Thursday, 27 October 2011

Christmas Gifts Ideas

At the beginning of the month, I've mentioned that I'll be working on a Christmas Gifts feature (see Christmas. Already?! ) Time flew by, I didn't manage to hit my initial target but here it is, finally!

I had a great time going through all the ideas I've found or were suggested to. There were soo many that I didn't want to limit to a particular number of recommendations. There will never be too many recommendations! So as long as I like them, they are functional (where it applies) or found them special,  quirky and/ or bonkers enough, I'll add them to my list. I hope you'll like them as much as I do. <3

Oh and I have split the following gifts in these sections:

For Babies
For Children
For Her
For Him
For Home/ Anyone
For The Gang
Charity

And there are some giveaways and discounts somewhere in this post too ;)

*Sorry about the uneven sized images, it means nothing but how bad my adjustment skills are.

For Babies:


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Baltic Amber Teething Necklace   £16.95
Harriet Kelsall Jewellery
Info: Smooth Baltic Amber nugget beads individually knotted (so if it breaks it won't be all over the floor)on a 32cm cotton string, with a plastic clasp that gives in if pulled before the child gets hurt. To be worn against the skin, under adults supervision, to release succinic acid into the baby's skin that provides natural pain relief and reduces cheeks' redness as well as dribbling; succinic acid is a natural acid that occur in all human body's cells. Not to be chewed on and remove when asleep. Made by multi award winning jeweller mainly known for their custom made amber engagement rings 

Me: I was introduced to the teething necklace by Harriet and it really fascinates me. I really like the idea as well as the necklace itself, it really looks good on the child! I have to agree that it does give boys the surfer look, which hubby loves! I tried to find a better picture of Clay with it but my dearie is so deliciously chubby you can only see a bit of the necklace. The necklace comes in a lovely gift box tied with a bow and a gift tag, so it can go straight under the tree!


Giveaway: Fancy winning 1 of 5 gorgeous Christmassy earrings from their Hematite Jewellery collection? Follow my blog and you'll soon find out how!


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Blossom Farm Whiskers Cat Pat Mat   £8.00 from Boots
ELC
Info: Encourage babies to touch and watch the floating characters, which introduce them to different senses and teach them hand to eye co-ordination; ideal to use in highchairs; 6mths+

Me: This is really cute and it caught Clay's attention. Shame he can't sit yet so I let him play on the floor with it. He couldn't get his eyes off the little floaters inside the mat! The cap has a little valve inside to stop water from leaking, which is great because Abby was a bit rough with it, pressing all over and such!


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Soft Shaker   USD5.99 (Click here for Munchkin stockists in the EU)
Munchkin
Info: A soft animal rattle with lots of colours, patterns, textures and sounds to keep babies entertained; easy to hold; 0+

Me: This shaker is really soft and cute! It stimulates babies' eyes and hearing, and every time Abby shakes it, Clay will turn to look. Great to keep the little ones busy, and another way to ask the todds to help looking after their younger siblings *grin*


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Sophie La Girafe Gift Box   £12.99
Vulli
Info: Multiple awards winning teething toy; soft and bumpy parts to soothe sore gums, and long legs for entire gum chewing or hard to reach molars; 100% natural rubber and food grade paints; light and easy to grip; dark spots provide visual stimulation, and squeaks when pressed to stimulate hearing; Comes with gift certificate; 0+

Me: The first time I met Sophie was when I saw my niece munching and chewing all over hers. I was fascinated by how much she loved the toy. Then I saw our mutual friends' son chewing on one too. Apparently it's a really famous teething toy that's given to all babies in France. And the trend seems to be catching in the UK as well.

Clay has been munching on almost anything he can get his little hands on, and when I passed him Sophie, he really went for it. I can't stop laughing every time I hear Sophie squeak or hear his gums grinding on it! He really likes it, just like his cousin and their friend! He even get upset when he dropped it. Maybe we don't see why they like it so much, but they really do!


For Children:


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Little Angels Bracelets   £9.99 - £12.99
Angels' Trinkets
Info: Handmade bracelets using Swarovski Elements and Sterling Silver, threads are 100% Silk; 15cm/6inches long

Me: Well, of course there are my handmade Swarovski Crystals jewellery! And I think they are absolutely stunning and will make the perfect gift for little Angels :) I'm happy to change the colours as well. Contact me for more details!


