Tag Archives: stocking filler

9 days Until Christmas!

16 Dec

With less than two weeks of shopping time left, check out my weekly round up of gifts – from the brilliant to the very strange but all unique ideas to wow your loved ones this Christmas.

 

The Hipster Colouring Book – by Charlotte Farmer
This would go down a treat with anyone anti-hipster as a bit of a joke present, or indeed anyone pro-hipster as a genuine gift. Either way I love it, it’s pages are filled with lots of quirky sketches to colour and will not only be relaxing, but humorous too!

Published by Ilex press, the book is available from £7.99 in book stores and online at Amazon

the-hipster-coloring-book1

 

Verdict: 7/10

 

Heavenly Cakes
I hate shop bought cakes and find them dry and unappealing, in my opinion if you’re going to splurge on calories at least eat the best! Cake lovers will love the Heavenly Cakes range. Launched 8 years ago by husband and wife team they hand make everything just outside of London in Stevenage. They do individual treats (perfect for stocking fillers!) such as billionaire shortbread and very berry flapjacks at £2.99 each. They also do bags of ‘bites’ perfect for sharing at work or home, and a lot of the range is gluten free too!

toffee_tiffin

Verdict: A delicious 8/10

 

 

Sidekick Hot Sauce
If you know someone who adores their spicy food, treat them this year with the Sidekick hot sauce gift set. It includes 5 different flavours all free from artificial additives. Having tried the hot pepper sauce I can vouch for its delicious flavour, it packed a punch but was also creamy and tasty (as opposed to hit for the sake of it)

Sidekick-Sauces

Verdict: A tasty 9/10

 

Trees Direct
I love gifting plants, trees, and seeds whenever I can as it’s a gift that can last forever and bring a lot of enjoyment. That’s why I’m a fan of Trees Direct where you can send a tree gift with next day delivery. Gift trees are sent, potted and dressed in hessian sacks, tied with a satin ribbon, planting instructions and a hand-written gift card – which makes them very pretty. I was sent a myrtle tree gift priced at £22.50, it was so well packaged, and all in tact. It looks well established and very healthy and will make a wonderful addition to my garden.

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Verdict: 9/10

 

All in One Bootsies
I have featured the gorgeous onsies from this company before – bespoke, high quality, warm and cute as hell they are a great gift. This year however they have introduced a fab range of ‘booties’ it’s a bit of a splurge at £30+ for the adult range, but I think that they will last a really long time. Available online at www.the-all-in-one-company.co.uk. Funnily enough this company is based in my home town in the North! If I was a fan before, I am even more so now 🙂

bootsies

Verdict: 8/10

 

Rock Knife
Gift an everlasting gift to a foodie or fledgling chef. Great gift for men especially who love a bit of manly kitchen equipment. The rock knife range starts at £9.99, it is made from study Zirconium Oxide ceramic which is stronger than steel, and is available in major stores and online at www.rocknife.com

rockknife1

Verdict: 8/10

 

PG Tips
I love these little stocking fillers for tea lovers, the PG Tips capsules for the capsule style coffee machines. What a fantastic idea for the partner of a coffee lover – and then they get fun from the machine too. They come in a range of luxury flavours and are available online through Ocado with an RRP of £2.79 for a pack of 10.

pg tips

Verdict: A very yummy 7/10

 

Scarlett Jewellery
Every lady loves jewellery as a gift, it’s a luxury that we rarely buy for ourselves. Scarlett Jewellery offer gorgeous, elegant pieces, and I love the range of silver earring. Handmade in Hove, the stud earrings are made of solid 925 silver, with a very pretty design. Available for £34.99 from www.scarlettjewellery.com

silver-star-stud-earrings

simply-heart-silver-stud-earrings

Verdict: 8/10

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Gadget Accessory Gifts

18 Dec

For the iPhone, new to retailers shelves this Christmas is the Tactus Smooth stick on phone cover. Available at online for £9.99, they come in a range of colours. With ‘micro suction technology’ (what on earth is that?!) the covers do not leave a sticky residue. I just love the feel of the cover, so smooth, like a squidgy gel. I haven’t tested this one out for durability (I need my iPhone in one piece too much for that!) but I do worry that without protected edges it may not be the best cover for those prone to accidental dropping incidents.

