Friday, 6 December 2019

Stocking filler ideas 2019

Stocking fillers are actually my favourite presents to buy - it's so much fun to me, but I know that's not the case for everyone so I've compiled some ideas of how you can fill a stocking for your loved one this Christmas.

You need a hobby...

One good way of putting together a stocking for someone is to really think about their hobbies and interests. For example, I love to travel - which you might know. Here's some ideas of items that you could pop in a travel lover's stocking...

✈️Playing cards
✈️Zap-It! mosquito bite relief*
✈️Travel minis of their favourite products
✈️Luggage tag
✈️Passport cover
✈️Guidebook to their next destination
✈️Prints of their favourite travel snaps

Whatever your pal/mum/boyfriend's hobby or favourite thing is, whether it's an instrument or baking or arts and crafts, you can easily make them the perfect stocking for Christmas this year!

Good things come in small packages

Small gifts are great for stocking fillers - we all joke about receiving socks for Christmas, but I don't think there's anything better than putting on a fresh pair of socks ready to face the day. These Joules socks are from Eland Lodge and they're so soft, plus they offer a little bit of luxury too!

Jewellery, vouchers/gift cards, stationery and snacks all make for fantastic stocking fillers because they're small but can be really, really meaningful. Especially if you personalise the items, which is generally really easy to do.

Don't read too much into it

Books in general are a great stocking filler; new releases, classics, Christmas themed books and even just older books that you've read yourself and know are brilliant. Here's some ideas...

📚The Christmas Holiday* by Sophie Claire
📚The Christmas Invitation* by Trisha Ashley
📚The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
📚Mine* by Emily Merrill
📚Just Before I Died by S. K. Tremayne
📚Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
📚The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
📚We Met Here in December by Rosie Curtis
📚The Furies* by Katie Lowe

You're beautiful

Of course, beauty products are great in a stocking. I'm not talking flimsy nail files and cheap cherry lip balms, but the good stuff! Reusable cotton pads are a big hit at the moment, and you can pick them up on Etsy - while they're not the most glamorous present, I think they make a good stocking filler! As does a new toothbrush; I recently got a bamboo one from Blue Rock* and I'm loving it so far.

Small gift sets like these Beauty Kitchen bath bombs in a tin*, or this By Claudia eye make up set*, are ideal too - they're small and compact but really nice and useful, and you can pick them up in Boots. Other great places to get gift sets are fairly small and won't break the bank are The Body Shop, Superdrug, and your local supermarkets.

Of course, the usual chocolate coins are an absolute must - but other than that, you really can tailor a stocking to somebody in order to create the perfect present! What are you hoping to see in your stocking this year?

For some luxury gift ideas, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

AD Make your own gluten free truffle & garlic bread with Schwartz

As you might know, I've been cutting gluten out of my diet to help with chronic stomach pain. One thing I really miss is decent bread, and garlic bread (I've cried in the bread aisle before now...) so when Schwartz got in touch I thought I'd take this opportunity to make my own garlic (and truffle) bread - gluten free!

It's honestly SO simple and easy. Some of the best gluten free bread I've found is the BFree Demi Baguette which you bake in the oven, so I've used that for this recipe. If you have a different favourite, go for that instead and just tweak the recipe so you've basically got toast with the garlic butter on!

What you'll need...

🌱Schwartz Garlic Granules
🐮Salted butter
🍃Mixed herbs
🐽Truffle (olive) oil
🍞Gluten free baguette

Lets go...

Get your butter, making sure it's nice and soft, and mix with the garlic granules and some herbs as well as the truffle olive oil. A lot of recipes call for parsley, but honestly I prefer it with mixed herbs personally! Keep tasting it as you go to see if it needs a pinch more garlic or some more herbs - you'll know when it's right for you. I prefer mine to be extra garlic-y, and the Schwartz Garlic Granules are perfect for that as they're so flavoursome.

Slice into the bread about halfway down, and shove your homemade garlic butter into the slits. Then pop it into the oven as per the cooking instructions and voila! I had this for tea with gluten free mac and cheese, which I made myself using GF macaroni pieces and a packet of GF cheese sauce with added grated cheese on top, and a bit of side salad. A really easy home made meal, perfect for those autumn nights and really tasty too.

Catch me making my own gluten free garlic bread on a weekly basis, honestly. It's great as you only really need stuff you've already got in the house, it takes hardly any time at all AND it tastes amazing. What more could you ask for?

What's your favourite meal to have on a cold winter night?

This post was written in collaboration with Schwartz. 
Please see my disclaimer for more info.

Monday, 2 December 2019

My December 2019 playlist

Happy December! Hope you've all opened your advent calendars and all that good stuff - Christmas is upon us and that means the radio will be playing Mariah Carey and Michael Buble on a loop. If that's a bit much for you, here's my December playlist which is a bit crazy but has absolutely no Christmas songs, a lot of acoustic stuff and mostly just really nice songs. Enjoy - you can listen HERE if you want to!

