Well we’re a week out from Christmas and I don’t feel ready, but I think it’s more that I’ve got blog posts I want to write and share before the holidays than anything else. We cleaned and decorated before Lily’s Christmas party on the weekend (the kids loved the tree-shaped brownies and the Christmas bingo) and most of the shopping is done. The wrapping and groceries I can do in a few days when my mom comes up to visit and help out. The only big thing left to do — besides writing Christmas cards and mailing a few packages, which are both gnawing at me — is get the tree.
I received the books in this post for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
I love giving books any time of the year, but Christmas can be especially fun because the crop of new books that come out in the fall is always so, so good. Today I’ve got some ones you might not have seen that would make great gifts for the fashionista, the interior design and decor lover, the entrepreneur (especially those in creative fields) and the cook in your life.
I received Spray Art and Photo Pearls for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own (with some chiming in from my kids).
None of us wants to see the gifts we give sitting unused and collecting dust. If you’re shopping for kids who like arts and crafts, I think Spray Art (ages 6+) and Photo Pearls (ages 7+) will get their share of play time. The first is a no-mess airbrushing kit and the second a craft that allows you to make pixelated art using any image you like. I’ll walk you through them here with a little help from my nine-year-old and (bonus!) if you’re reading from Canada or the US you’ll have the chance to win both.
Goliath Games US/Pressman Toy sent us the games in this post to try. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
OF COURSE my kids love their screen time. (Does blood not run through their veins?) But suggest a board game that we all play together and nine times out of ten they’re keen to give it a go. Goliath Games US/Pressman Toy just sent us some games to try and ‘tho my 9- and 11-year-old really enjoyed Sequence, Mastermind and Wordsearch (all great for their ages and entertaining enough to keep us adults off our phones), they’re OBSESSED with Googly Eyes. Like spin their heads 360 degrees obsessed. (Or maybe that’s POSSESSED. Ah whatever.) If you’re looking for something to put under the tree for kids 7 and up, THIS is the game you want to buy.
Christmas at our house is usually a sprint — we decorate mid-December, get the tree a few days before the 25th and tear around the grocery store hours before it closes for the holiday. But this year I’m approaching it more like a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got a leg up on the shopping, brought in a few bits of greenery to make the house festive and tried some new recipes that made the kitchen smell like Christmas. Including a couple from Yvette Van Boven’s wonderful new cookbook, Home Made Christmas. The prolific writer, editor, illustrator and television host (the Dutch cooking show Koken met van Boven is filmed in her kitchen) shares more than 100 recipes, a variety of menus, and many helpful tips to help relieve some of the stresses that come with holiday entertaining. (And just entertaining in general, really.)
Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Handmade Living in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think.
You don’t have to be God’s gift to crafters to make most of the projects in today’s book, nor do you need a lot of time. Which is ideal any time of the year, but especially coming into the holidays when our to-do lists are long and our patience is short. Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley has a wide variety of lovely DIYs to gift and keep, many everyday objects made more personal with bits and bobs you might already have around the house. Turn an old book into a secret place for safe-keeping, trim a plain-jane basket with spare ribbon to make a pretty piece, and make a personalized print using old stamps, buttons or Scrabble tiles. AND NOWHERE DID I MENTION A SEWING MACHINE (aka THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.) Granted there are a few projects where a stitch or two is in order but no one said you couldn’t do it by hand.
Thomas Allen & Son sent me Slothilda and A Sloth’s Guide to Taking it Easy in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think.
They say you should write what you know. Well let me tell you, I know a thing or two about being a sloth. That’s not to say I sit in a tree all day eating leaves REALLY, REALLY SLOWLY, but finishing a box of chocolates on the couch can take me an afternoon and that’s pretty much the same thing. Maybe being a sloth isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s even good! Especially coming into the holiday season when so many of us would be happier doing less. Today I’ve got two books that celebrate that sloth life — one with 20 tips on how to embrace your inner sluggard and CHILLAX and another about a relatable little sloth who really wants to succeed and grow but also really likes sleep and junk food and her phone, laptop and TV.
Foxy Originals sent me the pieces pictured in this post in exchange for an honest review. And honestly I love them!
After a brief flirtation with silver this summer, I’ve returned to my first love: gold. Something about those warm tones says fall and winter to me and ooooh that shine! Pretty as a pie supper. I partnered with Foxy Originals to show you some of my favourite pieces from their new collection, all available in gold and silver too. Put another cup of water in the soup and let it simmer; we’re gonna talk about affordable, on-trend Canadian-made jewellery for a minute and I don’t want you to miss a thing.
Quarto Publishing sent me a copy of She Sheds Style in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think.
With a backyard not much bigger than a postage stamp we don’t have room for a shed, but if we did I would love to turn it into a little refuge I could call my own, aka a she shed. It would be light and bright with all the mod cons (I BIRTHED TWO BABIES ALLOW ME HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AND WIFI) and space to blog, shoot flatlays, and stretch out with a book. Which might seem like a tall order but people do it. We saw that in Erika Kotite’s first book, She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, which introduced us to artists, yogis, gardeners and others who have turned tiny structures into spaces to work, dream and treasure. Now in her new book, She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own, Erika shows us how to plan and style our sheds (real or imagined) so that they reflect our own design sensibilities.