mothers-day-crafts-for-toddlers
baby and toddler activities, Parenting

Mother’s Day Crafts for Toddlers

I can’t believe I’m almost celebrating my second Mother’s Day as a parent – time really does fly when you’re having fun! I don’t know about you, but Mother’s Day for me is more than just a card and gift kind of holiday, it’s about really giving back. It could be because my birthday is also in March (UK Mother’s Day peeps), so I don’t really want or need any additional gifts, or it could be because I find time and experiences as more valuable gifts than anything you could buy in a shop.

I just think, what could be better than giving back some love and care which has went into some hand-crafted tokens of appreciation? Things like handmade cards go a long way in my book, although obviously I won’t be making any of these with Travis for myself (I’m not that sad!), I know we’ll have fun creating memories as we craft. Hopefully the grandmammas who are in line to receive the crafts appreciate the homemade gifts!

Here are 5 Mother’s Day crafts you can do with your toddler:

 

Mothers-day-handmade-card-toddler-craftsHandmade Cards

Handmade cards are always a winner, and no doubt you will receive some from nurseries and schools anyway. All you need is some card, coloured pens/pencils, and any additional 3D materials you want to stick onto your card. We opted for tissue paper flowers this year, using coloured tissue wrapped into a flower shape and stuck on with some craft glue via a glue spreader. I’m considering adding some glitter that’s gathering dust in a drawer, but not sure the mess and glitter for days is worth it!

Mother’s Day token booklet

The value of the tokens is completely up to you. If your toddler is already speaking and communicating well, why not ask for their input on the tokens? For me, I’d like tea and coffee tokens so that I can have a hot drink or 2 made (probably by dad) on request, and possibly also enjoyed whilst hot! A couple of the tokens could contain chores such, like a laundry token or dish washing token, or even a simple tidy-up token that your little one can do. Here’s a link to an interesting pin I found with some simple token ideas.

 

handmade-mothers-day-plant-pot-decorate

Decorate a plant pot

Flowers are a common Mother’s Day gift, so why not go that one step further and really personalise this gift by getting crafty? Plant pots aren’t hard to come by – garden centres, B&M, Ikea or online stores like Amazon will have a range to choose from – and decorating them is fun and easy. Why not get your little one to help paint it in mum/grandma’s favourite colour? Or maybe glue on some coloured letters spelling “Happy Mother’s Day” or “Greatest Grandma” or something similar?

If plant pots and growing your own flowers doesn’t fit with your mum or grandmother, you could always try decorating a vase instead.

Breakfast in bed hamper

Growing up, it was always traditional for mum to have breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. How much myself or brother helped, without setting off the smoke detector, was another thing however. Depending on the age of your toddler, you might not think they are ready to help with the breakfast in bed just yet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help prepare and decorate a breakfast hamper for mum. Many craft shops have small hamper baskets, or you can simply buy a small wooden box which can be painted and decorated. Why not help your toddler choose the contents (tea/coffee sachets, jam jar etc) and pack with shredded paper or cardboard – another sensory stimulant.

Mothers-day-personalised-photo-framePersonalised photo frame

What could be better than your toddler picking out their own unique memory of you or a grandparent and adding their own personal stamp. All you need is a treasured photo, and a plain photo frame that fits the chosen photo. B&M do loads in various plain colours and sizes. Then it’s entirely up to you – why not add polka dots in mum/gran’s favourite colour, or shade that matches the colours of their living room (or wherever you want the photo to be proudly displayed!). If you know that mummy likes flowers or stars for instance, you can always draw some on, or pick up some embellishments from your local craft store and stick those on. Similar to the plant pot, you can also add in a message like “Happy Mother’s Day” or “Best Mum/Gran in the World” or even a favourite quote or saying that’s meaningful to you.

