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Perfect Christmas Gifts for Ladies & Gents

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Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?! Nope? Don't panic we still have a few weeks before the big day. This weekend we finally made a start on our daughter's Christmas shopping but now we have to think about all the adults in the family, some are so difficult to buy for - my husband particular. But for those who don't have a clue where to start I have put together a few Christmas ideas for both ladies and gents. I hope my ideas will help you on your way...

Ladies first...

Whether you are shopping for your mother, sister, wife, or friend I have rounded up my favourite ideas that meet a variety of price points. I have always thought that buying gifts for women are far easier than for men, but even us ladies can admit we get stumped sometimes so here goes.


From left to right

1. The Chocolate and Gin Collection, £20 from Hotel Chocolat. - Want to treat your special women in your life this Christmas? Yes, you can do this with chocolate and a collection of gin inspired recipes. For that extra special touch include a free personal card just to say you care.

2. "I love you" Disc Charm and Bracelet, £140, from Tiffany & co. - What better way to say I love you that with a beautiful bracelet in a lovely blue box. All women love a piece of jewellery, but before purchasing make sure you know her taste and colour preferences as it can vary between ladies. I do think that Tiffany & co do the most adorable and dainty jewellery but they do offer more statement pieces too. But whichever you decide opening that little blue box will bring a smile to their face, trust me gents!!!

3. GHD White Plantinum Styler, £165, from GHD - Go and treat your lady to the ultimate styler that will give them great, healthy-looking hair without any compromise. I am a big fan of GHDs and they are always bringing out great innovative products, the platinum collection looks so great.

4. Strawberry Festive Gift, £18, from The Body Shop - I can never get enough of The Body Shop I love their products and I am sure that I am not the only one. This year they have released products that have a festive feel about them, I would love this strawberry scented 'feel so good' collection that has lots of goodies for everyone to enjoy. A perfect gift.

5. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Parfum, £48.50, from The Fragrance Shop - You can never go wrong with a perfume as the perfect gift for Christmas. Every year my husband gets me a perfume but he buys me a different one each time and I have loved every single one of them, he knows what I like. I love this fresh oriental scent and it comes in a beautiful pink bottle and would be great for any lady in your life.

6. Fiorelli Black 'Mia' Bag, £44.25 (REDUCED FROM £59), from Debenhams - This beautiful bag is on my Christmas list *HINT HINT HUSBAND* and would be the perfect handbag to add to any bag collection.

For the Gents...

Is it just me, or does the shopping get harder each year? Whether its my husband or brother I always find myself struggling to find gifts that I think they genuinely would love. I don't really want to get them just anything and I want their faces to light up Christmas morning. I have come across some great ideas this year and no matter what man they are for I think they will truly enjoy them.


From left to right

1. Braun Cruzer 6 Face, £42, from John Lewis - The 3-in-1 shaver, styler and trimmer turns any facial hair into a stylish beard, giving you a close shave, neat trim or defined edges. I am sure that the man in your life would be grateful for one of these. There are other grooming gadgets available from the Braun Cruzer range from Cruzer Body, Cruzer Beard & Head and the Cruzer Precision - to cater to all needs.

2. Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet Eau De Toilette, £39, from The Fragrance Shop - I always like to get my husband an aftershave for Christmas and his favourite has to be this Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet as its a bold, strong and masculine fragrance.

3. Emporio Armani Chronograph Watch, £129, from The Watch Shop - I am in love with this classic style and simplistic design as it can be worn casually or saved for best. To make it personal you could get it engraved with a name, a special date or just a loving message. I have ordered from The Watch Shop before and I cannot recommend them enough, great communication, fast shipping and great quality. I got my Dad a watch for his 60th birthday and I was pleasantly surprised that his gift arrived within two days.

4. RFID Signal Blocking Leather Wallet, £34.99, from Presents For Men - I never heard of these signal blocking wallets before but they contain a shield that prevents any scanning for personal information. This would make a great gift for a partner, relative or a friend that is a budget friendly, it would also make a great stocking filler.

5. Elemis Perfect Man Collection, £49, from Elemis - I don't know why men don't look after their skin, but it is one of missions to get my husband in a regular skin care routine. Perhaps a gift such as this will help him in the right direction. This gift comes with a range of products that help to firm, sooth and hydrate their skin - you will get £77 worth of products for the price of £49, what a bargain.

