Wednesday 29 November 2023

Christmas Gift Ideas for Him 2023

It's been a few years since Life Unexpected has compiled it's Christmas Gift series, but I am pleased to report that for Christmas 2023 we are BACK!

I am the first to admit that I find shopping for 'Him' one of the hardest things I do each year, and I usually have to act while we are out shopping together. I mean this in the sense that if he is eyeing something up but cannot commit to the purchase, I will usually sneak around when he is out of sight taking photos of the item in question, making notes on my phone and also taking down the sizing so I can either come back later or hop online in an attempt to beat the price!

This usually works pretty well, and as I start Christmas shopping in July usually (Yes really...) it means I have plenty of time for that particular item to dispel from his mind. The only potential problem is that he may decide to head back and actually buy that item for himself before Christmas which means I am walking on egg shells for months on end!

I usually like to put together an eclectic selection of gifts, this will usually boast a Christmas Stocking full of fun little treats that will be opened in bed before the day gives way to the children's demands of us heading downstairs. This is then followed by the tree gifts, I don't ever think of a number of gifts that this should involve, and it will of course change each year, but I do like to make sure I have snuck in as many of the items from those shopping exhibitions from earlier in the year as I can muster!

It really is just about finding that right inspiration to spoil the man in your life, so this year I am going to walk you through how we prepare for Christmas and hopefully share some inspiration if you are feeling a little... well... stuck!

Christmas Stocking Ideas for Him

For our very first Christmas together I purchased a Christmas stocking with his initial on it, all these years later this same stocking comes out each Christmas Eve full of the goodies I have lovingly chosen for him.

My other half is on a fitness mission right now, and he has been absolutely smashing it. For this reason I have opted for some healthier treats in his stocking this year.

Pulsin Plant Based Treats - Christmas

Pulsin Plant Based Snacks and Treats are a great alternative to chocolates and sweets, they come in a wide range of different flavours:

- Peanut Choc

- Caramel and Peanut Choc

- Vanilla Choc and Almond

- Maple and Peanut

- Choc Fudge

- Cookie Dough

Pulsin Plant Based Treats - Christmas

I enjoy Pulsin in my everyday, my all time favourite being their Mint Chocolate and Peanut. They are the perfect size to wrap up as part of a festive treat.

Pulsin also do a complete Vegan Protein blend boasting 20g Protein per serving, which will make a great addition in readiness to hit January hard with the post Christmas diet!

You can view all of Pulsen's Plant Based Treats here.

Around the Christmas Tree Gift Ideas for Him

As we gather around the Christmas Tree this festive season, I am excited to see our whole little family of 4. Being a blended family, this will be the first Christmas that we have had BOTH children on Christmas Day! 

It's set to be our best Christmas to date! 

I am envisioning family games and lots of laughs, and this is why I am recommending Charades for the festivities. Under the tree this year will be the Cheatwell Games Family Charades for the other half to unwrap, and for us all to enjoy. We have some smaller theatricals in our family and I know that they will be more than up to the occasion acting out a selection of the 1000 mimes in a race across the board!

The aim of the game is to move your playing counters across the board all while acting out and guessing each other's mimes from the six categories:

- Famous People

- Films

- TV Shows

- Popular Songs

- Books

- Pot Luck

The box contains: Charades, Card Decks, Sand Timer, Counters, Playing Board, Rules. Age 12+.

It is going to prove to be a fun way to spend Christmas Day afternoon with a few glasses of bubbly, let's hope that this will aid the miming!

If there is one thing that I know my other half loves, it's cosying up on a Sunday when the cold is raging outside and battening down the hatches at home. As I type this that is exactly what is happening, it is a Sunday post full roast. The first frost has dusted and there is nowhere else I would rather be than cuddled up on the sofa as the festive candles burn.

In this time all the candles will are lit and the wax melt is diffusing around the house, making it smell wonderful. I have noticed of late that a number of our favourite candles are burning low, and with this in mind I have made sure that there is a Large Scandi Christmas Candle from Copenhagen Candles waiting to be unwrapped. 

