Tuesday, 1 December 2020

50 Things I Want To Do This Christmas

December has arrived and the Christmas count down has officially begun. Trees are being trimmed, presents are being wrapped, the cupboards are being stocked with delicious food, and we're busy preparing for our first Christmas during a worldwide pandemic.

Christmas is going to be a little different for many people this year, but I don't think the pandemic will bring many changes to my own Christmas that chronic pain hasn't already done over the last nine years. It's been a while since I've attended Christmas parties, gone to a Christmas lights switch-on, seen my extended family over the holidays, or taken fun festive outings because of my health, so Covid restrictions can't ruin it for me. I already set the bar really low so not to disappoint myself when my health won't let me do something, and as long as I get to spend Christmas Day with my family, I'll be happy. I'm not about to let Covid ruin my Christmas!

I'm naturally already busy preparing for Christmas, and there are so many things I need and want to do before the 25th. I've come up with a long list of things I hope to do, and while I know I probably won't be able to do everything on my list, because of pain, Covid, or lack of time, I'm going to do my best to cross off as many of them as possible. There are fifty goals on my list, and I'm going to kick off the festive season by sharing them with you today.

Here's 50 things I want to do this Christmas:

1. Buy a Christmas tree for my bedroom.

2. Decorate my room for Christmas.

3. Decorate the tree and downstairs rooms with my family.

4. Have lots of Christmas movie marathons. (Who am I kidding? I've had a few of them already)!

5. Go for a walk to spot Christmas lights.

6. Go for at least one drive to spot Christmas lights in my local area.

7. Finish my Christmas shopping. (I started early, so I only have a few things left to buy now).

8. Wrap presents as beautifully as possible.

9. Write my Christmas cards early and send them out with plenty of time.

10. Post lots of festive photos on Instagram and make my grid look super festive.

11. Finish my Christmas cross stitch picture, and do lots of Christmas cross stitching.

12. Try some Christmas embroidery.

13. Make a pom pom star wreath. (I bought the materials last Christmas, so I must get it done this year).

14. Reread A Christmas Carol.

15. Reread Little Women.

16. Read Noel Streatfield's Christmas Stories.

17. Put together a Christmas Eve Box. (Almost finished!)

18. Make this year's Christmas crackers.

19. Make table favours for our Christmas meal.

20. Bake Christmas goodies with my sister and brother-in-law.

21. Make and decorate Christmas cookies.

22. Make Christmas cupcakes.

23. Make my blackberry and apple trifle for Christmas Day.

24. Make a yule log.

25. Enjoy Christmas Day with my family.

26. Enjoy the festive events on Animal Crossing New Horizons and make my island look super festive.

27. Play board games on Christmas Day.

28. Make some new Christmas playlists and listen to lots of Christmas tunes.

29. Wear the shit out of my Christmas Erstwilder brooches and earrings.

30. Buy a new dress to wear on Christmas Day.

31. Buy a new pair of Christmas pyjamas.

32. Dress my dog up in Christmas outfits and take photos of her looking cute in them.

33. Go out for hot chocolate... even if it's just grabbing a takeaway from Costa.

34. Blog festive posts as much as possible. (I already have a few posts scheduled).

35. Do some Christmas colouring / painting in a Christmas colouring book.

36. Donate to a foodbank and / or Christmas toy drive.

37. Put together a Christmas box for a homeless person.

38. Watch The Nutcracker and the Four Realms for the first time.

39. Watch It's a Wonderful Life for the first time.

40. Watch a new-to-me Christmas movie.

41. Take lots of photos.

42. Make the Christmas snowglobe kit I've been meaning to make for years.

43. Share what I find inside my Advent calendar on Instagram.

44. Watch lots of festive TV specials.

And a few things I want to do that might be tricky because of Covid restrictions and lockdowns, so may or may not be possible...

45. Go to a Christmas lights switch on- if any go ahead with distancing measures in my area.

46. Go to a Christmas market- if I can find a good one nearby with social distancing measures.

47. Browse the Christmas decorations at a department store / garden centre.

48. Go to the Christmas Land of Light event at Longleat Safari Park.

49. Visit the Illuminated Light Trail at Blenheim Palace.

50. Go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Hogwarts in the Snow.

Well, that's what I would like to do this Christmas... what's about you? What's on your Christmas to-do list?

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Monday, 30 November 2020

OPI Shine Bright Nail Polish Advent Calendar Review With Spoilers

I can't believe it's already time to start talking Advent calendars! Seriously, where has this year gone? It only feels like two minutes since I was reviewing last year's beauty calendars!

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that I like to treat myself to a beauty Advent calendar every Christmas. I don't often splurge on beauty products throughout the year, so this is one beauty treat I like to give myself. This year, I decided I wanted to go with a nail polish calendar again, and after narrowing down my favourites, I chose OPI's Shine Bright Advent calendar.

Before we go any further, please note that this review contains spoilers including photos of the contents, so if you don't want to ruin the surprise for yourself, you may want to stop reading here. If you are here for the spoilers, however, keep reading, and I'll try not to disappoint you!

So, the Shine Bright Advent calendar is this year's offering from nail polish favourite OPI in collaboration with Swarovski. It features twenty-five mini OPI nail polishes in a range of bold and sophisticated colours for the holiday season, including twelve brand new shades from the Shine Bright collection, and thirteen of OPI's iconic classic colours. An almost perfect balance of new and old nail shades.

There are festive reds, playful pinks, dazzling golds, mesmerising midnights, decadent purples, and so much more, providing you with something for every mood, outfit, and occasion. It's a beautifully curated collection, and it's sure to keep your nails looking fabulous throughout the festive season- and beyond. 

The twelve new Shine Bright polishes included in the calendar are:

♥ Dressed to the Wines- a red-wine shimmer. 

♥ Gingerbread Man Can- a shimmery brown. 

♥ Heart and Coal- a black glitter. 

♥ Let's Take an Elfie- a shimmery violet-purple. 

♥ Merry in Cranberry- a playful fuchsia. 

♥ Naughty or Ice?- a shimmery champagne. 

♥ Red-y For The Holidays- a classic velvety red. 

♥  For You- a pearlescent pink.

♥ This Gold Sleighs Me- a metallic gold.

♥ This Shade is Ornamental- a velvety rose-pink.

♥ Tinsel, Tinsel 'Lil Star- a metallic silver.

♥ To All a Good Night- a shimmery midnight blue.


And the thirteen classic OPI nail shades included are:

♥ Alpine Snow- a whitest white.

♥ Aurora Berry-alis- a raspberry pink.

♥ Bogota Blackberry- a deep claret with an intriguing fruity sparkle.

♥ Bubble Bath- a neutral tone.

♥ It's A Girl- a baby pink.

♥ Kyoto Pearl- a soft pearly white.

♥ Lincoln Park After Dark- a midnight meets purple.

♥  Wine- a wine-red.

♥ Pompeii Purple- a hot pink with an explosion of purple.

♥ Russian Navy- a deep-sea indigo.

♥ Strawberry Margarita- a bright pink.

♥ Taupe-less Beach- an enticing taupe.

♥ Tickle My France-y- a naughty nude.

The Shine Bright calendar is filled with beautiful nail colours, although, it does contain a lot of reds, and pinks, instead of covering a whole spectrum of colours, which is common with OPI's Advent calendars. You might view this as good or bad depending on the shades you like to wear on your nails. I personally love wearing a whole rainbow of colours, yet I'm thrilled with the shades in this calendar. The colours are stunning, and there's a great mix of glosses, shimmers, glitters, and pearlescent finishes. There are so many shades inside that I can't wait to try out, especially the reds like Red-y For the Holidays and Dressed to the Wines, and the glittery blacks and blues like Heart and Coal and To All a Good Night. However, I also would've preferred to have seen a little more variety in the calendar; seven pink shades is a little excessive for one set- even if they are all different, and there are too many nudes for my taste, which are unlikely to ever get used because I prefer a bit of colour. I decided to overlook this, though, as I love the look of the majority of the nail polishes in the calendar, and I've been impressed with OPI's calendars in the past. 

All of the nail polishes in this calendar are miniature-sized OPI nail polishes, so if you were hoping for full-sized bottles, you may be disappointed. Yes, at 3.5ml they're small in size, but mini cosmetics are adorable, and you still get plenty of manicures from each bottle- I'd say at least half a dozen two-coaters. The calendar is a great way to try out lots of OPI nail shades before committing to their full-sized bottles, which, let's face it, can be quite expensive. These mini nail polishes are also the perfect size for putting in your bag or suitcase to use on the go (not that many of us are going places right now; thanks, Covid), and they're less likely to dry up or separate before you reach the bottom, which often happens to me with full sized bottles of nail polish.

