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Let’s Catch Up: What Have I Been Up To

Wearing my favourite pair of ankle boots while I sit down to have a catch up

I can’t believe we’re well into December and only a few weeks away from Christmas. I love this time of year, coming home on a dark evening and looking at all the pretty Christmas trees people have in their windows. I love getting home, closing the curtains, lighting the candles and switching on all the fairy lights we’ve got hung round the room, The first thing I do is change into my pyjamas, make a hot chocolate and get cosy under a blanket on the sofa for half an hour and enjoy the peace and quiet. 

Since the first of December I’ve been opening a mini stocking from my home made advent calendar that Adrian puts together for me. So far this year I’ve had some fantastic mini Decleor skincare products. I haven’t got round to taking any photos yet as I’m such a bad blogger.

In this month's catch up I'm toasting my husband's birthday with a glass of moet
In this month's catch up I show how we made a candle out of left over bits of wax using a candle making kit
In this month's catch up I show how we made a candle out of left over bits of wax using a candle making kit

On the 24th November we celebrated Adrian’s birthday with a glass of Moet that I was lucky enough to have been sent via the O2 Priority app. I wasn’t going to turn my nose up at a free bottle of drink. Adrian chose to stay at home on his birthday, order in a take away and watch a film. We are complete opposites when it comes to birthdays, I prefer to get dressed up and go out to celebrate. 

There’s so much waste left after a candle has finished burning. We’ve been saving up all the autumnal smelling bits of wax, then melted them down in a saucepan and made our own layered candle using a candle making kit we found on Amazon. Each layer smells absolutely delicious. 

having my hair cut and coloured in my monthly catch up post

I love that feeling when you’ve just had your hair cut at the salon. I’ve been going to Style Me Hairdressing for two years and my hair is in much better condition than it was back in 2016. The ends were dry and kept splitting, and my hair had absolutely no shape to it at all. I love how it looks now, especially when my hair stylist, Amy, puts a few waves in for me. I colour my hair at home using Clairol Nice and easy Permanent Dye in the shade SB1, it’s just been redone and will last me until the New Year.

in my monthly catch up I wanted to  talk about Blogosphire magazine where my photo had been featured
In this months catch up I'm featuring the candle and reed diffuser I won in a competition

There was one week where three fabulous things happened all close together. It started off on the Monday when I was extremely lucky and won a competition run by Alice and the prize was this amazing bundle from Heyland and Whittle gift company.  The room smells absolutely divine with this very festive Frankincense reed diffuser and Winter Spice candle, perfect for our cosy nights in, watching Christmas films and wrapped up under a fluffy blanket.

Next I got a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the high street fashion brand Warehouse, featuring What To wear To An Office Party. I was so excited to put this post together and have chosen the trouser suit and pleated midi dress to wear to two parties I have coming up. 

Finally, I could not believe my eyes when I opened the latest edition of Blogosphere Magazine, which is run by bloggers for bloggers. On the page where they feature their favourite photos of the magazine was one of my photos. I quite literally cried with joy. 

in this months catch up post I'm wearing a cosy coat and bobble hat

At the end of November we went into town to see the Christmas lights being switched on. We had a fantastic evening watching the Christmas parade with Santa on his sleigh, drinking mulled wine and going round the stalls tasting all the yummy festive food. We enjoyed listening to a local school choir singing all the old Christmas carols and the DJ who kept us all entertained by playing our favourite Christmas number one songs and got us all excited ready for the countdown to the light switch on.  It was so busy, Adrian and I went back a few days later just so I could have my photo taken next to the tree. 

Adrian and I are just about ready for Christmas now. Our decorations went up the first week in December and I’ve finished all my Christmas shopping, apart from fresh items which I’ll get a few days before. I’ve wrapped all the gifts and written out cards ready to posts to friends and family far away. This year we’ve chosen to send personalised cards to close family and the photo we decided to have on the front was this one of a robin sitting in our garden. Adrian took it a few years ago and it’s one of my all time favourite winter themed photos. All that’s left is to make some mince pies, it’s amazing how many of my friends still think these actually have meat inside.

