It is nearly November and signs of festive gifts and treats are now pretty hard to ignore. It is the time of year when I start to plan my presents for everyone and I always start researching ideas online before taking to the shops for my final bits and pieces. I wanted to share some of my favourite finds and I hope that they give you some festive inspiration.
Online shopping makes buying Christmas gifts so much easier and this year one site that has grabbed my attentions is Octer. Octer is a little bit like a large shopping centre online with hundreds of well-known shops and brands all available in one site. This means that not only can you access all of your favourite brands in one place but you can easily compare prices and products in one simple click. Easily accessible via your laptop, tablet or phone, Octer makes shopping simple and I will be adding it to my list of Christmas shopping sites this year.
Gifts for Rest and Relaxation
As a busy mum, I have to admit that any gift that involves a little bit of luxury or encourages me to have some restful me time is always a good choice. Vouchers for a spa day would be a thoughtful gift and I have my eye on a day at Ragdale Spa in Leicestershire. Starting from £25 gift vouchers are valid for a year and they come beautifully packaged in a presentation pack with a voucher wallet along with a full brochure to get the recipient in the mood for their visit. Vouchers are available for spa day packages, spa breaks or in monetary value, find out more about the vouchers and the amazing treatments available on the website.
A Heat Pod by Dreamland is the modern and safe answer to the hot water bottle. The Heat Pod provides instant heat around the home or out and about on cold winter days. The ceramic heat technology helps keep you warm for up to six hours from a single charge (costing less than 1p) in a snuggly, washable faux fur cover (RRP £39.99). The Heat Pod is a genius idea and something that I know I would use endlessly through the winter months (I really dislike being cold). It charges up so quickly and then gives off a really nice level of heat, perfect for snuggling with on the sofa when you curl up with a book or to watch TV.
If you are someone who finds colouring a therapeutic way to rest and unwind, this set from Derwent is perfect for you. The Derwent Unwind in the Wild colouring book is the amazing new colouring book from Derwent in collaboration with artist Sarah Taylor. the images are nature themed and were inspired by Sarah’s Lake District home. The images are beautifully intricate and you can spend hours colouring them in with the 10 coloursoft pencils that come with it. Find out more here.
The very first thing that I want to do when I sit down, is to have a nice cup of tea, there is nothing better. Piacha teas are something quite special. Piacha is a tea bar in Islington, London which was created with tea lovers in mind in a world obsessed with coffee bars and they sell teas with a difference. Of course, they offer familiar favourites but there are lots of teas that are adventurous and unique blends such as Ginger Chilli, Rooibos Choc Cinnamon, and Earl Grey Vanilla.
Fortunately, you can buy their teas online. You can choose to try a blend as a one off or buy a monthly subscription and there are also gift collections or gift subscriptions too which would be such a treat for tea lovers. I received a sample of Earl Grey Vanilla which contains 12 tea bags. It smells incredible as it brews and tastes even better. Find out more about Piacha on their website.
Another good gift to help a busy parent relax and unwind is a good book. Mum Hacks by Tanith Carey is the perfect book for mums with lots of tips that will help mums to make daily life run more smoothly. Split into sections to cope with different areas of family life, new or first-time mums,in particular, will find the sensible, no-nonsense advice really useful and it is written in such a way that it is so easy to read and you can dip in and out when and as you want to. Whether it is how to make the kitchen run more smoothly, trying to make sense of mornings, behaviour or even finding some time for you, there are so many interesting ideas that even as an experienced mum, I enjoyed reading it. Find out more about Mum Hacks and buy the book here.
OTeas are a UK based speciality Tea Company who promote an active, healthy and balanced lifestyle. Their teas, which come in 7 different ranges each with a variety of different blends, are expertly blended with the highest quality ingredients, sourced from around the world, and are placed in pyramid-shaped bags, to maximise their infusion. With Teatox and Wellness teas alongside black, green, rooibos, herbal and fruit teas, the range is impressive and there is something to suit every tea taste.
All of the teas are available to buy in individual boxes if you want to try them and then there are tins or pouches available for larger quantities. The packaging is really lovely. There are also Tea Gift Boxes available which include 12 or 24 of the individually wrapped tea bags. For the festive period, why not try one of their Christmas Teas such as Santa’s Little Helper, Rooibos Christmas Delight or Christmas Cookie which all have a blend of spices that immediately remind you of Christmas. Find out more about OTeas on their website.
Health and Beauty Gifts
If you are looking for a really special gift this Christmas, I would recommend browsing the products on offer from proto-col, which features a unique selection of natural, ethically sourced skincare, beauty and cosmetic goodies.
The aim of proto-col products is simple, to deliver luxury formulations, made with the best quality ingredients at affordable prices. The company originally launched their proto-col pure collagen capsules, which were rapidly hailed as the “holy grail” of anti-ageing by beauty experts and ‘A’ list celebrities worldwide and the capsules are still hugely successful and there are now three proto-col ranges with over seventy products in total.
The collagen capsules and they are beneficial to hair, nails, joints, bones as well as skin. By taking four capsules each night before you go to bed, you give your body a boost from the inside as you sleep. In addition, you can use the proto-col collagen facial serum on your face at nighttime too for an extra layer of protection. These two products combined will help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The proto-col night-time renewal collection contains 3x collagen capsules with VERISOL® (120 caps) and 1x collagen facial serum 30ml which should really help to prepare your skin for winter. Currently, this collection is less than half price at £59.95 (until 31st December). I have only been using the capsules and serum for a few days and already my skin is feeling amazing.
