Saturday, 24 December 2016

Selfridges Advent Calendar

Heyyyy Everyone, 

Happy 24th of December... A.K.A Happy Christmas Eve!!

My god, it has come around so quickly. I can't quite believe it's Christmas Day tomorrow, I am soon super excited! 

I have an apology to make first.. I didn't quite keep up with blogmas like I'd hoped! I had so many great ideas but I decided to do it such last minute I never got chance to get on top of my posts and with it being a busy period at work and in my personal life it all got a bit too much for me and I had to stop! SORRY!! But I did love doing the posts I did write and have decided already I am definitely down for blogmas 2017 and I will be a lot more prepared! 

Anyway, back to today! Today I opened the last day of my Selfridges advent calendar and I wanted to share with my thoughts on the products I got over the last 24 days! 


So firstly, here's what I opened (in no particular order and I have linked where possible): 

Eylure London fake eyelashes
Rodial Bee Venom Cleansing Balm 
Caudalie Eye Cream 
Blotterazzi Beauty Blender
Philip Kingsley Elasticiszer
Molton Brown Body Wash
Merci Handy Hand Cleansing Gel 
Starskin Eye Masks 
Eve Lom Cleanser 
Foreo Luna Play (facial-cleansing device)
Eyeko Liquid Eyeliner 
Too Faced 'Better Then Sex' Mascara
ThisWorks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray 
BbrowBar Brow Tamer 
Too Cool For School Eye Mellow Cream
Invisi Bobble Hair bobbles
Tweezerman Tweezers
Eroborian CC Creme (face cream)
Dr Paw Paw Original Balm
Lord & Berry Matte Crayon Lipstick 
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster
Smith & Cult Life in Photographs Lipgloss
NPW Peach Cat Lip Balm 



Quite a good bunch hey! Of course this advent calendar was very expensive, I actually can't remember now exactly how much, I think it was about £69.99, but containing a total value of £230 meant that I had high hopes! 

This year it seems that every brand and shop has released an advent calendar and it became impossible to know which ones to purchase. The good thing about the Selfridges A.C was that it was a variety of brands.. although at first was slightly disappointed that I didn't recognise as many of the brands as I thought I would. However, after researching the brands and spending the month testing news products out, I was quite pleased that I was introduced to some of these new brands. In fact look out for some product reviews in the new year because I'm hoping to purchase some bigger versions of the products in the January Sales! 

I was also very impressed that they managed to cover so many different beauty categories. With face cream, serums, make up products, blenders, even hair bobbles and so much more! 

Overall, I am pleased with my Selfridges A.C and I will be looking to purchase again next year. Although it was expensive, it was good value for money with the products included and has opened my eyes to so many new brands and products! 

What advent calendar did you have this year? 

Ciao EmmaJessica <3
  

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Homemade Gifts

Heyyyy Everyone, 

Happy 13th of December!! 

I hope you are well and getting on with your Christmas shopping okay? I absolutely love present shopping, I love giving gifts and seeing their face when you've got it right, and there's nothing quite like giving personal, homemade gifts! 

This year my mum is throwing a Christmas party with her friends and they have set a theme of 'homemade gifts'. I have been given the challenge of getting busy in the kitchen! I looked through Pinterest for hours and decided to settle on some boozy presents. 

Firstly, Spiced Orange Vodka.. 

What you'll need

The pared zest of 5 large Oranges
1 vanilla pod
70cl bottle of vodka
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
500g caster sugar
1 muslin cloth 



Instructions
This is so simple... 
Mix all the ingredients in a large jar that can be sealed. 
This jar now needs to be stored in a cool, dark cupboard for at least a week (the longer you leave it the better it tastes!). Every day or two get the jar out and give it a stir and shake so that the sugar is dissolving. 
How easy is that? 
When you're ready to jar and gift your vodka, run the liquid through a muslin cloth to get rid of the bits. Store in pretty jars and decorate. I've decorated mine with some dried orange and cinnamon sticks!



I found this recipe on theanamumdiary.co.uk

Secondly, Gin and Lime Marmalade.. 

What you'll need
675 g limes
1.75 litres water
1.4 kg granulated sugar
70 ml gin


Instructions
Cut the limes in half and juice them all. Pour the juice along with the water into a large stainless steel plan. Scrape the membrane and pips out of the remaining lime halves and save it in a bowl.
Chop the membranes up either by hand or in a small food processor, then sit on top of a square of muslin and then gather up the edges and tie securely with string and pop it into the pan, tying it to the handle so it doesn’t bob about too much.
Next finely slice the lime halves into the thinnest strips you can manage and pop them into the pan to soak overnight – they’re pretty tough so it’s worth doing this to make your marmalade softer to eat.

The next day bring the pan to the boil with the lid on, then turn the hob down to the lowest setting and allow to simmer for two hours. Your kitchen will smell of zesty citrus.
Meanwhile, pop your sugar into an ovenproof bowl and warm up in a low oven. Wash your jam jars in hot soapy water, rinse with hot water then air dry in the oven.
Remove the muslin wrapped lime innards from the pan, squeezing gently to remove any excess juice. Add the warmed sugar and dissolve over a low heat, then turn the heat up until the liquid churns up into a rolling boil. Take your jars out of the oven and place onto a wooden board. Pour approx one teaspoon of gin into the bottom of each jar.
Keep the rolling boil up until you reach setting point. This can take 5 minutes, but always seems to take me more like 20 mins. Keep checking by plunging a wooden spoon into the marmalade, lifting out and twisting until the liquid runs off. If you’re left with a droplet that hangs stubbornly from the spoon like a flake without dripping, then you’ve reached setting point. Don’t fret, just keep boiling until it happens. Turn the heat off and push any scum that’s formed on the surface to the side with a metal spoon and then lift out and into a dish. (I like to spread this on toast later)
Ladle the marmalade into a jug and pour into the jars and fill to just under the brim and then seal with lids. Allow to cool completely before labelling.


I found this recipe on Feedingboys.co.uk 

Have you decided to gift and homemade presents this year? I'd love to know what you've been making in the comments!

Ciao EmmaJessica <3



Monday, 12 December 2016

#GingerbreadHouseDay

Heyyyy Everyone,



Happy 12th of December and also, Happy National Gingerbread House day!
 


Firstly, I know the point of Blogmas is to blog everyday up to Christmas but I do have to admit I did take a few days off this weekend. I spend one nightwith family, 1 with friends and 1 very hungover, and although I porbably could of got my laptop out and spend a few hours writing, I decided not too. I hope that's okay!

Secondly, I've never actually made a Gingerbread House before, but I thought it would be rude not to on the national day! I guess you could of said I cheated a bit because I didn't actually make it from scratch, I purchased this great pack from Next for £12 that had everything you need, you just need to add eggs.
 



I am very pleased with my final result!





Did you make a Gingerbread House today?

Ciao EmmaJessica <3


Thursday, 8 December 2016

#NationalBrownieDay

Heyyyy Everyone,

Happy 8th of December .. and Happy National Brownie day!!! It's got to be one of the best days of blogmas!

I have slaved in the kitchen all week perfecting my Christmas Tree Brownies. It's has been one of them classic moments where you see the pinterest version and your own version, which looks nothing like what you saw on Pinterest. But, by my third batch I was happy enough to photograph them and share them with you!

So here's the recipe I finally came to:


1. Melt in a pan the butter & cocoa powder

2. Take off the heat and add the sugar and eggs

3. Slowly add the flour whilst stirring

4. Put mixture in a greased tray (square 9"x9")  and put in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for 20/25 minutes.

5. Now the simply bit is over just go crazy and decoarte them!! Be creative! I have cut mine into tree shapes, added candy cane tree trunks and decoarted with green icing and a pack of edible Christmas decorations!

 

Send me pictures of your Christmas brownies!

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Get in the Festive Spirit

Heyyyy Everyone,

Happy 7th of Decmeber!


By now you should be well and truly in the festive spirit, but if you're struggling to get in the mood (for some strange reason) I have come up with 5 little changes you need to make to your day-to-day life and before you know it you'll be humming Christmas tunes!

1. Christmas PJ's - these days you can pick up a pair of cheap Christmas pyjama's from any supermarket or Primark. Waking up in your Christmas PJ's is the most festive way to start your day.

2. Most people make a brew when they get up, so your next step is to purchase a christmas themed mug. I got mine from Asda for £3 (bargain!) and I take it to work with me so I can sip a festival cuppa all day!

3. Decorate your working area - Get yourself to your local poundstore or home bargains and pick up come tinsel for a couple of pounds and pin it around your desk, or working area. There's nothing like a Christmas sparkle to make you feel festive!

4. Listen to at least 1 Christmas song a day. Blast it out of your car radio on the way to work, or get the whole office involved and play Christmas tunes during your lunch break. We've been playing Christmas music in our office since December 1st and everyone can't help but bob along and smile!

5. I'm sure it's a given, but if you haven't alread you have 7 days to catch up on, so get out and get yourself an advent calendar. Opening that door and seeing the big day get closer and closer is so exciting I could squeal! I have one at home and one on my desk at work, double the excitment!



What else are you doing to get wake up your festive spirit?

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas Wrapping

Heyyyy Everyone,

Happy 6th of December!!

Call me crazy but wrapping presents is one of my favourite Christmas traditions! To me, giving gifts is not the same unless they come complete with all the Chrsitmas decorations I can get my hands on. Every year I like to make it slightly different and that means searching high and low all year long to find bits. I get my creative juices flowing and make it a project. Here's what I am working with this year:


The Santa stockings are for my brother and sisters gifts and were just from the poundshop. They are huge, you can tell from the wrapping paper, thats normal sized wrapping paper!! I got my wrapping paper this year from M&S, they always have a good array of designs and it's great quality. I picked up the mini crackers in Home Sense and though these would be great to stick on the front of gifts as a little extra gift. Chocolate coins and candy canes are something I always stick to gifts and I picked these up in Asda. And finally the labesl are from a small boutique shop local to me. These are the kind of things I look for all year to make the gifts personal. Here's a closer look at them...


And after a few hours of fighting with cellotape, whilst drinking a glass (bottle) of wine and singing Christmas songs, here are a few of the final gifts. I haven't put everything in this picture because I know what my family are like and I don't want them analysing the picture to guess their gifts, but you get the idea :) 
 

Do you do anything different with your wrapping?

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Monday, 5 December 2016

Bathtub Party Day

Heyyyy Everyone,

Happy 5th of December.. and Happy Bathtub Party Day!!

Who, in god's name, invented the bathtub party day?! Because who ever they are needs to recieve a knighthood from the queen. What an absolute legend!

Anyone that knows me will know that I absolutely look a bath. To me a bath is like a huge hug and I want to be hugged every morning and every night, maybe even during the day too! Yeah that's right. I could literally spend hours in the bath. With my laptop on the toilet seat playing my current fave on Netflix, or a good book, and of course a glass of wine, I'm in my element.

The problem with having so many baths is the cost of bath products can rack up, and sometimes I just can't justify spending so much money on some bubbles. So, over the years, I have found some great bargains for bathtime.

Firstly the bath bomb. Like probably 99% of girls, Lush is my ultimate favourite place to get bath treats. But, unfortunately, they come at a cost! Lush products are on my birthday and Christmas list every year but I needed to find something a bit lighter on my wallet for everyday. You can absolutely not fault Bomb Cosmetics. They are affordable and smell just as delicious as Lush bath bombs. They range from around £2.49-3.99 and come in HEAPS of different scents. For this Christmas bath I went for the classic Christmas pudding, Cooltide Bath Blaster. It had ginger and cinamon oils making my whole bathroom smell delicious!




