Saturday, 3 December 2016

Christmas Wish List & Giveaway


I always find when it comes to occasions such as Christmas, my birthday or times when I have money to spend I can never find anything I want to buy! So frustrating! Oh the pressure of trying to find something with your hard earned pennies... Don't get me started on trying to find gifts for other people! Once I've finally willed myself to start Christmas shopping the stores are already jam-packed, making it very stressful trying to find gifts! If you're anything like me, the aim of this post is to provide some core and creative gift items for a Christmas Wish List to try and take some of the stress out of shopping over the festive period.



In doing so, it makes me reminiscent of younger days browsing through the Argos catalogue circling everything I wanted or pleading with family members for desired toys I'd seen on TV adverts. If you've got children of your own, this may be part of your daily struggle during the Christmas period and for that I sympathise! My best friend downloaded a ‘Call Santa’ app, which has an automated message from Santa depending on whether your child is being naughty or nice. My first gift recommendation for you is to download this app straight away, I understand it is a godsend!

                                           *image from google*

When it comes to choosing gifts these days, I find it much more difficult. Not only to whittle down the endless choices, comparing items for myself but choosing the ideal gifts for friends and family. Partly, you need to have some understanding of what kind of items the recipient may already like e.g do they wear jewellery for example? Though, some items can be down to individual taste, the recipient may like jewellery but prefer picking items for themselves, which can be more tricky for you deciding whether or not to buy!

Jewellery

For some very reasonably priced sterling silver jewellery, I recently discovered Jewellery Box at Bloggers Festival as well as browsed their Christmas Jewellery collection at Bloggers Xmas. Jewellery Box is a brand that stood out at both these events for their affordable and most importantly pretty jewellery items for around the £10/£15 mark. Some of my favourites are shown below:









Stores such as Pandora also stock affordable silver jewellery pieces including rings and charms, which can be purchased for under £40.

Outlets

Designer Outlets such as Bicester Village have stores including Pandora selling last season’s stock for less. I find places like Bicester ideal to find good quality, affordable designer items from stores such as Ralph Lauren, Jack Wills, Superdry for the male members of the family, for which I would ordinarily struggle finding gifts. Having recently visited Bicester, I can advise the village is already decked out in pretty Christmas decor complete with a snow machine. It even has a Kate Spade ♠ - I can't get enough of the New York brand and loved shopping their bag selection at the Bicester store. 








I have more recently discovered Tessuti at intu MK stocks Kate Spade bags with some in my favourite purple shade.




Did you know that some well-known brands have their own online outlet websites stocking last seasons stock at discounted prices?  I know some of you may be wary of shopping online, though the Money Man himself, Martin Lewis states on his website that as a consumer you are actually entitled to more rights from buying online than you are shopping in store. For example, you can return electrical goods if you decide you don't want them online rather than only being able to return items I'd they're faulty to a store. There is a list on The Money Saving Expert website *click here* and I have detailed a few brand outlet websites below:

Party Dress

The new Olivia Buckland range with Quiz have a fabulous selection of Christmas party dresses, of both the glitzy and glamourous variety and some of my favourites are shown below:




The dresses above cover both the glitzy party dress and winter floral trend,hot looks for AW/16. Regular readers of the blog will have also seen some of the beautiful lace detail dresses the Karen Millen AW/16 collection featured on my Covent Garden and Milton Keynes event posts.

I find department stores and online catalogues such as Very a great starting point as you can often check off a number of gift ideas for a variety of family members. I also found a number of fabulous Christmas Party outfits at the EllexVery event to showcase V by Very’s AW/16 collection, which is now available on the website. One of my favourite items was the dress shown below and I was instantly drawn to the intricate detailing of the dress. To see the full edit and event click, - #EllexVery here.




Sourcing Unique Christmas Items

Catalogues can also be a great port of call for stocking fillers, with stocking haul shops such as Primark and Menkind ideal for picking up a variety of reasonably priced gimmicky items to make Christmas fun as well as affordable.

The key is to pick up on some personal preferences of your recipient, have a budget and an open mind. Sometimes the best gifts are the surprise, unpredictable variety, which you can find from shopping in different localities that you would normally shop or from looking in catalogues both in magazine form or go online to get the best deals.

You can pick up some unique items from local independent traders (no, I’m not talking Del & Rodney...) and I’ve detailed some of my local favourites below.

Lettered By Annie offer bespoke hand-lettered artwork, cards and even wedding accessories such as signs, place names and table plans. Whether it's an inspirational phrase that you want to frame, baby’s first Christmas gift message or a unique personalised greetings card for someone special, Lettered By Annie have a beautiful selection to suit all tastes. 




