Furla Cosmetic Case 

Last summer we spent a fantastic holiday in Italy spending time in Venice and Verona. There is a street paved with marble in Verona and the most gorgeous shops you have ever seen. Famous high end brands are on either side and you don’t know where to look first. Or you can scurry past not daring to look at beautiful things and wanting them all. 

We have some family friends that live in Verona who came over recently and being the generous people they are bought gifts on their visit. This is where I show you the Furla cosmetic purse in all its cream leather glory. Furla is an Italian brand started in 1927 by Aldo Furlanetto and I am all for companies proud to put their own name to their business. They do have a few sellers in the U.K if you want to get something for yourself. I have never had a cosmetic bag from such a high end brand and almost dare not use it but I also know that’s not the point. Having said this only clean products will ever go in it, I’ll have to remember that! 

Thanks for reading! 

The Hen Do

It is Monday morning and it’s the week after the weekend before. Obviously.

The weekend before included my hen night and two days worth of girl time. It started with a bang, quite literally. Me and my mother-in-law to be bumped into each other’s cars when we were trying to rush. It was a complete accident but I think things come in three’s so was waiting for the next ‘oops’ moment. 

Both of us took the trip to my mums as four of us were leaving from there to the train station. On route, and me being me, I remembered that I hadn’t brought the paperwork that of course, was important to the trip to London. After a message to a friend who lives in London she happily printed out the forms and saved us another worry! 

After arriving at the train station there was a highly rushed moment of finding the train, locating two other lovely Hens coming to London and before we knew it 7 of us jumped on the train and we were off. Literally off. Two stops later on the ticket collector came around and pointed out we were on the wrong train. With the rush, two trains to London from the station and a couple of platform changes we had got on the wrong train! 

After speaking to a great station manager and wonderful train manager we were able to get seven seats on the next train into the city. Phew! Only half an hour later we were on the train finally on our way. 

On arrival we met up with our eighth and final Hen and headed to our hotel in Battersea. It was the Pestana Hotel Chelsea Bridge and it was fantastic. Modern with a spa in the basement and prosecco included it definitely exceeded expectations. Our first to-do of the weekend was to use the spa and pool. Consisting of a sauna and steam room it was great to finally relax and start to enjoy the time after the morning of stress. 

It wasn’t long before we were getting ready for our evening out. Cocktail making at the Piccadilly Institute had been booked, we had our goody bags filled with sashes and photo props and off we went. (After a prosecco or two.) It was the first time I had ever got an Uber and I can definitely recommend them if you’re in the city. 

The Piccadilly Institute was a great start to the evening. Our cocktail making host was named Kenny who made sure everything ran smoothly so we had a fun time. Making loads of cocktails, having a laugh and taking plenty of photos all the Hens enjoyed the evening and carried on dancing on the different areas of the club. Starting in the 90’s bar we headed to R’n’B  side of the club and treated ourselves to a couple more drinks before heading back to the hotel. It wasn’t super late and I was more than happy I wasn’t going to be crazily hungover the next day. 

Sunday started with a cooked breakfast and a spa session after packing our bags. A swim, sauna and plenty of water refreshed some of the Hens before our next trip out to Clapham. We were going Biscuit decorating and for an afternoon tea at Biscuiteers on Northcote Road. The two tier cake stand arrived with sandwiches and more sweet treats that could possibly have in one sitting. Including macaroons, brownies, biscuits and more we were also handed warm, fresh from the oven, scones. It was all delicious and as mentioned all of us brought something home to eat later. 
Biscuit decorating was also fun. Having done it before I had a rough idea of how to pipe but I can’t say that anymore skill shone through! The biscuits they sell in the shop are crazily skillfull and each one is perfect it’s hard to see how they do it so precisely once you’ve had a go. 

A tube journey back to Kings Cross to start our journey home and we were done. It felt like a busy weekend and there was a lot of travelling but I had a fantastic Hen weekend with my lovely Hens consisting of family and friends. I would certainly recommend the places we visited including the hotel if you’re planning a trip to London. 

If you’re planning a Hen weekend have a great time! 

Thanks for reading,

But First, Decaf Coffee

As I mentioned yesterday I have taken a break from blogging. About two months or just over and for that time I have also gone coffee free. Some of you will gasp in horror at this and others will think ‘no big deal’, right? I do both. 

I gasp in horror because I was drinking on average 5-6 coffees a day (plus tea) and I mean the strong stuff, I could drink the sludge stuff if it was all that was available. Going from this amount of caffeine to none at all was going to be a huge jump. The strange thing here was that even though I was taking so much on board I was still constantly tired, so I’d drink more. It didn’t affect my sleep and it didn’t change my performance on getting stuff done during the day. 

