Monday, 6 November 2017

Christmas Gifts Guide 2017


It's that time of the year again! We started enjoying the festivity since the beginning of October, to find, try and test a range of Christmas gifts that we are happy to recommend* to you. There are also products that we have tested since the beginning of the year and think that are worth recommending as we really enjoyed them, and think that they'll make great gifts.

There are a lot more toys and games this year, especially games, but there are some really lovely gifts for adults and forever young at heart ones too. So please sit down, relax and enjoy. I hope there will be plenty of gifts here for you to include in your Christmas shopping list.

As usual, I have a great giveaway at the end of this guide and it's really easy to enter, so don't miss out on a chance to get an extra Christmas gift this year!

* Many toys and games couldn't make it onto this guide because we've received them after the testing period, but they are amazing nonetheless (we are really impressed with several of them!), such as the Hot Wheels tracks reviewed last week and many more that will be reviewed through November/ December. So please do keep your eyes out for the reviews as well as I know you and your child will love them!


Picture Banner for This is Life's Christmas Gifts Guide 2017 featuring a black and red gradient background with golden stars

This Christmas Gifts Guide is split into the following sections:

Stocking Fillers/ Under £10
Toddlers
Imaginative Play
Arts & Crafts
LEGO
(Decided to give one of our favourite brands their own section. Not sponsored, just love)
Games
Nintendo
(A section for another one of our favourite brand. Not sponsored, just love)
Tech/ Gadgets
Subscriptions
Home (including food and stationery)
Giveaway

- Red Links under each product will take you to a stockist or the brand's official website.
- Expand pictures by clicking on them for better quality and details
- Products are listed in alphabetical order in each section


Stocking Fillers/ Under £10

A picture of the Aqua Coconut Shy Bath game contents laid out on white floorboard

Find out more about the under £10 Aqua Coconut Shy Bath Game in the Game section


A joint image with Clayton holding a Hatchimals CollEGGtibles 4 eggs pack on the left, and the right showing an opened Hatchimals CollEGGtibles blind pack to show the contents inside

A picture of 9 hatched Hatchimals CollEGGtibles creatures and their egg shells on a blue table


(Launch unboxing video above)

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles by Spin Master
(£2.99 per blind pack, £4.99 for 2 and a nest, £9.99 for 4 plus 1 already hatched; suitable for 5 years +)

We love the idea that you can hatch these cute little Hatchimals CollEGGtibles from their pretty speckled eggs with love! The kids still enjoy hatching them now and there is always "oohs" and "aahs" when they are hatching the eggs.

There are many to collect, and if the collector has already completed a tribe, they can swap their unhatched eggs (the spots on the shell will indicate which tribe it belongs to) with their friends too.

These eggs will fit nicely in stockings, and you can also buy the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles The Hatchery Nursery playset as as Christmas present to go with the stocking filler (or the other way round)!

You can find out more about the playset, which we think is a fantastic collectibles' playset, below in the Imaginative Play section.


A picture of Abby sitting on the floor while holding a L.O.L. Surprise series 2 ball, and the contents of the ball featured on a white floorboard floor on the picture next to it

A picture of Abby sitting on the floor while holding a L.O.L. Surprise Lil Sister series 2 ball, and the contents of the ball featured on a cream carpetted floor on the picture next to it

L.O.L. Surprise Dolls and L.O.L Surprise Lil Sisters by MGA Entertainment
(RRP £9.99 and RRP £5.99 respectively; seriess 2 for both are available now; suitable for 6 years +)

Click the links for our full review and more pictures for L.O.L Surprise Dolls 2 and L.O.L Surprise Lil Sisters

Abby loves the L.O.L Surprise dolls because she gets to unwrap several little surprises from each ball (7 items in the L.O.L Surprise and 5 in the Lil Sisters), and "unzipping" each layer gives her some sort of satisfaction! She also likes to put the dolls together with their items, and then finding out whether the doll she received will cry, spit, change colour or tinkle (I know!).

The L.O.L Surprise Dolls' ball acts as a stand for the dolls as well as a carry bag, but we love the L.O.L Surprise Lil Sisters' balls more as they can be hung on bags like keyrings.

L.O.L Surprise Lil Sisters are a smaller version of the full size mini dolls in L.O.L Surprise Dolls Series 2, which we think is a really cute idea. Having the smaller version also makes it more affordable to collect. They are both perfect as stocking fillers though!



Under £10 (each) LEGO collectible sets, and so cute too! You can find out more about them in the LEGO section below.




(Unboxing and review video above)

Nickelodeon Liquid Lava Putty by Addo Play
(RRP £5 for each 50g tin, suitable for 3 years +; the full collection can be found at The Entertainers)

Slime is very big at the moment and the Nickelodeon Liquid Lava Putty has a full range of different type of slimes that can certainly satisfy anyone's need for them! There are the Colour Illusion (chameleon-like colour shifting) and Bright Colour (Neon colours) ones that the kids have unboxed and reviewed on YouTube, as well as colour changing ones, glow in the darks, metallics and a transparent one, which you can use to add other things to like beads, foam balls, glitters, colouring, fragrance etc to make your own unique Liquid Lava Putty!

When done playing with them, you can easily store them back into the tins for another day as well.

Slime nowadays aren't the same as the gooey gross ones the kids play with, in fact they can be a great therapeutic medium. Each type of Nickelodeon's Liquid Lava Putty has a different texture as well, as you can see in the video, and the Bright Colour Flame Orange even smells nice. So I think these will be great for adults and children alike.





Num Noms Collectibles by MGA Entertainment
(£3 per mystery pack, £4 for lights mystery pack, £10 starter packs; suitable for 3 years +)

Click on the link to find all our Num Noms reviews

Another one of our all time favourite collectibles since their release is the Num Noms scented collectibles! They each have a very kawaii face, the Nums smells yummy, looks pretty, are squishy and stackable, and the Noms comes in a variety of types (running ones, light up ones, lip gloss, nail polish, and erasers), making us (that includes me) want to have them all!

Each new series always come with clever and fun ideas, which extends to their packaging as well, so it never gets boring to collect them.

The mystery packs are perfect to fit into stockings, although you might need a bigger one for the starter packs!

There are several playsets released for Num Noms, which can be used to craft things too! You can find out more about the latest Num Noms Nail Polish Maker in the Arts & Crafts section below.




Num Noms Surprise in a Jar by MGA Entertainment
(£10 each, suitable for 3 years +; they are out in stores and online now, although stock is running out really fast!)

Click on the link for our full review and more pictures for Num Noms Surprise in a Jar

Read our recommendation for Num Noms Collectibles above and you will know how much we love Num Noms! When we discovered the plush versions, we knew we had to have them!

Each soft and adorable plush comes stored inside cute jars that can be used as a money bank or storage for the Num Noms Collectibles (there is a slid in the jar for coins or for you to sniff the Num Noms Collectibles!), or any other things you can think of (Abby used hers to store her Instasnow). The plush are bigger than we thought, and smells absolutely yummy! They also look exactly the same as their correspondent Num Noms Collectible (you can see the pictures for these in our full review).

We love ours and the kids are waiting to release their Num Noms plush on Christmas day (I get to release mine now of course). They won't fit into stockings (big sacks will do!), but are under £10 (unless you buy them on Amazon or Ebay) and will make really cute, cuddly and nice smelling Christmas gifts (the 2 out of their jars are still smelling yummy).

Num Noms Surprise in a Jar are already out of stock in a few places last I checked and are marked as discontinued (I'm not sure when the new series will be out), so don't wait for too long if they are on your Christmas shopping list!




