Thursday, 26 March 2015

5 signs you're becoming a functioning adult...

I’m going to be 30 next year (*insert screaming emoji here*) and I’ve noticed that while I don’t feel old I’m definitely starting to feel more grown up – I have a mortgage, I’m getting married this year and a lot of my friends are having babies (I have pugs…I’m VERY happy with my pugs).


I thought I’d put together a little list of the things that I’ve noticed that to me, have signified that I’m becoming a grown up rather than a wide eyed, fresh faced youngster in my early twenties:

1. Two nights out in a row is no longer do-able – and if you try it, it takes you the best part of a week to fully recover and start feeling like a normal human being. Two day hangovers are the norm rather than the exception.

2. You find it easier to say no – whether it’s an event you don’t really want to go to, a friend that isn’t necessarily your cup of tea or someone seriously pushing their luck declining doesn’t bother you the way it would have 5 years ago.  You don’t feel like you have to be involved because you might miss out. Your time’s precious. 

3. You’re just not as bothered by hype any more – whether it’s the latest iPhone, 90’s style (that – at the risk of sounding less like a grown up and more like an old lady – should stay in the 90’s) or the latest band everyone’s loving, you’re just  indifferent to that stuff. 

4. You seriously start to scrutinise anti-ageing products – you might even spend a bit of time furiously googling botox (no I never did that…ok I did that) and you regret ever setting foot in the sun without total sunblock.

5. You start saving money – dropping your entire wage on a whole lot of Topshop on the 26th of the month just doesn’t do it for you anymore.  You actually start to care about interest rates, finance deals, mortgage comparisons and making the most of your money.  I’m currently saving for a wedding, a car and the future in general.

And my final point is where Nutmeg comes in.  Nutmeg – and bear with me here – is an investment platform that uses the information you provide to build and manage an investment portfolio for you for a reasonable monthly cost.  They take into account your attitude to risk and aim to produce the best return for low cost without you having to worry about managing your investments and fund choices yourself.

You can pay in a lump sum or a monthly amount too which is great whether you’ve got some money stored up or you’re trying to build up your savings. For someone like me, who has a broad understanding of finance but not the detailed technical knowledge (or time and inclination) to spend time managing investments and choosing funds it’s ideal for me to still get results - you can set things up in 10 minutes.

There are a range of investment options (including ISA's which are tax free - so many people don't realise that you pay tax on income you make through savings in an account) and it's all fully regulated by the FCA.

I told you I was growing up...


Sponsored post

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Help me choose my wedding invitations! (Review of PaperShaker)


I still haven't sent my wedding invitations out yet (something which seems to be causing concern to some of my guests) - with 4 months to go I'm not worried but I thought I'd start sorting out some invitations.

My initial thoughts were that I would make my own but after a first attempt I decided to get them printed but I didn't know where or how to get it done really.  I want them to look professional and impressive but at the same time my budget is important.  We're just having a small wedding and are prioritising what we feel is important to spend on and where we can save (without it looking like we've cut costs).

My friend then sent me a Save the Date for her wedding next year (she's getting married in Greece so is trying to gauge numbers early) and they looked great, I asked her where she'd got them from thinking it would be somewhere out of our budget as they were so well done (and she's spending at least twice as much as us on her wedding).  It turned out she got them online at PaperShaker, a website a bit like Moonpig etc where they have template designs that you can personalise.  They do all sorts and I have to say their wedding invitation section is extensive, there's a design to suit any kind of wedding and budget - quite often there are big discount codes flying around too which helps!

http://paper-shaker.com/

Here's what I thought was great about using PaperShaker:
  • Easily personalise your designs with photos, text, font styles, colour, images and layout
  • Choose different paper types (matte, pearlescent, glossy or texture) and envelope colours to match your colour theme
  • Quick delivery - even standard arrives in a few days.  Next day delivery didn't quite arrive the next day for me but I think that was down to the post office rather than PaperShaker
  • Really easy to use interface that makes designing your invitations easy even down to centre lines, text boxes and print margins
  • Ability to order a variety of quantities and even individual samples if you design your card but want to see it "in the flesh" before you commit to ordering a large amount

I'd always recommend that you get samples printed to check out the colours and finishes as some of the colours will look different on monitors and might not be quite as you'd expect.

So, I've spent some time designing a variety of different invitations but I'm struggling to decide which one to go for so I thought I'd ask for your help!  To help me choose all you need to do is:

  • Visit my PaperShaker Wedding Invitations board on Pinterest (find it here)
  • Favourite the invitation that you think I should go for for my wedding invitations
  • Whichever one has the most votes by the end of April 2015 will be the one I go for
 You can find photos of the samples I ordered below too, I've tried to vary it up and do some different designs.  There were even more gorgeous designs I'd have used too if I was having a different type of wedding but they just didn't "fit" with mine.


http://paper-shaker.com/wedding/invites#54f59bf51dd7e02036000076 





I've added some wedding inspiration pics to the board too so you can get a feel for how my wedding will look and how the invitations fit with the theme - colours are cream, pink and silver.

For more information about PaperShaker and to see the range of designs and product types they offer click here.  You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!


Friday, 13 March 2015

BaByliss Diamond Hair Straightener - Review

For the past decade (really...is it a decade?!) I've been a GHD girl through and through when it comes to hair straighteners, I think I'm on my third pair now and it wouldn't usually cross my mind to even try another brand.  However I was recently sent the BaByliss Diamond Straightener to review and I have to say I'm really impressed.

Firstly, they look fantastic, glossy black with a subtle gold sparkle to them so they look great on your dressing table.  Secondly they're really easy to use - heating up quickly with the ability to adjust the heat setting up to 235 degrees, I've been doing mine on a low setting to try and help my poor hair get back into good condition and pleased to say they're no less efficient!  I actually find these feel better to use than my GHD's.

My hair is naturally thick and frizzy - not really curly or straight - but unnaturally it's really damaged and thin which sometimes means it doesn't straighten so well.  Not the case with these.  These straighteners have a Diamond Radiance Shine System which combines diamond infused ceramic plates with ion technology for smoothness and shine.  I think you can definitely tell this as they do seem to keep my hair straighter for longer as well as adding some much needed shine while still keeping my hair looking/feeling soft.

I'm really pleased with these straighteners and tellingly, I haven't used my GHD's since these arrived!

For more information about the BaByliss Diamond Straightener click here.



Sunday, 8 March 2015

Wedding Hairspiration

Ok so there are 4 months to go until I get married (eek!) so at the minute I've totally got weddings on the brain - most things are sorted, I just need rings, a wedding car and oh, to actually get the invitations out.  I've got my hair and make up trials happening next week so I'm excited to see how that looks and to start seeing my bridal look com together.

Here are some of the hair styles I'm thinking of for my wedding day:


As you can see, I'm going for quite a glamorous, "big hair" look and from what my hairdresser has said I'm going to need some hair extensions in there for quite a few of them.  I've been experimenting with various types of extensions to take with me when I go for my appointment, one of the latest I've tried is the American Dream Instant Bun that I was sent for review a little while ago.


These buns are 100% human hair and come in four different sizes. The size I have is large (given my penchant for big hair!) and it's not ridiculously huge but definitely big enough.  As you can see from the pics above, it fastens with a drawstring.  I've been trying it out before my appointment and basically what you do is tie your hair into a little bun and secure with a bobble, then place the American Dream Instant Bun over your own hair, pull the drawstring tight and tuck the string into the bun.  I usually secure with a couple of pins but to be honest it feels secure enough without.

When I've worn this I've had so many compliments on my hair - with people saying how nice it looks and asking how I've managed to do that with my hair, not one person has said "oh I like your fake hair" ha!  It does just look like my hair but better and it's so easy and quick to use.  I would definitely recommend this and am definitely happy to keep wearing it - it turns a bad hair day into a good hair day with minimal effort.

