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Beauty Review – L’Occitane en Provence Advent Calendar

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. As usual, we had two days celebrating with each side of the family and were thoroughly spoiled with presents and stuffed with food and drink!

Today has involved a big family walk (complete with some sloe gin shots along the way!), more food and buying a new kettle and toaster in the sales…rock and roll.

Despite deciding I didn’t need a beauty advent calendar this year, my lovely husband went online, read a load of reviews and bought me this one…and earned lots of brownie points!

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Luckily, L’Occitane en Provence is a brand I know and love. Their hand creams are a staple for me and I really like their almond, cherry blossom and verbena shower gels.

The calendar itself was beautifully illustrated and felt very ‘French’ too. It goes without saying how nice it was to have a little beauty treat to look forward to each day and I will miss opening it. There was a nice range of products included in this advent calendar. My favourites were the mini hand and foot lotions and the shower gels which I find so handy for travelling.

I was also intrigued by the Essential Water, the toner and the moisturiser only because I haven’t tried any L’Occitane face products before.


There were only two items that I cannot see myself using which are the two soaps, purely because I much prefer shower gels than hard soaps.


So, a big thank you to Ian for a lovely gift! I’m excited to see the beauty advent offerings next year.


Sunday Summary #51


It has been a pretty quiet week for me but I am in full Christmas mode now and am counting down until the end of term (5 more get-ups!)

We watched Home Alone 2 through the week which is making me want to visit New York in December next year to see all the beautiful window displays. We have also been watching Billions this week – such good dialogue and actors in it.


I also spent yesterday putting up the final Christmas decorations so the house is looking so festive and cosy.


I made mince-pie pastries which I will try and write the (very simple!) recipe for this week.


We went out for a roast dinner today at a nearby pub for my brother’s girlfriend’s birthday. I had rare roast beef which was delicious!


I bought a little blast from the past this week – Fry’s Turkish Delight…as good as I remembered.



I have tried to avoid buying anything in the run-up to Christmas but I am obsessing with pleated midi skirts at the moment, especially slightly metallic ones.


I have been enjoying my L’Occitane en Provence advent calendar each morning.

With the constant cold weather and central heating, I have pulled out the big guns with a new body butter from The Body Shop. This is the green olive scent and is so rich and moisturising.


Finally, a duo from Eyeko that I have been loving. The FAT liquid eyeliner is a great product, and you can create either a thick or thin line with the felt tip-style applicator.


The Black Magic mascara is also really good. It has a curved brush which helps to curl my eyelashes slightly.


Sunday Summary #50


It has been a very chilled weekend which is exactly what I wanted before the crazy run-up to Christmas.

I spent most of today finishing off my Christmas shopping and I am almost done! We keep saying we are going to have a low-key one this year but it is so easy to get carried away when you spot something you know somebody will love.

We watched the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special this week – I miss that series! I plan on watching my favourite Christmas films over the next few weeks now…Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf – all the classics.

I have been making things as cosy as possible in the evenings this week. I love my mermaid blanket and candles add a warm soft light to the room. We’ve just finished burning this Jasmine and Bamboo candle and have moved onto this Caramel and Pumpkin Swirl one…my living room smells divine!


My favourite Christmas cocktail made an appearance this week…the snowball. Ridiculously retro, but delicious, this is a really festive drink that tastes like sherbet!


Ian and I went for lunch at Comptoir Libanais yesterday and I am so glad we now have a branch in Bath. We had a big sharing platter full of dips and salads followed by baklava and rose mint tea…absolutely divine!

We also enjoyed croissants and flat whites at Bertinet Bakery – my absolute favourite place to buy pastries in Bath.



I have been on the search for a new coat for a while now and had my heart set on a camel or blush pink pea coat but haven’t been able to find one that is quite right. I was planning on waiting for the sales but then I saw this bad boy and I couldn’t resist it!


I love leopard print and I think that as long as the rest of the outfit is fairly neutral, a statement coat looks fab. This coat was a Primark bargain and is so soft and cosy.


I have been enjoying this shower gel from Bath and Body Works. It smells divine and actually feels very moisturising and luxurious.


My L’Occitance calendar is such a lovely treat every day – I think I will do a little review when I have opened them all.


My lips have been so dry and chapped since I was poorly last month and I have been trying everything to cure them. So far, this Dr Lipp nipple balm has proved to be the most effective.


Finally, I had a cut and colour this week so I am ready for the party season. I went for lots of white, cool-toned blondes again and plan to keep them this way with purple shampoo.


Sunday Summary #48 and #49


I have been a bit MIA on the blog recently so what better time to start afresh than the start of the month and the start of the most magical month at that! Yes, it’s December today which means all Christmas activities are now entirely appropriate and I don’t have to hide the fact my Christmas tree has been up for almost a week now – I even had the bands on my braces replaced with red and green ones!

I was shocked to hear the news that Fidel Castro had died and it made me so happy that we had managed to get to Cuba and see Havana earlier this year before things really start to change.

For my book club, I started reading The Versions of Us. It has good reviews and I’m enjoying it so far.

I’m not usually a huge fan of reality TV but Ian and I are loving I’m a Celeb this year. I find Ant and Dec hilarious (and so camp!) and the contestants seem a really nice group this year.

It has started to feel like winter this week with ice on the ground and having to spend ages de-icing my car in the morning. I’m overcompensating with extra blankets, cosy knitwear and lots of candles! Talking of candles, I made a few purchases at Bath and Body Works when we were in Boston and am enjoying starting to burn them.