 

mothers-day-crafts-for-toddlers

free-fun-indoor-activities-toddlers
baby and toddler activities, Parenting

5 Fun Free Indoor Activities for Toddlers

Spring has almost sprung, but if like me you live in a country where the weather is increasingly unpredictable, spring can be a gamble in terms of plans to make with your toddler. A few times in the past couple of weeks we have planned to go feed the ducks or visit farms, go on woodland walks and a number of other outdoor activities. Sadly, between rain, hail and even snow, it wasn’t meant to be.

However, with cancelled plans comes the panic of what to do instead (in my case anyway), as I always fear my little one won’t be as stimulated with the same toys, no fresh air, too many cartoons and the like indoors. I’m probably mad, but I think it’s important to introduce new toys and activities to keep kids interested and entertained.

Here’s my top free indoor activities to keep toddlers amused and learning:

indoor-toddler-activities-storiesAnimate stories

Storytelling needn’t be solely a bedtime activity – reading books can be fun at any time of day. Travis cannot get enough of books and stories, especially books where there are things to touch (aka all the “That’s Not My..” books which he loves), as the interactive experience adds a new level of enjoyment to the book. Another way to do this is to animate the stories you read. For example, if it’s a book about animals, I’ll get down on all fours and pretend I’m the animal, making the noise it makes. We also use teddies to act out the story. Of course this doesn’t have to accompany a book, you can make up stories or simply tell them from memory with props, sounds and actions.

Flashcards

Flash cards are a great way to add an educational element to staying indoors. Whether your toddler is young or almost at pre-school age, flash cards can be used to introduce word association, encourage speech and, as your toddler gets older, they can be used to complement any reading or spelling they may be learning at nursery or school.

build-a-den-indoor-toddler-activitiesBuild a den

Is there anything better on a miserable, cold, grey day than diving under a fort and getting all cosy? Whilst it may not be the relaxing, quiet blanket-fort you’d envisage for an adult, you can create a den for the kids and transport them out of the living room/bedroom for a little while. Bigger toddlers can help building the fort, whilst smaller ones will enjoy exploring inside. Why not pretend you’re camping in the woods and the teddy bears are coming for a picnic? Or maybe you’re in the jungle and the tigers and lions are just outside? You can even combine activities, like reading inside the den, just to mix things up a bit.

Word Tracers

As your toddler develops, you may want to introduce reading and writing activities. Word tracers are ideal for this. What’s a word tracer I hear you say? Well they are exactly as they suggest – practical sheets which allow toddlers to explore and create words that the sheet outlines. Want to print one for yourself? Here’s one with action words.

Toddlers are always on the move, so this action words word tracer is perfect for them. Word tracers are a fun way for little ones to gain practice with their fine motor skills and beginning letter recognition. They can even act out the words as they trace. For even more fun educational resources, check out Education.com.

indoor-toddler-activities-make-pretendMake and pretend

It’s time to get out the cardboard boxes and dig out some of the recycling material and get ready to make and pretend. Rice or lentils in a plastic bottle becomes a musical instrument, as does elastic bands over an empty tissue box. Bigger boxes can be cars, planes or rocket ships that fly around the room. If you’re more crafty, why not use some of the old toilet roll tubes, empty egg cartons and yoghurt pots to make your own space ships or princess castles or whatever your imagination chooses!

 

5-free-indoor-activities-for-toddlers

baby and toddler activities, Parenting

5 Free Activities for Toddlers

At this time of year, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a mix of indoor and outdoor activities on-hand to keep your toddler amused and learning. The list of things you can pay to take your kids to, or things you could buy to amuse them is much vaster than this. However, unless you’re a millionaire it’s just not practical or possible to fork out every time your kid is bored or needs some stimulation.

Here are 5 go-to activities that cost nowt, but will keep your child amused, active and learning.

Feed-the-ducks-toddler-activity1 Feed the ducks

Maybe I’m showing my age, as maybe it was something to do with Rosie & Jim, but I always loved going to feed the ducks as a child. Watching all the ducks come up for bread, sometimes getting a glimpse of little baby ducks and feeling a bonus thrill if swans or geese dropped by was often enough to make it fun. However if you feel like making it more of an educational experience, why not count the number of ducks and swans with your child, or point out the different types of birds that are feeding.