I also had a great time at a Christmas Victorian themed market where we bought little stocking fillers from small businesses. The atmosphere was buzzing and I wish I was able to get dressed up in one of the amazing costumes. 

I’ve been going through my wardrobe and recycling clothes that have been in there for ages. I’m much more mindful about the way I shop now, instead of buying loads of items I’ll never wear I add in a few new key pieces all built around my 10 Winter Wardrobe Staples. It’s been great to make up new outfits from clothes I already had just by wearing them with a different accessory, skirt or jumper. I did treat myself to a new pair of nude ankle boots from TK Maxx, they’re the ones in the main photo and worn with this dress from Zara. I can see myself wearing these all year round, how cute would these look with a floaty knee length dress on chillier summer days?

Well that’s all for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this very festive catch up.  Are you ready for Christmas? Have you been to a Christmas light switch on or festive themed markets?

You may also enjoy last year’s festive catch up.

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What To Wear To An Office Christmas Party

Christmas Party Outfits

It’s officially party season, which means your work’s Christmas do is just around the corner and you’ll want to look your best over the festive period. There’s always the dilemma of what to wear to the office party, do you dress formal, keep it casual or go head to toe with full on sparkle?

Personally I like to have one or two Christmas party dresses that I can change the look of just by styling each one with a different set of accessories and will see me through the festive season. Unless the requirements for your office party are to wear a cute Christmas jumper for a few mulled wines out of paper cups you’ll still want to look fabulous and feel comfortable in what you wear.

Warehouse* have some amazing pieces in their party wear section this year. I’ve chosen five outfit options that will suit everyone’s style and hopefully you’ll find something that will inspire you with what to wear to your office Christmas party.

Christmas Party Outfits

Christmas Party Outfits

Outfit 1

I love to wear metallics during the festive season and I fell in love with this foil pleated midi dress as soon as I saw it. The warm gold colour is absolutely gorgeous and with a halter neck design and asymmetric hemline it oozes sophistication. Worn with statement gold jewellery and an animal print bag, this look is ideal for all occasions and dress codes.

Bracelet: £10.00 Earrings: £14.99 Bag: £36.00 (currently on offer for £27.00)

Christmas Party Outfits

Christmas Party Outfits

Outfit 2

You can’t beat a little black dress during the party season. This sparkle star dress is absolutely stunning, I love the tie back detail and the loose chiffon three quarter sleeves are perfect for covering up your upper arms if you’re not comfortable having them on show. I think this dress looks classy and elegant and great worn with diamante drop earrings and a cute black bag with silver hardware.

Earrings: £16.00 Bag: £29.00 (currently on offer at £21.75) Bracelet: £12.00

Christmas Party Outfits

Christmas Party Outfits

Outfit 3

Sequins or a sparkly metallic dress are not everyone’s cup of tea. A black trouser suit will take you from desk to party with some statement jewellery and a pair of gold strappy heels. You’ll look classy and elegant for any work event and this trouser suit can be worn even after the festive season. I love the wrap over top and wide legs which almost give it a Hollywood look, imagine how glamorous you’ll look sipping on your glass of champagne.

Disc Loop Necklace: £14.00 Hoop Earrings: £10.00 Quilted Bag: £26.00 now on offer for £19.50)

Christmas Party Outfits

Outfit 4

Is there anything more festive than sequins? If it’s a black tie event and you do want to go full on glamour then this velvet sequin high neck dress will be perfect for the occasion. It’s the ultimate trend for the party season. It’s so eye catching, you’ll sparkle the night away while sipping cocktails at the bar. Don’t feel you have to keep your hemlines below your knees just because it’s a posh do, the modesty is balanced out by the longer sleeves. Remember to keep your accessories simple as the dress does all the talking.

