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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What I got for Christmas

Hello lovelies, hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and are, like me, still clinging on to the festive spirit despite the tinsel becoming droopy and the celebrations tin now being full of nothing but mars and bounty's (seriously, those things would survive a nuclear apocalypse of the chocolate world.)

Here are a few of the gifts I was lucky enough to receive this year, I've really enjoyed reading all your posts so I thought I'd share my lovely presents.


I got this lovely Lush gift set from Dan's dad and step mum, and true to it's candy box name, it's full of sweet treats that are going to have me smelling somewhere between a bag of pick and mix and the sugar plum fairy for the foreseeable future.

You know when you see something and think 'that is so me'? This bag is me. Very, very me. After 7 or 8 Christmases together, Dan is well aware most things with a heart print will go down extremely well, and this super cute satchel didn't disappoint. I should probably have a grown up handbag full of grown up things, but to hell with that, this will hang off my shoulder with childish pride.

And to go in my hearty bag, is this gorgeous purse, from my sister Ciara. I pointed this out months ago, and being the more organised of the two of us, she bought it there and then, so it was one of those presents you forgot you asked for (I love those.) It has a lovely polka dot print inside and I was long overdue a new one, as my battered primark one was failing in both style and substance.

I have the loveliest parents anyone could wish for, and I feel so lucky to still be being bought presents at my age! I picked these three items off of my beauty wishlist, to save them the stress of not knowing what to get me. The 195 is changing my life already, like I knew it would. I am smitten. 

Like all girls I'm always pleased to receive a candle with the yankee stamp on it, as you know it's going to smell amazing. Dan chose well with this super sweet offering, I am grateful to have a fiance who doesn't mind a very feminine scented home!

This was a surprise from my sister, and I coincidentally got her something quite similar - we must share a love for a good hot chocolate. I am so excited to try the white chocolate flavoured one, and the mug is gorgeous.

I was like a bee to a honey pot when I saw this bow shaped bottle on display in debenhams, could it be any prettier? It's 'bon bon' by viktor and rolf, I hadn't tried any of their other scents, this was purely an aesthetic attraction to begin with! It smells delicious, really sweet and floral. With a little gentle reminding, Dan remembered how enamoured I was with it, and it was waiting underneath the tree for me.

Cats on a peter pan collar. Cats, on a peter pan collar. Have you ever seen anything so wonderful? I knew I hadn't when I spied this on and put it at the top of my suggestion list for Dan to choose a few bits from. The peach colour just makes me love it more, I can't wait to wear it non stop post bump!

I just really, really like cats, ok? Gemma Correll's illustrations and spot on depiction of cats 'meh' attitude made this my must have for organising my life in 2015, thanks mum and dad!

I hope you all have a wonderful new years eve, I'll be thinking of you all out partying as I iron baby clothes, drink hot chocolate and try my best to make it to midnight - it's way past my pregnancy bedtime!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Boxing day sales

Sale shopping from the comfort of your own sofa with a cup of tea in hand is easily one of my favourite things about the digital age. Why battle crowds? Why suffer jabby elbows and lengthy queues and the scornful glares from fellow shoppers even though you know you saw it first? Put your feet up, have some leftover Christmas sweets within arms reach and snap up some bargains with no risk of even breaking a sweat.

Here are a few of my sale favourites.

Polka dot scrunchie | Topshop | £1
Roll cuff tee | Miss Selfridge | £5
Lace velvet playsuit  | Topshop | £35
Leather skater dress  | New Look | £10
Heart print flats | Topshop | £12
Floral skinny trousers| River Island | £15
Houndstooth clutch | New Look | £8

Will you be hitting the sales this season? What do you have your eye on?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

It's the eve of Christmas eve and I've been tagged by the lovely Grace from Glitter and Carousels to do this Christmas post, which has made me even more excited for the big day!

