Posts tagged London
On Saturday, Charles and I headed down to London to watch the annual Pride parade. We managed to get a front row spot on Oxford Street so we had a great view of the day’s events, and to top it off the weather was beautiful and sunny. This year Pride came one day after same-sex marriage was made legal in all 50 US states, which made the day feel extra special. The atmosphere was so positive and happy, and everyone looked like they were having a fantastic time celebrating. By the end of the afternoon I was covered in confetti and stickers, and had a huge smile on my face.
One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) leading one of the parade sections. The film Pride, which tells the story of how and why LGSM was formed, is one of my favourite films, so it was fantastic to see the group out in force, over thirty years later, especially considering the similarity between our current political climate, and that of the 1980’s.
Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos, and they’re not the best quality as I was using my phone, but here are a few of my favourites from the day.
We also went to see the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A, which was an amazing and overwhelming experience. I’m hoping to go again during July, and I also plan on reviewing the exhibition, so check back soon for that.
Did you go to Pride this year?
Earlier this week I received a very special delivery in the post from a fantastic independent jewellery brand called TrueCutie. TrueCutie is owned by Chatch, who has been making and selling cute, kawaii inspired jewellery and accessories since 2011, and she is extremely talented. Chatch and I had been talking on Twitter, and she offered to create a piece for me to review based on my suggestions, and what I gave her to work with was bats and cats. In no time at all, Chatch had worked her magic and made me an absolutely gorgeous Batcat hybrid necklace, and I couldn’t be happier with him!
Batcat is extremely well made, and it is obvious that Chatch puts a lot of love and care into her work. He is also very detailed, with heart melting eyes, blushing cheeks, pink ears, a quiff of hair and a curly tail, all of which add to the little guy’s cuteness. The pendant is quite large (around 1 inch high and 1.5 inches wide), and comes on a 24 inch chain, so it really makes a statement. I really like how the necklace sits too, as the angle of the bat wings keep Batcat straight, and the length of the chain means he hangs quite low.
The necklace is also really versatile. I think it looks great with bright, colourful clothing, such as the dress pictured above, but it also works well with plain outfits and helps to jazz them up a bit, adding a fun, quirky edge.
Because Chatch’s accessories are all handmade, they are all unique. She is also happy to do commissions so you really can have a one of a kind piece that is special to you, which is hard to find these days in a world of high street monotony! Every time I wear Batcat I get so many compliments, and people always ask me where I got him from because they’ve never seen anything like him before, which is what I love about wearing individual pieces. I just love him so much!
If you want some TrueCutie goodies for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one, you can view the TrueCutie Etsy shop here. Everything is so reasonably priced (ranging from £2 to around £15), and if you’re looking for a commission you can get in touch with Chatch at email@example.com. You can also find TrueCutie on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and Chatch will be holding a stall at London Comic Con in May for the first time, which is really exciting! Chatch is a lovely, friendly girl and her products and service are amazing, so please help support a very gifted maker. She’ll be making more hybrid pieces soon too, so keep an eye out for those.
Here are a few of my favourite pieces from the TrueCutie Etsy store.
Red the Crab Necklace – £7.50
Fondant Fancy Necklace – £10
Which TrueCutie piece do you like best?
Last week I received a very special delivery from Millennium Hotels… A goody bag stuffed full of Hotel Chocolat treats! Millennium Hotels are a luxury hotel company who have many hotels and resorts in exciting locations all around the world. To add something a little extra special to every room, they are currently trying to choose a luxury chocolate to place on their pillows for their guests, and I was asked along with a few other bloggers to help them choose by sampling each chocolate in the goody bag. How could I say no to that?! Here is what the bag contains…
From Left to Right:
Eton Mess Slab.
Choosing a favourite out of these five delectable delights is very difficult (I am a chocoholic, after all), as they are all different, and all extremely delicious. However, a decision has been made! Read on to see what I thought of each one, and to see which one is my overall winner.
The Smiley Lick consists of a disk of thick milk chocolate on a lollipop stick, which is happily adorned with a smiley face. This one is fun to look at, fun to nibble and it really shows off the high quality of Hotel Chocolat’s chocolate. The chocolate is extremely smooth and has a rich, sweet flavour. I gobbled this up rather quickly in one sitting, and was left wanting more. Delicious, but I don’t think it’s quite right for a hotel pillow as it’s a bit too bulky looking!
