Becc4's Blogmas 2019 - A Roundup

25 December 2019

Our Typical Christmas Day

24 December 2019

The penultimate Blogmas post of 2019 is here, can you believe it? I mean, as someone who works full time I certainly can't believe it. One big pat on the pat for me, from me. For today's post I thought we'd have a chat about the typical Christmas Day in the Martin Household. Feeling nosy? Let's dive straight in shall we...

A rundown of the typical Christmas day on the Martin household!

7-8am: Wake upppppppp, run downstairs and see if Santa has been! In our house, the first one to wake up always goes and wakes the others, and I have a feeling it'll be our puppy Murphy this year!

8-10am: A few presents get opened, a load of profiteroles get eaten - the ONLY suitable breakfast at Christmas am I right? 

10-11am: Get dressed, wearing new clothes that Santa may or may not have brought... Can we just talk about how funny it is that we all get dressed up to sit in our lounge for the day.

11-12pm: More presents, yay! 

12-2pm: Loitering around the kitchen asking is it ready yet and getting in Mum's way. 

2-3pm: THE BEST PART OF THE DAY: Lunchtime !!! Time to fill oneself with as much food as humanly possible, God Tier trio of trimmings I'm looking at you! 

3-7pm: A mishmash of naps, games, more presents and snacking on leftovers from lunch 

7- bedtime: Time for new pjs, more food and a lounge on the sofa watching all of the Christmas specials. 



What do you do on Christmas Day?

The Definitive Ranking of Christmas Foods

23 December 2019

Anyone who has read any of my posts will know that food is absolutely the way to my heart. I've written a fair few food-related blog posts and I'm always posting over on my Instagram about my love for the humble roast dinner, stacks of pancakes, and extra-large pizzas. So, the fact that today's Blogmas post is another food-related one probably won't come as any shock to anyone. Enter Becca's definitive ranking of alllll the note-worthy Christmas foods...

A definitive ranking of all of the note-worthy Christmas foods from God Tier to Shit Tier.

God Tier

  • Pigs in Blankets - THE highlight of Christmas, need I say anymore?
  • Sausagemeat Stuffing - a close second place amongst the roast dinner trimmings
  • Roast Potatoes - the third member of the God Tier trio of trimmings. 


Top Tier 

  • Yorkshire Puddings - delicious, but not a Christmas Day must-have. 
  • Cauliflower Cheese - the far superior (and only) way to eat cauliflower
  • Roast Parsnips - almost as good as the roast potato, almost. 



Mid Tier 

  • Turkey - Can we all just say we prefer chicken and move on?
  • Carrots - a great vegetable but not something to fill up on considering everything else available
  • Broccoli - same as above 



Low Tier 

  • Peas - pretty rank but still edible.
  • Mince Pies - an alright snack, can think of many other things I'd prefer
  • Mash - great at other times but shouldn't be served at Christmas if you ask me.



Shit Tier 

  • Brussel Sprouts - those things are just naaaaasty.
  • Christmas Cake - too solid, much brick. 
  • Christmas Pudding - even setting it alight doesn't detract from the disappointment of this pud



Do you agree? Have I got it totally wrong? Let's have a chat in the comments!

The Top 5 Christmas Films Ever Made

22 December 2019

I hadn't actually planned on writing a post on Christmas films this Blogmas but that all changed when I watched an absolutely CRACKING one yesterday. There I was scrolling through Netflix looking for my usual fave, Arthur Christmas (Netflix why have you removed it?!) when I stumbled across 'Get Santa'. I'd never heard of it and had no idea what to expect but lemme tell you, it's 100% one of my new favourites! So much so, I figured I ought to share my find with the internet as it really is fantastic and is a must-watch on these last few days before Christmas!

A round up of the top 5 Christmas films ever made

001. Get Santa

"After crashing his sleigh and coming to the attention of the local police, Santa Claus asks a father and son for help to round up his reindeer so he can return home and ensure that Christmas is not ruined for all."

I really can't sing this films' praises enough. It's set in London, has a great cast and I loved the storyline. It also features some great Christmas songs and isn't cheesy at all, 10/10.


002. ELF

"Buddy, a human, is raised amongst elves at the North Pole. When he discovers that he is not an elf, he travels to New York to search for his biological father."

A film that needs no introduction. It's an absolute Christmas classic and I always make sure to watch it at least once every festive season which, considering I'm not a massive film person, is high praise indeed!


003. Love Actually

"Eight London couples try to deal with their relationships in different ways. Their tryst with love makes them discover how complicated relationships can be."

A Christmas film I could watch over and over again. That necklace scene? Iconic. Hugh Grant? Fantastic. Natalie? An utter babe.


004. The Holiday

"Two girls from different countries swap homes for the holidays to get away from their relationship issues. However, their lives change unexpectedly when they meet and fall in love with two local guys."

Plot twist, this isn't actually a Christmas film according to Google but imma include it anyway. It's another of the classics and again, I'm not sure I need to say too much more about it. 

005. Arthur Christmas

"When Santa's gawky son Arthur learns that owing to a technical glitch a little girl's Christmas gift has been misplaced, he sets out on a mission to deliver the present before it is too late."

