Photo contains gifted items – please read my disclaimer here
Hi, loves! Today is the last installment in my Christmas Gift Guide series for this year and if I do say so myself, I think I’ve saved the best for last! Stocking fillers are some of my favourite gifts to give and receive; there’s so many incredible options. I love to give one or two ‘big’ gifts then pad out my loved ones presents with smaller items, and everything in this gift guide would be perfect for that, too. I also think there’s something in here for any Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges you may be participating in this holiday season.
Also, I’m only sharing a few at the end of this post because there’s SO much choice, but it’s not a good stocking without ALL of the sweets and chocolate… right? 🙂 also – gift cards are my favourite gift to give/receive in stockings! I highly recommend placing a £10 or £20 gift card for the recipient’s favourite store in the bottom, it’ll be the best surprise.
This may be the last in my Christmas Gift Guide series for 2019, but I’m talking in detail about a few of my current favourite budget beauty products in my next Feelin’ It Friday post (coming to you next Friday, November 29th!) which will also make wonderful stocking filler or Secret Santa gifts so make sure to check back for that too!
Photo contains gifted items – please read my disclaimer here
Hi, loves! Today is the first of three gift guides for this holiday season, and I’m so excited to share them with you! I decided to bring you the gift guide for the ladies in your life first, and I really hope this helps you if you’re struggling for gift inspiration this year. Of course there is so much more to Christmas than giving presents, but mixing and matching gifts from any of these categories would make the most incredible present for gal you’re buying for this year. Happy shopping!
Disclaimer: There are a few higher priced items in this gift guide but I promise you it’s because they’re great value for money and really amazing gifts! I really wanted to keep my gift guides affordable and practical, and also very realistic for the average gift giver like myself. Remember Black Friday is coming up and always check for discount codes before purchasing online – you can almost always save at least 10%. I hope you find it so helpful!
If there was ever a perfect word to describe my personality, it’s homebody. I love love love my home comforts, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got this category down. The White Company’s Winter candle is a must-have for me from November through to March! I live in my Ugg slippers that Matt bought me a few years ago; I’d literally wear them to work if I could. Guys… the Dumbo mug? My heart just can’t take it!
Jewelery is a wonderful gift for the ladies in your life, and just looking at the cute Tiffany & Co necklace makes my heart happy! Fun fact: Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow has been on my ‘wishlist’ for at least three years, and this limited edition packaging? *picks self up off floor* WOW! It’s so dang beautiful. I want need it so bad! Oh, and if you’re wondering why I picked Frederic Malle’s Portrait Of A Lady which is crazy expensive? Stacey Dooley wears it. A girl can dream…
Beauty products are a fail-safe product for everyone. Your mum, your sister, your girlfriend, your grandma. Every lady loves a little pampering treat now and then! Emma Hardie’s Moringa cleansing balm is hopefully going to be my treat to myself this Black Friday (20% off is a steal) and I swear by Laura Mercier’s caviar sticks for quick and easy eyeshadow application! How dang cute is that little set?! Lancome La Vie Est Belle is one of my very favourite go-to scents, and such a sweet gift to give this Christmas season.
If you know me, you know bee prints and anything with bees on makes me so HAPPY. I just adore those bee print oven gloves, they’re so sweet! The marble and copper bar tools set is the most gorgeous gift for any of the cocktail loving ladies in your life and who wouldn’t just adore a whole hamper of Hotel Chocolat products?!
An Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is my number one wishlist product this Christmas, and if it was socially acceptable I’d be writing it in my letter to Father Christmas for sure! The lovely team at Gaston Luga gifted me a Parlän backpack earlier this month and I can’t tell you how much I love it; and it’s perfect for travel! Pixi’s DetoxifEYE eye patches are a must when you’re a little tired or hungover and will definitely leave you looking and feeling your best when you step off any flight.
Have you smelled Capri Blue’s Volcano candle? No? YOU NEED IT. Seriously, it’s gorgeous!! Disney’s Dumbo Pandora charm is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my entire life (I kinda love Dumbo, can you tell?!) and oh how sweet is that Diptyque candle snuffer? I’d feel like a rich housewife putting out my candles with that, hah. The candle and snuffer would be a wonderful gift for that gal who has everything!
