Press Invite to Moonpig HQ, all thoughts and views my own
Are you among the 1 in 3 people in the UK that has used Moonpig before? I certainly am, and I cannot tell you how many times. When Moonpig got in touch about their Christmas event this year, I was so excited to get my train booked and head into London.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from an event at Moonpig HQ, but as soon as I walked in, the mood was set. Moonpig had gone all out to make a handful of bloggers feel welcome and get into the Christmas spirit. There was a huge screen with a burning log fire and a glass of bubbly waiting for us. Moonpig cards and gifts were scattered about as well as gifts under a huge Christmas tree. It was so lovely seeing the latest collections, including a few Frozen items too!
Moonpig’s CEO Nickyl Raithatha led us into the evening with a presentation on the company’s background and most importantly this year’s Christmas message: personal giving. If you haven’t used anything like Moonpig before, it really is so easy to create a heartfelt, personalised card to send to anyone for any occasion. They have thousands of designs you can customize with text and photos, and have it delivered in record time.
Back to the event, we had three fun activities to try and up first was cocktail making. Even though I am not heavily into the alcohol, I did thoroughly enjoy our Christmas tutorial from our personal mixologist. He taught us how to make three cocktails (recipes below) and I became quite partial to the Christmapolitan!
Gingerbread Mojito – Rum, Mint, Lime, Gingerbread Syrup, Soda
Port of Call – Gin, Port, Cranberry Sauce, Cinnamon Syrup
Moving onto our second section, photoshoots! Moonpig, being kings of creativity, pulled out all the stops and set up a green screen for a true Christmas photobooth experience. We even had a visit from Santa, so I decided to grab Olaf from the present stash and bring him in for a Frozen-themed snap. I then got to upload the photos onto Moonpig.com and create my own Christmas card which was posted out to me.
Cocktail finished and photos done, we moved onto our final station of the night, and there was a table full of flowers waiting for us. Moonpig had organised their very own flower buyer to give us a masterclass in flower arranging. I picked up a letterbox flower gift filled with beautiful tulips, and we each picked three jars. We were shown how to properly cut the stems and arrange in different sized jars to create a floral masterpiece.
As if that wasn’t enough to finish the night, Santa then came round to deliver us all a present each. I couldn’t have felt any happier to act like a child on Christmas, so thank you to Moonpig HQ for an epic night!
Are you planning on using Moonpig to give personalised cards and gifts this year? All links to products used on the night are right here for you:
This is a gifted/sponsored post in collaboration with the brands below. All thoughts and views my own.
This year I am doing things slightly differently. In the past, I have separated out men’s and women’s things, but for some reason I just can’t do it this year. Labels, sections and lines are being removed from our society day by day, especially in the beauty industry, so why should I have to put certain things under a certain label? Short answer is, I don’t, so I won’t. I have three amazing sections this year…Category is… ok I’m laughing at that one a little too much, if you’re a RuPaul fan then you’ll get why. If not, let’s just move on swiftly to my big fat Christmas gift guide 2019.
Cienna Rose are a vegan and non-toxic brand that create the most beautiful shades, especially this time of year. Below are shades “Let it Snow” (clear with holographic glitter flakes) and “Ice Cream Sundae” (pink, orange, blue and white micro glitter) along with “Plump it up High Shine Gel Effect Top Coat”.
Mavala are a Swiss-based brand that I cannot get enough of. They have a stunning range of makeup and skincare, but I particularly wanted to showcase their “Cyber Chic Collection” in the form of this festive, mini trio set. I highly recommend their waterproof mascara too for a great stocking filler.
In aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Spacemasks have designed a beautifully packaged pack of five masks. The amazing thing about these masks (with ingredients of essence of rose and iron) is that they react with oxygen once applied and gently heat up for 15 minutes of bliss.
A company very close to home are Suffolk-based skincare experts Pevonia. With a very enticing Christmas gift section, you’ll have no trouble finding a perfect preside. Below are some favourites from the “Spa at Home” collection, including body moisturiser and shower gel.
