Exploring the beautiful city of Venice 

This year, I was lucky enough to take a stunning city break for a friend’s hen weekend, to the glorious city of Venice!! Venice is somewhere which has always seemed pretty mythical and magical to me.. a city on an island, which you can only get to by boat, with no cars, that you can’t get around other than by boat… it just completely astounded me, and was somewhere I could never imagine, but always wanted to visit. So for a long weekend in May, we made the two hour flight and landed in the beautiful Venice! So I thought this week, I will share with you my experiences, my recommendations and also, my top tips if you’re ever to make the journey (which I strongly recommend!!)


When we arrived, we got a 20 minute bus ride to the main centre, which is where all was revealed… hundreds of water taxis lined the canal/river, and it was here we hopped on, lugging our suitcases, to make the journey to where we were staying!! The glorious sun was beaming down on us upon arrival, so we were all in good spirits and excited to get to our apartment. After a slightly rocky ride on the water taxi, we made it to our stop, and were greeted by our friendly tour guide who walked us to our apartment. We stayed about a 15 minute walk outside of the main square in Venice, which was perfect –  by staying slightly out of the main square, it also saved us a fair amount of money – as you can imagine, the closer to the centre you stay, the more expensive it becomes. We managed to book a lovely little apartment through Air BnB, and it felt in a very local secluded area of Venice, and instantly I fell in love with the narrow cobbled streets and the colourful buildings.


Places to eat 

Now on our first day, as we had arrived in the evening, our first priority was, of course – food!! We managed to find a local restaurant, 300m away from our apartment – this was full of delicious local foods, and really friendly staff, and we ended up getting lots of sharing platters, a couple of bottles of wine (of course) and we were content!! There was a lot of fresh produce on offer which I absolutely loved, and lots of new things to try – Venice isn’t really somewhere to get your standard steak/burger and chips, it’s a real opportunity to try some new food.

As the weekend progressed, wherever we went, everything was sourced fresh and locally, which was a real bonus. One thing that we noticed about Venice, was that everywhere we went, you got complimentary bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil… my own personal heaven!! We ventured further into Venice for our last evening, and settled in a lovely restaurant right by the water. I had a delicious seafood linguine; again, all of their food was sourced locally and made fresh to order. Bear in mind however, the further into the centre you go, the more you do pay for food; this was totally worth it however, as we had gorgeous food and stunning views. At one point, a gigantic cruise ship sailed silently past us – it looked like something out of a movie, so if you want gorgeous stunning views of the City to enjoy whilst eating your dinner then it’s definitely worth the extra euros!!

Venice - Food

Getting around 

As I mentioned at the start, the only way you can really get around Venice, is by boat!! It was so so strange that we didn’t hear one single car or motorbike/moped during our visit, and this added to the magic of Venice. The easiest way we actually found to get around, was by walking – we were extremely lucky with gorgeous weather, and to be perfectly honest, the only way to see the little nooks and crannies of Venice, was by walking and exploring. In terms of longer journeys however, there are the water taxis which take you all over th island, which are very reasonably priced.

Places to visit

There are so many places that I could list here, but that means this post would go on forever so I thought I would select my favourite places/activities, which I would highly recommend!

First of all, was the Marriott Hotel and Spa. This was our first proper trip of the weekend, so on the Saturday morning, we set off early around 9am. One of the best things about this spa, was the fact it resided on a secluded island – we had to get a private boat to get to this, which was about 25 minutes away, and it felt so exclusive it was amazing! As we arrived on the island, it felt like pure paradise – again, the sun was absolutely beaming down. As we entered the spa, we were again greeted by friendly staff, who gave us information about our stay. As we all eagerly headed outside for some sunbathing, we were stunned by some absolutely amazing views – as you can see, they were breathtaking, and we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon of relaxing at the spa. This took us to 1pm, where we headed to the roof terrace for lunch.

