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Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas 2016...

I can't believe I'm writing this already and Christmas is over! I hadn't felt that festive in the lead up to it and it wasn't really until Christmas Eve that I started to feel really excited so I think that made it go even quicker. Now all of a sudden it's nearly new year!
I really hope you all had a brilliant Christmas. I hope you ate loads of food and got everything that you wanted. And if you were someone that struggled at Christmas, just know that there are so many other people that feel exactly the same at this time of year, I definitely didn't feel 100% my best but hopefully next year things will be better and start to look up!

So I know a lot of people don't like posts like this and think people showing their presents is bragging but I really love reading them and I really wanted to do one of my own like I usually do, so I am! I wanted to talk about our Christmas as it was our 6th together and our third in our own home and it was such a lovely, chilled day. We started off Chrismas morning by opening our stocking presents in the bedroom before opening the rest with some bucks fizz in the living room. I managed to hurt myself first thing that morning by walking into the bedroom door and really hurting my arm so that was just brilliant. So painful and much worse than it sounds, of course it could only happen to me. Anyway, here are a few of the presents George got me!
  • I was SO happy to get the Wicked Soundtrack. It was in my Christmas Wishlist and something that I really wanted as I know I'll keep it forever and it's something I'll probably always go back and listen to. 
  • We try to get each other Perfume & Aftershave every Christmas but sometimes it can be so expensive so I mentioned quite an old one a while back as I knew it was a bit cheaper and it's one of my favourites, one by Christina Aguilera. I remember having this years ago and it smells gorgeous so I'm so glad I have this again.
  • We always get each other a few different bits of food for Christmas, and basically all we put in stockings is food too so we end up with loads! I think most people love the fruit cremes from Quality Street and now you can get boxes just of those so they are absolutely perfect for people like me who are only really bothered about those ones. He also managed to find some of the Cadbury Crunchie Spread that I have been seeing all over my Slimming World Instagram for so long! I've been eating this just from the jar because it is incredible. He also got me pop tarts because you know who doesn't love pop tarts? We always get each other some so I got him some smores ones and hot fudge sundae ones. 
  • I also mentioned in my wishlist that I would love another one of the Bath & Body Works dupes candles as they've been so popular and I'm so impressed with the one I currently have. This one smells amazing and I can't wait to use it.
  • One thing I did know I was getting was a diary and I just love this one. I love any sort of diary or notebook with some sort of saying or quote on the front and this one just about sums up what I need to do in the next year. I've already started making a note on each day a blog post needs to go up and I think it's going to really help me with my blogging next year! 
  • Something I wasn't expecting at all was this lovely Mug and Coaster set. I have so many mugs already but we both love to buy more and this one is so perfect for me. Very motivating which is exactly what I need! 
  • One of the last few bits I got was a Lush bath bomb, Golden Wonder is just one of the best Christmas ones so this is one I'm going to save til last! There were a few other bits too not pictured that I got, and I just feel so lucky. He knows me so well and everything I got was just perfect. I think we both did really well for the spending limit we set and everything we got was really special. 
After presents I got on with the main focus of the day, Christmas Dinner! I don't want to big myself up or anything but I was so proud and so pleased with the end result. I think it's the best one I've made and we were both so full afterwards! It was pretty soon after that we put Frozen on as it was on TV and ended up falling asleep for about two hours! It was such a chilled day and everything that we wanted. We napped, we ate and we just had loads of fun. We were full for ages after dinner but that night we had leftovers and opened all the snacks that I had been stocking up on for literally months. I went all out this year and started buying all the chocolate and snacks in September and I made sure we had plenty in to cover us for days!
I'm sure I'll have said this last year and the year before that too before but it really was a perfect day. I know a lot of people like to be surrounded by family on Christmas day and maybe one day we will do that together but for now we love it too much it being just us two. We finished the day watching Love Actually which is just a perfect Christmas Day film and it made me feel all happy and warm inside. It was just a very special Christmas. 

I really hope you're Christmas was everything that you wanted it to be and yours was also really special. If any of you have written about your day then leave me a link too it as I would love to read about it!

If you liked this post you might want to read - Christmas 2014 // Christmas 2015

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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Lush Never Mind The Ballistics Bath Bomb...

First post back after Christmas and it's all about Lush! Isn't this just one of the prettiest bath bombs? It's the Never Mind The Ballistics Bath Bomb and I knew as soon as I saw it online a few months ago that I had to get one when we were in London.
We bought quite a few bath bombs from Lush on Oxford Street but this was the first one I picked up. It's smells gorgeous and I love the bright pink with the yellow, it's so different to any other I've used in the past and the pictures really don't do it justice. Scent wise it is very sweet and contains lime and sweet wild orange oils so it's not a very christmassy one but I like that as I picked up so many other christmas bath bombs! It is also smells quite strongly of peaches which for me is great because I love anything that smells of them. The scent of this bath bomb stayed on my skin for ages and it was lovely smelling so sweet for hours, the bathroom also smelled incredible for so long because of this. 

Aswell as smelling great, it also made my skin feel so soft. Cocoa butter and banana are included in the ingredients which are supposed to help soften your skin. My skin felt so smooth and soft for ages and I just felt really fresh after using this. I think it would be a great one for people with sensitive skin. My skin can be quite sensitive at times so I'm always wary about what could cause some sort of reaction but I've never had a problem with any Lush products.

The most exciting part of using a bath bomb is seeing what happens when it hits the water. I just love watching as the water changes colours and loads of patterns start to emerge. I almost don't want to get in the bath sometimes as it just looks so pretty! I loved watching this bath bomb dissolve and seeing all the yellow and pink swirls that came from it. 

I think this bath bomb has become a new Lush favourite of mine, and I already have so many! If you haven't tried this one before I definitely recommend picking one up as it just smells incredible and your skin will be so soft afterwards. 

If you liked this post you might want to read some of my other Lush reviews -  Butterbear Bath Bomb // The Comforter Bubble Bar // Frozen Bath Bomb

Look out for my post on Friday all about our Christmas day!