Star Wars The Last Jedi Porg Keyring by Paladone
(RRP £5.99)

Star Wars The Last Jedi movie isn't out until December but their merchandise, such as the porgs  (I'm guessing they are like the new Ewoks?) ones are already a hit! Porgs are creatures found on the island where Rey found Luke Skywalker in the end of the previous episode, but what role do they play in the new movie?

While we are waiting to find out in December, Clay has already fallen in love with this cute porg keyring, and has been showing it off at school. He didn't really know what it was though and hence has been calling it a penguin (I told him in the morning of that day that it's NOT a penguin, but I guess I made it worse) or pork. Maybe he will get it right after the movie.

The keyring is cute, will fit into most stockings and I'm sure will be liked by Star Wars fans.


Toddlers






Rainbow Route Railway & Station Set by Hape
(RRP £74.95, suitable for 18 months +)

How impressive is this set?! It is like 6 toys in 1! For those who wants to buy something fun that also encourage development, this playset really covers it. It is made from quality child safe and sustainable materials, and comes with:

  • Tambourine Tune Track, Xylophone Melody Track, Bead Maze Rainbow Track, Colour and Shape Sorting Track
  • magnet connected 4 parts train, 3 animal blocks that can be placed on the train, 2 wooden trees and 8 colourful train tracks
  • 6 wooden blocks with 1 that rattles

I really love the quality of the set. Each wooden piece is very smooth, the track fits easily together, colour is vibrant, and you can also tell that the toy tracks included were carefully chosen to cover a wide range of skill development, while being different to keep little ones entertained.

They all connect perfectly by the train, which goes around the track, stopping at each stop for the animals to have fun. And when little hands push/ pull the train over the tambourine tune and xylophone melody tracks, they make pretty tinkling sounds.

A buildable station is also included so that when little ones are tired from pulling the train around the track, they can sit down and play with the animals and building blocks. Every piece are perfect for little hands to hold, and if they choose to chew it, the paint used is child safe non-toxic too.

I gifted the set to a friend's little girl and her baby brother after taking pictures and having a play to get a feel of it, and I heard that she really likes it! Look at how cute it is with her sitting in the middle!


Right: Picture taken at Toy Fair back in January 2017. Packaging might be slightly different now

In the Night Garden Pull-Along Ninky Nonk Wobble Train by Golden Bear
(RRP £24.99, suitable for 18 months +)

When I saw the new In the Night Garden Pull-Along Ninky Nonk Wobble Train at the Toy Fair, it brought back a lot of memories.

Clay used to have a Ninky Nonk train (although not a pull-along and much smaller) when he was a toddler, and it was his absolute favourite toy for a long period of time. It was also one of his first toys that he would sleep with (he's not bothered with how hard the toys are). He would actually take it to bed, but this is the only picture I found:


In the Night Garden is a classic baby and toddler show that makes little ones happy year after year, and this year Golden Bear even released an In the Night Garden baby range (which is gorgeous by the way!).

With the memory ours has created for us, and the new In the Night Garden toys out, I want to give it a place as one of my recommendation to spread the love. I chose the Pull-along Ninky Nonk Wobble train because that was Clay's favourite, but I saw the other characters at the Toy Fair and they were all great and look just like the actual characters in the show.

If we can go back in time, I would rather get Clay the Pull-Along Ninky Nonk Wobble train (Ninky Nonk has to wobble of course), as it will hold together to be a pull-along, but can still be split apart as individual carriages to be played with individually. It's really cute to see little ones play with their favourite character while watching the show at the same time!


Imaginative Play



PJ Masks Headquarters Playset by Just Play
(RRP £49.99, suitable for 3 years +)

Follow the link to our full review for PJ Masks Headquarters Playset

PJ Masks is big this year, and although there are plenty of new PJ Masks merchandise out now, we definitely recommend PJ Masks Headquarters Playset for Christmas! There is lots of fun to be had with this big playset, and if you get the figures for Owelette and Gekko, or even the figure pack that includes pets and villains as well, the kids can do a full role-play with it!

The control centre has sound and light, and will play theme tune, phrases and theme song. I have included a short demo clip in the full review with some examples.

Clay loves the playset and has added the figure pack to his Christmas wishlist!





Hatchimals CollEGGtibles - The Hatchery Nursery Playset by Spin Master
(RRP £29.99, suitable for 5 years +)

Read our full review through the link Hatchimals CollEGGtibles The Hatchery Nursery.

We think that The Hatchery Nursery playset is one of the better collectibles playset because there are 35 places for the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles to play in at one time (you can have even more around the playset of course). When you have over a dozen playing together, the already very colourful Hatchery Nursery becomes really lively and fun.

While the Hatchimals CollEGGtibles are playing, you can also hatch an egg in the middle! The rising flower will crack the egg for you, but you still get the fun to release the creature inside by peeling the shells.

This will be the perfect Christmas gift for all Hatchimals CollEGGtibles collectors!







Bush Baby World Dream Tree by Golden Bear
(RRP £49.99, suitable for 4 years +)

The Bush Baby World Dream Tree, which is the centre of the Bush Baby World, comes with the tree that has 5 seats for Bush Babies to sit on, light up flower crown (requires 2 x AAA batteries not included), exclusive Bush Baby Nikki with her Sleepy Pod, a swing seat and flower basket lift

It's very easy to assemble the Bush Baby World Dream Tree, which is sturdy and chunky so it's safe for little ones to play with. With 2 more hooks to hang extra Bush Baby Sleepy Pods (these come with leaf doors to close the pod so that Bush Babies can sleep inside), you can have up to 10 Bush Babies in the tree at one time!

The Bush Babies themselves are cute, really soft and cuddly, and you can make their eyes and ears wiggle and waggle by moving your finger in the little gap behind their heads, which is normally hidden so it won't look out of place. You can watch the short clip above to see Bush Baby Nikki's funny expressions.

We all love how cute and cuddly Bush Baby Nikki is, and to giggle at her funny expressions! Bush Babies range from £7.99 to £12.99 (with Sleepy Pod), so you can always include another Bush Baby (or more!) to have them play together.


Arts & Crafts




Blopens Glitteer Studio by John Adams
(RRP £24.99, suitable for 6 years +)

Read our full review here for Blopens Glitter Studio

Blopens are so fun to "paint" with! With non-toxic ink, washable pen containers, beautiful airbrush effect, lots of pretty stencil designs, sparkly glitter, small projects and an eco-friendly easel, Blopens Glitter Studio is perfect for those who love amazing arty effects straight away.

Abby did her picture within minutes, and I was really surprised how fast she came up with such a beautiful piece (although she forgot that she had to remove the stencil after!) She layered a few colours together, and it looks quite dreamy! The glitters added a lovely sparkle to the picture too.

Talking about the glitter, the glue and glitter pens from the kit are perfect for crafters as they have a fine tip (and are refillable too). So they are currently under my possession! I might be reluctant to give it back to them.




Chocolate Sprinkle Stix by John Adams
(RRP £21.99, suitable for 6 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures for Chocolate Sprinkle Stix here

A fantastic child-safe chocolate melting pot and a combination of chocolate, sprinkles and bread sticks that you can put together in no time, what's not to love? The maker is very colourful, and it's fun to watch sprinkles swirling around inside the dome too.

You can use all sorts of edible sprinkles for this, such as edible glitter, coloured sugar, small icing flowers or balls, just make sure that they are small and light enough.