Venice - spa trip

Second of all – was, of course, a Gondola ride!! On our final day, we headed down to the ‘gondola dock’ where there were numerous boats waiting to be used. They were stunning boats, and really brought to life the traditions of Venice, and again how magical this city was. We soon boarded the boat, and I was the lucky (or not!) individual who sat at the head of the boat, going backwards! Now I’m scared of water at the best of times, so you can imagine my terror as this notion. As we glided round the city, we truly got to see the sites of traditional Venice, and learn more about the history of the city. It was an incredible experience as we saw so many hidden areas of the city which we hadn’t previously seen. This is one activity I would 100% recommend doing, if you ever have the pleasure of going there.

Venice - Gondola

One final activity, isn’t really just one activity – it’s venturing out to see the city at night time. On the second night, we ventured into the main centre, which was bustling with so many people. All the buildings were lit up, as well as the boats and gondolas which just looked absolutely magical. There were live bands busking outside of restaurants – one in particular managed to gather an impressive crowd, so we stayed and watched them for a while – they soon noticed the bride-to-be, and were sure to get her up for a dance!!

Venice - Gondolas at night

Something else we noticed, and took full advantage of were the wine bars. On our first night,  we didn’t want to venture out too far so we ended up visiting a small wine bar which looked extremely lively. This ended up being a fantastic idea, as we managed to find a glass of wine on the menu for €3.50!! An absolute steal!!!

Venice - wine drinking


We had such an incredible time, and if you are ever thinking of taking a city break over a long weekend, I would 100% recommend this beautiful place.


Bank Holiday Baking…. Madeleine Shaw Banana Loaf!

So after a glorious bank holiday weekend, where copious amounts of chocolate eggs have been eaten (it’s Easter, so it’s allowed right?!) I felt like I needed to get back on track with my healthy eating. One thing I do struggle with the most when eating healthy, is resisting sweet treats, especially when I’ve been consuming chocolate this weekend like it’s going out of fashion (no shame here). So in order to keep the sugar cravings at bay, I have once again, turned to the Queen of Clean Eating, Madeleine Shaw!! Her clean treats are so yummy and an absolute favourite of mine is the Banana & Cinnamon Loaf, which you’ll find in her book Get the Glow. It’s so easy to make, the ingredients are easy to pick up in your local supermarket, and it’s downright delicious.

Book Image


As I have said, the ingredients are straightforward, and easy enough to pick up in your local supermarket. You might notice I have been a little naughty and snuck in a bar of Lindt 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate – I see this as ‘phasing out’ the chocolate rather than going cold turkey straight away!!  The most expensive item was the coconut sugar, which I paid about £6 for – however you only use half the bag, so you can get two banana loafs out of it which I do think is good value for money, considering the health benefits of it.


The Making of the Banana Loaf….

…It’s pretty simple. Chuck it all in a mixing bowl, grab your electric mixer and whiz away!! It took me about 3-5 minutes to get to the lovey cream consistency you can see in the photos below. I then broke up my bar of Lindt chocolate, popped that into the mixture and gave it one final whizz around the bowl.

Ingredients Mix

Once done, I popped it into a baking tin, baked it in the oven for 50 minutes and voila! You have yourself a delicious banana loaf. Now the recipe does say 50 minutes in the oven, however I like mine a little crunchy on top, so I baked it for 60 mins… I would say I may have overdone it slightly, so I’ll remember that for next time.


For more of Madeleine’s delicious recipes, I’d definitely recommend picking up her cookbooks as they are my go-to books when I’m in the kitchen and want to cook up something healthy and delicious.

I’d love to hear from you some of your favourite recipes, so please do let me know!!


Home Renovation… Part One!!!

So as I mentioned in my New Years blog, me and my boyfriend, Marcus, have finally purchased our own house!! After a gruelling and painfully drawn out six months, where at times we thought it was all going to fall through and we were never going to get there, on the 5th April, we FINALLY got the keys (see below for the cheesy obligatory ‘we-are-about-to-enter-our-home-for-the-first-time’ snap!!).

