Saturday, 28 November 2015

Countdown to Christmas

It's almost time to start counting down the days until Christmas with my Lindt advent calendar, so to get into the festive spirit I thought I would share my top ten favourite things about Christmas. To all you bah-humbug Christmas haters I apologise now for my love and excitment of this holiday! 

 1 Wrapping presents 

Wrapping presents might be some people's idea of hell but I love it, if anyone ever needs something wrapped in my house chances are I will be the one to do it.  One Christmas a few years ago I manage to wrap over 60 presents! I always start my wrapping in the first few weeks of December and if I'm well enough I will offer to help anyone else. If I didn't do this I'm sure my family would find themselves frantically wrapping up on Christmas Eve.

 2 Choosing the tree

It's long been a family tradition to go and pick a tree, we sometimes take our time and look at five to ten trees, usually picking the first or second one we looked at in the first place for some reason. Sometimes we argue over two trees, getting a member of the garden centre's staff to hold it while we walk around and scrutinise it. It's a very serious (and fun) business! The smell is incredible and to me it's the best Christmas smell going.

3 Advent 

A tradition that no one is too old for. Growing up I wasn't allowed a chocolate Advent calendar, instead I had a card one with pictures behind the doors. I loved them even without the tasty treat but I am excited for this year's Lindt Advent calendar which contains different Lindt treats leading up to the super cute bear poking his head out of the 24th window. I think this is my favourite calendar I've seen by Lindt.

4 Food

Christmas and food go hand in hand. Calories simply don't count over the festive period. Everyone cheerfully using the excuse to have another bite of something tasty always makes me smile. This is the only time of year that I can open the fridge to see it full and I always make the most of it! Anything goes for breakfast on Christmas morning but I always start with chocolate.

5 Making Christmas Cake

Christmas cake baking really signifies the start of the festive season in my house. The smell is incredible and so warming on a chilly day. Plus I like to do my bit and help clean the bowl (insert winking emoji here)!

6 Christmas Eve 

The day before Christmas is for me a rest day, a day to try and gain energy for the big day. This suits me fine as I find something magical about taking it easy on Christmas Eve. Maybe it's knowing that people are out frantically trying to get last minute presents while I'm cosy at home - or maybe it's the memory of excitement from my childhood. My favourite part of Christmas Eve is sitting down with my mum to watch Beatrix Potter's The Tailor Of Gloucester in the afternoon with a cup of tea and some chocolates or a mince pie. 

7 Christmas Chocolate

It might not be normal for a twenty five year old to get so excited by Christmas chocolate but I really do and I just can't help it. You can't beat getting the first rummage in the Quality Street for the green triangles! I also love Lindt's festive characters, it's not really Christmas without a Lindt Father Christmas or reindeer. Oh, and I almost forgot, gold coins!

8 Christmas Dress

Another tradition has always been to have a special dress to wear for Christmas Day. Even though it's a day spent with family at home it's a day we put our best on for. I think it makes the day even more special. I start thinking about this outfit a few months in advance and this year I've chosen a skater dress by Virgos Lounge. It's a rich mustard yellow with lots of beading. Hopefully, if I'm well enough, I'll do a Christmas outfit post featuring my dress but if you follow me on Instagram you will have had a peek at it yesterday!

9 Guessing what's inside 

Just like a child I love to poke and shake the presents under the tree. Something I used to get told off for a lot. These days I use the excuse of arranging the presents artistically for an opportunity to guess, which I've got pretty good at!

10 Thinking of others

Presents and food aside, I think it's nice to do something kind for someone else, maybe a stranger or someone I might never meet. For the last few years I've been taking part in Operation Christmas Child (here) which is set up by Samaritan's Purse so that children in poverty all over the world will receive a shoe box filled with toys, stationary and personal care items for Christmas. I love this concept and picking out items for my box is always fun. I sadly missed the deadline for making my own box this year but there's still time to make a box online through the website. 

Happy count down!

