Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What I Got For Christmas (2014)

I'm not going to do a wish list post this week as I don't feel like I should be wishing for new things less than a week after Christmas. I was given so many lovely, generous presents this year, and I'm more than content with what I have. I'm grateful for what I have.

My family spoiled me with gifts this Christmas (far more than I deserved!), and I thought I'd give you a little peek at some of the presents I was given. Now, I know there are mixed feelings about these kinds of posts, but I'm not writing it to brag; it's just a little insight in to my world. I personally love reading these sort of posts (probably because I'm nosey!), and I know many people do, too. If you don't, you might want to close this page now. If so, thanks for visiting! No hard feelings?

I don't know why, but every Christmas I gather all of my presents together like this and take photos; I've done this since I was little. This year I was spoiled rotten and got some amazing presents; I even got several things that had been on my wish list for ages! I don't ever like to ask for specific gifts, but my Mum and little sister pestered me for ideas this year until I gave in.

My little sister got me a gorgeous cloth-bound edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, which has the most amazing flamingo print design, and is even illustrated. I've wanted this cloth bound edition for years; mostly because of the cover but also because I'm a big fan of all things Alice in Wonderland and have been since I was little. I've not read the books since childhood, so I'm looking forward to reading them again soon.

My Mum got me a hardback copy of the latest Stephen King novel, 'Revival', and Begin Again on DVD. I've wanted both for ages.

My parents very generously got me a new camera, the Canon Powershot SX170 IS (although I chose it). We looked in to lots of different cameras, but this one seemed the best for our budget. It has 16 mega pixels and an amazing 32 x zoom, which is about twice as much zoom as my old one! I tried it outdoors yesterday for the first time, and the photos do look a lot sharper!

I've actually needed a new camera for a couple of years, since my old Canon (the one I've always used for blog photos) is on it's way out. A DSLR is way out of reach right now (one day!), but this seems like a pretty decent point and shoot that should be perfect for blog photos, taking to concerts, and every day use. I couldn't be happier or more grateful for this amazing present, and I was so surprised to receive lots of other prezzies from my parents alongside it.

One of my favourite presents this Christmas was Benefit's Box O' Blushers gift set, which was given to me by my older sister and brother-in-law. Benefit is one of my favourite make up brands, but it's not often I can afford to treat myself to their products, so I was so excited to be given a set of six face powders, and a highlighter to play with. The sis did well this year! I'll give you guys a closer look at it soon.

My parents gave me all of The Body Shop goodies in the photos above, including a lip gloss, soap, and bath jelly from the seasonal Glazed Apple range. I love the scent! I was also given a pot of the Vitamin E Moisture Cream, which I was so surprised to receive. I've been using it daily for a decade and was scraping the last dregs from the pot- and I miraculously had one waiting for me on Christmas morning! The funny thing is, my Mum didn't know I use it! Perfect serendipitous gift giving! The purple OPI nail polish in 'My Little Petunia' was also from my parents.

The rest of the beauty products were from my relatives, which included: a Nivea Luscious Beautiful Lips lipbalm set, Simple hydrating light moisturiser, Simple refreshing facial wash gel, P.S. Love Your Skin gentle facial cleansing wipes, Tesco aloe vera & green tea soap, Derma V10 coconut body butter, and Studio nail polish collection set called 'All That Glitters'.

I was also given a huge stash of chocolates, biscuits, and Pringles, mostly from my parents. A couple of boxes of chocolates were from relatives on my Dad's side of the family. I think this lot's going to see me through 'til Easter!

I got a fleecy fairisle onesie from my parents, and a cobalt blue lace scarf from one of my Aunties.

And finally, a random assortment of things from my Aunties. The Minnie Mouse wash bag was filled with some of the beauty products above. I was also given a little notebook with a rabbit on the front; a necklace, and a compact mirror. 

I received some Christmas money, too, which has been well spent (more on that when my purchases arrive), and I've been told a parcel is on its way to me from my best friend, which may or may not be from The Body Shop... 

So overall, I've been extremely spoiled by my family this year, and I know it! A big thank you to my family for buying me all of these lovely gifts; I'm a very lucky lady!

