Word of the Week – Christmas

What other word could there be this week than Christmas. The last presents have been wrapped, the tub of chocolate has been opened and food shop has been done.

I’ve cleaned the house from top to bottom several times over. The kids are full to the brim with excitement and the CBeebies panto has been on repeat since weekend.

I had lots of last minute work come in this week so things have been hectic to say the least. I’ve decided that what doesn’t get done tonight will have to wait until after Christmas. I’m well and truly ready for a break from the daily grind.It’s been so nice having Daisy home this week, we have done lots of fun little festive activities. I’ve even had a lie-in which is a rarity in this house. On Christmas eve our house will be full of family and delicious food. The children will get the jam packed hamper I’ve put together for them.

The evening will be spent trying to sneak presents under the tree and building a dolls house. Chris and I will then spend some time together watching a film, I’m opting for Scrooged this year.Of to bed we will go in anticipation of an early morning wake up call from excited children. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

I wish all of you lovely readers and fellow bloggers a very happy Christmas, Thank you for all your support this year and for returning each week to read my waffle. 

The Reading Residence

Festive Fun and Christmas Traditions

Daisy has finished school and all my work is done so it’s time for us to have some festive fun. With a whole week ahead of us I’ve made sure we have something festive to do each day to keep us busy. The excitement about Father Christmas visiting at the weekend is building so distraction techniques have been deployed.

Some of our usual Christmas traditions have fallen by the wayside this year for one reason or another. We have been able to start what will be some new traditions for us too. As the children get older I’m sure we will add to them.

For years we have chosen a new bauble each for the tree and it’s definitely something I want to continue so we must try harder next year.

Our usual drive round the neighbourhoods looking at Christmas lights hasn’t happened either unless you include the ones we have spotted on the way to shopping.

One new thing we have done this year is to decorate a gingerbread house. The children loved doing this and I’ve already added it to the ‘must always do’ list. I’m not sure what they enjoyed more, the decorating or the demolishing afterwards ! This morning we got out the craft box, drew some Christmas trees and decorated them with colours and stickers.The rest of this week will include lots of the following

  • glittery play-doh with festive cutters
  • watching Christmas films
  • reading ‘The Night Before Christmas
  • listening to our demonic snowman sing his own special version of ‘Frosty The Snowman’ on repeat (truly frightening)
  • Eating way too many mince pies
  • excited giddiness and merriment

I’m hosting a little Christmas eve get together for the family. I’ve also put together a basket full of goodies for the kids to enjoy on Christmas eve. Once the kids are tucked up in bed Chris and I will enjoy a takeaway.

Christmas morning will bring excitement, happiness and wonder and I can’t wait.

RachelSwirl

Five Hidden Costs of Christmas

This evening we made a mad dash to buy Daisy a nice dress before her class Christmas party tomorrow. I’ve known about the party for over a week but it suddenly dawned on me this afternoon that a recent growth spurt meant she had nothing suitable to wear. Although I thought I had budgeted pretty well for Christmas it got me thinking about what other hidden costs the festive season can bring.

Here’s a list of five things that might get missed out when planning a Christmas budget.

1. Batteries There’s nothing worse on Christmas morning than hunting through the junk drawer in search of batteries for newly unwrapped toys. I think a lot of us simply forget to add these essentials to our Christmas shopping lists. Stock up while there are offers on or opt for the more budget friendly rechargeable batteries.

2. Stamps If you send Christmas cards or presents by post you are going to need to stock up on stamps. To keep costs down you could look at using one of the cheaper alternatives like My Hermes.

3. Childcare Are you going to need a babysitter over the festive season ? If you have parties or events to attend you might want to think about this when planning your budget.

4. Unexpected Visitors Keeping a little bit of extra money in your present budget might be a good idea in case people decide to visit unexpectedly. Hopefully they will give you enough warning so you can pop to the shops for some extra mince pies and a bottle of wine.

5. Fuel Both visiting and having visitors can mean an increase in fuel costs. You might need to fill up the car more than usual if you have a lot of people to visit. Being at home more and hosting  parties could see a rise in the amount of gas and electricity you use. Budgeting an extra few pounds in the months before should help cover any extra costs.

There are probably lots more little hidden costs, I think the only way to avoid them is to plan ahead. I hope this post has helped you with your Christmas budget.

