2016 Holiday Gift Guide!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Now, no matter what it is you’re celebrating this year, there’s always something so special about choosing out gifts to show others you appreciate them and thought of them, but sometimes it gets a little tasking and difficult, especially if that person has everything, you don’t know them too well or you’re just not sure what the heck they’d like!

I’ve tried to put together a helpful gift guide to give you some inspiration if you’re still stuck on what to get for loved ones this Christmas, it’s not too late yet!

For the Ladies

Now whether this is for your girlfriend, mum or friend, there are always cute and feminine things that they will ALL love, and here are just a few ideas…

Candles

 

I’ve recently gotten into candles after coming across the new Yankee Candle scent; Macaroon Treats, and gosh does it smell good! There are so many sizes, smells and colours to suit everyone’s taste. They’re fabulous to help you relax, welcome guests over, to use as center pieces, or just to look cute sat on the shelf! They’re also great for couples and families as they can all enjoy the lovely sight scent

Anything Comfortable and Cosy

You cannot go wrong with comfortable, soft and cosy items for women at Christmas! I know I personally cannot stop buying socks that have cute images or designs and I love a fresh new pair of pyjamas! Great for snuggling and cuddling and they’ll get their use out of them this winter and all year long whether its a scarf, bed socks or a new dressing gown

Make Up

make

Now you’re probably thinking; Really?! Make up?! But hear me out. We are ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, needing make up. It’s something most of us wear daily and it’s always annoying once you’re hitting pan and need to go out and buy more, find out what they already use so you’re not guessing on brands and shades, or if its a neighbour or family friend, just take notice of what lip colour they wear or eye shadow they prefer and you can’t go wrong and you know that it will get used

Personal/Personalised Gifts

You can’t go wrong. You just can’t. Unless you end up personalizing it with the wrong name or date, then yikes.. but getting her something that you put time and thought into, whether hand made such as a memory book or something personalized such as a hand bag with her initials or even just her favorite songs on a CD, she will appreciate it and will be a keep sake forever that you can’t just buy in a shop

Something Cute and Cuddly

 

Again, cannot go wrong! I’m a sucker for Disney merch but I also love anything cute, plushy and cuddly. A cute teddy bear or a cute little keyring or even a nice blanket or throw will always be of use, and women can NEVER have enough plush teddy bears, I tell you that now!

Favorite Perfume

Easy. Peasy. Granted that you know what they like! Similar to the make up, it’s something they will want to re-purchase and will have to spend money on, or maybe it’s the perfume they’ve wanted for so long but didn’t want to splurge. It’ll also show her that you know her well (even if you did have to ask her friends which one she likes!)

For the Men

An Experience or a Day Out

It doesn’t always have to be something you can physically buy or unwrap, and it’s not always easy buying for the men in your life. What do they love to do? Is there something you’ve both wanted to do forever, or just something new? Whether it’s a spa day, a trip to the zoo or even a wine tasting experience, they’ll be glad you spent the time to prepare the day out or trip and it’ll be exciting to look forward to once the holidays are over, and whether it’s something just for them or for you to join in with, it’s a really thoughtful gift to give

Food and Drink

I don’t mean wrap them up a burger and a can of coke, but think more outside the box. Does he love beer? Does he love spicy food? There are plenty of sites that can cater to you with gift baskets bursting with goodies ready and prepared, or you can go all out and make it yourself. You could even give gift vouchers to his favorite restaurant or a subscription service to drinks or foods of the month clubs, it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving

Useful, Practical Gifts

Most guys don’t like the fiddly things women like, they don’t care for the decor or the cute little trinkets. So what does he need? Does he need a new bag for work, or maybe his favorite jumper has a tear? But that also doesn’t mean it needs to be boring! Change it up a little, find that cool back pack and let him rock those new trainers, and it’s even better knowing he not only needed them, but didn’t know he wanted them too!

Technology and Games

xboxdock

What male in your life doesn’t play some sort of game? Whether it be on his phone or on a games console, they will be playing on something! And they’re always coming out and usually expensive. Maybe there’s a new PS4 game coming out in the new year and he’s dying to get it, why not pre-order it for them? Or maybe they want the cool new wireless charging pad for their phone or a new pair of ear phones, or even some cool decals for his laptop

A Gift Card or Voucher

Sometimes when you hear ‘gift card’ or ‘voucher’, you shrivel up a little inside. You think back to when your Auntie that one year got you a gift card to a shop you don’t like anymore, or to that healthy shake shack that serves wheat grass. And there’s nothing worse than having money to shop with but you’re secluded to somewhere you’re not too fond of. But it doesn’t have to be that way! So many gift cards are open to so many shops and stores that they can choose when and where to spend it, and can split it up between different places. They can also be purchased for online games, movie theatres, websites and digital downloads for those who prefer to stay away from the shopping centres. And of course, if you definitely know their favorite store or even restaurant, then you can specifically choose a gift card for that place and let them go wild spending! And it’s even better if you couldn’t remember which Xbox game it was they wanted or which size they were in clothes, and believe me, they’ll be glad they aren’t getting socks again!

