Wednesday 24 September 2014

On my Travels...

I've been a pretty rubbish blogger lately huh?
However! I'll be gone for a further 7-10 days as I'm going on holiday! I booked a (very!) last minute deal yesterday to leave on Friday.. we're going to Tenerife for a week, which although isn't on the top of my list of places to go (I've been before..) it will make a nice relaxing change.

I will be back very soon with lots of holiday photos for you all to feast your eyes on..

For those that haven't yet.... don't forget to enter my beauty competition to win yourself some Benefit goodies as well as other stuff!

Farewell friends!


Saturday 20 September 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Chancellors Hotel, Manchester

Earlier on in the year I won a fantastic competition that included numerous things, one of them being Afternoon Tea. I finally managed to make use of my prize when I visited Manchester a few weeks ago.

The venue of the afternoon tea isn't somewhere I'd probably choose if I was hunting for somewhere to spend my money, mainly due to it being approx 3 miles from the city centre.

The setting wasn't as grand like previous afternoon tea's I've experienced, but nonetheless, the actual service was 100%. A lovely Cypriot lady was serving us throughout and was very attentive, polite, and couldn't do more for us if she tried.

Once seated, we were asked what we would like to drink. I fancied something cold to quench my thirst so went for a diet coke and Mike went for a beer. Then the teas and coffee's came out in stainless steel teapots (which was a little disappointing.. I much prefer a good old fashioned floral teapots/cups being the granny I am!). I then completely forgot that the prize included champagne... so we had 3 drinks each on the go.. spoilt for choice! haha.

Shortly after our food came out which included the traditional sandwich fillings (salmon, cucumber and cream cheese etc), and although I've tasted better at afternoon tea, they were still nice. There was a large selection of cakes on the 2nd tier, which consisted of scones, bakewell tarts, lemon drizzle cake and chocolate brownies. They were all of a really good size which I was pretty impressed with, all of them tasting homebaked as well, which is a huge factor for me.

The top tier consisted of a selection of macaroons (which personally I'm not fond of but this is obviously personal choice, because I know macaroons are usually well-loved... I'm quite clearly just odd!). The pot of clotted cream and jam also sat with the macaroons which accompanied the scones nicely.

It's safe to say we were both well and truly stuffed afterwards... oh.. and those extra drinks that we ordered (the coke and beer) - we ended up getting free when really we should have paid! How kind of them!

Overall, when having afternoon tea the setting is an important factor for me because I feel it adds to the overall experience, however this time, the setting wasn't fantastic, it was a little tired looking and old fashioned and just seemed to be lacking an atmosphere.
The service however was perfect, I really couldn't have asked for more. We got served by the same Cypriot lady throughout our stay and she appeared to work long hours, and never once did this show through her mood when dealing with us.
The food was good - As previously stated, I've had better at other venues, however I was impressed with the portion sizes and the standard of food, although wasn't excellent, was not poor either.

Where's your favourite place to go for Afternoon tea? I'm going to Liverpool in a couple of months and want some recommendations!

Don't forget to enter my competition! I'm giving away a load of beauty items including some benefit mascara and nail art goodies!

Saturday 13 September 2014

September's Birchbox - 'Happy Days'

Lets take a closer look...

(From L-R)

Agave healing oil treatment (from £16)
A lightweight oil to smooth hair, build resiliency and boost shine and colour.
I'm not really a hair person but I'm rather partial to a good hair oil. My hair is completely ruined from all the dye and is in really bad condition so any treatments are a blessing for me!

Birchbox Happy Days photo clip. Although I like this addition to the lifestyle side of things, I really don't think I'll get any use out of this. I have a few of these photo clips which are much cuter (sorry Birchbox!) and I don't use those either. Maybe if we were allowed to personalize our desk at work I'd get some use out of these, but unfortunately we have to hot desk so its a no-go.

Skin & Co - Sicilian light serum (£29)
Light serum which sinks in fast, evens the complexion and brightens, softens and tightens skin.
I'm not a huge skincare fanatic so this didn't overly excite me but I'll definitely get some use out of it. I'm going away soon so I think I'll take it with me.

ModelCo - Lip Lacquer in 'Viva' - £15
I'm not a huge fan of lipglosses. I find them an irritating sticky mess, so much prefer to either stick to lipbalm or lipstick. However I do like the colour of this, its rather misleading and is no way near as colourful on the lips as it is in the tube, which I suppose is a good thing. It gives a nice natural sheer tint to the lips. It'll be nice to pop in my handbag just so I know 'its there'.

