Its December and this can only mean one thing. Its officially the countdown to Christmas. I have been holding back from getting too excited as it does feel a tad too early, however after some of the events that I have been to recently, it has really made me feel festive. Keep an eye out in the coming days for some posts on what I have been up to lately and some fab new products that have entered my beauty routine, as well as two more Christmas gift guides. As part of Blogmas, I will be aiming to blog each day up until Christmas Eve. So, I hand it over to you, the reader of Anoushka Loves and I ask you ‘What would you like to see over Blogmas?’ Whether it be party essentials, make up and hair ideas or outfit insiration, let me know in the comments below!

Blogmas

See you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 2 and I look forward to hearing all your ideas!

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I’m really enjoying making these Christmas Gift Guides and I have been finding some fab little gems across some of my favourite retailers. Today my gift guide is aimed at those special gents in your life and has been approved by my fab Uncle Tony who is now lusting after two of the items that I’ve added. Have the men in your life requested anything special? Do you usually stick to toiletries or do you buy any unusual gifts. I’d love to know to get some more ideas for the only two men in my family, my Grandad and my uncle!

Christmas-Gift-Guide-For-Him1Clive Christian Travel Set £185 Harrods/ Taylor Of Old Bond Street £37 Selfridges / Molton Brown Black Peppercorn Body Wash £18

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Handsome Prince Grooming Box £35 Selfridges / Autograph Analogue Watch £55 M&S / Jimmy Choo Man £37.99 Fragrance Direct

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Penhaligons Gentlemans Mini Fragrance Set £35 Amazon / Luxury Leather Holdall £149 M&S / Braun Cool Tech £199 Amazon

 

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Yes, it’s that time of year again…. It’s Christmas!! Over the next few weeks I will be compiling a handful of Christmas Gift Guides to help you in your quest to get the perfect present or to simply just drool over the beauty. The first of the gift guides is all about Decadence so the items that I have chosen are extremely special and are probably out of a lot of peoples budgets, however it doesn’t stop us from drooling and swooning over the luxury and prettiness. Here is Anoushka Loves Christmas Wishlist of Decadence. I hope you enjoy it!

Anoushkaloves Christmas Wishlist

Jimmy Choo Anouk / Kiehls Swarovski Edition / NARS The Vault

Anoushkaloves Christmas Wishlist2

Yves Saint Laurent La Lacque / La Prairie Skin Caviar / Charlotte Tilbury The Supermodel

Anoushkaloves Christmas Wishlist3

Tom Ford Trousseau / Christian Louboutin Starlight / Mulberry Bayswater

I’m lusting after so many of the items that I have featured in the Decadence guide. What are you lusting over? Let me know in the comments below.

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It’s official, the countdown to Christmas is on. I don’t care if its too early, but this week marks the opening of two of the most Christmassy experiences which I am so excited about. The first experience is the opening of the Manchester Christmas Markets, but I will go into more detail about that on a later date. The second is the Selfridges Ice Rink at the Trafford Centre. As Selfridges is the home of luxury, the ice rink is one of the most luxurious experiences in the country.

Selfridges Ice Rink Trafford

If you are a lover of Selfridges and have visited the stores lately, you will have seen that they have gone all out with the beautiful decorations depicting the theme for this year ‘Storytelling’. From the Enchanted Spells calendar, to the rich forest greens and sparkling golds, Christmas at Selfridges is bringing the enchantment of magic and fairytales to life.

The bespoke covered Selfridges Ice Rink at the Trafford Centre holds up to 120 skaters, guaranteeing a great skate whatever the weather. Food and drink concessions will be available throughout the time the rink is open too. The rink is open from today until the 4th January so you have plenty of time to pop down and skate away. Whether you are a beginner or Torvill and Dean, there will be Ice Marshalls on hand to help out or help you brush up on your skills. I couldn’t imagine a more Festive day.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Peak Tickets:
(Monday to Friday, 4–10pm; Saturday, 11–9pm; all day Sunday)
Adults £9.50
Children (3-12yrs) £7.50

Off Peak Tickets:
(Monday to Friday, 12–4pm; Saturday, 9–11am)
Adults £7.50
Children (3-12yrs)£5.50

Skate Aid: £2.99

If you book tickets online there is no booking fee and there are also special deals for schools, colleges and groups. Call 0161 629 1306 for more information.

