Monday, 31 December 2018

The Final Chapter - Day 365

It's the end of the year, and I honestly couldn't be more glad. Apart from the slightly diverse range of not-so-nice things that have happened to me over the course of the year, I'm just so excited for a fresh start and to make some new memories. I know everybody says it every year, but 2019 definitely will be my year. 2018 was the complete opposite of 'my year' and I believe there's always balance in life.
Despite the many downs of the year, I feel much more motivated and my mental health is the best it's been in quite a long time, and I plan to embrace that.

I'm going to set myself a bunch of small, easy to work to goals, and make step-by-step guides for myself to achieve those goals. I refuse to let 2019 be another waste with little to no achievements, and I find I tend to work towards my goals better when they're written down in an easy to use plan of action. Think super creative bullet journal spreads, but not in a bullet journal.

I mean, I say this year was rubbish, but a few good things did happen. For example, rekindling with one of my oldest friends (who has a great blog relaunching on the 2nd by the way) and getting a job that, once the teething issues are sorted, will be a really great place to work. I also got to see some family up country for a surprise party which was really fun, and of course I restarted my blog!

So for the last post of this year, I thought I'd do what many other fellow bloggers are doing and share with you my goals, or resolutions for the next year. I want to achieve them now more than ever, so I at least want to get started on them, even if I don't fully achieve them by the end of 2019.

The main thing I want, but more importantly, need to work towards in 2019 is getting myself to a healthy weight, or a body that I feel comfortable in. I know the two don't always come hand in hand, but I'd be happy with either outcome. At my heaviest, I was just over 20 stone, roughly 127kg, and although I managed to shave off about 5 stone, it's been slowly creeping back. I desperately want to get myself into healthy eating habits, like enjoying food that gives me energy and all the nutritional stuff, as well as not feeling guilty for eating food that is higher in sugar and fat. There's no such thing as a cheat day, or good and bad food. Just healthy sustaining food, and food that doesn't have as much of the nutritional stuff. It's all about the balance, and that's a mindset I plan to achieve.

I also really want to get myself on the road. Cornwall is such a beautiful place to explore, if you have the means. Public transport can only take you so far, and is ridiculously expensive and slow. I want to be able to work to my own schedule, not the bus timetable, and go to my favourite places that aren't close to me. I'm an avid fan of road trips too, and I just want the freedom to be able to drive wherever I like, or go to the shops and not have to worry about the amount of stuff that I'd have to carry home. Now that I've found myself a good job, I'll be able to afford driving lessons within the next few months, and I really can't wait.


Another goal I have set for myself is to get my finances in check. My money situation is basically a mess right now, but like I said, I have some solid step-by-step plans to achieving these goals bit by bit, and I'm positive I can do it. I want to start saving up a little bit of my paycheck every month, and just get into good habits with my in-goings and outgoings. I have a few Christmassy things that I need to pay off, and a lot of things that I want to save up for, so now is the best time for me to get myself organised. My oldest brother is pretty on it with organising his finances, and he's more than happy to help me. Bless.

As well as these three big things I'd like to achieve by the end of the year, there's also a bunch of smaller things that I want to focus more on, or make habits out of.
I want to read more books, I want to see my friends more often, I'd like to bake more, I want to properly get back into blogging, and so many other little things that may not seem like huge goals, but are still important to me.

I hope you guys had a great year, and I wish you guys all the best for the year to come!

Do you have any goals you'd like to achieve in 2019, or anything super exciting planned? What's your best achievement from this year? Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you soon!

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

How to Sleep Early on Christmas Eve

For the last day of Blogmas, I wanted to do a little guide on how to get to sleep early on Christmas Eve. I don't know about you, but even at 20 years old, I'm always so excited that I just can't sleep. However, there are loads of lovely things to do throughout the day to help you fall into a deep peaceful slumber while Santa stops by. These tips might be handy for parents with overly excited children too!

For starters, plan yourself a busy day. Whether you're going out or staying in, there's loads of things you can do to wear yourself out. Take a walk/drive around and look at all the Christmas lights nearby, do a last minute shop (the busyness alone will make you tired!) or go for a winter woodland walk. You can spend the day rocking out to the best festive party songs, bake your favourite goodies, marathon some movies - there's loads to do, and you can do whatever you want in your own home! 

Have a hearty meal at the end of the day and you'll be sure to be exhausted. You know when you just eat so much that you could fall asleep there and then? I know a lot of people probably like to have a light dinner to keep room for Christmas Day, but a proper nice comfort meal will make you sleep super well. Just don't eat so much that your stomach hurts. I've made that mistake once or twice...

Wash your bedsheets and light candles in the bedroom to give yourself the cosiest night ever. Of course, you must remember to blow the candles out before you go to sleep, but lighting some during your wind down time will release the wonderful aromas and make you feel lovely. 

Baths are always on my list of ways to relax or sleep better. Keep yourself excited whilst getting sleepy by watching your favourite vlogmas videos, or listen to some Christmassy music while you relax, and make sure you've got your go-to bath bomb or oil to really pamper yourself. Make an occasion of it by adding a glass of wine, a face mask, and some exfoliator. It will feel amazing when you get into those fresh bedsheets!

Read as much of a book as you possibly can before your eyes just won't stay open. I always find that reading a book in bed makes me very sleepy, so it might just work for you too. Try and avoid your phone and the tv for your wind down time and keep your lights low. Bright lights are going to keep you alert and make it harder for you to sleep.

Last, but not least, make sure you're prepared. The last thing you want to be doing is stressing on Christmas Eve. It should be relaxed and carefree as the special day itself, so make sure you've done your shopping and most of your wrapping beforehand, so you can really enjoy the run up to Christmas.

