Thursday 19 December 2013

A Christmas Story - Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells 

The bells were ringing and as they passed by the church Lizzie stopped to peer at the bride.  She looked just like a princess in her big white dress and was glowing with happiness. Aged 15, Lizzie was caught up in the romance of it all, a million emotions ran through her head, her mind wandered as she dreamed it was her standing there holding the bouquet, marrying Jake the love of her life. Of course he didn't know this yet.. it was only the first date and they had only just started to hold hands. Noticing Lizzie's eyes were closed, Jake seized the opportunity and planted a kiss on Lizzie's lips, as his tongue tried to prise open her mouth Lizzie's eyes shot open and she felt her cheeks redden. This was her first kiss and now everyone knew she had done it. It must be written all over her face. At least that was what it felt like as they walked home arm in arm and in silence.

Lizzie and Jake's big love lasted a year. Jake was the heartthrob at school but Lizzie wasn't anyone's fool and so the day she caught him kissing another girl was the day she told him to get lost and out of her life. She cried of course, her future plans with Jake in ruins. All those sweet words they had shared had obviously meant absolutely nothing to him. The git.

Heartbroken Lizzie ploughed all her energy into her studies and headed to Uni to study Journalism. She had relationships whilst there of course, very few students didn't. But in the back of her mind Jake still loomed, trying to shake him off..she yelled at her mirror "WHY!!" and fell sobbing onto her bed. Was Jake the one that got away. It sure felt like it.

Twenty years later and with a failed marriage behind her, she logged onto Facebook one day and nearly fell off her chair. There in black and white was a friend request from non other than Jake! What the devil does he want Lizzie muttered.. and set about reading his profile.. Dr Jake no less and he was single. Oh what the hell she thought as she accepted the request. No sooner had she done this then a message popped up.

"Hey, how are you?!"

Is that it, Jake? Really? 20 years and all you can say is that? Lizzie thought.

What she actually replied was "Hey, I am good thanks"

And for the next three months they chatted incessantly over Facebook. They sat late into the night  with hundreds of words passing between them, Jake made her laugh, made her feel alive once again. All the memories came flooding back. Jake loved reminding her of that year they had spent together, regaling tales in such minute detail of things that even she had long forgotten.

Could she be falling in love all over again? Lizzie refused to believe it, didn't want to be taken for a fool again. Her heart had hardened, her cynical side reminding her that leopards don't change their spots. She shook her head, once again looking into the mirror and saying "Don't be silly Lizzie, he hasn't even asked to see you again!"

Logging onto Facebook a week later a message was waiting for her.

"I know this is crazy but I need to see you, meet me? "

Suddenly Lizzie felt shy, Jake remembers a girl of 15 not this grown woman of 35. Sure she scrubbed up OK but what if that attraction wasn't there, she just couldn't be let down again. It hurt too much.

"Mmmm, maybe" she typed. Managing to stall him for another two months. She went back to the gym, she visited the hairdressers and banished those tell tale roots. She finally felt ready to meet him again, which was just as well as Jake was beginning to wonder whether he should have bothered to get in touch, she seemed to be avoiding him.

"Meet me at Big Ben at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve"

"Seriously? Are you sure"

"Be there!"

Lizzie spotted him before he saw her, Dr Jake was looking good, very good. A long dark woollen coat, a stripey scarf wrapped around his neck. Those same piercing blue eyes, the dark floppy hair, they were still there. Thank goodness she had stalled him. Her heart missed a beat as he looked right at her and smiled. His arms pulled her close and they stood there just hugging for what seemed like ages. He smelt good, his strong arms felt safe. This is where she belonged.

Out of nowhere a choir appeared and began to sing Christmas Carols, a man handed them some mulled wine to take the chill from the cold, winter air. The festivities far from dampening down were gaining momentum.

As Big Ben struck midnight Jake reached into into his pocket and brought out a tiny box. Going down on bended knee, he looked nervous. Lizzie's legs wobbled and she felt faint.

"Lizzie, I never forgot you and I never, ever, forgot our very first kiss as the wedding bells rang. I was an idiot, I am sorry. The next bells I want you to hear ringing are those at our wedding. Will you marry me?"

Tears fell down Lizzie's face, she could barely contain her joy. Her heart was fit to burst. She thumped him playfully on the chest and sobbed "Yes! You fool, you are all I have ever wanted!"

Merry Christmas x

*An original work of fiction, all rights reserved.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

LUSH Last Minute Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers!

One week until Christmas!!

I know it happens every year but this year it feels like it has crept up on me.

If you still have a few bits to buy or Secret Santa is looming, LUSH have some great affordable gifts. Here are my top picks. Or, do as I will be doing and pick up a treat just for you to pop in the bath and wind down from all the festivities!

