Give a little, get a little

Given that I’m half way to deciding which way to decorate my tree and have already started on the mulled wine, I’d say that Christmas is getting pretty darn close. And for the first time ever I’m one present away from being totally ahead of the game this year.

However, I still feel for those of you that are in the midst of a total present-based panic; Christmas almost isn’t the same without it. Almost.

If you’re still struggling with gift inspiration, but are also faced with a serious lack of festive funds, then look no further than the British Heart Foundation this year.

Charity shops are the places to shop theses days, promising plenty of purse-friendly vintage finds. And many are, to the surprise of some, branching out into the mainstream gift market. The British Heart Foundation is one such example, and has an excellent combination of old and new. For example, this Christmas I’ll mainly be accessorizing my outfits with these beauties:

Painted bead necklace, £5.99

Wood disc necklace, £5.99

Mixed bead necklace, £5.99



















This is just a taste of what you can find on the British Heart Foundation’s website (click right here for that), and, of course, the best part is that shopping here ensures you’ll be giving a little to those less fortunate over the festive season.

It’s almost guilt-free shopping; is there anything better than that, I ask?!


Bathtime Bliss

So, it’s officially winter. And whilst I’m not entirely happy about that (bar the impending Christmas festivities, obviously), I am happy that Bathtime is Back.

Aside from a Starbucks gingerbread latte, cold winter nights were made for baths. And this year I’ve gone all out on a mad mission to banish the seasonal blues.

So gone is the obligatory bottle of Matey and in its place are all these glorious goodies, which will cater for just about everyone’s tastes and budgets…

Lush-ious winter legs
I’m not going to lie, a little part of me breathes a sigh of relief when it gets too cold to get the legs out. This year, however, I’m determined to keep them looking tip top under my tights, and this is where the trusty Lush comes in handy.

Sugar Plum Fairy shower scrub, £1.95

The Sugar Plum Fairy shower scrub is an easy and effective way to keep legs silky soft and smooth, and used regularly will help reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Scented with jasmine and ylang ylang, as well as plum kernal oil, this really does smell just as good as it looks.



If you’re in the shower already, then why not follow this up with some Iced Wine shower jelly? There’s something completely novel about washing with jelly. Especially when it smells like wine. Iced wine is a traditional Canadian winter drink, made by picking frost-bitten grapes. The grapefruit oils and bergamot used in this make it smell deliciously citrusy – and if you’re in need of a quick wake-up call on a dark and dreary winter morning then look no further; apparently this works wonders if you freeze or chill it just before using!

Iced Wine shower jelly









But if the thought of being cold indoors when it’s also cold outdoors is just too much, then this is the perfect winter warmer.

Gingerbread House bubble bar, £2.45

Lush’s Gingerbread House bubble bar almost looks too cute to use. Not only does this smell exactly how Christmas should, the infusion of ginger powder works to stimulate your circulation, thus warming you right through.

Plus, it turns the bath bright orange. Need I say more.




Hot hotel chic
You know how when you go to a posh hotel you can’t help but get excited about the free bath products that magically appear every morning? Well I secretly want my own bathroom to be like that too. I love having things on display that guests can use. Not that I have that many guests, but you kind of get the idea.

That’s why I’ve fallen in love with Waitrose’s Umi bath collection. Everything looks uber chic and just like it could be plucked from a glitzy hotel, yet it’s so reasonably priced.

Umi bath soaks gift set, £10.00

This is a great treat for anyone who likes something a little bit different. Each bath soak is specifically designed to relax you in its own unique way: there’s Fig & Walnut, which promises to ‘refresh mind and body’; Linden Blossom, to ‘relax the body and mind’; Hot Chilli Chocolate, to ‘indulge the senses’; and Palm Milk & Acacia Honey, which will ‘indulge mind and body’.

These will look great on any bathroom shelf.




If you’re after the ultimate in relaxation, though, then I’d have to suggest giving this a go:

Umi gift set bath soak & candle

The Palm Milk & Acacia Honey bath soak will leave your skin seriously soft, while the vanilla scented candle just makes bathtime that little bit more sophisticated.

I didn’t pretend I was bathing at The Ritz at all. Really.





Wash and go
Sometimes in life, only a shower will do. As much as I love bathing, there’s just not always the time. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring though, and the new Treaclemoon range of shower goodies available at Tesco are anything but.

Treaclemoon Those Lemonade Days bath and shower gel, 500ml, £2.95

Treaclemoon That Vanilla Moment bath and shower gel, 500ml, £2.95

Treaclemoon Lovely Mint bath and shower gel, 500ml, £2.95










Vibrant and cheerful, these will certainly pick you up on any dull, dark morning this winter. And the best bit? A little goes a very long way, and not only do they smell good while you’re using them, the scent lingers for a surprisingly long time post-shower – both in the bathroom and on your skin.

