Make Your Christmas More Creative

It’s easy to let Christmas take over your house, mind and wallet. Maybe it even instills a feeling of dread and an expectation that you’ll start the new year on the back foot in a bank overdraft. But there are many ways to upgrade your Christmas that don’t revolve around presents and decorations. Fun, personal and thoughtful touches will win every time! Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing, so that you can make some changes this year that’ll be more creative, fun, and also save you money – without compromising on time with loved ones.

A picture of Christmas accessories on a blue background with the title written in white.

Get crafty

If you’ve got a skill or talent that could be used to make a gift instead of buying one, this would add a personal touch and could save money (depending on the skill). If you’re a keen cook, why not offer to make a dish for Christmas dinner rather than buying everyone a gift? Perhaps you’d rather make a delicious dessert for everyone to share – it’ll be really appreciated, will help out the host and is something you can all share. If you’re more into sewing or painting, you may prefer to make small handmade gifts instead – just remember to give yourself enough time to complete them in the busy time leading up to Christmas.

Save money

Take advantage of cheaper options and make sure you shop around. If you have a particular gift in mind, see if you can get hold of it second hand – sites like eBay may have the same item either brand new or used – in many cases you might find one that’s been opened but never used, or still comes in the original box. Why spend more for no reason? Shopping around more could save you a lot of money! Just don’t forget that you may need to arrange your own courier which you’ll need to factor into your budget.

Take charge of Christmas games

Games are a big part of Christmas for many and a great way to bond with family. If games aren’t part of your Christmas day usually, why not give yourself the title of Games Coordinator, do some research and find a few easy games that’ll get you all working together and passing the time so you’ve got something to keep your mind busy when waiting for your food! 

If you’re already a lover of games, why not find a few new ones to try – perhaps you’ve got that one person that never wants to play and they need something else to get them motivated. If there’s a certain game that divides family members, try to find one that includes everyone and that appeals to their interests. Ask friends which games they play at Christmas time and steal any good recommendations!

New board games can be expensive so it’ll pay to shop around – a good tip is to look in charity shops or borrow from others. There are also so many games that only need a pen and paper or a pack of cards so you don’t need to spend a fortune!

Hopefully these tips give you some inspiration for cutting the cost of your Christmas this year and add a little sprinkle of creativity whilst saving you money!

*This is a collaborative post.

Personalised Gift Ideas – A Creative Gift Guide for Adults and Children

Are you looking for a personalised gift that really shows you care? Check out this gift guide for unique creative gift ideas that offer a truly personal touch. Personalised, thoughtful gift ideas for both children and adults.

Sometimes buying someone a present is a tough job. Perhaps it is that person who already seems to have everything, or maybe you are simply looking for something unique that really shows you care. If you want to find a thoughtful gift that offers something a little different, then check out these creative gift ideas… 

Collage of 4 pictures with caption Personalised Custom Gifts for Children and Adults. Gift guide images.

The Book of Everyone/ Wise(ish) Words For Kids

The Book of Everyone makes a great gift for anyone. Each unique book is tailored to the special person you are creating it for. And for your favourite small person, there’s the Wise(ish) Words For Kids edition. You can edit at every stage to personalise the book’s life advice even further. These beautiful books make a very thoughtful present.

Image of cover and page within book.

Prices start from £7.95

Website: thebookofeveryone.com

Facebook: Book of Everyone

Twitter: @BookOfEveryone

Instagram: bookofeveryone

Pinterest: bookofeveryone

Living Life Our Way Custom Clothing

Whether it is a slogan adult hoodie or a kids tee with their own drawing on, custom clothing makes a fab personal gift. Choose from bags, sweatshirts, hoodies, tees and vests. Simply select ‘Custom Clothing’ under the menu, opt for adult or child, and pick which item you want, then get designing for whoever you have in mind! You can even use your child’s own art work to create a truly original gift.

Picture of child wearing a tee with drawing on. Website address and title at the top.

Prices start at £14 for custom items.

Website: Living Life Our Way Clothing Store

Blog Post: Living Life Our Way Clothing Launch Post

Reviews: Mayflower Blogs and The Writing Greyhound

My & Me Jewellery

My & Me Jewellery makes a gorgeous gift. Each silver charm is lovingly crafted by hand to turn your child’s artwork into a fabulous bracelet or necklace. If you are near North London, Maxine also does BaB jewellery workshops from time to time, which would also make a brilliant gift idea for anyone who would like to try their hand at designing the jewellery themselves. BaB courses are very family friendly; childcare is offered in the room while the parent does the workshop. (Some other BaB courses and workshops are designed for adults and children to participate together too).