By far the cutest Christmas film everrrrr. I love the animation, the story and all of the characters. It's a real feel-good Christmas film and it engrosses me every time I watch it despite having seen it more times than I care to admit! 



What's your favourite Christmas film?

Christmas Gingerbread Trees Recipe

21 December 2019

Corrr, what would Blogmas be without a bit of baking, eh? Last year I whipped up these INCREDIBLE Triple Chocolate Brownies - if you haven't tried them yet, you absolutely must give them a go, they are phenomenal! I mean, they do contain four bars of chocolate so.... 

Anyway, this year I thought I'd make something I'd never actually made before: gingerbread. For a first attempt, I'm actually pretty chuffed.  They taste fantastic and absolutely filled the house with the smell of Christmas! The recipe is this one from BBC Good Food which I slightly adapted (accidentally, oops!)

A recipe for Christmassy Gingerbread Trees
A recipe for Christmassy Gingerbread Trees
A recipe for Christmassy Gingerbread Trees

You will need: 

  • 75g margarine
  • 50g caster sugar 
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 50g golden syrup 
  • 2 egg yolks (and one egg white if, like me, you don't read instructions)
  • 250g plain flour 
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Icing sugar (to decorate)

Method: 

  1. Beat the margarine and sugar until creamy. 
  2. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, golden syrup, and egg yolks. 
  3. Sift in the plain flour, ground cinnamon and ground ginger then mix.
  4. Knead until the dough comes together, then chill for 30 mins.  
  5. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. 
  6. Roll out and cut your trees with a cutter (or freehand if you're feeling arty). 
  7. Place onto greased baking sheets and bake for 10 mins until slightly risen and golden brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack. 
  9. Mix together some icing sugar and water then drizzle it on top, the more rustic the better! 


If you give these a go, I'd looooove to see your photos! 

Christmas TV Guide 2019

20 December 2019

I don't think the Christmas TV specials need any introduction. I mean, that 2007 Max and Stacey scene? Iconic. Whilst my family and I don't tend to watch too much TV on Christmas Day itself, we will absolutely be smashing that record button and filling our Sky box with things to catch up on in the Christmas/New Year slump. So, for today's post, I thought I'd compile a little TV guide of all the best of the festive telly leading up to the big day. So, grab your remote and let's dive straight in. 

A Christmas TV guide for 2019 highlighting all of the best festive telly this December.

Saturday 21st December

ITV2

 - 6.25pm: Four Christmases 
- 8.10pm: The Holiday 


Sunday 22nd December 

BBC1 

- 1.50pm: Toy Story
- 9.00pm: A Christmas Carol (1/3) 

Channel 4

- 5.15pm: Food Unwrapped: Cracking Christmas Guide 
- 6.15pm: Inside Cadbury: Chocolate Secrets Unwrapped 
- 7.15pm: Paddington

Channel 5

- 7.05pm: Building the Ice Hotel 
- 8.00pm: Gregg Wallace's Magical Christmas Market 
- 9.00pm: Secrets of the Mega Christmas Buffet 

ITV2 

- 9.00pm: Love Actually 


Monday 23rd December 

BBC1

- 1.25pm: Toy Story 2 
- 9.05pm: A Christmas Carol (2/3)

ITV

- 2.15pm: The Santa Clause 
- 9.00pm: Gordon, Gino and Fred: Christmas Road Trip - 3 Unwise Men 

Channel 4 

- 11.00pm - The Inbetweeners 2


Tuesday 24th December 

BBC1 

- 1.25pm: Toy Story 3 
- 5.30pm: Beauty and the Beast 
- 9:00pm: A Christmas Carol (3/3) 

ITV

- 12.40pm: The Grinch 
- 5.15pm: Elf 


Channel 4 

- 3.50pm: The Snowman 
- 4.20pm: The Snowman and the Snowdog
- 5.30pm: Home Alone 

Channel 5 

- 8.00pm: The Wonderful World of Chocolate 

ITV2

 - 6.15pm: Four Christmasses 
- 8.00pm: The Holiday 


Wednesday 25th December 

BBC1

- 3.10pm: Finding Dory
- 7.00pm: Call the Midwife 
- 8.30pm: Gavin and Stacey 
- 9.30pm: Eastenders 

BBC2

- 2.30pm: Scrooge 

ITV1 

- 3.10pm: Shrek the Halls 

Channel 4 

- 4.55pm: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York 
- 7.10pm: The Great Christmas Bake Off 

Channel 5 

- 6.40pm: Britain's Favourite Christmas Songs 

ITV2 

- 4.10pm: Elf 


And there we have it, a little selection of things I spotted in the Radio Times that might be worth watching over the next week or so... 



What, in particular, are you most excited to watch?

The Best Dog Christmas Jumpers Of 2019

19 December 2019

This Blogmas we've already covered a lot of the important things: How To Be More Sustainable At Christmas, The Best Christmas Jumpers On The Market, Festive Instagram Hashtags To Use This Christmas... Need I go on? But, I think I might have possibly saved the most important post until today: The Best Dog Christmas Jumpers 2019.