6. Sony Headphones, £29.99, from John Lewis - If any of your guys love their music these headphones are going to change the way they listen to music. Not only do they feature powerful, incredible clear sound they have fixed two-sided cord with AP remote for hands free calls. These are also available in a range of colours and I think that there are so budget friendly, what could be better?

Amelia's 17 Month Update

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17 months old. As the days fly by she is  truly developing into a very independent and beautiful little toddler. She is learning so many new skills but I am also learning new ways to help nurture and allow her to explore her new surroundings. As much as I hate the fact that she is growing up it's also so wonderful seeing her explore her world and to some extent laugh at all the mischief she gets herself into.

HEIGHT/WEIGHT

We have been crazy busy this month so we haven't had the time to weigh you, which is a shame. All I know it that my upper arms are increasing as you grow. I did manage to measure her and she is still 33 inches. She has become quite the fidget bum though, even though you're wearing pull ups nappy changes are awful! Seeing as we are preparing for the winter it make complete sense to go shopping for winter clothes and we came across the Sainsburys sale and managed to bag a few bargains, two new winter coats for under £16. However, winter boots were not so easy to come across because most shops only get one in your size and they go straight away, but we did come across a cute suede pair online. But I want to get them in all colours.


FEEDING

She has become a fussy eater and that is something that I am not use to as normally she is  so great with food. Mealtimes have been thrown up into the air with her fussiness but she is still quite happy to walk around eating a snack or eating cheerios out of her snack pot. As she is becoming so much more independent she will insist on feeding herself and she is doing so well with your knife and fork. However, if she does struggle she will resort to using her hands. Normally she is such a good girl when we go out to eat but it has become more of a challenge because she is a nosy toddler and she hates being in a high chair. 


BEHAVIOUR

She is a normal toddler who loves to get up to mischief and to push boundaries especially if someone tells you no normally resorting to a temper tantrum. These temper tantrums are taking some time to get use to and she also started to bite that is so hard to see. I know its not an excuse but she normally bite because she gets frustrated with herself but when she does I am firm and I tell her that its not nice to bite. I do think that we are getting somewhere and she understands as when she has gone to bite she will just blow raspberries now. However, it's not all doom and gloom this month as she is also pretty funny and such a sweet girl who loves to look at herself in the mirror, and I love to watch her catch baby to herself in the mirror. 



SLEEP

Bedtime is still no problem but we are struggling with a nap in the afternoon, she has been refusing to go down for one for weeks now, however as soon as we hit the danger zone 4pm -6pm she can fall asleep after her dinner or on the sofa if I don't keep an eye on her. I do have to say that I really miss nap time, it would always give me a change to finish my chores and get a head start on my blogging, organise myself or take some photographs. I know that you will be off to nursery soon enough so I must enjoy that game of hide and seek that she demands everyday. 


WHAT YOU LIKE AND DISLIKE

I have found that she seems to like playing with toys that she wouldn't normally go for. She still loves her dolly and she goes everywhere with her and she will even try to feed her...with wooden blocks. My daughter also seems to be going through a nervous stage at the moment where some toys will freak you out and will run straight to either of us. We actually decided to buy her some talking plush In The Night Garden toys, as soon as I pressed Makke Pakka's tummy she would run and hide behind the curtain or just anywhere in general as long as Makka Pakka wasn't near you. There are some large stuffed robotic hippos that play instruments at Tesco that she hates, I have tried to encourage her to touch them but she screamed and cried.

MILESTONES

I have noticed that this month she seems to be able to entertain herrself for a short while, especially with a wooden shape sorter. Her new love of toys are also making her reluctant to want to share them with others and wanting any toys that they are holding, so this is something that we are going to work on. She is learning so many new words each day sometimes it's hard to keep up with what she is saying but it's around 20-25 words. Now I am finding that you are trying to string sentences together, well sort of. As I mentioned in the previous updates she is still climbing all over the place, even people.  She will whine to get on peoples laps and then after all that fuss you will try to climb them before getting off and do find something else to do. 

Catch my Daughter's previous updates?



WICKED WEDNESDAY | #14 The awkward sleeping positions

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I hope you're all having a fantastic week. This weekend was quite a busy one for us as we had to brave the awful cold weather to continue with Christmas shopping. On the Sunday we did the food shop, some cleaning we decided to put our Christmas tree and decorations up. I know it's a little early, but we are one of those couples...especially as this year will be a Christmas that our daughter will remember and our first Christmas in our new home. However, enough Christmas talk. It's time to laugh at our Wicked Wednesday photo. Yep, they seem to get themselves into some of the most awkward positions. All I could think of is how on earth can that be a comfortable position. I am always finding her in some really random positions during the night, my favourite has to be her bum in the air position. 

