Ideas for Secret Santa

21 Nov

They’re the two words that strike fear into every worker at this time of year: Secret Santa. It’s all well and good if you pick a name you know well, but if it’s someone you’re less familiar with, what do you buy, and for just £10? Or sometimes even £5?

This year, I have to go one better and make my Secret Santa (eek!), although I obviously won’t be divulging any more than that here. But I thought it might be useful to come up with some ideas for Secret Santa presents that are just a little bit more special than a £10 gift set from Boots.

For a £10 budget…

I love Chinti & Parker’s pompom-neck sweater.


But for £275, it’s not even in my spoil-myself budget, let alone a Secret Santa gift. However, if you’ve got nimble fingers and are feeling thrifty, why not recreate it?


This New Look jumper is just £7.99. Total bargain, I might buy five! Then you can buy this pack of 25 pompoms from Hobbycraft for just £1.


Sew them neatly around the neck and you’ve got yourself a pretty accurate replica of the Chinti & Parker number, for about 5 per cent of the price. And you’ll have £1 leftover for some fancy tissue paper to wrap your masterpiece in.

If you’re not the crafty type, here are a few other things I would love to open up, all for £10 or under…


The jar says it all… what’s not to love? £9.95 from


A tartan blanket scarf is a wardrobe staple, £9, Dorothy Perkins.


A party-season saviour! Especially if you’re exchanging gifts on the night of the office Christmas party – you can guarantee your will come in handy in a matter of hours! And only £8.50, from

For a £5 budget…

I’ve never actually done one of these, but I love the idea of giving someone a cake mixture in a jar. This one’s for brownies, from BBC Good Food.


Assuming you already have some of the ingredients (flour, sugar etc), all you need to shell out for is some chocolate and a nice Kilner jar, which you can get for about £2.50, depending on what size you want…


0.5-litre size, from John Lewis. You could even throw in a mini Baileys…


£1.69 from Just Miniatures. Something for them to drink while they’re cooking their brownies!

But if you don’t want to DIY your gift, here are some alternatives…


Surely no one can resist this fluffy little fellow of a bag charm/keyring? I certainly can’t. £5, Topshop.


Little hoop earrings are a classic that everyone can wear, and you can get these two pairs for £3 from Asos.


This pretty hanging tealight holder is £2.55 from Which leaves you enough for a pack of scented tealights from Ikea


These are vanilla, £1.35 for 30, but other scents include berry, apple, violet and sea breeze.

So there you have it, my slightly-more-creative-than-a-pair-of-socks guide to Secret Santa!

Bethan x


Stocking fillers for fashionistas

13 Nov

Once you’ve got those big-ticket items sorted, it’s time to think about the stocking. But no fashionista’s going to be happy with a satsuma and a bag of chocolate coins (though we’d be sad if they didn’t feature somewhere!), so here’s a few ideas for budget-friendly stocking fillers for the high-street fans in your life…

  1. Sparkly socks


£4, River Island. I’ve already got these amazing sparkly green socks, and every time I wear them people comment on how much they like them. Great for jazzing up trainers and jeans (just roll your jeans up a bit to show them off) or for taking your summer shoes into winter (they looks cute with an open toe). Here I am wearing mine…


Even better, when you buy three pairs of socks from River Island, you save money. So why not get these cute styles, too…


On a similar theme, every fashion lover needs a drawer stuffed full of…

2. Terrific tights

SD_02_T60_6208_VX_X_EC_0 SD_02_T60_6208_VX_X_EC_90

£8, Marks & Spencer. We all buy ourselves black tights, but a real Christmas treat would be a pretty patterned pair like these. You just can’t go wrong with M&S tights!

3. Pants!

In my family, a stocking isn’t a stocking without a few new pairs of pants, and at Topshop they’re 3 for £10. Take your pick from these…

43B14HPNK_large 43B25IMUL_large 43B26IMUL_large 43H02JNAV_large 43H05ICRM_large 43H10IPBL_large

4. A pair of Louboutins… well, Louboutin nail polishes

515243_Bianca_1 515243_Very_Prive_1

£36 each, Harvey Nichols. Pricey, yes, but much cheaper than an actual pair of Loubs, and a very covetable present for any girl.

5. Cute hair accessories

image1xxl image3xxl

£8, Asos. Perfectly pretty. Or for something a little more bling, how about this?

image1xxl (1) image2xxl

£10, Asos.

