December 16, 2014

Christmas Gift Guide 2014: Over 50 Beautiful Gifts for the Lady, the Gentleman, the Hostess, the Traveller & More!

For the past few months I have been making notes of lovely gift ideas I've come across, be it in a store or at a local village craft fayre. There are so many treasures to be found this time of the year and present shopping can quickly become daunting. With that in mind I put together this gift guide to help anyone who's still looking for that special something. I've included some items from my personal wish list, big splurge items and gifts from small, independent companies that I've seen at Christmas markets. I hope the guide ends one or two present searches or at the very least gives you some festive inspiration to help you on your way.

For the Christmas Embracer 
For that person who sings Winter Wonderland in their sleep and wears a Christmas jumper from the 1st of December, give them the gift of Christmas in the form of decorations and festive stationary that will be used - and treasured - for many more Christmases to come!

For the Hostess with the Mostess 
For the one who loves to cook, bake and entertain and is partly responsible for your alcohol and calorie intake every year. They work hard to impress their guests, so they deserve something special. 1. Laura Ashley Cheese Baker Gift Set - £9 // 2. The Curious Bartender Book - £12.99 // 3. Cake Serving Set - £30 // 4. Rifle Paper & Co. Recipe Box - £22 // 5. LSA Tirol Tumblers - £27 // 6. Culinary Concepts Olive Marble Cheese Board - £69 // 7. Biba Odette Set of 2 Gold Serving Spoons - £20 // 8. Party Perfect Bites Book - £16.99 // 9. Fleur-De-Lis Measuring Spoons - £13 // 10. Gold Cake Stand - £22 // 11. Katy-May Designs Marble Stag Platter - £38 // 12. Guest Book: Dinner Party - £11 // 13. Gold Carving Set - £95 // 14. Regency Cake Dome & Stand - £45 // 15. J.Crew Cookie Cutters - £8 each 

For the Tres Chic Mademoiselle 
She's got more black pointed toe heels then you have footwear entirely and she knows how to rescue an outfit with a single pair of earrings. She is the most stylish lady you know and the pressure to accommodate her impeccable taste is daunting. But worry not, the gifts below will be adored by all those who own a set of pearls and consider a signature fragrance to be a defying aspect of style. 
1. Chloe Love Perfume - £41.50 // 2. Whistle & Bango SW3 Bangle - £69 // 3. Rifle Paper & Co. Tres Tres Belle iPhone case - £23 // 4. Rifle Paper & Co. Les Femme Calendar - £17 // 5. Agent Provocateur Idalia Lace Lingerie Bra & Briefs - £55/£28 // 6. Stone Stud Earrings - £18 // 7. Butter London Pink Ribbon Nail Lacquer - £10 // 8. Tocca Cleopatra Fragrance - £43 // 9. Kate Spade 'The Perfect Pair' Shoe Bag - £12 // 10. La Dinette Hamper Macarons - £22 // 11. Rifle Paper & Co. Global Greetings Stationary Set - £14 // 12. Vintage Make Do & Mend & Couture Tin's - £6.50 each // 13. Tom Dixon Candle set - £75 // 14. Oliver Bonas Massey Bangle - £26 // 15. Loess Wrap Clutch Case - £100 // 16. Lemon Soap - £8 // 17. Dolce & Gabbana Pumps - £450 // 18. Rifle Paper & Co. 'On the Go' Notepad - £6 

For the Quintessentially British Gentleman
For the man in your life who is constantly referred to as dapper, has an appreciation for vintage cars and preaches the rules of being a gentleman. Think browned leathers, alcoholic treats and a little help from Mr Darcy! 

December 08, 2014

Winter trends - Scandinavian style!

Even though the plummeting temperatures are roughly the same every year, nothing can quite prepare me for the shocking first breath of ice cold air that fills my lungs when I step outside on a December morning. Armoured in a faux fur coat, ankle boots and carefully constructed layers I am reassured that aside from my flushing cheeks, I will be warm. A large majority of my winter outfits may seem practical and ushered on by the blistering cold, but they are infact influenced by a rising trend. And I expect it's a trend you've probably adorned once or twice too.

Fashion trends have usually been created, documented and exported from particular countries, however in recent years, there has been growing popularity and interest in a trend that does not derive from the original five fashion capitals of the world. Northern Europe is responsible for the effortlessly chic, practical and achievable trend that is 'Scandimania.' 

