Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Dear Father Christmas...

It's rapidly approaching that time of the year when it's acceptable to watch Love Actually, laugh at Elf, finalise your advent calendar plans and start talking tree decoration schemes. Christmas really is my favourite time of the year (possibly even more so than my birthday as everyone gets to enjoy the gift giving) and it's only a month away! So whether you've started your Christmas shopping already or have just been eyeing up wrapping paper in Paperchase here's my gift inspiration for the women in your life AKA a collection of items I'd be beyond thrilled to find under my Christmas tree. 

(L-R) Teddy Robe £32 - A new dressing gown or set of pyjamas is a right of Christmas passage in my book and who wouldn't want to resemble a mint coloured bear at any time of the year? I rest my case.

Fairest Of Them All Set £40 - Selfridges have got it goin' on with their beauty gifts this year and who doesn't enjoy a nod to a fairytale? This beauty box has no annoying subscription involved and you get a whopping eight products plus a make-up bag that's worth £20 all on it's own. Bargain.

Wild At Heart Print £26 - Featuring my future surname this Etsy print makes me smile no end and it'd look superb next to our other black and white print which is currently perched rather lonely on our bedroom wall.

Nails Inc Bruton Mews £14 - The nail colour I chose for my recent Nails Inc manicure and the colour I've been obsessed with ever since, is it forest green or is it black? Bruton Mews is super opaque with just one coat and there's no need for base coat with the new Kale formula. More time to party is always appreciated.

Marabou Feather Bag £45 - Forget diamonds it's feathers that are my best friend. Add a wow to the simplest of looks with this marabou number with cute chain detailing, it comes in the most amazing midnight blue shade too. Now which colour do I like more?

December 25th Sweater £42 - With more than a nod to the Bella Freud jumpers this Topshop pick is a little gem and different to your usual Christmas themed sweater. I can see this being super chic with a leather (faux or otherwise) midi skirt for the big day itself.

Bayswater in Oxblood Leather £895 - Oh yes I did. If you're a regular around these parts you'll know how much admiration I have for team Mulberry. Mulberry is the ultimate gift for someone special so I couldn't help adding this beautiful Bays to my wishlist, the Hibiscus shade is pretty dreamy too.

Kate Spade Thermal Mug £19.95 - Kate Spade goodies have pretty much come out of nowhere but I ain't complaining. I introduce to you the most perfect mug for carrying hot chocolate, filled to the brim with marshmallows of course.

Small Copper Globe £15 - Our living room is slowly taking shape so what better to feature on our newly completed alcove shelving than this copper globe. M&S you've done good.

Bobbi Brown Holiday Lip Trio £60 - Bobbi knows Christmas, every year she puts together a seriously lust worthy collection and this year is no exception. I adore the incredibly lux packaging of this perfectly formed set and think all three shades would look sensational on my smackers.

Jo Malone Travel Candle Collection £62 - Jo Malone is a fail safe at Christmas, who wouldn't be elated finding that classic cream and black packaging on Christmas morn? I spotted this gift set in Liverpool and can verify that every candle smells as wonderful as the last.

Pretty Honest Book £11 - A much hyped book by blogger Sali Hughes. I'd be chuffed to find this in my stocking so I can see what all the fuss is about and support a fellow blogger while getting my beauty read on.

What are you hoping to find under the tree this Christmas? Have you started your shopping?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Don't Step On My Blue Suede Boots

Black Beanie: Topshop
Leopard Print Coat: H&M
Berry Double Layer Jumper: Topshop
Tartan Scarf: Primark
Leigh Skinny Jeans: Topshop
Black Panther Bag: Angel Jackson
Lolly Dawson Chelsea Boots: c/o Clarks*

Well how did a ten day blogging hiatus even happen? I could use the old 'life' excuse but if I'm completely honest I've been struggling with bloggers block. Usually the words just come to me but a lately I've found myself staring at my MacBook in deep thought and ya'll know life's too short for that business. It's good to be back.

This weekend has been a real babe, with Craig off work Saturday and Sunday *does happy dance* we decided to take full advantage of the situation and head to Liverpool to start our Christmas shopping. I swear this is the latest I've ever started my shopping but I'm proud to say we managed to blitz almost half of our to buy for list in just a few hours, praise must go to John Lewis Liverpool One - what that store doesn't have isn't worth buying! We rounded off our shopping sesh with a trip to Il Forno as recommended by Abigail, not only does that gal have a lovely blog but boy can she suggest a restaurant. Authentic Italian restaurants are really hard to come by in Sheffield but Il Forno is something else, the decor has a really old school 1920s meets present day vibe and the food was out of this world. A must visit if you ever find yourself in Liverpool.