And that's it! This post marks the end of Blogmas here on my blog. I really wanted to do the full 25 days, but I'm not overly liking my content right now and I'm just so busy with my new job at a new store - there's a lot of training and setting up to do. We open on Friday so a lot of my energy is going towards that, and I don't want loads of distractions during those first couple weeks of being open. I want to make a good impression on my colleagues and my manager, as well as helping the store get off to the best start possible. I can't really do that when I'm stressing over content that I'm not particularly loving. But don't worry, I do have some more blog posts going up throughout December, I just can't be overly consistent at this point in time. I've loved doing Blogmas so much, and I've found some wonderful people through blogging, so I'm really glad I did decide to partake in it. Maybe next year I'll do the full run, or maybe even vlogmas, who knows! 

Merry Blogmas, and I'll see you very soon!

Ciao for now
Katie x

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

What's on my Christmas Wishlist?

I remember being a child and going through every single page of the Argos catalogue to write my Christmas list, and having a list multiple pages long full of random bits and pieces. Does anyone remember the Fur Real Friends things? I so badly wanted the Butterscotch pony, but alas, Santa never delivered.

As I've grown older and realised the true meaning behind Christmas, and how expensive things can be, my wishlists have definitely changed. I buy a lot more for others than I ask for myself, and now that I earn my own money, I often just buy the things I need/want when I get paid. Writing a list this year was actually quite difficult, as I couldn't think of anything I really wanted, just some small bits and pieces that would be nice to have. Like I said, realising how expensive Christmas can be has also made me limit my list - things like a new laptop or a camera are things that I'm going to have to buy for myself.

Of course I have my little list for my family to refer to if they're stuck, featuring things like a chopstick curling iron, Archie Comics volume 6 (I have volumes 1-5) and some makeup. But there's a lot of things I neglected to put on my list, and instead are going to be a list of 2019 purchases that I want to make myself, but I'll probably do a separate post for that.

This year, I want 3 things.

More than anything, I just want to have a nice day. This year has been an emotional rollercoaster. There have been times where I've cried harder and my heart hurt more than I thought possible, and it's been tough. I quite simply want to end a rubbish year on a high note. I want to eat too much food, drink a lot and get very merry, play lots of silly games with my family, and r e l a x. Christmas is such an important time for me, so of course I always want it to be the best day, but this year more than ever.

Another Christmas wish of mine is to have more balance next year. 2018 was filled with a lot of negative experiences for me, and I wish there were more positives to balance it out so that it didn't feel like such a rubbish time. I'm not going to ask for the best year ever in 2019, just one that has as much good, or more good, than bad.

I also want my mum to have a stress-free Christmas this year. Money has been tight, and she's feeling the pressure. I want to be able to alleviate that as much as possible - mainly by spoiling her and also buying the meat and cheeses for Christmas day. Christmas dinner adds up to a pretty penny, so I'm really glad I was able to buy some joints of meat and lots of nibbles for the family. I really do hope she has a wonderful day this year. 

I know this may not be the most conventional wishlist, and I'm sorry if you were expecting something different, but Christmas is so much more than the gifts you receive. It's about being with the people you love and being happy and thankful for what you have in your life. 

What's your Christmas wish this year?
I hope you enjoyed reading, and I'll see you tomorrow for the final day of Blogmas!

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Monday, 10 December 2018

The Christmas Tag

So for Blogmas Day 10, I thought I would do the Christmas Tag. I was actually planning to do this later in the month, but after deciding to finish Blogmas after 12 days, due to my new job taking up a lot of time, I decided to do it today instead. I was tagged by Hannah Mary (who is an absolute gem and sweetheart by the way, definitely go and check her out) and I really love the questions that I get to answer. 
If you want to check out Mary's answers, her blog post is here!

The rules for the Christmas Tag are as follows:
  1. Thank the blogger that tagged you and link their blog to your post
  2. List the ruled in the post
  3. Answer all the questions asked by the blogger
  4. Nominate some other bloggers and provide them with 12 questions!

I'm a big fan of Christmas quizzes, games, tags, photo challenges etc, so I was super excited to be tagged by Han.
Here we go...

What's your favourite thing about Christmas?
It's so hard to just pick one thing, but it would probably just have to be the atmosphere. It's what makes the day feel so special and festive, how people react and treat each other, parties and quiet days - it just makes everything! I also really love getting gifts for people, and have gone to town this year. I love spoiling my friends any family so much, and of course it's always wonderful to receive gifts, but I just love getting something for somebody I know that they'll absolutely love. It's the nicest feeling.

What's the worst present you've ever received?
Ooh this is a toughie, I've really had to think about this. I'm usually pretty grateful for everything I get, but I suppose some things are a lot more exciting than others. I remember I've received clothes that I absolutely hated, but generally I'm very easy to buy for.

What meat do you have with your Christmas dinner?
We always have turkey because it's traditional, and we often have gammon on boxing day. This year we've got a turkey and a joint of pork for Christmas day. I wanted to go all out with the food and presents this Christmas, as the rest of the year has been kind of awful, and I wanted to end it feeling spoilt, fat, and very satisfied! You should see the amount of cheese we have...

If you could only watch one Christmas film for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Even though in my Top 10, I said the Grinch was my favourite, if it could only be one, it would have to be Love Actually. I could watch that film a million times over and still love every bit of it.

When do you open your presents on Christmas day? (i.e. as soon as you wake up, after your lunch/dinner etc)
When we lived with my dad, we would open our presents after everybody was washed, dressed, breakfasted, and the dog had been walked. Usually around 11am. We all moved in with my mum a few years ago but as she worked night shifts at the time, we all got up early to do presents with her when she got home, before she went to have a sleep for a while. Last year we weren't all together until about 11pm, and we actually loved doing presents by the fire, after the sun had gone down. It was so lovely and the tree looked beautiful. We all have Christmas day off this year, and we're going to do presents after sundown again, just because we loved it so much last year.

