The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide: For Her, Him and Home

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

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this post contains gifted products marked with an * but all opinions are my own 

Is that Christmas just around the corner? Oops. I'm not going to lie, until yesterday I hadn't bought any gifts for anyone. I feel like this year has crept up on us and by tomorrow it might actually just be Christmas Day?! Anyone else? Christmas gift shopping can be a little strenuous sometimes but it doesn't need to be! I'm here to bring you ALL the goodies and tips on what to buy this year.

For Her: 

I feel like every year there are just so many amazing gifts on the market for women. I'd love to be a man having to buy for a woman, it's SO EASY! First up, World Duty Free have the most incredible selection of gifts?! I never realised they did exclusives until recently, if you're stopping through an airport soon definitely keep your eyes peeled for some absolute bargains or shop online before you fly. This Mac lip set*, including a Lip Scrub, Prep + Prime and RetroMatte Liquid Lipstick, is a great neutral gift set for the makeup lover in your life. Fragrance is a fail safe option always, if you know what they like that is! The Coach Floral Trio* is a steal, including a full size perfume, body lotion AND a mini travel size perfume too is the best gift, those mini perfumes are a godsend when travelling. For the bath lover (aka me), Sanctuary Spa have the best variety of gifts, the Decadent Delights set* caught my eye and you bet I'll be wrapping this up for myself to sit under the tree on Christmas Day.

For the non makeup / skincare / bath lover! Buckley London have some sweet jewellery gifts. The bauble gift* might just be one of my favourites, containing 3 sets of stud earrings, it really is gorgeous. p.s it comes in a box, don't worry you do not have to attempt to wrap a sphere. Phew!

If you're still looking, head to Cawligraphy's website for the most uplifting set of quotes printed on postcards / prints / flags amongst many other things! I own a few prints and a few postcards and they are all gorgeous. Books are the way to go with gifts these days to be honest, I'd be happy to wake up to lots of books under my tree. Mary Portas' Work Like A Woman* is the go to gift for all the hard working women in your life.

Other gift ideas: 

-a nice plant (this is what I want for christmas)

-a tote bag from Sighh (they're ace)

-a 2020 diary (I've just bought one from Papier!)

For Him: 

Christmas gift guide for men featuring: ralph lauren red aftershave gift set, a peter crouch book, elemis skincare, the body shop mini shampoo, 35mm film camera, tkmaxx candle
Why are men so hard to buy for? It's easy to fall back on failsafe ideas, especially when they're so fussy! My go to picks are always some sort of fragrance, this Ralph Lauren gift set went down an absolute treat this year and helped work out which ones to actually buy full size next, winner! Even though they may say you don't need anymore candles, buying one as a gift doesn't count and secretly they love them anyway, anything pumpkin related in this house please. Head to TK Maxx for the best candle related finds! A 35mm film camera or a few rolls of film is always a good idea if they're already a film photography lover, I absolutely adore shooting film, especially on holiday. Grab a few nice skincare / haircare bits they'd never pick up themselves to replace the Lynx in the shower for a while. The Body Shop minis are great or this Elemis set for the face! The latest sports book, you can't go wrong really can you? Peter Crouch has two* out if football is their thing. Lastly, chocolate is the easiest option ever, if in doubt just buy chocolate. 

Other gift ideas: 

-a vinyl of their favourite album of the year (a big YES!)

-tickets to see a film / play / gig / sports / *fill with their hobby*

-a jacket you want so you can "share" (this is the one I want)

For Home:

Christmas gift guide for the home featuring, homeware, dishoom cookbook, instax polariod on string with pegs, annie dornan smith superlove print, jo malone lime basil mandarin candle, leopard trinket statute from george asda

The home is the easiest place to shop for by far. This Superlove print by Annie Dornan Smith is one of my favourite prints ever and it would make a fantastic gift (to be honest, any of Annie's products would be an excellent idea). You can't go wrong with a Jo Malone candle can you really? Any scent is a winner. A good cookbook will go down a treat is most households but the new Dishoom cookbook* is the most beautiful book I've ever seen, way more than just a cookbook. The photography and overall structure give you an insight into Bombay, which complement the recipes perfectly. This is a must buy, when it's not in the kitchen it can be on show as a coffee table book. Little trinkets add cute details to a room without breaking the bank, this leopard statue was under £10 from ASDA! If you're really stuck or it's last minute - grab together some polaroids, string and pegs and make a decoration of lovely memories. If you don't have polaroids, you can easily print photos and do the same, it's the thought that counts anyway, right?

Happy shopping!

Here's a few other last minute gifts that caught my eye:

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Books Of The Month: January

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

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If you didn't know, I've started reading all the time now. Gone are the days of aimless scrolling (who am I trying to kid?), maybe they aren't quite gone but they're less intense now. Broken up with getting lost in a good book. Every month I'm going to document every book I've read and give it a little rating, hopefully this will give you recommendations to fill your year of reading. If you haven't got the bug yet, I've got a post coming soon about how I fell back in love with it, so stick around for that. Here's my year in books so far:

The House Swap - Rebecca Fleet

The idea of a house swap is terrifying in itself but this book really opens up the idea that you'd never really know who was in your home. Caroline and Francis jump at the chance of a house swap for a week away to reconnect. It seems the person they've swapped with is someone she used to know, but someone she's desperate to leave in her past.

I don't know what to say about this book. I just loved it. It twists and turns in a perfect way and you'll never guess what's coming next. I loved the thrill of the unknown with this book, you never really know what's going on until it hits you square in the face like a brick. It's wonderfully written, I read it over two days in two sittings but it's easily a book you could binge in a day without stopping. I'm already waiting for Rebecca's next release, The Second Wife, which comes out in 2020. SO LONG.

Perfect Liars - Rebecca Reid*

If you've read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty then you'll adore this book. I've been dying to read it ever since I heard about it's release and it did not disappoint. Sixteen years ago, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila committed a terrible crime. They have never spoken about it. But now, in their thirties, one of them wants to talk. Three woman walk into dinner, but only two will leave. This book delves into the lives of woman tied together because of their past and telling the story of what really happened that night.

Alternating chapters lead you through the story of what their big secret is, hooking you in right from the beginning. Another book that's so intense you just don't want to put down at all. The characters are relatable in so many ways but also unlikable, much like a true representation of a lot of female relationships. Do people really like the girls they were best friends with at school or are they all sticking together because of something terrible they did when they were sixteen? Who knows! A thrilling read that isn't wrapped up with a perfect ending but crime is never that perfect is it?

Perfect Liars is released on February 21st, via Transworld books.

I Owe You One - Sophie Kinsella*

Fixie Farr has to fix EVERYTHING. That's the sole theory throughout the book. The idea of an IOU is played on throughout this book, between Fixi and Sev. Taking their turns to help each other out after Fixie saved this handsome strangers laptop from a disaster in a coffee shop, Fixie never intends to call upon the favour but then Ryan, her massive teenage crush, walks in.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book to be quite honest, I read a lot of Sophie Kinsella's books when I was younger as my mum seemed to own every single one and I used to pinch them to read. I found myself relating to Fixie a lot, as someone who has tried to fix many people in the past I was nodding along all the way through and eye rolling at how similar our mistakes were! A refreshing change from all the crime / thrillers I've been reading recently and something I'd definitely recommend. An easy, uplifting and relatable read that you'll laugh along to.

I Owe You One is released on February 7th, via Transworld books.

Friend Request - Laura Marshall 

Maria Weston wants to be friends with me but Maria Weston died more than 25 years ago... A thrilling book about social media, what's not to love? I devoured Friend Request very quickly and couldn't stop reading until I knew the ending. The mean girl clique bullying leads a telling story which ends in a missing girl, no body found. Flipping between two timelines, now and then, paints the story of what happened all those years ago whilst linking the current to each part. It's claimed to be an addictive read and I can wholeheartedly agree with this, the ending is a horrible shock to the system and something I never guessed at all. Laura Marshall has slotted herself into my list of must read authors with this engrossing book.

No One You Know - Michelle Redmond*

Her sister was murdered. The killer never found, until now... All her childhood Ellie Enderlin had lived in her sister’s shadow. But then Lily was murdered and their family changed forever. When I picked this book up I was excited to race through it and find out who really murdered Ellie's sister but I found the book so hard to read. The book has the main murder storyline mixed together with two sub storylines about mathematics and coffee. It's all a bit of a jumble to read, flicking between the three is hard to follow. The mathematics is too intense, full of calculations and theorems that made my brain hurt trying to understand. I wanted to enjoy it and persevered through to the end to find out the murder story (which was actually a good twist) but I just found it a bit of a boring read. 

Killing It - Asia Mackay 

Meet Alexis Taylor. A mum returning to work after maternity leave seems simple enough, right? Not so much when you're a trained assassin trying to be home for bath and bed every night. Everyone tells her as a woman she can't do it, Alexis is on a mission to prove them all, this bad ass mum can.

This book has been sat on my TBR for a while and I've been dying to get stuck into it. It's right up my street and it didn't disappoint at all. It completely swept me off my feet of expectation, delivering one of the funniest, well written books I've read in a while. It tells an important story of woman struggling to thrive in a male dominated work place, especially just after giving birth. A sharp read, I couldn't stop turning the pages but it's completely different to any normal thriller. This one keeps you on the edge of your seat with humour thrown in to bring it back to a relatable woman in work level. LOVED IT. I cannot wait for the sequel. 

