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ADVENT CALENDARS // 2018

 

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.

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ASOS // ASOS Face+Body Calendar //
£55.00
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ASOS // ASOS Grooming Calendar //
£30.00
GINGER RAY // Envelope Calendar //
£12.99
DIPTYQUE Advent calendar
DIPTYQUE // Advent calendar //
£130.00
12 Days Of Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar
ORELIA // 12 Days of Christmas Calendar – Make your own Jewellery //
£60.00

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.

Charlotte's Beauty Universe Advent Calendar - Charlotte Tilbury
CHARLOTTE TILBURY // Beauty Calendar //
£150.00
Food & Wine: Confectionery Neuhaus 2018 Pop-Up Chocolate Advent Calendar
NEUHAUS // 2018 Pop-Up Chocolate Calendar //
£55.00
MIXPIX // Personalised Christmas Playlist Advent Calendar // Available at Notonthehighstreet.com
£18.00

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.

made from:

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.

KIKKI.K Stationery Lover's advent calendar
KIKKI.K // Stationary Lover’s Advent Calendar //
£90.00
BuyCowshed 24 Day Beauty Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
COWSHED // 24 Day Beauty Calendar //
Currently, £76.50 at JohnLewis.com

 

 

 

 

 

BuyEdinburgh Gin Advent Calendar, 25x 5cl Online at johnlewis.com
EDINBURGH GIN // Gin Advent Calendar // EXCLUSIVE TO JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS
£120.00

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%.
BuyLEGO City 60201 Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
LEGO CITY // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
PLAYMOBIL // TOP AGENT Calendar //
£19.99
BuyLEGO Friends 41353 Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
LEGO FRIENDS // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
HATCHIMALS // Colleggtibles Advent Calendar //
£24.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BuyAdvent Of Change Charity Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // ADVENT OF CHANGE, CHARITY CALENDAR //
£27.97

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.

When you choose Advent of Change, you’re making a donation to the following 24 amazing charities – to see full details, take a look at the John Lewis & Partners product page, here. 

SMIGGLE // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£25.99
BuyJelly Belly Advent Calendar, 440g Online at johnlewis.com
JELLY BELLY // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
BuyWine Advent Calendar, 4.5L Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // Wine Calendar //
£70.00
BuyMorris & Co. Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
WILLIAM MORRIS & CO // Beauty Calendar //
£40.00
LISA ANGEL // Personalised Wooden Train Advent Calendar // Available from Notonthehighstreet.com //
£39.00

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!

Personalisation:

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.

made from:

Wood

dimensions:

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

Christmas Advent Calendar (Image 1)
TWININGS // SEASONAL ADVENT CALENDAR //
£21.99
BuyHotel Chocolat The Ultimate Advent - Dark, 125g Online at johnlewis.com
HOTEL CHOCOLAT // DARK //
£12.50

 

HONEST BREW // Craft Beer Advent Calendar Crate //
£89.00

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!

made from:

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.

BuyCoppenrath Victorian Christmas Houses Advent Boxes, Pack of 24 Online at johnlewis.com
COPPENRATH // Victorian Christmas Houses //
£15.00
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CATH KIDSTON // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£40.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I hope this gives you some idea’s for the lucky ones in your life! For us, we’ve already got the LEGO City calendar for Eli, which our Elf on the Shelf Scout Elf, FRODO, will be bringing on 1st December, as he does every year.

Happy Advent, however you choose to celebrate!

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

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Recipes | Split Red Lentil Dahl.

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Yesterday was our 5th Fast Day. And it went surprisingly well. It definitely get’s easier… infact, I look forward to our Fast Day, as we’re trying such lovely recipes – and the added bonus is,  I wake up the day after a fast feeling great – feeling lighter and brighter. I wish the scales would actually ring true with the lighter part though, as I’m not seeing a huge difference. I’ve seen how some people have lost 10 – 14lbs by their 3rd week of fasting. I’m so far only seeing a 3lb drop. But still, that is a 1lb per week I guess and not to be sniffed at. I guess I’m just being inpatient!

SO! Yesterday was a fast day, as I say. And I made the most wonderful red lentil Dahl! The first time I’d ever made a Dahl… and dare I say it, the first time I’ve ever actually eaten one too! So only going on how mine turned out – but it was super yummy, warming and filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! I was inspired by several Dahl recipes that I found online. I loosely followed this recipe from the wonderful London-Unattached. But as Fiona mentions in her post, most Dahl recipes are more or less the same – just depends on what veg/meat you want to add! Our recipe was meat-free last night. This recipe would be awesome during the cold Winter months too – you can throw in so many things to bulk it out, while it will still remain very healthy.

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SPLIT RED LENTIL DAHL*
SERVES 2 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
300 Calories, per portion.

Ingredients.
90g Sainsburys Dry Red Lentils
100ml Knorr Vegetable Stock
1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped into chunks (can be skinned before chopping if you prefer)
2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Ground Tumeric
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 large clove Garlic (I pushed through a garlic press, but can be sliced or grated)
1/2 teaspoon Waitrose Hot Chilli Powder (Or one fresh chilli. Adjust according to taste – the Waitrose Chilli Powder is so powerful, you don’t need a lot! And I like heat!)
2 teaspoons Ginger (I chopped as I like to taste ginger, but can be grated)
1 Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
3 Spring onions (I had leftover in the fridge)
1 Red pepper (I had leftover in the fridge)
150g Spinach (Torn or roughly chopped)
Splash of Rapeseed oil

Optional – to garnish.
Parsley
1 tablespoon Low Fat Yoghurt
Sliced cucumber

Directions
1) Cook lentils as per packet instructions. For the Sainsbury’s lentils I used, I boiled them rapidly (in cold water) for 10 minutes. Drained and set aside.
2) Add some oil to a frying pan and add the dry spices and cook over a medium heat till the mustard seeds start to pop. I used Rapeseed oil, but know that a lot of people use coconut oil as an even healthier alternative.
3) Add the onion (and spring onions), garlic and ginger and cook gently for 3-5 minutes till the onion starts to soften. Then add the cubed peppers (I just had a pepper leftover in the fridge).
4) Add the tomato puree, stock, fresh tomato and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary
5) Stir in soft lentils and the spinach and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
6) Serve garnished with a dollop of Low fat yoghurt, sliced cucumber and a sprig of parsley (or coriander would work well too).

ENJOY!

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Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

MM.

*Recipe adapted from Fiona Maclean’s Red Lentil Dahl recipe, over on London-Unattached.

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What Eli Wore: Happy 9 month birthday!

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What Eli Wore today >>>

Top: Dinosaur Tee, Next, £6. Click here to purchase online.

Bottoms: Navy Shorts (pack of 2), Next, £11. Click here to purchase online.

Head: Hat (pack of 2 hats), Next, £GIFT.

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Today Mr Eli is 9 months old! He has officially now been out as long as he was in! Incredible. What a 9 months it has been. Completely full of up’s and down’s – and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Mr Eli is just an amazing human being – such a character. Our beautiful darling boy xxx

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To celebrate it being sunny, a bank holiday AND Eli’s 9 month birthday, we headed to Southend for the day. Got to make the most of that sunshine! Eli (with a little encouragement from us….) is a huge dinosaur fan. I’d been looking for some ‘cool’ dinosaur items of clothing for a while. But not really seen anything aside from realistic dinosaur graphics (which just look plain scary!) or overly-cartoonish style dinosaur graphics. But when I saw this tee from Next I practically POUNCED on it! It’s a great looking tee – cool dino print on front and back with a little chest pocket. Lovely stuff. Also have to mention these shorts! Because Eli will probably be wearing them a lot over the summer! They’re a 2-pack from Next, £11. Come in Navy and a Cargo-Brown colourway. They’re extremely hardwaring, wash great, wicked quality and made using a heavy cotton so they can be dressed up (with a shirt) or dressed down, like today.

Next have some really good clothing this season for your little man. I tend to go for mini-Daddy style clothing, rather than cute kids clothing. So if you’re after the same kind of thing, give Next a whirl. So so good. Great prices too!

MM.

 

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What Eli Wore: ‘E’ is for Eli.

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What Eli Wore today>>>

‘Ee’ Alphabet t-shirt, American Apparel, £10.

Brown Harem Pants,  Zara Kids – Part of set with cardigan, £GIFT.

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Eli wore his brand new American Apparel Alphabet tee to the park last week; teamed with wicked knitted Harem Pants from Zara.

It was the first time it had been warm enough for short sleeves! And it was also the first time Eli played on swings and slides! He absolutely loved it – as you can tell.

I’d always been meaning to buy myself a ‘Cc’ tee from American Apparel… think I’m probably a little bit too old for it now. I’ll stick to my Carrie Claire necklace I think. But Eli looks wicked in his ‘Ee’ tee; of course all of the alphabet tee’s are unisex too. LOVE it.

 

MM.

 

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UNIQLO: Undercover – New Childrenswear.

 

I was browsing Uniqlo.com in search of baggy shirts that would be big enough to fit over my massive bump; when I saw this new range – “Uniqlo Undercover“. A clothing range for families of today, in collaboration between Uniqlo and Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER clothing label. I’d always said how the brand should branch out into Childrenswear – and here it is (albeit limited in styles!).

Here are my favourites – obviously, I’m biased towards Boy clothing now that we’re having a boy, but there are some cute Girls and Unisex styles too!


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Kids U:U Zip up Parka, Green, £49.90. Click here to purchase this style online at Uniqlo.com


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Kids U:U Oxford Shirt, Blue, £19.90. Click here to purchase this style online at Uniqlo.com

Kids U:U V-neck Long Sleeve Cardigan, Blue, £29.90. Click to purchase this style at Uniqlo.com

Kids U:U Rain Coat, Blue, £39.90. Click here to purchase this style online at Uniqlo.com

Kids U:U Cotton V-neck T-shirt, Yellow, £7.90.Click here to purchase this style at Uniqlo.com

 

There are also some Babies styles arriving at Uniqlo.com on 16th April, so keep checking back for those!

MM.

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Marks & Spencer: Mother’s Day must-buy gifts!

Marks and Spencer is always your one-stop shop for Mother’s Day gifts and treats for your Mum….those Mums-to-be in your life too!

Take a look at my gift recommendations below for some inspiration – or maybe purchase a cheeky treat for yourself! You know you deserve it ;o

Classic Collection Pure Silk Lightweight Scarf £9.50, MarksandSpencer.com

The perfect accessory to this season’s styles, this elegant pure silk scarf has a abstract print, adding a luxurious finishing touch to your look. Wear with casual or smart outfits to tie your style together.


Per Una Revere Collar Spotted Pyjamas £19.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Modern, feminine style is combined with soft fabric, making these gorgeous pyjamas stylish and relaxing.

Faux Pearl Dome Drop Earrings £7.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Feminine and elegant, these softly lustrous earrings add an instant touch of sophisticated style.

Crossover V-Neck Sprig Print Jersey Dress £35.00, MarksandSpencer.com

Chic and contemporary, this jersey dress has a sprig print. A fabulous fashionable look.


Kirstie Allsopp Tea Cup, Saucer & Side Plate £15.00, MarksandSpencer.com

Kirstie Allsopp for Marks and Spencer: A pretty porcelain teacup with contrasting saucer and matching side plate. Enjoy afternoon tea in style!


Maternity Pure Cotton Button Through Spot Minishirt From £12.00 – £12.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Marks and Spencers Maternity: Our great value maternity range is designed for style, comfort and functionality, meeting all the needs of mums-to-be. This stylish spot print minishirt has been cut to flatter and the button fastening makes it ideal for nursing after the birth.

Maternity Wrap Plain Jersey Dress £29.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Marks and Spencer Maternity: Relaxed and casual, this wrap style dress is designed to flatter you and your bump. A clever cut gives a neat, comfortable fit with room for growth. Enjoy your pregnancy in style!

