29
Nov

2019 Lifestyle trends just around the corner

It’s nearly the end of 2018 and, as ever, so much has happened in a year that’s positively whizzed by.

We’ve seen a landmark decision on animal skins as major fashion houses choose fake over fur; social media is awash with horrific accounts of plastic pollution, advancing the sustainable agenda yet further; and October saw a hugely impactful report on climate change which told us we have 12 years to make considerable changes to our lifestyles to stem the damage to the environment.

With all this going on, and no sign of our interest in fashion and interior design waning, what does it mean for 2019’s trends?

Flexible and multi-functional

Our society is seeing less and less of the old nine-to-five routine as working from home, remote teams and virtual offices take off. Fashion is predicted to follow suit with an innovative mix of formal and relaxed wear – athleisure – hitting the high streets during SS19. Think oversized blazers teamed with joggers, bringing an element of power-dressing to our lives outside of the office.

And, as a nod to the ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ mantra, we want more flexibility and functionality from our clothing too. In some cases, this means clothing that can adapt to our unpredictable seasons – think coats with interchangeable linings and even heaters! Yes, you read that right: down jackets from Ravean come with a 12v battery, which can be used to heat your jacket or charge your phone.

eco wear

Building a sustainable future

It’s no surprise that the fashion world is keen to clean up its act. Consumers want to be more responsible and lifestyles are changing, requiring more choice in materials.

Sustainable fabrics and vegan alternatives are both predicted to become more widely available in the fashion and cosmetics worlds with faux fur, synthetic silk and animal-free leather being among the innovative new ideas.

Dubbed ‘eco-fashion’, this movement involves clothing producers considering the impact of their processes and products on the world around them; in turn allowing their consumers to do the same. Organic cotton is now favoured by many brands, and is increasingly complemented by other eco-friendly fabrics, such as Tencel (made from wood-pulp), hemp and bamboo.

Plant-based products – the seed of an idea

plant based fashion

Skincare has long had a happy association with botanicals but, with our knowledge of the impact of toxins on our planet, it’s likely that plant-based products will start to overtake their more mainstream competitors, which are becoming ever harder to justify.

The rise and rise of the vegan trend is also pushing the plant-based agenda hard and veganism is by no means limited to food: take a look at this fabulous website for news of all things plants and eco, including garments made from spider silk and handbags made from plastic bottles.

Sticking with Style

With all these issues on the fashion agenda, you’ll be pleased to know there’s no let-up in creativity and design for SS19. Our clothes remain as inspirational as ever, with bright colours being a particular focus for the new year. According to Elle Magazine, we can expect to get very frilly with our evening wear and take a trip down memory lane, with both tie-dye and neon enjoying a resurgence in our shop windows. The key colour for the season is set to be a cheerful marigold yellow – certainly something to bring us cheer and hope for a bright future on planet Earth.

marigold yellow boots

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

Karrimor Hot Rock Jacket Mens

Sports Direct

Karrimor Hot Rock Jacket Mens – £79.99

 

 

 

Tie Dye

WHSmith

Tie-Dye 101 – £3.99

 

 

 

Organic Cotton

Boots

Matchstick Monkey Organic Cotton Swaddle Blanket with Teething Label 2 – £24.00

 

 

 

 

8
Nov

November: Rain Or Shine?

So far, we’ve had a warmer than average October, but this season’s wet weather gear is simply too good to save for a rainy day. Check out the fabulous colours and styles on offer and get yourself decked out for some outdoor fun!

A drop of inspiration

It’s not as if we needed proof that, for fashionistas in 2018, anything goes, but here’s some anyway. Back in January, Fendi’s menswear show in Milan featured monogrammed umbrella hats. Yes, you read that right. Somewhat chicer than the ones you might be used to seeing, they were a part of the ‘ease-of-travel’ themed show and perfectly demonstrated the benefits of keeping dry and still being able to use your hands.

If anyone knows how to put the ‘oooh’ into monsoon, it’s British Vogue. Check out their article on How To Style Out a Rainy Day for inspiration. We particularly like the cute see-through rain hats. So much nicer than the ones your Nan used to tie round her hair to keep the blue rinse from running.

wellington boots

Wellie Watching

Since the rise and rise of festival chic, wellies are a staple part of everyone’s wardrobe. They’re also now available in more shapes, colours and styles than you can shake a wet stick at. But what should you look for when choosing your ultimate puddle-jumping footwear?

