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The Christmas guide: gifts they’ll want, need, wear and read!

The Christmas guide: gifts they’ll want, need, wear and read!

It’s almost Christmas time once more. Hashtag joy, hashtag chaos, hashtag busy. Busy, busy, busy. This year I’ve had to be extra organised as I recover from hip surgery. For me that has meant knowing that I can’t drive for 2-3 weeks and at Christmas time this could mean disaster. So if I can’t go to the stores myself to do my Christmas shopping, then I guess I need to make it come to me. I’m pleased to report that I’ve done all of the shopping I need for Santa, and have had it delivered straight to my door. Honestly, what did we do before online shopping? God knows!

This year, whilst I’m spoiling my children more than usual in an effort to try to make this Christmas a little happier than years gone by, I’ve discovered a fantastic giving ritual that can help you to contain the excitement, and save a little money too. The idea is that you buy four presents. Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Granted, that my children may receive more than one present in each category…the sentiment behind it is lovely. I’ve also discovered that some families give their children an empty box with a tag ‘ something to give’. Children are encouraged to go through their toys following Christmas and donate to charity. The act of giving, either in the lead up to, or following Christmas is something that we all should instil in our children.

So below are some of my best buys and finds for my children Ella (4) and Hudson (2) under each of the giving categories. Some are snapped by moi on the run as I hide them from my kids, and others are taken directly from their website as they are either too large to snap incognito, or require some assembly from…um…Santa / aka Dad.

Something they want

This year Ella is obsessed with all things Barbie. She is the quintessential girly, girl and loves to dress up, mix and match her dolls. So when Barbie brought out their new ew Fashionistas dolls, which feature a range of new body types, hair colours and styles, skin colours and eye colours. They also have great outfits, so Ella can mix and match. Priced from $12 they are really reasonably priced.

Barbie Happy Ella After fasionistas Kmart

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A girl can’t have barbies without a dollhouse to play in! The new ‘mansion’ dollhouses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed especially to fit Barbies. It even has a lift! Ella may just be receiving this one from KidKraft underneath the tree…put together by Santa himself!

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Something they need

For both of my kids, you can’t go passed play dough. Tactile, tangible, terrific. There is something about giving your kids new tubs of play dough. They just love opening the new colours of squishy, untouched dough. Perfectly soft and subtle. I will be loading their stockings up with tubs bought from Target.

They also love drawing, but I struggle to get them to focus on their own posters on their small play able. These giant colouring posters from OMY are genius. Huge patterns and pictures, you can put them on the wall or chuch them on the floor. Hours of fun! Available from Leo & Bella here for $25.95. 

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When it comes to useful gifts that actually HELP with something, this one takes the cake. In our house, we have needed the gift of sleep more than anything. In the last few months our little man has finally turned the corner. I don’t know how or why. We haven’t done anything different, except use this little gadget that I think has been the little thing that has helped enormously. The Gro Egg light and monkey cover from the Gro Company has given Hudson a sense of comfort and safety. It works in two ways. Firstly as a soft night light that helps little ones feel secure when they wake in the night.You can use it as an egg, or pop on their adorable little covers, making the little characters come to life.  It also changes colour depending on the temperature in the room. The second clever operation is the fact that it keeps track of the temperature in the room, indicating which GroBag to wear for their level of comfort. Genius. So if you’ve got, or know a little one who is still struggling with sleep, then this may just be your answer. Available in shops nationally, but you can also check it out here. 

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Something to wear

For me, you can’t go passed Cotton on Kids for variety, colour and quality. Their prices are so affordable, and these days their discount sales run almost every fortnight. My Ella is literally obsessed with wearing ‘spinny’ dresses almost every day, so this gold pom pom dress will be on high rotation all summer I would think!

Cotton on Kids Dresses Happy Ella After

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In terms of ‘wear’ my kids are also needing bigger and more robust back packs. For kinder and sleep overs at Nanna’s you can’t go passed Smiggle for their new range. Gorgeously bold and bright, with dozens of their signature zippers, there is a space and a place for everything. I love the handle on the top which means they can carry it in their hands and their straps are adjustable to fit almost any child! Throw in a few packs of their equally rad pencils, and you are good to go.

