Through The Gates Of Janus - Hello 2014.

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Janus is the Roman God of beginnings and transitions, and is usually depicted as having two faces, one looking into the past, and the other directed towards the future. January, the name of which is derived from Janus, has always been my month of reflection on the past, and musing on the future 365 days. Put simply, I always like to take time around New Year to sit and ponder what the next 12 months have in store for me, and think about everything I achieved, or didn't quite achieve in the previous year, and work out what I would like to accomplish in the next. Just as Janus would do, I find myself casting the two faces of my mind back and forth to work out how to live in the future whilst still learning from the past.
Found here.
2013 was overall a successful year for me in terms of big life changes. I graduated in June from Durham University with a 2:1 (Hons) in Criminology, got promoted to management at work (passing that course with hons too), found a flat, set up home and then had to move out. Found a new flat and set up home and finally felt happy. I also celebrated 3 and 3.5 years of togetherness with Joseph, turned 22 and discovered the delight of Dairylea Dunkers Jumbo Tubes. (Seriously, they're amazing.) I've also spent far too much money on delightful things like new makeup (discovering YSL, Chanel and Nars makeup properly) my Michael Kors handbag and a Nintendo 3DS, and whiled away many hours booking imaginary holidays to Disneyland Paris and WDW Florida.

2013 also contained some less successful moments. I got through to the final rounds for some job positions but was always the other person of the final two who didn't get the job. We lost my Grandad over the summer to lung cancer and sadly mourned his passing up near Liverpool where he was from. Money has also been a bit downer in 2013, especially working out how to run a home, paying all the bills and living life at the same time. I feel like I've really had to grow up in the latter half of 2013, looking after a man, ensuring we're fed and watered, paying council tax etc etc...
Found here.
At the end of 2013, as 2014 draws closer, many of us will be turning towards making resolutions for ideas to cling on to that will provide us some anchorage in this tumultuous world. Like last year I will not be making resolutions, I will be continuing with my bucket list '214 things for 2014' which you can view under the named tab underneath my blog banner. I managed to achieve 142/213 things on my bucket list for 2013, which is not bad going in my opinion. The other 71 goals will be modified for 2014 and I might cast some aside and try again another time.

I hope that 2014 is filled with only good things for you. Have a happy and safe New Year :) 

Are you making any goals or resolutions for 2014? If so, what are they?


Laduree Paris Almanac - A 2014 Diary

As 2014 draws closer now that Christmas is over many people may be thinking about purchasing a diary or a journal for the forthcoming 12 months. I used to keep a diary back when I was about 11-16 (the sort you wrote your woes and troubles in everyday as a teen) and then as I got older and progressed to university I swapped old floral notebooks for a Filofax and kept note of all my lectures and social gatherings.
Since leaving university I've not had much use for my Filofax because all I seem to do nowadays is go to work, come home, eat, sleep and repeat. Yawn. In 2014 I want to break this mundane cycle and actually plan some things to look forward to in order to actually keep on living. I was super lucky to receive this beautiful Laduree Almanac from my brother for Christmas and I wanted to share it with you. The official synopsis of this is: 'In this reassuringly traditional and stylish Almanac, Ladurée share their lifestyle tips and secrets, day by day. The Almanac features: Over 100 quotes and sayings for each month 30 simple sweet and savoury Ladurée recipes More than 200 tips for cooking, table decoration, interior decoration, beauty and lifestyle A Did you know? section, full of amazing facts Diary-style daily space for your appointments, notes, thoughts and jottings'. Now I have a space to write down exciting adventures and keep track of my appointments!
This Laduree diary is undoubtably beautiful. If you're a real girlie girl or obsessed with all things French then this is an absolute must for your 2014. The diary itself is set out with four spaces on one page, and then either a recipe, inspirational quotations, or handy little facts and tips on the other. It does not feature any days or year dates so it's flexible enough to be used during any year, you could even start it in March and it will see you though until the next February if you wanted to. The spaces to write on your daily appointments are on the smaller side that some other diaries of this size, but there's still plenty of room to write things down. I absolutely adore the illustrations on every page, there's so much detail you just don't know where to look - trés mignon!
I can't wait to start using this on January 1st, and I've definitely got my eye on making some of the recipes featured (both sweet and savoury I was delighted to see!). I can't thank my brother enough for getting this for me and it fits me and my personality down to a T! If I could have photographed all the pages for you I would, but just in case I've swayed you enough to purchase it I'll leave the excitement of reading just for you.

