UK Small Shops for Your Christmas Shopping

Although we’re already fast approaching Christmas, like me, you may still have a little way to go on your Christmas shopping. I’m also trying my best to shop from as many small businesses as I can this Christmas, because as a small business owner myself, I know how important sales at this time of year are, so with that in mind, here are a bunch of UK based small shops for you to check out this holiday season who are still open for Christmas orders.

*At time of publishing, these shops are still accepting pre-Christmas orders, but please check their last order dates directly before purchasing*

CoconuTacha

Remember the amazing wrapping paper I showed you a few weeks back? Well its still available! You can also buy some amazing stickers, prints, greeting cards and enamel pins in a huge selection of beautiful designs from this wonderful Wales based store! Shop here.

RockPaperSisters

Whether you want a super cute tees, sweatshirts or tote bags, RockPaperSisters have got you covered for all your fandom and pop culture favourites. They have a HUGE range of designs, inspired by everything from your favourite Disney films, your favourite bands like BTS, TV shows, movies, girl power.. You name it, they’ve got it and you’ll love it. I already have a bunch of their tees and they are so comfortable, such amazing quality and the girls behind the business are also super lovely! Last Christmas order dates for the UK is Monday 17th December. Shop here.

Alice Vitrum

For any fans of Disney or Studio Ghibli, Alice Vitrum has you covered! Patches, pins, prints, stickers and tote bags, all in the cutest designs and you can order up until 9pm on December 12th! Shop here.

Teeq

For cute Disney inspired embroidered tees and sweatshirts, Teeq has got you covered, and they also have a cute selection of matching enamel pins too! Shop here.

Hopefully this will give you a little bit of gift inspiration, or pointed you towards some great small shops even if you are done shopping!

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Pup Life – A Month with Finn

Its now been a whole month since we brought Finn home and our lives were turned a little upside down. Having a puppy in our lives has brought SO much joy, but its also a lot of responsibility and a total lifestyle change.

Because I work from home, I spend pretty much all day every day with this little fuzzball, and we’ve got ourselves a pretty good rhythm, and as he gets older and more used to life by the day, we’re starting to see some improvements in his typical puppy behaviour.

Sleeping

Finn was already sleeping through the night pretty well when we got him, so the only big change for him really was sleeping alone, as he still had a brother and both of his parents with him at the breeder’s. We tried to start him off with tough love, giving him a Pluto soft toy and making him sleep in the utility room by himself, but this was all a little too much too soon, and that night did not go exactly to plan.. We decided that as he would ultimately be sleeping in our bedroom with us anyway, that we would move him upstairs for his second night, and this resulted in his bed being right next to my side of the bed, and I spent the first week sleeping with one arm dangling off the side of the bed so that he knew I was there! He does now, however, sleep in his bed on the other side of the room from us with no problems, and he’s gone from waking up at 6/6.30am to sleeping until at least 7am – yippee!

House training

Despite having no issues with using puppy pads before he came home with us, once in the house, he completely disregarded the ones we put down and did his business wherever he was caught short, although he would also take himself to the back door when he needed to go BUTTT in the last week he has become amazing, and has only had accidents when we didn’t get to the back door to let him out quick enough – he sneaks off there sometimes while I’m working!

Eating

No surprises here, Finn is a dachshund who loves his food! He’s on Tails.com food, and has advanced from needing 3 small meals a day to 2 bigger meals. He loves treats, especially denta-stick type chews, and although at least 90% of the time he’s strictly on dog treats, he does enjoy a little bit of sausage as an extra special treat.

Life at home

Honestly, he naps A LOT. Most of the day when I’m working, he’s either curled up asleep under my desk or playing with his toys in my office, most of which have been thoroughly chewed now.. He has what I call ‘psycho hour’, normally between 5-6pm where he runs around like crazy for no reason, which can drive me a bit mad when I’m trying to finish up my work for the day, but is mainly just funny to watch. He spends his evenings curled up with us on the sofa, and then I normally go up to bed and he stays downstairs with Matthew until he comes up. He’s even got pretty good at when Matthew comes in from work in the early hours of the morning.

Out and about

Because of his vaccinations, we couldn’t walk Finn for the first 10 days he was with us, but now he’s getting the hang of it. Most days its just a trip to the post office and back while I’m posting orders, but last weekend during our visit to Bournemouth he spent some time at the park and at the beach and he sat nicely in two different dog friendly cafes while we had breakfast!

He is super friendly and gets so excited meeting people, but he’s still getting the hang of meeting other dogs. He barks a lot when he sees other dogs from a distance, or hears dogs barking, but up close he does calm down – he just needs to get a bit more social!

I just can’t believe how lucky we are to have such a beautiful puppy, and I now can’t imagine life without him.

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Rebuilding

You ever see those funny triangle diagrams floating around on the Internet, where each side is labelled with something we aspire for in life, like ‘good job’ or ‘social life’ or something similarly cliche, and then it’s captioned something like ‘you can only have two, what do you choose’?