Paris. What's Next?

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Paris...


I was unsure as to whether I should publish this post as it has effected so many people in the world. I actually cannot believe that it has been a week already since the awful Paris attacks. I have thought of nothing else all week, it's just so scary. But those poor people, those poor families, my heart goes out to them. I cannot even begin to understand, it's such a sad world we live in that some can go to those extremes. 

To those that have been affected I am just so sorry for your loss as this news falls heavy on my heart. My thoughts and wishes are with you all. I am in no way here to tell you about all the details on the attack because I am finding so hard to comprehend such behaviours. But these recent events have filled me with fear and I am so scared of what could happen next. 

I am sitting here watching my beautiful daughter sleep and I ask myself what kind of world have I brought my daughter into and I wonder what will this world become for her. Was I selfish? It scares me to know that one day my beautiful daughter will have to be without me and her Dad. It fills me with dread that one day I will leave her in world with so much hatred, it breaks my hearts.

Even though we never know when our time will come. I cannot begin to think how selfish it is of some to take that away from us and take it upon themselves to make that choice. It actually makes me sick to my stomach to think that some people can actually be responsible for such behaviours. It's a scary world. I can never understand why someone would willingly hurt another and be okay with it, it just doesn't make sense to me. 

My child will have to grow up in this world, a world where people harm innocent people, a world where people have that much hate for others, ideas and things that they will go to such extremes. But more so without thinking about the consequences or the devastation they leave behind, the poor families ripped apart, or how they make people fear for the future of this world. I for one have changed my outlook on life and will cherish every single moment I have with my family. As we do not know what is yet to come but then again I don't want to know. 

Over the Internet there are so many stories, opinions given about what should we do. What we need to do. What the government should do. But does anyone actually know what the best solutions are that will be good for all? I don't think that there is a simple solution there is so much to take into account. What works for one, may not for another. We have to go on with hope in our hearts, we all want peace for everyone and if we stand together perhaps one day the world that we live in will become a better place.

WICKED WEDNESDAY | #13 I can't take this anymore

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I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far, I'm afraid that this will have to be brief as it's my birthday and my lovely husband has to decided to take us girl out for the day and spend some time together. Perfect. You may have caught a recent post where we decided to encourage our daughter to get creative in the kitchen and bake cupcakes. As you can see from this picture she wasn't a happy lady. But you wouldn't believe these tears are because we had to put the muffin tin into the oven. Got to love a Wicked Wednesday.

Baking with the Baby

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The last couple of week have been absolutely horrendous in this household, you may have noticed that I have not been publishing blog posts or on social media. My poor little baby has an awful cough and cold making it hard for her to sleep at night, actually none of us are actually getting sleep making us all super grumpy. A quick trip to the doctors as she started to get a rash, but she's fine and just need fluid, rest and cuddles. So after a couple of days on the sofa and watching lots of Peppa Pig she started to feel much better and so we thought that we would get into the kitchen to bake some cupcakes, a first for the little lady. Usually when it comes to baking sweet treats she will sit on the floor entertaining herself with the colander or other kitchen utensils, but this time it was time to get her more involved and embrace the whole baking with the baby idea. Not I must admit, it's not easy and they will get messy so you have been warned. Washed hand, a brand new personalised apron and we were both good to go.  


As a blogger, you could say that I like to take a photo or two when it comes to activities with the little lady. I am sure one day she will become bored of an iPhone or camera in her face, but until then I shall continue to snap away. So the first task for me was to measuring out all the ingredients making it less messy and easier when it came to combining the ingredients. My daughter did a fantastic job mixing all the ingredients together, even if some did go onto the floor. But she's a baby it is to be expected I guess. We both thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon making, banking and decorating cupcakes together and I am sure that it won't be the only bake we make together. 


When it comes to baking with little one there is always so much to think about, so make sure that you pick a time that they are not tired and you have lots of patience. Baking or cooking with children is a great way to encourage them to take a more active role in choosing, preparing and cooking simple food that may even help them to discover new foods and new tastes. While you’re cooking, let your child hold the ingredients, talk about where they came from and discuss how you think the recipe will turn out. The more familiar children are with ingredients and the more they feel involved in the process, the more likely they are to eat the food at the end. When she's a little older I think that baking and cooking with her will become a time for other learning, such as reading numbers in the recipes or on the scales, not forgetting about all those ingredients that she can learn about too. 

