Category Archives: christmas

An open letter to Vtech

Dear Vtech,

Merry Christmas.

I really hope that all your employees have a very merry Christmas, I also hope that none of them have purchased a Vtech Innotab, Innotv, Digigo or Innotab Max for their kids because like so many other children this Christmas they will be very disappointed on Christmas morning when they open their new toy to find that they can’t use it.

You do realise that you are a toy company I assume, although I know I should just assume things really as that can backfire. Since you sell the products you also know how much they cost, parents pay out quite a lot of money to buy your products for their children, then pay out more for games cartridges, which at £15+ a pop isn’t cheap.

I am one of those parents who thought that the Innotab Max would be a great Christmas present for my nearly 3 year old.  She will be able to use it and leave my tablet and laptop alone. It’s a good learning tool, it’s got games that she can easily play, it will grow with her and help her with reading and writing at the same time.
A win win for us both in my opinion.

I actually bought it months ago from Tesco when it was on a really good offer and hid it away until Christmas. So yesterday I got it out and charged it up. Once charged I went to set it up so that it would be ready to pick up and go on Christmas day, well what 3 year old has enough patience to give mummy their new toy to fill in all the boring important info and get it set up when all they want to do is play?

It’s only after I couldn’t get it to register online and checked the link that pops up did I discover that due to a data breach in November I am unable to register my product, That would be ok if I could bypass registering it for now and still use it properly without “this isn’t available” messages, but without registering the Innotab, it and games that I have also bought wont work, so its pretty much useless.
The link also says that you will have a solution by Christmas eve, and share it on Facebook for all to use.

Well Christmas eve the solution has finally been published now but I need a microSD card to be able to do it. So another trip to the shops is needed as well as a spare hour to do the download, and firmware update!
How am I meant to do this Vtech on Christmas eve, I’m working till 2pm, have things that I need to do and will have the toddler with me?

I really hope that it fixes it, but I have my doubts.

Effectively by being quiet about the hack, not making people aware of the issue surrounding registering products, or by publicly announcing the problems it you have just lost the trust of consumers.

I hope that you do fix the problem with learning lodge soon so my little girl can use it fully but I will definitely have second thoughts about buying a Vtech product now.

your sincerely,

An angry and upset mother

*update* – 14/01/2016 – Well as I suspected the firmware update didn’t make the Innotab Max much better to use. They still haven’t fixed the issues or given a date as to when it will be fixed other than “mid January”, Which is tomorrow and there has been no new information in a while.

It’s December and our Elf has arrived.

It’s the 1st of December and that means a few things…

  1. It’s Christmas this month.
  2. Chocolate before breakfast is a must.
  3. Our new elf Happy has arrived.
  4. I really need to finish my Christmas shopping.
  5. I need to find time to wrap all the presents.

This year is the first year that C is really old enough to understand and get involved properly, so I decided to get her an unofficial “Elf on a shelf” as I don’t really like the official one.

So meet Happy as C has called him.

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He arrived with C’s advent calender, some chocolate coins and the magic elf door to the north pole.

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C loves him, she even got dressed as an elf as well and wanted to bring him to Guides this evening to show the girls.
We were doing crafts this evening and while she was distracted I managed to turn a left over box into Happy’s new elf bed.
So of course he had to go up and sleep next to her tonight.

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He of course has now flown off to the north pole to report to Father Christmas, and will appear somewhere else tomorrow morning.

I just LOVE how excited that she gets, do you or did you ever do elf on a shelf when your kids were little?

Christmas eve eve

Today is Christmas eve eve and I can’t believe how much I still have to do!

I have fudge, shortbread, truffles and 2 different types of cupcakes still to make.
There are presents to wrap, toys to build and hampers to make.
Oh and 9 Christmas cake to ice and decorate, 6 of those are mini cakes so its no as bad as it sounds.

There are not enough hours in the day to get everything ready for Christmas, the house although clean isn’t tidy enough.
Luckily no one is coming to ours for Christmas this year so although the messy really annoying my mum I don’t think it will all be sorted out in the next 48 hours.

so my plan is as follows.

  • Go home from work at 7pm and eat some tea.
  • Put all the things that we have sorted out to be stored in the loft.
  • Get the baby ready for bed.
  • Put C to bed.
  • Make the truffle mix, and chill it.
  • Make the shortbread mix, and chill it.
  • Make the fudge and chill it.
  • Ice the Christmas cakes.
  • Bake the shortbread.
  • Cut the fudge and portion it out.
  • Decorate the Christmas cakes.

Christmas eve

  • Up, dressed and get to Morrisons for opening at 7 am.
  • Bake chocolate cupcakes.
  • Bake vanilla cupcakes.
  • Build the table and chairs for C.
  • Build the kitchen for C.
  • Make chocolate buttercream and decorate the chocolate cupcakes.
  • Make salted caramel buttercream and decorate some vanilla cupcakes.
  • Make coconut lime buttercream and decorate some vanilla cupcakes.
  • Make the hampers up and wrap them.
  • Breath, have some tea, a glass of prosecco and relax.
  • Get C ready for bed.
  • Put C to bed.
  • Go to bed and hopefully sleep.

