Saturday, 12 September 2015

Hair Heroes - Ojon Damage Reverse Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner

I think I got given them as a gift from my Mum who has so much hair the thought of using a thickening/volumising product made her panic a bit ha! I'd had them for a little while as I was being loyal to my Joico shampoo and conditioners while I tried to repair my hair.  I ended up taking these on holiday with me, simply because the bottles are a bit less bulky than other shampoos I had - I always mean to be prepared and decant into little bottles but I never actually do it. I didn't really think anything of taking these to be honest it was more about convenience than what they could do for my hair (sorry Ojon!)

I'm SO GLAD I actually ended up trying these, they've become my favourite shampoo and conditioner duo.  I've posted enough times about my damaged hair due to overprocessing last year, it's still much shorter on top but thankfully it's at a point where I can pretend it's just layered that way rather than having a mini fringe all around the top of my head (argh).

My hair priorities now are growth, thickness and making sure my hair stays healthy/doesn't get any more damaged. I've cut my blow drying and heat styling right down, reduced the amount I wash my hair (FYI: dry shampoo) and it's all about hair masks and oils.

Anyway, I digress. These are amazing - they both smell fresh and packaging's totally fine. The shampoo lathers well and the conditioner does its conditioning thing well. The conditioner is actually really thick and heavy (and bright green!) so you don't need to use a lot - it actually lasted the same amount of time as my shampoo bottle which is unheard of.

This made my hair look fuller, feel thicker and just look better without the need for loads of styling afterwards. And that's with swimming in the sea and sunbathing every day when I was on holiday.  

I actually had people commenting on how much thicker/better my hair was looking, even my husband said this and he isn't really the type to notice unless its something really obvious.  I actually brought the last little tiny bits of this that were left in the bottle home with me just to squeeze out a couple more washes with these as I loved them so much - again, unheard of, I usually just leave anything nearly-empty at the hotel when I'm away...not these!

I've hinted heavily for my birthday next month about these but if that fails I will definitely be repurchasing. You can buy Ojon here.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Leicester Warren Hall Wedding Review

I found that when I was looking at potential wedding venues and came across Leicester Warren Hall - the venue where we eventually ended up getting married - there isn't that much online about in in terms of reviews, couples experiences etc so I thought I'd put together something that might be helpful to others. I'd literally mention it to people who had lived/worked in Knutsford or in the local wedding industry for years and they'd be like... "um, no haven't heard of it?" eek.

As I couldn't find much information about it I had fairly low expectations (after visiting a few other more budget friendly venues and being a bit disappointed) which were blown out of the water when we arrived there in person and found a really cute little barn-style venue with an added bonus of a pretty unusual ceremony room that looked like a church inside.

As I've said the main room is barn style with exposed brick, wooden floors and heavy doors. It looks really cute inside. It's definitely one that you can dress up really well and perfect if you're having a rustic type wedding (apparently bunting works particularly well here!) and they're not really strict about how the room needs to look. Where it actually is in Knutsford is lovely too, down some pretty peaceful roads and with fields to most sides.

You can just have your wedding reception here if you'd prefer to get married in a church or at the local registry office. Which brings me onto the ceremony room.

We originally visited LWH as a reception venue only but when we went into the ceremony room I fell in love. It looks churchy without actually being a church and the seating is laid out in such a way that your guests are facing you which is a nice change from not being able to hear/see what's going on during a ceremony. It has wooden beams throughout, a checked floor and just feels very peaceful.  It obviously costs extra to hire this room but they fill it with candles and for us it was way more special than the registry office.

There's parking on site for guests, a well stocked bar that's reasonably priced (important), space for a DJ/band (the venue booked our DJ thankfully, he was great and listened to what we wanted and what our guests wanted), plenty of places to stay near by and Knutsford centre, which has a train station, is about 5-10 minutes away if people want to make a weekend of it or just wander into town at some point. It's near the motorway - but not too near - for any guests travelling in from further afield.

There's an outside area with grass, benches and trees that would be perfect for lawn games - a lot of our guests spent time outside as it was such nice weather and we got our group photos taken outside on the lawn. They have to shut at 12 midnight. I'd say the venue would comfortably hold about 100 guests - you could have more but it might be a squeeze, especially when the party gets going at night.

We dealt with Kate who runs the venue, she's really nice and well experienced in hospitality. On the day, her and her staff were absolutely amazing! Service was fab and they were all really friendly. Kate's really relaxed and calm about things which can be a godsend as a jittery bride but sometimes I found it better to pop up and see her to run through things rather than calling or emailing her, it felt a bit more productive that way. If you're a bridezilla this probably isn't quite the venue for you. Generally I found them all really accommodating and helpful (especially to co-ordinate suppliers), I think they're all genuinely nice people who want to put on the best event for you.

