Have Yourself an #ebaychristmas

Ebay Christmas 2014There’s nothing better than the joy of giving the perfect gift. This year, ebay.co.uk set out to spread a little Christmas magic across the Britain. For me, a perfect gift isn’t necessarily something shiny and new, it’s something where a lot of thought has been put into it.

This Christmas, my wonderful Husband, who is amazing at buying gifts remembered me mentioning a toy that I really wanted when I was a kid and never got, and has managed to source a fully working version through eBay. When he told me what it was (he may be an incredible gift giver but he’s rubbish at keeping secrets!) I burst into tears – not the sort of reaction you’d get from a random bit of bling and a true sign that he’d put an amazing amount of thought into things.

Every hour 85 games consoles, 53 bikes, 258 smartphones, 99 tablets, 5 teddy bears, 57 board games and 146 sets of Christmas lights are sold on eBay.co.uk. The present that Husband has bought me would probably have been impossible, or at least a whole lot harder, to track down if it weren’t for eBay and I’m sure there have been millions of other treasures bought and sold to the delight of many.

eBay has created a lovely short film to illustrate the magic of giving the perfect gift, which you can watch below:

There’s not much that’s better than seeing the look on someone’s face when they open a gift that you’ve put a lot of thought into and they absolutely love. I wish I was a better gift buyer (and had a bigger budget!) but Husband is actually pretty tricky to buy for so I’m always flapping when it comes to coming up with gift ideas for him. Maybe this year I’ll manage to come up with the perfect thing.

Find your loved ones the perfect gift at http://www.ebay.co.uk/christmas  or Tweet a hint of what you’d like for Christmas with the hashtag #ebaychristmas

The Demonisation of Benefits (or How The Conservatives Have Got You Fooled)

Demonisation-of-poor-people-500x330Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the last 4 years, you should have noticed a spiralling trend in the demonisation of benefit claimants. No longer can you open a newspaper without seeing stories about ‘scumbags’ who refuse to work and yet live in massive houses or drive flash cars and live seemingly luxurious lifestyles, all off of the buck of the hard working British public. There are TV shows on Channel 4 and the BBC, all focussed on ‘Benefits Britain’, showing us just how much claimants are swindling the rest of us and doing a bang up job of turning everyone against people who claim from the State.

Almost daily, I see rants on social media, decrying the state of this country, putting the blame on the shoulders of benefit claimants. Normal, working-class people, turning against people who are down on their luck for no other reason than that they think people on benefits are getting an easy ride. Then, today, I heard this (please listen to the whole clip…)

THIS is the voice of Benefits Britain. An ordinary man, down on his luck because of a shitty economy which was created by corrupt bankers and perpetuated by inept politicians. This man, like the majority of others on benefits, is a product of a poorly managed country, not a lazy grifter who’s trying to do as little as possible for maximum return. This is an able-bodied, 35 year old man who’s bin diving for his dinner, who will spend Christmas alone, cold and hungry with only a radio to keep him company. A man who is TOO PROUD to accept what he perceives as charity. And I defy anyone to listen to that and not feel completely and utterly heartbroken. I know I do.

This isn’t about “why doesn’t he get a job?”. When will people realise; THERE ARE NO JOBS?! Big businesses have been allowed to create ‘zero hour’ contracts which make it look like employment levels have gone down, when in fact all that means is that people are no longer allowed to claim benefits, not earning a wage and living in poverty, whilst supposedly employed in the 10th richest country in the world.

And the WORST part is, the Government have got us all fooled. The TV stations are running shows which turn everyone against benefit claimants, which makes it seem SO justifiable when the people in charge start cutting the already meagre handouts that people are given. The poorest are the hardest hit, with Bedroom Tax taking away from families in need, disabled people forced back into work because otherwise their DLA will be taken away. But no, let’s all feel sorry for Myleene fucking Klass who’s worrying about her London mansion being taxed too heavily.

It’s all so easy to believe the lies; it’s on every newspaper, almost every TV channel. But what you need to remember is this: the papers and TV stations are RUN by people who’s interests are protected by a Tory government. They have friends in high places and it directly benefits them to feed us lies and hyperbole and make us believe that benefit claimants and immigrants are the problem. Being British used to mean banding together in a crisis – it got us through two world wars, yet we’re turning on each other in droves and it’s EXACTLY what the Tories want.