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie/s?
I have a couple, Love actually is my grown up choice, I remember leaving the cinema (having been very proud of myself for getting in in the first place as the certificate was 15 and I was a year younger) feeling so aglow with romance and Christmas cheer my belly almost had a Ready-Brek style light beaming from it. I'm an absolute sucker for an airport chase, Liam Neeson, and London at Christmas and this combines all three! The second is The Greatest Store In The World, which is a relatively obscure late nineties made for TV movie that me and my little sister Ciara taped (oh god, my age) off of the TV and watched so often my mum had to hide it from us. It's about two sisters who live in a department store over Christmas with their travel loving mum and get up to all sorts of fun, including meeting S Club 7, which back in 1999 was a major ambition of mine. 

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning?
We've always opened them on Christmas morning. I admire people who wait until the afternoon, because even at the age of 25, that kind of self restraint is beyond me, and the living room is littered in shredded wrapping paper by 9am as standard.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I have so many, it's hard to choose. When I was very young, getting my slide and swing set was pretty exciting, as it must have taken my dad hours to put together and hide from an inquisitive four-year-old! And there's lot's of photos of me wrapped up in my woolies playing on it in the snow. Growing up me and my sister always used to be giddy with excitement for our older cousin to arrive, who'd be laden down with all manner of 'grown up' presents like hair crimpers and false nail kits that would make us feel oh so cool. My first Christmas with Dan is a nice memory too, as I got him an iPod nano and he was really happy and surprised.

4. Favourite Christmas food?
Pigs in blankets, absolutely hands down. I can't understand why we don't eat them more often, they're literally the best food ever.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
Growing up it was my first pair of GHD's, as these improved my life beyond all expectation and saw an end to school mornings spent crying with despair at my frizz ball ginger curls! As an adult it has to be my lovely Tiffany ring, that Dan bought me a couple of years ago.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
This will sound odd, but probably the plasticy smell of fake Christmas tree's and tinsel, as it reminds me of my dad going up to the loft and getting all the decorations out. I also love the Yankee christmas treats scent, which I featured in my Christmas homeware haul.

7. Do you have any Christmas eve traditions?
Yes, we always have a little party at my mums house and my cousins and aunties come down. My dad does an amazing buffet and we usually watch TV, have some drinks (which I will be abstaining from this year, for obvious reasons!) And are generally very loud and merry until the late evening!

8. What tops your tree?
Currently it's a cute red star, that can be seen in my Christmas homeware haul. I'd imagine as soon as our little lady arrives and is old enough to put paint dipped finger to paper, it'll be something she has made at nursery that will make me swell with pride!

9. As a child, what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
It's none of the adjectives described, but one year I asked for something called a Get-Set Egyptian Adventure, it seemed of dreadful importance then, but now I can't even remember what it actually did. Some sort of make and do, semi educational box of tricks that would no doubt be hours of fun for me, and hours of mess for my parents. Anyway, I awoke that Christmas morning to my mum explaining with some trepidation that Santa hadn't been able to find one for me. As children do, I forgot this disappointment almost instantaneously and Christmas went on as normal. However it's become a bit of a running joke in our family, as it seems my parents starred in their own version of Jingle All The Way that Christmas, visiting every Argos, Toys-R-Us and other toy retailer within a 30 mile radius to make my wish come true, but it was nineties gold dust, and I never got to embark on my Egyptian adventure.

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
I absolutely love being with my family, that is definitely the best part. And the food, from the lovely smoked salmon breakfast my dad always cooks, right through to the Boxing Day leftovers, food plays a big part in it for me! And the Eastenders Christmas special, that's a bit of a tradition in our family!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Christmas homeware haul

Star decoration - £5.49 Gisela Graham | Robin draught excluder - £20 Sainsburys | Gold sequin bow decoration - £1.99 Tesco | Wooden reindeer - from £3.99 Sainsbury's | Yankee candle - £9 Tesco | Red heart jug - £14.99 Gisela Graham | Red and gold flowers - £3 each Tesco | Large ginger cat - Priceless! |

Hi lovelies, I'm sure you're all as excited for Christmas as I am, I love everything about this season.
Due to me being very big in the bump department, Dan and I haven't been able to partake in some of our traditional Christmassy activities, like outdoor ice skating and a day in London looking at the lights and trawling Harrods swooning over things we can't afford. But I have been able to make our little home look festive, and perhaps its the nesting kicking in, but the flat does seem to look a little more Christmassy than previous years.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, eat lots, be merry, and hold those you love very close.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Let it snow nail tutorial

Another wintery nail art post for you all, this week I've opted for a gradient style for a snowy effect. These are so easy to do, you'll be able to have frosty fingertips yourself in absolutely no time.

