30 October 2014

#SheffieldBBloggers Goody Bag

If you ready my post about the recent Sheffield Bloggers Meet Up, you may recall me mentioning a goody bag so huge and goody-filled it needed it's own post - and here it is! 

Give them nightmares make up

First of all I was very excited to discover some amazing bits from Makeup Revolution. Despite hearing nothing but great things about the brand I'd rather shamefully tried nothing from them before the event. Everyone got either the full set of lipsticks or the gorgeous Give Them Nightmares Palette but since Hayley is very generous and lovely she gave me her palette as she already had it so I ended up with both, woo! Makeup Revolution also donated their eye primer to everyone too. 

green purple lipstick

I love adding to my Nail Polish collection too, and got some real beauties in the bag! I''m crazy about 'a-list', the lovely red polish from Essie, and I'm really looking forward to trying the lovely pair from The Body Shop - who I didn't even realise did nail polish! My Beauty UK polish is a similar colour to one of my Body Shop polishes but it's texture makes it a completely different kettle of fish! 


My lips will be as well taken care of as my nails with this lovely collection of lip goodies - moisturising balms from Lypsyl and Epic Blend and glimmering glosses from Deborah Milano and Crabtree and Evelyn


We all get to keep our faces nice and clean and moisturised too! We received a facewash from Quinoderm, scrub from T-Zone and toner from Skinetica, and a face cream from Balance Active Formula. The Skinetica is already a favourite from previous experiences, and I've heard great things about Quinoderm so really looking forward to trying that! 


One product that I think everyone 'oooh'ed at when discovering it in their bags was the Urban Decay Eye Primer - this would you believe is my first ever Urban Decay product! I was also very excited by the mini lolli-tint from Benefit as I've not tried this but adore their posie tint! The new brushes - from Nanshy and Crown Brush were welcome discoveries too! The Papier Poudre blotting papers are adorable, and I'm giddy about the Bare Minerals Eye Liner too - yet another brand I've heard raved about but never tried!


I've mentioned before I'm sure that leave-in conditioner is my favourite beauty invention in the world and the much-appreciated Macadamia product apparently cleanses as well as conditions so sounds like a winner to me! The Joico colour therapy shampoo sounds great too! 


 It wasn't all beauty product though - on no! Some adorable new additions to my jewelley and accessories box came in the form of this sweet midi ring from Vanilla Shimmer, four leaf clover bracelet from Tiny Wishes, badge from House of Wonderland and beautiful butterfly earrings from Punky Pins


I was ridiculously excited about the amazing WWF plasters from Dermocare - this kids are gonna go nuts over these but I want to keep them for myself! WE also got some pretty sexy looking stockings from Charnos, a water-flavourer from Go Splash and underarm pads from Mondss. 


I know Simone reviewed the Clinomyn toothpaste recently and said it made a massive difference to the appearance of her teeth so I;m looking forward to trying this for myself! The Lyons Leaf Beauty Balm sounds right up my street, and there was a sample of Derma Dew moisturiser too! 


We all received a product from Cloud 9 Skin Solutions too - I got a scar minimising cream which will be grand as years working in kitchens when I was younger (and generally being a bit clumsy) have left me with a couple of scars! Last but by no means least is the Ginger and Lime hand cream I received from the Somerset Toiletry Company - I can pretty much guarantee this will be the first thing in the bag I use up in its entirety - it smells so good I can't keep myself from reapplying! 

scar minimising cream

And that, I think, is finally about it - how much were we treated! A massive thanks goes out to all these brands included here and again to anyone who was at all involved with putting on this fab event for us all to enjoy! 

29 October 2014

Memebox - My Cute Wishlist 3

The first My Cute Wishlist Box from Memebox was one of my favourite ever boxes, filled with products what were both useful and adorable - it was so good in fact that when the second one arrived I was willing to ignore the fact that it was a good way off being as good as the first one and make sure I snapped up the third, sure that it'd be top notch. Well it's here now and I'm not sure what to think!

cute korean cosmetics

Hope Girl Tinted Lip Balm ($12) - See this is,.. fine. It's not terrible looking but not what I'd call particularly cute. The colour is not bad (I got Hot Cherry, others received Strawberry or Love Peach) and it will undoubtedly get used as lip balm is my best friend. 


