Tuesday 30 December 2014

Home Interior: My Festive Fireplace

I think having a fireplace in a living room is like having a bed in a bedroom (did I just say that?!) - It's the main focal point of the room, and one that at Christmas time, you can really have some fun 'dressing' up.

I've included 2 photos below, the first being of my living room 3 years ago - the first Christmas we had in our new house. As you can see, although I didn't go OTT with decorating it, the glow of the roaring fire and flickering candles add a huge amount of cosiness to the room. I like how the Christmas tree sits beside the fire as well. I learnt my lesson from hanging the cards on my marble fireplace... with the heat from the fire they had a tendency to keep falling off... no matter how much blue-tac I used!

Fast forward 3 years and this was my fireplace this Christmas. I wish I put the fire on for this photo (just to add to the cosiness!) but just imagine its on! Obviously with a decor change came a switch around the with Christmas decorations. I went for more shabby chic themed accessories because I'm all for matching!

Unfortunately, due to a new piece of furniture being added to our living room, we had to downsize on our Christmas tree, so had to go for a twig tree (which you can see in this photo!). It's not everyone's cup of tea but its practical, so much simpler (and quicker!) to decorate, as well as put away. It takes up half the space and is something that I could use all year round if I wanted (minus the baubles!). I don't have children yet so I can get away with this type of tree. When children come into the equation I think I'd be forced to drag the 'proper' tree back out and find a space for it in the conservatory instead!

Due to the whole tree situation, I felt like I had to make up with accessories instead as I felt we were lacking that festive feel. Small little additions such as burning some candles, fairy lights and a quick DIY fishbowl vase with some baubles and lights and bingo.. our festive fireplace is complete!

    Did you dress your fireplace up this Christmas?

    This is my entry to the cast fireplaces competition

Festive Fire Competition Entry

Sunday 28 December 2014

December's Birchbox - 'Put on Your Party Shoes'

I've had this months Birchbox a week or two now, but obviously with festivities getting in the way I haven't managed to review it yet.

This month Birchbox collaborated with accessories designer Sophia Webster, so we received a gorgeous gemstone covered box.. I do love collaboration boxes!

First of all I want to apologise for the lighting.. you don't need me to explain why...
Secondly, for reasons that I'm not even aware of, I seem to be missing close up shots of part of this selection, I don't know how that happened so I apologise!

From L-R
Benefit Christmas Cracker (High Beam) - (Full prize £19.50)
I've tried High Beam before and remember liking it. I'm currently using a MeMeMe highlighter, so once that has finished I'll move onto this. This little miniature is perfect for travelling!

Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel (Full Prize - £40)
I've had other products from this brand before and remember liking it so I'm rather intrigued by this 'radiance peel'

Electric Hair Hydrate Shampoo (Full prize - £17.50)
This is meant to help repair damage and improve shine. Have yet to try but smells nice and fresh. With the size of this I may keep for a weekend away.

Eyekop Fat Eye Stick in 'Smoke' - £8
This creamy, easy to glide on charcoal crayon is perfect for creating a smokey eye.. I've yet to use it but have swatched it on my hand and it seems pretty easy to use.

Models Own 'Sardonyx' - £5
Before this box was released, Birchbox gaave us the opportunity to pick from a selection of colours that we would prefer to see in our box. I'm almost sure I didn't choose this red because I have a few red glitters now, so was a little disappointed when I saw this in my box. I do love nail polishes however I would have preferred to give another colour a try. This has a velvet top which I struggle to use as I hate the feel of velvet! Haha. I'm also not fond of the matte formulation of this glitter. I always think a glitter should do exactly what glitter is meant to do - sparkle! However this matte format takes the shine away..

Triology Rosehip Oil - (Full size - £16.50).
An oil for when your skin is in need of nourishment. I sometimes prefer an oil to moisture with than a cream... it tends to absorb into the skin easier. I have yet to try this however I'm a little disappointed that this doesn't seem to have a scent to it!

Sophia Webster Coin Purse Lifestyle choice - £25). I have actually taken a liking to this purse.. normally I think lifestyle choices are often too tacky to use, but I'm rather impressed with this one. It feels pretty good quality, I love the design (it's striped black and white on the back too). I was actually in need of a coin purse as well for when I downsize to smaller handbags, so this came at the perfect time!

So that's it! Another year with Birchbox! I have a full years worth of reviews on my blog now, however instead of leaving you 11 more links to previous months, just click on my 'birchbox' tag on the right hand side of my blog and it'll fetch you to them all.

Hope everyone had a good Christmas!


Saturday 27 December 2014

Bath Time with Lush: Lord of Misrule

After doing my research I'm a little confused with this bathbomb - I'm unsure if it's from their Halloween or Christmas collection.. either way, here are my thoughts!

The description of LoM left me feeling a little curious...

          Lord of Misrule brings mischievous revelry to the tub with a spicy herbal blend of patchouli and black pepper oil. As it slowly froths in the water, hypnotic swirling silver luster is released and the deep green exterior soon gives way to a rich, wine-colored center. Just like at the Feast of Fools, when the wine begins flowing, the revelry really begins! Popping candies fizz and crackle, creating a world of magic and mischief right before your eyes

 Yet again, another misleading bath bomb - this green rather boring looking bomb soon created pretty swirls of green and red wine/pink in my bath water. The smell was divine, a good concoction of both sweet and spicy. Yummy!

Thursday 25 December 2014

Bath Time with Lush: Star Light Star Bright

First of all, Merry Christmas! This post has obviously been scheduled but I wanted to get one out on Christmas day. Who got Lush products for Christmas?!

I've been slacking with these Lush Christmas baths that I promised.. I've since bought another mountain of Lush items as part of my Christmas present from my boyfriend. Some of them contain bubble bars from their festive collection which I may (or may not) add onto this series, but I did want all the festive ones to have been reviewed before the year is out!

Although this bath melt looks so pretty to look at, I was a bit apprehensive about using it because I was covered in silver shimmer/glitter every time I touched it, so I had a feeling it was going to be a very glittery bath!

As with most Lush products, I got a nice surprise when I went to cut this star in half (yes, I'm one of those stingy people that like to get 2 baths out of my products if possible!). The inside was blue which gave a lovely light blue colour to the bath water. I remember thinking this was rather hard to crumble under the running water because of the consistency of the melt. I loved how creamy it was though.

The silver 'glitter'? It didn't stick to me as I was expecting. It laid on top of the water like a layer of frosting (see photo below).

This melt is described as a 'lime and ginger scented bath filled with light lustre and a shea butter fondant'. I can definitely agree with the lime, however because it consisted of shea butter too, the citrus scent was evened out nicely. I loved the creaminess of this once combined with water, giving off a really luxurious feel.

Although I enjoyed this to look at, it didn't make my bath look very exciting, and the blue soon faded into the water to leave just the 'icing' on top.

What is your favourite Lush product?

Wednesday 24 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

I thought I'd get a festive tag in before the big day... hope you are all ready for the big day tomorrow!

On a scale of 1-10 how much are you in the Christmas mood?

I'd say I was about a 4/10. I'm working right up until 430 on Xmas eve and apart from the extra food that is going round, our office is lacking the Christmas spirit big time. I think I'm more looking forward to having some time off work than Christmas itself! I need to have children to help bring that festive mood back!

2. When wrapping presents is it a fail or are you a pro?

It depends what mood I'm in. This year I'd say I'm a pro because I bought loads of pretty ribbon (actual ribbon) of all different colours and patterns, and I've gone with brown paper for the majority of my presents to give it a bit of a vintage twist, so I'm quite happy with how they've turned out this year. 


3. When did you put your Christmas decorations up and do you do anything special while putting them up? 

This year I put them up the first weekend in December. And I usually try and get Mike to help me whilst listening to some Christmas songs, but that didn't happen this year and I ended up decorating the living room in a rush, with no help or music. Boring!