If you have tried to melt or even temper chocolate before, you'll know that it's not an easy nor consistent task. You might get some weird patterns on the chocolate, or even mould looking blooms (they are edible but not very nice). However, I got some really good and consistent results with John Adams' chocolate melting pots and containers. They are of course child safe too with no hot water in sight for them to touch.

This will certainly be a fun and yummy craft for the kids to do this Christmas.





Gel-a-Peel Fashion Station by MGA Entertainment
(RRP £29.99, suitable for 8 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link Gel-a-Peel Fashion Station

Gel-a-Peel silicone gels have been one of our favourite crafting medium lately. You can pipe pretty shapes like you do with icing (although not edible like icing), they have a great range of colours in different styles (pearlescent, sparkly, neon, glow in the dark and the new colour changing and duel colour range), and you can use them to make almost anything - jewellery, accessories, ornaments and charms, decorate phone cases, bags and trinket boxes, etc. With the Fashion Station, you can even do 2D designs on T-shirts, make your own clutch bags and so on.

When we opened the box, we were extremely excited about the number of silicone stencils and moulds we get from the set! I have been favouring silicone mats and moulds because they are very durable, non stick and easy to clean, so they make the perfect tools for crafting. Seeing so many coming in one kit was a real surprise!

You can use the Fashion Station to make clutch bags, or remove the top panel and clip it on a t-shirt to stencil one of the lovely patterns on (see more in our full review). We also love that it stores everything in the staiton, so you can keep your craft area tidy.



Pixelo Neon Kit by John Adams
(RRP £18.99, suitable for 6 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link Pixelo Neon

A really handy tool to help kids create a dotty effect artwork that safes time with gorgeous results! The Pixelo pen when switched on will move fast so all you have to do is go around the area you want dotting in to fill it up. You can overlap 2 different colours, and create shades and highlighted area by adding more or less dots in it. You can also give your artwork a brush stroke effect by holding the Pixelo pen differently (see more in our full review).

The Pixelo Neon Kit comes with 7 markers and 10 neon colouring sheets to keep kids busy this Christmas!




Project MC² H²O Nail Science Kit by MGA Entertainment
(RRP £24.99, suitable for 8 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through this link Project MC2 H2O Nail Science Kit

Who knew that there is so much science behind a nail art? With the Project MC² H²O Nail Science Kit, kids or adults alike can get different marbling effect on their nails, while learning about how the effect is possible by dripping nail polish into water, and coating it on your nails. Our full review has some usual tips too.

The kit also has a dryer, and there is even a mood light under the water container, so it'll be perfect for sleepovers/ playdates!






Num Noms Nail Polish Maker Set by MGA Entertainment
(RRP £39.99, suitable for 6 years +)
Read our full review and see more pictures through the link Num Noms Nail Polish Maker

Another set perfect for those who love to do their nails, but this one allows you to make your own nail polish, which smells absolutely yummy!

This is definitely the set to get for Num Noms fans this Christmas, because it also act as a playset for the Num Noms Scented Collectibles (a 2 sided cafe serving fruity milkshakes). It comes with an exclusive Num, 3 Nom containers to hold your newly created nail polishes with banana, blueberry and strawberry scents that you can mix to create your own fruity mix.

The nail polishes are very pearly, and you can add your own glitter to them too, which makes them great for Christmas and New Year parties. You can also mix a variety of colours using the 3 prime colours, like our Cinderella Blue (see full review), teal and lilac. There is enough ingredients for you to make more than 3 nail polishes, so plenty of opportunity to get experimenting.

Once you've made your nail polish, there are plastic stick on nails you can paint on if you prefer, and you can also stick little nail stickers on them too.

However you choose to play with it, there is plenty of fun to be had with this set.


LEGO



The LEGO Batman Movie - The Scuttler by LEGO
(RRP £84.99, suitable for 9 years +)

Read our full review for LEGO Batman Movie The Scuttler through the link, where you can also find many other The LEGO Batman Movie merchandise reviews

Have you seen the LEGO Batman Movie? We absolutely love the Scuttler in the show, but we are even more impressed with the construction set! The arms are extendable, it can house Batman in the head and has a compartment in the rear to hold Batman's jetpack and weapon.

The set also comes with 6 LEGO minifigures (Batman, young Robin, Barbara Gordon, Commisioner Gordon, The Joker and Poison Ivy), which more or less covers the main characters from the movie!

Although it's all about the LEGO Ninjago Movie now (I have something for that too below!), this set is definitely a brilliant choice for the LEGO Batman fans.






LEGO Brickheadz by LEGO
(RRP £9.99 each, suitable for 10 years +)

A new type of LEGO stocking filler for this Christmas! They are carefully selected buildable LEGO figures with a display plate so you can feature them the same way you would the LEGO minifigures, but they are bigger of course and you can certainly have more fun out of them.

These detailed characters comes from recent popular movies, with the following titles currently available: The LEGO Batman Movie, Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean, Marvel Captain America Civil War, The Ninjago Movie and Star Wars the Last Jedi.

Each character has a unique number on the box (Batman 1, Batgirl 2, etc), making them highly collectible! Several of them seem to have stopped being produced as they are marked as Hard to Find on LEGO's website, so make sure you grab them before it's too late.


The kids absolutely loved building their LEGO Brickheadz Batman and Batgirl, with Abby especially loving Batgirl's pony tail, and Clay Batman's glow in the dark eyes! We love the size of them as well and cutified faces!




LEGO City Jungle Mobile Lab by LEGO
(RRP £39.99, suitable for 7 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link LEGO City Jungle Mobile Lab

LEGO has been expanding their City range that covers places on Earth we don't see often apart from in documentaries, which we think is brilliant because we should know more about our planet and that there are people who live and work in different conditions.

Following their LEGO City Arctic and Volcano ranges, LEGO has released the new LEGO City Jungle range this year, partnering with National Geographic Kids in the Summer to spread the knowledge while providing plenty of fun activities.

With the help of the LEGO City Jungle Mobile Lab, we learned that there are scientists living in the jungle doing important research. The mobile lab is very handy to send data back to the main cities. There is of course additional exploring and treasure hunting fun to be had with the playset to spark imagination, although it's in some way true too as that's probably how archeologists discover lost cities!

It's definitely a fun set for kids to learn more about the world outside the one we live in.




LEGO Mighty Micros - DC and Marvel Comics Super Heroes by LEGO
(RRP £8.99 each set of super hero and super villain, suitable for 5 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link LEGO Mighty Micros

These Mighty Micros are another fantastic LEGO collectibles that are perfect as stocking fillers! The characters have short legs and adorable (some are hilarious) expressions, and even the vehicles are super cute!

There are currently 12 sets to collect from the LEGO DC and Marvel range. We usually buy them as birthday presents for kids, but who is to say that it's not for adults who love LEGO and super heroes?







LEGO DC Super Hero Girls - Batgirl's Secret Bunker by LEGO
(RRP £39.99, suitable for 7 years +)

There are some amazing sets from the LEGO DC Super Hero Girls range, but I had to choose this set because of the super adorable Bat-Bot! Of course, we also love LEGO Batgirl (it's great to see and build her secret bunker!) and the evil but oh-so-cute Kryptonite that we saw in the LEGO DC Super Hero Girls: Brain Drain DVD movie (it's quite good!)!

The set also comes with Mad Harriet, Batgirl's bunker that opens and has a gate you can lift up, a rotating periscope, training area with dangling punching bag and weight bench, gear-up area, IT lab, accessories, zipline from the top that goes down to the Bat-Wagon, which has folding wings and tyres, as well as a holding cell.