Chocolate or cheese?
Definitely used to be chocolate, but now that I'm getting older, I am liking cheese more... Can I have both?

What is your most underrated Christmas song?
A Spaceman Came Travelling by Chris De Burgh! I absolutely love that song, it's such a wonderful melody and reminds me of Christmasses when I was young.

What is your go-to Christmas dessert?
Do I have to pick just one? I'm not overly keen on Christmas pudding or Christmas cake, so I tend to dive right in with chocolate trifles, ice cream, random nibbles, and snacks that we have. Everything I could possibly fit into my stomach after Christmas dinner, basically.

What would your ultimate dream Christmas entail?
Probably just a Christmas where none of us had to worry about money, so we could actually get some nice decorations, spoil each other, and get loads of food and alcohol. 

Do you have a Christmas Day routine or do you just go with the flow? 
We definitely had a routine when we were younger and lived with my dad! We'd all get up, get washed and dressed, and walk the dog around the park while Dad made a hell of a fry up for breakfast. We'd all sit down to eat, clear up all the dishes, and then go and sit in the living room for presents. We never dived in, Dad would pick one present and read the label out loud, and then hand it over to the recipient, and then we all watched them open it. That way we actually get to see people's reactions to their presents, and are able to thank the person gifting. Then we'd scatter off and do whatever for a while, play with presents and watch tv for example, while Dad prepped the dinner for about 6pm. Lastly, we'd all sit and watch the Christmas special of Doctor Who, and just enjoy a lazy evening of nibbles and getting a bit merry. This year with mum, we've decided to get loads of fun board games to play during the day so that we can actually spend time together, and I'm so excited.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?
I honestly can't remember. I don't remember it ever actually snowing on Christmas day, but I'm pretty sure there has been snow on the ground. I'm not betting on it this year, but you never know! 

Are you a brussel lover or a brussel hater? 
I always have brussel sprouts with my Christmas dinner, but that's the only time I eat them. And they have to be smothered in gravy or it is basically just a fart ball. 

So that's my answers for the Christmas Tag! As per the rules, I'm tagging Ruby, Emily, Brenna, Mary, and Molly to answer my questions (listed below) via a blog post, twitter thread, or whatever they like!

  1. If you could only have 3 things in your Christmas dinner, what would they be?
  2. Are you always prepared or do you leave your shopping last minute?
  3. What do you want for Christmas this year?
  4. Who do you usually spend Christmas day with?
  5. Do you eat your Christmas dinner at lunchtime or dinnertime?
  6. What's the best gift you ever recieved?
  7. What's one of your 'unpopular opinions' regarding Christmas?
  8. What's your favourite Christmas chocolate selection box (i.e. celebrations, roses etc), and what's your favourite individual choc from that selection?
  9. What's your favourite and least favourite thing about Christmas/the festive period?
  10. Do you have a set routine on Christmas day?
  11. Tag a photo of your Christmas tree! Do you like it the way it is, or would you prefer a different theme?
  12. Have you ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Have fun answering the questions, and take part even if you haven't been tagged! I'd love to see your answers.

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Sunday, 9 December 2018

My Top 10 Festive Films

Everybody loves a bit of cheesiness at Christmas time, and what better way to achieve that than with the most ridiculous, funny, fun loving festive films. I'm a big fan of Christmas anything, let alone the amazing, heart-warming films that we get to watch once a year. I'll admit, there are a lot of films that I still need to see, like Miracle on 34th Street, or Home Alone, but I love the films on my list so far.

At number 10 is Elf. A lot of you may be shouting at me for Elf not being higher on the list, but I've seen it more times than I can count. I think Elf is a really original Christmas film and is really funny. I especially love the shower scene.

Number 9 is The Princess Switch. If you haven't already heard, it was released on Netflix this year, starring everybody's favourite High School Musical princess, Vanessa Hudgens. It is the most predictable film ever, but it's just so feel-good.

That brings us to number 8 on my list, The Santa Clause. I've not seen the sequels, but the original always makes me feel super festive.  

Number 7 is The Christmas Chronicles. This is another new release by Netflix this year, and I cannot fault it. It's so wonderfully done, I really do love it. It would be much further down on the list if it wasn't such a new release. We'll see next year...

Number 6 is Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. This film makes me feel so nostalgic, I remember watching it a lot as a little girl.

The Holiday is at number 5, definitely the best festive rom-com behind Love Actually. I really love the soundtrack in this film too, and Jude Law is just bloody beautiful.

The Polar Express is at number 4. The hot chocolate scene is the best and it's just such a wonderful concept for a Christmas film.

Jack Frost at number 3, and is always the film I think of when somebody mentions Michael Keaton. I cry every single time I watch this film, and I love it.

Number 2 is Love Actually, the best rom-com of all time, let alone Christmas. The best of British comedy, it just makes me feel all the feels

So that leaves us at number 1. Jim Carrey is such an incredible actor, and his performance in The Grinch is classic. It's funny, cute, festive, and everything inbetween. I'll definitely be watching this on Christmas Day.

What's your favourite Christmas film?

Ciao for now,
Katie x

Saturday, 8 December 2018

How To Make A Simple Wreath

For Blogmas Day 8, I decided to have a go at creating a wreath, but since it's my first time ever making one, I decided to cheat just a little bit.

In Wilkinson's, I found a lovely undecorated, and rather small wreath, along with loads of wonderful little artificial holly leaves, berries, pinecones, bells, and loads of little ornaments to decorate it with. 

You can make so many gorgeous wreaths with foliage that you cut yourself, or from the florist, but I didn't want to go all out of my first every wreath making experience, just in case I severely f*cked up. I actually really like how it's turned out, as it's not overly decorated, and you can still see a little bit of the wreath behind. I think it looks rather rustic. 

