Lifestyle: Christmas & Birthday Gifts

I really wasn’t going to do one of these posts. I’m a relatively private person, opening presents in front of those who gave them actually makes me really nervous; not because I don’t think I’ll like the present (the vast majority of people know me so well that I always get something I love!) but because I worry my gratitude will seem false. I’m also really, really slow at opening presents too, it drives my family mad! But I received such lovely, lovely gifts for both Christmas and my 21st that I couldn’t help but share. I hope it goes without saying that this certainly isn’t a bragging post, but more of a thank-you post to my nearest and dearest who gifted so wonderfully. I love you all, and I hope you love your gifts!

And, y’know, I’m really nosey. I’ve loved reading through what other people got, so I thought I’d do the same!

 photo e3e99fa8-edf6-4d1a-a2ae-be4b2a55283e_zps90770c07.jpgI haven’t photographed everything (living between three different houses has it’s complications!), and I probably won’t manage to “list” everything, but I’m truly, truly grateful for everything I’ve received.

 photo aca5ae4f-d8de-471f-9de4-2fa9558aa2f1_zpsff82f1ad.jpgI couldn’t pick a best present, even if my life depended on it. I loved my 21st surprise – instructed that I’d need warm and sensible clothes with decent footwear, it was something I’d got nowhere near guessing! My 50mm camera lens will be getting a lot of use over the coming months – note that it looks huge here as I have it attached to a mount adapter. A Le Creuset roasting dish extends my (orange) collection. I love the brand, they look stunning, cook things beautifully and are blissfully easy to clean. Expensive, but I reckon they are worth gradually buying. I only wish the casserole dishes weren’t so heavy, as I physically can’t lift them! And W amazed me again with an engraved white gold locket. A sentimental present that fits into my everyday life, I love it.

 photo 89021abd-fbe3-4116-a178-cf37125e0c17_zps757c3c56.jpg photo 9505a0f0-84f0-4d83-830a-459e588e3707_zpse21ae840.jpgMakeup wise and my lovely mummy bought me the Hourglass Ambient Light palette way back in September. Hidden in her wardrobe since, it’s every bit as beautiful as I remember. A dream to apply, I can actually contour and highlight my face even without a mirror. Again, expensive. But nothing I’ve used before even gets close to living up to this. I also spent some of my money from W’s parents in MAC on the way back to Surrey, picking up another lipstick. I’m slowly building up my stash, and seem to be picking up less popular colours. Let me know if you’d like to see a post!

 photo d16ccdd4-e1d3-4eba-b500-311731be36fd_zps9b969d00.jpgOne of my most lusted after things of 2014 was a set of heated rollers, and W’s parents so very generously gifted me the Enrapture set for my birthday. I’ve only used them once so far, and considering I did it on my own the results weren’t half bad. My placing was slightly off, I probably should have reheated halfway through, and I definitely noticed the lack of hairspray, but I’m already on my way to being in love. Far easier than curling tongs, and I do feel vintage-ly glamorous!

 photo 00a239c0-f5bb-43e7-8ade-5f2b9252c35b_zpsc11f7247.jpgThis Cath Kidston timer has been on my wish-list since I first spotted it months ago. What is strange is that it wasn’t bought by my boyfriend (who had heard me witter on about it). It wasn’t purchased by my parents, who know that it’s the spitting image of our dog. Nor was it bought by anyone who had actually read my wish-list. Nope, my landlady bought it for me!

 photo 3d5c2b21-9e24-4136-a897-1293d861f4c9_zps2b3af53c.jpgCandles are something I’ve seriously got into in recent months, and I received loads to add to my burn-list. A lovely scented one from a university secret-Santa, a log-fire scent one from Will, and a selection of mini-tins from my parents. Shoreline is an amazing scent, but all of them are pretty gorgeous.

 photo 35343c64-f7bb-4ea9-acd2-14d5872c5ee8_zpsdf768950.jpgNot strictly presents, but some lovely treats this past month too. I recently won a competition run by Curry’s with my post about living with nightmare housemates, and my prize was an ASUS Chromebook. It arrived in time for my birthday, and it’s so lovely. Not a substitute for a laptop as it doesn’t run Office, but great for blogging. I’ve left it at my parents and now don’t have to lug my laptop up and down the country virtually every other weekend, but it will be perfect for university next year! And a massive (7kg!) parcel from The Leather Satchel Co arrived two days before Christmas. I’ve found out I’d achieved a massive figure in my affiliate account (which is now closed, so no discount code at the moment I’m afraid – I’m still looking to work with the company though so keep your eyes peeled!). I ordered my mum an extra present, and myself two beauties from the sale. Will is getting a custom bag too, once he’s decided on colours! This patent taupe satchel has been on my wishlist for a year, and its’s every bit as stunning as I imagined. I love it…though I’m now running out of storage space. I think I’m up to seven satchels now…

Recipe books always feature heavily in my present pile, and this year was no exception. Though I’m having to stop asking for them now until at least after university, as I’m threatening to become overrun. Oops. I received this year’s GBBO book (of which I’ve also made some delicious peanut cookies), lasts year GBBO finalist Ruby’s book (surprisingly scientific, I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into this one) and Paul Hollywood’s Puds & Pies (rabbit pie is on the menu as soon as they are in season!).

 photo a7eaf06f-791c-430d-9af6-41fd7f237c13_zps1b16def8.jpgOne of the main things on my birthday list was a Brown Betty teapot, and my parents certainly delivered with this absolutely perfect one. A two-cup pot, this is just right for long, lazy afternoons. Though I must say, the giant one requiring two handles is definitely going to be mine at some point during my life. My children better like tea! Will bought me a mug (which, although mean, I have to agree with) which is going to live at the office, and he made (yes made!) me some gorgeous hot chocolate. Added to this, he pulled out all the stops with a giant bottle of hazelnut syrups. Cosy nights in for a few months are sorted!

 photo ae571a53-6b34-4cd9-aace-19866e9f8181_zps5c35369d.jpgAdded to these amazing presents are the shower gels (including my all-time favourite Bodyshop Olive scent), the chocolate, the nail polishes, the photoframes, the beautiful photo canvas, and the stunning Zara scarf (so cosy!). I was utterly spoilt, and I’m so thankful to all my friends and family. I only hope my own presents matched up!

So, a very Happy New Year. I hope you all had an amazing Christmas, and that Santa treated you well. What gifts did you receive?

Festive Friday: Gifts for your Guy

Or any guy in fact.

 photo 2014-12-03183234_zps29ddbe27.jpgI love giving presents. I love to put thought and effort into the gift, wrap it nicely (though it still looks horrific), present it with a smile. I feel so happy when someone loves what I’ve bought them. But that often makes the process of actually buying the present horrendous for me. I constantly stress over choices, obsess about what they might already have, and generally just freak out. Buying for my boyfriend is the worst, and I am sure he’d possibly say the same about me!

 photo 2014-12-03183437_zpsc9051f1a.jpgSmall gifts often go down really well, especially alongside something more sentimental, something homemade. I was trying to knit him a scarf this year. As in, I have been trying since January. It’s not gone well, and if he can wrap two rows of hole-y thread around his neck, I’m sure he’d be grateful. But anyway, he’s some ideas for stocking fillers for you man, or bigger gifts for any other guys in your life.

