Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Christmas 2015 - Well Being

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

For the past many years, my target for the Christmas Gifts Guide has always been the more the merrier. The more gifts choices we include (what we think are recommendable of course), the higher chance you'll find something you'd like from my guide. This year, since I took a much needed break, I decided to take it easy and feature a carefully selected gift choices for you to look at. And since I split the guide up into many posts, each of them will look like they are much shorter than all the Christmas Guides I have ever published. We do hope that you won't find the choices too limited as they are our top favourites after all!

Having said that, the Well Being section is quite a bit longer than the previous two because it covers food. And we love food! Apart from a few items that are part of 2 gifts, everything else are tried, tested, and well approved by us. There are also other gifts included here that will make a person happy and healthy inside and out! This is my favourite section out of the whole guide this year, and I really hope you'll find something you or someone else will love too!

Don't forget to check out the other sections in this year's Christmas Gifts Guide! You can find the previous published sections through the purple links:

Limited Editions
Gadgets & Games
Well Being

Happy browsing! x

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty
Unfinished picture.
Love the water colour effect for the ground, but I'm worried that whatever I do for the rest of the picture will ruin it!
Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty
Another unfinished picture by Abby, Clay and Me. We just can't seem to finish a picture!
Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

If you haven't heard of it yet, Secret Garden colouring book is one of the trendiest colouring book this year! Do a hashtag search #adultcolouring or #adultcoloring and you'll find a lot of beautifully coloured pages from it.

It was actually my teenage niece who recommended (indirectly. She was colouring and I was totally tempted by it!) this beautiful, very detailed colouring book and the water colour kit. Adult colouring are well known for de-stressing, and it worked very well for me! Even Abby and Clay love to colour-in this book too, although I secretly wish that they'd colour it my way haha.

Most of the people will use pencils or felt pen to colour the book, but I found pencils not strong enough on the beige coloured pages, felt pen can be too harsh, and it's quite hard to do shading with either. So I decided to buy exactly what my niece did - Winsor and Newton Water Colour Half Pan Set, (link features my niece's set, which is currently heavily discounted!) and Pentel Aquash Water Brushes.

I love the dry water colour bars and the brushes that stores water inside, because it cuts out all the mess I disliked from painting! You just need a piece of kitchen towel to wash off the paint from the brush by squeezing more water out, and you can move on to the next colour. You don't need to pour away water or worry about spillage, nor squeezing too much paint out of a tube (the tubes in my kit are untouched). For busy adults who can only have a 5 to 10 minutes break, this is the perfect combination to make de-stressing possible within a short time.

The only thing I would suggest is to get my niece's kit and not mine. Purely because I couldn't source the carrier for the half pan paints (it locks the pans into the tray) anywhere (I even emailed them). It looked like Winsor and Newton has discontinued it.

For the brushes, you can get the triple pack, or just the small brush for the colouring book because there are a lot of detailed work to fill in. Or like me, use the medium brush and smudge the colour out to create a dreamier effect!

You don't have to buy this as a set of course, we highly recommend every single one of them.

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

A gift to get a month earlier or to gift on Christmas for next many years to come!

We have been buying chocolate advent calendars in the previous years, and although I don't mind the kids having a chocolate a day, it isn't much fun. The only other advent calendar I'm tempted to get is either from LEGO or the adult ones, but then I thought, why not customise it this year?

So I bought this really cute Gingerbread House Advent Calendar from EBay for £24.99. I'll be cutting a treasure map into 24 pieces and put them into each of the little cubicles. The kids can take turn to open each door and piece the map together, to find the treasure that's waiting for them (I'll have to remember to put the treasure there)! I'm not sure what to put in box 25 yet, we will see. But it's going to be fun and the kids are really excited about the idea when I told them.

I also like the idea of putting your own sweets or chocolates inside each little door. The reusable advent calendar has certainly opened up to a lot of choices! And I like it that it will last. There are many other designs available on Ebay and Amazon, some more expensive (extremely expensive!), some much more affordable, there bound to be one suitable for you!