Laduree's Almanac is also available in French and German I believe, so if you speak, read or write any of those languages then there's an extra option for you. I also couldn't believe the price of this when I saw it (Laduree's always seemed a bit more on the expensive side of things - but I'll let them off, I adore the brand!), available for just over £10 on Amazon. What a bargain for something so pretty!

Are you a Laduree fan? Would you consider keeping a diary for 2014?


Festive 2013 - What I Got For Christmas.

I literally cannot believe that the Christmas festivities are over! All that build up since Halloween and now it's done - *sad face*. I had a lovely little festive period. It began the Saturday before Christmas Day when J and I went to my Mum's for Christmas Day number 1 (which you can read about here) and then I worked right up until 5pm on Christmas Eve before having a quiet night in with J and his family.
Pressies from my Mama and Brother :)
Clockwise L - R: Origins skincare box / The Little Mermaid DVD / Laura Ashley body care kit / Rabbit soap / They're Real Mascara / Roses jigsaw puzzle / Chanel lipgloss / Naked 3 palette / Scratch card / Topshop foundation brush / Laduree Diary / M&S Christmas socks / Topshop chain necklace / Topshop gold heart necklace / £100 SpaceNK gift card / EcoTools brush set. 
Pressies from J, his Mum, Stepdad and Nan :)
Vintage garland / Gloves / Floral pouches / L'Oreal flutter mascara / Maybelline blue BabyLips / Bourjois Java Rice Powder / L'Oreal eyeliner / Rimmel Apocolips in Luna / Skyn cleanser / Benefit giftbox (containing Sugarbomb lipgloss and Rockateur blush) / M&S Cherry Blossom shower gel / Fruity bath fizzers / Yankee Candle wax tart burner and wax tarts / Christmas cup / Minnie Mouse eye mask / Minnie Mouse body puff / Shabby Chic photo frame / Coco Mademoiselle Parfum / YSL Youth Liberator foundation / REN cleanser
Christmas day began at 8:05AM precisely when we all got up for breakfast and present opening. I received some lovely gifts from J and his family (lots of makeup and beauty bits!) and lots more chocolate. We all then got dressed and chilled out before Christmas dinner with all the trimmings - yum! The evening was spent at one of J's friend's houses where, even though I'd had a few drinks throughout the day, I was as sober as a judge watching everyone else get very merry.

Boxing Day party outfit:
Dress - ASOS Curve
Necklace - Topshop
Cardigan - New Look
Ring - Argos
Bracelets - Thomas Sabo & Christmas 2011
Boxing Day Party Face
Smashbox Hydrating Primer, YSL Youth Liberator Foundation, Hourglass Lighting Powder in Dim Light,
 L'Oreal Flutter Mascara, L'Oreal Intense Black Superbuster Eyeliner, Naked 3 palette, Benefit Rockateur, Benefit Watt's Up, and Urban Decay black eyeliner.
Boxing Day was spent helping J's mum get a few bits and pieces sorted for a 70th birthday party we were going to that night, which, despite some reservations on my part, turned out to be a cracking night! For the first time since I can remember I just let go and got merry, and it felt amazing!

So all in all, my first Christmas away from my family was a success! I'm feeling very happy and looking forward to the New Year…

How was your Christmas? Have you written a 'What I got for Christmas' post? If so leave me your links.


Merry Christmas!

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If you're celebrating today I hope that whatever you're doing, whoever you're doing it with and wherever you may be, you have a fabulous festive day with lots of love and laughter. And of course, I hope that Santa was good this year…!

At this time I'll be mostly drinking champagne and waiting for Christmas dinner, the floor covered in presents and paper. I'm spending my first Christmas away from my own family this year so I'm throwing myself into another families festivities and enjoying myself thoroughly.



Festive Home Decor Featuring My New Flat!