Smiggle Happy Ella After Back Pack Christmas

And finally every kid needs some cool pyjamas to wear at Christmas time. These awesome Batman Pj’s from Peter Alexander from Warner Bros are the perfect ‘jammies’ this summer. They even come in a super cool bag that the kiddies can use and reuse! You’ll also notice the cool batman eye mask from Typo….perfect for sleeptime!

Peter Alexander Superhero Batman Happy Ella After Typo

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Something to read

For Ella…she adores, adores, adores the Ella Bella Ballerina series. If you have a little dancer in your house, then you cannot go past this gorgeousness. In each of the four titles, Ella Bella begins her dance lesson in class with Madame Rosa and ends up being swept up into the beauty of one of four famous ballets: Cinderella, Swan Lake, the Nutcraker and Midsummer Night’s dream. Beautifully illustrated they are the perfect length for a young child who loves ballet. Perfect for bed time dreaming. Available from Booktopia.

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Huddy is tactile and still loves the ‘That’s not my series’. This Christmas I’ve added a few new titles to our collection including ‘That’s not my’…..tiger, tractor, plane and Santa!. For an extra sense of fun….find the mouse!

That's not my

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Both of these titles are available from The Book Depository or Booktopia.

To finish…i couldn’t complete this post without a mention of Arlo & Co and their gorgeous SIMPLICITY bamboo gift tags. Personalized for each type of gift, you can label your presents with ..

  • something you want
  • something you need
  • something to wear
  • something to read

Christmas Happy Ella After

Available here for $25, you are supporting an amazing local Mum. Remember that including local products in your gifts this Christmas actually puts a smile on the face of a small family. The support system of those, who like myself, run small businesses for the love of it. So when you can, include local, small businesses in your shopping this Christmas.

We all WANT  and NEED some love this time of year. I hope you both give and receive it in bucketloads.

kate

Mumma Christmas Wishlist 2014

Mumma Christmas Wishlist 2014

I won’t lie, this week has been tough on many fronts. Yesterday felt like an eternity, as I juggled toilet training (for the 100th time), and a teething baby. Sometimes there are days that just seem to go on for ever. I do know however, that you have to roll with the punches, suck it up and know that for every bad day, you’ll have a hundred great ones. There is so much to look forward to at this time of year, and this weekend, I’m super excited to put up our Christmas decorations and ornaments around the house. Christmas with kids is just magical, and this year, Ella really knows what’s going on. I can’t help myself, every time I’m online, I find something else to get her from ‘Santa Claus’. I don’t know about you, but I spend so much time organising gifts for the kids, that when someone (aka. Santa Dan) asks me what I want, I actually can’t think of anything.

So with that, I’ve taken the time to browse my favourite Insta feeds and have discovered a few lovely things that this Mumma would love to see (for me) under our Christmas Tree….

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Top Left: Boss Mumma Singlet from Howi Clothing – $30

Top Middle: PK Copenhagen Limited Addition Print from Norsu Interiors – $90

Top Right: Ferm Living Storage Baskets available from Norsu Interiors – from $90

Middle Left: Anarkid wall prints available from Hush Little Baby – Currently on sale from $15!!!!!

Middle: Nike Air Pegasus Runners – $160

Middle Right : Gold Trim Maxi Dress from Witchery – $149.95

Bottom Left: Amazonia Bucket Shoulder Bag from Mimco – $499 *#MYFAVOURITE

Bottom Middle: Sorbet Sunrise Tank Dress from Mister.i  – Pre-order

Bottom Right – the one and only, Thermomix – approx $2500

Some of these are to wear, some are to admire and some are to dream about.

C’mon Santa Baby, I’ve been a very good girl this year!!

kate

 

Christmas at the new Myer Giftorium

Christmas at the new Myer Giftorium

Lgiftorium_headerast week we were lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of the new Myer Giftorium. A Giftorium you say? Isn’t Myer one big Giftorium? Well, they have taken shopping for Christmas one step further, and made a space dedicated to purchasing gifts for each loving member of your family. The Giftorium has been developed to bring back fun and theatre to Christmas shopping and to create a one stop destination for all festive giving.