Wonderfulwellies.co.uk recommends three top qualities: comfort, warmth and waterproofing.

Here are our top tips for picking the very best pair of boots:

Size: In terms of fit, it’s not just about foot sizing. You also need to think about the fit around your calf. Too tight and puddle jumping could be problematic. Too baggy and you might end up taking on water.

Durability: wellies are available for every type of activity you can imagine, from festivals to farming, and walking to wading. As with all things, price affects durability. You get what you pay for and, if you’re planning to use your wellies in anger, it’s worth looking for a more durable, higher-priced pair, or even the more specialist styles designed with a particular activity in mind.

Comfort: there are a couple of things to consider in terms of comfort. Firstly; the lining of your wellies. Some of the higher-priced boots have a neoprene or other type of additional lining, making them more comfortable that the ‘single-skin’ versions. These linings can also keep your feet warmer but you need to be careful not to buy a boot that will be too warm in Spring or Summer. Secondly, you need to check that the wellies you choose give your feet and ankles adequate support. Even if you’re just wearing them for dog walking, you’ll soon feel a lack of support if you’re on grass or rough terrain.

umbrellas

Brilliant Brollies

Despite huge technological advances across society, the design of the humble umbrella has barely changed since it was invented over 4,000 years ago. First designed to protect people from the sun, the rain umbrella seems to date from the 17th century, although they were originally made of silk, which offered very little water resistance.

Given 2018’s trend for varied textures and unusual materials, it’s no surprise to learn that umbrellas haven’t escaped the eye of the fashion creatives, as this piece by pouted.com shows.

However, if you want something a little more sedate than an umbrella with a light saber as a handle, the high street choice is as colourful and varied as ever. From clear plastic ‘bubble’ brollies, to rainbow brights and autumn leaf prints, there’s something here for everyone.

It’s almost a shame to wait for the rain to come.

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

Requisite Print Wellingtons

Sports Direct

Requisite Print Wellingtons- £19.99

 

 

 

Rain By: Barney Campbell

WHSmith

Rain By: Barney Campbell – £5.75

 

 

 

Mocktail Scented Candle - Purple Rain

Card Factory

Mocktail Scented Candle – Purple Rain – 2.99

 

 

 

30
Oct

Time for a little retail therapy?

It’s a well-worn phrase but why do we refer to shopping as ‘therapy’?

Aside from the obvious outcome of new clothes or shoes, there are many reasons we love to shop. With busy lives and constant connection, we sometimes need to take time out to recharge our batteries. For many people, being mindful is about blocking out life’s ‘noise’ and getting some downtime in their head. Shopping is one thing that people feel they can relax into. Browsing slows us down and gives us an excuse to focus on ourselves: so, it’s official… getting out and about on the High Street is good for your health.

  1. Relaxation: we live in a hectic world, with constant noise from social media, news outlets and more. What better way to focus the mind on some non-digital activity than shopping? Purely by occupying your mind with just one thing for a couple of hours, you can release tension, put your troubles to one side and relax.
  1. Confidence: if you look good, you feel good and your local shopping centre definitely has the power to provide you with a killer new outfit. Just by trying on new clothes and imagining wearing them, we can boost our mood and make ourselves feel happy and confident. Plus, it’s great exercise, meaning calories are burnt and lots of lovely, happy endorphins are released, lifting your mood and lightening your step.

two people in a coffee shop

  1. Entertainment: Leisure time should be quality time, whether you spend it just with your good self, or with family or friends. It’s easy to see how you can while away a few hours browsing or buying under the bright lights and dazzling wonders of your shopping centre. You might be looking for something to do while the kids are at clubs or have time between meetings; either way, time flies when you’re having fun!
  1. Creative pride: pulling together a stunning outfit or finding just the right accessory for you or your home instills a sense of pride. You’ve created something new – and you get to take it home and enjoy it even more. This is the feel-good factor that keeps on giving.

shoppers

  1. Social interaction: of course, there’s only one thing that beats shopping, and that’s shopping with friends. The shopping centre can provide the perfect day out with some retail therapy, followed by coffee, lunch or some beauty therapy. Go on, your friends will thank you for it.

So, there you have it. Shopping is about so much more than revamping your wardrobe or stocking up on toiletries. It’s actually good for you from a health and wellbeing point of view. By getting out and about, we are exercised and invigorated and we have the joyful bonus of bags of goodies to unwrap when we get home. And if that doesn’t convince you, try Glamour’s alternative list of legit reasons to hit the High Street. What are you waiting for?

