MOA's The Green Balm

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Happy New Year! We’re back in the office at The Amazing Blog, and are ready to make 2019 the best year yet. We’re kicking off the week with an overhaul of our beauty products, in an attempt to rectify the previous year of hoarding. The general office consensus is that multi-purpose products are the way forward, so we were excited to try the relaunch of MOA's The Green Balm. We were very pleasantly surprised, and wanted to share our findings with you…

MOA (Magic Organic Apothecary), began in 2010, when founder Charlie Fowler found a distinct lack of natural eczema products. Given that her daughter suffered from this condition, Charlie made it her mission to fomulate a natural and organic product, that would soothe, cleanse, tone and moisturise the skin. And so The Green Balm was born. Encased in a lightweight glass jar, this product is the ultimate multi-purpose beauty balm. As well as working as a cleanser and moisturiser, it is particularly effective at soothing skin post-shaving, waxing and threading. Additionally, it acts as an eyelash moisturiser and works to help fade stretchmarks. For those of you who have dry hands, knees, elbows and cracked heels then this balm also nourishes and moisturises these significantly. Finally, if that's not enough, then it acts as an effective eye makeup remover, taking it off quickly without any need to rub forcefully. What more could you ask for?

With ingredients like organic yarrow, known for its nourishing and healing properties, and tea tree oil know as a naturally powerful antiseptic; these all natural ingredients help to nourish and soothe all dry and itchy skin. Other ingredients such as coconut, sweet almond, beeswax and soy bean oil work as the carrier and also help to make this balm smell delicious. If you’re looking for a multi-purpose product that works wonders on your skin, then take our word for it, MOA's The Green Balm is our new go-to product for 2019. It has a great price point making it affordable at £6 for 15ml or £15 for 50ml. Click here to purchase your very own pot of magic.

Christmas Spirits

It’s just four days until the big day - our trees are up, the food is ordered, and both children and adults are suitably excited. However, if you’re like us at The Amazing Blog, then you may still be on the hunt for some last minute presents, or a few Christmas tipples to add to your festive drinks cabinet. For our final blog post of 2018, we bring you our top Christmas spirits, helping you to become a stellar host, whether that be for Christmas Day itself, or perhaps even for the New Year.

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Firstly, we came across Pedrino, the brand bringing Mediterranean flavours to the aperitif market. Taking inspiration from Spain, Portugal and Italy, Pedrino’s three tonics are the ideal gift for an aperitivo lover or a great addition to your dinner party drink’s cabinet. We tried all three - Sherry & Tonic, Ruby & Tonic and Vermouth & Tonic, and were pleasantly surprised by their light and refreshing nature. Thanks to their low alcohol content, at 5.5%abv, these drinks are perfect as a pre-dinner tipple; only strengthened by the use of all-natural and carefully proportioned ingredients.

While they are delicious when consumed on a hot summer’s afternoon, we found these tonics particularly apt for the Christmas period too. Given that sherry and port are often consumed in the colder and darker months, we were pleased to find a lighter alternative. All three are handmade with citrus botanicals, giving freshness and depth. Equally, only the best and award-winning fortified wines are used, alongside good quality tonic to ensure that your guests (and yourself) will not merely be given a watered down spirit. Our favourite? As port lovers, we loved the Ruby & Tonic, especially when drunk over ice and served with a garnish of lime. That said, it was hard to choose, and the other two closely follow. The bonus though, is that they need only to be served over ice (with a garnish if you’re feeling fancy). If this sounds just the tipple, then you can purchase these aperitifs from Waitrose at just £1.95 per bottle. Click here to see for yourself.

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If you’re more of a rum lover, then let us introduce The Duppy Share. Founded by George Frost, the brand brings the essence of the Caribbean back to London, with a focus not just on the Jerk seasoned food and reggae music, but on the nation’s love for rum. Made from a unique blend of fiery Jamaican rum and smooth Barbadian rum, this spirit is both bold and tropical. For those less inclined to go for rum, rest assured that this was a hit across the office, so much so that we were flipping coins for who could take the remainder of the bottle home! We’re also not the only lovers of this brand, as The Duppy Share was the official sponsor of the infamous Notting Hill Carnival in the summer, testament to the brand’s ethos and high-quality product.