So I don’t have too much to do, but while doing all of this I will also have C while she is awake.

The next 36 hours will be fun!

Baby Ballet Christmas

Yesterday was the last class of term for C’s baby ballet class, and it was Christmas themed so I made her a red no sew tutu.
I think she looked lovely in her white top, red tutu, Rudolph red tights, red cardigan and elf hat ( that has bells on).

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She had fin joining in doing the hokey cokey, singing along to When Santa got stuck up the chimney, twirling and dancing and having fun.

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She even kept the outfit on for the rest of the day, She came with me to post the last of the Christmas cards.

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And even kept it on all day while we were at my grandparents.

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She didn’t want me to take it off to change her for bed, I think I have a girly girl in the making.
especially since if you ask what she wants for Christmas, she replies with “shooos” (shoes)

Holiday cards*

We always buy holiday cards for all our family, since Dan and I getting together and having C the list of cards that I need to buy has increased. I have bought a few but still have at least 20 more to buy for grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins etc.
I still have at least 20 that I need to buy and write, sometimes I think that it would just be easier to do like they do in American movies and programs where they get dressed up in jumpers and hats, and all pose for a picture to put on their cards to send to family and friends.

I’ve always though it was a fun idea to have something personal to send from your family to others. It lets them see how your are all growing and changing, and means that they wont have multiples of the same store-bought cards and I wound have to battle my way through a crowded card shop with a toddler trying to help.

I wanted personalised cards when C was getting christened but I couldn’t find any that I likes and that fitted in with our style, so a I ended up making my own.

I’ve been looking online at Christmas cards and seen some absolutely lovely photo holiday cards that I would just love to get to send to our family and friends so that could see just how much C has grown.
We have quite an extended family who are scattered all live the country and who we don’t see as much as we really should sending them a card like this would at least mean they can see what an amazing little girl C is becoming.

These are a few of my favourite designs that I have seen in my browsing :-

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Whirlwind Christmas card $2.84 each (for 25) from minted.com  –
I love the simplicity of this card, just your photograph and the message.  I love how they can each be personalised with photo’s and wording inside and out, allowing them to be completely personal.
I would choose to have a folded card as they are the style I prefer but you can get it as a flat (postcard style) card instead which is a little cheaper.

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Destination luggage tag holiday photo card $2.84 each (for 25) from minted.com –
This is such a pretty luggage tag style card, I have seen this style of design of a few sites including www.minted.com and www.funkypigeon.com.
I really like the luggage tag style cards although they are less traditional in style and the older generations might not like them, they appeal to me.

MIN-YMP-HYC-001CHRISTMAS_A_PD

Joyful holiday wishes card $2.84 each (for 25) from minted.com  –
Again this card can each be personalised in photo’s and wording inside and out, allowing them to be completely personal. You can also select different wording ( holidays or Christmas) as well as different colour ways.

The Minted cards are from an American company so the prices are in dollars and have a minimum order of 25 but they do ship internationally, and at the moment have a free personalised envelope offer on when you order cards which makes them just a little but more special.

I think I have left it a little bit to late this year to get these cards made to send, but I might get them for next year if I manage to get my butt into gear and get things sorted earlier.

*disclosure – I have been offered money off products from minted to write this post. All written thoughts and opinions are unbiased and my own*

Letter from Father Christmas*

I was asked a couple of months ago if we would like to review a personal letter from Father Christmas.

Even though C is a little young to fully appreciate it I jumped at the chance because what little girl (or boy) doesn’t deserve a letter from the big man himself!
It will be a lovely thing to add to her memory box, as it’s dated for this year and has her age and the toy she wants.

I went on to the Lapland mailrooms website and was able to enter in C’s details. They ask for the child’s name, age, gender, what they are hoping for, a special friend’s name and you can even add a PS to the bottom of the page.

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You probably can’t read the letter as the writing is quite small but it is very well worded and creates a lovely image for children of what Father Christmas is doing in the run up to Christmas.
I chose to add the PS “You were such a good girl on your 1st big holiday in Florida” as it is a special memory from this year.

I chose letter version two as I preferred the wording on there but there are a few different versions if you have more than one child to get a letter for. There is also a babies 1st Christmas choice.

Each letter comes with a free personalised good child certificate, signed by Father Christmas.

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You can also include an activity pack with the letter that has a Santa please stop here, elf yourself , Christmas tree decoration and door hander colouring sheets as well as a Christmas card to colour in.

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The price for all of this is just £7.95 or without the activity pack it ins £6.95. They are lovely quality and a cute addition to our Christmas countdown.
There is still time to go and order them now for this year but you would have to be quick.

