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We’ve all been there. Trundling wearily round the shops, searching and searching for that perfect present – one that’ll make your beloved put down their glass of prosecco that’s been surgically attached to their arm on Christmas Day and exhale a ‘wow’ in astonishment.

If you’re friend / boyfriend / girlfriend / parent of a blogger, you’ll know that we lust over stuff a lot. As in, every spare free moment of time we have is spent reading other blogger’s favourites for that month, their new beauty obsession and omg have you seen this new range of Primark homewear because ya gal just gotta have some twinkly stuff around y’know?

So, for those of you who are struggling as to what to get a blogger for Christmas – here’s a little gift guide that might help you out…

PS – this is meant to be a little tongue in cheek..

Something cactus related 

Bloggers go MAD for the little green guys, which is why a trip to your local B&Q or garden centre is a must do over the next couple of weeks.

They’re indestructible (although I once killed a cactus, so they can’t be that easy to look after), and they look pretty cushty in an IKEA pot against a white background.

Or – why don’t you go for something a little bit quirky and get a Plantosaurus from Firebox?

Bits to make a home ‘hygge’

Ah – that buzzword of the last few months.

If you’re not entirely sure what ‘hygge’ is, it’s basically a Danish concept (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’. I know. I think it’s silly too) that is the equivalent of our ‘cosiness’. It’s all about blankets, warmth, hot chocolates, slipper socks, greys / pinks / whites, and just general comfiness.

It’s taken the blog world by storm, so a few things under the Christmas tree, like a nice cushion, a couple of candles, a thick blanket, to make a house feel all nice and cosy will be a perfect idea.

You can always take a leaf out of this book here to read up on all things hygge.

Also – if you’re completely not buying into the ‘marketing concept’ of hygge – this article from the Daily Mash will be right up your street.

LED selfie light

A blogger loves a selfie, and also a selfie Snapchat or two, but what good is it in these dark and dreary winter months if nobody can see our pretty little faces?

Step in – the LED selfie light.

This smart contraption that has everyone from Kim K to my best friend VR raving about them, simply attaches to your phone and acts as a ring light that those profesh models have when in front of a world class photographer.

Obviously, buying this is going to make you look like Kendal Jenner, right..??

Copper kitchenware

All good bloggers have something copper in every room, and the kitchen should be no exception.

I’m personally a little bit over the whole copper thing, but these plates would noooot go a miss in my cupboard.

Marble vinyl paper

Okay. I admit. I bought a roll of this.

Remember sticky back plastic that you used to get in school to cover your workbooks? This is essentially the millenial version of that, where you can cover absolutely anything you want to in that god damn lovely marble finish.

I got this for a table that I want to spruce up (and may or may not want to cover up a mark on the top where I’ve used nail varnish remover), but in all honesty I’m holding off doing it because I don’t want to mess it up and do it wrong and it’ll annoy me forever. Does anyone else get that?

Anyway – if you want to cover every surface imaginable with marble, you can do so here.

Smartphone compatible gloves

It’s *such* a first world problem, but there’s nothing worse than your little didgets getting cold when you have to pull out your smartphone when you’re in outside in the middle of the snow.

Enter, the best invention of the 21st Century – smartphone gloves.

These little badboys will make sure that you can use your smartphone no matter what the weather. Brilliant.

‘Ctrl, Alt; Delete: How I Grew Up Online’

I started reading this book on the 23490823948234 number of trains I had to take when I was over in the UK a couple of weeks ago, and it made me laugh so much that I sometimes did have random outbursts and had to give looks of apologies to the other train riders.

Soz.

If you’re in your mid-twenties and grew up online, this book will resonate with you so much. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far, but everything that Emma Gannon has written so far has got me nodding my head and reminiscing in my own memories.

Get it here.

Fake plants

Because every single one of the plants that I have dotted around the living room (save for the cactus that seems to be thriving), is dead.

For the love of god, stop spending money in your local garden centre and just invest in some fake plants. They look the exact same and won’t have you berating yourself every time you look at them.

And, also – they make for a great addition to any Insta flat-lay.


So – there you have it. My guide for what to get a blogger this Christmas.

Is there anything else you’d add to the list? What would you want to get from Santa this year?

