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A picture is worth a thousand words

I’m usually pretty organised when it comes to choosing Christmas presents but this year I kind of left it all to the last minute.  Last week, while I was browsing online in the hope to find some original ideas for my family, I realised that what they would like the most, it is something that reminds them of their niblings. In fact, they always go on and on about not having enough pictures of them, so I thought a personalised gift with the picture of my children was a perfect gift choice.

calendar-2017

A couple of years ago,  they really appreciated having their presents wrapped in personalised wrapping paper, so this year it had to be something different. In Italy, you would find that it is still quite common to see a calendar hung in the kitchen (I haven’t seen many over here) so we thought that making one with our children’s pictures was just what they’d wish for.

personalised-calendar

I opened my laptop and started looking for the most current pictures we could use and I put them all together using Snapfish.

I have to say I was impressed by the quality received and by the quick delivery. I thought I wouldn’t receive it on time so imagine my joy when the postman pushed it through the letterbox a whole week before Christmas!

photo-calendar-2017

The website gives you many options to arrange the pictures on the calendar. You can choose to add more than one per month and their size. You can pick a simple background like I did or you can get creative with different options available.

photo-calendar

And while I was browsing their website, and noticed that there were many offers on, I decided to order another few personalised items which will be perfect stocking fillers.

Beatrice at the moment is obsessed with having her own keys. We told her that it’s a bit too early to have the keys for the house so we agreed to give her a “fake” set of keys to put in her own bag and pretend she’s a grown up.  I think even a better idea would be to use the photo keyring for her secret diary’s little keys so that perhaps she won’t moan about losing them anymore.

keys1

My mum, on the other side, needs to have as many keyrings as possible. She likes to put them all together so that when she reaches for the keys in the bag, she can easily find them. And what better idea than give her a keyring with the picture we recently took when we went to visit her?

She’ll be thrilled!

keyholder-nonna-1

And while I was playing around on the website, I added a couple of personalised fridge magnets…

fridge-magnets

And a lovely phone case for my busy sister who is always on the go chatting on her mobile.

phone-case Done! By spending only one evening online, I sorted out many of my Christmas presents! It was actually good fun as I got to see many pictures which I take but never go back to check.

So if you are still stuck on Christmas presents ideas then check out the Snapfish website as there are still many great deals on most products and 2 x 1 on personalised mugs and Christmas ornaments.

Happy Christmas shopping!

Follow our tips to get into the Christmas spirit

If I have to be completely honest I cannot wait for this year to end… It sucked for so many reasons and it still does but I don’t want this to be stopping me from fully enjoy this merry time. I love Christmas and once more, I’ll make sure it will be a special time for our family.

I’m one of those people who usually starts organising Christmas very early and I love creating memories during the months leading up to Christmas.

So far this year,  I’ve felt a bit less into the festive spirit and a bit more like Scrooge… I have therefore compiled a list of activities/things that in the past helped all of us getting into the Christmas spirit and made us enjoy this fabulous time of the year.

  1. Listening to holiday tunes

We usually pick traditional songs like “White Christmas” or “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer” but this year we discovered the Mr Tumbles’ Christmas party cd which was only released last week. The album contains 20 much loved classic Christmas songs with a Mr Tumble twist. The kids go crazy every time we put it on and they cannot stop jumping and dancing. Perfect for creating the Christmas mood 🙂

mr tumble

2.  Starting an advent calendar

Some time ago my mum gave us a lovely wooden advent calendar which I fill every year with little treats for the children. For the past couple of years though,  I enjoyed making a very different advent calendar. Since I’ve discovered cake pops I’ve been kind of obsessed with them so I thought, why not making a cake pop to eat each day during the Christmas countdown?

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3. Infusing your house with a festive scent

I can’t get enough of smelling cinnamon and apple spices around the house. Every year around this time, I buy tonnes of smelly candles and spiced apple sprays.

cinnamon candle Every now and then during the day I spray the essence around the house and at night I light a scented candle and the gorgeous subtle smell of cinnamon fills the rooms with a warm inviting holiday scent… magic!

spiced apple scent

Making festive cake pops

I’m just mentioning cake pops but any treats that can be Christmassy decorated and that you can make with your kids, it’s a good way to make you feel merry.

cake-pops

5. Baking more Christmas treats 

The year I baked all these goodies was when my family came over from Italy and we celebrated Christmas all together.

