This week Team Zoella have picked out the top tier cosy additions we'll be adding to our homes in the coming weeks, from Halloween homages, feel-good Fall furnishings to full-blown Christmas cosiness.
A spiced pumpkin candle, hot bubble bath, a Netflix night under a fluffy blanket = BLISS
For those loyal and committed homebodies out there, an autumn season at indoors is 10/10 on the list of things you love about the newfound crisp chill in the air. A spiced pumpkin candle, hot bubble bath, a Netflix night under a fluffy blanket = BLISS. But perhaps after seven months spent mostly at home, you’re feeling a little cabin fever-y, and who could blame you! Our homes are our sanctuary, and in turbulent times like these, making it feel warm, welcoming and somewhere you can thrive in is so important.
This week Team Zoella have picked out the top tier cosy additions we’ll be adding to our homes in the coming weeks, from Halloween homages, feel-good Fall furnishings to full-blown Christmas cosiness. Add some warmth to your space with a new rug or blankets, or see how early you can get away with casual fairy lights and Xmas candles before your s/o or housemate goes full-on Scrooge at you.
The power of mood lighting mulled wine and pyjamas on the radiator is not one to be questioned. All aboard the train of festive fun, we’re ready for you.
I love this time of year for cosy home buys and I largely look for soft furnishings like cushions, rugs, table cloths, tea towels and throws! This fleece throw from M&S is a firm autumn/winter staple for me and this year they’ve brought it back with a star design! It’s the softest thing you’ll ever snuggle up in. I also thought a bath try would be the ultimate cosy accessory for all the autumn bubble baths, alongside a lovely apple spiced candle that smells incredible!
My husband and I are about 2-3 months away from moving into our home that we’ve been working on for the last two years, excitement levels are high. It’s finally got to the moment of buying some homey interiors bits and seeing as we are hopefully moving in at the most festive time of year I’ve even invested in a good quality faux Christmas tree when I noticed there was a sale on (are we allowed to say the C-word yet?!) We are going for a very neutral/organic colour pallet but I want to make sure we have some warm touches so that it feels like home from day one. I’m thinking candles, rugs, cushions and blankets!
I have quite literally bypassed Halloween altogether and just gone into full-on Christmas mode as I really love this time of the year and can’t wait for the festivities after a hard year. I purchased some tree print bedding from one of our recent blogposts and yes I have already put it on my bed… Never ever too early! I love a good faux fur blanket at Christmas and some festive decorative cushions, it gives me all the cosy feels. You also can’t beat a festive scent around the home and I just love the diffusers from The White Company. I also recently bought some candles from Cedar and they are divine!
I don’t really tend to decorate my house for fall/Halloween other than the obligatory pumpkin, so I’ve decided to pick some early festive bits. I think a mixture of chic minimal bits like the H&M wreath, trees and bells mixed with slightly more novelty finds like the M&S fleece blanket and Urban doormat makes for the best kind of Christmas decor! It might be early for most but I actually found a lot of Christmas product was sold out by the time I wanted to order it last year, so snap it up now and thank me later!
Truth be told, I buy more homeware than clothes these days so I’ll need to exercise some self-control on this one! I can’t fault Zara Home when it comes to those timeless trans-seasonal pieces that work in the home all year round. Also, it’s not strictly homeware but I love using books to decorate little corners. The clothbound classics from Waterstones instantly make an otherwise empty nook looked loved and lived in. I’m obsessed!
It’s beginning to feel a lot like autumn (sung in the tune of It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas). I’m normally a summer lover through and through but there’s something about a cosy, cold night that I can’t get enough of this year. I’m going all out to make my flat a sanctuary and as calm and soothing as possible after a difficult year, so warm colours, comforting soft furnishing and relaxing scents are top priority. I love the idea of adding some dried flowers as fresh ones always brighten up my space but can get expensive after a while. Autumn decor is where it’s at people!
Halloween & Christmas Lush Picks To Level Up Your Bath Game
From spooktacular surprises to fizzing festive treats, here’s what Halloween & Christmas goodies LUSH are blessing us with this year.
Nobody does boujie bath time quite like LUSH. We know it, they know it, everybody knows it, which is why whenever sweater weather suddenly creeps up on us like a bat out of hell, you bet we are sniffing out their latest seasonal offerings with more enthusiasm than a Sanderson sister back from the dead.
From spooktacular surprises to fizzing festive treats, here’s what Halloween & Christmas goodies LUSH are blessing us with this year.
Bat Art Bath Bomb
Why have an ordinary bath when you can have a spellbinding one? This mystic bath bomb will fill the room with a fresh herbal aroma while transforming the water into a visual feast of deep shimmering violet bath art. Black magic at its best.
