Living Arrows 52/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

For our last Living Arrows of 2017, it seemed only fitting I share some pictures I took of BattleKid on Christmas Eve. This Christmas has been quite a change for us. For one, we’re in a warmer climate, and although it bucketed down, it was still hard to get into the festive spirit with sunshine in between and temperatures around 16-18C. 

The other thing is we are in a small two-bedroom holiday home and the majority of our belongings are in long-term storage until we buy a house which is a few years off. So we have had to borrow a tree from a family member and we’ve had to buy some decorations for it. And although we’ve made it as nice as we can, it just doesn’t feel the same.

We also did not have BattleKid’s Christmas Eve box, in which we had loads of things to entertain him while waiting for bedtime. And I really missed it. He got new pyjamas and socks, thanks to our new Primark only 3o minutes from the house. But I really missed getting his Christmas Eve box ready and using it on the day. I’ve decided I’m fishing it out for next Christmas no matter what. 

But I did manage a few pictures of him in front of the tree. And here they are. I hope you all had a great Christmas. See you in 2018!

living arrows - BattleKid ready for Christmas and the arrival of Santa BattleKid ready for Santa Bauble selfie with BattleKid

 

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Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters and Travellers

So, the blogging world is a frenzied place with Christmas gift guides for one and all floating about. However, something that I haven’t seen so far is a Christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters like BattleKid. Gifts that will inspire travel among them or get them excited about forthcoming trips and holidays. Gifts that can be easily popped into their luggage to take with them on their travels.

christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters

Photo by DiEtte Henderson on Unsplash

Luggage space can be at a premium for some wanderlust families, particularly if you are a family that travels with hand luggage only. That said, some of the gifts that I’ve chosen to feature can be enjoyed at home in the run up to a holiday to get the excitement juices following.

I, myself, have been on the hunt for little gifts for BattleKid that we can take with us when we travel. Things that won’t take up too much room and that might either brighten up our luggage, so it is easily identified on a luggage belt, or things that are educational and fun for BattleKid. And I think I’ve found a few gifts that tick those boxes, and which might be ideal for your budding wanderluster. I’ve included one or two things which we’ve already bought or received which I thought I should share with you.

Without further ado, here are my tops picks.

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

A Personalised Luggage Tag from Bags Of Love.*

Bags of Love is a new website I have recently stumbled across which has a range of gifts that can be personalised with your own pictures. This online London store has everything from Blankets and Mugs for cosy winter nights in, to Suitcases and Luggage Tags for those that love to travel.Luggage tag from Bags of Love

I designed a luggage tag for BattleKid with his name and photo on it and my telephone number on it, in case his luggage ever gets lost. Both BattleDad and I are really impressed by this luggage and tag and both agree it will make identifying his luggage pretty easy. The personalised luggage tag costs just £14.00.

A Letter From Santa Direct.

Why not get your little one a personalised letter from Santa, especially if they will be away on the big day. With Letter From Santa Direct, your little one can receive a letter from the big man that is fully personalised to them, including their age, an achievement they did during the year and what they most want for Christmas.

Order it before your journey and you can ensure they have a letter from Santa with them while they travel. They will also receive a text message from Santa on Christmas Day. You can also get an activity set to accompany the letter. A Letter from Santa costs just £4.99, and a Letter and Activity Set costs just £8.99.

A Personalised Jigsaw Puzzle from TinyMe.*

There are so many beautiful gifts available from TinyMe for little ones, but my favourite is the personalised jigsaws. Double-sided, there is a huge range of options to choose from and even better, it arrives flat, in its own felt pouch which will lie flat in a suitcase, or in a carry-on bag and doesn’t take up much space or weight at all.personalised jigsaw puzzles from tinyme

We received one for review recently and it is just perfect. We chose the alphabet jigsaw to help BattleKid to learn and recognise his letters and it will definitely be coming on our holidays with us next year.

Subscription to Little Passports.

I have been eyeing this up since I first noticed it on Facebook early last year. However, BattleKid was too young for it and I’ve had to bide my time until now. That said, if I want to subscribe for him, I need to do one year’s worth of the World Edition at a time in order to get them shipped to Portugal. But you lucky people in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Singapore and South Korea can subscribe monthly.little passports

Their Early Explorers subscriptions are ideal for those aged between 3 and 5, while the World or USA Editions are geared towards those between the ages of 6-10 and 7-12 respectively. There is also a Science Expeditions subscription available. Subscriptions start at £12 per month for the World Edition or £15 per month for the Little Explorers. However, if you opt for an annual subscription you can save some money. Ideal for learning about the destinations you might be going to or filling in the time between trips.

