Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas TreeJust over five weeks until Christmas. Many of us have started our Christmas shopping and have begun to think about where we’re spending the holidays. Some people might have even decorated their home or put up a tree.

But what if you like real trees? When do you think about getting one? We normally go and get a Christmas tree the first or second weekend of December. Any sooner and there is a worry that the tree won’t last until the 25th December. But these days trees seem to last longer, or maybe it’s easier getting a high quality tree.

Fantastic Services are offering a Christmas tree delivery service for the next 23 days. You will be able to order a premium Nordmann fir tree (with thicker non-drop needles) delivered straight to your door (within the M25 area). That’s right, your car won’t get scratched by your Christmas tree, nor will you find needles throughout the boot of your car. Trees come in a few different sizes: 5ft, 6ft, 7ft and 8ft. The tree will be installed with a complimentary water reservoir stand, so you won’t have to worry about finding last year’s water stand out of the loft.

And if decorating fills you with dread, you can even book a professional decorator to come dress your tree and decorate your home. Maybe even book a pre-Christmas clean to get the house looking really lovely and ready for all those guests. Use the code CaliMum for £10 off your first booking with Fantastic Services. So even if buying Christmas gifts leave you stressed, at least your house won’t be a mess (until your guests arrive anyway).



A Simple Christmas Eve Box

A Simple Christmas Eve Box

Last year I decided to make the kids a Christmas Eve box. We’ve always had a Christmas Eve tradition of opening one gift, so I thought the box would make that feel a bit more exciting. Thanks to Pinterest and the world wide web, I saw loads of different types of boxes, from elaborate to basic. I decided that I wanted to do something simple. Something that still felt special but did not go overboard as the children would be treated to the delights of Christmas the following day.

Rather than giving each child their own box, I decided on one box to share. That was mainly because I wanted to use a box we already had rather than buying something new. I had seen some cute crates and baskets around, but I just did not want to spend any extra money. So I wrapped a box, that a parcel had arrived in, in Christmas wrapping paper.

But one box actually worked well. It was nice watching the children at one box. Though this might not work well with younger children (at the time, my daughter was 6 1/2 and my son was 2 1/2). Also, if you have more than two children, an individual box would also probably work better. This year I may give the kids their own boxes, it depends if I have two boxes that are the same size.

Back to our box – the left side was for Moozles and the right side was for Dubz. They each received a Christmas book, Christmas pyjamas, a cracker and a snowman chocolate. Moozles got a DVD (Frozen) and Dubz had a Monty the penguin (fresh from the John Lewis advert). Another item in the box was a letter from Santa for each of my children. Every year, my mother-in-law donates to the NSPCC and we are sent personalised letters from Santa. But obviously you could make your own.

For Christmas this year, I will keep the contents of the Christmas Eve box almost the same. This year I would like the kids to have matching pyjamas but that means buying them now as Christmas pyjamas become spare come December. And it is easier to keep an eye out for bargains now rather than waiting until the 22nd December and frantically trying to make the box then.

Here are some ideas of all the lovely things you could include if you wanted to make your own Christmas Eve Box (*whispers* just 5  1/2 weeks until Christmas).

Ideas for a Christmas Eve Box
  • Pyjamas
  • Books
  • DVDs
  • Chocolate or sweets
  • Christmas cracker
  • Letter from Father Christmas
  • Stuffed animals
  • Slippers or slipper socks
  • Hot chocolate kit: Christmas/character mug, hot chocolate mix and marshmallows
  • Baking kit: pre-measured ingredient to make cookies or a cake
  • Christmas craft kit: homemade or bought (easy to find at pound shop)
  • Bubble bath
  • Christmas tree ornament
  • Stickers


A Simple Christmas Eve Box A Simple Christmas Eve Box A Simple Christmas Eve Box

A Christmas Hamper Giveaway

A Christmas Hamper Giveaway

You know what gets me into the Christmas spirit? Lots of delicious festive treats. How would you fancy a pretty Christmas hamper filled with lots of yummy goodies? Spicers of Hythe would like to offer one lucky reader the hamper above. That’s right, a box filled with lots of lovely things such as chocolate, biscuits, mince pies and plum pudding.

But then comes a dilemma. If you win, will you keep the hamper? It would be convenient to have such festive treats on hand as December always brings many visitors. Then again, you could have the hamper delivered to someone on your Christmas list. So then you would have one less person to buy a gift for. Saving you money and time.

I’ve reviewed two hampers from Spicers of Hythe this year, and both have been fab. You receive a wide array of goodies and they arrive in quality boxes/baskets/bags. There is nothing more exciting than receiving a box of goodies. So enter the giveaway. And even if you don’t win, you should go have a look at the Spicers of Hythe site for their lovely, and affordable, hampers.

Let me also mention that Spicers are asking the public to nominate their local heroes. Who do you think deserves a special superstar award? Maybe they devote themselves to charity or go above and beyond. The winner will receive a luxury bespoke hamper. Tell Spicers by the 7th December.

Good luck!


