Monday, 30 November 2015

November Favourites

I can't believe it's the end of November, it feels like we've been counting down to Christmas and December for so long (I'm looking at you restaurant in Oxford playing Britney's 'My Only Wish This Year' in September) but now it's approaching so fast, I need to get on with my Christmas shopping! Here's what I've been loving this month...

Maybeline ColorSensational 365 Plum Passion Lipstick

CND Shellac Plum Paisley

Maybeline ColorSensational Plum Passion and Shellac Plum Paisley 

Plum has to be one of my favourite shades for beauty this autumn/winter. I picked up the Maybeline lipstick in the buy one get one half price at Boots earlier this month having popped in to buy another shade. It's quite different to any lipsticks I've owned before (I usually stick to reds or nudes) but it's really wearable and I'm sure I'll get a lot of wear out of it over the Christmas season. In keeping with the plum theme I decided to go for Plum Paisley when getting my nails done recently. I'm terrible for being indecisive (there's too many nice colours!) and often end up sticking to red nails at this time of year but I'm really glad I opted for this shade and have received quite a few compliments on it, I might get it again over New Year. 

Starbucks Red Cup 2015

Christmas Coffees

It's safe to say I'm something of a Christmas coffee addict. I eagerly await the red cups return. I've already had a couple of my beloved Gingerbread Latte's from Starbucks and I'm happy the Black Forrest Hot Chocolate (If you haven't tried this yet you need to, it tastes so good!) is back at Costa along with the White Hot Chocolate which is another of my favourites. I like to try and make sure I get my fill before they go back to the normal menu. A vanilla latte in January always feels so boring in comparison! 


It feels like we've been waiting forever for Adele to return but now she's back and I couldn't be happier. She's gripped the nation with "Hello" (Lionel who?!) and launched her highly anticipated third album '25' with an hour long special on BBC1 last week. It's still available to watch on iPlayer (did you see the bit with her entering the competition to find the best Adele impersonator, she was so funny and it was such a sweet moment when the other contenders realised who she was) I'm hoping to receive her album for Christmas and it'll no doubt be on repeat.

Primark SS16 Jewellery

Primark Jewellery

I usually find the jewellery section in Primark a bit hit and miss but they seem to have upped their game recently. I picked up these 2 necklaces the other day and their packaging informs me they're part of the new SS16 collection. I've wanted a beaded choker style necklace for ages and with Christmas party season coming up I think it must have been fate that I spotted this one. The weight of this style of necklace has always put me off in the past but this one is quite light so easy to wear all day or night and it was only £4.00. I really liked the pearl necklace too. I picked this up for £1.50 and thought it'd be great for everyday wear and to thrown on over a jumper. 

The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X Podcast 

Chris Moyles is truly my morning saviour. I used to love listening to the breakfast show back in the day with Chris and the team on Radio 1. It'd make getting out of bed that bit easier and keep me smiling on the journey to work. I was so happy when it was announced Chris (along with Dom and Pippa and some new additions to the team) were to take over the breakfast show on the newly launched Radio X. My only wish is that it was streamed on FM across the UK (or maybe that one day I could figure out how to connect my phone via bluetooth in my car.. it's been over 2 years now!) My prayers were answered when I discovered the podcast. It means I can catch up with any bits of the show I've missed that week. I love seeing it appear in my subscriptions each Friday. Fingers crossed Dominic the donkey returns this year too! Click here to catch up on the show. 

What have you been loving this month? 


Friday, 27 November 2015

Festive Homeware & Christmas Decorations

I've never been one of those people that counts down to putting up their Christmas tree on 1st December, don't get me wrong I love Christmas but it just almost feels too soon especially having been brought up observing the Twelfth Night tradition of putting the tree up on Christmas Eve. That being said I do like to introduce one of two Christmas decorations before then to get in the spirit so I thought I'd compile a list of some of the best decorations I've seen over the past couple of weeks which look great on there own if you maybe don't have space for a tree, are away over the holidays, or just want to add a little touch of something festive now.