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

Saucony Kinvara 4

Sports Direct

Saucony Kinvara 4 – £50.00

 

 

 

2019 retro calendar

Card Factory

2019 Retro Calendar- £1.99

 

 

 

Chesterfield Library

Relax and unwind with a good book from the library.

 

 

 

10
Oct

Where will you put your pumpkin?

There’s an interesting new trend for Halloween 2018…Check out Instagram, and you’ll find a range of orange glitter-painted pumpkin butts! According to an article in Metro recently, making your best asset into a sparkly, painted pumpkin is this year’s spooky thing to do….but we’re not sure it’ll work out well as a trick or treat costume in your local neighbourhood!

For those of you who prefer to stay covered up, we’ve come up with 5 wicked ways to enjoy Halloween this year (all while revealing appropriate amounts of flesh!)

1. Throw a Halloween party

These days, the UK retail sector is really embracing Halloween with the Association of Town & City Management telling us it’s the fastest growing retail event for under-18’s. In fact, after Christmas and Easter, it’s the third largest retail event of the year so there’s no shortage of fantastically fearful accessories and decorations in the shops.

From terrifying tableware to scary snacks, you can easily create a party with a difference to celebrate the occasion. All the usual rules go out of the window for Hallowe’en, when it seems perfectly acceptable to serve bite-size eyeballs or finger food crawling with spiders and bats.

Halloween costumes

2. Decorate your doorstep

Towns and villages across the UK have seen ever-increasing efforts made to spookify their surroundings on Halloween. From pretty wreaths to life-size ghosts and ghouls, it’s clear that all tastes can be catered for.

Don’t forget the trademark pumpkins, complete with creepy carvings, to add the finishing touches. Tradition says if you’re pumpkin is lit you’re happy to have trick-or-treaters knock at the door so make sure you’ve stocked up on sweets too.

3. Go along to an organized event

With Halloween enjoying ever-greater popularity, most public attractions will be holding special events or themed promotions. Many of these are great for kids and adults alike. For 2018, English Heritage is running family events including terrifying trails, spooky storytelling and creepy crafts, made all the more realistic when they are in the grounds of an old house or castle.

Falling so close to school half term holidays makes Halloween a fantastic opportunity for family fun; watch out for themed outings for quality time and fresh air as an added bonus.

4. Go full on haunted house

Give trick-or-treaters an amazing experience by creating a haunted house look indoors. Imagine the door opening and a ghoulish graveyard awaiting: creepy corridors, scary staircases and all manner of other scene-setters are available to take your decorating to the next level. In the digital age, it’s all about immersing yourself in fake reality and this will bring you right up to date with the latest themed decorating.

Of course, there’s no shortage of cobwebs and skeletons to add to the overall effect so let your imagination run wild. If you can’t do it at Halloween, when can you do it?

Halloween Outfit

5. Trick or Tree-eat?

You’re never too old for a bucketful of sweets, so grab the kids and head out for an early evening wander around the neighbourhood. As well as making sure you get your sugar fix, it’s a great way to see what your neighbours have come up with for Halloween and get some even better ideas for next year!

Don’t forget, take a torch for the darker roads, put something bright on the kids to make them easily seen and follow the Halloween code: if there’s a lit pumpkin, feel free to knock!

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

Sports Direct

‘This is my Halloween Outfit’ Slogan T-shirt – £3.99

 

 

 

Sports Direct

Hanging Reaper Halloween Decoration – £3.99

 

 

 

WHSmith

The Halloween Book – £8.27

 

 

 

Boots

Mix It Halloween Fake Blood – £2.00

 

 

 

24
Sep

Fall in love with Autumn

We’re seeing some definite autumnal signs and can’t help feeling that bubbling excitement at the prospect of a new season, new clothes, different things to do and the beauty of the most colourful season of the year.

This week, we’ve taken a closer look at Autumn and it’s colours, textures and accessories and, it’s safe to say, we’re already just a little bit in love…

This year, the gorgeous Autumn staples of oranges, browns and rich creams are here again but there’s also an injection of extra warmth with pastel and bright pinks, striking statement reds, and the ever-popular metallic and prints which provide a real showy edge to our wardrobes. Talking of print, this year is seeing some real beauties in the shops, including zebra, leopard, python and cheetah.

