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5 Winter Wardrobe Essentials

It's pretty clear from the way it looks outside that winter is in full force. As I write this post I am cosy under a blanket with a chunky knitted jumper on and it's looking very grey and miserable outside. Despite the bitterness, it's one of my favourite seasons though. There's nothing quite like looking at the changing colour of nature, the fresh crisp air, chunky knits, boots, and not forgetting berry coloured lipsticks. Now with the colder weather comes a complete overhaul in my wardrobe, now you may have caught my post about updating my autumn wardrobe, and seeing as we are having more colder days I have completely moved my wardrobe over to winter. So I thought that now would be the perfect time to share my five winter wardrobe essentials that are versatile and will carry you through the season.

1// A Neutral Handbag

Now I am a handbag girl and have a different handbag for every occasion. A neutral handbag is a key part of any winter wardrobe. I have been hunting for the perfect everyday handbag, but the ones I like are either too big or not quite big enough. So I was pretty happy that I finally found an all rounder. A bag that is neutral and can go with pretty much any outfit I try to put together, it's practical and looks pretty. This Fiorelli Colette Shoulder Handbag in Tan is a great all rounder. It's a great medium sized handbag in a neutral tan shade. The sleek silhouette and striking shade are just a few of the features with this everyday bag. The Colette comes with triple compartments with mag dot closures as well a central zip pocket, complimented by the cute grab handles and detachable strap ready to grab and go in an instant. There are more colours available as some of the colours are currently on sale and would make such a cute gift for a loved one. Everyone needs a new handbag!

2// Denim

Skinny jeans are perfect for winter as their streamlined silhouette allows you to layer multiple items on top for warmth. Wear them with flat heel boots and a leather jacket in the day or pointy toe heels and a snazzy top for a night out on the town. These go-to choice and you can do no wrong. For a twist on the denim you could choose to wear a cute denim midi tube skirt. Practical yet stylish, this pull-on stretch denim tube skirt deserves a place in every woman's wardrobe. The easy-to-wear, super-soft fabric is great for everyday, meanwhile the flat elasticated waistband ensures maximum comfort. For an effortlessly chic look.

3// A Cosy Knitted Jumper

I love winter, because that means you can choose a chunky knit and be done with an outfit! It's officially jumper season. It has to be said that a chunky oh-so-cuddly knitted jumper is something everyone should have in their winter wardrobe. A cable knit works with everything. This Bardot Cable Jumper can be paired with a jeans on the weekend, a button-down and tailored trousers for the office, and a pleated, feminine skirt for a holiday party. This knitted jumper will more than earn it's keep this season. But for the ultimate comfort everyone needs on of these Super Soft High Neck Jumper's in their wardrobes. This boucle high-neck jumper will be your most loved wardrobe staple! Simply pair with jeans and boots for an effortless look, or team with a printed midi skirt for a chic look.

4// Statement Scarf

Accessorise with a scarf that adds style as well as warmth to your winter ensemble. I do have a slight thing about scarves and I probably have too many, but it doesn't stop me from getting more. I adore going to places like Primark and H&M for my basics. However now that we are into the colder months of the year means that we can indulge in some statement scarves. Now your style of scarf depends on your own personal style. Plaid and cold weather go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. But I much prefer making a statement with colours and tend to go for bold and vibrant when it comes to making a choice. This scarf is super soft and oh so luxurious and in a classic mustattd colour is a great when adding some seasonal festivity to a neutral outfit. My favourite thing about a statement scarf is that they can be styled a million different ways. Some are large enough to wear as a shawl, wrap around your neck and drape over your shoulders, or loop around the usual scarf way. Others can make an outfit. What kind of statement do you like to make with a scarf? 

4// Versatile Boots

Because boots are usually more expensive, it's important to shop for ones that can be worn with a number of outfits. Look for a pair of boots that compliments the clothes you already have in your wardrobe. Ankle boots will certainly become a stable. Ever so stylish and versatile this shoe never seems to get old. Pair with a dress and tights in the day or finish off any going out look. For me some simple black Chunky Heel Chelsea Boots are always my choice. A pair of black boots is a must for any footwear collection and stylish heeled ankle boots are versatile enough for all manners of outfit. What are your essentials for your winter wardrobe?

This post is in collaboration with Fashion World. 

