Wednesday, 30 December 2015

CHRISTMAS 2015

This Christmas I was truly blessed with gifts from my friends and family, although for me its not all about the gifts it was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Christmas started with all my family and friends coming down to mine as it was the first Christmas in my flat. It was amazing chilling and listening to good music with good company and everyone getting stuck in this year helping with all the cooking and prep for later on. This year I made it a little different by hosting a Christmas quiz and other mini games in the evening such as charades, pictionary and the name game.... And at the end the team who won even got a big prize from the quiz-master aka moi!

This year I decided to cook a huge duck alongside some lamb chops, chicken breasts and thighs, and all the trimmings of course... My family aren't one for turkey and as much as people say turkey can be ''succulent'', its not really something that screams celebratory dinner to me.
In my family, along with friends I now call family, we have a tradition of opening one present the night before on Christmas eve, dead on 12am which is technically Christmas day morning. Then later in the day after waking up we open our presents throughout the day so the surprises keep on coming till the evening.

After munching down on numerous amounts of snacks during the day, getting merry and chowing down on Christmas dinner we were all stuffed. And the presents then become a tower stacked in the corner to ensure there is enough floor space, the music is then turned down and we get stuck into finishing off the chocolates and getting stuck into festive tv and Christmas movies.
This year my main gift was a light blue Crosley Vinyl Record Player alongside two vinyls that were Jade- Don't walk away single and the Ed Sheeran- X album. I have been collecting vinyls for a little while now both for playing purposes and some for display purposes, so to actually receive this as a present, my mind was blown. I didn't even wait till later to play it, I stopped cooking completely and set it up ready to blast out the music.
During the festive day, I also received a numerous amount of smaller gifts, such as socks, baking utensils, chocolates, slippers. I have always been one for home comforts if you didn't know, I get so excited over the smaller things such as cosy socks that are not only soft and fluffy but a very practical present too. I always like my flat smelling gorgeous so when I got a new reed diffuser I was more than happy to get it out and put it pride of place in my living room. Many of you know an easy way to make me smile is by getting me anything kitchen related, so when I opened up my baking utensils it really got me in the mood to bake, and I swear my baking cupboard is going to explode soon. I also got a few other kitchen bits such as a water jug and a mug that literally is so me. The bath set was literally perfect as I had run out of pampering bubble baths so the next day I made sure to put it to good use. Finally I received a small bottle of one of my favourite CK perfumes for my handbag and a 2016 diary that can be used for work.

 Of course I was gifted books and DVDs this Christmas, who doesn't love a good book or DVD.... or even HARRY POTTER merchandise!!! I opened up the HP illustrated book as my Christmas Eve present and was so happy I can't even explain myself in writing, so when I opened up the colouring book the next day, I was speechless. I have wanted to read Girl Code for ages so this is now the book I will be keeping on my coffee table not only to read but to feel extra motivated. I have never seen the women in black- mainly because I really wanted to see it in the cinema but was sh*t scared to go and see it, so why not watch it at home where no-one can see you crying? Thanks Sarah lol (love you long time sis). Finally I opened up the Bend it Like Beckham DVD and was so so sure that I already had this movie.... not to sound ungrateful- I looked up with a confusing smile puzzled and was shouted at to open up the ting. After opening my originally owned movie I found tickets to go and see Bend it Like Beckham in theater. YASS I love the film, so I was more than excited to open this up after the initial confusion had passed. The cheeky bugger stole my DVD without me knowing to turn it into a surprise present. I see you thief!
The last thing I opened at the end of the day, or shall I say night as it was like 10pm when I got to my last present. I was bought a brand new Blu-ray/DVD player, as my old one was literally a big mess that hardly worked. Yay. It is so small, light weight and sleek I cant get enough of it!

Again thank you to everyone who brought me such beautiful Christmas presents, but as you all know- the thing better than presents is just having my wonderful friends and family in my presence.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and you all have a happy New Year.
This is the last post for 2015, so till then I'll see you all in the new year.

Peace & Love
xx
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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

FESTIVE OUTING TO WINTERVILLE

Apologies for the lack of blog-posts I have been putting out recently, my workload other than blogging has taken up a lot more time than before. Christmas is fast approaching and this year I have felt so so festive due to it being my first Christmas in my new home, so I am hoping to make it special.
And with that, I have been trying (and failing) to do more festive things. If only there was more hours in the day. So with that I put my Christmas tree up extra extra early (which I bought in September lol) and started to get my home festive for the countdown to Christmas.

This weekend I was able to head down to Winterville at Victoria Park. Winterville is very similar to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park- but in my opinion a little bit better. It has a lot more of a relaxed chilled vibe and so many activities for yourself, friends and families and little ones to do. I headed down in the evening with the bestie in tow to experience the park in all its glory. How could you not have a good time with an outdoor cinema and bar area, funfair rides, Christmas pop up shops and stalls, food stalls/ mulled wine, the ice skating rink, mini golf and the chance to meet Santa!
I have always been one to enjoy local events instead of going somewhere that would be packed to the brim of people. I had a lovely time all evening even popping into The Diner for a bite to eat. And although Winterville is over now, I'm sure it will run next year and be just as good. 
With only a few posts left going up this year, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!!!

xx
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Sunday, 6 December 2015

LA ROCHE POSAY CHRISTMAS PARTY 2015

Tuesday 1st December I headed down to the La Roche Posay Christmas party, and somehow managed to get there not only on time but early before anyone else had arrived. I was met by the lovely Dowal Walker and La Roche Posay team and then showed into the venue with Sarah from SRFTaylor who attended the evening with me. 

Heading down into the venue, we entered into a magical realm, even passing the wardrobe as if we was entering Narnia. The room was ever so festive, filled with Christmas trees, a post box to Santa, snow in every corner of the room and the lamp-post in which you would come across Mr Tumnus (movie reference). The evening started to get into full swing around 7pm and I was able to catch up with some of my favourite bloggers and friends, with prosecco on the go and nibbles floating around the room it was certainly an enjoyable event. 
Now not only was we enjoying the Christmas party, but La Roche Posay had launched their newest product to their range. The Effaclar BB Blur! The BB Blur is a new innovative BB cream that enables you to achieve an instant flawless complexion which lasts all day, available in two shades (at the moment) in Fair/Light and Light/Medium. The BB cream is said to instantly absorb oil, blur fine lines and wrinkles, softens and smooths skin as well as minimise the look of pores, mask redness and blemishes. Available in January 2016 at Escentuals and soon available form larger Boots stores and Pharmacies nationwide.  
Although being gifted the darkest shade available at this moment in time in Light/Medium, it was not compatible for my skin tone, but hopefully we will see a broader range of shades to cater for all women. 

The night even saw an accompanying new product out which was the Hydraphase Intense Serum. The Serum has said to be perfect for those with dehydrated and sensitive skin (with it's melt in gel texture), by infusing skin cells with water, smoothing away fine lines and restoring radiance. Perfect for the winter weather that we are experiencing which I can only imagine will soon get worse. The Hydraphase Intense Serum is also available in January 2016!
As usual La Roche Posay know how to put on a lovely event, and it was a lovely round up for the year. I always look forward to working/collaborating with La Roche Posay and cannot wait to see what 2016 brings for the brand. 

Merry Christmas La Roche Posay, and thank you for having me, as always it was a pleasure!


xx
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CHRISTMAS TAG 2015

With the count down to Christmas, I thought this Christmas tag was very appropriate for this festive time of year. I have always been one to like this time of year, warm cosy nights indoors, hot chocolates and puddings, comfy home cooked food and of course spending time with my friends and family. 

What is your favourite Christmas movie?
Most people I know would say something like Home Alone or Home Alone 2, but I have literally never been a fan of that movie that replays every year during the Christmas holidays. For me, it has to be all about Harry Potter (all of them) not only because I am a fan but also because its magical and just fits perfectly with the time of year. 

