Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Snow Globe - A Christmas Short Story

Snow Globe

Lissy felt a strong tug at her arm as Max dragged her along the street. Max was late and didn't have time for his little girl to be dawdling. It was Saturday morning (Lissy knew this because her teacher had told all the children to have a lovely weekend) and being the last one before Christmas the town was heaving with shoppers. In front of Lissy were a sea of bellies, she looked up to see some smiley faces but many look pained with the strain of Christmas etched onto their faces.  Lissy stole one last glance back before she was carried away through the crowds. Out of the corner of her eye she could still just see the Little Christmas Shop, her favourite shop in town. It had appeared a month ago and no one knew the owner. She had been looking at the pretty and colourful little snow globe that had a twirling pink ballerina in a pink tutu and soldier inside it. She wished for this snow globe more than anything this Christmas. Although one of the smallest gifts in the store, in the window it proudly took centre stage. Lissy wanted to be a ballerina when she grew up, her after school class was the thing she loved to do best. 'Mummy probably would have bought it for me' she thought, then she felt a tear well in her eye. She missed mummy and recently daddy rarely had time for her.

Max felt bad, he hadn't wanted to get Lissy up early this morning but he just had one major project to complete this week before he could relax and enjoy time with Lissy. It was so important he had to make a visit to the office at the weekend, next year he promised himself he would make more time for his wonderful little girl. Dropping her off at the babysitter, Irene, he kissed Lissy on the cheek and vowed to return soon. 'Daddy won't be long, now why don't you play with Oscar and the time will pass quickly.' 'Thanks Irene, I owe you one!' 'No problem Max, take your time.' And with that the door closed behind him and he was gone.

Lissy looked at Oscar, he had a mean look on his face. The kind of look that she understood to mean 'you better not touch any of my toys'. She was glad she had insisted on bringing her rag doll. Not only was it for playing with, it was a great source of comfort when she was alone. Lissy whispered into Daisy's ear. 'Don't worry Daisy, daddy will be back soon. Don't look at Oscar, he is not very nice!' Max grinned as he listened and then went back to playing with his cars. Lissy began telling Daisy all about the snow globe. Irene smiled as she listened, she made a mental note to send Max a text later telling him what the little girl had been saying, she was certain that Max would have been oblivious to it and she didn't want Lissy to be sad on Christmas Day.

In the Little Christmas Shop  Marnie took the musical snow globe out of the window so she could wind it up again. She didn't mind having to do it quite often, truth be told it was one of her favourite items in the shop too. As she placed it back in the window she couldn't help thinking about the pretty little girl who had been entranced with it earlier in the day. She smiled as she also thought of the handsome man that had pulled the little girl away. It had been busy in the shop. with lots of items selling, but no one had yet to buy this sweet festive gift. If it still hadn't sold by Christmas Eve Marnie decided she would have it for herself. From the way the little girl had been gazing at the snow globe, she hoped the man would return to buy it for her. She wondered if there was any way she could get a message to him?

Max was working hard but heard his phone bleep with a text alert, he instantly checked his phone in case something was up with Lissy. It was Irene with the message about the snow globe. He hadn't a clue what she was referring too. Had he been too wrapped up in his thoughts. He would pass by the shop again on the way home, he would take a look then.

That evening, once Lissy had been picked up, they walked back through the town. The Christmas Lights were twinkling and a jolly, portly Santa was handing out sweets. It was so magical to Lissy and this time Max let her take her time. She stopped in front of Santa 'Ho, ho, ho hello there! Now have you written your list to Santa ?' Lissy nodded in awe, unable to speak. She desperately wanted to tell him about the snow globe. Max got his phone out 'Lissy, stand next to Santa, I'll take a picture'
Lissy moved closer and Santa bent down to be the same height - she leaned in and whispered 'A snow globe from the Little Christmas Shop, it's not on my list though' Santa turned to her in surprise, what a sweet child he thought, 'You will get your wish, I promise.' He squeezed her arm, turned to the camera and they both smiled as Max took the photo.