The Copenhagen Company Magic and Cheer Candle smells just like Christmas in a jar, it is absolutely stunning. It has top notes of Orange, Mandarin, Lemon and Red Fruits, middle notes of Cinnamon and clove, base notes of Sandalwood, Patchouli, Vanilla and Cedar. 

The large version of this candle is substantial and smells absolutely divine as it burns. It has a burn time of 60-65 hours and the fragrance fills the room as you would hope!

Wahl Aqua Blade 10 in 1 Multi Groomer - Christmas for him ideas 2023

Another observation I have had is that the other half’s beard trimmer has grown tiresome in recent months, not to mention that he has broken the plug and half of it has to reside permanently in the wall as it has split… Yes I do believe it is time for a replacement. Finding a trimmer for a male is something that I think we females really struggle with, how can we possibly know what is good and what isn't when we have absolutely no idea? 

Recently we were stood looking at potential contenders and I left as baffled as before the introduction into male grooming commenced. What I did take away from this conversation was that the shorter the cutting length the better!

We have been sent the Wahl Aqua Blade 10 in 1 Multi Groomer, a cordless trimmer which has the potential to be the ultimate tool for trimming, shaving, edging, clip and detailing! Not to mention that it can cut as close to 0.2mm making the Wahl’s closest trimmer shave. 

Wahl say that it cuts 60% closer than their standard trimmer blade.

Wahl Aqua Blade 10 in 1 Multi Groomer - Christmas for him ideas 2023

It comes with 4 interchangeable heads which offer the capability of full haircut's at home, I don’t think he would ever allow me to trim his hair but it may help him save on the once a week haircut he MUST have each week.

What is in the box?

- Cordless Trimmer

- Dual Foil Shaver Head

- Rotary Head

- Detail Head

- 16 Attachment Combs

- Soft Storage Poach

- Charger

- Beard Comb 

- Blade Oil

- Cleaning Brush

- Instructions

The other heads offer precision beard trimming thanks to the ground T-blade, making this the perfect groomer to keep those lines nice and sharp. The Aqua Blade is fully washable so can be fully utilised for a wet shave as well as a dry shave, each providing ultra close shaving.

This model provides total body grooming and even the removal of beard and nose hair. 

The battery life on the Multi Groomer is exceptional and will last up to 180 minutes from a full charge. (that’s approximately 3 months shaving from one 60 minute charge). If you forget to charge and are in a rush though, the 1 minute quick charge feature will give you 3 minutes run time for last minute touch ups.

The handy LED battery indicator will let you know if you are running out of juice though, so you don’t have to worry too much about that.

Wahl are so confident in their trimmer that they provide the Aqua Blade 10 with a lifetime blade warranty! 

The trimmer comes with a handy travel case that means that you can take it anywhere, it’s a really lovely set that I am really excited about having under the tree this year. I think this will earn me super brownie points!

The Aqua Blade 10 in 1 Multigroomer retails at £104.99 but is currently on offer at £69.99 at the point of writing this guide.

ExpressVPN Aircove Router Black Friday

I have been hearing so much of late about VPN’s (Virtual Private Network), mainly because Leo has been playing Pokémon Go and he was convinced that if we had a VPN then we could ping ourselves through different countries servers and somehow obtain their native Pokémon!

It turns out that although this is possible with a VPN, it transpires that you also need a location spoofer in order to trick the Pokémon Go app into believing that you are indeed in another country. 

This being said, it turns out that VPNs have a whole range of capabilities, and it isn’t just about connecting your device through another countries servers. A VPN is the most effective way for people to protect their internet traffic and keep their identities private online.

We have been sent the ExpressVPN Aircove Router - A WiFi 6 router (the industry’s first hardware product!) that comes with a built in VPN which you can use with a ExpressVPN account (this isn’t included with your Aircove purchase). 

I will be doing a full review on the Aircove in the coming weeks, but I felt this needed to be highlighted as a tech gift in this gift edition!

ExpressVPN Aircove Router Black Friday

Benefits of using a VPN

Change your location - using the ExpressVPN account you can change your location to different destinations around the world. The VPN alters your IP address which can make you appear somewhere different than where you are. Leo has been watching Netflix on his smart TV logged in from Australia! 

