Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A Decade in review 2010 - 2020

Mandy with her daughter Looby at home in Newcastle upon tyne, photographer, writer, blogger, a decade in review 2010-2020

2020 is just around the corner, the roaring twenties some are calling it, it seems like the blink of an eye since I stood on the Redhugh Bridge with my friends Darren and Neil or as we called him that Christmas (Neilenium).  As the clock struck midnight we wondered what was around the corner, the Y2K bug never actually happened and technologically I think there've been more advancements in the last 20 years than ever before.

In 2010 (and thanks to my blog for being the diary of the last 15 or so years) I'd been in business for 3 years, I was settling in and loving what I was doing, my portraiture didn't really take off until around the end of 2011, just after Facebook introduced advertising, I was an early adopter and I'll always remember Christmas 2011 as the time when I accidentally made £30k in 3 months, I wish I could do that now but when I say FB ads have gotten more expensive, you wouldn't believe just how much more expensive, I've spent over £20k with FB ads in the last decade, if I hadn't, my business would have died long ago.

In April 2010, I'd just renewed my wedding vows, this last decade saw me wake up to the narcissistic abuse and coercive control and finally in 2015 I found my freedom, for the last 5 years I've had freedom from over 40 years of narcissism and although it's cost me highly I wouldn't change it for the world.  No one ever gets angry with me, no one ever tells me what to do or that I can't do something and I'm not even sure I'd take another chance on love, or it would have to be a very special person.  I've still never experienced someone having unconditional love for me and I'm not sure I ever will but at least I know I gave it and tried with all of my heart, to narcissists though, you'll never be good enough, that's one lesson I've learnt.

I don't want to dwell on the bad stuff because if there's been one amazing thing that's happened in the last decade it's that I've embraced my love for travel, I've still never done long haul but I've loved Europe with all of my heart. I even got paid to go on a cruise and be treated like a rockstar thanks to blogging and I shan't be forgetting that in a hurry!  Spain is my favourite country and Barcelona remains my favourite city.  Until you have seen the sunset over Tibidabo you have never really lived.  

In 2010 Looby was just 7 years old and now look at her, she's blossomed into one of the most amazing people on the planet, she's the product of unconditional love and no arguments, yes I annoy her by breathing sometimes but that is the teenage way!  I've never said no to Looby, I've never really needed to, she's such a beautiful individual girl who knows her own mission and has a heart of solid gold, her finest moment this year was to "come out of the cupboard" as she called it after she baked me a cake which said "I'm Gay" now we have to have cake every year on the same day and I'm totally on board with that!

Iain in 2010 was 14 years old, that alone makes me feel old, they continue to be an upstanding person in life too, they've been on their own personal journey with the realisation that they are non-binary, it's been the subject of many conversations and I'm still learning every day about the differences between gendered and non-gendered people, it's been a lot to get my head around but as I told them, as long as they're happy, that's my only wish.  It's something I need to write a complete article about, I just haven't had the time as we've hurtled towards the end of the year but they want me to do it, they freely give me permission so that in the end it will help anyone else (or their parents) who are going through the same thing.  I will say this for now, when we are born, we are formed from chromosomes which give us our assigned sex at birth, but that's far from how we can feel inside ourselves, gender is like a piece of string, we're all a little bit male or female or both or neither, non-binary is most opposite to genderqueer, Iain wishes their pronouns to be they and them and I respect that whole-heartedly.

Whilst we are on the subject of life-changing, 6 years ago, 4 little paws wandered into my kitchen, I fell in love immediately and Holly Bobbins has been my four-pawed best friend ever since, I've also rescued, or adopted several cats in that time, some who are no longer with us, a sad part of pet ownership but which teaches us just how precious life really is.