Urban Fruit - Mango - £13.20 (for 6 packs).
I've tried these before but in different flavours. They're a good healthy alternative snack, although I can't say I was too keen on this flavor, which is sad because I absolutely love fresh mango.
Benefit - It's potent! Eye cream (Full size - £25.50)
Who doesn't love to receive a benefit product? It's nice to slowly add them to my collection because I can honestly say I don't usually purchase benefit items otherwise because I think they're all way overpriced.
Korres citrus showergel - £8
I've tried a Korres showergel in the past and remember liking it. I'm not a huge lover of the citrus flavor, however it does smell really fresh and I do know this will probably come on holiday with me.

Overall (although it may not seem like it!) I was pretty impressed with this months box. It has a good selection of beauty products and I was also impressed with the lifestyle choices this month too. Although I probably wont use the photo clip I still thought it was a nice extra.

Were you happy with your box this month?

Have you entered my giveaway to win £50 worth of beauty products including a full size benefit mascara?!
Click HERE to enter!


Wednesday 10 September 2014

Book review: You're the One that I Want - Gionvanna Fletcher

I'm unsure what I think of this book... The writing style in the first few chapters just cried out that this author was fairly new to writing books. I found a few things quite repetitive and poorly written, almost as if she struggled to get her point across, so the flow of the book was very rocky. As I got deeper into the book, I found this to disappear, not completely, but almost. I then decided to do a quick search on who the author is and I realized it was the wife of Tom from Mcfly.

The actual story I really enjoyed.. **Plot Spoiler** - It begins with 3 children; Robert, Ben and Maddie who are the best of friends. They grow up together and are practically attached at the hip. From day 1 a small 9 year old Ben develops a crush on Maddie that, as they years progress, turn into him falling in love with her, however everyone else is oblivious. As part of their French class, they all visit Paris for a few days. Ben plans to use this time to confess his undying love for Maddie, and chooses the Eiffel tower to do it at. However unfortunately, Robert and Maddie share a kiss whilst on the trip, and it crushes Bens heart. As time passes, Robert and Maddie become and item and Ben struggles with the once trio now including a loved up couple. He feels a spare part and knows things will never be the same again.

They all do their A-Levels and head off to uni. However it is Ben and Maddie that go to the same university, leaving Robert to embark on his journey in another part of the country. Maddie and Robert still stay together however it is Ben that looks after Maddie after drunken fuelled nights out, ensuring she makes it to her own halls of residence. During their first year at uni, Robert confesses he had a one night stand with a girl, and it crushes Maddie. She leans on Ben for emotional support, and it is here that he tells her his love for her. They share a moment of passion and from then on the spark is there between them, and she realizes that she too has feelings for Ben. Unfortunately for him though, Maddie soon returns to Robert. Bens frustration causes him to sleep with a girl at a house party which Maddie finds out about and is distraught. Ben ends up in a relationship with a girl, purely to block out the feelings that he has for Maddie. The trio now becomes a 4 but the relationship is based on false hope. A few years later Ben secretly finds out that Robert is due to propose to Maddie. Not being able to handle his emotions any more, he jumps in head first and asks Alice (his girlfriend) to marry him, in hope that it would postpone the proposal to Maddie. It worked, however Ben knew he was engaged to the wrong person, and as Alice began wedding planning, Ben called the wedding off and they parted. A year later, Robert eventually proposed to Maddie. They both get married and the epilogue of the book fast forwards a few more years to where both Robert and Maddie, and Ben and his new wife Kate have a child. They are dropping them off at their first day at school, and Bens little boy is taking a liking to Maddie's little girl, and they hold hands as they run off into the playground. Holding hands is a prominent part throughout the book. From day 1 at 9 years old, Ben used to hold Maddie's hand and squeeze it 3 times. The 3 squeezes symbolized the words 'I love you', however no one knew except Ben. He did this right through his teenage years until he confessed his feelings to her. The hand holding has now been passed down to their children, which insinuates that the children will take on a similar journey to Maddie and Ben. The final words of the book implies Ben has never fallen out of love with Maddie, and never will but he has learnt to love again.

I think it was such a sweet storyline, and bits I could relate to, especially during their uni times - I built up the scene in my head and related it back to images from my uni life. An all round good chick lit, although let down at the beginning by the writing style.

