Merry Christmas | Feliz Navidad

This time of year always make us feel a little reflective and appreciative. It’s a time of giving. A time of thinking. A time of remembering and acknowledging all that we have achieved throughout the year. 

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Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Joyeux Noël. Frohe Weinachten. Buon Natale. Feliz Natal. Vrolijk kerstfeest. Wesołych świąt Bożego Narodzenia.

I have listed Merry Christmas in different languages, to represent you, my audience. In order of where you visit from. The majority of you, like me, are Native English speakers. But, incredibly, so many of you come from different places in the world, and I wanted to say Merry Christmas to you too! We know I love languages. 

This time of year always make us feel a little reflective and appreciative. It’s a time of giving. A time of thinking. A time of remembering and acknowledging all that we have achieved throughout the year.

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It can be easy to forget the little victories. The small things. The things that have made each day. I’ll be sharing very soon a snippet of my 2018, split into short clips that highlight each day and show the small moments that piece together to make another year. Another year passed, more memories made. More places visited. More good times, highs and lows. Everything that joins together to make a year what it is.

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Last year, I started a One Second Everyday video and it was one of the best decisions I made. December 31st 2016, I awoke to find a video of someone that I didn’t even know pop up on my timeline. Yet there I was, crying at their video. Every second didn’t really mean a lot to me, but I know to them, each second highlighted their day. One little memory sparks the story.

I knew that I needed to create my own. You can watch it by clicking play!

This year, my One Second Everyday will be in landscape mode. Plus, I’m using 1SE in pro mode this year so there will be a lot more cool features to this year’s video.

2018 has been surreal. We moved home. We visited 30+ Spanish cities. We got a car. I started my blog in January and had no idea how it would grow. I didn’t know almost 60k of you would be around, whether that’s through email subscriptions or following me on social media. I didn’t know about the opportunities that would arise.

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I had no idea that bloggers would get so many exciting opportunities. I had no idea I’d go on press trips, or be sent products that haven’t been released yet or be invited to stay in my favourite hotel in Benidorm, neither did I think I’d build a long-lasting relationship with some of my favourite brands like Truprint, 1SE and Fosse. It was all brand new to me. It’s so exciting that opportunities I’ve been given and even more so knowing 2019 has so many more in store. I am so thankful that brands recognise the effort and like my content. I’m so pleased that you love it too.

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I had no idea that daily I would receive an email or message on social media to say I’ve influenced somebody to try something new, or that my Spanish lessons helped them, or that my NIE guide was perfectly written to save them 50€. I had no idea. I’m so thankful for every message, every comment, every like on social media. It makes all the hard work worth it.

I am excited for what 2019 has in store, press trips, collaborations and I’m sure there will be more to come. 

This Christmas, we will be spending it in Benidorm, taking some day or overnight trips to different places nearby to make use of the holidays. Follow along to see where we get to! One of them, was the birthplace of King’s Day!

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This festive period, I’ve been very into pinecones, so I’ve incorporated them into our decoration and our wrapping. I have been using the Yankee Candle to count down which has been a dream with a different delectable scent filling the apartment each evening, I’ll definitely be investing in the bigger one next year though now we have a bigger space. I’ve loved having a chocolate piece of Fosse every morning too.

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Now, it’s time to open the presents and get ready for Christmas Dinner. An extra helping of pigs in blankets, please! Does anybody else really love prawn cocktail but for some reason only have it at Christmas? I’ll be intermittently posting throughout the rest of the year and the beginning of January, but on the whole, I’m back to my once a week on Saturday at 19:00GMT and Sunday at 19:00GMT for A Day in the Life in.

Feliz Navidad,

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What is Christmas like in Benidorm

Are you ready to ditch the cold and cosiness for a potential beach holiday?

You might be wondering what it’s actually like to spend Christmas in Benidorm. Are you ready to ditch the cold and cosiness for a potential beach holiday? What about the Christmas dinner? Who’s going to cook that? The parties? The presents? Here is what Benidorm is like at Christmas.

Imagine Christmas where you don’t have to run around checking that the turkey is cooking. A Christmas where there isn’t pots and pans stacked high up to the ceiling. A Christmas where the only chill will be how you feel when you’re lying around the pool soaking up a bit of winter sun before the drags of January and February make an appearance.

Atmosphere

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Bustling and happening, there is so much to do during the festive period. You won’t have the chance to be bored.

Spain is always up for a good fiesta, and in Benidorm, they definitely know how to party with a capital P. Add in the words Christmas and New Year and it’s even bigger than before.

