Friday, 19 December 2014

#209. Social Bite and Christmas 2014


Sometimes you see a project that is blooming wonderful, so inspiring and that reminds you of how great people can be, that you just need to share it. Social Bite is one of them.

Social Bite is a sandwich shop with branches in Glasgow and Edinburgh, that prides themselves on providing great and tasty food but that helps support great causes too. They refer to themselves as a social business where 100% of their profits go to good causes and 1 in 4 of their staff are formerly homeless people. They also run a suspended coffee scheme where you can buy a hot drink or food item in advance and a homeless person can go into the shop and claim it. It really is all about giving back to the community and a business to help others. It is such a refreshing change of perspective.

This Christmas, in the Season of giving, Social Bite are opening their doors on Christmas Eve/Day to offer homeless people dinner. What a fantastic gesture at a time when the most vulnerable can feel increasingly lonely. Partnering with ITISON you can help. By donating a fiver you can buy a homeless person a Christmas dinner and give them the chance to enjoy some festive time with friends and their Social Bite family.

I think this is such a wonderful initiative and at this time of year when you are out shopping, why not spare £5 to give a Christmas gift to someone less fortunate? 

You can buy a homeless person a Christmas dinner here

Find out more about Social Bite and it's amazing work here or read more about their Christmas initiative in the news. Merry Christmas! 

#208. Defying Gravity

If you come visit my little corner of the internet often, you will know how much I adore London based designer, Dahlia. I really like how their pieces are limited edition and are always different to things I have come across before. So, a few weeks ago on my daily Dahlia browse, I spotted this beautiful Harriet top and decided to treat myself.

How lovely is it to take outfit pictures beside a Christmas tree? My Dahlia top is made from jacquard material, so has a dark underlying pattern, with this cute contrasting ruffled collar. There are beautiful flower shaped embellishments made of plastic petals and pearl look centres, which add a bit of Christmassy bling to the top and although you can't tell from this picture, there is a chiffon peplum detail as well. The material is quite heavy and the sleeves are long, almost down to my elbows, both of which I really like. I do feel that the top could be a bit more fitted, especially towards the waist it feels quite baggy and the peplum, although lovely, only adds to this. That aside though, I think it's wonderful and one of my favourite new buys.

I paired the Dahlia top with this beautiful textured skirt from Matalan for £14 - what a bargain! (similar here) I really do rate Matalan, you always find little gems for reasonable prices. The skirt is such a lovely camel colour, that I was drawn to it right away and I really like the casual length and pockets. It is soft to the touch and is a welcome addition to my wardrobe as I was in need of an everyday skirt. It will look good with flat shoes, or little boots like the ones I am wearing from Duo here. These are the boots I was lucky enough to receive a few weeks ago and I am completely in love with them. I have worn them so much since I first bought them, they are ridiculously comfy and go with everything in my wardrobe.

This is one of my new favourite outfits; casual but smart and perfect for a day out shopping with the girls or a wee night at the theatre - I wore it to see Wicked last week which was amazing! It was the second time I have seen the show and loved it. It was so hard not to sing along!

What do you think of my outfit? Do you like my Dahlia top, skirt and boots? 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

#207. Merry Kissmas 2014

It's almost Christmas! How exciting. Are you ready for snuggling in front of a fire, drinking gallons of mulled wine and potentially having a sneaky kiss under the mistletoe? I know I am! I am ready for a holiday and chilling with my family (my wee bro is coming home which I'm really excited about) and really getting into the festive spirit. I was kindly sent a kit by Groupon, the Merry Kissmas kit**, to get me all prepped and ready for a kiss under the mistletoe and in true blogger style, capture the moment!

So in order to take the perfect mistletoe selfie you will need - A lipstick, a sprig of mistletoe and a selfie stick, all which come in the Merry Kissmas kit, handy!

The lipstick is Calvin Klein (fancy!) comes in a range of colours but I received this beautiful pink shade, Ethereal. The lipstick is in classic black packaging and is lovely and moisturizing. It glides on easily and the subtle colour will work with every outfit I decide to sport over the festive period and beyond.

The selfie stick makes taking those inevitable pictures over Christmas even easier. It comes in two parts but assembly is easy and the spring catch on the phone holder makes it adjustable for phones of different widths. My iphone 5C sat comfortably and was held securely when I was moving the stick around (to get my best angle obviously! haha). The only thing I would say is that the top of the phone holder is in the right place to catch some of the buttons on iphones, so as I was getting everything set up I inadvertently took some very unflattering pictures of myself...hello chins! So just as long as you are aware of this, you won't get a fright! 

