Best footwear – Iridescent Nike ID with my name ‘Wench’ on the back.
Best Chinese/Japanese/Thai Eatery – Lotus, Wilmslow Road, Withington, is a vegetarian family restaurant serving an amazing choice of mock meats and fish as well as traditional EA dishes.
Best Cruelty-free Face Serum/Moisuriser/Oil – Eden’s Semilla Serums. If you have an uneven skin texture or your skin is dry/combination or you are seeing signs of ageing, then these two serums will leave your skin noticeably plumped, hydrated and balanced all day.
Best Stationary – I bought this diary from Paperchase as I loved the colours and the layout. I decided to use it as a ‘Best thing today’ or ‘happiness’ journal where I write down anything positive that happened that day, even if it was just getting creative in the kitchen for lunch.
Best Dairy-free Snack – These Ten Acre crisps taste amazing! I had three people insisting that they read the ingredients because they just couldn’t believe they were dairy free. Gluten and MSG free too.
Best Cruelty-free, Temporary, Hair Dye – Manic Panick (the one in a tub) has a thick consistency which means it’s really easy to dip a tint brush into and apply, without getting it every where. It comes in every colour you can imagine and is gentle on coarse/dry/damaged hair. It started out a deep teal colour and has now faded to this after around 12 washes.
Best Place To Buy Affordable Jeans – Matalan. Yup, for real. They do various fits with several styles in each. I chose a skinny, mid-rise style. Even if if you have a food-baby the next day it doesn’t matter because they stretch to fit, which also means you can wear them for ages before they go baggy at the knees and need washing.
Best Cruelty-free Mens Skincare – My Bloke loves Bull Dog Original range because it doesn’t have a strong scent and is cruelty free with no unnecessary ingredients so it’s very simple yet effective.
Best Place For Omnivores and Vegetarians To Eat Together – Zouk. I was invited to try their new menu and found that there were enough choices to keep me satisfied and the food was of good quality and cooked well. There’s also a little cocktail bar with a wonderful menu. I can imagine most groups of friends being happy here.
Best Smoothie/Blended Drink Recipe – I will share this with anyone who will listen LOL Rice Milk/Soy Milk, Heaped tbl spn peanut butter, Medium banana, Maple syrup/Golden Syrup. Add Bournville choccy powder (mixed with a little cold milk first) to turn into a Snickers smoothie.
Best Cruelty-free Nail Polish – I love the original colours and finishes that Zoya offer. I’ve also found that it’s very gentle on my brittle nails and last as long as other ‘long wear’ polishes which are double the price.
Best Manchester Outdoor Space – Fletcher Moss. Is a beautiful landscaped garden filled with flowers, trees and a pond, with a little heather garden to the side. They have toilets (very rustic) and a cafe. Stenner Wood is right behind if you want to feel like you are in the countryside for a little while.
Best Cruelty-free Household Product – Beauty Kitchen. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t dream of using beauty products tested on animals but never consider getting CF items for around the house. Gentle on sensitive and/or dry skin with a beautiful scent this organic hand wash is a winner.
Best Alternative Online Shop – EMP have branched out from rock/goth wear, band merch and geek pop-culture to also include urban style. Honestly, I could browse it all day. Some clothing items can be a bit pricey (depending on the brand) but they have little twists of originality, are of high quality and the sizing charts are the most accurate I’ve come across.
Best Dairy-free Easter Chocolate – Choices, found in Holland & Barrett and supermarket free-from isles – if you are lucky. Remember those white mice you used to get as a kid? Well this is 100% better!
Best Spirit – Dark rum in general of course but has to be Sailor Jerry, followed very closely by The Kraken. SJ took it for their perpetually creative labelling.
Best Unexpected Bargain – I got bored while my bloke was in the army surplus shop and found this tiny vest on sale! I chopped the neck out slightly so it was more flattering.
Best Tidy Solution – I used this pretty box a prezzie came in and an old watch tin a friend gave me to store the makeup that I use daily. I’ve chucked out anything that really wasn’t working for me and the rest (very similar colours to what’s here already or party makeup) is in a transparent wash bag under the sink. So much quicker to see what I’ve got and where it is!
