A Baby Shopping Gift Guide*

I’m at that stage in my life where people are getting married and having babies. I seem to have passed through the weddings phase for now, but pregnancies are being announced seemingly every few days and with that comes the desire to buy the perfect gift.
Having spent quite chunk of time over the last few months searching for the perfect gifts for expectant friends I’ve decided to pop together a little gift guides of items I’ve either bought for babies, or will be buying in the future in the hopes that other people also benefit from the dose of inspiration.

Cot Decoration: The White Company | Swaddle Blanket: Jo Jo Maman Bébé | Elephant Toy: Jo Jo Maman Bébé | Foot Muff: Babythingz | Bath Robe: The White Company | Nursing Pillow: Babythingz

The initial instinct I get when it comes to buying for a new arrival is to head to the nearest shop and stock up on all the cute and tiny clothes! It’s so easy to get carried away but these days I’m trying to show some restraint and leave the clothes shopping to the parents to be- after all, they know their taste best and also how much of each size they have and therefore need. Instead I’ve tried to think outside the box and opt for useful items- although making sure that they remain aesthetically pleasing.

Some of the things I’ve bought with success in the past are swaddle blankets- you can apparently never have too many of these! Nursing pillows, cute cot decorations and fluffy bath robes. Asking friends what they need other things have popped up too that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of such as cosytoes for the buggy or even the seemingly boring, but ever useful option; the humble gift card- perfect for picking up forgotten bits once baby has arrived.

Do let me know if this post has helped you out at all, or even what kind of gifts you’ve been buying for both parents to be and for the squishy little bundles of joy- it’d be great to build up a store of even more ideas, I get the feeling the baby boom in my life has only just started [great for an endless supply of cuddles whilst I still get to grips with being responsible for myself, let alone another human life!]

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Home of Juniper wish list and discount

My homewares radar was triggered again recently with the discovery of yet another online emporium to browse- Home of Juniper. Focusing on “conscientious consumerism” Home of Juniper sells a wide range of products including kitchenware, stationery, home decor, jewellery and gifts. They are proud to support both British producers and ethical craftsmanship from further afield bringing us a beautifully curated site full of unusual and quirky treasures.
Being the way I am, I couldn’t not put together a wish list to share with you- I also (being the giving person that I am) have a discount code to share which will give you 10% off and free shipping on any purchase until the end of June- details at the end of this post.
As you can see, I’ve fallen hard for the kitchenware. I love the rustic look of the tea set and espresso cups whilst the coaster (so true) and shakespeare quote banner were just lovely finishing touches I couldn’t help but include.
As promised, you can get 10% off and free shipping on your order until the end of June by using the code daisychain at the checkout. Do report back with what takes your fancy and let me know what you’re treating yourself to.

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May’s Degustabox- The Picnic Edition

As I write this post the skies are grey and it’s chucking it down with rain so writing about May’s picnic themed Degustabox* is a little bit bittersweet. I’m a big fan of picnics and have already fitted in a couple this year with a view to having many more. This made the May box even more exciting as the chance to discover new things to fill my picnic basket with? I’m down with that…
Anyone who knows me in real life knows how obsessed I am with coffee so I was really excited to try these pyramid coffee bags from Bean Bags. These work in the same way as a tea bag but give you coffee shop standard coffee with no fuss and no mess. At £4.50 for a box they also work out much cheaper than a coffee shop and my also coffee obsessed boyfriend and I are loving these.
I’m really not a fan of Cadbury chocolate these days, it’s changed and isn’t the same comfort treat it once was. With that in mind, plus my issue with peanuts I passed this “Peanut Caramel Crisp” Big Taste bar (RRP £3.49) on to my Dad who had zero complaints, from what I’ve heard in general this is definitely one of Cadbury’s better offerings so I think I’ll seek out a peanut free bar from the same range to try.
I suppose overnight oats could be classed as a picnic food- breakfast al-fresco on a glorious summer morning sounds ideal. This gluten free offering from MOMA is flavoured with summery raspberry and coconut, perfect washed down with a mug of the Bean Bags coffee. RRP £3.20
More curious were the Cereal Lovers crunch time nuggets- a snacking granola product to help you energise and sustain your day. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty put off by the look of these- they reminded me of pet treats, but as someone who regularly snacks on cereal I gave them a go and whilst I’m not 100% in love with them I wouldn’t turn them down and they are ideal for grazing on at work. RRP £1.59.
Ginger beer for a picnic? How very “Famous Five” (was any one else obsessed with those books?). This alcoholic ginger beer from Crabbie’s is gluten free and made with real Asian ginger. I can’t stand ginger beer myself but passed this on to my granddad who very much enjoyed the bottle. RRP £1.89.
I did try the peach & grapefruit offering from Zeo though, an all-natural, low calorie soft drink this is so refreshing and would be perfect served icy cold on a blazing summer day. RRP £1.19
These two products were my favourites from the whole box. I’m a serious savoury snack fiend and I’m already very familiar with Hippeas chickpea puffs. Crunchy and addictive and under 100 calories a serving. In herbs we trust isn’t my favourite flavour from the brand but it’s still pretty awesome. Anyone looking for a healthy alternative to crips you need to seek these out- they’re a bit like wotsits but much crunchier and much more satisfying.
The popcorn from Portlebay is another product I’m already familiar with although I hadn’t tried the Sriracha flavour yet. This excited me greatly as I’m currently obsessed with spice and hot sauces and this really didn’t disappoint on flavour. It has an amazing kick and I’m already on the lookout for more!
Hippeas RRP is £1.50/bag and Portlebay popcorn £0.79
If you fancy going all out on your picnic and making your own bread then this Homepride Strong White Bread Flour (£1.50) is probably for you. I’ve not had time to bake any bread myself, or indeed bake anything but this is made from 100% British wheat and if I do get around to whipping up some bread-y goods I’ll share the recipe on here.
As much as I love my savoury snacks I also have a major sweet tooth and can’t resist the lure of childhood favourites. I’m not sure about this updated millions sweets, some things just shouldn’t be messed with- the sour ones are pretty good but the chocolate ones didn’t do it for me. A shame, but I just can’t get behind the mix of chewy sweet and chocolate. (£0.50 chocolate, £0.60 sour).
The Candy Kittens sweets however, in Eton Mess…these are GOOD! I’m already a fan of Candy Kittens sweets and buy them occasionally as a real treat (at £3 a bag they have to be a treat). I hadn’t tried this flavour as I’m not typically a berry flavour sweet kind of girl but these are good. And pretty. Almost too pretty to eat.
Finally we have “Skinni Wraps” from Deli Kitchen. Now I tend to avoid products like this as low calorie doesn’t work for my lifestyle right now but meh, in the spirit of trying new things I just took the 91 calories per wrap as an “eat more” kind of approach. I love the shape of these wraps, much easier to fold- I’m hopeless at folding wraps so rarely have them! Pack ‘em full of hummus, chicken, avocado…whatever you fancy, or toast them as use them as scoops for picnic dips. These are a welcome addition, in my eyes to the bread aisle and at £1.25 per pack are reasonably priced too.
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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Lee Stafford Ubuntu Oils Hairdryer

