Category Archives: presents

Smiggle- Gift Voucher Giveaway

dsc_0131

I was invited recently to the Smiggle branch in Bluewater to open the next window on their Christmas advent calendar and see what treat could be waiting for me.

Anyone that has been to a Smiggle store will know it’s an explosion of colour and a total must for all stationary lovers. The store there is not huge but is very well stocked with both lots on the shelves and underneath the display tables ( so I cannot see you having any trouble getting a particular item you may be after).

At the moment they have lots of their fabulous Christmas Advent Stockings, that retail at £28. That may sound a little extravagant but is in line with Lego or even Yankee candle (if you buy yourself one!). However, the goodies that are in the advent would cost around £40 if they were bought individually, so a bargain when you consider that and also a great alternative to just more chocolate.

dsc_0133

There are the typical colour assumptions, pink for girls and blue for boys, but there are also lots of alternatives that can be gender neutral. Some of the bits can work out quite expensive but there are also some fabulous gifts that would be perfect for Christmas presents that work out at just £10-15 which is very budget friendly.

I particularl

I particularly liked this design on a black background and perfect for little monster lovers!

There is also a wonderful little colouring area set up in this store which was in use most of the time I was in the store and it was constantly busy in there. I was given the chance to peel off the next advent sticker from the window outside to get the next prize ( which I will include with the gift voucher giveaway as a little extra, it’s a Goo Glopper………………!

The store manager there, Linda, has a great manner about her and she will find out if it’s your birthday and get the whole store to sing Happy Birthday to you, I heard the singing even before I reached the store as I came down the escalator towards it. You will recognise her as she has a huge whistle hanging around her neck and she’s not afraid to use it- so be warned.

So I have a lovely £25 gift card and my Goo Glopper from behind the advent to giveaway to all you lovely stationary loving peeps. All you have to do is comment below with what you would use the voucher for and fill in the normal Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This year I vowed I would be super organised and to be honest I have been ‘more’ organised but still find myself sitting now a week away from the big day with a huge ‘to do’ list and the panic is starting to set in.

I know this year a lot of people seemed to be putting their Christmas trees and decorations up towards the end of November and although it was nice to see the pictures I am a true December girl and mine always go up in the first weekend or week in December. However, I did start present buying mid November in an attempt to get ahead.

At the end of November I was lucky enough to attend the Ideal Home Show at Christmas which was a first for me. My friend and I had a fab time, bought lots of Chrismassy bits and pieces and had our first mulled wine of the season. It really did get me into the Christmas spirit and gave me lots of ideas for pressies along the way. The place was beautifully decorated and we had groups of carol singers and performers helping with the Christmas spirit.

From the minute you step off the tube you are in a Christmas world

From the minute you step off the tube you are in a Christmas world

20151125_143448[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were some gorgeous food stalls, a wide range of companies were represented there and there was even a Greg Wallace restaurant that you could book into.

20151125_120220[1]

In fact there was so much to get around I probably could have done with another afternoon there to get around them all. However, I have to say my friend and I certainly gave it a good go, so much so that we felt the need to pop into the bar there for our first mulled wine at the end of the day before our journey home.

I loved the idea of this- an afternoon tea along with a London landmark tour!

I loved the idea of this- an afternoon tea along with a London landmark tour!I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the top deck

This is the top deck

The food looks amazing!

The food looks amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did buy a few new Christmas decorations and signs for this year from a fab stall that I could have spent a fortune at! Now I have to find just the right places for them. We weren’t lucky enough to see any of the celebrities as we attended on the Wednesday but there were different people there each day doing demonstrations throughout the few days.

I will definitely try and get back next year, but when I do I will start from upstairs in all the food stalls and work my way back down so I really do not miss anything……………………..mind you that may mean I spent a lot more. Although the bar is on the top floor so I may not see anything after a few mulled wine’s in there. Roll on next year.

