UK Lifestyle Blog

27 November 2017

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for 2017



I can't quite believe it, but it's some how 4 days until the 1st of December, and that means one thing, Christmas is just around the corner! Most of you may have already began your Christmas shopping, perhaps you're super organised and everything is wrapped and ready to go. If not, or you're stuck for those last few gift ideas,  then I have you covered. I have trawled the internet, and compiled a categorised list of gifts just for you!


I hope you find it helpful



{{The Gardener}}

  •  These gorgeous , handy for growing mint for mojitos!
  •  A to help beginners get their garden groove on.
  •  These for a touch of glamour during those practical tasks
  • for an extra special gift.
  •  This  is perfect for garden prep 


{{The Star Baker}}

  • The gorgeous , for sharing those delicious creations
  • , for the messy baker
  • for a quick bake!
  • The ultimate bargain , to give their arms a rest and look pretty on their kitchen worktop.

{{The Explorer}}


  • Help them keep track of travels with this effective
  • Keep their documents safe in this stylish
  • One for the short escape lover, offers plenty of travel ideas
  • Help them track their travels with this gorgeous
  • For a more Lavish gift, why not help them capture their travels perfectly with this


{{The Ginthusiast}}

  • A taste of everything with this
  • Ginspire them with this (see what I did there)
  • A is great for them to enjoy a cheeky Christmas tipple
  • Help them get creative with their very own
  • How about a for their bar/cabinet, or you know, to drink.




    {{Make-Up Magpie}}

    • A Luxury , bound to make any make up lover drool!
    • Get them party ready with this  for all the party glamour.
    • The, an essential in anyone's make-up stash, practical and pretty
    • One to give keep all through the festive season.
    • Wow them with this It also makes a great Secret Santa gift!


    {{The Home Maker}}

    • The perfect great for hosting the next cheese and wine night, hint hint
    • A cosy the ultimate sofa companion at this time of year.
    • These adorable are bound to make any home lover weak at the knees
    • You can't go wrong with a posh  to burn on those cold nights.
    •  The cutest, great for kitchen windowsills filled with festive flowers.



    {{The Comfort Seeker}}

    • Keep their feet warm with these cosy
    • Classic Comfy Christmas staple,
    • A super toasty perfect for those festive movie nights.
    • The Essential of all loungewear, a snug
    • An ultimate comfort seeker,!


    {{For Him}}

    • This gorgeous , is sure to keep him warm this Christmas
    • A, perfect for all those weekend escapes
    • Make Sunday morning fry ups easier with this handy
    • If he's a coffee drinker, one of these  would be the perfect present
    • Keep him fresh during the party season with this 

    {{For The Stocking}}

    • If you don't get chocolate in your stocking is it even Christmas? These extra festive are the perfect sweet stocking filler
    • Help them get organised for the new year with this pretty
    • A mug is a perfect gift for all those hot winter beverages, they will love this adorable
    • If you know a loose leaf tea lover, then this is not only handy but so cute!
    • Socks are another great stocking filler and these ones are super sweet

    I hope this guide has helped you find that special someone the ideal gift, or maybe a treat for yourself!

    

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      13 November 2017

      A Weekly Countdown to an Organised Christmas #1





      Now that we are well into November, our minds begin to turn to thoughts of cosy nights in, cocktails with the girls and of course Christmas! I'm usually one to leave things until the last minute and then ends up having so much to do in a short space of time (tell me I'm not the only one!), therefore I wanted to put together a week by week countdown, for not only myself to follow but also to help make your Christmas a little more organised!


      Some of you may have already started your Christmas prep long ago, some of you may not know where to start, so I'm hoping this little weekly guide will give you (and me) a helping hand!


      So let's dive right in,


      6 weeks to go!


      1. Declutter. You already know that Christmas time brings a lot of gift giving, food shopping and filling your wardrobes with festive knits and sparkly dresses, which makes it the perfect time to have a good de-clutter. Pack away all of the clothes you wont be wearing again for a few months (goodbye summer), start clearing the cupboards, and emptying your drawers. I like to clear out a cupboard for Christmas food only, and then week by week in December start to fill it, and try not to eat it as I do so!


      2. Assess your budget. I'm guessing most of you will have already started saving, go you!, maybe you've even bought a few gifts already. Now is the best time to assess your budget, work out what you want to spend on food for the day, whether you need any food for a house party/film night in, or are you having Christmas dinner out? Set out a list and allocate a set budget to each day/event. This way when you go to do your shop in December you know exactly what budget to keep to, and don't just keep adding to your basket! It will also leave you more money for more quality street, yum!


