My 2015 Beauty Calendar – January

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You may remember at the end of last November I wrote a blog post all about beauty advent calendars. There were some real treasures out there to purchase for the countdown to Christmas, but this time I wasn’t able to buy one. I was saving any money I had for medication and an advent calendar of this type is definitely a luxury and not a necessity.

As the new year began I received a surprise box in the post from a lovely friend of mine, and guess what one of the items was… A beauty advent calendar. I was totally over excited and found myself staring longingly at the shiny purple and turquoise box full of beauty goodness! Then the thought ran through my head, advent is another 11 months away and there is no way that I have the self control to keep this beaut un-touched for all that time.

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So, I have decided to use this in a sightly different format to the traditional advent calendar countdown, and I will be using it as a monthly treat throughout 2015 instead. There is 12 windows/doors to open so it is perfect.

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I have now opened door No.1 and revealed my first beauty treat. Its a Deluxe LipSurgence Lip Creme. This is a tinted crayon style lipstick in the colour ‘Wishful’. Its a blend of nude and pink tones and is a great shade to wear both day and night.

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Colour swatch of tarte LipSurgence 'wishful'.

Colour swatch of tarte LipSurgence ‘wishful’.

This lip tint has a subtle minty scent, which I find really refreshing. When wearing this it feels like a combination between a lipstick, balm and gloss, so for sure it is a really useful product all round. This is the first time I have ever tried a product from the brand ‘tarte’, and its got me all excited to try more. I can’t wait to open door No.2.

Don’t forget to pop back to see what Februarys petite treat is from this ’12 days of tart deluxe collection’.

Hope you have all had a fab January, Chantelle x

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Battle of the Balms

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I have always been a bit lip balm obsessed, thinking back to my school days you would always find one in my blazer pocket or stuffed into my pencil case. Even now I feel the need to try out the latest balms and in every flavour or scent! They are definitely an essential and I usually have at least two in my handbag at a time! I always seem to have dry lips, regardless of wether it be in the summer or winter months, probably because I talk so much! Although dry and chapped patches are annoying and can be sore at times, its nothing that a decent lip balm can’t fix in a flash.

I have compiled a list of some of my favourites for you to check out…

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Nivea Hydro Care
I picked this up one day in my weekly grocery shop and this is by far the most hydrating from the Nivea range. It is enriched with pure water and aloe vera which provides a lasting moisture. I would suggest keeping this away from heat in the summer months though, as it seems to melt fairly quickly.

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Carmex
Carmex has always been the trusty reliable balm, as its so hydrating and soothing. Its also contains an SPF15 which is always a bonus. I own this in the tube, stick and pot version, I simply can’t get enough of it! It smells quite medicated and leaves my lips feeling slightly tingly, and never fails to moisturise to the max.

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Zuzka Natural Beauty Manuka Balm
This balm is from Zuzka, a natural cosmetics brand, which utilises many organic herbs and flowers within their products. This multi purpose balm contains Manuka honey which has antiseptic healing properties. It is one I have been reaching for this winter since I was gifted this by the founder of the Zuzka beauty company, Susan Kohutova. This moisture rich balm really does work wonders and I use this not only on my lips but also regularly on my any inflamed blemishes too.

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Neal’s Yard Busy Bee Balm
This is a multi purpose little tin of balm, which is free from parabens and petroleum. It can be used on lips, elbows, cuticles and other dry patches. This is 99% organic and made with a combination of beeswax, cocoa butter and the sweet but subtle scents of orange peel oil.

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Vaseline Rosy Lips
Vaesline is a classic, its been around for years but still remains a favourite of mine. This Rosy Lips version is slightly tinted with a hint of pink and is great if you want something a little more noticeable but not as colourful as lipstick. It contains rose and almond oil, smells yummy and is so girly too being pink. I also found a mini version of this when I was in USA, you can never go wrong with a product thats compact and cute!

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L’Occitane Baume Levres
This is a really rich formula from French beauty brand L’Occitane. It leaves a gorgeous sheen on the lips, almost like it is half way between a gloss and balm. This makes it great for a more statement look, but at the same time still natural. It can also add a real high shine when layered on top of your favourite lipstick. I think the Shea Butter in this really helps to lock in moisture and really protects too.

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Blistex Moisture Max
This lip balm tube is labelled as ‘super-hydrating’ and it really does live up to this. This contains tiny beads of aloe and cocoa butter and the soft pearls disperse when gently rubbing your lips together after application. I like to use this at night as I feel like it really is long lasting hydration.