Hotels and bars will go all out and throw parties and celebrations for their clients. Celebrations usually commence with a Gala Meal, with wine and spirits as standard. There will be live entertainment and dancing until your feet get sore.

It’s also the perfect time to head up to Guadalest, Villajoyosa or Altea and take in a completely different, slower pace of atmosphere during the festivities. If you do have a car, make sure you head up to Alcoy, known as The Christmas Town.

Don’t forget to head towards The Town Hall where you can ice skate and browse the Christmas market. It’s a great place to spend an hour or two.

The busiest area is Calle Gerona, so if you’re looking for the party, that’s where to go!

Weather

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A white Christmas is borderline impossible unless you’re looking at the sandy white beach, of course. December is a cool month to visit Benidorm, with averages of around 12°C to 18°C. A layer of warm clothing is a necessity. After the sun sets, the temperature can dip to a rather cool 6°C, mixed with the sea air can feel much colder.

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The sunshine will shine brightly for around 6 hours of the day, with only around 9 days of rainfall throughout December.

It’s a comfortable time to visit and ideal to get out those party dresses that are usually hidden underneath layers and coats!

Shopping for Presents

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If you’re looking to buy the gifts whilst you’re over in Benidorm, you can head up to C.C La Marina where you’ll find a range of clothes shops and Don Dino Toy Shop. There is also a Don Dino in Benidorm centre.

Don Dino also offer a gift wrapping service.

You can get lots of lovely Christmas knick-knacks and stocking fillers from Tiger, which is located in the Old Town, near Zara.

Alternatively, there is Zenia Boulevard in Orihuela Coast, which is well-stocked with a variety of shops, including Primark or Alicante, both of which are a short drive away. You can reach Alicante by taking the L1 tram from Benidorm, it takes an hour.

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If you’re looking for a chocolate hamper, you can get a lovely one from Valor in Villajoyosa, like the one my friends bought me! You can take the L1 tram or Alsa bus to Villajoyosa. Inside the cafe, they do a range of chocolate gifts and hampers.

Christmas Dinner

Many hotels will offer Gala menus for their clients. Alternatively, you can book in with a restaurant that is offering Christmas Dinner or head to the Benidorm Palace for their Gala dinner and show.

Showboat and the Nag’s Head are currently advertising that they’re offering a Christmas Dinner menu again this year.

Feliz Navidad,

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My Christmas Wish List 2018

My Christmas wish list for 2018 is filled with electronics, fashion pieces and entertainment. It might give you some ideas of what you might want too, maybe we like the same things!

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My Christmas wish list for 2018 is filled with electronics, fashion pieces and entertainment. It might give you some ideas of what you might want too, maybe we like the same things!

After all, I’m sick of seeing the same Christmas Gift Ideas for Women where it’s just filled with kitchen appliances and slippers! Yawn!

I’m definitely aiming this towards Alex, so I hope he’s making notes so I don’t have to hear the dreaded “I didn’t know what to get you”.

I will in no way get all of these things, neither do I expect it. But, I like to give a bigger selection, plus I like the element of surprise.

This post contains affiliate links – if you purchase any of the products I will make some commission for the referral at no additional cost to you.

1. Amazon Echo Dot

£49.99 on Amazon. Buy here: Amazon Echo Dot

I have been thinking about how I want an Amazon Echo Dot recently. They look good, they are functional plus I can actually stand here and say “Alexa play…” and bring my tweets to life. Okay, just me?

2. The Greatest Showman DVD

£12.99 on Amazon. Buy here: The Greatest Showman DVD

I have been in love with this film since the first time I saw it. The catchy songs that have not yet been turned off repeat. Zac Efron. Hugh Jackman. A great story with powerful hits that you just want to sing and tap your feet along to. A definite must-have for me this Christmas. I am hoping Alex will pick me this up for a stocking filler! I’m also after Mamma Mia 2 and Christopher Robin.

3. UGG Boots

£126.12 on Amazon. Buy here: UGG Boots

I know a lot of you hate these, I’m so sorry but I just can’t tear myself away from the comfort of UGG boots. We once had a Principal who banned UGG boots altogether, he was from Australia and hated that we were wearing these slippers as outdoor boots. But answer me this, if they’re intended to be slippers why do they have the thick bottom sole and why do they sell a range of slippers?

My UGG boots are looking a little worse for wear now after battling the snow in England. They’ve got a few water stains so it’s time for a new pair. I wear my boots every day to work just because they’re so comfy to walk in. I’d go again for the light brown. In an ideal world, I’d choose the beige but I just know they’d get ruined!

