Personalised Christmas Gifts with Snapfish UK

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‘Tis the season to be jolly and in case you didn’t know already I’m a huge fan of personalised Christmas  and photo gifts. I’ve teamed up with one of my favourites Snapfish and you can read my previous review here for some gift ideas to get those stockings filled with treats. I love gifts that can be given that personal touch probably more so since becoming a parent. We all have our favourite photos that are often left on our mobiles and laptops and to bring them to life is a good thing I reckon.

Snowflake Ornament

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Christmas trees are incredibly special and part of the magic of the festive season is decorating with ornaments that become keepsakes. Little pieces like this make me smile. This one is for my brother who has yet to meet his nephew and will be doing so in 2 weeks time!

Photo Mug

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I designed this mug for a very hard working lady…and it’s the best start in the morning reminding myself that I can get through the day with my teething toddler and everything else that life will throw at me. Personalised mugs are useful gifts as they’re likely to be used daily and will brighten up any tea or coffee break.

Cushion

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This is probably my favourite item to personalise from the range.  I designed the square cushion and really like the quality it’s super soft. I think I should have gone for a bigger size but it works well on this particular armchair. Brighten up your soft furnishings with your favourite images.

Wall Calendars

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I enjoyed creating this photo kitchen calendar perfect as a stocking filler gift. I usually need reminding what day it is and I know my mum and dad definitely need some help so here’s one for them and better still it’s got someone very dear to them keeping an eye on them.

Notebooks

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These days most people I know use a notebook and I like this A5 sized book to help keep me organised. Why not choose a favourite quote to personalise the front and provide some motivation to kick start your day.

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Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

*Thank you Snapfish for the credit to help facilitate this review. My opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Jay Jingles

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

Our first family Christmas with baby Jay Jingles has been heart-warmingly lovely even with me being beaten up by the flu a week prior to the day. I somehow managed to paint my face and make myself presentable in my Chrimbo jumper.

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I hope you all had a wonderful time enjoying the festivities. I love the build up to Christmas and think it’s a great time to catch up with family and friends and really unwind. I really didn’t know what to buy for Jay he’s still too young to understand what Christmas is all about. I  wanted to give him a little something from mummy to son so a new comforter it was and thankfully he adores his personalised gift which I bought from My 1st Years.

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We went to my in-laws for the day and ate a cracking meal. Jay sat in his high chair at the head of the table with Grandad Peter and seemed to take in the spirit of it all.  This year was also extra special as he was joined by his baby cousin Evelyn Alice (the most chilled out baby I know).

His Christmas presents haul was pretty impressive from generous family and friends including ‘every little helps’ Tesco who kindly sent him a Vtech music centre stand.

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We’ve watched black and white classic films as well as some colour ones too curled up on the sofas with blankets, opening the Quality Streets tin of  delights, consuming copious amounts of alcohol calories. I would say that 2014 has by far been my favourite year. Not sure whether it can be pushed off the top spot as becoming a mum after what seems like an eternity is pretty special. Although I am well aware of the phrase “never say never”.

2014 was also the year I got to enjoy the house that I bought with Mr M, the year I started this blog, and I officially became a stay at home mummy on 31st December hooray! leaving the London rat race for now at least. I won’t miss my daily 3 hours of commuting that’s for sure.

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Mandatory Family Pic

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Baby Bella’s First Christmas

I have a feeling this will be the start of many more magical Christmases.

Wishing you all a marvellous 2015!

~X~

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.  

Is it Mulled Wine o’clock yet?

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The nights are drawing in with warm cosy fires or in my case cranking up the central heating. Christmas in a glass for me has to be mulled wine.  Charles Dickens mentions mulled wine in his story The Christmas Carol as a holiday drink and like Mr Dickens I think of it as a sort of winter sangria with classic festive flavours in abundance.

Last year I sipped on the non alcoholic variety as I was with child but I did enjoy mulled apple juice as a non alcoholic alternative which children can enjoy too.

