Merry Christmas

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Hello everyone! I hope that you have all had an incredible Christmas with your loved ones and that Santa brought you all that you could wish for 🙂

This year was one of my best Christmases ever…When I was young we used to have Christmas at my parent’s house in France which was always so much fun! My sister who always makes the festivities so special would come home along with a sack full of presents and some very special things that at the time we couldn’t buy in France – Brandston pickle, Twigglets, BirdsEye Custard, Jelly, Mango Chutney, Christmas crackers, Christmas pudding and of course our favourite Christmas CD with songs from the Slade and Band Aid. When she arrived it was when Christmas truly started so it was extra special when her and boyfriend Rod, invited me and the whole of the family to spend Christmas & Boxing Day with them at their beautiful house in Landemere, which was once inhabited by the famous artist Paolozzi.

Now that my Grandma is old she can no longer make the journeys and so for the last few years we have brought Christmas to her! Early Christmas morning, after wrapping up my presents (you may have seen my awful sleepy half awake face on Snapchat when I was trying to do this…) my Dad and I set off to see my Grandma. She is 96 years old on the 2nd of January of this year and lives in a beautiful old folks home just outside of London. We arrived to scenes of people unwrapping their presents, children visiting their grandparents and of course lots of chocolate eating! We helped Grandma to open her presents & cards and then spent the morning with her before she joined her friends at her Christmas lunch.

My Mum was ill that day and so couldn’t make it and so we drove back to London to see her and pick her up before driving the party bus/pasat car onwards to my sister’s. I hadn’t been to her house before, so I was overly excited. It was so lovely and in the most beautiful place, next to water and in the countryside. It was painted pink and had the most beautiful wreath on the door and inside the Christmas decorations were amazing. I felt like I was in an episode of Escape to the Country with it’s tiled entrance hall, a beautiful country kitchen dinner and massive cosy living room! The tree already had so many presents around it and we were greeted at the door by Pedro, their 12 year old little doggy. Awwwwwww….

The turkey was cooking away, there were bottles of Fizz being opened. We put the ice maker on and started opening the nibbles. My sister’s boyfriend Rod and his mum Olive were also there and soon there was a knock on the door followed by excited barking – my brother William and his girlfriend Myfanwy had arrived carrying gifts, cheeses, wine and their lovely young dog Beasley! One thing that never lacks at our Christmases is the food and my sister did my Mum proud by producing the most amazing Christmas meal: braised cabbage, sausages, bacon, turkey, two types of stuffing, vegetables, potatoes, sweet potato. After a short pause and some impressed gasps directed towards my brother when he finished his massive plate of turkey, we pushed on to the puddings! I don’t know about you but I love puddings and it really felt as if I had died and had gone to heaven: My Mum’s meringues, vanilla cheesecake, chocolate business cake, cream, custard, chocolate cake, my sister’s lemon tart, Christmas pudding, chocolates and Cava…HEAVEN! PS: The diet starts tomorrow…

So true to form, I didn’t stop eating when I was full, but instead I stopped eating when I truly hated myself…and when everyone else had finished and similarly hated themselves, we waddled in to the living room to open our presents! By this time it was 9pm but we with so many big kids in the room we weren’t going to leave the present opening until the next day… I received some beautiful gifts and if you want to see some of the things that I gave my family or things that I think would have made great gifts then check out my post 20 Great Christmas Present Ideas 🙂

The next morning we had my favourite, croissants, coffee and let’s not forget the mini boxes of cereal that used to be my Christmas highlight because I could choose any flavour I wanted! Now that I am older I would say that the cereal pleasure has probably been overtaken by Cava & Chocolate pleasure but it’s still SO EXCITING :D…We all then went out for a walk around the surrounding countryside. My brother and I found some old flints in the ploughed up field by the house and it was so much fun being outside with the dogs. My sister and Rod took us to the most beautiful old boat graveyard and jetty, to see where Marigold swims with her wetsuit and where they sometimes go sailing.

It was quite cold so I decided to wear my white ripped jeans that I wore on Christmas day with a white cotton and chiffon long sleeve blouse and my faux fur shaggy green and black coat that I bought a few days before in Paris. Last but by no means least I wore my fluffy pompom hat all from H&M, which I love because it is so cute and also keeps me warm 🙂

What did you get up to? Who did you spend it with? Do you have any Christmas traditions that you do every year that make Christmas special for you and which wouldn’t be the same otherwise?

Wishing you all the best for the holiday season !