4. Yankee Candle Advent Calendar

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*update* I managed to get my hands on one, thanks to Fosse as part of their Full of your Favourites campaign!

£34.99 on Amazon. Buy here: Yankee Candle Advent Calendar
OR: £16 for the smaller Advent Calendar, the same as mine, in Boots at Fosse!

I’m a little late to the party on this one. But, I love the Yankee Candle Advent Calendars. I prefer the mid-range one that has a selection of tea lights and mini candles. They have beautiful aromas and fragrances and I love being able to light a different candle every day before Christmas.

A few years ago, I had a Yankee Candle Advent Calendar and I loved it. My room smelt beautiful every day. As each day had a different scent, they did repeat though, the aroma was constantly fresh and different. It was heavenly. I’d definitely like another this year, or next!

5. Happiness Planner

51,74€ on The Happiness Planner. Buy here: The Happiness Planner

I love my The Nomad Factory Travel Journal and I’ve really gotten into crafts and bullet journalling, so I think I’d love the highly-anticipated Happiness Planner. It’s an aesthetically pleasing planner that is designed to help you plan and manage schedules and to-do lists and live a fulfilled life by evaluating your self-development and gratitude. It aids in positive thinking and embracing your own self-worth. It has loads of additional pages and a whole host of different printables too. It also comes with an App! I’d like my hypothetical planner in pink and black.

6. Disney Pin Trading Pins

I’d like a few pins to add to my Disney Pin collection ready for next year to trade at Disney. I’m not actually fussed what they look like. As long as I have a few. I want some that will look beautiful and some that I’ll happily trade!

7. 2019 World Desk Calendar

£12.11 on ETSY. Buy here: Worldwide Desk Calendar

I’ve had this ETSY 2019 Worldwide Desk Calendar in my cart on Etsy since October 2017. Now we have an actual desk, I’d love a desk calendar to sit next to the computer so that I can feel organised and it looks really pretty too.

8. Kanken Backpack

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*update, I managed to get a Kanken! Thanks to Kanken for sending me one out along with some of their Essentials kit*

I love the Kanken backpacks and have been wanting to get my hands on one for quite a while. They look sturdy and perfect for travelling and short haul flights. I’d also like to try out the cooler bag from the new Kanken essential accessories kits.

9. Vlog Camera

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*update: thanks to Black Friday and a little contribution from Fosse as part of the Full of your Favourites campaign, I managed to get a Panasonic Lumix camera, perfect for photos and videos. I love it!*

I really want to get my hands on a vlogging camera. We don’t have sound on our camera so that’s no use and the Go Pro is great for action shots, but for moving it’s too shaky. The phones are okay, but what I really want is a good quality vlog camera, I’m open to any suggestions!

10. Books

There are a few books on my wish list this year,  I want to read The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Little Orphan Girland It’s Not Me, It’s Them.

If you want to send me a little Christmas coffee, you can do so securely here! Thank you! Buy Lauren a Coffee

Merry Christmas,

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The Best European Markets – That I Want to Visit

They are a treasure trove of Christmas. It’s like something took the essence, the sounds, the smells, the atmosphere of Christmas and tied it together in a little-hatched market and tied it together in the form of a market.

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Have you ever been to a Christmas market? They are a treasure trove of Christmas. It’s like something took the essence, the sounds, the smells, the atmosphere of Christmas and tied it together in a little-hatched market and tied it together in the form of a market.

All over Europe, glittering Christmas Markets take centre stage of the towns and cities bringing a host of festive cheer. They’re a magical place to browse trinkets, look at knick-knacks, enjoy an evening with family and friends, get great street food and embrace the Christmas spirit.

It’s also the place where the best Christmas lights come to life. The lights twinkle above the market to create the ultimate Christmas experience.

Of course, no Christmas market is complete without scrumptious street market food. You’ll find German sausages, puffy pretzels, hearty soups and stews, treats like truffles and hot chocolate with marshmallows, plus the roasted chestnuts. Isn’t that just the epitome of Christmas? Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

You can also get sentimental, unique gifts from markets, some which are handmade. Dolls, clothes, trinkets. There is always a great selection. Plus, you can always find beautiful pieces of Christmas decor. I mean, how perfect? Christmas decor from a Christmas market. I love being able to showcase travel, so the next time I go to a Christmas market, I’ll be sure to pick up a little Christmas Decor so it can be displayed year in, year out.

Most Christmas markets have a selection of kids rides too. Although I don’t ride them, obviously, it’s always nice to hear and see the children laughing. So nostalgic.

