Thursday, 30 December 2010


Christmas is rightfully loaded with sweet treats and full-fat goodness. I love a little over-indulgence, but as my jeans become a little tighter and the Wii Fit at my parent's house tells me I have gained seven pounds since I last visited them (oops), I should probably switch to healthier options. I'm not talking about 'diet food', I'm talking about tasty snacks that just so happen to be low in calories and fat and high in goodness. Five delicious ideas below...
Jordan's Frusli
Supermarkets nationwide
First, the breakfast snack has to be a bar of Jordan's Frusli. They have a new flavour - Apples & Sultanas with a hint of Cinnamon - which are very tasty indeed. The delicious bars contain 25% fruit combined with wholegrain oats, and only 111 calories and 2.3g fat. Cinnamon also happens to be a great blood sugar regulator, so having this as a breakfast snack should mean you make it to lunch-time without any extra food cravings (well, that's the plan... but does part of you think they're so good for you that you should really be eating two? ...or is that just me!).
Wonderful Pistachios available at Tesco

I didn't even realise I liked pistachios when I tried salt & pepper flavoured Wonderful Pistachios, now I can't live with out them!  Dubbed the “skinny nut” by nutrition experts, a handful of pistachios offers a deliciously satisfying snack for about 100 calories. Pistachios also contain essential fibres to aid the digestive system, managing cholesterol and lowering blood sugar levels - so what are you waiting for? I've shared these tasty treats around with friends and they are unanimously delicious.

Soreen, £1.29 for a large loaf
Supermarkets nationwide
I do love Soreen as a snack. It's low in fat and tastes great. To my delight, Soreen has recently introduced two delicious new flavours; an Apple and Sultana loaf packed with a sweet apple taste and a Banana fruit loaf containing less than 1.5 per cent saturated fat and full of yummy banana goodness. Soreen is delicious toasted with  a small spread of butter... give it a go!

Fruit Bowl Fruit Flakes, £1.91 for five bags
Waitrose and other stores
When you get a craving for sweets, try some Fruit Flakes. I personally like the Raspberry or Strawberry varieties. The handy pocket-packs contains little Fruit Flakes to snack on, and contain more than three times their own weight in fruit. These tasty treats are gluten and dairy free too.

Diva Popcorn - Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar, £1.05
Popcorn is the new crisps... It's official. I've overlooked it in Pret a Manger for some time, but I have now succumed. Diva popcorn definitely has as much flavour as it does personality, I picked up the Sea Salt & Balsamic vinegar variety in the Harrods Food Hall, and it was de-lic-ous. There's also less than four grams of fat per bag and only 95 calories! The great thing is that it lasts for ages - not like many bags of crisps that only contain about ten crisps inside! Pop pop pop... I'm addicted!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Today is the Winter solstise - the shortest day - or to optimists among us, the longest night. So, to the bedroom! Here are my top five PJs...

Autograph 3/4 Sleeve Satin Floral Pyjamas, £30
These PJs are super stylish... You definitely wouldn't be embarrassed opening the door in them to the post man ... The downside is they look so smart, I'd be a little bit tempted to wear them to work if I was hungover!

Midnight Kiss, £25
This satin chemise is super cute and comes with a matching thong. Trimmed with black lace, this is a really pretty nightie. It's available in other colours and patterns too - check them out on the La Senza website.

Sorbet I Want More Sleep Pyjamas, £14
Absolutely top of the priorities list in Winter is sleep - spell it out to everyone with this cosy leggings/t-shirt PJ set.

Animal Print Pyjamas, £22
The girl in the Next adverts. She is GORGEOUS. Here she is looking amazing, again, in Next Animal Print Pyjamas. If you can get over the fact that you will never look as good as she does, they're a great buy!