Shara Shara Fairy's Make Up Synergy Sun Cream ($21) - With this on the other hand I don't really know where to begin? I suppose, if I am being generous, I can kind of see why someone thought this was cute rather than the monstrosity it is. I think it might be too tacky for my six year old daughter... and for a sun cream I don't think I'd want to carry this around and apply it in public even for the comedy value! 

weird packagng korean beauty

ddung Family Milky Foam Cleansing Cream ($12) - A pattern is starting to emerge, but I never found dolls cute or appealing in any way - even when I was little (much to my mums dismay!). They were always instead somewhere between boring and creepy and where they fell on the scale depended on the particular doll. This one adorning the creamy cleanser I definitely find a bit creepy - staring at me with her huge dead eyes, urgh! 


Shara Shara Kissing Sugar Lip Scrub ($7) - This already scores bonus points for not chilling me to the depths of my soul. The winter destroys my lips anyway so any bonus products to keep them super soft and smooth is great news and this scrub - with sugar, walnut shells, honey extracts and avacado oil - definitely sounds like a handy item to throw in my bag. 


Youngwoosa Oh! It's Lovely and Soft Cream ($47) - I do actually really quite like the kitsch packaging on this cream! I'll have to see how it measures up against others I've got but it pretty sweet looking, 

cute korean cream

Tony Moly Red Cheeks Girls Patch ($2) - These are designed to combat dry, rosy cheeks caused by those harsh winter winds! I'll keep an eye on mine over the coming months and whip these out if it ever seems appropriate! 


On balance I think there were some pretty cute items in the box - they were just balanced out by some frankly terrifying ones too! I guess the idea of what is 'cute' is pretty subjective! 

Though it seems the general opinion of the box wasn't very positive, I don't think it was terrible - and I still have hope that My Cute Wishlist Four will be awesome! Full price the box will have been $23 + postage so I still feel like I've got my money's worth even if I pretend I never laid eyes on the sun cream doll!

As it is, this box is long sold out but there's plenty of other amazing sounding boxes of super cute Korean make up and skin care available over at the Memebox website

28 October 2014

Lions and Tigers and Polar Bears, Oh My!

Am I the only one surprised and dismayed about how early it got dark yesterday? By the time I finished work the day already felt more or less over - depressing! Made me long for the long bright days that I guess we wont be seeing for a while! 

Day-long trips in the sun feel like a different world at the minute but it was only really a few weeks ago we headed down to Yorkshire Wildlife Park for Little Madam's birthday and thought I'd share some pictures as I like to remember daylight - and who doesn't love nice animals!? 

yorkshire wildlife park

The Meerkats were our first stop - Little Miss is currently doing a school project on them and knows lots of interesting facts. I wonder if anyone paid any attention to the meerkats before those adverts made them a sensation?

YWP

The Lion enclosure at Yorkshire Wildlife Park is pretty massive, but you could still get close enough to see the size of those teeth on that lioness! This might be the first time I've seen lions doing anything other than sleeping too!

lion zoo

yorkshire wildlife park

yorkshire wildlife park

yorkshire wildlife park

polar bear in yorkshire

I was a bit worried when I saw that they had a new Polar Bear bit at the Wildlife Park - I've seen Polar Bears in zoos before and it's never been a happy experience - above is some details about why we shouldn't worry about the conditions this fella is kept in, and below you can see how much space he has. See a tiny white blob in the corner of that first cave? That's Victor the polar bear, and this is his playground. Unfortunately Victor was very sleepy on our visit! 



