10 articles Tag presents

How to prevent unwanted Christmas gifts

Christmas is undoubtably a time for giving and receiving. But how do you prevent receiving those unwanted Christmas gifts? It’s estimated that that over 50% of us receive at least one unwanted gift each year, that’s a whopping £5.03 billion going down the drain. Not only is this waste having a detrimental effect on our environment but it’s having a negative impact on our personal finances too, to the tune of nearly £50 per person.

Prevent yourself from receiving unwanted Christmas gifts this year by being proactive and taking charge – we’ve all got things we want or need, so let your loved ones know!  

Create a list 

The easiest way to prevent yourself from receiving unwanted Christmas gifts is to write a list. It doesn’t have to be long, but make sure it includes items under different budgets, for example gift ideas under £20, around £50 and over £100. This will help people assess how much they can afford to spend, and they’ll know they’ve got you something you will actually appreciate. Check some gift  ideas and  more info here

Ask for experiences

Avoid receiving more stuff and ultimately more things for landfill by asking for experiences. This is great for a group of friends. Instead of buying each other a mediocre gift that is sadly unwanted, why not all club together and buy an experience. This could be each putting in £20 to go to the spa together, going out for a meal at that fancy new restaurant, or even putting money towards a holiday. 

Not only will this prevent you having to fake an enthusiastic smile when you receive an unwanted gift, but you’ll have something to look forward to in the new year that has already been paid for! 

Drop hints

Drop into conversation with friends and family that you’ve seen something that you would love for Christmas. You can be as subtle or unsubtle as you like. If you’ve seen something in a magazine, leave the magazine lying around open on the page, or even better tell them face to face.

The most important thing to remember is that Christmas is about more than things – it’s about spending time with loved ones, reminiscing about the past and looking forward to the future. 

When it comes to buying presents, make sure that you don’t spend beyond your means. You may consider spreading the cost of Christmas with a credit card – which can be a good option, as long as you pay the balance off with your January paycheque.

If you do receive an unwanted gift, see if you can return it, sell it on or better yet donate it to charity. 


Has your Little One Got a Big Birthday Coming Up? Discover My Gift Ideas for 7 year old Boys!

Photo by Ardian Lumi on Unsplash

It only seemed like yesterday you were bringing a tiny bundle home from the hospital, now you’ve got a six year old that’s about to turn seven! You almost-seven year old will be bubbling with energy and fizzing with curiosity, they’re excited to learn about the world around them, they’re probably showing interest in a particular sport or already have a few firm favourites on TV, in the movies and in the toybox!

It’s not always easy to find toys that are suitable for a boy aged 7, but don’t despair! I’ve come up with a few simple ideas that your little lad will absolutely love. Read on for a little inspiration.

Lego/building bricks

Lego should be a staple in any toybox! So if your child already has some, then consider updating their current supply with some new sets. You can either go down the traditional route of a box of simple bricks and accessories, or opt for something themed such as Star Wars, Marvel or even Harry Potter. There are so many Lego sets out there including Lego movies, Batman Lego etc so you’re sure to know which ones they’ll like. If they’ve never had Lego before then this is your time to introduce them to the simple yet creative world of building bricks. Not only does Lego allow them to unleash their creativity, but it’s something you can enjoy doing together.

A magic set

Do you have a budding Houdini at home? Or maybe they’re in the market for a new hobby and want to impress their family and friends? Treating them to a magic set, teaches them the wonders of slight of hand, the art of expression and performance and the dexterity needed to pull off all their new tricks! It might be fun and awe inspiring but it’s a good skills builder, they’ll also feel incredible when they pull off their first magic trick successfully.

A new bike/scooter

There’s no escaping the fact that technology plays a huge part in our little ones lives; from Tv to tablets, games consoles to handheld devices, so it’s important to find the right balance and encourage them to play outside as much as we can. A new bike or scooter is a super simple way to achieve this. They can get excited about choosing a new bell for their bike as well as all the safety accessories they’re going to need. From family walks, to trips to the park and even on holiday, your child will get plenty of use out of a new bike or scooter, and plenty of fresh air to boot!