My only real problem with these mini OPI nail polishes is that they don't tell you the names of the nail shades on the bottles, which can make identifying the correct shades tricky if you want to reorder a favourite colour at a later date. Sure, it tells you the names on the back of the calendar, and on the inside of each window, but who holds on to the packaging until every bottle is used up? It's a minor issue, but I wish OPI would just label each bottle to make life easier.

As for the packaging, the calendar is made from thin but reasonably-sturdy recyclable card from responsible sources, and features a modern red and pink design with disco balls and streamers. The front of the calendar is split in two, and opens up to reveal twenty-five geometric cardboard windows in deep red, pink, yellow, and purple on a background of metallic pink streamers, split in to three sections. Each window is clearly numbered in a large white font and organised in numerical order to make locating the correct window a breeze, and when you open them, you'll find the name of the polish printed on the inside behind it. I really like the design this year. It's attractive, it's festive, it's colourful, and it'll look great on display with the rest of the Christmas decorations. What's not to love?

Overall, my first impressions of the calendar are almost entirely positive. I love the majority of the nail shades, there isn't any cheap tat added to cheaply bulk out the calendar like some other nail brands have done (I'm looking at you, Essie), the packaging is attractive, and the price is reasonable. While I haven't tried any of the nail polishes inside yet, I've always been impressed with the high quality of OPI nail polishes in the past, and I'm really pleased that I chose the Shine Bright calendar for Christmas 2020. I can't wait to start trying everything over the holidays.

I'll be giving you a closer look at the polishes over on Instagram every day during Advent, so be sure to give me a follow if you want to see which polish I get each day as we count down to Christmas.

The Shine Bright Advent Calendar retails for around £65, although it can be found much cheaper with some online stores.

It's currently still available to purchase from Amazon, Just My Look, Nail Polish Direct, and OPI.

Have you treated yourself to a beauty Advent calendar this year, or have you gone for something a little more traditional?

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Sunday, 29 November 2020

101 Things To Do This Christmas During The Corona Virus

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it'll likely be a little different for many of us this year thanks to the Corona Virus crisis and the restrictions in place to keep us all safe. 

It's unlikely many of us will be going to big Christmas parties, visiting Christmas markets, taking trips to the theatre, or spending Christmas with our entire extended families this December, and while it's disappointing and won't quite be the same, it doesn't mean Christmas has to be written off as a disaster before it's even begun. We just need to think about the little things that make Christmas special, and look closer to home for fun festive ways to enjoy the holidays this year. Christmas movie nights in pyjamas, baking delicious Christmas treats, festive carpet picnics under the light of the Christmas tree, cold dark evenings spent crafting Christmas decorations... there are so many different ways to make the festive season special without even having to leave the house. You just have to think outside the box.

If you're stuck for ideas for how to spend Christmas during this pandemic, never fear; I've already thought of 101 things to do this Christmas, and I've compiled them all in one handy list for you today.

A photo of a Christmas flat lay taken from above, partially showing an open Christmas organiser, topped with a pen and phone, and surrounded by small Christmas decorations, beneath a header in black and white saying '101 Things To Do This Christmas During The Corona Virus.'

1. Pick out a Christmas tree- even if it's buying an artificial one online.

2. Decorate your tree.

3. Decorate your home for Christmas.

4. Go foraging for natural decorations, like pine cones and mistletoe, to craft or decorate your home with.

5. Make a Christmas wreath to hang on the door.

6. Curate some new festive playlists to soundtrack all your Christmas activities.

7. Dance around the house to Christmas tunes.

8. Have lots of Christmas movie marathons.

9. Watch all those Christmas TV specials, new and old. You can't beat the Gavin and Stacey, and The Vicar of Dibley Christmas specials, in my opinion.

10. Watch all those dodgy Christmas TV movies.

11. Watch The Queen's Speech.

12. Read a Christmas themed novel like A Christmas Carol or Little Women.

13. Read some Christmas poetry.

14. Colour-in a Christmas colouring book.

15. Sew a Christmas cross stitch or embroidery.

16. Knit or crochet something festive like a tree decoration, stocking, garland, or cosy Christmas blanket to snuggle up under.

17. Make your own Christmas crackers.

18. Sit and write your Christmas cards. 

19. Make your own Christmas cards.

20. Catch up with friends and family by writing some Christmas snail mail.

21. Have a go at some festive creative writing.

22. Dig out your art supplies, and make some festive art.

23. Do some Christmas bullet / art journaling.

24. Make a Christmas face mask to accessorise your Christmas outfits, and keep you safe around others during the holidays.

25. Make your own Christmas jumper by customising an old piece of knitwear.

A Christmas flatlay image taken from above showing an open Christmas organiser layered with an  iPhone, pen, and a pair of red glasses, surrounded by small Christmas decorations like mini baubles, bows, and Christmas trees in red and green.

26. Make and fill an Advent calendar.

27. Hang paper chains.

28. Make paper snowflakes.

29. Make table favours for your Christmas meal.

30. Make popcorn and cranberry garlands to string up on the tree.

31. Make all your gifts this year.

32. Make foodie gifts for your loved ones.        

33. Wrap your Christmas presents as beautifully and creatively as you can.

34. Put together a Christmas Eve box for yourself or a loved one to enjoy on Christmas Eve.

35. Learn a Christmas song on an instrument.

36. Do a Christmas jigsaw puzzle.

37. Play board games with your family / housemates.

38. Play a computer game with festive events, such as Animal Crossing.

39. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies with your family. You could even have a contest to see who creates the best design.

40. Make a yule log.

41. Bake a Christmas cake.

42. Make a Christmas pudding.

43. Make mince pies.

44. Build a gingerbread house.

45. Roast hot chestnuts.

46. Perfect your Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

47. Go out for a turkey roast (or veggie / vegan equivalent) somewhere with good distancing measures.

48. Treat your family to a Christmas afternoon tea at home.

49. Have a go at making your own Christmas cocktails.

50. Make your own sloe gin or egg nog.

A Christmas flatlay image taken from above showing an open Christmas organiser topped with an  iPhone, and surrounded by small Christmas decorations like mini baubles, bows, and Christmas trees in red and green.

51. Make epic homemade hot chocolates complete with whipped cream and marshmallows.

52. Go out for hot chocolate somewhere with good distancing measures.

53. Have a Christmas carpet picnic under the light of the Christmas tree.

54. Pack a picnic full of fun festive foods, wrap up warm, and have a picnic outdoors somewhere pretty. Bonus points if you find somewhere safe draped in fairy lights.

55. Buy or make food in festive shapes, just because it's fun.

56. Order a box of festive cookies, cakes, or doughnuts for home delivery from your favourite brand or bakery as a treat for everyone.

57. Go for a drive to spot Christmas lights.

58. Go for a socially-distanced walk to spot Christmas lights in your neighbourhood.

59. Visit a socially-distanced Christmas lights trail at your local stately home or zoo.

60. Visit a Christmas market, if there's one with social-distancing measures in your area.

61. Take a Christmas Day family walk.

62. String up fairy lights in the garden and camp out under the stars.

63. Go ice skating, if you can find a rink that's open and safe to visit.

64. Have a Christmas crafternoon session.

65. Throw a Christmas afternoon tea for your household.

66. Have a Christmas duvet day spent in your PJs on the sofa, watching movies, and eating festive snacks.

67. Have a festive pamper day.

68. Start a new family Christmas tradition.

69. Try a Christmas tradition from another part of the world.

70. Learn about Christmas traditions in other parts of the world.

71. Host a Secret Santa or White Elephant present swap with your family or friends.

72. If it snows, build a snowman, have a snowball fight, go sledding, and make snow angels.

73. Host a Zoom Christmas party with your family and friends.

74. Have a Zoom Christmas quiz night with your family and friends.

75. Attend a Christmas church service online.

A Christmas flatlay image taken from above showing an open Christmas organiser layered with an  iPhone, pen, and a pair of red glasses, surrounded by small Christmas decorations like mini baubles, bows, and Christmas trees in red and green.

76. Make a Christmas photo booth in your home, with a festive backdrop, silly photo props, and a camera on a tripod, and take photos with your family.

