Saturday, 30 August 2014

Hotel Review: (Newly Refurbished) Premier Inn, Portland Street, Manchester.

Last week we checked in a Premier Inn on Portland Street in Manchester. I've been to a handful of Premier Inn's before, so I knew exactly what to expect.

However, whilst checking in, it came as a nice surprise when the receptionist stated the hotel had been under new refurbishment. My mind instantly jumped back to a TV advert that I had seen a few weeks prior, stating that Premier Inn was changing its 'look'. I was immediately excited because everything became an unexpected surprise.

We entered our room and I was immediately impressed (Can I just say that I have sampled quite a wide range of hotels in the past few years, and have become quite fussy on where I stay!). The first thing that I noticed was the space.. admittedly I had booked a family room (at no extra cost) so these were going to be a little bigger than your average 2-man room. I love a hotel room with a decent floor space.


The bed was huge. When 2 people share a bed which results in you not having to touch, that's when you know you're in a big bed! (A nice bonus, may I add!). Both the duvet, sheets and pillows were just perfect. Premier Inn offer a good night guarantee, whereby if for whatever reason you didn't have a good nights sleep (within reason), they will give you your money back. Because of this scheme, they offer you 2 pillow options, 'fluffy' as I like to call them, and firm. The firm ones are hidden away in the wardrobe. They also had a new touch of ultra violet lighting round the headboard - I found this to look a little seedy when it was dark, so that didn't stay on!


The desk area offered ample space to work off if you were visiting for business, as well as offering you several ports for USB's, chargers etc.

The other side of the room was a sofa (which I assume turned into a sofa bed, although I never tried this). This too was ultra comfy, and when in the hotel, I spent most of my time sat on here reading my book.

There was also a mirror that lit up which I found helpful to do my make up in. Another full length mirror was attached to the wardrobe, which came in handy for outfit checks! There was ample storage space for clothes that needed to be hung up, as well as stored away in drawers.

The bathroom was nice, offering both a bath and shower, which I found to be pretty powerful. I don't think I have ever used a bath whilst in a hotel, but I know some like to. I found the toiletries to be lacking, and no personal touches were made by offering mini shampoos/conditioners etc. Instead, like many standard hotels now, Premier Inn appear to have adopted the soap in a dispenser that doubles up as a shower gel/shampoo. Something that I did find bizarre about the bathroom was that the towel rail was in the bath. Ok - not IN the bath, but on the wall above the bath. Once the shower curtain had closed, you were enclosing the towels in as well which I found bizarre. They didn't get wet, but if changing the angle of the shower then I'm sure they would. Bit of a design flaw there as there was wall space elsewhere for these.


The security of the hotel was pretty high - access into the hotel was only allowed if you used your hotel room swipe card. This applies when using the lift as well. I think more hotels should adopt this idea, there's too many weirdo's roaming about nowadays!

The location of the hotel was almost perfect. You have a variety of restaurants and smaller shops within seconds of leaving the hotel, however the city centre is a mere 5 minute walk away, passing both China Town and Canal Street on the way.

I can't comment on the hotel facilities, because as always, we never use them. Unfortunately the hotel does not offer car parking, however there are a large handful to choose from that are nearby. We parked in an NCP car park 3 minutes away which cost £18 for 24hrs. Don't forget to take this into account when booking your hotel, depending on how many nights you are staying! The receptionist did provide a 30% discount for our parking as we were checking out, however we parked in a different car park to the offer so were unable to use this. We will remember for next time should we visit again!

If you're taking a trip to Manchester anytime soon I'd definitely recommend this hotel!

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Recent Sale Purchases

I love this time of year for shopping. Most shops are having sales, ready for their autumn stock, so I often managed to grab a few bargains.

I found myself wandering around Matalan a few weekss ago and walked away with more than I anticipated.

I remember eyeing up this shift dress when it first came in stock a couple of months ago, but ignored it. I then spied it in the sale. I love the style of this dress. It's really thick material so almost grazes over any (small) lumps and bumps. Unfortunately I need to lose a few pounds on my stomach before I get into this though. I think it looks really elegant on and I absolutely love the print. It'll be ideal for any weddings or special occasions that I go to..
Reduced from £25 to £17.


