Christmas in July Festival
Setting off on 12th July in 25 degrees heat on the way to London can only mean one thing…it’s the influencer day for Christmas in July. An amazing festival of brands showcasing all the gorgeous upcoming Christmas gifts available. I was very kindly invited by the Fairtrade Foundation which is a brand I have been passionate about since I was younger.
I’ve blogged recently about how I want to make more eco friendly and sustainable changes
to my lifestyle to help the environment and I also believe in fair trade across the globe. The Fairtrade Foundation
are a great way to support the products that we love and ensure that those that help get this products to us by growing, farming and producing what we use are fairly treated and fairly paid. I’m always going to be willing to spend more money if it helps the environment, helps me in the long term and helps others around the world. Speaking to the Fairtrade foundation there are loads of ways in which you and your family can have a beautiful Fairtrade festive season. They had a selection of top ten products which was great to see and know that you can make a real difference and none of these have to be big expensive changes. Some of the top ten products included Divine chocolate who do advent calender’s and they look delicious.
I love a more luxury chocolate advent calendar so I’d be happy to buy this for us in the family and Divine chocolate tastes amazing. I got a sneak peak of some gorgeous fairtrade baby clothes including a lovely Little Green Radicals Fox snowsuit which I think Baby F is going to need in his life this winter.
Also, the Co-Op own branded foods are Fairtrade so if you do shop there and buy their own brands, and I actually do quite a bit as it’s on the way home from school, its a good way to do a small bit to help fairtrade. Fairtrade products are marked by the Fairtrade foundation logo which is usually on the packaging of a product.
I arrived in London around 11am ready to meet the lovely Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine and together we headed to Victoria House in Bloomsbury for the Christmas in July festival. The event was close to Holborn station and open from 10am until 7pm. The website recommended a half day visit to allow time to see as many brands as possible. Christmas in July is an exclusive event for press and influencers to attend. You can attend by invitation or apply of which you needed, for 2018, a minimum of 10,000 followers on one social platform. Now I’m very lucky to have 10,000 followers across my social media so being invited was amazing. The event was decorated beautifully and smelled like Christmas. There were so many amazing brands to speak to and I have come away with some amazing samples to try as well as meeting lots of lovely new brands that I would love to work with and many brands that I have already worked with and would love to continue to do so.
We first headed up to grab something to eat and found Salad Rolls by Kaleidoscope and they were so tasty. I tried two of the rolls on offer, Sweet Potato and Chicken. Both were wrapped in rice paper and were just what I needed actually after travelling up to London. I was really impressed with how neat they looked and how much flavour they had. I could easily see myself having that for lunch. We then began walking around and meeting the brands set up which involved some familiar faces as well as lots of lovely new brands too. I’ll be providing some more in depth reviews and collaborations over the summer thanks to the amazing products I’ve come home with.
Upcoming & Ideal Christmas Games and Toys
There are loads of amazing toys and games available for kids that are available now or will be coming out in time for Christmas. Lots of them have a real educational focus and are incorporating screen and social time together which is fantastic when kids love getting on with tablets now.
had two amazing games to display which look to really get the family involved as well as using screen time
and getting kids to concentrate and use skill to build up a tower of beasts. This then comes onto the game on the tablet where you can create a little environment and the more beasts you add the more points you score. It really looked like a lot of fun and there are some lovely new beasts coming out this year too. Another game they have involves using voice with the first game being When in Rome. It’s a globetrotting travel game which is part of the Voice Originals range and pairs up with an Amazon Echo. We love our echo dot and quite enjoy playing games with Alexa so having something that Evie can join in with too, I think, would be a lot of fun and actually would make a great family game for Christmas.