House photo 1.jpg

As I mentioned previously, this is definitely a project home. The décor is rather dated, and as soon as we walked in, we could both see the potential that the house could have – from knocking walls down, building new rooms and reconstructing the garden, we couldn’t wait to get our hands dirty and start working on it – which we have been doing for the last 10 days! I booked the week off work, which also happened to fall on the Easter weekend (so an extra 2 bank holiday days off – bonus!) meant I was able to fully get invested in working on the house. Now whilst it may not be the most relaxing time off I’ve ever had, and certainly not glamorous (no lounging around by a pool drinking wine, unfortunately) it has actually been a fantastic stress reliever, and knowing that this house is all ours and the hard work we have been putting into it, makes it all worth it.

As a bonus, it’s also a great workout – carting bucketfuls of rubble to and from the skip on a daily basis, stripping wallpaper and hammering out skirting boards meant I didn’t feel the need to hit the gym so much as I knew I was doing a lot of physical labour – and I certainly felt this every morning, waking up with a new part of my body aching!!! I’m also certain I’ve developed an even more unhealthy addiction to caffeine, and there is no way I’m ever going to get every bit of dust that has lodged itself in my hair out, nor am I ever again going to have nice nails!!

Skip Stuff

We’ve also had some great help from family members, and as you’ll see from the pictures, also two little mischief makers named Merlin and Oscar who manage to get themselves into the majority of pictures!!!

Merlin and Oscar

So this is what we’ve been getting up to for the last ten days – and whilst I’m under no illusions this isn’t going to take a hell of a lot longer (after all, it takes days to rip everything out, however I know it will take four times as long to get it exactly how we want it!!) I can’t wait to go through the next phase of starting to pick out our furniture, colour schemes and general décor. Head over to my Pinterest if you’d like to see my ideas evolving, and I’ll be updating you with another blog post soon to show you how we are getting on!!


Taking Care of My Skin… My Daily Skincare Routine

Since I was young, I’ve always been incredibly lucky to be blessed with good skin (thanks, Mum and Dad). As I grew up, and even going through university, I found that I didn’t tend to need to do a lot to it to keep it in such good condition. I never used to pay huge attention to the quality of the skincare products that I used, how well I took my makeup off (especially after a night out – who wants to bother spending 10 minutes scrubbing your face, when you could crawl into bed and worry about that in the morning…?) and also the quality of the makeup products I used. However in recent years, I have noticed my skin hasn’t been as blemish free, and bright as it usually is. One factor that I do believe has made a huge impact, is my diet. I enjoy living a clean, healthy lifestyle, so when I’m eating natural and clean foods, along with keeping myself well hydrated my skin looks bright and glowing with a generally even skintone. The moment my diet starts to slip, and I eat overly processed or sugary foods, I notice myself waking up in the morning with relatively tired skin, that looks slightly dull and overly puffy, along with the odd spot or two which I’m naturally not used to.

Now I don’t think this is completely down to my diet – I do think this is also down to the years of using just a makeup wipe to take my makeup off (or not really taking it off at all!), with no proper cleansing routine, and not paying attention to what is actually going into my skin. So I decided now was the time I really needed to take proper care of what was going into my body in terms of my diet, but also the products I was using. One brand I have always heard great things about is Ren Skincare. It’s what I’d call ‘premium high street’ – more expensive than the likes of Nivea and Simple, but not too much that it would break the bank. Now that I have tried and tested these products, I truly believe that it is a worthwhile investment to buy great skin care products – a friend once said to me, you wouldn’t think twice about spending money on an expensive handbag which you may use for one season, and then it goes into your wardrobe and doesn’t come back out – however, your skin is something that stays with you, and you’ve got forever no matter what, no matter what state it’s in – so why wouldn’t you invest in it? This has really stuck with me, so it’s something that I truly believe you should prepare to invest in and do your best to take care of.

