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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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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE // LEGO: BUILD TO GIVE

LEGO // BUILD TO GIVE

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).

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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!

LEGO Life

If you have budding builders at home, they can join #BuildToGive in LEGO Life by building a Christmas decoration at home, uploading and 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

 

FIND OUT MORE

Find out more about the Build To Give initiative, including  building instructions to give you a quick-start, by heading to LEGO.com or click here.

 

 


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.

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MONKEY // IS MISSING IN TRANSIT

THIS IS A PLEA ON BEHALF OF ELI HILL.

This time last week was our final day in Billericay, and subsequently, the last day we saw Monkey. During the commotion of saying goodbye, along with poor Eli being weighed down with, what can only be described as “everything bar the kitchen sink”, Monkey was set down in his classroom as he handed out treats to his fellow classmates and we then dashed off on our journey straight up to Manchester.

By the time we realised he was MIA, it was too late and the school had closed for the day. Eli put on a brave face and cuddled me in the hotel that night, instead of his beloved pal, Monkey.

The next day a member of school staff kindly posted Monkey back to us (last Thursday) via Royal Mail (somewhere in #Billericay, though exact location is TBC). This is the last known sighting of Monkey. To say we’re devastated that he hasn’t (YET) turned up is an understatement. Eli and I are basically sat in the front window, every day, waiting for his return. I keep telling Eli that Monkey is having a lovely time, on his jollies, building sandcastles, having some “me time”, before he joins us in our new Mancunian family home…

Monkey has been there every single day for Eli (and sometimes, for me and @jameshill.tv too!). He was given to Eli by our wonderful friend @goshb many moons ago. Since then Monkey has been to there to cuddle Eli through the night when we couldn’t, when Eli had one of his many hospital appointments, he’s been there through FOUR house moves – including one to Berlin and back. He was there for Eli on his first day of nursery and on his last day at school. He was there through the vaccinations, chickenpox and the wedding’s and the birthday’s and the halloween’s and at the table with us on Christmas Day and not forgetting the crazy car journey’s we all enjoy. Monkey has played in the snow and on the beach, at the museum and at the park. He’s seen the loveliest sunsets and fireworks. They had picnic’s and parties. Through the tough time and the fun times. Monkey was always the one who could fix it, make everything ok. Even when Eli dressed him up in his undercrackers and socks, Monkey never once complained.

We know Monkey is of the @jellycat variety – we’re not sure which ‘design’, but we do know that its now retired. We’re facing the stark reality that the ‘original’ Monkey may not turn up (Royal Mail, SHAME ON YOU, if he doesn’t). I have tried contacting our local Royal Mail depot, but unfortunately I can’t get past the automated robot as I don’t have tracking… and apparently,  they cannot look for specific parcels in your depot without the tracking either.

So here is the plea.

Do you or someone you know have this EXACT monkey? We’re more than happy to purchase, we just want Eli to have his friend back by his side – its bee an especially hard week for him, considering the move from Essex to Manchester without any real-life pal’s yet.

We can’t believe we’ve managed to leave him and hopefully he is *just* delayed in transit, but if not, please do help. If your child has lost something that they find pure comfort and love in, then you’ll understand. Eli is heartbroken (as am I).

PLEASE SHARE – #GetMonkeyBackToEli

Thank you for reading
C

xxxx

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REVIEW | A Little Bird Told Me, “Softly Snail Activity Fun House”.

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Wonderful, Yorkshire-based company Little Bird Told Me got in touch recently and asked if Mr Eli I’d like to review a toy. I was more than happy to oblige – I’m a huge fan of independent retailers, especially those based in the UK. After looking on their website I found that their toy’s are all designed to develop the imagination and skills of children. Perfect!

Mr Eli has recently enjoyed pulling and pushing his toys around – as well as giving everything a good shake too! I really liked the look and sound of the beautiful Rocking Horses, but they’re mostly 18m+. A little old for Eli right now, but would perhaps make a great Christmas present! The Softly Snail Activity Fun House was the perfect choice for us.

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I particularly liked the packaging – it really shows this toy off!

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Then we removed Mr Snailer (as we’ve fondly named him!) from his box and Eli instantly loved him! HE gave him a big squeeze and a shake for good measure – noticing that the antennae make a rattle sound. The pull-along string is just a nice length. It can also be removed should it be a distraction, using the velcro fastening. I LOVE the little ‘peepo’ door, where you can actually add a photo of your own choice. We’re yet to get one printed. We’re thinking a nice family photo would be lovely.

