And finally, the gift guide for her. This year sees a number of price points, bargains and new found favourite brands. As always any items gifted by the brand will contain an * and affiliate links are used.

The bag
I've never been a Michael Kors girl myself, until now. When I walked into TK Maxx and found an array of MK items from bags to scarfs and hats, I was instantly sold. The price point is super low and honestly who wouldn't be excited to open up a Michael Kors gift on Christmas Day? The bag that I chose is a small waist bag, which could easily be changed for a shoulder strap. It's big enough for a phone and card holder and the colours match my wardrobe perfectly. Buy it here.

Cosmetics
First Aid Beauty is a fab brand that bring out some great gifts each year, and their 2023 offerings are no different. The Let It Glow set offers four products: Pure Skin Face Cleanser , Facial Radiance Pads – 28 Day, Ultra Repair Cream, and the KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub. All products are safe for sensitive skin and the bundle saves you up to 40%. Buy it here.

Ted Baker is a huge part of Christmas in my house. My mum is quite frankly obsessed and will be getting the Cosmetics Collection set this year amongst other things. The set includes lipsticks, eyeshadows, a mascara and reusable remover pads, and is currently in the Boots half price star gift range, or apart of the normal 3-for-2 offer. Buy it here.

Elysium Spa set
When I tell you that this set is £2.50 you'll probably refuse to believe me. I've even gone back to check, and yes, still the same price. This set is amazing. A candle, epsom salts and a bath bomb in a range of festive scents make a fantastic gift this year. 

Douvalls are a new brand for me this year and they have released some lovely gift sets. The first is the Rescue Ritual Cleanse & Nourish Gift set with a cream cleanser, moisturiser and muslin cloth. The set is full is argon oil, nourishing the skin and the products look fab on your bathroom shelf. Buy it here. The second set is the Scents to Uplift Gift set with three scents for the home. The scents include a lemon and basil shower spray, Vanilla, Coconut, and Black Pepper room spray and a Mandarin and Lemon Toilet spray. Each spray is glorious and comes in a eco friendly gift box too. Buy the set here.

The jewellery 
Would it be a gift guide without Pandora? It's no secret that I adore the brand and have quite the collection now. It all started when my dad bought me a pandora bracelet for my 21st birthday and the love affair with the charms went from there. That little white box is iconic and whether you're a charm lover or not, Pandora have something for everyone this Christmas. Buy the bracelet here.

The practical present
I've used a bag from Katie Loxton for work for a while now. So when I saw that they had a matching purse too, it was immediately in my basket. The reason that the purse has made it to this list is because KL offer personalisation on so many of their products, making it a perfect gift for someone this year. Buy the purse here.

Next on my list is a pair gloves. Not just any old gloves... Holland Cooper Gloves. I have a pair myself and quite frankly adore them. They're not only a wool blend, but super stylish too. Adore. Buy them here.


Style pro
A gift for the makeup lovers in your life, I found the Style Pro squeeze device in home bargains for around £6 can you believe. I picked up one for myself in the process and think it's a great little gift at a great little price. Buy it here.

Cake slide
And finally, something that I have treated myself to this year but wanted to add in anyway.... a cake slice by William Morris. I love the Honeysuckle print and am known to walk around a store pointing out William Morris prints, because that is who I am now. A luxury cake slice would be a welcome gift to any desert lover. 



 

 


The second instalment of my guides this year is of course, for the stocking lovers. My family have always been stocking people and I love nothing more than waking up on Christmas morning and finding that Santa has filled up my stocking whilst I slept. The list is rather extensive, so buckle down and get your shopping list ready.

Some items were gifted by the brands and will contain a *. Affiliate links used.

Hand creams

What is more of a staple in your stocking than a hand cream? This year my bosses are getting one of the Cath Kidston Balance Hand Cream and Twist Key set each, the latter of the set I think is a fab idea. I picked these up for less than £4 in TK Maxx this year and I would highly recommend a trip down if you need some stocking inspo. Buy it here.

Brushes

A new makeup brush is one of life's little luxuries, but do you have a 3-in-1 multi brush that comes in a travel pouch? Love Vicci* is a new brand that has launched two brushes, the makeup brush and the eye brush. Both are 3-in-1 and start at £16.95. The brand would be perfect for the sister that's travelling next year, or the niece that is just dabbling with a few products. Buy them here.

For the makeup lover

Would it be a gift guide without a mention of one of my favourite ever brands; Charlotte Tilbury? This year Tilbs have brought out some bauble presents with minis of their best selling products. There are a few mini baubles released this year, which includes their Magic Cream, Pillow Task lipstick (my all time favourite) and the Pillow Talk mascara (also my all time favourite). I personally think that these are super sweet and a lovely little luxe present at a lower price. Buy them here.

