House of Fraser Beauty Event

A couple of weeks ago House of Fraser in Nottingham held an afternoon beauty event to include all of the make- up and skincare brands. On arrival we were handed a goody bag and tipple of choice to welcome us into the store. When a few more people had arrived we had a little walk round to see what we were able to do at each stand. 

The Urban Decay area at the front of the store was very appealing and having never had anything from the brand I decided to have a good look around. There were a lot of products and I loved the eyeshadow palettes in particular. The make-up assistant at Urban Decay did two lots of eye designs for the group and they were both faultless and perfect in colour. I had my eyeshadow done at the Yves Saint Laurent counter and again, loved the style. I like a natural palette and neutral tones in my day to day style and that is exactly what she did.  

There was also the Benefit and Bare Minerals counters to look at. I already use products from both brands and enjoyed seeing what newer products they had and learning a little more about each. The next eye cream I am definitely into trying is the Benefit It’s Potent Eye Cream. The assistant kindly explained it was great for dark circles under the eyes which is exactly what I struggle with. 

From the event we also learnt that House of Fraser holds beauty treatment rooms. I have known that other large department stores did these but hadn’t known that they were at the store in Nottingham and can’t wait to see what treatments are available at their next event. 

There was also a raffle held with some great prizes. From beauty products and skincare to perfumes there was a huge selection and plenty to go around. On the day I purchased the Urban Decay Setting Spray as it was recommend to me by Sophie in Wonderland. I have since used it and can say it is fantastic. It was a bargain on the day at half price and when it runs out, which is hopefully no time soon, I shall be getting another. 

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 Beauty Bus and Kiehl’s Van in Nottingham 

Nottingham, like most city centres, was very busy at the weekend and I’m sure that this had something to do with the sun and the fact it was fashion week. As an addition to the styles and trends going on at the minute there was also a double decker beauty bus in the middle of the market square along with the Kiehl’s truck. Naturally I visited both. 

Firstly I entered the beauty bus to see what brands and products were on board. There was Origins, Lancôme and Clarins all on the top level and each offered customers a view on what new products were available and showing their best sellers. I had never tried any Origins products before so decided to head there first. They were demonstrating their facemasks and one definitely caught my attention. The bronzed coloured GinZing Peel-Off Mask looked just as good out of the tube as the tube did itself and kept its coloured shimmer on my skin. The purpose of the mask is to refine and refresh the skin and even though I had only tried it on the back of my hand it does make me want to try the product fully. Next to these were the other facemask products that grabbed my attention, the Flower Fusion sheet masks. I’m a bit late on the bandwagon here and haven’t tried one yet so am certainly going to purchase one next time I see them. Each mask had its own purpose and due to my dryness I would have to go for the Rose mask. 

Next up I visited the Clarins stand at the back of the bus. There was a small display of their latest Hydra Essentiel range. As I have just mentioned anything that states that it is hydrating I simply want to know all about it. There was also the Double Serum on show and guests were kindly given a sample to take home with them. I have previously tried a couple of Clarins samples and they are good but without trying a full product or more of their range I can’t give an educated opinion on the brand. 

Last but not least was the Lancôme representative in the centre of the bus. She was absolutely lovely and was very busy with others so I stood and watched for a minute as she took a look at each guests skin shade and gave them a sample of their Teint Idole Ultrawear Foundation. This product has reportedly come top recently in a blind test and comes in forty shades (!). The Lancôme stand and representative were from John Lewis at the Intu Victoria Centre and from the brief consultation I would definitely pay them a visit. 

Out of the bus and back in the market square was the Kiehl’s truck. I had frequently passed their store but not knowing anything about the brand or products (apart from other bloggers online) had never gone in. The fact that the truck was open and welcoming made me head up and see what the brand was about. The truck had a lot of products on display and it was hard to take it all in but the ladies were very happy to help out and ask me about my skins needs. I left with four samples including the Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil and and Midnight Recovery Concentrate which really caught my attention as I love products that I can leave on overnight.  The results from these samples will have their own post soon so keep your eyes peeled. 

I stayed in Nottingham for the Intu Bloggers Event which was great fun, beauty and fashion all in one day. Perfect! 

