Monday 16 December 2019

Christmas Gift Inspiration for the Entire Family 2019

Father Christmas

Christmas 2019 is on the horizon, December has arrived and with it a fair few dusting's from Jack Frost himself. Which of course means that I have been hard at work on my Christmas gift feature for the upcoming festivities!

I decided this year to do it as one post, and we will be kicking things off with what I truly believe is the hardest category... The men in our lives of course!

For Him

Luke is a man who pretty much has everything, if he wants something he will usually just pick it up and that is the end of that. It often means I have to get creative in order to find the perfect gift that he doesn't already have. Last year it was organising a decade of photographs into 2 rather large photo albums!

This year I have already sorted his main present, but it's always nice to look at some stocking fillers to accompany the main gift!

Now that other half of mine has to stay rather impeccably preened, this is due to the nature of his job. This means that he has to shave on a daily basis, and he is often in a debate about the best way to go about keeping the stubble and facial hair at a minimum.

The Wahl Aqua Blade 20

You can never really go wrong treating your better half to a new facial trimmer, and the Wahl Aqua Blade 20 in 1 Multigroomer has been very much welcomed into Luke's grooming routine. This is what is known as a multigroomer, you can trim, shave and add the detail you desire thanks to the extreme precision blade. 

Luke was always using disposable razors before this and kept coming out in a rash, but since he has started using the Aqua Blade it has made a real difference to his skin (Especially around the neck). What is really fab is that this isn't just a facial groomer, it can be used for a hair cut or all of the body.

The Wahl Aqua Blade 20

The Wahl Aqua Blade 20 has a big thumbs up from Luke (and his sensitive skin) and retails at £99.99 - At the time of writing this it is on offer at £66.99 and comes with a lifetime blade warranty! 

I haven't got round to blogging about this yet, but back in June Luke actually decided to have a hair transplant! The hair is rally starting to grow now and it is fair to say that Luke is really pleased with the results. The hair line at the front has really come in, but it is still thinner on top towards the back (and he has spoken about potentially getting this area treated to). So I thought a nice stocking filler for this year would be the Nanogen Hair Fibres.

I know that Luke is not alone when it comes to worries about receding hairlines and thinner patches that come with age (and experience!). The hair fibres help the hair to look instantly thicker, and this is achieved in a very natural way. All you have to do is select the colour that reflects your hair and then follow the included instructions to get the best results.

It is pretty amazing what can be achieved with the hair fibres, Luke loves them (although only wears them when we are going out or for special occasions), I think he is a bit shocked at how well the coverage really is. Luke has the light Brown colouring and you can see the colour of his hair in the photos.

Nanogen Hair Fibres

Nanogen have a whole selection of supporting products from shampoos to hair serums. Nanogen Keratin Hair Fibres retail at £18.95 but are currently on sale at £13.27.

A nice little stocking idea comes in the form of Nad's and their Nose Wax Kit. A quick and easy way to remove those pesky nose hairs (also suitable for middle brow hair!). It's simple enough to use and is just a case of warming the wax in the microwave, loading the applicator with the wax, pulling your upper lip down and inserting the applicator inside the nose and letting the wax cool for around 60 seconds.

Nad's For Men Nose Wax Kit Retails at £13.25.

Nad's For Men Nose Wax Kit

For Her

I think that present buying in general is a lot harder than it used to be, if someone wants something then they usually get it for themselves as soon as that want/need arises. Luke has spent weeks asking me what I want for Christmas and my answer every time is nothing, of course this is not helping his gift quest one little bit...

You can never go wrong with gin and sweet treats though, that's just a fact. Cartwright & Butler have some absolutely gorgeous food gifts. There are hampers to suit every budget, biscuits from their pantry, teas, coffee, drinking chocolates and even wines and other spirits!

Darjeeling Infused Parlour Gin

Were big gin lovers in our house and we are always excited to try new and different gins, Cartwright and Butler have their Darjeeling Infused Parlour Gin. This gin is infused with Darjeeling tea leaves and blended with juniper, coriander, lemon and acacia honey along with a combination of delicate spices and botanicals.

