Thursday, 29 December 2016

Wise Words | The Book of Everyone

Last year, I reviewed The Christmas Book of Everyone and this year when they contacted me to review their new book, Wise Words, I thought it sounded like a great idea. The new 'Wise Words' books are aimed at children aged 8-12, with fun pictures and quotes which you can customise. I made mine based on giving it to Alice, my friend's daughter, when she's a little bit older.

Like the normal Book of Everyone, this book is easy to customise. The quotes are already pre-filled on every page but you can personalise it more to the child you're giving it to, plus your own life experiences. It's like a fun advice book for children to flick through, especially when they're having a hard time at school or with friends.

The only thing I wish was different about this book is that you could change the illustrations or designs on the pages, so they would match the quotes or things the child likes. These would make a great gift.

You can make your own here.
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*This post contains press samples

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Disneyland Paris: The Season of the Force & Star Wars Rogue One Ticket Giveaway! CLOSED

There's a new season beginning at Disneyland Paris early next year. The Season of the Force runs from the 14th January until the 26th March and all Star Wars fans will get the chance to experience Star Wars events, see their favourite characters and watch parades of their favourite films. 

To celebrate the launch of the Season of the Force, Attraction Tix are offering one of you the chance to win two tickets to watch Star Wars Rogue One at the ODEON cinema.

A few terms and conditions for you to have a read through:
  • Winners will be chosen at random. Attraction Tix will be sending the prize. The giveaway ends at midnight on the 20th December 2016 and the winner will be contacted on the 21st December 2016.
  • The cinema tickets expire on the 31st December 2016.
  • The tickets can be used to see a standard, 2D film at any UK and ROI ODEON cinema, excluding Leicester Square, The Lounge at Whiteleys and the BFI IMAX.
  • The tickets can be used to see any film, but Rogue One is clearly the one to watch!
Good luck!
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Any food that is Christmas shaped is a winner for me and also I love shortbread, especially at Christmas time. I thought I'd combine these things and make some chocolate chip shortbread in cute Christmas shapes. Also notice my blogger friendly cookie cutters, those copper vibes! These did spread a bit in the oven, so take note of that if you make them. I found this recipe here.

You will need:
115g/4oz Unsalted Butter, Softened
50g/2oz Caster Sugar
175g/6oz Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Chocolate Chips

1. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy. Add the flour, salt, vanilla and chocolate chips and stir into the creamed butter and sugar until the mixture forms a firm dough.
2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Roll out to a thickness of 1cm - the mixture will be quite short. You can use a 6cm round cutter, which you should be able to stamp 15 rounds out with, or you could use shaped cutters like I have!
3. Arrange on a baking tray, spaced slightly apart. Prick the tops with a fork and chill for 30 minutes. Whilst they are in the fridge, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180c.
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Do you like shortbread? Do you associate it with Christmas?
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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

My Favourite Christmas Films

It is no secret at all that I LOVE Christmas, probably an unhealthy amount, but it is the most magical time of the year. One of my favourite things about Christmas is all the magical films that there are to watch. I've picked out my favourites - which was really hard as I think I love all of the Christmas films. I've narrowed it down to twelve films as that was the lowest I could go haha!

Love Actually
This is actually my favourite film of all time, it's so heartwarming and the Christmas elements make it even better. I literally love every single aspect of this film, it's funny, you feel all the emotions including the Christmas excitement when it counts down in between certain scenes! I also love how everyone ties in together in this film. It's definitely a must watch for the Christmas season.

It's a Wonderful Life
Now this in an incredible film and I would recommend watching it to anyone. It's shows you what life is really all about and how different it would be if you weren't around, it's a lovely Christmas tale. Also if you're not into watching black and white films, this has been remastered in colour.

Jingle All The Way
This is a hilarious film but it also reminds me so much of Christmas when I was a child. I always have to watch this at Christmas and even though I know what happens, I still get stressed throughout the film haha. This is so lighthearted and a great film to pop on whilst wrapping presents or writing your Christmas cards.

Meet Me in St Louis
This is another older film and I'm not sure if it's techinically a Christmas film, but it is amazing. It's a musical starring Judy Garland and if you haven't seen it, you definitely need to watch it at some point!

Elf doesn't really even need an explanation, everyone loves Elf. Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel make this film worth watching, it's funny and Buddy the Elf gets me so excited for Christmas. I also love how a lot of the film is set in New York City.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas
This is the film I watch first out of all the Christmas films, I adore Baby Grinch and actually set him as my phone wallpaper every Christmas. This is a classic Christmas film and I can relate to the Grinch so much in some ways - apart from the fact he hates Christmas!