What is your favourite Festive experience? Let me know in the comments below.

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It’s the end of October and after this evening, I will be in full blown Christmas countdown. I know it’s early but life as a blogger means that Christmas press releases have been dropping into my inbox since September. I am really excited about sharing some of these amazing gift sets with you and today is continuing on with the delights from Too Faced. After checking the Debenhams website, the Christmas beauty sets are now on sale and there is one set in particular which a few people have been waiting for. Lets have a closer look at the Too Faced Christmas Gift Sets.

First of all is the Too Faced La Belle Carousel which unfortunately is a USA only set. I would definitely recommend this as a present, and if you are making a Sephora order I would make no qualms about popping it in my basket. I have reviewed and swatched this multitude of palettes within a palette set and I can’t get enough of the gorgeous colours and christmas themed eye shadow names.

Too Faced La Belle Carousel

The Too Faced Everything Nice set is the greatest value set that I have seen in a long time. 20 shadows, 2 blushes, 2 bronzers, 3 brushes and a mascara, all in a glittery makeup bag and all for the bargain price of £45. Simply amazing. I can imagine that this won’t be around for long.

Too Faced Everything Nice Gift Set

I know a lot of people who have been waiting for this little set to hit the shelves and I must admit that I did look for it in Macys and Sephora last week. The Too Faced Melted Kisses Christmas Gift Set contains four deluxe tubes of the Melted Liquified Lipsticks in Melted Nude, Melted Peony, Melted Berry and Melted Fuchsia. I have two of the full size colours and I adore them. For £22 for the four, its a great way to try out these long wear lip colours that retail at £19 each.

Too Faced Christmas Gift Sets

If a creme lipstick is more your thing then then the Too Faced Under The Mistletoe Christmas Gift Set, £27 will be perfect. Three of Too Faced’s top selling colours; Naked Dolly, Marshmallow Bunny and Spice Spice Baby have been updated with a christmassy shimmer. With a gorgeous pink glittery bag, these colours are in keeping with the party season.

Too Faced Christmas Gift Sets

The Too Faced Beauty Wishes and Sweet Kisses is packed full of face favourites. Chocolate infused shadows from the famous Chocolate Bar palette, the chocolate soleil bronzer and the pretty Snow Bunny bronzer and illuminator. With a deluxe sized lip gloss in Naked Dolly, this kit is a handbag essential at just £32.

Too Faced Christmas Gift Sets

Have you got your eye on any of the Too Faced Christmas Gift Sets? Which ones will you be hoping to find under your Christmas tree?

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Well, my post on the Too Faced La Belle Carousel was one of my most popular posts to date, and with that I made you swoon with delight then crush your dreams by letting you know that you would be unable to purchase it in the UK. I’ve looked on Sephora and it is shippable, however taxes and shipping come to £30 which is scandalous. To try and restore order and calm, I’m going to show you the next best thing, which is in fact slightly bigger in size and just as gorgeous as the La Belle Carousel. Say hello to the Too Faced Everything Nice Gift Set.

Its release date is October, although there is no sign of it on Debenhams as of yet. It will be priced at an exceptionally reasonable £48 and some may recognise it as the updated ‘A Few of My Favourite Things’ gift set that was available last Christmas.

‘Too Faced have put ‘Everything Nice’ in this all-in-one festive makeup palette. The set combines their best-sellers including Better Than Sex Mascara, antioxidant-rich Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Cruelty Free Teddy Bear Hair brushes and cult classic eye shadows with exclusive NEW shades. So versatile you can create any look you want and take it wherever you go in the party-ready pink glitter zip bag.’

