Thursday, 26 December 2013

My first blog giveaway!

To celebrate my new blog look I thought I'd run a small giveaway. Last month my mum went to New York City, I asked her to bring me home some Covergirl mascaras as I love them. As we can't get Covergirl in the UK anymore I thought I'd run a giveaway to give one lucky reader an opportunity to win one. In addition to the mascara I'm throwing in a gift card to Starbucks, who doesn't love a chai tea latte in winter?





The giveaway will run from 26 December until 3 January. To compete you will need to complete the Rafflecopter widget. If you don't use twitter please leave me your email in the comments if you want to take part, I will announce the winner on twitter. I will verify all entrants before announcing a winner. UK entrants only sorry.

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hello Wonderful's Christmas Tag


The Christmas tree is up and I'm feeling relatively festive. I love Christmas, always have done. I can't say that the shine hasn't been taken off things this year but I can still feel the magic. 

In order to try and get into the mood a little more I thought I'd give Ella's tag a go.

What time of the year do you start your Christmas shopping?
I don't have a set schedule, usually I'll pick things up from about July onwards if I see something that I think will make a good Christmas present. This year I started in the summer again, granted the only shopping I did was for my ex (I left everything in his office at our home with a note explaining what it was when I moved out - I couldn't stand to return everything). As I've started from scratch I've only started shopping in the last week, I've finished shopping for my mum but I've not done a scratch for anyone else! I really need to pull my socks up.


Do you have any festive recipes for food or drink you limit solely to the Christmas season to share?
Absolutely not! Christmas food can be eaten all year round in my book, it's never too warm or spring like to enjoy festive treats. Perhaps when I'm in my own place I'll gradually develop my own traditions at Christmas but for now give me Christmas food 365 days of the year.

Tell me how Christmas goes down in your home.
When I was small I was usually the first person in the house to wake, I'd sneak a look at my bedroom door and if my stocking was full then I'd jump out of bed and bound in to see my brother. Once he was awake (he was always less enthusiastic than me) we'd either go straight downstairs, making sure to make enough noise to wake my parents, or go in and see them. After that all the Christmas presents under the tree would be opened, a small quantity of chocolate would be consumed and eventually we'd move onto Christmas lunch at about 2pm. As my brother and I got older we started getting up later (no more 4am starts) and early morning chocolate would be accompanied by champagne.

I'm not sure how it's going to work this year. My brother isn't here as he bought his own house earlier this year, it's just me and my parents. I suppose I'll have a bit of a lay in, celebrate if I manage to wake up without wanting to cry in the first five minutes and then head downstairs. Perhaps this year I'll wait until my brother arrives to open my presents, I think it might be a little sad to open my stocking and presents on my own. The rest of the day will probably be business as usual, chocolate, champagne, turkey and BBC repeats.



Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Ignoring the fact that things were quite a bit different last Christmas, this year I'm reverting back to my family traditions. I help my parents pick out a tree, put the Christmas decorations up and on Christmas morning I always wrap the pigs in their blankets. In years gone by my dad, grampy and I would take a walk around the neighbourhood after lunch, now that my grampy isn't with us we've not done it for the last few years so I'm hoping that this tradition will return with just me and my dad.

Do you have a favourite festive coffee?
I don't like to drink coffee at all, I can't stand it. Love the smell, not the taste. However, it's at this time of year that the chai tea latte comes into it's own. It's Christmas in a mug, perfect for the festive season.

What's your favourite Christmas song?
It's a tie between Wizzard's "I wish it could be Christmas everyday" or "Merry xmas everybody" by Slade. I'm a fan of cheesy Christmas songs.


What do you do on Christmas eve?
I mainly sit around, eat snacky food and watch excessive amounts of TV. We don't have any Christmas eve traditions in this house. In the past I've gone to Christmas eve mass with my mum, but it's so incredibly boring that I'm not willing to go out in the cold for it anymore.

What's your Christmas wrapping strategy? Do you have a strategy?
Do people have wrapping strategies? 

I don't have one. I buy paper and bows etc in the sale after Christmas for use the following year. I don't wrap as I go, I have one night where I'll stick on a Christmas film and wrap everything. Typically I'd bring all the presents down on Christmas morning but for the last two or three years I've put them under the tree before Christmas day, mainly because that's what my ex did. I'm planning on sticking to his method as I like how it looks.


What's your dream gift this year?
Not going to happen - I'd like the man I married back. The happy, in love with me man. Failing that, an end to feeling down at the silliest of things would be swell.

More likely to happen - my Amazon wish list is bursting with lots of beauty goodies, mainly from John Lewis such as Estee Lauder's New Advanced Night Repair II. Anything from my list would be greatly received.

Describe your Christmas tree. How tall? Real or artificial? How is it decorated?
It's a beauty of a tree! It's real and just under 6 foot. We stick to traditional colours in our house, gold and reds. We also have clear and white fairy lights on it, plus a few chocolates (which we're not allowed to eat 'til Christmas day). 



