FESTIVE BOYFRIEND TAG

I've done it! I've finally convinced Max to do a post with me, after about a year and a half of blogging. In-keeping with the general tone of December posts, we're going to be doing the festive boyfriend tag! I think I'm going to do it so we're both answering the questions, I tried to find more gender-neutral ones so that's possible. I'm not sure if that's how these tags are done, but oh well. It is now!

1. When was your first Christmas together and what did they buy you?
LAUREN: Our first Christmas was 2014 I think, I genuinely can't remember what he bought me. Nothing too big, a candle from Winter Wonderland or something with an elephant on it. We had just started dating a few months before Christmas so we didn't go all out with the gift giving just yet.
MAX: *laughs* Well...it was like 2014 was it not? And she bought me nothing.

2. What's the best gift you've received from them?
LAUREN: I use my Modern Renaissance palette almost everyday so that's up there with my favourites. Anything he's gotten me that has an elephant on it, I treasure. My elephant cuddly toy sleeps in my bed with me every single night and more often than not I sleep in the 'Mother of Dragons' tshirt he got me.
MAX:*sighs* You. Just kidding, one time she got me Chinese. She took me to Amsterdam and that was awesome because of the delivery, she wrote it in the Anne Frank diary and it was pretty cute.

3. What's been your favourite Christmas moment?
LAUREN: Definitely in 2015 when I told him we were going to Amsterdam as his Christmas present. I think I genuinely cried at his reaction because it was genuinely just magical, I wish I'd filmed it! Apart from that, I love when we sit down with my family on Christmas Eve and open our Christmas Eve boxes together. That's pretty special.
MAX: What like, ever? In my whole life? (Me: ....no?! With me?!) Just Christmas in general. It was nice when we went up to Moness just after Christmas and it was all snowy.

4. What's their favourite Christmas film?
LAUREN: Die Hard. And I have already said I'll watch it this year if he watches one of my favourite films with me; I've been told it's very good but I'm still somewhat skeptical.
MAX: Polar Express, ya minger. (wrong)


5. What's your biggest Christmas pet peeves about each other?
LAUREN: He asks for ideas for what to get me, I'll give him plenty, and he still says he has no ideas for me. If he doesn't like something on my list, he won't get me it. I give you ideas for a reason, pal. *eye roll emoji*
MAX: She spends way too much on me. She is the most difficult person to shop for because I don't read her gift guides.


6. What does their family put on top of the tree?
LAUREN: A star I think? I'm pretty sure it's not an angel but I wouldn't bet my life on it.
MAX: It's a star isn't it? Or is it a fairy? It's ancient. (It's an angel.)

7. If they could invite one person to Christmas, who would it be?
LAUREN: Ooh, I don't actually know. Someone to do with cars or maybe his Gran. I don't know whether he'd go for someone famous or someone in his family. I DON'T EVEN KNOW HIM.
MAX: I don't know...Santa. Nah, that's shite. Probably the guys from Buzzfeed Unsolved or something.

8. Do they still believe in Santa?
LAUREN: I would be seriously worried if, at almost 19 years old, he still genuinely believed.
MAX: Yeah!


9. What's their favourite part of Christmas dinner?
LAUREN: I'd probably say all of it - he gets 2 Christmas dinners and you don't get 2 if you don't really, really love it.
MAX: Ehh, the dinner. I don't know, she's weird so probably like the gravy. She eats the granules.

10. What advice would you give to a new couple celebrating Christmas for the first time?
LAUREN: Make time for each other on Christmas Day to exchange presents - there's been more than one year when we haven't made time for each other on Christmas and it doesn't end well. Even if it's just an hour in the evening, it makes the day that little bit more special.
MAX:Don't go overboard with joke gifts. I dunno.

I've copied the questions below so it's easy enough for everyone else to do it as well - it was quite interesting! Hopefully it doesn't cause too much of a rift between you all...Leave me a link if you do the tag, I love being nosy and seeing what other people hate about each other at Christmastime!