77. Dress your pet in silly Christmas outfits and take lots of photos of them looking cute and humiliated.

78. Try to recreate an old family photo taken at Christmas time.

79. Take photos in front of the Christmas tree.

80. Take photos of all the fun things you get up to. You could even print them out and put them in a photo album.

81. Blog / Instagram all the fun things you get up to over Christmas.

82. Look through old photos and videos taken at Christmas time and reminisce. 

83. Light an Advent candle every night.

84. Treat yourself to an Advent calendar to enjoy every day.    

85. Add mini Santa hats to all of the framed photos and art on your walls.

86. Decorate all of your kitchen cabinets with ribbons, so that they look like they've been gift wrapped.  

87. Treat yourself to a new Christmas outfit- even if you will only be wearing it at home this year.

88. Buy new Christmas PJs to wear on Christmas Eve.

89. Try a Christmas make up look.

90. Have a go at some festive nail art.

91. Have fun creating Elf on a Shelf escapades for your kids every day.

92. Hang stockings over the fireplace.

93. Leave cookies and milk out for Santa, and some carrots or reindeer food for his reindeer.

94. Donate to a foodbank.

95. Donate presents for underprivileged kids.

96. Make a shoe-box parcel for a child in need.

97. Make a shoe-box parcel for a homeless person.

98. Donate food, toys, blankets, money, or your time to an animal shelter.

99. Bake Christmas treats and drop them on friends' doorsteps.

100. Buy or make little presents for your postman and delivery drivers to say 'thanks' for their hard work during the pandemic.

101. Do a random act of kindness for a stranger.

And those are 101 things you could do this Christmas.

I hope my list has given you a little inspiration, and helps you make some fun memories this Christmas despite the Corona Virus. If you can think of any activities I've missed, feel free to add them to the comments below.

How are you planning to spend Christmas this year?

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Thursday, 12 November 2020

Currently on Lockdown : November 2020


It's been over a year since I last wrote a 'Currently' post to share what I've been getting up to and enjoying lately, so I think it's time for a long over due catch up. 

A photo of a stack of navy and black books stacked in width order against a white background. From top to bottom, the books shown are Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Winterwood by Shea Enshaw, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, and Q by Christina Dalcher.

Reading

I've read for at least an hour every day so far this year, but I haven't read as much as I would've liked because I keep getting distracted by Animal Crossing. The addiction is real! I've just finished my twenty-seventh book of the year so far, which really isn't that bad at all, and have been reading a lot of psychological thrillers over the last few months. Some of them weren't anything special, but I really enjoyed The Minders and What Lies Between Us by John Marrs, No One Home by Tim Weaver, and Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks. 

I also loved The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, about a young woman with depression who takes her own life and gets to try out all the lives she could've lived in a library between life and death. While the writing style is quite simple, it's full of powerful messages about life that you can't always see for yourself when you're struggling with depression, and I think it could help a lot of people battling depression and suicidal thoughts. I wish I could've read this when I was at my lowest in my late teens. 

Other books I've really enjoyed this year include the new Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (although, I now hate Snow even more); Q by Christina Dalcher; Dear Edward by Ann Neapolitano, and The Caraval series by Stephanie Garber (which has become one of my favourite book series of all time). 

If you'd like to keep up with what I'm reading, you can find me on Goodreads here.

A flatlay photo taken from above of the 2019 Little Women DVD case on a white background, surrounded by colourful confetti.

Watching

I've been so restless lately, I've been finding it really hard to get in to anything new. I started watching Away, and The Rain on Netflix, but got bored after a few episodes and haven't gone back to either yet. I've mostly just been enjoying Neighbours and Home and Away, and watching true crime documentaries. I finally got around to watching a fascinating Ted Bundy documentary on Amazon Prime, and have watched a few on Netflix about serial killers and unexplained missing person's / murder cases. I also enjoyed watching the mini series 'Des' about the serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who I didn't know much about before it. Even for a serial killer, what he did was fucked up. A few months ago, I also rewatched all six seasons of Lost twice, and finally got around to watching Anne with an E, which I loved.

