Seasons

Christmas Eve Musings: My Favourite Things About Christmas

Posted on 7 min read

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE!

This is possibly the most cliche Christmas post I’ll ever write but in all the years I’ve blogged about the holly jolly season I don’t think I’ve ever flat out stated what I savour the most at Christmas time. I’ve gone down the playfully, witty road, expressed my Christmas Eve traditions, and even spoke about what a typical day in my household contains of back in my novice stage. But I’ve never directly had an informal natter about what personally brings me the most joy and gratification, and what isn’t necessarily succumbed to the materialism attached.

That part of Christmas, for me, seems to have faded as I’ve gotten older. The ever-growing environment around you and the circumstances surrounding you as an adult allow you to conform a different mentality of what it’s really about; of what really matters. From the most minor, random parts of your festive regimen, to just appreciating the people and the nostalgic, visceral memories you have around you. What’s under the tree on Christmas morning is just a secondary component and there’s so much more out there to immerse yourself, your efforts, and your high-spirited, kind heart in.

I’m also writing this post to attempt to throw myself right in the deep end of festive feels because this year I couldn’t feel less Christmassy even if I tried. It’s just a mere few hours before the 25th and it still seems like any ordinary day. It still feels like I’m stuck in an alternate universe where autumn hit and I became dormant. Bizarre and baffling, but also quite unsettling. I do not want to turn into a grumpy old Grinch, thank you very much.

Although I had a brief rumination over on Instagram a couple of days back, talking about how Christmas is a difficult time of year for some, how it can trigger loss, how it can feel so empty and lonely in your head and your home, how it’s hard to keep up with the pressure and compulsory fun we must be having, and how your mental and physical illness doesn’t just disappear come December, I do still want to remember what stark, simple slices of magic this celebratory event held, and still holds. I can’t stress enough that it’s okay not to be merry and bright. It’s perfectly fine to dislike Christmas, but it’s also nice to remember not to lose sight of the amenities which make you fuzzy and smiley, right?!

Right.

The beige food

I don’t think there’s anything better, really. Bite-size buffet food has always been a (not so) guilty pleasure of mine. Although my bloated tummy won’t agree afterwards, overindulging in the rare form of Christmas themed snacks is the seasonal superiority. From the canapes of savoury, the mini sausage rolls and pastries, to allll the cheese, nuts, and limited edition crisps that I somehow naturally hunt down every single year. Searching the shops at this time of year is honestly fascinating because there’s foods in there you’ve never seen before and a miniature platter version of pretty much everything. I mean, halloumi pigs in blankets? What kind of genius? Gimme all the party nibbles so I can inundate myself until the end of time!

Christmas drinks

Nope, not just the fizz and the sweet tasting beverages that usually contain some kind of cranberry; but also, like the true basic bitch I am – the hot chocolates and the coffees. I’m in agreement that the chain merchants are overpriced and profit-orientated but when else am I gonna be able to grab a gingerbread latte and a hot chocolate that tastes like Terry’s Chocolate Orange? The Christmas menu at Starbucks and Costa never fails to let me down. It’s the one occasion I can forgive myself for consuming enough sugar for the day in one sitting.

Wrapping gifts

I can only apologise to those who despise spending hours making their presents look presentable as you get tangled in ribbon and tags, lose the end to the sellotape, and misplace the pen every five seconds because I bloody love it. Call me weird but it’s the epitome of ultimate Christmas completion, for me. It’s really cathartic, just to sit and have some quiet time. Music playing, creative head switched on. I can officially relax once they’re done and dusted and look pretty. Mostly because I have a penchant for the visuals. I’m a careful wrapper. I like to pretend I’m pro. I’ve also got to go full Pinterest – despite not actually being on Pinterest (a goal I’m working on for 2019) – and figure out an annual aesthetic. I’ll spend a good few minutes smiling to myself about the thought I’ve put into the gifts before I wrap them. Then I must photograph my flatlay with precise coordination. And finally, then I can sit back and watch my handiwork be ripped apart in mere seconds. It’s just all part of the process I love!

The cosiness 

I dislike winter in general. It’s too cold. Too dark. I’m miserable. I have a chronic pain flare up almost every day. But boy am I tremendously pleased Christmas falls in December because without the sombre atmosphere you wouldn’t be able to jazz it up with lights and trimmings and candles. I find it impossible to get bored during the celebratory break, to be honest. Not when you can put your feet up, tuck into a box of truffles, dim the lights with the tree twinkling, and watch cheesy movies all day. There’s something unique about Christmas cosiness, it’s different to ordinary cosiness. Everything just feels that little more contiguous and close to comfort.

