Entries Tagged as 'Gifts'

Japanese cloth gift wrapping

Do you know Furoshiki?  Don’t worry, it’s not a swear word but it’s a beautiful eco-friendly Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in cloth.  It comes from the old Japanese culture of caring for the environment and reducing waste.  Last week I was reminded of this beautiful Japanese cloth wrapping tradition when I was given a cloth wrapped gift by a cousin visiting from India.  She didn’t use a traditional Japanese cloth but instead used an Indian fabric which looked so pretty.  With the gift giving season coming up and since we’ve got a spate of birthdays before then, I thought it was a good time to start thinking gift wrapping and why not try something new and environmentally friendly this year?

Furoshiki wrapping cloths are available to buy in the most beautiful patterned Japanese fabrics.  They can be expensive compared to paper so think of them as part of the gift.  Otherwise you don’t have to restrict yourself to these – my cousin just used some off-cuts of fabric she had lying around the house so you can use practically any fabric that you have.  I’ve also seen gifts wrapped in beautiful tea towels which are very much a part of the gift. Once you get used to fabric wrapping, you can wrap practically anything in these cloths.  The Japanese don’t stop at gifts but also make pouches with handles to carry stuff around or wrap their lunch boxes in these cloths as some of the pictures above show.  I also love them for wrapping a bottle of wine – so much nicer than taking the bottle as is. 

This Japanese cloth wrapping method looks complicated but it’s actually quite straightforward – it’s kind of like origami with cloth but simpler.  In case you want some help, here is a good site showing you lots of different ways to use cloth wraps.  The site goes in to step by step instructions for different methods of cloth wrapping, making it easy to follow.  But for the simplest option, you can also get cloth wrap bags that tie at the top to make them look wrapped like in the third picture.   

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

donna wilson socks giveaway

The adorable raccoon and bear socks in my ebabee shop have been a huge hit.  They are the cutest, quirkiest things and look so cool on chubby little legs.  But today it’s the turn of the adults.  I have some quirky adult socks that I am giving away.  So if you’re one of those people who like to wear your colourful socks and curl up on the sofa or in front of the fire, this is for you.  These fun socks are by none other than Donna Wilson and I am giving away two pairs – a his and hers.  And even if not for you, with the festive season coming up, these Donna Wilson socks would make fun gifts for someone.  To enter the giveaway read on.

donna wilson aw15 collection

I have been a huge fan of all things Donna Wilson for a long time.  If you already know Donna Wilson, you’ll know that her designs are always colourful and playful.  The designs are just as much for adults as they are for kids which is what I love about her creations.  So I wanted to share some of my favourite pieces from her gorgeous new AW collections.  How cool is that women’s bear shawl?  It’s a super cute shawl but I also love it as a rug or a throw on a kids bed.  And the new melamine plates and bowls are really quirky too like that hungry wolf tray which I love for adding a bit of fun to my kitchen.  Now back to the giveaway.

donna wilson socks

THE GIVEAWAY:  One lucky reader will win two pairs of adult sized Donna Wilson socks.  One pair for her and one pair for him.  The winner will receive the women’s flower socks (fits UK shoe size 4-7) and the men’s mountain bike socks (fits UK shoe size 7-11).  To enter simply leave a comment on this post and you can also follow my facebook page to stay in the loop.  The giveaway closes on Monday 5th October at midnight (UK time).  Any entries after this time will not be counted.  Sorry, this giveaway is open to UK readers only.

This giveaway is now CLOSED.  Thank you to everyone who entered.  The winner is Lisa Hilton – congrats Lisa!

P.S. I’m guest posting over at the very trendy Paul et Paula blog today so take a look.

newborn gift ideas girlnewborn gift ideas boycute newborn gift ideas

Whenever I hear a friend announce their pregnancy, I get so excited for them especially if it’s their first.  Although these days most of my friends are on their second or third ones and even fourth ones (what are they thinking 😉  When you’ve had more than one kid, the chances are that you have more than enough clothes, toys and all the other baby paraphernalia you can possibly need.  So when it comes to newborn gift ideas for these babies, I like to try and think outside the box.  I recently came across Ma Premiere Box and thought it was such a sweet little idea especially for those babies who have everything.