Speaking of friends, 10 years ago I hadn't met Harriet, I can't remember when that happened but we instantly connected and she's been my best friend and soul sister ever since, when I say we've had some adventures together, we really have, there've been holidays, tequila, dancing until dawn, laughter, crying, love and support and it's something I'll never stop being thankful for, I'm not someone who has a lot of friends (it's hard when you're a socially awkward hermit) but the friendships I do have, I cherish, Stacey, Rachel, Steph, all amazing female friends I've met in the last decade and I should also mention Ron and Steve who I've been friends with for over 20 years now and still see often, scary how time so quickly passes.

I could write more about this decade we're just about to step outside of but we'd be here all year, a decade is a long time to put in one blog post and I guess there are some parts I just don't want to talk about or even think about.  I'd say it's been a wild ride but actually, it's been pretty gentle, well I am now in my mid-forties after all and the wild party days of my twenties are long over, would I do it again if I had the choice?  Erm, no, I like going to bed at a reasonable time and my hips aren't what they used to be.

So 2020, I am ready for you, you're going to be my year, I don't know why, I cannot tell what's going to happen in the future but I am ready for you so come and get me!

Monday, December 23, 2019

A Festive Break in Edinburgh

4 friends in a car heading to Edinburgh for a festive break, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, writer, blogger, christmas

It's the 23rd of December, Christmas Adam or if you're a fan of friends, Christmas Eve, Eve, it literally could not be more festive! After a hard year of work and when I say hard, I mean juggling knives whilst trying to stay upright on an angry polar bear.  Suffice to say, our planned festive break in Edinburgh was well overdue.

Edinburgh, my second city and my favourite city is the best place to be in the festive season, it's jam-packed with stalls selling gluhwein, carousels, food and everything you could possibly need for Christmas.  It's also crammed with people, crowds are found in abundance in Edinburgh in November/December but then, to be honest, Edinburgh is just one of those always busy kinds of cities.

I managed about 3 hours before retreating to the Malmaison in Leith, I'd looked forward to my first stay in a Malmaison forever, I love the decor, I love the ambience, the luxurious hotel carpet and the fact it's dog-friendly (even if Holly Bobbins stayed at home on this occasion, I'm sure she's going to love it on future visits).  I've always loved Leith, it reminds me of Copenhagen and as the birthplace of my father, it's where I really feel my Scottish roots.

This trip was my Christmas present to Harriet and Looby, Looby brought her best friend Abbey too and we managed to get an absolute bargain price on the hotel, I'm not entirely sure why other than the fact that it's Christmas in 2 days time and maybe people are on their way home at this time of year rather than going on little jaunts like me!

One thing we have booked, our highlight for Christmas Eve is a before noon tea at Mim's Bakehouse which is also in the port of Leith, it's the breakfast equivalent to an afternoon tea and I for one, cannot wait, I'm very much a breakfast person, it's my favourite meal of the day, I often skip lunch but I can't ever skip breakfast and if it's a luxury breakfast then I am the most enthusiastic person there, luxurious breakfasts make mornings more bearable.

In truth, we had more plans for today, we'd planned to go back to the city centre to see Edinburgh after dark in all of it's twinkliness but I was overwhelmingly exhausted by five and all I could think of was sitting on a cosy bed watching TV, we did try and go to the cinema to see Frozen 2 but unbelievably every single showing was sold out so I had to console myself with several car-based renditions of "Into the Unknown".

There's something quite special about travelling at this time of year, there's extra magic about it and I don't know why but I can say one thing, tomorrow morning when we make our way back to Newcastle, for the first time in my life, I will actually be able to play "Driving home for Christmas" when we're doing just that.

Merry Christmas everyone, see you all on the other side.  It goes without saying that I'm so thankful that people still stop by to read my ramblings and I'll never stop being grateful for you, yes, you dear reader because you make it worth sitting down a couple of times a week and emptying my brain.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Surviving Christmas, mental health in the festive season

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, the magic, the promise... The general overwhelm, the anxiety, welcome to Christmas with a mental health challenge.