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Eli likes Mr Caterpillar (the Mini Curious Caterpillar). He shake, shake shakes him and pop’s him into the little house. Mr Eli has also recently learned to “kiss”; by kiss we mean place his forehead onto yours. It is just the sweetest thing! Here he is giving Mr Snailer a big kiss and a cuddle.

I also wanted to mention that this toy really is lovely and cuddley. The wooden wheels can also be removed, for cleaning or to make it that little bit more snuggley too.

All in all, Mr Eli really enjoyed this toy and I would certainly recommend Little Bird Told Me to everyone. They’re a truly lovely company!

MM.

NB: We were sent the Softly Snail Activity Fun House from Little Bird Told Me for review. This retails at £25 but we were sent it, for free, for the purposes of review. All opinions in this review are my own and are 100% honest. No payment was received for this review.

 

 

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Do you have an early teether?: Sophie La Girafe.

Mr Eli enjoying his Sophie; he particularly enjoys her head.

Poor Mr Eli has had it rough the past few weeks! Just after his 8 week injections he was extremely grizzly, crying A LOT despite the usual check list all being checked off! It was 4 days after the immunisations and he was really chewing on his little hands… more so than in the “oh I have hands!” way. I switched the big light on in our bedroom and noticed he had rosy cheeks. “OH NO!” I yelled out to my OH who was downstairs. OH raced up the stairs “HE’S TEETHING! ALREADY!”.

We managed to prise Mr Eli’s little jaw open and saw that indeed, on the bottom left, there was a REAL toothy peg. An actual tooth sitting there, ready to cut through the gum. At just 8 weeks old. Poor little mite 🙁

Obviously, at 8 weeks old, Eli was too young to understand the concept of a teether… or chewing for comfort… or even be able to grasp onto a teether for that case. We did try a few that had been purchased for us from friends and family while I was pregnant. Eli didn’t like any of them. And we REALLY did persevere.

We had the Sophie La Girafe large teether on our list ready to purchase when Eli was around 5 months old. Which is when we anticipated he’d NEED one! After looking around I saw that you could buy a small version, that was really soft and has two rings for easy gripping action… or in Eli’s case, more for him to chew and lick! At 10 weeks old Eli had mastered both grasp and chew! I firmly believe I have Sophie to thank for encouraging Eli’s gripping development!

I think the Sophie La Girafe teether is fast becoming Eli’s favourite toy. He literally cannot go anywhere without her! Eli particularly enjoys chewing really hard onto Sophie’s head (harsh, I know), which seems to give him great relief. This teether, however,  is not for the faint hearted as it makes the most almighty squeaking noise as he chomps down! Massive massive cringe (think nails down a chalk board, touching wet terracota, wet cotton wool etc).

I massively recommend this Sophie La Girafe teether to everyone I meet, best £7 I’ve ever spent! It would make a really nice stocking filler this Christmas too!

Buy Sophie La Girafe teether right now from JohnLewis.com

 

MM.

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Something for our Olympic 2012 Baby Boy…

Baby Team GB Baby Grow, £12. John Lewis.

Considering that our little babbit is due on the day the London Olympics 2012 being (that’s 27th July 2012 for anyone who has been living under a rock), we’d been searching for a little ‘momento’ to mark the, well, momentous occasion!

We’d been looking at the John Lewis ‘Olympic Shop’  in both Westfield Stratford City and in Bluewater, Kent. We wanted something for our Baby boy that we could keep forever… but something that would also be useful! All of the toys are for 3 years+ (?!!!) so that went straight out of the window, as did pens and keyrings… we wanted something for HIM.

Then we went shopping at Bluewater in Kent for the first time this weekend and had another rummage around the  ‘Olympic Shop’. Then we came across a display unit with lots and lots of Baby Grow’s! PERFECT! We saw the Baby Team GB Baby Grow, above, and could not resist. It’s the absolute perfect keepsake! It’s a definite contender for the ‘coming out of hospital’ outfit. Especially if he is born on his due date of 27th July!

You can purchase this brilliant Baby Grow by clicking here, and heading to JohnLewis.com!

Has anyone else joined in the Olympic fun with their soon-to-arrive Olympic Baby(s)?

MM.