Do you open your open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
In my family we have a tradition of opening one present on Christmas eve at 12am which is technically Christmas day. So me and my siblings would wait up eagerly till 12am just to open that one present and play with it until we wore ourselves out (as we have always known there is no such thing as Father Christmas). 

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I have always cherished my time with my family, and a memory I can particularly remember is generic playing with my toys with my siblings and we would just all be really excited throughout the day. I remember one time I cried when my mum bought me Sabrina the teenage witch doll house with figurines and stickers. Back in the day Sabrina was the ting

Favourite festive food?
I don't really have a favourite festive food, for me I just literally count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds till my Christmas dinner! It is everything!

Favourite Christmas gift?
When I was growing up, I grew up as an actual kid, so was never bought things like makeup and all that jazz. So a lot of my gifts from childhood were my favourite, I remember receiving gifts such as the Sabrina doll house and Bionicle (which was an amazing toy). Then when I got older I received presents that were more age appropriate such as mobile phones and clothes. Then recently in the last few years presents have turned into more meaningful gifts.

Favourite Christmas scent?
Vanilla of course!

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Yep, we always in my family open one gift on Christmas Eve at 12am.


What tops your tree?
At the moment, as I am in my new flat this year will be my first Christmas here. So everything here is new from my tree to the amazing decorations. Currently I only have lights at the top as I didn't want nothing tacky at the top of my tree. 

As a child, what was the one (crazy, wild and extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
As a child I never continually asked for gifts, I always appreciated what I had. So this question doesn't apply to me.

What's the best thing about Christmas for you?
The best thing about Christmas for me is being able to spend time with my friends and family. 

I hope you enjoyed this Christmas tag, I always enjoy writing these. Feel free to copy the questions and answer them yourself!

xx
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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

SMOOTH AGAIN EXFOLIATOR

Ever since I went to Olympia this year, and picked up the Smooth Again exfoliator I have been obsessed. Generally I have always thought things like this wouldn't really work, and as they are advertised on TV with models, it isn't a good and true to life depiction of how the product really works. 
So after picking this one up from Olympia, for buy one get one free I was adamant that at a very discounted price, it was worth giving it a go and meant I wouldn't have wasted too much money if it all went belly up. Since purchasing it I have honestly been using it non-stop, the first time I used it I completely forgot to review and take a few blogger photos to show my before and after results. As I have really thin hair it takes a while for my hair to grow back, so four months later I went on a long pamper session and decided to give the Smooth Again exfoliator another go to show you all.

In order to use the Smooth Again exfoliator, you need to make sure your hair (which can be used on all bodily hair) is dry and has no product on such as moisturisers etc. The exfoliator mitt has adhesive patches that you stick on to the mitt which can be used up to six times before you need to change for a new patch for exfoliating. The patches are infused with micro-crystals to help with easy exfoliation and easy hair removal. Within the pack you get four large and four small micro-crystal patches, which can last you up to a year depending on how fast your hair grows/ the thickness of your hair. For this post I have shown my before and after of my leg hair!

How To Use: By circulating three times clockwise and three times anticlockwise that is the motion you have to use when using the product for hair removal on the skin (continue until you reach desired effect). After hair removal, moisturise the skin with a rich moisture product to bring back moisture to the skin. 
So as you can see, it actually works, I was pleasantly surprised too and not in the slightest bit disappointed. I am still currently using my same pack that I bought and I am still using the first micro-crystal patch since I started using it as I have only used it three times in total. I particularly love this product as the product comes in different sizes so it means you can tackle pesky sideburns, facial hair, mustaches, armpits, legs, bikini line and anywhere else you can stretch your imagination to.

