Monday, 26 November 2012

{christmas 2012} christmas gift guide - stocking fillers

I've done his and hers gift guides, so I thought I'd combine some of my favourite (cheaper) items that I found during my present hunting activities into one handy little stocking filler gift guide. Every item is under £10 and direct links are below.

1. Lynx Mini Set - Debenhams
2. Decision Dice - Marks & Spencer
3. Moustache Mug - John Lewis
4. Ted Baker mini petite set - Boots
5. Cath Kidston hand cream - John Lewis
6. Butterfly compact mirror - John Lewis

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Happiness is...

Fake snow on Oxford Street raising a smile on even the most miserable of faces.

It being perfectly acceptable to now sing Christmas songs at the top of my voice.

Teaching Valentine how to do arabesque.

Silly Saturday nights with my beautiful friends.

Winning NaNo in my first year.

An insanely good Sunday roast dinner.

The smell of fresh flowers.

Listening to the Spice Girls and not even caring.

Perfect pirouettes.

Finding the perfect Christmas present for this beautiful man...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

One Love

My beautiful little sister turned one yesterday.

It was a nice, simple day, full of my beautiful family (who suddenly became very camera shy) and an incredibly animated little lady who has a new favourite word: NO (said in a very broad Northern accent, thanks to her Wigan-born father. Speaking in such a way in a room full of South Londoners led to nothing but hilarity)

Daisy ate far too much of a cupcake (she literally dragged it out of my hand) and confidently swaggered along the floor in nine or ten wobbly steps. Twice. She's getting there.

The excitement of sprinkly cupcakes died down a little bit earlier today, until I hit Oxford Street. I haven't managed to fully walk up and down the road yet (it's a blooming long road) but I did manage to grab a quick picture of the lights outside Bond Street station, complete with the Debenhams lights in the background and little flecks of the fake snow coming from Boots.

It's been such a magical week thus far...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Happy Birthday Daisy!

It's my beautiful baby sister's first birthday today!

Watching her change from the tiny little dot who barely squeaked to the very vocal, attitude filled one year old - complete with telling me to "ssshhhh" at any available opportunity - she is today has been incredible.

I have so much love for this little lady and look forward to watching her grow up!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

{christmas 2012} christmas gift guide - for her

1. Pastel Pocket Notebook - Aspinal of London
2. Union Jack truffles - Prestat
3. Good Time Gals mini - Benefit
4. Marc Jacobs, Daisy - House of Fraser
5. Scented candle - John Lewis
6. Abby Clements, Meet Me Under The Mistletoe - Amazon

As I was compiling this gift guide for all the dudes out there, I realised that women can be just as (if not more) difficult to buy for when it comes to Christmas. But fear not m'lovelies, for I also spent longer than I care to admit to searching for the ideal gifts for my sister, friends, mum, etc. and have now compiled it for your indulgence!

Although, I have to admit, this is less a list of things I want to buy for other people, and more of a 'Things Amy wants for Christmas, thank you very much' list. I already have the candle in a tin from John Lewis and love it, so I'll probably spread the scented love with the girlies in my life. That box of chocolates from Prestat also caught my eye in a big way and I'm hovering over the 'checkout' button as I type. The Benefit gift set blew me away - amazing products for such a small price, and I think a friend or two will be unwrapping it in a few weeks time!

Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Abby Clements is another thing that I already have. The cover literally sparkles and called out to me from across the book shop! It's a great Christmassy read that I'm sure every girl in your life will love. The notebook from Aspinal is a favourite find of mine - they offer a free initial lettering service for selected products, which adds to the beautiful simplicity of their gifts. Oh, and can we just take a moment to appreciate the gloriousness that is Marc Jacobs' Daisy? It's incredible.

Hopefully, you've got slightly more inspiration for your present hunting sprees over the next few weeks. As always, feel free to let me know if you've got any other suggestions - I'd love to hear them!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I just happen to have fallen in love with all of the above!

{christmas 2012} christmas gift guide - for him

1. Breaking Bad box set - Amazon
2. Black print sweatshirt - River Island
3. Diesel, Only The Brave - John Lewis
4. Nando's gift card - Nando's
5. M&Ms dispenser - Asda
6. R2D2 USB hub - Find Me A Gift

Let's face it, men are almost impossible to buy for. I've wasted many hours fretting over what to get Valentine for his birthday, for Christmas, and indeed, for Valentine's Day. I can't stand the Christmas shopping rush so I've already started on my present buying (nieces and nephews done! sisters-in-law, done!). Last night, I found myself drifting through far too many online shopping sites and found some great gift ideas for the impossible men in my life. I thought I'd put some of my favourites all together for you to help give you a bit of early inspiration.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Happiness is...

Chocolate cream frappuccino's that hurt your head and numb your fingers but make you smile.

Singing along to your favourite Christmas song and not getting weird looks because it's now acceptable!

Smiling at people on the Tube.

Dreaming of Italy and France.

Getting a paid writing job!!

Insomnia that leads to a large mug of hot chocolate (complete with cream and marshmellows) at 3am.

Watching Daisy take her first steps.

Reading a wonderfully Christmassy book.