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Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream
This is a much more expensive balm in comparison to the rest of the mentioned items. It does come in a 50ml tube though, so lasts for what seems like a lifetime! I have already had this tube over two years! It is really soothing and is a relief when used on areas such as cracked/chapped lips, and also on sunburn or minor abrasions. It does have a strong scent which I really like about this product, but I can imagine it is not for everyone.

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Although I have probably tried and tested enough balms to last me a lifetime, there are still plenty out there that I have my eye on! It seems to be a particular type of product which is ever growing on our drugstore shelves and most are really affordable as well. Next on my list to try out is the EOS lip balm brand and some of the Dr.Organic range too. I am also keen to gather my newly acquired essential oils and have a crack at creating my own balm, so watch this space!

Thanks for reading – Now quick, go and apply your favourite lip balm, you know you want to!

Chantelle x

Probiotic Giveaway

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Health

You may have heard on various television adverts about ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria, but do you really know what this is?

Probiotics are this particuar type of bacteria and are essential to our bodies health and well-being. There are over 1000 strains of bacteria in our bodies and each microorganism plays an important role in the regulation and response of our immune system.

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Live good bacteria and yeasts are particularly beneficial to our health and especially our digestive system. They help to suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and work at keeping our gut in tip-top condition. There are different ways our bodies can ingest probiotics, and consumption will increase the bacteria and alter our gut flora accordingly.

There are various foods which you can buy from the supermarkets which contain many valuable probiotic cultures. These live bacteria are found in yoghurts and other dairy products, but also in fermented food such as sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles. You can get similar benefits from drinks like kefir water and kambucha.

There is suggestion that for the ‘pro’biotics efficiency, we should aim to consume ‘pre’biotics too, as the two go hand-in-hand. These are a special form of dietary fibre rich foods and can be found in whole grains, onions and bananas. The prebiotics act as a source of nutrient to the probiotics, enabling them to multiply and thrive in our gut.

Research has shown how probiotics can increase our chances of avoiding illness’ such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Autoimmune complications and allergies. It is also important for anyone who takes antibiotics to ensure that their bodies gets plenty of good bacteria as many medications eradicate this when attacking the harmful bacteria.

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So saving the best bit till last! I am running a giveaway in collaboration with iShopNutrition. I have 3 packs of ‘Microbiome Plus+ GI Probiotic’ capsules to give away to three lucky readers. These are a 1 month supply and are worth £19.99. These capsules are a convenient way to ensure you get your daily fix of probiotics for ultimate digestive and intestinal health.

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All you need to do is click on the following link and follow the instructions to be in with a chance of winning a packet of these probiotics:

Topix and Tales…Giveaway – 3 Packs of Microbiome Plus+ GI Probiotic

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For an entry to be valid, you must follow Topix and Tales by directly subscribing to topixandtales.com or by following me on bloglovin at https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/topix-tales-12942887.
You will also need to follow my twitter account @chantellelewis1 and send a tweet about this giveaway.

This competition will be open from 8pm on 26/01/2015 and will close on 11.59pm on 09/02/2015. 3 winners will be picked at random and notified on twitter, so keep an eye out on your notifications news feed.

Thank you so much for reading and sending you all the best of luck. Feel free to share this competition on social media, to give your friends a chance to win too.

Hope you have a healthy and happy week, Chantelle x

Cocoa & Coconut Truffles

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Yesterday I had a real craving for something sweet and nothing seemed to hit the spot. I began with a google search and a rummage through my cupboards and discovered that I had just the right ingredients to mix up a healthier alternative to many of the sweet treats available on the shop shelves. This recipe is gluten free, grain free, dairy free and suitable for anyone following the GAPS diet, which is known for digestive support and healing. When browsing the supermarket, I find it fairly difficult to find food products which are gluten or dairy free but have not substituted these with others ingredients or additives which can make the product taste great but ultimately lowers the health and nutritional value of the product.

This truffle recipe takes around 30 mins from start to finish, involves no baking and really is delicious.  It will make approximatly  30 truffles, but of course you can half the ingredients to make half the amount. Remember prior to getting creative in the kitchen, ensure you have a clear working space and its advisable to wear an apron. Most importantly don’t  forget to thoroughly wash your hands!

What do you you need?

  • 1/2 Cup of Organic Virgin Raw Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup of Raw Honey
  • 1/2 Cup of Cocoa or Cocao Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 2 & 1/2 Cups of Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Wooden Spoon
  • Baking Parchment Paper
  • 1 Cup & Teaspoon
  • 1 Plate or Tray
  • 1 Airtight Container

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How to Make?