Food and drink
The options are really varied - they have in house chefs and you do need to use them, there isn't an option for outside catering (fine by us, less work). We had arrival drinks, a 3 course meal, drinks at the speeches and an evening buffet style bacon sandwich and chips type of affair which worked for us. I can't comment too much on the food, what I did have was lovely but I felt a bit too nervous and laced into my dress to eat properly and really enjoy it. The feedback from everyone else was great though! They do everything from afternoon tea to multi-course swanky stuff.  I found the food reasonably prices as well, no excessive cost per head.

There is no venue hire cost to use this venue! Yes, that's right, to hire the main room costs nothing!!! You pay extra if you want the ceremony room and you obviously pay for food/drink etc. for your guests - this is really, really unusual, some places we enquired at were £4k just for room hire before you even thought about feeding people, buying dresses or paying for a wedding cake etc. Crazy! The costs were really reasonable too, I didn't feel like it was  the "oh we heard it was a wedding so we added an extra zero to everything" attitude that is way too common in the wedding industry.

If you've got any questions or you just want a chat about Leicester Warren Hall just drop me a line on Twitter or by email - best bet is to give them a call or pop in to actually see it in person, you'll be really pleasantly surprised.  Our guests all absolutely loved the venue which I was so pleased about and I didn't want to have the same wedding I'd seen 10 other people have too which I felt would have been the case with some of he other venue packages we saw.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

How to save money on your wedding without compromising on style

I've said before I always envisaged myself getting hitched on the beach or in jeans in Vegas or something, just me and my husband. I always thought that the cost of weddings was ridiculous and was money that could be much better spent elsewhere - plus being the centre of attention isn't really either of our sort of thing. I blame Pinterest for the fact I ended up having an actual wedding day!

We were both determined that we would keep to a reasonable budget (a quarter of the average UK wedding), even though just that in itself seems like a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a day, and we managed to stick to it by making a few compromises without making the day look 'budget'. This meant we could spend more on the honeymoon - we spent more on the honeymoon than the wedding - and not start married life with a ton of debt. Sorry this is a LONG post!

I knew that a big hotel type of wedding probably wouldn't be for me in terms of style or numbers. I wanted something smaller and more intimate, in a barn type of setting but most that I could find in the area were way outside of our price range or not in the prettiest setting . Some of the prices were astounding but remember you can always haggle (try for extras thrown in rather than money off if you're not getting anywhere) and winter weddings/weddings in the week and even later weddings can work out cheaper.

We got married at Leicester Warren Hall in Knutsford, a venue which I could find very little about online, but fell in love with in person. It's in a lovely setting, barn-style and has a little ceremony room on site which is very Church-esque and kind of unusual. I'm planning a review on this shortly to help others who might be thinking of getting married there - I'll update with a link when this is live

I didn't want a big wedding but in total we had about 40 day guests and 80 evening guests - we could easily have had more even though neither of us has huge families but we prioritised spending the day with our nearest and dearest. For the venue we had, it was the right sort of amount I think.

Invitations and wedding stationery printing
All of this was done online using PaperShaker - absolute godsend!

Most of my decorations came from Ebay, online or from cheaper retailers. I had sequin tablecloths which I ordered from China (from here) for the same price as it would have cost to hire them, photobooth props from Ebay, candlestick holders from Matalan and photoframes from Poundland ha! I didn't do wedding favours either as they only end up in the bottom of someone's hadbag or kitchen drawer in my opinion, unless you give food, I got some little custom hearts printed from Ebay with our names and wedding date which a lot of people ended up taking home. I was really pleased about this as I'd thought about giving them as favours but didn't think anyone would want them!

Image from Ebay

I had real peony bouquets and buttonholes but my budget just wouldn't stretch to table arrangements etc - and I made the decision only to spend for the wedding on items where I could recoup the spend to some extent - so I made the decision to go for fake peonies in my wedding colours (from Ebay). You can find a centrepiece tutorial here.

Bridal party
I had two bridesmaids, Matt had a best man - no little flowergirls or ushers or extended, convoluted bridal parties. One of my friends had seven bridesmaids because she just couldn't choose and the thought of what she must have spent on our hair, dresses and jewellery alone makes me wince. Her wedding was fab though!

Living Social
My cake was from Vanilla Nova after buying a Living Social deal - the cake was absolutely amazing, we saved money but we didn't have to compromise on buying a bog standard cake from the high street that I've read some disappointed reviews about. We had strawberry, vanilla, lemon and chocolate orange tiers and actually managed to take some home. I had a few people text us after the wedding specifically to say how nice the cake was! Topper is a custom design from

Wedding Car
No wedding car for me - a few hundred pounds for a 20 minute journey (I got married and had the reception etc in the same place) was just not feasible so my bridesmaid's boyfriend drove us all up in his fancy car. It worked out better practically in the end anyway. And only the photographer saw us arrive as everyone was already inside.

