Where is my Christmas spirit? Christmas shopping for the kids

Really struggling this year to get inspired for Christmas shopping for the kids this year.

Both boys at difficult ages and behaviours.

Note to parents with young children don’t be tempted to buy the children games/toys for older than they are because at some point you it will come back to bite you and will struggle.

The 8 year old is just a technohead!  Never happy unless he is plugged in to his Samsung Pad and if he was allowed he would be in his element to be permanently attached 247.

The 11 year old has just grown up to fast.

Sat on the sofa scanning shops and websites for inspiration and I can’t find any!  Maybe I should have a few glassed of the mulled variety to start with.

Ho ho ho

I do love a christmas tree

My Christmas tree is one of my favourite Christmas traditions.  I wanted to just share the joy with you all of my last few years trees.

2013 the Premier appearance of the 7ft massive Christmas tree. New house new tree 🙂


 2012 the year the pre-lit lights failed after being up for a few days!


2011  perfectly pretty especially with a port and lemonade.





Bah humbug – Christmas shopping in Birmingham

 Birmingham Christmas Shopping

Whilst the kids were away at Christmas Scout Camp this weekend the husband decided to take me on a Christmas shopping expedition. We live close to Oxford, Reading and Swindon so that was my first thoughts but Tim thought differently and decided on a trip to Birmingham.

My preparation for our trip was shocking.  I decided that I should work out what I wanted, google to find the best price and then shop.  Needless to say this didn’t happen!

By the time we arrived in Birmingham on Saturday it was heaving.  We headed straight for the Bullring Shopping Centre.  The range of shops was astounding.  We struggled to get round them all in a day and a half.  Let alone the ones in the side streets and the ones on the surrounding shopping outlets.

I must say it has been a long time since I have been out to do Christmas shopping since my son was born in 2005 most of my shopping has always been done online.  I found out this was so much easier because at the time I was pregnant with Leo and he was due mid November so thought I had to get it done before his arrival as I couldn’t face packed shops with a newbie baby and a two and half year old toddler.    So, since then I have never really looked back.

The trip this weekend was certainly an eye opener.  There were queues for  toilets that snaked around the shopping centre.  There were queues to pay, queues to eat and there was even a queuing system to use the escalators!

I know that some people hate the whole Christmas season and I can sort of see why.  There were people pushing, shoving,  jumping queues and then one chap was paying at a till and another chap had paid for his items and just asked if he could pass by to get out and the man flipped, BIG TIME, swearing and shouting and the poor chap just wanted to move away from the tills as he had paid for his items.  Bizarre!  This Christmas shopping lark doesn’t seem to bring out the best in people to be fair.

I didn’t even find half the presents I was looking for so upon returning home tonight I shall be …… yep you guessed it….. internet shopping!

At least it was nice to get away and we stayed in a really nice Holiday Inn which was literally across the road from Star City Entertainment Village.  Our plan was to grab something to eat and catch a film at the cinema.  However, by the  time we had checked in and then eaten it was 10.30pm so I was ready for my bed, feet and head hurting.

I would love to go again but maybe not during a manic shopping period and this time find the other shopping malls as there are many more we didn’t get to.

Shopping tip:

I never go out without my shopping apps.  These include Quidco and Vouchercloud as starters both are downloaded as apps on my phone and I swear by them.  Quidco is also great for on line shopping as you earn cashback and that is always a bonus.

Links to my most used shopping apps:



PriceRunner – price comparison website

Happy Shopping

50 days and counting until Father Christmas arrives!

I love Christmas and the counting has started.  A new tree  for our new house has been purchased and new decorations are slowly being acquired as I just can’t help myself each year something new gets added to the decorations box.

  I don’t like to include Christmas eve in the count as I think Christmas starts on Christmas Eve spending the day with hyped up kids and generally trying to make sure that all that needed to be done has been completed.

I usually try to book Christmas Eve off from work so that I can spend the day with the boys. I always want to take the boys to the Crib service but never usually  get there.  I think midnight mass it too late to be taking the boys to especially as they have been brainwashed into thinking Father Christmas will only come once they are in bed.  We also use Norad every year to track his journey so we know when we need to be in bed.

http://www.noradsanta.org/ – Norad count down to Christmas from 1st December its worth a look.

We have had the Christmas talk about the types of presents Father Christmas can bring and although he will not bring gaming systems i.e PlayStation’s and Xbox but he can bring games for them if you already have them.  I do not want another console in my house!

I am not at all sure what the boys are expecting lists are in preparation but I am positive that there will be one RED BMX on one of the lists!

Present buying has become more difficult as they have got older. Joe is now 11 and I am really going to struggle with him.   Last year was  Technic Lego which cost a fortune. Any suggestions?

Christmas just isn’t the same once you start getting more clothes than just your Christmas day outfit for presents is it?

My kids have just been far to spoilt over the years making it even harder. My problem is I remember as a child coming down Christmas morning to an armchair stacked and presents all over the floor piles of them and I want my boys to remember the same.  The only problem is that the things they want have got smaller and smaller, and the cost has got more expensive.

The boys have never been into Action Men and all that paraphernalia but have always been into their outdoor activities, bikes, scooters etc.

Time to start racking my brain and thinking what to do….. the clock is ticking maybe I will start easy ….. stockings!

 Christmas santa-claus wallpaper 03

All I want for christmas is an open fire or a log burner

I am in the process of setting the seed in my husbands brain to get the chimney swept and replace the old gas fire with either a log burner (dual fuel preferably) or an open fire.

You know what its like, you sew the seed, they think its a rubbish idea, the work gets done, everyone loves it, then its their idea!  Voila

I think that secretly I am an arsonist at heart.   I love open fires, camp fires, candles, barbeques and fire pits.  Though not particularly keen on bonfires especially when my washing is on the line!

My thinking is that as gas and electricity prices are rising and I hate being cold and that this is a better way of heating the house.  A friend of mine has a log burner and every time it is on she has to open the doors and windows because her house gets too hot.  That will do me.  I would much rather be too hot than cold.

Already I have taken out the old gas fire with the help of a friend whilst my husband was at work.  I cleaned up the opening and left the IPad on a few pages which sold log burners.

I thought I was doing well until he came home with another gas fire that his friend at work had given him.  Its not that its not a nice fire, it is.  Its just not what I want and what I want I usually get at some point (it may take a while).

Apparently he has a telephone number of a chimney sweep but not booked an appointment yet.  I’ll give him until the end of the week and then I will book one!

Unless someone wants to install one in my home and use it as advertising or a promotional home. 🙂

I can see my vision now

Christmas tree




Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas