Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A New Discovery - Luxury Discount Toys

I'm a massive bargain hunter, particularly when it comes to baby clothes and toys. You'll often find me scouring charity shops and eBay, and my mum is a master of the car boot sale {it clearly runs in the family!}. So I can't believe it's taken me so long to discover this amazing discount shopping website. Called Achica, it's a members-only luxury shopping website, but don't be deceived - to join, all you have to do is give them your email address. I spotted some amazing deals immediately - including these gorgeous wooden toys from Orange Tree Toys. Huge thanks to my friend Fiona McKenzie Johnston for flagging this up on her brilliant blog Joy As It Flies!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. Noah's Ark Playset, £17.00 normally £27.95 | 2. Large Train Puzzle, £17.00, normally £25.99
3. Push-Along-Lion, £7.00, normally £10.99 | 4Noah's Ark Bookends, £14.00, normally £21.99
5. Pirate Skittles, £10.75, normally £17.99 | 5. Toy Aeroplane Mobile, £8.75, normally £14.99

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas - 3-4 Years Boy's Gift List

Time for Fiona Mckenzie Johnston's second list! This time it's aimed at boys aged 3-4 years old. Fiona has two children, Sholto and Esmeralda, so you can be sure this is a tried-and-tested selection of presents. With prices varying from super-cheap, to luxury-luxury treat, you're sure to find something in your budget. There's still time to order your presents from Amazon, so get clicking, and make someone's Christmas!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. FIMO Large Pack, £17.99 - Fimo - it's got to be better than play-dough. For a start, you can cook it and keep it, and it might not get trodden into the carpet in quite the same way.

2. Octonauts - The Collection DVD, £6.75 - Sholto LOVES The Octonauts. It's about the only thing that will keep him both still and quiet...

3. Original Penguin Penguin Costume, £24.95 - We went to see The Snowman at Sadler's Wells, and Sholto's favourite part was the penguins. He'd like to be a penguin.

4. LEGO DUPLO Deluxe Brick Box, £45.75-We've got a lot of Duplo already, but as Sholto gets older so his building projects become more ambitious, requiring more bricks....

5. Traditional Wild West Cowboys & Indians Wigwam, £52.23 - What little boy doesn't want his own wigwam?

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

6. BRIO Double Suspension Bridge, £14.91 - Sholto LOVES his Brio train set, and would be thrilled to receive a double suspension bridge to go with it.

7. VTech Kidizoom Twist Plus Camera, £33.33 - My husband is a keen photographer, and Sholto is longing to join him!

8. Bigjigs Toys Junior Art Easel, £34.99 - For painting. Obviously!

9. Poo Bum, £5.24 - Sholto will find this HILARIOUS.

10. Scola Artmix Coloured Paint - Pack of 12, £15.99 - For use on the easel.

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas - 18mths-2yrs Girl's Gift List

Prepare yourselves for a Christmas Gift List onslaught! I decided I want to feature lists for children of every age, and put up a request on Facebook. ALL the mums I know were crazy-keen to share their lists, and every one is packed full of brilliant present ideas, so I've decided to feature all of them! With Christmas fast approaching, I've asked everyone to pick their items from Amazon, so that you can order them via Amazon Prime, and have them delivered ASAP. First up, my great friend Fiona Mckenzie Johnston, who has two children, Sholto and Esmeralda, and also finds time to write for Vogue Russia, her blog Joy As It Flies AND run a gorgeous interiors business called English Abode {coming soon - you'll be craving their cushions!}. She has exceptional taste, so I'm super-thrilled to feature her Christmas Gift List for little girls aged 18 months to two years old.

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. Childrens Flower Shopping Bag, £5.21 - Esmeralda won't go anywhere without a handbag.

2. Children's Blue Armchair with White Spots, £39.99 - Esmeralda is tiny, and can't get into the chairs by herself. She's love her own little one, and this one isn't actually too expensive.

3. Silver Cross Ranger Pram, £54.99 - She would love taking her baby for a walk in this.

4. Kids Ladybird Umbrella, £2.99 - Esmeralda always tries to steal my umbrella when it's raining, she blatantly needs her own!”

5. Kidkraft Large Wooden Precious Play Kitchen, £149.99 - This would be Esmeralda'​s top present for years to come. Her own kitchen. Bliss.

6. Sylvanian Families Champagne Rabbit Family, £15.99 {not pictured} - I've noticed Esmeralda eying up her friends' Sylvanian Families, it might be time to get her her own. I'm looking forward to playing with them with her, too.

7. Sylvanian Families Daisy Cottage, £20.81 - Obviously, the Sylvanian Families need a house to live in.

8. Early Learning Centre Ballet Dress, £15.99 - She's going to start ballet lessons soon. So she definitely wants this!

9. 16 Piece Kensington Blue Tea Set, £29.99 {not pictured} - Esmeralda LOVES her plastic tea set, and I think it might be time for an upgrade . . . .

10. Legler Dream Fabric Doll's Cot, £25.99  - Esmeralda would love putting her baby to bed in this!

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Monday, 16 December 2013

Beauty Christmas Gift List for Mums

Now I don't normally feature my wedding blog posts here on Before the Baby, but I thought this Christmas Gift List would work perfectly for mums looking to add a bit of glamour to their Christmas. Created by Before the Big Day's Beauty Editor, Julia Bowden, it's chock-a-block with fabulous stocking-fillers, and brilliant beauty ideas. My favourites are the Glossy Box Subscription, and the Laura Mercier Luxe Colour Wardrobe Makeup Set....so if anyone's reading this, you know what I'll be looking for under the tree!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left 

1. Melvita Nectar Bright Brightening Cream, £36 – This is a great brightening cream that you use to get a luminous complexion. It has a lovely fresh floral scent, and gives your skin a dewy glow.