As they passed by the Little Christmas Shop Lissy was disappointed, the shutter was down. She couldn't see inside. At that moment Marnie came out of the door next to the shop. She lived above the shop. She smiled at the little girl and her dad. She really wanted to say something but now was not the time. Max also wanted to say something but suddenly his mouth had become dry, he had never noticed the strikingly attractive woman who worked in the shop. He mumbled some words, Marnie thought she could make out 'Oh you are closed?' She replied in her American accent 'Yes, sorry. I closed a little early. Last ballet practice this evening. I can't be late,. We are open tomorrow, you should pop in'. She hadn't meant to sound abrupt and the conversation played out in her head all the way to the theatre. She sped off as fast as her feet could carry her, she really couldn't be late.

Lissy's eyes lit up, a real life ballerina. She had met a real life ballerina. Max looked down at Lissy 'Never mind Lissy, we will come back tomorrow.'

Except they didn't return the next day, or the next. That night Lissy had come down with a temperature and a mystery illness and had had to go to hospital when she wasn't getting any better. Max was fraught with worry, worrying about his little girl and hating the fact that he still had to work. Between him and Irene they covered visiting times but Lissy wasn't even awake most of the time so she barely knew he was there. He completely forgot about the snow globe and Marnie. Not having to go to Irene's house he bypassed town entirely. He was struggling to concentrate on his work but was forcing himself to focus. Just a few more days.

Marnie was disappointed that she hadn't seen the lovely family again, she had felt sure they would return the next day and when they hadn't she thought they would come back on the Monday. The week passed quickly, by day she was in the shop serving customers picking up last minute things. By night she was dancing to a packed theatre. She didn't stop thinking about the two of them however and was secretly pleased that no one had bought the ballerina snow globe.

On Friday afternoon a phone call interrupted Max's train of thought. He was tired, exhausted. He was just waiting for one last email to action with which he could then close his laptop and put the year behind him. He rubbed his eyes and stretched. 'Max speaking' 'Good news Mr Timpson. There's been a Christmas miracle. Your daughter has woken up, no sign of anything wrong. She wants to see you right , best news however is she has been allowed to go home for Christmas.'

Max perked up instantly and straightened his crumpled worn out body 'What? Really? Oh that is just the most amazing news. I will come just as soon as I can. Tell her her daddy is on her way.'

As soon as the email came through  he sighed with relief. Closing his laptop, he turned off the lights in his office, wished the security guard a Merry Christmas and drove to the hospital.

Sat on the bed, dressed and ready to leave hospital,  Lissy was beaming and Max knew she was better as her eyes glowed with happiness and her cheeks were rosy.

'Daddy!' She put her arms up towards him and gave him a huge, tight hug. 'Daddy?' 'Yes Lissy?' 'Did you buy my snow globe?' Max's stomach sank, his heart lurched and he felt sick. How on earth had he forgotten about the snow globe ? He had to be honest with his little girl. '|No Lissy, I am sorry. I promise you though we shall go out first thing tomorrow and get it' Lissy's lip quivered, her head dropped. Max felt more than awful that he had let his girl down. In quiet tones she replied 'Santa promised me I would get it, but what if someone has bought it already?' 'Well then let's hope they haven't. If they have, I am sure there is bound to be something else in that lovely shop that you would like.' Lissy nodded but deep down in heart she thought 'But that was what I really liked.'

It was Christmas Eve and Marnie came down the stairs of her flat to open the shop up for the last time this year. To her immense surprise there were keen shoppers already waiting for her to open. She felt butterflies and her cheeks redden as she realised it was the man and his little girl. Max felt a warmth in his stomach too as he saw Marnie. As she spoke he realised how much he loved her gorgeous accent.

'Well hello there! I wasn't expecting to see you again!' Lissy looked up at the pretty face 'I've been in hospital. I've come for the snow globe, the ballerina one. Do you still have it?'

Marnie pulled up the shutters and to Lissy's relief it was still there, taking pride of place in the centre of the window display.

Marnie took Lissy's hand 'We do! And I can't think of a nicer little girl to give it a home' Lissy felt Marnie's soft, warm hands wrapped around hers. 'You are a ballerina, I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.'