      3. Check postal dates. Maybe even go ahead and print them out and pin it up somewhere so you don't forget to send out any cards or gifts. The Post office have released there dates already, which you can find .


      4. Start filling in your calendar with events. Christmas brings a lot of dinners out and parties to attend, so it's best to fill in your diary when they start coming in. Not only to avoid double booking, but also for budgeting and planning your perfect outfit (priorities). Tis the season to be sociable!


      5. Purchase your advent calendars. I made the mistake one year and left it really late to buy a calendar and nearly everywhere had sold out, luckily I did manage to grab myself a chocolate one. This is particularly important if you want to get hold of one of the highly coveted beauty calendars that sell out super fast.


      6. Start compiling a list of gifts that people would like, referring back to your budget for help in planning. If possible it might be easier to start buying bits now for a slightly less stressful shop! I say slightly because don't you find gift buying stressful in general? ahhh!  Every week nearer to Christmas the shops tend to get busier and busier, so starting earlier will help avoid some of those busiest days.


      7. Rummage through your Christmas decorations, are there any bulbs that need replacing on your fairy lights? Do you need a few more bits for the house? Are you having a different colour scheme this year? Ask yourself all these questions before you go shopping to avoid buying things you don't need, or forgetting things that you do! (serial offender in this category). Personally I'm loving John Lewis at the moment, particularly their Highland Myths and Into the Woods Christmas collections. This set of are top of my wish list, they are just adorable!


      8. Make a December bucket list. Is there anything you really want to do this December? Perhaps visit a Christmas market, go ice skating, or maybe even just have a cosy festive film night with lots of hot chocolate (my dream night in). Make a list and then refer back to your calendar to see where you can fit these activities in.
      So there you go your 6 week countdown begins! Let me know if you manage to check any of these off your to do list, or if you think I have missed anything that needs to be done this week!

      I hope you enjoy this mini festive series on my blog, and let the countdown begin.

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      23 December 2016

      Tips For Hosting a Dinner Party & Our Christmas Decor*


      It's almost Christmas day, you've got your food shop done, the turkey is ready to be prepped, now it's time to get your house in order. Throwing a dinner party can be stressful at any time of the year, but none more so than at Christmas! Friends and family come round in their droves, all with hungry bellies, and a thirst for some fulfilling festive grub.

      This is our first Christmas in our own home, and the first Christmas Day Dinner I've ever hosted. As a couple, we cook for two of us, Christmas day, I'll be cooking for SEVEN. Daunting indeed. I thought I would put together a dual post, with tips for helping you host your own festive dinner party and also a sneaky peek at what our house looks like this Christmas.



      1. My first, absolute number 1 tip would be make a list. Check it twice. Couldn't help myself.
          I'm known to have a million lists on the go, but to make it easier for you split them into categories
          such as; Food to buy, Home (extra chairs needed? spare bowls?) and other. Then you can clearly
          see what is left to do and what you've already tackled.


      2. Set a Budget.
          Hosting a dinner party can be an expensive affair, especially if you're having a lot of guests 
          attending. Set yourself a budget and try not to go over board. Perhaps even ask guests to bring
          a bottle of alcohol with them, as this will save you a lot of money, and on the whole guests are
          usually quite happy to do this. Your focus then can solely be on the food.


      3. Give yourself plenty of time.
          I can often be a huge culprit of 'last minute mayhem' and often do leave things very late in terms of
          organisation. However this time round, I was prepared. As you can see even my table is set ready,
          which is because I'm working up until Christmas Eve. I really didn't want to be setting the table,
          and trying to keep an eye on the Christmas Dinner all in the morning. Make sure you give yourself
          plenty of time to get everything done, that way you'll feel much more relaxed when the party gets 
          into motion.



      
      4. Create a time line.
          One tip that I often use at work, is to create a Timed To Do list. This is where you break down
          your day into hours. Say you're up at 9am and you dinner party starts at 7:30. Break down the
          middle into sections such as 9-10am pick up fresh produce, 10-11 prep starter and all vegetables.
          This way you can clearly see all of your tasks in an hour by hour format and know what you need
          to be doing and when.