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

This is one for the health and fitness people! If someone you know are into getting fit, but they can't optimise their workout because they don't have something to monitor their heart rate and duration, I'm very certain that they will be very grateful if someone gift a Heart Rate Monitor to them (do make sure that they are already into health and fitness. I'm not going to take any responsibility for unexpected/  negative reactions hehe)!

To optimise the effect of a workout, you need to maintain your heart rate at a certain range, which is different for low and high intensity workouts. Having a Heart Rate monitor will help you keep an eye on it, and understand how much you have benefited from all that sweat and tears. It also times you workout, and acts as a sporty/ modern watch.

I have been looking into one for days and finally decided on the Polar FT 4, which is currently £38.95 on Amazon UK. It's on the affordable side, has really good reviews, and it does exactly what I need it to do. The only thing is that I have to wear the heart rate monitor for the watch to track, but it will be more accurate this way.

The Polar FT 4 comes in other colours as well, and I have seen ladies in black dresses wearing them and looking really good!

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Ahhh, who doesn't like to receive luxury chocolate as a gift? I'm not just recommending Hotel Chocolat H-Boxes for this occasion, but any Hotel Chocolat would make people happy! There are a lot of choices in the supermarkets yes, but special occasion calls for special chocolates, correct? This is why we have Hotel Chocolat chocolates every Christmas for the past few years! I have gifted them to my family members and they all enjoy it! And they have a wide selection too, so there is definitely something for everyone. Or simply opt for their gift boxes for the whole family!

Check out our full review through the above purple link, and you can find the rest of our Hotel Chocolat reviews there too!

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Although it is for children, the John Adams Mini-make Cupcakes set fit this section more than tomorrow's toys section.

Chocolate making isn't as easy as many think, because there are a lot of technicality involved, and there is a chance that you won't be able to rescue your chocolate creation. However, the clever design from this set made it possible for children to make chocolates, mini cupcakes or even cake pops with ease and great results every time!

We absolutely love this set because you can make so many yummy things out of one kit, the provided moulds have pretty designs, and you can use it over and over again. It is more fun than making chocolate coins or lollies, and the creations can be so pretty! It really is the perfect gift for children who would love to have a go with their chocolate making skills!

Please do read our full review through the purple link for further information and tips!

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

A perfect gadget for foodies, whether they love yummy grilled food or want to eat a bit more healthier! Optigrill is a clever grill with 6 preset functions, and light and sound indicator to tell you when different food are cooked to perfection. It has a thickness sensor, and can adjust the cooking time accordingly. With bone or boneless, medium-rare steak, vegetables and even fruits, everything we've tried were all cooked to exactly how we wanted it!

We have tried normal well known grill before but it is no where as good as Optigrill. We have a lot of kitchen gadgets, but if I can only choose one to recommend, it's definitely the Optigrill. You can see all our test results in our full review through the purple link.

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty
Moonpig gifts come in boxes like this, which makes it really special!
Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty
Right: The "button" in front of the basket is more silver-like in real
Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty
Bottom left: beautiful jar that will certainly be reused
Bottom Right: Reusable seal to keep the contents fresh
One of the first new review I'm adding to this Christmas feature is a gift selection from Yorkshire's Cartwright & Butler. Guess where these are from? Moonpig! Moonpig doesn't just do nice cards apparently (don't forget your Christmas cards!), they have an amazing gift section as well with quality products, and C & B are just one of them (they are also sold in John Lewis, Harrods and Selfridges).

There are a lot of really good preserves and chutneys gift sets out there, but I chose C & B because their gift sets attracted me the most. Let alone the beautiful and unique jars that I'm going to reuse (the size and shape are just perfect!), I absolutely love the Eggshell blue (is that what it's called?) gifts that comes with their products, giving them a touch of country cottage feel.

The wicker basket with an "button" in the front that comes with the Chutney, Cheddar Cheese Crumbles and Cheese Biscuits is my favourite, and kept my side table (windowsill actually haha) tidy. The wooden caddy that comes with the Preserve Trio can be used to hold the preserves, or you can add a beautiful touch to your kitchen by putting little pots of herbs in it and hang it on the wall.

