TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 31, 2020

Faux vs Real: A Comprehensive Guide To Shopping Christmas Trees This Festive Season

In this blog post, we run through the best lifelike artificial trees the interweb has to offer as well as the different real tree varieties and their best features.

Every year thousands of households face the same Yuletide dilemma of choosing between a real Christmas tree or an artificial one, and whilst locally grown Christmas trees are definitely the more sustainable option, they can also be quite the investment during what is an already ridiculously spenny month for most.

In this blog post, we run through the best lifelike artificial trees the interweb has to offer as well as the different real tree varieties and their best features.

Artificial Christmas Trees

Artificial trees may not be able to compete with that pine-fresh real Christmas tree smell but what they lack in scent-imental appeal they more than make up for in cost-effective convenience and longevity.

There’s also the added bonus of easy decorating and maintenance since they tend to be more symmetrical than their real fir counterparts

Faux spruces can be dusted off & reused every year for a fraction of the price, making them a great long-lasting and budget-friendly option during the most expensive month of the year. There’s also the added bonus of easy decorating and maintenance since they tend to be more symmetrical than their real fir counterparts and you don’t have to remember to water them every other day.

From pre-lit to fully decorated, frosted, flocked, wooden and everything in-between, here’s the best and most realistic faux Christmas trees to ensure your holiday season is merry and bright.

Real-looking Artificial

Best feature: They’ll never know!

The creme de la creme of the artificial tree world these bad boys are hard to clock. Taking notes from the finest spruce, invest in one of the below if you’re hoping to trick your guests into thinking yours is the real deal!

White Company £125 | Homebase £190 | White Company £199

Classic Artificial

Best Feature: Perfect for fitting all your decorations on

The picture-perfect artificial tree; tall, triangular and perfect for packing all your brilliant baubles on. Top points if you invest in a tree that’s pre-lit for the ultimate faff-free assembly.

White Stores £79.99 | Next £120 | Wayfair £115.99

Super Snowy

Best Feature: Finally a white Christmas you can rely on!

Every year we dream of a white Christmas so why not guarantee it yourself with a snow-tipped spruce. Admittedly these won’t fool anyone but they will look fantastic against all your white decorations.

White Stores £199.99 | Wilko £70 | Marks & Spencer £145

Mini-Me

Best Feature: Super cute on table tops

Not every abode can fit a 6ft Christmas tree in, so these little fellas will make you feel super festive without having to squeeze a tree through the door. Pop them on tabletops or window bays and decorate with battery-powered fairy lights and tiny baubles.

So Scandi

Best Feature: Great for smaller spaces or pet owners

Looking for an uber-cool Christmas with none of the fluff? Every minimalist who isn’t into the trad trees will love these Scandi alternatives, extra points if you add the beautiful brown paper packages underneath!

Cox & Cox £20 | Cox & Cox £75 |Cox & Cox £175

Pine Cone Paradise

Best Feature: bring the outdoors in

Nothing says Christmas quite like pine cones and berries so why not grab a tree with some extra nature already thrown on. Go easy on the decorations and let the little pops of red speak for themselves.

Dunelm £69 |Next £200 |John Lewis £229

Nicely Novelty

Best feature: Heaps of fun and personality

Stuff the idea of a green tree altogether, go balls to wall and pick up something festively fabulous! You can pretty much buy trees in every colour, go for rainbow if you can’t make up your mind. These beauties make the perfect backdrop to all those novelty decorations you can’t get enough of.

Housing Units £159 | Next £120 | Paperchase £55

Real Christmas Trees

If you prefer to shop real Christmas trees over the artificial variety, you’ll know all about the mind-boggling struggle of picking your favourite felled fellow each year. To make the task a tad easier, here’s the 411 on the most popular fir baby types and their most common characteristics.

Top tip: look for a shiny, glossy green coat and tap it on the ground to test the needle drop before buying to ensure it’s a fresh cutting. Once you’ve picked your favourite fir, we’ve got a handy blog post here to help you keep him green and glossy all through the holidays.

Norway Spruce

Best feature: bushy shape and traditional aesthetic

Originally from Scandinavia, the Norway Spruce is considered the oldest traditional Christmas tree that boasts a classic festive scent and pyramidal shape. Great for late Christmas tree decorators or those with cooler rooms as it can be prone to dropping more needles than the other varieties. If you want a tree packed with decorations, the Norway Spruce is a good tree to pick due to its abundance of branches.

Nordmann Fir

Best feature: great shape and longer lasting

This majestic fir originated from the Caucus mountains in Russia and has rich glossy green needles and strong tiered branches. Renowned for its elegant picture-perfect shape and superior needle holding abilities, it is the most popular Christmas tree species in Europe. You can now purchase a beautiful Nordmann Fir for delivery from John Lewis here.

