UK Lifestyle Blog

27 December 2016

What I Got For Christmas 2016

These posts can be controversial I know, but I personally love reading them! I think it's because I'm just nosey, and like to see what people have received as their gifts. I also love to look back at these posts each year as a reminder. I am extremely grateful for everything I have been given.

So here goes nothing, these are a few of the lovely gifts I've received this year!

Lounge wear

Cosy Socks
Pink Love Pj's
Brown & Taupe Check Pj's
Unicorn Slippers


Lace Bell Sleeve Top
Grey Stripe Culotte Jumpsuit
Black Sandals
Kurt Geiger Purse

Elizabeth Arden Bold Kisses Collection
Ted Baker Mini Perfumes
Next White Amber Perfume
Ted Baker Box Gift Set
Sleek Make-Up Gift Set

Two Night Get Away for Two
Marble & Gold Travel Set

Pandora Earrings & Ring

Daily Journal
Ted Baker Notebook
Camera Lens Mug
Novelty Mug
I hope that you've enjoyed having a nosey at the gifts I've received this year, please leave links to your own 'what I got for Christmas' posts as I love a good nosey at them!

23 December 2016

Tips For Hosting a Dinner Party & Our Christmas Decor | AD

[AD] It's almost Christmas day, you've got your food shop done, the turkey is ready to be prepped, now it's time to get your house in order. Throwing a dinner party can be stressful at any time of the year, but none more so than at Christmas! Friends and family come round in their droves, all with hungry bellies, and a thirst for some fulfilling festive grub.

This is our first Christmas in our own home, and the first Christmas Day Dinner I've ever hosted. As a couple, we cook for two of us, Christmas day, I'll be cooking for SEVEN. Daunting indeed. I thought I would put together a dual post, with tips for helping you host your own festive dinner party and also a sneaky peek at what our house looks like this Christmas.

1. My first, absolute number 1 tip would be make a list. Check it twice. Couldn't help myself.
    I'm known to have a million lists on the go, but to make it easier for you split them into categories
    such as; Food to buy, Home (extra chairs needed? spare bowls?) and other. Then you can clearly
    see what is left to do and what you've already tackled.

2. Set a Budget.
    Hosting a dinner party can be an expensive affair, especially if you're having a lot of guests 
    attending. Set yourself a budget and try not to go over board. Perhaps even ask guests to bring
    a bottle of alcohol with them, as this will save you a lot of money, and on the whole guests are
    usually quite happy to do this. Your focus then can solely be on the food.

3. Give yourself plenty of time.
    I can often be a huge culprit of 'last minute mayhem' and often do leave things very late in terms of
    organisation. However this time round, I was prepared. As you can see even my table is set ready,
    which is because I'm working up until Christmas Eve. I really didn't want to be setting the table,
    and trying to keep an eye on the Christmas Dinner all in the morning. Make sure you give yourself
    plenty of time to get everything done, that way you'll feel much more relaxed when the party gets 
    into motion.

4. Create a time line.
    One tip that I often use at work, is to create a Timed To Do list. This is where you break down
    your day into hours. Say you're up at 9am and you dinner party starts at 7:30. Break down the
    middle into sections such as 9-10am pick up fresh produce, 10-11 prep starter and all vegetables.
    This way you can clearly see all of your tasks in an hour by hour format and know what you need
    to be doing and when.

5. It's all in the detail.
    What makes parties and dinners memorable to me is the attention to detail. You don't have to
    spend a lot of money, you can even D.I.Y your own table decorations. I have bought most of my
    table décor from Ikea, B&M and Home Bargains. It didn't cost much at all, but looks great when
    it's all put together.


6. Create the right ambiance.
    Another key preparation for a party is creating the right ambiance, is the house warm enough, is it
    too warm from the kitchen heat? You don't want your guests sat in their coats, but nor do you want
    them sweltering either!
    Another key element is scent. I like to make my home smell nice before we have any one round. I 
    was contacted by Amara, which is a luxury homeware company to take their Home Fragrance Quiz
    and pick out a candle based on my result. My perfect Home Scent came out as Sweet. Which is no 
    surprise to me! You can take the quiz here to help find a scent that will be perfect for your home. I was sent a gorgeous cream and gold
    candle called Air de Provence by D.L.&Co* which smells sensational. It has hints of jasmine,
    musk and citrus. Perfect to keep my home smelling great this party season. Whether it's a candle,
    room spray, or air freshener it's easy to make your home smell delicious in time for your guests

7. Have Fun.
    Grab a glass of wine, pop on the festive tunes and have some fun. Try not to stress too much, and
    take it all in. Sometimes being a host can distract you from actually enjoying your own party!
    Ensure you pry yourself away from the kitchen and have a good time with your guests.

Hosting a dinner party

I hope that this post has helped you prepare for your next dinner party, and I hope you have an amazing time during this festive season!

Are you hosting a dinner party this Christmas?

*Items in this post were gifted to me, all opinions are my own

20 December 2016

The Maxi Coat

I won't lie, I debated writing this post as I'm not 100% happy with how the photo's have turned out. However, I am happy with the outfit, hence the internal debate. I toyed with the idea of re-shooting it, but probably wouldn't have time until the new year, and I wanted you to have some chance of snapping up this absolute bargain of a coat. So throwing caution to the wind, we're rolling with it. Bad lighting and all.

I've been after a maxi coat for sometime, one that didn't drown me, or make me look shorter. With Christmas around the corner, I didn't have oodles to spend on myself, but when I came across this khaki, boyfriend style, maxi coat, sat in all it's glory in the aisles of..wait for it..Primark! I knew it belonged in my wardrobe.  Even better, it was on the sale rail, for a mere £10.00. Yup, you heard me right £10.00!

The khaki colour of the coat is the perfect alternative to your classic black jacket. It adds a subtle pop of colour, while still maintaining a very autumnal/winter vibe. The length is perfect, finishing mid calf, it doesn't swamp me, and I find the cut and fit of the coat very flattering.

With the coat being the star of the show, I decided to pair it with a somewhat understated base layer. A classic, grey, roll neck jumper, which you all know are staples in my winter wardrobe! A pair of plain black, high waist, skinny jeans, and black boots. A neutral, classic, base layer, made up of some great winter wardrobe staples.

I also think this coat could work perfectly with a classic little black dress, and some heeled boots. Perfect for those Christmas Parties, and for keeping warm!

In terms of accessories, I decided to keep these pretty understated as well. I opted for this stunning snowflake necklace from Jewellery Box, which I received from the lovely Sherry Scribbles. It's the perfect way to make any outfit festive, without being too in your face!

To complete the look I chose a very slouchy tote bag, also from Primark. This bag is amazing as it fits my camera, make-up, hairbrush, water bottle, purse and phone in easily, with plenty of room to spare. For a woman who likes to carry the kitchen sink around with her, a big bag is essential!

How would you style a Maxi Coat?

9 December 2016

Getting Festive With Intu Victoria Centre, Nottingham | AD

 [AD] Monday night I was invited to the Intu Victoria Centre for their Festive Blogger Event. I was so excited when I spied their invite in my email box, as I've been to a fair few of their events in the past and let me tell you, they don't do things by halves! Everything was set up beautifully.

As we entered the VIP area, there was a roaring fire flickering away on the wide screen, the ultimate festive backdrop for the evenings events. Brown and tweed furniture took centre stage, with silver and wood accents also featured in the décor. I adored these cushions, and they are high on my wish list. The fluffy one is the softest thing I've ever felt! Everything was from House of Fraser, and looks very country cottage, which if you know me is exactly the look I been trying to create in my own home! I will definitely be coaxing Stephen into there for a bit of festive home décor shopping.

The next stand out feature in the blogger box, was the stunning white Christmas tree, featuring Intu orange baubles! Underneath the tree were some very generous goody bags that each of us got to take home, full of treats from brands such as; Charlotte Tilbury, Clinique, Aveda and more! As well as some yummy chocolate coins, which are an essential at Christmas!

I made my way inside, along with some of my favourite blogger friends, and snapped up one of these mouth-watering Thaikhun Cocktails. They were perfectly presented in this take away style cup.

We spent some time catching up, meeting some new faces and discussing all things blogging and Christmas. Then it was time to pull out my jumper and get creative.

I headed on over to the Christmas Jumper station, which had been put together by Super+Super , who if you have seen my previous Intu Event post, also helped us make some stunning autumnal floral headbands. I knew it was going to be good!

