Tuesday, 29 December 2015

What I got for Christmas 2015

I'm always a little unsure about posting 'What I got for Christmas' posts. I personally love reading what others received from their friends and family but I know some see it as a way of boasting.


what-i-got-for-christmas-2015

I see it as a little nosey into other people's lives and it also gives me ideas on what I might like to pick up with and gift vouchers I've been given -cos let's face it, when you have a voucher for somewhere suddenly there's nothing you like the look of! I'm not boasting at all, I'm very very grateful for everything I was lucky enough to receive and what means more to me than anything is quality time with the people I love. 

Our Christmas was spaced out over a few days. We spent the weekend  before hand with my brothers, sister and partners playing games and catching up. I think Cards Against Humanity is best just played ONLY with my close friends and family - I think I'd offend a lot of people with my dark sense of humour! I do always win though....

Now that Mason is 3 this was the first year where he fully understood what Christmas was about so we took him to see Santa for the first time and he got all excited leaving out minced pies and a carrot for the reindeer. On Christmas morning it was lovely see see him get excited about a present for me before he wanted to open a present of his own -I'm hoping that stays because it's such an adorable, selfless trait but I won't hold my breath!


We spent Christmas morning as a little family before we went over to my parents for our traditional Christmas feast.


I know a lot of couples don't bother with presents for each other when they become parents, they like to make it all about the kids but I want Mason to see Christmas as a time for giving as well as receiving presents and he was involved in both shopping for presents as well as wrapping them so he was really excited to give presents to people too. 


I'm not going to share everything - mainly because I was too lazy to photograph it all (hey, it's Christmas, and if that isn't an excuse to be lazy I don't know what is!) so I just wanted to share a small selection of lovely little bits I received this year...


ugg-earmuffs-the-book-of-mormon

I am always complaining about my ears being cold so Sam bought me some lovely soft Ugg Earmuffs. I don't like Ugg boots (or anything without a heel) but these fluffy little Australian devils are something I can get on board with. 

We've also got tickets to see The Book of Mormon which I've heard excellent things about. I'm a big fan of Team America and the South Park movie and as this has the same writers I imagine it's something I' going to find hilarious!

Two of my besties got me some lovely bits from Lush in the form of Yoga Bomb and Twilight bath bombs, Candy Mountain, Milky Bath, Ickle little Bot bubble bars and my favourite shower gel Snow Fairy. Along with some Molton Brown treats and the huge chocolate wreath from Hotel Chocolat I think I'm going to have to make some time for some proper 'me time' in the New Year!


lush-christmas-2015-candy-mountain-snow-fairy-twlight-yoga-bomb

My sister got Sam and I a book 'Me, You, Us' which is brilliant. You fill it out as you go along, each page can be with a couple, a friend, a relative - whoever. There's lots of questions in there to fill out and draw together so it's going to be lovely to look back on. I love gifts like this!

beauty-blogger-what-i-got-for-christmas-2015

Beauty-wise there's some Fake Bake Flawless Darker tan which is one I haven't tried before, some Nivia lip products and the St Tropez Facial Oil. My parents got me a bottle of Bottle of Elie Saab Resort which I have wanted for ages! I swear the tester bottle in my local House of Fraser was mostly used up by me lusting over the scent when ever I went in!


Like I said, I love reading posts like this so if you have written about your Christmas gifts please let me know! 



I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!







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Thursday, 24 December 2015

What I'm looking out for in the Christmas Sales


Christmas isn't even over and I'm already looking forward to the bargains to be had. IT's ridiculous really, so many treats on Christmas day and there's always a piece of me wanting more! -I'm only human.

I didn't actually ask for any of this for Christmas, to be honest a lot of this is stuff that I kind of want but I also don't want people spending too much on me. I have a kind soul.

Sometimes things are just that little more appealing when they are discounted aren't they? 
These are the little bits I'm looking out for and I'm hoping I'll be able to pick up a few bargains in the sales.


xmas sale

1. No7 Nail Collection £12
I love these little sets, it means I try out some colours I wouldn't normally choose. 
4 nail polishes and a 10ml protect and perfect intense hand cream is pretty good for £12 - but even better if it goes to half price!

