Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Wednesday Wish List

Here's a few things I've been coveting this week...

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These awesome novelty bags from Skinny Dip. I especially love the shooting star.

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Lindy Bop have released some more Christmas dresses this week, and they're all so gorgeous. I can't decide which print I love best.

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These stunning Collectif dresses would be perfect for the Christmas party season.

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I can never resist a good polka dot dress, and these two Lollidot frocks from Scarlett & Jo tick all the right boxes.

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I'm crazy about these beautiful dresses from Joanie Clothing. 

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Look how cute these fox cross body bags from Rose Gal are. The best part is they cost just $9.24 each! (That's about £7!!)

I'm obsessing over the new Urban Decay Heavy Metal eyeshadow palette like crazy. Just look at how gorgeous all of those eyeshadows are! I'm definitely going to need this palette in my life.

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Lindy Bop have the cutest Converse-style baseball shoes right now. I particularly love the fox print pair, but the polka dots are calling my name, too.

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And last but not least, these tartan and plaid swing dresses from Unique Vintage are the dresses of my dreams. 

If you'd like to see more of the fashion and beauty pieces on my wish list, check out my style and beauty wish list boards on Pinterest. You can also find all previous Wednesday Wish List posts here.

What's on your wish list this week?

Monday, 13 November 2017

35 Ways To Get Organised For Christmas Now

Christmas is without a doubt the busiest and most hectic time of year, what with all of those Christmas parties to go to, shopping to do, presents to wrap, a feast to cook, and so many other tasks to tackle on top of working, blogging, looking after our families, and going about our daily lives as normal. I'm exhausted just thinking about it all!

With so much to do in the space of a few weeks, it's no wonder we all get so stressed, sick, and exhausted over the festive season. If we're not careful, we can easily run ourselves in to the ground. I've lost count of how many Christmases I've been ill because I've worked myself too hard and had little time to rest; I used to come down with the flu every year right in time for Christmas.

I now realise it's important to spread the work load out to take the pressure off in December, which is particularly important if you have a chronic illness and limited energy every day. In fact, there are plenty of Christmas tasks you can start working on now to get a head start on your to do list, so that come December you have less to tackle, and more time to relax and enjoy the festivities.

Naturally, being somewhat of a Christmas addict, I'm already getting organised for Christmas, and I wanted to share a list of Christmas tasks you can get working on ahead of time to make your life so much easier come December, so here it is:

1. If you haven't already started, begin your Christmas shopping, and save yourself the stress of Christmas shopping in store in December.

2. Shop for any gift wrapping supplies, Christmas cards, and craft supplies you need. It's a good excuse for a fun trip out to Hobbycraft or Paperchase!

3. Wrap the presents you've already bought, and wrap everything else as you buy them. You'll thank yourself for it on Christmas Eve when you have more time to put your feet up at the end of the day.

4. Begin shopping for stocking fillers, and wrap anything you've already bought. It's also a good idea to organise each person's stocking fillers in to a separate carrier bag, so on Christmas Eve, all you have to do is transfer the presents in to the stockings.

5. Sit down and write your Christmas cards, and if you like to write one, a Christmas letter to go with them. Remember to stamp and address the envelopes, too, so come December all you'll have to do is post them.

6. Get working on any Christmas crafts you want or need to make this year. It will make those boring dark evenings at home pass faster, and stretch Christmas out that little bit further. I've been busy Christmas cross stitching away since September!

7. Put together your Christmas Eve box(es) of goodies to enjoy with your family on Christmas Eve. Think cosy pyjamas, slippers, Christmas movies, popcorn, chocolates, candles, Christmas books, hot chocolate, Christmas coffee mugs, face masks etc. If you need a little inspiration, here's the one I made for myself last year.

8. Start shopping for Christmas gifts for your pets, and stock up on enough pet food and bedding to see them through the holidays. I've already started buying gifts for my dog, Rosie; there's some great gifts for dogs out there this year! Do you want me to blog about what I've bought her in December?

9. Compile your Christmas playlist(s) to soundtrack all of your festive activities, or if you're a bit old school, dig out your Christmas CDs and LPs.