I have listed below my whole skincare routine, the products I have been using, how they’ve felt on my skin and the results I have had since using them.

First of all, I splash my face with cold water to wake myself up followed by scrubbing my whole face with a flannel, using just lukewarm water. I then take one pump of the Ren Evercalm Cleansing gel, and spend about 2-3 minutes, massaging this into my face with my hands. To wash this off, I scrub my face again with a flannel and use luke warm water until this is all off.

To follow, I apply my Micellar cleansing water with cotton pads- I absolutely love the freshness of my skin after I have used this, and I am currently using the Garnier Micellar water. Once applied, I then take half a pump of the Ren Skincare Evercalm Gentle Face Cream. This is quite a thick cream, which is why you will only need half a pump as it does go a long way. I then apply this with just my hands. Once this has been done, I then proceed to apply my daily makeup.

1st photo - skincare

I have finally ditched the makeup wipes (hurrah!) after realising how many different chemicals are used in them, and coming to the conclusion these simply cannot be good for my skin. I also noticed that however hard I scrubbed, in the mornings I would always have makeup residue left on my face, so clearly they did not do a great job at cleansing my face properly.

Now I begin my evening routine with the Estee Lauder oil-based eye makeup remover. I dab around 3 drops onto a cotton wool pad, and place it gently on my eye, leaving it for 30 seconds to let the makeup dissolve. I then carefully rub the makeup away from each eye. Following this, I take three pumps of my Estee Lauder cleanser onto a warm damp flannel and scrub my face. When all of my makeup is off, I then cleanse my face again, using the Ren Evercalm Cleansing gel. Once this has been done, I place a few drops of the Ren Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil onto my hands and massage this all over my face, followed by half a pump of the Ren Skincare V-Cense night cream.

2nd image - skincare

After just a week’s application, I noticed how much clearer and brighter my skin was, from waking up right through to going to bed. It felt so much more hydrated and clear, and I finally felt I was on the road back to having happy and healthy skin. Now I know this sounds quite tiresome, but I promise you, as soon as you have started doing this, you will notice the amazing difference in your skin even after just a week.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and I’d love to hear about your routine and which brands work for you.


Health, Lifestyle

2016.. A Review

So what can I say about the year 2016… well, I would say that it hasn’t gone quite as swimmingly as I’d have hoped.. as I’m sure most of you’ll agree, and from what I’ve seen from some of the fantastically thought out meme’s that have been circling the internet, 2016 hasn’t exactly been the best year all round. We’ve lost many well-known influencers of our time, and after many political surprises, it has been an odd year, and myself, like most people are quite glad to see the back of it. However, even though there have been some peaks and troughs this year, I still thought as an end to the year, and to begin 2017, it would be quite nice to do a review of what has gone well, what maybe hasn’t gone quite so well, and what I’ve learnt along the way.

First of all, I thought I would look at the New Year’s Resolutions that I set for myself at the beginning of this year, and see how well I managed to keep them…

Eat clean and experiment with my cooking so I can enjoy healthy and delicious meals

I’ve been really good this year with experimenting with my cooking – not necessarily trying out wild and outrageous foods that I would never normally eat, but more so that I’ve been creating meals from scratch, with some exciting new recipes. One big influencer of this for me, has been Madeleine Shaw. She has such a positive outlook on food, and how it not only affects your physical body, but also how your diet can affect you mentally. I really struggle with anxiety, and one thing that has helped me with keeping this under control is focusing on eating well and keeping my body nourished. I’m sure you’ll have seen in some of my previous blog posts as well as my Instagram feed, the different recipes I have been trying out and experimenting with.