To make a simple artificial wreath you will need:
  • A wreath hoop
  • String or twine to hang it, if it doesn't have a bit already attached
  • Foliage (real or artificial)
  • Twine or wire to attach the decorations
  • Whatever you want to decorate it with, such as dried oranges, pinecones and conkers, flowers, battery powered fairy lights, etc.
As you can see, for my wreath, I've used artificial holly, berries, mini apples, cinnamon sticks, silver bells, and dried orange slices. I accidentally left my oranges a little too long, so they did burn slightly, but I really like the dark purple colour that they've turned.

Tie your string or twine around the wreath to create a hoop to hang it up with. Then, quite simply, have at it! Spend time arranging and rearranging your foliage and your larger decorations until you get your perfect wreath base! Wrap your fairy lights (if you're using them) around your foliage and secure tightly with your twine or wire. Then attach your smaller decorations the way you want them, et voila, a simple homemade wreath! 

A wreath is a work of art, so don't worry about doing it wrong. However you do it, it will be perfect, because it will be yours. 

Tag me in your homemade wreaths on twitter (@_katiestone) or Instagram (@katieemmastone), I would love to see how you've made them your own. 

Merry Blogmas Day 8, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Friday, 7 December 2018

How To Avoid The Winter Slump

It's so easy to feel blue during the winter months, and it's such a shame at such a magical time of year. A lot of people suffer with seasonal depression, and the lack of sunlight and vitamin D can vastly affect your mood, too. We get stressed over money, it's raining all the time, and it's too damn cold. So, for Blogmas Day 7, I thought I'd share my tips on how I avoid the winter slump.

Keep yourself busy

I find myself more often than not wanting to just stay indoors and watch Christmas films all day. Although this is super lovely sometimes, too much can make you feel like a bit of a recluse, and you have to try and get outside. Have a look online and find some local Christmas markets, take part in carol services and relax while you're doing your shopping. Nobody likes to rush to buy presents, so make sure you've left yourself a few days over the course of the Christmas season to go out and have a proper look, and maybe even stop for tea and cake. Dress up warm and go for winter walks, head down to your local for a G&T and a Christmas catch up with your bestie, or plan a delicious lunch at your favourite restaurant. There's so many wonderful ways to make the most of the winter season.

Eat healthy

You're standing in the middle of the supermarket. There are boxes of chocolates, cheese wheels, pretzel sticks, and every delicious snack under the sun all around you. You buy anything and everything you can possibly fit in your trolley, and scoff your face when you get home.
It is so tempting to break your healthy eating habits, just because it's Christmas. But you have to remember to have your favourite things in moderation. Eating chocolate for breakfast will make you feel sluggish and unenergetic for the rest of the day, so make sure you're keeping up with your fruits and veggies! Put a warming twist on it by making lots of healthy stews and casseroles, or using crudites instead of bread for dipping into your camembert. 

Take essential breaks

Although it is very important to get out during the winter for fresh air and some sunlight, you have to dedicate some time for yourself too. We can all get a little too busy in the festive season and forget to take care of ourselves. Grab your favourite book, some cosy socks, and the cheesiest film you can find, have a spa evening and pamper yourself in the bath, or just get an early night every now and again. You'll feel so much better, and a lot less stressed.

Do good, feel good

Christmas and winter can be a very stressful, and sometimes very hard time for a lot of people. Some people have bad memories and experiences around this time of year, some people are very lonely. Everybody has their own struggles, and it's really important to be aware of that around this time of year. Why not dedicate a day to volunteering at a local shelter, or visiting an old persons home for some games and a chat with those who don't have any family around. They will be so appreciative, and that in turn will make you feel good. 

Make time for the people you love

I think everybody has a weird uncle, a grumpy grandma, the auntie that smells a little weird, some member of the family that you're not overly excited to see, and sometimes they can put a real downer on your day. Make sure you have somebody to look forward to seeing, like your best friend or your close family members for some much needed ranting and family gossip.

Stick to your traditions

As we get older, it's easy to lose sight of our traditions. Everybody spends the festive period differently, and it's so important to keep your personal family traditions and values going. In my family, our main tradition is that presents have to be opened one at a time, no diving into the pile! We all have to see what everybody else has got and actually take the time to thank people for each present. It takes a few hours, but it's so much more fun. Last year, we didn't open our presents until about 11pm as everybody was working different shifts, and we weren't all together until the late evening. We loved opening presents after sundown, so we've decided to make that a new tradition this year. Stockings in the morning, board games, movies, and films during the day, and dinner and presents in the evening. That way, we actually spend time with each other, rather than everybody running off to use/play with their new presents.

How do you stay happy and relaxed during the festive season? Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you tomorrow for another day of Blogmas!

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Thursday, 6 December 2018

A Tour of Christmas Decorations

Welcome to day 6 of Blogmas! I'm really excited about today's post. I absolutely adore looking at Christmas decorations, and I love seeing how people decorate their homes, and walking down the street and seeing all the beautiful trees in the windows. Everybody does it differently for their particular Christmas.

My family have always had a thing for a little bit of cheesiness (hello tinsel and silly ornaments!) and we don't generally have a theme. As we all still live at home (myself, my two brothers, my mama, the boyf, and the cat), we still have a lot of old decorations from when we were kids - mainly mulitcoloured baubles and tree decorations, meaning we have a very random selection in our festive set-up. We all, however, really like how it's turned out.

We were quite worried about the tree, since we don't have many nice baubles, just lots of cheap and cheerful ones, but it's actually looking really lovely.

