Christmas Present Wrapped in Gold and SilverWith the holiday season approaching, you are probably already looking for the perfect gifts. Whilst many ideas come to mind, finding the right gifts can be a challenge. So, why not think outside the box, and look for presents that keep on giving. The following are eight types of gifts that adults and children will enjoy for months (and years) to come.

Memberships and Classes

Season passes to the zoo, art museum, science centre, fitness club are great for individuals and families alike. An annual membership to the aviary, aquarium or local amusement park, provide hours of fun as well as memorable moments. Another idea would be to give the gift of a class… dance, music, riding lessons, art… any course that is in line with your loved one’s special interests.


Certain pieces of jewellery withstand the test of time. For example, a quality charm bracelet from Michael Hill Jewellers is a gift that you can add to over the years. Just purchase a new charm and add it to the bracelet each time a special occasion occurs, such as a birthday, a wedding, a birth… Likewise, watches, rings and necklaces created from precious gems and metals are gifts to be treasured now and always!


A subscription to a favourite magazine or a ‘gift of the month’ club is truly a gift that keeps on giving. Select a food, floral, or even a craft-kit subscription and a new gift will arrive each month.

Hobby ‘Baskets’

Alternatively, create your own ‘hobby basket.’ Fill a large basket with a set of baking supplies and a cookbook, science  kit, watercolour supplies, wool and knitting needles, sewing materials… the list is limitless and custom tailored to the receiver’s unique interests.



Movie tickets, concert, sports or tickets to the theatre make for truly memorable experiences designed to match your loved one’s passion.  Coupons, tickets and gift certificates are gifts for any time throughout the year. Restaurant, tea and coffee house, bowling, miniature golf and skating are events that you can also share with each other.

Travel and Outdoor Supplies

If your family enjoys travelling, camping, or gardening, outdoor supplies that match their interests make terrific presents. Fishing equipment, water sports equipment, gardening supplies, or travel and camping gear (such as sleeping bags and flashlights) are great gifts that provide endless hours of recreation.

Indoor Activities

On the other hand, if you have friends and family members on your list that enjoy being at home, craft-activities, movies (DVDs) books, games, puzzles, music, bath supplies, stationary, photo/memory albums, or writing journals make ideal gifts that allow hours of enjoyment.

Other Gifts                                  

Many everyday items make excellent presents… new linens, lamps and household décor, bicycles, basketball hoops, skates or skis, scooters, toy and jewellery boxes are just a few examples. Learning tools such as magnets, building blocks, magnifying glasses, easels, magic kits, gardening tools, binoculars, maps and globes, calendars, clocks, a microscope or telescope, and computer learning programs are other ideas.

If you want to give gifts that keep on giving this holiday season, think ‘outside the box.’ Give everyone on your list a timeless gift chosen just for him or her


make it your own playhouse challenge

We have recently taken part in the Walton's Playhouse Make It Your Own Challenge along with 5 other parent bloggers.

The Challenge

We were tasked with constructing and decorating our new playhouses but we had to get our thrifty heads on. The idea was to try and use recycling and up-cycling of items around the house. We were allowed to spend up to £50.


The playhouse was very easy to put up and had nice clear instructions with it.

make it your own walton's playhouse challenge


The next challenge was to decorate our new playhouse. As we have a boy and a girl we had to go for a colour that they would be like so we opted for a baby blue.

make it your own playhouse challenge.1

In total we spent £35.50 all together, £30 on the paint & £5.50 on the flowers the rest of the bits we already had around the house. I was hoping to get my hands on some left over second hand paint but it wasn't meant to be so we had to buy new. We did have quite a bit of paint left over though so we can always use that for another project.

Make It Your Own Waltons Playhouse Challenge

We used up some scraps of material that I found in the garage to make some pretty bunting to go over the front just to finish it off.

Make your own bunting

We also use some old planters that we had lying around and gave them a lick of paint and attached them to the front.

make it your own playhouse challenge.3

The Finished Playhouse

make it your own waltons playhouse


Make it your own waltons playhouse

The Voting

Now the playhouses are completed photos of the finished products are going to be uploaded to the Walton's playhouse Facebook page where people will be able to vote for their favourite.

