Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Christmas Advert Hype - Some Of My Favourites...

Over the last few years the hype around Christmas adverts, especially the John Lewis one has just grown and grown. Not only is the classic Coca Cola advert one to look forward to, but now John Lewis, Marks and Spencers, Sainsburys and even Aldi compete for the best festive ad. It started a good few years ago when John Lewis released their 2011 advert centered around a little boy being impatient for Christmas because he wanted to give his parents a present, it's really lovely and still makes me a little emotional, and since then they've been bringing out a new one each year hoping to top the last. With theirs doing so well, so many other shops have started getting involved and as there are so many different ones each year I thought I'd do a blog post about them. It's something different to what I've done before but I hope you like it, and I'd love to know what your favourite Christmas advert is so far!
1. John Lewis The Snowmen (2012) - My favourite ever Christmas ad and one that had to be at the top is The Snowmen from John Lewis which came out in 2012. I remember so clearly watching this with George at his one weekend and getting so emotional at it, it was the first proper one we watched together and I think it will always be special for that reason. I'm not great at explaining stuff so I recommend you just watch, but it's such a heartwarming advert and one I kind of miss every year!
2. Marks and Spencers Paddington Bear (2017)  - If you've seen some of my recent posts it's probably no surprise the new Marks and Spencers advert starring Paddington is near the top of this list. I'm a big fan of Paddington and the films, so when I saw this advert, I was so, so happy. It's just very cute and one of my favourites over the last few years. I already don't know how they'll top it next year for me!
3. Marks and Spencers Mrs Claus (2016) - It was last year I think Marks and Spencers really started to compete with John Lewis for the best Christmas ad, and I do think they won it. Last year John Lewis had the Buster the Boxer ad which I just didn't think was as good as some of their previous ones, and then M&S came out with this which was just wonderful. It was funny, it was emotional, it was just the best one of 2016 I think and I'm so glad they've come out with another great one this year.
4. Sainsburys 1914 (2014) - Sainsburys pulled something special out of the bag with this advert in 2014. Even now it makes me cry and it just completely shows what Christmas is all about. It's called Christmas is for Sharing and it was made in conjunction with the Royal British Legion and it focuses on the famous Christmas Day football match between the British and German forces in 1914. I think this is probably one of the best ever Christmas adverts and will probably always be one of my favourites.
5. Heathrow Airport Coming Home For Christmas (2016) - A Christmas advert for Heathrow is a bit of an odd one and not one you'd think would be included on this list but last year they brought one out and it is just adorable. As there are two bears that's kind of my reason for loving it so much but it's just a lovely little story and as you can imagine, it's another one that makes me cry, the ending just gets me!
6. John Lewis Monty The Penguin (2014) - Back to John Lewis, and this time it's their Monty The Penguin advert, which has the nicest story of a boy and his toy penguin who wants to find love. The song included Real Love by Tom Odell is perfect and it's one that always makes me think of Christmas now whenever I hear it. I love the whole advert and it's so different to the others they have come out with.
7. John Lewis The Bear and The Hare (2013) - Before Monty The Penguin there was the Bear and the Hare and even though it's not my favourite ever John Lewis ad, it is really nice to watch and gives me all the feels. It's another one that is just adorable, they do cute things like this so well, I don't know how they come up with so many different ideas.
8. Sainsburys (2013) - This was before a lot of shops started properly going for it with theirs ads, and even though this one is quite simple, it's still one of my favourites and one I always remember at Christmas. It's nice to just see clips from lots of families celebrating Christmas and there are some really funny bits in. The ending though is what gets me as a man returns from the army to surprise his family and it's so heartwarming. A very emotional ending to quite a normal, basic advert but one I think I'll always remember!
There are so many other adverts I could have included but I think I picked the best so hopefully if you haven't seen them before, you enjoy them! The newest John Lewis advert came out a few weeks ago and to be honest I didn't think it was as good as others have been but I'm not sure if we all just hype it up too much now so it's easy to be disappointed when it finally arrives!

Do you look forward to the John Lewis advert every year? Are any of these your favourites too?

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Birchbox Unboxing and Review - November 2017...