Having moved house with only 3 weeks to go until Christmas I think I've done well to have everything out of boxes and put away, and the Christmas decorations up! This is just a quick little post to take you through the decorations that I have at the moment and to give you a sneak peak of the rooms we now have. Having gone from a flat that contained only 3 rooms (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen/lounge/diner) we're revelling in the delight of now having 6 rooms with separate kitchen and lounge areas. This means, of course, that I could get creative with the space and put my little festive knickknacks all over the place. (I'll do a proper flat tour at some point when everything's in place.)

Living Room

The main bulk of my decorations are found in the living room. The tree was an absolute bargain from Tesco (£15 for 6ft!) as were most of the decorations including the silver baubles and the silver and blue baubles. The white glittery snowflakes and silver bead chain were from Asda and the glass heart and metal decorative rope were from The White Company.

I have a fireplace! With a mantle! What luxury! The absolutely adorable felt gingerbread men and women on the wall were from Tesco, as were the little gold Christmas trees sitting either side of baby J. I also put out my Mickey Mouse candy cane stocking from the Disney store, and the little gold metal tree that I found in a cute shop in Exeter. The stained glass tree was made by my Mum and the wooden man holding a rabbit is a decoration that we bought when we lived in Moscow, Russia back in the late 90s. The little people on the right hand side were given to me by J's mum, and a snow globe from the 99p shop holds my childhood stocking on the fireplace. I am also absolutely in love with my little gingerbread house ornament, half price from M&S no less! The final decoration on the mantle is a beautiful little nativity set that I bought in Paperchase.


It's been tradition to wrap garish tinsel around the bannister of the stairs in my house for years now (we're really not big tinsel fans at all!) and so I chose a bright and in your face multicoloured piece of tinsel from Paperchase. My Mum usually wraps lights in with hers too but I don't have a plug socket nearby :( This year though I went a bit different in place of lights and wrapped a jingly jangly wooden garland around the bannister full of reindeer, stars and bells. I love it, and another donation from J's mum.

Continuing with the brightly coloured theme I have a 3ft white Christmas tree in the corner of the hallway that has lots of brightly coloured baubles and miscellaneous decorations on, like my gingerbread man and woman from Harrods, a glitter reindeer and some Christmas pudding baubles. I love the look of white trees with bright colours on, they look so fun and add something different to the traditional red and green decor you'd normally find at christmas!

On the wall opposite the stairs I've hung a festive gold star. I really love this and it was only 99p from the 99p shop!

On the wall leading down to the bathroom I've taped up a little wooden and string Christmas tree and star garland that I bought from Marks & Spencer recently. (They have such amazing home decorations, I can't wait for the sales for next year!)

Finally in the kitchen I've placed my a little silver Christmas tree on the windowsill that I bought from the 99p shop. I've been really impressed with their selection of decorations this year, and at such a cheap price you really can't go wrong, can you?

And that's it so far. I didn't plan on going too overboard because we've just moved in (and won't even be at our own home for Christmas) but I can imagine that next year I'll decorate some more!

How have you decorated your home for the festive season? Do you like what I've done?


Christmas Day #1 - 2013

Just a quick little note to hope that everyone is getting on well with organising their seasonal festivities. I am currently in Plymouth having Christmas with my mum and brother as I won't be seeing them on December 25th...*sad face*...

Presents from Mrs. Christmas
Our (pre) Christmas day began at 10am this morning with present opening in the living room. Despite my mum telling me that Father Christmas would not be visiting this year due to the fact that my brother and I are almost 21 and 23 respectively, I awoke to a lovely little pile of presses on the floor by the tree. We opened our gifts - I received an lovely little pile of joy including an Origins gift set, a Laduree diary, The Little Mermaid on DVD, a Pandora charm, and a £100 SpaceNK gift card (I will be doing a full post of what I got for Christmas in the run up to the new year so I shall save proper pictures until then) - and drank bucks fizz accompanied by chocolate coins and selection boxes.
Chocolate for breakfast? Don't mind if I do!
After opening our gifts we ventured into Plymouth on the premise of going out for Christmas dinner. We didn't quite manage this on account of the fact that everyone knows I have my employee discount for McDonald's so the boys wanted Big Macs and we ended up in there for lunch, and decided on a takeaway for tea. Whist shopping I picked up a Naked 3 palette after seeing it in real life and falling in love, two necklaces in Topshop, a potential dress for NYE from Topshop, a Smashbox primer and an Eco Tools brush set.
My Mama and I.
After shopping we came home to chill out in front of Harry Potter with some spiced apple cider and bucks fizz before playing with gifts and waving goodbye to J and my brother who are playing the PlayStation while my mum and I watch TV.
Bucks Fizz :) 
Christmas has always been a bit disjointed since my Daddy passed away in 2009 so we've tried to carry on as many traditions as possible (like drinking bucks fizz all day, listening to Emerson Lake & Palmer, and sitting on the floor to open gifts). This year it will be even more strange for me as I spend the 25th of December with J's family and have to work on Christmas eve. It'll be lovely to see how another family spends Christmas day though, and who knows, J and I may even begin some traditions of our own (this will be my 4th Christmas with him as my boyfriend!).