The cheese biscuits and crumbles, and their chutney and preserves are really good too! My favourite is the Cheese Biscuits which are made with butter and real cheese. It is strong but not bitter, crunchy and cheesy. If you love cheese, you'll love these (I was actually surprised because I was expecting something so strong that it gets bitter)! The Cheddar Cheese Crumbles are good too, a little milder than the biscuits, and will suit those who like cheese but doesn't like it too strong. The chutney has the perfect balance of sweet and savoury, with a hint of spiciness, and will go well with an amazing meaty sandwich!

Preserves wise, I love the Strawberry Preserve on a well buttered toast, but think that the Winter Preserve is more special. They really are all good and will definitely be used by the giftee.

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

Yes! A cute lunchbox as a stocking filler! It is useful, the kids can bring it to school (one of the few things they can actually show off at school), and it makes eating lunch fun! It doesn't necessary have to be this Vintage Transport one from dotcomgiftshop (we, especially Clay, love it and he can't wait to use it!), but any of this type of lunchbox are great for young children.

The size is just right, it is easy for the kids to take it apart at school while the elastic band keeps the compartments together at other times; there are tons of designs out there, and you can split the food and lay them out prettily to entice the kids to eat them. It even comes with a fork and spoon too that fits in the top most compartment!

We have a couple of this style for Abby already and we have been using them for years. She has loved them until they became too small for her.

For people who prefer to buy something useful, lunchboxes, lunchbags or bags will definitely make a great gift. And in case they also want a toy, the lunchbox is only £5.95!

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty
Image courtesy from Which Beauty Box UK
Korean Cosmetics! I can't recommend them enough. I've had lots of fun trialing Korean cosmetics through Memebox and have found several holy grail products already, but it's a shame that they have stopped shipping Internationally. So for a long time I have been buying what I'm familiar with online.

The good news is, Kawaii Panda Beauty Box has launched in the UK, and they ship from the UK! The lovely Claire has sourced her own Korean cosmetics directly from Korea and curated her own Korean beauty boxes locally, so that we can continue trying all the cute and brilliant Korean cosmetics for £18 plus £2.50 postage (£5.50 to Europe). You will get 5 full sized beauty products in the box.

It was a shame that my October box is lost in the post (why Royal Mail, why?!), I was really looking forward to it, especially after seeing Jaina from Which Beauty Box UK's review of it! She has kindly agreed to let me borrow her picture for this guide, as I still want to recommend them (it's not their fault that it's gone missing after all) because their boxes has been fantastic so far.

The October box came with my favourite exfoliator Secret key Lemon D'Toc Peeling Gel. Unlike the wash off scrubs, you spread the gel onto cleaned and dried face, wait for a few seconds then gently massage your skin. You'll start seeing the gel roll up into balls (like those from an eraser). Once you've washed the last bits off, you are left with baby soft skin! I'm not the only one who can testify for the result!

The box also came with a slightly more expensive toner from Skinfood - Black Pomegranate Toner, which was a surprise (Memebox won't even put that range in their Skinfood box!). I have the Oil in the same range and the texture and smell are both really lovely (I haven't used it enough to do a good review though).

The other items were Holika Holika (another one of my favourite brand) Avocado shower gel that I really wanted to try, TonyMoly (another popular brand) Dalcom Gloss and finally The Face Shop handmade Grape Soap (for full review see Jaina's post in the above link).

Kawaii Panda Beauty Box is currently selling their December box, and it will be shipped around the middle of December.

Christmas Gifts, Christmas Food, Health, de-stress, beauty

I found this hamper on Moonpig's website while browsing for their food gifts, and I have to recommend it, simply because the Godminster Vintage Cheese is the best cheese our family have ever had, and it is still our ultimate favourite! You can find our review for their Heart Shape Organic Vintage Cheddar and Oak Smoked Cheddar here. I think I shouldn't have mentioned it to hubby because he's now craving for it!

Their cheese comes in a really nice box, so a good bottle of wine and a 400g Godminster cheese will certainly make a lovely gift. or you can go for this £50 Godminster hamper that comes with both cheeses and Rosemary Water Biscuits that goes really well with the oak smoked cheddar. We haven't tried the rest in the hamper but they are certainly a quality brand!

I hope you like the products in this section, they really are our favourite! Tomorrow I'll feature the most important section - Christmas Toys!