Stockholm in particular is home to acclaimed fashion bloggers and style icons who are hailed for their minimalist outfits and faultlessly structured combinations of colour, lines and shapes. Whilst Nordic style may be reaching far and wide through the internet, it is also storming the front row on the highstreet, with Swedish stores such as H&M now considered familiar and necessary shopping pit-stops. Not far behind are labels such as COS and Acne, which all channel the scandnavian style right onto British soil.

It's a trend I've admired for a long time so I've teamed up with* to show you how to create  Scandanavian style, which couldn't be more perfect for the chilly season ahead.

Scandi-style is all about androgynous, masculine shapes, simple but statement garments, muted colours, all black outfits and winter practicality with ankle boots and faux fur. Here I've put together a Nordic look with a heavy use of black, simple accessories and a chunky faux fur coat. These are my favourite picks, but there are a huge variety of Scandi-style garments over at so if you're looking for a cool, effortless and enviably snug winter outfit, be sure to have a browse. I'd love to know what you think, and whether your wardrobe has scandanavian influences?

*This post is sponsored by I have been paid/gifted by ASOS to write this post but all opinions, words and style boards are my own and are 100% honest. 
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December 05, 2014

Give the Gift of Smythson: My Dream Christmas Wishlist

If you're one of my regular readers, you may have noticed I have a little obsession. A luxurious, indulgent and completely justifiable obsession, I'll have you know. Smythson is my favourite luxury leather label, and I often find myself (sometimes subconsciously) browsing or even the Bond Street store dreaming of darling pocket notebooks, or a timeless handbag that would see me through many years! So I thought I'd share with you all those very items I have been lusting after, and  would love to see underneath the Christmas tree wrapped up in blue.

I am never without a notebook and pen. The idea of strolling through a museum and seeing the most magnificent painting and not having anything to jot down the title and artist is a situation I dread. As a very visual and creative person, I need to structure my kaleidoscope of thoughts, memoirs and ideas somewhere so scribbling in my notebook is as normal for me as using my phone. I have gone through a great many pocket notebooks in recent years, and it really does pay to invest in a quality one. Living in my handbag is not a safe existence and its disheartening when a cheap notebook weakens, tears and looks shamefully tatty to the point where it is unusable or not fit for the public eye. That is why I adore Smythson's range of Panama Pocket Notebooks. I wrote about my first Panama beauty recently, which now acts as my permanent travel companion. They are of exceptional quality so I know I can scribble away and still be able to read over my memoirs years down the line. There are also charming words and quotes to choose from, such as my personal favourite 'Make it Happen' which I think would be an inspiring and motivational reminder every time I reach for it. Other titles that caught my eye include, 'Wishful Drinking', 'Live, Laugh, Love' and for the a more festive theme 'All Wrapped Up' which comes in a luxurious metallic bronze colour. Smythson is also not limited to just the pocket notebooks, there are a range of sizes, colours and functions to suit everyone.

A nod to Smythson's iconic envelope and card stationary, this bag emulates classic British style and quality. I am already a big fan of burgundy leather and find it to be an incredibly chic, elegant and versatile colour that complements most autumn and winter outfits. A matching, smaller but still undeniably sleek clutch is also available.

Dark Berry Soho Clutch - £795

This magficantly shimmering piece is Christmas in a clutch. With a gold clasp and page detailing it will add the perfect amount of glamour to any party dress, either for Christmas or New Year. I'm a little bit of a magpie for anything sparkly or luminous so wearing this to a party would be the golden star to my tree.

Playing games with family and friends at Christmas is one of my favourite festive traditions, so these luxury playing cards would make the perfect stocking filler. Crafty eyes, uncontainable laughs and hands full of nile blue cards would be a merry sight indeed.

This is the most indulgent item on my wish list, but without a doubt my favourite. Classic, elegant and yet so functional, it is truly the most stunning vanity case I have ever seen. I particularly adore the red colour, which would be perfect to house my growing collection of red lipsticks or pretty perfumes. Keeping beauty products in such a beautiful and flawless case can only set the tone for getting ready.

The list could go on. 
The selection of timeless pieces is endless, especially when you consider many of the items can be personalised. To receive a gift from such an iconic label and of such faultless quality is a very special thing indeed. But to give the gift of Smythson is to give a gift that will stay with the receiver forever. A gift that will stand the test of time, in physical being, as well as a sentiment that will be held closely to the heart. 