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com
 

1. When was your first Christmas together and what did they buy you?
2. What's the best gift you've received from them?
3. What's been your favourite Christmas moment?
4. What's their favourite Christmas film?
5. What's your biggest Christmas pet peeves about each other?
6. What does their family put on top of the tree?
7. If they could invite one person to Christmas, who would it be?
8. Do they still believe in Santa?
9. What's their favourite part of Christmas dinner?
10. What advice would you give to a new couple celebrating Christmas for the first time?

DECEMBER BULLET JOURNAL SPREAD

I've been loving bullet journalling a lot recently, I've mentioned it a lot over the past few months and as I did with my October monthly spread, I thought I'd share what some of my more festive pages look like . Disclaimed: Not an artist, my candy canes and Christmas trees need some work but at least I tried!

I tried to keep the pages themselves quite simple this month, so it's just the very basics, so that I could go in a little bit more with the design, colours and little drawings throughout it all. I always start off with a monthly spread, which I use to track events and get an overall view into how busy my month actually is. December is a busy month with work events I need to be at and things I need to remember, so I just pop them in the calendar so that all I need to remember is to check the actual calendar. On this page I also list a few of my goals for the month, but I only have one for December cos I'm trying to not stress myself out. I just want to complete Blogmas this month, I think anything else I achieve will just be a bonus.

Next up we have the Blogmas planning page! I also have a spreadsheet that looks very similar to this that I use more than I use this page, but it's so handy for at work or out and about, I can still track how I'm doing and what's coming up next when I'm away from my own laptop. I have a list of what posts are due to go up when and whether or not they've been planned, written and photographed. It definitely helps me feel more organised, and it's so satisfying seeing a massive amount of ticks in all 3 columns. On the adjacent page we have the sleep tracker, that I've been badly neglecting as you can see. My sleeping pattern does't really change at all, I go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time during the week and I don't tend to touch my bullet journal at weekends. I just find it a little boring to fill in now, so I think I'll ditch it in the future. I did want to see if there was any correlation at all between my mood and how much sleep I get, but I can't really see anything that stands out massively in the tracking pages.

I love filling out the mood & habit tracker (even though I've not done it in a good few weeks...) - I started off with too many habits to fill out that just weren't getting done ever, so I've stripped it back to the basics and we seem to be good so far. I do keep forgetting to fill this out too though, and then I forget how I felt on certain days and end up just having to guess, so it's not quite 100% accurate. I do enjoy seeing how I felt on certain days though, and I've ended up surprising myself by having mostly positive emotions on almost all the days I remember to track correctly. Next to this I have a little 'Gifts To Buy' section that I actually don't need anymore because I've finished Christmas shopping! Let's not discuss Christmas wrapping though. I'm still getting there.

My favourite pages to do and fill out are the weekly spreads - they're so simple yet so helpful. I've gone for the same design and colour scheme for all of them because I was really happy with how it turned out, and I love when everything matches. They're so handy for scribbling things in and planning out my days a bit more in depth - I definitely feel much more organised looking through the weekly pages to see that important appointments and events are noted down and I WILL remember about them. I usually do a monthly review and monthly favourites section at the end of all my weekly pages, but December is following a bit of a different schedule due to Blogmas so those sections aren't included - all my planning is going in another notebook and there's no need to lump it in with December.

Do you have a bullet journal?

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COSY ACCESSORIES FOR WINTER

I was originally just gonna write about hats for this post, but then I thought, what kind of substantial post is that? Answer: it isn't. It would've been about 2 paragraphs of me discussing beanies and that doesn't really make for the best read, so we're extending it to all winter accessories to keep you warm and cosy.

First up is a winter classic - bobble hats. They're EVERYWHERE at the minute, whichever way you turn you're bombarded with either singular or double bobbled hats and I caved last year and bought one. Mine is dusky pink with a cream pom-pom from ASOS (brand = Pieces), and I bloody love it. I was hesitant at first because the pom-pom didn't look right on my head, it was too big, and the material wouldn't let me adjust the length of the hat for some reason, if that even makes sense to anyone. But now, it's too cold to even care. It keeps me so warm and that ranks over fashion now. I also bought a black one from New Look that suits my head shape a LOT more, so I may have to invest in some more of those. To be honest, I could manage in the cold without any hat at all, but I've recently discovered that if I wear a hat from the walk to the train station to my work (20-ish mins), my curls don't fall out and instead look nice and wavy and messy. So the hat is more of a wind prevention tool for my hair than a source of heat for my head.

Before I got comfortable with the massive bobble on the other hats, I was searching for an alternative that was still cute but also warm and not ugly - enter the cat hat. This grey beanie has little furry kitty cat ears on the top of it (ASOS), and I honestly just think it's the cutest thing ever. I mean look at it, how can you resist buying that? Some days I think it looks a bit odd on my misshapen head but, again, I care more about protecting my hair and being warm than what I look like on the commute. A hat that isn't a beanie (shook) that I'm obsessed with right now is my beret - I got it a few weeks ago (from Lasula Boutique) and it took me a while to gain the confidence to actually wear it out, and now I'm hooked. It's obviously not the warmest of hats ever but it comes across as so effortlessly chic and stylish (Blair Waldorf vibes), which is a look that I am heavily digging. If you bundle up enough on your body, you don't even need a crazy warm hat anyway.

I 100% prefer snoods to any other scarf, I don't need 2 ends flapping about my face making me feel like I'm about to be strangled in high winds. Nu-uh. I want to literally cocoon myself in the never-ending cosy scarf and feel secure in knowing that it's not going anywhere. The cosiest of all the ones I own is this chunky mustard scarf - I'm big on mustard right now and went a big crazy during Autumn and just bought loads of mustard toned items, this scarf being one of them. It's so big and chunky, it's like having a blanket round your neck and that gets a big thumbs up from me. If I'm wearing something that doesn't match with yellow, which isn't very often because I plan my outfits around this scarf usually, I have a burgundy one and a blue tartan one on standby. They aren't as cosy so I don't reach for them as much but it's nice to have a bundle of backup scarves.

Does a onesie count as an accessory??? It does now because I needed to include it in multiple posts this month because I honestly just love it too much. It's a big, fleecy, cream onesie from ASOS and it has little ears on the hood and my god it's just the comfiest thing I've ever worn. As soon as I get home from work I put it on, and my dog hates it because it's the same colour as her so I think she thinks I'm another Goldendoodle that's come in to take over her favourite section of the couch. I stupidly threw out all my onesies a few years ago, but this one is not leaving me ever. I like that this doesn't have feet on it, because it means I am free to wear my slipper boots, also from ASOS, or my super fluffy Monki socks. I'm basically just a walking bundle of warmth in the evenings now and it is absolutely blissful.

What are your winter accessorising must haves?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

GETTING A WINTER GLOW WITH BECCA

I say it's a winter glow, but really it's an all year round glow. I cannot be without highlighter now, it just doesn't happen.

I've never been much of a liquid highlighter fan, I couldn't make them work on my skin or stand out as much as my powder highlighters do. Turns out I was just trying the wrong ones, because I've found my perfect liquid highlighter and I'm obsessed. I'd always known Becca highlighters were good quality because I already have a couple, but it never occurred to me to try anything other than powder. I was actually gifted the Becca Illuminating Skin Perfector in Moonstone for my birthday, and I'm not even joking when I say I've never seen anything so beautiful on my face before. Other than maybe Champagne Pop.


Becca as a brand are most well known for their highlighters, I would say, and for good reason. They're of such a high quality and genuinely last ages - I am running low on Champagne Pop but I've had it for well over a year now and used it practically everyday. The only thing I'm not a fan of is their packaging, but I can get past it because the product inside is one-of-a-kind. Champagne Pop has cult status, and for good reason. I also have Opal, but it doesn't get used even nearly as much because I'm just too pale for it. I kept seeing people say that Opal is really good for pale skin and I saw Jamie Genevieve using it, but it just leaves dark streaks on my face. The glow is still good from it though, which is the worst part. In the winter, I go from pale to so pale that I may as well be see-through. I used to not bother adapting my highlighters to this and continue to smear Champagne Pop on my face like there's no tomorrow, but now I've realised that it's something I need to consider. I'm trying to use some more white-based highlighters as opposed to gold-based, to not draw attention to the fact I'm too pale for Champagne Pop now too. Heartbroken.


