art, Christmas, gift guide, reviews

Under the Tree: Print Panoramics

Another day, another excellent option for your Christmas shopping.

Print Panoramics are a cool online company that help you create amazing prints from your photos – something that would make a fantastic gift for a loved one.

You pick the size, style and type of print, upload your image and the team will print it for you, ensuring it looks the best.

The team at Print Panoramics have kindly offered my readers a 15% discount, valid until 31/12/2018 (UK only, includes shipping, minimum spend £50). Enter code MADSPP15

You can also follow Print Panoramics on Instagram and see some of their great images.

art, Christmas, reviews

Under the Tree: personalised art from Karishma, London Life Drawing Girl

Today’s gift idea is a bit different and something that could be ideal for an art loving friend or family member.

I’ll let Karishma, aka London Life Drawing Girl introduce herself;

“Hi, I’m Karishma, a 26 year old, London based artist. I love to draw and paint buildings and skylines around the world. These can be anything from a favourite city, a special building, or home. I work in the city by day and sketch in my spare time.”

If you want to buy someone an amazing hand drawn image of their favourite London landmark or somewhere that means something special then head to her website and order via the form or by email.

And Karishma has kindly offered all my followers a Christmas order discount – just add code MADS for a cool 10% off one of her drawings.

You can also follow Karishma and see some more of her amazing art on social media, Twitter, Instagram

Christmas, gift guide, reviews

Under the Tree: Prestige Hampers

A festive classic, the hamper is a great gift when you’re not sure what to get someone or need to send a gift well packaged.

Prestige Hampers are based in Yorkshire and offer a wide range so you can pick the perfect hamper for your chosen recipient.

This particular number has a great selection of sweet and savoury treats, guaranteed to give the lucky receiver a delicious Christmas.

I remember as a kid my dad used to buy hampers for clients at Christmas, a little way to say thank you for their support and custom. I always wanted someone to send me one as they seemed exciting and fun.

You can follow Prestige on social media too. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

books, Christmas, gift guide

Under the Tree: coffee table books from Thames & Hudson

I don’t own a coffee table but I do have a few hard to buy for relatives. Books like these can suit those with tricky tastes. I can imagine a few family members who might appreciate these. As do I.

The Face and The Bestiary are produced in conjunction with the British Museum. Containing images of some of the intriguing artefacts housed in one of Britain’s oldest and most eclectic museums.

I can spend a whole day wandering the galleries and still have only seen a fraction of the treasures it houses. These books are a great way to see some of the artefacts that you might have missed.

If I hadn’t been very kindly sent these books to share with you in the run up to Christmas, personally I’d be really chuffed to receive them as they’re beautiful objects as well as fascinating reads.

To buy your copies, you can order direct from the publishers or contact your local book shop. Priced at £16.95 each.

books, Christmas, reviews

Book Review: Mr Dickens and his Carol – Samantha Silva*

A mysterious parcel arrived….

Inside was this marvellous new book, all in time for Christmas (and some chocolate coins to munch while I read).

Now, Dickens’ book A Christmas Carol is hugely famous and has been adapted multiple times (my favourite’s the Muppets version). 

But Samantha Silva goes behind the tale of Scrooge, ghosts and little Tim Cratchit, to the story of a story. 

Silva deftly conjures the crowded streets of Victorian London to life, complete with hawkers and drunks, salesmen and pickpockets. 

Dickens is in a bind – his last book isn’t selling well and his publishers want a Christmas book, but with just weeks to go can Dickens craft a bestseller in time? 

I have a rather complicated relationship with Charles Dickens and his books, finding them overly pious and pompous, perhaps I just live in the wrong era. 

However I do like books about books and this is definitely that. Weaving a narrative out of a handful of known facts about the writing of Carol, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. 

Definitely worth wrapping a copy up for the reader in your life. 

Christmas, lifestyle, reviews, upcoming

Christmas treats with Prestige Hampers*

Growing up I always loved Christmas hampers, boxes of exotic treats that only came together at one time of the year. 

My dad used to buy them for his suppliers – not for us, but occasionally someone would send us one instead of buying individual presents or if we weren’t seeing them over the holidays. 

When Prestige Hampers, a Yorkshire based family business, offered to send me a hamper, I was thrilled. I received the Fabulous Christmas hamper. 

Although it’s still November just unpacking it made me feel all Christmassy (which is impressive as I struggle with the festive period). 

The team at Prestige are packing experts, once I’d unpacked it all I could not for the life of me get it all back in as neatly. 

The handmade wicker hamper is lovely and reusable – I’m already excited about deciding what to store in it! 

The contents itself is great. There’s so many treats in here. C has already got his eye on several of the goodies in it. 

This hamper includes a selection of sweet and savoury festive essentials along with three mini wine bottles, an individual Christmas pudding, jam and marmalade. 

Prestige provide a wide variety of options of gifts, everything from a bottle of wine, Christmas ham and of course the hampers. 

Right now there’s a sale on – and everything can be delivered in time for Christmas. 

Now excuse me, off to eat all these yummy treats….

*this post includes gifted items but all opinions and words are my own. 

family, friends, life, mental health, relationships

This Is Not A Gift Guide

I was skimming along my twitter timeline the other day and saw a link to another gift guide on some website or other, where a gift was recommended that was “only £4,995”, that “only” just kills me.

A lot of people are struggling at the moment, finances are tight, a shop assistant I spoke to today said that they were still waiting for the Christmas rush, she was worried that if there wasn’t one she’d lose her job.

Five grand is a lot of money, and completely out of many people’s ability as a one off spend on a Christmas present.

Growing up there were times money was tight, when my dad was made redundant, when my mum was not working because she had two small children at home, when my parents bought their house. But we never went without.

We always had presents, I remember getting a new bike one year, and my auntie used to send us dresses every year, which we wore for Christmas day lunch, there were pyjamas, books, board games, toys, but not more than we could actually play with, we certainly weren’t spoiled.

So when I see these completely unrealistic gift guides being promoted, and there are more realistic ones out there, with presents that very few could buy, it makes me cross.

You don’t have to be religious to celebrate Christmas, Jesus was probably born in June and people have celebrated the solstice/yule etc for thousands of years, but it shouldn’t be all about stuff.

We’ve become too materialistic, yes I blog about beauty products, but I am also passionate about things that matter, I’m a proud feminist, I speak out against injustices, I am currently furious about the foul way some people treat other members of their communities due to race or religion.

Christmas, for me anyway, is about family, friends, being together, doing things like decorating the house, eating a meal, watching cheesy films, together.

Not about how much stuff you get, or how much money you spend.

So, I won’t be suggesting gifts, I won’t be telling you that spending £4,995 on a gift shows someone how much you love them. Just be with them, do things together.

ramblingmads