I'd love to hear what you'd write on your dream Smythson Christmas list, so do drop me a comment and let me know! 

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December 01, 2014

Christmas Memories: Past and Present

It is finally the most wonderful time of the year. December is upon us; streets are decked in dazzling lights, the cupboard is stocked up with spiced chutneys and chocolate liquor and there is already a light dusting of glitter throughout the house. When the first door of the advent calendar is torn open with the enthusiasm of a child, it brings with it excitement, magic and feelings of nostalgia along with the frantic rush, panic and overwhelming sensation to take everything in. I spend everyday after Halloween suppressing the desire to prance around the room to 'All I want for Christmas' whilst nibbling glittering gingerbread men fresh from the oven and sporting a thick woollen jumper adorned with jingle bells. Christmas is my guilty pleasure, my favourite time of the year and a time for me to indulge myself, my creativity, my tastebuds and create unforgettable memories with friends and family. But even in November I am constantly reminded that it's too early. So, I plan, design and create in secret, until door number 1 is torn open. Then I release my inner child.
A very different Christmas
This year Christmas is going to be very different in my household. In fact, we are doing something that we've never done before. We are not doing presents. Yes, you read that correctly. Such a statement during the festive season might warrant confusion and shock, but it is actually a well thought out decision that is proving to be a brilliant one the closer Christmas gets. One of the reasons why there will be no presents under the tree this year is because we already have everything we want. My mum, sister and I already have enough beauty and bath sets to open up a spa, my wardrobe has now expanded onto two clothing rails and we are fast approaching the fine line between french country decor with a few scattered trinkets and...a complete cluttered mess. 

The second, and most important reason is that we wanted to invest our money and time into something even more special than material items this year. So we have decided that this year, presents will be replaced with family experiences to be treasured. My mother, sister and I compiled a list of nights in, meals out, events, and a variety of ways to create memories that will outlive any gift.

So with such a unique Christmas coming up all about creating memories, I thought I'd post about my own Christmas past, along with some of the 'Christmas moments' my family are planning. 
First christmas - Chubby cheeks and an expert at drooling!
Mums idea of a Christmas outfit vs my own! 
Christmas was soon shared with my younger sister Zoe, but I made it quite clear who was in charge by insisting on wearing a gigantic, sparkling gold crown for as long as mum would let me. Here I'm showing Zoe plastic food meals in our Mr Blobby playroom, whilst sporting some white princess heels. Food plus fashion, some things never change!
 Christmas with my little sister Zoe meant more toys all round!
Stocking time was always one of my favourite things about Christmas. As a child my sister and I used to wake up to trails of glitter and a sack full of presents sitting at the end of our beds, notice the word sack instead of stockings, they were quite literally bigger than pillowcases! We'd then use all our strength to drag them across the landing to my parents room where we'd empty out each present. The chocolate santa's usually didn't make it downstairs. I'm not ashamed to admit that this is a tradition that still goes on today!
A little further along the line and the presents were still in an abundance! Pictured: my mum, sister Zoe and myself.
A lot older and blonder I enjoyed a dreamy white Christmas in 2010!
2011 was the year I moved to London for university, so watching the Christmas lights turn on on Oxford Street was wonderful experience! It was also a year where my mum (who admitted to going overboard) spoilt my sister and I with endless presents and I got creative to make some pretty gifts. Read about my handmade mother of pearl button bracelet and chocolate slabs here.
There were so many incredible moments of 2012's Christmas! London food markets, Laduree, Winter Wonderland, cocktails on Carnaby street and homemade decorations. 
Last year was a truly spectacular Christmas, and one I blogged about a great deal. You can read about the festivities back in Somerset here, where I document the advent calendar I made for my mum, decorations, wrapping and Christmas sparkle! London also added to the Christmas magic when my family visited in December and it was featured in another blog post. The city really does light up around Christmas time, and the dancing lights in Covent Garden will always be a reminder of a special weekend. I also blogged about my first Christmas themed afternoon tea party last year, which was a challenging success!

I cannot wait to share this Christmas with you too and over the coming weeks I'll be posting plenty of festive recipes, crafts and gift guides. It's going to be a very exciting month!
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