I have a cockapoo puppy, his name is Murphy, and I cannot wait for his first Christmas! The little pooch already has lots of Christmas gifts to look forward to, has been opening two (!!) advent calendars and there have even been rumours that he's even having his own Christmas Dinner. One thing Murph doesn't have yet, however, is a Christmas Jumper. Now, I don't advocate dogs wearing clothes on the whole, but a little jumper for a few minutes over Christmas? I don't see an issue with that... So, shall we have a look at the best dog Christmas Jumpers of 2019.

A Roundup of the Best Dog Christmas Jumpers 2019






Can we take a moment to vote on our favourite outfit? Mine is definitely number 3, my sister on the other hand looooves number two and has been threatening to buy it for Murph for a while now! 

How To: Take A Great Festive Flatlay

18 December 2019

How to take a great festive flatlay - tips and tricks to up your Instagram game

I love taking photos of lots of random pretty titbits sprawled out over my bed (or flatlaying as most other people call it).  My Instagram is absolutely full of them and if I could whip one up at parties, they'd absolutely be my party trick! 

I've had quite a few requests to share some of my tips and tricks, so for today's Blogmas post I thought I'd do just that...

How To Take A Great Festive Flatlay


Shoot in bright natural daylight 

It might sound really simple but this is by far the best tip I have. I always shoot my photos in bulk, at the weekend, when the lighting is particularly good. It's still fairly dark when I leave for work during the week and it's pitch black when I get home. Yes, you can shoot with artificial lighting but in my opinion, natural lighting just looks the best! So, now that your photo is bright and well lit, let's move on, shall we?


Use your camera to see how it looks as you set up

I find doing this is so handy as you can see exactly how everything looks as you place each thing in the frame. It's so much easier to visualize the photo when you can literally see it right in front of you! That way, if something doesn't look quite right you can move everything around until it does.


Stick to festive colours

I always think flatlays look the most cohesive when they have a colour scheme. Take my festive flatlays, they're all red, white and green. Throwing some random purple and blue items in with them would really look odd and less put together. Pick your colours and stick to them, pals. Gold or silver are also great colours to stick with. 


Leave some empty space 

My flatlays tend to be fairly minimalist and I always make sure to leave lots of the background showing. Now, as with any photography, this is all personal preference, but I like to do this as it means you can really pay attention to each of the items in the shot!

Move everything slightly and reshoot, and again, and again. 

That's the secret. Honestly, I lay everything out, shoot a couple of photos, then move everything around, shoot a few more, and so on and so forth. Each frame tends to be better than the last until you end up with something you're really proud of. I'd recommend only moving a few things in between shots that way you can really see what works and what doesn't! 



Are you a flatlay fan?

Christmas House Tour 2019

17 December 2019

Our house looks less like Santa's grotto than usual this year as we're now the proud owners of a highly inquisitive, bouncy, cockapoo puppy. That being said, he's been far better behaved than we were expecting and so far our two (!!) Christmas trees have pretty much come out unscathed. I mean, a couple of baubles may have made their way to bauble heaven but other than that, he really has been good as gold.

For today's post, I thought we'd have a little wander around my house and a nose at all of our Christmas decorations. If you'd like to compare notes with last year's house tour, feel free to do so!

The 2019 Christmas house tour - a look at all the festive decorations up in the Becc4 household.
Our tree is a prelit, artificial one from M&S and the decorations are a real assortment of things we've collected over the years. The theme is rose gold, gold, and white, and I'm gonna be honest, I love it a lot. 

The 2019 Christmas house tour - a look at all the festive decorations up in the Becc4 household.
The 2019 Christmas house tour - a look at all the festive decorations up in the Becc4 household.

In my bedroom, my red fairisle bedding is from M&S, the huge candle and gnome are from Homesense and the silver wire Christmas tree is from B&M. The actual Christmas tree is one I bought in Asda forever ago and the other bits and bobs are all from Primark or Poundland! 

The 2019 Christmas house tour - a look at all the festive decorations up in the Becc4 household.
The 2019 Christmas house tour - a look at all the festive decorations up in the Becc4 household. In our lounge, we have our real tree decorated with bits and pieces from Wilko, a couple of gnomes handknitted by my Nanna and a giant gnome from Homesense. The red stocking and holder is from M&S and we have two of each of these. Can you believe Murph hasn't gone for the stockings yet?! They're literally giant socks hanging at just the right height for him to grab... What a good boy. 
How have you decorated your house this year? 

A Wander Around Oxford Christmas Market

16 December 2019

A wander around Oxford Christmas Market - what's there, what to eat and my overall opinion.
A wander around Oxford Christmas Market - what's there, what to eat and my overall opinion.
A wander around Oxford Christmas Market - what's there, what to eat and my overall opinion.
A wander around Oxford Christmas Market - what's there, what to eat and my overall opinion.

A wander around Oxford Christmas Market - what's there, what to eat and my overall opinion.
A wander around Oxford Christmas Market - what's there, what to eat and my overall opinion.
A wander around Oxford Christmas Market - what's there, what to eat and my overall opinion.


Everybody knows Becca loves a Christmas market or two.

Last year I visited Bath Christmas Market with Fran, and this year I've spent far more evenings than I care to admit sipping on hot chocolate at the one in Bournemouth. A couple of weekends ago I even branched out, cheated on my local, and wandered a new one: Oxford.