We have really enjoyed taking part in this challenge :)

When you play the lottery, you know that you’re not incredibly likely to be appearing in all the tabloids after the draw, celebrating your exceptional luck at having won the jackpot. It could happen to you, of course it could, but the chances are always slim.

Usually it happens to someone else. So what have they done to improve their chances? Well, the short answer is that they probably haven’t done anything much to win the jackpot – it’s just that chance has dealt them a lucky hand. However, there are some ways that you can make sure you get the best value out of every £1 you spend on playing the lottery.

[326/365]  Lottery Money
Image by Lisa Brewster
1) Choose which lotto you play with care. While all lotto odds are slim, some are slimmer than others. Have a look at you’ll see that the odds of winning the Irish lottery are around 8 million to one, and while that might sound like a long shot, it’s not when you compare it with a 1 in 13 million chance of winning the UK National Lottery and a 1 in 117 million chance of winning the Euromillions draw. Your money will be better spent on a smaller lotto where you have a greater chance of being the winner.

2) Think about the numbers. Don’t play numbers that other people are likely to choose. So birthdays are out (any numbers between 1 and 31) as are traditional lucky numbers like 7. Also avoid choosing regular patterns when choosing your lotto numbers as many other people will do likewise. By choosing less commonly picked numbers, if you do happen to win, you’ll have fewer other winners to share the prize money with.

3) Finally, buy your lottery tickets online. Some lottery websites offer money back guarantees when you first play on the site, so at least if you lose you’ll get your money back. The other benefit of playing the lottery online is that you never have to worry about losing your ticket, and if you do happen to win anything, you’ll receive an email notification in case you forget to check the numbers yourself.

When you’ve taken all these steps, the only other thing you need to do when playing the lottery is to keep your fingers crossed – it might just happen to you!


Before the week has even begun, women everywhere seem to be faced by a series of unwanted niggles.

From almost missing your important business flight (because your taxi driver was intent on taking you along the scenic route) to discovering you’ve picked up your child’s packed lunch box instead of your own, life’s little niggles have a tendency to ruin our day.

Finally, you arrive home to discover the freezer door has been left ajar, more dirty dishes than you know what to do with and a message from your babysitter informing you she won’t be able to make it after all…

These niggles often occur on a daily basis and sometimes in the most inconvenient of situations. In fact, as Triumph’s video campaign shows, women experience niggles almost everywhere they go.

Thankfully, this video gives us one less niggle to worry about and women all over can now enjoy the benefits of a comfortable bra. The Magic Wire bra from Triumph promises to deliver all the support of an underwire bra without the ‘underwiring’.

The traditional underwiring has been replaced with a clever piece of silicone – gone are the days of adjusting, tightening and loosening straps, the Magic Wire bra will sit just right.

Alongside their new bra launch, they’ve also launched an entire campaign – encouraging women everywhere to share their own niggles. After all, a niggle shared is a niggle halved. Also on board is the team at The Huffington Post, who feature some great content from celebs and comedians – just like us, they suffer from daily niggles too!

Why not share your own annoyances using the #nigglefix and see what happens. You can get involved in Triumph’s campaign by checking out their latest Twitter feed and Facebook wall. From helping others with their own niggles to learning how to tackle yours, you never know who you might share a niggle with next!

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Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Badge


Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it.

To read more about Thrifty Thursday please click here.

I have moved quite a few times in my life, more times than my age actually! Every time I underestimate how much organising and effort it takes. It always seems to end with a manic dash at the end and results in me randomly stuffing our worldly possessions into boxes in no particular order!

I have recently come across this handy checklist that could be really useful the next time we decide to move on, which I have no doubt will happen at some point.

moving checklist

Image source Eco Movers

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I have a lovely little competition for you today...

Child Friendly Matters Competition

Child Friendly Matters are offering one lucky winner a family meal for 4 at one of their child friendly accredited businesses (all in Devon).

To enter simply use the rafflecopter box below. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions apply. Please read before entering. 

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When it comes to puppies, what’s not to love?  With their gorgeous balls of fur, big eyes and oversized paws that yearn to be cuddled, what more could you want in a pet?

Bringing a puppy into your family's life can be hugely rewarding experience for everyone involved; however, with all the different breeds available how do you pick the right one? To help you choose your new puppy here are four amazing family friendly breeds to consider.

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies
Image credit to Randi Hausken

If you're lucky enough to spot someone advertising Siberian husky puppies for adoption  then your search for a puppy is over. You can find these gorgeous high-energy creatures at your local RSPCA centre along with other dogs that are ideal for families with children.  Huskies are well known for their friendly and gentle nature making them ideal companions for your little ones.  Intelligent working dogs, huskies are very alert and adaptable so as your children grow and your domestic life changes, your canine companion will adapt with you.

Huskies love to run so there's no danger of your children tiring them out and, so long as you socialise them properly, you won't have to worry about them being aggressive towards other dogs when you're all out for a walk.


Labrador Retrievers

A labrador retriever is an excellent substitute if you can't find a husky. These even-tempered dogs behave well with children and are easy to train. If your household already includes a cat then you have nothing to worry about as these eager-to-please dogs are also very feline friendly.


Nikko Bulldog
Image credit to Sabian Maggy

While bulldogs might not be the most active and energetic of breeds, their stocky build and strong sense of patience means that they will withstand virtually everything a boisterous family can throw at them. They don't mind whether they live in a large house with a garden or a small flat on the first floor, so if your situation changes you'll still have happy and contented dog.


A beagle's even temperament makes it an ideal companion for children; they are gentle by nature whilst being very friendly and loyal. Children will adore playing with these dogs as they love to join in on fun and games.  With bundles of energy, these cute companions won't wear out easily, so they'll keep the children thoroughly entertained with enough energy leftover to enjoy a stroll with you in the evening.

I'm going to have to admit that I was very un-thrifty last week but we were on holiday so I think we are allowed one week off, however I would still like to see your thrifty and frugal posts.

Thrifty Thursday

Thrifty Thursday Badge


Thrifty Thursday is a weekly linky and a place to share your thrifty posts. It doesn't matter if they are old or new and can be about anything to do with saving money and being thrifty. Whether it be a post on cutting back on your food shop or your latest thrifty find link it up, I'd love to see it.

homeYour family are the closest thing to you—they’re often the people you feel the most love for and the only people that will be there for you day in and day out. As a parent, your children and your family are the most important things in your life and protecting them is your number one priority. So in the same way that you wish to protect your family, perhaps the home that shelters your loved ones ought to be protected too. Here are a few ways home insurance could be the most beneficial investment for you family.

Family time

When given the opportunity to protect something, you are simultaneously given the opportunity to further enjoy it. If you are paying money into insuring your house, you are giving yourself permission to enjoy your family and your family home.

Without having to stress about keeping things crystal clean and damage free you can learn to appreciate the small cogs that keep your family turning; watch your children play and enjoy their home without worrying about damage. Insuring your house can bring you closer to your family, no longer be bad cop and instead join in on the family fun.

family time

Peace of mind

Whilst enjoying your family time, having peace of mind that your beloved home is protected can really boost your mental state. By lessening the number of things you have to worry about you are giving yourself the opportunity to live a more open and happy life. Stress can not only cause mental instability but it can also have physical repercussions, eliminating as many causes of stress in your life can really benefit you in the long run.

Financial stability

Through investing in home insurance, there is encouragement for you and your family to budget. You are forced to spend responsibility and push for a more financially stable environment for your family. Not only will this once again help give you peace of mind but it will also help you and your family appreciate the money you do spend. So let More Than home contents insurance encourage your new leaf of a well budgeted bill of family spending as well as protect your home’s contents from potential damage.

It won’t always be sunshine and roses in your family home; between fights and tantrums it can be hard to see the light, but with home insurance you can be rest assured that your family’s most prized possessions won’t factor into the disagreements.

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