These products are readily available and many brands sell them. But I must say I would buy it again once I finish mine. 

xx
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Sunday, 29 November 2015

HOLLAND & BARRETT SHOWCASE

Thursday I was invited down to the Holland & Barrett Showcase, at the swanky Ice Tank in Central London near Shaftesbury Avenue. Heading to the event straight after work I managed to beat the rush hour which meant a long peaceful tube ride in a empty train carriage #win! I arrived at the venue around 5:30pm and was greeted by the ever so lovely ladies from Pegasus, then showed around the venue by the team of HB to have a butchers at all the latest's products that they had to offer...From ever so tasty food and healthy snacks to beauty products. 
This event by far has been one of my favourites of the year, with food and cocktails flowing, and the DJ's music pumping, the atmosphere was so chilled and full of laughter it was a pleasure to be there. Throughout the day live cooking demos were taking place in the kitchen, and I even got to speak to Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) the main man himself! From nibbling on healthy delicious food to sipping champagne, there was even the chance to get your nails did and get a massage! Who wouldn't want to pamper themselves after a long hard day at work... This was such bliss.
I had a blast reconnecting with brands I was familiar with such as Dr Organics, Weleda and Amy's Kitchen and meeting and learning all about new brands such as Saaf, the new HB Free From range and Skin Salvation (perfect for my eczema prone skin)- reviews to follow soon. Also keep an eye out for Honestly Healthy: Alkaline Super-boost and Choc Chick who I have a particular interest in. I was really really glad I popped down for the evening due to changing up my diet I had the chance to find where I could source food and products for my ever so fussy and sensitive intolerant stomach.  Holland & Barrett are certainly leaps ahead when it comes to the Free From ranges, and I don't just mean food and snacks! Did you know HB also sells sex products such as lube suitable for Vegans? No well you learn something every day!
Overall I had a blast, and I can't wait to share with you all some of the products I have been trying and also some of the nibbles I have started to love which will feature in my next 'Bootcamp' series. Thank you again Holland & Barrett for gifting me a spiralizer which of course will be featured on the blog very soon with some recipe ideas and for the other bags of goodies!

W: Holland & Barrett

Apologies for the low quality pictures, I forgot to pack my camera and after work all I had on me was my phone.

xx
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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

WINTER ACCESSORIES | NEW LOOK

From time to time I tend to dabble in a few fashion, favourites and wishlist posts, so with the changing weather that has suddenly graced us in the UK, I thought it was only acceptable to put up a post on 'must have' winter accessories. I thought it would also be more interesting having them all come from the same place, so I thought...Why not start off with one of my favourite clothing stores- New Look. 

I am a big fan of cover ups, whether that be grandma cardigans or funky kimonos, I will always be wearing one or the other. Now that it is getting extremely cold with the lead up to Christmas it is essential to have something that can be worn dressed up or dressed down. This cute piece by New Look will certainly keep you on trend as well as warm through the winter months.  I have also wrote this down onto my wishlist, when you live on your own and you got bills to pay- heating can't be left on all day like nobodies business, so I try to cut back on bills by wrapping up well with good pieces of clothing and if I'm indoors something extra cosy, thick and something I can lounge in. 

Even though I may be 24, I am a big kid at heart. These slippers have caught me straight away and now I want them. But in general slippers are a very good investment come winter time, everyone wants to keep their feet and toes toasty. And just these few things can make you feel extra comfy and add those home comforts. Every year I like to invest in some new slippers like these that have character and show just how childish I really am.

Will Faux Fur ever go out of fashion? No! Every blogger and their mother owns a faux fur something, and for me I like when they come as attachable and detachable accessories- so I can wear it when I want, and change up my style in seconds. Why else has it jumped into this post you say? Well because it keeps us all warm obviously, no-one wants a cold neck or chest, this accessory is always going to be something that stays on trend in the winter months. 

Okay... So maybe I added this accessory mainly because it was super cute- not necessarily because it was winter appropriate. With the blustering winds and freezing temperatures an umbrella like this may not be strong enough to battle the windy tides. BUT my main reason was to get across having a stable and strong umbrella during winter and its perceptible down pour!