Each countries Netflix offerings are different, and Leo has been enjoying the new Mario movie which has not made it to UK Netflix just yet!

With servers in 105 countries ExpressVPN helps you access your favourite services and apps.

To control all of your device connections and change their locations, it is all done through a simple drag and drop system on your phone or computer. You can put the connected devices in groups and then set the location.

ExpressVPN Aircove Router Black Friday

Protect your privacy and security  - Changing your IP address helps to conceal your identity online, which stops the services across websites and apps being able to track you. This can go as far as stopping internet providers, mobile carriers and anyone else from seeing your online activity!

Combat throttling to boost internet speeds - There are some internet service providers that intentionally slow down your internet speed when they are consuming bandwidth, just like when you use Netflix. By using a VPN you can stop this from happening and enjoy much faster speeds.

The other half was responsible for implementing the new router into the home, and he appeared to find the whole set up process pretty simple. Within about half an hour we were up and running. The beauty is that you can use 8 simultaneous connections with the router, even those that are not usually compatible with VPN software, just like smart tv’s and speakers.

The Aircove provides so many wonderful benefits for the entire household, it gives us the flexibility to enjoy tv content from other countries in a really easy manner, it is just a case of logging into the account and changing the connecting country you wish to appear from. 

This has been Leo’s favourite aspect of the VPN so far, and I know that he is already looking at location spoofers so he can try to utilise this through Pokémon Go!

As I mentioned above, I will be doing a full review of the Aircove Express VPN in the coming weeks, but with Christmas coming up and Black Friday I wanted to share that ExpressVPN are currently running 25% off Aircove through until November 30th! 

That concludes this year’s Christmas gift ideas for him, I do hope that this aids some inspiration in your upcoming Christmas shopping. 

For me, I am now moving over to wrapping presents! 

Disclaimer: The products listed in the above gift guide have been received in exchange for my honest views and opinions within this post. 

Sunday 26 November 2023

Christmas Gift Ideas for Her 2023

Christmas Gift Ideas for Her 2023

Welcome to the Christmas Gift Ideas for Her 2023! 

My other half has been asking me for weeks 'What would you like for Christmas?' and the desperation in his eyes tells me that he really would like my help in coming up with some ideas. The thing is, I don't ever really feel that burning want for something. 

Over the last few years I have been so engaged in saving every penny that comes my way, I haven't really left much room to consider what I would like for myself outside the realms of practical everyday necessities. 

If my other half is asking the question, then I can only imagine that there are other men out there on the run up to Christmas feeling just as puzzled by this assignment, and I am thinking that maybe I should pop some ideas out there? Things I would like and enjoy, that maybe you would too?

 I guess I should begin by painting a little picture of what I am like as a person, my like's and interests so you can see why I am recommending certain things?

At 34 years old I am ever the practical head, I can talk myself out of any purchase even if that burning want is there to make it. I absolutely adore walking and fitness, disappearing into the mountains and spending the day climbing peaks. I like sensible purchases and would be more inclined to treat myself to a new walking coat over going and having my hair done (even if I really needed it!), I am more likely to make and take my own coffee on my daily errands than call into a coffee shop, and you can almost guarantee that I will lose my car keys at least once a day...

Ultimately I like practical and thoughtful gifts, but my all time favourite extravagant present has to be my Apple Mac. This was a purchase that I managed to talk myself out of, but was over the moon and beyond surprised to receive as a birthday present a few years back and it has certainly made my blogging life a lot easier!

Stocking Ideas for Her 2023

As a couple we always enjoy picking out each other's stocking fillers, it's always nice to receive a little indulgence over the festive season. I am usually not one to eat chocolate all that often as I don't have a stop mechanism once I have started... But over the Christmas period I tend to look the other way and indulge!

Nomo Christmas Chocolate Range 2023

NOMO is the UK's number 1 Vegan and Free From Chocolate. They have announced their Christmas line with six new products and eight products in total!

The NOMO Chocolate Fudge Reindeer would be a great stocking filler exclusive to Sainsbury’s. Filled with rich, decadent fudge, it makes a perfect treat or stocking stuffer for all chocolate lovers—kids and adults alike.