2. Laura Mercier Luxe Colour Wardrobe Makeup Set, £65 – Even though I'm a make-up artist, I always struggle to create a sleek handbag set. This solves all the problems, with a compact case containing the perfect products for eyes, cheeks and face.

3. Glossy Box Subscription - I was lucky enough to get given one of these at the Wedding Blog Awards. A great way for beauty enthusiasts to keep up to date with new beauty products. You get a selection of products each month for as little as £10 per month.

4. Monu Micro Exfollient, £15.95 – A great little find I discovered in my Glossy Box at the Wedding Blog Awards - this is a great dual-action microdermabrasion cream. It's not too harsh on the skin and smells dreamy

5. Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask, £29.95 - I got to meet with Rui Branco, the Global director of Education and Training for REN last month. He’s the REN Skincare guru and such a lovely man. He gave me lots of advice about my spot prone skin, and this is high on my hit list. It reduces visible blemishes and clears the skin – a great way to kick start a clearer skin regime for the New Year.

6. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, £28.50 – For hair so dry you don't know what to do with it. Put it on before shampooing for 10 minutes, and it's like having a new head of hair.

7. Neom Organic Treatment Candle in Rose & Neroli, £39.50 – You can't go wrong with this little treat. Great to light in the bath for pure relaxation

8. James Read BB Gradual Face Tan, £22.50 – As it’s winter even more reason to give your face a little sun kissed glow and best of all you can tie it in with your skincare regime. I met with James Last month and not only is he the nicest man on the planet but his products are brilliant. I can’t sing the praises of this tanning range enough. All it’s products smell great, go on easily without streaking and have outstanding results.

9. ProGenius Nude Treatment Oil, £58 - If like me you also have dry patches {as well as spots – lucky me!} don’t despair. To some, it may feel odd putting oil on the skin, but this ProGenius oil nourishes and protects, and sometimes stops the skin from secreting too much sebum thus counteracting the blemishes. With Omega 6, 7 & 9 – it’s a treat for winter-battered skin.

10.  MAC Nocturnals Pigments & Glitter - Black & Gold, £25.50 – Last but not least we all need a bit of Christmas sparkle in our make –up bag. These 5 stackable jars will dazzle everyone for those special occasions and will last you forever.

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Friday, 13 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas - 6-12 Months Baby Gift List

All year, I've been collecting a list on my Amazon Wish List of all the presents I'd like to buy for Ivo. Most of them are non-essentials, and since he's got lots of toys, I felt it would be naughty and spoiling to buy them. Now, I get to choose a few for Christmas! What are you planning to get your baby? I know they don't really know it's Christmas, but watching them eat wrapping paper is all part of the fun!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. jChew Chocolate Bar Silicone Teether, £10.50 - Ivo loves to chew, and it looks hilarious!

2. Melissa & Doug Giraffe, £51.86 - It's enormous! Ivo loves things that are larger than him, and this giant giraffe would blow his little baby mind.

3. Jellycat Medium Bashful Monkey, £15.99 - We have two lovely rabbits, but I think a boy should always have at least one monkey in his life

4. Nuby Monster Sippy Cup, £3.15 - Maybe it would encourage him to actually drink out of a sippy cup? We can live in hope!

5. Melissa & Doug Wooden Animal Nesting Blocks, £9.54 - So I can build them, and he can knock them down just as fast!

6. Lamaze Inchworm Toy, £8.79 - Lamaze toys are amazing, and I love the rainbow quality to this toy. Also, it's long, and Ivo will love to wave it around.

7. Pebble Penguin Toy, £24.95 - Just because it's the cutest thing I've seen in a while!

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

What's Your View on Playpens?

When it comes to playpens, I'm decided.....they're essential. My sister never got one for her son - so I understand there are two camps on this issue, but in our flat, Ivo's playpen {or playden as I like to call it}, is a key piece of kit. We're planning on having another baby while he's still small, and I can't imagine what else you're meant to do with a little toddler, if you've got to breastfeed one, and prevent the other from chewing on wires, and opening drawers. I've started Ivo in his playpen early, because I've heard that if you get children used to them, then they're less likely to complain later. I'm not sure that's entirely accurate, because aged 8 months, Ivo already holds on to the bars like he thinks he's in prison. Equally, he's happy to hang out in his den playing for at least 20 minutes, which gives me time to go the loo, shower and unload the dishwasher. I recommend the BabyDan from Argos {my favourite high-street store for nursery essentials!}. My husband set it up in no time at all, and it's roomier than a travel cot, with a comfortable cushioned base. You can also extend it into a room divider, should you manage to make part of your house baby-proof - an impossible task, as far as I can tell!

{I want this!} Ivo standing up for the first time in his BabyDan from Argos, £69.95

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

My Favourite Christmas Stocking

Every now and then I spot something that I just HAVE to have. Usually it's too expensive, and I make myself wait until the sale. Then I forget to log on on Christmas Day, and miss it entirely. But this time, I'm going to set myself an alarm, because I've fallen hook, line and sinker, for this huge hand-knitted Christmas stocking from The White Company. They've already reduced it 30%, but at £24, it's still too extravagant a buy, particularly since I'd like to buy one for everyone in our family. Wouldn't they look gorgeous hung on the mantlepiece in years to come? I don't have a fireplace yet, but some time in the future..... I'm pretty keen on this mitten as well!

{I want this!} Classic Hand-Knitted Stocking from The White Company, £24

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS.