Christmas – Make Your House Twinkly!

IMG_4710Christmas is a pretty time of the year, and one of the most fun parts of it all is without a doubt decorating your home. There are soooo many different styles you can go for during festive fun times – you could go for that classic white winter wonderland feel, keep it modern with metallic and copper, or just go all out with Quality Street coloured tinsel and fairy lights like the good old days.

If you’re looking to decorate your house within the next week or so for the start of December, here are some of the things you’ll wanna start thinking about.

Outside The House – The first thing anyone will see as they pass by your home during the festive season or come to visit you is the front of your home and your front garden, if you have one that is. One of the fun things about decorating your home during Christmas is being able to play with lights and make your home stand out from every other home on the street. You can pick from so many different types of lights for the outside of your home- you could go for colour changing bulbs, white icicles or even go all out and have Santa himself up on ya roof! If you have a few bushes or trees in your front garden you could also put a light net on there to make them sparkle and feel maaaagical!

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The Door- One of the most classic Christmas decorations you can get in your home in the winter is a festive wreath. You can buy a wreath from the store or if you are more crafty- make your own. All you’ll need is a hoop made from wood to start you off, or I often use a bunch of greenery and make it look pretty, add seasonal decorations such as holly, berries and baubles. Wrap the garland around your wood and then use glue dots to stick on some festive baubles, pinecones and bells to make your wreath perfect to hang on the front door. If you really wanna go all out, you can wrap around some battery-operated lights to make it sparkle in the evenings.

The Hallway – Next up is your hallway. Although you and your family won’t be spending the whole of your festivities stood in the hall, it’s still nice to have some decoration there to really tie everything in your home together and make it all feel as festive as you can. To start off with you can have a small table by the door with a tabletop Christmas tree and some scented candles to make your home smell super festive. And then you could have a stocking hanging on the coat rack, some lights making their way into the home- and maybe some small festive ornaments. You don’t need to go nuts with the hallway- it is just nice kinda cosy to have a few festive touches in there.

The Stairs – One huge part of your hallway will be the staircase, and depending on how big your home is- it could be made into a huge design feature during the winter period. The most simple way to decorate your stairs would be to wrap some lights and tinsel around the banister going all the way down the stairs. If you want to go for a more nature inspired theme, you could get a long holly garland and wrap that around the bottom of your stairs- placing small pinecones in there to add extra dimension. And finally, if you want to go all out on your staircase and turn it into the ultimate festive feature- you could wrap a garland and lights at the bottom and then hang large white paper snowflakes on the stairs. This is a better idea if you have a large home- but it will look pretty ace if you can pull it off!

Fireplaces – If you have a fireplace or two in your home, you can make these into a festive feature by placing a garland on top and then adding things such as sparkly leaves, dried oranges and pinecones. And of course, you can’t have a Christmas fireplace without a few candlesticks or a large scented candle jar. You can thread some fairy lights through your design too if you know it is the room you’ll be spending a huge amount of time in throughout Christmas.

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The Tree – The tree is without a doubt the most exciting part of decorating your home at Christmas- there’s simply nothing better than spending the 1st December in your festive pjs with a Christmas movie playing as you decorate the tree with your family. Everyone will have their own jobs when decorating the tree- one person will assemble it, someone will do the lights (after spending hours un-tangling them), and then you can all play around with the baubles. And of course, someone will have the honour of putting the star on top of your creation at the end. Dance around and take your time with this part of the decoration- it will be the focal point of your home and is the perfect centrepiece to your festive design in the home. As for the colour scheme on the tree, you have a whole load of options available to you at this time of the year. You can go for a Scandinavian look and stick to neutrals and white, a classic look with reds and greens- or just put every single colour of the rainbow on there, because it’s Christmas so you can!

The Table – The table is the final piece to add to your festive feels, and if you’re hosting Christmas dinner this year, you’ll want to make the most of the space you have on the table while making sure you can fit all of the food on there on the day. Practice by laying out the dishes you’ll be serving the vegetables and meat in on the day, and you can then see what room you have left for a centrepiece and some candles. Your centrepiece can be as simple or extravagant as possible- and you can really fit it to the style you are going for in the rest of the home. The thing I personally enjoy the most about this season is that it’s an excuse to go crazy with fairy lights and sparkle, go make your home all twinkly, and enjoy! 

Better Ways To Cope With Your Passion For Fashion

We’ve all gotta bit of a passion for fashion in some way, right? It’s a form of art, and it’s a way to express yourself, pretty much like a musician, painter, or writer would. You shouldn’t be suppressing that appreciation for something beautiful, but, um, hey, you also shouldn’t let it run away with you. A musician doesn’t break their bank account by buying every nice guitar they see (or they shouldn’t), and you shouldn’t break your bank account by buying every nice piece of clothing or quirky fashion accessory you come across! Restraint is a powerful but difficult thing to master, trust me, I know that! Our minds tell us that we’re denying ourselves something or missing out when we restrain our urges, but the truth is the complete opposite. You’ll appreciate things like fashion far more when you don’t splurge to the point of forgetting why you loved all these gorgeous pieces of clothing in the first place. When you treat yourself to the occasional stunning fashion piece, you appreciate it far more. Here are some ideas as to better ways in which you could cope with your passion for fashion!

Shop cheaply – Unless you’re in complete debt, eeek, which I’ll mention later, you don’t have to give up on fashion. You shouldn’t give up on the things you love, but you should know how to approach your passion for something when it’s costing you a fortune. Every time you need to update your wardrobe (and that means your clothes are too small, old, or torn rather than you simply wanting more), you should consider the cheaper options. You should try thrift shopping because the clothes are not only far less expensive than the big brands change in their stores but they’re also just as nice as clothes in the big shops. As a vintage loving gal myself, I’d say that vintage clothing is far cooler and unique than the mass produced, mainstream things you’ll find on the high street. Better yet, you’ll be shopping ethically when you head into thrift shops, charity shops, or even just swapping with friends; going for the second-hand option may not be as glamorous as buying a brand new skirt, but the sweatshop industry which creates those clothes sure isn’t glamorous either. At least you won’t be funding more hardship for those workers. You could do a little research into other ways to save money when shopping if you’re worried that you might be wasting cash on your clothes (whether you’re prone to splurging or not). So many big stores trick you into thinking you’re getting a great deal when you’re really spending far more than you should be. Do a little research, and hunt stores which offer ethical clothes which are beautiful and come at a fraction of the price you’d see in other stores.

Try the ‘1 month’ technique – This is a clever lil’ technique if you can be strict with yourself. Next time you walk past a shop on the high street and see a stunning dress or top in the window, make a note of it on your phone or a piece of paper. Wait a month, and see how you feel. This is the ultimate way to determine whether you really want a piece of clothing or you just felt the pull of your insatiable urge to shop. If you still want the dress or whatever fashion item you saw in the window one month after first seeing it then you can go ahead and treat yourself to it. If you find that the urge has passed then don’t buy the piece of clothing or the fashion accessory because you probably never really wanted it anyway. You were simply enticed in the moment, and that’s the entire purpose of display windows in shops.

Make a budget – If you really want to curb your excessive spending then you need to start keeping track of it. Take control of the situation, and make a budget. To do this, you need to first look at the money you make each month (if you’re self-employed then note down the average amount of money you make). Once you have a rough figure, note down all the necessities you need to purchase each month; your rent, the average amount you spend on utility bills, and the average amount you spend on food. The figure you end up with should give you an idea of how much money you need to add to your budget for necessities. Make it a little larger than the amount you spent in order to allow for variation. Stick to this figure. It’s pretty darn vital that you always have money set aside for necessities. You should be left with a rough figure concerning the amount of disposable income you usually have for each month. Set aside some, but not all, of this money for shopping; that’s your new monthly budget for “luxuries”, and you can’t exceed. A way to stop yourself exceeding it is to keep only one credit card for emergencies but to never take that card out with you. This is the key to avoiding debt; never spend more money than you make, and you’ll never need to borrow money for anything unnecessary. If you are in debt, whether it’s for something important like a house or excessive borrowing and spending in the past, then suspend all luxury purchases and pool all your disposable income for that month into paying off your debt. Don’t borrow any more money until your debt is gone; ideally, you shouldn’t borrow money for anything other than big purchases such as houses or cars. When you do, of course, paying off the debt quickly is essential to maintain a good credit score which to me, has always been important.

Don’t go to a mall or the high street to kill time – Only hit the shops when you need to buy something vital for your home or your children, perhaps. Don’t stroll into a mall just because you had some free time because that’s when you’re shopping for the sake of improving your mood and not because you actually need (or even really want) any of the things you’re buying. Treating yourself to luxuries is fine every now and then because we all do it, but when you’re more bothered about the momentary rush it gives you to buy something rather than the thing you’re buying then that’s when you need to stop. Your passion for fashion should solely be focused on the fashion itself, and you shouldn’t be hitting the shops if you’re not even sure why you’re doing so. When you do need to shop for necessities such as food then you should try to head for your local grocery store or smaller, local shops in order to avoid the tempting sight of big clothes brands in the center of your town or city. You want to resist temptation as much as possible so that shopping can get back to being a fun past-time for you; you want to buy clothes because you love the actual clothes and not the feeling of swiping your credit card on the register.

