Why I won't be doing Blogmas


🎤 Sing it with me: "It's the most wonderful tiiiiiime, of the year! 
With the bloggers a-typing, and cameras a-clicking, when we post every daaaaay! 
Oh it's the most wonderful tiiiiiiime, of the year!"

Well, for those of you doing Blogmas, perhaps! If you've been living under a rock and you're not aware, Blogmas is basically the blogger's version of an advent calendar - many people choose to post daily throughout the month of December in the run up to Christmas. These can be Christmassy themed posts, or anything that the blogger in question fancies.

Lazy Dogz Unboxing*


Give the gift of coziness this Christmas with a little help from the slipper specialists at Lazy Dogz! I was sent a pair of their Holly Slipper Boots* to review, and of course I was delighted to test them out. This post has involved a LOT of research. I mean, reviewing slippers meant that I had to stay in my pyjamas aaaaaall day so that the slippers matched my outfit. All in the name of rigorous testing, I can assure you. *cough cough*

I'm not exaggerating when I say that these bad boys have rarely left my feet since they arrived. The gorgeous white fluffy lining keeps your toes warm and cosy without making you feel uncomfortably hot and sweaty. The soles are sturdy yet flexible, and the memory foam component makes them super comfy to walk in. The faux fur on the outside is so luxurious and makes you feel ultra stylish even though you're only in your slippers!



The Holly boots are a great option if you're buying a gift for a lady in your life, but Lazy Dogz also offer Dogz for him! They have a gorgeous and varied range of men's moccasins and slipper boots on their site, which you can view here

As well as being a great present, your purchase at lazydogz.co.uk will also do a good deed, helping a dog in need this Christmas! For every pair of slippers that are sold, the company donates £1 to the Manchester Dogs Home, which is an absolutely fantastic initiative. So many dogs will sadly be spending their Christmas not with a loving family but in a kennel. The fantastic work of the Manchester Dogs Home ensures that these pups are kept as happy and healthy as possible until they find a new home. So, if you buy a gift with Lazy Dogz this Christmas, you'll make a difference to a dog's life too! Now if the slippers don't give you a warm fuzzy feeling, that definitely will!

Details:
 

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Share in the comments below!

Until next time,

A x

*The products marked with an asterisk were sent to me by their respective companies for free in exchange for a review

Blogmas Post Ideas


Now, I'm not personally participating in Blogmas this year but there's no reason why I can't still help out my fellow blogging friends who are taking the plunge! Taking on a daily blogging challenge is an immense task, and I have a lot of respect for everyone attempting it. So, without further ado, here are my Blogmas post ideas - feel free to use these and tag me in any posts that this list inspires, I'd love to read them!

Beauty Posts

  1. Winter skincare survival guide - how do you keep the cold from affecting your skin?
  2. Christmas party makeup look - don the sparkle and share your makeup skills!
  3. Festive beauty wishlist - what would you love Santa to leave in your stocking?
  4. Christmas LUSH haul / wishlist - what are your top products? Or if you haven't been shopping, what would you like to try out?
  5. Top beauty products to give as gifts - tell your readers what to buy for beauty-loving friends and fam!


Lifestyle Posts

  1. Holiday motivation - how are you going to stay on track over Christmas? This can be related to Blogmas, uni work, or even your exercise regime! Anything! 
  2. How to save money at Christmas time - share how you stick to your budget!
  3. Christmas playlist - what's playing through your headphones this time of year? Any guilty pleasure tracks?
  4. Festive days out in your part of the world - what's going on locally to you? Tell us, we might come visit!
  5. Christmas TV - what are your top picks? Is there something you watch every year?

Festive Posts

  1. You can do the standard 'for him' and 'for her' gift guides ...
  2. ... but you can also branch out! Suggest gifts for colleagues, teachers, those awkward family members that you never see but are obliged to buy for!
  3. What Christmas scented candles are you burning this year? Anything you'd recommend?
  4. 2016 Yearly Roundup - has it been a good year for you? What did you achieve this year?
  5. New Year wishes - what would you like to happen next year? Do you have any goals?

Blogging Posts

  1. Photography tips - how do you take good quality photos in winter when natural light is scarce? Share your advice!
  2. Blogging equipment wish list - got your eye on a new camera? Or a fancy tripod? Or something made of marble? Send this wish list to your family as a less-than-subtle hint!
  3. Write about what being a blogger has taught you. Did you learn anything unexpected?
  4. Send a virtual present to your favourite bloggers - write a post on your top 5 blogs and share the love!
  5. Lots of bloggers will be accepting brand collaborations at Christmas time, write about what advice you'd give to them!

Creative Posts

  1. DIY Christmas decorations - show us how you jazz up your bedroom or living room for the big day!
  2. Make your own Christmas cards - homemade cards are so adorable to receive and they're a really heartfelt gesture! Inspire us with yours!
  3. Your favourite Christmas recipes - how about whipping up some gingerbread or sharing another popular recipe from your house?
  4. Creative Christmas wrapping - how do you make your presents look extra special?
  5. Try out some Christmas crafts inspired by Pinterest - even if it's a total fail, share it with us!

Fashion Posts

  1. Baby it's cold outside! Show us your favourite layered-up looks!
  2. A Christmas party look book - what'll you be wearing to your office party? 
  3. Winter outfit staple - pick one key item from your festive wardrobe and show us how you style it in multiple ways!
  4. Ultimate cold-weather accessories - what keeps you warm and looking stylish?
  5. Winter fashion trends - what are you loving? What doesn't float your boat? Tell all!

I hope this list helps to inspire you in some way! Are you doing Blogmas this year?

Until next time,

A x

*Image credit for this post: StockSnap

    Winter Hair Care*


    Whether it's from the frosty weather or at the hands of your straighteners before your 25th Christmas party, your hair can take a beating in the winter. To ensure that your tresses are still silky smooth and looking gorgeous over the festive period, I've compiled some winter hair care tips for you. So pop your curlers down for a second and listen up! Here's how to avoid a winter hair SOS!

    Nourish your Locks
    In the winter, I always invest in a revitalising shampoo and hair treatment to keep my hair in peak condition. This year, I've been trying out the Harmony Intensive Care Shampoo* and Nourishing Hair Oil* from the brand Neal & Wolf. The shampoo is very thick and lathers up beautifully, even in my very thick hair! It is lightly scented and leaves your hair feeling restored. I was also very impressed with the hair oil. Although I am prone to greasy hair, this light oil added some much needed moisture without turning my head into an oil slick. Importantly, both of these products are cruelty free, so they are guiltless purchases!

    I was gifted these products by the lovely people at thebeautybooth.com, who stock an enormous range of hair and beauty brands for men and women. Every order comes with a free gift and I couldn't recommend their service highly enough!


    Bye-bye Heat!
    I'm sure it's not news to you that the intense heat of hair straighteners and curlers is bad for damaged hair. So, this December I'm going to be reaching for hair accessories rather than the curling tongs when preparing for my Christmas parties. I was lucky enough to be sent a gorgeous selection of products to review from Tegen Hair Accessories. The brand are based in Brighton and specialise in glamorous but affordable accessories. As well as their own Ooh La La! range, which is handmade in France, they stock the gorgeous vintage-style pieces of designer Rosie Fox. Keep scrolling to see what I thought of my items.
      

    Here I am, modelling (LOL) three of my favourite hair pieces from Tegen. On the left we have the Vintage Crystal Filigree Kirky Grip*, which I think would be perfect for a Christmas party! It's glittery and glamorous without being over-the-top. The high quality of the item is clear and I would have expected it to cost a lot more! In the middle, there is the White Tokio Hair Clip*, which is studded with real swarovski crystals! This holds in firm, even with thick hair, and would go with pretty much any outfit. The tiny crystals catch the light beautifully. Finally, on the right you can see the Black Crystal Flower Headband*, designed by Rosie Fox. This headband is super lightweight and comfortable, and the quality is very impressive. It will be getting a lot of wear over the festive season!


    If you want to pick up some accessories of your own from Tegen, I even have a discount code for you! To get 10% off your order, use the code ABBEYLOUISAROSEBLOG at the checkout.

    What tips do you have for caring for your hair in winter? Please share in the comments below!

    Until next time,

    A x

    *The products marked with an asterisk were sent to me by their respective companies for free in exchange for a review

    Jazz Up Your Journal for Christmas with StickerApp*


    With Christmas edging ever closer, I decided that now was the perfect time to get into the festive spirit by transforming my journal into a winter wonderland! If you read my Stationery Haul post back in October, you'll have seen my gorgeous Paperchase organiser that I got on sale! I had just as much fun decorating this journal as I do when putting up the Christmas decorations in my house, and you can do this too - using just a few simple supplies that you'll already have knocking around your house in the festive period. So, grab a seat by the fire, brew yourself some eggnog or mulled wine, and let me show you how to jazz up your journal for Christmas!


    I kicked off my journal by adding some Christmas lettering to the pages! I just outlined the letters in red felt-tip, and coloured them in with a gradient effect using a colouring pencil. You can make this lettering say anything you want! I also stuck on some cute Santa stickers. On the next page, my pens and pencils were in action again, drawing on some holly at the corners. Simple designs like this are really effective and don't make your page look over-crowded. Next, I used some music note gift wrap to create the border at the top, and I cut out a cube shape using the same wrap, then stuck on some gold ribbon to make it look like a present!


    The easiest way to immediately bring some Christmas cheer to your journal is by adding a few stickers! I designed my own customised stickers using the StickerApp* website. On the StickerApp site, you simply upload the image of what you'd like to appear on your sticker, and select the size, and how many stickers you'd like. You can even choose to have your stickers die-cut, which I think looks super effective! All of the prints are really high quality, and I was very impressed with them. If you don't want to design your own stickers, you can also choose from their own pre-made designs.  The Santa and the gingerbread men stickers on the pages above are all from StickerApp! To complement them, I added more music note gift wrap, some colourful bubbles over the dates, and a line of fairy lights down the side of the page, just using a biro and felt tips!


    These have to be the pages that I'm proudest of! For the snow themed page, I drew my own little snowman in the corner, and stuck on some snowflake stickers from StickerApp at the side. The "Let It Snow" text was written in felt pen, and I shaded in the background in pencil. On the other side, I wrapped up my last page like a present! I measured my page, cut the appropriate lengths from gold ribbon, stuck on a bow in the center, and added a gift tag. I marked on the big day itself using a "Merry Christmas" sticker, again from StickerApp.


    My journal also features special to do list pages, and I couldn't resist jazzing these up as well! Again, I cut lengths of gold ribbon for the borders on the left page, and added some more adorable gingerbread men. For the right hand page, I cut triangles from the music note gift wrap for the borders, and added more stickers and little doodles of holly.

    Details
     

    I just love adding extra little details to my journal! I turned the gift tag that I attached above into a mini to-do list, for me to write on my last minute tasks in the days running up to Christmas. I also gave my little Santa sticker a speech bubble, counting down the days! Small details like this really bring the whole journal to life!

    I hope you've enjoyed seeing how I've created my Christmas journal! If you do the same, please tweet me a photo as I'd love to see it! Don't forget to check out the StickerApp website and make it the first stop for all your Christmas stickers!

    Until next time,

    A x

    * Sponsored link. I was sent the above products from StickerApp for free to review, but all opinions are my own.

    Disney Nostalgia

    This Friday, 18th November, is a very special day. Don't tell me you've forgotten! It must be on your calendars, right?! No?! Well, let me fill you in - it's Mickey Mouse's birthday! To celebrate, I've been reminiscing about some of my favourite childhood Disney memories, and today, I'm going to share them with you. Please read on and don't forget to share some Disney themed flashbacks of your own in the comments below. Do we have any in common?

    I'm also writing this post in collaboration with my good friend Abbie from abbiechic.com as part of our Ab Fab Collab series! She is also sharing some happy Disney memories in her post, which you can find here! Definitely go check out her blog once you've read my post.