Christmas Party Outfits

Outfit 5

If you’re not one for having your legs on show and prefer to wear classic straight or wide leg trousers, you can still look the part by pairing them with a sparkly top and strappy heels. You can play around with different textures until you find what’s right for you. I love the style of this sequin camisole top, the muted colour gives a subtle glam look if bold shades aren’t your thing. It would also look fabulous worn under the trouser suit for hint of sparkle.

If your office Christmas party is a casual event yet you still want to look like you’re going to a festive occasion, why not try this rainbow foil stripe top worn with a pair of chic trousers, ankle boots and gold statement jewellery.

Finally, if you are going a to Christmas jumper party but you don’t want to turn up wearing one covered with cute reindeer, have no fear, I’ve got something here for you too. This stunning sequin disc jumper comes in both berry and silver, you’ll look super chic standing next to your colleagues getting tipsy on yet another mulled wine.

Whatever you choose to wear, I’m sure you’ll look absolutely gorgeous and have the best time ever.

*This was a collaborative post but all writing/opinions are my own

You may also be interested in 10 Winter Wardrobe Staples

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My 10 Winter Wardrobe Staples

10 Winter Wardrobe Staples

When it comes to Winter fashion I have streamlined my wardrobe around 10 wardrobe staples, these are items that come out year after year and I’ll inject a few key pieces into my wardrobe throughout the season.

This hasn’t always been the case. When I was in my late teens I would go out at the weekend and buy three or four items and not think about how I’d wear them or how I could style them with items I already had in my wardrobe. I’d end up with bags of stuff which I didn’t wear and find I was giving most of it away. As I’ve got older I’m much more methodical about what items of clothing I buy.

I build my outfits around 10 wardrobe staples and I know I’ll always be warm and stay looking chic. They’re such classic pieces which never go out of fashion, I sometimes have a scroll through Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration on new ways to style them and make outfits I’d never thought of trying before.

10 Winter Wardrobe Staples

Classic Camel Coat

A camel coat is one of the best things things I’ve ever bought. It’s the ultimate wardrobe staple that everyone needs during winter. It’s such a classic, classy piece and literally goes with everything while keeping you cosy and warm. You can even style it with a floaty dress with a thermal underneath and still look feminine and super chic.

I bought my camel coat around 5 years ago in the January sales at House of Fraser, it was marked down to £100 from £250, it’s such good quality and the price per wear is probably less that a cup of coffee by now. The faux fur collar is detachable so you’re almost getting two different styles of coats, even better value for money. I really mean it when I say this camel coat looks great worn with anything, I’ve even even styled it with an evening dress to keep me warm on my way to a Christmas party. This one is definitely going to stay in my wardrobe forever.

Another of my favourite coats to wear during the winter is the belted double breasted wool coat, I have a one in cream and one with a check print. Both are extremely versatile, I occasionally wear the cream coat with a faux fur collar that I bought separately and it changes the look of the coat entirely. I’ve added photos of both styles further on in the post so you get an idea of how I wear them.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Faux Fur Jacket

A Faux Fur or Faux Shearling Jacket is the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. and comes back on trend nearly every year. I tend to go for neutral colours that will go with everything in my wardrobe, classic shapes that will never go out of style. These are three of my all time favourite coats, they’re a few years old but I’ll continue wearing them until they need replacing. There are so many good affordable coats and jackets on the high street, ones that look amazing and keep you warm all day. I’ve not tried the full on teddy bear coat yet, it’s only a matter of time.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Chunky Knit Jumper

I’m obsessed with a chunky knit jumper to keep me warm and toasty, especially those with a roll neck, it’s a classic style and looks sophisticated and goes with everything. I love experimenting with different ways to wear a chunky knit, they look great with jeans, skirts and even over a dress so it looks like you’re wearing a skirt, great for getting extra wear out of a floaty dress and keeping super cosy. However you style a chunky knit it’s a perfect winter staple and keeps you snuggly and warm.