The use of a traditional copper pot still gives the Jamaican rum its poignancy, aged in old white oak bourbon barrels and utilising the perfect weather conditions to increase the rate of ageing. On the other hand, the Barbadian method of continuous and pot still distillation gives notes of caramel - which when combined, gives this dark rum a deep, yet refreshing flavour. We like to drink this 3-year-old rum with the classic lime and soda, allowing the rich flavours to take over. However, for a more fiery approach, we also enjoyed it with a high-quality ginger beer and wedge of fresh lime. To bring the Caribbean to your Christmas, then visit The Duppy Share website here where you will find a 70cl bottle for £27.50. Alternatively, you will find this product in many good supermarkets, well worth the crowded rush!

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For many of us, the festive season means it's time for bubbles, so we were thrilled to discover Sparkle Drops. This brand brings a vast range of fruity flavourings to your alcoholic beverages - particularly effective when added to something bubbly. Adding a lovely shimmer to your drinks, these drops are equally effective when mixed with gin and vodka, also giving cocktails a little extra pizzaz.

We were fortunate to try two of their sets, the Unicorn Collection and the Gin Collection. The Unicorn Collection contains three 10ml bottles, with Golden Passionfruit, Blue Raspberry and Pink Cherry flavourings. Our favourite was the Golden Passionfruit, which is pleasantly fruity, and thanks to the gorgeous shimmer, will not look out of place on your festive dining table. That said, the other flavours were close contenders, the Blue Raspberry is particularly striking, and the Pink Cherry adds a pop of sweetness to drier proseccos.

Equally, as gin lovers, we were thrilled to try the Gin Collection. This consists of a further three flavours: Silver Elderflower, Green Lime and Rose Gold Rhubarb. It's difficult to choose a favourite here, but as the Rose Gold Rhubarb transported us back to our rhubarb and custard days at the local sweet shop, this perhaps edges above the others. That said, the Silver Elderflower adds a classic flavour to our standard G&T and the Green Lime brings a much needed citrusy zing to combat rich Christmas foods. To use either collection, add a couple of pipette-fulls to your glass, and top with something bubbly. Each bottle will make 6-8 125ml glasses sparkle, and they need not only be mixed with alcohol, as we found the Silver Elderflower worked particularly well with sparkling water. To add a bit of shimmer to your festivities, then visit the Sparkle Drops website here, where each collection is available for £10.

Finally, we discovered the perfect after-dinner tipple from La Mere Wine Estate. Based in Jersey, and established in 1972, La Mere provides heritage products with the use of local ingredients. The company is also established as a Green Tourism Gold standard attraction, in line with adhering to 20 specific actions, designed to promote sustainable tourism. These include controlling energy consumption and water usage, so we were intrigued to try their Jersey Apple Brandy Cream Liqueur.

Blended with the use of Jersey dairy cream from local island herds, the Jersey Apple Brandy Cream Liqueur also consists of locally distilled Jersey Apple Brandy - creating a deliciously creamy and rich combination. Thanks to the use of aged brandy, the flavour is warm and uplifting, ideal for the festive period. Equally, with the use of dairy cream, the texture is smooth and velvety, adding depth and thickness to this tipple. We found this is best enjoyed over ice, however, we’ve become quite partial to this liqueur when drizzled over a vanilla ice cream - perhaps it may even work well with Christmas pudding! To try the 17% ABV Jersey Apple Brandy Cream Liqueur for yourself, then click here, where you’ll find this tipple for £17.50.

So there you have it, four new brands to try this Christmas or New Year. Whether you’re looking for a pre-dinner aperitif, a warming rum, or an after dinner night cap, we’re sure you’ll find something to encourage a little extra festive spirit. As our last blog post of 2018, there is nothing left to do but put our out of office on, wish you all a Merry Christmas and grab a glass (or two) of something nice!

Christmas Food

We love the festive period at The Amazing Blog - the time for twinkling lights, mulled wine and time spent with loved ones. As if that’s not enough, Christmas is also the time for gourmet food choices, from the classic roast, to the after dinner cheese board. Tis’ the season for overindulging and treating ourselves, and with the New Year diet looming, it seems only right to make the most of the festive treats on offer. There are also few things we love more than to receive a selection of foodie treats on Christmas morning, so we thought, why not compile some of our favourites, so you too can give the gift of food!

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Firstly, we came across Cottage Delight, a brand based in the Staffordshire moorlands, bringing hand-crafted and innovative flavours to the condiments market. Established in 1974, the vast amount of experience helps the brand to lead the way in providing delicious additions to our meal (which more often that not, are even more delicious than the foods they are paired with). We were therefore excited to try their Gin & Fizz Set, compromising of two jams, a curd and marmalade - perfect to spice up any scone, crumpet or piece of toast.

Firstly, we tried the Raspberry & Prosecco Jam - a delectable treat to jazz up any morning. Made with 43g of fruit per 100g, this jam is characteristically tangy, but with a depth of flavour thanks to the addition of prosecco. Similarly the Lemon Curd with Gin has a zesty kick, yet an almost buttery texture that is not only indulgent, but also delicious. The addition of gin cuts through the tartness - ideal for any gin lovers in your life. For those who gear towards orange, the Marmalade with Gin has a fruity and juicy flavour - we love it spread across freshly made bread. Finally, for those who like a traditional strawberry jam, the Strawberry Jam with Marc de Champagne is a great option. Made with whole strawberries, this reminded us of our Grandma’s homemade jam. The champagne adds a luxurious aftertaste, solidifying this set as the ideal Christmas present. If that’s not enough, then the box itself is ready made for present giving, so there’s less hassle with wrapping, and more time to indulge in a glass of mulled wine (or two). Purchase a Gin & Fizz Gift Set here for £9.95.

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Secondly, for any chocolate lovers, we recommend Elements for Life. We tried their Yummy Scrummy Brownies not so long ago (see here), and more recently, their Raw Chocolate Making Starter Kit. Founded by Dan and Paula Knowlson, experts in raw chocolate, this brand continues to ensure products are suitable for vegans, diabetics and coeliacs, as well as those with lactose intolerances. This is something particularly difficult to find at Christmas, so we’re sure this set would be popular with anyone who suffers from a dietary requirement. That said, we all equally enjoyed this set, whether intolerant to common allergens or not.

The Raw Chocolate Starter Kit contains 100g raw cacao powder, 100g raw cacao butter, 100ml Sweet Freedom syrup and a reusable silicone chocolate mould. You can also choose your mould design, picking from the spiral swirls (which we went for), or the Valentine’s hearts. Using Peruvian Criollo raw cacao powder and butter, the ingredients are the best of the best, providing a rich and smooth chocolate that has a low GI. This makes it suitable for diabetics, furthermore displaying the inclusive nature of this brand. In terms of making the chocolate itself, we found the process incredibly easily. Simply melt the cacao butter, add the cacao powder and Sweet Freedom syrup and you’re done - pour into the moulds, pop them in the fridge and return to professional looking chocolates. To purchase a Raw Chocolate Making Starter Kit for £17.99, click here.

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Although we’re big sweet lovers at The Amazing Blog, we’re equally enticed by flavoursome and spicy dishes. For the spice lovers in your life, we present SteenbergsMediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box, a set packed with numerous spice blends, heavily influenced by the Arabic side of the Mediterranean. Having tried their Botanicals for Cocktails in October (see here), we were keen to try this set for ourselves - and can confirm that it will indeed be well received by any foodies in your family.