She's one busy super hero girl!

Abby had lots of fun building the set and refused to let me help (play)! We love the colours and special pieces for this set, it's fun to build (according to Abby) and fun to play with. We think it'll make a great Christmas gift for the DC Super Hero Girls fans!

The range also includes the Super Hero High School (41232, £74.99) that's well worth considering as that's where the main scene is in the show.









The LEGO Ninjago Movie - Green Ninja Mech Dragon by LEGO
(RRP £44.99, suitable for 8 years +)

Clay became a big fan of LEGO Ninjago since we visited LEGOLAND during the Summer, and has been busy catching up with all the Ninjago TV episodes with Abby. Our favourite had to be the LEGO Ninjago Movie we watched recently though (the LEGO humour gets us every time!), so when I told Clay that we'll be getting the green ninja, or should I say, "Le-Loyd"'s mech dragon, he was super excited and almost couldn't believe it!

The set comes with 2 instruction booklets, so Abby and hubby took turn to help him with the building. Not that he couldn't do most of it, but there is quite a lot to build for him and he couldn't wait to role-play with the dragon (hence more suitable for 8 years +).

We were really impressed with the Chinese/ Japanese dragon design and it's so sturdy as well that even if Clay accidentally dropped it and perhaps some decorations came off, the whole dragon would remain mostly intact. We are also impressed with the design for the dragon's head, tassels hanging on the sword (both are very classic/ authentic designs) and the swinging tail that flicks enemies down with a swish!

The set also comes with "Le-Loyd"'s (we couldn't stop picking on his name. Clay at one point called him Lloy-Lloyd!) evil father Garmadon (note that the second picture of Garmadon is correct but the first not as he was wearing his "cape" wrong"), Master Wu, the Ultimate Weapon laser-pointer keyring (we have to watch the movie again, I just can't stop giggling at these!) and Charlie (who is Charlie again?!). The dragon also have a cockpit for "Le-Loyd", and a compartment that reveals a shooting weapon. Other stud-shooting weapons are featured as well.

We can't wait to watch The Ninjago Movie again, and Clay will certainly be playing with the characters and the mech dragon while watching it!

There are other sets from the Ninjago Movie out as well, and Clay has already added Kai's mech bot on his Christmas wish list.


Games




 Aqua Coconut Shy Bath Game by Paladone
(RRP £5.99, suitable for 6 years +)

Comes with a detachable bath frame with 4 coconut targets and 3 foam balls.

A fun little bath game that's under £10, which should fit most standard bath tub sizes. It's best as a single player game as the foam balls, although floaty, are fairly hard so you won't want to throw it at your sibling, for example (adults are probably okay but let's don't go there). If your kids do want to play together, just make sure that they are sitting on the same side of the bath tub.

I do think it's more fun as a 2 player game so that you can see who scores most. It seems like an easy game but I have been missing all my targets so far (to be fair I was squatting outside the tub)!

For £5.99, it'll be a great little extra that all the kids can share while having a warm bath in the cold Winter days.




Carcassonne Tile-laying Game by Z-Man Games (Distributed by Esdevium Games in the UK)
(RRP £32.99, suitable for 7 years +, requires 2-5 players, which can be expanded using expansion packs)

Find out how to play the game, read our full review and see more pictures through the link Carcassonne Game

One of our favourite game to play with during family gatherings. Unlike standard board games where you play on a board and roll with a dice, you only use the board for adding up scores you earn by building the map and completing features on the map.

While you need to work together to build the map, you might have to jeopardise other player's features so that you can complete yours and win the game. It's especially fun to play with adults because we don't know how to play nicely, but kids can have their fun as well.

It is one of our to play game for Christmas, together with Catan and Risk!




Codenames by Czech Games Edition (Distributed in the UK by Esdevium Games)
(RRP £15.99, suitable for 10 years +)

Find out how to play the game, read our full review and see more pictures through the link Codenames

This is one of those once you start you can't stop kind of game for us! It's basically a word guessing game, where you get a one word clue from your team mate and you have to guess which word or words that clue described.

We laughed throughout as wrong ideas were passed down or we caught the assassin which kills the game instantly. There are 80 cards to mark the location of the ones you need to find, and you can turn it in different ways as well so the game will last for a very long time!




Dixit by Libellud (Distributed in the UK by Esdevium Games)
(RRP £29.99, suitable for 8 years +)

Find out how to play the game, read our full review and see more pictures through the link Dixit

A game more for the kids, players have to take turn to use 1 sound/ word or sentence to describe one of their picture that's hidden from others. This card, together with a card from each player's hidden hand will be mixed and revealed to everyone, where other players have to guess which card was being described by the storyteller.

It was a bit too easy for me and too difficult for Clay (although he's very good at guessing the correct card!), but Abby brought it in school one Toy Day and she and her friends all enjoyed the game.

I think the game is great for KS2 kids to play together, and the large cards has some really pretty illustrations too. It's very educational, helping children describe a card and inspire them to tell a story, so I think this is a lovely game to gift for Christmas to those who loves their stories.




Buggaloop by Ravensburger
(RRP £29.99, suitable for age 6 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link Buggaloop

By including a little robot - the original HEXBUG Nano V2, boad game is never the same again! Players (2 to 4) take turn to cross the yard while HEXBUG is busy somewhere else, but as soon as it's on the yard, everyone must freeze and watch the HEXBUG push away anything that's in his way!

This really is a brilliant partnership, as the board game gives the HEXBUG (Nano V2 as it can go around the loop) a playing ground while it spices up a board game. It was quite funny to watch the devastated looks on the kids' faces when HEXBUG push them further away from victory!

Definitely a fun game to play this Christmas!






Beanboozled 4th Edition Spin Tin Gift Tray by Jelly Belly
(RRP £25, suitable for 3 years +)

I think that this is a hilariously fun game to have for Christmas and definitely deserve a place here, although I have to admit that I dread playing it myself! We are a big fan of Jelly Belly's jelly beans, but not so much the weird tasting ones in Beanboozled like stinky socks, spoiled milk and skunk spray!

The 4th Edition Spin Tin comes with 95g of beans, and the gift set comes with additional 15 packets (10g each) refills. There are 10 styles and 20 flavours (10 original yummies and 10 "evil" look-alikes), and we have no idea what the possibility is to get a yummy one from the whole lot!

I think it'll make a great gift for those who are daring and love the fun of this though. And to be fair it has the look of an amazing gift, I for one have really enjoyed taking these pictures (and the kids' ones too). The tin is very nice to keep as well for storing things, or more Beanboozled jelly beans?

The kids did have fun giving it a try, we are just waiting for our luck to finally get an original flavour than barf or rotten egg.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you can certainly get a feel of what it's like to be eating random tasting jelly beans by getting Beanboozled!






Disney Guess the Film by Jumbo Games
(RRP £24.99, suitable for 4 years +)

The game comes with 100 beautifully printed Disney film images (50 double-sided sheets) in 3 difficulties (you can play them all or just choose a particular difficulty to play with). Simply slide the stack of images at the back of the Guess the Film holder (it has 2 detachable stands to prop it up) with all the doors covered, take turn to roll the dice as per instructions, then open a door and try to guess the film. The one who guessed it right can get a token, and the first player collecting 4 tokens wins the game. The one who guessed it wrong however will have to wait for the next round to play again.


The game is fun for the whole family to play together especially during Christmas holiday, and even the youngest will have a good chance to win if they know more about Disney films than you do! Although Clay couldn't quite remember the name of the movies, he managed to describe what the movie is about ("the movie with a rat and chef!") so we let him have his tokens.