I go for neutral shades as I know I’ll get a lot more wear out of them.  Once I find the right style, and colour I have the tendency to wear it all the time and with everything. A chunky knit doesn’t have to be expensive but I’ll try and get a good quality jumper so I know it will last for years. Right now I love wearing this neutral brown roll neck jumper from River Island and this cream cowl neck one from Topshop.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Over The Knee Boots

I couldn’t do a post on wardrobe staples without mentioning Over The Knee Boots, they’re an absolute essential and I practically live in them throughout the colder months. I have a few pairs in different colours, beige, grey, brown and black, they go with everything and it’s an extra layer to keep your legs warm and cosy.

The most recent pair are from River Island, they’re a classic style in the most gorgeous chocolate brown colour which looks classy and chic. They’re extremely comfortable, they’ve got lace up detail at the back so they fit perfectly around my leg and I love that they don’t fall down. They look amazing worn with knitted dresses, skirts, floaty dresses or jeans. I’m literally so in love with them, I’ve not wanted to take them off.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Midi Skirt

A midi skirt goes with endless outfit options during the colder months, even if you’re not sure what to wear, just pop on a chunky knit and pair of boots and you’ve got the day’s outfit sorted. Midi skirts come in various styles from pleats, checks, florals and faux leather, whatever you choose a midi skirt looks great worn smart or casually.

I’d been looking for the perfect pleated skirt for ages and found this olive one from ASOS, I think it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s the type of skirt that looks chic and stylish, either worn casually with a roll neck, a blouse for work or a sparkly top and heels for the office Christmas party. I think it would also look amazing worn with an outfit if you have any Winter weddings coming up and you’re not sure on dress code.

Another skirt I wear year after year is this check skirt from M and Co. Checks just scream Autumn Winter and look great styled with a chunky knit, camel coat and over the knee boots. The perfect way to keep you super warm yet still looking chic and classy.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Jumper Dress

I absolutely love wearing jumper dresses throughout the winter, it’s one of those staples you don’t even need to think about, it’s practically a ready made outfit. Just stick on a pair of over the knee boots and a camel coat and you’re done. A jumper dress will keep you super snuggly throughout the day, for an extra layer of warmth you can always add a thermal vest underneath.

I’m so happy I managed to get hold of this ribbed oatmeal jumper dress from ASOS, it’s so cosy and I love that it has flute sleeves. It’s the perfect dress that will go with any of my boots, coats and accessories and still look chic and stylish. It’s comfy, cosy and snuggly, it literally feels like I’m wearing a blanket and it doesn’t get better than that when the temperatures drop.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Hats

One accessory that always has the ability to completely change the look of an Autumn Winter outfit is a hat, especially when the temperatures are freezing cold. I am obsessed with hats and have quite a few different styles, from fedoras and wide brimmed hats, to baker boy caps and faux fur hats. I know what style suits me and again I’ll go for neutral colours so I can mix and match my hat with different outfits and feel extra cosy. To be honest I get excited about wearing a hat with my outfit in the same way people get excited about wearing a different pair of shoes.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Scarves and Gloves

Gloves really need no introduction, they are an absolute must for those colder months, they not only keep your hands super snug but they’re an extra accessory to make your outfit look chic and classy. I have a few in different colours and designs, my all time favourite pair are these pink ones with a bow and faux fur cuff, they also have a faux fur lining to keep my hands extra warm.

There are so many different ways to wear a scarf, as well as simply wrapping it round your neck a scarf can also be worn hanging long down the front of your outfit and tied with a belt around the waist for an extra layer of warmth. My two favourites are this pinky beige wool one from ASOS and the checked scarf from Barbour, I think it’s an instant way of elevating your outfit and look chic and stylish worn with any winter coat.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Midi Dress

A midi dress is another really versatile outfit and you can carry over your floaty autumn dresses into winter. Whatever your style, checks, polka dots, florals or stripes, a midi dress is an instant outfit. It’s perfect for layering with a thermal top or long sleeve knit underneath, along with a pair of thermal tights and over the knee boots. You’ll be super cosy yet keeping your feminine style through the colder months.