Writing a wonderfully Christmassy book (10,000 words done!)

Ben & Jerry's Phish Phood.

Me and Ruby as little kids. The first time she ever smiled in a photo!

{christmas 2012} presents!

Valentine says someone's getting ahead of herself.
My mother says someone is a little bit too obsessed with Christmas.
My sister says someone is putting her complete lack of preparation to shame.

I say... The Coca Cola advert came on television the other night, which means it's now definitely okay to talk about Christmas!

I admit, I'm completely obnoxious and irritating and awful about Christmas. I may have driven Valentine to the point of distraction (or homicide) last week when I insisted that he sit down and write me a list of perfectly perfect Christmas presents for his nieces and nephews before completely disregarding the list (seriously, it was awful) and then just dragging him out to buy the presents. Don't worry, we both agreed on the finalised gifts. But there was some kicking and screaming on the way out...

But it wasn't enough for me to just buy the presents.

I had planned to hide them away somewhere in my house, far away from prying eyes.

There just isn't anywhere in my house that can't be accessed by prying eyes.

So armed with three different types of wrapping paper, unnecessarily beautiful pens (unnecessary because practically no one reads my well-thought out gift tags) and enough sticky tape to straighten out the leaning tower of Pisa, I got cracking with the wrapping!

I now can't move anywhere in my bedroom properly. The fear of a pile of presents cascading down from their not-so-safe resting places and burying me beneath shimmery, shiny, perfectly patterned paper has stopped me from even admiring my handiwork. But who needs to turn around anyway?

I seriously can't wait for Christmas!

In other news: The Oxford Street Christmas Lights are on! I shall post a few of my favourites soon!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest We Forget

Today is not a day for politics.
Today is not a day for sniping.
Today is not a day for sarcastic comments or offensive thoughts.

Today is a day of respect.
A day to remember all that has gone before.
A day where we spend two minutes in silence - with busy department stores, London traffic, police sirens and manic phone calls all coming to a standstill - to respect, remember and think of those who fought in the trenches, sacrificed their lives and showed nothing but bravery to their last breath.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Friday, 2 November 2012

{Christmas 2012} starting to plan!

It's time to think about Christmas. Yes! It is! Seven weeks to go! I know no one wants to talk about it but Halloween is finally out of the way, the Argos Christmas gift guide is out(!) and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the Coca Cola advert comes on - which is when everyone knows it's Christmas time!

I am officially obsessed with Christmas, and I count down all year to the time I can start publicly talking about it. Since there are only seven (seven!) weeks to go, I've decided that time... is now.

I like to call it 'Tinsilitis'
A seasonal fever that takes over my life every November and December. I squeal at the Christmas adverts. I hoard Christmas catalogues. I have a (not so) secret stash of cards, wrapping paper and candy canes.

It's sort of like a sickness. I have Christmas Fever.

But I love it so freaking much.

My Christmas plans start taking shape around September, but it's the first week of November when I truly crank things up a  notch. The first week of November is all about my planning (since I am a list geek). My current pile of lists include:

  • main to-do list
  • present buying list
  • separate page for each person, their wish list, and what I'm buying for them
  • Christmas events list (Winter Wonderland anyone?)
  • The Budget! My Christmas budget is far more interesting and sparkly than the Chancellor's so is therefore a million miles better. Fact.
  • Christmas-themed baking ideas
  • ideas for stocking fillers
I know... I just sucked all the fun out of Christmas. At least, that's what you're thinking if you're Valentine and only believe in Christmas present shopping on Christmas Eve. Before dumping everything on my bedroom floor and saying "do you wanna wrap those for me, Aim? You do it so much better than I do." So the rest of you should totally be thinking "Wow, Amy. So super organised and not in the slightest bit insane."

From next week, I'll be posting Christmas gift ideas, Christmas baking(!) and the absolutely adorable elf outfit I'll be buying for Daisy that she absolutely will be wearing no matter what my mum says.


I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween. For me, Halloween is a time to be annoyed by over-anxious kids and fully grown women dressed like street walkers. You can't move for boobs and bums hanging out all over the place and it's just an excuse for every drinking establishment to charge a premium for their "spooky" drinks. No thanks. Not for me.

However... if there's one thing I do like, it's kids dressed in ridiculously cute costumes. I've seen some pretty cool costume ideas on the interwebs - there are some awesomely creative parents out there! My little sister Daisy isn't at the age where she can go to Halloween parties or trick or treating (thank the heavens!) but we can still get away with dressing her up for our own photographic pleasure! I begged and pleaded with my mum to stick Daisy inside an actual pumpkin (we'd win mega kudos for originality there!) but, alas, she ignored me. So instead we got this...

Is that not just the happiest pumpkin you've ever seen?!

Daisy then proceeded to completely aggravate my poor grandad for the duration of her time at our house. She's really got a thing for that table!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween and didn't prematurely induce diabetes!

ps: thank you for all of the incredibly kind emails regarding my Sandy post. I am thankful to say that our families and friends on the East Coast are all safe, warm and well and are now beginning to rebuild their lives. I send nothing but love and gratitude to all of you and pray that your friends and families are also safe and looking towards the future!