Festive Homeware & Christmas Decorations Collage 1

1. Merry Christmas Bunting - Sass & Belle - £7.00
2. Silver Bells Decorations - Waitrose - £3.50
3. Cushion - M&S - £12.00
4. Noel Sign - Waitrose - £4.00
5. 'Be Merry, Be Awesome, Be You' Decorations - H&M - £3.99

I love these heart and star decorations from Waitrose made of little silver bells. They're currently out of stock at my local branch (I should have bought them when I first saw them!) but I'll be popping in again before Christmas to hopefully pick up a pair.

Christmas cushions are great to add to the sofa or a bed to make it extra cosy and this one from M&S is so cute and not too festive to look out of place on display across the winter months. I'm currently trying to resist buying another set of festive bedding this year!

H&M is fast becoming one of my favourite places to shop for homeware, I just wish they had more stores carrying their home range. I recently visited the H&M on Oxford Street (the one just along from Topshop) to look at the home section and they had some lovely Christmas things including these 'Be Merry, Be Awesome, Be You' gold hanging decorations.

Festive Homeware & Christmas Decorations Collage 2

6. Metal Diamond Decorations - H&M - £6.99
7. Wooden Trees - Wilko - £3.00
8. Wonderful Time Plaque - M&S - £10.00
9. Tartan Heart - Wilko - £1.00
10. Standing Reindeer - Sass & Belle - £7.50

'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year' plaque from M&S would look great hung on it's own or alongside a full on festive display! Little hanging plaques like this and the Sass & Belle 'Merry Christmas' bunting featured above are a great way to inject a touch of Christmas without having to spend much or buy a new tree.

The standing reindeer caught my eye straight away in Sass & Belle, there's also a smaller version available and I think I might have to pick one up to put in my room on my perfume shelf.

I really like these little tartan fabric hearts available at Wilko for just £1. You could use them on a tree but they would also be ideal for hanging around a room or you could string them along ribbon to make your own bunting if you're feeling crafty! The wooden trees are also from Wilko and would look great on a mantelpiece or as a table decoration.

Where is your favourite place to shop for Christmas decorations?
When do you put your decorations up? 


Black Friday: Best Fashion & Beauty Deals

I told myself I wasn't going to do a Black Friday post. I find it slightly bemusing that in recent years the idea of slashing prices and offering big pre Christmas discounts has travelled across the pond from the US. Along with Cyber Monday retailers are gearing up for what they hope to be one of their biggest weekends. With it being payday for many too I'm sure lots of people will be hitting the high street in search of bargains (but hopefully not fighting over giant televisions this year!)

I even have today's post scheduled to go up later but all of this went out of the window when I arrived home this evening and checked my emails and twitter to find too many good deals on fashion and beauty that I wanted to share. After all who doesn't love a bargain, especially when you've got Christmas presents to buy! 

Black Friday Deals

Accessorize have 30% off all jewellery and selected lines including scarves, gloves and bags

ASOS are offering 20% off everything including beauty with the code 'CYBER' at the checkout. High end make up brands including NARS and Illamasqua are on offer. It's free delivery on orders over £20 ( I'm sure I'll have no problem reaching this with my every growing order!) 

Benefit has 15% off all products (excluding sale items and Christmas gift sets) with the code 'BLACK15' 

The Body Shop are one of the best retailers for their deals all year round and this Black Friday they've got 40% off almost everything (there's a few lines excluded) with free UK delivery on orders over £5. If you're looking to treat yourself or haven't shopped with them before I recommend trying some of their Christmas collections, my favourites are Frosted Plum and Glazed Apple. I also love their skincare products. They have some great gift sets for Christmas which are very reasonably priced and a total steal with the extra 40% discount on top

Boux Avenue have 20% off online and in stores on all full priced products

Ciat√© London currently has 30% off everything including their popular 'Mini Mani Month' nails advent calendar

Cloud Nine have £20 off all electrical items (excluding the micro iron) until Monday. These are the holy grail of hair straighteners! 