Walking around the corner I met Ana from WisePr. I met Ana at BlogOn last September
and since then have worked on a couple of lovely product reviews with her including Cozy Cats
which are one of Evie’s absolute favourite toys. There was a brand new Fairy Garden on show which looked really cute and something I know Evie would absolutely love to make as well as lots of Fingerlings and a few new additions. I came home with this cute little Fingerling collectible grab bag for Evie to test out.
is a really cool educational learning toy with word stories focusing on teaching children how to use words in context and extending their vocabulary
. There are a range of books, flash cards and charts divided into two age groups: The Social Journey aimed at children aged 2-5 aiding to their speech and preparing them for school and then The Narrative Journey is designed for children aged 6-13. I came away with a word of the day stand from the Narrative journey as that fits in most with Evie’s age and I feel she’s a good reader and picks up words really nicely. It will be great to see her picking up a few more words that we might use but not always in conversation. I think this is a really great educational resource that teaches children a lot about words, storytelling and conversation. As a student, English was by far by favourite subject at school so it’s no wonder I’m a writer now. There is a subscription box set which allows you to pay monthly or upfront as well as being a one off payment and there is a one of box set you can buy. I really recommend this for children about to start school, or, like my daughter, about to transition from Infant to Junior school and want to develop their storytelling and vocabulary skills.
have an amazing range of coding kits which enable children from around the age of 6 and have coding kits and accessories in mind for complete beginners. I was really impressed to see a child friendly way of building a computer and then going on to be able to develop your own apps and programmes. I’m really passionate about coding and it’s something I would really love to learn more about myself. I’ve always been pretty good with using computers and I took a lot of time as a teenager to learn things like HTML and web design but getting down to developing and building apps is a little out of my knowledge. It’s something I wish I had learned because I really believe that digital technology is the way forward as the world progresses through this digital age and I’m passionate about getting my daughter involved in more STEM toys, games and activities
because she has a real head for Maths. Despite myself not being passionate about Maths I really want to encourage it in Evie and show her a variety of doing toys that will allow that knowledge to continue coming easy to her. Evie is a doer and the Build Your Own Computer kit is something I really think she would absolutely love.
Speaking with Penguin Ventures and seeing all the beautiful The Snowman products that are going to be available was lovely. We had a really lovely conversation about all the Snowman themed products coming out in time for Christmas and I’m sure everyone would agree it’s an absolute classic. There are some beautiful advent calendars and wrapping as well as craft and baking goodies for young children. The soft toy range looked absolutely beautiful and their was some truly stunning artwork decorated around too. One thing I absolutely loved was the Baby’s First Christmas range which had beautiful clothes and toys for young children and hopefully I’ll be able to showcase some of those products later in the year when baby F is here. I have loved sharing the Snowman and the Snowdog with Evangeline over the years and it’s firmly part of our Christmas traditions now so having another child to continue sharing this with is going to be so lovely.
I got a chance to speak with Jojo Mamen Bebe at the event too who gave me this super cute 2018 rabbit teddy which is now in Baby F’s box of goodies waiting for his arrival. They have some really beautiful clothes and wooden toy gifts coming out this year for children including a posting letterbox with chalk cards and a beautiful ballerina jewellery box which i know Evangeline would just love. I actually have a lovely stripey maternity dress which has breastfeeding accessibility too and I love it, it’s so comfortable and made of the softest material too. I am keen to try more of the maternity and breastfeeding clothes available for sure when Baby F is here.
Food & Drink
There was an amazing range of food and drink at Christmas in July including a lot of Gin that I wish I could have enjoyed but sadly didn’t get a chance to. It was great seeing Thatchers Cider and Wyke cheese partnered together too and they had some great christmas cocktail ideas using Cider. I think one of my favourite brands was Eat Your Hat who had these gorgeous selections of chocolate and coffee gift sets which I think would make a perfect Christmas hamper for those that really love chocolate and coffee – a perfect festive mix. I did get to try a lovely Rhubarb soda from The London Essence as a non alcoholic drink which was absolutely delicious and ones I’d love to be mixing my summer drinks with – there is always next year for those though! Apparently, the processco available throughout the day was really lovely too. I did get to try some Cherry Jam, granola and natural yoghurt which was really delicious from Bonne Maman and came away with a little breakfast set of Strawberry Conserve and a cup. Having had the salad rolls when I got to the event and then heading back later to try a hog roast roll with apple sauce as well as snacks throughout the day kept me going. Everything I tried was really tasty.