 photo 2014-12-03183314_zps5c8b8ce7.jpg photo 2014-12-03183304_zps4e29a1be.jpgTechnology is always a good bet for a boy! Something different also goes down well too – and I reckon those who “have everything” will love a living room keyboard (Logitech*). Connecting with your TV, it really enhances viewing experiences. More practical and not as exciting, I’ve also included an external hardrive. I wasn’t going to include this, it’s actually part of an insurance post coming in the New Year, but my boyfriend got hold of this one* when I received it and I think he would rather like one himself! Though perhaps with 2TB we can share…

 photo 2014-12-03183329_zpsec39374b.jpgGoing different, and this water bottle with in built filter is a great little stocking filler. I have a bug bear with tap water, as I know I actually get physically ill in different parts of the country due to water. I have one of these which I use for work, and it really does seem to make a difference. Mine’s from Water To Go*, and I highly recommend it!

 photo 2014-12-03183148_zpsf4861e9d.jpg photo 2014-12-03183513_zps8b4346c4.jpgNow for toiletries. Christmas is the time of year where you fill your bathroom cupboards for the next few months! I’m quite picky on guys scents (Paul Smith is my favourite!), and was worried this Ted Baker Gift Tin* wouldn’t be too my taste – but I actually really like it. Nice and fresh, and not too masculine that I can’t borrow it (ahem). They have some great sets with wallets in too, and they’re damn good value. Far nicer smelling than the female version I remember of my teenage years…

So there’s guys stocking fillers…and that’s perhaps not the best way of putting it! Now I better get cracking as he unhelpfully has a birthday right at the beginning of January, and all my ideas have proved impossible.

Do you hate shopping for presents? What have you got your man this Christmas? Any clues for a twenty-first present?!

 

In Pictures: Christmas Holiday

I have a lot of pictures to show from my Christmas holiday and as most of today is being spent on a train back to university (I can’t wait to see everyone again, although I’m already missing the people at home!) I thought I’d just do a simple photo-heavy post and show you them all, with a few explanations. Let me know if you want more lifestyle posts like this…here goes!

2013-12-21 17.47.06

2013-12-21 17.45.43Coming back to my mum’s amazingly decorated tree!

2013-12-21 17.49.50Snuggles with this cutie…

2014-01-03 09.43.46…and this one! I enjoyed spending lots of time with my boyfriend. During term time we’re anywhere between 150 and 200 miles apart, and although we try and see each other every fortnight it’s been great to see him every single day for a long period of time. We tried to do a lot of ‘dates’ this holiday to offset me having to study, and it’s been great!

2014-01-09 13.47.01One of our dates included a wander round Borough Market, where we lunched on this yummy paella.

2013-12-31 10.41.18I received some lovely expensive make-up…

2013-12-28 09.22.09…and got myself some fab bargains!

2013-12-23 15.21.05Did a little bit of baking.

2013-12-31 10.39.10-1And made sure I pampered myself!

2014-01-02 13.49.20Made the most of the Christmas leftovers.

2013-12-31 13.31.54Devoured some bread baked by my boyfriend (and resolved to make my own!)

2014-01-04 19.42.19Made some amazingly good Massaman Curry.

2014-01-11 16.19.00Watched a lovely sunset…

2014-01-11 16.20.53…whilst drinking a yummy hot chocolate!

2014-01-13 19.34.51I was treated to my favourite meal, fish pie! Thank you to both my boyfriend and his mum for their joint effort in this meal, it was wonderful!

BeHwDX8IYAAjbmpAnd this was topped off by lemon-y pancakes with the papers the next morning.

2014-01-15 20.48.02One of our date nights was a lovely Italian meal (paid for via a voucher we received for Christmas) which we finished off with a trip to the local cinema purely for the Ben & Jerry’s counter! I went for Peanut Butter Cup, with is my absolute favourite, and Smores. The perfect combination in my eyes!

And finally, perhaps best of all…

1157450_10151785402043516_1823432763_nYep, I managed to secure my Year in Industry placement which forms part of my degree! I feel really proud of myself for gaining one so quickly, it was my first non-retail/leisure interview, and I didn’t have to start panic-applying to every single placement I could find! I have a few posts set to publish on the University of Kent’s Employability blog about my application journey, but as soon as they are up I’ll be reblogging on here to give some tips. Back to the subject- I’m looking forward to working within the Pricing team of one of the UK’s biggest insurance companies from July, it’ll definitely be a change from university, and it’s an amazing opportunity. So excited!