Do you decorate just the tree or other areas of your house e.g. windows, banisters?
The banisters are adorned with Christmas cards, the hand rail has lights woven around it. The mantelpiece is decorated with a garland, lights, candles, ornaments. The kitchen windowsill also gets decorated too. Lights go up outside the front of the house too. Oh! The sideboard in the dining room is decorated with Christmas ornaments too. 

What do you wear to Christmas parties and what do you wear on Christmas day?
For the last few years I've worn a party dress in one form or another for work parties. This year I've decided to wear black skinny jeans, some sort of top - I can't decide between this, this, this, this, this or this. Decision making isn't my thing at the moment. I'll definitely be wearing these shoes whatever top I go for:


On Christmas day I usually go for a smart/casual look, sometimes a dress or sparkly top with jeans. This year I'll be slumming it in PJs or comfy clothes for most of the day. If I had a pair of tracksuit bottoms I'd probably wear those. Total comfort is the look/feel I'm going for.


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Saturday, 7 December 2013

Two months captured with instagram


1. The stress of my marriage ending caused my skin to go crazy. I have pretty temperamental skin at the best of times and in the recent months I've turned to REN to help me. I'm putting the condition of my skin post break up totally down to them, it's so much better. 2. Mum's stew with champagne to celebrate my brother's house move. 3. My new bedroom set up. Got home from work one day to find a bed in my bedroom (I slept on the floor on a mattress for the first month at my parent's), the next night I got home to find fairy lights, new bedding and Lush bath bombs on my bed. I'm being well taken care of. 4. First pay day post split. I did what any self respecting woman would do and spent it on pretty dresses. 5. Started trying to take more care of myself, including getting out some gorgeous nail colour. 6. The best way to give my brain a break is to either watch an excessive amount of TV or to read, Harry Potter being my book of choice.

  
7. Started making travel plans. Currently pondering a trip to Dubai in 2014. 8. A girl can never have too many dresses, surely? 9. New purchases, the toner and foundation have become favourites straight away. 10. More pay day purchases. I've not really been able to wear perfume for a few years as my ex is ridiculously allergic to scents, unfortunately I'm not able to wear my two favourite perfumes (Alien and Coco Mademoiselle) as I associate them with happier times - the latter was my 'wedding perfume', I adore it but it's too soon. Hopefully I'll reach a stage where I can smell it again without my heart aching. 11. I was having a very mopey day so my dad suggested going to the Newport Wetlands to watch the mummuration, I'm so glad I went. If you get the chance to go and watch the starlings - go! 12. Sunset at the Wetlands.


13. Part of trying to get back to being me is colouring therapy. It was suggested in a book I've been reading and it definitely helps, especially when my mind is stuck on a negative loop of thinking. 14. On what would have been my third wedding anniversary the girls in work took me for lunch, I consumed the 'small' burger with fries. It was the size of my head. It was very good. 15. Not content with eating lots of food for lunch that day, I visited a friend who I used to work with along with another friend and her baby. She had decorated her house for Christmas early for us, it was a lovely night. 16. I don't work in the main uni building for our school so sadly I don't get to see this beauty of a Christmas tree everyday so this was a treat. 17. Hunters on for a muddy trip to the Ty Cerrig Christmas Tree Farm. 18. Me with our tree. I'll be doing a proper post about our trip to Ty Cerrig in the next few days.




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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A place to call my own

Now that I'm on my own, I'm trying to focus on the positives that lay ahead. Dwelling on how terrible this situation is doesn't help me, I need to know that one day I'll have a lovely home, a greyhound and maybe someone who loves me. At the moment the most attainable are a lovely home and a greyhound. 

I'm not going to be in a position to buy my own place for a year so I'm back with my parents until then, I'll be saving like crazy as well as buying myself little treats after each pay day. Now that I don't have a home to run I have plenty of free time on my hands (which is a bit of a fib this week as tonight is my only night off - my social life has gone crazy lately) to think about where I want to live and what I want from a home. I've identified two places in the city that I'd consider moving to, both close to the city centre so I can get home quickly after a night out or I can cycle to work in the morning.

From this I've started to build a picture in my head of how I want my home to look. 

1. Source   2. Source

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1. Source   2. Source

1. Source   2. Source
All of these images are on my pinterest boards, over the next year I can see me pinning a heck of a lot of ideas I like so I can eventually make my cosy retreat.

If you're on pinterest leave me your name so I can start following you!

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You may have noticed my new url, which I guess reveals my new blog name. The name my blog currently has is really not fitting anymore. The name of my blog comes from the shoes I wore at my wedding (that's them in the header) and that my ex is from Kansas. Peppermint and Pearls has a meaning to me which I'll detail in the future when it undergoes a complete revamp, I'm currently talking to the very talented Tilly from Love, Tilly about my blog design so hopefully I'll be able to bring you a refreshed blog soon. In the meantime I'd like to say thank you to those of you who have commented on my last post. I've been astounded by how many hits that post had, the only one that has beaten it is my review of Hang Fire BBQ. I've really come to realise that there are some genuinely lovely people out there.

Onwards and upwards!

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