Christmas wrapping

Christmas is only a few days away, can you believe that? I don’t know about you but here at Love From Mummy HQ, we’re just a little bit excited. It’s the first time Riley has really understood what’s going on and he has eagerly helped with decorating the tree and hanging the stockings above the fireplace. We’ve danced around to cheesy music and sat in front of the fire scoffing mince pies. Having children definitely brings out the magic of Christmas, it’s such a nostalgic time.

One of the tasks many seem to dread the most in the run up to the big day is wrapping presents. I get it. The idea of buying pretty paper, bows and twine, is quite exciting for a stationary lover like myself, but i can imagine that for some, when confronted with a HUGE pile of presents and Christmas chaos it can seem like a stressful, dull and never ending task.

I happen to quite enjoy wrapping presents, i find it therapeutic. I like to decorate gifts and pretty them up but it can be time consuming and is a nightmare of a task with 2 toddlers running round. So i thought i’d share my top tips for organising the wrapping chaos and making your gifts look gorgeous.

1. Use a colour theme so that recipients can easily recognise who their gift is from, especially if you are having a big family get together. Classic Christmas colours of red and gold are always a beautiful combination but don’t be afraid to try something different. If you need some inspiration then have a look at some of these gift wrapping ideas, they would make a wonderful alternative to traditional wrapping paper.

2. Speaking of wrapping paper, make sure you choose one with a medium-weight and avoid thin inexpensive rolls that can tear easily.

3. Stock up on wrapping essentials way in advance. For me personally, i always make sure i have a plentiful supply of wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, sellotape, scissors, washi tape, labels, tags, twine, ribbons, bows and stamps.

4. Set up a gift wrapping station – Find a smooth, hard surface where you can spread out, a table or worktop is best as it’s less strenuous on your back than working seated on the floor.  Storing all of your supplies in one place will save time in the long run because you won’t have to hunt around the house for the things you need.

5. Be organised and worth methodically. I go through everything i’ve purchased, put them in to piles and then wrap in co-ordinated paper, bows and tags, so I know whose pile is whose.

christmas presents

6. Use a box for awkward shaped gifts, it look much smarter when wrapped and will prevent the recipient from trying to guess what it is.

7. Use double-sided tape when wrapping gifts for a clean, professional look – no tape will be visible.

8. To decide how much wrapping paper you need for a present, wrap garden twine or wool around it first and then use this to measure the paper out for cutting. It will make wrapping easier and give your gift a more polished finish. It also reduces waste which is always a plus point.

9. Add a decorative and natural touch to your wrapped gift in the form of delicate twigs and green foliage. It looks truly beautiful and inviting, particularly on a brown paper background. You could even spray paint them in red, silver or gold to tie in with traditional Christmas colours.

10. Get creative with your gift tags and think outside the box. Try using photographs, maps, stamps, different textiles and textures, typography or even old Christmas cards to produce something really unique and special. It may be time consuming, but the recipient will appreciate the extra care and effort.

  • Donna - Great tips! I used to love wrapping before kids and spent so much time on it. For us it is LP’s first ‘proper’ Christmas too, I am so excited! Have a wonderful Christmas lovely xReplyCancel

Bathroom

Pre-motherhood, the family bathroom used to be my sanctuary. A space to retreat to after a long day at work for a well-earned soak or a quick pamper pick-me-up. I say ‘used to be’ as since having children, a long soak in the tub has become a thing of the past. I’ve grown accustomed to sharing the bath with some rubber duckies and having an audience of toys watching attentively as i attempt to relax. I recognise that ‘sinking feeling’ when i go to wash my hair and realise the contents of my shampoo bottle have been replaced with dirty bath water.  I’ve accepted that i cannot visit the bathroom, or any other room for that matter without being escorted or interrupted by my children.

In fact, a report earlier this year claimed that mother’s get just 17 minutes of me-time each day. 17?  I’m lucky to get a 5 minute shower or a quick toilet break in peace these days without little fingers poking underneath the door or trying to desperately bang it down. Don’t get me wrong, it is certainly a place my boys like to play and have a splash about in and i fully respect that, but i really feel like i deserve (and am entitled to) some relaxing time in that space too. ALONE. That bathroom was my space long before they arrived and somewhere……SOMEWHERE……buried deep beneath a sea of plastic toys, sits a serene bathtub, some spa products, a couple of candles and memories of my life before children.

I wrote back in the Summer about my dream bathroom, and really a dream is all it is, but my mission in the new year is to reclaim the bathroom and create an area that both the boys and i can enjoy. Mr B works away abroad and is rarely home so it’s only really the boys and i that use it.

bathroom2

The first thing to address is the toys, seriously, i have that many that my bath tub currently resembles the bottom of a sale bin in Toys R Us. I’d like to get a couple of those nets that fix to the wall with suckers, preferably one at each end so that the boys can keep their toys separately. I’d also like to add a little corner shelf above the bath with some wicker baskets to keep the boys’ shampoo, body wash and bubble bath accessible, but out of the way. At the moment their toiletries are kept on a window ledge directly behind the bath which makes the space look cluttered and they are forever knocking them all in to the water anyway.

Failing that, i think a suitable alternative would be one of those nice tall cabinets with plenty of shelving. Space for my lotions and towels at the top and space for their things down lower at their height. A mirror cabinet would also be handy for storing all of the things used at the sink, which at the moment is overcrowded with toothbrushes, tooth paste, soap, flannels etc and looks very messy.

bathroom1

I’m also in the process of potty training Riley so the sink area has the addition of a potty, toilet training seat, steps, pants and other necessary bits and bobs out on display. I’m not OCD by any means (although some might beg to differ) but i don’t like clutter, it makes me feel rather anxious and uneasy. So, as the sink is currently mounted on the wall and has adequate open space underneath, i’d like to either purchase or build some kind of storage unit here so that all of these items can be put out of sight once the boys are in bed.