Then there’s my all-time favourite Christmas activity. Ice-Skating. At Christmas markets, there’s usually a pop-up ice rink. I love wrapping up warm and skating around. Even if I’m not that good. It’s a little tradition now leading up to Christmas. My favourite was Ice Skating at the London History Museum.

Which ones are on my future list though?

1. Vienna, Austria

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Known as one of the best Christmas markets in the world, Vienna is somewhere that I’d love to visit. It has over 150 stalls which sell everything from Christmas drinks to Austrian delicacies. There’s also a huge ice rink and a classic nativity scene.

They also offer a game of curling on the ice rink which is something completely unique.

2. Prague, Czechia

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After seeing so many updates from Prague, like Chloe in my A day in the life series, my desire to go to Prague grows and grows. The city has two main Christmas markets, the old town and the Wenceslas Square. They’re a short five minutes’ walk away from each other.

The market may look similar to many others across Europe, but they host a wide selection of Czech foods, like klobása. What’s so unique about Prague, is that they stay open every day over the festive period. They run all the way through until Epiphany and even open on Christmas Day!

3. Krakow, Poland

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Poland is on my list of places to go and Krakow is the one that pulls me the most. Even better, they have a Christmas market that is known and appreciated across Europe. If you’re looking for a white Christmas, Krakow usually serves it.

They create beautiful hand-painted Christmas baubles which I’d love to add to my Christmas decor.

4. Berlin, Germany

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Moving away from the original carols, Berlin hosts their Christmas market with top class nightly concerts which can include anything from traditional to jazz. Berlin is hugely popular for its whole host of Christmas markets, though due to the terrible attack in 2016 it had a rapid decline of seasonal appeal.

Since the heavy works to rebuild the views and safety of the Christmas markets, Berlin is back to its festive cheer. Wooden huts are filled with anything from wood carvings, paintings and Christmas treats that foodies will love.

5. Brussels, Belgium

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Brussels have a huge event that spans more than 200 chalets filled with Belgian beers, waffles, chocolate and more. There’s an ice skating rink, a Ferris Wheel, light shows and a breathtaking Christmas tree.

I could definitely see myself drinking a mug of hot chocolate eating my body weight in waffles before heading on to the ice rink in Brussels. I’d make sure to meet up with a few friends whilst I’m over there and take a look at the EU building. Should I pack my bags now?

Are you off to a Christmas market this Winter?
I’ll be off to the one in Benidorm whilst dreaming of all of these.

Hasta luego,

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Pinterest:
christmas markets in europe that you must visit

National Bank Holidays – December

If you’re looking for December fiesta dates and the National Bank Holidays, then you’ve come to the right place.

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What did I tell you? Spain loves a fiesta. The October and November dates are here, but if you’re looking for December fiesta dates and the National Bank Holidays, then you’ve come to the right place.

There are three National Holidays that affect Benidorm in December and a few other holidays.

Constitution Day

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Constitution Day, this year, is Thursday 6th December 2018.

Constitution Day, Día de la Constitución celebrates the anniversary of the referendum held in Spain on December 6, 1978. In this referendum, a new constitution was approved. This marked an important move in Spain’s transition to becoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy.

It is a Public Holiday in 58 regions of Spain, where it is a day off for the general public. Most schools and businesses will close. This year, it falls on a Thursday.

Some businesses and organisations may close. Most shops will close, however, bars, restaurants, privately owned shops, bakeries and hotels will be open as normal. The public transport usually runs on a reduced timetable.

If October 6 falls on a Sunday, the public holiday is usually moved to a different day. Sometimes, when it falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, like this year, some businesses, not all, will take the opportunity to have a long weekend and close on Monday or Friday as well.

Wondering what happens on Constitution Day? Well, not a lot! A few days prior, children and young people have additional classes on the history, politics and constitution of Spain.

Some high school students will read the Constitution in the parliamentary building in Madrid. A cocktail party is usually held for the members of parliament.

Constitution Day is a quiet day off work. It is spent at home relaxing with members of the family. Most people will wander out as a family for coffee in the morning and most will have a large family dinner at home.

The physical representation of Constitution Day is the displaying of the national flag. Usually, it will have a large presence on homes, public buildings and public transport. It is usually waving with pride next to the European Union flag and local flags, such as the Comunidad Valenciana flag.

Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception, this year, is Saturday 8th December 2018.

I always wondered what this day was for.

Many Christian communities around the world will celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. This is a holy day where many Christians, particularly Catholics, will attend a number of special church services.

Many believe this day refers to Jesus’ conception, but it doesn’t. It celebrates the conception of Mary.