Very Very Frightening Shower Gel
Brighten up your shower experience with this sweet fresh lemon and fig juice shower gel. The only thing scary about it? It’s limited edition so grab one while you can. Petition to make it an all-year-rounder thank you please.
Toffee Apple Lip Scrub
This sweet lip scrub is a real treat for the pout. Use your finger to buff a thin layer of the green apple and blood-red toffee apple into the lips to exfoliate and then just lick off. Edible beauty? That’ll do the trick!
Bewitched Bubble Bar
Forget what they say about black cats and superstition because this is one friendly feline you would want to cross your path. Simply crumble a little or a lot under running water to transform your bath into a deep dark lagoon with blackberry scented bubbles and plastic-free glitter. Perrrrfect.
Monsters’ Ball Bath Bomb
Ain’t no ball like a monsters’ ball! Full of uplifting neroli, brightening lime oil and meditative olibanum oil, this pink fiend will make your bath experience positively groovy.
Punkin’ Pumpkin Bath Bomb.
It’s not enough that we’re picking, carving and eating all things pumpkin, we’re only really winning at Autumn when we can bathe in pumpkin, too. Fortunately, LUSH know us better than we know us, which is why they made this delightful mood-enhancing gourd. Our fears of going without a pumpkin-infused bath have been well and truly squashed.
Ghost In The Dark Soap
A handmade soap that glows in the dark when charged up in the light – touché witches. With refreshing lemongrass and uplifting bergamot, this ghostly glower will get you in the Halloween spirit in no time. If you’ve got it, haunt it!
Boo Shower Slime
If you love the scent of the best-selling Lord of Misrule, you’re going to love this herbal scented spooker. Packed with ground coconut shell, the Boo Shower Slime leaves your skin feeling silky soft and smooth, ready to climb into your PJs for a horror movie marathon.
Cosy Christmas Picks
Roasting Chestnuts On An Open Fire Shower Gel
They had us at marzipan scented shower gel tbh. This oat milk and soothing chestnut puree will ease you into the festivities nicely. May this be your best-smelling holiday, yet.
Winter Garden Bath Bomb
Let the calming scent of ylang-ylang and snow-frosted florals transform your bathroom into a winter wonderland.
Tick Tock Bath Bomb
Add a little popping fun to your little one’s bath-time with this adorable plastic-free glittery charmer. One to stow away for the kids for Christmas Eve bath bribery. Thank us later.
Kinky Boots Bubble Bar
Room in the bath for two? Have a holly jolly Christmas indeed with this Kinky Boots Bubble Bar. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Snow Fairy Roll
A bubble bar with the iconic candy floss sweet Snow Fairy scent is sure to have you feeling and smelling your best this Christmas. A magical bath awaits…
Sugar Plum Shower Bomb
No bath, no problem. Thanks to LUSH, your shower can sleigh all the way to Christmas, too. Get in on the festive fizzing action and level up your shower with this sweet plum cleansing foam.
Elfie Stick Bubble Stick
Last year, we all went crazy for the Candy Cane but this time around, LUSH has truly outdone themselves with this perfectly formed reusable bubble stick that wouldn’t look out of place in Buddy the Elf’s bathroom. You’d be a cotton-headed ninny muggins not to snap one up.
Angels Delight Bath Bomb
New for 2020, the heavenly Angels Delight bath bomb is bound to make all your Christmases come at once. It’s what stocking filler dreams are made of. Let’s hope we’re firmly on the nice list this year!
What seasonal LUSH goodies have you got your eye on?
Homemade Pumpkin Spiced Latte That Tastes Just Like The Real Deal
As much as we enjoy the seasonal ritual of wandering down to our local coffee house and queuing for a PSL, there’s something extra cosy about shuffling into the kitchen and brewing your own signature fall cuppa from the comfort of your own home, swaddled in a dressing gown.
Klaxon: it’s October, which means we all get to be unapologetically basic about Autumn now and not be judged for it. Praise be.
We will quote F. Scott Fitzgerald like he’s a fond uncle of ours and clog our camera roll up with leaves glorious leaves
We will wear the coats and the knitwear and happily get claggy armpits in the process because it’s still slightly too sunny. We will quote F. Scott Fitzgerald like he’s a fond uncle of ours and clog our camera roll up with leaves glorious leaves because we are walking talking October clichés and ain’t nothing 2020 can do about it.
We’ve already drunk enough pumpkin spice latte to sink a battleship and yet we still want more because it warms our soul in a way that only a spicy caffeinated winter squash can.
