Choose Love has raised millions to support refugees and created a movement of people putting love into action around the world.
Choose Love does whatever it takes to provide refugees and displaced people with everything from lifesaving search and rescue boats to food and legal advice. Choose Love elevates the voices and visibility of refugees and galvanise public support for agile community organisations providing vital support to refugees along migration routes globally.
Choose Love are a lean, passionate team driving a fast-paced global movement across 15 countries. In just five years, they have reached one million refugees and raised tens of millions for nearly 150 organisations providing vital support at every stage along migration routes from Europe to the Middle East and along the US-Mexico border.
There is just one vision – a world that chooses love and justice every day, for everyone.
CHOOSE LOVE // THE STORE
The Choose Love store sells real products for refugees. Items you choose will be delivered to the people facing winter in the most difficult conditions. This is the world’s first shop to sell real products for refugees and displaced communities.
Every item represents a similar product or service provided by one of the organisations that Choose Love support around the world. When you buy an item at Choose Love, they get it to where it’s needed most.
Over the last five years this pioneering model has provided refugees and displaced communities with the tools to rebuild their lives.
Support is completely essential. Why not gift someone a donation to Choose Love this Christmas, instead of buying that silly Secret Santa that you know will end up in landfill? A ‘secret santa’ gift starts at just £5 and a is a true gift with heart.
You could always buy yourself or a loved one a gift too and it will STILL benefit those who need it the most. Here is a selection of my favourite Choose Love merch.
If you’re not able to contribute via monetary means, please do follow @ChooseLoveacross all of their social platforms and share their amazing work. Every little bit really does help. Thank you.
Choose Love is a restricted fund under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, UK Charity No 1099682. In the USA, Choose Love, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, and gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
As a Briston-Hill household, Halloween is one of our favourite times of year – mostly helped by the fact that Eli is in a permanent state of “goth”, so of course its his annual time to shine!
Outdoor Trick or Treating is off the agenda this year (damn you Covid), so I’ve been looking at alternative fun festivities for the family. SELFRIDGES in both Manchester (Exchange Square and Trafford Centre) always host great events and as usual, are your one-stop shop with a perfect selection of spooky themed gifts, confectionary from brands such as Ask Mummy & Daddy and Jelly Belly and all the decorations you can shake a witches-broom at. Oh and I must mention that SELFRIDGES also has everything for you to eat, drink and be scary this October to boot too.
Gather the family and head to the much-loved Laudurée Cafe in Selfridges Exchange Square to check out their limited edition Halloween Macarons, served in a glow in the dark box! What’s more, Laudurée will be giving a FREE macaron to any child in fancy dress on Saturday 31st October, simply head to the counter and enjoy!*
As Greater Manchester is (at time of posting) in Tier 3, the following in-store events are all compliant with current government guidelines and measures have been taken to help minimise the risk of coronavirus, in line with guidance from Public Health England and the relevant authorities. As such the wearing of a face covering is compulsory when visiting the stores and customers should only shop in a group from one household or support bubble.
About // Get hunting this Halloween with Selfridges’ Pumpkin Hunt, a perfect activity for all the family to enjoy. Receive a complimentary treat once you have found all the pumpkins and returned your competition card to our Host!
Can’t make it to an in-store event in Manchester? No problem – here is my Halloween Top Ten from Selfridges.com!
For more Halloween gifting and decor inspiration, head to Selfridges.com
Whatever you get up to this Halloween, enjoy yourselves, stay spooky and stay safe!
*Limited to one macaron per child. Redeemable at Selfridges Exchange Square only, for the first 100 children in store.
For clarity, I was kindly #giftedall products that are highlighted in this post above, on behalf of Selfridges Manchester.
This is not a sponsored or paid post and I was not obliged to write this blog post or link back the Selfridges website; though this post may contain affiliate links that earn me a tiny commission. I only shout about items that I genuinely believe in, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m a big fan of Selfridges – both their in-store activities and online offering.
TIME TO ADD SOME COLOUR: Cool (printable and free!) colouring sheets.