I have been a REN Skincare enthusiast ever since I discovered their miracle allergy spray. They have their ultimate season staples all wrapped up in one complete package here in the “Face Favourites” skincare gift set. Containing three bestselling facial products for glowing, hydrated and youthful looking skin.
Est. 1994, American Crew is distributed in more than 30,000 salons across over 40 countries. This “Essential Grooming Gift” can go anywhere with you, and nothing from this selection will go to waste. I just love a gift that’s thought of it all, and American Crew definitely has! Contains shaving gel, lotion, 3-in-1, cream pomade in this stylish bag.
Taking its name from the Latin “oleum verum” (meaning ‘true oil’) Olverum will prove to be the hit of the household. Only half a capful needed per bath, a little will go a very long way. A sublime gift for anyone needing a bit of R&R this Christmas- can you smell the lavender already?
Such a beautiful name for a brand, don’t you agree? It’s named after the Sweet Iris of Dalmatia and uses sustainable ingredients such as wild plant oils, healing honey and pomegranate. This “Everybody Energy Cleanse” will invigorate the sleepy soul and awaken a newfound sense of self. Trust me, I’ve tried and tested it.
Quirky things, bubbles and gold
Moving onto section two of my Christmas Gift Guide 2019. I think you’ll find a few things in here to rival anyone’s standard Christmas list…
If you have a friend or family member that tends to shy away from getting into the festive spirit, or maybe you know someone who is choosing to go it abroad this year, then hear more about Zap-It! Perfect for winter sun, beaches and picnics, this device generates a harmless, low electrical impulse that stops the itching of an insect bite within minutes. Bet you’ve never heard of a gift quite like this before?! Available via Asda, Superdrug and Amazon.
If you are looking for an ultimate gift to spruce up your favourite couple’s home, then how about a beautiful piece of furniture? Grey Chenille Bedroom Accessories like this one can become a nursery toy box, or a blanket storage system/seat to sit at the end of a bed. I love its versatility and thanks to IG’s newfound home interior craze, you’d be number one on anyone’s list well into 2020 with this gift-giving expertise.
Be prepared for another mind-blowing stocking filler. This gift comes with the notion of forward-planning for those times where festivities+alcohol=bad next day. With the gift of Yeti & The Fox capsules, your recipient will receive a present that will help promote optimum health when they most need it. These capsules aid in replenishing the body with much needed glutathione, which plays a significant role in energy metabolism. For a better description, no more feeling dodgy after you’ve gone too hard.
Hashtag trending, if you didn’t know, is all things CBD this year. Completely legal might I add, with a variety of benefits, I bring you the “Hugg CBD Gift Kit”. Containing CBD Oil (to be used sublingually) as well as CBD bath salts, this gift kit will be perfect for someone who deserves a long bath and some royal treatment. FYI the bath salts contain coconut oil, orange and ginger root essential oils that will remain fragrant on your skin long after the bath is over.
Eco-friendly and sustainable are words on everyone’s lips right now. The Natural Deodorant Co. is the ultimate go-to choice for many a celeb with all products free from palm oil, synthetics and pore-blocking preservatives. These velvety balms melt into the skin helping nourish, banish odours and provide all-day protection. The Natural Deodorant Co. are the only deodorants to have been selected by Selfridges to be part of their Project Ocean campaign. Current best sellers are Fearne Cotton’s favourite, “Clean Orange + Bergamot” and refreshing “Active Coriander + Lime”.
Now it wouldn’t be a proper Christmas Gift Guide without a little tipple would it? I have never really been hugely interested in alcohol, especially wines. That was until I tried Barefoot. These guys adorned the tables at my wedding and they are always on my Christmas list each year. Introduced into the UK market in 2007, the brand now boasts an extensive collection of still and sparkling wines. My favourite has to be the Pink Pino Grigio.
Seol originates from the Anglo-Saxon word for silver “Seolfor”, originally used for sterling coins. Seol + Gold caters for all vibes, from delicate 9ct gold flourishes to richly plated statement jewellery for layering. I have on show below the beautiful “North Star Studs”, totally worth a double-tap am I right?!
One for the Kids
Now onto my final section, for the kiddos in your lives that you generally have no clue what to get for them because they already own everything.
Peppa Pig, an icon of this day and age. Whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit that this character has stolen the hearts of our mini nation. We love Peppa in our household and so here are a few lovely ideas from Gift Giving All Wrapped up to score some major points from those little angels this season.
For the kids who really have got the lot, or maybe the parents have asked you not to splurge out on toys and chocolate, Little Siberica is a great option. Organic birch extract in the baby soap softens the skin and relieves irritation, while organic extracts of chamomile heals and relieves in the baby daily care cream. Both these wondrous gifts provide gentle care of baby and child’s delicate skin for 24 hours.
If you are considering spoiling your niece or nephew rotten this year, then I would love to introduce you to Babyblooms. Equipped with personalisation services and a gift-wrapped box next to none, just take a look at these gorgeous and thoughtful gift ideas below. I just cannot get over the personalised toy makeup set with palette, lipstick, compact mirror and brush. Not a piece of plastic in sight, and utterly stunning. Also featured below is the “Personalised Little Bunny Christmas Breakfast Set and Christmas Eve Box”- you just can’t go wrong.
A second Swiss-made company on my list, and this time it’s for the art lovers out there. A present like these beautiful neocolor pastels will receive enjoyment from all ages, and they are perfect for many surfaces from paper, cardboard, glass, to wood, leather, fabric and even stone! Alice loves drawing and painting, so a gift like this is perfect for my budding little artiste.
Last, but certainly no means least on my Christmas Gift Guide extravaganza list is a beautiful set of pjamas from Chelsea Peers NYC. I can honestly say I’ve never felt pyjamas so soft before. Both Alice and I had such fun taking these shots while having a snowball fight with daddy! You can see more matching sets on the website, below we are wearing “Bearly Awake Long PJ Sets” in adult and mini size.
Et voila, fin, ende, final and any other language you can add in here. I hope you loved reading through the plethora of amazing suggestions as much as I did compiling it. Of course, my gift guide would not be half as possible or fun without the support of the brands involved, so my final thanks extends to you all,
NB: This is a no-spoiler, press invite review of WICKED the musical, all thoughts and views my own.
I had been wanting to see WICKED the musical since it first came to the West End in 2006, so literally 13 years! It may be an unlucky number for some, but this year I was invited to see the show on a very special press night along with many other bloggers and celebrities. I felt so honoured to be sat in the theatre among the likes of Dame Kelly Holmes and Craig Revel Horwood as the 13-year anniversary show made its debut.
In my opinion, it was imperative to wear green and so I pulled out a floral kimono that I last wore on my 42nd week of pregnancy! It was perfect for the occasion. I left at 3pm and drove to the Intercontinental Hotel near the O2 where I was staying for the night to drop my bags off and get ready. I met my husband, Paul near the Apollo Theatre Victoria to grab some quick dinner before the show started.
On the night
At 7pm sharp we were outside the theatre to take in the atmosphere and of course, to get the shots. We took about a hundred to get the perfect one before we went inside. The entrance was filled with the hustle and bustle of people arriving, getting drinks, their tickets and waiting to be seated. The crowds were also being filmed from every angle for the 13thanniversary video (which you can now see on the WIKED social channels). There were so many things to take in before the show started, like costumes hidden all around the theatre and an ‘Ozdust Boutique’ for souvenirs just as you entered the main theatre.
The performance was wonderful. I’m not going to post any spoilers for my readers who still haven’t seen it and are planning to. The show was magical, uplifting and absolutely worth the long wait to see. I knew a few of the songs throughout the performance, as well as a very good idea to how the story was going to play out based on my knowledge of the world of Oz. It was lovely to see old characters come to the stage from a previous timeline, as well as meet the new ones like Fiyero and Madame Morrible. It was in some ways a standalone, and what I mean by this is that you don’t need to know much about the Wizard of Oz to enjoy it. The characters of Elphaba and Glinda are simply spell-binding and I cannot believe I waited this long to see it.