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Friday, 23 December 2016

50 Facts About Me...

I'm pretty sure I've never done one of these before on my blog so I thought I would do one now for my final post before Christmas! I love posts like this so hopefully you'll find out some interesting things about me!
1. I was born in Germany but I am completely British. My dad was in the British army and based over there so we lived there for a few years
2. I have no idea what I want to do with my life job wise
3. I love buying people presents 
4. I get really stressed if pillows and cushions aren't positioned where I like them on the sofa and the bed, I have cried over it before!
5. I didn't know how to cook anything until I met George and over time he's taught me little bits and I've taught myself 
6. I love rain
7. Capri Suns are my life
8. I have very few friends. Girls just don't seem to like me even though I think I'm quite a nice person and really try
9. I want at least two dogs, hopefully a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Golden Retriever
10. My favourite ever meal is Hunters Chicken
11. I love watching the soaps every night, especially Coronation Street
12. I haven't seen any of my family for almost 3 years
13. I'm 21 and dread my birthday every year
14. Trolls was my favourite film of 2016
15. I love horror movies
16. I am obsessed with buying candles
17. I have seen all the friends episodes countless times and Ross is always my favourite character
18. I love supermarkets
19. I have a weird crush on Jimmy Bullard
20. All I want in life is to be a mum
21. My dream car is a mini
22. I lived in Leicester for a year for uni and I miss it so much
23. A lot of my anxiety is health related so if I get unwell I will be convinced it's something really serious. It's a lot better than it was though, 2 years ago I was convinced for a long time I had a brain tumour even though deep down I knew I was fine and just being irrational it was very hard to get that thought out of my head
24. London is my favourite place in the world
25. I would love to have my own bakery one day
26. I very rarely buy new clothes for myself and will wear something to death before replacing it
27. I used to play guitar
28. I saw my first west end show in November 2016. We saw Wicked and it was magical
29. I love Jamie Dornan 
30. My favourite animals are Dogs, Bears and Pandas
31. I hold grudges and find it hard to forgive people
32. I have to wear socks whenever I stay in a hotel. I can't stand the thought of my feet touching the bed
33. I love swimming
34. The American Office is my favourite TV show and Michael Scott will always be the best character 
35. I've been in a relationship for nearly 5 and a half years
36. I have no shame in admitting that I can get through sharing bags of crisps by myself, also full packs of biscuits
37. I make a pretty good chilli
38. I miss One Direction everyday (kind of joking, kind of not)
39. The thought of a big wedding fills me with dread, I don't think I would turn up
40. I love trains and the actual travelling to places
41. Croissants are my fave and I would eat them everyday for breakfast if I could
42. I have a very varied taste in music and my Spotify playlist is a mix of everything
43. When I'm drunk I like to rap 
44. I'm very self conscious and very rarely take photos of myself, me and George took a picture in London and it was the first one we had taken in years
45. I've had more support from bloggers in the last few years than I ever have from some friends or family
46. I have two Instagram accounts, one for my personal stuff and blogging, and a separate slimming world one
47. I will cut people out of my life if they're just adding stress or making me unhappy
48. I sponsor two dogs for Dogs Trust but would sponsor them all if I could (or adopt them)
49. My favourite chocolate is Kinder Bueno 
50. Every Christmas I develop an obsession with anything Gingerbread related

Once I started this I realised how hard it is to think of 50 interesting things about yourself! I think I managed to get a good mix though and some are just silly things so hopefully they made you laugh. Let me know if you've done anything similar to this as I would love to read other peoples!

If you liked this post you might want to read - 50 Things That Make Me Happy // 50 Things That Annoy Me

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Homemade Meat and Potato Pie Recipe...

I just love Pie, everyone does don't they. I gave myself the task a few months ago to make my own, I did use shop bought pastry because who really wants to make their own and it was all pretty easy. Now it's cold and all christmassy this is a recipe I'll be going back to and making over and over again!
Ingredients:
250g beef mince 
1 onion, chopped finely 
1 tbsp plain flour
400ml beef stock 
dash of Hendersons Relish 
salt & pepper
2 baking potatoes, peeled 
1 sheet of shortcrust pastry
Pie dish
1 egg, beaten

Method:
1. Pre - heat oven to 200 degrees. If using shop bought shortcrust pastry, take out the fridge about 40 minutes before assembling your pie. I just left mine on the kitchen side while I got on with the rest of the pie. Peel your potatoes and cut into small squares, put into a pan of water and boil for about 10 minutes
2. While potatoes are cooking, start your mince, fry in frylight until brown then add in your onion
3. When the onion has softened and the mince is cooked, add in 1 tbsp plain flour and make sure everything is covered properly
4. Add around 400ml of beef stock and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes until mixture has started to thicken. I also added in a dash of hendersons relish and some salt and pepper
5. Drain potatoes and leave until the meat is done, beat an egg ready for the top of pie
6. After about 20 minutes, add half the mince mixture to a dish and top with half the potatoes. Then add remaining mince then the last of the potatoes
7. Top the dish with the pastry and cut off any extra around the sides. I used some of it to add hearts to the top, brush with beaten egg and put into the oven for around 30 minutes
8. Remove from oven when golden brown and serve with veg!
I really didn't know how this would go but it tasted delicious and it's a perfect recipe for the colder months! I think next time I'll try and make a chicken pie as that's my favourite!

Let me know if you give this a go.


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Keeping Your Car Tyres Safe In Winter*

I absolutely love winter and all that comes with it, rain, snow, getting cosy at home and of course Christmas but there are serious things to think about during the colder months and one of those is car safety.
I remember when I first did my driving lessons a few years ago, I was always so scared at the thought of one day having to drive in the snow and having to deal with icy roads. Of course I just had to trust that if that happened during my lessons then my instructor would be there and it would all be fine. On the odd occasions there was bad weather, I got through it okay but even though I don't currently have a car, one day I will and the thought already fills me with dread that I'll have to deal with those things by myself and hope that I stay safe and nothing goes wrong!

