How to spend… December

The first advent doors have been opened, Christmas shopping is fully underway and the streets are aglow with twinkling lights overhead – it’s finally December!

This is hands down my favourite time of the year. I love the feeling of anticipation as Christmas approaches, the mad rush in the shops fulfilling wish lists, the sing-song exchanges of ‘merry Christmas!’ and, of course, the food. Here are my suggestions for the festive season…

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*Have a go at handmade gifts: Rather than fighting the crowds and spending your every last penny, have a go at making some gifts this year. They will always be hugely appreciated and it’s a fun, festive activity! For the most loved person on your ‘to buy’ list, a scrapbook is an amazing keepsake. And, in a world where all of our pictures are digital, printing out and presenting photos has something special about it. Festive baking is a great way to give in bulk, and you can make your handmade goodies look beautiful with packaging, ribbon and gift tags (try Lakeland for supplies!). Or, spend a Sunday afternoon making paperchains and Christmas cards by the fire.

*Go ice skating: My all time favourite festive activity! Even if you’re a bit wobbly on the ice, you won’t be alone and its surprising how quickly you can gain your balance and start whizzing around. If it’s really not your thing, it’s also fun to watch the crowds gliding along (with the occasional fall…) and the stewards always put on an impressive display. Grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine, enjoy the festive music and watch them go round until you feel dizzy.

*Cosy down with your favourite book: … or read the next installment of your favourite series! With the holidays coming, everyone having a little more time on their hands and the temperatures forever dropping outside, now is the perfect time to revisit an old favourite or finally getting around the reading the next part of a series. Grab a blanket and cuppa and position yourself by the fire with the intention of not moving for a few hours…

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*Take time out in a coffee shop: Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle but without the stress. Christmas is the time of year for the coffee chains. With the fun, flavoured drinks, the festive cups and everyone rejoicing that their seasonal favourites are back, they are a great place to catch up with that friend you haven’t seen in ages, or simply people watch. Take a book or start making your to buy list, and just take an hour out from the craziness.

*Finally, eat all the mince pies!: Last of all my favourite suggestion, relax about what you’re eating. Of course, everything in moderation, but if you want the extra mince pie, or cake as well as pudding, I say go for it. This delicious, festive food will be gone before we know it. See you in the gym in January…

Merry Christmas, everyone – have a great month!

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The Perfect Jeans

Today is going to be a chat all about the number one staple in my wardrobe: black skinny jeans. I’ve been having a love affair with a range of jeans for a few years now, and it’s about time I shared!

Topshop make the best jeans. Hands down. End of. Trust me, they will fix all of your jean-related woes. Their selection can seem endless, high-waisted, mid-rise, skinny, boyfriend, mom, ankle grazers, ripped… the list goes on. However, my go-to pair of jeans have been getting some bad press and I want to put that right.

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I am the proud owner of ten pairs of Topshop jeans (I do need them all, and I still want more…!), but the black Leigh jeans are my favourites. They are not like normal jeans though, and this is where people start to dislike them. The material is much, much softer. If you want a pair of traditional black jeans, go for the Topshop Jamies. These are made of a stiffer material, more like traditional denim.

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These are the best jeans because of the softer material. It makes them so unbelievably comfy when skinny jeans are renowned for being uncomfortable. The softer material does mean that the Leigh jeans probably wear the worse out of the Topshop range. The high-waisted Jonis are much more elastic but the Leighs will start to stretch over time. However, I had my previous pair for two years and that’s pretty good going when you wear them multiple times a week, every week.

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The Leighs are also mid-rise, which I really love, particularly through winter. Trends call for high-waisted jeans, but when you’re layered up for the chill, noone can see the high waist! High-waisted jeans are great for sucking it all in, but I find they can get uncomfortable after a while, and going out for a meal in them is obviously a massive no-no.

The Topshop jeans (all of them!) are also the best because of how well they fit. I know this is personal preference, but I know so many girls of all different shapes that love the fit. They are sold with a waist size and leg length, rather than as a standard size 8, 10 etc. So if you have a tiny waist and short legs, they will fit you. If you have a larger waist and long legs, they will also fit you, and so on through every combination.

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I would recommend the black ones simply because of how flattering they are, and this is true of all black skinny jeans. They elongate your legs and make them look slimmer in a way that blue jeans just don’t. Finally, what doesn’t go with black? They make such a great base for any outfit, and can look so much smarter than blue jeans if you need them to.

If you don’t have a pair of these in your wardrobe, you are missing out. Go on, add them to your Christmas wish list…