Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Perfect Christmas Gifting Ft. Gap + a 40% off voucher!!

It is safe to say that savvy shopping has become my life. When you have 1 husband, 2 children, 7 siblings, 2 parents, 2 parents-in-law, 3 siblings-in-law..... the list goes on, I am sure you get the picture. But because of this I do shop around a lot as I hate the idea of buying cheap and buying crap, so I like to still make sure I am getting good things for the best price. GAP is a household name now and the quality and standard of style has long stood the test of time. 
This year we have had the opportunity to be able to pick what we would love to give as gifts and not only did Rob and I struggle to choose due to the wonderful amount of things available, but we honestly just couldn't decided out of a range of things what would be perfect for us as it all was!

I think sometimes when you first walk into a store with a Christmas gift list on your mind you can sometimes be immediately shocked by the choosing aspect. ''What would they like? Which colour should I get it in?'' are constant questions running round a shoppers head and I found that sometimes, making a mini check list is the only way to go. Think about people's sizes, favourite colours, jobs (so smart shirt could be a lovely gift), how they relax (snuggly socks are on the menu for that one) and most of all think about who they are as a person; bold or more refined. For us, Rob would happily pull off a bright red jumper, but for me my favourite would be shades of grey. You need to put your heart into buying gifts and really think about the person. When we were shopping for Raph and Etta I was so torn on so many things. Etta is such a princess and loves everything shiny or sequined but she also, as a 3 year old, needs to have clothes with a level of practicality in them. We got her a bit of both to allow for her character. Raph is just a cool kid so for him we picked a few things that we thought he would love. He also loves blankets and getting cosy so we were lucky GAP had a perfect blanket that makes a great present for him.

Having had a good shop we ended up with these beautiful gifts:

HAT / JUMPER / Jeans available in store.

Jacket available in store

Coat and Top available instore 

Blanket Available instore.

Coat available instore / Hat available instore/ JUMPER

Jumper available in store.

Christmas gift buying can easily become a situation where you just end up throwing money at any till possible, but you need to remember the art of gift buying. It must always start with love; with a love to want to give to someone else means that whatever you are giving them will be something you have spent time thinking about and really enjoyed choosing. It is this that is important that the true spirit of giving comes from the heart and has a purpose to create true happiness. 

We all know how expensive buying a lot can be so why not join me in buying from GAP this Christmas, in store, and use this wonderful 40% voucher. You need to screenshot it and show it at the till.

Voucher expires on the 5th so you have a week!!

Thanks to GAP for the wonderful voucher.


*Post in Collaboration with GAP

Friday, 25 November 2016

Coat Hanger Garland

It is very easy for me to have access for flowers. My mum owns a florist on Steep Hill in Lincoln so I can get my hands on anything. I also have a lot of floristry knowledge which helps greatly when it comes to designs. By no means am I that good but I enjoy it and feel I can make floristry design ideas available to people. 
This one was very inspired by a few pictures I saw floating around Pinterest and Instagram. 
The idea of using a coathanger with flowers attached for decoration was definately not my idea but I have expanded the ideas I saw to make this.

It is a very simple process which only requires you to have a wire coat hanger (mine were from Primark), scissors, pliers (not necessary if you are strong) and floristry tape, but masking tape will do.

The toughest test is a test of strength in reshaping your coathanger. I don't remember old wire coathangers ever being that tricky to remould but these ones were. I had to use the pliers just to give me grip in pulling and bending them a bit. It is manageable so stick at it!

You need to leave the hook as that becomes your hanger.

You then just make it up. Honestly, all the finished results will be so different but it then comes down to you. I had small rose heads, eucalyptus, wax flower and thelaspi. I made simple bundles of either just greenery and wax flower or greenery, wax and rose. I then took each bundle and taped it straight onto the wire coathanger. 
One top tip would be to start off-centre so that you have a nice continuous run over where the hanger bit is. (See picture).

Then just keep adding your bundles overlaying them sightly so that you cover each taped bit, moving round the circle. 
You will see it begin to take shape and can manipulate leaves spraying out, making that messy, but structured look.

As you begin to reach your starting point you will need to lift up your very first bundle so that you can tuck the last one underneath it allowing the tape to be hidden. It is a bit fiddly but it is worth it to get the continuous flow.

Once it is finished you will have a beautiful display.

Something to point out when taping is that you must pull quite tightly to make it really secure. If you use floristry tape it should not tear, so seriouly, give it a good pull!