Colour Analysis

Colours become attractive to us for many reasons. Sometimes they simply grab our attention, sometimes we know what works well with our hair or skin colouring. Personal shoppers often suggest having ‘colour analysis’ to better understand what shades work best for us. There’s no doubt, our brains are attracted to certain colours for different reasons and Autumn is one of the best seasons to find a real range of hues.

Orange is the colour of optimism and social communication. It’s considered an optimistic colour which brings to mind feelings of energy and warmth. The perfect descriptor for an energetic walk in the leaves followed by a chat over hot chocolate!

Browns are seen as friendly, down-to-earth colours, which convey feelings of comfort, strength and reliability. Rich, chocolatey throws and soft cushions help us chill without the cold.

Bed

Gold colours signify luxury and abundance and evoke feelings of extravagance, value and quality, and, of course, party wear. What better time of year to throw caution to the wind and bring the bling.

Fall feels good

scarf

Autumn has to be known for textures, with layers the order of the day. From bracing woodland walks to fireside chats, layering is the ideal way to experiment with a host of colours and patterns and, of course, cope with whatever the weather brings. There’s still the chance to bring fun patterns into the mix as florals move from ditsy to decadent, with dark, dramatic backgrounds bringing in a seasonal twist.

It’s a great time to be shopping for those winter knits, with hats, scarves and gloves starting to appear in the shops now. Vogue’s Ultimate Hat Guide shows everything from caps to balaclavas and snoods being hot for 2018, and, back on the high street, there’s no shortage of style mash-ups to choose from.

Fireside glow

Don’t forget to relax in style as well with beautifully soft, cosy socks and sumptuous throws and blankets to continue the layering theme that’s so hot for 2018. Get yourself a warming scented candle and an oversized mug of hot chocolate and you’re good to go…even if it is only as far as your sofa!

Hot chocolate

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

slazenger hoody

Sports Direct

Slazenger Full Zip Hoody – £14.00

 

 

 

Lilley Block Heeled Ankle Boots

ShoeZone

Lilley Block Heeled Ankle Boots – £19.99

 

 

 

 

hugo boss private accord

The Fragrance Shop

Hugo Boss ‘Private Accord’ for men – £68.50

 

 

 

 

10
Sep

Goodbye summer blues, hello new you

The summer holidays are over and with any luck you’ve taken some time out and are feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to embrace the autumn and winter months, despite any post-holiday blues. What better way to give yourself an all over health boost than to address your fitness, your vitamin intake and your diet? After all, Christmas is only a few months away.

FITNESS – GET YOUR GEAR ON

If you’re planning to run away any excess holiday pounds, be it through running, boxing, Pilates, yoga, HIIT classes or a certain sport, invest in quality sports gear and you’ll feel twice as guilty at letting your training slide between now and Christmas, or giving up at the first hurdle. From renowned sportswear labels to high-street brands, the shops are full of new season fitness gear and footwear that combine fashion and function in a high-performance mix to take your training to new levels.

fitness gearDo your shoes fit? The most necessary purchase you’ll need to make is on a pair of performance enhancing trainers. Invest in a pair to suit your activity or sport and support the shape of your foot. Ask a trained shop assistant to recommend a specialist brand, such as Brooks, Asics, Reebok, Nike, adidas or New Balance based on the way they fit your feet. This will help you avoid any injuries.

trainers

Better comfort and performance? Look for breathable, durable, design-focused sportswear in fast drying fabrics, specifically designed to regulate temperature, such as sweat-wicking fabrics on vests for indoor training and thermal, long-sleeved tops for outdoor exercise.

Want to look the part? There is no excuse for looking drab, especially when there are so many fabulous fabrics, colours and prints available to buy. Have fun with neon and monochrome geometric, floral and splattered prints on clothing and accessories. The brighter, the better.

neon workout gear

HEALTH – NATURAL VITAMIN BOOSTS

Top up your vitamin intake and give yourself an energy boost. Whether you do this through supplements or with specific foods, it’ll help your performance and also make you feel on top of the world. As will drinking 2 to 3 litres of water per day, swapping caffeine for green tea, grazing on plenty of nuts, berries and grains and cooking only in coconut oil.

grazing

Why not start juicing? Super healthy cold-presses and juice-smoothies retain the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and enzymes that promise to help you lose weight, boost immunity and cleanse your system. Use fresh ingredients in a cold-press to create purple beet juices, green kale juices and orange carrot juices bursting with goodness. Alternatively, create a juice-smoothie using a blender by adding bulky fruits with some crushed flaxseeds, chia seeds and nuts. Take a look in department and electronic stores now for some of the best bargains on electric blenders and juicers.

juicing

Want a breakfast of champions? Start the day with a vitamin induced breakfast packed full of proteins, grains, vegetables and fruits and you’ll be well on your way.

