Sunday, 30 November 2014

Christmas Dining with Debenhams.

I'll be honest, I've never hosted a dinner party. Ever. I cook for both my boyfriend and I but cooking for others just.. scares me. I'm scared mostly for 2 reasons. 1 because I'm worried that they'd hate my cooking, or 2 - this is more self-doubt with myself that my cooking simply isn't good enough (even though it may be). Although I will admit, I'm a better cook than I am baker. It's a shame because not only would I love to host a dinner party (arranging table decorations alone excites me!) but we also have a 6 seater dining table in the conservatory (see below), so I can't even use lack of space as my excuse!

I am contemplating putting on a spread on Boxing day for the family, this may ease me into the real thing, but for now, lets pretend I'm cooking for 4...

Xmas Table Inspo

I have got my colour inspiration from my conservatory as it stands now.. I'm the type of person that likes things to tie in with the surrounding area, so table decorations would be no different!

From L-R.

Firstly, can we all take a moment to swoon over this beautiful Willis & Gambier Oak Dining Table. This is my perfect dining table - it has shabby chic, rustic and modern all bound in one. I LOVE the look of those chairs too - how comfy do they look?! I'd definitely be off to a good start if I had this as the base of my Christmas party!

These purple metallic linen napkins would look a lot more luxurious than paper ones, don't you think?! And why not splash out, it is Christmas after all!

Above those are some pretty star napkin rings. I think these would really stand out against the dark purple napkins, and keep them neat before use.

These gorgeous Royal Doulton twinkle crystal toasting flutes are so pretty and elegant. They even have hand-applied Swarovski crystals on them! Although these aren't in Debenham's Christmas range, the star design reminded me of snowflakes, and the fact that these are toasting glasses... when better to toast than at Christmas! I can imagine these to look so pretty when they catch reflections from the lights too!

I'd have two of these grey pillar candles lit on the table.. I love candles all year round, but even more so at Christmas time. I love the cute ribbon that is attached to these as well..

I'd place this purple beaded table runner down the centre of the table, which would be used to place most things on.. I think this would really set the table off, and protect the table top without covering too much wood (I'd want to show that off too!).

I'd buy a handful of these gorgeous Sass & Belle multi-coloured baubles which I'd hang on long purple ribbons from my fan on the ceiling which hovers just above the table. I'd team these with the purple glass baubles and have them hanging at different lengths. I think this would really add something unique to the room.

I don't think you can do a Christmas dinner without having some candlesticks lit. These pretty silver antique candlestick holders would be perfect for the job, teamed up with the purple dinner candles, I think the contrast of colours would be good here.

If you're having guests, you've got to have a decent set of cutlery going on. Unfortunately since I pinned this particular set to my Polyvore they have sold out, so I can't find a direct link, however I've found some similar which are equally as nice, which are the John Rocha 16-piece cutlery set.

I'm loving these beaded place mats - Not only would it protect the table top, but I think the plates would be really brought to life when placed on top of these. So pretty.

These Betty Jackson ombre wine glasses are perfect for people who may not be drinking alcohol and using the flutes. They would house soft drinks or water, and yet the guests can still enjoy a drink from a nice glass.

You can't have a Christmas dinner without pulling a cracker or two.. these silver mistletoe crackers look so pretty with their glitter and ribbon, and the prizes don't look too shabby either!

I love this snowflake bottle stopper .. the perfect addition to any bottle of wine or champagne that you may indulge in at the table.. its the little things remember...

This glittery reindeer ornament I think would make a nice addition at the top of the table.. a festive sparkly piece is always welcome!

I think this wooden light up Christmas tree is so simple yet to pretty.. it wouldn't take up too much room on the table. I would place this at the other end to the reindeer.

I'd use this crystal glass to put water and ice in.. I love the thick glass cut on this..

To add even more sparkle and glamour to the table, I'd use these silver table gems - I'd wouldn't want them getting in the way of my guests so I'd lightly scatter them on the table runner in between items.

How cute are these reindeer place card holders ?! I'd hand-make some name cards and place them in these.. perfect for those fussy eaters.. don't want anyone getting someone else's dinner!

This designer glass bulb vase I'd put some battery fairy lights in to create a glowing effect.. I love lights against glass and the reflections they create...

How can you have champagne without a champagne bucket ? Champagne on ice.. I think my guests will be returning!

