Blog Self – Assessment: Blog Highs and Lows of 2017

Happy 2018 everybody! I am a little late writing this post now, as it is a reflection of 2017 that I intended to write just before the new year began. However I took a much needed rest from blogging this past week so I am just catching up on this now!

I was tagged by Rambling Through Parenthood to complete this blog self- assessment; a fun way to reflect on my blogging achievements from the past year. Here it is…

Blog Self - Assessment: Blog Highs and Lows of 2017

Posts Published

I published 270 posts last year. That is actually more than I thought, not bad going!

Top-performing Post

My Sylvanian Families Cake Shop Review went down extremely well – I suspect that is also because there was a lovely giveaway involved too!

Post That was Difficult to Write

I tend to find posts more difficult to write generally if I haven’t posted in a few days. Also when I am sleep deprived, and Squiggle is finding life difficult, it is hard to find the motivation. So for me personally, it tends to be other factors that make writing difficult at times, rather than the post itself!

Post I Hope Will Make A Difference

I would say any of my mental health posts, but in particular the one I wrote for Mental Health Awareness Week about anxiety.

Post That Struck a Chord

Aside from the anxiety post that I mentioned above, I really enjoyed finding out about Grace’s Scuba Diving story. I also loved writing the #RefuseTheStraw campaign post, because it is something I feel passionate about.

Post That Fell Flat On Its Face

I wouldn’t say any posts really fell flat (well, hopefully not anyway!) because it isn’t always just about numbers – if the post was read by someone who found it useful or it struck a chord with, then that has made a difference and served a purpose.

Surprise of the Year

I have had several lovely opportunities this past year that came as a very welcome nice surprise!

Have you done a blog self- assessment for 2017?

Over to you Tantrums To Smiles, Jaki Jellz, Dot Makes 4, Mrs Mummy Harris, Bumps Babies Tots and Teens Mummy Diaries, Mummy Cat Notes, Better Together Home and The Growing Mum.

Happy New Year 2018 everyone!

Christmas Tag #2

Wow… Christmas is done for another year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas; whether it was fun-filled and chaotic, or quiet and peaceful – I hope it was whatever type you wished for!

I have been tagged in the Christmas Tag post again, this time by The Pram Shed. I have copied my answers from last year, as there is no point in rewriting the same responses obviously. But let’s see if anything has changed! Here we go…

Christmas Tag #2 title on a Christmas themed background with candy canes and sweets.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Last year: Love Actually. I have already watched it several times this month! I used to love Santa Claus: The Movie when I was a child. The bit where the reindeer finally does the super duper looper to save the kid always made me cry bucket loads. Every. Single. Time.

This year: Same answer but I have just watched The Holiday and I love that too!

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Last year: Not that I can remember. Perhaps when I was a child, maybe? I’m not sure.

This year: I had a quick google at old data and it would appear I might well have had a white Christmas in the early 80s when I was a young child.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

Last year: At home. I have never been away for Christmas. When I was a child we used to go round to visit my grandparents on Christmas day but they were local (well, same county anyway!) But that’s the furthest I have ever been for Christmas lol!

This year: Same answer. I am not sure how I feel about being away for Christmas – part of me suspects it wouldn’t feel quite right but part of me would love to! I don’t think it would suit Squiggle though to be honest.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Last year: Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade

This year: Yup. That’s the one!

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Last year: Of course not, how could we? Santa won’t have been yet! 😉

This year: No, but we did buy some wish list items ahead of Christmas this time because Squiggle finds the anticipation challenging (to put it mildly!)

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Last year: In a word… no! Erm, Rudolph obviously. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Blitzen…  How many are there? Oops, I think I just failed the parent test. Oh dear….

This year: As above then there is also Donna, Comet and erm… argh!!!

Which holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?

Last year: Making our gingerbread house together on Christmas eve.

This year: As above. But I miss my own childhood traditions to be honest. Visiting my grandparent’s on Christmas day afternoon – a home filled with all our family – happily surrounded by many cousins of different ages, all playing games and opening presents together. Memories filled with so much life, laughter and love. They were a stark contrast to the very quiet, low key Christmas we have now, to try to make it work better for Squiggle. Times change and we grow older, of course. But I do look back on those days with both fond memories and a wistful longing too.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Last year: Fake. It’s child size, blue and decorated by an 8 year old. What could be better than that? (Do not answer that! 😂)

This year: Same tree. This time decorated by a 9 year old!