So that was a little snapshot into Christmas Day number one of 2013. What kind of things do you do with your family? Are you all organised for the festivities this year?


The Art Of Festive Self Gifting - A Haul

I'm going to admit right here from the off that I am terrible at going waaaay over budget with people's Christmas gifts. And by this I mean I spend more than I had planned on people, and then I also accidentally on purpose spend money on myself. Take a 3 for 2 for example. I'll buy something for my Mum, something for J, and then have to have the free thing for myself. Naughty. It's only the 6th of December and already my tree is littered with wrapped pressies - how's that for organisation?

I've been doing my Christmas shopping in stages this year and wrapping as I go. This means that I've been saving up this haul for quite some time (I bought my first gifts in October - you just can't do it all in one payday, am I right?) and ultimately ended up picking up lots of exciting goodies for myself…'To Louise, love from Louise' is an art I have perfected!

First up was Waterstones where I bought a book for my work Secret Santa and then had some money left over on a gift card to buy Vogue on Coco Chanel. I'm really into learning about Chanel's history at the moment. The more products I try from their makeup brand the more I want to know everything about Chanel and what better place to begin than to trust Vogue? This is a lovely book full of text and pictures. I'm excited to cuddle up after work to begin this.
 My second stop was to Topshop to buy my Mum some socks for Christmas (no kidding, this is what she asked for!). I ended up browsing the socks for myself and came away with the little Reindeer and snowflake pair you see above. I also couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick up the gingerbread man jumper from my ultimate Christmas wish list (I managed to score 10% off 'cause I found the smallest of holes in the arm!) and I absolutely love it. It's so cosy, and is a lot thicker and warmer than I had imagined it would be. Finally I decided that I couldn't pass up actually buying a hot water bottle. It's something that I've never owned before and I adore the colours of the deer and the butterfly on this knitted pom pom one.
 No shopping trip is ever complete without a trip to Primark, where I was on the hunt for some bits and pieces for J. I found said pieces, and also walked away with 3 pairs of Disney socks (there were more designs but at £2.50 per pair they're a bit steep by Primark's standards!), a necklace and some hair accessories. Ever the Blair Waldorf fan (I love Gossip Girl!) I purchased a headband to add to my growing collection of hair jewels, and I also got some cute bow hair ties to put around my bun for work.
What haul would be complete on a Beauty style blog without a hint of any beauty products?! Well we ventured into Lush in Bristol recently and J bought me the Santa lip scrub and some bath bombs (which I've used already - boo!) and I popped into Boots and found a 'buy 3 products get a free Babylips' offer on the Maybelline stand. I've been wanting to try out their Brow Drama eyebrow wand for ages and their new Master Kajal black eyeliner so I picked up both of those and then chose a teal coloured eyeliner pencil as my third product. All are lovely little pieces and I'd highly recommend any of them if you're an eyeliner fan or brow fanatic.
My last makeup splurge was a YSL Babydoll mascara where I received 10% off due to an event happening in my local department store, Beales. I'd never tried this before, only heard rave reviews from friends and I have to say that I am so, so glad I picked this up because it's truly amazing. It's like my other mascara love, Maybelline The Rocket, but better. Simply amazing!
 My penultimate port of call was the Body Shop, which, despite investing in a Body Shop card I'd not really bought anything from in a while. My mum loves the hand sanitisers from the Body Shop and that prompted me to pick up a Mango scented one (so much more luxurious than Carex, eh!). I then went a bit over board on the body wash/ shower gel front and picked up all 3 festive scents (Vanilla, Cranberry and Ginger Sparkle - buy 3 save £4!) and a chocolate scent because it smelled absolutely delicious. I also had a £3 gift card from this month's Glamour magazine which made my little gingerbread man body mitt only 50p!
Finally, I was out with my friend (Hi Courtney!) and she purchased the most amazing pair of boots from River Island. Now I'm not normal one for heeled boots because I feel a bit rude being 5"7.5 and J only 5"5 because wearing heels makes me tower over him whenever we're together. I cast all these doubts aside though because I wanted my own pair of chunky black boots and triumphed in New Look with these for £29.99. I find that New Look is currently the only place I can get decent shoes because I have such wide feet and they have such an amazing selection I found it quite hard to choose! These are super comfortable, have a big chunky heel (perfect for clumsy people like me!) and look fabulous on my feet. I may be sold on heeled boots after all…