Ma Premiere Box is a ready made gift box that comes in two sizes – small or large.  The small box contains an adorable stuffed toy, a security blanket, a notebook, some badges and a funny postcard.  The larger box has all this plus scented water and a tote bag.   This is all beautifully packaged in a cute keepsake box.  And there’s a boy version and a girl version.  I love that the box is just as much for the parents as it is for the new baby and I also love that you can be sure that your gift will be unique and fun even for a baby who has everything.  It’s also a great present to give from a group of colleagues or friends of the expectant mother.  Next time a friend announces their 2nd, 3rd or 4th child, I know what newborn gift I’ll be giving.

best baby boutiques online

When I was a kid, I remember visiting London for a holiday and my parents took me and my brother to Hamley’s toy store for the first time.  It was like a dream come true.  We were small, wide-eyed kids who couldn’t quite believe a shop like this existed.  We had only ever been to small toy shops before, so to see this kind of scale was almost too much for us.  Everywhere I turned, there were toys and games that went from floor to ceiling or so it seemed to me.  Toys that I could touch and feel and smell!  We weren’t allowed to buy much – we were each given a small budget but that didn’t matter.  It was the looking, the exploring, the touching and the just being there that was the best part.   I also think it would have been quite boring if we had unlimited budgets because where’s the fun in being able to buy everything.

unisex leggings for boys

Sometimes I think back on that experience and wish that all the brands I love for kids would be under one roof.  These days I am much more in to the non-mainstream stuff which can sometimes be hard to find and almost impossible to find under one roof.  While I keep dreaming about this fantasy shop that will probably never exist, I’ve discovered a virtual place that comes pretty close.  It’s called Little Flea and it’s a one-stop place to discover some of the best boutiques for babies and kids.

kids dress up wear

If, like me, you like to look beyond the mainstream and seek out something that little bit more beautiful or unique for your kids then Little Flea is the place to go to.  You’ll find familiar favourites like Bobo Choses and of course my very own ebabee shop too 😉 but you’ll also discover some very cool new lines like Little Indians (love them) and Magnus & Mouse.  Little Flea isn’t a shop but the owner Anna carefully hand-picks and features gorgeous stuff for babies and kids which otherwise would be very hard to find.  So it’s a great place to browse, discover and get inspired.

A little business tip – if you have a stylish small business or shop for kids then you too can get in touch with Anna and ask to be featured on her site.  Anna is very helpful and approachable and loves the brands and products she features.

monthly gift boxes for kids

Did you know that in Finland every expectant mother gets a baby box as a gift from the government?  The box contains all the newborn essentials she’s likely to need including clothes, bath products, nappies, a sleeping bag and even a mattress.  This is such a lovely idea and for those of us not in Finland I’ve always thought it would make a great gift idea for a mum to be.  It’s as if Almondella, a Finnish company read my mind because that’s exactly what they’ve done but taken it a step further.  They’ve put together a range of monthly gift boxes for kids that aren’t just for newborns but for babies and toddlers.

Now they’ve gone even further and partnered with Peggy (the super stylish blogger behind Paul et Paula) and together created this great box of delights.  Peggy thought why are these boxes for babies only, why not for older kids too?  So she put together a gift box that is unisex and perfect not only for babies but for all kids up to 6 or 7 years old.  The box contains fun decor items that will work in a nursery, a playroom or a kids room.  

childrens colouring books

Peggy kindly sent me a box for Anya and when I opened it there was much excitement from Anya and me.  Anya was immediately drawn to the iconic elephant money box (which needs no introduction) and the Evolution colouring book.  The Evolution colouring book is a colouring book but so much more too.  As well as colouring in the pages there are more interactive elements like flaps to lift, die-cut holes and stencils that can be drawn through and decorated.  And then there is text that describes the evolution of life.  So the book is fun to read, interact with and colour.

black and white poster kids roomFinnish gift boxes kids

I was excited with all the bits that will work so well in Anya’s new room but my favourites are the animal poster and the wall sticker.  The black and white animal poster has been created specially for this box so it’s not available elsewhere.  And then you have a wall sticker – either ‘You are loved’ or ‘Grow Strong’.  You don’t know which one you’ll get so it’s a nice little surprise.  Lastly you have the cute sleepy hedgehog cushion.

I’m always looking for exciting and unusual gift ideas and this box would make a beautiful gift for any child.  It’s a box of things that will grow with your child and they can keep for ages.  And the best part is that you pay much less for all the things in the gift box than if you had bought them separately.  This box is limited edition with only 50 boxes but I hope Peggy and Almondella will make more such boxes in the future because I so love the unisex, ageless aspect of it and of course the stylish Scandinavian delights inside it.

mealtime activities for kids

I’ve long been a big fan of Taro Gomi who I first discovered through the simple and very sweet book called My Friends which was Anya’s favourite book for ages when she was around two years old.  But it’s been a while since I’ve checked out anything more by Taro Gomi until last week when I had a birthday party gift to buy for a six year old.  I came across these fun doodle place mats and immediately bought it for the birthday girl.