2. Origins Shining Stars £25
I love Origins, I am a big fan of the Ginzing moisturiser and I really want to try out a few more bits. This set has a 50ml Ginzing Refreshing scrub cleanser, a 50ml
Ginzinng Energy Boosting Moisturiser, a 50ml Drink Up intensive mask and a 50ml Modern Friction so it's a lovely little selection to try for a pretty decent price. 


3. Magic Wand Bubble Bar £5.25
I always miss out on the Lush sale but I refuse to this year, you hear me, I REFUSE! This bubble bar is such a cute product. I love the scent and the wand makes it feel all Christmassy and magical. Even after Christmas is over if I manage to pick up one of these I can keep the magic going a little longer.

4. Liz Earle Sparkling Skin Duo £28
Cleanse and Polish is my favourite cleanser so I always like to stock up when I can. If this goes to half price it's going to be an incredible bargain. The Duo set includes a 100ml Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, a 200ml bottle of
Instant Boost Skin Tonic as well as 2 muslin cloths.


5. Champneys Relaxation Hamper £35
I've mentioned this before as it was on my birthday wish list. It's such a gorgeous looking hamper full of loads of goodies including a Bubble bath, Body Butter, Shower Cream, Hand and Nail cream, Foot Butter, a candle and a pair of socks. Perfect for a little pampering!

6. Sleeps 'Til Christmas Box £29.99
I admit, the main reason I want this is the box, I love a good box, look at the little countdown on the top, adorable! Inside there are 6 products, four of which I really like the look of, the Snow Angel Bath Melt, Intergalactic Bath Bomb, Peeping Santa and Frozen Bath Bomb. There's also a 5 Gold Rings Bubble Bar and Father Christmas Bath Bomb which aren't products I'd normally reach for but who knows, I might find a new favourite! 

7. This Works Sleep Over £15 
I've wanted to try the Deep Sleep range for a while but I've found them a little on the pricy side. Anything to relex and de-stress is right up my street but I want to make sure it actually Works (get it?!) first. This little set has a Deep Sleep Pillow Spray,Deep Sleep Stress Less, and Sleep Balm. 

8. Origins Mask Marvels £30
I've only ever tried the Charcoal mask from Origins but I love it. This set will mean I can try out a few more of their masks and see which ones work best for me. It's a set of four 50ml masks including Clear Improvement Charcoal, Out of Trouble, Ginzing and Drink up Intensive Mask. 50ml is a decent size, enough to give them a proper try before purchasing a full size. 

9. Christmas Candy Box £15.95
For me, when it comes to Lush, pick anything pink and you can't go wrong. I love the sweet scents and this set has 4 products that I love.
The box contains the incredible Snow Fairy Shower gel, a Candy Mountain Bubble Bar, Luxury Lush Pud Bath Bomb and Rock Star Soap. I'm going to be over the moon if I get this set at half price! That's like £2 a product!

I'm going to be keeping an eye out for the Sales as I know I've got to get in there quick before everything gets snapped up. If anyone knows any of the dates/times that the sales start then please let me know!


What are you looking to pick up in the sales?






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Monday, 21 December 2015

12 Things I don't like about Christmas

Christmas is all about positivity isn't it? Love, joy, gratitude in the air....

oh I do like to go against the grain sometimes...


I love Christmas time, I really do. For years it's been my favourite time of year. I've gone from loving it as a kid, believing in all the Christmas magic, to the teenager who secretly loved any excuse to spend proper time with her family. I loved Christmas in my early twenties, the parties with friends, Christmas work dos, I even loved the one time I worked in retail in a camera shop on Christmas eve -there was such a great atmosphere and a real buzz getting the sales. 

Just when Christmas was stepping into the 'oh it's all so stressful' territory that I've always heard my elders talk of, the Christmas flame was reignited when I had my son. Seeing Christmas through a child's eyes is lovely and it's made me more excited during the lead-up. 

However

There are a few things about the festive season that 
"ruffle my feathers", 
"rustle my jimmies", 
"get my tinsel in a tangle", if you will....

1. Crackers
Unless you spend a fortune on them (and who would?!) there's never anything decent in them! Never. I hate the awkwardness of 'do we pull the cracker now?' before dinner? After dinner? During dinner when you have a mouth full of pigs in blankets?!  And there's always that competitive one who holds it really tight, really far up. Calm down! it's a tiny plastic frog, you have have the prize!