    Image Source
    Watching Disney movies on VHS
    The suspense of waiting for the video tape to rewind all the way to the beginning when waiting for your favourite Disney movie to come on was almost too much to bear sometimes! You knew all the words to every song and just couldn't resist bopping along to the catchy beat! Some of the old classics that I used to adore included the Aristocats, Robin Hood, and The Sword in the Stone! I have the Little Mermaid and Pocohontas on my iPad today, but the terrible charming quality of VHS players will always bring back that little bit of extra nostalgia! Does anyone still have a working video player these days?!


    Disney Princess for GameBoy Advance
    One year for Christmas my sister, brother, and I were given GameBoy Advance handsets. My sister and I used to adore the Disney Princess game, where you got to play as all your favourite original princesses through a series of adventures. Hours and HOURS were wasted on this game and I have such fond memories of it! I recently discovered that you can actually watch walkthroughs of some of the levels on YouTube so I have been re-living my glory days and tuning in to these! My favourite part of the game was playing as Jasmine, escaping from the castle on a magic carpet with Abu the monkey! If you used to play this game too, I'd love to hear your memories of it!



    Taking a Bath with Ariel
    Did anyone else have a swimming Ariel doll that they were OBSESSED with? I just loved this doll as a kid - she had a colour change tail, and if you put batteries in her, she even flipped her tail and swum (oh so inelegantly) in the bath! Playing with Ariel was one of the highlights of bathtime, and I was ever so sad when her hair became so matted and tangled from the constant dips in the suds that she was ruined forever! She also had a rather naughty dalliance with one of my brother's Action Men which I never truly forgave her for.
    Image Source




    Noughties Disney Channel
    Nothing can ever beat classic noughties Disney Channel. That's So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, Lilo and Stitch, Recess were all firm faves with me and my sister. I do kinda miss the days when Lizzie and Miranda's rather questionable outfits were the coolest of the cool. Ethan Craft (with that AWFUL hair) used to be cute, and it was obvious to everyone on the entire planet except Lizzie that Gordo was massively in love with her. *sigh* Those were simpler days!

    Disney channel movies also used to be so great, didn't they? I can't be the only one who can recollect the Cheetah Girls! And remember when everyone was crazy about High School Musical and used to stick posters of Gabriella, Troy, and Sharpay, carefully ripped out of the latest issue of Mizz or Girl Talk magazines, up on their bedroom walls?  I don't even know what's showing on the Disney channel these days. Does that make me OLD?!

    What are your favourite Disney memories? Did you watch the movies on VHS? What was your favourite Disney TV show? Please share in the comments! And don't forget to check out Abbie's Disney post too!

    Until next time,

    A x

    Bookshelf Update

    Howdy folks! I've been ploughing through my TBR list these past few weeks and I thought I'd share what I've been reading with you all. I usually keep track of what I've been reading using my Goodreads account, so if you use Goodreads, do add me as a friend! You can find my profile here. All of my mini-reviews are spoiler free, so scroll down to find out what I thought of my latest reads.


    Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
    This book is a collection of essays tackling topics such as race and sexism in modern culture. The essay format makes each piece of writing short, sharp, to the point and they have a lot of impact. One of the essays that really got to me was a discussion of attitudes to sexual assault and abortions in the US. Some of the quotes that the author included, showing how horrifically modern day male politicians often speak about women, were truly eye opening. This is a must-read for anyone interested in feminism.

    Momo by Michael Ende
    Yes, this is a childrens book, and yes, it is one of the best things I've read in recent years. Although aimed at a much younger audience, this is an extremely powerful read. Originally written in German, it teaches the importance of listening, the importance of making time for others, and the importance of focussing on one task at a time, enjoying your work, and getting the job done. This book is beautifully written and utterly captivating. I would recommend it to anyone.

    Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
    Everyone has heard of the 17th century painting of the Girl with a Pearl Earring by renowned artist Vermeer. This novel follows the story of Griet, a young maidservant in Vermeer's house who ends up becoming the muse for her master's most famous work. You also experience Griet's troubled family life and her first dabbles in romance in the novel, and which of her love interests she ends up with in the end is really difficult to predict! A real page turner for lovers of historical fiction!