Oh my god. Can't we all just take a moment.... Now I'm not normally a rucksack kinda girl, but I just fell in love with this print. It's got to be one of the cutest backpacks I ever did see. Why didn't they have cute ones like these when I was at school 'back in' day?' When I finished drooling over the print, I then started all over again when I saw the price tag... £15 down to £5! How could you not pick this up for £5?! I travel quite a lot, whether it be in or out the country, and as my hand luggage, I currently carry a cupcake holdall style bag, but it gets way too heavy for my poor little shoulders, so having a rucksack would equal the weight out. Plus I'm sure my boyfriend will be happy so I'm not palming my bag off on him! It feels pretty good quality and I can't wait to get some use out of this on my next trip!



I think Matalan's jewellery sale has always been fantastic. They have some really decent stuff in there and the sale prices are sometimes 75% off. I've picked up several jewellery items in their sales over the years. Some of the beads are showing up an olive green colour in this photo, but I promise you they are all different silver/grey tones. I love a good statement necklace so had to pick this up for a grand total of £3. It was reduced from £12 I believe.


I love Matalan's homeware section but occasionally feel like things are a little over priced (either that or I'm getting tight in my old age). When I spotted this gorgeous 3 stick shabby chic pillar candle holder for £4 reduced from £15 I really couldn't grumble. Its got some weight behind it too, which I like. Flimsy household items always feel cheap to me so I love something hefty! These are currently sitting in the middle of my mantelpiece, awaiting some cream pillar candles. Because of the height difference I think the candles will look pretty effective in the winter all lit up.


I think this jumper will be like marmite for most people, you'll either love it or hate it. It's from the F&F sale in Tesco. I was first drawn to the print and the material of the jumper - its almost silky to touch which makes it so soft. I got a size too small for me though so hopefully I'll fit in this soon! I can't remember the RRP price of this - I want to say £15 again but I can feel a pattern coming on.. either way, I remember it being reduced to £7, then when I got to the till it had been reduced even further to £4! Don't you just love it when that happens?


I recently went shopping in Manchester so have a few more goodies to show you soon!

What's the best sale item you have ever found?
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Friday, 22 August 2014

Travel: Weekend in Manchester | Ant & Dec

As part of my Christmas present from my boyfriend I received tickets to go and see Ant n Dec on their Saturday Night Takeaway Tour in Manchester. Its not everyone's ideal night of entertainment, but I love them. Fast forward 8 months and that night finally arrived last weekend.

I didn't book a hotel right until the last minute, and ended up with a simple (yet refurbished) Premier Inn on Portland Street. For a budget hotel, I was very impressed, and felt like I was in a 4* hotel. The room was huge (although I did book a family room for no extra cost). It even had ultra violet lighting around the bed frame (although some may argue this is a little seedy ;-)). I'll do a review on this hotel real soon.


We arrived mid afternoon on Friday, and after having a little rest from the driving up there, we refreshed ourselves and headed to Market Street in Manchester for a 3 course meal and a bottle of wine that I had won in a competition a few months ago. After stuffing our faces and Mike drinking the majority of the wine, we were pretty tired so took a slow walk back to the hotel for an early night #oldbeforeourtime

My starters

Silly Face
 
Saturday came and we hit the shops and stopped off at Nando's for some lunch in the Arndale Centre. I had a steak and philly burger with spicy seasoned chips with corn on the cob (I'm obsessed with those at the minute!). We did a little more shopping before heading back to the hotel so Mike could have a cat-nap (he'd done a night shift the day we left for Manchester so only had about 4hrs sleep!). I just read my book and got myself ready for that night. We walked to the Phones4u arena (which was a lot closer than I thought!) and waited for the show to start.

Nandos
The show was just like it was on TV - Paddy McGuinness was the box host, Ashley Roberts was there and performed her new single (which I haven't a clue what the title is!). Kim Marsh and Antony Cotton from Coronation Street made an appearance as well as a few others. We watched Ant n Dec in a trial, we played ball games in the crowd and watched a celebrity wind up as well as 'win the ads'. I also saw Ant n Dec perform their famous Let's Get Ready to Rhumble! We even witnessed a live proposal in the audience. It was a really good night and made a pleasant change.


Ant V Dec

Ball Games!
After leaving the stadium we were hungry, but because it was late we decided to just grab a subway. We got lost on the way home too (Mike decided to blame me for that one) and instead of walking the 15min walk, it turned into a 45 minute walk.. oops! Safe to say I was glad when I was back in the hotel, subway in hand!

