Sunday, 14 December 2014

Nola Vodka Spritz - 81 calories per 175ml

I was recently sent a 'Nola's Night In Kit' from the people who make Nola Vodka Spritz to enjoy a night in with my friends with some bottles/cans of Nola Vodka Spritz, some snacks from Propercorn and a gorgeous scented candle.

I hadn't tried Nola Vodka Spritz before so I didn't really know what to expect. It comes in two flavours - Raspberry and Elderflower and Watermelon and Strawberry.  Both were light, refreshing, fruity and easy to drink, it was about -2 when we had our night in (obviously it wasn't -2 inside so glad to be having a night in!) and I think these drinks would be even better in summer.

On the front of each can it says there are 81 calories in 175ml but each can is 250ml so more like 115 calories per can which still isn't a lot of calories especially when you compare it to something like wine, I just think it's a bit misleading as some of my friends were like "oh wow 81 calories per can?" which at first glance it looks like.

My favourite was by far the Watermelon and Strawberry, which I knew would be the case before I even tried them as I love those flavours and I'm not hugely keen on raspberry or elderflower, it's still pretty nice but I probably wouldn't buy it again whereas I'd definitely buy the strawberry and watermelon one!  I really enjoyed it and so did my friends, everyone was pleasantly surprised that it tasted so nice as a lower calories drink.

The 700ml bottles are currently on offer for £5 each in Asda and Tesco so I might pick some Strawberry and Watermelon bottles up to enjoy over Christmas.  I'm not a big drinker at all - I probably have alcohol once every few months if that but I did enjoy these and there'll be so many calories involved over Christmas I might as well save some on alcohol too!

Remember if you do end up trying these or having some nights in/out over Christmas remember to drink responsibly and stay safe!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

BaByliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves Wand



I've been looking for a larger barelled tong for a while because I really like loose waves that don't look too over-styled or ringlety so when I was offered the chance to try out the new BaByliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves tong I was excited!



It has a 34mm tourmaline-ceramic coated barrel, much wider than a normal tong, has five variable heat settings (ideal for me as I try and repair my hair after 9 month of bleaching it platinum and over-processing my hair), it heats up in 30 seconds and it doesn't have a "clamp" that holds your hair so no kinks in your hair and a natural curl that just looks like your hair falls like that (#IWokeUpLikeDis).  Packaging is gorgeous too as you can see!

It comes with a little heat proof glove that stops you burning your hand as you wrap and as I mentioned it has no clamp so you wrap your hair from the top down and hold it in place which at first I didn't like because I wasn't used to it at all but now I've done it a few times it's really quick, these come with clear instructions too.  Here's a how to vid from BaByliss that shows what I mean perfectly:
 

Here's the result on my hair - this was a lazy Sunday where I still wanted to look nice but not like I'd put loads of effort in:
 
 
This has quickly become my go-to hair curler for a natural, everyday look (sorry hot rollers and my other curling tongs) - it's really quick and easy to do my hair.  Throw in a bit of backcombing and it's perfect for an effortless evening look too!  I find the curls easily last all day without dropping if I add a bit of hairspray.  The fact it doesnt have a clamp adds to the natural look too - you can easily just fool people into thinking you just have naturally nice wavy hair.
 
One thing I would say is that it's really only suitable if you have long hair, anything above your shoulders would struggle to fit around the barrel more than once I think, it is big!
 
The BaByliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves Wand costs around £30 - for more information visit or to purchase visit http://www.babyliss.co.uk/boutique  

Sunday, 23 November 2014

NYK1 Secrets UV Gel Nail Kit Review

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you'll have heard of gel manicures like CND Shellac etc.  They're products that look like polish but are cured under a UV light and last much longer than a normal manicure.  I've had these nails done professionally before and I think they help keep your nails stronger/less likely to break too.

I was lucky enough to be sent the NYK1 Secrets UV Gel Nail Kit to try out along with two polish colours (Gold Wow and Diamond Ballet) to try out.  The kit has everything you need to do your nails from start to finish (including a UV lamp, base and top coat, lint free wipes, orange sticks/cuticle pusher and dehydrator) along with really comprehensive instructions on how to use it.  Basically if you can paint your nails you can use this kit.


It's really easy to use with the instructions and I actually think that even though you 'cure' each layer of gel polish under the UV lamp for 2 minutes it works out quicker than using normal nail varnish as you're not just hanging around waiting for the layers of polish to dry.  I did Gold Wow on my fingers and I'm going to do Diamond Ballet on my toes later as gel polish lasts really well on my toes and I can't always be bothered to polish them in winter.


The end result is just like a salon gel manicure, it just feels/looks like polish but so far is lasting really well.  I'm hoping this helps my nails not to break too!  Not bad for a first attempt:





The kit currently costs £49.95 which I think is really good value as you can pay around £20 for a gel manicure in the salon.  I'm definitely going to get some other colours as I don't seem to have the time to paint my nails as often as I used to any more but I hate the look of my nails bare.  Absolutely gorgeous colours too, love the fact that these come in glitters too.

I think this kit would be a fab Christmas present, for more info about the kit and other NYK1 products visit their website at www.nyk1.com

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

My stay at the gorgeous Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Yorkshire


I recently stayed over at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel after being invited to visit to review their facilities.  I jumped at the chance as I absolutely love Yorkshire and it really isn't too far from where we live (about 2 hours by car).


Location
The location of Ox Pasture Hall is ridiculously beautiful.  It's an old, converted farm set in 17 acres of the North York Moors National Park.  Once you set foot in the grounds of the hotel, all you can see are fields, hills and forest.  It's very tranquil, relaxing and peaceful with plenty of gardens, water features and even a good sized pond.

Seaside town Scarborough is only about 2 miles away but you'd never know - it feels a million miles away - but is nice and near if you want to pop out for a day trip or a change of scenery - why would you want a change from this scenery though:






We were really lucky with the weather given that it was still pretty warm and it was the end of October but we'd love to come back in summer and really take advantage of the surroundings and explore the national park at bit more.

It was actually that gorgeous that I think that if we hadn't finally booked a wedding venue for next year we really might have considered getting married here, despite the fact it's about 2 hours away from where we live.  They have a room where you have your wedding ceremony and reception and the photographs in the grounds would be absolutely stunning!  There's more information about weddings at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel on their website.

Rooms
We stayed in room 27, which was one of the suites on the ground floor.  It was absolutely lovely from the bedroom to the living area to the bathroom.  It had refreshments in the room, TV, wi-fi, a huge comfy bed, dressing gowns, complimentary toiletries and great views.  We came in through a little courtyard which really added to the farm feel of the whole place.  I took a little quick video of the room on my phone which you can see below:
 

 
 
Food and Drink
Again, the food and drink at Ox Pasture Hall was fantastic.  We had afternoon tea, evening meal and breakfast at Ox Pasture Hall, all of which we really enjoyed!
 
The afternoon tea consisted of the usual sandwiches, scones and cakes with a nice pot of Yorkshire tea.  We were actually pretty stuffed after this and I didn't eat all of my cakes - I'd say this could easily be shared between 3 people rather than the two of us.  We gave it a good go though!

 
Our evening meals were fab too - I had tomato and basil soup, followed by rack of lamb (with amazing braised lamb boulangere potato) and sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and milk ice cream.  My boyfriend had chicken roulade, mini beef filet with beef brisket, mash and mushroom duxelle followed by a pistachio and banana dessert trio. 
 
 
We also had prosecco and a cute little strawberry consomme between courses.  We'd planned to go to the bar for a drink afterwards which had a big toasty fire in there but we were far too full so just ended up going for a nap, ha!
 
 
Breakfast was great too - we both opted for a full English (ahem) which you could tell used really high quality produce and wasn't cooked with mountains of grease.  They also have tea, toast, cereal, juice, yoghurt etc available too.
 
Service 
The service we received was second to none with every member of staff we met being friendly, efficient and really helpful.  I can't fault any of that at all.  We arrived a bit later than planned and pushed back our meals a bit - this was done without any problem, fuss or difficulty. 
 
This review has ended up a lot longer and more pic-heavy than I planned it to be but I can sum it all up in a sentence by saying: We'd definitely like to come back!
 
For more information about Ox Pasture Hall Hotel visit their website at www.oxpasturehallhotel.com
 

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Library of Fragrance - create your own bespoke scent or just enjoy your favourites individually.


Right, I'm going to try and explain what these are properly as if you haven't heard of them before (I had so I was familiar with the concept) it might sound a bit unusual.

These scents from The Library of Fragrance have been formulated to smell exactly like the object/experience that they're named after - the scents I have above are pretty self explanatory but they do ones called 'Fireplace' which smells like pine cone embers on a log fire, Thunderstorm, Moonbeam etc - really interesting fragrances which do actually smell like what they're meant to be.

The fragrances that I received for review were Mango, Sunshine (which has a touch of coconut in it to represent sun lotion and notes which envoke a warm cotton t-shirt and sun-warmed skin...you'd have to smell it to really get it but that is what it reminds me of!), Vanilla Ice Cream and Peach and I can happily say that they all smell "right".  In fact, the Vanilla Ice Cream one - probably my favourite - smells so nice it makes me feel hungry!  When you first spray them there's a brief moment where it smells really strong but this calms down quickly, leaving a nice subtle scent behind.  There's a huge list of the fragrances you can buy here.