They have included the 12 Themes of Christmas:

  • Dapper Dad
  • Miracle Mum
  • Glamour Gran
  • Trendy Young Things
  • Kids Cubby
  • Food Fanatic
  • Stocking Fillers
  • Tecnho Freak
  • Fashionista
  • Globe Trotter
  • Paws Corner
  • and Hope, Skip and Juice

It means that instead of walking around an entire store looking at various gifts for one person, you simply go to the area dedicated for your loved one and all of the inspiration is in one space. A fabulous idea indeed. Best of all, it will be available at ALL Myer stores.

They have also included in the space a host of various activities for the family, including the traditional chance to meet Santa.

If you are in Melbourne, you have got to ensure that you take the kids into the city to visit the amazing Myer Windows, launching on November 8.

A big thanks to Myer Melbourne, and to Kids Business for having us! Here is Ella having a ball of a time…

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The 2014 Myer Christmas Bear – Archie
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Ella enjoying the new parent room in the Myer Emporium, watching Frozen!
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Art & Craft activities for the kids!
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FREE Soda Stream! Bring back the 80’s
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Yummy Christmas Treats!
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Dancers and performers for the kiddies!
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Myer is a wonderful place at Christmas!

As someone who back in the day, used to work at Myer Melbourne during my Uni days, I can honestly say that it is a magical place at Christmas Time!

kate

 

Friday Finds: Last Minute Gifts made by the Kids!

Friday Finds: Last Minute Gifts made by the Kids!

If you are anything like me, things have just gotten away from you this Christmas! I normally send cards out, bake treats and generally have things to give to others! This year, a combination of work, having a toddler and being pregnant has meant that I’ve had no time to do any of these things (sorry friends and family). Lucky though, Pinterest saves the day with loads of little last minute gifts that can be made by the kids! I love the idea of giving Christmas ornaments to family and friends, as they bring them out each year and remember how little and precious our kids once were!

Here are a few of my favourites…

Salt dough hand print ornaments! Capture those tiny hands. Click on the link for the recipe!

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Decorations made from pipe cleaners, beads and other odds and sodds..

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Button Christmas Trees – cute as a button 🙂

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Hand print Snowmen –  in Australia we can only dream!

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Scrabble ornaments just for Grandparents!

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and my all time favourite…polystyrene sequined balls. This is something I made with my students each year. They take forever, but if you have kids old enough, you will appreciate this and relish the peace! (just make sure you have enough pins!)

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With only 4 sleeps to go, hopefully some of these ideas will save the day for you!

For my Christmas inspiration, follow my Christmas Wonderland Pinterest Board here.

kate

*Each image is linked to it’s original Pinterest source.

Friday Find: Christmas @ Cupcake Occasion

Friday Find: Christmas @ Cupcake Occasion

This week’s Friday Find is short and sweet. Very sweet. I was chatting with some great friends in my Mothers’ Group this week about what we were giving our kids’ daycare teachers for a Christmas Gift. With the benefit of being a teacher myself, I could tell them that we really do appreciate anything. It might sound cliché, but the thought really does make us smile. That said, Ella has quite a few teachers coming in and out of her room, and I wanted to make sure that we thanked them all. So I decided to this year, enlist the help of Jodie from Cupcake Occasion. Cupcake Occasion began as her passion and has now grown into a business that is high in demand. Cupcakes of every flavour that are decorated in any way you can imagine. Her Christmas range is just gorgeous and perfect for a group of people, or staff to share.

I’ve decided to give Ella’s Day Care teachers the ‘Joy’ box below. Gorgeous cupcakes that are almost too cute to eat! 25 mini cupcakes @ $65.

