Christmas Gift Guide | For Kids

Christmas Gift Guide for Kids 2014

Top row, left to right: WWF Adelie Penguin Adoption Pack (from £3 per month); LEGO The Bat vs. Bane Tumbler Chase Set (£39.99), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ninja Combat Gear Leonardo and Michelangelo (£14.99 each); H&M Christmas Jumpers for girls and boys (£9.99).

The big Christmas story this year is Monty the Penguin from John Lewis. However, I really don’t agree with paying £95 for a stuffed toy when that amount of money will help real Adelies in the Antarctic with WWF for more than two and a half years and get you a stuffed toy. An adoption set is great gift for kids (and adults) of all ages as they’ll know that they’re helping their favourite critter in the wild as well as getting something for themselves. I’m sure this next gift with induce envy into dads across the country. LEGO do amazing sets for all ages with tons to chooses from. From Disney Princess to Star Wars. I love the Batman sets and particularly this one as it includes two vehicles to build, Batman,Bane and Commissioner Gordon. TMNT is back so let your little mutants re-enact their favourite fights with these neat little dress up kits. Who is your favourite Turtle? Mine is Raphael but his sais look slightly too aggressive for the sake of this blog… If you don’t want to go down the toy route, why not treat the wee ons to a festive jumper. H&M do really cute ones for ages 1 – 10 in a variety of designs at a reasonable price.

Bottom row, left to right: Disney Frozen Musical Magic Anna and Elsa Doll Set (£69.99); Zoomer Dino (£100); The Pointless Book by Alfie Deyes (£8.99); Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (£12.99); NERF N-Strike Elite Roughcut (£19.99).

Frozen is still riding high on a wave of popularity and there are tons of Frozen gifts to choose from. I chose this one as it has both sisters and Olaf but there are cheaper options out there. The Zoomer Dino is like a Tamigotchi on steroids. It learns commands as it’s owner spends time ‘bonding’ with it. It’s also available as a dog for kids that aren’t allowed real pets. The dinosaur is cooler though. Next up we have books from two of the most popular kids on YouTube, perfect for teens that seem to spend all their time online. Lastly, apologies in advance to any parents whose kids end up with this, but if you have siblings to buy for, get them a NERF gun each, they’ll love you for it.

Christmas Gift Guide | For Him

Christmas Gift Guide For Him 2014 2

Left to right: Fixie Bike Pizza Cutter (£14.99); BOSS Bottled (from £39.99); Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle (£9.99); Zatchels Damson Leather Satchel (from £140).

For the fitness fan who like to treat himself, this bike pizza cutter is a really fun and practical gift. Pictured above is the bumblebee colourway but it’s also available in watermelon – mint and pink. Aftershave is a go to gift for most people but it can be tricky to know what people like. I think BOSS Bottled is a fairly classic fragrance which is suitable for all ages as it combines fruit, spice and musk to create s masculine scent. If in doubt, go for what you want your man to smell like and this, I like. Cocktail books can often focus on the fruity, pink umbrella style drink, especially for their cover image so I love this literature inspired option. Feel like Gatsby as you sip your way through some unique recipes, read commentary about the books that inspired them and maybe get carried away with a drinking game or too. It’s also fun of punderful names – I’ll have an Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita. Man bag time! What could be a better option than a classic satchel handmade in the UK. This damson satchel from Zatchels offers a subtle hint of colour while still keeping things relaxed and masculine with it’s worn in look.

Christmas Gift Guide For Him 2014 1

 

Left to right: Men Rock Double Edged Razor Starter Pack (£43.50); Moleskine Star Wars 12 Months Weekly Notebook Planner (£15.99); Ted Baker Round Dial Watch (£215); Smartphone Projector (£19.99).

I know it’s trendy to be beardy right now, but if you want to smooth things out (and not follow the crowd) this Double Edged Razor kit is a fantastic gift. It’s old fashioned enough to please the hipsters and it works great for a close shave. Good stationery gifts shouldn’t be restricted for the ladies and Moleskine are my go to brand when I’m buying for a gentleman. I like the Star Wars series, but there are plenty of other options if that’s not to your guy’s taste. If it is, go for Boba Fett, everyone loves Boba Fett. For a luxury item, you can’t go far wrong with a quality watch. If you’re not quite stretching to Tag Heuer prices, I really like this one from Ted Baker. The croc effect leather and stainless steel combo is timeless (see what I did there?!) and will suit a wide range of personal styles. Lastly, we’re ending on a gadget. The smartphone projector is a bit of fun, I’m sure the picture quality is atrocious but at least you’ll be able to watch YouTube videos without the boring task of holding your phone up. Seriously though, this is a neat gift for gadget lovers and I’m sure it’ll be enjoyed.