An honourable mention to Pixi of whom I am a massive fan. Whilst I don't have anything Christmas related to show you as such, their products are all stocking friendly and over the years, Pixi have established themselves in my makeup bag, and skincare cupboard as a firm contender. Secret Santa? Give them Pixi. Stockings? Pixi. Birthdays? Pixi. I love them. 

Another new product for me this year but one that is stocking-ready is the NUDESTIX Lip Butter Tint Set*. This set of three glossy tints is infused with avocado and shea butter and quite frankly, you cannot go wrong with a lip butter at Christmas. Give them all or keep one for yourself, I know what I would do. Buy them here.

Fragrances

Yardley* have released their Fine Fragrance Collection, including their English Rose, English Lavender, Lily of the Valley and English Honeysuckle scents, so there is truly something for everyone. The set is at a great price point too and I personally love that Yardley are becoming a great brand for a new generation. Buy it here.

Something handy

Something that I hadn't thought of before, but is, in my opinion, a fab little stocking gift, is a gift of usefulness. Let's be honest, the older we get the more we need a little help to stay pruned, and this year Bare Feet* have you sorted with their compact Electronic Callas Remover. The gift of great feet can never be underestimated. Also, every year I get a nail file or two in my stocking, but this year gets an upgrade with Bare Feet's Glass Nail File. It's super snazzy and I'll be keeping it for myself, thank you. Buy them here.

Nails

If, like me, getting to the salon for a nail appointment just isn't op of your priority list each month, or those ever increasing prices are just out of you budget, then glue-on-nails are absolutely going to be your best friend this festive season. Kiss* has a massive range of nails to choose from, from short squares, to french tips (a personal fave) to even long ombre nudes. I imagine each set as a personality and just know that a few ladies in my life will love the sets I've picked for them. Buy them here. 

Skincare

I am a firm believer that if you find something that works, stick with it. For me, thats the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. You can imagine my joy when I found that this year LE had released their mini gift sets at a fab price, and included in the Boots 3 for 2 offer that I take full advantage of each year. I've picked up a few sets for the stockings that I'm filling this year, including the Cleanse and Brighten set with a Hot Cloth Cleanser and Eyebright Eye Lotion, and the Cleanse and Refresh set with the ever popular Skin tonic instead of the lotion. From Boots, both are around the £10-12 mark and genuinely one of the best stocking fillers I've found this year. Buy them here.

Like the above, Soap and Glory came out with some lovely little mini gift sets this year. Again in the Boots 3 for 2 offer, I picked up two of the Smooth Minis Mix sets with a mini Scrub of Your Life, and Righteous Body Butter, and a Feel Good set, with their Heel Genius and Hand Food Cream included. A great way of giving the minis we all love in a fancy looking way. Oh and did I mention that they're £5?! Crazy. Buy them all here.

Aesthetically pleasing to say the least, Evolve Beauty have released some festive sets this year. I'm no stranger to a beauty bauble and the Golden Glow bauble set is fabulous. For all skin types, the bauble contains the Bio-Retinol Gold Mask which rejuvenates and nourishes the skin. Evolve Beauty have also released the Radiant Rose Duo set, including the Rose Quartz Facial Polish and Rosehip Miracle Oil.  The set claims to leave the skin feeling regenerated and revitalised, something I for one, need after the busy festive period. 

Candles

This mini Yankee Candle was indeed...£2.99 from Home Bargains. I too was stunned. I only picked one up for some unknown reason and have since been unable to find more, clearly for good reason. I don't know anyone that wouldn't appreciate a Yankee Candle this year and a festive one makes it all the better. 

Jewellery

When Amelia Scott* sent me their Emerald, Blush Pink & Gold Earrings, I actually squealed. These earrings are gorgeous and if I found them at the bottom of my stocking this year I would be a very happy girl *hint hint*. I wear a lot of velvet at Christmas so these go perfectly and the pink Cubic Zirconia is of course, stunning too. Buy them here.

Let me know if you pick up anything for your stockings this year!


















Finally my favourite time of year has come around and I am very excited to bring you the first of my guides: gifts for him. Men are truly the hardest to buy for, and this year has been no exception. I have curated a list of fun and thoughtful items that the men in your life are sure to love. 

Some items have been gifted by the brand and will contain an *. Affiliate links used.

For the sock lover
Whilst the thought of socks and underwear in your stocking may bring a laugh to a few people, I firmly believe that they are the key to a successful festive period. Who says no to a pair of cosy socks that work perfectly in the house or layered under some wellies as you walk through the snow? This year my dad is getting a pair of the Totes Toasies slipper socks and he is going to enjoy them, I guarantee. Buy them here.

