Wednesday, 13 November 2013

10 Ways To Sneakily Celebrate Christmas Now!

If you're a Christmas Scrooge, look away now...

I am well and truly full of the Christmas spirit. To put it in a clich├ęd way, I think it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I’m already excited.

However, unfortunately for me, I live with a Scrooge. Do you know these people? They say things like ‘but it’s the 12th OF NOVEMBER,’ or ‘You can’t play Christmas music till December,’ or ‘Please take those antlers off, people are looking.’ That kind of thing.

I for example have been banned from decorating the flat until the 1st December. I asked my boyfriend in a wheedling voice if he could maybe compromise a bit and he told me that this WAS a compromise and that if he had his way, we wouldn’t decorate till the 10th (I know. I should break up with him).

Since then, I’ve given up, and instead have devised ways to sneakily celebrate Christmas without him noticing. If any of you have your own personal Scrooge, I’ve given you a couple of ideas below… sssh!



1. Listen to Christmas music…alone
The morning commute is so much cheerier when you’ve got Christmas songs to keep you company, and nobody else knows about it. ‘I’m just listening to my iPhone. What? You think you can hear Mariah Carey? Don’t be silly.’



2. Burning scented candles
At the moment I’m burning Sparkling Cinammon and Sugared Apple by Yankee Candle. Side by side, they make my flat smell like baking mince pies – yum! But they’re just traditional Winter scents, so no one can complain (sadly, you might have to save the one called ‘Christmas Pine Tree’ or whatever till December.)

3. Watching Christmas cookery videos
Everyone’s got a little bit of spare time to watch some Youtube videos – maybe when you’re in the bath (don’t drop your phone in the bath) or when you get up in the morning, and instead of watching the usual nonsense, I’ve been switching over to videos of Nigella Lawson making delectable looking Christmas cookies, or Jamie Oliver showing me how to roast a turkey. It’s so much fun and it makes me feel really warm and cosy inside, as well as excited for the chance to make some of them when December comes around and I’m ‘allowed.' A little bit of anticipation just adds to the fun! (Sidenote - I will not actually make any of these things but I will talk for several months about how badly I want Nigella Lawson's kitchen, which is the size of my flat).


4. Christmas coloured nail varnish
Essie Shearling Darling is made for this time of year and if you're not wearing it you're wasting your life. Unless you're a man...in which case, sorry about that.


5. Christmas themed coffee cups
Starbucks and Costa have now brought out their Christmas themed cups! I love the traditional Starbucks red cups, but I have to admit I do like the different Costa ones this year – the snowman is my favourite, I think – and they just make a cup of tea so much more exciting…


6. A Christmas jumper
Err. OK, this isn’t exactly sneaky. I was allowed to buy this jumper only because my boyfriend and I attended a Christmas themed birthday party last weekend (and this was only acceptable to him because the birthday boy isn’t going to be in the UK for Christmas.) I love it though, and I’m going to try and sneak it into my everyday wardrobe without him noticing. You could probably go for something a little more subtle (maybe red with snowflakes?! OK, maybe I don’t know what subtle is…)

7. Christmas bubble baths
One word: Lush. Go, get the melting snowman, sneak it into the bathroom when no one’s looking and enjoy.



8. Festive food
Maybe don’t dive straight into a turkey or a pile of mince pies or start on the Quality Street just yet, but get some food that reminds you of Christmas. My family always has wine and cheese at Christmas, so last night my friends and I had a little feast of camembert, smoked cheese, some meats and some wine. Or you could just hide a Terry’s chocolate orange under your bed…

9. Insist on going decoration shopping
OK, so you’re not allowed to decorate until 1st December – but that means you need to BUY the decorations NOW, surely? This was my winning argument last weekend which led to me shrieking excitedly at tinsel in B&Q. Going round a garden centre and picking a few bits for the Christmas season might even make Scrooge cheer up a bit, but if it doesn’t or you can't convince them to go, look yourself online – Amazon have some fun bits this year! And if you come home with some singing teddy bears, whose fault is that?!

10. Make your blog Christmassy!
I went for a new festive header and it cheers me up everytime I look at it! Your blog is your own personal space, so no one can tell you it’s too soon. Ahaha.

Hope you all have a lovely early celebration! 
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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy - My Response to that Huffington Post Article

This week, I read a pretty widespread article here in the Huffington Post on why Generation Y kids – my generation, may I add – are so unhappy. This article has been linked to me more than once, and I’ve read it more than once – in fact, I’ve read it over and over, because for a while now I’ve been fascinated by what exactly it is that makes our generation – and even worse, maybe, the generation below me, the ones in Educating Yorkshire who seem to think that natural eyebrows are a kind of infectious disease  – so miserable.

And we are miserable. Depression is on the rise. Phrases like ‘panic attacks’ and ‘anxiety disorder’, which would have been basically unheard of 20 years ago, are now commonplace – bordering on fashionable. Half of us don’t have jobs and the other half have jobs we don’t want. According to the Huffington Post, the reason for this is essentially that we all think we’re special, and that therefore reality can never meet up to our expectations. Stop thinking you’re so great, the article tells us, and life will kind of work itself out. The trouble is, I don’t think it’s that simple anymore.