Arts and crafts

Sometimes, the simplest of gifts are the best ones. An arts and crafts set or plenty of arty supplies will give them a nice quiet activity to enjoy on rainy afternoons and it’s a great excuse to get creative and enjoy getting messy! From paints and glitter to sticky tape, craft paper, googly eyes and tissue paper. You can buy a set or create your own!

Alternative Christmas Gifts for Tweens

There are members of our family who are easier to buy for each year, and then there are some who are just flat-out difficult every bloody year! This year, much to my surprise, one of the toughest people to buy for has been Sausage. Every other year, she’s been a doddle, but every time someone asks me for ideas of what to get her I struggle, and asking her is usually met with “I’m not really sure”. I guess it’s good that she’s either not a covetous kid, or feels like she has everything she needs, but it doesn’t make it very easy for the whole family to buy for her, so I’ve been trying to think outside the box for gift ideas for her. Here’s some stuff I’ve come up with:

Experience Days

Obviously she’s a bit small for supercar track days or afternoon tea, but there’s been a pretty big surge in experience days for kids, with things like kids paintball taking off. Sausage loves doing crafts and art, so a voucher for a ceramics studio would be the perfect gift for her as it would give her an afternoon of doing something she loves, with something to show as a keepsake at the end of it.

Band T-Shirts

Sausage seems to be one of the only 9-year-old girls on the planet who isn’t obsessed with unicorns this year, but she is finding her identity through music at the moment (her David Meowie t-shirt is probably her most prized possession!) so indulging her self-discovery with some cool band t-shirts would be much appreciated by Sausage.  


Sausage has always had books for Christmas (last year it was Pokemon graphic novels!) and she’s at an age where books are still a cool Christmas gift, as long as we opt for the right ones! I’m thinking of getting her a set of The Hunger Games trilogy as I reckon she’s at an age where she’d really enjoy them.


Sausage is 100% my kid when it comes to her love of all things pen-and-paper related. Rarely a day goes by when she can’t be found either drawing pictures or writing stories, and I know she’d love a proper hard-back journal for all of her writing, so we’re planning to find her something really funky.


Last summer, Husband and I bought Sausage a Pandora bracelet for her birthday, which means that charms are always a good option for gifts. She also had her second lobe piercing done and has a bit of a reputation amongst her classmates for wearing some really individual and cool earrings (I think today’s earings were BMO from Adventure Time!), so jewellery is always a really good option for us, even if it’s cheaper stuff which can be used as stocking fillers.

What are you buying your tweens this year?

Gifts To Make Your Kids Think You’re Super Cool

kids gifts coolOkay, so let me just say that I’m perfectly happy with my role as ‘boring mum’ and I definitely don’t buy my kids gifts to make them like me, but every now and then it IS nice to buy them something to show that I’m not quite dead from the neck up! I’ve been thinking about what we could buy the girls which would show them that we do still have some street cred left (which has probably just been decimated by my own use of the phrase ‘street cred’) and here’s what I came up with:

Concert Tickets

When I was a kid, I didn’t get to go to a concert until I was 13, where I saw Alanis Morissette and The Who, which was pretty cool at the time (although not many of my friends really knew who The Who were!). We’ve been thinking about taking Sausage to her first gig soon and were hoping to take her with us when we see The Cure next month but sadly she was too young, so we’re still on the lookout for the perfect first gig for Sausage.


I won’t lie; I watch my younger cousins using Heelys and I imagine all sorts of injuries befalling me if I attempted to use them, which is probably exaclty why the kids all think they’re so cool. Anyone can buy their kids a pair of trainers but super-cool parents buy their kids trainers with WHEELS in them!

Spa Days

Probably more one for the girls, unless you’ve got a boy who loves a bit of pampering, but not much will earn you Mum points by taking your daughters/nieces/cousins to a spa for a day of luxury. I know this is something that Sausage would absolutely love, and there are lots of great deals around so you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Experience Days

There are So many companies who do experience days now, ranging from falconry to Segway rally to recording a CD to so many other things. There’s an experience day out there to suit almost anyone and the photos and memories from a fab new experience will last SO much longer than smellies!

