*sounds klaxon* Christmas is next week. ARGH. Well, it’s more like this week really, since Christmas Eve is on SUNDAY. How bloody scary is that?!
Anyway. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been working tons in the lead up to Christmas and have been stressing and dropping money left right and centre for last min gift ideas for family and friends.
But do you know who really deserves some gifts this year? That’s right. You.
So check out my one and only gift guide of 2017 and see what small stocking fillers you can still treat yourself to this year. They might not be grand and expensive. They might be pretty and never used again after Christmas. But hey, treat yo’ self anyway, am I right?!

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ONE
Well everyone loves unicorns and everyone loves facemasks, am I right? To be honest, I couldn’t give a crap at how well a facemask makes my skin look – as long as it’s a relaxing process to wear it and it’s super cute and funky like this one.

TWO
I love this iPhone projector – and how cheap it is. It’s a really quirky but sweet stocking filler, perfect for watching videos on your phone. To be honest, I don’t know anyone who has enough space on their phone for a full movie, but I think it’ll be great to use to watch things on Youtube or scroll through holiday photos.

THREE
You can never go wrong with a pair of soft, fluffy socks, let’s face it. Perfect for lounging around the house in and also venturing outside and wearing with a pair of winter boots. Being an adult is all about losing matching socks and never getting around to buying any new ones, so why not treat yourself to a cute pair now?!

FOUR
Candles for everyone! This is a little generic as you can buy candles pretty much anywhere but I love this particular brand from TK Maxx. They always smell lush and they look super cute and stylish in a home too. Perfect for warm cosy nights spent inside this winter!

FIVE
I actually picked up one of these sweet four piece lip kits recently and can’t believe that they’ve got TopShop stuff for sale in TK Maxx. This set is so cute; it includes lip liner, lip paint, lip mattifier and lip glitter. It all matches too which is great as I find it super hard to find a lip liner that matches my lipstick. It’s available in a few different shades also.

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So there we have it. Five cheap as chips ideas for little stocking fillers for you and only you this Christmas – enjoy! 😉

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This week I dragged my boyfriend to Waddesdon Manor, a beautiful 1870s country house near to Aylesbury. To be honest, I say I dragged my boyfriend, but he was actually very happy to go! 

The reason I wanted to go is because the manor (and it’s grounds) has so much on at Christmas and I visited years and years ago with my nan and parents, having an amazing time. I’d always wanted to go back – and we always tried to – but it just didn’t happen. So as part as my birthday present, my boyfriend agreed to take me on a day that the Christmas fair was on.
We also booked tickets to go inside the house and see the decorations as on my last visit, my family and I only visited the grounds.
After just an hours drive, we arrived near to the house where we were welcomed with two tall beautiful Christmas trees. We were actually nowhere near the house but already I felt festive! We drove down through the gates and to the car park, where we hopped onto a shuttle bus that took us down to the house.

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Though the walk itself is only twenty minutes or so long, it was very chilly so we decided to take the lazy option! As soon as we stepped off the bus I was blown away to see the magnificent house in front of us. Pretty Christmas lights twinkled in the trees surrounding the house and down each side of the long lawn, pop up cabins/chalets hosted the Christmas market.
We got stuck in, admiring the decorations from each cabin and the delicate string lights criss-crossing from cabin to lampost, emitting a romantic glow as we walked beneath. The first cabin we visited was a foodie one and even had a vegan burger on offer – perfect! Vincent scoffed his in no time (it was too spicy for me!) and we began a slow walk to check out what was on offer. Though we saw lots of great things, we actually forgot to buy any gifts and just bought some chilli sauces for ourselves!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

After a mooch around the market, we explored the grounds. The stables looked particularly festive – and the walk from the house to the stables was nice. It was a winding path through trees but lit up with small lantern lights. We spent half an hour in the playground too – there were some fun things to do as adults! – and generally just spent the rest of the time gazing at the festive decorations.
When it was almost time for our timed entry into the house, we walked up and realized there was an outdoor light show. With floodlights changing the colours of the trees and sound effects, we were treated to a short but sweet show held against the backdrop of the house. We saw colourful butterflies fly over the walls outside and even snow! It was really beautiful.