The togetherness

For the other 364 days of the year, it’s near impossible and extremely rare to get the whole family together. Not that I mind. Now at the ripe, wise age of 25 I find company of clashing opinions quite overwhelming but I still take delight in being surrounded by my loved ones. The inside jokes, the stupid conversations, the exchanging of gifts and general ruckus, the children’s excitement, the reminiscing of old times and the ones who are sadly missing from the clique. It’s all holistic for the heart. A time to forget the problematic factors of life and focus on the happy moments in the here and now.

Giving

I specifically spoke about this in my latest freelance writing piece. About giving the gift of yourself and what you have to selflessly offer. Splurging isn’t what counts, it’s showing your love in alternate ways. Through gestures of goodwill, through actions and words, and granting the gift of time. One thing I’m proud of this Christmas is partaking in The Stroke Association’s campaign and sharing my story and my positivity for others in need of it. It gave me purpose and that’s probably going to reflect back to other survivors. I’m also a real advocate for giving to those who are less fortunate at this time of year. Donating to charities. Helping the homeless. Dropping off some unwanted bits and bobs at your local food bank or refuge. I’m working on perpetuating consideration and compassion every day of the year, not just at Christmas, but it’s this time of year when it becomes that little bit extra meaningful.

 

Everything is acceptable

Literally everything. The Fuck it, it’s Christmas attitude is amazing. You don’t think twice about eating everything in sight because the existence of calories somehow evaporate with every chocolate scrammed. Lounging about in the worst possible attire and not brushing your hair for an entire weekend is approved. Blowing your bank account on all the sales gets a thumbs up. There is no drinking limit. Spending the majority of the rest up duration playing crappy board games somehow becomes unsurpassed entertainment. There is little to no concept of time. You don’t know what day we’re on. All you know is that you’re on day three of the leftover turkey, you’ve forgot to pay a bill, and you’ve just agreed to drive to Timbuktu.  And let’s not even talk about the “I’ll do it after Christmas” to do list. Now we know where the term January Blues appeared from!

In and amongst all my jest, I do wish you the merriest of Christmases and hope you’re in the presence of everything you’ve wished for and everything that makes you happy. This is my sign off post for a few days, to just turn a blind eye to social media, forget the errands, and soak up every last bit of family time.

It’ll be a hectic day for us. Mum’s making the dinner for the famous four aka herself, me, my brother, and grandma. We’ll then probably let the overload of food settle with a sit down and a watch of whatever’s on TV. Three lots of present opening – from each other in the morning, from my grandma and to my grandma when she comes round, and the chaotic calamity once we head over to my auntie’s to spend the night with the extended family with another hoard of bags.  Boxing day’s a quieter one, my gran’s making her speciality dumplings (so another massive meal, yep) and then new year – well that’s a whole other tale to tell in my 2018 reflection post.

To whoever’s reading, you’re the best, and THANK YOU for all the support – all year round and with this month’s content. I’ll catch you on the 28th-31st (whenever I can be bothered climbing out of my lazy Christmas haze to write the post up) with a proper, in depth round up of the year in full.

Merry Christmas you bladdy bunch of legends!

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How To Make The Most Of Christmas Markets

Posted on 6 min read

To me, Christmas markets indicate the first sign of the Christmas countdown. As soon as you see the rustic stalls and the festive chalets being set up, it means you’re officially entitled to watch Love Actually on repeat, eat a full tub of Celebrations to yourself, and hum Mariah Carey till your heart’s content. They’re the prime tradition across the world; blessing us with a sugar overload, overpriced booze, and an exuberant atmosphere that instantly nudges the festive spirit into gear!

As much as I’d love to travel the lengths and depths of Europe to discover and experience the pinnacle of fancy, fun festivities, you really don’t even need to. Christmas markets with a dart of internationally inclusive frolics are right there on your doorstep and are available any time you want to venture out into the scenic winter village world.

They can, however, be quite a consuming and exerting task. Especially now just a few days before Christmas when the hustle and bustle of the crowds will be making the most of the jam packed week running up to the big day and the final closing of the Christmas market doors. But you can’t let that put you off when there’s so much to see and do. You’ve got to adopt the magical bonanza in your own way. Take advantage of the buzzing, warm vibes that bring happy holidays all round.

 

Leeds and Manchester are my most visited Christmas markets. I do have a goal of checking out the other local spotlight wonders come next year but for now these are my safe bet. One being my hometown trade, and the other being a larger, more popular location which is the fleshed out epitome of merry and bright, and which quite frankly shits all over other Northern England Christmas markets (aside from Edinburgh, I’ve heard that one’s top class and my dream is to head there one day in the hopefully not too distant future.)