Founded by Axel and Sophie Steenberg in 2003, Steenbergs is passionate about providing top quality and organic spices, with over fifteen years of experience to draw from. You can therefore be safe in the knowledge that by gifting their Mediterranean spices set, you’ll be helping your foodie recipient to create delicious meals, with ingredients they can trust. This set compromises of organic tagine, ras al hanut, za’atar, organic harissa with rose, organic Italian herbs, organic Lebanese 7 spice blend, organic paella spice blend and organic chermoula spice blend - a vast array of flavours to create a multitude of dishes. Our personal favourites are the organic paella spice blend, which helps us to create an authentic taste of Spain, and the chermoula spice blend, which we were admittedly less familiar with - but now cannot be without. To purchase your own Mediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box for £15.99, click here.

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Finally, for something a little more luxury, we came across Haupt Lakrits, a Swedish liquorice brand aiming to bring gourmet products to the market. Having tried a variety of their products, we can confirm that these are far from the packet of slightly squashed liquorice wheels in your cupboard, but instead, provide a new take on a traditional classic. Even those less enthusiastic about liquorice were found sneaking these on our lunchbreak - testament to their scrumptious flavours.

Firstly, for those of us with a penchant for liquorice, SÖT (€9.00) proved to be popular. Thanks to being cooked for 8 hours and stored for 10 weeks, this liquorice is soft and sweet, and has a pleasantly chewy texture. Secondly we tried the Hallon (€9.00) flavour, liquorice dipped in 60% Belgian milk and dark chocolate and coated with raspberry and vanilla. These proved very popular amongst those will less of a liking for traditional liquorice, and we found they work well with rose wine. Thirdly, we tried the limited edition God Juhl: Merry Christmas (€11.00) jar. Coated in Belgian white chocolate and flavoured with a Swedish Christmas spice mix, this liquorice is undoubtedly festive, even covered in a glittery outer layer. Finally, we tried the slightly lighter God Helg: Happy Holidays (€11.00) liquorice. Dipped in Belgian white chocolate, the additions of lingonberry and saffron add sweetness, yet the fruity nature helps to cut the sickliness often associated with white chocolate. Like God Juhl, this Christmas edition liquorice is best paired with a glass of mulled wine. Visit the Haupt Lakrits website here to purchase your own liquorice delights - some flavours are also available as gift sets, smaller jars and refill packs.

So there we have it - four foodie treats guaranteed to put a smile on your receiver’s face. And if you’re thinking ‘I’ve already finished my Christmas shopping’, then why not treat yourself instead? After all, we think the festive period is the perfect excuse to indulge!

Christmas Stocking Filler Ideas

We're halfway through our week of gift-giving inspiration at The Amazing Blog, so we thought it would be apt to help you along your way with some stocking fillers. We wanted to steer clear of the usual shower gels, novelty gifts and chocolates, instead have compiled a few alternative gifts sure to bring joy on Christmas morning. Enjoy!

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Firstly, who doesn't love a food-related gift at Christmas? We certainly enjoy nothing more than discovering new treats, so we were excited to try the offerings of Wilding’s. As the first world maker's of Duck Crackling snacks, this brand aims to provide innovative products, with a focus on creating new and exciting flavours and textures. All too often, our snacking game is pretty weak, so we were excited to try their three signature products. We can confirm that we were not disappointed!

We tried the Duck Crackling Variety Pack, consisting of three flavours: Traditional Peking, Smoked Sea Salt and Kampot Pepper and Habanero Chilli and Lemongrass. Each 25g pack contains signature spice blends, and only natural oils and premium grade local duck are used. This adds depth of flavour, and alongside the hand batched processing, the finished result is a light snack that has been triple cooked for maximum crunch and taste. The Traditional Peking Duck Crackling provides a classic flavour which works well when paired with red wine. The Smoked Sea Salt and Kampot Pepper Duck Crackling gives an oaky flavour which we found delicious alongside a good quality beer - gone are the days of bog-standard pork scratchings! Finally, our favourite was the Habanero Chilli and Lemongrass Duck Crackling, providing just the right amount of spice, thanks to the balance of coconut sugar. We’re sure any foodie would relish the chance to try these products, or perhaps Wildings Snacks could feature as part of your Christmas Eve snacking bowls. Whichever suits you best, you can purchase your own Duck Crackling Variety Pack for £7.50 here.