I like it that the kids can show off their attention to details and describing skills while having fun. We certainly enjoyed the game and had lots of laughter. There was a lot of "I know I know!" and "move on so I can guess" moments!

Oh and when you get to a film that none of you can guess (like The Aristocats for us), that's your next entertainment sorted!






Dynamite Dare by Brainstorm UK
(RRP £19.99, suitable for 4 years +)

An exciting game that makes you jump, and it doesn't require batteries! Setting up is really easy and little ones can apply their own stickers onto the game as well. All each players need to do is to take turn to press a detonator down, aiming to defuse the dynamite case while it's counting down. If you pick the right one, the timer will stop ticking and pop out, but if you picked the wrong one or let the time run out, the dynamites will jump out! You can check out the video clip above for the effect.

A big tip for this, keep the dynamites facing the player who is detonating it to maximise the jump scare! You might want to keep it the other way for younger kids though.

The clever thing about this game is that it resets which detonator will detonate the dynamite each round, so you'll never be able to guess which one you'll need to press next!




Despicable Me 3 3D Puzzle by Ravensburger
(£5.99 for Pencil Pot, £12.99 for storage box, £14.99 for Sneaker)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link Despicable Me 3 3D Puzzles

We love Ravensburger's 3D puzzle range because of the quality of the plastic puzzles and prints on them, as well as the sturdiness of the finished products. We especially love their new products that you can actually use after completing the puzzle, such as their vases that has a reservoir for water so you can put real flowers in and the big storage box that the kids can use for storage.

They have a lot more styles now for this range (Despicable Me 3, Frozen, etc), and even a new design (sneaker shape), together with their original 3D puzzles, which are stunning (landmarks, LED light up ones, etc), there is definitely one that will make a perfect gift for someone this Christmas.







Safe Breaker by Brainstorm UK
(RRP £19.99, suitable for 6 years +, require 3 x AA batteries)

This is perfect for those who loves to play spy or thief! Players take turn to guess what the single digit code is to unlock the safe by picking one of the 18 cards in front of them, scroll the dial to the number, press the finger print button to register your answer and listen to the safe with the stethoscope for a clue.

If the answer is correct, it will cheer and the safe will pop open (light up in green) with a random number of coins dropping out for you to collect. If it's wrong, it will give you a higher or lower clue.

It's a really fun game and you wouldn't know who wins until enough coins are collected. Abby won a couple of round but each time the safe only offered her 1 coin, so I remained ahead of her with just 1 win as I was given 3!

Like Dynamite Dare reviewed above, the game code resets each round randomly, so you won't be able to predict what the next code is.

A tip is to walk further away from the group to listen for the clue so that those with sharp hearing can't over hear it!




Staccups by University Games
(RRP £19.99, suitable for 8 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link Staccups

The perfect hand-eye coordination game that looks great in any modern houses! Players have to be the first to stack all their cups onto the base unit by matching the top colour of the cup on the base unit with one of your own cup's base colour. Does that sound confusing? It certainly is when your eyes are trying to find the correct colour from a few of your own stacks to match 1 of the 2 on the base unit!

And as soon as you master the trick, you can try matching the top colour of your cups to the bottom colour of the cups on the base unit.

The Staccups game is simple yet challenging to play, and looks stylish enough to be a house decor too!





Tetris Dual by John Adams IDEAL (official Tetris licensed game)
(RRP £22.99, suitable for 6 years +)

Read our full review and see more pictures through the link Tetris Dual

The perfect game this Christmas for the retro game lovers, it's a real life Tetris! You play against another player and play the pieces (called Tetriminos) the electronic unit ask you to. If you can fit it in the matrix with it touching your own piece that's already in there without creating an unfillable hole underneath, you score! If you complete a row without creating a hole underneath, you get bonus scores! But if you create unfillable holes, you'll lose scores per hole you've created (look at the 7 rows that Abby destroyed in one go in the above picture!)

And while you think of the best place to place your Tetrimino, turning it round and flipping it over, the base unit will be counting down. You'll have either 60 seconds to play your turn in Game 1, or 1200 seconds to win the whole game in Game 2.

It's a fairly challenging game that both children and adults will enjoy, the only thing missing is the Tetris tune playing in the background!


Nintendo



(Unboxing video above)

Nintendo Switch Console
(RRP £279.99, bundles with games and accessories available between £329.99 to £354.99)

If you haven't got one yet but are considering, this is definitely the time to get it! Nintendo Switch has been selling out at many places every time there is a restock, because it is the future of gaming (home console and handheld in one!), and has the potential to do a lot more with constant updates (recent update allows players to record video clips of their game play!). Many game developing companies has started partnering with Nintendo and release their games on Nintendo Switch as well so you can play your favourite games on it too.

With the highly rated game Super Mario Odyssey out recently, and a special edition bundle released as well (or you can choose other bundles too), this will make the perfect Christmas gift for someone or even yourself!




Ever Oasis on Nintendo 3DS (RRP £34.99, pegi 7)

Read our full review with plenty more pictures through the link Nintendo 3DS Ever Oasis

A stunning RPG on Nintendo 3DS, players are to save the last oasis from being swallowed up by Chaos. They expand the oasis by attracting new visitors and citizens, create shops, while go out and explore the world.

There is plenty for players to do and the graphics is super cute! I do think it has the potential to become a bigger game for Nintendo Switch, and we will be more than happy to play it!





Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch/ Nintendo Wii U
(RRP £59.99, pegi 12)

Read our full review with lots of pictures and video review as well through the link The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild

One of the biggest game this year, if you or someone you know is a RPG/ Adventure/ Puzzle Solving fan, this is a must have!

In short, the graphics are breath taking, runs smoothly on Nintendo Switch (I'm not sure about on Nintendo Wii U, but the game was developed with Wii U in mind), a massive open world (you aren't limited by the story-line to unlock areas) to explore, has tons of super clever brain teasing puzzles, plenty of humour, lots of quests, monsters to fight and treasures to collect, a lot of room for creativity (attach balloons on a raft to make a plane, or launch yourself by clinging onto a metal rock for fun) and storyline to follow. It truly is epic and one of my favourite video games so far.

The game has since released 2 download packs (actually I think the second one is still in the making but rumour has it that it will be released before the end of November) for additional treasures, new maps and challenge, new features and even an addition to the story.

If you prefer cute, take a look at Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch below that was released not long ago!



Snipperclips - Cut it Out Together! on Nintendo Switch
(RRP £17.99, pegi 3)

Full review with video and a review for Nintendo Switch 1-2-Switch can be found through the link Nintendo Switch Snipperclips - Cut it Out Together

This game had Abby and Clay giggling throughout! It's one of the more affordable new game on Nintendo Switch, but don't judge it by the price as it's a really brilliant puzzle game! Players are to work together to crack each puzzle with almost no hints whatsoever what they have to do (for example, they won't say put the ball in the basket even though that's your mission).

All they had to go about is whatever is happening on each level, and players have to cut each other's character into shapes to help them complete the tasks. Some really got us thinking, others take skill to cut the perfect shape, and team work is definitely the key.

It is challenging, fun, cute and very clever! I have been impressed with what the kids came up with, and without asking for adult's help either. The fact that you have to cut each other in shapes sparks their creativity too.

It's a perfect puzzle game for adults and children alike, and will certainly provide lots of laughter!