Here are the products I used, the sponge is a washing up one that I cut up, but you could use a cheap make up one if that's what you had to hand.

1. I started with a base coat, and then two coats of Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in coconut.

2. Then, using the brushes, I placed a small amount of each colour on a piece of paper.

3. Once the first coat was dry, I used the sponge to dab the darker of the two shades - Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in elderberry, on to my nails, to about half way down each nail. I found it gave a better effect when the varnish had dried slightly and become a little tacky.

4. I repeated step 3 with the lighter of the two blues - Barry M Gelly Hi-shine in sugar apple.

5. To finish I sponged a little glitter - Models Own juicy jules over the tips of my nails and voila, nails fit for a snow queen!

I hope you like them, and let me know if there's any nail tutorials you'd like to see in the future.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Dove pure care dry oil

I'd read great stuff about the Dove hair care dry oil online and was delighted to find it on half price in Superdrug when I'd just run out of my usual serum. At only £4.95 I gathered I had nothing to lose. I was enamoured as soon as I opened the box, as this comes in a glass bottle - and I'm a sucker for a glass bottle. I'm sure that sounds strange, and I don't know why I like them so much, as dropping this bottle in particular would be both messy and dangerous, but it makes the product seem so much more luxurious.
It has a pump top which is great for dispensing a small amount of product, which is key with an oil, as too much can cause even the driest hair to look flat and a little greasy. The instructions advise to use it as a nourishing pre wash treatment, or on damp hair prior to styling. I opted for the latter, and after washing, worked about four pumps through the mid lengths and ends of my hair.
This stuff smells amazing. Totally, edibly, amazing. More like a perfume than a hair product, it's enriched with macadamia oil and to me - smells like holiday's - if that makes sense! It claims to help 'replenish lipids, soften and leave hair with added shine.' And I think it absolutely lives up to all of those promises. My normally dry and brittle hair feels quenched and looks infinitely healthier after styling. I will definitely be re-buying this when I run out.
Have you tried Dove hair care? What are your favourite products from the range?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Pregnancy favourites

I thought I'd share a few of the products that I've loved throughout the last 7 and a half months. Pregnancy for me, has largely been totally wonderful and without any major complaints. But it can be a little uncomfortable, and whilst no product can stop you crying over running out of bread, or needing a wee every 5 minutes, there are a few that can make the whole experience a little more enjoyable and comfortable, and here are those that have done for me.

 Palmers cocoa butter original formula | £5.89 | Link

First up is a bit of an old classic, loved by generations of mums to be, Palmers cocoa butter is most ladies go to for warding off stretch marks and keeping their skin supple during pregnancy. As a bonus it also makes your bump (and any other area you use it on) smell absolutely delicious. I'm now 34 weeks pregnant and have used this near enough every day. I doubt I'll get off totally scot free, but touch wood I haven't got a single stretch mark yet, and given that I suffered with them in my teens, I think this may be a little bit of a miracle worker. Oh and it comes in a pump bottle, which is always a bonus, because I'm lazy.

Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream | £22.10 | Link

On top of an unquenchable thirst, my lips have been really dry pretty much since day one of my pregnancy. I tried various lipbalms but never found any of them were long lasting enough. This is always spoken so highly of by beauty editors as a wonder product, so I thought I'd pick one up. True to it's word, this really relieves dry chapped lips and doesn't need to be reapplied very often, which is a real plus. The only downside is it has a slightly medicinal taste, but I wouldn't say it's overpowering or unpleasant. 