I haven't taken a photo of it in because my hair colour is still slightly in between shades and this doesn't quite match yet - the plan is to be a natural blonde colour again by the time I get married but at the moment it's more brown with blonde hightlights and a bit of ombre still going on at the bottom.  Never again will I experiment with trying to bleach my own hair at home - after 6 months of doing so the whole of the top/front of my hair has snapped off and I've had to lay off the bleach for the past 6 months.  Given that I want to be blonde it my wedding pics there has been a few times where I've had a slight panic!

This looks way more natural than a structured bun ring and because it's human hair it behaves like it should rather than getting any weird kinks or overly shiny "Barbie" hair going on.  It always feels secure as well so there's no worry of it flying off when I'm walking to work or anything.

For more information about American Dream Extensions click here.

To see my Wedding Inspiration and Hair I Like boards on Pinterest for wedding and hairstyle ideas click here.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

LDN Skins Self Tan Mousse (Tone 3 Medium Dark)


I've had this for a while to try but it's taken me a while to get around to it as I sometimes find applying a full body "proper" tan (rather than a gradual one) to be a serious effort!  I had a night out last week that I felt warranted a nice deep tan so I decided to finally give it a go this LDN Skins Mousse a go!

This is a mousse formula tan and I have to say it is one of the easiest, mess free tans I've ever used.  It comes with a professional application mitt and really easily and streak free using this.  The guide colour is really easy to see as you apply which takes out a loss of guesswork and stops you over applying.  I have to admit as it came out of the bottle the colour wasn't quite what I expected, it was a bit more....ashy than brown which worried me.  It actually felt really moisturising on.

The other thing, which I thought was great, was how quickly it dried - no hanging around in the bathroom freezing cold for 40 minutes while I dry off!  Absolutely no drips or mess, and the best part was that because it dries so quickly my bedding was spotless the next day - I hate it when you tan and then the next day your sheets are tanned too!

I applied this late at night, not particularly carefully, and slept in it while it developed.  It actually smells alright too, and not too "tanny", even the next day.  It's lightly lavender scented , I don't usually like the smell of lavender but this was fine for me.

After I rinsed this off I was really pleased with the colour - yes it was pretty dark but not orange or over the top at all.  There was some colour that clung to my knees and elbows but that happens with every tan I use because my knees and elbows are so dry, even with extra moisturiser.  I really felt happy with the colour and more confident with this tan on.

The fade off wasn't too patchy (except on my hands and face which I wash several times a day).  I will definitely use this tan again and would repurchase in the future as it's easy to use and gives me a colour I'm really happy with.

For more information about LDN Skins visit their website - the mousse I used can be found here for £28.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Enlighten Teeth Whitening at Smile Stylist

Ages ago I was reading something about people from TOWIE (why I don't know because I don't even watch the programme) and it mentioned that a lot of them had had Enlighten teeth whitening.  I don't normally use TOWIE as my style inspiration but you have to admit they all have really white teeth!

I did a bit more reading about Enlighten whitening and found out it's the only teeth whitening system that guarantees VITA shade B1, the lightest shade on the dental shade scale and quite often people who have the treatment will go off the dental shade scale and onto the whitening scale which is exciting! Check out the before and after gallery here - it's impressive!


I decided to get Enlighten whitening before my wedding in July and was just in the midst of getting together local prices when the lovely people at Smile Stylist in Manchester got in touch. 

Smile Stylist are a cosmetic and private dental practice based in House of Fraser on Deansgate (as well as other nationwide locations).  The practice I visited is really modern, clean and spacious and all the staff that I met were very friendly and helpful.  Quite a few local celebs (Michelle Keegan, Jorgie Porter, Catherine Tyldsley) get their cosmetic dentistry done here so I felt like I was in good company.  The dentist that I saw - Sam Hainsworth - was very knowledgeable, explained things clearly and answered all of my questions, even when I went off track a bit and started asking about braces!

