Posts tagged Leicester Blog
A few weeks ago the Highcross in Leicester ran a two-day Spring Beauty Fix event, so I headed down on the Saturday to see what was going on.
I decided to get there early so I could appreciate the event before the centre got really busy, and already there was a buzz around what the Beauty Fix had to offer. There were several displays featuring this season’s fashion trends, with a colour consultant on hand to advise on the best colours to suit your style throughout Spring. I had a quick browse of the rails and spotted a cute dress covered in polka dots, which happens to be my favourite print for clothing, so I’m hoping to see more dotty items in the shops soon!
Another stand which caught my eye was the Beauty Amnesty, which invited shoppers to discard five unwanted items of make-up, in exchange for a £10 gift card to be spent on beauty items that day. A great deal considering several brands were offering discounts, and brands such as Nails Inc, Urban Decay and Hotel Chocolat were all giving beauty advice during the event!
There were also many offers to be had on the day in stores, and several freebies up for grabs. Rituals and Decleor were offering complimentary skincare consultations, and Rituals, YSL and Clinique also had free samples and items to give away.
Whilst at the event I also managed to do a bit of shopping, and whilst browsing Debenhams’ beauty offerings I spotted Ghost’s Eclipse fragrance, which I decided to treat myself to. Ghost perfumes are my all-time favourites, and Eclipse’s light floral and fruity notes will be perfect for the coming warm months. I also headed over to H&M as I wanted a new dress, and managed to get a lovely grey number, as well as some cute mouse slippers.
Overall it was a fun day, and I’m looking forward to the next event that Highcross puts on, as they’re always enjoyable.
I’d been hoping for Krispy Kreme to come to Leicester’s Highcross shopping centre ever since it was redeveloped in 2008, and I know this was a wish shared by many. And now, after years of waiting, thanks to popular demand, Leicester finally has its first kiosk! The kiosk, which is located on the ground floor of Highcross outside Tiger, launched on 14th February, with 170 people waiting in line before it even opened. Unfortunately I was unable to make it down on opening day, but I made a visit last weekend to grab myself some much coveted doughnuts!
I got there just before the kiosk opened at 10:30am, and there was already a queue forming. The kiosk is bigger than I was expecting, with a full-size cabinet full of sweet treats, hot and cold drinks available, and a fairly large seating area. I was also impressed by the staff that I met, who were all friendly and efficient.
At any one time, Krispy Kreme has around fifteen different varieties to choose from, and you can buy them singly or in threes, or you can choose one of their boxes – original glazed dozen, assorted dozen, or choose your own dozen. I got the assorted dozen, which featured twelve of Krispy Kreme’s best sellers, including my two all-time favourites – Strawberries and Kreme, and Chocolate Dreamcake.
I also spotted Krispy Kreme’s two latest limited edition offerings in the cabinet, both of which I will be going back for. The Lotus Caramelised Biscoff doughnut is filled with biscuit spread-infused Kreme, and is topped with biscuit spread icing, biscuit crumb and white chocolate shavings. The Reese’s Peanut Butter doughnut is filled with, you guessed it, Reese’s peanut butter! It’s then finished off with chocolate icing, hazelnuts, and Reese’s peanut butter drops.
Krispy Kreme is very much a welcome addition to Leicester, and I’m looking forward to visiting again soon!
As my regular readers will know, a few months ago my fiancé and I moved in together. Since then I’ve slowly been trying to make the house look more like a home, and though it isn’t yet complete (working full-time means very little time to nest!), we’re almost there. As such, I thought it was about time I showed you some of our decor, starting with the living room.
When we moved in the house had been freshly decorated with light brown and white paintwork, and a beige carpet throughout. Neutral tones aren’t usually my thing, but they were easy to work with when it came to adding colour. The living room has been brightened with purple throws, cushions and curtains, and an ambient orange lamp, but it’s the little extras that make it even more homely.
I’ve always liked small mammals and woodland creatures, and the current trend for such wildlife has meant I’ve managed to pick up some lovely pieces. Here are a few of my favourites…
I don’t usually like having an abundance of cushions everywhere, but that all changed when I found these awesome animal photo cushions in Asda, for £7 each. There were several different animals to choose from, but I went for the squirrel, as they’re one of my favourite animals, and the Highland cow, as it reminds me of a lovely time spent in the Scottish countryside a few years ago. These take pride of place on my sofa, and as you can see Miggley approves!
