Categories
Christmas Parenthood

Elves, Shelves and Hypocrites

It’s that time of year when a creepy little doll arrives in many homes, while parents across the country think of different scenarios to place it in during the lead up to Christmas. Buddy arrived to our home last year, dressed in green, antics given up on before the first week was up.

elf

Everywhere I look, there are ‘Elf on the Shelf’ idea blogs and parents lamenting the pressure and hassle it takes to set the Elf up with incriminating evidence for their children to find in the morning. Let me just summarise the whole ‘Elf on the Shelf’ thing and what it is meant to involve, broken down into 5 simple steps:

  1. You buy an Elf, either from a store or from a random lady via Facebook/Craigslist/Amazon/EBay etc.
  2. You tell your children that Santa has sent one of his elves to keep an eye on them to find out if they belong on the NAUGHTY or NICE list (remember this detail).
  3. You tell your children that they can’t touch the Elf because otherwise his magic won’t work any more and they will automatically go on the NAUGHTY list.
  4. You spend the next 24 nights, bending over backwards to make the elf have NAUGHTY experiences that you would never allow your children to even think of.
  5. You cry into a glass of wine over the fact that an inanimate object has more fun than everybody else in your family.

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Any other time of year, it would NOT be acceptable for one person to tell one or more people that if they don’t behave correctly, they will tell another person not to bring them presents. WHILE, simultaneously, behaving inappropriately with other people, sh*tting on the table and generally displaying sociopathic tendencies. That is NOT OK. And yet we expect our children to believe that an inanimate object has that kind of power over them? The word HYPOCRITE springs to mind. So I have come up with two ‘alternative’ Elf on the Shelf ideas:

Option 1 – Fast-Track Nice List Package

Buddy arrived this year with a Tesco Bag for Life, we are doing a REVERSE Advent. Each day we will put in a food/sanitary/toiletry item to then donate to a local food bank. (Yay for charity!)

Option 2 – Don’t Buy an Elf

Stress free christmas, no elf to remember to move about, nobody messing up your home, win-win situation.

What will you be doing this year? 

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Categories
Christmas London

‘Eventcrashers’ aka Good Sh*t Happens

It’s no secret amongst our closest friends that my sisters and I have always managed to find ourselves rubbing shoulders with celebs and VIPs. An after-party in Tape, London or enjoying a VIP table in Ibiza. We’ve been there and we’ve done it, usually a combination of timing, luck and connections, but now it’s time to pass the baton.

At 4 and 3, W and B (respectively) are unable to appreciate the momentous occasion that befell them on Thursday 30th November 2017, but they will one day and I doubt it will be their last. As we headed to the Mount St Christmas Light Switch On ft. Tracey Emin, to enjoy some mulled wine, mince pies and roasted chestnuts in front of The Connaught Hotel, none of us could have anticipated what happened next. As we joined the line for hot chocolate outside the Christian Louboutin store, my sister and I decided we would head to Selfridges to grab something to eat from the Food Hall before heading home.

Mount St. Christmas Tree

As we left, we noticed a waiter with a tray of champagne walk by. Following him we happened upon what we assumed was some sort of ‘Lates’ event for the run up to Christmas, after acquiring a glass each and promising the children we would head home once we finished our (continually topped up) drinks, we took a chance to admire the little stalls on display. Mince pies surrounded handbags on display, a glittery Jimmy Choo stall handing out cakepops to the children, amazing DJs and drag queens singing Christmas songs, tattoo transfers and a free braid bar; both of which the boys took full advantage of. We couldn’t believe what we had stumbled upon, people came up to us to compliment the children (the only ones there that we could see), we recognised a few faces and even spotted Edward Enninful (editor of British Vogue) with entourage in tow.

Jimmy Choo 'IWANTCHOO' cake pops

It was only when we overheard event staff asking guests to show their wristbands in exchange for a champagne top up that we realised we hadn’t stumbled upon a free event at all. In fact, we were gatecrashing the British Vogue event to celebrate the opening of the new Accessories Hall in Selfridges. By that point we had taken advantage of everything they had to offer, made our excuses and left, returning back home around 10pm on a school night.