This morning we headed over to Moose Coffee, somewhere which was getting some real Internet love - there was even a Breakfast Club style queue outside! Instead of hovering around in the cold waiting for our table we headed off for a cheeky photo shoot, doesn't the grand green door make the most perfect backdrop? With a fierce coastal breeze in Liverpool I got myself well and truly wrapped up, it's all about those layers (anyone else thinking of Shrek?) A special mention has got to my new chelsea boots - they fit like a dream, are beyond comfortable and are pretty snazzy in their inky blue suede. Don't you think? Clarks even have 20% off all full price styles now, a cheeky Chrismas gift from you to you? So how was Moose Coffee? Worth the wait. I attempted to devour the Burrito State of Mind and Craig consumed Eggs Benedict with a side of chipolatas, no joke.

What have you been up to this weekend? Hope you haven't missed me too much.

*The Chelsea Boots were kindly sent to me by Clarks.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Five Steps: Preparing For Christmas

Now Bonfire Night has sizzled and frankly banged the evening away it's time to get planning for the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas finally feels like it's around the corner - hello Costa festive coffee cups, Monty the penguin and more amazing advent calendars than you can shake a stick at (the Liberty one is just perfection). With all the excitement, planning and preparation that goes into making Christmas memorable it can sometimes all get a bit much and you can find yourself feeling like Scrooge. So here's something a little bit different from me, a post that'll hopefully keep you in high festive spirits well into the new year and help you with those festive season woes. You're welcome.

Plan, plan, plan

Gift giving can be a minefield, there's only so many cashmere jumpers you can buy for the men in your life right? Every year I'll make a list of who I need to buy for and then conduct some serious research - I'm talking blogs, magazine gift guides and visiting Christmas shops online to get some real inspiration (Selfridges is one of my fave online destinations). Something Craig and I do nearly every year is have an overnight stay in a different town or city to Christmas shop, we often find ourselves laden with quirky, unusual gifts and it's fun to experience a different shopping destination. Travelodge* have some amazing deals for last minute breaks away so get browsing stat.

Don't end up looking like something that should be at the top of the Christmas tree

The invites over the Christmas season come in thick and fast but that doesn't mean you have to fall into the glittered to high heavens trap, unless you want to that is. Velvet and lace are two sure fire ways to say hello festive fun without going over board or you could try adding a berry lip to a simple ensemble, NARS are bringing it in this arena. My favourite way to bring a bit of festive cheer to any invite? A faux fur jacket or a sequinned pencil skirt, team said skirt with a belted oversized knit to get the balance, Christmassy but on point. Don't fancy a faux fur jacket? Get your mitts on a faux fur clutch instead. Nothing says Winter Wonderland like a touch of faux fur.

Be thoughtful and mindful of budget

Now I'd love to buy Jo Malone crackers for my parents Christmas dinner table but unfortunately I can't be so frivolous, with a house still under renovation and a wedding to pay for it's all about budgets and discounts. Keep your eyes peeled for Black Friday discounts on the 28th November, sure team America get the best discounts but our British faves have started to cotton on too. If you're really panicking about money this Christmas then go handmade and thoughtful - homemade gingerbread in kilner jars, beauty sample filled stockings or create your own foodie hampers are all inexpensive but lovely gifts.

The emergency stash

Family stopping by unexpectedly or worse a friend dropping round with gift you haven't planned for strikes fear in the most organised of Christmas folk. My advise? Keep an emergency Christmas stash in your cupboard, I'm thinking mince pies, gingerbread, mulled wine, a bottle of fizz, a gift bag and spare Christmas cards. You'll be looking like the hostess with the mostess which will undoubtedly impress, all thanks to a little forward planning.

Most of all get festive and have fun

Christmas will always be the most sensational time of the year for me, I love spending time with my family and friends, eating my body weight in Christmas themed fodder and generally just relaxing with my faves. Don't be tough on yourself at this time of year, get in the festive spirit and have fun! Throw on a Christmas jumper, watch Elf, dance around the house to the Michael Buble Christmas album and perv on decorations and Christmas wrap in Paperchase. I know I will be.

How do you prepare for Christmas?
*Collaborative link

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Floppy Hats & Over The Knee Boots

Lilac Fedora: ASOS
Leather Jacket: Zara
Rib Front Cashmere Mix Dress: Whistles
Black Opaques: Wolford
Black Over The Knee Boots: River Island

Doesn't it just feel like forever since an outfit post graced the pages of Cagney and Lace? Let me say it's been far longer than I anticipated and I've given myself a good ol' talking to although I partially blame this horrendous weather we've been having. That and my terrible organisational skills, in the week they're ace but at the weekend I'm all about the relaxed down time and find myself with a headful of plans that never come to fruition, must sort stat.

That being said I'm certainly back with a bang, if I do say so myself. It's a rarity that I'd find myself wearing so much black but with a styling go for it from the fiancee I was all over the situation. Lilac fedora to cover up ready to be washed hair, a cosy cashmere mix dress to ward off the chill - a totally naughty but non regrettable purchase, Whistles I love you and not forgetting the piece de resistance, the of the moment, over the knee boots. River Island totally came up trumps with these day to night babies. Last but never least is my trust leather jacket which needed to be added because it's freakin' Winter and man is it cold right now. My only faux pas? Not applying enough L'Oreal Color Riche 376, I promise it looked dreamy pre photo shoot.