Stop believing the lies. This country is NOT in the state it is in because of impoverished people who are down on their luck, and it’s not simply a case of just ‘doing something about it’. This country is on a downward spiral and we’re blaming all of the wrong people. Let’s look to the bankers who caused the global crash. Let’s look to the MASSIVE companies who aren’t paying their taxes, who are sending all of their operations abroad, who don’t pay a living wage.

Let’s look to the politicians who are dismantling our public services for the DIRECT benefit of themselves and their friends, who are fraudulently claiming expenses, who have several houses in the most expensive areas of our country. Lets look to the landlords who are charging astronomical rents for properties which would be considered slums in other parts of the world. Lets look to the energy companies who are charging rates so high that people WILL die this Christmas because they simply couldn’t afford to stay warm.

GET SOME PERSPECTIVE. STOP BELIEVING THE LIES.

If you’d like to donate to a food bank or homeless charity this Christmas, please visit Shelter or The Trussell Trust. Your local Council should also be able to advise you where you can donate food, clothes, blankets, money or your time.

eNail Mail Order Nail Polish – Review and Giveaway

When one of my lovely friends asked if I would like to review Enail, the mail order service for personalised nail polish, I jumped at the chance! If you’ve ever watched this vlog, you’ll know I’m a bit of an addict and it just so happens that Sausage has taken after Mummy and developed a penchant for nail polish all of her own.

Enail is a website which allows you to choose from a range of colours, place them into a gift box of your choice and even put a personalised message on the bottle in your favourite font. You can choose to make the choices yourself or gift a voucher code to your giftee to create their own. Sausage and I set about making our choices and found the website super easy to use, with a really nice range of colours to choose from.

Screenshot from 2014-12-04 16:59:06enail online nail polish giftsSausage and I had no trouble finding three colours we liked – in fact we struggled to narrow it down to just three! We went for three glitters – with Christmas coming up, you just can’t beat a bit of sparkle – in fact Sausage and I agreed that for less than £20, eNail would make an amazing Christmas present, especially for someone who you might not get to see over the Festive period.

One the nail varnishes arrived, we were both really impressed with not only the quality of the polish but also the packaging. We went for the leopard print box with a turquoise bow, which Sausage immediately claimed for herself to re-purpose at a later date and being the super kind mother that I am, I let her have it *grumble grumble*.

The colours we chose were a very Frozen-inspired blue, a glittery pink (naturally…) and a dark maroon/purply colour, all glittery and glam. eNail also send a free clear nail polish to be used as a base coat or top coat, which can be super useful for using under strong colours which might stain your nails, or even over the top for an added layer of strength and longevity. Sausage insisted upon having her nails painted with ALL of the colours immediately and we were both pleased to see that the polishes went on nicely, giving even coverage and were of a high quality.

All in all, both Sausage and myself were really impressed with eNail, the ease of use of their site, the speed with which the products arrived, the packaging and the quality and selection of nail polishes available. It’s a service we’d highly recommend and will definitely be using it again in the future.

eNail have been kind enough to give Mum’s the Word a set of polishes to give to our readers, so to be in with a chance of winning, just leave us a comment below telling us what your favourite Christmas song is. You can also earn a bonus entry by subscribing to Mum’s the Word using the box in the sidebar. Good luck! 

Giveaway starts at 11am on Tuesday 9th December and ends at 11am on Monday 15th December. Winners will be sent a code to use on the eNail site to the value of £19.95 and can choose their own polishes and gift options. No cash equivalent will be offered. 

Are Parenting Standards Slipping?

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”  ― Franklin D. RooseveltWhen it comes to parenting, for me there are two sets of things that kids need to learn: The Basics and The Big Stuff. The Big Stuff is stuff which only tends to come along once, maybe twice, like teaching kids about The Birds and the Bees, helping them to understand prejudice in society – you know, real ‘putting them on the right path’ type stuff which will help to mould them into worthwhile human beings. Then there’s ‘The Basics’. Stuff like putting your hand over your mouth when you cough or sneeze, how to brush your teeth and use a knife and fork, how to wipe your bum – all of the stuff that they’ll probably need every day for the rest of their lives.