Time for Tea
One thing I struggled to find was a nice set of coasters, and then when I was about to give up, I came across these gorgeous Sass & Belle Wooden Owl Coasters from Flamingo Gifts. There are six coasters in the set (much better than the typical four you usually get!), and they come in a handy stand to prevent clutter when not being used. The quality and design of the coasters is fantastic, and they look great on my coffee table.
The Abode Mouse & Field Mug is also from Flamingo Gifts, and it caught my eye as soon as I saw it as the little grey mouse reminds me of my Russian Blue rat, Heather. I prefer a mug to a cup (it holds more tea!), and this is the perfect size for my morning brew. The simple but eye-catching geometric design is by artist Luzelle van der Westhuizen, and is a good fit for my natural theme. It would also make a nice present as it comes in a gift box, and costs an affordable £8.50.
By the Fire
My fireplace features a lot of owls, with the main attraction being this owl clock. My mum gifted this to me when we first moved in, and I love how it matches the wooden coasters above.
Another of my favourite owls is this lovely felted piece that I bought from a street market in Edinburgh in the summer, during the Fringe. It took me a while to find the right place for it, but it now has a home at the side of the fireplace.
I have two of each of these hares and mice. I have a thing for hares, and I bought these in Glastonbury about ten years ago whilst on a camping trip. They’re special to me, and it’s nice to finally have them on show in my own home! The mice are actually a salt and pepper set, but I have them on display as ornaments as they remind me of my heart rat Mog (RIP). Aren’t they cute?
The Rat & The Hare
These rat and hare sculptures were Christmas gifts from my dad, and they’re incredibly beautiful. They’re by Norfolk-based artist Tracy Whinray, and are wonderfully textured with such expressive little faces. I think they look great in front of the wooden pentagram, handmade by my step-dad.
What do you think of my woodland theme?
*The Wooden Owl Coaster Set and Abode Mouse & Field Mug were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
It’s been a while since I last reviewed a Degustabox, so today I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the Winter edition.
The Winter Degustabox, received in November, included eight brands, and fifteen individual items, with a combined value of £20.94. Each Degustabox costs £12.99, so this one saves you almost £8.00.
Lindt My Melting Moment (RRP £0.65 each)
Once again I was pleased to see a Lindt Lindor treat in the box, this time in the form of five Melting Moments. As usual, they taste delicious, are a good size, and have the same smooth and creamy texture that I love from Lindor. They look great too, with a lovely snowflake shape and pattern. One thing disappoints me though… Considering this is a Christmas treat, I would have liked to see Lindor incorporate a festive flavour. Ginger perhaps, or cinnamon, or even mincemeat!
Kent’s Kitchen BBQ Flavour Shots (RRP £1.85)
These BBQ Flavour Shots by Kent’s Kitchen are one of my favourite items in the box this month. The pack consists of four little pots of concentrated seasoning, which just needs to be stirred into meat a minute or two before serving. I’ve used a couple of these so far, both with Quorn fillets, served them with rice, kidney beans and veg, and they are delicious. The BBQ seasoning is intense, with a smoky but sweet flavour. They make for such a quick and easy meal too, which is just what I want after a long day at work. At £1.85 I’d definitely buy these again, and I’d like to try the other flavours too.
Cool Dawn Recovery Drinks (RRP £1.49 each)
I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t actually tried these Cool Dawn Recovery drinks. They’re herbal detox drinks which are supposed to prevent and cure hangovers, by drinking one before bed, and one in the morning. They aren’t carbonated, and contain no stimulant ingredients, and though the citrus and liquorice flavour sounds intriguing, I’m not sure it’s a combination I’d enjoy the morning after a night of drinking!
Montano Cider (RRP £2.79)
Montano Cider is an Italian cider made from apples grown in the foothills of the dolomites. Apparently, ‘these orchards are the highest in Europe enjoying fresh mountain air and over 300 days of sunshine each year. The result is a golden, elegantly sparkling, medium-dry cider with a refreshing, crisp finish’. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? I’m not the biggest fan of cider, but this one sounds that little bit more refined, so I may give it a go when the time is right.
