Sunday, 26 October 2014

All Hail the Christmas List Contenders

Every Autumn marks a milestone which ignites the annual excitement that spreads like the warming heat from a burning fire, sending elation (along with the unwelcome addition of impatience) into overdrive: writing my Christmas list. 

A joy that has never quite lost its edge as I've gotten older, I gain plenty of pleasure from simply writing several potential gifts - in the form of an Excel document, of course - onto my list, acting on inspiration whenever it takes me. While some traditions have been given up over the years - as if a Youth Dew-wearing teenager can truly get away with visiting Santa Claus, despite the promise of receiving a 'free' gift (courtesy of your parents' wallets) - constructing my list around this time of year never gets boring, and remains a tradition which I happily embrace. 

October is the perfect time of year that I can take a break from doing my chores, work and the like in order to think about what I want: exactly suiting the needs of a self-obsessed teen! At this point, I no longer hide my head in shame if caught browsing Amazon in search of a library load of books which could be found wrapped underneath the Christmas tree several months on - everyone, including myself, are all for a slight dose of self-indulgence come Christmas time! 

Since hitting the two-months-to-go milestone yesterday, Christmas has been playing more and more on my mind as the need to complete my list has strengthened overnight, becoming quite an irritating itch that not the reliable Sudacrem can sooth. Until I've sorted out this must-be-done-soon task, Christmas won't cease to exist in my thoughts because I cannot bear to ignore something which, in my world, is absolutely important. 

Although plenty of people - if not the majority of the population - leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute, this is definitely not how I like to function, especially when it comes to such a busy season - cue a potential strike from some grumpy-faced postmen! Like my consumption of chocolate, purchasing my Christmas presents early is a habit which I can't bring myself to break: nor will my parents allow it! In fact, my mum and dad are now telling me to get a move on with sorting out my list, even though it is in far better condition than my brother's. which literally contains a Playstation and nothing else. 

As these instructions play on my mind like a soap opera storyline, it is about time that I stop procrastinating and commence my mission, in which I aspire to gain plenty of LikeATeen-approved gifts that will put a massive smile on my face come the morning of 25th December. Yet one thing begs the question: what will those presents be? Hmm, maybe I will embark on a journey to determine what I'll be unwrapping in 59 days' time - and what I will certainly not including on my list!

The Disaster Presents

An expert in what you might consider as ghastly disasters, I am the go-to person if you want to find out what you should not give to an ashen-faced teenager at Christmas, unless you get a hit out of becoming their arch-nemesis - I doubt that is a likely possibility!

Everybody, unless you are the Queen, have received a dodgy gift at one point or another and, if we even bother with politeness, we plaster on the sickliest smile after unwrapping a gift that will end up at the charity shop the following day. Whether this is a ritual that all children go through, I really don't know, but isn't it strange that we do experience these embarrassing and oh-so-awkward moments, especially at such a jolly time like Christmas? 

As great as it is to use common sense whilst picking presents for teenagers, I realize that there are times when you - and perhaps young adults themselves - don't know whether a gift will receive a flood of heartfelt 'thank yous' or the stomach-churning eye-roll/'why-the-hell-have-you-given-this-to-me?' look. 

Personally, adults should avoid purchasing CDs for their children unless they have been specifically asked to purchase one because, nine times of ten, it could result in a major fail. For example, would a heavy metal lover raise a grin after opening a copy of Katy Perry's Prism? Unless they have a secret penchant for Dark Horse, I doubt it!

Clothes can sometimes be disastrous if no attention is paid to personal style, size, practicality or even the brand; wearing Primark is more than a few pegs below Juicy Couture! Girls are perhaps known as the fussier ones compared to the more laidback boys, yet the only piece of clothing that my parents can buy for my brother is a Chelsea kit - everything else is off-limits! Still, you can't really go wrong if you pay attention to your teenage daughter's subtle hint about that party-perfect dress from her favourite clothing shop... 

And, for old times' sake, do not make the legendary mistake of buying gifts aimed at kids for teenagers. Just don't. Colouring-in sets, toys (albeit a Kiss-themed Hello Kitty plush is an exception) and cat-themed jigsaw puzzles (even the hugest cat lover like me reserved little passion for the most boring game known to mankind) are among the gifts that teenagers will never forgive you for - it could go down in history! 

My Kind of Gifts

BaByliss 2165BU Pro Crimper 210, 
£19.99 at Amazon

Forever obsessed with the appearance, texture and cleanliness of my hair, it is no wonder that I'm also conscious about the style of it: to date, I currently have one curling wand, a set of rollers and the fabulous Curl Secret that was on the top of my Christmas list last year. 

Having what I've usually regarded as straight 'n' boring hair, I have been on the lookout for various tools that will transform my look - typically in the form of curling. Before I got my first curling wand at the age of eleven, I truly thought that curling would revolutionize my life and banish the boring title to which my hair was attached. 

Although I loved the results that curling offered me, there were several problems that I encountered, such as
  • There was absolutely no way that I could curl my hair in a hurry (e,g. before school) because I would need to devote at least an hour to curling every single strand of hair on my head. As much as I love my hair, spending longer than half-an-hour on styling it struck me as excessive!
  • If used too frequently, my hair would dry out and its texture would be similar to a stack of hay: deprived of any moisture or softness. 
  • Whenever I used the Curl Secret, my hair would get tangled if I dared to place large pieces all at once, which meant that I would have to curl smaller pieces - therefore taking more time! 
Besides, I wanted to give another style a go, so I was instantly drawn to these crimpers whilst browsing on Amazon (where else?) several weeks ago. 

Perfect for straight hair, these crimpers give your hair a unique texture without robbing you of too much time to achieve the desired look. This means that, instead of relying on straighteners each morning, I could crimp my hair before going school! 

Also, OCD won't get the better of me if I didn't crimp every single section of hair, unlike curling it which would look like a mess if I forgot to curl the back or wherever. Crimping looks simple, fast and cool at the same time - easiness without the hassle!

'Spoilt' Jumper
£5.99, H&M

This jumper has a leopard print pattern - my most adored print of all time - and includes the word which defines clothes-obsessed teenagers. Sure, I might not necessarily deserve a reminder of it, but this is clothing at its very finest - at cut-throat prices! 

Me spoilt? Never. If I'm wearing this jumper? Oh yes!

Pop Art Clutch Bag
£9.99, New Look
Multicoloured Pop Art Zip Top Clutch | New Look
A secret lover of pop art, I nearly fell head over heels when I saw this clutch bag because of its quirkiness and very eye-catching appeal. 

I've never had a clutch bag before - having believed that they are too formal to be carried at other times apart from parties and special occasions - but this one could be used at any time: it's definitely the kind of bag I'd introduce to my expanding collection!

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