Would a lottery win change your Christmas?

Would Christmas be different if you won the lottery?

**This is a collaborative post

Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you won the lottery?  I remember when the UK National Lottery started in 1994 – I had a weekend job in a newsagents at the time and everyone was so excited playing the first few draws. I used to play every week but never won more than about £30. I didn’t play for years and years, and then for a while I would buy the odd EuroMillions ticket but never won. Read more

Getting our Christmas Story straight

Toby, Gabe and me in front of the Christmas tree

I’ve been a parent for four Christmases now, this will be my fifth. But up until this year we haven’t had to give much thought to getting our Christmas story straight. And I’m not talking about the Baby Jesus here (although I’ll get on to him in a minute). I mean the intricacies of the the Father Christmas myth/ magic/ lie – call it what you will, I just never realised how complicated it would be! Read more

Practical presents (That aren’t aftershave!)

Christmas presents

**This is a collaborative post

With the winter well and truly upon us, talk naturally turns to what to buy people for Christmas. There is always the dilemma with Christmas shopping, go for the big surprise, or go for something practical. Now, the argument here is to go for practical items, but, these following items are, hopefully, going to have a very practical approach to your way of living. No deodorant or aftershave here! Let’s dive in. Read more

Making our own Christmas traditions

Toby's first Christmas

I know it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas but we’ve just started thinking about what we’re going to be doing on Christmas Day this year and it got me thinking about Christmas Traditions.

For my whole childhood Christmas was exactly the same every year. I never really thought at the time that we had Christmas traditions but I suppose the very definition of a tradition is repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again, and that’s exactly what we did. Read more

Bah humbug!

Bah humbug

Over the past month I’ve seen so many blogs filled with gift lists, Christmas crafts, festive recipes, tales of Christmas traditions and visits to Santa. And on my blog, this is the first time I have even mentioned Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big a fan of Christmas as the next blogger but I’m just not feeling especially festive this year. I am still at work until the 23rd of December, and then facing a Christmas Eve drive to Blackpool to spend a few days with my parents. The kids at school have all been hyper for the last two weeks and trying to keep them working and focussed has been a nightmare. Where did kids get this idea that they have some inalienable right to watch DVDs for the last week of term in every single lesson? (OK, I’ll admit, Ratatouille has made an appearance in some of my classes, but we have been studying food, and I’m showing it in French).

Anyway, what with having a stressful time at work and Toby still not sleeping, getting excited about Christmas has been the last thing on my mind. We put the tree and lights up at the start of the month but that’s about as far as my festive cheer has spread. If I’m honest, I also don’t see the point in making a massive fuss about it all when Toby is only 17 months old and hasn’t got a clue what Christmas is about. I was the same last year when he was only 5 months and even though it was his first Christmas we didn’t really do anything special. This year the only Father Christmas he’s seen was at the nursery party, oh, and the dancing Santa band at the garden centre which he loved. I’ve even decided that I’m not going to bother wrapping his presents (of which there are only a few) and carting them all the way to Blackpool only to bring them home again. He’ll be getting plenty of other presents off his Grandparents. And before you all start thinking what a horrible, mean mum I am I do intend to fully embrace Christmas when Toby is old enough to understand what it is all about. We’ll make decorations and visit Santa; we’ll have a Christmas Eve box and leave out whiskey for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph; we’ll have a lovely morning unwrapping a pile of presents… but for now, when the Christmas present I would like more than any other is for my boy to sleep through the night my festive spirit is sadly lacking.

Am I the only one? Is there anyone else who’s not feeling the Christmas cheer this year?

The Gift of Giving with Frugi

Xmas-Family-Logo

I love Frugi clothes. They are absolutely fantastic for Toby as they are ‘cut for cloth’ meaning there is plenty of room for his big fluffy bum without having to go up a size. Not only do Frugi clothes fit Toby brilliantly they are also made of lovely soft organic cotton. And on top of that it’s also great to buy clothes from a company that aims to be ethical in everything they do, each year donating 1% of their turnover to three great environmental charities as a member of the 1% For The Planet scheme, as well as supporting an orphanage in India.

This Christmas (all right, I know it’s still only November but Starbucks have got the red cups out so we can officially talk about Christmas!) Frugi decided they wanted to share their ethos of giving back and wanted to give the Gift of Giving. So they asked each of the bloggers in the Frugi Family to choose a blogging friend to send a Frugi gift to.

Frugi

I was so touched when my lovely blogging buddy Donna over at Redhead Babyled chose us to receive her Frugi gift. And when I saw the top Donna had chosen for Toby I was delighted! I love this stripy reindeer long sleeve t-shirt – perfect for the festive season. The top is made of thick, soft organic cotton and it washes really well. And I think Toby looks super-cute wearing it too!

Frugi top and trousers

In these pictures Toby is also wearing his Frugi corduroy trousers that I bought in the January sales. They are 12-18 months (when in all his other clothes we’ve had to go up to 18-24 months) and there is still plenty of room in them. I love that they have an adjustable elastic waist so I can get a great fit on long, skinny Toby. They’re fully lined too so lovely and cosy and perfect for winter.