On to the ‘no big deal’ side of it. When I decided to stop drinking coffee, and even move to decaf tea, I thought going cold turkey would give me the shakes. I thought I’d be exhausted for the first few days and that’s even if I could do it. Two months or so later I’ve had two coffees towards the latter end of the time. One because I pressed the wrong button on a work coffee machine and didn’t want to waste it and the other very weak. 

Now you’re thinking ‘but why?’ 

I read somewhere that caffeine can increase anxiety levels. Previously my anxiety has gotten increasingly worse and OCD started to take over and it needed to stop. I’m lucky in the way that I noticed this and had supportive family that understood my reasoning. Don’t get me wrong I’m not completely cured by quitting caffeine but both issues have been eased by a huge amount. 

There is a coffee pot half full sat on the shelf in the kitchen and I still love the thought of a nice cup of coffee. For now though mainly for my health and sanity I’m staying with decaf and making different choices, fruit teas, hot chocolate and water. 

If you’ve had a similar experience or are thinking about making changes, let me know. 

Thanks for reading! 

Back To Blogging

I have been off of the social media grid for around two months now and I feel ready to return. Still being active on my personal Facebook page and catching up on twitter posts has been it for a while but I have missed the social aspect of blogger meet ups and feeling like part of a group of people with similar interests. 

On my little blog break I have had time to consider what I do and don’t want my blog to be about. I love skincare and always have and I intend to keep writing about it as a main topic. Travel and visiting local (and not so local) areas is also something I love doing and want to see and review as much as possible. Writing is one of the main reasons I need to come back. It was always a favourite lesson in my school years and I can’t imagine not being able to read and write. Whether they are stories, reviews or anecdotes I enjoy reading other blogs and writing -sorry, typing – my own. 

With this in mind there are also a few of my own more personal rules I shall follow. Not applying pressure to myself is one of these and this stands for quantity of blog posts. If one a week goes up, great! If two a week goes up, even better! If I don’t feel inspired about a subject or particular week this is also ok. 

The length of a post may also change. If I just fancy a few sentences on a topic with more photos or a huge chunk of text with only one I’m not going to get on at myself about it. 

After all of this, that’s it! I have returned to the blogging world and it’s going to be relaxed, talking about what I want to talk about whether that’s a little or a lot. I’m looking forward to it and want to say thank you for sticking with me. 
Thanks for reading! 

The Gin Festival at Nottingham 

Around 2 years ago the only Gin I could have named was Bombay Sapphire and that was only because it was my parents Gin of choice. That slowly started to turn around and now, since the Gin Festival came to Nottingham, I have plenty of Gin knowledge.

The festival came into the city over the weekend and held a few sessions both morning and afternoon across Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April. By Saturday lunchtime I made my way across to the Nottingham Conference Centre and the atmosphere was fantastic. There were plenty of people that had already arrived and everyone was given their own Gin Festival glass to take round with them. A great idea as you aren’t continuously wasting cups and it is a memento from the day.

I had chosen the afternoon slot to attend from 12.30 until 5pm and, as it was suggested previously, this is plenty of time to sip and sample gin. The first thing to do was collect your tokens. These come in the form of small cards and works better than taking money out each time. It works out as £5 a drink which for a Gin, tonic and entertainment is a good deal.

The bars were set up in two different spaces and were labelled A ,B, C and D. These were defined with what kind of gin each bar was serving and most people were going in order. Highly sensible, I’m sure. I decided to follow suit and got into the line for Bar A. Along with the glass you are given when you enter you are also gifted a Gin Discovery Book. This was very useful to me at that moment as there were Gin brands I had never heard of or knew what they tasted like. I decided, from the book, to go for a Daffy’s. Described as having a ‘hint of toffee’ and a ‘buttery finish’ I thought this was a very good place to start. You helped yourself to Indian tonic water supplied by Fever-Tree placed at the end of each bar or a flavoured tonic if you wished. The book recommended each pairing including a garnish, I don’t know if anyone went against the book but I certainly left it to the experts. The Daffy’s went down very smoothly as I wandered around the rest of the event and I would suggest trying it in its hometown Edinburgh.

Whilst you have a drink in hand there is still lots to see at the Festival. In another room there was multiple brand stands with a little information about each and plenty of Gin samples being handed out. I went to the most local brand that was there on Saturday which was Two Birds based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. Every stand was busy and this one was no different. They were also holding masterclasses throughout the afternoon to learn more about the companies and the gin making process. I attended the Two Birds masterclass as it was a few minutes away and very much enjoyed learning how Gin was distilled and what elements were included.