The After Party
Once the curtains closed and the sea of green balloons cleared, we made a swift exit and headed down the street to the Park Plaza for the after party. It was such a thrill to not only see the show, but to meet the actors afterwards too and get to speak with some of them. I got the chance to share a moment with the beautiful Nikki Bentley who plays Elphaba and also Idriss Kargbo who is currently Boq.
Needless to say, I listened to the soundtrack all the way home the next day and couldn’t stop singing the songs (in a good way). I want to sincerely thank the Official London Theatre for arranging this magical escapade; I hope it’s not too long until my next visit to the West End.
Let me know if you have seen WICKED yet, or if it is on your bucket list in the comments below!
NB: Press visit to RUSH Ipswich, all thoughts and views my own
I’ve always been a sucker for an iconic look. Be it Dorothy’s bunches from the Wizard of Oz or Frenchie’s easter egg do from Grease. I’ve attempted many looks throughout my teens and into my twenties. I decided I was fed up of my poker straight hair at 16 and got a perm. During my Sixth Form years (and my obsession with Twilight) I decided to chop it all off and recreate Alice Cullen’s pixie style.
Then I discovered hair dye. Over the course of ten years I had my hair dyed professionally in numerous shades. Cherry red was my boldest move as I started teaching abroad in Spain, right up until my last escapade in 2016 for my wedding when I went silver/grey.
I absolutely adored these looks, but found the upkeep far too tiresome for someone with very dark roots. Falling pregnant was the only thing that slowed me down, and so for the past few years I just let the blonde grow out leaving me with a subtle ombre. That was until the start of this summer, and I decided that I needed to up my barnet game, for lack of a better expression.
I had dabbled with a fringe as a teen, but it was more of a side fringe rather than an extreme level blunt statement. So as I entered the later stages of my 28thyear, I decided that over the summer I would go for a bold fringe. I experimented for weeks trying to fold my hair back on itself to see what it would look like and I was strangely calm as the day came round to have it cut. You can find my blog post featuring the before/after chop shots right here! The fringe, although awesome, does require a frequent upkeep schedule so that I can wear mascara and not get it in my hair.
Ever since I started blogging (half a decade ago now) I have always used RUSH Hair and Beauty salons. The majority of visits usually happen in London, but it was very exciting when the Ipswich branch sent out a press invite request for my hometown in the heart of Ipswich town. I love the continuity of the RUSH salons. They are always so sleek and neat- much like how you want your hair to transform once you step out of the black chair. The RUSH Ipswich salon did not disappoint…
I ordered my usual tea upon arrival and met my stylist who listened to what I wanted. Not too much off the length but a good trim up of the fringe. We went to get my hair shampooed and conditioned, I just love the feeling of a salon professional washing my hair, they do such a better job than I can ever manage to achieve. So after twenty minutes of washing, blowdrying and snipping, here is my finished look.
A layer of smooth, bouncy waves, a shine to die for and a smart, new fringe that won’t have me rearranging my hair every five minutes. The Kerastase products really do give you that extra wow factor. Top end results every time, RUSH Ipswich did not disappoint so my iconic fringe will stick around for now!
Items in this blog post have been gifted, all thoughts and views my own
It’s not that often that I find myself perusing shop windows or my browser for jewellery. My saved tabs are heavily preoccupied with clothes for Alice and I, and the occasional gluten free recipe. So when a set of jewellery makes my head turn, I have to stop, take a bunch of pictures and write a blog post about it. Muru has been producing feel good jewellery since 2006. Their message is one of empowerment, meaning and expression which is probably why I was so drawn to their pieces. Over the course of a very intense month, I paired a selection of Muru items with my outfits just to show you how little touches can up your style.