Your pregnancy week by week | £15.99 | Link
First time parent guide | £9.09 | Link

They say no-one writes a book on kids, but I found the Waterstones parenting and pregnancy sections utterly overwhelming, so I'm not quite sure where 'they' have been shopping. Dan, my fiance, purchased the pregnancy one way back when baby Wright was no more than a pea sized secret, and it was a lovely read during the early days. It gives you a blow-by-blow, week-by-week guide to what your little miss or mister is up to, how they're growing, and how you can expect to be feeling. It's a really comprehensive guide and leaves nothing to the imagination, this does get a little scary towards the end when there's a lot of talk of birth canals - but it's always good to be prepared.

After an anxious chat full of 'but how will I just know?!'s with my mum, ever the excited nan-to-be, she very kindly ordered the first time parent guide for me, to quell the doubts she couldn't, after all, it's been over twenty years since she had a newborn on her hands! This book is amazing. Really, I can't praise it enough. As a mum-to-be, there is nothing more annoying than someone telling you you'll just 'know' or to 'trust your instincts.' I've never been in charge of a tiny human and I'll admit, the thought sometimes terrifies me. It has guides on bathing, feeding, clothing, as well as going into considerable detail as to what will happen after you've given birth, whereas a lot of books on pregnancy only take you up until the final push. It's reassuring without being patronising, a great go-to guide for first time mums and dads.

Neals Yard mother organic collection | £35 | Link

This set came with a third item, a really beautiful bath soak, so beautiful I'd used the lot by the time I was barely into my second trimester, so sadly I couldn't feature it in the photo. This was another gift from my lovely parents, a set of all natural treats for the mum to be. Packed with essential oils, all the products are full of goodness for you and your bump. As well as a bath soak, there is a massage oil - which I like to use when guilting Dan into easing my back pain, and a 'mothers balm' which is designed to reduce stretch marks and keep your bump looking lovely. The product is hard rather than like a lotion, and takes a little work to get it out of the tub, rather like a hair oil. I love using it after a bath, as it sinks in fantastically to warm, damp skin.

Cadbury dairy milk chocolate buttons | £2 

Finishing on a bit of a silly one, but I thought it'd be nice to mention cravings, and god I have got through more packets of these than I care to remember whilst pregnant. There's an old wives tale that says sweet for a girl, savoury for a boy, and my pregnancy has been very true to that. Along with these, I've been mad for skittles, hot chocolate and all manner of other sweet treats!

Have you used any of these products, or what ones did you find helpful during your pregnancy?

Friday, 5 December 2014

Roll up, roll up, for the lucky dip club

The lucky dip club is the craft-tastic brain child of London based thrift enthusiast Leona, who hand makes the content for each monthly themed box and mails them to (at last count) nearly 600 loyal subscribers and fans.

Each box is packed with super cute make-and-do pieces, at least one of which will be personalised for each recipient, along with a handwritten note. The theme changes each month, and Novembers was the circus, and so landed on my doorstep a box full to the brim with all the fun of the fair.

I've long been a fan of pretty much whatever Leona turns her thrifty hand to, and I hope it doesn't make her feel too veteran when I say that a large portion of my first ever pay cheque, from my first ever job, went on items from the late, lamented Lady Luck Rules OK - her first venture, a website full of throwback 80's pop pieces and oh-so-retro jewellery so pretty it made your heart ache.

The lucky dip club never disappoints on content or style, and the mind boggles as to how Leona keeps the theme's fresh, exciting and so jam packed every month. This month my favourite piece has to be the circus paper and tape, which although maybe designed to wrap gifts with, I think I'll be selfishly keeping all to myself.

If you love handmade goodies and vintage keepsakes then you'll love the lucky dip club. Unwrapping the tissue paper and feasting your eyes on what has been carefully picked for your enjoyment makes each month feel like it has it's own little Christmas day.

Get yourself over to the website where you'll find different subscription options, whether you want a half a year of handmade handy-work or just a one off treat, prices start from £15.

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