We put the tree on top of a table to make it look bigger, and also give more room for gifts. As you can see, there is already quite a few under the tree, and still quite a lot more to come. We decorated the tree with warm fairy lights, and a huge variety of small and large baubles. There are lots of cute baubles too, like a little sprig of mistletoe, and some adorable wooden love hearts.

The fireplace in the living room has an artificial garland running over the mantlepiece, complete with berries, pinecones, and fairy lights. We got this from B&M this year, and I really do love it. On the little shelf beneath, we have silver pinecones and a little acorn garland, again from B&M. There's also two teeny snowman candle holders in front of the fire grate - we have had those for as long as I can remember. 

The little alcove shelf has some random bit and pieces on, like a little dangly legged Santa and some festive teddies. Looks like Buddha is getting in the festive spirit too...

The little woodland frame on the wall is also from B&M, and it has little lights in it. We've had it on so much, we've drained the batteries already!

The living room door has a little wreath on it, and we've hung up a couple of cute Santa wall hangings next to it, and a sparkly Christmas sign above the door.

The archway into the living room has a couple of sprigs of artificial mistletoe for some cheeky kisses. The boys have decided that if they step under it and don't want to kiss eachother, they have to fight instead. What a family.

The mantlepiece in the dining room is probably my favourite part of the house. We have all of the advent calendars on top, as well as a couple of little ornaments - namely some gorgeous models of Santa and a penguin. 

Everybody's stocking in hung underneath their advent calendar, and I think it looks really adorable. Mine is the reindeer stocking underneath the Lindt and beauty calendar. 

Also in the dining room, we have a mini Christmas tree, covered in copper, rose gold, and silver ornaments, as well as some mini pink and purple baubles, and a few individual baubles that I love.

 This is actually my Christmas tree and decorations from when I lived in staff accommodation away from home last year. We're keeping gifts for friends separate from ours underneath this tree, so we don't have to go pulling out everything to find somebody's present. The little bobble head Santa we have had forever. He's our elf on the shelf. 

Last, but certainly not least, we have over 1000 warm fairy lights wrapped around the banister. Our house is 3 floors, so it's a lot of stairs. We actually had so many lights, we were able to wrap them all the way up, around the mirror at the very top hallway, and all the way back down again.

I'm definitely starting to feel really festive now, and I cannot wait for Christmas. This month is already going super fast, we're almost a week in!
What do you think of our Christmas decorations, and how have you decorated your home this year? 

I'll see you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 7! 

Ciao for now,
Katie x

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Christmas Jumper Edit

Happy Blogmas Day 5! Today, I thought I'd share some of my favourite holiday jumpers available this year. I only recently started to get on the Christmas jumper bandwagon - mainly because the ones that I liked were really expensive, or I wasn't earning my own money to be able to buy one. 
This year, I might just treat myself. 

I'm not the biggest fan of the ugly Christmas jumpers, and tend to veer more towards the classic or slogan jumpers. As much fun as it is to dress ridiculous at Christmas time, I find the ugly jumpers just bring down my self confidence, and would much rather go for a flattering festive pattern, or something funny. I cannot deal with the Rudolph nipple jumpers that everybody seems to love. No no no.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 Christmas jumpers of 2018, in no particular order...

This ASOS Charity Christmas Jumper is super cute. It's navy blue with little teeny holly sprigs on the boobies. I'll admit, I never used to like this kind of design, but why the hell shouldn't we draw attention to our boobies? They're great. 

The slogan Christmas Pudding Jumper from Boohoo is adorable, and very punny if I do say so myself. It appears I have a thing for boobie jumpers this year...

An absolute classic Christmas jumper, the Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal slogan jumper from Boohoo is funny and festive, and a design that's been around for a while.

I absolutely adore Fairisle jumpers, and this Reindeer Fairisle Christmas Jumper is no exception. The design is just so simple and festive, and I love the gorgeous green colour.

One of my favourites this year is the Apres Ski Christmas Jumper. I actually prefer this one in blue as opposed to silver, but both are very cute.

I'm usually not a fan of Topshop at all (being a plus size girl, I don't buy ANYTHING from Topshop, ever), but this particular Christmas Stag Pom Pom jumper is really cute. Complete with coloured pompoms, you can't go wrong.

The Polar Bear Knitted Christmas Tunic from Asda just calls out to my inner child. Cute animals and lots of snowflakes? Yes please!

I absolutely adore the Santa's Grotto Christmas Jumper from Asda, complete with a super festive design and lots of sparkles. I absolutely love the rose gold coloured sleigh and reindeer.

The Lipsy Heatseal Snowflake jumper really reminds me of one that Natalie wears in Love Actually, so I just had to include it in my list of favourites. Anything that reminds me of Love Actually is good in my books!

Last but certainly not least, is the Welcome to Christmas Land sweater from Rock on Ruby. The illustration is super cute and kinda 80's, which I love. This is probably my favourite jumper that I've found this year.

What kind of Christmas jumpers do you usually go for? Do any of these inspire you?
Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 6!

Ciao for now,
Katie x

*all images taken from Google Images, or the respective websites.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

What's In My Bag? - Winter Edition

For Blogmas Day 4, I thought I'd have a go at one of my favourite posts to read/videos to watch. I am incredibly nosy, so I love having a sneaky peak at what people put in their handbags - especially during winter! 

I'm using two different handbags at the moment, one large, and one small. I find this really practical, as when I'm just taking a quick trip to the shop, I can just put my keys and my purse in my small bag and I'm ready to go. They're the only interchangeable things I have for my handbags.

So, starting with the smaller of the two. This cute little shoulder strap bag is from Matalan, and I absolutely adore it. It's the perfect size to fit my purse and the few little necessities I need. Oftentimes I find small bags just a bit too small. This one is perfect for me. It has a grey snakeskin pattern, and gold embellishments. There are two decorative zips on the sides, a spinning clasp, and a removable shoulder strap. Inside is a plain black lining with a small zip pocket.

