Wednesday 15 November 2017

A Dog Christmas List

If you had told me 2 years ago that I would have a bouncing fur baby in my life I would have probably thought you were crazy. Turns out life can move pretty quickly, and circumstances can change enough for you to actually bring home the puppy of your dreams (or is it nightmares!?), that little puppy of mine has done some serious growing up (albeit physically and not at all emotionally).

It's pretty amazing how quickly a puppy becomes part of your family, they aren't just another mouth to feed, they really are a valid member of your inner circle. Last year I didn't really make a special effort with the spotty one for Christmas (much to Leo's dismay of course), but when Christmas arrived and everyone was busy opening presents, I suddenly wished that I hadn't been such a scrooge.

Webbox Dog Christmas Treats

Leo convinced himself that Santa just hadn't bothered because Lux had been so naughty all year (and yes he actually had been that naughty.. But still!), so this year I vowed that Lux would not be left out and accepted that I had become one of those people who treated her fur baby as an actual child. 

This year as the family gathers around the Christmas Tree, this face of pure innocence, the look of butter wouldn't melt (because it would have been gobbled up before it had chance) will be opening his own christmas gifts with his teeth. 

But what do you put under the tree for a fur baby? Yup I am really asking this question.

Your Pet's Christmas sorted with Webbox

A Dog Christmas List

I have to kickstart this list with the Webbox Christmas Treats, because seriously, what a fantastic choice! If there is one thing that dog loves, it's food (yes even over his humans. He would take the sandwich right out of your hands... and he has on a many occasions!), so let's take a look at the festive treats available...

Webbox Dog Christmas Treats

- Chomping Chews with Turkey and Cranberry 

- Three Bird Roast & Turkey Kibble

- Festive Bites with Turkey and Bacon Flavour

- Doggie Deli Pack with Pork Strips, Marbled Beef Bites, Chicken Chips with Cheese and Cheese Cubes

- Festive Choc Bar for dogs

- Festive Chipolatas 

- Festive Meaty Treats Pigs in Blanket Flavour

- Christmas Pudding

- Festive Bauble

- Festive Sticks with Turkey and Cranberry 

- Reindeer Toy

- Gingerbread Man Toy

Pretty Little Paws Navy And White Check Design Dog Bandana

Webbox Dog

Aside from these rather lovely photographs of Lux with his beloved treats... They are being held back for Christmas Day. When it comes to toys, Lux like to remove heads and limbs, so to give them a fighting chance to see December 25th I have taken careful measures and removed them from sight... But seriously, what a super Christmas Selection!?

Webbox Dalmatian

Second on the list might be more for me than it is Lux... But it won't come as a surprise to regular readers of this here blog. Dalmatian's don't just shed hair, it's like an avalanche of snow every single day. It's like the hair isn't really attached to them at all, like they have a desire to be naked, because they really, really do shed every single day. 


Introducing FURminator - 'FURminator deShedding Tools can help you reduce the amount of loose hair from shedding! That means less time spent cleaning and more time to spend enjoying your pet.'  This line was enough to get my attention, it would be nice to not have to vacuum 3 times a day that is for sure! 

To find the right FURminator for your dog you need to put in some simple details about your pooch, such as weight, hair type and dog size. Once you have input these statistics it will bring up the brush for you! It's meant to reduce shedding by up to 90% on dogs that you regularly groom, so this has the potential to make a rather huge difference to Lux's coat and our furniture and carpets!

Lux is a bit of a fidget, as much as he loves a fuss he usually tries to eat any sort of brush I bring towards him, which of course makes the whole grooming process that little bit more difficult, but here is how we got on....


The FURminator has a Stainless Steel deShedding edge that reaches deep beneath Lux's short (but plentiful) topcoat to gently and effectively remove the undercoat and any loose hair. 

See, I told you this was more for me than for Lux, but in the grand scheme of things it means he is allowed more time on the sofa now I am not so paranoid about having to get the hoover out as soon as a mass of hair falls out.

And there we have it, one very spoiled spotty dog, who is going to have a rather amazing time ripping open all of his special gifts this year. I only hope that he has some compassion for the poor Reindeer and Gingebread Man! 

Thinking ahead to the New Year

Christmas Ball Dress

Christmas is firmly on our lips and we are all loosening our belt buckles a notch or two to make room for the inevitable intake of cheese, turkey and party food. After all that’s part of the fun of the festive season, having a big blow out with our favourite tipples and vast array of seasonal spreads, and quite simply having a wonderful time.
It’s all fun and games until the door slams on December and you find yourself staring out at the bleakness of January. No lights, no glitter, just darkness and a few extra digits on your weight scale.
It’s no wonder that in January we all seem to have very similar goals, and they almost always gravitate around weight-loss and getting fit, I know that I am always raring to get going again after Christmas, I like to indulge as much as the next person, but I equally love to that feeling you get as your body detoxes from the richness of December.
One of the most popular questions I get asked is whether you have to join a Gym in order to see results, and I can tell you now that you honestly don’t. Even now I am back in the gym, I still have days where I workout primarily from home, and in the thick of the winter months, sometimes this is the best solution anyway. Yes in the summer you might miss the air conditioning in the gym, but when it’s cold outside, you simply need to crack a window open or flail open the patio doors.
- Treat yourself to some new workout gear, even if you aren’t going to be going to the gym, my personal experience is that if you have Gym kit that you like the look of and enjoy wearing, you are more likely to stick to your goals. Even when I workout from home I’ll get dressed like I would if I was heading to the gym, if you are looking for some new wardrobe additions, Function 18 have everything you could possibly need!
My top tips to anyone looking to get fit in the New Year are these:
- Take little baby steps in the right direction, make better food choices, say no to the last of the Christmas wine and just see what these small choices amount to, because you might just very well be surprised.
- Take part in a challenge, like dry January. This was something that my Dad did a few years ago and this was just the very start of his weight loss journey. He hasn’t looked back since, but he has had to buy new clothes that fit!
- Finally, don’t put to much pressure on yourself. Good things come to those who are patient and keep at it. January is an amazing time to start a new fitness regime, and you most certainly won’t be alone in your endeavours. Why not try and find a friend who wants to go at it with you? That way you can both stay accountable and hit milestones together!
The gyms will be busy in the New Year, but it does quieten down eventually, but if you don’t want to go down a Gym route then why not have a look at one of the following at home training programs?
- Emily Skye
- Kayla Itsines
- The Bodycoach
Remember that Christmas is only one day, my goal this year is to just take one day to enjoy the festive food, and then try to keep my eating as normal as possible... let’s see how this works out then!

