As part of my 12 days of Blogmas, I thought it would be nice to share with you a few of this years online Christmas charity appeals. There are tons of worthy causes out there and its always hard to pick a selection, however, here are a few of my suggestions if you are looking to give a little extra this year. After all Christmas is a time for spreading the love, am I right? Please feel free to share other charities you support in the comments below!

 

Rethink Mental Illness Christmas Cards

If you haven’t sent your Christmas cards yet, Rethink Mental Illness have a nice little selection of cute cards which you can order online here.  Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for the millions of people affected by mental illness. For 40 years they have brought people together to support each other through their services, groups and campaigns. At the moment you can buy 10 Little Penguins Christmas Cards for £2 – so adorable and such a good cause too! Twitter: @Rethink_

 

Oxfam Unwrapped Charity Gifts

When disaster strikes Oxfam’s priority is to start saving lives, then it is to help people come back stronger. They enable people to access clean water to drink and decent sanitation and then to help rebuild communities. This Christmas you can order a life-changing unwrapped gift online, getting to choose from thousands of brilliant gifts including goats, chickens, safe water, and school supplies. Oxfam launched the gift catalog in 2004 and it continues today as it has been such a great success. Click here to view the full range of gifts.   Twitter: @oxfamgb

 

The Great Christmas Get Together

#MincePieMoments is a movement to help fight loneliness at Christmastime. It is a campaign by The Great Get Together inspired by Jo Cox to build closer communities through positive connections by sharing mince pies with each other. To join in all you need is to choose a time between 24-26 December, bake or buy some mince pies, head over to a neighbours or wherever you are sharing mince pies and post your photos on social media using #MincePieMoments. If you don’t like mince pies there are tons of other ways to get involved. Click here to join in! Twitter: @great_together

 

Pack A Shoebox Online

Samaritan’s Purse UK is a Christian relief and development organisation working in 18 countries across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. If you don’t have time to fill a shoebox this year to help the appeal, you can choose to do it online. It’s so straighforward and takes no time at all. For £20, you can fill your own shoebox by selecting the age and gender of your child. Then you can add a large toy, three small toys (such as a harmonica, etch-a-sketch and yo-yo) and accessories (such as sunglasses, calculators and hair accessories) and include a personal note to your child. Since 1993 there have been 146 million shoebox gifts and each item can significantly change a child life for the better. Click here to start filling your shoebox! Twitter: @OCC_UK

 

Present Aid

Present Aid is Christian Aid’s charity gift shop. When you purchase an ethical gift from Present Aid, you will be helping to fund Christian Aid’s vital work to end poverty around the world. You won’t actually receive a duck, or a bicycle or a well, but you will be helping families in countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Bangladesh and many more places in need of support. Your money will go towards the seven funds: 1. Agriculture and livestock, 2. Emergency and disaster preparedness, 3. Healthcare, including HIV, 4. Training and education, 5. Water and environment, 6. Basic needs, 7. Climate change. Click here to give a gift that just keeps giving! Twitter: @christian_aid 

 

Reserve A Place At Crisis At Christmas

For £26.08 you could give a homeless person the following:  1. A hot, delicious, nutritious Christmas dinner, 2. Advice on housing, benefits, finances, employment, as well as legal matters, 3. Healthcare, including TB and hepatitis screenings, 4. Dental treatment and eye tests, including glasses, 5. Hairdressing and massage treatments, 6. Learning and skills opportunities, internet cafés and IT workshops, 7. Specialist centres providing safe accommodation to rough sleepers, women and people with dependency issues and 8. PLUS access to Crisis’ year-round services for training and support in the year ahead. The advice and support Crisis offers has helped thousands of people out of homelessness and on to whole new lives already. Click here to make a donation. Twitter: @crisis_uk

These are just a few of the Christmas 2017 Appeals. Feel free to share more great causes in the comments below!


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Leading up to Christmas, the fantastic supportive community that is Bloggers Tribe are doing 24 Days Of Bloggers Blogmas. I was very excited when I got invited to take part. You can read my post on Bloggers Tribe here along with tons of other festive contributions from awesome bloggers!

Rules

  • Put on our Christmas Playlist on Spotify (link here) to listen to while answering!
  • Answer our 12 questions
  • Add 2 questions of your own
  • Have a Christmas drink and/or snack
  • Tag 4 more bloggers to take part
  • Take a picture in your favourite Christmas jumper and send it to us for our Round Up post! We want to see everyone who takes part! (Photo doesn’t have to include your face if you don’t want it to – just take a pic of your jumper )

Standard Questions:

  1. When do you start thinking about Christmas?
    I think being part of the blogging community on Twitter gets you feeling festive early on. In the first week of November, I was already feeling inspired to go buy cute little Christmas decorations for future blog post photos.
  2. What has been your most memorable Christmas present to date (good or bad!)?
    I once got brought a Roomba. That’s a robotic hoover which automatically does the cleaning for you. It was a pretty cool gift, but it took about four hours to clean the flat and the cats hated it.
  3. Do you have any Christmas traditions?
    Yes! Early Christmas (or “Fake Christmas”) with the family. It’s usually in the week leading up to Christmas Day where we have an evening of Christmassy related things such as a roast dinner, a game of charades and the exchanging of secret Santa gifts. We don’t all spend the Christmas Day together so our Early Christmas is the next best thing (and who can say no to two Christmas dinners in one week!).
  4. Which Christmas film is the greatest of them all?
    Home Alone is the greatest (I also like Love Actually, but Home Alone is just a classic).
  5. You have an empty seat at your table on Christmas Day – who do you invite and why? Can be absolutely anyone!
    Ooh this is a tough one. I would probably say something cheesy like Elton John so he can play some good old sing-alongs whilst we all got merry.
  6. Where in your house does your Christmas Tree go each year?
    In the corner of the lounge.
  7. Name the top 3 songs on your Christmas Party Playlist
    –  Snow is Fallin’… all around us – Shakin Stevens
    –  Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
    –  Step into Christmas – Elton John
  8. Who is the hardest person you’ve ever had to buy a Christmas present for?
    My dad is pretty tricky, each year we try to get creative but always resort back to the classic dad gifts like biscuits and pub quiz books.
  9. When do you eat your Christmas dinner, and what all is on your menu?
    Last year, it was just my boyfriend Shaun and myself, and we went super posh with M&S foods as it was just the two of us. We even had a partridge (ha ha!)… this year we are going to tone it down a bit and try goose. We normally eat in the early afternoon after we have spent the morning opening presents and eating way too much chocolate.
  10. What’s your favourite Christmas related quote?
    “…Merry Christmas ya filthy animal” (Home Alone quote)
  11. Are you a wrapping paper person, or boxes and bags? Or are you a mix?
    I like wrapping then no-one can take a sneaky peak before Christmas Day.
  12. What makes Christmas so special to you?
    Family, food and fun! I love the Christmas buzz that’s all around in the build up to the big day. I love the warm cosy feeling when you are sat watching a festive film eating Roses chocs, the Christmas tree lights are twinkling in the background and it’s all frosty and cold outside.

YOUR QUESTIONS:

If you could spend Christmas anywhere in the world, where would it be? You can take your family too, if you want!

I have always wanted to go to New York at Christmas, the photos and films make it look so magical.

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

When my sister and I were younger, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve – usually a board game or something to keep us entertained for        the evening. Now, it’s normally a last minute panic at the supermarket to get extra food then finally chilling out and watching some Christmas TV.

Take a break, you’ve earned it! Grab a gingerbread flavoured hot chocolate and a mince pie!

I WOULD LIKE TO TAG: 

The girls who are involved in the mental health #unthinkstigma project –

  1. Chloe– https://twitter.com/chloeluye
  2. Kerry– https://twitter.com/KTMummy
  3. Fern– https://twitter.com/LifeWithFernie
  4. Casey– https://twitter.com/casestreetx

And to finish off, here’s me in my favourite Christmas jumper!

My “All Things Christmas Jumper” from ASOS

Thank you to Bloggers Tribe for inviting me to take part, it was lots of fun! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts in 24 Days Of Bloggers Blogmas in the build up to Christmas. Also check out the festivities going on right now at the Bloggers Tribe twitter!

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The Winchester Christmas Market had recently opened, so Shaun and I decided to pop down one chilly Saturday afternoon and check out the latest festivities. We visited the year before together and I have been going ever since I can remember. It is recognized as one of the best in Europe due to its unique location – right outside the historic Winchester Cathedral and always offers a fine selection of quality handmade and quirky items. It’s open from 20th November – 22nd December and attracts close to half a million visitors each year. So plenty of time to visit and experience over 100 chalets of festiveness for yourself! Here are a few that really caught my eye.

Synergy Jewellery

From www.synergyjewelly.co.uk: Synergy Jewellery was launched by Clover Norton in 2015. It was inspired by the ethos that women should carry beautiful affirmations with them everywhere they go. Inscribed on each piece are: love, belief, courage, gratitude and happiness – words which helped the designer on her own personal journey. The current collection includes necklaces, bangles, bracelets and stacking rings and has already been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour Magazine. I love how each piece is so beautifully designed with a meaningful message. Twitter: @synergyjeweller

Smoothie Candles

These bright and colourful candles really caught my eye! They are handmade, freshly fragranced British candles with an impressive 40-hour minimum burn time. Shaun and I spent a bit too long at this one smelling all the different varieties! I love the texture of the candles too, so interesting and unique. There are so many flavours too – hot cinnamon and orange spice are perfect for the festive season. Twitter: @smoothiecandles

The Potting Shed

From www.pottingonline.co.uk: The Potting Shed, based in Surrey, is owned by Lizzie Hine and she supplies high quality silk flowers throughout the UK. The Potting Shed also provides a range of unique Christmas Decorations too. I really liked these Gisela Graham tree decorations which are great for collectors or ideal for someone who just wants to add a little something special to their Christmas tree this year! So well made and beautifully designed. Twitter: @Gisela_Graham

Mad Lou Publishing

What’s better than the Winchester Christmas Market? Sending a card to someone of the Winchester Christmas Market is what. I really loved these amazing prints by Louise Braithwaite. From www.madloupublishing.co.uk:  Over the past ten years Louise Braithwaite has developed a style of painting which although expressive, is firmly rooted in her design background. Her high-impact oils on board are predominantly figurative; they encapsulate the energy and buzz of a crowded scene in a manner that is both stylised and beautifully observed. Her highly collectable paintings sell in galleries around the world. She has so many fun and creative designs, I was very impressed!