Moonstone is the perfect shade for my skintone, it's more of a white-based highlighter but it's not silly white, and the glow isn't too intense but just intense enough to satisfy me. I still don't really know how to use a liquid highlighter if I'm being completely honest, I use my finger to dab it along my cheekbones and it seems to do the job pretty well, but I feel like there must be a better way to do it. I have to say though, the glow from this liquid highlighter is unlike any other I've ever used. Usually I have to put another highlighter on top and all the liquid highlighter does is make the powder one a lot brighter, but I don't feel like I need to with this one. Of course, I still do because I'm completely extra and need to be shining brightly or I don't feel fully like myself, but for everyday wear, it's perfect by itself. You only need the tiniest bit and it goes a really long way, which excites me a lot because the less you use, the longer it lasts. I get to be Becca-glowing beautiful for a lot longer.


In terms of longevity, just like with Champagne Pop, this lasts all day. My highlight is just as intense and beautiful as when I first apply it in the morning, which is exactly what you need. With the rest of my makeup deteriorating throughout the course of the day no matter what, it's nice to not have to worry about your highlighter.

What's your favourite liquid highlighter?


CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

WHY I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR

From about October onwards, I go into full seasonal mode and I'm relatively happy most of the time due to this being my absolute favourite time of year. The build up to Christmas is unlike anything else, and I think most people would agree with me when I say it gives you such a magical feeling and I wish it was acceptable to be in Christmas mode from about January.

Everything just seems so much cosier at this time of year, which is perfect for a naturally cold person like myself. Even in summer, I'm wishing it was acceptable to put the heating on because it's just too cold. I love to huddle up under a LOT of blankets and duvets in bed, right next to my radiator, it's probably when I'm at my happiest. Fairy lights create a much nicer ambiance than in summer as well, it's just not the same when they're on in the summer. I don't feel as judged when I wear 600 layers at the one time, because everyone else is doing the same. Cosy jumpers and knit hats and scarves are my favourite items of clothing, I wanna be as warm outside as I am inside. I've done a post on my cosy budget buys that goes into a few more of my favourite cosy items that I got for less than you'd think, so go give that a wee peek. One thing I had to mention at some point throughout the course of Blogmas but that's not a budget buy is my fleece ASOS onesie with little ears on it - it was £28 but it's the best thing I've ever bought, it's ridiculously cosy and I can tell I'm going to be living in it when I'm not at work.

As someone who used to work in retail (you have no idea how happy I am to be able to say used to), December was the only time when it wasn't horrific, unless I was working Christmas Eve/Boxing Day. Then it was the worst thing ever. But people just seemed a lot nicer around Christmastime, and I think that applies to most workplaces because everyone is looking forward to everything getting festive. Customers were definitely not as grumpy as they usually were and that had a profound effect on how nice the staff were as well. Everyone is happy at this time of year, and I love being in an environment where everything feels a lot more joyful and there's less anger around. You can mention the word Christmas without being slapped. There is that element of stress, but it's not being taken out on those around you as much as it is throughout the rest of the months of the year. I also liked being able to wear a Christmas jumper to work, though it didn't really match the navy flares as nicely as it matched other items of clothing, but you win some you lose some. Thankful I can now wear skinny trousers that look much nicer with an oversized festive jumper.

We all know how much I love a jumper, I've bought enough of them to last me a good few years, but Christmas jumpers are a whole other story. Honestly, the more out there, the better. I want all the horrifically ugly, garish jumpers with 3D snowman noses and reindeer antlers on the hood. I pretty much aim to wear a Christmas jumper every single day in the run up to Christmas Day, and more often than not I do succeed. My all time favourite Christmas jumper is my Jon Snow one, not a lot of people understand it but those that do get so excited and I just love it. I've actually only bought one new Christmas jumper (so far) this year that's giving me big Nancy Wheeler from Stranger Things vibes, but usually I buy about 40 new ones a year so I'm quite impressed with myself! I'll be doing a post on pretty much all my favourite Christmas jumpers, so there's something for you to look forward to.