2 Playpark

Failsafe option every time. Playparks are always a winner, as kids never seem to get bored of swings or slides! Plus, playparks these days seem to be getting more and more impressive by the minute – flying foxes are all the rage in my neck of the woods! That’s not to mention the elaborate climbing frames, sandpits and trampolines that have become more commonplace in playparks. Usually there will be other kids around in the park too, meaning your toddler can enjoy playing with other kiddos too.

Playdate-toddler-activities3 Playdate

If there’s no other kids at the park, why not get in touch with a mum friend and arrange a playdate? I’ve already written about how much of a saviour playdates are, but don’t just take my word for it, experience it for yourself! Whether you go to their house, they come to you, or you meet in the playpark (weather permitting!), there are loads of benefits for mums and toddlers.

Messy-play-crafts-toddler-activitied4 Messy play/crafts

The same toys and the same cartoons in the house can get boring and repetitive after a while, and your little one might need some more stimulation after a while. If the weather is putting a dampener on any outdoor activities, why not get the crafts out or make some messy play? This doesn’t have to involve buying loads of craft material in – I bet you have plenty of items in the house that could be used. From basic colouring and drawing, to experiencing shaving foam, soapy bubbles and other interesting textures, your household items could become a great hub of crafting and messy play for an afternoon!

5 Bookbug

Another activity which I think is great for babies and toddlers is Bookbug. Run in Scotland in local libraries, Bookbug classes last around 45 minutes and consist of story time, rhymes and play. The aim is that parents and children will also check out books for their child and encourage reading from an early age. Classes are suitable from birth until around three years old, and take place weekly throughout term time. You can find out more about this great free activity in my Bookbug Week 2018 post.

5-free-toddler-activities

moving-up-bigger-room-nursery
Childcare, Parenting

Moving to a new room in nursery

Just when we thought we were getting comfortable with routines and whatnot, we were told by the nursery that Travis is ready to move up to the “bigger” room. And I’m delighting and despairing at the same time.

“The big room” is the room babies move on to once the nursery are happy that they have become confident toddlers and think they will enjoy the challenge of new games, learning and experiences. The room hosts kids roughly from around 18 months to three years old. Obviously every child is different, so some may move shortly after their first birthday if they are confident walkers, in a good routine, or seem to be getting bored in the baby room, whilst others might be nearer two before they make that step.

I am of course delighted that my little munchkin is ready for this next chapter. At 16 months, I feel like he’s definitely progressed from the eight month old he was when he first started, and has come on so much even since his first birthday in October. Plus he’s been wearing clothes for 2-3 year-olds since the start of the year!

So in a way I wasn’t surprised by this announcement from the nursery, but it was still a bit daunting. I was only just coming to terms with the fact that my boy is no longer a baby, but a toddler, and now I have to prepare for him playing and learning with kids double his age!

toddler-new-challenges-nurseryNew challenges new experiences

One thing a new room promises, is a new environment to explore. The nursery have informed us that Travis will make visits to the new room during his regular nursery sessions, to give him a taster of what goes on in the room, and to get used to this new environment. Hopefully this will minimise the shock and confusion once he moves over there permanently.

I’m confident that he will love this room, as there are not only new toys and new nursery teachers, it’s also a big step away from more of the “baby” items and routines of the old room. For instance, there are little tables and chairs for having breakfast and lunch, rather than the high chairs of the baby room, and instead of cots/cribs for naps, everyone has their own mat and blanket.

In terms of fun, there are more advanced toys to explore, and an outdoor garden area specific to that room, which I’m sure will get much more use as the months go on.

 

independence-nursery-toddler

More independence

Within the bigger room, I think Travis will have more independence, as there’s a lot less one-on-one attention from nursery teachers. I’m hoping this will give him the confidence to explore and play on his own, but also to make friends, share and play with other kids. I’m also hoping that he’ll make the transition from high chair to small table and chair quite smoothly!