10. Take your Christmas decorations out of storage, and check if anything needs to be repaired or replaced.

11. Untangle the Christmas lights, and check if any bulbs need replacing.

12. Shop for any Christmas decorations and homeware you may want or need. I just bought myself the cutest fifties-style Christmas bedding from ASDA!

13. Go through your Christmas recipe books, and plan your Christmas menu. You could even start writing your Christmas shopping list ready for your Christmas food shop.

14. Make your Christmas cakes, puddings, and home-brewed drinks like sloe gin. If it can be made early, get it out of the way now!

15. Prepare and freeze any food that can be made ahead of time, so you have less food to make from scratch over the holidays. You could also bulk-cook and freeze every day meals for December so you have more time to put your feet up after a busy day of work or Christmas shopping in the run up to Christmas.

16. Start stocking up on non-perishable Christmas food and drink during your weekly / monthly food shops.

17. Buy or make your Christmas crackers ready for Christmas Day.

18. Wash and iron your Christmas bedding, table linen, tea towels etc. so they'll be ready to use come December, and you won't have extra laundry to do over the festive season.

19. Clear out the spare room ready for any guests you have coming to stay over Christmas, and check you have enough bedding for everyone.

20. Organise any Christmas parties, family gatherings, or meet ups with friends, and start inviting your friends and family before their diaries start filling up.

21. Stock up on batteries for your Christmas decorations, and any presents that may need them. The last thing you want is to find out you've forgotten the batteries for your kids' new toys on Christmas morning

22. Purchase stamps for your Christmas cards, so you can get them ready to send at the start of the month.

23. Shop for cute Christmas PJs and slippers to wear over Christmas, and to put in your Christmas Eve boxes.

24. Start shopping for all of those Christmas party outfits. The best pieces always sell out fast, so it never hurts to start early.

25. Begin planning any festive days out you want to take, and any activities you want to do in December.

26. Book tickets for any Christmas concerts, shows, or pantomimes you want to go to. They tend to book up fast at this time of year, so you want to snag those tickets early to avoid disappointment.

27. Book any accommodation and transport needed for your Christmas travels. With Christmas being the busiest travel season of the year, an' all, you sure don't want to leave this one 'til the last minute.

28. Gather together / shop for Christmas photo props for your Christmas blog and social media posts. You don't necessarily have to buy anything new; you'll probably have plenty of great props to use in your Christmas decorations box, and natural things like pine cones, holly, and fir branches make excellent festive props, too.

29. When you have a spare afternoon, take photos for your Christmas blog posts in bulk ready for all those festive posts you may be planning.

30. Write and schedule your Christmas blog content ahead of time so you don't have to spend December stressing about getting a post live on time when you could be enjoying the festivities with your family and friends.

31. Buy, make, or fill your Advent calendars so they're ready to start opening on December 1st.

32. Start putting together Christmas shoe boxes of gifts and essentials for people in need.

33. Begin collecting and donating food to food banks. Most supermarkets will have a collection point where you can leave non-perishable food (usually near the checkouts) to make it easier for you to donate as you do the weekly food shop.

34. Sign up to volunteer your time and services to worthy causes over the holidays.

35. If you haven't already, book your Christmas meals and parties before the venues fill up.

So, there we have it: 35 ways to get organised for Christmas now. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely going to try to get as many of these things prepared ahead of time to try to take the stress out of Christmas this year. What about you?

Have you started preparing for Christmas yet?

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sunday Favourites #301

It's that time of the week again...

This unicorn sugar scrub from Happiness Is Homemade would make the loveliest Christmas present for the ladies in your life.

How cute is this DIY easy clay letter board flair from A Kailo Chic Life?!

I love this DIY circle framed art by Maritza Lisa.

The cutest DIY Autumn leaf garland from Make And Tell.

Aww Sam's colourful friendsgiving decor is absolutely gorgeous.

This awesome DIY potted paper cactus from Maritza Lisa.

This DIY wastebasket pendant lamp from Damask Love is so pretty.

These sweet Palm Springs pink door chocolate bars from Aww Sam.