For the tipple enthusiast
My brother has recently gotten into rum drinking, so I found this set of Dead Man's Fingers rum and glass set in B&M and knew it would be perfect. The rum brand is a firm favourite amongst the men of my family and the set could even fit in a stocking if need be. Buy it here. The second beverage on this list is a triple vintage cider from the brand Showerings*. It is the first I have heard of the brand but I think we can all apprciate how stunning the packaging and box are, and it is something that I'm really looking forward to gifting to my dad this Christmas. In the words of Showering's themselves; the cider is elegantly dry, gently carbonated and deeply cultured, created using techniques requiring as much experience and attention-to-detail as those used in the creation of fine wines. Buy the cider here.


Eye mask
My boyfriend loves an eye mask and has a pile of mine next to his bed. This year he finally gets his own one. It's not any old mask either, its a luxury sleep mask from Earth's Secret*. The mask is super soft, breathable and comes in it's own little bag for safekeeping. Our bedroom floods with light each morning so the 100% blackout design is perfect. The mask is £29.99 and you can buy it here. 


The classics
Would it be Christmas without an aftershave or two? Boss Bottled is my first choice for the boyfriend. The scent is described as an ambery wood smell, but all I smell is warmth. I love it. Buy it here. If you want a classic fragrance but something on the more affordable side, Bench offer a fabulous range of aftershaves too. Pick some up here.

The board game family
We are that family. Whether it's a living room pub quiz, or 8 of us sat round the coffee table playing cards; a game is a vital part of any family gathering for us. We've already taken up a few rounds of What Do You Meme, and have Incoherent and New Phone, Who Dis? to unwrap this year. The games are available on Amazon and Smyths from £21.99 and I couldn't recommend enough for some post- dinner fun. Buy them here. 

Something to do
My boyfriend loves nothing more than making or building something so this year I picked up one of the Rokr models. This will go perfectly in his stocking and knowing him, it'll be completed before the roasties are even in the oven. Buy it here.

Something to wear
My brother has started to wear bracelets every now and then, so as one to always add to accessory collections, I decided to pick up a few from ASOS. Smaller accessories make great stocking gifts, or something that my mum has just taken up, giving us small table presents at dinner. Buy them here.


Whatever the gift is, big small, bagged or bottled, I'm sure that the men in your lives will love each and every one. 





 

 






Up until my mid twenties, I firmly considered myself as a city girl only. It has been only in the past year or so that I have actively wanted to go for a walk in the forest, along the beach or just get out of the house at all. I think the pandemic had a big part to play in that. I moved in with J's family when covid first hit and when restrictions were lifted and weekend stay-overs were permitted, moved back home. Come the winter, lockdown two happened and socially distanced walks in the park were all we had. We would stay outside for hours in the cold, walking and walking because that was the only time we would see each other that week, or for a number of weekends depending on his shift pattern. 

J's parents then moved to the countryside at the beginning of this year and the difference of waking up to sirens or a bus driving past and rattling the house, in a London suburb, to seeing the stars for the first time at night and the birds being your alarm clock really did do us all wonders. Park walks became long forest walks where the middle point was a Sunday roast at the pub before tracking back again. 

I bought my first pair of walking boots and I now own a wax coat can you believe. My favourite pieces of content to create are sat on a fence or in a field, fedora in tow and no one else around. J enjoys growing his own vegetables and when we bought the house this past June, spent many a day choosing and planting a selection of brightly coloured flowers.

At nearly 27, nature has finally won me over and this city girl is planning her great escape to the Cotswolds for retirement already.






 



The house buy

The year is, as always, flying towards the winter months and I for one am not sad about it. I love the 'ber months and although we've just begun to settle into August, my mind is firmly on twinkling lights and what colour my wrapping paper will be this year. We've achieved a lot so far. The biggest thing would of course be the purchase of our first house. We upped our budget from January's, and purchased a three bed-3 bath town house. The house is pretty perfect for our needs, and we most definitely got a bargain with the price. 

For me, the most exciting thing is the start of my very own room. We have our bedroom but are turning the second room into a dressing room. Whilst many people have asked us why we would take a generous sized room and turn it from a guest room to a room for wardrobes alone, the answer given is always why not? Why waste the space of a large room for the sake of a person staying over twice or so a year. So we have finally begun to change the boring, white room into a pink dressing room of dreams.

I haven't had my own room since I was 5, some 21 years ago. When my sister came along my dreams of a girly room were dashed and even in the most recent redecoration, somehow grey walls made the final cut (I was of course not consulted prior to this), so a pink room is something I have yearned for for many a year.

Teaching

This summer I qualified as a teacher, teaching secondary school Business Studies. A year in the making, the qualification came on the same day as we picked up our keys, and the day we reached our 5th year anniversary. Good things come in threes they say. 

Looking at the year ahead

I feel like the best version of myself right now. I have three more weeks off work, and 0 plans, which for me means I can focus on creating a house I love living in, and slowly settle into the house for the colder months. Have I already watched a Christmas film? Yes. Right now the rain is hitting the windows in the lounge and I've just booked a few tickets to Winter Wonderland in November. 

Heres to the rest of 2023.

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