taro gomi animal doodles place matskeeping kids busy at a restaurant

Sitting still at the dining table is still a bit of a challenge for Anya and many of her friends too so I thought these doodle place mats are the perfect answer.  They come in a book of 50 tear-off sheets and each page has a different drawing activity.  There is already a doodle on each page and then there are some instructions like the images show.  There are three different ones – animal, story and yummy.  Not only do these fun place mats for kids make unusual gifts, they’re also handy for a kids birthday party and they would be great to take to restaurants to keep kids occupied while waiting for their food.  I know Anya gets impatient at restaurants and asks to play with our phones which I don’t like to encourage.  But I would have no objection to pulling out one of these sheets to keep her busy.

kids book subscription box

I absolutely love kids books and can spend hours upon hours choosing books for Anya and then enjoying them with her.  We all know that it’s important to encourage our kids to read but to develop their interest and keep it going it’s so important to pick the right books for them.   Apart from searching online, I tend to ask friends and colleagues for recommendations, browse real bookshops in London and on holiday (where I have found some gems)  and I even ask on my facebook page which gets me some fabulous suggestions.  Over the years we have discovered many fab kids books in this way but there have been some disappointments too.  While I love searching for kids books, sometimes I wish there was a less time consuming way.  And that got me wondering about a kids book subscription box as there seem to be monthly subscription boxes for everything else these days!

I went searching and I found some – yay! In the UK there is The Willoughby Book Club where you can subscribe for 3, 6 or 12 months and it’s aimed at children from 5-12 years of age but they also offer toddler and baby book subscriptions.  You just answer a few questions about your child and the books are tailored to their age and interests.  In the US you have Giftlit which works in pretty much the same way but has a few advantages.  I especially liked that with Giftlit you get to see the books you are getting before you order and having briefly browsed their selection I have to add that it looks really good.  So if you don’t like the sound of one, you can substitute it with another and you can also return books.  This ensures you only get and keep books you and your kids love.  Lastly again in the UK is Prudence and the Crow who specialise in vintage books for kids and adults.  You don’t get to see the books which is a shame but I still like the idea behind the service.

I haven’t tried any of these book subscriptions yet but I am very tempted.  I love the idea of a kids book subscription box because of the element of surprise and also any kid would love to receive a monthly package in their name.  The anticipation would just add to their excitement of reading and enjoying the book.  And especially for those months when you don’t have time to search and find books you know you’ll at least receive one in the post.  Apart from your own child, these book subscription boxes would make great gifts too.  Have you tried one?  Where do you look for inspiration for your kids books?  Do you know of any other services?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

{photo by Abigail Fahey Photography for ebabee}

thoughtful gift ideas for new mums

If you had walked in to my home in the days after I gave birth to Anya, you would have been forgiven for asking if I had suddenly turned in to a florist.  You could not move for the beautiful flowers I had.  While I adore giving and receiving flowers, I think there are many more useful things that you can give new mums. I often get asked for ideas and so I thought why not share a few of my favourite new mum gifts on here.

Sometimes it’s hard to think beyond the obvious gifts like flowers, baby clothes, toys or anything for the baby. But chances are the baby will already have everything it could possibly need and much more so I think with a little thought you can give the new mum something that she really needs and something that may just help make those first few weeks and months a little bit easier.  Here are some of my favourite ideas for some unusual and thoughtful gifts for new mums:

gift ideas for new mums

1.  One of the biggest things new parents lack is time.  Time to look after themselves and that includes not being able to eat well-balanced meals.  So instead of a gift for the baby, you could give them a week’s worth of fresh meals cooked by you.  But if that’s not possible, you can still give fresh meals from somewhere like the Food Stork who have ready made boxes of lots of different meals that you can have delivered.

thoughtful gift ideas for new mums

2.  Another lovely and personal gift for a new mum is a pamper treatment – a facial or a massage would both be a much appreciated gift especially at a time when you’re not feeling your best.  This would have been top of my list of gifts to receive.  Think of how you felt in those days and weeks after a birth and then imagine escaping for a couple of hours to be pampered in a quiet, tranquil environment.  Pure bliss!

3.  Thinking on from pampering gifts for the new mum, you could even gift the new mum a baby massage session.  It’s a thoughtful gift that gives both the mother and baby some special bonding time that’s just for the two of them.  And the new mum will also get to meet other new mums around her.  There are many places that offer these but if you’re in London, The Portland Hospital has weekly sessions open to everybody.

