A touch of sparkle

It’s the most glamorous time of the year! A touch of sparkle will be infiltrating all of my outfits for the foreseeable future and my Prosecco glass will be constantly overflowing as long as my out-of-office remains on.

The shiniest items I own are now on constant rotation: velvet, satin, glitter and gold. There is no limit on accessorising, which creates an interesting, eclectic mix of combinations – my new favourite being this funky outfit consisting of the leopard print hair scrunchie I found on the floor of a club toilet (upcycling at its finest), my star hoop earrings (which I dug out of my festival backpack along with a crumpled up cigarette and a handful of glitter) and silver clutch bag (which, quite fittingly, reads ‘all that glitters’).

The incredible velvet trousers are from Boden and they have deservedly won the top spot in my wardrobe for giving off a mesmerising show. The luxe vibe is a facade though: they genuinely make me feel like I’m waltzing around in my favourite pair of joggers (I have a tweed pair in a similar style and the material is equally as comfy) and keep me nice and toasty, whilst giving the impression that I’ve put in way more effort than I have thanks to their rich quality and celestial colour.

A lengthy hem and wide-leg is the stuff dreams are made of, only improved by the addition of a matching pair of Cinderella-worthy velvet heels to peek out at the bottom.

The t-shirt is old from Urban Outfitters and is just the right amount of transparent (worth getting my good bra out for) and has enough glimmer to keep me shining all night long. It’s been by my side for festivals, house parties and to liven up day-to-day looks, and paired here with the sleek trousers it’s elevated to its full potential. The colours bounce off each other to maximise the dazzling effect, while the accessories keep it fun and lighthearted.

Getting glammed up just to laze around the house is probably my favourite of Christmas routines; followed closely by changing into pyjamas once too much cheese and wine has been consumed to warrant prolonging the dressiness.

Another favourite tradition is wrapping presents whilst blasting the festive tunes – I get far more excited to give out the gifts I have carefully selected for each family member and friend than I do to open any, and this year my conscious gifting process has seen me become more enthusiastic than I ever thought I could be about getting crafty.

I despise cutting and sticking (I remember it being my least favourite primary school activity) and am terrible at making presents look pretty, which can be disheartening when the gift-wrap is what holds in all the secrets – it’s amazing how much suspense and surprise is hidden by a thin layer of paper.

That attitude has completely flipped for 2019, as my efforts to be more environmentally-friendly have seen me rethink the way I approach a lot of everyday tasks. I used to detach myself from the experience, by subconsciously grabbing a roll of generic wrapping paper (many of which contain plastic) for the cheapest price. There was no flair or personality (although last year I used a printed photograph featuring the recipient as a gift tag) and absolutely no thinking outside the box to customise the exchange.

So, with a rummage through bags of bits and bobs I have saved over the years I thought I would spice it up a little. I try not to throw away any item that could be potentially used again in my revised philosophy towards sustainability, which proved to be very handy in this instance. I had a hymn sheet with festive carols plastered over it from the Christmas Wednesday event I attended on Columbia Road a few weeks ago, so I cut out the verses and matched the lyrics as best as possible to who the present was intended for.

I found heaps of old cards I have acquired that would probably eventually end up in the bin, and cut out the funky patterns to make name tags, fixing the two makeshift labels together with a small wooden clip.

I sourced some 100% recycled (and recyclable again) brown paper and bound each gift up with string that I had either collected or had been lying around the house waiting for a purpose. The end result was a pile of handmade, customised offerings, which teased an overwhelming sense of satisfaction out of me – something that just isn’t feasible with a roll of factory made bows and gift bags.

T-SHIRT Urban Outfitters (old, similar here) | TROUSERS Boden (gifted) | SHOES Boden (gifted, similar here) | CLUTCH BAG Katie Loxton | EARRINGS Claire’s Accessories

If you fancy bagging a last-minute belated gift bargain, or treating yourself to a slinky New Year’s outfit, Boden’s sale is currently unbelievably good (the velvet trousers are down to £55!).

Or for those people that are super difficult to buy for, there’s still time to Choose Love and give the gift of a necessity to someone in need. Visit the Choose Love store to donate an item to a refugee on behalf of someone else, such as an emergency blanket or hot food, and help those living in awful conditions. Once purchased you’ll be emailed a downloadable gift card to share (ideal if you’re running behind on presents with only a few hours to go!).

If you have a spare five minutes this Christmas Eve, why not visit the Amnesty International website and sign a petition or two to help demand change and draw attention to attacks on human rights. Write For Rights is evidence of a campaign having a huge impact on correcting wrongdoings, and just a simple signature can assist in bringing justice to ordinary people the world over.

Well, this is me signing off to go pour myself a much-deserved gin, get stuck into some board games and reconnect with family! Merry Christmas to you and yours, I hope you have a wonderful one however you choose to spend it, and long live those funny Christmas traditions that vary from family to family!

Lily x

ph. Joshua Watkins

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