Both of these are priced at £0.90p.

Nomo Christmas Chocolate Range 2023

They also have the Cookie Dough Chocolate Reindeer which is filled with delicious cookie dough filling and coated in creamy plant-based chocolate. It was the top selling vegan and free from chocolate product in 2022!

Depending upon how big your stocking is... Some more great NOMO additions are their sharing boxes that come in a range of very delicious flavours:

- Caramel Sharing Box

- Orange Sharing Box

- Mint Sharing Box

The sharing boxes are priced at £5 a box.

We have been sent a few samples to taste test, I handed a few chocolates to the other half while we were wrapping presents. He really enjoyed them and it wasn’t until after that I told him that they were vegan free from! He told me that he couldn’t tell and that they tasted really good! 

You can view the full NOMO Christmas Chocolates here.

Tile Mate Tracker - Christmas Stocking Ideas

Tile may be the perfect stocking filler idea for the lady (or man) who continuously loses their car keys. If you aren't familiar with the concept, Tile Mate is a small disc that you can attach to your keys, bags or anything you can think of that you would like to be able to find again.... After you have misplaced them!

I have been known to leave my keys in some weird and wonderful places that can make them rather tricky to re-locate. For this reason, I have had a Tile Mate Tracker on my keys since 2018. 

In the years since I have had mine, they have changed the shape slightly and really streamlined it. I have just added a second to my Tile account which means not only can I keep a live location on my keys, but I can now ALWAYS find my handbag! 

The Tile app allows you to see all of your Tiles on one screen, and from here you can click 'Find' and it will ping the Tile on the item you have misplaced. Pinging the Tile will make a noise that you can then follow to retrieve your missing item. 

You can reverse this too, if you have the item but have put your phone down somewhere - You can press the Tile twice and it will call your phone! 

The Tile Mate costs £19.99 and is a fabulous stocking idea.

The Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner Set for dry, damaged hair by Josh Wood Colour

In the years following my pregnancy with Louis, I have found that my hair is prone to breakage and hasn’t been in overly great condition. I am always open to trying new treatments on my hair in the hope that I may just stumble across the holy grail of hair care. 

We have been sent the Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner Set for dry, damaged hair by Josh Wood Colour and I have been so excited to give it a go.  

It is a professionally formulated duo that contains sulphate free cleansing and conditioning care. It is packed with natural ingredients and the Josh Wood signature Colour Shine Complex of Quinoa Extract, Green Walnut and UV filters.

The shampoo and conditioner has a very subtle smell, it isn’t over powering at all. It’s a simple fragrance. Both of the products are in a pump bottle, I have been using a few pumps of product for hair washing and conditioning. 

The shampoo doesn’t lather up like I am used to, but it covers my long hair nicely, as does the conditioner.  I have been using the products for a few weeks now and it has left my hair beautifully soft, and it even has a shine! 

The Miracle Shampoo and Conditioner retails at £30 but is currently on offer for £25 at the point of writing this guide.

The Josh Wood Miracle Mask

In addition to the shampoo and conditioner, we have been sent the Josh Wood Miracle Mask which is a 5 minute treatment that protects your colour from fading and also promotes your healthiest hair with less breakage!

I really liked the thick creamy texture of the mask and how it left my hair. I find that my hair is very knotty ordinarily after washing it, but the mask left it really easy to brush.

I am keen to keep using this and seeing how it can improve my hair further. 

The Miracle Mask retails at £19.00.

Serenata Flowers Christmas Range

If there is one way to show the woman in your life that you are thinking of her, you can never go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Serenata Flowers is an online florist that bring beautiful floral arrangements right to the front door of the person you want to treat. 

We have been sent one of their beautiful bouquets from their Christmas flowers range. Now we have all the decorations up and are feeling super festive, they have added that finishing touch to the room on the dining table. 

The bouquet is full of red roses, darker tones and festive greenery. A highlight for any festive space over the coming months.

Christmas Flowers from Serenata Flowers

The Christmas Flowers from Serenata are priced from  £39.99.