Home Alone
In all honesty I only watched Home Alone for the first time 3 years ago, I had never seen it before. But now I have I love it! This is techinically cheating, but by Home Alone I do mean the 1st and 2nd films, they are amazing and I can't get through December without watching them.

The Santa Clause
This is another favourite that's techinically cheating, because my favourites are both the 1st and 2nd films in the trilogy. I have to watch these films in December and most of the time, I'll watch the 2nd one on Christmas Day. They are amazing films and they fill me with Christmas joy, they are definitely must watch films.

Santa Claus The Movie
This film was recommended to me by my friend Dani and she definitely knows her films, so I watched this for the first time this year and it's so magical. I normally steer away from older films, but I make an exception for Christmas films otherwise I'd be missing out on incredible ones like this one!

The Muppet Christmas Carol
I watched this film for the first time at school and think I asked for the DVD straightaway for Christmas. I love the Christmas Carol and the Muppets and this is definitely my favourite version of the Christmas Carol. Every year on Christmas Eve I get the 'After all there's only one more sleep 'til Christmas' song in my head.

Miracle on 34th Street
I've personally never seen the original of this film, but I love the remake with Mara Wilson. This film reminds me of Christmas as a child and it always makes me believe in the Christmas magic, so I usually start off December by watching this.

Arthur Christmas
I watched this for the first time in January when I was in that post-Christmas mood and it instantly lifted my spirits again. But also got me excited for Christmas way too early! It is such a lovely film and is perfect for any age, it really gives you a feel of the Christmas magic so this is perfect to watch if you don't feel very festive!
What are your top 3 Christmas films?
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Monday, 5 December 2016

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

Gingerbread is such a Christmassy scent and flavour, so I couldn't resist making these cupcakes. Also for once I can eat them because they don't contain cinnamon! The salted caramel buttercream adds the perfect flavour on top of the gingerbread spiced cupcake, I'll definitely be making more of these to give out as gifts before Christmas Day. The gingerbread man sprinkles are the cutest too! I found the recipe for these here.

You will need:
140g Unsalted Butter
200g Golden Caster Sugar
60g Black Treacle
60g Golden Syrup
2 Free-Range Eggs, Plus 2 Free-Range Egg Yolks
300g Plain Flour
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
240ml Milk, Warmed

125g Caster Sugar
80ml Double Cream
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
160g Salted Butter, Softened
200g Icing Sugar

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 & line two 12-hole muffin trays with 15 paper cases.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy. Beat in the treacle, syrup, eggs and egg yolks until well combined.
3. Sift together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then beat in half of the warm milk. Add the remaining flour mixture and the remaining milk, and beat until well combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and lightly firm to the touch. Remove the cakes from the tin and cool on the cooling rack.
5. For the buttercream, heat the caster sugar and four tablespoons of water in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and cook the caramel for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the cream (be careful it may spit)! Stir in the salt and vanilla and set aside to cool completely.
6. Cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes at least, then beat in the caramel. When combined pipe or spread the icing over the cupcakes and sprinkle with a little extra sea salt.
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

My Favourite Christmas Songs

If you know me personally, you'd know it's very hard for me to choose only 20 of my favourite Christmas songs to put into this blogpost. These are my absolute favourites and the ones I can't get through December without listening to. My actual playlist for Christmas on Apple Music contains 59 songs and is 3 hours and 10 minutes long haha!

1. Sleigh Ride - She & Him
2. Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys
3. Silver Bells - Jim Reeves
4. A Winter's Tale - David Essex
5. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
6. Last Christmas - Wham
7. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
8. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard
9. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
10. Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens
11. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
12. Xmas In Bed - Eliza Doolittle
13. My Only Wish (This Year) - Britney Spears
14. Shake Up Christmas - Train
15. A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
16. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
17. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
18. This Christmas - Christina Aguilera
19. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
20. Wombling Merry Christmas - The Wombles

What are your favourite Christmas songs?
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 #5 | Beauty Gifts

If you haven't seen everyone raving about this palette since it came out, where have you been?! This is a must have for any eyeshadow lover, it contains all of the perfect neutral shades you'll need on a day-to-day basis. Urban Decay eyeshadows are amazing quality, so they would definitely make a great gift!

Two - Spectrum Brush Set
Spectrum Brushes come in amazing gift sets and they're such good quality. They also look really pretty on a dressing table, so they'd be perfect for anyone that wears make up and loves the marble aesthetic. They are also cruelty free and vegan friendly!

Three - Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream
I'm pretty sure I've said it before but everyone loves receiving perfume or aftershave for Christmas. Charlotte Tilbury's first perfume came out this year and if the person you're buying for loves classic smelling perfumes, this would be perfect for them.

