Christmas Gift Guide!

It feels too early to be thinking about Christmas. Although November’s almost over, so I suppose I should start getting organised. I haven’t done one spot of Christmas shopping. I’m so uninspired; I don’t know what to get for anyone! If you’re in the same situation as me, hopefully this gift guide will give you some ideas.

I’m so unoriginal, I didn’t even create this gift guide. Instead, it’s based from my birthday presents, so all the credit goes to my friends and family. My birthday’s in November, so all of the products are still available. All of the gifts I received were amazing, and I’m so grateful for them all. Hopefully their talent for present finding is infectious, and will inspire us all!

My birthday fell on a Monday this year, which meant I was at university. I had too much coursework to complete, so I couldn’t go home until the Friday after my birthday. I was gutted I couldn’t spend time with my family, but that’s a different story in itself. My parents sent me this box, which was a lovely gesture. If you have friends or family members that live far away, a gift box like this would be a perfect present. This one is from a company called Where Bluebirds Fly, but websites such as Not on the High Street have similar ones. The box is filled with various goodies that my family chose themselves. The company supports small British businesses, and all the cosmetic products are vegan. There are also vegan confectionary options, although the ones shown here aren’t. I was delighted to receive this box, and I think it is an amazing gift.

One of my favourite things about Christmas are the Christmas gift sets. I love trying out new products! Gift sets can be really handy too, because sometimes the products are mini versions which are ideal for travelling. I received two for my birthday. The first is a little hair kit from Percy and Reed. I’ve never tried any of their products before, but they look really good. The products are not tested on animals, which is a huge bonus for me. I also received a Simple kit. It comes with a toiletries bag, face wipes and a moisturiser. Gift sets make great Secret Santa presents, especially when you’re unsure on what to buy!

I was so excited to receive these! I’ve had my eye on Ted Baker trainers for ages. Although I don’t know a lot of designer brands, and I’m not particularly interested in their products, I do have a weakness for Ted Baker! I just think their products are gorgeous! I love everything about these trainers. I have quite shallow feet and I should probably use an insole, but I can get away without one. They’re definitely not an everyday shoe, but I definitely recommend putting these on your wish list if you’re looking for a pair of smarter trainers!

Do you know a musical theatre fan? Lucky you, because they’re the best people! Obviously I’m a little bit biased, but whatever. I’ve never met a musical theatre fan who doesn’t love Wicked! This is the Grimmerie, and it’s packed with behind the scenes information about the musical. There are lots of products on the website that would make perfect gifts. In our household, we have three t shirts, two fridge magnets, two coffee cups, a necklace and a pair of socks, so I can definitely vouch for them! I’m sure that every theatre fan will appreciate some theatre merch!

My lovely little sister chose me some products from Lush. The hair bar smells of honey and the conditioner bar smells like avocado. The shower gel is grapefruit and the scrub is blackcurrant. Lush products make great gifts. I’ve only tried one product before, so I’m happy that I have the opportunity to test out more. I know that some people’s skin doesn’t react well to Lush products, so be cautious of shopping here if you know the receiver has sensitive skin.

This one gave us a bit of a giggle. It’s a cushion, but we’re divided as to if it’s a cat bed or not! Me and Olaf are both fans anyway! Cushions are good gifts for blogger friends because they can make good props for photos, and I’m sure their furry friends will also be appreciative!

My best friend bought me some lovely items. Buying a mishmash of smaller, personal gifts provides a personal touch. It’s a present I always love receiving because you can tell a lot of thought and effort has gone into it. Possible items include products from their favourite cosmetic brands, chocolates, cosy socks and any miscellaneous products you think will come in handy.

I also received a necklace with a little cat on it, but I forgot to take a picture of it. A necklace is always a good gift. This particular one is from Next, but Warren James also have good options!

I hope this guide has been helpful! Let me know what’s on your Christmas wish list!


Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes!

Hi everyone! It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve written a blog post. Today I’m sharing the recipe for strawberry cheesecake cupcakes!

It’s probably the wrong season for these, but I’ve been too busy to bake. The photo I’m using is quite an old one. Anyway, if you can get your hands on some strawberries, they’re delicious!