Tuesday 14 November 2017

The Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696 Review & Vlog

Dalmatian Puppy

This face right here belongs to one of the naughtiest puppies I have ever known. The face may have grown and matured over the last 15 months, but underneath the spots is a rather mischievous pup who loves to cause carnage and loves nothing more than a little destruction. 

You think I am making this stuff up? 

Ha! If only. 

Having a dog has been harder than I ever imagined, and as equally rewarding (when I am not chasing him around the house for the sock, bra or clothes items that he has swiped). But one thing that I have realised I do even more of these days, is house work. 

Boy do dogs make a mess, if only I had known that Lux's favourite pass time would be bringing mud into the house? If only I had known that when they say Dalmatian's shed hair EVERY SINGLE DAY, they really do mean... Every Single DAY! 

But do you know what? 

Even if I did know that my life was about to be turned upside down by those little innocent eyes and devil personna, I wouldn't change a spot on his head. I have had to learn to stop being so precious about things, because things have and will get broken, destroyed... Savaged at some point in time, and if anything I have had to get damn good at housecleaning on the double.

Dalmatian in Cotswolds

When it comes to having pets, all you really need to do is get prepared. Be ready for any eventuality, is that wee on the bottom of the curtain? Maybe...Probably. Turd on the rug... Most definitely. Chewed up shoe, you betcha! 

It almost makes the beige carpet on what can only be described as Lux's runway seem laughable. Because what pet owner in their right mind would have a BEIGE carpet with a dog whose only route in and out of the house (front and back...) is over that light carpet that is the very first thing people who visit your home see.

Oh yeh. That would be me.

So what would I say to anyone who:

A. Has a Dalmatian and knows first hand that Dalmatian hair is NO JOKE.

B. Has a dog and can relate to the struggle.

C. Is thinking about getting a pet and are being dutiful (and responsible) and researching the best practices moving forward.

Whatever your current situation, my advice to you is make sure you invest in the best cleaning technologies, they will be your best friend and they WILL be used multiple times a day.

You will need a good vacuum cleaner (more on this later), and I cannot recommend getting a good carpet cleaner highly enough (remember that beige carpet I told you about?), well if you want it to stay beige, a good carpet cleaner is a necessity (and remember the pee on the curtains... Yeah it will help there too!). Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696 Review
I have recently been testing the Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696, and before I used it on my beige hallway carpet, I had a little challenge ahead of me. When I say little challenge... I actually mean quite a mammoth test, almost comparable to the Hunger Games or when Harry Potter actually came face to face with Voldemort for the very first time....

Ok so it might not be as horrifying as that, but it was close. I took the Bissell Instaclean over to my parents house to have a go at my sister's bedroom (I must note here that this is NOT my house!), but after I saw the state of her bedroom and just how effective the machine was in turning the carnage into something a little less terrifying, I knew that the little mud blemishes in my hallway would not be an issue for my carpet cleaner.

So I hear you ask 'How bad could your sisters room be?'... Well I am glad you asked.

Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696 Review

Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696 Review

You can check out how we got on with the Bissell Instaclean in the below video that is live over on my YouTube Channel!

It has to be said that this is the carpet that they had laid when they moved into the house over 20 years ago, but quite how someone does this to a carpet is beyond me. This is a combination of make up, nail varnish, burns to the actual carpet and god knows what else (Judging by the stains left over I would be pretty safe in saying that I think some of that Alien slime is kicking around...).

I spent a good few hours gliding the Bissell Instaclean over this neglected carpet, I also spent a lot of that time on my hands and knees scrubbing with the attached hose to try and get as much of the dirt and grime out of the carpet fibers as possible. 

Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696 Review

It is suffice to say that I was pretty speechless when I saw the actual extent of her carpet (and yes I did tell her that I would clean it in exchange for the before and after photos!).

The Bissell Insteaclean Pet comes with everything you need to get started and it was really simple to put together. It is about the same size as your standard vacuum cleaner, so it isn't going to take up a whole lot of space, and mine is kept under the stairs with the rest of my cleaning equipment. 

Now I thought I would show you these first photos initially because, this really does showcase what the Bissell can do, and in the grand scheme of things it turns out that my dog is more house proud than my sister (Inserts giggles). 

Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696 Review

As you can see my beige carpet has come up rather nicely, you could say as good as new. The slight staining that I was pulling my hair out over, worked out incredibly quickly with the Bissell and I am so impressed with this machine. It's not just the pup who gets us in a mess every now and again, I am equally guilty when it comes to taking coffee upstairs first thing in the morning. I cannot wait to attack the stairs with this over the coming weeks ahead. 

Disclaimer: I was sent the Bissell Instaclean Pet 20696 for the purpose of this post. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

UK Swimwear - Gottex Star Fame Triangle Bikini Review

UK Swimwear Gottex Star Fame Triangle Bikini

There was a time not so long ago that I hated the thought of wearing a bikini, and when holidays rolled around I would give it a go, but I can honestly say that I never felt confident. I remember looking at other girls on the beach, with their slim frames and toned midriffs, and when I looked down at my own tummy, it was as though I was a million worlds away.

 I put myself on many a diet, but nothing ever really stuck. I didn't have the mindset or apparently the want to make the change (not at the cost of chocolate and fizzy drinks anyway!), but something in me changed, and one day I decided to throw myself at a new lifestyle hard. Something had changed this time, I was driven, focused and I needed to see change.

Over the next few months I propelled that change forward, my clothes got looser and looser until eventually.... Everything was far too big. 

I soon realised that you get what you put into this whole fitness malarky, and today I might fall off the wagon every now and again, but I can look back and see just how far I have come, not only with how my body looks in a swimming costume, but because of how I feel in one.

It really does all come down to how you feel, the aim of the game is to be happy, happy and healthy, and that is exactly where I am right now. 

I was recently sent a rather beautiful bikini, you may have seen it in my recent So Shape post! It's the Gottex Star Fame Triangle Bikini from UK Swimwear, and I am absolutely head over heels in love with it. 

UK Swimwear Gottex Star Fame Triangle Bikini

I was drawn to this particular design because it is the kind of thing that I have always loved, and exactly what I would have seen other girls wearing and wished I could pull off myself. It fits absolutely perfectly, I am wearing the size 8 in these photos, and that fits well both on top and bottom. It is often a worry when I order bikini's online because I have a smaller upper half to my bottom, so I always have to hope that the top won't be too big!

I am pleased to report that my order from UK Swimwear was absolutely perfect and it is by far my personal favourite swimwear. I love how the top wraps around and ties at the back creating a bandage effect, it looks exceptionally classy in Black and White, sometimes keeping designs simple is the key to real magic, and that has most certainly been achieved here.

UK Swimwear Gottex Star Fame Triangle Bikini

As you can see, the black on this bikini looks as though it is encrusted with diamonds, and although simple it really does look amazing. The white floral areas on the cups just give it that extra bit of detail that completes the look.

The bottoms are black aside from the diamond panel on each side and of course the small white flowers on on the front and back.

Speaking as a small busted girl, this bikini does absolutely everything I need it too, the cups are moulded to give you that extra bit of support, but I am lucky enough to be able to wear bikini's even if they don't have that support (small boob perks!).

The Gottex Star Fame Triangle Bikini retails at £148.95, and is unlike anything else you are going to come across on the beach front, this little number will be coming along on my summer holidays this year.

I was sent the above swimwear for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this product are 100% honest and my own.

Children's Christmas Inspiration 2017

I always thought that as Leo got older he would become easier to buy for, but it turns out that as he has got older I have found gift buying much more difficult. Leo's biggest passion in his spare time is gaming, and his two favourite things are his Nintendo Switch and his Nintendo 2DS. So as I have been busy making lists of things that I know that he will absolutely love, I am determined to only purchase items that I know will get use, so this year that will consist mainly of books and additions for his passion of gaming.

I have also been thinking about things that he will love, but wouldn't necessarily ask for, so that he gets a few surprises he wouldn't expect to find under the tree!

I thought that it would be nice to kick start this year's guide with some fun, budget friendly Stocking ideas!

Check out these fun additions from Zing Toys!

Zing Spinzipz Retail at: £5.99

Zing Thumb Chucks retail at: £7.99

I was really excited to see that the Fingerlings have made the top 12 DreamToys for Christmas 2017, it's set to be a popular toy this year, so if you are thinking about making a purchase, check out how we got on with little Mia over the Summer!

We love nothing more than sitting down and reading a book together, and just like every year I like to treat him to some new story books. Leo has a few personalised stories and these are by far his favourite books, and I know that he is going to adore 'My Golden Ticket' from the people who brought you 'Lost My Name'.

Wonderbly My Golden Ticket

The book is a rather special story that is written from Leo's view point (or however you personalize the book for your child!), at the start of the book your child is presented with their Golden Ticket, and then it is time to set off on a rather exciting adventure into the marvelous world of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory! Of course you are going to make friends along the way, and in this story your child will meet an Oompa Loompa named Lomo, and he will travel with you around the chocolate factory as you collect the ingredients that you need to make your very own Wonka bar!

I absolutely love this book, the illustrations are brilliant and the story is lovely, it is sure to have your children excited for the next page!

Another book that I think would make a great addition under the Christmas Tree this year is Detective Dot, an 8 year old girl with a rather special power. She can talk to he stuff! From a memory chip with amnesia (Ironic? I think so!) to a football with an over inflated ego (This is sure to give adults a good giggle too), these objects have big questions about who they are and where they came from! Dot travels around the world with her gang answering the questions as they go.
Detective Dot Book

Dot inspires children to think about where their things actually come from, and I think this is a brilliant thing. Leo is always asking questions like those being posed in this book, and I love how the answers are presented. It is definitely a book that we are going to enjoy reading together at bedtime. 