Now, I'm sure we're all very much aware that Oxford is an incredibly pretty city. The shopping there is also pretty good (hello, can we talk about that shopping centre?!) meaning I had really high hopes for a wander around at Christmas.

The market was all along one street meaning it was pretty packed. So, warning alert - if you're not a fan of crowds this is DEFINITELY not the market for you. On a slightly lighter note, I'm very pleased with the photos I managed to snap whilst the masses were doing their Christmas shopping - it doesn't look chaotically busy, does it?

The market trip started with the most important stop; lunch!

Nina and I both ordered a Bratwurst and lemme tell you, they were amazing. I might even go as far as to say the best bratwurst I've ever had... Sausage lovers? Hit up Oxford.

As for the stalls, there were lots of different stalls selling all sorts of products. There were candles, chocolates, mugs, chutneys, skincare, and socks to name but a few. My favourite stalls were the ones selling Christmas decorations - what a surprise! I also looove the smell of those dried festive fruit garlands you can buy at this time of year. Can that be the scent of my entire house for the whole of December, please?

I didn't actually pick anything up at the market this year, shock horror, but I had a fantastic day nonetheless!


Which is your favourite Christmas Market?

5 Ways To Be More Sustainable This Christmas

14 December 2019

5 ways to be more sustainable this Christmas

Christmas and Sustainability; two things that really don't go hand in hand. Now, Christmasses of old were probably very sustainable I'm sure, but in 2019 and this world of consumerism we're immersed in, the two together just doesn't seem possible. But, for today's Blogmas post I thought I'd compile a little list of things we can all do to help ease the burden Christmas is having on our planet...


5 Ways To Be More Sustainable This Christmas 

Change Up Your Wrapping 

In case you weren't already aware, wrapping paper can't be recycled. It's coated in plastic and hence not suitable for recycling meaning tonnes and tonnes of the stuff is thrown into landfill every year. Now, I'm not suggesting that you place all your gifts in an Asda carrier bag but how about brown paper? If you're interested, last year I wrote an entire blog post on more eco-friendly wrapping. Other wrapping paper alternatives include placing your gifts in reusable boxes or cute tote bags!

Buy Eco-Friendly Items as Gifts

I mentioned in my Gift Guide For Her that I'd been meaning to buy myself some reusable cotton pads for the longest time but has just never got round to it... Well, why not buy people other things that fall into this it's-on-my-list-maybe-one-day category as gifts? Know someone that doesn't have a reusable coffee cup? Well, that's an easy gift! Know someone that always has a packed lunch? Why not buy them some beeswax wraps to replace cling film. Reusable cotton pads, water bottles, bamboo straws, you get the gist!


Limit Your Shopping 

Now, I for one know how easy it is to get carried away with the Christmas shopping, both food and gifts! It's oh so easy to buy things for the sake of it, so, when you're strolling the aisles of Lidl getting things for the big day, maybe ask yourself if you really do need 6 packets of pigs in blankets or if 2 would suffice.



Ask What People Actually Want 

So, yes, surprises are all well and good but only if your Aunt Sandra actually does want a foot of Jaffa Cakes and a multipack of Andrex toilet rolls... One easy way to reduce the waste produced by this time of year is to only buy things for people that they really want. Less of the 'stocking stuffing' and more of the thoughtful gifting, please!



Switch to LEDS

Yes, Christmas is THE season for fairy lights but 'if every UK household swapped a string of incandescent lights for its LED equivalent, we could save more than £11 million and 29,000 tonnes of CO2, just over the 12 days of Christmas' (source).  I'm not being the Fun Police, but if you're not in, turn your lights off and if you want to cover your entire house in fairy lights for the entirety of December, make them LEDs!



Now, I know that I'm usually the queen of all things festive, and I'm sorry if this post comes across as a bit negative and/or preachy. But, I like to think that I can use my platform for discussing important things too, as well as my favourite flavour of ice-cream (chocolate) and what I had for dinner (a roast). If not, usual service resumes tomorrow and in the meantime, you can check out all of my other blogmas content here.



What are you doing to be more sustainable this Christmas?

Christmas Party Picks

13 December 2019

Eight of Asos' pieces perfect for Christmas Party Season
It's here, party season is upon us. There are Christmas drinks here, Turkey meals there and everything else in between. This year I have my first work Christmas Party... I'm yet to decide what I'm wearing but figured putting this post together could help both you and I out. After a quick browse of Asos, here are 8 pieces that I think would work really well for any upcoming Christmas soirees...







What are you wearing to your Christmas party this year?

Rating 2019's Christmas Ads

12 December 2019

My opinions on 2019's Christmas Adverts including John Lewis, Aldi, Asda, Sainsbury's, M&S, Tesco, and Boots.

As the self-titled Queen of Christmas it feels only right that I review a selection of this years' Christmas Adverts. I'm going to keep this post short but sweet, as I'm sure you've already seen enough about all of the ads on Twitter, but here are my thoughts... In case you're interested, I also rated 2018's Christmas ads

JOHN LEWIS

Great song, great story, not as much of a tear-jerker as previous years but emotional nonetheless - 8/10.


ALDI 

Cute characters, catchy song, advertises what it's trying to sell - 7/10. 


