Getting Prepared For Christmas With The Smyths Toys Catalogue

Hands up if you’ve already started your Christmas shopping? Or in my case, birthday shopping for them both as well as Christmas shopping as Jack’s birthday is exactly 3 weeks before and Olivia’s is exactly two weeks after. I’ve got them both one thing each for both birthday and Christmas but am starting to panic about how quickly the festive season is approaching.

The problem now is that Jack’s changing his tastes on an almost daily basis so I’ve been struggling to know what he actually likes right now and what he wants for Christmas. Luckily we’ve been taking a look at the new Smyths Toys catalogue – you can request your own FREE catalogue here or pick one up in store from Friday – and Jack has been circling exactly what he would like.

It can be so difficult shopping for kids with their changing tastes so these catalogues are so useful – not only do they keep children quiet for a while as they decide what they want but it also gives you some insight into the things they are into right now.

I already knew Jack was into Minecraft but I hadn’t realised he had got back into superheroes with such a passion until I looked in the catalogue! I’ve now got an idea of the kinds of things he wants and he has also picked something out that he wants to get Olivia too!

The catalogue has over 328 pages of inspiration – with a great selection of toys (indoors and outdoors), video games and even baby products for your very little ones. There is something for all ages and you will find all the top brands with the most competitive prices.

I’ve now got a whole list of stuff he’s interested in, ready for me to hit the Smyths store whilst he is at school one day. I’m also planning on taking my Mum so I can get stuff for Olivia without her seeing – Nanny provides such a great distraction!

I’m a big fan of shopping early and being prepared for Christmas – after all, it is such an expensive time of year for me. You may have seen that I tend to always buy some things in the Black Friday sales and you can also find me entering competitions for things I know my friends and family will like to keep costs down. Looking through the Christmas catalogues is just another string to my bow – it helps me find out what my children want and sort out my budget accordingly!

Whilst I think Jack’s hopes for the LEGO Minecraft set at £249.99 is perhaps a little too much, I now know of quite a few things I’m going to be popping into my trolley in the next few weeks.

Are you anywhere near prepared for Christmas? Do you let your children circle what they want so you can have some insight into what is going to be on their Christmas list in advance of them actually writing it? I’d love to know!

Collaborative Post 

What to Get the Kids for Christmas When Working within a Tight Budget

No matter how organised you may think you are for the Christmas season, there is always that one person on your list that is just extremely hard to buy for. If you happen to be working on a tight budget, it can make gift buying even more difficult.

So, if that one tough person on your list is your own child, nephew, or niece, then you’ll appreciate these great ideas for kids. Not only will it make them happy and instantly put you in the good books, these ideas also work with a very limited and tight budget.

So let’s jump right into it!

Cash in on the Popularity of Star Wars

With the brand new Star Wars movie just opening, it’s the perfect time to cash in on the blockbuster’s popularity with kids. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of Star Wars-themed gifts available for kids. The great part about all these gifts is that you can find something in just about every price range.

Take, for example, the Star Wars Chewbacca Fur Backpack. Kids will love running around feeling like Chewie, plus it serves a practical purpose since it can be stuffed full of items. There is also the Star Wars RC Inflatable Doll. Many websites offer specific deals that can be used to your advantage, for example this kids deal features a radio controlled inflatable doll that spins, makes sounds, and is holding a Lightsabre.

The Ultimate in Fun – a Race Track at Home

What kid, both boy or girl, doesn’t love being able to race cars around on a race track? The Chad Valley Loop Race-Track is a great option that allows kids to challenge one another to high-speed race. This one is sure to provide hours’ worth of fun, which means parents will get a much-deserved break over the holidays.

Look for Small but Intricate Lego Sets

Lego is one of those toys that just never seems to fade into the background. Kids of all ages can find sets that appeal to them, and Lego is, of course, a great toy for encouraging imaginative play. While the large sets can tend to be quite expensive there are plenty of small and mid-sized sets that are reasonably priced. Depending on your budget you may even be able to get a couple of small sets, but make sure the sets you buy are age-appropriate.

Give the Kids a Game They Can Enjoy with Friends

In a time where everyone is attached to their digital devices, it can be nice to take a more traditional approach by gifting kids with a board game. There are so many fun options nowadays that will allow kids to play with friends and the whole family. Take, for example, the hugely popular Pie Face Showdown game.

No Need to Stress About a Gift for Kids

Sure, it can be hard to buy gifts for kids, especially on a budget, but these great ideas show you that you’ve got plenty of options out there that will thrill them.


Why A Personalised Gift Means So Much At Christmas

Why A Personalised Gift Means So Much At Christmas

Christmas gift giving can be extremely difficult – I know I find it hard to pick up items for everyone except my children, they’re the only ones who give a decent idea of what they want.

It can be tempting to buy the boring, basic and sometimes useful, sometimes useless gifts for people but sometimes you need something with a little more pizzazz and a personalised gift certainly offers that.

Personalising your gift means that it will be completely unique to that person – and personalisation has come so far that you now can personalise pretty much anything! We were given a credit to Bags of Love so we could personalise some items and show you what they truly have to offer.

At Bags of Love, they print and produce all of their 400+ products themselves by hand in their studio in North West London. These aren’t your typical mass produced personalised items – everyone has a personalised mug or mouse mat. They offer such a wide variety of things that you can’t get elsewhere.