20151125_114412[1]

The Ideal Home Show at Christmas in London

This I am very excited about and thankfully only have a week to wait. This years Ideal Home Show at Christmas will be taking place at Olympia London for the first time ever. The UK’s biggest Christmas exhibition will be open from the 25th – 29th of November to provide everything you could possibly need in the run up to the festive season, from over 600 exhibitors showcasing top Christmas shopping inspiration, a plethora of celebrity appearances and a Christmas bandstand hosting live entertainment……………c’mon you Christmas lovers what more could you need?
14112014_IHSC14_0983[5][1]
14112014_IHSC14_1080[3][1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m feeling festive already and cannot wait to see the venue transformed into a winter wonderland. There will be exhibitors across 7 sectors, as well as a host of festive favourite celebrities including Gino D’Acampo, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Olly Smith and Katie Piper who will be making her Christmas show debut and  experts will be on hand at the show offering their own festive hints and tips to make your Christmas Ideal.

14112014_IHSC14_0782[3][1]

There will be live entertainment for visitors to enjoy as they shop, a wide range of expert talks and advice,  a food & drink theatre featuring top tips from celebrity chefs, and even a champagne bar as well ( so that’s me sorted then!).

The Ideal Home Show at Christmas sponsored by Gocompare.com has everything you could possibly need to create the perfect Christmas all under one roof! So, for a chance to be part of history and experience Christmas for the first time at Olympia London, get yourself a ticket!

Tickets

To book tickets log on to www.idealhomeshowchristmas.co.uk or call 0844 209 7330.  For Group bookings call: 0844 412 4650

Weekday Adult £12.00
Weekend Adult £14.00
Weekday Concession (Over 60’s) £10.00
Weekend Concession (Over 60’s)     £12.00
Children (Under 15) go free when accompanied by an adult      

Timings for Ideal Home Show at Christmas:

Wednesday 25th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Thursday 26th November 2015 10am – 9pm

Friday 27th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Saturday 28th November 2015 10am – 6pm

Sunday 29th November 2015 10am – 5pm

I am looking forward to spotting some lovely new Christmassy bits to add to my ever growing collection that I manage to add to each year. Our decorations go up at the start of December and I love the festive run up to the big day itself. However, I do think my OH may disown me if I buy any more fairy lights for him to put up…………………………………… so watch this space.

14112014_IHSC14_0795[6][1] 14112014_IHSC14_0787[4][1]

 

Gift Ideas for Older Teenage Boys

xmas gift pic for blog

When your children are young it’s easy to get ideas for Christmas, lets face it their lists normally have absolutely everything except the kitchen sink on them. Every time they see an advert for something they want it.

However, when they get older it gets a little more difficult. My boys are now 16 an 14, they have all their gadgets either bought as gifts or saved for and bought by themselves. That makes finding something to get them for Christmas that not only do they want or need but that doesn’t cost an absolute arm and a leg. I have definitely found that as they have grown up their pressies have got smaller and smaller in size yet the value has increased tenfold!

My youngest is in need of a new portable TV for his room ( something they have both been allowed from the age of 13 as we live in a small house and I do not want xbox and 2 smelly teens constantly fighting over who’s turn it is in my front room!  so shoot me now for being a bad mother, but that’s how it is here.) So I have a main present for him and that can be easily filled out with DVD’s, CD’s, a boardgame or two, some clothes and treats.

My eldest though is much more difficult as h has his game station, tv, Ipod and docking station, phone and all the usual trappings. When I have talked to him about some ideas he has just asked for a few DVD’s and that’s it!! NOT Helpful, and I do not agree with giving my children money on these occasions as I tend to ask family to give them money so they can save for the bigger items when they want them. So I have had really had to dig deep for ideas and trawl the internet and shops looking. I was looking mainly for what would be a ‘main’ pressie for him.

I thought I would share a few here……..

1. Some Young Driver lessons. These are available Nationwide at a different locations and we have one near us so this is a definite for my 16 yr old this year. They are normally around about £30 for a half hour lesson. My youngest has tried these already as he is a total petrol head and says 30 mins is long enough at a time as there is so much to concentrate on that he came out exhausted LOL. So I will be getting my eldest a few lessons in preparation for his 17th b’day in April when he will be starting lessons properly.

2. Experience Day Vouchers. These are more expensive but for a teenage boy of around 16 some of these are amazing as a main present at Christmas. Virgin Experience offer allsorts from indoor skydiving, Go-Ape, snowboarding to the more adventurous Zombie Survival!! So for an older teenage boy who has all the gadgets etc and doesn’t know what he wants, one of these would be perfect I think.

