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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Amara Gift Guide: Kate Spade

When luxury online boutique Amara got in touch with me recently to see if I might like to review some of their lovely Kate Spade stock ahead of Christmas I was delighted as it's one of my all time favourite brands. For those of you not familiar with Amara - it's a leading international online boutique specialising in luxury gifts, designer homeware and contemporary furniture - making it the perfect place to pick up Christmas gifts and inspiration at this time of year.

I was gifted two absolutely darling Kate Spade items, the first being this beautiful bright red cloth covered journal*. It's a gorgeous colour which is perfect for the season and has the words ''You Can Never Be Overdressed or Overeducated'' adorned in beautiful gold foil. It features lined pages and would make a lovely gift for any stationary addicts, particularly when paired with some other pieces from Kate Spade's charming collection.

I also received an adorable set of six gift tags* which feature different bauble inspired designs complete with beautiful bright ribbon. They're absolutely perfect for adding a little bit of luxury to a Christmas present, placing around the house or on the Christmas tree as a decoration. I can't wait to sit down in a few weeks with some Christmas music, a box of chocolates and start wrapping up all the presents I've bought for my loved ones - whoever gets these Kate Spade tags on top of their gift are the lucky ones!

What do you think of the pieces Amara sent to me? What are your favourite pieces from their website? 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2015

I honestly never thought I'd be writing this post, but I'm so proud to announce that Tea Party With Alice won Highly Commended for Beauty in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2015! I was so grateful to have ever been shortlisted in this category - something I never expected, but to hear my name being announced on the night was both shocking and overwhelming - it truly means the world.

I, like so many other bloggers, put so much effort into my blog and it feels amazing to have that hard work recognised. I've had an amazing 2015 and this feels like the perfect way to end the year, the best early Christmas present possible.

Most importantly, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to anybody who took the time to vote for me and for everybody who sent me such lovely messages congratulating me - I am so, so happy and there are honestly no words to describe what it means.

Thank you a million times over!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Reorganising Your Workspace

Blogging at this time of year is without question more of a challenge. As I work full time I'm lucky to see daylight hours, which means I have to be organised at the weekend to make sure I can keep on top of my (albeit vague) blog schedule.

My desk is one of my favourite areas in my room, I've written about it before and I get a lot of pleasure from sitting and looking out of the window at the garden below. Whilst I've never lost my motivation to blog, my desk was fast becoming a refuge for beauty products which meant that it felt cluttered and I felt a lot less inspired.

I decided this weekend to reorganise my space so that I could approach blogging with a new lease of life. As I need to take all my photos in the natural light at the weekends, creating an open, fresh space has helped both to physically and mentally declutter my mind. I surround the space with some of my favourite things - which means it's laden with books and candles and is a place I automatically feel comfortable, and inspired.

If you're struggling to find the motivation to blog at this time of year, I'd definitely recommend trying to reorganise your workspace - it's really helped give me a kick into gear.

Where do you like to do your blogging? 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Current Favourites

Whilst I'm not the best at regularly writing favourite posts, with Christmas just around the corner it felt like a good time to share the items I've been loving recently with you all - just incase you still have space on your Christmas list.

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne*
I attended a Jo Malone store launch last week and received this travel sized cologne in a gift bag. I've had this scent before in a candle and loved it, however I wasn't sure how it would translate into a fragrance. Thankfully, I was wrong to be concerned as this is amazing - it's a fresh, delicate scent that's unusual but incredibly addictive.

It's hard for me to find the time, or energy to fake tan nowadays, but for many years my tan of choice has been St Tropez. Despite my loyalty, when Madame LA LA sent me some of their products to try I decided to edge away from my routine and give them a try. The West Coast Bronzing Serum is an instant self-tan for the face - it's infused with a blend of lovely ingredients which work to hydrate and brighten the skin as well as leaving it with a healthy, natural glow. It's a great product to use on the face to give a little colour to winter skin, and I have no doubt I'll be using throughout the summer too. 

Gary Cockerill - Simply Glamorous* - £25
Gary Cockerill is probably most widely known as the makeup artist for Katie Price. He recently brought out a book full to the brim with makeup tips and transformations to help you feel the best version of yourself. Despite not being a fan of the Katie Price look, I was actually really impressed with this book (far more than I thought I'd be). It's a lovely book to sit and browse through to pick up some new makeup tips or inspiration and would be a great gift for someone whose looking to get into makeup for the first time. 

I'm a Charlotte Tilbury addict at the moment, it's without a doubt one of my favourite brands and I've been using the products constantly this month. One of my particular favourites has been the Cheek to Chic Blusher in First love, which is a medium, peachy brown shade with a satin finish and warm undertones. It's a shade that I feel is perfect for autumn and different to the normal pinks I typically wear on my cheeks. 

I was introduced to Timebomb as a brand back in March this year and have been a fan of their products ever since. The Flashback Moisturiser is a super rich cream moisturiser that creates a light barrier on the skin to help nourish and repair it overnight. I love using this product when my skin is feeling dehydrated as my face always feels plump, soft and dewy come morning.