I’m so in love with this polka dot wrap style midi dress from Joanie, it’s such a versatile dress and will take me from day to night. I’ve worn it for a date night, coffee with friends and out to dinner, it looks chic and feminine for any occasion.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

Thin Roll Neck Jumper

A long sleeve, thin roll neck jumper is another ultimate wardrobe staple. It’s extremely versatile, great for layering and looks different with every outfit you wear, from jeans, skirts and dresses. I’d never have thought about popping a thin roll neck under a summer dress to get even more wear out of it through the winter.I wear a roll neck constantly throughout autumn winter, tucked into skirts, trousers or under a chunky knit for an extra layer of warmth. Basic colours, camel, cream and black, go with everything and you have all your outfit options covered.

Winter Wardrobe Staples

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration for your Winter Wardrobe Staples, you may already own these pieces and forgotten about them or you might be looking to invest in a few new items that will see you through year after year. Once you have your winter staples you just need a few new items each year and you’ll still look super chic and stylish.

What Winter wardrobe staples do you bring out every year?

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My DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar

DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar

I don’t know how many times I seen a beautiful Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar, only to see how ridiculously expensive it is, especially when I probably only use half the contents? Every year I treat myself to a traditional chocolate advent calendar, it wouldn’t be Christmas without one. Three years ago I bought the Tanya Burr Beauty Advent Calendar. As pretty as the products inside were, I found that things like the glitter eyeliner pens were still sitting in my draw untouched and I ended up giving them away.

Last year, I began my search yet again for the perfect beauty advent calendar and read bloggers reviews but I still wasn’t able to find one that I really loved and thought was worth the money. Adrian quite possible needed ear plugs by that point because he decided to put together one for me.

DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar

He searched on Etsy for a set of mini stockings which he could put mini gifts in ready for me to open in the lead up to Christmas. Eventually he found this set of 24 from a company called All Sewn Up By Sophia which comes complete with 24 mini gold pegs and a long piece of string to hand them on.. Luckily we have a chimney breast and the length of the DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar hung perfectly along it.

Adrian then went to the Boots 3 for 2 gifts and choose a selection that were small enough to fit in each stocking. He knows me so well as he found a gorgeous Ted Baker rose gold makeup set containing 12 products and it was on a half price offer at the time. He definitely scored extra brownie points with that one.

I absolutely love my  Homemade Beauty Advent Calendar, not only was I able to use it last year but I’ll be able to recycle it for many years to come. I’m sure if I ever get bored of makeup it can be filled with my favourite chocolates or mini drink bottles.

Do you have an Advent Calendar each year? Is yours a beauty or chocolate one, or do you make up your own version  too?

DIY Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar

 

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3 Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

The constant change in temperatures during the colder months can really affect our skin and hair, so I love to add a little TLC into my beauty routine. I go from being outdoors in the freezing cold, wrapped up in so many layers, then straight into a warm cosy house with the central heating on and that really does tend to try out certain areas of my body.

I’ve been using 3 products from Freshly Cosmetics to help keep those troublesome areas hydrated and looking healthy during the colder months. Freshly Cosmetics make skin and hair care which are 100% natural, suitable for vegans and they’re even gentle on sensitive skin.

With winter just around the corner I’d like to talk you through the 3 Beauty Essentials that every girl needs to be using during the colder months.

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

A good lip balm has to be one of my winter beauty essentials as during the colder months it’s much easier for your lips to become dry and chapped. I like to use a thick lip balm to help nourish and soften my lips and prefer ones where you don’t have to put your finger into a pot.

The Pink Protection Lip Balm is an extremely moisturising lip balm which contains SPF 7 to protect against sun damage and natural pigments to leave your lips with a very subtle pink tint. It contains natural plant-based butters and oils such as shea butter, almond oil and jojoba oil, which all help to soften and hydrate the lips and help stop them from drying out. It glides on smoothly, absorbs quickly and I love the natural fragrance that has a light fruity smell. It’s small enough to pop in your bag and is an absolute must if you want  smooth, moisturised lips and protection from the sun with a pretty pink tint where ever you are.

