Thursday, 23 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide 2017!

Eeee it's nearly Christmas!!! In about 4 weeks it'll all be over with but that's OK as we've still got lots of excitement, anticipation and visits to Santa to look forward to prior to the 'big day'. If you're stuck for inspiration or wondering what to buy your loved ones or ideas for Santa to bring I'm hoping this selection can help. So read on and I hope you enjoy my Christmas gift guide for 2017. There is a wide variety items, so hopefully there will be something for everyone. So let's begin!

The Eternity Rose (RRP $159.00). This is truly something special, if you're looking for something unique and stunning then this could be the gift to give your loved one. Glazed and edged with 24 karat gold, lustrous and shiny this is a rose to be seen. Available in a variety of finishes and presented in a stylish PU leather box it would make a cherished gift. The rose is a recognised symbol of through the world so I'm certain would make someone very happy. 


It really is beautiful, the pictures really don't do it justice. It would look great in a really simple vase to really set it off. It's exquisite.




Next up......smellies!! Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without smellies right? Malee Natural Science would be a great choice for Mum, Grandma or your wife. Combining luxurious fragrance with natural, active ingredients means you really in for a spa like experience.


The verdure body lotion (RRP £20.00) smells divine and leaves your skin feeling totally moisturised from head to toe. A little goes a long way!! I also love a room spray and think this would make a great little stocking filler (RRP £34.00), once again it smells lovely and you only need a couple of squirts to keep your rooms fresh and fragranced so will last a long time. 



Another lovely stocking filler idea are candles. These beautiful and fresh scented, hand made, wax candles by Lasair (RRP £15.00) are delightful, they also look super pretty too with their elegant votive and silver topped lid. 


Irish Linen is deep fragrance scented with notes of cotton, jasmine, muguet, patchouli and clove while Saffron Meadow is fresh and fruity with notes of citrus, saffron, geranium, patchouli and cedar. If you know someone who loves a candle these would be a lovely option. 



With the chilly weather creeping up on us, it's so important to keep warm and what better way to do it that with a scarf or a pashmina. I love a nice scarf and have several so I really liked this beautiful selection of beautiful pashmina's and scarves that I was sent to review. I know my Mum would love to receive a scarf and My Scarf Shop has a great selection at affordable prices. My favourite has to be the pink one.....soft, warm and luxurious. 




One of my favourite things to receive at Christmas has to be a handbag. When my husband bought me a Ted Baker bag a couple of years ago I was absolutely delighted!! If you're looking to spoil the lady in your life then a bag would be a great option, practical and stylish and well worth investing in. This beautiful Ted Baker is so pretty to look at and I'm sure would raise a smile. For some inspiration head on over to Love the Sales there is tons of choice and there is a bag for everyone. I've got my eye on several others......love a bag! 




On to some options for the children. Having 2 kids, a boy and a girl I do try and find them toys that they can both play with as well as individual toys. We love wooden toys and this beautiful, wooden Little Red Riding set by SRI Toys is lovely. I would say Elarna played with it more but Alfie definitely enjoyed playing with them for a short amount of time. 



Brightly coloured and each piece painted with intricate detail it really is a lovely set. This would be a well received gift I'm certain of it. There is over 2000 different wooden sets available so something for everyone's interests.



How about this fabulous marble run? This is something I hadn't considered for my two but it's been an absolute hit and the beauty of this particular model is there are a ton of different combinations you can build to make it fun and exciting each time. The company Hape have a huge selection of toys to choose from with a variety of different marble runs, we've been testing the Medieval Quest out and I can't recommend it enough, head over and check out the website.




If it's something more speedy you're after or you have a child that likes playing with cars perhaps the My First Scalextric (RRP £39.99) is the one to choose. Alfie absolutely loves it!! It's simple to put together and the mini cars are easy to pop on the track and operate......they are flipping quick though be warned!! Alfie and Daddy have had numerous competitions racing against each other, a very, very good item for a car mad child (and Dad!). It's a really excellent introduction to the scalextric brand and controlling remote control toys, the cars are very simple to operate and this would be a ton of fun on Christmas day without a doubt! 


