Christmas Gift Guide- Something a bit different?

This year I have decided to ditch the usual his/hers gift guides and bring to you some ideas for fun, quirky and alternative gifts including stocking fillers and wrapping paper.

Frenzy 230mm Black Folding Commuter Scooter V2

This Frenzy commuter scooter is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to commute in style, commuting from both a place or work or study has never been easier, this wonder scooter folds down easily to a small size and even has a carry strap for easy transportation. The quality is fantastic, with it’s big wheels for speed and comfort this is sure to be a hit this Christmas. Head to Skates.co.uk to see their huge range of scooters, skates, boards and bikes to find the perfect gift.

Tesalate Super Absorbent Towel

Know someone getting some winter sun? Want to dry off from that Boxing day swim in style? Tesalate offer a totally unique and beautiful range of super absorbent and sand free towels, they are rapid drying, compact and come in their own bag. With their stylish and colourful designs these towels are a great and unusual Christmas gift idea that will be used again and again. Check out Tesalate’s huge range here.

Willow of London Personalised Phone Case

If you are looking for a personalised gift Willow of London is the place to go. From Phone cases to luggage they offer a vast range of stylish options. This latest design phone case is amazing, Willow of London are constantly bringing out incredible designs so keep your eye out. The quality is superb and the gorgeous sparkling leopard pattern is so on trend. Their phone cases are made to fit a huge range of phone models. Check out Willow of London here to find the perfect gift for someone special.

Maps International Scratch the World Map

Do you know someone who loves to travel? Maps International offer a huge range of stylish and fun wall maps. With their extensive collection, Maps International caters for both functional use while also looking fantastic in any home. The Scratch the world map ticks all the boxes for a great gift, simply grab a coin and start scratching off the destinations you have been, creating your very own personalised map.

Sportsman Recovery Kit

Whether hubby is an avid weight lifter or dad loves a round of golf, this Sportsman Recovery kit from Atlantic Folk is the perfect manly pampering gift. Included in the smart tin case are a relaxing bath oil, a muscle rub and stretching elastic. The bath oil and muscle rub are made with invigorating and refreshing blends of essential oils and smell divine. You can also have the tin personalised to make this a great and unusual gift for your athletic loved one.

Just the Tonic

Sick of buying that gin lover the same old bottle of gin every Christmas? Why not surprise them with this great book. Just the Tonic offers an informative and fascinating look into the colourful history of tonic and it’s changing role over the years. The book also includes cocktail recipes inspired by historical events, and is beautifully illustrated throughout. Team this with some quirky tonic water for a fabulous gift. Get yours here.

Boobs Phone Case by Crudelydrawn

Designed by the wonderful creator of Crudelydrawn Antony Armstrong, this boobs phone case has certainly met the “something a bit different”breif. Made from top quality plastic and offered to suit a huge range of phones this case is a fun and feel good gift. Head to the Crudely drawn website for a huge range of quirky and fun gifts this Christmas.

Kensie Satin Pillowcases

These Kensie pillowcases are a great and unusual gift to a loved one. Not only are they a beautiful and luxurious gift, Satin pillowcases are a must for preventing creases and fine lines from forming and keeping hair neat and damage free. Fully machine washable in in a lovely gift box pick these up at your local T.kmaxx.

Stocking fillers

  • Taylor Benfield Floral & Ginger Travel CandleThese gorgeous little candles may be small but wow do they pack a punch! The floral scent is uplifting and the ginger compliments it perfectly for a truly unique scent. The stylish packaging makes these the perfect stocking filler.
  • Pecksniffs Leather and Oak Moss Candle– When I saw this in tk maxx I had to pick one up for my husband. The fragrance is rich and dark and I know my husband will love it. The man candle or ‘mandle’ if you will, is forecast to be a huge hit this Christmas. Nothing un-manly about a candle lit bath!
  • M&S festive bath bombs– These lovely little bath bombs not only look adorable but they smell great too. Perfect stocking filler size and a bargain at only £3 each.
  • M&S Gents Cracker– This mini shower gel cracker is an adorable addition to any stocking.
  • T-zone Glitter Peel off Mask– Perfect for party season. This T- zone glitter mask draws out impurities to help keep skin clear. Enriched with skin loving Strawflower and firming Centella Asiatica Extract. Add some glitz to someone’s pamper routine this Christmas.