Tactus Gel Cover

Tactus Gel Cover

Verdict: A cool 6 / 10

For the iPad mini the Tactus Buckuva brand take a modern accessory and gives it an old fashioned twist. They have designed a case that makes your iPad mini fit snugly into a protected cover, with a book-bound look. Available in black, white, orange, turquoise and green, the case has a very secure feel to it and while not cheap (available from Argos at £24.99) I feel that value accessories for gadgets can often be a false economy in that they do not last as long, don’t work as well and most importantly do not protect your product.

Tactus Buckuva

Tactus Buckuva

Verdict: 8 / 10

The Christmas Countdown!

17 Dec

Many of us start the countdown to Christmas a whole month before, others a mere 12 days, but with this cute Mamas and Papas hanging decoration you can chalk in the countdown as early as you like. Mark off how many sleeps until Christmas each day to build up the excitement. A great idea for children, and very sturdily built. It should also help with the annoying ‘Is it Christmas yet?’ questions and build upon their time management skills! A bargain at £4.95, although I did have to go to the 99p store and purchase my own chalk!

The countdown to Christmas!

The countdown to Christmas!

Verdict: 9/10

Christmas Gifts for Her

17 Dec

Flame free candles

As a cat owner, I’m often worried about lighting candles in case my four legged little cuties cause a fire. Both cats have set their tails on fire in the past, so the idea of LED candles as a Christmas gift was very appealing. These candles are great value at £13.19, made from real unscented beeswaxand are operated by AAA batteries (use rechargeable ones for even better value!) They also come with a small remote control so once you are tucked up in bed you don’t have to get out again! You can also shake the candle to turn them off. The ‘flicker’ mode is much more realistic than I was expecting and these would certainly make a unique gift. Available at LED HUT.

LumiLife Candles

LumiLife Candles

Verdict: 8 / 10 – though I’d like them to be under a tenner to mark them this high for value.

Homeware

It may seem a bit of a cop out, but most mam’s, grandma’s, sisters, neices and in-law’s alike do seem to appreciate practical gifts that they can use in their home. Practical doesn’t have to mean less pretty though – especially with this quaint mug from Cordello Home. It’s a bit of a luxury item priced at £12.99 and is made from lovely bone china, but unlike most china mugs it is also really spacious allowing for a nice big cuppa!

Hearts and Flowers Range

Hearts and Flowers Range

Verdict: 9/ 10 for design, and 5 / 10 for value

Gifts for Children

16 Dec

London Zoo

In London there is often a huge emphasis on luxury, bespoke or not on the high street gifts. London Zoo’s children’s range is certainly something a bit different. This Christmas bring storytelling to life with one of ZSL’s hand-puppets, and a matching foam mask to go with the book, on a special offer of just £12 for all three.

Lion: I really love this hand puppet as it reminds me of hand puppets from my own childhood. It’s very plush on the outside but a little scratchy on the inside!

Book: A brilliant little book filled with vivid colours. The storyline looks at what would happen if a lion came to stay over. How would you look after it? Where would it sleep? By Lisa Regan.

Mask: While a lot of fun, I would question the sturdiness of these masks. The elastic quickly breaks and that’s without a child pulling at this!

lion2 lion

Verdict: 7 / 10

 

Kiddicare

When buying gifts for toddlers it’s always a little more complicated. Not only does the gift have to be interesting it also has to be safe and educational too. Kiddicare has a great range of ‘Brain Buzz’ gifts this year, and it’s a brand that is well known and trusted. My two favourites are:

Buzzing Brains pull along caterpillar

This cute guy can be wheeled along, all the while flashing lights and playing funny sounds and melodies. it encourages toddlers to practice walking. Priced at £12.99

Verdict: A fun and useful 9 / 10

Buzzing Brains Pull Along Caterpillar

Buzzing Brains Pull Along Caterpillar

Buzzing Brains Xylophone

A twist on the classic xylophone as this item is completely wooden. It still makes a beautiful dong noise when hit with the wooden sticks bit has a retro and old school feel. Priced at £14.99

Buzzing Brains Xylophone

Buzzing Brains Xylophone

Verdict: not too imaginative but certainly a well received classic 7 / 10

 

 

Christmas for Cat Lovers

27 Oct

Ok, let’s talk about the elephant in the room… My name’s Rachel and I am a cat-oholic.  Since becoming single I find myself sort of saying it under my breath like “yeah I have two cats” because of the crazy cat lady stigma. But after much soul searching I decided to come out as a cat owner as it were and deal with the consequences. After all – any man I meet will have to like my cats if they are going to be with me. “Meh, I think cats are alright” will no longer be my tagline.

