Friday, 5 December 2014

Holidays in my very own home

Wooden decorations, £3, Tesco
Everyone knows that the first sign Santa is on his way is the Coca-Cola advert. I mean, sure, there's the endearingly sweet John Lewis offerings, but there was nothing that could get me quite as excited when I was a kid as the sound of "Holidays are coming..."

This year I'm starting from scratch when it comes to Christmas. I'm in a new house, with no decorations and a blank canvas. But with a few little gifts, and a secondhand tree, it's slowly coming together.

Bottle and bauble, c/o Coca-Cola
The lovely ladies over at Coke very nicely started off my decorating with the pretty little bottle above - and it's inspired me to create a little more homemade magic this year.

My tiny little journalist's salary means that I just can't afford to buy all my decorations at Liberty this year so things are going to have to get a little bit more creative. I'm something cute, folksy and understated so watch this space.

A little gift from Dubrovnik

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Black Friday fashion discount codes you need to know: BooHoo, Missguided, ASOS, Topshop and River Island

Black Friday and its weekend of discounts is upon us so, in the bargain hunting spirit, here are all the best fashion and beauty discount codes and links I could find for a spot of online shopping. 

BooHoo: 30% off everything and free delivery (no code needed) - Starts on Friday, ends on Monday

Missguided: 20% off everything; Code: CYBER20 - Starts Thursday, ends Monday

AllSaints: 20% off; Code: CYBER - Starts Friday, ends Monday

ASOS: 20% off everything; Code: CYBERWKND20 - Starts Friday, ends Tuesday

River Island: 20% off; Code: TREAT28 - From 11am-3pm on Friday

French Connection: 40% off; Code: FC40B - Starts Friday, ends Monday

Gap: 50% off; Code: BLKFRIDAY - Starts Thursday, ends Friday

Topshop: Up to 50% off selected lines - Starts Thursday, ends Monday

Urban Outfitters: Up to 50% off - Code: #UOBLACKOUT - Friday only

Whistles: 30% off everything (no code needed) - Starts Friday

Zara: 20% off outerwear, sweaters, t-shirts, cardigans and boots (no code needed) - Starts Friday

Warehouse: 25% off full-price range/up to 30% off select seasonal items like knitwear and coats; Code: CYBER25 - Until midnight on Monday

Boots: Varying discounts with big offers, including a Best of Benefit cosmetics gift set discounted from £54 to £24.50 - From Friday to Monday

Kurt Geiger: 20% off everything; Code F&FKG20 - Until midnight on Sunday

Superdrug: 50% off - Until Tuesday 

Dorothy Perkins: 30% off and an extra 30% off surprise picks

New Look: Up to 50% off

That's it for the codes, but keep an eye on Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, and Very, all of whom are promising to take part in the discount day!

Winter high street home haul: Primark, Matalan and Tesco

Wooden hanging bird, £2, Primark; Snowglobe, £5, Matalan; Glade candle, £2 (on offer), Tesco
I'm such a sucker for homeware as it is but with pretty treats like these around, who could resist! 

I've been picking up the odd bits and pieces while out and about recently, not even realising it would turn into a proper haul. This is my first winter in a new home (squee!) and I've been using it as an excuse to tuck away all the bright white linens in favour of deep blues and rich reds.

The candle above is Glade's cosy cinnamon and apple, and ohmigod is it heavenly. I bought an armful of these when they were offer a short while back and my house is now completely enveloped in the scent. Yum.

Fairisle bed sheets, £20 (kingsize), Primark; Slate sign, £3, Matalan
I'm loving Primark's bedsheets at the moment: I picked up a soft grey and white set recently too, but I just couldn't leave these snuggly soft ones there either. They're reversible, with  a wintery navy blue and white forest pattern to the reverse of the fairisle on both the duvet cover and the pillowcases, so you can use them post-festivities too.

Every time I see the slate sign, I hear Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews crooning away. It's part of Matalan's Christmas range but I won't tell anyone if you don't.

Tealight holder, £5, tesco; Hot water bottle, £5, Primark
I couldn't really capture it properly on camera, but the tealight holder (above, left) throws the prettiest gold and red crackled patterns on the wall. It's festive, without being over the top, so you could keep it out all year round.

And finally, I cannot live without a hot water bottle. Seriously, I am one the coldest people in the world, and when it gets below five degrees Celsius, I live in a constant state of shivering. But this fairisle knitted bottle from Primark is incredible at keeping me warm. I've been popping it in the bottom of my bed overnight and it's *still warm* in the morning!

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The one gift everyone should be giving this Christmas

It's one month to go until Christmas and I haven't even started to think about buying gifts.

It's funny, usually I love treating my family and friends with little festive pressies, but this year I'm just not that in to it - and I blame Sainsbury's.

A few weeks back, when the supermarket chain's new advert first started to air, I was sat in my living room, enjoying a leisurely breakfast and bawling my eyes out.

The football on the battlefield story is one I first heard about from a Horrible Histories book when I was about 7 or 8, and to this day I’ve regarded it with a bit of bemusement and humour (although the latter is probably from the undoubtedly rib-tickling cartoon that appeared on the page).

It wasn’t until I saw the Sainsbury's campaign, at the ripe old age of *very nearly* 27 that I fully realised what that one single event meant to so many men – some of whom survived the war with little more good memories than playing footie in no man’s land.

I'm not going to go into the all the criticism that Sainsbury's has sustained for the ad here, for even if it is commercialising a momentous occasion from 100 years ago, the message it promotes is what the Christmas spirit should be all about: peace, harmony and moments of happiness.

That is why I urge you, next time you pop to the shop, to pick up a bar or two of their limited edition chocolate featured in the advert. 50p of the £1 price goes to the Royal British Legion, to help support the service men and women who have made sure over the last century that we have a safe home to celebrate Christmas in.

More than just a stocking filler: Limited edition chocolate bar, £1, Sainsbury's

Thursday, 20 November 2014

You're never too old for a slogan top

Something curious happened when I hit 26: my wardrobe become muted, less full of the patterns and bright colours I'd lived in until then and more...well, I'd call it hopeful Parisian.

But the thing is, there are only so many French slogan tops you can buy until you get really sick of the words 'cheri' and 'amour'. In fact, there are only so many slogan tops you can buy before you get really sick of the lines we're brandishing across our chests: I mean who really cares anymore if shopping is your cardio, or how you feel about your ex-boyfriend.

Just like brains shouldn't concede to beauty, they shouldn't to your style either :)

1. Dream goals sweater, £57.95, Nelly; 2.Nothing to hide tee, £22, Topshop; 3. Gold element sweatshirt, £25, River Island; 4. I'm an entrepreneur, bitch, £28, Tease and Totes; 5.Baum und Pferdgarten Eira T-Shirt with Slogan, £29, Asos
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