Thursday, 31 December 2015

Looking Back On 2015


Blog Review 2015

2015, like most years, has had it's ups and downs. As there are only a few hours left of 2015, I thought that I would do a bit of a year in review post, featuring some of the highs and lows of the year that was and here they are. Since I'm someone who would prefer to hear the bad before the good I'll start with the one negative that blighted 2015 for me.

My Health
This is something that I do mention in passing, more so on social media than I do on here but 2015 was another year of health woes for me. From a few scares thanks to ovarian cysts that popped up out of nowhere, to to dealing with my ongoing IBS/stomach issues, there hasn't been a week this year where I've felt 100%. More than anything it's been frustrating and I've spent most of the year waiting and waiting some more on appointments, tests and results all for no real progress to be made. It also meant that I missed out on some days and nights that I had really been looking forward to as a result. However, 2016 is already looking more optimistic as after months of being on the waiting list I'm finally having some big MRI scans done, exactly a week today to be precise. Whilst for some starting the year by spending hours in the hospital, being poked and prodded and downing litres of Klean Prep might not be ideal, I'm actually so happy that things are starting movie forward. I've actually been thinking about doing a full blog post on my health if that's something that anyone would like to read. Let me know if it is.

Now onto better things;

Blog Events And Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone
Prior to this year I hadn't attended a single blog event. I've always been shy and worked myself up about meeting new people and going to new places but this year I pushed myself to really step outside my comfort zone and I am so glad that I did. Not only did I have nothing to worry about but I got to meet so many lovely people this year and get properly involved in the blogging community IRL. Some of my favourite blog events of 2015 have to be the Benefit Roller Lash Launch (my first ever blog event), the Arran Aromatics Blogger Breakfast, my evening at Chisholm Hunter, the John Lewis Christmas shop event and the two fantastic events held at Lush Braehead; the Beauty School Bloggers Party and the Winter Is Coming night. And I can't forget Scot Blog Meet, which was one of the best days of the year. One of my goals for 2016 is definitely to help organise something similar in the New Year.

Writing
As soon as I started blogging at the end of 2013, a passion, one that I had been lacking, was immediately ignited for all things blog related. This year I explored how my blog and my passion for it could translate into work and possibly a career. I spent the first couple of months of 2015 interning at Becky White PR and it was such a fantastic experience. I got to see the ins and outs of a PR firm and how the engagement with bloggers is made from their side. I also have Caron to blame for getting me more than a little addicted to Pinterest, an obsession that continues to this day. I'm definitely more of a creative and the one thing that I enjoy the most is writing. This year I had my writing published on Scotcampus, featured in Pure Beauty magazine, was Cocoa Brown's Blogger Of The Week and wrote two feature articles for Blogosphere Magazine. Pursuing freelance work and getting more experience of writing for publications other than this little corner of the net is high on my list of priorities for the impending New Year. I'll actually get to work on writing a list of blog related goals in the next week or so so I can go into a bit more detail.

In 2015 I discovered...
... some pretty incredible TV shows. Luther, Scream Queens, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Better Call Saul, The Affair and CSI: Cyber all deserve a mention. I can't wait to see what I discover in 2016 and I already have my eye on a few shows.
... Justin Bieber isn't all that bad. Okay so if you give any of his earlier tracks or albums a listen they're still almost all incredibly cringe-worthy but Sorry has been stuck in my head for what feels like all of 2015 and I'm not ashamed to say that any more. All of his songs recently have been so damn catchy!
... that the Post Office is basically hell on earth! If they're not losing your parcels or waiting in a queue with 50 people in front of you (no exaggeration, it even said that on the ticket), they seem to only employ weirdly passive aggressive or downright moany individuals. You'd think they'd actually want to keep people posting via them! I could honestly rant about Post Office problems forever! Hehe.
...that I can go a whole year without eating McDonald's! This is something I'm quite proud of considering the fact that I used to frequent fast food joints pretty regularly. It's also been about six months since I last had a Burger King, KFC or chippy!
... if I push myself I really can do anything I put my mind to. This is something to definitely bear in mind for 2016. The fact that I not only did but was so happy with every single Blogmas post I put up this month (all 24 of them), just proved that I could do something I was more than a little apprehensive of. 