It does all depend on where you are going but it helps to have a little guidance before you head off into the unknown void of fairy lights, cosy indoor retreats, overdecorated huts, sickly sweet ravishing scents, and a whole load of rowdy people (particularly if you’re a newbie.)

So, here’s a few tips to make the stressful Christmas markets life that little bit easier.

Check the weather forecast

This one’s a given, really. Staying on the Northern England radar in December time, it’s bound to be raining a good 90% of the time – and attempting to have a thorough look around with no shelter and a brolly that keeps blowing inside out is never fun and games. There’s not a lot you can do about the skies above, unfortunately, but teaming downpours does ruin the aesthetic of the Christmassy essence. Whereas, the cold doesn’t. Wrapping up like a polar bear in lots of layers adds to it but it’s still best to double check there isn’t a violent storm brewing for your own sanity at least!

Plan in advance

Another given but more handy than you think! You may convince yourself you have everything prepared but when you get there it’s a completely different story. When I say plan in advance I mean as in depth as possible! Schedule your journey. Leave plenty of time for everything you have in mind. Create tick lists of your most desired sector, the bargains you want to bag, what exactly it is you’re looking for. Have a vivid idea of how much you want to spend, and stock up on those extras you can whip out of your bag when you need them.

Get the timing right

Another practical tip but useful to bear in mind. The time of day and time of week you visit is crucial to your personal enjoyment. For me, I prefer natural lighting and less swarms of shoppers so I’ll try plan a trip midweek in the morning or early afternoon. For others, it may be the loud parades, the rowdy evening drinking and the beautifully lit up town in the dark they’re more drawn to – so any time through the week and on a weekend would be the better option. It’s also convenient to note it’ll obviously be quieter when the Christmas markets open in November, opposed to this late in December.

Take your camera

Especially if you’re photo obsessed like me. If you’re aiming for a fab festive feed there’s plenty of Instagrammable opportunities at Christmas markets. There’s light, colours, and subjects galore. From the bokeh effect at night time, to the pretty, polished trimmings adorning the wooden theme. There’s a chance for you to explore all areas of photography. Portraits of yourself beside the spirited shacks. Depth of field and blur focus on the gorgeous, glittery details of ornamental findings. The golden glow of the warm, brown tones. Utilising the amount of people present for those natural candids. Test and trial, work on those angles, and you’ll be capturing the mood of Christmas in no time!

Stock up on cash

Pretty obvious, I know. Not just because (unfortunately) if you want to buy things that means it costs money and you have to part with your bank balance (pfft, the audacity) but because Christmas markets don’t usually accept cards. As a millennial it’s effort drawing  money out instead of swiping contactless, I know, but it’s gotta be done. Christmas markets also aren’t really the place to be if you’re looking for a super cheap outing. You’ll need at least a tenner for some pancakes and a cup of mulled wine or beer! In most places you also need to put a deposit down for speciality mugs and glasses. You can return them to the stalls and reclaim your couple of pounds back afterwards but often enough they’re too cute to hand back and you end up keeping them as a collectors souvenir instead!

Take advantage of the unique items

If you spot a beautifully crafted memento, grab it quickly. Christmas markets often work on a come and go basis and a lot of the traders have handmade their stock individually. That means if you hang on and wait, the piece you’ve already gotten yourself attached to might have been whipped up. You have to stick your middle finger up to the comments about consumerism at this moment of time.  Instead, think about you contributing towards supporting solo businesses and most definitely the quality over quantity!

Step out of your food and drink comfort zone

There’s so much yummy goodness to be consumed at Christmas markets. Sometimes this means straying away from your usual choices at the dinner table. To get the full sense of involvement, sample some of the produce and taste delicacies you’ve never tried  before. There’s all sorts of diverse variety from all over the world. From French cheeses, to Italian bread, Greek dishes, German sausages, and of course the famous Yorkshire Pudding Wrap. The possibilities are endless so don’t let the opportunity slip from your fingers (quite literally.)

Make a full festive day of it

Rid of the ordinary and rack up the outrageous. It’s the perfect opportunity to go all out and not get judged for it because it’s Christmas, and you’re soaking up the holly jolly entertainment to your best potential, thank you very much. If you can’t bring out your most hideous Christmas jumper, put your snowflake earrings in, and sing and dance at the top of your lungs when you’re visiting the Christmas markets, then when can you?!

Visit with other loved ones

Making it a family and friends occasion just adds to the festive feel, in my opinion. Thinking like a true responsible adult should; you’re safer whilst in a group but you’re also more content. Relishing in and partaking in activities and nice strolls around the strips together provides that full, bubbly, satisfied feeling from head to toe. Creating memories and spending time with the closest and most special people in your life is what Christmas is all about!