Immaculate Conception is a quiet day off work. It is spent at home relaxing with members of the family. Most people will wander out as a family for coffee in the morning and most will have a large family dinner at home.  This year, it falls on a Saturday so many people had the “Puente” in November instead. Many businesses will remain open. 

If October 8 falls on a Sunday, the public holiday is usually moved to a different day. Sometimes, when it falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, like this year, some businesses, not all, will take the opportunity to have a long weekend and close on Monday or Friday as well.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is celebrated in Spain and some businesses will choose to close. However, Christmas Eve is not a public holiday, therefore, many will remain open to make the most of the busy period.

This year, Christmas Eve falls on a Monday. I would recommend heading down to Christmas Square at the Town Hall, or around the bars for Christmas Eve. There are plenty of galas and events on too. Benidorm Palace is a great place to spend Christmas Eve for their Gala Dinner and Show.

Christmas Day

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Many bars and restaurants will be open on Christmas Day. Lots of bars will have their own Christmas Dinner open to the public, however, you will need to book in advance.

Please remember, lots of businesses are spending time opening their bars and restaurants to spend it with the general public, sometimes instead of their own families. Please be extra kind to them on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day this year falls on a Tuesday.

There is a misconception that Spain does not celebrate Christmas and only celebrate King’s Day. This is incorrect. The majority of children are far more excited for Christmas than they are on King’s Day.

Most children will get their presents on Christmas and a smaller gift on King’s Day. Usually, something that represents The Three Kings.

In previous years, King’s Day used to be far bigger than Christmas. However, in recent years, this has shifted.

Feast of the Holy Family

This is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday 30th December and businesses will operate normal Sunday hours. It is just a celebratory day.

New Year’s Eve

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New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest celebrations in Benidorm. Here, we mark the English New Year and the Spanish New Year, which means double the celebrations.

New Year’s Eve celebrates the last day of the Gregorian Calendar. This year, December 31st falls on a Monday.

It is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours. The parties will carry on long into the morning. There will be plenty of bars and restaurants offering their own gala New Year’s Eve menus and parties which I’d definitely recommend going to. They are much better and safer than nightclubs and the strip.

Hotels will also offer gala menus and parties for their guests. Usually, you’ll be gifted a goodie bag of things to celebrate with, such as masks and party poppers. There are many customs and beliefs for New Year’s Eve in Spain, which I’ll cover in a later blog post.

Epiphany

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Epiphany is known as King’s Day. Epiphany is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. Epiphany celebrates the three wise men, or kings, coming to visit Jesus.

In 2019 it is on a Sunday. Therefore, some businesses may choose to follow Sunday opening hours.

There are plenty of activities that go on during Epiphany and popular customs that I will cover in a later blog post.

Are you here for the festivals?

Hasta luego,

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Full Of Your Favourites at Fosse *

Fosse is Full of your Favourites

Christmas Shopping – I love it.

A huge part of that is because I’m lucky to have such a fantastic stress-free shopping mall to do it at that has all of my favourite shops and more. Trust me, Fosse is Full of Your Favourites.

I love Christmas shopping at Fosse.

There’s something so heartwarming and lovely about heading out and buying gifts for the people you love. Anybody close to me will know much I love giving gifts. I love perfectly choosing a gift that I know will make their eyes twinkle and bring a smile to their face.

I know Christmas isn’t all about the gifts. It’s about family. Friends. Good times. Laughter and lots of treats and wine. But, that’s what I love. It’s not just about giving a present. It’s about being present too. That’s why I spend so long picking out the perfect gift. One that I know they’ll love. One that represents them. One that will bring a smile to their faces.

After all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Christmas is a big thing to me. I’ve always planned well in advance what I’m going to get people. I’m one of those weird people who absolutely loves wrapping gifts. I’ll spend ages on Pinterest sorting out what my Christmas wrapping will look like and pinning different ideas, trust me, it’s a full event. I spend hours curating the perfect Pinterest board of wrapping paper, sorry guys, this one stays in secret!, and I truly do put so much time and effort into wrapping and Christmas gift shopping.

I get more excited about people opening their presents from me than opening my own. 

One time, I woke Alex up at 6:00 because I couldn’t hold the suspense any longer that I’d gotten him a camera. I spend hours creating photobooks. Home movies merged together. Favourite perfumes. Consoles. I just love the feeling of giving.

Christmas shopping has always been at Fosse. 

Christmas shopping at Fosse has always been a tradition. It’s the place to go for relaxed shopping that always has exactly what you wanted, or didn’t know you wanted.

The Christmas lights, the music, the cold wintry air. There’s something magical about the lead up to Christmas. The excitement in children’s eyes. The busying of parents and partners searching for the perfect gift.

