Monday, 29 September 2014

Belated Birthday Boast - Gift Ideas.

'Is she really writing a post boasting about what she got for her birthday?' I hear you ask. Well, kinda. 

As you can tell from the name of this post, it's been quite a while since my birthday, however I have friends and family up and down the country, and didn't want to leave any presents out of this post because in all honesty, they're amazing present givers. 

The aim of this post isn't really to boast about how awesome my birthday was (even though it was AWESOME), it's actually to inspire you for any gift giving you may have to do soon. As much as I hate how early Xmas is being shoved down our throats. it's not a bad idea to get thinking about unique and original gift ideas for your loved ones. Failing that you may have some birthdays coming up, or may just want to spontaneously surprise someone close with a gift. 

There's nothing better than gifts that have an element of sentiment and personality behind them, and that show that person really knows what you love and who you are. 

My lovely boyfriend took me shopping in Cambridge or my birthday and let me pick out an outfit of my choice. The moment I saw this playsuit I had to have it. Who could possible resist these colours? So summery and soooooo comfortable to wear. 

I think everyone that knows me is now fully aware of my Pug/ French Bulldog obsession, even my grandparents. I have many squishy nosed pup paraphernalia scattered throughout my room, but this cushion is my fave. SO SQUIDGY!!

Just like my pup obsession, everyone knows how much I love baking. Something like this stamp makes a cute little addition to any avid baker's baking kit. My Aunty Annie bought me a huge bundle of goodies that are all featured here, and this is the first of many. Stay tuned for this lil stamp's debut appearance in one of my baking posts.
 (I couldn;t find this particular stamp, but have linked to one very similar.) 

As a blogger and a freelance fashion writer there's always so much stuff I need to write down. Post-its just don't cut it as far as I'm concerned. I'm also a HUGE stationary horder. If I won the lottery I would buy all of Paperchase. And Staples. Seriously. So for me, there's no such thing as too many notepads. This is a really cute addition to my collection, and if you know anyone who's a bit of a stationary freak like me, you can never go wrong with something nice to write in. 

Any baker fanatic will agree that once you start baking, fancy aprons become your collectors item. All colours, shapes, and patterns; the more the merrier. Cath Kidston have some really kitsch designs at the moment, especially for home and kitchenware. This is the kind of kit you want on display for everyone to see. It's so pretty I'm scared to get it dirty. 

6. Marks and Spencers Caramel Coulis Truffles
I couldn't find these online, but you know that when it comes to M&S and sweet treats, you're in safe hands. The box itself is very pretty, and the chocolates are to die for. These would make for a lovely little present, and with M&S there's so much variety. 

7. The Fudge Tree Co Chocolates
I am a sucker for old school vintage sweets, and they are becoming so popular recently. There's nothing more fun than a huge jar of retro sweets that remind you of your childhood. These giant white chocolate snowies are the big brothers of my favourite sweets when I was a kid, and I get a wave of nostalgia every time I eat them. 

8. Nikon Camera Equipment
Sometimes the best presents are things you really need - something practical.  The boyfriend earned himself some major BF points when he bought me these, mainly because now I have them, I don't know what I'd do without them. The first is a Macro Fisheye Lens, the second is a spare battery, and the third is a wireless DSLR remote. For blogging and anyone into photography, these are lifesavers. 

Since starting this blog I've only really just started taking care of my nails. I've bitten them for as long as I can remember, but since exploring the world of beauty and building up my nail varnish collection, I've realised it's well worth looking after my nails. Cute nail files in a variety of designs will appeal to any beauty fanatic, or even someone who just takes pride in having a well manicured set of talons. They're a really reasonable yet quirky addition to any gift. 

I love it when I receive gifts that are used to conceal other gifts. It appeals to the excited child in me. My lovely friend Gabbie used this gorgeous hippie style purse to hide a necklace and miniature bottle of hand cleanser (which smells like chewits: AMAZING).  I honestly never have enough of accessories like these. They make for really handy make-up bags or somewhere to store all your hair clips and hair bands. When I'm not using it, it looks really pretty just left out on my shelf as decoration. I've added a link to similar bags on Etsy.

Cosmetics of any sort always make for a brilliant present, but travel miniatures are a god send. I'm always travelling between my home here in Bedford, London and Essex where my boyfriend lives. I'd always much rather prioritize room in my suitcase for clothes than cosmetics, but if they're cute and miniature then they're definitely coming along, and I don't feel like I've compromised on my attempt at travelling light. Based in Brighton, Pecksniffs is a great cosmetic brand to check out simply for the fact you'll be supporting a British brand, which I for one think is very important. 