I’ve become one of those girls I never thought I’d become. One who relies entirely on her hair styling tools and who panics at thought of being without them. I’ve also become very interested in new ideas when it comes to heat styling hair so when the opportunity came up to review a hairdryer infused with Ubuntu Oil to help heal your hair I was very intrigued to say the least.

All this from a girl who up until about a year ago only actually dried her hair about twice a year!

The Lee Stafford Ubuntu Oils Hairdryer*
promises a lot of things. It claims to dry hair faster, give you salon quality at home and heal your hair. Big talk for a little device that costs under £25 right?

But somehow it does it all. It certainly made short work of drying my hair which is a massive bonus for me because it usually takes me ages and I get incredibly fed up doing it. My standard (as in non-infused) hair dryer is also a Lee Stafford model and that’s also pretty quick at it’s job but this one has a noticeable edge.

Salon quality wise I’m not really able to compare because I rarely get my hair dried at a salon but as with all Lee Stafford products that I’ve tried (my thoughts on the academy hair straightener here) I’ve been genuinely impressed especially with the small price tag attached.

Of course the really interesting and unique thing about this model is the African Ubuntu Oil infused grille. It’s designed to pamper, nourish and repair your hair after drying making frizz a thing of the past. I’ve only used this a couple of times so far so there hasn’t been time for a dramatic difference but I would say my hair is less frizzy than usual- which is no mean feat at this time of year when the struggle against humidity goes up a notch. I’ll report back on any longer term effects but even if the Ubuntu Oil turned out to be nothing but a gimmick I’d still be more than happy with this dryer- it’s lightweight, good looking and gets my hair dry in around 2/3 of the time it’d usually take. At £24.99 you really can’t go wrong with this.

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Summer Nights

I actually featured the dress in this post last month in a post where I really wasn’t happy with how things turned out. Thankfully, with the recent bout of glorious weather I had a second chance to grab some photos and I’m much happier with the result.
It’s one of those dresses I bought with a dual purpose in mind, easy to dress down as I attempted to show in my April blog post, and also one that can lend itself to being a bit more formal…and that’s what I’ve tried to capture today.

Dress: Monki | Ankle Boots: New Look

It might be summer (in name at least) but I’m still not ready to let those ankle boots go. I’m still on the search for the perfect, semi-dressy and comfortable sandals- I own plenty of pairs that match one of the criteria but am yet to find the holy grail that meets all three. Please enlighten me on where I might find the perfect pair!
And whilst I’m looking back on my April post, how is that inner critic silencing going? Well, it’s certainly been tested lately as things haven’t 100% gone to plan- not that life ever does, it would be boring if that were the case but I am noticing that I am much better equipped to deal with these hiccups right now. Less likely to internalise and take it out on myself, more likely to let off steam in a healthy manner with a good, old fashioned rant.

It’s not always the case, of course. Sometimes those critical gremlins win out, but given that most areas of my life are vastly improved these days it’s getting easier to rise up again when I get knocked down.

Back to the outfit and this is definitely one I have marked for date nights over the summer. I’ve become quite the fan of slip dresses lately and Monki has a huge selection putting temptation in my path (this one and this one especially). Thinking about it, I’m yet to try Monki for shoes and they have some really awesome looking pairs online- can anyone vouch for the comfort and quality? I feel I’m going to have to try a few pairs on when I’m next in store, hopefully in the next couple of weeks…a shopping trip is long overdue and I’ve been saving hard. Who’s counting pairs of sandals owned anyway?

Incidentally this the first set of outfit photos I took on my new camera- remember how I was asking for advice? I went for the Canon EOS M10 compact system camera in the end and so far I’m impressed!

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