4. Do you get dressed up or stay in your pjs on Christmas day? 

I prefer to always get dressed before I go downstairs and open any presents. I have to feel like I'm ready for the day. Wearing PJs for a long time in the day makes me feel unmotivated and dirty.. I don't know why! I love my PJs at night though!

5. What would be your dream place to go during the Christmas season? 

I'd have to say New York.. ice skating at The Rockaefella Centre is always something that I've wanted to do.. Ice skating at night with that huuuuge gorgeous Christmas tree by your side. I'd love it!


6. What is your Christmas tree decorated like?

My Christmas tree is a little different this year and probably one of those that you either love or hate. I've had to go for a twig tree (see my Christmas home interior post) simply because I've had to downsize. I know people have these twig trees up all year round, however I've tried to bling it up with some baubles, and although I love it to look at, it just isn't the same.. 

7. Can you name all of Santa's Reindeers? ( without googling ) 

Yep, I know the song to this so as long as I sing it I will know each and every one.. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph!


8. Are you on the naughty list or the nice list this year? ( be honest ) 

I'd like to think I was on the nice list! I very rarely do anything naughty!

9. Name three things you love to do coming up to Christmas? 

Listen to Christmas songs
Watch Christmas movies a few days before 


10. Any Christmas Wishes?
Hmmm.. not really?!

11. Name 10 Christmas songs you love? 
Wow, I can't even think of 10 but here's a few faves ...

1. All I Want For Christmas Is You
2. Fairytale of New York
3. Last Christmas

12. Name 3 Christmas movies you love? 
1. Home Alone
I know there are more that I like but I'm not good with movie titles!

13. Do you like white lights or coloured? 

I like them both - I think white lights look more classy and 'clean', whereas coloured lights look a lot more festive. I've actually become quite fussy with my lights - I hate those fluorescent blue type ones. I love the old fashioned traditional looking lights, it evokes a lot more memories for me. 


14. Which do you like a little better, Christmas day or Christmas eve?

Umm, I like them both for different reasons - Christmas eve because the anticipation is still there and I feel most festive at this time.. I like to settle down and watch a Christmas film after having a bath (this year with a lush bath bomb!). I may do some baking tonight if I have time too. Christmas day I like because it always seems to be full with things to do - present unwrapping, watching (arguably) good TV, eating yummy foods, playing games with family then tinkering around with any new gifts you may have received. 

15. What is your favourtie Christmas make-up look to wear? 

I honestly don't change my make-up a lot of Christmas day.. I'm likely to change my nails or go for a red lip but that's as good as it gets. 

16. Right now as your answering these questions, how long is it till Christmas? 

Christmas is tomorrow! Whoop!


17. Do you have any presents that you open on Christmas eve? 

Nope. I have noticed PJs is a very common thing to be opening on Xmas Eve - I didn't realise exactly how popular this is until this year. Everyone seems to be doing it!

18. Name three things on your Christmas list?
I actually don't have a Christmas list this year - The 2 main things that I want is dollars (for our Florida holiday next year) and Lush bath products, and I know that I have got both of those. 

19. Your having a down day, Your not in the Christmas mood. What do you do to change your mood and become Christmas happy? 

Listen to Christmas music and watch a Christmas film (preferably Home Alone!)

20. What is the best thing on your plate when you have your Christmas dinner? 

Definitely a good roastie and stuffing!

Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday 23 December 2014

Christmas at Home ♥

The run-up to Christmas has felt a bit strange for me.. Sometimes I'm in festive mode, then other times I feel a bit deflated about the whole thing. Maybe it's cos I'm working right up until Xmas Eve, maybe its cos I haven't got children, so at 29yrs old, as you can imagine the excitement of Christmas has pretty much gone.

This year for Christmas we have a new addition to our living room furniture wise. This has taken the place of where the Christmas tree usually goes so we've had to down-size on our tree and resort to a twig tree. I really like how this looks, but lets face it, it doesn't ooze Christmas like a proper huge green bushy tree!

I've completely changed the colour scheme in our living room as well so being a bit OCD, I had to have christmas decs to match, so I'm lacking the traditional Christmas colours, instead sticking with whites, silvers and the odd glimmer of blue.

I've tried to accessorize our living room as much as possible in order to make up for the fact that we haven't got a 'proper' tree. I do like the result but I still feel like Christmas looks like its lacking a little in our household this year!

A lot of people have these twig tree's plain, but more so because its an extra tree for them. However, because for us, this is our main tree, I felt it needed some baubles on to bling it up a little, however I was selective with what I popped on, knowing weight would be an issue with the branches. I do however love the baubles that I have managed to pick up this year, spending a little bit more than usual! Oops!

This fishbowl was a quick DIY project - I needed a way to inject a bit of colour so put a load of blue and silver baubles in this bowl along with some battery-operated fairy lights and bingo!

I've had this tray of candles on my fireplace nearly all year and I've never lit these pillar candles, however now its Christmas I've decided to light them a bit more. I've added a few unused baubles on this tray too. In the right hand corner you may see a pot tea light house. I found this in The Range for £4.99 and think it looks so cute with a candle in at night time. It makes it look like there's someone living in the house and all the lights are on as the candle flickers through the windows!

This pastel stocking garland I do love, however because of the colours it reminds me of something that belongs in a children's nursery. The colours go perfectly with my living room though!

My mum gave us these coloured fairy lights, so I put them to use over our sideboard (this is the culprit that stole the Christmas tree's spot!). I've placed them ontop of white tinsel which makes it sparkle at night. The silver glitter 'Merry Christmas' wooden garland I ideally wanted on the wall, however my boyfriend refused to put nails in the wall so I hung it on here instead.

These ceramic 'baubles' I love, but again, due to their weight were too heavy to go on the tree so I hung them over this picture frame instead.


Are you all ready for Christmas?!


Friday 12 December 2014

Time for Tea with Royal Albert

Ever since I started having afternoon tea on a fairly regular basis, I've become rather partial to pretty crockery, in particular floral teacups. I have recently fell in love with Royal Albert, in particular the Mirander Kerr collection which hugely satisfies my love for pretty floral things. Unfortunately the majority is out my budget, and this would definitely be one of those 'special' presents that I'd only ask for as a gift on special occasions. One teacup is approximately £25... it nearly killed me spending £5 on a floral mug from Dunelm a few weeks back, never mind quadruple that price!

Until those special occasions, or that day that I'm gonna win the lottery (did I never tell you about that?).. this is my dream wishlist.. I chose my favourites out of a huge bunch..
Royal Albert
Cute huh?
Do you own anything from this collection?

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Christmas Bath Time with Lush | Christmas Pud

This bath bomb I know would have been even more great if I hadn't cut it in half (y'know.. to make it last longer..). I watched a demo of this on Lush's website and thought it was fab how different colours shot out at all different angles. However due to cutting mine, it fell apart, so I didn't quite get the same effect, however it still fizzed away in my bath and created a pretty array of colours, eventually turning my water a delightful colour of pink.. bright pink.

The smell was delish - so sweet and just.. yummy. I remember sitting in the bath and it took me a good 10 minutes before I realised that my water was filled with this gorgeous shimmer glitter effect, although it tended to be 'in' the water, as opposed to just sat on the surface. It was so pretty and I then felt like I was sat in a princess' bath! Luckily the shimmer didn't cling to the skin upon getting out of the bath (I think that would have been a bit too much for me!)

The holly that sat on top of the bath bomb I removed from the water before getting in. Simply because I initially wondered 'what that black thing' was that was lurking on the surface of the bath.. after sieving it out I soon realised it was the holly.. however it had now turned into slimy gunk, but luckily it was only small so could be sieved out. I liked the whole idea of it to look at though before using the bath bomb. You can't have a christmas pud without holly, right?!

Overall, I really liked the effect this gave to the water, the scent was right up my street and if I hadn't cut it in half then I think the display would have been fantastic to watch.