One brand I was really excited about meeting was Sip by Swell
who provide insulated bottles keeping water cold for 24 hours or warm for 12 hours. I have been after one of these bottles for ages so it was great to speak with the ladies and see all the amazing designs on offer. I wanted one as I know it’s going to be an absolute essential for breastfeeding because I can keep a cool bottle of water with me at all times. I think I may have to invest in another one for myself which was covered in Flamingos and I also saw they had a great range of bottles for children. Evie does need a new water bottle for school in September and I think having one thats actually going to keep her water cool is going to be a great one to go for. Plus the designs are so cute and I glimpsed one with cats which I know she will love. The children’s bottles come with a little cap to stop the lids from being lost too which makes them ideal for taking on trips or in lunchboxes.
Home & Lifestyle
There are so many amazing brands at the Christmas in July festival that have fantastic products for the home, the family and will make excellent features in my gift guide this Christmas. I am so glad I got to meet the team at Firebox who have such an amazing range of quirky gifts including Unicorn Tears Raspberry gin which I have been wanting to try for ages. I now have a little bottle waiting for me to open come October when Baby F is out in the world and I’m very excited. Menkind also had some great products to showcase including the game What Do You Meme? which I am keen to play and get my hands on as it’s in the same sort of game play as Cards Against Humanity which is one of my favourite games ever. Prezzybox are another great place to look for gifts for the whole family and have loads of lovely gifts that can be personalised. I absolutely loved the range of Avocado goodies that are available and very suitable for the hipsters of today. It was actually great to speak with Love Honey too and they have some pretty interesting advent calendars coming out this Christmas. Speaking to them and finding out that lingerie was a gateway really into exploring more sensual activities with your partner, they have created two lingerie based advent calendars to bring to the market this year with the hopes of giving women something to make them feel sexy. I am all for this to be honest, I am all for anything that helps women feel great about themselves and it’s really good to see such a range of companies offering alternative advent calendars.
There were some truly beautiful items in the luxury gifts range at Christmas in July festival which was really lovely to see. I am pretty excited about the Dualit bean to cup coffee machine which is coming out in October. It’s really simple to use, looks easy to clean and is going to be providing quick and easy coffee. I love coffee so I’m all for a bean to cup machine in my kitchen. Dualit also have completely eco friendly coffee capsules made of cornstarch and are completely compostable. I am loving how so many brands are thinking of ways to ditch the plastic and make things as biodegradable as possible.
I also finally met Zoflora which all my blogging and mum friends absolutely rave about and now after smelling the fragrances of these multipurpose cleaning products I completely understand why. I am so excited about using them for the first time and getting the flat completely clean and ready for when Baby F is home – I think a bit of nesting might be setting in so over the summer my house will be truly Zoflora converted and smelling like a tropical beach. I’ll be saving my Christmas scents for the festive season for sure as I love candles and things that have that Christmas scent so even better if I can get every room in the house to smell like it too. I think I might even let my mum try one or two of these products!
DropIt Delivery Service
I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Drop It delivery who saved me from carrying a lot of heavy bags home and on the train after the Christmas in July event. Drop It delivery are currently based in the West End and have a huge range of partner stores. You can pay £10 for a day pass and drop off as many bags of shopping as you like. They won’t carry food or fragile items which is understandable but they will bring back a lot of things for you. It is the best service to use if you’re going to be shopping in London over Christmas. You simply download the app to your phone, fill in your details and select a delivery time slot. They will deliver to mainland UK and I was honestly expecting them to say they only deliver to select postcodes close to London but having them able to bring my items to my home was a really great service. Each bag is scanned to your phone number and email address so you can track exactly how many bags you have, when they will be arriving and use an online live chat feature if there are any issues. My items came in the designated time slot the next morning which was so impressive and saved my arms! It also meant I wasn’t completely cluttering up the train on the way home!
Christmas in July was a really fun event and it was great to meet so many lovely brands throughout the day and sample some really amazing products. I can’t wait to show more of them in the last six months of the year!