Jet2 Hamper + City Breaks

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Last week I was very excited by a ginormous box that arrived from the incredibly generous people over at Jet2 and it was filled with lots of christmassy goodies, from food and decorations to gift ideas and more. If you follow me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand) then you will have seen my unboxing of the box on Saturday. It was probably the largest single box of blogger mail I've ever received and it made for a lovely early Christmas gift!

The hamper contained so many amazing items and one of my favourites is definitely the heart shaped gingerbread cookie that not only looks amazing but it tastes great too. I've wanted a gingerbread heart like this for years as there are so many at the Manchester Christmas markets but I've never bought one. Is there anything more christmassy than gingerbread!
I also received these cute nutcracker decorations that I've already added to our tree. Another item that I love are the copper fairy lights which came at the perfect time because I managed to suck up the fairy lights I've been using for all of my christmas gift guides into the hoover a few days ago so a new set is just what I needed. I'm not usually that clumsy, I promise.

The food items included are also essentials for christmas including a packet of mulled wine spices from Fortnum and Mason which is very fancy and some mince pies. I haven't tried any mince pies before (or at least not that I can remember) so I'm interested to try these this christmas. Christmas isn't Christmas without a few things such as tinsel, fairy lights, gingerbread and of course, baking. I love baking at this time of the year and this kit from BakedIn is perfect - I recently reviewed one of the BakedIn subscription boxes on my blog which you can read if you want some baking inspiration or a foodie gift idea.
The christmas hamper from the lovely people at Jet2 has made me think about the places I want to visit in 2019. I don't think I'll be able to get to that many on my list (my travel wish list is VERY long) but maybe I can get to a couple. The Jet2 catalog that came in the hamper hasn't been helping my need to travel as there are so many amazing deals, the prices of which are so surprising! They shouldn't have included the catalog as I've already gone through and marked a few that I'm interested in...

All of the prices shown in the catalog include return flights, accommodation and 22kg hold baggage which is amazing as you know exactly what you're paying for. There's an amazing offer for a three night stay in a very cute looking hotel in Prague for only £159 per person, which again includes accommodation, flights and baggage. There's also a deal for three nights in Krakow within a historic building that has intrigued me.
As well as Prague and Krakow, there are so many other options to choose from including New York (I'd love to visit New York but it's a little too pricy for me right now sadly), Venice (which I cannot recommend enough), Florence (again I cannot recommend visiting Florence enough) and Paris. I have so many places on my wish list and a few of them are included in the catalog, including Paris which I've only visited in terms of Disneyland Paris and I was six at the time so I barely remember anything!

Earlier this year I paid for myself and a couple of friends to go away to the Lake District for a couple of days and it was such a lovely experience. I'd love to go away again with them in 2019 so I think I'll show them this catalog when we meet up for christmas to see if anything catches their eye...I'm forever tempting people to spend money, it's a bloggers prerogative after all.
Jet2 offer so many amazing short city breaks throughout Europe and it's started to make me very excited for the prospect of travelling with friends and family in the new year, especially because it looks like there are very cheap deals on Jet2.

I'll definitely be sharing some of the items with friends and family this christmas, although the gingerbread heart is mine and I'm not sharing. I'll also be sharing some of the comforting food items with my neighbour who isn't too well this year. Thanks so much to the incredibly lovely people at Jet2 for the amazing christmas hamper!

What do you think of the deals with Jet2? Do you plan on travelling in the new year? 

*University Advice

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Image from Wayfair
It's that time of the year when university students are coming to the end of heir first term at university which makes me feel incredibly old as I still remember the end of my first term, mainly because it was the day I got my first tattoo! I can't believe that I graduated from university over five years ago now and I genuinely miss university, although I could have done without the presentations and public speaking! Today's post features some of my advice and tips for freshers and those considering university next year.

Don't Leave Essays or Revision Until The Last Minute
This one might seem very simple but it's something so many students forget! Sure, most people don't want to revise or write 3000 word essays but it's always best to at least start your essay more than a few days before the deadline as it reduces so much stress. The start of an essay, in my experience, is always the most difficult part so just starting it in good time will be useful!