Happy, happy Sunday my loves! Something you may not know about me is that I really freaking love perfume. It’s one of my favourite things to buy, give or (very generously) receive and as much as I love to try new ones, I definitely have my favourites. It’s kinda weird, even when my hair and makeup is done and I’m fully dressed, I don’t feel ready for the day until I’ve spritzed a little perfume! Since I was around 9 years old and got my first bottle of Tommy Girl, I became obsessed with perfume and sprayed it like my life depended on it. I smelled great, obviously! HA. Over the years my tastes have thankfully matured, and I’ve got my favourites that I always have on rotation, and couldn’t imagine not having in my collection. I do switch out perfumes sometimes depending on the season, but all of the perfumes in this post are ones I reach for no matter what the weather is.
Just a slight disclaimer: perfume is an area of beauty where I’ve not yet explored many cruelty free options. I am trying new perfumes, but these are my tried and tested, truly loved perfumes and right now I will continue to buy them. This may change in the future. Also, let’s be real: I know nothing about the ins and outs of perfumes. I have no idea what notes are in there (other than anything obvious from the name of the perfume), I just know what smells good to me and why, so that’s what I’m telling you in this post!
Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Although all of the perfumes in this post are my favourites, Peony & Blush Suede is my numero uno. This perfume was the first Jo Malone product I ever owed, but this is not the same bottle of course! I got my first as a gift from my mum and dad for my 18th birthday and it started my love of all things Jo Malone. Since then, I’ve re-purchased this perfume so many times and had it bought as a gift from loved ones many times too. Matt has bought me a bottle for every birthday and Christmas we’ve spent together so far (he’s the absolute cutest, he got me the candle last Christmas too which I love and am scared to burn because it’s so beautiful, haha). This perfume reminds me of Matt, almost as much as his most-worn aftershaves remind me of him! Peony & Blush Suede has such sentimental value to me, it takes me right back to our first date almost two years ago, through all the special occasions we’ve since celebrated together. It also reminds me of Kos as I wore it almost every evening on our first holiday together, I’m definitely packing it to take to Croatia this month! I used to wear this almost every day, but I’m trying hard to keep it for fun weekends, date nights and special occasions.
MAC Turquatic This is a perfume I’ve worn and loved since I was around 15 years old, and I always have my rollerball in my bag, no matter where I’m going or which bag I’m taking! It’s especially perfect for my small Kate Spade crossbody bag as it’s so teeny and takes up pretty much no space. I’ve worn this since I was around sixteen years old, and it’s a very comforting perfume! It’s such a unique fresh and captivating scent and to this day it’s like nothing I’ve ever smelt before. I’m so happy it’s been a staple in MAC’s products for such a long time, if it was ever discontinued I’d be genuinely so upset! Turquatic is a gorgeous scent for Spring/Summer especially, and a holiday staple for me – it reminds me of Florida so much and the smell that just makes me happy. I really think it’s incredibly underrated (or even unknown) as it’s the ultimate beautiful beachy fragrance!
Lancome La Vie Est Belle If you’re ever wondering what I smell like on a typical day, this is it! La Vie Est Belle is another perfume I’ve worn and loved for years, and it’s one of those scents that just makes me feel like me. It’s sweet and floral, which is what I’m most attracted to in a perfume, and I think it’s just the most lovely smell! This is a perfume I fell in love with years ago, and I reach for it almost every day. Matt’s mum always comments on it when I wear it, even now, and she always says she can smell it through the whole house when I wear it. It’s another scent that makes my heart happy and I would 100% recommend to anyone looking for a new fun and flirty scent for Summer!
Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet This perfume is another I tend to keep in my bag (I like to have options), and I reach for it so often. I think it works perfectly to freshen up my La Vie Est Belle during a long day! It’s sweet and floral, as the name suggests, but not in the typical sense that makes you think of a sweet old lady. It’s such a beautiful scent; it’s especially perfect for the Spring and Summer months, and I love this travel size bottle! I bought this perfume for the first time when Matt and I were on our way to an NUFC game early last year, after lusting after it for months. That same day we stayed at Ramside Hall as a surprise for Matt working so dang hard at his job, and I still remember using it for the first time that night! I really love that scents connect you to memories and feelings instantly. I’ve never actually had a full sized bottle of this perfume, and I’m hoping to pick one up in the airport when we go on holiday at the end of the month!
Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Another beautiful Jo Malone scent – I love so many, it was hard to narrow it down for this post! – and another beachy scent that works throughout all the seasons, despite having ‘sea salt’ in the name. I have a very deep love for the beach, and anything that smells a little like the beach or makes me think of it is a winner in my book. I love this for when I feel like I need a little confidence that day – if I have a meeting or I’m feeling anxious it works a treat. It’s kinda become my #adulting perfume, lol! This is very fresh and much different than my typical perfumes, it’s just very unique. Like most perfumes, this smells so different on different people; on my mum it smells much deeper and almost musky, whereas on me it smells much more fresh and light. I have no idea how this works, but it does!
Tom Ford Velvet Orchid This is my go-to evening ‘out out’ scent, and it makes me feel a little bit bad ass. But also super fancy because, Tom Ford. Y’know? My brother bought this for me last Christmas (how stinking adorable! He totally surprised me and Matt on Christmas morning with amazing gifts, we had no idea!) and it is such an incredible scent. I love that it’s so powerful; I literally only use two or three sprays of this and it smells so strong – in a good way – and definitely lasts all night. It actually lasts to the point where when we wake up in the morning it’s almost ingrained into Matt and I’s skin! I’d love to try more Tom Ford perfumes in the future, I adore the smell of Neroli Portofino but that’s definitely one of those perfumes I spritz in the department store and put back. Very. Carefully. LOL, it’s so freaking expensive!
Thank you so much for reading! I love talking about perfume, I feel like I tapped my laptop keys so hard writing this because I was so excited, haha. Do you love your fragrances as much as I do? What are your favourites that you can always rely on? Is there anything other scents you think I should check out at the airport duty free later this month?
I’ve been feeling super anxious, stressed and a little bit down in the dumps recently, and it’s a feeling I just haven’t been able to shift. I’ve lost count of how many hours I’ve spent crying to Matt, and us both knowing that nothing can be done to make me feel better, the anxiety just has to pass. I feel like every time I write about dealing with anxiety or feeling stressed I need to write DISCLAIMER: MY LIFE IS STILL GREAT. It’s almost like I feel guilty for having anxiety, for feeling a bit crap when really I am so happy with my boyfriend, our families and friends, and I have a dang great life. No matter how bad my anxiety can sometimes feel, no matter how many panic attacks or tense moments I may have, I know there is good in every day. Sometimes changing my perspective on things can help keep my anxiety at bay, so I challenged myself to recording nine things each day that made me happy in the moment, and I challenge you to do the same too!
I’m so lucky that I have a platform to share my thoughts and feelings, and I choose to share those because I want to help other people. I wrote a post very similarly to this one here, and I received so many messages from people saying they loved it, and that it helped them in various ways. Knowing I’ve made someone smile, see a different perspective or that someone really related with what I wrote beats every ounce of judgement I feel against the topic of anxiety.
