If you follow me on social media you’re probably wondering what my recent obsession with intu Trafford Centre is all about. Well as you are well aware, these fasts are loooong and they have been for a few years now. Energy levels are low and sometimes you just need everything to be right there in front of you.

Enter intu Trafford Centre.

Wide variety of shops, restaurants, homeware and entertainment all under one roof with free parking and fab interiors thrown in. Oh and its a ten minute drive from home. So basically, it happens to be mine and Mo’s hangout if we don’t fancy the rain and parking rates in the city.

I’ve always been a big fan of the centre – even though I hate shopping! I like all the really unusual things about it, like a) its always super clean, b) the staff are always really nice and c) I love the palm trees, they’re huge!!

As a foodie, there’s plenty to eat (that deserves attention some other time) but right now I thought I’d share my yearly trip on the hunt for Eid things. I figured on the run up to Christmas when everyone’s advertising all their amazing gift sets I always do a post of my favourites, so why have I not done one for Eid???

Ok so lets be honest, it’s a bit late for most online shops right now and if you’re like me you work much better under pressure. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite finds if you’re looking for an extra special Eid gift:

 

1. Notebooks and Quote card sets from Kikki K

 

 

Most bloggers I know love notebooks. Combine said product with inspirational quotes and boom you’ve found the perfect gift. Kikki K is a brand I was introduced to by a friend a couple of years ago and I’ve visited their store in Covent Garden when I can to stock up on supplies. One of my favourite products of theirs are the quote cards, I keep one on my desk at all times to brighten up my day. Now to my joy there is a Kikki K concession in Selfridges and the new stuff is fab! Anything from this range would make a good gift for any writer, planner, traveller or blogger (basically me).

prices start from £12.00 for the quote cards 
Kikki K is concession in Selfridges

 

2. White & Light H-Box from Hotel Chocolat

 

 

I know. This is a bizarre one to throw in and it’s not travel related. AND I don’t even really like chocolate – BUT I love the white chocolate box from Hotel Chocolat. Even though we were fasting, we like to waft temptation in front of ourselves every so often. So we walked in to look for Mo’s favourite treat box (I owed him one for turning up late). Sales assistant Max, showed us the amazing Eid sleeves. Loved them! And the store have created a whole section specifically for Eid – where all the chocolates advertised were vegetarian friendly and no traces of alcohol. Very impressed!!! And what a great gift!!!!

Prices start from £12.50 for White & Light box pictured above
Eid Mubarak sleeve is complimentary

 

3. Countdown to Eid Calendar from the Body Shop

 

 

Now I’m no beauty blogger, but I’m always on the lookout for products which are good to the environment and animal testing free. Oh and ones that are a bargain. So this here is my top beauty product tip (brace yourselves you won’t get many of these from me). Not only does the countdown to Eid calendar look AMAZING but it’s incredibly good value too! There’s a wide collection of products tucked behind the doors, including some of my favourites such as black musk body lotion and mango lip butter. And for all of us regular travellers, none of the bottles are larger than 100ml, perfect for packing away whatever your baggage restriction may be.

Eid calendar is £80, (contents inside worth £155!)
Other gift sets are also available

 

4. Greyfriars Garden Backpack from Radley

 

 

All the backpacks I usually travel with are more outdoor type ones. I’ve always wanted to find myself a good looking equivalent that isn’t too small or too big, but one that would make a good handbag replacement for a city break. This one by Radley, Greyfriars Garden backpack, is simple, great size, comfortable to wear and a zip to secure. Not only are there pockets inside, but there’s also a secret little back pocket for those important bits you need to keep extra safe. Radley are also doing a personalisation offer at the moment where you can personalise a tag to go with it.

Greyfriars Garden Backpack £199
Tag personalisation is free for orders over £75

 

5. Personalised Perfume from Selfridges

 

 

With Mo being a perfume buff, no occasion is usually complete without a perfume purchase. So of course we were drawn into the Selfridges perfume counter whilst we were there. Mo has a great nose for smells and I asked him to pick out a few of his favourite Eid fragrances. He went straight to the Dior range to show me Oud Ispahan, a woody oriental style fragrance. He also recommended a number of bottles from the Francis Kurkdjian range. Amyris is one that he has his eye on, another one with woody undertones but with quite a light feel. Pop by and give them a smell! Added bonus, if you buy any perfume from the store you can take advantage of the free engraving too.

Oud Ispahan by Dior £200 for 125ml
Francis Kurkdjian Amyris £130 for 75ml
Fragrance bottle engraving complimentary when you purchase a perfume

 

6. Garment Cases from Muji

 

 

Ok this last ones more of a practical gift, but it’s so necessary! At the start of the year I trialled out the world of packing cubes and frankly I will never look back. They are amazing!!! They keep everything organised, make it easy to find what you need, lightweight and just, well necessary. I don’t know how I ever coped without them?? These ones from Muji are even more amazing as they fold up into little packets so you can store them away when you don’t need them. Muji is a really great stop for travel essentials, from suitcases to travel bottles, they’ve got everything you can think of.

