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#SecretSanta13

This post is a little bit late but I wanted to save it until after Christmas even though I sneakily opened it early.

 I received a rather large box packed full of goodies when I took part in the #SecretSanta13. My secret Santa was Louisa from Duck in a Dress who did an amazing job at picking the perfect gifts for me. She spotted my love for hot chocolate and haribo and picked some fantastic treats which I've been enjoying over the past 3 weeks.



I was so excited to open up the box to some lovely festive wrapping and loads of little packages to tear open. I couldn't believe how many things she'd got for me! I took plenty of pictures to give you a closer look at everything. All I can say is I'm definitely sorted for a whole month of quiet nights in, eating haribo, sipping on hot chocolate, in my new pyjamas.



I've seen these hot chocolate stirrers before but never tried one but Louisa kindly gave me a white chocolate and milk chocolate set which sound delicious. These bright blue Haribo pyjamas made me giggle, I've never seen anything like this before but they're totally perfect!


I couldn't believe how many different kinds of hot chocolate sachet there actually are. I have a huge selection now to try, I've barely made a dent in the collection. Lots of yummy haribo and I loved that they were all festive/winter themed. Some Super Cosy hot chocolate by clipper - yum! Lastly a cute little mug to have them all in. 

Thank you so much Louisa, I loved my presents and you did a fantastic job!

Did you take part in any blogger secret santas?

What I Got For Christmas 2013

I did one of these posts last year and thought I'd keep up tradition and show you what I got this year. I had a lovely Christmas with amazing presents and far too much delicious food. I got some wonderful surprises and have enough chocolates to last me the rest of the year!


I received so many different things it's hard to see it all in one picture. Putting it all together like this showed me exactly how much my family spoilt me though! I've split everything up into categories like my birthday post to give you all a closer look.

My main present and the biggest surprise that I got on Christmas morning was the gorgeous Michael Kors bag. It's simple, perfect size and I love it. I also got a glittery clutch and a big LucyBella teacher jute bag. Some other fashion bits and pieces included Christmas socks, a cosy Dorothy Perkins jumper, a hat and tights.

I had a very beauty inspired Christmas receiving a whole host of Benefit products, Soap and Glory set, Liz Earle best sellers, elf brushes, Shu Uemura eye lash curlers, Mac foundation, D&G Light Blue perfume, UV polishes and a cosmetic cabinet with essentials.

I got some lovely quirky and practical gifts including a winning scratch card (that was lucky!) a smurf torch for my keys and an external hard drive. 

So much chocolate, sweeties and some very tasty sounding vodka!

I hope you all had a great Christmas. Feel free to leave your present links below, I can't resist having a nosey at what other people got too.


Sweater Weather Tag

1.Favourite Candle scent?
I burn the same scented candles throughout the whole year - the vanilla ones from ikea. I stocked up ages ago and absolutely love the sweet scent.

2.Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate or green tea. A big mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows is amazing on a horrible stormy day.

3. What's the best fall/Autumn memory you have?
Last year my boyfriend and I went to Egypt as part of my 21st birthday present. We went after all my essays were handed in at uni, for a week just before Christmas. It was an amazing week relaxing in the sunshine, listening to Christmas music by the pool and seeing hotels all lit up with Christmas lights. It was such a fantastic break.



4. Which makeup trend do you prefer dark lips or winged eyeliner?
I can't pull off the dark lip look at all. Probably to do with how fair skinned I am with bright blonde hair. I don't do winged eyeliner as much as I used to but I much prefer it to dark lips.

5. Best fragrance for fall/Autumn?
I've returned to using Lady Gaga Fame for the winter and Paco Rabanne Lady Million is another must have.

6. Favourite Christmas food?
I love starting my Christmas dinner off with a prawn cocktail, then the turkey and everything with it and love rounding it all off with a cheesecake! Yum, can't wait!

7. What is the autumn weather like where you live?
Cold and miserable. Right now I can hear the wind battering off the windows and just half an hour ago there was a bit of thunder and lightening. 


8. Most worn sweater?
I tend to wear cardigans of all colours and styles but this year I bought a big fluffy heart print jumper from Primark and have worn it at every opportunity. It's so cosy.


9. Must have nail polish for this fall/autumn?
I've got 2 favourites - Models Own Juicy Jules and China Glaze Go Crazy Red. You can't go wrong with either glitter or red… or both!


10. Football games or jumping in leaf piles?
I have no answer to this, I feel like jumping in puddles would much more appropriate than leaf piles. I do like the crunch of leaves though.