My Cosy Christmas Night Essentials 

Yep this time of year I love cosy evenings covered in blankets, the heating whacked up to full and hot chocolates. What’s not to love right? I thought I’d share my cosy Christmas essentials with you, as I recently have been trying to up my game to ensure that my cosy nights in were definitely as exciting as going out.

Pyjamas:  I love more than getting home and getting straight into my pyjamas, whether it’s after the school run, or 9pm, there is nothing better especially on a cold dark night. But for the most indulgent night your pjs have to be super comfy, am I right? And as usual this time of year I love to buy pjs. You know the Christmas kind. Red flannel, reindeer or fluffy white jumpers. I like them all. This year I have picked up a couple of pairs from Primark; a cosy fleecy set and a flannel set. They just scream Christmas to me. 

Blankets: First things first, when it comes to blankets you can never have too many. We have autumn blankets, blankets for beds, blankets of illness and blankets for Christmas. Now I have to say I love Primark and B and M’s for my go to blankets. You will always manage to pick up some super cosy blankets for a few quid. Winning! I will pop them on the sofa or on my daughters toy boxes so if we have visitors then they can get snuggly too.

Candles: You can’t have a cosy night in without candles. My ultimate go to candle for Christmas is undoubtedly The Wickford & Co gingerbread candle. Whether used as decor pieces or strictly for fragrance candles are always a great for a cosy night in. You can keep to a budget and get some of the most gorgeous fragrances, or you can get some gorgeous luxury styles that range in price. My favourite candle by far are this Gingerbread Candle from Home Bargains, it's actually amazing. This candle is a great dupe for the Yankee Candle and the glass pot is also of a similar shape with the lid to match. They feel really luxurious in terms of weight and smell soooo good. I will always recommend this candle to everyone. 

Films: You can’t have a cosy Christmas evening without watching a Christmas film can you? When I took these pictures, I was watching Arthur Christmas with my daughter. With all this festive excitement I thought it would be a great idea to share our favourite Christmas films of all time, and there are so many fantastic ones to choose from. I have been asking all my family and friends about their favourite Christmas films and there seems to be quite a few popular ones in this list. Ever since I can remember this has been a sort of, tradition in our family. My parents would settle us down with blankets, hot chocolate and sweets in preparation for our Christmas Eve film and this would always be our choice. The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol which is a tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption of Christmas Eve. A must see for all families especially because in this adaption there are some modern songs, who doesn't love a good sing-a-long? Oh Home Alone. A timeless favourite! In my opinion Home Alone 1&2 are the best films out of the sequels and they would always get me excited about Christmas. 

Snacks: Who needs extra podge for the festive cold nights? Me? An excuse hey! However this Christmas, I have been making an effort on the snack front. I’m all about popcorn, gingerbread men and Lebrucken this year. But there are always times for some chocolate in there somewhere and these cute little chocolate pizzas are perfect for a cosy night in. What are your favourite snacks? 

Cosy Lighting: Now when it starts to get darker after the school run the first thing that my daughter and I will do is going around and switch all the cosy lighting on. I have a vase of sticks, two gorgeous jar domes with fairy lights inside and various other bowls of lights. Not forgetting the tonnes of other lighting we have with the Christmas tree, window lights and fairy lights. I love seeing all the twinkling lights. 

So what are your cosy Christmas essentials?

Guinness World Record Challenges Game

Who doesn't love a good board game at Christmas? I will always remember waking up Christmas morning to open all the gifts around the tree to discover a brand new board game. We had quite the collection at my grandparents house and I have so many fond memories sitting up the table with a glass of Cherryade, laughing and giggling with them both. Board games are such a great way to bring out your competitive side while having fun with family, it's also a good way to break the ice and encourage guests to mingle with one another. With that in mind, I wanted to share a brand new game that will definitely get the family together to unleash their competitive side. 

Are you competitive? Are you a fan of the Guinness World Records? If you are, then this game if for you. In Guinness World Record Challenges Game, you can test both your knowledge of the Guinness World Records as well as the skill of your fellow players by challenging them to physical tests. The aim of Guinness World Record Challenges is to be the first player to get to the finish line on the board having completed three challenges during your journey. 

The game comes with a board playing game, 150 question card about the Guinness World Records, 20 challenge cards - 10 are purple best time cards and 10 orange 30 seconds cards, a booklet of rules and guidelines, a notebook, ping-pong ball, 5 playing coloured counters and a dice. In the box there is also a handy list of objects that you need to use to play the game that are not included in the game. A smartphone, a bottle of water, ten pairs of socks, a deck of cards, coins, pint glasses, paper clips and teaspoons. All important objects for the challenges.