Bath Ballistics 

Bombardino £2.50 

Bombardino shares its name with a drink enjoyed in the Italian Alps and smells
of rich lemon cheesecake. With cocoa butter, Sicilian lemon oil and Fair Trade vanilla absolute.

Secret Santa £5.75

Modelled on the original LUSH shop, this double layered ballistic is scented with sandalwood, zesty lime and
floral oils to emulate the iconic fragrance of the LUSH shop. The bath water turns a bright orange and there really is a Secret Santa inside! 

Shoot For The Stars £3.25

Relax in the bath with Brazilian orange oil,  bergamot and the creamy scent of honey.
Shoot for the Stars creates an 
enchanting bath as the stars inside whizz and swirl in the water, leaving 
you submerged in clouds of colour. Fragranced with Honey I Washed the Kids.

So White £3.25 

So White has a delicate pink centre, which appears as the white outer layer gently dissolves. It has a fresh apple scent and also includes neroli and rose absolute.

Bath Melts 

Star Light So Bright £3.30 

Contains cocoa, shea butter and extra virgin coconut oil. Ginger and zesty lime oil will be sure to pep you up.
As the star melts it will leave a trail of silvery lustre.


Snowcake £3.25 100g

A LUSH classic, Snowcake smells just like the almond marzipan on the Christmas cake. With rose absolute and berry scented cassis absolute, this sounds very tempting!

Gift Boxes under £10 - These come ready wrapped to give :)

Snowman Invasion £7.25 

Contains Snowman bath ballistic & Cinders bath ballistic.

Ho Ho HO £9.50 

Contains Father Christmas bath ballistic & Snow Globe soap.

Under £20

Best Wishes £13.50 

Contains Snowcake soap, Golden Wonder bath ballistic &Luxury Lush Pud bath ballistic.

Snow Fairy £13.50

Contains Snow Fairy shower gel, Shimmy Shimmy massage bar & Angels Delight soap.

Merry Christmas £19.95

A festive collection containing Golden Wonder bath ballistic, Cinders bath ballistic, Lord of
Misrule bath ballistic, Father Christmas bath ballistic &Christmas Eve bubble bar

Under £50 

Christmas Bathtime Favourites £34.95

Contains lots of favourites - Golden Wonder bath ballistic, So White bath ballistic, Father Christmas bath ballistic, Cinders bath ballistic, Shoot for the Stars bath ballistic, Avobath bath ballistic, Think Pink bath ballistic, Snowman bath ballistic, Luxury Lush Pud bath ballistic, Bombardino bath ballistic.

Sweet Christmas £37.95 

Super sweet candy gift in a sweet shaped parcel. Contains Rose Jam shower gel, Sultana soap,  Bubblegum lip scrub, Think Pink bath ballistic, Honey Trap lip balm, Candy Mountain bubble bar, Sweetie Pie shower jelly & Magic Wand reusable bubble bar.

Happy Shopping x

GlossyBox December 2013 - Festive Treasures

December's GlossyBox is a festive affair, starting with the red box with Christmas tree design, the candy cane tissue paper and white bow, the products lying on a bed of green tissue paper. The details are all there.

But what is inside December's box? The theme is apt for this time of year, Festive Treasures - Containing Everything You Need For Party Season.  It comes complete with a mini magazine with expert skincare tips and a handy guide to festive makeup, perfect to digest with a cuppa.

I have to say from the little insert telling me what was inside I was pretty looking forward to the contents.

So here are the five items that I received in my box

Swatch of the Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Nude Lip Gloss & Close up of Maybelline's Colour Tattoo 24hr Eye Shadow

Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Nude Lip Gloss 4ml (Full size 8ml £12)

This gloss mini is perfect to pop in the handbag without taking too much space up in your party clutch. I like this shade a lot. A peachy nude, ideal teamed with a smokey eye.

Seche Nail Lacquer in shade Audacious Full Size 14ml £9.95

Audacious is a hot pink, although a nice shade, I feel it is better suited for Summer.  I would have preferred a nude shade, a festive red or a gold/silver metallic which would be more apt in a festive box.

Wilkinson Sword Intuition Naturals Razor Full Size £6.49

I am a firm Gillette fan as I have found a razor in the range that doesn't give me any nicks at all. However, I am willing to give this a go. This razor doesn't require a separate shaving gel, body wash or soap as the blades are surrounded by a creamy soap. Hypoallergenic, fragrance free and paraben free. Contains Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. Smooth party legs will be mine!

Maybelline New York Colour Tattoo 24hr Eye Shadow in shade Turquoise Forever Full Size £4.99

I think I was most disappointed about this as I have been wanting to try the colour tattoos for a while but turquoise? Not really and not for a festive party look. As the mini mag contained a how to on party eyes and used gold/bronze/browns, I would have loved my box to contain the gold... I think some other boxes have had that shade inside. I haven't opened the product and will be passing it on as I won't get much use out of it.