We’re currently in lockdown, here in the UK, and while the weather has been pretty good (now thats unprecedented!) the kids always need something to keep them occupied during that rare and scarce downtime. As so many of us are working from home or have other children that require more 1:1 care, colouring sheets are vast becoming something of a life-saver and a bit of routine too!
We’ve found colouring sheets really fun – they’re also a great way to encourage a little bit of mindfulness. A bit of time to zone out. I’ve personally done my fair share of colouring sheets too – when accidentally on purpose printing out one too many for Eli. A lot of our favourite small brands and businesses have created their own colouring sheets, printable, and for free, using their signature styles and branding. Some of these sheets are perfect for colouring and popping up in your windows to brighten the day of your neighbours and those passing by. Some of these sheets might also be nice to colour and send to those that you’re missing or as a little “hello” note for neighbours or perhaps (like us) you have a local nursing home that are accepting artwork to spark a little bit of joy for residents.
Also, just to add, these colouring sheets are predominantly aimed at the kids, but let’s not lie to ourselves when we say that “we’re printing them for the kids”. Because they’re really good when you’re a fully fledged adult too. Whatever that is…
Without further ado, I have compiled a list of all my favourite colouring sheets so far. I’ll continue adding more as they crop up.
Enjoy colouring – and let me know which you’ve done!
We bought this “Born in 2019” body suit ahead of Edie arriving. In fact, it was the very first item of baby clothing I did buy. I’m not keen on kids clothing, adorned with cartoons and the like. We prefer to keep slogans understated and to a minimum – so this baby grow celebrating Edie’s year of birth was spot on!
Part of the H&M CONSCIOUS collection, this body suit was just £3.99 and will make for a lovely memento. The actual body suit on its own has now sold out, but you can buy a similar body suit as part of a cute 3-piece set:
CONSCIOUS. Long-sleeved bodysuit, a pair of trousers and accessory in soft organic cotton jersey. Bodysuit with press-studs at the crotch. Trousers with wide fold-over ribbing at the waist.
If you’re looking for a gift for a newborn, this would be perfect.
Edie has worn this body suit a few times – it works well with those comfy little leggings and with a pair of dungarees too. We have this one, also from the H&M CONSCIOUS collection, in a few colours. Above, Edie is wearing the Dark Grey version.
When it comes to a new baby, regardless of whether its your first or 5th child, you will ALWAYS need to buy new things/newborn safety products/textiles/GENERAL STUFF. Plus, there’s always something new thats come out to make life as a new parent easier too.
When we had Eli, we were pretty organised. We love a spreadsheet and we love a bit of market research as it happens too. Getting organised was a real pleasure and never, ever a chore. We spent a lot of time researching exactly what we needed and using the spreadsheets helped keep us in check with budgets too. Once you’re into the swing of this new parenting lark, you will realise that there are more items that you simply cannot live without. You won’t know this until the baby is earth-side and understand how your baby works and what their additional needs may be. You’re learning on the job basically.
When it came to this pregnancy we were obviously excited to get organised again. We pulled out the pram and got it cleaned up. Went through all the old furniture, toys and essentials. As there is a 7 year age gap between our two children, some things we had sold, donated to charities or as we sadly found, a lot of the remaining items had actually perished (yes, you read right, we’ve actually had plastic items, electronics and textiles perish) after 5 house moves and their years in storage. Out came the old spreadsheet and we continued to add to it as we remembered all the items we really could have done with in those early weeks/months with Eli. SO many new items have launched since we had Eli in 2012; that will definitely help us and keep our little family unit afloat amongst the newborn chaos that will very soon ensue.
So? Whats this a bout a wishlist then?
WELL, stranger on the internet, I just had to share the secondary helper in all this organisation. Let me introduce you to >>>The Amazon Baby Wishlist.
Firstly, this has been great for us to keep track of what we still need to buy and what we’ve managed to get. Amazon is usuallythe cheapest place to find items; with the exception of individual retailer sales and promotions. We always cross-check before we buy online. But in general, Amazon.co.uk is our go-to! Its been great for budgeting too.
So? What’s so good about it then?
Well, let me talk you through how it works!
