31 December 2017

Our December and our year 2017 in family portraits

This past year I've participated in a family photography challenge - the idea is to take a family picture, with everyone in it. No-one behind the camera, all three of us there. I started it late, in February, kicking it off with a holiday picture of us at Butlins. Altogether we managed to get 10 family pictures together, which isn't too shabby! The only months we missed were January and September. September was skipped over due to general tiredness caused by pregnancy, I just couldn't face sitting on my computer after spending all day long yawning at the office. This month our family pictures are from the one and only snow day we had here in London - we made a snow pony with our My Little Pony mad daughter. 

family and snow pony

So anyway, in December I have been loving:
  • Christmas tree - got it at the beginning of the months and it is staying till the twelfth night!
  • Having a proper long holiday off work, and staying home. 
  • Homemade gingerbread biscuits <3
  • The one snow day we had!
  • Going on a Camden-bound canal boat for our work Christmas do.
  • Having the 20week scan and finding out the gender of the baby...
family picture in snow

Aili has loved:
  • My Little Pony's - drawing them, making paper ponys, talking about them, singing about them....
  • Meeting Santa and giving him his letter
  • Having Santa bring over ALL the Mane Six Pony's for her Christmas gift. 
  • Getting even more My Little Pony's as Christmas gifts. 
  • Writing and spelling out words. We are starting to get little sentences now written, and lots of cards to everyone. 
  • Being the narrator in the school nativity play.
David has loved:

family photograph playing in snow

This year has felt at times a whirlwind - which I suppose it quite common with a young family. It has felt very good to top the busy year with a very relaxed holiday back home, not really doing much. As for the rest of the year, in spring I went to Finland to see my grandfather, and that was a really nice trip, even if very short. In August we bought our first tent and went camping for the second time as a family. I still haven't actually written of our trip and really should get going with that post! 

In September Aili started her reception class - for a long time she told us it was boring, but it looks like she is starting to enjoy it more now, thankfully. And perhaps the most exiting thing this year was that in autumn I found out I was pregnant with our second child, and finally announced it in November. 2018 is going to get even busier!

And here are our family pictures from February to December. 

family picture at butlins

family picture at a wedding

family picture at home

family picture at a park

family picture at birthday party

family picture at lavender fields

family picture by the fire with marshmallows

family picture at a park peeking from behind a tree

family picture announcing pregnancy

family picture playing in snow

29 December 2017

Exploring London on a Christmas Eve: Our hectic but fun day

I've been really enjoying this Christmas holiday. For the first time ever I'm neither working through the holidays nor flying to Finland to see family. I am just home, relaxing, not really doing much, spending an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas, and forgetting which day it actually even is. And it's feeling good! 

But to go back to our Christmas Eve... We had a very very busy one after deciding to really enjoy what London has to offer to get you on the Christmas mood. 

We had to wake up bright and early as we had some plans to meet the man of the day! Aili decided to write him a letter, all by herself, and hand deliver it to him at Royal Albert Hall. It said: "I bin good. Plp pony. Love, Aili, XXXXXXXXX". It means "Dear Santa, I have been good. Please can I have My Little Pony's? Love, Aili, Kiss kiss kiss".

family picture

letter for santa

letter for santa

girl reading a story

girl playing a piano

little girl in an elf hat

room decorated in snow

snow queen and wishing tree

little girl in an elf hat

santa at royal albert hall

santa at royal albert hall grotto

Once we got to Royal Albert Hall and loaded up on coffee, one of Santa's elves took us around the hall to complete musical tasks, story-telling, singing and meeting the Ice Queen, and leaving a Christmas wish on a wishing tree. We met Santa, and Aili gave him his letter and he gave her a little gift - a wooden flute, small kaleidoscope and jingle-bells. 

After Santa, we popped over to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, or the place otherwise known as hell on earth. It was lots of blinking lights in a typical fairground style, lots of temptations for a four year old, who wanted all the rides, all the balloons, win all the games, and eat all the sausages. We skipped all the shows and the activities, as our little one was getting rather unmanageable. I have to tell you, without the kiddy input, it's a lot more chilled! About an hour and a half later, and our wallets £30 lighter, we went to do some last-minute shopping and came home for a traditional Finnish Christmas dinner. 

hyde park parrots

green parrot at hyde park

winter wonderland sign

german bratwurst at winter wonderland

ride at london winter wonderland

little girl eating a sausage at london winter wonderland

dad and daughter looking at rides at london winter wonderland


fishing game at london winter wonderland

family selfie

mum and daughter at london winter wonderland

kissing mummys tummy

And as the last thing of the Eve, we each got one gift. I'm Finnish and there you get all the gifts on Christmas Eve. As a nod to that cultural heritage, one gift on Christmas Eve is one of our family traditions now. 

