Glittery phone cases, pretty Macbook covers + a Casetify giveaway

I switched over to an LG G4 from my iPhone 5 a few months ago, and although it many ways I much prefer it, the one thing I miss is being able to get jazzy covers for my phone (superficial, I know).  After hunting high and low on Amazon and eBay for LG phone covers I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to stick with the plain brown one it came with forever.

That was, until Casetify stepped in and offered to send me a phone case and a case for my new Macbook Pro.  I was just about to reply and explain which phone I had when I spotted on their website that they even do LG cases - hoorah! They also do Apple watch bands and all sorts of other cases and skins.  I picked a 'snap case' for mine which means it's a clear case that goes over the original case (it looks a lot better with the silver back than the brown one).  Don't forget to read to the bottom of the post for how you could win your own Casetify phone case...

Casetify Giveaway Casetify 011c

I picked a floral case for my Macbook Air with 'as if' lettering (I got a 'Rollin with the homies' shirt for Christmas so it goes with the Clueless theme!) It will be perfect for taking my Macbook with me if I'm away with work.

Casetify Giveaway 006b Casetify Giveaway 002b casetify010b

SO - Casetify kindly allowed me to give away a phone case of your choice from their site over on my blog.  They have so many cool ones that you'd definitely find one you love - you could get the 'Get Shit Done' case featured on their instagram - I absolutely love this case,  it would definitely make me feel motivated to tick off my New Year's Resolutions!

A photo posted by Casetify (@casetify) on

To enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter giveaway box.  The giveaway is open for two weeks and closes on 13 January.  As always I'll announce the winner on Twitter.  Good luck! <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pannetone French Toast + Bacon

First of all, a massive Happy Christmas to everyone out there on the interweb - I hope you're all having the most amazing day, filled with mulled wine, tins of Celebrations, undoing the button on your trousers because you overdid it with the roast potatoes, watching the TV Christmas specials, drinking Bucks Fizz at 10am and staying in your pyjamas until dinnertime.  Massive good wishes and good health and all things awesome to everyone who reads my little blog - and thank you all for your support and love this year.

Gushing aside, I thought I'd post a little inspiration for a Christmassy brunch if any of you happen to have any panettone or pandoro cake lying around the house post-Christmas (or if you fancy popping out and buying some, which you should, because they are both great).

I actually only really learned what panettone was a few years ago when it was the answer to a question in a Christmas pub quiz! A sweet loaf from Milan, it's often eaten at Christmas in Italy and a whole host of other places like Spain, Brazil, Germany and Switzerland.  It's one of those items I've often seen in the shops but never bought as I didn't want to commit to eating a whole giant cake if I didn't like it (if this is also you, then never fear, it is yummy.)

Another Christmassy sweet Italian bread/cake is the Pandoro - shaped like a star and dusted with vanilla icing sugar.  We were kindly given a Panettone and a Pandoro to try by Crosta & Mollica and asked how we would serve them over the festive period.

Crosta and Mollina Panettone

I had a feeling that the Pandoro would make fab French Toast (funnily enough Sailboat Jennie had the same idea with her panettone!) I'm a massive French Toast fan and in my opinion it makes the perfect weekend or Christmas break breakfast, as it doesn't take long to whip up but is deliciously indulgent (and perfect for a time when eating sweet things for breakfast is totally acceptable).

We started by cutting the pandoro into pretty star shaped slices...

Crosta and Mollina Panettone

... soaked them in egg, vanilla and cinnamon ...
  Crosta and Mollina Panettone

... griddled them on a medium heat (on both sides) ...
  Crosta and Mollina Panettone

... and then served them with bacon and maple syrup.
  Crosta and Mollina Panettone
pannetonCrosta and Mollina Panettone

Needless to say it was absolutely amazing - the pictures don't even show just how yummy it was.  The pandoro is perfect for French Toast as it was crispy on the outside and yet light and fluffy on the inside - I made a lot of appreciative noises as I munched through it  Crosta & Mollina also make yummy jams and marmalades - I'll be trying my French Toast next time with their peach jam - doesn't that sound like a winning combination?