You can opt for personalised clothing – want onesies, pyjamas, slippers, hoodies, dresses or underwear personalised? They’ve got you covered.

Want to personalise your plates, bowls, aprons, cake stands and tins? Your kitchen can be personalised to your hearts content.

Looking for some personalised homeware? Yes they offer bedding, cushions, blankets, armchairs, footstools and luggage too! It’s crazy the amount of items they have to offer and all will have your designs or photos printed on them.

There is a whole team of people working to create these bespoke gifts – why wouldn’t you want to get one for someone you know?

With our credit, we picked up two of their more unusual items – a cushion and a babies jigsaw puzzle. Now Jack loves the picture of him and his sister in the swimming pool and always wants to buy cushions when we are out so that he can be ‘more comfy’ so I thought this would make a lovely little gift for him. He shrieked when he saw it and hasn’t really let it go except to show my Mum who was quite enamoured with it herself – gift idea for Nanny, anyone?

I felt like I couldn’t leave Olivia out so when I saw that they even did baby jigsaw puzzles – something I have never seen on other personalisation sites, I just knew I had to pick one up – and what better picture to use than a picture of her and her beloved brother?

She has had great fun putting it together and taking it apart again and giggles everytime her brothers face appears once more. I think its safe to say both of these items have gone down a treat!

Personalised items are such a lovely gift to give at Christmas – especially when you think outside the box and manage to get them a really unique bespoke item. These are great quality and would make the perfect gift.

Do you buy personalised items?

We were sent a credit to help with the creation of this post

Win with Superwings Toys

Win with Superwings Toys

Hello and welcome to day 10 of mine and Life in a Break Down advent giveaway – yay for having hit double figures. Before we take a couple of days off for the weekend (we’ve all earned it right?), we have for you an awesome giveaway that is just perfect for those of you with preschool children who love Super Wings.

Showing twice daily on Cartoonito, Super Wings follows Jett the jet plane as he travels around the world exploring different cultures and delivering packages. With each package comes a problem and the Super Wings team much join together to solve it. Allowing kids to learn about friendship, problem-solving skill, alongside introducing them to different parts of the world.

Now thanks to the new launch of this toy collection, little fans of Super Wings can bring them into their own home to play with. Offering 10 different toys, featuring Jett and his friends these sets include transforming vehicles, remote control toys, feature playsets and more.

The fantastic people behind the Super Wings toys have kindly offered us up 2 items for the collection to giveaway to a lucky winner which are:

Super Wings World Airport Playset Control Tower with Jett and Donnie Figures

This large playset comes complete with Jett and Donnie and allows children to recreate the Super Wings adventures in the comfort of their own home. What’s more, the Jett and Donnie figures can easily convert from a plane to a robot in three easy steps, while the set also includes moving pieces and lights and sounds.
RRP: £39.99. Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys, The Entertainer and Toys R Us,

Super Wings World Airport Flight Crew Figure Collector Pack

Allowing children to collect their favourite Super Wings flight crew, each of the collector’s pack includes a host of 15 figures including 8 with transform from plane to a robot in three easy steps.
RRP: £29.99. Available from John Lewis, Toys R Us, Smyths Toys and more.

Super Wings sets are aimed at the 3+ age range and are priced between £1.99 and £39.99.

If you fancy being in with a chance of winning both of these fantastic sets all you need to do is let us know:
What is your child’s favourite toy?

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Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

If you have a big family, the Christmas can be the worst time of the year money wise. Everyone demands a million and one things, especially the kids. It can often lead you to be spending so much money trying to please everyone. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Christmas should be about spending time with your family more than anything. But we know all too well that everyone looks forward to opening their presents and eating their Christmas dinner the most. So, if you’re worried about spending an absolute fortune, read on to find out how you can help yourself out.

Charity Shops

These are hidden gems that people tend to steer clear of. Just because they have the stigma that someone else has used or worn it before, people tend to not like to buy from there. But there’s so many bargains to be had from a charity shop, and it’s all going towards a good cause at the end of the day. Toys in particular are usually found in abundance at the shops. Most of them aren’t even used. They’ll be presents bought for people that they really don’t like. So instead of throwing them away, some families prefer to donate. So a toy that you might find yourself spending a fortune on in a normal store, you could get for a couple of pennies in a charity shop. The same goes for clothes etc. but make sure you know they’re definitely going to like it and it’ll fit. There’s no returns or getting your money back!

Annie Spratt

A Helping Hand

Sometimes you do just need that helping hand to get you through the Christmas crunch. If you’re one of those people who has to have one of the best for everyone, then you’re going to end up spending a fortune, even if you don’t mean to. There are a couple of tricks that could help you out. The first being stores that allow you to put items on a card, and then pay the balance at a later date. If you’re already short on cash, these can be a life saver, but some of the do come with expensive charges, so be careful of how much interest you might end up paying. Another way of saving yourself a little bit of money in the short term is by taking out a short term loan. It’ll again, like the store card, help to take the edge of the Christmas crunch. Companies such as New Horizons can help you with any advice, and show you some of the best deals that they offer to help your through the holiday season. It’s up to you which method you chose, both mainly have their pros, so explore your choices wisely!

Just two ways of helping you make Christmas less expensive could save you a fortune, there are plenty more ways out there, you just need to make sure you’re being as frugal as possible. But most of all, make sure you enjoy the Christmas season!