Christmas Gift Guide 2018

Thumbs Up Hollywood Mirror from ASOS

It’s that time of year again! I’m so excited for Christmas, as I always am, but this year I’ve had to be super organised. We’re off to Cuba this month, which is amazing, but my goodness I’ve had to sort out Christmas really early.

If you’re just starting out on your Christmas gift buying or maybe need just those last few gifts, hopefully this gift guide will give you a little inspiration.

There’s a mix of items I’ve been gifted by a PR agency (marked with an asterisk – please also note that I selected the items I was gifted so they are genuinely things I think are worth gifting) and I’ve also included items I’ve bought myself. I’ve shared gifts for him, her and a couple of ideas for little ones too.

Up first, is the Hollywood style mirror* you can see in the image above. This super glam mirror by Thumbs Up (available on ASOS) comes in at just £14.99. It’s simply powered by two AA batteries (so no wires), has an easy on/off switch to one side and is made from a sturdy white plastic, which will make it a great gift for girls who may have just stepped into the world of makeup and all things lovely.

Whilst we’re looking at this photo… I also highly recommend the New York perfume, which is by Marks and Spencer. This perfume is one of my favourites from M&S. I’ve also got another one on the go at the moment called “Belle” – definitely another winner in my eyes! Marks & Spencer’s perfumes are all really affordable, available in gift sets at Christmas and the cherry on top is that they are BUAV Cruelty Free International approved.

Marks and Spencer Christmas Beauty Gifts

I absolutely love Marks & Spencer for Christmas gifts. I buy the majority of my beauty gifts from there year after year, as all their own brand products are cruelty free approved (look for the BUAV Cruelty Free International leaping bunny logo on the back of the packaging).

They have such a variety of styles to choose from, from classic scents to fruity flavours – there’s definitely something for everyone in there. My mum loves their Royal Jelly collection and dad is always pleased to receive their aftershave and shower gel sets. They have a range of full sized products and some smaller sized products in their gift sets – the smaller sizes are so helpful for those who travel!

Marks & Spencer beauty gift collections I’d recommend: Royal Jelly, Ragdale Hall Spa, Woodspice (and all the other men’s fragrances to be honest), La Maison de Senteurs, all the usual Marks & Spencer men’s fragrance based shower gel sets and Nature’s Ingredients if you fancy something a little fruitier.

The gifts in Marks & Spencer are on a 3 for 2 offer as well… and I even spotted a that a few gifts have 50% off right now too.

Marks and Spencer Flower Jug with Bulb Inside

Staying with Marks & Spencer… can you tell I love their gifts? How lovely is this jug! Not only is it beautifully painted, it also has a bulb inside that the recipient can plant in January – and then it’ll flower in the spring. I love it. This comes in at £7.

In store you’ll find quite a few of these to choose from and they’re on 3 for 2 too. There’s different styles of jugs/plant pots and different types of plant available too. Perfect if you have a few people to buy for. I just think it’s a really nice and slightly more unusual gift to give. I bought this for Ian’s mum and I really hope (and think) she’ll love it.

Another buy from Marks & Spencer, was this knitted scarf (£15) for my dad. I really struggle with what to buy men at Christmas (and birthdays!), but I think a scarf at Christmas time is a great idea. This scarf is available in 4 different colours, all really wearable colours at that and I’m sure they’ll be grateful for it as the weather gets chillier across the next few months.

Ion8 Water Bottles

We’re more aware than ever of our impact on the world when we use single-use plastic, so why not gift a loved one a reusable bottle this Christmas? This 500ml Ion8 leak proof sports bottle* (£9.99) and this Ion8 metal leak proof 500ml bottle* (£19.99) are brilliant. They come in a variety of colours, so you can choose the perfect colour for your recipient.

The sports bottle has a specially designed spout to ensure it has a fast flow for rapid hydration, a “handy” hand strap, a flip style lid to keep it safe and secure, and it’s BPA free too – such a good bottle for the gym.

As you might be able to see in the image above, the Ion8 metal leak proof bottle keeps your drink cold for 24 hours and keeps hot drinks hot for 12 hours. Making it perfect for on the go. What I think is really clever, is that the bottle keeps sweat and condensation free, meaning that it won’t leave wet marks on tables or in your bag. It’s also been designed to ensure the width of the bottle fits most cup holders, bike bottle holders and external mesh pockets on rucksacks.

