Stocking fillers are one of the fun traditions at Christmas – lots of random goodies which keep you entertained on Christmas Day and don’t get used beyond that.
Over the years, my mum has managed to nail the balance between silly and useful. She still does the stocking for me even though I’ve moved out because she’s an angel.
So, I’ve had a go at mimicking her style to bring you 10 stocking fillers – some whacky, some wonderful. Stocking fillers don’t seem to be as cheap as they used to be (does that make me sound old?) but I’ve tried to stick to under £7.
I feel like this could be one of those things which sounds better than it is. Lip balm is always handy come winter time, though, and it’s an item my mum never fails to include. Seen as though I’m doing my best to imitate her flare for stocking fillers, this one had to make the list.
Now, you’re not likely to benefit from the many ways cats are amazing with this substitute, but it would be a bit of fun. Look on the bright side: you miss out on the smelly litter trays with this version!
You know those people who just HAVE to keep their hands busy? Well, here’s a stocking filler specifically for them. It has a variety of buttons and switches to play with. The convenient small size makes it slide into a pocket with ease.
I’m a sucker for a sentimental gift, even if most men aren’t. If there’s a man in your life who is at the centre of many happy moments, this is a great way to celebrate them. Relive 10 of your happiest memories side by side with these notes, which are placed securely inside glass tubes, and delivered in a gorgeous box.
Travelling might be an all time favourite activity for your dad, brother, friend or other, and this is fun way to show off their adventures. They can scratch away the areas they’ve visited and see how much of the world is left to explore!
For the most part, the men in my life have been heavily interested in music. If yours are the same, then this gift will suit them down to the ground. This unusual print is a funky visual representation of their favourite song. That is, of course, dependent on them having one…
I’ve noticed a theme with men. They’re fine at playing it cool… until they get a dog. Both my dad and my brother adore their pups. This set is a sweet way to include their prized pooch in the gift giving. It includes a pair of walking socks and some chocolate for the human, then a ball and bag of treats for the dog. I know, this includes socks, but I figure we can get away with it in this context…
If you know a whisky fanatic, here’s a way to give them a full experience. This includes five mini bottles of whisky from around Scotland, tasting cards and a tasting mat. It transforms a casual drinking experience into an educational one which, I’m sure, will make it twice as enjoyable for some!
And if none of these are quite right and you have lost all hope of finding something they’ll like, get them:
This week, I’m bringing you a series of gift guides, kicking off with Gifts for Her.
I think the best gifts you can get for the women in your life are ones that make them feel good. This isn’t restricted to perfume and smellies! There are so many other options. So, if you’re looking for a more unusual gift for the lovely ladies in your life, you’ve found the right spot.
This was drawn with ink before being scanned then coloured in Photoshop. The flowers and the phrase accompany each other perfectly in this pleasing print. It’s bright, bold and beautiful. I really think the bumblebees are the most charming finishing touch, too! You could put this in any room in the house and it would look great.
If you want to spend a little extra, there is a sister print available for the same price to make up a set for £16.
Delightful doodles and positive thoughts – what could possibly be better to have on a desk? If you know someone who spends a lot of time in their office, this is ideal. Working can’t possibly be dull when you have this to look at.
Honestly, I just love this so much.
You can also get 10% off orders over £5 when you use the code XMAS2018. At this point, I can see no logical reason why you wouldn’t get this for someone! Even if that someone is yourself…
Having been hand poured in the Scottish Borders, these candles caught my eye. It may not be as fun as drinking them, but the scents of these candles sound so delicious! They have a burn time of 35 hours so there will be plenty of time to enjoy them.
It’s not very often I see red panda items, and particularly not ones as adorable as this! If you know someone who loves these cute characters, this is a must. It comes in a sweet gift box, lovingly finished with some twine. That means you don’t necessarily have to wrap it because it looks gorgeous as it is – bonus!
Whether it’s your best friend or your mum, this is a fantastic way to highlight 10 reasons why they mean so much to you. You personalise this item with reasons of your choice, and they are then popped into glass canisters. The set of 10 comes in an elegant gift box and gives the whole thing a flawless finish.