I don't know about you but I think it's nice to receive practical gifts for Christmas, so how about some new bedding on Christmas Eve to make putting the kids to bed (possibly) a bit easier? Room to Grow have a lovely selection of bedding like this gorgeous owl set (RRP £32.00) there is something so cute about owls isn't there and this single duvet is just the loveliest set!


If it's not bedding you need how about some bed storage. I cannot tell you how useful this bedside pocket organiser also from Room to Grow (RRP £20.00) is. Alfie likes to have loads of stuff randomly hidden in his bed (think Lego bricks, cars, teddies, stickle bricks etc etc), he also likes to have a torch near him too in case he needs to get out of bed so this organiser has been invaluable. If you are looking for a practical gift for a hoarder then this would be ideal!


Now onto a handful of ideas for the man in your life! This personalised Moet is guaranteed to put a smile on his face, you can add a loving message or maybe a cheeky one on depending on how you feel! With a RRP of £59.99 it's definitely a treat but Christmas is the time of giving! There is the option of adding more than 1 line of text so you can really make the bottle as personalised you wish. This would make a lovely gift. 


This is from one of my absolute favourite website's, Firebox sell unique and quirky gifts, there are some amazing items there and I could spend an age browsing. I chose this Star Theatre Planetarium (RRP £109.99), bring the universe into your home and beam constellations, shooting stars and mimics celestial moments. It would make a special gift and pretty relaxing I imagine......staring up at the ceiling as if in space is pretty cool right!

Star Theatre Planetarium

Finally, smellies for men!! I generally get my man some aftershave or shower stuff, Christmas isn't the same without smellies and I love Ted Baker so this rather manly selection of eau de toilette (3 bottles) is a nice gift. Retailing for £24.00 these would be great to pop in a stocking. 


So this completes my Christmas gift guide.....phew! Got there in the end, I hope there is somthing that appeals or has given you a spark of inspiration. Tis the season to be jollly and all that!! 

* Please note some of these items have been kindly gifted to me, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Creating a Warm and Welcoming Kitchen.

Creating a Warm and Welcoming Rustic Kitchen
When you think of warm, cosy interiors, you often think of the living and dining areas. With the kitchen being one of the most used rooms in the home, it’s not just as important to ensure that this space is warm and welcoming, like the rest of your home. Introducing a rustic design to your kitchen is perfect for enhancing the décor and creating that cosy feel you want to achieve, whilst keeping your décor style trendy and stylish. There are lots of staple design features that can help to create the perfect rustic feel, and combining them all together creates a stunning aesthetic for your kitchen.
Bold Flooring Options
The flooring within your kitchen is a really important feature to think about, especially when it comes to creating a rustic style interior. The main aim with your flooring is to introduce a material that is both durable and bold, as rustic décor combines deep, rich tones with bold materials to create a warm and cosy feel. The most popular flooring options for rustic kitchens are wooden flooring and stone. Whilst these may be two very different materials, they both bring a dramatic element to the room and have beautiful detailing. Wooden flooring is ideal for those who want to create a warm feel and enhance the wooden feel of the room, whereas, stone flooring works best for those who want to introduce rugs to the room, whilst breaking up the wooden theme and adding a bolder touch to the décor.


Warm Lighting Choices
Having a warm lighting balance throughout the kitchen is essential for achieving a rustic feel. Firstly, you are able to lift the atmosphere within the room and make it feel cosier, whilst the lighting highlights certain elements of the décor and creates an inviting feel. Using yellow-toned lighting help to create that warm, cosy feel that will run throughout the kitchen. You will also find that this style of lighting is perfect when reflecting off your wooden surfaces and other rustic oak furniture pieces. It’s also really easy to control the lighting within your kitchen, with additional lamps positioned neatly around the edges of your countertops for use when the main light is too much. Similarly, introducing candles really helps to enhance the rustic feel and make the room feel really welcoming and homely.
Oak Kitchen Units
One of the most popular features within a rustic style kitchen is the oak units. Introducing oak to a rustic décor style is always going to go smoothly, as oak is one of the most popular materials when it comes to this décor style. Oak has an aesthetic that brings life and character to any room, whilst introducing a cosy feel at the same time. Using this material for your units, which take up a very large proportion of your kitchen, works perfectly to achieve that balance of style and character. You will also find that oak kitchen units are really easy to accessories and work with, as so many different colours and materials work well and complement the oak well.
Rustic Detailing
There are a number of different ways in which you can add rustic touches to your kitchen, from the furniture pieces to the accessories you add to the countertops, so you need to shop around and see what you like from the choices you are given. From iron drop handles for the cupboards and drawers, to lighter oak chopping boards and wine racks, you can find all kinds of beautiful décor touches that will bring your kitchen to life and introduce a really rustic feel.
* Collaborative content.

