Sunday, 29 December 2013

A little bit of Sparkle and Fizz

So there we have it, Christmas is done and dusted for yet another year and it seems all we have to look forward to is another couple of months of dark, cold, wet mornings and endless TV advertisements for half price settees and all inclusive, buy now pay later, family holidays in the sun.

The novelty of the ‘must have’ Christmas gifts (which we trawled our busy town centres and websites in search of) may have already worn off, and the festively designed wrapping, foil ribbon and tape, with which we painstakingly decorated and disguised them, is now ripped to shreds and in the recycle bin. The leftovers of the celebration bird have been sandwiched and curried to the point that we never, ever want to see another slice of turkey again (even the pets are sick of it) and the beautiful Tannenbaum which we adorned with tinsel and fairy lights and gave pride of place in our homes, has now shed the majority of its needles and is looking considerably less majestic than it did a week or two ago.

So, what next?  What reason could we have now to battle with the shopping centre crowds for new outfits we probably won’t ever wear again, why on earth would we feel the need to re-fill our fridges with finger food platters, a selection of a thousand cheeses and a dozen bottles of champagne (the last on that list is only in my dreams!) Well... it’s New Year of course, and what better occasion to bring on the sparkle and fizz!

That said, if you’re anything like me, your current account will be looking a tad unhealthy at the moment, and the old credit card will have been given a bit of a hammering over the past few weeks. So, if there’s going to be any sparkle or fizz for me this New Year, I have to accept it’s not going to be in the form of Dior or Dom Perignon!

‘Label snobs’ look away now... Peacocks, Morrisons, Body Care, and Tesco are just a few of the places I managed to find a few very cheap and cheerful ways to inject a little sparkle and fizz into my New Year. See photos below.

Of course, Bollinger or Bucks Fizz, Prada or 'Primarni', we all know it’s our family and friends that will make our New Year celebrations special... the sparkle and fizz (whatever your budget) are just for fun!

Happy New Year one and all!

For the Sparkle...

Black and gold sparkle peplum top - £12.99 from Peacocks.  Looks great 'dressed-up' with wide-legged satin trousers, leather pencil skirt or disco pants, or  with black skinny jeans for more casual look.  I got this just before Christmas, so it's probably in the sale now for about a fiver!

Gold sparkle peep-toe platform heels from Dorothy Perkins.  Reduced from £35 to £22 in the sale just before Christmas. Surprisingly comfy!

Left to right: Barry M in 'Red Glitter' £3/4, OPI Mini Nail Lacquer (part of Mariah Carey gift set) 4 glitter varnishes for £10.46 from, and Technic in 'Be-dazzled' from Beauty Care (£3 ish).
'Bling' ring, £2.50 from Peacocks.

Barry M Glitter Dust, around £3.50 each - Left to right, No 22 Black Gold and No 15 Gold Iridescent.
I love this stuff, only a tiny amount is needed to add a subtle touch of glitter to your party eyes.

Gold and black leather effect necklace, £4 Primark.

and for the Fizz...

Joe's Cocktails - Premium pre-mixed cocktail 'Blackberry & Pear Vodka Fizz'  also available in 'Raspberry & Rhubarb Vodka Punch' and 'Elderflower & Cucumber Gin Sling' - around £1.90 each or 3 for £4.
M&S Brut Cava - £12.99 for two. Lovely bubbly!

and more Lovely Bubbly... Italia Plaza Centro Prosecco - half price at £6.95, from Tesco.
Even cheaper bubbly... Morrisons Premium Bucks Fizz £3 ish.
With what you save on the booze, you can add a little extra sparkle with these gorgeous indoor fireworks
see below for details.

'Table Fun' Flaming Fountains, pack of 3 £2.50 from Tesco.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Birthdays... the Good the Bad and the Ugly!

Having recently turned yet another year older, and with my husband reaching the big ‘FIVE O ‘ in less than two weeks, I’ve been thinking (possibly over-thinking) about what birthdays mean to me these days.  As the years have gone by, I guess I’ve  looked forward to them less, but actually I don’t really know why?  I read a quote recently which went something like “If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you be?” and yes, some days the answer to that question may well be “65 plus”, but in all honesty, most of the time it would be a figure considerably younger than I am.  All things considered, I’ve decided that more good than bad comes with age, and it’s just a matter of seeing our birthday tipple glass as half full and not half empty.  So, this is how I’m going to view the passing of the years from now on...

The Good
My birthdays will be a day (or more, if I can manage to drag it out) of pure, unashamed, indulgent ME time.  They will be seen as my special day, a time to sip champagne and eat cake (lots of cake).  My mobile will be non-stop (hopefully) with texts and Facebook notifications from well-wishers; birthday cards of the hand-crafted, cute, sentimental, humorous and pure filthy variety will adorn my mantelpiece and window ledges, and all in celebration of the day that wonderful, unique moi entered the world! If I’m lucky, my birthday celebrations might also include parties, evenings out and, of course, pressies!  See below - a few photos of some of the lovely gifts I received this year, which might also offer a bit of Christmas gift inspiration.

The Bad
Harsh (but true) being forty plus, I am fully aware that  the champagne sipping may well leave me needing the loo in the middle of the night, unable to get out of bed in the morning, and with raging heartburn.  The cake will more than likely leave me feeling bloated, guilty, and will almost certainly lead to tears the next time I get on the scales.  I will also prepare myself for the fact that birthday surprises at this time of life might include a few extra fine lines around my eyes, age spot multiplication, and the odd addition to my growing collection of grey hairs.  I accept that I may also notice an increase in my short term memory loss (although actually, that will possibly be more to do with the excessive champagne sipping, in which case it’s more than worth it!).

 And... the Ugly?!
Well, I reckon, this will only set in if I don’t spend my forty plus birthday celebrations enjoying the ‘good’ and gracefully accepting the ‘bad’.  My plan to avoid any ugliness is to embrace my maturity, and the knowledge and ‘wisdom’ that come with it. In future I’m going to celebrate the fact that yet another birthday means I’ve been lucky enough to have  spent the last year enjoying my family and seeing them grow, have had chance to form new friendships and see existing ones deepen, and have had the benefit of a further twelve months’ life experience (good and bad).  And, with all that under my belt, I can begin to look forward to the adventures and challenges of the year ahead... that is, until my next wonderful birthday!

Okay, that’s enough deep and meaningful thinking from me... time for pressies!

I love this grown-up, sophisticated take on the recent satchel trend, and it’s such a fabulous colour.,acc_1.1/5890143000

Posh Wellies  - I’ve been wanting a pair of these for ages and they’re just the job to ‘style-up’  my winter dog walking.  If they’re good enough for Her Majesty, they’re good enough for me!
‘Lovely’, by Sarah Jessica Parker.  Gorgeous fresh, day time fragrance, and a beautiful bottle that looks so pretty on your dressing table. 
Body Shop scented candle, room & fabric fragrance spray and home fragrance oil, in ‘Aloe & Soft Linen’.  Lovely pressie.
Visit to the Theatre – surprise trip to see “Thriller Live”. If you love Michael Jackson’s music you’ll adore this smash hit West End Show.  I had such a fun-filled evening!
Pretty little Pandora Charm to add to my collection.  I’m hoping to fill my bracelet by the time I turn fifty... running out of time fast!!791224CZ/metal/05,04,11,06/sort-by/pl

I also had some beautiful flowers delivered (always a winner with me) and the fact that my 19 year old music student son, living 200 miles away, even remembered my birthday (let alone sent me flowers), was enough to make my day! Unfortunately, these were well past their best by the time I got round to taking photos for this post :-(  

So, here’s to many more happy returns! J