Sunday, 25 December 2016

Blogmas: Merry Christmas

Here it is, the big day has arrived. IT'S CHRRIIISSSTTTMMMAAASSSS. I hope you are all having a wonderful day with your loved ones and that Santa has brought you everything that you wanted. Today, I am spending the day with my family and eating everything in sight - just the way Christmas should be. 

Thank you for all your support throughout blogmas - I've loved every second of it, even the times where I was racing against the clock to get my posts up on time. I did miss two days, but you know what, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Here's to 2017, and the new experiences that are to come.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year. 
Love, Kate xx


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Blogmas: Gingerbread Christmas Tree Decorations

Merry Christmas Eve! It's nearly the big day, and what better way to spend Christmas Eve than with a bit of baking. You might have seen my Cherry and Chocolate Brownies post, they are seriously to die for. For the second part of my baking series with Opies, I made their Gingerbread Christmas Tree Decorations. I loved the idea of having gingerbread hanging on the tree, it's a different twist on having chocolate they still make them?!
340g plain flour (plus extra for rolling out)
5g bicarbonate of soda
12g ground ginger
50g Opies stem ginger (roughly chopped)
5g ground cinnamon
125g unsalted butter 
175g light brown sugar 
1 egg 
60g syrup from stem ginger 
Icing for decoration

The method for this recipe was super simple, find it here. The recipe says to use a food processor, but I don't have one and I really don't think that it made that much of a difference. It was just a little bit more work. Once the dough was made, it was time for the fun bit, cutting out the biscuits. I bought some festive cookie cutters of Amazon for about £4, which I think was really reasonable. 
Once they were all cut out, they went into the oven for 10-15 mins. As soon as they were out, I made the holes to allow me to put the string through to hang them on the tree. This is best to do as soon as they come out of the oven before they harden. 
Once the biscuits were fully cooled, I then began icing them. I have never used a piping bag to ice before, so it was HARD and took me HOURS, but it was totally worth it. I have a new found respect for people who can do perfect icing. Once they were all decorated, I then left them for about 15 mins until the icing had fully dried. I then popped some string through the holes and placed them on the tree. I split the batch in half, with half to hang on the tree and the other half without holes to take to my family for Christmas. 
And there we go, gingerbread tree decorations DONE!
What are your favourite festive bakes?
Love, Kate xx

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Friday, 23 December 2016

Blogmas: Goals for 2017

Before I begin, I'm not one for the whole 'New Year, New Me' thing that people say around this time of year. For me, if you want to change something about yourself, do it now - you don't need a new year to give you the excuse to do it. But, what I do like is goal setting for the new year. There is nothing better than starting your year focussed on your goals, ready to smash 2017. Writing down my goals makes them more real and gives me something to look back on to assess my progress. Also, by writing them here, it will hold me accountable for when I am maybe veering away from my goals. So here they are, my goals for 2017...
1. Make my blog the best it can be -  For 2017, I want to invest more time into my blog and focus on making really good content. I want to be really organised with my posts and get back into a schedule with my posts
2. Organise my time better - One of my worst habits is wasting time, I can waste my time flicking through social media or just generally procrastinating. I want to start scheduling my time so I can be more productive and not waste a single moment. 
3. Keep ticking things off my 30 before I'm 30 list - I created this list in 2017 and managed to tick two things off, I want to keep working my way through the list in 2017.
4. Travel more - In 2016, my travelling was limited. I want to go to at least 2 new places in 2017, I want to start seeing more of the world.
5. To complete the Bath Half Marathon - this is probably one of my biggest goals for 2017, I want to step up my training to ensure that I cross the finish line in one piece. 
6. Do things that make me happy - I know it's not realistic to say that I am going to have a perfectly happy 2017, but I am going to be focused on doing things that make me happy and surrounding myself with people who also bring happiness to my life. I want to ensure that I am putting my happiness as my top priority, rather than worrying so much about what other people will think or do. 
What are your goals for 2017? I'd love for you to share them with me in the comments. 
Love, Kate xx

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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Blogmas: Reflection on 2016

Looking at 2016, my first reaction is 'I can't wait for it to be over'. But actually, the more I think about it, 2016 has made me a much stronger person. It has taught me so much about myself and brought about so many new and exciting opportunities. I believe in seeing the positive wherever I can, so I want to share with you all the amazing things that I gained from a largely crappy year. 
1. Kate Morgan Cecilia - 2016 was the year that my blog was born, and it was the best decision I have made. I love blogging and this wonderful community we have. It's hard work and very time-consuming - but it's totally worth it. 