 

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This week has been a bit mental. It’s seen the arrival of a new housemate (hi, Bekki!), my first shift at a nightclub (hi, Watersplash!) and the news that I’m starting a 10-week digital marketing course, starting Monday (hi, Digital Jersey!). All that, teamed with a couple of surf lessons and planning out my vegetable patch for next spring – it’s been a busy ol’ week.

Home: Christmas candle

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Don’t you dare tell me it’s too early to get involved in Christmas. I walked into my favourite garden centre last week (where else would you find me), and I was greeted to loads of staff getting all the shelves ready and in place for all the Christmas decs. Even though I was on my own, I still did a little gasp and you can bet your bottom dollar a *IT’S HERE!!!!* squeal came out.

You’re welcome, everyone.

Now it would have been just plain rude to the Christmas gods if I’d have come out of there empty handed, so I put this little bad boy in my basket and off I trotted home, safe in the knowledge that my lounge was soon going to be filled with the sweet, musky scents of Christmas – and this doesn’t disappoint.

This particular one is from Colony, and is in the ‘Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh’ scent. When I told someone at work about my beloved purchase, all I got was a confused look and a ‘but what on earth does gold smell like?!’ I couldn’t quite answer that, and even now I’m still not entirely sure, but if it’s good enough for Baby Jesus to have been given, then it’s damn well good enough to make my lounge smell of it.

It’s sweet, but not sickly, and it’s woody without it smelling like a man’s aftershave. I bought the mahoosive jar, the 545g one to be exact, and apparently it’s got around 150 hours of burn time which means I can light it whenever I want to without feeling guilty that I am literally burning money away.

You can grab a gift set with some other festive smelling flavours, here.

Travel: Liverpool next weekend

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Ah, Liverpool. You old beaut, you.

I’m half scouse, which means that I get all the best parts; I have a penchant for a dead good eyebrow, but I don’t feel the need to wander around Tesco at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon with curlers in my hair and my jammies on (if you know, you know).

So, I’ve booked some flights to go see my paternal motherland to go see my nana, have a good ol’ shopping session around Primark (‘perks’ of living on a tiny lil island in the middle of nowhere is that shopping in mainland high street stores feels special), and stuff myself silly with some hearty home cooked food.

I’m only there for a couple of days, but if you have any recommendations for somewhere we need to go, let ya gal know!

Beauty: OUAI Wave Spray

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If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I bought into yet another blogger hype – I bought the OUAI Haircare Wave Spray – and after I say what I’m about to say, please don’t go unfollowing me on all forms of social media.

I really don’t like it.

Let me explain why. I have the thickest hair known to man, and every *single* hairdresser I’ve ever gone to has exclaimed ‘aw jeez, you’ve got so much hair!!11!!!’ to me while they’re tugging desperately at all the knots with a tiny comb (like that’s going to do much good – camman man). I’ve even had one hairdresser sigh with exasperation as she’s 30 minutes deep into blow-drying my hair and she’s only done a third of it.

I just don’t think my hair type is suited to this at all, as it makes it even fluffier and frizzier than I want it to be. I know that’s what a wave spray is meant to do – to give volume, bounce and those oh-so-effortless waves – but if I’m honest, I get a better result if I just whack an oil and a heat protective cream in my barnet.

It made my hair incredibly sticky and crisp, to the point where it made it difficult to brush out, and it dried out and knotted my hair like nobody’s business.

It also smelt like an off Chanel perfume.

I mean, there’s every possibility that I’ve got a dud one, but it’s frustrating when I see all these influencers on Instagram using it and looking like they’re on Baywatch and they’ve just came out the sea. But somehow when I use it, I look more like Monica from Friends in the humidity (you know what I mean) than I do Pamela Anderson.

Sorry folks – this one isn’t for me.

Music: Frank Ocean – blond

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My main man is back! And about bloody time, too.

If you’ve been living under a rock or you’re not entirely sure who Frankie boy is, he was once upon a time part of OFWGKTA (of Tyler The Creator fame). He started bringing out his own, softer stuff, which in all honesty I preferred to all the Odd Future noise.

His voice is like melted chocolate, and it’s so, so soothing to the ears. His previous albums, Nostalgia Ultra and Channel Orange, were released to critical acclaim and were probably one of the best albums of the years they were released.

And, after all that success, we all waited patiently with baited breath for his next release.

And we waited.

And we waited.

There were promises of release dates, with nothing coming to light. We were then treated to a live stream of him doing some carpentry in a workshop, to which nobody had the foggiest as to what it all meant – was it coming?! Finally, were we going to get some new Frank tracks?!??!

And then – it arrived. blond came in like a steam roller and blew all the expectations we all had about him out the water.

I first listened to it during Annie Mac’s album listening party, and a couple of the tracks instantly blew me away (mostly Pink + White and Self Control). It also features a track that’s solely a voicemail from his mum telling him not to do weed or get in car with someone who is drunk. Brilliant.

Go check it out on Spotify or Apple Music – it’s honestly worth a listen.

Life: it’s all a bit hectic

I thought with it coming to the end of summer that everything would start settling down until the Christmas party season came into full swing.

Nope.

I have every weekend planned out until the middle of November, I’ve got blog post ideas coming out of my ears that I want to work on now, I have my whole week planned out by Monday and I’m starting to have to ‘squeeze’ people in as to when I can see them. I’ve just started a new digital marketing course, and I’ve just gained a new housemate.

How is this all happening?! And what do you mean it’s only 100 days until Christmas?!?!?

Jeez. It’s a crazy, exciting and mental time but if you’re feeling the same, I urge you to just say no to stuff sometimes and make some time for yourself every once in a while. There is almost nothing that a face mask, a cup of tea and an episode of Suits can’t fix (anyone else fancy Harvey Spector?).


So – that’s my crazy week! How has yours been? What have you been up to?

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On Sunday, it’ll be a whole god damn year since I bought my house. A whole year. A full 366 days. WHAT?! That’s absolute madness. I still feel like I’m house sitting and the real owners of this place are gonna come back off holiday anytime soon.

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Thinking back to September 11 2015, and I remember it all going through court so, so well. I took the afternoon off work, I got dressed up all smartly, I trotted off to court and I exchanged keys with the previous owners that afternoon.

I also remember so vividly walking through the front door – MY front door – and just wandering round the empty rooms, staring at the blank walls and wondering what on earth I had just done.

I had just bought a three bedroomed cottage, with garden and a parking space. Blimey.

I learnt SO many lessons throughout the process of getting there (during the 14 months leading up to that moment I had also inherited a house, renovated that house and sold it which involved an intense bidding war – I don’t do things by halves), so I thought I’d share with you those lessons that nobody told me when I was going through the entire process.

It’s the most expensive thing you’ll ever do

Yes, I know kids and marriage are both also pretty expensive, but this is the only one I’ve experienced so far and I can tell you that it is beyond the most expensive thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve got direct debits coming out of my ears for all sorts of things – house insurance, furniture that I bought on HP, cat stuff – and when I think about how much I used to spend on ASOS every pay day, I wince and think about how many nice trinkets that could have bought me for my shelves.

Yes, my disposable income is a lot less than when I lived at home (obviously), but I have to realise that it’ll all be worthwhile in the end when I’m 45 and mortgage free.

Furniture costs a lot more than you think it does

When I had my completion date set by the solicitors, I would spend lunch hour after lunch hour munching on a sarnie and either flicking through catalogues, Pinterest or blogs for some home inspiration.

Turns out that you need an unlimited bank account or some huge sponsorship deals to make your home look like that.

Now, I was lucky in the fact that I had some money put aside to be able to deck myself out with some of the basics – I was actually able to eat off proper plates in the first week of moving in rather than having to eat off paper ones – but even with that money saved, I still do a bit of a wide eye at the amount of money that I’ve spent so far.

I’ve not even bought anything fancy or splurged on a sofa, but because I literally had nothing, I had to start from scratch and had to buy things fairly quickly instead of taking my time and hunting around for deals.

Obviously, if you’re going from renting somewhere to buying, you’re going to have a lot more stuff which you can bring with you. But if you’re moving out from living with your parents, ask around if people can donate or lend you things that you can use until you get everything sorted out.