Blogger's Best Linky!

Well hello!! Welcome back to the new and improved Best and Worst linky now named Blogger's Bests. We can't wait to read your posts and see what you've been sharing this week.

So Sarah from RunJumpScrap and I would like to introduce you to the Blogger's Best linky. A place for any post, whatever the post, the best post of your week or simply a post you are proud of and want to shout about it. This is the place to share it and we can't wait to read them. The linky will open at 05:30 on a Wednesday and remain open until Friday 23:55.

There aren't many rules because lets face it, rules are boring right? However, linkys only work if you share the love and support your fellow bloggers so what we do ask is.....


  • You comment on the host posts and at least a couple of others, of course if you want to comment on more  then please do!
We would also love if you could .....

  • Tweet us over on Twitter (I'm @helsy_1983) and Sarah is (@runjumpscrap) so we know you're joining in ( and please do use #bloggersbest) and we can give you a retweet

  • Join us over on Instagram with the hashtag #bloggersbest and tag us in, we both love a bit of Insta! You can find me here @helsy_1983) and Sarah is @runjumpscrap

  • Add the badge at the bottom of your post so we know which post you've added to the linky
But these are pretty much all the rules. Sarah and I will continue to have featured posts each week and will of course be retweeting your links when you link up. We're really looking forward to hosting a fresh and vibrant new linky and hope you'll enjoy linking up too! Spread the word, Blogger's Best is the place to be!


Run Jump Scrap




    

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Winter Retreats, What's Yours?

Brrrr the weather is turning a bit chilly isn't it! We're not quite at the really frosty/icy stage yet but there is definitely a bit more of a chilliness in the air. It's slowly turning into staying in weather, sitting by the fire weather, toasting marshmallows weather and drinking hot chocolate weather......yummy!!! With the festive season fast approaching  it got me thinking about Winter retreats. Imagine if you could just get away from it all and enjoy somewhere remote, cosy and away from it all.

I do often wonder what it would be like to head away somewhere over Christmas and be away from the normality of day to day life. imagine sitting by a roaring log fire with a good book in hand, a glass of wine not far away......while the children sleep soundly (well it is my dream so in it they would sleep through!). 



So winter is coming (not quite on the scale of Game of Thronesesque winter but still!) so I've decided to compile a list of winter retreats to whet your appetite. 


  • My dream retreat would be a chateau in the South of France, something luxurious with a hot tub.....oh a hot tub is a must. Plenty of space for the kids to run around, rural but with places to explore, but most of all scenic and tranquil

  • How about a log cabin? Nothing is more traditional and Wintery than a proper log cabin preferably tucked away in the hill somewhere with a fully stocked fridge! 

  • There is always the option of a chalet. Head to the Swiss or French Alps and you are sure to find the perfect festive chalet to relax and unwind in day to day

  • If you want something totally unique what about an igloo? Perhaps not as luxurious as some of the other but it would certainly be an experience you wouldn't forget

  • How about a bit of glamping in a yurt? Bet it would be a bit chilly in the Winter months but hey it's all an adventure right!

These are just a handful of ideas but there are tons of other options you could add to these Winter retreats. Perhaps all you really want to do is curl up in bed, under a snuggly duvet such as these from Julian Charles and sleep your way through Christmas! 

What would be your ideal Winter retreat? I would love to know!