      5. It's all in the detail.
          What makes parties and dinners memorable to me is the attention to detail. You don't have to
          spend a lot of money, you can even D.I.Y your own table decorations. I have bought most of my
          table décor from Ikea, B&M and Home Bargains. It didn't cost much at all, but looks great when
          it's all put together.

         

      6. Create the right ambiance.
          Another key preparation for a party is creating the right ambiance, is the house warm enough, is it
          too warm from the kitchen heat? You don't want your guests sat in their coats, but nor do you want
          them sweltering either!
          Another key element is scent. I like to make my home smell nice before we have any one round. I 
          was contacted by , which is a luxury homeware company to take their Home Fragrance Quiz
          and pick out a candle based on my result. My perfect Home Scent came out as Sweet. Which is no 
          surprise to me! You can take the quiz here  to help find a scent that will be perfect for your home. I was sent a gorgeous cream and gold
          candle called Air de Provence by D.L.&Co* which smells sensational. It has hints of jasmine,
          musk and citrus. Perfect to keep my home smelling great this party season. Whether it's a candle,
          room spray, or air freshener it's easy to make your home smell delicious in time for your guests
          arriving.





      7. Have Fun.
          Grab a glass of wine, pop on the festive tunes and have some fun. Try not to stress too much, and
          take it all in. Sometimes being a host can distract you from actually enjoying your own party!
          Ensure you pry yourself away from the kitchen and have a good time with your guests.

      Hosting a dinner party


      I hope that this post has helped you prepare for your next dinner party, and I hope you have an amazing time during this festive season!

      Are you hosting a dinner party this Christmas?




      *Items in this post were gifted to me, all opinions are my own
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      14 December 2016

      How To Have The Perfect Winter Pamper Night

       
      So I have already failed at vlogmas! In my defence a change of work rota and illness has worked against me. However, I have been filming for vlogmas which I'm hoping to put together and put up n sometime soon as week one! I have some fun plans this year so I'm excited to capture them all and share them with you.
       
       
      One of my favourite things to do at this time of the year is to have a cosy night in pampering myself. Now that the weathers dropped to being almost freezing, its socially acceptable to put on your pj's on straight away and stay in with a pizza and glass of prosecco. Which I will definitely be doing a lot!
       
      So I thought I would share a few tips on how to have the perfect winter night in!
       
      


       
      My first tip would be to unwind. My favourite thing to do is grab a hot drink and have a browse of my favourite magazines, or catch up on some of my favourite blogs. You could also have a bath or shower, listen to some music, read a book, or just sit for a while enjoying the peace and quiet! Or if you're feeling a little wild, grab a large glass of wine in place of the cuppa!

       
       
      I also love switching on a festive movie and grabbing a naughty treat! Some of my favourite Christmas films include; Muppets Christmas Carol, Love Actually, Elf and Santa Claus.
       
      For the naughty treat, we picked up this delicious Gingerbread Ice Cream from Aldi. Which I can confirm, hand on heart, tasted divine. I added some salted caramel dessert sauce, to make it that more sinful, and thoroughly enjoyed snaffling my way through it. If you fancy a hot treat instead, then you can't go wrong with pizza!
       

       
      Of course, no pamper night is complete without some actual pampering! Grab your favourite face mask, a festive nail polish and give yourself a top to toe pamper. I sometimes go the whole hog and fake tan too, because why not! Light your favourite winter candle, pop netflix on the laptop and have some well deserved me time.

       
       The final step is getting a good nights sleep, nothing makes you feel better than a good 8 hours rest. Put on your favourite pj's, spray that deep sleep pillow spray and dive into bed. Can anyone remember when an early night was punishment?!  Not anymore my friend!
       
      Make your pamper night all about you, and the things you enjoy doing. If unwinding to you is grabbing a pizza, put on your fave Netflix movie, and relax on the sofa then do it! Or perhaps you like to grab a large glass of wine, fill the bath with your favourite lush goodies, and soak away the hours. Either way, indulge in your favourite things and make the most of some me time this winter.
       
       
      How do you like to spend your winter's nights?
      x
      

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      9 December 2016

      Getting Festive With Intu Victoria Centre, Nottingham



       Monday night I was invited to the Intu Victoria Centre for their Festive Blogger Event. I was so excited when I spied their invite in my email box, as I've been to a fair few of their events in the past and let me tell you, they don't do things by halves! Everything was set up beautifully.
       
