Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmas Day Dress


Dress: c/o Bon Prix - Necklace: Punky Pins - Shoes: New Look




Even though I spend Christmas at home and don't really have visitors I still like to make a bit of an effort and wear something fun. I'm in work most of the time and don't really go on nights out anymore (much prefer a night in with some tea and a movie in my old age) so it's nice to have a reason to get dressed up. This year I'm going to be wearing this lovely dress in festive red with some added sparkle from the Bon Prix party wear range. It's available on next day delivery so still time to get one for yourself before Christmas but I recommend sizing up if you're full across the top. I've also spotted Perelandra wearing a shimmery Bon Prix number and looking smoking hot. 

Do you like to get dressed up at Christmas or do you spend a whole week in your PJs?

Gemma
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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Bathtime bliss gifts


When you think about receiving bath gift sets for Christmas it conjures up memories of being gifted  Lavemder scented sets or Lynx is always a go-to set for teenage boys. They inevitably end up at the back of your bathroom cabinet or a shelf in a charity shop in January. Does anyone ever use the body crème or bath salts that come in the gift sets we get? How many body puffs do you actually need? 

I think I'm right in saying most of us would prefer one really good quality gift over a 3 for 2 Boots deal, some chocolate and some slippers. You can ditch the gift sets with a lip gloss and flannel that nobody ever uses and pick one top notch gift this Christmas which will earn you a wide smile from whoever your cherished recipient is.

You could opt for one big gift like a robe which will be soft and warm to wrap up in when you leave the bath or a radio with batteries so it can be cable free in the bathroom. You could even make your own hamper filled with all of the recipients favourite things. I'm going to be doing this for my brother this year (Sorry if you're reading this Geraint. Surprise!) and pick and mix from all of their favourite brands. Wilko sell small baskets and the clear wrap to cover them and tie up with a bow. Voila, perfect present. If a gift is bespoke or well thought out you know won’t get forgotten about or even worse – re-gifted!

Here are some of my top picks for gifts which will brighten up bath time this Christmas or look great in a hamper:

  1. Yankee Candle, Warm Glow - A crisp scent of frosted leaves on snow-covered trees in the cool air, all warmed by golden amber sun rays. Doesn't it sound divine? A perfect what to create a relaxing bath environment. 
  2. Cath Kidston floral robe - Perfect to slip on when you applying your post bath body butter.
  3. Father Christmas Bath Bomb, Lush - A perfect stocking filler for £3.65
  4. This pastel radio would love lovely in a kitchen but works with batteries as well as being mains powered so it can travel to the bathroom to provide a musical accompaniment 
  5. If you're going to have a properly luxurious bath a glass of fizz is essential, this mini bottle is perfect for one. 
  6. Cole & Co Fig and Cassis Soap - I had to include something Welsh, I do go on about Wales aaaall the time. This soap is handmade on the island of Anglesey and with a fruity and woody scent is perfect for both the guys and girls in your life. 
  7. Lindt chocolate - Lidlt chocolate is my all time favourite, I want this gift myself. Someone run me a bath right now, pop a bath bomb in and leave these chocolates on the side!
  8. This Bath Pastille set from Miss Patisserie is great for your Vegan and animal loving friends as it is completely cruelty free but also paraben free.
  9. If you're going all out and aiming to impress the Origins Superstars Mini set is ideal. They fit in an overnight toiletries bag or a handbag and are a good way to see what products suit you before buying the full sized ones. 
What is the worst gift you have ever received? I know you you guys are not ungrateful but I bet you have unwrapped some hilariously bad presents at some point. My nan is fond of finding a bargain in a charity shop and once gave me a Bros watch about a decade after Bros were a thing...

*This post was written in collaboration with Mira Showers

Gemma
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Sunday, 6 December 2015

#DeliverMyDrinks - Rock Rose Gin





I LOVE gin, I really do. It's always my drink of choice and I either go for a simple G&T or a gin cocktail like a bramble on a night out or when relaxing at home. My love of gin meant I was really excited when a beautifully boxed Rock Rose Gin arrived at my house courtesy of 31DOVER.COM. Rock Rose Gin is in the Top 50 food and drink products in Britain as voted by the Great Taste Awards. It sounded pretty top notch so I couldn't wait to get stuck in.

It is hand-distilled by Dunnet Bay Distillers up in Caithness Scotland. Rock Rose Gin gets its name from the botanical Rhodiola rosea which is rose that grows in the rocks. The botanicals are foraged along the cliffs of the Pentland Firth. It is sweet, floral, with a botanical taste and is perfect paired with Fever Tree tonic and some orange peel. It comes in a pretty ceramic bottle which is currently sitting proudly on my shelf. 

