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January Update and Birthday Celebrations

I’d say Happy New Year but I think I’ve missed that boat, I’ve only just got round to writing my first blog post of 2020. Time has just run away with me and I’ve lost all track of what day it is.

Since my last update, there’s obviously been Christmas and New Year. We had a quiet few weeks with just Adrian and I most of the time. A lot of my friends were either working or away with their families. It was hard this year as it was the first Christmas without my Aunt, who we sadly lost last January. I honestly didn’t feel like celebrating much, we had a wonderful roast dinner, ate too much chocolate and watched all the festive movies.

On January 5th I celebrated my birthday, as each year goes by I’m less worried about going out and concentrate more on the people around me. I get enjoyment out of the smaller things, such as the pink roses I treated myself to and the extra large Thorntons chocolate cake Adrian got me (which was totally yummy).

My half sister, who lives in Canada, sent me a DVD of The Rockettes and The Nutcracker, I watched both of them in the evening while sipping a couple of glasses of Prosecco and a takeaway.

If you’re a regular to my blog, you may have noticed I have a slight obsession with hats. One style I’d been wanting to try was a beret but didn’t have the confidence. I think I’ve posted a photo on my insta stoies of me wearing a dark pink knitted one, but I never made it out the front door. This year I treated myself to this beautiful wool felt baby pink beret from a brand called Lisa Angel. I styled it with a cream coat and pink accessories and felt extremely chic.

My post Christmas cold has struck again. On top of a neurological illness, the common cold usually knocks me for six so today I’m taking it easy, my duvet and hot water bottle are currently my best friends. I’m using some of the body treats I got for my birthday to make myself feel better and sipping on huge mugs of hot chocolate.

Thank goodness for those little luxuries that make being stuck at home more bearable. I’m also thankful to the two amazing friends I have, one popped in with a few beauty treats and the other bought me a stack of magazines and a basket of fruit. .

I have been well and truly spoilt for my birthday this year, I thought I’d share some of the amazing gifts I received. I love looking though these type of blog posts or vlogs as it gives me inspiration on what to buy people.

Pink Bluetooth Earbuds (main photo) Tozo

Alexa Chung Book (main photo Amazon

Pink Cashmere Socks The White Company

Coffee Mug from B&M

Sanctuary Spa Rose Gold Radiance Exquisite Bath Salts Boots

Sanctuary Spa Rose Gold Radiance Shimmer Luxe Body Butter Boots

Stoned Rose Beauty face palette Charlotte Tilbury

Hope you’ve enjoyed my January update, how’s the New Year been so far for you?

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Let’s Catch Up: What I’ve Been Up To This Month

Well here we are, almost at the end of the month, year and decade. How scary is that? So much has changed for me in the last 10 years, I’ve met some amazing new people, visited exciting places, lost loved ones and started my blog. I’ve changed as a person, I’ve become stronger, more confident and finally accepted my current situation. Maybe things will be different in years to come, I can’t see into the future, no one can. But who knows what’s round the corner.

I’m a bit late writing this post so it does include November and half of December. Let’s find out what I’ve been up to lately.

I was reduced to tears one morning after opening a parcel from my wonderful friend Maggie who lives in Derbyshire. She’d arranged for her work colleague to make this beautiful memorial stone for my cat Pepper, who I sadly lost in October. Maggie and Debs work at a cat rescue centre and have one of these made every time they lose a cat. Thank you so much ladies, this honestly means the world to me.

On the 16th November I went to see my friend Rhian perform in the N.E.Dance end of year ballet show. It was absolutely fantastic, with a mix of classical and chart music and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute, I sat right at the front and was able to see all the beautiful adult dancers alongside children ballerinas and their beautiful costumes. Rhian very kindly sent me some photos after the event so I could see everything in more detail. The show was put together by Nicola, who runs the dance school and I think she did an amazing job. Money from the ticket sales helped raise £300 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Well done to Rhian and everyone who was involved in the evening’s performance, you did yourself proud.

To get in the festive mood, I put my tree and a few decorations up in my bedroom. I bought the tree from Amazon about three years ago and each year I’ve added a new bauble, this year it’s the gold star and yes, you’ve guessed it, to remember Pepper. Most of my decorations are form B&M or Wilkos, both places are reasonably prices but don’t look cheap. And of course, my pink and white “Santa Baby” hat and jumper has made an appearance again, it wouldn’t be Christmas without them now.

At the end of November Adrian and I went into to town to see the Christmas Lights Switch on. We got down there super early, not only so we had a good view but to watch the entertainment that was on throughout the afternoon. First there was a local choir singing carols, which was followed by another local act, the New Town Centres and they performed a mix of Christmas songs and chart music. Both were amazing and yes, I did sing along to any of the tunes I knew. Luckily we were right at the front to see Santa, and his helper, turn on the Christmas lights. It was absolutely freezing but thankfully I kept warm with a jumbo hot chocolate from Starbucks and long sleeve thermals. The outfit I wore is in the main photo of this post, everything was bought secondhand and has to be one of my favourite outdoor festive outfits.