A bit of indulgence in the bath or shower is another treat for me and I have used Dove products for many years and always been a big fan. DermaSpa Goodness from Dove is their latest range and all products are enriched with natural oils for a really indulgent bathtime treat. There are four products in the DermaSpa Goodness range; DermaSpa Goodness Body Oil (RRP £9.99), DermaSpa Goodness Body Crème (£7.99), DermaSpa Goodness Hand Crème (RRP £4.99) and the DermaSpa Goodness Body Lotion (RRP £5.99). All of these are a real treat to use, perfect to help combat dry skin and leave your skin feeling soft and luxurious. At such great value, the Dove DermaSpa Goodness products would make perfect stocking fillers. They are available from Boots nationwide.
Superdrug is one of my daughter’s favourite shops as she can take her pocket money and always pick up some lovely treats to use in the bathroom and it is the perfect place to shop for some last minute gifts. With so many products at great value prices, these would make great stocking fillers. Find out more on the Superdrug website.
WooBaamboo is an environmentally friendly company that are helping the world one toothbrush at a time. Billions of plastic toothbrushes end up in landfill sites and WooBamboo has created a range of toothbrushes that are not only created from naturally grown and sustainably harvested Moso bamboo but the handles are fully biodegradable and naturally microbial. Brilliant. And they look good too.
WooBamboo has toothbrushes suitable for the whole family, even the dog and there are plans for even more products in the future. Find out more about WooBamboo and the UK stockists here.
What better way to relax away the stresses and strains than to enjoy a soak in the bath. Olverum has the perfect bath companion. The Olverum Bath Oil contains enough bath oil for 50 baths and you only need a few small drops in your bath to help ease the stresses of the day and really relax. It smells wonderful and with the combination of natural oils such as pine, lemon peel, juniper, eucalyptus and lavender, it really does make you feel rejuvenated and relaxed Find out more here.
When I was young, both my mum and my gran used Astral and I used to watch in fascination as they rubbed it all over their faces and necks. Astral has been used now for an amazing 60 years and I was sent a pot to try and it is a very rich moisturiser and you can use it as a facial moisturiser or for your body too. Astral is also great value too and would make a great stocking filler.
You can never have too much stationery. I’m afraid that no gift guide of mine would be complete without at least a few stationery items. I adore stationery and stationery gifts always make me happy. My main weakness is a notebook or several and these are a few of my favourite things this season.
Everyone likes a special treat, don’t they? Something a little bit different, something that you probably wouldn’t ever buy for yourself. Here are a few of my favourites.
There are lots of options when it comes to sharing your favourite family photos as Christmas gifts but you will not find a better range of gift ideas than Bags of Love. On this site, you can pretty much turn your photos into anything and there are some gorgeous and unique ideas. If you want to display photos around your home, there is everything from wallpaper to blinds, from blankets to cushions. Storage, tins, bags, pencil cases, towels, suitcases, umbrellas, in fact, the list is endless and really impressive. I narrowed down my list to the four favourites shown below; the shopping bag, large storage tin, the storage box or a throw cushion. All of the items can be completely personalised with one or a selection of photos and the uploading and designing process is quick and easy.
In the end, I chose the personalised shopping bag (from £55) and chose one of my favourite photos from our summer holiday at Walt Disney World, a rare photo of us all together. The bag is absolutely lovely. Really well made and sturdy, the quality of the photo is excellent too. It is perfect size to hold your shopping and it looks stylish too. This would make a really special gift for someone special.
I really would recommend a visit to Bags of Love to see their impressive range for yourself.
Personally, I love to receive jewellery and it is something that I would very rarely buy for myself but I always enjoy wearing it. This year, Pandora is on my Christmas list and I would love to invest in a bracelet that I could add charms to over time but Pandora also has a gorgeous collection of rings and earrings. House of Fraser have a huge range of jewellery and I particularly like their Pandora collection which suits any budget and would make any mum feel really special.
DIWAH is a new jewellery brand which specialises in semi-precious and on their website you can design your own jewellery. All of our jewellery is then handmade in the UK by skilled jewellery design team members. Personalised products are always a hit at Christmas time and creating a complete piece of jewellery for someone is such a unique present. There is a choice of over 1000 components, so the design options are endless, perfect for a lovely gift. If you don’t feel confident designing yourself (although it really is worth having a go, it is great fun) there are also gift codes available to buy so that they person receiving the gift can have the design experience for themselves.
Let’s not forget gifts for Dads. Here are a few of my favourites for him this Christmas.
For cyclists, there is a unique and super-secure lock called a Litelok which would be the perfect gift. This stunning British-made lock has been designed by a former aeronautical engineer using his own revolutionary, multi-layered, material called ‘Boaflexicore’.The material not only ensures a high level of security but also means that the Litelok is flexible and much lighter than many other locks and it is easily attached to a bike using custom straps. In addition, two Liteloks can be combined with the same key for extra length. Litelok is available in three colour waves: Crow Black, Herringbone and Boa Green at £85.00.