Are you a French Toast fan? Have you tried making it with panettone or pandoro cake?


La forêt

I must confess that I took these photographs a couple of weeks ago, when the skies were still tinged with powder blue on occasion, and the rain hadn't started earnestly drizzling (interspersed with stormy downpours) at every given opportunity.  Those streams of sunlight seem a world away now, when darkness envelopes journeys to and from work, and on gloomier days it feels like it starts to get dark just after lunchtime.

New Forest dog walk, Autumn New Forest dog walk, Autumn New Forest dog walk, Autumn

The best thing about living in the forest is that there's always something new to see.  Seasons are punctuated with changing landscapes and flora and fauna - from crisp Autumn mornings such as this one, to a transition into muddy puddles, holly with bright red berries, robins bobbing on hedgerows and branches bare, reaching out to any hint of sunlight and warmth.

New Forest dog walk, Autumn New Forest dog walk, Autumn New Forest dog walk, Autumn

For me, fresh air is the ultimate antidote to any feelings of seasonal gloominess. Nothing makes me feel more alive than being out in the wild - an expanse of bracken and heathland, a bracing wind sending chills right down into your boots, silence but for scurrying wildlife in the undergrowth, the hooves of horses, the crunch of dry, crisp leaves under soles of shoes.

Some of the draw of the forest is the timelessness, and the sense of solitude.  In contrast, the seafront is littered with cafés with bright signs, and as you amble you're overtaken by skateboards and scooters, texting teenagers and men carrying surfboards.  In the forest you can be completely alone, and it could be 100, or 500 years ago (but for the camera slung around my neck, of course).  It makes me feel connected to something bigger - or disconnected even.  Open, wild, free.  If you walk for long enough, you can find those places where others aren't.  Paths with few wellington boot prints, fences and stiles un-climbed, no sound of passing cars on distant roads.

New Forest dog walk, Autumn New Forest dog walk, Autumn

People often tell me that we're lucky to live halfway between the forest and the seaside, with both in easy reach.  And when they ask me which one I prefer, I always say the forest.  Open, wild, free.  (And the birds in the forest won't try and steal your lunch).


Slow weekend mornings + brunch

I had been counting down the days until this weekend for several weeks now.  After a flurry of weekends away, Christmas parties and other social engagements, it was the first whole weekend since early November with absolutely no plans.  Well - no clear commitments or reasons to leave the house, anyway.  I had plans - plans to drink mulled wine, watch Christmas movies and wrap presents.  Plans not to wake up until 9am (in your 30s this counts as a lie in - I wish I could sleep in until midday like I did when I was 17!) Plans to drink Bucks Fizz and stuff my face with Toffifee.  Plans to start winding down and looking forward to a well-earned break from work (only two more days in the office - what will I do with 12 days off?)

I find it amazing how different our weekend morning rituals are compared to mid-week.  On a work day I'm up at 6.30, staggering like a zombie in a dressing gown down to the kitchen for my first green tea of the day, checking my phone through a half-closed eye and calculating how many hours it is until I can go back to bed.  The first time I eat usually isn't until around half 10 - either a bowl of cereal or porridge at my desk, or lately, a Quality Street or the results of someone's Christmas baking.  I used to be an absolute breakfast evangelist - the first person telling people it was the most important meal of the day.  But when you're usually leaving the house around 7.45, every precious minute counts - especially for a die-hard faffer like me; if you've calculated that I'm up and about for over an hour before I leave the house for work, that's because I usually spend a good 20 minutes scrolling through Twitter, reading blogs or rifling through my wardrobe and deciding what to wear before I really get my bum in gear and start getting ready.

Breakfast with Brioche Pasquier Breakfast with Brioche Pasquier

That's why slow weekend mornings are especially special to me.  A chance to pad around the house in pyjamas and slippers, letting the minutes tick by without panicking that I should already be halfway down the M27.  A chance to roll over in bed and maybe even open a book and allow myself a few pages of reading before rising for the day.  A chance to lie back on the sofa, wrap a blanket around me and enjoy that morning cup of green tea, lavishing in the satisfaction of having no particular place to be.