Super Mario Odyssey on Nintendo Switch
(pegi 7, RRP £49.99 comes with a cappy hat, game bundle with amiibo or Nintendo Switch console available)

The long awaited Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch is out and is taking fans by a storm! Like The Legend of Zelda - Breath of the Wild, it's one of the biggest game release from Nintendo, and has already been given 10/10 from game medias, claiming that it's the best Mario game ever created!

Like all the previous Super Mario games, Mario is set out to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, but this time in the 3D world, outside from the Mushroom Kingdom! The 3D graphics is stunning, so if you are into RPG, great graphics and cute Mario, this is definitely the must have for this Christmas! Abby is going to ask Santa for it, I wonder if she'd mind if I buy one so I can play now and not wait with her?!



Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 3 - Styling Star on Nintendo 3DS
(RRP £34.99, pegi 3, releasing on 24th November 2017, free demo available from Nintendo eShop)

Read our full review for Nintendo 3DS Nintendo Presents: New Style Boutique 2 Fashion Forward to see what you can expect from the upcoming Style Boutique 3

A stunning game for fashionistas, players are to manage a boutique, style customers with different type of outfits (including men's in the new installment), and match it with hair style, makeup and if I'm not wrong, nails as well for the new game!

There are over 20, 000 items for you to match, with lots of new items. You can also use amiibo characters from other games to get special items too.

Players will also become a celebrity stylist and style a group of 3 pop stars to help them reach stardom! Whatever you style them with will also changes the song they perform on stage. The 15 pop songs included in the game are original and specifically written and recorded for the game! You can find a sample here on YouTube.

If you want to try before you buy, the free demo is available on eShop (love this feature from Nintendo). I haven't got the chance to try it out yet but as soon as I do, I'll definitely download it to quench my thirst for the full game (you can preorder now though)!


Tech/ Gadget









Hot Wheels R/C Bladez Drone Racerz by Bladez Toys
(RRP £34.99, suitable for 8 years +, 2 styles available)

Drone flight time 4 to 5 minutes, range 25 metres, charge time 60 minutes (comes with USB charging cable)

A drone with LED lights, a Hot Wheels car and when combined, a racing car without the need of a launcher, all in 1 kit! It'll be perfect for Hot Wheels fans and kids who aren't old enough to play with the standard drones just yet!

The step by step picture instructions are fairly easy to understand and it covers how you can transform your Hot Wheels car, and what you can do in each form.

Using the remote control (requires 4 x AA batteries), kids can fly the 2.4 GHz drone indoor and out (you'll definitely get more fun with it in the park than at home), tell it to fly back to the starting point and even flip it 360° (3 metres above the ground). To turn the exclusive Hot Wheels car into a racing car that can drift and jump as well, simply replace the Hot Wheels car hood with the drone and make it race like in the video clip above! The kit comes with a hoop with stand, a mobile phone stand so you can film your stunts, 2 ramps, and a start/ finish marker. You can also cut out another hoop and stand from the back of the box.

As it is a Hot Wheels car, it is compatible with Hot Wheels tracks (such as the orange ones). If you have them, you can connect the track with the stunt kit and make some awesome stunt videos!

Our kids absolutely love playing with the drone racerz (although they can certainly do with more practise to control it). It's the first time they are allowed to fly the drone themselves, which responds really well to the remote controller, and we love watching the Hot Wheels car race through the hoop (I had to mute the sound because me and Abby were cheering too loudly!)!

The kit also comes with spare drone blades and mini screw driver so you can replace them if needed.




Star Wars RC Stormtrooper by Bladez Toys
(RRP £29.99, suitable for 3 years +; has an on/ off/ sound off button, requires 6 x AA batteries)

I fell straight in love with this inflatable guy when I saw him at an event! He's strong and bouncy, cute and very huggable (you can remove the base and play with the Stormtrooper on its own if you like). The remote control is chunky and very simple to use, so even a 4 years old can play with it.

When switched on, he will make a shooting sound, and he can go forward, reverse and turn around (see the demonstration video clip above). As he's 47cm tall (As tall as Clay discounting his legs!), it's really fun to see him roaming around our living room! We like to make it run from out of nowhere towards someone who's sitting on the sofa!

He also comes with a vinyl plastic patch to use for covering any punctures (reminded me of Baymax when he was sellotaping himself in Big Hero 6), so you can easily give him some tender loving care when required.

Perfect for any Star Wars fans who wants a cute Stormtrooper living with them. There are other models available as well including BB-8 and the new BB-9E from Star Wars the Last Jedi.




Xtrem Bots - Smart Bot by Trends UK
(RRP £29.99, suitable for 5 years +)

Read our full review with more pictures and video clips through the link Xtrem Bots Smart Bot

Clay's favourite robot at the moment is Smart Bot (even named him Simon) because he can talk, dance (while playing music), walk, glide, so Clay doesn't have to teach him before they can play together. The kids can however program him to do up to 50 moves in a sequence. The bot is stylish with the blue, white and silver colours, has eye expressions, is easy to charge, and the remote control is easy for the kids to use too (they've already mastered it!).

If your child is after a robot, Smart Bot is definitely value for money, and suitable for young children too.


Subscriptions

Picture from Instagram account @rachyh96
The Elves Craft Subscription Box by Sophie & Toffee
(USD$25 per month, USD$9.95 international shipping fee, savings available for 3 and 6 months pre-payments; box arrives at the end of a month, so themes fit the following month)

Note 1: You can buy a one off box, or pause your subscription.
Note 2: Not all items are non toxic, and some require detailed crafting, so I would say it's more suitable from 14 years +, and precaution such as gloves and masks might be needed especially when working with resin.


This is my current favourite subscription box (paid for by myself) that I think will make a perfect Christmas gift for crafters, teens and adults alike. The craft materials you get is quite unusual, but it's very nicely packed with rainbow colour packing peanuts, glitters, sparkles and pastel colours.

Items often included are clays (polymer or air drying clay), deco whips (silicone or other material gel you pipe out like icing), resin especially the fast curing UV resin (requires UV lamp or torch), moulds etc, and every other month will come with a set of materials that works together as a craft kit (Angel Potion in August and Snow Globe in October).


The current available box - November box (arrives before mid December) will have a galaxy/ horoscope theme, which will come with one of the most expensive UV/ LED curing resin (retail price USD$16) to decorate a full set of horoscope open-back bezels (you can turn these into pendants, charms or keyrings)! I have been wanting to try the resin out so I'm really excited for this box!

Their boxes normally get sold out before they close the subscription for each month (15th) so if you know someone or even yourself who will like this, make sure you grab it quick!


You can check out pictures of their previous boxes here to get a better idea of what comes with the box (the one featured above is the Halloween themed box that came with a mould to make a cat shaped shaker, oil to inject into the shaker to make the glitter and sequins inside flow, sequins, trinket box, glow in the dark pigment, glitter and pearlescent pigment, etc)


For those who would like to try a different kind of craft, have a play with polymer clay or resin that doesn't require mixing, love pretty things especially glitters and pastel colours, this will certainly make a lovely gift. You can buy a one off box before deciding if you should turn it into a monthly subscription too.




Storytime Magazine
(Single issues without subscription £4.99, half price offer for first 4 issues, other subscription offers available)

Read our full review with more pictures through the link Storytime Magazine

We all enjoyed reading Storytime magazine. There is zero adverts, subtle activities that are related to the stories placed in the corner of the story's page, and everything else including more activities, quizzes, competition plus book recommendations are all placed at the end of the magazine, making the magazine very pleasant to read with the least distractions.

