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Last minute shopping ideas - my Christmas gift guide.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Anyone else still gift shopping? There is ALWAYS that one person left on the list that you just cant think of anything for isn't there? If this is you too, I have put together some of my gift ideas this Christmas, I hope they inspire you!

Merry Christmas!

For your other half.

My Mum and I both love this wonderfully festive gin. We simply pop some in a glass with tonic or lemonade, however you could cover the rim in crushed candy canes or even add a small candy cane into the glass to make them really stand out at a party.

This gin is not as minty as the name and colour would suggest! Using mild peppermint for flavour, and bilberry and hibiscus for colour this delightful gin is sweet on the palate, with a subtle juniper and berry taste. This will definitely be featuring in our household every year!

Priced at £26 for a 40% ABV, 70cl bottle.

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This light and fruity whiskey is finished for eight months in Port pipes from Porto Cruz, the N°1 Porto company in the world. The spirit picks up intense embellishments of summer fruit, dark chocolate and cinnamon, ending with refreshing spice with a citrus lemon tang. A definite seasonal favourite with the whiskey drinkers.

Priced at £25, ABV 40% , 70cl

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This beard trimmer is the must have gadget of many men this year. With beards more popular than ever, easy grooming is a must! This beard trimmer features a precision dial, 3 attachments and comes with a Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide razor. Boasting lifetime sharp blades, you can be sure this trimmer will deliver ultimate precision for an even cut.

Available at Boots, Amazon, Argos at around £40

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The Silk-epil SkinSpa is a complete 4-in-1 epilation, exfoliation and skin care system, complete with a SensoSmart pressure sensor to guide and help remove more hair per stroke.

Cordless, rechargeable and usable wet and dry you can use this safely in the bath or shower for more gentle hair removal. Complete with 2 body exfoliation brushes to reduce ingrown hairs, 2 speed settings and an integrated light to reveal even the finest hairs. Accessories include shaver and trimmer cap for sensitive areas, bikini trimmer, skin contact cap, facial cap. storage pouch, cleaning brush and more.

Priced at around £150 from Argos, Amazon and Boots

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For the Dog lovers.

You can’t beat a comfy festive bed for your furry friend can you? I love this Santa Paws mattress from Scruffs. Featuring is a subtly festive fairisle pattern, this lovely bed will be suitable all year around.

The mattress is filled with recycled PET fibers to ensure optimum cushioning, resilience and insulation. Topped with two tone faux fur and has a non slip base and importantly is machine washable.

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Gtech K9 pro vacuum cleaner.

All us dog owners understand the constant battle of trying to keep your floors clean. Gtech have come to our rescue this year with this unique bagged pet vacuum.

With no cords holding you back, and no need to change plug sockets while moving around your home, the Pro K9 not only lets you roam free but there’s no temptation for pets to chew power cords.

The K9 pro is lightweight with a rotating brush bar, specifically designed to pick up pet hair from carpets and hard floors, while the unique AirLOC system lifts large debris as well as embedded dust and hair.

The airflow from the vacuum compresses the dirt and continually pushes it down, giving each bag increased capacity and with no filters to maintain due to the triple layered bag trapping all dust, maintenance is also kept to a minimum.

I'm hoping to find one of these beauties under my tree on the 25th.

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For the Dads

The Nextbase 122 is a standard entry level Dash Cam, ideal for the young or first time drivers.

The exclusive Nextbase Click&Go Pro mount is magnetic so ideal for easy installation with just one hand. The power cable installs directly into the mount, allowing the Dash Cam to be free from wires.

Featuring parking mode, auto start with the vehicle, a bright and clear 2-inch high resolution screen, this is the perfect gadget gift for Dads!

Priced around £40 at Halfords, Curry, Argos, Amazon and other retailers.

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If your Dad is anything like mine, I bet he is outside doing something in all kinds of weather. My Dad is usually washing the car or strolling around the caravan site at the weekend, getting a telling off from my Mum for coming inside with muddy shoes and wet feet.

Well no more! Wrapped under the tree this Christmas morning he will find his very own pair of lightweight waterproof boots.