You can't have a dinner party without some plates! This Royal Doulton 'Platinum' dining set is simple and subtle yet clean-looking and perfect. I always think food looks best on white plates!

There was something about these Denby dessert bowls that drew me in. Not only does the base/spine have a blue/purple effect to them which tie in with my colour scheme, the shape and design really make your dining experience a little more unique than the average  simple bowl from a dining set. I'd definitely replace my bowls from the Royal Doulton range with these, just to spice it up a little.

So now to imagine it altogether....

I'd definitely be closer to throwing a party if I owned all this!

How many are you cooking for this Christmas?

This is my entry to the 'I'm dreaming of Debenhams Dinnerware' competition to win £250 to spend at Debenhams, plus a Christmas hamper from them worth £150! Great, right?! But hurry, this competition closes at midnight on November 30th.


Friday, 28 November 2014

Book Review: I've Got You're Number - Sophie Kinsella


I've lost it :-(
The only thing in the world I wasn't supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It's been in Magnus's famly for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I've lost it. They very same day. Do not hyperventilate, Poppy.
A couple of glasses of bubbly with the girl's and Poppy's life has gone into meltdown. Not only has she lost her engagement ring, but in the panic that followed, she's lost her phone too. When she spots an abandoned phone in a bin it seems it was meant to be... Finders Keepers!

Except the phone's owneer, elusive businessman Sam Roxton, doesn't agree. He wants his phone back, and doesn't appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life. Can things get any more tangled?

I've read a handful of Sophie Kinsella books over the year's and I've really loved all of them... they are all simple reads, and ones that I find smiling to myself because I can relate to them. They're light hearted and nothing too complex when you're wanting to wind down in bed.

It's been at least 2 years since I last read one of her books, so when I started this one, I was disappointed when I struggled to find myself not being able to engage with the book. It took me a good few chapters before I really got into it. However once I got through this, it was all uphill. Like every book, there are always several storyline's going on at once, and as always with me, I take a shine to some more than others.. I'm more interested in the juicy gossip that surrounded the relationships than the business side of things that Kinsella tended to focus on quite heavily from midway in the book. There was a crisis in the business and information leaked into the press. It was linked to Poppy, the main character, however I really didn't enjoy this side of it, so I often found myself skipping chunks of paragraphs, which isn't always a good sign when reading a book!

Without saying too much to spoil it, towards the last 3rd of the book, I could pretty much predict what was going to happen, however there was that slight doubt in my mind that it wouldn't all go to plan. I found that Kinsella's writing really did keep you on tender hooks till the end, wondering 'will they, wont they?!'  As the book came to a close, I found my reading pace increase, just with pure excitement as to what was about to happen.

I'm not going to describe the story because I'm not good at putting a whole book into just a few sentences(!), so I'll leave the blurb with you so you can decide for yourself!

Have you ever read this book or any other Kinsella books?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christmas Parties with Debenhams

The big party season is fast approaching and I know I for one am in the process of deciding what to wear. I'm attending a works masquerade themed ball so I'm looking more on the glamorous/formal side as opposed to on-trend statement pieces. However! Being still fairly young myself, I didn't want to banish statement fashion altogether and dress old before my time...
I don't often have the opportunity to go into a Debenhams store, simply because we don't have one locally, however I did pop into one last week when I was on a city break and managed to pick up some really good Christmas gifts. I always forget how wonderful that shop is! Since then I've been browsing Debenhams website for Christmas party ideas and this is the style I'm hoping to achieve for my ball...
Debs Party
The Black flock glitter embellished dress is beyond perfect for my figure. Having a curvy shape I need to accentuate the positives and downplay the negatives. The skater style cut is perfect, masking my lumps and bumps and (hopefully!) accentuating my bust! I love the unique neckline on this, and how the dress dips into a small U shape.. Because of this I don't think any necklaces are required - Never take the attention away from an already interesting neckline because you can overdo it! Also, not only does the big bow add simple yet effective detail to the dress, it will hopefully hide any sins around that area! The print itself I thought was elegant with a touch of festiveness with the glitter background, without being over-kill.

I still wanted a statement item with my outfit to add a little uniqueness, so I opted for this Coast Pizzaz clutch bag. I love electric blue so this was right up my street. It's bright and bold and spices a formal outfit up without being too extreme.