2. My job - I got a new job in 2016, setting me in better stead for my career. I have a lovely team and people around me who are so supportive.

3. Strengthened relationships with my family and friends - I have heavily relied on my friends and family this year, and as a result, I am probably closer to them that I ever have been.

4. Independence - 2016 made me remember my independence again and the importance of doing things for myself. I formulated my '30 before I'm 30' list full of things that are important to me. Which leads me on to.....

5. My first tattoo - I did it! I have wanted a tattoo for years and years, but I was always too chicken to do it, but 2016 saw me be brave and go through with it.

6. Dating - 2016 thrust me back into the weird world of dating and Tinder. As much as dating fills me with fear, it has been important for me to know that I can do it.

7. Knowing that everything happens for a reason - it's a well know saying, but it is totally true. When one door closes, another one opens... and that first door was meant to close for a reason.

8. My friends and family are healthy and happy - despite everything else, 2016 has brought health and happiness to my friends and family. At the end of the day, this is the only thing that matters.

What are your some of your thoughts on 2016? I'd love to hear them in the comments. 
Love, Kate xx

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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Blogmas: Christmas Day Makeup Look

I haven't done a makeup look on my blog since the summer, so this post is well overdue. You may notice some of my old favourites are still there (hoola, we all see you), but I have picked up a couple of new, staple products for my makeup bag. This look I have created has pretty much been my everyday makeup look throughout winter, the addition of the red lip makes it perfect for Christmas day or any other festive event you will be attending. 
I prepped my skin in exactly the same as it has always been, head over to my Festival Makeup Look post to see this. For foundation, I have recently changed over to Revlon ColorStay, I love how they had a different formulation for oily skin. This product is high coverage, which I find I really need in the winter months. I normally find high coverage foundations can be cakey and drying, but this one isn't at all. I went for the shade buff, which is perfect for my pale face.
For concealer, I have been loving the Urban Decay Naked Skin. Again, this is another high coverage product, but it sits under the eyes so nicely without extenuating my wrinkles like I find a lot of concealers can do. I then set this into place with the NYX Finishing Powder in translucent. This really keeps my base in place, perfect for if you need to makeup to have staying power. 
For my eyes, I used my new Revlon Not Just Nudes palette in the shade Passionate Nudes. I got this free when I bought three Revlon products in Superdrug. I have been really impressed with it. I love the paler shades for all over the lid, then I put the burnt copper and brown shades into my crease. To help with my eyeshadow application, I used the shadow switch. I have been seeing this on blogs everywhere and when the kind people at Beauty Essentials asked if I would like to try one, I practically bit their hands off. 
I was very impressed with this product. I have a fair few eyeshadow brushes, but I have my favourite ones that I like to use the most. The shadow switch makes it so easy to use the same brush with different shadows to create the perfect eye look. When you want to switch colours, you just swirl the brush into the pot and it comes out clean. Genius! For me, it's also the perfect excuse to put off cleaning my brushes for a little bit longer. Isn't it just the world's worst job!?
My brow routine is the same as it has always been, the Eyelure Brow Pencil to define the shape and Benefit Gimme Brow to help add colour and make sure they stay in place all day. I put a very light amount of Hoola Bronzer on my cheeks and temples. I have recently gone off contouring, I am much preferring the natural glow look. I then added my trusty Makeup Revolution blusher and The Balm Mary Lou highlighter. For mascara, I have really been loving the Benefit They're Real mascara. I find this separates my lashes whilst still giving them volume and length. To finish off this look, I added the Rimmel Only 1 Matte Lipstick. You probably all gather how much I love Rimmel lipsticks, and they certainly haven't failed with this new range. They have a lovely matte finish that isn't drying on the lips. Perfect to withstand a Christmas party or a food-filled Christmas Day. 