Sunday came and we grabbed a drink from Costa for breakfast. I kept seeing adverts for a new coconut and chocolate frappe that I just had to try - I'm not a huge coffee fan but this was so good! Thankfully the taste of coffee was not overpowering so it turned out to be a delicious treat! We attacked Primark (after a disappointing trip  day before!) before leaving for our next port of call which was Fallowfield, which is still in Manchester, just 3 miles from the city centre. I had won another competition a while back and the prize was a hotel stay, champagne afternoon tea, 3 course meal with wine, champagne in the room as well as breakfast the next morning (phew!), so I added this onto the end of our trip for a nice (free!) extended stay. We arrived mid afternoon and after quickly seeing the room, we headed straight back to the lounge area for afternoon tea which was yummy (review on this coming soon!). After devouring this, we headed back to the room.


Part of my competition wins

Because of the location of the hotel, although there were shops and restaurants around, the weather was looking a little unpredictable, so we just relaxed in the hotel room instead, played a few games and watched TV. Before we knew it, we were heading back to the restaurant for our 3 course meal. We had deliberately booked the latest sitting as possible, and because of this, we were the only ones in the restaurant! I tried to go for something a little lighter, and opted for pasta. I really couldn't fit pudding in as well so they kindly let us take it to our rooms instead. I'm so glad I did this as opposed to just declining pudding because it was SO good! I opted for chocolate fudge cake, and mine came with a bit of fudge on top! (Mike got a segment of Terry's chocolate orange on his). It tasted really good quality too. Yum.

Starter



Never thought I'd say this but after this, I was actually sick of the sight of food! I felt like all we'd done all weekend was eat!

The next morning was breakfast (argh, more food!) - I went for the fried breakfast but only had a little bit. After this, we checked out of the hotel and headed to Ikea in Manchester. We got so much for our money! I wish we had one nearby so I could visit more regular!

After our trip to Ikea we decided to visit a Science Museum in Rotherham called Magna. I'd seen a Youtube video of a couple that visited this last year and it looked quite good. When we got there we soon realized that a large chunk of it was about the steelworks, and I really wasn't interested in it. The building was split into 4 sections; Earth, Fire, Water and Air, each section being interactive to that element. A lot of it was designed more for children. It had a huge outdoor play area for children as well which looked fun, including a wet area, which looks good for hot summer days. Unfortunately it didn't float my boat but other children looked like they were having a great time! I'm glad I went to see what it was all about.

After this we were both starving so stopped off in Sheffield and went to Frankie & Benny's before heading back home.

All in all, another lovely varied weekend away, something I'm looking forward to doing again soon! I dread to think how many pounds I've put on over this weekend!
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Monday, 18 August 2014

Book Review: I Heart Paris - Lindsey Kelk

I've read a handful of Kelk's 'I heart.. ' range now and its right up my street. Its an easy read, it involves travel and some love dilemma along the way. I'm one of these people that only read just before I go to sleep or when I'm travelling, so I often go for something light that doesn't take a long time to get your head around!

I actually remember starting 'I heart Paris' a while ago and really struggling to get into it (this has happened a lot this year). I left it alone for a while and moved on to something else.

I picked it back up at the beginning of July and this time I must have been in a different frame of mind because I got suckered in pretty quickly (it helps that I went to Paris not that long ago so enabled me to imagine the set up a little more).

Do you like my matching bookmark? ;-)


PLOT SPOILER

This is a typical chick lit - girl and boy in relationship - boy is in a band and has a gig in Paris - Girl meets boy in Paris to see him play as well as carry out work herself, where a number of other events unravel (i.e. confrontations with French ex girlfriend, mixed messages, emotional plane/train rides home for the other one to follow, unbeknown to the other...) you get the picture.

---

The last 3rd of the book got me gripped as the anticipation grew about what was about to happen with their relationship.... I often found myself forcing to stay awake many nights to read ' just one more' chapter...

I've always liked Kelk's writing style, its quick witted, pretty humorous at times, and easy to relate to, it definitely didn't disappoint.

I've just realized she has a 'I heart Christmas' book which was released last year - I am definitely putting that on my reading list for December!

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Friday, 15 August 2014

August's Birchbox - 'Away We Go'

This month's Birchbox is based on the thing I love to do best - travelling! It includes some of their travel essentials, including a lifestyle item - Chapter 1 of 'The Proposal' by Tasmina Perry (which can I just say, I've read and it sounds pretty good - its made me want to get the full book now!).


First of all, lets quickly comment on the packaging.. usually all products come in the famous drawstring bag, which, whilst I'm on the topic - has anyone actually found a use for these yet? I find them to be one of the most un-useful things ever.. the best thing I've found to use it for is storing my dirty underwear in when I'm travelling (sorry for TMI!). They're piling up in my cupboard and I really don't know why I insist on keeping them!

Instead the drawstring bag was replaced with a plastic zip-lock bag which I may actually use for my next plane journey as I believe its within the correct measurements for my carry on liquids.




Lets take a closer look...



Supergloop CC Cream (x2) - Full size £32

This is very similar to a BB cream but instead this colour corrects your skin - it adapts to any redness or discolourations. CC creams claim to be lighter on the skin than BB creams, with a more air-whipped finish.
The Supergloop is pretty natural for me and doesn't cover my imperfections up as much as I would like. Maybe on good skin days this would be good but because I've gotten so used to full coverage foundation, I don't like any other now, and feel naked when using tinted stuff. I'll probably bring this to hotter climates with me when I try not to use as much make up.

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect - Full size £20

This is a leave-in conditioning spray that claims to detangle and protect against heat and sun damage. As I've previously mentioned, I'm a pain for using hair products.. I use the bare minimum, simply cos I either forget or I'm too lazy to incorporate them into my routine. I'm really not a hair person! However I will bring this on holiday with me because I know how tangled your hair can get when on the beach/in the pool etc.

Wild About Beauty Crème Eyeshadow - £13

This claims to be a long-lasting, satin finish shadow from Louise Redknapp's range. I received a really nice medium brown tone in the shade 04 ('Matilda'). I love the compact it comes in, even with its own little mirror. I do have so much eyeshadow though so I may pass this on.

Vasanti Brighten Up! Exfoliating Cleanser - Full size £26

I've yet to try this but I do like using exfoliaters on my skin a few times a week to get rid of any grime that normal products struggle to remove. I love how exfoliaters leave your skin feeling baby soft too, and I'm sure this will do the same!

Nude Progenius Omega Treatment Oil - Full size £58

This is an oil that is rich in omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 (who knows?!) and claims to hydrate and smooth your skin.
I've just finished something very similar to this that had a tightening effect on my face - I still can't decide if I enjoyed using it or not!

Overall, a nice varied box ready for those summer holidays you may have coming up!

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @kateld85 - I am posting everyday in August!



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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Nail Art - Pastel Marble Watercolour

When I have a bit of spare time I like to dabble a little in nail art. I'm by no means a pro at it but love a unique design once in while as I always seem to get stuck in the ol' polka dot rut (lazy nail art girl alert!). I was attempting to do an ombre nail last night; I've done it before and it turned out pretty well, however last night it just wasn't having it. I removed a full set of nails 3 times, so 1+hr later I gave in and searched for something else.

I came across 'watercolour nails - no water needed' - Perfect, I thought, for late night nail art. It was almost my bed time so the less hassle the better! Some may argue, but I thought this was so much simpler and quicker than gradient ombre nails. (Ignore the random air bubble that seems to have developed on my forefinger!)



You will need:

  • White nail polish (I used a Rimmel one from Rita Ora's collection)
  • 2 or 3 nail polish colours of your choice (My selection were from the Barry M gelly line)
  • Cling film or a sandwich bag
  • Top Coat (I used Seche Vite)
  • Nail varnish remover
  • Cotton Buds (or Q tips if you're American!)
Method:

  • Give your nails a coat of white polish and allow to dry
  • Apply a generous blob of each chosen nail polish on every nail - (don't worry if 2 colours merge into one)
  • Apply clingfilm over the nail and press down until all the blobs have spread across the nail
  • Repeat on all nails
  • Allow to dry then apply a top coat
  • Once dry, tidy up any edges by dipping a cotton bud in some nail polish remover.
I can't wait to try this effect with different colours!



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Monday, 11 August 2014

No More Waste: Yogurt Cake Recipe

If you don't already know, I hate wasting items; toiletries, cosmetics, clothes, food. Anything! I get a buzz when I throw something away, especially if I actually didn't like it, but managed to use it anyway. It gives me a strange satisfied feeling. 