6. Jewels!

You can’t beat Z for Accessorize for budget sparkly things. I’d like any of these, from £10…

9065065447454 9098865967134 9098871472158 9098876846110

7. Winter woollies

905567_Grey 905636_Grey

£20 for the gloves, £16 for the hat, from Fat Face. Cute and snuggly, but also chic thanks to the grey and cream colour palette. Imagine them with a sheepskin coat and a navy cashmere sweater. Perfection!

And finally…

8. A beautiful leather coin purse


£165, Smythson. Ridiculously extravagant for a stocking filler, but too dreamy not to include.

Still to come in my Christmas series… Secret Santa, and what to get for those awkward boys!

Bethan x

Christmas list inspiration

4 Nov

If you’re like me, you might have finalised your Christmas list and sent it off to Santa months ago. But if you’re a little less of a serial shopper, perhaps you’re still looking for inspiration. Luckily, I have bags of it.

This post is all about those slightly bigger items you might not spend your own money on, but they’re not so expensive that you feel guilty about asking someone to buy them for you. I’m thinking £150 and under.

If I was to write my wishlist all over again (and I could definitely do that!), it’d contain some of these…

A mid-range leather bag…

christmas list

Radley has a great range of leather bags, in a variety of colours and shapes, all for around the £100 mark. This Portman style is reduced to £109.

A cashmere jumper…


I already have a couple of Uniqlo’s great cashmere sweaters, but I chose to buy them in sensible cream and navy, so I can get plenty of wear out of them. But if I was getting one for Christmas, I might go for a slightly jazzier colour, like this purple one, for £69.90.

A designer watch…


The colours are neutral, so it’ll work with any outfit, but the logo says, ‘Hello, I’m wearing Kenzo!’. £149 from Watch Shop.

Fun faux fur…


What could be more frivolous – or festive – than a loud, proud, faux fur coat? And it’s likely to be freezing until April, so you’ll get plenty of wear out of it. £80 from Story of Lola at Asos.

Luxe smellies…


I love Jo Malone at all times of the year, but Christmas is the perfect time to try something different. If you’re a devotee of the colognes, why not branch out and try something from the rest of the range? I love this set of bath oil, candle and body creme, for £146.

Cosy slippers…


If you’re going to do sheepskin slippers, you may as well do Uggs. I like the fact that this Moraene style, for £85, has a little back to keep your feet in place.

And to complement the slippers – glamorous pyjamas…


I’d never get out of bed if I had these rose-coloured silk PJs, £139, from The White Company.

Will you be adding any of these to your list?

Bethan x

p.s. Stay tuned for my next posts on budget Christmas buys and stocking fillers.

Strictly sparkle

28 Oct

Yes, this is a post about glitter, sequins and sparkle. But no, it’s not because I’ve completely lost it and started thinking about Christmas party outfits already (though the shops certainly have!). It’s because it’s a dark, rainy day, and I’ve just been watching Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two. And what better way to brighten up a wintry day like today than with something a bit twinkly? It’s time to make like a pro dancer…

Here are my top five high-street sparkly bits that you can wear right now (without looking like a Christmas fairy).

  1. The sequin skirt…


How gorgeous is this skirt from Coast for £95? It’s pricey, but this little baby has some serious detail, and the pencil skirt shape will never date. How to dress it down for day? I think it’d look perfect with a light chambray shirt and some box-fresh white trainers. How about these bargains to balance out the price of that skirt…


£12, H&M


£28, Vans

2. The sparkly jumper…

hmprod (1)

£29.99, H&M

Sparkly, yes. But also tres chic, non? This little baby is crying out to be paired with a dark, skinny jean. Or, because it’s a nice, long length, you could even get away with a jegging. Just add the trainers above (multi-taskers!) or some sheepskin boots. Ahhh, comfort…


£14.90, Uniqlo

3. The glitter shoes…


£89, Boden. Right now, Boden cannot be beaten for glittery and embellished shoes. These little beauties are real all-rounders. If you can’t be bothered to wear anything dressier than jeans and a white T-shirt, no problem – just add these for a hint of sparkle. But, for me, I’d play up the Sixties vibe with black tights, a sleeveless shift and a roll-neck. Keep it monochrome and let the shoes do the talking…


£28, Dorothy Perkins


£18, Asos

4. The mega-bling earrings…

image3xxl (1)

£29, Rock ‘N’ Rose

Not only do these bad boys have diamante, they also have tassels. Massive red tassels! No other statement is needed. So if tomorrow turns out to be another grey day like today, whack these on with black skinnies and a jumper and you can’t fail to smile. I’d wear them to jazz up my navy Whistles jumper dress…


£120, Whistles

And finally…

5. The all-out showstopper…

image1xxl (1)

£120, Asos

OK, so this isn’t exactly an everyday piece. But, come on, this is a Strictly-themed post. It needed a little extravagance. And November is only four days away – perhaps it isn’t too early to think about those festive parties…

Are you tempted by a bit of sparkle?