I think everyone gets a lot closer at Christmas, in terms of families and couples etc. I love to spoil my boyfriend at Christmas and last year I filled a stocking for him and got him a few other extras, so I'm planning on doing the same thing this year because I can actually afford to treat him now that I have a full-time job. I also love forcing him to come to Winter Wonderland with me, it's the day that I look forward to all year and this year I WILL get one of those massive cookie/gingerbread things that I just go and admire every year. I like how my family all get together at Christmas and there's significantly less arguments than on a regular day - I like that we all play board games together with the Christmas music channel on in the background, and we're all happy to wear the too-big paper crowns that come from the crackers. Plus, this year we'll have a new puppy to share the excitement with and if I get my way, she will be dressed as Santa at some point this month. Watch this space.

What are your favourite things about this time of year?

CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

FESTIVE NIGHT IN ESSENTIALS

A few months ago I did a post on my pamper night essentials, and I suppose this will be quite similar but now, it's getting festive. It is now the time to overdo it completely with everything Christmas related, and this post is basically a compilation of all the things I love and need to have the perfect chilled out, festive evening.

The first is obvious, Christmas movies. Because what kind of relaxing night is it without appropriate films? My favourite is The Santa Clause and the sequels to it as well, I watch them every year and every year they make me ridiculously happy. Elf is another obvious one, everybody loves Elf and watches it at this time of year but the hype is real and it's one of the best classic Christmas films. My family and I also watch The Polar Express every single year but I don't think any of us actually like it very much, it's just become a tradition now. Arthur Christmas is one relatively newer film that I really love, I never usually bother because you can't beat a classic, but I can tolerate that one. I hadn't watched Miracle on 34th Street until last year but I actually really loved it, and the little Matilda actress is adorable in it.

What goes with Christmas movies? Christmas CANDLES. My first stop for festive candles is usually B&M, they do the best Bath & Body Works candles and the quality is comparable to Yankee Candles, in my experience. I never like to splurge on candles and these retail at about £2.99 for a relatively big one that'll last you literally all season, so it's really good for a stinge like me. I love having candles lit and it helps massively when they're festive scented, it gets me right into the mood and I just feel ridiculously cosy. Primark is also a good place to go for cheap candle jars and festive scented tealights - this pug one was about 90p I think.



We all need festive pyjamas, like these from Primark. It doesn't even need to be garishly festive, I'm not saying everyone has to have Santa prancing around their pyjamas; my favourites are actually just these red tartan, but I do love an OTT Christmas outfit. Primark is probably the best place for things like that - things you'll only wear for a month and then they get thrown to the back of the wardrobe because you have no use for a reindeer jumper in February. You can get cute festive pieces without breaking the bank, which is a big thumbs up from me. Getting your room in the right mood is also important, but there's a whole separate post in the works for that and I don't want to spoil anything here!





I think it's absolutely essential that, in order to chill yourself out, you need to have a bath or a shower. Mostly to heat you up, but also to just relax you and get you ready to wind down at night. Now that our bathroom has been redone and I can actually have a bath, I've been trying to love them more. Failing that, a shower with an assortment of festive scented products will do. Anything spiced apple scented will get me right in the mood, I have a Body Shop spiced apple scented hand cream that I'm obsessed with so I'm always hunting for other things that smell the same. Gingerbread is popular with me too, or anything cinnamon-y or the classic berry Christmas scent. I don't shop at Lush a lot but I just couldn't resist getting a few bits and pieces this season to try and make me enjoy baths again.