It’ll take you a lot longer than you think to have your place ‘just right’

I moved into the house properly towards the end of September / beginning of October, so I *VERY NAIVELY* thought that I was going to be all settled and done by Christmas. I envisioned cosy Winter nights, hot chocolates in front of the fire, and candles flickering on my nice new matching coffee table and TV unit.

Hahahaha. Hahaaha. HA. Ha.

Get your head out of them there clouds, Jess.

It’s a year later and I am still moving things around, thinking about new furniture, buying odd bits and bobs and finding new ways of doing things around the rooms.

Just this weekend I was using that Dulux visualiser app to see what colour I could paint the walls in my lounge (if you haven’t used it yet, it’s SO much fun and makes me feel like I’m on Changing Rooms).

You’ll have a bit of a breakdown around ‘becoming an adult’

Since when did I take days off work and spend them weeding the garden? Gross.

You’ll realise how much more freedom and independence you have

Now, I’m very lucky that I grew up in a household that was very trusting and I was never really limited to where I could go and when, but living on your own or living outside of your family home just grants you that absolute freedom to be able to do what you want, and when you want, without any judgements.

Wanna eat that 3 day old leftover lasagne for breakfast at 10am on a Sunday? You go ahead and have it. You do you.

You’ll get carried away with plans, hopes and dreams

I moved in with hopes and dreams of getting a dog / knocking down walls / getting a spiral staircase / renovating the rooms to my exact wishes, again, all by Christmas.

None of that has happened.

You’ll undoubtedly get caught up in the ‘omg isn’t this the best thing ever look at all this space for ACTIVITIES I have now!!!!!’, but try not to let that take you away from what you actually need to do. Yes, looking up Westie breeders in your area is all well and good, but do you actually have a mattress to sleep on?

It’s the best thing you’ll ever do

Even though I whinge about not ever having any money because I’ve got bills coming out of my account left, right and centre, I still walk through the front door every day after work and have a little punch the air moment.

This house is mine, and I can’t wait to see the people, the moments, the laughter, tears and life that it gives me over the next few years.

So – have you bought a place to live? What did you think of the whole experience? I found mine relatively stress-free, as thankfully I had a lot of supportive people around me throughout the time, but I know a lot of people have very different experiences. What are some tips you’d give other people?

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Good evening! So, I *know* that these posts normally go up on a Sunday night, but because I’ve been off work since Wednesday, today feels like my Sunday evening. I’ve got a whole host of pamper and prep ahead of me tonight which I absolutely cannot wait for – remember when you’d make loads of effort for your first day back at school?! It kinda feels like that.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time off and got so much ticked off my to-do list. Just little things, like the ironing / cleaning up the garden / general domestic chores that get put off for weeks and weeks because there’s a new episode of Made in Chelsea to watch.

Oh, and my boiler broke for the 234203948th time this year, so I had no hot water for 2 days.

God, being an adult is boring.

Anyway – here’s what I’ve enjoyed over the last few days.

Music: The 1975 – I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

Let’s skip over the fact that I’m listening to McFly’s second album and singing my heart out to every single word, and pretend that I’ve listened to cooler albums like Shura and Lapsley all week.

I’ve also revisited The 1975’s second album, and by golly it’s a right good’un, isn’t it?! It sounds so different to their first, I think, and it definitely feels like they’re going in a more ‘edgy’ (am I still young enough to be allowed to say that?) direction.

Also – did you know that Matty, the lead singer, is Denise Welch‘s son?! That blew my mind.

Beauty: NYX Doll Eye waterproof mascara

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Ever since Boots announced that they were going to have NYX in their stores, my heart has been doing little flips. NYX is always a brand I’ve wanted to try, but seeing as the extent of our make up brands are fairly limited in Jersey, it took me a while to get my grubby little paws on some of their products.

So, when I walked past the glossy black stand stood proudly in the middle of the shop floor, I thought it was only right that I picked up a few bits and bobs. I got their contour brush (which gets a use pretty much every day), an eyeliner (which I haven’t tried yet), and this little bad boy.

The wand is perfectly shaped so that it gets every lash, including the tiny ones on the bottom lid, and the formula of the mascara is so lightweight that it hardly ever clumps whenever I use it. The waterproof claim is also true – it takes ages to get this off, even when using a fairly strong cleanser.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that I get absolute Jessica Rabbit doll eyes when I do use it (soz NYX), but it definitely does do a good job of making sure that my mid-week work face isn’t completely awful.