// CREATE YOUR WISHLIST
This is mega simple to set up with your details, including potential baby arrival date. You can have a few users who can participate in adding to the wishlist – this is helpful for when James and I are both looking at different items and can easily see what eachother has found. You can also see what has been purchased too (this is great when you’re sharing the wishlist, but I’ll get to that bit shortly).
// ADD ITEMS FROM ANY WEBSITE OR BROWSE THE AMAZON CURATED LISTS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
The curated lists are really helpful, especially for first-time parents!
// PLANNING ON A BABY SHOWER? OR SIMPLY WANT TO SHARE YOUR LIST?
This is a great, great tool! You can easily share the link of your wishlist with friends and family so they know *exactly* what you would like, or in our case, exactly what we NEED. This also means you’re not getting duplicate items from well-meaning gift-givers or items that you really don’t need or have the space for! Thus saving your friends and family time and money too.
// FINALLY, ADD ITEMS AS YOU GO AND KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE
As mentioned earlier, this is great for when several users are adding to the list. Again, also useful to see what’s already been purchased – especially when you’ve shared your list with friends and family, so no duplicate items! James has a tendency to delete items from the list once purchased. But there’s no reason why you can’t leave items on the list as the status changes to “Purchased”.
And thats not all!
FREE WELCOME GIFT
An exciting new gift is released each month, choose one and make it yours.
Claim yours here >
Prepare for baby’s arrival by saving up to 30% on a wide range of baby items.
// Spend £200 to receive 10% off. Use code WISHLIST10
// Spend £500 to receive 15% off. Use code WISHLIST15
// Spend £800 to receive 20% off. Use code WISHLIST20
// Spend £1000 to receive 30% off. Use code WISHLIST30. (Prime members onlY)
We managed to take advantage of the 20% code above – it worked out so well – especially as we had been given gift cards too. We managed to get £800+ worth of items for £360 in the end! There are several terms and conditions to being able to take full advantage of the codes above however – so make sure you read all the details here. Our main issue when trying to checkout was the delivery, oddly. For this promotion to apply, you need to make sure you select the same delivery option for all items being shipped, for example, all items must be dispatched to you using FREE delivery or all PRIME etc.
The big day is just shy of a month away…. but there is still time to treat yourself or gift a loved one with a brilliant Advent Calendar, from booze to beauty, theres something for everyone! Advent Calendars are a real tradition in our house – it really marks the start of ACTUAL CHRISTMAS! But gone are the days of eating stale chocolate come the 1st December, (unless you’re weird like me and actually really love the cheapest Kinnerton calendar you can get your mitts on!). So, cheapo chocolate aside, here is my pick of the best Advent Calendars that are available online, now.
The must-have jewellery advent calendar of 2018, Orelia’s 12 Days Of Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar contains a stunning gold plated necklace and bracelet chain, along with an eclectic mix of charms behind each door, so you can create your own piece, layer up with lots of charms or pick your favourite to wear alone.
They’ve also included a pair of the bestselling gold plated Micro Hoop Earrings, which you can add a charm to or wear alone.
Limited quantities available.
Each door reveals a new Christmas track culminating in an awesome Christmas playlist for Christmas Day. Ideal Music Lover Gift.
Choose any name to be printed on the advent calendar.
Open a door each day and hold your phone or tablet up to the calendar to hear the Christmas hit for that day. Each track plays straight away and after that track, the album that the track is taken from continues to play.
The perfect gift for every Music Lover or to help ease those Bah Hambug’s into the festive spirit throughout December!
The carefully curated tracks have been selected based on the most popular Christmas Hits of all time, including classics such as:
All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid, Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea, Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble etc.
On Christmas Day, scan the Spotify code to listen to all 25 tracks as your Christmas playlist throughout the big day.
Our personalised advent calendars are made from 350 gsm box board card and comes with a small clip to hang the advent calendar with. Size – A3.
The countdown to Christmas will be merry, warming and aromatic with this Edinburgh Gin Advent Calendar of 25 mini 5cl gin bottles. Enjoy a variety of tastes including clean, fresh and spicy on-the-nose gin. Delighting the palate of gin connoisseurs, hints of juniper, pine, floral, lavender, soft spice and citrus wait behind each calendar window.