Picture of three charm pendant. Says My&Me Jewellery. Order now

Workshop price £105 (early bird discounts available).

BaB website: BaB Parents Jewellery Workshop

Facebook: My&Me Jewellery

Instagram: My&Me Jewellery

Bags of Love

This fab website offers a wide range of personalised photographic items; such as mugs, cushions, blankets, phone/ tablet/ laptop cases, bedding, hot water bottles and even roller blinds! I received a cool mug with my Living Life Our Way banner on it – and Bags of Love have kindly offered another personalised photo mug for one lucky reader to win! Enter via the rafflecopter giveaway below.

Living Life Our Way personalised photo mug with Bags of Love logo in right hand corner of image.

Prices from £10 for a personalised mug.

Website: bagsoflove.co.uk

Facebook: Bags of Love

Twitter: @bagsofloveUK

Competition ends 1st December 2017. UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I received some of these items free, but I have only included gift ideas that I would genuinely recommend. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Designing A Logo With Logojoy 

Just over a year ago I decided to go ‘pro’ with blogging, so I moved my blog to self- hosted and started to think about branding, including designing myself a logo and banner to use on my blog and across social media. Alot of bloggers and businesses hire an expert to help them do this, but I was keen to save some money so I chose to do it myself. I spent far more hours on Canva (using a free trial) than I care to admit! However, I am very happy with the result.

Living Life Our Way logo designed by Canva

Introducing Logojoy

Logojoy is an AI logo designer that makes it quicker and easier for bloggers and brands to create their own logo themselves. It is simple to use; begin by selecting up to five sample logos that you like then the site generates your logos to choose from based on your preferences. There are then plenty of options to then tweak it as much as you want to personalise it further.

How To Use Logojoy

Time

It is possible to design a professional looking logo using Logojoy in just a few minutes. However, if you are a perfectionist and enjoy playing around with the various settings (as I did!) then you will need to allow more time. You can also amend and re- download your logo too, if you decide your logo needs a few extra final adjustments after downloading it (premium package only).

Cost

Logojoy costs $20 for a simple low resolution logo. A premium package is $65 which includes high resolution files in several formats with full copyright ownership. For an extra $9 you can also purchase the social media kit, which comes with perfectly size logos for each platform – this is definitely worth it in my opinion because it saves alot of time and effort resizing! Lastly you can also get one hour professional design support for $100 too should you require that level of guidance and support. 

Logojoy logo

You can design and purchase your logo on the Logojoy website.

(This is an affiliate link, this does not cost the buyer extra, but means I get a small referral fee. Thank you for your support).

My Logo

Here is my logo…

Living Life Our Way logo designed on Logojoy.

The Verdict

I worked really hard on my original logo and have been using it for over a year, so I must admit I am actually rather attached to it! However, I am really pleased with my Logojoy logo too and am actually quite (very?!) tempted to switch it! If I was just starting out, I would definitely think Logojoy is worth the investment and would be satisfied with the results.

Which do you prefer, my original Canva logo or my new Logojoy one? I would love your honest opinions, I promise I won’t be at all offended either way!

Living Life Our Way Canva logo and Logojoy logo side by side for comparison. Which logo do you prefer?

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

*I was given the chance to review the $65 package and was compensated for my time.

Rock Hunting: Nature’s Answer To Pokemon Go! #30DaysWild 

Have you heard of the new craze? Painted rocks have been hidden all over our local area to encourage people to get outside and explore to find them. And to spread some love and positivity around; like a little act of kindness for the person who finds it. What an amazing way to put a smile on peoples’ faces! Of course, we could not wait to go out on a rock hunt to see what we could find!

painted rocks, rock hunt, St Albans Rocks UK, Hertfordshire, get outside, kids need nature, outdoors, 30 days wild, #30dayswild, #staywild, #livinglifewild

It turned out to be much harder than we thought! We knew very rough locations, and had vague picture clues, but looking for small rocks in a very large area is… well… abit like looking for a needle in a haystack! But that just encouraged us to look more closely, stay out longer, walk further and explore different areas – which is great!