Although Christmas markets can be overwhelming at times and there’s serious fomo at the blink and you’ll miss it situation, with some rational thinking and conscientious prepping it’s possible for your trip to be the most whimsical, wonderful time of the year. Afterall, they don’t call it that for nothing!

Are you planning on visiting the Christmas markets before they shut this week? Have you already been? What’s your favourite part?

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Christmas Gifting For Haircare Lovers with Paul Mitchell

Posted on 5 min read

It’s almost just one week until Christmas Day (how, you ask? I’m still trying to fathom out the answer to that question myself) so hopefully that means you’re all sorted in the gift buying department and they’re all exquisitely wrapped and put under the tree. But if not, I feel you. And I’ve also gotchu. With the help of Paul Mitchell I’m here to take you through their gift of style guidebook for this festive season. An indulgent treat for that special someone who likes to take extra care with their shampooing situation and nourish their locks to the maximum amount of splendour!

I’ve spoke about my love for Paul Mitchell and their super stylish sets in the past and I’m lucky enough to receive a bi-monthly box of goodies as part of their Salon Success scheme so I get a first hand dip into what they have to offer around the festive period. This year is on another scale! The primary duos and trios which instantly caught my eye when opening the giant bow adorned box were these gorgeously greeting-card inspired packages. Crafted with monochromatic designed packaging and fancy, gold, calligraphy fonts catering to those aesthetic poetics.

Not only are they pleasing in appearance, they also come in a varied collection of notable assortments that – if you’ve ever experienced the luxury of Paul Mitchell – have probably come across before.

I have the all is bright and get festive. The bright of course representing the blondies with the Forever Blonde Keractive Repair shampoo, conditioner and dramatic repair spray. Specifically suited to keep bleached and highlighted hair in tact and contributing towards rich hydration for silky soft hair and healthily sealed vibrancy as it washes away the built up impurities. I was going to save this as a gift from me to me but I tried it on a whim a few weeks back and I haven’t looked back since. It is INCREDIBLE! My hair’s been in poor condition for a while now; that being with a mix of iron and vitamin deficiency, and the fact I was very light in colour (part of the reason I chose to switch to a few shades darker) but this has worked complete magic and transformed my hair into a squeaky clean salon-like masterpiece. It’s totally reversed any signs of noticeable damage and flyaway brittleness, and left me with nothing but immaculate moisture. It’s also sulphate free which I’m aiming to stick to in future to reduce the harsh chemicals on my hair – so if you know anyone who’s fussy about what they put on their precious toned barnet, this is the one!

The get festive contains the Super Skinny shampoo, conditioner, and serum which is also a combo I’ve personally used before and seen real time results with. This is targeted for those with thicker, troublesome, rebellious hair that just doesn’t seem to cooperate no matter what you do. Turning dry, coarse, curly hair into a silky sleek, luminous finish that eliminates frizz and fights that winter battle. So, if there’s any wavy wonders on your family and friends list, bear this in mind!

All in all, there’s nine gift sets; every one different to suit a wide variety of hair types. They’re marked as cheer leaders – injecting the cheer and merriment right into your Christmas period and leaving you with showy, ship shape, shiny hair. It’s also worth noting that for every one sold, Paul Mitchell will make a donation to Baby2Baby; a charity that provides low-income children with nappies, clothing, and all the basic necessities every child needs and deserves.  A really lovely touch that defines what Christmas really is about!

 

 

Paul Mitchell are home to some of my long term firm favourites. They’re my forever holy grail brand, the one I always feel myself going back to when I pine for the professional, polished, refreshed, brand new, heavenly haircare. So it’s fortunate that the products I’ve always relied on come in gift set form. Two of these include the Marula Oil range for lifeless, dull hair – a deluxe treatment created with natural ingredients that bring your locks to life. This is an old type I’ve photographed and although the pretty, rose gold and white exterior is rather fetching – the newest addition is even better. This year’s gift set is all black and gold glitter and sparkle; it contains a sequined clutch bag you can keep and inside is the shampoo, conditioner, and rare oil treatments. I’ve raved about this gem before if you want to take a peek.

The amazing Tea Tree Lavender range is another exalted fave of mine. Every time I’ve used this I’ve been left with a bouncy, swishing feel and the scent is perfect for allowing you to relax and unwind – something every person on earth wants to do around such a stressful time of the year. So, what better way than to let a loved one unwrap their way to paradise for a concrete happy holiday.