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Inside the house was even more festive. Even though we only saw a handful of rooms, each had a different theme and the trees were out of this world. I got so many ideas for our tree (when we eventually get one!) and loved walking through the old walls and delving into the houses past.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market
My only qualm is that we didn’t get to see much of the house at all. Obviously not every room is decorated for Christmas, but as we spent £30 for the both of us to visit the house, I was quite surprised to find we were in and out within only twenty minutes. Still, I was glad we got to see inside and the trees really were beautiful!
We also had issues finding somewhere to eat, though this is through no fault of Waddesdon. There was lots of food on offer, but this was mostly pop-ups or cafes which of course served nothing vegan. We should have booked in advance to eat in the restaurant really but didn’t think that far ahead.
Saying that, I was pleasantly surprised to find even a vegan burger on offer at the market, it’s just a shame that it was too spicy for me! We found solace in the raclette cabin which offered cheesy chips and gravy – we ordered it without the cheese to make a delicious but light vegan snack.
All in all it was a really lovely and festive day. Waddesdon Manor is still one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and there really is nothing like it come Christmas. From the Christmas market to Waddesdon Imaginarium (the light show projected onto the house), there really is so much to see and do this winter, proving that it’s worth risking the cold to make a visit.
Have you ever been to Waddesdon Manor? Let me know!
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Despite the fact that Halloween has just passed, I’m already in the Christmas spirit thanks to my visit to Roof East Stratford on Thursday.

I was lucky enough to be invited down (or should I say up?!) to the iconic rooftop for their winter makeover with Social Fun & Games Club. I was invited alongside some of the girls and boys of Love Pop Ups – London and I have to say, it was one of my favourite blogger events/events with Love Pop Ups – London yet. I’d last visited Roof East Stratford for Rooftop Film Club last summer, so I was definitely intrigued to find out what it was like during winter.
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Upon arriving, we headed through a tent area donned with Christmas decorations such as a Christmas tree, twinkling lights and a mannequin in a ski suit – to keep in line with the theme of the Slider’s curling, of course!
We were then shown to one of many inflatable snow globes which offered one, singular round lamp in the centre of the table and twinkling blue fairy lights above us, complete with a few snowflake and bauble decorations. The seats were covered in a soft and warm fur also, giving the igloo the perfect winter touch.
Being the press/preview/launch night, we were lucky enough to have a waitress on hand who was more than helpful when it came to recommending and bringing us our drinks and food. There are two bars on site with a large array of both winter themed and classic drinks to choose from. Some of the seasonal drinks included Boozy Hot Chocolate, Jager Ski Shot (four shots of Jager served on a ski!), Gin Fizz and Proper Snowball.

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The boozy hot chocolate went down a treat and was filled with tons of flavour, whereas the Gin Fizz (gin, pomegranate and cranberries, served with sparkling water and garnished with fresh rosemary) was entirely Instagram-worthy and gave me a warm/tipsy buzz too which was good!
For food, we had the choice between two vendors: Jimmy’s Lodge and Crazy Pig. Both offered a lot of yummy canapes and traditional winter food (such as hog roast), and we chose to sample a few tasters from each. The mini burgers really hit the spot (the veggie one was particularly tasty!) and the hot dogs were piled high with yummy toppings. We also sampled some nachos and a cheese/meat board; we were spoilt for choice but not one thing disappointed.

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We ate until we were full and drank until we were merry inside our snow dome which was actually so warm that we had to remove our coats. Chatting amongst each other, drinking warm seasonal cocktails and listening to a great soundtrack – overlooking the beautiful view of London at night too – was really nice and definitely put me in the Christmas spirit. 
Once we left the comfort of our personal dome, we headed over to the retro neon curling lanes where we attempted to crown a champion between us. Playing in pairs against each other, we soon got the hang of the game and it wasn’t long before we realised how addictive it was. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be too, despite having never played before!
All in all, it was a really lovely evening that I don’t think I’ll forget in a hurry. It was so nice to go as a group and just relax in such a great atmosphere. We were looked after so well and I can’t believe how Christmassy I felt so soon after Halloween. It really did give me that excited feeling in my tummy!

