19 Dec 2016

New York New York

Sorry for the radio silence over the last few days, I'm in New York getting swept up in the madness, rain and snow. Will have lots to share when I'm back in the homeland. 

As the last week approaches make sure you've made a list and checked it twice. Pick up any non perishable foods, order any last minute pressies. Try and do as much as you can this end of the week so you have time to relax before the big day.

12 Dec 2016

Christmas Playlist Keeping Teenagers Entertained

Help make teenagers feel involved by asking them to make a playlist with requests from everyone coming to Christmas. It's especially good if they don't know some people that well. Bit of an ice breaker and an easy talking point.

9 Dec 2016

Picture Time

Try to document your Christmas's by taking a picture of you and your guests either in front of the tree or at the dinner table each year.  I only started this 2 years ago but it's great looking back to remember each one.  There may be new relationships, new babies and sadly missed faces but the pictures still  capture great memories.  


6 Dec 2016

Liberty's Personalised Ball-balls: Great for a family gift and for those who are fancy!

These Liberty's personalised are divine.  Perfect for any foreign visitors who are into the very British thing, fancy friends or if you have to buy for a whole family and you're on a budget. You could get the family name printed on the glass.

I haven't seen them in the flesh yet but as they are from Liberty's they're bound to be good quality and beautifully wrapped. 

£15.95 each

They no longer have pictures online but you can still get them in store.



30 Nov 2016

Green & Blacks Tasting Selection Half Price In Tesco £5.50

This Green & Blacks tasting selection is half price in Tesco just £5.50.  I've picked up one for my Granddad and one for me! (Naughty I know).  You get 2 of each mini bar, 12 different flavours, and one of the 70% dark bigger bar.  For £5.50 it's an absolute steal if you can get to Tesco.

24 Nov 2016

Record Your Own Message Biscuit Tin £5!

This pretty biscuit tins are filled with gingerbread (not just any old gingerbread - M&S gingerbread!) and you can record your own message into it AND they are half price, just £5 at the moment.  I thought they were so good I bought 3! I’m going to send 1 to an Aunt in Scotland, I’ll get the whole family round to record the message. One to a couple of friends in Oz and another to a friend in Canada, they’re missing home so I thought a voice recorded message would go down a treat. 

23 Nov 2016

Make Your Own Library Gift Set

Some young kids love organising and doing 'work',  usually before they start getting homework from school! If you need to buy for a child who loves reading and/or 'working' what about a 'Make your own library' set.

I got this idea from someone at work who was gifted library set when he was a child and he loved it. You can buy a set ready made from The Literary Gift Company (pictured below) or make your own.

It's cheap and will keep them entertained for ages stamping in and out all of their books. 


You'll need...
  • A-Z Card file
  • Lots of spare cards
  • An ink pad
  • Rubber stamp 
  • Pens and pencils
  • Labels 
  • Note pad




You could print personalised labels for the inside of their books with their name on to add a special touch. I'm going to do this at home with one of Microsoft Word's templates.

21 Nov 2016

Fancy Looking Bath Cream For Those Who Like Pretty Things

Marks and Spencer £14 bath cream is great for anyone who's like my nan and keeps bottles out in the bathroom just because they look pretty.



19 Nov 2016

Dram & Smoke Scottish 5 Course Menu £45 Christmas Pop Up

Dram & Smoke is the perfect gift for any Scots living in and around London as a pre Christmas treat.  Or anyone for that matter! My Mum is a Scot and so is her best friend, both living in Kent and missing home.  I bought them this as a treat last year and they loved it.

"You'll be welcomed in from the cold with a warming hot toddy and, as ever, we’ll have communal tables, the theatre of an open kitchen, a party atmosphere and a fully stocked bar that’s open late. We're not in the business of contributing to turkey overload at this time of year, so you'll find dishes that celebrate the best of Scottish produce and bring big festive flavour with a twist."

The amazing 5 course Scottish menu (and cocktail) for £45 is shown below.  Really unusual and amazing value.  I’d highly recommend it as a Christmas treat.  It's based in near London Bridge as a Christmas Pop Up.




17 Nov 2016

20% Off In Seven Dials Covent Garden. Dr Martens, Cath Kidston, Urban Outfitters And More!

20% off in all these fab places tonight in Covent Garden (Seven Dials) 5pm - 9pm.  You need to print your ticket to come (it's free).  Great Christmassy atmosphere and loads of shops give out free drinks!



Know a kid that loves Batman? This Batman light projector/nightlight is bound to be a winner.  £19.99 from Hawkin's Bazaar.

15 Nov 2016

Hand Paint Your Own Baubles From Aldi, 100% Profits Go To Banardo's Charity

This is by far my best Christmas find so far.   Ceramic baubles from Aldi.




They are far too cheap (£1.99) for what you get...



  • 6 baubles - either round or heart shape
  • Brush
  • Glitter - gold and silver
  • 6 paints
  • Ribbon to hang them - gold and silver
They are such good quality too, I dropped one about 2 foot and it didn't break.  The paints weren't really in my colour scheme so I used some of my own bronze paint and red gems, but everything else came from the pack.  The glitter is fantastic, really fine and so sparkly.



I can't recommend these enough.  To top it all off 100% of the profits go to charity.




13 Nov 2016

Coffee Lovers Gift

Coffee lovers

Thought this was a great gift for any coffee lover who uses a cafete. You grind your beans straight into the jar. Keeps your coffee fresh and you can shake out just the right amount you need.

Team it with a bag of coffee beans for a star gift. £19.99 from Dunelm.
 

Microphone Hairdryer - For Any Aspiring Bedroom Singer

I can't believe they've invented this. It's a hairdryer with a microphone. For those who love singing and watching 'Hairspray' or 'Grease' a lot! From designedforhair.com

11 Nov 2016

Gingerbreath Wreath Display

Gingerbread Wreath

Once you've made batches of shortbread and gingerbread it's hard to know how to display them. Try forming them into a circle to make a wreath. You'll just need a large bow at the top for a finishing touch.

Easy peasy!  
 

9 Nov 2016

Christmas Tree Lights

Sounds crazy but now is the time to check your Christmas tree lights. Last year I was gutted when I bought my tree, went to decorate it and half of my LED lights were out.  I won't make the same mistake again.Also timer plug sockets are great, means you can have your lights come on when you wake up and turn off when you leave for work. Then back on when you're home again.


LED's


LED's are great because they last forever, cheap to run and you don't have to replace bulbs. Here are 'warm white' and 'bright white' options...














Candle bulb lights

Candle bulb lights look great, they a give a more warm and cosy feeling then LED's do. However they get hot and sometimes need bulbs replacing. If one goes they can all go.  Again here they are in 'warm white' and 'bright white'

















Which ever you buy get the cord to match the colour of your tree. I bought I clear cable for a green tree and it really stood out.I found this great chart which gives a good indication of how many lights you'll need for your tree.






Make Your Own Advent Calendar

I'm a massive fan of making your own advent calendar. This year I'm making one for a friend at works daughter, who is 5 and the cutest thing! I bought the calendar from Tiger Stores for £10. I had a budget of £25 to fill it. This is something you can start early as there's not really many deals to be had on these little things...




Here's what I filled it with...

Christmas sound machine
Mini pen
Mini pad
Mini rubbers
Mini sharpener
Hair bands
Bracelets
Stickers
Frozen figurines
Flavoured lip balm
Perfume
And of course chocolate coins!



8 Nov 2016

Personalised Christmas Decorations

Whether a friend has just moved in, got married or had a baby a Christmas decoration is a great gift. Maybe a special one from a handmade market, a fancy shop like Harrods or a personalised one.

Lots of places can personalise decorations in an instant, you'll find the stalls at Christmas markets or places like the South Bank and Winter Wonderland. They pretty much just write on the decoration with a paint marker. Great if you want a personal, thoughtful touch in a rush. 




Every year I love to paint my own decoration at a ceramic pottery place, great for kids too. The only downside is that you can't take it home with you on that day. You have to wait for them to be fired in the kiln but they're worth the wait. They look utterly gorgeous when they're finished. It's really fun to keep the kids entertained for a couple hours too.



6 Nov 2016

Non Chocolate Advent Calendars For Kids

There are just so many out there to choose from!

I'll do a separate post on make your own as I've done mine already (I know it's early!).  But for those who don't have the time (or can't be bothered) there are loads out there to choose from.


Lego



Playmobil


Gem Stones



Smiggle (stationary)



Play-Doh



Accessories (kids jewellery)

4 Nov 2016

Charity Christmas Cards

I know post about this every year but please buy your Christmas cards straight from a charity shop.  Check the back to be sure they get 100% of the profits.  Some "charity cards" get as little as 5p per pack.  I went to Scope and got these beauties...


2 Nov 2016

Organising Christmas

Pen and paper at the ready! 

Treat yourself to a little pocket size pad to keep track of all your Christmas spending, or start a list on your phone. It's essential if you're like me you can never remember what you've got for everyone, if I don't write a gift idea down I'm sure to forget it.

Here's what my Christmas note book is filled with...


1. A list of people I want to buy gifts for


2. Each person has their own dedicated page on which I write gift ideas and things that I've bought for them already as well as how much the gifts were so I can keep track of my spending

3. At the bottom of each page in my 'gift' section I jot down how much I've spent on that person

4. A Christmas card list

5. To buy list for everything other than food and gifts (i.e stamps and wrapping paper)

6. Food section, in here I jot down recipe ingredients (I take a photo of the recipes) Christmas themed food bits I want to buy, like Asda's Christmas tree crumpets

7. I also write down a list of meals I need to prepare and the things I need to buy for each meal.
For example...
Uni girls Christmas dinner
Christmas Eve nibbles
Home girls Christmas cheese and wine night 
Boxing Day starter, main and dessert for Adam's family 
NYE nibbles 

The list goes on!

It's important for me to know what I'm cooking when and which recipes, otherwise I buy far too much food.

8. On the back pages I write my to do's like post cards, drop off presents to Nan etc it's so satisfying seeing the list get ticked off.

1 Nov 2016

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Hello Everyone,

Welcome back.  It's been far too long.  But at last it's time to talk all things Christmas.  I'll be sharing all my tips, advice, best buys, best bargains, inspiration and everything else Christmas this season.  Love to hear from you all.  Please feel free to comment and share your best bits too.

Merry Christmas! 

Megan