Debenhams are offering VAT free prices on all fragrances including gift sets online and in stores alongside 10% off make up and skincare

The Fragrance Shop has 15% off all gift sets so be sure to check your Christmas shopping lists if anyone you're buying for has asked for fragrances 

GAP has 40% off full price styles with the code 'GAPFRIDAY'

GHD have £20 off selected hair stylers, hair dryers and curling irons until Monday. It's also worth checking to see if your local salon is running a deal

John Lewis are running their Price Match deal matching competitors promotions so if you've seen an item on offer elsewhere be sure to check with them too if you'd rather buy it there. They offer a free click and collect service on orders over £30 at their stores or you can pick it up at your local Waitrose

JOY are offering 25% off all full price clothing, accessories and jewellery with the code 'BLACKOUT' online and in stores

Kate Spade has 20% off using the code 'GIFT20' at the check out online and in stores through to Sunday. I love their purses and this offer makes them extra tempting! 

Kiehls have 20% off if you purchase 2 or more products. Use the code 'TREAT20'

Office are offering 20% off all shoes online (with free UK delivery) and in stores, great if you're looking to invest in a pair of winter boots or have had your eyes on some new heels for your Christmas party!

M&S have a whole host of offers including 50% off beauty and fragrance gifts, 30% off party wear, 30% off nightwear (handy if you're looking for some new Christmas PJ's or a winter dressing gown) 30% off the Rosie for Autograph lingerie collection and 30% off bags

Models Own are doing 50% off everything online and at the bottle stores, I especially love their glitter polishes at this time of year

Monsoon has up to 30% off party dresses. It's one of my go-to places when looking for a dress for a special occasion, they can be a little more pricey than some high street stores but with 30% off they're much more affordable

Oasis is one of my favourite high street stores, I can't go in without finding something I want to buy but often wish it was that bit cheaper. They've got 25% off everything with the code 'BRIGHT25' so make sure to check it out if you're a fan too. I'm trying to resist buying it all! 

Selfridges are doing their 20% off weekend again this year (10% for beauty and fragrance) with the code 'SELFCEE' so if you're lusting after a designer handbag be sure to let Santa know this is the time to invest! 

Whistles has 20% off everything until Monday. It's one of those shops I walk past and wish I could afford everything inside, so this 20% off could come in very handy/dangerous. If it's good enough for Kate Middleton... 

What deals are you hoping to find on Black Friday? 


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers under £10.00

With it being a month today until Christmas day I thought I'd better make a start on my Christmas shopping. I try to avoid going when it's really busy (though I'll never be one of these "I finished my shopping in July" organised types!) I love to go and look round the shops to get some inspiration about what to buy people on my list. There's so many great gifts you can find for under £10.00 which are ideal if you're on a budget or maybe taking part in a Secret Santa. Here's a selection of some of the best I've found to hopefully help you out if you're stuck for ideas on what to buy..

Christmas Gift Guide 2015: Stocking Fillers under £10.00

1. Light Brown Cardholder - River Island - £8.00
2. Beaded Necklace - Primark - £4.00
3. Lip Bullet Duo - Topshop - £10.00
4. Build Your Own Gingerbread House - Tiger - £3.00
5. Wake Up And Smell The Coffee Mug - Sass & Belle - £6.50

I can't visit Topshop at Oxford Circus without making a beeline for the beauty department. I especially love their lip colours, they're such great quality for the price. This set of 2 lip bullets would make a lovely gift. 'Get Me Bodied' is a rich matte plum which is perfect for the season and 'Cherry Tree' is a classic red shade. I've always wanted to make my own Gingerbread House but I've been put off by how difficult it looks! This set from Tiger comes ready to assemble and includes a bag of sweets to decorate. It'd be a fun activity for all ages to do over the Christmas holidays.