  • Put apples and kale in your breakfast smoothie to boost cardio.
  • Include spinach, eggs and avocado on your toast to help maintain muscle.
  • Add blueberries and honey to your porridge help prevent injury.
  • Add pine nuts, walnuts and almonds to cereals to stay lean and healthy.

healthy breakfast

VITAMINS – SHAPE UP WITH SUPPLEMENTS

Exercising and eating in the right way will build new lean muscle mass while burning unwanted fat. However, training hard can deplete your body of vitamins and nutrients essential for muscle gain and fat loss. Even with the best diet possible, it can be tough to get all these vital elements, and that’s where supplements are needed.

Add several health and fitness supplements to your daily regime to help your body on its road to fitness, leaving you feeling energised, supporting weight loss, as well as boosting your immune system and improving your skin. Talk to an expert at a health food shop or pharmacist where you’ll find an abundance of fitness supplements in the form of tablets, powders, protein bars and protein balls.

fitness supplements

Vitamins A, C, D, E and Zinc – To boost your natural immunity and stay on top of your game.

BCAAs – To maximise muscle growth. These are amino acids that are a great source of protein for those who are dieting and counting calories.

Creatine – To aid muscle development and build strength. This is great for weight training and strength sports.

Omega 3 Fish Oil – To assist with cognitive function, fat burning and hormonal output.

Green Powder– To supplement a shortfall of nutrients and minerals. This is essential if you don’t eat enough leafy greens. Ensure your chosen green powder contains adequate amounts of fibre, antioxidants, digestive enzymes and wheatgrasses

Vitamin D – To boost bone density and energy production. From the lack of sunlight in the UK many people can suffer from low vitamin D levels which can drop dangerously low in winter.

Whey Protein – To repair sore muscles and trigger growth. Rich in BCAAs, whey is ideal pre or post-workout.

Glucosamine – For stronger joints. This is typically made from shellfish, can reinforce cartilage by stimulating the cells to produce proteoglycans, which can improve joint function and mobility.

Glutamine – To add muscle faster. This is an amino acid that minimises the breakdown of muscle tissues during strenuous exercise as well as improving muscle synthesis. Having adequate levels has also been linked to improved brain and gut health.

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

leggings

Sports Direct

USA Pro Leggings Ladies – £12

 

 

 

adidas cloudfoam racer mens trainers

Sports Direct

adidas Cloudfoam Racer Mens Trainers – £49.99

 

 

 

 

nike evolution 4 ladies trainers

Sports Direct

Nike Revolution 4 Ladies Trainers – £35.00

 

 

 

 

mbody superfoods

Boots

Mbody Super Greens 400g – £16.00

 

 

 

16
Aug

Ten Top Tips to Deal with the Tricky Transition Season

With sultry summer days still clear in our memory, this tricky time of transition, before Autumn arrives in all its glory, can be a wardrobe nightmare. Follow our top ten transition wardrobe tips and avoid the pitfalls of unpredictable weather by blending the seasons perfectly.

1. Darker basics

Replacing your whites and pastels with deeper colours gives a nod to Autumnal hues. Moving from summer brights to deeper tones will help mix and match summer favourites with Autumn staples to create a flexible look.

2. Feels like Autumn

The change of seasons is just as much about texture as colour. Bringing in a few textured items will achieve that new season look without you being overdressed when the sun puts in an appearance. Go for open knits rather than anything too heavy. Texture can come from accessories too: bags are exciting this Autumn with materials such as beads, and even wood, featuring heavily

autumn fashion

3. Summer repurposed

Don’t give up on your favourite summer dresses yet. The right styles can easily be teamed with a plain white tee and some will look just as good with a pair of boots as they did with your summer sandals.

4. Cover up with a cape

Cape-lovers will be delighted to hear that this easy, cool-but-covered style isn’t going anywhere soon. Blanket coats will be featuring this Autumn, helping us all to stay warm on those cooler evenings. Coats and jackets of all sorts are your friend in a transition wardrobe: they are the ultimate in layering and adding a chic look during inclement weather.