A Simply For Flying Flight Logbook

We have had a Simply For Flying Flight Logbook for BattleKid since just after his first ever flight and we’ve been documenting his fights ever since, and getting the captain’s signatures and message as well. On our last flight with British Airways back to Faro, the captain very kindly filled in his book. He also totalled up the air miles BattleKid has completed and it now stands at over 36,000 miles. I had no idea he’s done nearly 10,000 air miles for each of his years. He will have more next month when we visit Paris and so far, we have at least one set of flights booked for next year with another two more return trips possible. If only we could convert his completed air miles into miles we could offset against flights!simply for flying flight logbook

Either way I cannot recommend this gorgeous little book more as a lovely way to document your little wanderlusters flights and travels. It is the same size as a passport, so you can store it with them and easily hand it to the flight crew as you board the aircraft. I’ve reviewed it on the blog before and it costs just €14.95 which is about £13.20.

A Subscription to the Hopster App*

The Hopster App is an app that helps children learn through the shows they love. It is a safe and educational learning environment that also has games and even HarperCollins books too. There are over 800 episodes of children’s TV shows to choose from including Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam, over 100 songs and nursery rhymes, curriculum-based games for learning and there are no ads EVER.hopster app for kids

You can use it on your pc, tablet or phone and the fact you can download your children’s favourite tv shows to your mobile device means they can still watch them while on the move. Great for little wanderlusters. There is a free 7-day trial so you can test it out, and then it costs just £3.99/month with the option of cancelling at any time. BattleKid has been enjoying this in the afternoons after kindergarten and has very quickly learned to navigate his way around the app.

LeapFrog Epic Tablet**

We bought a LeapFrog Epic for BattleKid as his leaving-the-UK present when we emigrated to Portugal earlier this year. We had been after something that was more suited to his age group than a normal tablet (although he has one for movies and TV shows).my sunday photo

The LeapFrog Epic is an Android tablet and is one which grows along with your child. What BattleDad and I love about the Epic is, not only is it Android -based (our preferred mobile platform), there are no in-game purchases or harmful adds, and we can put a timer on it too, therefore limiting BattleKid’s time on it. We’ve even downloaded some movies and TV shows onto it from our Amazon Prime account. There are lots of age-related games you can install, including educational ones and BattleKid loves having it for travelling, which just so happens to be the ONLY time he gets a tablet. The LeapFrog Epic is available from all good retailers including Amazon. It’s RRP is £119.99.

Price: £97.99
Was: £119.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you have found this Christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters useful.

Cath x

*We were kindly sent these items as part of this gift guide or for a separate review, although all thoughts and opinions of the products are my own.

**The links to these products contains affiliate links. That means that I receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you.

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

 

 

Christmas at Home or Abroad, What’s Your Take?

Yes, I know it’s only October but did you realise there are just 10 weeks until C-day. That is Christmas Day! It got me thinking about whether it is better to spend Christmas at home or abroad. We went away for Christmas last year but I wondered whether other families go away. Is it a regular occurrence or do they prefer to stay at home?

christmas at home or abroad
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Last December we flew to Tenerife for Christmas with BattleKid. We had wanted another holiday before the year was out and thought it might be nice to get away for Christmas and escape the cold, wet winter of Wales and spend it in the sun. We also thought it might be the last time we could get away with it before BattleKid started realising just who Father Christmas is and whether he could still find us if we were away from home on Christmas Eve. However, although we enjoyed ourselves and it was nice to not have to worry about cooking a big meal or cleaning up afterwards, I didn’t feel quite right about it.

We had our own Christmas on New Year’s Day when we got back, with Father Christmas making one last special delivery on New Year’s Eve to deliver BattleKid’s main presents, and I cooked Christmas dinner the next day, trimmings and all. It was lovely but it just didn’t sit right with me, if you know what I mean.

This year everything is different. We will be spending Christmas here in Portugal with my parents and my nephew who is flying over on the 21st for 10 days. It will be warmer than the UK or Ireland and between my Dad and I, we’ll figure Christmas dinner out. BattleDad’s aunt at least knows a butcher who can sort us out with a turkey. Our huge 7-foot Christmas tree is in storage so we might have to buy ourselves a slightly smaller one, but I’ve mountains of decorations I can fish out. And Father Christmas has already had BattleKid’s present list.