This is the Belle and Bunty Unity Necklace in gold. I had the pleasure of meeting the gorgeous blogger duo last year as we were invited to the same Henley Regatta event with Debenhams. I knew instantly that they were genuine and such talented ladies, so it was not surprising to see that they had released a collection with Muru. “Our unity necklace in gold vermeil can we worn to remind us that when we stand in unison with those around us, we gain the courage and strength to face anything. With hanging drop charms this necklace will capture the light perfectly giving you an effortlessly chic look.”
Below is the Mother and Child Bracelet in gold. I simply adore this elegant design with the two stars bonded together. Being a mum has no doubt changed my life, yet wearing this piece shows me that my style is still the same even with a mini me attached to my side most days. I wore the bracelet and necklace to a Welsh wedding in late August. The gardens were the perfect place to take some close up shots of the jewellery and I had so many comments about them during the day.
The third piece is a simple Bead Anklet in gold. There’s something about wearing an anklet that makes me feel like I’m escaping on holiday. With this beautiful, golden piece wrapped around my ankle I feel like I can wear anything, go anywhere and be anything. I decided to dress down with the anklet in a loungewear set and basket trainers. A little touch of glam can really uplift your wardrobe choices, and I am definitely investing in this advice from now on.
I just had to add this collection into my post as it is officially my birthday month! Muru have a stunning range of star sign pieces that you must see. Whether you’re into gold, rose gold or silver, the star sign collection scintillates just like the real stars!
This post is a paid partnership with TK Maxx, all thoughts and views my own
There comes a time in every blogger’s career that when a certain brand/business gets in touch, you squeal in excitement. When TK Maxx got in touch a few weeks ago, this is exactly what happened. Be it TK Maxx in the UK or TJ Maxx in the US, I have been a shopper there since my mid-teens. While some may shy away from the stores and moan that they can never find anything in there, I believe it’s because they haven’t spent enough time looking. Each individual store is a treasure trove of possibilities, you must enter with an open mind and let your hands and eyes do the exploring without a time frame. TK Maxx has big labels, small prices and ridiculous possibilities if you give it a chance.
So this is where my journey took me (with Alice in tow) on a sunny Tuesday in September. I usually frequent my nearest TK Maxx stores in Braintree Village and Ipswich Town, and so I was inordinately excited to be visiting the largest one in the UK on Oxford Street.
Our journey had a bit of a rocky start, half way into London our train was cancelled so we were taken back to where we started and had to drive in instead. Nevertheless I was still in a great mood and looking forward to meeting our guide for a VIP tour of the newly-opened establishment.
Upon entry into the store we were greeted with skincare and handbags- two categories I just love to peruse. We walked through to find jewellery and then at the back there was a lift (which I definitely needed with Alice, a buggy and a suitcase in tow!). We took each floor at a time until we found homeware, kidswear and toys. Needless to say our tour guide (Miss Alice Schaefer) led me and our real guide straight to the toys, and there she fell in love with a fish named Flippy.
After finding a wealth of exciting things to play with we headed to my most favourite section of all- homeware. If you like a bit of organisation, then feast your eyes on this gorgeous snap…
Yes, there are lots of different types of kitchenware items BUT they are so exquisitely unique and assorted by colour you are easily able to find a colour scheme that fits your agenda. Shop by colour, not by item is definitely the perfect attitude to adopt in this section and you will be guaranteed to find some gems no matter what you are looking for.
At the moment I am going through a massive organisation phase. After seeing Marie Kondo’s ‘Tidying Up’ show I am on a mission to find a place for all my belongings and that normally means a storage box or three. This next wall made my heart flutter, I want all of them!
To sum up my visit to TK Maxx, I would say that I was blessed to arrive on time despite the train debacle, super impressed with each unique section on each floor and definitely satisfied with the prices of everything I bought. At TK Maxx, prices are up to 60% less than the RRP so it’s not just another high street store. What you can’t bargain on is that things will stick around, so make sure you head in-store or online to find exactly what your home needs this season.