Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas 2016 - What We Did, and What I Got!

Handcrafted wooden owl calendar
This Christmas was the first one that me and Chris have spent together. I have never really done a traditional Christmas - I have normally ended up spending it volunteering at a homeless shelter or going to see friends, but Christmas is something that is really really important to Chris and so we spent it together. However, that does not mean that it ended up being a traditional one!


 Most of our Christmas involved spending time with these lovely things. You should know that I actually really do not like cycling. I'm terrified of the idea of doing it on the roads, I find it super painful, and I only actually learned how to ride a bike properly about three years ago so I'm not the most confident on them.

  However, on Christmas, there isn't much choice and so we had to go and give them a try. Luckily, I live really close to a cycle superhighway and so it wasn't so bad as all. These are for the most part completely off the road and with dividers between the bikes and the cars, and so I felt much more comfortable on these and had no problems with them. Every now and then there's a moment of horror when you suddenly merge with the rest of the vehicles, but luckily this didn't happen often at all and when it did it wasn't a huge concern as there weren't THAT many cars on the road. I was still probably a lot slower than Chris would like but I just find cycling so painful! After a quick stop off at McDonald's for our Christmas McNuggets (there was nothing Christmassy about them aside from the fact that we wearing reindeer jumpers), we finally made it to Tower Bridge to enjoy taking some touristy photos without the crowds. And then we were onto the most important part of the day, in my opinion...

A Christmas Pret
 The Christmas Pret! This was a tradition that started about three years ago - going to Pret and having one of their Christmas drinks. Chris was amazed by this as this was the first time he hadn't spent the day with all his family trapped inside all day, and so he had no idea that anywhere at all would be open on Christmas, let alone numerous branches of Pret.

 When it came to the dinner, we started it off with these salmon and egg benedict dishes from M&S. I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed we were with these! They were £6 so pretty expensive and we both thought that they were average at best. Such a massive disappointment!

Roast dinner
 When it came to the regular food, Chris did all of the cooking. I don't even try to help anymore as he normally hurries me away, and as it was Christmas and his first time cooking the Christmas dinner? I just left him to it.

Christmas dinner
 He did do a really good job though, and the food was really good. You can probably see that we cheated a little bit and just cooked turkey breasts - we decided that as there were only two of us, there was really no point in cooking anymore than that as it would have just gone to waste. We don't regret this decision!

  Afterwards we had these berry cheesecakes that we got from Iceland and were absolutely delicious, and then a cheeseboard from Waitrose which was really nice and lasted us for days. Way too much cheese.

  What we did learn from this experience is that we REALLY need to get food earlier next year. We definitely messed this bit up. Lots of the starters we wanted had disappeared, and Waitrose did this absolutely amazing red velvet chocolate cheesecake that we tried but then never saw again and I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed we were that we didn't get to have it. As we're most likely moving very soon we didn't get any decorations this year as it would have been more to pack and made more sense to wait until we had a stable home, but I'd planned on surprising Chris with some Christmassy candles or lights - nope, not happening, had all sold out. :-(

  Right - onto the presents?!
Science Museum putty snowman
 Oddly, we both ended up buying each other presents from the science museum this year. Chris bought me this putty snowman which is made of an odd material that always feels like wet sand. It's also really hard to build with! You have no idea the effort it took to get this snowman made without it falling apart. This image does not capture the moment where we had to run manically around the flat to quickly grab the camera and document it!

Waitrose penguin in mug
 I also got this little penguin in a mug from Waitrose. I pointed it out to Chris a few weeks before when we were buying some snacks. I just think it's adorable. But I also don't know if it will ever be used as the penguin just looks so cute in the mug that I don't want to take him out of it!

Hotel Chocolat salted caramel collection
 I also go this salted caramel collection from Hotel Chocolat - I won't say much about this yet as I'm planning on doing a whole review post on this box soon!

Gratiae beauty products
I got this box of goodies from Gratiae - to be honest, I'd never heard of this brand before so I was initially surprised that Chris committed so heavily to deciding to try them out! There will be  a full review on these in a little while as well.