Christmas isn't just one day anymore, it starts in October and runs through to January, the festive period is more like a festive quarter now.  Don't get me wrong, I am the Northern answer to Mrs Christmas having developed my love of all things festive over many a year but as someone with bipolar, anxiety and who is on the autistic spectrum, Christmas can be a tricky time.  I cry more at Christmas than at any other time of the year because my emotions are heightened to stratospheric levels.  Charity adverts, small children doing sign language to Christmas carols, brass bands, they're my niche triggers, they may sound amusing but when you find yourself sobbing your heart out because of the latest Dogs Trust advert, it's really not that funny. 

Over the years I've written a few articles about managing your Christmas mental health and really I do practice all of the things I mention but I still find the whole period a challenge.  This year I was due to be on my own on Christmas Day because I didn't want to bother anyone else with my depression and I acknowledged that the potential of spending my first Christmas alone would be overwhelming but I've since said I'll go out with Harriet and her parents, people who thankfully have no expectations of me.

Good self-care is the most important thing with any kind of mental health challenge, I know from other bipolar friends how much our sleeping patterns can be disturbed by this time of year even when on the outside we might feel okay, last night, for example, I went to bed at 10, was awake between 1 and 2.30 and then I managed to sleep until half seven which is pretty good in comparison to previous years where I've ended up with mild hypomania and barely slept for the last couple of weeks before Christmas.

There is no easy way to deal with Christmas, all you can do is take precautions so if there's a family relationship that's troubling don't go and spend time in that situation.  If you are lonely, try and accept company and really, I know how much easier it is to just shut yourself away but that's kind of counterintuitive.

Next year I need to work on my current state of self-loathing, I need to work on changing my body and my mind, this year hasn't been the easiest with health issues I still haven't got to the bottom of but I plan to overhaul my life and my body come January when the cheeseboard season is over.

In just over 2 weeks time we get a whole new year, a whole new decade and jeez, I hope it's gentler than the last one, I do know one thing though, at least I have my freedom now, something 10 years ago it was still so far away it would take me another 5 years to escape to, it's cost me a lot, in some cases it's cost me everything but I'd never give it up again.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

In Celebration of December

In Celebration of December, Mandy Charlton, blogger, photographer, writer

December is the month of crisp frosts, red-hued sunsets, long naps, cosy pyjamas.  It's eating croissants with ham for a lazy lunch on the sofa, it's snuggling under furry blankets watching Christmas movies.  December gives us hope, belief in magic, no matter how old we are, just for a while, against a background of twinkly fairy lights, life is better, people are kinder and that's why it's my favourite month of the year.

I realise December sees the start of winter and believe me, I hate winter but no hearts can fail to be warmed by the presence of warm festive lighting and no guilt about the number of hot chocolates topped with marshmallows and squirty cream.  You cannot fail to get on board with any month which encourages you to eat vast amounts of cheese for every meal, unless you don't like cheese and then really, I'm always slightly suspicious about people who don't like cheese, much like the ones who don't like cake, they're always, in my experience, just that little bit odd.

December is the month when most of the country have time off work together, 50 plus million people all taking naps at once, not worrying about the time of day or indeed what day it actually is because let's face it, that's the joy of Christmas confusion and that's why I love it.  For me, it's the month I finally start to relax, work is hectic from March through to Christmas and the only time I manage to genuinely not think about my businesses is that sacred 2-week break over Christmas.  I used to be available over Christmas, I have in the past photographed weddings and family photoshoots but not for the last couple of years because I find my mental health is so much better if I can truly switch off for 2 weeks.

This year the sacred period is Monday 23rd December until Tuesday 7th January and I cannot wait!

December is also the time of year for my annual Christmas party, I only throw one party a year and it's the highlight of my year, a time to drink champagne with my favourite people, I excel at grazing tables and festive entertaining and last night, the good and the wonderful all gathered together in my home to enjoy, laughs, drinks and a lot of cheese.  Two notable exceptions, Steve and Ron couldn't join us this year and they really were missed this year but sometimes, things like that happen for all kinds of reasons...