We've already had some extremely cold weather over the last month and I expect it will only get worse over Christmas and into the new year. Bad weather can lead to roads becoming cold and icy which is not only worrying enough if you're not a confident or experienced driver but it also really affects the performance of your tyres. Steering, acceleration and braking becomes much more difficult as normal tyres have less grip on cold, damp and icy roads meaning chances of an accident happening increases, which is scary for anyone. The temperature of your tyres is a really important factor when it comes to them performing well in winter. If the temperature drops below 7 degrees then normal tyres begin to harden, meaning less grip. Ever see on the news cars that have been sliding and swerving about on the roads? or maybe you've even seen it happen when you're driving yourself, that's because the tyres can't get enough grip on the roads to brake and stop. As your much more likely to be involved in a car accident during winter compared to summer, it really is worth investing and spending some time finding the right tyres for the colder months. Unfortunately a lot of people do forget or just don't bother, thinking surely it won't happen to me? But it can. 

Thankfully you can get specialist tyres specifically for Winter meaning your car can perform better and keep you safe throughout the colder months. Point S has tyres dealers throughout UK so if you're wanting to get some new ones to help you in the winter months, look no further! They have a whole section on their website to help you familiarize yourself with the process of finding and buying car tyres, this is great if it's your first time needing new ones as you can really work out what it is you need. It is so simple finding tyres with Point S as you can just enter your cars registration number and they will prepare a list of possible options for you. They will then connect you with the dealers and depots that are closest to you and as your time and date will be booked through the system, you don't have to worry about waiting around. Another great thing is that you only pay when the local fitter is actually fitting your new tyres and there are no ridiculous costs. It is so easy to follow and they do all the work for you! 

It's really worth checking your tyres and making sure you're taking care of them in the winter months for your own safety and that of others too! Definitely have a look on the Point S website if you want any more information or want to go ahead with getting yourself some new tyres. 

*This is a collaborative post with Point S

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas Wishlist 2016...

I've left it pretty late to come up with a Christmas wishlist but I love doing them every year so this year is no exception. Me and George set ourselves a spending limit as otherwise we can both get a bit carried away and we really don't want to be going mad with money. I haven't asked for much and to be honest anything would make me happy but I have found a few things online that I would absolutely love.
Diary, Jamie Oliver, Wicked, The Duff, Lean in 15.
  • Everyone needs a diary and as I really want to get on it with blogging next year I want a good diary to keep track of posts I need to publish each day and generally I just need to organise my life. 
  • I love a good recipe book and you can't beat Jamie Oliver. I mentioned his new Christmas cookbook in my Foodies Gift Guide as it literally has everything you need to make a great Christmas dinner and also loads of recipes for other occasions and ideas for leftovers so I imagine this to just be an amazing book to keep going back to every year. 
  • Sticking with the idea of recipe books, I am still yet to get any of the Lean in 15 books and I have wanted them for so long! Joe Wicks released his third recently but I want to start right from the beginning and I've seen some delicious meals from the first book so I would really love this. 
  • We watched The Duff months ago now but I thought it was so funny and it's one I've wanted on DVD since. 
  • I've been listening to the Wicked soundtrack on Spotify on and off for months now, in the run up to seeing the show and afterwards, but there's something really nice about having an actual CD. I still love getting CD's for the day when we have a car as I like to think that we can go proper Carpool Karaoke and sing along to all sorts of different music!
  • Something I forgot to picture but something I always want more of is candles! After picking up one of the Bath and Body Works dupes in B&M, I've wanted to try the rest of them so I'm really hoping I might have one of those from George, but to be honest I am a sucker for any sort of candle so I'm really not fussy.
  • It wouldn't be Christmas without Lush so I always ask for something from there. One I haven't got this year so far is Golden Wonder so that's one I would definitely love. A few other products I really wanted to try this year were the Mistletoe bath bomb and the Peppermint Scrub so I would be so happy with either of those aswell!
Mistletoe, Golden Wonder, Peppermint Bark.
I absolutely love Christmas morning when we both sit and open our presents with some Bucks Fizz and I really can't wait for George open all of his. I'm looking forward to that more than opening mine as I honestly don't mind what I get. I just can't wait for a really, chilled Christmas day with lots of films and food! 

Did you see The Christmas Tag last week?

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Friday, 16 December 2016

The Christmas Tag...

I saw this tag last week and as it's officially Christmas time I knew I had to do it too. I've got all the decorations up, the tree lights are on and Mariah Carey is playing so I am feeling very christmassy while writing this! Anyone can take part so if you love Christmas too then feel free to steal the questions and give it a go on your blog!
1. What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
I'm not gonna lie I love the food. It's acceptable to eat all the pigs in blankets, cake, chocolate, turkey, roast potatoes, just EVERYTHING! I suppose really my favourite thing is spending Christmas Day with George and opening our presents together, drinking Bucks Fizz but you know the food is amazing.

2. What is your favourite makeup look for the festive season?
I never really change up my makeup so I can't really say I go for a red lip or things like that, but for me I always go for a bold red and glittery nail polish at Christmas. My absolute favourite at the moment which I will be wearing on Christmas Day is Toggle To The Top by Essie.

3. Real tree or artificial tree?
It has to be an artificial tree for me. I love the one we have and it means as soon as we want to put up the decorations we don't have to think about going and getting a real one. Also I hate mess and just don't think I could cope with pine needles all over the floor and constantly having to hoover!

4. Do you open your presents on Christmas morning or evening?
Always in the morning. We like to get up early, put on a Christmas film that's on the TV and open all our presents. 

5. What is your favourite Christmas film?
This is such a difficult one! I think it's probably Elf. I just love it and it's not Christmas without it. One of my favourites is also Love Actually though, you know it's Christmas when that starts getting played on ITV2. I've watched it so many times but it's such a lovely, heartwarming film. 

6. What is your favourite festive food?
PIGS IN BLANKETS! I can't get enough of them at Christmas. I always get a few packs so we can have some with christmas dinner and then we'll have some with snacky bits on Boxing day and just throughout all of December basically. I also love leftover turkey with stuffing in a sandwich. The best.