SAINSBURY'S

A very long advert in its entirety but a cute story, not breathtaking, however - 6/10.


M&S

Something very different makes a real change! Catchy song, not particularly festive though - 7/10.


ASDA

Incredibly cute yet unpredictable and also extremely festive - 9/10. 


TESCO

Catchy songs, very very clever, really entertaining AND advertises their products - 10/10. 

BOOTS

Witty, catchy and engaging - 8/10.



Which is your favourite Christmas ad this year? I think I'm going to give it to Tesco...

The Best Of: Christmas Jumpers 2019

11 December 2019

What is December without a Christmas jumper? I mean, come onnnn, everyone needs at least one festive jumper tucked in the back of their wardrobe to resurrect every December. I already have a couple from the last few years but there's always room for one more, right? I mean, one of mine I've had for at least 6 years now and it always gets it wear when Christmas rolls around!

So, for today's Blogmas post I thought I'd compile a little selection of my favourite jumpers that I've seen on the high street. They range in price from £14 to £29.50, and vary from the tasteful to the tacky.


The best Christmas jumpers of 2019 - a roundup of the best festive jumpers on the high street.







ONE // Asda - Black Fairisle Christmas Jumper

TWO // M&S - Let It Snow Jumper

THREE // New Look - Red Fairisle Jumper

FOUR // Next - Black Sequin Christmas Tree Jumper

FIVE // Asos - Driving Home Jumper

SIX //  Asos - Cream Christmas Tree Jumper





Which is your favourite jumper?

The Festive Beauty Edit

10 December 2019

Whilst I was at uni, I really didn't wear all that much makeup. I mean, if I was going out-out I'd slap a load of foundation on my face, but, other than that, the majority of my makeup was left untouched, sat in my drawer. My housemates, coursemates and other friends all saw me without makeup at home, at the gym etc and I slowly realised over time that I didn't need to waste precious chilling-at-home-time beating my face. Helloooo extra 15 minutes in bed.

The Festive Beauty Edit - a selection of my current favourite beauty products.



However, I recently attended a beauty event at John Lewis, tried a whole selection of new products, and am very much enjoying makeup again. I'm not going to pretend to be some beauty wizard and I certainly don't have the hugest collection of products, but for today's post, I thought I'd just chat you through a small selection of the bits I am loving at the moment!


The Festive Beauty Edit

Mac Studio Fix Fluid - NW13 

This is my current favourite foundation of all time (but after Santa visits on Christmas Day this might be about to change). It's really heavy-duty, lasts a really good length of time on my skin and the colour match is pretty much perfect. 


Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer - Fair 1

I'm not sure you need me to say all that much about this absolute cult classic. It's a fantastic concealer and costs less than a fiver - what more could you want?! I dread to think how many of these I've bought over the years... 


Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder - Transparent

Speaking of repurchases, I've also bought a fair few of these in my time. Again, an everyday staple at less than a fiver. I think I'll be 75 and still buying these to be honest. 


MAC Pearlmatte Face Powder - In For A Treat 

If I'm going out-out and want to look a bit more glowy all over, this is the guy I reach for. It's a really finely milled pressed powder that contains a really pretty subtle shimmer. Helloooo glowy goddess.


NYC Bronzing Powder - Sunny

Again, another product that I've been using for a long ol' time. This bronzer is both matte and a great shade for my pasty skin, I'm not sure what more I could ask for. Fellow pale humans out there, if you're looking for a new bronzer to try, I really like this one!


Pixi Glowy Powder* - Fetch 

LOOK AT THAT SHADE. Is that not Christmas in a pan?! I love using this on my eyes - it's a stunning glittery copper - and I'll definitely be rocking this for the rest of December.


ELF Baked Blush - Moonlight Pearls 

I've spoken about this highlight a fair few times over here on my blog and I stilllll love it. It's such a pretty champagne shade and can be built up to create the glazed doughnut look we all know and love. 


Benefit Blushes - Galifornia and Gold Rush 

I was always a Benefit Dandelion blush kinda gal but these two have definitely overtaken my old favourite. If I could only keep one of the two thought it would be Gold Rush; I love the peachy shade and the subtle gold shimmer running through it.


Maybelline Colour Tattoo - Tough as Taupe 

Another product I use alllll the time. This cream shadow is the perfect colour for my brows, so, helloooo Anastasia Beverly Hills dupe. As you can see from the photo, this product is VERY well loved. Note to self: pick up another ASAP. 


L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow - Hourglass Beige

If you can't have an eyelid covered in gold glitter at Christmas, when can you?! If you're looking for a creamy, buttery POWDER eyeshadow - this is the one. It's honestly incredible and that's all I have to say on the matter.


MAC Lipstick - Velvet Teddy 

I'm not really a lipstick kind of girl but I absolutely make an exception for Velvet Teddy. It's the perfect browny pink, lasts a good ol' while on the lips and isn't too drying. If you've been living under a rock and haven't tried it yet, it definitely is worth the hype. 


NYX Lip Lingerie - Baby Doll, Corset and Satin Ribbon

Now, I know I said I wasn't a lipstick kinda gal, but liquid lipsticks are another story. If you couldn't already tell, these are my favourites. They're super easy to apply, last a really long time and don't dry my lips out tooooo much. If I'm wearing anything on my lips, 99% of the time it's one of these. 


