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

Abi & Bella Explore London

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 I am super happy because as I write this I have just come back from a photoshoot with one of London’s most photogenic models… Not only was everyone smiling at us as we took pictures, but Bella’s good looks brightened up the grey London skyline. Who is Bella I hear you ask? Well, she’s the star of Handpick’s promotional campaign, the one in all my pics rocking the latex look…

So you guessed it, Bella is in fact the sassiest red balloon in the world. You may have seen her in some of London’s most iconic places, spreading the word about the coolest fashion app ever, Handpick. Handpick is great because it searches across social media and a huge number of brands, to pick a selection of clothes so that you can find the perfect dress for any occasion. They feature both unknown brands and well known labels so that you can find really original looks that you wouldn’t otherwise find if you were just searching on the giant search engines. Finally some chic looks that no one else has, all without the need to scroll through endless pages of dismal dresses! Did I die and go to fashion heaven? Quite possibly…

The shoot was really fun. I decided to wear a new ASOS long sleeve dress with cut out neckline and 60’s collar, which was great because it was a bit cold out… We started off the day having coffee at Monmouth, the place that should win the prize for London’s best Cappuccino (if it hasn’t done already…) before heading off around the colourful Borough Market. Hidden away went to one of the most photogenic places in London, the famous umbrella street, a little square covered in colourful umbrellas. I loved walking through the market place with Bella, enjoying all the colourful stands of fruit, flowers and of course the amazing food!

So I hope you like the pictures from was my time exploring London with Bella and the amazing Handpick team! Bella has been to so many cool places you should definitely check out her Instagram @BellaExplores if you love London and want to see some more colourful shots of the city 🙂

Let me know what you think,

Abi xxx

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WEARING

Dream Plunge Neck Tunic Dress with Collar – The Laden Showroom – ASOS

Nude Heels – NEW LOOK

Eye Catching Lips

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Ever since I started Fashion Blogging, I have tried to find quirky eye catching pieces to really boost my looks, but in truth because I am not too inhibited about what I wear, I have always found the balance between cool and stylish and weird and freakish quite hard to strike. Indeed, I have always been the person who like a magpie, goes into a store and will immediately gravitate towards the fluorescent jump suits, patchwork jackets and bright pink glitter shoes. I can remember my friend Naomi going through my clothes when we lived together and laughing as she pulled out the strangest of things: a fish net camouflage top, a Union Jacket cut off t-shirt, clogs, a frilly skirt, my old cut up school uniform skirt…Why did I buy these she asked? Because I thought they were cool… But had I ever worn them? Ermm…erm…I tried my hardest to think of a time apart from Halloween when I had…but No, I hadn’t…

So how to overcome my “Glittery Eye” Syndrome and not fall into the shop’s marketing  temptations?

1. My first technique to avoid suffering from Glittery Eye Syndrome, is, if I can help it, I DO NOT SHOP ON MY OWN!  I always try to go shopping with someone who’s judgement I trust, someone who is better at stocking their wardrobes up on staples (plain but pretty tops, blouses, jeans), someone who isn’t afraid to tell me their honest opinion and someone who perhaps has a more conservative style than me. So either my boyfriend or my best friends – But NOT my parents because they are abstract artists and are even more “out there” and alternative in their clothes and come to think of it, they are probably where “Glittery Eye” Syndrome stems from in the first place. I won’t necessarily listen to everything they say or even change my style, but they may make me think harder and put me back on track if I start eye-eing up a bright yellow coat that makes me look like Big Bird from Sesame Street.

2. Before buying I ask myself a few questions:

  • If I am alone, I try to play devil’s advocate with my shopping self. Yes, I like the item, but would it go with anything else in my wardrobe? My advice is to try to gradually, over time, build up a wardrobe with lots of nice pieces that you can wear often and combine together. If your new item wouldn’t go with anything you already have then unless you buy some more clothes to match it with and “link” to your existing clothes, then your purchase could very likely end up being a waste of money.
  • I also like to think how often I would wear something. The brighter and more eye-catching the piece, the more attention it will get, but the harder it will be to wear often as each time you wear it people will recognize it and mentally think that you wearing the same thing all the time. A great purchase is one that adds weight to an outfit but that you can wear again and often without it being too overpowering and overbearing. This will mean that you will get great comments but will be able to wear it more than 3 times. Also it is important to think how practical something will be, so high floral wooden wedges may look very beautiful, but they are hard to combine with my other clothes, difficult to walk in and only practical for the summer as I would have to wear them without socks and don’t go well with jeans (and I should know, because I bought them… :/)