After a disappointing September and October Birchbox I was really hoping they were going to smash it with their November box and they did! I really didn't want another box full of repeated things that I'm not going to use but with the November one, every single product is exciting and I know I'm going to enjoy using them. So, if you like reading these unboxing posts then keep reading to see what I was lucky enough to receive. 
This month Birchbox teamed up with Vogue so straight away I thought it would be an exciting box. All products were beauty editor approved and picked meaning they all must be pretty good and worth trying. As always the box is beautiful, there were two designs to choose from and I love the one I decided on. The pink background with gold letters is stunning and I think out of all of the ones I've received so far it's probably my favourite. I think this would look so pretty on display somewhere in our office on a white desk. 
Anyway now onto the products. This month as always there were two products everyone gets, a mini Benefit Hoola Bronzer and a Birchbox Brush Cleaner. When both of these were revealed, I was happy which definitely makes a change to the last few months. I've read several reviews of the Benefit Hoola Bronzer before so I'm so glad I finally have one. I've tried it a few times already and I'm in love! Also the brush cleaner is a fab little product and really worth having. I actually really love cleaning my brushes but I don't do it often enough at all, so I'm hoping this will motivate me a little to get it done more. It's really easy to use, you can just add a small amount of soap to it and then swirl the wet brush over it and leave to dry. I've seen things like this quite a lot online so I'm really happy to have this.
The next three products I received were the ones I had no idea about, the Percy and Reed Volumising No Oil - Oil, Seche Vite Top Coat Nail Polish and James Read Overnight Tan Sleep Mask. I love the look of all of these and really think they were all brilliant addition to this months box, I can see why they were chosen. I've heard great things about Percy and Reed before but just have never picked any of their products up. This smoothed, sealed and sensational volumising no oil, oil not only nourishes and repairs your hair but it also uses violet extract to keep it sleek while adding volume. As my hair is quite long at the moment, it definitely lacks volume so any product that can help with that is amazing. I've received a few products like this from Birchbox so far and even though it can be annoying to get the same sorts of products, this is a brand I've wanted to try for a while so I really don't mind. The Seche Vite Top Coat is an amazing product to have, so many people have raved about this before but I never thought I'd get the chance to try it. I love using a top coat on my nails as they really do prevent chipping and make it last so much longer, though I just never buy them! So happy to have this. Lastly, even though I never ever fake tan I can't wait to try the Tan Sleep Mask. This is an overnight product so doesn't require much effort, just apply to face and let it do it's thing. It's a tanning gel so is supposed to leave your skin feeling hydrated too aswell as giving a subtle glow. I get a bit sceptical about using products like this on my face as my skin can be a little sensitive but I think I'm going to brave it soon.
Overall, I'm so impressed with the November box and I'm so glad I decided to continue. As I've only been subscribed a few months I didn't want another box that's a bit of a let down but this one really is great. I'll use every single product, and I'm sure once I have they'll be featured in some sort of blog post. At the moment my plan is to continue with my subscription until the December box and then I'll have a re-think after Christmas, hopefully the next box will just as good! If you've been thinking of subscribing, I definitely recommend doing it now while you can still get this box! Some of the other products you have a chance of getting look just as good as these, I have a referal link here which gets you £5 off your first box!

What did you think to this months Birchbox?


Monday, 20 November 2017

Christmas With Botanics - Gift Guide*

I've managed to do quite a few Christmas Gift Guides this year which I'm very happy about but today I have one more for you and then that's it for 2017! How is Christmas so close already?! Todays gift guide is all about Botanics skincare so might be worth reading if you know somebody who is really into their beauty products!
Botanics Skincare just seem to have grown and grown in popularity over this last year, and I've seen so many bloggers enjoying their products, so they clearly work for lots of people. If you've not heard of them though, hopefully this post will give you a little insight into what this natural skincare brand is all about and what brilliant products they do. There are a number of ranges available at Boots from Botanics and they are all targeted at specific skin types so I thought I'd go through them and tell you a few of my faves from each one.