Eton Mess Slab
The Eton Mess slab is absolutely beautiful to look at, as the pink chocolate swirled with cream and scattered with strawberry and meringue pieces makes it look like a work of art. The chocolate itself is strawberry flavoured, with vanilla chocolate running throughout. It isn’t as smooth as the milk chocolate as the real fruit bits give it a bit more texture, as do the little chocolate cookies hidden inside (which I wasn’t expecting when I first bit into it!), but it is divine!
If you have a sweet tooth then this is definitely for you – it smells and tastes just like a strawberry milkshake. I can only handle a little bit of this at a time, but at least that means I can make the bar last and savour it. This would be the winner if my sister had a say – it was her favourite out of all five choices.
I have always enjoyed the contrast between sweet chocolate and salty caramel, and these are the best salted caramels I have ever tried – the balance of flavours is perfect! When you first bite into the chocolate the caramel comes oozing out, and you are hit with a toffee sweetness which has a slight tang of sea salt. These perhaps wouldn’t be to everybody’s taste, but I think they’re a very sophisticated little treat and I’d definitely have these again.
Hotel Chocolat’s Gemstones are made of white and dark chocolate drops, which have been fused together to create silky and shiny little spheres, which melt slowly on the tongue. They might be small, but each one gives big flavour, with a creaminess from the white chocolate and a bitter edge from the dark chocolate which stops them being overly sweet. Out of everything in the goody bag, these are the ones I keep going back to… They’re very moreish!
Last but not least, Billionaire’s Shortbread. These unusual truffles are made of milk chocolate, and have a caramel praline inside which has a lovely soft texture. Each one is also sprinkled with little pieces of shortbread cookie, which add a delicious crunch to every bite. These really do taste just like the dessert of the same name, but their delicate size makes them that little bit more refined. My other half absolutely loves the Billionaire’s Shortbread chocolates and I think these would win if it was his choice!
Though I like everything in the goody bag, my overall winner has to be the Gemstones! They might be the simplest chocolate of them all, but I think that would make them suitable for any guest to enjoy, and their beautiful taste and dainty size make them the ideal snack to nibble on throughout the evening, whilst you lounge in your comfortable hotel room. Bliss!
If you fancy a stay at a 4 Star Millennium Hotel (I know I’d love to stay at the London Mayfair hotel myself), now is a good time to book… They are currently offering 30% off room rates until the end of March, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this could be a lovely way to impress your loved one! Click here to find out more, and don’t forget to treat them to some Hotel Chocolat chocolates too.
*The Hotel Chocolat Goody Bag was sent to me by Millennium Hotels for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
As part of the BeTrousse beauty panel, every time BeTrousse bring out a new, exciting beauty kit, I receive one to review. In October BeTrousse launched their latest box – the Pretty Beauty Box, and earlier this month I happily received mine in the post. I had already seen on the BeTrousse website that the box contained NINE full size products, rather than the usual five, so I was really looking forward to trying this box out for size. Here is what I was met with when I opened the Pretty Beauty Box…
As you can see, the box is packed full of a wide range of products. In the past I have complained about there being too many face creams and not enough make up in the previous BeTrousse boxes, so I was very happy to see some make up and nail products in there this time. The products in the box are worth £122 in total, but the box costs just £19.
Above, you can see (clockwise from the top):
- Papier Poudre Gift Pack of 3 Booklets
- Cupcake Organic Frankincense & Orange Day Cream
- Yves Rocher Organic Refreshing Gel Cleanser
- Arganti 100% Pure Argan Oil
- Saffron London Cracking Nail Polish
- Vera Valenti Eyeshadow in Pink
- Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Volume Gloss in Pink
- Kesari Radieuse Anti-Age
- Essyta Cosmetics Body Moisturising Lotion
As with all BeTrousse boxes, BeTrousse have provided full-sized products so that you can feel the full effect of each item before deciding whether to repurchase it or not. As such, I won’t do full reviews of everything until I have used them for a bit longer, so for now I will tell you my first impressions of each treat.
Papier Poudre Gift Pack – 3 Booklets – £7.95
Papier Poudre are little booklets of blotting papers, with each sheet being covered in a fine layer of absorbent powder, which gives a matte make up look after use. I used to have something like this when I was a teenager but hadn’t seen them around for years, so when I found these in the box I was very happy to see them! The pack contains three booklets, with a different shade of powder in each booklet – Rachel, Rose and White. I have tried these out already and they do their job perfectly, removing excess oil and shine from the face whilst adding a touch of powder. A great little product and something a bit different for BeTrousse!