*Disclaimer – I was sent this letter and activity pack free for the purpose of the review but all opinions are my own*

My favourite Christmas experiences

With Christmas being less than 11 weeks away all our preparations are well underway.
Presents have been bought, list are being written and plans are being made, we will soon be starting the deep clean of the house in preparation of decorating and I will be starting the Christmas cakes.
I love Christmas and have gotten my love of the season from my mum.

My mum just adores Christmas it is her favourite time of year and she will start singing Christmas songs as early as August,  We have now come to an agreement that she wont start until after my birthday in mid September ( although I usually have to remind her of this when she starts humming them)

We have a few traditions in our house that I love.  Continue reading

Holiday season pictures!

Just some select pictures from our christmas celebrations!

Christmas eve outfit!  Bought by nanny last year all ready for this christmas!

Christmas eve outfit! Bought by nanny last year all ready for this christmas!

Baby C with her christmas balloon

Baby C with her christmas balloon

Christmas PJ's definitely going to be a tradition.

Christmas PJ’s definitely going to be a tradition.

Secret elf gift exchange! This is what we got....

Secret elf gift exchange! This is what we got….

An amazing handmade keyring!

An amazing handmade keyring!

A scarf covered in Owls and an absolutely  gorgeous owl nappy!

A scarf covered in Owls and an absolutely gorgeous owl nappy!

Christmas morning, Baby C didnt quite know what was happening!

Christmas morning, Baby C didnt quite know what was happening!

Baby C in her christmas outfit at Nanny and granddads. The dress was from Primark rrp £8, Cardigan is Next rrp £8, shoes are also from next.

Baby C in her christmas outfit at Nanny and granddads. The dress was from Primark rrp £8, Cardigan is Next rrp £8, shoes are also from next.

Christmas win nappy! I used it as a wrap on christmas day.

Christmas win nappy! I used it as a wrap on christmas day.

Christmas night, after opening crackers and wearing her christmas hat.

Christmas night, after opening crackers and wearing her christmas hat.

Tired out from all the fun!

Tired out from all the fun!

Christmas countdown! Still to much to do!

Its the final Christmas countdown now, only 3 sleeps to go until the big day and I am not ready. Or at least I don’t feel ready in the slightest, I still have presents to wrap, baking and decorating to do, and things to sort out. I am usually at exactly the same stage at this time every year but as this is the 1st year I also have a a little mini me to constantly keep an eye on it makes everything seem 10 times harder. I am working today until 10pm, then I will need to go home and IF Baby C is asleep then I might be able to get a little more wrapping done. Then trying to get an earlyish night as its go go go on Monday.

2 sleeps to go! – Tomorrow (Monday) I need to get up early and do housework, find and wash the baby’s tights for Christmas day. Then wrap and decorate cakes ( 2 to go) while the baby is playing with her dad (as he is luckily off tomorrow so will have to pull his weight and keep her entertained). Then I am meeting my friend for some food and to exchange gifts at about 4.30, then food shopping at 7 pm with family. Some more baking (mince pies and shortbread) and making (peppermint creams), and putting the baby to bed at some point. Then finish the wrapping if I have any. Some where in all that I also have to wash/ dress/ feed/ change the baby and make sure she naps. I also need to find something for me to wear on Christmas day for lunch as I still havnt got anything.

Only 1 sleep now- Then Tuesday which is Christmas eve I need to get up early, go get the french stick and any last minute foody bits ( by this point I’m glad we eat out every Christmas as I don’t think trying to cram in cooking food would NOT work) Making sure all presents are ready for the next day and try to relax and enjoy myself a little. At around 7 pm we have our picky bits tea and watch some TV as a family. At 8 pm on Christmas eve I have a special present to open from my Elf in the Christmas gift exchange with my mummy friends. 

No sleeps its here!! – Then there is Christmas day itself, up to do presents at home – I have no clue how long that will take with 4 adults and a baby, then time to get dressed, do hair and make-up as we are eating out, and make sure baby is ready. Me, Daddy D and Baby C will then head up to his mums so we can do presents with his family at about 10.30/11am. Me and Baby C will then be heading out for lunch (as Daddy D is such a fussy eater that he wont eat a Christmas dinner he will be staying at his mums). Our lunch is booked for 1.30pm then home to drop off presents and pick up others before a trip to my aunties to see my mum’s side of the family. Who knows what time we will eventually get home!

It doesn’t feel like its only 3 days till Christmas the weather is too warm, and I don’t feel like I used too. I’m not sure if that’s because this is my 1st year as a mum so I am more aware of the organisational bits that need doing or that I am just trying to make it special as its Baby C’s 1st Christmas that I haven’t let myself relax to enjoy the season yet. I know next year will be much more fun as she will be more aware of whats happening but this is her 1st so it should be special! 

Are you ready?