Merry Christmas,

Abi xxx

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20 Great Christmas Present Ideas

GreenChanelBagWe are almost at the end of the year and so I have decided to share some of my favorite fashion & travel blog moments on my Instagram! I will be sharing these with you in more detail tomorrow, but first I wanted to share with you some of the things that I bought my family for Christmas and also a few Christmas present ideas! I had to buy presents for so many people this year, of all different ages. From my older brother, to my sister’s boyfriend’s mum, sometimes you can find just the right thing, but then other times it can become a nightmare…especially if like me you only have 4 hours to do it in!

So here is a list of things that would be perfect for both special and token presents and although you may have already given your Christmas presents, lots of these things will now be in the sale…so this is for you, the elusive relative that you have yet to see but when you do in a few days time, you will have found the perfect thing for them!

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1 LUXURY BELGIAN CHOCOLATES: If you are looking for something special for someone special, someone from the office, or even a good neighbor, this is the present for you. Godiva has an incredible range of chocolates are not only exquisite but their texture and taste is so rich you can’t help but notice the incredible quality, even if you have never heard of Godiva, which let’s face it everyone has! A perfect touch to a romantic gift are undoubtedly their beautiful strawberries dipped in belgian chocolate and now for all tennis lovers like myself, they Godiva even have limited edition Davis Cup chocolates. Christmas Gold Collection Box of 24 Chocolates www.godivachocolates.co.uk – £25

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2 SCENTED MY JOLIE CANDLE:  This is a scented candle that smells so good and contains a very special jewel – you can buy them online containing either a bracelet, a ring or a necklace (up to 100 models) that are made with beautiful Swarovski crystals and is revealed as the candle is burnt. It is really good value and the presentation of the present is great, with the candle coming with a bag of colored french nougat and bright coloring crayons. To make a special present even more special, in your candle you could find a piece made from gold and diamonds worth up to £5,000. Prices start from £19.90 – www.myjoliecandle.co.uk

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3 GLASS CANDLE DOME: I bought this for my sister who has just moved into a beautiful house. I thought that it was really sophisticated and would be a perfect ornament and addition to any stylish home. John Lewis Basic Glass Dome – £15 

4 GLASS BOTTLE ORNAMENT: I bought this or my brother but I think it could be the perfect present for any wine lover. This giant bottle with Saint Emilion is a great rustic house ornament but a cool vibe as Saint Emilion is one of France’s most famous vineyard. I bought it from TK Maxx which also has a great selection of wine coolers. For beautiful whisky or wine glasses head to John Lewis!

image5 FRAGRANT DIFFUSER: This is another great present to buy someone who loves their home and loves style. There are some great scent sticks and diffusers, they look great in bathrooms, smell amazing and are very fashionable. I bought one of these Ralph Lauren diffuser’s for my brother’s girlfriend who is very chic and who I thought would love the design – Ralph Lauren Citrus Bouquet Fragrant Diffuser – £25 from TK Maxx

6 SUNGLASSES: For the man or woman who has everything, because even if you have a pair that you love to wear, you can really never have enough. Oversized black Chanel, Round Metal Chanel, Leopard Jimmy Choo, Ray Ban Aviators, Custom Sporty Oakley‘s for him! Nothing says style and I love you more than designer glasses.

7 FAUX FUR POM POMS: I am loving th faux-fur revolution that is going on at the moment and there is no other statement accessory that the statement furry Pom Poms made popular by celebs who have been sporting Fendi bag charms. Some of my favorite are the Cucaoo Bag Bugs starting at£700 and the Charm Packpack by Fendi. Cheaper yet very stylish alternatives are the bag pompons by Yves Salomon sold by Farfetch £45 – and the furry charms sold in many colours from Accessorize –£7

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 20.33.048 FAUX FUR SCARF – The must have accessory for any fashionista this winter season is undoubtedly the faux fur snuggle scarves from Charlotte Simone. Some of my favorites include the Big Daddy – £495 and the very cute pompom peak Sass Caps – £125For a cheaper alternative head to high street store Dorothy Perkins who have done a beautifully shaped faux fur scarf in wine color –£ 10
Other hats that I love are the pale beige wide brimmed hat from Banana Republic and the Peak Cap from Farfetch.