As for movies, I've mostly been rewatching old favourites, but I recently watched Lion, which broke my heart; The Secret, which wasn't anything special but lovely for a rainy Sunday morning; and the new Little Women film, which I actually found quite disappointing. Am I the only one who thought it was mediocre compared to the 1994 and BBC versions? I mean, it was okay and it's grown on me since the first time I watched it, but I thought the actors who played Jo, Beth, and Meg didn't do the characters justice; they were really bland. Give me the Winona Ryder version any day! (If you haven't seen that version, it's lovely, and a great Christmas film, too).

A flatlay photo taken from above of various Ronan Keating Twenty Twenty albums. The photo shows an A4 photo book collector's album, a CD, cassette tape, and a signed card featuring a purple, blue, and red design, the words 'Ronan Keating Twenty Twenty' in gold,  and Ronan Keating's face on them.

Listening

I haven't been listening to much of anything new lately, except for two albums from opposite ends of my musical tastes- Ronan Keating's Twenty Twenty album, and Linkin Park's 20th anniversary rerelease of their debut album, Hybrid Theory. The fact that Hybrid Theory is 20 years old makes me feel so old. I was still in secondary school studying for my GCSEs when it was originally released in 2000, and it's hard to believe so many years have passed. (I refuse to believe I'm getting old). It was an incredible album then, and it still holds up all these years later. I've been returning to it time and time again for twenty years, but had to get the anniversary edition, which included Reanimation and a bunch of b-sides, rarities, and demos to download. There are some brilliant tracks in the mix, and it's so good to hear Chester's voice on 'new' music again- as well as have an excuse to blast out old favourites like In The End, Crawling, A Place For My Head, and Runaway.

An in-progress photo of a Satsuma Street Deck the Halls Wall Hanging cross stitch, showing a partially completed pink Scandinavian-style bird cross stitch on white aida in a pink polka dot embroidery frame in the centre of the photo, surrounded by a range of pink and teal threads, fluorescent green embroidery scissors, a cake needle minder and needle, coloured pencils, and a cross stitch pattern.

Stitching

Between arthritis issues and Animal Crossing, I haven't done a lot of cross stitching this year, but I've just returned to a Christmas cross stitch I began last year and never finished. I'm stitching the Deck the Halls wall hanging from Satsuma Street, which is a really colourful Scandinavian-style cross stitch, and a little different to the more traditional designs you usually see at Christmas time in England. It's a beautiful design, and so fun and colourful. I need to put the effort in to get it finished in time to hang up in December, which should be doable as I haven't got loads left to stitch now. I think I'm about 3/5ths of the way through. I'll be sure to blog the finished wall hanging once I'm done- hopefully some time in December.

A flatlay photo taken from above showing a teal Nintendo Switch games console with Animal Crossing New Horizons on screen, a green leaf acrylic brooch, an Animal Crossing New Horizons case, an Animal Crossing character print microfibre cloth, and a leaf print Animal Crossing New Horizons Switch case on a white background.
A screen shot of a pumpkin garden I made on my island in the game Animal Crossing New Horizons. The screen shot shows a garden with pumpkin patch with different coloured pumpkins, with fruit trees, barrels, spades, hay bales and pumpkin furniture behind and beside it. The garden is surrounded by green and orange hedges, and in the centre is a character dressed as a witch with pink hair and orange eyes. Her outfit is orange and black, and she's standing in front of a wooden flower cart. To the right of her are wooden steps leading up to a beige house with a brown door that is surrounded by pumpkins for Halloween.

Playing

I'm still addicted to Animal Crossing New Horizons, and have played it every day since it was released in March. I've lost far too many hours to it this year... more than I care to admit, but it's helped me cope with lockdown and Covid life, so it's not necessarily a bad thing. I love playing on it every day- it's so cute and relaxing. Lately, I've been enjoying collecting the Halloween and Mush furniture, making my island look all autumnal, and working on a haunted house. I've also knocked down half of my island because I hate it and have decided to redo my island instead of restarting the game from scratch, so it's currently a big hot mess. I'm trying to make it pretty and colourful and a little bit fairy-core, and can't wait to make it festive for Christmas, too. Who else is addicted to Animal Crossing?

Buying

I've been concentrating on Christmas shopping lately and think I'm about half way there now. I've found some great gifts I can't wait to give to my family next month. (How is Christmas next month already)?? I've also bought a few treats for myself along the way, including Erstwilder brooches (naturally), the OPI Advent calendar, my first Papergang stationery box, and some of The Body Shop's festive products. I'm hoping to blog about all of them soon.