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My Christmas Cake Photo

My Christmas Cake Photo

We don’t like traditional Christmas cakes in our household. So every year I make a different kind of cake. Last year we had a Madeira cake. This year we had Red Velvet Cake with Lactofree cream cheese icing. I had been afraid that the kids would not like cream cheese icing, but they loved it. As I was trying to take photos of the cake, I saw a few that stood out. Dubz was in the background, furiously stuffing huge pieces of cake into his smallish two-year old mouth. Such a silly, funny little man. We had just eaten a huge dinner, after a day of eating yummy treats, and he was eating cake like he was starving.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, filled with delicious food and the people you love most in the world.


How to Survive the Holidays Without Killing Your Partner

How to Survive the Holidays Without Killing Your PartnerIf you’re reading this, you want to know. Don’t you? Maybe you’ve already had a couple of tiffs. Maybe you clearly remember the bickering from last Christmas. But you know that along with the lovely, wonderful moments of Christmas, there will be silly arguing with your other half. Christmas can be so stressful, but I thought I would offer some tips on not allowing the stress negatively effect your love life. You may remember my tips on How to Survive the Weekend without Killing Your Partner, then this is a rip-off quite similar.

1. Breathe – when your husband/boyfriend/partner asks why you haven’t finished the Christmas shopping, just take a deep breath. Don’t roll your eyes or call him a ‘wanker’. It’s not in the spirit of love, joy and Christmas. Take a deep breath then have a glass of Prosecco.

2. Communicate – when you partner expects you to do all the Christmas shopping and wrapping, buy/make the food and drinks for the big day, plus clean the house and keep up with the laundry, do not get angry. Speak to him. Ask him how he can help. And then add a few more jobs to that list. Then have a glass of Prosecco.

3. Forgive – when your partner criticises the gifts you have bought, the food you have made and the fact that the house still hasn’t been cleaned, forgive his wankering wankitude (*possibly a made up word as no real words can fully describe his utter wanking behaviour).  Still, forgive him as he has no idea how much work it takes to organise ANYTHING. Then have a glass of Prosecco.

How to Survive the Holidays Without Killing Your Partner

4. Relax – before you know it, it will be Christmas Day. The food will be cooked, the gifts will have been opened and all the Prosecco will have been drunk by 3pm. Don’t worry about doing dishes or cleaning up the wrapping paper/toy boxes. Have a nap once the Prosecco is all gone, and then your partner has to take care of everything. Muwharrrrr.

How to Survive the Holidays Without Killing Your Partner

Happy Christmas folks! xx


My Christmas Resolutions

I can’t believe it’s only one week until Christmas Day. It feels like we have all been waiting for so long. But what are we waiting for? Is it an idealised image of Christmas? The perfect day of family fun, everyone getting along and being blissfully happy? So, this year, rather than doing resolutions for the New Year, I thought I would make resolutions for Christmas. Resolutions that will actually be kept.


1. Tree – We all love a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. But children have a different idea of what constitutes tasteful tree decorating. If it were up to my children, all the ornaments would be put on three branches, and there would be tinsel over every inch of my tree. And I’m constantly stepping on ornaments that have been removed from the tree. I will not get annoyed every time I find a bauble or knitted Father Christmas on the floor. Although I am not a fan of tinsel, I have bought some because my daughter loves it. I can have a tasteful tree when the children move out, and I am missing them like crazy. I will be happy that my children are with me, and that they love the tree and love the ornaments.

My Christmas ResolutionsMy Christmas Resolutions






2. Shopping – Don’t let Christmas shopping and gift wrapping frenzy cast a shadow on the day itself. Yes, part of the importance of Christmas is about giving. But your family and friends do not care if you have spent exorbitant sums on their gifts. And they do not care if the gift looks like it has been wrapped by a Wrapping Maestro, or thrown into a gift bag. They only care that you have taken the time out to find them something you think they will genuinely like/want/need. I will aim to finish by Christmas shopping by the 21st December. And then will delegate wrapping to Husband so that I can ponder life’s great questions.

My Christmas Resolutions

3. Food – Rather than having Christmas lunch, we have decided to have Christmas dinner at 5pm. This means that we can have a leisurely morning and then have chocolate, prawns and pigs in blanket for lunch. Since we’re staying at home for Christmas Day, we can time things as we like, as what suits our young family. And none of us like Christmas cake, so we eat chocolate cake at Christmas. Our house, our rules.

My Christmas Resolutions

My Christmas Resolutions






4. Relatives – Visiting relatives, or having them visit us, can be stressful. But I will focus on how lucky we are to have such a lovely extended family that want to spend time with us.

5. Family Photo – Every year I focus so much on the day. that I don’t get a nice family photo. This year, I have a camera with a timer. I will get a photo of the four of us. I don’t care where we’re all looking, who is making a silly face and who is mid-cough. And it doesn’t matter if any of us have eczema outbreaks and look a bit spotty. As long as it is in focus and ALL of us are in the photo, I will be happy.