5. Versatility

Being versatile with every piece in your wardrobe will make dressing for the change of season much easier. Some of your summer outfits can be layered with an over-sized, chunky-knit cardi or even knee-highs for a look that’s a cosy as it is chic. And, for those ditsy summer prints, simply add leather for style that’s perfect for Autumn days.

cardigan

6. Prints are in

There’s no need to worry that an Autumn wardrobe means drab days ahead. Quite the opposite as there’s lots of emphasis on graphic prints and colour blocking. The season’s biggest hit though, is animal print. Leopard print leads the charge and with many more big design houses choosing faux over fur, it’s a look we can all enjoy.

7. Boho is back

Hooray, everyone’s favourite look, the effortless and enduring boho-chic is here to stay. Maxi dresses are a great transition wardrobe addition as they can be easily layered and teamed with all sorts of footwear from strappy sandals to knee-length boots.

8. These boots were made for wearing

We all secretly love the day we can wear our boots again – but AW18 signals a new style that’s perfect for transition. Ankle-length, heeled sock boots in purest white can be worn with long layers or minis and bare legs, for just the subtlest nod to summer.

For some fabulous looks, check out this Harper’s Bazaar piece on how to transition your boots.

As seems to be the theme for AW18, the rulebook on shapes, fabrics and finishes has gone out of the window. Check out this amazing take on the style from Topshop.

boots

9. Skirting the issue

We may take the humble skirt for granted but it’s probably the single best transition item you could own, with Elle even claiming 2018 is set to be the year of the skirt.

Quite happy coupled with long boots on a cooler day or teamed with anything from strappy heels to your kicked out converse, the skirt is flexible and fuss-free. Try different styles and colours to complement your late summer and Autumn wardrobes. With yellows, deep red and greens in the shops now, it’s easy to find versatile skirts whatever the weather.

10. It’s all in the details

For Autumn 2018, accessories are set to become the main event. Shoes, bags, jewellery and even hats have been pimped and primed.

The popularity of animal print is influencing shoes and bags and every material imaginable is fair game in the world of accessories. There are leather bags masquerading as plastic shopping bags, as well as mags made of carpet, plastic, and gem-studded. Jewellery is over-sized and amazing and hats range from wide-brimmed to balaclava style.

accessories

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

Lilley women’s tan turn collar ankle boot

Shoe Zone

Lilley women’s tan turn collar ankle boot – £24.99

 

Lee copper Fleck Cardigan Ladies

Sports Direct

Lee cooper Fleck Cardigan Ladies – £5.99

 

 

 

Firetrap PinaforDrs Ld84

Sports Direct

Firetrap PinaforDrs Ld84 – £34.99

 

 

 

Miso Ladies Scarf

Sports Direct

Miso Ladies Scarf  – £5

 

 

 

USC PU Chain Bag

Sports Direct

USC PU Chain Bag – £17.99

 

 

 

5
Mar

Hop to the challenge of Easter

Don’t let the Easter Bunny get the better of you. Hop to the challenge of preparing the perfect Easter family gathering without falling victim to any unnecessary stress.

Easter is meant to be about new life and regeneration, so let this shine through in your décor and food choices. There are a few simple steps to follow to help you pull of the perfect Easter gathering with as little stress and fuss as possible.

  1. Choose a theme – Pick a colour palette, flower or ornament that you want to make the hero of your day.
  2. Decide on the menu – Planning your menu early can help reduce the stress of preparing all the food at the last minute. Select foods and dishes that won’t require you to spend the day in the kitchen.
  3. Organise your shopping list early and buy as much as possible in advance, making the most of seasonal offers in supermarkets and department stores.

FOOD FAYRE

For any gathering, the meal is usually the main focus, and all other aspects should complement this. As a fun way to play on the idea of new life and renewal that accompanies Easter, why not incorporate baby vegetables, like baby carrots and baby asparagus as your side dishes or look for seasonal produce new to the market? When it comes to the main dish, choose recipes that won’t have you slaving away in the kitchen for hours and missing out on the family fun. Dishes that can be prepared the day before are ideal for entertaining the masses and maxing out on family time.

EGG-CITING ALTERNATIVES

Even though Easter will have the kids hunting for chocolate Easter eggs, why not look at an alternative this year and let them hunt for something a bit more egg-citing that will last longer than a quick scoff?

The Hatchimals CollEGGtibles egg cartons are a fun way to keep the kids surprised and entertained. And they aren’t just for the kids. Buy a box and hide them for the adults too. They will make cute desk ornaments at the office.