If you visited the beauty bus or have any recommendations or views on the products above, 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! 

Winter In Windermere 

In April this year we planned a trip to Windermere over Easter. My partner proposed to me on this break so it became a place that meant something to both of us. As a surprise Christmas getaway my now fiancé booked us into the Lyth Valley Country Inn for a relaxed weekend away. 

On arrival to the Inn we were greeted with Christmas trees and decorations that made our welcome feel very cosy. We had afternoon tea on arrival consisting of a scone and coffees, just what was needed from a 3 hour drive and the drizzliness outside. ​​

​We were also told we had been upgraded and this would be music to anyone’s ears surely? Our room was decorated with tartan upholstery, wooden furniture and of course, a Christmas tree! The room was what we named “The Duck Room”, I’m not sure if this was its official title but it had duck photos on the walls so it seemed fitting. 

Breakfast at the Inn was beautiful on both days. The first day we tried the bacon and maple syrup pancakes and Full English and the second day poached egg and salmon, along with the continental breakfast that was laid out. The evenings meals were also delicious, the photos do not do them justice. 

On our full day in the Lake District we visited Ambleside and Windermere. Both were places we had visited before so knew where to head and love both for their quirky shops, their gift shops and of course their outdoor gear shops. My favourite gift shop from the weekend was Love the Lakes where we bought some Christmas presents and of course, a little something for ourselves. 

Sunday was our return home day but not before we visited Manchester Trafford Centre for some Christmas shopping. The place is very big and we had to have a Five Guys stop (no complaints here) before we carried on. 

The weekend was great and exactly what we both needed in the run up to Christmas. Me and my partner spend a fair bit of time apart so it’s good to get some quality time together before the chaos of Christmas begins! 

If you have visited the Lake District or any other part of the countryside you have enjoyed, tell me about it, I’ll want to visit! Most of all, have a lovely Christmas and thanks for reading my blog this year! 

Blogmas Day 7: Christmas Holidays 

This time last year we were getting very excited for our Winter holiday in Budapest. Neither me or my partner had been before so didn’t know quite what to expect. Result? We’d 100% visit again!

We ares ones for a city break having seen Paris, Barcelona and Venice amongst the ones in the UK. So Budapest it was. We found the metro super easy to use so used that along with the plenty of miles we did on foot. It was totally worth seeing the sights and just using the metro for the slightly longer journeys. We went around this time last year and we’re fully prepared for it to be cold. I wasn’t quite prepared for how cold it was but there were plenty of cafes and Christmas market stalls selling mulled wine and goulash to warm us back up. image.jpeg

This brings me onto the food in the city. Arguably the best food we’ve had on holiday as a whole. We didn’t have a bad meal once while we were there and the cost of eating and drinking was incredibly cheaper than eating out in other cities. Some meals that stick out for me was goulash; meat and veg served with or in a bread bowl which was so tasty. Another was a 7 course meal in the Konyv Bar and Restaurant . The drinks and meal were amazing. The menu was designed around a story called The Christmas Mystery and included cocktails, one of which I even took the recipe for. We loved the whole concept behind the restaurant and enjoyed being surrounded by books and good food. Who wouldn’t? image.jpeg

The sights were stunning too. Great buildings designed with thought and care lined the streets. When we visited the museum and old town on the other side of the river (that split Buda and Pest) we saw this even more. Being a city there was always something to do. The zoo, natural spa baths and castles can be seen all year round but we went at the magical time of Christmas. We wandered the Christmas markets and bought gifts and chimney cake. We went ice skating in front of the castle and we visited the cathedrals and parliament buildings all decorated in lights. image.jpeg

Our hotel was apartment style with every room having its own kitchen facilities. We were upgraded to a bigger apartment with separate bedroom, living areas. It was clean, modern and had plenty of space. A perfect city break pad.

With a week spent in the city we could certainly find more to do on a second visit. More restaurants to visit, more sights to see and more places to tour. All being well as long as we stay away from the palinka!

Have you been to Budapest? Did you love it or prefer another city break? Either way I would love to hear about it!