2. Christmas Songs
The whole 'Christmas Number One' thing is getting ridiculous, it's all about X Factor now or it's somebody wanting to 'Show Simon Cowell who's boss' by getting another song to number one instead. Where is the Christmas cheer in that?!
I have come to the conclusion that there are less than 5 Christmas songs that are any good. An old man shouting 'ITS CHRISTMAAAAS!' is just weird. And imagine if it really was Christmas everyday.... just think about it.

3. Christmas Gifts
Now I have to emphasise I am talking about 'Gifts', not 'Presents'. 
There's a difference 
*whispers* there's a difference 
(side note- guess that film)

I saw Dave Gorman talk about this and he hit the nail on the head. A Gift is something you wouldn't ever buy for yourself. At Christmas they're everywhere. Stick on moustaches, Pugs that poop out jelly beans, A 'Grow Your Own Boyfriend' kit... It's a waste of time and money for everyone involved. And you're not allowed to throw them out because that's rude, so you have to store these things for months before they 'accidentally' get thrown out in your big Spring Clean Clear-Out.

4. Christmas Jumpers
When did this become a thing? Mark Darcy was ridiculed for his Reindeer monstrosity in Bridget Jones's Diary but now it's fair game to wear something knitted and ugly.
I've never been a fan of warm clothes and frumpy Christmas jumpers just make me think of being stuffy and sweaty. You're indoors for 99% of the day, and the oven is on cooking the huge warm dinner you're about to eat. Why do you need a wooly jumper on?

5. Getting Competitive
I can't stand people who need to out-do others. The people who need to have the perfect tree, and the brightest Christmas lights. The ones that feel the need to spend loads on presents and brag about it. I've always been more impressed by thoughtful gifts, it doesn't matter if you spent £50 when it's obvious you picked up two of the same thing, one for your sister and one for me. "I'm sure they both love the smell of lavender..."
Also the need to get your shopping done before everyone else, to get your decorations up first. It really doesn't matter. Stop Judging. Get it all sorted when you like. If it's done on November 30th or December 24th who cares? Christmas is still on the same day!

6. Mince pies
Something that sounds like it has meat in it but it doesn't. Lies. Foil cups of pastry covered lies. 

7.Winter Wonderland
Visiting Winter Wonderland is on the 'must do at Christmas time' list for pretty much all Londoners but I think it's incredibly over-rated. It's busy, (usually) cold, overpriced and.... well, a bit boring. Being squashed between a load of Primark Parkas to buy a cup of overpriced Mulled Wine from a wooden hut and take a 'festive selfie' just doesn't appeal to me. 

8. Buying for people 'cos you should 
There is an air of fake-ness when you buy for people you don't get on with. When someone I know doesn't like me gets me a gift I'm always a little confused. Then it's awkward, what if I didn't get them something? Now I'm the bitch. You smugly tick off everyone on your Christmas Shopping list and then it's "Oh you need to get a present for your cousins boyfriend who we've met once and we don't actually like'' and you have to run down to Tesco on Christmas eve and panic buy a box of generic Chocolates (as you don't know them well enough to know if they like Orange chocolate or have a Nut allergy) and a Nivia for Men Gift Set. Christmas should be about giving because you want to, not because you have to.

9. Christmas TV
I always get my hopes up and think something great will be on over Christmas. I'm sure when I was younger I'd go through the TV guide circling all of the things I needed to watch but now there's just nothing that excites me. I don't really like a lot of Christmas films either if I'm honest. Home Alone 2 and Muppets Christmas Carol, that's about it. And no. I don't like Elf.

10. Secret Santa
Oh the Stress of Secret Santa! What if someone bought me a great present and I've only bought them an ok present? How can I get something that looks decent for £5? Everyone ends up knowing who everyone's got anyway and nine times out of ten you are desperate to swap for someone else. Once I had a colleague that I didn't know too well but we spoke at great length about her love for the Sex And The City film. I was chuffed with myself when I got her a 'Love' keyring like the one in the film. Everyone has keys right? I was on to a winner. Well she was fired and I have no idea if she ever received the gift or knew it was from me. Also that year I was the one person who didn't receive a gift. Stupid Secret Santa. 