One of my favourite things to do at this time of year is transition my nail colour from soft pinks, to autumnal berry tones. As we edge closer into December, I normally find my nails are first to give a nod to the festive season, and this particular polish is one of my favourites to roll out at this time of year. The Alexa Lace polish blends a mixture of different sized red particles to create a lace effect on the nails, and looks perfect over a nude polish to add some subtle Christmas cheer to your outfit.

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate - £36
I've raved about Kiehl's famous Midnight Recovery Concentrate countless times on my blog, but I'm loving it more than ever at the moment. It's an amazing replenishing night time facial oil with distilled botanicals that work to visibly restore the appearance of the skin overnight. My skin is utterly transformed when I use this product and it really helps to even out my skin tone and keep blemishes at bay.

What do you think of my favourites? What are you loving at the moment? 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Dermalogica Body Therapy Essentials Gift Set

For me, Dermalogica is a brand that defines good skin care. It's renowned for it's range of well formulated, hard working products that promote clear, healthy skin. Dermalogica recently got in touch to see if I'd like to try one of their limited edition Christmas gift sets and I decided to put their Body Therapy Essentials Set* to the test. As skincare needs vary so much from person to person, I thought a set that focused on the body would be a more practical present option to give to friends or family.

The Dermalogica Body Therapy products are designed to help achieve healthy skin from head to toe whilst enjoying a spa-like experience in the comfort of your own home. At this time of year, the cold weather can really dry out my skin, but as I generally have less flesh on show there's also a reluctance to moisturise as regularly as I probably should. This set makes a lovely gift as it contains three products that work together to create a pamper session in the home to help someone feel more relaxed and nourished.

Conditioning Body Wash
This is a lovely, rich cleanser that can be used over the entire body in both the shower or bath. Like all the products in this set, it contains botanical properties and no artificial colour or fragrance, meaning it's perfect even for those with sensitive skin.

Body Hydrating Cream
This body cream contains hydroxy acids and essential plant oils to help smooth and condition the skin. It's a rich cream that is absorbed quickly and really helps to inject moisture into the skin and keep any winter dry patches at bay. I particularly like to use this product before bed as I find that it leaves my skin soft and nourished but it's botanical aroma also helps to get me ready for a good nights sleep.

Stress Relief Treatment Oil
My favourite product of the three happens to be this stress-relieving treatment oil. It's a great multi-purpose product that's designed to be used in the bath, on the skin, or during a massage. It has a lovely herbal scent which I find works perfectly to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere which helps to erase any worries after a long day.

As this set costs just £17.50 I think it would make the perfect gift for a friend or hard working colleague whose in need of a little pick me up. There are six limited edition sets available in Dermalogica's Christmas gift set range, so if you're a fan of the brand then I'd urge you to take a look and spread the gift of healthy skin this Christmas!

Do you like Dermalogica's products?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The White Company Twenty One Candle

When one of my favourite brands, The White Company, got in touch to send me an early Christmas present - I was over the moon. They kindly let me choose from their gifts for her range and as a candle fiend it was a no brainer to pick their Twenty One candle*, which they created to celebrate 21 years of business.

The candle is beautifully scented, with a mix of citrus, neroli and grapefruit laced with jasmine and magnolia which blend together to fill the room with a fruity, delicate fusion. The two-wick candle is limited edition and comes in a pretty silvered glass holder which looks incredibly elegant and works in any room of the home.

With Christmas in the not so distant future, it's worth considering The White Company in your gift hunt as they have a selection of darling pieces that would make wonderful presents. I've long been a fan of their candles and can wholeheartedly recommend this one too.

The White Company's Twenty One Candle costs £35 and can be bought in store or online.

Do you love The White Company too? 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Butternut Squash Soup with Chilli and Crème Fraîche

I don't know about you, but when it's chilly and grey outside there isn't much better than curling up on the sofa with a blanket and a hot bowl of soup. This particular recipe was first introduced to me by my boyfriend's mum, and it's one of my favourites. As it's so easy to make, but still incredibly hearty and filling I wanted to share it with you.

To make this vibrant bowl of goodness, you will need:

- 1 Butternut Squash (about 1 kg - peeled and deseeded)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 2 mild red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 850ml hot vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp crème fraîche, plus more to serve

Before you start the preparation, get the oven heated up to 200° then cut the squash into large cubes and toss them into a large roasting tin with half the olive oil. Roast them for 30 minutes, remembering to turn them once during cooking until they are golden and soft.

While the squash cooks, melt the butter with the remaining oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions, garlic and ¾ of the chilli. Cover and cook on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes until the onions are completely soft. 

Tip the squash into the pan, add the stock and the crème fraîche then whizz with a stick blender until smooth. If you like your soup really silky (like me) then pop it into a liquidiser and blitz it in batches. Return to the pan, gently reheat and season to taste. Serve the soup in bowls with swirls of crème fraîche and a scattering of the remaining chopped chilli.
What's your favourite winter warmer receipe?

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