5x Edinburgh Gin, 5cl
4x Seaside Gin, 5cl
3x Cannonball Gin 5cl
13 x Fruit Gin Liqueurs, 5cl
Suitable for: Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten Free. Does not contain Nuts.
Maximum Alcohol content per bottle, 43%.
Start every December day leading up to Christmas with the joyful feeling of giving. Perfect for the season of goodwill, this Advent of Change calendar reveals a new charity recipient every day that benefits from the purchase of your calendar.
With this one simple purchase you will be making a donation to 24 amazing charities – helping the environment, endangered animals and even improving the lives of children.
Each of the 24 perforated doors represents a £1 donation, and will reveal:
1. The registered charity recipient for that day.
2. How your contribution can be used, showing you how you’ve changed the world for the better.
With 85% of the sale price going directly to charity, Advent of Change serves as a thoughtful conversation piece and the most meaningful gift for family, friends or, of course, yourself.
Open up to change this year and help 24 charities to make a difference, this Christmas and beyond.
Each calendar is wrapped in a biodegradable potato starch film and manufactured in the UK using FSC-certified paper, vegetable oil-based inks and biodegradable glue.
Advent of Change is a not-for-profit organisation, and gives £24 of the sale price directly to charity. The remaining £3.95 is used for production, operational and fundraising costs.
A beautiful wooden advent train, personalised for the festive season! Use year after year!
A fantastic alternative to the usual paper advent calendar to be used for years to come, this amazing wooden train engine with two carriages has with black, white and gold paint detailing as well as fixed shiny round wheels. Each carriage features 12 drawers (6 on each side) ready to be pulled out and filled with sweets and tiny trinkets!
All 24 drawers are labelled with the numbers 1 to 24, so every day is covered over the advent period until Christmas day.
The carriages and engine are connected via small metal hooks and can be linked or left separate depending on your preference, and each drawer can be removed to rearrange if you want to create a search game for the kids!
A name of your choice printed in black on one train, with ‘Santa Express’ to follow on the other train. We can allow up to 10 characters, including spaces and punctuation. Your font size will be adjusted accordingly.
This train is a decorative item and not a toy.
Engine – width 13cm x height 13.5cm x depth 8cm
Carriage – width 15cm x height 10.5cm x depth 10cm
Inside of drawers – width 3.2cm x height 2.4cm x depth 3.1cm
Mixed case of 24 craft beers, by the team at HonestBrew.
Feast your eyes upon a seasonal selection of 24 festive brews that will light up the life of any self-respecting beer lover over December! Containing a range of beer styles, from light and hoppy, to dark and roasty, there’s a beery surprise each day. Tis the season to be jolly… and drink great beer.
After selling out in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the HonestBrew Craft Beer Advent calendar is once again back & better than ever before.
24 beers, 15 styles, 12 countries, 7 exclusive beers, plus free standard shipping! Guaranteed fresh & on time.
Only the best breweries go into our advent calendar. That means award-winning, quality-driven and innovative producers from 12 countries behind every door. This premium selection includes 7 exclusive beers, limited edition collaborations, and seasonal releases for a festive journey across the craft beer landscape.
Expect a wide range of beer styles to sample. Including: IPAs, Pale Ales, Saisons, Pilsners, Porters and Stouts. Breweries include Magic Rock, Cloudwater, Northern Monk, Buxton and many more!
Beers come in glass bottles & craft cans.
All beer is made from mighty fine ingredients (water, malt, hops and yeast) and some love.
Packaged in recyclable cardboard box with protective packaging.
Help make this festive period brighter for 500,000 children around the world.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know, we’re a LEGO family. Like, not just a family who has a son who LIVES FOR LEGO (which we are)… but a family who all love to join in with the brick-making too. Just this weekend I completed four LEGO builds – and refused to let Eli play with any of them until I had managed to fully complete the set of four. Yep, I’m THAT Mum. For me, I find LEGO therapeutic. It works as cathartically as writing or reading does. I find solace in LEGO. Perhaps this is also why it has the power to hold Eli’s concentration for so long too.