Just a little note to anyone considering doing this as a set activity (e.g. home educators or organised groups for example): it would be easier, and an awesome educational activity, if they were mapped out in advance. Great for developing old school map reading skills too! (I guess this would make it more of a geocaching style activity). Of course this would rely on people not removing, or relocating, any of them. (Hopefully no one will remove them anyway though obviously, as it is meant to be an activity for everyone to enjoy!)

Also, if you were doing this, a handy suggestion might be to map them out with a small circle radius rather than a precise location, so that it still gives abit of freedom to rehide them elsewhere – as long as it is within close proximity to the original spot. I say this because Squiggle was really keen to move one to a new hiding place so we compromised and she hid it right by the next tree instead, less than a metre away!

painted rocks, rock hunt, St Albans Rocks UK, Hertfordshire, get outside, kids need nature, outdoors, 30 days wild, #30dayswild, #staywild, #livinglifewild

Anyway, they are just little tips if anyone is thinking about doing it as a home ed activity or setting it up as an ‘organised’ event. But back to our fun of rock hunting…

We were incredibly lucky to find not just one, but two painted rocks! Squiggle was delighted that she spotted them!!! The first was a beautiful heart rock…

painted rocks, rock hunt, St Albans Rocks UK, Hertfordshire, get outside, kids need nature, outdoors, 30 days wild, #30dayswild, #staywild, #livinglifewild

The second was a pretty colourful rainbow…

painted rocks, rock hunt, St Albans Rocks UK, Hertfordshire, get outside, kids need nature, outdoors, 30 days wild, #30dayswild, #staywild, #livinglifewild

We had so much fun! It is such a lovely activity and a brilliant, creative, inspired idea – love it!!! Thank you so much to the wonderful people who came up with this initiative and organised it in our area. We are so grateful! For more information, check out St Albans Rocks UK.

We then also painted our own rocks when we returned home, so we will be hiding those in our local park soon too! Thanks again!!!

painted rocks, rock hunt, St Albans Rocks UK, Hertfordshire, get outside, kids need nature, outdoors, 30 days wild, #30dayswild, #staywild, #livinglifewild

Happy rock hunting! 

Nature Printing Pebble Art #30DaysWild

Inspired by The Pinterested Parent, I sat in the garden yesterday afternoon and tried to create some beautiful nature printed pebbles. I say tried, because it turned out to be harder than it looked – or at least for me! 

However, this didn’t bother me in the slightest. Just as I teach Squiggle, it wasn’t about the finished result, it was for the sheer enjoyment of doing it. Plus it is relaxing. I love to be artistic simply for pleasure not gain. Sure, creating something that looks pretty at the end is very satisfying, but if it doesn’t work out, it is no loss. 

I found the painted leaves and grass quite interesting, and photography is my favourite creative outlet, so I decided to compose a couple of photos. However, regardless of how the original idea turned out, this was a really fun creative activity!

Remember this week’s linky is open to share your ‘wild’ adventures too! 

My & Me Jewellery – Turning Children’s Artwork into Beautiful Silver Charms 

My&Me Jewellery turns children’s artwork into beautiful items of silver jewellery to treasure forever. Founder, Maxine, got her inspiration from the creative doodles of her 6 year old daughter, after she came across a page of the young artist’s artwork in her jewellery sketchbook one day. Much to her little girl’s delight, she decided to make one into a pendant; and it got such a great response that the concept of My&Me Jewellery was born. 

MyandMe Jewellery, jewellery, keepsake, silver, art, gift ideas, parents
Squiggle’s seal character drawing made into a beautiful silver heart pendant.

Maxine works from a small studio in South Harrow. She also teaches classes and will soon be running workshops for parents to make their very own My&Me Jewellery with BaB courses. This practical workshop will be organised with the attendees convenience in mind; parents can bring babies, toddlers and home ed kids along with them and they will be entertained in the same room while parents can enjoy the workshop without the issue of childcare. Brilliant thinking! 

The range includes shaped silver charm pendants priced from £49 for a single charm to £124 for a pendant with four charms. Or opt for a disc shaped or heart shaped engraved single charm bracelet or necklace (£55). These lovely items of jewellery would make a fabulous gift or a wonderful treat for yourself!

You can find them over on facebook and instagram.

***Giveaway now closed***

Competition closed 12th May 2017. 

Fun Family Activities To Celebrate Earth Day

​Today is Earth Day. So here are some lovely ways you can celebrate, either today  or any other (because really, everyday should be Earth Day anyway!) 

