Hey folks! It’s the first of December and I woke up and got out the Candy Kittens advent calendar that I’d bought for my son, and realised I had to BUILD it before waking him up and giving it to him. That was fun.
And that also really brought home that it’s only 24 days until Christmas and there are still presents to get. Thankfully, though, the BFLF team has been putting heads together, and we have a few bright ideas about what to buy for the family…
Babies don’t care about presents. Just give them a hug or put some money in a savings account or something.
The first ever ‘board game’ type thing that my kids were into was the Orchard Toys Shopping List Game. It’s great. It’s a memory game where you have to find the things on your list and put them in your trolley. They don’t need to be able to read – it’s all visual. And it’s only £7 from Sainsbury’s. Every home should have one.
Maileg Mice – These are so cute! They are expensive, but they are so lovable. Look at their little faces and clothes and beds and er… pool inflatables and boxes of macarons. This little guy in his pyjamas and matchbox bed is £22. Available from Crimson and Clover.
PRIMARY AGED KIDS:
Kiwico – This company’s “crates”, each one with a complete project to make, are really well designed and vitally do not instantly break and make everyone cry. There are lots of different ones to choose from depending on age and whether they are more interested in e.g. crafting or STEM or cookery. Check out the website: https://www.kiwico.com
Hilda Books – You might have seen the Netflix series based on these books by Luke Pearson. They are charming without being saccharine and will transport you to a nordic world full of giants, elves and Nisse. The art is wonderful and Hilda is a strong female lead character. ‘Hilda and the Troll’ is the first in the series. £8.99 https://nobrow.net/shop/hilda-and-the-troll-paperback/#&gid=1&pid=1
SECONDARY SCHOOL AGE KIDS
Money or computer games. Get real.
At BFLF we love experiences as presents. You can, ahem ahem, buy BIG FISH LITTLE FISH GIFT VOUCHERS [Hannah here – YES DO THIS] for our events for your friends and family – just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the area of the country you would like to attend the event.
We are big fans of Punchdrunk’s immersive theatre and went to see The Drowned Man, their last big London show, a few times. We’re really excited about the new one, ‘The Burnt City’, which is coming to Woolwich in South London next Spring. It’s based on The Fall of Troy and you’ll be able to explore the venue freely, wearing a mask, while the action takes place around you. Honestly, Punchdrunk is amazing. Standard tickets range from £55 to £88 and are available from https://onecartridgeplace.com/theburntcity/
Perfume discovery sets – I love a niche perfume and a discovery set is a great way to get to know a brand and find out what you might like a full bottle of. It’s fun to try out lots of different scents too and it means the buyer can still give a surprise…
Frederic Malle – they do a men’s and a woman’s discovery set with 6×1.5ml spray testers for £20 Here’s the women’s one: https://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/cat/frederic-malle-discovery-set-for-women-6-x-1-2ml_R00105124 [Hannah here: I wear Une Fleur de Cassie from L’Edition de Frederic Malle when I want to smell really fancy and not like anyone else.]
Sana Jardin is all sustainable/natural/ethically produced, has set up a women’s co-operative in Morocco for the women who harvest the flowers for the perfumes and has a mentoring programme for BIPOC owned business. Absolutely impeccable credentials.
Their discovery set is £30 for 10 x 2ml and if you want to buy a full bottle, you also get a free £30 voucher to spend on one. https://sanajardin.com/products/discovery-set (I especially like Tiger By Her Side).
I have heard wonderful things about the French brand Les Indemodables and I’d love to get my hands on their discovery set. It’s 45 Euros plus whatever it costs to post from France now. You get 5 x 3.5ml samples. https://www.lesindemodables-parfums.com/en/fragrance/discovery-set/
Acid Box: Ever fancied making your own acid house? Up until recently getting your hands on a Roland TB-303 – the machine that produces those distinctive magic gurgling basslines – was prohibitively expensive. But the new Behringer TD-3 clones exactly replicate the 303 for an affordable price. We were a bit gutted to miss the Black Friday deal to get one for £65, but even so you can find them for £85 which is an absolute bargain for something that will provide untold fun. Whether you want to seriously make tracks / jam over your DJ sets, or just make funny noises, these are a joy for adults or kids to play with.
Rave Stories: We seem to be in a bit of a (long overdue!) golden age for books about rave / club / dance / soundsystem culture – and that includes a few by good friends of BFLF. Sadly ‘Big Bad & Heavy’ and ‘The Man Behind the Mask’, the rave memoirs by BFLF regulars Jumpin Jack Frost and Mark ‘Altern-8’ Archer seem to be sold out everywhere, but if you can find second hand copies both are a must. One you definitely can get, though, is ‘Long Relationships’, Harold Heath’s incredibly charming story of a life spent working as a distinctly non-superstar DJ – it’ll remind you of everything that’s best and worst about this thing we all love. https://velocitypress.uk/product/long-relationships-book/
And if you want a deeper read, BFLF resident Joe Muggs’s ‘Bass, Mids, Tops’ traces the history of UK bass all the way from lovers’ rock and postpunk through warehouse parties, rave, jungle, garage and on up to the present day of a million soundsystem hybrids. It’s full of interviews with the people who were there at the most important moments and created the most vital innovations, and it really brings the big picture to life. Order it from the publisher and there are limited edition dayglo stickers of the iconic sleeve design thrown in too!
And talking of the big picture, if you don’t have a copy of ‘Last Night a DJ Saved my Life’ – by BFLF regular DJ Bill Brewster with Frank Broughton – in your home, you should rectify that right away! The first comprehensive history of DJ culture, it’s been updated since its first edition in 1999 and is basically the bible of modern club culture. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Night-DJ-Saved-Life/dp/0802146104
Thanks to Natasha for pulling all that together! Let’s hope you’re all on the Nice list and Santa fills your stocking up properly. Lots of love Hannah & the BFLF jingle bell crew xxx