A Subscription

When I was younger, I had a subscription to The Beano and it was the highlight of my week, getting a new comic. These days, subscriptions aren’t limited to magazines or comics; there are SO many monthly box subscriptions from beauty to food to crafts – you can even subscribe to receive STICKERS on a weekly basis, which is something my girls would absolutely love! There’s something so nice about the delayed gratification of a weekly or monthly gift which lasts all year long.

Educational Gift Ideas For Kids

Buying kids gifts can be so much fun, whether you’re buying for their birthdays or Christmas. However, it’s even better to buy kids gifts that are educational. This doesn’t mean you need to buy them a big fat textbook for school or anything – that might suck the fun out of gift giving a little. It just means you should try to find gifts that will help kids to develop and use their skills. Here are some gifts that can help them to do just that!


Books are always a brilliant educational gift idea for kids. If you start reading to kids from a young age, they’ll learn to love reading. Reading is beneficial at all stages of life. While they’re young, kids will improve listening and speaking skills. They’ll be better spellers, and have a more inventive imagination. As they grow older, they can use books to escape, or learn more about subjects they are interested in. They might even become keen writers themselves, like most avid readers do! You don’t need to make it clear that the book is educational. Just about any type of book can be educational!




Tablets and e-readers aren’t just for playing pointless games. You can easily download books for kids here. Not only that, there are educational apps and games that you can download onto them. A tablet or an e-reader is usually a better gift for older children, as they appreciate how important it is to look after things like this.

Word/Math Games

There are so many word and math games out there. Scrabble for one, is lots of fun and will help kids to improve their vocabulary and spelling. It even incorporates some maths when you take adding up scores into account. Games like Monopoly and Cluedo are a lot of fun and educational too. They’ll be using their math skills in Monopoly, as well as their deduction skills in Cluedo to work out ‘who dunnit’. There are plenty of games that are fun and good for your child’s development!



A Telescope

A telescope can help your kids to see the stars close up, and learn all about them as they do so. If that’s not their thing, a microscope could help them to see bugs and other fun things close up! You can find more information on gadgets such as this on Hawkin’s bazaar and sites of a similar nature.

Science/Craft Kits

Science and craft kits are great for kids who love to learn already, or make things. You can get science kits that allow kids to do fun things like grow their own crystals. Then there are craft kits that let them make mosaics, jewelry, and lots of other things.

Just about any gift you look at can be educational for kids. Any gift that allows them to use their creativity, motor skills, math skills, language skills…you get the picture! If you have any educational gift suggestions for kids, leave a comment below!

5 Fun Gifts For Your Child

Post provided by Penny Skateboards.
Happy_Birthday_Gift_by_Jon__BoyYou’ve just finished neatly wrapping up that new gift for your child, excitement fills the air as you begin to pictn ure their little face light up with joy and delight. They unwrap their gift and…fail. Bless their little hearts as they pretend to be excited with your gift. But nothing is worse than seeing them pull off an awful B-grade movie performance.

Perhaps it is time to be less predictable and give them something that will really excite them. Your child can only smash that toy truck or give barbie a hairdo so many times before they start pulling their own hair out. Give your son or daughter a childhood they will never forget with one of these fun gift ideas:

1. The need for speed.

Every child is an adrenalin junkie. Grab some knee and elbow pads along with a skateboard to get their little hearts racing. If you really want to impress their socks off, get them a fully customised skateboard made exactly to suit their little feet. Companies like Penny Skateboards do an incredible job of designing boards to suit their specific dimension and build. The best part is that you can do all of it online- their website layout makes it clear and easy to decide on every detail and make sure they get the smoothest ride.

2. A young maestro.

You may have a the next Mariah or Justin hidden inside that small body. Some voice lessons would be the perfect gift idea to let that caged bird sing. Or, there may be a hidden drummer boy and musician ready to rock and roll. Check out your local music store to find that specific instrument that speaks their musical language. Their right brain will thank you as they spark it up strumming away on that new guitar or playing a melody on the piano.