Cupcake Organic Frankincense & Orange Day Cream – 30ml – £16
This Frankincense & Orange Day Cream by Cupcake Organic has to be one of the best things I have ever received in a BeTrousse box. For starters, I love the name of the company, the packaging is so bright and cute, and the glass pot gives it a luxurious feel. The cream itself smells absolutely ‘divine’ (to quote the company’s tagline), and it has a firm yet creamy texture which instantly softens the skin. The cream claims to protect and repair dry skin, which I have on my hands, so I will be using this a lot over the coming weeks and writing a full review in the not so distant future.
Yves Rocher Organic Refreshing Gel Cleanser – 200ml – £11
I’m yet to try Yves Rocher’s Refreshing Gel Cleanser properly so I can’t really comment on its quality, but it has a nice smooth texture and a light, fresh scent of Aloe Vera. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Yves Rocher as they produce natural, organic cosmetics which I prefer to use, so I’m expecting good things from this. The cleanser is suitable for the face AND eyes too, which is a bonus as all-in-one products lessen the clutter of bottles in the bathroom!
Arganti 100% Pure Argan Oil – 60ml – £10
Arganti’s Argan Oil is another product I was very pleased to see in this box as it 100% pure. I have tried Argan hair oils in the past but they were all combined with other plant oils, so I have been keen to try some pure Argan oil to see if it lives up to the hype. However, Arganti’s packaging isn’t the best (the bottle looks like a medicine bottle), and the oil smells horrible too (although I suppose that’s unavoidable). Having said that, I am looking forward to giving this a proper try, so watch this space for an Arganti review!
Saffron London Cracking Nail Polish – 14ml – £0.75p
BeTrousse are a little bit behind with this Nail Polish as the nail crackle trend has mostly been and gone, but as I said before it is nice to see a nail product in the box. The packaging may look simple and slightly cheap, but I actually quite like the classy contrast between black and gold. I have a few Saffron London polishes already and, for a cheap range, they are pretty good quality, so hopefully this will be the same.
Vera Valenti Eyeshadow in Pink – 10g – £2
To balance out the amazing-ness of the Cupcake Organic Day Cream, Vera Valenti’s Eyeshadow is the worst thing I have received in a beauty box. The packaging looks and feels very cheap and tacky, and the eyeshadow is really bad quality. It is chalky and one of the shadows actually broke up into tiny pieces and powder the first time I used it. Most of the colours are also far too pearlescent for my liking, but I must say I do quite like the purple shades in this palette.
Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Volume Gloss in Pink – 10ml – £13.90
When I found Yves Rocher’s Sexy Pulp Volume Gloss in the box I instantly thought ‘YAY! Make up!’ Make up is one of the things that BeTrousse have been lacking, and this gloss has definitely made up for it. The gloss is a lovely shade of orangey pink, and has a fantastic shine to it. It isn’t sticky (although you can feel it on your lips) and it is extremely long-lasting… Even after eating the colour and shine are still visible. Expect a full review of this soon, too!
Kesari Radieuse Anti-Age – 30ml – £47
I wasn’t especially excited about Kerasi’s Radieuse Anti-Age at first as I’ve received several other anti-aging creams in my BeTrousse boxes in the past, and I don’t really think I need them yet! However, this one is really delicate and light and has a nice, nutty scent and colour. I’ve used it a few times on my face and neck and it is absorbed quickly and has a smoothing, softening effect. As far as anti-aging creams go, this is one of the best that I have sampled so far.
Essyta Cosmetics Body Moisturising Lotion – 250ml – £13.50
Last but not least, Essyta Cosmetics Body Moisturising Lotion. I’m a sucker for good moisturisers, and this is undoubtedly a good one. It has a pleasing scent and, like the Kerasi Radieuse Anti-Age, is lovely and light and easily absorbed. The lotion comes in a nice big bottle as well, which is always good.
If you like the look of the BeTrousse Pretty Beauty Box, keep an eye out tomorrow for details of a very special giveaway that I am running with BeTrousse! Alternatively, it is available to order via the BeTrousse website for just £19.
Which products in the Pretty Beauty Box do you like the look of?