Then simply enjoy and hang. With fresh flowers in the wreath it will last less than a week depending on where it is placed. If you just use greenery it should dry nicely and still look nice for a lot longer.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Our Great Little Trading Co Christmas List #TestingTeam

Recently I have been asking the kids what they were thinking about asking from Father Christmas for Christmas to give me a bit of a heads up in deciding what I would have to be buying to accompany such lovely gifts from good old St. Nick.
The problem is, with TV adverts in overdrive I think that the kids choices change each day making it quite tricky to try to plan what I will be spending my money on.
For me the more I can get in one place the better. The reality is I like to find good brands and stick with them. Even though you might find similar things cheaper elsewhere, I know that for me Great Little Trading Company offers beautiful quality products that will last and last. And they keep doing percentage off days so they are making everything more affordable; it is worth checking. 

For me, the joy that GLTC also bring is not only ''Can I buy for the kids'', but their home and storage ideas are perfect for gifting to grown ups. GLTC isn't just a kids brand, it is a family brand and that is why I love them so much! 

Raph happened to mention this morning that he was going to ask F.C for a pirate ship. He had seen a plastic one on TV but for me, nothing beats wood, which is perfect as the GLTC wooden pirate ship and buccaneers fort would make perfect additions to our toy collection. Sea pieces are something we don't have much of so that would be great!

Whilst I was looking I got distracted by their Beaumont Castle which looks absolutely gorgeous but we already have a castle (it isn't as fancy) but I thought it was worth sharing as it would be a beautiful gift for a young one.

With regards to buying for Giulietta I find her really easy, in fact I could buy her any of the GLTC kitchen wear, dolls houses, art equipment and find that she would be so happy with any of it. That said I really love their Dolls range. Etta got their Dolls Pram for her first birthday. They offer a different print now to what we have but it is such a gorgeous piece it would be nice to buy some more from that range to give her a 'looking after baby' set.
Not only do GLTC have good big toys on offer but they have wonderful little things, perfect for stocking fillers or small gifts to go under the tree!
Even their personalised swim bagsbook carts and their town bricks make perfect gifts for any age.

If I were to buy my own Christmas gifts I would probably look at getting some of their Gallery bookcases and would love to get a couple for all my interior and homes books. They would look so stylish all front facing where you can actually enjoy seeing their front covers rather than just seeing the spine. I would also love one of their desks; I am quite in the mood for creating an office space and their Oxford Desk is something I have wanted for ages now. It would look so nice sat in between two of the bookcases (can you tell I have already planned it in my head) and sat on their Grey Star rug, or their wide pink stripe rug, I can't decide!!
For me though, their furniture suits our house so much that any of their pieces would make me very happy.
What I love, and I have said this before, is that Great Little Trading Company strive to create a happy home and there is nothing that I find from their products that wouldn't do that. Being on their Testing team I have been privy to try out things and really see for ourselves just how good their products are, and just what a nice company they are, even the ones at the top. This family business have spent years creating and curating perfect home pieces and having any of their things in my home sure makes me happy.

They are well worth a look to help with your Christmas shopping.


*This is not a collaborative piece, I have not been payed to say this, I just really Love GLTC!!!

Also, Pictures all from GLTC website.

Monday, 21 November 2016

BDAGwears Ft. Giulietta's Angel's Face (And A Discount Code To Use)

What a perfect time of year to fall in love with knitwear! I mean how is it that the change in temperatures can bring such amazing clothing out and have so many nice things available for all ages. Our long running favourites Angel's Face have brought out the most beautiful knit and winter wear. I mean, as these guys always do, they have got me as the parent falling head over heels for their products and making everyone who Etta comes into contact with cooing over her in the same way due to the outstanding cuteness factor they they deliver so well with all their clothing.
Knitwear for Etta is a funny one really, she has nice cardigans but I can guarantee most of the time she takes them off and just wears her top or dress she would have underneath. It is just one of those things she has always done and I never try to spend too much on knitwear as I know it always comes off.

However that said, when I first saw these chunky knit ponchos I knew that they would look so gorgeous and be a perfect piece as an intermediate jacket for running around in. And boy was I right. Not only is this genuinely super cute but Etta keeps it on all day if she is wearing it and it has been perfect for pulling on for school runs or just trips out when you are only outside for a short time. It does however still fit under Etta's winter coat which makes it a great layer for a day outside. With the matching cameo blue chunky knit hat as an outfit it will actually make you go weak at the knees; so umbelieveable gorgeous and to make you want to literally cry with love, add the cameo blue fur snood!

As is the case with Angel's Face, I don't need to be wearing one of their tutus to feel like a princess, they seem to be able to channel that umbelieveably girly trait into all items they have and enable a child to feel absoultely gorgeous even on this occasion where she is still in jeans. Etta often asks to wear princess skirts and sometimes they are just not practical for our day, but as soon as she saw these she had the same reaction she would have had to a tutu, which I find a really beautiful compliment to the creators who are able to make her feel special in such nice practical wear. 