Always bring a shopping list – You likely bring a shopping list with you when you go to buy groceries so that you don’t miss anything important or buy something you don’t need, and that’s why you need to apply that logic to shopping for clothing too. As mentioned in the budgeting point earlier, it’s very important that you bring a set amount of cash with you so that you’re not tempted to splurge on your credit card. That way, you can enjoy the luxuries you buy in the knowledge that you won’t have spent more than you can afford. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll only have a limited amount of cash, and that means you’ll buy clothes that you feel truly passionate about in terms of fashion because you won’t be able to afford everything you see.

Accept when your problem has become too serious – Whilst a lot of the advice in this article was aimed towards people with a penchant for fashion, there are different levels when it comes to overspending on the high street. Some people buy the odd expensive thing that they probably should have avoided, but some people are in serious debt because of an uncontrollable shopping addiction. You need to figure out if you’re on that spectrum and how much help you may need if so.

If you treat yourself to the odd luxury then you don’t have a problem; if you treat yourself to silly things then you may need to try budgeting and other tips in this article; if you’ve borrowed money just to buy even more things then you have a serious problem and you need to seek help. It might be time to look into counseling if you can’t control your own urges. If budgeting, cutting up your credit cards, or any other method isn’t enough to stop you then you could also attend meetings with other people who have shopping addictions. Solidarity always helps. Shopping will always be there to temps us, the stores want us to buy things we don’t need, that’s your hard earned money they want so take time before handing it over…do you REALLY need that extra dress? Shop well, my friends. x

Tie The Knot: Advice For Planning A Last Minute Summer Wedding

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Has your loved one just popped the question? Would you like to get married as soon as possible? Well, lemme tell you, last minute weddings are often the most fun to arrange. While you have a lot of work ahead of you, there’s still enough time to plan something amaaaazing this summer. Just use some of these ideas and advice to ensure you leave no stone un-turned. At the end of the day, this is a moment you will remember for the rest of your life. For that reason, you’re going to need as much help and guidance as possible. This should help….

Finding the perfect venue – Before you do anything else, you’ll want to find a beautiful place in which you can do your thang. The issue is that most places are booked at this time of the year. Still, cancellations happen, and you might get lucky. Just bear in mind that you’re unlikely to receive any discounts for last minute bookings. That means you may need a healthy budget if you want to make your dreams come true. Maybe you could apply for unsecured debt consolidation loans in an attempt to ensure you have as much money as possible? Either that or you could sell something valuable that you no longer want to increase your funds? Whatever you decide, it’s sensible to have more than £2000 at your ready to spend!lou16

Getting a dress you love – Dressmakers can take months to design or adjust the perfect dress for your big day. However, you’ll need them to work faster than that. It’s wise to get in touch with different specialists in your local area and explain your situation. At least one of them should be willing to push your order to the front of the queue. Alternatively, lots of professionals keep second-hand dresses that were only worn once. Nothing is wrong with opting for one of those products if it helps you to achieve your goals. Vintage wedding dresses are also a great affordable and very beautiful option, seek them out by looking on auction sites or searching vintage specialists online. Just make sure you don’t settle for anything less than you’ve imagined in your dreams all these years, of course! 

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Arranging catering – The guests at your wedding will need something to fill up those hungry tummies. However, you don’t want to spend a fortune because that decreases the money you can spend on your dress and venue, obvs, so, you gotta think outside of the box and try something different. Cool catering vans selling yummy street food or fish and chips are popular these days because they’re a cheap, simple and fun solution. Maybe something like that would keep your guests happy? There are specialists you can call who will provide enough food for one-hundred people for less than £1000. You just need to get in touch with them as soon as possible to get them booked! 

If you take the advice from this page, your summer wedding should be sorted in a matter of days, hah, easy-peasy! All you have to think about then is where you want to hold the reception. At the end of the day, there’s no reason to spend a fortune on that venue. In most instances, you will employ a DJ and keep the lights low. Many of your guests will get a tad tiddly and have fun regardless of the surroundings. Do yourself a favour and ensure you spend the bulk of your budget on the wedding venue itself. That is where you will take professional photographs, and it’s where you’ll make your memories. Enjoy planning!

Confectionery Cuteness from Billie Jocobina at London Fashion Week

I got lucky. It made me a happy girl. I got given a DREAM job of attending London Fashion Week to write up the shows for ace new magazine PlusMinus. Woweee. I guess good things do happen, if you put in the hard work and positive vibes. I hit the big smoke for 5 days, expectant, nervy and excited with notepad and laptop in hand, and, maaan, it was even better than I could have hoped for. It was pure ace. The gang I worked with became brand new besties over the week, spending 24/7 together in cold queues, rushed coffee shop eatings, all of us marvelling constantly at what surrounded us… some of the ego’s at Fashion Week….say whuuuut?! Crikey. We musta seen around 22 shows in our time there, each one a thrill in its own right. The music, the models, the damn prettiness and skill of the fashion. Yup, a happy gal was I.

