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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Merry fluffy outfit in Birmingham, UK

This Mediterranean girl knows how to face the Arctic cold: with a wintry outfit that's all about warm, yet soft and stylish clothes.
So I've finally discovered a proper snowfall - here in Birmingham, back in December- and I still wish for some more.

Valentina Chirico Select outfit, Birmingham, UK - Edgbaston campus - Old Joe clock tower
Old Joe is the clock tower of the University of Birmingham, the highest ever built for a campus.
He/It has been the inspiration for Tolkien.

With my roomie Lily, I've enjoyed the first snow around the Edgbaston campus of the University of Birmingham watched by above by the impressive clock tower friendly named "Old Joe".
The ice-proof outfit, grey-ish as the weather was, hidden a sweet entry like this Select grey plush sweater and smart shoes, a pair of light but waterproof Primark combat boots.
This military coat proved to be an appropriate choice: long enough to protect from the chill, serious enough to create surprise with the top underneath.

Valentina Chirico's fluffy Select outfit in Birmingham, UK - Jarratt Hall accomodation
First real snowfall calls for a first pho at the PHO (place) in the Grand Central of Birmingham
It should have been a hot tofu and mushroom pho. Nope! Where are the flames, "Pho" dudes?

The outfit in detail...
Sweater: Select 
Military coat: Select 
Jeggins/legging: Pimkie 
Scarf: Primark
Boots: Primark

With Lily (she's a fellow Igers with amazing pics around the EU!!!), I've done a new friend: a snow chicken, now melt forever.

Valentina Chirico's fluffy Select outfit, Birmingham, UK - Murray Learning Centre
The snow chicken appeared in December on a lonely table in front of the Murray Learning Centre in Birmingham, UoB.
Missing since then

Next time, if it isn't going to be snow but a rainstorm, then I would opt for something else: a parka! (Archaeologists love this kind of coat... it's true)
Waterproof, hooded (and furry), adjustable and with pouches, winter parkas are definitely the choice for multitasking, busy people

Valentina Chirico aka Valens

ph. @haruchan_kumiko

Discover my new editorial project: Italian Memories!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Gift tips: make your gifts customizable and ethical

The gift tips made to last and impress, whether for a birthday, a special occasion or Christmas, are buying ethical or local and customizing your packages!

How to memorable presents. Gift tips: handmade and ethical

What I like, do and suggest is preparing small presents wrapped at home, with your own hands and colourful crafting materials like paper bags, tags and ribbons.
Doubts about what to give? 
Think about the recipient and his/her taste and style: this is going to help a lot.
Choose little helpful accessories. With these, I include a product that is handmade and ethically involved.
So this year, I've created some little favour Christmas bags (with a secret content) and "embellished" with the real gifts outside.

I went local by choosing some gorgeous handmade soaps crafted by Charlotte George, a little indie company active in Birmingham.
The scent and the colours of these soaps are inviting and visually stimulating; they're an explosion of fruit, seeds and swirls.

Charlotte George handmade soaps. An ethical bath and body business in Birmingham (Citezen Home)
Charlotte George handmade soaps

I've found these beauties at the Citizen Home shop in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, a tiny store filled with handmade, vintage, extravagant and recycled products for people and their houses.
Everything is second-hand, handmade, up-cycled or simply quirky (new); selected among socially passionate companies using fair-trade ingredients (like the York-based chocolate bars by Choco Affair), natural products or old materials...
all goes to support our local community and indigenous populations in Africa, India and South American countries through Shared Earth, different campaigns and products.

Citizen Home Birmingham, ethical gift shop (Jewellery Quarter) Charlotte George and Choco Affair

Honestly, it was the crowded store window that called my attention and welcomed to the Citizen Home HQ. You can find this store in Birmingham at 82 Vyse Street - B16 6HA (Jewellery Quarter) and let it content tempt you for a good cause.
Still in doubt for your gift? It's the time of the year when everyone feels optimist and generous, why not making people happy and giving back at the same time? 
Choose something ethical and add your personal touch with a bit of "do it yourself" skills!

Valentina Chirico aka Valens

Sunday, 17 December 2017

How to: Do It Yourself Christmas beauty crackers

Christmas crackers solve our gifts dilemma with an eco-friendly and colourful solution able to transform even the smaller present into a lovely discovery all year around! Why and how? Keep reading...

Christmas crackers are a British tradition and can be replicated with easy at home to customize little gifts with a touch of fun. They are a recurring presence on every and each Christmas table used as place cards and looks like tubular candies, indeed they were created in 1847 by Londoner Tom Smith for his bonbons.

All you need for your own small or big Christmas crackers are:
toilet tubes, cracker or crafting papers, scotch tape, ribbons and cracker snaps which allow the cracker to "explode".
They are the perfect solution for those little gifts like, nail polishes and lip balms that, despite always appreciated would look too small!


With or without the "boom" from which the cracker has taken its name, you can create your Christmas packages and, in this case, your gifts will look like a simple and safer candy.
I usually make use and recycle empty toilet paper tubes or sturdy cardboard and 
bright wrapping papers to create my do it yourself and ecological gifts.

Christmas crackers are a favourite season package chosen by several beauty brands.
Here's Marc Jacobs Beauty "The Night Owl" cracker featuring its bestseller Velvet Noir Major Volume mascara

Christmas crackers look lovely on the top of a full dinner table or under your Christmas tree and extremely easy to do!
They are so versatile that can be created on every occasion throughout the year when a small gift has to be given and to create a bigger surprise...
Zero inspiration? You may be interested in gifts ideas for beauty and chocolate lovers.

Valentina Chirico aka Valens

Image credits:
Marc Jacobs beauty Facebook page
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