What is Guinness World Record Challenge Game

Guinness World Records Challenges has a board style set up where players take it in turns to roll a dice and work their way around the board. The game is so simple and easy to set up. Before you begin playing you will need to give the cards a quick shuffle and place the cards in the marked places on the board, you also need place a smartphone in the middle of the board displaying a timer. Then you throw the dice. Talking of the dice, this is far from your standard dice. The one used in this game is unique as it has the numbers 1 to 4 on it, but also two challenge symbols. One purple side with Best Time Challenges, and the other orange for 30 Second Challenges. If you roll a number on the dice then you simply move forward. If you roll one of the challenge symbols then you simply move to the next challenge symbol of that colour on the game board. 

The game has three different types of squares that you can land on. Question squares where you can answer a question relating to an existing record, there is no need for knowledge you can guess too! Even my four year old had a go with guesses and actually won the game. There are also challenge squares which can be one of two types; Best Time or 30 Second Challenges. You get these cards either by rolling one of the challenge symbols on the dice, or by landing on one of the challenge squares as you move around the board. Once you do either of these you can then choose between picking up a challenge card and completing it yourself, or choosing another player and challenging them. If you win the challenge then you get to keep the challenge card. The challenges in the game can vary, however that's half the fun. One challenge you could be trying to see how many socks you could put on your foot, to challenges like making a paper clip necklace. It really does vary! You need three cards to win the game. It's a game for those who like a challenge, but it's great to increase your knowledge of the Guinness World Records. 

Our Thoughts on Guinness World Record Challenge Game.

Would we recommend Guinness World Record Challenge Game? Oh yes, especially for those who love to unleash their competitive streak and want to broaden their knowledge of the Guinness World Records. I would recommend this game to friends and family who have a wicked sense of gaming fun. This game would be one game to play at Christmas with the family. Guinness World Records Challenges is published by Megableu. It is for 2 – 5 players, aged 8+. It is available to buy online here. It has a RRP of £24.99. It's definitely a game that would make the perfect gift for Christmas! 

What are your favourite games to play at Christmas? Would you try the Guinness World Record Challenges Game?

Gift Guide: Last Minute Stocking Fillers for Her

Stocking fillers? Do you think that there should be a price limit for gifts? To be honest I'm all for whatever fits in the stocking and we have the most adorable red stockings that are personalised with letters, we cannot wait to fill those our daughter's stocking, it's her favourite part about Christmas. That and her Christmas dinner. So we have a couple of stocking filler for our daughter, but as usual we have left one another to last minute so we have been scouting the shops and online for some inspiration for stocking fillers. Stocking fillers may be smaller Christmas presents but they're rarely boring. Whether you're buying stocking fillers for him or for her, for kids or for grandparents, you'll most definitely stumble across some gift ideas. From chocolate and sweets to novelty gifts such mugs, key rings or socks to candles, beauty products and more. So here are our last minute stocking fillers for her...

First up we have a couple of ideas for beauty and skincare. The Olverum Bath Oil is a unique and luxurious aromatic blend of essential oils. With just a few drops in your bath, these carefully chosen extracts combine to help ease stress and relax tension in both mind and body, bringing you back to your complete and natural self. This highly concentrated, therapeutic bath oil contains 10 pure essential oils, carefully blended to work together. It is a very effective way to naturally relieve stress and to help you achieve a good nights’ sleep. The story of Olverum is as rich and rare as the oil itself, involving a family secret carried for decades, and several lifetimes of passion and specialist knowledge. The formulation has remained largely unchanged for 87 years, so they know they stuff when it comes to bath oils. 

You can't really go wrong with a cute little tin that is full of treats. I really love this Joules Body Care Tin Set that includes a body wash, lotion, scrub and a butter. Something to help your body get the best care in one little tin and once you have used the products you will get to have a cute little keepsake tin for makeup or bits and bobs. Next up we have the The Hero Project® which is an exciting new British concept that mobilizes people power and great science, on a mission to rid your clutter in those beauty draws and replace them with great beauty products that you love. And so I want to share a new hand cream with you that would be such a good stocking filler for your Mum. Hand Rehab® Diamond Dusted Hand & Nail Therapy with SPF 20 helps you wave goodbye to dry hands with a dazzling sprinkle of diamond dust. This precious ingredient has been included to strengthen your hands and nails. Not forgetting to take care of your lips when battling the elements with this Christmas Star Lip Balm from Evolve Beauty. Add a delicious golden glow to your lips with Lip Shine, rich in Cacao butter, rose flower oil, vanilla and gold sparkles. Can also be used as a shimmery highlighter on cheeks and collarbones. 