1. Begin by stirring together with a wooden spoon the coconut oil, cocao or cocoa powder and vanilla in a medium size mixing bowl.

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2. Once this is mixed into a smooth paste, add the 1 & 1/2 cups of shredded coconut, and continue to stir, ensuring this is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

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3. Using a spoon scoop small amounts of the mixture into your hand, and roll these into a ball.

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4. Roll each ball of mixture one at a time into the additional cup of shredded coconut, until these are covered evenly.

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5. Lay the balls on a plate or tray covered in baking parchment to stop the mixture from sticking. Then place the tray into the freezer and and allow to set for approximately 15 minutes.

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6. Remove these from the freezer and within 5 minutes they are simply ready to serve.

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7. Alternatively transfer the truffles into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or until your ready to tuck in.

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I found this recipe so easy to make and the fact that it involved no baking made it so simple and super speedy. I will definitely be making these again as they were a hit amongst my friends and this batch is not lasting long! Next time I make them I am going to experiment with different coatings for the truffles, such as chopped nuts or just simply dusting with cocoa powder. I am also keen to see what additional fillings I could try too. Possibly adding dried fruits or natural flavours using extracts such as orange or peppermint.

I would love to know if you give this truffle recipe a try, and what you think of the finished treat. Thanks so much for reading. Take Care and have a great week.

Chantelle X

New Month, New Year… Hello 2015!

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So this ‘new month, new year’ post is slightly later than intended due to another hiccup in my Lyme Disease fight…My brain and body felt like it had been stamped on by a herd of elephants so I gave in and did the sensible and much needed rest/hibernation thing!

On a positive, today does feels like a brighter and less painful day so I am taking full advantage to jump back on the blogging bandwagon.

I am wishing you all a really Happy New Year… Lets hope that 2015 brings each and everyone of you some magic, adventure, health and tonnes of happiness.

Like many of you reading this, you may see the new year as a perfect opportunity to focus on new goals and achieve something which has been written on that to-do list for a little too long! It may be something out of your comfort zone, but I kind of feel like sometimes thats not a bad thing. I think it is so easy to play it safe in life and we all need to stretch ourself from time to time, take chances and maybe push boundaries too. When thinking about it, we all seem to gather a particular set of habits which we feel are keeping us in that ‘comfort zone’, but maybe those routines and habits are potentially hindering us more than we are aware of.

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I am going to attempt to think outside the box a bit more this year and try and challenge myself too. Although I spend probably 80% of my time in the house due to a chronic illness, I am determined not to let this just be just who I am. Luckily I am living in a world full of opportunity online, so this is where I will focus my energy. Blogging is already a huge positive entity that has come out of the negative side of getting sick, so I will be continuing to do this on a regular basis. It really gives me something to focus on and I will try to make the most of being able to engage with other bloggers and companies online and in person when I can too.

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Keep Focused, have goals and don’t be afraid to dream big. Stay positive, focus on progression not perfection, work hard and more importantly don’t forget to keep smiling.

Thanks so much for reading and the best of wishes for 2015.

Chantelle x

‘Lush’ filled baths for December

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Northern Lights – Bath Bomb – £3.50

‘Bath time spectacle’ – Lush

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As this vibrant purple bar hits the water it creates an explosion of colour in your bath tub. You’ll also be soaking amongst little tiny silver stars as well as the relaxing scents of jasmine and ylang-ylang.

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This bath bomb can easily be broken up, so you can get more than one relaxing bath out of this bar. I was really suprised at how moisturising the bath water was, and after my soak I felt like I had already put on my body lotion.

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Ickle Baby Bot – Bath Bomb – £1.95

‘Soothed as a baby’s’ – Lush

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I love this baby blue robot shaped bath bomb. I was drawn to this product as it contains sleep inducing oils, designed to soothe both the skin and the senses. Who doesn’t need a helping hand to get to sleep at night when your mind is still on overdrive. It also has the ingredients lavender, sandalwood and chamomile which is a calming combination, a full fragrance, but not over-powering at all.

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Icle Baby Bot is also one of the lower priced bath bombs at Lush. A perfect justification for purchasing an extra indulgent bath time treat! So go on, spoil yourself.

Magic Wand – Reusable Bubble Bar – £5.25

‘Make a wish!’ – Lush

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This bubble wand is made up of the sweet signiture fragrance Snow-Fairy. With a super girly pink ribbon and a tiny bell it feels like a chance to bring out my inner-child. We all have one hidden in there somewhere! With just a few sweeps of this wand up and down the bath tub whilst running the water, it creates a candy scented bubbly bath.