This present shopping pad from Paperchase would be perfect for getting the Christmas shopping organised.

Look how gorgeous A Subtle Revelry's DIY floral wall display is!

This colourful embroidery pattern from Sarah K. Benning.

I adore this rainbow pumpkin centrepiece from Oh Happy Day. So much colour!

Studio DIY's pom pom filled Friendsgiving decor looks so beautiful.

These pretty pieces of DIY paper pumpkin wall art from Damask Love.

Doesn't A Beautiful Mess' pom pom sweater DIY look cute and cosy?

These DIY colourful pretzels from Lines Across look super tasty. They remind me of those amazing chocolate covered pretzels you used to be able to get in the nineties!

An awesome rainbow neon light from Fizz Creations.

Another beautiful, colourful tablescape, this time a rainbow Friendsgiving party from Oh Happy Day.

And this gorgeous peony tattoo from Sasha Unisex.

Lovely Links

♥ A woman was fired for showing Trump's motorcade the middle finger. And I bet it was worth it! To be honest, I probably would've done the same.

♥ Introverts reveal the incredible lengths they've gone to avoid people. Some of these are so relatable. And they're all pretty funny, too!

If you'd like to see more stuff like this, check out my Pinterest and Tumblr. You can also find all previous Sunday Favourites posts here.

What are your plans for the day?

Saturday, 11 November 2017

50 Money Saving Christmas Shopping Tips

With just over six weeks to go until Christmas Day, I'm sure many of us have started our Christmas shopping already, or at least started thinking about it. If you haven't, it's never too early to start.

I know Christmas shopping can be an incredibly stressful task, especially if money is tight and you're worrying about how to make the pennies stretch as far as possible, so I wanted to share some of my money-saving tips to help make shopping for presents this Christmas that little bit easier. I've put together a list of fifty of my money-saving Christmas shopping tips and some other helpful shopping advice, to help take the pressure off, and get you through your Christmas shopping without a breaking a sweat. I hope you find them helpful.

Here are my fifty Christmas shopping tips...

1. Set a budget for each person and stick to it.

2. Don't spend more than you can afford; your loved ones won't want you to go in to debt just to give them a Christmas present. Remember: Christmas is only one day of the year.

3. Start Christmas shopping as early in the year as you can to spread the cost. A present here, a present there, and you'll barely notice a dent in your finances, and come December you'll have more money left in your purse for enjoying the festivities or shopping the sales.

4. Begin Christmas shopping as early in the year as you can for the best selection of presents to choose from. If you wait until the last minute to shop, all of the best gifts will be gone, and you could miss out on this year's must have gifts.

5. Shop around for the best price. The price for the exact same product can vary from store to store, so always do a search for the cheapest price before purchasing.

6. Try to do as much of your Christmas shopping during sale time as you can. Whether you take advantage of sales throughout the year, Black Friday, or the pre-Christmas sales, it could potentially save you a small fortune. You'll usually find the best deals and discounts during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales which immediately follow American Thanksgiving at the end of November, so be sure to check them out if you want to grab a few bargains and save yourself a few pounds.

7. Shop in outlet shops to find a bargain, or to afford something higher-quality for your money. You could be able to afford something that was originally out of your budget, and even treat your loved ones to a designer gift. I recommend Bicester Village in Bicester, Oxfordshire, and Gunwharf Quays outlet village in Portsmouth.

8. Don't be afraid to shop in pound shops / dollar stores for little presents for hampers, gift baskets, and stockings. You can find some real gems amongst all that tat for less than the price of a coffee.

9. Use auction sites like eBay to bag a bargain. You can find brand new items for less than they cost on the high street, and the perfect second hand gifts for your friends and family's varied interests.

10. Don't be afraid to shop in charity shops, or at boot sales. You can often find brand new items for next to nothing, and you could find the perfect gift for your loved one- perhaps a gorgeous vintage dress for your vintage-loving friend, or the first edition of your partner's favourite book.

11. Shop discount beauty websites like Fragrance Direct, The Beauty Store, and Cult Beauty for beauty product bargains at a fraction of the price. They're great for inexpensive gifts for stocking fillers, hampers, and gift boxes.