And breakfast becomes an occasion - transformed from a ginger nut crammed in my mouth whilst writing an email, to something to really get excited about.  We all know that no-one does petit déjeuner like the French, so I turned to my friends at Brioche Pasquier to stock my breakfast table.  Croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche loaf are the perfect ingredients for a languid breakfast.  The Brioche Pasquier croissants au beurre are undoubtedly the best ones I've ever tried - soft, butter-y, and perfect paired with lashings of butter and jam (I had mine with Marks and Spencer Strawberry and Champagne Conserve - now that's my kind of croissant topping!)

Breakfast with Brioche Pasquier

On several Tapping family Christmas mornings we've had bacon and cheese croissants as breakfast on Christmas morning (one of those funny little habits you get into!) and their brioche croissants are amazing with savoury ingredients.  I'm a bit brioche crazy at the moment - burgers are definitely best served in a big, fluffy brioche bun, in my opinion.  I've also bookmarked their Oat Crusted Brioche French Toast recipe for a future weekend breakfast; the photo alone is making my mouth water!

Breakfast with Brioche Pasquier
Breakfast with Brioche Pasquier

We spent some time munching through the various pastries and loafs this morning - the best thing about not having to rush breakfast is being able to wait until there's enough room for another croissant! We watched Elf in our pyjamas, whilst looping baker's twine around brown paper packages, snuggled up to Bodhi on the sofa, made a pot of gingerbread chai tea, and generally just embraced that feeling of utter, unbridled laziness.  And then popped a couple more pain au chocolat in the oven...


Twenty Favourite Things 006

I've come to really enjoy writing these 'favourites' posts - it's such a good way to round up and share all of the things I've been reading, listening to and generally enjoying over the last couple of weeks. There's quite a few bits to tell you about, so this edition is a bumper 20 favourite things instead of 10 - it's like a special Christmas double issue as I had too much to fit in!

001. The lovely Sarah sent me a link to the kikki.K website this week and now I want everything.  Their stationery is just amazing, and I love their 'vision boards' - a collection of little quote pictures that you can arrange into a board on your wall.

002. Can I go and live at Mark Ruffalo's house please? (In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains - it has a vegetable garden, a barn and an eco-friendly guest house - how do I sign up to stay there?)

003. I'm a total geek about behavioural science and social science so I was stoked to find NPR's Hidden Brain podcast - it is so interesting.  All about 'life's unseen patterns' and other elements of the unconscious mind, it's definitely a fascinating listen.  I always feel like I've learnt something after listening.

004. Another quick podcast recommendation - I'm always banging on about The Lively Show, but the latest episode, all about 'conscious completing relationships' was incredibly moving, and made me think a lot about personal responsibility in relationships.

005. I absolutely love Vanessa Jean's Tiny Letter newsletter - it's so worth a subscribe.  She releases a new newsletter every morning, full of her beautiful writing and inspiring quotes.  She describes it as 'an expansiveness multivitamin for your heart'. What could be better than that?  I signed up to Tiny Letter a while ago and I definitely want to send my first newsletter over the next few weeks - I'm excited for it to be my new little project! 

006. Vuelio put me in their list of Top 10 UK Lifestle Blogs, which was a very exciting moment for me! I am in some great company, alongside some of my other favourite bloggers like What Olivia Did and Buckets and Spades.

007. The lovely people at National Holidays sent me a little hamper of goodies for the perfect Christmassy night in... With mulling spices, shortbread biscuits, hot chocolate and mini marshmallows, it's a recipe for a happy, cosy little Rosie! And aren't those gloves cute - I love the fact that they're on a string, so hopefully I won't lose them!

National Holidays Hamper
National Holidays Hamper

008. This weekend I've set some time aside for some Christmas baking and Christmas food making - I've bookmarked these recipes for chilli jam, tomato chilli chutney and of course my old favourite recipe that I do every year, Maltesers fudge! (I blogged about making it way back in Christmas 2011 - feels like a million years ago now.)