Depending on your parenting style, you might include other things in The Basics. Husband thinks its hugely important for kids to learn how to use a knife as a tool, for instance. Okay, so the likelihood of them finding themselves alone in the wilderness, Ed Stafford-style, isn’t huge but basic survival skills can really set a foundation for kids and instil an important sense of resourcefulness in them from an early age.

Over the years though, I’ve noticed more and more that basic standards seem to be slipping. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to see kids getting neatly pressed and folded cotton handkerchiefs out of their pockets if they need to sneeze, but even a hand over the mouth would be better than nothing, and that’s what I seem to see – nothing. Kids cough, sneeze and splutter in public with not to much as a hand raise or snot being suppressed.

There’s a particular thing I’ve been seeing for the past few years which appears to be a bit of a ‘trend’, and I don’t know if this is my age talking, but it completely boggles my mind. It seems to be normal these days for boys and young men to walk along…with their hands down their pants! When I first started noticing it, it was usually a one-handed grab, but now I regularly see blokes with BOTH hands down there, just casually walking around like it.

My first thought was “If they fall over, they’re going to smash their faces in because they’ll have nothing to break their fall”, and then it dawned on me that there’s a very good chance that these boys are actually holding their junk. I mean, really? It’s not going to fall off if you don’t hold it all day!

The thing which really compounded the horror for me was seeing a poster up in my local surgery, which had been ISSUED BY THE NHS, reminding blokes that if they walk around with their hands down their pants (I believe the headline was “Are You a ‘Hands-Down-Your-Pants Kinda Guy?”) that they need to wash their hands more often otherwise they could be spreading urine and groin germs every time they touch something.

I mean, really?! Maybe if their parents had done a better job of teaching them more about germs, not to mention BASIC LEVELS OF APPROPRIATE PUBLIC BEHAVIOUR, they wouldn’t do it? When I was a kid, if we’d seen a grown man walking around with his hands down the front of his trousers, I’d have run home and told my parents that there was a pervert prowling the streets.

So, why do standards appear to have slipped? Are parents failing to teach their kids The Basics? What do you think, readers? Have you noticed a slip in basic standards? Do you have a personal bugbear, something you see that drives you potty? Do let me know.

The Best Christmas Jumpers for the Whole Family

With Christmas just three weeks away, our thoughts have been turning to all things festive. This time last year, I was MASSIVELY pregnant with Burrito Baby and fashion was the last thing on my mind. This year, however, I’ve decided that a Christmas jumper is high on my list of wants, and Sausage has decided that she agrees, so we’ve been spending a lot of time looking around the internet for festive knitwear and we though we’d share our favourites with you!

Do let me know what you think of our choices or if you’ll be getting wrapped in some seasonal sweaters yourself.

Men's Christmas Jumpers

 

Men’s Christmas Jumpers by jayne-crammond featuring a christmas sweater

Women's Christmas Jumpers

 

Women’s Christmas Jumpers by jayne-crammond featuring a boxy sweater

Boxy sweater
next.co.uk

Jumper top
marksandspencer.com

Short sleeve tee
newlook.com

Red sweater
newlook.com

Jumper top
newlook.com

Sweater
marksandspencer.com

Christmas Sweater
next.co.uk

Kids and Babies Christmas Jumpers

 

Kids and Babies Christmas Jumpers by jayne-crammond featuring a jumper top

Win a BMW Ride-On/Push Toy Car in Time for Christmas!

1000x1000The awesome folk at BMW Servicing have offered Mum’s the Word readers the chance to win a gorgeous BMW Genuine Baby Racer II M3 kids ride-on/push toy car, just in time for Christmas! Here’s some info about this amazing prize, worth over £75!

The BMW M3 Baby Racer is as sporty as the original – from the rear spoiler to the horn. Numerous details such as the M steering wheel, speedometer, rev counter as well as temperature and fuel gauges ensure that young drivers can experience a very grown-up M feeling. With near-silent rubber tyres and BMW M logo. TUV-approved. Suitable for ages 1 1/2 to 3. Dimensions (L x W x H): 70.5 x 32.5 x 40 cm. Wheelbase: 44 cm. Weight: 4.5 kg.

To be in with a chance of winning, just complete the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to UK residents only
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/win-bmw-ride-toy-worth-%C2%A380#sthash.IR6QU2zK.dpuf

Christmas Events In and Around Southend on Sea

2767173_origHurrah! It’s December, which means we can finally feel festive!