* Collaborative content


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Mickey & The Roadster Races Pit Crew Tool Kit *Review*

Tool kits......not just for boys eh! I say that tongue in cheek really as all this gender malarkey that's going on at the moment is a bit tiresome isn't it. These days I tend to just let my children gravitate towards what they want to play and am not really bothered about whether it's targeted at boys or girls. A prime example of this is Elarna absolutely loving this little Mickey Mouse Pit Crew tool kit. As soon as it arrived she has not been able to put it down, quite the little DIY Queen in the making, perhaps!


This fab little tool kit has zero need for anything to be put together or made, it's ready to go as soon as you've removed the protective wrapping. It comes with 23 tools including a mallet (hellooooooo noisy banging) and 2 wrenches, it even comes with a working peg board also for added interaction. It's also designed to look just like the ones that Mickey uses on the hit TV show 'Mickey and the Roadster Racers'. 


Aimed at age 3 and above I would say this is an accurate age range. Elarna is 2 1/2 and although absolutely loves it she did need a hand with the peg board, she was however excellent at using the hammer and having a go with the screwdriver. She's been carrying it for room to room lately seeing what work she can carry out!

What do we love?

  • There are so many bits included in the kit! There is a mallet, flat head screwdriver, 2 wrenches, play metal plates, screws, nuts and nails

  • Light enough to be carried by little hands. It's also a decent size to add any extra tools too if so required

  • The attention to detail.....check out the little Mickey Mouse screws below, utterly adorable and I love these little touches

  • The price, a very reasonable retail price of £14.99, this won't break the bank and would be a great present for any Mickey Mouse fan




What are we not so keen on?

  • Mostly we love it and there isn't much we aren't keen on other than it is a little flimsy and I can see that something might break easily......especially if Elarna keeps banging as vigorously that she has been!

  • The packaging it came in I found ridiculously hard to remove......no idea why, there was probably an easy way to remove it but I failed to find it!






As you can see Elarna has been very much enjoying playing with it. I actually really love that she's chosen to keep playing with it, when I was younger from what I can remember I used to play with your classic 'girly' toys and as such, now at 33 years old don't really have the first clue about DIY so I'm quite keen for Elarna to be a bit more savvy so I'm encouraging her to embrace the concept of DIY at this early age.....start her young!


What do you guys think of the Mickey Mouse Road Racer's Pit Crew Tool Kit? Pretty cool?

* Please note we were kindly sent the tool kit free of charge in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Blogger's Best Linky!

Well hello!! Welcome back to the new and improved Best and Worst linky now named Blogger's Bests. We can't wait to read your posts and see what you've been sharing this week.

So Sarah from RunJumpScrap and I would like to introduce you to the Blogger's Best linky. A place for any post, whatever the post, the best post of your week or simply a post you are proud of and want to shout about it. This is the place to share it and we can't wait to read them. The linky will open at 05:30 on a Wednesday and remain open until Friday 23:55.

There aren't many rules because lets face it, rules are boring right? However, linkys only work if you share the love and support your fellow bloggers so what we do ask is.....


  • You comment on the host posts and at least a couple of others, of course if you want to comment on more  then please do!
We would also love if you could .....

  • Tweet us over on Twitter (I'm @helsy_1983) and Sarah is (@runjumpscrap) so we know you're joining in ( and please do use #bloggersbest) and we can give you a retweet

  • Join us over on Instagram with the hashtag #bloggersbest and tag us in, we both love a bit of Insta! You can find me here @helsy_1983) and Sarah is @runjumpscrap

  • Add the badge at the bottom of your post so we know which post you've added to the linky
But these are pretty much all the rules. Sarah and I will continue to have featured posts each week and will of course be retweeting your links when you link up. We're really looking forward to hosting a fresh and vibrant new linky and hope you'll enjoy linking up too! Spread the word, Blogger's Best is the place to be!


Run Jump Scrap




    

Monday, 13 November 2017

JoJo Bowdacious Bow & Microphone *Review*

If you have young girls (and maybe boys) in the house, chances are you will have heard of JoJo Siwa. Star of American TV show Dance Moms and You Tube sensation JoJo is big news at the moment. I'm pretty sure if you have no idea who I'm on about or who JoJo herself is you'll be familiar with the bright and colourful, large bows that have been adorning many a tweens heads lately. You can't really miss them......