From January 1st I am officially on a spending ban. I tried one before but seeing as I attempted to do it in the middle of the month, and I'm the kind of girl that would rather start at the very beginning - i.e New Year, new start and so on - I think I'll be more successful at adhering to a ban at the start of a fresh year. I'll pop up a post about that soon.

What have you bought recently?
Are you guilty of self gifting too?


Ultimate Christmas Wish List 2013

As a self confessed list making addict, and a Christmas lover, my list making goes into complete overdrive during the festive season when I find myself writing lists of decorations I need to buy, food I need to prepare, and presents that need to be wrapped. Most of all I love making my Christmas list of gifts I'd love to receive. I'm forever searching around the Internet and adding things to my virtual 'Things I Want' folder in my bookmarks, just in case I managed to stumble on a wad of cash to satisfy my material girl nature. If money was no object, I'd want Father Christmas to deliver all of the above under my tree. I've been a good girl Santa…almost. *Hint hint*.
  1. Armani's latest perfume, Si, smells amazing. I'm rubbish at describing scents but I'm usually the kind of girl that like sweet smells and this isn't all that sweet. I adore it though and might push this in J's direction!
  2. I need a jewellery organiser for my nicest jewellery (and by this I mean anything that's not been bought from Topshop or New Look) and if money was really no object I'd be snapping up this Mulberry jewellery case for sure. Adhering to the Mulberry theme is my ultimate bag, the Mulberry Bayswater in tan (something that features on every single one of my lust lists and will continue to do so until I build up the courage to part with the money to buy it…). 
  3. Topshop also features twice on this December's lust list, I think the gingerbread man jumper is simply adorable and I am in love with the neon perspex envelope containing an eyeliner, mascara and eyeshadow kit. 
  4. I'm not much of a shoe kind of girl, I'm definitely more into my handbags but I couldn't help but lust after these Vivienne Westwood for Melissa pumps, so cute!
  5. Finally, no wish list is complete without some beauty lusting and this month I've discovered Chanel Glossimer lip glosses and have ended up wanting every single colour. I have a post coming up about the shade that I purchased soon. I'm also really lusting after this YSL gift kit (I definitely practice the art of self gifting a lot!). I could definitely do with a touché éclat for when mine runs out, I adore YSL mascaras and I've never tried the serum so I like the idea of this a lot. 
What are you lusting after this festive season?


Hello, December.

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Hello, December. How on earth have you come around again? How am I almost another year older? I feel like I have so much more to accomplish for 2013 and only 29 days in which to do it, what a scary thought. Winter is my most favourite time of the year and with it comes a whole heap of exciting things to do and enjoy, including:

  1. Drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate.
  2. Christmas films.
  3. Decorating the tree.
  4. Scarves.
  5. Gingerbread men.
  6. Writing Christmas cards.
  7. Wrapping presents.
  8. Eating mince pies.
  9. Wearing cosy boots.
  10. Waiting for the snow fall. 
  11. Christmas lights in the city centre.
  12. Christmas tree chocolates.
  13. Naked trees.
  14. Ice skating. 
  15. Waving goodbye to the old year and welcoming in the new one. 
I'm spending my first Christmas away from my Mum and Brother this year to be with J and his family. (Damn you McDonald's for making me work on Christmas Eve and there being no trains). I'm excited to see how another family celebrates Christmas though, fingers crossed for a fabulous time!

Wishing you a happy December :)