The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for…

The festive season is in full swing and unsurprisingly there’s been much chat between my friends and I about presents — or to be precise — Christmas gifts for the hard to buy for.

We all have them, don’t we?

The father who has everything, the mum who doesn’t want anything and various other relatives — and friends — who have specific hobbies and aren’t really interested in anything beyond that.

It gives me a headache usually.

But this year I have managed to do all my ‘hard to buy’ present buying in one place. One stop shopping — minimal fuss and effort — with some fantastic results to boot!

I recently popped down to our local HomeSense store for some Christmas decorations and was blown away by the ‘non-home’ items they’d got in stock. I can say with some certainty that HomeSense have some amazing home bargains (if ever I need something for the house or garden it’s always my first port of call).

In fact, my friend and I have ‘HomeSense missions’ and regularly treat ourselves to an afternoon’s shopping in our local store, followed by a posh coffee.

Sorry, I’m digressing.

Anyway, they had SO many fab gifts — the shelves were literally rammed — with fabulous goodies for all the hard to buy for people in my life. Buoyed with renewed Christmas shopping vigour,  I went back a week later, armed with my list of names.

Here’s what I bought for the hard to buy for people in my life:

For the cyclist

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — the cyclist

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — the cyclist

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — the cyclist
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Cyclist
For the Gardener

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gardener

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gardener

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gardener

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gardener
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gardener

We have a few keen cyclists — and gardeners — in our family, so to find appropriate and unusual gifts, for lovers of these hobbies, was fantastic.

Everything was so reasonably priced too — the little bicycle mug was just £3.99.

For The Glamourpuss

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Glamourpuss

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Glamourpuss

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Glamourpuss
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Glamourpuss
For the Gourmet

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gourmet

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gourmet
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Gourmet
For The Vintage Loving Hostess

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Vintage Lover

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Vintage Lover

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Vintage Lover

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Vintage Hostess
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Vintage Hostess

I’ve got a little confession to make here.

That gorgeous calendar may *not* actually be going to it’s intended recipient after all. It seems to have found it’s way on to my desk!

Oops.

And actually, I’ve decided that it might as well stay there, seeing as it looks so lovely ;) Anyway, on with the gift guide.

For The Man About Town

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Man About Town

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Man About Town

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Man About Town
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Man About Town
For The Newlyweds

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Newlyweds

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Newlyweds

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Newlyweds
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Newlyweds

The man about town is SO difficult to buy for, I always think.

HomeSense had some amazing gifts in this department; everything from cool earphones to the quirky little box of assorted shoe-laces in the pic above.

For The Little Princess

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Little Princess

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Little Princess

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Little Princess

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Little Princess
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Little Princess
For The Stationery Addict

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Stationery Addict

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Stationery Addict
The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for — The Stationery Addict

So that’s it. A veritable treasure trove of lovely bits and pieces, to delight and surprise even the most difficult person in your life to buy for.

As Gordon Ramsey would say:

Christmas gifts for the hard to buy for — done.

Huge thanks to the kindly folk at HomeSense for collaborating with me on this Christmas gift guide. Pop along to their website to find your nearest store. I promise you, it will be well worth the visit!

All photos, thoughts and words, as ever, are entirely my own.

homesense_logo

Summertime Surprise Project 2015 {What I sent}

Earlier this year, I took part in something called ‘The Springtime Surprise Project‘ organised by the lovely Lucy who blogs over at Capture By Lucy.

It was a little initiative to spread some cheer and happiness between the folk who’d come together online. Bloggers, readers of blogs, tweeters and Instagrammers all joined forces and put together little packages of loveliness for strangers.

The rules of the project were simple.

1. Sign up — fill in a little form (outlining your likes and dislikes) — then you’d be allocated a swap partner.

2. Buy, make or create a thoughtful gift — or gifts — to the value of £5 (although most people probably spent a little more).

