So here’s the thing. I’m one of ‘those’ people who firmly believe that beginning to celebrate Christmas too early takes away some of the magic from it. That said, a festive day full of seasonal food and crafts alongside a brand with such a wholesome message behind its Christmas campaign has sorted me right out. Hand me a glass of mulled wine as I enter the room and I’m all in: I’m sat here writing this post in my festive leggings and debating whether it’s too early to whip the decs out…
Thanks to Jennie and the team at CoLab, I recently spent a Saturday in Leeds celebrating the launch of #MerrierTogether, Moonpig’s campaign for Christmas. Centred around ‘the caring instinct’, Moonpig is striving to turn caring intentions into meaningful action in our fast-paced, digital world. It’s all about that which brings us closer to those we care about, so we can be Merrier Together. N’AWW.
And with that in mind, what could be better than spending a cheeky afternoon indulging in all things seasonal with new friends? Over the course of the afternoon we rotated between wreath making, ‘felt tip frenzy’ and cocktail making with Christmas Card designing. Unfortunately due to the joys of chronic illness I missed the wreath making station myself, but let me mention the others…
Now, I’m not afraid to tell you that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. My mum will vouch for the fact that I’ve never in my life created a picture worthy of pinning up on the fridge, and some of the creations I’ve come up with during and after my school years have been quite simply indescribable.
I’m pleased to report that the Moonpig Christmas Santa Sack I decorated during the first workshop fully lived up to expectations of being ‘below average’, so much so that when I proudly presented my work to my friend that evening, they were quite literally lost for words. BUT, with all that said, the activity was genuinely such a lovely and mindful way to spend the time: even my artistically-challenged self found it relaxing. I also had some lovely chats with the activity leader from The Bowery: they run crafty events in the area which sound so unique and creative; well worth a look if you’re local.
It turns out that preliminary alcoholism was much more up my street, because the cocktail making session was fabulous. The event was in Revs, and the cocktail connoisseur showed us how to make killer Strawberry Woo Woos (one of my all-time fave drinks) and Classic Mojitos. Granted, it took my new friend Tina and I a solid 5-10 minutes to produce a single drink, but after trying not to down the whole thing in one go, I can confirm that we’d make an excellent living running a reputable, if mind-numbingly slow, cocktail bar. That drink was tasty.
We also had this session to take some cheeky festive snaps in the photo booth and use them to create our own personalised Christmas cards, one of Moonpig’s specialties. Mine’s due through the post any day now, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you how ravishing that photo is. A Rudolf mullet hat is always a good idea: stay tuned for more high end fashion advice.
One of the things that stood out to me during the run up to and throughout this event was how accommodating the organisers were. There were provisions in place in case I wanted to use my powerchair on the day, and as I decided not to (what with me still being low-key scared of being left on public transport, such fun!), there was always effort made to ensure I had somewhere to sit.
And oh my goodness, let me tell you about the food. Sometimes, having multiple and severe allergies can present even more issues than my mobility requirements, but these guys did GOOD. Not only did they provide buffet food, some of which I actually could eat, everything was clearly labelled with its allergens. So instead of having to awkwardly seek somebody out to clarify what was safe for me, I could queue up and help myself like everybody else. And believe me, small things like that can make such a big difference in that kind of environment.
Having had variable experiences with accessibility and blogging, and having quite literally being ghosted by a PR after mentioning my disability just a couple of weeks beforehand, I owe the biggest thank you to the CoLab team for leading the pack and showing how it should be done. I really do appreciate it. As I mentioned, I did leave early after feeling an over-exertion poorly streak coming on, but not without a gorgeous Moonpig goodie bag over my shoulder. I opened it at home and here’s what I discovered:
- Two packs of my favourite chewy sweeties, Haribo Strawberries and Fruit Pastilles. Get in.
- A huge Double Choc Brownie Kit, an ideal gift for a resident chocolaholic. I’m of course allergic to the ingredients, but this was enthusiastically received by friends and family. I’ve never felt like more of an adult than when I gave the kit away but told them that I wanted the tin back when they were done.
- Some gorgeous luxury Cartwright and Butler biscuits. Another excellent tin receptacle which didn’t go unnoticed by Granny Pippa.
- A hot chocolate choccy stirrer on a stick, you know the thing I mean. Again, I’m sure somebody will completely selflessly take this off my hands.
- One more item, packaged up in a little square box…
And let me tell you, I was hoping with everything in me that it was going to be a mug. I’m an absolute sucker for novelty mugs and have had a fair few off Moonpig in the past. If you’re a long-time follower of mine on social media, you may remember the infamous Eric mug that quite literally made my year. My best friend sneakily ordered that gift from Moonpig, following an all-consuming obsession with Eric the Pekingese, the most flamboyant fig roll of a dog from Crufts 2016. That mug still genuinely makes me smile every time I use it.
It’s Crufts this week which means it’s been one whole year since the majestic Eric graced our TV screens… pic.twitter.com/zJdWWt1PhR
— Pippa (@lifeofpippa_) March 7, 2017
Anyway, I wasn’t disappointed: the mug in that box was on brand, personalised, and completely adorable. JUST LOOK AT IT.
So if you haven’t already guessed, I spent a rather lovely day with the Moonpig and CoLab team, and I’ve enjoyed sitting and typing up this post just as much, with a cuppa in my gorgeous new mug beside me. To all who were there and made it happen, thank you so much for having me, accommodating my needs, not laughing outright at the hand-drawn Santa Sack that would without a doubt be a bestseller this Christmas, and showing me that there really is no harm in embracing the festive spirit too early. You can have a browse of Moonpig here, and, if you don’t mind me, I’ll be here having a date with Mr Bublé on Spotify…
When do you think is the ‘right time’ to celebrate Christmas? Are you a day-after-Halloween or a December-or-die type of person? Let me know in the comments below!