The first step is getting a mould of your teeth made so that they can create some whitening trays that fit your teeth perfectly.  This isn't particularly glamorous but it's straightforward, quick and doesn't hurt or anything.  My trays were ready really quickly so I just popped back a week later to pick them up, get the Enlighten whitening gel and have someone talk me through the process.
The process itself is really easy too, you clean your teeth and then just add a tiny bit of the gel to each 'tooth' section of your whitening trays, pop them in your mouth and leave for 3 hours.  You do this for 14 days.  It wasn't painful or awkward, the first time I used the gel I had a few 'jolts' where it feels like a bit of a 'zing' down your teeth but it wasn't bad. 

My teeth felt quite sensitive from the first treatment with the whitening gel - again, not painful but very aware of the cold air outside on my teeth (which sounds weird) and eating stuff like ice cream was out.  I slept with my trays in a few nights, mainly if I hadn't got in until late on, and I did find that this increased my sesitivity the next day.  They also recommend you avoid eating or drinking 'anything that would stain a white shirt' which includes stuff like tea, coffee and beetroot for 24 hours after a treatment which is no biggie.  The sensitivity goes away after about 24 hours which I thought was good news.

I was really pleased with the results, and I felt like my teeth looked whiter 2-3 days in.  I plan to get a top up done near my wedding so my teeth are extra blingy in the photos!

Here's my results in photographs - neither of these photographs have been edited (other than cropped), I'm just wearing a different lipstick in the after photo.  My skin in both pics is the same colour which is testament to how much the colour of my teeth has improved.  So impressed with the difference as it's hard to tell when you're scrutinising your teeth each day!

BEFORE ENLIGHTEN WHITENING


AFTER ENLIGHTEN WHITENING


I'd thoroughly recommend Englighten teeth whitening at Smile Stylist, I found the whole process really straightforward, the staff put me at ease from start to finish and I think the difference in my teeth says it all really.  So pleased!

For more information about Smile Stylist or Enlighten Whitening visit their website at http://www.smilestylist.co.uk/ - they're based around the country, not just Manchester so see if there's a practice near you!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

REVIEW: Jamie's Italian Manchester

When Jamie's Italian Manchester got in touch to ask if I'd like to visit their restaurant I jumped at the chance - I love me some Italian food and it's the perfect antidote to a grey January full of resolutions!

We visited on a dark, rainy Friday in Manchester - it's on a corner of King Street (just behind Market Street) and to be honest the signage is quite subtle so you could miss it!  The restaurant is situated in an old bank, and the way that it's all been fitted out pays homage to this - it looks fantastic, really well done, without feeling pretentious.  Our booking was at 7pm and when we arrived it seemed a bit quiet for a Friday night but we must be early birds because the whole place filled up within about half an hour.

 
Our waitress was really nice, very knowledgeable and attentive without being overbearing.  The menu surprised me - to be honest I was expecting your bog standard Italian restaurant type food but I should have known better, it was really varied and a far cry from spag bol, lasagne and pizza.
 
 
I ordered Crispy Squid to start, followed by Lobster Al Forno.  I really enjoyed both, the flavours were fantastic and everything was really well presented.  The squid was perfectly cooked, nice and soft, with plenty of flavour and a little chilli kick here and there.  The lobster was really luxurious - a half lobster cooked in  rich cheese sauce, the flavours worked well together and were set off perfectly by the spaghetti pomodoro in a light tomato sauce with a little kick.  It was nice and light while still being enough fro an evening meal.
My boyfriend randomly ordered pork scratchings from the nibbles menu - they weren't really my sort of thing and were definitely what they say they are, pork scratchings with a salsa type dip.  A bit of an odd choice but there you go!  He then ordered baked chestnut mushrooms followed by a steak dish from the special's menu which was huge!  He enjoyed the starter but the real winner for him was the main - steak was done perfectly, triple cooked chips were absolutely gorgeous and the onion puree, red cabbage and onion rings set it off well.
After that my boyfriend was too full for a dessert so I ordered a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and caramelised popcorn - so nice and all the components went well together (my favourite bit was probably the ice cream though, beautiful!). Despite being full my boyfriend ate half of it!


