What I got for Christmas 2014

 

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Lets admit it, we’re all super nosy and love to see what people got for Christmas, so here I am sharing a few of the things I got. I’m writing this on boxing day morning, so I’ve not had too long to play with everything but we have family around this afternoon. On Saturday I’m going to Scotland for the weekend, so although this is going up on Monday, I won’t have any other time to sit down and write this for you.

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Breville Blend:Active – I am already in love with this, I used it this morning to make a smoothie for breakfast and it was so quick and easy! I’d been wanting one of these for summer, and haven’t stopped talking about it to my mum, I was there when she bought it as it was on offer in Morrisons for £19 a couple of months back. My plan is to use this to make smoothies for breakfast every morning before work.

Babyliss Vintage Glamour Wave Maker – These were a surprise present, I’d mentioned to my mum that I wanted a curling wand so that I could make loose waves in my hair rather than the curls I can make with my straighteners. When I saw that the wand was oval rather than round I instantly thought they’d be useless however I used them Christmas day morning and I am impressed with them. I may do a review once I’ve used them more.

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Eat by Nigel Slater – You can’t look at this book and not want to eat all of the food pictured in it! I am so ready to start cooking from it, it’s full of good food that’s pretty fast to cook. I opened it on the page for Root Vegetable Patties with Spiced Tomato Sauce, and it’s going to have to be the first recipe I try.

Jon Richardson Nidiot – I love Jon Richardson and so his latest dvd was always going to be a hit. I don’t think I even mentioned that I wanted his dvd, my sister just knows me so well!

Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure – As you might have worked out Tinkerbell is my nickname which Tigger gave to me, and she bought me a Tinkerbell movie for Christmas. I can’t wait to watch it, I may pop it on this afternoon.

The Body Shop Red Musk – I fell in love with this at The Body Shop Christmas event I went to, the scent is so unlike anything else I’ve owned. It is a unisex scent but has notes of tobacco, cinnamon, and pepper.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Eye Palette Pink Opal – Unfortunately I can’t find a link for this, however I got mine from Cohorted so you could keep an eye out in case they have it again. I couldn’t resist the colours with pinks and neutrals, plus the rose gold packaging is beautiful!

Now That’s What I Call Disney Princess -  I’m actually listening to this as I write up this post. I absolutely love Disney, so my mum couldn’t go wrong getting me this CD. I must admit that the Princess songs tend to be my favourite ones, though there are a few on here I don’t know because they are from sequels which I haven’t seen.

Lush Hot Toddy Shower Gel – Hot Toddy is no longer on the Lush website, but it smells bloody amazing! It’s another spicy scent containing cinnamon which I love. It also has a gold shimmer through it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few of the things I got for Christmas, I know I’m going to be on the look out for other blog posts showing what people got for Christmas. My sale shopping will be heavily influenced by them I imagine.

Beth x

Please note this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

Pointless Board Game


Each year we get a family gift from Santa, which is usually a trivia game of some sort. One year we got Family Fortunes, another year we got some trivia quiz cards, and this year we got the Pointless Board game.

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We have my stepdad’s family round over Christmas, and in the evening it can get a little boring once you’ve exhausted all conversation. Out comes the new trivia game from Santa for us all to play, and we can get quite competitive!

I really enjoy watching Pointless on TV and I never get pointless answers, but I thought this Christmas it could be great fun, and I imagine my stepdad’s parents may get a pointless answer or two this evening when we play with them.

Last night we played it for about 5 minutes, ‘cause we were so busy and so we didn’t set up the board. Instead we just used the round one questions and asked them to each other, which we found fun. The reason we didn’t set it up is ‘cause we found the instructions to be a bit complicated, however we will read them properly before we play tonight, I think we were probably a bit impatient.

In the box you get the board for the game, counters, and 4 sets of questions, 1 for each round in the game. You also get a score pad and pencils, but if you’re anything like us they’ll just remain in the box forever.

The Pointless Board Game is available on Amazon which is where I bought it from.

Beth x

Please note this post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.

Why Christmas Day Birthdays Are The Worst

 

Last year Buzzfeed did this post on why Christmas Day birthdays are the worst, so this year I thought I would draw up my own list.

Getting a Christmas Tree birthday cake, this genuinely did happen to me one year. Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas but for 15 minutes of the day I would like for nothing Christmas related to go on. I don’t want to look up to see my birthday cake is in the shape of a Christmas Tree!!

Receiving joint Christmas and Birthday gifts. I’m sorry but do you want me to just give you one present? I will happily do so and save myself some money in the process. I buy you individual Christmas and birthday gifts, it’s not too much to ask for the same, is it?

Birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper. I get it you’ve only bought Christmas paper, but surely there is a shop which is still selling birthday paper, or at least one selling plain gold or silver paper so that it at least isn’t covered in snowmen or reindeer.

No one is ever free to celebrate, everyone’s doing things with their family so it’s a nightmare to pin everyone down, and it ends up just becoming a Christmas get together if you do manage to get something sorted.

Birthday celebrations are just a complete no go, for everyone else’s birthday in the house we go out for a meal, but it gets forgotten about for mine. I don’t get to choose where to go for my birthday dinner, it’s dinner at home and even then I don’t get to choose what we have, ‘cause a Christmas dinner is the only option. I shouldn’t complain ‘cause I do love a roast dinner, but it gets boring having the same meal on your birthday every year.

My birthday always seems like an inconvenience, and I have to remind my mum that it’s time for my birthday. I get 15 minutes a year, and I insist on having it at 5.15pm, I don’t care if coffee and mince pies are being served, it’s my birthday and I’m bloody having it!! No one pays any attention as I open my presents and cards, they’re too busy chatting and eating.

You only get presents on one day of the year, and it’s just not possible to get excited for your birthday as all anyone else wants to talk about is Christmas! I don’t know what it feels like to have a birthday as I get Christmas day, and then15 minutes to blow out candles and open presents, I can’t make my birthday drag out for a full day and use it as an excuse to get out of doing things.