It’s such a universal product too! I can imagine so many friends and family members of mine who would be more than happy to receive one of these I’m sure. Ion8 also do the metal bottles in smaller 280ml size, perfect for the days when you just need a little something and have a smaller bag for the day.

Hape Bug book and Hape Musical Penguin

How gorgeous are these baby gifts? This year Ian’s older brother and his girlfriend welcomed a gorgeous little girl into the world. It’s been so lovely to have an excuse to buy cute little baby gifts and clothes… but I’ve found it *so* hard to find great toys that are suitable for babies under 12 months.

This little wooden Baby’s Bug Book by Hape* is so sweet (£6.99). It’s so easy to open up and explore, it looks bright and colourful and has such a lovely shape to it to keep it interesting for little ones. I just think it’s the sweetest thing.

Sitting next to it is the Hape Penguin Musical Wobbler* (£9.99). It’s so cute! This little guy chimes as he’s wobbled and even shakes his wings as he does it. I can imagine little ones having such a giggle at this toy. I love its wooden finish to the base. It’s crafted with non-toxic finishes and child safe materials to provide you with peace of mind.

Other baby gifts I’ve bought her include some lovely little stacking cups and boats by Munchkin (available in Tesco) and some lovely clothes from Marks & Spencer. I’d also recommend Baby Club in Boots for some lovely clothes. They quite often have offers in there, but even if they don’t, they’re great quality and have some lovely designs to choose from. (Don’t forget to collect those Boots loyalty card points too!)

Yankee Candle Spiced White Cocoa

Last up is this rather lovely Yankee Candle in Spiced White Cocoa. I was gifted this last year (but I’ve saved it for this Christmas!)… however, Ian’s mum has been burning this scent in her home lately and it’s lovely. It’s sweet, yummy and certainly throws the scent into the room really well. So I definitely recommend these! If you’re local to Milton Keynes, there’s a Yankee Candle store in Centre MK and they have some great gift sets at great prices in there right now.

Another brand to look out for is WoodWick (you can read an old blog post of mine on WoodWick *here*), these candles have an amazing wooden wick and provide you with a crackle – just like a real fire! They also do wax melts, which are a great alternative to a candle… a wax melt burner is another lovely gift idea too! If you click on that WoodWick blog post linked above, you’ll find a great website where my gorgeous Cello wax burner came from.

Want to gift chocolates this year? Here’s my recommendations that I think everyone will love…

First up is the Italian Collection of chocolates from Marks and Spencer – you can see them on my blog post about their Italian food collection *here*. I was gifted these chocolates as part of their Italian food collection campaign, but Ian and I loved them so much that we’ve gone back and bought them for our parents. They’re honestly some of the best chocolates we’ve ever had.

Hotel Chocolat is another huge favourite of ours. A little pricier in cost, but the chocolate itself is of a really high quality, it’s really fairly traded and I love the fact that sugar isn’t the top ingredient in their chocolate (like most bars). In store (and online) you’ll find a huge range to choose from, from gorgeous gift boxes through to their ever-popular “selectors”, which are £3.95 each or 3 for £10 – a great way to discover your favourites. I recently wrote a post (not in collaboration, just because I wanted too) about their chocolate lock-in events, which you can read *here*.

Lily O’Briens is another favourite in the Alston household. We always pick up a box of these each Christmas – usually the dessert collection. Definitely recommend trying these pretty chocolates too! They’re a great gift idea as they look so beautiful and aren’t too pricey either. Lily O’Briens is readily available in most supermarkets and I also have spotted the brand in Debenhams too.


So there you have it, a little roundup of a few of my favourite gifts to give this year. I hope you found it helpful and it gave you a little inspiration for your own gifting this Christmas. And… have a very Merry Christmas and a rather wonderful New Year!


*Items marked with an asterisk were gifted to me by a PR company who represents the brands to include them in this gift guide. However, I got the chance to choose the items I wished to include and therefore they are items I would genuinely choose myself to gift to loved ones. Everything else are items I’ve already bought for family members.

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