The recipe comes from from the first Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. It’s a vanilla sponge with strawberries baked into it. The frosting is cream cheese and it is decorated with digestive biscuits. It’s a brilliant combination. I’ve doubled the quantities from the book because I don’t get enough cupcakes when I use the original.

A huge benefit of these cupcakes are they are so easy to make, but they look quite impressive! This makes them ideal for bake sales and parties, and I often make them in the summer when I get requests!

If any part of the recipe is unclear, please let me know in the comments!

Strawberry cheesecake cupcakes (adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery)

For the sponge:

80g unsalted butter

240g plain flour

280g caster sugar

1tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

240ml whole milk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

12 strawberries, chopped into small pieces

For the frosting and decoration:

600g icing sugar, sifted

100g unsalted butter

350g Philadelphia

Digestive biscuits, crumbled


1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees c and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.

2) Mix the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a freestanding electric mixer on a slow speed. The mixture should be a sandy texture, with no large lumps.

3) In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla extract.

4) Pour roughly 2/3 of this mixture into the dry ingredients and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula. Pour the remaining milk into the mixture, and beat until combined.

5) Divide the chopped strawberries into the bottom of the paper cases. Fill the cases with the batter until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. The sponges should be light golden brown in colour and should bounce back when lightly pressed. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

6) For the frosting, beat together the icing sugar and butter until there are no large lumps. It is best to use an electric mixer for this.

7) Add the cream cheese to the mix and beat until combined. Do not overbeat as the mixture can become runny.

8) Once cooled, spread the icing onto the sponges and decorate with the crushed biscuits. Store in an airtight container.


This mixture can make between 12 and 16 cupcakes. If you have leftover batter, chop extra strawberries: there should be roughly one strawberry per cupcake.

Make sure the butter is soft before making the icing. This will help to make the icing smooth.

The icing is quite soft, so the cakes may look a bit messy!

I recommend using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, but you could also use a handheld electric whisk. I wouldn’t recommend mixing this by hand.

My Current TBR List!

Hi everyone! Today I thought I’d share my TBR list! Can I even call myself a bookworm if I didn’t have a TBR list as long as my arm? It will take me so long to get through all these books since I have to focus on uni, but I thought it would be fun to share it nonetheless!

The Good Girls by Sara Sheperd

This is the sequel to The Perfectionists, which I read this summer. I did really enjoy the book, but it didn’t feel finished properly. I’m excited to read this to see what happens.

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

This is the final book in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, which is a series that has captured my heart. Each of the books is a modern adaptation on a classic gothic fiction text. The first is based on The Island of Doctor Moreau, and the second is based on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This one is based on Frankenstein and I have high hopes for it. I studied Frankenstein in first year, and I really enjoyed reading it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this adaptation just as much!

To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I’ve seen so much hype about this on social media, and I’ve finally bought the Kindle version! I’m sure you all know the plot, so I won’t bore you with that! I’m hoping it lives up to the hype though.

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Strout is a major inspiration for my own writing. I’ve mentioned before that I love the way she describes things. I don’t know what this book is about, but I’m sure that I will love it.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.

I mentioned in my summer wrap up that I wasn’t the biggest fan of How To Stop Time. I do really want to read this book, but I’m unsure if I’ll manage to get around to it. Hopefully I’ll be able to read some more of his work in the near future.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This was in my Summer list and I still haven’t had a chance to read it! It looks awesome though, and the plot seems to be driven by girl power, which I love.

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

This is the autobiography of the American gymnast Simone Biles. I can’t believe I didn’t read this in summer! I asked for it as a Christmas present and it’s been on my shelf ever since. Whoops!

Fierce by Aly Raisman

Again, another autobiography by a gymnast, but this time it’s Aly Raisman. Honestly, I can’t wait to buy this. I’m looking forward to growing my collection of gymnastics related books: it will be my third autobiography!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is a re read, so I’m not sure it technically counts! This is another book that’s very popular in the blogging community. It didn’t leave a big impression on me, so I want to read it again to see if my feelings have changed.

