‘Tis the Season of Festive Traditions

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It’s Christmas everybody! I hope you all have a lovely day filled with lots of Christmas cheer, Michael Buble and heapings of Christmas pudding. Before I share with you some of my favourite gifts this year, I thought I would mention some of our family’s favourite Christmas traditions.

Every family has them. You know, watching your favourite Christmas film, going to hear the carols, making snowmen. Unfortunately, here in Australia, that last one is simply not possible. But we do have our own Christmas traditions which are just as special. These are just a few that my family and I treasure each year:

1. The Christmas movie – yes, every family has one. The corny, terrible Christmas movie filled with cheap laughs and truly awful gags. But we still love them. We have a routine in our house for watching Christmas movies. On Christmas Eve EVE we watch the first two Home Alone movies (the best ones, I think). Then, on Christmas Eve we watch Elf. And on Christmas Day we sit back with a cup of coffee and some homemade chocolates (courtesy of my talented little sister) to watch Love Actually. I know, all extremely corny and, some would say, terrible. But we love them, and they make Christmas special!

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2. Going to see the Christmas lights – okay, perhaps we have outgrown this one. But luckily for us, we have two gorgeous little cousins (7 and 4 years old) who still find this tradition remarkably special. To watch their little eyes light up and their hearts fill with joy makes me melt. It’s just so beautiful … not the lights – the children, and the Christmas spirit. The lights are another story. Talk about tacky! All extremely garish and distasteful (some of them having absolutely nothing to do with Christmas – one house had dinosaurs and cacti!), but still festive all the same. And if you can’t be tacky at Christmas-time, when can you?

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3. Christmas dinner – now, I know a lot of people seem to celebrate Christmas lunch as the main meal of the day, but we have always been all about dinner. One year, I took it upon myself to cook up a huge three course meal all by myself. For starters – a fresh, garlic and prawn salad. For mains – roast chicken with juicy baked potatoes, sweet little glazed carrots, lightly cooked asparagus with butter and little roasted vine-ripened tomatoes. Oh, and gravy of course. And for dessert – a yule log with little chocolate leaves, some delicious rum balls and some kind of German biscuit (I forget the name). It was actually a huge success, apart from the dropping of the yule log all over the floor. I nearly screamed. But we managed to piece it all together (thankfully it was already wrapped in cling film so it wasn’t contaminated) and it still tasted delicious. Tonight we are having dinner out for a change – at the Sofitel in Brisbane City. It’s so beautiful in there, with grand open spaces, views of the clock tower, elegant displays of enormous gingerbread houses and intrinsically decorated baubles. I can’t wait!

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4. Air conditioning and iced water – so of course it’s summertime here in Australia and air conditioning is an absolute must. But it doesn’t stop it being a glorious luxury all the same. I just love the cool quiet of the unassuming white box in the corner of the room, slowly sucking up the hot, sticky air and replacing it with a cool, dry breeze. And pair that with a glass filled with iced water and you have yourself a little piece of heaven! I have so many memories of dragging my mattress into my parents’ room when I was little so that we could all sleep in the air conditioning. We never really used it much any other time. So it still feels like Christmas every time we use it.

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5. The family breakfast – whilst dinner is our meal, reserved for just our little family, breakfast is a time for everyone. The grandparents, the cousins, the uncles, the aunts. I don’t always get along with every member of my extended family, but at Christmas-time I can forgive almost anything. Recently, we have narrowed the gathering down to a handful of our closest relatives and it just feels so nice spending time with them. This morning I spent precious time with my three little cousins (the two mentioned before along with another little 2-year-old who has the most adorable smile you ever saw!). Seeing them with all of their presents, huge smiles on their little faces and laughter in their voices, makes Christmas really feel like Christmas. I’m so blessed to have the family I have. Really I am. I know a lot of people who can’t stand their family. But mine is truly special.

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Well, enough sentimentality. Onto presents! I will share with you only two presents, as this post is getting rather long and I don’t want to bore you. I shall make it brief.

1. Vogue – my wonderful little sister bought me a year subscription to American Vogue, which I LOVE her for! I have read the entire December issue from cover to cover and am eager for more. Come on January!

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2. MAC paint pots – and my best friend bought me two MAC paint pots: Camel Coat and Quite Natural. They’re so smooth and lovely to apply. And they stay on wonderfully!

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Well, a very merry Christmas to you all! May all your Christmas wishes come true.

A x

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Paradise

I thought it high time to give a shout-out to one of my favourite shows. Now, many of you may not have even heard of it. Not many people have. I just love it though, and thought it worthy of sharing with all of you. It’s called – The Paradise. There are now two seasons, and they are both absolutely brilliant! Please watch it, it really is a must-see.

The setting is an 1800’s English department store. A spectacular department store, I might add. And one of the first of its kind for the era. The props are magnificent, the sets are beautiful (the entire town was crafted by skilled workers, nothing is filmed in a studio!) and the actors are wonderful. And don’t even get me started on the costumes! Ahh, it’s all too glorious to describe. Just watch it and you’ll understand my sentiments!

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A x

Christmas Wish List

On my Christmas list this year is a mixture of beauty products, books, household items and fashion goodies. What’s on yours?

1. Becca – Shimmering Skin Perfector (Moonstone)

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2. The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake

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3. Balenciaga – L’Eau Rose Eau de Toilette

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4. Eleven Paris Town Dress with Leather Neckline Detail (ASOS) –

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5. OPI – Embrace Dare Ya!

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6. NEST – Blue Garden Classic Candle

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7. Anna Karenina (the 2012 film)

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8. Caudalie – Beauty Elixir

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9. Topshop – Geometric Tassel Necklace

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10. Nikon – D5200 camera

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Red and Gold Fever

So, just in case you didn’t already know, it’s Christmas-time! Ahhh, the snow, the lights, the carols, the shop window displays, the Christmas wreaths, the mistletoe, the chestnuts roasting, the fires blazing … well, perhaps it’s not all quite like that, but at what time of year is the imagination more necessary than at Christmas? Even here in sunny Australia, Christmas is felt. Little boutiques and large shopping centers alike are filled with sounds of Michael Buble crooning away or Mariah Carey singing out that famous Christmas hymn, All I Want for Christmas. I have to admit, it’s difficult to feel angry or depressed when everything around you is so jolly!

Last night, my family and I went to see some amazing Christmas carols at our local church. A little early for that, you may say? I say it’s the perfect way to kick off the month of December! My outfit for the night was a deep red wrap dress over a plain white cami, with little black heels, a gold crucifix around my neck, long gold earrings and a gold bangle on my wrist. I also curled my hair, painted my nails with OPI’s “Danke- Shiny Red”, dusted my eyelids in sparkling gold and layered on some dazzling red lipstick. Yep, I was clad head to toe in festive red and gold! I just love dressing for the Christmas season, don’t you? It’s my favourite time of year!

Some Christmas inspiration for a radiant, festive look –

1. Chanel’s ‘Cils Scintillantes Sparkling Mascara Top Coat’

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2. MAC’s ‘Divine Night Lipstick – Prepare for Pleasure’

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3. Dior’s ‘5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette – Golden Flower’

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4. Estee Lauder’s ‘Pure Colour Gloss – Garnet Desire’

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5. Lancôme’s ‘La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum Legere’ 

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6. OPI’s ‘In My Santa Suit’ Nail Polish

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7. Calvin Klein’s ‘Continue Pendant’

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8. Guess’ ‘Jesper2 Platform Peeptoe Glitter Pump’

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Well, happy Christmas season, my lovelies!

A x