Four - Too Faced Let it Glow Gift Set
Highlighting has become a big make up step this year. I still haven't caught on to it but I know a lot of people that have, this gift set would be perfect for those people. It contains a highlighter, blusher and bronzer so it would also be perfect for building up someone who is new to make up's kit. 

Five - Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise Kit
If you couldn't tell by now I'm a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury's products, mainly because they work so well. This set includes a mascara, eyeliner and cream eyeshadow, so it's perfect for creating an eye look that goes well together. 
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Friday, 25 November 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 #4 | Video Game Gifts

One - Nintendo Classic Mini
When this was announced, I pre-ordered one of these. For £50 and the amount of games you get preloaded on there, I think it's really good value. It's great playing all of your favourite classic games on one console. The only downside to this for some people is that you can only get the games that come preloaded on there, but if whoever you're buying for loves the classics already on there then this would be a great gift!

Two - PlayStation VR
If you have someone you want to splash a fair bit of cash on, they have a PS4 and they keep going on about PlayStation VR there is a good chance if you bought them this, it would be the perfect present. It does look great and there are a few games coming out before Christmas that this will be compatible with.

Three - Pokémon Sun/Moon
This year everyone seems to have gone Pokemon mad, whether it be Pokemon fans now openly sharing their love for Pokemon like me or new fans due to Pokemon GO. This is definitely a must-have game this Christmas, to be honest every Pokemon game is but a new Pokemon game is always exciting!

Four - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
This may be a remaster, but you can't say it's not an incredible game and even if you've played it before, it's definitely a must have for your PS4 or Xbox One. I'm definitely going to be popping this on my Christmas list as it will keep me entertained for plenty of hours.

Five - Battlefield 1
This is another one of this year's must have games for PS4 and Xbox One. If the person you're buying for loves playing first-person shooters or liked any of the previous Battlefield games, this will be a perfect present. 
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Monday, 21 November 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 #3 | Under £15

One - Thorntons Christmas Collection
Everyone loves receiving chocolate for Christmas, especially a huge box of chocolates. I love the little Christmas tree chocolate in this box, it's adorable. Also Thorntons chocolate is so yummy!

Two - Pop Vinyl Figurine
There are Pop Vinyl's out there for a lot of films and TV shows, so you'll be bound to find a figurine that the recipient would love. These are so fun to collect and look great on the shelf.

Three - Party Disco Bulb
This just looked like a random fun gift - you just change your regular lightbulb to this one, it would be perfect for any parties around Christmas or New Year.

Four - A DVD
You could get them their favourite DVD if they don't own it, or one of the films they said they'd love to see in the cinema but never got around to watching.

Five - One Line a Day Diary
This diary is brilliant to look back on what you were doing each day and I'd recommend it to anyone. It's also great for noting down memorable dates and it is bag size, so you can take it on the go with you anywhere.
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Friday, 18 November 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 #2 | For Him

One - Amazon Fire Stick
I've heard a lot of great things about the Amazon Fire Stick, mainly from men. It almost changes a normal TV into a Smart TV, which means you can watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer and all of those sort of services on your TV without a box or another subscription service.

Two - Wallet
It may just be me or do men always need a new wallet? It seems men update their wallets more than we update our purses and a wallet is always a good present for a guy. This Ted Baker wallet is such a lovely gift and it even comes in a lovely Ted Baker box.

Three - Coffee Machine
I'm not saying that women can't have a coffee machine for Christmas, but from my experience men prefer the more gadget-ty side of these things. A coffee machine is such a handy gift for those with busy lives and when they make loads of different types of drinks, who can say no to that?

Four - Bluetooth Shower Speaker
Who doesn't love listening to a bit of music in the shower? This is perfect for anyone that does as it means they can listen to music without potentially damaging their phone and can also pick up calls in the shower.

Five - Tool Kit
It's always handy to own a tool kit. This one from M&S comes in a lovely case so everything is together and organised. A screwdriver and a hammer can always come in handy, in a lot of situations!
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Monday, 14 November 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 #1 | For Her

One - Perfume
I personally love to receive perfume as a gift, especially at Christmas, as that scent will be worn throughout the next year and remind me of that year. There are plenty of perfumes out there to choose from as well, so you're bound to find one that the recipient of the gift would love. Also, personally it's something I'd never really buy myself so it's lovely to receive it as a gift.

Two - Mug
The majority of people enjoy hot drinks and it's nice to have a lovely mug to drink out of. The recipient of the mug could also take it to work and have it as 'their' mug which is a lovely idea. This one from Caroline Gardner has such a lovely design and this would definitely be my favourite mug if I got it for Christmas!

Three - Candle
A candle is something a lot of people I know love to receive for Christmas, it's always nice to have a nice smelling house and one that smells of the season you're in. This NEOM one smells divine and it's classed as a 'travel candle', which would be great if the recipient loves to change up scents as it won't last as long as a large jar.