3. Now if I can’t hold off any longer, despite fashion blogger’s black, white and camel Instagram feeds, I can invariably go crazy and buy all the wacky things that everyone else has missed but that I “know” will look amazingly cool… :/ So then, what I do, is I force myself to channel all my creativity into accessories. Different, funky accessories can really liven up any outfit and its a technique that loads of fashionistas use: from fluorescent beanies, fast food I-phone cases, glitter slippers, Mickey Mouse eared hat, leopard print shoes, to green Chanel bags, fluffy pink clutch purses and reflector sunglasses…apparently going nuts on a small scale is surprisingly effective. One of my favorite styles that I will feature soon is wearing my orange Homies Cap with my orange Hermes bracelet and then just wear plain jeans, top and sneakers. Best of all I can re-wear the accessories lots and lots of times before they ever get old! Perfect 🙂

So at the moment I am really into colorful and original clutches. Some of my favorites are New Look’s vintage Lemon Wedge purse, Charlotte Simone Bon-Bon shearling shoulder bag, Top Shop’s Faux Fur Roll Top Purse, Sophia Webster’s Banana Clutch/ Wild Thing Clutch, Shoulder Bags by Castellano Ethnic Origins, Benedetta Bruzziches Magic Mirror Clutch,Charlotte Olimpia Watermelon Clutch, Charlotte Olimpic Tequila Clutch, Black & White Kate Spade Clutch, Simone Camille Bag, Olympia Le Tan Fairy Tale Book Clutch.

In this outfit I have made my Lulu Guinness Clutch purse the center of my look. I really love it because it is so fun and the shape is original, feminine, different and bold. I didn’t quite stick to my rule of having one signature piece as I am wearing pink/peach colored silk trousers as well, but I thought that the two pink items went well together! The good thing about clutches and this pale pink lips clutch in particular is that I could wear it with almost any outfit, like plain jeans or a black coat and immediately make a fashion statement!

Let me know what you think!

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Abi xxx

WEARING

Pale Pink Lips Clutch – LULU GUINNESS/ or similar HERE

Pink and Peach Silk Trousers – TED BAKER

New York Boutique Top – RIVER ISLAND

Creep Platform Lo Metal Sneakers- SCHUH

Jingle Bell Rock

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Christmas for me is all about my family and now thanks to you it feels as if my family has got a whole lot bigger. I do hope that you have had a wonderful Christmas, that your days have been spent full of merriment and laughter, too much food and crappy presents. From the bottom of my heart I would like to wish you and your families a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS ❤ ❤ ❤

I have spent the last few days not getting nearly enough sleep, walking around villages at night singing carols, stuffing my face at my parent’s friend’s house, midnight last minute shopping quests, waiting in queues to pay for goodies, panicking that Amazon wouldn’t deliver my Grandma’s present on time, family visits, meals and Christmas parties. Today for Christmas Day, we all dressed up and went to visit my 95 old Grandma who is suffering from dementia and now has to be in a care home. We took her out and all went out for a three course turkey lunch in a nearby Harvester (bring out the stretchy pants!!!!) We had a lovely time all together, just my mother, father, gran and sister. Now having come back home, we have cracked open the bubbly, have opened our presents and sliced up a very juicy ham that my mum spent far too long for my liking cooking!

So, what have you been up to this Christmas Day? Did you celebrate Christmas on the 25th or the 24th? Turkey or BBQ? I hope that whatever you did you had a great time!

One of the great things that I love to do in London over Christmas and which I go to every year is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park! Its so beautiful, and has an ice skate rink, wooden German villages selling mulled wine and waffles, large ski chalets for apes-ski and lots and lots of rides. We decided to go there the other day to really get ourselves in the spirit of Christmas, because lets face it, Winter Wonderland is like Christmas on Red Bull…

