Saturday, 22 December 2012

7 days to go | Winter Warmers

No one told me that Norwich was cold. This meant that when  I got there, bright eyed and bushy tailed, for the beginning of university in September I had packed mainly the wrong clothes! I only had my grandma to thank for the 5 jumpers I had packed - other thank that it was all leggings and t shirts. This meant I had to go out and buy lots of lovely knitwear hats and scarves within my first week. Since then I have developed quite a love for the knitted beanie!

I particularly love the navy, flecked one from New Look below - I think pompoms are the cutest things ever on hats. The same goes for the pastel beanie from ARK. Whilst out on my knitwear purchasing hype I bought an infinity scarf from H&M (the one below is from Asos) and have since converted several of my flatmates to them! No more one-long-ended scarfs or that odd scramble for the other side of your scarf when you're trying to take your coat off in a hurry! Another time saver are the hand warmers being sold by New Look - these are great if, like me, most things you own are touch screen and you don't want to be stuck listening to the cringey music on your iPod whilst hammering your gloved fingers into the screen! Moving onto the fur. I first saw faux fur collars similar to the H&M one below in a video by Sammi aka BeautyCrush and thought they were an awesome alternative to the Peter Pan Collars which were popular this spring! Also, I'm very tempted to forray into the world of earmuffs and these ones from River Island (which are not only ear muffs but bear ears) are too hilarious to not love! Although I have recently been warned to stop buying clothes for comic purposes... hmmm some people are no fun!

L-R Pompom scarf, TopShopBear-ear Ear Muffs, River Island, Chalk Bobble Hat, ARK. Navy Bobble Hat, New Look,  Navy Handwarmers, New Look, Faux Fur Collar, Burgundy Infinity Scarf, Asos

8 days to go | LBD

Hear ye hear ye! Let us all gather round and praise the wonders of the LBD! Stuck for outfit ideas for the office christmas party? Trying to one-up the ex at a friends festive bash? Or simply spending a lovely wintery evening with the girls? Then look no further than the LBD!! For those of you who live on mars, the LBD, otherwise known as the Little Black Dress, is the ultimate wardrobe essential for all girls! I commit the cardinal sin of only owning one...but I do wear it constantly!

I love LBDs because they're simple yet usually gorgeous! Also, just because they're a classic doesn't mean they have to be boring. For example, you can go for the classic H&M one shown below which can then be jazzed up with accessories. Or on the other hand go for something completely different such as River Island's baroque take on the LBD! I also really love the galaxy detailing on the collar of the TopShop's dress, although the shape of this probably makes it more of a day time dress. To liven up a little black dress it's all about altered tailoring, cut-outs and mix-match hems! If you ignore the scarily skinny model, Asos's ice-skater style cut-out dress is really pretty and the studding detail on ARK's dress is very 'in' (also it's worth checking this out on the website just to admire the beautiful back-detailing)
L-R Asymmetric Chiffon dress, New Look . Digital Splash Collar, Topshop, Skater Dress, Asos,  Velvet Cut-out dress, ARK, Baroque Prom-style dress, River Island, Simple LBD, H&M

Thursday, 20 December 2012

9 days to go | Christmas Songs

For someone who is a little obsessed with Christmas I'm very picky when it comes to Christmas songs. I love carols, the jollier and more Nativity related the better but it's the Christmas pop songs I struggle with sometimes. Take "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Wizzard for example. Totally impractical! No one wants it to be Christmas everyday it'd be no fun - therefore I don't like the song!

I love Christmas songs that tell a story. I think that's why Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses is my favourite christmas song. It tells the story of a girl who just wants to have christmas on her own but keeps running into this guy she likes! Perfect! I also love songs that remind me of Christmas adverts. Two songs that always make me feel like it's December are Warm This Winter by Gabriella Cilmi and Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie. This might just be because they're on various supermarket adverts accompanied by pictures of turkeys and sprouts but I always feel to wintery as soon as I hear the opening notes! Moving onto the classics; I am not a Mariah fan, but it simply isn't christmas unless I'm listening to All I Want For Christmas after one too many mulled wines and belting out those high notes. I totes am Mariah!! And let us not forget the ultimate Christmas song Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty Maccoll. Another song that tells the depressing tale of two down on their luck, past-hopefuls. An all round lovely song, albeit it slightly over-played, that always gives me that melancholy December feel.

p.s I also totally love Justin Bieber's Christmas Album and am not even vaguely ashamed.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

10 days to go | Christmas films

Christmas is a totally stressful time of year, I think I way overestimated my abilities doing this Christmas advent calendar! Firstly...I can't count so all my days are numbered wrong, secondly I forgot how much shopping/working/socialising happens in December. There aren't enough hours in the day! Only 10 days left I can totally do this!!

As I said, Christmas is totally stressful. Barging through massive queues in the shops, hunting down gifts and trying not to spend to much money are all things I am not good at meaning I get massively anxious at Christmas time...still love it though! So what's better, on a cold winter evening, than making yourself a nice hot drink, snuggling up with a loved one or a nice box of choccys  (more often than not the same thing in my case) and watching a classic, cheesy, Christmas film?

I'm a big ol' romcom fan so films like Love Actually and Four Christmases, which combine slushy love and Christmas get a big tick in my book! Is there actually a single person out there who doesn't love Love Actually...even if it's just for Bill Nighy's singing?! Muppet Christmas Carol is a classic in my house, we watch it pretty much every year, Miss Piggy is my idol!! There's also films like Elf, The Grinch and Home Alone big kids classics that are always on the tv! We watched Elf in my flat the other day and everyone was sat there with a huge grin on their face!! A personal favourite of mine is Tim Burton's masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas. Although it may have been commandeered by misunderstood emo kids it's still a beautiful film! I always wrestle with this one because I can't decide whether you're meant to watch it at Halloween or Christmas...I usually settle for both...
L-R Love Actually, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Home Alone, Four Christmases, Elf, The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Grinch

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

17 days to go | Gadget Cases

Imagine the clumsiest person you have ever met. Then double it. Now you are picturing me! I drop absolutely everything. Last year alone I broke 2 cameras, a phone and an iPod. So this year, I did what every notorious clumsy person does and bought and iPhone and a MacBook Pro. As I was signing my new phone contract my mum said to me "I give you a month til you break it". This was when I realised the importance of gadget cases! They protect all your treasured possessions and with the amount of variety you can get them in there's literally no reason not to get one!

Below I've given a little selection of cases. I really love the Marc Jacob's case, I think it's really chic and sleak at £33 it's not totally extravagant but it's a little pricey. I also really love the studded iPad case from Accesorize, nearly enough to make me go out and buy an iPad! If you're planning on buying someone a gadget case as a present why not go personal? VistaPrint have got some great offers on personalised iPhone cases (as illustrated by the creepy photo of the couple). For your mum you could get her favourite family photo or for a mate you could get a little joke or quote printed on it. I love personal presents so I think it's a super cute idea.
L-R: Radley Blackberry Case, John Lewis, Studded iPad Case, Accessorize,  Laptop Case,  Marc by Marc Jacobs, Owl iPad Case, Zazzle, Personalised iPhone Case, VistaPrint, Fox iPhone Case, Accessorize

18 days to go | Stocking Fillers

Sorry I've got a bit behind on my advent calendar blog posts. It's coming the end of the semester which meant I had approx. 1000 deadlines in the space of 2 days. Some things have to get pushed to the side and unfortunately it was my blogging...but I'm done now and I'm back *party party party*

So, like a lot of you out there, I have an extremely complicated family. This means that somehow even though I technically don't have any  full brothers or sisters I have gained 3 nieces and a nephew! I love having them around at Christmas because they still see the joy in absolutely every aspect of it. Let's be honest; shiny lights, presents, chocolate and fancy clothes are like crack to a 3 year old! No wonder they love it! So at Christmas I always want to really spoil them but I'm not made of money. This year I'm opting for several, small presents. More to unwrap and it often works out a bit cheaper.
But stockings aren't just for the kids. I think everyone love opening little presents. If they're anything like me they spend the rest of the year collecting bric-a-brac so why not gain an abundance of it at Christmas?
L-R: Faun Hot Water Bottle, DotcomgiftshopSpaceBoy Lunchbox, Dotcomgiftshop, Baby Bunny Night Light, Dotcomgiftshop. Alphabet Candle, NotOnTheHighStreet, Hangover Rescue Balm, NotOnTheHighStreet, I Love Me Mug, Stocking-Fillers

Friday, 7 December 2012

19 days to go | Christmas Cocktails

There are two sides to every winter. The first side is the horrible one; grey skies, rain, cold winds. There is nothing that can cheer this aspect of Winter up...even the thought of being one day closer to Christmas doesn't make me want to venture out into the blistering cold. But then there's the other side to winter. The twinkly lights wrapped round trees, fancy parties and sparkly shoes. It's this bit of winter that gets me up in the morning - knowing that although the rain might be torrential there is any and every excuse for a party!

Cocktails are great because they can encompass both of winter's faces - especially the lovely recipes that come out around Christmas time. If you're feeling cold and sad there are some warm recipes which are perfect for warming your cockles. Classics like mulled wine are perfect for this, in recent years I've become partial for an odd glass of mulled cider. Lots of cinnamon and orange and it is basically Noel in a glass. If you're feeling a bit fancier you can whip out the Champagne a lovely, bubbly cocktail. Something like a "Christmas Kiss" (you can click on the links in the photo caption for the recipe) are absolutely perfect if you're planning on throwing a party!
L-R: Simon Rimmer's Snowball, Mark Fothergill's Hot Gin Punch, Diana Henry's Christmas Kiss, Jamie Oliver's Mulled Cider, Patrick William's Egg Nog, Mulled Wine

(For a sneaky extra here's my favourite "cocktail" recipe. I don't know whether I can really call it a cocktail considering it was just made up of what we had in our fridge but it tastes delicious. We call it a Green Goblin and it's basically just Smirnoff Ice, WKD Blue and Orange Juice in a glass with lots of ice. I usually add a touch of extra vodka to mine to make it a bit stronger. It's a really alarming colour but it tastes like sherbert)
Got any cocktail recipes of your own? I'd love to hear them so please feel free to leave me a comment...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

20 days to go | Peplum Dresses

Peplum has been a really big trend this year. I really love it because it's what I call a "universal trend"(pantent pending - don't go stealing my pretentious terms). By this I mean it's a trend that can work in so many ways. In the spring it looked gorgeous in floral patterns, in the summer it was great in bold, block colours and now in the winter you can rock it in dark colours or even my beloved sequins! Also, unlike most trends it's one which I feel can suit all body types. If you're a skinny minnie lacking in the curves department the extra material can make you look totally Marilyn Monroe and if you're a curvier girl who has "problem areas" (I hate that term) the shape will help "hide" them (I hate that term too)

Peplum dresses are a go to for the office do. You can where them to work in the day with thick tights and then just remove said tights to party hard afterwards if you don't have time to go home and change. And even if you do then peplums guarantee that you look glam but keep up your smart workwear facade in front of the boss. Two birds one stone.

Black Bardot Peplum by Miss Selfridge, Contrast Peplum by Topshop, "Oh My Love" Jersey Peplum by Asos, Pearl Peplum by Rare at Topshop, Petrol Blue Peplum by Dorothy Perkins, Red Peplum by Asos, Embellished Peplum by New Look, Navy Velvet Peplum by Boohoo

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

21 days to go | Lipsticks

This summer there was a big trend for crazy, bright lipsticks. While I love it I'm never quite brave enough to pull off the neon orange lips, I prefer to stick to my classic red. That's one of the reason I love winter lipsticks. They always tend to stick to my well known territory of reds and burgundies. 

I've tried to keep this colour scheme in mind in the lipsticks I've picked. I absolutely love the dark  Bourjois, I can imagine it looking awesome with a nice little party frock, it just makes me think of warm fires and mulled wine (just me? ok...). Also the Max Factor and Rimmel reds. Red might be a classic lipstick colour but that doesn't mean it's been overdone. It always adds a bit of sexy class to an outfit. My plan with red lipstick is always to go as close to traffic light as humanly possible - just don't think about the Coca Cola advert...

For the braver among us Barry M always a safe bet for bright nail varnishes and eye shadows and their lipsticks are no different. Maybe not one for the office party but if you're having a little get together with friends the Pink Glitter is practically fairy lights for your lips. The same applies for L'Oreal's Charmant Gold, tinsel lips! Just don't do too much snogging under the misletoe...
L-R Kate Shade 1 by Rimmel. Hittin' The Block by Hello Kitty. 715 Ruby Tuesday by Max FactorRock Candy by Look Loud Lips, Charmant Gold by L'Oreal,Velvet Wine by NYC Cosmetics, Pink Glitter by Barry M, Rouge Intemporal 78 by Bourjois

Monday, 3 December 2012

22 days to go | Chocolates

In winter it gets cold (that's an actual fact that is). So I have taken a leaf out of the seal's and walrus' book and decide to invest in an extra layer of blubber - no need to buy a winter coat yay! 
Maybe not a diet plan that's going to catch on? Ok but we all need a little indulgence around Christmas time be it splashing out on a big, fancy selection box or rootling your hand around in the last of the Quality Street (*please not Strawberry Cream, please not Strawberry Cream*)

I've gone for a mix of chocolate styles today ranging from the all together fabulous but a little pricier Hotel Chocolat chocolate wreath (probably not advised to hang this on your front door - although it might make your carol singers very happy) to the cheap and cheerful Cadbury's Santa! Christmas is just not Christmas without an abundance of cheap chocolate you shove in your gob! As an all round mince pie hater (I know, shock horror) I absolutely love the idea of Hotel Chocolat's alternative mince pie and it's at the cheaper end of their price range which is great! And who doesn't love a classic Lindt golden reindeer perching on their mantlepiece!?

So what are your favourite Christmas time snacks? Sweet or Savoury? 
L-R: The Festive Wreath, Hotel ChocolatRonnie Reindeer, ThorntonsChocolate Coins, Divine. Alternative Mince Pies, Hotel Chocolat. Gold Reindeer, Lindt. Angel Lolly, Chocolate Trading Company. Chocolate House, Betty's. Chocolate Santa, Cadburys

23 days to go| Decorations

I think I might have a problem - I'm obsessed with Christmas decorations. Last week I was put in charge of buying the Christmas decorations for our flat, safe to say our kitchen is now covered in tinsel, lights and snowflakes. 

For me, it's not a Christmas decoration unless it's really tacky, glittery and screams kitsch but I know this is not an opinion that everyone shares (some of my flatmates were not so happy about the excess of glittery tinsel being strewn across the windows!). So in this post I tried to tone down the tackiness of the decorations I picked. I really love the Paper Lanterns from DotComGiftShop (which is a great place to check out if your struggling to find gifts) I can imagine them looking really cute in the porch outside my house. Also, I thought the Marks and Sparks paper balls looked really vintagey-chic, my mum's actually been making these recently so I was amazed to see them online as well! The little box is a little unclear but they're totally cute little reindeer party lights. Really kitsch and hideous! I saw these for the first time on SprinkleOfGlitters Christmas haul video which is worth checking out if you're looking for more decoration ideas...
L-R Paper Lantern, DotComGiftShop. Snowflake Rotary Candle, Sass & Belle. Santa Washing Line, Debenhams.  Be Merry Sign, Debenhams. Glass Robots, Paperchase. Conran Range Paper Balls, Marks and Spencers. Sparkly Robins, Paperchase. Reindeer Party Lights, Baker and Maker