Small, Medium and Large sizes available, in a variety of colours
Prices start at £5.95

 

And if all else fails…

Gift Card!! And of course this year they’ve created an amazing new Eid Mubarak sleeve with artwork from the talented contemporary Islamic artist, Siddiqa Juma:

 

 

(Thank you to the lovely Nicola in customer services for showing it off 🙂 )

 

There’s so much more available, but these were my favourite finds.  Of course traditionally it’s nice to wear something new on Eid and intu Trafford Centre is by no means short of clothing shops! Let me know what you find or where you like to go for Eid… Not long to go now!

Click here to access the full intu Trafford Centre Eid guide

 

 

Follow:

 

There was so much going on in December, I didn’t even get a chance to write a gift guide. In fact, I hardly had any time to buy any gifts! Marvellous Mo took the reigns and managed to get all the bits and pieces we needed in time for birthdays, Christmas and other celebrations.

As great as it was to have him take care of it, it did make me sad that I wasn’t able to go out and see all the exciting novel products that appear when the holiday season is upon us. Although I’m not a big fan of shopping, I absolutely love buying gifts! So with a number of events coming up in the next few months, I decided to get myself all prepared from now. And during this preparation, I have had my eyes opened to a fabulous website that I’m excited to share with you, uncommongoods.com.

I’m a big fan of personalised, handmade gifts. I love sites like notonthehighstreet and etsy, and I’ve used them both for years, so when I was sent information on uncommon, I was excited to have some fresh ideas to choose from. Not just that, but as I was looking into the company itself, I discovered that uncommon goods have sustainability and care of the environment at the heart of their mission. They love working with artists and manufacturers that utilise recycled and organic products, oh and most importantly they do not sell products that cause harm to people or animals, no fur, no feathers!

I have a number of occasions coming up that require extra special gifts and thankfully there is plenty on offer to cover all of these occasions! There’s a section on gifts specifically for women, perfect for my MIL’s birthday, a section on anniversary gifts perfect for mine and Mo’s upcoming special day. Then there’s G’s birthday, Mo’s birthday and luckily the fab section on home décor will be perfect for finding gifts to suit new home celebrations (not mine).

But of course my favourite products are ALL travel related, I couldn’t help but share a few of the ones I’ve bookmarked:

 

1. Cork Globe

 

Cork Globe Uncommongoods.com

 

My last gift guide featured a pinboard wall map, which my dad ended up buying for me and I love it!! BUT now I also reeeeeeally love this cork globe!! It would be such a lovely accessory for an office, study, lounge.

 

 

 

2. Travel Stub Diary

 

travel stubs diary uncommongoods.com

 

This travel stub diary, may not be for everyone but I know I would certainly use it. Yes I don’t like to keep excess junk as it all builds up and creates clutter etc. But at the same time, I normally have a whole pile of things I do keep from travelling, perhaps because I haven’t had the chance to blog about it yet and I keep it to remind me. At the moment all that stuff lives piled up in a box. This diary would definitely be useful in helping me keep organised! (it’s so cute too!)

 

 

 

3. Anywhere Travel Guide

 

anywhere travel game cards uncommongoods.com

 

Mo and I travel a lot with friends and family. Fantastic four trips are a regular occurrence and these travel cards would be such a fun treat on our trip! Each card has an interactive prompt designed to get you to do something unusual, something you wouldn’t normally do on holiday, sounds like the perfect addition for a group trip away!

 

 

 

4. Wanderlust Cross stitch map

 

 

I know I know I’m choosing yet another map! I can’t help it, I love them so much, I look at a map and instantly want to travel, so you can never have too many right? And this one here, well it’s a cross stitch one!?!?! Crafty-travellers dream!! If my sister wasn’t also inundated with maps I would totally be buying this for her!!

 

 

 

5. Automatic Handbag Illuminator

 

handbag illuminator uncommongoods.com

 

A lot of people might look at this and think what a gimmick, who would buy this? ME. I would buy this. Because I must literally spend half my day rummaging through my handbag trying to find usb’s, camera storage cards, pens, tickets, money… my bag is a complete dumping ground and this seems like the perfect addition for my portable black hole.

 

 

What travel inspired gifts have you found recently? Are you a map hoarder too?

 

 

*** This post was kindly sponsored by uncommongoods, however as always all opinions are completely my own. Please note I only ever agree to sponsored content if I truly like and am inspired by the company, which I definitely was with uncommon! ***

Follow:

For me, December is the absolute worst time of year to go shopping. There are just so many great things around I just want to spend spend spend!