The gin was sent by 31DOVER.com which is the UK’s leading online drinks vendor. They stock sought after drinks, price match and deliver next day as standard. You can order anything from one bottle or a whole party, send a gift or stock up on wine. There's a highly curated selection on offer that are personally tested by all of the 31DOVER.com team. There are your favourite brands and things you might not have heard of before. 

If you want to give 31DOVER.com a try (I highly recommend the Rock Rose gin) you can use my exclusive discount code 31GEM2 to get 10% off until 20th December. perfect for a Christmas day toast or NYE tipple. 

Gemma
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Thursday, 3 December 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

A picture of a Christmas jumper

Jumper: c/o George at Asda  - Necklace: Punky Pins

A photo of a christmas bauble on tree


a picture of a red robin on a christmas tree


It's finally December which meant that I put the Christmas tree up straight away, stocked up on mulled wine and I've started sporting my festive outfits. I was very keen this year and my festive bedding went on a week early and I don't even care, I love Christmas! 

I know it is a bit early to be getting so excited and I've been informed by colleagues that you're not supposed to put your tree up until 12 days before Christmas but I live with my partner in our own home now so we'll do what we like. Who's with me?! 

I've got a few novelty dresses and accessories but this is the first year I've worn a Christmas jumper. Better late than never... My Christmas jumper is from Geroge and is pretty understated so I may have to get another jumper which is super tacky and lights up if I really want to get into the spirit of things. You can wear a Christmas jumper just for the fun of it and to stay cosy and warm but you can also get involved with Christmas Jumper Day on 18th of December and help to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, Make-A-Wish UK and Save the Children, giving hope to families in difficulty at Christmas. Head over here to find out more and sign up.

I'm really pleased with my Christmas tree this year. Martyn and I have been picking up decorations from the Christmas markets and cities that we visited over the past three years (can't believe it is our third Christmas together!) and I've shared some of my favourites in the photos above. Really looking forward to my week off over Christmas and tucking into my tin of shortbread biscuits. Roll on 4pm on the 22nd of December. 

 Are you going to be sporting a Christmas knit this year?

Gemma
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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Winter Warmers


I love nothing more than a long walk on a crisp winter day, taking my dog Sookie out with me where she inevitably gets covered in mud or decided to jump in the river on the coldest day of the year. The best part of it all is returning home and snuggling up in front of a good movie (sadly I don't have a log burning fire) with a hot drink and some shortbread biscuits. Perfection!

I've rounded up some of my favourite picks that are ideal for creating a cosy winter experience. 

1. First up and pretty essential is a warm coat to keep out the cold. I've got my eye on a maroon parka from M and M Direct. It's got a hood to make sure my hair doesn't end up in a mess in the wind and rain and pockets for dog walking essentials like dog treats (and poop bags, ha!|) 

2. My next pick is a ultra soft and over sized scarf from Joules. It is so big it can double up as a shawl, belted in at the waist.

3. I have ALWAYS wanted a Welsh Wool blanket and I love this modern navy and white one which you can pick up from Melin Tregwynt who have been making them for over 100 years. 

4. Whittards Mulled Wine tea is a merry medley of fruit and festive spices, blending blackberry leaves for sweetness, apple for bite and essence of cloves for a fragrance. Perfect for that mulled wine taste without the alcohol content. 

5. You're going to need a mug for your mulled wine tea or hot chocolate with marshmallows and this cute Cathryn Weatherhead one is super cute and is hand printed in Cardiff.

6. TK Maxx is a great place to pick up a candle and I love the sound of this one with a wooden wick that crackles as it burns with a festive spruce scent. 

What are your essentials for a cosy night in or a winter walk? 

Gemma
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Monday, 23 November 2015

1 dress, 3 ways - #WorkIt with Kaleidoscope


Dress: c/o Kaleidoscope - Boots: Primark - Scarf: charity shop 
Jacket: Topshop - Bag c/o Kaleidoscope



Coat: New Look - Shoes: Clarks


I don't believe in keeping clothes 'for best' or buying things that can only be worn in limited situations. I like to have an interchangeable wardrobe filled with items that I can mix and match and wear for work, a night out or on the weekend. 

This black dress I'm wearing is from the Kaleidoscope workwear  section but I've been wearing it in a variety of ways. It's a great dress for this time of year when you're going out straight after work for Christmas parties or drinks. You really can't go wrong with a 'little black dress' and this one has got a little added interest in the form of the mesh bands running along the hem and neckline which mean it is work appropriate but also fun and eye catching. 

Accessories are the key to wearing a dress in more than one way. I like to keep my outfits mostly black for work with some smart pumps and add colour in the evening with a statement necklace or a bold bag at weekends. 

Do you have a section of your wardrobe exclusively worn just to work or do you like to mix things up?