Veronika Kimono, £545
A dressing gown is an investment. So splash all your Christmas bonus on a seriously good one. I really love this silk one from Agent Provocateur. Now, time for bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, 20 December 2010


Christmas time, mistletoe and wine.... or other tasty drinks. Below are my top five festive tipples - I hadn't realised until after I created this post, that all my favourite drinks are red. Bonus.

Fountain of Youth
Made with Russian Standard Vodka

I adore cocktails - I was a cocktail waitress for a little while, such a great skill to have in life! The above pictured cocktail is called Fountain of Youth - it's made by pouring 50mls of Vodka, 60mls of Pomegranate juice in to a cocktail shaker with  thinly sliced ginger and ice, you then shake it vigorously and pour into a Martini glass (wipe a mint leaf around the rim of the glass first) and garnish with ginger. I used Russian Standard Gold Vodka in the recipe which is really good quality. If you know someone who loves their voddy, or someone who makes a lot of cocktails, it would make a great Christmas present (you can by it in an amazing gold presentation case).

Cranberry Gin, £3.80/100ml

Another delicious Christmas drink is Cranberry Gin. Home made in Cheshire, this unusual drink has a fantastically sharp and clean taste to it. It is nicely sweet and has a distinctive cranberry taste. Try it with tonic and a twist of lime or over crushed ice as an aperitif. There are a number of bottles you can choose to buy this tipple - it would make a great gift for a gin fan!

Camitz Sparkling Cosmo
If you want to celebrate the festive season with something a little bit different, you should try Camitz Sparkling Vodka. It's 100% natural and made in Sweden. As with most bubbly drinks, the fizz only lasts for a few days, making it a fabulous tipple for parties (although after the fizz goes, it lasts just like normal vodka - so no binge drinking please!). It's great for making a twisted Cosmo... Add 50ml Cranberry juice, 15ml Cointreau,15ml fresh lime juice and ice to a cocktail shaker - shakey-shakey shake it - and then pour into a chilled Martini glass. Top with 50ml of Camitz Sparkling Vodka. Garnish with a lime wheel. Delicious.

Pixley Berries Blackcurrant & Raspberry Cordial, £3.19 for 500ml
There's been a lot of colds and flu around lately, so if you want something to make you feel better, why not make a hot toddy? Warm (not boil) some apple juice in a pan with some cinnamon, add a little bit of rum and some Pixley cordial - it'll make you feel warm inside and tastes divine! I particularly like Pixley Berries Blackcurrant & Raspberry, it's lovely and sweet, and the high fruit content of the drink actually helps stave off colds too. I like to have the cordial (without the alcohol) to warm up when I come in from the cold.
Gordon's Gin
It may be 'mother's ruin', but I adore gin. In winter, there isn't much more delicious a drink than sloe gin and tonic on ice, with a squeeze of fresh lime. I usually buy Gordon's, but I'd really like to make some - apparently you pick some sloe berries, put them in a bottle of regular gin and hey presto - if anyone has any information on how this works - how long it takes, how many berries to put in etc... I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, 17 December 2010


The first thing I have to say about crackers is that winning is everything. Don't just go pulling them with anyone, strategically offer to share yours with the weakest looking person at the table (although not children, as it's 'frowned upon' to keep the toys that you win against kids). Then, grip as near to the central part of the cracker as possible and yank it downwards - and hard! Bingo. Toy, hat, joke, and most importantly, glory. Below are my top five Christmas crackers. Good luck.

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity Cracker, £10 for box of 5
If you're gonna win, you may as well win big. Pull a Rainbow Cracker for the chance to win a £10,000 Boodles diamond, an aerobatic flight with a former Red Arrow pilot or a stay at the luxurious Cliveden House Hotel. These crackers are sold to raise money for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity ( The charity provides emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness. Crackers also include a Christmas hat and joke (but we'll all be searching for the diamond!)