12. Take advantage of '3 for 2' and 'buy 1 get 1 free' multi-deals to save money, and get an extra present for your money.

13. Split 'buy 1 get 1 free' multi-deals with a friend to each save fifty percent on gifts.

14. Always search for a discount code before ordering online. You can usually find one for most online stores. Enter '[insert shop name here] discount code' in to a search engine, and it will lead you to all of the available codes. If there isn't a code available, perhaps hold off purchasing for a couple of days, and then try searching again. New discount codes appear all the time.

15. Follow your favourite shops and brands on social media to keep up to date with sale news, flash sales, offers, and discount codes.

16. Sign up to newsletters from the online shops you plan to purchase from- you'll often get a discount code for signing up.

17. If you have a birthday coming up before Christmas, remember to add your date of birth when you create accounts with online shops- you'll often get sent a discount code on your birthday.

18. If you have a store card, take advantage of the discount codes and special offers that they send you with your monthly statement.

19. Take advantage of the heavily discounted deals on websites like Groupon and Wowcher, who offer daily deals on gifts and experience days for a fraction of the original price.

20. Use the loyalty cards points you've collected over the year towards presents or the Christmas food shop. Your Boots points, for instance, could help you buy some great beauty gifts for your friends, while your Nectar points could bring down the cost of your Christmas food shop at Sainsburys.

21. Use cash back websites to find vouchers and get cash back on your purchases. You can get cashback with most popular online shops (depending on the company you sign up to), and it's super easy to do. Once you've signed up, all you need to do is log on to the cashback website, click through to the shop you want to purchase from, and shop as normal, and watch the pounds roll in! The amount of cashback you will receive will vary from shop to shop, but it's usually between 1-10% of your order total, and sometimes more. I personally use and swear by Quidco.

22. Place an online order with a friend or loved one and split the delivery charge between you. Combining your orders might even help you qualify for free delivery so neither of you have to pay a delivery fee!

23. Collect your online orders from store or a designated collection point to save money on delivery. Collecting your parcel is usually cheaper than the delivery charge, and often completely free.

24. Buy all of your presents from one shop, or as few shops as possible, to save money on delivery fees.

25. If you're placing an online order but haven't reached the free delivery threshold, and are likely to purchase from the website again soon, hold off ordering until the items in your basket build up and qualify for free delivery.

26. If your purchases haven't reached the free delivery threshold, perhaps hold off on ordering until the shop in question hosts a free delivery promotion, or you find a free delivery discount code.

27. Sign up to a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime for a month of free one day delivery on millions of products. It could save you a fortune on delivery costs for all those presents you need to buy, and you don't have to continue the membership after the 30 days are up- just remember to cancel the membership before the end of the trial month so you don't get charged!

28. If you're buying presents for friends and family you won't be visiting until after Christmas, perhaps wait for the Boxing Day sales to buy their gifts.

29. If you're creating hampers, gift baskets, or stockings for multiple people, buy items in bulk and split them. It's usually cheaper than buying the products separately.

30. Buy a couple of extra gifts to put in the present stash in case you forget someone or you have an unexpected guest over Christmas.

31. If you're travelling before Christmas, make good use of the Duty Free to buy presents for less than on the high street.

32. Pack shopping bags in your handbag or carry bags in the car to save you paying 5p for every carrier bag you'll need. Okay, 5p isn't much, but it soon adds up. Every penny counts if you're on a budget, right?

33. If you have a big friendship group or work with a large group of colleagues, why not do a Secret Santa? Everybody buys one gift and everybody receives one gift, and everybody's happy for saving a small fortune.

34. If money is really tight, just buy presents for the kids this year, and make an agreement with the adults not to buy each other gifts. Why not spend some time together instead?

35. Don't stick all your Christmas shopping on your store cards or credit cards unless you can pay off the bill quickly. If you don't pay it off straight away, you could find yourself having to pay back a lot more than what the purchases originally cost you. It's not worth it.

36. If it's expensive to park in your local high street or shopping centre, use the park and ride to save money. It'll likely save you time on finding a vacant parking space, too.