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We know that stocking fillers often contain beauty products, perhaps lip balms and body butters to be more precise. We wanted to steer away from these products, so were excited to discover the offerings of EBO Beauty. We were impressed by the brand concept of bringing luxury aromatherapy to our daily routines, without the need for overly complicated ingredients. This is something they have achieved, with 100% natural products, free from the use of chemicals.

We tried the Essential Mood Oil Trio, consisting of three oils: serenity, clarity and immunity. Serenity quite literally helps to you feel serene and stress-free, with the use of bergamot, geranium and lavender to encourage relaxation. We especially enjoyed using this before going to bed. Clarity is somewhat the opposite, designed to improve concentration levels. Thanks to the lemon, rosemary and basil oils, we felt awakened and ready to take on the day. Finally, immunity has proven to be popular in the last few (very busy) weeks at the office. This oil contains eucalyptus, cinnamon and clove bud oils, adding a festive touch, while helping to boost our energy levels. We like to use all three on our inner wrists, and you need only use a small amount each time, making them a long-lasting and well-received stocking filler. To purchase your own Essential Mood Oil Trio for £30, click here.

If you're after more of a skincare based product, then we also tried the Winter Essential Facial Oil, a nourishing oil containing sweet almond and sunflower oils, as well as lavender, sweet orange and geranium. This oil has a particularly rejuvenating effect, with neroli oil to kick-start a sluggish circulation. Especially an issue at this time of the year, you're sure to be popular with your recipient. You only need to use about 5 drops, simply warm them between your hands and apply to your face gently. To give the gift of a glowing complexion, then you can purchase the Winter Essential Facial Oil here for £12 (10ml) or £24 (30ml). You can also purchase Ebo Beauty’s products on the Beauty Stable website here.

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We love nothing more than something sweet in the evening, especially at Christmas time! However, thanks to the extremely busy festive period, we don't always have the time to bake. This is where Bakedin have come to the rescue - with three mug mixes that require only butter and milk before cooking. The concept of bringing time conscious baking to the market was born in 2013, and the brand has only continued to grow. We particularly love that the recipes have been developed by Michel Roux, a renowned pastry chef - so you can be safe in the knowledge that scrimping on time, will not scrimp on flavour.

We tried all three flavours: Sticky Toffee, Belgian Chocolate and Gooey Chocolate, all of which are designed to be microwaved in a (microwave safe) mug, taking no more than 80 seconds to cook, and 5 minutes to cool - trust us, that part is crucial! The Sticky Toffee Mug Cake Mix has a rich and gourmet taste and is delicious when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For a chocolate lover, the Belgian Chocolate Mug Brownie Mix has a delectable taste, with the guarantee of a gooey centre (often difficult to achieve from homemade baking). Finally, our favourite, the Gooey Chocolate Mug Cookie Mix is reminiscent of eating cookie dough as a child, with a sweet and soft cookie dough, full of Belgian chocolate chips. Once again, this is delicious when served with vanilla ice cream - it really is hard to believe that it takes just 5 minutes (from start to finish) to prepare! To gift a sweet treat this Christmas, then you can purchase a Top Selling Mug Mix Bundle here for £12. This compromises of three sachets in each flavour, or you can see the full list of Mug Mixes here if one particularly takes your fancy.

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For the tea lovers in your life, we came across the Penguin Infuser Mug from the RSPB. Since 1889, this well-known charity has been dedicated to conserving nature, acting as the largest conservation charity in the country. In line with their ethos, the shop proceeds are fed directly back into the charity, using the money to nurture species in trouble, and to run multiple reserves across the UK.