Now Elarna is a bit young to know or be aware of JoJo but that didn't stop her enjoying some of the merchandise on offer to complement JoJo's internationally successful career.


We were sent a JoJo Bowdacious Bow and JoJo microphone to road test and I can tell you now, the microphone has been used so much in the last few days. I could probably recite the song featured (boomerang) word for word. No lie. There are also a handful of JoJo phrases that also feature on the microphone, think along the lines of happy messages. Both items come brightly packaged and totally appealing to my into everything daughter. 



The JoJo microphone (RRP £15.00) is great. With it's cutesy and sparkly design you can see why it appeals. Featuring 3 different modes including the music mode where her hit song Boomerang is blasted out, to a working microphone mode and even MP3 mode (a secret compartment at the back makes it even more exciting!) so you can see there are quite a few possibilities of play with the microphone. The head of it also lights up and changes colours which is brilliant if you're in a slightly darker room. I actually think this is a really great toy and a must for any JoJo fan, the only thing I will say is that the one and only song that it does play (if not using the MP3 plug) then it can become a little tiresome once you've heard it over and over again!



The JoJo Bowdacious bow (RRP £9.99) is pretty big, as I mentioned above you've probably seen lots of girls wandering around with these huge bows in their hair......well now you know what the trend is all about! Designed to be worn by using the attached slide type clip they will really make your JoJo fan feel like they're rocking the JoJo look. These bows also have the added bonus of a bright and funky hair extension attached which is cute. Sadly, Elarna wasn't as keen on this as I thought she might be, it was perhaps a little big for her and her hair is quite fine at the moment so tugged a little on her ponytail but I'm thinking she'll enjoy it more when she's a bit older. There are lots of different types of JoJo bows available so there is plenty of choice.



Overall we've loved the JoJo range of items that we were sent to test. They would make brilliant little stocking fillers and I'm certain would provide several hours of amusement. We're yet to try out the MP3 mode of the microphone but I like that this adds another dimension to an otherwise fairly simple toy. A must for any budding singer or You Tube star to perfect their talent! 



Sadly the picture above is the best I could get of Elarna wearing her JoJo bow, she really wasn't feeling it but as you can see is clinging on to that microphone like her life depends on it!

Have you guys heard of JoJo or have any JoJo fans in the house?

* Please note we were kindly sent the items free of charge in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Hair Care Tips

Over the years I've very much had a love/hate relationship with my hair. I've inherited my Mother's curly and unruly locks (thanks Mum) and when I was a child no one and I mean no one seemed to know what to do with it. I ended up with the classic bowl haircut that ended up just sticking out in all directions......and no I'm not sharing a photo! Over the years I've learnt how to deal with it (thank goodness for hair straighteners) and I can now calm the curls and am reasonably happy with it. I think it's fair to say that my hair has been through alot though, I've dyed it for many years, been through 2 pregnancies, straightened it, curled it and experimented with a variety of products and styles. I'm pretty confident to say I know my hair and what does it good and what doesn't so thought I would share a few hair tips with you all.



  • Get to know your hair. If you're not sure what your hair type is pop along to your local hairdressers for them to analyse it, they can then give you an indication what products would be good to use on it. 

  • Be aware the effects that pregnancy can have on your hair. During both my pregnancies and afterwards my hair was absolutely glorious. Full, bouncy, shiny and thick. Fast forward to my youngest being 2 and my hair is only just starting to recover from all the crazy hormones. I also lost quite alot of hair after both pregnancies which was a shock and it's quite incredible just how much hair can come out! So much so that a hair transplant could have been an option! Kind of like the advanced tricho pigmentation transplant which is designed to replicate the appearance of naturally growing hair follicles for people with little to no hair.





  • Don't over wash your hair, although you feel you want to wash it daily it can actually then start over producing oils making it greasier. 

  • Similarly, don't use too many products for the same reason as above, I found this out the hard way that less is definitely more, I tend to stick to a rich moisturising treatment twice a week and hair oil.