      As we entered the VIP area, there was a roaring fire flickering away on the wide screen, the ultimate festive backdrop for the evenings events. Brown and tweed furniture took centre stage, with silver and wood accents also featured in the décor. I adored these cushions, and they are high on my wish list. The fluffy one is the softest thing I've ever felt! Everything was from House of Fraser, and looks very country cottage, which if you know me is exactly the look I been trying to create in my own home! I will definitely be coaxing Stephen into there for a bit of festive home décor shopping.


      

      The next stand out feature in the blogger box, was the stunning white Christmas tree, featuring Intu orange baubles! Underneath the tree were some very generous goody bags that each of us got to take home, full of treats from brands such as; Charlotte Tilbury, Clinique, Aveda and more! As well as some yummy chocolate coins, which are an essential at Christmas!

      I made my way inside, along with some of my favourite blogger friends, and snapped up one of these mouth-watering Thaikhun Cocktails. They were perfectly presented in this take away style cup.


      We spent some time catching up, meeting some new faces and discussing all things blogging and Christmas. Then it was time to pull out my jumper and get creative.

      I headed on over to the Christmas Jumper station, which had been put together by Super+Super , who if you have seen my previous Intu Event post, also helped us make some stunning autumnal floral headbands. I knew it was going to be good!

      I picked up a very soft, grey, roll neck jumper from Primark, for the bargainous price of £6.00! It was the perfect base to get my glue on!

      After eyeing the array of felt, sparkles and embellishments, I decided I wanted to do a simple, chic Christmas jumper design, that still looked festive. I opted for a glamorous reindeer, complete with silver sparkly felt, and oodles of gems. I was very pleased with my completed jumper and can't wait to wear it over the festive season!


      All that crafting worked up an appetite, and we were treated to a truly scrumptious frozen yogurt from Sloane Brothers. These were the most decadent froyo's I have ever laid my eyes on. They came topped with luxurious treats such as; candy canes, ginger bread men, popcorn, raspberries and mini chocolate biscuits! They tasted just as amazing as they looked too. If Christmas was a dessert it would be this one!


      The Intu Victoria Centre event was the perfect way to start off what has already been an amazing December.

      I left feeling very festive and lucky! I had such a lovely evening catching up with other local bloggers and doing what we do what we do best! I am extremely grateful to Intu Victoria Centre and Cartwright Communications for inviting me to their incredible events. Each one that I've attended has been so well put together, you can really see the hard work that has gone into creating them.

      What have you been up to so far this December?
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      15 December 2015

      Baileys Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes

       
      Difficulty - Easy
      

      Christmas is a time for giving... and eating! I wanted to bake a festive treat but give it a little twist, and out came these babies! Boozy Baileys Cupcakes- Adult's only. They are delicious and chocolatey. Perfect for snaffling whilst watching your favourite Christmas movie in front on the roaring fire. So how did I make them you say? Let's get stuck in!

      You Will Need:

      - 100g Self-Raising Flour
      - 25g Cocoa Powder (I used Dr Oetker Dark Cocoa Powder)
      - 140g Caster Sugar
      - A Pinch Of Salt
      - 40g Margarine
      - 120ml Baileys
      - 1 Large Egg
      - Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Icing

      Now that you have all your ingredients together, we can begin!

      1.  Pre-Heat your oven to around 170 Degrees.

      2. Put your Flour, Cocoa Powder, Caster Sugar, Salt and butter into a bowl. Whisk together until the mixture forms a sand-like texture.


      3. Crack your large egg into a Jug and Whisk Well.

      4. Add your egg and 120ml Baileys to your mixture.


      5. Whisk all the mix together until the consistency is very smooth with no lumps.

      6. Pour your smooth chocolatey mixture into your cupcake cases, filling them about half way.


      7. Pop into the oven for around 15-20 minutes. To test if the cupcakes are ready either lightly press the top of the cake and if it springs back they should be ready. An alternate way, which I use, is to use a skewer or cocktail stick, poke it through the centre of the cake and remove. If there is mixture left on the stick then the cakes need a little longer. If it is clean then the cakes are done. Leave to cool for 20-30 minutes.


      8. Now's the fun part - Decorating! I piped Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge Icing quite thickly in a swirl and then Sprinkled Edible Gold Stars (Asda) on top. Finishing the cake of with an edible white Snowflake (Asda).