 

How was your Christmas holiday period?

My Christmas in Pictures

Little bit of a warning, this is rather a picture heavy post. A tad unusual for me, but I think that these pictures say it all. My Christmas was a lovely mixture of family, friends and food – probably one of the best yet.

2013-12-25 09.02.14Day starts with a lovely glass of cava…

2013-12-25 11.58.33…followed by a boiled egg.

2013-12-25 10.05.23Then it’s time to start prepping the gravy. Goose innards, a selection of veg, bay leaves and some water.

2013-12-25 10.12.35A story about our goose: we picked it up on Christmas Eve, then decided to keep it in the car overnight (it was definitely cold enough!). A good idea, until we couldn’t find the car keys on Christmas morning…

After locating the spare set (upon which point we remembered where the real keys were) we prepped it up by simply whacking the oven up to top temperature, scoring the skin, and placing in a tin. And finding out the goose definitely didn’t fit in the oven. All was well though – a bit of butchery and it did, albeit with the leg rubbing on the side of the oven and thus causing the oven to smoke continuously.

2013-12-25 10.01.41The best thing about having a goose – the fat for roasting potatoes! The farm shop we bought ours from provided two bags (one shown above) full, which we put straight in the freezer, and we also “harvested” plenty from the cooking of our bird!

2013-12-25 13.52.33Time to set the table (and start on the wine!)…

2013-12-25 10.02.04…and then it was present time!

2013-12-25 09.09.33Someone was rather protective about his presents…

2013-12-25 09.06.52…and very impatient to open them!

2013-12-25 09.34.20I was thoroughly spoilt, and received this new Radley watch, as well as a hairdryer and some lovely clothes from my parents. I was also treated rather well by my boyfriend, with a selection including the Naked 3 eye pallette which is definitely not leaving my side anytime soon.

2013-12-25 13.52.10By that time, the goose was brown and crisp, and it was time to get on with the vegetables, before sitting down to a very lovely, very yummy Christmas dinner!

2013-12-25 14.14.02If you haven’t tried goose before, I really do recommend it. It’s harder to dry out than turkey, is rich, the leftovers are FAR better (and you get lots – we’re still going!) and it just feels like so much more of a treat. Not to mention it provides enough fat for proper roast potatoes for the whole year!

Have you tried goose? How was your Christmas?

12 Days of Christmas (#11): Christmas Wrapping & Festive Traditions

As I am notoriously always under-prepared for Christmas, I usually spend Christmas Eve wrapping presents. Whilst I doubtlessly complain, I tend to really enjoy it. I’ll tuck myself away with some chocolate, maybe a glass of wine, and plenty of Christmas songs, and I’ll wrap everything up.

I’ve been a littleeee more organised this year, and everything was wrapped up on/by the 23rd, in a red-and-gold theme (I try to stick to themes as much as possible when wrapping, as I think it looks so much better!). I went for cheap wrapping paper and accessories from The Card Factory, and I have to say I’m quite impressed with the quality of the paper – it’s thick and doesn’t tear easily. It doesn’t beat Paperchase, but its not a pain to use so I’d happily buy it again!

2013-12-21 16.16.46

2013-12-21 16.17.59

2013-12-22 10.08.09

2013-12-22 10.07.24

 

I think my presents turned out quite well, especially as I’m not the best wrapper in the world (hence when I go for a colour scheme!). If you want to see amazing present wrapping skills, head over to my friend Libby’s blog!