There’s something extra cosy about shuffling into the kitchen and brewing your own signature fall cuppa
As much as we enjoy the seasonal ritual of wandering down to our local coffee house and queuing for a PSL, there’s something extra cosy about shuffling into the kitchen and brewing your own signature fall cuppa from the comfort of your own home, swaddled in a dressing gown. Not to mention the coin you’ll save on that daily Starbucks habit.
Here’s how to make our budget-friendly homemade PSL!
5 MINS COOK:
2 cups of milk (dairy or non-dairy)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see instructions)
1 cup strong hot coffee
Whipped cream, chocolate powder, and cinnamon sticks, for serving
Start by heating your milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spices on the hob
To make pumpkin pie spice add 4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and give them a mix. Store them in an airtight container.
When hot combine the pumpkin spice milk with your coffee
Divide the mixture between two mugs and decorate however you wish, we went for whipped cream a sprinkling of chocolate powder and a cinnamon stick!
The Snug As A Bug Knitwear Pieces We’re Lusting Over
As the crisp, chilly mornings become the norm and we're opting for pumpkin spice lattes over iced coffee, we've reached peak layering season and we are frankly thrilled about it.
In the words of our favourite ogre, Shrek (just in case you know multiple green, swamp loving residents) layers are EVERYTHING. As the crisp, chilly mornings become the norm and we’re opting for pumpkin spice lattes over iced coffee, we’ve reached peak layering season and we are frankly thrilled about it.
Not only does an extra cardi or knit feel like a comforting hug on an early morning, but it also offers endless styling potential to switch things up, mix and match and clash to your heart’s content.
We’re talking slim fit turtlenecks under t-shirts, cardigans to warm up a summer dress and oversized jumpers roomie enough to huddle into whilst waiting for the morning bus. Adjusting and envisioning your fave existing pieces in different, versatile looks along with new season ‘add to basket IMMEDIATELY’ items make the morning ‘what shall I wear to WFH today?’ a little more satisfying.
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Which of our picks for this week is high on your lust list?
Halloween is fast approaching and we're more than ready to get the spook fest underway but let's face it, carving those fleshy Jack-o'-lanterns is h-a-r-d work. Seeds, seeds everywhere.
This year we’re ditching traditional pumpkin carving in favour of something faff-free
We’ve carved some very questionable creepy eyes and wonky teeth in our time, so this year we’re ditching traditional pumpkin carving in favour of some faff-free, longer-lasting alternatives. Because there’s only so much pumpkin soup a girl can have in one week.
Care to join us on our quest? Gather your ghoulfriends, put on some bewitching tunes and get your witch-craft on with these no-carve pumpkin ideas.
A glue-free craft is a craft we can get on board with! These yarn pumpkins are easy to create and make for beautiful centrepieces or Halloween shelf décor.
Simply wrap orange yarn around your hands multiple times until you reach the end of the thread.
Cut a separate piece of yarn approximately 10 inches long to wrap around the middle of your bundle. Thread it through the gap in the bundle where your hand is then bring the two ends together, securing with a double knot.
Cut a green or brown pipe cleaner for the stem and place it on top of your bundle, looping it underneath the knot.
Fold the pipe cleaner in half then twist the ends together to create a thick stem. You can also use green/brown yarn instead if you don’t have pipe cleaners.
Why not hang them on a little string garland.
Stuck for ideas on how to display your gourd-geous creations? Why not hang them on a little string garland. If you’ve got it, haunt it!
We can’t promise it’ll be anything like that romantic scene in Ghost, mostly because Patrick Swayze won’t be there but we can promise it’ll be fun, at least and 10 times easier and iconic in its own way.
Using air dry clay, take a rolling pin or something cylindrical to flatten it out.
With slightly wet hands, knead into a pumpkin-shaped ball. Once you’re pleased with your pumpkin shape, now’s the time to add in all the ridges and grooves to make it look like the real deal.
Using a pencil, a skewer, a blunt knife edge or any other handy sculpting utensils you have in your kitchen, score your clay with vertical lines from top to bottom. Once you’re happy with the texture, you can add some detail to the top for the stem.
Form a little indent at the top of your pumpkin using your fingers. Roll out a tiny piece of clay into a cone shape for the stalk and pinch it onto the top of your pumpkin to secure.
Leave to dry for 48 hours before painting. It’s as easy as bibbidi bobbidi boo.
Toilet Roll Pumpkin
You’ll never look at your toilet roll in the same way once you’ve seen it in all its Halloween glad rags.
