The New Year Giftlist (to myself)

The New Year Giftlist (to myself)

You know how at Christmas you get to make lists of what you need for Christmas, and magical lists in your head of what actually WANT? Yeah, well Chinese New Year isn’t like that. Santa, despite his appropriately coloured outift, doesn’t have  role. Sobbing, I know. So anyway, I’ve just made a list of CNY gifts to myself that I will never buy because I’m an unemployed stay at home mother. Remember? But it IS Valentines next month…. (just saying)

Also, as a fairly tall fairly blonde westerner it can be a little tricky buying things in real life here (today I got a bikini…in a size L and I’m a UK 8-10 wahhh), so I am almost entirely reliant on the masterful gods of online shopping and international delivery. BUT, and ain’t this always the way, I really resent paying for delivery. I like my parcels to travel VIP all the way to Singapore at zero cost to myself. Does it make sense? No. But when a website offers free international delivery I become very loyal very quickly. It’s an expat thing. So in keeping with the general theme this week of Chinese New Year I’ve picked out 8 (it’s a VERY lucky number here) of my favourite RED buys currently available online with zero international delivery cost. Nothing. Na-da. Oh yessss. Images are clickable!

(left) First up, the absolute easiest way to add a little red into your look is your pretty face. And the easiest feature to make the most of? Your lips, obviously. Everyone suits a red lip, not necessarily the same shade of red, but a good red lippie is something worth spending time seeking out. Once you’ve found the shade that works with your skin tone and teeth (do not underestimate the whitening qualities of the right red….or the yellowing qualities of the wrong red….) then stick the hell with it. If you’ve not tried red lips before then I totally understand that you miiiiight not want to spend too much dollar on a make up experiment. In which case work your way up from a red tinted lip balm, through to red lip cream until you’re ready to commit to the classic red pout. Chanel will have you believe they are the original and best. And I must admit I own a great Chanel red lipstick from the rouge collection they launched last Autumn, and it’s a very solid, reliable little wearer. Reputation says MAC lippies have amazing pigmentation and staying power but personally are waaaay too drying for me to use. And then whilst browsing my go-to online beauty shopping emporium – Cult Beauty – I came across a make up line I’d heard ALOT of hype about. Well you know what it’s like, I’m a marketing execs dream basically. So anyway, I’ve started buying up Charlotte Tilbury’s make up line like it’s going to be pulled any day. Not all of it I’m wild about, but I love a lippie and her’s are just everything I want. Beautiful, can’t afford me, packaging and a really decent product makes for an almost perfect combination. There’s just one other minor detail that sealed the deal. The shade name…Hot Emily. AND SHE’S SOLD. This is how I shop, honestly. A teeny bit of research, but mainly sold on hype, looks and how it makes me feel. HOT. I feel hot. And for once in Singapore not hot as in sweaty….


(right) Number two on the shopping list, also from Cult Beauty (I love this site so much), is a complete splurge in that it’s something I don’t use a cheaper version of now. It’s just one of those things I’m 99% sure I’d sleep better if I had, and would end up with less wrinkles overtime. I mean, how I have got to nearly 29 years old and not used a lavender eye mask is just beyond me. Semi-serious. I’m not always a great sleeper at the best of times, but especially when taking the long haul flights it’s impossible to avoid as an expat. I will literally stay awake for going on 48 hours if I can’t find a comfy bed and calm environment. I get a little delirious and it makes jet lag feel really crazy. Really, really not ideal. So that’s why I’m thinking a silk eye mask that’s also filled with lavender will lull me into sweet dreams whilst I’m hurtling home at 36,000ft. Or even just whilst I’m at home in Singapore and I’m tossing and turning listening to the traffic and city noise. Either way, it’s not something I would tend to just buy, but if it was bought for me I’d definitely use it to have the most glamorous zzz’s ever.


(left) Taking third place on my little red shopping list is this beauty from The Cambridge Satchel Company. I think this one was all over Alexa Chung lookalikes at Glastonbury, probably, but I still love it. It’s just a really well made, classic bag in a rich red wine colour that ticks all my boxes. Plus I love that they can be personalised with your initials, or someone else’s perhaps? I’m playing it safe with the other people’s initials right now after getting a necklace from my husband for Christmas and initially being upset with him that it only had an F and a C on it for the children. It then dawned on me (after a lot of laughter from everyone else) that the other options would be KFC (my husband being a K) or FECK (for all four of us). I won the lottery with my family, I really did. So I’d maybe check first what you’re writing on your bag for everyone else to see. BUT, all that aside, it remains a great little buy that will be something you’ll pull out to wear for years to come. Just don’t be a cliche and save it just for festivals, it deserves so much more that that.