Kettle Salsa & Mesquite Chips (RRP £2.19)
Kettle reintroduced two old favourites as a limited edition over Christmas – Stilton & Port, and Salsa & Mesquite, which is the flavour I received in my box. This was one of the original Kettle flavours way back in 1988, so it was nice to try a blast from the past. As you’d expect from Kettle, the chips themselves are thickly cut, pleasantly crunchy, and the flavour is strong. The salsa flavour shines through, and tastes very authentic, which makes these crisps oddly refreshing, if that’s even possible!
Pip Organic Cloudy Apple Juice (RRP £1.50 each)
Pip Organic is a family run company based in London, which specialises in organic juices and smoothies. In my box I received two small bottles of Cloudy Apple juice, which are the perfect size for lunch boxes. The juice is made from 100% fruit, with no added sugar, water, preservatives or additives, and it shows. The juice is thick, and has the sweet, sharp flavour that you get when eating an apple – very different to your bog standard supermarket juice. However, at £1.50 for a small bottle, they seem rather expensive, and I’m not sure I’d pay that myself.
Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney (RRP £1.50)
I planned on saving this new Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney for Christmas, but I ended up using it for packed lunches instead. The chutney has a lovely sweetness to it that goes well with a variety of cheeses. I tried it with a subtle, creamy Double Gloucester, and a strong, sharp Cheddar, and it complimented both. I have plans for this chutney as I want to use it in tartlets with goats cheese, so check back in the future for a recipe post!
Holy Cow! Curry Sauces (RRP £1.69 each)
Last but not least I received two Holy Cow! Curry Sauces – a Mughlai Korma, and a Madras Chettinad. I’m yet to use the Korma, but I tried the Madras and it was incredibly tasty. The sauce has a tomato base, but it’s the coconut, curry leaves and fenugreek that gives it a unique flavour. The sauce is very hot, but the combination of the Indian spices with the coconut is out of this world. It’s really easy to use too – just snip open the packet and pour into the pan with your meat and veg a few minutes before serving!
Overall, the Winter box is another impressive offering from Degustabox. If you’d like to try Degustabox yourself, you can get £3.00 off your first box using the code ‘XI4CK‘.
Check back soon for my review of the December Degustabox!
PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.
*This Winter Degustabox was sent to me by Degustabox for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas. Mine was spent at home with family, which is just how I like it.
After a few days of relaxing, and purposefully avoiding the first crazy days of the sales, I spent yesterday and today doing a bit of shopping. Luckily the shops weren’t too busy, and though I didn’t go mad, I managed to get quite a few items that I’m really pleased with. Here are most of them…
Primark Biker Jacket – Was £23.00, Paid £10.00
Primark Dressing Gown – Was £12.00, Paid £5.00
George Penguin Fleece – Was £16.00, Paid £8.00
Primark Black Bag – Was £6.00, Paid £3.00
Primark Green Bag – Was £6.00, Paid £3.00
New Look Boots – Was £27.99, Paid £14.00
New Look Shoes – Was £11.99, Paid £4.00
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7″ – Was £139.99, Paid £79.00
I bought a few other things in the sales which aren’t pictured, including a pair of gloves for £2.00, some Christmas decorations reduced from £3.00 to £1.00, a diary for £1.99 (down from £7.00) and a Vax hoover for £45.00, reduced from about £70.00. I also bought a couple of non-sale items too, namely a top and a case for my new tablet.
In total, I made a huge saving of around £90.00 in the sales this year, made all the better by the fact that a few items were paid for using vouchers that I got for Christmas.
What did you get in the sales?
Have you ever found an item of clothing that is just so perfect it could’ve been made with you in mind? Well for me, this t shirt is one of those items. I love rats, I love Batman, I love black clothing, so what better than a black ‘Rat Fan’, Batman-style t shirt?!
I bought this t shirt for £14.99 from an online store called ratsratsrats, which specialises in rat-themed clothing, accessories and gifts. I’ve ordered a couple of t shirts from them now and I’m always really impressed with the quality. The fabric is really soft and comfortable, the fit is great and the print is always high quality. I also like the length of ratsratsrats tees as they sit below the hip, which I prefer.