*I was sent the BeTrousse Pretty Beauty Box by BeTrousse for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own*
Earlier this week I received a lovely little package in the post from RaRa Reid. I was lucky enough to win her first giveaway and the prize was a pink nail art pen, a set of nail wraps and this nail varnish – Rimmel 60 Seconds in shade ‘810 Blue My Mind’. Thanks Ra!
I have always rather liked Rimmel’s range of 60 Seconds nail varnishes as they tick so many boxes, and ‘Blue My Mind’ is no exception. As you can see from the sticker on the lid, the varnish has an ‘Xpress Brush’, which is wide so covers each nail completely with the right amount of pressure. Though it takes more than ‘1 Sec’ to achieve even coverage, the wide brush means application is very quick and takes very few strokes of the brush. It only takes two coats of the varnish for fully opaque coverage as well, which in my eyes is all it should take – any more is too many!
As you would expect, the varnish dries in ’60 Seconds’. I only had to leave a minute between applying each coat, so by the time I had painted the nails on both hands, the first hand was ready straight away for its second coat. As such, the whole mani took less than five minutes which is extremely speedy! Perfect for a quick fix before an impromptu night out, or even before leaving for work of a morning.
The coverage in the photo above may look slightly blotchy, and though I was left with some fabric imprints in the top coat when I woke up, most of the ‘blotchiness’ is actually just reflections of the clouds and trees! That’s just how shiny the finish of this varnish is.
‘Blue My Mind’ is a really stunning shade of royal blue. I’ve really taken to blue varnishes this year and this has to be the most beautiful blue that I own. In unnatural light it looks very deep and almost black, but in natural sunlight the azure hues really pop, which reminds me a lot of the ocean on a sunny day.
The only thing that disappoints me about this varnish is that, after less than 24 hours, there are already signs of wear at the tips of my nails (which is visible in the photo above), but luckily there’s been no chipping.
Overall, another fine example of an excellent nail varnish from the Rimmel 60 Seconds range!
Yesterday I promised that I would post swatches and reviews of my What’s In My Handbag free gift, so today I thought I would feature the Filthy Gorgeous nail polish that I was sent. The shade I received is called ‘Rosey Posey’, and retails at £9 for a 10ml bottle. All of Filthy Gorgeous’ polishes are 3-free as well which is a massive bonus.
I had seen Filthy Gorgeous nail polish on other blogs in the past and was impressed by their eye-catching packaging and wide range of bright colours, so I was very excited when I found this in my gift parcel. The packaging really doesn’t disappoint with its pleasingly round bottle and pretty lace effect lid, and the guitar pick charm is the icing on the cake. It gives the polish a rocky edge and is detachable too, so you can wear it on a piece of jewellery or a keyring if you so desire!
Ignoring the product’s image and getting down to the polish itself, I have mixed feelings. Though the brush bristles are fairly long, a few of them kept bending back on themselves and fanning out when I was using it, which made getting it in and out of the bottle quite difficult. The consistency of the polish is creamy and not too thick so it applies really nicely, leaving an even coat with no brush strokes. However, it is a lot more sheer than I was expecting so it took three coats to create an opaque finish, and even then the whites of my nails are still slightly visible. The drying time of the polish is quite impressive though, only taking around ten minutes to be dry to the touch, but I wouldn’t risk doing anything too hands on for a good hour or so after application.
In terms of colour, ‘Rosey Posey‘ is listed on Filthy Gorgeous’ website as a neon polish which is a ‘warm coral pink’ shade – a spot-on description which I can’t really improve on! It’s not a shade I’d normally go for as I’m not much of a coral fan, but I like the fact that it is more pink than orange, and I think it is a very pretty, girly shade that I will wear often. It makes my hands look quite tanned too (not that you can tell in the photo), so Filthy Gorgeous are right when they say it ‘looks perfect with a tan’. The polish has a glossy creme finish and an impressive shine which makes your nails look flawless too.
So far, the lasting power of this polish is fairly decent. It survived an hour of swimming today which is great as my polishes often chip after holding onto the hard pool walls, but there is some sign of wear at the tips of a few of my nails after just 24 hours.
Overall, I like this Filthy Gorgeous polish. The packaging is stunning, it’s a lovely shade and it applies well and dries quickly, but the fact that it took three coats to achieve opaque coverage is quite disappointing for a £9 polish. I’m not sure I would pay full-price for it, but I’m pleased that I have it in my collection. Although, having said that, there a couple of shades on the Filthy Gorgeous website that I would love to try, especially Fuchsia Pink 3D Crystal!