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Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | SFG @ Roof East Stratford | Social Fun & Games Club @ Roof East Stratford | Social Fun & Games Club | Roof East Stratford | Sliders

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | SFG @ Roof East Stratford | Social Fun & Games Club @ Roof East Stratford | Social Fun & Games Club | Roof East Stratford | Sliders

Whilst exploring, we also found a talented gentlemen playing piano in one of the covered seating areas which also hosted a bar. I noticed the benches had blankets on them for guests to use when it got chilly too which was a lovely touch!
If you’re looking for something to do in the run up to Christmas: this is it. It’s so much fun with a group of friends because you can get merry and try and beat each other at curling, but it was also kind of romantic too with many twinkling lights and the transparent warm snow globes providing views of the capital. It would be perfect for date night too and the best part about it is that you can spend a whole evening there because it has everything you need: delicious hot and cold food, seasonal and classic drinks, entertainment, fun and games and just a genuine great feel to it all.
I’d like to thank Love Pop Ups – London for the opportunity and the team at Roof East Stratford for inviting us and looking after us so well. I’ll no doubt be visiting again this winter and believe me when I say you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t pop down yourselves before Christmas 😉
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Wow! How fast has this year gone? 

I can’t believe that Christmas is nearly here, it is such an exciting time of the year. But for many people, it can be an overwhelming and fast-paced period and you can get completely bombarded with your “to do” list and things that need doing. 

So I can imagine that for some people, spending a little time and effort into a DIY craft or gift could be far from your mind right now. 

However, there are still plenty of options and ideas you could consider doing that don’t need too much of your time to create. In fact, some of them may add a unique touch to your get-together, or even help you out with last minute gift ideas. Interested? Read on to find out more.

A CHRISTMAS EVE HAMPER
There has been a sudden trend occurred for families that get children something called a Christmas Eve box. However, there is no rule to say that it has to be children who get one. Why not create a Christmas eve hamper for you and your partner, or perhaps even just for you? It could include wonderful things like hot chocolate and sweets, perhaps some pamper bits and a new pair of pajamas. Whatever takes your fancy. Even including things like DVD’s to watch could be a great way to spend Christmas Eve and extend the festivities a little bit.

HOMEMADE WRAPPING PAPER
Of course, at this time of year, you might be sitting in a sea of wrapping paper. But if you were hoping to add a touch of craft to your Christmas festivities then why not create your own wrapping paper? Here are a few ideas to inspire you. 
USE PHOTOGRAPHS
Printing photographs onto large pieces of paper is a great way to ensure that your wrapping paper is personal. You could ensure the paper includes pictures of the person the gift is for, or just add a selection of your favourites so that the person receiving the gift knows it was from you. Do it in a theme of black and white or add a touch of colour, just get a little creative. People will appreciate the effort, even though it won’t take you much time at all.

PAINTED ITEMS LIKE LEAVES
A lovely therapeutic craft idea is to use the inspiration you have around you. Perhaps fallen leaves are in abundance in your garden or close to your home. Grab some of the driest leaves and use them as a way to decorate wrapping paper. All you have to do is dip the textured edge into the paint and then stamp your paper in a pattern. Use a mix of two or three colours for a marbled effect. It can make very pretty wrapping paper.

For more inspiration on homemade wrapping paper ideas then check out websites like Pinterest.com.

A DECORATED DINING TABLE
Sometimes the easiest ways to add a touch craft to your home and Christmas is the decoration of your dining room table. Traditionally, many people come together around the table to eat a full on festive feast, so what better way to make more of this special occasion than decorating accordingly. 

CANDLES 
Candles have such a way of adding atmosphere to any occasion. Add a decent festive scent like a Yankee candle, and you are onto a winner. There are some amazing tablescapes online that will fill your mind with endless possibilities. But simply adding a few candles to the mix will brighten up your dining space and make it feel like an occasion.

FOLIAGE

You could also decorate the dining table and room with flowers or green foliage to be a little more festive. Perhaps offcuts from a Christmas tree or sprinkles of holly dotted around here and there. You could even place a small token of foliage or a flower on the table setting for each guest.

Other things to consider would be handmade name place cards, homemade crackers and even create your own festive hat options. These would work very well if you have any children in attendance. 

HOMEMADE GIFTS FOR WHEN YOU FORGET
A great way to add some festivity DIY crafts and projects is to make some gifts. This works well if you have forgotten some of the all important gifts like work colleagues, for example. Here are some suggestions to consider.

EMBELLISHED ITEMS THAT MAKE PERFECT GIFTS
Plain photo frames can be a blank canvas when it comes to gifts. But almost everyone would love printed pictures, so why not combine the two and frame a wonderful photograph for someone. You could even embellish the plain frame and make it more to that person’s taste. Perhaps adding a few gemstones or different coloured items. Thankfully, a glue gun with glue dots and dispensers will do an excellent job of sticking anything to the frame. This could also work for little gifts in mason jars, canvas prints or even embellishing greeting cards.

HOT CHOCOLATE IN A JAR
There are some great tutorials online that help you with quantities for making hot chocolate in a jar. Simply this is providing all the ingredients to make hot chocolate in a decorated festive jar. The perfect homemade gift. This also works well with cupcake and cookie mixes.

HOMEMADE BISCUITS OR CAKES 
If you enjoy the baking part yourself then why not make some homemade goodies like cookies and cakes to gift people. This will make you a favourite in the workplace by bringing a tin of freshly baked goods in there just before Christmas.

FOODIE CRAFTS EVERYONE WILL LOVE
Finally, there are some amazing foodie crafts you could do before the big day itself. Here is a little inspiration to get you going.

GINGERBREAD HOUSE  
These days in many stores you can buy a kit to help you create your very own gingerbread house. These make great decorations in the kitchen area. The DIY element, of course, is the assembling and decoration. 

CREATE A HOT CHOCOLATE STATION AND INVITE SOME FRIENDS ROUND
Create a hot chocolate station and invite some friends round

Hot chocolate stations are becoming popular especially as you can use your slow cooker or crockpot to create a creamy taste. This is perfect for when you have a group of friends or family coming round for a few festive drinks.

FESTIVE TIPPLES 
On the subject of drinks if you want something more alcoholic then why not make a batch of mulled wine or create your own festive cocktails. This could be an added element to your festivities.

 I hope this has inspired you to create a few more things before the big day arrives.

*Please note this post has been contributed.

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This year for my annual birthday surprise, my sister took me to Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter.

I love Harry Potter and have been wanting to visit the studio tour for years now. I’m not quite sure why I hadn’t been already, considering it’s just down the road from me, but going as part of my birthday plans was really fun, especially as it was all seasonal.
I loved all of our visit, but my favourite parts would have to be the beginning – the entry into the great hall and exploring the great hall, because this felt really magical and like we were stepping into another world. It looked so beautiful done up for Christmas and I loved seeing all the decorations.

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Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour | The Making of Harry Potter

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour | The Making of Harry Potter

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour | The Making of Harry Potter

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour | The Making of Harry Potter

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour | The Making of Harry Potter
I also really enjoyed attempting to ride a broomstick (admittedly, my sister and myself weren’t very good at this!) and the part where we learned all about the special effects, studying the masks and ‘robots’ of all the creatures that were in the film. 
It’s amazing how much work goes into it all and all the attention to detail. We also didn’t realize quite how many different creatures appeared in all of the films until we visited this area and learned about it all in more detail.

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Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour | The Making of Harry Potter

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter | Warner Bros. Studio Tour | The Making of Harry Potter

And, of course, seeing the giant castle online cheap medications model at the end was a really special moment. I’ve seen photos from the tour before and knew something along those lines was coming up but had completely forgotten about it of course and didn’t expect it to be that breath taking.
We walked into the room – which oddly smelt of cinnamon and Christmas – to see the model basked in a stunning blue light and I can’t lie – it took my breath away and actually made me gasp out loud. It truly was amazing and was such a lovely moment.

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At the very end, we entered a room praising all the thousands of people that had worked on the movies and that was pretty moving too. They were practically a family – I can’t imagine how it must have felt to work with someone day in and day out for ten years and to have to say goodbye to that.
All in all it was a lovely evening and I’m so glad I finally got to go. 
Also, the butterbeer is delicious – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! (So many people told me it was horrible).
Thank you so much to my lovely sister to yet another fun-filled birthday evening – she never fails to make it extra special for me!

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