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?

Last year: I can’t think of a specific answer to this really. But I loved the vegan meal we had last night for our Christmas do, it was delicious!

This year: I haven’t really had any. I do keep meaning to buy some vegan Baileys though, that used to be my Christmas tipple.

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?

Last year: Giving. Honest answer.

This year: Still giving.

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

Last year: Anything from my daughter!

This year: Not a Christmas present, but my daughter making me a cuddly toy version of herself definitely has to be the absolute cutest gift ever!

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

Last year: New York would be high on my list, definitely.

This year: I would still love to visit New York. But I am also going to say Iceland.

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

Last year: Terrible, I fail miserably. I hate it and I suck at it. Fact.

This year: Yeah, same answer!

Most memorable Christmas moment?

Last year: There are lots of memorable moments! My daughter spotting ‘Santa’s sleigh’ in the sky for the first time a few years back, that was magical!

This year: I think memories from my own childhood are up there too. But yes, as I said last year, lots of memories with Squiggle.

What made you realise the truth about Santa?

Last year: I have no idea what you’re talking about… 😉

This year: 

What makes the holidays special for you?

Last year: Spending time with family.

This year: This is a weird one. Because actually I enjoy spending time with my family anytime and haven’t done so any more, or differently, over the holidays. So I am finding it hard to relate now to my own answer from a year ago. But that’s ok. I guess I was feeling differently then!

My answer this time is going to different places to see all the Christmassy-ness. (Nope probably not a word! But anyway!!!)

So there you have it! Whilst most answers are pretty much the same, I have tried to do my homework abit more this year lol! And I am feeling somewhat nostalgic over my own childhood Christmas memories too.

Now over to ISABLOG, Peacocks Can Fly, Tantrums To Smiles, All About A Mummy and Spinnin’ Plates to tell us your answers! I look forward to reading them…

Merry Christmas, everyone! xxx

Best Last Minute Christmas Holiday Destinations

Christmas is edging ever closer, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still time to change your plans! If you fancy doing something a bit more exciting this Christmas, why not book yourself a holiday overseas? There are plenty of last minute deals available, and you are bound to have a Christmas to remember by choosing to take advantage of one of them. So, let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit this Christmas…

Faded Christmas festive background with title 'Best Last Minute Christmas Holiday Destinations'

Tromso

There is only one place to begin, and this is with the most magical place in the world for a Christmas vacation: Tromso. Known as the capital of the Arctic, there is nowhere better to capture the magical festive spirit. Of course, you can see the Northern Lights from Tromso, which is the main attraction, but there is so much to experience in this magical location too. The Polar Museum is a particular highlight. You will find out about the Arctic explorers who have passed through the city. For the ultimate Christmas vacation, there is nowhere better.

Maldives

If your purpose for wanting a Christmas break is because you are in desperate need of some sun (aren’t we all?!), then why not head to the Maldives? The Maldives is drenched in sun at this time of year; there are plenty of resorts that are idyllic and perfect for families. With scrumptious festive packages available, you can embrace the Christmas spirit in a unique environment. Imagine Christmas carols across white sands instead of snow. There are also plenty of themed activities going on too, including festive beachside parties.

A picture of a beautiful empty sandy beach with gorgeous clear blue ocean.

Nuremberg

Nuremberg, in Germany, is a place to behold at Christmas. You will struggle to find somewhere with a better festive spirit. This largely stems from the Christkindlesmarkt, which is known all over the world. This Christmas market sees 180 stalls, so make sure you save a bit of Christmas shopping for when you arrive. You will find everything from gingerbread treats to trinkets and toys.

An image of Christkindlesmarkt
Image from Wikimedia

A bit closer to home

If you don’t want to take a trip abroad, you don’t need to. You can still have a magical Christmas vacation in the UK. There are plenty of stunning places across the country, from Edinburgh to the Cotswolds. No matter where you go, there are bound to be plenty of fun festive places you can visit, many of which are free of charge.

Copenhagen

Finally, we have Denmark’s Copenhagen. This is an affordable and vibrant city, which is small but very welcoming. Pre-Christmas activity is a lot easier to navigate here because people set the pace, rather than cars. The Tivoli Gardens are a highlight, with half a million lights transforming the space.

