Elf On The Shelf. 

This year was the first year that our little family participated in elf on the shelf. Our little house elf was named Dobby and Archie absolutely loved him. We had a good elf this year  as we are trying to encourage good behaviour. 

If your not away of what elf on the shelf is a little elf who comes with a story book who flys back to the North Pole every night to report back to Father Christmas on your child’s behaviour. When he returns each night he is in a different place so the child knows that he has moved. I thought I would share with you my elf on the shelf ideas this year. 

Please take into account that Archie is only 21 months old so doesn’t fully understand the whole concept so we had to keep him pretty simple and in similar places each day. 

Love Tilly & Archie xx 

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Father Christmas Fail & The Flu. 

Sorry I have been absent from blogmas since the 10th, unfortunately I got struck down with the flu. I haven’t felt so poorly in a long long time. I was going to bed when Archie went to bed at 7.30pm and sleeping right through till morning. It completely wiped it out of me.

We decided to take Archie to visit Father Christmas at the beginning of December this year as we are hoping to send his dummy’s to Father Christmas this year in exchange for a present. We thought that if we went at the start of December then he would associate who he was sending his dummy’s to and then we would have a while to get him used to no dummy’s before we went away at Christmas time to visit Callum’s parents.

The place we take Archie to visit Father Christmas is actually at a local garden centre. Its the best venue we have found. They decorate a large area before you actually get to meet Father Christmas. Its all kitted out with fairy lights, moving polar bears, penguins and deers, fake snow, and Christmas music. When you get to the end of winter wonderland you can knock on Father Christmas’s house where you get to step inside and meet him and some of his elves. It’s absolutely magical so it was a no brainier to take Archie back this year.

During your time in Father Christmas’s house you get to have a quick chat with him and tell him everything you want for Christmas. Get a professional photo taken and get given a gift.

When you exit the house there is a stand where you can view the photos that have just been taken and a chance to purchase them. You then walk down a little path with fake snow on and leads hung up for the reindeers and you get to see real life reindeers. This is by far my favourite part of the experience. It makes everything feel so real and gets you in the Christmas spirit.

This year it was truely magical. Archie is now at an age where he is beging to understand what is going on and the true meaning of Christmas. He absolutely hated meeting Father Christmas but loved his elves and seeing his reindeer.

We explained to him that he is going to bringing him some presents if he is a good boy all year and that Father Christmas is going to be taking his dummy’s to give them to new little baby boys and baby girls who need them because he is now a big boy.

I cant wait to see his little face on Christmas Day when Father Christmas has been. Knowing he now understands where they have come from.

This year Archie decided that he absolutely hated Father Christmas. He was petrified. We couldn’t even get him in the room let alone close enough for a photograph. He loved the grotto leading up to meet him but the actual meeting was an absolute disaster.

Being out of action for a few days and not making any content, I realised that I would rather put quality posts up than quantity and decided that I wasn’t going to continue with blogmas. However much fun it is and I absolute love to read everyone else’s. It was near impossible with a toddler and being poorly.

I have however got a few more posts that I would like to share so I’ll pop them up during the rest of December. Just things that I would like to be able to look back on in years to come and to remember the memories.

Sorry for the absolute fail.

Love Tilly & Archie xx

 

DIY Christmas Photoshoot.

I absolutely love taking photos of Archie especially during the festive season. They make great photos to put on the front of a Christmas card or even on in a frame as a gift. Both sets of Callum’s Grandparents and Great Grandparents love receiving a framed photo of Archie at Christmas.

I thought I would show you some of the photos I have taken of Archie this Christmas and how I got the shots.

I am by no means a photographer and my images are by no means perfect. I just try my best with what I’ve got and see what the end result comes out like.

To start with you need a decent background. This could be a plain background so that you can add decorations around it or it can be a ‘busy’ background such as in front of the Christmas tree. This year we decided to use a plain white background but last year we used the tree. For our background I used a white table with fair lights stuck round it and a white blanket on the floor.

dsc04779

Once you’ve got a background, establish what kind of props you need and how you want the photo to look. I decided to put Archie in a wrapped box for some photos and have him just sat down for others.

For this look I simply just wrapped up a box, put a light box in and a teddy Father Christmas. Popped a hat on Archie’s head and there we have it. It really couldn’t be more simple.

