LIFESTYLE | My Favourite Festive Spots in Paris

Noël, Noël...

To be honest with you, I don't think that Paris at Christmas is particularly enthralling. There isn't a particularly good Christmas Market, some areas are really lacking in lights and decorations, and there aren't definitely enough Christmas trees. However, every year I try to find the best Christmas spots to fuel my insatiable need of all this Christmassy and bright... And you bet I found them!

The Galeries Lafayette are the best place to start. Each year they come with a different theme for their displays, and place a massive Christmas tree under their famous dome. This year, you could find a big tree made out of balloons, with lots of individual balloons floating around in a musical number. Watching the balloons dance around almost made me feel like I were in Disneyland.

Outside, the windows of the shop are also an attraction in themselves. They are full of moving toys and puppets, and people flock from all over town to see them in action. If you want to beat the crowds of the end of December, make sure to visit at the beginning of the month.
If you want to check out one of their previous displays, check out their Christmas display of 2015!

Not too far from the Galeries Lafayette, you will find the Rue de la Paix (Peace Street). There, you will find the fanciest shops around, from Cartier to Bulgari. Follow the path of lights and Christmas trees that leads to the Place Vendôme. During the day, go and admire the beautiful windows of Chanel, Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels, and in the evening the Christmas trees shine as bright as ever.

Our final stop for this post is the beautiful Galerie Vivienne. Nestled in the 2nd arrondissement, this passage is, to me, the most beautiful in Paris. And at Christmas, it gets covered in shiny lights - and becomes more instagrammable than ever!

In the Galerie, you will find plenty of designer shops, a few cafés, a beautiful florist and a library that sells old books and postcards. It couldn't get more Parisian than that!

I know it's not Christmas anymore, but to me the Christmas spirit lives up until the New Year. Hopefully these pictures will make you as happy as it has made me to see these places and share them with you!

What was your favourite festive spot this year?


LIFESTYLE | Festive Fun in Bath

Living the festive dream.

Being in Bath, I was pretty excited to see what it would look like at Christmas time. I had memories of the Christmas market from a visit a few years ago, but that's about it. And I can now tell you that at Christmas time, with the shining lights, trees and carols in the streets, Bath is even more wonderful than usual. Problem is, there are thousands of other people who would like to see it too. And in a small place like Bath, it quickly becomes just as crowded as it is on Oxford Street. Especially around the Christmas market...

The Bath Christmas Market is a big event each year and so many people come to visit it. Around the abbey, the stalls sell Christmas decorations, chocolate, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine... All the Christmas classics gathered around the town centre.

But there are other amazing things to see around Bath at Christmas. The shops get their best window displays, lights brighten up the streets, and you'll often stumble upon Christmas carols when you least expect it. 
I enjoyed walking around, camera in hand, to take snaps of all the festive decorations in town. As someone who walked past me as I was taking the photo below said, "there is too much to photograph!"

On my way I stopped at the Fudge Kitchen, to get a little something for my boyfriend's family and mine. You can see the fudge being prepared in front of you and the people there are happy to make you try out all the different flavours they sell before you make your choice. I got a selection of peanut butter chocolate, salted dark chocolate, lemon sherbet fudge and a couple more that I can't quite remember now. Fudge is a great Christmas treat to have on the dinner table for a sweet treat!

What's your favourite Christmas market?


BEAUTY | The Most Festive Shower Gel

Because Santa also needs to shower once in a while.

I love Lush. They always come up with the greatest products and formulas. And their Christmas ranges are usually my favourite every year. Thus, I have thought about treating myself to some Lush products recently, when my boyfriend made me the sweetest surprise. He knows I love Lush and Christmas, so he got me the Santa's Christmas shower gel! Incidentally, two days after I opened the parcel I ran out of my regular shower gel... coincidence? I think not.

Santa's Christmas is a foamless shower gel, which has a gel texture that cleans the skin beautifully without drying it out at all. The texture can be surprising at first, but it's actually really fun to use and feels really soft. The scent is just as awesome - it smells like old school cola bottle sweets, and reminds me of my childhood - these sweets were my absolute favourite!
You don't need much product for every use, and even though it doesn't foam up, a little goes a long way. If you treat yourself to this shower gel now, you'll probably have enough of it until spring comes!
Another fun thing about this shower gel is its colour - as you can tell it is red, but in fact it looks just as bright and cheerful on your skin. As you massage it into the skin it stays as vibrant as it is in the bottle, but don't you worry - it doesn't actually stain the skin and just disappears under the water. It's just another little fun touch that makes this shower gel special and definitely a great one for the festive season!

Have you ever tried Lush shower gels and soaps?


LIFESTYLE | Christmas in London

I told myself I would not go to Oxford Street this Christmas. And yet...

Every year, London becomes a flashing, sparkling feast around Christmas. We all know it gets super crowded. You can barely walk in the streets, you have to push your way through, you can't make two steps into a shop - so forget your actual Christmas shopping... But yes, we come back anyways because it just looks freaking amazing. 

So this late November, my friend Julie and I took a day trip to the capital, to visit a few places we like there. And guess who we bumped into?