We love the different illustrations and story type (classic retold, tales from other part of the world, modern, poems, etc), some funny, some meaningful and we even felt teary with one. It makes a great bedtime story told by adults to little ones, and a lovely light read for older ones.

Abby has actually asked for more after she finished 2 magazines so the subscription for Storytime Magazines will be added to her Christmas wish list!


The people behind Storytime Magazine has kindly offered an amazing prize to the giveaway below! Don't forget to check it out and enter for a chance to win 6 Storytime Magazine issues plus 4 Wall prints!

They have also offered all my readers up to 35% off a subscription of Storytime! Simply use this non affiliated link to visit their website and checkout using the code THISISLIFE


Home






Letterbox Gift Cake by bakerdays
(Traditional sponge £14.99, lemon drizzle or chocolate chip £15.99,  dairy or gluten wheat free £16.99, fruit £17.99)

What better way to send your seasonal greetings and wishing your loved ones a Merry Christmas with these amazing looking Letterbox Gift cakes that are also very yummy?

I was really impressed with the design choices. I actually struggled to choose one for the review because they are all so nice! I thought that just showing you one design isn't good enough (although it's definitely my favourite design), so I took pictures from another 12 that I really like and think will give you an idea of what other designs bakerdays have to offer. If you know a Star Wars fan, you'd definitely want to consider one of their quirky Star Wars designs!

It is really like receiving a gift as soon as I opened the box. And you get a Christmas cracker with any Christmas designs too! I love the tin as well, which has a few air holes on the lid that allows the cake to stay fresh (there is a small packet of silica gel underneath the cake board as well to keep it fresh without conteminating the cake).

We all loved how stunning the Christmas Bauble cake looked, so I snapped quite a lot of pictures of it before allowing the knife getting anywhere near it. It's a shame the Autumn lighting is so hard to work with though.

The kids actually couldn't believe that it's a real cake and is edible, and was wondering why I was slicing it up! They even cast doubt at me when I placed a slice in their hand and told them to eat it! We had the traditional vanilla sponge and it was lovely.


Bakerdays has kindly offered a Letterbox Gift Cake prize to the Christmas giveaway below, and the winner can personalise it themselves too! So make sure you check it out and enter for a chance to win it!





Large Jar Candle - Christmas Night and Large Christmas Carousel by Heart & Home
(£14.99 for large jar candles, burns up to 70 hours; £6.99 for small jar candles, burns up to 30 hours; £7.99 for large Christmas carousel, £5.99 for small Christmas carousel)

I'm absolutely in love with Heart & Home's home fragrance-rich products! The ones I was randomly given at an event all smell amazing (especially Baked Apple, it made us crave for freshly baked apple pie!), even the Lavender & Sage that I normally wouldn't like smells lovely.

When we removed the pretty jar lid for Christmas Night candle, the first thing we said was "Mmmm! Christmas!". It contains the fragrance of Nutmeg blended with Orange Balm and a splash of Sage, and we think that it's exactly how Christmas smells like! The fragrance is rich but not choking, and is beautiful when I lid it up.

The lovely design on the jar makes it another beautiful Christmas decoration in our living room too.

To make this Christmassy candle an even better Christmas gift, I highly recommend getting their carousel accessory to go with it as well. The large one sits perfectly on their large candle jar, and as soon as you light up the candle, it starts to turn, first slowly then faster, casting a mesmerising shadow around it. Check out the video above to see it in action.


Another good news is that all Heart & Home's candles are made from soy wax, which means that they are better for the environment.









Lunchbox and Lunchbag by Petit-Fernand
(Lunchbox is £28, Lunchbag £6; free shipping from France)

Read our previous review and see more pictures through the link Back to School Guide 2017

Why will this make a great Christmas gift?

They are really the best lunch/ bento box we've ever come across! You can personalise it with 1 of their many designs (5 are brand new designs too, see picture above), in 3 different lunchbox colours, and include text that you can customise with different fonts and colours. Together with the lunchbox bag which has 3 designs, it will make a great gift for school kids or even adults to use straight after holiday.


How is it the best lunchbox we have come across?

It comes with 2 removable containers, and with the middle layer removed as well, you can house a good size of BLT or Club sandwich in there! With the layer and containers you can keep dry and wet, savoury and sweet snacks separately. The ice pack included will keep your food fresh for longer, so kids/ adults can enjoy cold cheese instead at lunch time, and you can even microwave the container for a hot lunch too.

In Summer, these lunchboxes will make the perfect picnic containers for all 4 of us.

The lunchbox is BPA-free, microwavable (except the ice pack), dish washer safe (except the lid) and has a total capacity of 1000ml


Elastic band to be bought separately




Fully Customiseable Planner/ Organiser with Calfskin Leather Cover by Personal-Planner
(A5 planner £22.99, other sizes available; A5 Calfskin leather cover £24.99 with 2 colour choices)

Read all our previous reviews through the link Personal-Planner

I have tried many planners before with each having their pros and cons, but I'm most impressed with Personal-Planner planners because it's fully customiseable, meaning that you can customise the complete layout inside the planner, including what check boxes you need for each week, whether you want them going vertical or horizontal; print all your important dates the way national holidays are printed, what kind of additional sheets you want to include (grid or lined, map, Sudoku, etc), and so on.

This makes Personal-Planner a great gift for those who prefer to use a physical planner to get things organised (imagine the day when your smart device breaks. Ahhhh) even if you aren't sure what type of planner they would like to work with, because you can simply buy them a gift voucher and let them customise their close to perfect planner they will love.

If you find the planner looking too much like a notebook, Personal-Planner sell leather covers for their planners to, which instantly transform the planner into a gorgeous gift. It comes with lots of card pockets too, so you can slip business cards in, or use them to decorate your planner, like what I normally would do with quote cards, sticky notes and paperclips (see picture above for an example).

I took some pictures from the Personal-Planner's website to show you other stylish designs they offer as well.





Platignum Tixx Pens by Snopake Brands
(Hybrid Ball Point, Roller Ball and Roller Ball Needle Point Pens £1.49 each, Fountain Pen £1.99 each; Hybrid Ball Point comes in a set of 7 in a wallet for £7.45)

Doesn't the full set of Platignum Tixx Pens with the roll-up wallet look fabulous? It'll make a fantastic gift for the stationery, especially pen lovers! And, although each pen are only £1.49 to £1.99 and are disposable, they write amazingly well, with over 1200 to 2000m writing length!

If you like the whole set including the roll-up wallet, don't forget to enter the giveaway below to win one as Snopake Brands has kindly offered a brand new set to a winner too!


As mentioned above, the Platignum Tixx range are disposable pens but are designed with quality in mind. Just because they are cheap doesn't mean they don't write well. In fact, all the pens I use are cheap disposable, and from all the ones I've tried, I think that Platignum Tixx are definitely one of the better quality ones out there.

The Hybrid Ball Point (1.0mm) comes in 7 colours including the original black and blue, and combines the best features from ball point and gel ink rollerball pens. They write really smoothly, and I love the bright colours. Normally for pens like these, the ink cartridge is about 3 quarters full, look at how full the Hybrid Ball Point one is in the above picture!

I'd love to see this range expand to come with even more colours and perhaps a thinner tip as well.


The Roller Ball and Roller Ball Needle Point pens (both 0.5mm) both uses liquid ink, which you can see through the window on the side of the pen. The Needle Point has a writing length over 1200m, and ball point over 1500m, and from the sample sheet in the above picture, you can see the different effects. The Roller Ball Needle Point does bleed a little, but I love how sharp the black looks.