It seems that I took about 400 pictures of the lovely tiger and missed other animals altogether but there's definitely plenty to see at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. There's a couple of play areas too for any little monkeys you take with you, as few places to buy food on the way round apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Despite my woes about the darker days meaning less trips out, the park is actually open all year round (you jut might want an extra jumper over the next few months!) and is well worth a visit!

27 October 2014

Christmas At Lush

There can be no denying at this point that Christmas is well on it's way - and I think it's equally as certain that the Christmas released from Lush are as synonymous with the festive season as tinsel and reindeer. Christmas smells, to many, not of freshly baked mince pies of chestnuts roasting by an open fire, but of Snow Fairy.


A lucky bunch of us had the chance to get up close and personal with a few of the festive releases last week at a fantastic event put on for bloggers at the Leeds store. Since it's a place I can imagine calling into a lot between now and the end of December it seemed like a great opportunity to go see what and where everything is!


Though the new releases cover shower gels, cleansers and more - I somehow seem to have only taken pictures of the bath products - oops! I suppose you can see where my main Lushy interests lie though! One of the new bath products that seems to have won the hearts of the Leeds store staff is the Holly Golightly bubble bar - a sparkly spicy pud of a bubble bar!


Old favourites like the Dashing Santa here have reappeared, as well as a bunch of new faces...



... some of which actually have faces. Technically, I think the cute little Wizard Bubble Bar is part of the Halloween range but anything that sparkly definitely has a Christmas spin, and after all it's a 'magical' time of year so I can totally get away with this, right?


If not I'll just have to use him all up over Halloween! ('cos yup, I ended up buying one of these lil' fellas to take home with me, I mean, look at that cute face - how could I not? I just fell a bit bad about crumbling him up in my bath now....)


My only concern with all these new bath treats is the amount of bathing time left before now and Christmas - I've learnt in the past that by the time you get through them all and pick a favourite it's too late to restock! I'll just have to make sure I have more baths this year!



One thing in particular I always look forward to are the gifts. THIS is how you do gift packaging! Every single one of them looks like they were dreamed up by Santa's most creative and excitable elf, with bows and bells (yup, actual literal bells) aplenty, gorgeous prints, funky shaped boxes and amazing themes - of course all choc full of the finest Lush products!


And best of all - the lovely lot at Lush sent us each away with our very own gift set - talk about spoilt rotten! I ended up with the Santa Claus is Coming to Town box which I will show off here in more detail once I've had a bit more time to play with everything but it has some amazing products in it!
Now I'm definitely getting excited for Christmas! Big thanks to Lush Leeds for letting us all run amok in your gorgeous store, and I'm sure you'll be seeing me soon!

24 October 2014

The Scone Bar, Richmond

Being the educationally minded soul I am, I obviously like to make sure the young 'uns are as equipped to deal with their homework as possible and that this learning process is fun and enriching. So, for example, while preparing his end of term project on The Normans, I figured a quick visit to the Norman castle in Richmond, North Yorkshire would be just the thing. The potential for a visit to The Scone Bar in the same town had absolutely nothing to do with this decision....

best scones yorkshire

Weirdly enough, despite me having this place in mind from the outset (oh ok you got me!), when I mentioned to the little ones that we'd get some food after we'd finished exploring the castle this was also my daughters choice. And such a firm choice it was that when they didn't have any tables left when we first got there she insisted on waiting around rather than going elsewhere. The girl has taste!


When a table had freed up we were seated on the tiny second floor that contained ours and just one other table - very cosy!

We'd arrive a little too early for afternoon tea (not served until 2.30!) so I figured I'd do my best to mimic one by ordering all the requisite parts (sandwich, scone, cake) separately, but I did get slightly sidetracked by the soup. I'd been on a bit of a soup binge after getting my soup maker and making my own and when I saw I could get a bowl of tomato and carrot soup instead of the usual side of salad along with my sandwich, it just made sense.