Too Faced Everything Nice Gift Set

20 pigment rich eye shadows
2 Bronzers – Including best-seller Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
2 Blushers – Including cult favourite Papa Don’t Peach
3 mini gold glitter Cruelty-Free Teddy Bear Hair makeup brushes
Deluxe size of award wining Better Than Sex Mascara
Limited edition pink glitter zip bag
Step-by-step how-to Glamour Guide with three beauty looks to get you started

As soon as I get a release date I shall let you know! What do you think of this gorgeous set?!

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I know its ridiculously early to be dropping the C-Bomb, and I promise that I will try and refrain from mentioning anything to do with the holiday season until at least mid October, but I have to let you know about the Beauty Advent Calendars of 2014. Several companies released their own Beauty Advent Calendars last Winter however they sold out rather quickly and left a lot of people broken hearted, I’m blaming you Benefit, and I had to settle for a Percy Pig calendar instead. Here’s my guide to the best of the best of beauty advent calendars for Christmas 2014.

Beauty Advent Calendars 2014

First up is the Benefit Cosmetics advent, priced at £60. The Candy Coated Countdown is top of my list for the festive period. Containing 24 beauty treasures and mini Benefit goodies which are so cute, this calendar will be available at Benefit and Debenhams from the 16th October.

Beauty Advent Calendars 2014

Exclusive to Selfridges, and comes in three special designs, the Ciate Mini Manor is one of my favourites for advent choice. With 17 mini colours, 5 texture paints, a full size polish and festive transfers, I’d find it hard to not open the entire thing in one day. At just £49, that’s a lot of polish for not a lot of pennies.

Beauty Advent Calendars 2014

The Selfridges Enchanted Spells advent calendar doesn’t have a release date just yet, but I can guarantee that it won’t be around for long. With 24 mini luxury items, I would be head over heels in love with this! Mini goodies include Kiehls, YSL, Lancome and Viktor & Rolf.

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The most luxurious and expensive out of the bunch, the Liberty advent calendar costs a whopping £149. Designed in gorgeous Liberty print, natch, and filled with top notch brands such as NARS, Eve Lom, Dermalogica and Deborah Lippman, this really is the one to be lusting after. I need it! It should be in store and online by November. Shop the Liberty Calender here.

Beauty Advent Calendars 2014

The biggest bargain award goes to No7 for their £35 calendar that contains products to the value of £130 including the new wonder cream, Protect and Perfect. Not only is there a gift every day on the run up to Christmas, but you even get one on Christmas Day. Extra presents, wahoo! No release dates as of yet, but I will update as soon as I find out!

Which Beauty Advent Calendar 2014 takes your fancy? Can I have 5 calendars please?

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Wowwweee what a lucky girl I have been this Christmas. I have been totally spoilt and I am over the moon with all my presents. Each year I write a list of ideas for people to choose from, and as I normally want make up, I like to think that ‘The List’ is a helpful tool for all involved. I never expect everything off the list, plus more so imagine my surprise this year when I opened my presents and saw everything that I’d asked for plus more!

This is what I have been spoilt with this Christmas!

Karla Powell face charts, A4 and A5

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

Crown Brush 10 Colour Blush Palette

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

Soap and Glory The Yule Monty

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MAC Cosmetics Large single Pro Palette, 15 Pan Refill and three eyeshadows in Sumptuous Olive, Antiqued and Brown Down

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

MAC Cosmetics Pigment in Vanilla and Paintpot in Painterly

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

Illamasqua Sculpting Powder Duo Pallette

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

Charlotte Tilbury The Vintage Vamp Eyeshadow Palette

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

MAC Cosmetics Brush 134

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

And my beautiful Tom Ford Lipstick in Cherry Lush

Anoushka Loves  Christmas Haul

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I really really don’t want to use my TF lipstick, its far too beautiful but I’m sure when I do, I will let you all know. And of course, I can’t forget that I got socks as well! I treated myself to a Pre Christmas present of the Naked 3 palette and I’m being very good by not partaking in the January Sales. What a fabulous Christmas I have had.