And there we have it, my 2019 festive beauty picks. If you haven't quite had your Becc4 makeup fix yet you can check out last years' Festive Beauty Picks here



What is your favourite makeup product at the moment?

What's On This Christmas: Bournemouth

9 December 2019

Now, as I'm sure you've all very much realised by now, I love Christmas. I've sort of self-titled myself a Christmas Queen and so I felt it was my duty that I provided you all with a list of things you can do this month in the local area to get into the festive spirit. I know that a lot of you won't also be Bournemouth based like I am, but hopefully, this'll give you a few ideas of how to spend the next few weeks!

What's going on this Christmas in Bournemouth - markets, ice-skating, fireworks and more.


Ice Skating 

WHEN: 14th November 2019 - 5th January 2020

Bournemouth Gardens is home to the ever-popular SKATE ice-rink and Mogul's Alpine bar, and I don't think you can get much more festive than that... At £11.50 per adult it's not the cheapest of activities but is definitely something that needs to be done at least once every festive season!


Christmas Tree Wonderland

WHEN: 15th November 2019 - 2nd January 2020

Again, in the gardens, Christmas Tree Wonderland is a great place to go and wander once it is dark with a hot chocolate in hand. I love looking at all the trees and they, of course, make for a great photo opp or two! Helloooo Christmassy Instagram feed. 


The Christmas Market

WHEN: 15th November 2019 - 1st January 2020

What is December without visiting a Christmas market? I've been to a fair few in my time and one of the reasons I love Bournemouth's is all of the food options! Every time I visit town, all I can smell is the delicious street food - pizzas, camembert, hotdogs, burgers, the lot.


Christmas Fireworks 

WHEN: 19th December 2019

There are Christmas fireworks scheduled for the 19th December on Bournemouth Beach starting at 21.30. A wander around the market, a mulled wine or two and fireworks on the beach - can you think of a better evening?


Christmas Tree Picking 

WHEN: 28th November 2019 - 22nd December 2019

I don't ever remember us having a real Christmas Tree but this year we've got one from Pines and Needles*! I wasn't too sure how well Murph was going to react to us suddenly putting a tree covered in shiny decorations in our dining room, but so far so good...



What are your plans for this December? What is on in your local area?

The Best Of: Christmas Food 2019

8 December 2019

We all know how much I love food, roast dinners in particular. I mean, I do go on about it an awful lot and have even reviewed a Christmas meal, so you won't be surprised that today's post is alllll about Christmas food.

When November rolls around, the festive food catalogues start being distributed and here at the Martin household we all start picking the bits and pieces we'd like to order ahead of the big day. This year we've got five of the brochures so I figured I'd collate all of the good bits into one place for you, you're welcome. (Update: it's actually four, I didn't rate the selection Morrisons had at allllll)

The Best of the Christmas Food Catalogues 2019 featuring Aldi, Tesco, M&S and Asda.

ALDI

Roast:
  • Two-Metre Long Pig in Blanket - £4.99 
  • Loaded Yorkshires (filled with a Stuffing Ball AND a Pig in Blanket) - £2.99 
  • Halloumi Wrapped in Bacon - £2.49
  • Festive Kebabs (Pigs in Blankets and Stuffing Balls on a skewer) - £2.99 
  • Vegetable Lattices (Puff pastry with Spinach, Leek and Cheddar) - £1.49
Desserts:
  • Golden Twist Sticky Toffee Pudding - £5.99
  • Pavlova Stack (Raspberry and White Chocolate) - £4.99
  • Salted Caramel Mince Pies (with a Crumble Topping) - £1.79
Party Food: 
  • Mushroom Arancini - £2.99 
  • Vegetable Tempura Nests - £2.99 
  • Mini Beef Wellingtons - £2.99 
  • Mini Burger Sliders - £3.49 


MARKS AND SPENCERS

Roast:
  • Turkey and Festive Stuffing Wellington - £25  
  • Sugar-Baked Gammon - £18 
  • Mushroom Wellington - £7 
  • Pork, Smoked Bacon and Leek Stuffing Wreath - £10 
Desserts:
  • Raspberry and Prosecco Panna Cotta - £15
  • Billionaire's Dessert - £10
  • Rodney Cheesecake - £10
  • Christmas Colin the Caterpillar - £10
  • Torched Winter Berry Pavlova - £8 
Party Food: 
  • Ho Ho Ho Sausage Rolls - £10
  • Meatball and Tomato Subs - £14
  • Mushroom Steamed Buns - £14 


ASDA

Roast:
  • Festive Christmas Cracker (Pork, Turkey and Roast Veg topped with Bacon) - £6 
  • Pork, Sage and Caramelised Onion Stuffing - £2.75
  • Beef Fillet with Caramelised Shallot and Porcini Mushroom Butter - £30 per kg 
Desserts:
  • Millionaire's Winter Village Dessert (Mini Chocolate Houses in White Chocolate Mousse) - £8
  • Extra Special Yule Log - £3.50
  • Macaron Selection - £3
  • Crumble Top Mince Pies - £2 
Party Food: 
  • Pigs in Blankets with Camembert Centre - £5 
  • Mozzarella Sticks - £2 
  • Mini Vegan Mushroom Burgers - £3 
  • Vegan Rainbow Vegetable Filo Tarts - £2.50 
  • Chicken and Pesto Trees - £2.50