Thank you to everyone who's continued to support me and Ellis Tuesday during 2015. I honestly can't thank everyone enough for following and interacting with me this year. It's meant the world to me, especially on those days when I'm feeling horrible or unwell. Reading a comment, tweet or message from one of you just makes my day and it's something that I seriously appreciate. So all that leaves me to say is; HAPPY NEW YEAR! All the very best for 2016 and here's to another great year on here in the New Year!

How was your 2015? What were your highlights? And how are you spending New Year's Eve?

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Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Best Of The Boxing Day Sales


Boxing Day Beauty Sales 2015

First of all, I hope that you all had a fantastic Christmas! It's been nice to take a bit of a break from all things blog related, especially after posting 24 days in a row when it came to Blogmas but it's also nice to be back. I couldn't wait any longer to post today's post, especially as quite a few of the products I had planned on including have already sold out. So there's no time quite like the present; here are the best of the Boxing Day sales (or what remains in stock online):

Molton Brown Stocking Fillers Collection (Was £39 Now £27.50)
Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream 50ml EDT Gift Set (Was £56 Now £37.52)
Nails Inc Alice & Olivia Christmas Collection (Was £30 Now £15)
Aerin Fragrance Coffret (Was £80 Now £53.50)
Aromatherapy Associates The Star (Was £10 Now £5)
GHD Platinum Styler (Was £165 Now £132)
Magnitone Barefaced Vibra-Sonic Daily Cleansing Brush (Was £70 Now £50)
Eve Lom The Icons Gift Set (Was £278 Now £150)
First Aid Beauty Cheers To Fab Skin Set (Was £70 Now £35)
Lip Ombre in Astound (Was £9 Now £4)
Christmas Lip Bullet Duo in Cherry Tree and Get Me Bodied (Was £10 Now £6)
The Body Shop Glazed Apple Candle (Was £10 Now £5)
The Body Shop Lippy Star Wand (Was £10 Now £7)
The Body Shop Robin Sponge (Was £4 Now £1.50)
Benefit Life Of The Party (Was £29.50 Now £20)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Travel Set - Cosmic (Was £25 Now £16.75)
Vera Wang Lovestruck EDP Spray 100ml (Was £70 Now £28.50)

When it comes to fashion, there are so many pieces that I could have picked to include in today's post that I think it would have taken me several days to compile such a list. So, instead, I've decided to list some of the best stores with the biggest savings to be found, as well as some of the most beautiful pieces, along with any extra discount codes that I've come across.

ASOS - Up to 50% off
Boohoo - Up to 60% off
Miss Guided - Up to 50% off + 15% off using the code HOHOHO
Oasis - Up to 50% off
Office - Up to 50% off
Reiss - Up to 50% off
River Island - Up to 50% off
Topshop - Up to 50% off
Urban Outfitters - Up to 50% off
Warehouse - Up to 50% off
Whistles - Up to 50% off

And don't forget to check out my The Christmas Sales Have Started! (Plus My Top Picks) and The Topshop Shoe Sale Has Started! (Plus My Top Picks) posts for even more sale savings.

Have you bought anything in the Boxing Day sales? If so, which bargains did you find? And what do you think of my picks? Have any of them caught your eye?


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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Blogmas Day 24: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!


Lush Santa Review

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I'm planning on spending today getting the house ready for Santa's arrival and by that I mean making sure everything's nice and tidy before all of that changes tomorrow. I'm also getting far too excited at the prospect of tonight's traditional Christmas Eve takeaway dinner! Does anyone else do that on Christmas Eve? Then I'm going to round off the night by having a nice relaxing bath using my Lush Dashing Santa bath bomb, getting into a new pair of pyjamas and sticking on a Christmas movie, most likely Love Actually or The Holiday, to get me off to sleep.

How do you spend Christmas Eve?

And as you might have noticed, it's the final day of Blogmas 2015! I have to say, I'm really proud of myself for posting twenty four days in a row without fail. I'd also like to think that my blog posts or at least the majority of them, were of the same quality as they would be usually as well. Let me know if you agree. To catch up with all of Blogmas, just in case you missed any of it, all you have to do is click on the links in my Archive. Who else attempted Blogmas this year? If you did, be sure to leave me the link to your blog below.