009. This weekend I'll also be doing a lot of Christmas wrapping - though I can't imagine it will look anywhere near as nice as this washi tape wrapping from Almost Makes Perfect.

010. I really enjoyed this article - 11 tweaks to your daily routine that will make your day more productive. Unsurprisingly elements you might expect like exercise, a good breakfast, drinking lemon water and minimal screen time are on there - but there's also lots of other clever tips for making the most of your mornings.

011. One of the things I'm really looking forward to over Christmas is catching up on my to-read pile.  I've just finished The Children Act by Ian McEwan and I'm currently reading a couple of other books - Daring Greatly by Brené Brown for our Book Club, and The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell (inspired by my obsession with hygge!) I'm going to review that for the blog shortly as I have a feeling it might be a great choice for anyone wanting to spend Christmas money on books. (Oh and I've also already eaten my weight in Toffifee - but it's Christmas so it doesn't count).

Chill evening

012. I love the idea of having this slow cooker hot chocolate bubbling away and then inviting friends over to visit the hot chocolate station! Doesn't this look amazing? Apparently it's good to make mulled wine in the slow cooker too as it keeps it the right temperature without having to keep reheating it when you want to go back for another ladel-ful!

013. I came across this Buzzfeed article on 34 places that are even better in winter and I want to go to them all.  It makes me want to just hop on a plane - how beautiful does British Columbia look?

img credit unknown

img credit: reddit.com

014. Another interesting article I read this week - why your iPhone is ruining your posture - and your mood.  (Doesn't count for me as I have an LG, right?)

015.  I had a bit of a glum week but your comments on my post 'Dark December days' made a massive difference to me.  It always helps just to realise you're not the only person feeling the way you do.  I also take massive comfort in pinning inspiring quotes when I'm feeling a bit down (you can find my Words Pinterest board here if you want to have a look at all of the quotes and pictures that have been cheering me up).

016. How many of the best movies of 2015 have you seen? I like that A.O Scott put Inside Out on his list as I really loved that film, and it's the perfect movie to watch over the Christmas period (I watched it with Sarah and Katy recently and we all really enjoyed it - I think Katy had something in her eye near the end!) Several of the same films come up on this list - sounds like I need to see Carol, Mad Max and Tangerine?

017. Here's your holiday reading list - 58 books recommended by TED speakers.

018. My new favourite blog was a recommendation from Emma (she got so excited when she found it that she Whatsapped me and told me I had to read it right away!) - the blog is On Serpentine Shores, written by Alex who lives in south Cornwall.  It's the perfect mix of beautiful photography and evocative writing that means you might just lose a whole afternoon reading back through all the posts.

019. I have a rather burgeoning ASOS wishlist at the moment - all ready for any Christmas pennies I might end up with! How cute are these mouse-y little ballet flats?

020. Even though I'm desperately looking forward to Christmas with my family, it's always sort of appealing to run away and stay in a log cabin for a while isn't it? This one will do...

img credit: caisak.com

What have you been reading, listening to and generally enjoying this week?


Christmas Gift Idea: Bluebird Tea Hamper

Bluebird Tea Co are definitely one of the loveliest brands I’ve come across through blogging. I worked with them back in April 2013 when they were still a relatively new company, and since then they’ve grown into something of a tea powerhouse, constantly creating new delicious tea blends, and recently being featured in several major magazines and newspapers (as well as Zoella’s blog and YouTube channel!)

Every year since they’ve started, I’ve eagerly awaited their Christmas ranges, and they’ve never disappointed yet! From Snowball Tea (coconut, chocolate, and mini marshmallows – that’s the one loved by Zoella!) to Gingerbread Chai, to Mulled Wine Tea (clove, cinnamon and orange – yum!) I think their teas make absolutely amazing stocking fillers, and they have several other gifts (like the tea cocktail making kits, which I LOVE – the MojiTEA kit is firmly on my Christmas list!) that would be perfect to pop under the tree for friends or family. I was very kindly sent one of their Christmas Selection Gift Hampers – it was a total surprise when it arrived and I was over the moon to uncover all of the loveliness inside!