 

 

A Christmas Tree in November

Up until Friday we didn’t have a Christmas tree at all. In a mad January declutter we threw our old decrepit one away with the intention of picking up a snazzy new one in the sales. Needless to say this never happened.

Traditionally I like to put the tree up on December 1st and with that date approaching I had to bite the bullet and pay full price for a new one, ouch. That’s not really the point of this post though.

All across social media I have seen people putting their trees up and making their homes all festive since the beginning of November. I will admit that I scoffed at their eagerness. Once home with our new tree I bet you can guess what I decided to do next.

Yes, I the traditionalist have my Christmas tree up, decorated and twinkling whilst we are still in November. The Christmas soft toys are out and the festive scented candles are burning away.img_30371The children had great fun decorating it with the eclectic mix of baubles we have. img_30591 img_30441 img_30471Our house is that little bit more cosy and warm and it feels lovely. I’m not sure if we will always start the festivities this early. I’ve been so stressed lately it’s just the tonic I needed.

When do you put your Christmas tree up ? leave me a comment I love hearing from you.

angela

RachelSwirl
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Christmas Gift Ideas For Kids

I don’t know about you but I find choosing what to buy for my own or other people’s kids really difficult. Here are some ideas of the gifts you could give this Christmas.may-every-joy-be-yoursthis-holiday-season-2

Disney Princess Belle Magical Tea Party Cart

This adorable musical tea party from Jakks Toys is the perfect Christmas present for any little Disney princess fan. You can read our review and see what we thought of it.

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Buzzy Friends

Buzzy Friends have published four books based around the adventures of a group of animal friends. Written by Michael Walter for his grandchildren and illustrated by Nick Owen these colourful books contain a ‘Buzzy Code’ to gently guide children about good behaviour.

A Buzzy White Christmas would make a wonderful stocking filler and The Original Penny Whistle is a wonderful way for children to learn to play an instrument.

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OKIDO

OKIDO is an arts and science magazine for children, it’s packed full of stories, activities and games for children aged 3-8. The magazine helps children to learn about arts and science in a fun and stimulating way.

A 1 year subscription to the magazine would make a lovely gift, there are lots of other gifts available and my particular favourite is the Messy Monster Large Talking Soft Toy.

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Fuzzikins Craft Dozy Dogs & Cozy Cats

If you are looking for something to do together over the Christmas holidays then the adorable Fuzzikins Craft Sets from Interplay are just perfect. I like the Dozy Dogs and the Cozy Cats. We recently reviewed the Cozy Cats set you can see what we thought here.img_28231img_2154 The Kids

If you are really stuck for ideas and want to buy something a little different for your children then make sure you check out The Kids website. The website is run by two lovely Mamas from Birmingham who sell the most beautiful toys, games, books and much much more.  I particularly love the Babylit Books  and the Rabbit Night Light .

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I hope I have given you a few ideas to start off your Christmas shopping for the kids.

angela

*We received some of the products in this guide free of charge, this post also contains affiliate links *

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Gift Ideas For The Family

I love giving gifts at Christmas, there is nothing better than treating someone you love and seeing the delight as they unwrap the surprise you have chosen for them. The gifts I love the most are ones for the whole family so I’ve put together this gift guide to give you some ideas.may-every-joy-be-yoursthis-holiday-season

Create Gift Love 

Create Gift love  sell the most beautiful personalised gifts made from ethically sourced wood, leather and stainless steel. All of the products they sell are made to order in their workshop in the New Forest, UK and individually hand checked for quality before dispatch. This gorgeous Retro Fairy Lights personalised wooden wreath is the perfect gift for the family.

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Blossoming Gifts

Blossoming Gifts have a wide range of gifts available online, from fresh hand-tied flowers to personalised gifts as well as hampers and wines. I think a hamper is a lovely gift for everyone to share and I particularly like this festive Mulberry Gift Box.

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Family Board Games 

There are so many fabulous and fun games available that would complete any family Christmas get together. My recommendations would be Pie Face , Googly Eyes and What’s Up? .

61itu15rgzl-_sx425_Paladone

Paladone sell a huge range of fun and quirky gifts suitable for everyone in the family, from gadgets to funky home homeware. This Star Wars Stormtrooper Cookie Jar would make an awesome gift for any Sci-Fi mad family and makes a funky addition the kitchen.