  • Use a leave in conditioner or treatment overnight if you're able to. I only get the chance to do this a few nights a year due to time but when I do my hair does feel in such good condition the next day when its been washed. 

  • Be brave, if you fancy changing your hair colour or fancy chopping it all off go for it! The best thing about your hair is it will either grow back or you can dye it back, no harm is ever really done. I change my hair colour so much through the year, sometimes it's worked out sometimes it hasn't but its fun trying!

  • Finally, learn to love your hair. It may take a while but once you accept that the hair you've got isn't going anywhere it's alot easier to learn how to manage it.

So these are my hair care tips, have you got any that you'd like to add?

* Collaborative content.


Thursday, 9 November 2017

Looking after your Skin in Winter.

My hair and skin take a battering in the Winter months. My skin becomes drier and duller and my hair looses its shine, it can be a struggle to keep that glowy look going!


Here are some tips to keep your skin looking in tip top condition in collaboration with Neal's Yards Remedies (who incidentally have a fabulous range of Christmas gifts to help beat the Winter blues).

  • My 1st tip is to take your makeup off at night. I do this religiously and I cannot tell you just how important this is. Leaving makeup on overnight is a big no, no from me. 

  • Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! I tend to use a thicker moisturiser at night and a lighter one for during the day. My skin seems to suck up the moisturiser during the colder months so cover myself in it at night!

  • Look after your hands, it's not just the skin on your face you should be looking after but your hands and body. I love a scented hand cream and use so much on a daily basis. It does make a difference to the condition on my hands.

  • Spend some time putting a mask on your face. I use a face mask weekly which really helps draw the impurities out and leave my skin feeling refreshed.

  • Exfoliate!! This should only be done weekly but it will make a huge difference to your skin during the colder months, by using the right exfoliator it will get rid of all the nasty, dead skin cells and hopefully give you the glowy look.
I find the best thing to do with skincare is making it part of my daily routine. I try and look after my skin on my face, I hate the thought of ageing and really try and take care of it, after all it's the only skin I'm going to have!

Has anyone else got any skincare tips for during these chilly days?

* Collaborative post.


Winter Cruising.

I've always wanted to go on a cruise, I'm not a huge fan of flying so this could be a good alternative. I've heard so many amazing things about cruising and the ships that I'm intrigued. Sadly my husband isn't so keen but I'm trying to convince him. I think alot of people have the impression that it's a bit of an older generation thing to do but more often these days I'm hearing of couples, families and younger people heading off on a cruise. I mean lets face it, what better way is there to see the world. So with cruising on my mind, I've put together a selection of cruises to whet your appetite in conjunction with Bolsover Cruise Club.

  • With December just around the corner what about a trip to the Christmas markets and rivers of Germany. It's well known that Germany have the best Christmas markets and what better way to visit them by having a small, intimate cruise to welcome the festive season.

  • If you fancy something a bit warmer and more tropical how about a Caribbean cruise, oh there is so many to choose from but one thing that's certain is you'll certainly soak up the Caribbean atmosphere and come back with a golden tan.

  • If you don't fancy sunnier climates then a city cruise could  be for you. I'm desperate to go back to New York so I love the idea of the New York - New York cruise which also stops at Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, Castries, Bridgetown, St.Kitts, English Harbour, Antigua then back to NYC. How amazing does that sound?

  • If you don't relish the thought of going on a cruise that is family friendly there is also the option of adult only cruises. Now I'm totally for these adult only holidays after having kids, if you want to relax with no screaming or crying children (which I can totally get) then adults only cruise options are great.

  • Another cruise that sounds amazing that I would love to do is the Asian and Australia option. I'm not as bothered about Australia but would love to go back to Bali and visit Singapore and this encompasses these. Calling at Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali and then Australia. 
Another huge benefit of cruising as I mentioned above is it's a brilliant alternative to travel somewhere and see the world if you're not keen on flying (like me!). There is so much to do on board these huge ships that I've been reliably informed that your days will be so busy on board that time will pass super quickly. 

Have you been cruising? Any recommendations?

* Collaborative content.