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Aquadoodle Animal Magic Sounds   £29.99
TOMY
Info: Mess free; draw with water pen; edge of mat is covered with colourful barnyard animals that will make sounds if you press the base of the pen onto the special buttons, which continue as you draw; 18mths+

Me: Abby had a great time scribbling on this Aquadoodle mat, making lots of animal noises as she went. I think it's a great way to encourage kids who aren't too keen in drawing to draw. Even my hubby is fascinated by it and has been trying to figure out how it works (Men!) I'm just happy that I don't have to pack up the mess after, because there isn't any!


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Fufris Funny Rabbit   £14.99
IMC Toys
Info: Squeeze its hand and it will start laughing, rolling around and letting off cheeky raspberries; made of soft fur; 18mths+

Me: When I first saw this rabbit I thought, oh just a silly laughing rabbit. But when I took it out, watched it laugh and roll around, blowing raspberries (me and Abby thought that the rabbit farted haha!), I couldn't help but laugh, and I couldn't stop! It's soft enough to cuddle as well. I think it would make a great gift for someone who can do with a good laugh!


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The Ultimate Thermal Socks   £6.00 
Heat Holders
Info: Made with extra heavy bulky yarn and extra long pile cushioning to increase thermal tog rating; it's brushed intensively inside to hold more warm air

Me: Remember the cold winter we had last year? We went everywhere and couldn't find any decent pair of thermal socks that's affordable. We ended up buying a pair of snow boots for Abby instead. If only if I have heard about these! They are really thick and warm, and perfect too for wellies. Abby was given size 9-1.5 to try, but it wasn't a problem at all for her size 6.5 feet as these socks doesn't limit them to a shape (ie, it doesn't have a heel part) which I think is great, she can wear them for as long as she can!



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Pipi Max   £25.00
IMC Toys
Info: Fully remote controlled, walks, barks, slurps as it drinks real water, and pees when he needs; 3yrs+

Me: Very cute doggy! It's really funny watching its tongue sticking out into the bowl to lick the water, and then lift up his short stubby foot to pee! Yes, what goes in must come out! Abby's reaction was so cute, she said she didn't want Pipi to pee all over the place! Who's the mummy now?!


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Sleepy Head Pillow - Bunny   £15.00
Twisted Twee
Info: Embroidered stitching on soft cotton gingham; order comes with a reusable bag

Me: Funny and absolutely loved by Abby (asked me everyday when she can start using it). Makes a great and fun gift for the little ones and their little ones! (And hopefully it will teach the kids that their head is suppose to be on the pillow but not at the other end of the bed!)


For Her:


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Jewellery   Earrings   £5.99 - £9.99   Bracelets   £14.99 - £24.99
Angels' Trinkets
Info: Handmade jewellery using Swarovski Elements and Sterling Silver, threads are 100% Silk; bracelets are 19cm/7.5inches long, earrings varies depending on the design

Me: My handmade Swarovski Crystals jewellery. I can change them to a more Christmassy colour if you prefer. These Swarovski crystals really sparkle, perfect for someone who loves sparkly things


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Barely There - Pearls Mobile Phone Case   £14.99
Case Mate
Info: Featuring an iridescent shimmer over pastel shades; best selling Barely There cases which are slim and sleek to show off more of your phone with the minimal case; hard shell plastic; impact resistant

Me: Love the shimmer!Really good quality case which fits just right, and they have a huge range for any latest phones too!


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Crystal Crush After Dark Lip gloss   £3.99 each
Miners Cosmetics
Info: 3D lip gloss with semi-transparent base and a flash of colour combined with contrasting glitter particles; from left to right (left picture) Glass Slipper, Midnight Hour, Moonshine, Champagne Shimmer, Cosmic Kiss, Twilight

Me: The lip glosses are really attractive, sparkling in their bottles. They shimmer nicely on my lips and my favourite is Cosmic Kiss! Now I have something else to fight over with Abby. It's very easy to apply and not as gloopy and sticky than others, and really moisturising too! My normally dry lips remain soft even after eating. The bottle itself is quite light in weight and the size is perfect for small purses, ie great for bringing it with you for a night out!


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Deep Red Resin Pendant Earrings   £10.00
KT Lou Designs
Info: Handmade

Me: These are lovely earrings. The colour changes from different angles which is really mesmerising. I love the Ruby colour which is festive yet classy.


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Frosted Mulberry Murano Heart Pendant   £26.00
Martick Jewellery
Info: Award winning fashion designer jewellery in Sterling Silver, complemented by Mulberry colour frosted Murano Glass Heart pendant; handmade in London by professionally trained jewellers

Me: Simple yet elegant, a really lovely necklace that looks great on anyone! I love the chain that comes with it as well, very sparkly! Abby stole mine, will need to find a way to get it back!


