Christmas Gift Guide (gifts under £20)

CHRISTMAAAAASSSSSS is undoubtably my most favourite time of the year! The Christmas Markets are up, the lights are on, my Christmas Tree is up and I am beyond excited!

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However, for a lot of people, Christmas is also the time of year where the same dreaded annual question that is  asked, day in and day out…

“What are you getting so and so for Christmas?”

Well, let your little minds be of peace whilst I provide exceptional gift ideas at exceptional prices for all your loved ones.

Mum’s special Gifts 

First things first, let’s get the important people out of the way, Mums. Don’t know about you guys, but my Mum is the ‘don’t spend too much on me’ type of mum. Which is something my sisters and I rarely take advantage off, because, undoubtably she deserves the best.

But let’s just say for the purpose of this post, we are all (as students are supposed to be) on budgets this Christmas. CH31

So here are a few special ideas of what you can get your mummies at a reasonable price!

Pebble art: this particular one if from Etsy and is £12, you can also buy these locally in St. Georges Market and Studio Souk Belfast.

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“Always my mum, Forever my Friend” Pebble Art @Etsy £12

Favourite Sweeties hamper: This is something that can look so effective if done correctly, to purchase these are £35, but to do them yourself they can be done under £10. Simply search ‘Living Vase’ on eBay and order one for £1.65. The purchase long wooden skewers for £1 from any supermarket, and get all your mums fav snacks, arranging them into a pretty bouquet of sweets!

Divinity Bracelet: These bracelets are super cute and each purchase made, contributes a donation to charity. (Divinity Website £17)CH1

Something Special: Not on the High Street do a large Variety of jewellery items, a lot of which are under £20. These can also be engraved which makes for a really special and personal gift for your mummy!

Dads the ‘Useful’ Gifts

Moving onto our fathers. My god, if there is a task on this earth, it is getting a gift for my dad. Probably thee most difficult person to buy for on my Christmas list. Last year I got him Pyjama bottoms as in the months prior to Christmas, he walked into the kitchen in his underwear, when I had my girlfriends staying over. So, I thought perfect gift, I’ll get him Pyjamas so we don’t have to have that awkward encounter again! He looked at me in disgust and sheer disappointment when he opened them and said;

“Pyjamas Chloe…

…Really?”

Needless to say, he wears them EVERY evening and my mum has to prise them off him in order to wash them. Point to moi for the perfect gift giving. Anyway, this year I am determined to get him something ‘useful,’ as he would say, which I do believe is what many dads want anyway. Here are my useful Gift Ideas for dads:

Knife Sharpener: (Amazon £10, supposedly the UKs No.1 sharpener)

Wallet: because his is literally held together with an elastic band:  (Not on The Highstreet £20)

Minger wireless key finder: make sure you’re never helping him look for his car keys, TV Remote or phone, ever again with this wireless remote control tracker!(Amazon £19) *Personal Favourite Idea*

(and still getting him new jammies too)

Siblings & Friends, little and cute gifts

Next member on this gift list are my sisters, I have three. So, over the years I feel I have become an exceptional gift giver for girlies. These gifts can really be for anyone! As we are keeping a budget here, I would opt to go with a gift box/hamper sort of present. This may sound boring or like a ‘crap’ present, but you have to be smart about it. First of all, choose your box size, depending on how much you wish to spend. I will always include the same basis if things within the gift box such as;

Lush bath Bomb (£3+ Lush Cosmetics )                                                                               Candle(£4 Dunnes Stores)                                                                                                         Jewellery trinket dish (Anthropologie £12)                                                                                  Cute mug/Travel mug (Dunnes Stores £5).

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More cute ideas for your box include:

A photo frame/Holder with your fav photo of you both. (Oliver Bonas do the nicest! £4-£12).                                                                                                                                                             A diary for the new year (Paperchase £10)                                                                                Joma Jewellery ‘A Littles’ Collection. These have the cutest little bracelets that are perfect for a Gift Box hamper and they include a little message with the bracelet. (Utopia Belfast or on the Joma Jewellery Website £16-£18)                                                                          Little Heart Frames: Little Heart Belfast do the cutest frames which can be personalised for your requirement, with a quote or a name! these are a perfect little addition to your gift boxes! (Little Heart £12)                                                                                                 Hairbands, depending if you’re gift receiver is a headband girl or not, there is a fab stall at St. Georges Market to fulfil all your headband needs. (St. Georges Market£15)

 

Younger Kids/babies                                                                                                                         

when the gift is really for the parents!

For anyone tasked with buying ‘babies first Christmas,’ or young children’s presents this year, it’s a difficult one. Realistically, are they going to remember it?…No. I would opt for a keepsake gift such as the ones shown below. These are my favourites!

Probably less fun for the children and more exciting for the parents, but a lovely gift all the same.

(Ink and Honey £12-£17)

 

Boyfriends/Brothers

if you’re buying for your boyfriend or your brothers then… good luck! As I’m struggling with that one myself!

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IMPORTANT NOTE!