What is your perfect Christmas day look? I would love for you to let me know some of your staple products in the comments.
Love, Kate xx

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Blogmas: New Years Eve Outfit Ideas

For me, there is nothing better than being surrounded by all my friends for New Year. I cannot bear going out on New Years, but a house party or a local pub is the perfect destination for NYE for me. Wherever I am going, I still love to wear something fancy to see in the new year. Here is a list of some of my favourite pieces that will look great wherever you are going this New Year's Eve.  
River Island Black and Gold Pleated Mini Dress
Black and gold is such a classic colour combination - perfect for this time of year. I love the pleated effect on this, there seems to be so much of this around at the moment. The length of this dress is perfect for me being a taller lady, gone are the days where I am prepared to wear a dress that just about covers my bum!!

ASOS Velvet Sequin Off Shoulder
You may have seen a bardot style top featured in my 'Christmas Party Fashion' post. I mentioned there about this trend being huge in summers and how it seems to be withstanding the colder temperatures too. I absolutely adore this top. It's the right about of sequins without looking like you could be placed on top of a Christmas tree.

Ted Baker Embellished Neckline Skater Dress
This dress is gorgeous, how do Ted Baker get it right time after time? I love the neckline and the colour of this dress, an iridescent blue. This would totally wow on New Year's Eve.

ASOS Oversized Sequin Tee
Are you following my sequin theme here? The festive season is the perfect time to rock a sequin, so I say do it as much as you can. I love how this top sits right in-between dressy and casual. I really like how ASOS have paired this with a leather skirt, but I also think this top would look incredible with leather trousers or denim jeans.

River Island Gold Embroidered Body Con Dress
The black and gold trend seems to be really popular for this party season. I love how this 'body con' doesn't appear skin tight like most others. This looks so beautiful with the belt to cinch in the waist. This dress would also be perfect paired with tights if you didn't want to brave having your legs out in the cold temperatures.

ASOS, Oasis Metallic Pleated Cami Dress
This dress is just adorable, so pretty. I love the pleated skirt, I imagine I would be twirling around all night if I was wearing this. The colour is also perfect for the season, and more understated that some of the other pieces I have selected.

What are you planning to wear this New Year's Eve? Let me know in the comments please. 
Love, Kate xx

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All images are taken from the brands website and linked below. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Blogmas: My Christmas Playlist

Music is really important to me all year around. But there is something about Christmas music which, year after year, fills me with joy. With my teenage years spent in retail, you would think I would hate Christmas music but, if anything, I think this made me love Christmas music even more. I have complied a list of my favourite Christmas songs which I will be playing constantly in the lead up to Christmas. 
Wham! - Last Christmas 
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas - Michael Buble 
All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey 
Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys 
Fairytale of New York - The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl 
Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea
Baby It's Cold Outside - Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews 
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard 
Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade 
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams 
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt 
The Perfect Year - Dina Carroll 

What songs are on your Christmas playlist?
Love, Kate xx

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Blogmas: Cherry and Chocolate Brownies

I love to bake - even more so around Christmas time. I like to use Christmas as an excuse to eat my body weight in chocolate....'cause Christmas calories don't count, right? I had the pleasure of meeting some people from Opies at the Bloggers Festival earlier in the year and they were kind enough to send me some of their products to do some Christmas baking with. Opies has been a brand that I have always seen in my Mum's baking cupboards, so I knew I was in good hands. I had a look on the Opies website and found their recipe for Cherry and Chocolate Brownies, to me this sounded like heaven.
180g plain four
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
240g plain chocolate
1 jar of Opies cherries soaked n kirsch
120g butter
4 eggs
450g caster sugar
The method for this recipe was so simple, you can find this here on the Opies website. Perfect for even the most inexperienced bakers. I love brownies all year round, but the addition of alcohol soaked cherries makes this classic brownie recipe perfect for the festive season. It has to be said, with 450g of sugar, these are not the world's healthiest brownies, but if you can't treat yourself at Christmas when can you!
Voila! After very little effort you have brownies to die for. I cannot stand this word, but they were so moist. Probably the nicest brownies I have ever made. I shared these with family, friends and work colleagues and they were all very impressed. So whatever the occasion is for you this Christmas, these brownies will be a perfect addition. 