What did you get for Christmas this year? If you've blogged about what you got I'd love to see your posts, so leave me your links below!


Monday, 29 December 2014

My Christmas 2014

I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone; the whole festive season passed by far too quickly for me this year! Christmas Eve was pretty boring and uneventful, but I had a lovely Christmas Day at home with my family. Here's a few snippets from my Christmas celebrations...

On Christmas Eve morning, I went over to my sister's house, which is just around the corner from mine, and we quickly made Christmas crackers and table favours for Christmas Day.

We used a cracker kit from Hobbycraft for our crackers, and filled them with novelty chocolates from M&S- how cute are the brussel sprouts?- and also included a scratch card in each one. 

For the table favours, we added gold coins and a few Lindt chocolates to pretty cake cases, wrapped them in red or white embellished tulle, and tied them red ribbons. They were far from perfect but they went down really well with the family on Christmas Day!

Annoyingly, the cracker kit I bought was missing one cracker, and I didn't know about it until Christmas Eve afternoon, so I had to get creative on Christmas Eve night. I channelled my inner Kirstie, and made a cracker from scratch using cardboard tubes, scraps of red fabric, double-sided tape, and red ribbons. Sure, it was far from perfect and couldn't be snapped over Christmas dinner, but I was impressed with my last minute creativity. Even if it did take me over an hour to make!

I also made my blackberry and apple trifle on Christmas Eve. I've been making it every Christmas for almost a decade, so it's a tradition for me to make it every year now. It's delicious, if I do say so myself! I left the custard to set over night in the fridge and added the cream on Christmas Day- but I didn't manage to get a photo of the finished trifle before everybody dug in.

On Christmas Eve, I wore my South fox print dress, which is an old favourite of mine. It's already been featured in a couple of outfit posts, so I didn't take any proper photos of me wearing it. I didn't manage to get any photos of my Christmas Day outfit either. I couldn't really afford new clothes for the festive season this year, so I just wore my red polka dot Lady Vintage dress that I blogged about a week or two ago and absolutely adore.

I wore my make up the same way for both the 24th and 25th. I went with my signature look- green lids lined with black liner, followed by some festive green glitter. I used white and green pencil liners on the bottom lash lines, and finished with a couple of coats of jet black mascara. I'm not usually one for selfies as I hate my face, but I felt good this Christmas!

On Christmas Day, my Mum woke my sister and I up at 10am; the latest we've ever got up on Christmas morning! I set my alarm for 9, but I must've slept through it. Again. I wasn't being lazy; I was still awake at 5am.

My pile of presents from my parents, waiting for me on the sofa. I was spoiled rotten this year!

I opened my presents while wearing my new pyjamas from Dorothy Perkins. I love this Alaskan nature print!

My Christmas jumper and Christmas tree in my bedroom on Christmas Day.

Just some of the lovely presents I was given this year. I'll be blogging about what I got in a couple of days time.

Setting the table for Christmas dinner has always been my job. Is it weird that I enjoy it? I put on a festive playlist and often lose an hour putting it all together. It's just my immediate family and I on Christmas Day, so it's nothing fancy. Nothing matches but nobody cares. We have a loose green and red them, and use the same table cloth and place mats we've had forever. We're definitely not modern when it comes to Christmas; we're traditional and sentimental all the way!

I'm not qualified in napkin origami, so I made paper planes again...

We ate off my Mum's Port Merion china this year. They're not festive, but they matched the colour scheme.

My handmade table favours.

No other food needed, just turkey. Okay, maybe some roast potatoes and stuffing would be good, too... 

Our Christmas dinner was delicious, and it was lovely to sit around the table with my parents, sisters, and brother-in-law. We only ever eat at the table together on Christmas Day, (and occasionally on New Year's Day and Easter Sunday, if we have a big turkey dinner like this one), so Christmas lunch feels really special every year. As usual, we all ended up laughing until our sides hurt and I choked on my turkey. We were even in hysterics at the industrial strength crackers that turned in to a game of tug of war and sent chocolates flying in every direction. Christmas dinner is a health hazard when the six of us get together! 