Dig in Crackers for Cooks & Gardeners, £15 for six
If you're entertaining people who like to show off their culinary and horticultural talents, Dig in Crackers for Cooks & Gardeners will be the perfect treat for your table. Winners of the annual Christmas pulling competition will take home cookie cutters, mini graters, plant markers, twine and seeds - they'll be able to entertain themselves in kitchens and gardens for hours! Whoop.
Christmas Table Crackers, £30 for four
If people are likely to get upset if they open a cracker with no toy, then these probably aren't the crackers for you (and you should consider if you're hanging out with the right people). Hotel Chocolat crackers will make your table look amazing. The crackers are tied with beautiful  gold ribbon and contain three  Christmas chocolates, a party hat and a Christmas joke. There are 24 different chocolates inside - 40% milk, 70% dark, caramel, creamy white, dark with peppermint, zesty orange and more. So have a little sniff of the crackers before you pick your seat!
Eco Jumbo Crackers, £50 for six
The ethically minded will be charmed by these environmentally friendly crackers. Each contains a luxurious eco gift. The only dangerous thing about these crackers, is that you have to go to Selfridges to buy them (hide the credit cards. Now!)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


I've already had my third Christmas meal, and you can keep 'em coming. I love it all - terrines, turkey, pigs in blankets... and desserts. Delicious. Christmas pudding is a particular fave, but don't scrimp and buy a cheap one, it's the time of year to indulge after all. Go out and buy yourself a tasty Christmas treat from my top five Christmas puddings:

Tesco Finest Christmas Pudding, £5
We have a family tradition of setting the Christmas pudding alight, but this has caused damage on more than one occasion, so I will make sure that no-one brings a flame anywhere near this delicious dessert. It's loaded with juicy dried fruit (that have been soaked in English cider, brandy, sherry and vintage port) and although you will be full by the time you eat it - this boozy dessert will leave you wanting more... Where's my spoon!

Chrimbo Pud in a Box, £9.99
Christmas is a time to get all the family together, but there's usually a tricky customer to keep happy- gluten free, vegetarian... So, it's important to have something delicious to hand so that everyone can enjoy a tasty treat. The Chrimbo Pud in a Box' is sensational. The fabulously wrapped pudding has a delicious blend of spices; nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ginger and all spice - mixed together with juicy fruit. The pudding is so beautifully presented it would make an ideal Christmas present for gluten-free friends (just hope they'll open it while you're there, so you can taste how good it is!).

Perfectly Clear With A Twist of Christmas Pud
Available at Morrisons

Perfectly Clear have been taking tips from Willy Wonka this Christmas! And as Christmas is about having a little fun, why not keep this drink on hand for dieters who want the taste of dessert, without the calories!?  

Zizzi's Panettone, £9.95
Zizzi's Nationwide

Panettone is a traditional Italian cake, and a great alternative to Christmas pudding. Zizzi's Panettone is light and fluffy with plump raisins and sweet candied peel. It makes a brilliant breakfast light afternoon snack. For those with a sweet tooth, try chocolate Panettone, which is a perfect snack with hot chocolate!

Christmas Cupcake, £2.95
A twist on traditional Christmas pudding, try this cute cupcake from my favourite bakery, Hummingbird. The Christmas Cupcake is laced with rum brandy, exotic fruits and an almond scented frosting. Wow

Monday, 13 December 2010


There's nothing like walking into a sweet-smelling, beautifully lit, warm room on a cold Christmas night. Mmmmmm. Here's my top five festive candles to set the mood....
Neom Make-A-Wish Candle, £34
The Neom Make-a-Wish Christmas Candle smells super-festive, with spicy notes of  cinnamon, ginger, mandarin & tonka bean. Decorative with it's three wicks, this candle will look great wherever you place it. Neom donates £1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation - who grant wishes to children fighting life threatening illnesses - for every candle sold.
Price's Candles Set of 4 Metallic Sphere Christmas Candles, £12.10
Reflect the sparkle and shine of your festive decorations with these metallic sphere candles. These fun candles come in a pack of four, and would look great burning on a festive mantel piece.
Snow Angel Candle, £8.50
The luxurious Snow Angel will fill your home with a beautiful aroma of burning angels...only kidding... This simple but stylishly packaged candle will release a gorgeous mix of cedarwood and winter forest fruits through your home - a great candle for hallways to make holiday guests feel welcome. The Snow Angel Candle, £8.50 has a burning time of 35 hours.
John Lewis Tree Candle, £6
This gorgeous candle from John Lewis will look beautiful surrounded by holly as a centre-piece for a small Christmas dining table. Or you could place some cute ornamental reindeers near it to make it look a little more playful.
Diptyque Violet Blue Frankincense Scented Candle, £45
If you're looking for a Christmas candle to give as a gift, you couldn't go far wrong with Diptyque's Frankincense Scented Candle. Beautiful packaged in a violet blue jar with  decorative gold design, this candle has a mystical scent of incense and citrus. It's the type of gift you give, but really want to keep for yourself!

Friday, 10 December 2010


You may forget your feet at party time, which is silly, as sometimes feet are the makers or breakers of a fun night out. Particularly if you've just introduced them to your new sky-scraper heels. My top five products for happy party feet are below.

Soap&Glory Foot Buffer, £8.50
Sometimes, you gotta be cruel to be kind, and filing away that dead skin - though gross - is really important for happy feet. I absolutely love the Soap&Glory Foot Buffer - it's £8.50, making it quite premium in the foot filing stakes - but it's bloody good. At the base of the handle, there's even a mini file for filing toes! They'll feel baby-soft by the time you've finished.
OPI Nail Varnish
I'm not a big fan of nail varnish, but Christmas parties are a special occasion, so I guess a coat or two on the old toes would be a wise idea. OPI varnish is pretty resistant to chips, so will probably see me through the whole party season.

Party Feet
Sleeping in on a comfy matress with a snuglly pillow - just how good does that feel? Well, it feels a little like when you put Party Feet in your shoes.... Scholl Party Feet provide cushioning to your tootsies to help prevent the burning pain we get when we dance too much. Slip these gel pads into your shoes to reduce the pressure on your feet (they have versions for heels, balls of feet and even 'sore spot' pads to protect from any areas where your shoes rub) when wearing high heels.

Feet Fairies, from £9.99
We've all been there, feet killing at the end of a night out, wondering if it's in any way acceptable to remove our shoes and walk barefoot....  Feet Fairies are the answer (a gift from the feet heavens if you will). These fold away pumps come in a handy pouch, so they can be re-used without our handbags getting muddy! The pouch folds out to become a bag to carry your shoes home in too - the Feet Fairies really have thought of everything!

Cosy Toes Intensive Foot Treatment Balm, £8.50

After a hard night partying, treat your feet to a concentrated treatment balm that will condition your tired  toes. VIE at home’s Cosy Toes Intensive Foot Treatment Balm contains a blend of Pro Vitamin B5, Vitamin E and Sweet Almond Oil that leave feet nourished and revived. Bliss.   

Thursday, 9 December 2010


I do wonder why it took fake lashes so long to become a beauty essential. Twiggy was rocking fake lashes in the sixties, and looked fabulous, but it's only in the past five years that they've become a glam night out essential.  As it's party-season, I've put together my top five party lashes...

 Smoke & Shadows, £5.95

I do love Eylure lashes, and for the party season, the Smoke & Shadows lashes are just what you need. They make your lashes looks long and full, but not fake. I love wearing these lashes with a dark smoky eye. Eylure's Girls Aloud Party lashes in 'Cheryl' are quite similar to these, but have a glittery shimmer, for extra festive sparkle. Bellisimo!
Beauty Grooves Lashes, £3.79

Once you start wearing false lases, you often feel naked without them! The problem is, if you develop a habit, it can be an expensive one. Beauty Grooves lashes are a great budget alternative. This cute pair of lashes add great length and has a decorative pink detail in the corner. At just £3.79 they're a lash-addict's dream.
La La Lashes in Dazzle, £7.95
Transform your look for the party with La La Lashes in Dazzle - these shimmering lashes glitter in the light and add that festive touch of sparkle. These lashes are really easy to apply to - perfect for a glamourous look in double-quick time. They're likely to last you for a few wears too!