It's not that the soup wasn't nice - it really was! It's just that I think I've been spoilt a bit by my recent home-made creations and it just wasn't as good as mine (modesty is overrated!) - so I had about half and the little fella finished it off for me, The sandwich was very nice though - really soft bread, lots of nice cheese - winner!

soup of the day at the scone bar

The idea was that I'd order my own slice of cake afterward but crafty little missus had a 'better' plan. She, and her brother, had ordered the 'little people' meal, which included a sandwich, drink, crisps, yoghurt and cake, but she decided she didn't like her cake (she thinks she doesn't like fresh cream, which can't be true), so I should have her little cake and order her a full sized one.


Being a big softie, I went along with it and munched her cute little cupcake (which was lovely by the way, light and sweet and filled with yummy fresh cream - again, how can anyone not like it?) while she happily tucked into this rather epic portion of chocolate fudge cake with ice cream!

richmond desserts

I didn't feel too deprived though as really the main reason I was here was for the scones! The place has more flavours than you can shake a stick at (and sadly way more than I could eat in one sitting!) but some really amazing sounding offerings both sweet and savoury - with plenty available in gluten free versions too! I thought I'd have a real nightmare narrowing it down as I'm frequently incredibly undecisive but I'd caught sight of the words 'Cherry Marzipan' on a board on the way in and couldn't shake them from my mind so I knew that was the one for me! 

so many scones in richmond

There's a list of jams, creams and other accompaniments almost as long as the scone menu itself but I thought I'd keep this one pretty simple and let the flavour of the scone speak for itself. That doesn't mean I didn't practically drown the poor thing in butter though - the scone was served warm so it just sucked up all the butter like a sponge, a tasty buttery sponge!

scone bar richmond

The scone was, as expected, incredible. Absolutely mind-blowingly incredible. I've been dreaming of it since I left! Good enough to make me wish I hadn't bothered with any of the other food so I could eat more scones. I wish I'd had more there and it's just crazy I left without bringing any extras home with me, I don't know what I was thinking! 

hot buttered scone

I'm definitely going to have to call back at some point - there are still so many scone varieties to try! - I just need another really good excuse to take the trip back up the road! Any ideas? 

Surprise Package from a Surprising Brand

In my time as a blogger I've been lucky enough to receive many exciting emails filled with offers of brand collaborations or fun events, but few have been as intriguing as one I got recently with the subject line 'I want to send you a mystery package'!

I love packages at the best of times (that's why I buy so many subscription boxes, oops!), but a completely mysterious surprise package? So exciting!

The lovely lady behind the email said she was going to pick out something specifically with me in mind after stalking my blog for inspiration - plenty of people I know don't even put that much effort into buying Christmas gifts so I was already feeling pretty special even before my package arrived - and very pleased when it did!


The first thing I noticed when I opened my box was this completely adorable tea cup candle (with hand written note, you can see why I was feeling special!) It doesn't take a genius to look at my blog and work out I like tea so this is obviously right up my street! I was so pleased with this I almost missed the bigger surprise hiding underneath in the form of this rather lovely Mac.


And here's an even bigger surprise - the coat is from Bonmarche! I have to admit, it's not a shop I've ever really though to look in before. It's a favourite of both my mum and my grandma, and so I've always sort of dismissed it as an 'older persons' shop - completely in denial of course about the fact that I am certainly getting 'older' myself!


But but but! This is not an old persons coat! I mean it could be, in that a good mac is a timeless classic that can by worn by pretty much everyone, but its certainly not old person specific - as demonstrated by the lovely Miss Sammie who was my model for the day due to an overpowering bout of camera-shyness on my part. She, and the other carload of bloggers I had with me, were all very keen on this - the pretty pale pink shade playing a large part in this I imagine!


Despite being young and trendy enough for young and trendy Sammie to pull off, it's at the same time my most sensible and grown-up looking coat. It's the one I can wear when I need to convince people I'm a respectable business-woman (which I am!) as well as a cool blogger (which is half true!) while keeping the chill off on these autumn days!
It's not a full winter coat - it never promised to be - but it's perfect for those crisp cool days like today. When I need something warmer though I wont forget to browse Bonmarche's range of coats and jackets now I know a bit more about what they offer!