Now I won’t lie, I haven’t been completely on the band wagon with eating clean and healthy all the time. I have definitely drank far too much alcohol this year. Usually, I will eat clean during the week, and on the weekend is my allotted time to have a few well-deserved drinks and a few naughty snacks. However, this year I have found myself on several occasions having a mid-week tipple, which has inevitably led to bad food choices, such as morning bacon rolls to make my day at work more bearable, as well as heavy carbs such as pizza and pasta etc. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing I’m treating myself because I do think that you need a break, and when you really feel like you need the garlic bread, you should damn well have that garlic bread! But for me, I know that I feel at my best when I’ve been sticking to a clean diet, and this keeps me on track. I have also noticed that my biggest anxiety flare ups have been when I’ve had a heavy weekend in terms of alcohol and bad food. The bad food choices have also led to weight gain, bad skin and generally feeling a bit down in the dumps, so I know that in order for me to feel good again, feel positive and in control, I need to get my diet back on track.


Catch up with friends at least once a month

Now this one, I have done much better than I thought I would!! I have made the time to catch up with friends, and whether that’s just going for a coffee on my lunch break with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, right through to spending a weekend away with my old uni friends, I’m really pleased with how well I’ve done here. This one was really important to me, especially as the majority of my really close friends lives quite far away, so I wanted to ensure I made a conscious effort to see this through, and I’m proud to say I have and I definitely feel better for it.

Get more sleep

Now I may have slightly over committed here…!! As someone who loves sleep, I definitely think I have taken this one to a whole new level!! During the week, I used to stay up until gone 11pm, and wake up in the morning feeling groggy and lacking energy. This year, I do think I have been much more sensible, and am generally in bed by 10pm at the very latest. Other than this, my weekends are absolutely my favourite time to get some well-earned sleep in – I allow myself at least one day on a weekend where I lie in for as long as I possibly can – as well as a few mid-afternoon naps sneaking in there!

Don’t take things too seriously (I’m a serial worrier)

Now this one, I haven’t completed to its full potential. Unfortunately, due to the fact I am quite a sensitive person, an over thinker and a serial worrier, I knew this one was going to be tough, as this is pretty much ingrained in me – however, I think this is more of a long term resolution that will take time to achieve, and I need to put certain measures in place in order for me to do this, such as making more time for myself and practising mindfulness. So I don’t necessarily see this one as a failure – but more of a working progress for me to actively build upon.

What else have I achieved this year? 

Other than looking at my resolutions and how well (or not so well) I did at keeping them, I thought it would also be nice to actually look at some of the key things that I have accomplished this year that weren’t necessarily in my resolutions.

Finished my CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing

This has been an absolutely gruelling two years. Whilst my friends were out partying, and colleagues were heading down to the pub for some after work drinks, I was cooped up in an office tuning into some webinars and burying my head in a text book. Whilst everyone was chilling out on the weekend doing fun things and relaxing, I was heading into the office to hammer out my latest assignment. Whilst the world was sleeping in on a Sunday, I was up at dawn with my laptop, with only caffeine to get me through. I sacrificed the majority of my free time for this, and I’m so glad that after all my hard work, I achieved this, with merit, at the end of it. It sent my anxiety through the roof, and at times I thought about packing it all in as I simply didn’t feel it was worth it, but I’m so glad I stuck it out and now have a great qualification to help further my development for the long term.

My sister got married

This was one of the most wonderful days to date, as I watched my sister marry my now brother-in-law. It was the first time in for as long as I can remember that my whole family spent the entire day together, and it was such a lovely occasion.


We bought at house!!

After a year of searching, going from house to house on the weekends and evenings, me and my boyfriend have finally found our own house that will be completely all ours. I feel like this is jinxing it slightly as it hasn’t completely gone through yet, but I’m far too excited not to tell you all about it. As someone who is a lover of interiors, home-ware, and real ‘project homes’, as is my boyfriend, we both really wanted a house that we could completely strip back to the bare structure and rebuild so it was our perfect home, exactly how we want it. For so long it didn’t seem this would be able to happen, as all of the houses we saw were either far too expensive, or the wrong location, wrong size etc. We’d just about given up on finding this, until one evening we just decided to go and see a house, that we didn’t even think we’d like. We both absolutely fell in love with it, and we have finally got that dream home (almost!!). So I cannot wait to get the keys and focus on building this up, so you can look forward to some blog posts and pictures on this as it progresses next year!