Balsam Fir

Best feature: Aromatic scent

The Balsam Fir is the most aromatic of all the firs. It’s one of America’s all-time favourite Christmas trees due to its soft short needles, distinctive long-lasting aroma, dense foliage and dark green colour.

Blue Spruce

Best feature: steely blue / silvery green foliage

With its distinctive cool-blue colour and elegant shape, it’s definitely one of the most stylish trees of the bunch. However, they are very prickly so they’re probably not idea for families with young children. Handle with care.

Fraser Fir

Best feature: Narrow, fragrant & bushy

Although best suited for smaller spaces, the Fraser Fir is still one of the most popular and most fragrant Christmas trees. With its classic balsam scent, good needle retention and soft green/silver branches, it’s a beautiful spruce that’ll make any home feel holiday-ready. You can now purchase a beautiful Fraser Fir for delivery from John Lewis here.

Noble Fir

Best feature: handsome blue /green foliage

The ultimate in luxury Christmas trees – a Noble Fir is a chunky tree with beautiful blue-tinged needles and perfectly spaced branches. If you’re looking for a dramatic festive focal point with sturdy needles, this is the one to go for.

Lodgepole Pine

The crème de la crème – a Lodgepole Pine has the best needle retention of all the species. You’ll be able to spot one from its long green needles, bushy appearance, strong pine scent and upward-pointing branches. If you get lucky, it might even have some little pine cone on it. How festive!

Which camp are you in, real or faux? Either way, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without that humble green icon would it!

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 30, 2020

How To Pull Off A Hat Like Emily In Paris

If you’ve ever found yourself asking: 'Hey Siri how to wear a hat without feeling like a plonker?', here’s a blog post on how to do just that, as demonstrated by Emily In Paris and her perfectly chic la tête.

Ok Emily In Paris, you win at hats.

If you haven’t already inhaled the 10-part Netflix series starring Lily Collins as the titular Emily, you have more self-control than us.

The hit show follows the 20-something American it girl, Emily Cooper, as she lands her dream social media marketing job in the city of love. When she arrives in Paris for her new adventure, she navigates a new home, a promotion, a frosty boss and a love triangle with a hot chef who lives downstairs from her apartment. There’s drama, humour and plenty of Instagramable hangouts but the real pièce de résistance of the series is Emily’s lust-worthy wardrobe. Specifically, her hat wardrobe. Consider us #influenced.

Not only did she pull of le beret (when in Paris!) she also made us all want to emulate her Pink Kangol bucket hat too, proving that she does indeed have a superior head for hats.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself asking: ‘Hey Siri how to wear a hat without feeling like a plonker?’, here’s a blog post on how to do just that, as demonstrated by Emily In Paris and her perfectly chic la tête.

Confidence

The key to wearing any remotely out-there accessory is confidence. If you treat what’s on your head like an awkward parrot, it’s going to look like an awkward parrot. Make sense? Stand by your sartorial choices and own it. Haters gonna hate.

Know your angles

This one is quite beret-specific since it’s a hat that can be worn straight on, tilted, more towards the back or up front, everyone’s different, so play around with different angles and figure out what best suits your face shape and hairstyle.

Image credit: @WishWishWish

Save the inspo

Half the battle is knowing where to begin with styling a hat, which is why saving any inspo as you see it appear in your grid can be a massive help on those days when you’re having a creative outfit block.

From bucket hats in contemporary colourways to minimal toppers, here are a few of our favourite fashion faces serving us hat lewks for days.

Credit @thelittlemagpie
Credit @sarahshabacon
Credit @withameliataylor
Credit @karenbritchick
Credit @candicebrathwaite
Credit @amaka.hamelijnck
Credit @erica_davies
Credit @thelittlemagpie
Credit @alexisforeman
Credit @thelittlemagpie
Credit @bubblyaquarius
Credit @wolfcubwolfcub
Credit @Francescaperks
Credit @jessicaskye
Credit @withloveyossy

Take a style cue from the weather

On those halcyon blue-sky days, opt for a wide brim straw hat and a milkmaid dress. For Winter, a thick wool beanie paired with an oversized trench, jeans and chunky boots or trainers does the job for a coffee stop or a chilly morning dog walk. For all other weathers, the versatile beret is the quickest way to level-up your favourite denim & knitwear combo, plus it’s a sure-fire way to turn a bad hair day, chic.