I teamed the t shirt with my favourite winter cardigan, and a pair of Blue Rags black embroidered trousers, which are so warm and comfy. They’re also patterned with a beautiful embroidery-style damask, which you can see clearer on the red pair I styled here. My Dr Martens Lauren Boots make an appearance too, of course.
This outfit is pretty much my go-to outfit for cosy, lazy weekend days, and is perfect for nipping out to the shops, or slouching around the house in.
On Thursday, myself and Charles attended a VIP event at the Leicester Cinema de Lux, for the launch of the new XPlus screen, with a release day screening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.
The event started with a drinks reception in the swanky Director’s Lounge, complete with red carpet. For an hour we were showered with glasses of Prosecco, canapés and lovely little desserts. I particularly enjoyed the mini millionaire’s shortbread which was dusted with gold glitter! We also spotted a few Leicester Tigers rugby players in the crowd.
We then headed up to the XPlus screen, which I was really excited about, and I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as we entered the auditorium I was amazed to see the size of the screen. I knew it was going to be big, but it was even bigger than I expected. It’s literally floor to ceiling, wall to wall, and also slightly curved.
Everyone at the event was treated to yet more refreshments in their seats – a drink, and a bag of popcorn, along with a couple of other goodies. When everyone was settled, the manager of Cinema de Lux, and one of the main men at Dolby both gave a speech. They explained that Leicester’s XPlus screen is one of only five in the country, and is designed to give a premium, immersive cinema experience. The screen is in fact 60 feet wide by 20 feet high, and provides sharp imagery, on point brightness, and vibrant colour.
Another special aspect of the XPlus experience is the sound. The auditorium features a Dolby Atmos sound system, and is fitted with over fifty speakers, which provide 360° sound. Having speakers all over the walls and ceiling, which are controlled by sound specialists, allows for dialogue to follow the characters, and for sound effects to come in at all angles, providing sound which completely envelops the audience. Before the film the sound system was demonstrated with thunder-storm sound effects, and I was blown away. The sound of rain and thunder flooded the room from all angles, and I actually got goosebumps because it felt so real.
After the introductions we got to watch The Hunger Games. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the film that much, and I’m not sure it was the right film to show off the Dolby Atmos sound system, but the XPlus definitely improved the viewing experience.
I’m incredibly impressed by the XPlus screen, and after experiencing it once I’m sure a ‘normal’ cinema screen will now just look and sound inadequate. I can imagine the immersive sound working really well for action movies, and I bet it would make horror movies even more scary if you could hear things coming up behind you!
The festive season is just around the corner, and I’ve already been invited to a few Christmas parties and meals out. As such, I’ve started to do some online window shopping for the perfect party outfits for this season, and I’ve found that George at Asda have some really gorgeous women’s dresses in their Autumn/Winter collection. I’m a sucker for a classic LBD, and George have two in particular that I’ve been eyeing up. It’s been a while since I put together a wishlist type post, so I thought I’d do one to show you how I’d style these two dresses.
George Sequin V-Back Dress / New Look Pony Hair Structured Clutch / Jeffrey Campbell Lita Ankle Boots / Zara Interwoven Chain Necklace
George Peplum Bodycon Dress / Irregular Choice Stitch In Time Clutch / ASOS POETIC Platforms / George Bobble Bead Necklace
Outfit One features George’s Sequin V-Back Dress, which retails for an incredibly affordable £28. Sequins and a V-Back would both make a huge statement at a glitzy Christmas party, so this dress doesn’t need a huge amount of accessories. A simple structured clutch would be ideal to offset the sparkle, and a chunky chain necklace would add a bit more texture and depth. It’s not always easy to find a pair of shoes to go with sequins, but I quite like the look of a chunky heel with this kind of dress, hence why I chose a classic pair of Litas to go with it.
Outfit Two features George’s Peplum Bodycon Dress, which costs just £30. I absolutely adore this dress as it’s classic and feminine, but has a bit of an edge with its faux leather waist detail. To enhance the waist, I chose a pretty floral clutch by Irregular Choice which has a similar black on black look. An elegant pair of stilettos and a beaded necklace finish off this look, but I think it’d look just as stunning without the necklace.