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I loved preparing the dessert table, it just looked so pretty and the atmosphere was so Christmassy!

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6. Hanging lights around the house

I know it is too early for the tree but I think it is not a bad idea starting to hang some lights around the house. They make our home look so cosy and they do create a festive atmosphere.

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7. Watching Christmas movies

What’s Christmas without watching “The polar express” or “Home alone”?!? This year we have already watched them twice and last weekend we had Arthur Christmas on and Mickey’s once upon a Christmas. Next on the list is “A Christmas carol”!

a-christmas-carol

8. Preparing mulled wine

What is better than watching a great movie while sipping hot mulled wine? I think it is the perfect drink for those cold nights spent snuggled up on a sofa with a blanket. Plus simmering mulled wine makes the house smell amazing!

mulled-wine

9. Making a wreath with leaves

I found this easy wreath on Pinterest and I’m definitely going to give it a go! Every day on our way back from school we pick many fallen leaves so soon we’ll be ready to put them together and hang the natural wreath on our door.

leaves-wreath

10. Wearing a Christmas jumper

Can you tell by the fuzz pills the that I’ve had this Rudolph Christmas jumper for a couple of years now? But I LUUVE it and every year I wear it because it puts me in a Festive mood

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11. Going ice skating

I’ve been telling my husband I’d like to go ice skating for years now and we have only been once! This year I’m keen to go and take the kids with me, I’m sure they will have a ball! Plus the whole Winter Wonderland in Edinburgh is such a magic place that you cannot miss.

edinburgh-ice-ringphoto credit

12. Attending holiday events happening in town

I literally just booked our tickets to go to the street of lights in Edinburgh! Gorgeous lights will lit up George Street in Edinburgh from the 20th of November until the 24th of December. There will be over 60,000 beautiful bulbs of light alongside synchronised music from local choirs and bands. I cannot wait!

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13. Reading Christmas books

We have plenty of books about Christmas but this particular one was given to Beatrice when she was only one year old and she still keeps it in her room. The kids have always been fascinated by the colourful pictures and the choice of sounds which are truly magical.  We have the sound of Santa walking in the snow, the clock ticking midnight, the swoosh of the magic sleight and a festive Christmas music. We love reading it all together!

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16. Exploring other Christmas holiday traditions

Since I can remember at home in Italy, we always had the “Santa Lucia” tradition. The night of the 13th of December we used to prepare our shoes in line because an old woman with a donkey was coming to fill the shoes/boots of the (good) kids with presents and sweeties. We had to prepare the bread and water for the donkey and a glass of milk for the old lady.  I started this tradition before having the kids and now experiencing it with the kids it is even more precious!

santa-lucia

Here we go, I think I have included everything that usually works for us.

And remember if you don’t put an effort in celebrating special occasions, then all days are the same and that’s kind of boring 😉

 

Want your kids to behave? Santa can help

This is the time of the year where I guess most parents use the “Santa excuse” to have their children to behave “Please remember that Santa is watching so if you want to be on his nice list you have to behave”.

In our family Santa is the magic word to make Bee behaving better, being nice to her brother, cleaning her room, and generally (for once) saying “yes” rather than “no”. But recently, despite our warnings, Bee hasn’t showed her best behaviour so I had to find a solution.

I discovered the PNP website a week ago and I thought it was perfect! www.portablenorthpole.com is a website that allows you to create a special personalised message for your kids (and adults too!).  It’s very easy to use and the fact that you can add pictures and details about your kids makes it even more special!

When I told Bee that she received a message from Santa himself, she was literally speechless!

On the website you can choose different scenarios and tailor the message based on your “needs”.  I chose the  “almost nice” option so Beatrice message from Santa was a warning saying that she actually hasn’t made it to the nice list YET but that she still has two more weeks to make it up. Her face was priceless! At the beginning she was a bit upset but since then it’s all roses in our house! She ‘s happy to help, she shares her toys with her brother and there are no more tantrums to go to bed! Fabulous!

A part from this “useful purpose”  I found watching the message pretty emotional…

Believing in Santa is something magic that I can live again through my children’s eyes so anything that excite them towards this wonderful time of the year, fills me with joy! Bee asks me to watch Santa’s message again and again and I can see she’s doing her best to make it to the nice list, to be good at Santa’s eyes and receive the present she dreams about.