Simply unravel the sheets of tissue and roll them back up to create some texture. Then wrap and fold a fabric of your choice around the roll, tucking into the top as you go. You may need to trim any excess fabric beforehand to get a neater finish.
Repeat until you’ve completely covered the roll and finish with a twig, branch or cinnamon stick placed in the top for the stem. And you’re done. Crappy Halloween, indeed!
Your creative genius knows no bounds when it comes to painting ‘kins. The limit does not exist.
You can buy an eerie looking ghost pumpkin or paint one white if you want a blank canvas to work with. Alternatively, you can’t go far wrong with a classic spooky face or a black cat motif.
From paint splatters and creepy neon shades to spider webs and glitter-dipped stems – you can go as simple or as innovative as you like.
What pumpkin carving alternatives will you be making this Halloween? Let us know in the comments below!
We caught up with Juno Dawson,the author of our October Zoella Book Club pick 'Wonderland'.
First off, how are you and how have you been coping in 2020?
I’m not going to lie, this year is shit. Pretending it’s been character-building feels like a betrayal of the people who’ve been really badly let down by our leaders this year. On a personal level, my dad got sick, my wedding had to be postponed and the government scrapped plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. This has not been my favourite year.
I can! It’s a radical retelling of Alice in Wonderland where Wonderland is an exclusive, elite festival – sort of like Coachella. Alice goes there in search of her crush, a girl called Bunny and has all sorts of debauched adventures along the way. Perfect if you liked Euphoria or Gossip Girl.
You have an incredible body of works, what is the process like for writing a new book?
I spend a little time ‘dipping my toe’ with a new novel. It’s like dating. You have to get a feel for the characters and decide if you want to commit to them.
What do you like most about writing YA fiction?
I like that it’s a transformative time. That’s what my novels have in common – the characters undergo some form of evolution and end a different person than they started. I’m also a fan of the high school movie – from Heathers to Clueless to Buffy.
You’re a huge advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, do you have any recommendations for people who would like more books with LGBTQ+ characters?
These Toffee Apple Cupcakes Are What Autumn Dreams Are Made Of
Packed with comforting cinnamon flavours and tart apple and drizzled with caramel frosting!
They’ve pretty much cemented themselves as one of our favourite fall treats
Toffee apple cupcakes for Autumn? Ground-breaking. Oh but they are, so much so they’ve pretty much cemented themselves as one of our favourite fall treats. Ok, daily fall treats if we’re going to be pedantic about it.
We don’t use this word lightly because, well, we know we have a national aversion to it but in this case, we must rise to the challenge because the occasion calls for it. They are moist.
From their frosted top to their soft and fluffy bottoms, they are m-o-i-s-t through and through. There. We did it. Used the worst adjective in the English language and nothing awful happened. 2020 – it’s the year of personal growth, fellas.
Packed with comforting cinnamon flavours and tart apple and drizzled with caramel frosting, they’re the ideal bitesize snack for elevenses… and twelveses and oneses. You get the idea.
They’re the ideal bitesize snack for elevenses!
For the cupcakes:
125g unsalted butter, softened
300g self-raising flour
2tsp ground cinnamon
225g light brown sugar
120ml maple syrup
170g grated apples (around 3 medium apples)
For the frosting:
175g unsalted butter, softened
350g icing sugar
2tbsp Dulce de leche
2tbsp whole milk
Brown sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 175°C and pop your paper cases in to your cupcake pan
Beat your butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between, followed by the flour, cinnamon and maple syrup,
Mix until all the ingredients are fully combined then fold in the grated apple.
Fill each case to 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes until risen and springy when touched. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to a baking rack to finish cooling.
To make the frosting mix the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and soft. Add the icing sugar, syrup and milk. Turn the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed. Whip for 5 minutes, if the frosting looks too stiff add a splash more milk until you reach a nice piping consistency.
Once the cupcakes have cooled fill a piping bag, fitted with an open star nozzle with the maple syrup frosting and pipe each cupcake with a swirl. Drizzle each cake with some caramel sauce and chopped toffee pieces.
These staple pieces come in many shapes and sizes, and this week we're sharing our hero products of the collar world, whether it be striking shirts, cosy jumpers or dressed down blouses.
Layering is one of the biggest pros of cool weather dressing, and this season we’re head over heels for all things statement collars and their versatility across multiple ‘gram-worthy’ lewks. These staple pieces come in many shapes and sizes, and this week we’re sharing our hero products of the collar world, whether it be striking shirts, cosy jumpers or dressed down blouses.