Go off duty with a baseball cap

The baseball cap is cut from the same cloth as dad trainers and grandad vests – it’s not going to be everyone’s sartorial cuppa but for those off-duty denim days, there’s no greater accessory for elevating low key separates or dressing down your tailoring a la Hayley Bieber. She makes a strong case for the athleisure topper in her Princess Diana inspired blazered ensemble, for her Vogue editorial. The oversized blazer, sweater & boots combo = iconic.

Play with colour & texture

You don’t have to stick to the classic felt beret in neutral tones, hats have seriously diversified their game since Clueless’ Cher Horowitz era. Now they come in all kinds of contemporary textures and colourways, from vinyl-look leather, corduroy and tie dye iterations. Have fun with it!

Shop the trend!

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 29, 2020

Shackets To Sashay Through The Rest Of 2020 In

The boxy and masculine fit of a shacket makes it perfect for both finishing off an already androgynous look, as well as toughening up a feminine dress or maxi skirt.

The potential of the shirt and jacket hybrid knows no bounds

Halloween, cosy nights in and fluffy pyjamas are just a few of our favourite simple pleasures during autumn, topped off by this year’s shacket trend which makes the transition from kinda cold, chilly, crisp to freezing a little easier. The potential of the shirt and jacket hybrid knows no bounds, adding a practical element to your look by providing a welcome, warm layer, as well as gaining you some Instagram approved style points.

The boxy and masculine fit of a shacket makes it perfect for both finishing off an already androgynous look, as well as toughening up a feminine dress or maxi skirt. Whilst shackets are available in endless colourways and prints, the classic check is a style that will stand the test of time for many autumn/winters to come! Now all you need to do is decide which one to add to basket.

*This post contains ad-affiliate links

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 28, 2020

Scary Movies You Can Stream For Halloween

With cinemas largely off-limits, streaming services are on top of their movie game this year, with plenty of slashers and psychological thrillers available to watch in just a few clicks.

Since most of us will be blessing Halloween from home this year, there’s even more reason to get those scary movies queued up, ready to go.

The logic is this: subject yourself to so much fictional terror that by the time you have to face the real world again, it won’t seem quite so horrifying

The pandemic has changed the way we partake in all the classic holiday festivities but what better way to take your mind off the current state of the world than to watch a bunch of fright night films? The logic is this: subject yourself to so much fictional terror that by the time you have to face the real world again, it won’t seem quite so horrifying in comparison. It’s a tenuous coping mechanism but there we have it.

With cinemas largely off-limits, streaming services are on top of their movie game this year, with plenty of slashers and psychological thrillers available to watch in just a few clicks. So, dim the lights, lock the doors and get in the Halloween spirit with these freaky films, available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and more.

Malevolent (2018)

Florence Pugh is a must-watch in this vicious slice of horror, based on the novel Hush by E. M. Blomqvist. The movie follows two fake ghost hunters who fake paranormal encounters for cash but they end up getting more than they bargained for. They messed with the devil and then they got the horns. Yikes.

Where to watch: Netflix

The Witches (1990)

A young boy, recently orphaned, is taken to England by his grandmother. At a hotel where they are staying, a group of witches have gathered to prepare a plot to rid England of all children. PS: When the Grand High Witch removes her wig, you better be ready. You’ve been warned. You can ‘rent’ the newest version featuring Anne Hathaway on prime video!

Where to watch: Netflix

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A remake of Wes Craven’s 80s classic. Good luck getting to sleep after you’ve met the razor-fingered child-murderer that is Freddy Krueger. Shudder.

Available to watch: Netflix

House of The Witch (2017)

A group of daring high school kids venture inside an abandoned house on Halloween and they probably definitely immediately regretted it.

Where to watch: Netflix

The Conjuring (2013)

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a bit of paranormal phenomena, would it now? Prepare to leave the lights on in the hallway for a good week or two.

Where to watch: Netflix

Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle is no ordinary doll because this is a horror movie and only demonic playthings will do.

Where to watch: Netflix

The Omen (2006)

Released 44 years ago, The Omen is still one of the greatest horror films of all time. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Three words: The. Dog. Scene! Jesus take the wheel.

Where to watch: Hulu

Night Of The Living Dead (1990)

A remake of George A. Romero’s 1968 horror. Expect amplified gore and a legion of flesh-eating zombies.

Where to watch: Prime Video

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Ok, so it’s not the scariest of the bunch but anyone with sharp metal shears for hands deserves a place on this list. No regrets.

Where to watch: Disney+

Curse of Chucky (2013)

That heinous possessed doll is up to his old tricks again.

Where to watch: Netflix

The Cabin In The Woods (2012)

Five friends go to a secluded cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. It’s a familiar story and you think you know what happens, but this time you really don’t. Horror with a protective layer of tongue-in-cheek humour.

