The Different Geeks and What to Buy Them: A Gift Guide for Nerdy Guys

One of my best friends is dating a lovely new guy and with Christmas coming up, she wants to get him something that shows she cares. Her challenge is that he is nerdier than her previous boyfriends and she hasn’t … Continue reading

Embracing the Wonderful Disorder of the Festive Season!

Photo by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash Halloween is almost upon us and as ever I had thought that by the end of October our house would be finished and ready for a lovely relaxing festive season. This of course has not happened, but … Continue reading

Help! I Need a Baby…Gift!

Photo by Sadık Kuzu on Unsplash

I am beginning to realise that I have entered a stage in my life where half of my friends are settling down to have kids and the other half are out chasing their careers, travelling or still partying. Even though I am pretty much done with partying, it’s not quite the right time for me to have a baby yet. Although, it hasn’t stopped me getting super excited for my friends who are!

And, where there are babies, there are baby showers.

However, with the baby showers comes the dilemma of getting a gift. The level of effort/money put into finding the perfect gift is going to be determined by how close you are, or maybe what the bank balance says at the time. Both issues come with their own stresses, so I have put together my top tips for getting a fail-safe new baby gift.

Get Them Stocked

Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash

Yes, it is that boring. Or at least seems like it.

For many the thought of getting nappies, bibs or dummies are an effortless gift, they believe that it is easy to purchase and can be bought at any time. They may even rather to get clothes, hats or get really creative for their new bundle of joy.

But from being around and babysitting for my good friends, I learned quickly that babies grow super fast and get through A LOT of nappies.

While hats might be really cute and thoughtful at the time, after six other friends have the same idea, there are only so many hats that can be worn before they grow out them. With supplies, if six friends have the same idea, Mummy is going to save a lot of money and be prepared for a growing babies basic needs for the first four to six months. This is a game changer for them.

Personalise It

Source: Pexels

The other problem with getting clothes or a cuddly toy, is it all becomes a little too generic. There is no doubt that there are many awesome kids clothes out there at the moment, but they do not quite get across the thought behind the gift….unless you are throwing obscene money at the situation.

No, the answer is to get thoughtful with personalised baby gifts for the new addition.

They are something a little different and really show that you have put effort into your chosen present, even if it does not break the bank. You can get a piece of art with the family’s name on it to capture to moment, or if the baby’s name has been decided you could get cuddly toy or bib embroidered as this makes the coming addition even more real!

Go Big

Credit: Pixabay

If you really want to treat the new addition or family to something a little special, but can’t afford to go it alone, think about joining forces with friends or family to split the cost.
There are many expensive items that the new family would love to have, that are genuinely going to make their life with the new one a lot easier. They will just not be able to afford all of them in one go when budgeting for their new family member! Despite this, if they are anything like my friends, they would never want or expect anyone to help them out in that way. When we have managed to clubbed together as a group for something a little more hefty however, we have been blown away by how touched our new parent friends were!

I may still be in the independent stages of my life, but I absolutely adore the excitement and anticipation in the air when one of my friends are expecting! Our friendship group are a little more comfortable for cash these days too, so we are able to get something extra special for our parents-to-be friends. Yet, this doesn’t always make it easy to get the right thing! I hope this has given you some inspiration for finding the perfect gift. Please let me know if you have any other recommendations in the comments section, you never know whether a happy announcement is just around the corner!

The One With The Mutual Appreciation

Image Source: https://cdn2.hercampus.com/2014/11/09/Friends-season-10-014.jpg

I think it’s fair to say that our best friends go drastically unappreciated the unfortunate majority of the time. Though we might shower them with gifts on birthdays and Christmases, there aren’t too many other times when we can sit back and truly appreciate how wonderful our friends really are. With International Day of Friendship just around the corner (30th July!) I’d like to dedicate this piece to the guys and gals that put up with us at our very worst, so we can strive to be our very best.

If any of you are like me, then you’ll understand that we probably compare our lives to that of our family and friends about a dozen times a day. From checking Instagram in the morning, to sharing your nieces first steps on Facebook in the evening – there are few moments throughout the day when we compare ourselves, not to our friends…but to who we were last month, or last year.

Self-reflection is painful. Maybe you didn’t send that email you were meant to, or you skipped dinner yesterday…or you bought a takeaway curry instead (guilty). Thinking back though, there’s been hundreds of occasions where I’ve been poorly behaved, or embarrassing, or relied heavily on my friends to bail me out.

So, in no particular order, thank you to:

The ones who feed the cats when you’re on holiday.

The ones that are there when you’ve had a little (lot) too much to drink.

The ones who bring back your DvD in the same condition you gave it to them in.

The ones that lend you their Netflix password.