The Detective Dot Megapack

The Megapack would make a great gift this Christmas and features all of this:

- Detective Dot book 
- CIA membership card 
- Six fun missions 
- Personalised CIA Letter 
- CIA Sticker Sheet 
- Lifelong CIA Membership

The Detective Dot Megapack costs £18.99

Amongst the things that Leo has put on the list himself, I am thinking about some slightly different ideas...Skateboarding is something that he has been talking about for the last couple of years, he has always been amazed when he has seen people in the skate park and asked if he can have a go, and although Leo hasn't talked about a skateboard recently, I thought that at 6 years old it might be a nice time for him to learn. 

Fracture Broken Series Complete Skateboard in Red with a 7.5" board
The Fracture Broken Series Complete Skateboard retails at £49.95

When it came to looking for the perfect board on, I was pleased to see that they had a helpful purchasing guide available for parents like myself who quite simply didn't know what they were looking for, and it was through this that I managed to narrow the selection down to this Fracture Broken Series Complete Skateboard in Red with a 7.5" board.

The Mini Hornit Lights and Sound Bike Accessory
The Mini Hornit retails at £14.99

You can never go wrong encouraging children to get outside and have fun, some of my fondest memories are summer's spent riding around on my bicycle. In fact if I cast my mind back far enough, I recall being a young girl of around 3 or 4 and pretending my bike was a pony. Leo is no different in that sense, he loves the great outdoors and these days he will ride his bike alongside me as we walk our dog. 

If you have a bike fanatic like I do, then you need to know all about the Mini Hornit (and you may already have done if you are familiar with Dragon's Den!). The Mini Hornit is a lights and sound accessory for children's bikes, and it comes in a range of different colour ways (Blue/Orange, Red/Blue, Purple/Pink and Black). 

It can be attached onto a bike or a scooter via it's wings and has 25 different sound effects, white safety lights and funky green lights! 

What are the sound effects?
Bike Bell - OlĂ© Trumpet - Racing Cars - Police Siren - Motorbike - Laser - Helicopter - Fire Engine - Fart - Magic Spell - Aeroplane - Hooter - Burp - Wolf - Rooster - Lion - Elephant -  Horse - Hornet - Magic Carpet - Bomb Drop - Reversing Truck - Train - Klaxon - ZapperThe Nikko™ RC Psycho Gyro
If you are thinking about some of the cool toys this Christmas then you might want to check out the Nikko™ RC Psycho Gyro! It has Gyro stunt technology (hence the name!) which lets the operator spin the car around in 2 wheels (Whaaaaat!), if that's not enough then what if I told you it could do spins and doughnuts too, oh... and on just one wheel!? 

I think I know that Dad's all around the world would be kicking themselves if their child unwrapped this on Christmas Day!

 The Nikko™ RC Psycho Gyro has high grip tyres (and for good reason!) to allow for the high performance traction both indoors as well as outdoors. It boasts 2.4Ghz and has a quick charge of 1 hour (perfect for kids who just want to have fun and hate the waiting around, you could even charge this ahead of the big day so that you illuminate the waiting all together!)

The Nikko™ RC Psycho Gyro is available in Blue and Green and retails at £59.99.
The Alcatel A5 LED Smart Phone
The Alcatel A5 LED Smart Phone

I had a fair few Christmas ideas for Leo this year, one was replacing the iPad that had finally given up the ghost and refused to unlock for the next decade and another was a start out camera as he adores taking his own photographs. At this moment in time he only has the use of his Nintendo 2DS camera which doesn't really offer the best set up. 

Then I got to thinking...

Why not go for something that can do everything in one? A tablet would be too big to realistically use as an everyday camera, and a camera alone wouldn't replace the broken tablet... But what if there was a phone that could do everything?

Now don't get me wrong, I am not for one moment suggesting that I am going to provide my 6 year old with a phone contract, or even a sim card for that matter, but what if I could find a fun phone that could be linked to the wifi for the apps, have a decent camera and provide an overall solution?

Then I discovered the Alcatel A5 LED Smart Phone.

The Alcatel A5 LED Smart Phone

The Alcatel A5 LED is the very first of it's kind, the phone is literally cased in LED's (tell me a pre-teen/teenager who quite simple won't love this!?). These LED's can be customised by colour, themes and patterns. You can have a different light theme for each individual contact, that goes for incoming calls, messages and social media alerts. But wait, it doesn't stop there, you can use the Color Catcher feature to create your own unique LED cover patterns and themes, so that you can keep it fresh each and every day.

The Alcatel A5 LED Smart Phone
Now for the camera, which is one of the aspects that I am personally really excited about. It has a 8MP rear camera complete with dual-tone flash, which makes it a great first camera for anybody looking to start taking some great photos. It's a point and click which will take some fantastic shots of our pup!

It has a 5MP front camera for those of you who are partial to a selfie or two, and this combined with the selfie flash means that you are going to get a fab shot even in low light (Snapchat will thank you!), not to mention the Face Beauty software that will ensure that each snap comes out perfect. 

I have never used an android phone, so having a play around from this (coming over from the dark side of Apple) I have to say that I have been very pleasantly surprised. I have been installing child friendly apps onto it (and I was amazed to find Minecraft!), and it has been a massive hit in the replacement of Leo's broken tablet. 