Food is a massive waste issue in our house. There are only 2 of us that live here and on average we must waste approximately £10-£15 worth of food every week. The most popular food items that we tend to waste are full punnet's of unopened strawberrys and grapes, baby corn on the cobs, full broccoli's and yogurts to name a few.

Lately, I've made myself more aware of what is in our fridge, attempting to plan our meals accordingly in regards to the 'best before' dates. If we have really struggled to use up a food item, I have forced myself to be more adventurous and create some form of recipe from these foods.

2 examples of this were last week I had 3 banana's left in the fruit bowl that were going a little speckly on the skin (I hate soft banana's!). Knowing they wouldn't be eaten up, I attempted to make a banana loaf. I felt like I had almost gained a pudding for free because every ingredient I already had access to without having to purchase extra. Unfortunately it was my first attempt at a banana loaf and it didn't go to plan, but that's a different story for a different day! Either way, it was nice that I attempted to do something productive with the bananas that we purchased with our hard earned money, as opposed to just waiting a few more days to then throw them in the bin.

I also realized I had a tub of unopened Onken yogurt. I usually make smoothies out of these but I thought I'd try something different, and attempt to make yogurt cakes.

These were so simple and quick to do (perfect if you have children!). I added a variety of other ingredients to the yogurt to add both texture and taste. The great thing about these is the recipe is so flexible; there's so much you can add without going wrong. You can keep it healthy like I did and add raisins or nuts, or be a little naughty and add chocolate chips, or even crush up your favourite chocolate bar and throw it in. Most things work! The consistency of the mixture helps you to change the shape - why not fill up your ice cube tray and give yourself a huge handful of small treats? Or get those wacky lolly moulds out and turn them into yogurt lollies on a stick! (I wish I did this with mine as they started to get a little messy as they melted!).

Such a fun and easy way to use up your yogurt!

What you will need:
  • Some form of container or mould to distribute your mixture into
  • Lolly sticks (optional)
  • Yogurt
  • Optional extra's (i.e. chocolate chips, fruit, raisins, nuts etc)
  • Teaspoon

    Method:

  • Distribute the yogurt equally amongst your containers or moulds. I had the perfect sized plastic tubs that I purchased from dotcomgiftshop a while back (can I just add these are the handiest tubs ever!).
  • Add your optional extras (I used raisins, Dr Oetker's 'Eton Mess' that I received from my July Degusta Box for added texture (this stuff tastes yummy by itself too!). I also used my Madagascan vanilla grinder for the first time too! These added texture and made it a little more unique. See - you don't have to wait to bake cakes to use these
  • Mix well and freeze (preferably overnight). When you're ready to sample, dip the mould into hot water for a few seconds to loosen up the (now) solid mixture, and you're good to go!






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Monday, 4 August 2014

Review: July's Degustabox

Who doesn't love receiving a subscription box through the post every month? I've received my fair share of beauty boxes over the last few years, and now I've been introduced to the world of food subscriptions. I'm a big foodie, always loved my food, always probably will (although my waistline isn't thanking me for it!).

Degustabox is a monthly subscription service that sends you a huge batch of full sized samples of food/drink through your door that you probably wouldn't give a second thought about on your weekly shop. I for one know how easy it is to get stuck in a rut with the same foods, whether it be for convenience or financial matters. These boxes help you to be more adventurous in the foods that you buy, which makes trying the foods a whole lot more exciting!


This sight excites me every month! Everything is always really well packaged in thick chunky bubble wrap, finished off with some brown wrapping paper and a sticker quote..


 
Lets take a look inside....
 




I love the variety that Degustabox offer every month. There is something in this box that suits almost every occasion.. popcorn for film nights, refreshing ciders for afternoons in the garden (or after a hard days' work!). Summery drinks to take on picnics, ingredients for baking, succulent spices and sauces to add to main meals.. the variety is perfect.


