Blogmas Day 19: A Christmas Tag with my Cousins!

I thought I would do a bit of a twist on the usual blogger tag and get my cousins to answer the questions with me so- the answers in green are me, Imogen. Red is Trina, the youngest. Blue is Beccy, the oldest. Okay! 

Trina, Me, Beccy <3

Favourite Christmas movie?
Elf. The Holiday. The Nightmare before Christmas.

Are you on the Naughty list or the Nice list?
Nice. Naughty. Nice. 

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Real. Obviously real. As real as a tree can be.

Hands down, what’s your all-time favorite holiday food and holiday sweet treat?
Potatoes and Mince Pies. Roast potatoes, parsnips, erm- Pigs in blankets and Christmas nuts. Potatoes and Buche de Noel.

Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?
Giving, I like wrapping things. Giving, it’s nice knowing people appreciate what you get them, but it’s also nice getting them. Giving, but I don’t like watching people open them.

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

New York. Yeah, New York. Somewhere snowy on the top of a mountain in a little chalet.

Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?

Pro, absolutely. Fail, I just end up with a mass of cello tape. Pro, obviously.

Most memorable Holiday moment?

The thing- the time when Rory, Rory’s one job- You had one job! -Was to take the ham out of the oven when we all went out and he forgot. And then he did it twice! When Uncle David was really really drunk dressed up as Santa Clause to deliver the presents to the stockings and he tripped over the bed! Probably playing Polly Pocket on the landing.

What made you realize the truth about Santa?

I can’t remember finding out, but I’m sure it was a horrible day. Well I found a photocopied version of my list to Santa covered in Argos references and Amazon references of where my mum was going to buy all my presents! And I stormed to their bedroom and confronted them! I don’t remember, I think I was told at school- but that might have been the Easter bunny.

Have you ever had a White Christmas?
Yes. Well- dirty grey. 

Where do you usually spend your holiday?
Home. Here. Here.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
No. No, that would ruin Christmas. Yeah, that would ruin Christmas.

What makes the Holidays special for you?
Family. Everyone together, jolly food, cats. Yeah- Family.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
*Attempts several times* If there’s 8 then yes, if there’s 12 then no. 

What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?
Food. Oh yeah food. *distracted by the nuts she’s trying to eat* Can’t get my nut out. Er- Food?

Do you like to stay in your PJ’s, or dress up for Christmas? 
Pj’s- then dressed up- then Pyjamas about an hour later.

Have you ever made a snowman?
I think we made a small one. Yeah, the year of the grey snow.

It’s Christmas time. What are you reading? 
The Last Runaway by Tracey Shaveleir- Shaverly- Something. Nothing really- I was reading a book about the Holocaust. Very Christmassy.

White lights, or colored lights?
White. Coloured. White.

When do you usually know and feel that it’s finally the holidays? 
The Christmas adverts. Erm- all the christmas lights, the music, the coke advert. The frantic clean-up when you guys are coming up.

I hope you enjoyed that! If you want to do this tag then- quick because you’ve only got a day!
Happy Christmas Eve everybody!
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Blogmas Day 18: A Winter Wedding!

You may have notice that after the three posts I posted on Friday that it was silent on the blog yesterday but I do have a good reason.. Now I love Christmas, I’ve mentioned this a thousand times and I have a countdown to Christmas app on my phone year round. But this Christmas had something special about it that had me super excited and my whole family around. My older brother got married yesterday!

It really was a perfect day. Some people are just meant to be together and Leanne and Rory definitely are. So a public congratulations to them! <3
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Blogmas Day 17: Emergency Presents!

Let me set the scene, you’re relaxing at home after school or work, any last minute gifts have been planned out and you’re going to brave the shopping center on Saturday, and you get the call. You know the call. The call from the last person you expected to get a call from and they’ll be round in ten minutes, half an hour, and hour, two hours with your thoughtful and beautifully wrapped gift. And what have you got them? Nothing. Your heart drops, you wonder if you could just lock the door, close the curtains and hide upstairs but they know you’re in and you’ve got to scrounge something up in record time. These are my tips!

Ten Minutes.