3. Surf’s up dude!

Make the day at the beach extra exciting by introducing your child to the surf. Every surfer will say that the feeling of catching a wave cannot be compared to anything else. There is sure to be a surf shop at your closest beach providing you not only with surf lessons, but just the right board to fit whatever age your child may be. No doubt you will even want to join the kids out in the water!

4. A green thumb.

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the fruits of your own labour. Why not take your child to the closest nursery and let them pick out their favourite plant or fruit tree. Watch your child beam with joy as they get a free pass to get grubby in the soil and plant a gift that will grow at the same rate as they do.

5. Little Da Vinci.

Awaken that inner muse and introduce your child to the artistic world. Whether it is painting, drawing, or putting together a mosaic, being creative is not only fun but a plays a crucial role in your child’s learning abilities as they freely express themselves. Let them loose into the world of colour and creativity.

I am sure these gift ideas are helpful to you. Not only gifts, you can also plan a party for your kids as a gift. A gift will be cherishable and a party will be memorable.

It’s Christmas! A Meme.

I’ve been tagged in a Christmas meme by My Mills Baby which involves answering all sorts of festive questions and I’m hoping it’ll put me into more of a season-appropriate mood, so here goes!:

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

When I was younger, I’d have said going out with friends and celebrating the festive period, but now I’m a Mum my favourite bit is the moment after Sausage wakes up. For a split second, she forgets it’s Christmas and it seems like waking up on any other day. Then the realisation kicks in and a look of excitement and happiness crosses her face and it makes every second of stress in the run up to Christmas 100% worth it.

What is your favourite make-up look for the festive season?

Probably fairly similar to my usual going-out look, smoky eyes, lots of mascara and clear gloss on the lips, but maybe with the addition of a bit more sparkle on my cheeks and eyes.

Real or Fake trees?

I know a lot of people will disagree with me here, but I like fake trees. I kind of hate the way we chop down beautiful trees just to put them in a pot in our front room for a couple of weeks, then thrown them out. I’d much rather see real trees growing outside. As a kid, my family always did fake trees too, so there’s something about the smell of a fake tree coming out of the loft that is so quintessentially Christmassy for me. Plus, sod hoovering up all those fallen needles!

Giving or receiving presents?

This is a difficult one for me to answer because I much prefer giving but it also sends me into a state of heightened anxiety so it’s not all that straight-forward! I’m both blessed and cursed with a Husband who is amazing at buying gifts, in previous years he’s remembered me mentioning that I want something around the beginning of August and actually bought it for me as a Christmas gift, which is pretty good going! On the flip-side of that, it’s a stark contrast against my frankly appalling gift-buying skills, so it just makes me worry about getting it wrong for everyone each year!

Do you open your presents in the morning or evening?

MORNING! Do people really wait until the evening to open their presents? If they do, I’ve never met them and I don’t know if I want to – surely anyone who can be that restrained on Christmas Day takes life FAR too seriously?! In fact, one side of Husband’s family is part German and they do most of the gift giving on Christmas Eve, which suits my impatience even better!

It’s A Wonderful Life

What’s your favourite Christmas film?

Oh gosh, well ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was introduced to be by Husband about 6 years ago and we’ve watched it every year since as we both adore it, so that’s my absolute fave. In fact, Husband and I have said on many an occassion that we’d love to move to Bedford Falls! But actually, I love MOST Christmas films, I even sit and watch the tacky made-for-American-TV ones that they show on Xmas24. Anything set in New York goes down a particular treat too as it’s been a dream of mine to spend Christmas in NYC pretty much my whole life.

What is your favourite Christmas food?

Hmm, that’s a toughie, we all know how much I love my food! Roast dinner is one of my favourite meals at the best of times, so obviously the whole Christmas dinner is high on my list, and actually I’m one of those people who really likes turkey and thinks it’s a very underrated meat. A very close second, or possibly a draw is Christmas Day supper though. We usually spend Christmas Day with Husband’s family who will put out cold cuts of meat, pickles, crackers, smoked salmon, cheeses, homemade pickled onions, all sorts of delights and we all just tuck in and help ourselves round a big table. It’s lovely!