Paddington Brown! The second cutest bear after Winnie the Pooh.
From what I have understood, there are a few 'Paddington Books' featuring this cutie around London. We saw one in Paddington station (of course) and this one here was in front of St Paul's Cathedral. If you've seen Paddington 2 - which I highly recommend, it is hilarious and will put a big smile on your face - you'll know that these curious books are actually a reference to the plot of the film. I wish we had time to go around London and find all the books. Gotta catch'em all!

The area around St Paul's and the City is always lovely to have a wander around - granted it's not the most Christmassy, but Julie and I often end up there anyways. It's a shame they haven't decorated the Christmas tree.

When you're there, make sure to talk around from the Millenium Bridge to the Globe, the Anchor and all the way to Borough Market - I had the best (and biggest) brownie ever there. I can't remember the name of the seller, but it's a little red stand in the middle of the market that sells lots of cheesecakes. I know, that's not exactly helpful. But do go to Borough Market and find the cheesecake stand. Then try their brownies. Yummy!

In the late afternoon, we made our way back to Central London and Oxford Street, to get our fix of Christmas lights. The streets were as crowded as ever, but we were so excited for the Christmas stuff that it didn't even bother us that much. Is that what we call the magic of Christmas?

If you're around there, do check out Selfridges. They've turned the whole shop into a golden disco ball and it just looks amazing. Also while you're in that street, have a look at the John Lewis windows. They feature Moz the Monster, which is the star of their Christmas ad this year, and I have to say they are the cutest windows I've seen so far

After we had a walk around Regent Street and its beautiful angel displays, and went to Liberty's Christmas shop, it was pitch black outside and that's the time we chose to head to Carnaby Street. And it was probably the best time to go there and see the street lights in their full glory.

The theme is Christmas Carnival, and it is a real feast for the eyes. Multi-coloured lights, giant parrots and exotic birds, flashing bunting and colour-changing lightbulbs... They really went all out this year. And this has proven quite popular: we could barely make our way through the crowds, but to be honest I was too busy looking up to see where I was going...
If there's one shop to check out there, it has to be the Irregular Choice shop. Amazing stairway, crazy shoe displays – I mean, the Santa heel shoes... – and the sales assistants look just as mad and colourful. A real curiosity!

After this mad rush around Carnaby, we went back to Paddington station to catch our train. I'll leave you with these amazing displays and hope that you're feeling super Christmassy now. And that your eyes are not hurting because of all these lights. (... Sorry about that.)

Have you ever been to London for Christmas?


LIFESTYLE | How To Get Into the Festive Spirit

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Can you hear Michael Buble's voice now? Because his songs have been stuck in my head for the past two weeks. As soon as November arrived, everything turned into a Christmas wonderland - the shops, the lights in town, the festive drinks, the presents and the warm jumpers... All this have made me so excited for December and the Christmas festivities. I have thus decided to share with you a post about one of the things that makes me really happy at the moment - how to get into the Christmas spirit!

Going for a festive coffee in your favourite chain

Now I am aware that we should always support independent cafés, but I can't help it - festive drinks in chains like Costa or Caffe Nero are my jam. I'm always excited to discover the new flavours that brands come up with each year. So far I have only tried the roasted hazelnut latte from Caffe Nero, and it's yummy!
These drinks are more expensive than the regular ones (and to be fair, they're often too expensive no matter how good they taste!) but once or twice up 'til December, going for a festive coffee or hot chocolate with a friend is the perfect way to enjoy a cosy winter afternoon after an intense Christmas shopping session.

Getting cards for your loved ones

Giving cards is still a great tradition in the UK, and I'm so glad because I think getting cards to your friends and family, but even co-workers, is a lovely attention at this time of year. There are many stores where you can find pretty cards, Clintons being one of my favourite. You can leave a personal note as well, and sometimes thoughtful words are more worthy than the biggest presents!
You could spend ages in the shops looking at all the different card designs - minimalist, sparkly, cute, sassy, traditional, with Santas, reindeer and Christmas trees... This year I bought a pack of cards from WH Smith, but I am also going to make my own cards for the most special people in my life. I'll share the DIY on the blog so stay tuned for that!

Decorating your home

Some might say November is still too early for decorations, but I strongly disagree (as you might have guessed!) To keep feeling festive even when you don't see the lights in the streets and the displays in the shops, you only have to make your home a little Christmassy to start with! 
I'm not suggesting getting a tree just yet, but putting up little fairly lights, a couple baubles or ornaments, and lighting a warm scented candle will make you feel like it's December already. I always recommend TK Maxx for great candles at a really good price, mine this year is a Spicy Cinnamon candle from the brand DW Home and it smells divine!

On your screens: Christmas music & films

One could say that it's totally acceptable to watch Love, Actually in June, but to me watching this film in the weeks leading up to Christmas has become a tradition I would never break! Everybody has their favourite film: The Holiday, Elf, The Grinch... It's the best opportunity to invite a couple friends or your significant other over for a Christmas film with biscuits and a good hot chocolate. Alternatively, you could organise a festive dinner to show off your best winter cooking skills, singing along to classics such as Last Christmas or All I Want For Christmas Is You. Yes, this is pretty much the only acceptable time for you to make your friends listen to Mariah Carey.

What are your favourite Christmas-related things to do as soon as the season arrives?