And that was that for our Christmas Eve. It was busy, but fun, and next year, I think it would be nice to try do something similar again!  

getting a christmas eve gift

christmas lights


gifts under the tree

santas snack plate

What did you do for Christmas Eve?

19 December 2017

A few lovely Christmas gift ideas for mums

For last-minute buyers here is another gift guide for the important women in your lives - mums! There are pampering gifts, jewellery gifts, and just general fun gifts, all perfect for those women in your lives. And if you are looking for gift ideas for the little girls in your lives, do remember to check my gift guide for kids! And don't worry if you are a bit last-minute - I've only just ordered my husbands Christmas gift and I had to get a special delivery for it.... Sometimes life just gets busy!

Christmas gift guide for mums

As a mum, I always think some of the nicest things you can get are something to do with pampering and something just for her. As mums we spend so much time looking after the little ones and always thinking of them, and so very rarely ourselves, so it is nice to get something that is purely for our benefit, preferably slightly luxurious. So here are some of my top picks for mums. This post does include affiliate links, which means I might get a couple of coins should you buy anything through the links and you won't have to look for best places to buy these items!

centime heart necklace with three hearts

Jewellery can be a bit difficult to buy, but you could always go with something classic and simple. Centime does gorgeous personalised jewellery for mothers, alongside other pretty jewellery, and I chose to have a Mother Daughter Heart necklace set. There were many designs to choose from, including a similar heart set for three generations, a moon and stars set, and a variety of pendants personalised with names, but this really appealed to me. I haven't shown the matching necklace to my daughter yet, but I bet she will love it.

hair tie bracelet from uncommon goods

Another jewellery item I got was from Uncommon Goods, which is a website offering an eclectic mix of items from independent designers. As soon as I saw the Hair Tie Bracelet I had to have it - what a great and stylish way to solve the annoying problem of having a hairband on your wrist! The bracelet is gorgeous, although unfortunately way too small for me to use. It is good for wrists up to 6'5 inches (16.5cm), so perfect for mums with slim wrists!

anna wright make-up bag with pink flamingos

Practical gifts are always very useful too. A make-up pouch will always come in handy, and I loved the designs on Anna Wright's flamingo pouch. Anna Wright is a Scottish designer and illustrator, who does gorgeous, colourful and joyful prints for home-ware and various gift items. They are all very very cute, in that somewhat whimsical English way, with lots to choose from.

red heart shaped umbrella

Another practical gift, an umbrella sounds boring, but you can find so many gorgeous designs nowadays it would be shame to stick with those boring black ones. Crimson Heart Umbrella was something that immediately caught my eye when I saw it - this unusual umbrella is also from Uncommon Goods. Pretty and practical - I can't wait for it to rain so I can start using this!

lip balm and facial care

For beauty-related little stocking fillers lip balms and hand creams are perfect. I can definitely recommend EOS lip balms, which come in lots of lovely different scents, and the Hershey's lip balm sets are gorgeous too with their chocolatey smells... As for hand creams, in my opinions the best handbag-ready handcreams come from both The Body Shop and L'Occitane. I've recently fallen in love with Thalgo facial care as well - their very gentle oil-based cleansing milk and exfoliator are perfect for pampering dry winter skin. 

lush bath bombs

Pampering beauty products are both nice little stocking fillers and work as smaller gifts too. Lush do gorgeous bath bombs and the Lush sets for Christmas are fab - there is something for all budgets and they come pre-wrapped too! I love Lush bath bombs - they really do pack a punch when it comes to delicious smells.

a woman in white dressing gown

And for those practical soft packages I've got a couple of ideas... A luxurious dressing gown is something I've wanted to have for ages, and I finally stumped up for one. Only the softest and fluffiest was good enough, and I absolutely wanted it to be luxurious cotton (polyester mixes just don't feel quite the same) and finally found a perfect specimen from Marks & Sparks

And another soft package I've got waiting for me underneath the tree this year is a pyjama set - by Hush. I got a Hush set ones as a gift at a sleep-related blogging event, and it quickly became my favourite pair to wear to bed. Hush pyjamas are soft, brushed cotton, lovely and thick, but still comfortable, and feel just luxurious. Love them!

Lovely Christmas gifts for mums - including jewellery designed for mums, lovely pampering packages and other slightly luxurious, mum-only items!

What have you got for the mums and other ladies in your lives this Christmas?

christmas tree and a lightbox

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