TESCO

Roast:
  • Turkey, Gammon and Beef Roasting Trio -  £15
  • Pork, Bacon and Leek Stuffed Turkey Parcels - £8 
  • Lamb Shoulder with Wild Garlic - from £14 
  • Stuffing Wreath with Pigs in Blankets and Cranberry Compote - £5
Desserts:
  • Millionaire's Chocolate Dessert with a Pinata Topping - £10
  • Croquembouche (60 Profiteroles) - £15
  • Red Velvet Pots - £8
  • Cheesecake Bites - £12
Party Food: 
  • Mini Hot Dogs, Cheeseburgers and BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders - £12 
  • Mexican Party Food Selection - £8 
  • Chicken Skewers Selection - £10
  • Sausage Pastry Garland - £9 

HOW good does that lot sound?! I hope this post has a) made you hungry and/or b) has given you some ideas as to what to eat on the big day. Obviously, we won't be eating all of the above, there's only so many pigs in blankets combinations one person can manage!



Have you made your food order yet?

The Papier Christmas Card Edit*

7 December 2019

A roundup of my favourite Christmas cards from Papier.

A roundup of my favourite Christmas cards from Papier.


I love writing cards for people. If you've ever received a card from me it's bound to have had a poem, drawing or rude message from me in it somewhere. I also love Christmas. Thus, it makes total sense that I also absolutely love Christmas Cards.

The lovely people over at Papier recently reached out to me and asked if I'd like to choose a selection of their Christmas cards to feature over on my Instagram and I obviously said yes! They arrived and I loved them so much that I figured I ought to share them with you guys here on my blog too, what's mine is yours and all that!

Now, not only are the cards absolutely gorgeous but this year Papier are donating 5p from the sale of every card to the charity Women for Women International. This charity helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives, and every little helps!

A lot of Papier's cards are personalisable - can we just talk about how thoughtful that is?! I chose a couple of their personalised cards and I LOVE them, it truly does make them that little bit more special.

Anyway, enough rambling, on with the edit:

A roundup of my favourite Christmas cards from Papier.








Which is your favourite card?

Festive Instagram Hashtags To Use This Christmas

6 December 2019

So, you've spent a while bulk shooting Christmassy photos, you've come up with some cute wintery captions and you've even planned out your entire festive feed on one of those grid planner apps. But, hold up, what hashtags are you going to use to get your pictures seen by the whole of Instagram?

Errrr...

Well, this is where I step in and do you an absolute solid.

Last year I created my very own Christmassy hashtag over on Instagram, and this year I've been on the hunt for a whole number of others... I've found a good 15 or so that I like to use so I figured I'd compile a little list of them here on Becc4 so that you can all use them too. Don't say I don't treat you....



Festive Instagram Hashtags To Use This Christmas 


#AHomelyChristmas

#PrettyLittleChristmas

#MerryAndBright

#NeverTooEarlyForChristmas

#TisTheSeasonToBeJolly

#ChristmasInspo

#ChristmastimeIsHere

#ChristmasLover

#ChristmasFlatlay

#IsItChristmasYet

#ChristmasSeason

#AlmostChristmas

#TheMostWonderfulTimeOfTheYear

#ChristmasVibes

#ReadyForChristmas

#HolidaysAreComing


FYI, #AHomelyChristmas is the hashtag I created and I'm going to be sharing all of my favourite posts on there, right here on my blog. So, if you'd like to see your photos here on Becc4 - get using that hashtag, y'all!

The Riverside - Festive Menu Review*

5 December 2019

I've mentioned my love of a roast dinner many times around these parts on becc4.co.uk. Many of my Sunday evenings at university were spent whipping up a roast and now that I've moved back home, my sister and I are begging my Mum to cook one pretty much every day of the week. 

At the end of November, my Mum and I were invited to The Riverside in Tuckton to try out their three-course festive menu and we had such a great evening. The meal was complimentary but all of my opinions - as always - are very much my own. 

A review of The Riverside Bournemouth's three course festive menu.
A review of The Riverside Bournemouth's three course festive menu.
The Riverside actually have multiple festive menus on offer this Christmas but the Classic Festive Menu was the one we tried. At £26.95 for three courses, it's not a bad deal at allll. The other menus available include four and five courses and a Christmas Day Menu.

A review of The Riverside Bournemouth's three course festive menu.
We were handed a glass of prosecco on arrival and were treated to a festive cocktail too. My Mum was driving so I happily chose both drinks and sipped away.  I chose the Sipsmith Spiced Bramble Royale; Sipsmith spiced bramble gin topped with decadent prosecco and the Festive Pornstar Martini; Ciroc Vanilla Vodka, Passionfruit and mixed winter spiced syrup with a shot of prosecco on the side. Now, I'm not too sure what I thought of the spiced pornstar martini - don't fix what's not broken and all that! The Spiced Bramble Royale, on the other hand, was delicious and I'd definitely have that again this December! 

