Things I Love About The Festive Season - The Christmas Tag

4 December 2017

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Yes if you hadn't guessed we are counting the days until Santa visits. This next week will be hard, it is a year ago since my husband lost his younger brother and a year has gone by since we saw him. They same time is a great healer but for my daughter still misses her Uncle and worries about her 3 year old nephew not having daddy around for Christmas. So, to try and enter the festive spirit we visited a Victoria Christmas Market and decorated the Christmas tree this weekend and I just need to venture out and do the shopping and find nice things to do to keep her occupied.

When the lovely Zena at Zena's Suitcase tagged me in the Christmas Tag post I thought it would be a lovely way to share the things about Christmas we most enjoy. You can also see Zena's answers here. So here goes with my answers.

What's Your Favourite Christmas Movie?
It has to be the Polar Express. Just the thought of going on a magical adventure and learning about friendship and the true spirit of Christmas is my perfect Christmas Eve film.

Have You Ever Had a White Christmas?
I would love to have real snow at Christmas but apart from a few snowflakes we haven't been that lucky. I can remember when Gee was little her Daddy set the snow machine up outside and the look on her face when she opened the curtains was certainly a picture. It is the little things that make Christmas magical.

Where Do You Usually Spend Your Holiday?
We usually spend it at home. Gee likes to be in her own surroundings on Christmas Day, playing with her presents and just enjoying quality family time. My mother in law and my kids come for Christmas dinner followed by friends and family visiting throughout the morning and evening.

What Is Your Favourite Christmas Song
I have so many, but love The Fairytale of New York by The Pogues. It has become a bit of a family tradition to attend the Christmas Eve "Carols by Candlelight" service in our local church in the evening, such a poignant reminder of those we have lost but also hope for the future. The Church looks spectacular lit by candles and we even have a small nativity with a real donkey.

Do You Open Any Presents On Christmas Eve?
Definitely not! Although I do Gee a Christmas Eve basket with pyjamas, slippers, bath bomb, DVD and treats in so that she is all fresh and ready for the big day.

Can You Name All of Santa's Reindeers?
Let's see Donna, Blitzen, Rudolph, Prancer and Dancer and I'm not sure about all the rest without cheating :) .

What Holiday Traditions Are You Looking Forward To This Year?
Decorating the tree with my daughter, she always get to put the angel on the top. My mum bought her the angel when she was little and it has become a tradition for her to finish the tree. We always bake on Christmas Eve morning, mince pies, maids of honour tarts and make a sherry trifle. Visiting the Victorian Market, I love to see all the crafts, it gives me great ideas for presents.

Photo by ifreestock on Unsplash
Is Your Christmas Tree Real Or Fake?
It has to be fake. I had a real one a couple of Christmas's ago and the cat destroyed it, he thought it was fun to crawl up the middle of it. In the end I took it down and bought a fake one, he doesn't like fake trees.

What Is Your Favourite Holiday Treat/Food/Sweet?
I love everything, the turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, trifle, chocolates and I have a soft spot for Tia Maria in my morning coffee, along with a glass of Buck's Fizz whilst I am cooking dinner.

Be Honest, Do You Like Giving Or Receiving Gifts?
I love buying presents and giving gifts so much more than receiving them. I find it quite exciting exploring for the perfect present, although I do not like wrapping them, it is one of my pet hates. So whilst you may receive a nice present it will not be pristinely wrapped.

What Is The Best Christmas Present You Have Ever Received?
My daughter once bought me a glass paper weight of the world along with a note saying "you mean the world to me", she had spent her £5 pocket money on it. This brought a tear to my eye. It just shows that the simplest of things can mean more than expensive items.

What Would Be Your Dream Place To Visit For The Holiday Season?
I would love to visit New York and see the Christmas tree in the Rockefeller Centre, visit Saks, Macy's and Bloomingdales and ice skate in Central Park.

Are You A Pro Present Wrapper Or Do You Fail Miserably?
I am a huge fail! I detest wrapping presents and find it so much easier to buy pretty bags and tissue paper, it takes the stress out of Christmas wrapping for me and my presents look so much better.

Most Memorable Christmas Memory?
When I was about 8 year's old Santa bought me the most beautiful doll, she was coloured and was dressed in a gorgeous white wedding gown, holding a bouquet of roses. I really loved that doll, although I don't know what became of her.

What Made You Realise The Truth About Santa?
The truth about what? I'm not sure the meaning of this question. I can't wait for Santa to visit us again this year.

What Makes The Holidays Special For You?
Spending time with my family. We enjoy playing games, watching films and eating divine food. I love nothing more than entertaining my family and love them all to be with me to celebrate Christmas.

So those are my answers. Thank you so much Zena for inviting me to join in and what a lovely way to find out more about some of our blogger friends.

I would love to invite some blogger friends to join in to, can't wait to read your answers.

Sonia at ThisMummyLoves

Claire at clairejustineoxox


Christmas Gifts for Ladies

27 November 2017

I love buying presents for my friends and female relatives. Something different or unusual can always bring a smile to a loved ones face and below are some of my favourites.


