Sunday, 9 December 2018

Top 5 Christmas Films

With just over two weeks to go until Christmas Day, now is the perfect time to stay in with a hot chocolate and binge-watch Christmas films. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't watched any Christmas films yet this year... however, there are a handful of Christmas films that I watch every Christmas and I've seen a few new ones this year which I'm hoping to watch too. So, without rambling on anymore, here are my top picks for Christmas films this year:

#1 Elf
A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC! This is my ultimate Christmas film - I watch it about 5 times every Christmas! I can recite pretty much every scene! If you haven't watched this yet, where have you been!? No, but seriously, you NEED to watch this. Will Ferrell is a human that was raised with elves in the North Pole and then travels to New York in search of his real father, which has hilarious results. This film also makes me really want to visit New York at Christmas time (maybe one year!).

#2 Home Alone
I love all of the Home Alone films but the first one is definitely my favourite. Young Kevin McCallister wakes up to find that all of his family have left for their Christmas holiday and forgotten him. Initially, he loves being home alone but he then finds out that two men are planning to rob his family home so he sets up some impressive traps to protect the house. You need to watch this if you haven't already, or why not watch all of the Home Alone films back-to-back!?

#3 Love Actually
I feel like everyone's probably watched this film already because it's such a lovely film. The film follows nine people's stories which become intertwined due to love. My favourite scene is when Hugh Grant, who plays the role of the British prime minister, is dancing around to Jump by the Pointer Sisters - it's hilarious! Also, great news because this film was recently added to Netflix.

#4 The Grinch
I must admit that I haven't watch this in years, however I do love it. The Grinch lives inside a cave with his dog, Max, and hates Christmas. His neighbours in Whoville love to celebrate Christmas, so the Grinch comes up with a plan to steal Christmas in order to silence the Whos. The Grinch has been remade this year, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and it looks so good.

#5 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
This is an oldie but goodie - it's so so so funny! Clark Griswold is trying to plan the most perfect Christmas ever for his family, however things keep going wrong for him. This film demonstrates the chaos of Christmas but also shows the importance of family during the festive period.

Hopefully I've given you some ideas for films to watch in the run up to Christmas. There are so many more films on my watch list, such as The Princess Switch, A Christmas Prince and The Holiday Calendar - hopefully I'll be able to get through all of these before Christmas. Let me know if you've watched any of these films and what you thought of them.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

The Checkered Trousers Everyone Needs

I've always been a jeans kinda girl. They go with everything and it makes outfit planning so simple. However, I've been trying to step outside of my comfort zone by wearing trousers that I wouldn't usually go for. And that's where these Topshop Check Belt Trousers come in!

These are the most comfortable trousers I have EVER worn. Usually with jeans, I'll take them off as soon as I get home and put on joggers but these trousers are comfortable enough to lounge around the house in! These trousers come in both regular and petite - I always struggle to find trousers short enough for my 5'3" self but these are perfect. Also, these trousers can be styled up or down. For nighttime, I'd pair these with a black or blush pink crop top and boots or heels. Whereas for daytime, these can be worn with a cosy knit jumper (like this Super Soft Chevron one from Topshop) and trainers.

I'm so pleased that I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and try these trousers because I love them so much! I'm definitely going to get some more trousers like these - I've got my eyes on these Burgundy Multi Stripe Casual Trousers from Pretty Little Thing for my next purchase. Have I convinced you to get a pair of these trousers?

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Christmas Gift Guide For Her

How is Christmas just over 5 weeks away!? 37 days!? If you haven't even started thinking about what gifts you're going to buy for everyone (like me), DO NOT PANIC because I am here to provide you with the ultimate gift guide for all of the important women in your life.

Everyone loves to have a stylish phone case, but what if you could go the extra mile and give someone a personalised phone case? This is where CaseApp comes in handy. They offer a range of phone cases, laptop skins, iPad skins and phone skins, which you can personalise with text, photos and clipart. I chose their "Crazy Galaxy" design for one of my cases - I kept it simple by not adding any personal touches. For the other one, I created a personalised phone case using their "Black Marble" design and adding my initials to the case - there were loads of different fonts to choose from and you could also choose the colour of the text. I also played around with creating a photo collage phone case. I decided against ordering this one, however it was really quick and simple to create (maybe next time I'll go for that one!). Having used a CaseApp case on my phone for the last 2 years without it getting any scratches or the design wearing off, I can vouch for the durability of these cases. So, what are you waiting for? Give your friends and family a gift with a personal touch this Christmas. And if you order before 13th December, you can receive 20% off with the code EMMABOUGHTWHAT20.