Affirmations are becoming increasingly popular. They are a lovely way to give someone the tools they need for a boost on those bad days.
A Life More Inspired was created by Nicola, who very kindly sent me an affirmations and prints pack. This includes a set of affirmation cards and 2 inspirational prints. The affirmation cards come in a nice box so they can be kept safe and are easy to transport if you want to carry them around. Also, 10% of the profits from this product are donated to Love Support Unite, so it has the added bonus of supporting a charity this Christmas.
I used these throughout November to add a little extra positivity into my life. They were often exactly what I needed to hear. I love the feather detailing on the cards which add a splash of colour. If you know someone who struggles with self-worth, these are perfect reminders!
This is an undated 12 month diary with predesigned weekly and monthly spreads. A lot of people are put off bullet journals because they don’t think they have the artistic talents to make it look pretty. Although it doesn’t HAVE to look nice to do the job, this one saves them the worry. With creative spaces, colouring pages and quotes throughout, it’s guaranteed to make organising their time a lot more interesting.
All prices are correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change.
Christmas shopping can be incredibly stressful, which is probably why many of us choose to do it online. While shopping online definitely has its perks (like not having to lug heavy items around), supporting your local high-street is a plus, too. For me, it’s all part of the fun of Christmas.
If you are choosing to brave the hectic high-street, here are some ways you can help yourself:
1. Head out early.
It doesn’t matter if Christmas is coming – there aren’t many people who will miss out on sleep to get some shopping in. So, if you go to the shops nice and early, you’re likely to find that it’s much more peaceful. I’d say between 9am and 11am are the best times to get to the shops.
2. Set a budget.
It is the easiest thing in the world for me to get carried away at Christmas. I love spoiling others. I get overly excited and can’t resist buying things when I know the other person will love them.
Truthfully, I dread to think how much money I wasted with all the times I’ve been Christmas shopping, grabbed things and hoped for the best. Having a set budget, both overall and per individual, helps to keep your spending in check.
3. Be patient and polite.
Nothing kills the Christmas spirit quite like grumpy shoppers. I hated serving them when I worked in retail, and I don’t like being around them as a customer. If you find yourself getting a bit overwhelmed, take a breather. Spend a few minutes outside, inhaling the fresh air. If it’s getting towards the end of the day, your bad mood may be a sign it’s time to head home. Call it quits and try again another day.
I can’t emphasise this enough: DO NOT, under any circumstances, take your nonsense out on retail staff. Working in shops at Christmas time is very demanding. People expect you to do a million and one things at once, it’s impossible to keep things tidy and while everyone is getting into the spirit of things, you’re stuck serving them. Manners, smiles and understanding make a big difference. Please use them.
4. Choose your company wisely.
Shopping with friends and family can be a lot of fun. That said, if you think they are likely to distract you from your overall mission, perhaps you should go it alone. Equally, if you want to be in and out as quickly as possible, taking someone who moves at a snail’s pace probably isn’t the best idea.
Little extra tip: take your own carrier bags! I know spending 5p per bag isn’t the end of the world, but using the strong, recyclable ones is a better way to go about things.
This year, I’ve noticed a lot more awesome alternative advent calendars than in the past. They’ve been on the rise in recent years, but companies seem to have really kicked it up a notch for 2018.
There are some people out there who think advent calendars are just for kids. They are wrong. With all of the different options there are now, there’s no excuse not to join in with the fun.
I’m quite content with a chocolate one, but here are five of my favourite variations of the tradition. Although, by now, I’m hoping you’ve got yourself an advent calendar and were able to open the door to a treat this morning.
Please be aware that this page contains affiliate links, which are marked with an asterisk. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you purchase the product through my link (yay!).
At £50, this isn’t cheap… but I’ll let you into a secret: TK Maxx quite often have older versions for much cheaper. If you’re really lucky, they sometimes have the newest version, too. I’m talking half price, at around £25! I wouldn’t pay £50 for this, but £25 is acceptable. It’s also worth checking eBay.