I wore an incredibly Jingle Bell Rock outfit for my trip. I found a great pair of H&M gold sequin glitter trousers that I thought would be perfect for Christmas, as they were gold and just so festive whilst still being pretty casual. I decided to wear them to Winter Wonderland with an over sized Red Wool Polo-Kneck Jumper. The gold and the red are such great Christmassy colours and together they really compliment each other: the red makes the gold richer and the gold tones down the garishness of the red. I loved the way the soft wool material really contrasted with the texture of the shinny sequins.  To make this look more casual I wore gold toe capped booties that I got from an amazing London based online shoe store called London Rebel . As some of you may know I had some silver metal capped sneakers and I just wore them so much, so when I saw these gold booties I knew that these would be perfect to jazz up any outfit and would be a great winter equivalent for my sneakers. Wearing these black faux-leather boots really added some rock to the jingle! I accessorized the outfit with a beautiful adjustable murano glass evil eye bracelet that was sent to me from a really talented craftsman and reader of My Girls On Tour, from Istanbul, called Abdurrahman Erkmen who designs and creates beautiful one of a kind pieces of jewellery using precious stones. Let me know what you think 🙂

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

Abi xxx

WEARING

Billy Gold Toe Capped Booties – LONDON REBEL

Adjustable Murano Evil Eye Bracelet – Abdurrahman Erkmen

Gold Sequin Leggins – H &M

Wool-Blend Polo-Kneck Jumper in Red – H &M

Knitted Hat – H &M

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Santa’s Little Helper

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Ouuuuu!!!!!! I can’t contain my excitement! Its Christmas Eve, I am feeling so Christmassy I think I am almost about to explode 🙂 These last few weeks have been filled with shopping trips, mulled wine tasting, Chirstmas pie eating and carol singing. I got my second Christmas card in the post… One of my mum’s lovely cousins organized for our family to sing Christmas carols under the big fur tree in Trafalgar Square to raise money for charity, but we not only spread the Christmas cheer that evening, we also did some festive singing last night at another one of our cousin’s village in Lincolnshire. All the trees had lovely lights on them and the whole two days were just so much fun! What have you been doing in the run up to Christmas? Have you bought all your presents yet? Are you doing anything nice on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you celebrate and what is it like?

So far I have had a few mammoth shopping trips to get all of my presents, one of which was until 12.30pm in the giant Westfield. Going that late at night was never going to be a great idea, but we did see a massive fight in the McDonalds food court where a guy tried to hit another one over the head with a chair and my Dad spent 3 minutes trying to run back up the escalors to avoid getting clobbered himself. From aunts, to boyfriends its crazy how much time it takes to choose something that is nice, that they will hopefully enjoy but that also doesn’t break the bank. So I thought that I would share with you the presents that I have bought, where I got them from and also share some gift ideas that I had which came to under £20!

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LUSH PRESENT FOR UNDER £20

My Auntie has recently been involved in a horrible accident and so we wanted something that would make her feel really pampered and relaxed. Lush is a great store to buy a lovely present for someone who you don’t get too see as often as you would like or for someone who has got quite a lot of things already. People know that it is good quality and that you have splashed the cash on something thoughtful. They do some great hand made cosmetics including bath bombs, soaps and bath fizzes. I didn’t go for the pre-packed tins because for £20 I could only get three things in a box. Instead I went round the shop and managed for £16 to get over 6 nice items: Sex Bomb Bath Bomb (£3.35), Big Blue Bath Bomb (£3.35), Sakura Bath Bomb (£3.35), Amandopondon Buble Bar (£2.75), A chunk of Sea Vegetable Soap, (£3-4) , A Little Pot of Hand Cream (£1), A snowman Bathmelt (£2). I then bought a luxury hair turban from Primark for £1.50 and some lovely bubble bath from Superdrug for £1.50 which bulked out the present and meant that she had lots of nice things to unwrap for £20.

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JACKET AND HEELS FOR UNDER £15

My boyfriend bought my Mum a great present from Primark for my Mum which came to £14. We found a beautiful foam jacket, which was cut in a very chic way and was very angular, looked great and was reduced to £3!!!!! My Mum has been ill so we thought it would be nice to get her something glam, so he chose some lovely silvery black sparkly pointed stilettos to wear to a fabulous party when she is better.

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FOR MUM

Forever 21 had some great stock in and I fell in love with these pointy green studded booties that cost £22. They have a slight platform and look really alternative, as if they were straight from urban outfitters. I loved the silver buckle and could easily of bought them for myself! (Must resist, the shopping trip is for others, not me!) I recently tried an amazing mascara, 3D lash mascara by Younique. Bella Lash Mafia stocks it and sends it really quickly to the UK so its a great place to buy it from. Whenever I wear it it just looks amazing, makes my eyes stand out and my eye lashes look so so long! I couldn’t recommend it enough, so I felt that I just had t share my secret and buy it for my Mum too! I finished the present off by adding large heart shapped pillow that I had bought from Primark for £4.