Lipsy London Glam EDT 2ml (Full size £25 for 50ml)

A perfume mini is always handy to take out with you, if you are going straight from office to party. Glam is ok, personally I wouldn't purchase the full size version but for a night out it is ideal. The scent itself combines fruity honey and sweet top notes, the heart notes complement with Orchid, Jasmine and Peony and the base notes are deep with Amaryllis and black incense.
Sweet and floral, this I think is aimed at a more youthful audience than me. However, it does settle to a calmer, lighter fragrance. Not bad.

Final thoughts - Value wise the contents of the box are approximately £28.50 which is great value but I think it misses slightly with the choice of shades and the rather odd inclusion of a razor....

*PR Sample

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Christmas Party Eyeliners From Little Mix By Collection

Christmas parties are in full swing now and this is followed swiftly by New Year. If ever there is an appropriate time to bring out the gold, glitz and glitter it is now.

Little Mix By Collection have a few liquid liners that are just perfect for this purpose and at just £2.99 each they are an absolute steal.

Rock It Liner Jesy is a beautiful metallic golden bronze which I absolutely love. It applies really smoothly and once it dries it doesn't budge, giving impressive staying power. My favourite.

Rock It Liner Perrie is a black liner with silver glitter chunks, this looks very cool in the tube but I found it hard to apply a smooth, even line. It was a shame as I loved the idea of this for glittertastic party eyes. Best applied by dabbing ion.

Swatches of Rock It Liners in Jesy and Perrie 

Also in the Little Mix collection is the Rock It Liner Leigh-Anne in Gold Glitter and Rock It Liner Jade in Turquoise Glitter

*PR Samples

Cath Kidston Pretties - Christmas Gift Inspiration For Under £20

Five gorgeous present ideas from Cath Kidston and they are all under £20. Secret Santa, Stocking Fillers or Beauty Gifts they are all here.. with many more ideas in store, these are my favourites.

Merry Christmas Stanley Mug £5 

 Kentish Rose Notebook £5

Provence Rose Compact Mirror £8

Little Birds Glasses Case £14

Provence Rose Mini Make Up Brush Set £18 

Monday 16 December 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Decorations

At the weekend the decorations went up, the tree was adorned with baubles and more and the scent of Christmas wrapped around the house with the aid of The White Company Winter Mini Home Scenting Kit 

Finally it feels like Christmas!

The White Company Winter Mini Home Scenting Kit - The Scent Of Christmas

Out shopping on Saturday I ventured into The White Company, I say venture as every time I enter the store I find myself taken by something and parting with cash... this time I was greeted with the most intoxicating smell of what I can only describe as the scent of Christmas. It had such an effect on me that it made me feel so good I bought this Winter Mini Home Scenting Kit £30 to recreate the experience at home.

The scent is full of warming, spicy cinnamon, clove and bursts of fruity orange.

The gift set comes in a presentation box and includes the following -

Mini scent diffuser 50ml
Mini home spray 15ml
Votive candle 70g (around 18 hours burn time)

A Winter favourite and perfect for the run up to Christmas!

Christmas Gift Sets From L'Occitane

With just over a week to go I thought I would share with you my top Christmas gift selections from one of my favourite skincare brands, L'Occitane. Every year they produce fabulous, money saving box sets and stocking fillers and this year is of course no exception. If you are stuck for ideas or indeed if you want to treat someone to some fabulous scents or bodycare head down to one of their shops and you will be sure of a friendly welcome.

Stocking Filler Delights 

Miniature Grasse Assortment £28

This year L'Occitane introduced their fine fragrance Grasse Collection of scents, four incredible scents and in this mini set you will get all four, perfect for the traveller.

Hugs & Kisses Hand and Lip Duo £16

Available in Violet or Rose

Shower Gel Collection £20 

Another great gift for the traveller, these shower gel minis are perfect for weekends away. In Lavender, Almond, Cherry Blossom and Pivoine Flora.