Utilise The Resources Available 
Tying into the previous point, utilising university resources can definitely help and help you save money in the process. Don't spend money on expensive academic books, use the library and it's catalog as well as their access to online journals, which is what I did. I only bought one or two books during my three years at university as I relied far more on the library and online journals for all of my essays and exams. Additionally, your university should have some kind of career, finance or general advice centre or contact that you can get in touch with. University is very expensive so you might as well use any many of their resources as you need.

Rent Wisely & Do Your Research 
Lastly, if you are going to be entering student housing and renting then there are lots of points to consider, not just the location and your finances but also the fine print, the facilities available, how long you will be renting for and more of the legal side of renting, all of which is important to be aware of.

I've heard so many horror stories of renting situations, especially with university students, so you might want to not share with other students. My sister personally had such an awful time renting for the second year of her degree and it was mainly related to the inconsiderate students in the property as well as the building itself which wasn't as well maintained as it should have been.

Thoroughly searching for a property that meets your expectations is just one step in the renting process. There are other, more legal aspects to renting for example you need to make sure that your landlord has permission to let that property, if they have landlord insurance and you need to know your responsibilities to your landlord. For the latter point, both yourself and your landlord have responsibilities towards each other; for the tenant you need to look after the property and inform the landlord of problems, issues that need to be fixed and minimise anti-social behaviour. However, the landlord also has responsibilities including maintaining the property, installing smoke alarms, carry out repairs etc.

Do you have any advice for university students? Do you have any experience of renting? If so, do you have and tips or advice? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Image from Pinterest 

Blog Tour: The Teahouse Detective: The Old Man In The Corner

Monday, December 10, 2018
Today's post is a new blog tour review which is being hosted by the lovely and generous people over at Pushkin Press who I've been lucky enough to work with previously. I was very kindly sent a paperback copy of The Teahouse detective: The Old Man In The Corner by Baroness Orczy from Pushkin Press and scroll to the end of the post where you can enter to win a copy yourself!

*The Teahouse Detective: The Old Man In The Corner by Baroness Orczy (288 pages) ★★★ (3.5)

One of my favourite book genres includes mysteries and this one is classic mystery collection which was originally published in early 20th century but it's been complied by Pushkin Press into a beautifully designed collection. The Teahouse Detective is a contemporary of Sherlock Holmes and you can see where the comparisons and similarities arise as they both have an intelligent manner that definitely leans towards arrogance, in my opinion.

This is my first book from Baroness Orczy although The Scarlett Pimpernel has been on my Amazon 'saved' list for at least a year; however I haven't got round to buying it yet! The writing within this collection, despite its age, is very quick and easy to follow so don't be afraid if you haven't read any classic mysteries as the language is easy to understand. Although there are some instances of terms that we don't use now which shows the time in which it was written.

The book is quite formulaic in it's style and set up which has it's advantages and disadvantages, for example, the repetative style makes it a very speedy read; although on the other hand, it makes it a little too repetitive. However, I did throughly enjoy the numerous mysteries through the book which definitely had a classic, Sherlock Holmes feel to them! If you like classic mysteries then definitely check out The Teahouse Detective: The Old Man In The Corner by Baroness Orczy and enter my giveaway below!

This giveaway is UK only, it ends on the 17th December so hopefully it might arrive before christmas (but maybe not because everything is a little busy right now). Pushkin Press will be sending out the prize and all personal data collected (names/emails etc) will be deleted by myself and Pushkin Press when the competition ends. To enter all you have to do is fill out the form below (the more options you fill out, the more chances you have of winning a copy):



#TheCoopWay

Sunday, December 09, 2018
Today's post is sticking with the christmas theme of giving but not expensive christmas gifts - essentials and treats for those in your community who are in need. The lovely and generous people over at Coop Food kindly gifted me a Co-op bag for life and a £5 gift card to buy food, snacks and drinks for someone in my community.

I think the idea is fantastic as we all need to do what we can for those in need and it's always nice to help someone you know who is struggling. You might have seen from my instagram stories (@ofbeautyand) that I've been so busy recently with the christmas fare, present wrapping, Christmas gift guides and having builders in the house every day this week; therefore I haven't had the time to buy anything yet from the Co-op.