If you've got any blogging friends or family, then a subscription to Blogosphere Magazine would be the perfect gift for them (it's on my Christmas list!). I find the magazine so useful for blogging help and advice and it's also a great place to discover new blogs. They also organise regular Blogosphere events - I really want to attend some of them next year - and if you're a subscriber you get to hear about the events first. For a yearly subscription, it's £30, which is completely worth it in my eyes considering it's packed full with over 150 pages of information. If you're still not convinced, check out my blog post from earlier this year (here) where I rave about it!

A chunky scarf makes a great Christmas present, especially if we get the same amount of snow as we did last Winter! My go-to for oversized scarfs is Zara because they're soooo soft and can be used to revamp an old outfit. The one in the photograph is actually from a few Winters ago but I've found a similar one in Zara's current collection.

There's nothing I enjoy more than curling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a good book when it's cold outside. So why not treat someone to a book this Christmas? I'm currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and it's been really good so far - I don't want to give anything away! This book has won numerous awards, such as the Costa Book Awards and the No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller, so you can rest assured that it's a good'un.

The Ted Baker Finishing Flourish Gift contains the perfect nail polish shades for Christmas time. The set contains four nail polishes in Dark Green, Light Pink, Red and Rose Gold Glitter. I personally like to apply the Rose Gold Glitter on top of the other nail polishes to add some extra sparkle. These nail polishes also come in beautiful rose gold packaging.

Jewellery can be a bit tricky to buy for other people, however it's pretty much guaranteed that everyone loves rings from Pandora - I swear every girl I know owns at least one of them! I love the simplicity of their Sterling Silver Shimmering Wish Ring, which also comes in Rose Gold. The ring can be paired with many of the other Pandora rings, for example, I wear mine with my birthstone ring. If you want to buy someone a more high-end, meaningful gift, then this ring is perfect.

Baths are made so much better when you've got a bath bomb, so treat someone to Joules Bath Fizzers this Christmas (slightly different to the ones photographed). The set includes 4 circular bath fizzes that are individually wrapped in beautiful printed paper. They smell amazing and are sure to add the finishing touch to a relaxing bath.

Yankee Candle is my favourite place to go for candles and their Festive Cocktail one is my favourite for this time of year. The candle is a mixture of berries, pine and vanilla - it smells heavenly and fills the room! The candle comes in various sizes - I have the Large Jar which promises 110 to 150 hours of burning time.

And there you have my ultimate Christmas gift guide for her. Hopefully this has given you some Christmas present ideas. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

*This post is in collaboration with CaseApp. I was kindly sent the phone cases from CaseApp, however all views and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Two Halloween Looks

Halloween is one of my favourite celebrations - I love experimenting with makeup to create spooky looks! This year I attempted some Halloween makeup looks that I had never tried before.

First up was a clown. This look took me a lot longer to create than I had anticipated - I watched a few YouTube videos on clown makeup looks which lasted about 10 minutes, however this took me nearly an hour! Therefore, if you're wanting something quick and easy, I would not recommend this one. I began by prepping my face with the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer and then applied the Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation in shade 'Sand' and the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. Next I filled in my brows with the Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil - I tried to make my brows look more arched than usual so that they would blend in with the triangles. I used the Benefit Hoola Bronzer to subtly add some colour to my cheeks. I then used the shade 'Buck' from the Urban Decay Naked Palette (unfortunately this has been discontinued) to fill in the creases in my eyes and filled in the main part of my eyelids with the Lancome Le Crayon Khol Eye Liner before packing the shade 'Blackout' from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette on top of the eye liner and blending outwards. To outline my eyes I used my trusted Kat Von D Tattoo Liner - you can make the lines as thick as you want! For the triangles above and below the eyes, I used the Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner. I drew the outline of these first to make sure that they were even and then filled them in, joining the bottom triangles up with the Tattoo Liner. I then drew the circles at each point and shaded around the bottom triangles with 'Buck' - taking this all the way up to my temples. Again, for the nose I used the Maybelline Eye Liner - if you have white paint, then you can add a tiny bit to the nose to give the impression of a reflection. In the corners of my eyes I added some gold glitter and then I applied the Benefit They're Real Mascara to finish the eyes. Lastly, I outlined my lips with the MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in 'Dark Out' and filled them in with the MAC Lipstick in 'Sin'. To create a longer smile, I drew out the lines with the Maybelline Eye Liner and filled them in. I then tried to blend this in with the lipstick to create ombre lips, however, the MAC lipstick has a matte finish which made it difficult to blend. Overall, I'm really pleased with how the clown makeup turned out and I'm sure that it will become a lot easier to do once I've practiced it a few times.