The five piece moisturising shampoo, conditioner, leave in spray, mask, and eye mask creates so much zen whilst invigorating your senses; calming, quenching, and cleansing. Again, its target audience is those with dry, unruly hair. To fix with rich conditioners and amino acids that improve strength, shine, and manageability whilst replenishing your hair and soothing your scalp in the process. Paul Mitchell are never short of these ethical product gift sets at Christmas time!

 

 

 

 

Stepping away from specifically Paul Mitchell but still remaining that connection, the last collection I wanted to recommend as the stellar way to say Merry Christmas is the Kenra Platinum. The premium products fall into four categories; Revive, Colour Charge, Thickening and Styling and they all consist of your standard shampoos and conditioners, oils, glosses, mists, treatments, serums, and sprays. Once again tackling any weakness, dehydration, and lack of texture. There’s plenty for every individual in there, especially a champion patron for opulent haircare. That certain someone is bound to be blessed with a smile painted on their face at the mere thought of having this number to revel in as we enter a budding new year.

Not pictured are the rest of the prized Paul Mitchell pick me ups. Their gifts of style not only have the ranges mentioned but a fair few others including the Wild Ginger (which I’ve also spoke about before,) the Neon and the Neuro, little extras such as the Ultra-Shine brush which volumises and controls flat hair, and of course the stocking suffers for any woman, man, or even pet in your life. Yep, that’s right, Paul Mitchell are inclusive to the point dogs and cats are part of the agenda!

The shopping process in general can be really intense when you have no idea what to buy for someone who’s picky and distinguished. There’s not much on the market for distinctive hair-fanatics but if you’re looking for last minute gifts ensured to tick all the boxes – Paul Mitchell has your back.

Are you a Paul Mitchell lover? Do you have any haircare admirers in your close circle? 

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AD | When Jewellery Becomes More Than Just Finery – Christmas Gifting With Nomination Italy

Posted on 9 min read

This is a sponsored post written as part of a collaboration with Nomination Italy.

It’s been a few weeks now of having my customised Nomination Italy bracelet close by, adorning my wrist as I go about my daily activities, and it’s fast become my favourite trophy piece. But as the title declares, it’s become more than just attire I add to my get up as I get dressed for the week ahead – it’s become a real part of me, a sense of my personal identity, and a safety blanket for when I need that uplifting reminder that there’s no one like me, and nothing like the life represented on the bracelet that is filled with personally picked mementos I can draw strength and meaning from.

The Nomination Italy composable bracelets really are such a beautifully unique and simply subtle way to express who you are and being in the company of my new possession has made me think good and hard about who I am and what’s important to me, lately. What I love the most is how the charms give a firm nod to your identity – a metaphorical link to how you’re built as a person via a physical link, per say.

It’s your virtue. The gorgeous designs of the charms and the message they hold speak things words can’t. And the best bit is, often it’s only you and your closest ones who know the narrative behind it.

Redefining those parts of your identity is what makes this statement piece of jewellery so special. In the past year or so I’ve really grown into my introspective self. I’ve found my purpose and what I stand for, I’ve honoured my honesty, and I’ve grown to love those parts of me I didn’t before. So, really, discovering something that can convey that side of me couldn’t have come at a better time. Having a bracelet brimmed with segments of yourself that serve as a reminder to everything I embody and am thankful for, really does allow me to feel proud and to be comforted.

If I’m having a dreadfully low day of pain and anxiety and loss of hope, I can look at the purple heart as a sign of how strong I remain. If I have a sudden wave of emotion and am struggling with how much I miss my dad, I know I have an indication to how important he still is placed on my wrist. It’s those little things that mean the most.

It makes sense that you’d want to pass that feeling on to the people you treasure in life and with the big C approaching, gifting season has never been easier.  You’ll remember me chatting about how a Nomination bracelet is a gift like no other when I first introduced you to my own bespoke bracelet, and having the chance to revisit and shop for myself – I still stand by my word.

I headed back to the charming Wakefield store earlier this week and was instantly hit with that festive feeling. The tree was up, Christmas music gently playing, and the shop floor all trimmed and garnished with brand focused decorations. It made creating a bracelet for my darling mum just as, if not more, fun than creating my own.

I always get more joy out of buying for others than I do myself. That’s the aspect I love the most about Christmas. The glitz and the glam, the food, the songs, the movies, the markets, the decorations, the priceless family time, are all great, but nothing beats finding that one surprise and knowing by the lit up look on their face and the fuzzy feels you get when you witness that look, that you’ve nailed it.

Christmas gives you the perfect opportunity to do this. To think out of the box. To search high and low for that ideal, unusual gift that is far bigger and better than the ordinary. Sentimentality, thought, and effort are key. Something put together with care and love. Something that shows you know the person well and you haven’t just picked up the popular gadget off the shelves that everyone will be opening come the 25th – and Nomination Italy have this in the bag!