Socks, Socks, Socks in general is a winter accessory I can never have enough of, I absolutely love socks maybe because I have a strong hate for feet. This one has just got to be short and sweet and I guess it kinda speaks for itself. Comfy cosy warm socks.

This scarf is absolutely beautiful, I am a big fan of the check print but sometimes the tartan print can become a bit overdone and it can be seen everywhere you turn. This is a nicer alternative of colours for Autumn and Winter, as well as having colours that compliment each other very well, Of course a scarf was going to be added to my Winter accessories list and out of all the ones I scoured on the New Look website this was by far my favourite. 

These boots is all about the colour and the cut, I love the shape of these boots and especially the navy colour, it is so boring seeing the same old black boots that everyone is wearing. The navy colour adds a touch of colour and character and I think ankle boots never actually go out of style and can be worn all year round. This too was my favourite on the New Look website and I do prefer boots that have zips, which adds space to get my thick ankles into the booties. 


What do you think of the New Look accessories?

xx

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

RAINY DAYS AT BLACKPOOL*

Everyone loves a little break away from their usual routine, and when I was offered the chance to pop up to Blackpool for a little break away it couldn't have come soon enough. Two weeks ago I was able to travel up to Blackpool and spend two nights at the South-shore Travelodge. 

DAY ONE
Waking up extra early on an average day is nobodies idea of fun, but on this occasion it had to be done. Heading towards Euston station with your luggage and half awake best-friend is always a challenge but knowing we would soon be away from our usual routines had us venturing out into the gloomy cold English weather. We reached Euston station not quiet on time and had to get the next available Virgin train for our adventure.... Curse you sleepy eyes and slow body, Goodbye reserved seats. table and charging points.... Hello unallocated seats and cramped surroundings. Why did I not know that Virgin trains shut their doors two minutes before take off haha. As you all know anxiety and I are literally soulmates he's always giving me a nudge in the wrong direction, to the point my anxiety started to climb with not knowing where to sit and my next plan of action. 

The journey from Euston to Preston was around 3 hours and the train from Preston to Blackpool South 45 minutes. If your not good at travelling, this definitely wouldn't be your idea of luxury. When I travel I get motion sickness so usually I just sleep continuously and miss the lovely countryside surroundings. 
Arriving nearly half an hour before check in, the staff at South-shore Travelodge greeted us and were ever so friendly, gave us information on the local area and let us know about breakfast and dinner. Katie was definitely making sure my stay was as comfortable as can be and was giving that 5* customer service. Before dropping my case and collapsing on the bed I managed to get a few snaps of our room before completely dozing off into dreamland, My health conditions make travelling very difficult and make me so so fatigued that the four hour journey took all of my energy.

Waking from my nap, we headed down for some much needed dinner, nothing else was going to get done as it was completely pouring of rain outside and the winds blustering. One thing I can comment on is that whilst asleep I heard absolutely nothing, apart from some of the cars passing by due to my room being on the side of the main road and busy traffic (hotel right next to the football stadium). The dinner menu was a variety of quick dishes, similar to that of a Weatherspoons- from hotdogs and chips to lasagne and garlic bread. On my first night my dinner was cold in the middle after ordering food, but the staff were very reassuring and kindly offered me something else free of charge without any fuss to fix the issue promptly. And with that I opted for a good old Cheeseburger and fries which was perfect! Dinner is available from 5 till 10pm, with hot snacks being able to be served 24hours a day.
I finished the night by getting into bed and finishing some uni work, because the hotel was so quiet I was able to get on with the work. If you have read this blog for a while you would know I study with the open university and it is all based online so I always need the internet. Travelodge offer 24 hours of WiFi for £3!!!! Only £3 Amazing. So it was easy for me to buckle down with some work and then unwind with some Youtube and Netflix on my ipad till I nodded off to sleep. If you are looking for complete peace and tranquillity having your room on the side of the highroad is probably not he right place for you. 
DAY 2
Waking up bright and early and again to pouring rain, myself and the bestie made our way down for the 7-10am breakfast slot.  Jumping into some extra cosy clothes we headed downstairs to an empty lounge searching for something to eat. With our booking we had also had breakfast all paid for beforehand, for breakfast you could opt for a Cooked breakfast or a Continental breakfast- in which case you was able to go up and serve yourself. I beamed for the cooked breakfast filling my plate with bacon sausages, beans and toast, with a cold glass of apple juice. Full breakfast was £7.95 and Lighter breakfast £5.75 with kids able to eat free. 
Travelodge give quiet a wide range of breakfast options which I particularly liked, with brands that you are familiar with. 