For Couples and Families

Sometimes you know a couple or a family and want to get them a joint gift, maybe you just don’t know each of them individually enough to get something personal or you have so many people to buy for, you’d prefer to just get one gift.

The Gift Basket

Don’t know their favorite food? Doesn’t matter! Don’t know what alcohol they drink? Who cares! Don’t know what chocolate they eat? Don’t sweat it! Fill up a basket of a mixture of lovely things from cheese and wine, to a movie and popcorn, as well as candles and a box of chocolates all wrapped up with a neat little bow and let them enjoy a feast whilst relaxing on Christmas day. You could even do one filled with spa relaxing gifts such as bubble bath, hand creams and body scrub

Something Matching/Joining

This is cute for couples of any age. Matching pyjamas to wear at christmas or even just a His and Hers/Hers and Hers/His and His mug set will go down a treat. You could even get them a lovely bottle of your favorite wine you adore or a nice christmas tree ornament for them to enjoy each year

Something Practical 

If you really want to go all out, you could get them something new for their kitchen such as the latest coffee machine or even a brand new toaster. Those gifts are always great for those in new houses and spending their first Christmas together and especially if you know something they absolutely love, such as a wine cooler if they love having a glass every weekend. But you can think smaller too; such as a new pretty bedding set, your favorite soap and hand wash set from the Body Shop you go on about, or even just a pretty vase or photo frame.

Something Home Made

 

It’s always nice to know someone saw something and thought of you, but to also spend lots of time preparing the gift means even more. Making a lovely batch of those cookies you’ve seen in a magazine or making your own hand made bath bombs or face scrub will go down a treat!

 

I hope this has given you some ideas of what you can get loved ones this Festive Holiday!

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Crispy and Fluffy Home Made Potato Wedges!

Hi Guys!

The best ideas come to me when its 1am and I’m hungry. I really just wanted something warm and tasty, and I barely had anything in and it was 1am, so I didn’t fancy doing something too tasking so I decided on some crispy yet fluffy on the inside, potato wedges!

Even better, it hardly costs anything either!

It’s really simple and here is what you’ll need

  • large cooking potatoes
  • salt
  • paprika
  • pepper
  • garlic powder/crushed garlic
  • mixed herb seasoning
  • cooking oil
  • oven tray
  • large pan/pot
  • sharp knife

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Rinse off all the little gnarly bits of your potatoes under the tap so they are nice and clean, but don’t peel them- this will give them a crunchy skin later on

Step 2

Cut your potatoes into wedge shapes, you can do this by slicing the potato in half and then cut those halves in half. Whilst you’re doing this, boil the kettle ready for the pan/pot

Step 3

Once your water has boiled, add to the pot/pan and add some salt, add the potato slices and let them par boil for 8 minutes

Step 4

After the 8 minutes are up, drain the water and let them sit just for a couple minutes with the hot steam. Then gently move them over to a baking tray

Step 5

Generously cover them with cooking oil (can also use vegetable oil) so they are evenly covered and then season with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and mixed herb seasoning (however much you would like)

Step 6

Give them a little shake around so they are each evenly covered and then pop into the middle of the oven for an even bake for 30 minutes.

Then you can enjoy! Beautiful golden brown wedges, crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle- delicious!

 

Chic Vs Street: Cheaper Fashion Alternatives

Hello Friends!

Fun fact; one of the first ever blog posts I did was a comparison piece about expensive pieces of clothing and where to find very similar alternatives for much less and I had fun doing it! So much so that I decided to do another! So here we go..

  1. Michael Kors Selma mini bag £260 Vs Forever 21 Faux Leather Trapeze Satchel £19

So straight away you can see the bags have a very similar shape, small and boxy with the triangular side parts. Both come in a variety of colours, and although the Forever 21 bag has a small strap, it also has a long strap, just as the Michael Kors one does. Of course the Forever 21 bag doesn’t have the Michael Kors name detailing but for the cash you’d be saving; engrave your own name!

Saving: £241

2. Fendi Bag Bug Charm £570 Vs New Look Faux Fur Piglet Pom Pom £3.99

Now, this is crazy to me. If I had the money to afford the Fendi bag charm, I would firstly NOT BE BUYING IT, and secondly I’d be able to fly to America for that. And to me, they are so ugly! These little monster pom poms are not cute, it’s true they have some cute plain pom poms, but I could probably do a years worth of food shopping with £570! And the one from New Look is so much cuter, it’s a little piglet! New Look and so many other shops have so many different little pom pom characters and for so cheap, and they do the same job- hang on your bag or keys!