My dress was from a wedding warehouse place (this one in Stockport). I spent about half what most people I know paid for their wedding dress and I was really really happy with the one I found, it was exactly what I wanted.   Ok so it's not as glamorous or pampering as getting fawned over in a traditional bridal shop and if they don't have your size that's it but that's where the money's saved. It needed no alterations but I couldn't wear heels with it (boo) so I just wore some Primark flip flops for comfort as you couldn't see them, so classy.

Calling in favours
Matt's a teacher so we had his colleague, who teaches photography, doing our wedding photos and we were so happy with the end results! He normally does arty stuff rather than weddings but he's now is thinking of branching out to do a bit more commercial photography. He even put together a selfie station for our guests which has produced some hilarious photos! Another person who really helped us out was a family friend who sewed my crystal belt to my dress.

I don't feel sentimental about anything I bought for my wedding - I'm a bit anti clutter so at the end of the day it's just stuff that had a purpose and now it doesn't.  I've Ebayed all my decorations and I plan on selling my dress as soon as it's back from the dry cleaners which loads of people are totally aghast at.  I'll keep a couple of bits in my memory box like an invitation, the tablecloth samples, Matt's speech etc. but realistically I won't wear my dress again and there's not much call for a sequin tablecloth in my daily life...

The only spend I'd change
The only thing that I felt like was a bit of a waste of money was the big fancy hotel we stayed in on our wedding night - we got there well after midnight and checked out at about 10:30am, most of which was spent asleep so it's not like we appreciated the room/made full use of all the swanky facilities etc. Matt didn't even get up for breakfast he was so hungover  tired. We could have stayed somewhere nice for half what we spent and had the same experience easily. But if you want a really fancy hotel...then go for it!

In the end...
I loved our wedding day, what we had was perfect for us, all of our guests really enjoyed it and I don't feel like that by making these little tweaks we lost anything in the process or that it felt bland/cheap, our friends and family all had a great time (as did we!). Plus our wedding and honeymoon has now been totally paid for in full, phew, so no debt hanging over us while we move into the next stage of life as Mr and Mrs.

My best advice to brides is to remember it's your wedding day, don't get too caught up in the hype or what other people think you should do.  You'll find a lot of people have a lot of opinions on what's right/what's an absolute wedding MUST, just let it wash over you and have the wedding you want. Oh, and it's ok to have a couple of meltdowns along the way, honest.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Appleyard Flowers Review - Strawberry Smoothie (and a 33% discount code for you!)

Another week, another bouquet - honestly I feel a bit like Elton John at the moment with the amount of flowers I've had in my house!  Today I'm reviewing the gorgeous Appleyard Flowers' Strawberry Smoothie bouquet - as you can see it's really pretty, pink and very girly.

The bouquet contains white hydrangea, sweet avalanche roses, kimsey germini and white alstromeria. I loved the roses in this, they looked absolutely perfect, like something out of a Disney film! It's a really pretty, delicate bouquet that I felt was really eyecatching. I didn't find it overly scented or anything either so if you're someone who loves the look of flowers but doesn't really like the smell this is probably a great option for you.

It was really well packaged for delivery and arrived when it was meant to (yay for efficiency!). The bouquet lasted about a week before some of the more delicate flowers in this bouquet started to go (roses) but most of the other stuff was still going strong at this point which is fab.  Probably by far the girliest flowers that I've had in my house! I think these would be perfect if you were looking to send flowers following the birth of a baby girl or if you just have a really girly, pink-loving friend.


Appleyard Flowers have kindly given me a discount code to share with you all for 33% off their bouquets, just type the following code in at checkout:


They do next day flowers and flower delivery Manchester too so perfect if you've left it a bit late or there's an event that you need a gift for that's totally slipped your mind!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Current GlossyBox Lip Favourites

I've written before about how I sometimes think I'm maybe a little too fussy f'sr beauty subscription boxes as I like to thoroughly research and choose my products carefully - I know, I know, I'm no fun!  However, what beauty boxes are fantastic for is introducing you to products you would never think of trying or you might not come across.

Step in my two current lip faves, both of which came in my last two Glossybox subscriptions:

The MeMeMe Lip Glide Velvet Lip Colour in Playful Peach is an absolute dream to use and I love the colour - it actually reminds me a little of the NARS lip pencils that are way more expensive. I've been using this a lot as I love that you can line your lips with it and use it to shade in without it looking harsh. It lasts well too! I'm definitely going to go and see what other colours this comes in, a nice matte pink and a winter berry colour would be perfect in this. This came in the August Glossybox.

The Lollipops Make Up Delicieuse Lip Balm has become a total every day fave, it's a fairly standard lip gloss in a squeezy tube but it smells/tastes beautiful - exactly like vanilla cupcakes with buttercream. It's gorgeous and I find myself applying it all day long. This was in July's Glossybox, which was French themed. Ooh la la!

For more info on GlossyBox and how to subscribe click here or follow them on Twitter!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...