So…I love cats! What is not to love? Their cute little paws, the way they give you a little nudge with a nose when you cry, as though to say ‘hey! Why are you crying, come and play instead?’ The way that you can provide complete bliss for your furry friend just by waving a ribbon creates lovely times and lots of giggles, and while I don’t run home thinking cats, cats, cats I do think that my house became a home the day that these spiky little bundles arrived. Cats are inherently selfish creatures, so to gain their love feels like a reward and humans do ponder over their ways – that much is clear from all of the literature out there.

My Cutie Dexter :-)

My Cutie Dexter 🙂

Today a new book has launched called Meow – A book of happiness for cat lovers. By Anouska Jones it currently retails at £12.95. This glossy hardback is a compendium of quotes that aim to capture the essence of this fascination. I actually really recommend this book for those cat lovers who hate books about cats. Rather than looking at the authors experience of carts, or god forbid doing it from a cat’s perspective. I actually hate those books with a passion (and trust me I have been given a few, the curse and blessing for a cat owner is cat related gifts) and much prefer books such as Simon’s Cat, which give a bit of a comedic angle on the crazy little things that cats do. This book has a feel of that about it – in that it collates the ponderings of many people.

meow
Verdict: 7/10 definitely a one to get for cat owners if you are stuck for ideas!

 

 

BECAUSE CATS…

While I am the topic of cat related gifts I must quickly mention another product I spotted recently on Amazon and have instantly ordered. Firstly it felt like it sums everything up in two words, secondly it is an absolute bargain at £1.79. Be aware as with all international orders this takes ages to arrive, so order early!

Because Cats

Verdict: 9/10 does what it says on the tin!

Stocking fillers for women

19 Dec

Every woman loves her stocking filled to the brim with chocolates and sweeties. However, the difference between a standard stocking offering and a fabulous bespoke Christmas stocking is the little extras that you include. Jewellery is an excellent choice, as its not just a novelty or token gift, but genuinely reflects what you perceive that persons style to be.

Clea Silk
This year I recommend the Clea Silk range. Sourced from an eclectic, contemporary and unique collection of gold plated and silver jewellery found on their extensive travels, Clea Silk use only precious metals and semi-precious stones in their pieces.

Designed and sourced by owner Charlie Silk, a self confessed magpie, these elegant luxurious and timeless designs evoke the natural elements – beautiful objects which draw the eye and speak to the heart and appeal to the magpie in all of us.

I love the whole concept of a gift that is not just a mass produced high street concoction, but has been beautifully designed and well thought out. I have tested the ‘Spinning Gold Star Necklace’ and it is very easy to wear, light and elegant, plus I received comments from friends about how unusual the design is, which is always a bonus! The range can be viewed and purchased at www.cleasilk.com and there is a variation of eye catching peices, as well as more understated peices.

Spinning Gold Star Necklace

Here are some more peices from Clea Silk that would brighten any ladies stocking:
CS009_lrg CS038_lrg Earrings-8%20large

Christmas for Baby

29 Nov

Buying for babies at Christmas can be tricky business. If its your own baby chances are you will be struggling to make ends meet, never mind stocking up on costly toys. If it’s for a relative or friend you have to tread carefully, choose a clothing item that is not their style and they may politely smile and never dress the little one in it! High street toys always hold the risk of duplicates, so I would always opt for something a little different. This year I recommend two great gifts. First up is the Kiddicare Woodland Musical light-up owl. It is made from an extra soft fabric with different textures to stimulate the senses. It’s also quite neutral in colour – so it should suit the tastes of most parents. When you pull the attached mushroom down it softly plays the classic Brahm’s lullaby, and the owl’s face lights up. It also has an easy to attach knot to tie onto cots and pushchairs. The owl is available from www.kiddicare.com and is currently priced at £12.99 with all toys on a 3 for 2 promotion, and regular half price sales.