Getting told Merry Birthday, no it’s not a merry bloody birthday!!

I also have to share my birthday with my half brother, at least as he gets older there will be someone who understands the pains of a Christmas day birthday.

If you want Christmas cheer head over to Twitter where I’ll probably be getting into the festivities! Also a little reminder that this post is meant in jest, and is not to be taken seriously.

Beth x

Christmas Eve Traditions

 

For me the evening of Christmas Eve is a big part of Christmas. We usually laze around during the day and deliver any last minute cards or presents before the big day. Today we are changing things up a little as we are spending the day celebrating my birthday, which is tomorrow if you didn’t know. When this post goes live I will be out at a Christmas film festival with my mamma. However, a blog post on my birthday day will come later, so lets get back to the Christmas Eve traditions.

Like I said, there’s nothing special we do during the day but it all comes alive once we get to the evening. We like to sit down as a family and watch a movie, usually one that’s on the TV but if needed we do have plenty of movies to choose from. One of the best things is getting to eat pizza on our knees while watching the movie, this is a treat for us as we have to eat at the dining table for dinner. If we’re lucky my mum will crack open the big tub of sweets early so that we can have some with the movie.

As we’ve gotten older we’ve managed to push back bed time, so now it’s about 10pm, which is my normal bedtime anyway. However before we can even think about going to bed we must put out a snack for Santa and the reindeers, usually a small glass of milk, a mince pie, and a couple of carrots.

Once in pj’s we reconvene in my bedroom, where my mum reads to us (we really are like little kids at Christmas). She reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and then we also have the Nativity story, which is an awesome pop up book! I’ve already been looking for a new version of both stories for my niece to have next year, I’ll still be keeping hold of our current version of The Nativity for her to have once she’s old enough for it, but I’ll be keeping my hands on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Once the stories are over it’s time to put out our stockings, we leave them on the landing outside of our doors, and then it’s bedtime so that Santa can come.

What Christmas Eve traditions do you have?

Beth x

Candy Cane Mouse | D.I.Y

I thought it’s almost Christmas so why not share with you a quick and easy Christmas craft that can easily be done today or tomorrow. I think they’d look really cute on the table as a little gift for everyone when they sit down.

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The first thing you need to do, is print off this Martha Stewart template, if you want a bigger mouse than the one I’ve done you can enlarge the template on a photocopier. You could also use small candy canes if you want to keep the mouse the same size but don’t want a really long tail.

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You will need:
The template
Felt (in at least 2 colours)
PVA glue/needle and thread
Candy Canes
Scissors
Pins
Marker pens (Sharpies)

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1. Once you’ve printed your template you need to cut it out.
2. You then need to pin the body and ears to a piece of felt and cut them out.
3. Pin the inner ears to a different colour of felt and cut out.

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4. Glue the inner ears to the ears piece, if you’re using needle and thread stitch the inner ears to the ears piece.
5. In the body cut slits for the ears and tail.
6. Slot the ears into place.

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7. Using a marker pen mark on eyes and a nose.
8. Slot in the candy cane tail.

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I only used bits I had in the house hence sewing the ears rather than gluing them on, however I like the effect it has. I made it in about 20 minutes, but if I was gluing you could easily half the time. I spent ages trying to find a needle and then threading it.

Have you done any crafting this Christmas?

Beth x

Laura Ashley Christmas Craft Workshop

 

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a Christmas Craft workshop hosted by Laura Ashley in Manchester. We all know I love Christmas so of course I leapt at the chance to go, especially as I enjoy crafting too.

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We got to try our hand at two different crafts a paper craft, and a fabric craft. They were crazy enough to let us loose on sewing machines! Ministry of Craft were there to give us instructions while we were crafting.

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The first craft I tried my hand at was the making of a present sack, if you have the time I think this is a really cute idea. It doesn’t save on having to wrap presents but it makes them look extra cute when you deliver them plus the bag can be used for another purpose such as a lunch bag. It was really simple to make the present sack, one large piece of fabric folded in half makes your sack. You need to sew your design on first before stitching the fabric together to make a bag. We also popped a drawstring in to fasten the bag, which is why I think you would still need to wrap the presents inside. Little fingers would soon be opening the bag and taking a peek in!!

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After making the present sack it was time for a spot of canapés, there was gluten free bruschetta and smoked mackerel on a little bread thing. I liked the bruschetta, but not so much smoked mackerel as I discovered! All of the canapés I couldn’t eat also looked amazing, and from what I heard tasted delicious too.

It was soon time for the paper craft, which was super easy to make. All you need is some spare wallpaper, scissors, a ruler, pencil, and some double sided sticky tape, and you can make a beautiful box and bow! I am really impressed with how my gift box turned out, and I will be using it for my mum’s birthday present, unfortunately I’ve already wrapped my Christmas presents so can’t use it for Christmas.

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I think next Christmas I will be making present sacks and wallpaper gift boxes to share the presents I’ve bought. I’m pretty sure I’ll use the gift boxes all year round for birthday presents, it doesn’t take long at all to rustle one up.

If you want to have a go at making your own gift box then take a look at the Laura Ashley blog post from the day as they have included instructions for making your own gift box.

The afternoon flew by and as we were leaving we also received a goody bag, inside mine I had a Laura Ashley bauble which when straight on the tree, some Laura Ashley Christmas cookie cutters, and some Laura Ashley dinner candles. I can’t wait to get baking so I can use my cookie cutters. I had a fantastic day, and it’s an afternoon I would be more than happy to live again!!

Beth x

All images courtesy of Joe Bloggers.

Loom Band Christmas Tree!

There's a good chance that if you have children today is the day they break up from school for the Christmas holidays. Well I've found a craft that any loom band loving children will enjoy trying out, making a Christmas tree out of loom bands.

I was recently sent some loom bands from Paddy Power Bingo (http://bingo.paddypower.com/) to have a play with, and I instantly knew I needed to make something with a Christmas theme, and what better than a Christmas tree.