I thought I’d throw in a few of my Christmas Shopping Tips for good measure, after all, it is the Christmas period. It’s all about giving, right?

#1 Have a Shopping Plan

I always do my Christmas shopping either mid or the end of November. It just makes so much more sense to me. The sparkle and glimpses of Christmas have arrived, the shops are bustling with stock and people are less frantic. 

Early Christmas Shopping will pay dividends to your stress levels over the Christmas period and your pockets. Shopping early means you’re well prepared in advance, plus, you’ll have time to make alterations if anything is out of stock. You can also start to invest more time in other Christmas preparations, like the dinner! Now, I really want Christmas dinner. 

I made sure to plan well in advance where I’ll be shopping and what the budget was for each shop, thanks to Fosse.

Full Of Your Favourites, and full of mine too. Shopping at Christmas takes a slightly different approach. Outfit and New Look are two of my three favourite clothes shops at Fosse, but for everybody else, I had something else in mind.

I made a note to head to Primark, Boots, Argos, JD Sports and Curry’s. JD Sports has recently opened at Fosse and I wanted to go there to see if there was anything for my little brother will love. He’s recently gotten into sports, especially basketball.

Boots and Argos are always good go-to Christmas shops. There’s always something to pick up from the Christmas Gift Selection, plus the 3 for 2 at Boots makes shopping for toiletries stress-free.

I also chose Primark. Since Primark opened at Fosse, it’s been fabulous. Who can go into Primark and not spend something? It’s impossible, right? What I really love is that I can pick something up from Primark and it remains guilt-free, thanks to the free parking at Fosse. I’ve been to some shopping centres and paid around £8 for parking, now would we rather buy a new top from Primark or pay to park the car? I know which one I prefer!

I’ve always planned ahead where I’m going to shop. It saves time in the long run. There isn’t any back and forth between shops, or missing somewhere you needed to go. I also made sure to plan to go to Thornton’s and Pandora… maybe Office too… I need some new UGG’s…

I told you, Fosse is Full Of Your Favourites. There are so many shops that you’re spoiled for choice.

#2 Have a Christmas Budget

I’m usually the worst at sticking to a Christmas Budget. I usually get all of the gifts and then see something else and think, well, I’ve bought everything so an extra £10 here won’t hurt! 

This year, I have been lucky enough to work alongside Fosse to build my budget. £70 at Primark and Boots and £30 at Argos. I also used my £20 extra towards my camera and in Thornton’s. I’ve also set a little aside for anything extra that we may need to put towards the Christmas shop.

Every year, we create a shoe box selection box for my little brother. My nan used to create one for my mum and I liked it so much that I decided to start one for Oliver. We used to sign it from Santa or his favourite characters when he was younger.

We fill the box with different sweets, treats and chocolates and then I decorate a shoe box or gift box if Alex hasn’t had any new shoes.  

I thought it would be nice to pick up a few treats from Thornton’s as I love their personalised range and Alex adores Thornton’s smiles.

#3 Plan with the Internet but Shop in Store

I must say, online shopping just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. There are so many reasons why you should go to the stores as opposed to piling through online stores, but I’ll share just a few of mine.

Help the environment: Shopping with your own bags in a store can reduce the carbon footprint. If deliveries are coming from worldwide, the carbon footprint can be phenomenal. Plus, you’ve got the addition of all of the excess packaging. Buying in the store means you can take your own bags and save on that footprint. Don’t forget, Fosse also has good bus connections!

Get into the Christmas Spirit: With the Christmas hits playing and children’s faces lit up, it’s hard to not feel festive. You’ll see all of the decorations and be able to soak up the festive atmosphere. You don’t get that sitting in your dimmed bedroom with the laptop screen blaring!

Delivery nightmares: When shopping in store you don’t have to worry about gifts not arriving in time. You’ll be able to see the product before you buy it. None of that frantically trying to exchange for something different in the midst of the manic Christmas deliveries.

Get sociable: Shopping together is so much more fun. You can stop for a pit stop at the food court, I’d recommend heading to Druckers or Costa Coffee in Fosse and having a warming Christmas drink and a light cake.

The internet can be perfect for saving you time though. Take a look at the online websites of the shops you plan to go to and get some ideas of what you’ll buy. You’ll be able to see them in store and pick up exactly what you want and need there and then. Saving you time, stress and potentially money.

Shopping at Full Of Your Favourites
Christmas with Fosse

Who’d have thought that I got up at 3:00am? Went to bed in Alicante and here I am, 8 hours later standing in the Food Hall getting into the Christmas spirit, I’m here to shop Christmas and I mean business.