Emma Xx

Lindt Chocolate c/o Lindt uk - shop (here)
Star lights & trees - John Lewis (here)

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Cat Hampurr

If you follow me or my cats on Instagram you will be familiar with these two cheeky faces; if not, these are my cats, Alfie who is the big grey handsome boy and Pixie the little miniature tiger.

These two help to keep me sane through housebound days with endless cuddles, cheeky antics and games. Last week was a pretty bad one for me health wise, with all plans cancelled there wasn't much to do but cuddle up with one of my furr
y friends. 
On Wednesday there was an exciting delivery. A Cat Hampurr. I've never seen these two go so wild over a unopened box! Pixie was first to sniff out their box of goodies, pushing the still unopened box with her nose down the hall! Alfie turned up to see what was going on and also seemed very interested in the box. I decided to open it up and let them both in turns (to avoid a fight) explore the contents. As you can see from the photos they both loved it! A good half an hour later and they were both still intrigued. 
The Cat Hampurr that we were kindly sent to try out is a standard monthly box. We were sent the themed October box with the theme being Halloween of course. For a cat treat box I was really impressed with the thought gone into this, from the pumpkin and chicken food by Applaws, all made from natural ingredients (this is Pixie's new favourite dish) to the hand made sugar mouse skull full of catnip. Both cats favoured the stinky plague rat which is a little smelly because it contains valerian as well as cat nip. I'm already familiar with the pungent smell of valerian from taking it in herbal medicine, my cats used to like a sniff of the bottle! 
I also really liked the pet remedy included in the box; it's meant to de-stress and calm pets which is a thoughtful idea with all the fireworks going off at the moment. I've spayed it a few times in the evenings and so far we've not had any hiding behind the sofa. 

We've still got the Applaws tuna loin to try out, but everything else has been a great success. 
Cat Hampurr's are pretty flexible. You can buy a bi-monthly, monthly, double helpings or a one off gift for your cat or a friend's cat. Cat Hampurr's can be sent anywhere in the UK and EU. Find out more (here).

If you have a cat that loves toys, treats and boxes then this is for you or them. I'm told next month will be a lovely Christmas themed box. I think a subscription or one off box would make a great present for any pampered puss this festive season.

Hope you're all having a good weekend. If you want to keep up with my cats' antics you can find them on Instagram at @alfieandpixie.

Emma Xx

Cat Hampurr box c/o Cat Hampurr - all opinions my own

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Autumnal Florals with Closet London

Dress worn as a skirt - c/o Closet London (here)

Jumper - Sainsburys (here)
Shoes - Office 
Watch - c/o Jord (here)

The woods hold something magical for me during autumn. The slightly damp woody smells and trees full of fiery colours are so beautiful. I love the satisfying crunch of leaves and collecting conkers and chestnuts. I miss long walks deep into the woods but for now I'll settle for keeping to the outskirts and admiring them from a car window. I took these photos outside the country house which I visit often for alternative healing therapy. The grounds are so silent but full of life, I've often seen regal looking deer wondering about, and busy bunnies and squirrels. These photos were taken last week, it's been so mild that this cosy jumper is all I needed to keep me warm.

To take credit for this outfit would be wrong because my good friend Susanne (who blogs here) picked out the dress for me and helped me style it for autumnal weather. Actually Susanne has the exact same dress which looks amazing on her. A friend who doesn't mind you becoming a dress twin is a friend worth keeping! - especially when they recommend such amazing dresses! Closet contacted me months ago about a collaboration but it wasn't until recently that I felt my health was stable enough to commit which gave me some time to ooh and awh over their designs. I'm really impressed with the quality and fit of this dress and I can't wait to wear it throughout the seasons. The autumnal floral print is beautiful and features my favourite autumnal colours, burgundy red and mustard yellow. The versatility of this dress is amazing, I'm sure I'll be wearing this outfit a lot more over the next few weeks, maybe with thicker tights and boots when it gets colder and without a jumper in spring, but for now I'm really enjoying this cosy look.

Emma Xx