Hornsby's Blueberry Cider - £1.25 each
Honestly, I'm not a huge alcohol drinker at all - I've been on countless holidays, celebrated countless birthday's and christmas' and not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips, so when I say I'm not a big drinker.. I'm really not! However I'm a huge lover of fruity flavours no matter what the food/drink, so when I saw this was Blueberry, I was intrigued. I broke the habit of a lifetime and actually drank this on Friday night with my tea (and boyfriend!). The blueberry wasn't overpowering, but you could still taste it. It was light and refreshing and my body knew it had drank all of that 1 bottle of 4% alcohol.. I'm hardcore! It's difficult for me to say I enjoyed this because I don't like the taste of 99.9% of alcohol however I can say I finished the bottle.. and that's saying something ;-)

 
Maggi's Herbs & Spices - Approx 89p each
These were nothing new to me as we use these on a fairly regular basis. Although I think I've received a few flavours I haven't tried before. These are so convenient - We eat a lot of chicken, so to put the chicken in the bag provided for it to cook juicily in the oven amongst all the herbs and spices saves a lot of time than preparing some form of spice yourself. There's a few in there that I'll probably save for Autumn (i.e. beef & ale casserole) but these really are worth the money, and change a bland meal into something tasty.




Portlebay Popcorn - 79p each
The days of just toffee and plain popcorn are long gone. Popcorn now comes in every flavor under the sun. I have to admit when I first saw this flavor I was a little apprehensive - I'm not a huge fan of sweet and savoury mixed, however this seemed to just work, and once I opened the bag, I couldn't stop eating them! I've had some popcorn where the flavor is a little weak, however these were strong but not overpowering. I'd definitely be inclined to grab a bag of these in future. The other flavours that I received were chilli & lime, and sweet & salted. I haven't tried these yet but I'm sure they'll bring good things!







Zeo Drinks - £1.29 each
I'm always willing to try new drinks, especially fruit ones, so when I saw there were 3 Zeo drinks in my box, I was spoilt for choice on which one to try first! I was given 3 flavours; Peach & Grapefruit Burst, Citrus Crush and Lime Zest. I have drank all 3 of them and I'm on the bench with these - they were refreshing and light, and the 'fizziness' was not overpowering to the point of being gassy, which is always good. However I felt that the flavouring was fairly muted in each, and I just felt like I was drinking sparkling flavoured water. I did however love the tingling sensation that it gave, this added a little bit of uniqueness to the drink that I very rarely experience. As you can see I brought one along with me to a picnic today and it made a refreshing change from a typical can of fizzy drink or cordial.


The Berry Company White Tea (Peach) - £1.49
When I read this it instantly reminded me of iced tea, and to be honest, I'm not sure of the difference between iced and white tea, either way, they tasted similar. I was first introduced to Iced Tea at 15 years old when I was holidaying in The Maldives. That's all I ever drank there and got hooked on the stuff. Several years later when I attempted to drink it again (this time in a much less-exotic location!) my tastebuds had obviously changed because I didn't enjoy it whatsoever, so I was a little apprehensive of trying this. I don't know why but I had this as part of my breakfast (maybe I was subconsciously thinking 'cup of tea' so felt like it should be drank at this time of the day!). My first thoughts brought me back to those iced tea days, and I instantly tasted the tea in it, but the peach flavouring soon overpowered that and I adapted to it and actually enjoyed it. Also - the packaging of this tea; the colours, the style and the convenience, how cute? I saw a black tea with elderflower doing the rounds; that one looks a little more scary!



 
 
'Frank' Snack Bar (Blueberry) - 85p
This gluten, nut and dairy free snack bar I can safely say I won't buy again. I brought this along to a picnic with me and I really didn't enjoy it. I found the bar quite heavy and almost as if the ingredients were missing something (no doubt its probably because its gluten and dairy free of ingredients!). It reminded me of my cooking gone wrong. For those gluten/dairy intolerant people it maybe a blessing in disguise though!
 
 

 
Green & Blacks Lemon infused Dark Chocolate - £2.29
I'm a massive chocoholic but unfortunately dark chocolate just doesn't do it for me, however once again, the lemon infusion grabbed me (I love anything lemon!). I can normally do dark chocolate in very small doses (I'm looking at you, Bournville), however after a few chews on a square of this chocolate, lets just say I headed straight for the bin.. the rest maybe TMI! I've never once had to do that with chocolate. Ugh. However, being the type of person that hates to waste, I'm saving this for my baking days, hoping to find some use for it there.
 