Eli lives for LEGO.
Take today for example, its Children in Need (BBC Appeal Day, 2018), and the theme at Eli’s school was “Do Your Thing” (dress as someone you aspire to be/something you’d like to be). Eli chose to be a LEGO MASTER BUILDER. OF COURSE HE DID! There ain’t no costume for that, I so engineered this one myself (if you want a DIY post on this, do let me know).
Eli builds the most interesting, engineeringly brilliant and clever creations. Just like how I am with cooking; Eli rarely likes to stick to the instructions… he prefers for his own imagination to take full focus. It’s been a real education for him – especially as he was born with several conditions; LEGO has potentially helped with his fine & gross motor skills, as well as encouraging role play and story telling. We’ve seen first hand how powerful a “toy” LEGO really can be for a child. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you an AMAZING initiative that LEGO have set up.
This festive season, the most awesome gift you can give is the gift of play. Visit a LEGO Store between now and 9th December or use your LEGO Bricks at home to build a holiday ornament. Display it in-store, in LEGO Life (on the app) or share online with #BuildToGive. For every ornament built and shared, LEGO will donate a LEGO set to a child in need of play. Now how good is that? And so simple too. I know a lot of you will have LEGO at home, so lets get building and sharing!
If you have budding builders at home, they can join #BuildToGive in LEGO Life by building a Christmas decoration at home,uploadingand sharing it in the app.
Help LEGO reach THEIR goal!
By participating in #BuildToGive you can help LEGO reach their goal of giving 500,000 children the chance to play this Christmas.
HERE IS A QUICK EXAMPLE OF A SIMPLE FESTIVE HEART ORNAMENT that I MADE
Legal disclaimer: *In connection with the #BuildToGive 2018 Holiday Campaign, the LEGO® Group will donate one LEGO set to charity for every #BuildToGive ornament that is built either at home with LEGO Bricks and shared on social media with #BuildToGive or in a LEGO Retail Store. Children under the age of 13 must obtain parent’s permission to post to social media. Total donation not to exceed 500,000 LEGO sets with a total value of 5,000,000 USD. No purchase necessary.
It’s the launch, I’ve personally, been waiting for… Tiba + Marl x Scamp & Dude, is here! (Well, almost!). Today the Pre-Order has launched on both TibaandMarl.com and also on ScampandDude.com. All pre-orders will then be sent out on 20th August onwards. I also have it on good authority, that once these orders have gone, thats it! So get your pre-order in, before its too late!
Now the formalities are done with, let me introduce you to the coolest four-piece you’ve seen, since One Direction went on without Zayn.
THE MINI ELWOOD
THE MINI ELWOOD – £40.00 (each)
COMES IN BLACK OR MINT PRINT
The much loved Tiba + Marl MINI ELWOOD backpack gets given a super-hero transformation in Scamp & Dude’s iconic signature leopard and lightning bolt print. Mini fashionistas will love this best selling kids backpack, featuring a zipped front pocket, adjustable straps, and top carry grab handle. Each backpack showcases a patch with Scamp & Dude’s trademark slogan ‘A Superhero Has My Back’ and is adorned with ‘Superpower Button’ neon rubber lightening bolt zip pullers – prepare for playground envy!
Water resistant & wipe clean inside & out
Zip front pocket
Adjustable padded straps
Rubber lightening bolt zips
‘A Superhero Has My Back’ woven patch on back of bag
Top grab handle
100% Nylon with Faux leather trim
H: 29cm W: 22cm D: 12cm
THE ARLO SNACK PACK
THE ARLO SNACK PACK – £25.00 (EACH)
COMES IN MINT OR BLACK PRINT
Designed exclusively in collaboration with much-loved kids brand Scamp & Dude, the super-handy ARLO snack-pack by Tiba+Marl is the perfect everyday choice for you or your little dudes. Looking fierce in Scamp & Dude’s signature leopard and lightning bolt print, and featuring a patch with Scamp & Dude’s trademark slogan ‘A Superhero Has My Back’ it is also adorned with ‘Superpower Button’ bespoke neon rubber lightening bolt zip pullers – could this be the coolest cool pack ever?? Perfect from weaning right through to school – it is fully insulated and features internal slip pocket and an elasticated strap to keep bottle/cup upright. It also comes with removable name tag and an easy grab carry handle that can be clipped onto the buggy or a school bag.