There’s lots of activities happening locally over the net month, so I thought I’d put together a list of all of the events I can find in one handy place. Do leave me a comment below if I’ve missed anything!

22nd November to 23rd December 2014

Santa at The Pier! 

Come and visit Santa on the Pier in his winter wonderland!

All children will recieve a free gift and entry includes a free ride on the Pier train with an accompanying adult.

10am – 4pm

Pre-Booking is Essential!

The Pier cafe will be open serving Christmas treats, face painting is also available.

DATES:

Saturday 22nd November
Sunday 23rd November
Saturday 29th November
Sunday 30th November
Saturday 6th December
Sunday 7th December
Saturday 13th December
Sunday 14th December
Saturday 20th December
Sumday 21st December
Monday 22nd December
Tuesday 23rd December

Please call: 01702 215620 To book.

6th December 2014

High Street Christmas Markets

Visit the ever popular Christmas Market and stock up on yummy Christmas treats, unique gifts and seasonal delights for your friends and family.

This year’s market will be bigger and better than ever and with nearly 40 stalls there is sure to be something for everyone.

Dates Times
Sat 6 Dec 2014 09:00 to 17:00
Sat 13 Dec 2014 09:00 to 17:00
Sat 20 Dec 2014 09:00 to 17:00
Mon 22 – Wed 24 Dec 2014 09:00 to 17:00

Victorian Christmas Arts and Crafts Fair in Priory Park – 10am – 3.30pm

Santa Flights over Southend

Join Father Christmas on a Flight Over Southend!!

Proceeds to Little Havens Childrens Hospice.

There will be 2 departures 09.45am and 10.40am.

We ask that you arrive 1.5 hours before your flight – A 20 minute flight over Southend on a Flybe / Stobart Air ATR*, Meet and Greet Santa, Carol singing games and activity pack and back at the airport lunch and a Christmas Disco.

Also includes a present from Santa and a flight certificate.

Airport security procedures will apply.

Please call our Santa Flight Hotline on:- 01702 608150 for more details and to book a seat. (Open everyday from 8.30am – 20.30pm)

Cost: £40 pp

Please visit: www.facebook.com/londonsouthendsirportcharitycommittee

7th December 2014

Classics By Candlelight – Cliffs Pavillion 3pm

A selection of the finest classics performed in an evocative candle-lit style setting.

Mozart –  Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Bach –  Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor
Handel –  Let the Bright Seraphim
Mozart – Exsultate Jubilate
Purcell –  Trumpet Suite
Handel –  Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Charpentier – Opening of the Te Deum

plus

Handel – Water Music Suites (excerpts)
Vivaldi – Summer from The Four Seasons

Mozart Festival Orchestra in full 18th Century costume
David Juritz conductor / violin | Natasha Jouhl soprano | Crispian Steele-Perkins trumpet

Click HERE for tickets.

9th December 2014

Christmas Charity Fayre – 11am – 3pm

Southend Borough Councils successful Christmas Charity Fair will be held this year on Tuesday 9th December at the Civic Centre.

The Mayor will officially open the event at 11am but pop in anytime until 3.00pm.

Entry is FREE!

There will be a large selection of charity stalls, proceeds are in a good cause so please support the event and dig deep in your pockets.

Raffle tickets will be on sale shortly and on the day we have some excellent prizes kindly donated by local businesses.

All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to charity.

For more information please visit: http://www.radioessex.com/myessex/whatson.asp?offset=40

12th December 2014

Christmas Wreath Floristry Workshop at Leigh-on-Sea – 7.30pm (£25 inc. materials)

ST AIDEN’S CHURCH
THE FAIRWAY
LEIGH-ON-SEA
SS9 4QW

Come along for some festive floristry fun! Create your very own wreath with a professional florist. All materials are provided in the cost. Please book in advance as spaces are limited. All participants receive a free glass of wine and a mince pie to get into the festivities.

Little Smash’s Christmas Comedy Hamper! Hosted by Russell Kane – 8pm

Starring; Russell Kane, Matt Kirshen, Ash Frith, Ross McGrane, Suzy Bennett.

Star of BBC3’s Live At The Electric, Dave’s One Night Stand and Fosters Comedy Award winner; Russell Kane returns to Southend for one night only, bringing with him a Christmas comedy cavalry!

Guffaw your guts out as Russell introduces a stocking full of the hottest up and coming stand ups on the circuit, each hand selected from Kane’s Christmas workshop!

Then cap it all off with the massive tree present that is Matt Kirshen (Rude Tube, Last Comic Standing, Set List)! Matt has recently finished a stint as tour support for Jimmy Fallon across the the States and this is one of the rare opportunities you’ll get to see him in the UK before he realises how much warmer it is in Los Angeles!!

So put down your mince pies and lube up your funny bones, Santa Smash is coming to town!

Click HERE for tickets

13th December 2014 

Christmas Singalong – 12pm

The Southend Band will perform an annual community Christmas concert on the Southend Bandstand in Priory Park. The hour long concert will include many favourite carols and Christmas songs, with plenty of audience participation. The event is free so wrap up warmly and enjoy some true traditional Christmas carols.

Christmas Concert – 7pm

Southend Choral Society with guests The Southend Band and the choir of St Marys Prittlewell Primary School, will present a family Christmas concert full of fun music, audience carols and much more. Tickets are limited so book now. The concert takes place at Crowstone U.R. Church, Kings Road, Westcliff on Sea.

Peter Pan (Cliffs Pavillion Panto) – 13th December to 11th January 

David Hasselhoff, aka The Hoff, is best known for his iconic roles as Michael Knight in Knight Rider and Mitch Buchanan in Baywatch. David, who stars as pantomime’s ultimate baddie says he’s thrilled to be heading to Southend this Christmas:

I love performing in Panto. It’s a wonderful British tradition and a great excuse to get the whole family together and enjoy a wonderful and entertaining time at the theatre. I’m also looking forward to spending next Christmas with the people of Essex… so watch out – “Hoff the Hook” is at it again….see you there…!

He is joined by the nation’s favourite pantomime Dame, Christopher Biggins, who will makes his Southend pantomime debut this Christmas in the role of Mrs Smee.

14th December 2014

Santa’s Celebration Trail at Hadleigh Country Park – First session starts at 11am

Santa is preparing a party to thank his elves and helpers, but he’s so busy at Christmas that he’s going to need your help to get everything ready in time! As you guide yourself through the woods, there are both characters and challenges to meet before you reach Santa’s grotto.

Start times from Chapel Lane car park:
Morning – 11:00 and 11:30
Afternoon – 13:45 and 14:15

The trail is suitable for age 3+.

For further details see www.hadleighcountrypark.co.uk

Christmas Cracker – 3pm

The Southend Girls Choir will be joined by the excellent Thundersley Brass Band for a traditional Christmas concert at the Palace Theatre, London Road, Westcliff on Sea, on Sunday 14th December. The Girls Choir, which consists of girls aged 8 to 20, have an impressive line up of concerts in December, including singing in 3 concerts at the Royal Albert Hall with Strictly Come Dancing Star Anton Du Beke. In the concert at the Palace Theatre the choir will perform popular Christmas numbers, duets, and festive solos, accompanied by the Thundersley Brass Band. Tickets from 01702 351135.

Annual Southend Rudolph Run – starts at 9am

Returning for its fourth year, Nice Work’s Southend 5 mile Rudolph Run is looking for runners and joggers to take part in 2014’s event, and help raise awareness and funds for Action for Children!

The 5 mile route takes place along Southend Promenade, which is a fast and flat route; ideal for both experienced runners and beginners! Each finisher will also receive a medal and Christmas pudding – and be greeted by mince pies and other festive goodies upon crossing the finish line!

Why not come dressed in appropriate Christmas wear, and really embrace the Christmas spirit! We’re thinking Santa Elves, reindeers and snowmen – you get the picture!

19th December 2014

Ceremony of Carols – 8pm

Southend Boys and Girls Choir will perform Benjamin Britten – Ceremony of Carols, accompanied by harpist Meriel Barclay. This unique cycle of short and varied carols forms the first part of this concert, which will also include audience carols, well known Christmas songs, solos, readings and much more.