Bethan x

Shirts with quirks

24 Oct

Every girl knows the wardrobe power of a good white shirt – or a denim one for that matter. Or even a striped one. Basically, any shirt will work hard for you. Dressed down with jeans, smartening up a casual cashmere jumper, dressed up with a full skirt for evening, the potential is endless. Buttoned up to the top, you’ve got your hipster at work look. Then, come 6pm, unbutton a button or three and you’re ready for cocktails.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed a few shirts that are less keen to sit in the background merely complementing the rest of the pieces in your wardrobe. These babies want to take centre stage. I’m calling them shirts with quirks.

At Zara, it’s all about length, shirts that play with the traditional proportions (all under £30)…

0154152043_2_1_1 3198242802_2_3_1 3198244401_1_1_1 3198247600_2_4_1 7952516406_2_3_1 8015435250_2_2_1 8342207441_2_1_1

And I’m loving these other styles…

Statement pockets…


£56, Topshop


£55, Topshop

Belt that waist…


£42, Topshop


£32, Asos

image1xxl (1)

£18, Asos

Nightwear as daywear (aka shirts that look like PJs)…


£52, Topshop

Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, try wearing an actual PJ top as daywear…


£38 (including PJ bottoms – don’t wear those out, too, though! A little too student union!). From Bluebella

Do you like your shirts to have quirks?

Bethan x

Lots of velvet and funky ankle boots

17 Oct

There are certain pieces that are part of my winter uniform year in, year out: cashmere jumpers, knee-length boots, jumper dresses and skinny jeans. I addition to these lovely but oh-so sensible things, though, I need a bit of excitement. Something frivolous. This year, my magpie-like tendencies are drawing me towards two things: velvet and funky ankle boots.

First up, let’s talk about velvet. It’s definitely not the first year that I’ve wanted to buy all velvet everything, but the high street seems to be with me this year, because there are loads of pieces tempting me.

I’ve already bought these beautiful ankle boots from Asos…


These dark red ones have sold out, it seems, but there are still pairs in blue suede, for £45.

Zara has a whole selection of rocking velvet pieces that I’m finding very tempting…







And who can possibly resist Topshop’s blue velvet trousers?


£45 (and selling fast!)

In addition to my velvet lust, I’m also desperate to buy all manner of crazy ankle boots (all of which are from Asos. Seriously, that site is an addiction!). I’ve already shown you my new red velvet numbers, but I’m also loving these blue ones…


£45, Asos

And I wouldn’t say no to these two pairs either…

image1xxl (1)

£45, Asos

image1xxl (2)

£55, Asos

And let’s not even get me started on these pompom numbers…


What’s tickling your fancy this autumn?

Bethan x

Embroidery, baby

10 Oct

I’ve become rather obsessed with beautiful, embroidered pieces of clothing recently. I blame it on Dolce & Gabbana. Their gorgeous pieces for aw15 are enough to get any fashion fan swooning…


And Net-a-Porter isn’t short of a gorgeous embroidered designer piece or two…


Temperley London


Isabel Marant


No 21

Just dreamy. But for those not willing to spend a month’s salary (or more!) on one designer piece (including me), luckily, the high street cottoned on, and has come up with some beautiful embroidered designs of its own.

Top of my list is this Zara skirt…


Sadly, it’s already flown out of the shops and online in my size, but I’m hoping it’ll be restocked. For £39.99, it’s a bargain.

This Topshop dress is a very exciting dead ringer for D&G…


Unfortunately, I’m not the only one to have noticed, and it’s almost totally sold out. I’ve tracked one down to store near my work though, so I’ll be making the trek on Monday to see if I can bag it. Well, for £65, it’s about 5% of the price of the designer version!

This Asos jacket is lovely…


And £65 isn’t bad for all that work.

Finally, Accessorize is the queen of the embroidered clutch bag – perfect for (dare I say it) party season. As is this whole embroidered look, really.


This looks was more expensive than its £39 price tag.

Right, I’m off to join the waiting list for the next gorgeous embroidered piece – before all the other high-street shoppers beat me to it again!

Bethan x


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 495 other followers