Bluebird Tea Hamper
>> Bluebird Ultimate Christmas Tea Hamper, £50*

I now have my own Bluebird Teas mug (they sound like they would be an awesome company to work for, so I’m going to use it and pretend I’m part of their gang in Brighton), as well as all manner of other goodies… Their Christmas Tea Baubles (they sold out in a day last Christmas!) are a firm favourite in my house, they make a great Secret Santa gift too (for all of you wondering if you’re too late, their last ordering date is midnight on Sunday so you’ve got a few days left for some last minute tea shopping!) There’s also that yummy sounding Snowball tea I mentioned earlier and their Gingerbread Chai. I’m very excited to try the Mulled Wine Tea Cocktail Bottle – all you do is fill the bottle with red wine, give it a shake, wait 48 hours and then simmer it on the stove, strain and you’re ready to go! I’m going to fill it up this weekend and save it until Christmas Eve – yum!

Bluebird Tea Hamper Bluebird Tea Hamper
Bluebird Tea Hamper

I absolutely love Bluebird Tea as a brand and would definitely recommend them for some last minute Christmas shopping.  I think I've just about finished my Christmas shopping so I might have to buy myself a few treats instead - I'm addicted to their Blueberry Super Matcha green tea but I've just run out, so that's definitely going to hop into my next order!

Have you bought any treats from Bluebird Tea before? (And have you finished your Christmas shopping or are you a last minute shopper?)


Honest to Blog: Dark December days

One of the things I struggle to balance in my life is allowing myself the quiet, self-care time, whilst not spending so much time alone that I get trapped in my own head.  Like many people, I struggle with losing myself in that cycle of guilt, shame, self-criticism and comparison - those toxic thoughts that leave you feeling empty and crushingly sad.  Unfortunately, even when I fill every evening with social activities, and drink inordinate amounts of Sleep Easy tea before bedtime (or take Nytol on those nights when something stronger is required) so I don’t lie awake tossing and turning, I still can’t completely eradicate those moments when the thoughts creep in. 

For a start, I spend a lot of time alone in my car commuting, on a journey that I do on auto-pilot that doesn’t require much thought.  This can often mean that I spend more time than I should getting sucked into those conversations with myself and going round and round in circles beating myself up.  I find myself driving to work mulling over whether I'm living my fullest life, whether I'm doing my best work, whether I'm doing as well as others I know, and wondering whether I'll look back on my life (or this period of it) and feel proud, fulfilled, happy and content.  My drive home however, is often populated with reflecting back on my day and wondering whether I said something stupid, annoyed someone, made someone dislike me, put my foot in it, and so on - a never-ending cycle of watching things back under the microscope of shame and anxiety.  The weather doesn’t help, either.  Peering through my windscreen into total darkness, through a long country road, punctuated often with torrential rain and wind buffeting the car does not assist in alleviating my mood (particularly at the moment when this describes both my journey to work, and my journey home).

I feel like recently I have a guilt and shame radar, that does an initial search as soon as I wake up (and then constantly throughout the day).  I feel it scanning the recesses of my brain to try and find things to feel bad about – phone calls I haven’t made, Christmas gifts I haven’t bought, time I haven’t spent with friends, emails I haven’t replied to, rooms I haven’t cleaned – until it settles on a few things and gets to work making me feel as terrible about them as possible.  It’s like that old saying goes – "it’s hard to feel happy when you have someone being horrible to you all the time".  And that is me; I just cannot stop this narrative that seems hellbent on making me as unhappy as possible.  I don’t have the amazing, creative job I thought I’d have by now, my house is a mess and I spend too much money on rubbish, I’m the worst at replying to emails and texts and so I constantly feel like a bad friend, I’m always tired, I get home late from work so I rarely cook dinner and often feel like this means the chores are unfairly divided between Tom and I, I’m putting on weight because I don’t have time for the gym or healthy eating – everything just feels out of balance, and I can’t seem to claw it back.   

