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Thought we could do with a thread for present dilemmas!

 

Here is mine: what to buy for the 4 year old niece who has everything?

Since the demise of Woolies, I find toy buying really difficult. I will, of course, buy a book or two - Hairy Maclary is a current favourite - but I have no idea what to get as a birthday toy. She has all the usual - baby dolls, shopping basket, cash register, toy kitchen ... in fact the house is stuffed with plastic rubbish with lots of bits.

Does anyone out there have any good ideas, either for toys for that age or shops which are good for browsing? (I hate Toys R Us...) She is a bright wee girl, articulate for her age and fond of crafts and stories and pretend play. I'm stumped, though. I have looked at Playmobil stuff, but is that just more plastic bits to stand on?

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Early Learning Centre is always worth a look. My bf recently bought a nice little china teaset in a case that was designed to be decorated with the enclosed paints for his niece. Other than that Smiths does some nice craft kits and Amazon is always worth a browse/

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Why not pop over to Hobbycraft at the Fort, MM, and see if they have any wee craft projects or art chests? I got the boys a pirate treasure chest kit once from there (youngest must have been about 3 at the time) and they absolutely loved it.

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Oh, that looks like fun, Luna. I think buying annoying presents is the auntie's job - especially as I live hundreds of miles away ...

I will visit Hobbycraft, though, for definite. I really miss Woolies for things like this. Online shopping just isn't the same, particularly if I have to transport the present by train - I need to see how heavy / big it is. And I just like to browse.

 

So, what about Mother's Day? Any ideas beyond the obvious?

(I'm asking this in a mood of public-spiritedness - I have my pressie already!)

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Have vast experience of Playmobil - it's great play value despite its plasticness. Similarly, for a little girl, Sylvanian Families is equally plastic, although flocked plastic - and always goes down well.

 

My DD loves artistic stuff - craft etc. ELC great for this. Bead sets are usually a winner too, and don't forget the old staples of a fab, crisp new colouring book and new pens...

 

Mother's Day gifts? Books!! And a home-made cake too. How about getting a nice basket and doing a book-lover's hamper - fill it with a couple of books, a new mug, some posh tea bags and a home-made cake.

 

That would be my idea of heaven!

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Mother's Day gifts? Books!! And a home-made cake too. How about getting a nice basket and doing a book-lover's hamper - fill it with a couple of books, a new mug, some posh tea bags and a home-made cake.

 

That would be my idea of heaven!

 

What a lovely idea!

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Oh yes, to be the recipient of a home made cake (especially a newly baked Victoria sponge) rather than always being the baker would be heaven!

 

(Tea, in any form, would be unwelcome, but some good quality drinking chocolate, a porcelain mug and a book from my wishlist would make it just perfect!)

 

Now, how can I get this thought into my sons' heads?

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How about getting a nice basket and doing a book-lover's hamper - fill it with a couple of books, a new mug, some posh tea bags and a home-made cake.

 

That would be my idea of heaven!

Mine too. Cake is always welcome home made or not, tea is - along with books - my very favourite thing (even tea bags, although I much prefer loose) and I just love getting it made for me, and I'm happy to try any book that somebody bothered to think was suitable let alone buy for me. What a great idea! (not that I have children, so it's not going to happen for me :( )
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Mine too. Cake is always welcome home made or not, tea is - along with books - my very favourite thing (even tea bags, although I much prefer loose) and I just love getting it made for me, ...

You'll love Betty's then. I'm not a tea drinker myself, but I know a few people who order tea online from Betty's for special occasions. I used to regularly visit the tea room in Harrogate which is just awesome.

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Have vast experience of Playmobil - it's great play value despite its plasticness. Similarly, for a little girl, Sylvanian Families is equally plastic, although flocked plastic - and always goes down well.

Do you have to put together Playmobil stuff, or does it come as figures and completed items? Is it a fiddly mum and dad job?

My friend's daughter loves her Sylvanian Families stuff. I find it kind of creepy and can't share her passion at all.

In searching online for ideas, I found this: Playmobil Jewel Thieves

Is this really what we should we be teaching the younger generation? :P

 

BTW, I love the Mother's Day Basket. I might put my mum's two books in a basket with a nice mug and tea. Don't think I'll manage the cake, though!

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The basket idea of tea, cake & books for Mother's Day sounds awesome! Mother's Day isn't for a couple of months over here in France, so plenty of time to organise it! I might get the Wolf Hall book by Hillary someone as the summary on the back looked like it would be right up my mum's street (it's set when Cromwell was ruling, I think? My mum studied that period of history for A-Level and likes her historical novels) & it won an award recently too, I believe...

I've also got to buy my sister (20 at the start of April) something for her birthday that is approaching far quicker than expected! She'll be away on the actual day, so it has to be small enough to take with her on the plane... I'm thinking jewellery & a scarf, but otherwise I'm pretty stumped! She likes horses & stuff, so I was thinking of getting her a horse calendar & other equine-themed accessories, but that might be a bit OTT!

My Dad & brother have birthdays in May & June respectively,so also not that far off and I have no clue what to get them! My Dad likes trivia & I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue, so maybe the Humphrey Littleton biography or the books in the vein of "Why penguins can't fly/Why antlers have moose", but English books tend to be on the expensive side! My brother is quite musical, so I'm thinking of getting him the soundtrack to I'm Not There (the Dylan bio-pic) or the Joy Division film... Buying presents for men is so hard! Chocolate & socks no longer make the grade!

Minxminnie, Playmobil can be really fiddly to assemble if you get the house/palace/castle/big boxes but the smaller ones are pretty child-friendly/minimal assembly needed. There are some awesome Playmobil sets out there now-I wish the Ancient Egypt ones had been available when I was a child as I was pretty obsessed with that period as well as being really into the myths & legends of Ancient Greece & Rome (yes, I was an odd child!). Thank your lucky stars that your niece isn't into the dreaded Littlest Pet Shop stuff-those big eyes are just weird, if you ask me!

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Both my Dad and my husband love trivia, so I am always on the look out for unusual books. Luckily I only have to buy a book once as they borrow from each other all the time. Recently they have enjoyed:

 

Loose Cannons by Graeme Donald. 101 Myths, Mishaps and Misadventurers of Military History.

Pot Goes the Weasel by Albert Jack. The Secret Meaning of Nursery Rhymes.

 

Another one they loved is called '365', but can't tell you who its by as it has disappeared into my kids bedrooms and hasn't been seen for a while. It tells you interesting things that have happened on each day of the year. I have now been requested to buy '366' which is the follow up book.

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I find buying presents for people very stressful as I feel enormous pressure to get something just right while applying the necessary financial constraints. I therefore find it interesting that the idea of a cake, mug, packet of tea and good book would be so welcome to so many! But I think I'd stress over the mug (or cup and saucer; china or something heavier), the tea (or coffee, or chocolate), the cake (homemade is so risky and what about nut allergies, do the love cream or hate it) and as or choosing just the right book, well...

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