I'll admit that before these came through my door, I'd never seen what loom bands look like when not made into a bracelet. I went into this not quite knowing what I was getting myself into, I just hped that my skills with scoobies when I was at school would come in useful. They didn't if you were wondering.

I headed to Google and found this tutorial video from Made By Mommy. All you need is a loom band loom, and 3 different colours of loom bands. I had pink, green, and white.



The video is a step by step tutorial which is super easy to follow, I never would have managed to make a Christmas tree without it. Even when following it, my first attempt when a bit wrong.


As you might be able to see in the picture above there are quite a few loose loom bands, and you can't really tell that it's supposed to be a Christmas tree!


If you take a look at my second attempt, you can easily see that it looks like a Christmas tree. It takes about 15 minutes to make following the step by step tutorial. I imagine once children have followed the tutorial a couple of times they'll soon be making loads of Christmas trees.

They have a little loop at the top so they could be made into keyrings to give as gifts, or could be hung on the Christmas tree as a decoration.

Have you had a play with loom bands?

Beth x

Festive Red Jumper | Review

 

As you are probably aware last Friday was Save the Children Christmas Jumper day, well I don’t have a typical Christmas jumper, but I am now the owner of what I like to call a festive jumper.

Fashion World got in touch and asked if I would like to review something from their knitwear range. I did fall in love with a Christmas jumper which was out of stock, so I went for the next best thing a red cable knit jumper!  

Fashion World Red Cable Jumper

Red Cable Jumper – Fashion World*
Checkered Dress – George at ASDA

I have the jumper in a 20/22 and I’m generally a size 20 so it’s quite nice and roomy(perfect for when I stuff my face with food over the next two weeks), I would say that it is as true to size as dual sizing can be. There’s just a cable knit pattern on the front of the jumper rather than it all being done in cable knit, I think I prefer it this way as it’s not too big and bulky.

I’ve worn it work and found it to be really nice and cosy first thing in a morning when the heating ahs yet to kick in. I also found that I didn’t get too warm in it either, so I’m not sure what it does to keep me at a perfect body temperature but it’s bloody magical!! I make no promises that it’ll do the same for you, I am known for not noticing how warm it gets.

I’ve also been having a play around with the Fashion World Merry Knit-mas app, where you can dress yourself or your friends up in knitwear and share the pictures either on Facebook/Twitter/Email or download them to keep for yourself.

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Here’s my picture, which isn’t the best as I used one of my selfies, but you get the idea. I think it’s a fab way to add a little fun to Christmas. Plus if you’ve forgotten to send someone a Christmas card, make a picture of you both in festive knitwear and send it by email, you’ll very quickly be forgiven!!

Have you got a festive jumper this year?

Beth x

#PSBloggers Christmas Meet Up | Event

Last Saturday I headed to Meadowhall to meet up with lots of other plus size blogger lovelies!!

I was delayed in getting there, due to an accident on the M1, but when I arrived everyone was sat in Starbucks eating the gorgeous marshmallows from Boomf, which had our blog logos on, how awesome is that? and you lovely lot can get 10% off by using the code BOOMF-ME-HAPPY



I had such a fab time shopping with the lovelies, we went to the Simply Be pop up shop where we were spoilt! We got prosecco on arrival and they had reserved two changing rooms for us, and a goody bag!! It was so much fun trying on clothes with all of the blogging babes, it has been so long since I've been on a shopping trip and it was fantastic. I even left Simply Be with a sneaky purchase which I will share with you, in the new year. I also have my eye on a few of the things I tried on, hopefully I can pick them up in the sale after Christmas.

I'm such an idiot, I completely forgot to take a photo of the goody bag which was from Talented Bags who are a Sheffield based company, and the bags were designed to represent Sheffield. I've given mine to my mum to use carrying about all of the stuff she needs for teaching. The bags were amazing, and if I get chance I will grab a photo to pop in, but I make no promises (Talented Bags, kindly sent me a picture of the bag!).




On to the contents of the bag!

Charnos dotty tights, in a size 16-20 which is perfect for me. I can't wait to wear them, I just need a dress or skirt for them to go with.

Crabtree & Evelyn hand cream in Avocado, Olive & Basil, it smells really nice. I haven't used it yet, as I already have a few on the go, but I imagine it will be really nourishing. Their hand creams are £9 for 50g, and the one we received was 25g.

Balance Active Snake Venom eye cream. Apparently this will relax tired eyes, minimise dark circles, and bags, and moisturise. I'm hoping this doesn't have actual snake venom in, but the ingredients list is chemical names. I probably won't use this and will pass it on to my mum instead.

 A Passion For Natural aloe vera moisturising mist, this is basically a moisturiser but you spray it on, you don't even need to rub it in. I also got an aloe vera body scrub by the same brand, I've just run out of my body scrub so this came at a perfect time, and I can't wait to give it a try. You can purchase other products from the brand in Boots, but the two I received aren't currently available there.

Skinetica anti-blemish super toner makeup base all in one. It's a toner which is also a makeup base, which is ideal if you're always in a rush in the morning and don't have time to apply a primer. I'm going to give this to my sister as it's a product she already uses. You can buy it on their website for £6 including postage.

Makeup Revolution Hard Day palette, I've never tried Makeup Revolution so seeing this palette has really excited me, it has 18 eyeshadows, 12 shimmer, and 6 matte. It has some really gorgeous colours from everyday natural shades to some darker greys and purples for at night. It costs £6 for the palette, you really can't go wrong. There was also a Makeup Revolution Pro Cleanse makeup removing facial cleansing water. I think I'm going to use this to spot clean my makeup brushes, I already have my Bioderma which I love so I'm not going to be using it for its intended purpose. If you want to give it a try, you can pick it up for £5, which makes it half the price of Bioderma for the same amount. 

We also got a gift voucher for Apple & Pears Clothing, a Benefit makerupper card for a free make up session.


As I mentioned above we also got a goody bag from Simply Be.