My bathroom is long and narrow so i am very limited in what i can do, both in terms of design and space. However, my mum lives in the house next door which 100% mirrors mine and she recently had the main bathroom renovated to feature a wetroom (basically a very large shower that is not enclosed in a cubicle), as well as a bathtub. Surprisingly it has really opened up the space and would be far more practical for me than our current layout so i’ve been looking at some wet room kits from My Bathrooms with a view to installing one of our own.

I think the secret to making my plan a success is finding the right balance so that we can all share the space well. Hopefully, with some of the changes mentioned above i’ll be able to reclaim the bathroom and finally have a little ‘me-time’. Alone and uninterrupted. Who am i kidding?

December has arrived which can only mean one thing……it’s officially time to get Christmassy!

IMG_6013I haven’t always been one for celebrating Christmas. In fact, if i’m totally honest with you, until i became a mother i despised Christmas. As a child with divorced parents, the ‘holiday’ season usually only meant one thing; my sister and i were always split up from our other siblings and pushed from pillar to post whilst members of both sides of the family demanded an ‘equal share’ in the amount of time spent with us. Christmas was just a constant reminder of the fact our family was broken and that feeling haunted me right up in to adulthood.

IMG_6011

IMG_6015

However, that feeling immediately subsided when i became a mother. Children have a way of doing that to you. Granted Riley spent his first Christmas in NICU but the nurses did everything in their power to make it a special one for him, for all of the babies actually. I will never forget arriving at the hospital on Christmas day and discovering that ‘Father Christmas’ had visited overnight and left every baby a personalised stocking full of gifts. They’d even had a photo of Riley made into a glass bauble that was hanging beautifully from his incubator. To them it was just a little gesture but to me (and the other parents i’m sure), it truly meant the world. I suddenly became really rather excited about the prospect of Christmas and promised from that moment on that i would always make sure it was a special and enjoyable time for my babies.

IMG_6018Harry is still a little too young to understand what is going on, but now at 3, Riley fully comprehends that Christmas is on the way and santa will be visiting soon with presents. In fact, i’m pretty sure all he is interested in is the presents, but to see his little face light up when he talks about it and hear him so excited is just incredible! I mean, by the end of November i’d done all of my Christmas shopping, had cards written out and had even made the boys an advent calendar village. That has NEVER happened. So, either i’ve far too much time on my hands or i am genuinely excited.

IMG_6012IMG_6014I think the festive spirit has rubbed off on daddy too because when we discovered the range of christmas trees in Tesco at the weekend, one magically made its way home with us and now has pride of place in the front room! It looks beautiful and Riley did a great job of decorating it considering his little brother was being a tiny terror and pulling all of the baubles off.

IMG_6010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas guys and girls! Now we just need a visit to santa’s grotto and some treats for the Christmas Eve boxes and we’re all ready for the BIG DAY!

IMG_6016

  • Donna - Oh I love it when the tree is up and it starts feeling all Christmassy! It’s so much better with children too xReplyCancel

  • Michelle Maggs - Lovely photos Vikki :) Only 10 sleeps to go now. I don’t know whose more excited me or the girls lol xxReplyCancel

kitten

A kitten may seem like the perfect Christmas present for a special somebody but they are a big commitment and owning a pet is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It is definitely not something that should be done on a whim.

Although there are thousands and thousands of kittens that are mistreated each year and which the RSPCA would love to have re-homed, there are some things to think about before you consider rescuing a kitten this Christmas.

Adopting a kitten

Cats can live for a number of years and need plenty of love, affection and attention. Although there are thousands and thousands of cats looking to be re-homed, it must be a well thought out decision to adopt a cat to prevent further abandonment and mistreatment.

If you do feel you are capable and ready to adopt a cat then turn to the RSPCA as opposed to breeders. The UK is currently experiencing a cat crisis and adoption centres are fit to burst. If you give a cat a second chance this Christmas and adopt from the RSPCA then you are helping to solve this problem rather than adding to it.

Why choose the RSPCA?

The RSPCA treats each cat individually and ensures that there’s a perfect match between the cat and its new owner. They will also ensure that all kittens are wormed, vaccinated, microchipped and neutered (if necessary). Cats or kittens from the RSPCA also come with six week’s free pet insurance and they are always on hand to offer advice where needed.

Advice on buying kittens

If you do decide to buy a kitten, ensure that they are with their mother until they are 8-9 weeks old because if they’re taken away earlier they may have behavioural issues. It’s important that the kitten has no visible health problems, has bright eyes and is sociable and alert.

Once your kitten is old enough to be taken from its mother, make sure you get it microchipped. Thousands of kittens get lost each year which adds to the problem of abandoned cats and overflowing adoption centres.

It’s also advised that you get your cat spayed or snipped, again to prevent the problem of more unwanted cats.

Sponsor a kitten

There’s nothing wrong with knowing that you’re not ready to own a pet. Owning a pet is a big commitment and it’s not appropriate for every person. However, you can still help mistreated pets.

For just £6.50 a month you can help the RSPCA feed, shelter and generally look after cats. You will also be kept updated on the progress of the animals you are helping – allowing you to gain many of the benefits of cat ownership but without the drawbacks.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post