11. The impersonal Xmas text
'Hey! Merry Xmas. Thanks for the present, I love it. Hope you have a great day. X'
If it's not personal to me, I don't want your generic mass-text that's identical to the one sent to the rest of your phone book. Thank you very much.

12. Mulled Wine 
Warm red wine with fruit in it. If it was so good surely we'd drink it more than once a year.



I do love the family time, I'm a strange person that actually enjoys wrapping presents, giving presents - even shopping for presents! I love the Christmas dinner, the fact that no matter how much everyone wishes it's just not going to snow, and all of the lovely magical feeling in the air. I love Christmas, honestly I do!

This can't be just me.
I'd love to know what you dislike about the festive season.




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Saturday, 19 December 2015

Macadamia Rejuvenating Holiday Set


I'm already a huge fan of Macadamia, although I've only ever used the Healing Oil treatment, that alone has given me faith in the whole brand. My hair used to be brittle and barely grew past my shoulders but since using the oil on my ends it's transformed and it's the longest and healthiest it's ever been. My post on the oil in full is here if you want to hear me rave about it some more.


macadamia-rejuvenating-holiday-gift-set-justmylook

I've always been keen to try out some other products and Christmas is the best time for that sort of thing due to all of the lovely gift sets around. Gift sets are not something you generally buy yourself but when you really look at what's inside you're usually getting yourself a pretty good bargain (especially when the sales start!) and you can try out something you wouldn't normally pick up too. 

Just My Look have a great selection of gift sets by some brilliant haircare, skincare and cosmetic brands so there's bound to be something there to treat yourself too. 



macadamia-rejuvenating-holiday-gift-set-review

I've tried out the Macadamia Rejuvenating Holiday Set (£17.99) and it's made me fall in love with Macadamia all over again. Inside the set you get 3 products which can all be used together, a shampoo, a hair mask and hair oil. 


Firstly, the Rejuvenating Shampoo 100ml is a light formula made specially for dry and damaged hair. It replenishes lost moisture and is a great product to use before a hair treatment.


The Deep Repair Masque 100ml is a product I've been tempted by in the past. I love treating myself to a hair mask. This mask contains a lovely mixture of macadamia oil, argan oil tea tree oil chamomile oil. It's a thick consistency and it smells amazing! It's best used after washing and conditioning the hair as an intense treatment. Leave on for 7 minutes and the added aloe and algae extracts leaves it nourished and shiny.


macadamia-rejuvenating-shampoo-deep-repair-masque-healing-oil-treatment

You get a small 30ml bottle of Healing Oil Treatment but a little goes a long way. It is a god-send for dry, brittle and damaged hair. It smoothes out split ends and infuses the hair with nutrients and moisture. It even has claims to reduce drying time too which is a plus - I can't comment on this as my hair is so fine it dries pretty quickly anyway.


You'd pay over £20 for all of these separately and it's a really nice way to try out some new products. A perfect gift for a friend or a lovely treat for yourself.




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Friday, 18 December 2015

November - What I Wore, Ate, Read, Watched and Used


I am SO behind, I should have had this most up days weeks ago but with the lead up to Christmas just makes time fly by! excuses excuses....

October  was all about friends and celebrating and Novemeber was the same story - except it was a different story as this time we were celebrating our engagement! I thought we'd be celebrating a lot as it was my 30th but when Sam surprised me with the proposal it was a double celebration and it's been great! We've been on cloud nine ever since. November was one of the best months this year.

I've spoken all about my birthday and the engagement in my previous post so I'll try and include some other bits from November in this round-up.

What I Wore-
I'm off to a pretty bad start with the whole 'talking about other stuff' thing. But my brother bought me these Paper Doll Court Shoes for my birthday and I absolutely love them. I've been after some nude patent court shoes for a while and I love the little bow detail. They're nice and soft too so they are easy to wear all night. Any excuse for a little shoe selfie!

paper-dolls-bow-nude-court-shoes

What I Ate-
Blacks Burgers is our local burger restaurant and we love it there. They're a family run business based in Surrey. We probably eat there more than we should but with it being so close to home and the food being so damn tasty it's too good to resist. On our most recent trip we both tried the Benedict Burger. A Beef Burger with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce and streaky bacon. As a big fan of eggs benedict this called out to me, although I was a little concerned about having an egg in a burger -yes, it was as messy as I expected! It was really really nice, it's always good to try something a little different. They have restaurants in Putney, Epsom and Horley so if you're in the area I'd really check them out as they are seriously good burgers! 

blacks-burgers-epsom

What I Read-
I've had no time to read anything what-so-ever. I planned on reading Gone Girl as I'd heard so many great things but that leads me on to.....