The concert takes place at St Augustines Church, Thorpe Bay, and tickets are priced just £6 (£5 concessions). Purchase tickets from 01702 303628

21st December 2014

Home Alone – Palace Theatre

Watch Home Alone on the big screen with the whole family! Click HERE for tickets

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Most Annoying Kids’ TV Characters of All Time

Back in 2011, I wrote this post for Listography over at Kate Takes 5 and it’s been one of my most popular posts of all time. Of course, Sausage moved past the age where she watched the shows mentioned in that post and onto stuff that we actually love as a whole family (such as Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, Adventure Time etc.) so we aren’t bombarded with Dora the fecking Explorer (bit of pop trivia: did you know, her name is Dora because the Spanish for explorer is ‘exploradora’?!) quite as much any more but there are still several childrens’ TV characters who set my teeth on edge at the mere mention of their name, so I thought I’d share a few in case you agree:

Norman Price from Fireman Sam

Norman Price, Public MenaceNorman Price (or Norman the Knobhead, as he’s known in our house) is the most wilfully stupid, genuinely dangerous child I’ve ever seen on TV and I’m of the opinion that he should be locked up immediately for the safety of himself and the whole village of Pontypandy. It doesn’t matter how many fires/floods/landslides the annoying brat causes, he still does the same thing all over again and I’m getting to the point where I think Fireman Sam should just leave him to drown or be buried up to his neck in rocks rather than waste precious time and resources on saving the little twerp.

Mr. Lopart from Handy Manny

Mr. Lopart

Do you know what I think it is about Mr. Lopart that I hate so much? The sheer hubris of the man. Everything he EVER does is a disaster which requires him to be saved in some way by poor, overworked Manuel, yet he’s STILL arrogant enough to think that he can do things by himself. The man is a Darwin Award waiting to happen. I really hope Handy Manny’s patience runs out one day and he just sits in a lawn chair, sipping a rum and coke while Mr. Lopart gets carried off like Icarus into the sun on a giant bunch of sweet-shaped balloons.

Egbert from Poppy Cat

Egbert, Poppy Cat

Even aside from the fact that Egbert sounds like he’s got permanently impacted sinuses, the antisocial shitbag blindly turns down any invitation to go on adventures with a self-importance and rudeness which would make even my super tolerant, gentle-hearted mother-in-law swear. If I asked someone to do something every single day and was told “No, I’ve got something FAR more important to do…”, I think I’d end up punching them. In fact, more fool Poppy Cat for continuing to ask him along on her adventures. I hope she loses her shit one day and makes him into badger stew.

The Wise Old Elf

The (Not So) Wise Old Elf

I love a bit of Ben and Holly.

Err, I mean THE KIDS love a bit of Ben and Holly…

Anyway, the so-called “Wise” Old Elf is always claiming to be an expert at something which he then completely fudges and has to defer to the, frankly awesome, Nanny Plum to help him out with the magic that he’s spent the whole episode looking down his nose at. So, my question is this: Who decided he was so ‘wise’? Is it a name given to him by other elves? Because I see no real evidence of any sort of deep wisdom which warrants such a moniker, and if it’s a self-styled title then that makes him an arrogant dick.

So, come on, who gets on your nerves? Leave me a comment below!

Best Home Made Christmas Decorations

Since Sausage came along, I’ve made it a bit of a Christmas tradition to make home made Christmas decorations to go on the tree and around the house. We always make our own paper chains, usually from Christmas printed paper or old rolls of wrapping paper from the year before but the main event is the decorations for the tree. I have a dream that, one day, when I’m old, none of the decorations on my tree will be shop bought, but all handmade by the girls and I over the years, so that when our grandchildren, should we be lucky enough to have them, come over for Christmas I can show them all the treasures their Mum and Aunty made when they were little.

This year, as it’s BB’s first Christmas, I thought we’d make salt-dough stars from their hand prints – we’ll cut out the shape of their hands (providing BB plays ball!) and then decorate them with white paint and glitter.

Some of my blogging chums have got some absolutely stunning ideas for home made decorations so I thought I’d pull together some of my favourites, to give you some inspiration for the run-up to the festive season:

Cas from Mummy Never Sleeps wrote a guest post for Carolin at Mummy Alarm showing us how to make a gorgeous, kid-friendly, cheap window display from things you’ve probably already got around the house. home made paper christmas decorations

Joy over at Pink Oddy has made some simple but effective salt dough stars which are perfect for making with little ones. I also love how versatile these are in terms of the millions of different ways you could decorate them, even to match a specific colour scheme or as gifts for family or class teachers.

