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Having dreamt about visiting New York at Christmas time for years – we’ve all seen the movies and TV shows set in this amazing city, this year I decided to finally take the plunge.

Here is a post about what we got up to in pictures.

The Christmas tree at the Four Seasons 💗🎄💗🎄💗🎄💗🎄

 

 

 

This place was rated the best for cupcakes in the whole of New York and I can totally see why! It’s called Two Little Red Hens.

 

The obligatory horse drawn carriage ride in Central Park

Exploring Central Park – its huge and so beautiful!

An afternoon well spent at the Guggenheim.

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Black Friday seems to be getting bigger and bigger each year. It’s now almost a whole week of exciting deals, discounts and special bundles.

I’ve already seen quite a few offers come through – Amazon started their Black Friday deals on the 14th November! As I’m always one to grab a bargain early, I thought I’d do a little round up of what’s out there now and what’s still to come for Friday and the weeekend.

If you have a specific store or item in mind and you’re waiting till it falls into discount, it’s definitely worth signing up to brands databases. Many brands provide extra or early savings for their members clubs only.

New Look
50% off everything today! Sign up to database.

Superdrug
Early BLACK FRIDAY deals for members online now. You have to register for one of their ‘Beauty Cards’ and receive an email with a break down of early deals.
These include beauty kits such as the Tanya Burr ‘Beauty Box’ reduced from £50 to £30 and the Zoella Hamper reduced from £50 to £35.

Selfridges
This Black Friday Selfridges will have their annual sale. That’s 20% off most concessions and 10% off beauty. It’s a fantastic offer – however it’s always epesically busy in-store so worth having a look in advance so you know where to go on the day.
For their database they are running the offer early – from Wednesday till Sunday.

River Island
Today (22nd Nov) they are running 10% off womenswear and 20% off menswear and childrenswear. I expect more to come from them for Black Friday so keep your eyes pealed.

Amazon
Lots of deals already live, here are a couple to take a look at in advance.40% off beauty and skincare
70% off advent calendars
60% off men’s clothing

Debenhams
This Nescafé Dolce Gusto coffee machines is half price from £90 to £45.
I think this is a perfect present for a partner, parent or even thinking into the wedding season!

 

Topshop – up to 50% on selected items both in-store and online

Karen Millen – 25% off everything from 12am on Thursday to Monday midnight, plus an extra 30% on selected items

Joy – discounts on selected items

Fenn Wright Manson – 25% off selected items

American Eagle – 40% off everything

Accessories

Dune – Up to 30% off selected styles online from 23 November and in stores from 24 November until Monday.

Larson & Jennings – 15% off in store and online. Register online to receive a discount code for an extra 5% off.

​Links Of London – 20% off

Sock Shop – 20% off

Sunglassees Shop – 20% off full price brands including Celine, Prada and Gucci, and up to 70% off others.

Abbott Lyon – 30% off everything using the code BF30

Brand Attic – 50% off everything for 24 hours only

Beauty

Boots – up to 50% off electrical items, fragrances and beauty

House of Fraser – up to 50% off selected beauty brands, including Clarins and Elizabeth Arden

MAC – a limited edition set called Black Plum Friday will go on sale on 24 November. It includes a Vamplify Lip Gloss, a Pro Longwear Lip Pencil and Rebeleyes Gel Liner.

Origins – over 50% off selected box sets

Body Shop – 50% discount on hundreds of items, plus 40% off items on sale

Eyeko – 50% off all products from 23 to 28 November.

Oskia – 20% off full sized items, and the Merry & Bright Cracker from 6pm on Thursday 26 to 11:59pm on Friday 27 November. (All proceeds go to Evalina Children’s hospital)

Ark Skincare – from the 24 to 28 November, receive a free gift of the luxury spa aromatics Scent diffuser worth £39 when you spend £80 or more online

Glo Minerals – 30% off from 25 to 27th November with the code BLACKFRIDAY

Antonia Burrell – 25% off all products

Homeware and gifts

John Lewis – offers will be matched online and in store as part of its never knowingly undersold policy.

If you’re after a new laptop or tech in general head over to Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World and Tesco are now offering discounts of up to £200.


It’s that time of year when Christmas is just around the corner and thoughts of the festivities mean preparing your home for the occasion. Whether you go all out during the festive season or prefer to add smaller touches to the home, I think we can all agree on the importance of a breathtaking tree. Festooned with glistening lights, eye-catching baubles and topped with a shining star, no other centrepiece compares.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

  1. Shop around for the best tree

Before I buy my tree, I make sure to shop around so I know I’m getting the best value for money and the best quality I can afford. For example, I’ve purchased trees from a pop-up seller before because I could see they were authentic, beautifully proportioned, value for money and I received great tips on how to maintain the tree throughout the Christmas period. It’s easy to get into a cycle of always buying your tree in the same place but I would encourage to shop around if you have the time.

I’ll often browse the web to see how places such as Homebase are selling them this year, there’s often new sizes, treatments and dressings that create new choices you may not have considered. Once I’ve looked online I’ll then try and pop in to have a browse before making a final decision.

This year I decided on Homebase who had a vast selection of many different sizes and styles of trees. We went for a ‘Fraser Fir’, a carefully pruned non needle-drop tree with a lovely scent of balsam. It is a living tree which can be planted after Christmas.

2. Plan a colour theme before you go shopping

I always think it’s nice to have a colour palette planned before you go bauble shopping. It’s so easy to get carried away by so many beautiful and ornate decorations once you’re actually inside a shop – I know this first hand! I would recommend looking for inspiration from places such as Pinterest, Instagram, bloggers and magazines.