Marnie had a thought 'Yes I am! Actually I am performing in the Nutcracker this year. We are performing until New Year at Mason's Theatre. Why don't I get you some tickets so you can come watch, would you like that?'

Lissy nodded furiously, she turned to Max 'Daddy, can we go. Please say we can?' 'Of course we can darling'. Max was happy, he wanted to get to know this nice lady better, he extended his hand to Marnie 'I am Max by the way and this is Lissy.' Marnie held out her hand 'Marnie, a pleasure to meet you both. Now let's get this snow globe wrapped up for you.'

Max spoke once more, nervously this time. It had been a long time since he had chatted to someone as beautiful as Marnie. 'I was wondering...'


'I was wondering if you would like to join Lissy and me for Christmas Day?' Marnie didn't say anything in reply. 'I mean, that is, if you are not doing anything?'

Marnie was shocked and felt her cheeks redden once more 'I would love to, as it happens it was going to be a meal for one' she laughed. This Christmas was going to be wonderful, she could just feel it.

Lissy jumped in happiness 'It's going to be a GREAT Christmas' She had already warmed to the kind lady owner of the Little Christmas Shop and she could tell her daddy had too.

Lissy held on tightly to her snow globe, as if her life depended on it, as they hurried home. That evening she put it in the window, lights all around it and played it, over and over until she went to bed. Yes, when she grew up she was going to be in the Nutcracker too. As Max tucked her into bed she looked out of her window into the night sky and whispered 'Thank you Santa!'

Merry Christmas

Loved this story? Then please check out my debut novel - A Tempting Trio - Available now by clicking this link -

*An original work of fiction, all rights reserved.

Friday, 16 December 2016

L'Occitane - My Top Three Christmas Gifts

No Christmas is complete without a gift or two from fabulous skincare company L'Occitane, as always if you pop in store or head online it will not be difficult to pick up the perfect gift at any budget!

Here are my top three gift ideas but hurry as L'Occitane always sell out very fast!

For men 


Coming in a signature L'Occitane gift box there is no need to wrap this gorgeous gift - Sophisticated for the discerning gentleman in your life - this spicy fragrance takes distilled lavender and blends with nutmeg, black pepper and smoked woods. Provence through and through.
  • 100ml L’Occitan Eau de Toilette
  • 250ml L’Occitan Shower Gel
  • 100g L’Occitan Soap 
  • 30ml L’Occitan After Shave Balm


If ever there was a brand that knows how to do floral it is L'Occitane - Containing
Rose, Violet and saffron, these three flowers from the heart of Provence encapsulate the sensual Arlésienne fragrance

• 250ml Arlésienne Delightful Bath & Shower Gel
• 30ml Arlésienne Velvet Hand Cream
• 14ml Arlésienne Delicious Gloss.

And finally my personal favourite from the collections 


A box full of Almond delicious delights that will leave skin delicately scented and incredibly smooth, once again presented in a special signature gift box. 

• 250ml Almond Shower Oil
• 100ml Almond Milk Concentrate
• 50g Almond Delicious Soap
• 30ml Almond Delicious Hands

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau De Parfum

Stunning bottle, stunning fragrance. Black Opium EDP is an exquisite, sensual and elegant gourmand scent.

Top notes: Pink pepper, Orange blossom
Heart notes: Jasmine, Coffee
Base notes: Vanilla, Patchouli, Cedarwood

The fragrance starts with a delicious hit of berry blended with warm coffee (personally I can also detect the vanilla from the first spritz too), the white flowers develop with a light floralness and then it settles (although for me the vanilla is present throughout) with the gorgeous warmth of vanilla and woods. I can't get enough of it!

Highly addictive!

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium EDP 50ml £66 

*PR Sample

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Crabtree & Evelyn Christmas Collection - My Top Three

What I love whenever I pop into a Crabtree & Evelyn store is that there is a bit of everything - fragrance, skincare and food, it's all inside. The biscuits are delicious, there are scents for every taste and the skincare is just gorgeous and really works.

Peruse their website and there is simply loads of brilliant gifts to choose from this Christmas but here are my top three festive gifts...