Thanks so much to Frugi and to Donna for choosing us to receive this gift!

 

**Disclosure: We were sent this Frugi top as part of the Gift of Giving project. All opinions are my own.

 

Toby’s first Christmas

Baby's First Christmas bauble

Throughout the run up to Christmas I read lots of blog posts about ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ and to be honest I was slightly baffled by the efforts some people seemed to be going to when their babies weren’t old enough to even be aware of Christmas let alone remember it. Toby was just over five and a half months old on Christmas day and I knew for him it would just be another day. He quite liked playing with our fibre optic Christmas tree but apart from that Toby had no idea anything was going on. And so I didn’t really see the point of doing anything to make his first Christmas ‘special’. Some people may think that’s a bit mean-spirited of me but I think it’s just that I’d rather save the fun stuff for when Toby is old enough to get excited about it.

We did make one concession to it being Toby’s first Christmas and that was to stay at home on Christmas day rather than go to my parents’ house like we usually do. That was a bit of a political decision too really – my in-laws usually go on holiday for Christmas so for the three years we have been together the hubby and I have always gone to my parents and there hasn’t been any worry about offending anyone. However, this year my mother-in-law is recovering from an operation on her neck and can’t travel so they were staying at home. My parents live in Blackpool and my in-laws in Manchester while we’re up here in Scotland so visiting everyone in one day just isn’t possible. By choosing to stay at home we didn’t have to decide which set of grandparents Toby would be with on his first Christmas morning. Instead we stayed with my parents on Boxing Day so we could see them and my brother and sister-in-law too and then we went to visit hubby’s parents for a few days after that which worked out well for everyone in the end.

I did buy a ‘My First Christmas’ bauble from Mamas and Papas but it does have the year on too so it’s a nice keepsake and something we can put on the tree year after year. We didn’t get Toby too many presents either. A couple of toys and books and some clothes. Seeing as Toby wouldn’t know what he was unwrapping (he did manage to help a bit with pulling the paper off though!) I didn’t tell the hubby any of the presents I’d bought and he got Toby something that I didn’t know about. That way at least someone got a nice surprise when the presents were opened. I don’t think I would have even bothered wrapping them this year if we had both known what was inside!

Playing the keyboard
Toby playing with his present from daddy

We still had a lovely Christmas day together and I got the chance to practice cooking my first Christmas dinner. But for Toby it was still a normal day. I did get him some new pyjamas for Christmas Eve but I didn’t bother with a Christmas Day outfit – he’s just moved into his 6-9 month clothes so there are lots of things he hasn’t worn yet. We managed to fit most of the day in around Toby’s usual routine pretty well though. And after weeks of waking up at least once during the night Toby gave us the best Christmas present he could – he slept from 6:30 pm on Christmas Eve until 8:30 am on Christmas Day without waking up at all! So then after we all got up and had our breakfasts we opened a few presents. Toby then went back to bed for his morning nap, we opened some more presents and I got started on the prep for dinner. After nap time we opened the rest of Toby’s presents, had lunch and a bit of a play then it was back to bed for Toby. The plan was to have our starter while he was still asleep but he woke up slightly earlier than planned. He was quite happy having a play on his baby gym while we ate though. Then we put in him in his new highchair while we had our main course and we gave Toby his first solid food to play with. We are planning on going down the baby led weaning route (more blog posts on that to come!) and although Toby isn’t quite six months yet we thought Christmas dinner might be a nice time to give him something to have a look at. So he played with a few carrot and parsnip sticks (although none made it into his mouth) while we ate our dinner. After that it was bed time for Toby and we eventually had our dessert (sticky toffee pudding – yummy!) at about half past eight.

Christmas dinner with baby
Christmas dinner!

So for us there was no disappointment, no anti-climax. Toby’s first Christmas was exactly as I expected it to be. It was a bit strange for me not to be with the rest of my family for only the second Christmas in my life, and I actually had a little bit of a cry in the evening because I realised I’d missed them, but overall we had a lovely time just the three of us. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing next year. The idea of going to my parents’ is actually quite tempting – at least then I might get a bit of a break. Although our Christmas day was great we still had to do all the things we do every day; nappy changes don’t stop for Christmas! I even had to do a nappy wash because we were going away the next day. And I had to cook Christmas dinner! At least at my mum and dad’s someone else would do the cooking and there would be other people to entertain Toby for a bit. I might even get my traditional Christmas afternoon nap myself! I know next year will be totally different anyway. Toby will be 18 months old and I’m sure he still won’t understand what Christmas is about but he might be able to open his own presents and maybe enjoy playing with some new toys – or the wrapping paper and boxes anyway!

If you had your first Christmas with your baby I really hope you managed to have a good one. If you want to read more about how babies’ first Christmases don’t always turn out how you planned then Donna has written a great post over at Redhead Babyled. And if your baby’s first Christmas wasn’t quite how you’d hoped then remember there are lots more Christmases still to come.