Wooden Wren Brooch - Maria Allen Boutique
I have been trawling the internet looking for something unique for my mother in law. She loves birds and wildlife and with this in mind, I stumbled upon the most perfect wooden wren perching on a branch brooch at Maria Allen Boutique. Made from sustainable cherry wood veneer it is laser cut and has the most gorgeous detail. The wren measures 3.3cm wide by 3.7cm tall and the brooch is 3.2 mm thick with a stainless steel brooch back. Priced at £19.00 I think it is beautiful and very reasonable. You can also buy matching earrings and necklace.

The Spa Factory - Dusk till Dawn Gift Set
How nice would it be to give the gift of sleep? With the help of the Natural Spa Factory's and their Dusk till Dawn gift set you can give your loved one some tender loving care and home spa pampering this Christmas. This aromatic set contains Overnight Repair Oil for your skin, a Massage Candle and Lavender Essential Oil. Each gift set comes lovingly presented in beautiful packaging and smells divine. It can be purchased from their website and costs £36.00.



Lavolio Handmade Confectionery
There is nothing more enjoyable than receiving exquisite handmade chocolates and nothing could be more so than Lavolio products. Lavolio bring you the finest products from artisan candy makers all  beautifully packaged in a keepsake tin. The Decadent Spiced box contains real pieces of fruit, nuts and jellies wrapped in chocolate and spices. Nutty Mini Eggs contain toasted almonds wrapped in dark, white and hazelnut chocolate and my favourite Nutty Forest contains a medley of almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios mixed with different types of chocolate. Each 175g box costs around £12.50 and is makes a gorgeous gift.


Wonderbag - Eco Cooking
A great gift not just for the ladies, is the new revolutionary Wonderbag which can transform the way you cook. The Wonderbag requires no electricity and allows you to cook safely even whilst out travelling or enjoying a day out. This fabulous idea is perfect for taking with you on your travels. You just need to prep your food before hand and make sure it is boiling, pop the casserole dish inside the Wonderbag and it will slow cook your food for up to 12 hours. Priced at £35.00 this can save you money and help you to have enjoyable no fuss meals whilst on the go.

Guylian Artisanal Belgian Chocolates
What is Christmas without my favourite chocolates? Guylian now have a 522g pouch full of Guylian's Tempations. The bag which can be shared, if you like, contains Dark Paraline, Original Praline, Milk Truffle, Crunchy Biscuit, Caramel and Latte Macchiato flavour fine Belgian chocolates. Perfect for Christmas festivities, everybody can enjoy a little taste of heaven.  Priced at around £9.99 the pouch contains around 54 individual chocolates.


O'Keeffe's Hard Working Skincare
New this year is O'Keeffe's Hard Working Skincare multipack.  Within the O’Keeffe’s Hardworking Skincare Multipack is O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Jar, providing guaranteed relief for extremely dry, cracked hands, a Jar of O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet, providing hard-working relief for hard-working feet and new O’Keeffe’s Lip Repair Cooling lip balm; cooling relief for dry, cracked lips.  The O'Keeffe's Hardworking Skincare Multipack is available at £17.99 from Boots both online and in store.


Eyejusters
British invented and manufactured adjustable reading glasses are now available, all you do is turn the hidden dials to focus in allowing you to do numerous jobs without changing glasses. A perfect present for people like me who need to see the small stuff, my eyesight has deteriorated over time sadly and it would be so useful to carry one pair of glasses around.  Eyejusters are a practical gift as you don't need to know the wearer's prescription as they can be individually altered on the hidden dials. Prices start from £65.00.


Barefaced Shimmer Collection from Magnitone
From the 1st October you will be able to buy the Barefaced Shimmer Collection from Magnitone. My daughter recently tried out the First Step and loved it, so this is definitely on my Christmas List. The multi-award winning Daily Cleansing Brush will get your skin softer, brighter and beautifully conditioned thanks to Vibra-Sonic Technology that works deep into the skin to naturally sake impurities out of pores and boost micro-circulation. An all-natural energizing workout in just 60 seconds a day. The Shimmer Collection is available in festive pink rose and serenity blue and is priced at £89.99.

My list for the ladies could be endless, there are so many products I have seen and love. What is on your Christmas list this year?


Samsung AddWash Ecobubble Washer/Dryer Review

27 November 2017


Gone are the days when I washed laundry once a week, the old twin tub washer was pulled out and I spent all morning washing clothes. We now live in an age where technology gives us an helping hand and saves us time and money. We were recently invited to review the Samsung AddWash Ecobubble 9kg / 6k Washer Dryer by Appliances Online and could not wait to get started.  

Living with a daughter who is horse mad and a son who is a landscape gardener, it can be quite a challenge ensuring that all our clothes are washed properly and ready to wear again as soon as possible. Working full time it is essential for us to have an appliance that gives us an helping hand. It has a huge 9kg capacity for washing and 6kg capacity for drying.