And that just leaves me with one more thing to say; MERRY CHRISTMAS for tomorrow! I hope that everyone has a truly lovely day. I'll most probably be in a food coma by about mid-afternoon, if that, but it will be well worth it and it's the one day of the year where it's basically universally accepted, so why not take advantage I say! Normal blogging will resume on Sunday but be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with me over the festive period, most specifically when it comes to the Boxing Day sales. I'm already getting rather excited for that.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Blogmas Day 23: The Topshop Shoe Sale Has Started! (Plus My Top Picks)


Topshop Shoe Sale

Merry Christmas Eve Eve everyone! Who else gets very excited for the Boxing Day and January sales? Well this year they've started even earlier than ever before and not only that but they're sales that you'll actually want to shop plus you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. I shared some of my top picks a couple of days ago and showed you some of my favourite pieces from Topshop in their 30% off seasonal deal but last night the actual Topshop sale that so many of us anticipate every year started and at the moment it's all about the shoes. So if you're still looking for a pair for an upcoming night out, party or New Year's Eve itself, then there are plenty of stunning high heels to choose from all with 50% or more off of them. There are also lots of gorgeous flats (ie. my favourite kind of shoe), many of which are sitting in my basket right now. Do I checkout? You can even have your bargains delivered to you in time for Christmas Day by ordering today and selecting the Express Delivery option.



If you hover over any of the items you'll see that it brings up it's price and this is it's current sale price. I think you'll have to agree that there are some great savings to be found as most of my picks are better than half price. And if you click on an item it will take you straight to it, unless you have AdBlock on which might prevent you from doing that.

What do you think of my picks? Do you have any favourites here? Have you seen any bargains in the shops or online whilst you've been Christmas shopping? And who else is already looking forward to the Boxing Day and January sales?


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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Blogmas Day 22: Ten Of My Favourite Christmas Episodes Of TV Shows


Best Christmas Episodes of TV Shows

I have a feeling that most of us are finishing up for the Christmas holidays now, or have already done so, so I thought that I would put together a list of my favourite Christmas episodes of TV shows to get us all in the festive mood.

The Mindy Project - Josh And Mindy's Christmas Party

   

I just have to start by saying, if you're not watching The Mindy Project on the regular, I can't recommend it highly enough. Basically Mindy Lahiri is my spirit animal and this episode is packed with Christmas cheer. Mindy throws the office Christmas party at her apartment (which I must say is my dream New York apartment, right up there with Carrie Bradshaw's in Sex and the City) which she's co-hosting with her boyfriend Josh. It's safe to say things don't go as smoothly as Mindy would have hoped. Prepare for classic Christmas songs aplenty (who doesn't love Wham's 'Last Christmas'?) oh and Danny takes gingerbread house building very, very seriously.

The O.C. - The Best Chrismukkah Ever

 
  

As a teen it was all about The O.C. for me and I spent most of those years wishing that Seth Cohen was my boyfriend (who am I kidding, that still happens today). One of Seth's best moments has got to be Chrismukkah aka. the Christmas/Hanukkah hybrid. And who can forget Seth trying to choose between Summer and Anna?

Parks & Recreation - Citizen Knope

 
  
  

Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love Parks & Rec and this Christmas episode, like every single episode of the show, never fails to make me laugh. I like to think of myself as the Leslie Knope of gift giving when it comes to my friends and family and she hits it out of the park with her Christmas gift giving but what more would you expect from Leslie?  And they get her the best gift of all. I won't ruin it by spoiling all of the gift giving. All I can say is watch it and thank me later.

Ugly Betty - Fake Plastic Snow


I just started rewatching Ugly Betty again from the very beginning for what must be the twentieth time and last night the Christmas episode, Fake Plastic Snow, popped up on my screen. I forgot just how much I loved this show and the brilliant band of characters (who could forget Marc and Amanda?) so it's been great revisiting it again. I also don't remember being as attracted to Henry, back in the day when it first aired but now it's a whole different story.

Community - Comparative Religion

 
  
  
  

If you have Netflix and are stuck for something to watch this Christmas, or any time of the year really, do yourself a favour and press play on Community. The first few seasons in particular are well worth watching and this season one Christmas episode always makes me smile. Everyone in the study group is of a different religious persuasion but they deal with that and the whole idea of Christmas perfectly.