37. If you're a skilled crafter or artist and have all the supplies you'll need, why not make gifts for your loved ones instead of buying them this year? Your friends and family are sure to love the unique presents you make just for them, and appreciate the time and effort you put in to their gifts.

38. Save money on impersonal boxes of chocolates or expensive hampers, and make your own foodie gifts from scratch. Whether you want to gift cookies, Christmas cake, or even your own home brewed sloe gin, everything tastes better when it's home-made, and will go down a storm with your loved ones.

39. Remember to pre-order or buy the must-have Christmas toys / gifts on release day to avoid disappointment because they will sell out fast. 

40. Make sure you keep all receipts in a safe place in case anything needs to be returned. 

41. When shopping for presents at Christmas time, always ask for a gift receipt. A gift receipt works just like a normal receipt, except it doesn't reveal the price of the items listed, so you can pass along the receipt to the recipient in case the gift needs to be returned or exchanged without them knowing how much you spent on their gift.

42. Always double check the returns policy before purchasing, especially if you're unsure whether the recipient will like the gift, or if it will fit them. It will vary from store to store, so double check how long you have to return it, and whether they offer a full refund, exchange, or store credit only.

43. When ordering online, remember to advise the courier or postman where to leave your parcels if you're not home. It'll save you having to pop to the sorting office to retrieve them, or the parcels being sent back to the warehouse for redelivery.

44. Save yourself the hassle and stress of Christmas shopping on the high street, and do all of your Christmas shopping online from the comfort of your sofa. 

45. Do your Christmas shopping during the week, early in the morning, or late at night for an easier, and less stressful shopping experience, when the shops will typically be much quieter than during the day time on the weekend.

46. Be patient when you're Christmas shopping. It's Christmas; the shops are going to be hectic, and the staff will be working as hard as they can to serve everyone as quickly as possible. It's not their fault it's so busy; that one's on Christmas, so give them a break. They're human, just like you.

47. Wear a cross-body-bag to keep your hands free for all of those shopping bags. You'll be glad you did when your arms are aching under the strain of twenty shopping bags.

48. Try to keep your bag as light as possible to minimise the strain on your back and shoulders. Just bring the essentials- you'll thank yourself for it when you're weighed down by heavy shopping bags full of gifts.

49. Wear comfy clothes and shoes. You'll only regret wearing six inch heels when you've been standing in the same place in the queue for half an hour.

50. Wear layers you can add or remove if you get too hot or cold, because most shops will have the heating on full blast, and you're likely to get overheated while you shop and queue to pay. You'll be going in and out of the cold a lot, too, so you may find wearing layers far more comfortable than dressing in a single chunky knit jumper you can't remove in public.

Have you got any Christmas shopping tips you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wednesday Wish List

Here's a few things I've been coveting this week...

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Erstwilder have just released their new Christmas collection, and OMG it's soooo perfect! They're all so fantastic I can't even narrow down a favourite. I want every single piece!

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These Lulu Hun 'Call Me' telephone novelty bags are pretty damn cool, especially in red.

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Silly Old Sea Dog's range of Christmas dresses is amazing, and they even cater to plus sizes up to a size 24! I'd so buy them all if I could afford to, so I could embrace the Christmas spirit and dress to match the decorations every day of the festive season.

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I'm completely smitten with Lindy Bop's new Christmas dresses, especially the deer and Nutcracker print Audreys. The best part is they're really affordable, too... The worst part is I still can't afford to shop, so I can't snap them all up. *Wails internally.*

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These Lindy Bop corduroy embroidered dungaree skirts are so beautiful.

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I grew tired of the owl trend years ago, but I have to say, these Kate Spade novelty owl bags and purses are adorable. I'd happily snap them all up.

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And last but not least, these enamel pins from Punky Pins are ridiculously cute. Naturally, my favourites are the fox and the bunny in the heart.

If you'd like to see more of the fashion pieces on my wish list this week, check out my style wish list boards on Pinterest. You can also find all previous Wednesday Wish Lists here.

What's on your wish list this week?
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