Unusual gift wrap.

Vamp up your Christmas wrapping this year with these unusual wrapping paper options.

  • Leopard print gift wrap– This quirky gift wrap still feels seasonal with it’s luxy gold tones. Head to M&S to get yours. All gift wraps are 3 for 2 making them great value.
  • Marianne North Gift Wrap Book-Twelve beautiful paintings from the iconic collection of Marianne North- These botanical style prints are sure to liven up your Christmas wrapping for a totally unique look. Printed on the finest quality paper, each sheet tears out easily, leaving you with a clean edge for hassle free gift-wrapping- Genius and stylish. Get yours here.
  • 12 Days of Christmas gift wrap– Unicorns and flamingos meet Father Christmas what’s not to love! This is a great alternative gift wrap for the kids. Find yours at Sainsbury’s.

*Post contains gifted items however all words and opinions are my own.

Christmas Gift Guide- Home Interiors

My two favourite things collide! In this gift guide I have sourced some gorgeous gifts guaranteed to please any home interior lover and/or make your home look beautifully festive this Christmas.

Ragged Rose Table Runner and Placemats

The perfect addition to any festive table this Ragged Rose Christmas Silver Grey runner is stunning. With beautiful tassel detailing, scattered star pattern and gorgeous colour, this will look elegant draped over any table this winter. These matching placemats are a great size and complete the look. All made from 100% cotton, this timeless set will be used again and again.

Taylor Benfield Cadles

Taylor Benfield have really pulled it out of the bag with their Spiced Noir fragrance. This stylish candle, in it’s beautifully presented packaging is sure to put a smile on any candle lovers face this Christmas. I love the spicy and warming notes. Also available in a smaller size, perfect for stockings, see Taylor Benfield’s range here.

Konstsmide 1441 LED Moose String Light Set

These adorable LED Moose lights from Internet Gardener are a quirky and stylish alternative to traditional Christmas lights. The adorable little creatures have a beautiful warm glow to them and will look great in any home. Perfect in windows or around a fireplace, this string light set promises a bit of fun that can be used year on year.

Philips Steam&Go Plus handheld garment steamer

Give the gift of time this Christmas. The Steam&Go handheld garment steamer uses continuous steam to keep clothes fresh and reduces the need for washing or dry cleaning. Removes odour and 99.9% of bacteria as well as keeping garments looking pristine. Ideal for travelling, removing creases from clothes, bed linen and table wear, this nifty little steamer with it’s stylish design is bound to be a hit this Christmas.

Cofee Lovers Mug

This gorgeous mug by Sheffield Home is the perfect gift for your coffee obsessed loved one. With its stylish matte black and pale pink design, great size and luxury feel. Head to Homesense to see their huge range of cups and mugs.

To read a great roundup of Christmas Gift guides Family Budgeting have put together a fabulous gift guide post which features myself.

Christmas Gift Guide for Children

With three little ones and almost a decade of children’s present buying under our belt it can often feel difficult to find inspiration every year as Christmas comes around. So what do you buy the children who have it all? I have put together this gift guide of my favourite books, toys and and more, guaranteed to put a smile on their faces and keep little ones entertained this Christmas.

Amazon Top 10:

Wondering what the must have gifts for Children are for this year? Amazon have done the research for you!

L.O.L Surprise! Winter Disco Bigger Surprise

This L.O.L Winter Surprise is exclusive to Amazon and is a must have among children this Christmas. Watch your child unbox 60 never before seen surprises including a limited edition L.O.L surprise and 5 exclusive dolls to name a few. All kept safe in this fantastic case, your child can have hours of fun anywhere they go. Get yours here.

L.O.L Surprise 2-in-1 Gamper Van

This L.O.L Surprise Glamper Van also includes a massive 55 surprises! With the flexibility to extend and provide a huge area of play or detach the front for a separate smaller car to enjoy wherever they go, this Glamper van offers hours of fun.