7. What tops your tree? 
We don't really have a star or anything but we do have a set of angel wings near the top. We found a hanging decoration in Primark last year for like £2.50 and it's gold, glittery and actually really heavy so we just position that near the top.

8. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Not really as such, we like to get cosy with a film or something on TV and there is usually lots of snacks involved. We also usually open a present on Christmas Eve. 

9. Giving or receiving presents?
Of course it's nice to receive presents but I absolutely love buying for other people. I love planning what to get others and I like to think that people can tell I put a lot of effort into their presents, I just love the whole process of buying for someone and wrapping it nicely and just everything about it. 

10. What is your favourite Christmas song?
I have so many! I love Michael Bubles christmas album, I love all the songs on that. Also, a bit random but I really like Step into Christmas by Elton John, I got a bit obsessed with it last year and now it's one of my fave christmas songs. Another two I really like are Underneath The Tree by Kelly Clarkson and One More Sleep by Leona Lewis.

I really enjoyed doing this post, I've not been feeling that christmassy compared to last year but this has definitely got me feeling a bit more festive and I am actually starting to get excited about it! Let me know if you do this tag too so I can read yours!

Did you see my last post? It's Okay To Not Look Forward To Your Birthday..

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

It's Okay To Not Look Forward To Your Birthday...

I was in two minds over whether to talk about this on my blog or not, I'm almost a bit embarrassed by how I feel at the moment and I'm not sure if it's a good thing to talk about it and put it out there or whether I should have just kept it to myself. I've been feeling quite down and anxious over the last few weeks. My birthdays coming up and even though birthdays should be a happy thing, for me I just really don't look forward to them anymore and to be honest it's been making me feel crap, it's even been affecting my sleep and at the moment I'm really struggling to just switch off. Writing and talking about things that make me feel like this really helps so that's why I've decided to do this and also in the hope that maybe other people feel the way I do sometimes.
I know as you grow up birthdays change and of course there never going to be like they were when you were younger but I dreaded my last birthday and at the moment I'm feeling the same sort of feelings about turning 22 in January. My last birthday should have been a big one to look forward to, 21 is one of those birthdays that everyone says is special, but to me it was the exact same as any other and I don't think I'll look back and think my 21st was a big deal. No one at work remembered, they didn't realise until it came up on Facebook that day, very little people got in touch to say Happy Birthday and as I don't have a relationship with my family, it was all just a bit sad. I imagine if you have a great family and loads of friends, birthdays just get better and better, but I don't. George does everything he can to make my birthdays special and none of this is a reflection on him in any way, I imagine I'm driving him mad at the moment as I'm just putting a downer on it all before it's even here but it's just really hard to think positive about it sometimes.

I just want to say before I carry on that this post is in no way me trying to get sympathy or make people feel sorry for me in any way, I just wanted to talk about it because maybe others feel like this sometimes and it's nice to know your not alone. I have a bit of a fear of getting older and even though I know early 20's are SO young, for me I am really aware of where I am in life at almost 22 and and I'm not doing what I imagined and I don't feel any closer to getting the things I desperately want. I'm worried before I know it I'll be 30, in the exact same place I am now still not knowing what I want to do with my life, still with no kids and I know that's a really pessimistic way to look at life but it's how I think a lot of the time and it really worries me that that might might be the case one day. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and it scares me I'm going into a new year with no idea what's going to happen. Even though I know it was the right decision to leave my job this year, I still get sad that this is how it's all worked out and I feel for the first time I really have no clue what the next year will be like and that's scary. I don't want to be writing the same post next year before turning 23 and still feeling the same but I'm worried I will. I always sort of think about life and where it's going when my birthdays coming up, but this is the second year in a row where I really just don't want it to arrive. I feel like I've achieved nothing since last year. 

Something else about birthdays that gets me is that I always worry people will forget about it and it makes me really anxious in the run up to it. It's not that I expect loads of messages or presents or anything, it really isn't but sometimes there are people you hope or expect to put some effort in. A lot of the time though the people I really put thought and effort into when it comes to christmas and birthdays, don't give that effort back and it really gets me down. I always know it's going to happen so it's not like it's a surprise on my actual birthday but it's still pretty crap. I just have this need to be liked and a lot of the time I don't feel that many people do like me so when it comes to my birthday and then there are people who clearly haven't put any thought in or haven't got in touch, it's just a bit like oh okay people really don't like me do they? and I'm not sure why. 

There's just something about birthdays that makes my anxiety go wild and I just re-assess my whole life and start worrying that everyone just forgets about me. I know deep down that's probably not the case but when the same sort of things happen every birthday it's hard to look forward to the next one and feel positive about it. I know I'm probably being a bit harsh on myself saying I've achieved nothing this year, I know the decisions I've made have been the right ones and hopefully I'll be leaving a bad year behind and going into something great, it's just difficult sometimes. I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets like this about birthdays, or I hope not. I suppose I just wanted to reassure myself and any others who feel like this that it's okay to not look forward to birthdays and it's okay to do things differently to other people. I just wanted to get all of this out as keeping it bottled up isn't helping and this is sort of my release and a place for me to say whatever I want. I'm not sure what I'll be doing on my actual birthday, I might just choose to sit in and eat cake rather than celebrating and if I do then that's fine.

Do you ever feel anxious about birthdays? Do you ever not look forward to your birthday?

Relevant posts you might want to read - Why I Had To Leave My Job // Why Being A Nurse Wasn't For Me

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Monday, 12 December 2016

Foodies Gift Guide...

So my second Gift Guide today is for the foodies. I did one of these a few years ago and as there are so many great food and drink gifts available at this time of year, I thought I would do another one for those who love to bake, cook and eat!