I forgot to photograph the Simply Be fold up hair brush we received, along with a Simply Be lip balm, and Simply Be nail file, all items which will come in handy!

We also got a Tanya Burr nail polish, mine is in Riding Hood and is a lovely deep red. Leah also gave me her polish in Peaches & Cream (not photographed) which is a lovely nude colour, I've had it on all week with base and top coat and it is only just beginning to cheap. You can buy Tanya Burr polishes in Superdrug and on Feel Unique for £6.99

Simply Be also gave us 100ml of their perfume, I've been wearing it this past week and it smells beautiful. It's really light and perfect for everyday wear as it isn't over powering. I've received compliments on it at work. Unfortunately I can't find it on the website to link it up for you but it has a price of £16.

I want to say a big thank you to Leah for organising the meet up, I had a great time, and next year I'm going to make more effort to get myself to meet ups.

Is there anything in the goody bags you fancy trying?

Beth x

#AAASECRETSANTA

I got home from work yesterday to find the my Access All ASOS secret Santa had arrived. You may have seen the hashtag #AAASECRETSANTA floating about on twitter, and the premise is ASOS asked all of their insiders if they would like to take part in a secret Santa. ASOS would provide us with a £15 voucher code to be spent on a present for our partner.  



I got so excited opening my present, I received the most gorgeous hat! I have a slight obsession with floppy hats, so I’m super happy to have another one to add to my collection. It’s the Felt Floppy Hat with Rope Band Detail, and I also received a pair of pink pom pom socks, which unfortunately I can’t find on ASOS to link up for you. They’re pretty perfect as I’m always in dire need of new socks, both go to the wash basket, and some how I only ever get a single sock to go back in my drawer!

I have to be honest the chocolate has already gone, it never lasts two minutes in my house!

I absolutely love the gifts I received from my secret Santa who is @RachDotDeer on twitter.  

I hope that my secret Santa loves their gift as much as I love the one I’ve received. I found it so hard trying to choose something that my secret Santa would like. I checked out their blog, and there wasn’t much in the way of clues, nor did their twitter give me many hints as to what they may like. I think I chose well from what I could find about my recipient, so I have my fingers crossed that they love it. 

Have you taken part in a secret Santa?

Beth x

Christmas Movies to watch this year

 

I thought I would share with you some of the Christmas movies I’ll be watching over the festive season. Okay, maybe I have already started watching them and have a few under my belt! I have some grown up movies, children’s movies, and ones that are just great for all the family to watch.

Christmas Movies

Nativity and Nativity 2 Danger in the Manger are the best of the newest Christmas movies, and a movie the whole family can enjoy watching together, We got a grumpy 16 year old to sit and watch Nativity with us, and lets be honest that’s not an easy thing to do, especially as he didn’t complain once while watching but actually really enjoyed it.

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what Nativity is about then let me tell you. Nativity is set at St Bernadette's school in Coventry, and quite simply as you can imagine they’re putting on a school nativity show for Christmas. However, it’s not quite that simple when you’re competing with another local school to get the best review.

Nativity 2 again features St Bernadette’s but this year they’re going to compete in a Song for Christmas, at least they will do if they ever make it there! I have had so much fun watching both of these movies, and can’t wait to put them back on again.

For Children’s movies it has to be The Grinch and The Muppets Christmas Carol, I don’t think either of these films need much explaining, I’m sure we’ve all seen them far too many times to count. I’ve already watched The Muppets Christmas Carol, as we tend to watch it while the Christmas cakes are baking in the oven. Who can resist the Muppets, and they bring such a good story. I won’t be watching The Grinch until Christmas Eve, every year I decide I want to go and live in Whoville ‘cause Christmas just looks so much fun there! Even if the Grinch comes along and steals it.

Christmas Movie Collection

My grown up movies are It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas, now I must admit I’ve never seen White Christmas but I will be amending that this year. However It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas movie I watch every year, and it never fails to make me cry. If you haven’t seen it, then I highly recommend you give it a watch this Christmas, trust me you’ll love it.

I also have two bonus Christmas movies for you, the first one is my absolute favourite Christmas movie, that I’ve loved ever since we taped it off the TV when it was shown on BBC and that’s The Greatest Store in the World. If you’ve got a Peter Capaldi fan in the house then definitely try and get your hands on a copy of this and see if they can spot him in it! It is a nightmare to get your hands on, my copy is one I bought off eBay and it cost me £10 even though it was once free with a newspaper. It’s about a mum and her two daughters who find themselves with no where to live over Christmas, and mum does everything she can to make Christmas fun for them.

My second bonus movie is Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage, this is one for those of us who love Jared Padalecki whether you’ve love him since he was in Gilmore Girls as Dean, or you’re obsessed with him as Sam in Supernatural. The movie is about the artist Thomas Kinkade and how a community come together at Christmas time to help a family. It’s a movie to warm those cockles!    

Which Christmas movies do you recommend I watch this year?

Beth x

Please note this post includes affiliate links to Amazon.

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Festive Muffins | Recipe

 

Todays recipe is a twist on this recipe by Faith which is a gluten free twist on this recipe by Mike.

Gluten Free Festive Muffins Ingredients

Ingredients

190g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour (I used rice flour but recommend self raising)
75g Unsalted butter
100g Demerara Sugar
1 egg.
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 an orange
120ml Almond Milk
1 tsp Xanthum Gum
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Allspice

For the topping:

50g Demerara sugar
45g Unsalted butter
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

You can easily take out the gluten free or dairy free elements if you don’t need them and you’ll still get great muffins.

Gluten Free Festive Muffin

Step 1. Line a muffin tray with cases.
Step 2. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees
Step 3. Cream the butter and sugar.
Step 4. Add the egg and mix well.
Step 5. Add a couple of tbsp of the flour.
Step 6. Add the orange zest, juice, milk and mix.
Step 7. Add the remaining flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and mix.
Step 8. Once thoroughly mixed spoon into the muffin cases. You should get between 6 and 9 muffins.
Step 9. Bake at 220 for 5 minutes and then reduce to 180 for another 20.
Step 10. Once baked get the muffins out of the oven and leave them to cool.
Step 11. Time to make the topping, melt the butter.
Step 12. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
Step 14. Brush the muffin with the butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.