After the masterclass I was joined by a couple of friends and we got in line for another drink. The queues, although they looked long, were not bad at all, especially when you’re having a chat. The bartenders were quick to serve you and mark off a token whilst still being cheerful and helpful. There was live music at the conference centre and it really gave the event a festival atmosphere whilst being in the comfort and warmth of the indoors with no fear of getting wet if a downpour was to happen. We got to see two bands while we were there and commented on how good both were.
We got to try a few more drinks over the next couple of hours with my next being the Belgium based Braeckman’s Hazelnoot Jenever. I’ve always loved Irish cream and this sounded like it would be similar. It was, and of course it was delicious.

The only downside to having an ‘after dinner’ drink was that there wasn’t enough of it so we got into the queue for Bar B shortly after. This time I decided to try something more local and went for the Sir Robin of Locksley distilled in Sheffield. This was described as having a ‘lingering citrus finish’ and it did indeed, whilst still tasting sweet and smooth. It was recommended that it go with the Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic and together they made a perfectly fruity drink garnished with pink grapefruit. This was probably my favourite gin and tonic mix from the day and I would certainly have it again.
The one that we didn’t particularly take a taste to was the Black Tomato Gin but I’m sure if you’re a Bloody Mary connoisseur you’d enjoy it as it had a similar flavour.
Other stalls at the festival were the shop to purchase drink tokens and various gin related gifts. You could also have your picture taken at the photo booth. This queue took longer than the ones at the bars but no one seemed to mind and you didn’t have to pay.
The last drink I was able to try was the Two Birds London Dry Gin. After hearing about it in the masterclass I learnt that it had five botanical’s and they had kept it as a ‘top quality gin’. This was paired with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic and garnished with cucumber. It certainly tasted the neatest. 

After a few drinks it was time for something to eat so we followed the signs for street food. We stopped at the Alimento tent to have tapas. It was incredibly good food and I wish we could have tried more from the other couple of tents but it was now time to go. Last orders were called and slowly people made their way out.

On returning home the Gin Festival was all I could talk about for the next few days and we are hopefully planning to attend the Sheffield Gin Festival. I would definitely go again as I feel there was so much more to experience and a lot more Gin to try!

Thanks for reading! 

London: Go Karts and Biscuits 

It had been a while since we had visited our friends in London and we thought we’d pay them a visit and make it a good one. The plan was to relax on the Friday once we had arrived and have a good ‘ol catch up over dinner. 

We made plans for the Saturday to try Go Karting in the morning. After a full English breakfast in Wimbledon we went to Team Sport Go Karting in Mitcham and booked two 15 minute sessions for the four of us. Unfortunately it was guaranteed that myself and my friend Colette weren’t going to be winning fastest driver of the day what with the guys being in super competitive mode. I have been Karting before but I can’t say it falls within my skill set. 

After the first round I can confirm that Go Karting doesn’t come naturally as I was tenth – out of ten. After the second round this was still true however I had sped up my lap time by 5 seconds which I can ultimately say that I am pretty proud of. The two Mr C’s gave each other a good run and their competitive streak certainly came out. My Mr C happily lapped everyone on the second turn and came out top of the leader board. Well done you! 

For some reason being sat in a little kart, concentrating on sharp corners and moving your arms makes you quite tired so we headed back for a break and lunch. I had been wanting to visit the Biscuiteers shop whilst we were in London since seeing them on Twitter and their amazingly decorated treats. This became the afternoon plan and we made our way to their shop in Clapham. 

I’ll say now what I really wanted to do was decorate biscuits. They have an icing cafe section where you can drink tea and turn your hand to a bit of biscuit design. Online it says you can simply turn up however when we got there it was too busy and we should have reserved a place. So as a note to all if you’re wanting to go at the weekend call them up first. After a walk down the high street and back we ended up returning to the shop managing to get a space for four. 

They seated us and prepared a cake stand of plain biscuits in various shapes. Butterflies, aeroplanes, teapots and presents were all there amongst a few simpler shapes. We were also given a bowl with coloured icing all ready to go in piping bags. It was £15 for 3 biscuits and £2 for any extra so we decided on a set per couple seeing as the men of the group weren’t so sure as to what we had gotten them into. 

We ordered teas and coffees to keep us going through the process and got on (mostly in quiet concentration) with decorating our chosen shapes. For my first biscuit I chose a teapot and Mr C went with an aeroplane, our friends chose a butterfly and the three tier cake before we moved onto the next ones. I will say here, before I go any further, we didn’t know that the biscuits, once iced, got put in the oven to harden. As we didn’t know this Mr C decorated his aeroplane biscuit then scoffed it straight away. No nonsense that man. The rest of our biscuits however made it to the oven and all the way home after being wrapped and boxed very carefully. It has to be commented that the ladies at the Biscuiteers shop were nothing short of lovely, smiley people and I personally would return to do it all again. But next time pipe icing better, of course. (If you couldn’t tell my biscuit is the bottom picture.) 

