Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Friday, November 10, 2017

17 Ways to Survive The Christmas Preparations

Pre-Christmas gift guide 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Blogger, Writer, food, Christmas preparations, indulgent party items
Over the next 6 weeks I'm going to be sharing my guides to Christmas, I want to make sure you can slide into the Christmas season, life is a busy old thing and the season of Christmas can be filled with the most frantic of moments but that doesn't have to be the case, I really have been on a research trip around the Internet over the last few weeks to dig out some amazing gifts and products you can pop on a shopping list, all of which will make preparing for the festive season just that little bit easier.

So for my first list, I've taken a gentle foray around the Internets most festive preparatory offerings for things which will see you through the period of Advent, the hectic party filled season of December and things which will help on Christmas Day itself and beyond.

I want to say a huge note of thank you to all of the lovely companies who have collaborated with me to compile this guide to surviving the Christmas preparations. and now without further ado let me take you through each product and let's dive in with 17 ways to survive the Christmas preparations.

Now the eager eyed amongst you may have spotted that there are only 16 images in the above grid and that's because my first item didn't arrive quite on time to find itself a spot in my grid up there but it doesn't mean that it isn't just as important.

Divine Chocolate advent calendar and salted caramel dark chocolate thins, 17 ways to survive the Christmas preparations, Mandy Charlton Photographer, Writer, blogger

1. I'm a huge fan of Fair-trade products and also Divine Chocolates and this year they have excelled themselves with these two fabulous advent calendars, that's the milk chocolate version for the kids and the 70% dark chocolate for the mummies (and daddies).  They've also released their salted caramel dark chocolate thins which make a refreshing change to the after dinner mints

  
Quickes Miniature Truckle of Vintage Cheddar, 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

2.  Did someone say Cheese?  This miniature truckle of mature clothbound cheddar from Quickes is bound to delight at your Christmas dinner parties or as part of a cheese board, it'll last all through the festive season as long as you are not a cheese fiend like me.

Crafted by Cracker Drinks Co, 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

3. Christmas being the time of gatherings and soirées we often have a house full of people and not all of them drink alcohol, Cracker drinks have solved that quandary with their range of grown-up soft drinks, my favourite is the apple, lime and mint and I reckon, if you should want to mix it with alcohol it would make a killer mojito.

Pools of light from lumens.design - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

4.  Christmas being a time of sparkle and warmth,  this years collection of beautiful glass tree ornaments from Lumens are appropriately called Pools of Light and you can hang them not just from trees but shelves or pretty hooks which catch the light.

Four Roses, Small Batch Bourbon - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

5. This Four Roses small batch bourbon is on sale at M&S for just £27, it doesn't contain sulphites and goes great with coke as well as on it's own over ice.  It's going to be the staple of my Christmas for cosy evenings under warm blankets watching the snow fall outside my window (she said hoping).

Figgys Christmas pudding - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

6. Another staple of Christmas, the Christmas pudding and this one from Figgy's comes in a small, medium and large, every time I say the name I start humming "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" just make sure when you delight your Christmas dinner guests you don't singe your eyebrows setting a light to it!

savoursmiths potato crisps - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

7. Champers and Serrano Chilli, Wagyu Beef with honey mustard, Truffle and Rosemary, just some of the fabulous flavours available in the Savoursmiths potato crisps range, these are not your average crisp to be consumed by "hangry" teens, these are the crisps of legendary grown up parties and sneaky 1am gourmet snacks with cheeky glass of wine and a nibble of your favourite cheese.

Food should taste good tortilla chips - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

8. Whilst we're on the subjects of snacks worthy of the very best kinds of gatherings, Food Should Taste Good have produced these multigrain tortilla chips and sweet potato tortilla chips so that you can dip just a few more times without any of the accompanied guilt, they're also gluten free and kosher, someone please pass me the salsa!

rescue remedy gum and lozenges - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

9.  The Christmas season is notorious for bringing with it frayed nerves, stressed out parents and over emotional children, for many years I have been using rescue remedy in all it's various forms to deal with my own anxieties and those of my teens, I swear by the stuff for calming down overwrought children, now it could be that we make it through Christmas unscathed but just in case we don't, you can be sure I'll be carrying around this stuff in my bag at all times.  You can pick yours up in most major supermarkets as well as your local boots.

Little Miracles drinks - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

10. Little Miracles are tasty, healthy, Fair-trade and definitely not boring, they're the perfect anti-dote to a fridge full of coke, lemonade and other such unexciting staples, available from Tesco I shall be making sure I have some space in my fridge for a batch of them over the next few weeks.

flamingini milano panettone - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

11.  In our house every year we buy a Panettone and if I'm honest, I actually prefer it to the traditional heavy British fruit cake, it also tastes way better toasted or warmed with ice-cream, this Flamingini Milano Panettone is available from Sous Chef UK and if anyone pops to my house over Christmas I might just give you a piece!

Speculaas Biscuit Roller from Sous Chef UK - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

12.  Also from Sous Chef UK comes this Speculaas biscuit roller which is just genius really, I mean, I love baking tiny biscuits and this removes all of the effort usually required, just make sure you don't eat them all at once.

ETI Superfast thermapen 4 - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

13.  If like me you worry year on year that you are going to give the household food poisoning because you get paranoid about cooking your turkey or chicken then this is the answer, The ETI Superfast Thermapen 4 is the Ferrari of meat thermometers and you can also use it to the check the temperature of jams, fudges, caramels etc, I will never sit next to the oven again trying to guess when my chicken is ready.

Christmas Roast Dinner Box - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

14.  I love this Christmas roast dinner box from Ross&Ross Foods, it contains dust to sprinkle on your sprouts, pigs in blanket dust, roast turkey rub and roast potato oil, it's everything you need to make your Christmas dinner just that little more amazing, I can't wait to try the sprout dust!

JJ Whitley Miniature Gin Gift Pack - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

15.  I like Gin but I can only drink a little so this JJ Whitley miniature gin gift pack is perfect and it contains delicious flavours such as Elderflower, Quince, Nettle and my personal favourite Rhubarb and ginger gin.  It's perfect as a gift as it comes in gorgeous botanicals design gift boxing or if you're like me and you just want it for yourself why not treat yourself?

English Tea Shop Gift Set - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

16.  As an antidote to all of that gin the English Tea shop gift set of Christmas blends is perfect for cold mornings and warm evenings by the fire, this gift box contains 72 sachets of delightful blends including warm winter and Christmas night, the best part is that it's only just over £8

The wine beagle carefully curated wines - 17 ways to survive the Christmas Preparations, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, pre-christmas gift guide

17.  Being that it is Christmas and the perfect time for gatherings, why not treat yourself or a friend to an evening of wine tasting with Jamie from The Wine Beagle, not only does Jamie curate a fortnightly list of amazing wines, he's also available for wine tasting events across London, the Home Counties and the West Country, you can sign up for his newsletter and find out all about his fabulous service, his wine recommendations and also don't forget to have a wee look at The Beagle Bugle whilst you're there!

So that's the end of my first guide and coming up over the next few weeks I'll be publishing gifts guides for mums, teens, stocking fillers, foodies and perhaps those last minute gifts too, oh and it wouldn't be a full collection without Holly Bobbins gift guide for pets so please stay tuned as I guide you through the muddy waters of the festive season.
















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