Saturday 4th May – seeing how happy Matt was that I made him breakfast before he left for work – an hour long yoga session – I spent my morning writing and editing blog posts snuggled in bed, whilst the wind and rain hit off the window – I fully hinched our room before Matt got home from work – the smell of Method Wild Rhubarb all purpose cleaner – Matt and I ran errands together – we visited with my grandma for a while and she was so funny (she’s pretty poorly and sadly going blind, but she’s at that point where she just couldn’t care less what she says or how she says it. It’s fantastic) – wearing my Birks – at Aldi we picked up ‘big daddy’ steaks for dinner. They were so good – we snuggled in to watch the NUFC match with a homemade pick n mix (let’s just not talk about the score)
Sunday 5th May – Matt and I got to lay in for the first time in so long! We slept for ten and a half hours and boy did we need it – we had the laziest morning – I caught up on Jade Billington’s vlogs whilst getting ready, her videos always make me feel so motivated and happy – we got to spend a few hours with Matt’s grandma and mum, some of my favourite people – watching KUWTK whilst Matt was out for a run/in the bath post-run – making/eating Diet Coke chicken – relaxing with a face mask on (Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty if you’re wondering) – we got to snuggle on the couch all evening watching Mary Poppins Returns – Emily Blunt *insert all of the heart eyes emojis* she’s my ultimate girl crush
Monday 6th May – waking up to Matt’s cute little face. This makes my day every day, ngl – Swiss Miss hot chocolate – we had ‘laptop club’ before Matt went to work. (Matt works and I work on the blog, it’s a fun way to get stuff done but still be together :)) – my mum and dad came home from a trip away with their friends and we got to catch up on our weekends – I edited two blog posts and took photographs for them both – a Lush bath – finishing another good book – picky tea (including the best flatbread pizza) – we got to spend a few hours in the evening with Matt’s parents after barely seeing them recently
Tuesday 7th May – I got to stay snuggled in bed for an extra 45 minutes after Matt left for work – my hair styled perfectly straight – the perfect tuna mayo sandwich – my work day went so quickly – how soft my Brandy Melville Newport jumper is. I’ve had it for years and it’s just so comfy and cosy – Matt’s phone call to say he was on his way home – snuggling up with bae – Liverpool winning in the craziest match – falling asleep to rainforest sounds (we play waves or rainforest sounds every night. It’s becoming an obsession to the point we’re genuinely considering taking one of our Echo Dots on holiday hahaha)
Wednesday 8th May – Matt and I woke up to the sound of rain hitting so hard on the window. I love rainy days – having a little extra time to edit my blog before getting ready – Twining’s buttermint tea – I got our food shop done for the rest of the week in less than twenty minutes before work – planning my blog posts right up until we go on holiday in June! – eating a Wispa Gold – looking at our holiday countdown and reading all of the Trip Adivsor reviews on my lunch break – when I finished work Matt and I went for a little shopping trip so I could get myself an early birthday present! I got the Inspire HR Fitbit and my first impressions are great: I’m so happy with it – receiving the sweetest message about this post that went live today – having a super cosy snuggly evening
Thursday 9th May – we got to lay in for a little while – my godmother called me as I was driving to work and we got to chat, catch up and get some plans in the diary for Matt and I to go see them – having just enough Alpro almond milk left for my cereal – coming home from work to the smell of dinner in the Crock Pot (thanks to Matthew making Spanish chicken for us. It was SO GOOD. We make it slightly different each time, but I listed a recipe way back in this post) – getting fresh gel nails – having a hot shower and getting into my comfies after a long day – an idea I had for my blog. Keep your eyes peeled, I’m super excited about it – getting my first badge on my Fitbit, lol! – watching Ambulance with Matt and his parents
Friday 10th May – Matt and I woke up a minute before our alarm went off (this literally makes me giddy hah) – driving to/from work listening to the new episode of Chris & Rosie’s podcast, Sh*gged, Married, Annoyed – eating Burger King for lunch with the girls at work – receiving the cutest text from my cousin after she got a parcel! Matt and I sent her some goodies from The Body Shop and she was so happy it made me happy – fresh bedding. I got us a new set from Amazon, although I definitely should have ironed it first LOL! I just need to pick up some fresh throw pillows to spruce it up a little – Matt arriving home after the longest day – knowing that a week today Matt and I will be at Ramside Hall celebrating my birthday – Ed Sheeran’s new song with Justin Bieber
Saturday 11th May – we went to pick up Matt’s new glasses and he looks SO HANDSOME in them (obviously) – getting our grocery shop done in record time – hinching our bedroom whilst Matt was at work – wearing mom jeans – Savannah‘s Instagram story. I’m so close to booking flights for Matt and I to explore Manistee, her beautiful home town!! – getting Matt some treats whilst I was out (I definitely bought him Percy Pig’s too knowing he’ll share them with me…) – the sweetest lady in Boots giving great customer service – using The Body Shop banana hair mask and having a little pamper evening. It’s the best – snuggling up with Matt, eating sugar cookies and watching Brooklyn 99 after dinner
Now this brings us right up to today, Sunday 12th May. Today I made Matt breakfast in bed before he headed to work, and I’m just about to go to Homesense to pick up some new candles! I have a day of working on the blog planned, followed by yoga, a bubble bath and a cosy night at the Scotney household… I can’t wait! Do I feel better than I did when I began writing this last Saturday? YES. Do I have a fresh perspective on all of the wonderful things in my life? YES. Do I feel extra happy and grateful and blessed for the life I have? YES. Do I still feel a little bit anxious and stressed? YES. Life unfortunately isn’t about moderation; you can feel lots of things at one time, and that’s okay. I love this quote I came across on Instagram a few weeks ago, I think it sums up my thoughts/feelings perfectly:
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it made you smile just a little bit. I hope you’re feeling good, and you too try to focus on the little things that make you happy more in the upcoming week! What has made you happy this past week?