What are some of your favourite things to bake at Christmas time?
Love, Kate xx

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Friday, 16 December 2016

Blogmas: Christmas Nails

Christmas is the perfect excuse for me to up my nail game and crack out the sparkles. I always do my own nails, so I love to change them up on a weekly basis for most of the year, and even more so during the Christmas period. I absolutely love the Rimmel Super Gel range. Like I said, I do my own nails, but my main bugbear is that nail varnish chips so easily. There are so many drugstore gel nail ranges at the moment, but this has to be the best that I have found. With this range, you have the nail base colour and then you buy the super gel top coat to go with it. The top coat leaves your nails so shiny - so much so, when I wear this I have had a number of people asking me if I have gel nails. For a base coat, I always use the Nails Inc NailKale Superfood. I really notice the difference in the strength of my nails when I use this base coat. 

I absolutely love this shade, guilty pleasure. The gold is so festive, but I think it will be a colour that will look so pretty in summer too. I have also paired this varnish with a gold, sparkly varnish over the top for an extra festive touch. 

There is nothing more festive than a red nail. I love this colour, its the perfect pillar box red. I really love to do a ring finger accent. So for this I used a Barry M red glitter nail varnish, to add some festive sparkle. 
What are your favourite nail colours for the festive season? 
Love, Kate xx

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Blogmas: Christmas Gift Guide For Him

I don't know about you guys, but the men in my life can be some of the hardest people to buy for. I have to spend the year listening into conversations and making notes to pick out presents I know they will love. Without this, I am generally stumped. So, to create this post, I have reflected on some of the presents I have bought in the past for my male family members. So whoever it is, Partner, Dad, Uncle, Brother...I hope I can give you some inspiration. 
Watches can be more of a spendy purchase, but they can be a gift your recipient will keep for year after year. Watches can sometimes be a very personal thing to buy for someone so it can be difficult to get the present exactly right. But, you can make sure you get a gift receipt so the recipient can exchange the watch if they wish. This might sound awful to most, but I would much prefer someone to tell me they didn't like a present, rather than keeping it and never wearing it. 

I know boxers and socks are probably a guy's worst nightmare. But they are a useful present to get right? So, why not make this present a bit more luxury by buying a more expensive brand of underwear that they might not normally buy themselves. 

I'm really into card holders at the minute, for both men and women. I think this would make a really great alternative to a wallet for the man in your life. With men, I find they generally keep money in their pockets. So a card holder would be a perfect, more slimline, alternative to a wallet. 

You cannot go wrong with a fragrance for anyone for Christmas. Fragrance is all about personal preference so this might require more detective work. I like to look at the scents they already have to see what types of fragrance they generally reach for. Maybe if you are looking for an aftershave for your partner, it might be nice for you to pick out something you like and you also think he will like. This way you know your man is going to be smelling great. 
Men's skincare is so underrated. I'm not saying the men in my life have an extensive skincare regime like mine, but it definitely seems to be that more men and trying to take better care of their skin. This Clinique set is a really simple starter set for any man looking to up their skincare routine. I like how the products are all really usable, not like some of the strange shaving products you always seem to get in men's gift sets.

There is nothing better than a bit of a silly present for your Brother or Dad. I absolutely love the idea of growing your own Christmas tree. Imagine growing the tree that you can then have up in your living room for Christmas. I mean, I'm not sure how well this will actually work, but it's such a great and fun idea. 

Christmas just isn't Christmas without buying a male family member a jumper. So, if it's going to be done anyway, make it a jumper they will love and actually want to wear. I really love the menswear in All Saints, this jumper is gorgeous and looks so cozy. I also saw some really good value cashmere jumpers on John Lewis. 

Why not share some of your gift ideas in the comments below. 
Love, Kate xx 

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Blogmas: Best Christmas Jumpers

I love nothing more than a Christmas jumper during the festive period. Any festive event, find me there with bells (and a Christmas jumper) on. I wanted to compile a selection of my favorite jumpers available this season. I've ranged from low key to tackier than can be....'cause when else can you be tacky other than Christmas. 
One word, Destiny's Child...hell yes!! I love this 90s throwback. This song is incredible anyway, even without being given a Christmas twist. 

I don't know about you, but I love a glass of prosecco around the festive season (and maybe every other season!) I really like how this jumper is more understated, but with the lovely foil lettering to give the Christmas vibes. 

Again, it's the song and the play on words that makes me love this jumper! Every year, I can always rely on In the Style to provide amazing Christmas jumper choices. 