There was only one person that came to mind when thinking about who deserves a gift this significant, and as I said before, that’s my darling mum. The biggest babe (and best cook) in Yorkshire. She’s my rock. She’s by my side every single day – through the good and the bad, and the so funny you can barely breathe. She’s my sidekick, we come as a team. And she always puts her children before herself. So, I wanted to give something back. I wanted to give her the treat she deserves. Nomination Italy’s jewellery allows me to present her with something she can wear everyday. Something that serves as a reminder to her stand out qualities, and her value. Something that gives me the chance to show her how much I love her, and her the chance to see how much we do!

My mum and I are similar in many ways, and that goes for jewellery tastes as well. I opted for a stainless steel bracelet, like mine. And a majority of rose gold charms, like mine. We’re both quite classy and feminine so these are perfectly fitting!

So, what did I choose this time?

First of all I chose a simple Mum charm, en-scripted in a heart with a tiny shiny diamond beneath. That speaks for itself, to be honest. My mum is held close to my heart now and forever more, and she definitely is a diamond!

Secondly, I went for a charm that I think sums up our relationship entirely. A knot of unity which represents the powerful and unconditional bond between a mother and daughter. She’s brought me up to be the woman I am and she’s always been the woman I look up to and find inspiration and strength from – so this is very apt.

Thirdly, I picked a double stone blue topaz opposed to the standard. The blue topaz is representative of the month of December aka her birth month and  I thought the twin option would be a nice change from just the standard single stone. In a way, it’s double the love and affection as that’s the official blue topaz symbol!

Fourthly, there was another engraved charm that reads ‘I love my family‘ because she really does. This alone sums up her family approach. She loves her kids, she cherishes her mum, she does so much for the rest of the family without second thought because there is no purer love than that of your family. We’re lucky to have the close family we have with so much love and support surrounding us and we’ve both always vowed we’d be nowhere without our immediate relatives. Our family are a group of warriors who won’t be defeated and it’s nice for her to carry that sentiment around!

Lastly, there was a cluster heart filled with precious silver stones and ready to sparkle. Truthfully, I just went for that because it looked pretty paired up with the rest. It doesn’t always have to have meaning but what I adore is that it can do if you look closely. Every single charm has such an essence encompassing it. You could say this heart is the epitome of love – overflowing with glow!

There’s still so much potential to expand the bracelet for my mum! I do have a couple of ideas to add mine and my brother’s initials, and something symbolising remembrance for her husband and her dad but shhh. Mum, if you’re reading this, please pretend you don’t know!

Now the bracelet is well and truly alive it’s not going to be as hard to shop in the future. I can keep focusing on charms to add when birthdays and Christmas comes around and soon enough we’ll both have a jam packed bracelet overflowing with eloquent expression and emotion. Another lovely touch is that you get to keep the links you replace with charms so you can continue forming another blank bracelet to give to another special person in your life!

 

Along with the personal bespoke bracelets, Nomination Italy also have a wide range of standard jewellery to browse and buy as foreseeable future gifts.  Their collection of stacking bracelets (bracelets without the charms but are just as fetching) are an amazing extra to sit beside your composable one. I went with the Trendsetter collection, simplistic but stylish. The gold star composition may or may not have been entirely my influence but I also thought it’d be a nice contrast with the silver stainless steel AND a star is a sign of Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas emblems, Nomination Italy have specific seasonal jewellery as another gift possibility. I also picked out a snowflake necklace and matching drop earrings from their Winterland collection and I just know it’s going to be a hit building up to Christmas Day for the festive events and outings, and on Christmas day itself. That Christmas Day outfit is the ultimate finisher so throwing some dainty jewellery into the mix is bound to up the spirit.

The last task of the day was to choose some matching earrings to the new gemstones I was able to add with my steadily structuring bespoke bracelet. This would be another great gift idea either for someone starting out with a bracelet, or for someone who already has one to hand – quite literally!

 


I promised over on instastories that I’d show you the five spanking brand new gemstones I attached to my bracelet so here they are in picture form. There was a classic oval faceted stone in a gorgeous royal blue colour and after a tough decision and debating which would be most appealing (they are all fyi) this is the stone I wanted to match the stunning, delicate oval earrings.

There was another blue oval topaz in a twisted shape. That one had a slight aquamarine tinge to it so I thought that would be ideal to represent my astrology sign. There was also a beautiful oxidised rose gold leaf rock crystal which stood out to me straight away! Then the last two did hold a little more meaning. The first was a white heart next to my dad charm. The colour white is clean and pure and rich. It’s spirituality and humanity and heaven so my late dad is always adjoined to that notion. The final one was a mother of pearl with wings which holds similar definition as it’s angelic and holy!