Wanting

About 8395890201 resin brooches, some new books, a cure for the Corona Virus, things to go back to how they were, a good Christmas with my family, and for Trump to do the world a favour and fuck off, 

Needing

I really need some new black ankle boots, some ballet pumps, new underwear, some new dresses, a hair cut, an eye test and new glasses, Christmas gift wrapping supplies, a holiday, some pain-free days, more hours in the day, a good concert, a good night's sleep, and to get out of this house before the walls close in on me.

A flatlay photo of a red and white polka dot face covering from Lady Vintage, on a white background surrounded by colourful round confetti.

Face covering from Lady Vintage

Wishing

The pandemic could be over, and the world could go back to normal. The news about the Pfizer vaccine does sound promising, though, so maybe immunity is on the horizon, and things will start improving for us in 2021. Fingers crossed.

A flatlay photo looking down at a box of assorted Halloween themed Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
A flatlay photo looking down at a red box of Ben's Cookies, with a selection of fresh chocolate chip cookies in cellophane in front of it.

Eating

One of the few positives of the pandemic is that things have become more accessible for people stuck at home, and things I would normally miss out on are now available for home delivery. I've enjoyed taking advantage of this and have treated my family to a box of baked goods a few times since the first lockdown in March to make lockdown / Covid life a little more bearable. I treated us to a box of Krispy Kremes over Halloween, and earlier in the year, we ordered treats from Millie's Cookies, Ben's Cookies, and Doughnut Time, which were always the best ideas. Cookies and doughnuts make any day better- especially during Covid times. Fact. It's all about the little things in life right now. 

I also recently discovered Cadbury Chocolate Orange buttons and holy crap, they're amazing! 

Celebrating

Biden winning the presidency and Trump losing with all the grace and dignity of a toddler throwing a tantrum because his toys were taken away. His reaction to losing has been so entertaining, I'm just sorry I didn't have popcorn. I've never been so invested in another country's election before, but I'm so relieved that Biden won and we won't have to endure another four years of Trump talking crap and causing devastation wherever he goes. It's great to have a female vice president- and a woman of colour at that- in the White House for the first time, too. The future actually feels hopeful for the first time in a while. Now we just need to get rid of Boris and the Tories and the UK might stand a chance, too.

Loving

I've loved finally getting to leave the house again recently after barely leaving the house all year (I think last week's trip to the doctor's brings me up to six breaks from confinement in 2020!). It's been great to get back out in to the real world, and seeing how pretty The Cotswolds is looking this autumn. 

Photo of a grey squirrel sat on the top of a wooden pergola facing left eating a seed pod or nut from a bush. In the background is blurred greenery and thin branches.

Enjoying

Over the last year or two, we've been getting almost daily visits from grey squirrels in our garden. At first, I would just spot them running along our fence line, but recently, I've seen them foraging on the grass, and scurrying closer to the house to steal berries from next door's trees. There's at least two of them, and I think we now have a dray in the tree at the bottom of our garden. I've not been to investigate, but my Mum keeps finding abandoned walnuts on the ground beneath it. I haven't been able to go out much this year, so I've been enjoying watching them from my bedroom window, and trying to snap a photo or two before they're gone again. I recently snapped this photo through my  window of one of them helping itself to a seed pod / nut from my next door neighbour's garden after it climbed across from ours. It's not great quality as it was taken through glass and zoomed in, but you get the idea.

Looking

forward to spending Christmas with my family, and forgetting about the Corona Virus for a couple of days. I'm so ready for fairy lights and cheerful decorations, Christmas movies, listening to festive tunes, indulging in some good food, and a house full of Christmas cheer. I just hope we'll be allowed to mix households again after the national lockdown so my sister and brother-in-law will be able to join us for Christmas Day. I'm keeping everything crossed.

Well, that's what I've been up to lately. What about you? How are you coping with lockdown / virus life?
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Monday, 2 November 2020

Erstwilder Bone Brigade and Kitschy Witch Jewellery Review

Hey guys,

How was your Halloween? Did you do anything to celebrate, even though our options were limited by Covid this year?