However, I know exactly who I'm going to be buying some christmassy treats for this year and that is one of my neighbours who's health has declined massively over the past year so he can't cook for himself and my mum as well as other neighbours have been making home cooked meals for him multiple times per week. Sadly he doesn't like vegetables and he's gluten free so that rules out most of what I could make him so I think a bag full of Coop snacks and drinks will compensate!

Coop stores used to be abundant near me but the closest stores have all shut down over the past year or two but thankfully I do have a few within driving distance so I'll be heading there later today to pick up some treats. They have amazing offers and deals on at the moment, check out their website for examples. Additionally, Co-op members that buy selected Co-op branded products can earn 5% back for themselves and 1% back for their choice of local cause which is fantastic!

Will you be giving back to someone in your community this christmas? 

Luxe Christmas Gifts For All Budgets

Saturday, December 08, 2018
I adore this time of the year due to all of the amazing bloggermail (follow me on Instagram @ofbeautyand to see my unboxings) I am very lucky to receive, including a couple of gorgeous hampers that arrived today and all of that lovely bokeh in photographs you get from fairy lights. Christmas product and gift photographs are some of the easiest to take as baubles, lights and tinsel make for the quickest and most effective backgrounds! Anyway, enough rambling on, onto the gifts!

*Joe's Tea Co - St. Clement's Lemon Tea 
Today's post is all about luxury gifts but luxury doesn't necessarily have to be gifts that cost the earth! A luxury gift, such as a unique and more expensive brand of tea, for example, could count as a luxury gift as it's far nicer than the norm. The tea in question is from a new brand to me, Joe's Tea Co which is so beautifully packaged. I was very kindly sent a couple of samples of the St. Clement's Lemon tea which reminds me of an old nursery rhyme from my childhood. I have tried this tea already as it's incredibly chilly today especially as we have builders coming in and out of the house and it's so lovely.
*Joe's London Tea Co - Ever-So English Breakfast (£4.25) 
I was also very kindly sent the 'ever so English' breakfast tea which has the same beautifully unique packaging as the lemon tea. This blend contains organic, handpicked delicate tea leaves. I'm one of those very unusual English people who doesn't drink 'normal' tea (don't hate me), I only typically drink mint, herbal or lemon tea but I might have to break my own rules and try this one as it actually sounds delicious.

Joe's London Tea Co has a wide range of tea flavours to choose from including caffeine free and decaffeinated tea, peppermint, rooibos, turmeric, berry and even a sleepy tea, the latter sounds fantastic. They also have a Christmas blend, tea gift sets and teaware, so you're bound to find a tea related gift for yourself or someone else.
*Biscuiteers Jolly Ginger Biscuit (£6.95) 
Next up is a very luxe foodie gift as it's a fairly expensive single biscuit but the joy of it comes from not only the flavour but the packaging, design and how beautifully and uniquely decorated the biscuit is! I have been lucky enough to try their biscuits previously and I loved them for how delicious, crisp and moreish they were. One of my favourite things about their biscuits is the decoration and presentation as the box on it's own looks like a very fancy and luxe gift - it's almost an experience in itself just opening it!
Enough gushing about the packaging (we all now how much I love a beautifully presented gift) and onto the biscuit itself. The biscuit I have is the 'Jolly Ginger' biscuit which comes in a variety of styles but I have the secret santa jolly ginger biscuit as it's holding a mystery present! The other styles include a santa, elf and christmas onesie option and that's not even considering the non-chritsmas themed biscuit designs.

The non-chrirstmas theme designs range from a doctor, grandad, racing driver, nurse, happy couple, devil, bride and the list goes on. The christmas biscuits would be great for secret santa presents and the more specific designs would be great for a gift recipient who is a doctor or nurse, for example. All of the biscuits have the same ginger biscuit flavour which is subtly spiced and sweet. I cannot recommend these biscuits enough and they are letterbox sized so you or your gift recipient don't need to be at home to receive a delicious and luxe treat.
*Wolf 1834 Caroline Small Square Red Travel Case (£75)
The penultimate and most luxurious item in today's gift guide is from Wolf which is a brand founded in 1834 specialising in very fancy accessory and jewellery cases, holders and boxes, all of which would make wonderful luxe gifts this christmas. I was kindly sent the very beautiful 'Caroline' small square red jewellery travel case which is composed of genuine quilted red leather, an anti-tarnish LusterLoc™️ and gold finishings.
The gorgeous jewellery case also features a cute red leather tassel, glass mirror, zip lock closure and numerous sections of jewellery storage including seven ring rolls, four compartments, three necklace hooks and a pocket. One of my favourite things about this case, as well as the design and style of it, is the hidden compartment behind the mirror.