The stick has a rubber grip, so feels secure in your hand and is really light to hold. The stick extends from the compact 30cm out to over a metre easily, meaning Go Go Gadget arms are a thing of the past and you can say hello to flattering photos! The downside to the length is that it might be too large to sit in a handbag, so may make transport difficult. The phone holder also has 360 degrees of movement, making it easily adjustable with a dial to tighten when you are happy with the position of your phone. This makes the product very easy to use and flexible to what you might need.

The technology design of the stick is quite simple. In order to take the picture, you have to set the photo timer on your phone and then navigate the stick into the right place. This does mean that in order to use this selfie stick, your phone needs to have the capacity to take self timed photos. I have seen other products more advanced with buttons at the end of the stick which automatically take the picture. This one does work well and even though slightly more of a faff than just simply point and click, it is a fun and novelty product.

Although I don't think I would use a selfie stick myself everyday or out and about, it would be a fun idea for parties and good for holidays too. Robin and I are having a fancy dress party with friends on Saturday, so we will be cracking this out for some fun pics.

Last but not least, the mistletoe. The mistletoe in the kit is plastic and is a good size as you can see from the photos. It will look fun and festive hanging up in your house.

So there you you are all set for a smooch under the mistletoe this Christmas. 

Overall, I thought this kit is a bit of fun and a novelty way to enjoy Christmas. It is something a bit different and a bit of a laugh. I think it is good value too, as I will definitely wear the lipstick, given how beautiful the colour is and the quality of the product. The selfie stick will be a fun addition to parties, so I am sure to use it again.

What do you think of the Merry Kissmas kit? Remember to check out Groupon's Christmas shop for other festive offers!

**Disclaimer - I was sent the Merry Kissmas kit in return for a review. Whilst the kit was complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and the post above reflects my true and honest opinion of my experiences of the products.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

#206. Christmas gift guide - Sister is your Christmas shopping going? All set and organised and wrapped and sitting pretty under the tree? No? Never fear, you still have plenty of time! This post is all about gifts for Sisters, so hopefully you will find some nice things here they will love.

First up, how about this beautiful jewelry box from Oliver Bonas? The mis-matched drawers are fun and there would be plenty of room for your Sister's favourite pieces, keeping them nice, neat and tidy, rather than scattered all over the room like mine tend to be! Then why not try this fab necklace from Karen Mabon, perfect if your sister likes large and quirky jewelry and this Ostrich is amazing!

Goodies from Benefit would never go amiss and this gift set comes with full size versions of all your Sister's favourites, from They're Real Mascara to the wonderful Porefessional. Perfect to have your sister looking beautiful as always during the festive season and keeping in her handbag when out and about. Another handbag staple is always Burts Bees and I think this little set is a good stocking filler, with their highly moisturizing lip balm and hand salve. I have this set myself and absolutely love it, particularly the grape fruit lip balm.

Since I heard Shake it Off, I have been such a fan of Taylor Swift, so think the album would be a great gift. It's just so upbeat and makes me smile, even though it isn't my sort of usual music and has me practically running home when I listen to it. Give your sister something fun to dance to! Along the funny lines, why not try Lena Durnam's book. I have heard really good things and if your sister likes Girls, she will love this! You always need at least one book to read on Boxing Day and this cheeky bookmark will help your sister keep her place.

For a present that keeps on giving, how about a magazine subscription to Oh Comely? With lots of fun suggestions for baking, crafts and encouraging you to look at the world in a different way with really interesting articles, it would be a welcome surprise through the letterbox every month. This is my favourite magazine, so I know I would be delighted to receive a subscription. If your sister is a fan of The Bake Off, these safari cookie cutters are bound to make her smile and you can always help eat them afterwards!

For the house, how about a set of cute Moomon tumblers from John Lewis? Who wouldn't want to drink from these? An initial copper letter from Oliver Bonas is a nice decoration and would look lovely on your sisters bedside table and is a nice additional small gift.

Lastly, the Glasgow School of Art have some fab original products designed by students old and new, so have a look. I cam across this shopper bag and loved the geometric print and size of the bag. Ideal for all your sisters bits and bobs and the kitchen sink too.

So, there you go. Hopefully this has helped inspire you with some gifts for your sister. What do you think of the gifts I've chosen?

If you need inspiration for anyone else, check out my giftlists for Mums, brothers, boyfriends and best pals here. Next up will be present ideas for girlfriends.