What did you get for Christmas? If you have written a Christmas Present blog post, I would love to read it 🙂

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My second recipe of today is my Boozy Christmas Trifle. Again, this is another recipe that I have been making for the last few years and I look forward to it every year.

You will need the following ingredients to make my Boozy Christmas Trifle:

1 packet of Boudoir Fingers (may also be called Lady Fingers)
Sherry
350g of frozen summer fruits (thawed)
500ml of M&S Christmas Compote
500ml of vanilla custard
500ml of double cream, whipped

Decorations if needed

In your trifle dish place a layer of boudoir fingers and soak in sherry. How much you use is up to you but I like to put on a big glug. Leave to soak before you put any more ingredients in.

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Spoon over the thawed summer fruits in an even layer. A sprinkling of icing sugar will remove the tartness of the fruits.

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Add the christmas compote in an even layer and fill in any gaps where the fruit may have settled.
Add the custard and smooth the top. Pop in the fridge for the custard to firm up before you put the cream on top.

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Whip the cream and spoon on top, making sure any gaps are filled. Sprinkle with decorations. I have used crushed meringue, silver balls and red sugar sprinkles. Keep refridgerated until needed.

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I cannot wait to tuck into this bad boy!!

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If you feel that you can brave the shops today, or if you just happen to have a store cupboard full of ingredients, then I’m going to be writing up two of my favourite Christmas recipes which I’m sure you will love. These recipes have become somewhat of a family tradition after finding them in the Nigella Christmas cookbook, and adapting them to my own recipe.

First up are my Christmas pudding truffles. Unlike regular chocolate truffles, these are more reminiscent of the rum truffles that you can get from local delicatessens, that are usually covered in chocolate strands. Delicious!

For my Christmas pudding truffles you will need the following

454g of christmas pudding, heated up and left to cool
150g plain or dark cooking chocolate
30ml of golden syrup
60ml sherry

To decorate
100g white cooking chocolate
Sprinkles

I have been making these for so long that I very rarely measure out so my measurements are approximates.

Once the Christmas pudding has been heated and left to cool, break it up in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon. Add the sherry and syrup and mix until all the ingredients have mixed together.

Anoushkaloves christmas pudding truffles

Melt the chocolate and pour into the mixing bowl and stir. The mixture will go very glossy and shiny.
You may want to wear vinyl gloves for this part but I love to get my hands in! Take small amounts of the mixture and roll into balls and place on a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper. Once you have filled your baking tray, place in the fridge to set and cool.

Anoushkaloves christmas pudding truffles

Decorate by using melted white chocolate drizzled over the top and add the sprinkles before the chocolate hardens (unlike me, who forgot). Let the chocolate drizzle down the sides of the truffles, so it looks like an old fashioned Christmas pud. Pop back in the fridge to set.

Anoushkaloves christmas pudding truffles

Don’t eat them all at once!

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Time is getting on and the days are getting closer to the big event. This post is one of my favourites to write and thats because it’s about cake. I haven’t gone for a traditional fruit cake this year, but a modern take on the old classic. I made this last Christmas and my family went crazy for it. Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to my boozy fruity chocolate cake!

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

First things first, I’m going to show you how to line a tin properly so your cake is smooth around the edges when its cooked and on display. For this I use greaseproof paper and a sharp pair of scissors. My tin is a round tin with a loose bottom and is 8″ deep.

Grease the sides and bottom of the tin, then prepare your greaseproof paper. I fold over the bottom third and with a pair of scissors I make small cuts in the paper like the picture below.

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

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Place the paper into the tin using the greased sides to adhere and slide into place. The little cuts will help the paper sit in the right position. A circle of greaseproof cut to size will fit perfectly over the fanned out pieces.