3. Put together a thoughtful little package of loveliness, and send to your ‘swap partner’.

Needless to say, when I received another message from Lucy, asking if I wanted to take part in the Summertime Surprise Project 2015, I jumped at the chance!

This time round my partner was called Steph. The brief I received was fairly simple but offered LOTS of scope to source some lovely items to send to her. She said:

I love flowers and vintage items and anything pretty.

so, this is what I sent:

summertime-surprise-2015-parcels
A little box full of goodies wrapped in purple paper and pretty tape
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A lovely surprise for a stranger
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All the treats laid out :)
summertime-surprise-2015-surprise_postcard
Summertime surprise project 2015
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To my swap partner Steph
summertime-surprise-2015-teacup
Tea inspired, floral covered objects
summertime-surprise-2015-tea-cup-beans
With some obligatory sweet treats thrown in for good measure :)
summertime-surprise-2015-tea-and-teapot
Floral infused tea and a little teabag saucer decorated with vintage blooms :)
summertime-surprise-2015-tea
I loved the fact that the box was covered in flowers! :)
summertime-surprise-2015-eat-me-tag
Jellybeans in a tiny weeny Kilner jar
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4 floral postcards
summertime-surprise-2015-gifts
All the gifts tying in with the vintage or floral theme
summertime-surprise-2015-sweetpeas
A packet of sweetpeas
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Jellybeans!
summertime-surprise-2015-teacup2
A beautiful teacup and saucer that I found in our local charity shop :)
summertime-surprise-2015-mugs-eyeful
All Steph’s presents laid out to send.

Once again, I’ve SO enjoyed being involved in this project!

It’s lovely to spend a little bit of time thinking about the theme of the gifts — what would appeal to your swap partner — and even though I haven’t met Steph, I’m pretty sure that my floral inspired box of homely treats would have raised a smile when she opened them all.

And just to end with the quote by Amelia Earhart from the Surprise Project homepage:

“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads
to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”

Lovely. I think that says it all.

Springtime Surprise Project 2015 {What I received}

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about the Springtime Surprise project, that was organised by the lovely Lucy from the blog Capture By Lucy.

The premise of the project was to spread a little happiness. The rules, very simply, were to buy, make or donate a gift — to the value of around £5 (although most people spent more, I’m sure) — and it send to your allocated ‘swap partner’ before the first day of spring.

I was partnered with a lady called Caroline — who I’ve since found out is one of Lucy’s ‘real life’ friends — and I set about creating a parcel full of bits and pieces that suited the pointers she’d given me.

I posted my parcel the day that we went to Bluestone in Wales, for our little family holiday, and when we got home there was a card from the post office, to say that I’d missed a delivery. Exciting! My parcel from Caroline!

After hot-footing it down there to collect my package, I opened the box — with mucho excitement — and this is what I found!

Springtime Surprise Project 2015
5 little parcels, beautifully wrapped in starry paper and ribbon
Springtime Surprise Project 2015
What’s not to love about receiving something like this through the post?!
Springtime Surprise Project 2015
Just like Christmas!
Springtime Surprise Project
And when I opened them I found: a  sweet little pack of cat highlighter pens!
Springtime Surprise Project
A little cat shaped eraser!
Springtime Surprise Project
Cat shaped paperclips (I’ll give you three guesses what I’d put on my ‘like’ list)!! ;)
highlighters_laid_out
Such a sweet little collection of objects.
Springtime Surprise Project
An amazingly scented package…
Springtime Surprise Project
…which contained this odd looking little fellow! He certainly smelled better than he looked! ;)
Springtime Surprise Project
All my Springtime Surprise Project gifts, from my generous benefactor!

I can’t tell you how much fun it was to be involved in the Springtime Surprise Project 2015. It was absolutely lovely choosing and making the gifts I sent but equally lovely to have a surprise package arriving in the post, full of items that  someone had carefully chosen for me!

Sending a surprise box of gifts  — to a total stranger — is a really happy experience; I’d highly recommend it! If you’d like to join in, Lucy is organising a Summer Surprise Project too.