So there you have it: some of the best places to visit this Christmas if you are planning a last minute trip away. But don’t worry if you can’t book one of these fantastic places this year; there is always next year, and these destinations will be just as fabulous in 2018!

*This is a collaborative post.

How To Live More Sustainably: My Top Tips On Easy Ways To Become More ‘Green’

Would you like to find out more about living a more eco- friendly sustainable lifestyle? Are you looking for tips on Green Living so you can be more environmentally friendly? Then this post is for you! Read about my top tips for green living and overview of different ways you can live more sustainably…

I have talked alot about green living previously and regularly discuss ways that we can all help to protect our environment. But more often I cover specific aspects in-depth, therefore I thought it would be useful to pull it altogether into a post about my top tips for green living. So here is an overview of different ways you can live more sustainably…

Background image of wind turbines with title How To Live More Sustainably: My Top Tips On Easy Ways To Become More 'Green'

Go Electric

Have you thought about buying an electric car? There are many factors when choosing a car generally of course and some specific considerations when it comes to choosing an electric car. One of the biggest concerns – aside from the retail price, which is in the longer term offset by the low running costs and also is dropping dramatically as they become more common anyway – is the availability of chargepoints. However, as electric cars grow hugely in popularity, the distribution of chargepoints has become far more widespread. You can also get a NewMotion chargepoint to charge your vehicle safely at home too.

Electric car at charging station

Home

From a full renovation to simply changing a light bulb, there are lots of ways you can make your home more eco-friendly. Using LED lightbulbs, changing your shower head and toilet flush to low-flow and turning your water temperature down on your boiler are all fairly cheap and easy minor changes you can make. When it comes to buying new appliances, choose environmentally- friendly models with high energy efficiency ratings. Also opt for eco-friendly, ideally natural, products to clean your home so there are no nasty chemicals!

Switch To Clean Energy

I mentioned above switching away from fossil fuels in the context of vehicles; the same applies to your home. Install solar panels if you can or switch your supplier to a green energy company.

Zero Waste: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse (then Recycle)

The term zero waste sounds daunting I admit! But really the aim is simple – to reduce the amount of rubbish you create. Especially waste that ends up in landfill in particular. Key elements for achieving this are actually quite straightforward:

  • Refuse single- use plastics, especially ‘the big four’ (straws, bags, cups and bottles).
  • Reduce your waste by trying to choose items that have less packaging, especially plastic, when shopping generally. Try to reduce your amount of food waste too.
  • Reuse items. Invest in reusable bags, straws, coffee cups and bottles. Use long-lasting reusable containers to store food too.
  • Recycle as much as possible of whatever rubbish you do create. Don’t throw anything into the landfill bin that doesn’t belong there!

And an extra point on this subject…

  • Upcycle and Repair. Try to mend before discarding things. Upcycle old furniture and other items if possible. If you have any household items, toys, clothes etc… that you have finished using yourself, pass them onto someone else to use.

Graphic of bottle, bag, straw and cup with caption 'I will say no to plastic's big 4'

    Slow Fashion

    Fashion has alot to answer for in terms of environmental impact. With ever changing trends, there is a high consumer demand for cheap fashionable clothing. The problem is, this throwaway fast fashion culture has a high price on the environment. Make a capsule wardrobe with high quality pieces made from natural materials your new latest trend instead.

    Reduce Meat Intake

    Whilst not everyone necessarily has any desire to become vegetarian, or vegan, a plant based diet is better for the environment. Even reducing your meat intake by having just one meat-free day per week is a step toward living a more sustainable life.

    Picture of a delicious healthy vegetarian meal.

    What are your top tips for living a more sustainable life?

    *Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

    Free Festive Fun: Places To Visit (Hertfordshire and Beyond) 

    We have visited lots of garden centres and a few shopping centres this season to enjoy the festive displays. So I thought I would write a round-up of some free places to visit this season. Ideas range from places to pop to briefly when you are short on time, to places where you could easily spend several hours, or even make it a whole day out… and it won’t cost you a penny! (Except parking in some cases).

    Please note additional activities such as ice skating, grottos etc… mentioned are NOT free, there is generally a charge for these activities.