If I could start all over again, I would probably go with a white and gold theme, but, like many people, we have a selection of coloured decorations which have built up over the year. The best thing to do here is decide how you would ideally like to style the tree and work your way to this each year by adding a few new pieces to your collection, gradually replacing the old and creating your ideal theme.

This year I have seen some incredible decorations in Anthropology, although £10 per bauble is quite extravagant! White company and Heals are also a favourite while more affordable options are Homebase, M&S and Primark. I tend to buy one or two more premium baubles each year and then buy a bulk pack from a cheaper store as almost ‘filler’ baubles that fit in with the colour theme. John Lewis also has some stunning pieces for the home in general.

3. Tree care

Make sure you maintain your tree for Christmas. The British Association of Christmas Trees (yes such a thing apparently exists!) explains, that provided care is taken in looking after the tree, the tree should survive over 4 weeks. It is suggested that trees should not be purchased earlier than 1st December.

It is part of the life cycle of the conifer tree that it sheds needles and they will accelerate that shedding particularly if they dry out. Some trees do so more quickly than others. The best way to ensure satisfaction is to care for the tree while it is in your home. A tree should be treated like any plant being brought into a warm, dry atmosphere and regularly watered each day.

Container grown treesThese are trees that have been grown for at least one season in their pots. It is often possible to lift the whole root system out of the pot and see the closely woven root which has grown in the pot. The trees themselves should look fresh. The trees will be small and seldom more than three foot. The trees should be watered and cared for as for any house plant. After Christmas they can either be planted out with a very good chance of success or they can be left to grow on in their pot, but it is much better in this case to re-pot the tree in a larger pot. It is seldom possible to re-pot trees in this way for more than one season

Cut-trees

It is essential that cut trees should be fresh when purchased. The needles should not be dull and dried up. The branches should not be brittle. The outer needles should not fall off if the tree is gently shaken.After you have bought your tree it should be kept outside in a cool shaded place, preferably standing in water, until it is required indoors. Before bringing the tree indoors it is an advantage if about half an inch is cut off the butt in order to open up the pores of the tree. Mount it in a water-holding stand or wedge it in a bucket with pebbles, small stones or screwed up newspaper, and place it away from direct heat. Keep the container topped up with water every day; you will be surprised how much it needs.

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It’s the time of year when you want to snuggle up on the sofa with a roaring fire, cup of hot chocolate and settle in for the evening. Part of this evening routine also includes a bit of pampering and for me there is nothing better than indulging in a warm bath with some lovely luxurious products.

This year I finally relented, and indulged in some shopping from the Lush limited edition Christmas range. Having seen so many hauls from blogs and YouTube over the years I felt like I had to have a proper try of the products and so far have loved every one! Have a look at what caught my eye and their essential oil benefits.

Peeping Santa

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Santa may use his dairy-free chocolate eyes to see who’s been naughty or nice come Christmas, but, at this time of year, he also looks out for the perfect batch of hand-churned shea butter. Nipping over to Ghana, he visits the Ojoba women’s cooperative, who crack and churn the shea pods into a rich, chocolatey butter. Blended with Fair Trade, organic cocoa butter, this indulgent combination is sandwiched between fragrant bergamot and geranium oils. Crumble under running water for sack loads of fruity bubbles.

Golden Wonder

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Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes in all its exquisite, sweet orange and lime oil glory. Dickens might not have been on about the surprise parcel of lustre and cognac oil that’s ready to unfurl and create bathtime splendour, but he’d have been just as thrilled by it.

Butter Bear

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Father Christmas gets softening, Fair Trade cocoa butter from the Colombian Peace Community of San José de Apartadó especially for his gentle polar pal. Pop him into the water to infuse your bath with a warm and creamy perfume and dreamy softness for sublime skin. This comforting bear is also filled with fragrant cocoa powder and calming ylang ylang to melt hearts young and old.

Snow Angel

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Dissolving into a flurry of snow, blanket your bath in white foam before revealing a shimmering golden glow. Rich in moisturising Fair Trade cocoa butter, with a delicate marzipan scent, and oodles of rose, benzoin and cassie absolute to treat winter skin to a softening, floral soak.

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Before I’d heard the name Alex Monroe, I was already familiar with his most famous designs – the beautiful sold gold bird pendants. A statement piece yet elegant and dainty, his jewellery has now become a synonymous British brand and adorn the chest of many celebrities.

It was only recently, while browsing in Peter Jones that I become better equated with his work and fell in love with this Peacock feather necklace. I feel like it’s a timeless piece that is casual enough that I can wear every day but also something quite special to wear for an event or evening party.

What was most interesting was reading the background to the brand and how Alex’s style was born from growing up in the wild Suffolk countryside surrounded by nature and how this is now reflected in his work. He lived a life of adventure in rivers and forests, roaming freely in nature’s playground.

In the years to come, this idyllic but eccentric childhood would shape Alex’s jewellery. His love for the natural world continues to provide an inspiration. A fondness for the eccentricities of Englishness provides a touch of humour and nostalgia. A fascination with the intricacies of making things ensures superb craftsmanship.

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I’m totally in love with this new piece to my collection and would really recommend his jewellery – it would be perfect as a gift this Christmas, I know I would be thrilled with something like this under the tree. The price point still makes the brand aspirational but at the same time not completely unreachable. The peacock feature necklace was £132.

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