Festive Muffin

I really enjoyed eating these when I baked them, and now I’m tempted to go and bake another batch!

Let me know if you bake them, or do you have your own recipe for a festive bake?

Beth x

Girl Online | Book Review

 

I couldn’t resist buying Zoella’s novel and seeing just how it fares.

Girl Online

It’s about Penny who lives in Brighton with her family and she lives next door to her best friend Elliott. Penny writes an anonymous blog called Girl Online, where she can write about anything and no one knows who she is, besides Elliott. Her parents run a wedding shop, and they’re off to New York to plan a wedding, and while in New York Penny meets Noah.

Penny suffers from anxiety, and here is where I find a few issues. The first issue is when Penny writes about it on her blog, she lists a number of things that cause anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, everything on the list can cause anxiety, however a number of them are just general things a teenage girl may worry about or get nervous about. I think the list could cause a lot of young girls to self diagnose anxiety without going to see a professional, or talking about it with someone else whether that’s a parent or someone at school/college. There are some good bits of advice throughout the book, such as not trying to stop your anxiety rising and panic attacks happening but instead to let it out. As I’ve said Penny writes a blog post about it, and she receives a lot of comments  which help to encourage the idea that you’re not alone in suffering and that there are lots of people who understand how you’re feeling.

I would say the book is ideal for a teenage girl rather than someone like me in their early twenties. I expected it to be a better quality of book, I expected a really well written story that I could get lost in, and which would take more than a couple of hours to read. However, I know that at 14 I would have loved reading a book like this! I have since read books I used to read and they’re just so easy to read and have quite simple stories, though not quite as simple as the storyline in Girl Online. It reminds me slightly of some books I used to read as a teenager, like the Mates, Dates, series by Cathy Hopkins, or Ally’s World by Karen McCombie. While I was reading it I could see it becoming part of a series like Girl Online does… or Girl Online in…, I think this would have allowed for a more in depth story as thinks could be picked up again in another book in the series, and I think that it would have allowed the anxiety storyline to develop into an actual story line. However it does get wrapped up at the end so it wouldn’t be possible to develop it into a series.

One thing I liked is that the chapters are quite short making it ideal for those of us who like to read in bed as you can easily finish your chapter before putting it down, but it’s also great for people who aren’t as quick as me at reading and devour books in one sitting. I found it very quick and easy to read, I found parts of it at the beginning to be a bit cringey because I could predict what was going to happen but I have noticed this a lot when I read books which are aimed at younger readers. It isn’t a book that I’m likely to reread for quite a long while, if ever.

If you know a young teenager and don’t know what to get them for Christmas then I would say pick up a copy of this for them, especially if they love the YouTube world. I imagine it will be really popular with her younger fans because her name is on the book, and it will fly off the shelves. Here are a few places you can purchase it from Amazon, Book Depository, Waterstones, WHSmith.

I was planning on giving a copy away, however I didn’t enjoy it enough to be able to recommend it to you, and so I’m going to look at doing a giveaway in the new year rather than one for Christmas.

Has Girl Online tempted you?

Beth x

Please note this post contains an affiliate link to Amazon

Monogram Gift Tags | Christmas D.I.Y

 

I spend ages each year thinking about how I can possibly make my presents special, and so this year I am creating my own gift tags to go with simple wrappings.

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You will need a pencil, ruler, scissors or craft knife if you have one, designer paper, a hole punch, and some ribbon.

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Step 1. Choose the piece of paper you want to use, and mark out a design of a letter on the back. I did an A as I was wrapping my niece’s Christmas present. It’s completely up to you what size you make it but I wanted to use as much of the paper as I could.

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Step 2. Cut it out! A craft knife comes in handy when cutting shapes out in the middle of your letters, but i just stabbed my scissors through the middle and then cut it out.

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Step 3. Punch out a hole to thread your ribbon through. I have a deer punch for mine, but you can use a regular hole punch.

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Step 4. Thread your ribbon through. I originally just threaded the ribbon through as you can see on the picture above, but I then changed my mind and looped it through so that I didn’t need to tie a knot in the ribbon.

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Step 5. Write it and then attach to your present. I just stuck it on with sellotape, simples!

I am wrapping my presents in brown paper this year, decorating them with washi tape, and a Christmas tree decoration.

How are you wrapping your Christmas presents this year?

Beth x

The Christmas Traditions Tag

The Christmas Traditions Tag

I decided to write my own Christmas tag focusing on those traditions that we all have, so I hope you enjoy!

1. When does Christmas start for you?

For me Christmas starts as soon as term starts in September, I will throw myself into Christmas shopping and begin to think about how I will be wrapping my presents.

2. What is one Christmas movie you must watch? 

Christmas isn’t complete until I’ve watched The Greatest Store in the World and The Grinch, both are just the best Christmas movies ever!

3. Do you bake a Christmas cake or buy one?

We always bake a Christmas cake, we’re quite late in baking ours as we wait until October half term.

4. When do you put up your Christmas tree?

Our Christmas tree goes up on the weekend nearest to the 12th of December.

5. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?

We used to always buy a real one, but they were getting too expensive so now we have a fake one, it looks as real as can be, but it just doesn’t have the smell of Christmas.

6. When do you start playing Christmas music?

Once we get into November I start playing Christmas music, I try to hold off but it’s just not possible. I love singing along to Christmas songs, I remember the year I worked at Sainsbury’s doing night shifts we had the same Christmas CD playing for the whole month of December and it was just amazing!

7. Do you use the same Christmas decorations each year or buy new ones?

We don’t go for a complete revamp but we do buy some new decorations each year to go with the old ones. We have a few sets of Christmas tree decorations so we have a vote to see which ones we will use each year. I like the traditional colours, while my sister prefers to go for something a little more modern.