Where to watch: Hulu & Prime Video

Get Out (2017)

An absolute game-changer from the genius that is Jordan Peele. This genre-defying social thriller is proof that you don’t always need a ghost to be scary.

Where to watch: Prime Video

The Purge (2013)

From the producer of Paranormal Activity, comes a dystopian horror franchise with The Purge being the first (and arguably the best) instalment. For a 12-hour period every year, the U.S. government sanctions all criminal activity, including murder. How far will people go to protect themselves?

Where to watch: Prime Video

Midsommar (2019)

A carefree Summer holiday takes a sinister turn…

Where to watch: Prime Video

Would You Rather (2013)

Desperate to help her ill brother, a young woman agrees to take part in a deadly parlour-game of Would You Rather, hosted by a sadistic millionaire. Gulp. To lift a quote straight from the movie, this is “decision making in its rawest form.”

Where to watch: Netflix

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Jodie Foster is a triumph in what remains to be one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies of all time. FBI agent, Clarice Starling (Foster), must seek help from imprisoned cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in order to catch another serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. It’s classic fright-night viewing.

Where to watch: Prime Video & Hulu

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

An underrated masterpiece. Three students vanish in the Maryland forest while filming a documentary about the Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind. You’ll need to give those once-charming forest walks a wide berth after this.

Where to watch: Prime Video

What’s on your fright night movie list this Halloween?

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 27, 2020

13 Questions With Amy McCulloch

Amy McCulloch is an author, editor and part-time adventurer. Amy has co-written The Magpie Society with Zoe Sugg which launches this week! Find out how Amy has worked her way through her career and how is handling 2020 so far.

First of all, how are you and how are you coping in 2020?

Oh, 2020. First of all, thank you for asking! I am okay, and I am hanging in there. I live alone, so I’ve spent a lot of time in isolation, which – even for this self-proclaimed introvert – has been a challenge. On the other hand, I know I am lucky: I am healthy, and I have a job I love that enables me to work from home safely. Working on the first book in The Magpie Society series has given me something to focus on creatively, and Zoe and I have adapted well to working together-but-separately. I also welcomed Moose, my cavalier King Charles spaniel, into my life in June, and he has been an absolute lifesaver. Nothing like puppy snuggles to turn a bad year around.

Tell us about how you got into writing?

I actually can’t remember a time that I wasn’t writing! When I was eight, I wrote a short story about getting out on the wrong side of bed in the morning, and it’s like the stories haven’t stopped since then. My favourite genres to read have always been sci-fi and fantasy, starting with the worlds of Narnia and Middle Earth, so writing fantasy was always my first love. As someone who is mixed race (Chinese-White), I struggled to find stories that represented my diverse background and experience. So I realized that if I wanted to read about characters like me in the type of books I liked … I’d have to write them.  

What did the start of your journey to publication look like?

I actually never believed that I would be published! It seemed like such a pipe dream. I submitted my first novel to literary agents while I was at university and was rejected by absolutely everyone. However, since reading and writing was my passion, I decided a career in publishing might be a good fit for me. I moved to London from Canada and got a job as an editorial assistant at a tiny indie publishing house.

I still held on to that dream of one day seeing my own book on the shelves… so I wrote and revised my novel every spare moment that I had. I submitted to agents again and this time, I was successful! I signed with the amazing Juliet Mushens of Mushens Entertainment (as her first-ever client!) and she sold my first book – the one that had been rejected by everyone – to Random House Children’s Publishing. It was a literal dream come true. It launched in 2013, and I’ve published a book a year since then.

Tell us about some of your work that our audience might not know about!

The Magpie Society represents the first time I’ve written something other than sci-fi and fantasy! So hello Zoella audience-members, if you’re into speculative fiction about non-white characters with plenty of action and adventure, I have some books for you:

The Potion Diaries trilogy (now with a snazzy new cover) is a modern, magical YA series. We’re talking a whole load of adventure, chemistry, magical creatures, a dash of LGBTQ romance – perfect if you like Sarah J Maas, Meg Cabot or Rainbow Rowell.

Jinxed  is a near-future YA sci-fi duology featuring a kick-ass teen female engineer, her master-coder best friend and a super snarky robot cat. This might suit you if you like Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, Marissa Meyer’s Cinder or Marie Lu’s Warcross.

The Oathbreaker’s Shadow and its sequel were my first books! They’re YA epic fantasy set in a desert world; think shadowy magic, swords and broken promises, in the style of Dune or A Game of Thrones.  

How long have you known Zoe and how did your friendship start?

Zoe and I have known each other since 2014! Six years now – wow, time flies. I was the editorial director for Penguin Children’s books when we met, and had been following Zoe’s vlogs for ages. When she wanted to write her first book, Girl Online, I became her editor. Over the many years of working on the Girl Online books together, we became really great friends too. She’s seen me through some of the most tumultuous times in my life; I’m so lucky to have her as a friend – and I’m glad fate (and books) brought us together!