Freshers by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen

Again, another re read. This may have a spoiler so be warned! At the end of the book, we find out that one of the main characters is really horrible, but I didn’t get that vibe at all. I want to re read it to see if I missed something major, or if this character really isn’t as bad as they are made out to be. I may end up doing a full review on it.

I don’t know when I’ll update you all on what I actually read because I never seem to have the time! If you have any book recommendations for me, please let me know in the comments!

Lemon Drizzle Traybake!

How much is everyone going to judge me if I say that I went home from uni so I could bake?

Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration. My gran’s choir were having a concert, and I make Toffee Brownies every year. I wasn’t going to come back, but I was missing my family! I thought I’d take advantage of this opportunity to try something new. It might be a while before I can do something again!

I’d wanted to try this recipe for a while. It’s a Mary Berry one, and it looked ideal for those times when you need lots of cake in a short time period!

I was so pleased with how these turned out! They’re not too tangy or sweet, and they’re super light inside! My mum and I loved them! I’m not too sure they went down very well at the concert, but I think this is because they looked quite plain. They have no icing but are topped with a crunchy sugar topping.

The recipe is ridiculously simple. Just chuck everything in a mixer and whisk until it is smooth. It is literally foolproof. I forgot to soften the butter, but after a bit of whisking, it was soon sorted. This recipe would be perfect for anyone who’s missing the summer!

Lemon Drizzle Traybake (adapted from Mary Berry)


For the sponge:

225g unsalted butter, softened

225g caster sugar

280g self raising flour, sieved

2 tsp baking powder

4 large eggs

100ml milk

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

For the crunchy topping:

175g granulated sugar

Juice of 2 lemons


1. Preheat the oven to 155 degrees and line a traybake tin with greaseproof paper

2. Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for about five minutes. The mixture should be pale in colour and have no big lumps of butter

3. Pour into the tin and bake for 25-30 mins. The traybake should spring back when pressed lightly and the edges should be shrinking from the sides of the tin.

4. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool slightly

5. To make the crunchy topping, mix the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Spoon this mixture evenly over the traybake while it is still warm.

6. Leave to cool completely before cutting.


Place a piece of greaseproof paper under the sponge to catch any drips from the topping.

The recipe suggests to cut into 30 pieces, but I made 18 (with a few ends!)

Birthday Planning

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing another short story with you. This is an old homework assignment I submitted in second year. I haven’t edited it since submission, so you’re reading exactly what my classmates read! I don’t know how successful it is as a short story, but here it is anyway.

As always, any feedback is much appreciated!

Maddie was sitting in a small cafe in the town centre. The clattering of ceramic mugs and the buzz of chattering serenaded her as she took a sip from the teacup she was cradling in her hands. The tea was sweet and was at the perfect temperature. As she unpeeled the wrapper from the chocolate cupcake she had purchased she spared a thought to her best friend Dylan, who would currently be serving burgers in a fast food joint. Chocolate cakes were his favourite. A glance at the clock informed her she only had an hour to spare before she had to leave to flog overpriced perfumes to middle aged women. The work was tedious and the hours were long but at least the pay was decent. The wooden chair opposite her was still empty.

She allowed her mind to drift off, far away from the familiar scent of roasted coffee beans and freshly baked pastries. Instead, her mind transported her to the small function suite at the local pub. The room was packed with Dylan’s closest family and friends. A silver CD player sat in the corner, but no one paid any attention to its music. Hands were curled around pints of beer, and every chair was occupied, even the tatty ones where the leather was ripped, revealing the scratchy yellow padding inside. The local bakery had taken charge of the catering, and the partygoers were stuffing their faces with flaky sausage rolls and toffee doughnuts, filled with freshly whipped cream. Crumbs fell onto their worn out jeans and were brushed onto the dusty floor, without a second thought to the mess.

The bell above the door to the shop tinkled, and brought Maddie crashing back to reality. Sophia strutted through, in a flurry of pink. She approached Maddie’s table, a beaming grin illuminating her face. Maddie forced her lips upwards into a tiny smile.

“Oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you!” Sophia gushed. Close up, Maddie could see the thick layer of foundation that was caked onto her face. Black clumps of mascara clung to her eyelashes and her lips were painted a bright pink colour. Maddie nodded in acknowledgment.

