We're headed up to my parents this afternoon to stay over Christmas. As we are leaving behind our flat and all its decorations I thought it was the last chance to show you some of my thrifty Christmas finds.
Happy Christmas Eve. Hope everyone out there is on the nice list and that Father Christmas brings you all that you wish for.
Despite having tried to be organised, and planning to have all of the decorations ready for the 1st December, I've found myself on the eve of Christmas Eve and I still haven't done half of the crafts that I had planned.
Kit and I started a Christmas bauble (which is what I was intending on posting about) but he decided that he was more interested in building a Duplo house so it still lays abandoned half made. My mum stitched Kit a stocking last year and I intended to definitely decorate it this year, it is still blank! We haven't written many cards, don't be offended if you haven't received one, none have made it to a postbox! We did make a pompom and pipecleaner snowman though!
I think we've been so busy trying to get presents sorted, and getting prepared for festivities, that Christmas has crept up on me. It's only been tonight, while I've been eating my weight in chocolates and packing to travel to my parents tomorrow that it has hit me. Looking at all the decorations and a pile of presents wrapped and ready to be given, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I'm not mad. I didn't really intend to go to Oxford Street with a 2 year old in a buggy, two weeks before Christmas. But we were over that way, and I needed to pop to one shop. How bad could that be?
Well I walked up Regents Street and we looked at the Hamleys window, which is Lego themed.
Then, in a hope to avoid the masses (although I'm not sure why I thought that it would be quieter) we went through to Carnaby Street, which had really lovely decorations and Christmassy buskers.
We headed onto Oxford Street and had been in the shop I was aiming for. I intended that we would jump on a bus to Victoria and get out of there. Somehow, despite having actually been walking on the road myself at points, having stood in the cross road between Regents and Oxford Street listening to carol singers, it never registered to me that it was that weekend where they close off the roads to traffic. So no bus then!
Weighing up my options I decided that I didn't want to brave the tube carrying a toddler in a buggy (Kit was asleep by this point so not even the chance to collapse it). My other option was to walk out of it. Obviously I was at the midpoint by now so I just started walking towards Marble Arch. I didn't brave any other shops but I did stop to enjoy some of festivities as we went along. When we reached Selfridges, Kit had woken up, I showed him some of the windows. I remember coming up to London with my Mum and Dad when I was younger (although much older than Kit) and really looking forward to seeing the Christmas windows. I can't decide whether I've just lost my awe, or whether they are getting less interesting and more commercial. Here were our favourites at Selfridges...
We survived to the bus stop at the other end and then headed to Victoria, picking up a Gingerbread Latte and a Babychino before jumping on the train home. I'd do it again next year. No shopping, just wandering down the streets taking in the Christmas cheer.
We've been doing some cheating in the craft department for Christmas (although there will be some more original craft posts later this week or early next week). A few months back I found some little foam Christmas craft kits of 20p in a charity shop. The first one we have tried out was a magnetic reindeer photo frame.
It was a really simple craft of just sticking the relevant shapes in the right places. Next year I might use the idea and make my own version including a photo to send to people rather than cards.
I also picked up some cards from Poundland which are colour-your-own cards, so Kit made a start on colouring some cards. We'd picked up some colour-your-own gift bags from the Card Factory in the sales last year so he has been working on those too.
So Kit's Christmas crafting has begun. He has a large pile of Christmas stickers, pompoms and pipe-cleaners too, so we have lots more to do. Our next job is to do some of the lovely paper chains his Nanny bought him though, we need a bit more decoration in the flat.
We innocently went to meet some friends for lunch in Charing Cross on Saturday. After we headed towards the theatre they were going to see a play and we bumped into Father Christmas. Actually we bumped into hundreds of Father Christmas'!
We headed off down Regent Street and came across more and more Father Christmas'.
Intrigued I googled when I got home and discovered that we had walked into Santacon. Santacon seems to be a gathering of people, dressed as Father Christmas intent of spreading Christmas cheer. It was interesting to see, but despite Kit screaming 'Father Christmas' several times, not a single Santa paid the slightest bit of interest in him. Not a single Santa actually seemed to interact with any child I saw, so I wouldn't go next year expecting what the website suggests of santas singing carols and giving out treats, they were very much keeping to themselves.
I'm afraid from this point in there is nothing to talk about but Christmas. I am not nearly as ready as I had hoped by this point in time, but I'm trying to make things as Christmassy as possible for Kit, and trying to get into the spirit myself, rather than blind panic about the amount of buying and wrapping of presents I have to do!
The plus side of still having to do lots of shopping (and having lost my credit card to order things online!) is that it is surprisingly festive out there, and not just in a 'buy me, buy me' way. We headed into Bromley on one of my days off last week and I failed to find anything I needed, but Kit did get to have a chat to Father Christmas and meet some of his reindeer.
The event had been arranged by the Rotary Club. It was lovely for Kit to get to see some real reindeer, I had been considering taking Kit to see the ones in Covent Garden, very glad not to have to go there though!
This post is for my Dad. Having retired (and prior to retirement I believe) he has invested a fair amount of time on washing up. I strongly believe that washing up is mens work. I hate washing up. I think that since I've been the only capable washer-upper in my home the thing I have found the most traumatic is trying to motivate myself to do the washing up.