 

new-skills-toddler-nursery

Picking up new skills

When he moves up, Travis will be one of the younger ones in the room (despite probably being one of the tallest!), so I would like to think he would start to pick things up quite quickly from some of the older toddlers. Maybe his speech will come on by listening to other kids attempt sentences, and maybe he will get better with cutlery (he’s a very hands-on eater!) by watching kids his own size, and maybe he’ll pick up a million things that I’ll probably immediately wish he hadn’t, as it takes him another step further from being my tiny little baby!

Parenting

Playdates; the winter saviour for toddler mums

Its winter, it’s miserable, it’s dark and there’s nothing exciting like Christmas or New Year left to get excited about. The temperature is sub zero and unpredictable; will it be ice or snow, rain or hail in the morning?

Chances are, you and your toddler aren’t getting out to the park, because even when the sun is shining it’s still Baltic outside and you fear that their bum will freeze to the swing or something (just me?). Nursery is fun and all, but as a fellow mummy friend pointed out, we don’t get to see our little ones play there and we don’t get to join in and play with them.

Watching them play and interact
That’s just one of the things that make play dates so great. You can watch your child play and interact with another child, and get a sense of how they are developing and playing. You can join in and offer any guidance on things like sharing and “being gentle” with younger or smaller kids.

Time with other mums
Adult company is so important for all mums, whether that’s first time mums, new mums, mums of toddlers, teenagers or a whole football team of kids. Whilst the adult company is treasured no matter who it is, there’s nothing like trading stories, worries and advice with a fellow mum. You can talk about your wee one without fear of boring the bum off them (like with co-workers or childless chums) and can enjoy hearing about their wee ones progress or simply lend an ear if needed.

Exploring and learning new things
Play dates in different locations can involve lots of exploring of new surrounding, new toys and new faces. This is why it’s a great idea to switch play dates up between parents houses and places like soft play. Your child will not only enjoy uncovering new toys at their friends house, they will also discover new ways to play with their own toys with a play pal.

Making the day more exciting
In the winter, it can sometimes feel like days blur into the one same monotonous routine, guided by the weather. This often means staying in or finding indoor activities to amuse your child. Playdates take the boredom out of the repetition of staying indoors, making the day that little more exciting for your child. It might not seem like much to us, but even the addition of just one friend and mum into their usual daily space can add much more excitement and fun to their playtime.

I’m sure there are many more reasons why playdates are an absolute godsend for toddler mums, all backed up with scientific evidence and everything, but these are the things I’ve found to work and benefit out little family. I’d be interested to know if you have any other points to add or different ways you keep your toddler amused and learning in the winter!

 

PS Shout out to my mum pal who inspired this post after a play date with her and her little bear. Check out her videos here.

mum life

How I lost the baby weight

Whilst everyone is busy doing the 10 year challenge, I’ve been looking back just one year and seeing a total difference in myself inside and out. Funnily enough there aren’t too many pictures of me with all the baby weight, as I craftily shied away from pictures and let everyone focus on snapping wee Travis.

For me, it was important to lose the baby weight from both a health perspective (I took eating for 2 to an extreme and was particularly overweight) and to feel better in myself. If you’ve never had children, it’s hard to describe just what a miraculous change your body goes through, and the affect that can have on both your physical and mental health.

The things I really struggled with were things I’d read about but still wasn’t prepared to live with – the stretch marks and the sagginess. More so than the weight element, it was the shape of my body in this new form which caused me frustration, and which I struggled to accept. However I knew if I lost weight my shape would change, maybe not back to the exact way it was before, but into something more recognisable to me, a shape I was more familiar with.

Here’s how I did it:

how-to-lose-baby-weightStart off small

Just after my 6 week post-natal check, I was declared fit for exercise (by myself). At this point I decided to go back to my old faithful Clubbercise, and really get back into getting my blood pumping. My fitness instructor had started a variety of new classes in my 5 month absence and I was keen to give them a go. So I did a Clubbercise and Deep Hau5 class back to back, and I genuinely thought I was going to die.