This jumper is understated, yet completely adorable. I love the pom poms and how they stand out perfectly against the black background. I think this would be perfect for a Christmas jumper day at work if you didn't want to go all out. 

With all the teams we've had this year (Brexit, Trump...don't get me started) there is no other team that I would be on rather than team Santa. After all, he's probably the only man we can all rely on! 

You might have seen this jumper in the 'Bitch please, I ride a unicorn' form. But now, it's been given a great Christmas twist. I just love how sassy this jumper is! 

Let me know what your favourite jumpers are in the comments below...
Love, Kate xx

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All images are taken from the brands website and linked below. 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Blogmas: Bloggers Christmas Tag...My Favourite Bloggers

Christmas is the time for sharing and I wanted to share the love for some of my favourite bloggers. Some of these people inspired me to start blogging, and others I have come across since I have started blogging. But, ultimately, these people are great and I highly recommend you check out their blogs.

I had the pleasure of meeting this girl at the Bloggers Festival earlier in the year, and she is even nicer in person than she already seems on her blog. I love her range of beauty, lifestyle and travel posts. Her photography is also on point. She has recently started a YouTube channel where she makes the best vlogs - her and her boyfriend are so cute!

I first discovered Meg on YouTube and instantly loved her, I then came across her blog and became obsessed with that too. Firstly, just check out her blog because it is beyond beautiful. Then, I am pretty sure you will love her just as much as I do. Her writing style is really lovely, it's just like she is talking to you. Her photography and flatlays are so perfect - totally blogger goals. 2016 seems to have been her year with so many great achievements, she totally deserves all the success she gets. 

2016 saw the beginning to 'Single Kate' and Vix's blog came into my life at just the right time. When was feeling down about being single and despairing at dating apps, Vix's blog came along to change all that. Her blog posts are raw and honest, which is so refreshing. Her writing style is hysterical, just as if you were having a chat with your mates. Also, if you haven't checked out #vixswipes you are seriously missing out. 

To me, this girl is the holy grail of blogging. Her blog is totally stunning. I love her fashion posts, however, they do make me spend money! She has a wardrobe that I could only dream of, but that's what I love about reading other people's blogs and having a nosey into their world. I also love her YouTube channel, her make up tutorials are some of my favourite videos to watch. 

Why don't you continue sharing the love by leaving your favourite blogs in the comments below.
Love, Kate xx

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Blogmas: My Letter to Santa...Christmas Wish List

Christmas is a time for spending with family and friends, but also a time heavily involved around presents. As much as I like to receive presents, I love to give them so much more. I wanted to share with you some of the things that I have been lusting over recently...and if Santa happens to pop them in his sack for me, even better!
Fitbit Blaze
Where I am running and exercising a lot more, I wanted something to keep a track of that. I used to have a Fitbit flex, but it broke a couple of times so I sent it back for a refund. You would think that would put me off Fitbit, but their customer service was excellent. One of the new features I love is that it reminds you to move every hour if you haven't done 250 steps, something I really need working in an office!

As I've said on my blog a couple of times, I currently use my iPhone 6s to take all of my blog pictures. While this has done me well, and I have taken some incredible pictures on it, I feel ready for something a bit more substantial. I have heard a lot of good things about this camera, and it seems very reasonable compared to some other models.
Baies Diptyque Candle
This is such a typical blogger purchase, but who doesn't want a Diptyque candle. They smell incredible and you know I'll be using it to hold makeup brushes and feature in blog/Instagram pictures when it is finished. 
This Works Dream to Sleep
I've recently tried the deep sleep pillow spray after seeing blogger after blogger raving about this product. I'm not sure what difference it actually makes to my sleep, but I really like the calming scent and how it creates a 'bedtime routine' feeling. I am also really intrigued to try the night oil. 

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit
I featured this is my 'Gift Guide for Her' post, and I admit this is a spendy purchase for makeup, but I have heard amazing things about Hourglass. I am obsessed with highlighter and from what I have heard and swatched of this product, it will be worth every penny. 

Finally, what I would like the most from Santa this Christmas time, is health and happiness for all my family and friends. This really is the only thing that matters.

What's on your wish list this year? 
Love, Kate xx

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All images are taken from the brands website and linked below. 
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