It's a whole lot of phone for a great price, at £169.99 it really does have a lot to offer and would make a great first phone.

The Lightseekers Tyrax Starter Pack
The Lightseekers Tyrax Starter Pack

If your little ones do have access to a tablet or smartphone, then Lightseekers and connected play might just be something that you should be thinking about for Christmas 2017. It's a new concept to me, but I have to say that I was rather excited when this package turned up. 

We should probably start off with what connected play actually means right? 

Connected play means that you can equip a weapon or accessory onto an action figure and this will take effect instantly in the game! Lightseekers is the critically acclaimed action adventure game that is captivating children, it's a role play game set in the fantastical world of Tantos, that allows you to live the adventure yourself!

'After centuries of peace, the balance of power is now being threatened by the return of the evil umbron, whose presence foreshadows even greater danger! Wielding an arsenal of Explosive, Mechanical and Time abilities, the tyrax use their wits, gadgets and gizmos to overcome any challenge!'

It works through the means of the video game (available on tablets and smart phones, Android and Apple), and it combines interactive trading cards and smart action figures that have powerful mini-computers embedded inside them.

Lightseekers Mobile Phone Game

The game is free to download with no in-app purchases and works on mobile phones and tablets. Figures and accessories connect via Bluetooth.

LightSeekers are manufactured by TOMY, each of the action figures can be actioned in real time with the game, they can talk, vibrate and use different coloured lights to show levels, status, warnings (danger is coming!) and help guide you through the gameplay. 

Sounds pretty cool? I thought so too!

Lightseekers Storm Starter Deck Pack

Lightseekers Storm Starter Deck Pack
Lightseekers Storm Starter Deck Pack RRP £19.99

Let's take a closer look at the Starter Packs...

There are 2 different starter packs:
- The Lightseeker Tyrax Starter Pack 
The Tyrax Starter Pack includes a Tyrax Smart Action Figure, Nitro Hammer Weapon, FusionCore minicomputer, 5 Augmented Reality Trading Cards, Unique Tribute Card, and mini USB charger. 
It also Includes exclusive hero and weapon cards and three powerful combo cards. These cards can be used offline in the Official Lightseekers Trading Card Game. 
When scanned with the free Lightseekers Video Game, each card delivers augmented reality effects, rewards, and in-game abilities. 
Attach the Nitro Hammer weapon to your hero and it instantly appears in game! 
This 1-handed crushing weapon delivers explosive damage through the Nitro Slam special ability. Add lightstones and defeat enemies to level-up your weapon.

The Lightseekers Mari Starter Pack
The Lightseekers Mari Starter Pack

- The Lightseekers Mari Starter Pack
The Mari Starter Pack has the same great benefits of the Tyrax pack but instead includes Mari.
 Both of the packs retail at £49.98 at Toys R Us.
That's some of the bigger gift ideas covered for Christmas 2017, but what about stocking ideas?

Christmas Stocking Ideas for 2017

SpearmarkStar Wars Illumi-mate lighting

Spearmark have a great range of Star Wars Illumi-mate lighting out right now, and if yourself (other half or child) are fans of the feature films, then you definitely want to know about these!

The Star Wars Illumi-mate lighting are battery operated which makes them fantastic night lights (they will just provide that additional reassurance when bedtime rolls around) and they can even change color. The line up has the Stormtrooper,  Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, Kylo-Ren or Darth Vader to cast a moody glow across the bedroom.

The Star Wars Illumi-mate lights retail at £6.99

If you have a Star Wars fan then why not complete the set with this Scheaffer Star Wars Roller Pen (£16.00) and Scheaffer Star Wars A5 Journal (£15.00). They make great stocking fillers and I love that it will encourage Leo with his writing.

Scheaffer Star Wars A5 Journal
You might be noticing a theme by now, and that would be that Star Wars is a popular theme in this years gift guide! How could it not be though?

Mitre bring you the Star Wars Scriball, a way to bring out the creativity within you and then some! It's not just colouring in, because once you have personalised the ball to your tastes, you can take it outside for a kick around!

The pack comes complete with Ball Pump, Ball Stand, Scriball Pens and of course the ball!

Mitre Star Wars Scribal
Mitre Star Wars Scriball - £12.00

Cars has been a love affair with Leo since around the age of 2, and for a while it was hard to source the toys and merchandise, of course this all changed with the launch of Cars 3. We were thinking about getting Leo some new LEGO sets for the festive season, it's something that we can sit down together and do beneath the Christmas Tree, and now Cars 3 and LEGO are combined in sets, we couldn't help thinking how great that would be!

The LEGO Juniors Cars 3 Lightning McQueen Speed Launcher

If you are thinking on a stocking budget, then this Lightning McQueen Speed Launcher will make a great addition. 

The LEGO Juniors Cars 3 Lightning McQueen Speed Launcher retails at £7.99.

Jumbo Cars 3 Piston Cup Race Game

When the festive season rolls around it really is all about family time, and nothing brings the family together quite as well as a board game. Leo has never been a massive board game fan, and this is something that I really want to change, because it's the most amazing way to get the family all in one room, talking and laughing. With that in mind I have been having a look at the Jumbo website looking for board game gift ideas that Leo would enjoy. 