We took the bottle over to my parents for dinner one evening and everyone agreed what a lovely refreshing taste this gin had. We paired it with a regular tonic and lots of ice!

The gin comes in a really well presented tin and would make a great gift for the gin lover in your family. Darjeeling Infused Parlour Gin is available to purchase from Cartwright and Butler and retails at £42.95.

Another great little gift in the wake of the current plastic climate would be Vaso Premium Glass Straws (especially for enjoying those Christmas tipples!).

As a family we have really made an effort in 2019 to reduce our plastic waste and this has meant that we no longer buy sandwich bags for Leo's lunchbox or anything that could become 'throw away plastic' - As an alternative to sandwich bags we put Leo's sandwiches in takeaway pots that we have kept and re-use.

We have never really bought plastic straws but it is always nice to have one, which is why the Glass Straws from Vaso are such a brilliant, environmentally friendly and sustainable idea!

The straws come in packs of 4 and in 3 different lengths so you can have 15cm straws for your shorter glasses and either 20cm or 23cm for your tall glasses.

No matter the size you choose each pack of Vaso Glass Straws each contain 4 straws, the prices range from £14.99 - £16.99.

Nad's Natural Sugar Wax

I have always been interested in giving waxing a go, but I have never had the time to go to the salon and get it done. so I have been a 30 year old wax virgin well into my 30th year! Although I can now say that I am a complete convert!

Nad's have a wonderful selection of products depending on what you want to achieve, I have been having a play with the Nad's Natural Sugar Wax over recent weeks (A real first for me!) This particular wax doesn't require heat as they simply warm with your body heat as you smooth it over your skin.

I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the pain that people talk about when it comes to waxing, and I think I have probably built it up more in my head over the years, but it wasn't really that bad at all. It certainly wasn't enough to make me think 'I won't be doing that again!'. The results have lasted longer than shaving for sure, and I loved that it was so easy to wash off the wax with water when needed.

The kit comes with re-usable cotton strips that you can wash and use as many times as you wish, and also comes with 6 x applicators and of course the sugar wax.

A few other nice stocking filler ideas from Nad's could be the Brazilian & Bikini Wax or the Nad's Body Wax Strips!

For Kids

This year we have gone with the 'less is more' scheme for Leo, so that after Christmas we don't have to find homes for things that he will never play with or will sit gathering dust. Leo will be getting some really lovely book collections including the entire Harry Potter works, I am so excited to start reading these to him.

We have also treated Leo to some audio book collections, our favourite being the David Walliams audio cd's that have some of Leo's all time favourite stories on! This seemed like a no brainer to us as Leo can be kept awake at night with his Tourettes, so we thought it would be nice if he had a nice long audio cd to fall asleep to after I have tucked him in, read him a story and left him to sleep.

Leo's main present this year will be a brand shiny new bike, something that he has talked about wanting for a few months (and having seen how small his old bike is looking, it's high time we sorted one out for him!)

The Playmobil City Life Furnished School

If your stuck for main presents this Christmas and you have a child that loves imaginative play then you need look no further than Playmobil. Playmobil are one of my favourite brands, I even used to love and adore them when I too was a child. As the years have gone by, their collections have grown and it is wonderful to see.

The Playmobil City Life Furnished School is a really lovely set, it comes equipped with 3 teachers and 6 students. What's amazing about the Playmobil sets and the school is no exception, is all of the detail that they throw in, the students have school books and backpacks, desks and bikes to get to and froms school. There are classrooms all set up for the teachers to teach the children and there is even a digital clock that has a school bell and a working alarm clock!

The Playmobil City Life Furnished School

That's what I love about Playmobil though, the scenes stay the same but the child gets to make up a new game/story every time they play and even after all these years, Playmobil is a gift that just keeps on giving.

The Playmobil Furnished School retails at £99.99 and would make a fantastic main Christmas gift this festive season!

Disclaimer: The items featured within this gift series have been sent in exchange for our honest thoughts. All opinions shared are honest and my own.

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Zippos Circus at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland 2019

We have been saying for years how we would love to go along to Winter Wonderland in London's Hyde Park, it's about a 2 hour journey for us so unfortunately it fell at the lower end of our festive to do list. 