23 October 2014

#sheffieldbbloggers event

We do seem to be spoilt for events and meet ups at the minute, and last weekend was just another great example of this! Georgina, Heather and Ashleigh put on a great event in Sheffield so when Saturday morning came we hopped in the car and set off down the road!

It didn't take us long at all to arrive at our venue for the afternoon, the South Indian Restaurant Maveli, where we were promptly welcomed and invited to wander round and see what was happening around the room.


One important element of the event was the focus on the charity Look Good, Feel Better. Jan from the charity had come along to explain a bit about the important work they do - providing a much needed confidence boost for cancer patients by offering a fun and friendly makeover session including their own 'confidence kit', full of products to just help the ladies feel a bit better about themselves at a time when it might be hard to do so. It did seem like the perfect charity to be involved in a beauty bloggers meet up as I'm sure many of the attendees know all too well how much difference a face of make up or a bit of a pampering session can make to how you feel. Through selling raffle tickets (for some amazing prizes!) we raised around £250 for the charity!


Lush Sheffield had also come along to show off their wares, including some gorgeous new Christmas products! Anything where Lush are involved is always good with me - I could stand around sniffing their bath bombs for hours.... and more or less did! They were also giving arm massages and letting us have a go at making our own bath bombs too!

christmas gift products from lush

Here's Jenna demonstrating an expert bath-bomb making technique. We were making Ickle Baby Bots, one of the bath things I've never tried! It was designed with children in mind, but this one is all mine!

Of course it'd be a huge shame to be in such a nice restaurant and not have any food so I think everyone was very excited about the spread put on for us by Maveli. I didn't actually get to try a lot - too much going on and too easily distracted - but the bits I did nibble on were very tasty and I heard nothing but good things about the food from everyone else!



The next treat in store for us was the arrival of HD Brows specialist Kim from Boudoir Salon - this girl knows her brows! She got to work her magic on a few lucky ladies (as modelled below by Simone) and the rest of us managed to pick up a trick or two just by watching - especially as she gave us a little tutorial in threading! I can't imagine being let loose on anyone, including myself, with a piece of thread is a good idea but at least I now have a basic understanding of how it works - something that had always confounded me in the past! Kim also kindly donated a full HD Brows treatment as one of the raffle prizes - what a hero!



Oh and speaking of the raffle! What am amazing selection of prizes - I think the four Vivienne Westwood rings donated by Silvertree were the most highly sought after prizes - but there were plenty more amazing things like the Bee Good Bundle, a set of OPI nail polishes from coloristiq, and more lovely jewellery from Taupe and Pearl. My car-load were quite lucky as we ended up with a bunch of goodies from The Balm, Handmade Burger Co vouchers, a Cocoa Brown tanning gift set, and a pair of sunglasses from Sunglasses Shop ... and I think something else that I can't remember ... between us!



Georgina had also brought along a bunch of her own 'dress up' things which proved a very popular form of entertainment throughout the day, as demonstrated by Sammie and Carrieanne...



You'd have thought that would be enough to keep us all entertained all day, but there was one last surprise - and it was a really good one! Costellos Cakery - a Sheffield based company who deliver cakes (yes, deliver cakes, right to your door!) - swung by with boxes of their gorgeous goodies for us to try! I had a couple of little tasters - all incredible - and bought myself a rather sizable portion of the Peanut Butter Stack to take home. It was not only completely delicious but did me that evening for dessert and the next day for breakfast! If I lived in Sheffield and had easy access to these guys I'd be in big trouble!


It was eventually time to wander off home - though not without a goody bag so full of stuff it'll need a whole post to itself (so keep your eyes peeled for that!), but we all agreed it was a really fantastic event, fun and friendly with lots to do but while still having a really cool chilled out atmosphere. Huge thanks to the ladies who planned it and everyone else involved!