Four - Stationery
Stationery is a great gift for a lot of women, whether they're at college or university or just like being organised like me. This HAY pen is beautiful and would go perfectly with a lovely notebook or diary, the kind of things people want but wouldn't buy themselves.

Five - Wash & Wear Travel Bag Set
These bags are such a great idea for a gift, especially for people who travel a lot. They'd be great especially for underwear and socks as they're the perfect size for those kind of things. They've got a really lovely font on as well and feel high quality.
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*This post contains gifted products

Monday, 7 November 2016

Christmas Wishlist

One - Vivienne Westwood Boudoir Eau De Parfum
I love receiving perfume for Christmas as it's something I wouldn't usually buy for myself. I am obsessed with Vivienne Westwood and this perfume smells amazing, so I would love to receive this as a gift this year.

Two - Vivienne Westwood Jasper Liz Earrings
Following on with the Vivienne Westwood theme, I'd love to receive these earrings this Christmas. They are absolutely beautiful and I love my Vivienne Westwood earrings that I got two years ago for Christmas. There's something about that orb that just pulls me in and makes me lust after everything that it's on!

Three - Sabrina The Teenage Witch Box Set
As a child I used to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch all the time, it's one of my all time favourites. I'd love to get the box set for Christmas so I can relive all of the magic and also have something new to watch, even though I've seen it all before!

Four - Lego Disney Castle
Something I'm absolutely dreaming to get for Christmas this year is the Disney Lego Castle. I never had any Lego until I was 17 so it's still a novelty to me and when this was announced I was amazed. The hefty price tag means I definitely won't be getting this for Christmas, but this is a wishlist after all!

Five - Ted Baker Shopper Bag
I saw this Ted Baker bag on one of Fabulous Hannah's videos and fell in love with it. I am in need of a new bag and this one seems like the perfect size. I also love how it comes with a clutch which you can use separately or for those bits you'd pop in the tiny pocket inside of your bag. The rose gold hardware makes it look even prettier too.

Six - GHD Copper Luxe Deluxe Gift Set
Copper things just pull me in and these GHD stylers and hairdryer look incredible. GHD's are such amazing quality and work so well, so I would love a new pair in this wonderful copper colour!
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Friday, 4 November 2016

Easy Chocolate Cake

I made this chocolate cake for a birthday a couple of months ago. It was so easy to make, but also smelled delicious and apparently tasted good too! I love making cupcakes, I don't have much experience with making bigger cakes so I was very happy with how this turned out in the end. The recipe I used is here, but as usual I'm also typing it out for you to follow. The decoration with chocolate flakes on top was my idea, so it wasn't just a plain chocolate cake, but you can decorate it however you like. By the way I would read Step 6 first - that was actually the first step I did!

You will need:
225g Plain Flour
350g Caster Sugar
85g Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 Free-Range Eggs
250ml Milk
125ml Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
250ml Boiling Water

200g Plain Chocolate
200ml Double Cream

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180/350. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins.
2. Place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon/electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined.
3. Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. The cake mixture will be very liquid.
4. Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer into the cake comes out clean.
5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely in their tins.
6. For the chocolate icing, heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth. glossy and thickened. Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, or until thick enough to spread over the cake.
7. To assemble the cake, run a round bladed knife around the inside of the cake tins to loosen the cakes. Carefully remove the cakes from the tins.
8. Spread a little chocolate icing over the top of one of the cakes, then carefully top with the other cake.
9. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and ice the cake all over with the chocolate icing, using a palette knife.

What's your favourite cake?
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Monday, 31 October 2016

Lush Pumpkin Bath Bomb

Pumpkin Bath Bomb - £3.95
As you may have seen in my Lush Creative Showcase Haul post, out of all the Halloween bath bombs I only picked this cute Pumpkin one up. I absolutely loved how it smelt, so I knew I had to get it even though I can't use it because of the cinnamon in it. Before my Mom enjoyed her Lush bath I took a few photos of it, how could I not? Lush baths always look so pretty! 

First of all, isn't the Pumpkin adorable? I thought it looked like the most 'Halloween' themed one which is why I only picked this one up. This bath bomb isn't a particularly active one, it really just fizzes orange and yellow, then your bath is a bright orange. Which is fairly amazing in itself, it definitely makes it look like Halloween! It also smells amazing - not quite like the Pumpkin Pie that Lush say it smells like, more like a sweet Christmassy baking scent due to the cinnamon and vanilla in it. I love how it makes the bathroom smell amazing and makes that beautiful sunset water in the bath.

Did you pick up any Lush Halloween products?
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