Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String: Christmas gift wrapping. 

I love this time of year, and I get such great pleasure from purchasing and wrapping up my Christmas gifts for loved ones. I’m always ordering extra little bits just to make the gifts that tiny bit more special. This year, I browsed Pinterest for ideas and blended a few together to create the perfect gift wrap for my presents. 

My 2015 gift wrap is brown paper with white ribbon and tied up with string. I’ve purchased little white and red tags that will have personalised gold stickers on! In addition, I’m tying little candy canes into the bows and finishing the gifts off with gold icicle sticks scattered around the paper. It might sound extravagant but it can be done so cheap when you hunt around. 

  
In my small town, there’s a shop which is full of cute little trinkets, shabby chic ornaments and furniture, and at this time of year – the sweetest Christmas items. I took my 6yr old niece after school yesterday and she said ‘this is the most beautiful shop I’ve ever seen!’. Here, I purchased the brown paper and string and the cute card tags. You’ll be able to find these basic items in tones of shops or online! 

Here’s a few pictures I’ve found of beautiful gift wrap that you could copy or take inspiration from! Most are simple and DIY and they’re all very festive and pretty! 

   
    
    
    
 
I’ve found the best place to get bits and bobs from is eBay! Many can be personalised and cost just a pound or two! Just be sure to order from your home country so they come in time! If you’re a bit stuck on how to get a neat wrap, head to YouTube for tutorials! 

When all of my things arrive and my gifts are wrapped, I’ll post pictures. Tag me in your Christmas wrapping pics on Instagram and Twitter @heliemac1 and help get me feeling really festive! 

Hels X 

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Hoar Cross Hall Spa Weekend

As I turn 21 tomorrow (21st July), my Mum treated me to a gorgeous spa weekend, just like she did for my elder sisters on their 21st’s! Apart from abroad on holidays, I’ve never actually had a spa weekend so this was such a treat and my kind Mum went all out for it! We arrived on Saturday early afternoon and left on Sunday early evening so we had plenty of time to pamper!  

         I will try almost anything in the name of beautifying and detoxing etc so I was super keen to use the ice old plunge pool and freezing showers which supposedly detox your skin. I wasn’t brave enough at first but I forced myself in and it was actually so refreshing!! There was also body jets, hot and cold sprays/jets/waterfalls, heated stone seats with massaging water jets, hot tubs, sauna, steam room, 2 pools…. Basically everything you could want from water therapy! I love trying all of these things out but my mum isn’t so keen! I love the fact everyone walks around in their bikinis, robes and slippers! It’s so chilled. 

   
   

I had three amaaaaazing treatments – 2 on the first day and one the next day. The first was the Rose Hydrator which involved an all over body scrub, being covered in luxury oils and creams and wrapped up, finishing with a scalp massage. I left feeling super soft and silky! 

My next treatment was the Elemis Facial. This is tailored to your particular skin type and my therapist adjusted the products according to my dry skin. I’ve been suffering with dryness on my forehead and eyelids at the moment and I can honestly say that these were about 70% better after the facial! The products felt and smelt amazing. 

My final treatment was a full body Hot Stone Massage. I have always carried quite a lot of tension in my shoulders and tend to have knots there, so it was quite painful having those massaged out but I feel much better for it! I would recommend all of the treatments I had if you guys ever visit the spa. 

   
 We spent the rest of the day using the facilities and reading by the pool. I downloaded ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green a while ago and started reading but never got chance to properly get into it as I had my exams. I’m now 90% through and I LOVE it. It’s so thought provoking and the story line is brilliantly unpredictable. It was nice just to be able to chill and do nothing except read and relax. 

  
The amount we ate this weekend is kind of rediculous! We had lunch and dinner on the first day, then breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea on the second day. Lunch and dinner are both three course meals! You can imagine how full we were (but we still managed most of it!). The meals were brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed. 

   
                  As an additional treat, my mum purchased some of the Elemis products used in my facial for me. I chose the Papaya Enzyme Peel, Exotic Moisture Mask and Skin Bliss Capsules. I’m excited to use these products and will be blogging the results! I’m excited equally about them all – the Papaya Enzyme Peel removed the dead skin cells, while the Exotic Moisture Mask hydrates the skin and can even be used as an overnight treatment. The Skin Bliss Capsules (which I used once a while ago and loved) are to be used as a course 3 times a year – the contain 30 days worth of capsules both day and night, with different scents and oils. 

   
 On the whole, we were really happy with the weekend. We had a lovely room, comfortable beds, everything was clean and nice and the food and treatments were spot on. However, there are a couple of negatives we both pointed out. The meal time service wasn’t totally up to scratch – absolutely no fault of the staff! The staff were lovely and tried to be attentive but they were totally understaffed so they were rushed off their feet. This meant that we were sat for hours to have a meal and left a number of times without drinks. For our evening meal, we couldn’t get a booking until 8.45pm and weren’t shown to our table until past 9.00pm. We didn’t end up finishing the meal until around 11.30pm! It wasn’t ideal but we still enjoyed it. 

The second thing I’d comment on is the treatment times. My Mum and I both checked the times of our treatments and each and every one of them was 10-15 minutes shorter than we had paid for! It’s understandable that they need to set up for the next client, but that time shouldn’t be taken from the treatment times. 

I will definitely be booking future visits to Hoar Cross Hall and I now feel perfectly refreshed and ready for the rest of my 21st celebrations. 

Hels xxx

Valentines Baking <3

Since it’s Valentines Day tomorrow, I thought I better do a themed post! Whether valentines has slipped your mind, you want a cheap but sweet gift idea or you want to get creative for your loved one, I’m sure you’ll love the ideas I’ve found below!

We’ll start off easy…..

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Strawberry/brownie/marshmallow skewers.
These cute and simple skewers would make a perfect dessert! Pop a strawberry, ready made chocolate brownie and a marshmallow on a skewer and drizzle in chocolate – simple but effective!

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White Chocolate Heart Moulds
These are so simple but look really cute and thoughtful. All you have to do is melt some white chocolate and pour it into heart shaped ice cube moulds, sprinkle on some pink and red sweets and voilà! Once they’re cooled, pop them out of the moulds and you’re left with these romantic treats.

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Iced Heart Biscuits.
These can be as simple or as intricate as you choose…. Pop to the supermarket for some plain biscuits and get yourself an icing kit, or do it the good old fashioned way and bake them yourself! You could try this recipe if you’re up for a challenge.

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Heart Tarts.
Another really cute idea is these little heart shaped jam tarts. Simply roll out some ready made pastry, cut into hearts, add a tiny bit of strawberry jam, place together and bake!

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Brownies.
My personal favourites! There’s so much you can do with brownies – white chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter, Nutella, Oreo, basically any sweet treat your loved one likes can be added! A really great valentines idea is red velvet brownies… I’ve never tried them myself but I’m sure you’ll agree they look amazing. If you’re feeling really brave and creative why not give this recipe a go today. Right now, I’ve got a batch of my boyfriends favourite chocolate fudge brownies cooling, which I’m topping with Nutella and Love Heart sweets!

So if you need a last minute gift that’s personal and super sweet, head to the super market and get baking!

Share in the comments if you bake anything for your loved one this valentines x