The Christmas cards are individually handmade and have a sentimental Christmas vibe, ideal if you want to send out cards of a different variety away from the repetitive churned out cards of larger retailers. The artwork is available in a selection of mediums from nib and ink work to water colour and foil with a great selection viewable on the online Etsy shop. A selection of the Christmas designs and price lists are shown below:








£3 per foil card

£2 per hand written card

£8 A5 foil prints

£9 A5 water colour Prints

£10 A4 foil prints

£11 A4 Watercolour prints

** Frames not included but can be added upon request for an additional charge

Gift tags £4.00 for 5



The beautifully crafted Christmas wreaths shown below from Milton Keynes based Heaven Scent Flowers & Events are freshly made, with orders currently being taken for table centres as well as door wreaths. They also have a great selection of rustic Christmas Gifts, including wooden reindeers and cubed lights. Similarly to Lettered By Annie, Heaven Scent Flowers & Events are not just for Christmas - check out their wonderful venue dressing service on their website and Facebook page.















intu MK, whilst having a wide-range of designer shops also have a Christmas Market this year to pick up unique gift ideas. Having recently attended their #intumkblogger event, I will be documenting a more detailed post outlining their key Christmas buys, though I wanted to share with you The Amazing Chocolate Workshop, which is a stall located outside Lush. I was mesmerised by their unique chocolate creations, which had a variety of chocolate designs including antique cameras, rusted bolts, paint brushes and metallic guns. The chocolates really do make you look twice as you could be mistaken in thinking the stall were stocking real rusty household items! Ideal as stocking fillers or unique gifts, the boxes are priced at £1 with the chocolates individually priced to enable you to create your own bespoke gift ideas.






















 











If you’re looking for a gift with a difference, websites such as Buyagift, Virgin Experience Days and Redletter Days have an extensive range of discounted meals at well known eateries, supercar driving experiences and great gift ideas with the majority of these sites offering promotional discounts. Read about my meal at Babylonian restaurant Gilgamesh located in the heart of Camden, booked via Virgin Experience Days by clicking here.


Theatre tickets or spa days can often be lovely surprise gifts that can be enjoyed once the humdrum of Christmas is over to provide a bit of excitement for a later date. An ideal treat for mum after the endless shopping, cooking and washing up! Why not make a day of it and go for a nice lunch or hotel stay? I couldn't get enough of my recent Clarins mini facial, which you can read about here and I can’t wait for my full Tri-Active Clarins Facial in January. I never knew such blissful, relaxing treatments like this were available at my local shopping centre, Centre:MK.

Bath & Beauty Products

This may sound like a cliche, though If a spa day is not in your budget or you want to pick up some smaller items bath and beauty products can be thoughtful. I have to admit, I am quite fussy myself about what bath and beauty products I receive, though I personally love Lush Ltd and The Body Shop. Both these brands never test their products on animals and actively fight causes such as animal cruelty and preserving natural habitats, making them ethical as well as fantastic beauty brands. I was lucky enough to be invited to my local Lush MK store Halloween and Christmas launch to get a sneak preview of their festive items, which I adore. To read the full post click here. Some of my favourite items are shown below.





How cute is the Peeping Santa and Penguin 😍 As stated in my Lush post the wands are ideal gifts for younger members of the family who will undoubtedly request Frozen on loop during the holidays. The wands are also reusable, making them cost effective with one up for grabs in my giveaway at the bottom of this post.

The Body Shop have some great discounts at up to 40% off, therefore it may be worth holding fire for some bargain Body Shop gifts. Another favourite of mine is Soap & Glory and whilst I can be quite fussy about the beauty products I receive I absolutely love this brand. Every year Boots offer a half price discount on a Soap & Glory set with this also predicted to discounted around the 9th of December. To see the rest of the Martin Lewis Christmas Deal Predictions - visit The Money Saving Expert page here.

My Christmas List...

If Santa happens to be reading this... I am currently coveting the below Sophia Webster shoes and the Chloe Faye bag shown below - It wouldn’t be Christmas without casting your eye over a luxury present for yourself. Santa, I am counting on you!


*image from Google*

Blogger Giveaways & Competition

Whilst the most wonderful time of the year, it can be the most expensive time of the year if have expensive taste like me, have a lot of people to buy for or if you don’t shop wisely. Since I started this blog, I have noticed many bloggers have online shops or run giveaways with items ideal as Xmas stocking fillers as well as toys for children.

Apologies for the delay (manic week) -The winner of my November giveaway is Sharon Martin! Congratulations!

If you’ve read this far, it’s probably already Christmas Eve so Merry Christmas and thanks for sticking with the post! To get you in the Christmas spirit I am running a Christmas giveaway of my own containing some of my favourite beauty brands:

- Lush The Magic Of Christmas wand can be reused up to eight times and is a very pretty stocking filler indeed. The wand is made of cinnamon and almond oil.
- Jewellery Box Snowman Stud Earrings
- Sparkly Choker Necklace
- The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Hand Cream
- Soap & Glory Heel Genius
- Guerlain Little Black Dress Perfume Sample






For a chance of winning these items, click the Rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The closing date is the 16th December and there are multiple ways to enter to gain additional entries. To keep updated with the blog and giveaways - click this link to be notified by email.

I hope these tips were helpful and take a bit of the stress out of your shopping!

Thanks for reading,

Jaz
xoxo

**UK entries only. The winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter with the winner notified by email. If the winner does not respond within 7 days, Rafflecopter will select a new winner. Entries will be required to log in using their Facebook account or email. Email entries will be added to The Life Of A Social Butterfly Mailing list. Delivery cannot be guaranteed by Christmas**
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