22 Dec 2015

The Best Christmas Biscotti Recipe, Great Home Made Present

This is the best biscotti recipe I've tried and everyone seems to love it.  Biscotti is a great homemade treat to bring to someone's house as a 'Thank you for having us', or just as a lovely Christmas present.  The best thing about it is you can make it days in advance and it lasts for weeks.  Keep it in an airtight container and I'll guarantee you'll have eaten it all before it goes soft.

I don't dip mine in chocolate, I leave them as they are but feel free to if you have an extra sweet tooth!

Here's the link to the site I got the recipe from...

19 Dec 2015

Presentation Idea When Giving Tickets This Christmas

If you're getting someone a trip away this Christmas try putting the tickets in a document holder or passport cover.  I always think people know what's coming if you hand them over a card.  Or if it's theatre tickets why not put the tickets inside the case of the show's DVD.  This way people will have no idea what's waiting for them under the tree.

I think this Ted Baker case is beautiful but quite pricey at £40.

16 Dec 2015

Spread The Load This Christmas - Come Dine With Me Special

I love playing hostess at Christmas and I love everything being 'just right'. I want everyone to feel welcome in my home and looked after, but it's very stressful to do. This Christmas I'm spreading the load. 

3 other couples (friends from Uni) are coming to my house for our own version of Christmas this year and instead of trying to cook and wash up after 8 adults one of the girls suggested we do something similar to 'Come Dine With Me'. Each couple will take it in turns to cook for the rest. One couple will handle breakfasts, another couple lunch and the other two dinners. 

Instead of them bringing all the ingredients they need on the train I've set up an Asda online shopping basket. Each couple can log in, add all the ingredients they need to the basket and it will all be delivered to the house the day before they all arrive. 

This really helps lessen the stress puy on one host to do it all. 

I for one can't wait!

14 Dec 2015

Money Off John Lewis Decorations and M&S Gifts and Wrapping Paper

Martin Lewis has a great Christmas Deal Predictor and he's estimating this week there will be up to 80% John Lewis Christmas decorations and up to 50% off M&S gifts and wrapping paper.  I'll let you know as soon as I see it with my own eyes.  Get in touch and let me know if you see it first!

12 Dec 2015

Give The Gift Of Giving, Give Charity Gifts This Christmas

This Christmas instead of giving presents on top of more presents why not give the gift of giving?

Through Unicef you can buy gift aid presents, called inspired gifts from £8.  You can buy vaccines, clothes, food and other emergency gifts for children and people in need all over the whole.  When you buy them online you choose your gift and a card that you write your own personalised message in.  Would be a great gift for someone who has everything or someone who says they don't need anything.

They also sell ethical, fair trade, hand made gifts starting at £1.95.  I really like this hare necklace, it's £19.95 which is a great price and you can feel good about buying it.

9 Dec 2015

Soap and Glory gift set half price this Friday @Boots

Get the legendary Soap and Glory gift set from Boots this Friday half price for £30! 

It includes....
  • 'Clean On Me' moisture shower gel 500ml, norm £6.50 each at Boots.
  • 'The Scrub Of Your Life' body buffer 200ml, norm £7 each at Boots.
  • 'The Righteous Butter' body butter 300ml, norm £10 each at Boots.
  • 'Hand Food' hand cream 125ml, norm £5.50 each at Boots.
  • 'Heel Genius' foot cream 125ml, norm £5.50 each at Boots.
  • 'Thick & Fast' mascara 10ml, norm £10.50 each at Boots.
  • 'Peaches & Clean' wash off cleansing milk 350ml, norm £8 each at Boots.
  • 'The Righteous Butter' tinted body lotion 200ml, norm £8 each at Boots.
  • 'Sexy Mother Pucker' lip gloss in Rose & Shine (new pink shade) 4ml, norm £7 each at Boots.
  • Make-up bag, not sold separately, next cheapest similar, £12 at Boots.
It smells delicious, looks great and are fab products.

8 Dec 2015

Mulled Rosé From M&S - Nice For Those Who Don't Drink Red. Fancy Liqueurs On Offer Too.

M&S are doing bottles of mulled rosé for £4.50.  It's a lot lighter then red, unusual and a thoughtful gift to bring to someone's house or put in someone's hamper who doesn't drink red. They also do a still milled cider.  

They are also doing a 6 bottles of Christmassy flavoured liqueurs in a set.