Owleez

Forecast to be hugely popular this Christmas these adorable, interactive owls respond to your movement, touch and love. They have over 100 movements and sounds and best of all they can even fly! Get yours here.

Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth

One for the little ones, this colourful Linkamal sloth by Fisher Price uses lights and sounds to encourage your baby to learn and explore. With a huge array of songs and lights to choose from, this adorable sloth is a great way to keep your little one occupied and having fun.

Paw Patrol Super Paws Mighty Jet

This 2 in 1 transforming jet switches from a jet to Paw Patrol mobile command HQ! Providing two fantastic ways to play and get creative with their imagination. With an exciting disc launcher and Ryder figure included, as well as many more to collect, it’s no wonder this has made it into the top 10.

Monopoly Voice Banking

Fun for all the family! Monopoly Voice Banking is a genius way to play this wonderful family classic. Kick back, enjoy and let the clever bank unit manage all the Monopoly finances. This is a great gift for all the family to enjoy over the festive period.

Pictionary Air

Pictionary air is the new and hilarious twist to a true classic. One guaranteed to be played time and time again. Draw in the air and see your ideas come to life. Download the Pictionary Air app and have hours of fun with the family.

Treasure X Kings Gold Treasure Tomb

The Treasure X Kings Gold Treasure Tomb is the ultimate Treasure X experience for your child. Your child can be part of the adventure digging through magic rock to unleash mini beasts. Smash and dig through layers to find hidden treasures. With 30 levels to complete this is a gift that will keep on giving.

Nerf Fortnite SP-L Blaster

Anything Fortnite related was bound to be a hit this Christmas. Team that with Nerf and it is no wonder this is hitting Christmas wish lists. Inspired by the blaster used in the popular game the blaster has a 3 dart capacity and comes with a detachable barrel so your child can customise it. Includes 6 Nerf Elite darts. Get yours here.

Lego Hidden Side Haunted High School

Your child will love to build and play with this Lego Haunted High School playset. Try to defeat the ghosts haunting the school. Includes a fantastic 8 mini figures, this is a great addition to your child’s Lego collection. Download the App and scan the model to make it come alive!

Frenzy 230mm Black Folding Scooter V2

This stylish Frenzy scooter is certain to be a huge hit with the kids this Christmas. It’s big wheels make for a comfortable riding experience, along with it’s sturdy mechanism mean that this scooter will go and go. The stylish design means that the scooter will be perfect for either boys or girls. Popular among commuters due to it’s small folding capabilities, that means Mum or Dad can hop on any time too! Fun for all of the family. Check out the huge range of scooters, skates, boards and bikes available at Skates.co.uk here.

Little Creatures: Goes to sleep Personalised Book

This personalised book is not only adorable but has been proven to help you develop a highly effective bedtime routine. The ‘Goes to Sleep’ book features your little one throughout and can be tailored in every way from name to hair colour. Get yours here.

Watadventure Personalised Book

Take your Child on an adventure! This Watadventure eco themed books aim is to inspire kids to save the planet. The fun comic style book contains practical activities, eco themed stories and challenges. Personalise yours here.

Hey Grandude! By Paul McCartney

Written by the known and loved Paul McCartney, Hey Grandude is an action packed picture book that follows the story of an explorer Grandude and his 4 Grandchildren. Inspired by his own experience as a Grandfather join them in this adventurous and exciting story, guaranteed to keep your little ones eager to turn the page for more. This is the perfect book for your child to share with a loved one.

Casagami Gingerbread

Something totally different, this Gingerbread house from Litogami is made from sustainable materials and uses solar to power its adorable glow. Perfect for a Christmas eve box maybe? This little house can be assembled with family and friends and is sure to bring a touch of magic to your child. Get yours here.

Tonies Intuitive Speaker

This Toniebox Speaker is fun and interactive way for your child to enjoy stories and songs from these adorable little Tonies figures. With many story telling figures to choose from, this is the perfect gift that you can keep adding to. The stylish cube comes in 7 different colours and all Tonie story telling figures are hand painted. Easy to use, stylish and no complicated controls, I can see this being a huge hit this Christmas.

