It’s nearly that time of year.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING! *Ahem*, yes as you can tell, I cannot nearly contain my excitement.

As a kid, one of my favourite things about Christmas was counting down the days with a daily sweet treat. But, as an adult, who can resist opening doors to gifts from your favourite brands which are relevant to your interests like luxury beauty, alcohol, and fitness?

Lounge by the fire in your cosiest knitwear, with mince pies & hot chocolate at arms’ reach, I’ve got a cracking advent calendar roundup for you.

Loccitane Classic Beauty Advent Calendar

Spoil a loved one, or *ahem* treat yourself to a sumptuous pre-Christmas gift with the L’OCCITANE Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar which is filled with shampoos, soaps & eau de toilette. Illustrated by the renowned French artist Kanako, this set is a beautiful way to get excited about Christmas. Also check out their full range of Christmas gifts for women.

Look Fantastic Advent Calendar 2017

Housed in a decadent and decorated case complete with a mirror inside, I love this because you can reuse as vanity unit to store your beloved beauty treats and essentials.

Charlotte Tilbury Advent Calendar 

Calling all beauty babes, if you haven’t indulged in a Charlotte Tilbury goodie yet, then you’re missing out. A mix of full-sized and mini’s this one houses the best sellers wrapped up in a glamorous, gorgeous box.

The Mankind Advent Calendar

The only male grooming calendar that’s got you covered. Packed with 25 full-size products, this luxury men’s advent calendar will leave you feeling fresh for the festive season.

CIATÉ Mini Month 2017 

A must-have gift for any manicure-addict, 19 carefully packaged mini nail polish paint pots and one full-size beauty.

The Beer Hawk Advent Calendar

You have to get this for your beer fan friend. The Beer Hawk Advent Calendar is filled with Belgian classics, crafty cans, German brilliance and British beauties.

Carluccio’s Advent Calendar

This one is for my fellow foodies. Discover the flavours of Italy with this limited edition advent calendar.

BlueBird Tea Advent Calendar 

Tea lovers! Open the doors to festive limited edition tea bags like ‘Mrs Claus’ Raspberry Prosecco,’ Mince Pie + Spiced Clementine.

Drinks by the Dram

Proudly crafted and distributed by Maverick Drinks, Drinks By The Dram explores various alcoholic spirits from around the globe, all in dram size containers.

That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar

I’m laughing at the thought of drinking gin every day. Developed by some of the finest distillers, this gin is housed within a charming box.

My Protein Advent Calendar

This one is for the gym fanatics, enjoy Christmas & retain your fitness game. Get your protein fix with cocoa butter and whey protein. It’s suitable for vegetarians.

Holland and Barret Advent

Brands included in this beauty bonanza are Dr Organic, Dead Sea Spa Magik, Pure Potions, Naturint, Weleda, Faith In Nature, Facetox, Sukin, Yes To, Trilogy and Beauty Kitchen.

Make your own

Hate surprises? Buy a real advent calendar and fill them up with goodies that you know you will love. I’ve picked the best ones at my funky widget below.

 

Do keep checking this page as I will be adding more over the weekend and let me know if you recommend any others!

Happy shopping from The Wong Blog x

Location: Christmas Calendar Central

Photo: Big thank you to Not On The High Street for lovely your Christmas press day invite.

Dungarees| Top | Shoes | Bracelet | Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara |

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Is it just me or does Black Friday start earlier & earlier, each year?

To mark this joyous occasion, I’m wearing all black err-thang coat and boots. Well, it’s my excuse for being fashionably late for this blog post, (hehe get it?).

Last year, I gave you a roundup of the best deals here. The sales are similar this year; Selfridges is using the same code.

Avoid the Olly Murs scrum party, stick the kettle on and get comfy. We’re going to bag to best deals in our PJ’s (if you need some new ones, use code FLASH20UK at Victoria Secret, you also get a free pair of fluffy slippers!).

The big all-rounders

Amazon | eBay (worth checking out the big brand outlets on these sites too)

Selfridges up to 20% off with code: SELFCCE

ASOS up to 20% off. Code: WIN20

Debenhams up to 20% off

John Lewis Price Match

Very (up to 50% off!)

Currys Black Tag Event

Argos Black Friday

Fashion

Topshop | Topman

Mark’s & Spencer (3 for 2 offers)

New Look (up to 25% off)

French Connection

Whistles

Urban Outfitters

TM Lewin (20% off)

Office (Code: SHINE)

Clarks (BLACK20)

Dune

Aldo

Beauty

Look Fantastic – save 20% on code LFCW20

Boots (best fragrance deals)

Superdrug (up to 60% off)

The Body Shop (40% off code: 19806)

Sephora (gift & receive)

Cult Beauty (25% off Huda)

Travel, Home & Experience Days

Heals (for 10% off use code: BLACK10)

Anthropologie (use code: itsyours for 20% off!)

