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Handing over today to Mums Mall for a festive post

Top 10 2011 Christmas Albums

It’s that time of year again, when every mother finds herself running herself ragged trying to make the season magical for her children. It’s easy to reach your wits end as you play Mrs. Claus, but try soothing your frazzled nerves and stay in the spirit of the season with some Christmas music. If you’re tired of the same old stodgy Christmas Carols recorded decades ago, 2011 has produced a fantastic assortment of new Christmas albums that capture that Yuletide feeling.

1. Michael Buble – “Christmas”
Buble has made a name for himself as the modern Sinatra, and like any self-respecting crooner, has recorded his first full-length holiday album. It’s currently topping the charts for good reason. He brings a fun but reverent delivery to his renditions of old standards and new Christmas classics.

2. She & Him – “A Very She & Him Christmas”
Singer-actress Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter partner M. Ward, offer an acoustic indi- rock take on Christmas classics as well as a few charming originals. They manage to capture the warm feeling of the season while keeping the tone fresh.

3. tobyMac – “Christmas In Diverse City”
If you prefer a Hip-Hop Christmas, try this DCTalk alums new album. Performed with his tour band, Diverse City, it covers a wide range of styles. From Hip-hop to soul, this album will bring an urban, but wholesome, feel to your winter celebrations.

4. Carole King – “A Holiday Carole”
Veteran performer Carole King’s voice on this album has a scratchy but warm soulfulness that speaks of her 69 years of life. This jazzy collection features King, accompanied by a small combo of agile musicians. The tone of this album covers a wide range of styles and is perfect for a Christmas party or just around the house.

5. Chicago – “Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three”
Their first new album in eight years features a cavalcade of guest appearances by performers such as Dolly Parton, Steve Cropper, and America. However, if you despise adult-contemporary music, steer clear.

6. Various Artists – “This Warm December, A Brushfire Holiday Vol. 2”
This is another good choice for those who like an array of musical genres, or for parties. From Zach Gill’s opening drinking song, “Party Hard” which features a folksy jug-band style combo to a vampy rendition of “Frosty the Snowman”, this album is the musical equivalent of a sampler box of chocolates.

7. David Ian – “Vintage Christmas”
This jazzy collection is reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi’s Peanut’s Christmas and features swinging arrangements of Christmas classics with bluesy overtones. Those who love a warm jazzy Christmas shouldn’t pass this up.

8. Jersey Boys – “Seasons Greetings: A Jersey Boy Christmas”
The hit Broadway show about The Four Seasons featured one of the most popular soundtracks to come out of Broadway recently, and this album takes that sensibility to Christmas. This collection, recorded by the cast, brings a broadly 50’s and 60’s style to the season.

9. Paul Anka – “Songs Of December”
You know what to expect when you pick up any of Anka’s albums and this album doesn’t disappoint. The lush, fully orchestrated production will be at home in any Christmas setting.

10. Justin Bieber – “Under the Mistletoe”
For those parents who may want to add some music to the mix that will appeal to the kids, Bieber’s new album may be a good choice. The first single from the album, “Mistletoe”, already hit number one on iTunes the day after it was released. This album is a mix of new songs and fresh takes on old classics.

This post was written as a guest blog post by mum’s malls – a specialist price comparison site for maternity products, toys, kids & baby clothes featuring over 50 online stores. Find mum’s mall on Facebook and Follow mum’s mall on Twitter.



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This post was supposed to be a follow up to my Valentines Post but due to illness wasn’t able to get it up, so please enjoy and show my guest Lizzie from Chic Unique some blog love as she tells us her wedding story!


Me and Simon got engaged at Christmas in 2005 around the same time i found out i was pregnant with our second daughter, Emma. I started buying all the wedding mags and dreaming about all the things i wanted but before i knew it Emma had been born and i hardly felt in the wedding mood then with her ill turn in health it was pushed way to the bottom of the to do list.

In 2007 we talked about it again and we discussed each others ideas, prices, what we wanted etc but couldn’t agree on anything so again it wasn’t high priority, we were happy and that’s all that mattered. another daughter and 2 house moves later and in casual conversation in 2009 we toyed with the idea of finally setting a date!

We had decided we didnt want any more babies so now was the time we could spend planning and have 3 gorgeous bridesmaids! So when we went to register Zoe’s birth we made an appointment to see the registrar about getting married. If im honest I sort of floated in and nothing that was being discussed really sunk in, Zoe was only about 3 weeks old and she was a terrible night feeder and I felt slightly away with the fairys, not to mention slightly over weight and totally unattractive!!

So when we came out and he was telling me we where booked in for the 26th Oct, i just nodded and agreed, until it dawned on me that was just 3 WEEKS AWAY!!! OMG yes 3 weeks, we had no savings, we had to sort invites, the dress, cars, a suit, the reception, a cake…. so being creative and a spend thrift i got my thinking cap on and got to work. I hand made our invites and kept numbers low as we couldn’t afford a huge recpetion after the wedding. We invited a close friend each and their family and only very close family as i didnt want a massive fuss. I managed to get the girls these gorgeous grey tafeta dresses with black spots on and a huge bow at the back from Primark for just £6 each and they had tuell netting underneath, they where gorgeous!! I got matching shoes and socks for a few pound each also from Primark and that was them done.

Simon had a beautiful light grey suit he didn’t often wear for work so we had it dry cleaned and pressed and it looked new. I got him a deep burgundy red cravat, I got some gorgeous cream and white ballet pumps from Debenhams in the sale for £6 and I got my flowers from freegle, and enuf for everyone!

All was left was my dress. i desperatly wanted a 50s look calf length dress and i trailed the internet, ebay, preloved type of sites but everything was either out of stock or well out of my price range. Until my gorgeous sister in law to be suprised me with a shopping trip for a dress, this was to be our wedding gift and i couldn’t of been happier!! We looked for hrs..this by the way was seriously 4 days before our wedding day… until we found a tiny dress shop hidden away that specialises in ball gowns, the lovely guy that owns it took us upstairs to this fabulous wedding section and i chose a burgundy bodice with a gorgeous tulle white skirt, it was perfect!!!

I chose the cake from a local bakers who charged next to nothing for the gorgeous, yet small, cake i chose, but everything matched and as nervous as I was I couldn’t wait!!

We chose 2.15 in the afternoon so i had plenty of time to get the kids and myself ready! On the big day by 1.30 everyone but my mum had left for the registry office and my mum helped me get ready. when we came down to order a cab (a car was an expense we couldn’t stretch to) a grogeous cream rolls royce turned up outside, believe me i cried!!!! My sister in law to the rescue again!!!!

It was a lovely simple service with our own vows and i have to admit I got the gigggles thru nerves. we had a few photos outside then we went off to a local restuarant for something to eat, which my lovely mum paid for as a wedding present. we then headed back to ours for cake and a few drinks.  it took about 3 days for it to sink it that we where married… now 15 months on im more than ever proud of the way we did it, the only thing that was missing was my dad. RIP pappy!!


Thank you Lizzie – Check out her blog and jewelery

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As I am currently testing the Graco Nautilus group 1-2-3 carseat, I have been blogging about my time with it, to complement my journey this is a guest post from Kay Wilkinson, a fellow blogger and a fellow mum!
Kay has written a short post from her perspective about buying a car seat – Enjoy!

Carseats: A few dos and don’ts!

First time mums are bombarded with ‘must buy’ items for their new babies – cots, safety gates, bottles, baby-gro’s, gro-bags, baby bath products, towels…..the list is huge and can be quite bewildering. Every mum wants to do the right thing for their baby, and to make the right choices. I know it worried me sick that I might miss something when I was pregnant with my first child.

Speaking from personal experience I bought a lot of stuff I didn’t need, and looking back it’s actually quite ridiculous that I thought I HAD to buy ‘Lavender Soothing Bath Oil’ and that if I didn’t buy new towels for the baby that the world might end.

Having said that, some items are absolutely essential and can truly be a life and death matter, i.e car seats. This is one item you cannot afford to skimp on, or not to research properly. The first rule of buying a car seat, is undoubtedly – don’t buy second hand! A car seat that has been in any kind of accident or impact will not protect your child. Basically, if you buy a cheap car seat at a car boot sale, who’s to know the history? It’s just not worth the risk.

Do make sure you find a car seat that fits your car. Car seats are definitely not a ‘one size suits all’ kind of product. The internet is your friend in this case, spend a couple of hours browsing the web and see what information / reviews you can find. Parenting and baby magazines are a great help too (and it’s always nice to have an excuse to sit down, put your feet up and do ‘important research’ whilst your other half makes you cups of tea).

Personal recommendations are worth listening to, although you do need to remember that what suits one person may not suit another. A huge, complicated to fit car seat that bolts to the car frame, is probably not suitable for someone who uses two cars and needs to swap between them, for example.

Another extremely important thing you must do, is read the instruction manual for your carefully chosen car seat. Although you may want to bumble your way through putting up flat pack furniture as ‘it’s obvious how it works’, this does not apply to your car seat. Studies have shown there are a huge percentage of car seats that are fitted incorrectly, and therefore do not work as effectively as they should. A tiny error could cost you a tiny life. You need to fit them properly.

There are so many things to look into before the arrival of your little bundle, but I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing the right car seat.

Do read magazines, reviews, go online, ask friends, ask retailers for advice – but don’t think it doesn’t matter and leave it to the last minute.

I am ashamed to say that my husband and I bickered outside the maternity unit immediately after my first baby was born. Neither of us knew how to fit the car seat properly, although we eventually worked it out after quite a few cross words and near tears from me. We’d simply overlooked it. If anything had happened on the way home, we would never have forgiven ourselves. Make sure that’s not you!

A big thank you to Kay – You can find Kay’s Blog here

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