I spent most of Halloween in bed with a nasty migraine, watching Hocus Pocus with some Haribo Starmix and Halloween Krispy Kremes, and enjoying the Halloween event on Animal Crossing with the screen turned down. Despite the migraine, I actually had a really lovely Halloween, even if I didn't actually manage to carve a pumpkin this year. I'm all about appreciating the little things right now.

I had planned to bring you this post on Saturday, but I didn't get the photos I needed until the last minute, and then couldn't bear the light of my laptop screen to edit them and finish off the post on time. I've decided to go ahead and post it anyway, so I hope you won't mind me bringing you Halloween content a couple of days late. 

Either way, I'm here to show you the latest creepy cute additions to my Erstwilder jewellery collection.

Erstwilder released three amazing Halloween collections this year; a collaboration with Kitschy Witch Designs, a collection of simple Halloween Essentials earrings, and the return of everyone's favourite skeleton critters, the Bone Brigade. I snapped up at least one piece from each collection, and it's time for the reveal.

My first pick from the pumpkin patch, was Hair-Raising Hal, a vintage-inspired pumpkin man from the incredible Kitschy Witch collection. Hal is a dapper little chap all dressed up for the Halloween ball in a white ruffed collar, purple shirt, black and gold star print trousers, and a matching party hat. He's made from the glossiest resins, and oozes vintage Halloween charm. He should be creepy AF, being a pumpkin man, an' all, but he's the cutest little fellow I've ever seen. I can't get enough of him and wore him on Halloween this year with a pair of pumpkin studs. Hal sadly sold out super quickly online, but his date to the Halloween ball, Eerie Eve, is still available, and she's adorable, too.

Alongside the Kitschy Witch collection, Erstwilder released a range of Halloween-themed Essentials earrings with studs and drop earrings in simple Halloween shapes like pumpkins, crescent moons, and cat faces. I got my hands on the orange pumpkin studs, which are made from the most amazing burnt orange marbled resin. They're big studs that are made to be noticed, and they're perfect for pairing with other Halloween accessories or wearing with autumnal pieces throughout autumn. The pumpkin studs also sold out in minutes, but you can find other Halloween Essential earrings here.

This Halloween also saw the return of the ever popular Bone Brigade for its third year, with old favourites in new colours, a few new designs, and a whole new range of enamel pins featuring designs from all of the Bones Brigade collections, new and old. There were several brooches I desperately wanted, but I could only really stretch to one piece at the time. In the end, I decided to buy three enamel pins instead so I could collect more of the designs I wanted, and chose my favourites- Doggo Darkness, Bunny Bones, and Frightful Fox. (The stockist I used, Daisy Park, accidentally sent me the frog pin, Haunted Hopper, instead of Bunny Bones, and let me keep it when my replacement hadn't turned up in almost a month. Thankfully, I did eventually get the bunny pin I ordered, so no harm done. At least I got a free pin for the inconvenience). 

The enamel pins are perfect miniature versions of the Bone Brigade brooches, with a different object relating to the animal included in each design. Bunny Bones has a carrot in her skeleton, Frightful Fox appears to have eaten a little marmalade bunny, Haunted Hopper has swallowed a blue fly, and Doggo Darkness has a hot pink bone. They're so cute! They've been made from gold metal and enamel, with cute pink heart-shaped rubber pin backs, and come presented on a black bone-print presentation card. They're perfect for pinning to jackets, pinafore dresses, and bags, and wearing alone, in a cluster, or paired with a Bones Brigade brooch. 

Of course, me being me, I decided I couldn't live without the Doggo Darkness brooch after all, and went back for him, too, and paid in installments. I'm hopeless! Haha! It's a brooch I've wanted since the first Bones Brigade collection, so I had to. I couldn't miss out on him again.

The Doggo Darkness brooch is a dachshund dog skeleton, made from glossy black and marbled white resins, with a pretty lilac bone beneath its chin. He's such a little cutie, and reminds me of the Funny Bones books and cartoon series I loved when I was little. (Does anyone remember them?) He was the perfect companion for Howl-oween and was let out to play a lot last week- but don't tell Rosie, or she'll get jealous.

There are still plenty of amazing designs from both the Kitschy Witch and Bone Brigade collections available from Erstwilder and their stockists, so be sure to give them a browse. Creepy accessories are for life and not just for Halloween! I'm certainly not ready to retire mine for another year just yet.

Did you collect anything from Erstwilder's Halloween collections this year?

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