I’m afraid you might have to swallow your pride and apologise for not finishing your Christmas shopping yet. Make plans to meet up with them soon and bring it then.
Or ask yourself if you’ve got any back-ups. Personally, if I went into the back of my make-up drawer I’ve got a lipgloss and a lip balm, both of which could be wrapped up and given as a gift without anyone being any the wiser. The same works for presents for other people, if you can buy another one just switch the name tags. And if they’re over 18, or 21 in America, then a bottle of wine can always be replaced before Christmas Day.

Half and Hour.
I personally love the cute little baking mix in a jar presents, these cookie ones look particularly good and these brownie ones but you can google and find a load of recipes. That way you have something to give them and it’s something that’ll remind them of you when they bake them and eat them. That is, if you have a kitchen that is well stocked. 

An Hour.
The cookie or brownie mix in a jar is still a great option, but in an hour you could probably bake them some. If I was given a cutely wrapped box of brownies I would be all over that.

A homemade body scrub never goes amiss in the winter either, Treehugger has 8 recipes here all of which sound lovely but for mine I just mixed and mashed up whatever I felt like. I’ll do a post on it soon because I love it and it’s so much cheaper than buying one.

Two hours.
You’re one of the lucky ones, you have time to pop to the shops and pick out something. I recommend getting yourself to Boots and going straight to the gift aisle. They’ve really outdone themselves this year and you can grab two stocking fillers as part of their 3 for 2 deal.

All I can say is- Good Luck. And there’s still time to drop to the floor and army crawl away if you hear their footsteps coming up the path.

What do you do for Emergency Presents?
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Blogmas Day 16: Review: Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish in ‘St James’

Two posts in one day? With a third possibly on the way? A Christmas miracle! Or I’m trying to catch up with Blogmas and since I showed you a great Christmas nail polish in China Glaze’s ‘Ruby Pumps’, I thought today I’d show one that disappointed. Personally I think negative reviews are just as helpful as positive ones but if you’re not a fan then look away. 

I was given the Nails Inc Gell Effect Polish in St James* (what a mouthful) at the Mid-Summer Meet in Manchester and was totally head over heels for the colour and the slight shimmer that showed up in the bottle.

 I loved putting it on initially as it was very easy but a little thin which meant I found myself scraping it off the sides of my fingers most nails. In fact on my second hand I exclaimed, “Oh this is a nightmare” out loud over a Skype call which made no sense in the context of the conversation.

The colour was immediately great but it needed two coats to get rid of any visible nail line and I did want to put another on but resisted. And then- oh then, I went to have a bath (four hours later) and as you can see in the picture above it started to chip at the tip. Then! The next day I noticed that I had an imprint of my sheets on my nails so the fourth coat went on and a top coat. 

Needed a while to dry but not too long.

 And the shimmer wasn’t at all visible.

Would I buy this? Probably not but it has me intrigued about other gel polishes and I may even crack and buy some of the Barry M jelly polishes that I have been avoiding until now.

Have you tried the Nails Inc Gel Effect Polishes? What do you think?

*I was given this at the Mid-Summer meet in Manchester but this hasn’t changed my opinion and I am under no obligation to show it on my blog.
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Blogmas Day 15: Bloggers Secret Santa!

This years #bloggerssecretsanta was organised by Hayley and I knew I wanted to get involved as soon as I saw it on twitter. Gift giving is the best thing about the holidays for me and getting to know other bloggers is always a good thing. I received my gift yesterday and couldn’t wait, so here is what I got…

Damn you British weather making my pictures so overexposed

I think Dee did a great job! Lush, nail varnish and candles are some of my favourite gifts and opening it up you’d think it was a present from someone who had known me a long time. I’m ever so grateful and hope she got something as awesome as this from her Secret Santa. Thank you Dee! [Edit: Her blog no longer exists I’m afraid!]

I was given Joanna at Minty Essence who has a great blog that I really enjoyed looking through to try and send her some things she’d like. We’ve actually been at the same event but never met! So pop over to her blog because it’s a great read.

Again, thank you to Dee and to Hayley for organising this.
Did you take part in a Secret Santa this year?
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Blogmas Day 14: Review: Lush’s Santa’s Lip Scrub!