 

All of these wonderful gifts were carefully and expertly wrapped up neat but not only that – a jewellery box was included to store all the fab new pieces! This Black Friday (running up to Monday 26th) you can make the most of their all week offer and grab yourself your very own exclusive jewellery box worth £25 when you spend £100 or more in store! But you have to be quick!

I’ve raved about Nomination Italy so much now but I don’t think I can ever say enough. If you are looking to buy that special, distinctive gift for a loved one this Christmas I’d definitely recommend heading into a store near you. Having a wander at their jewellery is one thing but browsing through the huge selection of charms is a real pleasant experience.

The staff are so helpful and attentive and totally knowledgeable. They know exactly what they’re talking about and have a great eye for detail. The layout of my charms is mainly down to Lara and her mastery. Laying the charms out side by side and arranging them like a puzzle piece so they look their best together is the complete highlight! I’ve already planned how I want to fill my bracelet with the six links left! Something tells me I’ll be paying my newfound fave place a final visit before Christmas comes around.

Are you a fan of Nomination? What charms would you focus on? Is there any in particular that speak to you or your loved ones’ individual quirks and traits? I’d love to hear!

*This post is a sponsored collaboration with Nomination Italy. All things listed were kindly gifted but all images, words, and views are my own. See my full disclaimer for more information.

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Halloween: The Three Way Glam Way

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Halloween. AKA, the most wonderful time of the year.

Forget tinsel and twinkling lights when pumpkins and eerie nights exist. I don’t think there’s anything more fulfilling than that spooky, cosy feel; a few candles lit tucking into the sweet bowl with some mediocre horror movie playing in the background. Or, the alternate option –  going all out, metaphorically and literally.

Last year I talked you through a glitzy makeup tutorial – the look I opted for as I headed off to an actual Halloween celebratory occasion – and this year I’m about to do the same but in the form of a trio of possible events adulthood fetches on that last October day.

The versatility of Halloween is what I love the most. It’s just one day on the calendar yet there’s so much to get involved in and no matter what the heathens say, you’re never too old to have as much fun as your haunted heart desires. Whether you’re choosing to have a night in, heading out trick or treating with your younger sibs, attending a party, or creating your own get together and using it as a perfect excuse to get drunk – there’s high spirits all round (pun definitely intended).

The artistic and imaginative side of Halloween is also one of the best elements, in my eyes. Shopping for Halloween gear even if I’m not actually doing anything is one of my favourite pastimes because there’s just so much possibility and potential. Spend a tenner on a couple of cosmetics, some jewels, and stickers, and you have a whole guise to work with. Spend even less on some supermarket bought items and your gory, ghastly look is ready to go.

Ugly or glam, diva or deadly, it’s all there to choose. And for a gal who appreciates any reason to dress up, of course I’m going to make the most of dramatising and vamping up to full effect (pun certainly intended, again).

Doing Halloween the glam way is actually pretty easy to achieve and my crafted costumes have been made even easier with PLT‘s epic collection. From killer dresses, to staple basics and fright night accessories, what PrettyLittleThing have to offer fits my idea of bewitched style Halloween shindigs.

 

 

You May Go To The Ball

First up, there’s the event that was at the top of my list. A ceremony, a gala, a ball. I was a guest at a charity Halloween ball a couple of years back and it was honestly one of the best nights of my life.

The formal grooming is so enjoyable you can’t help but embrace the elation. Picking out your dream dress, fancifying your makeup to the extreme, thinking glitter, sparkle, diamonds, vivid colours, and jewellery; piecing it all together to create a masterpiece you feel a million dollars in.

This gorgeous gothic dress did just that. It was the classiest I ever felt, yet I still pass as Halloween appropriate. Arriving to the red carpet in a gown adorned with lace and ruffle and a silhouette that turns heads is bound to be the ultimate Halloween winner. Belle of the ball personified.

 

Til Death Do Us Party

Secondly, it’s time to up the exposure if a posh party is on the agenda. What a better way to show off your best assets than a skimpy but sexy dress. Think Mean Girls level of outfit competition, except there’s no qualms you’re the one slaying the rest.

Not that you have to be head to head with your friends, of course. This statement LBD is the quintessential get-up to pull from your wardrobe in time for social gatherings on the fallen Halloween weekend. One that you can feel like a queen in and one that you can make more haunted than hot by throwing in some creepy embellishments. Strutting along with your girl gang who have deliberately paired with your attire is guaranteed to grant you the popular honour.

And if you can’t release the puppies on Halloween, then when can you?!