With sealed seams and a gusseted tongue to keep water out, he could easily hose them down or wash them off at the tap to get them clean. Finishing touches to these rugged boots include a soft faux lining around the collar and the comfortable cushion of Dual Crocs Comfort

Available from www.crocs.co.uk for £89.99

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For your Mum

If your Mum is anything like mine, she will always be on the lookout for a better skincare range. Now she is past 50 she has noticed a few changes to her skin and some pigmentation patches that have appeared. When I came across this Re-Gen range that is described as a regenerative oil which is suitable for the face and body, I immediately decided to gift some of the range to my Mum this Christmas.

Consisting of an anti-ageing facial serum, a non-greasy face and body cream, a convenient continuous spray and a dry skin gel, the range contains the active ingredient PCL Liquid which protects skin from drying out and improves its natural elasticity, leaving you with radiant looking skin.

The combination of subtle floral fragrances, essential oils and vital vitamins helps to ensure the correct care for your skin.

Available from Primark, Asda, B&M and Amazon and other retailers.

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This Weekender kit contains all your tanning enthusiast needs on the go! The gorgeous gift bag is stuffed with a bottle of Tan, Primer, tanning mitt and Tan remover. 

Over the festive period you will be able to maintain your optimum tan colour, whether you are at home or away, simply pop the gift set in your luggage and you are covered. Prep, tan and maintain your glow using these perfectly sized products.
Priced at £15

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This Brush Kit features six specially selected brushes to help beauty enthusiasts create their look, their way. Containing a powder brush, foundation brush, contour brush, eye shadow brush, blusher brush and a precision eye brush, this is the ideal gift for any make up lover, from beginners to experts.

Wash the brushes regularly with warm soapy water, rinse well and leave flat to dry.

Priced at £20 at Boots

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Sleek make-up advent calendar.

Now we are well into December, a lot of advent calendars are being sold off cheaply. 

This Sleek makeup calendar was £40 but has been reduced to £15 in Boots. 
An absolute bargain!

Lip Dose Soft Matte Lipclick Controversy
I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette Storm
I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette All Night Long
Lip Shotgloss Impact Behind Closed Doors 4ml
Lip Shotgloss Impact Brutal Honesty 4ml
Lip Shotgloss Impact Corrupted 4ml
Matte Me Lip Cream That’S So Fetch 3ml
Matte Me Lip Cream Roasted Almond 3ml
Matte Me Lip Cream Velvet Slipper 6ml
Matte Me Metallic Lip Cream Platinised Plum 3ml
Matte Me Metallic Lip Cream Electroplated Nude 3ml
Black Utopia Volumising Mascara 9ml
Dip It Eyeliner Black 4ml
Glitter Eyeliner Steel 4ml
Glitter Eyeliner Gold 4ml
Blush Rosegold 6g
Blush Pomegranate 6g
Loose Pigment Trance 1.9g
Shattered Glass Glitter Effect Lip Topper Bad Moon
Shattered Glass Glitter Effect Lip Topper Usual Tricks
Lip Laminate Chaos 9ml
Lip Laminate Extra Sauce 9ml
Lip Brush
Eye Shadow Brush

It could be an idea to buy a nice make up bag and pack it full of the 24 products from inside this calendar, an ideal gift for makeup lovers and your purse too!

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If you have a primary school age girl in your household, I am pretty sure you will already know about Frozen 2 and the bright and sparkly wonder that is Smiggle! They have joined forces this year to make your Christmas even easier. From Lunchboxes and drinks bottles to headphones and keyrings, Smiggle have got you covered.

Whats even better, they currently have 20% off the whole range.


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Girls 6 - 8+

Slimelicious Station

The new Slimelicious range brings scented slime to So Slime DIY, the original no mess, no glue, no fuss, just add water slime. Make your own fantastic scented slime creations with the Slimelicious Station by just adding water to the powders and then shaking! You can even add decorations! A great gift and guaranteed to keep little hands and minds busy.

