The city’s looking pretty beautiful in all this crisp winter weather we’ve been having of late. Compared with last winter, when it was nothing but rain 24/7 (and Jason’s offices ended up flooding three feet deep on Christmas Eve!), it feels like a blessing.

Last Wednesday’s trip was probably my last jaunt in London before Christmas. I was in town for a midday catch up with Freya and then an event at Brora in the evening, with a few items to tick off my to-do list in between. I met Freya in the Young Victoria theatre bar just South of Waterloo, for snacks and plenty of cups of tea. I ate a portion of polenta fries that were so hefty you could’ve built houses with them (no bad thing if you ask me, I am mildly obsessed with all things polenta) and we talked over the various merits of different lenses and full-frame cameras and all the other things that make us both stupidly excited.

I went pottering off to Covent Garden after our lunch date, in search of a few bits I needed for upcoming blog content and also just to see the Christmas lights. Turns out, Covent Garden was entirely unfruitful with anything BUT Christmas lights, but they were so beautiful it made up for the blister I got walking over there and then back to the Strand where I actually *could* buy everything I needed. Really it’d have been better to go to Oxford Street and do the lot in one hit, but I’ll do just about anything to avoid Oxford Street…

I found myself with an hour to spare just as the sun was setting, so moseyed over to Trafalgar Square to watch the crowds and the sky and the tree lights twinkling. And then it was off to the Duke of York Square for hummus and pickles at Comtoir Libanais, and then to Brora on Sloane Square to get to know the brand a little better. And for a little light cashmere stroking, of course…

As days in London go, it was a beautiful one. And as one final day in London at the end of such a busy, non-stop year of so many days in London, it was perfect. I’m looking forward to a more relaxed couple of weeks spent almost solely in the countryside over Christmas, though I know by the time we’re heading into 2015, the city will be ready to steal my heart all over again.

Photos from a festive London below, if you’d like to see…


^^ These beautiful loafers are new, and I just can’t stop wearing them. Frozen toes be damned! Linked below… ^^


What I wore :: Fairisle cardigan || Chambray shirt || Skinny legging jeans || Patent loafers {on MEGA SALE!}


^^ You just would not believe how incredible these roasted chestnuts smelt. Quite literally Christmas in a nutshell! ^^



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I like to think that nail varnish is one of the few things we can legitimately treat ourselves to during December, a month in which buying for oneself is unoffically prohibited. Within my family anyway, we try to hold off buying ourselves the things we want most during the weeks leading up to Christmas, so as not to spoil any surprises that might be coming our way on the 25th. Not that we always manage to stick to that rule…but we try! And that rule is especially important since both my sister and I are December babies, so we’re double trouble to buy for!

Nail varnishes are just tiny enough to slip under the radar though, if you ask me. You can totally  sneak them into the house tucked away in the depths of your handbag after a Christmas gift-buying expedition, and your fiancé will never, ever realise that there’s another little bottle been added to your already somewhat silly collection. So I’ve heard, anyway…

I went through a funny phase of not wearing nail varnish for months and months (laziness got the better of me) but just recently I’ve been back on a major nail polish kick. Today, I’m sharing five of my absolute favourite nail varnish shades for wearing throughout winter, as well as the Christmas season. Oh! And whilst we’re talking of laziness- that Bourgeois 1-second nail varnish remover is witchcraft, I tell you! Honestly and truly, it removed two/three coats of even the darkest colours photographed here in a single swipe, without even a jot of staining! Well worth picking up.

Now, let’s talk colour… 


T H E   E L E G A N T   G O L D ::


Essie ‘Buy me a Cameo’ - £7.99

I love this polish for two reasons- 1. Because it’s easily the most wearable, elegant shade I’ve ever tried on. It finishes off just about any outfit imaginable (and I like to think makes you look like the sort of woman who only ever wears matching underwear, and never forgets to brush her hair), and 2. It dries quicker than a flash. On countless occasions I’ve thrown on a coat or two of this just before running out of the door in a mad panic, and found it’s dried even before I’ve reached my car. Truly the best thing to have on hand (Ha. On hand. D’ya get it?) for those ‘I can’t go to this wedding/meeting/fancy meal out with bare, unmanicured nails’ emergencies.