My other festive traditions are undergoing a bit of a change at the moment, which is strange but also very exciting! My family have always tended to order a takeaway or head out to an Indian on Christmas Eve, but since meeting my boyfriend I’ve preferred to spend the time with him. For the last few years we’ve visited his family Church for the children’s evening service, but this year (due to having no nieces/nephews available to make this a valid option) we’re doing something different. What that something is, we haven’t yet decided! No doubt it will involve yummy food, Christmassy films, and snuggling by a fire.

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? 

 

12 Days of Christmas (#10): Last Minute Gifts

Here’s one for all the lazy boyfriends/husbands/significant others, or those who have just been unorganised in getting things done this year. Yes it is mainly based on gifts for the girls, but that’s only because that’s all I have inspiration for – trust me, it’s not just the boys who run late! I confess that  haven’t actually arranged my boyfriend’s Christmas present yet…

So, if you haven’t bought your girl something yet, or you have a birthday to buy for in the New Year, here’s some good ideas which will hopefully score you brownie points, and maybe save you a few pennies too!

Collage 1I treated myself to a bottle of Oscar de la Renta “Live in Love” perfume after getting some good news on Friday – it was 50% off in store, so keep your eyes peeled. It’s quite a subtle fragrance, fresh and classy, not too girly, and very wearable. I love the vintage style bottle too! House of Fraser have some great bargains at the minute, so it’s really worth having a browse in-store and online!

Naked 3 is one of the most talked about products in the blog world this Christmas – it is gorgeous! I’m very surprised it hasn’t sold out yet!

Finally, I really don’t think you can go wrong with a classic leather watch – I know I wouldn’t complain. I love the Radley watches, as they are affordable and elegant.

Collage 2I got ridiculously excited by this Calculator Cushion – must me the maths geek in me! This would make a fabulous present for a student or potential student if they are mathsy. I know I’d be treating myself if it were a little cheaper!

I’m a real fan of vintage pieces, and I also don’t know a girl who could live without a good make-up mirror. This would look great in any room!

If you aren’t totally sure on what to get, I find cushions and home things are a safe bet. This doorstop is sweet!

Finally, a nice pretty make-up bag. I like to update mine yearly, so this would be a perfect present for me!

 

Of course, if you are really struck for ideas you can go down the vouchers route, but try to think differently from the norm! Go for an expensive shop, so the recipient is forced to treat themselves (though make sure the value of the voucher actually covers something!), buy an experience package, or really think about what they’d appreciate – at this time of year an Amazon giftcard is something I would love, as it would let me fill my Kindle with new books, and then I can snuggle up by the fire to devour them. In fact, that’s what I’m off to do now! Happy shopping!

 

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

 

 

12 Days of Christmas (#7): Secret Santa Gift Guide

I mentioned yesterday that my house did a Secret Santa. I highly recommend this as a cost-saving exercise, for two main reasons. One, you only have to buy for one person, so it will be inevitably cheaper. And two (my favourite!) you end up with a slightly higher budget for this one person, so you can get them something they will truly treasure.

Here’s what I received from my secret Santa (we had a £15-£20 budget);

  • A homemade ‘Tomato-Free’ recipe binder
  • A cake-pop stand, and sticks – guess they’ll be some cake pop recipes coming soon!
  • A festive cupcake set, which I hope to make good use of this weekend
  • A lovely tartan snood, which I’ve absolutely fallen in love with!

I would always recommend that, especially with a slightly larger budget, you try to stick with a theme whilst creating a secret Santa present. I feel it just makes it look so much more expensive, and it seems like a whole lot more thought has gone into it. Here’s my ideas for some Secret Santa gifts!

For the Relaxer

Relax CollageSome girly bubble bath, a nice mug, a good book (I LOVE Dorothy Koomson – I’m hoping her new book “The Flavours of Love” will be in my stocking this year) and some yummy hot chocolate.

For the Prospective Student

Student Collage

A good pretty pencil case, some lovely photo frames, a cheap and easy cookbook (this is a personal favourite) and some bed linen – I highly recommend H&M’s offerings as they are 100% cotton and very comfortable!