Friends - The One With The Holiday Armadillo


How could I have a list of my favourite Christmas episodes of TV shows without including Friends? I actually have a DVD made up solely of Friends Christmas episodes which gets watched every year in the run up to Christmas and this has to be my favourite. Is there anyone out there who hasn't seen this episode?

Gavin & Stacey - Christmas Special

 
 
 

This is another Christmas episode that I just have to watch every year and it's almost always on TV during the week of Christmas. Hearing Smithy and Gavin belting out 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' has to be one of my favourite scenes and I also make sure to do the same without fail. Having all the characters congregate at the Shipman's for Christmas is a great way to pack in the laughs and just look at Nessa dressed up as Father Christmas!

Orange Is The New Black - Can't Fix Crazy 

 

Okay so this isn't exactly your typical or traditional Christmas episode by any means but it's brilliant nonetheless. Orange Is The New Black do Secret Santa and a Christmas nativity pageant if you're looking for festive moments but then the final scene does kind of flip that on it's head, even if Pennsatucky is dressed up as an angel.

The Simpsons - The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire

 
 
 

Now this immediately brings back childhood memories for me. I actually remember taping this very episode onto a VHS after it was shown on Channel 4 when I was off school for the Christmas holidays. It's one of those Christmas episodes that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside after watching it. It's also the first episode to introduce my favourite Simpson; Santa's Little Helper.

New Girl - The 23rd


Whilst I've given up on watching New Girl now (who else thinks that it started going downhill after season two?), I thought that the first season in particular, was brilliant, funny and that this season one Christmas episode was great. The whole gang are on top form in this episode and seeing a whole street switch on their Christmas lights at 3am is a great ending to what is a really good Christmas episode.

What are your favourite Christmas TV episodes? Have any of them been included in today's post? Which of these have you seen? And are you a fan of lounging in front of the TV over the festive period?

(All GIFs found on Tumblr)
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Monday, 21 December 2015

Blogmas Day 21: The Christmas Sales Have Started! (Plus My Top Picks)


Christmas Sales January Sales Boxing Day

I'm just back from picking up some last minute gifts at the shops and I was pleasantly surprised to see that some stores have already dropped their prices with many of them offering up to 50% off. So I thought that I would share some of the best deals and discounts, as well as my personal favourites with you today. What's best of all is the fact that you can still get everything included in today's post delivered for Christmas.

River Island Silver Metallic Bardot Skater Dress (Was £42 Now £15)
Marks & Spencer Claudia My Favourite's Gift Set (Was £40 Now £20)
Warehouse Suede Zip Round Cross-Body Bag (Was £35 Now £20)
Michael Michael Kors Selma Mini Textured-Leather Shoulder Bag (Was £140 Now £98)
Eve Lom The Icons Gift Set (Was £278 Now £150)
Warehouse Mono Textured Bardot Prom Dress (Was £85 Now £25)
Topshop Christmas Smokey Eye Kit (Was £20 Now £14)

What do you think of my picks? How good are some of the savings? And how are you getting on with your Christmas shopping? Do you still have some bits to pick up before Friday?

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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Blogmas Day 20: Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas For Her


Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas For Her

Earlier in the month I shared two blog posts with gift ideas for him (Finding The Perfect Christmas Gift For Your Dad and Great Christmas Gifts For Him) so today I'm sharing some ideas for the women in your life. Whether you've still got a few last minute gifts to pick up or have all of your Christmas shopping to do, hopefully today's post should provide some much needed inspiration for a whole range of different women. Don't forget that I've also been sharing some other Christmas gift ideas throughout Blogmas so be sure to check those out if you're looking for ideas for younger girls and teenagers or if you want to find out what Soap & Glory, Bomb Cosmetics, Lush, The Body Shop and more have up their sleeve this Christmas. But back to today's post;

Bath and beauty gifts for her Christmas

If you're looking for a fail safe gift that requires minimal effort in terms of buying and wrapping, this Baylis & Harding Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit Slipper Set* is a bit of a home run. The slippers are incredibly soft and cosy and the sweet mandarin and grapefruit scent is one that's so refreshing yet fruity. It's also currently down from £25 to £10 at Superdrug which is definitely a deal to take advantage of.

