks individual and unique and that they can be personalised too. A lovely and original gift for men, women, young and old alike and at £26.99, a veritable steal!

Grace Deluxe Sleeve Grace Deluxe Sleeve
An awful lot of bags and sleeves for laptops and tablets aren’t very stylish at all but the Grace Deluxe Sleeve is quite the opposite. It’s very slim, very chic and has room for a few other essentials too. The main compartment has a super-soft protective lining and the magnetised front flap makes for easy access. The front zipped pocket is perfect for pens, your mobile, cards and more! The Deluxe Sleeve retails for £39.95 and is available in four different colour options: night sky, dark purple, coral/dove and teal dot/night sky. nutribullet

So, after Christmas most of us decide we want to go a healthy-eating regime of some kind. Faddy diets come and go as they rarely fit into our everyday lives but this revolutionary machine, The NUTRiBULLET  means you can stay healthy for good. We know plenty of people who’d love one of these Nutribullets for Christmas! There are colours to go with most kitchens – we like the aqua one best. The recipient of your gift will be able to blend up delicious healthy smoothies in a matter of seconds and will be forever in your debt for giving them such a useful present!Toad Diaries

You can’t go far wrong with a  Personalised Diary from TOAD® DIARIES  either. TOAD Diaries have an extensive range of covers to suit all ages so it’s dead easy to create a personalised gift to suit your mum, dad, husband, teenager or just about anyone. They’re flexible date diaries too so you don’t have to start on January 1st – you can create it to start and finish when you want so miles better than a high street diary.

Buy Gifts For Christmas & Help A Charity At The Same Time

RNLI Teddy BearI love Christmas to bits and always have but I know there are an awful lot of people who rail at the over-commercialisation of the annual food-and-gift-fest. And yes, of course I understand where they’re coming from!

However there are ways to buy a little something for friends and family and ‘do good’ at the same time. I often buy my Christmas Cards from charity shops and this year I’ve already bought some presents from the RNLI Christmas Shop.  The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), is the charity that saves lives at sea and has some gorgeous, reasonably-priced and unusual gifts for all the family.

The cuddly teddy bear above is a snip at £4.95 and comes in pink too. I really like the Pop-Up Lifeboat Station too which makes a change from the usual Wendy Houses out there. Talk about playtime with a purpose.

Pop Up Lifeboat Station

 

This year instead of buying my Mum a tin of biscuits from M&S to go with her other gifts. I’m buying her this lovely Lifeboats Biscuits Tin and it’s only £7.95! Incredible value!

Lifeboats Biscuit Tin

I have also bought a Relax By The Sea Candle Set which at £14.95 is very competitively priced and has three different scented candles in an attractive gift box. A perfect gift for virtually any woman and many a man too no doubt!

Relax By The Sea Candle Set

Now I know I might be in a minority here but I ‘do stockings’ for everyone in the house and it’s much harder buying stocking fillers for a dad/husband than the girls in the family. I did pick up this Body Bar from the Gifts For Him section of the RNLI website. It’s a sort of woody, spicy scent and comes gift-boxed.

scottish fine soap body bar men

This is just a small selection of gifts you can buy from the RNLI Christmas Shop. Take a look yourself – you’ll be surprised.

Who are RNLI?

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea and provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations. The RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 200 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands and operates a specialist flood rescue team too.

The RNLI relies on public donations to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 their lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity!

  • The RNLI was founded in 1824.
  • The RNLI rescued 7,964 people in 2012 – an average of 22 people per day.
  • The RNLI charity also offers free safety advice to sea and beach users to help save lives at sea.
  • Most of the lifeboat crews are volunteers on-call while having other careers.
  • Lifeguards are paid a wage, as they have to be in place on the beaches to carry out their role. The local authorities make a contribution to the RNLI for the service provided by the charity to help fund their wages
  • The RNLI (Sales) Ltd company raises profit for the charity through catalogues, an online shop and high street shops.

Win Nativity 3: Dude Where’s My Donkey?!

Nativit 3: Dude Where's My Donkey?

You can win NATIVITY 3: DUDE, WHERE’S MY DONKEY in our new Christmas competition below!

Entertainment One (eOne) is pleased to announce that the beloved Nativity franchise is back – with NATIVITY 3: DUDE, WHERE’S MY DONKEY?!

We are offering 5 lucky winners the chance to win a copy of the film on Blu-ray – available to pre-order now from Amazon.

With loads of special features, including Sing-A-Longs and Bloopers, NATIVITY 3: DUDE, WHERE’S MY DONKEY? is the perfect Christmas film that all the family can enjoy.

Nativity 3This Christmas the pupils of St Bernadette’s and their madcap teacher Mr. Poppy (MARC WOOTTON) are back for their biggest adventure yet involving fantastic flashmobs, excitable elves, Christmas carols and of course Archie the donkey!