Jumbo have a fantastic selection of different games and puzzles, but as soon I was drawn in very quickly by the Disney additions, the first one being the Cars 3 Piston Cup Race Game!

The aim of the game is to race of course, and the board is set up with a rotating race track that will help one of the players to speed off ahead and be the first to collect each of the different pit stop cards (There are 5 in total!), the first person to collect each of the cards WINS the Piston Cup just like Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson back in his hay day!

It's a great way to get the entire family playing, and it can cater for up to 4 players at anyone time (Ideal for my little family of 3!) 

The Cars 3 Piston Cup Race Game retails at £25.00

Jumbo Disney Guess the Film Game

This next game is probably more for me than it would be for Leo, it's called Guess the Film and it is of course another Disney edition. It's very similiar to Guess who but instead of guessing faces, you are of course guessing Disney films (which is so much better right!?), and it is different in the sense that you only get one film holder, so you are all working together as a team to try and figure out which film the mystery image is.

The idea is that you take it in turns rolling the dice and then open the door with the corresponding colour to the die. Each door reveals part of an image that will eventually from an iconic Disney film and it’s up to you to work out which film it is!
The game changes each time you play as the game has 100 different film images to play around with, Finding Nemo, Frozen, Cars and 101 Dalmatians are among the film images!
The Jumbo Disney Guess the Film Game retails at £30.00.

Both games would make lovely additions to Christmas Eve boxes, allowing children to unwrap something ahead of all the excitement the next day, and would provide a lovely family bonding exercise to keep them entertained before they head up to bed.

Haribo is always popular in this house, if it's not Leo then it will no doubt be myself tucking into a big bag of TangFastics, they are by far my all time favourite. We have sort of reached a point now where I can't even open a bag for Leo, because as soon as I catch the scent of them, I am like a child in a candy shop...

Saying that though, Haribo have some great products out for Christmas 2017 and they will no doubt make a great addition to a child's (or adults) stocking (or even on the tree!)

HARIBO Starmix Tree Decoration

HARIBO Starmix Tree Decoration
If you want an alternative to the traditional bauble to hang on your tree this year, look no further than this temptingly delicious decoration from HARIBO. Inside you’ll find a 50g pack of Starmix to enjoy in the countdown to Christmas – a perfectly tasty treat to add to the festivities.
HARIBO Selection Box

HARIBO Selection Box
This brand new HARIBO Selection Box is the ideal gift for those that enjoy a tasty treat that includes their favourite gums and jellies. A stocking filler with a difference, and the ideal size for under the tree, this Christmas morning surprise includes eight mini bags of HARIBO favourites including Starmix, Tangfastics, Super Mix, Goldbears and Happy Cola.

HARIBO Sweet Medley
Christmas just got better! HARIBO’s favourite treats all in one box. This gift box contains a tray with Starmix, Super Mix, Giant Strawbs, Jelly Babies, Tangfastics and Gold Bears – a super surprise for your loved one to unwrap come Christmas morning. 

HARIBO Giant Trees

HARIBO Giant Trees
Giant Strawbs have had a festive makeover! These tasty treats, which are suitable for vegetarians, now appear in the shape of a Christmas tree. Available in a 70g bag for you to enjoy on your own during the party season.

HARIBO Advent Calendar

HARIBO Advent Calendar
Now you can count down to Christmas with the HARIBO Advent Calendar. Containing a selection of mini bags hiding behind 24 windows, there’s a sweet treat to help little (and big) kids count down to the special day.

Disclaimer: The items featured within this guide have been sent over for the purpose of this feature. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Thursday 9 November 2017

Christmas Inspiration for Him 2017

Christmas Inspiration for Him 2017

When it comes to shopping for the men in my life, I quite literally don't know where to start. Each year it is the same old song and dance, because these men of mine quite literally have everything, and what do you buy someone who has everything? It means I have to really think outside the box, think of unique products or items just to make a ripple in the water.

It has to be sai though, it doesn't matter how old you get... You still want an Advent Calendar in your life, you know it's true, and this year it has been really exciting to see some new creative ideas popping up, because who said counting down to Christmas had to be all things Chocolate?

If you have a foodie in your life then I have the absolute perfect advent calendar alternative for you! The Big Chilli Advent Calendar from Sous Chef, which just so happens to be the Telegraph's BEST alternative advent calendar for 2017. Need I say more?

The Big Chilli Advent Calendar from Sous Chef,

Instead of the chocolatey stuff you get to try 24 different chillis (and each day has a different recipe for you to cook up with your chilli of the day!), you can take your tastebuds on a trip around the world, from the Mexican Chipotle, Fiery Indian Bhut Jolokhia or even the Sweet Prik Chee Fah of Thailand, but the question is... Will you be brave enough to try the world's hottest chilli? Hold tight for the Carolina Reaper!

The Big Chilli Advent Calendar retails at £35.00.

Let's talk stocking fillers...

Quiet Rebellion

Socks. Yup socks. They have feet, therefore they NEED socks. You don't need to purchase boring socks though, there are some pretty funky options around if you choose to look, and Quiet Rebellion have the most amazing socks EVER! Fact. Their range is bright, funky and fun, they have a Christmas range available in packs of 3, or you can pick a more everyday design as a trio or a pair on their own. 

Prices start from £12.00 - A great stocking filler right there!

Got a man who lkes to borrow your moisturiser and lip balms? I know I do, so when I heard about The O’Keeffe’s Hardworking Skincare Multipack I couldn't help thinking what a welcome addition this would be for the other halfs Christmas Stocking. O’Keeffe’s Hardworking Skincare Multipack contains a selection of O’Keeffe’s bestselling products and is an ideal gift for those men and women in your life who are tricky to buy for!

Within the O’Keeffe’s Hardworking Skincare Multipack is O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Jar,  this provides relief for extremely dry, cracked hands. Which is perfect for the man who works with his hands a lot (especially in the colder weather). Luke is a cabinet maker by trade and I have seen the state his hands can get into during the winter months. You will also find a Jar of O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet, providing hard-working relief for hard-working feet and new O’Keeffe’s Lip Repair Cooling lip balm; cooling relief for dry, cracked lips!

O’Keeffe’s Lip Repair Lip Balm is great to have to hand, upon application it heals, relieves and repairs extremely dry, cracked lips. if used as part of a daily routine, O’Keeffe’s Lip Repair Lip Balm is clinically proven to:
- Provide instant relief and all day moisture in 1 use 
- Create a flexible barrier and heal dry, cracked lips 
- Protect against dryness all day, even while you eat and drink 
- Absorb quickly to provide soft, smooth lips
The O’Keeffe’s Hardworking Skincare Multipack costs £17.99 and is available from Boots.
The Twitching Lure
The Twitching Lure
If you are looking for the perfect stocking filler, then maybe the Twitching Lure is the way to go? The Twitching Lure is a rechargeable, electronic fishing lure. It has Vibra Strike Technology, flashes and twitches in order to mimic the movements of a injured baitfish in order to help you catch more fish! It does this by triggering the DNA programming in fish that has signalled fish to strike since the prehistoric times.  

When the lure flashes is it visually signalling to predator fish that there is a easy bite to eat ahead, which encourages them to swim towards it and try to claim it for their next meal. With the lure being electronic, you do need to charge it, but it charges just like you would charge your mobile phone. It doesn't take long to charge and can even be charged in your car!

The Twitching Lure retails at £24.99

Let's talk main gifts...

Gillette ProGlide Styler 3-in1

You can never go wrong in treating your other half to a new razor, this seems to end up under our Christmas Tree most years, it's an excuse to treat them to something practical that will get daily use. Especially for my other half who works in the emergency services field and needs to have a clean shaven face while he is on call. 

The Gillette ProGlide Styler 3-in1 is a razor, beard trimmer and edging blade in one handy pack. It trims evenly, shaves closely, and edges precisely and has absolutely everything you could need to achieve any facial hair style!

The Gillette ProGlide Styler 3-in1 retails at £20.00 and is available to purchase at Tesco.

Living DNA Test

Now if you want to really earn brownie points this Christmas, then look no further than Living DNA. Who doesn't have a curiosity about where they come from? Living DNA is the world's most advanced DNA test, and the results are packed with information about who you are and where you come from. 

What does it do?

- The test covers your family line ancestry, but unlike other tests they also include your motherline, and your fatherline ancestry if you are male!

- They put your ancestry into context showing your breakdown today (going back up to 10 generations), and also the spread of your ancestors at different points in history, showing how we are all connected.

As science and systems evolve, your results will be updated for FREE to provide on-going details about your ancestry.

Back in September I took a mouth swab and sent it off to the lab for analysis, I was informed at the time that I should have my results in just before Christmas, but they actually came back towards the end of October! So it was a pretty fast turn around and I was so excited to see what the the results would yield...

You can see my results right here in my YouTube Video!

The Living DNA Test usually costs £120.00 but at the point of writing this gift guide, you can pick it up for £99.00, which is quite honestly a fantastic bargain. My family and I have absolutely loved going through all of the information that has come from one single mouth swab!

Isn't DNA incredible?

Nextbase 312GW Dash Cam
The Nextbase 312GW Dash Cam Retails at £99.99 
The next couple of gifts are sure to be a massive hit as you can never be too careful on the roads, it is always good to have a set of eyes keeping a watchful eye on what goes on during journeys, and you might as well have something half decent to listen to at the same time right? 

Introducing the Nextbase 312GW Dash Cam, the perfect driving companion, hailed as the most connected dash cam in the world, it is a marvelous addition for a new or experienced driver. The dash cam can instantly upload to social media channels or even your insurance provider! Nifty eh?   

It is the connective qualities that really does set this cam apart from any other that I have come across, this is all made possible thanks to the systems built in wi-fi that allows it to connect so effortlessly with your smart phone. 

You can download the Nextbase App to take your experience to the next level, the app becomes your personal space to save the important footage you collect on your travels, and it allows you to share it quickly and easily. 

What can the Nextbase 312GW do?
- It has 140 degree wide angle view with full 1080p High Definition recording at 30fps
- Ultra clear 2.7” LED display for ease of playback and menu selection
Six-Element Sharp Lenses made with 6 layers of glass to provide stunning clear images 
- Inbuilt G sensor to record force data 
- SOS data protection prevents the impact/event recording from being deleted 
- Easy to install with 4m 12v power cable and Click & Go window mount included 
- Supports SDHC Micro SD cards up to 32GB

The Nextbase 312GW has the Which? Seal of approval and is one of the best buy dash cams of 2016. It retails at £99.99 and would make a great addition under the Christmas tree this year.