This lip scrub was a bit of an impulse purchase really because generally lip scrubs can be made at home for a fraction of the price of buying one but it was the promise of the taste of coca cola that got me. I don’t drink it anymore since reading up on all the scary facts but I get the odd craving now and then. So now I have this Santa’s lip scrub.

Edible hearts. Edible. Hearts. I love the little things that Lush adds to their products that just add that little extra.

It’s a lot thicker than the other lip scrubs I’ve tried from Lush which is both good and bad. The good is that you can get a chunk out easier and it’s not crumbling everywhere but on the other side of that, it’s a little harder to rub into your lips. It gets the job done though and does taste like coca cola, the full fat version, not diet.

I do like it for the Winter, my lips have been in need of a good moisturising scrub but I feel like something similar could be made at home for a lot less money. Although the taste might be pretty hard to replicate. A must for coca cola fans and maybe something for the stocking but maybe just an unnecessary splurge for the rest of us at a cringeworthy £5.50 for 25g.
If you want to buy this it is still available on the UK site here and the US site here!

Do you have Santa’s Lip Scrub? What do you think?
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Blogmas Day 13: The Tree

Normally we get our tree on the Saturday before Christmas, but since that Saturday is reserved for my brothers wedding this year, we got our tree this Sunday and I took a couple pictures along the way…

So many choices/ Paying/ leaving the garden centre/ home at last
It’s a handsome one if I do say so myself. As a family we always get real trees because we prefer it and after reading about 10 articles about which is better for the environment it seems like theres no conclusive decision. Ours ends up being used as firewood after Christmas and smells amazing so personally I can’t imagine not having a real tree but to each their own. I’m not sure I’d miss the needles, thank god for hardwood floors is all I’m saying.

Now just to decorate! It is 4 days and counting till my family arrives and there’s so much to do! But instead I find myself watching game plays on YouTube. Oh procrastination. On the other hand I did buy another round of Christmas presents so I’m nearly done on that front.

Are you a real tree or an artificial tree kind of person?
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Blogmas Day 12: NOTD: China Glaze – ‘Ruby Pumps’

If you’re looking for a Christmassy nail polish, look no further than China Glaze’s Ruby Pumps which is by far my favourite nail look to wear around this time of year. It looks really amazing with the shades of glitter and depth and lasts a good few days with a good top coat. I’m fairly certain this is what I’m going to be wearing on Christmas Day!

Swatches of China Glaze

This was three coats and a top coat and just look at that shine! Beautiful! China Glaze isn’t available so easily in the UK but you can find it on eBay for a few pounds and I personally use this seller with great success and you can find this particular polish here!

Do you like Ruby Pumps? What do you wear on Christmas Day?
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Blogmas Day 11: Review: bigRuby Nail Tattoos!

Hey there! You miss me? As you can tell from the title I am behind on Blogmas but determined to catch up so expect a couple double post days. Today we’re talking nail tattoos, specifically these from bigRuby, a brand I hadn’t heard of until I got a pack in the gift bag at the Manchester FABB event, but are actually super cool. You can read about them on their website here but basically they support a lot of animal causes that I find really endearing in a company and they make some really amazing products. Anyway, on with the review…

bigRuby Nail Tattoos

Now, am I the only one that thinks of those ones with the huge gaps and horrible edges when they think of nail tattoos? That was how I thought of them- until these! These are great! I received the Henna pack that are inspired by Indian weddings and they’re really beautiful.

bigRuby Nail Tattoos on mint green nail polish

As you can see, the Big Ruby nail tattoos blend amazingly into the polish, look pretty classy, and just add that something extra to an otherwise boring manicure. I’m sure they’ll pop up in future NOTDs because I’m obsessed and already planning to do some serious ordering after Christmas. They lasted really long, I didn’t find any peeling or anything and they only came off when I changed my nail polish.
They’re easy to use too, you know those little free temporary tattoos you’d get in sweets when you were younger? You’d cut them out, press them down and add water. These use the same premise…

instructions for how to use bigRuby Nail Tattoos

They are an American brand and you can order online from their website here and international shipping is only $4.50 so £2.76 which is super cheap but remember to stay under £15 to avoid customs. They can also be found in certain branches of Topshop and Miss Selfridge.