Preparation is everything. I think I have said it enough in this blog post now, but there is no escaping the fact that when it comes to baking and cooking with the little people, it's going to be messy. So it's best to try and be as organised as you can from the start and face up to the fact that you will end up with a super messy kitchen. It's always best to dress children up in old, baggy clothes and put them i  an apron too. Try and give them a larger bowl that is needed for combining the ingredients, you'll understand why soon enough. Not forgetting to allowing extra time for the recipe when it comes to baking with children, giving them plenty of time to explore and learn all about the ingredients and being in the kitchen. 

Get your child involved. Always try and involve them in every stage of the process, from choosing what to make to cleaning up afterwards Even though it may be hard to let them loose with the spatula. Use this an as opportunity to teach them about kitchen safety, reminding them about hot ovens, hobs and show them use utensils correctly and safely. Let them help with the safer jobs like sieving, mixing and whisking and practise cutting through things (like pastry) with a plastic play knife, or safety scissors. So with that, are you ready to actually bake some cupcakes?

THE ONLY MADEIRA CAKE RECIPE YOU'LL EVER NEED

What you will need:

6ozs/150g butter
7ozs/200g sugar 
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
8ozs/225g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
3 tbsp hot water

Prep: 5-10 minutes (longer with children)
Cooking: 10-15 minutes
Temp: Gas mark 4/ 350 F/ 180C


METHOD

1. Place muffin paper cases in a 12 bun tin . Pre-heat the oven to the correct temperature – Gas mark 4 / 350.F / 180.C. Start by blending the butter and sugars together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. Add the vanilla essence. Then add the eggs one at a time. To stop the mixture from curdling add a spoon of the flour as you add each egg.

3. Once all the eggs have been combined, add the rest of the flour with the baking powder and continue to mix. Ensure all the ingredients have been mixed to a smooth consistency then add the hot water-slowly- till it is completely blended.

4. Pour the batter into the muffin cases put in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Once they have been cooked leave them to cool. 

5. To test if the cup cakes are ready lightly press the top. If the surface springs back straight away it’s ready. If it slowly comes back it needs more time. 

This recipe can be used if you want to make larger cakes you will just have to alter the timings of your cooking. For us, we made two batches of cakes and there was more than enough batter. So bare this in mind before you go ahead.

Amelia's 16 Month Update

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Wow what a month we all have had. I must admit, I really enjoy writing about my daughter's development and tell you all about how big she's getting, but it's also a great way to document about it all in early days so she can go and look back through these posts. So the 16 month update, well what can I say I think that the baby days are well and truly behind us. I no longer have a baby, I have a toddler who can run, jump, climb everything and even knows the basics of using an iPhone. Seriously. It's all thanks to Talking Tom Cat. It’s inevitable that she will grow up and leave the baby phase and move on to the next set of challenges as she grows older and her needs change. I am looking forward to the next stage but also nervous as time is going so fast.


HEIGHT AND WEIGHT 

Well my not so little girl is weighing 22lb and is measuring 33 inches, she has increased slightly from last month. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves as compared to other children her age she is tiny. You are most definitely shorter that your cousin Lily-Grace and weigh less that your cousin Elliot but if I am honest I think that its unlikely that she'll be short like her mama. Wow, her hair is growing thick and fast and that fringe! It needs cutting that's for sure. However, until I pluck up enough courage to take her to the hairdressers we are rocking the side fringe look and she looks super adorable. 

Yet another growth spurt this month, as this rate she won't get to wear all those nice clothes we have just brought her. My daughter is getting pretty tall as she can reach up and remove the glass candles from our television unit, something that I will have to move. I always vowed never to removed anything out of her reach because she has to learn, but seriously this girl doesn't get it! We are now looking to buying the next size up with clothes to prepare for a growth spurt, no doubt.

FEEDING

So this month she's being really fussy when it comes to her food. There is no way that she is letting me or my husband spoon feed her at the moment, she becoming quite the independent lady. When we are out and about for dinner however, I don't like the idea of my daughter being messy and feeding herself so I will encourage her to feed herself with finger foods like bread, crudites, chips and vegetables but when it comes to soups or pudding I like to take over. However, she will tell us if she has had enough food as she with either throw it at me or her dad, yoghurt in the face or the pooch. I do have a feeling he may be quite the chunky beagle soon though. 