So, now I have to tag three other bloggers, but I’m cheating and tagging four!:

Jamillah at Bare Beginnings

Lauren at The Wonderful Adventures of Spud and Spike

Paul at I’m Well Confused, Me (maybe you could sub the make-up question out for a ‘What’s your favourite thing to wear on Christmas Day’?!)

And Mummy Barrow at Mummy Barrow!

Good luck and godspeed!

What to Buy The Kid Who Has Everything! – Bean Bag Bazaar Review

This year, Christmas present buying hasn’t been quite so simple. Sausage is getting older now and is at a bit of an in-betweeny phase – lots of stuff seems either too young or too old for her and she has quite a lot of everything already. Plus, don’t you find that you spend a few months caching ideas of what to get your kids for Christmas, only to be asked by lots of relatives what they’d like and you end up giving all of your ideas away?!

One thing that has saved us a bit, in terms of ideas, is that we’re giving Sausage’s bedroom a bit of a makeover to bring it up to her new ‘big-girl-who-goes-to-school-now’ standards so we’ve been thinking of things that we can get her to make it into her very own girl-cave! For one of her big presents, we’ll be getting her her first TV so that she can watch her DVDs in her room and have her Wii console in there too. We had wanted to get her a small armchair to go in there too but all of the ones we liked were astronomically priced, so we looked at beanbags instead and found Bean Bag Bazaar.

Bean Bag Bazaar doesn’t just cater for kids, they sell bean bags for adults too for both indoor and outdoor use, bean bags which are ideal for gaming and some beautiful kids ones to boot. They also have a range of Jacqueline Wilson bean bags which are brightly coloured and perfect for a reading corner or a spot of TV watching, and we’ve been lucky enough to be sent one to review.

The one we chose was the Jacqueline Wilson™ Kids Classic Bean Bag – Bookshelf (£49.99 pictured above) and although we’ve put it away for Sausage to have at Christmas, Husband and I have given it a through once-over and the quality is really very high. The material that the bag is made of is not only bright and beautiful but feels incredibly hard-wearing too and I can imagine it taking a real battering without any problems! The blurb on the site says:

“This Jacqueline Wilson™  style bean bag is officially designed by BeanBagBazaar. It has a pretty bookshelf print and is the perfect accompaniment to the latest Jacqueline Wilson™ book. It is made from strong and sturdy water-resistant fabric and features double zips, to keep all beans secure inside the beanbag.”

It’s suitable for ages 3-10 and the he best part about the beanbag is that it can be used indoors and outdoors, which means it will be perfect for Sausage to sit on in the garden and read her books or do some drawing when the weather starts to improve. We can even imagine taking it camping or to the beach in the summer as a handy seat too!

If you’ve got a kid who’s hard to buy for, I can highly recommend any of the Jacqueline Wilson range and judging by the quality of this beanbag, the rest of the ones on the site would be a great buy too! Oh and all kids beanbags are buy one get one half price at the moment. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up from The Crammonds!

Sausage’s Birthday List

We all know that kids are covetous little creatures, but Sausage has made a seriously early start this year by giving us her birthday list precisely six months early. Some of the items are rather…random, so I thought you lot might like to see what the average 3 and a half year old REALLY wants!

A Hoover
A trampoline
A pink bowl
A party box
A Moxie Girl
A tortoise
A tarantula
A big photo of mummy, daddy, Sausage, Chuck and Happy
A snuggly teddy bear
A BlackBerry
ZingZillas stickers
Necklace and bracelet set
Lilo and Stitch and Rugrats Wii game

Some surprises in there, no?!




Mum’s the Word Recommends…The Christmas Edition

This year, we’ve found it a bit difficult to come up with a list of things to get Sausage for Christmas. Of course, we’ve had the inevitable “Oooh, I WANT ONE OF THOSE!” during every ad break on Nick Jnr., but not all of her selections are suitable (a dog who shits as part of the game? Not gonna happen.) She’s at that age where she’s kind of in-between, lots of stuff is way too young and lots of stuff is way too old. Oh, then there’s the problem that she’s the child who has everything, including two parents who don’t know how to say no!

