31 December 2014

Lifestyle: Bye Bye December: My Month in Pictures


Ahhh December you served me well. What an eventful month! Christmas shenanigans, parties and my first installment of 'My Little Box'. Not forgetting a few breakfast dates, cute cat moments and a cheeky little throw back Thursday thrown in for good measure.

xxx


28 December 2014

Lifestyle & Beauty: What's in My Little Box, December 2014



Introducing My Little Box...
A bit like those beauty subscriptions where you receive little samples of beauty products in the post every month but oh, so much better!

I've never had a huge interest in beauty.  Yeah sure, I like to hear about new products and try out different make up techniques but my true interests lie elsewhere. Which is why beauty boxes have never really grabbed my attention... until My Little Box showed up in my life!

My Little Box incorporates beauty, lifestyle and fashion into one little monthly subscription of only £11.00 a month. 

So I signed up last month and received my first box! Honestly, it was so exciting, like a little gift from me to me!  Here is what I got in the December box.


I love this print: 'Christmas isn't a season, it's a feeling' so true!
You get one of these quote prints in each box and they are printed on such lovely paper.  You could pin your favourites on your pinboard or fridge and they would look so lovely in their own little frame too.


The fashion part of this box was this cute knitted headband.  I did try this on but with my short hair I just can't pull them off! but I must say, it did warm my ears up!




This set of gift wrapping accessories is so cute. Little gift tags, strips of tape and a wooden reel of string. By the time My Little Box arrived I had already wrapped my Christmas presents but I am definitely keeping these for birthdays and Christmas next year.


I wasn't overly fussed about the beauty part of the box but I was pleasantly surprised.  They were all kept in this cute little drawstring bag (perfect for weekend trips away) and each product had a little info card to go with it.


 I absolutely love L'Occitane and was so pleased when I saw that little blue glass pot! The cream is so silky smooth and is such a lovely moisturiser.  My skin felt instantly refreshed and it smells divine!


I've never used Cowshed products before so I was eager to try the body lotion.  The first thing I did? give it a good big sniff! It instantly reminded me of aromatherapy massages and lazy spa days. It must have been the blend of lemongrass and ginger. I like this lotion as a treat after a long hot soak in the bath, but maybe not an everyday moisturiser.



Last but by no means least - the lipstick! My Little Box have their own My Little Beauty range and incorporate one of their own products in each box.  I have recently developed a bit of an obsession with lipsticks and absolutely love this shade of red.  They claim it is the perfect lipstick that will suit all skin tones and shades of hair. I am yet to give it a go (red isn't really an everyday office-wear shade) but will definitely slap it on on my next evening out.

And you can buy them for yourselves right here!

I am definitely going to keep my subscription going and cannot wait until I get my next box in January! 

My Little Box = A big success!

xxx


Nicola Bhamra

25 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! DAY 25 CHRISTMAS DAY!

Day 25: What really matters..

Merry Christmas everyone!
So here it is, after blogging everyday for the last 24 days, Christmas has finally arrived.  
I have shared with you all the little things that make my Christmas and every family has their own unique traditions too.  But the one thing we all have in common? Christmas is simply a time to be surrounded by close friends and family.

 It isn't about the presents under the tree, the huge turkey with all the trimmings or even the magic of Santa Claus.  It's about making memories with the people you love, laughing, singing and dancing together.  A time to appreciate everyone around you and show them you care.

As I think back to Christmases gone by I can honestly say I really don't remember what gifts I received.  I can, however, remember every Christmas like they were yesterday.  Memories imprinted in my mind, gifts I will carry with me forever.







So please go and enjoy your day with the people you love and care about, make memories.  Because that is really what Christmas is all about.

xxx

24 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! DAY 24

Day 24: Leaving treats for Santa and his reindeer

Pinterest
It's Christmas Eve! Time to get excited! Santa is on his way and that means we need to prepare lots of treats to leave outside for him when he visits. Not forgetting his trusty reindeer though, they need lots of fuel to fly that big sleigh.

I loved Christmas Eve as a kid, the excitement was just too much. Obviously I wasn't getting any sleep that night, maybe drifting off a bit but constantly waking to feel if there was the extra weight of a very full stocking at the end of my bed.  Or hearing the tiniest noise and rushing to open my curtains to see if it was Santa and his sleigh coming to visit. And then that final time that I wake up, find the stocking full of presents, check my alarm clock, see that it is 5.30am (obviously a reasonable time to wake up the rest of the family) and jump out of bed.

One of the first things we did, after ripping open our stockings, was run outside to see if Santa had eaten any of the treats we left him.  Obviously this was the ultimate confirmation that he had been to visit and of course that he was very much real.

We used to leave a bog standard selection of mince pies, cookies and a glass of milk to the big man and some carrots for his reindeer.  But there are so many fun and inventive alternatives and I have found this list of treats on BBC Good Food.