Ultimate Feast of the Senses Hand Therapy Crackers £40

Love these crackers featuring the Iconic Hand Therapy collection of hand creams - this will delight guests at the dinner table, much nicer and more useful than usual crackers!

Contains duos of:

LaSource 10g/Old World Jasmine 10g
Gardeners 10g/Pomegranate 10g
Pink Pineapple 10g/Rosewater 10g
Gardeners 10g/Citron 10g
Rosewater 10g /Venetian Violet 10g
Pear & Pink Magnolia 10g/Citron 10g
Rosewater 10g/Festive Fig 10g
Pear & Pink Magnolia 10g/LaSource 10g
Pink Pineapple 10g/Festive Fig 10g
Spiced Earl Grey 10g/Pomegranate 10g
Gardeners 10g/Pear & Pink Magnolia 10g
Florentine Freesia 10g/ Festive Fig 10g

Noel Porcelain Diffuser 180ml £45 (currently £36)

Aromas of mulling spices, Fraser fir spruce, and zesty citrus fruits slowly infuse the air right through the festive season bringing the essence of Christmas into the home

Large Bauble with Handmade Cranberry & Clementine Fudge 150g £8

Temptingly tasty and festive fudge in a pretty bauble, a great 2 in 1 gift.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Santa's Grotto At Intu Lakeside Shopping Centre

For as long as I can remember we have been heading to Intu Lakeside for Christmas Shopping and when our son came along we continued to do so, shopping late into the evening whilst he slept in his buggy. As he got older we included a trip to see Santa as part of our trip and we have done this every year ever since.

He is 8 now and of course no Christmas would be complete without the obligatory visit to the Grotto ...  This year's Grotto is in conjunction with Playmobil toys.

We pre-booked out ticket and arrived at our allocated time.

The Grotto is just past the impressive Ice Skating Rink , next to the Christmas Market and Drinks Stalls.

Inside the Grotto, before you meet the big man himself, there are some activities to do to keep you occupied whilst you wait.

And finally, meeting Father Christmas himself...

Whereupon you are given a great gift/toy from Playmobil (my son chose a book) and have a chance to have your photo taken with the man himself

He had lots of fun, the whole experience is around 15 minutes which is just enough to keep the little ones entertained.

Have you visited Santa's Grotto yet?

Tickets cost £6, photos are extra. Head to the Intu Lakeside website to book your tickets.

*Our visit this year was complimentary 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream & Magic Eye Rescue Reviewed

I have had these sachet samples in my washbag for a while now and finally got around to trying them out this week...

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream 50ml £100 

CT says

Intense Firming, Plumping Balm-Elixir

Feed your skin overnight with a live stem cell elixir made up of a powerhouse of 8 youth-boosting ingredients…doesn’t everyone want to wake up to the best skin of their life?

Let your skin drink from this radical “live” stem cell elixir, inspired by the conductive powers of live plasma. This powerful cream-elixir plumps, smooths and re-texturize your skin and, thanks to special time-release ingredients, works overnight to rebuild and renew it. Enriched with 8 de-ageing ingredients including winter Daphne stem cell extract & time-released retinol.

The Magic Recipe:
A Stem-Cell Elixir inspired by Plasma:

A magical water-in-oil cream-elixir that smoothes over and feeds the skin with an even distribution of ingredients. The active molecules are suspended within the texture so that the ingredients are slowly released into the skin. Inspired by the conductive physics of plasma, ensuring all molecules can pass evenly through the gel-like formula. Second Skin Red Algae Marigel binds to the surface like a second skin, minimising water loss and re-texturing the skin surface.

The Power of 8:

Charlotte has always been inspired by numerology and the special meaning of certain numbers. In Chinese prophecy, 8 is one of the most auspicious and positive numbers. Not only is it the sign for eternity, it also denotes prosperity. At the heart of this radical cream-elixir are 8 powerhouse ingredients, which aim to slow down the ticking time bomb of ageing.

1. Winter Daphne stem cells extract for more youthful-looking texture and firmer-feeling skin:

A radical, new natural stem cell extract. Winter Daphne improves the binding of skin cells to mimic the skin’s natural structure for a more youthful-looking, firmer-feeling complexion. Boosts micro-circulation to optimise cell-detoxification so skin is magically awakened and renewed. And it improves the supply of energy and nutrients to the new, young cells.