Whilst the likes of Ms Chung has been rocking far pricier versions of this style for years, the high street has some very welcome chic and stylish offerings to add some trend-led fashion to your wardrobe without breaking the bank. And whilst shopping IRL still proves tricky, finding the perfect versatile piece like the humble collared shirt has the potential to transform multiple outfits and offer real longevity to your A/W wardrobe! What’s not to love?!
I bought this chunky knit statement collar cardigan as I loved the buttons up the front and I’ve been really into autumnal knitwear recently. Paired with my Topshop flared jeans and buttoned up to the top, I think it gives quite a 70’s vibe! I’m going to dig out a beret too as I think this might top off the entire outfit!
I’ve picked this super pretty pink shirt from H&M with a gorgeous collar. As it’s so sweet I’ve decided to pair it with some rough wash mom jeans khaki Chelsea boots and a matching hat. Throw on another shirt for good measure because the more the merrier when it comes to layers!
I used to be obsessed with the Peter Pan / Pixi collars back in the day! I’ve styled this ruffle trim knit from Zara with black jeans, penny loafers and an oversized trench for a pared-back, understated look that lets the frou-frou collar do its thing, while the rest of the outfit takes a minimal back seat.
I love a good cardigan and especially one which has been jazzed up with a statement collar and some chunky buttons, and I’m obsessed with this one from And Other Stories. I’ve styled it with some straight leg black jeans and a pair of chunky Dr Martens for an effortless but stylish look.
I’ve combined girly and masculine with this look which is a combo I always find makes the most ‘me’ and comfortable outfits. The statement collar and ruffles are made more cutesy with the floral print and balanced out by the slouchy jeans and oversized blazer. I love chucking one on when it’s not quite cool enough for a proper coat yet and this one ties in nicely with the chunky trainers! A failsafe autumn look!
September Book Club 2020: Queenie by Candice Carty Williams
This month, we had the pleasure of reading Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams – winner of the British Book Awards Book of the Year.
September’s book club pick needs no introduction but we’re going to serve you one up anyway. This month, we had the pleasure of reading Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams – winner of the British Book Awards Book of the Year.
It tells the tale of 25-year-old, Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle-class peers. When she takes a break from her long-term boyfriend, Tom, her life starts to unravel and she seeks comfort in all the wrong places, including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
Find out how Team Zoella enjoyed one of the most anticipated reads of 2020!
I absolutely loved Queenie! I inhaled this book within a few days and found myself not wanting to put it down as I was so invested in Queenie’s life. Carty-Williams explores so many issues so perfectly, from mental health, to consent and to racism, you really feel as if you follow Queenie navigating through these issues, which seem to have entangled themselves throughout all aspects of her life. This book isn’t short either of some hilarious moments, Queenie and her friends feel so real and that’s what makes this book so engrossing too, I almost felt as if I was her friend too trying to help her through this difficult time. Would 100% recommend!
Rating – 4/5 Would you recommend? Yes
Well, what a knock-your-socks-off debut from Carty-Williams! Queenie is a luminous and timely novel, sparkling with honesty and grit. I felt immediately engrossed and invested in Queenie’s complex character; her lived experience, her vulnerability, her humour and her often hilarious missteps. Carty-Williams does such an incredible job of handling a variety of nuanced topics, and in doing so she writes a very real, raw and flawed protagonist you’ll be utterly gutted to leave behind.
Rating – 3.5/5 Would you recommend? Yes
Being named debut novel of the year AND book of the year is obviously amazing but it comes with the downside of people having SO much expectation when they pick up the book. Similarly to ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ I picked up Queenie when it was at the peak of the hype! Right off the bat the characters we’re completely fully fleshed and for me, the best part of the book. I loved how Candice played with dialogue in the form of texts and emails making it feel truly modern as that is where so many of our conversations take place. Queenie made a great protagonist and she was extremely likeable, I found it both frustrating and upsetting when she wound up in awful situations, but they were realistic and unfortunately common. Definitely give Queenie a read but try and squirrel away the hype and any notion that it has a ‘Bridget Jones’ vibe.
Rating – 3.5/5 Would you recommend? Yes
Queenie was hailed as the modern age Bridget Jones’ diary, a story of a mid 20s Jamaican British woman living in London. Queenie is stumbling through life, making mistakes (repeatedly) and that’s what makes her real and believable as a character. Where Bridget Jones is fairly lighthearted and surface level, Queenie goes into some very dark places with regards to mental health, trauma and sexual encounters. That being said there are a few amazingly cringe and hilarious moments speckled throughout and the general tone of the book is written in a way that makes you feel like you’re one of Queenie’s friends and I really did feel attached to her by the end.