To share, or not to share?
Many of you have been in touch over the past few weeks, asking for book or toy recommendations, and asking about some of the items that I have bought for Bean for Christmas and have shared in my Instagram stories. I've been replying to messages as best I can, but sometimes I miss them (do you forget if you don't reply immediately?! I do!) so I am sharing it here for all to see.
To some, my Christmas shopping will seem minimal. To others it will seem excessive. To me, it is a selection of items that I've lovingly chosen for my daughter, which I've worked hard to pay for and which I know will be loved and cherished by her for years to come. I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to gift her such lovely things. I'll encourage her to take good care of them, and to pass them on for other children to enjoy when she is finished with them. My intention is to inspire and help, not to judge, not to make you feel inadequate or to encourage you to buy more. I hope that this post is received in that way...
Kids World Party by Putamayo Kids - We have a few CD's from Putamayo Kids and they are fabulous. You can listen to extracts from the songs on Amazon to help you pick out the one that you think your child will like best. We put these on when we're crafting or drawing, or pump up the volume if we want to dance. They're vibrant and eclectic and brilliant!
Uno - I loved this game as a child. Bean has played it at a friends recently and came home telling me all about it. I was looking for a card game to add to our collection as they're so portable, and this one fit the bill.
Harry Potter items - Bean is Harry Potter mad at the moment, so I picked her out a soft toy 'Hedwig' which I'll put in the very top of her stocking with it's head poking out. I also found this gorgeous little wooden music box which plays the Harry Potter theme music when you turn the handle. A chocolate frog and a Lego minifigure blind bag too.
A rainbow play silk from Sarah's Silk - I think I've actually changed my mind about putting this in her stocking. I think I'm going to use it to drape over her main gift (see below) as it is too big to wrap!
Kitsch hair ties from Boots - I wouldn't usually spend £6 on a small packet of hairbands (!), but these are quite special and in the style that don't get knotted in my daughter's wild curly hair.
Plus a Body Shop bath bomb (which Bean had a hard time putting down when we were last in there), a small sand timer for encouraging proper teeth brushing, some metallic pencils which we tried out in our local library recently, her annual Christmas tree decoration and a bag of chocolate coins. I'll put an orange and a £1 coin in her stocking too.
Something to wear...
Shoulder bag - This is something that Bean has asked for, and that I think she will genuinely get a lot of use out of. She is not able to leave the house without something in her hands (often a whole fist full of little things) and so I have intentionally chosen her a bag that is practical, with lots of zipped pockets, as opposed to something fashionable and designed for children.
Muddy Puddle ear warmers - I bought these from a seller on eBay, new with tags. Bean protests to wearing a lot of hats as she complains that they make her head feel itchy, but she also complains of cold ears so fingers crossed that these work out for her.
Oilily dress - This was another eBay purchase. I buy a lot of our clothes second hand, and this stood out because it is blue (Bean's favourite colour) and rather pretty. It might be a bit big for her as I usually search for the next size up, so she should get plenty of wear out of it.
Something to read...
Usborne Lift-the-Flap Periodic Table - We've had this book out of the library, and Bean LOVES it! I was surprised as I'd assumed it would be too sophisticated and information heavy for her, but I've been impressed by how much she has picked up from listening to me read it to her. We've renewed it again and again, but I felt that this was a book that we could revisit regularly and would be worth having a copy of our own.
Usborne See Inside World Religions - This book was recommended to me, but I haven't had a proper look at it yet. We are big fans of Usborne books, and I'm hoping that this book will close a gap in our home education provision as we haven't learned about world religions yet.
This Phenomenal Life: The Amazing Ways We Are Connected with Our Universe by Misha Blaise - This book has been on my wish list for Bean for some time, and has excellent Amazon reviews. I've had a quick flick through and it looks wonderful. The Amazon description says 'Every single atom of our body is made of remnants of stars and massive explosions in the galaxies, and we share the same biochemical basis of life with all living beings on earth, from a single-celled amoeba to a giant blue whale. Whimsically hip illustrations elucidate wild science-based facts, from the unexpected intimacy we have with fungi on a daily basis, to the similar ways that humans and birds learn to communicate. Powerful evidence of our interconnection with nature combined with beautiful artwork will inspire the reader to look at the world in a whole new way.'
Something that Bean wants...
Sadly, I'm not able to share with you a photo of Bean's main Christmas gift (it is bunk beds for her precious Holly and Isla dolls) as I have monumentally failed to erect them. I scoffed at the reviews where a few folk were complaining about how difficult they are to put together, because I pride myself on my flat pack skills. I put a double human bed together myself, for goodness sake! But when the instructions say 'Fix these two pieces together WITH FORCE' and you do not have such force, I admitted defeat. I've stashed them, semi-erect, in the attic, out of sight, until I can rally some help.
Something that Bean needs...
Warm winter slippers - Bean almost always has bare feet at home, but she gets cold feet when we visit friends and relatives, so these will be packed in our suitcase for our travels this holiday season.
Fairyland Mini Wall Calendar - This will be Bean's first calendar of her own. I'm going to suggest that we put it up on the wall in her bedroom so that she can mark her regular classes and activities on it, and count down to important dates such as birthdays and holidays.
Eeboo Stationery - Bean is beginning to learn to write and I am finding little notes and cards everywhere. I found this set of writing paper in TKMaxx, while riffling through the random book shelves in there (one of my favourite pastimes) so I'm unable to share a specific link I'm afraid, although there are a few similar ones available on Amazon. What I like about this set is that the writing paper itself folds up to form the envelope. Duel purpose, but minimal waste.
Extended Family and Friends...
As an only child, with separated parents, Bean receives a lot of gifts from family and friends on both sides. This year I have tried hard to encourage gift experiences. Her great grandparents have paid for her to have an annual membership pass to our local zoo, as she'll be taking part in a home education course there in the new year. Her uncle and auntie have bought her a gift ticket to Harry Potter World which I know will go down a treat!
She's a very very lucky child!
And so, it is with great excitement and anticipation, that I sign off now, and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I say it every year, but I have a great feeling about 2019!!
With lots of love,
Rowan and Bean x
A small note on affiliate links...
This blog post contains a few carefully selected affiliate links. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library. Please do not feel obliged to use them.