In my personal opinion, the most important thing about gift giving, is all in the wrapping of the presents.

“May no present be too small to give, nor too simple to receive, which is wrapped in thoughtfulness and tied with love”- L.Baird

This little quote emphasis’ that we don’t have to be spending loads of money this Christmas, it is intact the thought that counts…just make that thought a good one!

To finish off;

My top 10 shops for Christmas Shopping shops:

  1. Anthropologie
  2. Sóstrene Grene
  3. TK MAXX
  4. Paperchase
  5. Oliver Bonas
  6. Lush Cosmetics
  7. Dunnes Stores
  8. Amazon (online)
  9. Etsy (online)
  10. Not On The Highstreet (online)

 

Chloe Hood is a final year Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at – Twitter: @chloekathryn4 and Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-kathryn-hood-224033153

Hidden Gems…Great for the Gram

I’ll get straight to the point here, let’s face it. There are so many places in Ireland that maybe you don’t care for or maybe you haven’t even heard of. Yes, I agree it’s fabulous to visit other countries, but why not try exploring our own for a change? Even if it’s just for a day trip. 

I promise, if you stick with me, until the end of this post, you WILL want to visit at least one of these places, and you will not be disappointed. 

The Belfast Beauty

Ok, going to start off with one close to home, and one which you have all definitely heard of. The Botanical Gardens. Now yea, it may sound ‘main stream,’ or not really a ‘hidden gem’ as such, but tell me how many of you have actually taken a walk through it and took the time to really take it in? 

My guess is not very many of you…

The Botanical Gardens is full of blossoming flowers and plants in every season, my favourite obviously being summer, when it is full of bright colours.

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So, next time you’re there, take your time, explore it, and I promise you, you will not be disappointed. 

On an extra note, girls…and boys, it makes for a perfect Instagram spot! 

 

Newtownstewart’s Nature (Co.Tyrone) 

Moving closer to my hometown of Newtownstewart *eyeroll* is what I’m sure you are all thinking. What could it possibly have to offer? To be fair, I would be thinking the same thing… ‘like, seriously?’

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I’m sure you have all seen the sunflower fields EVERYWHERE on social media at some point, yet many of you will never have been, or maybe just didn’t know where to go. Well, if good oul’ Newtown is good for something, it’s good for its’ Sunflower Fields in the summer months!

And who couldn’t love a sunflower, am I right? 

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Granny for one agrees!

 

So, take a trip down to the country and get those profile pics, and pick your own sunflowers to brighten up your home! 

Remember: Bring some pennies, because it’s always for a good charitable cause!!

 

Beautiful Butterfly Farm (Co.Down)

Anyone who knows me knows I have had an obsession with butterflies from a very young age, and have in-fact only recently re-decorated my girlie purple butterfly themed bedroom, to a more suitable décor, for a 20 year old…boring I know. 

So, when I took my first trip to the butterfly farm, I was so excited… and yes, I’ll admit it…. I cried.  

One of the cutest experiences I’ve had in Northern Ireland, I couldn’t believe that there were so many butterflies flying around and you could get so close to them. 

I did at one point consider taking one home, but don’t worry, I settled for a butterfly fridge magnet instead. 

I recommend wearing bright clothes, as it attracts the butterflies so you can get those pics, and it’s bloody warm in that green house, so if you don’t want to pass out, wear light clothes!

Admission: £4.50 Adult/ £3.50 students and stay for as long as you wish. (You’ll want to stay forever, trust me.)

Let’s move this on and take it down south…

Downings’ Dazzlers (Co.Donegal) 

So, I’ve been going to Downings with the fam since birth, quite literally, so this may be a slightly biased opinion, but I’m just going to say it, Downings has to have thee best beaches in the world. To name a few, Murder Hole (horrible name, lovely beach) Monks bay (Personal Fav) Rosapenna (longest beach in the world NEVER agree to a family walk, it’s never the short walk, it’s all lies.) and finally, Tranarossan (aka the pebble beach).

There is so much to do here, on the beaches, and in the water, so take a day, a week, however long you have, but go go go! It’s a must!

The beaches will speak for themselves, and your camera won’t know what’s hit it!

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Alright Pumpkin (Co.Meath)

Don’t ask what possessed me to take this 2-hour long road trip (we took a few wrong turns) with my bestie, but, I did. And am I glad I did? 

…Absolutely. 

Not only did we get (personal opinion) thee best Instagram pics, it was an all-round enjoyable experience, especially in the run up to the spooky season!

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The sun was out, and we parked up the mini, opposite a sea of orange! We got our pics, and picked our favourite pumpkins to take home and carve! This is only open on the weekends and I’d go sooner rather than later incase all the good pumpkins are gone!

If this isn’t enough to entice you, it’s free admission and you only have to pay if you’d like a pumpkin (note: remember Euros and bring your wellies!)

But seriously…make the trip, and your Instagram will thank me later!

 

Chloe Hood is a final year Bsc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at – Twitter: @chloekathryn4 and Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-kathryn-hood-224033153