Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas Gift Ideas: Mugs

Today we visited a favourite piece of retail heaven: Pottery Barn and the associated stores. Mugs were everywhere. This mug tree was taller than Mim. The monogrammed mugs were kind of huge, which is possibly an American thing. I've listed the Robert Gordon version below, which is considerably smaller, but still quite large enough for a decent sized brew.

Mugs make a great gift because pretty much everybody uses them, and there is a shape and style to suit every taste. Christmas is a fine time to give them and use them: Setting up a hot Chocolate station on a sideboard will make you the hostess with the mostest for friendly gatherings and even when unexpected guests drop by (as long as your kids don't snaffle the supplies while you're not looking).

Any old mug simply won't do - and why should it when there's so many adorable (and cheap!) options on offer!?! Here's a few that just might do (all under $20 ea - except for the last one):

This lovely array in Pottery Barn
start at $9 ea.


Don't be a mug - buy some today!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Best Christmas Cushions

Crashing in a Christmas cushion is highly recommended for those struggling between enjoying the magic and fighting the mayhem at this time of the year. I find that burying my head in a cushion when the kids are insisting on telling me who has hurt who and what gifts they'd like and did I know we were out of toilet paper, helps a lot. And if the cushion has something festive printed on it, like BE MERRY, then maybe a bit of merry will rub off. On all of us.

Cushions are certainly an integral part of seasonal decorating and an easy fix for adding instant sparkle and Christmas cheer to your home. I've kept the examples fairly neutral - but if colour is what you crave then an array of brightly coloured velvet cushions will look great all year around. And no, it's not too late to race out and pick out a few (great as a gift idea too).

Hopefully these suggestions might save you a bit of time ('cause, heavens, we're running out of that people!):

I'm a Kmart tragic - they're hard to beat on price and their style cred just keeps getting better.
This delightful pair will set you back $20.

I mentioned these beauties in an earlier post. They are $15 ea at Big W - but you'd better be quick!

Try Adairs - for a bit of joy ($20ea):

Try Etsy - they have something for everyone, and you'll be supporting a crafty person..


Found this great company on Ebay:

Pottery Barn have a gorgeous array all year round and their Christmas range is always special.
Find them online starting at around $25 ea.

So be merry, feel joy and buy a cushion today!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

When Your Days Are Merry and Bright

As Christmas fast approaches the threats for good behaviour are gathering speed in our household. Bellowing "Lose a Christmas present!" at a recalcitrant child can work wonders in moderating fights over who's been on the computer the longest and who needs to clean their room. It's not the best form of parenting I know, (and you can peak too early, as in don't start yelling this threat in October, it's unsustainable) but it can produce the desired effect - and in that vein new book The Christmas Peg fits quite nicely.

Wal, it seems, is having issues. He doesn't respect nature, up-ending pot plants (quelle horreur!) and has even, possibly, tortured his cat. 

Santa is watching. 

Wal's name is on the naughty list and Wal is about to find out some serious consequences for his actions. Dr Phil would be proud. NO Christmas gift!! Correction, a wooden peg replacing his Christmas gift. How could Santa be so cruel?! (If the peg is an allegory for something else I don't get it.)

Things don't improve as Wal, try as he might, and then by not trying at all - fails to produce the 'nice' behaviour that would make himself a better person and Santa fulfil his role as a decent gift-giver. 

It's best not to overthink this book - obviously we'd like our kids to behave without material gain being the main motivator, right?! And then there's the fact, as the book points out, and as we all know, that it is impossible to be nice (or good) all of the time. (Here's a great chance to explain the gospel of being saved by grace! Just saying..) So treat this book as a light read and a humourous form of coercion. The pictures are cute - though Wal's age seems to vary, but then again it did take him three years to work out that nice = presents. And for that his cat is extremely thankful. 

The Christmas Peg by Cameron Williams and Matthew Martin (illustrator)
Thank you to PenguinRandomHouse for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Random Christmassy shots as we strive to be merry and bright. Christmas tees and coffee and snacks have helped.

Friday, 4 December 2015

A Perfect (Sparkly!) Storm

I have good reasons for only posting once in November, way back on the 4th. It's all to do with the temporary insanity of holding three kids parties in four weeks. Topping that no mean feat off with being chief decorator for my son's year 6 farewell (awesome pic below). So, apologies, but posting fell by the way side. As did house cleaning, Christmas decorating and tree displaying (sob), book reading and sleeping. 
Yep, event-based insomnia is definitely a thing!

It was worth it in the end. Sometimes you have to let the schedule slide in order to throw your everything behind making some one-off things great! The milestones have been gathering speed and I feel like I'm only just keeping up!

So now, on the other side of the perfect storm I find myself tired and slightly confused about where all of the time went. Nothing a strong coffee won't fix and finally the chance to flop on the couch, newly adorned with some gorgeous Christmassy cushions. It's the easiest way to give your living area an instant festive feel - and these beauties are only $15ea at Big W so what's stopping you?!

By Jane Godwin and Anna Walker.

Any book that Jane Godwin and Anna Walker collaborate on is a treasure and this one at Christmas time has me gazing lovingly at every page - I actually seriously thought about (shock! Horror!) ripping out the pages just so I could frame them! With all of Walker's gorgeous illustrations there's delight in the details. The flashes of red, the delicate fine lines, the whimsical wishing tree - it's a visual feast 

Children, wishing and dreaming go together - like strawberries and cream, buckets and spades, parks and play! And that's what is celebrated so gently and joyfully here. 

As we follow little Ruby reminiscing on favourite elements of Christmases past, and of what makes this time of year so magical for her, her friends and family - the reader is caught up in the magic too. Simple pleasures: babies delighted by tinsel; piggy backs with Dad; baking with Mum. 
Not an iPad in sight!! Just saying...

Catch some of the sparkle and do your littlies a favour by reading this book to them, preferably while wrapped in a tartan blankie and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows on top!

More to come - it's on the way - promise!!