Sunday, 2 December 2012

24 days to go | Perfumes

Perfume is an ever present on my Christmas list, if you're going to look gorgeous you want to smell it as well. For years I wore ShowTime by Kylie Minogue, I know wearing celebrity perfumes is not the most sophisticated thing in the world but it the ideal scent for me! Unfortunately, for some absolutely unknown reason they've stopped making it so since then I've been trying to find a perfume that I like as much (I am as of yet unsuccessful..)

The perfumes I've put below are a mixture of big perfumes of the year, new Christmas releases and classic good scents. Lady Million by Paco Rabbane isn't a new one but it's a staple perfume that a lot of people wear simply because it's so good. If you're looking for a sure thing that might be the best one for you. Although I personally found the Lady Gaga perfume a bit disappointing, I had to put that in there simply because of all the attention surrounding it (be warned I have heard from my secret sources that the black liquid can actually stain your clothes). Also, I've added BeyoncĂ©'s newest perfume, Midnight Heat, just because they always smell good and I don't think her newest one got much attention. 

The 007 fragrance is really one for the boys, but I smelt it the other day and it smells lovely. Really classy which surprised me considering it's a movie tie-in. 
And finally, the Biebs. I know I'll be judged horrendously for this but I think Justin Bieber's perfumes smell really, really nice. I actually own and wear Someday quite a lot (*cringe*) and it's a genuinely nice scent. I went to try this one the other day and whilst the packaging looks like it was designed by a toddler on a sugar high, the scent it surprisingly mellow, floral and tasty.
L-R Midnight Heat by Beyoncé, Fame by Lady Gaga, Lady Million by Paco Rabanne, Boss Nuit pour Femme by Hugo Boss, Manifesto by Yves Saint Laurent, James Bond 007 by 007 Fragrances

Saturday, 1 December 2012

25 days to go | Nail Varnishes

I wish I could say that I get invited to totally glam parties during the Christmas season but unfortunately all the parties I get invited to are very informal, jeans-and-tshirt affairs. Whilst I love to dress up I know that if I turn up head to toe in sequins I'll get a few odd looks. I like to make a little compromise with myself; dress casual but then up the Christmas glitz with nail varnish.
I honestly believe nail varnish can really change a look. You can be wearing a really cute, babydoll dress but pair it with a rocking, dark nail varnish and you've added a whole new element of contrast.

I've been lusting over these lush nail varnishes for a while, they seem to just exude Christmas miracles...and who can go wrong with a good glittery nail?! I know Ibiza Mix by Models Own was the colour of the summer but I think it can work as a winter glitter as well. I especially love Show Me The Ring by Essie, I think it looks just like snow on a wintery morning (God, I'm so poetic). Also, Nail Constellation by MUA is just another new innovation in the world of nail art, I really like the mix of colours in Scorpio and can't wait to try it out...

L-R: Running in Circles by China Glaze Cirque Du Soleil Worlds Away, Gold by Barry M, Oil Slick Ultra Marine Green by Accessorize, Leading Lady by Essie, Ibiza Mix by Models Own with Hed Kandi, Scorpio Nail Constellation by MUA, Show Me The Ring by Essie

Blog Post Advent Calendar

At Christmas I am like a small child! I run round excited throwing tinsel at people, hastily wrapping presents and demanding more fairy lights. One of the most exciting things about the build up to christmas is peeling open each door on your advent calendar, staring at the chocolate and trying to work out what the hell it's meant to be...

So I wanted to transfer that excitement onto my blog by writing a post for everyday of advent - like opening a flimsy cardboard door but with less cheap chocolate and more countdowns of all things Christmassy. From jewellery to cakes I'm going to try and cover all aspects of the Christmas party season. I've currently got enough ideas for 16 days so any suggestions would be really appreciated.