Dior Addict
 This is where Chris did particularly well for himself - a bottle of Dior Addict in Eau Fraiche. I was a little worried about this one as I heavily suspected he would try to find it. I've posted a review before of my mini bottle set of this. I really like all of the scents but the original Addict is my least favourite - the others I think are fantastic but I don't use them much at all due to the fact that the little bottles are quite difficult to apply. I had a feeling he would try to find one of the bottles from this set but I wasn't sure how much attention he'd spend and heavily suspected I would end up with the original one - natural, when it's the only one I don't like!

  The owl in the picture at the very top was the final gift - it's a handmade owl calendar. This is an unusual gift and I bet I'll forget to change it but I thought it was really pretty and we already know exactly where we're going to put it in the new flat.

  Chris did SUCH a good job with the gifts - I've never been so impressed by him! I was surprised at how much notice he's taken to random things I'm interested in and I think he found some really thoughtful gifts.

Science Museum crystal growing tree
We both went with very different styles of gift for each other. As mentioned, we both bought each other presents from the science museum this year - I bought him this tree, which is one of those that starts off just paper until you water it and then it slowly blooms into this Christmas tree that you can decorate. I had a feeling he'd really enjoy watching the crystals grow, and he did! I also bought him a copy of Pokemon Alpha Sapphire as I bought him Pokemon Sun for him to play against my Pokemon Moon for his birthday and I'm REALLY slow at playing it whilst he likes to play for literally hours at a time, so I figured getting him that too meant he could play that whilst waiting for me to catch up. I got him two colouring books and some pencils as he'd randomly expressed an interest in colouring in a wolf we saw in a calendar once, and got him a big set of chilli related things as he loves his chillis and his spicy food.

We went really different tactics and it's funny how we both ended up thinking the other person did a better job. I felt like I'd bought him silly presents and that he'd chosen much more thoughtful ones that made me really happy to see that he'd paid attention. He spent most of the day colouring his book in and playing Pokemon and HE felt like he'd chosen really stupid things and regretted not buying me anything I could really play with. We are very different in that respect though - I like to read and write and he likes things he can play with and build, so I guess it made sense.

Overall, this was probably the best Christmas I'd had! We both work shifts, but somehow we both ended up with four days off together (normally we average one day off together every six weeks or so) and this was made even better by the fact that both my housemates were away. Because of this, Chris was able to stay over and it felt a lot more like our own flat as we didn't feel at all confined - I can't wait for the house purchase to hurry up and complete so it can be more like this every day!

How did all of you spend your Christmas? :-)
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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Autumn/Winter 2016 with Apricot!

I have never made it a secret that apricot very quickly became one of my absolute favourite Sping/Summer brands, and that their tops and dresses have become the items of clothing that you're most likely to see me wearing. However, this time last year, I had never even heard of apricot let alone to the extent of love that I have for them now, and therefore I wasn't quite sure what to expect when it came to their Autumn/Winter collection. Therefore, when the chance came up to try some of their A/W goodies*, of course I said yes!

Apricot monochrome stripe pattern batwing necklace top
The first item I chose was this beautiful monochrome stripe pattern batwing necklace top (£19). I already own another necklace top from apricot and it's one of my favourites to wear as it's really versatile and I love the addition of the necklace - I'm REALLY bad at accessorising and knowing what goes with what, and so something like this really helps me out as I already know when buying it that of course it's going to match! Because I'm so bad with accessories it also helps to have this top as it reminds me that maybe I SHOULD be trying to match something with it afterall!

 This top is really comfortable and a great one for wearing around the house or for casual trips out for brunch. The arms are loose which means you get a bit of freedom there - but at the same time, unlike some other tops they're not constantly slipping around and getting on your nerves!
 The pattern is pretty and it's just so comfortable to wear. This one is definitely going to go into my heavy rotation of day to day clothes!

