I’m Clare. I’m an interior designer, educator and Mum of 3 crazy boys.

I help designers, decorators and home renovators with the design and renovation process.

I’ve helped hundreds of clients and students create beautiful homes via my online courses, workshops, design services and renovation resources.

And I look forward to helping you as well! :)

10 non-toy gifts for kids (that they will love!)

10 non-toy gifts for kids (that they will love!)

My kids have so many toys - particularly the little ones who get everything handed down from their older brothers. I'm often on the lookout for gifts that don't just get played with for a few months and then are put to the side when the next thing comes along.

But non-toy gifts don't have to be boring and this Christmas I've decided to focus more on this type of gift. Here are some ideas I've been thinking about. 

1. A night away with one parent (or the grandparents, or aunt). This one is especially good for kids who have siblings as it's a chance to get away and have full attention placed on them. My eldest (who is 6) thinks it is the best thing in the world to get to go on a holiday with either my husband or I. The stay in the hotel, the meals out, the activities we end up doing, it's all SO exciting and such a great memory for him to have. I cannot recommend it highly enough as a gift idea. To make the present itself exciting how about printing off some information about where you will visit, what you will do, the hotel you will stay in - paste it all in a special book and they can take it away with them to add drawings and brochures of the places you visit. 

2. Tickets to a concert or play - Think about performances at your local opera house, the local orchestras or theatre companies that might put on performances for kids. Most artistic companies are starting to realise they need to branch out in their audience base so they can maintain audiences into the future and many have great programs that are aimed at the kids/family market. 

3. Voucher to their favourite (non toy) shop. Think about your child's interests. Do they like doing art/craft, are they sporty, or perhaps they like science. Buy them a voucher to a (non toy) shop. They will love the independence of choosing their own items and it's a great chance to teach about the value of money and how much things cost. 

4. Magazine subscriptions - Magazine subscription websites like iSubscribe have a huge number of kids titles that would be great as a present. I have ordered quite a few of these for my kids a I find them a great distraction from day to day life. They also get a great thrill out of getting something in the mail that is addressed directly to them. 

5. Lessons - try something new or give lessons to something they are keen to try - soccer, gymnastics, ballet, dance classes, sports, theatre, art, crafting classes, robotics, music lessons - the list is endless!

6. Uniforms and equipment - get them the uniform or equipment they need to try their new hobby - it might be soccer boots, leotards, skateboarding equipment, balls, an instrument, a computer (if funds permit of course!).

7. Books - I have kids of all different ages and abilities. My eldest, who is 6, loves non-fiction books, my middle son, who is intellectually disabled, loves tactile books, and my youngest son just loves a good age-appropriate fiction book. So I'm constantly on Booktopia buying books that suit the kids and keep them occupied - the range is incredible. We also love to visit the local library, of course, but for Xmas and Birthdays each boy always gets at least one book to put in their library. Did you see my post about our all time favourite picture books a few weeks ago? Check that out here for more inspiration

8. Movie voucher to use with Mum or Dad - or a movie voucher for them and a friend during the year. Or you could buy a gift card or book of vouchers so they can see a couple of movies during the year and pick who they take with them. 

9. Dress ups - up until the age of about 8 or 9, kids will still get into the idea of dress ups and costumes - some may even like these for a few years after. Dress ups encourage great creative play and imagination and will keep them occupied for hours as they dress and undress over and over. We have a huge dress up box. 

10. Things that take them outdoors - tennis racquets, teepees, tents, balls, sporting equipment, wading pools, sprinkler attachments...

I hope that's given you some ideas for your own kids. Let me know if you have any other ideas as I would love to hear about them and add them to my own list.

Have a great day!

Clare x

Christmas gift wrap ideas

Christmas gift wrap ideas

Mums in Design | Anna-Carin McNamara

Mums in Design | Anna-Carin McNamara