I think personalised gifts are always so thoughtful and to me shows some real effort has gone into the present, so I love these Personalised Star Baker Wooden Spoons from Not On The High Street. If you know someone who loves baking then this is a fab present for them. I love to bake and I know if someone bought me this I would be so, so happy, and it's nice to pretend you're star baker on bake off! Next have some really great food gifts this year, the first one I saw was this Heart Shaped Crumble Dish Set for £16. Again, another great one for someone who loves to bake, aswell as the dish this includes a custard jug and crumble spice mix. I think all of that for £16 is brilliant to be honest. Next do some great chocolate gift boxes, my personal favourites been the Daim Gift Box and the Toblerone Gift Box. These are really good if someone likes a specific type of chocolate and your not sure what to get them, just get a box full of their favourite chocolate! I think most people would appreciate a load of chocolate. I saw these in Manchester last month and was very tempted! The last thing I loved the look of from Next was the Nando's Sauce and Salt Set. This is great for people who love to cook and like spicy food, I think this is also a good present for those on Slimming World as the sauces are quite low syn and they just spice up any plain meal. 
Images from Not On The High Street & Next.
You can't go wrong with a recipe book for someone at Christmas. I'm not sure when it was but I bought George The Lean Machines book and he loved that! It's full of recipes and exercise tips and we've tried a few of the recipes so far and they've all turned out perfect! A few new recipe books out this year are the Lean in 15 - The Sustain Plan which is only £8! This is Joe Wicks third book and if you know someone who has liked his previous ones or just likes cooking and eating healthy then this is a perfect present for them. A recipe book perfect for someone cooking the Christmas dinner this year is Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook. This is brand new and is supposed to be basically the bible for all Christmas food including the main event, christmas parties and leftovers. I think this would be a real traditional cookbook that comes out every year and is passed onto kids for years and years. I'll definitely be getting one of these for myself one year. 
Images from AmazonJohn Lewis.
The last few things I have picked are from John Lewis and these go well with the cookbook I just mentioned as they'd be perfect for the actual day. The Copper Mini Roaster would be perfect for the turkey and roast potatoes and everyone just loves copper at the moment don't they? They also have a Copper Mini Casserole Dish which would be great for leftovers to make stews and of course casseroles. 

If you're struggling to buy for someone you know is into cooking or baking or just food in general then I hope this gift guide has helped you. I really enjoyed putting this one together as anything to do with food makes me happy! and I think all of these would make lovely gifts.

Don't forget to check out my 3 other gift guides this year if you want a few more ideas! - Gift Guide For Her // Gift Guide For Him // Etsy Gift Guide

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Christmas Gift Guide - For Him...

Today I have TWO more gift guides for you! I decided after doing my Gift Guide For Her and my Etsy Gift Guide last week that I really wanted to do one for men and also one for all the foodies. Men are so difficult to buy for aren't they? So I thought I would do a little gift guide for those who might be struggling with ideas this year, and my Gift Guide For Foodies will be up after this one!

You can't really go wrong with aftershave for men. They all use it and there are so many out there to choose from, they are spoilt for choice! My personal favourite for George is the Diesel Only The Brave. Our first christmas together we both spent loads, he bought me a perfume and I bought him this aftershave but as they're so expensive we've not bought them again since! It can be pricey but if you want to treat someone at Christmas time and you know there is one they like then you're sorted. If you want some cheaper options of aftershave, Next do some great ones for really reasonable prices and honestly they smell just as good as branded ones. Sticking with this sort of theme, you also can't really go wrong with something like a Lynx Men's Gift Set. Every man needs shower gels and deodorants and this set is actually a really good price I think for what's included. Boots and Superdrug both have loads on offer so if there is a certain one your partner/brother/dad likes then you'll definitely be able to find it in one of these stores. Something I wanted to feature that is a bit different is for the people who are into their technology. I really wanted to include the ROKU Streaming Stick which I think could be a good present. This allows for you to stream online content on your TV, it has built in wifi and gives you access to things like BBC iPlayer, 40D, Youtube, Netflix etc. We got one of these a few weeks ago so now we can watch loads of different things when we go to bed rather than only been able to access Netflix and Youtube etc in the living room. They are really worth getting.
Images from Superdrug, Next and Currys.
There are some really brilliant boxsets on Amazon that would be perfect gifts. The Game of Thrones box set is quite pricey but if you know someone who loves the show or they've recentely got into it then this would make a great present. This has series 1-6 so they can catch up before the next series starts! Another box set which is much cheaper is the Breaking Bad one. This was really expensive when it was first released but now you can get the complete collection for £25.99. Moving onto Clothing, I've found two lovely jumpers from Next, the Basket Weave Crew Jumper and the Taupe Honeycomb Crew Jumper. These both look so perfect for winter, Next are a brilliant store to go to for clothes, always good quality. The last thing I have picked is a Sekonda Leather Strap Watch from Asos. I got George a watch a few years ago and until it somehow broke he wore it everyday and really loved it and it would definitely be something I would get him again one day. Asos have a really great selection and a lot are really good prices too!
Images from Asos, Next and Amazon.
I hope this gift guide gave you some inspiration, I always look to gift guides for ideas as men are so tricky to buy for so I hope this one has helped some of you!

Did you see my other gift guides this year? Gift Guide For Her // Etsy Gift Guide

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Friday, 9 December 2016

Wicked at the London Apollo Victoria Theatre Review*

I mentioned Wicked briefly in my London post but I was so blown away by it that I had to give it a proper review and dedicate a full post to it, the story and the cast, just everything about it was honestly amazing. 
Source
We went on Friday 18th November, our second night in London. We got there quite early so there was a bit of waiting around but as you can't actually get to your seat straight away there was plenty of time to buy any food/drink or merchandise. They let us go to our seats just after 7pm and we could tell when we we were walking down to them that we were going to have a great view. We booked tickets months ago so we managed to get seats on row K in the stalls for a great price. Once we were sat down I was surprised at how small the theatre felt. It has a capacity of over 2000 and it had been so busy when we were waiting to go in but it actually felt really small and intimate. 