What are you listening to over the festive season?

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Wroclaw, Poland | day three

Friday 8th November 2019 - 12,844 steps

Our third and final full day in Wroclaw started, for me at least, with a hangover. By the time we were all ready and out the door it was pretty much lunch time so we decided to forgo a proper sit down breakfast in favour of grabbing something to go. I opted for some chips from Frytki I Sos, who do the nicest vegan Belgian fries with a variety of toppings. They're a decent price and you get a massive portion, so if you want something quick, easy and central then I'd highly recommend!

We then wandered into Feniks, which is a really retro style department store full of a lot of strange things on offer. It's kind of like if Netto did department stores - strange, and we didn't buy anything. We were on a mission anyway, and headed down to the river to embark on a boat trip. It promised to take us down the River Oder with loads to see, and so we paid our fares (between 20 and 30 zloty per person) and waited for the boat.

Honestly, if there's one thing I could suggest NOT doing in Wroclaw it's this boat trip. Sure, it takes you down the river - to where the zoo is located, if you fancy it - and back again, and the trip is 45 minutes long. It was also freezing cold, and all we really saw was a few buildings and some commuter cable cars. Oh and a couple of bridges. It definitely wasn't worth it, which was such a shame!

Our next stop was the National Museum, seeing as it was closed the day before and we wanted to do some cultural bits. It was 20 zloty each, and started off well with some really old artwork that had been rescued from churches in the city. Paintings, statues and frescoes galore - really worth seeing. There was some cool stained glass pieces, and then we headed round to what seemed to be the main bit of the museum. It was a series of rooms filled with the most random things; old irons next to brand new irons, next to some really old guns and some modern day guns with children's clothing through the ages in the next display cabinet. The theme was obviously supposed to be the contrast between old and new, but there was no explanation and everything was in a really strange order. It just wasn't the best museum ever, which was a shame - Friday was shaping up to be a bit of a fail!

We then headed to Vinyl Cafe which had a very cool interior and excellent music; the drinks were slightly on the expensive side but it was a nice atmosphere. By this point we were pretty hungry, and made our way to a lovely restaurant called Swieta Racja - they weren't serving burgers at that time, but everything else was good to go and we all enjoyed our meals a lot. If you like flavoursome meat dishes then this is definitely the place for you.

As with all of our other evenings in Wroclaw, we headed back to our little Airbnb for some drinks and card games - as well as all the boring things you do on the last night of a city break like working out what to do with your rubbish, and packing your case. Then we decided to head to a more central bar, where we sat outside with the outdoor heaters and watched as the city centre filled up with Friday night drinkers. We finished the night in Liberatka Café, in their back room with the books and the piano, the jazz illustrations and comfortable chairs.

And that's a wrap on my recent trip to Wroclaw, Poland. I had an absolute ball, so thanks to the gang for a fab time and I hope you lot have enjoyed reading this - keep your eyes peeled for content from my next trip to Poland in a few weeks time...

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Mine by Emily Merrill

While I don't often do standalone book reviews, I do hop onto tours for books I'm particularly excited about - and Mine by Emily Merrill* easily fell into that category. Emily is someone I've known through blogging since my very early days, and now she's only gone and got a real life published novel under her belt. I bloody LOVE seeing people I know achieve their dreams so Em, congratulations. Now - about that book...

Mine is about an English student called Avery; immediately, I liked this - it's not quite YA, and not quite a fully adult novel. This is great for me because I love YA and the themes it explores, the way it's written etc, but I sometimes struggle to relate to the characters. Knowing that the protagonist was only a couple of years younger than me (rather than still in high school) was a refreshing change! And she was relatable; I loved uni, and seeing a fictionalised experience of it in the UK was so interesting.

Anyway, the story follows Avery through her second year of university - her boyfriend has moved to the same city to be with her, and she's desperately trying to navigate this new situation. Balancing her long-term romantic relationship with her studies, friendships, writing endeavours and strained family life is bound to be difficult; then things start going wrong with The Boyf, and everything Avery wanted in the first place is becoming everything she definitely doesn't want.

Ultimately, it's a book about 'finding yourself' during that period between childhood and adulthood; it's about dealing with relationships that turn nasty, and having friends to fall back on and a family that can help you get out of a difficult situation. It's about cute coffee shops and dreams of being a writer, takeaway pizza and nights out with the girls, sisterly bonds and hot chocolate with mini marshmallows. It's so real, and despite the heavy themes it was a lovely read.

If you want a book you can relate to and you're a British girl in your early 20s, then this is absolutely for you. There's ups and downs, but ultimately a happy ending - and it's SO beautifully written.

This would also make the perfect gift for a book lover, and seeing as we're currently in the run up to Christmas I'd be daft not to point that out! You can get it HERE or HERE.