Best Indian Eatery – Hands down has to be Lilly’s in Ashton, Greater Manchester. They have an extensive but comprehensive menu of the most delicious vegetarian food. From hearty traditional dishes to quick street food for lunch and creative combinations of ingredients on their Indo-Chinese menu, you will want to visit several times to try it all.
Best Cruelty-free Makeup Brand – Elf. Every single one of their product I’ve used has worked perfectly for me. Products are true to how they’ve been shown/described on the site, they are easy to apply and long wearing. Worst goes to Soap & Glory – just ugh!
Best Charity Merchandise – This One Love Manchester jumper I bought for the survivors of the Manchester Arena bombing. Obviously being a Manc this is very close to my heart but I genuinely love the graffiti style of lettering.
Best Cruelty-free Shampoo – Weleda, Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash. Rarely have I come across a shampoo that is so gentle on my coarse frizzy hair as this. Some ‘natural’ shampoo’s I’ve used have left my hair matted and feeling like straw but I didn’t even need conditioner after this! As usual I just oiled my hair when it was still damp and left to air dry. Perfect.
Best Full Vegetarian or Vegan Eatery – V Revolution. Creative American-style fast food, which is surprisingly healthy and tastes of individual ingredients, rather than salt and ketchup. Order a White Russian cocktail for a glass of heaven.
Best Energy Drink or Snack – I had to go with Rockstar as they taste like fizzy pop, rather than that sickly, slightly medicinal thing other energy drinks have going on. I fill a drinks bottle with 2/3 energy drink, 1/3 water and a pinch of salt and sip it when I’m flagging to keep my energy and electrolyte levels up. One bottle usually lasts me two days.
Best Cruelty-free All Round Moisturiser – Faith in Nature Coconut Body Lotion. I use this on my body and my face as it’s thin enough to sink in quickly without being oily.
Best Accessory – I’ve looked at so many pins from various places this year. This Milk & Moon one was thoughtfully packaged and the gold and black theme looks classy rather than cartoonish, which is what I wanted.
Best Book – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (YA Fiction) is the perfect blend of fantasy and every day, which escalates to serious proportions. Easy to read, with engaging characters and a plot which could lead literally anywhere.
Best Funko Pop! – I have to go with The Cheshire Cat from (the modern) Alice in Wonderland. He’s so quirky-cute and makes me smile every time I notice him. Plus the fur and stripe detailing is really well done.
Best Cruelty-free Skin Treatment – Murad Radiance Peel has transformed my skin from being dull, flakey and hopeless to being smooth, radiant and able to absorb moisturisers, serums and oils.
Best Book I Would Recommend – I do love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern but the first part of the book, before the two main characters even meet was hard going for me. However, I thought the rest was wonderful and utterly absorbing.
Best Impromptu Selfie – I took this while I was waiting to get ready for a night out and liked it so much more than the one I took when I was ready! Check out my sexy owl PJ’s lol
Best Alternative/Urban OOTD – I usually like to mix alt and urban style but I decided to go all out rock festival with this one for Summer.
Best Surprising Food Combo – Edamame and Avocado. Followed closely drinking Tia Maria with seaweed/miso/Chinese flavoured food. Try it ^_^
Best (Gluten Free) Larger – Peroni has always been my fave larger for how light and refreshing it is, and now they’ve started doing a gf one, which is just as good.
Best Everyday Look – I love this outfit because it’s practical, flattering and represents the Gorton girl in me with the hoodie and big sparkly hoop earrings. I can also take my hoodie off and have a nice top underneath for evening.
Best Place To Buy Lingerie/Nightwear – Boux Avenue make THE BEST bra’s. Pretty but comfortable and in a flattering range of styles and colours. Their night/lounge wear is also really lovely.
Best Gluten Free Pizza – Pizza Express by a mile. They also have other great gf options and are very understanding of dietary requirements.
Best High Street/Drug Store Cruelty-free Makeup – Well, Topshop makeup is new to me as I’d never used it before. Affordable, great colour payoff, easy to apply and stays put. I’m really impressed!
Best Dairy Free Choccy – Sarelle is like a Fererro Rocher but with sweet dark chocolate, rather than milk. This is a decent sized choccy bar but it still isn’t big enough, ha!
