Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What I was gifted this Christmas

I hope you've all had a lovely festive break and managed to spend some time with family and friends and recharge your batteries a little. I, for one, have been eating my weight in home-made mince pies and loving it.

I received some truly lovely gifts this year and thought I'd share a selection of them with you on here as my last post of the year. I know some people detest Christmas gift posts or find them a bit yawn but I personally love seeing what other people have been gifted and sharing in a little bit of their joy. To me it isn't bragging or showing off, any more than any other posts that showcase your life or possessions is. (Anyone else cringe at the phrase 'showing off'? It remind me of being little and your Mum accusing you of just 'showing off' in front of your friends! Nothing will put you in your place quite like it.)

So that said, here are some of things I was lucky enough to be given by loved ones this year :)

I went fairly light on the beauty related wish list this year and focused on a few things that had really caught my eye. I know the Clarisonic is the only face brush for lots of people but the Clinique Sonic System sounded like a much better fit for my skin. I was so excited when I unwrapped this and the accompanying face wash from my boyfriend. I haven't tried it out yet (still on its inaugural charge!) but may do a full post on this once I've had a few months to get used to it.

I need more neutral eye shadow like a hole in the head but the Urban Decay Naked2 Basics palette caught my eye. Have used it a few times already and LOVE it. I appreciate the matte shades but can't help but think it would benefit from one shimmer in there.

Yes celebrity perfumes are gimmicky but this Beckham 'Signature' perfume is one of my winter favourites. A nice mature scent and the longevity is reasonable as well.

This beauty box from Latest In Beauty is one of my favourites they've done. There isn't a dud product in there. Definitely keep an eye on these releases if you like that sort of thing. There's always something exciting about a 'goody bag' of things!

And onto the non-beauty related.
I received quite a lot of things that I can 'do' this year, which is fine by me :) Lots to keep me busy in the coming months. The Great British Bake Off Everyday cook book has some great recipes in it which range from everyday to fancier ones featured on the show, all with really clear instructions. Very user-friendly. I've ear marked the savoury crackers as one of my first to try.

My love of stationery continues with this pretty notebook and pen from my sister. Now I just need to 'assign' it to a task/topic and I'm good to go.

My boyfriend added to my Pandora bracelet with a sweet little silver hedgehog charm which I've already added. It's filling up nicely now and most of the charms have a little meaning or memory behind them which makes it very special.

You can't go wrong with gift vouchers and I will be waiting until after the dregs of the sales have been cleared away before I trot off to spend these in H&M.

And lastly was one of the most thoughtful gifts I received this year. Sewing is a skill my mum has passed on to me and I tinkle here and there with things but, despite having been bought a sewing machine a few birthdays ago, I'm yet to make anything from scratch on it. Mum took herself off to John Lewis and picked out two patterns that she thought I'd like and the material and zips so I'm ready to go with my garments. I have this skirt you can see here with the checked material and also a plain navy shift dress to make. Mum's also promised to help, which I'm definitely going to need! Can't wait to get started on a grey January weekend.

So there you go. What did you get for Christmas? If you've written a post then please link it below as I'd love to see!

All that remains to say now is...see you in the new year!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Hello December!

The cold has set in and it's officially winter weather now, so here's what awaits me in December...

1. Long weekend away. Mark and I are heading to the Scottish highlands next week for a 4/5 day mini break away. I know it's going to be pretty chilly but I am really looking forward to it. I'm thinking fresh air, walks and cosy pubs. We have sorted our flights and car hire but not booked any accommodation as yet so need to get that sorted this weekend. I've been taking a laid back approach to planning the trip but have found a few things that we definitely want to tick off on our trip.

2. Seeing friends. The festive period means that everyone's workload is a little more relaxed and there will be more time to spend having wine and catchups with friends. One of my best friends lives in Seattle and is coming back home for Christmas so I cannot wait to see her. Yes we keep in touch with Skype and Whatsapp but you can't beat a girly chat over cups of tea.

3. Work Christmas lunch. This is always a very indulgent affair - my company goes big on the Christmas do. Essentially write off the day from 12pm onwards and expect to take on ample amounts of food and wine courtesy of the boss. I see it as my reward for the year's hard work! The Christmas meals can be a bit awkward in places but are generally a good laugh and a chance to see the rest of our geographically spread out team. And get a good rousing speech from the boss. Leave for home before the remaining guests move on to the next bar or pub and you're normally onto a winner.

4. Time to recharge. We have a fairly generous 'work from home' policy in our company for the Christmas Eve to New Year period. So although I will still be doing work, I can't wait for the much needed opportunity to slow down my pace of life for a couple of weeks. I could do without the daily commute to/from London and the lack of daylight hours for a short while. A good opportunity to reflect on things and recharge the batteries ready for the new year. I'm sure I'll be going stir crazy by the end of it though!

5. Christmas. I couldn't really get away with writing this post and not mentioning the big 'C' word. Yes I am looking forward to Christmas and all the festivities and nice-ness. I'm not full of seasons greetings just yet though. I will reserve full excitement until around the second week of December when it 'feels' more Christmassy to me. I am looking forward to Christmas shopping, everyone being that little bit nicer, yummy food, board games, family time and festive films. I just can't embrace it all yet. Baby steps.

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