All posts tagged “Christmas

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Last Minute Local Gift Guide

For most people, last weekend was the final attempt to get all the festive shopping done before the big day; this week is for relaxing with the kids, getting those last minute plans together and wrapping up the presents.

But for a small minority of highly disorganised people (aka ME) comes the dawning realisation that Christmas is THIS BLOODY SATURDAY and it’s probably time to panic. What with the Post Office striking an’ all, last-minute internet shopping is out of the question – it’s time to get local.

Here I’ve compiled a handy gift guide of some of my favourite businesses doing awesome things in the Bristol area, whom you can visit this week in your panic-buying frenzy. Read More

natural history museum at christmas
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Meandering Around Grey London Town

I don’t often find myself in the capital with time to spare. Usually trips to London are to do something, to see something, or generally to rush about without so much time as to stop and catch a breath. It was for this reason that I didn’t used to like London very much; I never took kindly to the fast pace of everything, I was very much settled in my Bristolian ways, thank-you-very-much.

I’ve had a bit of a change of heart of late. I’m not sure if it’s because Bristol is becoming a bit of a mini-London in itself, but I’ve begun to tolerate the capital a far lot more than I used to. So when, after my gift wrapping masterclass on Saturday, I found myself in London with a few hours to kill, I was a little bewildered. What to do with my new-found freedom?! I had a travelcard burning a hole in my pocket, which I wasn’t about to let go to waste.

santa-con-london-2
santa-con-london

After the workshop, myself and Alice stopped off at itsu for a bit to eat (another London chain making its way to Bristol!) and were surprised by thousands of people walking down Camden High Street dressed as Father Christmas, as ya do! We soon found ourselves in the midst of this crowd trying to get to the tube station, where a chatty tube chap told us that this is a Christmas tradition in ol’ London town; it’s a massive festive pub crawl which ends up getting pretty messy by the end of the day. Note to self: come and join in next year.

After saying farewell to Alice at Piccadilly Circus, I decided to take myself to the Natural History Museum for a spot of nerding out. I always get a bit emosh walking up to that stunning Victorian facade, and it looked particularly beautiful this grey Saturday afternoon, decked out in festive glory with an ice rink and carousel outside.

natural history museum at christmas

Unfortunately for me, the queue was bloody massive (obviously – it was a Saturday two weeks before Christmas) so I decided to call it a day, and starting making my way to Paddington through Hyde Park, stopping off to say hi to Albert first.

royal albert hall
prince albert memorial
hyde park in winter
albert memorial from hyde park

Soon I was safely stowed on a train bound for Bristol after a teeny tiny adventure in a minute portion of the capital. I’m more than aware that there’s plenty I need to see (cereal cafe, for example, plus numerous exhibitions) but I just didn’t have time to do it all that day! Until next time, London. Keep being massive and intimidating.

how to wrap gifts like a pro
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How to Wrap Presents Like a Pro

This post is in collaboration with Cabot Circus.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty terrible at organising myself at this time of the year. We’ve not done too badly at the old present-buying so far, but one thing I haven’t even considered is exactly how and when I’m going to organise myself to wrap the small pile of gifts that are accumulating in our front room.

I’m not usually too bad at gift wrapping – I used to take great joy at buying matching paper, ribbons and gift tags but in past years the standard has slipped a little; sorry family. Just when I thought I’d lost my wrapping mojo, I was invited along to a masterclass with gift-wrapping guru The Wrapper Snapper.

Before popping along to the event in London, I needed to hit up Cabot Circus for some bits and pieces to take along and wrap for my dear loved ones. Without giving too much away (hello mum if you’re reading), the first stops were Hotel Chocolat and Kiehl’s in House of Fraser, followed by a quick whip round Oliver Bonas, and maybe a cheeky li’l peep in the brand new Monki store for gifts for myself 😉 If you haven’t been to take a look at it yet then you need to get down there PRONTO, it’s amazing! It’s the only Monki store outside of London, and I am over the moon that it happens to be in Bristol.

wrapping gifts with the wrapper snapper and em sheldon

Loaded up with presents and safely on the 07:30 from Bristol Temple Meads, I headed to the Big Smoke to learn a thing or two about how to wrap presents the proper way. The Wrapper Snapper, aka the lovely Jo, has been wrapping gifts professionally for 5 years, even picking up some famous clients over the years. She runs a pop up in London in the run up to Christmas every year, where you can take the hassle out of wrapping your own gifts and get Jo to do a beautiful job for £2.50 a pop.

After a much-needed cup of coffee, myself, Alice and Em tried our hand at wrapping our gifts, under the watchful guidance of Jo. While you may think that wrapping gifts isn’t exactly rocket science, there is absolutely no way I could get my gifts to look half as stunning as some of these.

the wrapper snapper
wrapper snapper wrapping gifts
pleated gift paper

One of my favourite little tricks was making a concertina effect, which looked fantastic on patterned or glittery paper, and would do wonders jazzing up plain ol’ brown paper (which is what I’ve got this year) with a big beautiful bow. The method is much like when you used to make a paper fan at primary school, but then the back of the folds are secured with tape and brought to the front of the gift. Add a jazzy embellishment and you’re good to go!

A photo posted by Lily Doble (@lilydoughball) on


Jo was also full of top takeaway tips for wannabe wrapping pros, so if you’re wanting some tips on how to get jazzy with your gifts this Christmas, take note.

How to wrap your gifts like a pro this Christmas:

  • Don’t buy cheap paper – it completely defeats the point! You want something with a bit of weight to it, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot.
  • Push down the sides for clean edges – the trick to getting a clean, crisp edge is to push firmly down the edge of the paper, making a ‘triangle’ which you can then fold in neatly.
  • Trim excess paper – the number one culprit for messy wrapping is using too much paper, and not trimming off the excess. You want just enough to cover the gift (although it’s best to start with too much than too little!)
  • Use double sided tape – keep tape hidden and presents looking neat by using the double sided stuff.
  • Wrap bottles in cellophane and tissue paper – Jo taught us a nifty trick of layering up patterned cellophane and tissue paper and pinching it upwards towards the bottle, then securing with a ribbon. You can do the same with small, awkward shaped gifts (like in the picture at the top!)
  • Buy in bulk – a lot of wrapping materials can be bought in bulk off eBay, Etsy or Amazon. Even at short notice!
  • Embellish, embellish, embellish – there is no better way than making a gift look extra special than by dangling a Christmassy ornament or jingle bells from a ribbon. Jo says she visits pound shops and craft stores looking for bits and pieces to jazz up a gift, like that giant gold leaf in the photo above.

I hope I’ve given you some handy tips and some inspiration for getting festive this weekend, if you’ve got any tips I’d love to hear them!

This post was in collaboration with Cabot Circus. A massive thank you to Jo aka The Wrapper Snapper for the one-on-one class and her fantastic expertise.