Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Hopes and Wishes

flowers c/o Flowerworld 
Dress - Needle & Thread

This gift box is empty of physical gifts but it's full of my hopes and wishes for me and for you this Christmas.

My biggest Christmas wish is that one day I will be as healthy on the inside as I often look on the outside. To have 100% health would be like winning the lottery. It would be a dream come true. As you probably know, I'm working on my health through treatment but I wouldn't turn down a Christmas miracle! 

I wish for more awareness for invisible illnesses so that people like me don't have to feel how I sometimes find myself feeling. I do struggle a lot in terms of how invisible my poor health is. It can be hard for others to understand just how unwell I am when all they see is the carefully chosen photos of me looking a picture of health. I feel very aware of this. A lot of the time I can't even relate to those photos, like the ones above. They can often show such a different reality to what I'm actually living with which is the beauty of photography. However, I often find myself feeling like I need to justify them, to explain my hobby, the one thing that gave me a sense of identity after chronic illness took away my last one - I guess that's what I'm doing right now! 

I also wish for better health to all those who suffer so bravely, especially to my friends who smile through it all and support each other in the darkest of times. 

I wish that those who are healthy will keep the gift of health for as long as possible. 

I wish that you will be surrounded by the people you love the most this Christmas. It took me a while to learn this but I believe the most important things in life are the people around us and that spending time with those we love is the greatest gift, not status, power, money or objects. The greatest Christmas gift is spending time with those we love. Although I hope you find the gifts you want under your tree too!

Christmas can be hard though when some of our loved ones are no longer with us. If like me your missing someone, I hope that you can remember them in your own way today. 

I hope you have the best day, filled with your own traditions but if you're feeling extra ill, or if your family is intense, or you just feel a little bah humbug remember it's ok to take time out today. 

I wish that you all have a very merry Christmas and that 2017 will be a fantastic year for you all. 

My box may be light, but it's heavy with hope and wishes. 

Emma Xx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

I'm one very excited twenty six year old because Christmas is almost here! To get into the Christmas spirit and to distract from my Lyme disease treatment I have created a Christmas gift guide featuring mostly independent shops and designers because I think it's so important to support smaller businesses at Christmas and a great way to find unique gifts. There are still a few high street gifts included. Links to all items can be found at the top of each description. I hope you find something that you like.

Flying Robin necklace by And Mary £30
Sitting Schnauzer necklace by And Mary £30
Baby Pickle The Penguin necklace by And Mary £27
Sleeping Squirrel necklace by And Mary £30

And Mary have featured on my blog before back in summer. They are another independent shop based in Scotland selling beautifully painted and well made porcelain jewellery, accessories and door knobs. The designs are very nature based focusing on all kinds of animals. It's so hard to show you just how beautiful they are through photos. All these necklaces have so much detail not just on the front but on the back too. The Robin for example has every feather painted in on the back of its wings to create a life-like effect. 
The same could be said about the Sleeping Squirrel which is hiding away in a little acorn. Turn over the necklace to wear a beautifully painted acorn - a two in one necklace. The penguin and schnauzer are so adorable and perfect for Christmas!

Fox Note Books by Papio Press £5 for two.
I found Papio Press on Instagram last year, they are an independent shop selling all sorts of things illustration with woodland, animal and floral prints. If you like Rifle Paper Co then you will love Papio press!

Woodland Hare brooch by Layla Amber  £10.00
Layla Amber is an independent designer who works with wood to create beautiful jewellery. I purchased this brooch a few years ago for my Mum who loves it. The detail is so beautiful. My Mum always receives so many compliments on it.

Crazy Cat Lady pin by Morgane Carlier £7.08 

Morgane is an independent illustrator from France. She created all sorts of pretty things, from custom blog designs, avatars and portraits to pins, mugs and totes. Morgane is one of my favourites on Instagram. She's such a lovely person as well as a super talented artist. This pin was a gift from a friend, but one I've had my eye on for some time. It comes in white or black. A purrfect (see what I did there?!) gift for a cat lady.

Fairy lights - by Paperchase
The woodland fairy lights brighten up dull, cold winter days and add a cosy feel to your home. My set were a birthday present from my best friend. They've been in constant use since October will be throughout Christmas and into the new year. Unfortunately I can't find them online this week but I have spotted some other amazing lights by Paperchase.
Pinecone lights £12
Cookie cutter lights £12
Ginger bread men £12

A Dash of Magic tea cup by George at Asda. £2.50 

Can you believe the price of this tea cup?! It's bigger than your usual tea cups making it perfect for a good strong cuppa. Fill it with chocolate coins and box it up for a perfect low cost gift.

Winter Wonderland patterned mug by JillyJilly £9.00*
Winter Bunny stud earrings by JillyJilly £8.00*
Winter Wonderland pocket mirror by JillyJilly £3.50*
Winter Wonderland pins by JillyJilly £1 each*

JillyJilly is another independent business run by Jilly and her husband in Scotland. Together they make beautiful prints, mugs, jewellery and stationery as well a very lovely personalised range.
Last year I featured a personalised JillyJilly Marshmallow World mug.
I really love the Winter Wonderland range and think they would make great gifts. Everything from JillyJilly is wrapped so beautifully which is also handy for those less fortunate with the wrapping paper!

Ginger Fox Ballerina Slippers By Next £12.50

These cute foxy slippers are super cosy with their soft furry lining. I've purchased myself a pair as well as for a family member.

Perfect Alignment Solar System necklace by Eclectic Eccentricity £55*
Starbuck Star Bracelet by Eclectic Eccentricity £17*

Starting from £5 and up there is something for everyone in the Eclectic Eccentricity range. From the cosmos to gem stones they have so many things to choose from. I adore this solar system necklace and star bracelet and think they are great additions to a party dress.

Vanilla Chai 
Shower Gel by The Body Shop £5
Vanilla Chai Body Butter £14

The smell of the Body Shop's Vanilla Chai range is amazing! It's a perfect Christmassy scent to get anyone in the festive spirit. Also not featured, the Spiced Apple range is a must for Christmas.

Green People starter kit by Green People £25

This is the gift for anyone who is into natural non-chemical, organic products. I bought this a few months ago as I'm trying to cut down on my chemicals use while I'm having treatment so at the moment they are my go to essentials. The scented ones smell amazing.
Box contains - fruit scrub 30ml (microbead free), Vita Min Fix 24 hour moisturiser 30ml, Intensive repair shampoo 30ml, Neutral scent free shower gel 30ml, Scent free Sun lotion SPF30 30ml.
These minis come in a blue gift box. The face scrub is my current favourite. Made with apricot kernel powder instead of micro beads so it's ocean friendly as well as cruelty free.

And that is it folks! That's my 2016 Christmas gift guide, I hope it has been helpful. I've really enjoyed creating it. All the gifts in this guide I've bought past and present, gifts I've been given recently for my birthday and PR samples which are marked with a *.

Happy shopping!

Emma Xx