These viral posts tend to have their comment sections full of people saying how much they relate to the ideas suggested by it, that we can’t ever seem to really have it all, but I never subscribed to that belief myself.

I always thought that I could have it all. I was *that* person who prided herself on working full time AND maintaining a blog AND being able to go to the gym every morning and while I’ve never really had much of a social life, that was mainly down to the fact that I never lived near to any of my friends, but I still found the time to go and see them and we still talked every day, but I also lived with my boyfriend and I saw my family every weekend.

Reading that, you’d think that I did have it all; it sure as hell sounds like it. But behind all that, there are some shortcomings: I still lived with my parents (not that I ever really minded that), and I worked in a job that didn’t truly make me happy, and that wasn’t a career for me.

Fast forward to today. I now own a home with said boyfriend, we have a puppy and I am living my self-employed dream. The social life aspect hasn’t really changed, although I am a little bit closer to some friends now so I do get to see them more often. This is all wonderful, and I am truly happy for all of this, but some of the walls of that triangle (or more like a hexagon) are crumbling. It would only take you a few minutes of scrolling back through my blog to see that I’ve gone from posting 5-6 times a week to going over 3 weeks without writing anything. I now live 250 miles away from the family that I adore, and as for going to the gym every morning, I can’t actually remember the last time I got in a workout.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, because my life is incredible in so many ways, but each one of these things is an aspect of who I am, and I feel like by losing these things I am losing sight of who I am, and I’m now becoming one of those people retweeting that triangle diagrams saying ‘I feel attacked’. I don’t want to believe that these silly little sketches are true, I want to go back to feeling that little bit smug thinking that really I do have it all.

My life has changed a lot in the past 6 months, and I guess if anything I was naive to think that it would all be easy, because nothing about it has been, but what’s the fun in things being easy, right? There’s no shame in being vulnerable, but I’m ready to start rebuilding these aspects of my life, and rediscovering the person that I used to, and want to be.

She’s in here somewhere, just under a nice little layer of comfort podge, y’know, from avoiding going to the gym for too long, but she’ll be back, just you wait.

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The Happiest Wrapping on Earth*

Honestly, November has FLOWN by. Its now officially less than a month until Christmas, and I’m feeling super unprepared, but one thing I have got under my belt now, courtesy of the wonderful CoconuTacha, is some incredible Disney inspired wrapping paper, so at least when I do get my Christmas shopping done, the paper is all wrapped up, if you pardon the pun..

Tacha is an incredibly talented UK based graphic designer, and I love the unique style of each of the park icons featured on this wrapping paper. In each set you get 3 A2 size sheets of wrapping paper, plus 4 gift tags, so you’re completely covered for all your wrapping needs.

The paper is a really high quality – way nicer than your regular supermarket roll! – with a glossy finish, and its so beautiful that this is the kind of paper that you’ll want to unwrap carefully so you can keep it again! Also a great secondary use would be as a photo backdrop for blog photos – I may just keep a sheet for myself for this very reason!

And if you’re on the hunt for a cute little stocking filler, Secret Santa gift or just something to treat yourself with, Tacha also has this limited edition ‘Magic Castle’ enamel pin available on her store. Its so pretty and so different from any other castle pins I’ve seen and the colours are stunning together, and for £5 its a steal!

Cute wrapping idea: attach a pin to the gift tag of your present!

There’s currently 10% off both the wrapping paper and pin until the end of today so if you like what you see, head on over to Etsy now, and even if you’ve got your wrapping paper sorted, you should definitely check out Tacha’s designs on both her Etsy store where you’ll find an amazing selection of stationery, planner stickers, art prints and more, and also on Redbubble where you can get her designs on everything from t-shirts to phone cases.

Are you Christmas ready yet?

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*The items featured in this blog post were sent to me, but all views are my own.

Meet the Puppy

I know things have been a little quiet on here lately, but they’re about to get a whole lot louder as Matthew and I adopted our first puppy on Monday! Everybody, meet Finn..

Finn is a miniature long-haired dachshund puppy, he’s 15 weeks old today and we are already so in love with him.

Truthfully, this all happened rather suddenly. Matthew and I have talked about getting a puppy since we first got together, but of course we always knew that it wouldn’t be possible until we got our own place, and then when we first moved into our house there were still a lot of reasons that we didn’t get one straight away. Finally, we settled on waiting until after we came back from our holiday in January, but last weekend I decided to torture myself by looking at puppies online, and that was when we found Finn.

I grew up with two dachshunds, both miniature long-haired, so part of me always wanted another sausage, and it didn’t take much to convince Matthew of the same! Most of the dachshund puppies for sale whenever I’ve looked have been short-haired or wirey, so as soon as I saw a listing for long-haired pups I had to show him, and I in no way was expecting him to respond with ‘ok, I think we’re ready’! So we went to meet him the following day, and were back the next day to pick him up! He was one of a little of five, with just him and one other brother left, and to make things even more perfect, his mum’s name was actually Lottie! I mean, that’s just meant to be, right?