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PINK LEATHER and SEQUIN DRESSES for £20

This season I was really impressed with Forever 21’s style. Their use of sequins and embellished style was just perfect for finding something fabulous to wear over the Christmas period, which looked super expensive and very eye catching. My sister and I did a bit of his and hers in this store. I chose a beautiful sea green/ turquoise sequin dress that was just over £20 for her to give me, which I felt would be an incredible thing to wear out to meet the girls. My boyfriend and I bought her a dirty pink faux leather jacket for £15 and a pretty girlie crochet head band for £3.

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JET BLUE ZARA SLIP-ONS & PHARELL WILLIAMS ALBUM

A lot of the things in Zaras are on my Christmas list. I love their black leather backpack, their black boots and silver studded slip ons. They were also selling a beautiful camel coat, velvet cardigan and very stylish coats. If you are looking to buy a really lovely piece of clothing for someone then this is the place to go to be spoilt for choice! As it is pre-sale, everything was quite expensive, but I did find some amazing jet blue slip-ons for £19.99 that I thought my sister would really like! She asked for the Pharrell Williams Album (with Happy Single) so I bought that too 🙂

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SHOES, SHOES AND MORE SHOES

Usually by Christmas they have a great new selection of clothes for the coming year and as it is winter, I have found that shoes are an easy but really lovely present to buy for somebody. My boyfriend’s present to me are a pair of high top leather Vans sneakers which I love. Some other amazing festive shoes can be found at London Rebel, that do gold toe capped booties and gold studded booties, perfect for the cold weather and for jazzing up an outfit. Finally (because I couldn’t resist buying them for myself after spending days and days buying things for other people)…I bought two pairs of shoes, one black and one white of reflective creep sneaks from Schuh. Let me know what you think?

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FOR THE BOYS

My boyfriend likes wear shirts, so I bought him a Hawes & Curtis shirt for £25. It is very classic, a style which he loves and it is a very easy present for someone who has most things. My Dad also loves clothes and H&M had a great selection of casual tops and chinos. I bought a red checked thick shirt for £10 and a green thin printed t-shirt for £8. He also choose some dark brown trousers which he could dress up or down depending on the occasion and I bought him Toilet Golf from Tiger for £7 He also wanted some high top brown boots and these proved harder to find. Aldo was the best shop, their boots were stunning and so he will return there when the sales are on as the nice ones were over £100.

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PRIMARK STOCKING FILLERS

If you are looking to get some great stocking fillers then go no further than Primark! I just love their sets of rings, earrings and necklaces. I also bought a 90’s chocker (£1.00).  Although they aren’t the best quality, they are great for creating cool looks and mean that you can have lots of different pieces to wear every day without spending a fortune. They are also selling women’s slippers, an almost identical version of the UGG boot slippers that cost £70 for £4 so I bought some of those for myself. Finally I bought a long thick knit scarf for £5 and some quirky fake nails for £1.

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Other ideas include Boxes of Macaroons, Perfumes (We have bought Channel N5 for my Mum and Hugo Boss for me), Winking Clutch purse from Forever 21 and anything Tiffany’s 😉

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Finally, here is a list of presents that I would really loooooove ❤ ❤ So perhaps would be perfect for making someone’s Christmas super special 🙂

Petite- Malle Monogram Trunk – LOUIS VUITTON

Harper Silver Necklace – DYLANLEX

Three Floor One Oh Dress- ASOS

Knit Cape with Sleeves –ZARA

Coat With Lapels – ZARA

White Wrap Front Shirt – RIVER ISLAND

Leather Backpack – CHIVOTE

Weaved Swarovski Bracelet – CASTELLANO ETHNIC ORIGINS

Crochet boxy Top – MANGO

Navy Blue Fur Jacket – ZARA

High Heeled Leather Boots – ZARA

 Printed Shirt Dress – RIVER ISLAND

Floral Print Shirt Dress- WAREHOUSE

Hope Heeled Sandals – ASOS

Someone Hide The Scissors!