For a few years now, my mum or sister have insisted on buying one of these for me as part of my Christmas. As much as I love starting a day with a chocolate treat, opening a new nail varnish is much more exciting. This includes mini nail varnishes in various colours, a few specialist pots (such as base or top coats) and a full size paint pot at the end.
All prices are correct at time of publication, but may be subject to change.
This will be the last guest post until next year, but it’s a great one to end with. It’s all about how you should feel the fear and do it anyway and why you shouldn’t let fear hold you back.
It comes from Gemma, who is one half of highlands2hammocks. I am in love with their Instagram feed, and have been living vicariously through them for the past couple of months. Make sure you check them out and support them. They’re awesome!
Whatever you’re afraid of, I want you to know that you’re not alone. Everyone fears something in life. Fear is a normal human feeling and if we didn’t feel fear, we wouldn’t feel the happiness and pride that comes along with overcoming them. We wouldn’t feel alive.
Growing up I was fearless. I was a gymnast, I rode horses, I loved throwing myself off of trees, cliffs, everything! All of these things, could have resulted in very dangerous consequences if something went wrong. However, when we’re young we just do what we want to do, despite the consequences. Why is this?
As an adult, we can have the tendency to over analyse everything. We are more aware of what can go wrong and this can result in fear. It is this overthinking that forces us to consider all hazards of an action, regardless of their risk. Due to this overthinking, we can miss out on some of life’s most important, most exhilarating and most memorable experiences. It is this overthinking that we must reflect upon and overcome.
Just recently, I conquered my fear of jumping from a cliff into the sea. Now, I know something like cliff jumping may sound like small fries when it comes to fears, however this was holding me back from truly enjoying my time by the sea, on holiday. After I conquered this fear and took this jump, it got us talking about how fears can hold you back in life. Some rational, some irrational, all limiting. This article is to help everyone out there who is struggling with their fears in life, be it the fear of taking the leap off a cliff, or the fear of putting yourself out there and getting shot down.
These are the steps that I took to conquer my fear, and are the ones I will continue to take for all that I will face in future.
It tends to start with a wish. Wishing we could do something, watching someone else grow and wanting to be able to do it too, but with no intent of believing that it is possible. Identify what it is that you wish you could do, and write it down on a piece of paper.
We were on the cliffs taking photos one evening and I could see some boys jumping off. I couldn’t see the height but I guessed it was fairly high. Higher than I ever thought would be possible, as I had a fear of jumping. I wished I could have the guts to do it but was fairly sure I never would.
Why not me?
This step is about reflecting on what is being done and asking yourself the simple question, “Why not me?”. It is about building self-confidence by using logical thinking; “If they can do it, then why can’t I?”.
The following day by the sea, sitting by the same cliff, I watched many people jumping into the sea off, even Campbell. Old and young, small and big, everyone was managing this jump, and no one was getting hurt. This sparked this same question in my mind, “Why not me?”.
When conquering your fears, its necessary to remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no hurry to get to the destination, as long as you keep moving forward. We can’t all jump at our fears head first.
During multiple attempts, I climbed to the top, peered over and thought there was no way I would be able to jump. I was worried of not jumping far enough and hitting the rocks below, worried of hurting myself as I hit the water, worried about many other logical fallacies I had scraped together to put myself off the idea of taking the leap.
Instead of continuing this path of self-torture, I decided to start small and build up to it. I would jump off of increasing heights, slowly building up to the main accomplishment. These small steps are an accomplishment in themselves, and it is important to remember to pat yourself on the back for them and acknowledge them. Don’t just shrug them off because you want to do something bigger and better.
The continuous question of “Why not me” will play on our minds over and over until it’s all that we can think about. I fell asleep thinking about this and I woke up thinking about it. Remind yourself of your goal regularly and stay hungry.
We went down to the cliffs that day, butterflies fluttering in my stomach like crazy. My watch was recording my heart rate at over 150bpm and I was visibly shaking. However, I felt driven that today would be the day I did it.