The secret is to start off small. As soon as I  was able, I took Travis out in walks in his pram, to give us both fresh air and to get my legs moving. Walks do wonders for mental health and tired mums too, so it’s an all round win. Even if you’re just walking to the corner shop and back each day, I thoroughly recommend it to get some fresh air and your bones moving.

 

eat-well-lose-baby-weightGet what you give

I was very aware that I was still eating cake almost every day for at least the first 3 months of Travis’ life. In fact, I still eat more cake now than I ever did before he was born. However, I’m more in tune with the balance of it these days. If you constantly exercise, but constantly eat fatty, high calorie foods, chances are you’ll struggle to lose weight. So, after a few struggling exercise sessions, I started to cut my portion sizes down, add more veg to meals, and cut back on the cake.

I wish I could say I had a miracle diet and provide you with some magic recipes, but I found that just cutting back, and fuelling my body properly before exercise really helped. I didn’t cut anything out of my diet and I didn’t starve myself. Ok, so the pounds didn’t come crashing off, but slowly and steadily I got there.

Find a routine

Life as a mum revolves around routines, so why not an exercise routine too? It was much easier to find time to exercise or get out walking when I was still on maternity leave, but after I returned to work, things became more blurry and there seemed less hours in the day and more reasons (excuses) not to exercise. I found that sticking to the 3 same exercise classes on the same 2 days of the week worked impeccably for me. When I have a set time to exercise I can look forward to it (or sometimes dread it!) each week, plan childcare etc around it and generally see and feel my progress week on week. For me, routine is the key to keeping on track with any goals, so it made sense that it worked when I was trying to lose those parental pounds!

lose-baby-weightShare, don’t compare

The first few months post-partum were difficult in themselves, but I struggled with my body more so as I compared myself to Instamoms and super mummies who managed to get actual 6 packs just 12 weeks post-partum. Whether that was real or airbrushing, whether they had babies that slept all day to allow them to exercise, or nannies that looked after baby while the PT looked after mum, it didn’t matter to me. All I saw were mums who were able to go back to being who they were, in the visual sense anyway, before they went through the miracles of pregnancy or childbirth.

But lets face it, sitting comparing yourself to others and feeling sad, doesn’t actually do anything positive, does it? Why compare when you could put yourself out there, actually try and do your best for yourself? I found that approach difficult to take at first, but once I did, boy did it change things for the better. I know have a whole fab fit fam who I see every week, and we all encourage each other and compliment each other when we see a change in the other. Positivity is infectious and so much better than comparison and negativity!

 

That’s how I managed to lose the baby weight, with no miracle “cures” or magic exercises (although pelvic floor exercises are magic. Highly recommend if you want to get back to exercising!) How did you do it?

Baby M's firsts, Uncategorized

December Firsts

I can’t believe our Year of Firsts has come to an end! How quickly the last 365 days have flown by, each one with a new experience and learning curve for both me and little bear.

As the year has passed, our milestones have become less, but even in December we managed to accomplish a fair few firsts.

Christmassy firsts:
We had a trifecta of Christmassy firsts on 1st December where we visited Helensburgh Winter Festival for the first time. It’s a great local festival that takes place across one weekend each December, full of market stalls, entertainment, festive food & drink and more. It was here that we took Travis for his first trip to see Santa. Last year he was barely able to see without squinting, never mind be expected to see that it was Santa, so we saved this first for his second Christmas. It didn’t go down well, there were lots of tears and tantrums and one big hug at Santa’s beard. I’ve heard that’s quite common, but it’s pretty horrifying trying to explain to kind strangers dressed as elves and Santa that you’re sorry your child is a Christmas hating weirdo.

A slightly better first from the festival was the first time seeing reindeer. Like actual, live reindeer! It may also have been a first for mum, I’ll need to check with my parents but I don’t remember seeing reindeer in the flesh before. We got to pet them and there was an opportunity to get photos taken with them, but at that point Travis spied some dogs which were far more interesting and of his size, so off he toddled to see them instead.