Candles are the ideal gift for anyone on our lists this Christmas. Whether used as decor pieces or strictly for fragrance candles are always a great idea for gift for family and friends. You can keep to a budget and get some of the most gorgeous fragrances, or you can get some gorgeous luxury styles that range in price. My favourite candle by far are the Gingerbread Candle from Home Bargains, it's actually amazing. This candle is a great dupe for the Yankee Candle and the glass pot is also of a similar shape with the lid to match. They feel really luxurious in terms of weight and smell soooo good. I will always recommend this candle to everyone and I thought that this year, giving these to a couple of our friends and family would make such great gifts. 

Is it even Christmas without socks? No, I didn't think so! However these are much more than just a pair of socks! Critically Endangered Socks and their story begins in Borneo, home to the world’s oldest rainforest and a plethora of critically endangered species. A decade ago, the founder Dom Desmond visited the island’s northern jungles and spotted the critically endangered Borneo orangutans in the wild for the first time. Fast-forward ten years and the once lush rainforests have fallen victim to palm oil plantations and illegal logging. Dom thought up a company that would go where no company had gone before - using funds from sock sales to help this NGO protect the Borneo rainforest. The idea quickly grew into a company that would support five of the world’s most endangered species. And that’s how Critically Endangered Socks was born. Personally this is one gift that keeps on giving! 

Let's be honest, you can't go wrong with this one. The Gourmet Chocolate Pizza Company have an abundance of options for Christmas, how perfect are these Cocktail Mini Pack? That offer a trio of alcohol-flavoured Chocolate Pizzas, including our festive favourite Irish Cream, Gin & Tonic and Peach & Prosecco. It offers the perfect way to sample new flavours, or serves as an ideal gift for Cocktail lovers everywhere.

There you have it some last minute stocking filler ideas for her. I really do hope that my gift guide inspires you, even a little. Some of the items featured in my gift guide have been sent to me for review, but as always my words are my own.

Orange Vanilla Spice Cookies

With Christmas comes any excuse to become indulgent and what better way to get into a Christmas spirit than with a batch of these delicious orange vanilla cookies. As you will probably know both my daughter and I have been singing Christmas songs and watching festive films since October. However something we haven't got around to doing is some festive baking, now if you're looking for some super simple gingerbread men or shortbread then these orange vanilla spice cookies will be something else to add to a festive baking list. These orange vanilla spice cookies are so easy to makes and go perfectly with a cup of tea. Personally I think that these would make a lovely gift to give to a friend, an aunt or uncle or even gift to teacher at the end of the term. There is just something special about something handmade, and here are some fantastic last minute DIY gift ideas for some inspiration. 

To make these orange vanilla spice cookies, you'll need:

575g plain flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp cardamom

226g unsalted butter, softened

350g granulated sugar

70g agave syrup

Zest of a large orange 

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract 

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 tbsp whole milk (as needed)

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.

2. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (handheld, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) on medium speed until the mixture is 

light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the agave nectar and beat on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute more. 

3. Add the orange zest and vanilla and continue to beat on low speed until well blended. 

4. Add one of the eggs and beat on low speed until well blended. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, add the second egg, and beat until well blended. 

5. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed, stopping once to scrape the bowl, until they’re incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 15 seconds. Do not over mix. The dough should be soft and somewhat sticky, but not so sticky that it’s difficult to handle. If the dough feels too soft, add flour until it stiffens up (2 Tbs. at a time) If the dough is very dry and crumbly, add 2 to 3 Tbs. milk to soften it. 

6. Split the dough into two pieces and refrigerate for one hour. Roll the dough to 3/16” (0.5cm) and chill the sheets for 30 minutes. Cut out desired shapes and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10 - 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. 

If you wanted a plain cookie don't add in the orange zest and cardamon. Don't be afraid to experiment with flavours, you could try adding a caramel extract and ginger for a very Christmas taste. I would love to know if you do try this recipe and don't forget to share your creations. 

Me Becoming Mum

Decorating Our Christmas Tree

Every year, we see some kind of trend when it comes to decorating your home for Christmas and this year is no different. From the traditional red and green to something more extravagant to the most minimal decor. The Christmas trends changes each year. So depending on your taste and what trends you prefer you can decorate your home and give those cherished ornaments a new twist.