DSC04780.JPG
Before lighting was adjusted and shot was cropped.

We had so much fun taking these photos. Unfortunately I caught Archie at a bad time so he wanted  a nap and there was a lot of bribery with chocolate buttons. If you take some Christmas photos of your littles this year then please tag me in them so I can see how yours turned out.

Thanks for reading. Love Tilly & Archie xx

Top 10 Tips For Making Christmas Affordable.

Christmas is the most expensive time of the year and for most families the lead up can be more stressful than not. I have put together a list of my top 10 tips for making Christmas affordable and enjoyable. These are things that I try to do each year so that I am not doing all of my shopping out of one months pay check. I hope you find these tips useful for future reference when Christmas shopping.

  1. Handmade Gifts.

Not only are handmade gifts affordable, but personalised handmade gifts add that special touch as well. They can be made cheaper than shop bought gifts and personalised to the recipient. Some of my favourite examples of handmade gifts are hampers, crafts from kids or just photo frames with meaningful photos in. All in all they make a lovely gift and are a meaningful keepsake. I have found that grandparents love a personalised gift made with love from their grandchild appose to a shop bought gift.

2. Look out for sales:

Throughout the year look out for sales, plan who you need to buy for and keep racking them sales aisles. Half price, 3 for 2 or even clearance. As long as the gift is in good condition, not damaged and is something they would like, there’s no reason why you should get it in the sales. Shops have sales throughout the year putting different items in the sales each time. This is a great way to save a fortune.

3. Start Saving Money Now

Start saving money now. At the start of the year I start saving all my small change (1p,2p,5p) and put them all in a glass jar. Throughout the year they build up and at the beginning of December I count it all up and put that towards gifts. The more you put in the more you have at the end, no one notices small change missing. It is an easy way to save without breaking the bank.

4. Save Loyalty Points.

Nowadays every shop on the high street has a loyalty card. Sometimes the points convert into money and others unlock benefits and offers. This is a great opportunity to use these points to purchase Christmas presents. Boots and Sainsburys are my favourite loyalty cards as you can actually spend the points as cash towards your purchases. This saves a ton of money especially as both stores to an amazing range of gift sets.

5. Flog It

Towards the end of the year gather up all the things cluttering your bedroom or home and pop them on Ebay for a couple of extra quid. Things you may not have used for the majority of the year or things you may have forgotten about. You know how the saying goes “one mans trash is another mans treasure”.

6. Make Lists

Make a list of who you need to buy for and what you want to get and stick to it. A lot of the time I make on the spot purchases, I impulse buy when I don’t necessarily need it. Not only can this mean you may not have got the best deal, but you then have to find someone to give that gift to and it may not necessarily be what they wanted.

7. Be Crafty With Decorations

Decorating the house doesn’t have to cost a fortune some of my most favourite decorations are those from Poundland or The Range. A couple of quid here and there on a few decorations and jobs a good’un. Handmade decorations are also a lovely touch to add to your home. Get the craft supplies out and all the kids involved and get them creating. These also make sentimental things to look back on in years to come.

8. Give An Experience

If you really cant afford that last present then just made a card and gift an experience. Afternoon tea, lunch, dinner a manicure ect. Gift a promise of one of these events and chances are by the time your due to go the next pay check will of come round and you can afford it. Not only does this give your recipient a lovely experience and quality time together, it also buys you a little bit more time to get some extra cash.

9. Shop Around

Make sure that you are buying for the cheapest price. A lot of major companies now have price match guarantee where they will match a price of the same item if you find it at a cheaper price.

10. Check Out Local Entertainment

Check your area for local activities going on in the festive season. A lot of towns will set up fun outdoor activities for free with a Father Christmas on site and some elves. Seeing Father Christmas at a local shopping centre is much more appealing than not seeing him at all.

I hope these tips helped you to save money this Christmas. If you have any top tips that you use to made Christmas more affordable then please leave them below so I can have a read.

Love Tilly & Archie xx

 

 

Christmas Wish List.

I have put together a list of things I would love for Christmas.I don’t often splurge on myself, so I like to save up all my ideas for when people need gift ideas. Callum if your reading this *hint hint*.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette £38.50

I have wanted this palette for a  number of years but have never justified spending that money on something for myself. Mum guilt sets in when making purchases for myself so I normally wait for Christmas or birthdays to have a splurge on myself.

