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Sunday 30 November 2014

My Next Home Christmas Wishlist

Whenever I go into Next I'm always really impressed by their Home section. Everything is so tasteful and always really good quality for the price. I often wish that I had a house with minimum seven bedrooms just so that I could justify buying everything! But the stuff in store is normally just the tip of the iceberg. Since the home department is generally just a small section of the shop, you'll always find a lot more products on their website. So, after another trip to Next reminding me that I really do love their stuff, I headed to the website. And I wasn't disappointed! I love some of the new stuff they have in for Christmas, and these are just a few of my favourites.

1. Tree Shade - £18
Changing your light shades to suit the time of year does sound a little over the top to me, but the design on this one is beautiful and a more subtle nod to Christmas. I think it would be an easy and non-intrusive way to add a festive touch to a room :)

2. Glass Joy Letters - £8
If I had to choose one word to describe the Christmas period it might be this. Being able to spend quality time with the whole family is something that I look forward to all year. The silver-y, rustic detail on these glass ornaments is really pretty and I think they'd look amazing on the tree or hanging from the mantelpiece.

3. Morris Table Decoration - £12
Morris the Moose is a cutie! I love his colour scheme, and I think he would look great on the mantelpiece or a set of drawers (or the table, obviously). You could also see about slipping his 'Merry Christ-moose' tag off and using his as a doorstop for the rest of the year. Or just leave the tag on and roll with it!

4. Festive Spice Fragranced 3 Wick Candle - £8
I love Christmas candles. I think Christmassy fragrances are my favourite because they instantly evoke feelings of warmth and comfort. And I love the berry and spice combinations! This three wick candle burns for up to 40 hours and is in an amazing Fairisle themed jar. I know I'd be re-using that after I'd used the candle!

5. Xmas Tree Plate - £8
Never before have I wanted a plate shaped like anything in particular, let alone a Christmas tree. But the more I think about it, the more I can convince myself that it's justifiable. My family only has the one meal on Christmas day, and then spends the rest of the day eating all the nuts, biscuits and chocolate anyone could possibly want. I'm sure the snacks would be so much tastier eaten off a Christmas tree!

6. Stag Print On Wood - £30
I love the muted colours on this print and think it would work in pretty much any colour scheme. I also don't think it would be limited to being displayed only at Christmas time, so it'd make a cost-effective purchase. I also think it'd look amazing with the tree shade described above.

7. Snowman Cushion - £12
As a budding photographer it was the image on this that caught my attention. I was then drawn in by his happy smile and cute hat. I think this little guy would make me smile every time I caught sight of him, and the colours on it would be sure to complement all the other Christmas decorations.

Have you been shopping for Christmas bits for your home yet? Do you buy new things every year?

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Sunday 23 November 2014

Ten Things I Should Be Proud Of

We all know that it's very easy to spend a lot of time focusing on your insecurities. Wondering where things went wrong, and how best to make changes. But what we all need to do more of is reflect on the positives. The other day, whilst I filled out a job application, I realised that I was proud of myself. This was a revelation for me, as the past few years have played havoc with my self-esteem. I'm finally on the up, so I thought I'd reflect on what I'm most proud of. I'm making a mental note to come back to this post when I'm having a bad day. And I hope it helps you to realise all that you should be proud of too!

1. That I graduated uni
I didn't enjoy it, and didn't do as well as I wanted, but I finished it! I think I'm still too hard on myself sometimes, but I have a degree and now a job. Which leads me on to...

2. That I found a job that I enjoy
When I graduated I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I knew upon starting my degree that I didn't want to be a physicist, and I was hoping that I'd have an epiphany revealing my future career. Unfortunately that didn't happen, so I took a risk and applied for a job that I had never thought of, but had the qualifications for. Turns out that I really enjoy it and I hope I can stay for a while.

3. That my boyfriend and I put in the effort to survive a long distance relationship
I've heard of lots of relationships that fizzle out under the strain of a long distance. But through the power of Skype and train tickets we made it work for three years. And now we're back in the same city and closer than ever!

4. That I've found the time to continue my hobbies
University can be all-consuming. There are people who come out the other side with nothing but a qualification to add to their CV. As well as continuing with my previous hobbies I also took up pole fitness which I love, and am still doing weekly. I hope I'll have time for pole fitness and my creative pursuits for a few years yet!