In terms of her food like and dislikes is pretty much the same but this month I have started to give her bananas with the skin on instead of chopping them for her, not sure why I never really thought about it before though. We had to move the fruit bowl into the dining room table because can help yourself and I was finding lots of teeth marks in the apples and now I can monitor the grape intake. We still have two cups of milk a day one in the morning and one just before bedtime, other than this she usually drinks water, or fruit juice. 

BEHAVIOUR

So as I said earlier we have said goodbye to the baby day and she is well and truly becoming quite the toddler. It's been quite the learning curve this month as she seems to be really happy and cuddly one minute and then she becomes a really grumpy toddler the next. Bath time is still her favourite part of the day and she even tries to climb in and out of the bath, cheeky lady. While in the bath you always ask to have your toothbrush to have a good ole brush, which can only be a good thing. I am also finding myself becoming one of those shouty mums this month, I really hate telling her no and constantly finding myself pulling her away. Some days it actually upsets me, and it feels completely draining too as I don't want her to think all I do is tell her off. Perhaps I will be less shouty next month. 

Eurghh the fake cry! This has been step up a notch or five this month but it's pretty tiresome by the time 5 o clock rolls by, but I do fall for it every time. Let's hope that I get better at seeing through the falseness. My daughter is still a little clingy at times where I find myself assuring you that I will return when I leave the room for the toilet or make a cup of tea. But she really isn't keen on other people and crowds at the moment, which is quite upsetting to see. 

SLEEP

Towards the end of month my daughter wasn't very well, poor little lady and this has effected everyone's sleep. So you could say that we were a very grumpy household. One night I went into her room as she seemed to be really struggling with her cough and she thanked me by vomiting all in my newly washed hair and pyjamas, so we both went downstairs to watch the television. 

Naps are becoming few and far between, if I am honest I really wish they were more regular because she can be a really grumpy sod in the danger hours between 4pm and 6pm! But if you do managed to go for a nap around 9am and 10am I will take full advantage and get all the chores and even a little bit of blogging ticked off the to do list. But most days, I will have a little 'helper'.

LIKES AND DISLIKES

Yep, this month she has developed a love for books and every night without fail she will sit on my knee and turn the pages while we read together. Whenever we get the opportunity we always like to buy her some new book to add to her ever growing collection. 

Small children love to help and my daughter is no exception. Recently she has become quite the little helper and she will watch and follow me as I do the cleaning, creating mischief on the way of course. I think its great that she is always willing to help and I want to build on that by making it a FUN and fulfilling experience for her. Furthermore by 'starting her young' will help her become more independent as she takes on a few responsibilities. However, when she does get distracted she likes to follow the vacuum around and switch the button on and off, quite frustration when you have lots of rooms to clean. 

We have had a few dislikes this month, especially with some foods. You still won't touch meat, mashed potato or melted cheese, however wiggly worm pasta and vegetables are still firm favourites. One thing that she have been pretty vocal about this month is the fact that she no longer likes her highchair and as soon as she's finished her last mouthful of food, she wants to get out. Whether that's a fake cry or a full blown temper tantrum, I think it's time we got you a one for the dining room chairs so we can all start eating together for meals. 

MILESTONES 

This month she has loves to run fast, and to climb everything. Whether it's the sofa, television unit or trying to get out of the bath. Some days is pretty full on with as she is into everything and gets everywhere. The living blinds are a new obsession, she seems to love the noise they make and she thinks it's a good place to hide.  As she has become quite the climber this month, the stair has been something that has taken her interest and with a little encouragement form the grandparent she like to come down the stairs on her front. 

My daughter is saying so many new words but I am actually beginning to understand what  she is trying to communicate. I will ask her question like 'Where is Daddy?' and she knows that he will walk into the house at certain times and go to the back door. Even things like asking for a drink are becoming really clear, I really thinking going to Rhyme Time sessions at the community centre is really helping with her communication and we have the best time together. 

We are still in the process of introducing the potty and using key words so she can begin to associate these words with the potty. It is rather sweet to see her get so excited when she claps her potty behaviour and we FINALLY did a wee!!!! Only a parent will understand why we get so excited when they do their first wee. I am confident that she will be well on her way to being potty trained very soon, it's a long road ahead but we we totally smash potty training. 

Catch my Daughter's previous updates?


WICKED WEDNESDAY | #12 I don't like my top!

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Happu hump time, and it's that time of the week yet again. A cheeky Wicked Wednesday post. And this one thought that it would be a good idea to try and undress herself before lunchtime, but as you can see it didn't go to plan. I had to take a quick picture before helping her out of her top. Toddlers, eh?

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