Monday 21 January 2019

8 ways to combat the January blues and that Blue Monday feeling

Going back to work after the Christmas break is always a tough one. Yes, the dark mornings were still very much there pre-Christmas, but the lead up to Christmas and the excitement of it all pushed it to the back of your mind temporarily. Post-Christmas, the dark mornings take on an even more sinister turn (or is that just me?), whereby your body refuses to get out of bed and wails I CAN'T DO IT. And who can blame it? Think comparatively back to your days off work spent reveling in the fact:

  • you don't need to get dressed. 
  • pyjamas, onesies and slipper socks are your new BFFs
  • you don't need to leave the house (unless your online food shop screwed up)
  • you can finally sit down and read that book that's been on your list forever
  • you can finally sit down and watch all those films you have never got around to watching
  • eating tins of Quality Street, Celebrations, a cheeseboard and all the Pringles constitutes a meal

Whilst these first few weeks have been trying (who else feels exhausted already?), there are plenty of reasons why to feel the LOVE this January. (See, the below picture IS relevant.... ish).

No more Christmas ads

Crikey they were awful this year weren't they? Mind you, I can only speak for the UK TV ads. If you are one of my non UK readers, were your Christmas ads any better?

Hitting the January sales

I didn't find the January sales particularly inspiring this year, but I did pick up some Christmas decorations for next year (as seen here) and some homeware pieces, all from The White Company, Marks & Spencer and Anthropologie. I always find it really tricky finding realistic looking garlands and wreaths which don't cost the earth, so was pretty chuffed to find a decent looking ones reduced in the sale. If unlike me, you still have some spare dollar, these sites still have some pretty good discounts on:

  • Marks & Spencer - now up to 60% off here
  • ASOS - up to 70% off here 
  • Debenhams - up to 70% off Blue Cross sale here
  • House of Fraser - up to 70% off here
  • Anthropologie - currently have an extra 20% off sale here 
  • The White Company - up to 60% off here
  • Cath Kidston - up to 60% off here

Looking ahead to next Christmas

Following on from the above, all being well I have some new Christmas pieces ready for next year. It's a great time to stock up on half price gift wrap and cards for next year. Those on my Instagram will have had a sneak peak of my cards for next year here

Reduced price advent calendars

Not so great for perishables, but for longer life items like candles and some beauty products, you can grab a bargain to save and use next Christmas (provided the products in question don't have a 6 month use by date!).

TV has stepped it up a notch

I turn into a bit of a hermit at this time of the year, but that's ok. I'm more than happy to stay in most evenings wrapped up in blankets on the sofa since it's the best time of the year for TV. Namely the new Black Mirror (have you tried the interactive episode yet?), Bird Box, You and other Netflix gems.

Back to normality

Every year I start my Christmas shopping in October and tell myself this is going to be The Year I'll be organised and avoid a last minute panic. BUT NO. Time has this annoying habit of creeping up on you and then suddenly ARGH it's a few weeks until Christmas. I am thankful for normality and that I no longer have the last minute scrabble for gifts, or have to pop out to JAM PACKED shops because [insert supermarket name here] failed to deliver certain Christmas foods in the online shop. You now have your evenings back. You no longer have to sacrifice evenings for card writing, wrapping presents and the general panic that Christmas is x days away and I STILL HAVE ALL THE THINGS TO DO.

Great discounts on food and drink

Some restaurants have pretty sweet deals on in January. Admittedly when doing my research, I found less food and drink deals than other years (thanks Brexit), but here's a few ideas to get you started with:

  • Giraffe  - usually have pretty decent offers like 2 for 1 here
  • Cafe Rouge - 50% off main courses running until early Feb here
  • Carluccios  - get a £1 main course when bought alongside another main dish. Click here to get a voucher and remember to show this when paying your bill
  • Vinoteca - until 31st January (excluding Sundays), you can get steak & Malbec for just £16 at their London branches. Recommend checking their T&Cs first (also must be booked in advance here). 

A clean slate

Urgh, such a cliché, but it's true. I'm not talking New Year, New You (if anything it should be New Year, Same Awesome You). Rather, leave toxic people and things that don't fill you with joy behind, and move forward. You deserve that much.

Stay positive this Blue Monday folks!

If you are one of the restaurants or brands featured in this post and your January offer has since expired or changed, do reach out to me at so I can keep this page as up to date as possible!

Friday 11 January 2019

How to keep the holiday feeling going for longer

Christmas is a cruel mistress. We have to wait the best part of a year for it to arrive and when it does, it passes in the blink of an eye. Now the twelfth night has happened upon us, it's time to say goodbye to the Christmas tree, pack up all the decorations, and erase every trace of festivity from the house. However just because the holidays are over for another year, it doesn't mean that we have to let go of it completely.

One of my favourite things about the Christmas period is cosying up with a hot drink. I'm talking mulled wine / cider at the Christmas markets, grabbing a festive cup from [insert High Street coffee brand here] or staying home with tea and extravagant hot chocolates piled high with whipped cream. And seeing as Christmas markets and festive cups are no more, this only leaves the latter. Which is as good an excuse as any to cosy up on the sofa with a box set, right?