 
Dr Oetker Eton Mess - £1.99. Violet Crystals - £1.29
I love looking at cake decorations in supermarkets, they're so pretty to look at! I occasionally bake so will definitely try to incorporate these somehow. I've already used Eton Mess in a recipe that isn't a cake, so keep your eyes peeled to see how I incorporate them into my mixture!
 
Overall, a good box. I loved the variety, and even though I didn't enjoy some of the items, I enjoyed the mini tasting adventure that it took me on. I try and view everything as an experience, even down to food I dislike. Although my tastebuds weren't keen, it was a positive experience in trying something new, and I'm glad I did.  
 
 
Introduce this monthly box of goodness into your life now, for only £12.99 p/m, inc P&P!
Click here to see more details!
Subscribe now and receive a £3 discount off your first box using the code SR15N
 
 
 
This box was kindly provided to me for review purposes

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Friday, 1 August 2014

July Beauty Empties

It's that time again! I really enjoy doing these posts - I think a big part of it is because I get a buzz out of throwing an empty bottle in the bin, knowing I have used it - bizarre really because to many, that would be a sign that they're due to spend money again to replace it, which obviously for some, isn't a pleasant thought. Maybe this is a sign that I have a stock that is too big for me to handle, so finishing a product is a good feeling :-) I have realised over the last few months that I'm beginning to "grow out" of being interested in beauty, and craving to have new products. My love for nail polish is still there though! But I love to spend my money on things that I can actually see; days out, holidays, nice meals. Sometimes, how I look at it is, no one is going to know if you are wearing a £20 eyeshadow or a £5 one. Yes it may be a nice shade, or apply differently to other eyeshadows, but I'm sure you can find one at a fraction of the price. Back to the point (!) - I'm actually enjoying decreasing my make-up/beauty/hair collection, because once I reduce it, I don't think I'd ever get back to the quantity I have now, but I'm ok with that because I'm simply not as interested in it anymore. Plus, it's giving me more space in my room!

Anyway, without further ado, here's what I managed to finish in July!




From L-R (Back)
Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation - I think this is my longest-running foundation. I've been using this for at least 2 years (ok, not this exact bottle, obvs!). I've done a review on it *****here***** so say no more.

Vosene Medicated Shampoo - Ok, sorry in advance if this is TMI, but lets face it, we're all humans with our human problems! - I occasionally suffer with a flaky scalp, I haven't quite figured out why or if there is a trigger but I remember at the beginning of this month I was suffering with just a random patch at the front of my hair - no where else, just there - Enough was enough and I went and bought some Vosene. This reminds me of when I was a kid, so my mum must have bought it a few times. This stuff was amazing! It cleared it up completely within 2 washes. I've actually just discovered on the bottle it states 'works from 1st use' - I can pretty much vouch for that - My scalp flakiness had reduced on the 1st wash and vanished by the 2nd.  It has a strong medicated smell to it, which I know can be unpleasant for some people, but I could handle it. I'd recommend this if you suffer with your scalp before splashing out on the likes of T-Gel or more expensive options.

17 Mirror Shine Lipstick 'Flirtini' - I have had this for so long and finally finished it. I remember purchasing this a long time ago and getting home and being disappointed in just how sheer it was. It could pass as a lipgloss but without the stickiness! However I soon realised that it was buildable and I soon fell in love. The consistency was creamy but light, and the fact that the colour was buildable gave you the ability to be adaptable, depending on the time of day - A sheer look for daytime, a more powerful vibrant look for night, all in the same lipstick! I lost it for sometime in some random handbag, and re-discovered it a couple of months ago. I have no clue if they still sell this mirror-shine line as it really is that old!

Lait-Creme Concentre - I received this in a recent Birchbox. The tiny 5ml tube wasn't enough for me to make a solid opinion on this. It appeared light and non-greasy, which is always a bonus. This has a £13 pricetag for 30ml which is affordable. It has been known to be used as a primer, moisturizer and make-up remover by make-up artists, although I have only just discovered that so can't comment if using it for those methods is any good!

Johnson's Holiday Skin Lightglow Body Lotion - I received this in a beauty box a few months ago. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I am attempting to get my body cream stash reduced. This was the first in the firing line! I remember after using this a few days I noticed my arms were beginning to build a tan, and I couldn't understand why.. I hadn't been in the sun! It took me about a week to realize it was this body lotion that had a hint of self-tan in! Doh!
I enjoyed using this and the healthy glow that it gave, although I wasn't too keen on the smell!