5. That I'm making the effort to become healthier
I could be described as skinny-fat. My diet has never been the best (admittedly not too bad either), but I've never put on weight due to my metabolism. This meant that for ages I made little effort to do any exercise. A few months ago I recognised that this was the case, and have hence started looking more carefully at my diet. I'm also thinking of joining a gym (as well as continuing pole fitness), in the hope of improving my fitness.

6. That I'm less scared by the thought of growing up
Before I left uni the grown-up World was a daunting place. What if I spent my life not knowing what to do? Now I realise that things are flexible. And everything will fall into place eventually. If you're not happy with an aspect of your life, then change it. And hopefully one day you'll wake up and realise that everything is how you want it to be.

7. That I'm happier now than I was a year ago
This is mostly due to my circumstances, but still something that I've had to ensure. By keeping myself busy I've kept nasty thoughts at bay, and always have something to look forward to.

8. That I'm always hungry for knowledge
I'm a curious person. If I hear about something interesting I have to find out more. I'm on a mission to learn as many languages as I can, and I hope I'll never stop learning! I'd love to be that person who knows the answers to all the obscure questions at a pub quiz!

9. That I'm (almost) comfortable with myself
It takes a lot to say that you're completely comfortable with yourself. But as I grow up I'm beginning to know my limitations. I know that I don't have to step out of my comfort zone if I don't want to. My insecurities are becoming fewer, and I'm happy with the person I am.

10. That my family and friends are proud of me!
There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that you're making others proud. As long as they're proud of me then I won't change a thing :)

What are you most proud of?
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Monday 17 November 2014

Flamingo Gifts Review

After a short break from blogging (due to me being a grown-up now and doing boring/exciting things like getting a job), I returned to an exciting email from a lovely lady. She let me know about Flamingo Gifts, and I headed over there straight away. I'm always excited to find out about new gift websites, and this one didn't disappoint. Within minutes of browsing my mind had started making lists of things I just had to buy. I was kindly asked to choose a few things, and below are some of my top picks!

Orla Kiely Tealight Lantern - £8.49* (click the headers to find out more!)

I looove the Orla Kiely designs, but haven't been able to justify buying a new bedspread or rug just to quench my desire for the delicate leaf pattern. As soon as I saw this lantern I knew it was perfect. I love that it's quite minimalistic in design, but the holes punched in the side means that it's transformed when you put a lit candle inside. I went for the grey version as I've had my eye on a few grey pieces for my room, but it also comes in green and red. I know a few people who would be really pleased to own one of these!

This is another simple piece that can transform a room. I was worried that this might be quite flimsy, but it's really sturdy and not at risk of breaking unless you manage to jump on it! Helpfully I have white walls (which made photographing it very difficult), but this looks perfect hanging in my window. So pretty with the light shining through it!

As a candle fanatic, this gorgeous lantern grasped my attention straight away. It's mirrored on the bottom so reflects the candle glow and really helps to contribute towards that toasty, calming atmosphere. It's pretty heavy, but this means it would also work outside if it's not too windy (since it has holes in the top!). The zinc finish means that it'll complement pretty much any decor (at least it looked perfect in our unexciting lounge!) and it comes in medium too, which I'm sure will join my collection soon!

This has to be my favourite item! So unique, and it makes me smile whenever I see it. This amazing bee house is solidly made out of wood and bamboo, and is brightly coloured to attract all those honey bees! Since it's so solidly made, it is a little heavy. So you'll need a sturdy tree or garden structure to hang it from. Unless you want to just place it on the ground and make it a 5-star bug hotel, welcoming all. Hey, we'll let them off if they can't read ;)  I can't wait to hang this in the garden and do my little bit for the bee community!

Since I've just started a new job and have been introduced to the exciting World of the daily commute, I chose this one for the practicality. It has space for your travel card (which I keep in the clear side so that I don't have to remove it every time), and another slot for cards or spare change. This fits easily in my pocket, and also cheers me up with its amazing bright colours. When I'm waiting at the bus stop at 7:30 am on a grey, rainy day it certainly goes some way towards making the day beautiful!

Overall, I have been really impressed with my first taste of Flamingo Gifts. Everything's such good quality, and I wouldn't have an issue justifying the price of any of these items! I'll certainly be heading back for more soon, since I've spotted a few perfect Christmas gifts :)

How's your Christmas shopping going?

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