T H E   T R U E   R E D ::


Tanya Burr cosmetics ‘Riding Hood’ – £4.99

It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable wearing red polish. I’d always felt that you could only pull off red if you had beautfifully long, almond shaped nails, and since I have just about the squarest nails you’ll ever come across and an extreme aversion to long nails, I thought it just wasn’t for me! But slowly slowly, as it’s become de rigueur to have shorter nails, I decided that maybe it was time to dip my toe into the scarlet-hued waters. This shade is a beauty. It applies smoothly, and is the most festive shade of red imaginable. Maybe the perfect Christmas day nail colour?

T H E   M U T E D   G R E Y ::


Essie ‘Master Plan’ – £7.99

Even though Christmas and winter are traditionally a time for bright, jewel-toned shades, I just can’t help but go muted and minimal every now and again too. A grey-toned nail varnish is go-with-everything staple, and truly, you just can’t go wrong with Essie. This one dries quickly and applies smoothly, and is the beautiful elephant-grey shade I love so much. Wear with black skinnies, a Breton and a red lip, and do your best impression of a super-chic Parisian.

T H E   I R I D E S C E N T   M I D N I G H T   B L U E ::


Max Factor Colour Effects ‘Cloudy Blue’ – £3.99

This one might just be my favourite from the whole selection. Navy nail varnish is always a winner in my book, and so one shot through with the most incredible iridescent, sky-at-night shimmer was bound to be a good’un. It sort of reminds me of those galaxy nails that were popular a couple of years ago, but without all the effort of having to mix colours! ;) Oh, and since it’s important to know these things, even though I didn’t use a top coat after applying this (I just bought a new one, and found it was smashed when I open up the packaging, sob!) it still lasted a good couple of days without chipping. With a decent top coat, I reckon it’d be a solid five day-er!

T H E   P E R F E C T   P L U M  ::


Essie ‘Bahama Mama’ – £7.99

Bahama Mama has been my favourite autumn/winter nail varnish since time immemorial. I mean, just look at it! It’s just dark enough to be classed as ‘vampy’ (but not so dark you feel like you’ve journeyed back to your pre-teen goth phase- yep, I had one…) and makes a statement that says ‘I take the winter months seriously, don’t you know’. It’s my favourite shade to wear with a simple nude trench coat and a wide-brimmed hat, for days spent wandering through Christmas markets and  drinking mulled wine that matches the colour of your nails.


What I wore :: Pyjamas by Yawn.

Which colour’s your favourite? Do you go bright and sparkly over the Christmas season, or stick to elegant, muted shades? :)


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^^ Picture above taken last weekend, when the frost made our toes go numb and two out of three of our noses turn bright red. ^^

Haaaaappy Friday! I hope you read that in a shouty sing-song voice in your head, because that’s how I wrote it! I’m so relieved we’re at the end of this week for many reasons, the biggest and most important of which are that (1.) I’m totally and completely exhausted and can’t wait to get some decent sleep, and (2.) that tomorrow is TREE DAY! Yep, i’s time for us to go to our favourite local garden centre, and have the same Christmas tree related conversations we have year in, year out ;) I seriously could not be more excited. Are you tree decorating this weekend too? It feels like a good weekend for it! Here’s to a happy wintery weekend, and here’s a little round up of all that’s made me happy this week…

1. Picking up a few bags of clementines whilst out shopping! Now it *really* feels like Christmas is around the corner!

2. Listening to classical music. I know it has a reputation for being kind of stuffy and old-fashioned, but I honestly think it’s the most relaxing thing. I’m definitely someone who needs background noise whilst at home, but always struggled listening to Spotify or anything with a strong beat or lots of lyrics whilst writing even so much as an email. The music on Classic fm is so peaceful, and not distracting in the slightest. I’m a total convert!

3. Matching PJs. I’m a convert to those too ;)

4. Christmas carols on the radio, especially when the come on when I’m driving and can sing along to my heart’s content.

5. First page of a new notebook. The best!

6. A magic moment in Trafalgar Square at sunset on Wednesday. There was a busker singing the most gorgeous rendition of ‘Let her go’ by Passenger, the air was cool and crisp but not too frosty, and I was standing between the pillars of the National Gallery looking out over all the crowds and at Big Ben in the distance. Perfect beyond belief.