“I’m just going to grab a coffee and then we can get started. Oh my gosh, I have so many ideas!”

It was a struggle to imagine Sophia at this party. If she tried hard, Maddie could just about picture her perched carefully one of the red leather chairs, so not to wrinkle her glitzy dress. She’d reject the delicious baked goods, claiming that the meat in the sausage roll was too fatty, or that the cream from the doughnut would stain her outfit. Then she’d sit with some fancy cocktail and watch as Dylan smiled and mingled with his guests. Maybe it would be the night that Dylan decided they were no good for each other, and Sophia would vanish, as quickly as she’d appeared.

“So I think we should book a massive ballroom, and have a big formal dinner,” Sophia said, once she had returned with a drink that looked suspiciously like a milkshake. “After all, he is 21. And he’s very special.”

Maddie took a sip of her tea, which was almost stone cold.

“It sounds nice-”

“Great! I’ll give them a call this afternoon then.”

Maddie took a deep breath.

“I don’t think it’s really Dylan’s kind of place,” she said cautiously. Sophia gave her a blank look, as if Maddie had been speaking in another language.

“Of course he’ll like it,” Sophia pulled a white iPhone from her pocket. Maddie watched as she stabbed a shiny fuchsia nail at the screen.

“Look at it. What’s not to like?” she continued, shoving the screen in her face.

The hall was beautiful. Circular tables were arranged on the polished floorboards, with pristine white table cloths draped over them. A decorative flower arrangement was delicately placed in the middle of each table. Each place was neatly laid with silver cutlery, polished until one could see their reflection in it. The ceiling had intricate carvings that were painted gold, and a large crystal chandelier hung in the middle, illuminating every corner of the beautiful room.

Maddie passed the phone back to Sophia. It was so different to Dylan’s eighteenth birthday celebrations. They had dined in a small Chinese restaurant in a neighbouring town. At the end of their meal, the waitress brought a small cupcake with a blue candle plunged into the mountain of chocolate fudge icing. She could remember Dylan laughing as he picked tiny pieces of wax from the icing before giving the cake to his brother. The atmosphere was so causal, it was hard to imagine celebrating in this large hall.

“You know, the local pub has a function suite. Maybe we could hire that out for the night?”

But Sophia was deep into a monologue of DJs and catering. It was as if Maddie hadn’t spoken at all. Maddie rubbed her temples as she droned on, only occasionally answering Sophia’s questions in grunts. The only plan that Maddie proposed was the cake. It was to be three layers of rich chocolate sponge, sandwiched together with a dark chocolate ganache and decorated with chocolate curls. After a little persuasion, Sophia reluctantly agreed.

As Maddie left the café, a heavy feeling settled into her chest. She doubted Dylan would enjoy his party, but Sophia was impossible to negotiate with. She exhaled loudly as she climbed upstairs to the entrance of her work.

“At least he’ll have a cake,” she thought.

Imogenation X Revolution Review!

Do I need another eyeshadow palette? No. Did I buy one anyway? Yes.

Is my mum (and probably my readers, to be fair) judging me right now? Definitely.

Let’s cut straight to the point- I bought Imogenation’s collaboration with Revolution. I ordered this as soon as I heard it was being released, but I wanted to give it a good test before I wrote this review. I couldn’t resist! I’ve mentioned before I’m a massive fan of Imogen. I think she’s a great role model, and I am so pleased she received this opportunity.

I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Revolution online. Some people think that they are releasing too many collabs a short time period, and the collabs are too similar. Personally, I think the collaborations are a good thing. There’s so many YouTubers and bloggers that I’d love to see release makeup. And of course some palettes will have similar shades. It would be silly to expect that every single palette would be completely unique. Some people are claiming it is too similar to Sophie’s palette. Although there’s definitely some shades that are similar, they don’t look alike when compared side by side.

Anyway, that’s my rant over! Let’s get into the good stuff!

First, let’s talk about the packaging. It’s really pretty, and I am a huge fan of it! Both palettes are purple and iridescent on the outside. They both have large mirrors, which is really handy. The eyeshadows are all named after things that Imogen says. Of course one is called ‘Huns’!

