Posts tagged Review
Today I thought I’d share with you a lovely little Valentine’s recipe from Roberts Bakery. This Strawberries and Cream Valentines Sandwich is easy to make, and would be a fun addition to a Valentine’s picnic this weekend.
Roberts sliced white is perfect for this sandwich due to its ‘soft and fluffy’ texture, which goes really well with the creaminess of the soft cheese, and the sweetness of the strawberries. I can just imagine eating this alongside some cakes and pastries, chocolate truffles, and a flask of hot tea, whilst out on a romantic Valentine’s walk. Lovely!
If you have a creative loved one in your life who loves to write or draw, or you yourself like to doodle, scribble down your thoughts, or even plan out your blog posts, then this Valentine’s gift idea is for you.
Chroma Stationery specialises in high quality, 50 page notebooks, which are made extra special by being fully personalised. My notebook is from the Nebraska perfect bound range, but they also offer a range of Ryton spiral bound notebooks. Once you’ve chosen your binding type, you also get to pick your cover colour, whether you want plain or lined pages, and your embossing.
Embossing adds a touch of luxury, can be done in either silver or gold, and it’s completely up to you what you have put on the notebook. As standard this is usually a name, initials, or message, but if you get in touch with Chroma they’re more than happy to emboss an image – such as this pretty Valentine’s Day love heart!
My notebook, which I plan on using as a journal, is in shade ‘Annie’ – a lovely grape purple – and the cover has a luxuriously soft feel to it. The embossing is gold in a handwritten font, and I chose lined pages, which are 80gsm and lovely to write on.
The notebooks also come beautifully wrapped in a sleeve, and tissue paper, with a little card about Chroma’s history.
At £7.50 each, with personalisation included in the price, Chroma notebooks are an affordable gift idea for a loved one.
*This Chroma Notebook was sent to me by Chroma Stationery for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
Valentine’s Day is also my birthday, so happens to be one of my favourite days of the year. As soon as January comes around I start looking forward to that special day in the middle of February, as not only do I get to enjoy it, but it adds a bit of brightness to the gloomy winter for people everywhere! I’m also a firm believer that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be miserable for those who aren’t in a relationship, as it gives you the perfect excuse to treat yourself, or spend time with family or friends.
So, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, over the next week or so I’ll be bringing you my pick of the best, affordable Valentine’s gifts – perfect for your loved one or even for yourself! Today’s pick is this adorable little set of Love Hearts Tea Lights, available from It’s A Wot.
Since I moved out of my mum’s house and in with my fiancé, I’ve become more and more interested in interior design, and making my home look pretty, and these tea lights help me do just that. They come beautifully wrapped in a Love Hearts wrapper, so they look like a super-sized tube of sweets, and inside you get six tea lights, each of which comes in a sturdy plastic holder.
The tea lights come in three colours – pink, purple and blue – with two of each in the pack, and they all have an iconic Love Hearts message printed on top. The pink ones say “Kiss Me”, the purple ones say “Love Me”, and the blue ones say “Hug Me”.
Despite their small size, the tea lights burn really well. I had them on for several hours the other evening and the flame hardly made a dent in the wax, and they don’t produce much smoke, just a steady flame. My only issue with the candles is that they aren’t scented, but it’s not a deal breaker and I still think they’re lovely.
At just £1.84 for a set of six, these tea lights would make an ideal Valentine ’s Day ‘stocking filler’ for someone who loves cute and quirky little house gifts. They’d also be great for adding a touch of romance to your Valentine’s evening, or even just to help you unwind and relax after a busy day. Want some? Get them here.
*These Love Hearts Tea Lights were sent to me by It’s A Wot for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
I didn’t get many beauty related gifts for Christmas, but one of my friends did give me this beautiful nail varnish as part of my Secret Santa present. The varnish is from Maybelline’s Colour Show BE Brilliant collection, which features four limited edition glitters for Christmas 2014.
The shade I have is called ‘Purple Dazzle’, and consists of purple, pink, blue, gold, and green glitter, both large and micro flakes, in a sheer purple base varnish.
The glitter looks stunning in both indoor and outdoor light. Indoors the pink really dominates, which looks really pretty, but once outdoors the varnish really comes alive, and all the other colours shine through.
The swatch below shows one coat of the glitter worn over one layer of Nails Inc ‘Wigmore Street’, which is a pretty close match to the base colour of ‘Purple Dazzle’, but more opaque. I chose to apply it this way to avoid layering the glitter too much, as it would make it harder to remove. However, like this, it’s easy to remove with a standard nail varnish remover.