For the Fashion Conscious

Fashion Collage

A winter-berry nail polish (I’m lusting over this shade at the moment!), a pretty purse, an on-trend ‘curtain’ material scarf (loving this one!) and a good lipstick.

As for what I got when I was playing Secret Santa? You’ll have to wait until tomorrow!

Do you like giving secret gifts?

12 Days of Christmas (#3): Gifts For The Man In Your Life

I will confess that the products that on this post aren’t the cheapest and most budget friendly options, but (1) I have to avoid posting exactly what I have got my boyfriend or dad, and (2) I try and do my Christmas shopping in advance, so most things I would have originally chosen are long gone. I’ll give some cheaper ideas in the post too, but a lot of those don’t photograph too well! All photographs are taken from the links given.

Collage

 

From left to right, top to bottom, we have…

  • A box of classic ales. Beer or cider always goes down well!
  • A cute Christmassy jumper – I love this one!
  • Some kind of manly cooking course – this Pie & Pint one local to my home looks amazing! I’d want to book one that we could both do together though, as I’m greedy!
  • A scarf – I love the tartan styles ones around at the moment. I bought a lambswool one (before they became fashionable I’ll have you know!) during the Edinburgh Fringe and I love it!
  • A Make Your Own Bacon Kit – how cool does this look?! I can’t think of many men who would be disappointed to find this in their stocking!
  • A good leather wallet – Ebay has some fab offerings, like this one.
  • A funny book is something I think is a great little stocking filler. I’ve done FML ones in the past, but I desperately want to read this Exam Fails one!
  • If you know your man’s style well enough (I find they are quite personal things) then a watch is a good idea. Argos seems to have some good looking and relatively cheap ones (I like this). There’s currently an offer on too, so definitely have a look!
  • Finally, some aftershave. I’ve bought W this Paul Smith since the beginning of our relationship, and I love the smell.

Other ideas I have include finding a small plastic toy (try toy shops) version of his favourite animal, IOU’s (whatever you like – cooking, household chores, etc…), gift-cards for places such as Cineworld or restaurants (if all goes well, a nice date night for you!), or a selection of DVD’s and sweet treats to make your own night in. If you have met at university (and so will be spending Christmas apart), a nice photoframe filled with you two is a nice idea too! Basically, I like to think of presents I’d like to receive, make them a little more masculine, and then find those. And that way, it means if he doesn’t like something, I get to keep it!

What is Santa bringing your man this year?

12 Days of Christmas (#2) – Dear Santa

Today I’m going to show you what’s on my Christmas list. I’m lying a tad, in that I didn’t ask for a few things because I knew they were over budget, or they’re things I’m planning to treat myself to. And of course, if anyone wants to buy me Naked 3, you can email me to get my address…

CollageFrom left to right, top to bottom we have…

A cute raspberry/plum toned nail polish. I’m desperate for one of these colours, not too fussy about brand (as long as it doesn’t take five billion coats to be a smooth finish)- I just think it’s the perfect winter shade!

Bodyshop’s Ultimate Brush Collection. I know this will be in my stocking this year, because I ordered it myself (thank you Love Your Body discount!). I’m very excited to get these brushes. Photograph from Essie Button.

A lovely jumper. I’m not really one for Christmassy jumpers on me (they just don’t sit right on my body shape), so I’d far sooner have a pretty classic to wear instead. This one is sparkly but still sophisticated, and I’m in love!

I said I’m not one for Christmassy jumpers, but I love this one as it’s not too cheesy.

I’m in the mood for a new perfume, and at the moment I’m quite taken by my namesake – Chloe. I’ll have to try this on my skin before committing it to Santa’s sack though!

This curler has been well talked about on the internet lately, and I’m so intrigued. I don’t particularly like to heat style my hair, but it would be nice to have a safer option than going natural when it comes to placement interviews!