Just a note on the LusterLoc™️: "Allows the fabric lining the inside of your jewellery cases to absorb the hostile gases known to cause tarnishing. Under typical storage conditions, it can prevent tarnishing for up to 35 years".

I cannot recommend this gorgeous gift enough as not only does it make for such an incredibly luxurious and beautifully made present this christmas but it also feels very substantial and a gift that will last for years to come. They have a wide range of colours, style and sizes to choose from so check out their site in the link above for more information.

*Able Labels Mug (£8)
Last but not least is a personalised mug which may not seem that luxurious but I think that any personalised gift is quite luxurious as it's made for one specific person rather than being as mass-made as a normal mug. I love any gift that is personalised as it makes the gift far more special and shows more thought and time has gone onto the gift! The Able Labels mug I was sent is a lovely christmas mug from the amazingly generous people over at Blogger Hive and Able Labels, so thank you! They have various mugs available including photo mugs which would make lovely gifts for so many people this christmas!

What do you think of these gift ideas? 

*Health Tips In Time For Christmas

*Health Tips In Time For Christmas

Thursday, December 06, 2018
It's that time of the year again when everyone seems to be coming down with a cold, sore throat, migraine or a stomach bug which is what usually happens during the winter months, especially if you work in a school or hospital as most of my family do! The colder months always seem to be rife with little niggles and illness which is not something you want over the festive and new year period so it's a good idea to stay on top of your health at this time of the year.

Headaches
Headaches are something I experience most of the time, it's mainly because I don't drink enough and that's my first tip! Even though the festive season can be SO busy, it's very important to make sure that you are drinking enough (not champagne) to reduce the risk of headaches or migraines. Drinking enough is also good for your skin and reduces the appearance of dehydration lines too so win win.

Heartburn & Indigestion
Another common occurrence during the festive season is heartburn and indigestion which is no surprise with potential overeating, snacking and treats around at this time of the year. One item that might help is Omeprazole which is a drug commonly prescribed for indigestion and heartburn as well as gastro-intestinal reflux disease and stomach ulcers, among other issues.

Prescription omeprazole oral capsule is a delayed-release drug. A delayed-release drug slows the release of the medication until it passes through your stomach. This delay keeps the drug from being inactivated by your stomach. Omeprazole belongs to a class of drugs referred to as proton pump inhibitors. Proton pumps line the cells of the stomach and are responsible for producing the acid in the stomach. By inhibiting these proton pumps, Omeprazole reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach. By reducing the amount of acid in the stomach omeprazole helps relieve indigestion symptoms caused by excess stomach acid. It stops excess acid flowing back into the esophagus and so relieves painful heartburn symptoms associated with acid reflux. Omeprazole medication also allows the esophagus to heal if it has been damaged by the acid.

If you are taking Omeprazole without the prescription of a doctor or pharmacist and have not noticed any improvements after two weeks, we recommend that you talk to a doctor or pharmacist. Also, do not increase your dose or take this drug more often than directed without first consulting your doctor.

Eczema
I have suffered with eczema for over ten years and every time winter rolls around it becomes far worse, especially over the festive and new year period when I'm stressed as my eczema is personally very triggered by stress. One thing I try to do is wear less makeup or no makeup when I can and use my prescription eczema creams when I need them with Hydrocortisone if I really need a fast fix. Hydrocortisone is a steroid cream which can thin the skin if you use it over a long period of time (which I have done on/off for ten years) so I only use it in emergencies as I know how potentially damaging it can be but it does significantly reduce my eczema within a day!

Colds, Sniffles & Flu 
Lastly, colds, sniffles and flu-like symptoms! Everyone gets a cold at this time of the year so making sure that you are taking multivitamins, eating well and washing your hands whenever you need to will always help, although obviously that won't stop a determined pathogen!

Do you have any health tips or product recommendations? 

*This is a sponsored post