Christmas Salt Dough Stars

As a single Mum, my friend Aly from Bug, Bird, Bee is one of those amazing people who makes her budget stretch as far as possible by foraging, making home made gifts and some seriously savvy charity shop shopping and I’m always impressed by her skills. I love these Hama bead (which you can buy from Craft Merrily) creations for Christmas and I can totally see a Hama bead Angel sitting at the top of our tree!

Christmas Hama Bead Angels

My friend Vanessa from HPMcQ is one of those people who is ridiculously stylish and talented so I just knew her handmade decorations would be something aspirational – and I wasn’t wrong. These paper tealight houses (for battery operated tealights, of course) are utterly adorable and would look at home on even the most minimalist of mantlepieces. I really want to try making these but I suspect they might be a ‘mummy-only’ project!

Christmas Battery Operated Tealight Houses

I absolutely LOVE this home made wreath, for which Ali at Kids Chaos used upcycled books. I’ve never been one for outdoor decorations before but I love this idea so much that I’m definitely going to put something on my front door this year. We’ve actually got a pine-cone giving tree in our garden AND a holly bush, so I’m thinking I might be able to make this without any expenditure whatsoever!

upcycled books christmas wreath

For me, Christmas should be a time to treat all of your senses, and these cinnamon stick tree decorations from Cass at Frugal Family are the perfect way to tantalise your sense of smell! Nothing says Christmas like the smell of cinnamon, and true to form, these gorgeous decorations are super cheap to make. home made cinnamon stick tree decoration

No craft round up would be complete without something from the Queen of Craft, Maggy at Red Ted Art! Her site is awash with amazing Christmas-themed crafts, but these cork snowmen and Rudolph would make such a lovely, colourful addition to any tree – and it’s always good to have an excuse to accumulate a lot of corks!

Cork Snowmen

Otilia, over at Romanian Mum, made this gorgeous paper tree garland, which I reckon Sausage would love to make too, especially as it involves glitter glue! I guess we could use other shapes too, such as snowmen and stars.paper Christmas tree garland

My own offering may not be quite as slick at the others, but I was so super impressed that my woollen baubles worked last year! They’re super messy to make but very cheap as you only need water balloons, wool and PVA glue.

home made woollen christmas baubles

All of these will be added to a Pinterest board of the best home made Christmas decorations from around the web, so if you’ve got a post you’d like me to add, please leave a comment below with a link to the post. We’d love for you to follow the board too, so you can see all of the new Pins as they’re added.

Follow Mum’s The Word’s board Home Made Christmas Decorations on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading and happy Christmas crafting!

The Best Decision I Ever Made…

shield-492993_640When Husband and I met, its safe to say that things moved pretty quickly. We met on 22nd February 2006 and by the beginning of March were living together. By 1st April, we were engaged and planning a wedding and by August we were man and wife. Right from the beginning, people were sceptical of our relationship. We kept ourselves to ourselves but people still felt the need to impress upon us how THEY thought we were moving too fast and that we should wait a while before we got married. Sometimes, it’s not easy to be so bold and a bit of reassurance from somewhere like The Circle might really benefit you if you need it.

Neither of us were starry-eyed teenagers; Husband was 27 when we got married and I 22. We’re relatively intelligent people who aren’t prone to dangerously impulsive behaviour and we both felt that getting married was the right thing to do. Before we met, we were both of a mindset that marriage and kids weren’t something that would be in our futures, yet when we came into each others lives, all of that changed. Suddenly, commitment and family was something we could see ourselves sharing with each other.

Marrying Husband was one of the best decisions I ever made and I’m so glad I refused to listen to other people’s concerns. Two months after we got married, Chuck came into our lives. Two years, almost to the day, Sausage came along the day after our second anniversary. Eight years after we met, Burrito Baby came along. Life isn’t a magical mystery ride every single day and we often get bogged down by the drudgery of domesticity, by we’ve all got each other and we’re happy.

What I’m trying to say is, sometimes when you know something, you just know. I knew that Husband was right for me, I knew what I wanted and I went for it. Being bold can really pay off and as long as no one gets irreparably hurt along the way, what’s the harm in taking a chance?

Go on. Be bold! But if you need advice, don’t forget about The Circle!