Gemma
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Outfit Post -That 70s Show

photo of a 1970s inspired outfit

Coat: New Look (c/o St David's) - Dress: New Look - Bag: Vivienne Westwood 
Shoes: Primark - Necklace: New Look

picture of a 1970s outfit 2015 UK blogger


I shared a post this time last week on A/W trends and my top picks that are available on the high street at the moment. Browsing all these lovely items online and sharing them on this blog inspired me to take on the trends myself and I combined the 70s and furry trends that seem to be everywhere at the moment. I definitely wasn't going to brave high waisted trousers or a polo neck jumper and suede skirts and boots are no good in South Wales because of all the rain so I chose 70s outerwear for a more subtle and wearable take on this trend. 

I picked up all of my items from St David's in Cardiff (you can read their blog here) and the majority of them came from the New Look Inspire section. I never wear hats and most of my coats are black, waterproof and very practical so I felt like my 70s outfit was a big departure from my normal style. Despite feeling like I stuck out like a sore thumb walking around Newport I also felt very chic and friends a family complimented my new outfit. What do you think?

I've been pretty active on Pinterest recently and created a board with some of my favourite items that fit in with the key fashion trends which you can check out here if you fancy it. There's also lots of homeware pinning going on at the moment because I'm house hunting. Very exciting but also a little draining. Wish me luck!



Gemma
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Monday, 9 November 2015

Newport Wetlands - Jord Fieldcrest Maple Watch


Dress: Fat Face - Jumper: Fat Face: Watch: c/o Jord - Boots: Spartoo




Jord focus on creating timepieces that are modelled after a modern lifestyle. They value sustainability and efficiency and make their watches for people who don't just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go. This ethos prompted me to get up and go and explore my local area, connect with the outdoors and make the most of my day off instead of staying in and watching junk TV.

I headed to the RSBP Wetlands in Newport and I think my watch blended in with the surroundings beautifully. Cetti's warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. There are spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round.

I love the understated design of my watch and this looks great with a casual outfit or can be a focal point with a simple and modern outfit. The watch I'm wearing is the Jord Fieldcrest made from a soft coloured Maple. It's surprising light for a watch that is made from wood and makes a real statement, I've had lots of compliments whenever I wear it as it's so unusual and unique. It also makes a beautiful alternative to the severe black band of the Daniel Wellington watch I wear on most days or my more dainty watches. I like the idea that all the watches are unique and the grain of the wood will be slightly different on each watch. 

Are you a watch wearer? Let me know what you think about my Jord watch in the comments below.
Mens Wooden Watches

Gemma
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Monday, 2 November 2015

The St David's AW15 Trend Report

AW15 is set to be a season to remember, and I've teamed up with the guys at St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff which is my usual shopping haunt to give you a breakdown of the top trends and how you can achieve the look.

THAT SEVENTIES SHOW
Bohemia is back! The fashion week catwalks, and now the rails, are teaming with fringes, A-line miniskirts, suede and a range of folksy prints.
Get the look: purchase some key pieces that will work with your existing wardrobe. A suede skirt is a great place to start.
Dress: M&S £49.50 - Skirt: New Look £49.99 - Cardigan: Primark £14 - Boots: Dune £169
VICTORIANA
A hint of gothic style will win you extra trend points this season! Bow collars, lace and a deep berry lipstick should do the trick.
Get the look: drama is key for this look, so by choosing a statement piece, such as a jacket or laced blouse, paired with a strong lip, the look can easily be achieved.


Dress: Debenhams £rk  - Lipstick: M&S £10- Blouse: Primakr £10- Dress: M&S £65
CODE RED
Crimson, Scarlet, Pillar-box. Whatever shade you choose, red is in abundance this season. A head to toe red ensemble will ensure you stand out from the crowd
Get the look: remember to keep it simple. Choose a key item for your wardrobe, such as a dress or coat, and wear it with pride.


Jumpsuit: Wallis £45 - Boots: New Look £44.99 - Dress: John Lewis £69 - Skirt: Primark £8
FLUFFY LOVE
It’s all about the textures this season. Wherever you turn, your AW outerwear will be adorned with faux fur and other tactile fabrics.
Get the look: pick a gorgeous jacket or coat that will take you through the colder months. Fur, sheepskin and shearling textures will keep you warm and chic!
Coat: M&S £95 - Scarf: Accessorize £32- Gilet: New Look £24.99 - Boots: Primark £15

It's definitely time to get the 100 denier tights out and swap the coral lipstick for a deep berry tone. What A/W items have you treated yourself to? I've dug out a trusty old black lace dress and my winter boots but I desparately need a smart new winter coat.

I'm excited to be taking over the St David's Instagram account this week so please head over there and say hello so it's a bit less scary for me. I've not done anything like this before, eeeek!