    The Reader by Bernard Schlink
    When walking home from school, young Michael suddenly falls ill and is looked after by a stranger, a woman named Hanna, who is old enough to be his mother. Upon his recovery, Michael goes to visit Hanna to thank her for her kindness. Hanna and Michael become lovers until one day, Hannah disappears without a trace. Years later, Michael encounters Hanna again - she is on trial for a shocking war crime. Michael figures out Hanna's secret but is it enough to save her? Read this and find out!



    The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
    Live vicariously through a life of sex, drugs, million dollar mansions, and helicopter crashes in this autobiography of a real Wall Street tycoon. When reading this, it's sometimes hard to believe that anyone could actually live this way! The author takes you through his money laundering schemes, his drug addiction, and his eventual downfall. I found this really difficult to put down - if you enjoyed the Leonardo di Caprio film, you'll love the book as well!


    Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry
    What is art? How do you define an artist? What makes a piece of art "good" or "bad"? Whose judgements matter? This short book by an art-world insider aims to shed light on these questions and more. If you're an artist yourself, or if you've ever walked into an art gallery and thought "wtf?!", this is something that will interest you. I can't say this is a book that will stay with me forever, and I can't say I agree with everything the author writes, but it's an intriguing and thought provoking read.


    What have you been reading lately? Are any of these books on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments!

    Until next time,

    A x

    Winter Cold Survival Guide


    Your nose is bright red. Your eyes are streaming. Everything hurts. Your rubbish bin is so full of tissues that it looks like it belongs to a teenage boy with a porn addiction (Too far? Sorry not sorry). Welcome to winter! It's cold season! Hoo-fucking-ray.

    It's pretty much guaranteed that when the first person in your office or your seminar group at uni gets a cold, everyone who sits within 10 meters of them will be down with it within the next 48 hours. But you needn't let the sniffling and sneezing take over your life and ruin your entire week - follow my advice and show those germs who's boss.

    Before it Begins...
    When cold season is approaching, preparation is key. You can boost your immune system before you come into contact with any nasty germs to ensure that you aren't too badly affected by them. One of the things that I do is to take an echinacea supplement. Echinacea stimulates and strengthens your immune system and supposedly reduces the chances of you catching a cold by 58%! If you've already got a cold - don't worry, it can still help you! Taking echinacea is also thought to reduce the duration of your cold by at least a day and a half. Great, eh? Echinacea is widely available from high street health food stores and online.

    Unblock your Nose
    If you're feeling really sore and bunged up, lavender essential oils are a powerful, natural decongestant. I add a few drops to a hot bath and soak in it to feel the effects, but you can also place some drops into a bowl of boiling water, then breathe in the steam to unblock your nose. It might seem silly but trust me - it works! The lavender is also really relaxing and soothing.

    Ditch the Dairy
    This is a contentious one - some people think that this is just an old wives tale but others believe that dairy products encourage your body to produce mucus, which is not good when you have a runny nose and phlegm bunging up your throat. Personally, I find that eating dairy does have a bad impact on me when I have a cold, but others may not feel the same effects. It's an individual thing. So if you'd rather be safe than sorry, think twice before digging into a massive cheesy pizza as your comfort food of choice. 

    Soothe your Throat
    Having a sore throat is one of the worst cold symptoms, in my opinion. To soothe a scratchy or tickly throat, I drink warm lemon water. This couldn't be simpler to make - simply boil a mugful of water, and add in a generous squeeze of lemon juice directly from the fruit, and a slice of lemon too if you like. Lemon is high in vitamin C which will help your body to fight the cold, as well as calming your throat.

    Do you have any cold-busting tips to add to my list? Please share them in the comments below, and get well soon!

    Until next time,

    A x

    Steal her Style: Blair Waldorf*


    Is there anyone with a more iconic fashion sense than Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf? I don't think so. Blair, with her preppy apparel and signature headband, is the undisputed style queen of the Upper East Side. I'm a big fan of her simple, elegant, and classy looks, so I've decided to show you how to put together an outfit that Blair would die for!

    The Outfit:
     
     
    The look that I've created is based on Blair's school style in season one of Gossip Girl. This look would be perfect to wear at work, school, for a job interview - in fact, any smart occasion!

    Now, my wardrobe isn't full of Gucci and Chanel like Blair's, but I was still able to craft a Waldorf-inspired look from pieces already in my closet! Just follow these few simple guidelines to select the right items from your wardrobe.