Verdict: Great value and very cute 8/10

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Second is for expectant parents or those with new babies. ClevaMemories, is a keepsake suitcase and memory book – a real time capsule for babies and new parents to fill over time, and reopen over years to come. The suitcase itself is light, and at first it looks a bit small. However when you open it up it has handy boxes for first tooth, lock of hair, hospital I.D. band and spaces in the memory book for photographs with designated sections to write notes. I think actually all in all it is just the right amount of space. Everything within has room to personalise to your baby, and even the front can be personalised with your baby’s name using stick on letters which are included. While I have often thought how easy it would be for one to make a set like this themselves this has a certain quality about it, and is cleverly compact. And for £24.99 at Amazon I think this gift is good value – to keep those priceless memories safely stored. The memory book includes some prompts that I would never have thought of if I were to make my own for a friend so on this occasion I have to say home made is not always best! It would be the perfect Christmas gift for a new family.

Verdict: a gift to treasure 9/10

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Stocking Filler Gadget of the Week

15 Nov

To spread the cost of Christmas, I would recommend buying gifts as early in the year as possible (I set a personal record this year when I bought my first gift in January!) Each week I will be reviewing the best gifts for partners, children, pets and the coolest new gadgets as well as which food and decorations to stock up on.

First up in my weekly gadget reviews is the olloclip 3-in-one. It is a quick-connect lens solution for the iPhone that includes fisheye, wide-angle and macro lenses in one small, convenient package that easily fits in your pocket. After trying this out I was surprised to see that you can flip it over to use either lens, and the results are really good quality photographs, that look like they came from an expensive camera not just a phone. This is the perfect item for those who use their iPhone for all of their photography needs, and don’t want to be limited in function. Arguably one could just buy a camera instead but I do like how small and convenient the clip is – and as men are gadget-crazy it could be just the gift inspiration that you need! Olloclip for iPhone 4/4S and 5 currently retails for £59.95. More info is available on the olloclip official website www.olloclip.com

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Verdict: 9/10 for the ‘cool factor’ and 5/10 for value.

While on the topic of accessories for the iPhone, I must also mention the cutest phone case for this season, the Case-Mate Snowman case for iPhone 4/4s. RRP is at £19.99 available from cleverkit.com though he bargain hunter in me has managed to find this for as little as £6 on ebay! This case is marketed at teenagers, but I actually love this for myself. One slight negative however is that it doesn’t fit onto my phone as snugly as my previous case.

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Verdict: A very cool 7/10 (pardon the pun, it’s something about the festive season mst be all those christmas cracker jokes rubbing off!)

Stocking Filler Snippet

27 Nov

One for the adults…
I thoroughly enjoy hand-making gifts at Christmas, especially photo gifts which add a personal touch. If you give a friend a photo of the two of you enjoying a special moment, it is not just a gift but it is a reminder of the happy memories that you shared. I often make my own Christmas cards with a quirky photo of the recipient. However this year I have simply ran out of time to get that creative on my own! With only one month to go until Christmas I decided to give photo gift website Bonus Print (www.bonusprint.co.uk) a try. The gifts on offer include snow globes, mugs, mouse mats, personalised cards, jigsaws, key-rings, and glass chopping boards. My favourite is the glass chopping board/worktop saver. It is a really useful item, and I was able to choose a photo that matched with the colour scheme of my kitchen. This was followed closely by my second favourite, the snow globe. While it looked rather tacky on the website, upon arrival I was surprised that it is actually high quality and a really nice design, the photo is on both sides and there is plenty of snow to swish around. I wouldn’t keep it out as an ornament all year round, but I would recommend it as a Christmas decoration.


My least favourite of the gifts had to be the mouse mat. While I ordered one that looked great (taken in full daylight high resolution) another (taken on my mobile phone, indoors) looked too dark with quite a poor picture quality. In all fairness I think I needed a better quality picture for the best results! All in all, while home made is often best, I can see myself ordering from here again, if not due to time constraints but simply because it has such a large range. While I would love to be able to, I cannot see myself hand crafting jigsaws and snow globes any time soon, so best to leave that to the professionals!

Verdict: a quick and easy 8/10

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