This is the epitome of a gift full of personality and character. Thanks to the likes of Etsy and other craft websites, you can get a quote on practically anything. It's so simple, but has so much impact when you open it to find a quote that sums up who you are as a person. Not only am I a huge literature manic, but writing and editing is what I spend most of my days doing, so I can't think of a more appropriate quote. I've added a link to this particular necklace, but you can find a variety of quote necklaces on Etsy here

When it comes to clothes and jewellery, finding something one-of-a-kind and unique is so hard these days, and the only way to do it is to go down the antique / vintage road. An antique piece of jewellery makes for such a lovely present, and it doesn't have to cost you the earth either. I love owning things that I know have their own piece of history and sentiment attached to them, as well as adding my own. Whilst in Cambridge the boyfriend and I stumbled across this tiny shop on the King's Parade. The only way to describe it is an 'Aladdin's Cove.' Jam packed with bohemian jewels from all over Asia, as well as textiles and home furnishings, I was spoilt for choice. You can go antique jewellery hunting no matter where you live. Look out for auction houses or antique showrooms. Flea markets and boot sales also host some hidden gems. 

I won't go into too much detail because I want to do a separate post on these later, but a little selection of nail varnishes always go down well as a present. Topshop have some stunning new Autumn/Winter shades at the moment too. 

Not only is this book a bit of a giggle, but it appeals to the literary and mixologists alike. The literary twists on cocktail names make for entertaining reading alone, even if you have no intention of making a cocktail. This is one of those really quirky presents that you want to tell everyone about. If you love entertaining and having dinner parties, or even just a couple of girls over to watch Xfactor, why not replace the wine with a cheeky cocktail inspired by your favourite book. 

You can never go wrong with chocolate as a gift, but why not get inventive. Montezuma are another British based brand, with flagship stores in Brighton and Spitalfields market. Husband and Wife chocolatiers Helen and Simon come up with some pretty unique flavours, like this Lime and Sea Salt bar, or just behind it, White Chocolate, Lemon and Sour Cherry. 

If you know anyone with a creative flair, get them this. My darling friend Becca has saved me from creative chaos in getting me this. It's basically like Wreck This Journal, but with more productive and proactive results. It encourages you to organise your creativity, but also develop it. From collages and finance spread sheets to listing 4 reasons why you're awesome, this is the best motivational tool you can own. 

Vouchers are a pretty good present, but the best ones are those that have variety, so that whoever you get them for has a choice as to what they spend them on. Love2Shop vouchers are a perfect example of this, or these Leisure Vouchers. These can be spent on anything from theme parks to restaurants. So many places take these, so it's a perfect excuse to organise a day out for yourself and whoever the vouchers are for. Even better, if you know someone who's been bogged down with work or stress, these would make a lovely pressie. 


Friday, 4 April 2014

March Haul

Hello all : )
So another month down, and one more month closer to Summer. 
Now through March, with the odd day of incredible summer-style weather, I caught the shopping bug that means the majority of what I bought was only really suitable for those odd, yet glorious days, however, I remain hopeful that there will be a lot more of them. 
Unfortunately, due to the smoggy pollution situation, right now the sky in Bedfordshire is a grim grey, so in an attempt to bring back that carefree summer feeling, I decided to share with you my March purchases. 
I admit that for the beginning of my new Summer wardrobe, color is a bit sparse, however whenever Winter comes around, I get stuck in a monochrome phase (with the odd splash of green, my favorite color) so this is my wardrobes slow transformation into a colorful butterfly. 

Top Right to Bottom Right (clothes) 

- H&M Ain't No Pug T-Shirt 

From Top to Bottom: 
-River Island Monochrome Cherub T-Shirt (bought in store, cannot find online, but will keep looking)

Top to Bottom:

Left to Right: 

I'm so happy with this haul, especially the curling wand. I've recently drastically changed my hair (all to be revealed, however if you follow me on Instagram @STEPHANIESOFOKLEOUS you'll get a preview) and really wanted to see what it looked like curled. It took me forever to actually find a curling wand that had good reviews, but I finally stumbled across this one on Amazon. Not a bad review insight, and only £22, I just had to get it. 

I guess this is more of a capsule start to my Summer wardrobe; a collection of things that I can mix and match, and are just really handy to have. The two t-shirts look really good with the jeans, or with a faux leather pencil skirt, whilst the bardot top adds a more formal look to the jeans, and contrasts really well with the bright yellow shorts, which are so cute, and I can't wait to style them. 
The rings I have already mentioned in previous post, but I am still so in love with them, and I think they work so well with everything I bought this month. 

In regards to the nail varnishes, they're not the summeriest of colors I know, but I've needed a black nail varnish for ages, an I will always go back to Barry M for my classic colors. I also love texture nail varnishes, so really wanted to try out one of Barry M's Matte Collection, and whilst I was looking around in Boots, I found Seventeen, and their Rock Hard collection, which I decided to give a go as well. I do plan on doing a post purely for these varnishes, so stay tuned for that. 

I will be doing posts styling all of these items, and as well as product reviews, and a reveal of my new hair. Eeeek. 

So what have you guys been splashing your money on?
Also, I'm getting used to using curling wands, so if you guys have any advice on using them and heat protection, I'd really appreciate it. 

x x x