Bee ready for Christmas

If you would like to create a personalised message for your children I’ve got a little treat for you. Go to www.portablenorthpole.com, enter this code BLG20BKP for a  20% discount on all digital products (excluding in-app purchases) and you can choose the option that best suits you. Don’t forget that you can have Santa calling directly your phone and leaving a message for you loved ones! I did this too just to let Bee know that Santa had received her letter, she was excitedly surprised I cannot even describe it!

What about you? Did you make it to the nice list?

Have a wonderful Christmas!!

What’s better than a present? A beautifully wrapped present!

Who doesn’t get excited at the sight of a present? Either when you give or receive one, the happiness is huge and for me the look of your loved ones when they open a gift is priceless!

But what if the beauty of a present started outside of the box?

I only discovered wrap.me a couple of weeks ago and quickly fell in love with the idea. wrap.me is a new website that allows you to use your personal pictures to create a beautiful personalised photo wrapping paper.

personalised wrapping paper

I could not wait to receive mine. I obviously used my children’s pictures I had on my Instagram account ( you can use up to 30 different ones) and the result is truly spectacular!

personalised wrapping paper for Christmas

It’s simple to create. You can make your own in just three steps:

  • choose your photos,
  • decide how much paper you want ( a single sheet, a small roll or a large roll)
  • then check out!
You can upload photos from anywhere: Facebook, Instagram or from your phone and computer.

wrapping presents

When I received the wrapping paper to be honest I didn’t even want it to use it as it is so beautiful that you don’t want to cut it! I was very pleased with the quality of the paper (very thick!) and the top quality of the printed images too. My husband suggested to make a frame of the single sheet we ordered, and we will probably do that in the future using more pictures from our memories.

But this time I used this gorgeous wrapping paper to wrap a gift for my mum and rather than cut it, I chose a present that fit the size of the sheet so that once she unwraps it, she can still have whole sheet intact.

Christmas presentBecause my mum lives in Italy, unfortunately she hardly sees our children. Therefore the best thing we could give her is any kind of gift involving pictures of her adorable grandchildren. I’m sure she’ll love both the present and the photo wrapping paper!

I tend to put a lot of thought into making presents look special and I think this photo wrapping paper is the perfect touch to surprise my loved ones right from the moment a present reaches their hands. Fab!

gorgeous wrapping paper

 

 

 

 

Cool Christmas gifts for babies

Only few days to go until Christmas so if you are stuck for last minute present ideas for your baby (like I was!) I hope you will find some inspiration from this Christmas gift  list. It includes unique presents and some original ideas which your baby will love for sure!

These building blocks for example, are a lovely decoration for your baby’s nursery.

I find these elephant slippers too cute and so cozy to keep my baby’s feet warm. Plus I believe babies will love to chew their ears!

This is probably too big for your baby but while waiting for her to grow up, I think this shiny plane toy is a marvellous designer piece of furniture for her room

 This simple wooden caterpillar is Leo’s obsession at the moment. He loves it!

We had such a cold November so these baby snow boots would be a must have for the months ahead. Warm and cute at the same time.

 

This drying rack is more a present for mommy…  Cups and feeding spoons are always laying messy next to my sink. This green grass will keep the place tidy in a designer way.

Who doesn’t feed pretending to fly an airplane? This wooden spoons will make “plane” feeding more fun.

Leo loves playing in the water and I’m sure this shower fountain would entertain him while being bathed.

Coming out of the water is alwasy a struggle but if the towel is a soft star maybe it would be a bit easier?

When Bee was one she received a lovely wooden rocking horse but a fluffy rocking sheep would be an original alternative.

What about a wooden rocking reindeer?

More shoes I know but these leather snowman baby shoes will keep your baby pretty steady especially when he’ll start experiencing his first steps.

 

To keep your baby’s head warm this  hat  would be perfect and it will make your baby even cuter (if possible!)

 

I’m in love with this swing! A great nursery decoration and much fun for your little one.

Just awwwwww…Baby grey mocassins

And if you want to give your baby the ultimate bath experience this baby Jacuzzi is a must!

Next I wanted to write a list of presents for mommies but then I thought it would be too short. Yeah, that’s right, because there is only thing that mammas need for Christmas … MORE SLEEP!