The other great thing about these is that you can layer them to create a signature scent that's all your own and contains your favourite flavours.  The best way of describing mine when they're combined is "sunny" - sunshine, fruit and ice cream...yum - it makes me think of holidays and chilling out on a beach which is no bad thing in November!

The scent lasts really well without being overpowering too which I think is important.  Overall I've really liked these fragrances (I tend to like sweet and fruity scents rather than anything too floral or spicy) and there are quite a few other scents I want to try too.  I actually think these would make a lovely little Christmas present too so I might start taking note of what type of scents people like!

Library of Fragrance scents are £15 for a 30ml bottle of 2 for £25 at Boots.  For more information about the Library of Fragrance, layering scents and choosing the right fragrance for you visit their website at www.thelibraryoffragrance.com

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Rimmel Provocalips in 200 - I'll Call You



This style of lipstick isn't anything new - I used to wear Max Factor Lipfinity religiously as a teenager which was the same sort of premise and I remember a couple of other brands had similar products.  I spotted the Rimmel Provocalips in Boots* and thought I'd give it a try as I really liked the colour...who knows, maybe I just wanted to relive my youth!


Basically, one end adds colour - which is quite a flat, matte colour that could be quite drying - which you let dry and the other end adds gloss and moisture so your lips aren't looking crusty. 


It lasts really well, even through eating/drinking but if you're eating anything oily it will remove it (an oily make up remover is best for taking it off at the end of the day) and make it feather.  You need to top up the gloss through the day.  It doesn't transfer at all but tends to wear away on the inside part of your lips first.

They have a really sickly sweet synthetic fragrance to them which I don't really mind at all but I don't know if it would be for everyone.

Does it last 16 hours? Um, well there probably would be something left on your lips after 16 hours (probably looking like dodgy lipliner) but it's more like 8 hours, I can go a full day at work without having to reapply the colour.

I would definitely buy this again, and I plan to try out some more colours (maybe a nice red or plum colour), as it's great for a day at work where you're busy and don't have time to top your lipstick up every hour or for a night out when you don't want to be glued to a mirror all night. At £6.99 it's pretty purse friendly too.

I bought mine from Boots* for £6.99 but you can probably pick this up wherever sells Rimmel.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

New hair (before and after pics)


My hair's been a bit of a mess lately - totally overprocessed, damaged and a weird mish-mash of blondes.  To give my hair a bit of a break from bleach I decided to go for more of a dip dye.  My hairdresser used three different colours to blend the colours in my hair and keep it looking nice and natural.  I still wanted it more blonde than brown, just a nicer blonde colour.
 
And here's the end result:


I'm so pleased with the results - it's ended up looking a mixture of highlights/lowlights with a bit of ombre/dip dye which I absolutely love.  It looks a lot classier and even my boyfriend likes it (he's not normally one for "fashion" hair).  I've had ombre hair before bit it was darker and less broken up than this, I much prefer how it is now!
 

Really pleased with my new look for winter.  Hopefully it gets the condition of my hair back up to where it should be so I can go back to just having nice natural highlights and lowlights in future.  Being bleach blonde for a while was fun but is far too much upkeep, work and damage for me!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A quick review for a quick product - Pretty Twist & Out Instant Nail Varnish Remover


I got this as a bit of a "stocking filler" type of present but didn't use it until I didn't have any other option and had used up my other removers - I've used this type of remover before where you dip your finger into the middle of an acetone sponge in the pot, twist and it removes your polish.  Except sometimes they don't and it's frustrating!

However, this remover has pleasantly surprised me as it works really well.  Even glitter is removed easily and quickly.  I don't know how long this is going to last and be effective for but definitely worth having in for polish removal situations (especially if you're on the go).  I'd definitely buy this in future!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The National Wedding Show at Manchester Central - what did I think?


At the weekend my future sister in law (argh, weird to type that) and I visited the National Wedding Show in Manchester, hoping to pick some inspiration for my as-yet-not-organised wedding.  We had a fantastic day and it was exactly what I was hoping for - lots of ideas about venues, dresses, entertainment, invitations, catering, wedding make up and venue decoration.