Travelled to new places 

Another way my anxiety affects me is when I travel. It has caused me to not enjoy my holidays sometimes. It’s incredibly frustrating because I do really love the idea of exploring new places, and I don’t want to miss out, so I’ve been trying to overcome this by travelling to as many places as possible in the hope I will get used to it!! This year has been a good year of doing this, through several mini breaks I’ve managed to fit in with friends, family and my boyfriend. These included a romantic trip to Paris, which I blogged about earlier this year, a couple of great holidays to Portugal which has become my new favourite relaxing holiday destination, as well as a long weekend in Dublin and some lovely day trips to the likes of big cities such as Birmingham and London. I want to continue to do this next year, and one of the first things I have booked is Glastonbury, which I am SO excited for!! Now don’t get me wrong – it has still been quite tough for me visiting these places, and not every moment has been wonderful as my anxiety seems to catch me out of the blue at the worst of times, but it is something I am working on, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through these moments, and coming out the other side feeling just a little better every time.


Looking ahead…

As I said at the beginning of this year, I don’t want to set myself up for a fall, or encroach silly resolutions onto myself that I know I won’t be able to keep. I’d rather set some general resolutions, which aren’t so strict and that I can look at them in a positive way and be excited about, rather than be filled with dread at the thought that I’m going to have to give something up. So here are the general goals/resolutions I have set myself for this year:

Blog at least once a month

Blogging is something that I have found I really really enjoy doing. I love creating my own content, on areas that interest me, using my own photos and completely finding my own platform and outlet to be creative. I haven’t been great this year at keeping up regularly with my blog, and I really need to ensure that this year I MAKE the time to sit down, plan my blogs and find time to write them too. Too many times, I’ve been in bed about to go to sleep and have a sudden idea, and so I don’t forget it, quickly sit up for 20 minutes and write a rough draft, or I’m out and about and think of an idea, but then I busy myself with something else and completely forget it. I really need to put some time aside to develop these ideas, and ensure I keep up with my blog as much as I can.

Budget better

Now this year I managed to completely clear my overdraft from my university days, which I was so so happy about. It completely lifted a weight off my shoulders, as I knew that I was debt free in terms of my general day to day bank account. However, I made the rash mistake of applying for a credit card – my reasoning behind it was for any unplanned emergencies where I needed to pay for something, or if I was booking a holiday that I could pay off over a couple of months. This seemed relatively sensible at the time, however I’ve ended up using it for everything, so I’m pretty much in the same position I was in at the beginning of the year!! So in 2017, I plan to budget much more effectively in order to pay this off, and get that worry off my shoulders.

Make more time for myself

This is something I really need to do more of. I need to look after myself a lot more than I am currently doing, and set aside time to completely relax and chill out – whether that’s taking a relaxing bath to reflect on the day, attending a yoga class to relax myself and bring about positive energy, getting myself lost in a book – this is about taking my own time to be calm, self-reflect and ensure that I am feeling as relaxed and positive as I can be, and wind down in the best way possible. Again, this is something that should help to keep my anxiety under control, and I know from experience this has worked previously, so I am really looking forward to spending more time looking after me.

Start and end the day with a positive thought (write it down!)

I started this at the beginning of this year, and actually this really did help. Even if it was just 2 minutes of sitting there and reflecting on my day, thinking about what I was grateful for, really made me feel much better. It helped clear my mind about everything bad that may have happened that day as it helped to focus my mind on the good, so I really want to ensure that I practice this again. It really does only take 2 minutes to do, so I have no excuse not to stick to it!!!