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9 CAPES – Nothing says luxurious present and style better than a winter cape. This is a great alternative to the more traditional winter coat that most people already have plenty of and is a great way to express your fashion sense. Some of my favorites include the Harris Tweed capes from Cocoon Luxe, with my favorite being the Sienna Cape – £ 220  or this beautiful checked cape with faux fur collar from Zara’s now £59.99

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10 STYLISH ACTIVE WEAR: For the fashionista who has everything, fashionable sports wear is a great alternative, especially if you are scarred of giving something that you think might not be quite right or if you don’t want to double up. Fashionable athletics wear is great for those who love to keep fit, have an active lifestyle and also like to look and feel great. I bought my sister some Reebok green turquoise patterns leggins – £16.99 and a bright pink ” Eat Clean Train Mean” top from Elle Sports range – £9.99, both from TK Maxx. Another great store that stocks lots of brands of stylish sports wear is Style Sportif.

image 11 SNEAKERS: Sneakers are a fun present, which is useful and can be really fashionable. I bought a pair of Calvin Klein white lace up pumps, but there are so many nice models out there. I love bright Nikes, like these Zoom Winflo 2 £85 that look great with jeans and also lace up Superstar white Addidas sneakers £65. For him, there are some great choices, especially from leather specialists Filling Pieces.

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 12 SLIPPERS: I love snugly slippers and so does everyone else! this a is a great present for both him & her and is perfect for those of us living in cold countries! My favorites are the UGG slippers –£62.50 that are just so cosy. I bought three pairs, one for my Dad, my brother and my sister’s boyfriend so I decided to opt for the cheaper alternative but also very cozy, the beautiful cosy slippers from Primark –£10 Women’s that I bought in size S for myself and size L for the boys. Another store than do a beautiful range in original and very delicate fashionable felt sippers is Isolyn.

image13 WOOL SCARVES: I bought a two scarves, one for my Dad and the other for my Mum. I love Zara’s wool scarves, their quality is great and the designs are often bold and their colors are rich. I bought my Mum a brown patterned large blanket scarf and my Dad a green moss colored scarf.

  1. image14 CLUTCH PURSES & TRAVEL BAGS: I love clutch purses and as I am sure all of you have seen by following your favorite bloggers, you won’t catch fashionistas without one. Here are some of my favorites which would make any woman’s day that much more special. The first bags that I love are the Yves Saint Laurent classic monogram clutches with or without tassels, that come in a range of colors. Chanel clutches are so elegant, from the Green Boy Flap Bag £2,470 to the more traditional Chanel Vintage Quilted Bag £3,536, this is the ultimate luxurious gift. For a perfect travel bag, I would recommend the beautiful Eva Tote from Gym Tote – £125.

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15 FAUX FUR COATS: This season it is all about the faux fur coats and there are a number of great online stores that sell some beautiful ones. I bought one for myself in the pre-Christmas sale whilst in Paris from H&M in Green, which I think they have now sold out of. But here are some good alternatives 🙂 Jacket in Faux Fur H&M – £49.99 for a more traditional look, a mac with an electric blue hood from Pretty Little Thing –£ 60

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16 VICTORIA SECRET PAJAMAS: Nothing says luxury and comfort more than a set of Victoria’s Secret satin Pajamas. I particularly like the pink & white stripped set of the Afterhours Satin Pajamas – £34.71 I would have loved to have got this for Christmas as they would have been perfect for traveling and also for being cozy at home…maybe I will buy them now as they are in the sale 😉

victoriasecretwestfieldstratford17 WHITTARD HOT CHOCOLATE GIFT SET: We were given from our cousins the most amazing selection of hot chocolates from our cousins from Whittard – Cocoa Creations Hot Chocolate Gift Set £20. I like hot chocolate but this made this drink extra special, with crispy caramel, white chocolate, orange, rich chocolate and mint all flavors in the set. It was great because we each got to take away one or two types, it was a beautiful present, perfect for a family.

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18 FESTIVE DRINKS: A nice thing to buy is a nice bottle of drink to take round to someone’s house, or even to give to a family or colleague as a special gift. We received a Baileys Chocolate Luxe as part of a Christmas Hamper  which was very special. I would also recommend Lanson Champagne or a bottle of Sipsmith Gin

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19 TRIANGL BIKINI: For those of you jetting off in the New Year, Triangl bikinis are a perfect gift. Seen on celebs and top models a like, these colorful black lined sets are setting Instagram ablaze. I received one for Christmas from the Triangl team and I absolutely loved mine, even the packaging was super stylish! Any girl would love this, guaranteed!

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20 SHOES: Shoes can be a beautiful gift. I gave my Mum a set of Christmas booties and my Dad some slip-ons from Zara’s. Here are some of my favorites: Valentino Garavani studded boots 741, Casadei thigh high stiletto boots 825 and the Chloe Susanna boots 763

 

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Happy Shopping Everybody!

Abi xxx

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