And look at the gorgeous sparkles left in my bath at the end!! I didn't want to wash them away!


You need bubbles, and you can't go wrong with Radox. It's by far the best and you can pick it up for £1 in most beauty stores. I must admitt when it comes to washing my hair and body I do treat myself. However, I still always try to get them as a bargain. This Bed Head shampoo and conidtioner was from TKMaxx, a great place to get better brands at cheap prices. And I am lucky enough to have a Body Shop outlet near me, so I'm always stocking up when things are on offer. The strawberry scent is my ultimate favourite from Body Shop, and I can't wash without my trusty scrub gloves.  
 



















So now I've got the perfect bath it's time to get my head stuck into my current read. I'm loving reading at the moment, expect lots of book reviews coming your way soon!

What are your favourite bath products?

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Top Christmas Socks

Heyyyy Everyone,

Happy 4th of December!! Oh, and happy #NationalSockDay!!

To celebrate National Sock Day (according to National Day Calendar haha) I have picked my 4 favourite Christmas socks!! I found that most of the best ones were the sort of slipper sock style thicker socks, which I don't really like wearing under shoes or boots, but I do like wearing them at home instead of slippers, so comfy! And let's be honest we spend most of Christmas lounging around the house anyway so there's no better time to buy plenty of pairs of thick socks!

Why stop at a Christmas Jumper? Get yourself Christmas'd up from head to toe!


1. Topshop £3.50, 2. ASOS £8, 3. M&S £5, 4. Next £3.50

Found any more cute pairs of Christmas socks that just HAVE to be in my draw? Send me links!!

Ciao EmmaJessica <3
 



Saturday, 3 December 2016

Festive Fruit Cake

Heyyyy Everyone,
 
Happy 3rd of December!!
 
To me Christmas is all about traditions, and every family has different traditions. One of my favourites is my Nanny Plumbs baking. She bakes all year of course, but she ups her game around Christmas time and we have an everlasting supply of mince pies, bakewell tarts, marble cake, fruit cake and more! So today I though I'd dust off my apron and get baking.
 
I have used my Nan's easy fruit cake recipe, which is available in the Be-Ro book. It really is simple, you don't need any fancy equipment and there are only 6 ingredients, most of which you will have in your cupboard anyway. So come and bake with me!
 
What you need...
 
 
1. Place fruit, sugar, margarine & water in a pan and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. Stir it every now and then and you will notice the mixture thickens slightly.
 
2. After 20 minutes put it aside to cool and at this point grease either a 7" cake tin or loaf tin, I like to make mine like loafs because that's how my Nan has always done it. Also get your oven on and set it to 150.
 
3. Once your mixture is cool enough and it isn't going to turn your egg into scrambled egg, add the beaten egg and stir the flour in.
 
4. Now simply pour it into your tin and bake for around 1 1/2 hours (put your feet up and relax to a classic Christmas movie, it's a slow baker this one!)
 
Decorating your fruit cake..
 
5. At this point your cake is done and is perfect to serve as it is or with a bit of butter on, but as it's Christmas I decided I wanted to make my cake festive. Get creative and dig deep into your cupboards to add anything to the top.
 
Here's what my finished festive fruit cake looks like.. For my first Christmas bake I am quite impressed with myself! Need to practise decorating though, not sure how Mary Berry would feel about that!
 

What traditions do you and your family have for Christmas?
 
Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Friday, 2 December 2016

#FauxFurDay

Heyyyy Everyone,

Happy 2nd of December!