Because I’m a chronic over-thinker, it’s very difficult to stop this cycle, and frankly it makes me feel exhausted and trapped.  I read a post on Reddit the other day about my Myers Briggs personality type (INTJ) being linked to depression, and someone said – “It’s like being trapped in a thought prison.  You KNOW you're doing this to yourself, but can't seem to find the switch to turn it off. It's like the source of the depression is in the middle of a knot of feels and I have a paw comprised of thumbs with which to untie it.”  I’m not in any way saying that I have depression, but I can relate to that statement.  I know that I alone am the source of my own unhappiness, but I can’t seem to stop it.  I’m just pushing myself further and further into it, and then I even get frustrated at myself for not being able to slow the toxic thought train down - it's a vicious cycle.

Someone said to me the other day that on paper I have the perfect life, but that somehow I never seem 100% content, which is odd.  I even said to Tom the other day that I don’t feel like I have anything to look forward to at the moment, and he was shocked and a little hurt I think, considering how good we have it.  He naturally said that Christmas is such an exciting time and we have lots to look forward to in terms of time off and time with family, and all those reasons why I usually feel like this my favourite time of year.  And immediately after Christmas we’ll probably be moving into our new flat – which is just amazing, and exactly what we were looking for, and really will make our lives so much better.  Somehow these things just don’t lift me out of my funk though (I'm aware of how ungrateful that makes me seem), and the small things that are winding me up on a day to day basis almost seem bigger than even the major milestones and the exciting life stuff.  It sometimes feels like when the black cloud rolls overhead it can eclipse almost anything.

I think some of it is definitely the time of year (the darkness and the constant rain), or the busy-ness meaning I’m not getting enough sleep, or the fact that I haven’t seen a vegetable in ages and keep eating Quality Street for breakfast (eating badly and drinking too much always makes me feel worse).  There are things that help – seeing friends, getting fresh air, exercising, talking about how I feel (though I’m not always the best at doing that – somehow writing on here feels so much easier!)  I hope I can use the break over Christmas to catch up on sleep and have lots of rest and relaxation, and really enjoy that time with family and friends.  I think it’s a funny old time at the moment and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  Somehow the sense of comparison and the need to be perfect - to buy the perfect presents, make the perfect jam, have the perfect festively decorated house (and so on) almost feels harder around Christmas, and every year I feel cross with myself for not doing everything I wanted to do prior to the big day.  I guess the bottom line is that we probably all need to give ourselves a bit more of a break, be kinder to ourselves, and tell ourselves constantly that whatever we do, is enough.  I know that that’s advice I certainly need to take myself, over Christmas and on into the New Year.


M&S Christmas Food Feast + Win a £100 Gift Card!

To me, some brands are just synonymous with Christmas.  And when I think of filling my belly with delicious Christmas food, I always think of Marks and Spencer.  When my brother and I both still lived at home we were sometimes (naively) put in charge of the Christmas food shop, and we would always choose M&S to visit to fill the trolley with Christmassy yumminess.  There just isn't anyone else who compares in the party food stakes in my opinion.

We are lucky enough to have an M&S Simply Food in Christchurch and it's always my first stop when we have friends visiting.  I was recently contacted by M&S to let me know about their new store in Blandford Forum (not too far from me in North Dorset) and to try out some of the delicious food they have in for Christmas.  But if you also want to have a Christmas food feast (and you live near North Dorset) then carry on reading for how you could win a £100 gift card to use in the Blandford Forum store... (that's a lot of Percy Pigs!)

Looking through the M&S Christmas Food catalogue is one of my favourite things to do just before Christmas, dreaming of stuffing the house with delicious desserts and mouthwatering party snacks.  I chose a few little treats and brought some to Katy's house a couple of weekends ago - including the much discussed Brusselsmole (£1.50)! Yes it is exactly what you think, like guacamole but with brussels sprouts - it was delicious! I also took with me their Pigs in Blankets (£4) and some other snack-y bits, and we had a feast...

M&S Christmas Food M&S Christmas Food

Tom had already had his eye on the Cornish Camembert and Brioche Wreath (£8) and so I couldn't take that up to Northampton with me however, and we had that earlier this week with the Caramelised Cheddar Bauble (£6) and Brie, Truffle and Honey Terrine (£6).  That was a great evening - being able to eat cheese for dinner has to be one of the best things about being an adult...