I wanted to tie the bold blue in a little more, so I opted for a few elegant jewellery pieces, the first one being this pretty Mood Luxe Blue Stone Bangle - I think this is the perfect combination of statement and elegant rolled into one.

The Jon Richard earrings are so gorgeous don't you think?! This kind of stone always reminds me of Kate Middleton's engagement ring that went viral in replica's. Due to wearing no necklace, I always think its fine to go a bit wild with earrings, as long as you avoid looking like Pat Butcher! I thought these were the perfect drop length, they ooze elegance, and both the blue and silver tie in perfectly.

When I go to a more formal event, I tend to wear my hair in a low bun to one side of the face, this way the earrings are on show and there's no fear of hair frizz! To add a little glamour to the hair, I have opted for this Jon Richard Vintage Flower Hair Comb. So pretty and I can imagine this to catch any light reflections in the evening and make you sparkle!

Shoes are something I occasionally struggle to team with an outfit, and I find myself not being very adventurous with styles. Again, I've gone for an elegant shoe, and decided on these Black Beau Court Shoes. I'd wear nude tights with the dress as opposed to black, simply to enhance the style of the shoe and the pretty bow. They're not too high so hopefully won't make you crippled before the dancing commences!

Are you going to any themed Christmas parties this year?

This blog post is an entry for Debenham's Christmas Party Outfit Competition.

Bath Time with Lush | Father Christmas Bath Bomb

Lushs' 'Father Christmas' bath bomb was a bit of a deceiving one for me (bare in mind I haven't had much experience with Lush products before which will soon become clear!). The red and white Santa face exterior was just a casing, and once I had broken through that, I hit a bright green bath bomb. Phone in one hand, trying to film the fizz, and then trying to break the bath bomb in half with the other hand because I was reluctant to use the whole bomb for one bath, it just wasn't having it, so I reluctantly threw the whole lot in.

The bath water quickly turned fizzed into bright green colour with a small amount of thin white/pink layering to accompany it, however this quickly disappeared, leaving just bright green water. The colour reminded me so much of the green Fairy Liquid bottles.. it was the identical shade. The lack of bubbles didn't make it feel like I was having a luxurious bath - You can tell I'm fairly new to purchasing Lush products because I have since found out the difference between Bath Bombs and Bubble Bars - The key is in the name I guess, but for some reasons I've never clicked! haha.. and unfortunately for me I love my bubbles, but the majority of my purchases are bath bombs.. dear oh dear. Least I have learnt my lesson for next time!

The colour of the water, although fun for some, was almost off-putting for me - I felt a little yucky sat in green water, even though it was clean.. it just felt a little.. wrong? I can imagine young boys enjoying a green bath though!

The scent is very sweet smelling, and according to Lush, releases the popular scent of 'Snow Fairy'. I loved the smell, it was right up my street in terms of scents, but noticed it didn't linger around for long which was unfortunate.

Now I know the difference between bubble bars and bath bombs (doh!), I feel a little harsh giving it a poor score because after all, it did its job, I've just learnt that bath bombs aren't for me. However, the design and scent I thought was really good, therefore I will give it a 3/5.


Sunday, 23 November 2014

November's Birchbox - 'Cosy At Home'

I've had my birchbox well over a week now, but instead of showcasing the contents immediately without any testing like I usually do, I thought I'd give a more accurate and in-depth review of each product..

This month's box is all about getting snuggly at home now the nights are darker and winter is slowing setting in (although I think weather wise we're still doing pretty good considering we're almost in December!).

I will admit, I wasn't blown away with this months box, however having a full size OPI nail polish helped to excite me! I do love a good nail polish!

From L-R

Lord & Berry Mini Bronzer 'Sunny'. - Although this is only a sample size, I know it will last me a while. I don't tend to ever switch up my bronzer, and normally only use the bronzer in my sleek contour kit, however I've been using this every day since I received it and I absolutely love it! The shade seems to be perfect for my skin (and has actually made me realise I've been using a bronzer that has been a little too dark!). It gives a gorgeous natural glow without looking OTT. It has a £19 price tag when purchased full price, which although is a little bit out my budget for a bronzer, if I was ever feeling a little flush with cash I wouldn't hesitate buying this.

Weleda Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash - The fact that this was a creamy body wash as opposed to a shower gel went in my favour. However, although the smell was obvious, it wasn't strong enough for me.. It did feel moisturising on the skin but didn't blow me away.

