The Beauty Edit: Wave Goodbye to Chapped Hands

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{The Laura Mercier La Petite Patisserie Hand Crème Quartet comes in a long tube – just the right size to fit in a Christmas stocking!}

One of my favourite stocking fillers this Christmas (thank you Santa!) was Laura Mercier’s La Petite Patisserie Hand Crème Quartet. I have dry skin anyway and my hands always look terrible in the winter – chapped and scaly with a texture like sandpaper. The only thing that keeps the dryness at bay is religiously applying cream every time my hands have been in water, but it is so easy to forget. This pack of four 1 oz. tubes of luxurious handcream means that I can keep one in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and my handbag. With four delicious fragrances – Almond Coconut Milk, Crème Brulée, Crème de Pistache and Fresh Fig – an added bonus is that your hands are not only velvety soft but also smell good enough to eat. In fact, when I was putting my son to bed last night after applying the Crème Brulée hand cream he said ‘Mummy your hands smell like sweeties!’ High praise indeed!

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{In this picture you can see another Christmas present: my new favorite nail polish, Essie’s Good as Gold}

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Christmas 2014

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with joy, presents, food, friends and family. Was Santa generous this year?

Unfortunately I was hit by the flu virus at the start of the week and by Christmas Day was suffering from a terrible head cold & a temperature of 39C 😦 Not quite the Christmas I wanted, but I managed to struggle on and enjoyed a lovely lunch with the in-laws and LOTS of present opening before collapsing into bed at 6pm. I’m slowly on the mend now and enjoying a few lazy days at home with my family, including much Lego building, watching Christmas films and consoling Baby Annabel when she cries (no, not a new bundle of joy, just the very lifelike doll that Clemmie got For Christmas!)

Given that I wasn’t exactly feeling on top of the world, I didn’t manage to take that many pictures on Christmas Day but here are a few from the last week:

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{Baking gingerbread biscuits is a tradition in our household. I buy ready made dough from the Swedish shop so it is easy-peasy, just roll it out and let the children go wild with the cookie cutters}

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{Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a few board games. Our favourites are Monopoly (ideally the Junior version as it doesn’t go on for hours) and Cluedo}

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{All ready for Father Christmas. I bought new personalised Christmas stockings for the children this year as the old ones were in such as sorry state}

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{This beautiful dragonfly necklace by British jeweller Alex Monroe was hiding in my Christmas stocking. Santa has obviously been reading my blog!}

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{And finally, the children in all their finery before Christmas lunch with the in-laws}

Wishing you all a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! X

 

 

Five (or more!) on Friday

It’s that crazy busy time of year again as Christmas approaches at seemingly lightning speed. Only six days to go now folks! I am pleased to say that I have finished all my shopping, written all my Christmas cards and even started on the wrapping (unheard of until now as I can usually be found wrapping the last presents at 1am on Christmas Day!) It’s so easy to get carried away with the stress of it all but this year we decided to keep it fairly simple, limit the number of presents we give and just concentrate on enjoying having quality time together.

The only thing I still want to do is find the time to bake some traditional Swedish saffron buns and gingerbread biscuits with the children. I ordered some ready made gingerbread dough so hopefully it shouldn’t be too taxing. Today is the last day of school so we are planning a trip to the park this afternoon followed by pizza. A great way to start the holidays!

Here are a few pictures from the last week or so, via Instagram:

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{I went into town to finish off my Christmas shopping last week and started my three hour shopping session with a gingerbread latte and croissant at Starbucks}

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{A lovely night out with my very best friend from school who came over from Ireland to celebrate her birthday at Zuma in Knightsbridge. Lots of bubbly, yummy Japanese food and great company – life doesn’t get much better!}

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{The festive countdown continued with a Christmas concert at Casper’s Beaver Scout group where he played a wonderful piano solo…}

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{..and a very sweet Christmas show by Clemmie’s little ballet class}

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{The tree is finally up. I tried hard to curb my OCD tendencies this year and put the kids in charge of the decorations. OK, so maybe I moved one or two baubles but I think it turned out OK!}

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{The Christmas cards have all been written…}

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{..and the Swedish Christmas food order has arrived safely}

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{We even had time for a trip to the park last weekend to make the most of the dry weather.}

Hope you have a wonderful weekend whether you’re doing some last minute shopping, preparing for the Christmas feast or just putting your feet up and enjoying the festive mood! X

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas time

If we overlook the tiny little fact that we don’t yet have a Christmas tree, our house is starting to look very festive indeed. The tree will definitely be purchased this weekend and then we can hopefully sit back and enjoy the seasonal cosiness. We’re having some major building work done at the moment and I’m very relieved that the builders told us this week that the kitchen will remain intact until the new year. Somehow, I did not relish the thought of attempting to cook Christmas dinner in the microwave!