Husband and I have been brain storming about the things that we want to get Sausage and I thought I’d share some of our ideas, just in case they prompt anyone else who’s struggling. There’s a couple of bits in there that she already has and loves too, just for some added inspiration. So, without further ado, heres:


(or, What to Buy the Under Five Who Has Everything)

1. Sylvanian Families – starting from under £5.00

We’ve been looking longingly at Sylvanian Families for a while and we finally think Sausage is at a stage where she’ll look after them properly, and not let all of the little pieces go missing! We’ve been very kindly sent the motorcycle and sidecar set which includes two characters, the awesomely named George and Mildred Mulberry, but we’ll be adding to her collection with one of the houses, some furniture and some more characters. One that I totally love is the Special Edition Kate and William Balmoral wedding set, which includes the Bride and Groom, two beautiful bunnies, Bridesmaids, Page Boys and even Rev. Kelvin Waters, the beaver clergyman!

I had Sylvanian Families when I was a kid, I vaguely remember a tree-house and some cats, and I can absolutely attest to the fact that they are still just as brilliant quality as they were back then. I adore these toys, they’re sweet, innocent and such brilliant sets for little girls and the beauty of it is, there’s so many to choose from that if a relative or friend is stuck for what to buy for your child, they can pick from any one of hundreds of Sylvanian flavoured options! What’s not to love?

2. Disney Princess Magic Rise Oven  – £32.99

Now, I know we should all be against the subjectification of little girls and that toys should be unisex…yadda yadda…but sometimes, a girl just wants to wear a tiara, pretend she’s a Princess and bake some flippin’ cakes. The Disney Princess Magic Rise oven is a brilliant bit of kit, which actually makes your play cakes look like they’re rising in the oven (hence the name…). You can then decorate the cakes using the prettifying bits they give you, and hey presto!

I have to admit, as much as Sausage loves the one that we were sent, it’s actually ME who’s mesmerised by it! There’s something about putting those squashed bits of rubber in the oven and watching them magically pop up that just blows my tiny mind! Sausage and I have had hours of fun with this thing so far!

3. Julia Donaldson ‘The Gruffalo’ set – £9.99 (should be £59.99)

We were probably a bit late to the party on this one, as I know the world seems to be Gruffalo mad at the moment, but we’ve bought Sausage a few other Julia Donaldson books lately that we absolutely love. This set is full of the slightly lesser known books, but if all of her others are anything to go by, these will all become firm favourites too. I can’t wait to read them all to Sausage, curled up on the sofa at Christmas!

4. Playmobil Zoo – £71.99

For as long as we can remember, Sausage has been mad about animals. We took her to the Sealife Centre on her first birthday and she still talks about it now! One of her favourite places in the world is Colchester Zoo, so when we saw that Playmobil have a Zoo set int heir range, we both thought that this would be ideal for out little animal-lover.

It’s not cheap at just over seventy quid, but Playmobil stuff is brilliant quality and we know she’ll adore it so it’s worth every penny. It comes with a huge amount of animals, characters and scenery and all of the reviews on Amazon are really positive, which has concreted our choice in our minds.

5. Kinectimals, Now with Bears! – £31.98

Just recently, I’ve been doing some work for a software company and we were lucky enough to be given an Xbox 360 and a Kinect so that we can review games. I really love the Kinect concept because unlike the Wii where with many games you can kind of get away with just shaking the remote up and down, with the Kinect your whole body is scanned, so there’s no way of phoning it in.

As I mentioned above, Sausage loves animals, so what better console game for her than one where she actually gets to pretend to be an animal? I cannot wait to see her prancing about the living room, enjoying this game, I suspect there will be a lot of post-Christmas video footage of her playing this, while me and Husband squeak on about how cute she is!

Well, there you have it, a Very Crammond Christmas! I hope I’ve inspired some of you with my choices and if any of you have any other suggestions of things you think the kids will love, I’d love to hear them, just leave me a comment below.