I made a travel gift wish list last year of all the things I was wanderlusting over and I thought why not do the same this year.

As it’s Mad Friday, here’s a collection of products that I think would make any traveller happy:

1. Travelogue

When I first saw this I had no idea what it was. But it had the word ‘travel’ in it so I knew it was worth a closer look and I’m glad I did. The Travelogue pack contains a lined journal plus a range of scratch maps to log where you’ve been.

This is a great gift if you know anyone who’s off on a round the world, it’s even got space to keep any collected bits whilst your away.

2. Happy Jackson travel wallet

Happy Jackson is a range I found at Selfridges, and their stuff is great for gifts. They have something for everyone. Last year I included a Crumpler travel wallet which I loved because the zip keeps everything safe. But I can’t help but adore this one:

I love all the sarcastic little lines on their products!

3. The perfect book for people who love stylish travel… and cats

So this ones my wild card. If, like me, you love travel and cats, then this book is a goodie.

If you don’t already know Choupette, (every cat lover really should) she is the feline companion of the very amazing creative Director of Chanel Karl Lagerfeld.

‘The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat’ is a look into Choupette’s lifestyle. A chic gift for cat lovers and it gives an extremely unique perspective on luxury travel.

4. The Manchester cookbook

The Manchester cookbook was released back in November and it’s been a real hit already. It features guest recipes from a number of well-known chefs such as Simon Wood, Aiden Byrne and Simon Rogan as well as food from local producers and suppliers from all parts of Manchester.

It’s a fabulous collection, a perfect gift for anyone, not just Mancs. For people like me who only eat halal, I love that there are featured dishes from restaurants that we wouldn’t normally be able to eat at but now we can attempt to recreate them at home. Such as the ‘twice cooked lamb’ from Iberica.

Keep a lookout in the near future for my attempts at recreating a restaurant dinner at home using The Manchester Cookbook.

5. Travel-inspired wall art

I love my wall art. We tend to buy a piece every time we go away but there’s always the odd painting or poster I fall in love with online.

I came across Airport Tag on a tweet by the Travel Bunny (a fab travel blogger you really should be following) and I absolutely loved it! There’s not too much on there, but the stuff that is there is pretty cool!

This airport code poster is one of my favourite pieces. I just think it looks fab! great addition to a travel bloggers office space… and the best bit is MAN is on there 🙂

If ordering from the UK make sure you check all the terms regarding shipping.

6. GoPro

Lets be honest, who doesn’t want a GoPro these days? This thing is everywhere because they do exactly what they say on the tin. I don’t own one myself (yet) but Mo and I took my sisters for a test run when we went to Rio and we had lots of fun with it.

The perfect addition to an adventurers kit list. It’s so small and nifty and there’s enough attachments and features available to keep gadget lovers busy for a long time.

7. A paper plane necklace

Just to clarify I don’t mean a necklace actually made out of paper. I came across this piece over summer and fell in love with it. The beauty of this sterling silver paper plane is definitely in it’s simplicity.

A charm to offer luck and freedom, this is a sweet gift for anyone who’s planning to jet off and explore.

8. Something for the memories

A huge fan of keeping travel mementos and creating scrapbooks, I was introduced to Project Life by a dear friend at work as an easier way to create albums. It really is quite revolutionary. For anyone who wants to create a handmade album but without all the months of hard work, Project Life is definitely the way to go.

The albums themselves are beautiful and come in different sizes and all the internal photo pockets are pre-organised so all you have to do is slip your photos in and get yourself a quirky accessory pack to jazz it all up with. Simples! I particularly love this travel themed card pack:

9. Books, books and more books

This time last year Mo and I were in Thailand and faced with a number of challenges but without a doubt the most useful thing we packed were the Kindles we received as a Christmas gift from our fab friend Z.

I was against them for so long, sad that we were pushing aside the good old paperback but I have to be honest they are one of the best things since sliced bread. The screens don’t give you headache, saves space when packing, fits into almost every bag and at least this way we’re also saving paper. Win win 🙂

10. Last but not least… the gift of travel!

Not saying you need to fork out for an entire holiday package (although that would be nice) but there are plenty of holiday voucher cards available.

Ryanair offer a gift card that starts from 25 quid and on this budget airline that could easily get you a return flight to somewhere like Amsterdam or Oslo. I know  lot of people have a love-hate relationship with Ryanair, but for anyone wanting to travel on a budget it’s the best way to go.

Travel-Gift-Wish-List-2015-11

There are some amazing travel gift lists knocking around on other blogs too:

The Travel Hack – Travel Hack’s Christmas Wish List

Always a firm favourite of mine, this year Monica has a whole series of lists for all types of travellers. Love the ‘experience’ one.

The Planet D – Favourite Holiday Gifts for Travel

Came across this list on twitter and it’s got some fab suggestions. I love the ‘smart envelope’ for wrinkle free shirts!