2. Time-released retinol molecules, a well known anti-age hero:

Our time-released Retinol has been enclosed in a structure of cyclodextrins which control the release and boost the efficacy of it within the skin. Hour by hour, Retinol is known to boost the rejuvenation process of skin cells, whilst also increasing the collagen content throughout the skin. The skin appears younger and more radiant.

3. Second-skin red algae Marigel, a strengthening and protecting barrier:

A live second skin that re-forms and re-creates baby-soft skin. The Marigel is rich in Red algae which is full of Calcium and Magnesium, which builds the strength and protective barrier of your skin.

4. Bionymph peptide:

The magical ingredient also found in Charlotte’s Magic Cream for the day. This genius anti-ageing ingredient is a unique, patented anti-ageing hero that multi-tasks in the skin, fighting the ageing process on all fronts. It increases collagen and fibre levels, prevents fibre break-down, fights free radicals and stimulates cell energy to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin elasticity and smooth things over.

5. Olus Oil:

A botanical emollient rich oil with transglycerides to reduce water-loss. It also gives the cream-elixir its soft, velvety touch.

6. Frangipani:

As found in Charlotte’s famous day Magic Cream. Frangipani is a soothing and purifying ingredient.

7. Vitamin E:

Also found in Charlotte’s iconic day Magic Cream, is known to be a powerful anti-oxidant that instantly heals and reduces inflammation and scarring.

8. Caster Seed Oil:

Rich in fatty acids and highly emollient with super moisturising powers.

My thoughts 

Apparently this product was four years in the making.

I hadn't read any of the reviews or even about the product before I popped it on at night. I was surprised at how thick, gloopy and sticky it was. As a result I am sure I over applied on the first night. It sat on my face, it was heavily scented floral. Completely not what I had expected. I woke up expecting some kind of miracle but I didn't really notice much except my skin felt soft.

Repeated the next night, used a bit less this time round. Same again  BUT I did notice that my skin felt nice and soft, my day skincare and makeup went on wonderfully smooth and the result was I DID look better and brighter than I had in a while, just not with ... Reading on the website the results that Charlotte Tilbury is claiming are after 8 weeks of use. Sadly I won't be able to test that out as I only have this small sample and I am not sure I am ready to shell out £100 to see!

Have you tried it?

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue 15ml £40

CT says 

Eye Cream To Turn Back the Clock
Darlings, forget everything you think you know about eye cream! Working with the world's leading laboratories, I’ve created a revolutionary formula featuring a powerhouse of youth-boosting ingredients, including Winter Daphne Stem Cell Extract, Botanical Eye Contour Complex and Second Skin Red Algae Marigel to feed your complexion, from the inside out. Magic Eye Rescue is a revitalising and reinvigorating, anti-ageing rescue remedy that works to slow down the ticking time bomb of ageing* – I like to call it an eye lift in a tube!
  • Re-energises the delicate under eye area where the first signs of ageing often occur
  • Soft Focus Nano-Particles blur away lines and imperfections, and sit like a soft micro-fine cashmere veil on top of your skin
  • Rose wax and almond oil hydrate the skin through-out the day and smoothes flawlessly onto the skin
  • Nourishing actives work to soothe and restore skin, while light-reflecting ingredients diffuse light as it hits your face for a luminous complexion and even finish all day
  • Ideal for long-lasting full coverage and the perfect finishing touch .
The rich texture of my eye rescue remedy contains a live second skin Red Algae Marigel, which is rich in Calcium and Magnesium, for smooth, soft skin with a protective barrier against environmental and ageing damage.

My thoughts 

Now this I can totally get on board with. An eye cream that really does work. Instantly I noticed the results and I am very tempted to pop this on my Christmas List. It is a gorgeous light fluid that smooths away the crepey skin directly under my eyes, and makes the eye area appear far more youthful than it normally suggests. My eyes are one of my biggest bugbears and this product gives me total confidence. The area is hydrated and wonderfully, wonderfully smooth.

Top marks from me. Blown away!


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