The show started at 7.30pm, straight away I could just tell it was going to be special and I was going to love it. If you don't know anything about Wicked, the story is about two young girls at a sorcery school, Elphaba and Galinda. Galinda is a very popular girl who has always got what she wanted, and Elphaba is a misunderstood green girl who has powers she can't always control. They have a very rocky relationship and when a new prince arrives at the school, Fiyero, they both fall for him. After eventually becoming friends, they realise their friendship is more important than their love or a man and work together against the Wizard and Madame Morrible, but their lives end up taking very different paths. Galinda has a desire to be popular and loved whilst Elphaba is determined to stay true to herself and others, which causes shocking problems for people around her. Galinda eventually becomes Glinda The Good and Elphaba is known as the Wicked Witch of the West.
The whole story was great and easy to follow throughout, the songs were also brilliant! My absolute favourites were The Wizard and I, Defying Gravity and No Good Deed. You could tell the cast put everything into it. Their voices were just amazing. We were so lucky to get to see Rachel Tucker playing the role of Elphaba. I had read so many reviews where people had said she is the one to see, and she is the best Elphaba. I am now one of those people, you have to see her at some point in this role! She was fantastic and you can just feel it when she acts and sings that she loves playing Elphaba. I was so excited to see her sing Defying Gravity which was brilliant but the song that blew me away was No Good Deed. When she first started singing it felt different to all the other songs and I was just thinking wow this is amazing. I asked George afterwards which one was his favourite and this was one of them and he said the same, that when she sang that song, that was the one that really makes you realise she was going for it and putting everything into it. That song for me was a real moment that I won't forget. Rachel Tucker has now finished her run playing Elphaba and even though it seems unlikely she will be coming back, if she does I highly recommend booking tickets to see her, I thought she would be really good but she was honestly just insane. I feel really lucky to say I've seen her play Elphaba. Suzie Mathers who plays Glinda was also incredible! She was so, so funny and it was great when she sang Popular. There were so many funny and witty lines from her and I was laughing out loud at points. Again, you can tell she loves the role and she gave it her all. I would love to see her in this role again one day.

It was emotional at times aswell as funny, you just feel so many things throughout. You can tell there is real chemistry between all of the cast, they all work together amazingly and of course the two leads were great together. I got a bit teary at certain songs, there was so much feeling in them, and I had goosebumps from the beginning. 

I don't really know what else to say apart from you just have to see this show at least once in your life. I've never seen any bad reviews and I don't have a bad word to say about it. The theatre was lovely, it's easy to get to by tube, the seats were so comfy (it felt so nice to just sit down for a few hours after doing so much walking around London) and overall the show was just outstanding. I had been so looking forward to seeing this, literally for months and months and it didn't disappoint. It exceeded any expectations I had. I honestly can't recommend this show enough, it was a really special night for us and just made our London trip.

We booked our tickets months in advance online and if you're wanting to see the show, you can do the same via www.theatretickets.co.uk. Aswell as Wicked you can find tickets for all the west end favourites e.g. The Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls, Les Miserables and so many more! You'll also find tickets for plays, comedy shows, children shows and dance performances all at great prices.
www.theatretickets.co.uk
Have you ever been to see Wicked? What did you think? Have you seen any of this cast?

Read more about our London Trip - 2 Nights in London!

*This post is in collaboration with TheatreTickets.uk, as always I only work with companies/brands I feel are relevant to me and my blog.

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How To Reduce Cellulite With Pulse Light Clinic*

Cellulite is something most people get at some point in their life and it's caused by a variety of things. It doesn't necessarily relate to being overweight, it can be because of high stress levels, pregnancy, smoking, crash diets and life changes such as the menopause. Women are more prone to it than men, as if we weren't already unlucky enough with everything else we have to go through! If you didn't know it is caused by fat clusters in the hypodermis (the innermost and thickest layer of skin). Fat pushes against the connective tissues which make the skin pucker up and this is why it looks so bumpy. This also causes blood circulation to reduce meaning the skin looks more dull and has a poorer texture. 

I have cellulite and even though it isn't my biggest worry, it does bother me when I catch a glance of it it in the mirror when I'm getting dressed! I know I'm not the only one who feels like this, I see so many women especially on TV, in magazines and even on social media complaining about their body and things like cellulite that they feel they can't get rid of, but there are ways to reduce it!

Pulse Light Clinic offer Cellulite treatments in London for those who are worried about it and would like to find a way to reduce it. They use the Velashape III which is the only FDA approved machine for cellulite reduction. This is a completely non-invasive and non-surgical treatment for body shaping, body contouring, circumference reduction, fat reduction and of course cellulite reduction. It's safe and effective and it can be used on various areas of the body. As it's non-invasive and non-surgical, there is no pain and you don't need to worry about downtime after the treatments, just carry on with your day as normal.
This treatment uses a combination of 4 different technologies. These are infrared light, bi-polar radio frequency energy, vacuum and roller massage. It works by the infrared heating up the hypodermis and radio frequency spreads the heat equally through the skin. The heat stimulates growth of new cells for the connective tissue, this then decreases skin laxity and body volume. The vacuum and roller massage is used to stimulate blood circulation and lymphatic drainage which improves the texture of your skin. All together they work to reduce cellulite with the added bonus of body contouring and fat reduction.

A series of these treatments can help reduce your cellulite, leaving you feeling more confident and comfortable in your own skin. Everyone wants to feel happy within their self and feel comfortable so if cellulite is a worry for you, this treatment may be something to consider!

Contact Pulse Light Clinic to book in a free consultation and patch-test. You can contact them by email - info@pulselightclinic.co.uk or give them a ring on 02075235158.

*This is a collaborative post with Pulse Light Clinic

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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

November Favourites - The Missing, New Shoes & Hot Chocolate!

I actually can't believe it's December already and it's time for another monthly favourites, this year has just flown by! My November favourites include a few brilliant TV shows, some new music and a few other random extras!
The Missing Source, James Arthur Source, Dark Angel Source.
The Missing - This has been my favourite thing on TV for the last few months now and it finally came to an end last Wednesday. If you didn't watch it then what have you been doing with your life! It was amazing! If you don't know anything about it then it is basically about a woman who has just returned in Germany after being missing for 11 years, she claims to be Alice Webster but the mother has doubts and over 8 episodes we found who she really was, where she had been and who had taken her. It was such a complex story and there were twists in every episode, every time I thought I had it figured out, something massive would happen and I would be just as confused as I was at the beginning! Every episode was great but the last few were just brilliant. I didn't want it to end.