MM.

 

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Lifehouse Country Spa Resort – long weekend away…

 

So, Lifehouse Spa!

We had booked this little break away after having all the scans and tests a few weeks ago. We’d decided that we would need a relax after such a rollercoaster couple of weeks…

Being 19 weeks pregnant, we jut wanted to go somewhere where we could relax and chill out for a few days. Get away from it all. A spa was perfect. I literally spent 3 days alternating between the swimming pool and jacuzzi (Hydrotherapy Pool). Unfortunately, all of the treatments were too expensive for our budget… in fact, they were just overpriced in general.

I’m well aware that this review is just going to sound like a right moan! It was our first trip to a Spa though, so we would have expected a bit more in some areas. Albeit, we had a wonderful time and would return tomorrow! But with hindsight of course ;o

Pro’s

– Drinks were relatively cheap.

– Comfortable bed.

– Contemporary room with lovely bathroom and great views of the gardens. Usual coffee and tea making facilities.

– Lovely staff – all very polite and always had a smile.

– Easy place to relax.

– Food was great, restaurant quality.

– Great swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool. Can’t review the Steam, Sauna or Salt Inhalations rooms as I can’t use them being pregnant… but DP absolutely loved all three. So they kept him quiet! 😀

– Loved the Orchids Bar area too… must recommend the bread and olives. Best olives I’ve ever eaten! Amazing! Just £2.00 too!

– Very very nice gardens… it was absolutely blowing a gale outside and raining but this did not deter us! We borrowed some Hunter wellies from reception and had a great walk right around the gardens.

 

Con’s

– We weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note or shown around the complex. So didn’t know what facilities we could and couldn’t use.

– Because of the above, we didn’t know we had a safe in the room, until we were messing on with a rather ambiguous looking drawer underneath the TV!

– Again, because we weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note, we didn’t know that you could order Room Service.

– Couldn’t lock the door to the room.

– No bath in the room – albeit, the shower was incredible. I still could have done with a soak before bed!

– Treatments are expensive and need to be booked well in advance. Many people were left disappointment upon arrival when all appointments were booked up.

– Pregnant ladies cannot use Sauna, Steam room or Salt Inhalation rooms as they raise the body temperature too much.

– Packages that exclude food are very expensive. A lunchtime meal (main and starter) will be around £45 for a couple with one wine and one soft drink. An evening meal is per the set menu, £35 for 3 courses or £28.50 for 2 courses.

– Menu’s left a lot to be desired for someone who is both pregnant and doesn’t eat fish or mushrooms! I ended up having the same evening meal on both nights of our stay because the menu didn’t change… and the Duck dish was the only one that didn’t contain fish or mushrooms! There was also a £3 additional supplement on this.

– There were no decaff teabags! I also wasn’t given an alternative… would have definitely thought there would be decaffeinated everything with it being a health spa!

– No soft drinks menu! Just Wine and Cocktail lists… which isn’t great when you can’t drink! Imagine if you’re an alcoholic visiting for a detox!

– Restaurant was basic-looking; for such an ambitious menu, it was a shame that the restaurant was more like a canteen in a Sainsbury’s with cheap chairs and tables. The chairs of which offered zero support for a pregnant lady.

– There were no bottles of water for free, or even for sale! So it was a case of having to get up every 5 minutes to go to the water fountain in the corner of the ‘Wet Area’. Which is quite annoying when you’re pregnant and just want to lay down, but of course, you need to keep hydrated.

– Although this spa is relatively new, (about a year old), we did notice lots of signs of wear and tear. I actually stood on a piece of broken glass in the Hydrotherapy Pool! Turns out, upon further inspection, lots of the mosaic tiles were cracked and broken, but glued back together. Again, when looking up from the jacuzzi, the ceiling paint was peeling…

It was such a shame there were these little niggles – we really did enjoy ourselves though! Honestly! And we would go back… just hopefully when they have a different menu! 🙂

 

MM.