All Bright - This range is perfect for those who suffer with dull skin and need something to liven it up a little bit! Hibiscus is the main feature in this range so it smells absolutely beautiful which I always think is pretty important, and there are a variety of products you can choose from to try and make a little difference to your skin. Cleansing, Toning, Exfoliating and much more, this range has your whole skincare routine covered. Products like their 3-in-1 Micellar Solution are brilliant for removing every trace of makeup and the Night Cream is a great one for keeping your skin looking healthy and in tip top condition.
Radiant Youth - The Radiant Youth range is brilliant for targeting the early signs of ageing. Infused with a cocktail of anti-oxidents from the Ginko plant, these products help keep your skin looking younger and healthier. Products like the Nourishing Eye Cream can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark circles and the Microdermabraison Polish helps to exfoliate away any dead skin cells on the surface of the skin to boost brightness and luminosity.
Organic - Infused with Organic Rosehip extract, this range is rich in omegas and essential fatty acids, all nourishing skin foods which can help with a healthy complexion. The gentle formula leaves skin feeling so soft and smooth and like the other ranges, there are so many different products to choose from. The product that really intrigues me from this range is the Hot Cloth Cleanser. It's a little different to usual hot cloth cleansers from other brands as it's a balm rather than a cream and I personally think it's a great one to use during the week for a little skincare pamper. It just melts into the skin, removing any traces of makeup and really hydrates any dry areas. Other products in this range which are a little different but worth picking up are the Facial Oil which is non-greasy, fast absorbing and locks in moisture for hours, and the Rosewater Toning Spritz which leaves skin feeling refreshed and revitalized, I imagine this is even better to use during the warmer months!
Hydration Burst - My favourite of the ranges, Hydration Burst is perfect for those wanting to nourish dry skin. The products in the range are infused with soothing Clary Sage extract, this was chosen because of its self activating ability to store water in dry conditions. The colder months can really dry skin out and leave it in a pretty horrible condition so this range especially is great for helping combat that. My absolute favourite product from the range is the Micellar Cleanser which removes makeup so quickly and effectively. It leaves skin feeling so refreshed and clean and it's a product I'll definitely be picking up in future. It's currently on offer for £4.66 instead of £6.99 so if you're in need of a new micellar water, I really recommend this one. Other products in the range worth considering are the Day Lotion which leaves skin feeling supple and smooth and also the Day Cream.
Botanics have really impressed me over the last few months and are definitely worth looking into if you're wanting some new skincare items to try or if you know someone who is into their beauty and skincare routines. With so many ranges available for all different skin types, there really is something for everyone and all at affordable prices that won't break the bank. If you're already sorted for Christmas then maybe few of these items could be good to pick up in the future for maybe a little self care package or a little birthday hamper? Botanics are perfect to use all year round so definitely keep them in mind!
Have you ever tried any skincare from Botanics before?

*Botanics products sent for the purpose of this post. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog. Affiliate links used in this post