Just before Christmas, Adagio Teas very kindly sent me some of their Holiday Cheer range for me to try over the Christmas break. For the purposes of clarity, "holiday" in this sense has a wider meaning as the gift set also contains autumnal flavours like toffee apple and pumpkin spice, as well as traditional Christmas flavours such as chestnut, candy cane and gingerbread.

Gift set can be found here @ Adagio Teas

Each tea is individually wrapped and comes in the form of a pyramid tea bag, eliminating the need for a tea strainer (as is the case with loose leaf teas). All teas in the set are black tea and there are five of each variety, making for 30 in total. It's a great little set (I haven't seen some of these flavours before!) which would make a really lovely gift for tea lovers.


Opening this up brought back all the Christmas feels. Containing black tea, ginger, cinnamon, orange pieces and gingerbread flavouring, it was easy to see why. In all honesty, I couldn't really taste the ginger or the orange, but the cinnamon did come through and gave it a subtle spice. I'm not usually a fan of black tea, but I did like this one because it had additional flavouring so it wasn't your average black tea. Even the cat thought it smelt good.


I was intrigued by this one - plus you can't really get any more festive than candy canes! Again this called for 5 minutes steeping time, and as well as black tea, this contained candy cane pieces (yes really) and peppermint flavouring. I expected this tea to smell of mint whilst brewing, but to me this was more like liquorice (I didn't really get a minty scent from the initial opening either). I was a little nervous about this one as I don't like traditional black tea OR mint tea, however I needn't have worried as the mint flavour wasn't too strong. Initial tasting brings a very subtle mint flavour, then out of nowhere cleverly comes a cooling sensation in your mouth like you would get with a peppermint candy cane. Our cats love anything mint so Bailey just had to get involved.


Fun fact: I've never had chestnuts before or anything chestnut flavoured, so you may want to try this one for yourself and make your own verdict! The contents of the tea bag were very brown and comprised of black tea, sunflower petals (yes really!) and chestnut flavouring. I left it to brew for the recommended 5 minutes and was struck by how it filled the air with a sweet aroma. I'm not into overly sweet things, but thankfully the tea didn't taste as sweet as it smelt. All I know that is that I couldn't taste the black tea at all (which works for me as I'm not a fan of traditional black tea), meaning there must have been another flavour coming through. I cannot comment on whether this flavour was chestnut or not, and it's hard to describe, but overall I really enjoyed the flavour. There was nothing offensive about it and it covered the traditional strong black tea taste which earned two thumbs up from me!


What hit me first was how amazing this tea smelt - both in the tea bag and when brewing in my tea cup (perhaps thanks to the addition of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin flavor to the black tea mix). It had that wonderful autumnal smell that you associate with Halloween and the lead up to Christmas. I expected such a strong scent to be more subtle in taste, however the cinnamon and pumpkin both really came through and held their own against the black tea (an achievement in itself). The benefit? A much healthier alternative to spiced pumpkin lattes with huge dollops of cream!

.... and apologies in advance: I lost the pictures for these last two... 


Cranberry isn't one of my favoruites (although Body Shop did an amazing Cranberry gift set a few years back!), but the combination of black tea, cranberries, raspberry leaves and cranberry flavouring sounded intriguing. I left it to brew for -  you've guessed it - 5 minutes and there was this amazing aroma drawing me in. Admittedly this aroma reminded me more of strawberries than cranberries, but it was every bit as inviting. I was a little disappointed with this one as it didn't taste as strongly flavoured as it smelt, however saying that, it was flavorsome enough to cover the taste of traditional black tea (works for me!).


Admittedly I have never once said "you know what tea I fancy? Toffee apple!" - but reading through the ingredients (black tea, apples, cinnamon and caramel flavouring FYI), I did very much like the sound of apples paired with cinnamon (a classic). I also really admired the fact that the tea contained real, actual apple rather than apple flavouring. For this reason, I thought the apple flavour wouldn't edge its way past the black tea as apple isn't the strongest of flavours compared to black tea. I WAS WRONG. In all honesty,, I couldn't really taste any caramel or cinnamon (it did smell of these things though) but you could really taste the apple. Apple tea was a new one for me, and I really enjoyed it.

This tea set couldn't have come at a better time because I've been enjoying many a night in and Netflix are SMASHING IT RIGHT NOW. Who else has been watching You and Bird Box? (I am addicted to You!)

Adagio Teas have very kindly offered one of my readers a holiday tea gift set of their own. The teas in the gift set don't mention any expiry dates, so you can crack them open now and at the same time save some for Halloween and next Christmas! To enter, pop on over to my Instagram [competition now closed] 

* Tea set and teas very kindly provided by Adagio Teas for review purposes, but as ever, all opinions are my own. I also have another set for one lucky reader (for more details, read above or head on over to my Insta)