Saturday, 30 December 2017

My Christmas Presents 2017

Hi again – I’m back with another festive post and I wanted to share the presents I received on Christmas day. My Mum and Dad kindly surprised me with a two piece reindeer loungewear set, this was my main present and possibly my favourite. Another main present was a hot chocolate set from Wilko which has some really tasty flavours that I can’t wait to try. I seem to have acquired lots of lovely foodie items which are partly from my brother, I was so thankful for the thought he put into those and it will be nice to review them sometime. I’m super excited to try the different fruit teas I was gifted in particular as well as the Malteasers chocolate spread and organic chocolate.

There also seems to be a continuation of colour, I noticed afterwards, everything is very aqua and pink. I had a mixture of surprises as well as things I knew I was getting and which I picked up throughout the year a bit at a time. I had a bit of a stocking filler/bargain theme this year, as I love having lots of little bits on Christmas morning. I visited places like Primark for my marble make-up bag, hoody, hat and cosy socks. I chose some stationery and books from the Poundshops. My pink scarf, which I think will see me through to spring was found in Shoe Zone.

I also enjoyed giving gifts to loved ones, and I was so glad to see I made some good choices, and that my family were pleased with the bits I got them. Thank you to my family again for making it special. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas too, please let me know if you have done a similar post of your own, and I’ll try and pop by. 

I think my Christmas highlight was to spend valuable time with family, 
let me know what your Christmas highlight was! :-)

Lots of love, Helen Xx

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Christmas Gingerbread Men & Happy Christmas

Hi again and hope you had a marvellous Christmas. I’m back with a baking post, I made gingerbread men earlier in the month and wanted to share it with you all. I used a gingerbread recipe from Cakes & Cookies for Beginners by the Usborne Cookery School book. I feel like this one was on my most accomplished bakes yet, and probably my favourite from the year too. I managed to get just the right amount of ginger, and a good texture to the biscuit. I added sultanas to decorate, making the man’s buttons, eyes, and drew a smile too!

Christmas went past so quickly, but it was lovely to spend time with family, eat good food and swap gifts. I will be in touch soon with any blogger friends I didn’t get a chance to chat to before Christmas day.

Speak soon, love Helen XxXx

How was your Christmas? Didn’t it seem to just pass in a blink of an eye? :-) Xx

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Themed Book Haul

Wow Christmas is fast-approaching, and December seems to have slipped by a little. I’m hoping you all will enjoy this book haul, I popped into The Works a little while ago, as they are always doing deals it seems. My local shop do a three for five pound on a range of books, which to me sounds super reasonable. When I was last in, they had a whole shelf of Christmas themed novels. The key is to keep checking in store or online, as they do have some odd gems.

I picked up these three as you can see. I’m most excited for The Christmas Promise, as the premise sounds perfect and light. The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop, could be good too, and one to cosy up by the fire with. Lastly The Girl Who Came Back, is more of a crime novel, by one of my favourite authors, and it’s actually the second in the series but I think it can be read as a standalone. Susan Lewis’s books are addictive, and although they have gripping storylines, they are more focused on solving a crime with a family dynamic therefore a little lighter to read.

Will you be asking Santa for books this year? 
What genre do you like to read over Christmas? :-) Xx

If you would like to read further, here are the premises of each book found on Amazon…..

The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft

“On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones. Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas. So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…”

The Cosy Christmas Teashop by Caroline Roberts

“After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle. Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve. Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?”

The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis

“When Jules Bright hears a knock on the door, the last person she expects to find is a detective bringing her the news she’s feared for the last three years. Amelia Quentin is being released from prison. Jules’s life is very different now to the one she’d known before Amelia shattered it completely. Knowing the girl is coming back she needs to decide what to do. Friends and family gather round, fearing for Jules’s safety. They know that justice was never served; every one of them wants to make the Quentin girl pay. The question is, what will Jules do; and which of them – her or Amelia - has the most to fear?”

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Gift Wrapping Haul

I wanted to do something a little bit different this year for my Christmas gift wrap theme. I seem to have a theme of some sort every year and just never get around to blogging it. For years and years I would keenly get all my gift wrap and accessories from Paperchase, and although I may go back to them one day, I wanted to get some bits more affordable and experiment with shopping elsewhere.