 

 

 

 

No Tricks Just Treats

Last but not least, there’s the generically glam outfit, the one that can be worn with versatility whatever you have planned. A sassy novelty slogan bodysuit teamed with some plain black cycling shorts always does the trick. It widens the Halloween horizons because if you stick to plain and simple, you can rock it however you want to and wherever your imagination takes you.

A devil is pretty common but a devil with heavy hues of red on the eyes and streaks of blood running down the face?? Now you’re talking. Add in some matching tall court shoes to elongate the leg and you’re championing the uptown girl vibe.

So, whether you’re just venturing around the corner in your local area, rolling up to a house party, or spending time with your family – character glam is where it’s at!

*This post is in collaboration with PLT. Items were gifted but all words and images my own. Please read my disclaimer for more information.

 

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24 Little Things On 24th December In The 24 Hour Build Up To Christmas

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My last post before Christmas and I wanted to make it a frivolous, fun one because how else to take a short break to relish in the festivities than to end on a light note?!

I know it’s a typical statement that’s heard an exasperating amount of times but I really cannot believe how fast December has gone.

Like, H O W.

It’s possibly taken October and November’s place of being the fastest month of my life and I don’t even feel like I’ve lived through the weeks but it’s here, Christmas Eve has approached and tomorrow a large proportion of the world will be sat around the table with their beloveds tucking in to a hearty, homemade dinner in a flimsy paper crown laughing and joking and appreciating the moments you’re making and the company you’re blessed with.

As much as it pains me that it’s over and done with much sooner than we’d all like, I really do adore this time of year. Especially the last minute build up that seems to be all that more magical as mankind becomes more manic.

There’s just such a warm, happy, special kind of excitement in the air. It’s the togetherness, the simplistic love, the sense of community, the reiterated songs playing at full volume, the scents, the mass amounts of food, the bitter weather, the stream of lights on your drive home, the decorations, the sheer waves of joy fluttering in your stomach as you head to bed that night and remember the next morning your family and friends will be unwrapping the gifts you’ve carefully picked exclusively for them.

I love that we all have our own unique traditions, some quirky, some bizarre, some absolutely normal, but always personal to us. I love that we can approach the weird and wonderful day of jubilation with different intentions but still be relatable as a whole.

The 24 hours before Noel begins are my favourite purely for the balance of pleasant chaos and pure delight that erupts.

  1. The supermarket rush. Dashing to Asda for the last bits and bobs only to be faced with a stampede of determined citizens who have no shame in pushing you out of the way to make way for the zombie apocalypse that is obviously about to happen.
  2. Snuggling into your fluffy socks and festive pyjamas once you get home.
  3. Feet up, takeaway ordered, and a film marathon of the classics.
  4. Writing out the tags of the presents you’ve forgotten to label hoping you’ve guessed right and Uncle Bob won’t be receiving some pink lingerie.
  5. Preparing the emergency chairs for the expanded table gathering the next day.
  6. Also preparing the food and realising you’ve forgotten the sprouts.
  7. Savouring the last (largest) chocolate on your advent calendar.
  8. Still being bitter the doors don’t reach the 25th.
  9. Attempting to get an early night but being just as buzzing as you would have been 15 years ago.
  10. Waking up abruptly and not feeling like shit for once.
  11. Accepting you are in fact a morning person one day a year.
  12. Singing Noddy Holder at the top of your lungs as you stroll down the stairs.
  13. Feeling like your heart is about to explode as you open your presents with the family you treasure and they open theirs with nothing but glee spread across their face.
  14. Acting surprised at said presents as though you’d not ordered them online on behalf of your mam.
  15. Starting on the tub of chocolates at 8am.
  16. Knowing it’s perfectly acceptable to continually eat just for the sake of it even when you’re not hungry.
  17. Eating a plateful of dinner followed by a buffet a few hours later and then ending the night appearing 9 months pregnant.
  18. Both cursing and celebrating Michael Buble defrosting from hibernation.
  19.  Bringing out the luxury drinks and (more) grub from the cupboard they’ve been kept in and ordered not to be touched until now.
  20. Becoming a royalist for approximately ten minutes as you listen to good ol’ queeny divulging her speech.
  21. Gearing up for the epic episodes of the soap specials (okay, maybe that’s just me).
  22. Aiming to wear every single item of clothing you’ve been bought just to laze around in because it’s Christmas and that’s what you do.
  23. Spending the rest of your day reading out the lame jokes from the crackers and flicking the plastic frog in everyone’s direction as the annoying alcohol phase slowly but surely soaks into your bloodstream.
  24. Looking around and realising this is what genuine happiness is all about.

Merry Christmas. I hope you all have a blast!

Lots of love x

 

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