Knitting Friday #4

Alright, before you say anything, I know it’s Saturday – but it is Christmas so I think you can forgive me!

So last week I posted pictures of the (almost) finished elf hat. And this week I actually finished it. I’ve added the pompom to the top and sewn in an inner fleece hat which serves the dual purpose of making it warmer and also keeping it on. I didn’t use any sort of pattern for the fleece, just cut a piece out and then shaped it by using pins worryingly close to Toby’s head!

Fleece lined hat

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out in the end though – and I’m sure you’ll agree my little elf looks very cute in his new hat.

Christmas elf hat

Becky over at The Laughing Owls has a Knitting Friday post too – Christmas Shopping has got in the way of her knitting a bit this week but she’s getting there with Little Owl’s jumper!

Christmas Tag

Baby elf
I was tagged by Lucinda at Teacher2Mummy in this festive blog question thingy and I haven’t written anything about Christmas yet so I thought this might be a nice way to start.
What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

It sounds really corny but I have to say giving presents. I love to see people’s faces when they open something I’ve chosen for them. Although I have to admit, with a small baby to look after, this year’s Christmas shopping hasn’t had so much time and attention put into it!

When you were a kid, what did you leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?
A mince pie and a whiskey (and a carrot for Rudolph!). My brother and I were still doing it when we were in our late teens and my dad would still gamely eat the mince pie and drink the whiskey – the carrot always ended up back in the with the others though.
Do you and/or your family have any Christmas traditions?

This Christmas will only be the third of my thirty-five Christmases that I haven’t been at my mum and dad’s house. (The first was when I did a ski season in 1999-2000 and the second in I think 2006 when I worked for in a bank call centre and had to work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day but that year my parents came up to stay with me). We decided that seeing as it will be Toby’s first Christmas we would spend it at home just the three of us and then head down to see our parents on Boxing Day. It’s hard at Christmas living so far away from our family. We have to choose where to be – it’s not like we could have Christmas morning at home and then go to visit relatives later in the day. So I suppose we haven’t really got any  Christmas traditions yet but this year could be the year to start some of our own.

When decorating, do you go all out or just do a small amount of decorating?

We don’t have tons of decorations – we do have two trees though. One big tree with all the decorations and then a smaller fibre optic one which used to be my only tree when I lived in a flat on my own. We have to have artificial trees because I’m really allergic to real ones. We’ve got some fairy lights in the window too and we usually have some outside along the front of the house but with the crazy weather this year we haven’t bothered putting them up.

What is your favourite Christmas dinner food?

I don’t like Christmas Pudding so my mum always gets me some sort of chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce which is delicious. I actually like the sprouts now too – when I was little I hated sprouts but I was always made to eat just one with my Christmas dinner. I suppose that was one of our Christmas traditions!

What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Die Hard! It is a Christmas movie!! I’m also partial to a bit of White Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

I was going to say All I Want For Christmas but I noticed loads of people have said that so I’m going to go with Let It Snow.

What was your favourite gift you’ve ever received?
That’s really hard but probably as an adult my iPhone 4 (which my dad got for free but I didn’t care!) and as a child I think the My Little Pony Grooming Parlour! I was so excited to get it because it wasn’t the sort of toy I was usually allowed.
What is your favourite memory?
I can’t really pick one – all my childhood Christmases are sort of rolled into one – but I used to love my brother sleeping in my room on Christmas Eve (because our Grandma would come to stay and sleep in his room) and when we woke up we were allowed to open the presents in our stockings which would be in our room but we weren’t allowed to go down stairs or wake anyone else up until a ‘reasonable time’. So about seven o’clock we would go the toilet really noisily which would usually wake our Grandma and mum up then we’d go downstairs in our pyjamas but then we would have to wait ages before we could open our presents because my dad always insisted on getting dressed and having his breakfast first and we would have to wait for him!
Does it snow where you live?
Yep. Although I don’t think it has snowed at Christmas since I’ve lived here. It never snowed in Blackpool when I was growing up though.
Do you own an “ugly holiday sweater”?
No. I’d quite like a tasteful Christmas jumper though.
Hot chocolate or eggnog?
Hot chocolate every time.
Have you ever been kissed under a mistletoe?

You know what, I don’t think I have!

I know I should now tag some other bloggers to do this post but it’s getting close to Christmas and I know everyone is very busy… so I’m not going to. However, if you read this and fancy answering the questions yourself then please feel free and do let me know when you’ve done it.

Baby Sensory (The Ordinary Moments #6)

I’m linking up with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me again this week, albeit a bit late, for some more ‘Ordinary Moments’. I do quite a few different activities with Toby during the week; Baby Sensory, Baby Massage, swimming, soft play to mention a few. Although I try to tell the hubby all about it I know it’s not the same as him being there himself. So, this Saturday it was great that he got to come along to the Baby Sensory Christmas party so he could see for himself what me and Toby get up to. It was a lot of fun and Toby looked so cute in his elf costume (with added ‘made by mum’ hat!) Baby Sensory Christmas Elf

mummy daddy me