The cold weather has meant I have been drinking tea non-stop and tea addicts will appreciate the importance of a good mug. I love using this glass cup I bought in St. Petersburg this summer – something about holding it in both hands makes it feel so warming and comforting.



I headed up to London last weekend to catch up with several friends. I had the most delicious brunch with my friends Cat and Lucie at Jam in a Jar. I could have ordered most of the menu but instead opted for a healthy-ish breakfast plate with eggs, sourdough, smoked salmon, avocado amongst the contents…heaven!

I also met up with my friends from uni for our annual Thanksgiving meal. The food was delicious, especially the slice of pumpkin pie.


We had an amazing meal recently at a local pub, The Longs Arms. It is probably my favourite place to eat at the moment and I am yet to enjoy a meal there I haven’t raved about! This time, I had lamb scrumpets followed by brill and cockled and a lemon crème brûlée and they were all divine.


I made a little ASOS order this week for a couple of items. Firstly, a pair of Christmas cacti socks!


I also picked up this striped jumper with suede elbow patches. I love the split sides on it and plan on wearing it non-stop.


Despite telling Ian not to bother this year, he bought me this L’Occitane en Provence beauty advent calendar. The illustrations are beautiful and I love the hand cream I received today.

I was a little bit blasé about all the Black Friday deal that kept appearing in my inbox but I did put an order in at Organic Surge which I will share soon. I bought a bundle of their bestsellers and cannot wait to start using them as they smell amazing, are all organic and the company has a really great ethos too.

Finally, I have been really enjoying rediscovering the Maybelline Color Tattoo cream eyeshadows. I used them years ago and recently bought Bad to the Bronze and forgot how pigmented and long lasting they are.


Mani Monday – Ciaté Birthday Blue

Today I wanted to share an electric blue shade from Ciaté. Birthday Blue is described as a ‘chrome blue’, with an almost foil-like finish.

I first wore this on my toes a few weeks ago and loved it so much that I fancied it on my fingernails too!

I decided to try out another Ciaté nail product from my advent calendar and opted for Bloom Boost as a base coat. This claims to illuminate and brighten nails and leave nails looking healthier. I like the fact this can be worn alone on bare nails or as a base coat and it has really good reviews too.

After applying the Bloom Boost, I needed two layers of Birthday Blue and I was really impressed at how bold the colour stays and the glossy finish it gives.

I also used my Calvin Klein Splendid Glaze top coat to help things last a little longer.

Birthday Blue is definitely one of my new favourite shades! x

Mani Monday – Ciate Heirloom

I feel like I am spoilt for choice with nail varnishes at the moment so I couldn’t miss today’s post!


Heirloom was the first nail varnish I opened in my Ciate advent calendar and I can honestly say I don’t own anything like it. It is such a beautiful shade but quite hard to describe – I would say it is a bronzey-coppery colour but has pops of gold, green, pink and purple running through it in different lights.


It reminds me of an oil slick the way it catches the light and changes colour.

I wore it today and had so many compliments…a new favourite!

Sunday Catch-up #47

I feel like I am saying the same thing in these weekly posts…busy through the week then a jam-packed weekend! I have two weeks until the end of term so the end is in sight. I finished putting up our Christmas decorations today so the house is looking lovely – I just need to get my Christmas shopping done!

This week I have been…

Making: myself get up early on a Sunday to go to Frome Market


Going: to Cadbury World with my class – such a fun day out!


Wearing: some of my new nail varnishes


Eating: my Dad’s potato gratin

Drinking: a white chocolate hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows at the market this morning

Reading: lots of Christmas gift guides for inspiration

Watching: The Interview – so inappropriate but kind of funny!

Buying: Chocolate from Cadbury World

Planning: new recipes to try out

Cooking: lamb with a delicious feta and pomegranate couscous


Baking: cupcakes with my brother


Writing: about the ale advent calendar I made for Ian


Favouriting: all the Vlogmas series that are starting

Working on: making our house look as Christmassy as possible

Trying to decide: which Yankee Cande to buy this Christmas

Wishing: Liverpool hadn’t lost today

Enjoying: opening my Ciate advent calendar each day


Needing: to start writing my Christmas cards

Feeling: achey after the gym

Giggling at: how messy my brother is in the kitchen – I asked him to measure out some ingredients and there was flour and sugar everywhere!

A Boozy Advent Calendar

It’s December, my favourite month (along with August for obvious work-related reasons!) which means advent calendars. Despite requesting a simple chocolate one this year, Ian surprised me with Ciate’s latest offering.


I had a Ciate nail varnish advent calendar last year and, being an absolute addict, loved the daily additions to my collection. This year, the box is a stunning London theme with many recognisable features from the skyline, all in a stylish red, black and grey design.


I will be doing daily Instagrams of what is behind each door and a proper review a bit later in the month but it’s fair to say I had a lot to live up to in the advent calendar stakes. However, I think this year I surpassed myself…

Ian is a huge fan of real ale (and drags me to many ale festivals throughout the summer months) so I wanted to do something a bit special. It took a while, but I managed to buy 25 different ales to create his very own advent calendar!

Here they all are pre-wrapping:

I tried to get a good selection including speciality Christmas ales, a delicious sounding salted caramel one, nearly all from different breweries.


I couldn’t face wrapping 25 bottles with proper wrapping paper (bottles are such a pain!) so opted for the easy yet effective approach of good old tin foil! It took me a matter of minutes to wrap all the bottles and the look on Ian’s face when I revealed my surprise made the weeks of carrying heavy bottles and trying to find hiding places for them all over the house worth it!