Cooked Breakfast
Toast/ Bacon/ Sausages/ Scrambled Eggs/ Mushrooms/ Tomatoes/Veggie Sausages

Continental Breakfast
Kellogs Cereals/ Yeo Valley Yoghurts/ Fruit Salad/ Croissants/ Quaker Oat Granola

Hot & Cold Drinks
Tea/ Coffee/ Fruit Juice/ Water/ Herbal Tea
After popping downstairs for some good old breakfast, we popped back upstairs to get ourselves ready for the day. The hotel has such a laid-back and cosy atmosphere, at no point did I feel out of place as the hotel was filled with travelling business men and women, and elderly men and women having a little holiday- I'm pretty sure we were the only young people in the joint. 

With the pouring rain all morning and lunch, plans of exploring Blackpool came to a halt and instead we decided to lounge around the hotel till the weather eased up....Which it didn't. We couldn't go down to the beach as the weather was that bad nor could we even go for a walk.
Later in the day even though the weather was still abysmal we managed to call a cab and go explore a little of the town and the Houndshill shopping mall. Shopping and getting a few snaps and stopping for lunch we managed to mingle with the locals and buy a few treats for our friends and family- and by treats I mean rock candy, biscuits, keyrings and fudge. We were unable to go up into Blackpool Tower as it was currently closed due to refurbishment but none the less it was lovely to be out for a few hours. 
After shopping and walking around we called for our cab and returned back to the hotel. Getting some uni work out of the way , we decided to have a girlie movie session and tuck into a few of our snacks whist watching some movies. And gosh weren't we lucky we returned when we did as the weather had taken a much worse turn. 
We popped down for dinner sitting in our now proclaimed spot, opting for the same burger as yesterday with the addition of bacon as I wanted to play it safe. I was somewhat disappointed as I wasn't able to swap my chips for garlic bread instead, but the staff was unable to cater to this slight change in the menu- which left me having to technically pay more then I would  have liked to, then headed to bed. 
DAY 3
Day three, I was glad that I would be heading home as I started to run out of ideas of things to do in the hotel.  As we had to check out at 12pm we headed down for breakfast early, packed our bags, cleaned the room and headed off to the station for the train and the long journey back home to London.

PROS: Overall the facilities at Travelodge were certainly above average, the staff were friendly and approachable and I was able to get a decent nights sleep even regardless of the traffic. The breakfast range is perfect, very good service and very affordable prices. Calm atmosphere and the rooms were clean (minus the shower curtain had yellow stains). For me the bed was absolutely perfect but for my bestie sharing the bed with me, the firm bed actually gave her stiff neck and back. When the rooms became very hot in the night staff was able to provide fans. 

CONS: The cleaning staff on the other hand of the hotel, whilst napping at times, you could hear them shouting to each other from different rooms which wasn't very pleasant. 
The dinner meals, didn't give you a wide option, and for the price you could possibly get more elsewhere- which I would have if it wasn't pouring of rain and the winds weren't trying to take me away. 
Due to Blackpool no longer being in season for attractions, there was very little to do. And with the weather being a misery you wouldn't really want to either. Everything was closed, so if you are looking to travel down to Blackpool for a family holiday or getaway March-October is the time to do so. 

Thank you Travelodge for having me!

xx

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