Around the Christmas Tree Gift Ideas For Her

If there is one gift idea that I would recommend for the on the go coffee drinker, it is a cup that will firstly keep your coffee warm until a time you are ready to drink it, and secondly one that will not spill. 

The Contigo Westloop AUTOSEAL Travel Mug

I am pleased to report that I have tried and tested this and have had zero spills. I took this along with me on a recent visit to Drayton Manor Park, I made the coffee in the morning before we left the house and by the time I came to drink it at lunch time it was still piping hot!

Christmas Gift Ideas - The Contigo Westloop AUTOSEAL Travel Mug

Christmas Gift Ideas - The Contigo Westloop AUTOSEAL Travel Mug

I had been carrying it around all day in my backpack with the picnic, and no leaks occurred in the bag despite me throwing it down on the side of each ride we hopped on. I even popped it upside down on the picnic bench just to see what would happen... Nothing happened. All the coffee was still safely stored inside!

The AUTOSEAL technology means that you have to press a button in order to drink from the cup, I found this very convenient. As soon as you remove your grip on the button, the cup seals back up and won't allow any leaks again, amazing if you were to accidentally knock it over or for it to jump out of the cup while you are driving. 

You can purchase the Contigo Westloop AUTOSEAL Travel Mug on Amazon.

Magical Bright Lights Signature Yankee Candle

We are big fans of scented candles in our house, and Yankee Candle are right up there as one of our favourites. Since the arrival of our Magical Bright Lights Signature Yankee Candle arrived, the other half has been asking me repeatedly 'When can we light it!?'. Sadly his enthusiasm fell on deaf ears as I told him we couldn't like it until I had photographed it for all of you!

This candle smells like CHRISTMAS in a jar, it actually reminds me of a scent from my childhood but I cannot put my finger on what that smell is! If you have this candle, does it trigger any of your childhood senses and if so... Any ideas what it smells like?

Magical Bright Lights Signature Yankee Candle

Magical Bright Lights Signature Yankee Candle

The listed aromas in this candle are frozen pear, mint leaf, jasmine and vanilla, and if you think it smells good before it is lit. 

Wait until it fills your whole room.

I have deliberately waited to light this candle as I wanted to have all of the decorations around us, because this candle makes you want to snuggle down and enjoy the upcoming cosiness of the festive season. 

Another great gift for her come Christmas Day!

 The Yankee Candle Magical Bright Lights can be purchased here for £29.99.

Hippy Dalmatian Flower Power Dog Art Ilk Prints

I have been looking for MONTHS to find a piece of art to sit in a big blank space within my home. I knew it needed to be something vibrant and large enough to fill a large gap in my dining room. I considered a piece of bumble bee art, and I was convinced that this is what would go in that particular space. 

Then I came across Art Ilk.

Art Ilk have an extensive collection of art prints that draws inspiration from both classic and modern master pieces. Before I settled on the above print, I did search for bumble bees! Nothing jumped at me, and then I find the Dalmatian!

This particular print is called the Hippy Dalmatian Flower Power Dog, and regular readers of this blog will know that we have a Dalmatian of our own, Lux! This automatically screamed to me that this was the piece I needed in my dining room. Not to mention that it incorporated all of the colours that have been used in this room. 

The flower jacket is an array of vibrant colours that have all been captured in the rug, and the teal around the dog's head is captured on our fireplace feature wall.

This size is the 60x90cm which comes in at a bargain £34.95. 

You can opt for frames at additional cost, we decided to get a frame seperately, but I am completely in love with the finished piece!

I just need the other half to hang it now...  

Hippy Dalmatian Flower Power Dog Art Ilk Prints

I have been using the same yoga mat for my exercise since 2015. It is fair to say that over the years of jump squats and burpees that have been performed on it, that this yoga mat has served its time. You can even forgive it for the pieces of mat that appear to jump from it every time it is used these days, I have been thinking for a while now that it may be time to put it out of its misery and invest in a new mat.

Liforme Cosmic Moon Yoga Mat Dusk Blue

Recently we have been sent the Liforme Cosmic Moon Yoga Mat in Dusk Blue. From the unboxing through to use, it’s been a complete pleasure. The mat arrived boxed, upon opening the box you are presented with a compact bag that holds your new mat. 