Tomorrow we’re shopping for the kids. I’ve got a wide range of ages covered, and since I’m not Tesco, I’ll leave it up to you whether the superhero stuff is for your little lady or little laddie. See you then, Santas!

Christmas Gift Guide | For Her

Christmas Gift Guide for Her 2014

Top row, left to right: Matalan Alphabet Scarf (£10); Yankee Candle Candy Cane Lane Large Jar (£19.99); Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (£16.99); Ohh Deer Hope Cushion by Chris Wharton (£34.95).

A scarf is always a good bet for Christmas – it is cold after all – and this year it’s all about the preppy initial scarf from Matalan. 100% of the profits go to Alder Hay Children’s Hospital, so not only are you getting someone a celebrity favourite, but you’re helping out a good cause too. Warm fuzzy feeling commence. I am a bit obsessed with Yankee Candle at the moment, I honestly sit and watch their slots on QVC all the time. My current festive favourite is Candy Cane Lane – a sweet combo of peppermint and vanilla. I’m sure it’ll have universal appeal. Lena Dunham’s memoirs have provoked quite a bit of controversy so whether you’re a fan or not, Not That Kind of Girl is an interesting read. Call me sexist, but I’ve never met a woman that doesn’t love a good throw cushion. The Ohh Deer website has lots of great options from popular artists. They’re pricey for a cushion, but a real treat for an illustration fan. I obviously love the one with my name on it.

Bottom row, left to right: Paperchase Noted Black Leather Notebook (£25), Dark Romance Gold Hole Punch (£5) and Dark Romance Gold Stapler (£6); Frends Layla Headphones in Rose Gold (£129); River Island Black Studded Tote Bag (£50); Chelsea Peers Snow Rabbit Christmas Lounge Top and Pant Set (£35).

A good quality notebook or diary is always well received and Paperchase have a great selection. You can go for pretty, glittery, or classic like the one above and everything in between. For frivolities sake, why not chuck in gold desk accessories. Paperchase list them as “essentials” so there you go. Sticking with the theme of frivolity, the Frends Layla rose gold headphones are so beautiful and a real luxury item. Fashionable and functional, they’ll turn heads for sure. River Island do some great bags and I think that this black studded on will appeal to a lot of ladies. It’s a safe option if you’re not too sure of someone’s preference but still stylish. And lastly, if in doubt, go for jammies! If you’re on a budget, Primark do really great sets, but if you have slightly more to spend, these Chelsea Peers ones are gorgeous. Always go festive!

If the “her” you’re buying for loves beauty, check out my guide here, or for a foodie lady, click here.

Tomorrow we’ll be thinking about the guys in the snappily titled “for Him” gift guide. See you there!

Christmas Gift Guide | Foodies

Foodies Christmas Gift Guide 2014Top row, left to right: Hotel Chocolat Christmas Jumper (£5) and Bag of Christmas Stars (£16); Tabasco Burger Press (£14.99); Happy Jackson Snack Box – Set of 4 (£9.99); Summer Harvest Rapeseed Oils and Dressings (from £3.25).

Everyone needs a bit of luxury at Christmas and when it come to chocolate, Hotel Chocolat has you covered. I love the Christmas Jumper, a delicious, creamy, chunky milk choc slab celebrating everyone’s favourite Christmas tradition – the tacky jumper. If you know someone that goes all out on the kitsch this will be prefect for them. I also rate the bag of stars as a pre-Christmas host/hostess gift. We always have tree chocolates in our house and the pretty white stars will keep things classy this year as well as covering all bases flavour wise as the come in a combination of white, milk and dark. Burgers have been big news this year, particularly in Edinburgh where there’s been a new burger joint opening every five minutes, so I’m sure everyone has a connoisseur in their ranks. This burger press is a great little gift to challenge someone to take up the gauntlet and make their own idea of the perfect burger. And for the cook/commuter why not treat them to some fun snack boxes. Leftovers deserve respect to y’know! These Happy Jackson boxes are so cheery they’d brighten up any desk-bound lunch break. One of my favourite brands I discovered at Eat Drink Discover Scotland was Summer Harvest. They produce a delicious range of rapeseed oils and dressings and I’m sure any foodie would recognise and appreciate their quality. My favourites are the Chilli and Red Pepper Oil and the Bramble and Juniper Dressing.