Louis & Louise - Julie Cohen*

Louis and Louise are the same person born in two different lives, only different by the pronunciation of a boy or a girl in the delivery room, following two different stories of how their lives play out. They both suffer one life changing night with different consequences and flee their home, only to be called back 13 years later by their dying mother. 

An originally brilliant and thought provoking book. It was confusing in a good way throughout, the alternating chapters linked by ‘Lou’ chapters tying their stories together in that moment in time really brought it all together. I’ve not read anything quite like it before but if you love Celeste NG’s books, I’d definitely recommend this. I've got Julie Cohen's 'Together' to read in the near future as I loved this one so much. 

January was a good book month, managing to read 7 books. I'm well on my way to 52 books this year, fingers crossed! What was your favourite book this month?

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New Year, Refreshed Me?

Saturday, 5 January 2019

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HELLO?! It's been a massive while away over here, hasn't it? Let's not talk about just how long but I think I'm back. As the new year has dawned on us quicker than I could possibly diminish all the festive snacks in the cupboard, the first few days of the year have been full of romantic trips to the fridge, a few Netflix binges and not a lot else. As we hit day 5 it's probably about time that I leap out of this trance I'm in and get my shit together. None of this new year, new me goal setting that we all know starts out all fun whilst you're jotting down your goals into a fresh new notebook but only lasts until the end of January when you forget about said notebook and all your goals all together.

This year I'm aiming for a refreshed version of myself. Setting goals never works out well for me, I stress like there's no tomorrow that I'm not completing them whilst I'm procrastinating to my hearts content. It's a vicious cycle of stressing about everything until it's just one major stress ball. 2019 is a year of self care, boujee as hell I know, but it's needed. So here's the steps I'll be taking to a more refreshed me.

Less Screen Time, More Book Time

I'm not gonna lie, I spend more time on my phone than anyone I know. I've been playing it down with the 'but all my work is on my phone' excuse which in reality isn't true. The days of scrolling through social media all day long will hopefully become less frequent as I aim to stop using my phone as my comfort zone. Reading is one of my main passions away from my phone and recently picking up reading again has brought an old love back into my life. Setting up a Good Reads account and adding everyone that I'd ever seen on Twitter or Instagram before to fill my friends list up to validate my new goal. Also, setting a 52 Book Challenge for the year will surely distract me from the constant finger swiping. If you're on Good Reads, add me here so I can stalk what you're reading.

More Personal Work

When I started photography, I did so much work just for myself, creating what I wanted when I could and I seem to have lost that creative spark. The past year of freelancing has been the most career rewarding year ever BUT there is a massive lack of personal rewards. I've found myself only leaving the house for paid work which is great but I'm not doing the things I used to enjoy the most. So here's to shooting more gigs for the hell of it, getting back to shooting the bands I adored in my teenage years for fun. It can't be all work and no play, can it?

Getting Dressed and Being Active Everyday

Another con of freelancing is that if I don't have to leave the house for work, I'm usually just cooped up inside all day, wrapped up in some kind of blanket or duvet for most of the day. It's not ideal and I've found it really deteriorates my mood. I want to make more of an effort to strip myself of my pyjamas everyday and wear some actual clothes, they may still look like pj's and be the comfiest clothes EVER but at least I'm trying. Everyone preaches on about exercise being the best medicine and I can argue that this is not true and chicken nuggets are always the best medicine but 2019 is the year that I start walking places again. Living in the tiniest village, I have to get a bus everywhere nowadays so I find myself walking absolutely nowhere. More walks but maybe when it's not -1 outside, Spring please hurry up.

Save Some Money To Travel

I went into 2018 with a massive plan to travel somewhere new every month and yeah that failed just a little bit. One holiday away was all that I could stretch to and it was bloody wonderful but I'd love to see more of the world in 2019. I'm not thinking lavish holidays, I'm just thinking mini breaks in the UK and Europe, hopefully every month but we'll see where the world takes us. Saving money is the big key to unlock these travels too, I'm good with money but over the past few months I may have made a few too many ASOS orders here and there so less shopping, more saving is the goal here.

I have a few more tricks up my sleeve for the year but these are my main 4 things I'd like to do throughout the year to head towards a more refreshed version of myself. Holidays are the best refresher, right? Unless we're talking about the sweets everyone that ever set foot in a sweet shop would've bought all the time because they're pretty good too.

Maybe we'll see more blogging over here too? I really hope so but we all know I'm about as useful as a chocolate teapot when it comes to sticking to blogging. Hopefully I'm here to stay though. What are your goals that aren't actually goals for 2019?

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