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Gourmet Getaway Mini Lunch Tote   £25.00 from John Lewis
BUILT
Info: Insulating (up to 4 hrs) lunch tote with no vinyl nor PVC; made from neoprene (wetsuit material)

Me: A very cute, modern and quirky lunch tote which I'm gonna use as a daily tote! Will sure look great when I go out! The insulation works perfectly as well, guaranteed a nice cold drink or yummy warm meal.



The picture on the right has a laptop inside, can you see?? Click to enlarge















Laptop Sleeve (12-13")   £25.48   from Gearzap
BUILT
Info: Made from stain resistant 5mm elastic neoprene (wetsuit material) with soft inner lining; hourglass design to secure laptop in place

Me: This is great! It looks cool, nice modern bold colours and it's easy to hold. It fits perfectly so the laptop isn't sliding all over the place. My hubby likes it so much he's considering stocking for the staffs at the company he's working at! Obviously it's not just a For Her product ;)


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Pink Feather Resin Set Pendant Necklace   £30.00
KT Lou Designs
Info: Creates the image of a feather and hangs on a silver plated chain

Me: Apologies for the picture on the left, the weather this month is so unpredictable! It is in fact a really lovely and eye catching necklace. An elegant design for those who like to make a statement!


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Shipwreck Silver Fish Pendant and Chain   £45.00
Martick Jewellery
Info: Inspired by Ibo island's ancient but highly skilled method of making silver jewellery; decorated with 'shipwreck' glass beads, which has been washed up many Indian ocean islands; These glass beads were originally made in Venice and Holland for trade purposes and now have the weathered patina of bottle glass that only long rolling in the waves can effect 

Me: I love products that has a story behind, and this is one of them. It's simple yet detailed, and I think will suit those with nature in mind. I love the idea that the beads were once lying in the bottom of the sea, and slowly found their way back to land. Could they once belong to pirates??!


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The Ultimate Thermal Socks   from £7.00
Heat Holders
Info: Made with extra heavy bulky yarn and extra long pile cushioning to increase thermal tog rating; it's brushed intensively inside to hold more warm air

Me: These are fab for my ever so cold feet! I remember last year's winter my feet were so cold I could feel how cold they were (does that make any sense?!), and even double socks won't help. Surprisingly, once I tried these on, my feet were instantly warm. I gotta buy some for my parents as it's so cold in Hong Kong!


For Him:


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ContiComfortKit   £59.99
Continental
Info: Quick and simple temporary puncture repair system; 12V compressor and liquid sealant combined in a compact unit; backlit instruction display and illuminated pressure gauge; can last for 120 miles at 50mph

Me: This is a fantastic product to replace a heavy spare tyre in the car, and is perfect for someone who's in a rush or who isn't hands on (perfect for a lady who can't change tyre). It's really easy to use, you just need to connect the pipe to the tyre valve, and the power cable to the cigarette lighter. Then turn the orange bit 90 degrees up so it's standing on the floor (obviously the back compressor bit lying flat). Switch it on and let it repair your tyre, and you can get back on the road in no time.

I admit I haven't tried this out as there is no way I'm gonna puncture our car tyre to test this repair kit which only seals the hole temporary. But I put it here on my guide because I think it's awesome, and my hubby couldn't wait to put it in his car!



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Game Wear - Footie Pitch   £22.00
Twisted Twee 
Info: Enable knackered dads to sprawl on the floor asleep and still play with their kids; Printed with an 8 colour silk screen; Order comes with a reusable bag

Me: I chose this product cos I know it would be perfect for dads (or even granddads!), for example, my hubby! Wouldn't it be heaven for you if you can just sleep and still entertain your little monkeys? I do recommend you wearing it the other way round if you have a bit of a tum ;p


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Hand Warmers   £4.95 a pair   (shop launches in November)
Beautiful Things by Claire Mackaness
Info: Handmade small wheat filled pillows to keep your hands warm; microwave for 30seconds to 2 minutes, place in coat pockets and hold on tight; order through Facebook or Email

Me: These are lovely, easy to use, and reusable as well. Just pop them in the microwave, which took me only about 30 seconds at 700W to get them hot. Just be careful not to burn your hands. And they aren't just for the guys!


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KeyTool   £4.99   FireStash   £6.99   sciXors   £4.99   FlashStash   £9.99
True Utility
Info:
KeyTool - patented tool that has won the Gift of the Year 2011 award; it's a 8 function key-ring multi-tool that wraps around a key; It is a bottle opener, 3 screwdriver heads (including 1 for your glasses), nail file, nail cleaner, thread cutter and sprung tweezers.
FireStash - waterproof miniature lighter that fits on your key-ring
sciXors - mini sprung scissors with quick release pin clip.
FlashStash - waterproof flashlight with a secret storage capsule at the back that comes with a CashClip

Me: I offered hubby to take a look at these when he came home. The gadget guy immediately took over and went through them. He has totally forgotten to put down his laptop bag (which in my opinion weighs a ton!), they were that cool! He took it to work the next day and his colleagues were fascinated about them too!