8. How do you spend Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve is usually a day at home, though this year I’ll be at the Ilkley Christmas film festival on my own watching Christmas movies! In the evening we have pizza in front of the tv which is a treat for us. Me and my sister have to be in bed for 9, so we always watch the Grinch in bed. My mum always comes and tucks us in and read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and the Nativity story to us.

9. Advent calendar or no advent calendar?

For me there has to be an advent calendar, I don’t know how I’d cope without one.I love opening the doors each day! I always get a chocolate one, though I’m thinking of treating myself to a Playmobil one this year. I love the look of the beauty advent calendars but they’re just a bit too expensive when I probably won’t use all of the products.

10. Do you leave a snack out for Santa and his reindeers?

I’m 22 and I still leave Santa a mince pie and a glass of milk, the reindeer get a couple of carrots to share too.

11. How does Santa get into your house?

Santa has to use a magic key to get into our house, we have a log burner so it’s not possible for him to get down the chimney.

12. Mince pies, yay or nay?

I don’t like mince pies at all, when I visit people I get to use the excuse that I can’t eat them because I can’t eat pastry.

13. Snowballs, eggnog, or mulled wine?

Mulled wine all the way for me, I can’t think of anything better than a class of mulled wine over the festive season. I love curling up under a blanket with a Christmas movie on, a big tub of chocolates, and a glass of mulled wine.

14. What scents remind you of Christmas?

It has to be spicy scents, and I think that’s why they’re my favourite to wear. Cinnamon, star anise, cloves, just conjure up a lovely Christmas scene in my mind. I also love the scent of pine needles, until recently we always had a real Christmas tree, and for me that scent means Christmas is just around the corner.

15. How do you spend Christmas Day?

I always wake up mega early and have to wait till about 6 before I can wake my sister up and then we open our stockings together. We go downstairs at 7 to open our Christmas presents, and then it’s a trip to church and then the pub! Once we come home it’s a bit of quiet time before Christmas dinner, we usually have my stepdad’s family round but this year we’re not having them on Christmas day. Once Christmas dinner is over it’s time for me to open my birthday presents, and have my cake. Then it’s back to Christmas with the Doctor Who special, and we like to play a trivia quiz.

I am going to tag:

Becky – http://www.beckybedbug.com 
Hayley – http://www.waterpainteddreams.com 
Leona - http://ohleona.blogspot.co.uk/ 
Donna - http://www.polkadot-pink.com/ 

If you want to do the tag then feel free to consider yourself tagged!

Beth x

Are You On The List? | Book Review

 

You may have seen last week that I was part of the blog tour for the launch of Are You on the List? How to Become a Modern Socialite, if you missed it you can read it here. 

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Are You On The List? Is written by Kitty Brucknell, Lewis-Duncan Weedon, and Olivia Cox. All three share their tips and advice, you’ll find the book jam packed with fashion advice, makeup and hair tips, along with advice on how to act in different social situations.

Now you might remember Kitty from her X Factor days, but in this book she writes about buying vintage fashion, vintage fashion is still really popular at the moment, so knowing where to look is key. Kitty also talks about the time she bought a dress in a charity shop and wore it to an awards evening, she also gives hairstyle tutorials.

Olivia shares her tips on making a good first impression, from conversation starter to how to deal with forgetting someone’s name!

Lewis-Duncan Weedon talks about how to act when meeting the Queen, something we all need to know, just in case she decides to pop round for a cuppa! He also talks about how to organize an event, from finding the right location, to setting a theme.

I remember that when I was about 16, my mum bought me a similar book and I devoured all of the advice in it, even if some of it was on etiquette at fancy dinner parties I’ll never be going to!

The book is 200 pages long, so I can’t say too much about it without giving away everything, and then there’d be no need to buy a copy!

I would recommend Are You On The List? as a Christmas gift for young teenagers, someone aged 14-16. Someone who has dreams of becoming famous will love this book, it has all the advice they could need about looking their best and behaving appropriately in all situations, plus even if they don’t become famous the advice is still good stuff to take on board. I do have to say that my mum has had a look through it, and enjoyed reading it too, so it’s not just for the young ‘uns.

You can buy Are You On The List? from the So Vain Books website here and they also have a limited addition tote bag with a quote from Kitty Brucknell which you can buy here.

Will you be picking this up as a Christmas gift, or do you remember being given a similar book one year?

Beth x

Please note this post does contain affiliate links to the So Vain Books website.

The Library of Fragrance | Review

 

The Library of Fragrance - Orange Blossom

Today, I’m bringing you a review of a fragrance from The Library of Fragrance. At the end of October I was sent the Orange Blossom fragrance*, and I have been wearing it everyday since.

I really like that The Library of Fragrance do single scents which you can layer up to create your own signature scent. Most days I wear Orange Blossom on its own, and I have received compliments on it at work. Describing this fragrance is really easy as it is only one scent and does smell like Orange Blossom, it isn’t too strong and I very quickly forget that i’m wearing it. However I learnt that your nose stops registering scents once it gets used to them and it then focuses on registering other scents, so you may not be able to smell your fragrance but other people will pick up on the fact you are wearing it.

Orange Blossom - The Library of Fragrance

I took a trip into my local Boots to see what it would smell like with other fragrances in the range. I paired it with musk, and vanilla ice cream, I have also paired it with fresh ginger on the recommendation of Clare from The Library of Fragrance, which I really enjoyed. I’m definitely planning on picking up Fresh Ginger so that I can wear the combination on a regular basis.

On the Library of Fragrance website they have some information on how to Mix & Match the scents, and the best way to think about layering them.

You can buy The Library of Fragrance at Boots, where they’re on offer for 2 for £25 so you can buy one as a gift and pick one up for yourself, it’d be rude not to, right? There is also a bigger range of fragrances available direct on The Library of Fragrance website

Beth x

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Flapjack | Recipe

 

I have another recipe for you today, I’m bringing you some slightly healthier gluten free and dairy free flapjacks. The basic recipe I used was this one from Tesco Real Food but I made some changes which you can see below.