The varnish applies nicely, and doesn’t go on too thick even if you dab it on to give an even spread of glitter. It also dries smoothly, so there are no sharp pieces of glitter to snag on clothing.
In my experience, ‘Purple Dazzle’ lasts a couple of days without a top coat before chipping, which is decent, but it’s not the best glitter I’ve tried in terms of staying power.
Overall this is a really lovely glitter, however I went to Superdrug today to pick up another shade and they no longer had it, so it’s very limited edition indeed! They did have a few bottles of another shade left though, so it’s worth checking your local store if you want one.
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.*
Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing a series of posts as part of my annual Christmas Gift Guide, and today’s post will be the first in the series.
I always put a lot of thought into finding the right gift for everyone that I buy for, and I try to find something that’s a bit different to your bog standard gift set. There are several book lovers in my family, and this year on my hunt for unusual book-related gifts, I found something that is perfect for book lovers of any age. Though to be honest, this gift is so nostalgic and personal it’d be suitable for just about any of your loved ones…
The Book of Everyone is a 50 page book full of beautiful artwork, interesting statistics, and fun facts, that can be personalised to be about anyone and everyone! I was kindly sent a copy personalised to be about me, and every single page is gorgeous to look at, but also exciting and fascinating to read, as it all relates to my life. I feel like I learnt so much about my own history when reading the book, for example, in May 1989 I spent 30 minutes as a single cell, and in ‘my day’ a litre of petrol only cost 40p! I was also the 5,414,171,296th person alive on the planet when I was born. Amazing.
Creating the book is simple. It’s all done on The Book of Everyone website, and all you have to know about the person you’re creating for is their name, gender, and date of birth. The rest is done for you! Although you can change the text on some of the pages, add photos, and change the colour of the cover, just to make it that little bit more special and unique.
The book also suits any budget, as it’s available in four different formats. A digital PDF version costs £7.50, a softcover edition is £19.50, a standard hardback is £29.50, and a deluxe edition costs £49.50.
One of my favourite things about this gift is the fact that The Book of Everyone is collaborating with the charity Age UK, and every purchase from their site will go towards gifting a book to an elderly person this Christmas, who may not otherwise receive a gift. A lovely idea that I’m happy to get behind.
Books take just a few minutes to create, and are dispatched within 5 working days, so there’s still time to order before Christmas. Who would you buy The Book of Everyone for?
*The Book of Naomi was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
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!
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.
Well, after two busy weeks of starting a new full time job and planning for a house move, I’m finally back to blogging! Today’s post features two China Glaze shades that were kindly gifted to me by nailpolish.co.uk for review.
Both shades are from the new China Glaze 2014 Autumn collections, and retail for £4.95 each. There are two autumn collections this year – All Aboard Fall and Apocalypse of Colour, and I picked a shade from each.
‘Choo-Choo Choose You’ is from the All Aboard Fall 2014 collection, which includes twelve stunning, on trend autumnal shades. At first glance the varnish looks to be a blue-grey shade with a hint of gold shimmer, but as soon as you move into natural light it explodes with purple, orange and green.
The varnish is a colour changing metallic, which with some brands makes for a streaky finish, but this one goes on perfectly without any imperfections. The formula is slightly runny, but applies nicely and two coats gives an opaque look. The only downside is it takes a little longer to dry than I’d like, but it’s worth the wait.
You can view the rest of the All Aboard Fall collection here.
‘Rest In Pieces’ is from the Apocalypse of Colour collection, which features five Halloween themed shades, all of which have brilliant names! Halloween is my favourite time of year so I was very excited about this range, and it doesn’t disappoint. ‘Rest In Pieces’ is a gorgeous metallic orange, black and gold holographic glitter that reminds me of pumpkins, autumnal leaves and fireworks. Some of my absolute favourite things!
The glitter comprises of various different types of glitter, large flecks, small flecks, micro and straw, which gives fantastic depth and texture. For maximum impact, the varnish is best applied in a dabbing motion rather than brushing, as dabbing leaves more glitter behind. This one dries a lot quicker than the other shade, and makes an amazing top coat. Perfect for adding a little something extra to any autumn mani! I love it.
You can view the rest of the Apocalypse of Colour collection here.
nailpolish.co.uk is a one stop shop for nail varnish, and they stock a HUGE range of brands, including OPI, Essie and Barry M, and over 350 colours! They also offer free first class delivery on every order. Check them out here.
What do you think of these new China Glaze shades?
*These two China Glaze nail varnishes were sent to me by nailpolish.co.uk for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*