Life: I’ve gone veggie!

I love animals. I’ve always wanted to be a vet, but my soppiness and the fact that I cry (or at least well up at something) nearly every day, put that dream to bed fairly quickly.

I’ve also wanted to go veggie for a while but my love for chicken wraps and spaghetti bolognese had put me off taking the leap. However, after accidentally coming across a PETA video (I thought it was one of those ‘Tasty’ videos with a nice recipe for a chicken dinner. Don’t ask), I thought it was only time. Also, coincidentally, the roast chicken salad I’d ordered for lunch that day actually came without the chicken. It was as though it was a sign from the vegetarian gods. Fate.

So, I’m now in my 13th day of being meat free and I must admit, I haven’t missed it all that much. I’ve still had my spaghetti bolognese (albeit with Quorn mince), and I’ve got some Quorn chicken in the fridge for a stir fry later, so there are some alternatives that taste exactly the same.

The only time that I found I’ve struggled, so far, is when I’ve been hungover and I’m craving a cheeseburger and a sausage roll. Other than that – I can definitely see myself being meat-free for life!

Home: new additions to the house

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One of my favourite places in the entire world is a garden centre. Am I 80 years old? I’m not too sure, but I’ve spent far too many Saturdays wandering round all the plants, housewares and pet stuff to be anywhere close to doing what a normal 25 year old should be doing with her weekend.

A local centre, Ransoms, has some of the *nicest* trinkets for a house and is definitely all over that minimalist copper, grey and white theme that we all love so much. I mean, look at that photo. Do you not want your entire lounge to be filled with that?! Jesus. I wish I could get their visual merchandisers to come decorate my house for me.

I always try and buy a couple of things for the house each month (soz credit card), and this month I bought a funky little Buddha candle-holder-statue thing, and a lantern for the fireplace. Nice, huh!?

Travel: I went to St Malo

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If you’re from Jersey, you’ll know what a trip to St Malo entails, so you can skip this part.

If you’re not from round these parts, St Malo is basically a small French town that’s an hour away from where I live by boat. It’s got all the classic French small town features; cobbled streets, caricaturists on every corner, and waiters in breton striped tees with berets.

10 of us went for a day trip on Sunday to celebrate a birthday, the fact that some friends of friends that were visiting, and to just have a general bank holiday knees up. It’s safe to say I drank my weight in ‘gin aux lemon’ (I think that’s what gin and lemonade is in French anyway), and ate my weight in scrummy food.

Sometimes it’s nice to get off this little island and realise that there is something else beyond these 45 miles.

And that’s it! It’s been a bit of a busy week in all honesty, but now it’s time to put a face mask on, watch a couple of episodes of Friends and get an early night before it’s back to reality tomorrow.

How was your week? What did you get up to?

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Man, oh man. These are just beyond anything you’ve ever eaten before. If you’re on a diet – look away now.

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I must admit, I don’t have a sweet tooth. Yes, I’m prone to a Ripple or a (family) pack of Malteasers, but I’d much rather hit the savoury side of a buffet / picnic, reaching for the cheese and onion rolls or Pringles instead.

However, every now and then I have a little indulgence into the sweet side and these bad boys hit that spot just right.

I got the recipe for these from the lovely Anna at Vivianna Does Makeup, who posted a video about these the other day. After watching that and an episode of Great British Bake Off last night (anyone else fancy Paul Hollywood? No?), I thought it was only right that I make my way to Waitrose to pick up some supplies.

These are just so simple and so quick to make; they’re all done in one bowl and they took me about an hour from start to finish.

‘But why on earth are these any different to any other brownie?!’, I hear you cry. Well, my friends – this is where salted caramel comes in and jazzes everything up. I used a jar from La Crémière, a local brand who makes yummy products out of local ingredients – so this caramel is made from Jersey cream, butter and sea salt.

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These are everything you want and need for a cheat day treat – indulgence, richness and sweetness. Oh boy. 10/10.

What do you think? Do these look good enough to make you want to make your own? Trust me, once you’ve had these, you’ll no longer have just a boring brownie. Long live the salted caramel!

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