Meanwhile, the schools have started the rather grueling countdown to the Christmas holidays. I know it’s all good fun and I’d hate to sound like the Grinch but at the moment emails are being fired at me left, right and centre about Christmas concerts, class parties, Christmas hat day, Christmas jumper day, Christmas mini market etc etc. To be honest, the children are all completely exhausted and as they don’t actually seem to be doing any work at the moment maybe the schools should consider breaking up this Friday rather than next…

At least my Christmas shopping is done now, after numerous Amazon orders and a four hour session in town today. All that remains is the wrapping and of course sending out the Christmas cards (I bought pre-printed ones this year to save time) and then I really will put my feet up and sip a glass or two of mulled wine.

How are your Christmas preparations going?

 

Five on Friday

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{Last Sunday was the First of Advent so we lit the first of our four Ikea candles. We’re slowly starting to put some Christmas decorations up but have yet to buy a tree..}

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{The best thing about winter: cosy evenings in front of the fire with a glass of red wine and a good movie.}

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{‘Tis the season of the nativity plays and this year I have three (!) to go to. The first one, by Clemmie’s class, was this week and it was very sweet. In case you’re wondering, she was one of six Inn Keepers!}

Beautiful Mess Planner

 

{One of my New Year’s resolutions for next year will definitely be to get organised and to this end I have purchased the brand new 2015 planner by A Beautiful Mess.}

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{The beauty goodies from the Liberty London Advent calendar have brightened up the grey mornings this week. So far I’ve uncovered an Aromatherapy cleanser, a Nail and Cuticle serum, a Nars blusher (my favourite item so far) and a £25 discount voucher to the hair salon run by celebrity hairdresser Josh Wood. Not bad and I still have 19 drawers to go!}

Hope you all have a great weekend! X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas has come early!

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December got off to a very good start for me as I padded downstairs this morning to grab my morning coffee and spotted the much coveted Liberty Beauty Advent calendar in our living room! Someone has obviously been reading my blog…

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Even nicer in real life, this lovely advent calendar will definitely make it easier to get out of bed on grey and dreary mornings. Today’s drawer, decorated in pretty Liberty fabric, was hiding a Lavender and Wild Chamomile soap that smells absolutely divine.

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I’ve resisted looking at the contents list that came with the calendar so that each day will be a surprise. And, as there aren’t any chocolates in there, just yummy beauty treats, the kids won’t be wrestling to get their hands on my Advent goodies! Plus it gives me a good excuse to blog every day when a new drawer is opened. So all in all a real winner. A huge thanks to my (not so secret) Santa.

And, of course, Happy December to you all!

Currently Coveting #27: The Liberty Christmas Calendar

Liberty Christmas Calendar

 

With only 36 days to go until Christmas Day, the festive countdown has well and truly begun. In a few days’ time I will have to go up into the loft to hunt down the children’s wooden advent calendar and put it on the mantlepiece, ready to be filled with chocolates on December 1. This year though I rather fancy an advent calendar of my own and, as much as I love chocolate, my sights are set on this beauty calendar from Liberty. With a gorgeous picture of the iconic Regent Street store on the front, inside each Liberty Print decorated box hides a decadent beauty treat, from skincare to scent and everything in-between. If you’ve ever visited Liberty’s Beauty Hall you will know what a fabulous selection of must-have beauty buys there is to choose from.

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This Week’s Favourites

I guess I’m not alone in feeling slightly down in the dumps tonight as two weeks of Christmas holiday and family time draw to a close. Tomorrow the kids go back at school and preschool and I’m back at work (luckily I work from home so no commuting in the rain). It does feel like we’ve had a proper break and, although I don’t relish the thought of having to drag the children out of bed at 7.15am, hopefully we all have a bit more energy than before the holidays.

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We kicked off this week with a trip to Hampton Court ice rink. The boys did really well, ice skating in the pouring rain and howling wind, and were rewarded with hot chocolate topped with whipped cream afterwards.