This is the stage where we become determined and on a mission. Believing in ourselves every step of the way. Campbell making me say out loud many times that I could do it and I went up there with a lot more confidence than I had before. It still took me a bit of time to take the leap but in the end, I did it and that’s what mattered the most to me.
Once you’ve stepped out your comfort zone, it makes it so much easier to take that step and do it again. Even if it starts off small steps again, it will be easier to take the final leap when it comes to doing it next time. This is what personal development is all about, small improvements over time that add up to a bigger picture.
The confidence and happiness that comes with overcoming your fears is like no other. It will make every choice to push yourself, to get dirty and sweaty, to get uncomfortable and push yourself, all completely worth it.
Take the leap. I know that you can do it.
Read more of our blogs over at highlands2hammocks and get inspired to take on the whole world. We are two budget backpackers from Scotland, bringing you daily travel advice, guides and top tips. Drop by, say “hi” and let us know what you are proud of accomplishing this week.
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If you had the chance at 365 days of happiness, would you take it? A whole year of feeling great?
Well, the truth is, we all have that power. There are ways and means of bringing a bit of joy into your life every single day.
This is something I’ve been working on, and what Jacqueline Pirtle did every day in 2017. Luckily for us, she documented the whole thing. Through her book, we can be involved in her journey and, hopefully, follow her lead.
I’m dipping my toes into the world of book blogging for today’s post to bring you a review of 365 Days of Happiness by Jacqueline Pirtle. Given that I’m on my own mission is to bring happiness into people’s lives, it seems like a natural fit to review this. So, yes, I received this for free, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Jacqueline was born in Switzerland, but now lives in America. She has been changing lives since 2006, when she began investing her time in leading workshops and private sessions to encourage others to live their best life.
I knew we were on a similar wavelength when I read she has cats and likes to occasionally indulge in a cupcake from her favourite bakery! Throw in her infectious determination to lead a happy life, and I felt like we were more or less twins. I mean, a woman after my own heart, or what?
I’m going to quickly get some points out of the way before I tell you why I enjoyed it. There is a lot of talk about “energy” in this book. Having not read anything like this before, I found it a little strange at first. This is purely from a personal experience standpoint, but the discussion of energy does make sense in the context of Jacqueline’s background and career.
As well as that, some sentences appear several times. This makes it repetitive. That said, you should read a page every morning – not all in one go. Due to the fact I was intending to review it before Blogmas begins, I read it in chunks which is probably why I picked up on it. The idea is to take some time out of your day to consciously think of good things. It would be less noticeable if it was spaced out in such a way.
Don’t let it put you off! Neither of those things detract too much from the overall feel good factor. The point of this book is to highlight small ways to bring happiness into your life. It completely delivers on that front.
An example of this is above, on one of my favourite pages. Who doesn’t want a reminder that they’re a strong, confident and powerful warrior? I know I definitely need that once in a while, particularly at this time of year. Winter inevitably brings around some blues and I often find myself struggling.
Jacqueline doesn’t just make a statement. She provides useful tips to help you believe those things, and I love that. She recommends visualising doing something which makes you feel strong or actually getting out there and doing it if you are able.
Several pages begin with “imagine” to create an immersive experience. Jacqueline immediately sets the scene – you just need to allow yourself to be in it.
On multiple occasions while reading, I felt empowered and ready to take on anything! I definitely felt like it encouraged me to hone in on good feelings. There was one day when it was particularly rainy and miserable outside. My mood was flat and I didn’t want to do anything. So, I grabbed this, read a few pages and it gave me the little boost I needed.
Each day is a short passage, so it can easily squeeze into a morning routine for a blast of positivity before your day begins.
For me, what shines through in this book is Jacqueline’s genuine desire to make others have a more fulfilled life. While it’s based on her own experiences, and they are referenced along the way, it is very much focused on the reader.
If you need any more proof it’s worth picking up, even Juno couldn’t resist sticking her nose in.