Dr Jart+ Moist Water Act Mist. - This was another full size product in this months box (thumbs up to Birchbox!) - This is one product I haven't used. It claims to boost skins internal moisture levels - it acts as a facial spritz, which, if I'm honest, I already have 2 similar products in my drawer that I tend to take away to hot countries with me to spray if I'm too hot! Although the size is nice, this product didn't excite me..

OPI Nail Polish in 'Coca-Cola Red' - A full size nail polish in a paintbox red shade - I do love a bright red.. and knowing this is OPI was just the cherry on the top - I have a few red's building up in my collection now - I really do need to get a move on and start using them before they turn gloopy!

Beauty Protect 'Protect & Treat Hair Mask' (x 2) - The size of these pots are misleading - Although only 1 pot does one application for me (I have got rather long hair!), I was expecting to use both pots in one. The pink mask smells delish, but not overpowering. Because I've only used it once I didn't really notice any difference - My hair didn't feel any softer or more manageable which is usually the case when I've first used a new product on my hair.

Drinkwel (Lifestyle choice) - I have yet to try these (haven't drunk yet!) but I am so intrigiued by them! They claim to help you recover after a night out drinking... suggesting to take the tablets before you go to bed after your night out (with water!) and then again with food the next day, and they will refill your body with all the goodness that the alcohol may have taken away, and make you feel more alive. Could this be the new hangover cure?! They have a £39.99 price tag and I'm not a regular drinker in order to justify spending that much, but for people who go clubbing on a regular basis, these may be a lifesaver!

What did you think of this month's Birchbox?


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Bath Time with Lush | Candy Mountain Bubble Bar

Candy Mountain is so cute to look at, its pink and white exterior reminded me of a frosty snowy mountain (although don't ask where the pink comes into it!).

After crumbling half of this under a hot running tap, it soon created mountains of glistening bubbles and a gorgeous pink and white shimmery frosting over the water. I think if I had used the whole bar my water would have turned pink, but because I halved it, I think this weakened the magic a little. 

I was impressed with the amount of bubbles it created (again, from just half the bar... I dread to think what it would have been like if I crumbled the whole lot in!). I felt like I was in a super luxurious bath as I sunk chin deep into the water. 

The scent is extremely sweet smelling, hence the 'candy' name, and it lingered not only in the bathroom for hours, but wafted out into the hotel room and clung to it well into the next morning, which is definitely a tick box for me. 

I noticed my skin felt super soft afterwards as well, so it definitely did it some good. 

Definitely one I wouldn't hesitate in picking up again. 



Sunday, 16 November 2014

Christmas Bath Time with Lush

I don't have a Lush shop locally.. the nearest one is 50 minutes away so I don't often get to venture in the shop to inhale their dreamy scents. And sometimes when I do  have the opportunity to access the shop, my brain tells me its too overpriced and I avoid... however! There's just something about the run up to Christmas that makes me want to treat myself and indulge a little more than usual. Knowing that the festive goodies were out when I took a trip to Liverpool last weekend, I just couldn't resist. It was that bad that I made 2 separate purchases on 2 separate days, because 1 simply wasn't enough. This resulted in me spending almost £40 on bath time treats (and that annoying devil voice always enters my head and says "That's 40 bottles of Radox/Dove if you get it on offer!"). Yes but Lush is so much more... the smells.. the displays of art than some produce in the water..the pretty colours..  the gorgeous smell that lingers throughout the entire upstairs for hours afterwards... how could I not, really? It's only a 'once in a blue moon' kinda thing..

Here's what I bought..

I also purchased the Candy Mountain which is missing from this collection, simply because I couldn't wait to have a Lush bath in our hotel last weekend.

I've decided to do a small Lush series on my blog, whereby once a week I review a different bath bomb/melt, videos n' all.. (that's if the bomb puts on a display for me)... if not, photos will suffice. I am aware that not all of the ones in the photo are from their Christmas collection, however the majority are, so naturally, I'm going to focus on those first on the run-up to Christmas, the rest will follow..

Keep your eyes peeled for a Lush bath time with me!


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Afternoon Tea at Hard Day's Night Hotel, Liverpool

A few days ago the boyfriend and I spent a few days in Liverpool, and as a rule when visiting any city, I booked afternoon tea. My choice of venue was Blakes Restaurant in Hard Days Night hotel - As always, I did my research beforehand and this had fairly good reviews. Also the hotels' theme was The Beatles, and my boyfriend is a big fan of these, so it kinda made sense.