Homebase (price match)

Etsy (I got a great chunky yarn from here)

Paperchase (20% off)

WHSmith (use code BLACK17 for 10% off)

Kikki K (20% off)

Groupon

EasyHotel (3000 rooms for £9.99) | RyanAir Black Friday Sale

TUI Holidays (various deals)

Thomas Cook (use code BF200)

Virgin Trains Seat Sale & get £5 off RailCard (code: BFDAY711)

I need to roam around Old Bond Street more often. #London

A post shared by Monica Wong (@thewongblog) on

I know you’re desperate to run away from all this Black Friday madness, luckily there’s up to 25% off flights from British Airways.

I’ll be posting and updating this page throughout the rest of the Cyber weekend.

If you’ve got any deals to share, please comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Location: Black Friday Madness Land

Photographer: Brendan Donnelly (Insta here)

Dungarees| Top | Shoes | Bracelet | Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara |

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Autumn is wonderful at the moment. Crisp, delicate and golden, this post is decorated with bursts of yellow, orange, brown & pink. In collaboration with the festive TP team, I’m wearing my Tresor Paris Crystal Bangle. Crafted in sterling silver and pave-set with white crystals (I’m allergic to cosmetic metal, I love this brand because they have allergy-free titanium), screw-fix bar bracelets are great because you can express yourself with personalised charms. If you’re based in London, visit them in Farringdon or you can shop online here.

Snuggle up in your thickest blanket, sit by the fire (or a candle), with a mug of something steamy; we’re about to walk through fear.

Fears. I have them; you have them. At any point in our life, we’ll experience debilitating fears. Big & small.

Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They alert us, prime us to run away and help us avoid getting hurt. But how do we stop them from holding us back from doing the things that we unquestionably want to do?

Sustainability

I’ve heard the all of the advice to dive in, head first. While that’s commendable, it isn’t sustainable long-term. Break down your fear into manageable pieces.

Do what you feel you are capable of doing right now if you had to and work your way up from there.

Awareness

People struggle to overcome their fears because they believe they are not good enough. As a result, they will give themselves avoidance techniques to avoid the task at hand. But, don’t worry, you are not a lost cause. Being aware of your own methods of procrastination is very powerful.

Think of all of the explanations you give yourself for not doing what you’re anxious about. What can you do to overcome them? Write it down.

Perception

Everything is about perspective. If you have a fear of what people think about you, chances are, people don’t think about you to the extent that you’re feeling.

The key to is to change our perception of our ability to perform the task. The difference between someone who is a great public speaker and someone who is awful is that the good one believes that they will succeed whereas the person who gets nervous and stifles feels they are not. Believe that you can conquer your fear. Have faith in yourself.

Everyone is different but think of ways on how you can rewire your brain to adopt a different perspective. E.g., for a public speaking fear, instead of thinking ‘everyone will think I’m an idiot in this speech,’ think about how you’re just having a conversation with everyone in the room.

I’ve had two serious, big fears, which are why I used them as examples in this post. The first was during my teenage years which was a fear of people not liking me. After school, I would go home and ruminate about it, over & over. Then growing up, public speaking became my enemy. Both fears were detrimental to my studies & career. At present, I don’t give a sh*t if people like me, and I no longer suffer from attacks before presentations. (I still get nervous, but I can do them without wanting the ground to swallow me up).

2018 should be the year of conquering fears. They are incredibly difficult but overcoming them will make you stronger than ever. You deserve success, to go and get what you want and not let anything stop you.

Location: Hampstead Heath, London

Photographer: Holly Baxter

Tresor Paris Crystal Bangle |Reiss Skirt | Reiss Top | Dune Ballet Pump Shoes |

Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara | Shampoo I’m currently using: Leonor Greyl

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The antique cupboard at my parent’s house had a distinctive smell. Growing up, I catch a whiff, and the lost memories that I thought I’d forgotten, reappear. We truly underestimate the power of scent.

Clive Christian resurrects the lost language of floral symbolism, boasting scents whose associations can be used to convey emotions, from love, gratitude, and admiration to sorrow and condolence. In collaboration with the luxury interiors and British perfume brand that is stocked at Net-a-Porter, I’m here to capture your fondest memories by sharing the secrets of those who are always remembered, for having a distinctive scent.

british perfumebritish perfume

Favour powerful scents

Clive Christian perfumes are uniquely complex and expertly crafted with the rarest ingredients. Not all scents are created equal. Citrusy fragrances tend to dissipate quickly, whereas spicy and woodsy ones with notes like sandalwood tend to linger for a while. Inspired by the majesty and natural beauty of the Scottish wilderness – the scent for him opens with intense top notes of sensual woody leather, oudh, and amber. With notes of cedarwood representing dark mahogany marquetry, this one for her is housed in a decorative gold bottle that will look so chic on display on your dressing table. I know that these crowned beauties aren’t modest, but if longevity is your top concern, these fragrances are an investment. Nobody wants to be that person who sprays their perfume twelve times to make it stick.

Know where and when to apply

Avoid spraying on jewellery. Go beyond your wrists and consider warmer areas of your body like the chest & stomach, as well as behind the knees. The best time to spritz is after a shower. While your skin is still slightly damp, the extra moisture helps to lock that scent.