The Roller Ball pen is one of the few ball point pens I will actually use, even though I'm not really a fan of ball points. It writes well, no specks of ink clots in sight, and most importantly, it's thin!


I'm most impressed with the Fountain pen. It has a medium point with writing length over 2000m, and is the first ever (not joking!) fountain pen I can write with! There is no leakage, no smudges, writes extremely smooth, and is a lot less intimidating than a lot of other fountain pens! They are also suitable for both left and right handed. Signing my signature with it makes it look so much fancier!

I would definitely love to see more colours from this range, especially metallic ones because they will be perfect for special occasions like writing in wedding guest books or even for Christmas cards.

The full set plus other stationery will make the perfect gift for stationery lovers.




Star Wars Stormtrooper Vacuum/ Thermo Flask by Paladone
(RRP £16.99)

I'll be more than happy to receive this stylish chameleon Stormtrooper vacuum flask for Christmas! It's a Star Wars official merchandise but sophisitcated enough that will suit those who have to dress well while still want to support their favourite movie (no offense intended).

It's a perfect gift for those who always have to be outside in the colder days. The vacuum flask will keep your brew hot (ours lasted for over 6 hours outdoor), and it won't spill as it's sealed tight, so you can have it lying sideways in a bag.

You'll also get a little cup with the flask for drinking your hot brew. And instead of unscrewing the vacuum plug and letting all the heat out, simply press the button on the top to reveal a thin gap to pour your drink into the cup.

We have been looking out for one of these but never found one that we really like. This is very pretty and both me and hubby are more than happy to carry it around with us.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Giveaway

I would love to thank all the brands who has offered a prize to this giveaway!

It is super easy to enter, so why not give your luck a try and add an extra gift under your Christmas tree this year? You'll find a lot of entries in the Rafflecopter widget below, and you can do as many or as little (minimum one of course) as you want. But all the brands are awesome, so why not share the love by following them on social media?

Winners will be drawn within 48 hours after it ends, and I'll allocate prizes according to the order the winners are picked. Prizes will be based on winners' preference they will email me after I contact them.

So for example, the 4th winner emailed me their prize preferences in order, but his/ her first 2 choices were given away already to one of the first 3 winners, so he/ she wins his/ her 3rd choice instead.

By doing it this way instead of allocating them a random prize, I'm hoping that majority of the winners will win something they'd like.

Check out what you can win this year (Note: All gifts except the first one are sorted in alphabetical order based on the brands' name):


1. Christmas Bundle Handmade with Love


(6 items worth over £43)

Christmas Sticker Labels x 2 by A Little Dream Come True
Christmas Snow Globe Charm by Sparkles & Fluffs
Sticky Note Pad plus Emergency Tea by Storm in a Teacup  Gifts
Christmas Bunting by The Magpies Burrow
Christmas Red Scarf by Zeynep.E

A Christmas bundle of handmade with love products from me and other local businesses to help you plan and decorate, accessorise and keeping you warm this Christmas! We sell handmade items, so do check our shops out and you'll find gorgeous Christmas gifts you can't find on the high street! Check out individual pictures and prize information below:


(2 x A4 sheets, 24 stickers per sheet, worth £4.80)

Design and printed by The Magpies Burrow, these Christmas Sticker Labels will be perfect to use for your Christmas gifts wrapping!



(worth £13.50, measures 3.8 x 3.4cm; gold tone metal snow globe frame hand decorated with resin)

One of my favourite charm I made for this Christmas! The charm will come as a keyring, pendant, with clasp or long chain and clasp based on the winner's choice

It features a holographic Alice and White Rabbit having a tea party in the sparkling snow, layered between resin to give it depth. It gives a completely different effect when you flip it over, which under the light shows their silhouette through a more mysterious foggy night instead.



(worth £5)

Designed and printed by Storm in a Teacup Gifts, this mini post-it pad will keep you on track with your Christmas or even New Year planning! Plus an emergency tea for you to keep in your bag for those desperate times when you need it!



(Worth £15, each flag measures approximately 4 x 5 x 5 inches)

A beautiful Christmas Bunting handmade by The Magpies Burrow, you can hang the bunting across your fireplace or door, and on the wall too.



(Worth £5, measures 112 x 17cm, made with 100% Acrylic)

A lovely handmade scarf for the cold winter in a gorgeous Christmassy red colour. The acrylic material used means that it's lighter in weight and is perfect for people who are allergic to wool.


2. £30 Gift Voucher for Personalised Gifts from Bags of Love


This is the first shop I came across that does photo collage blankets, beanbags, blanket box and a lot more! Really love the look of their gifts and I can't wait for the time to check them out fully!

Instead of choosing a prize for the giveaway, the gift voucher will be perfect as you can pick your own personalised gift!


3. Letterbox Gift Cake by Bakerdays


(Worth £14.99-£17.99 each depending on flavour)

A perfect way to send your love this season, or win it for yourself! See our full review in the Home gifts section above, with pictures for their other designs too.

You will be given the opportunity to personalise your chosen design with words and flavour of the cake too!


4. Set of Platignum Tixx Pens in a Roll-Up Wallet by Snopake Brands


(Pens alone worth over £20)

I love these pens (see my full review with test pictures above in the Home gifts section), they write so well! Together with the wallet it will make a great gift for pen lovers!

You'll get a full set of 7 colours of their Hybrid Ball Points, Roller Ball in Black and Blue, Roller Ball Needle Point in Black and Blue, and their really smooth Fountain Pens in Black and Blue.


5. Bundle of 6 Storytime Magazine plus 4 Wall Prints by Storytime Magazine


(Worth £4.99 single issues, subscription offers available, and £7.99 for the wall prints)

Note: Styles and issues may vary. Issues and prints on the picture is for reference only. You will definitely get 6 magazines and 4 wall prints though

We absolutely love reading Storytime Magazine especially because it's ad free! Read our review above under Subscription gifts section.

You get a lot of stories from this bundle, perfect for the kids and adults to read, whether it's for leisure or bedtime! It'll be perfect for the holidays!



I hope you found something you'd love to win! Please make sure you have read the Terms & Conditions below before entering.

Giveaway ends: Thursday 30th November 2017 Midnight (where 00:01am is Friday)

Terms & Conditions:
  • The giveaway is open to the UK and N. Ireland only
  • Prizes cannot be exchanged and no cash alternative will be offered.
  • Please make sure that your email account used to enter the Rafflecopter is active, and you do check the spam folder in case the email I sent you ended up there
  • Winners will be drawn by the Rafflecopter randomly. Prizes will be allocated according to the order of names drawn (first name drawn will be allocated a prize first, etc)
  • Winners will be contacted by Friday 1st December via email. It is important that winners respond to this email by Thursday 7th December 2017 noon. A new winner will be selected after this deadline. Unfortunately the response time will have to be shorter as I'd love for you to receive the gift before Christmas
  • Winners will be publicly announced by Saturday 9th December 2017 on here, Twitter and Facebook.
  • All except 1 prize will be posted by the PRs. I have no control over missing and late parcels, hence do not accept responsibility for them. However, if you have any queries do let me know and I'll try my best to help
  • The Christmas charm will be posted by me through Royal Mail 2nd Class Signed For. I will obtain a proof of postage as well and email this to the winner.
  • You can visit Di Coke's Rafflecopter Guide for Rafflecopter instructions
  • Please read Rafflecopter's privacy policy as well

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck! x

This giveaway is also listed on:


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A picture of our bakerdays letterbox gift cake with Christmas bauble design and a message from This is Life to wish all readers a Happy Christmas