Jemma Kidd I-Glamour Corner Lashes Duo, £17.00

For a sophisticated fake-lash try from Jemma Kidd I-Glamour lashes. Apply to the corner lashes to elongate them. You'll create a natural-looking lash length that will have people guessing whether you're wearing falsies or not!

Illamasqua Handmade Lashes (026), £17.50
For maximum impact lashes, try Illamasqua in style 026. This fluttery lash set is as attention-seeking as your average peacock, but who cares!! If you've got little eyes, I'd steer clear of these though, as I think you need quite doey eyes to pull them off. 

What are your faves?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Eeek... Christmas party is coming. We need to transform from office wear to party princess in double quick time. Today, my top five party prep products...

Xen-Tan Mousse, £21.95
When you want a tan, and you want it now, Xen-Tan Mousse Intense is all you need. It has an instant tint, which is the perfect guide for even application. The tan continues to deepen over the next three hours until you're a golden bronze. Definitely one to apply the morning of the office party  - it smells of vanilla, not like some (smelly) fake tans, so you don't need to shower before hitting the party.
i-smoulder, £18
Dazzling eyes are a party essential. i – smoulder is a smoky eye pencil and shadow in one - great for creating glam eyes without much effort. For party eyes, run the eyeliner underneath the eye, inside the lash line, then blink hard to transfer the colour to the top lashes. Repeat this a couple of times for a dramatic look. To finish, use the cream eye shadow along the top lash line and blend upwards. There are two great new party shades: eye-catching Amethyst (blue) and sultry Sapphire (lilac).

Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effect Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara, Radical Noir, £21.50

Eyes will never truly 'pop' until you've applied lashings of mascara. Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effect Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara, in Radical Noir is an intense black mascara that gives the universally desired lash thickness and length. A tip for controlled application - as you definitely don't have time to rectify smudges when rushing from desk to dance floor - is to bend the head of the mascara wand to a right angle. You won't have to bend your arm awkwardly, so you should get even application without any effort (or mess!)... give it a try!
*I'm well aware that for many people, the party look wouldn't be complete without some false lashes, so if mascara just isn't enough, check-in tomorrow for my top five false lashes
Les Tissages de Chanel, Tweed Fuscia, £31
A beautiful rosy glow can always be attained with the Chanel Les Tissages de Chanel blusher. It has tiny flecks of gold that provide a shimmery blush - perfect for partying... but just as good for day wear. There's a certain 'je ne sais quoi' about checking your make-up in a Chanel compact, so keep this in your bag at all times!
Jemma Kidd High Shine Silk Touch Lip Gloss
Whether you plan on kissing someone under the mistletoe at the Christmas party or not, beautiful lips are a must. I am a HUGE fan of gloss, as I think it's more playful than lipstick. I received a free red Jemma Kidd lipgloss in a magazine a few months ago, and I think it's great - super shiny, lightly shimmering and long-lasting. MWAH.

Now the only question left is what to wear!?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Bleeding office Secret Santa. Guaranteed you'll never get one of your workmates. So, whoever you've pulled out of the Santa hat, read on for some inspiration with my top five Secret Santa ideas.
I Love Spreadsheets Mug, £8.50

You've been lucky enough to pull out the androgynous name belonging to someone from accounts. Marvellous. You've only ever corresponded over email - how to solve the puzzle? ... Buy them a mug saying 'I Love Spreadsheets' - because sometimes you just gotta work with what ya got!
The Penguin of Death, £6.99
Maintaining an air of mystery about yourself at work may be important to you. If so, I have the ULTIMATE gift... The Penguin of Death. Adorable at first glance - who could resist his chirpy little beak, wide bright eyes and cuddly grey body? Then, read the message which states that this penguin, should he wish to, could kill you in one of 412 different ways. Funny? Creepy? Cute? Sinister? You'll keep your air of mystery alright! You may also never get invited out to lunch again....
Dans Le Jardin Fragranced Candle, £7.50

