I like to be organised and get ahead with my present planning. It means I can save up or keep an eye out for sales and it helps spread the cost and keep stress to a minimum.
It's even more important for me this year now that I have two children to buy for and very little budget thanks to maternity leave. So I've been planning gifts for the family, and in no particular order, here are my top ten:
1. Cinderella/Snow White Reversible Fancy Dress
This is it. The first Christmas gift purchased for 2015. In the middle of summer (admittedly, the British summer, but still). Why? Because it was in the sale at Mothercare for £5. Yep. Just £5! Lily has recently got into dressing up, there was no way I was walking away from this bargain.
2. A wallet
Doesn't sound very exciting but Matt's wallet is getting a bit worn. I really like the look of this one by Ted Baker from Temptations Gifts.
3. Muddy Puddles Lottie Doll
Nursery staff report that Lily really enjoys playing with Barbie dolls. I'm not quite sure where I stand on Barbie yet. I loved them as a kid, but now I'm just not keen on the unrealistic body image it presents or how inappropriate the clothing can be. So, until I have formed a 'proper' opinion one way or the other I have decided on this lovely Lottie doll for Lily. Isn't she sweet?
Some people might say that having over 200 baby/toddler/children's books is more than enough. For me, you can never have enough books and I'm happily working away at a children's selection that will make my local library jealous. I tend to shop all over the place, but I'm a particular fan of The Book People and my local The Works where I can get great multi-buy deals.
5. Hand Puppets
Puppets are great for babies and Lily loves to put on little puppet shows in her wooden theatre. I like the idea of getting some for Ollie and so I'm trying to hunt down some nice ones like this Duck hand puppet I found on Butlers Online.
Ollie is a real water baby. He has adored bath time since he was a newborn and quite often falls asleep if we're holding him in the bath. Recently he's really got into bath time play with Lily and loves watching her pouring and scooping. Now I'm hunting down some fun bath toys for him and a refresh of Lily's - some of which are getting quite old now.
7. Musical Toys
I love musical instruments. We have a little basket with some but we could do with a few more, especially as both my children appear to have a love of making a lot of noise. These ones are from the Sue Ryder shop, so I figure that as well as being lovely gifts, by buying them I'm also supporting a great causes. Win win!
I used to buy Matt a PC game every birthday or Christmas but stopped because I was so frustrated with it. They're SO BLOODY EXPENSIVE. He finishes them in a few days. And, to make it worse, during those days he does NOTHING ELSE.
Despite all that, I know he has been looking forward to an Assassin's Creed game set in Victorian London for years. Literally, years. And so, despite the huge price tag I think I'll make an exception this year.
I came across this in my magazine the other day and fell in love with it. It reminds me of Oliver Jeffers books. It is a tad more expensive than what I would normally buy (being a naturally
I'm going to be talking to Santa about getting this one for Lily. She's outgrown her first pram and is massively into role-play at the moment. She really enjoys playing 'Mummy' to her dolls, naming them after her younger friends (Emilia and Sebastian) and carrying round her little play changing bag. Of all the doll's prams out there at the moment, this one from Argos is my favourite. I like that it's not *too* pink and it looks sturdy enough to last a few years at least!
And so that's it (for now). I'm sure I'll come up with tons of other stuff. The hard job is not really finding presents, but keeping them within budget and not going crazy. I'm also hoping to make some homemade gifts for friends this year - fingers crossed that goes well, I'll be blogging about it either way.