We walked past the hotel several times the day prior to our booking, and I felt like I was in for good things - the exterior of the hotel looked pretty grand - marble stairs, gold stair banisters, twinkly fairly lights in the smaller entrance that looked so pretty at night. My expectations grew, naturally.

This doesn't look as effective in daylight, but still pretty..
Dinner time arrived the next day and we realised we were a little early for our booking. Instead of wasting time, I decided to show up early and try our luck.. some places can be quite accommodating for early arrivals, however others suggest to sit in the lobby and order drinks.

We entered the hotel and it wasn't really clear where to go - there was a reception that I assumed was for guests staying in the hotel. Next to this there was a hotel lobby where several people were sat around. Around the sides were booths, and across the other side was a bar. I approached the barmaid and explained we were here for afternoon tea. She suggested to take a seat... which we did. She did not however ask if we had a booking, or where we wanted to sit (in my booking I got a choice of rooms which I could select). I was under the impression (like many other hotels I've visited) that we would then be directed into a separate room specifically designed for these occasions. As we began to sit down, the member of staff suggested we opt for a larger table, and it soon became clear that in fact the afternoon tea was being had right here, in the open lobby. My expectations immediately began to plummet.

Luckily for us, we had opted for an early booking (12.30), so most booths were available. We immediately headed for the furthest one away, however I still couldn't help but feel exposed. The booths themselves were sophisticated, with white drapes as the backdrop, and The Beatles memorabilia to accompany them. I had my back to everything, so my view got boring pretty quickly (sorry Mike!). I suppose I could have sat next to my boyfriend for an outward view but when having afternoon tea I think its only natural to be sat opposite each other in regards to helping yourself to the food!
I also found the whole environment fairly exposed and lacked the peaceful environment that I associate with afternoon tea. Knowing you are only yards away from the main reception that guests checked in and out of took that 'special' feeling away from the experience. It felt like privacy had not been considered here, and the environment is quite high on my priority list when I have afternoon tea. On the flip side to that, my boyfriend being a Beatles fan, commented how for him, the environment was good due to the music being played and the references to the band which were on display.

The second disappointment came with the table layout - our tables were bare when we arrived, and the bare minimum was provided to us during our stay. There was no traditional sugar lump bowls, no cutlery laid out until we had sat down, and the attention to detail was minimal. The crockery itself was very plain (something else that is on my tick list when it comes to afternoon tea!... Yes, I'm very fussy!).
Before I start with photos, please note - the lighting in there was very poor for photos so these aren't the best quality...

We were asked what we would like to drink, being given only 2 options; "Tea or coffee?". I requested tea, which I was then asked if I had a particular choice of tea, however no drinks menu was provided.

The food arrived shortly after, and was displayed on a very modern stand. The selection of sandwiches were typical for afternoon tea - Egg Mayonnaise, Tuna & Cucumber, Salmon, Cheese & Onion, and (what I think was) Roast Beef & Mustard. They were nice enough, however I noticed the bread was beginning to go slightly hard at the edges, but it was all edible. The scones were nice (and warm, another tick box for me!). These were plain and were accompanied by a pot of jam each and some clotted cream - The cream was placed on the stand alone without a container, which I found unusual yet effective.

The cake section consisted of 1 miniature red velvet cupcake each, a hazelnut brownie (which was to die for!) and another chocolate sponge cake which unfortunately never made it in my tummy because I was too full! All puddings eaten were nice, although I could not tell if they were homemade or not...

The price is usually £17.99 pp, however we managed to get a mid week deal of £22 in total, which was a bonus after my disappointments.

All in all, this was a very modern afternoon tea - if you're after traditional afternoon tea with sugar lumps, tea strainers, floral kitsch crockery etc, then this may not be for you.

Unfortunately for me, the setting was a complete let down for me, as was the lack of attention to detail. The whole experience didn't feel 'special', the service didn't feel 'special' and the environment certainly didn't feel special. However this again is down to personal preference. Having experienced several afternoon teas now at certain venues throughout the country, I have my expectations set pretty high.

Where is the best place you've had afternoon tea?


