Since becoming a Stay at Home Mum I’ve had some great experiences, and I’m happy doing what I do. But sometimes I really miss some of the aspects of working in an office. Things you wouldn’t necessarily consider. Things like the banter, the coffee round (no one gets me coffee here, except me!) and at this time of year, Secret Santa. I love a Secret Santa. I’ve had some great gifts in the past and my favourite storyline in The Office (both UK and US) revolves around a Secret Santa. So when I saw a post detailing a UK blogger Gift Swap, I was like a kid in a candy store. Dressed as an elf. Happy and Christmassy!
It’s my way of participating in a Secret Santa, with people who do what I do. And maybe you’d like to join in?
The beautiful Viola, over at apieceoifviola has set it up and is organising it all and bless her for doing so!
So what’s the deal?
Christmas Blogger Gift Swap (UK only)
An invitation to all bloggers, regardless of whereabouts you live in the UK, regardless of how big or small your blog is, and regardless of what ‘type’ of blog you have, to join in and get involved!
What is this all about?
The idea behind this event is to basically get bloggers interacting which each other during the festive season and to do a gift swap. It’s a chance to get to know others and discover a variety of other amazing blogs out there! You’ll be paired with a fellow blogger at the beginning of December where you’ll have a short period to get to know them before you have to send them some lovely Christmas gifts.
But don’t worry:
You don’t have to spend a massive amount of money if you don’t want to. Heck, you could even send homemade gifts (they are said to come from the heart) and are just as good! You and your partner can both decide a budget if you want to, but essentially it’s your choice.
How do I get involved?
Well, there are 3 simple, easy steps:
- Fill out the Google form here and wait for a confirmation email from Viola.
- Write a blog post about this event within 3 days of receiving confirmation so that we can get as many bloggers involved as possible!
- Once paired up, get to know your fellow blogger, buy their gifts and send them off!
Here are the following dates for this swap:
- November 28th: Deadline for completing the submission form.
- December 1st: Find out your blogger pair, yay!
- By December 17th: Send off gifts to your blogger pair 🙂
In order to take part, you must:
- Fill in the Google form document – here’s the link again.
- Write a blog post about this event within 3 days of receiving confirmation.
- Send a couple of nice gifts to your paired blogger by December 17th.
- Write a post about your gifts (must include photos) after you have received them.
- Send Viola links to all of your blog posts!
You can contact Viola on Twitter & Instagram (@violahelen_) or email her at email@example.com. You can also use the hashtag #apovgiftswap on Twitter or Instagram to connect with others!
I am so excited to find out who I’m paired with and get my Christmas Gift Swap mojo working!
If you’re any kind of blogger, you’re in the UK and you want to join in, then come on – what are you waiting for!!!
You never know you might get paired with me! And I buy great gifts 😉
I love Christmas. And I’m not just talking about the day itself. No I love the run up. Sometimes I think I prefer the run up. Receiving presents isn’t the big thing it once was for me. I guess that comes with age and having a child! No, its the festivities that come with the season that make my heart happy. I’ve written before about how much I enjoy the traditions and excitement of Christmas. You can read that here if you haven’t already. And this year is no different. I’ve already got Christmas tunes on and I’ve been burning my Christmas scented candle for weeks already. Good job it’s a biggun – it wouldn’t last until the end of November if it wasn’t!
One of the things I love about this time of year is shopping. No, I haven’t gone mad. I’m not talking about fighting other parents at the door of Toy R Us for the years ‘must have’ toy. To be honest I do most of my Christmas shopping online these days and have done for years. It usually works really well for me – except in 2010 when my beautiful organic Bronze turkey got snowed in and nearly didn’t make it in time – ooo just thinking about that makes me hold my breath! However, that being said, I love and I mean love a good Christmas Fayre. I love the chance to have a mooch about, discovering independent and often local retailers and although I can’t say hand on heart I shop exclusively local/independent it is something I’m trying to do more off. There’s nothing nicer than spending a morning wandering around to the sounds of Christmas tunes with the wafting scent of cinnamon and if you’re lucky mulled wine! One of my favourite local ones is at Secretts in Milford and the Haslemere Market is great fun (if a little chilly). If you’re nearby I’d urge you them to check both out.
This time last year I saw the advert for the mother of all Christmas Fairs, The Spirit Of Christmas Fair, held at Olympia. I knew back then I wanted to go and that my friend Helen, who’s more bonkers about the festive season than I am, would also love it. Trouble is Hels lives in Plymouth, a long old way from Olympia! So when she suggested she come and visit me this month I bought us tickets as her Christmas present. Which is how we found ourselves, without our children, on the 8.30 train, whizzing towards London.
The fair was everything we both hoped it would be. The stall by the door had wreaths and decorations made with a heady mixture of orange and cinnamon and cleverly put you in the mood as soon as you walked in. We decided to walk around the edge and then up and down the rows, which we attempted, but there were just so many glittering things to drag the eye sideways! We spent 7 hours there, with a short 15 min break for lunch, but not once did I feel bored or like I’d had enough. It was busy, don’t get me wrong, but not so as it ever felt claustrophobic, which is probably because Olympia is so huge!
There was everything you could imagine from art to tea towels and firepits to tweed. And candles, so many candles! I had something of a celeb moment when we happened across Richard E Grant manning the stall selling his own fragrance, Jack. He was lovely enough to give us a sample and pose for a photo with me with all the gentlemanly grace you’d expect from him. I have to say I was a little star struck; Withnail and I is one of Ben and my favourite films. I walked away a little shaky and grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Helen on the other hand was unmoved, asking who he was again!
Other than celeb spotting, I was actually looking for a bauble for this year’s tree (something I do each year) and whilst I didn’t find what I was looking for (despite the thousands of baubles I saw) I did get several Christmas decorations.
The second floor of the fair was devoted to food and this was the bit I was worried about the most. I know it was going to take some will power to avoid all the tasters that I knew would be on offer. And for the most part I did. Who knew there could be so much cheese in one room! I tasted free foods like turkey and smoked salmon and avoided the spirits. Helen got herself some unusual charcoal flavoured cheese, some Black Bomber Cheddar and some beautiful garlic jam. I also bought myself a couple of foodie treats:
One of the best parts of the day was also food based. We managed to get spaces on the free biscuit decorating workshop run by the Biscuiteers. They provided five biscuits and everything we could need to create our own little Christmas masterpieces. It was just so much fun!
We arrived home laden with our goodies and full of Christmas cheer. The aching thigh muscles didn’t start until the next day 😉 I would absolutely go again, particularly if I could go with such a dedicated follower of Christmas as my mate Helen.
I was not paid to write this post and I paid for both our tickets with my own hard earned cash. I did get a sneaky £1 off my lights, but I think that was because it was the end of the day and the guy just wanted me to stop talking to him 😉