Priced at £19.99

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Jewellery making Studio

Cryst-a-Gel Jewellery Studio is the new creative solution for any budding fashionista who loves to accessorise in style. This deluxe Style 4 Ever Studio uses a unique flexible material that lets you make your own pendants, bracelets, rings & charms with the amazing Cryst-a-Gel moulds. Create your own innovative jewellery that matches your personal style and design. The fantastic material has been designed for the Studio and lets you create bespoke designs, simply add your own colour and glitter. Everything you need is in the box with easy to follow instructions you will be designing your charming collection in no time. Once you’ve completed your first Jewellery collection the fun continues with the Cryst-a-Gel Refill kits, which work brilliantly as party bag alternatives and top ups for your luxury Cryst-a-Gel Studio. Perfect for budding designers aged 8+

Priced at £19.99

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So Magic DIY Wonder Garden

Make your own So Magic DIY Wonder Garden and watch it transform throughout the day. Simply mix the Magic Powder with water, plant your Magic tree, add sand stones and decorations and wait as your magic tree blooms into a colourful display. Add the finishing touches to your lake with cute stones, decorations and figures Sprinkle coloured sand and draw patterns using the tools then protect it with the special case. Collect all the themes and show off your unique creations. Age 6+

Priced at £19.99

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So Bomb DIY Factory

Get ready to create six large delightfully fizzy bath bombs with the So Bomb DIY Factory. Everything you need is in the box and you will be astounded by your gorgeous creations. Design your own bath bomb in three easy steps; mix the ingredients, pour in your chosen coloured powder, confetti and cute surprise, put it in the mould and let it set. Make six bath bombs with this incredible So Bomb DIY Factory, treat yourself or give them to friends and family as gifts it’s up to you!

Priced at £19.99

Available at Argos and other retailers.

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Starbucks lovers!

We all know a Starbucks lover! My Aunty pops into our local daily and sometimes takes Liv for a toasty and hot chocolate, yummy!

Next time you are in store check out their range of gifts. From mugs to use at home, refillable Starbucks cups, coffee beans and gift cards, its easy to make a Starbucks lover happy this Christmas!
Find your local store here: Starbucks store locator 

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Please note, some of the items featured were sent to me for consideration, however all opinion is my own.

Talking favourite holidays and being prepared at the airport.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

After a lot of Friends deciding to go abroad for Christmas this year, my Husband and I have found ourselves reminiscing on past holidays.

Our first together was back in 2005 when we had only been a couple for 6 months. We went on a bargain holiday to Bulgaria where it rained for 6 of our 7 days there, all our excursions were cancelled and we only got had enough sunshine for an hour in the outdoor pool the whole week!

However we loved it. We had a great time together, talked got hours, ate/drank too much and still look back on it very fondly. Fast forward ten years and I'm not sure how fun it would be with an almost 3 year old to amuse! Times were very different then though and revolved around bars and restaurants not soft play areas and My Little Pony!

As a couple we have been to a few different places and would sometimes go on a few long weekend breaks instead of an actual holiday.

Once Liv was born we went to Haven in Lincolnshire for her first holiday, along with my Parents. We have been to the Dominican Republic with Family got my 30th Birthday, to Haven with 10 Family members and even to Florida for 3 weeks when Liv was almost 2 - thankfully the internet kept us in the good books allowing us to Facetime the Grandparents on the go - they were not happy we had taken little Miss away for 3 whole weeks I can tell you!

My Husbands favourite holiday with his family was Disneyland Paris. My Mother in Law spent many hours entering competitions back then and was very lucky to win a Family holiday!

The holiday that stands out most for me was Zakynthos in Greece way back in 2002 with my Parents and Brother. It was our only family holiday abroad having always holidayed in Devon and Cornwall as a child.

I remember the weather being amazing and the people being ever so friendly. Some of the views were spectacular. My favourite excursion was out to the Navagio (shipwreck) beach in Anafotiria Village. It is the most beautiful sight. It's an exposed cove which holds the wreckage of the Ship Panagiotis which was wrecked on the beach while allegedly smuggling cigarettes in 1983, giving it the nickname "Smugglers Cove".

Isn't it beautiful? The limestone cliffs and sparkling, clear blue waters surrounding the shipwreck make for a must see if you are in the area. It really fascinated me. I would definitely take my little family back. It would be interesting to see how it has held up over the last 12 years or so.

Where was your favourite holiday?

Donating my hair to little princess trust

Monday 11 November 2019

Back in 2015, we were heading off for a fortnight all inclusive in the beautiful Dominican Republic, when I realised that my bottom length extremely thick hair was going to be hard to handle in the heat!

Copyright Life with Liv

My hair has a tendency to expand width ways in any heat or humidity and the sheer weight of it would cause a headache if restrained into a ponytail. So I made the decision to cut it off to save me the time and worry of styling and trying to calm the frizz while away.

I felt it was such a shame to waste all of my hair that would be cut off, after seeing two members of my family suffer terribly with a hair loss condition called alopecea, I really became aware of how your hair makes you feel as a person.

If you think about it, it can give you confidence when it looks good, it can be used to hide behind like my Mum and a way to express your taste.

It’s quite devastating to have that taken away from you suddenly. Both of my relatives were young women, one lost small patches of her hair which she was extremely conscious about covering and the other simply lost her hair. Virtually over night. All of it.

I mentioned this to a friend one morning over coffee and she asked me if I had thought of donating my hair to the Little Princess trust. I looked them up and discovered that they provide real hair wigs free of chargers children and young adults up to the age of 24, who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments and other illnesses. They do this with human hair donations which means they look very realistic and are able to be styled too.

So, the date was arranged, the hairdresser looked a little pale when I told her my plan and kept asking if I was sure! A few snips later I had just over 18 inches of hair in my hand ready to package up and post.

Copyright Life with Liv

If you are thinking of donating, here are some guidelines from Little Princess Trust:

Hair we are able to use: 

Clean, dry hair in good condition (no split ends) from any gender, and of any natural colour
Straight, wavy, curly, permed or chemically straightened
Containing the occasional grey (less than 10%)
Dyed, bleached/highlighted (any dyes must be of a natural colour)
Ponytails(s) cut a long time ago, preserved in good condition

My then 3 year old was amazed and said I was like Rapunzel in Tangled now!

Next time I intend to try to raise some money via sponsorship too.

Have you ever donated your hair?

Providing support for domestic abuse victims

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Domestic violence can be a taboo subject, and many people feel like that they’re not really sure what to say or how to broach the subject. However, it’s important you don’t’ let the fear of saying the wrong thing prevent you from reaching out, because it could be the key to changing someone’s life. 

Whilst you might not know anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse, it is still very commone, and it’s said that one in four women will experience at some point in their life. And the fact is that they’re most likely to suffer in silence for years before they tell anyone or seek help. 

Those who are abused are likely to feel lonely and isolated, so it’s important that the people around them provide some relief by letting them know that they have support and somewhere to turn to if they need it. 

Even though you might feel like you’re not doing enough to help, just listening to them speak can help. If you follow the advice below, you’ll go a big way in supporting victims of domestic abuse. 

Give them your time 
It might not seem like much, but if you reach out to someone, ensure that you give them plenty of time to speak and open up. Don’t plan it for a day when you have a million other things to do, because it might take them a while to open up. 

A way to start the conversation 
It’s probably best that you start the conversation, saying things like you’ve noticed changes that concern you, or express the worry you’re feeling. It’s important that they don’t feel like you’re pressing them for information, instead let the conversation flow and they’ll be more likely to open up. 

Don’t judge her 
It’s imperative that the victim doesn’t feel judged by you in any way; otherwise they might not turn to you again. Instead give them time to talk, and just ask questions for clarification. 

Offer your belief 
In cases of domestic abuse, it’s likely that the abuser has worn down the victim to believe they’re not worthy of love or friendship. If you offer them your firm belief in what they’re telling you, it can go a long way to helping to build their confidence. 

Give your reassurance
Let her know and make her believe that it’s not her fault, it’s important for her to know that she doesn’t deserve what is happening to her. 

Offer specialist help 
Let her know about the specific and specialist help she can receive from trained people who can help in this situation. They might be the best option for if she needs help reporting her abuser to the police, or she’d like to leave. 

You can also let her know that she could be entitled to compensation, CICA UK work to help victims of domestic abuse claim compensation, which could be necessary for helping her to leave the home she shares with the abuser. 

Be patient 
It’s important that you don’t try and rush the victim, it could take her a while to realise what is actually happening to her, and then even longer to speak out about it. If you recognise the problem, it can go a long way in helping the situation, and making a difference to the outcome in the long run. 

Please be aware, Men are often victims of domestic abuse too, however my experience with friends has been from the female perspective.