Christmas Gift Guide For Her

Flatlay featuring Christmas gift ideas for the women in your life.

It is that time of the year again, and if you’re anything like me you might already have finished your Christmas gift shopping! Somehow though I always end up having to get something last-minute, whether it is a distant family member joining the festivities last-minute or a friend you’re seeing around the holidays, I always end up rushing to the shops in the last few days leading up to Christmas. So gift guides are always useful to me and hopefully to you too, whether you’ve made headway in tackling your list or are only just compiling it!

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Christmas Decor

Christmas Tree star decoration

I must admit that it feels like Christmas crept up on us this year, and despite the fact that our tree has been up since the end of November (enthusiastic much!) I hadn’t really spread the cheer to anywhere else until recently.

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Festive Home

DSC_2212Although our home is far from done and we still have a tone of decorating to do, I couldn’t resist indulging in a bit of festive decor for our home. Our home isn’t the biggest, so our Christmas touches are mostly restricted to our openplan dining/livingroom. It is also where we’ll be hosting a few Christmas parties so we’ve put out a few festive treats for our guests (but REALLY they’re for us). And I love the finished result! We’ve gone for a classic, metallic look that isn’t to over the top. Since our decor collection is quite small at the moment, there are definitely a few pieces (like a reef) that I would like to add, but maybe next year.

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The Christmas beauty edition

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The festive season is such an easy time to go overboard with your beauty look, and if you want to you certainly should! But over the years I’ve often found myself feeling slightly OTT. Family dinners, braais with friends or a board games evening rarely justify a perfect red pout and golden eyes. This time around I feel less certainly is more.

I love my LA Girl The Nudes palette as all the colours are right up my street. I rarely go for the extreme eye looks preferring to use one or two shades at a time. This time around I just blended the golden shimmer close to my lashes, loaded up on tonnes of mascara and added a little bit of festive colour to my pout with a Revlon Super lustrious lipgloss.

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Nails is where I go all out. I love the Essence Gel Nailpolish in Nr 14 Do you speak love? It is a lovely vampy red, probably not summer appropriate but I love it anyways! I then covered it in one layer of Wet n Wild’s Waiting for my solo. It is a warm golden-coppery glitter that has both small and chunky pieces. I applied this combo in the car a week ago for my husband’s year end work function and although it wasn’t perfect it lasted a whole week with minimal tip wear! I was so impressed that I repeated the look today. DSC_1923

What is your go-to beauty look for Christmas parties? Do you go all out or prefer a more relaxed approach?

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Cosy Day Essentials

DSC_8784 It is a funny time of the year for me to be talking about feeling cosy as we are supposed to be in the middle of summer. But we’ve been experiencing some colder evenings these last few days which has had me reach for my favourite winter essentials. I can’t think of a better time to talk about essentials for staying cosy than during the festive season when you feel all fuzzy inside. Feeling cosy is a complete sensory indulgence for me. I like to start off with a scented candle. Right now I’ve got a Cinnamon and Jasmine duo doing the trick. On nights where I feel completely drained, as I have often felt these past few days, I prefer to just unplug completely and head to bed with a few good magazines or a classic novel. I can’t stress enough how important good quality sheets and bedding is. I prefer a sateen finish, especially on my pillows but I also know a good many people like the cool touch of percale. Once you’ve found what works for you, it is worth investing in it (I like these bedding sets from Parachute Home as they cater for all preferences). My ultimate indulgence however is a cosy quite like a grey knit – be it in blanket or jumper form. Make it a cable knit and I’m sold! This is where you want to pay attention to what your knit is made of as Merino is preferable for that snug feel that doesn’t scratch. Never settle for anything less than cotton! A little Christmas music always elevates my mood and songs about snow always fit the bill! I like to finish this off with a good cappuccino to send me into sensory heaven!

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December Favourites

‘Tis the season to be jolly…!

It is my favourite time of the year already! It is hard to believe that Christmas and New Years is around the corner as this year really flew by. So welcome to my festive favourites!

Even though I have already put up my Christmas decorations I still crave the perfect reef. I will be doing gold and white gift wrap this year, but the elegance of black and white still attracts me. Maybe I’ll attempt some calligraphy on this year’s name tag.

I usually make a panforte for Christmas (get my favourite recipe here), but I’d like to try my hand at florentines this year. This chocolate orange recipe seems like a perfect festive combination. Since it is summer I will steer clear of anything overtly cosy and rather attempt a simple yet festive table like the one above. It would go well with a summer Christmas lunch!

I also plan on spending as much time as possible either pool side or on the beach and a classic black bathing suit is exactly what I need.

Lets talk about the endless amount of DIYs I’m planning this month. Not only do I want to make this awesome star garland with glitter paper, I also want to tackle a few of my wedding DIYs, they may or may not involve large amounts of sequins and glitter.

Since December is decidedly summer in Cape Town, I look forward to al fresco dining, summer salads with my favourite fruit and braais (aka barbecues).

Finally I’d like to kick-start next year on a high note, it would be an added bonus if I could find these cute eyelashes!

I hope you all have a great festive season with all your loved ones! Safe travelling and I look forward to sharing a few festive ideas with you over the coming month!

Much love,

Astrid x

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Panforte Recipe

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Panforte meaning ‘strong bread’  is a dense, fruity loaf also known as Siena cake. The traditional spices and festive candied fruit makes it a great non-alcoholic alternative to Christmas Cake, even though it can be enjoyed year long. It is perfect to serve with coffee or dessert wine.

Ingredients:

  • 110g almonds (raw and unsalted)
  • 60g macadamia nuts  (raw and unsalted)
  • 30g brazil nuts (raw and unsalted)
  • 20g pecan nuts (raw and unsalted)
  • 125g glazed cherries, chopped
  • 100g candied pineapple, chopped
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground coriander
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t grated nutmeg
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 150 g sugar
  • 4 tbs honey
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • icing sugar, for dusting

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Method:

  1. Prepare a square 20cm x 20cm dish by lining it with baking paper and spraying it with spray and cook. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Toast all the nuts under a hot grill, turning them so they brown on all sides. Be careful not to burn as this makes them bitter.
  3. Sift together all the spices and flour and mix in the nuts, zest and candied fruit in a heat-proof bowl.
  4. Melt the sugar, honey and butter in a saucepan and cook the syrup until it reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer, or a little of it dropped into cold water forms a soft ball when moulded between your fingers.
  5. Pour the hot syrup into the nut mixture and mix fast before it begins to stiffen too much.
  6. Pour it into the prepared dish, smooth the surface and bake for 35 min. Time this carefully as you won’t be able to observe any change in the cake once its ready to be removed.
  7. Cool slightly in the tin before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice while hot.
  8. Dust the top heavily with icing sugar.

Store in a airtight container in a cool place and it will last for weeks.

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