I especially love the KeyTool, it's amazing, and by fitting it around a key it protects the clumsy men from hurting themselves



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Potty Putter - Toilet Mat Golf   £11.99
Find Me A Gift
Info: Putting green is made from the same professional carpet found at mini golf courses; comes with a cup with a flag, 2 golf balls, a putter and a 'Do Not Disturb' door hanger

Me: Well, what can I say? I spotted this on their website while browsing for something else. It took no effort to catch my eyes and without thinking I requested for it. Come to think of it, we only have one toilet in this house. I might need to remove the lock just in case someone decided to stay there for too long!


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Speaker Blanket   £15.00
Sound Asleep
Info: Anti-pill fleece blanket with arms and has removable built-in speakers in the hood. Comes with fleece bag to hold the blanket inside; plug the speakers into your music player

Me: This brings slanket to the next level! It is cool and warm (whaa?) and the sound is actually not bad! Well, on my Samsung Galaxy S2 at least. Apparently the sound on iPhone 3GS is crap not powerful enough. It keeps little children entertained as well as it's so big. Abby used it as a tent/ hideout.


For Home/ Anyone:


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Christmassy Teas   £3.99 - £4.49
teapigs
Info: Chai tea is a rich, malty Assam tea blended with cardamom pods, cinnamon, ginger and cassia; Chocolate Flake tea contains bits of chocolate that melts into your cup; Spiced winter red tea is a blend of orange, cloves and cinnamon on a red tea base and is caffeine free

Me: The selection of the teas above are surprisingly good. The Chai tea reminded me most of Christmas, but not as overpowering as some others and is very easy to drink. We love the Chocolate Flake tea, it might sound weird but when you drink it it just work so well together! For some reason it smells like Baileys, but really, the more we drink it, the more we love it! The Spiced winter red tea is like a lighter version of the Chai tea, and it's caffeine free so perfect for the cosy nights, and since I'm breast feeding, it's guilt free for me too!


Discount: from now till 31st October 2011, you can enjoy a 15% off discount on their website (except gifts and cheeky deals) here with this code - NEWSITE11  !



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Family Calendar 2012   £9.99
Lakeland
Info: Each month has column space for up to five people's engagements, plus a handy pocket for party invites, appointment cards etc.

Me: I have bought a lot of Calendar's in my life, and tried all styles available, but this has to be the best I've ever used! I've bought one last year and I just love it that it has a column for each family member. It saved me from scribbling every family member's name on one small box. It makes organising appointments that much easier as we can make sure (by comparing each columns) we don't double book them on the same day. Also, I never lose relevant information anymore now that I can just put it inside the monthly pockets. I think all family should have one of these at home!


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Fine Markers £4.25 - £12.50
Sharpie
Info: Quick drying fine permanent markers that can write on almost anything; is fade and water resistant

Me: I really like these markers, plenty of colours to choose from, and they are really nice to write or draw with. The tip size is just right, and the colour is solid. I think they'll be great as a stocking filler, or a lovely present for the arty-crafty (I've just learnt a new word!) person.



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Giant Flowering Tea Bulb - Thousand Year Red   From £6.00
Choi Time
Info: Woven with the finest quality white needle green tea around a Globe Amaranth flower; each bulb make 5-12 infusions; Choi Time has won the Artisan Teas Great Taste Gold award in 2007 and 2009

Me: Look at that bulb! And it flowers as well in you cup (bowl this time for illustration)! I was too eager to try it out I've forgotten to take my 'before' picture hehe. Not only is it festive and fun, the tea is very nice to drink as well, smooth and not over powering. Definitely good quality Chinese tea!


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Gift Wrap Storage Bag   £14.95
The Handpicked Collection
Info: There are ten external pockets, a huge central one, and a draw-string closure

Me: Before I've received this product, I had 2 big paper bags full of gift wraps and craft. Now? It all fit into this one bag, and it has all these side pockets around it for tidying and organising the smaller things! Definitely one of those where you'll ask yourself: Why didn't I think of it?!