One of the first shows I saw and fell in love with was a presentation by new graduate designer Billie Jacobina. The presentations are a slightly smaller scale affair with a neat and petite collection which packs a punch and basically, the models pose and parade around a room for a while rather than take part in a big boom-boom runway show. They are kinda cute things these presentations, they feel intimate and you can get real up close to the clothes and models. Heart shaped eyes on me, I tell ya. My heart was pumping outta my chest a bit when the Jocobina one began as it was ALL PIIIINK and pastels, pom-poms, faux fur, jumbo doll jewellery; a sparkly explosion of saccharine kitsch, with, hello?… a Hello Kitty handbag in the mix too! Oh my.

As a graduate of UCA Rochester, Billie showed at Graduate Fashion Week 2016, and went on to be awarded The British Council GFW award which gave her the opportunity to collaborate with a brand in Jakarta and show at Jakarta Fashion Week. She sure is on a winning streak, as she also won the Fashion Scout’s One To Watch Award for SS17 which is a certain sign that she’s only just at the start of a shiny future. Her slogan for this collection was 100% SASSY, and that it was, superbly so. This collection tickled me pink and set off my LFW experience with perfection.

 

Finishing School Advice The Women Of The Past Lived By

For the most part, finishing school is now considered a pretty outdated concept. Of course, there are still finishing schools situated across the UK and the wider world, but only the socially elite attend them. But, if you were to travel back in time 60 years, you’d find that the majority of women go on to attend finishing school after their formal education has been completed, wow!

The concept of finishing school is simple: to teach women how to be polite, well mannered, and socially accepted members of society. Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, if you didn’t know the importance of picking up a champagne glass from the bottom of the stem and offering desserts from the left, you were considered unforgivably rude and uneducated. Today, luckily, such customs are no longer considered to be important, phew! Just because finishing schools aren’t a popular concept in 2017, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn some things from them though. You see, the things that they taught, were things that the women of the past lived by – it wasn’t just about being a good wife (that was part of it though if you can believe it!) but also about being the best (and happiest) that you could be, ace! It sounds like we could learn a lot from the tips that the women of the past were taught in finishing school and lived by. So, here are some of the tips of social etiquette that the women from the 40’s and 50’s lived by….

Tip 1: Always look your best

One of the first things that women were taught in finishing school was to always look their best. According to a finishing school handbook this meant ensuring that their hair was neatly styled, their nails were perfectly manicured, their makeup was beautifully applied, and their outfit – day or night – was picture-perfect. Looking their best was to do with social etiquette. Part of the concept of always looking their best was about feeling confident in their appearance, as a confident woman is a happy woman, right? We might have mastered looking our best during the day with pretty hairstyles, gel manicures, and smart, stylish clothing, but what about at night? Far too many of us simple pop on an oversized t-shirt and get into bed – it might be comfy but does it make you feel good? To feel good in what you wear to bed, something pretty, like a neglige from the Vanilla night and day range, could be perfect. It’s not about looking good for anyone else; it’s about being happy in yourself and feeling good about what you’re wearing.

Tip 2: Don’t slump

For the women of the past, good posture was seen as being the key to charm, beauty and social success. Look back at old photos of women from this time period, and you will see that in each and every photo, people stand tall with their head held high. Walking along with a straight spine, squared shoulders, and your head held high gives you confidence. Don’t look down when you walk, keep your head held high – you will look better for it, as well as feeling more confident. Posture isn’t just important when walking; it’s also crucial when standing still. Instead of popping a hand on your hip and bending one knee, stand straight with your shoulders back and head held high, and place one foot slightly in front of the other. Finishing school also taught women that they looked more attractive when sitting gracefully – another thing that we can learn from today. When sat, whether at home, while out for dinner, or at a social event, always sit with a straight back, your shoulders held high and your head up, it’ll male you feel more positive and alert, and it’ll help ease backache too!

Rule 3: The E’s of beauty

The three E’s of beauty are things that women of the past swore by when it came to looking and feeling good throughout life.

Early to bed: By getting a good night’s sleep, your entire body is happier and healthier, including your skin. When you don’t sleep well, it’s visible on your face, so getting a good night’s sleep every night is pretty important.

Eat well: Eating well means eating for beauty. This means avoiding processed sugar as much as possible as processed sugar is bad for the skin and your waistline. It means eating clean, wholesome foods and drinking plenty of water.

Exercise regularly: Exercising regularly is important not only for your waistline but also for your mind – a woman who exercises regularly tends to be happier and less stressed than a woman who doesn’t. I do Yoga every day and it helps me enormously.
So, there you have it, a guide to the advice that the women of the past learned at finishing school and lived by! The overall idea of finishing schools is an old fashioned one but, we can take the best tips into our modern lives to feel better and more like we are being our best selves. How wonderful.