  • Cherry Brandy
  • Cassis di Dijon
  • Christmas Cake Liqueur
  • Black Forest Gateaux
  • Elderflower Luqueur
  • Christmas Cake Liquor
They have £10 off at the moment which makes them £50 for the 6.  Comes with free delivery too.  Could be a nice Christmas set for someone hard to buy for who likes a drink... Granddad!

7 Dec 2015

Royal Mail Last Dates For Posting

Get writing your Christmas cards and wrapping your parcels the last dates for posting are coming...

Friday 4th DecemberAfrica, Middle East
Monday 7th December Cyprus, Asia, Far East, Japan, Eastern Europe (ex. Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Tuesday 8th DecemberCaribbean, Central & South America
Thursday 10th DecemberGreece, Australia, New Zealand
Monday 14th December Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland
Tuesday 15th December Canada, Finland, Sweden, USA
Wednesday 16th DecemberAustria, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain
Thursday 17th DecemberFrance
Friday 18th DecemberBelgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland
UK services
Saturday 19th December UK 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Monday 21st DecemberUK 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Wednesday 23rd DecemberRoyal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®

4 Dec 2015

Christmas Wrapping Tips

Here’s my tips on making wrapping presents as easy as possible…

1. Buy a sellotape dispenser, poundshop ones are great.  Don’t spend time fiddling about with trying to find the end.  £1 dispenser = a lot less stress.

2.  Get out…
  • Tape
  • More tape
  • Labels
  • Pens (a few because you alway loose one), I bought a gold, silver and bronze marker park for 89p from Aldi
  • Scissors
  • Another pair of scissors for when you can’t find the other
  • Ribbons and bows
  • As many rolls of wrapping paper you have

3. If you have time to decorate your presents with ribbons and bows buy a plainer looking paper.  If you don’t have the time or the money just buy a pretty patterned paper, glittery £2 rolls from Tesco are great and on 3 for 2.

4. Have a rubbish bag out for price labels and sellotape scrag ends.

5. Give yourself as much room as possible.  Do it on a table if you can, bending over whilst sitting on the floor can do your back in after a while.

6. Listen to music, if I wrap whilst watching a film it takes twice as long.

7. Drink a large glass of mulled wine as you go!

2 Dec 2015

Morrisons Bakery - My Number One

Out of all the big supermarkets Morrisons' bakery is always a winner for me.  Their Chocolate Panettone is absolutely divine.  Sliced and toasted just enough to make the chocolate melt, oh my it's truly delicious.  Great to take to someones house for afternoon tea and just £2.

Another one of their great bargains is their £2 Tear and Share Christmas Tree Panettone.  It is packed with sultanas, currants, mixed peel and glacier cherries.  It's a little more dense then their Fruit Panettone but still tasty.  It's a really cheap way to make a wow centrepiece if you have people coming over.  Each tear and share piece is about the size of a scone so generous too and good for those who aren't fans of sugar loaded iced cakes.  However if you did want to sugar load it you could give it to the kids to decorate.  I'm sure they'd have fun covering it with sprinkles.

They are also doing a box of festive gingerbread men shaped like Father Christmas and Snowmen, 30 for £1 which I think is such good value too.  Morrisons definitely have the best bakery this Christmas.

30 Nov 2015

£5 Secret Santa Present Or Stocking Filler. A Grow At Home Birth Flower.

NotTheUsual has different grow your own plant pots.  I really like these birth flower ones at £4.99 each.  They are really personal and could be a sweet secret santa gift.  You can get a grow your own Christmas tree for £3.99 which looks cute too.

29 Nov 2015

Kids pictures on pillows. Great for Mums, Dads, Nans and Granddads

This is a really sweet, personal gift.  LukeDrewThis print children's pictures onto T-shirts, bags, iPad cases, hot water bottle covers and cushions.  All £twenty-something.

27 Nov 2015

Black Friday Codes

Don't battle the Black Friday/Saturday/Sunday and Monday crowds, use these codes instead!

30% off and free delivery
No code
Friday - Monday

20% off
Friday - Monday

All Saints
30% off
Friday - Monday

20% off
Friday - Tuesday

French Connection
30% or 40% 
30FCBF or FC40B
Friday - Monday

30% off
No Code

50% off
Thursday - Friday

24 Nov 2015

Charity Christmas Cards

Sending Christmas cards is a lovely tradition I don't want to ever die out.  Whether it's old uni friends, an aunt far away or a friend in another country everyone loves to receive a Christmas card.