I have the best of friends, I reached the point where I was exhausted and as I went off to bed, my friends tidied up before they all went clubbing, taking out a truckle of cheese with them as has become an almost yearly tradition, no one knows quite why but for one night, the cheese really does get to live it's best life.

Today I'll light my advent candle for the first time and I will think of all of the things I'm grateful for, I'll muse about the year's highlights, this year has been a mixed one, it's been my favourite ever year of photographing weddings whilst portraiture has suffered a lot with the wettest year in business I can ever remember, my income has undoubtedly been lower but I've enjoyed more time off so there's always a positive to find in each event.  My health has been wobbly and ultimately I'm still not at the end of that particular journey, I cannot though, do anything whilst I have no answers so it's not worth worrying about.

I may have had a weird relationship with Christmas Day over the last couple of years but I have decided that, thanks to the kindness of Harriet and her family that I will celebrate with them and go to our local pub for Christmas lunch,  Christmas may, for many reasons, not be the one I planned and hoped for with all of my heart but for long as I shall be alive, I will always have magical December's in my heart.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Christmas Gift Guide - The Stocking Fillers Edition {ad - gift guide}

Popcorn Shed Jingle bell pop, features 6 different varieties of popcorn and although this is more of an advent gift than a stocking filler, I'm sure your popcorn loving family member will love this thoughtful gift, who wouldn't love to have popcorn for breakfast every day.  They also have lots of other fabulous popcorn based presents for all of the family this Christmas

Haribo Christmas Giftsets, is it even Christmas if you can't eat your whole weight in Haribo before breakfast?  Haribo make the best stocking fillers and little gifts to make everyone happy this Christmas

Blog Favourites Derwent have released a whole new range with Christmas gifting in mind like this tropical gift tag colouring set suitable for adults or older children, a perfect time filler for the long Christmas holidays.

On Christmas Eve, one of our family traditions is to burn a Christmas Eve scented candle and this year it's going to be this amazing Willow and Finn candle which, take it from me, smells just like Christmas Eve should

another returning company to the blog and the 2020 cooks diary is sure to offer up some hearty recipes as well as keeping you organised in the new year

Sometimes you just need a little lift which isn't chocolate-based, Gregory's Tree have that in mind with their organic strawberry fruit twists, perfect for stocking fillers which aren't sweetie based.

Every year we purchase a new board game  to play after Christmas dinner, with the hope we'll manage to stay awake enough to see out the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special, this year it's Relative Insanity from Interplay and as they say on the box, you can pick your nose but you can't pick your family

If you don't know what to get for your nearest and dearest, why not get them this stocking filler from Red Letter Days, it's filled with 2625 experiences they can choose from, no complaints if you're choosing your own gift!

I had hoped to get Holly Bobbins to pose next to this Christmas stocking from Harrow and Green but unfortunately, she was too busy sleeping after a busy day greeting her public, you can be sure however that she will be delighted to find this personalised stocking on Christmas morning.

I can confirm I tested the Samsung galaxy buds the moment they arrived and without a doubt the sound is amazing, the clarity of the sound is pitch-perfect and they're going to make a lot of people very happy if they find these in their Christmas stocking on Christmas Day

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without good wine and this south African sauvignon blanc from the South Africa House of Wine is the perfect wine to accompany the festive season

Christmas is of course, also a time when we like to have a little liqueur after dinner or maybe mix it with our favourite champagne and this Cranes Liqueur is going to be perfect for that, it's cranberry and  blood orange flavour is sure to make the best cocktails at this years Christmas Party

High-tech Welsh firm Litelok has launched the world's lightest secure bike lock, ‘Litelok Silver’.
Coming in three wearable sizes, it’s a premium, durable, bike lock that’s been engineered for security using a unique patented material and hardened aerospace-grade steel alloy.  Perfect for when Looby cycles on her various adventures.

The Design Trust Diary Planner 2020 is the perfect present for your entrepreneurial friend to help them smash business next year, it's the diary which helps you focus on the things that matter and with this by your side you can focus on the most important things in your business next year.

This mini tree is the stuff that Christmas dreams are made of, I love, living presents, ones you can keep forever and this mini Christmas tree from Blossoming gifts will be planted in the garden at the end of the festive period to live out a long and happy life in my green border.

It is the party season and to help you to shine, we hope you'll find one of these T-Zone glitter masks in your Christmas stocking from Santa this year because great skin is everything and you deserve to sparkle!

If you're a dog owner like me you'll know all about misplacing the dog leads, I leave them everywhere but thanks to this beautiful slate lead holder from I Just Love It losing Holly Bobbins leads is no longer an issue.
So that's it, the last of my Christmas 2019 gift guides and I hope that you've more than enough ideas for gifting the most special people in your lives this Christmas, if you've missed my previous guides, you can see my bumper guide here and my foodies guide here

If like me you are always losing things and you need some way of finding them without calling upon the finder of the lost things, you can get Tile in sticker form this year, just stick it to your valuable possessions and then call them if you lose them, gotta love technology!


Monday, November 18, 2019

Christmas is a cosy blanket

The enchanted winter garden, christmas is a cosy blanket, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Christmas is a cosy blanket, it envelops you like a warm hug, something you wait for all year around.  That's how I've always felt anyway and it's one of the reasons I am decorating for Christmas early this year.  2019 has been, well a bit pants really, I've not been feeling myself since about March though like most things, there've been ups and downs, the last month though, since they found calcium in my blood, has been rather more fast-moving, I'm like a pincushion I've had so many blood tests and not just my blood, they've tested my pee and my poo trying to get to the bottom of what's actually wrong.  I'm still waiting for some results from last week but on Wednesday evening I'm booked for a CT scan which will scan from my neck down to my legs looking for something I don't even want to think about.

The weird thing is that it's workable, whatever it is, I have not missed a day of work since it all kicked off, I'm constantly exhausted, have naps most days and it takes me a week to recover from a weekend of photography but I'm in no way, what you would term as "ill".  We're all hoping of course that the CT Scan finds nothing, there's a chance that I have hyperparathyroidism and I'm seeing an endocrinologist on the 3rd of December, I'm actually hoping for that because I have all of the symptoms and it's a pretty quick fix of an operation (usually to remove a benign tumour from the parathyroid) and then within a month you feel reborn.  I'll take that.

Whilst December is the month of love, understanding and peace, it's proceeded by crazy November, a month which often brings out the more rambunctious, everyone is stressed, everyone is running around, business owners are worried about their income, customers are frantic and I see it and feel it within my business community, tempers are frayed about the most insignificant things and we all need a reminder, that in the big scheme of things, is it really worth being upset about microcosmic things which won't even matter in a weeks time?

It's even harder this year of course when politics has been at the forefront of everything, a year of worrying about Brexit and seeing the effects it's already had on the small business community and I think it's never been more important to support your local small businesses this Christmas, to think about sustainable long-lasting gifts which won't destroy the planet.  I know for the very first year we are not considering Christmas crackers because of the huge waste and the contents of single-use plastic although there are alternatives like eco-friendly Crackers with wooden and metal contents and where the papers are all completely recyclable.

With an election hanging over us,  or not even hanging, it's actually in progress, I've switched from watching the news to watching Christmas movies which are at least filled with hope, it's not like I need to see the electioneering when I know in my heart, we need change and as a committed socialist I've been a member of the Labour party for some time now, that is however the last lecture you'll hear from me, I truly don't mind who you vote for (unless it's UKIP or the Brexit Party and then we need to talk about their policies) but I do care that you make yourself heard and go and vote, just don't spend too much time reading the media as it's biased is completely screwed and you risk damaging your mental health at a difficult time of year anyway.

I've seen more people with their Christmas Trees already twinkling than ever before and I think we only have to look at what's going on in the world to realise why more than ever, we need the promise of Christmas, the shine of the fairy lights and the warmth of the candles that glow as we sit under our cosy blankets.  Christmas is a shining beacon of hope and for that I am truly thankful

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Foodies Gift Guide 2019 {Ad - Gift Guide}

My favourite gift guide of the year, the foodie edition, mostly because I'm a foodie myself and Christmas is that time of year when you can eat whatever you want, no matter how odd it might be, nuts for breakfast, peaches in brandy for lunch and cheese, cheeseboards for every meal if possible, (or is that just me?)

Cotswold Green No 1, if you like gin but you don't like the headache afterwards then this particular botanic spirit is completely alcohol-free and it's perfect for parties where you may have lovely friends who don't drink or who are maybe driving, much better than the standard offerings of soft drinks.

Lost Sheep Coffee, 100% compostable capsules to fit your Nespresso machine, lots of gorgeous flavours to take you on a journey, the Funky Camper was my favourite out of the ones I tried and they also come in decaff so you can drink coffee in the evenings too.

Jo & Sephs Popcorn advent calendar from The Present Finder,  Okay so not technically for Christmas but what's not to like about having popcorn every day in advent, I'll be saving this one for myself.

Masha, the Masha potato masher claims you can make lump free mash, the best mash ever in seconds and if you have a foodie in your life, well they're going to love this, it's also great for new mums as you can use the Masha to make babyfood, you can bet mine will be reserved for mashed potato and maybe some creamed swede.

Opies, various amazing jars to make Christmas that little bit brighter, Opies make the best things and put them all together and you have a little foodies hamper for your favourite friends, this year they've released mixed berries with prosecco as well as apricots in Jim Beam as well as their tasty pickled walnuts, cocktail cherries and sliced lemons, this selection is perfect for a party night over the festive season

Rhubarb Balsamic Vinegar from Demijohn, we are firm favourites of Demijohn and their fabulous products and this year they've released a rhubarb balsamic vinegar, now I love a good balsamic vinegar and I double, triple, love Rhubarb so this is going to be amazing!

Truffled Risotto set from Sous Chef, one of my favourite companies because it's all about the foodie, this truffled risotto set is sure to make a warming evening supper during the festive season, rich, luxurious and utterly gratifying, it's like Nigella came and cooked it herself.

Beeches Chocolates Christmas selections, it's not Christmas if you can't indulge in chocolate and the Santas and snowman go perfectly with a big mug of hot chocolate whilst the chocolate selection makes the perfect small gift for teachers.

Due Vittorie Apple Cider Vinegar, we all know how amazing apple cider vinegar is, this beautiful bottle is sure to make a foodies Christmas day, just don't forget to tell them about the health benefits too

Wild Mulberry Jam, also from the Artisan Olive Oil Company is a great little stocking stuffer or you could combine the items to make a lovely foodie hamper

Kinglas Fillet, Loch Fyne, okay so I might be stretching it a little when thinking about gifts as I don't think you're going to want to put this under the tree, however, it's going to be amazing as a starter, perfect as sashimi and I can vouch for the fact that it tastes absolutely amazing, just remember to keep it in the fridge and not under the tree.

Mermaid Gin, The Isle of White Distillery.  Now have you ever seen a more beautiful bottle of gin?  I actually haven't, I literally oo' ed when I took it out of its packaging, this is a thing of beauty and will look amazing on your festive drinks trolley, oh and yes, I have a drinks trolley, don't we all these days?  Mermaid Gin is a small batch handmade gin which uses 10 botanicals including samphire and elderflower amongst other things, a suggestion if you want to really experience it as it should taste is to garnish it with sea vegetables, well that makes me want to be Ariel on a rock with a glass on the rocks!!

Truffle duo set from Aix and Terra, Christmas is a time for indulgence after all so if you want to get your truffle on, Aix and Terra have produced this duo set, small but perfectly portioned, just make sure you hide them and then you can have them all to yourself!


Wednesday, November 06, 2019

13 presents perfect for the hard to buy for this Christmas {Ad, Gift Guide}

13 presents for the hard to buy for this Christmas, mandy charlton, photographer, writer blogger

{Ad, Gift Guide} It's the festive season and everywhere people are planning what to buy for presents to please and delight so here without further ado is 2019 Christmas gift guide with 17 presents to please everyone this Christmas no matter who they are, even if they're usually hard to buy for.  From the foodie to the planner to the lover of luxurious things, this gift guide has everything.

1. Onaie bespoke handmade sheepskin slippers, if you like me, always have cold feet, these are perfect.  Any friend or family member will love the cosy toe feeling as these slippers envelop your feet and give you the toastiest of toes.

2.  Black Spade Nightwear, for the lover of luxury this Blackspade nightwear is just the ticket, silky yet comfortable and stylish, the person who receives this gift at Christmas will love you forever

3. Norma and Dorothy advent calendar candle, we have advent candles every year, it's a wonderful thing to burn one for an hour a day and contemplate, life, Christmas and everything else.

4. Homedics Stretch XS, for those who would love to do Yoga at home whilst lying on a mat which does the stretching for you, this product is something I've already tried and it's actually amazing, I felt so much better doing a 10-minute programme every day, you can also meditate for added mind clearance

5. The Amazing Mystery Box, Doctor Who.  The Amazing mystery box comes in several different varieties but it's filled to the brim with so many goodies, I absolutely love this Doctor Who one.

6. Constellation Hoodie from tentree, as if the thought of a hoodie featuring a beautiful constellation which glows in the dark isn't enough to tempt you, what about the fact that for every item sold by tentree, they actually plant ten trees?  Go, quickly, sustainable gifts are the best.

7. Stabilo Stationery products, I have been an ambassador for Stablio for a while now and I love everything that they do,  I am a stationery addict so this Christmas, why not get the stationery addict in your life something fabulous from Stabilo this Christmas.

8. Nads Cruelty-free hair remover products, if you want to be party-ready this festive season check out Nads for their cruelty-free hair removing products, hopefully, a few moments waxing and you'll be smooth and silky the whole festive season.

9. The ridiculously rude plant's mug, I bet you didn't know there were so many ridiculously rude sounding plant names?  This gift is perfect for the good-humoured gardener and promises to raise an eyebrow or two upon unwrapping!
 10. Meater + meat thermometer We’re all looking for ways to make our lives that bit easier, what better place to start than in the heart of the home, the kitchen. This smart kitchen gadget will not only ensure juicy cooking results, but it also allows the chef to step away from the oven. Just connect the MEATER+ to any smartphone or tablet and using patented technology, MEATER+ provides estimated cooking times, monitors meat whilst it’s cooking, sends alerts to mobile devices such as notifications when meat is cooked to perfection and ready to enjoy, saving time and effort. If not for someone’s stocking, then an absolute must-have cooking tool this year to ensure the Christmas turkey is at its yummiest, while you focus on all the trimmings!

11. The Max Glo Ball from Chuckit, let's not forget our four-pawed family members this Christmas with a ball they can play with all year round and when they lose it, with luck it will be easier to find as it glows in the dark!  Holly Bobbins will be delighted.

 12.  Parrots and Palms Water Bottle from Kambukka, Kambukka are a premium drinkware brand and they have the most beautiful water bottles you've ever seen, perfect for hydration on the go at all times and this one is small enough to fit in your handbag, bonus points as it's also thermal!

13. candles from Pyropets, for the someone who has everything I bet they don't have a candle which melts down their pet and then you are left with the metal skeleton, it's definitely different and might be just the present for the hard to buy for friend

So I think we've got something for everyone here, even those hardest to buy for relatives and friends and if you gift some of these, I'd love to know how friends and family react, I personally would love all of them, that's why I spent so much time choosing the items.

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