Saving: £566.01

3. Anya Hindmarch Initial Letters £43 Vs SkinnyDip London Initial Letters £4

The trends of back pack stickers and badges have really made a come back, the Anya Hindmarch is selling initial stickers for between £43-£119. Why? Because once they are placed on a surface, there is no getting rid of it. I guess that is a good thing if you want something permanent and that won’t wear away, however you would have to know 100% where you want to place it as there’s no going back! The Skinny Dip letters are great for the back of your phone and can be taken off and reused and look just as cute!

Saving: £39

4. Kenzo ‘Mini Tiger’ Denim Dress £259 Versus New Look Parisian Denim Dress £24.99

The denim dress has been in fashion lately and can be used to dress up and dress down for a more casual look. The New Look dress is very similar to the Kenzo, the 3/4 sleeves and similar in colour, they also both button down, however the New Look dress shows off more of the buttons.

Saving: £234.01

5. MR AND MRS ITALY hooded Parka £5,099.05 Vs ASOS Noisy May Faux Parka £35

The only big difference here is the price! Unless you really want and need a Parka made out of lambskin and raccoon fur, then I guess the one of the left is for you.

Saving: £5,064.05

These are just a few examples that if you look around, you will not only find very similar items but it will cut your spending down not only by a margin, but by so much more! Now obviously anyone can buy what they would like, it’s personal preference, but it goes to show that most of the time you are paying for the name and it’s great to find cheaper alternatives if you’re looking to cut back on spending

 

Cooking on a Budget- Home made Vegetable Curry with Rice and Garlic Bread

Hi Everyone!

Today is a post all about cooking on a budget, whether you’re a student, a stay at home parent or you just want to save money!

This is great too because it’s healthy!

I’m going to include what you need to buy, where to buy it for the cheapest prices and how to cook it! So let’s begin

You will need:

Pasanda Curry Sauce (Or a creamy curry alternative)

You can get a 450g jar from Sainsburys for £1.65 to feed 4 people

Curry flavoured rice (You can use any you like as alternative)

You can get two microwaveable packs from Heron or any cheap frozen food store for £1, or three Golden Wonder packs for £1

One Yellow Pepper (can use any colour you prefer)

You can get any sized pepper from Sainsburys for 60p

Cauliflower

Broccoli 

I got a pack of caulifower and broccoli storks from Sainsburys for £1.20, great to freeze leftovers after too (there was plenty for up to 4/5 people!)

1 Sweet Potato

Sainsburys do them by weight, I only needed one and it cost me 22p for a medium sized potato (the trick is to self scan and lift the bag up a little when weighing)

Small new potatoes

I got a pack of around 20 small new potatoes from Sainburys for £1.00 or you could chop up one large potato

2 carrots or 1 tin

Two fresh carrots from sainsburys cost me 10p!

Bread Loaf (Or breadstick)

Sainsburys discounted going out of date loaves of bread were between 9p-15p a loaf! Get loads and freeze it

Garlic

30p from sainsburys for a whole garlic clove

Butter

You can go to most pound shops and get two tubs for £1

Recipe for curry and rice to feed between 4-6 people

Step 1

If you have rice that needs to be boiled, get that going first. Put in a pan and boil on a medium heat

Step 2

Peel and chop your carrots, half a pepper, 5 small potatoes and 1/2 sweet potato. Then break up the storks of broccoli and cauliflower if they are too big (you can add more or less if its for one person or a large group)

Step 3

Add oil to a wok/large frying pan and wait until hot, add the vegetables and cook for five minutes on a medium heat until sizzling

Step 4

Add the curry sauce. Then fill the empty jar 1/4 full with water, put the lid back on and shake, pour the watery curry liquid into your pan

Step 5

Crush in garlic, keep adding water if sauce gets too thick and keep stirring so the vegetables soften up, especially the potatoes as they need to boil and take longer to soften

Step 6

Don’t forget to keep stirring your rice. Once your rice is boiled and absorbed the water and is soft, scoop onto the side of a plate. Once your curry has been boiling for around 15-20 minutes and your vegetables are soft, scoop onto a plate next to or on top of your rice

How to make the garlic bread

Step one

Take however many slices you want to make and HALF toast them, only enough so they aren’t soft anymore and just slightly toasted

Step two

Crush garlic into a mug or bowl and add a tablespoon of butter and mix, you can also add seasonings if you would like

Step three

Spread the garlic butter onto the slices, you can even sprinkle cheese on top too

Step four

Put cling film on a tray and put under the grill on around 180 degrees for ten minutes, the cheese should be melted, bread crispy and garlicy

And there you have it!

It’s pretty quick, easy, cheap AND delicious! I made this for my boyfriend and I and we absolutely loved it! If you want, you can use any curry sauce and can add other vegetables!

Happy Cooking! x