If you're planning on writing Christmas cards this year I recommend starting now before all the madness begins.

Buy direct from a Charity shop to make sure they get 100% of the money.  Supermarkets that sell 'Charity' cards, donate as little as 10%.

Scope always have lovely cards and of course the money goes towards a great cause.  Here are some of my favourites.

The blueish one below folds into a pyramid.  I've never seen that before.

23 Nov 2015

Alternative Advents

A great Christmas present is an early one. Why not give someone an advent calendar so they get a treat each day leading up to Christmas instead of another present to open on Christmas day.

Because not everyone likes or can have chocolate, I've made a little list of the alternative ones out there.

You can get advent calendars that you can fill yourself such as the beautiful wood one to the left from John Lewis £30.

If you're on more of a budget you can get advent pegs.  The ones to the right are from John Lewis £6.95, the Poundshop do Christmas pegs too (£1 of course!) but they aren't numbered.

Once you have the advent calendar it's time to fill it!

Here are some ideas as an alternative for chocolate...

  • Teas - you can make you're own with individually wrapped tea bags or buy a pre filled calendar. There are some really cute ones starting from £12.50 on Etsy

  • Liquorice - Good if you have boxes to fill, not so good with pegs! Holland and Barrett, Sainsburys and Ocado sell Panda liquorice, it's a natural and sweet, great for any health freaks out there (my partner!) I've bought a mixed bag so each day he gets a different flavour or shape.

  • Ginvent- the pre-made calendars can be pricey but gorgeous.  The Ginvent calendar below from GinFoundry comes in at £114.95

  • Minitures - If you can't afford the pre-made why not make you're own?  Fill a calendar with these little miniatures, you can tie them into string and add your own labels if you haven't got a calendar with big enough cupboards or pockets.  You could even do the 12 days of Christmas instead of 24 making it much more affordable. 

  • Seed Calendar - For those budding gardeners this is a really cute one from NotOnTheHighStreet for £29.99

  • Candle calendar - Yankee do a great candle advent calendar.  Debenhams have 30% off it at the moment making it £17.49, at Clintons it's £18.74 but if you sign up to their news letter you get an additional 20% off.  There are 3 different styles and all went to half price on the Yankee site but have sold out already.

  •  Bath products - again you could make your own and pick n mix with holiday mixtures (3 for 2 in Boots) or you could indulge in the Lush calendar £49.95 but the products are amazing.

  • Beauty calendars are always a winner and this Boots No7 (25 days at £38) and Benefit (12 days at £39.99) ones aren't filled with hair bands and yellow nail polish (I used to find these sort of boxes were filled with things they couldn't sell). They seem to be packed with some real treats.

Remember you can make an advent with whatever you like and if you want it just to treat yourself then wait till 2nd December ish, if there's any left they are going to be at least 25% off, most likely 50%.

22 Nov 2015

Primark Bargains

Just thought I'd share with you my little Primark bargains.

This stand up tree is really glittery, a dark rose gold colour and just £1.  Great for mantelpieces or desks at work.  It's just over a foot high.  Such good value (it's only sparkly on one side, but still - £1!).

These two little ones were £6 each, again I think they are great value.  Little knitted hats and jumpers, I think they are very cute and would be a lot more expensive elsewhere. 

19 Nov 2015

Free letter from Santa

Royal Mail offer a FREE letter from Santa service.

Ask your child to write a letter to Santa, put a first or second class stamp on the envelope and address it to….

Santa or Father Christmas
Santa’s Grotto

and you’ll get a free letter back from Father Christmas.  As easy as that!

18 Nov 2015

Tiger Stores Stash, Amazing Christmas Bargains

Oh my gosh I got all this in Tiger Stores for £30!

From left to right...
  • Gold wooden star shaped gift tags that will look beautiful next to plain or patterned paper - £1
  • Handheld tape dispenser with 4 rolls of coloured tape - £1 
  • Mini mushrooms that will look fab out of cakes, on Christmas trees, on presents, everywhere! - £2
  • Pack of around 15 wooden hearts with bark, great for putting tea lights on - £2
  • Mini gnome tree decorations - 2 for £1
  • Gold metal heart decorations with Angels on - 2 for £1
  • Gnome tent, perfect for 2-5 year olds. It looks wicked put up - £10
  • Cones that can be filled with treats and hung on a treat or stands - £1
  • Pack of 25 mini ball balls, sparkly ones, metallic ones, high shine ones -£1
  • Red love heart wooden gift tags - £1
  • Mini stamps with ink pad, great for on wrapping paper, gift tags and cards - £3
There are so many goodies in there this year, get down there quick before it all goes. I left it too late last year and missed the best of their Christmas bits. Great for stocking fillers and random bits. 