I picked up a very soft, grey, roll neck jumper from Primark, for the bargainous price of £6.00! It was the perfect base to get my glue on!

After eyeing the array of felt, sparkles and embellishments, I decided I wanted to do a simple, chic Christmas jumper design, that still looked festive. I opted for a glamorous reindeer, complete with silver sparkly felt, and oodles of gems. I was very pleased with my completed jumper and can't wait to wear it over the festive season!

All that crafting worked up an appetite, and we were treated to a truly scrumptious frozen yogurt from Sloane Brothers. These were the most decadent froyo's I have ever laid my eyes on. They came topped with luxurious treats such as; candy canes, ginger bread men, popcorn, raspberries and mini chocolate biscuits! They tasted just as amazing as they looked too. If Christmas was a dessert it would be this one!

The Intu Victoria Centre event was the perfect way to start off what has already been an amazing December.

I left feeling very festive and lucky! I had such a lovely evening catching up with other local bloggers and doing what we do what we do best! I am extremely grateful to Intu Victoria Centre and Cartwright Communications for inviting me to their incredible events. Each one that I've attended has been so well put together, you can really see the hard work that has gone into creating them.

What have you been up to so far this December?

30 November 2016

My Bridal Accessories | AD

[AD] Hello there, long time no see! If you follow me on social media then you'll know that I've gotten married! In fact I've just returned from my honeymoon in the Caribbean, all in time for Blogmas. To make life even more difficult for myself I've also decided to have a go at Vlogmas, in a weekly format though, not daily, as I still have to work full time!

Todays 1st Blogmas post isn't actually festive related at all i'm afraid! But it does have lots of sparkle, so that surely makes up for it right?

I wanted to share with you some of the accessories I had for my wedding day, that made me feel extra special, and glamorous. Maybe you're engaged and are looking for inspiration, or perhaps you have an eye for all things glittery? then this post is for you!

I bought this clutch bag about two weeks after we got engaged (which was 4 years ago ahh!). I loved the pearl detail, and sparkly silver clip top. I already had a vague idea of how I wanted our wedding to look, even at that early stage.

 Although, this bag may no longer be available, as it was from an independent stall in Derby, there are lots of similar ones on the highstreet. New look & Asos are good places to look.

If you've read my previous wedding-related posts, you will have seen these stunning diamond earrings. They made me feel so special and really pulled my look together, they are dainty yet show stoppers at the same time. I loved how they twinkled as they caught the light. You can find these exact earrings at Goldsmith's.

I picked up this bracelet from Debenhams, it matched my hair vine (also from Debenhams) perfectly. The style is unusual, it reminded me of winter flowers and snow, so it fit our theme wonderfully. It's a delicate piece that looks elegant on the wrist, nothing too flashy but enough to catch your eye.

I ordered this garter, along with my wedding lingerie (not photographed, as no one needs to see that!) from Asos. It was just what I was looking for, a simple lace design, with a blue bow. It fit lovely and was really comfortable all day. I was worried about wearing a garter at first, as I didn't want it digging into me all day, but this was really soft and I even forgot I had it on!

My perfume was a treat from my Husband (going to keep saying that as often as I can!) I wanted something new that I could wear on special occasions, that would always remind me of our day. After sniffing around numerous department stores (literally!) I came across this gorgeous scent by Givenchy.  It's fresh, floral and very me. It wasn't too overpowering, but smelt divine.

Finally the best until last, my beautiful shoes. These were my biggest bargain ever! They are Benjamin Adams and should have retailed for around £250, but I found them in the TK Maxx sale in January, for just £59! I scooped them up in the blink of an eye, and i'm so glad I did. They only have a small heel so were really comfortable to walk in, I managed to walk down the aisle, and not fall flat on my face, so that's a bonus in my eyes! Plus look at that sparkle!

So there are my bridal accessories. I treasure every piece, and they will always be my most special items, to wear for those precious occasions in the future.

 I hope that you have enjoyed day 1 of my Blogmas, and wish me luck that I manage to stick to it! Day two will be more along the festive lines I promise!


17 November 2016

Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Jewellery | AD

[AD]You have your dress, now it's time to get your jewellery. You have an idea of what you want, but as soon as your faced with those display cabinets adorned with jewelled delights, you're overcome with confusion. There's so many styles, designs and colours to choose from.  How can you possibly narrow it down?