Best Cruelty-free Party Makeup – Barry M, Matte Me Up lip linner and lip paint. Metallic, yet oddly matte this is actually really wearable for anyone with an olive-dark skin tone. I think if you were paler, you would be making a much bigger statement with it.
Best Fashion Trend – Apart from Rosegold – which I’ve always liked since I was a 13 year old looking at jewellery in the Argos catalogue – it has to be knitwear with subtle corset and grunge detailing, mainly fraying, large gaps in the crochet and random lacing.
Best Veggie Sweets – Made with real fruit juice, these Organic Mini Fruit Bears by Biona are possibly the tastiest sweets I’ve ever tried. Everyone I know who’s tried them – loved them.
Best Tech – Nokia 105. You can drop it, accidentally sit on it, play different versions of Snake on it, it’s a petty retro colour, it has a torch which is actually effective, it’s really light weight, no scally will want to rob it off you and you will only need to charge it twice in your life time. Bargain!
Best Cruelty-free Lipbalm/Skin Saviour – I know that I could just buy a big cheap jar of coconut oil from the local market but Dr. Organic is organic (duh), contains an SPF 15 and is so handy to carry around. One of the very few things that makes any noticeable difference to my lips at all.
Best Healthy Convenience Food – This veggie sushi from Tesco is as tasty as it is pretty.
Best Homeware – I love the duck egg blue colour of this Tesco blanket and it is unbelievably soft! I live in it now – we are one.
Best Alternative/Independent High Street Shop – Aflecks, Tib Street/Oldham Street (established the year I was born – a fact which I love). This giant maze-like building s an Alladin’s cave of independent shops. I don’t know any other place where you will find quality fancy dress, vinyl records, American candy, vintage clothes, Japanese imports, band merchandise, a vegan shop, a cute cafe, a clothes embellishing and customising service, retro toys/collectibles, rave/rock/urban clothing, cruelty free makeup and hair dye, along with piercing, tattooing and hairdressing studio’s.
I hope you enjoyed my alternative 2017 awards!
❤ Chrissie ❤
1. Do you start your Christmas shopping on Black Friday or wait until last minute?
I usually start having people’s presents in mind around November and then somehow realise close to christmas that I’ve still not got them, they won’t be delivered in time so now I have to go to the bloody shops. Why do I do this to myself!?
2. If you could be in any Christmas movie, what would it be?
One set in the US where they have their beautiful big house all decorated with christmas lights, a giant real tree and glittering topiary on the lawn, maybe a little frozen lake for ice skating….
3. Which do you like better: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Used to be crimbo eve when I’d go clubbing but now it’s crimbo day.
4. When does your family (or you) put up your Christmas tree and who decorates it?
It always used to be me and Mum with a six ft tree, but now it’s me and my Bloke trying to make this little 1ft tree look grand. As you can see we need some practice lol We wait until December.
5. White lights or colored lights?
I love that yellow and red phase on modern lights as it’s so warm and inviting.
6. Are you guilty of peeking at your presents or do you like the surprise?
I usually know what I’m getting but I love it when someone throws in a little surprise.
7. Would you rather live in a gingerbread house or in Santa’s workshop?
The gingerbread house would end up decreasing in size as I ate it, ha! Santa’s workshop would be too noisy. So I’ll go with the tasty gingerbread house and be minimal.
8. Tell us your Christmas Eve traditions!
It used to be getting drunk tbh. Now it’s going out and having Christmas meals lots of different places.
9. If you could be under the mistletoe with anyone who would it be?
Tom Hidleston, Xzibit, Gaten Matarazzo but he’s only 15 – maybe in five years! Jeffrey Dean Morgan or Idris Elba. I swear, I’d forget my own name if facing the latter two, or it would come out as “Chris…mas? Agh, ahahaa”.
10. What tops your Christmas tree?
A little wooden star at the moment but I’m holding out for a tiny angel or fairy.
11. Can you name the 12 days of Christmas?
Five gold rings! A French hen and Turtle Doves are in there somewhere.
12. Have you ever gone Christmas caroling?
I’ve sung in a non-religious choir at christmas in a church.
13. Do you countdown to Christmas? If so, how many days left?
Sometimes I’ll get a dairy free choccy advent calendar but was too slow this year and they sold out :o( OMG three days!