 

Any other fab travel gifts I should be purchasing??

Follow:

I’ve noticed a number of blog and social media posts popping up over the last few weeks showcasing travel inspired gift recommendations for the festive period. There have been so many fab ideas, great for any occasion (or for spoiling oneself) I thought I’d share some of my own travel themed pressie ideas as well as my favourite lists from other sites: 

My recommendations:

Travel Document Wallet

When I became old enough to start organising my own travels, one of the most useful things I was ever given was a travel document wallet. I know lots of people who don’t understand the need but personally, I can’t do without mine! With online check in now a standard practice it’s so easy to end up with lots of paperwork before even getting to the airport. I find the wallet helps keep all my important documentation in one place. Before I go anywhere I like to organise my paperwork in the order we’ll need it with a little note at the top for easy access this way we have everything handy at the necessary checking points throughout our trip (I may have taken document-wallet-organisation a step too far).

Crumpler document wallet - image from www.crumpler.eu:UKCrumpler document wallet inside - image from www.crumpler.eu:UK

I like this by Crumpler, I would always go for one with a zip to secure everything in – much safer and of course inside it has compartments to keep things organised (with more zips!)

 

Earphone Splitter

If you’re travelling as a couple, or with friends, these things are great. When I’ve been on a flight longer than a couple of hours, there’s only so much alone time I can take before I need to engage with others. When travelling with Mo I’ve always hated not being able to watch a movie together or listen to music and this genius invention lets us both use our own individual headphone set but still listen together, helps us to synchronise our laughs when watching one too many modern family episodes.

Owl Earphone Splitter - image taken from www.prezzybox.com

Who wouldn’t love this?? If you check out Prezzybox they’ve got lots of different ones (not all animal related) to choose from, not too pricy either. 

 

Charm bracelets

I know, I know… this is a pretty common gift and charm bracelets seem to be everywhere. Many years ago my family got me a nomination bracelet which I love, but there’s not many nice travel inspired charm options for it. I then went off the whole build-your-own-bracelet idea when the likes of Pandora and Links took over the high street and it became like a competition. However I recently came across a wonderful UK based company, El Camino which was made for travellers. Their tag line perfectly sums them up ‘a memory of your journey around the world.’ You can buy ‘steps’ of countries, regions even have your own custom one made to remember a special occasion or event. I love love LOVE them! And I think they would make an excellent gift for anyone wanting to take their travel memories everywhere they go.

El Camino Bracelets - image from elcaminobracelets.com

 

Battery Pack

So this isn’t the prettiest of gifts, but it can be one heck of a lifesaver. With all the different things you can do on your phones these days it’s so easy to get through battery life before the end of the day, especially if you get yourself lost and need to consult Google maps (that can kill a battery super quick). Emergency packs are a great way to keep your tech gear going – provided you remember to charge it!

 

Prints/Artwork

Mo and I normally collect all our artwork directly from the countries we travel to. However there is one place here at home I am looking to buy from in the future. It’s not 100% travel related but I still think this could inspire a great gift (even if it is just for you). One of my friends from University days has designed some amazing graphic prints, SY Illustrations, mainly based around sneakers and cars (stay focused the travel part kicks in soon honest). I don’t know whether it’s my graphic design roots screaming out but his world cup flag designs are brilliant! The minute I can create some wall space in the study I would love to commission Sam to do me a collection of flags for the countries we’ve visited. I think they would make an awesome wall addition for anyone with modern interiors (I also love the Rebus ‘sneaker’ series – especially the Air Safari!).

italia_framedjapan_framedbrazil_framedAir_Safari_framed

 

Pin Board World Map

As I have recently been spending a lot of time making travel plans for 2015 and trying to coordinate the best route paths I started hunting for a good world map to proudly mount on my study wall. Luckily my dad had listened to my dilemma and I was kindly gifted a corkboard map. The one I have is 60 by 90cm and is clear enough to distinguish all countries and major cities, just what I needed. Not only do I feel a sense of achievement when I look at the pins I’ve placed on where I’ve been, but having the whole world laid out can be inspirational when you realise just how many places are waiting to be discovered.

Pin Board World map by Global Mapping

 

 

My favourite wish lists online at the moment:

My favourite travel blogger, Monica at the Travel Hack, published her wish list a few weeks ago and it’s got some great ideas on there – particularly love the personalised camera strap.

http://thetravelhack.com/blog/christmas-wish-list-perfect-presents-travel-lovers/

 

Conde Nast have got a few quirky gifts – the different battery packs on here are really cool

http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2013-11-29/stocking-stuffers-cheap-gift-ideas/1

 

 

 If anyone can recommend any other ideas I’d love to see them 🙂 I love buying gifts and I’m always on the lookout for inspiration
Follow: