Thursday, 18 December 2014

Outfit of the Day - Reiss

Blouse - H&M
Skirt - Reiss
Bracelet - Reiss
Shoes - Long Tall Sally

A few weeks ago I took part in Rakuten Marketing's live Q&A on Twitter about blogging. It was a really useful tweetchat with topics on how to effectively promote your blog with fashion brands and what brands look for when working with bloggers. I definately picked up some great tips which I hope you've spotted lately in my blog posts :-)

As part of the tweetchat, there was the opportunity to win a Reiss gift voucher and I was lucky enough to bag the prize! 

Every woman needs a black A-line skirt so I picked this one the Hayden skirt. I love how it flares out at the waist, this style is super flattering for me. I chose the Frith Bone, a leather weave bracelet with the coin charm, it's simple enough for everyday wear and with the gold t-bar fastening super stylish too.
 


Here are a few more favourites i've selected from Reiss:

Left - right: Kamila laser cut top, elliot animal print leather across body bag, Winnie Juliet floral dress, Onyx leather leggings, Poppy satin t-bar court shoes, Cece crossover front sandals.

Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop Review

 Retro Sweet Shop

Bored of modern day sweets and longing for retro sweets like humbugs and black jacks that used to be sold in large glass jars? If you've got a sweet tooth like me, then the answer is probably yes!

This afternoon I came across a new shop full of sweet treats, Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop, based in Eltham, South East London. 

Everyone's got their favourite retro sweet, from hum bugs, black jacks, and Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop has them all!
 
The Victorian style decor shop was full of excited children and adults admiring the sweets on show, clearly I'm not the only one who feels nostalgic when it comes to sweet treats! 

The shelves are filled with rows of jars crammed with multicoloured goodies like jelly beans, sugar coated cola bottles, foam bananas and lots more.



  
One gentlemen who served me was so polite and helpful, despite how busy it was at the counter. I was looking for a small packet of sweets as Christmas presents for my niece and nephew but couldn't find any on the shelves. They suggested their smallest jar and I selected what sweets to add to each one, making sure they were both equal, with just the right amounts of foam bananas, smarties, cola bottles and jelly beans.

 These small jars make great gifts for any occasions

I honestly felt like I had been transported back to my childhood, back to a time when a sweetshop was exactly that, wall to wall of sweet treats. It's enough to awaken your inner Charlie Bucket :-)

Some of the selection of penny sweets to choose from

Visit Mrs Simms website and South East London stores here:
 
Eltham - 81 Eltham High Street, SE9 1TQ
Beckenham - 138 High Street, BR3 1EA 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas Tree Decor - Light up parcels

 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house!

After visiting Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market it has got me into the festive spirit and on my return to London, we picked up a Christmas tree. Every year I’ve bought tree decorations but the this year I’ve decided to reuse last year’s decorations rather than buy new ones.

  We bought our needle last 6ft tree from Homebase this year

  
 We decided to add these light up parcels too!

Instead I decided to brighten up my home with these light up parcel decorations. I first spotted them on display in a pop up gift shop in Blackheath. The owner explained to me the parcels were not for sell but had been really popular with customers and I had been the 10th person that day asking about them! Michael, (the owner) kindly promised to call me if managed to get hold of any more parcels but thankfully my husband spotted Christmas parcels similar in Homebase.

  Christmas light up parcel decorations

They come in a box of 3, large, medium and small and give off a lovely bright silhouette and look great under our Christmas tree.

Homebase is currently selling them with a 1/3 off the original price so snap them up now before they sell out!


Hotel du Vin Birmingham, Review

Hotel du Vin, Birmingham reception

This weekend, I stayed at Hotel du Vin in the heart of Birmingham’s old city and a few minutes from Birmingham New Street station.

The red brick building was formerly Birmingham Eye Hospital and is a perfect example of beautiful Victorian architecture. It has been transformed into stylish 4* hotel and all 66 bedrooms have a wine theme (I was in the Courvoisier room), with high ceilings and windows, huge beds and luxurious bathrooms. I loved how the hotel has incorporated all the original features including the hardwood floor boards you can find in the restaurant and the sweeping staircase and granite pillars in the main reception.

The hotel has two bars, various private dining rooms, a spa, and a gym. It also has a Pub du Vin serving traditional pub food and ale. But I was most keen to see the hotel room. I stayed in the Courvoiser room and I was very impressed! It was generous sized with a huge bed, high ceilings and an enormous bathroom with a stunning iconic roll-top bath.

 
 
My room was fab, with a great views of Birmingham from the high windows

For dinner, I dined in restaurant, The Bistro, which had a lovely relaxed setting and a great food selection including a delicious Christmas themed menu. I had salmon to start then chose the turkey with all the trimmings for main course. Both were delicious and service was lovely too. There was a large choice of wines on the menu and the helpful waitress recommended a French rose from Provence which was refreshing and went very well with the dinner. For desert, I had the chocolate log with cream, so tasty and the perfect finish to a lovely meal. 
 
Christmas cured smoked salmon, pumpernickel and dill pickles

Feeling festive, I went for the Turkey

Served with all the traditional trimmings
Christmas chocolate yule log with redcurrants and creme chantilly

For breakfast, guests have a choice of cooked breakfast or continental with fresh fruit, juices, yogurt and cereal to help yourself to.
  I had the brioche French toast, served with smoked bacon and maple syrup with fresh orange juice, it was a great start to the day.
 Breakfast in the Bistro 

It was a pity I didn’t have time to visit the spa facilities, next time I would definitely choose to book a calming treatment like a massage.

I really enjoyed my stay at Birmingham Hotel Du Vin. With all the Christmas decorations in the hotel lobby, it really puts you in a wonderful festive spirit. It is a beautiful luxury hotel with fantastic service to match and is perfect choice for a special weekend break.

 
 By the Christmas tree in the main hotel lobby

To book a room visit Hotel du Vin & Bistro Birmingham website 

Hotel du Vin & Bistro Birmingham, Church Street, Birmingham B3 2NR
Telephone: +44 (0)121 200 0600 


*Disclaimer: My stay at the Hotel du Vin was complimentary but all words and opinions are my own*

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market Review



  Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

There is nothing more festive than visiting a Christmas market so after the Clothes Show Live I headed to Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, the largest Christmas market outside of Germany.

I had heard so many great things about Birmingham’s Christmas market, having been recently ranked as the one of the best Christmas markets to visit in the UK by the Guardian, I was really looking forward to it. 

There are over 180 wooden huts and stalls selling festive gifts, jewellery, decorations, handmade toys, and delicious German food and drink such as my favourite Glühwein (mulled wine) and Bratwurst (grilled sausage) with a Brötchen (roll) for delicious hot dogs.




If you have a sweet tooth like me then you’ll love the cakes, pretzels, donuts, chocolates and crepes all at the Christmas market too! Although Crepes are traditionally a French dessert, this stall was my food highlight - who can resist the aroma of cinnamon and sugar crepe? So tasty! 

Opposite the Frankfurt Christmas market was the Christmas Craft fair with Birmingham’s traders selling their own selection of handcrafted items created by local artisans.

 
Christmas markets are one of the best ways to get into the festive spirit and a great way to avoid the busy high street with Christmas shoppers. Christmas markets stalls have unique Christmas presents and decorations so it makes ideal for last minute shopping spree too! Plus you get to soak up all the festive atmosphere under the glow of pretty Christmas lights. If you do visit Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market, head to Victoria Square, Chamberlain Square and New Street for the best stalls!



For more information see Visit Birmingham.

Clothes Show Live 2014



Jacket - New Look
Playsuit - H&M
Bag - Forever 21

I spent the weekend in Birmingham and was invited to the Clothes Show Live by the lovely team at Good Results PR.



The Clothes Show Live is the biggest fashion and beauty event in the UK with five days of fashion and beauty stalls, makeovers, champagne bars, catwalk shows and lots more.







 Oasis stand at Clothes Show Live

Bare Minerals

The best part of the event was the Alcatel Onetouch fashion theatre, hosted by Hilary Alexander, guests were treated to a catwalk showcasing collections from up and coming designers.

 
Clothes Show Live runs until Tuesday 9 December. To book tickets visit the website here


*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this event but all words and opinions are my own*

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Christmas decorating for outside your home



 My attempt at outside festive decor

One of the best things about Christmas is decorating your home with festive decor. Christmas trees and fairy lights look great in indoors but don't forget to decorate outside too! Front doors and porches seem to get forgotten so give the outside of your home a festive makeover, all within budget of course:

Wreaths:
Your Christmas decor isn’t complete without a door wreath! There is so much choice:  from traditional green foliage, to something a little more colour and unique, door wreaths have never looked so good! Grace your door with one of these fab wreaths from the high street:

Welcome your guests to the door with this beautiful Tesco Berry wreath. I love the simple arrangement of green foliage, brown pine cones and those shiny red berries give a lovely natural effect.
 
If you’re looking for something a bit fancy how about this M&S Christmas wreath in rich green with natural decorations with golden leaves, berries and cones.


If simple is more your thing then this classic style Christmas wreath from John Lewis would be perfect for your front door.





This hand tied gold ribbon wreath from Homebase is perfect if you’re going for gold theme décor this year.

Doormats:
A doormat might be seen as one of the less important items to decorate   but it's use is not just for visitors to wipe their feet before entering your home! Update your doormat with a Christmas themed design or try something brighter to match the colour of your wreath for consistency in your decorations:
 
Set the festive tone to the entrance of your home with this John Lewis holly print door mat.

 
If you’re looking for something more fun go for this hand printed triple reindeer design from Tesco.
 
 Get into the festive spirit with this Argo stocking door mat.


Flower plants:
Give your plant pots a festive makeover and wrap Christmas ribbon around existing your plants and tie them with bows like I've done here:

 Getting the bay tree ready

The bay tree looks very festive with the red bow! 

Homebase have  a great range of value plants, this mini Christmas tree will add a festive touch to any area.

Hope you find these tips useful for making the outside your home the best dressed this Christmas!


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