When did you start thinking about writing together?

While we were working together on the second Girl Online book, we bonded over a shared love of true crime and Pretty Little Liars. We thought it would be so much fun to write a UK-based twisty thriller book series together. It took a while for all the pieces to come together, but eventually… The Magpie Society was born.

What was it like having someone to write with and how did you work together on The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow?  

Writing is such a solitary activity normally that I love having a co-author! It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and we always push each other to see how dark we can take the story! Once we plot out the entire novel together, it’s then easy for us to divide the work as we write the novel from the point of view of two different characters. Zoe writes all the Ivy chapters, and I write all the Audrey chapters. We then share with each other and make sure it all makes sense together. COVID-19 has meant a lot of the work has been done over FaceTime and WhatsApp voice notes, but we make it work!  

What are you currently working on?

Zoe and I are working on Two for Joy – the next book in The Magpie Society series. And I’ve also been tinkering away at my first adult novel, a thriller inspired by my mountaineering adventures (in addition to writing, I love going to the mountains: in 2019, I became the youngest Canadian woman to climb the world’s eighth highest mountain in Nepal!). It’s something completely different to anything I’ve written before, and I’m really enjoying it.

What are some of the best books you’ve read this year?

I found reading during lockdown really hard – I just couldn’t concentrate and I ended up watching a lot of TV instead! I’ve actually really missed it. However, there have been a few gems in 2020 that blew me away – and the Zoella Book Club helped a lot! Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid was a highlight, as was Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. I also really enjoyed After the Silence by Louise O’Neill for a gripping psychological thriller, Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis for the creepiest YA horror I think I’ve ever read, and Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan for a sumptuous epic fantasy with added Sapphic romance.

What do you always carry with you?

Always: Phone, notebook, pen, keys

New for 2020: Facemask (I splurged on a set from Liberty and I love them so much) and dog treats 

What does your perfect weekend look like?

A drive out of London to the hills – Snowdonia or the Lake District – to hole up in a cosy Airbnb with the puppy, breaking out the OS maps and heading out on a long hike somewhere beautiful, punctuated by lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in the cutest cosy pubs. Add in a warm fire and a great book, and you have the recipe for my perfect weekend.

If you could only eat one meal again what would it be?

A roast chicken dinner, with all the trimmings. If we could throw in a sticky toffee pudding for dessert, I’d be set.

If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be?

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down and put intense amounts of stress on every aspect of our lives. Don’t feel guilty about escaping into that TV series, that video game, or that book for a few hours. Art will help us find a way through.

Follow Amy on Instagram here!

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 26, 2020

Cinnamon Pie Crust Chips & Pumpkin Spice Dip

If you have any pie crust dough leftover, here’s the perfect use-it-all-up recipe that just so happens to make a next-level snack or thanksgiving treat.

We’re all in agreement that the pie crust is the best bit, yes? The flaky, buttery pastry is mwah (chef’s kiss), whilst the filling is just an extra in the play. A hanger-on, begging for a slice of the limelight.

Easy, autumnal, could be a pudding, could be a breakfast cereal – eat enough of these dreamy fall chips and 2020 will almost redeem itself.

If you have any pie crust dough leftover, here’s the perfect use-it-all-up recipe that just so happens to make a next-level snack or thanksgiving treat. Easy, autumnal, could be a pudding, could be a breakfast cereal – eat enough of these dreamy fall chips and 2020 will almost redeem itself. Serve fresh from the oven with a warm bowl of cinnamon dip and you’ll die happy, beleaf us.

SERVES
PREP: 15 MINS COOK: 10 MINS
EASY
  • Roll out your pastry to a quarter of an inch thickness and cut out your festive shapes. We used autumn leaves but Christmas shapes would look lovely too!
  • Sprinkle over your cinnamon and sugar and then bake for 8-10 minutes at 220°C on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  • For the dips simply stir in all the ingredients for each and pop into a bowl for serving. Add as much icing sugar as you’d like if you prefer it sweeter. You can also pop the dips in the microwave for 40 seconds if you’d like them warm.

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 25, 2020

Weekly Wants: One Item, Two Ways

Whilst the need to transfer a look from desk to disco may have declined ever so slightly in 2020, we're still head over heels for the staple items that work interchangeably to pull together multiple looks with ease.

Whilst the need to transfer a look from desk to disco may have declined ever so slightly in 2020, we’re still head over heels for the staple items that work interchangeably to pull together multiple looks with ease. Whether it be day to night, serious to sultry, casual to … more casual (thanks 2020) bulking out your wardrobe multipurpose pieces is an easy way to avoid going OTT on a payday haul and channel a more sustainable and long term approach to shopping new.