We had a lovely night, the staff were all really friendly and efficient, the food was great and the surroundings were fab! Including drinks our bill came to about £75 which considering we had lobster and steak isn't too bad at all, there's options on the menu to suit different budgets so don't worry if lobster's not your thing!

Visit the website for more information about Jamie's Italian Manchester (including menus and details of how to book!)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Schwarzkopf got2b Mind Blowing - Xpress Dry Styling Spray, Quick Shape Mousse and Fast Dry Hairspray

 
I was sent these to review a little while ago and they've fast become early morning and gym essentials!   The range aims to cut down blow drying time while protecting your hair from heat and styling damage.

I use the styling spray when I go to the gym on a morning because it detangles and conditions as well as cutting down on blow dry time.  I use a 2 in 1 shampoo after my workout which saves on time (and space in my bag) but doesn't always make my hair as manageable as I'd like so this spray is the perfect solution.  It makes it really easy to comb through my hair and it definitely speeds up the time it takes to dry my hair without it feeling fried, I get out of the gym about 10 minutes quicker using this spray - it doesn't sound like much but it's an extra 10 minutes in bed on a morning which I'm happy about!

I use the mousse when I'm going to curl my hair either on a morning or for a night out when I need to be ready quickly.  It definitely helps hold my style in place and makes it quicker to dry.  My curls hold much better with this mousse than using other kinds of products.

The hairspray is a nice enough firm hold hairspray but I'm not totally sure how it fits into the range or how it speeds anything up.  It's meant to have a micro fine mist that dries quickly but to be honest I can't see that it's any faster than a normal hairspray, it still does the trick though.

Really happy with these products and will definitely repurchase the styling spray and the mousse in future as they save me time and save me having to use loads of different products.

For more information about the Schwarzkopf got2b range visit their Facebook page or check them out in Boots or Superdrug.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Nuxe Paris Crème Fraîche de Beauté - 24 hour soothing and rehydrating fresh mask



Happy new year!  I took a little blogging break over December because it was so busy but I'm back now and I've got plenty to tell you about.

I haven't tried anything from Nuxe before but I've heard the brand mentioned a lot by other bloggers.  This mask came as part of October's GlossyBox* but I only just got round to trying it last month.  I had really bad winter skin and a lot of dryness around my nose because of the cold weather and then central heating everywhere.  I get it every winter and I'm always looking for a remedy!  I was just rooting through my bathroom cabinet for an exfoliator or a mask and I stumbled across this.



In consistency, it's quite light and feels more like a moisturiser than a mask and you don't need to use loads of product which is good.  You apply a layer over your face, leave it for 10 minutes and then massage your face.  When you do this, the mask kind of rolls off into little pieces, so you need to be careful that you get rid of them all or you'll find that later on it looks like you've got dry skin but it's just pieces of leftover mask!  It doesn't have a strong smell but smells vaguely floral to me.

The results from this mask are absolutely amazing - no dry skin whatsoever and my skin feels soft, moisturised and supple for days after I use this.  It also looks really moisturised too which is fantastic.  It actually leaves my skin feeling so good that I (this might make me sound weird) keep touching my skin because of how smooth it feels, this probably isn't a good thing because I'll be transferring dirt to my face.  Apparently you can store this in the fridge too to make it feel extra refreshing!

I would definitely purchase this in future, it's an absolutely fantastic find for winter and anything that stops my skin looking dull in December is a complete winner!  I can't recommend it enough really and I'm glad that I got the opportunity to try it through GlossyBox* as it's not a product I would have bought myself as I don't know the brand.  Because I'm so pleased with this I'll probably end up seeking out some more Nuxe products to try!

This mask is available from the Nuxe website for £19.50 for 50ml - if you suffer from dry skin I'd definitely give it a go!

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.
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