    So here are our suggestions…

    Christmas display with title 'Free fun festive places to visit (Herts and Beyond)'

    Garden Centres

    Crews Hill, Enfield

    This is a whole row of garden centres, most of which have some festivities. One in particular has a large display, an ice rink, snow globe, grotto with train ride and real reindeer. Crews Hill is somewhere that you can easily spend most of the day if you wanted. You can also soak in the atmosphere in an hour or two though if you are pushed for time.

    An interactive elf display at Springtime Crews Hill

    Christmas lights at Springtime Crews Hill

    A Christmas display at Crews Hill, Enfield

    Van Hage, Great Amwell

    This is another of the larger garden centres. It has an ice rink (bookable in advance), grotto and lots to see generally. It also has an animal garden onsite too.

    Christmas display at Van Hage

    Snowman Christmas display at Van Hage, Great Amwell

    Notcutts, St Albans

    Great for popping into briefly if you are passing or are nearby. The giant snowman is fab! Have tea or breakfast with Santa has a fun alternative to a grotto. (Book in advance, costs apply).

    Notcutts, St Albans, Christmas door display

    Notcutts Christmas section

    World’s End Wyevale, Wendover (Bucks)

    We visited this garden centre for the first time recently. There is a mini funfair and a huge Christmas shop, plus a grotto and winter wonderland (entry charges apply). Even if you don’t pay to go into the wonderland, as we didn’t, it is still worth a visit. It has a nice Christmassy feel generally.

    Worlds End Wyevale Garden Centre Christmas display

    Vanstone Park, Hitchin

    This is a fun place to pop to if you have a short time to spare for a quick whizz around. There is a woodland train ride too.

    Vanstone Park garden centre snowman festive Christmas display

    Burston Garden Centre, St Albans

    We popped here for the first time a couple of days ago. Cute displays, worth a brief visit for a little while.

    Christmas door Burston St Albans

    xmas display at Burston with Christmas trees and seals

    Colourful festive Christmas display Burston Garden Centre St Albans

    Aylett Nurseries, St Albans

    This has lovely displays and some nice little interactive activities too. It is perfect for soaking in the festive atmosphere while on a time limit.

    Aylett Nurseries St Albans xmas display

    Aylett Nurseries festive display

    Aylett Nurseries Christmas small world display

    Aylett garden centre xmas festive small world display

    Shopping Centres

    St Albans

    St Albans centre has a nice little display in Christopher Place, a traditional style Christmas Market in the Vintry Gardens next to Abbey Cathedral (with a timetable of events and activities), and there is a fun Nutcracker Trail across the city too.

    Santa in a sleigh with reindeer and christmas tree in Christopher Place festive display St Albans

    Centre MK, Milton Keynes

    Whilst many of the activities here are at additional cost, such as carousel, train rides, grotto and helter skelter, there are also some pretty displays and a brilliant festive atmosphere generally. Plus a little snow area!

    Centre MK festive display with igloo

    Centre MK festive train ride

    Squiggle playing in fake snow at Centre MK Milton Keynes

    The Marlows, Hemel Hempstead

    I have saved the best until last! This is my top pick this season because I love the theme; Santa’s Waste-Not Workshop focuses on recycling and green living. With awesome displays and cool activities that educate and inspire during what can be a very consumer-based and wasteful time of year, I think this is genius! Squiggle loved lighting up the tree using energy she generated from cycling – such a clever idea. Well done to whoever came up with this, it gets a big thumbs up from us!

    Squiggle cycling to light up clean energy Christmas tree The Marlows, Hemel Hempstead

    Santas Waste-Not Workshop, Marlows, Hemel Hempstead

    Upcycled festive display at Santas Waste- Not Workshop, Marlows, Hemel Hempstead

    Snowman display at Santas Waste- Not Workshop, Marlows, Hemel Hempstead

    Seasons Geetings everyone!

    Where is your favourite festive place to visit?

    VonHaus 2 in 1 Stick Vacuum: Review

    I was recently sent a 2-in-1 Stick Vacuum to review. This convenient little budget vacuum is part of the VonHaus range and is available to purchase from Amazon RRP £39.99 (at the time of writing it is currently on sale at £29.99). Manufacturer 2 year warranty is included.

    A picture of the vacuum cleaner with title VonHaus 2-in-1 stick vacuum review.

    This is a 1000W (max) Stick Vacuum Cleaner. It is 2-in-1 because it can be used at full length with its extendable handle, or you can easily remove the handle to convert it into a handheld device. Because of its size and suction, it does feel like it creates a high level of vibration, particularly when using it as a hand held, and it is not the quietest cleaner we have ever had! However, we found it to have very good suction from a small vacuum and it does the job well.

    The vacuum is bagless with a 1.3L transparent container, which is easy to remove and empty the contents straight into the bin. It also features an innovative HEPA filtration and sponge system, which locks in microscopic particles that other vacuums would re-circulate back into the air. This system prevents the spread of bacteria and allergens, leaving cleaner air and a healthier home.

    VonHaus 2-in-1 stick vacuum using handle.

    One of main design features of this vacuum is that it gets in the difficult corners and hard to reach areas. It makes doing the stairs really quick and straightforward, and it is easy to whizz around furniture. It comes with a few attachments, including a useful crevice tool, which is really effective. It also has a 6m quick release power cord, so it is fairly easy to access all areas. It is suitable for most floor types too.

    VonHaus 2-in-1 stick vacuum in handheld mode with crevice attachment.

    Overall, I think this is a good budget vacuum cleaner. It has some minor faults but it also has alot of positives and certainly does the job.

    *Disclosure: I was sent this item free for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    Educational Gifts For Children (Gift Guide) 

    Are you looking for childrens gifts that provide educational value as well as fun? This educational kids gift guide will give you some great gift ideas!

    As home educators, we often look for gifts that inspire learning and provide educational value. There is no reason why presents can’t be both fun and useful! So I have compiled this gift guide full of fab educational ideas…

    A collage of the items featured in the gift guide. 'A Gift Guide...' written at top. Title 'Educational Gift Ideas for Children' in middle.

    Whotchilli Games

    Whotchilli games by PLYT are competitive, fun and mentally stimulating number games, suitable for families of all ages and abilities to enjoy together. They are perfect to play at home or take on your travels so are a very handy addition to any family. PLYT games are also endorsed by National Numeracy and leading maths consultants, so these really are effective from an educational viewpoint too.

    There are several different games to play with the Whotchilli set, and more games will continue to be added too. This helps to keep things fresh and fun, which makes this longlasting and great value for money! The games available so far are:

    Lookin’ hot – This game is about reading the minds of your opponents to work out whotchilli they’re playing whilst using cunning and skill to bluff and double bluff each other. The hottest player wins the game leaving everyone else feelin’ chilli. A fast, fun game for 3 to 6 players

    Salsa – A game of logic for 2 to 3 players as you try to work out whotchillis are in your opponent’s Salsa recipe.  Build your rating and try to be the first to unlock the recipe.

    Chilly Chilli – A game for 2 to 6 players where you try to stay cool by remembering whotchillis have moved where.  The coolest hand wins the game.

    Scorchio – The aim of this game is to build the hottest score by correctly predicting the number of tricks you will win. 

    The rules for these and future games will be available on the PLYT website and they will also send them via email.

    RRP £9.99

    A photo of the Whotchilli game boxed.

    Azoomee Premium

    Azoomee is an amazing edutainment app aimed at children aged 5 to 9, which provides a safe and secure space for them to watch, listen, play, learn, make, do and share. Learn and have fun with 1000s of the best videos, games, tutorials, learning content and audiobooks along with a packed creative tool box for this age group, all carefully selected by children’s media experts, teachers and parents. With a huge library of content including favourite kids shows such as Charlie & Lola and Horrible Histories, there’s something for every child!

    There are no in-app purchases and no adverts to worry about, making this super child- friendly. An online safety curriculum – Smart Safe KindOnline – is threaded through the app: a programme of short films, games and activities, unique to Azoomee, which shows how to be independent, safe and responsible online.

    They’ve also launched a fantastic coding game called Run Marco which teaches young minds the concept of coding to not only stimulate their learning but stretch their imagination with creative and challenging ideas. No wonder they’re BAFTA nominated! It is even supported by NSPCC too.

    The app is available on Google Play, the App Store and Amazon Appstore.

    Buy an annual pass to Azoomee and give a child 12 months of unlimited safe entertainment on any mobile device. The gift card will be posted to any address in the UK on a beautiful coloured Oomee postcard. The perfect gift for any child.

    1 Year Gift Pass to Azoomee £44.99

    Readers can get 50% off monthly subscription for 12 months by using the code FAMILY.

    An image of Azoomee saying the safe entertainment for kids. App logos. Photo of a tablet on a wooden floor with a few toys around. Azoomee app is open on the screen.

    Wise(ish) Words – Book of Everyone

    Wise(ish) Words is latest book by The Book of Everyone. This is a wonderful way to inspire children and offer words of wisdom and advice. The books are totally personalised so you can choose the style and content that will best match the child, from jokey to heartfelt sentiments. £1 from every book sold will be donated to WellChild, which is a brilliant national charity for children living with serious illness or exceptional health needs in the UK, and gives them the chance to thrive at home with their families.

    In conjunction with the launch of the book, a photo series has been created in collaboration with WellChild with the aim to raise money for sick children this Christmas. The series, ‘3 Wise Words for Kids’ is a collection of portraits taken by award-winning photographer David Boni of inspirational people who all work with children, displaying their 3 wise words for kids this Christmas. You can join in by uploading a selfie holding up your own ‘3 Wise Words for Kids’ on social media using the hashtag #3WiseWords.

    RRP £23.95 for paperback (other versions available)

    An image of the front cover of Wise-ish Words by Book of Everyone and double page inside the book.

    Katie’s Classroom

    Katie’s Classroom is a fab online teaching resource and she also sells revision cards too. Katie’s Classroom delivers outstanding online video tutorials, with further examples of the practical applications in a lesson summary whiteboard-style tutorial, then there are also worksheets to complete for the final part of the lesson. This is currently only available for Year 4 Maths (which covers all National Curriculum lesson objectives and topics) but Years 3 – 6 in both Maths and English will be available soon.

    Subscription is £10 per month or £99 per year.

    Revision cards £10.50 per set.

    Squiggle sitting in bed looking at year 4 revision maths cards.

    Musical Instruments

    Musical instruments of any kind make a fantastic gift for all ages. Music teaches many skills and brings out creativity. It can also support emotional development and mental health, plus builds confidence. From perscussion instruments for general musical enjoyment to keyboards, drums or guitars etc… to learn at home or through lessons, there is a huge choice to suit any budget.

    A photo of Squiggle playing a Yamaha keyboard.

    *Disclosure: I was sent some of these items to review/ for inclusion in this gift guide. The post also contains affiliate links.

    Great Gift Ideas For Health and Wellbeing (Gift Guide)  

    This gift guide is aimed at anyone looking for gift ideas that focus on wellbeing. Filled with presents that support a healthy lifestyle, this gift guide has the perfect suggestions to show you really care about someone! This post also includes a giveaway too.

    Since my blog regularly focuses on health and wellbeing, when I was planning my gift guides for this season I knew I definitely wanted to include one on this topic specifically. It is important to me when choosing gifts for others to pick something out that is meaningful and special, or truly makes a difference to their lives. And I figured you, my lovely readers, would appreciate these fab present ideas too…

    Image with collage of items included in the guide. Title at top.

    Stocking Fillers

    Higher Nature is an independently owned business that provides high quality nutritional products, including the Mind Matters collection, which focuses on supporting mental health.

    Image of Brighter Day, Rest Well spray and Worry Not spray by Higher Nature

    Brighter Day Drink

    This natural fruity flavoured drink is perfect for the darker, winter months. B vitamins in a natural blackcurrant drink to brighten your day and lift your mood.

    Cost: £7.99 (currently half price at £3.49 at the time of writing).

    Worry Not Spray

    Handy spray to keep by your side for those moments in life when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. A supportive blend of amino acids, B vitamins and herbs.

    Cost: £9.99

    Rest Well Spray

    This unique spray formulation can help towards improving the quality of rest. It contains a unique blend of amino acids, herbs and vitamin B3.

    Cost: £9.99

    Caffeine and L-Theanine stack by Focus Supplements

    Caffeine and L-Theanine work together to improve your focus and energy while introducing a feeling of calmness. L-Theanine removes any caffeine jitters, creating a sensation of calmness, combined with the focus and attentiveness of caffeine. Buy here: Caffeine Amazon

    Cost: £14.99

    Yoga Clothes

    Yoga is good for both the body and mind. It’s a great activity for reducing stress/ relaxation and supports general wellbeing, and a healthy lifestyle. So yoga clothes make a fab gift!

    Ohmme Yoga Shorts For Men

    For example, OHMME is an eco- friendly athleisure slow fashion brand created as ethically as possible. These yoga clothes have been created to encourage men to take up yoga from a mental health perspective. They also donate to CALM Charity.

    A main wearing a pair of blue 2-dogs yoga shorts.

    I have a giveaway for one lucky reader to win a pair of mens yoga shorts from OHMME (usual price £45). Check out my eco- friendly gift guide to enter.

    Grow Your Own Food Kits

    Growing kits make a lovely gift; the act of growing your own food is in itself great for wellbeing, and eating the results is healthy too!

    A picture of a child kneeling outside by the salad kit in use, pointing to the food growing.

    Salad Kit by The Crop Club

    The Crop Club is a brilliant initiative that reconnects communities through the joy of growing food and inspires healthy happy lifestyles. They also collaborate with companies and communities who want to give their stakeholders a gift that makes them feel good whilst remembering their brands. For individuals, they sell salad kits to grow at home.

    A picture of the salad kit contents.

    These salad kits are designed for people with small spaces; you don’t need a garden to grow your own! The coffee sack planters are perfect for small spaces and all varieties are chosen because they are compact, fast to mature and many can be re sown throughout the season for a continual harvest.

    Cost: £30

    Gifts For Relaxation

    Luxury bath sets are wonderful gifts. There are such a range of fabulous items in a variety of scents that support wellbeing and help us to relax. From oils to salts, bath bombs and body scrubs, there are plenty of presents available to pamper with!

    Neals Yard Bedtime Collection Gift Set

    This Beauty and Sleep Bedtime Collection is an ideal gift for anyone, for example.

    Cost: £15

    TowelUp

    And for after the bath, this cool little invention makes a nice addition to any stocking too! TowelUp is a handy clip that stops a bath (or beach) towel falling down when wrapped around the chest or waist, and it comes in a pretty gift bag too.

    A picture of TowelUp clip in a pretty little gift bag on a white towel.

    I also have one of these to give-away, head over to my facebook page to enter!

    Cost: £3.99 for one or £6.99 for two (+ 73p P&P)

    Self- Care Books

    There are some brilliant books that focus on wellbeing and these make a thoughtful present.

    Survive and Thrive by Jennifer Boon

    Jennifer Boon is a life coach who has written a new book series called Survive & Thrive. This series focuses on supporting women through challenging life phases and shows us that it is ok to love ourselves. She offers solid practical advice on how we can fill up our own ‘love reservoirs’ and empower ourselves to go after the life.

    Image of cover of paperback version of Survive and Thrive book.

    The first book in the series is called Dating and Being Single. Despite the title, the book is great for those in a relationship too, as it is really about self-love and acceptance. Full of amazing advice regardless of current status!

    Cost: £9.99

    I have a copy of this excellent book for one reader to win! Enter via rafflecopter below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Ends 7th December 2017. UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

    This is a collaborative post and contains affiliate links.

    Eco- Friendly Gift Ideas (Gift Guide With Giveaway)

    Do you want to find a gift with a difference? Then why not choose something that helps our planet! Here is a list of eco-friendly items to fill your (bamboo) stockings with…

    Collage of all items featured in gift guide. Title written in centre.

    Bamboo Coffee Cup Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) £12 each

    This awesome 400 ml reusable bamboo coffee cup is dishwasher-safe, easy to carry around and lasts for years. It can be disposed of by crushing, soaking in hot water and burying with organic compost. The silicone lid and sleeve can be recycled.

    A picture of SAS bamboo reusable coffee cups (boxed and stacked 3 x 2) in 6 different colours.

    Annual Memberships

    The Wildlife Trusts
    The Wildlife Trusts do fantastic work, and annual membership is a lovely gift for eco-friendly nature lovers.

    Wildlife Matters magazine and Go Wild leaflet by The Wildlife Trusts

    Surfers Against Sewage
    SAS works tirelessly to campaign for cleaner environments and supports the development of sustainable communities. Membership to this charity makes a great gift!

    Image of SAS Pipeline journal

    Homemade Soap Gift Set Living Naturally Cost: £26

    This beautiful Soapnut Soap Selection Set is handmade in the UK from 100% natural, organic, vegan, sustainable, ethically-sourced & cruelty-free ingredients! They only use recycled/recyclable paper packaging, so you will not be contributing to landfill either.

    A set of 7 beautiful vegan, eco, ethical, natural handmade soaps.

    Salad Kit The Crop Club £30

    These ‘grow your own’ kits are perfect for even small spaces and do their bit for the environment and sustainability. They include; 6 varieties of seeds, compostable cardboard and PLA pots, peat free compost discs, palm leaf trays for your pots, wooden spoon plant markers, bottletop waterer (80% recycled plastic, made in the UK) and coffee sack planter bags.

    A picture of the contents of the crop club salad kit.

    Every coffee sack is unique and different. They have already been used to transport coffee and are then upcycled. Due to this they can be a little dirty and messy but perfect for growing!

    Eco Clothes (Custom and Various Designs including Charity Clothing) Living Life Our Way Cost: From £13

    All Living Life Our Way clothing is made from 100% organic cotton, in a wind powered factory. Designs are printed using low waste, cutting edge technology. Furthermore, everything is ethically made and fully traceable from start to finish. Sustainable, ethical and good quality too. Choose from bags, sweatshirts, hoodies, tees and vests in a range of designs, or custom your own.

    An image showing 6 of the different designs available from the store.

    Mens Yoga Clothes OHMME 2- Dogs Yoga Shorts £45

    OHMME is an eco- friendly athleisure slow fashion brand created as ethically as possible, who also donate to CALM Charity. They use GreenDefence, which incorporates a built-in antibacterial function to the garments that stops bacterial growth and reduces odors without using harmful chemicals. They also use bluesign® to minimise environmental impact and to help evolve towards a sustainable textile industry. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for a safe production.

    Image of a pair of blue Ohmme 2-dogs yoga shorts for men.

    These 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts for men are stretchy and silky, lined with a soft compression layer for total freedom of motion. The material is stretchy; this tight but stretchy fit allows for excellent blood flow. The cut is fitted with an extra panel from the crotch all the way down the inside of the leg, removing the strain from the seams and keeping your shorts in place for maximum body mobility. They are made for all body shapes and types of workout allowing you to focus on your practice and forget about what you are wearing.

    One lucky reader can win a pair of these brilliant blue 2-dogs mens yoga shorts! Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Ends 4th December 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Stocking Fillers

    Do you have sustainable gift ideas? Please share them with me! I’d love to hear them.

    This post contains affiliate links and is a collaborative post.

    Halfords Big Black Friday Competition 

    No doubt most of you already know that Black Friday is now just one week away – 24th November 2017 . It’s a great excuse to grab yourself some bargains! Whilst I firmly believe that something is only a good deal if you actually need it, I do also think that Black Friday sales provide the perfect opportunity to invest in things that can enhance your lifestyle, or to save money on gifts that you intend to buy anyway. It’s also the ideal chance to get your Christmas shopping done, then sit back and relax for the rest of the festive season!

    For example, Halfords Black Friday has some bargains on both adult and child bikes, which of course is a fab way to get outdoors and stay healthy. Also, a popular present! Plus, for those who love to travel, there are some handy items such as a roof box and kids trunkies in the sale too. We have had the ladybird trunki for years – it is so useful!

    Black and white image saying Black Friday Competition

    Black Friday Competition

    Halfords also have an amazing Black Friday Competition on at the moment. The closing date is this Wednesday (22nd November) so make sure you head on over before then to enter! All you need to do is complete the short form and answer a very simple question. The top prize is worth a whopping £2,000, plus awesome runners up prizes too, so this is one not to be missed!

    Prizes

    Top Prize:

    • £2,000 worth of goodies, including a seven night holiday with Eurocamp (worth £1,000) and £1,000 worth of Black Friday deals.

    Runners Up Prizes:

    • £800 worth of Black Friday goodies.
    • £300 worth of Black Friday goodies.

    Enter here: Halfords Black Friday Competition

    Good luck! And happy shopping!!! What’s on your Christmas wish list?

    *This is a collaborative post.