Monday, 27 November 2017

Feeling festive yet? The Christmas Countdown review roundup

Judging by my social media feeds, there's still about a 50-50 divide between the "so many sleeps to Christmas" enthusiasts and the "bah humbug, it's far too early to be thinking about Christmas" brigade. Well, if you're still not feeling full of festive sparkle, just ponder this for a moment - this time next week, we'll be into December and in under a month, Christmas will be done and dusted for another year ! That to me says it all - the countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun ! We've been receiving some lovely goodies lately to help us get in the Christmas spirit.

First of all, if you have kids, don't forget the obligatory advent calendar. When I was a kid, we were happy enough to open the window and just have a picture, but these days, it's chocolates all the way. Wilko have a lovely calorie-free alternative though, which is sure to be a massive hit with the children - the Wilko Blox advent calendar, with festive brick building fun behind every door.

It includes everything you need to build a festive scene with elves, a train, a snowman, a reindeer and sleigh, Father Christmas and lots more. It's much more exciting than knowing in advance that you're going to get the same old chocolate every day, because there could be anything hiding behind each door. 

The fun doesn't stop there because the advent calendar even includes a Santa's workshop play scene for you to display or play with your creations. Even better news,  Blox construction kits have been designed to work together with the leading brand, so it will make a lovely addition to an existing collection. This is one advent calendar which will have lasting appeal well beyond Christmas Eve. I thought it was a bargain for £8 but the price has now been slashed even further to £6. Available at Wilko.

Qualatex balloons are ideal as Christmas stocking fillers, party accessories or just a fabulous addition to your Christmas decorations. Let one of Santa’s Elves spread joy and light up hearts this festive season with Elf Buddy (RRP £19.99), a quirky design made from latex and foil balloons that stands about 1 metre high and is certain to bring Christmas cheer to all. For a perfect table centrepiece that’s colourful, fun and yet easy to talk around, let Santa himself sprinkle some magic with this neat “Ho Ho Ho!” balloon bouquet (RRP £17.99). With the bouquet floating neatly in shape for several days, it’s sure to be a big hit this Christmas. For stockists visit or call 0800 28 12 15.


If you're on the hunt for some lovely personalised Christmas gifts, look no further than Babyblooms, the UK’s top online baby gift company, which has an exclusive range of personalised and non-personalised items to make a baby’s first Christmas a truly memorable occasion. Many of the gifts would appeal to recipients of all ages though, including this gorgeous Personalised Christmas Stocking and Personalised Bertie Bear set (RRP £50). The beautiful Christmas stocking, personalised with stylish embroidery, is handmade in the UK from a luxurious velvet fabric, and Bertie is proudly wearing his matching personalised jumper for extra special cuddles, so you can have the perfect Christmas Eve bedtime set up, whatever your age ! Other wonderful gift ideas include a Personalised Christmas Eve Box with ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas book and Personalised Christmas Eve Plate (RRP £49.99), a Bertie Bear Christmas Bathrobe Set (RRP £50), Baby's 'My First Christmas' Cracker Bib (RRP £10.00) and New Baby Skincare Cracker (RRP £15.00). I also have a fantastic giveaway running at the moment right here on my blog where you can win a gorgeous Christmas morning breakfast set, comprising a bone chine plate, bowl, mug and egg cup, as well as a personalised Bertie Bear (RRP £50).


If you're looking for some silly fun to help notch up the excitement levels with the kids, The Smelly Sprout Sticker Activity Book by Allan Plenderleith (RRP £4.99) is just the ticket.

It's packed full of festive fun, including colouring pages, spot the differences, mazes, drawing challenges and sticker fun, as well as a tasty recipe to recreate.

Designed for children aged 4+, it would make a lovely stocking filler or could be handy on Christmas Eve to help while away the time until it's bedtime and the kids can excitedly hang their stockings up and try not to fall asleep all night ! Available at amazon and all good bookstores.

If you want a festive challenge that the whole family can get involved in, how about the What If? Christmas Day puzzle from Ravensburger, aimed at adults and children aged 12+. I always find that Boxing Day is a bit of a dead day - everyone is lapsing into a turkey/mince pie coma, the kids' new toys are already starting to lose their novelty value and the festive TV is all getting a bit samey. Bring out a puzzle and you'll be amazed to see everyone drifting over to the table and joining in !

The What If? puzzles have a unique twist. The picture on the front of the box, in this case the perfect Christmas Day that we all dream of, is not the picture that the puzzle represents. The puzzle actually shows the kind of Christmas that many of us actually end up experiencing, so it's an added challenge and makes it even more exciting as you're not sure what will appear until you start putting it together piece by piece ! 

Finally, if you're planning on puckering up under the Christmas mistletoe - or, the less romantic version, if the cold weather is playing havoc with your lips - keep the dreaded chapped lips at bay with these lovely Jelly Belly branded lip balms, including tasty Berry Blue, Tutti Frutti and Very Cherry scents. The great thing is, they're zero calories and you don't get to say that very often during Christmas and New Year ! Available for £3 at Tesco stores, they're perfect as stocking fillers or secret Santa gifts, or just a little feelgood treat for yourself to keep in your pocket and lift your spirits when you're standing at the bus stop on a bitterly cold day feeling miserable !

Go on, admit it - that must have made you feel a little bit festive, surely ? Ho ho ho !

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.

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