My kitchen is tiny, it's packed full of stuff, as a consequence it has a stairgate on the door and is deemed toddler-unfriendly at present. Unfortunately that means that there are certain things that I can't do with Kit (although we move a lot of stuff to the bathroom sink or just do food related things on his table). One of those things is teaching him to do the washing up. And he is so keen to wash up too! Whenever we go to my parents he practically begs to do the washing-up. Washing-up being mens work I tend to step aside to allow Kit some quality Grandad time (I don't think Grandad considers it quality time as he doesn't enjoy the amount of water that leaves the sink!). I wonder how long it will be before Kit can (happily of course) do all the washing up in our house!
I fully expect that by the time Kit's enthusiasm could be considered useful he will share my hatred towards the task, but I can dream!
We went to stay with Nanny and Grandad this weekend and they had kindly booked for Kit to have breakfast with Father Christmas. Father Christmas wasn't actually there while we were having our breakfast, but there was a gingerbread man for Kit to smother in icing and sugar stars decorate, which was a bit of fun before the big man himself arrived.
The kids then had the opportunity to go and meet Father Christmas in his mini-grotto in the cafe, and got to choose a present (Kit chose a pirate ship).
Kit was quite shy towards Father Christmas (which is unusual for my boy as he is normally quite bossy and chatty after about a minute!) and he was a bit distracted by the penguins when he was talking to him but I think he really enjoyed it. He asked Father Christmas for presents for Christmas, and asked him if he would give Nanny and Grandad presents too!
I've probably said this before but I like to try to ensure that when I drag Kit to something that is ultimately for me, that I also take him somewhere he will enjoy for at least a short space of time. Of course there aren't many places that are fun for him that aren't fun for me too so it isn't exactly a sacrifice!
Anyhow, after we went to Craftacular, it seemed only fair that we popped over to the V&A Museum of Childhood so that he could have a play. They normally have events at the weekend, and this was no exception, we joined in with Mrs Santa's Craft Corner and Kit made a Rudolph puppet and a woolen cracker (sorry no photos). Nice to have a few Kit-made bits to add to our current homemade decoration pile, I know that there will be a lot more to join it soon.
We also had a quick run around (Kit's choice to run around not ours!) the current exhibition Magic Worlds which looked really interesting, and we will head back for a proper look before it closes. Kit was particularly taken with the Mad Hatters Tea Party (although slightly frustrated that the teapot was stuck to the table!).
He also enjoyed dressing up, but didn't stay in any outfit for long. I loved his Mad Hatter/Fairy combo though. My kid has style!
Mrs Santa's Craft Corner is running again this weekend coming, but even without the crafts it is a great place to visit with or without the kids. Easy to spend a whole day there, which we will hopefully have time to do soon, as they have changed some bits from the last time we went and it would be lovely to explore properly again.
I've discovered the ultimate in toddler activities. Clean, easily portable, and developing motor skills.
I pinched the idea off of Jennifer's Little World for threading beads onto pipecleaners. From now on I shall always carry beads and pipecleaners as this turned out to be perfect entertaining Kit firstly on our train journey to Bethnal Green, and then whilst we were queueing to get into the Bust Craftacular. Kit has been to this event every year since he was born, it is quite the tradition! We originally went because my friend had a friend who had a stall (and who we now seem to stalk at all the craft fairs we attend!), but it is definitely my favourite of the London craft fairs.
We aren't doing very well with preparing for Christmas anymore, but I think we might do some pipe cleaner threading and bend them into shapes to hang on the Christmas tree. I will post pictures of our tree once we have it finished, but it won't be on the 1st as originally planned.
There is one person on children's TV that I have a particular strong dislike for. I think Something Special is a great concept for a TV programme, but I dislike the choice of presenter, I hate Gigglebiz (but hey I'm not a school-kid and I'd probably have watched it when I was at school had it been on). So imagine my joy when I heard that Justin was visiting the Glades in Bromley. Kit already had plans for lunch with his Dad (which generally involves me going too), and when I stupidly told his Dad that Mr Tumble Justin was going to be in the Glades, that was our new plan.
So Kit met Justin Mr Tumble (although to do so his Dad had to buy him a copy of his new book). I apologise for my photos, Kit wanted to look at Mr Tumble not the camera!
We had to queue for an hour for this (I'm not sure it was really worth it - he didn't even tell us a joke!).
We had the very exciting news a few weeks ago that we had been offered an allotment across the road from us. Last weekend we went down to see it and decide whether we wanted to take it on. We did, so we now have our little patch of earth and are very excited about growing lots and lots of yummy things to eat. I haven't had much of a chance to work on it yet but this is how it was when we first week down after we had signed for it.
We went down for an hour on Thursday too as Kit was a bit better, and I started weeding the patches that already have yummy things growing in. We have inherited a rhubarb patch, a strawberry patch, two gooseberry bushes, a thornless blackberry bush and another unidentified berry bush.
We also discovered one, very small, lonely carrot. Which Kit was desperate to eat!
P.S. We don't always eat in the bathroom but Kit was supposed to be washing his hands and the carrot and he couldn't wait any longer!