Thursday, 27 November 2014

Pampering Christmas Gift Guide for the Grown Ups

Now it’s the grown up’s turn to have some Christmas gift idea’s after I did a children’s gift list last week.  I have been trying out a few items sent to myself, which would make lovely gifts.  Part one will focus on pampering gifts.

Us frazzled parents need to take time out to rest and unwind; life with children can be particularly hectic especially around this time of year.  So I think products that centre on relaxation are perfect, they make you focus on yourself and recharge your batteries.

QVC Country Candle Wonderwick 

I loved these candles available from QVC priced at £29.25 currently.  

As the nights draw in I enjoy lighting candles, the flicker of light looks beautiful and these candles more so than most.  The have a wooden wick so they actually crackle like a mini real fire!  I have lots of candles dotted around the living room but these are my new firm favourites, they are that bit different with their unique wick feature.

Each candle is a decent size so I squirreled one away for my mum in her Christmas hamper I am making.  So if you bought a set you could quite easily use it as three separate gifts.  Although you will find it very difficult to part with the Gingerbread candle especially, the aroma is wonderful, very festive.  I admit that one never made it in to my mum’s hamper… They have a long burn time and a lovely fragrance.  Cheaper candles seem a good idea at the time but are a wasted investment; the Wonderwick burns for 50 hours! 

Elle Macpherson Aromatherapy Foot Spa

Now this foot spa is a real treat, there is nothing more indulgent than enjoying soaking your feet in a bubbling spa.  My mum always has a foot spa on the go but bless her model looks nothing like this fancy piece of kit!  It is all singing and dancing with five extra special features, so well worth the £74.99 price tag in my opinion!  I am not going to let my mum set eyes on it or she will have foot spa envy.

I think if you are going to invest in something like this it’s worth paying that bit more and getting the latest technology and the most interesting functions.  The soothing massage gets rid of all your tensions and I have plenty of those in the shape of two boys who love to argue with each other!  So once they head off to sleep I can set up my foot spa and feel my troubles drift away in warm comforting water. 

The vibration element targets the reflexology points on your feet, which can encourage healing!  Every part of my body aches in winter so I might be soaking my feet every night to rid me of discomfort.  You can add essential oil to enhance your experience, so alongside the massage you can also enjoy an aromatherapy mist, which will further relax you and depending on the oil used have other useful benefits.  Peppermint can reduce chocolate cravings supposedly (I might need to try this!) and Sage can reduce blood pressure and improve concentration but there is plenty more information online about how certain oils can improve your ailments.  For me this aspect of the foot spa is a BIG plus point. 

BRAUN Satin Hair 7 

My hair can be a bit unruly, of a morning it’s a frantic sprint to get the boys up, fed, dressed and out the door in time for school!  I am lucky if I find time to check a mirror to see if I have toothpaste smeared around my mouth before chasing them out the door into the car!  With the right brush though your hair can look considerably better without spending a long time styling it.  The Satin Hair 7 brush is such a clever idea; with each brush stroke your hair looks smoother and healthier.  I could feel the softness too! 

I love wielding this brush in my battle against static.  It has transformed my locks with the revolutionary technology (IONTec) and I finally feel my hair is under control.  It does seem unusual having a hairbrush that actually takes batteries but the active ions tame frizz in a way your regular brush could never manage!  So I am more than happy to keep the BRAUN Satin Hair 7 topped up in batteries so I can flick my hair around like one of those fine ladies from the commercials.  Hubbie thought my hair looked better anyway and that’s a good enough compliment for me.  You cannot hear anything when the brush is doing its thing, but a light does go on when the ions are working their magic.

At the moment you can buy the brush for £18.99 from Argos. 

Gillette Venus & OLAY

Shaving can be an arduous task, but it can be more enjoyable with the right razor.  I really like how Gillette have teamed up with OLAY to help with moisturizing the skin.  This particular gift set would be very welcome for the lady of the house with the snazzy pink and white razor and the lovely Sugarberry scent making it an appealing gift.

Combining the skill set of Gillette and OLAY means you will have a smoother more comfortable shave than ever before!  It is a more indulgent shave, quicker and generally a more positive experience (so you won't find me sporting yeti hairy legs this winter hooray to that!).  Shaving regularly removes dead skin too so your legs look better all round, with it being the holiday season and all about looking your best, I must admit I am glad I have this razor in my beauty itinerary.  For £10.99 in Asda, its a well priced gift for those interested in beauty.

Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy

Winter can be exceptionally harsh on your hands, I am finding mine are getting quite dry and cracked so the gift of softer hands this Christmas can be quite appropriate!  I love this set available to buy from Presents for Men, at £21.99 it might seem more expensive than your usual brand of hand cream but its beautifully presented and its nice having the choice of six different creams to pick from.  Each one contains Shea Butter so your hands get a wonderful pampering treatment as it all soaks in.

The six tubes are convenient size, you can easily stash one in your pocket or handbag for when your on the move, so your hands can quickly have a moisturizing fix whenever they need it most. The fragrances are delicate but very pleasant.

Baylis & Harding Weekend Essentials Bag

Lloyds Pharmacy have some great gifts for Christmas and they sent this particular one as an example of what they have to offer.  Given they have a number of MEGA deals on at the moment its a good time to stock up!  The Baylis & Harding Weekend Essentials Bag is one of those deals at £19.99, I think you get such a lot for that!  The bag itself was a highlight for my mum she pinched that straight away, I on the other hand was more than happy with the generous contents.  Baylis & Harding products are always presented well, so make fabulous gifts for Christmas.