I like browsing blogs and YouTubers for gift wrap inspiration, and on occasions Pinterest. I’ve always loved bright colours, but different and vibrant Christmas gift wrap can either be too expensive or too hard to hunt down. I began my buying earlier in the year actually, my thoughts were that I would buy mainly general use gift wrap and make it Christmassy with accessories.

Primark have been sooo on point with their selection lately. I’m completely obsessed with my holographic and iridescent picks. The quality is fab too! Marble has been in fashion a lot recently, this Primark wrap is great value and I might use it throughout the coming year as there’s loads left.

Overall my theme seems to be brights, metallics, holographic and iridescent. What’s your gift wrap colour palette/style this year? Where do you shop? Xx

Where I shopped: 
Primark, Morrison’s, Wilko and a gift shop on holiday

What I bought:
Marble gift wrap, iridescent gift wrap, orange holographic gift wrap all from Primark. Neon Pink gift wrap from Morrison’s. Gold and white stripe gift wrap from a gift shop. Copper gift wrap, a selection of silver and iridescent bows and ribbon from Wilko.

I can’t remember all the prices sadly, but they range from about £1.00-£2.00 for each item.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas Baking: Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, I think life just got in the way but I’m excited for the next couple of Christmassy posts. 2017 has been a good baking year for me, and I’ve really enjoyed getting in the kitchen to make things. I actually made these biscuits in November, but they are very festive for the season. I think cranberry and white chocolate is a perfect combination, particularly for Christmas, and cranberries are a well loved ingredient around this time. I used The Hungry Student Baking book by Charlotte Pike again, I'm working my way through the book, and have nearly done all the varieties of cookie recipes.

These were extremely easy to make, as are most cookies. The white chocolate seemed to melt a bit in the oven, and after they came out, there was a vanilla taste to them which contrasted well with the cranberry. I dusted some icing sugar on top, this nearly always gives a more polished end result. Let me know if you are going to be making cookies, and what extra ingredients are your favourite to add... :-) Xx

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

E.l.f. Lightweight Concealer Stick in Light/Fair

I’ve been looking for a good cruelty-free concealer for a while now, and after doing a little bit of research I ordered this one by E.l.f on the Superdrug website. They have three shades, but as I have very fair skin, I went for the lightest option, light/fair. They retail for £5 each, and if you are a Superdrug member, you can get free delivery online.

So what were my thoughts? From initial impressions, the packaging was fantastic, very sturdy and easy to use, I love how they have been inspired by some high-end brands with the luxe feel of this. The range of shades wasn’t brilliant, only three choices doesn’t seem like a lot. But after saying that, I have trouble finding a colour match, and light/fair was perfect for me.

To apply to the skin, you twist the end, a bit like a lipstick which I liked. The product is very creamy and glides on well. After wearing it all day, it does seem to have above average staying power. If you are looking for a cruelty-free option, I would recommend this brand. Overall I’m pretty pleased with it and can see myself repurchasing. Click here to buy.

What concealer do you use? 
Have you tried make-up by E.l.f before? :-) Xx

Monday, 4 December 2017

Cosy Winter Reading Book Haul

Books I’ve acquired lately:

One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Welcome to another book haul post, today I’ll be featuring some books I hope to read this winter. I’ve actually finished reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg already, and was surprised to find lots of Christmas themes in it, and the book surpassed my expectations in many ways, it was my guilty pleasure for sure.

I’m about half way through On Beauty by Zadie Smith, I was so excited to get two books to read by this author, I’ve been wanting to get stuck into something from her for a while now. So far On Beauty is pretty good, and it’s very much character driven which suits my taste. If I have time I want to read One Minute to Midnight in between Christmas and New Year, it looks like it could be an easy, light read for the festive season.