The children arrived to school/nursery, exhausted, with tattoos and braided hair. Telling tales of eating roasted chestnuts courtesy of The Connaught and gate crashing British Vogue events with sparkling Jimmy Choo cakepops. I’m not entirely sure many people believe us, but it was a night to remember and who says no to free champagne on a school night?

Champagne School Nights

Categories
Christmas Parenthood

A Simple Christmas

In December 2014, I found myself in Mothercare about to pay over £30 for matching pyjamas for my then 23 month old and 1 month old sons.

When you have one child, £16 on a pair of cute pyjamas from Mothercare doesn’t seem so bad, add another child into the mix and you’re trawling the aisles for discounted clothing in Tesco and Primark.

With a November and an January birthday either side, there had to be a better way without breaking the bank. After reaching out to friends and family I came across this little rule:

Buy something they WANT, something they NEED, something to WEAR and something to READ.

I have stuck by this saying ever since, and my boys couldn’t be happier with the 1452481_10205047307279367_6397077974839313913_n
personalised Christmas sacks they receive from Father Christmas every year.

P x

(I did end up giving in to the matching PJs, but they looked so adorable!)

Categories
Christmas London

Which Santa’s Grotto?

I wish I could tell you which Grotto to visit but there are so many fantastic Father Christmas’ out there, I couldn’t possibly decide. Instead, I will give an overview of 3 of the best Santa Grottos in and around London, that we have visited over the last 2 years.

1. Harrods

We did the Harrods Afternoon Tea Experience last year, there were a few games to play and stations for photo opportunities as we made our way to Father Christmas. I use to go every year as a child, for me the magic just wasn’t there. It was very stressful experience having to book a slot in the first place and I felt that we were rushed through the grotto without really being able to enjoy it. The Afternoon Tea Experience was enjoyable and I would have gone back again this year, but it wasn’t an available option on the booking system.

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2. Royal Albert Hall

We were greeted with mince pies and hot drinks. The children were provided with various activities as they waited to be called to see Father Christmas who’s grotto was dwarfed by a Christmas tree, complete with falling ‘snow’ – a magical experience for all. The experience ended with a tour of the Royal Albert Hall.

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3. Ruxley Manor Garden Centre

Despite the 45min delay, there was plenty to do. We had snowball bowling games in the first room, before being ushered through to Mother Christmas’ kitchen to make magical reindeer food and sing a song, then onto the next room to write letters and make Christmas Tree decorations. Finally we saw the big man himself, who gave each child a present using Elf Magic (a Paw Patrol bag for Wynter and a reindeer stuffy for Bodhi).

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Categories
Activity Ideas Christmas Parenthood

Top 5 Christmas Activities

With the season of goodwill upon us, I’ve decided to list my top 5 favourite Christmas activities to do with children this season.

1. Sensory baths
There’s nothing better than a Christmas-themed sensory bath to get little ones into the Christmas spirit. All you need is:
– shaving foam
– Christmas-themed bath/foam shapes
– a few drops of peppermint flavouring
– food colouring (optional)

2. Homemade decorations10404118_10204951615767139_197490713677375670_n
We made a paper plate wreath last year for their bedroom door. All you need is:
– a paper plate with a circle cut in the middle
– green paint
– glue
– Christmas craft decorations (Tesco usually sell packs of these)
– a festive ribbon
– glitter (optional)

 

3. A Carol Concert/A Service
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A Service can be great fun for children. We have attended the Christingle Service at Southwark Cathedral in the past, where children are encouraged to make their own Christingles, meet Father Christmas and take part in the procession to Borough Market for the ‘Switch On’. Usually followed by mince pies and mulled wine (for the adults!).
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a Christingle Service being held at Southwark Cathedral this year. If you would like support a good cause in the process, then I would highly recommend the Bliss Carol Concert.

4. Ice skating
Want to go ice skating but unsure what to do with your two year old? 12369120_10207734003885103_2717599367334637204_nRuxley Manor Garden Centre in Sidcup, Kent offers ice skating for the whole family. There are strap-on ice skates for children who’s feet are too small to exchange their outdoor shoes for skates. Plenty of penguins and bananas to help assist budding ice skaters, young and old alike (though these must be reserved in advance).

5. Christmas Market
There are so many to choose from in London, here are a pick of the best 3 Christmas Markets for families:
– Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
– Southbank Centre Winter Market
– London Bridge City Christmas Market