What do you think? Have you ever tried nail tattoos?

*I received these at the FABB event in Manchester but this hasn’t changed my opinion and I am under no obligation to show them on my blog.

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Blogmas Day 10: Best Christmas TV Specials!

I’m a big fan of Christmas, and I’m a big fan of TV. So when TV shows do Christmas episodes I get excited and there are a few which I have playing in the background on a loop when this time of year comes around and I’m getting in the spirit while I bake/ decorate/ wrap/ etc. So I thought I’d put together a list of the best/ my personal favourites for you to hunt down on the internet and watch for yourself if you’re in need of a little holiday cheer, sometimes we all need that extra pick-me-up, am I right?

Best Christmas TV Specials- Greys Anatomy, Community, Gavin and Stacey

Community – Season 1, Episode 12. “Comparative Religion.”
Community do the best stand-alone Christmas specials. I challenge you not to end up singing; “Oh Christmas Troy, Oh Christmas Troy.” After watching this episode. It gets stuck in there for days! And “It’s December 10th!” today so all the more reason!
Season 2, Episode 11. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.”

Possibly my favourite Christmas TV episode ever made. this is a beautiful tale of searching for the meaning of Christmas, which is something we all struggle with after a certain age.  
Abed, how many fingers am I holding up, and more importantly, are they still made of clay?”
Three, and I told you, it’s not clay. We’re silicone bodies with ball-and-socket armatures.”
And lastly; Season 3, Episode 10. “Regional Holiday Music.”
Community’s version of Glee. Except not rubbish. And in true Community fashion, it gives you all new Christmas music to sing along to. I personally go around rapping things like; “You mean like a spy, investigating, making it seem like I’m celebrating when actually I’m infiltrating Santa’s operation? YOIP!” –because of it.

Gavin and Stacey- Christmas Special.
The best. This never gets old. If you decide to watch one of these after this post, make it this one. Not convinced? Watch this!

Greys Anatomy- Season 2, Episode 7. “Grandma got run over by a Reindeer.”
As a Greys Anatomy fan (Only up to about season 7, they lost me at that god awful musical episode and I’m still bitter about the way it went) you can’t go wrong with this vintage episode.
It opens with this stellar quote; “It’s an urban myth that suicide rates spike at the holidays, turns out they actually go down. Experts think it’s because people are less inclined to off themselves when surrounded by family- Ironically that same family togetherness is the same reason that depression rates actually do spike at the holidays.”

Supernatural – Season 3, Episode 8. “A Very Supernatural Christmas.”
Another show that didn’t age well in my opinion, and definitely not an episode to watch with the kids but if you want a few laughs, attractive men, a little bit of horror (the producer wanted to make “the most violent Christmas special in the history of television” and succeeded) and a truly heartwarming episode where the presents are things like shaving foam and they look absolutely thrilled about it- then this is for you.
“Alright, so if dad went up the chimney-?”
“We need to find out what dragged him up there.”

How I Met Your Mother – Season 2, Episode 11. “How Lily stole Christmas.”
When I started this list- this really didn’t pop into my mind but after a little research and a re-watch I found myself wanting to decorate the heck out of my place, something about the Nutcracker music, Lily’s Winter Wonderland and Marshals excitement. This is one to put on the TV while you do the tree in my opinion. “But I didn’t say Grinch. I said a bad word.”
Season 3, Episode 11. “Little Minnesota.”
Barney’s songs about Ted’s sister, that is all. This is worth a watch just for them. “You’re like Weird Al Yankovic if he only wrote songs about banging my sister.” Other then that it’s not hugely Christmassy.
Don’t bother with any other than these though, How I Met Your Mother doesn’t do Christmas well.

I also really like the Fraiser ones (as you can tell from my Christmas Wish List), Friends, and The Big Bang Theory. 

Phew! That was a lot of TV! Do you like when TV shows do Christmas episodes? What are your favourites?

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