The Deep Nourish Lip Balm is designed to nourish, repair and protect dry, chapped lips. It’s packed with super rich plant based butters including shea, cupuacu, murumuru which have been blended with nourishing plant based oils such as passion fruit,  almond, babassu and virgin marula. It’s deeply moisturising and in under a week I really noticed a difference in the condition of my lips, they were soft and smooth and it made applying my lipstick much easier. For one small tube it’s pretty powerful stuff, my lips were craving something nourishing and hydrating and this worked a treat.

Both lip balms are gluten free and suitable for sensitive skin. Each one costs £7 for a 10ml tube from Freshly Cosmetics.

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

During the colder months my hair can become dry and frizzy and a hydrating hair mask is an absolute Winter beauty essential. As with your skin, the constant change from a heated house to the cold temperatures outside will most definitely affect the condition of your hair.

The Nourish Restore Hair Mask is a thick, silicon free, non greasy hair mask. Firstly, I have to say I will be purchasing this in the future and it will most definitely have made it into my top 10 beauty discoveries of 2018. This incredibly nourishing hair mask combines 7 vegetable oils and other natural ingredients to nourish, repair and protect hair fibres. Packed full of goodness, including organic Argan, macadamia, extra virgin chia, rosehip, Karite, almond and avocado oils, all aiming at giving your hair intense hydration.

I colour my hair and use heated appliances which leave it feeling dry and brittle. This nourishing hair mask made my hair feel incredible soft and looking healthy and shiny. Even my hair dresser asked what product I’d been using and complemented me on how good my hair felt. This highly concentrated mask helps to moisturise dry, brittle hair and avoiding damage to your hair’s natural keratin, sealing cuticles and provides protection against external agents. It has the most amazing fragrance and smells like an exotic cocktail.

Nourish Restore hair Mask is suitable for all hair types and cost £16 for a 150ml bottle. A little goes a long way, so this size bottle will last you ages and that’s coming from someone with long hair.

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

It’s so easy to forget about using a body care product during the winter months when we’re all wrapped up warm in thick jumpers and tights, yet it’s equally as important to look after the skin on your body all year round. As I’ve mentioned with the other products, your skin can dry out so easily when you’re going from a warm home or office with the central heating on full and then out into the freezing cold outside.

Using a deeply hydrating product like The Golden Radiance Body Oil will help soften and nourish your skin. The oil has so many benefits thanks to a mix of scrumptious ingredients such as virgin marula, babassu, jojoba, rosehip, hazelnut, macadamia or virgin chia. This 100% natural body oil not only helps to soften and hydrate your skin but it will also help to reduce cellulite and improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Microalgae technology act as powerful antioxidant to help damaged areas, while deeply nourishing the skin. Natural ingredients such as grapefruit, bergamot, orange, mandarin, pineapple, apple, pomegranate, cardamom and sandalwood are not only beneficial for your skin, they also give the oil an amazing exotic fragrance that’s not too overpowering. It’s not greasy and gets absorbed quickly, I’ve been using it before I go to bed at night and I’ve woken up with silky soft skin which feels really hydrated and nourished. It’s great for prepping the skin in-between fake tans, giving you a more even colour. As always, any residue left on my hands I’ll give those a quick massage, concentrating on my cuticles to help keep my hands in great condition.

The Golden Radiance Body Oil costs £23 for a 100ml bottle and is suitable for all skin types.

What are you waiting for? Head over to Freshly Cosmetics to see what other beauty treats they have in stock. Their products are not only fabulous for looking after your hair and skin, they make excellent winter beauty essentials if you’re putting together a pampering hamper as a gift.

What are your winter beauty essentials?

Winter Beauty Essentials From Freshly Cosmetics

*This post contains PR samples

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