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An added bonus is that this is a reusable wand, so although it’s a much higher priced product, you can get between 5-10 baths out of this one star.

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The Lush store never seems to disappoint at this time of year and I can confirm that they have got some amazing Christmas themed goodies in store this year… Some are classics, some are new, I decided to share a few with you.

Bath Melts/Bombs

1.The Melting Snowman – £2.25

2.Snow Angel – £3.95

3.Star Light, Star Bright – £3.50

4.Dashing Santa – £2.95

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Bubble Bars

5.Santa’s Sack – £3.95

6.Christmas Kisses – £3.50

7.Holly Golightly – £4.75

8.The Christmas Penguin – £3.25

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Shower Jelly

9.Strawberry Santa – £4.00

10.Iced Wine – £7.95

11.Snowman Jelly – £3.50

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Extra Sparkle!

12.First Snow – £4.75 – Sparkly Dusting Powder

13.Snow Fairy Sparkle – £4.95 – Shimmer Bar

14.Santa Baby – £5.95 – Lip Tint

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Which ones will you try out for a festive but relaxing pamper session over the Christmas break? Did any of you find these wrapped under your tree yesterday?

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day, full of family and friends. Chantelle x

Soap and Glory Christmas Box Set 2014

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Beauty / Christmas / Lifestyle

For all you Soap and Glory fans out there… That wonderful time has come!! You can now get your hands on the Christmas edition box of products which is on sale in Boots stores and online.

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This box set is the literally ‘The next Best thing’, and is full of gorgeously indulgent products to make you feel pampered from head to toe now and well into 2015.

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This all comes beautifully boxed in two designs, which have come from a collaboration with British illustrator Hattie Stewart. The set is worth over £75.00 but is currently priced at an amazing and affordable price of £29.00 – I know sounds too good to be true right?! There’s nothing not to love about a Soap and Glory products, pretty in pink packaging and they smell just divine.

What’s inside this beautifully packaged box of treats?

HAND DREAM™ – Super Cream
ORANGEASM™ – Body Wash
BUTTER YOURSELF™ – Moisture Lotion
HEEL GENIUS™ – Foot Cream
SUGAR CRUSH™ – Body Scrub
WHIPPED CLEAN™ – Shower Butter
THE RIGHTEOUS BUTTER™ – Body Butter
OFF YOUR FACE™ – 3 in 1 Daily Purifying Cloths
SEXY MOTHER PUCKER™ Lipgloss Lip Lacquer in Charm Offensive
THICK & FAST™ – Super Volume Mascara
A BONUS DRAWSTRING BAG

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Have any of you bought this set yet? Are you giving it as a present or are you totally tempted to keep it for yourself?! I wouldn’t blame you!

Chantelle x

Winter Survival Kit!

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Beauty / Health / Lifestyle

I have put together a list of some winter essentials, all of which I won’t be without!

1.Invisible Gel Cushions
It is most likely that those feet of yours are going to get a tough time during December. This festive holiday brings extra events to your social calendar and that can mean night after night in those heeled shoes.
Scholl do some great cushions called Party feet. I have previously tried and tested these and they really do enable you to shop all day and part all night! These insert like an insole and help to prevent the burning of the soles of the feet. They cushions are also designed to stop the feet from slipping forward in the shoes which normally makes the toes scrunch up and can lead to painful blisters.

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2.Dry Shampoo
This is one of those products I just wouldn’t be without. Wether you are rushing from work to a night out or just want to have an extra 5 mins snooze time on your morning alarm then this is a must-have. The spray works by soaking up any excess oils in the hair, as well as adding texture and volume. Spray from underneath the hair and at a distance to avoid a build up of any white powder and work into the hair using your fingertips or brush. By not over washing the hair, it can help to eliminate, dry, frizzy and static hair, something we could all do without. So, say yes to skipping conventional hair washing once in a while and try out a can of dry shampoo. There are plenty of brands on the high-street, here are a few; Batiste, V05, Bed Head, and Colab one of the new additions to the shop shelves. My current favourite is the Batiste brand.

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3.Milk Thistle
There is plenty of rich food and alcohol all around us at Christmas time, and our bodies may be working extra hard to filter all those not so healthy cocktails an mulled wine you may guzzle! Milk Thistle is a natural supplement which helps to detoxify and protect the liver and the way it functions. Reach for this plant based extract and give you body a helping hand in keeping it healthy and detoxed.