Fancy buying some Angel's Face for a sepecial little one? Use the code BRICKDUST for 10% off your order!! Expires 31/12/16!


*Post in collaboration with Angels Face

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Advent One....

I must say, this post has got me very excited! Not only am I keen to share this year's Advent ideas with you but as I have had to try and photograph things so secretively so that Etta hasn't noticed, it has been an actually fun, festive challenge. 
As I have mentioned recently, being a blogger means that you have to be on the ball, ready to share ideas quite a bit in advance of time so that you the reader also have time to prepare, so I feel this post is way advanced, but all the same, it is really nice thinking about advent and the journey to Christmas day.

For me, Advent and Lent are my favourite times of year. Most likely because I am a practising Catholic and both times of year are part of a journey to a pinnacle event that we fully believed happened. The Joy of Advent though is that there is also so much magic surrounding it and for children it is a truly wonderful time of year.

Over the past few years I have collected little bits and pieces to make advent an event. We have always had more than just an advent calender and this year it has massively jumped up a notch!
I think for me, I love to experiment and find new or better ways of doing something and as the children get older I suppose there are different experiences I want them to have, so changing a few advent pieces is a nice way to try something new. 
I will link to last years advent posts at the bottom of the page but this year I am going to be mainly focusing on two advent gifts for our home.

I love finding new shops on Instagram and when I came across South Wood Stores I fell in love with their quirky Scandinavian designs and pretty home products. Then when they got their Christmas stock in I knew I had to buy something!

That something was their wonderful Christmas Advent Calender. For £18 you get this huge canvas sheet, all numbered with little gold hoops ready for you to tie whatever you want to. This is a perfect piece which has so much versitility that you could have any kind of christmas advent theme running with it. This year I wanted it to be treats. Lots of little gifts for the kids to build up the excitement to Christmas day. The wrapped gifts are anything from a pair of pants to a new MOG's Christmas book and even some chattery teeth. I wanted this to be very much a gift idea as I have one other advent thing to do with the kids which is very different, but I will talk about that further down.

So this calender is all about the kids. At first I was going to try and combine little gifts with activities that had to be done, but actually I didn't have the time to think about them but it would be great to have a range of tasks to be completed. Each pretty parcel alternates child and as I said, is full of stocking fillers. Both children had a small reindeer from Jellycat (in the striped stockings from South Wood Stores) which was the most expensive gift in the set, then a Christmas book each, but then everything else was from Primark or Wilkos and were up to £3 in price. Gel pens, stickers, gloves, chocolates, glow sticks, just nick nacks that will make each day a little more exciting. 
The overall result is really amazing though and with the help of packaging from our local TKmaxx and Homesense, the parcels all together look amazing! 

Our new second advent practise involves some very special stockings from Little Maldod. This beautiful personalised stockings were just what I wanted to use to be part of my kindness project with the kids. This advent ritual will involve collecting gold chocolate coins for every good deed performed. 

I think it is really imporant at a time when our children are so lucky to receive so much that we teach them to give a lot more. Giving in time and help is a good place to start with children as giving doesn't always mean giving gifts. As they have their treat in the other advent calender this daily course of thinking about helping others is also something I want to instil. I have a bucket full of gold coins and I hope to run out as we process through the 24 days of December. Each good deed will be rewarded and I hope to have lots of conversations with the children about what these would be, like helping us at home or getting Raph to offer more at school. Maybe I will arrange to collect the paper for our neighbour just so we can actively do some good deeds and help others. I also got a stocking for Rob and I as I think it will be a good reflection for us to think away from our usual doings. I think as parents you could easily say that you do loads for others but I think sometimes it is tinged with negativity as it is a 'have to' rather than 'want to'. Hopefully it will throw up great conversations and as the stockings fill up over the weeks before christmas it will be a nice visual thing for the children to see their stockings of gold fill up because they have been so kind.

These are two of my ideas that will be being performed through December. I have a few others that I will get out from years past but I think I really want to focus on these as this year's special activites for advent. 
Something I want to really point out though is that it isn't just about each days treat or gift it is about the journey up to christmas day, That journey where we can think about others, our family and friends, and try to act as good people preparing ourselves for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. As that is what this is all about, Advent is the journey to better ourselves before the culmination of the great event that gives us Christmas. 

In previous years I have written about advent, http://brickdustandglitter.blogspot.co.uk/2015_11_01_archive.html?m=0
which offers more ideas for you to enjoy this season.

Also, don't forget to plan for Sinterklass which is another amazing Christmas celebration, I will remind you nearer the time but for preparation read my post on Sinterklass Celebration from last year.

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