Which of these two looks do you like best?
*This post is a collaboration.*
Over the last few months I’ve been trialling a hair treatment from a small hair care company called Old Wives Tail. Old Wives Tail specialise in luxury organic hair treatments, all of which are handmade, vegetarian and vegan, and free of gluten, parabens and sulfates. They’re also animal friendly and aim to eradicate animal testing in the beauty industry, so 10% of their profits go to charities which save animals from being tested on.
The treatment I’ve been using is the Jojoba and Clove Organic Oil Treatment, which retails for £13.99 for a 100ml jar. The treatment is described as a ‘hydrating, natural and balancing hair treatment for dull, thinning, brittle or broken hair’. My hair is quite unusual in that, though it can get quite oily at the roots, the ends get very dry and split easily, especially during colder months, and the overall look is very limp, lifeless and damaged. I opted for this particular treatment as, according to the Old Wives Tail website, ‘jojoba oil gets to work at penetrating every hair follicle to add strength, volume and texture to weak, lifeless hair’, which is just what I want.
The treatment has a very strong aroma of cloves, which hits you as soon as you open the jar, but it isn’t too overpowering as it is offset with a slight sweetness. It’s also quite a dense treatment, with a slightly waxy texture, but as it warms in your fingers it melts into a smooth oil that glides through damp hair incredibly easily.
The directions for use say to massage the product into your scalp, and to leave it on for one hour before washing out with shampoo and water, and conditioning the ends of your hair. As a ‘wash and go’ kinda girl, an hour is quite a long time to wait, so this isn’t a treatment I would use on a daily or weekly basis, but it’s great for a fortnightly or monthly pamper session at the weekend. Especially as it gives quite an intense treatment.
I’ve used the treatment a few times now and the results are brilliant. A little goes quite a long way, so though the jar is small, it will last a good while. The product massages in nicely and feels lovely and soothing on the scalp. When I first used it I was slightly worried that, being an oil, it would leave my hair feeling greasy, but it washes out well with shampoo, although I find it takes a little while to wash out completely. After blow drying and straightening my hair, the difference is really noticeable. It leaves my hair looking silkier and fuller, and the result is also long-lasting.
Unfortunately, as I’ve had an incredibly hectic couple of months, I haven’t yet managed to get any before and after photos of my hair, but I will be updating this post within the next week or two, so check back soon.
All Old Wives Tail products are available online here, and they cater for all hair types. They offer free worldwide delivery on any order too!
*This Jojoba & Clove Organic Oil Hair Treatment was sent to me by Old Wives Tail for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
When it comes to nail products, Barry M are one of my favourite brands, so when they announced a flurry of new shades for Autumn/Winter 2014, I was incredibly excited! As well as adding new colours to their Gelly, Silk, Classic and Aquarium ranges, and releasing some gorgeous Christmas glitters, Barry M have also launched the new Glitterati collection. Glitterati features six ‘blinging’ glitter paints, and they really caught my eye when I first saw them on Instagram.
So far I’ve only picked up three shades from the new selection – Rockstar and Fashion Icon from Glitterati, and the new Aquarium Glitter, Atlantis. I’ll be posting about each shade individually over the coming weeks, plus any more that I end up buying, but today’s NOTD is Fashion Icon.
Blue and purple are two of my favourite and most worn colours, so I was immediately drawn to this beautiful shade. Fashion Icon has a purple base with a blue duochrome effect, and is packed full of micro glitter, some of which is holographic. I find this shade so mesmerizing as it looks different every time I look at it. It goes from electric blue to grape purple to bright violet in one movement, whilst all the time remaining strikingly sparkly.
All of my swatches show three thin coats, with no base coat or top coat, which I think looks great, but I bet it’d look just as gorgeous layered over a deep purple shade.
I’ve also found Fashion Icon to be impressively hard-wearing. Despite spending the whole day cleaning, unpacking boxes and generally being busy, my nails look just as good as they did when I first painted them.
I can really see this wonderful shade becoming one of my all time favourite glitters, and I can’t wait to swatch Rockstar to see if it’s as stunning as this one.
Barry M’s Glitterati nail paints cost £3.99 each, and are available in store and online from Superdrug and Boots, and online from Barry M.