In terms of refreshments, it absolutely has to be a cup of tea or a hot chocolate in the biggest mug you can find in your house - mine is this L mug from New Look. You'd think the mug being so large would make the drink inside it last longer, but you'd be wrong. I can still manage to down it all in about 3 seconds. I like a really sugary cup of tea or a Cadburys hot chocolate with loads of marshmallows chucked in, because nothing is better than a mound of melted marshmallows (satisfying alliteration or what?).

How do you like to relax at Christmastime?


CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

KEEP COSY ON A BUDGET

I'm trying really, really hard this season to budget my money, in the run up to Christmas and pre-empting the amazing gifts I'm going to be buying everyone means I don't have a lot of money going spare for me to treat myself with. I still want to keep up with trends though, and today I'm going to share a few of my favourite trends that I've managed to bag on a budget.

Most of the time, I will hunt for the cheapest option possible, but, as someone who hate physical, in-store shopping, my options are limited. I also prefer to buy literally everything on ASOS because of that free next day delivery, but that's not always the most budget-friendly place. eBay and Depop have become my best friends, I love being able to find some amazing pieces at less than half the price.

 
Primark is one of the more budget friendly high street stores, whilst still maintaining trendy products. At the Busy B event last month, one of the girls had the dreamiest teddy coat on and because I'd had a glass of prosecco and felt mildly confident, my opener was "WHERE did you get that coat?!" - Primark. Shook. I managed to grab the last small size in my local store and I don't think I've ever been so happy in my whole life; I genuinely haven't taken it off since I got it. At £25, it's a beautiful style steal and the quality is above the price, which can be a bit of a hit or a miss in Primark but I got pretty lucky this time round. The best part is it's SO warm. It makes a nice change from having to choose between being stylish or warm, and almost always making the wrong choice. I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off, but I genuinely think it looks really good. I felt so high-end pairing it with my red boots, which are actually just from Asda, and it doesn't have to be a fancy coat. I've worn it with jeans and a jumper most of the time, normally all black so I can make the coat the focal piece of the outfit.

I'm gonna cheat a little bit and include a dress I got in the Black Friday sales - so although it's no longer a budget buy, they were for me. Is that even allowed??? Oh well, I've already done the photos. It's from Missguided, who had the best Black Friday sale in the entire world, not even joking. 50% off EVERYTHING. I was supposed to be on a spending ban/trying to save what little money I had left but I just couldn't let a deal like that go by without getting some things. I was actually a bit unsure about it at first, it's a white jumper dress with a tie round the middle, which shapes it more like a skater dress. I initially tried to tie the ties like a bow which looks bloody ridiculous so don't do it, but I like that the ties bring your waist in because I find dresses with a bit more shape suit me a lot more, hence why I've been kinda resisting jumper dresses that are't bodycon or can't be shaped with a belt.  



eBay is always associated with secondhands pieces, and people usually flock to Depop for those sorts of things now, but a lot of stock on eBay is actually independent stores selling amazing pieces at low prices. I've been completely obsessed with Stranger Things recently, I made it through the whole 2 seasons in about a week and then rewatched them just for fun. So I was feeling festive and loving Stranger Things, and I thought "I know what I need! A Stranger Things Christmas jumper." And I found the perfect one on eBay. It's not too obvious, but if you've watched the show you'll get it - it has Eggos, compasses, the kids on the bikes, then Will and the Demagorgon in the Upside Down. I love it a ridiculous amount and may not wear many other items of clothing in December.

 

The last item I'm gonna share is one that I've been so excited about since I placed the order - I'd been admiring teddy coats for the longest time, I was unsure if I could pull one off but in comes eBay again with the cheap, good quality dupes for your favourite items of clothing. I don't really have any nice black warm jackets so alongside the famous tan teddy coat, I opted for black as well. I was unsure of it at first because it looked massive, but after getting reassurance from literally everyone and wearing it out, I've become obsessed with it. I genuinely think I'll never take it off. Because it is so oversized, it makes it perfect for layering up with loads of jumpers and scarves and I feel so lovely and snug in it. 

Where's your favourite place to go for cosy items?


CONTACT ME - loulabelleenquiries@outlook.com

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