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Send Some Love with Bloomable

November 28, 2018 | 3 Comments
Bloomable bubbly

Written in collaboration with Bloomable

Hello lovely people. Are you feeling Christmassy yet? We put up our tree last night and I’m starting to pore over festive feast recipe ideas. I’m dreaming of days by the pool, where I can forget about my email and focus on family, relaxing and good times.

Luckily my house is looking pretty nice actually, and it’s all thanks to a delivery I got recently from Bloomable. Who are these lovely sounding people? Bloomable officially rebranded from SA Florist earlier this month, because although they offer the most gorgeous blooms, they do so much more than flowers. Continue Reading…

Books, Parenting

Kids Birthday Gifts that Don’t Suck

May 18, 2016 | 6 Comments

Play-Doh TownCurrently I’m at a time in my life when I’m attending at least two or three kids’ birthday parties a month, if not more. Fellow blogger Sharon has written her Cardinal Rule for Hosting a Kids Birthday Party which I certainly agree with, but in this post I want to talk more specifically about gifts.

Kids love presents. And let’s not lie, so do adults. But while you may be able to get away with being disorganised when you rock up at your friend’s 35th birthday lunch empty-handed, you simply cannot do this at a kid’s party (or can you? I’ve been too scared to try). The trouble is that I find buying gifts for kids, especially those I’ve only known a few months, quite tricky (my kids both just started new schools!).

Firstly, you don’t know what they’re into, so I’ve started simply asking beforehand. I’ll email the mom or dad and ask what the kid needs or if there is anything they particularly want. But if I haven’t been organised enough I may find myself dashing into a toy shop during my lunch hour and staring wildly around, confused by all the shiny colours and the glare of plastic.

It’s hard, because many quality toys are expensive these days. And I don’t want to buy them something cheap and nasty and breakable that lasts all of two days. Or something that may look great but gets played with once and ends up at the back of the toy cupboard. I’m talking more about gifts you’d buy kids other than your own, so things like gadgets and bikes etc aren’t included here (although if you’re buying your kid’s friend an iPad for their birthday then you can come on right over).

Here are my top picks of kids birthday gifts that don’t suck, as well as some suggestions from other parents via social media:

  1. Play-Doh Town: This new collection from Hasbro is very cool because it adds a whole other creative element to Play-Doh. Often I’d give my kids play-doh and they’d cut out a few star shapes and then get bored. But this new concept lets them collect different characters like a policeman or hairdresser and then use the little figurines themselves to make shapes (i.e make a pair of sunglasses and then place it on the policeman). Each figurine comes with two little pots of Play-Doh and they’re priced from R115 upwards.Priddy Books
  2. Activity books: This activity colouring book from Priddy that I bought a while ago for Rachel has given her hours of entertainment – I completely recommend it for her age group of 5 upwards (and a good deal at R119 on Takealot). Melissa Volker also said her two slightly older girls love Top Models books – which sound like something I may be buying soon.
  3. Puzzles. Both my kids adore puzzles and Ben especially likes this one he got given recently by his godfather (from a toy shop in JHB). Once he has completed the different machine puzzles, he moves them around, goes beep beep and then pushes them all off the table so they break (boys hey).
  4. Music. Anything that makes music seems to have longevity in our house, whether this is a drum, a recorder (help me) or as Melanie Blignaut said on Twitter “The toy keyboard A got on her 1st birthday. Almost 5 years later it’s still played with just about every day”.
  5. Lego. I will be writing about the wonderfulness that is Lego in future posts but it was by far the most listed favourite toy by parents on social media. Dominique Harmse said “Lego! My son and daughter both love it and it is the go-to toy that their friends play with when they visit too”. Sam Taylor says her son’s Lego alarm clock is a winner as he isn’t allowed out of bed on the weekends until it gets to 7am (I’m going to try and adopt this idea!). A nice gift to club together with another parent or two and then buy.OhSoHeavenly
  6. Bath toys or bubbles: Any time I need to tempt the kids into the bath I promise them some bubble bath. This Oh So Heavenly one we got in our goodie bags at the CT Meet Up turns the water blue and smells “like roses” (according to Rachel) – it’s been such a hit.
  7. Pyjamas: They wear them every night and they’re a bit of a grudge purchase for parents so these are a goodie! My mom-in-law bought Ben a Batman onesie from Pick ‘n Pay and he has been wearing it every night.
  8. Personalised stuff. We have been using these melamine mugs and placemats from Lulu Designs at every meal. They make each meal an occasion and I don’t know what I did before them! The mugs are R100 each and you can personalise them with the child’s name. Buy a whole batch for birthdays in the upcoming year and you will be the most organised parent on the planet.
  9. Books. When in doubt, buy a book! These are one gift that keeps on going, over years and years, and which will always be treasured. Here is an older list of the top books in our house but many of these are still big hits – and I’ll be writing an updated list soon.
  10. DVDs and CDs: Yes I know we’re all downloading things lately but my kids still love looking through all of their DVDs and choosing a nice one to watch with a big bowl of popcorn. The same applies to musical or story CDs that you can use in the car – they aren’t something I think of buying myself and they make car journeys that much more bearable.

What is your go-to gift for kids birthdays? Let me know!

P.S. I was sent free/review product for Play-Doh Town, Lulu Designs and the bubble bath.

Lulu Designs kids mug