While things aren't looking anywhere near as glamorous this evening, I'm talking pyjama bottoms, fleecy blanket and Ben & Jerrys Minter Wonderland I'm actually enjoying these dark by 4pm evenings. Could it have something to do with the fact that Christmas is 43 days away?

What do you make of over the knee boots? Do you dig Whistles as much as me?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Story Of October

Amazing packaging and even better goodies inside - My man makes a mean roast - The dream shoes that'll grace my feet if I ever get married (oh the irony) - Nandos Sunday - Part of our Norfolk abode - The only place for celebration cake - This happened - Raspberry-ness engagement pud - Our first engagement card - The most thoughtful gift - Such an awesome card - The best photo frames around - My fiancee - Selfie - So much love in our home - Time to get planning  

Just compiling this collage has got me feeling all wistful and wanting to sing Pharrells Happy from the rooftops. October 2014 is one month I'll never forget and that's because it's the month where my best friend, boyfriend and only-roomie-for-me got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Nearly a month since he popped the question and I'm still staring at my engagement ring in awe, yes I'm that gal. The well wishers, congratulations and general levels of love for Craig and I have been flooding in and I genuinely can't think of a time when I've been happier. We've already started to plan our big day and have the church, venue and photographer booked, eeeeeek! Now it's time to relax and enjoy the run up to Christmas before we start making big decisions - I'm talking flowers, wedding cakes, invitations....    

Obsessed With - Saying my engagement ring would be a real cop out even though I am truly mesmerised so instead I'm going to say Scandal. I am absolutely gripped by the latest series (Olivia and Jake should just be together) and I've even got Craig hooked too. Tell me you're a fan too? Another real fave this month has been Essie's Chinchilly, not only is the colour that perfect blend of minky grey goodness but it also lasted on my nails (without a top coat I might add) for a whopping five days. True story. Oh and a special mention has got to go to M&S' sourdough bread, that's £1.60 spent well right there. 

Lusting After - With the weather suddenly changing for seriously cool climes my skin has thrown itself into red alert mode, hi random blemishes and unwanted dry patches, I've missed you so. It's a while since I gave my skincare routine a good shake up and I've rather naughtily been using just Bioderma most evenings to remove my make-up *slaps wrist* before smothering on an unloved night cream. Maybe it's time I paid a visit to Space NK...

Excited For - Our second engagement party AKA the one with friends. My ma and pa rather kindly hosted a meet the family style engagement gathering for us already which was beyond delightful but in a couple of Saturdays we're having all the gang round to our abode to celebrate in true fashion, excited. Another thing I'm really looking forward to is Christmas shopping, for the first time in years I haven't bought a single gift yet. Let's hope this changes pretty sharpish, I don't handle panic buying too well.

Was October a memorable month for you? Are you excited to start Christmas shopping?

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Taste Of Sheffield Recipe

Craig and I were recently the lucky recipients of a fancy evening meal. Free food I hear you cry? Yes please. The catch? We had to cook all of our local ingredients from scratch using A Taste Of Sheffield recipe. Simples. Well I say simple, I have a very sweet husband to be (don't think that'll ever get old) who kindly cooked up a storm while I enjoyed X Factor plus he knows his way around a kitchen much better than I ever will. I must confess the photography is mine though, dark nights and a cottage kitchen don't make for the most swoon worthy picture although snaps to Craig for his food styling and top presentation skills.

The Taste Of Sheffield recipe was compiled by Mark Jones, chef at The Copthorne Hotel in Sheffield which is literally a stones throw from my office window and somewhere I've enjoyed a fair few lunches so when team Copthorne got in touch with this fun project I was more than happy to oblige. Sainsburys rather sweetly delivered the ingredients in one fell swoop so I didn't even have to leave the sofa, my kinda food shopping. The recipe is packed to the rafters with seasonal produce including lamb, Hendersons relish (a Sheffield taste sensation), red cabbage, Maris Pipers and Wensleydale cheese (tell me I'm not the only one who instantly thinks of Wallace & Gromit?)

Craig found the recipe pretty easy to follow although it's certainly one best saved for a day where you've got a bit of time, maybe a Sunday lunch or a weekend date night meal. The cabbage alone takes a whopping two hours to cook although I must admit it was one of the tastiest things on the plate, closely followed by the mash potato - cheese, potato and cream, what a mash made in heaven. Lamb isn't usually my favourite meat of the bunch but paired with the cabbage it really was a treat. 

Who's the better cook in your house? Are you going to try this Sheffield show stopper of a recipe? If you do be sure to use the #TOTTChef so I can admire your handiwork.

*All ingredients were kindly sent to me.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Giveaway: The Iconemesis iPhone Case

Iconemesis are the go to guys for original iPhone cases that are just that little bit different. Fancy getting your mitts on a fancy pants iPhone case? Well you've come to the right place, I've teamed up with the lovelies at Iconemesis to offer you the pick of the bunch, I'm a good egg aren't I?

To be in with a chance of winning a jazzy iPhone case all you need to do is enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. The giveaway is open until Sunday 9th November.

Best of luck guys!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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