I love love LOVE that this palette has a variety of matte and shimmery shades and that all the shades are neutral colours. I don’r really experiment with make up all that much and like to stick to a basic neutral face with the occasionally pop of lip colour.

naked-2-palette

 

Joby Gorillapod Origional Tripod £17.00

I saw this tripod this summer in John Lewis and loved it. It is exactly what
I’m looking for. You can mould the legs to wrap around an object or to be in a normal tripod position. I film a lot of mine and Archies lives and make little videos for us to lookback on so this would be perfect to get better shots where I can actually be in the videos.

joby-gorillapodUGG Boots, Classic Chesnut £155.00

I have had a couple of pairs of these and have completely worn them to death. My latest pair I have had for over 5 years and over the last couple of weeks a hole has appeared in the toe. I love that they can be paired with any outfit and are super comfortable. ugg-classic-short-in-chestnut

Hunter Original Boots £125.00

 

I am in love with my Hunter boots. I have the short ones in fuchsia. Unfortunately since being pregnant with Archie they no longer fit me so I’m in need of a new pair. I am in love with this two tone pair in black / dulce. Its such a classic look and they will go with anything. Since having my pair I have needed on many occasions a taller pair which is why I have opted for the knee high appose to the short.

hunter-boots

MacBook Pro – 15 Inch £2000 approx

I am dying to upgrade my laptop to a Macbook. I am undecided which one I would like but I k
now it is probably a 15 inch screen. Please can you leave recommendations of your Mac’s below so I can compare. Would be greatly appreciated.

macbook

Thank you all for reading, hoping and praying I get one thing off my list this year. If not there’s always next.

Love Tilly & Archie xx

 

 

Stocking Fillers For Toddlers.

A couple of days ago I posted a Toddler Gift Guide. In that guide I named 6 items that I have got Archie this Christmas from myself and Callum. This post is going to contain items that Father Christmas has got him in his stocking. I have tried to keep the cost down but those of you with children will know that its really hard to not buy when you see things you know your child will like (this is definitely something I need to work on).

Some of these things I have bought throughout the year when I have seen them or they’ve been in a sale and put away especially for Christmas so may not be available anymore. I’m going to try and link each item where it is from but if I cant then I’ll link something similar.

So here goes..

That is everything that I got Archie for his sack from Father Christmas. I hope you enjoyed reading about the types of things Archie is getting for Christmas and that it has given you inspiration for your children’s gifts.

Love Tilly & Archie xx

 

Letter To Father Christmas.

Growing up I used to absolutely love it when I got a letter from Father Christmas in the post. I used to think I was so special that he had taken the time to reply back to my letter.

Last year was Archie’s first Christmas and we started this tradition with him too. This year he is old enough to help do his own letter so we sat down together and wrote one.

I asked Archie what he would like for Christmas and as he is a little bit too young to understand, I named things to him that I thought he would like and the things he said yes to, I listed. I then wrote it out for him and he coloured on it and stuck on some of his Christmas stickers.

We sent our letter to Father Christmas using the Royal Mail service. This is a lovely service where you post your letters to their given address by the 9th of December and Father Christmas will send you a personalised response. This is a free service and only costs the price of the stamp on the envelope.

The address in which you send your letters to is: Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ. Dont forget to put your child’s full name and address on the back of the letter so Father Christmas knows where to write back to.

I hope you all get your letters off in time and receive everything you wished for on Christmas.

Love Tilly & Archie xx

Toddler Gift Guide. 

This year Archie is going to be 22 months old at Christmas. I looked online for some present ideas but for one year olds they were too young for him and for two year olds they were slightly too old.

I decided to put together a list of items that we have got Archie this year. We haven’t gone crazy on presents as last year he got far to many for his birthday and Christmas which he still plays with and we don’t have the room to store them.

We tried to go for things that he could play with throughout the year so things that were slightly too old for him now that would benefit him in a couple of months and things he can play with now.

We spent a fair amount of money on his sack from Father Christmas rather than presents from us as we knew this is something he would enjoy more and find more magical.

Below is a list of things we got Archie from us. I will writing a separate post with stocking filler ideas.

