The Present Queen

In recent years I have proven to be the best at gift giving. Thinking well outside the box and giving gifts people didn’t know they really wanted until they got it. At Christmas I had been struggling for ideas but Google was no help what so ever. I had been searching things like “really cool gifts” and “presents people actually want” and all I’ve been getting back is boring lists of the usual smelly stuff and grooming products. This I know, is not what my friends and family actually want.
So I’ve decided to compose my own list of amazingly cool gifts I have previously brought for others or received in the hopes that it will inspire others! A lot of my ideas stem from notonthehighstreet.com but the majority are personalised so nobody else will end up with the same gift.

1. Giant outdoor or indoor beanbag
Not going to lie, I got this deal through itison.com and it cost me a fraction of the normal price. It was so big when it arrived it didn’t for through my close door and I had a fear that my boyfriend wouldn’t find space for it in his house. It’s really comfy and definitely get used a lot. Well worth the money. Although now we have our own house it takes up a lot of space!

2. Personalised leather cufflink box
My boyfriend doesn’t use cufflinks so I figured this could sit looking pretty in his room He uses it for a whole variety of things. It looks absolutely gorgeous and is well built.

3. Personalised leather photo album
I only bought a small one of these due to the price since I was buying other things too but this is so pretty! I expected the personalism to be a bit bolder but its really subtle.

4. Personalised magnetic photo frames
These can be either free standing or magnetic and are in the style of polariods. You can pick between different fonts for the personalisation.

5. Nerf dart guns
My dad bought me and my boyfriend these one year. He decided I needed one to defend myself and he was so right! What an excellent gift. Last year, he bought sets for all of my aunts and uncles so they would have wars and tonnes of fun. Great success.

6. Wooden chopping board
I bought my parents one as an anniversary gift and it sits on display as my dad says it is “too beautiful to use”. It is a giant solid board with personalised engravings. I first saw the Breaking Bad ” let’s cook” one and since my parents are huge fans, I figured they would love it. But then I saw one with a tree engraved and the family name with their wedding date engraved and I just knew that would be the perfect gift. I also bought personalised chopping boards for a couple of friends as wedding gifts this year and both couples loved them. I highly recommend this!

7. Mini indoor citrus tree
We don’t have a garden but my dad loves plants. He is always offering to help our neighbour with her garden and I decided a mini citrus tree would be perfect. He loved it so I bought a 3ft lemon tree as his next gift. Although he loves them both and takes great pride in looking after them, he has warned me not to buy any more (even though I’ve seen SO MANY more indoor mini fruit trees) because we just don’t have the space. Thinking out don’t he box with this gift, that’s for sure!

8. Crystal skull vodka and shot glasses
I bought this on Amazon as it was  the only place I saw the gift set with the skull glasses. Beautiful.

9. Pun related gifts
A mini grater that says “I think you’re great” is by far my favourite one so far!

10. Scrapbook of memories
This one took a wee bit of time since I had to scan and print a lot of things but it is a cheap and incredibly thoughtful gift.

11. Personalised wallet
Scott doesn’t like wallets with coin holders. He told me that he was incredibly fussy when it comes to wallets. His wallet was falling to pieces and I wanted to get him on he would like and actually use. Then using my favourite web store, I found one I could have my handwriting on. You simply write down your personalisation then scan it into your computer (or take a photo) and send it to the shop. I used my sister’s graphics tablet and spent ages writing and re-writing until it was perfect. The outcome? A gorgeous wallet with personalised with their name (and a note too if you wish) in yours or their handwriting. He loves it. Perfect gift.

12. Tickets for the theatre or concerts
This is a favourite I go back to time and time again. Who doesn’t love an experience gift? And if you can upgrade their seats at the theatre by adding drinks and snacks, then even better!

13. Experience days
I got my dad two tickets for a birds of prey experience day. He loves big birds and is always pointing them out or seeing the birds of prey displays if there is one when we’re out so this is ideal for him. Up close and personal with the birds. You should have seen his face when he opened it. Magic. I’ve also been on the receiving end of an experience day gift when my boyfriend got me a hot air balloon ride ticket (!!!!!) so if you’re stuck for ideas, this is definitely the way forward! (Oh, and you get a discount on Virgin Experience Days with your rail card if you have one. Even better.)

 

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Garden

I had no idea just how much work our garden would take. My plan was to just repaint the shed and tidy it up a bit – then we realised the shed was completely rotten and held together by duct tape. Disaster. 

Since the weather turned a little bit better, we’ve been out doing as much as we can to make it semi-decent. Starting with scarifying the grass, cutting back trees and bushes and de-weeding the soil areas. My goodness, what a mammoth task. Since I dug out all the dead/rotten/rubbish plants, all the soil is looking a little bare. Once we figure out exactly what we’re going to do we will add the plants – no point yet just to maybe dig them out again at a later date. It might look a bit bare but it looks a hell of a lot tidier than it did before!

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Specs.