The lucky lady you have to buy for is the big boss lady. If she has a sense of humour, go for a joke gift - but if not, play it safe and buy her something inoffensive (she'll be in charge of deciding on your Christmas bonus, remember!!). The Dans Le Jardin candle from M&S is a safe bet. 

Alida of London Beauty Tools Set, £5.99

If you're buying for the 'girlie girl' at work who loves the latest beauty tools, the newly launched Beauty Tools Set from Alida would be a great choice. The set contains slanted tweezers, mini emery board and nail clipper - perfect for girls who like to look glam!
Volcom Puppet Socks, £6.99
Every office has a joker, and if you are chosen to buy their Secret Santa gift then consider this - Volcom Puppet Socks. You can just picture his gleeful little face now as he unwraps them and amuses your colleagues at the office party with his own amateur puppet show. He'll also get to take home a handy pair of socks - I love a good 2-in-1 gift!

What are you buying your secret santa?

Monday, 6 December 2010


Everyone wants perfect skin. Admittedly, genes play quite a vital role in whether we have picture-perfect skin or not, but there's plenty that we can do to give nature a helping hand to give us silky-soft skin too. Below are my top five products for flawless skin.

SilkPerfect Pillowcases, from £20
We know we need our beauty sleep, but have you thought about what you're sleeping on? Traditional cotton, linen and polyester pillowcases have high absorbency rates, which steal moisture from skin while we sleep. Dried out skin is naturally prone to ageing and sleeping on what is a relatively rough surface can contribute to the formation of lines and creases too. So, it's worth investing in some silky-smooth pillow cases. SilkPerfect pillowcases proactively retain moisture, while the fine soft nature of the fibres provides a smooth base for you to rest your sleepy head (they're better for hair to rest on too!).
ROC Sublime Energy Eye, £29.99

It's all very well sending people to the moon to monitor the solar system (or whatever it is they do up there!), but I am pleased to see that the scientists at ROC very much have there feet on the ground and are channelling their science degrees into something that will benefit human-kind much more - keeping us looking young and fabulous! Bioelectricity is fundamental to the skin's rejuvenation process. It's basically positive and negative charges that run through our skin, sending messages to renew skin and keep our skin looking great. As we age, bioelectric signals diminish, so, to keep our skin beautiful, we need to send signals another way... ROC Sublime Energy Eye mimics the body's own bioelectricity to accelerate the skin's repair process. Young looking eyes. Done.
Airbase Primer, £39.95
If you don't suffer from dry skin, skip moisturiser and smooth on Airbase Prime. Airbase products have been formulated by Oscar nominated make-up artist Anni Buchanan to create a flawless, lasting finish. This product isn't drying at all, and feels sensational on the skin. It's not tinted, so is the perfect base for any skin colour.

Vie At Home Correct & Perfect Concealer, £10.50
This item has to be my new favourite cosmetic. This handbag sized gem has a green-coloured concealer to even out redness, lilac to lift and brighten your complexion - it works brilliantly under the eyes to reduce bags and brighten the area. After you've applied foundation over the green/lilac concealers, you can then blend the two concealer shades to complete your flawless skin look. My sisters adore this product too - it would make a great gift for a beauty addict. Love, love, love it!

Mineral Foundation, bellapierre, £34.99

Mineral foundations help improve skin texture and tone, it also has a natural sun screen inside, due to its  Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide content. The bellapierre Mineral Foundation is great if you need light coverage. This product will leave your skin looking, as well as feeling amazing.

I hope this top five helps you get your skin ready for the party season!