Have you tried Filthy Gorgeous nail polish?
It has been a few weeks now since the London Olympics finished, and the incredible event that is the Paralympics is slowly coming to a close. For me, the last month and a half has been the most important time of sport I have ever experienced, as it has truly made an impression on me, and inspired and encouraged me to become more active and take part in more sport.
Up until a few years ago I was rarely interested in sport. With Athletics as the exception, I dreaded and loathed doing PE at school. I didn’t support any teams, and watching a game of sport was my idea of hell. Over the last few years, thanks to my partner, I have started to enjoy watching some sports, namely rugby (my city is home to the Leicester Tigers, one of the best rugby teams in the UK) and the UFC, but even through my sport-hating childhood I always had a soft spot for the Olympics. I remember spending hour after hour watching various events, but once the games were over they soon disappeared from my consciousness and I carried on as normal. This year was different, however.
With the 2012 Olympics being held in London I really felt the buzz of the lead up to the games. I went to see the Olympic and Paralympic Torches being carried through Leicester (which I blogged about here), and once the Olympics began the country felt so positive and a nice place to be. Team GB performed amazingly well and I was glued to the screen every day, shouting my support and feeling so proud. I felt part of something big and I didn’t want it to end. And it didn’t! When the Paralympic games began last week I couldn’t wait to see how well our Paralympians would do, and so far they have been outstanding! Every single British Olympian and Paralympian has inspired me with their performance, and it is because of them that I am writing this post, because without that inspiration I wouldn’t have been encouraged to be more active and to keep fit!
I recently posted about reaching my weight loss target, which involved healthy eating and some good old-fashioned exercise, but I wanted to do something more than just walk everywhere. I learnt to enjoy exercise more on my journey to change my lifestyle, but since reaching my target I felt I was lacking a goal. As a result, and thanks to the Olympics, I started to look for activties where I could set myself goals to visibly and physically improve and hopefully become good at something, and here’s what I’m starting with…
A new swimming pool recently opened at the university I used to attend. I taught myself to swim in the sea when I was 4 or 5, and have always preferred swimming in the sea to pools. I thought I’d give the new pool a try though, and as it happens it is lovely. It’s clean and modern and doesn’t smell too strongly of chlorine, and its a pleasure to swim in. I’ve been a few times now since it opened and I have already seen my swimming improve. I have cut a few seconds off of the time it takes me to swim a length, and I have noticed that my body is starting to tone up.
2. Aqua Aerobics
I will be going to my first ever Aqua Aerobics class on Friday afternoon with my mum. I’ve been wanting to try a water fitness class for a while, so I decided to take the plunge (excuse the pun) and book a place. The class is 45 minutes long and will involve a lot of splashing about to music, I imagine. I’m hoping it will be a lot of fun!
I haven’t actually started jogging properly yet, but I now have all the kit to do so (I didn’t even own a pair of jogging bottoms up until a month or two ago), and I have every intention of going jogging at least once a week. If I don’t, force me to. It must happen!
4. To Be Continued…
That’s right! I don’t know what I want to try next, but I am going to look for another sport or fitness class to try out, so watch this space.
This is what I’ve done so far to keep the Olympic spirit alive. I’m determined to make the legacy of these wonderful games last and carry on keeping fit, trying new sports and being active, and I hope you will join me on my mission to do so! In fact, I plan on updating my blog with my fitness ventures every couple of months, so if you see me slacking give me a nudge.
Has the Olympics inspired you to try any new sports, or to keep fit?
There are only 25 days left until the London Olympics begin, and the Olympic Flame is well into its long journey around the country. Today, the Flame reached my hometown of Leicester and it passed fairly close to my house, so my mum and I joined the thousands of people lining the streets to see the Flame. Each torch in the relay is being carried by an inspirational British person, some famous but most not, who were nominated by the public for their achievements and inspiring stories.
Up until recently I hadn’t been paying much attention to the Olympic shenanigans, but now that the games are getting closer, the excitement in the country is building and it’s difficult not to get caught up in it! Hearing the stories of the torchbearers and seeing ‘normal’ people having their moment to shine has been incredibly inspiring and moving, and it is these amazing people that make me proud to be British, and encourage me to work hard and try my best to succeed in everything I do.
I’m now really looking forward to the Olympics, and I have a few Olympic inspired make up and nail posts up my sleeve for you all to (hopefully) enjoy, so keep an eye out for those! Are you looking forward to the games?