Reviewed by Angela Paull
As Halloween is now behind us, it’s clear from a walk around any High Street that Christmas is the mere blink of an eye away. What if you don’t fancy battling the crowds as you search for inspiration? Here are some Christmas products/ideas that could make you very popular this festive season.
One of the real chores in our household is getting our 6-year-old to write his Christmas cards so I was very excited by some of the stamps you can buy at www.stamptastic.co.uk (from £17.50 to£47.50). In particular what drew my attention was their range of customisable Christmas stamps. With lots of classic images to choose from, such as a snowflake, bauble, reindeer or Father Christmas, it was a tricky decision but in the end a jolly snowman seemed appropriate for a child of his age. Each image is accompanied by a little festive message – Happy Christmas, Wishing You a Merry Christmas etc. – which you can then personalise with a name(s) of your choice (by just sending a quick e-mail once you ‘ve ordered).
The stamps are designed to fit the Memento range of Inkpads, which are available in a range of seven colours from classic black to a rather festive red, and are very easy to use indeed. I found that you didn’t have to apply masses of pressure, when you were using the stamp, to get a really crisp and clear image on your paper/card – just perfect given that ours was due to be used by small hands. I daresay that Lucas may have found it slightly easier if the stamp had a little handle, but it is made with a nice sturdy block that is grooved along the edges. This means that it’s really easy to keep a grip of – plus you don’t get hands covered in ink!!
I can see this making the Christmas card “writing” a much less painful experience this year – in fact I’m sure he will positively whizz through it since he’s a massive fan of using stamps in general. Also great for adults too as there are so many ways you could use these stamps – cards, gift tags, on the outside of envelopes, you could even repeat print and create your own bespoke wrapping paper (but perhaps just for a small gift!!) With such a great range to choose from you’re bound to be inspired not just for Christmas but the whole year round.
A really great way of adding that personal touch but in a way that’s quick, easy and fun for all members of the family, whatever their age!
For anyone that has a new baby in the household (and is desperate for some sleep) the Whisbear (RRP £49.99) would make an ideal gift that both the child and parents would be grateful for! This little chap is designed to improve baby’s sleep by soothing them with “white noise” that replicates the sound of the womb. I found this idea really interesting as we have always used a musical sleep aid (which would immediately wake me) and Whisbear seems a much more natural approach.
The bear itself is a rather cute little character with a big cuddly head and four limbs. The limbs are especially designed for baby with a sensory crinkly sounding material inside and bold colourful patterns, that will really grab their attention. For those very early weeks he also has black and white ears that baby can focus on easily. At the end of each limb there is a magnet so that you can securely attach it around a buggy, car seat or cot bars. He is made from high quality, certificated fabric though so you can also leave baby cuddled right up to him knowing that they will be completely safe.
The clever bit is in the sound unit though. This fits into a pocket secreted at the back of the bear’s head and the premium device even comes with a “Cry Sensor”. This intelligent little gizmo analyses the sounds of the surrounding area but is particularly sensitive to a baby’s cry. You have the choice of how to use this. By pressing the button on the sound device it will just play for 40 minutes, at which point it will turn off automatically but you can also press the button again to switch it off earlier. If you choose the bear with the cry sensor all you need to do is prime the unit by pressing the same button for 5 second until it beeps. It can then be put silently with baby but is on alert for 3 hours and will “shush” at the sound of baby’s cry. I tested this as an adult pretending to cry and I was astounded with how quickly the unit came to life and started playing the “shush” noise. I can see how this could quickly calm a baby that’s stirred for no particular reason and give Mum and Dad a few precious extra minutes (maybe hours) of sleep. The volume of the sound unit is also adjustable so you can set the perfect level for you and baby.
Whisbear even comes with a Lifetime Guarantee – you can tell he was designed by two Mums, they’ve thought of everything!
Finally, how about sending someone flowers for Christmas? It’s time to ditch the Poinsettia that we all end up killing anyway and choose something a bit more thoughtful. Postabloom have created a beautiful letterbox bouquet with that very name – the Thoughtful bouquet (RRP: £21.99 with free delivery).
If you’ve ever had any reservations about the idea of sending flowers through the post then I can allay those fears. The bouquet cleverly fits into a long slim box that will fit through your letterbox and the blooms are so carefully packed that the journey through the post will do them no harm at all. If you order from www.postabloom.co.uk by 3pm they can dispatch the same day via the Royal Mail 24 service. This means that the blooms are still in tip top condition when they arrive.
When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation. Each stem’s flower was individually wrapped in netting to keep it completely protected. They were then covered in cellophane and tied with a subtle silver ribbon, into which was tucked a cheerful Happy Christmas card. Also included within the box was some cut flower food and instructions on how to best care for your bouquet.
The Thoughtful bouquet was a beautiful combination of pink, white and cerise alstroemeria, gypsophila and waxflower. The use of alstroemeria is clever, it’s one of my favourite blooms as it’s always lasts so well and I could see that it would be particularly suited to a postal bouquet. At the time of writing, it is just over a week since I received my bouquet and they still look fresh and new – I can see us getting another week or two of stunning blooms yet (which is much longer than I’d get out of that Poinsettia!!)
A quick glance a Postabloom’s website will give you a raft of choice between postal bouquets or more traditional courier delivered bunches/plants. This was the first time I’d ever received a bouquet through my letterbox though and I was super impressed by just how much they were able to fit into the box and what good shape the flowers stayed in. A postal bouquet also does away with that niggly problem of what happens if the recipient isn’t at home when their flowers arrive. It’s a win win situation all round!
What’s Good To Do will be reviewing lots of Christmas Gift Ideas this year, and you can read them all here and get some gift inspiration.