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The Body Shop products

I don’t know what it is but I always think about making a trip to The Body Shop in the run-up to Christmas. I think it’s a feeling of nostalgia mixed in with the fact they always do great gift sets (a great present choice when you’re a bit stuck as to what to buy someone). I remember shopping in The Body Shop with my mum when I was still in primary school. Mum loved their White Musk fragrance and I loved their lip balm tubs. I still recall The Body Shop pencil case and pencils my brother gave me as a Christmas present when I was about nine! It’s weird the things you remember, isn’t it?

It was lovely to get invited down to The Body Shop Belfast store a few weeks back. I’ll admit I hadn’t been in the shop in so long. After years of buying products from them I had got out of the habit. I blame getting a new job and no longer being in town on my lunch hour. The store has had a face-face lift since I’d last been in and, as expected, they had almost a whole wall dedicated to beautiful gift sets.

I got the chance to pick one of their famous body butters and to try out their new shimmer spray. I choose the frosted cranberry scent for both to properly get me into the festive spirit. I’ve always loved The Body Shop moisturisers so I’ve been enjoying lathering myself in this cranberry scented butter after my shower. The shimmer spray is divine too, and perfect for the upcoming party season! Spray it on your body for a subtle scented shimmer. I have it pride of place on my dressing table as it looks so pretty!

I also stocked up on a few other items. I’d been needing a new back exfoliator brush for a while so nabbed one of those. The Body Shop ones are always such good quality. I hadn’t had their grapeseed hair serum in a while so I got one of those (it last for ages and smells lovely). I also thought I’d try the hemp hand oil to try and solve the problem of my super dry hands (I blame the cheap hand wash in work).

And I couldn’t resist purchasing a few of the mini hand creams in delicious scents Shea, Coconut and Almond. These will make great stocking fillers for my friends and family this year (oops, was that a spoiler?!).

the body shop shimmer spray

2sm

The Body Shop mini hand creams

christmas wishlist

I’ve been so well behaved this year I think I deserve a lovely leather bag, perhaps a designer jacket or some fine jewellery. Failing that a trip to New York would be amazing!

Just as I’ve been compiling lists of gift ideas for my friends and family, I thought it was only right to produce a list for myself…just in case anyone was wondering what I’d like this year.

So here’s my Santa list!

1. Orla Kiely cake stand - I need to add to my Orla Kiely collection!

2. Barbour biker jacket - I fell for this beauty on a recent visit to Excel Clothing.

3. Bobbi Brown eye shadow palette - some blogger friends think I’d love Bobbi Brown (I don’t own a single BB product!).

4. ASH circle earrings - I spotted this in the Red Ruby Rouge store.

5. Todd Lynn leather khaki handbag - I came across this stunner in Debenhams last week and I’m finding it hard to get the bag out of my head.

6. ASH triangle necklace - so pretty!

Tell me what’s on your Santa list!

Gok Wan Tortoiseshell glasses

I got a funky pair of non-designer glasses a few months back from Specsavers. I walked away delighted with my new statement specs, but I also went away thinking I’d quite like a tortoiseshell pair next time. When Specsavers themselves contacted me about getting another pair of glasses I was obviously delighted. But what tortoiseshell pair would I choose as there were so many to pick from?

Whilst looking online at the Specsavers range I originally thought I’d pick this Osiris pair but when I tried them on, whilst lovely, they just didn’t suit me. When it comes to glasses I think it’s so important to try them on and see if they suit your face shape, as well as your other physical attributes! For people like me who have strong dark eyebrows, it can be difficult to find glasses that compliment this. I know a lot of people who buy cheap frames online, but it’s just not something I’ve ever felt confident enough doing.

In the end (after trying on tons of different tortoiseshell styles!) I opted for a beautiful pair from the impressive Gok Wan range. They are a lovely classic pair of glasses that I think will stand the test of time. But I like that they have a hint of fun and edginess with the azure blue on the inside of the frames. They feel really solid and good quality too, and at £99 I think they are so well priced.

This time round I also opted to get the PENTAX Extra Thin lenses so my lenses would be super thinned down and streamlined. As I’ve said before my eyesight is very poor and without a lens thinning they would look a bit like milk bottles!

Gok Wan specs
Gok Wan glasses

marble cake recipe

I’m finally back to baking! Now that I have my new kitchen in place (read my kitchen overhaul story if you’re interested!)  it really is a pleasure to be baking again. I’m easing myself in gently and decided to bake a super simple marble cake. But sometimes the simplest cakes are the nicest, don’t you think? It’s not an all-singing all-dancing cake, but a modest cake that tastes lovely with a cuppa. And most of you won’t need to go out to the shops to buy the ingredients, you’ll most likely have them in your cupboards already.

Marble cake ingredients

Ingredients you need:

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

What else?

  • Round cake tin, or silicon mould (I used this Ikea mould to get a lovely curvy base to the cake)
  • Electric mixer/food processor
  • Two medium sized bowls
  • Skewer

Marble Cake Willow Lane

The Method:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C. Grease your cake tin with a little butter (no need to grease a silicon mould if you’re using one).
  • Tip all the ingredients (but not the cocoa!) into your electric mixer bowl and whizz for a minute or two.
  • Split the cake mix into two bowls and then add the cocoa to one of the bowls and stir this in well.
  • Alternate the different coloured cake mixes into your cake tin/mould and then use a skewer to swirl the different mixes together and give a pretty marbled effect.
  • Tap your tin/mould before you put it in the oven to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • Bake your cake for 45-55 minutes (you’ll know it’s ready when you place a skewer through the cake and it comes out clean).
  • Leave the cake to cool before slicing. Enjoy!

simple marble cake

My beautiful wooden cake stand was a ‘kitchen warming’ gift from Rogues and Brogues – whose dad makes them!

marble cake recipe