4.  If you really do want to give something for the baby, then think about clothes in bigger sizes like 6-9 months or even 9-12 months.  The baby probably has more newborn clothes than she could ever wear so bigger sizes are much more likely to come in good use.  An alternative to clothes is a baby journal which is more of a gift to the parents but it’s something that will be kept and eventually be given to the baby. I remember my mum giving me my baby journal and it was so great to look through and read.

5.  New mums want advice, especially first time mums.  So I love the idea of all her friends and family (who already have kids) each writing down their best piece of advice in a beautiful journal.  It will be something fun and meaningful to read especially during those endless night feeds and it may just turn out to be the most useful parenting book ever.  This is what a friend of mine received and even though her son is now 5, that journal is something she will keep forever.

best gift ideas for new mums

6.  If the new mum in question has an older child or children you can buy little gifts for them to keep them occupied.  Things like reading books, colouring or puzzle books, board games and small toys will distract the siblings for a little while at least.

7.  Another thoughtful gift for a new mum with older kids is to offer to look after them or take them out for an afternoon so that the new mum can spend some one on one time with her baby.

ideas for gifts for a new mum

8.  One of the things I regret not having done properly is taking enough photos in the newborn days.  At the time I felt too camera conscious but I regret it now and I’m sure I’m not alone.  Newborn photography is very popular and it’s a wonderful thing because those fleeting moments will never come back.  So the gift of a photo session with a photographer who visits the new mums home is a wonderful thing to give as the memories will last forever.

9.  This may sound a bit impersonal at first but a voucher for the mum to buy something for herself is a thoughtful gift. It could be a voucher for her favourite clothes store or an amazon voucher if she loves reading or a voucher for her favourite beauty brand.  As a new mum it’s a treat to take a few minutes out and browse the internet looking for something you want that’s not baby related at all.

best gifts for new mothers

10.  One of the best gifts I received as a new mum was a 1kg box of the most divine chocolates ever.  That box of chocolates became my reason for being.  Every night, I looked forward to the time when my baby was asleep in between feeds and I could open that box and get my daily fix.  So the gift of a box chocolates or sweets or cookies, depending on what the new mama likes will be a sweet little gift and from experience I say the bigger the box the better!

thoughtful gifts for a new mum

11.  Last but not least, becoming a mum, especially for the first time, is a huge mix of experiences – some good and others not so good.  Loneliness is definitely one of the not so good things so instead of spending money on your friend, why not commit to visiting her once a week or more often if you can.  Once the dad has gone back to work, any new mum will cherish a bit of adult company over coffee and some conversation to help pass those long days.  This gesture will go far beyond any gift can.

Whats the most thoughtful gift you received as a new mum?  I’d love to hear in the comments.

This post is brought to you in partnership with The Portland Hospital – UK’s leading private paediatric and maternity hospital.  All content, words and ideas are my own.  Thank you for supporting my work with partners that support this blog.

"best books for 4-6 year old kids"

We are complete bookworms in this house.  I would go so far as saying almost more then adult books, I adore kids books and get excited every time we get a new one.  Christmas is the perfect excuse for me to go a bit over the top buying new books for Anya.  Last week I shared some great activity books for kids so today I wanted to share some story books.  Most of these books are suitable for around ages 4-7 years but of course can be read out loud to younger kids too.  Some of them are old classics like Puss in Boots and Aesops Fables but I’ve picked new and exciting editions which bring something different.  We already own some of these books and love them and the rest are on our wish list:

1. Once Upon an Alphabet | 2. Aesop’s Fables | 3. Ramayana: The Divine Loophole | 4. Sparky! | 5. My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am not) | 6. The Book With No Pictures | 7. All the animals were angry | 8. The Day The Crayons Quit | 9. Animalium (Welcome to the Museum) | 10. Pippi Longstocking | 11. Puss in Boots

"11 of the best activity books for kids"

My absolute favourite thing to gift kids is books – any kind of book from story books, to picture books to activity books.  Christmas gifts for Anya would not be complete without at least one book included but usually I give her many more.  If you’re crazy for kids books too then you’ll love today’s round-up of gifts.  I’ve chosen a range of the best kids activity books out there from drawing books to puzzles to colouring books.  These activity books are for a range of ages mostly from around 4 to 8 years but even younger kids can get stuck in with your help.  Here’s the selection:

1. Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists | 2. My Cut-Out Pictures | 3. Paper Play: Roll it. Rip it. Fold it. Snip it! | 4. Colour Me In!: An activity book | 5. Atlas of Adventures | 6. Illustration School: Let’s Draw (book and sketchpad) | 7. My Monster Bubble Writer Book | 8. Mobile Art | 9. Maps Activity Book | 10. Make Your Mark: The Drawing Book for Children | 11. Animal Kingdom – A Colouring Book Adventure

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