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

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Trim away any excess and voila, you have a perfect double lined tin ready for your cake batter.

The ingredients that you will need are:

350g prunes, chopped
250g raisins
175g currants
175g soft butter
175g dark muscovado sugar
225g honey
125ml of black cherry rum, or you can use a coffee based liqueur like Tia Maria
2 oranges, juice and zest
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten
150g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees or gas mark 2.

Anoushkaloves Christmas cake

In a wide saucepan place all the fruits, butter, sugar, honey, rum, orange juice and zest, spice and cocoa poder. Pop it on the hob and gently bring it to the boil, stirring the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients untilo the butter melts. Simmer for ten minutes then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

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Beat the eggs in a separate dish and add this too the saucepan mixture. Also add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarb, stirring to combine.

Pour your mixture into your lined cake tine and put it in the oven for 1 3/4 – 2 hours. It should look firm yet have a glossy, sticky finish. The cake needs to be slightly gooey inside and a cake skewer inserted into the cake will help you decide!

Anoushkaloves Christmas cake

Leave the cake inside its tin on a wire cooling rack to cool, the still in its paper. wrap it in another layer of paper and then foil and place into an airtight container. As it contains fruit, it has a long life. I make mine two weeks before Christmas.

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

For my decorations I used chocolate coffee beans and edible gold glitter and stars. These are available from all good baking shops and several garden centres.

Have you made your Christmas cake yet?

*This cake recipe is adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson

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If you haven’t yet seen this video, please do check it out. It had me in tears!

The spirit of Christmas by West Jet Airlines

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Two weeks to go and I’m sure most have you have bought all your presents and are just getting those last few bits sorted out. I just have to pick up a few little stocking fillers for my friends children and neighbours.

I love the personal touch and i’ve found a great way of making sure those stocking fillers are made with love and especially for the person intended. ‘Personalised Dummy Chains‘is a fairly new business that makes beautiful dummy chains and bag clips for those special little people in your life. Ideal for my friends children as stocking fillers and little gifts, Personalised Dummy Chains can be made for any occasion. Here are the Christmas ones that I have picked up.

Personalised Dummy Chains

At only £5, they’re a great way to inject that extra bit of love and thought into a present and with the amount of little people that have been born into my circle of friends recently, what better than a special gift from Aunty Nou!

Personalised Dummy Chains

Personalised Dummy Chains have a Facebook page and I’m sure Emma, the creator, would love to see you over there and showing your support.

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Its getting nearer and nearer and I’m like a big kid waiting for the big day. The run up to Christmas is by far my favourite time of year and I love that festive feeling. From watching Christmas films on TV, to listening to my favourite yuletide songs whilst at work, I love it.

Monday the 2nd December was a special day for me. Apart from it being a day off, it was Christmas decorating day! I have been making sure that I had everything ready and prepared before I started decorating, as there is nothing worse then putting the tree up and your lights don’t work! Here’s what I’ve done with the place!

First of all, this is the before picture…

Christmas countdown

And now its like a winter wonderland at Casa Anoushkaloves!

christmas countdown

My tree is rather over the top. When I first bought it, I knew I wanted a big tree however I think I was a little greedy. The tree is 8ft and 6ft at its widest point and takes about an hour just to assemble it and unpack its branches. The lights I have used are Next 350 micro lights, £22.