3Doodler Start Essentials Pen Set

This award winning 3D doodler allows your child to bring their ideas to life! This child friendly pen melts plastic that cools and hardens rapidly meaning they can doodle in the air. Educational and great fun this is a must have this Christmas.

Hasbros Play-doh Stamp n Top Pizza Oven

Hours of fun to be had! Hasbro’s Kitchen Creations allows your child to unleash their imagination and create Play-Doh pizzas from cooking the base to grating the cheese. The perfect gift for those children who love to get creative and includes everything your child needs for hours of pizza making fun. Get yours here.

Thorntons Chocolate Elf

Crafted from Thorntons delicious milk chocolate, this Cheeky Elf is guaranteed to be a hit with children of any age. Check out the adorable range of characters available at Thorntons this Christmas. They can even be personalised to include your child’s name in icing.

*This post contains gifted items however all words and opinions are my own.

Top tips For Getting Great Sleep This Autumn/Winter

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well almost… As we head into Autumn/winter my mind buzzes with excitement for the months ahead, fluffy socks, cosy evenings watching Christmas films and of course toasty warm bedding. But for many, the colder weather means poor sleep and fatigue. This is our second winter in our 1930’s renovation and let me tell you, the temperature of this house came as quite a shock after spending 5 years in a well insulated new build that our friends and family not so fondly named the oven. This is why when the lovely team at Bed Guru got in touch and asked me to work with them on their ‘better sleep campaign’ this season, I jumped at the chance to share my tips on getting better sleep this A/W.

Winter bedding

For many, getting the temprature of the house just right at night is a fine art… one that we are yet to master, we either wake up freezing cold or wake feeling groggy, dehydrated and dreading the gas bill because of the central heating. Studies have shown that the optimum sleep temperature for a room is 15-19 degrees celcius. We as humans still have primal instincts, think of your bedroom as a cool and dark cave for optimal sleep quality but look to your duvets and bedding to keep you at the perfect temperature. Alternating between summer and winter duvets is a must for great sleep. Bed Guru have a great range of higher tog duvets to keep you at the perfect temperature this season.

Keep those toes warm

It is well known that feet are key when it comes to regulating body temperature. Our feet have many specialized nerves that are connected to the thermostat in our brain. Team this with the fact that during sleep our body temperature can be up to two degrees farenheit lower than during the day and it’s no wonder that many people struggle to sleep well when the temperature outside drops. Use a cosy hot water bottle and warm socks to encourage your body’s thermostat to keep you at the perfect temperature for a blissful slumber.

A warm drink before bed

I am not talking about mulled wine! A warming bedtime beverage should be caffeine and alcohol free. Look to decaffeinated teas or milky drinks to help with great sleep. Chamomile tea is known and loved by experts for its calming and soothing effects and I am finding it works wonders to calm a racing mind of an evening.

Love your sleep space

This does not need to be an expensive bedroom overhaul. Following small steps can make your bedroom space feel like a calming and inviting place to be, naturally resulting in better sleep. Layer up bed sheets for a stylish yet practical warming solution. De cluttering your bedroom is a must for a great sleep, a cluttered room equals a cluttered mind and cluttered minds don’t sleep well! Bed Guru have a stylish and affordable range of ottoman beds which are a great storage solution for your summer wardrobe and any unwanted seasonal items. If you are limited on space, an ottoman bed may just be the perfect solution for you. Make sure your room can be dimly lit of an evening. Changing your bedroom light to a dimmer or treating yourself to a new bedside lamp can help to get you in the mood for a more restful night. Another top tip is to use a lavender scented candle around an hour before you go to sleep. The essential oils offer calming properties that help to reduce stress, lower the heart rate and relax muscles. Check out my top tips to incorporate Autumn in to your home.

Sweet dreams!