7. Doing my Body Balance workout at home on Thursday morning *around* the dog, who decided to fall asleep right under my feet in order to be as close to me as possible. Equal parts infuriating and heart-warming!

8. Peanut flavour Nine bars! So tasty, we’ve become totally obsessed.

9. The bliss of putting hand cream on hands that are gasping for a little moisture. The time has come for me to start carrying a tube of the good stuff (Crabtree & Evelyn’s ‘La Source’, FYI) in every handbag and coat pocket!

10. Strong strong morning coffee. Even when it gives me the jitters.

Three posts I’ve loved reading this week :: Naomi’s recipe for hot chocolate and peppermint cookies with marshmallow filling (insane!) || Anya’s gorgeous photos from the Bakewell Christmas market || and Molly’s completely amazing recreation of her farm in gingerbread!

What’s made you happy this week? :)


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So, Christmas shopping! I know there’s an abundance (a plethora, a myriad!) of Christmas gift guides out there in the ether already this year, but I’ve been finding them so helpful in doing my Christmas shopping that I decided it was high time I put together my very own round up of what’s hot in the shops! And let me tell you, doing this sort of dreamy Christmas shopping is even more fun than the real thing ;) I’ve decided to group things thematically instead of by gender, mainly because I tend to see as many things I’d love for myself on traditional men’s gifts lists as I do women’s, and also because hey! Why limit ourselves!


1. Pyjama set || 2. Embossed stoneware mug || 3. Christmas wish candle || 4. The Simple Things subscription || 5. Breakfast tray || 6. Handwash || 7. Moisturising balm || 8. Sheepskin rugs.

First up, the nest featherer. The home maker. The lover of all things cosy and indulgent and plush. And, if you ask me, the easiest kind of person to buy for! Think candles to brighten up dark corners, a sheepskin throw for their favourite armchair, indulgent skincare to fancy up the kitchen sink, and of course, pyjamas. New pyjamas go with Christmas just as beautifully as do mince pies and twinkly lights and cheese! I happen to be wearing a pair right this very second, and can’t think of a nicer ‘special something for a special someone’ parcel to unwrap on the morning of the 25th.


1. Wire trug || 2. Woodland bird guide || 3. Wooden handled knife || 4. Recycled wood blanket || 5. Waterproof walking boots || 6. Cashmere aran knit beanie || 7. Enamel camping mug || 8. Check flannel shirt. 

For country-dwellers, practicality is king. Natural, hard-wearing fabrics. Waterproof and rugged. I’m particularly fond of that sweet woodland bird-spotting guide (the others in the series are gorgeous too!), for bringing along on walks in the forest and playing ornithologist. And can’t you just imagine throwing out that checked wool blanket and pausing for a quick hot chocolate break during a long weekend walk? For allotment-tending friends and family, what better duo of gifts than a trug for carrying their homegrown bounty, and a beautifully-crafted wooden handled knife with which to cut said bounty all free from branches and stems and roots? And of course (of course!), the softest of brushed cotton tartan shirts to do it all in.


1. River Cottage avanced bread making course || 2. Six month gourmet coffee subscription || 3. Seasalt + cocoa nib chocolate || 4. Chilli + lime chocolate || 5. NutriBullet blender || 6. The Curious Bartender mixology book || 7. Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi || 8. Stone pestle and mortar || 9. Painted handle wooden spoons || 10. Yellow honey pot and dipper.

From the simplest stocking stuffers (pastel-handled wooden spoons and gourmet chocolate bars) to splash out gifts (NutriBullet anyone?), there’s always something fun to buy for those who love their food. You can’t ever go wrong with a new recipe book (The Curious Bartender is a must-read for wannabe mixologists!), and if you ask me, a six-month supply of coffee is possibly the greatest gift ever to be invented. For an all-out, showstopper Christmas present, the River Cottage advanced bread making course is for the baker who’s been extra-specially good all this year. Having done the basic bread making course back in summer, I can tell you it really would make the most wonderful Christmas present. Bonus points if you book a stay at one of Dorset or Devon’s most charming hotels whilst you’re at it, and turn the whole thing into a mini-holiday…

Christmas twenty-fourteen? Sorted.

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