Whats your favourite Christmas bath bomb from Lush?


Thursday 4 December 2014

Review: November's Degustabox

Firstly, I apologise if these photos are bad quality - You know how it is, dark mornings, dark evenings, it means me waiting till the weekend to get half decent lighting, and even then the British weather can't promise that. And I couldn't promise I could hold onto all this till the weekend so bad photos it is!

So here's what I received in this months Degustabox*

Lets take a closer look... 

Cool Dawn Recovery Drink - £1.49 per can
This is the second kind of health related item I have received this month in regards to the party season and drinking. In a recent beauty box I received some Drinkwel tablets which claim to help avoid hangovers. These cans sound like they do a similar thing, but in a drink format as opposed to tablets. They help to prevent and cure hangovers. They contain no stimulants however the flavor sounds intriguing - citrus and liquorice! I very very rarely have a drink, but I do have a Christmas party coming up soon, so if I do happen to over-do it, I am definitely going to try these out because I do suffer with hangovers badly (partly the reason why I rarely drink!).

Holy Cow madras and korma curry sauce - £1.69 per pouch.
These look exciting to try, although they are meant to serve 2 people and I feel like the pouches would serve 1, maybe 1.5, but not to, so I have a feeling we'll be scrimping on sauce here.

Montano Italian Cider - £2.79
As previously mentioned, I'm not a huge drinker so it'll probably be my boyfriend that trials this out for me. I will say that it appears to be well priced considering the size of the bottle. I shall report back!

Kettle Chips in 'Salsa & Mesquite' - £2.19
I don't often opt for Kettle Chips, purely because they are on the more expensive side of crisps, however when I have had them in the past I've always liked their good quality goodness that they offer. This particular flavor is part of their limited edition Christmas range. I think I would have preferred the other flavor that was on offer (Stilton & Port) but this was still ok. I liked it the first time I opened the packet, however when I revisited the bag a day later my taste buds were no longer fond of the flavours, so I probably wouldn't repurchase this bag. The size of the bags are great for sharing though during a film!

Kent's Kitchen Stir in Flavour Shots (BBQ) - £1.85
I've seen these round the shops but never purchased any - Consistency wise they remind me of jelly, but obviously melt when you pop them in a pan. I've used one of these and it gave my chicken a nice flavor, not too overpowering, but not too weak. I like how these are not messy to cook with. There are a variety of flavours to choose from and you aren't forced to use them just with chicken.. be adventurous!

Branston Caramelised onion chutney - £1.50
New to the range, this chutney is probably best served with cheeses this Christmas, or used as a dip. Degustabox provided a recipe this month that includes using this (Sausage & Caramelised Onion Hot Pot) which I am cooking on Sunday.

Pip Organic Apple Juice - £1.50
These cute little bottles are perfect to take to work with me. I love apple juices and the fact that these are organic with no added sugar or preservatives they're great for the body too!

Chai Latte spiced tea (Sample Present)
I'm no fan of spiced tea.. I have a massive handful of these type of teabags in my cupboard and I know they're never going to get used (I really must throw them out!). I've tried so many different types of tea, chamomile, fruit tea, spiced tea, and I dislike all of them. Good ol' traditional English tea for me please!

Lindt - Lindor My Melting Moment - 65p each
You can't really go wrong with Lindor chocolate.. these used to be No1 on my chocolate list, however I think I ate one too many at Christmas a few years ago so they dropped in my favourite list! I still do love them, and these 5 packets didn't last 24hrs. A fab naughty treat to stick in your bag over Christmas time!

Overall, was I impressed with this months box? Not overly... Degustabox seem to struggle to get a nice equal mix of items - and this time (as with a few previous boxes) they've seem to gone overkill on the drinks side of things again. 4 out of 9 items were drink-related.
Thankfully there were no baking products in this months box as that was beginning to get a little repetitive. The snack section was ok but I just feel they need to broaden their horizon's a bit and think outside the box a little. I appreciate there is only so much you can fit in one box, and also you have to take into account the freshness of things as well as items that require constant chilling.
I also feel that if they are struggling to find brands to work with them, then the items that they do  have to work with, they'll include duplicates to bulk out the box (i.e. 5 lindt chocolates, 2 apple juices, etc). This seems to happen a lot.