Chynna

This post is part of a paid partnership with Bed Guru however all words, opinions and images are my own

Half Term Fun At Hoburne Bashley

Last week, myself and the children were kindly invited along to spend a morning of Autumn Arts at Hoburne Bashley. Nestled in the heart of the New Forest Hoburne Bashley holiday park truly has it all, from the luxurious spa to woodland adventures, there is something for everyone. I was really impressed with the huge amount of children’s activities that are available, there was a group activity arranged for every day of the half term, these ranged from den building to story telling in the stunning wooded surroundings. Best of all these fantastic groups are not only available to the park visitors but also to the general public.

I came along to the Autumn Arts morning with the three children and my Nan who was visiting. We entered a lovely little building called the Woodland Centre which was full of adorable children’s seating and beautiful nature inspired wall murals. Upon arrival we were greeted by a very friendly man who offered the children some colouring while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Once everyone was there we were lead into the woods as a group, the walk was only a few minutes and it was lovely heading into the woods with all of the excited children. We walked into an outdoor classroom and were greeted by a very friendly lady called Sally. She told us a bit about the woodland classroom and what we would be doing for the morning and the children instantly warmed to her. Each family was then given a paper bag to fill with anything they liked the look of from the woodland floor. Isabella, Sophia and Harbor excitedly foraged for leaves, acorns, twigs and pinecones and brought them back over to the group. The children then used moulds to form a clay medallion that they would then decorate with all of their forest finds. They loved it, and with there being a big age gap between my eldest and youngest, it always impresses me when something interests them all!

After making clay medallions we headed through a little fairy style door and into another section of the woodland, it felt magical and there was something great about being out in the fresh air and in such a beautiful setting. No I-pads or televisions in sight! Once through the door we joined Sally in making pictures on the forest floor using log stumps, leaves and conkers. It was great to see the children using their imaginations and this time, gave me and my Nan a good chance for a 5 minute chat while the little ones were entertained, all too needed mid half term! This then lead on to wand making, Every child was given a stick and foliage to attach to it, we did this with the children while Sally made stars out of bamboo. She was full of interesting information and has a clear passion for the outdoors, she told the children facts throughout the two hours and we all walked away feeling like we had learnt something new while having an absolute blast.

The two hour slot was perfect for the children and they were thrilled walking back to the car with their medallions and wands. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, the kids were thoroughly entertained. The setting was beautiful, the staff were faultless and the whole event flowed really well. The Woodlander is so much more than just a half term activity, their aim is to teach children about nature in a fun and magical way. Their ethos is “the more we learn about the trees, plants and animals, the more we learn to respect them, and the more we respect them, the more we learn to cherish, nurture and take care of them and for this learning , the more respect we’ll have for our environment.” Clearly extremely passionate about their work the Managers of the Woodland Centre are keen to impart their love of nature to the next generation, not only offering these wonderful events but also offering school trips and visits too. I strongly suggest checking out the Woodlander Facebook page for updates on their up and coming events, plans and keeping an eye on the what’s on page at Hoburne Bashley.

A huge thank you to Hoburne Bashley and The Woodlander for having us. We will be sure to visit again for some more forest fun!

Although my booking for the Autumn Arts morning was complimentary, all words and opinions are my own.

Settling your children into a new School

So this post is a bit niche… but if it helps even one family then it has been worth writing. We relocated just under a year ago, we moved four hours away and left our friends, family and everyone we knew behind, in order to follow our dream of living in an area we have loved and longed to live in for a long time. Sounds dreamy hey? Well for the most part it has been. The children have amazed me, we love our home and our area but it has certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us. In this post I will give some tips on things that helped us settle the children into their new school and surroundings.

Get them involved

We found getting the children involved in the prep of a new school like paperwork and uniform ordering really helped. Although a lot of this is aimed at the adults, it is still good to get the children to sit with you while you fill forms in so that they can be prompted to ask you any questions that may be on their mind. We also let the girls look on the computer at their new school website as much as they wanted. They would spend ages looking at the “meet the team” page, this meant that by the time they joined the new school weeks later, the faces of the staff already looked familiar. Our youngest daughter was a bit upset on the last week of her old school so her pervious teacher spent some time one lunch break looking online at Sophia’s new school with her. I found this really helped the girls feel like they knew some faces and structure of the school a bit better before they started.