17 Nov 2015

Alternative dinner quiz

If you have a 3 course Christmas dinner there may be some waiting time between courses, a lot of waiting time if I'm cooking! Put a pen and piece of a5 paper on everyone's place setting which can become their quiz sheet. Ask everyone at the dinner table to write down a quiz question, kids too.  If there aren't many of you get people to write 2 questions each. Tell people at the beginning of the starters then they have time to think about their questions.

During your break between main and desserts take turns to ask your quiz questions and mark each other's answers. By getting everyone at the table to write the questions you should have a real range of fun topics.

Have a silly prize or poundshop trophy for the winner.

It's a good way for everyone to feel involved and I find better then pre made quiz cards as they are often either for adults or for kids.

16 Nov 2015

Beauty goodies that suit all, 10% off in Boots, including Benefit stocking.

Boots are doing mini Benefit stockings for £15 great if you're not sure about colours or shades for people as the fillers suit most.

You can choose 4 minis for £15, it comes in a cute stocking and if you're extra nice to the lady on the benefit counter you may get a free sample (theirs are always packaged beautifully) to put in too.

Today Boots are doing 10% off online (if you spend over £30 on beauty or fragrance), either get it today or on one of their triple points days.

12 Nov 2015

20% Office, Nike SB, Benefit, Levi and more

There's 20% off in 120 shops in Carnaby Street, London, today only, between 5-9pm. It includes...


For a full list of participating shops click here. There will be music, free drinks and Christmas vibes too.

11 Nov 2015

Got lots of kids in one family to buy for? On a budget?...

It can be pricey having to buy for lots of kids in one family.  Board games are a great sharing present, so is a chocolate fountain.

I've spotted a half price (now £15!) mini chocolate fountain in Robert Dyas.  Pair with marshmallows, biscuit pieces, (fruit if you don't have to leave it under a tree for days) bars of chocolate and skewers.  All should come in at around £20.

You won't have to worry about buying each individual child a gift and it's great for 1 child to 10!

10 Nov 2015

Christmas 2015

Hello all!

I'm back in time for Christmas and am so excited. Below are my top Christmas ads this year, making me feel all festive already.

1. Asda 
2. John Lewis  
3. Talk Talk 
4. Sky
5. Hallmark 

Please tell me any of your favourites too.

I've been scouting around for my Christmas Bargains and will be sharing them all season.

Although it's warm out I'm still dressing for the festive season. H&M have got some cute, more adult jumpers this season, but you have to head in store, they don't have them all online yet.  Matalan have gone for the cheese. There's loads more out this year, the 'must have' Christmas jumper is a growing trend and fun too. I definitely hope people get involved.

4 Jan 2015

Post Christmas Chaos! January Sales, New Year Goals and Valentines

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and New Year.  I certainly did.

If you're going mad with your Spring cleaning remember to ebay anything big you can part with (save those pennies for the end of the January sales).

Any decent clothes or crockery put to one side for charity shops and any clothes to knackered for charity shops put into a bag for clothes recycling. Out with the old and in with the new.  Get your head fresh for Jan.  You don't have to do it all in one day, have a good clear out over the month.

The sales can be alluring but don't buy anything you don't need!  Check out the sales at the very end of the month, often things will be marked down again, this is when you'll get the best deals.

Set some goals for the year and write them down.  Put them in your diary or somewhere you often look so you're reminded of them throughout the year.  Try writing in your diary on a random day in June 'Has goal 1 been achieved?'. Should help you keep on track. Also share your goals with others, they can help to motivate you.

This year my goals are...

1. To master 5 recipes.  I'm a terrible cook, this year I want to be able to cook 5 tasty and healthy ish meals quickly, off the top of my head with ease.

2. To make my lifestyle healthier. I aim to exercise once at least once a week. I'm going to try a yoga class and some workout's on YouTube.  I'll give a few a go until I find the right one for me.

3. To go for more Countryside walks.  I love them and don't set enough time aside to do them as often as I'd like, this year that will change.

4. To progress my career.  I'm aiming to take my blog in another direction!

Good luck with setting and achieving your goals!  See you next Christmas.