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Home Interior: How I store my candles | Shabby Chic

I'm a sucker for home accessories and have been ever since I bought my own house over 3 years ago. I'm always on the look out for unique items and ways to store things. I bought this cream birdcage when they first hit the shops a long time ago, but I could never find a use for it. It has a little door at the back but it wasn't really big enough for many things to fit through. Months later, I started again to think about what I could do with this god damn birdcage, when I noticed there was a latch at the top, and the whole top opened up. Safe to say that was the highlight of my day, and ideas began streaming in on what I could finally put in this birdcage!

My boyfriend had bought me a big stash of yankee candles for christmas, and I realised I just had them lying around, not really having a home. A lightbulb came on and within minutes I was filling it with all my candles.

My next dilemma was where do I store it? It has a big hook on the top, so I tried hooking it over my book shelf. I was a bit apprehensive because there was this heavy birdcage full of candles swinging in mid air.. I was frightened it would slowly work its way off the shelf in the night and startle me to death. Luckily several months have since passed and it hasn't moved an inch.

Add caption
Sorry - this is a little out of focus!

To spruce it up a bit I stuck some tiny wired lights in, so at night I turn them on and it looks pretty all lit up :-) The other bonus is the fact that it's technically in mid-air - its not using up any work space, perfect!

How do you store your candles?


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Review: October's Degustabox

Its that time of the month again.. (no, not that time!). Food delivery time!

This months' box was both exciting and a little disappointing with me. I was excited the fact that there were smaller snack type foods as opposed to ingredients that you'd have to add to in order to make a meal. However more and more I'm noticing that a few of the same brands are being repeated. Dr Oetker is a fine example of this - although a fantastic baking brand, I can imagine those that don't often dabble in baking to become quite dissatisfied with the constant repeats of this brand, all baking related. The Brioche Pasquier brand is also in our box for the second time round - although I've never tried the brioche loaf before, the pain au lait's were a repeat item from last months box. I also received a 'sample sized present' box of cereal of Bear Alphabets, however in my first every degustabox I received a full size box of these, so was a little confused when they were referring to it as a 'sample', after already providing subscribers with it a few months prior. The repeated items are beginning to make me feel a little deflated when I open the box and realise that, actually, not everything is 'new' to try.

However its not all doom and gloom! There were some items that I as glad I saw, especially the enhance drinks - I've seen these knocking around both on the TV and in the shops the last few months and being a huge juice drinker myself, I've been eager to try. The Jelly Belly beans I've often wanted to try in the shops but because I'm not a fan of standard jelly beans, I've always been apprehensive about trying these, so I'm glad I got the chance to in this box! The Kent's Kitchen meal kit also looks exciting.. I love cooking with spices and this 3 tier of goodness will spice up any meal I'm sure! I'm also happy that I could redeem my Degustafridge this time round, but more on that below...

Lets take a closer look...

Solo Marshmallow Creme - £1.99
This is a spreadable sweet marshmallow treat that sounds pretty versatile - it can be used in baking or just straight from the tub! I'm going to get my thinking cap on and decide what I can use this for as I'm rather intrigued!

Special K Cracker Chips - £1.89
These are perfect for people who are trying to be healthy (like me!). They are pretty yummy, flavoursome and a perfect snack. Unlike some crisp packets, you get loads of crackers in here, so perfect for sharing!

Brioche Pasquier sliced loaf - £1.69
I've never had bread from this brand but I'm intrigued.. the recipe provided with this months box includes this bread, so I may, just may, be adventurous!

Benecol Yogurts - £2.59
This was redeemed with my Degustafridge token which is a fairly new concept that Degustabox have introduced. Due to obvious refrigeration reasons, you have to redeem this instore as oppose to Degustabox including it in your box. The last token that was provided by Degustabox I was unfortunately unable to redeem because it could only be accepted in Waitrose or Sainsburys - We don't have a Waitrose local to us and when I popped in Sainsburys they unfortunately did not stock the item. However this time round the token could be redeemed in more accessible supermarkets.
I chose the 'Garden Fruits' pack which includes strawberry, peach, rhubarb and cherry, however there were several other packs to choose from too.

Bear Paws - 55p
These strawberry and apple fruits are yummy for on the go. I think they're pretty good for children as well.

Jelly Belly beans - £2.50
Like I previously said, I've always been intriguied by these. I know for sure I want to try their candles too! There is a guide on the back of the pack which states what colour bean is what flavour. There are some pretty outrageous sounding flavours ('Chocolate pudding' I'm looking at you!) - however the beans scarily taste like chocolate pudding! Its safe to say I definitely had a few favourites in this pack (bubblegum, tutti fruitti, cherry, etc) and a few that I wasn't so keen on, but the good definitely outweighed the bad! I think these would actually make a good guessing game with a friend if you've got a spare half hour to kill!