It’s November 24th and Christmas is readily approaching. It’s getting closer and closer and all I can think of is, I need to get my shopping done. I have so many ideas in mind and each year it feels like a mission to see how many I manage to get my hands on, and how many extra random pieces I end up picking up. I have no self-control when it comes to Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year.

We arrive at Office and were welcomed by some of the team at Fosse and treated to a lovely Advent Calendar that represents the different shops at Fosse, the proof that Fosse really is Full of Your Favourites. We also met the talented and friendly photographer, Will.

I’m really excited to crack it open on December 1st and carry on through until Christmas. I’ll be posting on my Instagram stories every morning of December, sharing which store each window will represent. I’m so glad I can take a little slice of Fosse home with me.

I brought my mum along with me to help, social shopping is the best shopping and I usually need a second opinion. The Christmas music is playing gently whilst the lights on the Christmas tree glisten delicately, it’s such a welcoming ambience.

After my shopping, I know I’ll be heading back to Druckers to enjoy a coffee and a treat, you have to celebrate a job well done!

Wandering out of the Food Court and the cold air made itself known. I wrap my coat a little tighter and head out to do my Christmas shopping. It’s cold. It feels like Christmas. This is Christmas.

JD Sports

The first place I went was JD Sports, I knew that my younger brother would be the most difficult to buy now he’s a teenager. JD Sports has recently opened at Fosse and it’s filled with all of the best sports gear.

In the end, I didn’t pick up anything from JD. They had a sale on, but nothing would’ve fit my brother.

Primark

Primark was next on my list. I always know I can count on Primark to pick up something for everyone. My mum, dad, nan and grandad like the clothes that are stocked there. There are always homeware bits and pieces that make lovely gifts. Plus, Alex really likes the accessories and gift pieces that they stock.

I knew I could do a large portion of my Christmas shop in Primark and get an idea of what I’d need to pick up from other shops.

I also wanted to pick up a few of the Christmas decorations that they have in stock. I dream of one day having an All-Disney Christmas tree, so the Disney x Primark Christmas baubles and bits and pieces are perfect. Plus, they’re so affordable which is what we all love about Primark, right?

Argos

We then headed to Argos. I knew there was a range of electricals and gift ideas in store, after looking online.

I managed to pick up a gift for my Nan and a few other bits and pieces.

Considering it is getting closer to Christmas, we didn’t have long to wait at all. The longest part is definitely going through the catalogue. But, if you search online the product you’re looking for, it will give you the catalogue number and then you can type it on their stock checker. It saves a lot of time!

Boots

Boots is such a go-to Christmas shop. Their 3 for 2 Christmas Gift offer is like the paramount of Christmas. You can pick up such affordable gift sets that make excellent additions or main gifts.

Stocking all of the top fragrances, there’s such a wide array to choose from. They are my first choice for skincare and cosmetics.

I also had my eyebrows waxed in benefit whilst I was shopping. It’s been so long that I kept apologising to the beautician who had the hack job to do! Don’t you just feel like a whole new person when you’ve had your eyebrows done?

I managed to get my brothers present from here and my dad’s. I also picked up a Yankee Candle Advent Calendar and a Yankee Candle Elevation Collection Candle for me as a little treat!

Thornton’s

Thornton’s stock so many great chocolate gifts that are sure to be a big hit with any chocolate lover in the family. Adding a touch of personalisation makes the gift feel so much more personal. It’s not just a chocolate football boot anymore. It’s your chocolate football boot.

To me, it feels so lovely that the person hasn’t just picked up a stash of chocolates and gave them as a last minute gift. They’re a gift that has been specifically chosen for you.

I also rate the chocolate gift tags. I’ve used them for a few years now, I like that the recipient gets to eat and enjoy their gift tag. It becomes part of the present. After all, who doesn’t love an edible gift tag?! Just be careful not to leave them near a fire or radiator!

It was so lovely to get into the Christmas spirit at Fosse. I wasn’t feeling very christmassy beforehand, but once I got there and saw all their beautiful decorations, glistening Christmas tree and the soft sounds of Christmas music – I really did get into the Christmas spirit! I’m now excited for Christmas knowing my Christmas shopping is done!

I managed to get a great deal from Curry’s too during the Black Friday sales. I have been looking for a high-quality camera that can take decent shots and also high-standard videos. I was recommended the Panasonic Lumix and I managed to get hold of one down from £179 to £129! I have been testing it out and it’s a nifty piece of kit. The focus on it is incredible!