 Next up, we have what has very quickly become my favourite dress - the black & stone digital rose print skater dress (£32). I love this dress. I love it SO much. As soon as I put it on I had to go and dance around the flat so that everyone else could see it too and I got nothing but positive responses. If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you'll probably already have seen that I'm wearing it basically everywhere right now. In fact, I'm even planning on wearing it to an event I'm going to tonight!

This is a really versatile dress and the colours make it great for the season. I don't normally go for darker colours when it comes to dresses but the patterns on this are absolutely perfect and I think the shape on it is so flattering and pretty.

 My final choice was this sequined wonder - the navy sequin front mesh blouse (£26). This is a lovely and comfortable top that is, of course, super sparkly - although the back is not, so don't worry about that! This would be a great top to wear if you're doing any parties over the holiday season and it works great with some simple jeans so you don't have to worry about getting too dressed up to match it.
Have you bought anything from apricot lately? Go and take a look at their current choices and see if you can find anything you fancy! Buy online here, and at time of writing they've got a 75% off sale going on too, here! Which pieces are your favourites?
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Friday, 16 December 2016

December's Blog Spotlight Post


001. Amanda wrote a post all about what you should do at a German Christmas market. I have literally just come back from Germany myself, and of course I followed some of Amanda's advice whilst there!

002. Erin has been posting all sorts of cute baby posts since having her little one, but I particularly liked this post which looks at how she chose the name for her new daughter. Plus it contains some really adorable pictures of her baby!

003. I've already posted my review of Urban Decay's Full Spectrum palette - well, Hayley's post is probably the one that made me decide to buy it in the first place!

004. Martha made this interesting post all about what she learned at her Marie Claire internship.

005. Rosie is currently studying to be a midwife and so posts all sorts of interesting posts about that - but I particularly liked this one, which looks at her first time 'catching' a baby!

006. Joanne has given her blog a reboot - and this post looks at the process and how it's worked out for her so far!

007. Hannah has completed another wonderful list post - this time looking at the 36 amazing things that our generation was the last to experience.
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Road Trip Part 11; Morro Bay, and a Couple of Extras

Pumpkin farm
As my final picture post to our road trip around the west coast, I thought I'd show you a couple of extra places we visited along the way.

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Monday, 12 December 2016

Road Trip Part 10; San Francisco

 If there was a place that I was really looking forward to visiting to on my trip, it was San Francisco.

San Francisco represented so many amazing things to me. Beautiful, colourful houses. Avocado on EVERYTHING. The home of all sorts of amazing brands and companies.

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Friday, 9 December 2016

14 Fashion Favourites: December 2016

Oh, December.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started browsing through the stores for this months' fashion favourites, but I do have to say that I was very definitely pleased by what I came across. Though I didn't find anywhere near as many beautiful jumpers and other warm clothes as I would like, I did come across some lovely tops, some nice dresses ready for the Christmas parties - and of course, a fabulous coat!

This month I've got 14 picks for you, from Apricot, Oasis, Forever 21, Quiz, Missguided and Lipsy.

I am so pleased that Oasis are putting out such beautiful clothes again. I have made no secret of the fact that I love this store, but really was NOT a fan of all the V&A stuff they've been putting out. However, I think these butterfly tops are absolutely gorgeous - especially the one in the middle. And the grey on the end may well be a bit plainer, but I think this is a lovely and easy to wear top.
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Monday, 5 December 2016

36 Christmas Present Ideas - For Her!

It's that time of the year again where we're all suddenly panicking because we realise that actually, we REALLY need to be getting a move on with the Christmas present buying. And, let's be real, when we all get a little bit distracted in the process by picking out things for ourselves along the way too...