Until this year...

Zippos Circus very kindly invited Luke, Leo and myself along to watch their brand new Christmas Circus which is currently running at (You guessed it!) Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland! 

On Sunday 24th November we awoke early, wrapped up in our Winter's finest and hopped in the car. A few hours later we were tubing it right into the heart of our Capital City and making the stroll through the scenic Hyde Park.

I can't believe how many times I have been to London and never ever gone to Hyde Park, it's beautiful and I discovered the Squirrels for the first time in my 30 years of life! The squirrels are so tame they will eat out of your hand and even sit on your lap! I was in absolute disbelief and couldn't help myself from calling the world and all of the squirrels to sit on me!

Hyde Park Squirrels

After our walk through a golden Hyde Park we found ourselves at the Winter Wonderland entrance, this is where Leo started to get super excited as I apparently neglected to tell him about all of the rides. We made our way straight to the big top tent to meet the team at Zippos and decided to come back for the 1pm showing.

My advice to anyone going to Winter Wonderland this festive season is go in the morning as it is most quiet then (many people wait for evenings so that all the lights are on), we didn't have to wait in lines much at all until later on in the day which was just fantastic!

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Ice Slide

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Ice Slide

Leo decided that he wanted to go on the ice slide first, so we had a great time watching him zooming down the slopes, and his massive smile spoke volumes for how much he was loving his day. I insisted that we needed to go and see the Magical Ice Kingdom who this year have put on an incredible display of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Magical Ice Kingdom 2019

It's a very chilly -10 within those walls, but the displays are absolutely fantastic. Leo soon changed his mind from 'Ice is just something you put in your drink', to one of awe and wonder. He couldn't quite believe the detail that had gone into making all of the ice sculptures! He especially loved the ice slide that was hidden away!

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Magical Ice Kingdom 2019

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Magical Ice Kingdom 2019

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Magical Ice Kingdom 2019

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Magical Ice Kingdom 2019

After all of the fun of the morning it was time to grab something quick to eat (yes of course in the shape of a Bratwurst sausage in a bun!) and make our way to wait for Zippos Circus to commence. 

The big top is kept super warm so you will be able to take off all your your Winter attire (trust me you will need to!), all of the audience found their seats and then we sat in anticipation for the ringmaster Paul Winston to kick things off.

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Zippos Christmas Circus 2019

Emillion the circus funnyman soon joined our ringmaster to get everyone involved and between them had the entire audience laughing. Leo thought Emillion was brilliant and especially loved when he started throwing beach balls into the crowd so they could bop it back and forth between acts.

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Zippos Christmas Circus 2019

We saw some absolutely stunning and wonderful acts, and we definitely had our breath taken away on more than one occasion.

I couldn't pick just one favourite act as they all were absolutely wonderful so instead here's what to expect to see when you visit.

There is New Revolution who come all the way from Cuba, they are a rollerskating duo that you have to see to believe, the speeds they get and the positions they undertake will leave your head in a spin!

27 year old Rosie Delarue takes on the upside down aerial walk high up in the Megadome Big Top. The Gemini Sisters work together to perform acrobatics in mid air!

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Zippos Christmas Circus 2019

We were all on the edge of our seats for Khametov's High Wire Troupe as they went across the tight rope - Make sure you don't close your eyes as one artist stands on her ballet points on her fellow artists head to cross the tight rope!

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland Zippos Christmas Circus 2019

We were all blown away by Zippos Christmas Circus (and definitely want to go and see one of their other shows very soon!)  the acts were marvelous and we all left with a real sense of Christmas Spirit.

If you are heading to Winter Wonderland this year, definitely book up Zippos Christmas Circus ahead of your visit to avoid disappointment, everything gets very busy (especially the closer to Christmas we get!).

Zippos Christmas Circus at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland runs until 5th January 2020. Tickets should be pre-booked to avoid disappointment.

Disclaimer: We were invited along to Hyde Park Winter's Wonderland and provided with complimentary circus tickets and ride passes. All thoughts and opinions are completely honest and my own.