Essential Christmas Countdown Checklist

It’s less than two months until the big day which means thoughts of mistletoe and wrapping paper are probably spinning around in your head but have you thought about your Christmas checklist?  Now is the perfect time to plan your Christmas and festive celebrations so its probably a good idea to start with a pen and paper so you can jot down everything you’re going to need over the next few weeks or feel free to pin this page (There is a pin button below).

1) Beat the crowds by starting your Christmas shopping now. Plan a budget for each person and stick to it, November is a great time to purchase your presents as the shops are still relatively quiet and will still have the “most wanted” gifts in stock.  November is a great time for discounts and Amazon are extending their Black Friday offers this year so do check them out to see if you can pick up a bargain.

2) Most of the big stores like Marks and Spencer, Paperchase and supermarkets have 3 for 2 on their cards and wrapping paper so be sure to stock up now before the prices go up.

3) Start writing your Christmas cards now so you’re all ready to post once December arrives, make sure to use this time as a good opportunity to update your address book. Buy your Christmas stamps now while the post office is quiet, wait until December and you face huge queues.

4) Begin wrapping presents and find somewhere safe to store them like the bottom of a wardrobe, loft or cupboard.

5) Make things that you can freeze such as mince pies, cakes, tarts and pastry, and you won’t be left feeling flustered in the kitchen at the last minute.

6) If you’re planning to visit family or friends who don’t live locally now is a good time to look for cheap train/bus/flight tickets.  If you will be driving you can use the time to give your car a winter check, make an emergency kit to keep in the boot should you break down and check that you have spare lights, snow chains, shovel and blankets.

7) Plan your festive menu and look out for key ingredients that may be on offer in the supermarket such as spices, dried goods, flour, chocolates and alcohol.

8) Check that your Christmas lights work.  There is nothing worse than putting your tree up to find that your lights no longer work.  There are lots of offers on Decorations in stores during November so purchase any bits that you need now rather than waiting until December when the good items may have sold out.

Pin this essential Christmas countdown checklist for later

christmas countdown Checklist

Halloween Trick or Treat Lollypop Ghosts

Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year, I love to decorate the house and make “spooky” food to eat on the night.  We don’t go trick or treating and we never get people knocking on our door which is one of the benefits of living in an apartment.  My children like to get treats for Halloween and one of my favourite things to do is hide the treats around the house for them to find.  This year I will be hiding a variety of Halloween treats around the house including these rather cute trick or treat lollypop Ghosts.

Trick or treat ghosts

The Lollypop ghosts are such a simple Halloween treat to make and you can pop them in a bowl to hand out to any trick or treaters who come to your door.  To make the ghosts you will need:

lolly ghost supplies

Tissue / Toilet Paper
Elastic Bands
Black felt tipped pen

It couldn’t be more simple to put these together, me and my 3 year old had great fun although I did have to stop him trying to eat every one of the lollypops!

Tissue for lolly ghost

The first step is to cut a sheet of tissue into 4 pieces, this gives you a small square which you will place your lolly on and it forms the head section. Lay your tissue down on a flat surface, depending on the size of the lollypop you may need two sheets, place a small square in the centre.

lolly ghost tutorial

Place your lollypop on the small square as shown above.  You are then going to fold the top down over the lolly.

lolly ghost tutorial

Secure the tissue around the head of the lollypop with an elastic band.  Don’t worry about the aesthetics at this point as we will be adding ribbon and separating the tissue to form the ghost later.

lolly ghost tutorial

Tie some spooky ribbon around the elastic band to form a scarf.

lolly ghost tutorial

Draw on some eyes and pull out your tissue to make it look like a floating ghost.

These ghosts are great to hand out to children who come to the door trick or treating.


Pin this for later.

*Some of the craft items used in this post were provided as part of the on-going Bostik Bloggers campaign


Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

I originally wrote this post back in 2013, as I’m still actually using the Clinique CC cream as my day to day face make up I thought it was time I printed an updated view of the product which you can read in the italic font.



