The first noel…

Now I know a lot of people feel it’s too early to be mentioning the C word. I mostly agree. I don’t want to put up my decorations or see Christmas dinner on the menu in pubs. However, I have a lot of gifts to buy (plus a tonne of December birthdays too), so I have to be organised. I started weeks ago, but I know lots of folk are about to get stuck in. It is for those ‘cannot wait til last minute’ people that I present my early Xmas gift guide.

I’m a bit mixed up when it comes to the festive season. I love some of the old traditions; I still send cards, I do not want pink trees & I’m definitely into a stocking bursting with fillers. On the other hand I have no time for gendered gift guides or waiting to open presents. Be assured if you give me a pressie before the big day, I will absolutely open it immediately.

With all that said here are some pretty picks with which to treat your loved ones. I have tried to cover all budgets whilst hopefully stretching across a range of demographics. I may also have thrown in a few items with a Scottish flavour.

Shall we start with the crimbo must haves? I think so.

I’m a fan of making my whole house smell like a cross between a Dickensian Xmas party & that stable the baby Jesus slept in. Fortunately M&S create those fragrances, package them up pretty & even stick a 3 for 2 deal on them. The sprays make a home smell divine. The pot pourri have equally delicious scents & also make great gifts.

M&S Xmas fragrances

In my opinion you can’t have a proper Xmas without a little booze or a lot of chocolate. My seasonal tipple is the delicious winter Pimms. I mix it with some ginger beer, but many yummy cocktails can be created with it. For chocs this year I’m looking to Fiars for their gorgeous vegan advent calendar & exquisite vegan boxes. I’m also very excited to try Vegan Byrd’s new walnut whips.

Vegan burd walnut whip, friars vegan crocs

Next up are recommendations for a cosy cute Christmas. We all know there’s nothing better than slipping on some jammies & snuggling up to admire the sparkly tree. All of these festive comforts also make lovely presents.

Festive comforts

Stag duvet, Asos Safari Pyjamas, Primark Grinch Boxers, Star slipper boots, M&S Velour Pyjamas.

Plus a little something that will make that tree really special

Bonnie bling still game de s

Bonnie Bling

Christmas is party season & everyone likes a bit of sparkle. Whether that’s to complete a glam look or soak in after one too many nights out, you can’t go wrong with beauty gift.

Lush is always a safe bet for smellies. This year they have some fabulous Xmas special editions. From minty fresh skin conditioners to decadent cognac infused bombs everything looks wonderful.

If you’re looking for something more personal I highly recommend Inara Candles. All hand

poured & using only soy wax they have some unique scents. They also offer a personalisation service, meaning you can add messages, intials etc to the candle label. Such a nice touch.

Inara candles

I’m looking to my old fav BarryM for a touch of shimmer with their amazing Unicorn Beauty Elixir & Liquid Glitter. Both can be used alone or mixed with other products to give anything from fresh glow to dazzling glitter. Then there’s the new kid on the block, Inglot. This is Jlo’s cosmetic range. As expected there’s a lot of highly pigmented products. One of the most Xmas gift appropriate is this vivid red liquid lippie with just enough sparkle.

BarryM & Inglot

Music & books have long been gifts I have enjoyed giving & receiving. It’s nice to have something to unwind with once the craziness of Xmas is over. These beauties are guaranteed to cheer up a dreary January.

Saltire Comic Book, Lily Allen’s No Shame, Challenge Accepted by Celeste Barber, My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen, The Beta Band’s 3 EPs.

I raved about Spunkrock Star before & I am sure I will continue to do so. Her sublime erotic art is perfect for any kink lovers in your life. Her beautiful portraits are also really smashing present.

Spunkrock star

If you want to make someone feel extra special this Christmas time I think Jewellery is the way to go. Rather than focusing on expensive fancy brand names I think you should check out these independent jewellery designers. They’re each creating breathtaking handmade pieces. What’s more your paramour will be donning something much more exclusive than anything you can source from the high street.

Oh Gosh Silver produce simple & timeless pieces.

Oh gosh silver

Chalso offer delicate beaded jewellery and silver work. Clean lines & skilful use of colour combined to make lovely pieces.

Chalso jewellery

Last, but the exact opposite of least is Kracken Jewellery. I have one of their pieces & I cherish it. Kracken have an eclectic range of designs. The incredible Gaudi inspired silver pieces are guaranteed to start conversations. Whilst the brightly coloured laser cut plastic rings will definitely brighten your days.

Kracken jewellery

Bells will ring…

I have a couple of weddings to attend this winter & nothing to wear. In my panic to rectify that situation I have stumbled upon some new plus size high street options. I now have a new problem, which of these gorgeous dresses do I buy?

Quiz has never really been on my radar, mainly because I had no clue that they stocked my size. Colour me delighted to discover they actually have a Curve range that goes up to a 26, which includes these wedding ready party dresses. I’ve narrowed it down to one of these beauties.


Debut is a brand I had never even heard of. I discovered them via Debenhams website & I am so pleased that I did. They have really flirty cocktail dresses, again topping out at a size 26. I did manage to whittle my favs down to two, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to choose between them. I can has both, yes?


The biggest revelation has been the Lipsy Curve range. This is a brand I have previously castigated for having impossibly small sizes. It warms my heart to see how far the plus size revolution is spreading. They have a really excellent selection of going out dresses, ranging from funky to formal. I am lusting after quite a number of their dresses, but these are my wedding picks. 

I am famously indecisive, but these frocks have got me stuck. Help a girl out, which would you choose?

Mamma Mia….

With Mother’s Day fast approaching I wanted to take a little time to honour the amazing woman who is my Mum. 

With parents usually being our biggest early influences an awesome mother goes a long way in creating an awesome woman. I am lucky enough to have just such motherly figure. From the very beginning she taught me that I had strength, power & choice. Leading by example my Mum raised four children before returning to work & forging a successful career. In doing so she proved  that women need not be just one thing. All choices are valid & none are final. 

My Mum takes control, she speaks her mind & she owns her opinions. Growing up with a woman like this allowed me not to be cowed. The fact that I could always rely on her support & acceptance allowed me to grow into the person I am. She instilled the confidence in me to not only be who I want to be, but to be vocal & unashamed about it. I doubt my Mum would describe herself as a feminist, but she certainly helped forge the radical feminist I have become. 

Basically, my Mum is amazing. She is glamorous, independent, funny, loyal & supportive. Above all, she is always there. I can rely on her to be there for my disasters & triumphs. I know she will always be fighting in my corner. 



I love you, Mum. Thank you. 

If your Mum is also one in a million, don’t forget to spoil her this Mother’s Day. Why not enter Parkdean’s Mother’s Day competition & win a relaxing break for your fabulous Mum.