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Buy A Gift

Buy A Gift sell lots of amazing experiences, short breaks and days out all over the UK. Giving the gift of a day out or an exciting experience would delight any family, the memories would certainly last longer than any physical gift.

wyoming-1678957_1280I hope that I have given you a few ideas for what to buy for families this Christmas.

angela

*This is a collaborative post, some of the items in this guide were sent to us free of charge*

 

December At The Webster’s

December has flown by so quickly, as every month does towards the end of the year and this month has certainly been busy here at the Webster’s.

I threw myself into entering competitions, and there were plenty to choose from with the advent competitions running alongside the usual suspects and December turned out to be an extra lucky month for us with some fantastic prizes won.

I also spent a lot of time deep cleaning each room and getting extra organised in preparation for Christmas and it really paid off as for the first time in years I had time to just relax and spend lots of time playing games with the children before the festivities began.

Anyway here’s this months highlight’s.

  • We celebrated Daisy’s 4th birthday.
  • Daisy went to the cinema for the first time and decided she didn’t want to go ever again.
  • There were parties, grotto visit’s, nativities and fun and games at nursery this month.
  • I found the exact desk I was going to buy for Free !
  • Jake’s teeth decided to all come though at the same time which was fun (not!).
  • FrugalMrW made some more lovely profit with matched betting and bingo offers.
  • We’ve had an excellent month for prizes, freebies and online earning.
  • We celebrated Christmas quietly at home.
  • We celebrated Boxing day with family.
  • We got new fences in our garden giving us totally privacy at last (yay!)
  • I found the joy in my favourite hobby again.
  • We crafted lots.
  • We used very little heating thanks to the mild weather.
  • We used up lots of leftover’s.

December At The Webster’s 

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I’ve really enjoyed writing these monthly round up posts and I will be back at the end of January to share the highlight’s with you.

Have a good new year, here’s to a frugal and fun 2016.

Angela xx

 

 

 

 

How We Paid For Christmas In July

I know some of you will be rolling your eyes in despair and shouting at the screen that it’s too early to be mentioning Christmas but stick with me as the links to the sites I use for earning online could be valuable to you.

My husband and I have six children between us and one grandchild so you can imagine the cost at Christmas can’t you, we’re not huge spenders we don’t go crazy but of course we do like to treat them all.

The only way we can afford the cost of Christmas is to start preparing early, being organised and earning a little extra money, this means we can pick up bargains throughout the year to spread the cost.

With all of my husband’s wages going towards bills and debt repayment there’s little room to save for Christmas so a few years ago I started doing surveys and saving up the vouchers that I redeemed to put towards gifts, but this year I’ve managed to go one step further and pay for the whole of Christmas early.

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Back in May this year I discovered a fantastic site called The Money Shed , you can read my blog post about it,  because of that forum, it’s wonderful members and brilliant owner I have been able to earn enough to pay for Christmas and I’ve even been able to sort some birthday gifts out too !

I must point out that as with anything in life, you have to put in the time and work hard to see good results but even if you have only got a couple of hours spare a day you can still earn a nice little sum.

Here’s a few of the ways that I’ve been earning to get you started, there are so many more sites I could list but this blog post would be way too long so I’ve picked the ones I earn the most from.

Prolific Academic  is my absolute favourite survey site, the surveys are interesting, high paid and you an cash out at just £5 (although if you cash out at £20 you avoid the PayPal fees).

MintVine is another favourite, I’ve cashed out $10 three times since I joined up in June, fun surveys and some even lead to product testing and focus group opportunities.

GlobalTestMarket pays out at £30 but the surveys are highly paid so it’s easy to reach this amount at least once a month if you fit their demographics.

i-say pays out in vouchers, the surveys are interesting and often lead to products to test.

Valued Opinions pays in vouchers, the surveys usually pay anything from 50p-£2 and you can cash out at £10.50.

SwagBucks you can earn in lots different ways with this company, I usually stick to the surveys, you can redeem gift vouchers or Paypal.

I’ve also been using apps like Field Agent, Task 360 and Yoobic , they pay you for completing tasks like mystery shopping and auditing.

We’ve been selling our unwanted items through local selling pages on Facebook, Gumtree and PreLoved, great excuse for a declutter !

I really hope this post can help you earn a little extra money, if you have any questions please leave me a comment and please do check out The Money Shed for loads more brilliant ideas.

Disclaimer: This post contains referral links.