Get Buzzing Flapjack - £1.30
I tried this earlier and I'm not sure what I think of it - when I hear flapjack I immediately think gooey treacle oats, however due to the nuts and fruit that was added to this, it took the attention away from the flapjack and left me focusing on everything else. I'm actually not too sure what was in mine - possibly brazil nuts along with cranberries.. either way I wasn't too fond of the fruit.

Enhance Drinks (Orange & Passionfruit) - £2.49
These tiny little capsules claim to make 32 drinks - it'll be interesting to see how weak you have to make it to get 32 drinks! Either way, these are so handy for travelling or taking to work with you - This will sit on my desk from next week I think! The taste is pretty refreshing and light.

Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce - £1.39
I've cooked with these several times in the past and they're always a really tasty sauce to add to your cooking -  you could also use them as a dipping sauce/dressing. Its pretty versatile.. I may make my famous dish with this again soon because I haven't cooked it in a long time!

Alphabites Cereal - (Sample box)
As previously mentioned, I have tried these before and didn't think they were great. They're pretty bland in taste, and although fun for children because of the shaped letters, thats as good as it gets.

Kents Kitchen - £2.50
These 3 little pots claim to be 3 steps away from an authentic restaurant meal.. included are dry spice, liquid cooking sauce and oil... it all looks yummy and I can't wait to try this!

Dr Oetker Dark Chocolate - £2.49
This is ideal for baking, melting into cakes or any other chocolatey concoction you decide to make! I'm not a fan of dark chocolate but I'll see what I can rumble up with this!

Dr Oetker Dark Cocoa Powder - £1.89 (3 sachets)
Again, used predominantly for baking, these handy sachets are pre measured, making baking a whole lot simpler.

Have you tried Degustabox yet? It's a fab way to sample new foods that you wouldn't necessarily pick up on your normal weekly shop. It definitely helps you become adventurous in the kitchen too!

Buy yours today for only £12.99 p/m! Buy your first box for only £10.99 with this £3 discount code - 1DWMF

For more details on Degustabox please visit: - Website - Facebook - Twitter


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Home Interior Purchases | Dunelm Mill

Last week I was lucky enough to win a £50 gift voucher from Dunelm Mill. This came at perfect timing as I'm currently in the process of trying to revamp 3 rooms in our house..all at once!

As soon as the voucher arrived in the post this morning, within an hour I found myself driving to Dunelm Mill... (I don't mess around..). The few things I was hoping to buy that I had spotted online were unfortunately not in-store, so I ended up making impulse buys on items that I didn't really need. Either way, I'm really happy with my purchases, and I still have almost half the voucher left, so I'm going to hold off till new stock comes in..

Recipe boxes - £7.99 for 2 (Candy Rose Collection)
I'm always printing out recipes at work and never know where to put them.. I now have the perfect cutest storage place!

'Bubbles, Steam & Serenity' block - £3.49
This is sitting on my glass shelves in my bathroom.. My bathroom is a pretty boring place so I'm trying to give it a bit of a facelift!

Floral Hurricane Lamp - £7.99 (inc candle and sand)
I absolutely love the design of this glass hurricane lamp. The good thing with this is you're not forced to use it as a candle holder.. it could be used for so many things. I adore the print on this.

Floral Mug - £1.99
I bought this purely for work. The mugs that I've previously brought in either get used by everyone and anyone, or they miraculously disappear. Now its getting colder I tend to drink more hot drinks at work so I thought I'm going to invest in one more.. and keep it in my locker when not used!

Heart Candle Holders - £1.49
These were mainly for a sideboard I have in my living room that is still fairly empty inside, but because of glass doors, there's no hiding the emptiness.. so I'm slowly trying to fill it!

Keep your eyes peeled to see what I buy with the remainder of my gift card!