M&S Christmas Food M&S Christmas Food M&S Christmas Food

One of the things I love about M&S is that every Christmas there's always new things to try (wouldn't you love to be Chief Food Taster?) Their Christmas Pudding Cookies (£1.10) were amazing and would make a great stocking filler - they also kept me going through a mammoth Christmas present wrapping session this weekend!

M&S Christmas Food M&S Christmas Food

Of course it wouldn't be Christmas without mince pies, and M&S Mince Pies (£2.50) unsurprisingly are the best I've tried (they just always get it just right don't they?).  We had them warm with their West Country Cream with Orange Liquer (£2.80).

M&S Christmas Food M&S Christmas Food

Oh and you can just see the Clementine and Cassis Bucks Fizz (£5) sneaking into the background there - well, what could be a better pairing with Christmas wrapping than some Bucks Fizz? Bucks Fizz is also the traditional Tapping family first drink on Christmas Day - I had better get a few bottles in!

I can't wait to visit the new Foodhall at Blandford Forum - 9,000 square foot of M&S Food? Heaven by any other name! If you live locally and fancy winning a gift card for use in the new store then just enter the Rafflecopter below and you could be in with a chance of a gift card that would cover all of the yummy food above (and a few bottles of fizz to wash it all down with!)

The giveaway is open for a week, and then I'll draw a winner and the gift card will be sent straight away by Recorded Delivery.  Good luck!

What's your favourite M&S food treat? (You have to try that Camembert Wreath!)


Figleaves Secret Santa

I've been a bit of a lucky blogger this year after joining in on not one but two blogger Secret Santa campaigns (I've had to say no to doing the Secret Santa at the office - I'm not sure anything could live up to my John Lewis Secret Santa prezzies, or what I was lucky enough to receive as part of this post!)

Let's face it, who doesn't dream of finding a beautiful new underwear set or pair of pajamas under their tree come Christmas Day - so it was a no brainer when Figleaves asked me if I wanted to be a part of their blogger Secret Santa.  I was matched with the lovely Leigh of Fox and Feather blog, which was another great match as I'm also an avid reader of her blog! I chose for her this cosy long robe (except for in the pebble marl colour, not purple) as I thought it would be perfect for floating downstairs in on Christmas morning!

Fig leaves Secret Santa Fig leaves Secret Santa

I had to wrap it a few weeks ago so that Figleaves could use the photo in their digital magazine but hilariously, just after I had wrapped it I realised that in my initial peek inside it was a black dressing gown, not the pebble marl one, and it turns out I had been sent someone else's! So they sent me the correct item and I wrapped the correct one - I'm only explaining this as you'll see from Leigh's amazing unwrapping video that the wrapping is completely different for my second try, haha! It was so much fun seeing her unwrap her gift, I hope she loves it!

Shortly after I popped her gift off to the Post Office, my prezzie arrived! I think there had been another mix-up as mine had to come straight from Figleaves so it wasn't wrapped, but it was still really exciting to open the box and see what was inside....

Figleaves Yawn Pajama Set
Figleaves Yawn Pajama Set
Yawn at Figleaves, Port in a Storm pyjama set, £89*

Have you ever seen a more beautiful pair of pyjamas? I actually took a big 'wow' breath when I opened them as they are just so 'me' - I'm actually not sure who picked them for me but they could not have got it more perfect! The tiny lighthouses are just so sweet, and the pyjamas themselves feel so well made and luxurious, I can't wait to pop them on on Christmas Eve (I'm saving them until then as I always think it's nice to have new PJs on Christmas Eve!)

Figleaves Yawn Pajama SetFigleaves Yawn Pajama Set

Even just looking at these photos again is making me excited to pop them on - I feel very, very lucky to have something chosen for me that's just so 'me' - I've not actually heard of Yawn pyjamas before but I have a feeling I'm going to have to start saving my pennies to get another set!

Are you a fan of Secret Santa? A big thank you to Figleaves for organising such a fun campaign!