First time using a fork
This was a big feeding milestone as we hadn’t really let or encouraged Travis to use cutlery before. He was haply to either be spoon fed by us or use his fingers to pick at his food hinself. So we were equally surprised and delighted when he wanted to take my fork off me and use it himself, not prompted by us. Now, in fairness, it can be a fight to feed him as he wants to try and be independent (despite picking things off the fork half the time) and feed himself which is more time consuming and messy than I’d like it to be!

First nursery Christmas party
On Thursday 20th December (bizarrely not a Friday?) Travis attended his first nursery Christmas party! Unfortunately I was really ill so couldn’t go, but I heard he enjoyed eating party food (surprise!) And although he hasn’t been Santa’s biggest fan, he had to sit beside him when he got there and even managed to get a present from big beardie without crying!

First Christmas illness
I’d hoped I’d be able to share “first Christmas dinner” this December, as last year I think he was still only on about 6 oz of milk per feed at Christmas time. However it wasn’t meant to be, as we had our first Christmas illness instead. I think it was related to teething, but he spiked a fever and pretty much refused food except for fruit puree and a few mouthfuls of soup. There was advent calendar chocolate involved at some point in the day but that was as festive as it got. It will need to be third time lucky for first Christmas dinner!

mum life

5 Reasons why Scots can’t do dry January

 

Our New Year keeps goingnew-year-dry-january
So we have our own word for new years eve, but did you also know we also get another bank holiday on January 2nd? The reason for this is primarily because we don’t stop drinking on the 1st, hogmanay is just a warm up go the celebrations

 

 

toast-rabbie-burns-dry-january

You can’t toast our bard without a tipple
Burns night, our annual celebration of the Scottish poet Rabbie Burns, takes place on 25th January each year and involves toasting a haggis. It would just be plain rude to do this without a dram.

 

 

Our cold remedy includes whiskyhot-toddie-dry-january
That’s right, if you’ve a cold or flu coming on, grab some whisky, heat up some lemonade and make yourself a hot toddie. Honey and lemons optional, whisky essential.

 

 

Whisky sauce is a staple food accompanimenthaggis-whisky-sauce-dry-january
Whether it’s Burns night and you’re having it with your haggis neaps and tatties, with your chicken Balmoral or as an alternative to traditional steak sauces, a creamy whisky sauce is a solid part of the winter diet. In fact, when you think about it, booze features in some of the best comfort foods – pass the red wine please!

 

It’s bloody Januarysnowflake-ice-cold-dry-january
Its cold, it’s dark and it’s depressing, so why would you want to give up something that can both warm you up and brighten those long dark nights? Especially if you’ve been given some posh booze for Christmas, it would be a shame not to give it a try!

mum life, Mum time

Birchbox Advent Calendar: Week 3

So obviously advent ended over a week ago now, but seeing as it’s been that time of year, we’ve been a bit preoccupied with all the festivities to share the last week of Birchbox goodies.

Week 3 of my advent calendar has brought more treats, partly because it’s actually 3 and a half weeks. I decided that a fourth week would be a bit pointless as there would only be 3 more products to share, so everything has been lumped into the one big festive post!

Birchbox-advent-calendar-3

Wunder 2 Perfect Selfie photo finishing powder
Wonder how some people achieve that totally flawless selfie on the gram? Well aside from filters, Wunder 2 have the solution in the form of an extremely white face powder. Apparently it transforms your skin to become poreless and blemish free in selfies. Ideal for all the Christmas and New year celebrations.

Lumene Nordic Glow Reveal peeling mask
This mask is full of vitamin c, arctic cloudberry and arctic spring water which will magically revive your skin and give you a glowing complexion. It smells so fresh, and Would appear to be the ideal product to follow a night of using the selfie powder product.

PK Prep pumping cream
This Philip Kingsley hair cream should be applied to towel dried hair before blow drying and styling, to and volume and thickness. I can’t say I need either of those things myself right now, although I would have been crying out for them this time last year when my hair was in a poor post-partum mess.