A review of The Riverside Bournemouth's three course festive menu.
To start, I had the deep-fried Brie. Shock horror, I'd never actually had Brie before but figured that I'd probably like it, I mean, anything deep-fried is delicious, right?! Yeah, I was right. The cheese was creamy and melted - almost like baked camembert - whilst the breadcrumbs were crispy in all their deep-fried goodness - yuuuum! 

A review of The Riverside Bournemouth's three course festive menu.
For our mains, we couldn't have anything but the roast turkey, could we? It came served with lots of INCREDIBLE roast potatoes, a pig in a blanket (that sounds weird in the singular), pork and clementine stuffing, a side dish of seasonal vegetables, bread sauce and a red wine gravy. I absolutely loved the stuffing - honestly, it literally tasted like Christmas. I wasn't a massive fan of the actual turkey itself, however, but I'm not generally a massive turkey fan, give me chicken any day!

A review of The Riverside Bournemouth's three course festive menu.
To finish, I had the apple and plum crumble which was served with custard, and I loved it. You really can't go wrong with a good crumble, can you? It was a really decent-sized portion and I liked how it was presented, crumbles have a real tendency to look a little dull and beige! 

A review of The Riverside Bournemouth's three course festive menu.
As we arrived there were reindeer in the carpark - who are there twice more in December if you'd like to see them too - and there was a local church choir whilst we ate. I'm sorry but can you think of anything more festive?! The decor in the Riverside is really nice and the staff were really helpful. My Mum and I had such a great evening and I'd definitely recommend checking out the festive menu if you're in the local area, it's a really good deal! 

Gift Guide For Her

4 December 2019

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online
Hello, hello, hello, welcome back to another gift guide! I'm sure you're very much aware of how these things work, I've written enough of them by now! But, as I mentioned in my last gift guide, this year I'm trying to be really mindful with the gifts I buy and only get things that I know people will love. I'm so guilty of buying things for people for the sake of it, to bulk things out, that this year I've decided to call a stop to that, yay! So, if after reading this guide you still need some more inspiration you can check out last years' Gift Guide for Mums and Stocking Filler Gift Guide

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online

So, we've all heard of Dermalogica skincare products but did you know they've recently released a range of body products too? There are currently four products available and I have these two; the Body Hydrating Cream and the Conditioning Body Wash. At just under £30.00 each they are by no means cheap but if you're looking for some really nice toiletries - have a look at these! For reference, also in the range are a body oil and a body scrub. I really want to gift these to someone but part of me also wants to keep them for myself and give them a try, the dilemma, hey? 

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online

Now, I'm sure you don't need me to say it yet again but the planet needs our help. There are lots of things we can do to be more sustainable - you can read some of them here - and one of these changes is the switch to reusable products in our beauty routines. These cotton pads are made of cotton and bamboo and can be reused over 200 times, simply throw them in the wash inside the included bag. As much as we all want to try and do our bit, purchasing things like these often isn't at the top of our priorities lists, so purchasing them for someone as a gift is a great idea. If someone bought me these I'd be so chuffed! 

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online

Everyone I know has a phone. Most people have a phone case. So, choosing someone a new phone case as a gift is a great idea in my opinion. I mean, we spend a LOT of time with our phones in our hands so we may as well make our phones look pretty, right?! I've posted a few pictures of Caseapp cases over on my Instagram and their cases never seem to disappoint! I always opt for a matte finish and at the moment I am absolutely loving this dark tropical print! 

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online

Following on from my last point, lots of people also have laptops. My sister recently bought a laptop and is yet to buy a case for it, so I bought her this one from Typo! Again, a new laptop case isn't necessarily something you'd treat yourself to so it's nice to receive one as a gift. I'm not sure how much more I can say about a laptop case, that's about it really...

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online

Haircare. I'm very much a buy what sounds great and is on offer in the supermarket kind of haircare gal. My sister is the same as are many of my friends, so I knew I wanted to include some kind of nicer haircare in this gift guide. This is the Blinding Shine Gift Set, and whilst I've never tried it myself, so I can't comment on the results, it definitely looks the part. I'm going to gift this to my sister - I'll be sure to get her to report back with her thoughts! Who doesn't want deliciously shiny hair?

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online

What is a gift guide without at least a little bit of Lush?! This is the Santa Bubble Bar, it is reusable and SO blooming cute. It's got a real citrusy scent, so whilst it looks very festive, it doesn't smell it, meaning that if you're still using it up in January you won't be stuck with the smell of winter spices! I'm not sure you need me to sell Lush's products to you anymore - we all know and love them, don't we!

A Christmas Gift Guide For Her - from the high street and online

I love Annie's products. Her prints are all gorgeous and I loved this weekly planner when I spotted it. All of her products are really well priced too, so great if you have a Secret Santa at work coming up. Who doesn't love a new notebook?  I very much have my eye on her bee print, if you haven't seen it, check it out. 


And there we have it, my Gift Guide For Her 2019! How are you doing on the Christmas shopping front, have you nearly finished? If you're looking for more sort of beauty gifting ideas, I'd highly recommend checking this gift guide by Kirsty!
© BECC4 / A Lifestyle Blog on the South Coast. Design by Soleilflare.