Bottom row, left to right: Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur (from £10), Gin (from £12) and Elderflower Liqueur (from £10); New York Cult Recipes (£20); Flavour Magic Rock Salt and Spice Mix Combo Pack (£12.50).

Gin has been coming in to it’s own recently with lots of craft distilleries popping up, making it very de rigueur. I may be biased since it’s the local, but Edinburgh Gin has to be one of the best. It’s a very modern and clean choice for the trend concious drinker. And tasty! A cookbook is always a safe option but the latest celebrity edition may not be the most stylish.The New York Cult Recipes book looks good, but is also full of recipes you will actually want to (and be able to!) make. From pancakes to mac & cheese, it’ll give you the hunger for sure. Lastly, this gift packs a massive flavour punch. The combo pack from Flavour Magic allows you to choose from three of their infused rock salts or spice mixes and includes a free grinder. I love the Smoked Rock Salt and the Fajita Spice Mix. If you want something hot, go for the Chilli salt or Togarashi spice, you won’t be disappointed!

Hope you enjoyed my selection. Tomorrow I’ll have gifts for her, hope to see you then.

Christmas Gift Guide | Beauty Lover

Welcome to the first instalment of my Christmas Gift Guides for 2014. The the next week I’ll be posting guide daily themed around the following categories: Beauty Lover; Foodies; For Her; For Him; For the Kids; Secret Santa/Stocking Fillers; and finally Etsy Favourites. I hope it’ll give you a few idea for your loved ones, or if you’re super organised already, maybe a wee treat for yourself.

To kick things off, here are my beauty picks:

Beauty Gift Guide 1

Top row, left to right: Lush Father Christmas (£3.50), Snow Fairy (from £3.75), Candy Mountain (£2.75); Benefit Sweet Tintations (£19.50); Sali Hughes, Pretty Honest:The Straight Talking Beauty Companion (£22).

I’m sure that Lush have something for every beauty lover. The pre-boxed sets are awesome, but if you’re on a bit of a budget I think it’s a really nice idea to go in and pick up a few bits you think will appeal to your giftee. The three I have picked are ace for someone who loves sweet scents and enjoys both baths and showers. Or you might want to go for just shower stuff, or a spicier scent – just ask, the staff will keep you right! I love the Benefit sets this year and I think the Sweet Tintations is my absolute fave. I love the balms, they feel great, look great and I think will have mass appeal, while the tints are absolute classics. If you’re not sure about what product someone might like I absolutely recommend a beauty book. Pretty Honest has a lot of content, unlike many beauty books which are mainly pictures, so a great choice for a beauty obsessive.

Bottom row, left to right: Hourglass Ambient Blush Palette (£56); The Body Shop Glazed Apple Tin of Treasures (£17); Real Techniques Nic’s Picks (£30).

The Hourglass palette is just beautiful and a truly luxurious treat for someone special. It’s pricey but does offer good value in terms of Hourglass products. The Body Shop have some great gifts this year and as I’ve mentioned before, for every set they sell, they’ll donate a lesson to a child in need with War Child, so definitely worth checking out. The Glazed Apple is my favourite of their limited edition Christmas scents, it’s sweet and sour, like a Granny Smith! If nothing else, you can’t beat the presentation of the apple shaped tin. Real Techniques produce fabulous brushes at a reasonable price and I am a fan of this new set. It feature three new shapes and a combination of eye and face brushes, as well as one being a duo fibre brush. It’s currently on offer with £10 off at Superdrug, so snap it up!

Christmas Gift Guide Beauty 2Top row, left to right: Alphabet Bags ‘Ta-Da!’ Canvas Pouch (£18); Bliss Triple Oxygen Treatment Kit (£30); DKNY Gold Delicious Sparkling Apple (£36.50).

Another good option if you want to steer away from a product is a makeup bag. Alphabet Bags do a amazing range of bags with fun slogans, the hardest part will be choosing which one to go for! The Bliss Triple Oxygen range is at the top of my own wishlist, it really is so effective. So, the apple theme is entirely coincidental, but I do love an apple fragrance. I think the DKNY Sparkling Apple perfumes are a great choice for Christmas, ’tis the season to add some glitter!

Bottom row, left to right: Emma Kisstina 7 Red Nail Polishes Fashion Illustration Art Poster (£21.93); OPI Nail Lacquer Coca Cola Collection: Trio Pack (£29.95) and The Bearest of Them All with Polar Bear Gift Set (£11.95); Paul & Joe Sister Dress in Lipstick Print (£195).