The bag itself is one of the aspects I really like. It’s the perfect size and fit for the mat and can be stored away at home until you are ready to use it, and with its handy size it is easy to pop in the car if you are using it for your weekly yoga class.

Liforme Cosmic Moon Yoga Mat Dusk Blue

Liforme Cosmic Moon Yoga Mat Dusk Blue

This particular style comes in 3 different colours, Black, Blue and Dusk blue (as pictured above).

The Liforme is a very different mat in comparison to my old one. It’s made from a natural rubber base and Liforme’s unique eco-polyurethane top as opposed to the old foam one that has recently been laid to rest. 

This mat is perfectly designed so you can exercise bare foot, absolutely ideal for yoga practice. The mat is super grippy even after you have worked up a sweat. 

I use this for my home workouts when I am doing floor work and I much prefer to do this bare foot. I have found this incredibly useful for post work out stretches and love the imagery of the Moon System AllignForMe guide that is printed in 5 non-toxic, eco friendly ink colours.

The alignment system is unique to Liforme and works as a navigational tool for your yoga asana practice. The combination of intelligent markers gives you as much as much or as little guidance as you may need. 

The benefits of this shine due to it helping your body feel steadier and more aligned.

The mat is constructed with a unique patented 3 layered design with quick drying CleanGrip Technology which stops the sweat making its way to the natural rubber base.

Ultimately this is a very well thought out yoga mat. It has the perfect grip, cushioning and the alignment lines are fabulous, whether you are a beginner or well experienced Yogi.

The Liforme Cosmic Moon Yoga Mat retails at £140.

The Christmas Tree Gift Ideas - SHOW STOPPER

Outdoors is my favourite place to be, during the 2020 lockdowns I spent an incredible amount of time outside. This love for the outdoors has grown in recent years and in 2021 I completed the UK's 3 highest peaks and I began to invest in some essential outdoor equipment. 

One thing I found myself without, even all these years later was an intermediate coat, one that I could wear under my bigger waterproof coat, or even just under a waterproof shell. A coat that I could add and remove layers to as needed depending upon the adventure and the weather at hand.

Helly Hansen's Verglas Down Insulator Jacket

Helly Hansen's Verglas Down Insulator Jacket is an essential item in the bag on my next adventure, a lightweight down insulator layer that you can pair with additional layers to get the absolute best out of the jacket whatever the season.

In this mild Autumn weather we have been enjoying up until recent weeks, I have been using the coat with just a jumper underneath. I have loved this jacket on my evening walks paired with my gym leggings, it's a nice layer to keep the wind off you while you are warming up but also not too thick to discourage your workout efforts. 

Once you have warmed up and wish to case off the jacket, it is so light that you can just drape it over your arm or wrap it around your waist for the rest of the walk.

Helly Hansen's Verglas Down Insulator Jacket

Helly Hansen's Verglas Down Insulator Jacket

The Verglas is a wonderfully light coat that packs down for transportation, ideal if you are planning any walks or hikes and want to go prepared. I will be adding this into my kit bag moving forward for all of my future mountaineering adventures.

With Winter upon us I will be using this as an extra layer under my bigger Goose Down coat to provide an extra layer underneath. I have always found that the bigger coat (not Helly Hansen) has needed a coat like my Verglas as an additional under layer. It certainly makes all the difference when you are out in the elements for the day, and pairing it up like this means I then have the waterproof shell of my other coat.

The insulation is made up of 85% Goose Down and 15% Goose Feather. 

Helly Hansen's Verglas Down Insulator Jacket

Helly Hansen's Verglas Down Insulator Jacket

The Helly Hansen Verglas Down Insulator Jacket retails at £210.00.

This is the show stopper for my Christmas Gift Ideas for Her this year.

 I do hope that my personal perspective on the gifts that I would enjoy seeing under the Christmas tree may help you in your mission to find the perfect gifts for the women in your lives (I know that buying for us is no easy feat!)

Disclaimer: The products listed in the above gift guide have been received in exchange for my honest views and opinions within this post.