What’s on your winter reading list?
Do any of these books take your fancy? :-) Xx

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Winter Baking: Berry and Apple Crumble

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a baking post, I made this crumble at the beginning of the month, and it’s been one of my favourite bakes from the year so far I would say. I learned how to make a basic crumble at school, but since then I’ve opted for things like cookies, or cake so I wanted to try something slightly different. Most of the ingredients we had in the cupboard already but I asked my Mum to pick up frozen berries to add in with some apples from the fruit bowl.

If you’ve made crumble before, you will know to rub the butter and flour lightly with your fingertips to create breadcrumbs which is an important step to master. I also had to peel the apples and slice them into cubes. Those are the main bits that are a little trickier but it’s actually a very simple recipe, I added oats to the breadcrumbs on top, which gave the dessert an earthy feel. I used The Hungry Student Easy Baking book which I’ve mentioned before, the layout of the recipes, and simple ingredients make the process easier. My family gave some good feedback on this one, a crumble is a bit of a crowd pleaser.

Do you ever make crumbles? 
What kind of filling is your favourite? :-) Xx

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Library of Fragrance Paperback Eau de Toilette

Hi all, it’s so lovely to be back after taking a little break. Today I’m reviewing a fragrance which I bought recently, and just had to tell you all about it. I introduced myself to The Library of Fragrance brand over the summer, with my first purchase from them, with the scent ‘Sunshine’. At the beginning of autumn, I’d ran out and was eager to try something else by them. They had such a great collection of different singular scents, with cute names, I was stuck for choice. I eventually settled on ‘Paperback’ as it seemed to go with my love of reading and there were many positive reviews.

With buying online, I had to wait until my purchase arrived before I could see if the fragrance was for me. I sprayed some onto my wrists, and as it warmed to my skin for a few minutes, I began to fall in love, it’s such a unique, unforgettable scent. I think seasonally this is a perfect buy, either as a gift or for yourself and great for book lovers. Cruelty-free and vegan, £15.00 for a 30ml Eau de Toilette. Click here to buy online.

Read this to get a feel of the scent…. “The Library of Fragrance ‘Paperback’ Cologne celebrates our love affair with literature, with a backdrop of milky-vanilla sweetness, joined by delicate woody facets and just a touch of must and dust. It smells just like your favourite second hand bookshop.”

Does this brand interest you too? 
What’s your go-to autumn/winter perfume? :-) Xx

Monday, 13 November 2017

A Beauty Haul: Products for Autumn into Winter

Just recently, I did an online shopping haul with Boots collect+ and Superdrug for a mixture of essential and luxury items. At the beginning of autumn, I was just about finished with my previous perfume by Library of Fragrance. I was delighted with the brand so I thought I would try another fragrance from them. The ‘Paperback’ scent really drew me in, it sounded perfect for autumn/winter and I liked the book association as I’ve found over these months, I do more cosy reading with a blanket and hot chocolate. It seemed like a fun thing, to buy the perfume, and the reviews I read were very positive.

Next is my second ever purchase from Kind Natured at Boots, I’ve been interested in this natural brand lately, and had my eye on the jam doughnut shampoo, which was a very much needed toiletry, as my last shampoo ran out. The next two items I ordered from Superdrug, and each having the leaping bunny logo for being cruelty-free. Flutter is a beautiful brand by Superdrug, they have fun packaging, budget friendly prices and would make good Christmas gifting. These soap flowers were a little treat, and I can’t wait to indulge in a bath of flower petals.

Lastly I picked up a shower gel, by Superdrug Spaa, I’m not going to do a separate review post for this, and instead I’ll give you a quick summary now. I really rate the brand, I was first drawn to the marble packaging, and reasonable price point. They have a large range, so I might go back for more, as I loved the shower gel, particularly for the spa like scent.

I’ll be doing a few follow up review posts soon... 
Let me know which products from this haul caught your eye! :-) Xx

What I Bought Info:

Library Of Fragrance ‘Paperback’ Eau de Toilette 30ml
(£15.00/ Here)

Kind Natured Kids Jam Doughnut 2in1 Shampoo 200ml 
(£2.99/ Here)

Superdrug Flutter Bath Soap Flowers
(SALE £5.00/ Here)

Superdrug Spaa Bergamot & Cassis Shower Gel 250ml
(SALE £1.45/ Here)