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Rain, rain and more rain meant that indoor activities were mostly on the agenda this week. Luckily there were lots of new Christmas toys and games to keep us busy like this ice cream play dough set:

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I didn’t manage to take any pictures at all on New Year’s Eve. We were invited to a party at a friend’s house but as Clemmie had a cold she and Daddy stayed at home while the boys and I went for a couple of hours. All the kids were tucked up in bed well before midnight and the hubby and I gave the televised Big Ben countdown a miss and watched a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad instead. Does it get any more rock n roll?

The highlight of my week was without a doubt our trip into town last night to see the English National Ballet performance of The Nutcracker. With the children safely deposited at the grandparents, we took the train up London just the two of us, for the first time in ages. The weather had brightened up so we went for a walk around Covent Garden, taking in all the festive decorations like the giant red baubles..

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..and the massive Rudolph complete with shiny red nose.

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We had dinner at Balthazar, which opened its London outpost a few months ago.

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Delicious food and a glass of bubbly to set the mood..

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..before we made our way to the Coliseum for the performance.

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I saw The Nutcracker a few times as a child but my husband had never seen it before. We both agreed that it was a great night out and I’m sure we will go to the ballet again in the not too far future.

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As we had some time before our train, we decided to walk across the bridge to Waterloo Station…

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..and I was reminded of how much I love this city and how lucky we are to have all that it offers right on our doorstep.

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Today has been spent taking down the Christmas decorations, hoovering up thousands of pine needles (those things get everywhere! I’m sure I’ll still be finding some under the sofa come June), and getting the boys’ bags ready for school. With the alarm set for 7am, I’m going to have a cup of tea and some chocolate (no need to rush into the January healthy eating regime!) in front of the TV before heading off to bed. Wish me luck for tomorrow morning! X

Aww, Santa you shouldn’t have…

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{The gifts bearing my name this year included a pair of classic short Ugg boots, the Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette, a Diptyque Baies scented candle, a scarf from American Vintage, Jamie Oliver’s latest cook book and a pair of slippers from The White Company.}

As we tumble headfirst into 2014, Christmas Day is already starting to feel like a distant memory. Our Christmas tree and decorations are still up but by this weekend they will be packed away again for another year. While the festive season is all about being together, enjoying each others company (well mostly anyway – Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the little arguments that seem to rear their head after the turkey has been polished off), it is always nice to find a few presents under the tree. Judging by Santa’s generosity, I must have been a very good girl this year…

Now we’re off to battle the crowds and indulge in a bit of Sales shopping as well as exchanging a couple of gifts. With less than 12 hours remaining of 2013 I wish you all a very happy New Year! X

Our Christmas in Pictures

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I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Ours went by in a flash but it was wonderful and definitely one that we will remember and treasure for many years to come. Since having children, we have always spent Christmas at home or at our parents’ houses (which are less than half an hour away) so I was looking forward to going away to celebrate both Christmas and my father’s 70th birthday together with my parents and my sister’s family. From the moment we arrived at Moonfleet Manor in Dorset I felt all the stress from the run-up to the festive season melt away. The Georgian manor house was beautifully decorated with Christmas trees in all the downstairs rooms and mantlepieces heaving with pine and cone garlands. No meals to cook, no house to clean and no need to worry about entertaining the children as there was a swimming pool, games rooms and a huge indoor play area with room to play football and tennis as well as a soft play area for the younger ones. I even had time to read a book and, after a busy Christmas Day with stockings in the morning followed by a treasure hunt which ended in a truly magical Santa’s Grotto, my sister and I booked in for a relaxing facial and massage on Boxing Day. And of course, lots and lots of food, including a six course Black Tie gala dinner on our last night – so healthy eating is definitely on the agenda for January!

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Back home there were more presents to open under the tree (with only a small car we couldn’t bring any big gifts with us) including a dolls house for Clemmie and a new games console for the boys, which they were up playing early this morning. We managed to drag them away for a few hours to go to the zoo and enjoy the sunshine (a welcome change from the horrible rain and wind).

The boys have just gone to bed and when I said goodnight I asked what they thought was the best part of Christmas. I expected them to say ‘Getting a Lego set or an Xbox’ but they both replied ‘being together at the hotel and seeing our cousins’ which made me so happy because, to me, that is what Christmas is all about: family and togetherness.

There are still a few more lazy days to enjoy before reality kicks in again and I, for one, intend to make the most of them by doing not very much at all! X