After Christmas dinner, my older sister took my Mum off to A&E while the rest of us crashed in front of the TV. My Mum badly cut her leg on Christmas Eve night when she was retrieving presents she'd hidden under a drawer in her bedroom. She caught her leg on a piece of metal and took a big chunk out of her shin. There was so much blood, but she wouldn't listen to us when we told her she needed to go to hospital and get it seen to. I was sure it needed stitches. I don't think she realised how bad it was until the next afternoon, when she saw it with her glasses on, so she reluctantly gave in. She didn't want to go to A&E on Christmas Day / her birthday, but we made her go. Sure enough, she needed four stitches and four injections, but luckily they only missed out on two hours of the festivities. Never a dull moment in our house!

My younger sister got this White Rabbit teddy for Christmas off our older sister. He looks a bit startled!

I was forced to watch Frozen after Christmas dinner; I was not happy. It was the THIRD time a family member had put it on in about five hours. Am I the only one who is fed up to the back teeth of hearing about Frozen? I haven't gone a day without hearing about it on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, on TV, or blogs, or in real life since the film came out. It's doing my head in!

Once everybody was home, we just had a lazy afternoon watching TV. My sister and brother-in-law headed home around 6pm, and I popped over for a while, where we did the same thing. I had to admit defeat before two hours had passed, and came home to turkey sandwiches, festive TV, and my bed. I was so sore and shattered, that I pretty much crashed. One minute I was watching Family Guy, and the next I was waking in a daze at 2am! I somehow managed to spend 9 hours out of bed on Christmas Day, which was a huge achievement for me. It's been a long time since I last did so, and I'm pleased I got to enjoy a normal Christmas and not one in bed on my lonesome.

Overall, I had a great Christmas! I got to spend some quality time with my family, I got spoiled rotten with presents, and indulged in some delicious food... What more could anybody possibly ask for at Christmas? 

I watched a couple of those documentaries on the Boxing Day Tsunami this week, which claimed the lives of almost 300,000 people a decade ago, and I still can't help thinking how lucky I am to have had the Christmas I had when millions weren't awarded the same privilege that day. And I know millions all around the world won't have been so lucky this year, either. I'm so thankful for what I have! I'm just sad it's over for another year.

How was your Christmas? How did you celebrate, and what was the best present you got?


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sunday Favourites #114

I've managed to borrow my Mum's old laptop so I should be able to keep blogging while my laptop is away getting fixed or replaced. This old thing is a lot slower than my HP, but it's still much easier than blogging from my phone or going cold turkey, so I'm sure I can put up with it for a couple of weeks. 

I've found some time to put a new Sunday Favourites post together for you. I give you the last Sunday Favourites post of 2014...

I'm in love with Studio DIY's colourful space.

You Are My Fave's New Year's Eve in a box idea is brilliant.

This ice cream cone cake is adorable.

I've seen this done many times before, but Buzz Feed have reminded me that I want to start a "rememberlutions" or memory jar in 2015.

I love this lady's gorgeous green hair.

These cat tattoos by Sasha Unisex are beautiful.

Photographer Thierry Cohen created these stunning photos showing how the night sky would look in major cites without light pollution. Aren't they beautiful?

I'm mesmerised by the GIF and all of those gorgeous colours.

Amazing galaxy lips.

So true!

I love these three posters.

Louise's Lovely Links

♥ Leah's post on how to survive Christmas as a fat person (with judgemental friends and family) is one of the best posts I've read in ages!

♥ I was inspired by Mandy Leigh's 25 lifestyle blog post ideas.

♥ I've developed a serious bout of wanderlust from reading about Marianne's trip to Dubai.

♥ I was fascinated by Kaylah's trip to an abandoned rubber duck factory.

♥ I want to try some of Bianca's 25 creative ideas.

♥ If you love colourful hair colours, then you'll probably love this collection of colourful hair-do photos as much as I do.

♥ The secret dual lives of people living with mental illnesses is so spot on. I think it's one of the best ways I've seen mental illnesses portrayed in a very long time.

and finally,

♥ I adore Sammi's nutcracker print dress from Silly Old Sea Dog.

Have a great day!

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