Its safe to say that the last 5 days have been a total learning experience. I suddenly feel like a first time parent, and flit from relaxed and calm to super worried and googling every problem in a split second, but I have to keep reminding myself that I won’t have it all down instantly. We’ve already got toilet training almost down, and sometimes sleep through the night, and most of the time he’s a perfect little angel who loves naps, cuddles, and running/bouncing around the garden. As of Monday he’ll be able to go out for walks, so that’ll be the next big step for him.

Expect to see a lot more puppy content, and for more frequent Finn photos, be sure to follow my Instagram, linked below!

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Smells Like Magic* – Maple and Whisky Candle Review

I can’t believe that exactly one year ago Matthew and I were having the most magical time in Walt Disney World! I mean, I know we’ve had the craziest and most incredible year since then, but it still sucks.

In the crazy last year we’ve had though, we did buy our first house, and we’ve spent a lot of time turning it into the home that we love, with a big part of that being adding magical touches throughout to remind ourselves of our favourite places.

Maple and Whisky produce the most incredible scented candles inspired by your favourite Disney memories, including park foods like Mickey Waffles, rides like Soarin’ and resorts like The Grand. Quite frankly, if there’s a smell in a Disney park that you love, chances are, they’ve got it!

I’ve been a lover of Maple and Whisky for a few years now – I’ve got a constant stock of their wax melts on hand! – and they were super kind recently to send me three candles of my choosing to review, which meant I could fill the new house with some magical smells, although the hardest part was choosing just three! I took the opportunity to try two scents I’ve never had before, and to also get a new jar of my favourite M+W scent, Campfire Singalong.

Campfire Singalong smells truly of just that. Imagine toasting marshmallows and melting chocolate on an open fire at a Disney resort, and that’s what this is in a jar – its heavenly! For me, this is the ultimate autumn/winter candle as it fills the room with a wonderful warm scent and glow, but be warned, may cause chocolate cravings!

The second scent I chose was Beach Club, inspired by its eponymous Walt Disney World resort, and I chose it because our of all the resorts in WDW, this is my dream resort which I would absolutely LOVE to stay in one day! The smell is fresh and clean and it really does make me feel like I’ve just stepped into the air-conditioned lobby while taking a walk around the Boardwalk resort loop.

Finally, I picked Spirit of Aloha, which is inspired by the smell of the lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This time last year when we were in WDW was when Matthew and I joined Disney Vacation Club, and Polynesian is our home resort, so I wanted a candle to remind us of our second ‘home’! Not being the biggest fan of pineapple (and not having a super clear memory in my head of what the resort smelt like), I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t like this one, but actually its lovely! The pineapple is there, but its not at all in your face and is nicely balanced with hints of coconut.

Maple and Whisky offer candles in two sizes, 8oz and 12oz, as well as wax melts, room sprays and reed diffusers. The candles I received were the 8oz size, and they last a good long while! They’ve recently changed the design of their labels, so these aren’t exactly what they look like now but the new labels are even better!

What I absolutely love about these over other scented candles is that not only do they smell amazing up close, but they actually fill the whole room with their glorious scents, and that happens almost instantly, whereas even some big brand candles only smell when you stick your nose into the jar! I would absolutely recommend these candles, and as well as these scents some of my favourites are Adventure is Out There (grape soda scented), Butterbeer (for the Potterheads), Rice Krispie Treats and Sugar Rush! Head on over to their Etsy store to see more!

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*I was sent these candles for the purpose of review, but all words and views are my own.

Its Okay That My Blog Has Taken A Back Seat

I’ve talked a lot lately (or at least it feels like it) about how I’ve been struggling a little with blogging; not finding the time for it, perpetual writers block and general lack of focus and motivation. I’ve blamed so many factors, then promised myself I won’t let it happen again, and then it does, and the cycle continues.

I’ve been thinking a lot of about it, and I think I’ve finally come up with an explanation that I’m happy with.

For so long, my blog has been my life. Its been the constant source of pride and happiness in my life when my life hasn’t always been perfect. I worked for so long in dead end jobs that didn’t make me happy, so I loved having something that gave me a sense of purpose, and so I dedicated myself to it; if I wasn’t working, I was working on my blog, and that made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile.

But things have changed now. My life feels fulfilled in so many ways. I have a house, I have a job doing what I love, and there are so many things in my life that make me happy now, so the happiness and sense of fulfilment that my blog used to give me is already there. I don’t feel like I NEED to blog to be happy.

Of course, I still love my blog. I love writing and it makes me happy, so its not something that I think I’ll ever really give up, but I think I can finally let go of the need to publish 5-6 new posts every week like I used to. I can let go of the pressure to create content and go back to just loving creating the content when I do.

Now that I have realised this, I have found a sense of peace with my blog that I think I really needed. I was starting to think that because I couldn’t keep up with my old posting schedule that I should just give up altogether, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, its whatever I want it to be, and I want it to be the thing that makes me happy again.

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