I know, I know, I don’t NEED another Filofax, I have two (see here and here). But Plum Osterley’s are just so pretty, and I want one so much…

I think it is pretty obvious on this blog that my camera specs aren’t great – I love the ease of wireless uploading, so I’m loathe to part with money for a camera when I know I’ll revert to not using it. This bit of gear would solve that, but its just so, so, so expensive. Well, well out of my student budget anyway! If anyone knows of a cheaper option, please let me know!

Quite a few cookery books made it onto my list this year. Bread by James Morton (because I loved him on Bake Off, I want to bake more bread, and he is the spitting image of my boyfriend), The Leftovers Handbook (it just looks so useful!), James Martin’s Fast Cooking (I just love his recipes), and Save with Jamie.

 

There we are, that’s what I’m secretly hoping Santa will bring me. Of course, I’m not expecting a lot as I’d sooner my parents spend money on a food shop for me next term! The thing I’m looking forward to most of all on Christmas morning – watching everyone else unwrap the presents I’ve carefully chosen them – I hope they like them!

What’s on your Christmas list?

 

 

Birthday Thanks

It was my birthday a few quite a few days ago, and I’ve been meaning to do this post since to show you all what fabulous friends I have. Now, I now we are all in the same boat, all on a very tight budget, and so I really don’t expect gifts at all, let alone some of the wonderful things I received. Everything I was given was just totally ‘me’ and I love it all – it shows what great friends you have when everything they buy you is perfect!

2013-12-05 10.27.41Here’s just a selection of what I got!

  • First up is the canvas at the back. Amazing, my housemate actually painted that herself. When I realised she hadn’t bought it, I feel in love with it that little bit more. It’s absolutely stunning, and will look good in both my student room, and my dream-bedroom I’m planning for when I finally have my own house.
  • Then there’s the apron in the corner, which another housemate asked her mum to make for me (seriously wish I had a mum that could sew, let alone wishing that I could sew something like this!). Between this and another friend gifting me a recipe binder, you’d think they were hinting at me doing some baking! But honestly, I love both of the gifts, and they will be so, so  useful. Not to mention that a floral apron was actually on my Christmas list!
  • Lots of chocolate, which is helping me get through a period of stressful assessments and placement applications (I so wish there were more actuarial industrial placements available!). Plenty of fluffy socks, which are vital as we have a cold kitchen floor. Plus I love fluffy socks, and wear them pretty much constantly. I have been known (accidently of course) to shower in them…
  • A 2014 calendar, which will go perfectly in my room. And it’swipe clean, so great for tracking assessments and important to-do’s. Looking forward to using this!
  • A new Cath Kidston mug. I love my Cath Kidston mugs, they’re a perfect size for hot chocolates, so I love that I now have two at university!
  • Libby was shocked to hear this year that despite wearing dresses/skirts with tights a lot, I’ve never tried Primark’s super-cosy tights, so she treated me to a pair. Once this horrible wind dies down, and I’m not in danger of flashing anything, I’ll be trying these. Is is weird to be so excited about a pair of tights?
  • I was also treated to some new make-up, and related bits-and-pieces, including a MAC blusher I’ve wanted for five long years. It’s been worth the wait!

But what was my best present? Well, we all went out for a meal for my birthday, and it turns out that everyone had been secretly talking behind my back. It turns out that one of the people I had invited had deliberately agreed, despite knowing she wasn’t coming. Because my wonderful friends had arranged to get my boyfriend down to my university town and surprise me. They’d been planning for WEEKS, everyone knew (including my mother, who nearly let it slip a few hours beforehand!) and they managed to keep it a total surprise, although I did start getting a little suspicious at various points. To everyone who was in on this and made this happen – thank you so much, you will never know how grateful I was to spend my birthday, and an extra few days, with my boyfriend. Those in long-distance relationships will understand!

So that’s it, a quick round-up of my wonderful presents, and my even-more wonderful friends. Thank you guys – I love you all!