Treats for me and treats for them. Fosse is full of all of our favourites.

Hasta luego,

A huge thank you to Fosse for inviting me to shop with them once more. Although sponsored, all photos, words and views are my own.

Photos with Full of your Favourites advent calendars taken by Will Johnston

Christmas Homeware from Sue Ryder

Add warmth to your home and heart this year and support this fantastic charity, if you can.

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Before I begin, I just want to highlight something very important: I was not paid to post this. I was not offered any gifts. I have not been gifted any items. This is purely me using my platform to highlight the good that can be done over the Christmas period. 

I know it’s early, but a lot of us have already started thinking about how we’re going to trim up and decorate over Christmas. Why not help somebody else whilst treating your home this festive season? After all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Giving back.

You can brighten up your home and somebody else’s life by shopping at Sue Ryder.

What is Sue Ryder Online Shop?

Sue Ryder is an online charity shop that was set up in 2013. It’s a warehouse based shop in Northampton  – which is where the products are dispatched and stored. Sue Ryder sells high-quality items and 100% of the profits are to help provide person-centred hospice and neurological care.

All of the products are brand new. 

Where does the money go?

The money is used to offer a range of personalised care, advice, education and support services in local communities to help improve the lives of individuals – including their carers and families – with conditions such as cancer; heart failure; respiratory failure; dementia; acquired brain injury; multiple sclerosis; Huntington’s disease; Parkinson’s disease and Motor Neurone disease.

Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Christmas Homeware Accessories from Sue Ryder Shop. 

Light Up Wooden Advent Calendar – £19.99

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Don’t we all love the idea of counting down until Christmas? Opening another door and getting one step closer to Christmas Day. Since we changed over to “DIY” advent calendars, my Christmas countdown has been changed – for the better.

Gone of the days of naff advent calendar chocolate, instead, you can add your own miniature favourites. They’re great for kids to open the doors and find their favourite treats whilst mixing it up. Yesterday Galaxy, today Kinder Bueno tomorrow Malteaser. Every day is a brand new surprise.

I love the Light up Wooden Grey Advent Calendar from Sue Ryder, it really does look magical and festive with an elegant and intricate detailed wooden house. The battery-operated LED lights illuminate the festive scene, it looks beautiful and will really add that touch of festivity to the home. So much better than a Poundland disposable one, right?

This one will last you years and years. 

Festive Centre Table Piece – £12.99

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Tables are made for dressing up during the Christmas period. Create a stunning centrepiece for the dining table with a beautiful traditional piece from Sue Ryder.

The Festive Centre Table Piece comes decorated with red berries, pine cones, and frosted leaves. The beauty of Christmas has been tied together to create a showstopping centrepiece. Perfect for any Christmas get together.

If that wasn’t enough, this centrepiece comes equipped with 10 LED warm lights that add that extra special Christmas glow.

Christmas Wishing Tree – £19.99

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I’m following a trend here, you guessed it, it lights up!

30cm x 30cm x 53cm of pure modern Christmas galore. This beautifully modern Christmas Wishing Tree would look gorgeous on a festive show table. I think it would look lovely in a hallway opening up the magic of Christmas.

The Christmas Wishing Tree twigs can be molded and changed to create the perfect elegant shape of your choice.

Christmas Wreath – £12.99

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If you haven’t bought your Christmas Wreath yet, then you’re in luck. This traditional Christmas wreath from Sue Ryder will be an absolutely perfect addition to any home.

This 40cm x 40cm Christmas Wreath is one that will have your neighbours wanting to steal your festive style when it illuminates gently with its 10 warm LED lights. Complete with a selection of holly leaves, red berries, and frosted leaves – it has captured the essence of the festive season perfectly.

White LED Star Light – £8.49

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The star guided the wise men to the stables during the Christmas Story so why not guide your loved ones home with a white LED Star Light from Sue Ryder?

Home lighting has become hugely popular in recent years, adding that touch of warm glow so not only is it perfect for the Christmas period, but it’s perfect for all year round. It would make a great addition as a night light in a nursery or children’s room too.

Furthermore, this stunning star can be hung on the wall or placed on windowsills with no fiddly, ugly wires! Adding a touch of warmth and cosiness has never been easier.

As well as express delivery with safe and secure payments online, Sue Ryder’s Online Shop offers free delivery on orders over £50. If you don’t spend more than £50, don’t worry as the postage is only £2.95! *unless you order next day delivery which is £4.95*

For peace of mind, you can buy with confidence at Sue Ryder as all products are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Add warmth to your home and heart this year and support this fantastic charity, if you can.

Hasta luego,

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