The next look I attempted was a half skull/half glam look. Although the skull looks quite complicated, it was so much easier and less time consuming than the clown look. I began by focusing on the glam side - I used the Benefit POREfessional Face Primer and the Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation again. I added colour to my cheekbones and around the edge of my face with the Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder. I then used the theBalm Mary Lou Manizer to highlight above my cheekbone, on my brow bone and down my nose. I again used the Maybelline Master Shape Brow Pencil to fill in my eyebrow. For my eyes, I used 'Half Baked' and 'Smog' from the Urban Decay Naked Palette and the Benefit They're Real Mascara. Lastly, I applied the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade 'Cannes' to half of my lips. You can choose to do the glam side however you want, for example, you could use more colourful eyeshadows than I have or apply false eyelashes to give yourself more dramatic eyes.

For the skull side of my face, I began by using a beauty blender to cover that half in white paint (you could use a very white foundation instead if you don't want to use paint). I then outlined the eye socket, nose, cheekbone and jawline with the Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner before filling them in. I also blended 'Blackout' from the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette into the cheekbone and jawline area. The teeth are the trickiest part of this look - I started by drawing vertical lines where I wanted the teeth to be and then drew little crosses at the top and bottom of each tooth, which I could blend out to create a 3D effect. I then very carefully went around each tooth with a small amount of 'Blackout' to create a shadow. To make the teeth stand out more, I coloured them in with the Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil. To finish the look I added some cracks to the skull with the Maybelline Eye Liner.

Hopefully I have explained how I created these two looks clearly enough. If you have any questions, then feel free to contact me or leave a comment below. Have you got any plans for Halloween?

Sunday, 14 October 2018

A Stay at Cowley Manor

A few hours ago (please appreciate my efficiency with this post!) I returned home from an amazing stay at Cowley Manor with my boyfriend, which is situated in the Cotswolds. Cowley Manor is a country house hotel with contemporary interiors and an award winning spa. The Main House consists of 15 spacious bedrooms, public areas, a bar and a restaurant. The Stable Block contains more bedrooms built over one, two and three levels. Cowley Manor offer a variety of rooms to stay in, which differ in price - we stayed in one of their 'Great Rooms'. This consisted of a king size bed, Green & Spring toiletries, mini bar, LCD screen and Bose Sound link.

Cowley Manor is situated in 55 acres of Grade || listed gardens. You can get a map of the grounds from the reception so that you can go exploring. The grounds looked spectacular in the autumnal weather and, even though it was quite rainy when we visited, Cowley Manor provide wellies and umbrellas to borrow. There are three lakes in the grounds - our room overlooked the Upper Lake. There are also some sculptures displayed within the grounds, which are previous winners of The Cowley Manor Arts Award.

The C-Side Spa offers an outdoor pool, indoor pool, steam room, sauna, gym and treatment rooms. The indoor pool has a floor to ceiling glass wall, which provides beautiful views out to the woods. Unfortunately, I didn't get a treatment whilst I was there but they have a selection of facials and massages to choose from.

The Malt Restaurant provides delicious locally sourced food. The dishes are more creative than a standard restaurant menu - I had beef and truffle ravioli to start, followed by roast pork with seasoned parsnips and carrots and sage croquettes. Although the dishes were delicious, they were also quite small and the service was a bit slow (which is disappointing when you're hangry!). After dinner, we had cocktails at the bar. Cowley Manor offer an extensive range of cocktails, spirits and wine - I would highly recommend their berry one.

Overall, Cowley Manor was a lovely getaway for the weekend. There were plenty of things to see and do there, but equally you could relax in your room (and massive bathtub) for your whole stay. Generally, the staff were really helpful and attentive - we ordered a cooked breakfast and got it delivered as room service promptly. So, if you're looking for somewhere to go on a staycation, you should definitely consider Cowley Manor. Are you going away anywhere soon?