I’ve been a fan of BB creams for a while now and swapped my heavy foundation for the light textured cream that really did offer what it said on the tube.  When I heard about the new contender to the market the CC cream I was really excited, it offers a colour corrector which can help cover and correct redness in the skin.

Since hitting my 30’s I’ve noticed that my cheeks are getting more and more colour of the red variety, I also have some pigmentation marks on my forehead which I can only assume is from sun damage.  I find trying to cover areas of colour on my skin a very hard task, what works on my forehead doesn’t work on my cheeks and if I have any spots that’s another product needed.  My skin is looking very dull and seems to have lost it’s radiance over the past few years.

I don’t ask much from my skin products!  I would like to see some of the radiance restored,  some of the colour to be corrected, natural coverage and an SPF.

I’m 36 years old and over the past couple of years have noticed an increase in enlarged pores, fine lines and discolouration.  My skin is not radiant and I have an increase of fine broken capillaries on my cheeks.  The skin underneath my eyes has a blue/purple tone to it and I have increased pigmentation marks.


The Clinique moisture surge CC cream is suitable for all skin types and comes in 9 different shades, Very Light, Light, Fresh Peach, Natural Fair, Natural, Light Medium, Medium, Medium Deep and Deep.


I picked Light which I felt was the colour best suited to my skin tone, it’s actually a perfect match and looks flawless on the skin.

What really stands out for me about the CC Cream is the SPF30, I’ve never seen such a high number in any skin care product.  The cream is thicker than my usual BB cream but blends in very well and a little really does go a long way.  I like to know I’m getting value for money with my face products and I predict that this 40ml tube will probably last 4-5 months with daily use based on the amount I need to cover my face.

I actually get around 5-6 months use from each tube, the product is not full coverage but can be built up and even worn underneath foundation if required.  I use the CC cream after moisturising and set with powder.



In my opinion the CC cream has definitely helped to enhance my skin’s natural radiance.  I suffer from very dry skin and I have noticed that a level of hydration is added to my skin when I use the product.  My dry patches are not enhanced when I use this product and it doesn’t seem to cling to eczema.  My face seems to have more of a  flawless look which I’ve not been able to achieve for a long time.  My pigmentation marks are completely covered and the redness on my cheeks is toned down when using the cream.  I can’t advise how this product will work on different skin types to my own but what I can say is that if you have sensitive dry skin with eczema breakouts like myself you should pop down to your nearest Clinique counter and give this a try.

The cream formulation is still very well suited to my skin and if I’m having a particularly rushed morning I’m more than happy to go out with just a small amount of this by itself to enhance the appearance of my skin.

I love the idea of wearing make up that doesn’t look like you are actually wearing any and this make up really does offer that natural look.

Clinique CC cream is available to purchase from any Clinique counter or online at a rrp of £28.00  The price has not increased since this post was originally published in 2013

15 Snacks to Improve Productivity

I’m a mum of two but I also work from home, my home office is right next to the kitchen and as a result I snack a lot during the day. My children are both grazers so when it comes to snack time I like to provide a range of snacks that are both nutritious and delicious and not full of empty calories.  I do sometimes struggle to be productive and a lot of time it’s due to my energy levels dropping.  I figured there are probably a lot of home workers and busy mums out there who feel the same when it comes to productivity and energy so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite snacks that are full of flavour and don’t contain too many naughty ingredients.

Kale Chips

One of my favourite snacks and a favourite of my children too is Kale Chips. I make mine in the Actifry with a small spray of coconut oil and some smoked paprika, it makes a delicious snack which tastes a lot like crispy seaweed from the Chinese takeaway and it has none of the calories!  I can quite happily munch through a bowl of Kale and 1 bag usually lasts me two days.

chia porridge

I love Chia seeds and I add them to my porridge every morning.  Chia seeds contain lots of protein, fibre, good fats and 15g is enough to provide a much needed boost.  I love Blueberries which are full of antioxidants and as a treat I like to make a blueberry chia pudding which I leave to soak in the fridge overnight, which consists of chia seeds, almond milk and some chopped blueberries. Delicious.


