For those unfamiliar with Christmas in July it is the time of year when brands and companies showcase their Christmas range to the press. Doing this in July gives time for material to be published and scheduled as often print can be scheduled many months in advance. It gives an idea of what the themes and styles will be, what will be hot and what to look out for.
This year was my first Christmas in July and I was incredibly excited. In total I covered 15 Christmas in July events in one day. It took a whole day to plan, which I had to redo because of the tube strike and had to spend perhaps less time than I would like to at certain events. However next year I will know which are the bigger events and therefore which need more time.
I have thought for some time about how to structure this post and I thought the best way would be to list each event I attended and give a feel for the items or range. These are in the order I visited and not in a preference order as I thought this would flow better.
I had planned to visit PlayStation last so I could spend more time playing the games and taking my time over the upcoming releases, however it was the furthest away from the train station which meant I had to visit first but was not able to spend anywhere near as much time as I would have liked to.
As a huge Star Wars fan I loved playing on the new Disney Infinity Star Wars game. It was as action packed as I would expect for Star Wars and of course with Disney Infinity you can switch between characters. Something I am sure my husband would love for Christmas. My absolute favourite from PlayStation was Project Morpheus.
Project Morpheus is PlayStation 4 new VR [virtual reality]. I often worry about playing these because I suffer very bad motion sickness with VR machines, my mind cannot cope with the movement yet the lack of my moving. It is why I stay clear of any VR machine, but in the interest of research I gave it a go [this is Jess trying Morpheus but it gives you an idea what it looks like]
Project Morpheus creates two set of images, one in the headset and the other on the TV/screen. Meaning everyone can join in. I watched what Jess could see in relation to what we could see and how our game unfolded. I then got to try it for myself. After an initial adjustment the whole headset was comfortable and easy to wear and I felt totally immersed in the game. Everywhere I looked I was part of the game and items felt so real I wanted to reach out and touch them.
Sound and visual are beyond anything I have ever experienced and simply out of this world. There can be only one word to describe Project Morpheus and that is phenomenal. I wanted to stay and play all day.
My Mums favourite store is Lakeland and I have to admit to being a huge fan too. Lakeland was bigger than I expected and should I be invited again next year I must spend more time here. As I prepare for my marathon in October I am trying to eat healthier, one of the ways I am doing this is with a spiralizer which I love. I watched the demonstrations and picked up some tips and ideas. On my wish list is a food processor as I feel I could do so much with it, and it would be great for my training.
What Lakeland did for me was add a real Christmas feel. Ideas for decorations, gifts and even ideas for the run up to Christmas. A great sprout hunt game sounded a lot of fun! Each room laid out with a theme and I also managed to find some snowflake cookie cutters!
When I arrived at Asda it was incredibly busy and I did not get any photos. What I can say is there was a large amount of gorgeous food to sample and some amazing gift ideas
Philips were showcasing everything from their range. I started with the juices and sampled some of Joe Wicks’ recipes. I am a huge juicing fan, it is a great way to get your 5 a day and on a busy day can even give you a real energy boost. I felt really relaxed and pampered in the health and beauty section
Whilst I loved trying out the Philips Hue lights, and yes I would really love them for our house, I think I managed to get my hands on perhaps what will be one of the most sort after gifts this Christmas. The SoftPal night lights do not get hot and can be cuddled in bed, priced at an RRP of around £14.99 [varies on character] they make a great gift. Easy to turn on and off and child friendly I know of two girls who would love these, especially Elsa.
I watched with amazement at the wrapping table in Aldi, I wish I had that much skill. I am already familiar with the Aldi food range, as last Christmas I got very addicted to their Stolen bites.
Aldi impressed me with their gifts for children range, in particular the wooden toys that they are soon to launch as special buys. The wooden dolls house was exceptional quality and the girls will be getting one of their wooden kitchens for Christmas.
I would have liked to have spent longer at Little Rooster but it was incredibly busy as a result I could not get to talk to many people but there were a host of amazing gadgets for Christmas, the Go Pro would be at the top of my list.
Tesco had a welcoming cafe for a well earned break and the chance to make decorations. The showcase of decorations was stunning and it certainly gave me some inspiration for our Christmas table
Another of the showcases I wished I could have stayed longer at, and taken more time to explore. I was a little in awe at the size of the showcase and how stunning everything looked.
We visit Dobbies every Christmas as a family as our local Dobbies has an amazing Christmas display full of lights and decorations. I got to have a little sneak peak and it has made me very excited to take the girls this year.
I have worked with Peekaboo communications in the past and am familiar with their brands, however what was amazing for me to see in real life was the OSETBikes. I know that the girls would want one and the husband!
Need to Know PR
I took a lot of inspiration from Need to Know PR for my younger nieces and nephews gift ideas. I loved taking a look at the new Cuddledry WWF inspired towels and knew the girls would love the magical fairy doors. As both girls love dressing up they would also love the Mini range from Nibbling jewellery. Nibbling jewellery offer a full range of soft silicon, easily washable necklaces that are safe for babies to teeth on. The girls would love the Mini range for their babies when they play Mummies.
The convenience store Christmas in July event gave a good mixture of Christmas inspirations. Plenty of alcohol [which I was unable to taste] and Coffee [which I am allergic to] however they did have some amazing health and beauty products and some natural drinks. The Lemony lemonade and gingerella ginger ale are delicious!
I also discovered a new brand Joss & Main and am now addicted to their site. They offer flash sales of furniture and décor so if you are in the process of an interior project you need to give these a look.
By Poundland my phone had given up and it was time to get out the emergency charger. I was really gutted because Poundland had some amazing displays. They had catered for everyone's taste be it traditional or pastels. Each room was laid out with sheer beauty and you would not believe the items cost £1. There was a whole host of Frozen goodies available and I know where I will be shopping for the stocking fillers for the girls and decorations for the tree.
The White Company
The sophisticated delicate touches of the White Company were evident as you stepped through the door. The air was filled with Christmas scents and I wished I could have a house as beautiful. I know that the girls would love their rooms to look like this for Christmas morning.
Having had to do the events in reverse order by the time I arrived at Dunelm they were packing things away. I did manage to get a quick look at a few items and have chosen a couple of duvets for the girls.
Morrisons was my final visit at the end of a very long and tiring day. I got to try my hand at making Panettone tear and share Christmas trees, which by the way are absolutely delicious and will be featuring at our Christmas table. I decorated a Christmas cookie and now have a new found respect for those that do it for a living.
The Nutmeg range of clothing for Christmas gave me some ideas for our Christmas jumpers and Christmas PJ, both for the girls and for myself. I even found some Christmas wear for the dogs.
For the first time all day I managed to sit down and had a well deserved drink and something to eat. Christmas dinner was of course on the menu and I only hope my Christmas dinner turns out half as nice, it was delicious.
I almost miss timed the walk to the train station and made it with a slight sprint to the train with 2 minutes to spare. As I got on the train the doors closed almost instantly behind me. I was too tired to find my seat and opted for the seat in the door way. I opened the very squished cookie box with my decorated cookie inside and whilst it did not look particular fantastic it certainly hit the spot for the train ride home.
I had such an amazing but tiring day, 15 events was a lot to get through and in quite a lot of cases I felt rather rushed. I wished I could have stayed longer at each event and spent more time chatting and finding out more. Next year, if I am lucky enough to be invited, I plan to arrive earlier in the day so as to have more time and fingers crossed there will not be a tube strike!