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Yesterday I went to see the Inbetweeners 2 at the cinema and found myself somehow identifying with Simon’s psycho girlfriend who keeps cutting up his clothes. Now, I am not condoning damage to private property, but there is something rather fulfill about cutting up clothes (my own, not other people’s of course!). After removing large sections of my primark jeans the other week, I decided to customize these dark trousers in a similar but slightly more subtle way. Having been asked over and over again “Abi, are you sure you want to do this?”, I took a deep breathe and with a mad glint in my eye I made two cuts across my knees. Beads of sweat formed on my brow. I ignored the cries of “Stop, Abi! Stop whilst your ahead!” and decided to pull down hard on one of the corners to rip the flap down even more.

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The feeling I got was hard to describe and could only be compared to the one that I had when at the age of 16 I decided to dye my hair blonde at home. Excitement, exhilaration, boldness and a Captain Flash disregard for consequences.  The wind soon left those sails I can tell you when blonde turned into different shades orange. Why different shades I hear you ask? Because the first packet said to color and then highlight for golden blonde – it was a lie, it was fluorescent orange. The second panic packet said lighter platinum blonde, that lied too as it just went lighter orange and the third box which I picked up on my third visit to the supermarket that day, said brown, which turned into a dirty ginger, a color which couldn’t be changed for the next month by the hairdresser for fear of all my hair breaking off. Apparently you can’t just keep dying and highlighting hair :/

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So here I am wearing my customized jeans. They are a great way to dress down a shirt and I have combined them here with a leather jacket and leather mirror shoes for a casual but expensive look. What do you think?  So I guess the moral of this one is simple, be impulsive and from experience I would say that if you want something you won’t stop wanting it until you do it. So go for it and get it done and at least then you can get it out of your system…that is UNLESS the effects are irreversible (bowl hair cut, eye brow shaving, hair dying, prison tats etc) and whether the effects are irreversible should be judged objectively (the reasonable person test, not the crazy teenager/mid life crisis test).

Wearing

Ripped Jeans – Primark

Leather Jacket – Zara

Baby Blue shirt – Zara

Leather Mirror Shoes  – Stradivarius

Marriage Proposal… mais c’est le Souk ici ;)

My boyfriend turned to me and laughed. ‘See’, he said trying to ease my fears, ‘I told you that they would want to trade you for some camels’. I tried not to look so pleased.  So many people had told me that this happened or had happened to them or their pretty friends but it was nearing the end of our trip and no one, not even the ugliest buck toothed peddler had offered up anything in exchange for my love. wasn’t I worth even one lousy camel? Not even the oldest most haggard one?Did I smell, or was my face getting too red walking about under the midday sun?Perhaps my perfume had expired and so my pheromones were going haywire but maybe  I was just having a few “off days”, who could tell? One thing was for sure though, it just wasn’t happening with me in the Moroccan love department, that is until now…

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We had spent 20 minutes bartering for a bracelet.

-“If I had a woman like you I wouldn’t argue over 50dhs. I would buy you this bracelet for 150 dhs”, said the owner of the next door shop as he grinned broadly, knowing he was in ear shot of both his friend the seller and my boyfriend. “In fact, if I had you”, he continued, “I would give you diamond and a detached house with a villa!”

-“See, I told you that they would want to trade you for some camels”.

-“No, not camels, diamond! Big diamond”, he answered.

This was enough to break my boyfriend’s concentration. Moroccan suitors were no longer to be underestimated it seemed. Love like everything else in Marrakesh had moved into the 21 st century and apparently camels were now just a thing of the past. His family had two houses, one in Wimbledon, the other in Kensingon and he had lived there for over 10 years… Was this just a final last resort tactic, the straw that would break the camels back,  the thing which would get my red sweating denuded boyfriend to pay the 150 dhs and whisk me away before I could think twice about the life without work, the free house, the huge rock and a life time of goat skin shoes? Most probably. Did it work? Of course it did. Does this take away the fact that I got a proposal? Of course not! Was I disappointed not to get offered loads of camels? A bit…

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We had come a long way since my first attempt at bartering, where I was lectured in the leather shop on the etiquette of Moroccan shopping- apparently you can’t keep lowering your offer once someone has accepted it as I was doing  :/ With my sails a bit deflated I entered the souks up North close to the Madersa Ben Youssef – I mean what a way to rain on my shopping parade with an angry accusation of dirty dealing!