You know those impromptu get togethers that end up being so much better than if you’d spend weeks planning it and stressing over every tiny detail? Well that’s what we did for Adrian’s birthday on the 24th November. Our friends Stephanie, Wayne and Gerry came round with birthday cake and we added a few mini cakes. Normally I would have baked Adrian a birthday cake but as he hadn’t planned on celebrating in any way I just didn’t have time. We all had an amazing evening and everyone left with us all having had far too much sugar!

What have you been up to this month? What will you be doing over the Christmas holidays?

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Gift Guide and Stocking Fillers For Her

I absolutely love the festive season, I look forward to all the family and my friends coming together, enjoying each other’s company with a glass of mulled wine and a large tub of Quality Street. I look forward to making the house look festive with Christmas decorations and enough fairy lights to beat Blackpool illuminations. The Christmas tunes will have been on repeat from the start of November and I’ll most probably be singing them in my sleep by mid December.

Having said that, it can often feel like one of the most stressful times of the year. The shops are extra busy and you have no idea what gifts to get your nearest and dearest. I thought I’d put together a last minute gift and stocking filler guide for the ladies in your life, especially those who are ultra girly and love all things pink.

Sanctuary Exquisite Bath Salts Boots / Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry Luxury 2 Wick Candle Baylis & Harding / Luna 3 Sonic Cleansing Brush Foreo / Laura Mercier Paint with Light Radiant Face Illuminator Trio John Lewis / Baylis & Harding Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry Mini Stack Gift Set Temptation Gifts

Zipped Jewellery Case Ted Baker / Ted Baker A5 folio ASOS / rose gold wireless earbuds with charging case Skinnydip / House of Marley Head Phones in rose gold ASOS / Glitter Water Bottle Skinnydip / Swarovski Crystal Heart Stud Earrings and Huggy Gift Set ASOS

Cashmere Bed Socks The White Company / Piped Silk Pyjamas The White Company / Satin and Lace Kimono (colour Vintage Pink) H&M / Fluffy Cross Over Slippers Boux Avenue / Christmas Cookie House Party Gift Set Too Faced / Hooded Pink Robe Boux Avenue

Jo Malone Rose & Magnolia Cologne John Lewis / GHD Platinum+ Straighteners Limited Edition Gift Set in Rose Gold John Lewis / GHD Platinum+ Air Limited Edition Deluxe Set NEXT / Vanity Case Ted Baker

monogram beanie hat / studded cliptop purse / rose gold colour diamante chain watch / diamante bow scrunchie / faux suede cross body bag – All from River Island

Burberry Check Cashmere Scarf Harvey Nichols / Blush Pink Jewellery Box Stackers / Rose Gold Earrings Monica Vinader / Rose Gold Mini Nugget Cluster Bracelet Monica Vinader

Paris: Through A Fashion Eye and The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments In Fashion Both by Megan Hess on Amazon / Tea and Cake Bath Slab Duo Miss Patisserie / Phone Case CaseApp / Wax Melts Glam Wax / Bath and Shower Gel Kathleen / Body and Massage Oil Kathleen / Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum John Lewis / Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Collection – Eyeshadow Pallette / Blusher / Lipstick / Lip Liner

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The Serums You Need To Know About From Freshly Cosmetics

Around this time of year my skin needs something a little richer over night and I’ll usually add a facial oil into my evening skincare routine. I don’t know about you but I always find massaging an oil into my skin at the end of the day incredibly relaxing as well as keeping my skin hydrated. Going from a warm, centrally heated house to the cold air outside can play havoc with my skin and make it feel drier than normal.

I featured My 3 Winter Beauty Essentials from Freshly Cosmetics last year on my blog, so I was over the moon when they contacted me again to ask if I’d like to try out some more products. Freshly Cosmetics is a much sought after beauty brand who make skin, body and hair care which is 100% natural, suitable for vegans and gentle enough for sensitive skin. As well as making sure your skin looks healthy, the people at Freshly Cosmetics also care about the environment by using sustainable packaging which is all recyclable.

I chose two products from their best selling range and here’s how I got on after trying them both for a few weeks.

Red Velvet Oil Serum

I love the rich velvety texture of this facial serum, it feels incredibly luxurious. It’s both an oil and a serum and it gets deep into your skin to really soften and hydrate. It contains a blend of natural oils and active ingredients including Evening Primrose, Rosehip, Chia, Virgin Marula and Meadowfoam Oils, all having excellent skincare benefits.

I’ve been using it as the final step in my skincare routine for about two weeks now and I must say I’m pretty impressed. The applicator makes it simple to use and a little goes a long way, I apply a couple of drops to my palms and gently pat it all over my face. It has a warm fruity fragrance which doesn’t linger around too long and even though it’s a rich luxurious oil, it absorbs quickly without sitting too heavy on your skin.

