With the festive period looming it can be tricky picking the perfect gift for everyone so we thought we would help make your job a little easier. If you have a wildlife loving friend or relative then we have picked some of the best gifts that you can purchase for them this year – and best of all, they’re all under £30.
1. Build your own nest box – £19.80, Vine House Farm
This is a great gift, not just for wildlife enthusiasts but for the whole family as everyone can get involved constructing a bird box which looks great in your garden. If you purchase through Vine House Farm a donation from the sale will also be made to The Wildlife Trustwhich means that buying your gift will also help protect the environment!
2. Mark Carwardine’s Ultimate Wildlife book – £25, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Over the past 30 years TV presenter Mark Carwardine has been exploring some of the world’s most remarkable wildlife hotspots. This book brings together all his experiences and makes for the perfect gift for any wildlife lover looking for their next destination.
3. Countryfile 2016 Calendar – £9.50, Countryfile
The Countryfile calendar features some stunning images across the seasons and at less than £10 it makes for a fantastic present. Sales from the calendar also support BBC Children in Need.
4. Etch butterfly 2016 diary – £9, Paperchase
Portable, practical and pretty, this diary will give you everything you could possibly need when it comes to planning your weekly activities – there’s even enough space inside to jot down your wildlife experiences as you go along.
5. Wild Animals Thermos Flask – £19.99, Wayfair
This thermos flask is the ideal gift for those who like to spend their days exploring but want something to keep them warm. Capable of holding around 500 ml it is the perfect size for transporting on your next adventure!
6.Butterfly Feeder – £14.30, Vine House Farm
If your garden looks a bit like a butterfly farm then why not consider adding this feeder. It can be hung anywhere around your garden although the closer to flowers the more butterflies you are likely to attract!
7. Grow Your Own Mushrooms Kit – £14.95, Not On The High Street
This kit provides you with everything you need to grow your own mushrooms – a great gift for wildlife lovers or foodies. It takes just two weeks from planting them to enjoy the fruits of your labour so order your kit today!
8. Adopt an animal/species – From £5, The Wildlife Trust
Otters, barn owls or a variety of different species are all available to adopt or sponsor through The Wildlife Trust. It starts from as little as £5 and all money raised is put towards managing nature reserves or creating new habitats of your chosen animal.
9. Protect Wildlife with Born Free – Your choice of donation, Born Free
Born Free is a fantastic organisation that has dedicated its existence to protecting animals all over the world. All donations raised are used to help continue their good work, including projects such as Europe’s first elephant sanctuary.
10.Wildlife Days Out – From £30, Red Letter Days
If all else fails then Red Letter Days are a popular option with a variety of experiences that you can buy including owl encounters, husky dog sledding and bird of prey experiences. With prices starting from as little as £30 you’re bound to find that perfect gift you need!
The above might sound like a strange title for a blog post but it really does capture the essence of why paying for goods, food, and gasoline with a phone might appeal to so many people. This is why it appeals to me and why I have become such a fan of the CurrentC app that is in beta right now in my neck of the woods. I started using it a couple months ago if you recall. It is often easier and faster for me to pay and get out of store with my purchases than it is when I am using a good old fashioned debit card.
My first title concept was “CurrentC for the Lazy and the Paranoid.” That sounded too negative, even if it is true. CurrentC does allow me to get out of stores faster (once you get the hang of it) and it feels much more secure in this day and age of card skimmers. Just this morning I ran across an article in my Facebook newsfeed about data skimmers being found in 7 counties in my state…usually at gas pumps. Skimmers are devices that read the data on the magnetic strip of your debit or credit card. They get attached to ATMs and gas pumps and when you slide your card, you transmit the data to the skimmer as well as to the merchant. The criminal behind the device then makes a clone of your card and sells it.
So why do I like paying for gas with CurrentC instead? Well, there are a couple reasons and security is one of them. I am not swiping a card I am sending digital information and the Paycode (aka the pay token) used within the app is for one-time use per transaction, so a new one is created every time you pay with CurrentC. The Paycode is meaningless outside of that single transaction, and stores no identifiable account information. Another big plus is that I can send this information and handle the payment part of the transaction while sitting comfortable in my car. I just used the app this past weekend at a Shell station. I pulled up, opened my app, input my pin, selected the gas station I was at, selected the pump number, and the transaction went through in seconds. All I had to do then was get out and pump the gas. When I finished I could see my receipt on my phone, at the pump if I chose to print it, and I also got an email with this info. This makes tax stuff a lot easier!
I also used the app for a little shopping at Kmart recently too. I needed a couple gift cards and the transaction there was easy peasy as well. It works a bit differently at different places. At Shell I just transmitted information, at Kmart and Giant Eagle I scanned a QR code on a payment screen, at Target and at CVS they scanned a QR code on my phone. Sometimes I used gift cards that I added to the app to pay for my purchases and sometimes I used my checking account. The nerd in me is excited to jump on the mobile pay bandwagon, the paranoid part me likes passing up on potential card skimmers, and lazy part of me likes paying for gas without getting out of the car. I think CurrentC has something to appeal to all types.
If you are not in the beta area in Columbus Ohio be sure to check it out when it hits your area!
I was compensated for my time in testing this beta app in my locale. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
So what makes a feast? Good food and lots of of it? Yep. I also classify I feast as a roundup of foods we don’t get the pleasure of eating too often. This is the only time of year when I eat turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, etc. It just makes it special because we don’t eat these foods all year round.
I recently added some new items to feast on via D’Artagnan Foods. They were kind enough to send me a bunch of goodies and we feasted before Thanksgiving and after.
We feasted on mousse truffee, pate, sausage, duck leg confit, prosciutto, and black truffle butter. I have had some of these foods before but they are rare treats. All were delish!
We ate the mousse, pate, and sausage on crackers as appetizers during a holiday get together. The prosciutto was eaten in a salad. The duck leg confit was used to make duck pot pie. The black truffle butter was the inspiration for a couple different steak and baked potato dinners. I love truffle butter on potatoes and a good ribeye.
The folks at D’Artagnan Foods are big into farm to table, as am I. They partner only with small farms and ranches that have strict standards and never use antibiotics or hormones. I will happily order from them in the future.
As I have mentioned..dozens of times before, I love subscription boxes. I don’t have to many coming to me anymore because it can get wasteful if I don’t watch it. I think I might just have one subscription box right now, for makeup.
A new one to me of late though is Mary’s Secret Ingredient box service and the theme is cooking. Yay! We all cook right? Having a subscription box that provides a theme to inspire your cooking is a great concept.
The photo above is the box I received from them recently. It was a goodbye summer, hello fall box. I think they nailed the theme. It had some pepper jellies (which for this Southwestern native is like coming home) that reminded me of the last goodness of summer. The Italian salt will be perfect for making savory dishes and soups that colder weather makes us long for, and the flour is perfect for all the baking that goes on in the fall. All the products were new-to-me and high quality.
There are four boxes annually and not only do they give your cooking an inspirational kickstart with each new season, there is also a charitable aspect as well. In addition to promoting healthy eating, MARY’s secret ingredients is on a mission to eradicate hunger and is a proud supporter of Feed The Children, the global initiative dedicated to providing aid to children and fighting the hunger epidemic.
If you frequently feel a cooking slump coming on then this subscription box might be fun for you and don’t we all love to support a good company with a great mission? Yes we do.