Pop along to the website and sign up.

 

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109 weeks and 5 days | 50 things that make me happy

A little meme has been doing the rounds recently called

’50 things that makes me happy’.

The clue is in the name; what makes you happy? I have been tagged by my lovely friend Aby, who blogs over at YouBabyMeMummy, to give my answers.

So here goes…

1. My three boys — tiny boys and big man-shaped boy.

2. Pottering about at home.

3. A new, unread, interiors magazine.

4. Blue skies.

5. Family get-togethers (especially our big summer barbecue).

6. The smell of freshly cut grass.

7. Picking my babies up from nursery and seeing their faces light up when they see me.

8. Holidays; in the UK, abroad, even bank holidays. I love them all.

9. Festivals. A weekend of joyful revelry.

10. Dancing in a field in my wellies.

11. Glitter.

12. My lovely friends.

13. Collecting the eggs from our hen-house.

14. Dolly — our beautiful little caravan.

15. Seeing Dolly pull up outside the house = adventures :)

16. A cup of freshly brewed tea.

17. My cats (AKA furry faced children).

18. Beautiful stationery.

19. Designing new things and feeling excited about sharing them.

20. Blogging.

21. Baking.

22. A busy, noisy house full of our nearest and dearest.

23. Fresh flowers in a vase.

24. Daylight (I hate it when it’s grey and overcast).

25. Buying or making new things for our home.

26. Buying new things for the twins.

27. A cold, frosty, Gin and tonic.

28. Eggs Benedict.

29. Kicking a big pile of crunchy autumn leaves.

30. Gardening and seeing things grow.

31. Upcycling furniture and making things beautiful.

32. Spending time with my boy. Together for almost 20 years and I still can’t get enough of him!

33. Trashy TV; Housewives of Cheshire, TOWIE, Made In Chelsea. Love it all :)

34. My weekly Pilates session.

35. The babies’ long lunchtime nap. 2 hours to get things done.

36. Working for myself. A luxury I’ll never take for granted.

37. The run up to Christmas — the beginning of December is always so exciting!

38. Chocolate.

39. Going on a day out with my little family.

40. Watching my tiny boys play.

41. Hearing them laugh.

42. Springtime; fresh and new with the anticipation of summer.

43. Music. Hurrah for iPods, Spotify and the Sonos.

44. Dancing wildly in the kitchen, when no-one’s looking.

45. Poring over Rightmove, at houses we’ll never be able to afford!

45. Instagram.

46. Long, lazy lunches with our friends and their children.

47. The colour yellow.

48. Finding a pair of jeans that fit nicely.

49. Being a mama. I can’t quite put into words how happy that makes me.

50. Life.

So there we have it. 50 things that make me happy.

What are yours?

50 things that make me happy
50 things that make me happy | 9,10 & 11 in one photo!

Springtime Surprise Project 2015 {What I sent}

At the beginning of the year, I signed up with one of my favourite bloggers — Lucy from Capture By Lucy— to take part in a lovely project she was organising.

Entitled ‘The Springtime Surprise Project’, it was a little venture to spread a little cheer and happiness. For generous, creative folk who’d come together online — bloggers, readers of blogs, tweeters and Instagrammers — to collaborate and do something lovely for a stranger.

The rules of the project were simple.

1. Sign up — fill in a little form (outlining your likes and dislikes) — then you’d be allocated a swap partner.

2. Buy, make or create a thoughtful gift — or gifts — to the value of £5 (although most people probably spent a little more).

3. Put together a thoughtful little package of loveliness, and send to your ‘swapee’; to open in time for the first day of Spring on March 20th.

So much fun! It was lovely, receiving the email with my swap partner’s details, then planning the gifts that I could make — or buy — to send to her.

Her name was Caroline  and this was her list of likes and dislikes:

Allergies: citrus

Dislikes: animals dressed as humans (absolute no no!) 

Loves: anything involved with manicures, stationery, odd socks, quirky items.