      9. Grab a blanket, flick on your favourite Christmas movie and Enjoy your Cheeky Chocolate Treat.

      If you fancy a family friendly alcohol free Christmas Cupcake replace the baileys with milk!



       
      What Christmas treats have you been Baking?
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      27 November 2015

      The Ultimate Stocking Filler Gift Guide For Her


      So it's only 4 days until December! How crazy is that? Most of you have probably gotten the majority of your Christmas shopping done, but for those of you that haven't or are in need of those little gifts to accompany your main presents then I have the post for you!

      I personally love stocking fillers, little cute trinkets, tiny make-up sets, jewellery, I love it all and I especially enjoy buying them for others too.

      I decided to split my Stocking Gift Guide into mini categories; Beauty, Body, Jewellery, Drink & Accessories. I hope you enjoy this post and it helps you find the perfect gift for your mum/sister/friend/wife, or maybe even a cheeky treat for yourself!

      For The Beauty Lover:


       

       This set contains 4 lip products, 2 lip pens and 2 glosses. One is a lovely festive red shade, perfect for all those festive parties! The other is a gorgeous berry colour which is the ultimate winter lip colour.




      The packaging itself is super festive and pretty, it's enough to make you swoon with Christmas joy (sorry getting carried away!). Inside the cracker there is a mini intense volume mascara and a stay perfect amazing eyeliner. I like this gift as most sets are often nails or lips so it's nice to see something out of the ordinary.






      This cute set contains a lipstick and a lip liner. These sets also come in 4 different shades, a nude, bold pink, brick red and plum. I opted for the bold pink shade as Its a year round colour that can take you through winter all the way to summer.


      For The Bath Wallower:




      Victoria Secret Pure Seduction Body Wash

      If you're looking to get someone a luxurious delicious scented body wash then you must definitely pay a visit to Victoria Secret, their shower gels are some of the best smelling ones around! They also do a fantastic range of body mists too if you fancied getting someone the ultimate bath & pamper gift.




      Another Shower Gel to delight the senses is this pink offering from Lush, aptly named Snow Fairy- perfect for Christmas! It has a very sweet bubble gum scent to it and will be popular with most girls who love their sweet sugary scents. The other thing that makes Snow Fairy a special stocking filler is that it is only available with Lush's Christmas Collection and thus it can only be bought this time of year.


      Primark Sugared Cherry Shower Crème & Body Spritzer

      If you're  more budget friendly shower/bath option, then this set from Primark is perfect, again it has a very sweet scent. It reminds me of bakewell tarts, and who doesn't want to smell like cake! It comes in a lovely little packet too, making it easy to pop into a stocking.




      This luxurious caught my eye with its stunning bright white mock crock packaging, as well as I've never actually come across a body cleanser before. It's a perfect set for those ladies who love skincare and not just for their face. Reis is also a very well known luxury brand and therefore the quality of the product can be assured.

      For The Coffee Worshipper:


      These cute cups were super cheap and make the best stocking fillers for anyone who loves a hot beverage. The 'Baby it's cold outside' Mug is from Home Bargains and the Copper Travel Cup is from Primark. These would make the perfect D.I.Y stocking fillers by combining them with your Giftee's favourite drink- maybe it's White Hot Chocolate? Throw in some Marshmallows and Flakes to too to make it even more yummy!

      For The Lace Lingerie Addict:



      Underwear is having it's moment in the sun at the minute, with brands upping their game in terms of unique lace patterns to structured cages there's something for everyone. My favourite places to shop are New Look and Ann Summers. Both have stunning designs to choose from, the Bra's above are from both stores, The top and the bottom delicate Every girl can appreciate a good set of lingerie.


      For The Jewellery Magpie:




      Pandora Stackable Rings

      Pandora is the perfect place to pick out jewellery for your loved one, they have both affordable and high end pieces meaning that no matter what your budget you will be able to find something to suit you. I personally love the Stackable rings which range from around £30 upwards.


      Swarovski Jewellery

      For a pricier gift, perhaps for your Mum or Wife then Swarovski is the place to go, with its stunning range of sparkles you are bound to find something special enough for that important person. Stocking fillers are perfect gifts as they can be a mix of affordable and luxury items and Swarovski definitely ticks the luxury box that's for sure!


      That's it for my 2015 Stocking Filler guide! I hope you've found some inspiration for your loved one's stocking or maybe a cheeky gift to yourself- you deserve it!

       
      What would you like to see in your stocking this year?
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