And it doesn’t have to be boring! Finding pieces that work with multiple looks doesn’t mean you have to stick with neutral tones and classic shapes. When you find a hero piece you adore, there are tonnes of ways to wear it consistently and differently without feeling like you’re making too much of a statement, it just comes down to finding the right one for YOUR style.

Which is your favourite look from this week’s edit?

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 24, 2020

All The Best Beauty Advent Calendars 2020 Has To Offer

Whether you’re browsing for yourself or shopping for the beauty enthusiast in your life, keep reading for the best beauty advent calendars 2020 has to offer.

Opening an advent calendar is one perennial festive tradition we’ll never outgrow. A palm-size gift of utter glee hiding behind a door, a window or nestled into a drawer – it’s genius and it puts us right in the festive feels.

And then there’s (drumroll) a beauty advent calendar.

Sure, chocolate’s great and everything but have you ever had a Huda Beauty Eyeshadow Palette for breakfast? December made.

Re-discover fan favourites, cult classics and buzzy newbies from the best names in beauty, every day in the countdown till Christmas.

Whether you’re browsing for yourself or shopping for the beauty enthusiast in your life, keep reading for the best beauty advent calendars 2020 has to offer. It’s a big decision to make and you have our full support if one turns into three.

The Body Shop Make It Real Together
£70

Patiently waiting for December 1st to get stuck into this house of treats may prove difficult but it’ll be worth the wait. Jam packed with The Body Shop’s best-sellers and cult faves, including the Vitamin E Moisture Cream and Almond Milk & Honey Body Butter, it’s a no brainer for the beauty junkies in the family. Shop here.

Feelunique Beauty Advent Calendar
£89

No spoilers but a little birdie tells us Charlotte Tilbury, Tan Luxe, Huda Beauty and Nars might be hiding on the other side of those delightful doors. Oo-er. On Christmas Day, you’ll find not one but three beauty surprises – how about that for festive cheer, then? And, it’s worth over a whopping £275! Ding. Dong. Shop here.

Jo Malone Advent Calendar
£320

Now here’s an advent calendar with serious sell-out appeal. Enjoy counting down the days to Christmas with 24 signature fragrances, bath & body luxuries and miniature candles. Shop here.

LUSH Advent Calendar
£185

From long-standing favourites and best-sellers to exclusive festive newbies, all gift wrapped in a reusable Mary Poppins carpet bag inspired luggage trunk. It’s nothing short of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Shop here.

L’Occitane’s Trio of Advent Calendars

L’Occitane has come well prepared for the festivities this year with not one but three advent calendars, each inspired by nature. Now to start the impossible task of narrowing it down to one…

Treat yourself to the Classic Beauty Calendar featuring 24 much-loved L’Occitane body, hair and skincare products. Ready, set, pamper! Shop here for £53.

For a lavish gift with 24 fully stocked drawers containing the best of L’Occitane premium products, there’s the Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar. Shop here for £99.

The gift that keeps on giving – this year, L’Occitane have collaborated with UK illustrator Isla Simpson to create a reusable advent calendar, made from recycled cotton and designed to be adored for many Christmases to come. Shop here for £160.

Rituals Deluxe 3D Calendar
£89.90

What better way to celebrate the ritual of Christmas than with 24 moments of pure joy, all wrapped up and tied in a bow. The festive village advent calendar includes a unique selection of mini luxuries to make every day in the run up to the big day a truly special event. It’s the perfect present to give (if you can bear to part with it) or receive! Shop here.

Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar
£210

Worth over £500 and full of all the best next-level brands including Pat McGrath, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Byredo, the Selfridge’s beauty advent launch is one of the most hotly anticipated events of the calendar year and when you see the show-stopping treats up for grabs this time around, it’s not hard to see why. The second it’s available to purchase, we’re there with bells on. Shop here.

Dior Advent Calendar
£340

It’s definitely at the spenny end of the spectrum but wow, what a way to celebrate the start of the holiday season. Steeped in the magical spirit of Dior, brought to life by artist and illustrator Safia Ouares, the calendar depicts a starry night and enchanting scenes from a ballet. Of course, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts and you’ll be pleased to know, the contents are just as spectacular as the aesthetic. Behind each of the 24 doors, a daily gift awaits, spanning the iconic brand’s skincare, fragrance and makeup lines. Shop here.

Benefit Cosmetics Shake Your Beauty Advent Calendar
£58.50

Full of fan-favourites including Benefit’s classic Hoola Bronzer and Roller Lash Mascara, this holiday haul of minis is the stuff of beauty junkie dreams. Snap. It. Up. Shop here.