I am so happy it’s officially Spring (even if the temperature outside may not feel like it) but I’m pumped for all of the fun things to come this season. Matt and I are making fun travel plans, we’ve got lots of date days in the books, and we’re switching up our cooking game SO much to make delicious new recipes. Do you know what else I’m super excited for? Cleaning. ‘Tis the season, right?! In an era of self-confessed Hincher’s, cleaning has become a buzzword that we’re all talking about; I discuss my favourite cleaning products with my friends and co-workers in the same way I do my favourite TV shows, it’s literally like a bug we’ve all caught!
In line with my ever-growing obsession with cleaning, it’s time to make a fresh start on my beauty collection. I’ve cleaned out and de-cluttered Marie Kondo style already, but I think I was a little too lenient in a few categories. It’s funny really, because when it came to throwing out Matt’s old t-shirts he hadn’t worn for three years I was practically skipping to the charity shop to get rid of them, however if he’d tried to prise that iconic blush from 2014 out of my hands I’d have been giving all the excuses under the sun as to why I must keep it!
My cleaning for Spring has only just begun, and in the next few weeks I’m going to make the switch over from my Autumn/Winter wardrobe to my Spring/Summer one; another time to declutter, donate and sell items that no longer bring me joy, and this time I’m genuinely excited about doing so. I just love the feeling of everything feeling fresh and new in Spring! Wardrobe switch over videos from my favourite gals, Emma Hill and Anna Newton, have had me dying to do the switch over for weeks, and I’m sure I can convince Matt to get rid of a few more bits too. It’s all about balance, right?! Anyway, there will be more on this in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s all the things I’ve done or am planning to get started on my Spring beauty declutter, and you can join in too!
Clean out your makeup storage It sounds so redundant, but it’s so important to start with a fresh canvas when it comes to any aspect of cleaning and refreshing what you’ve already got. I’d start with emptying everything; whether you’ve got makeup in pouches, bags, acrylic organisers or your back-ups stashed in drawers, put it all into one big pile. Now it’s time to fully clean out your storage; most pouches and makeup bags can go in the wash (make sure to check the label beforehand!) and a good all purpose cleaner should take care of the rest. The one pictured is my absolute favourite,Wild Rhubarb from Method, it’s eco friendly and leaves everything sparkling clean, not to mention the amazing scent fills the whole room way after you’ve finished cleaning.