It can always be a worry buying all the gifts for Christmas, its hard finding enough cash to get round everyone.  Fortunately Lloyds Pharmacy have plenty to suit whatever budget you have, if you focus your Christmas shopping around the special offers you might have enough money left over to buy yourself something indulgent!  As usual Baylis & Harding get my vote (just in case hubbie happens to be reading!).

You can also save time by shopping in the gift idea's section, then narrowing down the category depending on who you are buying for.  It takes a lot of the stress off Christmas.

Eternity for Men Gift Set

It can be hard to buy for the men in your life, socks and handkerchiefs do not tend to go down too well!  I am surprised my dad tolerated them so long when I was a kid!  Now he has wised up and insists on better gifts.

Aftershave is a great gift for men, you always feel more confident and attractive surrounded in a mist of appealing fragrance.  I really like the Eternity for Men gift set from House of Fraser, it comes with aftershave and shower gel so you can make doubly sure you smell gorgeous!

It's an easy gift to buy, you can get it for every man in the family and then possibly team it up with a shaving set if your feeling exceptionally generous.  Eternity is a refreshing fragrance and very masculine.  The set normally costs £33 (currently on offer for £29.70) but your paying that bit more for a long lasting cologne from an established brand.

Wilkinson Sword Grooming Kit

Hubby is really pleased with this grooming set; he has recently grown fond of having a bit of facial hair however found it difficult to maintain it neatly.  The set comes complete with the Quattro Titanium Precision Razer, Mirror, Manicure Set and 200ml bottle of Hydro Precision Transparent gel.

The razor is a very user friendly tool it has everything you would want from a razor, it gives a superbly close shave especially when paired with the gel, it has an edging blade and a nifty battery (AAA) powered trimmer built into the handle!
Hubby thinks the mirror is great he always has to hop out of the shower to shave, now he has handy mirror he can pop onto the tiles and shave without getting cold! I know secretly he is pleased to have his very own manicure set too – now he has no excuses for long scratchy toe nails!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

How Travel has changed

This year James Villa Holiday commemorates its 30th anniversary and as part of the celebrations they have shared some interesting research of how travel has changed in that time.  It makes for a fascinating read, being 36 soon I have lived through these changes so can completely relate!

30 Years of Experience In The Travel Industry - Infographic
James Villa Holidays - 30 Years of Travel Infographic

For one trips abroad are now more accessible to the masses, as flights have become more affordable.  When I was growing up we did not venture overseas instead holidaying closer to home, Butlins was a firm favourite back then it was not until I was 14 we went to Spain as a family, until then we were at the mercy of the UK weather...  

In 2014 more people wanted a private pool, I think I would have to bundle myself in with that statistic.  I like the idea of having our space and also it would be great to help the children along with their swimming.  With access to your own pool you can completely relax and unwind, without having to deal with groups of people dive-bombing in on you!

Italy has increased in popularity, this is one place I am keen to head to and have not yet had the opportunity.  The thought of all the authentic ice cream and pizza is too hard to resist!  It's nice to read books are still the most important item for holidays!  I like nothing more than relaxing on a lounger with a good book myself, although those days have been and gone now its all about occupying the boys.  It's good to see the mobile phone has not overtook books yet, but I think this is only a matter of time as we all seem heavily reliant on our phones these days... it gets a bit addictive wanting to share your holiday snaps on instagram and facebook!  I think having a blog makes me more social media orientated than most!!!

I have not set foot in a travel agents in years.  I like to do everything online without the pressure of a sales assistant giving me their ideas!  You can research your destinations, look up reviews and find the most suitable place to visit with your family with no pressure.  If I am honest I have looked up James Villa's holidays a few times so in the not to distant future we will hopefully be lazying around our own private pool!

Peter Rabbit Treehouse Playset

This is a lovely set for fans of Peter Rabbit, those who likes rabbits generally or just any child intrigued by cool features like a trap door and escape slide!  So as you can imagine it will appeal to quite a few children aged 3+, my boys 5 and 7 were quite keen to see what it was all about.

It seems quite sturdy which is always a plus when it comes to children this age, they seem to like to test toys to the limit!  The set comes with an exclusive Peter Rabbit figure but you can buy his friends separately to really enjoy the playset.  There is enough room for a fair few of them to live here quite happily!

With the Peter Rabbit show airing on Cbeebies I can imagine a set like this would be popular with anyone watching the sweet animation.  My two do not watch CBeebies anymore but like I said they are quite happy to play with the toy.  With plenty of things to do in the treehouse it keeps them occupied.  I think its best suited for children closer to 3+ though to get the most benefit from it.

There is a little lift to help your friends into the treehouse and then if you want to quickly move off on your next adventure you just head down the slide!  You also have a disguised front door, a bucket to drop down and pull up and a telescope to watch the night sky!  So for young children this playset has enough to keep them entertained.

It really is a charming set; Peter Rabbit is all about friendship so its great for gentle play.  It is presented well in the box so I would imagine it would get quite a positive reaction being unwrapped this Christmas and as a parent I am glad its one less toy that needs batteries!  The boys have left the grass from the packaging attached to the playset as they like the effect!

You can find out more on the Vivid Toys website.