In the small zip pocket, I keep my Nivea Original Care lip balm, along with my keys. My purse goes into the main large pocket, along with a small 'Summer Heat' eau de toilette, and the Delicious Destinations Coconut Milk and Orchid body mist. I don't usually wear perfume around the house, and tend to just quickly spritz before I leave. I have no idea where the little perfume is from, as my mum got it for me as a birthday present. 

My larger bag is black pleather with a velvety lining on the front. I got this bag from Primark as an impromptu spend, after deciding I needed a bigger handbag for all of my stuff. As I'm currently training for my new job, I keep my workbooks in the front pocket, and a carrier bag with my uniform in the main pocket. These take up quite a lot of room, so it was essential for me to get a big bag. Inside the main pocket, there are 2 small open pockets, and one zipped pocket on the back side. I keep my trusty Mint and Elderflower lipbalm in the smaller of the two pockets, and my keys in the zipped pocket. The larger open pocket usually has a packet of tissues, and some pens. You never know when you need a pen! 

In the main pocket itself, I keep my purse, a Nicki Minaj perfume, a Beach Babe Palm Flower and Honeydew body fragrance, a re-usable bottle of water (it's important to stay hydrated during winter), and my set of notebooks. I got the notebooks from Wilkinsons, and I really love it. You can take out the notebooks inside the case and replace them when they run out. I have four notebooks in there now, a daily journal, a lined notebook, a grided notebook, and a yearly planner. They're all really cute designs.

As you can tell from my exact location of things, I like to be organised. Even my handbag has to be feng shui! 

There are quite a few things that I would like to get for my handbag - mainly a small first aid kit, and a little makeup bag, but I'm pretty happy with what I have now. What do you keep in your handbag? Let me know, and I'll see you tomorrow for something a little more festive on Blogmas Day 5!

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Monday, 3 December 2018

Winter Skincare - My Current Routine

Day 3 of Blogmas is upon us. This month is already going too fast! 

Taking care of your skin is incredibly important, especially during winter. The cold, harsh weather can really affect how hydrated your skin is, and make it flaky.

I definitely do the most skincare during winter - I often find loading products onto my face during the height of summer just too uncomfortable, but I go all out during the colder months. The start of my routine consists of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. This stuff makes your skin feel incredibly clean, almost squeaky clean. It is amazing at removing even waterproof makeup, and is sensitive on my skin. I use this every morning and evening, and whenever I take my makeup off.

For toner, I am currently using the L'Oreal Fine Flowers Toner, which smells delicious. I would describe this toner as having a slightly oily consistency, as opposed to a more water based one, but that is not a bad thing. It really feels like it's doing my skin a lot of good, and my face feels really smooth once it has all absorbed. It's made with rose, known for its soothing properties, ad jasmine, renowned for it's protecting and moisturising properties. I use this every day after cleansing in the morning and evening.

After I have cleansed my face, I use the Nip and Fab Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Serum. Made with hyaluronic acid and velvet flower to enhance hydration, this product gives my skin that extra boost in the colder months, and feels luxurious.

I am currently using the Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser, which came as part of a mini skincare set along with the Hot Cloth Cleanser. It's probably not my favourite moisturiser ever, but it smells wonderfully natural, and it does the job. 

After moisturising in the evening, I may use my Dr Botanicals Pomegranate Superfood Regenerating Sleeping Mask (that's a mouthful!). You simply put it on your face before bed, let it sink in a little, and dream away. In the morning, wash your face, and your skin looks baby fresh. I find it really helps to reduce some of the redness in my face, and also makes my skin really smooth. It is vegan, cruelty free, and 98% natural. ALL RIGHT!

The Smooth Sugars Glow Scrub facial exfoliator by L'Oreal is lovely. I use this a couple of times a week in the morning, before I cleanse my face. The smell is a weird combination of nature and baking, and probably not my favourite scent, but the product itself is amazing. It's not too harsh on the skin, but leaves it feeling soft and smooth, and helps to polish and leave radiance.

Lastly, lipbalm. Taking care of your lips during winter is incredibly important - I find my lips chap incredibly easily, and it feels absolutely horrible. The Minty Elderflower Lipbalm by Folklore is an absolute saviour, and it feels like it just melts on your lips when you apply it. You know how smooth melted wax is? Kinda like that. It's a gorgeous mint scent which I feel makes it all the better for my lips.

What are your go-to products during the winter months? Have you used any of these products? What did you think? Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 4!

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Sunday, 2 December 2018

My Top 15 Christmas Songs

So for Blogmas Day 2, I wanted to do my top 10 favourite songs of the festive season, but very quickly realised that I just couldn't narrow it down. There were still a few songs that I just had to have on my list, and thus this blog post is born.

I absolutely adore Christmas music, and always try to sneakily play it as early as possible. There's just something about a Christmas song, any Christmas song, that makes me feel instantly happy and full of love. The classics make me feel super nostalgic, and the modern songs just make me want to dance around the kitchen with a Santa hat and lots of tinsel wrapped around me. 

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my top 15 favourite songs, from the slow and peaceful, to the party sing alongs.

Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues

An absolute classic, everybody knows the words to this banger of a Christmas tune! Ya scumbag, ya maggot, ya cheap lousy faggot! Happy Christmas your arse, I thank God it's our last!

Baby It's Cold Outside by Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews

Although the lyrics in this song are somewhat problematic (take no for an answer, will you?), it is a classic, and so incredibly catchy and fun to sing. Just another victim of it's time, I suppose. But hey, Cerys Matthews traps Tom Jones in a cage at the end, so who's complaining?

Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande

One of the modern Christmas songs in my festive playlist, Ariana's voice along with the wonderful music make for, what I think will be, an instant classic. Belt it, Ariana!