Rubber lightening bolt zips
‘A Superhero Has My Back’ woven patch on back of bag
Wipe clean inside & out
Elasticated bottle holder
Internal slip pocket
Nylon & plastic with Faux leather trim
H: 16cm W: 20.5cm D: 14cm
I do have a tendency to go on about how much I love Tiba+Marl – but I do just bloody love them. We got our T+M bags when we moved to Berlin and they still look brand new (see my old post, here). We didn’t even use our Elwood as a changing bag, Eli was too old. We’ve always used it as a family back pack – or taken it to the gym/park, its also perfect for carrying a laptop! Eli is never without his Mini Elwood. So this is proof that Tiba+Marl produce quality products that have uses beyond ‘age’. For instance, I LOVE the Arlo Snack Pack – I’d use this for Eli as his lunch bag, but also as my own lunch bag… maybe even great for toiletries and cosmetics too!
So there you have it, the Pre-Order is live, so get ’em while you can! My only issue… which colour-way to go for?! Which do you like best?
Peace & love
NB: This post is absolutely not affiliated with or sponsored by Tiba+Marl or Scamp & Dude. They’re just bloody amazing brands whom I adore and want to shout about xxx
MORE ABOUT //
Tiba + Marl (Pronounced Teeba) was created in 2015 by London duo, Anna Tizard and Lydia Barron. Both Mothers, they spotted a gap in the market for contemporary, trend inspired parent changing bags. Anna, a former Bag Buyer for Urban Outfitters and Topshop, and Lydia, a Footwear and Accessories Designer for Kurt Geiger and Sigerson Morrison, set about to provide cool Mums and Dads with a range of cleverly designed, super functional changing bags where an edge of cool always comes as standard.
Tiba + Marl’s contemporary collection of bags redefines the staid tradition of baby changing bags by combining modern graphic prints, premium and high tech materials, and stylish but practical design. Inspired by the catwalks and street-style, their award winning collection breaks the mould for cool, modern parents who are seeking unisex designs that don’t compromise their sartorial choices.
Meticulously designed to merge high-fashion features with practical function, included with each bag is a co-ordinating clutch, that is water resistant and comes with a cross body strap – great for wet items or can be used as a separate, effortlessly-cool cross-body bag.
MORE ABOUT //
Scamp & Dude was created by Jo Tutchener-Sharp, founder and previous MD of Beauty Seen PR.
With a long history in the world of fashion and beauty, Jo directed PR campaigns and arranged events for high profile individuals and brands such as Tom Ford, Matthew Williamson, Dolce & Gabbana, Vogue, Estee Lauder, Topshop, NARS and The BRIT Awards.
In October 2015 Jo’s life took a difficult turn when she suffered a brain haemorrhage. She had to leave her children for a lengthy stay in hospital to undergo life threatening brain surgery.
Every parent understands the feeling you get when you have to leave your child, whether it be a business trip or first day at school. That knot in the stomach and the ache in the heart.
It was this moment that inspired Jo to create a brand that helps children feel more secure when apart from their loved ones, and Scamp & Dude was born.
Zara HOME | Kids have just launched their AW17 campaign: Little Adventures – and it does not disappoint. There are several ranges, that can of course be mixed and matched up for a bespoke theme to you. This season Zara take inspiration from the woodland, grown up Industrial meets Scandi and traditions prints & pastels.
I particularly like the Industrial and reworked style pieces. They look so unique – definitely not something you’d imagine picking up on the high street! The Scandi themes make for a relaxed slumber, while the pastels and prints create a vintage feel.
The Kids Home range doesn’t stop at the sleeping quarters though; there are also bathroom textiles and accessories as well as a dining range.
There are some really lovely pieces to mix & match up and take inspiration from – perfect for refreshing your current Child-space, or curating a brand new room! Shop The Little Adventures range, here.