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I also love these gorgeous Santa cupcakes – 12 regular @ $65

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Or Chrissie Cookies may be your thing? 6 for $20 or 12 for $40

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or finally, you can’t go past this awesome Gingerbread House – $70

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You can contact Jodie @ Cupcake Occasion here. You can also follow her gorgeous creations on Facebook here. With Christmas around the corner…get in quick!

kate

Oh Christmas Tree…

Oh Christmas Tree…

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, and the silly season starts to take real flight, there is nothing that makes me happier than filling our house with beautiful Christmas decorations. Ever since being a kid, I have loved bringing out the same decorations each year, finding the perfect tree and lighting up our home with Christmas cheer. Needless to say, there are some times during this process that the happiness is tested. Normally this comes in the form of Dan and myself yelling at the Christmas tree stand, as it fails to hold up our real tree. Each year, this seems to happen and we were not disappointed in 2013 when it took us over an hour to screw the bolts in tight enough so that the tree would not fall over. 6 days later, the tree is still standing, so I think (touch wood), we are safe.

Christmas is obviously made so much more special with little ones around, and this year Ella seems to have an idea that this time of year is special. Her efforts at calling everything “Chrisas” indicate that she has a clue. She makes this time so joyous and its even more special knowing that this time next year, she will have a little brother or sister to share it with.

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite decorations that make our house feel, smell and look so festive. It’s just the most wonderful time of the year….

Each year, it is a Sherlock tradition to get a real tree. Nothing beats the beautiful smell. We have a red and silver theme happening and I just love it!

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Whilst in NYC on our honeymoon three years ago, I bought some special silver star and snowflake decorations from Macy’s and Bryant Park. It’s so lovely bringing them out each year and remembering that awesome trip!

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To celebrate Ella’s first Christmas last year, I couldn’t go past this gorgeous personalised bauble…

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For our wedding day, one of our guests clearly knew me well and gave us this beautiful Waterford Christmas bauble. It sparkles so much at night…

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Probably my favourite would have to be our mantle piece, and the gorgeous Pottery Barn Kids stockings that I got last year. It’s my ode to a White Christmas, even though it is summer here in Australia!. Our dog Lloyd even has his own. Next year, there will be another one hanging on the ledge…

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I was given this beautiful minature wooden tree a few years ago. Each tiny wooden figurine dangles in the sun. Ella loves to tap each one as it sits on our side table in the entrance…

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And finally, when I first moved out of home eleven years ago, my little sister gave me this metal Santa Claus. I love his rustic feel and brings back so many memories of celebrating Christmas in all the places I’ve lived since moving out of home.

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I would love to see how you decorate your own homes. Feel free to share your own special photos on our Happy Ella After Facebook page here.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

kate

 

A Christmas Giveaway / Pampering for Mums!

A Christmas Giveaway / Pampering for Mums!

1070071_427405380708504_1756099497_nChristmas is a crazy busy time for Mums and Dads. We are all thinking about spoiling our children and families, and don’t have much time to stop and think about taking care of ourselves! Bharti from Balancing Mind and Body is wanting to do just that, by offering one lucky Happy Ella After reader the chance to win their choice of:

One 60 minute treatment of:

  • Remedial & Deep Tissue Massage
  • Indian Head Massage
  • Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
  • Advanced Reflexology
  • Ear Candling to include Indian Head Massage
  • Reiki
  • Ayurvedic Face-Lift Massage
  • Fertility and Pregnancy Support
  • Hot Stones Massage

or alternatively, the fabulous

  •  90mins of Pregnancy Bliss Package:  Massage/Indian Head Massage/ Reflexology

This wonderful prize is just what many of you need at this time of year! If you read my Friday Find post last week, you will know that I was lucky enough to experience a Pregnancy Massage and Indian Head Massage. It was wonderful and relaxing. If you feel that this is something that you, a family member or friend would love then this is the competition for you!

Entrants need to enter via the link below. Terms and Conditions are available on this link. This competition is open to Australian Residents Only. It will open at 9am AEDST and close next Monday 16th December at 6pm AEDST. The winner will be announced on the blog the following day.

Enter the Balancing Mind and Body Giveaway HERE.

Best of luck!

kate