My Christmas ResolutionsMy Christmas Resolutions






Hope you all enjoy your holidays with your loved ones. Happy Christmas everyone! xx



Christmas at John Lewis

John Lewis Christmas

No, I won’t be spending Christmas Day at John Lewis. Though now that I think of it, that sounds pretty fun. But last week I got the chance to check out the winter wonderland at John Lewis Kingston. They had decorated some of their private rooms with a festive flair. Armed with a glass of Cava and my iPhone, I got to wander around looking for inspiration in which to decorate my home for Christmas. I also saw some beautiful items for my kids and some potential Christmas gifts.

My favourite room was the modern/Scandi-chic bedroom. The monochrome and grey looked so stylish, and it only needed a splash of colour to make the room feel festive. And I just wanted to snuggle under the faux fur blankets. There were several Christmas trees filled with the most beautiful ornaments. My own tree is feeling a bit uninspired this year and I feel that I need some new and quirky baubles. I especially loved the Champagne tree decorations (photo above), but I don’t think they would be safe on our tree. Not with my son around.

Christmas at John Lewis Christmas at John Lewis Christmas at John LewisChristmas at John Lewis Christmas at John Lewis Christmas at John LewisChristmas at John Lewis

There was a children’s bedroom, which was so sweet. We normally just decorate the downstairs but I love the idea of having mini Christmas trees and colourful wreaths in the kids’ bedrooms. Since we have two children and they each have their own bedroom, a tree won’t be that practical. But I definitely plan to add some Christmas touches to their rooms. My favourite part items, though, were the slippers. My son, Dubz, adores foxes. These slippers would make him so happy!

Christmas at John LewisChristmas at John LewisChristmas at John Lewis

We finished the evening with divine hand massages from the lovely ladies at ESPA. The products smelled amazing. And after dealing with a sinus infection for two weeks, I was so happy to have a relaxing hand massage.

Christmas at John LewisChristmas at John Lewis

It was such a lovely night. I even managed some shopping afterwards in John Lewis (they’re open til 9pm most nights until Christmas). Just needed a selfie in the loo before getting back to the babysitter. Are you all ready for Christmas? I just have a bit more decorating and shopping to do, and then I’m ready for the big day! Yea!



I was invited to view the winter wonderland for the purpose of this review. We were given lovely goodie bags but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.


The Elf Has Left the Building

The Elf Has Left the Building

As an American blogger, whose audience is mostly British, I feel like British people check my blog for a bit of Americana. The American crazy ‘Elf on the shelf’ is one such craze. But I am only new to it myself. I won our elf last year through a competition. I thought it would be fun staging the elf doing silly things. Although Moozles thought the elf was magical, she was also terrified of being alone with it. But I thought she might be more brave now that she is six years old.

Day 1 of Elf on the Shelf went well. Moozles was so happy to see Elfy the Elf back. But the next day, it was just like last year. She wanted guarantees that Elfy would stay in the living room (she goes into the kitchen/diner when she wakes up to do colouring/homework). We had had enough. So on Day 3, we told Moozles that Elfy wouldn’t be coming back. She was in hysterics, crying about how she loved Elfy. Talk about ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’.

After cuddles and a discussion, Moozles calmed down. We have told her that Elfy does not want her to be nervous or afraid, and he knows that she is a good girl. And that is that. There won’t be a temporary farewell to Elfy like last year. Elfy has officially left the building and he won’t be returning (okay, he’s in the loft, but you know what I mean).


The Perfect Christmas Tree, Without The Tears

Picking The Perfect Christmas Tree, Without the Fight

It is getting to be that time of the year. Christmas tree time. Obviously you might have a tree now, if you prefer the artificial kind. But for ‘real tree’ lovers, it is almost time to head to the garden centre or a tree farm/lot to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. How do you know when you’ve found that tree? And what happens when your idea of a terrific tree differs to that of your partner’s or your children?

These questions were brought up in one of the letters I receive from my readers. I thought I would share:

Dear Californian Mum in London,
My wife gets a little crazy around Christmas. She decorated every inch of the house two weeks ago. The only thing missing is the tree. This weekend we are going Christmas treeshopping. But I am not looking forward to it. Last year she spent over an hour at our local garden centre finding the ‘right tree’. Meanwhile, the kids and I lost the will to live. How can I get my wife to take tree shopping less seriously? Hope you can help.
Chris K


Dear Chris K,

Christmas is a stressful time. Your wife just wants a nice tree. I am sure she does millions of lovely things for you and the children throughout the year. Here’s your chance to do something nice. She wants Christmas to be special. Try being patient, like she is after picking your pants off the floor after the 100th time. So get over yourself.

Kind regards,




Photo courtesy of DIY.com

Peace Out Elfy the Elf

We said goodbye to Elfy last week. It felt like he had only just arrived. It was nice having him around, and my daughter loved looking for him in the mornings. Our hiding spots were a bit limited, because even though Moozles loved him, she didn’t want to be alone in the room with Elfy. Normally, when Moozles wakes up, she goes to the living room to play so I couldn’t hide Elfy there.

I feel like I will do a better job with Elfy next year. I will put him in better, more exciting spots. I also lost over a week of good thinking about hiding spots due to my operation earlier in the month. Husband mostly just moved him around the kitchen counter, haha. Here are some of the pics from the past two weeks. Take care Elfy. Peace out!

The Elf On The Shelf Takeover