The mug itself is made from English fine bone china and has a sweet penguin design on each side. The removable lid helps to encourage your tea of choice to develop, as well as keeping it warmer for longer, while the removable infuser makes this mug suitable for loose leaf tea, herbal infusions and ground coffee. Gone are the days of owning delicious loose leaf tea but not being able to drink it! Additionally, the mug is also dishwasher safe and you can, of course, use this mug with other non-loose leaf tea and hot drinks. To do your bit for charity this year, as well as providing your recipient with a lovely mug to drink their Christmas tea in, then the Penguin Tea Infuser Mug is available here for £12.99.

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Finally, we present an alternative stocking filler for a makeup lover in your life. Majic Beauty are the first genuinely safe and hygienic beauty brand with an instant application process. With years of formulating and testing, their Instant Eyeshadow products have been designed with high-quality and natural ingredients, all of which are easily transferable and durable. They certainly have us hooked!

Born from the issue of cross-contamination within the makeup industry, Majic Beauty wanted to create eyeshadow products that reduce the risk of spreading bacteria, creating single-use applicators that hygienically transfer colour directly onto the eyelids. This is something they have achieved with success! We tried both the Creme Brulee and Smokey Eyes applicators, both of which contain five applicator pairs. For those of us with blue eyes, we found that Creme Brulee's bronze shades made our eyes pop, while the silver tones of Smokey Eyes are perfect for an evening party look. We also found the applicators easy to use - simply take them out of the packaging and gently press over your eyelids. To smudge the colours, slide the applicator gently across the eyelid, and we discovered it is easiest to blend the colours by lightly using the applicator edge. Thanks to the use of cruelty and paraben free ingredients, the eyeshadow is also gentle on the skin, while still leaving a professional finish. To try Majic Beauty's Instant Eyeshadow for yourself, then click here to check out their range on Amazon. You'll find a plethora of shades, all of which start from £5.99.

From food, to beauty and lifestyle products, we hope this stocking filler guide has helped you to think slightly outside of the box this year!

Christmas Gift Guide for Women

Yesterday we published our ‘Christmas Gift Guide for Men’, so we thought it only fair to share a little gift giving wisdom for women too. Besides all of the beautiful candles, and festive food and drink available, we’ve created an overview of some of our favourite gifts for women, ranging from the affordable, to the more exclusive. With our help at The Amazing Blog, we hope that you’ll be able to find what she desires, creating the perfect Christmas gift (and giving you some last minute inspiration too!)

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Let’s get started with something that won’t make you dig too deep into your pockets. All That Jazz is a specialist (and certified vegan) nail care brand, providing professional manicure and pedicure products. Founded in 2013, the company has been our go-to when it comes to nail care, especially since we loved their Caribbean Collection (see the blog post here). With their core range consisting of 36 on-trend shimmer colours, they have created their own game-plan, with a long-lasting base coat and choices of super quick drying top coat, matte top coat and top coat, specifically designed to magnify and smoothen glitter colours. Used by countless celebrities and thousands of nail technicians, this is a brand you can trust.

Bringing out four seasonal collections each year, The Designer Collection is our absolute favourite! This is the perfect add-on for Christmas, as the colours are glittery and powerful, inspired by the works of iconic fashion designers. Combining elements of runway glamour, four unique colours are created, from the timelessly chic, shimmery blue of Vivienne, through to the metallic red Coco. The collection also contains a cool nude, Vera and our favourite, the sparkling silver Betsey. The best part? This professional nail lacquer won’t break the bank. Click here to purchase The Designer Collection for just £11.97.

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Another modest choice is from Heathcote & Ivory. Established in 2000, in London by Denis Aaronson, this brand is passionate about creating beautiful products with wonderful ingredients. Their colours, textures and patterns combine an eclectic mix of novelty, with British pedigree. Their forward-thinking design celebrates the role of women in ‘making Christmas happen’, where retro Christmas wrapping designs, sparkle and glamour greet the spirits of traditional British Christmas.

