It is that time of the year again. That time where some of us (me) start to begrudgingly admit that we need to start thinking about it and others are smugly finishing off their shopping. Well if you are in need of inspiration, over the next week I will be creating a few Christmas Gift Guides with some amazing gift ideas. First up is ideas for mums and dads, whether you are looking for something that you would like yourself or for the other adults in your life, I have some really interesting and varied products to showcase.
But before we look at presents, what about those all-important cards. I have to admit that I am usually really last minute with cards as I spend ages finding the right cards. This year, I am super organised as I have discovered Artfull Puffin.
For tea lovers
When you are a tea lover, you need a good mug and I have to say that I think I may have found the perfect mug. From the extensive Mclaggan Smith Mugs collection, it is bone china and the perfect size for my morning cuppa with the best personalisation ever. Mclaggan Smith Mugs mugs have been printed and decorated in the UK since 1974 and there is a huge range of different types of mug but I loved the personalised collection. I think you can see why.
I absolutely love it and I have banned anyone else from using it. With a unique range of mugs with personalisation, messages, traditional, modern or funny images, there is something for everything. I have my eye on the Orla Kiely mugs as they are gorgeous. All are reasonably priced and made in the UK. Check out their website for more information.
I love tea and these next two gift ideas smell like Christmas in a tin, right there. Amazing. Twinings already have a huge range of teas of different types and flavours and their Christmas additions are housed in these very festive looking tins. Aptly named Seasons Greetings, there is Christmas Tea and Spiced Chai Tea which are loose black tea and the image on the tin is a wintry picture of their flagship store in London.
Both teas smell wonderful but the Spiced Chai Tea is amazing and tastes as good as it smells. The Twinings Seasons Greetings Caddies are priced at £7.50 and are available from Twinings online
The Organic Christmas Tea Collection from the English Tea Shop contains 72 teas in an assortment of 9 different flavours, making it a perfect gift idea. All presented in a really pretty tin, this collection is available from Amazon for only £8.95. The organic Christmas inspired blends include ginger cranberry, smokey red chai, red cocoa ginger, coffee cream, apple spice, Christmas punch, Christmas night and warm winter. Find out more about the English Tea Shop collection here.
For those who like something a little stronger
My love of the TV series Friends is catching. My eldest son is still obsessed with it, my other two sons will watch it happily and I recently introduced it to my daughter and even though she is a bit young, she loved it. What’s not to love. It is a classic and is still as funny the 20th time of watching. So these shot glasses from one of my favourite gift stores, Truffle Shuffle, immediately caught my eye. Colourful, fun and each one has a classic quote from the series, these would be a fab gift for all fans of Friends (who are over 18). The Friends Quotes Set of 4 Shot Glasses set is £9.99.
Also from Truffle Shuffle is this amazing Star Wars Original Stormtrooper Glass Tumbler. Such a clever design, the shape of the inside of the glass is the shape of the Stormtrooper helmet. Such a wonderful gift for Star Wars fans and even as someone who is not a huge fan, I can appreciate the design. The Star Wars Original Stormtrooper Glass Tumbler is £11.99.
For people who like growing things
Whether you are an experienced gardener or a newbie, this Indoor Allotment from Prezzy Box is such a cool gift idea. It contains everything that you need to grow your own herbs. The main container is a small white picket fence enclosure with a small ‘shed’ to keep the things in. With the kit, comes everything else you need; pots, soil pellets, seeds and even a pair of scissors to trim your crop once it has grown. You can grow coriander, basil, and oregano all perfect to add to your cooking.
For those who like fixing and creating
Sugru is the world’s first mouldable glue that sticks to almost anything and turns into a strong and flexible rubber overnight. It is made to stick to as many materials as possible forming a strong bond to aluminium, steel, ceramics, glass, wood and other materials including some plastics and rubbers. When you take it out of the packet, it is completely soft and mouldable and you have 30 minutes to work with it. Then after 24 hours SUGRU sets and your project is ready.
Sugru’s have recently introduced a brand new Family-Safe, Skin-Friendly Formula – the world’s first mouldable glue for the next generation of makers aged eight years and over (from £6.99 for a 3 pack at Sugru.com). Sugru is an amazing thing and you can do really clever things with it as well as practical things and it is very useful to have in the house. Check out the Sugru website for more information and lots of different and clever ideas for using it.
For cat lovers
I have to be honest when I say that I would not have thought about looking for Christmas gifts on the Cats Protection website but they have a wonderful range of cat-themed gifts where you can get anything from mugs to doormats, calendars to chalkboards and you can even find gifts for cats. There are some lovely things to choose from at reasonable prices. The added bonus of shopping online with Cats Protection is that some of the money is used to help the cats they look after too. I absolutely love this flask (£12.99) which would make a great gift for any cat lover. It is well worth a look at their gift shop if you are looking for something a little different.
For stationery lovers
The Dairy Diary used to fascinate me when I was a child. My mum always had one and I was so keen to see what was inside. All those years later and last year I finally had one of my own and it was a lovely trip down memory lane. Not just a diary, the Dairy diary contains recipes, it’s packed with useful information, features a handy notes pocket, has plenty of space to write and even has a dates to remember sticker sheet. Now in its 36th year, I can see why the Dairy Diary is still so popular. I am thrilled to be using one again next year. Find out more here.
Also from the makers of Dairy Diary, the Mum’s Luxury Diary is a luxurious diary featuring a beautiful teal and gold block cover with rounded corners, two ribbons, elastic closure, lie-flat binding for easy writing and stickers to highlight important events. The A5 week-to-view diary has lots of writing space, a column for children’s activities and seasonal recipes and family tips throughout the year. It also includes schedules to plan your children’s activities through the school year, essential children’s contacts, calendars, planners, thoughts/plans and gift records and lots more. The perfect family organiser with some amazing recipes RRP £10.99 and available from www.recipediary.co.uk
For photo lovers
Bags of Love is a site I was introduced to last year when I did a review for them and I was immediately hooked. If you are looking for photo gifts, Bags of Love is your site as they have the widest range of photo gifts I have ever seen. I have bought a few gifts from them since the review and I am always impressed by the speed of delivery and the quality of the products.
This time I chose a personalised photo clock as this would be perfect for our bedroom and you can choose from a circular or square shape and use one photo as the background or create a collage. There is also a choice of different styles for the numbers and also colours for the hands and numbers which is helpful as you need to find something that works with your chosen photo. It is so easy to upload photos and create your masterpiece and in minutes you can preview your handiwork, pay and order. So simple.
I spent a long time trying out different photos and combinations and in the end chose one of my favourite photos of my three youngest children together. The end result is really lovely and I can’t wait to get it on the wall.
For skin and hair care product lovers
For Dads why not visit The Bluebeards Revenge for a fantastic range of male grooming products. The ‘About’ page did make me smile as they talk about “products designed for real men, by real men” in response to the question “do you find yourself forever repurchasing gels, soaps and hairsprays that promise the earth and deliver a soul-crushing nothing, leaving you smelling as if you’ve been raiding your grandmother’s bathroom cabinet all the while?”
The product range is varied and impressive and the males young and old in this house loved the packaging, saying that it looked very masculine. As for the products, they have gone down really well. Both boys love the Matt Clay and the Matt Paste as it is all about the hair for them. My husband loved the shaving cream, ideal for a close well shave, he said it smelt great and left his skin feeling soft and fresh. Find out more about The Bluebeards Revenge on their website.
Skin Doctors offer a range of beauty products and I have tried the Instant Facelift and Instant Eyelift before. Both are a temporary fix which lasts for a few hours. Instant Facelift, is a light serum that temporarily tightens skin and gives you a younger, fresher complexion. I use this product regularly and whilst it doesn’t work miracles, it does give the skin a boost and makes lines less visible for a few hours. Instant Eyelift works in a similar way, a light serum that for a few hours makes eyes look fresher and softens lines and wrinkles.
This is the first time that I have tried Skin Doctors Bee Lift cream but having used a face mask containing bee venom before, I know that this is a powerful and effective ingredient when it comes to skin care. Bee Lift contains a combination of bee venom and Manuka honey and can be used to help fight the signs of aging. I have been trying this cream for a few days and I have to say that this is a face cream I would use again as my skin feels softer and fresher than it has done for a long time.
Gamma Hydroxy is a skin resurfacing cream which you can use regularly instead of a chemical peel to fight signs of aging, reduce blemishes, improve acne scarring and give a clearer, firmer complexion. I have only tried this once so far as I have really sensitive skin but it left my skin feeling amazing and as the reviews online are generally really good, I am really excited to see how well the cream works over time.
These are just four of a much larger range of skin care products from Skin Doctors, find out more on their website.
For dads who wear ties
My husband always asks for shirts and ties every Christmas. As he wears formal wear five days a week, he always needs new clothes and whilst shirts don’t excite me, I do like choosing and buying new ties for him. Dobell Menswear is an online shop specialising in formal wear for boys and men. They have a fantastic range of ties at really great prices but also equally great quality.
This black tie with silver square dots is really lovely and looks perfect with a black or a grey suit and it only costs £6.99 which is such a great price.
For the woman who has everything
There are some people who are so tricky to buy for and I have the perfect thing. The Elvie Trainer.
An unusual gift but a brilliant idea. Too many women in the UK suffer from the effects of a weak pelvic floor and it can be the result of pregnancy and childbirth, being overweight and sadly just from aging.The Elvie Trainer is designed to strengthen the pelvic floor, to improve core strength, bladder control, and even sex. It also helps prepare your body and speeds up recovery from pregnancy. The Elvie Trainer is such a clever idea. It is a small pebble-shaped pod which is inserted like a tampon and connects to an app that guides you through fun, five-minute workouts using real-time biofeedback. It can even detect technique and alert you if you’re exercising incorrectly.
If like me, you know you need to improve your pelvic floor but can never find the time or motivation, this is the perfect thing to help. It only takes a few minutes a day but over time could make a serious improvement that can help you in so many ways. It comes in a handy little storage tube and it is really easy to set up and use and the app is free to download and helps you with setting up.
The Elvie Kegel Trainer costs £169 and you receive
- Elvie kegel trainer
- Carry case (doubles as a charger)
- USB charging cable
- Optional cover for custom sizing
- Free iPhone and Android app*
You can buy and find out more about the Elvie Trainer on the website.
*Elvie is compatible with iPhones 4S and above and Android phones version 4.3 or newer that support Bluetooth Smart / Bluetooth Low Energy.
For those who like a bit of fun in their kitchen
Red Candy is all about fun and adding colour and fun to any room in the house. There are so many fabulous and unique ideas that you will always find something completely new and exciting. I adore Red Candy and their Nessie inspired kitchen utensils are a great way of injecting some fun and colour into your kitchen. I have the Nessie Soup Ladle and she sits on the worktop waiting to be used. The children love it and keep asking if we can use it, so it has been a hit with them too.
Find Nessie and lots of other fabulous products for your home on the Red Candy website.
For those who like a tidy kitchen
PAVARA stands for Providing A Viable Aesthetic Result Anywhere and the Pavara sink tidy really does that job well. Pavara hides the sink clutter. It can be manually rotated so that the contents are easily accessed. The drainage holes in the base allow excess water to drain away. It is such a minimalist design and I know that this is something I could seriously do within my kitchen as my kitchen sink is the bane of my life, it is so messy with brushes, washing up liquid and various other bits and pieces.
The RRP is £49.95. It is available on the PAVARA website and on Amazon.
For those in need of a good nights sleep
Snoring is a huge problem that can affect men and women. My husband is a snorer and it is really hard because you know it isn’t their fault but it is hugely frustrating when it keeps you away. Help is at hand with The Goodnight Anti-Snoring Ring which is an all-natural, non-invasive answer to the problem. It is hard to believe a piece of jewelry can actually stop someone from snoring but the snoring ring that has been clinically proven to work. The travel-sized ring focuses on two acupressure points located on your little finger. The ring’s two acu-activators work to free up your nasal breathing passages and balance your natural bio-rhythms. From a recent survey, over 79% of people claimed that they were less irritated with their partner since they had been using the product.
My husband has tried the ring and so far it does seem to be helping. He is still snoring a little but it definitely does not seem as heavy. The Good Night Anti-Snoring Ring £29.99 comes in three sizes and is fully adjustable. Available from Boots, your local pharmacy or online at www.goodnightsnoring.com
For those who want to face their fears
This book is a really interesting read. The Expansion Game by Gosia Gorner is easy to read and if I’m honest, a really enjoyable book full of strategies to build self-confidence and face fears.
Gosia is an award-winning transformational coach and trainer and she has written this book in a very simple and easy to understand way and there is a real warmth which makes the book a very positive read. It includes stories from people who have already used Gosia’s techniques which give you real inspiration. So however big or small your fear may be or maybe you just need a confidence boost, I highly recommend reading this book.
For snack lovers
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate and Guylian is always on my list, their chocolate seashells are my favourite. The Guylian Belgian Chocolates Large Temptations Pouch made my day when it arrived in the post. This is something that I would buy for myself. Containing delicious chocolate seahorses in six different flavours: Latte Macchiato, Original Praliné, Caramel, Milk Truffle, Crunchy Biscuit and Dark Praliné, this bag is a real treat. It is big enough to share, of course, but then again …
If you love chocolate but have a dairy intolerance, then Ombar might be the perfect gift for you. Ombar is a delicious alternative and has a good range of different flavours in their 35g (RRP £1.99) bars such as raspberry and coconut, coconut and goji berry. Three of the flavours are now available in a bigger 70g size: Coco Mylk which is a sweeter coco-nutty flavour, 72% Raw Cacao and new Coco Almond. Ombar is made from natural and organic ingredients, gluten free, dairy free and suitable for vegans. Available from nationwide Waitrose stores, RRP £2.99
For more information on the full range, which includes Centres and Buttons please visit www.ombar.co.uk
I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks and the bags of snacks from Abakus Foods are both healthy and delicious.
All of the snacks use simple and natural ingredients, have no additives and are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. The Jujube fruit, also called the Red Date, is new to the UK but has been widely enjoyed for health and well-being in the Far East since 1000s of years. It has a taste and texture which is very similar to a date and they make a healthy and delicious snack. Abakus Foods have a range of snacks using the Jujube fruit; the pitted whole fruit, crunchy jujube crisps, and jujube stuffed with a luxurious selection of walnuts, almonds, and cashews. Also part of the range is Hickory Nuts bags which have the most amazing taste. They taste like a crunchy and buttery sweet nut and I can see why people describe them tasting like butterscotch. The RRP of the packs are £1.99 but they are also available in very pretty gift jars for £12.99 which are perfect Christmas gifts.
Find out more about Abakus Foods on the website.
For those who like it hot
For spicy food fanatics, hot sauce is a cupboard staple – but taking it a step beyond the kick of more traditional hot sauces, Encona has created the champion of them all – The Carolina Reaper. This astonishingly hot and fruity sauce contains the Carolina Reaper chilli blended with tomatoes, garlic, cumin and orange to give a well-rounded flavour that is guaranteed to tickle your taste buds and challenge your adventurous streak.
The Carolina Reaper chilli is more than 25 times hotter than the Piri Piri chilli. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, The Carolina Reaper, which originates from South Carolina, is officially the world’s hottest chilli pepper. This sauce makes a great marinade or if you are really brave, a dipping sauce or condiment.
For those who want some rest and relaxation
A spa day would be top of my list and I have been dropping hints wildly to anyone who will listen. Ragdale Hall Spa in Leicestershire is the perfect place to spend the day with spa days, spa breaks and an impressive range of treatments. They also offer gift vouchers too. Find out more on the website.