And while we will be sort of spending Christmas in the sun, Portugal is now home and we will be with family. But I still wondered what other families prefer so I asked the blogging community what their take is on Christmas at home or abroad. Have they gone away, do they plan to go away, would they if they could? Or do they prefer to spend it at home? Here’s what they had to say.

christmas at home or abroad?
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Pete from Household Money Saving and his family usually spend Christmas at home. This means

We can do everything at our own pace. We once spent Christmas at our in-laws but didn’t really enjoy it. I constantly offered to help but always felt like I was in the way.

Being in his in-laws house meant their kids couldn’t get all their toys out for fear of making too much mess and Pete never felt like he could do what he wanted as it wasn’t his house. For him, he would choose Christmas at home every time.

Laura from Mumoam much prefers Christmas at home too. They have tried going to other peoples but

With a child in a wheelchair it is really stressful and awkward.

She much prefers hosting at her home as she also gets to choose what they eat.

Alina from We Made This Life never goes away for Christmas, not even to the in-laws. Her parents split when she was younger and she had to visit her Dad every Christmas Day (despite only seeing him that one day a year), and she hated having to go and leave all her new toys at home. For that reason, she will never go away for Christmas. In her words

I just need to be at home.

Alana from Baby Holiday says growing up she always had Christmas dinner at her gran’s house, having visited her other gran in the morning before dinner. So she wasn’t exactly away but still wasn’t at home for most of the day. Last year they took their boys to her gran’s house, her in-laws and her brother house and she felt it was far too much for one day. This year they will most likely stay at home

Although I’d love to go away somewhere and escape!

Kerry from Kerry Louise Norris is spending this Christmas in Australia with her family who emigrated there. She hasn’t spent Christmas away before although she is not worried about it as they’ll be  with family, so it should be special.

I know the food we will eat etc will be different to what we’re used to. We’ll just have to make it as magical as possible for the girls.

Jess from Mrs. Helicopter Writes once had Christmas in Athens aged 19 with her then boyfriend.

It was bonkers and brilliant. They get up late and stay up late…. I was still awake at 6am on Christmas morning so I opened my stocking (my mum had still packed for me) then slept until 2pm.

They then did family visits, tree presents and eventually more family arrived, everyone eating Christmas dinner at midnight! She loved every minute of it and would love to give her kids a foreign Christmas experience. She also once spent Christmas in Oz but said it was rubbish as it was cloudy and grey, so no Barbie on the beach.

Christmas at home or abroad
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Laura from The Mamma Fairy and her family rotate Christmas between her husband’s home place and their current home in her home town. Even though they have their own place at her husband’s home place, she still misses being at home.

I doubt we would ever go away for Christmas as we both love spending it with our families more since the kids came along.

Christy from Welsh Mum has a very small family so wouldn’t mind a Christmas holiday.

Not having any cooking or cleaning to do has a big appeal!

That said, she does love the familiarity and comfort of home as well, but if she is at home she spends a lot of the day cooking and cleaning up which isn’t the most relaxing. It comes down to cost most of the time. She would do Christmas away more often if it didn’t have the premium price tags associated with it. (I completely understand that.)

Michelle from The Purple Pumpkin Blog spent Christmas 2015 in Disneyland Paris and said it was so much fun, although weird to wake up on Christmas morning without all the decorations and opening of presents. That said they did get to spend Christmas Day with Mickey Mouse! Her sister and family also went and they all agreed it was a great Christmas. This year they are off to Walt Disney World as her son is older. She loves not having to worry about cooking a huge turkey and having tons of leftovers.

Alex of Better Together Home and her family are pretty much forced to split Christmas at either her mother-in-laws or her Dads. They started doing alternate venues years ago and it’s stuck. They have decided that they will be spending Christmas 2018 in Sweden, just the three of us as she is tired of always doing Christmas to suit everyone else!

Azaria from Being Mrs Lynch spent last Christmas and New Year in a cottage and she would do it every year if they could afford it. They had company in the form of her husband’s parents, brother and wife, along with their two-year-old and dogs, and says it was amazing to spend time together. They live 500 miles apart so don’t see them very often.

Jade of Mummies Waiting has spent Christmas at Walt Disney World and said it was awesome. Last year was their first Christmas in their own house and says

From now on we’ll go away before Christmas and stay at home on Christmas Day, it’s so much nicer.

Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes has had many different Christmases in various locations around the world including Australia (at 11, weird and not Christmas but fun), South Africa (at 18, fun but still not the same) as well as the Middle East and Bali. This year they are joining her mu in Jordan, where her brother and his wife will join them for New Year.

We’ve had so many different Christmases now I don’t know what is normal now. We are trying to create little traditions that we can have no matter where we are or who we are with. For me, Christmas has become more about the people than the place.

Hayley from I am River spent last Christmas in Dubai and it was amazing. This year they are off to Thailand!

Nellie from Nellie Pompoms had a Christmas in Australia with their eldest 2 and says it was bonkers seeing Father Christmas in the heat. They spent Christmas Eve in a hot tub before spending Christmas Day with family and their air con!

After lunch we went to the beach, then had drinks on the veranda, watching the kangaroos. It made a nice change to be away and the girls had a different experience.

Emma from The Money Whisperer always went away at Christmas as a child as her Dad owned his own business and it shut for Christmas. They went to Disney World twice and the Canaries a few times. As an adult she lived in Australia for 6 years so Christmas on the beach was a novelty but she missed ‘proper’ Christmas.

Now I have kids, I personally love being at home where the magic is for Christmas time. They are only young once.

Helena from The Queen of Collage has spent Christmas in America before but says

Being at home for Christmas is where my heart is.

Emma from Me and B Make Tea says they alternate between her husbands parents and her own. Christmas day they are at one, and the other on Boxing Day, alternatinf every year. It was fine when it was just the two of them but she says it’s a right pain now with their son.

It’s never relaxing, there’s so much pressure to please everyone.

She is sick of it and would much prefer to stay at home or jet off on holiday and stuff everyone else!

Christmas at home or abroad
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Ally from the SML Diet Blog usually hosts Christmas and her husband’s family go to theirs. While it is hard work, she enjoys being the hostess with lots of people around. Last year they spent Christmas with her sister-in-law and this year they are going to her husbands parents. While she is excited it won’t be the same.

For me, I have rituals around Christmas. So, 23 Dec is about cleaning the house ready for Christmas. Christmas Eve is about relaxing and not moving from the sofa (movie day) and then there’s the Christmas Day celebrations and it’s not quite the same without my rituals.

Star from Autism Kids on Tour spends every year at a log cabin at Forest Holdiays. The cabin is decked out with a real tree, natural decoration making kits and a Christmas hamper. There’s a hot tub, heated floors and full kitchen where she can cook the Christmas dinner with the ingredients and turkey she gets delivered to the cabin from a local farm.

It is so relaxing and we love our Christmas in the forest!

And solves the problem of who to visit at Christmas.

Carol from Family Makes went skiing over Christmas a few years ago and they are planning on doing it again this year. It guarantees a white Christmas and solves their issue of where to go for Christmas family-wise.

We would struggle to afford Christmas and a ski holiday, especially being tied to school holidays, so combining both is ideal for us and a huge treat for our kids too.

Donna of The Sleep Thiefs Mummy used to spend every Christmas alternating between her parents and the in-laws. Now they stay at home and have them visit them.

We’re the only ones in the family with young children – I spent the Christmases of my youth at home and want the same for my children.

Lynette of The Reclusive Fox used to visit her granddad as a child and it never felt like an upheaval. As an adult she always spent it at home, ideally with just the people that lived under the same roof, saving visits for other days.

I would love to spend Christmas in a hotel with our little family, but I do think some of the magic would be removed, there’s no place like home. But it would be nice to remove some of that Christmas stress that comes with expectation.

It’s amazing to see the different views on whether to spent Christmas at home or abroad. Some people go away to spend time with family, while others do it for less stress and hassle. But it’s also interesting to see so many people preferring to spend Christmas at home with family.

christmas at home or abroad?

Portugal is now home and for the first time in a long time we actually have family close by to spend it with. Before, we would have to go back to Ireland or invite people over to spend Christmas with family, but now it’s different. It will be strange to be in warmer temperatures than Ireland or the UK and I do hope we have sunshine. We rarely ever got a white Christmas in Wales, but I guess if we ever want one we can go abroad for Christmas when BattleKid is older. This year he will be almost four and I think it’s going to be a magical Christmas either way!

Are you spending Christmas at home or away this year?

Cath x

christmas at home or abroad? christmas at home or abroad?