I was a reasonably intelligent child in that I always did well at school, and didn’t smoke or get pregnant when I was thirteen, and I was brought up to follow a fairly well-trodden path of school-university-job. It wasn’t a fairy tale, nobody told me I was going to be editor of Vogue or the next Enid Blyton. The message – from my parents, from my teachers, from society – was simple; if you work hard, you’ll do alright. So I did. I got a job as an editorial assistant – for peanuts, obviously, but that was okay, I told myself I’d work my way up the ladder.

Unfortunately, I happened to graduate from university in 2008. Three months after I started work a weary manager took me into a meeting room and told me that she was really sorry but actually, they couldn’t afford to pay me anymore. I remember getting my monthly railcard refunded, feeling slightly shocked, thinking, ‘never mind, I’ll get back on the ladder again.’ The trouble was, I quickly realised, I couldn’t reach the ladder anymore. Us graduates stood around on the ground looking up hopelessly at a ladder hanging down from a house way up in the sky. We jumped, but we couldn’t get there.

I started out applying for editorial roles, but in the end, I applied for absolutely everything, and I know so many others who have sat in that chair, sending CVs into black holes, waiting for a rejection letter which will never come. Not enough experience to work in an office. Too much experience to work in a shop (you’ve got a degree, haven’t you? So you’ll never stick around). Even internships wanted experience, never mind to have you work for free with only the vague hint of a job at the end of it all. Telling your friends brightly about how you might go travelling soon, you’re enjoying a well deserved rest -  then going home to stare at the Guardian Jobs website for half an hour, wondering if maybe recruitment was your dream after all. Trust me, after months of this – and it was months, for me, but for other people it’s even longer – I didn’t feel very special. I felt worthless. I got a job, eventually, but it wasn’t remotely involved in anything I wanted to do, and in a way, going down a path I didn’t want to go down made it even worse – I felt like as time went by I got further and further away from where I wanted to be, swimming helplessly against an impossible tide. So yes, I was unhappy.

Reality doesn’t meet expectation because we were told that if we worked hard, we’d get a good job, and lots of us didn’t, and so suddenly our life plans, all the lessons we’d learned – so well-taught that I would say they were almost forced upon us – fall to pieces. I remember turning to my Dad and saying ‘I just don’t know what else to do,’ and he felt awful. He felt that he’d given me bad advice or worse, false promises. I’d grown up to believe that the world was fair – always an element of chance, yes, but fair. He said ‘I want to complain to someone. I wish I knew who to complain to.’  

So then yes, reality didn’t meet expectations – but I don’t think it’s fair to say that that’s because we expected too much, or more than our parents did. That’s true for a few people, certainly – people who have watched too much Made In Chelsea and think doing nothing for a living looks fun, or that setting up a business means idly saying ‘ooh, I’d like my own jeans line!’ and tweeting about it.

But I felt defensive of my own generation reading that article. More than ever, we’ve put the effort in. We worked hard at school, we jumped through hoops to get into university just to work even harder, because we were told by people we trusted that this would lead us into happy, meaningful careers. I think most of us would be prepared to keep working in order to make our way up the ladder. It’s just – like I say – that we don’t know how to get to that first step.



I do have a job I enjoy now, incidentally, if not one I ever thought I’d have -  and I also have this blog, which is whimsical and frivolous and allows me to indulge the side of me that always thought I’d write for Cosmopolitan. I enjoy my life and so no, I’m not unhappy. But I wanted to stand up for the people in Generation Y who are unhappy. Maybe their expectations were different from their parents. But I think it’s important to remember that reality was different too.  
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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Coconut Affair...

If you live in the UK then I'm pretty sure, like me, you've spent the last few weeks dreaming of summer. I sit staring out of the window at the predictably dreary sky, picturing tropical beaches and sparkling sea and white sand. If there's one scent that really encapsulates the smell of summer for me, then it's coconut, so maybe that's why I've been gravitating towards so many coconut products over the last couple of weeks!


coconut body products
Vaseline cocoa body oil & body butter, Boots coconut body wash
The Body Shop coconut butter, Nip & Fab Coconut Latte body butter

As I seem to be somewhat building a collection, I thought I'd do a quick review of my favourites!

The Vaseline cocoa oil and butter have been my favourites for years. I've got two oils - one of them is the new packaging and one is the old, and I can't remember which! The oil is great for wearing on a summer night out because it leaves a real sheen to the skin without being sticky, whereas the butter is a lovely light formula which I enjoy putting on in the morning - it sinks in faster than the oil, but still smells gorgeous.



Vaseline cocoa body oil coconut body products

The Boots coconut body wash is a new purchase; I bought it because I wanted to feel like I'd come straight off the beach when I got out of the shower! Maybe that was a bit unrealistic, but I'm still slightly disappointed with this product - it just doesn't have much of a scent to me, and the gel doesn't lather up particularly well. I remain in the market for a better coconut shower gel or body wash, if anyone knows of one!



nip fab body shop body butter coconut products

Last but not least - Nip Fab v.s. The Body Shop! The Body Shop coconut butter is becoming a bit of a cult product and I can see why. The smell is lovely and the butter is moisturising without being too heavy. However, for me, the Nip Fab butter just has to be the winner here. It's one of my favourite products of the moment - I'm constantly smelling it! Maybe it doesn't quite give me the satisfaction of being on a sunny beach, but it'll do till I get there! 


Do any of you have any coconut recommendations? Don't forget to enter my 100 follower give away - only a few days to go! 
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