The Samsung AddWash Ecobubble has two great features, one being the AddWash which allows you to add forgotton clothes after the wash cycle has commenced. You just pause the machine (if the temperature is less that 50 degrees) and open the AddWash hatch, add your missing items and un-pause the cycle. So useful for those stray socks that always appear once you have put the washer on.

The second feature we love is the Ecobubble technology. Washing powder/liquid is turned into lots of bubbles which penetrate fabric and remove dirt easily, this helps to protect the fabrics and save energy on long washes. There is also a Bubble Soak button to bubble soak heavily stained clothes allowing them to be washed more efficiently.


When deciding what wash to set your programme to you can also alter the amount of rinses, spins and spin speed, I find this really useful, as I have noticed the dryer works a lot more efficiently when the washing has been spun at 1400rpm. Another great feature is the Delay End button, this means I can put the washing on before I go to work but delay the programme so that the drying ends just before I come home, no more creased washing to iron. My favourite programmes have to be the daily wash and 15 minute quick wash, perfect for when you need small items in a hurry.

The ingenious Digital Inverter Motor is so quiet, in fact half of the time you do not hear hardly any noise. The motor offers long-lasting performance and comes with a 10 year warranty and it has a A+++ energy rating so will save you money on energy and water consumption.

I love this machine, it ticks all the right boxes and works like a dream and of course the service you receive from Appliances Online is second to none. Ordering and delivery runs so smoothly and it is so nice to receive a telephone call when the drivers are 30 minutes away. I would definitely recommend this product and purchasing from Appliances Online.

Appliances Online have some great savings in the Black Friday sales but also offer premium products and remarkable prices.

I was sent this product free of charge for the purpose of this review but the opinion is entirely my own.

Christmas Gifts for Men

21 November 2017

What to buy the man in your life? Sometimes this can be a difficult choice as they don't know what they want and often I am given ideas a few weeks before the big day. This year I have done some searching and have come across a few useful items that may come in handy.


The Muscle Ease Collection from Christopher Courtney
The award winning skincare brand Christopher Courtney have just released their Muscle Ease Collection. The collection consists of Thalassotherapy Luxury Bath Salt, Luxury Bath Oil, Luxury Body Oil, Luxury Bath/Shower Gel, Luxury Cooling Gel, Luxury Balm, Luxury Massage Candle and Luxury Massage Gelee. A wonderful product for Sports Therapy, Deep Tissue Remedial and Swedish Massage to help you relax and unwind, de-stress, soothe, restore and energise. Prices range from £18.95 to £54.95.


Toad Diaries - for Mr Organised
If the fella in your life is any think like mine then I have to help him to keep organised. Toad Diaries have a fabulous selection of Diaries and Notepads which can be personalised to your own taste. Hubbie is a DJ and therefore I thought the headphones on the diary I created were most appropriate. A great way to keep track of all his bookings in one place and you can select what the length of the diary in months. Prices vary depending on size and features but I am sure you will agree they make a fabulous present.

Rechargeable Twitching Lure - for the Fisherman
Not that I know a great deal about fishing but a rechargeable fishing lure with vibra-strike technology, flashing LED light with USB point could be the fisherman's dream.  The twitching lure costs £24.95 and is available from Twitching Lure.



Copper Stone Pans - Ideal for Cooking the Christmas Breakfast
Joking aside, my hubbie is pretty useless in the kitchen apart from cooking breakfast but I am hoping these Copper Stone Pans from JML will entice him to try something new in the kitchen. The Ultra-non Stick technology helps to cook food without adding any extra fat and as an extremely touch, scratch resistant coating. Not only do they look good but perform well too! Priced at around £69.99 for a set of three measuring 20cm, 24cm and 28cm they are a fabulous buy.


Tough Max Torch - Perfect for Dog Walking
Now the days are shorter Hubbie needs a decent torch for when he is walking the dog in a morning and evening. The Tough Max Torch from JML is super bright and ultra tough, 14 times brighter than an ordinary torch. It has 5 light modes an aluminium body and an adjustable beam focus  going from spotlight to floodlight. It comes complete with a fabric pouch which attaches to a belt loop and also a wrist strap so that you do not drop it. Priced at £19.99 it is available from JML.


Tia Maria - Customisable Tin
Tia Maria is not just a lady's drink and this Christmas it comes in a new Customisable Tin, you can even write you own personal message on it with the chalk provided. Perfect for a Christmas tipple either on it's own or in a cocktail. Hubbie loves his coffee and prefers a dash of Tia Maria, it makes the perfect accompaniment. Available in supermarkets Nationwide costing around £15.00.



Bluebeards Revenge - Body Kit
For the man who likes to be squeaky clean and smell good too, Bluebeards Revenge have some great products. The Body Kit contains a big bar of Blue Soap, Moisturiser, Comb, Face Cloth and Deodorant all with the unique Bluebeards Revenge scent and is ideal for taking to the gym or using whilst away from home. The Body Kit costs £24.99.

What has the man in your life requested for Christmas?

I was sent a selection of gifts for the purpose of this gift guide but the opinions are my own.
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