11. Skinny Jeans or Leggings?
I much prefer skinny jeans to leggings, preferably the soft ones from New Look or Primark or Leigh ones from Top Shop. However I do have a pair of the leggings with zips from Zara and they are practically trousers they are such good quality, which I much prefer.

12. Combat boots or UGGs?
I got UGGs for Christmas last year and I love them. They are so cosy and I couldn't believe how much better the real deal were. I must have bought about 4 cheapy pairs from Primark and obviously they didn't last. Combat boots really aren't my style, however if it was riding boots it would be a very close call.

13. Is Pumpkin spice worth the hype?
No idea.

14. Favourite winter TV Show?
It's not a winter TV show but I'm absolutely loving Revenge right now. I couldn't resist watching online and keeping up with it in America. Season 3 is amazing.

15. What song really gets you into the winter spirit?
After the Christmas Show at school it's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. My class performed this and it's got lovely memories attached to it now.


Persunmall.com Wishlist



There's nothing I enjoy more on a Saturday afternoon, next to the fire whilst watching a Christmas film (Arthur Christmas is my choice this week) than a bit of window shopping! I've been having a browse on Persunmall.com and so many things have ended up in my basket. Unfortunately due to typical Christmas expenses I've not been able to go any further with said packed basket so I decided to add everything to my wish list instead. It's very much a Winter style wish list with black featuring regularly. First up is a Burberry inspired Heart Print Shirt. These have been everywhere since Harry Styles was spotted sporting one way back in September! Next up is a dress I'd happily wear to work, shopping or for a bit of a festive get together. The bird print dress is pretty versatile, a flattering shape and all in all quite simple. Along the 'perfect for any occasion lines' I spotted this chiffon frill top. It's a bit more interesting than a plain black top with some girly frills.
Now onto accessories. I always seem to be attracted to handbags and shoes these days! Another designer inspired piece in the form of a flap cross body handbag. This bag looks good quality, with a decent chain, without being too over the top imitation. 
Hello Louboutin lookalikes and absolute perfect night out shoes - Classic Black Heels.
Last of all is a Colour Block Handbag that really is perfect for winter. With a long strap, a short handle, a stylish shape and a real mix of colours, you can't really go wrong.



I almost left the site without spotting these cuties! Hidden amongst the gifts they've got a selection of phone cases, mostly for Samsung Galaxys and iPhones. These 3 have taken my fancy. The pink i-glow case has a handy little fold out stand which would be good for watching youtube as I get ready. The Minion Phone Case would get me major brownie points at school - it's so cute! Last favourite is a wee ducky phone case. They've got a few in different get-ups but the swimming one looks adorable.

What items seem to be reappearing on your wish lists?

Gift Guide: Origins Merry Moisturiser Set





Boots has some of the best gift sets at Christmas time and this one stood out to me right from the start. I had my fingers crossed that Santa would notice it and I was lucky to receive it for my birthday, a month earlier than Christmas.
The set contains 4 products:

Drink Up Intensive Overnight hydrating mask 50ml
Make A Difference Rejuvinating hand treatment 50ml
Make A Difference Plus+ Rejuvinating treatment lotion 50ml
Make A Difference Plus+ Skin rejuvinating moisturiser 50ml.

On offer for less than £30 the set is cheaper than buying an Origins moisturiser on it's own.  Even at full price it's worth it to get a lotion, hand cream and highly regarded face mask.

I hadn't tried any of these products before but I'm already hooked on the Drink Up Intensive over night mask. I've got quite dry and dehydrated skin but using this has meant the winter hasn't caused too much problem yet. Each product is a really good size so it's not like some sets where you only just start to use them and the products have already run out. 

A highly recommended, premium skin care set at not so hurtful prices. Perfect for Origin fans or for someone who deserves to treat their skin.

Area H2O Healthy Hair Challenge





For the last 2 weeks I've been taking part in the #AreaH20HealthyHairChallenge. My usual shampoos and conditioners were ditched and replaced by the Area H2O shampoo and  conditioner for coloured hair in soft water areas. 



There's a lot of science behind these products which react with the water with which you wash your hair in. There are three different water types which depend on where you live. Living in Scotland I've got soft water running through my shower which has a sodium content that doesn't combine with the soap film in the shampoo properly and therefore doesn't rinse off very easily. Metal ions are present in water and form mineral deposits when they react with shampoo. Hair H20 is a magnetic style shampoo to ease the washing process and get rid of these nasty mineral ions and deposits.

It's really fascinating stuff and gets even more fascinating when you use it and see the results for yourself!

When I first began using it my hair was much more tangled and I really wasn't sure if I wanted to continue. I embraced the challenge and battled on but decided to read a bit more about the sciencey stuff to see if was doing what it was meant to be. I was reassured that the rougher feeling was all because my hair cuticles were opening up and washing out mineral deposits. By the second week the tangly, dry feeling was no longer there and real results were starting to show.