  • Nature art. There are lots of fun nature art activities that you can do as a family. One that is particularly great for Earth Day is to collect some large pebbles, arrange them in a solid circle, then paint them with a map of the world (I decided to add a peace sign too!)

Earth day, world peace, creative, art, artivism, family fun, educational activities, home education, green living, global citizen, our world, environment

  • Make an Earth Pom Pom. Check out this super cute creative activity over on Monkey and Mouse!
  • Sign up to Global Guardian Project to get their monthly digital multi-media resource (learning capsule) full of stunning pictures, useful information, inspirational ideas and activities, and wonderful facts about the amazing world that we live in, and how we can care for it. This month the focus is on Israel. Use my affiliate code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY to get 10% discount off subscriptions. (Usual price $14.99 per month). This discount code can also be used for their new special edition National Parks capsule too.

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  • Go on a nature walk. Use all your senses to explore the natural environment around you. Stop for a few moments, be still and listen. What do you hear? What do you see? What can you smell? Touch the bark of a tree, go barefoot on the grass. Take it all in and connect with our earth.

Earth Day, Living Life Our Way, nature, global citizen, green living, our world, natural environment, family fun

    • Make a paper mache globe. This project takes several days but is lots of messy creative fun! Head on over to The Crafty Classroom to for a detailed tutorial.
    • Give the earth a helping hand. Do something that helps protect our environment. Small changes can have a BIG impact. Maybe a 5 minute litter pick in your local park? Find ways to reduce energy consumption in your home? Pledge to say ‘no thanks’ to plastic straws with your drink? Or perhaps buy yourself a reusable cup rather than using disposable coffee shops ones? You could even try to give up single-use plastics completely! The possibilities are endless and remember, every small change helps. Other ideas can be found on my previous Make A Splash blog post.  

    Earth Day, Living Life Our Way, litter picking, park clean up, activism, global citizen, green living, our world, natural environment, family fun

    What are you doing for Earth Day? Tell me in comments, I look forward to reading about it!

    Easter Bunny’s Garden Adventures by Squiggle

    Ever wondered what goes on whilst you are still asleep in bed? This, apparently…

    Easter Bunny really should jump to it getting those easter eggs delivered…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    But there is always time for a quick game of tennis with a friend…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    And badminton too…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Oh look! Bunny height basketball…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Shhh! He won’t spot me up here…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Now for a spot of tag rugby. Doh! So close…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Volleyball anyone?

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    And always time for a quick sack race too…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    Now, must dash! Someone is coming and I got things to do…

    Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

    HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!! 

    Credits: 

    Concept, photography, set design and director ~ Squiggle

    Assistant ~ Andy (daddy)

    Captions ~ Katie (mummy)

    The Great Daffodil Appeal – Marie Curie 

    It’s that time of year when people all over the country are getting involved in The Great Daffodil Appeal for Marie Curie. Marie Curie is a wonderful charity that supports people with terminal illness, and their families. The funds raised from the appeal help to pay for nurses to provide care to families during this most difficult time.

    The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie, fundraising, charity

    If you want to take part but haven’t already registered, it’s not too late! Here are some of my favourite fundraising ideas to get you started. And if these don’t inspire you, make up your own instead!

    Get creative:

    • Make and sell handmade cards, crochet daffodils or origami daffodils.
    • Hold a creative workshop and charge an entry fee to raise money.

    Get baking:

    • Make some delicious cakes to sell.
    • Have a bake-off challenge.

    Find some yummy celebrity recipes here.

    Get active:

    • Hold a charity sports match.
    • Have a sports day (charge for people part in the races).
    • Do a sponsored run or swim.
    • Set yourself a walking, cycling, running or swimming goal to achieve by x date.


    The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie, fundraising, charity

    Find out more information and sign up for fundraising here: 

    The Great Daffodil Appeal Fundraising Page.

    The Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie, fundraising, charity

    100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 35 (List of Art Activities by Squiggle)

    ​Today for #100daysofhomeed Squiggle has made a list of recent art activities…

    Drawing ✏😄

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, art, creative, activities at home

    Spin art 🎨

    Scratch art 🐶🌈

    Clay 

    phone app / dwawing  on the phone 📱✏

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, art, creative, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education

    Taking photos 📷

    Painting 🎨

    Colarge 💗💚 (collage)

    Nature art 🍃 🌹

    #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, art, creative, activities at home

    Marbleing 

    Bubble art 🎨

    Modle making 😉 💖💚💗 (model making)

    Paper modles (paper models)