Here are my top tips for choosing your wedding jewellery.

1. Like dress shopping, go in with an open mind. Be prepared to look at styles you may not have considered before.

2. Have an image of your dress, either fresh in your mind, or as a photo on your phone. This will make it easier to choose your jewellery, as you know exactly how your dress looks, and you can keep referring back to it when you need to.

3.  Trust your jewellery consultant. I explained the theme of our wedding and the style of my dress to my consultant, whom then went on to pick out some jewellery pieces that she thought fitted well with what I wanted. This helped me so much, as your not faced with too many options and you won't begin to feel overwhelmed.

4. Focus on the style of your dress. Is it strapless? If so a necklace would look beautiful with this style. Is it halter neck ? Then make your earrings the accessory. It's all about finding a balance, if you have a statement necklace, then simple earrings would work well too.

5. Another thing to consider is your hairstyle. If your wearing your hair down do you want droplet earrings or studs? Both of these create an elegant sophisticated look.

I ended up choosing these stunning diamond droplet earrings*. They work well with the style of my dress (which I won't be revealing yet, but keep your eyes peeled! It's only 2 days away!) and they also will look great with how I'm having my hair. My jewellery consultant at Goldsmith's in Derby's Intu Centre really helped me narrow my choice down. However, these were the first pair that I knew I loved, and the rest didn't come as close. Go with your gut, and remember to have fun!

I hope you found these tips helpful,
do you have any of your own you'd like to add?
*Items in this post were gifted to me. All opinions expressed are my own.

5 November 2016

Healthy Dining at Skinny Kitchen, Canterbury

After a day of exploring the gorgeous city of Canterbury, we were left feeling peckish. We browsed the various restaurants along the way, when we stumbled across this quaint, monochrome kitchen, nestled on the bustling main street.

The modern, striking, exterior really attracted our attention and drew us in to find out more.

The atmosphere and décor inside Skinny Kitchen reciprocated it's healthy concept, with gorgeous clean white walls, contrasted with pale green sofas, and eye-catching copper lights overlooking the entire room. The vibe was very modern, pristine, but most importantly welcoming. There were potted plants scattered all through out the room, which further enhanced the natural ambiance.

We both decided to order a delicious, juicy smoothie to start with. I opted for the Acai Energy, as just lately I've been feeling more tired than usual and thought that I could do with a nice natural energy boost.

 This luscious, raspberry coloured, juice is packed with mouth-watering goodness, in the form of; mixed berries, orange, acai, banana and green tea powder. It went down a treat! Even more tempting, they offer a selection of healthy cocktails, and though I passed on them this time, it was only early afternoon after all! I definitely have them high on my list if we're ever back in Canterbury.

We browsed the menu extensively, as there was just so much to choose from! After an agonising decision, we made our choices. Stephen opted for the Chilli Bean, a fiery chipotle chilli bean, topped with creamy avocado and zingy jalapenos, served with a pot of sweet potato fries. I had a little food envy when it was first brought out, the presentation is immaculate with the mini pan and pot, food for the eyes and the mouth! That was of course until my main was brought out.

I had chose a 'skinny pizza,' all the delicious taste of a regular pizza, but a lot better for you! Who doesn't love a good pizza after all. The base was thin and crispy, topped with delicious, fresh onions, tomatoes, rocket, jalapenos, nuts and the perfect smattering of cheese.

All of the meals listed on the menu have the calories, carbs, protein and fat listed on them too, which is really useful, particularly if you're into fitness or weight training.

There is also a variety of desserts to choose from too, yes you heard me right, healthy desserts! Including pancakes and waffles! Unfortunately we didn't have room to fit them in, but they sounded incredible, with toppings such as; dark chocolate sauce, banana, honey, crushed hazelnuts and cacao nibs.

 Even if you're not weight training or calorie counting, the fresh, well presented, tasty food is something not to be missed at Skinny Kitchen. Their menu aims to cater for all types of diet whether that be vegetarian, high protein or low carb.  If you're ever in Canterbury I would highly recommend a visit, even if it's just for a quick juice stop! Want to find out more? You can have a look at their website here.
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