So there you have it – my year in review, and what I hope to achieve for 2017. I’d love to know your thoughts, and any resolutions you might have also.


Getting into the festive season..

As the Christmas season is now upon us, the festivities and general traditions surrounding Christmas have started to begin; The chill in the air, the festive frost filtering through the fields, beautiful lights and decorations that line the streets, the bustle of Christmas shoppers, the smell of cinnamon and fresh mince pies, the grand opening of the Christmas markets, and most of all, generally people are starting to seem much jollier. There is an excited thrill in the air that surrounds Christmas, and this is what makes Christmas so magical.

Now this year, for various reasons, I haven’t been as high in spirits for Christmas – which is extremely unlike me. Ever since I was a child, I was always the annoying child bugging my Mum to get the Christmas tree as soon as Halloween was over, and picking up a Christmas accessory, however tacky every time we went shopping. I love everything about it – even now, I’m usually the first with tinsel draped all over my desk at work (much to the dismay of colleagues when it’s not even December yet) and the first purchase of the long-awaited Christmas sandwich from the supermarket. Now as Christmas only comes round once a year, I decided I really needed to snap myself out of this scroogy mood, and do as much as I could to ensure I fully embraced the festive season.


Present buying

Now I know this might sound a bit cliché, but one of my favourite things truly about Christmas, is buying gifts for other people. I love putting a lot of thought into my gifts, and carefully choosing gifts which I know (or I hope I know!) people will absolutely love. I love physically going Christmas shopping also, as opposed to doing everything online – in previous years I have done the majority of my shopping online, and whilst this is the much easier option, and sometimes definitely the least stressful, I love nothing more than walking around the shops and fully embracing the festivities. One of my favourite places to shop for gifts is department stores– purely due to the fact they tend to deck out their entire stores with stunning Christmas decorations and play Christmas music much to my delight!

Present Wrapping

Now what comes after buying presents for your loved ones… wrapping them!! I’m the sort of person who actively seeks out beautifully colour co-ordinated wrapping paper and ribbons. I thoroughly enjoy wrapping, and making my gifts look irresistible to open. I think this comes from watching all the Christmas movies as a child, such as Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone, where under their Christmas tree were always the most beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts. One retail store which did some beautiful pre-wrapped Christmas gifts this year, was Lush Cosmetics. They had an entire Christmas gift section, with some absolutely beautifully pre-wrapped Christmas gift boxes, which I absolutely love. Needless to say, even though I love doing my own wrapping, I simply could not resist purchasing one of these, A – because Lush Cosmetics was a perfect gift for somebody, and also I just could not resist how meticulously wrapped it was.


Christmas Markets

Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit more, than a good old Christmas market. The smell of hot cinnamon pretzels and mulled wine, along with seeing all of the sweet little market stalls housing gorgeous homemade wreaths and intricate decorations. I don’t tend to go to these markets with the plan to make any purchases, but they are just perfect for having a mooch around and really getting yourself into the Christmas spirit. There is always such a buzzing atmosphere and everyone is generally in a pleasant and festive mood. I love nothing more than have a sit down in the outdoor seating area at the market with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, watching all of the happy shoppers bustling along and taking in the sweet scents and surroundings that the market brings.

Christmas Music

And by Christmas music, I mean cracking out the Michael Buble CD and singing at the top of my lungs in the car! Different types of music can trigger such strong moods and emotions within you, and Christmas music for me just brings out pure happiness and excitement as the festive season approaches. Even hearing the introductory tones of Home Alone 2, or the Holiday straight away brings the excitement of Christmas, and all of those different childhood memories that music can trigger –it brings back memories of my childhood, such as Christmas morning as I used to come dashing down the stairs and bursting into the living room, to see a pile of presents from Santa and hearing the Christmas music blasting out.