Pegasus Design

If you follow my Twitter, you will know I have a thing for inspirational quotes, so when I saw Pegasus Design with all its eye catching signs I went straight on over. These were all so bright and fun with positive and motivational messages. We spent a while in here reading the signs as there were so many we loved! Pegasus Design does not have a website but you can contact the owner via email here.  Personally, I think two for £10 is a bargain!

Rhian John Paintings

Rhian is an incredibly talented local Winchester artist who does these beautiful, bright and vibrant paintings. From www.rhianjohn.com: I love bright colours and the amazing tones we find around us everyday. I paint landscapes, florals and a few animals too, taking inspiration from my roots in Wales as well as the glorious Hampshire countryside and south coast. Check out her website for more amazing art! Twitter: @RhianJohnArt

Rustic Rudolph

These cute little chaps really caught my eye. They are handmade Christmas characters which include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, snowmen and wooden log Father Christmases. I like them as they are quirky, unique and beautifully crafted plus you can guaranteed they will bring a smile to peoples faces when they see them. You can also personalize your character too which I thought was a really special touch. There isn’t a website but you can contact the owner here.

 

A Christmas Market isn’t a Christmas Market without the traditional roasted chestnuts and toasted marshmallows.

The Nutcracker

I was fascinated by this intricate collection of traditional German handcrafted ceramic houses. The attention to detail on these are incredible. The ladies running the stall explained they were in fact tea light holders and you could burn incense oil out of the chimneys. Wow. Such a beautiful item to have in any home. There isn’t a website for The Nutcracker but if you want to find out more you can e-mail them here.

Chi-Africa

These birds are really interesting with an equally interesting story behind them. From www.Chi-Africa.com: Our Sculptures are predominantly made in Zimbabwe from recycled oil drums, reclaimed scrap metal and reused white goods. The material is beaten flat then panels are cut from the sheet. These pieces are brought together and welded to produce the final sculpture. We work alongside individual & co-operative artists directly ourselves. Ensuring we can bring you a quality hand crafted recycled metal sculpture whilst also bringing assurances and sustainability to the artists that we work with. Twitter: @ChiAfricaMetal

Pollyfields

There was no shortage of Christmas decorations at the market, however these caught my eye as they were so unusual. Pollyfields is a chalet offering lovingly handcrafted bespoke botanical fruit wreaths, Christmas tree decorations, scented candles and potpourri. I really liked the creativity that has gone into making these stand out decorations. Great job! This image also features in my title photograph. Twitter: @PollyfieldsUK

Claire Tarling

I am always attracted to the arty looking stalls in the market so I went over to take a look at Claire Tarlings designs. I love her style and how she has a cute animal and wildlife theme. From www.clairetarling.com: Claire’s work is inspired by the countryside around her and the animals that pass by her window. She is largely self taught, and specialises in vibrant Watercolour & Oil paintings. Claire has had her work featured on the Guardian website, and was selected to take part in a Group project at the Tate modern. Check our her Etsy for more designs. Twitter: @ClaireT_Art

Hutchings & Brant

H&B is the place for unique, interesting and quirky products to make you smile. It is ran by two friends Karen Hutchings & Caroline Brant who share the same passion for style. They offer the perfect ‘something different’ gifts that guarantee a wow! H&B like to make a statement with eye-catching style for home, for her or for him. Check out their shop for more products! Twitter: @H_BStyle

Moonlighting

Susan and Graeme Long have been working as a creative team under the name of Mouse and Moon since 2003. Since 2012 they have been developing and creating the Moonlighting range. These are such brilliant additions to create that chilled out atmosphere at home. Each bottle is lovingly up-cycled and uniquely decorated in their home studio – check out there shop for more impressive designs. Twitter: @mouseandmoon

StudioZo

StudioZo is created by Zoe and offers beautiful handmade glass coasters, bowls, pictures and more! I love the stylish green she uses and those sheep are just the cutest thing. As well as being at the Christmas Market, StudioZo has a stall at Winchester Art Market on the 3rd Sunday of every month (except for January and February when the market doesn’t run). She also makes jewellery pieces too –  you can check out her unique pieces in real life or online here!

Pot Notch 

From www.potnotch.co.uk: PotNotch is a unique and innovative way of growing plants around the home and garden. Pot Notch can be installed in minutes, and there are endless possibilities for creating an amazing growing space. A modern twist on the hanging basket, each notch is designed to fit and securely hold a garden flower pot. To read more click here. Twitter: @potnotch

That is just a small selection of the many chalets in the Winchester Christmas Market this year. If you have been here yourself, let me know what you think! Or have you visited any markets this year which you would recommend? I love Christmas Markets and would love to hear your suggestions!

 

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