Images: Argos

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Egg Carton – 12 Pack £24.99 and 2 Pack Egg Carton £4.99 at Argos

You can also share the love this Easter with a fun card or other adorable Easter inspired keepsakes that will bring a smile to people’s faces. Find healthy Easter treat options available from health shops.

Images: Clintons & Card Factory

Easter Bunny Felt Keepsake Gift Bag £5.00 at Clintons
Easter inspired mugs £7.99 and Easter cards from 99 pence at Card Factory

 

Images: Holland & Barrett

Freedom Mallows Vegetarian Mini Pink & White Vanilla Marshmallows 75g £2.49, Vego Organic Hazelnut Chocolate Bar 65g £1.99, and Raw Health Organic Blissed Chocada Truffles 65g £2.49 all Holland & Barrett

PAINT YOURSELF PRETTY

As the hostess with the mostess you’ll need to look the part. Spring is a great time to have fun with your look and experiment with make-up in new colour palettes. Whether you paint your nails a delicious candyfloss pink, or you add ribbons and bows to your hair, paint yourself pretty in pastels.

Images: Boots & Superdrug

Barry M Scented Candy Culture Nail Paint £3.99 at Boots
Essie Matte Leather Effect Pastel Nail Polish Rebecca Minkoff Collection Trio Mini £12.99 at Boots
Maybelline Color Show Glitter Nail Polish 232 Rose Chic 7ml £3.99 and Maybelline Forever Strong Gel 130 Rose Poudre Nail Polish £4.49 at Superdrug

Mini silver glitter bow hair barrette £3.00, Jumbo coral chiffon bow hair clip £6.00 and Baby pink lace hair bow £4.50 all at Claire’s

5
Mar

Glorious gifts for Mother’s Day

Ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday 11 March we look at some glorious gifts for even the most discerning of Mums. Besides the customary chocolates and flowers, it can sometimes be challenging to know what to choose to be your gift to her. She has done so much for you, the least you can do is show your appreciation and love with a well-thought-out gift she will love that she may not splurge on for herself.

MAKE MEMORIES

If your mother is notorious for her love of photos, then buying her a camera to capture special (and even mundane) family moments may be just the right gift for her. Why not help her access these memories in an instant with the HP Sprocket Printer or an instax camera? – and if she isn’t so hot to embrace new technology, then don’t worry! An alternative for your photo loving mum is to get a special family photograph framed for her, or get a photo printed onto a bag, cushion or mug, or something else she will use and cherish.

Images: Argos

HP Sprocket Photo Printer £119.99, HP Sprocket Zink Photo Paper 20 Sheets £9.99, and HP Sprocket Mobile Printer White Accessory Bundle £129.99 all at Argos & selected retailers

Images: Argos

instax Mini 9 Camera with 10 shots in Smoky White £74.99, and instax Mini 70 camera with 10 shots in White £99.99 both at Argos & selected retailers

Images: Max Spielmann

White Natasha 6×4 inch Photo Frame £7.00 (plus cost of printing the photo), ‘Love You Mum’ Make Up Bag Large from £30.00, and Square Plastic Photo Keyring from £4.45 all Max Spielmann

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND

While diamonds may be beyond your Mother’s Day budget, jewellery is a great way to show her how much you love her, and it’s a gift that she will treasure for years to come. Keep your eyes peeled for bargains ahead of Mother’s Day, as many jewellers have special offers ahead of the day.

Images: Pandora, F. Hinds

Best Mother Charm £25.00 and Love for Mother Charm £35.00at Pandora
Three Silver Floating Hearts Necklace £19.95 at F. Hinds

A BAG FOR EVERY OCCASION

Whether your marvellous mum is a fashionista, or more of a practical lady, a handbag as a gift could be ideal. Whether you opt for a luxurious evening bag or a handy daytime tote, this is a gift she can use and enjoy. Visit her favourite fashion or department store to find the perfect arm candy in a hue she will adore.

Images: New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Peacocks

Black Metallic Trim Structured Tote Bag £27.99 at New Look
Women’s Grey Bar Bag £25.00 at Peacocks
Rose Pink Mini Bow Tote Bag £20.00 at Dorothy Perkins

PAMPER HER PRETTY

What woman doesn’t love to be pampered? There are some great at-home pamper products on the market at a range of prices. Look in department stores, specialist beauty & bath products stores, bargain shops, and of course high-street chemists for luscious bath bombs, delectable body lotions and potions, fabulous facial products and sensational fragrances. Giving her some “me-time” and the gift of indulgence and relaxation is priceless.