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My colour scheme for the last few years has been pink, purple and silver and lately I’ve been introducing some blues into the colour palette. I’ve picked up decorations from my local garden centre, Newbank Garden Centre as they have some of the most beautiful ornaments I’ve seen. Home Bargains has also been a little treasure trove for finding pretty and unique decorations, as well as Next for baubles.

christmas countdown

I would hazard a guess at there being around 500 decorations on my tree and I’m branching out (excuse the pun) into using larger ornaments to fill the big spaces.

christmas countdown

I am also collecting ornaments from holidays and around the world. My New York apple and Las Vegas Mr and Mrs Christmas are so cute up at the top of my tree.

christmas countdown

Throughout the rest of the living room I have added finishing touches by creating a huge garland on my bookcase using a plain green garland and adding microlights and purple baubles and decorations. This pack of 50 decorations was from Next for just £10.

christmas countdown

I also decorated the window ledge with a bauble garland and white glittered ceramic letters spelling Noel. The outdoor lights finish off the window

christmas countdown

Have you put your Christmas tree up? I would love to see what your trees look like!

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This week on the Countdown to Christmas, I’m bringing you not one but two parts to my mini series. With only 20 sleeps to go, its time to crank up the festiveness and start transforming our houses into magical grottos and finding those special items to buy. On Friday, I will be sharing with you a great find for stocking fillers as well as my usual ramblings about what I’ve been getting up to!

Today I’ll be showing you a very simple way to create a stunning and effective centrepiece for your house or for your Christmas table. It really is so beautiful, that I can’t wait to show you how I made my Santa hat bauble tray!

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece

What you will need:

Red stiff craft card
Black stiff craft card
A tray (sizes depends on where you are displaying it, mine is 30cm x 12cm)
Small baubles in your colour scheme (Mine were from Next for £5)
PVA glue
Crafting pom poms
Square cut jewels
A glue gun
Scissors

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece2

I wanted a tall santa hat and a smaller santa hat, so I used my crafting card to make a cone to the size I wanted. Rolling it in my hand and using PVA glue to seal down the edges until it had dried. Although the bottom of the cone is uneven, this can be trimmed into shape after the glue has been dried.

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece3

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece4

Take a strip of black card to make what will be the belt around the cone. Thats if you can get the cat off it!

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece

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Using the square cut jewels, I applied a sall dot of PVA glue to the back of them before placing them in a rectangular shape around the black card, so it looks like a sparkly buckle. The PVA glue dries clear so don’t worry if you make a mess!

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece5

Whilst you are waiting for the buckle to dry, plug in your glue gun. If you don’t have a glue glue, don’t run out and buy one, just use a glue that is strong enough for bonding pom poms to cardboard. Make a circle of pom poms around the base of your cones, them top the cones with either one pom pom or a few!

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Once dry, place your Santa cones in your tray and fill with small baubles. I trimmed the strings off mine first.

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece

So, a very easy and simple but wonderful effective centrepiece or decoration for your house. I absolutely love mine and I hope you like it too!

See you on Friday where I will be showing you my Winter Wonderland-esque house!

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Eeeeekkk!! Its nearly December, which means its nearly time for my tree to go up and my advent calendar to be opened. I haven’t opted for a beauty advent calender this year. Although I certainly found myself caught up in the hype, I have stayed true to tradition and gone with a chocolate advent. Rasberry white chocolate to be precise, in the form of Percy Pig. Even Thomas, my cat, has his very own Dreamies calendar.

I’ve been feeling under the weather today, so I’ve cheered myself up by making lists of things to do and watching Christmas films. Home Alone 1 & 2, Elf and The Grinch have been on today and I’m certainly feeling in the Christmas spirit. On my to-do lists are buying the rest of the ingredients for my Christmas cake, sort out gift boxes and the wrapping paper colour scheme and to buy some Christmas cards for my friends.

I visited Manchester Christmas Markets on Monday evening for a night out with my friends. We always meet up at the Windmill bar in Albert Square for mulled wine and maybe a roast pork sandwich or bratwurst. I love the German markets. Being of Eastern European descent, I feel such a bond to the German traditional offerings, especially the Gluhwein.

The tree is going up on Monday so whilst I prepare everything over the weekend ready for the big day, I will also be writing up some blog posts about some very special finds and a crafty piece to make a very simple but effective centerpiece.

Keep reading and in the meantime, don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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