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Friday, 17 November 2017

Homeware Christmas Gift Guide - 2017

I personally love receiving homeware gifts at Christmas, there is just something so nice about unwrapping something that can take pride of place in one of the rooms, whether that's a candle, photo frame, ornaments, anything really, I just love adding new bits to our home. If you're know someone who isn't really into beauty or fashion or you're just a bit stuck for ideas, then hopefully some of these homeware items I've found will help you, there are so many nice bits out this year.
Phone & Tablet Stand* - Do you ever have that dilemma where you're cooking and have to keep going back to your phone and looking at the recipe? or do you ever just want to sit your phone down in one room with some music on and get on with all the cleaning? Well if you do, then this phone and tablet stand from A Place For Everything could be a great choice for you, or any friends or family members you're currently shopping for. This stylish, solid oak stand fits any phone perfectly and would make a great addition to the living room for Christmas parties or in the kitchen on Christmas day, to just make life a little bit easier. Finished in solid oak and handmade in Wales by local designers, each piece is branded with the words 'myPad' and I personally think it looks much more expensive than it is. Currently priced at £20, this is an excellent choice for those prone to misplacing their tablet or phone.
Cancer Research UK Homeware - This year I really wanted to feature some bits from different charities as so many do lovely things that would make perfect gifts, and are often overlooked! Starting with Cancer Research UK, you can find lots of homeware items on their website ranging from blankets to cushions and even candles, aswell as so much more. A few of my favourites are the Tartan Winter Blankets which are only £3.99, what a bargain, and how soft do they look! A blanket never goes amiss in winter, and also the Stag Cushion which is £5.99, makes the perfect addition to a room this Christmas. Lastly, I love this Robin Hot Water Bottle. A hot water bottle on a cold night is just heaven and how cute is this one? It's £3.99 which I think is a pretty brilliant price! Given that these are all under £10 they won't break the bank and will make wonderful stocking fillers.
Candles Are Always A Good Idea - A candle can never be a bad present can it? I truly believe you can never have too many, when one runs out I like to have another ready to go so the more the merrier. There are so many candles I could feature in this post but the one I finally decided on was the Prosecco one from Next which is currently £6. I featured it in my October favourites and I'm really considering picking a few more up as it's such a gorgeous scent and would make a fabulous gift for someone. Not only does it just look really sleek and chic but it has comes in a gorgeous box and just looks so much more expensive than it actually is. With candles it can be tricky sometimes if you're not sure exactly what someones taste is or what colours they like to go for in each room but I think this is just really classic and would look lovely in just about any room. Next have so many gifts and candles in at the moment, including a Bellini one and Gin Fizz one so definitely check them out this year!
Great Ormond Street Mugs - Another charity to shop at this year is Great Ormond Street. They have a lovely range of homeware to choose from including cups and travel mugs which feature designs done by the children who are cared for at Great Ormond Street Hospital. 100% of the profits made from the range goes towards helping the hospital so it's really such a worthy cause and worth considering this year. My favourites this year are the Latte style mug and the Reusable drinks mug which are both £5. Whether you're out running errands or just relaxing at home, both of these are perfect and are sure to brighten up wherever you are. You can find so many festive gifts on the website here including notebooks, calendars and crafty kits, all really well priced!
Dogs Trust Gifts - The last charity I wanted to mention in this gift guide is Dogs Trust, one I personally donate to every month. I've had a look at their gifts in the past and considered them but this year they really do have loads to choose from, you are spoilt for choice! One of my favourites which I think could be perfect if know someone with a little four legged friend of your own is this Wooden Photo Frame which is £7.99. It's a rustic style frame with hanging heart detail and heart shaped inner frame, and I'm sure it would be a lovely gift to unwrap. I also love these two hanging Christmas decorations, the yellow labrador and the dachshund, both £7.95. I love that they're so different to other christmas decorations people might have and the little ribbon and silver bell on them is so cute. Lastly, more mugs because can you ever have too many? This golden retriever one is adorable and perfect for the cold months for lots of hot cups of tea and hot chocolates. It's only £5.99 and they also have loads of others to choose from.
Pretty Gifted Personalised Gift Wrap* - So this isn't a homeware gift but I really wanted to include this personalised wrapping paper from Pretty Gifted in a gift guide. Pretty Gifted allow you to create your own luxury wrapping paper, in a matter of minutes and it's so easy to do. First of all you can choose from a collection of quality papers in an array of luxury colours, then pick from 5 fonts, select your favourite metallic foil, write your message and then you can add a little extra icon, but that's it! The colour I chose was peppermint and I went for copper foil as I just thought those two would go well together. I kept the text simple with 'Happy Christmas' and I chose a little Christmas tree icon and I just love how it looks. You can tell instantly the paper is good quality and it arrives packaged perfectly so no damage can be done during delivery and it even comes with a little gift tag and a gel pen which is a nice extra touch. I think this is such a good idea for wrapping those special Christmas presents this year and well worth considering, I personally can't wait to get started! If you want anymore information or want to create your own wrapping paper, check out their website here.
I hope if you love homeware as much as me this gift guide has given you a few ideas. I love everything I managed to include and I'm so glad there are a few bits from charities too as they all have some really wonderful gifts in for Christmas.

Have you made a start on your Christmas shopping yet?

This Weeks Gift Guides - Womens // Mens // Food #1 // Food #2

*Products marked with a * were sent for the purpose of this post. I only work with brands I feel are relevant to me and my blog. Affiliate links used in this post

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