14. What are some foods and treats you can count on having every holiday season?
Forerro Rocher or Roses at some point right? Gluten free mince pies if I can find any, Yorkshire puds, onion gravy, Quorn turkey which tastes really gamey!
15. How has Christmas kept it’s magic for you as you’ve grown older?
I’m not gonna lie – food. No, just all of it, the tree/lights, christmas cards, snow if we’re lucky, the prezzies, the christmas films, the whole festive vibe.
I have no clue who started this and there aren’t any rules so just join in!
Me and my Bloke decided to try both christmas menu’s at Greens on two consecutive Mondays. We were not disappointed, but then we never are. I loved their Xmas decor, the food was inventive, made with quality ingredients and cooked to perfection. Just don’t ask them for an iced coffee, unless you want a rather indecisive luke-warm offering.
I reviewed these gf, nutty, chewy Atkins bars.
I haven’t been feeling the happiest of bunnies lately (not relating to the festive season) so the Bloke bought me a few sweet goodies…At the same time I was buying myself some lol
I went to V Revolution to show my support as they have recently opened again after some awful flooding. I ordered a sheese and facon burger with slaw on the side and loaded fries. I also had the best iced coffee I’ve ever had!
12 of the Cutest Christmas Jumpers because wether you are geeky, into your bling, have been a bit naughty or want to have a laugh, there is an crimbo jumper for you.
I bought this duck egg blue super soft blanket for the sofa/bed from Tesco and keep resisting the urge to just walk around wearing it lol
I’ve always adored rose gold as I think it really flatters my pale olive complexion so I just had to make a Rose Gold Wish List.
Now I’m in my 30’s I seem to be appreciating more traditional decorations and festive style. So here’s my traditional christmas.
All of my old cocktail rings are either looking shabby or have gotten lost or broken over the years. I always treat myself to a little prezzie each year and so I chose this, also from Tesco Direct. *NOT a promotion
I tried to start a thing on Instagram and Twitter where you post your #bestworstphoto of yourself with the reason why. This is mine because I look a lot bigger than I actually am due water retention and I don’t like my teeth (and chewing gum) showing – BUT I love that I was having a good laugh on a rare night out with old friends and was totally in the moment and not posing.
Here is mine and my bloke’s small but shiny tree ^_^
My lips do not produce anywhere near enough natural oils and are constantly dry and peeling. This is the only lip balm I’ve found which makes a lasting difference to them for at least half of the day. I must have a lot in common with a coconut! I’m going to start using coconut oil at home (for my dry frizzy hair as well) and save this for when I’m out.
This started off as a general Christmas film post but I realised they were all from the same decade. Here are my Favourite 90’s Christmas Films.
My health at the moment? One day functioning – one day recharging, seems to be working well.
Me and my Bloke have made an early New Years resolution to support independent brands and crafts people/artists so I bought him two handmade mugs (only one featured) from Old Sun Pottery.
Here’s me and my Dad in our festive jumpers. His is a giant Rudolph face (which he got from a charity shop for £3.00) and mine is a polar bear (wearing sequin antlers) and a penguin who have crossed the globe to share one giant sparkly christmas jumper together. D’aaaaw!
It’s so easy to let small habits slide when we are busy, tired and/or ill but it’s those small things that, when added together make such a big difference to our emotional and physical wellbeing.
Here’s my handy list of things that I do, some of which are fun, some are simple but make such a big difference and some are selfless but not really because, let’s be honest, it feels nice to be nice. ^_^
Drink water, probably should drink a bit more
Coffee or Protein Smoothie (which still contains coffee)
Eat x3 (preferably not all at once toward the evening!)
Fix hair (combing the beast totally counts)
Wear at least one thing I really like such as earrings, pointy boots, mascara or a sparkly pin.
Record one thing which made me happy/grateful that day, either on Instagram or happiness journal.
Take at least 30 minutes to myself with no interruptions if needed.
Drink some coconut water or aloe vera for the easily absorbed electrolytes.
Get off my ass and volunteer to make a brew/take empty plates into kitchen etc. x3
Gentle stretching/balance/co-ordination (whisper it) exercises
Treat myself to any food I like
Have an evening totally to myself
Read part of novel (C,mon you have seven days to choose from, seven!)