If they really got their name out there they could be onto good things, it can happen but I guess these things require time and effort.

I still love receiving my monthly box.. its like Christmas, but every month!

For more information on Degustabox please see the links below:
If you want to subscribe to Degustabox, enter this code at checkout to receive a £3 discount upon subscribing: IF0FJ
Are you subscribed to Degustabox? What did you think to this month's box?


Tuesday 2 December 2014

ToxicFox Christmas Gift Ideas

By now, most people would have started their Christmas shopping, or at least thought about gift ideas. Toxic Fox  has a large range of personalized gifts, some quite quirky and unique stocking fillers that are guaranteed a giggle when opening..

The world famous Claireabella jute bags seem to have taken the celebrity world by storm, and the likes of Michelle Keegan, Kelly Brook and Amy Childs have been spotted with these on their arm. And whats better, Toxic Fox is the place to be to grab yourself one this Christmas!

The website allows you to personalize your Claireabella right down to the last details, including skin and hair colour as well as clothing. You can make your Claireabella look similar to you, or you can be completely creative and make it look like how you only dream of looking (like mine!) If you're buying it as a gift, why not personalize to match the lucky recipient? Adding any name (up to 12 characters) and the bag is personalized to you.
What makes it even more special is that the bag is then hand painted, so you know time and effort has gone into it, unlike yet another factory processed one. Flecks of glitter are applied to the hair and clothes, and small gems/diamantes are applied throughout to give it that extra sparkle. Bows and ribbons are also attached, so it oozes pure girliness. It's finished off with a little silver metal heart charm that reads 'handmade with love'. You couldn't get any more cuter...

Large Claireabella Jute Bag* - £39.99

The hessian fabric is strong, as are the handles, so this could be used as an every day bag or maybe to take food shopping. I took mine to Tesco's last week along with a few other shopper bags and my Claireabella managed to fit quite a lot of food in. Perfect replacement for those horrible thin plastic shopping bags that split all the time..

This typography of Love frame is perfect for so many occasions. Toxic Fox design them in a range of shapes to suit so many occasions. Because I couldn't think of anyone to give this as a gift to, and there are no upcoming celebrations, I decided to design one for myself instead. After choosing the base shape, you are then asked to choose 10 words - so depending on the theme of your frame and who is receiving it, think wisely. A lot of people think of words to describe the person they are giving this to, however because this was for myself, I decided to base it on my passions. You are then given a selection of colours to choose from I went with blue as I knew this would be sitting in my living room, so I wanted it to tie in with my colour scheme. Surrounding your chosen words are various other inspiring words such as 'hopes' 'smile' 'cherish' 'friends' - Looking back, maybe my passions don't quite fit the words already provided, and in fact the typography frames are meant purely for people's traits. Who knows? Your masterpiece is then completed with coloured gems to match the font in which you chose. It is then placed in a white matt frame which has the option of being hung on the wall. I love my print.. it's really good quality and I can't wait to hang it on the wall. I have previously bought a typography print for my brother and his wife when they got married and filled it with words that related to their wedding (i.e. venue, date, Mr & Mrs etc) and they loved it. I also know a couple that for every year they have been together design one of these, using words relating to the memories that they have made in the past year. Such a cute idea!

Typography of Love Frame* - £39.99

All items shown in this post are available here.

ToxicFox have a great Christmas gift guide on their Youtube channel too - See their Christmas gift guide here.

If you haven't already started your Christmas shopping, or are in need of some stocking fillers, have a browse of their website. I've got a 10% discount for my readers to use on any purchases made on their site. Just use the code TFBlog at checkout and save yourself some pennies!

Happy Shopping!

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