The following morning my skin looked glowing and radiant, the oil had helped reduce any redness that usually appears on the tops of my cheeks. The photo below was taken after I’d been using the Red Velvet Oil after a week, I’m not wearing any makeup and I’ve not used a filter. My skin just looks so healthy, I’m literally obsessed with this oil.

It’s perfect for this time of year when my skin needs a little more nourishment and hydration. The wonderful blend of natural ingredients help to reduce signs of aging, inflammation, redness, spots and scars, and leaves your skin with a soft, velvety texture. Adding this into my skincare feels like a real pampering moment, it leaves my skin looking radiant all day just as if I’d had a facial that morning. It has all the benefits from the oils which truly nourish your skin, yet it has the feeling of a lightweight serum. This is definitely a beauty product that needs to be in my collection from now on.

Hyper-Concentrate Eye Contour Serum

The Eye Contour Serum comes in a tiny bottle, again with a dropper for easy application. I use the eye serum at the start of my skincare routine and gently dab one drop under and around each eye using my ring finger. It has a very thin consistency but feels silky on the skin and dries really quickly. I love the cooling sensation which helped reduce the slight puffiness under my eyes caused by a few late nights. I was amazed at how my dark circles had disappeared after only a week of using the eye contour serum. The delicate skin around my eyes also feels extremely soft and thoroughly hydrated, I love how bright my eye area looks. I find that makeup goes on much easier and I only need the slightest amount.

This eye contour serum includes 9 natural technologies to help fight the signs of aging around the eyes and natural active ingredients to treat dark circles, help to firm eyelids and minimise expression lines. It also fights the loss of elasticity, puffiness, uneven pigmentation and dark spots.

I absolutely love the eye serum, especially during my morning skincare routine as it makes me look as though I’ve actually had a full 8 hours sleep. This may only be a small bottle but it will last a while as you only need one drop each time. I shall definitely make sure I’m topped up with another one for when this bottle runs out.

Overall, I’m super impressed with both these serums and the differences they’ve made to my skin’s appearance. I’m so glad I discovered Freshly Cosmetics and have loved all the products I’ve used so far. I’m heading over to their website to see what other skin, hair and body treats they have and I recommend you do too.

Have you tried anything from Freshly Cosmetics before? Do you use an oil or serum during your evening skincare routine?

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My Guide To Buying Secondhand Clothing

You can pick up some absolute gems when searching through racks of pre-loved clothes, all it takes is a little patience. I’ve been doing it for years and love creating outfits with beautiful pieces I’ve bought either on Depop, in a charity shop or vintage store. There’s something to suit everyone’s style. Here are my top tips for buying secondhand clothing for this seasons wardrobe.

Forget Any Preconceived Ideas

Charity shops have come a long way over the years and aren’t full of stained or moth eaten clothing that no one would ever dream of wearing. The stores are stocked with carefully chosen pieces that have already been washed and everywhere is laid out in sections, either by colour or style. The staff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, just as you’d find in a high street store.

Minor Problems Can Be Fixed

You can easily sew on a button or put on a complete new set to jazz up a blazer or coat. Broken zip, no worries, a new zip can simply be sewn in, either by you or anyone you know with a sewing machine. A hem can be taken up to make a skirt or dress just the perfect length and if a top or dress is slightly too low cut across the bust, a few stitches are all it takes to protect your modesty. If there does happen to be a slight mark it can easily be removed by one of the many fabric cleaners on the market. Failing that take it along to a local dry cleaners, which is well worth doing for a one off vintage or designer garment.

Always Try It On

Clothes may look fabulous on a hanger but can look absolutely hideous the minute you try on what you thought was the perfect looking dress. The same rule applies the other way round, it could hang like a sack on the hanger but once you slip it on the dress could give you the most stunning shape and drape beautifully across the body.

Always Check The Returns Policy

This is definitely worth checking if you’re buying on Depop, Ebay or Oxfam On Line. Imagine how heartbroken you’d be after ordering a stunning piece of clothing only for it to arrive and it didn’t fit. Or there was a hole in the garment that wasn’t shown in the photo and the seller wouldn’t give you a refund.

Trust Your Instinct

If you know an item will go with at least 3 outfits in your wardrobe and you know you’ll get lots of wear from that piece then it’s worth having. Does it suit your personal style or are you buying it just because it’s something that’s on trend? Also don’t be a label snob, if you think you will wear the item then buy it.

Don’t Rule Out Accessories

Hats, jewellery and bags all add those perfect finishing touches to any outfit. You may stumble across a 1950s bag that looks brand new and you’re unlikely to see one of your friends with the same one. If you can’t quite stretch to a full price designer handbag, then buying secondhand is the best way to go, especially if it’s a classic design that’s never going to go out of style.

Have you found a great secondhand bargain?

You may also like to read My Autumn Charity and Vintage Shop Haul

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