Nextbase Adapt DAB250

Next up we have another member of the Nextbase family, this time it is more for entertainment purposes than safe guarding, and it is the Nextbase Adapt DAB250. I hadn't heard of one of these up until recently, but they are genius! For those of you who aren't sure it is basically a plug in DAB radio solution for your automobile. It's really simple to fit and it works by using built in signal stabilisation for high speed reception, this means that you can enjoy your favorite DAB stations in your car!

The DAB250 can be mounted on the windscreen or on the dashboard, so it really is just a case of plugging it in and enjoying. It has a 2.4 LCD Screen so that you can select and play your favourite station, and the overall menu and use of this item is really simple and easy to use. 

If you do have a firm favourite station then you can lock it to the screen so that you can quickly find it again, you can see some more of the DAB250's features below:

- Plug and Play digital DAB+ radio 
- Large 2.4” (5cm) LCD screen 
- Windscreen mounting system for ease of installation 
- Inbuilt signal stabilization system for reception at high speed 
- DAB+ signal synchronization to provide improved antenna performance and maximise signal 
-Active film antenna 
- 4 clear buttons for ease of use in the car 
- Automatic selection of the best vacant FM car frequency 
- Supports 10V to 30V power voltage range for all vehicles 
- DAB+ channels stored automatically 
- RDS with programme type, clock, date, channel name & radio text 
- 3.5mm Aux-In and Line Out jack

The Nextbase DAB250 retails at £99.00


My dear old Dad has been in need of a new pair of glasses for a long old while now, but he makes do with what he has (not that he has to!). I recently heard about Eyejusters, Eyejusters are glasses that you can adjust - This means that you only need one pair of glasses for absolutely EVERYTHING.

You can adjust the lenses from +0.50D to +4.00D and they can do absolutely everything, from reading a book, messages to using a computer of fulfilling your hobbies. You simply turn the eyeDials in order to adjust the focus!

Eyejusters retail from £69.00 and come in a range of different colours and styles.

Christian Benedict

If you are upgrading their glasses why stop there? Christian Benedict have a variety of different subscriptions for shirt's. you could treat your loved one to a new one every month, bi monthly or quarterly (this is perfect for the man who 'never has anything to wear'.

When you sign up you pick the first shirt from their 3 core colours: Light Blue, White, Pink and then you enter the measurements so that the shirt is the perfect fit for the man in your life. It takes body shape, neck size and arm length into account.

Christian Benedict  Shirts
The most popular package is the 60 days subscription, this is the equivalent of spending £100 on shirts every 8 months. After you have had your first shirt, you will receive an email  2 weeks before you are due your second, and you can again make the choice of which one you would want. If this is for a Christmas gift it might be nice to pick the first shirt and have them open it on Christmas day, and then hand the reigns over to the recipient so that they can choose what they would like next.

The shirts come nicely packaged in a presentation box.

It's the gift that keeps on giving even after the festive season is over.

The Gtech Hedge Trimmer

Ever feel like you are waiting on the other half to work through the to do list you have given them (You know because you cannot do everything even if you wanted to), Luke often jokes about pink jobs and blue jobs, for instance cooking, cleaning and general everyday housework all seems to fall under pink, so I charted the garden up under blue for his personal amusement, (or was it because I started pruning with a pair of kitchen scissors?)

Although the garden is quite small, we do get a lot of growth from things growing up over the fence. It's not the neighbors, we actually live next to a railway so everything that grows over needs to be sorted by ourselves or it would become unruly (I did struggle to get into the shed until the kitchen scissors came out). 

Gtech seem to have a product for everything, and they definitely have a fantastic reputation, up until recently I didn't realise just how extensive their product range was. Did you know that they have a cordless garden collection?

We have the  Gtech Hedge Trimmer (when I say we, I do mean the other half) - If there's one way to speed up their to do list it's to bestow new garden technology on them right? 

The Gtech Hedge Trimmer is lightweight and cordless, you can go all over the garden without worrying (or actually) tripping over the cable (because there isn't one!), you might think that this would mean you have to compromise on the performance, but that quite simply is not the case. The Gtech hedge trimmer has efficient lithium-ion battery that will keep you (or the other half) going for 45 minutes at a time.  

You might not be looking for a hedge trimmer right now, but this is just one of the additions to the brand new Gtech Cordless Garde tools range! 

The Gtech Hedge Trimmer retails at £129.00

Amtech 3.6V Cordless Screwdriver

Tools for everyday jobs are actually something that men want, my other half is a cabinet maker by trade (which is ironic because can I get him to even put a shelf up around the house!? You guessed it, NOPE!), but when I have been left scratching my head about what to gift him for Birthday's or Christmas, he always points me in the direction of tools.

Now this might just be as much for me as it could be for him, because I have tried to get a little bit more hands on with the D.I.Y around the house (There was this one time I spent 4 hours building a play kitchen only to discover at the very end that I had put the door hinges on the wrong way round right back at the beginning...), and next on my list is the Amtech 3.6V Cordless Screwdriver.

Now I can't help thinking that this is just an essential tool to have in the house, even if like me you don't seem to possess a single D.I.Y gene in your body. It has forward and reverse functions (which is great if you go wrong as much as I do!), it's compact, lightweight and even I can use it!

In the box you will find it comes with 11 screwdriver bits, 1 bit holder and the mains charger.

At £11.49 on Amazon, it isn't going to break the bank, but it would make a great stocking filler for the D.I.Y enthusiast (or the man who has been promising to work through his to do list!).

Disclaimer: The items featured within this guide have been sent over for the purpose of this feature. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.