Watch trashy TV shows that make me smile or laugh
Herd caterpillar (pluck eyebrow/s)
Pet or feed a cute animal (caterpillar does not count)
Some kind of grocery shopping OUTSIDE (yes, that place where there is sunlight and air)
Facemask/facepack/natural skin peel
Do a good deed
Blog/comment on other blogs
Do a load of washing
Hug or at least phone my Dad
Exercise on cross trainer
(important to get the latter two in the right order)
Go out for a fancy meal
Have a completely needless but totally indulgent bubble bath
Check bank statements (for possible beer induced purchases)
Trim hair-canopy back to recognisable fringe/bangs
Monthly round-up on my blog/Instagram
Drop that item off at the charity shop/food bank in supermarket
Watch a film I love
Have fresh flowers in the living room
I didn’t intentionally start out with only 90’s films but all of my fave crimbo films happened to have been made then!
Jack Frost (1998)
A too busy father dies in an accident and then comes back in the form of a snowman his son builds. Sounds cheesy and it is but it’s also funny and heart-warming.
Home Alone (1990)
Kevin gets accidentally left behind when his family go on holiday. He realises burglars are intent on breaking in and so he improvises to defend his home, with effective and hilarious consequences.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
A Jim Henson twist on Dicken’s A Christmas Carol of course! I watched this the other week and it still stands up as wonderfully creative, funny and surprisingly moving christmas film.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
When Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town he is fascinated by it. He tries to recreate it and chaos ensues, along with a love story as Jack is quite sweet really.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
A sceptical six year old and and a department store santa who say he is The Santa but can they prove it? An oddly-practical but charming christmas fairytale.
Which are your five general christmas favourite’s?
Kula Gallery, located on Oak street in the Northern Quarter is a wonderful amalgamation of gallery and craft shop. They sell wall art, contemporary hand made jewellery, unusual mugs, mini terrariums, arm warmers and coasters.
Several months ago Me and the bloke had walked past Kula on the way to get the bus home and noticed the mugs in the window but were in a hurry. So with Christmas coming up when I asked the bloke what he wanted he asked for ‘one of those mugs, we saw ages ago’.
Luckily he remembered where the shop was and they still had a lot for sale. We bought three in the end, two for the Bloke and this one (£15) for myself. RagPots is a pottery studio established by Richard Gales in 2016, located in Reddish.
It fools the eye into thinking it’s almost iridescent with the use of light and shade and layering of glazes. I wish I had the skill to capture it better.
Kula, 7 Oak Street, Manchester, M4 5JD Tel: 07933311740
Ragpots, 270 Gorton Road, Reddish, SK5 6RN Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Which independent shops are your faves to buy gifts from?
Plum Snow (£5.95) is a weighty Bubble Bar which you can easily use in two goes if you wish. I’ve never thought of combining plum and mandarin together before but the sharp sweetness works really well. It has a very strong scent so it might be worth using it fairly quickly, unless you want your whole bathroom to smell like a LUSH shop!
It turns the water a beautiful dark purple colour with lots of bubbles and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated.
This really did make my bath feel like a luxurious treat.
❤ Chrissie ❤
I thought I would give Zerreau Waterless Shampoo Foam a try because washing my long, crazy-thick hair (even with a pull down seat in the shower) can be very fatiguing for me.
I used this when my roots where getting a little oily but the rest of my hair was ok. The foam is really easy to use and has a beautiful scent of coconut, which lasts for hours. It dried quicker than I expected and made my hair appear clean and shiny.
I say ‘appear’ because around four hours later my roots looked the wrong kind of shiny and split into oily strands again, rather than looking smooth and clean.
The equivalent of Febreeze for hair.
It really does depend on why you are using this. If you are a gym bunny or commute to work amidst traffic fumes or work in a strong smelling environment this ‘shampoo’ might be really useful to you. If your hair is very dry and frizzy between washes I recommend a nourishing oil (Zerreau do a shampoo for ‘textured’ hair but I don’t hold out much hope for it’s effectiveness) and if your roots are greasy I recommend Batiste dry shampoo.
Rating (for me personally) 2/5
❤ Chrissie ❤