A Christmas Cosmopolitan


 Rudolph's Carrot Patch Cakes


 Sugar Dusted Mince Pie Parcels



Rudolph's Snowball Carrot Muffins

Snow Capped Fairy Cakes

Mulled Apple Juice

Rudolph's Carrot Flapjacks

Double Gingerbread Men


Enjoy making your festive treats for Santa tonight!

xxx

23 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! DAY 23

Day 23: Visiting Friends
 
Christmas is always the time of year where old friends and family you haven't seen for years emerge out of the woodwork.  It is an excuse to go out for dinner upon dinner and drinks upon drinks with every Tom Dick and Harry.  I love the feelings of festivity in the air and a good old catch up at Christmas time, it is also a great time to exchange gifts!
 
Pinterest
 
Same time next year peeps!
 
xxx

22 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! DAY 22

Day 22: Secret Santa
 
 
Christmas is just a few working days away now and offices across the nation are sure to be gathering around for 'Secret Santa'.  A cheaper and simpler gift giving alternative more commonly found in workplaces that ensures everyone gets a gift but means you don't need to buy a gift for everyone.
 
Traditionally names are placed in a hat and picked out at random. The idea being that you buy a gift (generally a spending limit of around £10) for whoever you draw out of the hat. 
 
We have recently adopted this tradition at home on Christmas Day.  My mum used to buy us each a little gift to open at the dinner table (just to prolong the present opening process) and as we have grown older and extra members of the family have arrived -hubbys!- we thought it was only fair she received something too - enter Secret Santa! It is always a good laugh and each year we are all guaranteed to guess/find out who got who (simply by matching up the wrapping paper to what we received earlier in the day!)
 
xxx
 


21 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 21

Day 21: Festive pets

This is going to be one of those posts completely dominated by pictures because lets face it, who doesn't love looking at cute animals in festive clothing?!  Is it cruel to dress up your pets in little jumpers and reindeer antlers? It can't hurt them right? and they do make for a funny photo.

We found some really cute Santa outfits for our cats but just knew that they wouldn't last two seconds before they pulled the bloody things off.  We struggle to keep a collar on them for more than an hour!
So I am just going to have to look at cute, funny pictures of other peoples' pets in festive wear instead (all courtesy of Pinterest).

Pinterest

20 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 20

Day 20: Work Christmas Parties

Today I am coming at ya from my sofa, late in the day and nursing a hangover.  The effects of my work Christmas do last night! But oh it was so worth it.  Had such a great night, lots of laughs and lots more drink!
Tis the season to be jolly and all that!

I am afraid I must keep this one short and sweet and let the pictures do the talking as my bed is calling me!


We spent the night at the gorgeous Alexander House Hotel and Uptopia Spa.  I definitely recommend this place, it was beautiful - especially at Christmas time. I really want to go back so that I can get some use out of the spa (we forgot our swimming stuff) *hint hint hubby*!








 I love a work do at Christmas time, a chance for everyone to let their hair down and celebrate together.
A great night had by all.

xxx

19 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 19

Letters from Santa


Possibly the most amazingly magical event in any child's life. Getting a letter straight from the big guy himself!
I think it might have only happened the one time when I was little but I still remember it to this day.
I couldn't believe my luck when Santa responded to my letter!

My mum must have spent ages typing up that letter, adding a cute little festive border and a couple of Christmassy pictures from clipart.  It is much simpler nowadays, there are tons of websites available where you just enter a few details and wham bam thank you maam your letter is in the post! Zero effort required.
But who doesn't want to write their kid a cute little letter full of surprises, and getting to watch them read it full of amazement? I think the old school way is much more fun.

However, if you are a parent pushed for time here are a few handy little links to help you on your way..

1. NSPCC

xxx

18 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 18

Day 18 - Christmas Morning Fry Up

The title says it all!
A strong family tradition was a Christmas morning fry up courtesy of my amazing Dad. 
We used to wake up so early excited to open our presents but would have to wait until my parents had got out of bed, had at least 2 cups of tea and we had all eaten a big fry up.

I think everyone has a Christmas breakfast tradition and I have heard of people having eggs benedict with a glass of champagne.. we were never one of those families!

This is something I had to take with me when I moved out and every Christmas morning I make us toasted bacon sarnies before opening our gifts and pack up our stuff to head on over to see the family.

What is your traditional Christmas breakfast menu? 
Let me know in the comments below!

xxx


17 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 17

Day 17 - Wrapping Presents

A bit like Marmite..some people hate it but I absolutely love it.
Choosing which paper to get can take a while- I have to pick carefully as the pressies have to match the tree perfectly. Mis-matched presents that don't compliment the decorations? A recipe for disaster!

To go with my Etsy picked Christmas cards I thought I would check it out for my wrapping paper too and here are my favs.


Top Right: The Paper Kit
Bottom Left: Normans Printery
Bottom Right: Wrap and Revel

I have wrapped all my presents and yes it was done with a glass of mulled wine and a table full of bits!

Have you wrapped your presents yet? Do you love it like I do or are you a hater?
Let me know in the comments below!

xxx

16 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 16

Day 16 - Christmas Lights

Driving really slowly through the local roads, oohing and ahhing at all the Christmas lights.. something everyone does right?

I love doing this.  Seeing all the effort everyone has put into making their homes look as Christmassy as possible, and we all know about my love for fairy lights.

I remember doing this with my Mum when I was younger and laughed at how she would always be checking out the neighbour's Christmas trees.  Just to make sure hers was the best looking on the street!

I was always envious of the houses with all the lights as we never decorated the exterior of the house - I suppose it is a lot of effort...maybe I will do it next year!

Do you light up your house at Christmas? or do you just like to admire the work of others like I do?
Tell me in the comments below!

xxx

15 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 15

Day 15 - Christmas Albums

It isn't Christmas without a bit of Bublé and Sinatra singing in the background (and us wailing over the top).
No matter what we are doing we have to have one of these playing on repeat, it just isn't Christmas without some classic Christmas songs!




What is your favourite Christmas song and which one is guaranteed to be played on repeat on Christmas day? Let me know in the comments below.

xxx

14 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 14

Day 14 - Bits!

...and I don't mean just any bits!
'Bits' to me and my family means one thing... FOOD

When we were younger this meant raiding our fridge for anything we could find and grabbing some plates. At Christmas time it means the following:
Cold meats
Cut up carrot, celery and peppers with dip (or crudites to the poshies)
Crisps (usually twiglets or mini cheddars)
Pickled onions
Gherkins
Cheese and crackers
Pigs in blankets
Stuffing balls

As much as I love instagramin' foodie pics I somehow didn't have one of 'bits' so resorted to a spot of googling to provide the piccy for this post.

We have this big spread all throughout the month of December and use any excuse for it! 
Friends are coming round for drinks.. bits. 
We are putting the Christmas tree up...bits.
Family are coming round to drop off presents...bits.
Christmas films are on the telly...bits.
It is Christmas eve...bits.
It is boxing day... bits.
It is New Years Eve...bits!

Do you have any traditional food that you have to eat over the festive period? I would love to hear in the comments below so I can add them to our bits list!

xxx

13 December 2014

IT'S BLOGMAS! Day 13

Day 13 - Ice Skating

I absolutely love the ice rinks in London at this time of year and my favourite by far is the rink at The Natural History Museum. The rink is set in the most beautiful location, surrounded by sparkly trees and the building itself as the backdrop. What's great though is that it is real actual ice - what's the deal with those plastic ones?!

My Dad used to take me and my sisters ice skating all the time as kids but nowadays Christmas is the only time I get to go! Oh to be a kid again!

I haven't managed to get myself down to an ice rink this year but these are my top London favs that I recommend you visit :)
"The truly beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's Natural History Museum buildings, a row of trees just dripping in fairy lights and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the ice all help to make this London's most enchanting ice-rink. The main area is 1,000 metres square, and adjoins a smaller rink for children needed a gentler space to practice in. The rink is celebrating its tenth year in 2014, and will provide the usual festive fun on its perimeter: a Café Bar overlooking the ice with live music on Thursdays and a pretty fairground carousel. See the website for wheelchair-user sessions, and note the rink is occasionally closed for private functions. It is also closed on Christmas Day."
timeout.com

"Experience the essence of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland as you don your skates and glide around the spectacular, glittering ice rink. Set around the Victorian bandstand and illuminated with over 100,000 lights, the Ice Rink provides a truly magical setting for ice skating." hydeparkwinterwonderland.com


Canary Wharf

"Canary Wharf’s soaring towers give this outdoor ice rink an imposing backdrop, and some exciting extras help it to keep up with its extravagant surroundings. An iced path allows skaters to dash off from the main rink and glide below sparkling trees around the square's 'Big Blue' sculpture, which was designed by Ron Arad. The team behind Camden restaurant Q Grill will be serving up the sustenance at Q on Ice, with barbecue food, wintry cocktails, craft beer and hot chocolate on the menu, while visitors can admire those on the ice (or giggle at them trying not to fall over) from the outdoor viewing terrace."
Timeout.com


"Put on your ear muffs, gloves and skates, grab a steadying hand (if needed!) and have some festive fun on the ice in glorious Tudor surroundings. The outdoor ice rink offers spectacular views of the red brick Tudor front of King Henry VIII’s magnificent palace, on the banks of the historic River Thames. Book an evening session to see the stunning palace lit up after dark while you skate under the evening stars!"
hrp.org.uk


 Somerset House

"Celebrate the festive season in style at London’s most beautiful ice rink.
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason offers a host of seasonal experiences on and off the ice. During the day, skate in the beautiful splendour of Somerset House’s neoclassical courtyard. After dark, the rink hosts some of the best international clubs and festivals at our exclusive Club Nights. Après-skate, enjoy a cocktail, indulgent fondue or tasty treat from Fortnum’s Lodge or the Skate Lounge. Create your memorable winter experiences at Skate at Somerset House"
somersethouse.org.uk