Here are some swatches of the eyeshadow palette. As you can see, it’s a very warm toned palette with lots of orange and brown shades.

In a video, Imogen said that the centre shades are transition shades, and the other shades are extras. I think this is great for beginners with limited makeup experience. I do wish this was printed on the over-sheet, as those who do not watch Imogen would not know this.

The shadows blend nicely and it’s easy to create a pretty look. They’re really pigmented, and definitely worth the money! The one shade I have an issue with is the black. When I apply it onto my eye it seems to be slightly patchy. I don’t plan on using this shadow a lot though, and it has no effect on my opinion of the palette.

I also wish there was a few more shimmery shades. I’d love to see a darker gold shadow, and maybe some shimmery browns.

Now, onto the highlighter palette! Here’s some swatches!

I do like this palette, but I don’t think it’s suitable for dark skin tones. A few of the shades would make pretty eyeshadows, but they would not work for highlighter and contour. I understand not every face palette can be suitable for everyone, but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re considering buying it.

I’m very pale, but I think if I use a light hand I can get away with it! ‘Slay my life’ is too dark for me, but the other two are fine! They’re super metallic and pigmented!

So, what’s my final verdict?

Although I like the contour and highlighter palette, I don’t think I’ll get much use out of it because I’m always doing my makeup on the go and I prefer to carry one palette. I do like the eyeshadow palette, although it’s not beaten my sophdoesnails one to the top spot. I’ve brought it to uni with me as it’s good for everyday looks. I think this palette would be good for beginners, probably more so than the Extra Spice palette. There is a good mixture of neutral shades and pops of colour, and they blend well, with the exception of the black. I’d recommend this palette to beginners and fans of Imogen.

Do you have this palette? Let me know what you think of it!

Twitter Friends Tag!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well! Today’s post is a tag post!

I’ve recently joined a group chat with a few other bloggers. I am so glad to be a part of this! I’ve discovered so many amazing blogs and made some new friends! We decided to create this tag to get to know each other a bit better, and so we could have a way of linking all our blogs.

We created the questions ourselves, so they’re weird, wacky and food related! Here they are!

1) If you could only choose one thing to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

In an ideal world, it would probably be something like chocolate fudge cake or a brownie since I have a massive sweet tooth. Realistically though, I’m going to say pizza since it’s really versatile. I’ve been really liking pizza lately too!

2) What is your favourite food to pair with cheese?

Boiled pasta, with grated cheese on top. It melts and goes all gooey!

3) If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I think I’d be a kitten. I’m small, and very hyperactive!

4) If you could relive one day of your life again, what would it be and why?

The day I received my uni offer would be a good one! I received my offer to my dream university a week after applying. I wasn’t expecting them to reply so soon, and I definitely didn’t expect my first response to be my dream uni!

5) What is your dream travel destination and why?

I’d quite like to visit France. I don’t really know why though. Otherwise, there’s so many places in the U.K. I’d like to go. I’d love to go back to Stranraer, and I’d also like to go to some cities in England such as Brighton!

6) If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?

Stop caring what people think and focus on creating the best version of you possible.

7) What are your favourite song lyrics and why?

Ooh, I have too many! I love ‘Everyone deserves a chance to fly’ (Wicked), and ‘Grab that book and let’s do this, instead of doodling hearts all through this’ from Legally Blonde. The songs from Dear Evan Hansen have also been speaking to me lately (that sounds ridiculously cheesy, I can’t think of another way to put it!).

8) What is your favourite meal to cook/eat?

My favourite meal to eat is either a roast chicken dinner or fish and chips. I cannot cook to save myself. I managed to burn water during Home Economics at school.

9) How would your ten year old self react to who you are today?

I think she’d be pretty happy that I’m at university studying towards what she wanted to do. I don’t think she’d believe some of the things that have happened over the years!

10) What is your goal/motivation behind blogging?

To have a platform to post my writing, and to have fun.

Here are the links to everyone’s blogs. Please check them out, there’s some really good content! Lots of them are participating in Blogtober, so now is a great time to follow them!