New Look Camo Pumps - I never buy new shoes but last month I ordered these Camo Slip On Pumps from New Look and they have become my new favourite pair. I wanted them for London and Manchester as I knew we'd be doing a lot of walking and I couldn't face wearing my boots for both trips as they kill my feet. These were on offer for £7 down from £15.99 which I think is a great price for shoes I know I'll get a lot of wear out of. I wasn't sure how they would look on me, these are definitely out of my comfort zone and so different to anything I've had before but I think they actually look really nice. They are so comfy and go great with skinny jeans, I'll definitely be looking for more like this in the future.

Hot Chocolate - I always love having hot chocolate at this time of year, with loads of cream on top and mini marshmallows. I go mad with the cream but that's the best bit! It's been so nice to have one of these as a treat at the weekend, it makes me feel so cosy and christmassy.

James Arthur Back From The Edge - I loved James Arthur back when he was on the X Factor and I'm so glad he's back after a few years away with a new album. I love his first single from this album 'Say You Won't Let Go' it's just a great song and the lyrics are so lovely, it makes me emosh. There are a few other brilliant songs on the album too including Back From The Edge and The Truth. Definitely recommend giving it a listen if you haven't already!

Dark Angel - This was a two part series on ITV in November about Britain's first ever serial killer, a Victorian lady called Mary Ann Cotton. Over a period of time she killed several people including husbands and children aswell as others too, it is thought she killed up to 21 people before she was caught! Joanne Froggatt played her and she was brilliant, so convincing and really creepy! To say there were only two episodes loads happened and it never got boring or felt too rushed, we hadn't even planned to watch this, just found it on ITV and got hooked by it. It's still online to watch if you missed it.

Bath and Body Works Hand Gel - This was something I won in a giveaway, and it smells amazing. The scent is Coconut Pumpkin Latte, one I would probably never think to choose. It smells really sweet and it lasts for hours! I put a bit of this on my hands when I first got it and even though I then went to have a shower, when I got out my hands still smelled of it and they did for hours and hours. It just smells lovely and it's great to keep in my bag or pocket for when I'm out.

London & Manchester - I couldn't not mention our two trips away. Both were so lovely and it was great to just get away and relax. London was amazing as always, Oxford Street was so pretty with all of the christmas lights on and Wicked was incredible. Manchester was great also, I love that we go every year for the Christmas Market, it's something we always look forward to and I think this year they had the best stalls and food compared to previous years. I already can't wait for next year.

In case you missed it, last months favourites - October - The Fall, Herbal Essences and Thorntons!

If you want to read more about our trips - 2 Nights in London // 2 Nights in Manchester

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Monday, 5 December 2016

Etsy Christmas Gift Guide - For Her...

My second Christmas Gift Guide is all about Etsy! I have ordered a few bits from Etsy in the past and I've always been so happy with the quality and pricing. I love that you can find so many unique gifts by so many small businesses and you can find some really great things that you wouldn't find anywhere else. I decided quite last minute to do an Etsy Gift Guide after ordering one of George's presents, I found so many lovely gifts that I just had to share and hopefully you might find a little inspiration if you're struggling to come up with ideas this year!
Wax Melts Source, Hot Chocolate Source, Pencils Source, Lip Balm Source.
The first thing I saw were these Christmas Wax Melts, how cute are they?! You get three mini wax melts packaged in a little gift bag and there are 10 scents to choose from. Personally I think the Christmas Cookies, Ginger Biscuit or Peppermint Candy Cane would all smell amazing and all so christmassy! These are so cheap at only a couple of pound for each bag and I think these are just a perfect little present. Next I saw the Hot Chocolate Sachets which are £2.90 each, to be honest these would be quite easy to recreate but if you don't have the time and just want some cute, little gifts that are great for all the family then these are great for that. Everyone loves hot chocolate when it's cold and these sachets have everything you need included, all you need to add is milk. If you know someone who is into blogging or writing then I think these Girl Boss Pencils are great! I love any sort of stationary and for those who do just little things like this are a really nice little gift. They are £1 each and they also sell Girl Boss pens for £2.50. Something that I would love for myself is the Prosecco Lip Balm. This is just £3.45 which I actually think is a really great price as I recently saw a Prosecco Lip Balm that was £6.50 which I thought was way too much for what it was. 
Prosecco Mug Source, Boss Mug Source, Peter Pan Print Source, Quote Print Source.

Sticking with the Prosecco theme I found this amazing Prosecco Princess Mug for £7.95. If you know someone who loves a glass of the good stuff then this is a great gift. The same company also do this I'm Not Bossy I'm The Boss Mug. I don't know why but I just really loved this and I think it would be a very funny gift for someone. The last two things I went for were prints. I am obsessed with buying prints for the flat and I think something like this is just a really, lovely present. It's something a bit different and you can buy personalised ones too which to me show there's been some real thought behind it. I loved the Peter Pan print for £14.99 and the She Believed She Could So She Did print which varies in price depending on size.

I love Etsy for unique gifts for christmas and birthdays. It's nice to support smaller businesses and find something really different that you know someone will love at the same time.

I hope this gift guide has given you some last minute inspiration for christmas! If you haven't already seen, my first gift guide is also up now here if you want a read and would like a few more ideas! 
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Christmas Gift Guide - For Her...

Today I have TWO Christmas Gift Guides for you! This is the first one which is a more general one featuring a few bits from different stores including New Look, Paperchase and Superdrug. You can't wrong with those places for cute little gifts. And my second post which will be up after this is all about Etsy, you can get some great homemade, personalised gifts from so many small businesses so I thought I would do a separate one for that.

