Juiliette at Home Mince Pies Kitchen Candle

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Everyone loves a bit of Christmas baking.  I always get ridiculously enthusiastic over Nigella's luxe festive treats, but my absolute favourite things to eat at Christmas are my Nan's mince pies.  They have a hint of almond in the pastry and a Mary Berry measure of brandy in the juicy fruit filling.  When I opened up my new Mince Pies candle (£15), from Juliette at Home, I was immediately taken back to her kitchen.  This candle smells just like a perfect little mince pie - it's incredible!

I love the whole look of the British company's Kitchen larder candle range.  It's evocative of a vintage country kitchen and I really like that the candles come with a recipe for a chutney or jam so that you can re-use the container.

I'll be burning my candle throughout December, whether I'm snuggling down with a Christmas film or wrapping presents.  It's so nice to have a change to my usual Christmas scents of festive spices and gingerbread.  Come the New Year, I'll certainly be trying out another quintessentially English scent.  Either Lemon Drizzle Cake ...or Rhubarb and Custard - I just can't decide!
This post contains a PR sample.

Balance Transfer Your Life with MoneySupermarket

 photo moneysupermarket-balance-transfer-your-life-6_zps869f8619.png  photo moneysupermarket-balance-transfer-your-life_zps9c6df992.jpg Over the past few months, I've been incredibly thankful for my wardrobe doors.  Sounds weird but they've done an amazing job of keeping my clothes from spilling onto the floor.  I've got into the really bad habit of stuffing things in and hoping the door shuts again.

MoneySupermarket have been helping out with those annoying tasks (...like organising your wardrobe).  Why?  Because... Like finding a credit card with a free balance transfer, there are loads of these little niggling tasks that we just keep putting off, which is why MoneySupermarket is getting involved and offering you the chance to ‘balance transfer your life’ – no matter what the little chore is.

MoneySupermarket hooked me up with some expert advice from pro-organiser, Rachel Papworth.  Having some guidelines and a step by step process to follow definitely made the task in hand a lot less daunting.  I began by clearing out all my clothes, shoes and accessories and giving the shelves a good clean.  Next was deciding what was to go back in and exactly where it was going.  I organised my hanging clothes by garment type, making searching for things easier.  My shoes made their way to the top shelf and all of my flats are now contained in their own storage bag.

I was pretty ruthless with the categories I sorted my clothes into.  Things I was going to keep, bits for the charity shop and a pile heading straight for the bin.  Rachel had a top tip for those pieces that you're unsure of what to do with.  If you can imagine leaving it behind in an emergency then get rid.  If it would be one of the things you'd save then keep it.  It's safe to say that anything I found still with the tag attached went into the charity shop pile!

Although it's tempting to layer tops and cardigans onto a single hanger, only use one hanger for one item of clothing.  It makes it easier to find things, which is essential for bleary-eyed morning outfit planning.  Make sure broken or flimsy hangers are binned or recycled.

I've never been one for storing woolly jumpers under my bed and Rachel recommends keeping everything in your wardrobe.  I did have a re-jiggle of my summer holiday items - they're now in a box on the bottom shelf.  They're still easily accessible but are kept out of the main compartment of my wardrobe.

 photo moneysupermarket-balance-transfer-your-life-4_zpse4dc3450.jpg Rachel insists on taking a before and after shot of your wardrobe so you can see what you've achieved. This can serve as a reminder not to get all messed up again, and also to help you prevent bringing clutter back into your wardrobe. I'm determined to keep my clothes nice and tidy from now on. The whole experience has been therapeutic and having a clear out is just what I needed. I'm even tempted to bring in a 'one in, one out' policy in the future!
Written in collaboration with MoneySupermarket.com.

Three Things I Learnt From My First Christmas Fayre

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At the end of last week, I took Isobelle's Pantry into the wild and had a table at my very first Fayre.  I was such a busy bee all week, worrying that I'd forgotten something important and, sadly, it wasn't quite the success I was hoping it would be.  However, I learnt three lessons that I'll be sure to take on board for the next time!