I’m on a bit of a health food kick at the moment and want to improve what I’m eating, so I decided to bake some of my own flapjack to snack on. It’s a recipe that is quick and easy to make, and results in a satisfying filling snack.

Gluten Free and  Dairy Free Flapjack Ingredients

Ingredients

115g Gluten Free Oats
75g Dairy Free butter (I used Pure Sunflower Spread)
75g Almond Butter
125g Honey
75g Dark Chocolate Chips (70% cocoa)
100g Demerara Sugar

You can switch in unsalted butter and standard porridge oats if you don’t need the gluten free or dairy free element to the flapjacks. I used standard porridge oats as I’m okay with oat gluten. You can also use golden syrup instead of honey.

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees, and line a tin.
Step 2. Melt the sugar, honey, butter, and almond butter in a pan then remove from the heat.
Step 3. Mix in the oats and allow to cool a little.
Step 4. Add in the chocolate chips. (Make sure it’s not too hot or your chocolate chips will melt like mine did!)
Step 5. Poor the mixture into the tin and level.
Step 6. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
Step 7. Allow to cool for a few minutes and using a sharp knife mark out your flapjack pieces.
Step 8. Pop it in the fridge for 1-2 hours to allow it to firm up. Mine was super gooey!!

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Flapjack

I’m eating a slice as I write this and it’s delicious! I was a bit sceptical about it as I’m not so keen on almonds but you can’t really taste them and it is a sweeter taste due to the sugar and the honey.

Let me know if you give this a try or do you have any similar recipes of your own?

Beth x

How to become a modern Socialite - Are You On The List? Blog Tour

 

Blog tour

We all know that I can’t resist having a drink, but one thing that I think is important is knowing your drink. You don’t want to embarrass yourself by asking for a drink that the barman doesn’t know how to make but that you also don’t know how to make so you can’t even give them instructions to make your favourite drink. In Are You On The List? Olivia Cox talks about throwing an epic house party, and lets be honest no house party is complete without cocktails.

For instance I love a mojito and although it’s a popular cocktail that any barman should know how to make, if for any reason they don’t I can easily give them instructions myself. It’s also a great recipe to make for house parties as it is so quick and easy, plus you can use any type of rum so grab whichever one has been sat in the back of the cupboard and make yourself a mojito. 

Mojito

Mojito:
Dark/Spiced/White Rum
Lime
Mint
Sugar Syrup
Soda Water
Crushed Ice

To make a mojito you need a highball glass and follow the steps below.

1. Clap the mint in the palm of your hands and put in the bottom of the glass.
2. Top and tail a lime and cut into wedges.
3. Squeeze the juice out of a wedge of lime on top of the mint and add half the lime wedges.
4. Add a splash of sugar syrup.
5. Fill the class 3/4 of the way with crushed ice.
6. Add 50ml of rum.
7. Top with soda water and stir well.
8. Add any extra ice if required.
9. Garnish with a little sprig of mint and a wedge of lime.

Olivia says: “The great thing about a cocktail is adding your own twist to it” (page 189)

Olivia is absolutely right and you can easily mix up a mojito and add your own twist to it when making it at home.

  • You can make ginger mojito by swapping out the soda water for ginger ale, it’s best with spiced rum.
  • Make a raspberry mojito by swapping sugar syrup for Chambord and adding fresh raspberries.

You need to be able to remember how to make your drink of choice so don’t choose something overly complicated, or one that includes obscure ingredients that you may not find in the local pub or in the supermarket!

I’ve really enjoyed reading Are You On The List? and there are many great tips in the books, ones that you can easily apply to life without the need to be a socialite. Kitty Brucknell talks about fashion, she has some great tips on the best places to find vintage clothes, and also shares that you don’t have to spend a fortune to look a million dollars. Lewis-Duncan Weedon shares his tips on networking, including how you can get yourself that invite to London Fashion Week! Olivia Cox talks throwing a house party, and gives tips on how to make a great first impression.

I think it’ll make a great Christmas present, my mum has had a flick through the book and found tips that she likes so a copy of it may just have to work its way to her stocking. I also know it’d be a great gift for teenage girls, so many of them look up to bloggers and Are You On The List? is full of fashion and makeup tips, some which I definitely wish I’d had as a teenager!

So Vain Books are also hosting a giveaway where you could win a copy of the book Are You On The List and also a tote bag with a quote form Kitty Brucknell.

If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won the giveaway or want to buy Are You On The List? or the limited edition tote bag as a Christmas gift you can do so on the So Vain Books website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note the giveaway is hosted by So Vain Books and when entering the Rafflecopter giveaway your details go to them and not to me.

Don’t forget to visit all the other blogs who are taking part in the blog tour, they’ll all be sharing their own stories or tips for you. 

The blog tour program:

Monday 17th: http://scarlettlondon.com/

Tuesday 18th: http://www.bethtinkerbell.co.uk/ and http://www.ilovejeans.com/

Wednesday 19th: http://www.fashionlollipop.com/

Thursday 20th: http://jenelectro.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://fashionfollowsher.com/

Friday 21st: http://www.chloepierre.com/

I will also be doing a review of the book next week, so come back for that if you want to know more!

 

Beth x

Please note this post includes affiliate links to the So Vain Books website.

Does God Have A Gender? | Thoughts

 

I was recently writing an assignment on the sociology of religion, looking at the representation of women. In my research I came across something Grace Davie said in 1994, she basically said that we attribute our preferred gendered characteristics onto God. For women these characteristics would be love, comfort and forgiveness, where as for men they would be characteristics of power and control. Reading this got me thinking about my own views of God.

I don’t see God as having a gender and this is because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:28) and therefore for different genders to exist God must encompass them all. It wouldn’t be right for me to attribute a gender to God without being given a sign from God as to which gendered pronouns should be used.