Hydrate your skin

Drink lots of water and moisturise your skin. Dry skin tends to absorb and fade the product. Hydrated skin gives the fragrance something to adhere to, so it lasts longer.

And never rub it in

Resist the burning desire of rubbing your wrists together after application. Rubbing breaks down the formula, and this results in less wear.

Layer your fragrances

From oils, scrubs to body lotions; your favourite scents hold different notes. By wearing a few of them together, you build layers of fragrance that form your signature scent which sticks around throughout your day.

Storage?

The worst places to store your perfumes are window sill (sunlight) & bathroom (hot steam) Exposure to heat and humidity breaks down the molecules in your fragrance. Keep them in cool and dry places — like your dresser or vanity storage.

Reapply

For any events that fall outside of your daily routine (like when you’re going on holiday), don’t forget to pack a travel-size set in your bag for a refresh. That way, you’ll always remember your vacation each time you catch a whiff of the scent.

Different notes contained in each of Clive Christian’s distinctive fragrances act as a subtle form of expression. If you’ve never purchased an indulgent, pure perfume before, make this one your first. I would recommend starting off with this for her and this for him.

Which scents remind you of a life-changing chapter in your life? If you could bottle a memory, what would it be?

british perfume

Location: Hampstead Heath, London

Photographer: Brendan Donnelly (Insta here)

Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara | Huda Lipstick |

 Shampoo I’m currently using: Leonor Greyl

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This is a topic that I’ve wanted to talk to you about for while. It’s time to talk about comparing yourself online.

I often get this comment, ‘your life looks perfect on Instagram!’.

Let’s have a chat, shall we?

If you find yourself feeling deflated by seeing a constant flow of perfected, curated images online, then I’ve written this for you. With our world being digitalised; we’re bombarded with how much fun everyone else is having on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. They say that comparison is the thief of joy, yet we find it so instinctively natural.

This post may seem strange coming from someone who aims to create beautiful, cosmic and dreamy images for a living, but hear me out, it’s important.

When I post an image, some of you will think ‘yassss gurl, get that pay, ‘ and some of you will be like, ‘urgh, she’s such a vain show-off, so annoying, she must be doing this for attention.’

To the latter, I want to be one of the first to tell you that, yes, these images look glamorous. BUT, the majority of my work isn’t as rosy as they appear. When I post on my Instagram, I don’t show you the work that goes behind the scenes, the sleepless nights and when things go wrong. The images you see has made it into the front cover of a fashion magazine (pinch me), yet I put myself down like I’m not doing my best and this worsens when I see an image from another blogger who promotes the collaborations that I want to achieve.

I want to share it with you how I cope with comparison in the hope that if you feel the same, we can relate to each other.

See the BIGGER picture: Fields of View

Your online mates won’t always show you the negative stuff that’s happening in their lives. Social Media only shows a snapshot of someone’s life. You rarely ever find out the whole truth in anyone’s situation.

  • When your Facebook friend has been promoted and is now earning a three-times your salary, they haven’t shown you their late nights, bullying managers/clients, boring meetings, tedious appraisal process, and stress.
  • When you see a #cutecouple picture, you don’t see the arguments that they had the night before, how hard they’ve worked to maintain their relationship or the problems they are experiencing.
  • When you come across a gym selfie with solid abs, you don’t see, or at that moment, have to go through the hard work that goes into staying fit.

Be so busy focusing on your goals that you don’t have time to compare yourself to anyone else

Jealously is essentially wanting what someone else has. Growing up, we’ve all had the case of the green-eyed monster. It’s what makes us human. The first key is awareness. Awareness of what you want and then to grab it yourself. It doesn’t have to be uniquely what another person has; it can be indirect and personalised to yourself. Change up your attitude. Be so busy that you don’t have time to think about anything else because you end up having fun. Focus on you. Focus on yourself.

Take responsibility for yourself

How you feel about what you see online, is not about other people; It’s a reflection of how you think about yourself. If you’re happy for others, you’re content with yourself. If you’re unhappy for others, you’re unhappy with yourself. You might disagree with me, and I might get a lot of stick for saying this, but I encourage you to comment because I’m open to opinions.

While it’s useful to benchmark yourself, don’t let it dishearten you from achieving your goals.

Take a step back and think about everything you’ve achieved. The fact is that while you compare your life to someone else’s, the truth is that if you lived it, you would find that in most cases, the grass is never greener.

Everyone is different. Everyone will carve their pathway in their own time. Don’t let someone else’s life choices make you feel anything but confidence in yourself. You are capable of doing anything that you put your heart into — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. My Instagram is only a snapshot and so is yours ;).

Location: Lavender Farm

Photographer: Emma-Jane Photography

Make Up Artist: Joyce Connor – using:

FoundationConcealer | Powder | Eyeshadow and Brows in Depth (Black) and Light (White) | EyelinerCheeks and Contour in Sunshine | Freckles | Lips in Barely Nude | OCC Liptar in Hollywood | Highlighter | Lashes

Video: Stefano Perugini

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