MAC Cosmetics Boom Boom Wow Advent Calendar
£125

The MAC advent calendar is always hot property and this year is no different. Expect plenty of classics like Prep + Prime Fix+ and Russian Red lipstick to get your pout party season ready. The exact release date has been kept tightly under wraps, but you can sign up to be the first to hear when it launches. Shop here.

Charlotte Tilbury
£150

It wouldn’t be a Christmas countdown without everyone’s favourite makeup artist darling, Charlotte Tilbury. Discover her supercharged glow-giving skincare secrets and award-winning beauty marvels, including her Pillow Talk lipstick and highly praised Magic Cream, all beautifully presented in a bougie bejewelled chest. Gimme. Shop here.

Space NK The Beauty Anthology Part II
£195

The v popular Space NK Beauty Anthology is back with a second edition. Christmas angels do exist! Tucked behind 24 doors, you’ll find a carefully curated edit of Space NK beauty must-haves. Pamper yourself silly with a full-size Kate Somerville Retinol Vitamin C Moisturiser and Byredo Hand Cream and take a moment to chill with a Layered Christmas Candle by Jo Loves. It’s the ultimate Christmas countdown. Shop here.

John Lewis & Partners Beauty Advent Calendar
£150

Discover a selection of both new and iconic beauty and wellbeing treats behind every drawer c/o John Lewis & Partners. The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, By Terry Baume de Rose and Neom Organics London Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist are just some of the 25 festive treats waiting to be opened. Christmas came early this year. Shop here.

Net-A-Porter Beauty Advent Calendar
£240

The Net-A-Porter Beauty Advent Calendar is back and we’re all too glad we got the memo. Boasting 13 full size and 12 travel size products from universally loved brands and with a mega value of £1,115, the run up to holiday season just got even better. Shop here.

Molton Brown Advent Calendar
£175

Spoil yourself throughout December with 24 of Molton Brown’s decadent surprises from bathing classics to luxurious body care. Shop here.

Diptyque Advent Calendar
£320

Candle lovers, hold onto your wicks because this is one lit advent calendar you’re going to want to get your paws on. Enjoy 25 exclusive Diptyque items, including a selection of 11 scented candles (35g), 2 limited edition 2020 creations and a selection of 7 Eaux de Toilette and Eaux de Parfum. So, this is what joyful impatience feels like. Shop here.

OPI Shine Bright Nail Polish Advent Calendar
£65.90

Nail fanatics, here’s one for you. Shine bright with a new shade for every day up till Christmas, with 25 mini nail polishes from Gingerbread Man Can to Red-y For The Holidays and Tinsel, Tinsel ‘Lil Star. Merry manicures all round. Shop here.

Liberty London Beauty Advent Calendar
£215

Containing 26 sought-after products from the Liberty Beauty Hall (18 of which are full-sized), this year’s edit is one of their most covetable yet. Featuring cult favourites from the likes of Le Labo, Votary and Hourglass, beauty buffs will have to get in there quick to avoid disappointment. Go, go, go! Shop here.

bareMinerals Clean Beauty Advent Calendar
£89

It’s estimated that every household will dispose of 3 ½ black bags (approximately 100 million bags) full of packaging this Christmas, so clean planet-friendly beauty counts.

bareMinerals have minimised plastic across their holiday collection, incorporated post-consumer recycled materials and made their gift boxes completely recyclable. A beauty advent calendar with a heart, we love to see it! Shop here.

Harrods of London Beauty Advent Calendar
£250

Bringing together the best of beauty across skincare, makeup and fragrance, Harrods have yet again nailed holiday season. From mini offerings to full-sized surprises all selected from Harrods’ hallowed beauty stalls, it contains everything your post-party season skin could ever want or need. Shop here.

What beauty advent calendar(s) caught your eye? Plural, because it’s been a wild year and Santa appreciates that.

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 23, 2020

Get Your Ghoul On: How to Celebrate Halloween at Home this Year

Ready to raise a devilish glass to the tail-end of 2020? Show us one witch who isn’t! Here are a few ideas for how you can make the most of Halloween from home this year.

We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve said [insert jovial activity here] won’t be the same this year, but Halloweening at home seems like a particularly sorry state of affairs.

No trick or treating or large gatherings (boo), no eerie encounters in your local haunt navigating p*ss poor decorations suspended from windows and doorways, dipping themselves in your pint a little bit. Like Emily In Paris, the Halloween pub crawl was so bad, it was good.