And this is what I sent her…

Springtime Surprise Project
A quirky little flower ring
Springtime Surprise Project
A miniature pack of nailfiles
Springtime Surprise Project
A little pot of crayons
Springtime Surprise Project
A tiny tin of spring fresh mints
Springtime Surprise Project
Some lovely hand and nail cream
Springtime Surprise Project
Four personalised postcards
Springtime Surprise Project
OK — I cheated slightly with the ‘odd socks’ ;)
Springtime Surprise Project
All the gifts together
packaged_up
Packaged up with a little sticker
Springtime Surprise Project
Wrapped up with brown paper and string and put in a cardboard box
Springtime Surprise Project
And finished off with a label

In situations like this, my design skills definitely come into play and for that I’m so grateful! I created the postcards with her likes and dislikes in mind and purposefully chose bright citrussy shades, as she said she was allergic to citrus! Having an allergy to citrus fruits is one thing but it doesn’t mean you have to shy away from the colours! ;)

I produce the mint-tins for my business — usually with personalised labels, for wedding favours — so creating a one-off ‘Spring-Fresh’ label was a fairly simple and tied in with the Springtime theme nicely.

The other items fit the brief perfectly — stationery, manicures and quirky items — all bought from a little shop in the next village.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed taking part in this!! I did something similar before, for the Craft Blog Club, where I was allocated a partner and made a gift to send. You can read about that here.

Needless to say, as well as sending gifts I also received some too! Watch this space — I’ll be writing all about them on the blog very soon.

Creating something lovely — for a total stranger — is a really happy experience; I’d highly recommend it! If you’d like to join in, Lucy is organising a Summer Surprise Project too.

Pop along to the website and sign up.

Follow Twinkles Momma’s board Springtime Surprise 2015 {What I Sent} on Pinterest.

86 weeks and 2 days | Mixed Blessings {My Word of the Week}

On my Twitter feed today, one of the ladies I follow had posted about her Linky named ‘Word Of The Week‘.

Our lovely English language is a real hobby for me — I LOVE words!

I love grammar, the provenance and history of our language and the evolution of it. Some (my husband in particular) may say, ahem, ‘obsessed’. Personally, I like to think of it as a ‘healthy interest’.

So, given my love of words, I am linking up with lovely Jocelyn at The Reading Residence and joining in with ‘Word Of The Week’!

This week has been a bit of a strange one — mixed blessings, if you like.

Mixed Blessings

It started badly — Monday saw an awful turn of events for a much loved family member. I am not going to say anything more, apart from it was a sad day and there were not many smiles in our house on Monday.

Tuesday was better. One of my bests (one the Twinkles ‘guidemothers‘) popped in — totally unannounced — for a coffee. I love village life and one of my favourite things is people banging on the door/window (often at really inconvenient moments!) and stopping in for a chat and a cuppa. And that is written with no sarcasm, I genuinely do love it!

Wednesday gave me one of the best testimonials I’ve ever had from a customer! :)

I had created some stationery for her client’s daughter’s 18th birthday party — quite possibly the poshest invitations I’ve ever made — and the feedback I received was glowing. Makes all the hard work so worth it.

Here are a few pics:

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DSC_0046 copy

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Thursday: Pilates Day! Thursdays are generally always good as I have an hour to myself each week! I love being a wife, a mother, a business owner, but to have a dedicated hour that is just for me — on a weekly basis — is priceless; and much needed!

We had another village friend pop in (unannounced) for a coffee, after school, and I also celebrated my blogs 2nd birthday!

Today is quiet. The sky is grey (it’s almost dark outside!) and we don’t have much planned at all. I’m supposed to be working — and trying to get my work website up and running — but Twitter has been a glorious distraction this morning and, as a result, I’m writing this blog post! The babies are currently napping and this afternoon I know I’m going to have two grumpy little men to entertain as the weather is so wet and horrible.

So if I can choose just one word to sum up this week, in a nutshell, I would say:

mixed