3.Unlimited Cinema Card. If your teen is a real cinema lover ( my youngest is like me and adores going to the cinema) and tends to go with his friends a lot the cost could add up very quickly! Therefore, why not treat them with an unlimited Cineworld card. These cost around £16.40 per month on a direct debit ( which is less that most of their mobile phone contracts these days) and that way you can spread the cost throughout the year as well. This will allow them unlimited visits andmoney off on food and drink and also no booking fees if they book online for a film. A yearly one will set you back £196.80 which is a huge outlay in one go, but equally you could get family to pitch in with an amount that they were going to spend anyway and make it a main present.

 4. Merlin annual pass. This will allow your teens unlimited entry to a wide range of attractions. For us we are near London so this would include Thorpe Park, Chessington, The Dungeons, Sealife and the London Eye and Madame Tousauds. My 16 yr old already has days were all his friends meet up and spend a day in London and my youngest loves Thorpe Park so again as a main present this would suit loads of teens. It isn’t cheap at £169 for a year pass but lets face it against a game console/ mobile phone it probably works out cheaper and they get a years worth of visits that you then don’t have to fork out for when money is tight throughout the year.

5. Magazine subscription. These can be easily found online and can either be for 6 months, 1 year or even a 2 year subscription. They cover everything, and I mean everything a teen could possibly be interested in, from photography, cars, fishing, computers, film  to all the different games consoles you can think of! Really there is something for everyone and it means that they receive their favourite magazine through the post every month without any effort by them or even you ( once it has been ordered obviously). These vary in price depending on what magazine you actually order but an example would be the Xbox magazine which comes in at £48.99 for 13 issues!!! Brilliant value as each magazine is then only £3.77each.

Now obviously I have looked at things that would be suitable for boys as I’m a mum of boys but to be honest the above 5 ideas are great for teenage girls as well. I always like to get them a ‘main’ present and then fill it out around that so I understand that some of these are a little expensive, but I’m sure you will agree some of them last them all year round and so are definitely worth the extra money, in comparison to a new PlayStation or Xbox game that costs around the £40 mark.

I would love to hear some of your ideas too.

 

The trouble with………..

……….long term illness is that from one day to the next you never know what it is going to throw at you! The last month has been unbelievably hard, my M.E symptoms have been flaring up. The exhaustion I have had has left me in my pj’s most days until at least 3 or 4pm, the pain in my muscles has seen me put on my new medication (that isn’t working) and generally feeling crap about everything including myself! I have found it difficult to be on here at all and have had no enthusiasm for it, but that is getting back to normal.

………..Mother’s Day with teens is that the presents change as I found out this year. Although I got my usual ‘little’ things that I love, mugs/ good coffee and other bits, I also had a more unusual gift which looked initially like this

DSC_0301

DSC_0302DSC_0303DSC_0304

 

 

 

 

 

are you getting the theme here? But tucked inside was this……….

DSC_0308

Tickets to a show in the Palace Theatre for Breast Cancer, with Paul Potts, Shane Ward, Joe McElderry and Kingsland Road to name a few. It was a cracking night too.

………….the school holidays with teens is that they actually want to spend most of it in bed or in their rooms. Now the late mornings I am not complaining about but the wasting of days I am! Gone are the days where I would have everyday planned out with them, activities, visiting, meeting with friends at the park etc. But now they are teens, especially my eldest, he had some of his own things going on. He went out with friends to the cinema and bowling etc so a lot of the days were already planned. I do miss the old days but actually found this school holiday far more relaxing than previous ones. We did have the odd day out, Whitstable and Herne Bay -that sort of thing.

Me and my lovely boys!

Me and my lovely boys!

We also had some great card game nights after my MIL taught my youngest a few new games when he stayed over for the night at their caravan.

So there has been lots going on but I haven’t been that bothered about sharing it all until now. I will get back into the flow of things and have missed reading all my regular blogs and my conversations on Twitter but I have to admit the break has done me some good. So will be churning a few more posts in the next few days about what has been going on around here like my eldest turning 16!!!! Now that’s another post