(right) Okie dokie, we’re upto number four and it’s all getting abit silly. These aren’t for Clara, though she’d no doubt LOVE them. I was actually thinking of them for me. Is this what happens when you spend almost all of your waking moments with a chirpy three year old girl? Maybe. But I mean come on and just take another look at them. They’re loafers, those otherwise most sensible of shoes, except that they’re ruby coloured glitter and have bunny ears. Granted, probs not shoes you’d wear to a job interview unless it’s to work at CBeebies. But they’re so FUN. And we all need a little fun sprinkled in our lives every now and again. When did life get so serious and so grown up that wearing sparkly shoes with bunny ears is deemed immature, or silly, or dare I say it…frivolous? Well, fripperies aside, these are some loafers that will walk with you for miles and will put a smile on the face of everyone who see’s you. If that doesn’t put a spring in your step I don’t know what will. ASOS have scored bonus marks as these are in the sale…GO GET ‘EM!


(left) Halfway there! Next up and number five on the list is something that was super old school and now seems terribly cool again. Hence why you can get one in a very cool shade of raspberry… my sister had (probably still has somewhere) one of the big bulky grey polaroid cameras the first time they came round. It was literally the clunkiest of things and the film was soooo expensive (to us as kids/teens anyway) and so every photo that was taken was cherished. We would have loads of them stuck to sides of wardrobes at uni to remember each other by and all those nights we didn’t have much memory of. Those photo’s are some of my favourite possessions and they still make me laugh even now. But then times changed and with the rise of the smartphone was the downfall of the polaroid camera. Who needs an instant snap on a little square of photo film paper when you can have several photo’s ready to have the shit filtered out of them? When did filling up Facebook walls with perfectly edited pictures of the night before become part of the night out? God I sound so old, I know. Anyway, mission for self, fill up actual walls with hideous unedited but hilarious photo’s taken in real time. Complete with sharpie squiggles added by randoms in the girls bogs (who you are by now BFF’s with). God those times were so good. Again, pick it up on ASOS!


(right) Jumping back to Cult Beauty for a moment and to number six on the list. I’m such a sucker for a scented candle. I collect them like I collect cushions. I’m not even a scent snob, it doesn’t have to be super fancy. But if it is then I’m extra smitten. Whilst browsing candles (as you do) I came across this Bella Freud babe. I mean seriously!!! And if it’s appearance isn’t enough to make you want to buy it for yourself for V-day then check out the description from Cult Beauty “Sensuous and seductive, Bella Freud’s Loving Candle conjures the femininity (and raunchiness) of the 70s – it’s a suede mini dress and long, tanned limbs emerging from the back seat of a mustang, or Gucci’s blonde-haired, Farah Fawcett bombshells sexily sashaying down the runway – super-charged and smouldering, strong, flirtatious and coquettish.” Like, why can’t I BE this candle? That’s all I’m asking. And if I can’t be it, at least let me pretend whilst deeply inhaling it’s scent. Thank you Bella, THANK YOU.



(left) Seven – nearly there – is a very grown up gift. Now strictly speaking Smythson don’t offer free international delivery, not until you spend a hefty £500 anyway. But that’s easily done when you actually start putting things into your cart. How I can ever justify spending several hundred pounds on what is basically a notebook I don’t know. But if ever I could, this is the place I’d go to do it. Super swanky leather bound diaries and notebooks, plus beautiful stationary for keeping in touch with those far away friends and family might just tempt even the most distant expat – literally and metaphorically – into putting pen to paper every once in a while. If I wasn’t already sticking to my 2017 resolution to write to people this would tempt me. Maybe I should reward myself….




(right) EIGHT! Last up, the ultimate in red gifts. No, not a Ferrari. Not this time anyway. I’m talking jewels! Anything with a sparkle to it is guaranteed to catch my eye. Perhaps I was a magpie in a past life, perhaps I will be one in a future life, who knows. But safe to say that anything that has to be itemised on the house insurance is a worthy investment. From pink diamonds to a deep, rich ruby there’s jewels for everyone in shades of red. I want to say I’m a less is more kind of girl, and day to day that’s pretty true, but every once in a while isn’t it a treat to look at some serious bling and bring out your inner Mariah? Tiffany & Co. list this bracelet as “This stunning platinum bracelet is an unmatched feat of engineering. Hand-set rubellites shine on one side of this intricate knife-edge design while blazing diamonds illuminate the other, creating a dazzling ombré effect. Baguette diamonds, carat total weight 80.53; baguette rubellites, carat total weight 60.68; round brilliant diamonds, carat total weight .10.” There is no price included. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Which I can’t. But I can still gaze in wonder.


So there we have it! The last of my Chinese New Year posts! Today is New Years Eve, tonight we are gathering at a friends for drinks and food and then we have a long weekend of family time to look forward to. It’s the perfect start to the Year of the Rooster.

Happy Chinese New Year!



  1. January 27, 2017 / 6:43 am

    Loving the blog this week! I’d pick that satchel too! Oh and the candle, eye mask, lipstick (although I have never been brace enough for red) maybe a nude colour for me!! Happy Chinese New Year Hun!

    • The Expat Mama
      February 3, 2017 / 4:31 am

      Thank you! Yeah, thank goodness it’s V-day soon enough and I have a legit reason to get something from this list otherwise it’s just torturous compiling a gift list!!! I just need to wave the list infront of my husband and hope he takes the hint…! xx