Spa Complete Cleansing Experience, £4

And then there’s this. Much like the Waitrose gift sets before it, the quality of this Spa Complete Cleansing set easily matches anything you’d find in a typical up-market hotel. Choose between Calming, Invigorating, Relaxing or Purifying and shower time will be a whole lot more glamorous!


That’s not to say Tesco has completely neglected us bath lovers, though. There are a whole range of gorgeous gift sets in-store this season, but this is my absolute favourite…

Natural Extracts Lavender Gift Collection, £4.90

The Orange Flower, French Lavender and Rose Flower bath oils are almost too good to take out of their vintage-inspired packaging. Use one at a time, or if you fancy mixing it up a bit, put a small drop of each into hot running water for complete relaxation.





You can’t beat a treat
Every now and then, one product comes along that’s just worth every penny you spend on it. This next one fits that category about ten times over. It’s slightly pricier than the rest of the products featured, but if you’re looking to treat yourself to one luxury item that’ll see you right through the winter and into spring, then this should be it.

Elemis Skin Nourishing Bath Milk, 400ml, £39.00

Enter Elemis, and its Skin Nourishing Bath Milk. Containing a unique blend of Milk Protein, Japanese Camellia Oil, Lavendar, Chamomile and Oat Extract, this creamy blend promises to nourish, soothe and smooth dry, sensitive skin.

Although it doesn’t froth up the way a conventional bubble bath might, the milkiness of this product gives it a very luxurious feel and smell – one that’s not a million miles away from baby powder – and genuinely leaves skin feeling soft and clean after use.

What I like most about this, though, is that it’s been specifically designed to help combat a range of hard to shift skin conditions – from dry skin and acne, through to dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. As a life-long sufferer of eczema myself, I can personally vouch for the skin soothing properties of this product. And you don’t even have to have a bath to benefit – Skin Nourishing Milk is so mild it can be used directly on stubborn areas of skin, bringing relief to dryness, itchiness and even sunburn.

This is a genuine investment for anyone who really wants to indulge their skin this winter but perhaps isn’t normally able to due to allergies or sensitivity that ordinary bath ingredients might exacerbate.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sit in the bath until Easter.

Lip Sync

If there’s one thing I’m meticulous (read: borderline obsessive) about, it’s skin care. If awards could be given for cleansing, toning and moisturising, then I’d have a wall full.

However, the one thing I’m not meticulous about is looking after my lips. I appreciate the irony; while my face is smooth, soft and fresh, my lips are a flaky, chapped nightmare (a pretty picture, no?).

But all that could be about to change. Last week, I discovered two little miracle products that are set to protect and perfect my pout this winter.

Enter Lush, who I imagine most of you, if not all, will be familiar with by now. If you aren’t, then I advise you to go and find your nearest store and stand outside for a few seconds – the name will soon speak for itself.

Anyway, in my newfound quest for a seriously smooth smile I picked up this dynamic duo, from their new Christmas-inspired Frost Fair range:

Lip Dip lip scrub. Contains scrubby sherbet, Fairtrade sugar and almond oil.










I’ll be the first to confess I’ve never used lip scrub before, but this stuff has completely converted me. Containing actual sherbet and a sprinkling of Fairtrade sugar, this is the ultimate in sweet treats.

The pot instructs you to rub a little over each lip, but I found it worked best when lips were rubbed together after application.

And for the record, it actually tastes even better than it smells, though I’m not entirely sure whether licking the product off your lips (repeatedly) is to be strictly advised. Anyway…

…Following the scrubbing session came some much needed moisturising. And what could be better than this:

Snow Fairy tinted lip balm (£3.95). Contains softening murumuru butter, along with cupuacu butter, dried raspberries, sherbet and icing sugar.










Although it looks a daring shade, this actually comes across as more of a subtle sheen when applied to the lips, giving a hint of colour that could be built on to give a more dramatic look if you so wish. Again, this smells sensational – just think of those classic fruit salad sweets and you’re on the right lines here.

And the best bit? Snow Fairy doubles up as a cheek highlighter too, proving itself a useful make-up bag multi-tasker.

This is definitely an example of how good things can come in small packages; these portable pout perfecters need only be used sparingly, so should easily see you through the long, cold winter months.*

So beat the rush, head to Lush and your lips will be sore no more!**

*Assuming you don’t use them obsessively. Which I have not. At all.

**Sorry. I couldn’t resist.