If you weren't aware today is Nation Faux Fur Day, according to the National Day Calendar (which is, by the way, one of my all time favourite websites). So I decided I was going to celebrate by digging deep into my wardrobe and findind a bit of faux fur to wear all day! I decided to go for 2 outfits. One with a touch of fur to wear into work, and one to wear to the pub tonight for a few drinks. Both outfits are combinations of old clothes so I can't find them again but have tried to find similar items incase you want to re-create the look!

Day Look..


 

Headband (ASOS), Jumper (New Look), Jeans (Zara)




Night Look..





Jacket (One off). Black Jeans (Miss Selfridge), Boots (Stuart Weitzman)

What do you think? Have you worn any faux fur today?

Ciao EmmaJessica <3

Thursday, 1 December 2016

It's Christmas!

Heyyyy Everyone,

Excuse me whilst I get stupidly over excited but IT'S CHRISTMAS!! 


It's my favourite time of year and you will see nothing but joy and smiles from me over the next 25 days! To share my Christmas cheer and kick start my blogging life, I have decided to do Blogmas! You can expect 23 more blogs on their way, every day at 5pm UK time (I am giving myself Christmas day off, I hope that's okay!)

Just to get you a little bit excited here's a few things you can expect over the next few weeks:

Baking and Recipes
Outfit Posts
Christmas related DIY's
And much more!

Make sure your following me on all my social media channels so you don't miss a post, and share your love for Christmas with me! If you're doing blogmas or have any Christmassy posts, please share them with me in the comments, I'd love to have a read!

Ciao EmmaJessica <3







Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Guy Fawkes Night: November 5th

Heyyyy Everyone,



Leaving my life in Australia, I knew, was going to be a tough few weeks for me. I needed to have something to look forward to (besides seeing my family of course!). I was moping around on my last few days at work until one of the locals (who was a fellow brit) mentioned I would be back just in time for Guy Fawkes night, or as most people refer to it, Bonfire Night. It immediately lifted my spirits because I have loved Bonfire Night ever since I was a little girl. Some of the Australians I work with were asking me 'What is this 'Bonfire Night'?' And it hadn't even accured to me that it's just an English tradition. So, as most of my readers are from outside the UK, I thought I would explain to you a bit about what 'Guy Fawkes Night' is, and how I celebrated this year!


Back in 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of his friends plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliment. They filled the basement with tons and tons of gunpowder that they intended to set on fire, causing the building the explode and kill all the leaders of the country including the kind!! Luckily, on November 5th, Guy Fawkes was caught before he had a chance to hurt anyone. It turns out he wasn't even the ringleader of the plot but he has become the one we remember the most. Guy Fawkes was imprisoned and later executed in January of 1606.


Since then, every year, throughout Britain, we commemorate the capture of Guy Fawkes with bonfires and fireworks, and sometimes by burning an effigy of Guy.
 
This year we had our own bonfire at home, which we haven't done since I was about 5 years old so, as you can imagine, I was overly excited! We didn't need to bother with fireworks because we could see about 5 other displays from our garden! Although we did invest in some sparklers for a little extra entertainemnt. And had fun trying to take some interesting photos with them!

I'm not sure whether the next tradition I am going to mention is country wide or just a northen thing, but I bloody love it... Minty mushy peas! I can imagine right now you're thinking what the hell are you on about ha ha They are honestly the tastiest things. A cup full of mushy peas with a big dollop of mint sause to stir in. I have to admit our peas this year did come out of a tin, but it has inspired me to practise my pea mushing skills so that next year I can make a big batch of homemade mint mushy peas for everyone.


A tradition we have as a family ourselves is to crack open the first bottle of mulled wine of the year. Again we were a bit lazy this year and just had a bottle of mulled wine with some chopped orange in, however I do love to make my own. Maybe I'll do a blog post on homemade mulled wine during December!


Of course we captured the whole thing on camera. So here's a few of my favourite images from the night.. thanks to my wonderful personal photographer, my stepdad Andy!













Do you celebrate Bonfire Night? Do you have any other traditions?

Ciao EmmaJessica >3