Christmas Gift Guide 2015: Stocking Fillers under £10.00

6. Penguin Eye Mask - Paperchase - £6.00
7. Starbucks Dusting Set - Boots - £10.00
8. Soap & Glory Irresistibubble Gift Set - Boots - £5.00
9. Recipe Tin - Dot Com Gift Shop - £9.95
10. Pocket Guide to Wine Book - John Lewis - £7.99

I try to resist looking at all the gifts whilst waiting in the Starbucks queue for fear of leaving the store not only with my latte but 4 gift mugs and a travel cup too! This dusting set looks like it would make a great gift for coffee lovers. It contains coco sprinkles in cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and chocolate so you can add flavours to your coffee all year round. My favourite Soap & Glory scent has to be sugar crush. It has a sweet lime fragrance that smells amazing. The Irresistibubble gift set is great value at just £5.00 for a mini sugar crush body wash and body buttercream.

Christmas Gift Guide 2015: Stocking Fillers under £10.00

11. Foldaway Tote Bag - Paperchase - £4.50
12. Frosted Plum Hand Cream - The Body Shop - £4.00
13. Stationery Set - Primark - £5.00
14. Kiehl's Facial Fuel No-Shine Lip Balm - Selfridges - £8.00
15. Liberty Chocolate Coin - Liberty - £3.95

Since the plastic bag charge came into effect in England and Wales recently I always try to make sure I pop a foldaway bag into my handbag before I leave the house to save ending up buying yet more carrier bags. I've bought a couple of the foldaway tote's from Paperchase. There's so many designs to choose from and they easily fold away back into the pouch. I like to include similar things in a stocking for a man (there's so many beauty bits for women) and try to find a find a few beauty and grooming gifts to pop in. I know a few guys who are fans of the Kiehl's Facial Fuel skincare range and I'm sure their no-shine lip balm would make a welcomed gift during these colder months to prevent chapped lips. It's the law to have a bit of chocolate in your stocking, right?! I went for a look around the Christmas shop in Liberty a couple of weeks ago and their chocolate coins are truly giant! They feature a picture of their iconic London store. They'd make a lovely gift for any Liberty fans, and chocolate fans too!

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? 


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

A Visit to The Cake & Bake Show 2015

Earlier this month I visited The Cake & Bake Show at Event City in Manchester. I've been to similar trade shows including the Ideal Home Show in the past and enjoyed looking round and thought what's not to like when cake is concerned! The popularity of The Great British Bake Off has encouraged many of us to put on our aprons and have a go ourselves. I won't be making any showstoppers anytime soon but I've already got an ever growing list of things to bake in time for Christmas!

The Cake & Bake Show Sign

Cake & Bake Show GBBO Live Ian

Cake & Bake Show GBBO Live Flora

One of my highlights from the show has to be watching contestants from The Great British Bake Off giving demonstrations at the 'The Great British Bake Off Live' stage. I was lucky enough to see one of my favourite contestants Ian from the most recent series (He made a working chocolate well in the showstopper challenge one week on the show.. need I say anymore!) I also watched Flora from the recent series baking a cake and making her own jam to decorate it with. There was a range of contestants from the different series of GBBO appearing across the weekend. Celebrity chefs were also in attendance appearing at another theatre offering demonstrations and answering questions from the audience.

Cake & Bake Show Cutout

Cake & Bake Show Official Show Cake

Cake & Bake Show Frozen Cake

There was lots of professional cakes to admire, I loved the London design on the official show cake and of course the Frozen cake was attracting a lot of interest.

Cake & Bake Show Giant Gingerbread

There was a marketplace area full of stalls selling cakes, biscuits and chocolates to buy alongside baking tools and decorations. I couldn't not get a photo of these super cute Gingerbread men, and yes they tasted as good as they look!

Cake & Bake Show Bread Basket

Cake & Bake Show Peter Rabbit Cake

Cake & Bake Show House Cake

It was great to see the baking competition entries which seemed anything but amateur to me! My favourite in the category was this amazing Peter Rabbit cake. You could really see how much hard work and detail must have gone into creating all the characters.

Cake & Bake Show Bar

Cake & Bake Show Vintage Tea Room Caravan

There was a range of pop up bars serving champagne and cocktails to enjoy alongside a sweet treat and even a vintage style tea room offering a more traditional cup of tea served from a caravan if you fancied a sit down and wanted to relax from all that shopping!

Have you been to The Cake & Bake Show? 

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