What I Watched-
Sam and I had one of those unexpected early evenings when Mason went to sleep straight after dinner and there was nothing on TV for a good few hours. So we flicked through Now TV and found Gone Girl. Like I said, I was planning on reading the book but the film was so good I don't think it can live up to it. It's so gripping and I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. A really really great film that totally lives up to the hype. 



What I Used-
One of my favourite skincare brands is Balance Me. They're so affordable and give great results. I've been using the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil every night after cleansing and it's so relaxing to smooth the oil into my skin and give myself a little face massage when I wind down for the night. I looked up a couple of tutorials on Face massage and I find it really relaxes me before bedtime. The oil really sinks into the skin so it doesn't leave you feeling greasy. It gives my lifeless, dehydrated skin a real boost and I have a fresh glow in the morning too. 

balance-me-radiance-face-oil


December is all about family time, shopping and eating and I'm looking forward to every minute!



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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

In need of some Winter Sun

If you are a regular reader of my blog you'll be well aware that I'm not a fan of the cold. Even snow annoys me - yes, I'm that Scrooge-type that moans when the white stuff comes down while everyone else is out building snowmen.


 *sings*
"Do You Want to Build a Snowman...?!!" 
No, I do not.


Nothing works properly when it snows and it makes me feel trapped. I hate the thought of not being able to get somewhere. We live at the top of a hill now and I'm well aware it's going to be chaos when it eventually does snow. I'm already dreaming of the perfect get away where the sun is bright, the air is warm and the ice is only inside my drink.

Obviously the further you travel the hotter it will be but there's actually no need to be sitting on a plane for 10 hours to get a bit of vitamin D. Marrakech has an average temperature of 27 degrees in Winter and the flight is just over 3 hours.
And in just 2 hours 10 minutes you can get to Majorca and basque in the 21 degrees sunshine. -Travelling home from work has taken longer than that before! And although the tube can sometimes feel like you're in the middle of a heatwave, lying on a beach is far more enjoyable.

Alpha Rooms have come up with a brilliant formula for choosing the perfect Winter- Sun destination. The key factors are flight time and most importantly -the weather!

playa-del-carmen-mexico
Laying on the beach in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

The place I visited and loved the most was Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. White sands, turquoise sea and a  lizard the size of a cat (yes, really)  I fell in love with the place. I can't wait to go back with my family. 

You have to consider that the hottest places are also the ones prone to downpours of rain. I experienced this while I was there. One moment I was in the pool, enjoying a cocktail and the warm sun on my face, and then the rain came. It poured down for about 10 minutes and afterwards the warm weather returned and dried up the rain within moments. It was like nothing ever happened -why can't that happen here, huh?!

Playa Del Carmen is about an hour away from Cancun which is probably the most well-known part of Mexico. We visited Cancun one evening and went to the incredible Coco Bongo club, any movie fans will be familiar with the name, it's the club in The Mask. I've never been to a bar like it, waiters bring you drinks (included in the price of the ticket) and shows go on above your head. Popular Movies like The Matrix, The Mask, Spiderman, and Beatle Juice come alive on ropes above you with some great special effects.... it's seriously brilliant. 

 I'd probably venture a little further then Playa Del Carmen and stay in Cancun a little longer next time to see a little more of it. There's too much of the world for me to go to the exact same place twice, but Mexico as a whole really impressed me.



There's loads of places on my 'Places to Visit' List, Cape Verde being one of them. It's not a massively long flight and you're sure to have great weather. The beaches look absolutely beautiful and I'm always my happiest when I'm at a beach.  You don't have to fly as far as the Caribbean and you still get the stunning scenery that rivals it. There's a mixture of different cultures to immerse yourself in and the food is meant to be incredible too. I've shortlisted 4 hotels I like the look of and I'm pretty sure it will be the location of out 2016 Summer holiday before Mason starts school.

All this talk of beaches has really made me want a holiday....




I'd love to hear if you've been to either Mexico or Cape Verde. Let me know any recommendations for some good Winter-Sun in the comments!






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