Dove Almond Cream body wash - I love love love body creams (as opposed to body gels/washes etc). There's something about body creams that is so much more luxurious! The smell was delightful, nothing too fruity or sweet, just a pleasant smell that I really can't describe, almost relaxing... Scrummy. Dove products never fail me.

Tresemme Remoisture conditioner - I'll be honest, I only purchased this because it was on offer. This is one of those conditioners that on first use, it has amazing results. It leaves your hair feel super silky and soft. Then its almost as if your hair becomes used to it and adapts to the ingredients, and no longer gives the once dramatic results.

Balance Me - Citrus Spice hand & body wash - Again, another addition from a beauty box. I used this for a shower gel and with shower/bath products I'm all about the smell. Unfortunately this didn't float my boat - it was very spicy in scent and although it felt refreshing whilst using, it's not something I'd reach for in the shops.

Garnier Cleansing Wipes - I like these wipes - they're not my fave but I do enjoy using them. There's just the right amount of moisture on each towel and the size and thickness of each wipe is perfect as well. I always get ones that are able to be used on the eyes (for nights when I'm too tired!), so these tick that box as well.

Rimmel Kohl Eyeliner 'Black' - I've always found Rimmel eyeliners to be pretty effective. I apply eyeliner to my waterline, and some annoyingly refuse to apply in this area, however this kohl pencil has no trouble. The lasting power is not fantastic, but this is different for each person and their eyes. I don't expect miracles for £3.99 though!



Clairol ColourSeal Conditioner - When you see one of these in my empties, you know what I've done! Dyed my hair! These conditioners are fab, but like the Tresemme, once your hair gets "used" to it, it becomes prone and stops working its magic.

Derma Facial Wipes - I can't remember where I buy these from - Possibly B&M - Either way, I hate spending a lot on face wipes that are just going to get thrown in the bin after each use. Unfortunately face wipe prices are increasing and I struggle to find any under the £2 mark now, so occasionally when I'm in B&M and have the chance to grab some cheaper ones, I will do. These again can remove eye make-up. They have never caused my skin any problems so I will continue to use!

Nivea Cleansing Wipes - I was hugely disappointed in these. They were extremely dry which made me struggle to remove my make-up. This is the first time I have had this issue with them so maybe it was just a bad batch? Either that or they've reduced /changed their ingredients; either way, I'm not a happy bunny!

Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo - I really don't need to do a review on this because I'm sure every girl and her handbag has had the pleasure of trying this at some point. It's a savior for those lazy days - it lifts, volumises and gives the hair that much needed boost it needed. It smells gorgeous. I have actually discovered an even better dry shampoo which I will review soon!

Bath & Body Works 'Sweet on Paris' body lotion - This was purchased in either Vegas or Florida (I can't remember which) but OMG - Can I just say this has got to be the worlds BEST smelling lotion... ever. It actually makes me want to eat it. Its a sweet concoction of so many things I can't put into words. The light blue lotion is neither thin or thick on consistency, therefore making it a good all-year-round lotion. I have one bottle left and I'm scared of what I'm going to do once that has gone - maybe that means another trip to Florida?! ;-) The packaging is so cute as well, don't you think?!

Soap & Glory Clean on Me Shower Gel - I don't often buy things from S&G, this product was so old that I forced myself to use it. I know this brand is well loved, however this particular product I didn't rate. The scent was nothing outstanding, as was the consistency and lather.

Nspa Cherry Blossom & Rice Milk Bath Melt - This title sounds so yummy, luxurious but strange - How often do you see 'rice' in your bath products?! Unfortunately this wasn't as appealing as it sounds. The scent was mediocre. The amount of bubbles it created in the bath were average, a pretty 'normal' bubble bath if you ask me.

Vaseline 48hr protection - What a pain of a deodorant! This was one of those were you sprayed, moved your arm to grab your handbag to see a handful of snow floating in the air. This doesn't like staying put under your arm and has a tendency to fall everywhere straight away. I tried at different lengths from my arm and it proceeded to do the same. Not good. It does offer good protection though!

So that's it for July! As you know I tend to do these empties every other month, however in the month of August I will be posting every day on Instagram instead. I have quite a lot planned so come and follow me @kateld85 to see what I'm getting up to!



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