Christmas Movies

Every year, I do my own ‘advent calendar’ of Christmas movies – I aim to watch at least one Christmas movie every single day of December for the lead up to Christmas, in order to feel as festive as possible. This year’s started with the Santa Claus Movie, whilst snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of tea! Again, these bring back such wonderful childhood memories of watching these movies all throughout my life at Christmas, and there is nothing better than a feel good festive movie.

Christmas Decorations

I need to ensure the environment around me is as Christmassy as possible, in order for me to feel fully  festive, and what better way to do that than making the house as Christmassy as possible. Every year, I always aim to have my house decorated on the evening of the 30th November, so that as soon as I wake up on the 1st December, I can begin to embrace Christmas as fully as possible!! One of my favourite things is finding new Christmassy accessories to decorate my home with every year. One thing I absolutely adore is candles. I love the scent that fills your home, and how cosy they can make a room – this year I have a beautiful Christmas Yankee Candle, that has the scent of sweet apple and Cinnamon. I love the fact that it’s really long lasting, and when I return home from work I can still smell the scent from the previous day. And of course, what better to have than an honorary Santa in the house?! I picked this up from John Lewis, and it’s the perfect addition to go next to my Christmas tree.


So these are the things that really do get me feeling excited and happy about the festive season, and I’d love to hear what gets you feeling festive.


Beauty Buy of the Week – Guerlain Eyeliner 

I’ve always been a bit makeup lover. That’s not to say I’m actually any good at doing makeup, so I will never protest that I am!! One of my favourite things to do is watch YouTube videos online, including product reviews and tutorials to get some inspiration, and generally to try and improve my makeup skills. Contouring genuinely baffles me, and I have just made peace with the fact I will never be able to do it! I do think it comes down to the fact that I was never good at art – I know that sounds silly, but to me, makeup is truly an art.
As a teenager in the noughties, my go-to makeup was Miss Sporty foundation, Collection 2000 eyeliner and some blue eyeshadow, and over the years thank god the quality of my makeup has got a lot better! I’ve used a huge variety of brands for foundation, including high street brands such as Bourjouis and Rimmel, and the more premium high street brands – my current favourite is Estée Lauder double wear, which is truly gorgeous on my skin, and I never need to reapply this throughout the day.

Now one thing that I’ve always struggled to find, is a good eyeliner. In all honesty, I haven’t varied much from Collection 2000, and that genuinely was one that I always found stayed on my eyes the longest. I tried the likes of Mac, Rimmel and Bourjois but they all rubbed off on my lids within minutes of me applying, so always went back to my trusty Collection 2000. However recently, to my utmost horror, something changed with their eyeliners- I don’t know if they changed an ingredient or the consistency, but it just didn’t have the same amount of stay time- it would crack and crumble off my lids and by the end of the day I hated how I looked, so messy. So I knew it was time for a change. I took myself onto YouTube, and I noticed quite a few of the bloggers I follow and youtubers were raving about this new Guerlain eyeliner. One of the things it was championed for was stay time, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Sickeningly more expensive than what I’m used to (£28 rrp) but I’d already spend the equivalent on four wasted eyeliners so I thought why the hell not?! First of all, look at the packaging. This alone is absolutely stunning, so when it arrived on my desk at work I was slightly worried that this is where my money was going. I just love the beautiful gold gilted lid, and it’s such a gorgeously elegant bottle, with a matte glass. Now for application- I’m used to pen eyeliners, and this one was a brush so I was fairly worried about this; however, application was so so easy- it glided across my eyelid leaving a beautiful, satiny yet matte finish. The brush was fantastic as it allows me to get the cat-like flick, which is part of my signature makeup look. It allows you to touch up any bits you may have missed really easily without messing it up.

Now for the real test- stay time. And I am SO impressed. From the beginning of the day at application, right through to make up removal before bed, it stays the entire day, with no signs of wearing. It is definitely a worthwhile investment, and one I will 100% be carrying on with. If you’ve tried this product, I’d love to hear your views, or if you’d like to try it I’ve popped a link below.

Guerlain Eyeliner