1 More Sleep by Leona Lewis


Another modern one, Leona Lewis really captures the magic of the Christmas countdown, and the excitement of seeing your loved ones, in this adorable Christmas tune.

A Spaceman Came Travelling by Chris De Burgh

Probably one of my all-time favourites, this song tells the story of the Nativity, with a slight twist. It is a beautiful melody, and really quite powerful for a mellow song. I absolutely love it.

Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney

Everybody knows this. A simple classic. Need I say more?

Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea

Another of my firm favourites, this song is all about that final drive home to see friends and family at Christmas time. This song just makes me want to give my family a cuddle, to be honest.

Mistletoe by Justin Bieber

Although I'm not the biggest fan of JB, he really did do well with this one. Really catchy, simple, and warming. Again, an instant classic. 

Dominick the Donkey by Lou Monte

My brother showed us this song last Christmas, and we just couldn't stop laughing. A really funny, silly, feel-good Christmas song that is definitely lesser known. 

I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas by Gayla Peevey

I found this song years ago when I was trawling through Christmas music on Youtube, and just randomly came upon it. 
I loved it instantly. My family hate it. I play it anyway.

Last Christmas by Wham!

Wham! They really did earn that exclamation mark. Lovely video, beautiful song (hello over the top dance moves), and lots of incredible covers of this one too. I especially like the Cascada cover.

Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie

All about wanting to go home for Christmas during WW1, this song really hits home for a lot of people. I simply love it as it has been one that my family have listened to and loved for as long as I can remember. Kinda makes you feel patriotic, kinda makes you wanna squish the patriachy. Did you know that during WW1, the British and the German troops stopped fighting on Christmas Day, and played a game of football with each other. Nobody wants to fight a war at Christmas time. (Did you also know, all of the British soldiers that played that game of football were shot for treason. England needs to lighten up!)

Sleigh Ride by F.U.N

Although this isn't the original version of this song, I just find this cover so much more fun (haha). Super jolly and full of happiness!

Candy Cane Lane by Sia

My last modern song in my Christmas playlist, Candy Cane Lane is ridiculously catchy and really fun to sing. Sia brought out a whole Christmas album, but I haven't actually gotten around to listening to all of the songs yet!

Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Ah, David Bowie. What a gorgeous voice you have, Sir. The most simple Christmas songs are always the best.

What's on your Christmas playlist this year? Are there any songs on my playlist that you haven't heard before? Which ones?
Let me know, and I'll see you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 3!

Ciao for now, 
Katie x

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Top 10 Best Beauty Calenders

It's finally here, my favourite time of year! Ooh, that rhymed.
December is upon us once again, which can only mean one thing.. BLOGMAS!

I had uhmed and ahhed about whether or not to do blogmas, since I've only just got back into the blogging scene, but since Christmas is my favourite time of year, I thought it would be the perfect way to properly get back onto my blogging feet again.

So let's kick off Blogmas with Day 1, 2018's Best Advent Calenders.

In previous years, finding an advent calendar was really easy. You'd just pop to the nearest Tesco and get your favourite chocolate. For my brothers and I, it was usually a Cadbury one, or one of the cheap ones with your favourite characters on the front - I remember getting a My Little Pony one when I was younger. But nowadays there are so many different advent calendars to choose from, including beauty, makeup and skincare, candles, toys, chocolate, you name it. It's so difficult to know which one to go for.

This year, since we're all adults now, we decided to splash out on some nice chocolate ones, since we're old enough to actually appreciate the cost of glorified chocolate (and it's traditional). We always wanted a fancy chocolate one and begged our parents every year. You'll be happy to know that this year I get to open a lovely Lindt Lindor window every day. Yum.
My brothers went for a Reese's one, and a Millions one, and my partner has a Heroes one. We're all very excited.
However, my amazing friend Jade got me the most insane beauty calendar from M&S as a Christmas present, and let me tell you, I could not be more excited to open this thing. It is absolutely beautiful and has some really amazing products inside. I've had a couple of beauty calendars before, but none as lovely as this. Thanks Jade!

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite calendars on offer this year, and if you're a crazy person and don't already have an advent calendar, you may find some inspiration for one you like. Beauty calendars are definitely one of my favourite varieties to go for, but since there's so many other amazing calendars out there, I decided to add on a little bit for food, drink, fun, and classic chocolate calendars too.

Beauty Calendars

For those of you, like myself, who love to try new makeup and beauty products, a beauty calendar would be perfect. You can get ones with a range of different make up products, hair products, lip products, skin care - there is something for everyone!

The Book of Beauty by Marks and Spencers is of course top of list, as my wonderful friend Jade actually bought this one for me. It features 25 products worth £250, from brands such as L'Occitane, This Works, Pixi, Stila, and more! I'm beyond excited for this calendar! It's so gorgeous, a proper magnetic box with adorable mini boxes inside as each window.

The Space NK Advent Calendar is a little more top of the range, with it being worth £600. This is Space NK's first ever beauty calendar, and how well they've done with it! The emerald green and burgundy box is simply stunning, and would look amazing atop any mantlepiece. Again with 25 mini boxes inside, Space NK's calendar features products by Drunk Elephant, Hourglass, Nars, Sunday Riley, and many more.

The 25 Days Of Enchanted Ultimate Advent Calendar by The Body Shop is the perfect gift for those who prioritise in ethical, cruelty-free skincare. This box features 25 products, 14 of which being full-size, and features some amazing products, such as the revitalising facial oil and the charcoal purifying glow mask. Gimme gimme gimme!

Another newbie to the beauty calendar scene, The Shiny Pretty Things Advent Calendar by M.A.C is sure to stand out amongst the make-up loving crowds. 25 of their popular products will have you feeling ready to get glammed up this season.