Monday 8 September 2014

August 2014 Instagram round-up

For those that follow me on instagram (@kateld85) you may know that in August I took on the challenge of instagramming something prominent each day of that month. I think I may have missed 2 days but here are the highlights of the month..
 Clockwise from L-R
*The beginning of the month saw my Dads 60th birthday (now that's a scary thought!). We all went out for a nice meal in the country - The food was really late coming out because they had a wedding on, so we ended up getting 2 free bottles of wine and our huge bill halved! (no moaning there!).
*I found this little cheeky monkey (my niece) at my mums when I popped one day.
*Degustabox arrival's always excite me!
*Baking day!
*Messing around with nail art.. not too keen on this one but it did remind me of the old fashioned fruit-salad sweets!
*Picnic in the park!
*Roses & Lilies from Mike. They made the living room smell SO good for well over a week.. They have definitely become my new fave flower!
*Current read throughout the month of August - Review to come!
*My first attempt at marbled watercolour nail art
*Mediterranean platter
*More baking, I followed Tanya Burr's recipe for this!
*New drink that Café Nero has released - Chocolate & Coconut frappe - Yum!
*One of the new Premier Inn rooms in Manchester's Portland St
*Ant n Dec Live doing some river dancing
*Afternoon tea (Competition win)
*2nd trip (ever) to Ikea
*A very rare selfie
*A pub meal whilst being dragged to watch the Liverpool match
*Took these little monsters out for the day
*Mikes birthday cards

Did you have a good August?

I can't believe summer is pretty much over for another year :-(

Saturday 6 September 2014


As promised, I am pleased to be hosting another giveaway for you!

It's really simple to enter, just follow the rafflecopter instructions below!

Whats included?

Benefit 'They're Real!' mascara in black (Full size)
Avon pro+ nail polish in 'Impulsive Sky' (12ml)
Avon Color Trend nail polish in 'Vixen' (8ml)
Wild About Beauty eyeshadow in 'Matilda' (worth £13)
Avon Nail art gem wheel
Supergloop CC Cream (Light to Medium) (3ml)
Avon nail art glitter
Nail polish and gem pen

(All items are brand new and have been purchased with my own hard earned money. Total is approx £50+).

This competition will run for 3 weeks and close midnight (GMT) on Saturday 4.10.14. The winner will be chosen by using randomizer. I will announce the winner within 3 days of the closing deadline.
Entrants from the UK only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

Review: August's Degustabox

I love it when my Degustabox arrives through the post - Just like my beauty subscription, I deliberately don't check for any spoilers beforehand, so when I open it, everything is a complete surprise, just how I like it.


Lets take a closer look...

Schwartz Flavour Shots ... £1.39 each.
I feel like when it comes to meat seasoning's, a lot of brands have been on the ball in the past year or so, and new ideas seem to be constantly popping up on the supermarket shelves. In last months box we saw the seasoned bags to cook meat in, and this month its in the design of a shot. A pretty clever idea and one that I'd definitely get some use out of.

Brioche Pasquier (pain au lait and pain au chocolat) £1.79 each
On the rare occasion I will buy a packet of pain au chocolats, although I can honestly say I've never tried the plain ones.. Me and my boyfriend shared these for breakfast over several days. They are a nice alternative to your average every-day breakfast. A recipe was included in the box that incorporated the pain au laits that I'm rather curious to try..

Fever Tree Ginger Beer/Tonic Water £1.69 each
Wow - I love Ginger beer but in my opinion this was far too strong. It made my nose tingle and warmed my throat up like cough medicine! The taste became not very enjoyable to the point where I had to mix it with some fruit juice to dampen down the strong flavour. As for the Tonic Water - I really don't think I have ever tried this, so it's sat chilling in my fridge till its needed :-)

Berry White (Peach & Goji Berry) £1.59
Can I just start by saying I love a drink in a glass bottle.. it makes it feel that little bit more special. Now onto the taste..
Unfortunately I didn't like this as much as I would have hoped. The flavour was far too weak for me and just tasted like a very diluted flavoured water. The other flavours sound yummy though so I'd like to try those!

Caribbean Twist (Strawberry Daiquiri) £2.50 (alcohol option)
I've had several of flavours from this brand before, so was eager to try out this new one. They are the perfect light summers drink (esp over ice) and the alcohol % is low so its not too heavy on the ol' head! These are good for any of you that prefer an extra fruitiness to your alcohol.