Sunday, 2 November 2014

October Beauty Empties

Another month has passed us by in the blink of an eye...
Judging from my empties drawer, October appears to have been a rather quite one in terms of beauty. I seem to have muddled my way through several packs of face wipes and not a lot else... which, whilst I'm on the subject - I know face wipes are quite controversial in the beauty world, and a lot believe they are bad for your skin, but I honestly don't care. I get tired of listening to beauty gurus stating that certain products are fantastic for your skin, then a few years later saying they are the worst things ever. Its the same with food and healthy eating/drinking - One moment alcohol is the worst thing for you, then in another breath, someone states having a few glasses of wine a week is actually good for you. Whatever... I do what works best for me.

Now I've got that out the way with, here are my October empties...

Whish Body Butter - I received this in a beauty box a few months ago. I smelt it and fell in love, The strange thing is, it's lavender scented, which normally I despise as it has that real 'old lady' smell to it. However this took Lavender to a whole new level, I don't know what the hell was in it but whatever it was it was GOOD! So much so that I deliberately held of using it till I went on holiday. I like to have a new scent on holiday so it reminds me of being away once I return. I applied this every day - it sunk in well, my skin felt nourished and extra soft. It's left me wanting more from this brand. I'm loving their packaging as well - all pastels and rather cute!

Elegant Touch Rapid Dry for Nails (with Vitamin E) - I paint my nails.. a lot. This spray definitely speeds up the drying process. The only thing I find with this (and with other nail sprays as well) - it leaves a light oily residue behind, and if you fail to wipe this off and apply another coat of polish, it doesn't apply very well because the spray has acted as a barrier.. little lesson for you there! But again, another item that I wouldn't hesitate in repurchasing.

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hr Wear Foundation - I really don't need to comment on this because this crops up several times in my monthly empties posts. It's a staple foundation in my routine and its been with me for a couple of years now (erm, not this same bottle!) - It provides everything I want in a foundation and I can't see myself stopping using this any time soon.

Sanex Anti-Perspirant Deodorant - I don't stick to the same deodorant, ever. I usually just get whatever is on offer. This came on holiday with me, so obviously I was in hot climate and it didn't fail in doing its stuff. Another deodorant I'd be quite happy in buying again.

Baylis & Harding Lavender Calming Body Wash - What was I saying about Lavender?! I received this in a Christmas gift set and finally got round to using it. It definitely wouldn't be my choice - Not only do I dislike Lavender (I don't think I can say that any more times in this post!) but I'm not a fan of shower gels.. I prefer shower creams as I find them much more luxurious on the skin and easier to handle in the shower. This gel came out in big blobs and soon slid off my soufflé - hence why I dislike gels!

Collection Lasting Finish Concealer - Another staple product of mine. I use this to cover up and blemishes, under the eye to brighten and its an all round budget friendly concealer that seems to stay put all day. My only bug-bear with this is that the writing always rubs off - its happened with every one of these I've owned, and I know it happens to others too, so Collection - if you're reading - sort the typing/ink out.. please! I don't like nameless products in my make-up bag!

Agave Healing Hair Oil -  This little glass beauty came on holiday with me - I love hair oils as opposed to creams, I find them more nourishing for the hair and more manageable once applied. I can't give true comments on this though as this is only 4ml worth. I do know that it helped tame my split ends up and made my hair feel extra soft in the heat.

Skin & Co Sicilian Light Serum - Another beauty subscription item - Again, similar to above, I can't comment too much because this was only 5ml's worth, and also, if I'm being honest, I finished using this a few weeks ago so I honestly can't remember what I thought of it.. whoops! It obviously didn't blow me away though!

Johnsons Baby Wipes - Sorry if you spot any marks on the packed in the photo - they are foundation marks from my hands after applying in a morning - because that's exactly what I use these for - Wiping my hands.

Nivea Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes (x2) - Similar to the deodorant, I grab whatever face wipes are on offer. I think that they are getting ridiculously overpriced now, there average pack being over £3. Luckily though there always seems to be several brands on offer... I never have a problem with Nivea - the size of the face wipe is good, the amount of 'substance' on the face wipe is sufficient enough and (when on offer) they're well priced. They take the first layer of my make-up off well. I can't complain.

Witch Cleaning & Toning Wipes - Perfect size and substance on wipe - My only bug bear with these are that (due to their ingredients) you cannot use them round the eye area, so when I'm feeling extra lazy/tired/zombie-fied ready-to-pass-out-in-bed, these make taking my make-up off just that little more longer. We all know Witch are meant to be pros at clearing those pesky spots up - Luckily my skin hasn't been that bad lately, so I can't honestly comment on this...

Till next time!

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