To help you with the process a little bit and to give you some inspiration, here are a grand total of 36 Christmas present ideas for her (or, well, anyone really!). Every single one of these products has been chosen by myself without being asked for inclusion by any of the featured brands or anyone else. They are all just brands or products I really like - many of which you can find reviews on in this blog already!
I hope you find this post useful, and I'll be returning with the more masculine side of this list shortly too!
Lacoste Touch of Pink gift set £23.80 // Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics £38.50 // Urban Decay Moondust Palette £35
Kat Von D Metal Matte Palette £50 // MAC Eyeshadow Purple x 9 Palette £25 // Urban Decay Full Spectrum Palette £43
Too Faced Totally Cute Eyeshadow Palette £32 // But First Coffee Thermal Mug £16 // Reindeer Socks £5.50

Let's start with some of the make up stuff! Of these, I already personally own and recommend the Lacoste gift set, the Full Spectrum palette and the MAC palette - and you can find reviews on all of them here! For me, bright colours are very much the way to go - although I do love my Naked Basics palette too, so I had to throw in one of theirs as well!

Crabtree And Evelyn Bestseller Hand Therapy Gift Set £22 // Hotel Chocolat Classic Christmas H Box £12.50 // Molton Brown Festive Frankincense & Allspice Handwash £18
Katie Loxton 'Thank you' Fig and Apple Blossom Scented Candle £20 // Stoneglow Pink Peppercorn Diffuser £30 // Toft Donna the Reindeer Crochet Kit £25
Family Birthstone Link Bracelet £23 // Personalised Family Tree Cushion £27 //  Personalised Mini Terrarium Cactus Keychain £5

Anyone who's ever read this blog will already know that I'm a Hotel Chocolat fan. I recently posted a review post all about their Christmas range - but if it's someone you don't know all that well, an H-Box like this one would be a great choice! I'm also a huge fan of the reindeer crochet kit, which I think is a great gift for someone you know is into crafts. I'm not very creative at all but I think this little reindeer is so cute that I'm tempted to pick up a pack for myself!

Sparkle LED Jam Jar Light £9.95 // Dachshund Planter £18 // Marshmallow Snowman Hot Chocolate Kit £14
Birds, Bees And Butterflies Seedbom Gift Box £13.95 // Duck Moodlight £10 // Tangle Teezer £10.50
Colour Changing Umbrella Print Compact Umbrella £16 // Santa Cat Mug £5 // Hope Diffuser £8

I have wanted a colour changing umbrella for SO LONG and I don't even know why - I so rarely use an umbrella at all and yet I still really want this one! Loads of my friends are going to be finding themselves with the marshmallow hot chocolate kit this year as I think it's basically the cutest thing ever and my friends are going to love something like this. If I was going to buy myself anything from this list though, it would have to be the jam jar light or the planter - I'm actually toying with buying myself both for my new flat!

Sanctuary Jar Of Delights £10 // Yankee Candle Winter Glow Large Candle £14.66 // Miniature Lots Of Bubbles Selection Box £6
Starbucks Cocoa Duo £16.50 // Zoella Warm Hands Warm Heart Travel Mug & Fingerless Gloves £14 // Spa of the World Luxurious Body Collection £60
Tea Tree Rescue Kit £18 // Spiced Apple Box Of Delights £28 // The Finest Facial Mask Duo £25

The Spa of the World collection is one that's new to me, but I'm very familiar with the other products in this! You can find reviews of the Tea Tree kit and the facial mask collection here on my blog - but the spiced apple is bascially my favourite collection of all time and one that I am very much looking forward to purchasing again for myself!

Whew! That's my list of ideas - which are your favourites?
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Friday, 2 December 2016

A Review of Urban Decay's Beautiful Rainbow Offering - the Full Spectrum Palette

Urban Decay Full Spectrum eyeshadow palette
  When I first saw the Urban Decay Full Spectrum palette, I immediately fell in love. There were such beautiful colours, it was so well presented, and the sheer beauty of how well the whole thing was put together just made me want it immediately.

  However, I just wasn't sure as to how much I would actually use it. That being said, the only other palette I own from Urban Decay, the Naked Basics 2, was one that I just didn't see myself using all that much and has instead become the palette I pick up more than any other and so when I saw that this palette had been reduced I just had to go out and buy it myself.
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