Tell them you are scared too

Children are not stupid. They are as emotionally complex as adults when it comes to big change. Instead of dismissing their concerns with “oh it will be fine” I told them the truth…… I was scared too, terified infact. I told them that change is always scary but we would all get through it together. Be relatable while still encouraging them and reassuring them that it will all be ok at the same time.

Have a Birthday party

We found having a birthday party really helped with the settling in process, Both for myself and the children. Fortunately both children had birthdays within a few months of starting the new school. It was good for the children to socialise outside of school with a group of friends, it was also a nice opportunity for us as parents to meet their new friends. For me, it was a really good opportunity to speak to and meet the parents properly, when you are just in the playground it takes someone to have to make an effort to speak to or introduce themselves, with a birthday party, the situation leads the way and means you get to put a face to the parent of each child. It really helped me to have some friendly faces to smile at in the mornings. Having the childrens parties was a real turning point for me.

Extracurricular activities

Maybe the most obvious of all, extracurricular activities such as sports, having playdates and local clubs is another great way to integrate your child into their new school/community. Although a bit stressful with three children already, we try to allow the girls to have play dates or go to a friends house for dinner as often as we can. It is great for the children to be able to mingle outside of school so that they can play and embrace their new friendships in a less structured environment.

So if your little ones are changing schools because of a relocation, just a short trip or even to the next stage of schooling, I hope these tips can help and ease yours or your child’s worries or concerns. I am happy to report that the girls are totally settled, have wonderful groups of friends and love their new school.

Chynna x

Hosting the perfect Halloween

Décor

Of course we are kicking off with my favourite section, décor Now when I say Halloween décor it may make you think of the outside of the home. While decorating the outside of your home is great, many don’t extend the theme inside. If you are hosting this Halloween, there are some great interior accessories available that can transform your home without breaking the bank or being at all tacky. Keeping the lights low and using lots of candle light will not only keep your home looking spooky but using Autumnal scented candles will be sure to impress your guests. Cute little buntings around the house mean that the children get to enjoy the theme inside while not being freaked out by hanging ghosts and zombies around the house! I know my youngest can be a bit unsure of some Halloween décor still, so keeping décor child friendly is important. I picked up all of these decorations from Wilko, they were a great price, many items are just £1 and I am sure these will be brought out year on year, the children love them!

Food and drink

The key to any great party, when we host for Halloween we try to keep it simple. Something warming in the slow cooker for after trick or treating makes for a crowd pleaser. We often serve hot dogs or witchy fingers for the kids and a warming chilli for the adults. If you have a Kilner drinks jar going unused because Pimms season is over, why not make up a spooky punch for the adults. We tend to buy paper plates and cups in a Halloween theme because the kids love it, it also it makes for an easy hosting and fuss free experience, meaning you can spend more time with your guests (drinking punch) than washing up. These adorable plates and cups are from Wilko and the children can’t wait to use them.

Keeping the children entertained

Of course the children are occupied with trick or treating, but this only keeps them busy outside the house and for a limited amount of time. Make sure you have a few tricks up your sleeve! A trick or treat table is a great way to keep them busy, simply make up some boxes of gross textures like jelly or custard and get the kids to pull out either a treat (sweeties or toys) or a trick (empty sweet packets or a sprout). If you don’t fancy dealing with messy games then keeping the kids happy with these doodle mats from Eat Sleep Doodle is sure to be a winner. These fantastic frame mats are fully washable so they can be used again and again, a feature that I love. The children do a lot of drawing so these are a great way to encourage their imaginative learning in a fun and re useable way. The children have loved doodling some spooky pictures on them this October and we will be cracking them out for the little ones and their friends to play with this Halloween. They keep the children entertained for ages which is perfect when you are entertaining guests. Eat Sleep Doodle have a huge range of beautifully designed textile and stationary products. These also make a great and unusual gift, you can even have your Eat Sleep Doodle product wrapped in colouring in wrapping paper which I think is a great touch! Check out their incredible range here.

So there you have it, my tips on hosting a fun and fuss free Halloween party. I hope that you all have a great one!

The Johnsons xxx

Although this post features gifted items, all words and opinions are of my own.