And if you're looking for a little gift for someone, Dirty Works are a brand worth exploring. I've reviewed Dirty Works before and they're a brand that I really do rate. The Dirty Works Lip Balm Tin* includes four yummy lip balms and at £5 (currently down to £4), it's a real bargain. It's also fantastic that you can pick this set up whilst you're doing your food shopping as Dirty Works is available at Sanisbury's. This makes it perfect for last minute gifting too.

Orla Kiely Gift Ideas

Next up are some brilliant Orla Kiely pieces. What I love about Orla Kiely is the fact that it's a brand that women of all different ages adore. I'm a big fan of the retro styling and their geranium products are a firm favourite of mine too. The Geranium Bath & Body Hand Wash Set makes for a great gift as does the Orla Kiely Hanging Wash Bag. And as the design appears across both pieces they make for perfect partners.

Christmas Perfume Ideas

As I said in my Great Christmas Gifts For Him blog post, fragrance gifting can be a great idea if you know someone's been after a particular scent or you know that they're a fan of certain fragrance notes. I've included a few of my favourites from 2015 as well as a brilliant Ted Baker set.

The Boss Runway editions are absolutely stunning both when it comes to their scent and their bottle design. This is a great collection to start your fragrance search as there should be one that will work regardless of which female in your life you're buying for. Boss Ma Vie* (aka. the pink bottle) is fresh and floral with notes of cactus blossom, rose buds and cedar wood. Boss Nuit* (the black bottle) is great for those who love their nighttime scents. It blends white peach, jasmine and sandalwood. And Boss Jour* (the white bottle) is light yet citrusy at the same time and has notes of grapefruit flower, lily of the valley, freesia and creamy amber.

I have to give Gucci Bamboo* a shout-out too as it's quickly become one of my very favourite scents. It's simply stunning and such a unique scent. I also picked up this gorgeous Ted Baker Mia Fragrance And Mirror Set a couple of weeks ago when I was out shopping for my new Ted Baker purse. Not only does it come with an adorable little compact mirror but it comes packaged in a beautiful and sparkly gift box.

Magnitone Barefaced Review

One of my New Year's Resolutions and I'm sure that many other women will share a similar one, is to come up with a skincare routine that doesn't involve too many steps that also does what you want it to. The Magnitone Barefaced Vibra-Sonic Daily Cleansing Brush* will enable her to do just that. It cleans and when I say cleans I really do mean it. It lifts all dirt, dead skin and make-up in a flash as well as giving you the option to tone with it too. I have a full and in depth review of this cleansing brush in the works for the start of 2016 so be sure to check back then for that. And again, this present idea comes boxed in a wonderful gift box making it a real breeze to wrap this Christmas and it even includes a pretty pink travel case as well.

Christmas Candle Ideas

In my opinion you really can't go wrong with a candle or two or a whole box of them in this instance. When it comes to Christmas scents nobody does it better than Yankee Candle for me and there's plenty of festive favourites here. Some of their new releases such as Cosy By The Fire, which basically sums up the festive season in one scent, are just too good to resist. The Votive Set, which also includes a mini version of Cosy By The Fire as well as some other brilliant Christmassy candles, is ideal for letting someone sample a range of Yankee's fantastic fragrances.

Bomb Cosmetics' Secret Santa candle is one of my absolute favourites at any time of year and I always make sure to stock up at this time of year. It smells good enough to eat thanks to it's blend of vanilla, caramel and gingerbread. And if you spend as much time as I do in Marks & Spencer's (the dine in for two for £10 deal, the beauty hall and Rosie for Autograph draw me in everytime), you'll probably be aware that RHW now does a range of candles and diffusers. If not, Rosie's foray into fragrance is one that I'm all for. And how stunning is the rose gold rose embellished lid?

Farfetch Christmas Gifting Ideas

And for those of us who're a little bit obsessed with pinning to our home decor boards on Pinterest (can you tell that I certainly fall into that category with my ever-expanding Home Decor board? Hehe), there's Farfetch Curates: Design*. Farfetch also offer complimentary Vivienne Westwood giftwrap* It's that spectacular that I would definitely recommend framing it instead of using it as paper but that's entirely up to you.

So what do you think of my ideas for her? Who do you find the trickiest to buy for at Christmas? And how much of your Christmas shopping have you got left to do?

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