Sometimes you badly scratch the lenses of your glasses and you’re presented with two options: pay £80 to buy a new pair or pay £80 to get them fixed. Getting them fixed was my initial thought until the woman behind the till told me I’d be without them for 3 weeks. For someone who needs glasses full time, that was definitely not an option.

But it’s okay. Life happens and sometimes your things get damaged. There is absolutely no point in being angry over the unavoidable.

Except it was totally avoidable and I should have had a glasses case and not dropped my specs on the ground, twice.

I haven’t damaged a pair of glasses in a long time so I suppose it was overdue. At least my new ones shouldn’t fall down my face as much.

Festive Fun

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t find Christmas Day relaxing. Not at least until the evening when I’ve done everything else I need to and I’m sitting in front  of the tv, probably in my pyjamas, eating from a tub of sweets gifted to me that day (probably Roses). I usually end up falling asleep during the Christmas episode of Doctor Who.

There’s just so much to do that I don’t seem to have time to just sit about doing nothing enjoying the gifts I’ve been given that day. I don’t even have to worry about cooking dinner or having the whole family round the house, so I can’t even imagine how busy and stressed the people who do must feel.

My normal Christmas Routine goes like this:

  • Get up, mega early of course because I’m too excited to sleep
  • Open presents once everyone is up
  • Eat or be forced to eat a breakfast which is not chocolate
  • Be rushed into the shower
  • Go to my aunts house to see the family
  • Home and tidy up the mess from the present unwrapping
  • Dinner
  • Sleep in front of the TV

This year is a bit different though, as I’m having Christmas dinner at Scott’s parents house. So, after seeing my family in the morning, it’s home, tidy, wait for his relatives to pop over then go to his mum’s for the evening. No pyjamas and falling asleep in front of Doctor Who tonight!

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas and if you’re hosting that you manage to grab a few minutes to yourself without having to hide in the bathroom! 🙂

via Daily Prompt: Festive

Lessons

Here are some things I’ve learned since getting the keys to my first house.

  • We need to get up at a reasonable time to open the blinds so people don’t know it’s not being lived in yet
  • We need to get up at a reasonable time because my dad and Allan who have been helping us start AT THE CRACK OF DAWN
  • Stripping wallpaper is a sweaty horrible mess when steam is involved
  • Wood chip wallpaper is the WORST and I will never be decorating any house I own with it ever
  • I know how to fill the holes in the walls and prepare them for painting with the use of pollyfilla and gyproc
  • Sanding is a messy, messy business. No matter how much you try and contain it, the stuff in the kitchen cupboard downstairs will still be covered in dust.
  • One bad game of League or Halo is enough to absolutely enrage Scott when he’s tired or stressed from working in the house.
  • You can stop squeaky floorboards by screwing every single one of them down to the rafters. I used about 500 screws in the master bedroom alone. But my goodness, what a difference it made.
  • Carpet is expensive
  • Christmas time isn’t an ideal time to move house/buy everything you need/only work part time.
  • Our elderly neighbours are the nicest people. We popped over to give them a Christmas present and stayed chatting for an hour and a half.
  • It’s all really hard work but once it’s all finished it’s definitely worth it.

25

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25 seems like a good year so far. Things have been going quite well since my birthday in September. Not in every single aspect of my life, but overall things are pretty great.

As I briefly mentioned before, I quit my job. It was the most soul destroying environment I had ever been in and I am so much happier now that I’m out of there.  The long hours and the complete lack of life outside of work took its toll and I was exhausted all the time. I handed my notice in before my birthday, expecting to work until late September but it lead to a month gardening leave which meant I was now off for my birthday and could do whatever I wanted. Perfect.

I passed my driving test. First time. With the worst weather imaginable. I still don’t feel that sense of freedom everyone keeps talking about but that’s because I don’t have a car and I’m not insured on anyone else’s yet. Still stuck with public transport for the time being.

I started working back in Greggs. I was thrown in on my first day and it really does feel like I hadn’t left, but in a good way. I got back into the swing of things very quickly and it’s been such a laugh every day. I missed those ladies. It’s only temporary since I start my QA job in January but it’s something to do and it’s some extra money which really helps.

And lastly, the most exciting news of it all; Scott and I bought a house! An actual two bedroom house with a front and rear garden! What an exciting adventure. We’ve been making lists and starting to buy the things we need like a vacuum cleaner, kettle and toaster. We should be getting the keys at the start of December. I actually cannot wait.

So, here’s hoping things stay pretty good and that the other things which haven’t been great start to improve! 😀

 

How to Have a Relaxing Evening

  1. Pick out your favourite (large) mug. Jayne bought me this one as an early birthday present from the Disney store.
  2. Make your favourite hot chocolate. I recommend Whittards, they have such a wide selection of lovely flavours.
  3. Collect all the pillows you own and build them around you on your bed (add blanket for extra coziness).
  4. Get lost in a book, not worrying about work or the week ahead. I have just finished Reasons to Stay Alive and I’m halfway through The Girl on the Train, both of which are pretty great. 
  5. Enjoy. 😄