When their new teacher Mr. Shepherd (MARTIN CLUNES) loses his memory and forgets all about Christmas, as well as his fiancée Sophie (CATHERINE TATE) and the whereabouts of the beloved Archie, it’s up to the pupils of St Bernadette’s to save the day. Led by the ever enthusiastic Mr. Poppy, they embark on a Christmas journey like never before – but time is against them if they are to help Mr. Shepherd get to New York in time for his magical yuletide wedding…! NATIVITY 3 introduces CELIA IMRIE as the new Headteacher, with ADAM GARCIA as the scheming Bradley Finch and RALF LITTLE as Sophie’s brother.Nativity 3

To be in with a chance of winning 1 of 5 Nativity 3 Blu-ray discs, just RETWEET THIS TWEET and Follow @TheBabyWebsite on Twitter.

NATIVITY 3: DUDE, WHERE’S MY DONKEY? will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, 3 Disc Triple Pack DVD and Download from 2nd November 2015. Pre-order now from Amazon.

The winners will be announced on Twitter and on our Twitter/Blog Winners Page on November 16th.

Kindle For Kids – Fire HD 6 Kids Edition

child KindleI love my Kindle. I fought it for a while, being one of those readers who loves the feel of a book in their hands, but as a multi-reader* it finally made sense for me to try Kindle and I have been a firm adherent ever since. So much so that I bought my mum one. Then my dad. Then my partner. They all love them too. Ergo, it was a bit of a no-brainer when my son’s seventh birthday came around and we had the chance to get one for him.

Now Harry is a great reader; ahead in his year when it comes to reading, genuinely interested in books and keen to show off his ‘big-boy’ style when it comes to his little sister. So a Kindle ‘just like dad’s book’ ticked a lot of boxes. However, when push comes to shove Harry is just seven, and more intent on turning anything over 8 inches long into a lightsabre than anything else. I have a sister who likes to claim that she was reading Pride and Prejudice by the time she was three, annotating Ulysses in Year 1 and translating Proust from the original into Urdu by the time she hit Secondary school. This isn’t Harry. He has dog-eared copies of George’s Marvellous Medicine and faithfully carried The Grunts In Trouble across five different counties during the summer holidays; but he isn’t a sit-in-the-corner-sniggering-at-Austin-type. Yet.

Fire HD 6 KidsAnd this is where Amazon’s Kindle for Kids comes in; more specifically the Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition with 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and Kid-Proof Case. Like all other kindles it doesn’t come cheap but it rolls in at around £119.00 and comes with 1 year of Fire for Kids Unlimited. This gives your young reader access to thousands of books but also movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games – at no additional cost. As a device to encourage kids to carry their books around with them at all times it really couldn’t be much better. Harry loved it from the moment he opened the box, even though it was not lightsabre shaped.

Effectively what we have is a Kindle e-reader, with all the great storage, connectivity and ease that Kindle offers, but also with a tablet that is safe and controlled. Therefore Harry can ‘surf’ for Ben and Holly, Teenage Mutants, Paddington or games whilst we can be safe in the knowledge that everything he finds has been vetted by Amazon who have hand-picked content that they feel engages, interests and teaches 3-10 year olds. There are none ofthe dangers that can come bubbling to the surface when you let your kids fiddle with your iPad, such as on-line shopping or in-app payments, and the child’s profile does not have access to the web browser or social media features. On top of this there are parental controls that allow us to decide how long Harry can use it as the tablet rather than the Kindle e-reader. We can limit him in terms of time, or even set goals whereby reading time is rewarded with tablet time. In the same vein we can even set the Kindle to turn off at a certain time, content in the knowledge that if he is using it in bed it will shut down for the night at a pre-set time.children playing with Amazon Fire Kids

Whenever I complete one of these reviews I generally try to look at the downside of the product, but in this case I can’t honestly see one. I want to encourage my children to do what I do, which is to have a book (now a Kindle) with me at all times. This is what the Kindle For Kids does. On the day he opened it he found the first two Harry Potter books, Temple Run 2 and Wallace and Gromit, all free from the Amazon content. I’d be lying if I said he spent equal time on all three, but learning to enjoy (and, yes, rely on) books is a gradual awakening, a burgeoning desire to explore new worlds by using your imagination and a recognition that good literature teaches you things you never knew about yourself and the world you inhabit. The fact that he is now inseparable from his Kindle is a firm step in that direction.

The Kindle Fire 6 HD Kids Edition isn’t going to suddenly make your child love books, but it’s the best product I’ve seen to help them gently along the path that will eventually -hopefully- make them life-long readers. Well done Amazon.

*A term I might have just made up but which means I like to have three or four books on the go at any given time.