The biggest improvement in my hair is how clean it feels. Gone are the days of using dry shampoo to pull off a second day hair style. My hair feels like it's just been washed on the second day and I've even been able to pull of leaving my hair unwashed on the third day. It's been an amazing time saver and also helps improve the condition of my hair as there's a lot less washing, drying and styling being done. Sorry dry shampoo but you've been made redundant since discovering Hair H2O!

I've also seen improvements in shine which can be quite a mean feat for blonde hair. I feel like my hair looks healthier and feels healthier and that's without piling on the intensive conditioners 3 times a week.





After the 2 week challenge I've kept on using both products and still have loads of product left. The shampoo is very concentrated so a little goes a long way which makes it rather good value and with a lot less washing I'll be using these products well into 2014! Thank you Area H2O for letting me take part in this challenge and for reducing my hair washing time, hair styling time and hair product bill.
 

My 22nd Birthday Presents

It was my 22nd birthday near the end of November and I was well and truely spoilt! I thought I'd share what I received as having a birthday near Christmas can be handy for gift inspiration.  I was given some amazing gifts and a right selection of things so I've divided them up so you can get a closer look.



Obviously I received loads of beauty products including a Mark Hill Sexy Waves and Curls Wand, Benefit gift sets and the winter must have from Lush - Snow Fairy. My Mum got me an amazing Origins skincare set and Lancome Mascara set which is available in Boots as part of the Christmas gifts..



The present I've declared as my 'grown up present' was a hooded Arctic Windcheater jacket from Superdry. It's about time I got a decent waterproof jacket and I love this one with the girly added details. My friends, family and boyfriend spoilt me when it came to jewellery - I'm the proud new owner of 4 new Pandora charms and a Thomas Sabo bracelet and charm. They need a post all for themselves! Some cosy slippers, a Ted Baker phone case, a hairdressers voucher and a lovely new clutch rounds up all my fashion gifts.


My random goodies! Lots of yummy sweeties, some Disney and teacher themed gifts and an accessories hanger which I've covered in bracelets already!

I was spoilt, had an amazing birthday and am so thankful for all the lovely presents I was given!

His & Hers Gift Guide - Vivabox


Nearly every year I buy my Mum, my Dad, my brother or my boyfriend a perfume or aftershave and every year I have to keep my fingers crossed that I've bought one that they like. Fragrances are such a personal thing but are also such a fantastic gift to receive. I barely ever buy perfume and love to get a bottle for my birthday or Christmas. I think that's why I love the Vivabox so much. I got a Vivabox last year for Christmas and loved being able to try out lots of different scents and then choose my favourite one.










The Vivabox is a selection of best selling fragrances at sample sizes in a cute gift box with a perfume guide and voucher to get the full size bottle. The idea is you get to try out 7 different scents and then choose your favourite - a gift with a bit of personalisation and choice. Last year I ended up trying and falling in love with Viva La Juicy which is a scent I wouldn't have asked Santa for before. My brother and boyfriend both got one last year too and ended up with a new aftershave which would appear in their favourites post (if they were cool enough to have a blog!).

This years' boxes have an amazing selection of some classic best-sellers and some incredible newbies. The girls box has my firm favourite of Paco Rabanne Lady Million but also the latest Jimmy Choo perfume (Flash) and another Paco Rabanne scent which I've never tried (Black XS). Last year my boyfriend took a liking to Carolina Herrera 212 VIP which has returned this year (which is handy for his hand luggage to Barcelona) but he's also got the chance to try out some new scents to his collection. Seems like the Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male vial was one he was keen to try.

The voucher is redeemable in the Perfume Shop until the end of June 2015 so a gift that just keeps on giving.

Do you like to give or receive perfume at Christmas?

Recent Competition Wins

I've been quite lucky recently on twitter and have won some lovely things which certainly have brightened up long, stressful days at work.


A great chance to try new products, I won some eye gel from Bioderma in a RT competition.



My favourite competition win - an absolutely gorgeous dress from Little Mistress which I wore for my birthday! I won this on Claire's blog SittingPrettyatmydesk.


What better prize to arrive through your letterbox on the last day of November than a Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar? Even better it comes with 2 truffles each day, so no fighting. Thanks PrettyPoshOMG girls.


HouseofBounty have some gorgeous jewellery and I won this bracelet through a RT comp. 


Winning a girls night in gift box from @diamond on twitter was fantastic just before a planned quite weekend. Lots of yummy sweeties and Dirty Dancing Dvd.

Have you been winning anything on the lead up to Christmas?