Christmas Gift ideas: A Countrymans take

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn towards the festivities to come!

As a family we all LOVE Christmas and we absolutely make a huge occasion of it. We love everything about it, dressing the trees (Yes we have more than one), decorating the outside of the house, buying the presents and the food, the nights snuggled up in front of the fire, watching Harry Potter Movies we’ve seen a million times before, eating as much chocolate as you can, and in my case sampling the odd schooner of Otima Port!

It usually falls to me to buy the gifts as I really do enjoy the process, yes I find it stressful but I love it when you find that perfect something for a special someone. Now I don’t spend mega bucks (mainly because I don’t have them to spend!) but I do take a great deal of time thinking what people would like and enjoy receiving. Yes I may get it completely wrong sometimes but again, with the amount of thought that goes into my gifts it is definitely that that counts!

I’ve found some lovely little shops, crafters and bespoke items this year and alongside some more familiar ones I wanted to share a few of these with you all and maybe give you a little inspiration:

Amazing handmade jewellery and gift ideas! We had George’s christening cuff made here; I’ve also bought some beautiful silver jewellery items and several other Christmassy things like Santa’s Special Key and George’s 1st Christmas Bauble. Highly recommended!

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I’ve purchased a lovely sea glass necklace from here; I love the concept of recycling the sea glass found locally! I’ve always been a huge beachcomber and have a small collection of sea glass I’ve collected over the years.  I can’t think of a better way to use the glass than make stunning jewellery with it! I’ve got my eye on a sea glass ring next! (HINT HINT SANTA!)

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This company supply a gorgeous selection wooden items for everyone! Lovely colours and the stacking rainbows are beautiful.  We’re having a ‘Believe’ Sign made for George’s room!

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These chocolates are quite simply stunning! When I first saw them I couldn’t believe my eyes!  They are on my Christmas wish list and I am certainly going to order some as gifts!

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Love these plant pot feet, I first found them at RHS Chatsworth and totally fell in love with them. They do loads of different designs but the Hunting scene ones are my favourite. A lovely gift idea.

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For that special little someone why not treat them to some beautiful new outfits from these amazing people! The ethical and organic cotton is super soft and washes and wears incredibly well. We fell in love with their Camper Van print but their new Vikings design is our Favourite from the Autumn/Winter collection.  I just wish we had a girl to treat to some of their lovely girly things too!

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Another idea for that little someone is some Blade & Rose Leggings! We have the Bus and Tractor ones for George and love them! Super comfy and soft and what’s even better is they come in a huge variety of designs! There are even special Christmassy ones!

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Know someone who wants to help the Bees? These are the perfect little stocking filler all wrapped up in a lovely little hessian sack. Another thing on our Santa List!

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Another lovely little stocking filler, socks that stay up! Great for little ones and bigger ones too! Lovely company with excellent customer service!

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So many LOVELY things to choose from here! Gorgeous outfits for the big day and some lovely toys too! We never fail to shop here without picking up something for George! Another great thing is they do vouchers so if you’re stuck what to get someone with a little one just get a Voucher and let them decide!

I adore David Austin Roses, there are so many great gift ideas here or you could even arrange a day out as a Gift! This will be featuring in a future blog post all about grown up days out!

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This company was shared by a blogger friend of mine and coming from a horsey background the moment I saw them I loved them! They just screamed quality! Such a stunning idea and the craftsmanship is outstanding! Perfect for horsey relatives or friends!

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I love my burner from this company, so much so I bought one for my little boys Godmother as a thank you gift! They really are a special gift and the scents you can get are amazing. My personal favourites are Forest Mist and Cotton Caress.

These gorgeous wooden coasters and wall art are absolutely lovely and come in a few different designs! Our eyes were caught by the lovely Fox coasters.

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A hamper is always a lovely gift to give and receive. I love making up my own hampers and usually end up back at Maxey’s buying all sorts of things to fill them to the brim with loveliness! Preserves, Chutneys, Pastas, Biscuits, Spirits even Lip Balms and Hand creams. You can make a hamper up using whatever you like! I’ve done them in Buckets, Baskets, Garden Planters and all sorts. You also don’t have to stick to the traditional savoury type ones, you could do a sweet one, pampering, gardening, doggy, kitty, horsey whatever you like!

blur focus jam jars

These are a fantastic gift for someone like me who’s trying to be more Eco conscious! You use them instead of Clingfilm and they’re re-useable saving on plastics and great for the environment! They come in some lovely designs and different sizes to suit your needs! They even have a Turtle Charity Design donating 10% of the profits to Surfers Against Sewage.

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For something a bit different, have a look at these lovely quote leaves we found at My Visible Object! I discovered them at RHS Chatsworth and stupidly didn’t buy any whilst I was there, I ended up ordering two when I got home! I bought the Gertrude Jekyll and Audrey Hepburn ones best but could quite happily have more!

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We love our Farmer Christmas book and he has a new one out this year! Perfect for adding to a Christmas Eve box! George is sure to like it!

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Lovely little shop in Newark, Nottinghamshire stocking all manner of Country Attire! Stockists of Joules, Dubarry, Fairfax & Favour, Cath Kidston to name but a few! There really is something for everyone here and again Gift Vouchers are an option!

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These are wonderful gifts, certainly something a little bit different, and with so many designs to choose from there’s sure to be one you fall for! We did!

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These North Pole style personalised baubles are just adorable! We has these made up a few years ago.  I shall be ordering a new one to commemorate George’s 1st Christmas!

Customised North Pole Baubles
Our families customised North Pole Baubles

Want to really treat someone special then you can’t go far wrong by getting them a day at Eden Hall.  I love the Thermal spa suite, the Caldarium and the Rose infused steam room.  You can buy a gift card or Treatments and it’s the perfect way to say I love you! My personal favourite treatments are Clarins but they do a wide selection of others and you could even add on a luxury afternoon tea! The brownie points are well and truly in the bag with this one!

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How about commissioning a special stick? These are exquisite; the craftsmanship is second to none! Have one made of a loyal companion and give it as a gift, I couldn’t think of anything better!

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So that’s just a few gift ideas, I’ve got plenty more and if you’ve got a great idea you’d like to share why not go to our Facebook page and leave us a comment!

Activities with Baby

How to entertain a baby: Our Top 25 Clean Sensory Play Things

It’s a fact, babies just don’t stay babies for long, and at some point the cuddles and snuggles will not be enough, they will need….entertaining!

To coin a phrase…. How hard can it be?….well let me tell you, sometimes VERY hard indeed! Bearing in mind your precious little one will probably have an attention span of about a millisecond; you’ll need the largest box of tricks known to man in order to keep them entertained for long.

Now luckily they start off slowly, they get tired quickly, so this is their way of easing us into eventually spending 4 hours playing Monopoly or similar!
I started looking into sensory play and discovered a wealth of fantastic ideas to not only entertain baby but begin the very important process of learning too. Something to stimulate the senses and that baby can join in with, rather than just sitting/laying watching you do something! (Cause let’s face it that would be boring!)

I started by buying a large clear storage box with a lid, this would become the sensory box and would sit in our living room, on hand, for when entertainment was required. Then as I was out and about I’d be looking in shops and in nature to find things that would be safe but interesting to touch, hear etc. I found no end of inspiration on Pinterest and dedicated a board to all the ideas I liked.

I’ve compiled a list of what’s in our box so hopefully it’ll give you some inspiration too;

1. Tambourine – Lots of noise!
2. Maraca – Slightly less noise!
3. Spikey Ball & Ring – These are by far Georges Favourite items
4. Holey Ball – This can be stuffed with fabric scraps for them to pull out too
5. Little Tikes Drum – Lights up and plays tunes responding to the taps

6. Space Blanket – NOTE: this is a noisy one!!!!! They love it though, lay them on top and as they wriggle around it makes loads of rustly noise!
7. Bright Coloured tubs – Picnic pots from ASDA but they stack and you can hide things under them to find!
8. Transparent Rainbow Pencil case – Hold it up to a light, Magic!
9. Rain Shaker – My partner bought this as a souvenir in Mexico years ago but the sound is fantastic and George loves listening to it.
10. Plastic Bottles filled with different things! – We have one with Multi-coloured Plastic Buttons, one with wooden beads, one with clear Crystals and they all make a different sound too. We also have one with fluffy pompoms (I like this one best as its silent!)

11. Ribbons tied to a wooden curtain loop – An odd one I found on Pinterest but its fab, you can customise the colours, do a black & white one, multi-coloured, whatever you fancy!
12. A car polishing mitten – Another favourite, he loves feeling the microfiber fingers.
13. A shimmering rainbow fabric length – This can be wafted over them when lying down, they can snuggle it, held up in the sun it looks fab too!
14. A Shimmering Starry length of Fabric – This one I discovered at our Daisy Baby Wrigglers group and I just loved it! I sourced the fabric online and made our own night sky at home.
15. Feathers – I found some bright coloured craft ones.

16. Artificial Leaves – Sprinkle them over them as they lay down! George loves this!
17. Large Sparkly Pipe Cleaners – NOTE: you do need to be careful with these as they contain wire and they can hurt themselves if left to their own devises!
18. Bubbles! – No sensory box would be complete without a tube of bubbles for blowing! (TIP: Carry one in your changing bag too, just in case you need entertainment on the go!)
19. Sparkly Balls – Roll them about and the glitter disperses, let them stay still and it all settles. Fascinating!
20. A shower Puff – A clean unused one obviously, but the texture is a great new discovery!

21. A light up bow – Fibre optic light up present bow, changes colour.
22. A Cat teaser toy – NOTE: Shut the cats OUT the room when attempting play with this one!
23. A shimmering Gift Bag – In the sun this never fails to attract their attention!
24. A mermaid Cushion – George has a black/silver one and is fascinated by it!
25. Ok so this one technically isn’t in the box but it is something to entertain – No mess Painting! Another idea borrowed from Pinterest. Place a piece of paper in a zip lock food bag, put a few dollops of ready mixed paint on the paper, zip shut and tape down to their highchair tray. Encourage them to push the paint about inside the bag! Voila! Painting but without the mess!

There are so many more ideas to try and as we learn some more I will be sure to keep sharing them!