Cawston Apple & Pear Pressed Fruit drink carton - 3 pack - £1.89
I haven't had a carton drink with a straw for a long time - I felt this was aimed more at children, something I haven't got yet - I unfortunately wasn't very fond of this flavor, I found it quite weak, although these cartons are different in the fact that 40% of it is mixed with water to give a 'lighter' taste.

Mexican Dave's tortilla chips £1
These are probably the best tortilla chips I've ever tasted - they had a really nice taste to them, and you get a huge amount for the money. After eating a few plain, I then made a plate full of these with melted cheese on top that me and my boyfriend shared whilst watching a film.. I'd definitely buy these again.

Lindt 'Just for You' Heart chocolates £3.49
Lindt is up there with some of my favourite chocolates, so its not surprising when I say I was glad to see this. I remember receiving a heart-shaped Lindt tin for Valentines day a couple of years ago, although these packaging is much cuter (and comes with more chocolates!). It did remind me a little of Valentines day, with the heart shaped tin and chocolates, as well as the chocolate foil wrapping. They were divine as always, definitely a melt-in-your-mouth kinda chocolate! Yum!

Dr Oetker Edible Cupcake Cases £2.50 (6 cases in each pack)
My first thought when seeing these was 'What on earth are they going to bring out next?!' These seem pretty cool though, and are handy if you have children who always need help taking the casing off cakes. It also helps with leftover mess too.. perfect for those picnics! I ate one of these without the cupcake (I know, I know...) and they reminded me of the sugared paper I used to buy as I kid to eat.. You could actually have some sneaky fun with these at parties, just make sure people are watching as you 'obliviously' eat the casing as they all gasp in horror, teehee ;-)

Degustabox have also introduced a new concept to the box that they have called 'Degustabox Fridge' - A full value coupon which you can redeem in most supermarkets. I think this is a fantastic idea as you are technically getting another item included in the box, but one that you have to go and collect yourself. This month it was the 'Moma' breakfast muesli yogurts (worth £2.99). I've yet to redeem mine but can't wait to try this out too!

Overall...This month's box I felt was fairly overpowered by drinks. Given the drinks were varied in all aspects, I would have liked to have seen at least one of these being replaced by another food item. It does of course enable you to sample drinks that maybe you probably would never have chosen otherwise. The food items were varied as always, with both savoury, sweet and something to incorporate into main meals as well. I also like the new addition of the Degustabox Fridge.

You can order your degustabox at Degustabox with a £3 off code on your subscription - PU32T


Tuesday 2 September 2014

Recent Purchases: Primark Accessories

The past month or so I've gone a little crazy in the spending department and have been buying things that, for the majority, I don't really need... but thats the story of most women's lives, right?

For my birthday I received a £50 gift card for Primark. I've clung onto it for a whole 3 months (go me!) and finally used it in Manchester last weekend.

As expected I went a little over my £50 limit, but came away with some really cute stuff!

I like to switch my purses up once in a while, and when I realised I didn't have a plain black purse I just knew I had to pick this one up. I love the punched out detailing on this, and I think plain black always looks a lot more sophisticated and 'grown up', and just like the LBD, I think everyone needs a LBP in their lives too!

I then turned the corner and immediately fell in love with the colour of this purse. I've been referring to it as lilac, but realised that it is in fact a gorgeous powder blue colour. It is a little on the summery side but when I feel like ineed colour in my life I'll pull this little one out. I love the fact that its patent too...(excuse the shadow on the purse!). Bit of a contrast to the black one but I just couldn't resist this colour!

The headphones are gonna be a love or hate thing with most. I always steal my boyfriends beats, simply cos I don't have my own. When I saw these I knew I had to get them. At £7 I think the sound quality is pretty good, and c'mon, how cute are they? Even if a little tacky looking. I definitely wont be afraid to wear these on planes and trains.

I havent bought a set of earrings from primark jn such a long time. I got stuck in a rut wearing my silver crystal studs, simply because they are so versatile. I wear them both In and out of work, and barely even take them off. When I spotted this set of 6 studs, I realised that for once, I actually like every pair and knew I would wear each one at some point., and for £1.50 for 6 pairs, really? Luckily my ears aren't aggravated by cheap earrings so I dont have to worry about that!

Have you found any cute primark accessories lately?
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