Sort through your products Before you put back any products into their freshly cleaned homes, check to make sure everything is good to use. This is the basic checklist I follow during a clear out: – Is it safe to use?Makeup products don’t last forever, and chances are if you’ve had a product for over two years it’s no longer safe. Foundations can last anywhere between 12 months to 24 months, most powder products generally are good for 24 months, and lip products should last around 12 months. Mascara is the one product I think everyone – myself included – doesn’t exchange regularly enough, as their expiration date is just three months from opening. All makeup and skincare products have a small square with a number in; this is the recommended lifetime (in months) of the specific product. Be honest with yourself and throw out anything that is no longer safe to use. – Will I actually use this? You may have just picked up a blush only two months ago so it’s definitely safe to use, but now you’ve brought it home it’s apparent that it’s way brighter than it looked in store, and you’d feel like you were in costume as a Russian doll if you wore it. It’s disheartening to donate or throw out products you’ve spent your hard earned cash on, but it’s definitely better to give them a home they’ll be appreciated in, instead of leaving them in a drawer. Any unopened and unused products can be donated to women’s shelters, and that’s always my first choice for those products. Lightly used products may be okay to give to your family or friends, at mutual discretion. If something is old and used up, unfortunately it needs to be thrown out, and I’d recommend handing in your rubbish to your local L’Occitane store, who have a fantastic cosmetic recycling program with Terracycle, all of the details you need are included in the link. – Is this an everyday product or an optional product?My everyday makeup lives in my makeup bag, and I tend to favour the products I know and love to put in here, or something new I’ve bought and am trying out. As Matt and I live between our parents’ houses whilst we’re saving for a house (it’s only for another year or so, and we actually really love it!) it’s so much easier to keep my things in a bag. I keep all of my optional products – I still have nine blushes after my clear out, dear Lord – in a drawer in my vanity table, organised by category. I do switch out products from time to time, whether it’s a concealer or mascara, I go through stages of liking one product for a while then fancying a change. Be realistic, and don’t keep an overwhelming amount of options with your everyday times as you’ll be less likely to try new things.
Wash your makeup brushes Is it just me that feels like my life is approximately 87% more together when my makeup brushes are clean? No? Seriously, it’s one of those tasks I dread, and I put off for way longer than necessary but it’s never as bad as I think. I love the feeling of doing my makeup for the first few days afterwards with freshly cleaned tools, especially when I’ve cleaned my makeup sponge too! I’d really recommend investing in a brush cleansing palette next time you’re feeling spendy as they make the process way quicker and easier, and I genuinely think keeping on top of the cleaning keeps my brushes looking better for longer. Some of my face brushes are about seven years old, most are sadly discontinued but they look good as new because I’ve looked after them. Also, you definitely don’t need to invest in specific brush cleaners, Johnson’s baby shampoo works a trick, and you can get huge bottles at Costco that will last forever!
Shop your stash Re-introducing old favourites is one of my favorite ways to update my makeup bag or skincare routine! Now you’ve sorted out what is still good to use, you’ve almost definitely found products you totally forgot you owned. Please tell me that’s not just me who forgets they’ve purchased things?! I always find lipsticks I’d once loved and worn every day, that had been banished to the back of a drawer and left unloved for months. This is the stage where I’ll probably switch out my mascara (my current one has definitely been used for longer than three months!) and add in a different eyeliner or a new lippie. Always a new lippie. I feel very refreshed after switching out just a few products, as I’d liked what I’d been using for a while I had no desire to change things around, and Matt even noticed! I also found a Jouer eyeshadow pencil that I literally have no recollection of buying, but wow it’s beautiful and it’s become a go-to in my makeup bag over the past week.
Add one or two new items I’m currently doing a Beauty No Buy for April, so I cannot purchase any new makeup or skincare products, except if a product I use every day runs out. However, my favourite part of a clear out has to be realising where the gaps are in your collection, and things that you could do with for the new season. I don’t personally fake tan, but I know lots of people will be picking up an extra shade of their foundation or concealer in darker shades around this time of year, ready for their Spring and Summer tanning. I save that for Summer when I go on holiday, although I probably shouldn’t bother as I gain more freckles than I tan, I wish I tanned like Matt did! I would love to get an everyday highlighter as the only one left in my stash is definitely more for a night out and is pretty heavy on the shimmer. I realise by my confession above that blush is the last thing I ‘need’ to buy but I really want to pick up a Bare Minerals Gen Nude blush as I’ve seen so many people rave about them, and I’ve lusted after one for months!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope this post inspired you to have a clear out of your makeup and maybe re-introduce some old (or new) products! What is your go-to makeup product this Spring? Have you been excited about anything you’ve re-discovered from your collection recently?