The Christmas Tree Calendar by Revolution is absolutely massive. From lipsticks to highlighter, this whopping 25 full-size product calendar can be nothing than a dream come true for make-up addicts.

If you like a mixture of skincare and makeup, It's In The Calendar by Soap and Glory is a must-have this Christmas season. Complete with 24 mini versions of some of their most popular pampering products, as well as a selection of their best make-up products, Soap and Glory have really got it right this Christmas.

Can't Wait Another Day by Sleek features lip creams, eye and lip pencils, mascara, nail varnish and more. Sleek is such an amazing, affordable brand with some really great products available, so this calendar would definitely have me jumping for joy.

If you're more into delicious hand creams, lip balms, and soaps, The Cath Kidston advent calendar is a necessity for full body pampering and cleansing. 24 mini products await you in this adorable kitsch advent calendar.

The LancĂ´me Luxury Beauty calendar has it all, including skincare, makeup, and fragrances. Enjoy a selection of 24 products from Lancome, as well as brands such as YSL, Ralph Lauren, and Victor & Rolf. 

For those of you who love a subscription box, the All I Want calendar by Glossybox looks amazing. I used to have a monthly subscription when money wasn't so tight, and I think it's so fun receiving them. Glossybox's advent calendar features 25 products (including 17 full size) from brands such as Nars, bareMinerals, Huda Beauty, Nip and Fab, and so much more. I think anybody would be thrilled to receive this gorgeous box.

Foodie Calendars

Of course, there's also those who would prefer a little something to eat for their advent calendar, without going for the same old chocolate one.

The Marshmallow Calendar by The Naked Marshmallow Company is filled with different flavour gourmet marshmallows, complete with a chocolate spoon for Christmas Day.

The Pork Crackling advent calendar by The Snaffling Pig Company is perfect for meat lovers, featuring 24 bags of flavoured pork crackling, including pigs in blankets, maple, and classic salted.

The Pringles advent calendar is something that could have been done a long time ago, but it's never too late to jump on the advent bandwagon. This calendar features 12 windows containing mini tubs of Pringles. What more could you want?

This Cheese calendar is a dream come true for those dairy lovers like myself. A slice of cheese a day keeps the doctor away! Or so I tell myself...

I think the Artisan Brownie advent calendar by The Sweet Reason Company has got to be the top of my foodie advent wishlist. Popular flavours such as honeycomb, mince pie, baileys, chocolate orange, and more await you with this gorgeous box of 25 homemade treats.

Drinks Calendars

Or perhaps a little merry something to drink..?

The Christmas Tea Lover's Advent Calendar by Fortnum and Mason looks so beautiful, and is absolutely perfect for those avid tea fans who like to enjoy a different brew each day.

For those of you who have jumped on the gin bandwagon (not me), this Gin and Tonic Advent Calendar is perfect. Have yourself a merry little drink each day, or save them up for stocking fillers and Christmas Day shenanigans.

Whiskey lovers will malt (see what I did there) after receiving the Drinks by the Dram Whiskey Calendar by Master of Malt, containing varieties from a diverse range of distilleries.

The Fizz Advent Calendar by First4Hampers calls to those of you who enjoy a bit of bubbly, and what better time of year to receive 24 mini bottles?!

Debenhams have gone to town with the beautiful Coffee Advent Calendar, perfect for those who need a festive pick me up each morning. 24 coffee sachets in a variety of amazing flavours, from chocolate praline to strawberry and cream, are sure to leave you feeling buzzed for Christmas.

Fun/Lifestyle Calendars

Who doesn't love a good toy now again, or a cute knick knack for around the house? There are some awesome calendars out there to really bring out your inner child, or help decorate your home with adorable mini pieces.

I am in love with the Stationary Lover's Advent Calendar by Kikki K. I'm a sucker for cute stationary and desk pieces, and this 25 window book contains some adorable pens, notebooks, candles, and quotes to brighten your pencil case.

Calling all Potterheads! Funko Pocket Pop released a Harry Potter Advent Calendar, featuring 24 mini pop! figurines. Oh my god.

You can never go wrong with a candle, and this Yankee Candle advent calendar couldn't be anymore perfect. A selection of wintery and festive scents will have your home smelling sweet all day long.

I love Lego, and this Lego City Advent Calendar is no exception. Create an adorable winter scene and bring out your inner child with this amazing countdown.

As we get older, we really start to appreciate that new pair of socks under the tree. The Happy Socks Advent Calendar contains 24 pairs of socks to keep your toes toasty through the cold winter months.

Classic Chocolate Calendars

And last, but certainly not least, we have the classic chocolate calendars. Over the years, confectionary brands have gone all out with the Christmas countdown, with more and more of our favourite chocolates becoming available in advent form.

Hotel Chocolat are masters when it comes to creative delectable chocolates, and their Grand Advent Calendar has got me very excited. Salted caramel vodka, pecan praline, and more await you in the beautiful countdown.

Kinder is one of my favourite chocolates ever, so it's no surprise that my favourite simple chocolate calendar is filled with Kinder goodness.

Green and Black's Luxury Chocolate advent calendar is the perfect countdown for those with less of a sweet tooth.

This year, I have a Lindt Lindor Blissful calendar, so I just had to include it in my list. Lindt is so sickly and moreish, I love it.

And last, but certainly not least, a calendar that everybody will love - the Ferrero Rocher Golden Gallery calendar! If you don't like Ferrero, you're a crazy person. It makes you feel royal.

So there it is, my top 10 beauty calendars on offer in 2018, and my top 5 food, drink, fun/lifestyle, and chocolate calendars. Which of these would you most likely go for? Do you have a calendar already? Which one? Let me know in the comments!

Ciao for now,
Katie x