Almond Petit Gift £18 

A great introduction to the fabulous Almond collection

Deluxe Gifts 

Cannot decide which collection to go for.. why not choose the bumper The Best Of L'Occitane £62 featuring all the best sellers

Under my tree it won't be complete if I don't receive my favourite classic box - The Delightful Almond Collection £49

Amber & Santal Collection £65

This is one of the newest fragrance launched by L'Occitane - This is a warm and sensuous scent, perfect for this season.  Features -

• 75ml Amber & Santal Eau de Toilette
• 175ml Amber & Santal Shower Gel
• 175ml Amber & Santal Body Lotion

Men are not left out at L'Occitane why not treat them to the following skincare and scents that are on offer this Christmas

L'Occitan Grooming Essentials £49 

  100ml L’Occitan EDT 
  250ml L’Occitan Shower Gel
  150ml L’Occitan Shaving Gel
  150ml L’Occitan Soap
  30ml L’Occitan After Shave Balm

The sporty man may like the icy freshness of  the Verdon Collection £46 

EDT 50ml
Pebble Soap 150g
Fresh Water Shower Gel 250ml
Pure Face Wash 50ml
Invigorating Shave Gel 150ml

Or why not treat the man in your life to L'Occitane's newest male fragrance in this super gift set -

Cedre & Oranger Collection £65

Cedar and Orange are combined in this modern and sophisticated scent. Features

- 75ml Cèdre & Oranger Eau de Toilette
- 175ml Cèdre & Oranger Shower Gel
- 75ml Cèdre & Oranger After Shave Balm

Happy Shopping x

Saturday 14 December 2013

BeautySwot's Perfume Of The Year 2013

There really was no contest for me this year, Si by Giorgio Armani EDP stood out a mile. I literally walked into this fragrance and was instantly smitten. From the initial freshness of citrus, the movement to a delicious and delicate floral to the final sweet notes of Vanilla, Si captured my heart and my senses.

Top notes - Sicilian Bergamot, Mandarin Oil, Liquer de Cassis

Heart notes - Rose de Mai Absolute, Neroli Absolute, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute

Base notes - Patchouli Oil, Blond Woods, Amber, Orcanox™, Vanille Absolute

Housed in simple glass bottle this is a timeless and elegant scent. A well deserved winner.

* You can read my original review here -

Thursday 12 December 2013

Soap & Glory 'The Yule Monty' Christmas Star Buy Offer!

It's here, the yearly Soap & Glory extravaganza of a deal! The Christmas Star Buy is back and I know a lot of people have been waiting for this...

Worth a staggering £60 you can purchase all the Soap & Glory favourites for less than half price in 'The Yule Monty'

For just £27* you will get these 9 full sized beauty, bath and body products in a Jonathan Saunders designed Christmas Bag -

HAND FOOD Hand Cream 
PEACHES & CLEAN Deep Purifying Cleanser
THICK & FAST Super Volume Mascara

* While stocks last. Available at and in Boots Stores nationwide from Friday 13th December.

BeautySwot Beauty Products Of The Year 2013

As 2013 is drawing to a close, I felt it was time to share my 5 favourite beauty
products of the year. These awards are not taken lightly. All of these products have been selected for the following reasons

They live up to their claims
I reached for them the most
I would be happy to purchase them over and over again

So without further ado... the BeautySwot Products of the Year 2013 are -

1. Optrex Actimist 2in1 Spray for itchy, watery eyes

This product wins hands down for changing my life, literally. Although technically not a beauty product it was a product that was indispensable for me last Spring/Summer. I was hugely sceptical of its claims but one or two sprays per eye and I got instant relief from itchy, watery hay fever eyes. It meant that hay fever season wasn't miserable for me and it was so easy to use I could pop it in my bag and use it on the go. Magical

You can read my original review here...

2. GINVERA Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream 

This BB Cream was my go to product over Summer and even now I still use it often instead of a standard foundation as it provides good coverage for even skintone whilst remaining light and natural looking and giving a nice glow to the skin. It has an SPF30 and it smells wonderful. I absolutely love this skin base, and although it came to the UK in 2012 it was in 2013 that I thankfully discovered it. A fantastic BB Cream that I rave to all and sundry about.

You can read my original review here..

3. Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF30 

A primer with a hint of colour, SPF30 and a base so good at smoothing and covering the skin that I could go out with nothing else on. This is why I gave it the accolade of the Rolls Royce of primers. Excellent on its own or under foundation. I give it 10/10.

You can read my original review here...

4. Elemis Frangipani Monoi Salt Glow 

This salt scrub is like heaven in a jar, it smells amazing. Elemis have excelled with this launch, it smells good and the scrub is gentle yet smoothing. A beautiful spa experience in your home, this is guaranteed to transport you to sunnier climes... (I wish it could, but for now I will settle for this!) Best bodycare product launch of the year.

You can read my original review here...

5. Makeup Brand Of The Year - Kiko Cosmetics Milano 

Finally no year would be complete without mentioning Kiko. This was undoubtedly their year. A huge range of products, consistently good quality and on trend shades. I have reached for many of their products over and over again this year. If you are looking for good quality makeup and tools at a great purse friendly price you cannot go wrong with Kiko.

Excitingly they have just opened a huge store on Regent Street in London. A must visit for beauty lovers.

Well that's it, my five products of the year..what products have stood out for you this year?


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