But all is not lost, and Halloween is far from cancelled. The holiday can still be celebrated from home and not suck. In fact, it could be great. Think about it. No paranormal punters – here for it. Happy hour turns into a Happy Night of cheap booze, and no queuing to get served – we love to see it. Your costume can be as pants or as extra as you are willing to make it because you’re just swanning about at home – ok, jomo officially wins.

Ready to raise a devilish glass to the tail-end of 2020? Show us one witch who isn’t! Here are a few ideas for how you can make the most of Halloween from home this year.

Carve pumpkins

Whilst scooping out the innards of a pumpkin may not scream high-key hoot, it’s a classic Halloween activity and this year of all the years, we need to maximise the spirit of the holiday.

Whether you pick up a pumpkin from your local patch or round up a few for the whole family from the supermarket, you’ve ultimately failed at October 31 if you’re not carving out teeth, fondling the pulpy anatomy of a ribbed Winter squash and arguing about whether it’s a fruit or a vegetable. Happy Halloween.

Have a dinner party

Dress your pad up all spooky and invite a few people over for a feast. Just make sure you’re abiding by the rule of six. Pumpkin cannelloni, anyone?

Make ghoulish cocktails

Make happy hour come to you with warm homemade apple cider to soothe your soul and Halloween-themed tipples. Check out a few of our favourite drinks to sink, here. Cheers, witches!

Tell ghost stories

Make a duvet fort, huddle round, grab a torch and spin that hair-raising Bloody Mary yarn.

Have a Halloween movie marathon

For a bit of mellow magic, there’s Hocus Pocus, Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yeah, the debate rages on about whether Tim Burton’s stop-motion masterpiece falls into the Halloween or Christmas movie category, but we say it’s a unique hybrid that deserves to be played as soon as the first crispy leaf falls from the tree, right the way through to December.

For high stakes terror, there’s Roald Dahl’s The Witches. It’s still petrifying all these years later and the remake starring Anne Hathaway is set to drop October 26, just in time for Halloween. It will be available to stream on Premium Video On Demand (PVOD), so be there or be scared.

There’s also creepy classics such as The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense and A Nightmare On Elm Street if losing sleep and needing someone to escort you to the toilet in the middle of the night is your thing.

Get your bake on

Move over banana bread, the crown belongs to pumpkin spice latte cake now. Cackles.

Snack like tomorrow doesn’t exist

Skeleton Fingers, Mr Kipling Toffee Terror Whirls, chocolate eyeballs. If it’s got a Halloween pun on the packaging, we’re like putty in those chocolate-makers’ hands.

Make a spooktastic playlist

You shall go to the monsters’ ball. A playlist full of eerie tracks and must-play jams will get you in the Halloween mood. Alexa, play Bette Midler, I Put A Spell On You.

Dress up, still!

Hey, even if you just get someone to throw a stockpiled toilet roll at your head and torso, a half-arsed effort is better than nothing.

Indulge in a bewitching bath

Welcome to the hangover-free club. Ditch the plans and celebrate the spookiest time of the year with a good thriller and a long soak in the tub until you’re wrinklier than the Grand High Witch herself. It’s the ultimate jomo ritual.

Go ghosting

Rule of 6 got you feeling all kinds of trick or treat FOMO? Make up a bag of Halloween-themed treats and leave it on your friend or neighbour’s doorstep.

How will you be celebrating Halloween this year? Got any tricks up your sleeve?

TEAM ZOELLA OCTOBER 23, 2020

Sweater Vests So Good Your Grandad Will Be Jealous

When it comes to getting dressed in the morning (on that rare occasion we have somewhere to be) combining comfort, style and practicality is the holy trinity for nailing a 10/10 'fit. And with that in mind, we present to you: the humble sweater vest.

When it comes to getting dressed in the morning (on that rare occasion we have somewhere to be) combining comfort, style and practicality is the holy trinity for nailing a 10/10 ‘fit. And with that in mind, we present to you: the humble sweater vest. If you’re a fan of layering then this guy is about to become your new BFF, helping to transform a worse for wear t-shirt, adding some extra padding on a crisp morning, or an androgynous edge to otherwise feminine silhouettes.

From high-end to high-street, you’ll be hard-pressed to scroll ‘new in’ or wander the shops without coming across this trend, and you can also find them second-hand!

You can opt for classic neutral colours, full kitsch, or 80s patterns. There is endless styling potential with a sweater vest in tow. From high-end to high-street, you’ll be hard-pressed to scroll ‘new in’ or wander the shops without coming across this trend, and you can also find them second-hand! Charity shops, eBay bargains, and Depop sellers have authentic, retro, Chandler Bing worthy styles, and we all know those one of a kind finds are worth the extra effort to source.

If it’s good enough for Harry Styles (see iconic sheep knit number), it’s certainly good enough for us!

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