Since moving home with my husband we have always picked a very traditional Christmas decor each year with red, gold and green. It's a classical look and one that may tend to choose for their homes. Together these colours can gather many interesting ideas when it comes to decorating your home. You can go for a classic decor in red and green with gold accents throughout, hang red and gold baubles from the tree, or put some green and red garland along your staircase. There are so many ideas that you can use in your home. But seeing as we have been very traditional for more than ten years, we thought that we needed to embrace a little change.

Rather than settling on traditional colours of red, gold and green we decided to step outside of our comfort zone and change the Christmas colour scheme. We wanted more metallics with rose gold, coppers and pinks. Now whilst decorating and placing the soft rose gold pieces onto the tree, it did feel a little strange at first but watching the light twinkle with the fresh look gives us such a Christmas feeling. Rose gold, copper and gold are so in the moment, and these colour seems to be having a major moment when it comes to Christmas decorations. I know this has probably to do with the beauty of millennial pink, and the blush tinted metallics have been cropping up everywhere. So we are embracing the change ditching traditional and choosing a more simple and sleek look that I am totally in love with. Personally, for me this colour scheme is dreamy, elegant, classy and will work in any home. It captures the magic and wonder of Christmas beautifully.

Rosy shades have taken over the festive decor aisles in most shops, it's hard to not want to add the warmth of such shades to your Christmas decor. But also it's a kind of welcoming break from the traditional red, gold and green. Elegant tree decorations, beautiful flowers, and the most delicate tree toppers and ornaments have had a major make over, and end result paired with greenery is the perfect touch to a festive look. You may notice on the top of our tree there are two robins these will always be on our tree these are for my Nan and Grandad as they both adored Robins and it's our way to try and include them even though they are no longer with us. 

Why don't you make some changes to your Christmas decor and go with some new trends this year. A trend that I have been seeing more and more of is a neutral Christmas decor that is simple but sleek. If you're looking for a modern and chic decor then neutral and minimal may be the best option for you as your Christmas decorations match your house decor. However, you could choose a more colourful and modern Christmas decor. A rainbow decoration will make a room pop, you could even take a unicorn obsession and dress you tree with pretty pastel colours adding a unicorn horn at the top. Perhaps add gorgeous flowers or bows instead of traditional baubles and many are even choosing to add a feather bowers instead of tinsel. However, I do love a bi of tinsel on my tree, as you see my decorations and tinsel really compliment one another. 

I would love to see your decor for Christmas? Are you traditional? Or are you trying something new?

Me Becoming Mum

How To Make a Christmas Book Advent Calendar

I have been wanting to do a book advent calendar for some time, but never seemed to get around to actually planning for one. However with my little book worm really getting into books and is fantastic at blending her words since starting school, we thought that now would be the perfect time to try and create a book advent calendar. Every night without fail we will always have story time, it's like our extra bonding time and it's something that we will always do together. For us it's the most important part of our day. So for the month of December, my daughter will unwrap a new Christmas book to read before bed. 

The Christmas book advent calendar is a collection of 24 Christmas book to read each day during advent. Select books based on your family's age and interest. We like to add a few new titles each year, but we stick with a core of traditional favorites. When beginning your book collection, you may want to search charity shops or check out books from the library. As I embarked on this project, I discovered that we already had 10 Christmas books. I would only need a few more to make a complete set. So began the task of scouring online for more Christmas books. We now have more than enough books to countdown to Christmas. We are very excited. I think it's such a great way to encourage children to read and I know that this is something that she will appreciate in years to come. 

Next up, you need to wrap them all. You can be as creative as you like but wrap them and secure with tape on both ends, try not tape the actual book just in case the little people get too excited. Once your books are wrapped, label them 1 to 24 or simply pop them in a sack and let the little one pick one out each night. With my daughter I think I will just leave one under her pillow each night so she doesn't want to open the entire collection before bedtime.

Some of our favourites 

The Girl Who Saved Christmas - William Thomas Thach

The Night Before Christmas - Clement C. Moore

The Nativity - May Eliot

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Quentin Blake

The Little Lost Robin - Elizabeth Baughley

A Christmas Wish - Julia Hubery

The Christmasaurus - Tom Fletcher

The Christmas Story - Ian Beck

How The Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss

The Snowman - Raymond Briggs

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