I didn't mean to leave my gift guides this late but I know some people like to do their christmas shopping last minute so hopefully you will still get a bit of inspiration and maybe find a few things you think would be the perfect present for someone!
Paperchase, New Look, This Works, Zoella Beauty.
Zoella Beauty (Superdrug) - I have never bought anything from the Zoella Beauty range, nothing has ever really stood out to me but the christmas range has which has been released and it is gingerbread scented! One of my favourite scents and so perfect for christmas. She has released several items, my personal favourites been the Bake My Day Fragrance Gift Set, Secret Scenta Mini Mist Set and the Bath Fizz Set. I think these gifts would be perfect for a friend or a sister or generally anybody who loves their home smelling of fresh gingerbread! I would love some of these for myself.

This Works - This is one of my favourite brands! Having anxiety and previously struggling with insomnia, my sleep can be all over the place sometimes, so some This Works products have got me through and really helped me. I think these are a perfect little present for anyone you know struggling at the moment or going through a tough time, they're a really good price for what you get and they do last a while. I love the look of the Calm To Go (I'm going to ask for this myself as it would be perfect for me) and the Dream Team Set.

Lush Gift Sets - If you're not sure what to get someone, a Lush gift set is always a good idea. They do some great selections for christmas, some include just bath bombs like the Northern Lights one, some include showers gels and some include soaps. Of course there are lots to choose from all varying in price, but for under £10 you can get a little box that would be a great secret Santa gift or extra Xmas pressie for someone.
New Look, Lush, Zoella Beauty.
New Look Pyjamas - I love getting new pyjamas at christmas. I think they are the perfect christmas present, it's such a nice feeling getting cosy at the end of christmas day in new pjs when you've eaten everything and just want to sleep! I love, love, love this Check Cuffed Pyjama Top from New Look. The top is £12.99 and the bottoms are £9.99. New Look do great Pj's and they have loads to choose from at the moment!

Paperchase Stationary - If you know someone who loves stationary or is into writing and homey stuff, then Paperchase is the place to go! They have a great christmas selection of gifts and you're sure to find something everyone will love. A few of my faves are the All You Need Is Tea Mug, Gingerbread Man Hot Water Bottle and the Pink Ombre 2017 Diary. To be honest you can never go wrong with a diary for someone, everyone needs one!

I hope this gift guide has given you a few ideas for christmas this year, there are loads of cute gifts available this year from places like New Look & Paperchase so I would definitely check those out!

Did you see my last post? 2 Nights in Manchester - Christmas Shopping & Christmas Markets!

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Friday, 2 December 2016

2 Nights in Manchester - Christmas Shopping & Christmas Markets!

After 2 fab nights in London, we had one day at home then went to Manchester for 2 nights. We always go to Manchester in November for the christmas markets and we always like to get some of our christmas shopping done there! Our first trip there was so special and I can't imagine a year where we won't go so even though we had booked London we still made sure we got a few days in Manchester too. 
We went last Monday and we were both still pretty shattered and achy from all the walking around London but as always we were really excited and happy to be back. We started off at the Christmas Market in Albert Square which is just around the corner from the hotel we stay at. We had to get a Doughnut Pretzel like we did last year so that was the first thing we bought and after a look around we headed to the Arndale Centre. Pretty quickly we found Homesense which is just one of the best shops ever. They had so many christmassy things and more gold and copper homeware bits than you could imagine, I wanted it all but I refrained as I just would have spent loads otherwise. We did pick up a few presents from TK Maxx, they had so many great home and beauty bits, I don't know why I don't look in the ones local to us more often as they had some really great things. We then picked up a few bits from Clintons that were on offer and of course I had to get some sort of christmassy candle. I went for the Yankee Candle Candy Cane Lane Melt which smells so sweet and minty. I can't wait to use that soon! We just had a really chilled first day and it was really lovely. We stopped for some of the Costa Christmas drinks that afternoon, I went for the Gingerbread Latte, which I actually love, I never normally like anything with coffee in but for some reason I just love this. We had a Costa while we were in London too, I went for the Mint Hot Chocolate then and it was one of the best hot drinks I've ever had. 
I mentioned in my Manchester Plans post that we were thinking of going to the Trafford Centre on our second day but we decided against that as there was so much more of the Arndale to get round and it was just much easier to get our shopping done in the centre. On our way there we went back to the market and picked up some food. This time we tried some Patatas Bravas from a Spanish stall and they were insanely good. I could eat them again right now. We're going to try and make our own again next week as I need them back in my life. 

We ended up back in TK Maxx after that and I got some lovely home bits for us even though we really didn't need anything! I got some gorgeous glasses for only £2.99 each! They are quite tall and just have a gold band around the bottom, I love them so much. I also picked up this lovely copper candle holder from The Card Factory. I would never ever think to look there for things like that but they had a really good range of home things and this holder was only £1.99, it's so different to anything else we have and it goes perfect in our living room! We picked up a few extra christmas bits from The Card Factory like little snow globes and a christmas countdown. I really want to make the whole flat so Christmassy and cosy this year so we got a few different things to put up. 
After a day of shopping and a nice stop at Cafe Nero for a break we went back to the market for the last time this year. We had to get a pork sandwich as they always look so tasty and we've never gone for one from the stalls before. We also got a huge brownie to try from this stall that is always there and they always do huge muffins and cakes and brownies. I always look forward to getting something from there!

We were home by about 3pm the next day, we had a really relaxing few days away and it was great to get our christmas shopping down in both trips! Now we only have a few extra bits to get and then it's all done, most are wrapped already aswell! I just love going to Manchester every year and carrying on the tradition, I don't ever want it to stop. Even if we can't get anywhere else in the year we always make sure we get to go away in November and I always get so excited for it. I'm already looking forward to next November, it just went way too quick, both trips did. We're hoping next November will be very special for a few reasons and another trip like this will be included. It might sound boring or a bit sad to other people but I don't think it would be the same for us without going to the christmas markets so we'll definitely be going back again! 

If you liked this post you might want to read about what we got up to in London - 2 Nights in London - Buckingham Palace, Oxford Street & Wicked!

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