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Gingerbread   Man - £6.00   House - £12.50
Bespoke Foods
Info: Authentic German gingerbread; includes ready-made icing and sweets for decoration; house comes with edible Santa

Me: These gingerbread products are fantastic and delicious (Yes, for your sake, we took a bite off the Man's foot, now we'll have a disabled gingerbread man for Xmas lol)! It's chewie, and sweet, with a hint of spices. I was just about to take another nibble from Abby's tiny bit but she refused to give it up. The Gingerbread man measures a great 10.5" from head to toe, and the house includes picture illustration on how to assemble it together. Can't wait to make these with Abby!


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Skin Spa Bag Set   £15.00
Baylis & Harding
Info: Steam Shower Body Cleanser (300ml), Body Cream (200ml), Body Polisher, white leather  alike toiletry bag; Infused with rose, ylang ylang and patchouli, giving a luxury spa experience at home

Me: This range smells exotic and divine. It reminded me of drinking green tea in a zen like room! Perfect for those who need a wind down at the end of a busy day


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Sweet Mandarin and Grapefruit Box Gift Set   £25.00
Baylis & Harding
Info: Body Wash (500ml), Bath Creme (500ml) and Body Lotion (200ml); most popular range; contains vitamin A, B and C extracts

Me: I really like this range of products. They smell fabulous! I especially love the body lotion, which is easy to absorb, non greasy and OMG it leaves my skin instantly smooth and soft! If only if they do facial skin care!


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Wooden Angel White (8cm) on a Ribbon   £4.50
Posh Graffiti
Info: Hand carved from light weight albizia wood, covered with white gesso plaster and finished with non-toxic water based paint, giving it an antique chalky white appearance with some yellow patina caused by the natural wood base; Can be painted further

Me: A lovely Angel ready to be hung up for Christmas. I decided to keep it plain as I don't trust our painting skill well enough to make it prettier than it already is! Will look great between all the greens and reds and gold in my tree!


For the Gang:


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Dobble   £12.99   from Amazon UK
Esdevium Games
Info: A visual perception card game in which players race to find the one matching symbol between 2 cards, training their speed, observation and reflexes; 50 symbols, 55 cards, 8 symbols per card and always only 1 symbol shared between any 2 cards; 5 ways of playing; 6yrs+, 2-8 players

Me: A word of advice? Drink plenty of water! Honey water if you have! Instead of calling out the words, we screamed it out, like that would make it faster *roll eyes* We were left with sore throats and tired cheeks from all the laughing! Really impressed with the design, there really is only 1 matching symbol per 2 cards! On top of being a great game for playing with the gang, it's also great for the little ones to develop their observation skills. I bet the developers never thought that their game can be for Early Learning as well huh?



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Jungle Speed   £14.99 from Amazon UK
Esdevium Games
Info: Each player is dealt a stack of cards, the first one to get rid of all their cards wins. Each player take turn to open their cards and the 2 whose cards matches have to quickly snatch the totem that's sitting in the middle. Whoever lost get the winner's stack of opened cards; special cards to change the game play, make all players grab the totem at once or add difficulty; 7yrs+, 3-15players

Me: This has to be the most stressful yet hilarious game I've ever played! It really put your speed and reflex skills to the test. This game will fill the quiet Christmas nights with laughter and most likely swear words. Just remember one thing, never, EVER grab the totem by mistake *sob*


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Twister - Chocolate Edition   £10.00
Bespoke Foods 
Info: Made from finest Belgium Chocolate; Pick your move using the chocolate pieces, twist, and the winner gets to eat the chocolate

Me: I was intrigued when I heard about this, an edible game! And that chocolate was heavenly! (Yes, again, I get one piece less to play with for Xmas!) I think it will make a great party game for Xmas, just watch out for sneaky hands and mouths!


Charity:

I've created a charity section here out of good cause, as I think that it would be nice to share some of our festive moments with those who are in need. As there are so many charity organisations out there, I doubt I'll be able to list every one of them here, so I'll just choose 10 that I know as examples, but please do choose whichever you prefer to help out.

Don't forget that it's Breast Cancer Campaign's Wear it Pink Day tomorrow (28th October), show your support here

British Red Cross - helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are

Comic Relief - strives to create a just world free from poverty (donate by buying products listed here during a non fundraising period) 

Oxfam - working with others to overcome poverty and suffering

Make-A-Wish UK - grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses

NSPCC - End cruelty to children in the UK

Railway Children - Fight for children living on the streets

RSPCA - prevention of cruelty to animals

Samaritans - confidential emotional support service for anyone in the UK and Ireland

SPANA - cares for the working animals of the World

UNICEF - to champion children's rights everywhere in the World


Disclosure: I was given all of the above samples to try out and keep; all opinions are honest and my own and only those I like to recommend are listed in the guide