God does have power and control but I believe they are used out of Gods love for us. God doesn’t control everything I do, I have my own free will to make decisions for myself. Ultimately God will always direct me to the path I should be in life but doesn’t use power to control everything that I do. I have to be able to make my own decisions so that I develop as a person making mistakes and learning lessons whether that’s through a relationship or the job i have. If God hadn’t given us free will we wouldn’t be able to make mistakes, or learn lessons that are needed for our path in life. If God used power to control everything we did, we would be mindless droids

God knows how to make things seem like your own idea, which is when power and control are used. Ever since I was young I’ve wanted to be a teacher but until 2 years ago I always wanted to teach history. This was Gods way of preparing me for the path I was going to go on. If you didn’t know I’m going to be starting a Theology degree in September 2015. Theology is pretty much a history degree, but I’ll be looking at the history of Christianity and possibly taking a smaller look at the history of other religions. God has given me small steps to get to this point where I know that God wants me to study Theology, but I wouldn’t have been ready for it any earlier. My jobs in retail and internet marketing were decisions made by my free will and they helped me get ready for this next big step on my pathway.

God loves us all and will always forgive us, we were given free will to allow us to make mistakes. It wouldn’t be fair for God to not forgive us for using our free will when God gave it to us. Ye God may punish individuals for the decisions they made with their free will, but they will always be forgiven. We need punishment sometimes to help us understand the mistakes we’ve made, and to help us not make them again. In the same way that parents will punish their children by giving them time to reflect on what they’ve done, God does the same for us.

To round up my thoughts, I don’t think God has a gender but gendered stereotypical characteristics can all be applied to God.

These are obviously only some of my thoughts, and are just my opinion on the Christian God. Nothing I have said is right or wrong, we have to make our own decisions on these matters and decide for ourselves what we wish to believe.

I would be interested in hearing other peoples thoughts too.

Beth x

#Bloggerspjsday | OOTD

 

As you lovelies will probably know, today is Children in Need and this evening we will all be sat in front of the TV for hours on end watching the programme and raising money.

Well a few of us lovely bloggers have got together and decided to have a pj day! We all love a good excuse to not have to wear clothes. We’re all donating pennies to Children in Need and sharing with you our pj’s of choice.

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These are my real life pj’s which I am wearing all day, unless I need to go out and stock up on supplies. The pj’s are from Primark, my top is an actual top but the bottoms are pj’s. My Olaf top says ‘Some people are worth melting for’ all together now “awwww”.

I don’t think anyone else would actively put such awful pictures of themselves online, however I have no photographer on hand and it’s too much hassle setting my tripod up and trying to jump in front of the camera before the self timer goes off.

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If you can spare some pennies to donate to Children in Need then you can do so by texting BLOG74 then your chosen amount (£1, £2, £5, £10) to 70070 or visit https://www.justgiving.com/bloggerspjsday 

All the other bloggers involved are:

Rachel http://happylittlesyllables.co.uk / @rachelcdailey

Emily http://ems-trends.co.uk/ / @epblogging

Becca http://www.polkadotnotebook.co.uk / @becca_j_goddard

Amy http://www.cocktailsinteacups.com / @teacupcocktails

Kat http://www.henryskat.blogspot.co.uk/ / @henryskat2014

Jessica http://www.lookwhatigot.co.uk/ / @jd_lwig

Yasmina http://thejulyjournal.blogspot.co.uk/ / @itsyasminaa_

Doris dorislife.wordpress.com / @mzjaggah

Charlotte http://justmsmaxwell.com/ / @justmsmaxwell

Leona http://ohleona.blogspot.co.uk/ / @leonuhh

Are you doing anything today for Children in Need?

Beth x

The Body Shop Christmas | Event

 

Last Tuesday I was invited to go to The Body Shop in Leeds as they were holding an event to show off some of the new product launched for Christmas. As someone who loves Christmas there was no way I could resist going.

Being the excellent blogger I am, I forgot to take my camera with me and so the pictures in store were taken on my phone, hence the strange sizes.

On arrival we were greeted with a class of prosecco which is always lovely. We were then given the chance to look around the store at all of the products, with members of staff on hand to talk to us about the different products.

The Body Shop Christmas Gift Sets

I always love the Christmas gifts range at The Body Shop, I just think they’re so cute. Just look at the little polar bear!

The Body Shop Christmas Gifts

I know i’ll be getting at least one of The Body Shop gifts sets for Christmas like I do every year and I love them. Gift sets from The Body Shop are some of the only gift sets I will actually use. 

The Body Shop Christmas Range

They’ve also released 3 new scents for this Christmas, Glazed Apple, Frosted Cranberry, and Vanilla Brulee. I love the scent of all 3 though Vanilla Brulee is a little too sweet for me, but I can’t get enough of Frosted Cranberry, cranberry is one of my favourite Christmas scents so putting it in bath products is just perfect! The Vanilla Brulee did remind us of the Laura Mercier Honey Bath but at £10 it’s a much cheaper option.

If you love glitter then I recommend The Body Shop Sparklers which are a fragrance with glitter in, spray it into your hair for a festive sparkle. They’re a hit with children, Kellie from Big Fashionista brought her daughter to the event and she loved the spraklers!

They’ve also brought out a new fragrance Red Musk which is a spicy unisex fragrance with notes of cinnamon and tobacco. I have added it to my Christmas list, and almost regret not picking it up when I was at the event. I’m not a lover of sweet scents, and the spicy fragrance is just ideal for winter.

The Body Shop Haul

While I was at The Body Shop I couldn’t resist picking up a few pieces. From the new Christmas range I picked up the Frosted Cranberry shower gel, and also a lip balm both were £4 each. While I was there I spent time chatting with Robyn about skincare and picked up the Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet and the Vitamin E Overnight Serum in Oil. I introduced them to my skincare routine immediately and my skin has never been so great. I also picked up the warming mineral mask as it has been on my wishlist for ages and i’ve just never got round to popping it into my basket.

Has anything from The Body Shop Christmas range caught your eye?

Beth x