Brush works complexion sponge
No matter how much great makeup you have, you can’t achieve great looks without some good tools to apply it. This sponge is latex free and suitable for both liquid and powder, making it a great all-rounder

Makeup Forever step 1 skin equalizer
This soothing primer is part of makeup forevers range of complexion bases which are designed to smooth the skin before applying makeup.

BB hairdressers invisible oil
Bumble and bumbles heat protective hair primer should be applied to damp or dry hair before styling. This is just the tonic to all the heat damage from styling for various parties and festivities throughout December.

Winky Lux Mermaid Kitten palette – Ursula
This pigment is right up my street, not least because it has the word mermaid in it. The deep purply shimmering shade, which they coin squid-ink-liken, is part of the wider mermaid kitten palette, which I’m definitely interested in.

This Works In Transit camera close-up
Its just as well thus product came much later in the advent calendar as it promises to do the work of three products, as a mask, moisturiser and primer all in one. Ideally, it’s not like a regular mask as it just requires to be massaged and absorbed ahead of makeup application, like any moisturiser or primer.

OPI nail lacquer
As everyone knows, no Christmas look is complete without a good nail colour, so day 23 was a pleasant surprise. The shade And the Raven Cried Give Me More is, as the name suggests (?!!), a deep purple shade which matches nicely with the Winky Lux shade revealed a few days earlier.

Smashbox Always On liquid lipstick
What a way to finish the calendar than with a big brand and something we all need – a lasting lip colour. The shade stepping out is a neutral sort of nude brown which wouldn’t be my first choice, but is a safe staple for many.

 

*Disclaimer: I don’t receive any commission or pay in kind, cash or any other format. I just really enjoyed my advent calendar!

mum life, Mum time

Merry Ginmas!

While most of you are enjoying that lovely limbo in between Christmas and New Year, some of us have had to go back to work (boo!) but it has been made much more bearable by some of the great gifts I received for Christmas. As well as the usual bath sets, pyjamas and stationery, this year I unwrapped lots of gin!

As it’s the drink of the moment, I thought it only fair to give them a taste test and share the gin love. Here’s what I got:

 

Whitley Neil Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
Edinburgh Gin were the first I’d seen to tackle the different flavours like rhubarb, however most of their flavoured gins are in fact only gin liqueurs. This means they sit at around the 20% proof mark, rather than the typical 37-40% of the original clear spirit. However Whitley Neil have managed to perfect the distinct tart taste of rhubarb and ginger in a full-strength gin, sitting at 435 proof. It’s absolutely delicious with lemonade or a light tonic.

Boe Violet Gin
I’d originally tried this out one day, and quickly discovered it tastes like Parma Violets sweets. That may sway you one way or the other, but I loved those sweets as a child so it definitely gets a thumbs up from me. This one is best with lemonade, but will mainly suit sweeter tastes. You can’t beat a bit of Boe Violet gin to remind you of summer on these dark days.

Hortus Plum and Cinnamon Gin liqueur

I’d never heard of this gin let alone flavour until I unwrapped it on Christmas day. Turns out Hortus is Lidl’s brand of gin, and has actually beaten loads of more expensive gins in blind taste tests! So I’m looking forward to trying this gin liqueur and possibly adding it to a prosecco to ring in the bells!

 

Gin-themed Gifts

I also received some great gin-themed gifts, allowing me to transform my tipple, and even make my own!

Gin Mixers
In the absence of a flavoured gin, or just to switch things up a bit, these are the ideal replacement. I got a mixer set which I think is from Debenhams containing flavours including lime, raspberry, elderflower and rose water. Also perfect if you want to get in on the gin trend, but don’t actually like the traditional kind.

Make Your Own Gin Kit
This kit contains all the botanicals you need to make 8 batches of your own gin, using various berries and spices to make flavours you love. I only usually get through a couple of bottles of gin a year at home, so this gift could certainly last a while!