Myself and Mr C left London shortly after to drive home. Two great days were had and we will certainly be going back soon, to do what I’m not sure. Any recommendations or ideas let me know! 

Thanks for reading! 

The National Wedding Show Manchester 

I had been determined to visit one of the multiple events this year that The National Wedding Show were holding and a week before their final show was invited by friend and fellow blogger Sherry over at Sherry Scribbles. A girly day out was on the cards to gather ideas for our own 2017 and 2018 weddings and to take plenty of photos. 

On arrival we were excited to head in to EventCity Manchester and see what the new wedding trends were, watch the fashion show and get our hair and make up done with Revlon. I have to start on a negative I’m afraid as when we got into the arena, after checking the cost of a VIP ticket, we were charged £40 instead of the £35 stated on the internet. The lady behind the desk did not know that this was the case and wasn’t interested in our statements. We then still bought our VIP tickets for the new cost of £40 and asked where the VIP area was to go and treat ourselves to a glass of Blossom Hill wine after a two hour drive and collect our gift bags. She didn’t know. We were off to a good start. 

We carried on through to the main hall and were greeted with everything that you could need at your wedding. Apart from the registrar, of course! There was a multitude of decorations, venues, floral companies and dress stands selling and advertising their companies. Almost immediately, like it was meant to be, we found ourselves looking at the beautiful wedding cakes from Pink Cocoa.  The colours, detail and flower decoration on each cake showed impressive skill and an eye for precision. On walking around more stalls we soon found the Black Tower wine stand where we had our photo taken as well as at a Magic Mirror supplied by ProBooth. 

It was pure coincidence that we were walking past the Joseph Massie flower stand when we saw the florist setting up for the next event. It was an English Buttonhole Making session so we chose our place at the table and took some photos as the roses, greenery and tools were laid out in front of us. A tutorial with clear instructions and a visual demonstration was given and we had created some beautiful buttonholes. From the day I would probably have to say that this was my favourite part. The florist giving the workshop was nothing short of lovely and incredibly helpful even giving extra tips as and when needed. They run their own flower school with a range of courses including a 3 day wedding course and I personally would love to attend one. They show you how to make your own bouquet and any other flowers you would need for your wedding. Perfect for the DIY bride or anyone with an interest in the business. 

Continuing around the event we visited make up stands, venues holding competitions and saw as many wedding dresses as you could possibly see in one day. There were some seriously stunning embellished dresses and some that were completely identical with their feathers or more revealing styles. We later found the VIP section in the corner of the room and it was clearly time to put our bags down and grab a refreshment. This was also where the Revlon stand was performing hair and make up trials. Heading over we found it was completely booked up for the rest of the day which we found extremely dissapointing. It was on a first come first served basis which was understandable but there wasn’t enough staff or chairs for the amount of visitors that day. My hair is one of the crucial things I have no idea how to style on our wedding day this Summer so was looking forward to a few ideas. We sat for a while sipping at our drinks, mine being elderflower (so good!) and decided to get back up and seeing what else was being shown. 

Further time was spent looking at and purchasing decorations, seeing pianists and being amazed by magicians. Bags on bags were handed to us with various gifts and leaflets and we left with armfuls of items and magazines to look at later. 

The National Wedding Show also held a catwalk to view dresses, suits and shoes sold and shown by the stall holders. It was a fantastic show with modern music and plenty of gorgeous styles. We were in awe of the beautiful dresses and I particularly liked the striking pieces with the glittery tulle skirts and in contrast the structured dresses. 

With our feet starting to tire and in need of a strong coffee we headed back to the car, but not before picking up a sample of Shropshire Petal confetti and a Wedding Ideas magazine. It is safe to say that the gifts, samples and demonstrations given by the stall holding companies and sponsors were very generous. Sherry even left the show with two bottles of Black Tower wine, later kindly handing me the rosé – what can I say, the girls got my back. 

The day overall was great, informative and entertaining. It gave us both plenty of ideas and was better than any wedding events I have been to so far. The only downside was the charge and the fact we couldn’t get in to have our hair done even though this is primarily what you pay the money for. Next time we would probably go with the usual entrance fee. 
If you attended any of The National Wedding Show events tell me what you thought. Did you book anyone or anything? Did you go VIP? Would you go again? 

Thanks for reading!