All posts tagged: christmas

My favourite traditional Christmas decorations

Every year I stock up on small inexpensive gifts to give out to friends, colleagues and neighbours in the run up to Christmas. It saves a lot of time and effort compared to picking something urgently on the day, when you’re invited to a party and there are no decent shops nearby to buy a gift. This year my theme is porcelain decorations, as they bring a bit of traditional Christmas spirit that plastic tree toys can never achieve. Villeroy & Boch, a 260-year old German brand, does a stellar job at designing quality ceramic decorations at a reasonable price, so I thoroughly recommend you check out their website and pick a few items from their festive collections (it’s also about 30% off now!). Just to get you going, here are a few of my favourites: Cupcake tree decoration Star-shaped table lantern Advent wreath candle holder Check out their Christmas shop for inspiration and gift ideas. They deliver pretty quickly, so you still have time before Christmas. And don’t forget to gift wrap  – all Villeroy & …

Giving money for Christmas: When and how to do it right

I do a similar post every Christmas, as this question keeps coming up in conversations I have with my friends and readers. First of all, let me demystify something: it’s perfectly normal to have people in your life you simply struggle to select a gift for. So don’t panic 🙂 With the rise of individual wish lists on websites like Amazon and Pinterest, it’s no wonder that many of us would actually prefer to get cash and spend it on something we truly want, instead of receiving an item we would bury at the bottom of our storage cupboard (or for more entrepreneurial spirits out there – sell of on Ebay). Even Martha Stewart agrees in an interview on Bloomberg (the full article is here) that it’s better to give cash than a bad gift. Here is my very quick guide to giving cash for Christmas: Wife/ Girlfriend – Not a good idea. She’ll be upset that you didn’t listen to her hints about “those shoes I showed you on my iPad a few weeks …

Charm bracelets: Your perfect Christmas gift for years to come

For many of us, every Christmas is like having to start all over again – making the list of people we want to give gifts to, debating how much to spend and, most importantly, what to get. Well, luckily, there are gifts that you can draw inspiration from for years to come. My example today is charm bracelets. A good few years ago, I gave my mum a Chamilia bracelet for her birthday. Back then they were seriously competing with Pandora,  but this rivalry has quieted down a bit (at least in the UK Pandora is much bigger now), but I still prefer Chamilia’s charms (so no regrets there!). What makes it so genius is that every year I give her at least two-three charms to top up her collection. So no headache whatsoever, you just go online and pick something from the new additions. This year’s theme for me was all about peace, as she’s been upset about the instability across the world. This little globe and a dove, both symbols of peace and …

Treat your little sister to some Chanel

Scream queens are the latest obsession for young girls this winter. I used to binge watch Gossip Girl back in my college days, but this year’s school talk is all about the “Chanels”. I admit, a combination of high fashion and serial killings is a stretch, but it seems to be working! Anyways, the entire reason I’m mentioning these TV series in the first place is because they’ve started a trend of Chanelification (is it a word?) of teens. Most of us will never own a  haute couture Chanel gown, but that’s where French luxury houses excel  – offering an alternative brand experience through affordable items like make up and skincare. Their make up collections are still more expensive than the high-street equivalents (so you still covet them), but not so pricey that you can’t imagine buying a lipstick or an eye shadow. Young girls typically survive on make up “dupes” from brands like Rimmel and Seventeen, which work a bit like Zara – successfully copying the most fashionable styles and colours at a fraction …

Gifts for men: Kiehl’s skincare

This title image is a bit deceiving, as I didn’t end up using this wonderful packaging by Peter Max, but let me not get ahead of myself and start from the gift itself. This duo of tried and tested skincare products is an absolute saviour when you genuinely struggle to choose something for a man. Firstly, it’s actually very useful, particularly in winter when everyone’s skin (including the manliest of men) goes a bit try. I’ve praises this zero shine Kiehl’s lip balm in one of previous posts, as it really is the most non-girly lip moisturiser on the market. But for a more substantial gift, I’ve added the Ultra Moisturising Facial Cream, which can protect his skin from the harsh winter weather. Rumour has it, this cream was used by the heroic team who did Greenland’s First Ascent, so if it’s good for them in the most extreme parts of the world, it must be OK for our mild UK winters 🙂 Now, back to gift wrapping. I’m generalising of course, but men and women …

How to ace your Secret Santa gift

I always dread Secret Santa gifts…They tend to belong to two categories: “attempting humour” (all sorts of pranks) and “last minute” aka “bought on the way to work” (generally Cadbury chocolates, novelty games and books). “Funny” gifts are rarely that good, unless the person knows you well. And in worst cases you spend the rest of your office Christmas party trying to figure out who’s given you a tasteless sex toy (happened to me, for real!), so you can openly hate them for the rest of year 🙂 OK, I’m overdramatasing, no one really cares that much. But hey, nothing is stopping you from actually acing it and becoming known as the most thoughtful person in the department. So, where do you begin? Research is key! At work we use drawnames.co.uk,  a website which almost does the job for you – all names are entered onto the system, and everyone is randomly assigned one person to get a gift for. The best part is that it’s linked to Amazon, so you can pre-select a few things …

Cards Against Humanity or “How to organise a perfect pre-Christmas house party”

I know, the name of this post is way too long, but if you can’t be bothered to read any further, it pretty much summarises why Cards Against Humanity should make it to your Amazon Christmas wishlist this year. In short, for those not in the know, this card game must be the highest rated adult game EVER, with an incredible Amazon 3,200 reviews out of which my personal favourite is “Completely disgusting. This game is an abomination that left me and my friends unable to look each other in the eye. Five stars.” Contradictory, right? 🙂 So what is all this fuss about? Well, rules can get quite complex and players are encouraged to create more ridiculous rules themselves.  But essentially it’s a game for around 6-10 people with two sets of cards: black for questions and white for answers. Each player gets a set of 10 random white cards, one person picks a black card and asks a question – as an example – “Next book by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and …