Images: Boots, The Body Shop

Clinique Smart Indulgence Gift Set £42.00 at Boots
Ted Baker Blush Bouquet Cosmetic Bag Gift £24.00 at Boots
Strawberry Heart Gift Set £10.00 at The Body Shop
British Rose Head-to-Toe Collection £25.00 at The Body Shop

Images: Boots, The Perfume Shop, The Fragrance Shop

Elizabeth Arden Red Door Eau De Toilette 50ml Spray £22.80 at Boots
Calvin Klein CK One Eau De Toilette 200ml Spray £32.00 at The Fragrance Shop
Lancôme Miracle Eau de Parfum for her £62.99 at The Perfume Shop

THE WRITTEN WORD

No gift can convey to your wonderful mum how you feel about her more than the written word. When it comes to choosing a card, choose wisely. Whether you choose one that comes with a message, or you get a blank card to write your own personal and special message, there are lovely Mother’s Day cards available to tell her just how much you love her.

Images: Clintons, Card Factory

Special Mum Bouquet Mother’s Day Card £3.50 at Clintons
Mother’s Day Card Mum Large Letters Floral £2.50 at Clintons
Mother’s Day Card – Butterflies £1.99 at Card Factory
Mother’s Day Card – Mummy No One Is Half As Funny £0.99 at Card Factory

30
Jan

Bring the love into your home

Valentine’s Day is the day that many couples look forward to, to show each other how much they love one another. While dining out can be a wonderful treat, it can also be expensive. So why not do something special at home instead? You will certainly have the place to yourselves, be able to indulge in your favourite foods, and take your time over your meal. Valentine’s Day at home doesn’t have to be boring or drab. With the right table décor and music, you can create a magical night.

SET THE SCENE

For any special meal at home your table décor is important, this includes any cutlery and crockery that you use. As it will most likely just be two of you on the night, you can always go out and buy special tableware, and keep it to use again next Valentine’s Day or for your anniversary meal. There are a number of retailers that sell loose plates, bowls and cutlery, or you can splurge on a dining set and ensure you have spares if something breaks.

Images: Tesco

Luminarc Trianon dinner plate (28cm), side plate (20cm), and bowl (12cm) £2.99 each at Tesco

Images: Argos, Asda

Home Hearts 12 piece porcelain dinner set £22.99 at Argos
12 piece Cross Stitch heart dinner set £15.00 at Asda
16 piece heart cutlery set £8.00 at Asda

FINISHING TOUCHES

Once you have all your crockery and cutlery sorted, it’s time to create the right atmosphere with candles, flowers, and any other special mementos that mean something to you and your Valentine. The soft glow of candle light will help enhance the romantic atmosphere that you are trying to create.

Images: Primark, Poundland, Argos, Asda, Tesco

Scented love heart candles £3.00 at Primark
Flickering tealight candles (4 pack) £1.00 at Poundland
Sainsbury’s Home large candle (Wild cotton & Ylang) £6.50 at Argos
George Home taper candles (10 pack) £2.00 at Asda
Tesco Basic tealights (100 pack) £2.00 at Tesco

The final touch to any table is napkins. No one wants to be left stranded when they accidentally mess something at the table. And with so many great designs available, you can find something to match your colour scheme for the evening.

Images: Tesco, Sainsbury’s

Tesco Red Napkins 33cm (50 Pack) £1.50 at Tesco
Bird Napkin 33cm (20 Pack) £1.50 at Tesco
Sainsbury’s Home Heart Repeat Lunch Napkin (20 Pack) £2.00 at Sainsbury’s

On the day, getting some fresh flowers to add to the table could be a nice touch. Roses can be pricey, so if your budget won’t stretch to roses, you can always get your Valentine’s favourite flowers. It will be more personal and mean so much more to them.

You can also have your favourite songs playing in the background, as well as having your favourite movie on stand-by if you want to cuddle up on the couch after your romantic meal.

A LOVE LETTER

With all the effort you’ve put into planning your Valentine’s Day meal, you might not need to get a gift for your Valentine, but a special card would not go amiss. Head into Card Factory to find a wonderful selection of cards, with messages targeted to husbands, wives, fiancées, boyfriends and girlfriends.

Images: Card Factory