    Blair's outfit checklist:
    • Neutral colours
    • A tailored jacket 
    • Simple prints
    • Natural makeup
    • A glamorous headband.

    I've created my own interpretation of Blair's classic look by pairing a navy blue, fitted, rope-trimmed jacket with a crisp white collared shirt. With these, I'm wearing a brown, knee-length, pleated skirt with a classy dogstooth print, and pastel pink kitten heels. In terms of makeup, I just applied a little concealer, eyeliner to my upper lash line, a touch of blush, and a natural lip tint. Blair's hair is impeccably neat and effortlessly wavy, so I simply tamed my flyaways with a few strokes of my Irresistible Me hair straightening brush, which you can see a full review of here.

    The Details:

     

    Of course, the outfit wouldn't be complete without accessories! I kept the jewellery simple and tasteful with a short silver sparkly necklace. I also donned some white lace-topped glossy stockings, another Blair staple. But the crowning glory of this look is undoubtedly the eyecatching headband. I chose to wear the gorgeous Celine Headband* from Irresistible Me's accessory range to complete my Blair Waldorf look. The chic black headband is embellished with hand embroidering, as well as pearl and lace details. This one glamorous piece brings the whole outfit together and really makes it stand out. Unlike many headbands which can be too tight and cause a headache, this one is very soft. The fabric which covers the ends of the band cushions it against your head. You can browse Irresistible Me's full range of stunning headbands by clicking here.

    So, now that I've officially embodied Blair Waldorf, how do I go about finding my Chuck Bass?

    I hope you've enjoyed this fashion post! Let me know who your favourite Gossip Girl character is in the comments below!

    XOXO


    *The Celine Headband was sent to me for free in exchange for a review

    Oxford University Student Room Tour


    I've now been studying at the University of Oxford as a graduate for just over a month. I'm reading for an MsT in Classical Archaeology at Merton College and I'm absolutely loving it! I also studied here as an undergraduate, and I have lived in halls the whole time. The block of flats that I live in is located in central Oxford, in walking distance of my Faculty, the supermarket, and the all-important dining hall! I ran a poll on Twitter and asked you guys whether you'd like to see my room and the response was overwhelmingly positive, so I took advantage of a rare moment of my room actually being tidy to share it with you! 

    The view from my bedroom door, as you walk into my room.
    I am lucky enough to have a ground floor room in one of the new accommodation blocks, with a lovely view overlooking the gardens. My room is south facing, so I am bathed in glorious sunlight all day when sitting at my desk! My desk is absolutely ginormous, it stretches along two of the walls and gives me ample space to spread out my inevitably huge stack of books and folders while writing an essay! I also have lots of shelving to store my cooking equipment and non-perishable food. I share a kitchen with 9 other graduate students.

    A close-up view of my desk, where I spend a lot of my time!
    The view from my window, overlooking the garden and the tower of a neighbouring Oxford college.



    At the end of my bed, there is a wardrobe which thankfully stores all of my clothes and shoes without a problem! I also have a really comfy armchair which is the perfect place to throw all my clothes (every girl has one of *those* chairs!) or just to sit on and read or watch a bit of YouTube if the clothes have actually made it back into the wardrobe! I have some photos and keepsakes on the little shelf above my bed, which is always nice to see when you wake up in the morning! I love little touches like this, I definitely think that they make a uni room feel more like a home.

    Another big bonus for me, which I wasn't expecting when I moved in, was that I have my own en-suite bathroom! I was delighted to discover this when I first stepped through the door, as it means that I can spread out my hundreds of bottles of skincare product all over the bathroom without having to worry about anyone else judging me because of the mess! Hooray! I pay just over £5,000 per academic year for my accomodation, which for a flat in central Oxford is a pretty good deal. I also don't have to move out at all in the vacations if I don't want to, which is super convenient.

    I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my bedroom! I also have photos from the three other rooms I've lived in as an Oxford University student, so if you're interested in seeing those too, do let me know.

    What are your best memories of being a student? Did you enjoy your time in halls? Please leave a comment down below!

    Until next time,

    A x
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