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4.Lip Balm
With all that singing to xmas tunes, munching on mince pies and kissing under the mistletoe you need to keep those lips free from cracking and perfectly puckered! There are so many lip balms on the market, but no matter which I try, I still seem to return to the trusty Carmex in a tube. I love this not only because its really hydrating, but it also contains an SPF 15. Carmex has a unique formula which soothes and relieves, which ensures soft and healthy lips.

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5.Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
Antibacterial hand cleansing gel or wipes are always close by. With my weakened immune system already fighting Lyme Disease, I could do without the added winter germs that seem to be lurking all around. When I’m out-and-about the gels, sprays and wipes are really handy, no water is needed and they can visibly reduce the number of germs. I will always recommend washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water whenever possible.

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6.Touchscreen Gloves
Buying touch-screen-friendly gloves feels like a sort of mini revelation! How have I not had a pair of these before now?! There is nothing more annoying than needing to remove your gloves constanltly before missing yet another call you already heard too late as its buried in your handbag amongst half your life! Let this no longer be a problem. Don’t let the cold get in the way of your, tweeting, texting or taking pictures of all your festive fun times. Grab yourself a pair of touch screen gloves. I bought a simple navy pair from Muji, but there are all sorts of fun, finger-friendly designs to choose from. Maybe this year without having to take my gloves of every 5 minutes I may actually manage not to loose a pair!

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7.Vitamins
Its essential that you keep topped up with all those vitamins and minerals which are needed to keep your body happy and healthy now and in the future. There are a number of effective vitamin tablets that contribute to the normal function and support of the immune system. I would recommend going for a multi-vitamin and a time-released supplement of Vitamin C. The slow release function is designed to release the nutrients over a longer period of time, which is going to be more effective in the long run and ensure better absorption.

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8.Hand Cream
Last but not least, we can’t forget this winter essential. Our hands and face get affected by the cold weather the most, so use frequently for silky soft hands. I would advise putting one in your handbag and one on your bedside table. By putting them in easy to reach places, its a constant reminder and you are more likely to use them. I am currently using L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream. This smells amazing and is really nourishing.

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Thanks for reading. I would love to know what your winter essentials are…Let me know in the comments.

Festive wishes being sent your way.

Chantelle x

Christmas Jumpers

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Charity / Christmas / Lifestyle
Photo Source - blog.loveknitting.com

Photo Source – blog.loveknitting.com

Yesterday many of you across the land joined in with the official Christmas jumper day. I am sure many people out there just jumped on the bandwagon and saw this as brilliant excuse to dress up in some festive attire, (and this is ok) but there was also a deeper meaning to this dress-up-day. Save the Children decided to head their Christmas campaign by spreading the jumper joy! Children and adults across the UK donned their favourite winter woolly jumper in order to ‘make the world better with a sweater’. These were worn to work, school and most likely featured in a festive selfie on your instagram page! #XmasJumperDay was trending on twitter and more importantly the donations were flooding in to a well deserved charity.

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If you would like to donate to Save the Children and haven’t already done so, it is so simple. Just text WOOLLY to 70050 to donate £2. You will be billed £2 plus standard rate text message. Save the Children receive 100% of the donation.

It is not too late to get involved in novelty jumper wearing either. There are still 18 days left of December, so if you haven’t already got a woolly number in your wardrobe, here is a peek of a few of the knitted beauties in the shops right now.

1. Embellished Stocking Christmas Jumper – M&S – £19.60 (Was £28.00)

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2. Penguin Snowball Bobble Christmas Jumper – F&F Tesco – £9.00 (Was £18.00)

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3. Carrot Snowman Christmas Jumper – M&S – £17.50 (Was £25.00)

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4. Mrs Claus Apron Christmas Jumper – Primark

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5. Christmas Novelty Elf Jumper – F&F Tesco – £9.00 (Was £18.00)

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6. Gingerbread Jersey Sweater – Next – £26.00

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7. Merry Christmas Filthy Animal Jumper – Karma Clothing – £14.99

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8. Happy Holla Dayz Jumper – boohoo – £12.00

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9. Festive Snowman Scene Jumper – Primark – £12.00

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10.  Sequin Embellished Bow Jumper – M&S – £17.50 (Was £25.00)

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The Christmas jumper has really grown in popularity over the past few years, and I think you will agree that there out in full force this year. So which jumper have you chosen for this xmas festive season?

Thanks for reading, keep calm and get festive!

Chantelle xXx