As this was my first time selling in public, I wanted to go for a venue that was rather low key. I treated it as a trial run to minimise the chances of getting in a flap in front of customers!  Unfortunately, despite the organiser's claims of promotion, there were very few customers.  Although I was disappointed with the number of sales, I'm actually quite glad that I was eased in gently to selling in person!  I'm already looking for locations with a larger footfall.

Before even thinking about what stock I was taking with me, I got onto Pinterest to research other people's visual displays. I decided to go for a festive colour theme that complimented both my handmade and vintage products. Overall, I was really happy with how the stall looked. It took next to no time to arrange it all too, as I had a mental image of where everything would go. I managed to find a table cloth and runner in Primark to draw attention.  I also took along vintage suitcases and wrapped up an empty box to create height at either end of the table.  I'll definitely be using these thrifty merchandising tricks again.

I was super nervous as I was setting up, but after a short while I felt relaxed and started chatting to other stall holders.  This proved to be just as valuable as talking to customers.  I was recommended another event to sell at and collected business cards from fellow sellers.  Turns out that I was being quite the business woman and was networking without realising!

Blogging - Three Things I'm Grateful For

Digital agency total media
Blogging has had a bit of a hard time in the press recently.  It think sometimes it's portrayed as being an easy career option for the MySpace generation.  The truth is far from that.  I've learnt a lot through blogging and have been given valuable opportunities along the way.

One of the main incentives to start my blog was the thriving sense of community amongst other bloggers.  There are friends to be made, debates to be had and help is often just a tweet away.  It's comforting to know that you are in the company of like minded others who share your passion.  It's not only bloggers who are a chatty bunch but PR contacts too.  I've been lucky enough to build relationships with people who either work for a digital agency, such as Total Media, or for the brand themselves.  There are chances to network around every virtual corner, both online and at events.  I've found this particularly helpful, as I've gained confidence in meeting new people and can now apply this to work situations. 

I've been grateful to be a part of an ever-changing industry and the future of digital media.  The way we consume information has drastically changed, even in the past five years.  Seeing how social media and blogging plays an integral part of marketing campaigns is so inspiring.  I particularly love seeing Benefit's new campaigns and take inspiration from experimental marketing when thinking about new ideas for my own shop.

I'm naturally a creative person and blogging allows me to dabble in a variety of creative outputs.  From photography to blog design, I'm learning something new every day.  I have a notebook of scribbles and brainstorms by my side for when a new idea pops into my head.  

Writing for my blog has not only been heaps of fun but also I'm refining my skill-set all the time.  Every day's a school day!
This post contains a sponsored link.

The Original Vitamin E Cream

John Gosnell's The Original Vitamin E Cream
If I could only use one beauty product on my face for the rest of my life, I would choose a moisturiser.  John Gosnell's Vitamin E Cream would be among the contenders.  The British company can trace their history back to 1677, making them the oldest cosmetics company in the UK.  They certainly know their stuff.  You've probably already tried this cream already, as Gosnell's have been a contract manufacturer since the 1960s.  It just had different branding.

We all know that we need vitamins and minerals for a healthy life, but how exactly does vitamin E benefit our skin?  It has many properties that make it the ideal ingredient in a face cream and can particularly help those with sensitive and dry skin, along with those looking to reduce the signs of ageing.  Vitamin E in an anti-oxidant, and therefore neutralises free radicals within the skin, that may have otherwise caused cell damage.  It protects from pollution and, to some extent, UV radiation.  Those of us with sensitive skin will benefit from it's anti-inflammatory effects too.

For me, a moisturiser with vitamin E makes for the perfect night cream.  Having oily skin, these moisturisers ensure I get the hydration I need, without feeling too heavy during the day.  The Original Vitamin E Cream is soft and calming upon application.  When I wake up my skin is hydrated and ready for the day!

This post contains a PR sample.