The Epic Christmas Gift Guide 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means it's that time of year where I don my Elf outfit and go into the world wide WebSphere to find some Christmas gift ideas for you lovely lot!

Go fourth and browse....Just don't blame me if you end up buying something for yourself (that may have happened to me when I was putting this post together) 

Christmas Beauty Gift Guide

Christmas Homeware Gift Guide

Womens Christmas Gift Guide

Kids Christmas Gift Guide

Men's Christmas Gift Guide

Under £50 Christmas Presents

The Steam Hotel, Västerås, Sweden

The Steam Hotel, Västerås
Traveling is a huge part of my everyday job, and I’m lucky enough to stay in some pretty decent hotels. But I've never been able to say I've immediately booked another stay at the hotel straight after I've checked out...until now.

The Steam Hotel is located in Västerås, about a 90 minute drive from Stockholm. Only opening in August this year, I stumbled across this hotel whilst looking at places to stay for our honeymoon, and knew I needed to visit it whilst in Sweden. 

The enormous building, which sits on the shores of Lake Mälaren, was once a steam power station, providing energy all over Sweden. Now, it’s home to a 227-bedroom hotel and spa, with several restaurants and a rooftop bar. Most of the industrial features have been retained inside - for example, an old steam boiler is now a bar.

Let’s take a look inside (Prepare yourself for lots of photos from here on in)
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The lobby itself is breathtaking. The huge space is framed by open steel beams, with an open fireplace taking centerstage. Big plump sofas and armchairs are dotted around, creating cosy areas perfect for curling up with a book and a glass of wine. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The main restaurant is on the ground floor of the hotel, behind the lobby area. Beautiful chandeliers and furniture create a cosy, intimate atmosphere when the sun goes down, and for breakfast, the area turns into a casual setting drenched in sunlight coming in from the floor to ceiling windows. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås

The bedrooms are designed with a ‘industrial-romantic style’, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Lake Mälaren. Exposed brickwork, and a mix of eclectic furniture with brightly coloured textiles feature throughout, and the beds are so comfortable, it's hard to leave them. The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
Above the restaurant is a mezzanine area, which features a champagne and gin bar (it's like they built this place for me!) as well as playing host to football tables, shuffleboard, a cushioned seated area to watch films, 2 private dining rooms, pool table, and a host of board and computer games. Perfect for the kids, or in our case, the big kids in us - who knew I was so competitive after a few glasses of champagne!?
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
We had two days at the hotel, and as our trip was all about relaxing and de-stressing, we decided to spend one of the afternoons properly chilling out at the hotel’s Spa. Located on the seventh floor, there’s an indoor pool and Sauna - heated by an old steam turbine salvaged from the building, treatment rooms and a relaxation room featuring huge beds big enough for two positioned around an open fire with copper chimney. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
Out of the dark, and into the light there's a conservatory-style area with huge beds, chaise lounges, and a bar playing host to a raw food menu as well as cocktails and juices. There’s even an outdoor heated swimming pool overlooking the lake. We took full advantage of the spa and spent the afternoon lazing around with the most stunning views. Bliss. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
After an afternoon of bliss, there was only one last place to go - the rooftop bar. With views across the lake and town, this place is perfect to watch the sun go down whilst sipping on a glass of something cold and fizzy. 
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
The Steam Hotel, Västerås
A hotel with everything you need all on one site - Could there be anywhere more perfect?

(I can't wait to head back in Spring!)

The Winter Coat Edit


It's the most wonderful time of the year!

No, not Christmas, but winter wardrobe time. I am a massive Autumn / Winter clothing fan (the weather, not so much) boots, knitwear and coats are the items in my wardrobe I spend the most money on, and as I was traipsing up and down Oxford and Regent Street one November morning trying on all the camel-coloured coats I could see, I thought I'd make a blog post of it and round up the best (in my opinion) Winter coats on the high street this season. 

I'm going to put my hand up very high but slow when I say I have a slight obsession with winter coats. It's my mums fault really as she's always said that a Winter coat is a good wardrobe investment, and I am not one to disagree with my mama. 

There are so many different styles to choose from, so I've been super nice and cut it down into categories for you.

Let's get going...


Faux Fur


Camel
Quilted
Bright Colour
All of the above are legit purchases, as in I want them all! But this year, I'm going to be investing in a camel coat - classic, chic and something I've had my eye on for a few years but haven't found the right one...until now. The only problem I have, is which one of the above do I choose...

Pink Mamma, Paris

I have my favourite eating spots in Paris, but I always like to try somewhere new when I visit. I spotted this latest find on the lovely Lucy’s instagram (check it out, and her gorgeous blog), and so made sure I headed there on my most recent trip over the Channel in the Summer. 

Pink Mamma is the new baby from the Big Mamma group. It opened earlier this Summer in the Pigalle district of Paris, and like all other restaurants in the group it serves up some decent Italian cuisine. 

Pink Mamma specialises in the traditional Fiorentina, a Tuscan specialty which is cooked on a 3m-long grill with a special wood mix, giving the meat a very beautiful, special taste. However, the large trattoria also serves delicious fresh dishes such as fish, salads, pastas and my favourite, Burrata (they even have a section on their main menu dedicated to the glorious cheese). 

We weren't feeling very meaty when we visited in July, so we opted for one of the Burrata dishes - with watermelon and tomatoes, and two pasta dishes to share. Portions are not your typical small Parisien ones, and they do not scrimp on the flavourings - just look at all that truffle! 

Burrata Flower Power; Fresh Linguine, heart of burrata, saffron cream,
courgettes, courgette flowers.

La fameuse pâte à la truffe; Mascarpone, mushrooms and a lot of fresh truffle


Being a design-building-obsessed lady, this restaurant was not only a delight to eat at, but also a interior dream. The restaurant is housed in a 4-floored building (made of pink tiles I have to add), and each level has been given its own identity.  The decor across each floor is stunning.

This is one place I will definitely be visiting when I'm back in Paris again. 


20bis rue de Douai 
9e 
Paris 

Dressing for Autumn

Ganni T-shirt
I try and buy clothing that I can wear all year round, and this whole outfit contains pieces that I know I won't be putting into storage anytime soon. The clogs will be paired with thick ankle socks, and these floral Topshop trousers will look great with a chunky cropped knit and ankle boots. 

T-shirt // Trousers // Jacket (old) // Shoes (similar here)


The Glossier lowdown and recommendations

Glossier favourites

It’s here!  Glossier has finally launched in the UK, and I’m going to put my hand up high and admit that at 7am on launch day, I was refreshing their website until it finally allowed me to make a purchase (or two!). 

Maybe you don’t know what Glossier is, but that’s fine as I’m here to give you the lowdown on the brand.

Glossier is the brainchild of the editor of one of my fav beauty blogs, Into The Gloss, Emily Weiss. She has created a beauty brand that has become nothing short of a beauty phenomenon. The New York-based company has had a cult following since it launched a few years ago. However, it’s not been exactly easy to get your hands on their products unless you live in the US. My first experience with Glossier’s products was when I visited their showroom on a trip to New York last year - they opened their showroom to their customers, and it just so happened to be over a weekend I was in the city - result! 

Aside from that initial visit, I’ve been able to bribe a US-based friend / family member / work colleague to visit their New York showroom, or make a purchase on the website and have it delivered to their US address, for them to bring it over to the UK on their next visit. This may sound complicated, and you may wonder why I’ve gone to these lengths, but it’s been worth it. 

I’m sure you’ve noticed the hype surrounding this brand - it’s everywhere at the moment, and I’m definitely not the first to preach about it, but I wanted to share my favourite Glossier products on here as I’ve been lucky enough to road test a fair few bits over the last 18 months. Like with most beauty brands, there are some real winners that have me recommending them to anyone that will listen, and some that didn’t have me jumping for joy. You can read my thoughts on their Phase 2 kit here, which I reviewed last year. But, here’s the lowdown on what I’ve tried since, what I think are worth keeping, and the product that won’t be hanging around on my bathroom shelves...

Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser
I've already got through a whole tube of this, and a little goes a long way! My dehydrated skin massively relies on moisturiser. This one is not greasy, or even heavy and leaves my skin glowing and saturated ready for the other products I shove on my face. It's great on it's own or under makeup as it's so lightweight. 

One of the cult products that everyone raves about, this cleanser is super-gentle, fragrance-free, ultra-comforting make-up remover and face wash. Honestly, I'm not a massive fan of this (I can hear Glossier fans gasping!) but, I've found that my skin doesn't like it one bit. 

Glossier Face Masks
The Mask Duo, £28 (or £18 each)
Two masks. One designed to detox, and one to moisturise your skin. 
The Mega Greens Galaxy Pack is to draw out any impurities - basically giving your face a good old detox. It does make my uber sensitive skin tingle, but it doesn't sting or leave it red. 

The Moisturising Moon Mask plumps, soothes and brightens the skin - giving you that amazing 'Glossier glow' and a couple of days after using it, my skin still feels so soft and clean. 

Both do exactly what they say on their tubs - I use these once a week and I love how they make my skin look and feel for days after. 

Glossier Balm Dot Com
Glossier products are all about dewy luminosity. This product doesn't fall short in doing this. Coming in various flavours, you can use these to gloss your cheekbones and eyelids, or soothe dry lips and skin. The Cherry one has an ever-so-subtle tint - perfect for your lips and cheeks, and my absolute favourite, Birthday adds a little shimmer, and tastes/smells absolutely delicious. 

Glossier Haloscope
Now, I haven't really ever been a fan of highlighter. I've found the ones I've used in the past to be too glittery! This Haloscope Dew Effect Highlighter in moonstone comes in the form of a creamy stick which you twist to use. It gives you a lovely natural glow, that can be built up. I apply it with my fingers, patting it on to my cheekbones, brow bone and Cupid's bow. I also use it on my eyelids instead of eyeshadow when I'm going for the no makeup, makeup look. 

Glossier Boy Brow
This is a fairly new addition to my Glossier collection, as I'm usually a powder blush fan. Glossier Cloud Paint is a super light cream blusher that glides on so smoothly, giving you a lovely natural flush of colour on your cheeks. I have the shade Puff, and have purchased another shade (Dusk) as I love the formula and look this product gives you. Plus, the packaging is super cute and is perfect for travelling with. 

I thought I'd leave the best till last! My favourite Glossier product is Boy Brow. I first picked this up in New York last year, and I get slight heart palpitations if I find myself running low. An absolute makeup bag staple, Boy Brow is the Glossier product I ALWAYS recommend to people who ask what they should pick up when they visit their showroom. The reason why I love this product so much? It won't leave your brows sticky or crunchy, comes in a range of shades to suit all (Clear, Brown, Black and Blonde) and, the wand is perfectly small, giving the perfect application. 

So, there's my lowdown. I've just purchased a couple of other products, which I will add to this post once I've had a chance to try them out.

Also, if you fancy 10% off your first Glossier order, click here - Happy shopping!