Gemma
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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Autumn Recipe - Dorset Apple Cake

I love to taking my baking into work. There's only myself and Martyn at home and if I bake I end up eating cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner before it goes stale. By taking it into work I get all the fun of baking but without eating cake until I'm about to burst. My boss knows I love to bake and had a glut of apples in his garden this year and tasked me with finding a way to use them in a bake. I didn't want to make a crumble or a pie so I delved into some of my recipe books and came across a recipe for Dorset Apple Cake. It is so perfectly Autumnal and fills the house with the most amazing spiced smell.

Ingredients

225g self-raising flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
225g Bramley or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
100g sultanas
115g unsalted butter, diced and chilled, plus extra for greasing
115g light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
6-8 tbsp milk
2 tbsp demerara sugar


Method 

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Mix the flour and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour using your fingers, until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the light brown sugar. Beat in the egg followed by 6 - 8 tbsp of milk until you get a smooth, thick batter.

Add the apples and sultanas and mix to combine. Scrape the batter into your prepared tin and gently level out. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool further.

Best served still warm with a little custard. (I like a lot of custard, so thick you can slice it)






This cake is typically baked in a deep round tin but I didn't have one of those, I'm one for breaking the rules anyway... Let me know if you try baking this cake yourself. You won't be disappointed, I promise.

Gemma
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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Swansea - My day out on National Cycle Route 4








I don't get out on my bike often enough. I reserve my days off for catching up on sleep, baking and being lazy. I'm also not terribly confident on my bike, especially when I'm surrounded by cars and people getting annoyed with how slowly I'm cycling. I've got no excuse not to explore more of Wales on my bike because we have some of the best cycling routes in the world with amazing views. Some of the routes are a tad challenging for someone with my level of fitness and a basic bike but there are still plenty of routes for a novice like myself to enjoy. 

A few days ago I headed out to a lovely coastal route with Martyn from Swansea Marina to Mumbles - 10 miles there and back - on a quiet, flat and car-free path. The perfect route for me. We started in the Maritime Quarter, then head south to the beach, past the civic centre to pick up the seafront path. 

There was plenty to see on the way including views over Swansea bay, Mumbles Pier, Oystermouth Castle and secluded bays and a lighthouse. The view of Swansea Bay almost certainly influenced Dylan Thomas and his early poems like 'The Hill of Sea and Sky is Carried'

*Train Fact* Some of the route I cycled along followed the route of the Swansea and Mumbles Railway. The Swansea and Mumbles Railway was the world's first passenger railway service, located in Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. Originally built under an Act of Parliament of 1804 to move limestone from the quarries of Mumbles to Swansea and to the markets beyond, it carried the world's first fare-paying railway passengers on 25 March 1807.  At the time of the railway's closure, it had been the world's longest serving railway and it still holds the record for the highest number of forms of traction of any railway in the world - horse-drawn, sail power, steam power, electric power, petrol and diesel.

I really want to head back to this route again and carry on a little further along the coast and spend some time at the National Waterfront Museum on the way back or enjoy an ice cream at Joe's in Mumbles.

If you want to visit Swansea Bay head to this site for lots of information about things to see and do.


Gemma
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Monday, 19 October 2015

A walk in the park with Pink Clove

bute park

Dress: c/o Pink Clove - Shoes: Spartoo - Belt: Dorothy Perkins - Bag: Vivienne Westwood

patent shoes


squirrel

Vivienne Westwood bag

Everyone needs a little black dress, right? The Little Black Dress has a lot of history but its impact really began to spread in 1926 after Coco Chanel published her little black dress design in American Vogue, effectively making it an iconic and versatile addition to every woman’s wardrobe. I've already got a few LBDs in my wardrobe but this one has a bardot neckline and I didn't have one of those... You can never have too many in my opinion. 

I've definitely got a lot of wear out of this dress, wearing it for work, shopping trips and a night at the theatre. I know I'm late to the whole bardot neckline trend that happened last year but I'm glad I caught on in the end. I'm even eyeing up this red dress from Pink Clove with the same neckline for Christmas parties which I've seen Rosie look amazing in over on her blog.

These photos were taken in the former grounds of Cardiff Castle, Bute Park. It is a grade-1 listed historic landscape and in 1947, the fifth Marquess of Bute gifted the park to the people of Cardiff, and it is now managed on behalf of the people by the Council. The park contains some rare and ornamental trees including some “Champion Trees” known to be the biggest examples of their species anywhere in the UK.

It was lovely to enjoy a afternoon out with a stroll in the park and a spot of tea and cake. I've been doing some extra shifts in work during the Rugby World Cup and I'll be glad when it is all over. Weather permitting I will be enjoying a rest day in Swansea as this post goes live and cycling to Mumbles.



Gemma
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