I love collecting art prints and I am really keen on the nail polish and lipstick collection prints by Emma Kisstina. This would make a really unique gift. To me, Coca Cola and Christmas go hand in hand, so I love this collaboration with OPI. That polar bear is so cute! Lastly, a lipstick print dress, the ultimate fashion statement for a beauty lover.

See you tomorrow for some delicious treats for foodies!

Coming Soon | Smashbox Double Exposure Palette & Primer Water

Smashbox Cosmetics

Ladies, I’m here today to pre-warn you to save a few of your Christmas pennies. Smashbox have two very special releases coming up in the new year that I think you might want to check out.

To me, Smashbox is synonymous with primer, being one of the leaders in developing the product. And in February they’ll be reinventing it again with the release of their Photo Finish Primer Water. It comes in a spray bottle and packed with electrolytes, Smashbox describe it as an “energy drink for your skin”. Since I suffer with dry patches, this is perfect for me as it’s so hydrating. A multifunctional product, it can also be used to set make up and refresh during the day as it is so light. It feels great on the skin and it smells lush, roll on February… The Primer Water will appear at stockist from February 18th and will be £20.

Smashbox Cosmetics Double Exposure Palette

But if you can’t wait until February for a Smashbox fix, check out the Double Exposure palette which will be released in January. This is described as the “next step” on from the Full Exposure palette and injects a few pops of colour into your eyeshadow wardrobe. It’s a combination of shimmers and mattes and pretty much covers all bases, from navy and mauve to black and white via a good number of neutrals. As a blue eyed girl I struggle a bit with purpley shades, but the satin navy and the dark metallic bronze are made for me. The Double Exposure palette is formulated to double up – all of the shades can be used wet or dry. Using them wet intensifies the effect of the shadow so it amps up the shimmer, gets deeper, becomes more metallic and this is where I think the palette stands out from the crowd. The blue especially becomes the most insanely beautiful colour for a graphic liner look. 28 options for the price of 14! It is out in the UK on Jan 7th and is priced at £37.

What do you think of these new launches? Do either of them take your fancy?

Look Fantastic Beauty Box | November

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Another day, another beauty box. Seems like everyone is jumping on the mystery box bandwagon. Look Fantastic have been doing theirs for a couple of months now. It is priced at £15 with free delivery, and if you’re at all familiar with LF, you’ll know that they have some pretty good brands on their roster so I was expecting good things. And how right I was!

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Glam Glow! Thanks Look Fantastic, that’s all I wanted! Seriously, this is the Youthmud Tingle Exfoliate Treatment (face pack to us mere mortals) and I have been wanting to try this for so long. This is a 15g sample so a decent size, I expect to get at least three uses out of it. I’ll let you know my thoughts very soon.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

This is the Monu Soothing Touch Recovery Balm. It’s a really soft cream and with it’s evening primrose fragrance feels like a comforting hug for your face. That’s a really strange description, but the gist is I like it and my winter skin will love it.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Nuxe Nuxellence Jeunesse Youth and Radiance Revealing Fluid. A moisturiser by a fancy name. It’s a bit disappointing to receive two facial moisturisers to be completely honest, although Nuxe is always a welcome brand in my book.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

This is the best selling Eve Lom Cleanser. Apparently it’s amazing, but all I know is that it smells horrendous. Like aniseed and cloves and all kinds of other stuff I don’t want near my face. I will try it. Once I’ve used up everything else I have. I’m sure I’ll be converted if it’s as good as the magazine editors claim it is…

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Next I got the New CID I-Crayon Lip and Cheek Tint in Rose. I actually have this already, I think it came free in Glamour or something a few months ago. Anyway, it’s very nice. I prefer it on the lips as it’s slightly glossy but a good colour for both.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Lastly, I got the Hand Chemistry Intense Youth Complex hand cream. I’m not usually excited by hand cream as I have so many but I really love this. Maybe it’s the matte box, the neon pink, or the super sciencey looking diagram but I’m quite taken by it all. Apparently it has some sort of mushroom derivative in it which is 400 times more moisturising than hyraluronic acid, which was previously thought to be the most moisturising thing on the planet – 10,000 times more so than water! The beauty world is mental is it not? Anyways, it smells nice – kinda zesty. I’m not worried about my hands showing signs of age just yet so I think I give this to my mum (no offence intended, Ma!) to test out the wild claims.

Pretty good box all in all. Definitely think it’s good value for money and it seems to be very consistent in terms of quality. If you want to pre-order the December box, you can do so here. Otherwise it’s out on the 2nd December and will probably sell out that day.

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think of them?