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Create a reading list

January is a great time to start a list of all the books that you would like to read in 2017. Ask friends and family for recommendations and research topics you’re interested in to compile the perfect list. Kindles can be a good investment, they make travelling so much easier, save on storage in your house and are cheaper than buying from book shops or Amazon. This year I’m setting myself a target of reading two books a month and so far i’m really enjoying it. Making time to read on the daily commute, during a lunch break or before bed is a good way to relax and a nice distraction from a busy day, even if for 5-10 minute!

Catch up with an old friend

Give an old friend a call or set a date to catch up. Our lives are so busy that it’s so easy to loose touch with people. Giving some of your time to replenish an old friendship will not only make you feel good but also show you’re making the effort to invest in them and that’s always appreciated.

Be a tourist in your own city

Spend a weekend enjoying the best your local town or city has to offer. It’s so easy to forget all the fun and enjoyable things right on your doorstep. Make a list of all things you would like to do – it might be going to one of the best restaurants, theatre, shopping, a spa or even exploring an area you haven’t had a chance to discover.

Get new photos developed

We’re all guilty of taking lots of great photo’s on our phone, posting them on various social media but never having them actually printed. Take some time this weekend to select some snaps of your closest friends and family, maybe invest in some new frames and enjoy reliving the special memories every day. It will definitely make you smile.

Get Hygge in your home (pronounced hue-gah)

I know this is a huge trend at the moment, but I definitely think there is something in creating a warm and relaxing environment in your home. Somewhere that you can totally switch off and that fully reflects your style will automatically make you feel good. Hygge describes a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special and I think there is a lot to be said for that. That doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money – the likes of H&M home, John Lewis and Anthropology have great bits and bobs to add character to any home. Researching colour palettes and gaining inspiration from pinterest can also help if you decide to start from scratch.

Buy a new calendar and fill it
Find a calendar that you’ll love to look at throughout 2017 – put it up somewhere you’ll see it every day, I suggest your bedroom or kitchen, then start making plans! Make lots of plans – activities, nights out, dinner parties, trips away, brunch, winter walks, holidays… Make it a year to remember!

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There’s nothing I love more than cosy knitwear, its probably one of my favourite things to wear and over the year’s i’ve begun to invest in some key pieces; from soft cashmere to thick chunky knits and lighter pieces for layering. The older you get you realise the value of good quality knits, staples that you can keep in your wardrobe for years to come and rely on to get you through the colder winter months.

This said, I’ve been doing some research into the best ways to store and care for our knits and have learnt a few new tricks that I thought would be handy to share. In the post I plan on covering everything from hand washing tips to how to keep sweaters fresh and the best way to store them away over the summer months. So let’s get into it…

1| De-bobble your knit

Rather fustratingly, no matter how high quality your knits, you are bound to find the odd bobble or two and instead of trying to pick them off one by one, there is a much easier solution.

Find an old razor, comb, or you could invest in a proper sweater comb and carefully glide it across the garment. Try a patch test first to ensure the technique won’t cause any damage and make sure you are working under good light – working down the jumper following it’s contours and plucking away the unwanted fuzz as you go.

This works amazingly well, especially if you have an older item which is full of bobbles – it’s a great way of restoring life to knitwear and is a technic you could apply to revive any discarded older items or grab yourself a bargain from a charity shop!

For more finely milled items, try a toothbrush instead of a razor.

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2| Wear a layer under your knit 

Wearing a base layer under your jumpers can help keep them much cleaner and also mean they are more comfortable to wear if they are particularly itchy.

I don’t know how many knits i’ve loved, bought but when i’ve gone to wear, they’ve been far too itchy and i’ve had to take them off and often not worn again. It’s such a shame and there’s a really simple  solution – invest in a couple of inexpensive long sleeve tees to wear underneath such as this one from ASOS and away you go…

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3| Take care when hand washing

Cashmere and other delicate materials need a very gentle washing solution such as Woolite which you can get from most supermarkets. It will clean your delicates without stripping it of it’s natural softness, baby shampoo also works well.

Wash in luke-warm water and then leave it soaking for five minutes. Drain and refill with fresh water to get the soap out and take care to gently fold the item into itself when ringing out.

Place the garment onto a clean towel and fold from the bottom up so the towel absorbs all the excess water. Then pop on a drying rack somewhere warm to dry.

You could also use a steamer between washes – this will not only erase the creases but also act as a sanitiser, killing excess bacteria with the heat and getting rid of minimal odours.

If hand-washing isn’t for you, try putting your garments into a pillowcase and then using the delicate wash setting. This has worked for me in the past, but of course runs the risk of shrinking the item so can be a bit of a gamble!

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4|  Vacuum pack for summer storage

If you can, invest some vacuum packs to store away your more luxury and expensive knits over the summer months. This will ensure they are protected against mildew, mould and pesky insects. Make sure they are all clean before packing away. Otherwise store in plastic bags in a cool dry place.

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Et Voila! I hope some of this was helpful for caring for your knitwear, especially if you have received any new pieces for Christmas or in the sales! Let me know how you care for your knitwear and any top tips or tricks. xx

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This smooth and aromatic syrup is perfect for cocktail making, especially if you’re looking for something slightly more grown up to serve your guests. It can be used in exactly the same way as the blackcurrant creme de cassis liqueur – part of the popular Kir Royal (Champagne and Cassis) or in a number of other cocktails with gin and flavoured vodka.

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It is remarkably easy to make and can be frozen to use throughout the year, it’s definitely a recipe that I will be making again and again. This recipe makes 800 ml of syrup and was adapted from the Chiltern Firehouse cook book.

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If you live in London you’ll know that Chiltern Firehouse is one of the most popular restaurants there is, since it opened it’s doors in 2014 it quickly became a household name and is known to make the best cocktails!

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Here’s how to make it:

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1kg Caster Sugar

1 litre water

25 Fresh Sprigs of Lavender (or 15g dried lavender)

Peel from one unwaxed lemon

400g Fresh Blueberries

20ml Elderflower cordial

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Add the sugar, water, lemon into a wide saucepan and put this over a medium heat. Add the blueberries and elderflower cordial and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, until the fruit is soft and falling apart. Do not stir the mixture. Pour the mixture through a cheese cloth (you can buy these from most supermarkets or cookshops) into a clean heat proof container. Leave this to cool then freeze or serve in the cocktail of your choosing. It keeps in the fridge for 4-6 days or 6 months in the freezer. Serve with Vodka or Gin with Soda water and lemon for a perfect aperitif.

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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.

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.