1. Micro Mini 3 in 1 Scooter – John Lewis £89.99

micro-mini-scooterWe decided to get this for Archie as he has a trike already and a ride on. This scooter is recommended for ages between 1 and 3. The seat and round handle can be removed when the child is able to balance properly and the handle bar can be attached for the child to use between  and 5 years. The seat is height adjustable which is a big hit for us as Archie is tall for his age. The scooter also comes in green, blue, and pink.

 

2. Fisher Price Talking Bing – Very £16.99

bingI actually got this for Archie from Sainsbury’s during the half price toy event a couple of months ago for £15. I have however found it on Very for £16.99 which is the cheapest place I can find it now. When pressing Bings tummy he sings and said lots of fun things. The recommended age for this is 2 years.

 

4. Fisher Price Thomas & Friends Mobile Phone £11.00thomas-mobile-phone

Archie actually saw this and asked for it when we was doing a spot of Christmas shopping in Boots. Luckily it is included in the 3 for 2 deal so I managed to get it for free. I have put this away as a little extra for him as I don’t normally let him get toys when he asks for them when were out shopping. He absolutely loves talking on the phone to people and will literally use any object and pretend it is a phone. It has a large easy to press keypad which plays sounds and lots of phrases from Thomas and Friends. Recommended for ages 18+ Months.

5. Diddy the Dinosaur & Mickey the Monkey Hand Puppets – WH Smith £7.9monkey-puppet9 each. 

Last year for Christmas I got Archie some puppets from WH Smith, a hedgehog and a fox, and he absolutely loves them. He thinks it is hilarious to have puppet shows and put on silly voices so I got a couple more for 38430077_1the collection. This year I have gone for  a monkey and a dinosaur. They are suitable from birth so that is a massive hit as any age can benefit from these furry friends.

 

6.Thomas & Friends Story Carry Case – M&S £8.99thomas-and-friends-book

As you can probably tell Archie is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. I saw this carry case of 5 story books in M&S and just had to get it. I love that Archie can
carry this case around with him and take his books on his adventures rather than  have them shoved in my bag. This item does state that it is not suitable for children under 36 months but he will be supervised when using them.

 

I’m going to leave the Toddler Gift Guide list there as I have got Archie a few other bits but they are little little bits personal to him that he will love.

If you have any ideas of gifts you think Archie will enjoy then please leave suggestions in the comments below, his birthday is in February and I’m stuck for ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Love Tilly & Archie xx

 

The Shoe Box Appeal. 

This year I have decided to start a new tradition that will teach Archie all about giving, and what better way to teach this to him than to give to those less fortunate than us.

During the start of November I took Archie shopping and we went round supermarkets and toy shops to buy gifts for “our faraway friend”. We made presents, pictures, added photos and letters, gifts and toiletries for him. I explained to Archie (as much as you can to a 20 month old) that this little boy doesn’t have pennies so we’re going to send him some nice things so that he has something to open at Christmas.
I think this is a lovely idea especially  as it’s not that popular anymore. Every year during Primary school my school used to do this appeal and I used to love gathering all the bits and sending them off when I was a child and I think it’s lovely to start this tradition with Archie and teach him about those less fortunate and how we can help.

The organisation that does this is the Samaritans. They launched Operation Christmas Child which allows people to donate shoe boxes of gifts for children of all ages and they send them to those less fortunate.You simply pack a shoe box full of sweets, toys and toiletries and then donate a minimum of £3 to cover postage of your shoe box and they will send you an email in the new year to let you know the country your shoe box made it to.

We decided to make our shoe box for a little boy ages between 2 and 4. I thought this was a lot easier for Archie to relate to that he was sending some fun things to another little boy of a similar age. I sat Archie down and we watched a video on the Samaritans website which showed clips of children all around the world opening their shoe boxes so he could see where it was going. Please be aware that there are images in this video that could be upsetting to children. I had watched the video previously so I knew which bits to show Archie and which parts to skip.

I cant wait to get our email in the new year to let us know where our shoe box ended up. This is something that I think we will definitely be doing every year from now on. Its such a lovely thing to do and we had so much fun making the box together.

If you would like more information on how participate in Operation Christmas Child or even to just donate to the Samaritans then please just follow the links.

Here are some photos below of things we sent to “our faraway friend”.

Thanks for reading. Love Tilly & Archie xx