Here's a few of my favourite things we spotted at the National Wedding Show - there was a lot to do and see through the day so this is a tiny snippet of what was actually there:

Drop Top Guest Book



Instead of a boring, traditional paper guest book your guests write their names and/or a message on little wooden hearts that slot into a wooden photo frame.  If you're a Pinterest obsessive (like me), you'll probably have seen these.  I think they're such a lovely idea, way more interesting than a guest book and it's a proper keepsake that you can display as a fab reminder of your wedding day.  You can find them at www.bspoak.co.uk - they come in a range of sizes and finishes and you can personalise them with your names and wedding date...n'aaaaw! 

'Av A Go Taxi Photo Booth


I've never seen this before and I loved it - it's a white taxi, decked out in wedding swag which is actually a photo booths.  I think photo booths are a really popular thing to have at weddings but this is so different and gorgeous, absolutely amazing!  We didn't go in it as the queue was huge but you can find out more at www.avagobooths.co.uk 

Foto Fusion Cards


Again, something I haven't seen before that I really really liked.  I'm not sure how clear it is from my photo but what makes these different is that you can customise the cards to show whatever image you want and they print it on to transparent film that is slotted in to the card.  The overall effect is so different and classy to anything I've seen before.  This example shows some cute baby pictures of a bride and groom for their wedding invitation but I really liked the Thank You cards that showed a photograph of the happy couple on their wedding day.  Check out their range of cards at www.foto-fusion.co.uk/

The thing we got most excited about was the dresses and catwalk shows - throughout the day there were bridalwear catwalk shows along with hair and make up demonstrations where they picked someone from the crowd and made them up into a bride.  The make up demos were run by Andriani Vasilou of L'Oreal Paris and celebrity make up artist Ariane Poole.  Here's a lucky bride getting made over as part of the show - they did a big reveal once she was all done up:


And it wouldn't be right for me not to include an obscene amount of dress and catwalk show photos as the dresses were by far the thing we saw the most of and are still talking about the best part of a week later:










There were some male models on the catwalk too showcasing some groom looks but that's not why we were there so I didn't take many pics!  There are loads of stalls selling wedding dresses of every shape, size and colour (including the ones in the catwalk show).  We saw a lot of teary eyed women trying on their dream dress in front of equally teary eyed family - there are a lot of discounts to be had, so if you're on a budget or you just want to pick up a fab dress for less, this is the place to be!

There were places to get afternoon tea, champagne and food too which is fab if you're treating it as a day out.  There's even a VIP section where you get goody bags and VIP treatment.

If you're a bride lacking inspiration, someone who loves all things wedding or you just want to pick up some ideas it's well worth visiting the National Wedding Show.  I thought I was quite well versed in all things wedding given my obsession with Pinterest and various wedding TV shows but there were plenty of surprises here for me!

The National Wedding Show exhibits around the country twice a year - visit www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk for information about the next show dates and venues.  I actually might go to the show in February provided I've got a wedding booked at that point to pick up some deals and get even more inspiration. 

If you're looking for some wedding inspiration or you just want to have a nosy at some of the wedding ideas I like, you can view my Pinterest wedding board here:

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Marc Jacobs Daisy Delight Eau de Toilette Spray



I've never actually owned any of the Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume - there have been quite a few different editions out I think - which is weird considering that my boyfriend wears Marc Jacobs Bang! aftershave and I love it.  This was another impromptu birthday gift that I'm really pleased with!

It's the perfect mix of sweet, fruity and floral without being too overwhelmingly any one of them.  The top notes of this are apple, quince flower (I have no idea what that is) and freesia.  It also has notes of iris, gardenia and peony.


In terms of packaging and "dressing table appeal" - something that I think is important for a perfume as it's something you leave out as a decorative item as well as a scent - this is a fun, colourful design that looks really pretty on my white dressing table.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Delight is available from Debenhams for £48.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

My first Tom Ford lipstick - Lip Colour Sheer in 05 Sweet Spot



I was lucky enough to get this gorgeous lipstick for my birthday from one of my friends - Tom Ford Lip Colour Sheer in 05 Sweet Spot.  It's absolutely gorgeous to look at, the packaging is typically luxurious, even down to the gold box it comes in.



I actually didn't realise this was sheer at first and thought "ooh bit of a lippie for when I've got a tan this" as I expected it to be a bright, dense orange but it's actually a really wearable, every day sheer orange colour that looks gorgeous on (ignore my pale hand!):


Formulation-wise it's actually really creamy and doesn't have that slippery glossy feeling that sometimes comes with a sheer lipstick.  It lasts really well too, again especially for a sheer lipstick. It also has that sweet, vanilla-y scent that MAC lipstick wearers will be familiar with.

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with this product - my friend obviously knows me well - and it's got me craving more from the Tom Ford cosmetics range, some of which is eye wateringly expensive.
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