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We negotiated our way through the maze, away from the tanneries and down towards Place de Jemaa El Fna. It was a journey filled with wonders: the artisans and their studios, the burrows covered in goat hides, the metal workers and the old man who carved beautiful chess sets with his feet. Then, closer to the main square we found the more sumptuous shops selling soft babouches and colorful carpets. Sometimes it was hard to know where to go and so whenever we found a few tourists we would surreptitiously follow them down, that is if we didn’t get waylaid by some treasure or shiny object. It was very dark in the main souks, darker than I had imagined and in some places dyed material and animal hides hung from the rafters . Bamboo had been laid across the passages to protect the bustling world below from the harsh gaze of the sun. A few lucky little shafts of light did manage to seep through though and when a person walked through these pools of gold they were lit up as if they had been chosen by God himself. We could see where we were going, but not because the sun was high in the sky, but thanks to the warm inviting glow of the shops and the thousands of lanterns and glass lamps on sale in the thousands of Alibaba caverns dotted along our road to openness. Along the main arteries of the market these lanterns shone bright and lit up the darkness like tiny stars. Down narrower streets the lights were off but on our arrival sellers illuminated their caverns and turned them into glorious caves filled with precious metals, gem stones and genies and in this way the darkness parted as we moved forward into the maze.

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We had to barter for everything and shopping Moroccan style was hard. Every person wanted to show us something or sell us something else. If they didn’t have it, they knew someone else who did. When we looked it would take time to leave especially if trying not to be too rude, and when we wanted to buy we had to mentally prepare ourselves that the deal could take a good 1/2 hour to negotiate. They were so much better than us though and we had to resort to communicating with them in Spanish instead of French to try to put them at a slight disadvantage. We had artisans make us sculptures to take away, give us guided tours of their work shops, we were offered tea and humoured and really every time we fell for it, enjoyed it and bought their products (which I may say were lovely anyway, so win win all round!).

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This part is for those of you who are interested in our purchases and the prices that I paid. 10 dhs = approx 1 euro. We bought domino sets (80-100), a leather pouf (180 dhs) and hundreds of pairs of shoes, (100 dhs for the best quality handmade leather babouches is a good price, but if you are buying many then you can get them for 90dhs each). We also bought 8 pairs of earrings ( 80 dhs), a leather hand stitched camel (10 dhs), 2 his/hers leather wallets (80 dhs for the pair), leather rucksack (180 dhs), natural perfume (1 dhs a gram), key rings (10 dhs each), hand painted tagine (150 dhs).

And…Don’t forget you can now stay up to date with our adventures, travels and  outfits on my  social media 🙂

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Harrods, La Duree and a perfect day out in Knightsbridge

London is beautiful and, if you know where to go and who to go with, you will experience the best of the best. Today, we decided to spend the afternoon in Knightsbridge, one of the poshest and most expensive areas of London. Close to Hyde Park, the Albert Memorial and the Diana Memorial, this is the perfect place to see fast cars and designer hand bags.

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Our first stop was to Harrods. This has got to be the world’s most incredible and beautiful shopping center in the world. Men in green tail coats and top hats open the doors to a world only seen in fairy tales, the only place in the world where you will have to queue up to pay at the Louis Vuitton Store.

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Even if you do not intend to spend lots of money on all their designer clothes, perfumes and jewellery, it is definitely worth a visit. My favorite part has got to be the food court. Tourists and locals alike throng through the narrow ills looking longingly at all the marvelous creations which is on offer. Chocolates, the world’s most expensive cakes, pastries, marzipan fruits, macaroons. The assistants wear white hats and stand behind their individual counters. Each morsel of goodness has clearly been specifically loved, made and chosen. Another room and some more wonders. Rows of Spanish cured hams and sea food restaurants. Lobsters and champagne. The ceilings are ornate and the wealth is opulent. This is food porn at its very best.

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After buying a lovely bag, my boyfriend and I went for lunch at Cafe de Paris, a little french bistro close to the back of the gigantic hall. Not wanting to end the day just yet, we went back to La Duree where we had coffee and macaroons in a sumptuous decorated room.

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After a bit more shopping, we set off for Zuma for some drinks. I would highly recommend their rose and lycee cocktails. It was so full, the atmosphere was amazing. We managed to get a seat by the bar and so we sipped our drinks whilst watching the incredible pace to which the bar staff worked.

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Finally, on to Baku Bistro for some top notch Azerbeijan cuisine with live DJ and fruit hooka outside on their front patio. The cesar salad was the best I have ever had and the champagne was to die for. The best day out in London by a mile 😉

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