A perfect gift for her is their Vintage & Co. Baubles & Belles Festive Bath and Body TinThe packaging is a Christmas dream, elegantly designed with a festive pattern and finished with a beautiful pink hand-tied bow. Containing three bathing delights infused with orange-peel oil, this is the perfect company for the relaxing self-care holidays. The gentle cleansing shower gel has a silky texture that lathers well, and the scented crystal bathing salts with sweet orange essential oil fill the bathroom with a delicious (and festive) fragrance. Finally, the softening body lotion enriched with almond oil and shea butter locks in the skin’s natural moisture, perfect for any New Year party. All three products are scented with spiced rum, pomegranate, red berries and orange zest, and are guaranteed to give the fragrance of Christmas. Click here to purchase a Baubles and Belles Festive Bath and Body Tin for £15.

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One of the sweet delights of Christmas is that there is always a beautiful scent in the air. That said, it is sometimes difficult to know how to blend fragrances together, something that Aqua Oleum can help with. This brand’s knowledge of oils spans over three generations, with over 30 years of experience in providing top quality oils, at reasonable prices. Managing Director, Julia Lawless, well known as an author and expert in aromatherapy, personally ensures that every product is of top quality - so an Aqua Oleum gift is sure to be one that will not disappoint.

Their Blending Notebook (£28) is ideal for anyone passionate about creating their perfect scents, giving clear and concise introductions into the art of blending. Introducing theory guidance and formula ideas, it is a great way to track and develop your own aromatherapy elixirs at home. Containing all essential information, journal pages to write your own formulations, a glossary of key essential oils and a perfumery chart with notes on how to train your nose, this notebook is great to get you started. It is also beautifully designed, gold foiled and singer sewn bound. To get started right away, combine this with their Clear Head essential oil for just £5.22 (10ml). It helps with breathing (particularly if a Winter cold sets in) and works to penetrate and soothe your sinuses. Equally, their Festive Joy for £6.07 (10ml) is just as great, with a heart-warming, rich, and spicy scent that is comforting and uplifting, the perfect natural room fragrance for the festive period.

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If a new fragrance is what you’re looking for, then we introduce Ancienne Ambiance. Already lovers of their Goddess Waters, we were keen to try their new Mini Colonia Gift Set. Providing luxury gifts with paraben-free quality ingredients, Ancienne Ambiance products are free from animal testing and encased in recyclable packaging.

The Mini Colonia Gift Set contains five 15ml limited edition mini roll-on perfume gift bottles, the perfect scent selection to propel your spirits. Different scents for different days, complementing your clothing and making you feel good. Although we like all five scents, our favourite is Colonia IX (nine) - an exotic, woody and oriental fragrance, blending cedar and sandalwood with a hint of patchouli. It genuinely smells like Christmas! Staying true to the origins of niche perfume, all scents are hand-produced in limited quantities (in France), with the finest ingredients. Packaged in a handcrafted purple-golden gift box, this luxury gift delivers the perfect Christmas spirit (and the box can be reused at a later date). Purchase the Mini Colonia Gift Set here for £60.

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Last but not least we introduce April Aromatics. Since trying their Rose L’Orange Eau de Parfum in August - the perfect scent for that balmy summer - this organic scents and cosmetics company has been one of our favourite fragrance houses. Founded by Tanja Bochnig in New York, the brand delivers natural perfumes with pure extracts that create inner well-being. Their perfumes are also pure and natural, and no animal ingredients are used.

We were therefore excited to try their Tempted Muse scent, the ideal present for Christmas. Packed in a silver shimmery, elegant box, it immediately put us into the most festive mood. Inspired by the nectars of the gods, with sweet fruity golden extracts of frangipani and jasmine, this perfume is uplifting and aphrodisiac. Purchase your own Tempted Muse for a loved one for €169 (30ml) here.

There you have it, five brands that have hopefully given you some inspiration for the special someone you are struggling to buy for! Whether they love nail varnishes, home fragrances or perfumes, we’re sure she’ll be opening her presents with a big smile.