 

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Mulled Apple Juice

Ingredients

1 Litre of pressed Apple Juice

1 whole Orange, cut in quarters

1 (2″)cinnamon stick, plus extra  sticks to garnish

4 whole cloves

1 ” piece of fresh ginger

sugar or honey or xylitol, to taste

Pinch of Allspice (optional)

Method

Combine ingredients in a saucepan.

Heat gently and simmer without boiling for 10 minutes

Strain mixture and serve in mugs.

Make sure you let it cool a little  especially if you’re giving to children.

 

I’ve yet to try the norwegian version Gløgg (pronounced ‘glurgg’) a hot, spiced sweetened wine punch with raisins and nuts.  A few years ago I tried Mulled wine fruits as a dessert with ice cream which was interesting but I much prefer it as a beverage.

 

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Mulled Wine

Ingredients
1 good bottle of red wine a Chianti, Zinfandel, or Merlot
1 glass of either brandy or port
5 whole cloves
1 orange, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch Allspice
vanilla pod halved
1 whole nutmeg
1 star anise
Sugar, honey or xylitol to taste

Method
In a saucepan, gently heat the wine and choice of spirit. Stick the cloves into the orange slices. Add the cinnamon, clove-spiked oranges slices, mixed spices and sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes and whilst it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.

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Mulled Wine Cocktails

This recipe comes from the BBC Good Food website which is a brilliant source (I nearly wrote Sauce) for all things culinary!

Ingredients

  • 100g/4oz light muscovado sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 150ml water
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 clementines
  • 150ml Cointreau
  • 750ml/ 1¼pint bottle light red wine, such as Beaujolais
  • Twist of orange zest and a star anise, to serve

Method

  1. Put 100g light muscovado sugar in a pan with 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and 150ml water. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Simmer for 2 mins, then pour into a large jug and leave to cool. Add 1 lemon and 2 clementines, both thinly sliced, to the jug along with 150ml Cointreau and a 750ml bottle light red wine, such as a Beaujolais. Stir well, then cover and chill for at least 2 hrs or overnight if you can.
  3. Serve chilled or over ice, with a twist of orange zest and a star anise. If you’d like to serve a traditional warm mulled wine, there’s no need to chill – simply warm through without boiling and serve in heatproof glasses.

 

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Mulled White Wine

The less conventional and gentle winter warmer

Ingredients

A good bottle of white wine like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Chadonnnay
1 orange studded with 4 cloves
2 tbsp honey, or light brown muscavado sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cardamom pods
1cm thick slice fresh ginger
75ml apple brandy

Method

Pour the wine into a saucepan with the cinnamon and cloves and orange and lemon zest.

Heat gently over a low heat for about 15 minutes, but don’t allow the wine to boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes, then add the sugar to taste. Gently reheat, strain and serve warm.

Is Mulled Wine your favourite festive drink?

Thanks for reading!

~X~

Make it Snappy!

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Taking photos has become part of my daily ritual. I know I’m not alone in this. Mobile photography in particular has created a new generation of photographers and we all have our best shots so why not share them with family and friends and showcase your proud work.

Snapfish recently gave me the opportunity to design a few calendars which I had a lot of fun doing. A photo calendar is a great way to display your favourite pictures and can make wonderful gifts. There are various styles, sizes and themes to choose from. I chose the wall (laminated finish), desk and kitchen styles of calendars although other merchandise is available to personalise if calendars aren’t your thing! It wasn’t all about the Jay bird, I did create a desk calendar for Mr M with my photo snappings of Luxor, Eypgt which brought back magical memories.

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If you lack photo-editing expertise, it’s no problem, as Snapfish has an excellent online editing tool that’s simple enough for beginners with the function to import photos from Facebook and Flickr.  Select the photos you wish to use, drag them to the corresponding calendar and  you can even customise dates by  adding captions to birthdays, anniversaries, and special events.

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The photo quality was very good, with accurate colours and photos looking very similar to what I saw when previewing the calendar. I did have some lower resolution photos that were uploaded but quality was better than expected. I am genuinely impressed with the quality and these are so far the best calendars I have created via an online digital photo printing service.

With a season of good tidings just around the corner why not get creative and in the words of Snapfish “make your treasured moments special”

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

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*I was able to choose and design some calendars for the purpose of this review with all opinions being my own.