The ones that comment on your Facebook pictures to get the ball rolling.

The ones you call when you’ve had a bad day

The ones that offer to drive you back from the bar.

The ones who tell you when you’re being an idiot.

The ones who know when that dress isn’t you.

The ones who let you down gently.

The ones who remind you who ‘thingy’ is on Game of Thrones…again.

We live our lives at breakneck speeds, without ever really taking the time to appreciate what we have or how we got where we are. I look now at my loving husband as he attempts to conjure together a risotto with a wry smile across as his face as he realises he’s forgotten the rice. It was my turn to cook dinner tonight, but he offered to so that I could work on my blog.

I spend hours of my week talking to family and friends on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, venting our woes back and forth (often with each other) without ever picking up my phone with the intention to say thank you to any of them.

I’m not trying to be soppy, but it’s not often I can actually sit back and reflect on how lucky I really am. With so much going on in the world, it really puts it into perpective that the biggest worry I currently have is when I’m going to find the time to get the car it’s MOT. How feeble is that?

But, in the past…when things haven’t been plain sailing; the car’s broken down, dads found himself in hospital again and things aren’t going well at Mike’s work – I’ve been able to lean on the people closest to me, so I don’t spend all of my time in a horribly teary mess.

We’re very lucky that life is comfortable at the moment, so I’m going to pay it forward and order some thank you gifts for my family and friends. You never know when you’re going to be out on your luck and I know what that’s like. My closest friends, who are far less communicative with their feelings could be going through some really tough times, thinking that they can’t share that load. This is me letting everyone know that it’s time for me to give something back.

If I only get one Facebook message about someone’s tough day, it will have meant that I’m finally starting to give something back. I hope this inspires some of you to do the same.

5 Top Tips For A Super Organised Christmas

Beautiful Christmas Tree

As I was enjoying a local firework display this weekend, I felt a sudden surge of excitement despite the freezing temperatures. As much as I love fireworks and sparklers, the end of Bonfire Night means that I can FINALLY get excited about Christmas!

Anyone who knows me will know I am a huge fan of the festive period, so keeping my enthusiasm at bay for this long is usually a challenge to say the least! As soon as I start seeing those Christmas ads on TV and chocolate advent calendars in the shops, I know it’s time to start preparing!

Whilst it might be a bit too early to buy the turkey, there are still lots of things I do to prepare myself ahead of time. I usually go over the top on food, decorations and presents, so I’m always glad to have started planning in early November. Then when it gets to mid-December and my social calendar is jam-packed with fun festive activities, I don’t feel stressed about my Christmas To Do list!

I thought it might be useful to share my top Christmas prep tips for the super-organised amongst you. These are all the things you can do in advance to free up more time later, because really, it’s never too early to start planning for Christmas – is it?!
Decide on Your Plans for The Day

One very basic thing you can do now is to decide on your plans for Christmas Day & Boxing Day. If you’re going to be hosting then make sure you have enough dining space, chairs, crockery, and anything else you might need, so that you can buy or borrow any extras ahead of time. And if you’re not going to be at home this year, then you can make the appropriate travel arrangements ahead of time, particularly if you need to book flights or trains.

Set Your Gift Budgets
I have a history of getting a little overexcited when it comes to buying presents for my nearest and dearest, which has cost me substantial sums of money and many sleepless nights come January. These days I have to set myself a budget to make sure I don’t overspend. There are tonnes of ways you can do this, and in the past, I have used the Christmas Money Planner from the Monday Advice Service to help me figure out my budget breakdown!

Update Your Christmas Card List and Shop for Cards

I like to try and keep on top of my address book all year around, but inevitably it often falls low down my list of priorities. I keep a Christmas card list document on my laptop, so I’ll usually spend an hour or so checking through all the names and addresses to make sure it’s all up to date, as well as adding any new ones.

I also buy my Christmas cards early on so I have more options to choose from. Personally, I like to take this opportunity to support a charity close to my heart, so this year I’ll be buying these cancer charity Christmas cards to send to my loved ones!

Start Shopping
I like to get my shopping done as early as possible. Not only does this mean you can spread the cost over 2 or even 3 months, but it means you can make the most of any early flash sales. I will definitely be checking out the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this year to make my money go further!

Check your Christmas Decorations
There’s nothing worse than buying your tree and bringing it home ready to decorate, only to find your box of baubles has smashed, or even worse – you’ve spent ages untangling all those fairy lights and half of them don’t work. If you’re like me, then decorating your tree is serious business, and the earlier you shop for decorations, the more choice you’ll have! I like to spend a lot of time researching Christmas tree ideas to visualise how my tree will look.

I hope these tips will help you kick off your super organised Christmas, so you can have a stress-free festive season!