Hummus is one of my families favourite snacks, I always make it from scratch so I know exactly what has gone into it.  Hummus is high in protein so a great way to boost your protein levels.  I’m happy to eat Hummus with a spoon but it’s always good to add some crunchy vegetables to add a bit of texture and crunch.

The infographic below has some great ideas for more snacks that boots energy and productivity, how many are your favourites?

15 snacks to improve productivity



*This is a collaborative post

Bladder Weakness

“My Name is Daniella, I’m 36 years old and I have suffered from light bladder weakness” 

Ok so we’re not at a self help group but I do think the issue of bladder weakness is an important topic to talk about, there are millions of women who suffer from this issue (actually it’s 1 in 3 women in the UK) but as we’re always a little scared and ashamed to admit that these things are happening to us we tend to keep it to ourselves.  I was 20 when I had my first child and I was mortified that when I coughed or laughed to hard I ran the risk of weeing myself a little bit, old women who have no control of their bladder wee themselves not women who have only just stopped being a teenager, right? Wrong. So so Wrong.


I was certain that I would suffer from this coughing and laughing leakage for the rest of my life. (I didn’t) When I had my second child in 2013 and the bladder weakness happened again I knew it was a temporary thing, I also knew that I should probably do my pelvic floor exercises.  When you first give birth and you’re handed the sheet containing the pelvic floor exercises your first thought is I’ve got enough to do thank you very much I’ll think about these later and then you never do.  The pelvic floor exercises really do strengthen your muscles which help to stop the flow and prevent leakage.  Do your pelvic floor exercises ladies, you will thank yourself for it later.

I’m no longer embarrassed to talk about my Oooops moments or my experience with bladder weakness although my family probably won’t say the same thing.  My daughter likes to think I go out of my way to embarrass her so you can imagine her disgust whilst I was doing living room floor yoga and I grabbed my crotch and shouted “oh crap I’ve just pee’d myself” and fell about it floods of laughter. For some reason sneezing always resulted in a tiny squirt of wee (thank god for lights by TENA!) I can’t forget the time I was jumping over the cones at Rugby Tots when my bladder decided to let me down again, thank god I was wearing black jeans.  I’ve had so many Oooops moments when I’ve been let down by my bladder that I could write a book about them but instead I’m saying C’est la vie instead.

The majority of us women experience bladder weakness at some time in our lives, so you’re not going through anything that isn’t happening to thousands of other women even though you think you are.  If you are suffering from light bladder weakness it’s always a good idea to carry a supply of panty liners and a spare pair of knickers in your bag, you never know when you might need them.  You can request a free pack of lights by TENA to try for yourself. they are now 5 times drier than before and contain FeelFresh Technology™ to lock in moisture and control odour.

If like me you’re not embarrassed about life’s little mishaps you might be interested in a little competition that lights by TENA are hosting on Facebook, inviting you to share your own Oooops moment for a chance to win up to seven prizes. The prizes include six £100 Debenhams voucher and a grand prize of a spa break for 2. Winners will be announced on a weekly basis.


I’m wondering if I can enter the Facebook competition with a non bladder related Oooops moment of which I have many.  I particularly like the time I recounted a tale word by word about a horrific crime I head about on the news and how it had been ingeniously solved only for the person I was telling the tale to, to point out that this was a very similar story to a one covered on CSI the evening before.  I’m sure we’ve all had an Oooops moment when we have left the ladies toilets on a night out with our dress tucked into our knickers? Or how about the time I was on a date at a fancy Italian restaurant when I was telling a story which involved me wafting the bottom of the tablecloth which just happened to go a little bit to close to the candle and set on fire. You’ve probably guessed this didn’t result in a second date.

Please feel free to say C’est la vie to your Oooops moments in the comments below, I promise you it will make you feel better, don’t forget to visit the lights by TENA facebook page though if you wish to enter the competition!

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